The MacBitseach

I am The MacBitseach of Clan MacBitseach. (MacBitseach is Irish Gaelic for son of a bitch.)
This blog is about wearing, making, and some of the social aspects of kilts. I started wearing and making kilts in 2003.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, email me at macbitseach@gmail.com

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Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Friday, August 29, 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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

4am

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?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Think you're tough?

There is a common thread in the winning of any Olympic event.
Toughness.
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 but there is someone else I think of to give myself a kick in the ass when I think I’ve got it bad.

There’s a hill that runs up a long way along Marine Drive in Vancouver that causes a lot of bicyclists to get off and walk. It is a long and hard climb.
I was getting a ride home in a truck from my construction job. I was miserable after a day of digging, covered in mud, 48 years old, feeling very tired and sorry for myself.

We passed a couple of young guys walking their bikes up the hill, puffing. Then we passed a good looking girl in her mid twenties powering up the hill. She had two prosthetic legs and one prosthetic arm. The road grime streaked her sweaty face and she was smiling.
Then we passed her and she was gone.

That’s who I think of to kick myself in the ass; an anonymous woman who has been through some heavy shit and came out swinging.
I only ever saw her that one time. I never talked to her and she doesn’t know the impact she had on me but in a strange way, she had more to do with shaping my current view of life than almost anyone else in my past.

I just added myself as a fan of Simon Whitfield on Facebook ... but I love that woman.

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 these changes are life changes. The last big change was becoming a kiltmaker and that was more accident than plan.

Maybe it’s time for some small steps, leading to a larger change in lifestyle. I bought some nicotine patches and I’ve been antsy for some exercise since quitting construction.

Don’t worry, it’s not like I’m giving up Guinness or coffee! These are positive habits.

And exercise will increase my energy level, allowing me to make more kilts.

I guess I’m aiming for balance. Socially/physically/mentally/spiritually ... and frakkin financially!

Now, where did I leave the handcuff keys?

Um ...

Little help here?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

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 this Olympics than any other Olympics but have won very few medals. Armstrong lost the bronze in the shot put by 1 centimetre! Yes! 1 centimetre!

As I write this, Tanya Verbeek just won a Bronze medal in wrestling! Nice!

Our first medal was also today. A silver in double sculls. Well done lads!

Canada is not an Olympic powerhouse and may never be, but the few medals we win are treasures.

What does all this have to do with kilts?

SFA!

Kilts are garments, not Olympic medals!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

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 secretaries’ abilities to work fast!
Now that we have computer keyboards without keys to jam, we still use the QWERTY keyboard, instead of something like the Dvorak keyboard, which maximizes typing speed by placing keys in order of most used letters.
QWERTY keyboards are unnatural. Even worse, they are intentionally unnatural! Dvorak keyboards are naturally faster because they are designed for the language, not the inadequacies of an obsolete machine. They are designed for minimal movement and maximum speed.

Natural things augment the human form. They can be so natural as to seem part of us, unnoticed until we choose to notice them.
Unnatural things restrict natural movement. They are constantly felt and noticed because they are uncomfortable and their design does not compliment the human form.

Pants are the QWERTY keyboards of male garments. Few people know why we are stuck wearing them but even fewer know how much more free and natural are the Dvorak keyboard of male garments; kilts.

Lately, I’ve been taking a long look at the natural aspects of women and brassieres.
At least that’s the story I’m going with if I get caught staring ... um ... again.

Friday, August 08, 2008

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. Others have been trying to get to Kilts Night for a while but have never made it. It was very nice to finally see them there, (even without the flirting and the ass patting.)
The Halifax Wharfrats were in fine form and had some of the gang dancing and the rest of us stomping our feet. Things got a little drunk out as the night wore on and we stayed later than usual.
Doolin’s is an Irish pub but the people that find their way there are always an eclectic bunch.
We had some Swiss on one side, a couple of Irish guys and a Turk, (my buddy Erman), at our table, a Scot who stopped to talk kilts, and a few Aussies at a nearby table.
Of course, there are always lots of Chinese guys and gals at our table who are members of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team.
I got home around 3AM ... I think.

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