Showing posts from 2008

Just you never mind, laddie!

For reasons that are (politely) none of yer damned business, I’ve been writing reams lately. I sit and the pages fill effortlessly.
I had a thought about ‘traditional’ kilt styles.
I’ve had guys very nearly start fist fights when they’ve seen me in casual kilts. Sometimes I talk to them and make them understand it’s a garment to me.
Sometimes I smile and they go away.
But I thought of something just now while sewing.

It’s not the style of the kilt, but the wearing of the kilt that maintains the tradition.

Having said that, I’m enjoying wearing my higher waisted box pleat kilt in the MacDonald tartan lately.

Why? One reason is that it’s very comfortable. Box pleats are great!

The other reason is (politely) none of yer damned business.


It’s almost 4am and I’m awake.
There are lots of things that could cause me to be sleepless. You see, I’m in a weekend of change. Almost everything in my life is changing within a few days, but which of those changes is causing me to lose sleep?
It could be the late meal I had. Chicken strips and KD.
It could be that 10pm coffee.
It could be the nicotine patch or the reason for the nicotine patch.
It could be the stiff muscles.
It could be the new kilt design bouncing around my head.
It could be the old kilts I haven’t made, yet.
It could be home schooling my son.
It could be the usual money woes.
It could be that I fell in love 30 years ago and never got over it.

It could be any or all of the above.
All I know is that it’s almost 4am and I’m awake.
So, why am I smiling?

Think you're tough?

There is a common thread in the winning of any Olympic event.
It isn’t always the best or talented in the sport that wins. Sometimes ... a lot of the time ... it is the toughest, the athlete that wants it most, the one willing to take more pain than the rest of the field, that wins.
Success in everyday life is much the same.
I just saw Simon Whitfield come from 15 metres behind to catch the three leaders in the triathlon, then pass them in a sprint for the finish.
He was caught and passed by the German for the gold but I am amazed at the toughness of Whitfield. (The German also gave him an accidental black eye in the swim.)
Simon sprinted to the gold in Australia and to the silver in China. In three Olympics he has been on the podium twice.
So who do I think of when I feel a little overwhelmed by life? What person do I use for inspiration when I’m feeling sorry for myself?
Simon Whitfield?

No, actually.

Simon is an incerdibly tough athlete and I feel very proud of him as a Canadian b…

Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes ...

I noticed something today. Changes are afoot.

All my chosen pursuits, (kiltmaking, writing, art), are lonely tasks.

Before you start feeling sorry for me, I enjoy all these things very much. It’s just that sometimes, I wish I was able to get out more, do some of the things I see friends doing.

I’m trying to build up Bear Kilts again, so it’s taking a lot of time and money is always tight. I am handcuffed to the sewing machine to pay rent and eat an occasional meal. (This is my second go-around at building this business. At least this time I know it will succeed.)
And, as a single parent who home schools his son, I’m further tied to the home.

I’m thinking about starting a daily walk, leading into a daily run. The Olympics always inspires me to get more exercise but this is something I’ve been considering for some time. I have a few routes worked out. Oddly, the far point of the routes seem to have coffee available. Serendipity?

Every now and then I re-invent myself to some degree. Often thes…

Golden Girl

For me, the Summer Olympics has always been about the combat sports. Decathlon, pentathlon, wrestling, fencing, etc.
The Olympics haven’t been good to Canada so far but as I write this, Carol Huynh just won a Gold in Wrestling.

Carol’s parents came to Hazelton, B.C. from a refugee camp on a church sponsorship. She was the first born Canadian child of her Vietnamese parents.
Hazelton really stepped up in their support of Carol, doing car washes, and many other fund raisers to get her the training she needed to win gold. Well done Hazelton!

I watched with blurry eyed pride as Carol cried in joy and sang Oh Canada on the podium.

That’s what Canada is all about, isn’t it? The first Canadian born child of immigrants wins a gold medal and bursts into tears in Canadian pride.

I tried to go to Carol’s web site but it crashed my web browser. Then I tried to go to the CBC page about Carol. Another crash. Ya think Canada is proud?

I think we may have broken more Canadian records and personal bests in t…

Natural is the Key

What is natural?

A kilt is natural. Any guy who has worn a kilt can tell you the same thing. You notice the freedom of movement right away. The lack of constriction allows you to move as you were meant to move.
When guys around my age discover kilts, they invariably say, “If I’d only known this when I was younger! All those wasted years in pants!”
We’re not born to be constricted. Our bodies are built for kilts.

Consider the computer keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard is the standard for the English keyboards. Why is that?
When typewriters were first being used in by secretaries, (before the QWERTY keyboard), they typed so fast that the typewriter keys always jammed. So what stroke of brilliance did the manufacturers come up with? They invented the QWERTY keyboard. It was the most awkward and slowest keyboard they could come up with to slow down the typists. They couldn’t find a way to make the typewriters work fast enough to keep up with the typists, so they purposely slowed down their secreta…

A Multicultural Kilts Night

Kilts Night started on a good note this month.
I’m about sixty feet from the bus stop when the bus, (of course), pulled up to the stop.
I don’t run for busses. I just don’t. Too many time the driver will pull away just as you get to the doors.
So, I keep heading for the stop at my usual pace when a few people run past me, trying to make it. The bus pulls out from the stop and the people moan and stop running.
Then, surprisingly, the bus pulls up to the curb where I’m walking.
The people who were running for the bus get on ahead of me, thanking the driver for stopping.
“Don’t thank me,” he said. “I stopped for the guy in the kilt. Thank him!”
I look at the driver, a large Sikh man with a turban and wild, impressive beard.
“You just wanted a better look at the kilt?”
“Yes sir. I couldn’t help myself!”
We laughed and I went to find a seat.

Kilts have occasional perks.

There was some new folk at Kilts Night, who were very welcome. Some were relatives of regulars and they seemed to have a good time. O…

The Chieftains play

Saturday night I saw the Chieftains at the Surrey Fusion Festival. I would have gone just to say I'd seen them but, having seen some TV shows about The Chieftains, I knew I'd have a good time.
When I arrived after an hour's bus ride, The Halifax Wharf Rats were playing. They play at every Kilts Night but on the outdoor stage, they seemed to be even better than normal.
I grabbed some chicken and rice from the Phillipino tent, (it is a multicultural festival), which was very tasty.
I found it odd that at a concert for the most famous Celtic band in the world, (Paddy Maloney started The Chieftains 47 years ago), I was the only person I saw, outside of performers, wearing a kilt. (And received all the kilt flirts for the evening! Not two, or a few, or several, but ALL the flirts!)

The Chieftains show was amazing! It had all the appeal of Riverdance with the feel of a ceileigh. Aside from the Chieftains, (musical mastery, humour, and it looked like they were actually enjoying thems…

Enjoying what I (don't) see

Ever since I was a kid, I liked to take things apart and figure out how they worked. Still do.
While I don't take people apart, it's still fun to try and figure them out and people watching is a must for any writer.
Sometimes though, it's enough just to watch, enjoy, and not wonder.

I'm walking home from the grocery store, wearing a restored wool MacDonald kilt.
(I know ... but if I don't say what I was wearing, I'll get emails wanting to know!)
It's dark and I'm about to cross at a sidestreet when I hear a car slowing to turn in front of me. There's two guys in the front seats and two people in the back.
I stop and wave the car ahead of me and I hear a woman's voice from the dark inside of the back seat. I can't tell you anything more about her than she was a woman. No looks, age, or anything else was revealed to me.
"Woohoo! Sexy kilt!" she yelled.
Then from the front, one of the guys said, "Shut up, slut," in a manner of fact …

A single thought

As a writer, I often hear things that I question, things that most people would shrug off as inconsequential. I thought of one of those things while walking with Raphael to his place from the Highland Games.
I was once told that I shouldn't wear my denim jacket with my kilt because it reflected badly on other kilt wearers, whom I was representing.
At the time, I probably said something like, "I'm not representing anyone but myself!"
I was telling Raphael this story as we walked and I thought of the answer I wish I'd had back then.
"I'm not trying to tarnish the reputation of kilt wearers. I'm trying to raise the reputation of denim jacket wearers!"
There have been swings in the kilted communities. At first kilts were a 'movement'. Wearing a kilt made you part of the movement for men's fashion freedom.
My response was, "When I have a movement, I don't want a bunch of guys around. Just some paper."
The trend lately has been to w…

BC Highland Games

Just a quick notice:
Saturday, June 28th

•Whiskey tasting
•Beer garden
•Vendor booths
•The Games
•Highland dancing
•Lots more!
Fun time!

Here's a little tune ...

Here's a little tune that I heard from a friend. Her father taught it to her when she was a wee lass. (I'm told he always had a bit of funny up his sleeve.)
It made me laugh, so I thought I'd pass it on to you.

Tickle me, tickle me, you know where
Under me kilt and through me hair
And if you don't tickle me in the right place
I'll lift up me kilt and piss on your face

The top 10 alternate Bear Kilts slogans

I came up with the Bear Kilts slogan 'Go Bear!' months after naming the company after the cave art logo. I laughed when I thought of it.
Some of the following brought tears of laughter to my eyes. Most of them were just written for this blog entry.
Some of them have been tee shirts. Others will be.

Here are the top 10 alternate Bear Kilts slogans.

10 - Go Nuts!
9 - We aim to pleats!
8 - I'm cooler than you!
7 - Can you feel it?
6 - Swinging into action!
5 - They're blue from the cold!
4 - Because the wind doesn't complain when it blows!
3 - Guaranteed: no shrinkage
2 - Easy access!

And the number one alternate Bear Kilts slogan:
1 - Because guys are sluts, too!

Pleats yourself

Kilts Night. March 2008
I'm there with all the regulars and some Poker friends from Facebook. We're all into our cups nearing midnight and I'm talking to a non-kilted Turkish friend (FB Poker) and his wife and friends, when I notice a draught and feel my pleats fall back down to my legs.
I look behind me and everyone is looking occupied, either talking or listening to someone else.
I go with the model thin beauty who seems to be watching me peripherally and point at her. I know she was that thin because her jeans were skin tight. (This will come into play later.)
"It was you," I said.
She smiled and said, "I couldn't help myself!"
I grinned and went back to my conversation.
She must have lifted my kilt 7 or 8 times, flirtingly, when I wasn't looking. Always the pleats in the back and always a smile.
Then, later in the evening, or morning by now, I saw the person I was talking to look over my shoulder. I waited for his eyes to drop a little lower, knowin…

A Forest Memory

I wrote a poem.
I started to write what it felt like to wear a kilt, then the words laid themselves down and became something more, probably something better than I had planned.
Writing is like that for me. I try to stay out of the way and let my fingers do the work.
I like this poem. I think I captured part of the feeling of naturalness, of the free feeling of wearing a kilt. But it's not exactly what I started out to write.
I think I'll continue with kilt poetry and see what happens.

A Forest Memory
In the filtered green light of the deep forest,
my steps guided by game trails,
caressing leaves as I stroll alone,
I am encompassed in the fullness of life.
It moves over me, through me,
my head swims hazily with it,
and I revel giddy in the misty joy,
holding it loosely with open arms,
for it will pass into memory,
as pain can be remembered,
but not felt anew.
Terry Varga
April 23rd, 2008

Human Nature and Kilts

We, as humans, have a natural need to discover the new, to propogate at an insane rate, create tools that are ever more complex, and to communicate our artistic ideas to as many people as possible. We are curious and we have an insatiable need to explore new places.
All of those attributes combined will eventually take us to other worlds. Humans are the natural explorers of planet Earth.
We live in an incredible time in human history!
New metals are being made. Titanium hammers are found in carpenter's tool belts.
Sports drinks are designed to replenish lost nutrients and keep athletes playing longer.
Pills are made to prevent sexual dysfunction. (The term 'hard to swallow' takes on a whole new meaning!)
New martial arts are still being invented. Aikido was possibly the greatest invention of the 20th century.
New fabrics are being woven. Goretex is breathable and waterproof for rain gear. (Imagine! It keeps water out but lets air through!)
Socks stay up without garters. (Elastic! …

What kind of guy wears a kilt?

Why do we write? Why do we draw, paint, and sculpt? Why do we do art? For the same 2 reasons we drink.
To get laid.
To communicate.
Alcohol is a vocal laxative. We can say things we dare not say when sober.
Art is as powerful as sex. We can say anything to our art and through art, we speak to everyone.
Thinking on it, those reasons are pretty much why we do anything, including wearing kilts.
How we dress is part of how we face the world. Similarily, we tell the world a lot about us with the clothes we wear. We can dress in hoodies and pants around our knees, jeans and a cowboy hat, or a three piece suit from Saville Row. Each will tell you about the man behind the clothes.
What does a kilt say about the man who wears it?
Is there anything aside from the points we always hear about, like confidence, alpha male, etc?
I have found that in many cases, men who wear kilts are creative. They have careers or hobbies that involve some form of art.
They are also intelligent, for the most part. They reali…

My Ass

Lately, when I feel like going to the grocery store, or 711, or just out for a walk, I'll likely wear a pair of hiking boots with grey, wool work socks, or runners with low cut socks. Comfort and function are my goals for everyday wear.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday it snowed 2 inches in an hour. Big, white flakes the size of silver dollars. Random, bastard winds gusting all over the place. This is when I decide I want to cook some burgers and it's time to go get groceries.
I put on my 'Loud' Macleod, heavy wool kilt, my Aran sweater, and a rain jacket. I wore hiking boots for traction, (falling on your ass in snow whilst kilted is more awake than I like to be!) and high wool kilt socks.
Half way there and I realise it was snowing on my ass. I don't mean that as slang; the wind was lifting my pleats and it was snowing on my ass! I've worn a kilt long enough to be ambivalent about randomly flashing in the wind. (Besides, in this weather, there wasn't a whole lot …

Old Meat

In other words, a few day's worth of beefing.
(Thought I was going a whole different route, didn't you?)

It seems some people think I should have defended 'men's rights' and mentioned that if the genders were reversed in yesterday's blog, the young 'boys' would have been dealt with severely.
Men and boys have been saying things like that as long as women and girls have been saying things like that, and that's been for as long as there have been people on this planet. The only controversial thing about these comments is the puritanical nature of North American culture.
Men are men and women are women. I'm happy with this arrangement.
Let's move on.

I've been told that while wearing a kilt, I am representing all kilt wearers and should act like a gentleman at all times.
First, I try not to 'act' like anything but the person I am. I have my own personal honour and values.
Second, I don't represent pantsies when wearing pants; wh…

20/20 Kiltsight

I wear reading glasses. 1.00x for reading or computer work and 2.75x for kilt work. My eyes were always 20/20 until I noticed my self holding a book at arm's length when I was in my early forties. I've worn reading glasses longer than I've worn kilts!
There are a lot of guys discovering kilts at my age or older and I've wondered if kilt wearing is an age related decision.
Many of us older guys start with casual kilts of one kind or another and move into traditional kilts. Is this because we have a greater sense of approaching death and are trying to make sense of life by reaching into our heritage? Or does it have to do more with losing a sense of rebellion and trying to fit into society without giving up kilts?
I have a traditional, military box pleated, wool MacDonald kilt that I've worn once on a 20 minute walk to the grocery store. It isn't uncomfortable but it isn't as comfortable as my MacBitseach classic cut wool kilt. And poly viscose is more comfortab…
I was playing a bit of Facebook poker earlier and an odd thing happened.
A quite pleasant woman seated at the table, (Katherine), told me, I'm taking a trip to your homeland, Scotland."
Her pic was a statue with a bird sitting on the head. For some reason the pic was horizontal.
"I'm not Scottish," I replied. (Online chatting seems to be an exercise in brevity.)
"So, you're a poser!"
I didn't know where to begin to briefly explain that I wasn't a poser, just because I wear a kilt. Frankly, I didn't want to take the time to explain how kilts were evolving from a strictly Scottish garment. How wearing a kilt as a non-Scot didn't make me someone who was pretending to be Scottish, or someone who wanted to be Scottish.
So I simply said, "No. I'm a kiltmaker," which is an easy out for me but what would I have said if I wasn't a kiltmaker?
As she busted out from the table I asked her to add me as a Facebook friend because I want…

I'm back

It's been a long 2.5 years. My life in that time has been a fight to keep what I hold dear. I barely managed to keep Bear Kilts from going bankrupt after my divorce, but I did. My son lives with me. And I have good friends that care about me.
You'd think what I've been through would make me cautious, less willing to take risks and to grab a 9-5 job and hold on to it for dear life.
People have been telling me to grow up all my life. I always have the same reply.
I try to think the way I did when I was a boy; fascinated by everything because everything was new to my young eyes.
Some of my favourite things are still prisms and magnets. Intellectually, I understand how they work but holding a prism and actually watching light break ... yes, watching light split into the visible parts that together are invisible ... amazing!
Or pushing two magnets together with opposite polarities, felling them repel like some kind of invisible force field ... what a wonder! Invis…


Bob Dylan had it right. The times, they are a changin'!
I'll be fifty this November. I haven't lived what anyone would call a sheltered life. I mean, I've been around the block, over it, under it, and climbed all the trees. But now and then something shocks me. Not that I swooned, or blushed, or even let on that I was shocked, but I let out a good laugh when I was out of earshot!
I'm on my way back from the grocery store, carrying three plastic shopping bags, wearing a wool kilt, hiking boots, socks pushed down, Aran sweater, and the usual accessories. I'm not dressed up, but I'm looking all right for a guy my age with a week's worth of grey beard.
I passed two cute young girls, maybe thirteen or fourteen. Not just too young for me but too young for anyone.
As they pass me, one of them says, "Nice kilt!"
"Thanks," I said over my shoulder, and kept walking. That happens a lot in Vancouver and it doesn't even slow me down anymore.
Then o…

Did you miss me?

What do you mean, "was I gone?"
I have spent the last 2.5 years picking up the pieces of my life and sticking them back together with spit and elbow grease.
Anyway, I'm back and full of piss and vinegar, with big plans, (New kilt design coming out), and some help, which I'll tell you about later.
First, Bear Kilts is starting a Referral Incentive program. Send me a kilt sale and earn credits towards your next kilt. See details here:

A guy walks up to an anteater and says, "Hey buddy. Why the long face?"
That's a favourite joke of mine. It's short, easy to remember after a few Bushmills, and usually gets a small laugh. I get a little bit humourous when I drink and I'm usually in a good mood, so this surprised me:

A guy walks up to me last Kilts Night, (he had to make his way through at least half a dozen kilted guys), puffs up to his full height, and asks rudely, "Are you trying to mock Scotland?"
I was talkin…