Friday, 28 December 2012


Most big brothers tend to dislike their younger male siblings. In my case, I had more than the usual reasons to dread Roy's presence at Christmas.

Being hyper-active, as they once called restless children, Roy posed many problems for Diane and I. The first was that he was three years younger than I and two years Diane's junior. This meant that we became impatient when he couldn't understand our games. Roy was also mentally slow. He seemed little better than a monkey to us as we avoided him. No matter how Mom scolded and coaxed, we wanted nothing to do with our little brother.

Roy also had a violent temper. One winter night, he broke the aluminum gas line to the hot water tank. Mom ordered us to sit still on the living room couch while Dad went down to turn off the gas.

Every Christmas, something inevitably upset Roy. He'd break his toys and tear up cardboard boxes as we hid upstairs. Even when he was a teenager, he often flew into a rage. I'd find the truck or other gift, which I spent my own money on, torn in pieces later on. Many a Christmas was ruined by his rages.

Roy also ruined our toys too. As I wrote in Deliverance from Jericho, he scratched up a dart board that I received for Christmas in 1964. When I protested to Mom, she said I should let him do it because he was retarded. I loved that dart board, especially the side with the planets and asteroids painted on it. Mom's lack of disciplinary action added fuel to my hatred of Roy.

Even as an adult, I dreaded being home when Roy was there. I deliberately volunteered to work on Christmas and New Year's Day when I was a security guard. Not only did it give me a legitimate reason to be away from home but I got time and a half plus double time for working an extra four hours. I also felt glad to be away from home when I went on a missions trip to Saltillo, Mexico in 1977.

I wrote extensively about my adventure that Christmas in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It's available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


"You can't be alone for Christmas," a female coworker exclaimed once when I told her of my plans for the holidays. In her mind, it was akin to the unpardonable sin. Yet I felt no remorse for being "alone' for Christmas. In fact, I enjoyed myself each twenty-fifth of December since 1992.

I'm not truly alone because the Holy Spirit dwells in me. Being part of the Trinity, he connects me to God and Jesus Christ. During the day that we designate as the Lord's birthday, I ponder the wonder of God becoming a baby born to a poor couple.

I also feel out of place when I go to family gatherings. People become so emotional and nostalgic about memories that I don't share with them. At the gatherings I did make the mistake of attending, I felt like an intruder rather than a guest.

I particularly don't like noisy situations where children run around and everybody talks at once. I'd rather be with a few or just one close friend than in an over-crowded house.

My rabbits are also great company. They make no other demands upon me than to feed and pet them. They're quiet creatures who enjoy an orderly situation. Joy isn't a frantic display of happiness but a steady feeling of well being. Seeing Deborah or Mark resting and enjoying the moment gives me so much more pleasure than loud parties.

I need no other gifts than to be left alone. Though I appreciate the thought, my tastes are far different than those of others. Quite often, I receive presents that I have no use for. Some even disgust me, such as the Santa toilet seat cover Mom gave me once.

One of my favourite activities on Christmas Day is to watch old videos and listen to music that I haven't heard in ages. I've been blessed with so much stuff that it could entertain me for a year before coming to the end of it.

Other people also feel as I do about this day. My next door neighbour, a friend in Jamaica, and another in Texas all agree with me that the whole Christmas spirit thing is humbug. What used to be a holy day has become a greed fest. Stores encourage kids to beg for the latest and greatest electronic gadgets and some become angry when they don't get them. That's not the attitude people ought to inculcate into their children.

So have your merry Christmas if you want. My rabbits and I will relax and enjoy the quietude of our home.

Friday, 21 December 2012


One of the greatest pleasures missed by non-rabbit people is watching a bunny explore a new room. The way they sniff every object and hop around is highly entertaining. Fifteen years ago, Gideon amused me afresh with his curiosity and joy at discovering a new room.

One lesson I learned from house rabbit people was that bunnies should first be given a small space to live in. As they learn to use litter boxes, their territory should be gradually expanded. This teaches them to think of their litter boxes as home base.

With Gideon, I first let him out in the kitchen. He learned to use the litter box and to claim it as his special place. At first, I used 2 litters. Gideon soon used only one so I took the other away.

Since Gideon could be trusted in the kitchen, I let him explore the hallway. He loved it. One of his favourite activities was to run back and forth along its length at top speed. Gideon also flopped in the kitchen doorway as if he was guarding his new territory.

The bathroom was the next space that Gideon conquered. His interest was short-lived as the room didn't have a carpet.

My long-eared companion loved my bedroom much more. Not only did it have a carpet but he loved exploring my bed. Like the seekers of the Northwest Passage, he also longed to find a way under my bed. I had to block it off with boards so he wouldn't destroy my box spring.

I used the second room in the main floor of the house I rented as a studio. Gideon wanted in so desperately that I finally relented. The video at the Bruce Atchison's YouTube channel shows how my bunny buddy went about claiming the room as his.

Gideon's many adventures are chronicled in When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living with Bunnies). Learn more about this heart-warming memoir by clicking the link at the left hand side of this page. Meanwhile, check out the Virtual Bookworm and read about my newly publish book.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


What a shame it is that expectations for a happy holiday season are so high. For those who lost their jobs, working up the "Christmas spirit" is an agonizing chore. Commercials just create more expectations in the minds of children. They have a hard time understanding why the gifts this year are so puny compared to last Christmas.

Though I'm single, I felt the pressure to buy the perfect Christmas gifts in 1980. I had just lost my security guard job and my employment insurance was tied up in red tape. Even so, I felt I ought to buy presents for the children at the house church I attended.

The task was harder than I expected. Even at the Army and Navy store, I couldn't find many toys that were fun yet cheap enough.

I boarded a couple of busses with my shopping bag filled with gifts late in the afternoon of Christmas Day and arrived at the house church for supper. While we waited for it to cook, I gave out my gifts. Sister Roberta's grandchildren thanked me politely but weren't too impressed with what I gave them.

I felt let down as we ate supper. I had sacrificed what little money I had to buy those presents. The wrapping paper alone seemed expensive, though it was the cheapest I could afford. The lack of bows and ribbon also detracted from the appearance of my gifts. Though inviting me to supper was kind, I still felt awkward when I presented my gifts.

I wrote extensively about that house church in my newly-published memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check them out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Friday, 14 December 2012


I feel sad for today's children. With all the electronic gadgets they have, they miss the simplicity of the radio that needs no power source. A friend introduced me to these amazing receivers back in the autumn of 1969.

On certain weekends, the parents of a school friend would invite me over to their home for the weekend. I treasured the temporary escape from that uncaring institution called Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind and into a regular family dwelling.

One evening, David showed me something called a crystal radio. It needed no battery, something that amazed me. I thought every radio needed some sort of power. Crystal radios use only the signal they receive as their power.

We tried listening to both of his radios on one antenna that night. It didn't work out as we hoped as both radios took too much energy. Consequently, the sound in the earphones was very weak. We decided to take turns connecting each radio to the antenna for a while.

When I attended a house church, Sister Roberta gave me her son's electronic projects kit. One circuit included in it was for a crystal set. My joy was boundless when I assembled it and heard my favourite station loud and clear in the earphone. I often lay in bed at night and listened until sleep overtook me.

Having enrolled in electronics class, I decided to build a crystal set from scratch. Instead of a galena crystal, I bought a signal detector diode from Radio Shack. I scrounged the wire from an old transformer to make the tuning coil and a strip of aluminum from a TV dinner tray as the tuner. Borrowing the earphone from the electronic projects kit, I discovered that my simple home-made radio worked. It could tune in only the upper half of the AM band but it worked.

Through the years, I purchased several Science Fair kits from Radio Shack. Each one contained a crystal radio project. After constructing every project in each kit, I decided to build another receiver from scratch. I bought an old pair of earphones at a garage sale and made the rest of the radio from scraps and a signal detector diode. It too worked but, like the first radio, only tuned in the upper half of the AM band.

Though I live a fair distance from the nearest large city, I still feel the urge to connect my crystal set to an antenna. There's something magical, for lack of a better word, in hearing signals picked up by a home-made radio. The sound is surprisingly crisp when compared to ordinary radios too.

I've written extensively about my fascination for radio in my memoirs. Check both of them out at the left side of this page. My newest paperback, How I Was Razed, can also be purchased through Barnes & Noble as well as Amazon. Virtual Bookworm stocks the paperback version.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


What's worse than being falsely accused? Not knowing the accusation is false hurts even more. One landlady, who I had the misfortune to rent from,accused me of plugging up the kitchen sink drain with food. At the time, I foolishly believed her.

When I returned from my parent's home one Sunday evening, the last thing I expected was a huge puddle covering my one-room suite. I immediately put down my suitcases in the front hall and knocked on the landlady's door. "There's a big puddle of water in my room," I reported when she opened the door. She brushed past me and peered into my suite. She gasped, then stood speechless as she gawked at the puddle of water.

"Why didn't you tell me your sink was plugged?" she accused.

"I didn't know it was," I explained. "I was home all weekend and the sink was working last Friday."

The landlady marched into her part of the house and returned with mops, buckets, and a plunger.

"Well, just don't stand there," she ordered, "help me clean up this mess."

As we mopped up the water, she bawled me out. "Why didn't you tell me your sink was draining slowly?" she demanded. "All this mess could have been avoided if you told me before. Now look at all this."

"I did tell you before but you didn't do anything about it," I reminded her.

"Oh," she said as if she didn't want to admit that I was right.

Once the water was mopped up, she started plunging the sink. "From soup to nuts, everything goes down the drain," my landlady complained.

"I tried not to let any food go down the drain," I apologized. She continued plunging the sink but the clog was too tight.

Until the plumber came a few days later, I had to use the bathroom sink on the second floor of the house. Once he had finished, the landlady paid me a visit. To cut a long story short, she accused me of costing her a lot of money. Naturally, I felt humiliated.

A month later, I described my problems to my Social Studies teacher. When I drew a diagram of the sink pipes linking the one upstairs and mine, He made an important point. "If the water came out of your sink, it must be plugged below it." I hadn't thought of that before. The knowledge that the flood wasn't my fault gladdened my heart.

Due to space and theme constraints, I casually mentioned this contentious woman in my How I Was Razed memoir. Nook and Kindle versions of it are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble while the paperback version can be purchased from the Virtual Bookworm website.

Friday, 7 December 2012


Thirty years ago, I lived in a basement suite while a young couple rented the main floor of the house. They had a large dog with a golden fur coat while I have a black bunny. I named her Focus, after one of my favourite Dutch jazz-rock bands.

My neighbours and I kept to ourselves for the most part. But their dog had different ideas, as I discovered one afternoon. As I closed the bathroom door and strolled across the laundry room, I saw that silly animal with his nose pressed to the gap under my bedroom door. I couldn't help but giggle when I heard him snort deeply. The dog was so interested in the enticing scent of rabbit that he didn't notice me until I was beside him. He gave me that look dogs usually give when they want something. "No," I said as he started wagging his tail, "you can't go in there."

The memory of that fascinating animal scent must have lingered in that dog's mind. A few weeks later, I heard a noise in my kitchen around supper time. When I walked in, I saw the dog sniffing at Focus through the wires. She sat as still as she could, doubtless hoping that scarry animal would go away. The dog looked up at me and wagged his tail. He let out a funny yowl as if to say, "I found it." Fearing for my rabbit's safety, I opened the kitchen door and led him into the laundry room.

I made sure to close the door firmly whenever I went to the bathroom after that. The neighbours moved out but I never forgot that silly dog and his obvious glee in finding the mystery animal.

As you can tell by past posts and my When a Man Loves a Rabbit book, I've written much about my long-eared friends. In fact, my family had a pet rabbit when I was twelve. I wrote about her in Deliverance from Jericho. I've recently published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. This memoir also mentions my bunnies. Use the search box at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm to learn more about this testimony of God's grace and providence.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Nobody likes to be spammed. That much is obvious. Yet some individuals insist on leaving anonymous comments and adding links to their sites in the comment areas of blogs. I wonder how those folks would feel if I posted anonymously to their blogs and then left a link to my own site. Often these web pages are totally unrelated to the post that they've been added to. Worse yet, some sites contain malicious code. Nobody but a fool wants to click on an unknown link.

Like submitting queries to magazines, people with a service or product to sell should consider how it fits with the needs of the individuals they approach. For example, a blog about Christianity isn't the place to plug a porn site. Likewise, gun collectors would be much more interested in pages where rare firearms are featured than ones where gun control is advocated.

People also appreciate being asked to review or promote products. I've received several e-mails from people promoting software that's unrelated to the theme of my blogs. I politely refused their offers. On the other hand, I have reviewed a couple of books because they tied into the themes of past posts. Blog readers subscribe to blogs because they enjoy the content of them. If the blogger posts widely divergent topics, readers tend to lose interest.

Having written this, I want to make it clear to anonymous commenters that I don't post links to sites unless I know them well. I don't mind opposing views if the argument is framed politely but I won't publish hateful rants or blatant plugs for suspicious web pages.

The purpose of this blog is to feature my writing. I've recently published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Use the search box at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm to learn more about this testimony of God's grace and providence.