Riding Bicycles

I’ve ridden bicycles since I was young. I can’t remember exactly when I learnt to ride, but it was on Canadian Forces Base Shearwater.

The nice thing about growing up as a child on military bases is that the living quarters were governed by the Government Property Traffic Regulations. These regulations capped the speed limit in the living quarters to 20km/h. Automobiles also had to yield the right of way to any pedestrian on the streets. So riding bicycles on base was a very safe thing to do.

We also had yearly bicycle rodeos put on by the military police. Every kid that rode a bicycle on base was expected to take part.

And almost every kid on base rode their bicycles to school. Hampton Grey on Shearwater had a large rack. Guthrie School on CFB Namao had a large rack. And Major General Griesbach School had a large rack. CFB Downsview was the only base that I lived on that didn’t have schools on the base for the military children. We had to go to school in the local public schools. This meant crossing some very major streets like Keele St., Sheppard Ave., Wilson Ave.. No parent and no school board in their right mind would allow a child to ride to school in those conditions.

The first time I ever rode a bicycle in the civilian world was when my father was stationed at Canadian Forces Base Summerside in PEI. We didn’t live on the base, we lived in the city in housing that was on long term lease to the Department of National Defence. Military rules applied to the housing, but not to the streets. So things were a lot more dangerous but the City of Summerside was very small. There were still a lot of quiet streets and farm roads to ride on. There was also the cemetery that I could ride around in.

I was hospitalized in my first ever bicycle accident. But that wasn’t due to cars. Someone stuck a stick in my front wheel as I rode by.

When we moved to Canadian Forces Base Namao, it was safe to ride on the streets again as we lived on the base. Even when we moved to Canadian Forces Base Griesbach, we lived on base so it was safe to ride around on base. CFB Griesbach was located within the city of Edmonton, and Edmonton is very much a city in love with the automobile. Being a pedestrian or a bicycle rider in that city is very much having a death wish. It was very seldom that I rode a bicycle in the city of Edmonton.

When we moved to CFB Downsview in Metro Toronto, bicycles were my freedom. I could bicycle downtown whenever I wanted. Yes, Toronto had a good bus service, but bugging Richard for bus fare to go anywhere was like trying to wring blood from a stone. In all of the years that I was eligible for a student bus pass, Richard never got me one. And it was just better not to ask for money as you’d get a lecture of oh just how much money you were costing him and why didn’t I call my mother for money.

I would say that most of my bicycles came from scrap. Posting season on base, which typically lasted from late June to early September meant that old bicycles were often left curb side for trash, or were dumped at the large dumpster usually by the arena or the Canex. On Downsview the dumpster was over by the base auto club. Most of the bikes were in decent condition and required very little in the way of parts or repairs to fix.

I can’t really offer any explanation as to why bicycles were thrown away so frequently on military bases other than parents would promise to buy a new bicycle for their children at the new base as a means of getting the children to be more tolerant of the posting. A bribe if you will.

And no, none of these bicycles were really of any valve. Mainly Supercycle 10 speeds or Sears brand name bikes with only a coaster brake on the rear.

Riding in Toronto traffic really wasn’t bad back in the ’80s. Either that, or I was just plain lucky. There was no such thing as putting you bicycle on the bus, or even taking your bicycle on the subway. Riding to downtown from the living quarters on base which were close to Keele St. and Wilson Ave was about a one hour ride each way.

Every now and again when I had cash, it was a treat to go to Centre Island and ride around from one end of the island to the other.

One of the first lessons that I had to learn when riding downtown was how to cross over the street car tracks. Whatever you do, you don’t want to try to cross the tracks going parallel with them. You need to cross the tracks at a slight angle so that your wheels don’t get sucked into the groove on the rail. Pissed off a couple of street car drivers before I learnt my lesson.

Also, riding a bicycle on a skating rink is doable. I rode my various bikes on the ice at Nathan Philips Square a few times.

After CFB Namao, I was a very lonely child. I didn’t have any friends to speak of. But I had bicycles. And a bicycle could take me away from home and away from Richard and his dysfunctional household.

I briefly stopped riding when I was 16. That’s the year I moved out of the house and on my own. Working full time to pay rent and buy groceries left little time to ride. Bruce and Ed both helped me get my driver’s licence. Ed took me to a notary public so that I could swear that I was living on my own and thus get my learner’s permit without needing Richard’s permission. Bruce and Ed both took turns at teaching me how to drive.

I never liked driving. I never really liked cars. Cars to me always equated with anger and drunk driving. Richard was a menace behind the wheel. Angry. Pissed off. Short temper. Would dump the clutch just to own the slow poke blocking his lane. Brake checking was a hobby of his. And this was when he wasn’t drunk. There was one immature thing that he’d always do if a slow driver “blocked” him. He’d pull around in front of the driver, slow down slightly, and drive slowly to the next intersection with the intention of making the driver behind him get a red light. As soon as the light would turn amber, Richard would then gun it through the intersection.

All told Richard totalled one car in a DUI collision, caused significant damage to another one of his cars in another DUI collision, and drove yet another car into a ditch when he was drunk. The first collision sent me to the base infirmary for stitches. The second collision caused me to get a fat lip the I told the other driver that Richard had just come from the base mess. I was in the car once in Toronto when he rear ended a Jaguar luxury car at a red light. He blamed the collision on me as I had asked him for a ride to work and he was missing an episode of Dr. Who and was in a hurry to drop me off and get back home. In June of 1990, when he took Bill Parker and I to the bar at the Sheraton Inn, he rear ended a civilian police car on Keele street as we were driving towards home on the base.

All told, I’ve only owned cars for 6 years of my 33 year driving life. I had a Plymouth Horizon from the summer of 1990 until the fall of 1992. I had one Volkswagen Rabbit for a few months in 1995. I then bought a better condition Rabbit in late 1995 and owned this until I moved back downtown Vancouver in the summer of 1999.

I’ve owned motorcycles for more years of my life than I’ve owned cars, but not by much, maybe 8 years total.

And all through the years starting when I first moved to Vancouver in February of 1992, I’ve owned bicycles. There’s just something about a bicycle that makes me feel safe. And happy. And content. Maybe because it’s the only vehicle that I don’t associate with Richard.

I can go where I want, when I want. Bicycles are very simple to repair and maintain. They need no gasoline, no oil, no expensive spare parts. It’s not that I’m poor. It’s just that I’d rather eat and travel than blow my money on keeping the oil barons and auto barons swimming in pools of money.

Bicycles don’t get stuck in traffic.

I’m a bicycle rider. I’m not a cyclist. I don’t partake in vehicular cycling.

I try very hard to stay away from the word “cyclist”. The corporate media and the automobile industry have used the word “cyclist” in a very negative sense to portray all bicycle riders of every gender, age, and ability as being “cycling elites” racing around on $10k carbon fibre bicycles. The corporate media and the automobile industry love to rile up car drivers in order to thwart bicycle lanes and bicycle infrastructure in general that would benefit bicycle riders of every age, gender, and ability as there is no way for the corporate media and the automobile industry to profit from something that doesn’t benefit them.

Vehicular cycling is a phrase that I detest with all my being. Vehicular cycling calls for a bicycle rider to pretend that they’re a car and to drive like a car would. Absolute rubbish. In many states in America they have different rules of the road for bicycles. Some states allow bicycles to treat red lights as stop signs if there is no cross traffic. Other states allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yield signs. Some states even have very strict passing laws for bicycles requiring car drivers to either cross the dotted line to pass or at the least pass with 2 to 3 metres of clearance. It’s going to take a lot of effort to change provincial laws here in Canada, but they need to be changed if there’s any hope of increasing the number of bicycle riders in our heavily populated urban centres.

My ride at the moment is an electric upright step through bicycle.

Electric because at my age my knees and hips are starting to show their age. And with electric I can go for longer distances. I can also dress up nicely for special occasions and show up not drenched in sweat.

Upright because much like my knees and hips, my neck is shot. C4-C5-C6 have advanced osteoarthritis, so no more road bikes with drop handlebars for me.

Step through because this works best with my dresses. Riding a standard “Men’s bike” while wearing a dress is awkward. Riding a “woman’s bike” wearing a dress is not much better. A step through allows my dresses or skirts to hang properly.

Shopping isn’t a problem on the bike. It has both front and rear baskets. And with what I don’t pay on insurance, gas, parking, etc. I can pay to have “heavy things” delivered.

And even though it’s electric, I do most of the pedalling. I usually tootle around in power assist 2 or 3. Power assist 5 is something I usually on use on the steep hills. The more you use the power assist, the quicker you kill the battery.

I do have a motorcycle at the moment. It’s a 650cc Suzuki Burgman. It’s a step through motorcycle. Yes, it looks like a scooter, however the engine displacement and the weight of the motorcycle means that ICBC classifies it as a motorcycle. And let’s be honest, scooters don’t do zero to sixty kilometres per hour in under 5 seconds. This motorcycle has no problem keeping up with traffic on the BC highways with the 120 km/h posted speed limits.

As much fun as it is, I still only ride it on occasion. Parking is a hassle. Motorcycles are an easy target for theft. Car drivers just keep getting worse and worse as the years go by. Collisions keep increasing each and every year. It’s just not safe being on a motorcycle on the public street. All it takes is for someone to pull a left hand turn, or a right hand turn into your path and it’s game over. Or some very serious life altering injuries to say the least. Because at 50 to 60 km/h, you might not be at fault, and you might be 100% in the right, but physics and Newton’s laws don’t give a rats ass.

On a bicycle, everything takes time. You can’t race around agitated on a bicycle like a car encourages you to do.

Everything is far more peaceful and serene on a bicycle.

You can smell everything.

You can easily observe everything.

If you see something of interest, you can just pull right on over and check it out.

Cars don’t encourage that, and neither do motorcycles.

So, I’ll more than likely be riding bicycles until the day I die.

Mentally Ill

Yep, I said it.

I’m mentally ill.

Have been for a long time apparently.

The sad thing about my mental illness is that people like my father and Captain Terry Totzke were well aware of the struggles I was having, however it appears that it was more politically expedient to deny me of the treatments and medications that I rightfully deserved in the name of keeping secrets.

How bad were things back then in the early ’80s in Edmonton?

Well, I was supposed to have been placed in a psychiatric facility for children.

I was found to be extremely anxious.

I was found to be well beyond despair.

I was terrified of men, including my own father whom I thought was going to kill me.

I did not like being touched at all by anyone.

I was afraid of my grandmother who had been living with us and raising my brother and I during my father’s absences with the Canadian Forces.

My teacher noted that I did not fit in with the other kids at all. I preferred to be left alone to read books. My teacher did remark that the other kids would often use me as a scape goat.

I remember not having a lot of friends. The kids I hung out with were usually kids from other dysfunctional families living on base.


And isolated.

Flailing around in the depths of my despair, my depression, my anxiety.

By myself.

Issues caused by my depression or anxiety would often be straightened out with a backhand or the belt.

I remember as a kid in the aftermath of CFB Namao and up until I was around 15 or 16 I always felt like I wasn’t inside of my brain. I always felt like I was behind myself, watching myself do things, and that I was powerless to do anything. Almost like I was watching a TV show.

Nothing felt real.

I frequently wet the bed right up until I moved out of the house when I was 16. It was only after moving out of the house that I never wet the bed again.

I had no hobbies as a kid, I had no interests.

For 42 years I suffered through severe depression and extreme anxiety.

I knew I was having problems and I knew I was floundering all these years. But you have to work hard and hide it, and pretend it doesn’t exist.

But the depression and anxiety are always there. Ready to flare up when you least expect it. Always trying to sabotage your life because deep down inside you know that your life is worthless and meaningless.

I’ve kinda skimmed along the surface of normalcy from the spring of 1980 until April of 2021.

It took the extreme stress of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak at my work place to push me over the edge.

I’ve managed to keep employment due to my technical abilities.

Did my depression and anxiety come from the events of CFB Namao?

Not entirely. But I do think genetics played a major part. It would be a very safe bet to say that the paternal side of my family has depression encoded into its genes.

My anxiety is so bad that most of my teeth have been destroyed by grinding. I’ve already had one tooth extracted because I cracked it from grinding and I have a feeling that a few more teeth will need extraction in the short while.

Grinding my teeth was nothing new, I remember my father waking me up when we lived on CFB Downsview due to my grinding.

When COVID struck, the facility that I work at became a hotbed of activity. At first it was easy keeping up with the demands, but as weeks turned into months, the overtime went from being a treat to being a major cause of stress. The facility was designed in the late ’60s / early ’70s and construction was started in the late ’70s. The building HVAC systems meet the ’70s CSA standards. It does not meet 2021 standards. Being caught between parties that wanted todays standards flogged from 1960s technology was also very stress inducing.

So yeah, this was not fun.

Not fun at all.

But it did push me hard enough that I started to suffer constant panic attacks and anxiety attacks. My depression was hitting so hard that I was feeling physically ill and nauseated most of the time. I’d go to work and I couldn’t concentrate and I couldn’t think. My brain felt like it was on fire.

I ended up having to go on sick leave.

And this is how I ended up on Escitalopram.

Escitalopram is a SSRI. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor.

Let’s be very clear, Escitalopram is not going to cure my depression, nor is it going to cure my anxiety. Those two issues have been with me for so long that they’ve more than likely fucked with my brain’s wiring.

The Escitalopram will not stop the war that goes on inside my head.

The Escitalopram will not evict Captain Terry Totzke, Captain Father Angus McRae, P.S., Richard Gill, Earl Stevens, or the many others who reside inside my skull.

The Escitalopram had a very noticeable effect on my depression and my anxiety. It has really turned down my anxiety. The depression is still there. However the Escitalopram has numbed my emotions. I find that for the first time in my life I can actually concentrate on matters and I can hold two thought simultaneously.

The thing about Escitalopram is the more severe the depression and anxiety, the more noticeable the effect it has on the person taking the medication.

And the fact that Escitalopram had such a drastic effect on me shows just how bad the depression and anxiety were.

I’m at 10mg right now. That might have to go up to 20mg due to the stresses of work.

Negative side effects?

Only two that I’ve noticed.

Getting to sleep takes a bit of work.

And I know, TMI, but I can’t orgasm at the time being.

Both of these are well known side effects of SSRIs

Sleep is becoming easier.

Couple of interesting things that I’ve noticed about being on SSRIs.

My dreams are fucking vivid and wild in a good way. My dreams before SSRIs were sporadic and were often nightmares. Now my dreams are different. More colourful. Playful you could say.

And waking up in the morning is far easier now. I’m often up before the alarms go off.

I don’t need naps during the day.

I’ll probably be on these medications for the rest of my life.

As I said, these drugs will not fix my brain. The damage has been done, and the damage is very extensive. I hope that my body doesn’t build up a tolerance to these SSRIs. Apparently the crash back into depression and anxiety can be pretty horrific.

And even though I am emotionally numbed at the moment, I can tolerate this better than drowning in the pits of despair.

But I also don’t want to spend the next 20 to 30 years of my live living with muted emotions while the war rages on in my head.

There is possibility of a solution, but I won’t find out what the rules are until March 2023.

That’s probably enough for now.

It’s time for bed.


I wear dresses, got a problem with that?

So, I’ll spend a little time talking about my preference for dresses.

I started “playing around” with dresses at a very young age.

When I lived on Canadian Forces Base Shearwater as a child, I do remember on more than one occasion going out to play with my friends, whom were always more than likely girls than they were boys, and I would come home wearing one of their dresses.

I don’t ever remember my father catching me in a dress, as he was almost always off on exercises. My mother on the other hand was never really upset, but she made it known to me that boys don’t wear girls clothes.

As a child, I could never understand why boys weren’t allowed to wear dresses. As far as I was concerned, they were far more comfortable and functional than pants, or even shorts. And besides, girls were allowed to wear pants, so why shouldn’t boys be allowed to wear dresses.

My family left CFB Shearwater around the the spring of 1977. I didn’t get to wear a dress again until somewhere around the summer of 1981 when I was just shy of my 10th birthday.

There was a girl named Megan who went to Major General Griesbach School on CFB Griesbach. On more than one occasion we swapped clothes and went to the local malls off base.

This was during the time when the fallout from CFB Namao was fresh and I was getting counselling from the military social worker to help deal with my apparent “homosexual tendencies”. The counselling only served to make my dress escapades that much more delicious and dangerous.

Even though my father was at home more often, he never once caught me wearing dresses. He came very close once though. Megan and I had swapped clothing and went over to Lake Beaumaris mall which was just north west of the base. We were walking around on the second level of the mall when I saw my father, my stepmother, and my younger brother heading towards us. Megan and I ducked downstairs to the washroom to change back.

There was a time around the summer of 1982 when Sue, my stepmother, had threatened me that if I didn’t stop crying that she was going to take me to Sears and buy me a dress. I really wanted that dress. Imagine, my own dress. But I also realized that she wasn’t buying me a dress as a gift. She was threatening to dehumanize me and humiliate me by making me wear a dress.

It was then that I realized that there was something really fucked up with who was allowed to wear what clothing.

I was given an IQ test as a child when I was around 9 years of age and I scored 136 +/- 6, which wasn’t too shabby. Maybe, just maybe, this IQ allowed me to see that there was absolutely no logical reason that I shouldn’t have been allowed to wear dresses.

Wearing dresses didn’t make me want to become a girl. It was just comfortable clothing that I loved better than pants. I’ve always despised pants. I don’t like the way they touch me, or bunch up behind my knees, or crush my crotch, or squeeze around my hips. Dresses just hang nicely from my shoulders. They don’t really touch me. They don’t bunch up behind my knees. They cover my body without causing any discomfort.

I never wore dresses again until I was into my 20s.

As much as I loved dresses, and still wanted to wear them, I mostly had precarious employment through my early 20s. I sure as hell didn’t have a family that I could fall back on if I found myself between jobs due to my preference for clothing. I couldn’t risk my employers discovering that I liked to wear skirts and dresses. And let’s be honest, the ’90s were nowhere near as liberal and open as the ’00s.

Still wearing dresses was kinda like a “dirty secret” that I kept behind closed doors.

It wasn’t until in the late ’90s when I gained more secure employment that I would start wearing “woman’s clothing” in public. It would start off as skirts on the odd occasion. Then I worked up to dresses.

By the time I started working for my current employer in 2005 I was wearing dresses or skirts, even kilts, almost exclusively.

I wear pants at work (yech), but the work I do would chew up a dress. I do wear dresses to and from work, so it’s not like anyone at work doesn’t know that I wear dresses and skirts.

I’ve never felt at risk or in danger in the Metro Vancouver area.

What type of dresses do I like?

Nothing fancy, just plain Jane work dresses. A-line and fit-and-flare dresses are my favourite dresses to wear.

Nothing too “femme”. Being a guy who wears dresses has introduced me to women who absolutely hate dresses, and women who wear dresses, but absolutely detest “femme” dresses with buttons and bows and frills.

One thing that I have discovered is that a sizeable portion of women will never wear a dress as an adult as they despise them because they were forced to wear them as children.

I don’t have the lumps, and bumps, and curves that dresses are usually designed to accentuate, so I’m more happy with a loose fit. And as I said, I strive for more of a fit that doesn’t touch me on constrict me.

The first post

This is my new blog. I will run this blog separately from my other blog at:
I feel that the CFB Namao blog has gone as far as it can, that matter is now in the hands of the courts.

Not to sound too dramatic, but this blog will deal with my life all the way up to my death.

This blog will be about my tattoos, my bicycling, my photography, my musings on depression, anxiety, and mental illness, my work, and just about anything else that tickles my fancy from time to time.

I might talk about politics from time to time. I’ll more than likely veer into the topic of Medical Assistance in Dying. And just about every topic in between.

I’ll try to keep this blog interesting without boring you to tears with minutiae.

I’ll try to post at least once a week. Keeping the other blog up to date got tiring because there are only so many posts you can make about the military’s fuck ups. It gets painfully tiring and boring writing about the same crap day after day, week after week.

I’ll try to keep these posts under 10 minutes of reading time. I find that in this day and age posts have to be kept short and sweet as there are far too many things vying for everyone’s eyes these days.

That said, I’ll try to have my first official post up shortly.