Sunday, December 28, 2014


Who am I? 

As an individual I am unique.  I am a distinct and authentic self that has changed myriad times since my birth.   

A search for my self would uncover changes in my relationships, my career, my parenthood perhaps, my mid-life, and even my senior years – all of which being outward expressions of myself (my clothes and my car and any other possessions that have tickled my fancy that I’ve bought).

All of us, at some point; desire to break free from something, to free ourselves of our parents, our spouse, our job, all in the guise of searching for our true selves.  Each of us is, indeed, a unique and complete set of complicated experiences canned in a singular self.  And no matter where we are in our lives, we are still and always experiencing something.  In a line, as long as we are quick, we are a work in progress.

Two articles in the paper today stopped me, Hair tattoo restores pride and follicles and At 43, too old to be sexy? (Regina Leader Post, Saturday, December-27-14).

The hair tattoo article is about ink, handmade from charcoal, being injected (tattooed) on follicle at a time onto a bald person’s scalp and voila … hair apparent!  Micropigmentation looks like hair and gives people back their confidence, states the tattoo artist.

In the other article Jon Hamm (Don Draper of Mad Men) says he is too old to be a really big star.  He considers his 43 years of age to be over the hill.

Both these newspaper articles suggest that how we allow ourselves to be seen and experienced by others is significant.  The fear of being found out, of being known as a fraud or a fake is very, very important. 

Well, I’m not bald and I’m not 43.  I’ve still a thick head of hair and I’m 63 and I know (finally) that quality begins on the inside.  Any search for our quality self ought to start from within through reflection and introspection, then searching without through our relationships and actions.

A search for our self, will demand searching within and without our self, and will humor both the ideas of Erik Erikson and Sigmund Freud, noted pioneers in the search for self-identity.  Erikson, a student of Freud, believed social interactions guided our behaviors; whereas, Freud, his teacher, believed biological instincts to be the driving force.  It’s not a stretch to believe that our behaviors are prompted by both theories.  And it’s not a stretch to believe that our behavior is synonymous with our personality.

Let me explain.  Our selves have both a BODY and a MIND. 

For a simple BODY definition, our living body is a continuity of physical substance, ever changing over the course of our lifetime as our body ages (in years) and grows (in girth).

For a simple MIND definition, our active mind is an imaginary substance, from which we project our mental states, our cognitive faculties, values, and beliefs.

Generally it is agreed that the male body is one of three types:  Ectomorph, Endomorph, and mesomorph.  The skinny guy is an ectomorph; the fat guy an endomorph; the muscular guy a mesomorph.

Generally it is in sexist agreement that the female body, too, is one of three types:  Straight, Pear, and Curvy.  The woman who is chunky with narrow shoulders and the big bum who is built for comfort is a pear.  The girl who is stick skinny and built for speed is a straight.  That hourglass babe with big boobs and comparatively large hips is a curvy (see Marilyn Monroe 36-24-36).   

Generally it is agreed that we are either introverted or extroverted.  Introverts are those working in the back rooms of libraries, or in the upper rooms in lighthouses. Extroverts are those working in the people service industries or in  high pressure sales. 

Introverts do not like mingling with other humans; whereas, extroverts love to mingle.  Introverts are quiet.  Extroverts are noisy.  Introverts are reserved.  Extroverts are reckless.

This is fine and good, but our real selves go beyond body and mind.  Our body and mind mixed together make up our personality.  Perhaps the numerical formula is BODY plus MIND equals PERSONALITY.

PERSONALITY is the individual differences in individual character patterns of our thinking and behaving.  Generally, it is agreed that there are mainly four PERSONALITY types:  TYPE A, TYPE B, TYPE C, and TYPE D.  (Obviously, the Abecedarians love the simplicity tags.)

TYPE A people are those who are considered controlling and impatient. “A” people are angst ridden, always agitated, and never really relaxed.  TYPE A’s are a pain in the ass.

TYPE B people are considered casual and relaxed.  “B” people are easy-going, ever-patient, and very likeable.  TYPE B’s are perceived to lack professionalism and as a result, seldom taken seriously.  

TYPE C people seem always concerned about being correct.  “C” people are detail orientated and picky, picky, picky.  TYPE C’s are those little dog bosses that continuously nip at your ankles.

TYPE D people love to follow routine. “D” people are most comfortable doing the same things over and over again.  TYPE D’s are on snooze dial and are boring, boring, and more boring.

Who am I?   

To close my usual oneversation by being my narcissistic self, I shall answer the opening question that I posed at the beginning of this blog entry.

I am what I seem to be as continuously depicted in my blog each week.  Firstly, I am a high school guidance counselor, and have been plying this trade for over twenty-five years.  Working in a high school keeps me a-go-go and energized. 

Secondly, I am a sessional university instructor of Psychology, and have pretended to be an academic for over fifteen years.  Teaching at the university keeps me studying and writing.

Thirdly, I am a private practitioner for Psychological counseling/consulting, and as of late, HYPNOTHERAPY.  Being a hypnotherapist keeps me mysterious.

Fourthly, and most importantly I am a guitar and pencil busker.  Few things for me are more pleasing and adventurous than strumming and singing solo on a downtown sidewalk, and hearing the constant clunking of coins as they are tossed into my open guitar case.  Equally delightful is penciling a stranger’s portrait onto my sketchpad, then wrapping it with a rubber band and exchanging it for a ten dollar bill.  (Ofttimes I think that my guitar and pencil busking stories are designed complex Aesopian tales to promote my Psychology practices with my sidequest authority.)

I do know for certain that to be employed in all of the above does take stamina (I work out in the gym every day) and extroversion (I do need to communicate and perceived by my consumers to be likeable).   



My searches for self in all of the above activities, in all the right places, make me happy and who I am.  And … 
It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy (Lucille Ball).  

Sunday, December 21, 2014



He is ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS.  He is HANS BRINKER, OR, THE SILVER SKATES.  He is COLBY WILLIAMS and he doesn’t yet know it, but COLBY WILLIAMS, # 5 for the REGINA PATS of the WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE, is my new best friend.
I was helping my son, Baron, move to his new place.  In his apartment storage both Baron and I kept our brand-new-two-years-ago hockey equipment, including skates.  Deciding not to play hockey this winter, I took my hockey gear to SPORTS EXCHANGE, owned and managed by my friend, Darryl.

As I unzipped the two hockey bags and itemized each piece of equipment cap-a-pie, helmet to hockey skates, I could not help but notice there were no skates!  Yikes!  (And then I remembered packing mine and Baron’s new skates into a separate duffel, one we typically used for pond hockey (pond hockey is colloquial for any outdoor rink) where we just use skates and sticks and gloves, without the accoutrements of pads and pants.   

Ah!  No problem then ...  I’ll just get the skates later when I unpack more storage items ...

Three days later after fossicking every box and bag in Baron’s storage, then my storage, then MY COBWEB MEMORY BANK … NO SKATES! I was chopfallen.

F#&K!! (This is not a MERRY CHRISTMAS typo!)

As I told this very unmerry tale of woe over and over again and finally at last to my twin sister, LISA WILLIAMS -- we share May 31st birthday celebrations, the very next day Lisa delivered to my door a pair of skates, silver and smalt CCM CRAZY LIGHTS, given to her to give to me by my new best friend, COLBY WILLIAMS, # 5 for the REGINA PATS of the WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE!

(Colby is Lisa’s son.)

“These are the very first pair of skates issued to Colby by the Pats,” Lisa said as she handed me the skates.  They were likely worn only three months at best.

Hmmm …

According to NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (NHL) SCOUT, BRAD HORNUNG, “A pair of CCM CRAZY LIGHTS laced up in Western Hockey league play is like driving a LAMBORGHINI in a demolition derby.”

And that is exactly what they looked like, a Lamborghini sputtering home after winning a demolition derby.

Don Cherry has often touted that the WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE (WHL) based in Western Canada and the Northwestern United States, is the toughest major junior ice hockey league in the world.  We think he’s right.  It has been stated that the WHL contributes more players to the NHL than any other league, including the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

LARRY HORNUNG, ex-NHL’er (WINNIPEG JETS) and NHL SCOUT (TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS), attributed the Cherry toughness to the scheduled long bus rides from game-place to game-place.

It just so happens that I, personally, have a long and fanfaronade history with the REGINA PATS, albeit vicariously pleasurable through the experience of friends and family.

My friend, LARRY HOPFNER, played with the PATS (1966), when he just 15 years old.  To put this into perspective, hockey phenom, BOBBY ORR, played with the OSHAWA GENERALS (1962-63) when he was 14 years of age.  In a line, LARRY HOPFNER was a good hockey player.
Larry and I played together on the VANGUARD EAGLES of the NHL (NOTEKEU HOCKEY LEAGUE), certainly ancillary to the REGINA PATS.

My friend, BRAD HORNUNG, played with the PATS (1984-87) at 15 years of age, and since those playing days has been an NHL SCOUT, first with the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, and now with NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING.  Because of his profession, Brad goes to many, many junior games; whereas, I go but once a week, usually Fridays, where I have perquisites to free entry and free entrees, Timmy’s coffee and donuts and pizza, all on Brad’s generosity!  (I do enjoy the status of being friends with an NHL SCOUT!)

My new best friend, COLBY WILLIAMS, has played for the PATS since 2010 (15 years of age).  COLBY is still active and arguably the best defender on the team (I could be bias – did I mention that he is also my new best friend).

I must also mention that every PATS game that I do attend, I always visit with Colby’s mom (my birthday twin), Lisa, and Colby’s dad, Marc.  These parental chats, in particular, definitely highlight my rink experience.

Colby’s poison (his worn blades) is Neil’s foison (good rhyme don’t you think).  My new blades will be the apex of my pond antics!

In the spirit of HANS BRINKER, or, the SILVER SKATES (Mary Mapes Dodge, 1865) and ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS (Hollywood movie, 1988), this blog entry is totally dedicated to my new best friend, COLBY WILLIAMS!


And, COLBY, I’m headed to the pond right after I submit this blog entry.
And, COLBY, we are always willing to entertain new players and new best friends!  Just sayin …







Sunday, December 14, 2014


Every week when I go to write my blog entry I don’t know what I’m writing about until I write about it.  Sounds crazy but it’s true.  And I cannot begin to write anything until I’ve created a snappy title.
Take, for example, the snappy title of this blog entry, STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS:  A CREEK OF COGITATION (A NOTEKEU OF NOTES).  

I think it is snappy because … I knew I was going to write about stream of consciousness thinking (this is a direct consequence of my opening my new private hypnotherapy practice obsession). Creek of cogitation is a synonymous sub-title (complete with the over-use of alliteration as a catchy literary device), and I could not resist the Notekeu of notes (more alliteration about my favorite county, Notekeu, which happens to be adjacent to Whiska Creek, which is another story from the same sailor scrubbing a different deck aboard a different ship). 

STEAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS refers to a narrative that depicts a multitude of thoughts which pass through the mind in a prescribed sense of time.  In other words, STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS is an interior monologue, a oneversation so to speak (pun intended).

This idea of thinking hopscotch, of having an unending thought parade, was first coined by Psychologist, William James (The Principles of Psychology, 1890), where he stated, “The stream of our thought is like a river.” 

Hmmm … 

Methinks his simile is not unlike a mixed metaphor, in the sense that a stream is not a river but … not really a mixed metaphor because a stream and a river are similar.  I just would not use stream and river together in the same devised literary comparison … fussy, fussy I know … but I know that a simile is a metaphor, and a metaphor is not necessarily a simile, and in this case, a mixed metaphor simile of sorts … but enough of this.

Here goes my stream of consciousness:


Hmmm …

I’ll begin with my son, Travers, who is off to Nepal tomorrow.  This sounds exciting but for him it’s just another adventure in another country.  Travers has lived abroad for nine years, has traveled to over fifty countries, and could be cataloged as an academic hiker/snowboarder.  When he travels in summer he hikes.  When he travels in winter he snowboards. 

Last summer our family hiked in the green hills of Ireland.  Before that we did some hiking at Chamonix, a favorite winter paradise where Travers has spent considerable ride time.


Hmmm …


Hmmm ...

I cannot help but think of my band mates, Darren and Mark.  After a series of texts today from morn until noon, we’ve finally figured that we’ll be jamming on Wednesday – We’ve an important gig commitment come January 7th at our favorite Regina bar, BUSHWAKKER BREW PUB.  We’ve performed there a few times before under the name, PHANTOM TIDE.  We are now officially listed as BLACK BROOK TIDES, named after one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, BLACK BROOK BEACH in Cape Breton, Canada -- Darren is from Cape Breton.  (Back to Travers:  Travers has been there and confirms the beauty of the beach to be true … I've been there too ... it's true.)

Hmmm …

I knew Uncle Jimmy all my love … (I’ve inadvertently typed love instead of life and I guess that says it all.)

Hmmm …

When I first set up to draw pencil portraits at the summer market my very first customer was Greg (and I did not charge him though he wanted to pay, pay, pay).  Since that first drawing day, I’ve sketched hundreds of people.  

I am a busker!  With my guitar and harp or my pencil and notepad I LOVE BUSKING!  My songs are never covers and ... MY PENCIL NEVER LIES!

And then I started drawing dogs!



Hmmm ... 

This began when my complicated friend, Robin, requested that I draw a picture of her dog, Luke.  Since Luke, I’ve penciled many a pet portraiture.

Hmmm …

Check out RATE MY PROFESSOR!  I am HOT!  I am FUNNY!  (As an academic I SUCK!)

Hmmm …


My best busking buddies from Slovakia are still busking in Ireland.  Last I heard (through email) they were busking and gigging in Sword.  I met Peter and Ivika when I was busking in Dublin.  In fact, I had borrowed Peter’s guitar when I was busking in the Temple Bar!  Google the Slovakian band, GREMMY and you'll appreciate their talent!

Hmmm …


Stu is a superannuated teacher turned my-favorite- photographer.  I remember Stu from many years ago when  I was a member of the University of Regina Diving Team.  Back then Stu was the guy.  Stu was the best diver in the province at that time, under the tutelage of Bev Lawson, an aquatic icon. Every time I busk at the market, Stu is clicking there.  Stu and I have had numerous chats during my downtown (busking) years.

Hmmm …


When Travers lived in Milan, one of our stops was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

Hmmm … 


Whenever I think of pizza I think of Travers and pepperoni pizza … with olives and jalapeno peppers … When he eats pizza ... Travers eats only pepperoni pizza ...

As humans we are in constant thought.  (How egocentric does this sound?  Just because I have constant racing thoughts, I have decided that all creatures that are human are so accursed!)

My delusional and narcissistic thinking is that this blog entry is just another essay for my bildungsroman soon-to-be bestseller collection, PSYCHOLOGY BUSKING a la wordswords.   

Dear reader ... my thoughts today have been a flounce ... 
a free flowing stream of consciousness ...  my Notekeu notes ... 
I’ll now stop ...

Saturday, December 6, 2014


To the north of Vanguard is Turkey Track Ranch, over which I once rode over 26 sections to get to the heart of a girl at a rodeo in Herbert, Saskatchewan, Canada.

To the south of Vanguard there is a bridge over Notekeu Creek, over which one bright and sunny summer day when I was 13 years old I was riding a horse and got shot in the back, by Philip with his 22 calibre rifle, as he in adolescent fashion was trying to startle the horse.

To the east of Vanguard there is a ford on Notekeu Creek, where we would ride our bikes, hunt bottles, and kill frogs.

To the west of Vanguard is Gouverneur Dam on Notekeu Creek, a fishing hole of local renown for catching perch, pickerel, and whitefish.

On July 3rd and 4th, 2000 in Vanguard the unexpected happened. One of the largest flash floods ever recorded in Canada, 13 inches of rain in just seven hours of perfect storm, drowned out the residents. 

Vanguard, situated in the drain of the Notekeu Creek Basin, has a history of mud.  In fact, for quite some time (until worn off by the rain and wind and sun) the road sign just outside the village in 1964 read Welcome to Mudville, in mud-smeared letters over-top the original Welcome to Vanguard.   

Back in the 60’s Mudville was synonymous with Vanguard.

When I go back to the 60’s in Mudville, admittedly my memories are hazed by romantic nostalgia.  And when I do go back there, I think of mainly two things, hockey and baseball. (Methinks the latest news of the hockey greats, Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau, has prompted this particular blog.  Le Gros Bill, at 83 years of age, has just passed, while Mr. Hockey, who is 86, is in hospital.)


Back in the 60’s the Mudville roads were pure dirt, and after every rain, vehicular driving was next to impossible.  After every rain the streets were gumbo greasy and the cars and pick-up trucks would be parked until streets dried.

Back in the 60’s, not unlike every other village within a ten mile radius, Mudville had a Chinese café.  Guy Seto set up his diner right after Charlie and Sam, the previous owners, both Chinese, retired. 

Black and red licorice sticks cost 2 cents apiece at Guy’s Café.  A small bag of Hostess plain or barbeque potato chips cost 5 cents and a large bag cost 10 cents. (Sour Cream and Onion chips were the latest crunch.)  A small pop (Coca-Cola and Fanta being the most popular, Kik Cola and Orange Crush being close seconds) cost 8 cents if you drank it inside, and ten cents if you took it outside.  A large pop was 12 cents.

In Guy’s Cafe a small packet of 20 Players or Sportsmen or Du Maurier or Black Cat or Export A cigarettes cost 38 cents; whereas, a large packet of 25 costs 45 cents.  Or you could purchase two cigarettes for a nickel over at Wally’s Pool Hall.

A brand new Chevrolet Biscayne, or any other four-door sedan, cost anywhere from 2400 to 3500 dollars.  By far the most impressive car of the day was a 1964 Chevrolet Impala, previous to which the 1957 Bel Air Chevrolet was the classiest drive.  

Back in the 60’s the government wage for a survey technician was $1.74 per hour, and a really expensive house would be in the $40,000 neighborhood.

Knowingly disenchanted I shall continue in egocentric style.

In our seemingly sleepy little village, we rode our bicycles on worn bisque wooden sidewalks, forever having to duck beneath the overhanging blue and white lilacs and yellow and white honeysuckles.

In our sleepy little village anybody wrinkled over 60 years of age was considered to be old, old, old.

In our sleepy little village our school teachers, who were noted to be strict, were also our parents’ teachers when they attended school.

In our sleepy little village the white and crispy highbrows were the teachers, the bank manager, and the owner of the hotel.

In our sleepy little village nobody locked the doors.  In our sleepy little village there was only one thief, and everybody knew him.

In our sleepy little village we had four Christian churches to suit Roman Catholics, Anglican, United, and Full Gospel Tabernacle evangelicals.  In our sleepy little village the church was where beautiful faces married beautiful faces and the wrinkled ones buried their dead.   

Comparing the churches in Mudville, it seemed the Catholics were a mass of the rather rich, the Anglicans not so rich and not so many in their membership, those in the United flocked together and were especially noted for their fowl suppers, and those Tabbies were the ones who didn’t smoke, didn’t imbibe, and didn’t even wear lipstick.

In our sleepy little village we were (mostly) all of Western European descent.

In our sleepy little village we did not appreciate people whose ancestry was not of Western Europe, and those who were not were more oft than not subjected to name calling such as Dee Pee, Polack, and Yuke.

In our sleepy little village English was the majority language, though we did seem to tolerate the Pea-Soupers residing in the Francophone communities west, south, and east, Lac Pelletier, Ponteix, and Gravelbourg, respectively.  We probably did so because these Frogs were in the same shared league for our baseball and hockey teams.

In our sleepy little village some of the young men served as soldiers and sailors and pilots in both world wars.  In our sleepy little village the sons of farmers were the fortunate sons who did not have to go to war.

In our sleepy little village the adolescent boys’ fashions were laminated jackets, madras shirts, tight jeans, white socks, pointed shoes.  

In our sleepy little village we in the NHL (Notekeu Hockey League) favored only the jerseys of the original six NHL (National Hockey League): Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, and Boston Bruins.

In our sleepy little village the most popular hockey sweater number was number 9, following in the delusional and romantic fashion of Maurice Richard (Montreal Canadiens), Andy Bathgate (New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs), John Bucyk (Boston Bruins), Bobby Hull (Chicago Black Hawks), and Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings).  Number 4 came in following in the delusional and romantic fashion of Les Gros Bill, Jean Beliveau, and Bobby Orr.

In our sleepy little village, we in Little League Baseball had our uniforms sewn from Robin Hood Flour bags.  
My last time in Mudville I was at a village reunion, drank a few beers, and watched a few of baseball games at SETO FIELD (named in honor of Guy Seto of Guy’s Café).

Growing up in Mudville, we had approximately 500 residents.  Mudville, at that time I thought, was the epitome of contemporary culture, a callithump of marching bons vivants.  And now, looking back at my boyhood I realize all was but a cat’s paw, a quiet ripple, of the same sort of stir as when we used to skip stones upon the waters of Notekeu Creek.    

Today there is no joy in Mudville – submitting to the trend of rural exodus, mighty Casey has struck out.

And what, dear reader, does this essay have to do with busking? 

Methinks everything.