Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Democracy needs you

What are the pillars of democracy? How strong are the pillars of democracy? How far can we go in challenging democracy before it weakens or collapses? Do the pillars of democracy need our support? What should we do? What can we do?

I have been asking myself these questions in the last few years. It's odd, I think. Previously I took democracy for granted and didn't ask questions. Elections came and went, I voted, governments came and went.

I felt secure.

Sure there was a threat of nuclear annihilation. Sure there were epidemics. But we tamed those threats. Mostly. Life was good, mostly. Threats were elsewhere, not here. Then came terror. Democracy stood strong.

And now this.

One of the most powerful people in the world, the really important one, and a man pledged to his people as a guardian of democracy, has gone wrong.

Every day he strikes hammer blows at the pillars of American democracy.

Vicious unwarranted attacks on his political opponents and rivals of all political persuasions. Vicious unwarranted attacks on journalists. Vicious unwarranted attacks on judges and the courts. Vicious unwarranted attacks on the members of the legislature. Vicious unwarranted attacks on long-serving civil servants. Vicious unwarranted attacks on senior members of the military and celebrated war heroes. Nothing is sacred. No one is safe.

The relentless repetition, the thud, thud, thud, thud, thud of these senseless hammer blows must be harmful, wouldn't you think?

If those pillars were columns on your front porch, and you heard the hammering, how alarmed would you be?

The hammer blows are a litany of lies. Mean-spirited, uncaring, deliberate disinformation, delivered in a torrent of vile invective.

The President simply doesn't care about the truth. Not one bit. He says anything. About anyone or anything. But seldom the truth. It's painfully clear he has a strong ingrained preference for lying.

How can the President of the United States of America not stand on a podium of truth, trust, and dedication to the Constitution he swore a sacred oath to preserve and protect?

The Presidency is arguably the pinnacle of American society.

Presidents have generally understood not merely the power they wield, but the immense mantle of responsibility they assume when they ascend to the office. It is more than a job, more than a career, more than a calling; it is a summons to duty unlike any other, and a summons to diligent hard work.

Most Presidents have understood the weight and the importance of the office the people of the United States entrusted to them.

Most Presidents have done their best to rise up to the office they are privileged to hold. They have worked hard to find and appoint the strongest, smartest, most diligent persons they can find to help them govern. Presidents have been known to work tirelessly to absorb information and to learn from their appointees, to study their reports, assessments, and recommendations, and consider their judgments and opinions.  That is the way most Presidents have led the country and charted its course.

And here is a man who, for the most part, is none of those things. A man who routinely does none of those things.

To sum him up in a single sentence, he is a liar, a bully, a man who cares for himself exclusively and before all others, a person without loyalty, and a person who resists expert briefings designed to make sure that the decisions he must make rest on a solid foundation of tested fact.

This President prefers instead that his decisions lie on an unmade bed of prejudice, ignorance, and venal self-interest.

It's a shame really.

But apparently these things happen.

Which brings me back to the questions I have been asking myself.

How many hammer blows can those pillars withstand?

A recent count maintained by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief of the Toronto Star, stood on November 25, 2018 at 3,800 hammer blows. Lies and baseless accusations hammered at judges, legislators, and even members of his own administration. Lies and baseless accusations hammered at journalists. Lies and baseless accusations hammered at allies.

I know that am not alone with a deep concern for the fate of American democracy and for the global alliances that flow from a river of patriots' blood spilled to defend and uphold them.

What can you and I do?

Learn and speak.

Learn about what is happening. When you learn about the hammer blows, speak out. Make your voice heard. Speak to your family. Speak to your friends. Speak to your colleagues. Share your concerns. If you are in the US and you are a republican, call your member of congress. Write them an email or send them a letter. Tweet at them if you must. If you are a democrat, call your member of congress. Write them an email or send them a letter. Tweet at them if you must. If you are an independent… well, you get the point.

It really doesn’t matter which way you lean politically. Democracy is an institution that all of us must cherish and help to preserve and protect. Every conservative, every liberal. Without democracy not one of us has a voice.

Say no to the hammer blows; say no to the lies; stand with journalists; stand with judges; stand with legislators.

The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court has spoken out: democracy has no favourites, neither republican, nor democrat.

You must speak out too.

Stand and be counted.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Travel, and Travel with Parosites

Welcome back to Life on two wheels.

Every now and then, when you leave your comfort zone behind, remarkable things happen.

Remarkable?

Yes, truly remarkable things.

Things that alter your perception. Quite simply, things that change your life... for the better of course.

To illustrate, I give you a vlog episode musing on travel, and a companion journal entry on the blog which follows immediately below. Not surprisingly, I think that the one compliments the other. But you already knew that.

First the vlog episode in which I attempt to explain the somewhat challenging relationship I have with travel. I told Stephanie Yue during her interview in Episode 35 of the Vlog that I wasn't a traveler, which Stephanie thought was "nuts". In a way she was right, and yet...  I'm not a traveler. It's complicated. This episode of the vlog seeks to provide some insight. It may, or may not... sigh...

https://youtu.be/GtmdRn0VY3A

... and now, without much further ado, herewith a reading of the first gospel of the Parosites.

So it came to pass that my beloved wife and lifelong companion Susan, dragged my sorry ass far, far to the east. So far east, that truly, never easter had I ever ventured.

In that mystical way I came to be delightfully yet utterly stranded. We were on an island far, far away, in the middle of the fabled Aegean sea, in the ancient haunts of Zeus, Poseidon, and ModernVespa fellow member Aviator47 (may he rest in peace) who made a significant contribution to my Tuscan Loop. We came to be cut off from the world we knew by winds so fierce that no boat would sail, and no plane would fly. We quite simply had no means of egress.


What to do?

We soon found ourselves in the company of another couple. For the sake of this incredible narrative, let’s just call them Errol and Lisa.


I will now share with you what happens when strong winds blow and a Jew, a Catholic, another Catholic, and another Jew, Canadians all, set out to plumb the secrets of a marvelous island where the spirit of Ulysses and of the Odyssey remain present to this very day.

Should this story cause an awakening in you, should you choose to become, of your own free will, a pilgrim, an adherent of a sort, a fellow traveler of a new order, to become followers of a new and mysterious cult, set your course for Paros and Anti-Paros. There you may yet find our footsteps on the sandy shores, on the pebbled beaches, perchance, in the very rock of this island paradise.

Every journey worth the telling of its tale requires a beast of burden. Christianity traces its roots to wise men on the backs of camels. We chose a Panda. Pandas are large enough to carry four prophets in comfort, they are fierce and strong enough to ward off evil, kind and gentle enough to ease fears and carry on tirelessly, as well as nimble and sure-footed enough to venture to the very furthest reaches of the realm, to the loftiest peaks, to the very ends of Paros, to the very peak of Anti-Paros, and to the threshold of its truly mysterious depths, where the ancients scrawled a precious few words of wisdom on the stalactites and stalagmites of the depths, those silent and stoic witnesses to the countless millennia of human evolution.


We came to call ourselves Parosites. We are Parosites. You can become a Parosite too. Parosititus is simply the encapsulation of the lessons we learned, that we have vowed to impart to others who wish to follow on the enlightened path we, your prophets, your icons, forever after have pledged to follow.

Fear not. Like early Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, Incas, Mayans, and other predecessor religious orders, behold here the true font of all that is Parosititus. It is simple. We have no commandments, and we have few rites, though we do suggest some modest guidelines that Parosites must commit to memory.

Notwithstanding the essential simplicity of the new religion we impart to you, and of the fundamental truths we pledge to seek in your company, Errol, Lisa, Susan and I concurred that we couldn’t do without some form of worship. So we have worship. But relax, there are no armies of saints to memorize, no repetitive obsessive-compulsive hand or body motions you are required to perform. You need only worship the four of us.

The only gesture you may choose to adopt, should you wish to embrace it, but that is by no means required of even the most devout Parosite, is to greet fellow Parosites with a benign smile and the merest hint of a wry knowing wink, while raising your middle finger proudly in a form of salute. The Parosite's salute.

Oh... we also decided to have tithes. We, the four founding brothers and sisters, accept, with absolute humility, and a solemn vow to avoid all forms of conspicuous unbecoming consumption, including travel on private jets or yachts over 50 feet, or other overt displays of wealth or privilege (other than travel in business class), annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily donations of small and modest gratuities never, ever, under any circumstances, to exceed 25% of Parosites’ net, after-tax annual income. Bear in mind that no amount is too small, and all donations will be acknowledged promptly on Twitter (#Parosites, #PandasRule). The Parosites’ PayPal account will be up and running in no time at all, so please be patient. In the meantime BitCoin tithing is encouraged. Your generosity is our pride and joy.


We trace our awakening to a modest table in a simple yet elegant restaurant a stone’s throw from row upon row of frond parasols and the gentle, cool and rythmic surf. This became a recurring theme. A meme really. Could it have been that our table was in fact a white marble altar? Yes, that must have been the first of many revelations. I asked Errol “Errol my dear friend and fellow traveler, what must this table weigh?” In truth, the white slab was a good three or four inches thick, four or five feet long, and the width of a generous kitchen table. The altar of the Parosites. It will surely weather the test of time.

Please bear in mind that in the very beginning we knew not that we were Parosites. True awakening, true fellowship in the path of the Parosites, dawns slowly.

Days later, as our trusty Panda carried us onward and outward bound, our consciousness rose and blossomed. In that way, a second truth revealed itself to us, once more with the blue expanse of the Aegean spread before us, shimmering in the midday sun, as we sat before a glorious meal of octopus and pizza. The essential revelation was this: when as a Parosite, you find yourself faced on the one hand with a choice of labour, toil, or industry, and on the other hand with the alternative of strolling ankle or knee-deep in the cool welcoming surf after a glorious heavenly meal, soon followed by an afternoon siesta on a lounge chair lulled to the very doorstep of a snooze by the rhythms of the sea and of the breeze in the palms ... always choose the latter.


The charcoal grilled octopus might have become the perfect emergent animal spirit and icon for our new religion... but for a later revelation, in another moment of enlightenment, that the leech was to be the true and lasting icon of our faith.

If you feel compelled to seek the comfort of a good book, a compendium, or guide to the meaning of life, beyond the simple truths laid before you here, by all means rely on the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the immortal words of Douglas Adams who famously recommended "... to congregate at boundary conditions. Where land meets water. Where earth meets air, Where body meets mind. Where space meets time." He also observed, quite rightly "I love deadlines, I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by." Clearly he must have been an early Parosite.

Nevertheless, to be a true believer, a true Parosite, you need only worship the four of us, scrupulously and periodically submit your tithes, and commit to memory and forever loosely abide by the following Ten Guidelines:

I. Seek out and ponder the surf, and immerse yourself in it, unless it’s too damn cold.

II. Worship no idols save for Errol, Lisa, Susan and David, and learn from their indolence.

III. Study the ways of the leech, only then can you become a true Parosite.

IV. Always seek the perfect pizza, borne of a blistering smoldering brick oven.

V. In ordinary conversation or in the game of bridge, wheresoever you may be, when there is a mention of trump, raise the Parosite’s salute and spit upon the floor.

VI. Apologize at every turn, and learn to say “Eff-Harry’s-toe”.

VII. When your Panda tears a paw, seek out a kind fixer in the dead of night to shod the beast with new rubber for a modest fee.

VIII. When the pavement ends, carry on regardless and seek the ocean, even when the peril seems great, and the Panda scrapes its belly on the rocky soil.


IX. When you are speaking the truth to Parosites, never fail to embellish it with stretchers and knee-slappers.

X. When on the path to your resting place for the day, up is always right, and down is out.

So there you have it. Parosititus. It’s truly simple, and simply enlightening. Become a Parosite. You won't regret it.

That's it for a riveting double travel, lifestyle, and religion edition of Life on two wheels. Don't forget to like the video, please click to subscribe to the Life on two wheels YouTube channel, and don't forget to visit the blog where you'll find the Touring Guide, the Gear Guide, and so much more! See you next time, on life on two wheels!

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Mysteries  by Dan Lebowitz, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

If you are interested in moto-touring routes in the UK, check out the following infographic published by Trago.


Finally, here are the links to the moto-adventure travelers mentioned in the video:

Stephanie Yue:
It's easier to link to Stephanie's Life on two wheels profile that contains links to her blog, professional website, and most of the interviews she has given

Lois Pryce:
http://www.loisontheloose.com/

Steph Jeavons:
https://stephjeavons.com/meet-steph
http://www.stephmoto-adventurebikeblog.com/

Michael Strauss:
http://soloscooterist.com/

Ken Wilson:
http://lostboater.com/

Bill Leuthold:
http://billleuthold.blogspot.com/

Tim and Marisa
:
https://www.notiersfrontiers.com/
https://www.notiersfrontiers.com/wherewearenow.html

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The unicorn fridge, Ikea, and a Vespa

https://youtu.be/aAkL9Vohn-A

Well I'm at it again!

Shopping for seemingly impossible things to carry on my Vespa.

This time it's a 36"X15"X24" Sektion over-the-fridge wall cabinet from Ikea.

It all started when our Bosch fridge up and died in the dead of night.

Fortunately, we discovered the looming food disaster when we returned from the airport with Andrew, Anuschka, and Kaia who came to celebrate Lauren and Harris' wedding. Talk about a good news, bad news, great news story.

It turned out, of course, that our dead Bosch fridge was a unicorn! Basically, it turned out to be one-and-a-half critical inches shorter than any other fridge we could find in the market. That meant that our built-in custom kitchen cabinetry was built in a way that would not accommodate any of the new fridges.

The only solution was to replace the cabinet with one that was 15" from top to bottom, rather than the 30" cabinet installed in our kitchen.

Then it turned out that the very nice folks who updated our kitchen when we renovated a couple of years back were retiring. While they agreed to make the new custom cabinet doors we needed, the cabinet was turning out to be... well let's just say that we were on our own on that score.

That's when Ikea came to the rescue!

Susan was at work with the car, and I was itching to start work on the cabinet. What to do... what to do??

The answer, don't you know, was painfully obvious!

Fetch the cabinet from Ikea on my Vespa!

And there you have it. Another exciting episode of Life on two wheels!

The music for this episode is Morning Stroll  by Josh Kirsch/Media Right Productions made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library, as usual. Thanks YouTube!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Catching Ms. Yue

https://youtu.be/AKT6SmGX8nc

Welcome to episode 35 of the vlog: Catching Ms. Yue.

The vast majority of our fellow humans are dedicated to a 9-5 work regimen (or to even more demanding jobs). We live relatively close to where we work and we commute from home to work week in, and week out, with precious few breaks in the routine.

That is why there is something very special about adventurers. These are people who decide to uproot their lives and head out to discover the planet.

In this episode I share an interview with Stephanie Yue at the 2018 Isle de Wolfe scooter rallye. By the time I managed to snag a few precious minutes of free time with Steph the sun was rapidly fading, along with the quality of the video. I have Steph's boyfriend Fred to thank because he agreed to act as the second camera man.

Steph has ridden Serenity, her Vespa GTS, through all 49 continental states of the USA, and her most recent adventure was a moto tour in Pakistan.

You can learn a lot about someone like Steph by following her blog. But nine times out of ten, there is no way to connect the voice to the blogger. This interview scratches that itch. If you visit her rider profile on the Rider Profiles page, you will find links to other interviews, but, as far as I know, until I stand corrected, this is the first YouTube interview of the intrepid Ms. Yue.

With a little luck this may not be the last time I have the privilege of catching up with her.

The music for this episode is Game Plan by Bad Snacks, made available thanks to the YouTube audio library.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Going out on another limb

I am edging myself cautiously into new territory: e-commerce


I have no illusions and, while I will earn a 10% commission on the sale of WrapTies through this journal (click here or go to the "Shop: WrapTies" link above), I am more motivated by the opportunity to promote an excellent new moto product and by the excitement of experimenting with an e-commerce affiliate setup.

Hopefully I have managed to set up the page properly.

I have also added a link in the Gear Guide.

Monday, August 13, 2018

You always pay a price

Every choice we make requires that we pay a price.

Most of you know that last fall I made a series of choices along a path leading back to the practice of law. There were many baby steps. My sister Joanne insisted I had to meet with a law firm in the building where she works. They seemed really nice, and they were interested in meeting me.

I have a long standing policy of investigating every opportunity that comes my way. When I was in my early teens my Dad looked away from an opportunity that, in hindsight, would have been a game changer for all of us. I vowed that I would never do that. That vow led me to investigate many opportunities, a good number of which were game changers for me.

This blog, the vlog, and the chronicles you explore here are one example.

The dream of owning a Vespa, turned into the Scoot Commute, then Life on two wheels, the vlog, and adventures on two wheels in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and Italy. That opportunity alone was like opening an old cardboard box and discovering unimagined splendors and treasures wrapped in old newspapers.

Where was I... right, I met with some really nice people at the firm and I realized there was an opportunity to return to the practice of law on my terms. Wow, I never would have guessed. That revelation triggered the baby steps. I had to come out of retirement, apply for re-instatement to active practice with the Quebec Bar; apply to the Law Society of Ontario for the right to practice in Ontario on an occasional basis; and then... why not fully qualify in Ontario?

Well you know how that turned out.

In January I began that quest. It seemed like it might not be excruciating. I only had to write and pass two exams. When I wrote the Quebec Bar exams, way back in 1980, there were six exams. That's like a two-thirds-off deal!  Then I found out that there were only two exams in Ontario. Every aspiring lawyer must leap those two hurdles. Two, seven-hour, 240 question exams. Gulp! At sixty-five, was my brain still up to it? At least Bar exams are open book. Still...

The materials made up about 2,300 pages, six three-ring binders' worth, in eight or nine point font, double-sided, with tiny margins. I bought highlighters. First yellow, then I added blue and green. I underlined, scrawled annotations in the tiny margins, took notes, did research, looked up Supreme Court cases, read key passages of more statutes than I care to remember. The Income Tax Act, the Criminal Code, the Residential Tenancies Act, the Family Law Act, the Personal Property Security Act, the Federal Court Act, the Courts of Justice Act, regulations under those acts... the list went on, and on, and on. I took notes. 497 pages of notes in 9 point font, plus 128 pages of subject matter, case law and legislation indexes. I have never, in my life, written so much.

Thank heavens the enormity of the task only became apparent bit by bit. Had I known the scale of the challenge before setting out, would I have done it?

How did I do it?

With the exception of two one-week breaks in Los Angeles, San Diego and Vancouver, I devoted 10-12 hours, every single day of the week, every week of the month, from mid-January to mid-June, sitting at my desk, surrounded by paper, chained to my keyboard, with my eyes alternating from the books on the desk to the computer screen.

I passed both exams.

What a price to pay!

And yet, like the price of a car, or of a fancy meal in fine restaurant, or of a kitchen renovation, the price to be paid comes with extras like taxes and tips.

In my case, that extra somewhat unanticipated cost came later, like a delayed final invoice.

In my mind, once the stress of studying, writing and passing the exams was behind me, I was going to spend a glorious summer riding and exploring, blogging and vlogging, celebrating my success with friends and family. Basically exploiting the law of averages by simply having a ball.

Hmmmm...

The final invoice landed on me a couple of weeks back. I knew I had gained weight. As my brother-in-law Chuck famously said, my exercise regimen for six months consisted of jumping to conclusions and pushing my luck. Between that, and consuming the calories my grey cells desperately needed, I gained weight. My office has mirrored sliding closet doors. I could see the weight slowly spreading like an unsightly unwanted bulge where my waist used to be.

Exercise would be the welcome cure. That's how I planned to balance the scales.

But wait... there was more.

Turns out that when you spend a ridiculous amount of time scouring pages and pages of paper, and typing endless pages of notes, your body decides that this is the new 'normal' and, without consulting you, adapts to what it perceives as the new rhythm of your life.

When you decide to return to the old 'normal', your body says "what the..." and rebels like a spoiled sulking ungrateful child.

In my case, in an attempt to keep me slouched in the best position for reading and typing 11-ish hours a day, my body threw me a curve in the form of what I'm guessing is a pinched nerve somewhere in the vicinity of C6 and C7. Before this I had never given my cervical vertebrae a second's thought.

Holy crap! I can't ride, heck, I can't even walk for more than twenty paces with my head on the level. Tylenol and Cyclobenzaprine are my new best friends.

It's possible that after two weeks, a trip to the doctor's office, a trip to the physiotherapist, two invasive deep massage sessions (feels like you're a chicken being boned without the aid of a knife), and four torture sessions with a chiropractor, I may be seeing a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel.

Last week I had no choice but to ride Thunderbird for a legally-required safety exam prior to its sale to its new owner.

Look how happy Paul is!
That was sixteen-and-a-half painful kilometers.

I was praying for red lights. Long ones. Shift into neutral, come to a stop, release the clutch, and stretch my left arm over to the right side of the bike as I more or less kissed the gas tank... relief from the pain. The light changes, clutch, shift, accelerate, and the pain begins to travel from my neck, under my left clavicle, radiating down my left arm, cramping my elbow, throbbing in my wrist... taking my breath away... where is another red light?????

I survived.

In about a half hour I'm off to another chiro session. The last? I don't know. This morning I did return to the exercise regimen I foolishly abandoned last fall. That lifted my spirits.

Baby steps.

I will ride again.

Pain free.

Soon.

I hope.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

2018 Isle de Wolfe Scooter Rally


https://youtu.be/YcHdlmdpD7U

At last! A major motion picture from Life on two wheels studios!

This is it! The long-awaited world premiere of the Life on two wheels Isle de Wolfe Scooter Rally movie.

There are stars, breathtaking action, traffic jams, Lambretta meltdowns, howling wolves, daring inter-continental and pan-continental adventurers, a dog in doggles, treacherous ferry crossings, the heart-stopping pop-pop-pop-pop staccato of vintage scooters in heat, massive clouds of blue poisonous smoke, and much, much more.

Come with me as I saddle up and head out to the very border of Ontario, to the DMZ separating us from mighty Trumplandia, the US of A, on isolated island straddling where the inland sea of the Great Lakes meets the mighty St-Lawrence.

Quick, grab the popcorn and the diet Coke, click on the video, and immerse yourself in a true summer action blockbuster!

Did I say it was free? IT'S TOTALLY FREE FOR THE WATCHING! Amazing.

Life on two wheels studios, making Canada great again, one video at a time.

Editor's remark: there is a second version of the video that repairs a minor glitch, no harm in leaving both in the channel.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A heartfelt apology

I need to apologize to my friends and readers, in no particular order...

Sonja, Richard, Dom, Steve, Karen, Bill, Peter, Jim, Michael, Brandy, Kathy, Ry, Ken, Mike... I have been mostly absent here, and on your blogs. Partly it's a busy-ness and time disruption, partly it's a cycle and habit disruption... but whatever the root external excuse may be, it's really just me not being here for you.

It doesn't help that Google has chosen to cease sending email alerts when new comments are posted. But that's just another excuse, after all...

What I need to do is to work adapt to the changes, and just do it, as Nike used to encourage us all to do.

I was shocked this morning to find your comments piling up on recent posts, with me thoroughly distracted and unaware.

I am going back to respond to each and every one.

I am also hoping to change my lifestyle to more fully adapt to my new reality. It's easy when you make huge changes in your life to just go with the flow and let the big events you set in motion carry you along on the current.  The risk is that as you float along like a cork in a stream, you don't realize the things that are no longer there. It's remarkably hard to spot things that go missing. Like the dutiful butler answering knocks on the front door who simply vanishes one day without a sound, who knows when.

It's me, not you, dear friends.

Let's see if I can make amends, shall we?

Warm regards to each and every one of you, you are important to me.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Playing with fire!

https://youtu.be/ZQ6Qep2uDBw

This episode is about big challenges, self-therapy, and what it means to live my life.

To understand the relevance of the title, my decision to qualify for the Ontario Bar was not imposed on me. I undertook to do it because it would allow me to practice law in Ontario without artificial constraints. I knew it was going to be demanding, but I know I didn't appreciate the scope of the challenge and the demands it would place on me.

I still don't know the results of the second exam.

It was tougher than the first, not because the subject matter was more difficult or more alien, but because it naturally lent itself to inherently wordy and somewhat convoluted questions along the lines of "Amy, a lawyer, is consulted by Darrin who is considering an appointment as trustee to his friend Fred's estate. Fred's partner Arnold owns the matrimonial home as a joint tenant with Jessica, Fred's estranged sister..." The mind reels and spins trying to keep track of the fictitious people you were introduced to mere moments earlier and to make sense of their peculiar relationships as the question unfolds before your eyes like origami in reverse. The question finally pops at the question mark, and the four possible answers shimmer before you, as all the while a tiny obsessed corner of your brain reminds you in a nervous twitchy way that you only have one minute and forty-five seconds to process the question, and to pick the correct answer, and it's already taken you 52 seconds to read the question, read the answers, then re-read the question. This is question 56, and there are 184 more questions to go. Ughhhh!

 In that sense, I was playing with fire, all day long, all week long, for months on end. It was like trying to digest an encyclopedia.

The silver lining came in the form two quick breaks and a life-changing gift. The breaks happened before each of the exams, one in February when Susan and I took off to L.A. and San Diego to visit with family and very dear friends, and one in early April when our immediate family flew to Vancouver to be with our kids Andrew and Anuschka for the birth of Kaia, our first grandchild. Susan and I arrived at the hospital early on the day following Kaia's birth. It's difficult to express how special that was.

These past six or seven months marked a second fracture in the rhythms of my life. First the move to Toronto after a lifetime in Montreal, then the Bar Exams. It feels like a lot to process.

On the occasions when I felt I was hitting a wall, I promised myself that if I pushed on, when that last exam was behind me in June, I would find a field, lie on my back, and watch the clouds drift by until I felt redeemed. and that's exactly what I did. The jet threading a contrail straight as an arrow high above the wispy clouds was an unhoped for sign that the time had come for me to get back on my feet and launch into a slightly belated summer of fun and relaxation.

In a nutshell that's what I attempted to do with this video, to explain as best I can what I have been through and get beyond it. At least emotionally. Those results still loom over me though. What if I flunked? I don't know what the answer to that last question is.

I may never have to answer it.

Thanks for sticking with me as I work all of this out. It means a lot.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Wrapties are here!

https://youtu.be/QkOKb0jI1Rg

A while back (like months ago I think) I got an unsolicited email from Australia from Mark Blackburn wondering if I would consider doing a review of some newfangled tie down straps.

At the time I was up to my neck studying for those pesky Bar exams. I warned Mark that I would not be able to devote any time to his request until mid-June at the earliest.

Some weeks later I received a package with two 180cm Wrapties. They sat idly in the envelope until I was done with the last exam, and then for another two or three weeks while I dealt with a backlog of stuff that was similarly on hold while I devoted 100% of my time and energy to those demanding exams.

When I was finally able to tackle video production once more, the first project had to be those Wrapties, I owed Mark a review and I had to deliver.

I have to confess that the Wrapties took a little getting used to. As with most things, you need to get your hands into the equation and handle them, apply them to a task.

In that spirit, we had some unprecedented winds a few weeks ago, and our home sits in a kind of wind tunnel. Instead of taking the planter that sits on a table on our balcony into the house, I grabbed a Wraptie and in a wink I lashed the table to the balcony railing. The winds came, they felled trees, they blasted our courtyard, the trees swayed and tossed to and fro, but... our lightweight folding tables stayed put, never budged. I was impressed.

In this episode of the vlog I share two other uses for Wrapties. In an upcoming episode, I will provide an account of their performance on last weekend's 250 kilometer expressway ride to Kingston Ontario where I participated in the Isle de Wolfe scooter rally. The Wrapties performed flawlessly.

Among the benefits: there are never any loose ends to flap in the breeze, and the design made it a snap to stow my riding jacket that I ditched for a little Friday night rally challenge on an isolated dead-end country road. It was hot and humid, and riding in my T-shirt was a welcome relief from a long hot day in the saddle. All I needed to do to secure the jacket on top of my dry bag was to release the extra length of Wraptie that would otherwise have been a loose end, stretch the Wrapties over the jacket and let the velcro do its job. Easy peasy. I think that little unexpected trick is what really and truly sold me on the Wrapties.

Check out the video I linked above, I think you'll be impressed too.

I you want some Wrapties of your very own, check out their website: www.wraptie.net.

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Safety Net by Riot, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Thunderbird takes a wing

https://youtu.be/fMhZ4j2V2oo

At long last, I am surfacing from my six-month self-imposed exile. It was a nightmare of grueling study, eleven and twelve hour days, seven days a week. With a little luck I passed the final Bar exam. I won't really know for another couple of weeks. I have to be philosophical in spite of the massive effort. It will be what it will be.

Moving on... It feels so good to get back to other things. Even doctor's appointments and lab tests, and tackling chores around the house is a kind of liberating joy. A real deliverance.

Speaking of moving on and liberating things, it's time for Thunderbird to move on too.

Sonja and I are on the same page and the result is that Sonja's beast of a bike that I christened Thunderbird, the 2003 Honda Shadow VT 750 American Classic Edition is now on Kijiji.ca looking for a fresh adventure and a new loving caring owner.

Check out Sonja's blog here.

Sonja's 2015 Maritimes adventure begins on her blog here.

Here is a post from Life on two wheels that explains how to purchase a far-off motorcycle for touring.

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Bleeker Street Blues by Chris Haugen, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

I've got a backlog of videos screaming to be released so please stay tuned, there's lots more to come.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Terror incident

Terror incident on our street, Susan and I are fine. 10 people are dead, 15 are injured. Seems to be a senseless criminal act motivated by alienation and a desire for revenge against society.

Words are inadequate in times like this.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ken's at it again! So's Bill!

Well, Ken Wilson is once again off to join the mad crew of intrepid men and women who, every even year, set off on their scooters on a mad cross-continental dash from sea to sea. Yes folks, it's high time for the 2018 Scooter Cannonball run.

For Ken that means a preliminary trek to Morrow California just so that he can make a mad dash to Virginia Beach. This time Ken is driving a support vehicle not his scooter. Well, kind of. You see Ken is riding to California, flying back to Florida, driving the Cannonball support for team snail back to California, then providing support all the way to Virginia Beach, then flying back to California, then riding back east.

Copyright 2018 Ken Wilson
This always fun to watch.

You can follow Ken by keeping tabs on his 2018 blog by clicking here, or if you are curious and want to learn a lot more about Ken, click here. If you want to hear him explain his cross-continental madness in person, click here for the short interview, or click here for the long story. If you want to see how Ken responded to my rider profile interview, click here. If you want a taste of what it's like to ride with Ken, then click here, and here, and here.

One of the riders Ken will be supporting will be Bill Leuthold, If you click on the last three links immediately above, as a bonus you get to meet Bill as well. Wouldn't you know it... Bill has a rider profile too: click here.

The one thing I can personally guarantee, is that you won't be disappointed. Ken is the real deal, and a BIG DEAL. No fake news here, I promise. Same goes for Bill. You will no doubt be able to follow Bill's Cannonball run on his blog by clicking here.

Just because he can, Ken is going to follow up the Cannonball with a leisurely scooter riding adventure in northern Spain.

Copyright 2018 Ken Wilson
I guess that the secret to Ken's adventurous nature is that he learned all about risk flying medevac helicopters during the Vietnam conflict.

Nuff said!

I'll be following Ken and Bill.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tom and the Terribly Tempting Terrific Tesla Model 3

https://youtu.be/aoQ_RDCLwgk

I know I said that I had absolutely no time for you until mid-June because I had to be a slave to studying, and while that is basically true, it doesn't quite mean that I have ONLY spent my time with my nose in the books.

The fact is that my brain needs some breaks. I can literally feel my brain-strain at the end of a ten or eleven hour day of wrestling down in the depths of detail into which the Bar exams do their level best to drown my spirit. Among my THERAPEUTIC DISTRACTIONS I was lucky to count a) my interview with Nathan Body at the Peak Powersports BMW Motorrad launch up in Barrie, b) a hop, skip, and jump to visit with my dear friend Andrew in San Diego and Susan's cousins in Los Angeles, c) joining my dear friend Tom as he immersed himself in a hopefully soon-to-be-his Tesla Model 3, and d) a jaunt to Vancouver to meet our first-ever grandchild Kaia Eliora Naidoo Masse, and to fulfill my teaching obligations for Governance Professionals of Canada where I poisoned the minds of aspiring colleagues with the fascinating topics of Records Management, and the dismal, arcane art of public company annual general meetings.

In case you couldn't tell, this episode of Life on two wheels is about c) Tom and the Terribly Tempting Terrific Tesla Model 3.

I apologize for that second paragraph.

It bears a stunning similarity to my study notes for the Bar exam. The upside is, that if you're in a hurry, and don't feel like savoring my meandering prose, you can absorb the gist of this post by broadening your focus, scanning that paragraph as a chunk, and assimilating 95% of my message in mere seconds, versus the many minutes you might ordinarily have to devote to catching my drift.

Because I couldn't afford to take two weeks off from studying during my Vancouver trip, I had no choice but to purchase a brand new MacBook Pro laptop. I feel I owe you a review. WOW!!!

There is no point in going any further really. As the Bard famously had Hamlet say, brevity is the soul of wit.  If I were more witless, I would add that adding a MacBook to my arsenal along with a decent dose of iCloud, has been a productivity game-changer. Holy mackerel! Did you know that you can copy on a (iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook) and paste into any of the others (iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook)???? I certainly didn't!!!! I edited 90% of the video for this episode on the flight home from Vancouver on Sunday using Final Cut Pro X on the MacBook. WOW!

OK, that's enough witlessness on that score.

Coming in a little while, video from those other distractions.

The musical selections for this episode are Ice Cold by Audionautix which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (Artist: http://audionautix.com/) and Take You by Vibe Tracks, both made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My brain strain...

... and a break, courtesy of Peak Powersports in Barrie, BMW Motorrad, and Marigold Public Relations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL7OLhZdDPM

This actually happened a few weeks ago, but my frantic study routine gets in the way of EVERYTHING that isn't studying for a Bar exam. Oh... and there was a whirlwind trip to visit family and dear friends in Los Angeles and San Diego. There will be, in the fullness of time, an entertaining video of that trip, I promise.

To be perfectly honest, my overtaxed brain really needed to take a step or two back, before charging ahead for the rush to the finish in a few weeks' time.

I hope that you enjoy this tiny little hiatus, I sure did. Big thank you to Katie from Marigold Public Relations for doing double duty filming with the number two camera.

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Cycles by Density & Time, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Taking stock: truth, mayhem, and death

Taking a minuscule break from my breakneck studying routine, because it's important.

Time is running short, so I'll be brief, and then follow my nose back into the books.

I have from time to time posted about politics. Last year I posted a vlog about truth. Prior to that I posted about the risks of the Trump presidency, here, and here.

I wasn't surprised when some thought I was overreacting, that things would never be that bad. After all, lies and meaningless bluster don't kill, right?

There are elections looming now. There's still time to think carefully, and to consider the importance of truth, no matter what your particular stripe might be. And to vote.

Here are some sobering thoughts to help with that chore.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Year, HUGE challenge

https://youtu.be/zNgonVCwTVI


I remember the year, not that long ago, when I posted over 100 times.

Last year I became convinced that the future was video and I tied a vlog to my blog and the posting frequency plummeted.

It's sad in a way, because you get into the habit of posting, and you have an audience of loyal readers, and in some way you drift away from that mode of expression, the constant give and take, and it hurts.

The irony is that the time commitment to social media ramps up considerably when you shift from blogging to vlogging.

There's a natural equation or algorithm at play here. The busier I get, the less presence I have here. That troubles me, but, what can you do?

You gotta do what you gotta do!

This year dawns with a mountain in plain view that I must climb. Like a friend who leaves to climb Everest, it means that there is going to be absence in your life, as my life gets really, really interesting.

It's all explained in the video, so have a look.

I really do feel that I am letting you down by not posting more blog posts or vlog episodes, so I may decide to shift gears and come back here to let you know that all is well and give you an idea of my progress.

Once thing is certain: I am more committed than ever to my Life on two wheels so, when I return from that mountaintop, I will return here.

Happy new year to all!
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.