Earnest Musings

An Essay on the Origins of the Kashmir Conflict

The modern day interpretation of the Kashmir conflict is predominantly an ideological one—Muslims versus Hindus—however, it didn't begin as such. Through power and international politics, it has become this way. Another significant aspect to consider in the development and resolution on the Kashmir issue, is the Valley-centric nature of the leadership and government that largely neglects the significant Pandit, Dogra (Hindu) and Buddhist populations. Through all this, the conflict is largely seen as India versus Pakistan, with little consideration for the interests of the people living in Kashmir, or those who have fled the violence as refugees.
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Whistler's Ragin' Cajuns- The MDK Posse

I wrote this piece 2 years ago and pitched it to some ski magazines. All the editors knew Matty, Dom and Slicer, but no-one could find a place to publish it. Maybe becasue these types of characters exist in every ski town and it would open the door for every ski bum story, but none I am sure, are quite like these three.

Since then, they no longer live under the same roof, Slicer has had knee surgery, Dom a reconstructed wrist from mountain biking and Matty doesn't compete anymore. One thing is still the same though, they ski as much as they can together.


There is no shortage of uber-talented shredders in Whistler, but few possess the infamy of the MDK Posse. It stems not just from their skiing, but also the uniquely distinct orb that they form as a trio. They are a soap opera, a ski-de-force, and a brotherhood of grommets with spaghetti sauce running down their chins. They are Matty Richard, Dominic Melanson and Kris Cormier.

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The Harsh Reality of Reality

I am sharing a car doing 130km/hr in a 90 zone with a mumbling, bumbling Arcadian from New Brunswick at the wheel, an ex-convict and a 21-year-old First Nations kid who looks up to the aforementioned dubious characters. The two crazies in the front have smoked half a pack of cigarettes each since Victoria 50kms ago and we are bound for a demolition site to strip asbestos tile floors. This is a long way from the days when I was getting paid to travel and ski. Tagging along with this raucous is what it seems I must do though if I am to earn a cent this week.
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One Month of Hope Down the Toilet

After not coming down with some sort of chronic gastro condition in the first week traveling in India, I conceived this pipe dream that maybe I could get away with not being sick. Given my recent bowel history in South America I know that was fool hardy. Hell, I still had to walk the ecoli/gardia/Delhi Belly gauntlet for a whole 3 weeks more, but the dream had taken seed and every day there after I grew in confidence. But I didn't dare articulate the thought out loud. That would have been the end of me.

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Elephant in the Room- Dealing with Trash in Japan

click to enlargeThere has been an elephant in our apartment for the last week or so here in Kutchan. Our elephant was closer to an actual elephant however. Ours was big, smelt and we had no idea what to do with it. It was our trash.

In Japan, waste is categorized into organic, combustible and non-combustible, and then an array of recycling sub categories. It is a seriously mind boggling exercise to sort trash here. Pleading forigner ignorance wasn't going to be an option for us becasue we had a trash flowchart in English. While it generally made sense, there was still a lot that didn't.

Determined to do our part and attempt to assimilate and respect the Japanese way of doing things, Stevie and I rolled up or sleves and went through all our trash that had been put into the "deal with later" bin more commonly know as the back deck.

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Mid-Winter Blues

Mid-winter blues kicked in a little while ago. What are midwinter-blues? Its that feeling when you have skied more powder than your legs can handle, it isn't snowing 10cms everyday, and people you know are dieing in the mountains. Thats the blues. But one bluebird day in the gloomy, overcast heart of winter can be like overdosing on Prozac.

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