20 April 2021

Another Grand Conjunction

 I have just been hit by two "blasts from the past" that conjuncted a few days ago.

When I was in my late 20's, I took a very interesting job as a siesmic navigator on a boat for Petroleum Geoservices, better known as PGS.  I floated on exploration boats for two years and came back to on-shore work when the twins were going to be born.  That was late 1999.

Not too many years later, Lisa and I decided to look at going to graduate school in Shetland, an island group above Scotland. We worked hard to get the arrangements together, but the UK finally said they wouldn't approve a student visa for us, so that plan went down the drain.

Here, I see that a PGS ship, the Ramform Vangard, which was under constuction when I was working for the company, has had to have an extended stay in port at Lerwick (the capital of Shetland). I never thought much of the "Ramform" boats as they reminded me of luxury liners compared to the boats I worked on - they even had a European chef for meals where we settled for a failed Ukranian deckhand as a cook.



14 April 2021

Grounding Ourselves during the Maelstrom

When it comes to elections, my candidates rarely win. It would probably be useful to those who seek office to consult with me, just to be sure that I don't plan to vote for them, thus avoiding a nearly-sure loss.

I am not an extremist, at least I don't consider myself one.  The current political climate is rife with extremism, from succession to the "green new deal", from racism to the "cancel" culture. Society is demanding that everyone pick a side in a ideological war where fringe groups battle in a "winner-take-all" fashion and victory will never be claimed until all opposition is destroyed. In the minds of some, a winner's political enemies must literally be killed if they cannot be turned.  I am not of that ilk at all - I want all of us to survive these times and your compelled conversion to one side or the other has never been my aim.

It has been windy at "the Crash Site", which is where I sleep during the work-week.  It is a sandy desert place and I have been impressed by how much sand is picked up by the high winds and blown about.  The landscape changes quite a bit and only the things that I have tied down to various pounded posts are in the same place after a good windstorm.  A strong wind a few months back picked up my dome greenhouse (my former sleeping quarters) and deposited it, twisted and torn, across a neighbor's fence.  Only a number of deeply-set fenceposts now keep it in place in this week's winds. It brings to mind the oft-quoted bible story of the people building houses on sand and on rocks.

In a talk by Chi Hong (Sam) Wong from the April 2021 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the concept of having a good spritual foundation is referenced yet again for us.  Christ himself has reinterated the idea in our own day here:

Doctrine and Covenants 6:24 

Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

I take heart in the assurance that if I am about good things, I will survive just fine. In the current climate of redefinition and hatred, it can be hard to know whether something is good or not, but Christ and his prophets have left us a fine scriptural record of good deeds to follow.  If we let our lives be ruled by the example of Jesus Christ, "ye are built upon my rock", and we have the promise that we will not be overcome by the various evil ideologies swirling about us like a storm.  As we "do good" in Christ's way, we will one day receive the peaceful and glorious future that Jesus offers to those who follow him.

One doesn't have to join an extremist group or vote the "right" way to get by in this world.  You may not get your dream job at your dream company and you may not become a "talking head" on some important news show, but a follower of Jesus Christ will survive and may even (quietly) thrive in our present society.  We have the Lord's promise.