Tuesday, 30 December 2014


It's a cliche but I really have been reflecting on what happened this year and what didn't happen. , I had high hopes of getting things done but, Somewhere along the line, I let things slide.

for example, I've wanted to fix the driveway for many years. One quarter of it looks like a jigsaw puzzle. I also have a large crack in my foundation that has been there for more than a decade. My door step also needs to be fixed or replace due to ice eroding it.

Since the New Horizons seniors club were planning to have renovation work done to their cement walkway surrounding one corner of the meeting hall, I thought it would be a good idea to hire the same contractor. That way, the men would be able to do two jobs in one day. Time passed but whenever I enquired about the work, the club president said that legal issues with the property hadn't been resolved. So I waited and waited.

By September, the work on the parking lot sidewalk and foundations of the club's hall hadn't been scheduled. The land deal still hadn't been cleared up either. Not until late October did the real estate deal come through. By then it was too cold to pour cement.

That taught me a lesson regarding relying on others and their schedules. Next March, I'll line up contractors and choose the best one to fix my concrete problems.

I haven't finished all of my yard work either. My hope was to clear away tree branches from my clothes line and those which  whacked me in the face whenever I mowed the lawn. I managed to get some things done but there are still a number of branches which need cutting.

I also wanted to dig up the miserable excuse for a flower garden in the front yard. At first, the weather was too cold and wet. Then it was too hot and dry. When autumn came, I frittered the days away instead of picking up my shovel. I also was busy with tidying up the garage in September and I still haven't finished that job.

This computer seems like a black hole for my time. I mean only to do a little work and before I know it, I've wasted an hour or two on Twitter or Facebook. I plan on only checking my e-mail but I find that I've been messing around with Google Alert messages for hours.

One thing is for sure; I must start writing new stories. I've been so busy promoting How I Was Razed that I haven't had the time to create anything. My resolution for 2015 is to let my creativity lead the way and to enter the resulting short stories in contests.

By the way, my first two books are available from the Bruce Atchison's books page. How I Was Razed, my newest paperback, is for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


I'm sure we've all heard somebody rave about a free program they downloaded. They beg us to try it and when we do, our machines become infected with a virus. A year ago, I had such an experience that has made me reluctant to install software without first analyzing it with a trusted antivirus program.

I received an e-mail message one day from a friend in Jamaica who extolled the benefits of WinPatrol. He said it was finding all sorts of nasty code on his PC and I ought to try it too. So I googled the program and downloaded the .EXE file. Then I installed it. After all, I believed that my friend was a trustworthy man and computer-savvy as well.

WinPatrol certainly seemed to dig up a lot of viruses. I received announcements every few minutes about this or that threat needing to be removed. No matter how many times I hit ENTER, WinPatrol reported more and more infections.

Strange things began to happen with my PC after a day of this tedious process of deleting malicious files. My computer became increasingly  difficult to use without something going wrong. A google search showed me that the WinPatrol program I installed was a virus. Its purpose was to generate hundreds of fake virus warnings. I suspect it also erased good files in the process. After much fiddling, I gave up and re-installed Windows as well as the programs I normally used.

Now I run the paid version of AVG AntiVirus to check out any new freeware programs I've downloaded. Additionally, that program found some spyware and adware in a few of the legitimate programs I installed. This is why it's so important not to skimp on protective software. Their updates are comprehensive and their cleaning operations thorough.

I've also noticed that some programs ask for donations. SpyBot is one of those. I plan on donating to keep it going since its interface is mostly screen-reader friendly. It also does a good job of finding nasty stuff without just giving me a list and begging me to buy the paid version.

Believe it or not, there are spiritual viruses as well. I wrote about how I was taken in by a sick house church in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. This memoir also shows how God wondrously led me out of that toxic church and set me on a much happier path. Please check out this marvelous story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


One of the most maddening sights on a person's PC or smart device is the buffering image. Round and round it goes and when it stops, no one knows. We end up doing a lot of waiting in life too. Sometimes it's worth it and sometimes it isn't.

As a child, I hated shopping with Mom. She'd be looking at all sorts of adult stuff as my siblings and I fidgeted. All we wanted was to get out of the store and go home but Mom was too preoccupied with dishes and vases to care.

Dad made me wait a lot as well. Being an alcoholic, he left me in the Volkswagen behind the hotel while he sat in the bar with his friends. Time hung heavily since I had nothing to play with. It seemed like hours to me as Dad enjoyed himself while I felt so bored. I also knew what would happen if I left the car. I did that once when it was after curfew and the police drove me and my siblings home. My parents had to go to court as a result.

Then I had to wait three agonizing months before I could leave the school for the blind for the Christmas holidays. There was no mainstreaming of students back then so I had to go to that horrid institution. Worse yet, I was making progress in the first grade of public school before some bureaucrat coerced my parents into exiling me five-hundred miles from home.

When I was mainstreamed into the public school for grade eight, I had to board at various homes in Edmonton, about twenty miles from where my parents lived. I could go home on weekends but it still meant I had to wait to go home.

Once I became an adult, I found that I had to wait for all sorts of things. Waiting for a bus when the temperature was minus thirty was no fun at all, especially when that route was on hourly service only. Waiting to get my first pay cheque was equally painful as I was practically out of money. Then there were those dental and doctor appointments which I had to endure. I'd come on time or early, yet I'd have to wait.

I remember how long it used to take for radios and TVs with vacuum tubes to warm up. When transistor radios became popular, the big boast was that they would turn on instantly. Manufacturers also used to brag about their "instant on" TVs but they really just kept the tube filaments lit.

Now we have computers that take a few minutes to get their acts together. Though I've removed many programs from the start menu with the MSCONFIG tool, my PC still takes time to set everything up for my use.

I'm also doing my best to wait for a special event. All my life, people told me about how Christ would return. Some said he'd whisk us off to heaven while the world went to hell. When that kept not happening, I became frustrated with the delay. Now I know that the Bible teaches that Christ will appear again in the same way he left our world. He wants as many people as will repent to surrender to him. I now content myself with that knowledge. I no longer watch for signs and events as I once did.

I wrote about my struggle with what errant elders taught me in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Check out my story of God's wondrous providence at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Look Mom, I'm on YouTube!

When I was a child, I thought it would be cool to be on TV.  In fact, I often fantasized about having my own television channel.  Though some people felt angry when I bought a black and white video camera more than two decades ago, being that I'm legally blind, I made good use of it to create videos for my electronic music compositions.  I also bought a PXL-2000 Fisher-Price camcorder and enjoyed using it.

Thanks to YouTube, anybody can have their videos viewed around the world.  I regret that I didn't sign up for it years ago.  Friends kept sending me YouTube links but I didn't know how I could also participate.

When Writers Guild of Alberta members, such as Simon Rose, used YouTube to promote their books, I gave serious thought to making my own promotional book ads.  It took me more than a year to actually sign up for the service.  I had a notion that it would be difficult to do.  The relief that it wasn't hard at all felt like coming to school for a test and finding out the teacher canceled it.  I had already signed up with Google so joining YouTube was easy.

I have many videos on YouTube at the moment but that number might grow as I search my drives and disks for more of them to upload.  Though longer ones take a lot of time to put on the site, I can always use my old DOS computer and write while the file is being uploaded.  You can see my music videos as well as "footage" of my bunnies, at the VE6XTC page.While you're at it, why not check out my Bruce Atchison's books page? Additionally, my latest book, called How I Was Razed, is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Thanks to Charles M. Schultz and his Peanuts comic strip, I always remember today as Beethoven's birthday. Of course I don't care for classical music but the fact of this day being the birth date of a famous composer is stuck in my mind.

What turned me off of classical music was the insistence of the music teacher that we listen to it and like it. My classmates at the blind school all loved rock music but Mrs. McMaster was horrified. "How can you listen to that horrible racket?" she'd exclaim when we begged her for it. She promised us that we'd grow to love the music of Bach, Beethoven, and the rest if we just listened to it. That was no comfort at all to us.

Worse yet, the school forced us rock-loving boys and girls to attend operas. As the men on stage bellowed and the women shrieked on stage, we cringed in our seats, wishing it would end soon. We had to spend hours stuck in a boring concert hall listening to music which we despised.

As an adult, I've had people try to convince me to enjoy classical music and opera. Not to be rude, I went along a few times with them to concerts. Try as I might, I just couldn't get into that music. Opera was even worse. It still sounded like a lot of shrieking to me.

I wonder if I might have liked classical music if it hadn't been forced down my throat. It's been my experience that I've never grown to like any music that people insisted I listen to. I've found that I choose the music which moves my soul rather than whatever is popular. That's why I enjoy electronic music and a few jazz-rock bands but I don't care for jazz or classical music.

I had many acrimonious arguments with the elders of my church over my love of rock. To them, I was listening to the music of the Devil and I might even get a demon possessing me because of the beat. I wrote in detail about my struggles with such people in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Far from falling into Satanism or the drug culture, I was led by God's awesome providence to a much greater understanding of Christianity. You can read more about this glorious memoir at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books

Thursday, 11 December 2014


This time of year isn't the best for traveling in North America. Snow and freezing rain make highways treacherous. Inattentive or reckless drivers make the difficult journeys even more hazardous.

For people who just want to experience new regions of the country, there is an easier way to travel. An ordinary AM radio can tune in stations from thousands of miles away during the long, dark nights of winter. By merely tuning the dial between local stations, you can find all sorts of interesting programming.

Local news is particularly interesting. From what you hear, you can compare your local government with that of other municipalities. If there's a disaster in a certain part of the country, and that location has a powerful radio station, you can get details from their news cast which are missing from local stations. It also is helpful for those of us who came from other parts of the country to hear about what is going on in our former home town or city.

Sports fans have plenty of programs to enjoy. A casual cruising of the dial will bring up many sports commentary shows, as I found out recently. In fact, I was amazed at the number of different shows devoted to sports.

Talk shows are not as popular on the AM broadcast band as they were a few years ago. Even so, I've picked up many conservative programs and one liberal one while tuning the dial before bed.  These shows often feature popular topics but they also have some unique interviews or discussions of topics you might not have thought or known about.

At sunset and sunrise, an even more interesting phenomenon takes place. Stations along the line between daylight and night are easier to pick up at those times than they would be normally. This grey line propagation, as radio aficionados call it, often allows normally weak stations to be heard at great distances.

In my more than four decades of Am dial listening, I've been able to receive stations from remarkable distances. For example, I've heard WWL in New Orleans from here in Alberta. It's difficult to pick up these days due to a local station right next to the frequency it's on. KGO in San Fransisco is another distant station I hear quite often. There was one rare night in December of 1976 when I picked up WNYW in New York. A cold snap had hit the state and announcers were advising citizens on how to dress for the cold. Being from Alberta, that was old news to me but interesting to hear none the less.

Radio has been my lifeline to the outside world, especially when I attended a residential school for deaf and blind children. It was also responsible for teaching me about the Bible and the true character of the heavenly Father. Check out How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books to learn more.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Remember what life was like before the Internet was opened up to the public? I certainly do. Though it has its bad aspects, such as child pornography and scams, society has benefited from easy access to information.

I certainly have benefited from my nineteen years of Internet use. When I took a business writing course in 1995, I was able to use the public library's bulletin board service for my research. I had taken distance-learning courses before but using my computer to glean information made the process so much easier for me.

The addition of e-mail in November of that year helped even more. Being on disability, the savings on stamps helped me buy food and other necessities. In fact, I became angry at magazine editors who refused to allow work to be sent in on magnetic media or via e-mail. Things are much different now. It's rare when editors expect writers to send in paper copies of their work to a magazine.

Newsgroups were a big help to me in my writing as well as for personal interests. Though trolls often made a nuisance of themselves, I still enjoyed the ease of posting to my friends regarding my favorite subjects. Additionally, I received some good leads from writers to magazines which I could query regarding my article ideas.

Accessing magazine web sites also helped me greatly. Instead of pouring over paper magazines to find out which sort of stories they liked to publish, I could download their guidelines at home. Though I used to spend afternoons at the public library, I saved some time by checking out publications on the web.

For my writing and personal endeavors, the Internet has been a boon. Through it, I've been able to research article ideas, query magazines, and even upload my books to the publishers. I would hate to go back to the days of having to visit a library to do research and sending out paper correspondence. Thanks to this wonderful technology, I can sit at home and have more time to work.

All three of my paperbacks were uploaded digitally to the publisher's web sites. The first two memoirs are available from the Bruce Atchison's book page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is for sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.

Friday, 5 December 2014


While listening to a recent edition of the radio program Grace to You, John MacArthur mentioned that we need to practice mind over mood. By this, he meant that we mustn't let our emotions rule our lives but use our brains instead. Otherwise we'll end up blundering from one wrong decision to another.

This makes a lot of sense to me.  Much of the world's violence would be quelled if people would only think rather than react. The riots in Ferguson, Missouri are a case in point. The jury which acquitted officer Wilson of murder for shooting Michael Brown because they studied all the evidence available and concluded the police officer shot in self defense. Stories of Brown being shot in the back as he raised his hands in surrender were proven false by the autopsy. The coroner found that Brown had been shot with has arms down as he charged the cop.

Instead of people waiting for the verdict, they went on rioting and looting sprees. Instead of peacefully protesting and making their case to the public in a rational way, they rampaged through the city. While it's tragic that Brown's life was taken, the officer had no choice but to use lethal force.

I've also read stories of how activists from other states came to Ferguson to protest and stir up the people. Having heard statements from these protesters, I can well believe that somebody is organizing them.

There's also the matter of the National Guard not being called out on Monday night, November 24th, when the verdict was announced. According to a WND story, troops were deployed in other parts of the state but were absent when the rioting and looting began.

I don't doubt that there are a few rogue cops. What I dispute is the number of real police brutality cases. Officers have to deal with plenty of insults and threatening behaviour. Those citizens privileged to ride along with officers certainly understand the situation. But many feelings-oriented people react to the alleged incidents of abuse by police as if it was a proven fact. This leads to violence and all sorts of retaliation.

I've had many situations in my life where I could have flown off the handle at perceived slights and apparent discrimination against me. Having thought things over, I've saved myself trouble for not having made a fool of myself. If only more people would stop and think instead of exploding in rage.

I wrote of many unfair situations in my life. My Deliverance from Jericho memoir shows that some of those incidents were my own fault whereas others were proven to be true acts of unfairness. Check out my Bruce Atchison's book page for details.

Likewise, I found the same to be true of How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. While elders of a house church abused my trusting nature, I also caused some of my own trouble. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books distribute my story of God's marvelous, providential leading.

Monday, 1 December 2014


In October, the local library liquidated their collection of cassette books and gave them all to me. As I sifted through the stack, I found a book called Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays by Stephen Hawking. Being interested in science, I listened to the whole book. As I played one tape, I heard how Hawking had suffered what he called "refutation by denigration" as a result of his theory that black holes emitted particles and eventually vanished. Instead of basing their criticism on flaws they discovered in the theory, Hawkings' detractors used insults to discredit his work.

This happens far too often in the political world, particularly from socialists. Conservative leaders, for example  have been labeled as racists for wishing to get rid of affirmative action programs. Many of President Obama's opponents have also been accused of racism simply for finding fault with his policies.

Canada isn't immune to refutation by denigration  either. The Wildrose Alliance Party formed in 2008 to oppose the wasteful spending and high living of the Progressive Conservatives. The party was immediately  tarred with the epithet "upstart" and was often labeled as "right wing extremist" by many political commentators. Instead of examining Wildrose's fiscal and social policies at their face value, the media editors prejudged the intent of the policies and impugned the reputations of the Wildrose leadership.

Sadly, this happens to evangelical Christians as well. A small group of vocal atheists have written hateful books which make irrational claims about God and his followers.

Likewise, any professor doubting global warming, now called climate change, have been censured and discredited.

Additionally, those believers who oppose abortion are automatically tarred with the epithet "deniers of women's rights" simply for proposing that life begins at conception. No matter what scientific studies have found regarding fetal pain and the development of the baby in the womb, these vocal opponents continue to call Christians derogatory names. Detractors seem unwilling and unable to examine anti-abortion arguments dispassionately.

People who oppose homosexual and lesbian behaviour as being abnormal also come under fire by a small band of activists. Though Scripture makes it clear that the activities of these people is perversion, adherents of Christianity are charged by Jesus Christ to love sinners. Opponents often point to the Old Testament injunctions of the death penalty for breakers of God's commands without realizing those were for the time when Israel was a theocracy. The Lord gave the commandments because of the weakness of the Israelites toward copying the wicked deeds of other nations. Now that Christ has shown God's compassionate wish to save all who would believe in him, his followers are compelled to love sinners but oppose their sinful and self-destructive ways.

While it might be a human trait to call people names and attach negative attributes to others, it still is inexcusable. For many years, elders in a house church accused me of lacking faith to be healed of poor eyesight, harboring sin, lusting for sight, and having ancestral sins that blocked my healing. I found out later that my detractors were wrong. What a relief that was, and still is, to me. You can read the glorious journey God led me on in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's Books.