First half of November 2005

enough sleep
2005-11-15— Posted by: allegra

Back is still trashed. Made the mistake of checking my work email last last night – rack and ruin are the words that spring to mind. I definitely have my work laid out for me upon my arrival this am.

My fingers are really sore – I practiced mando for about 2 hours last night including not one, not two, but THREE half hearted attempts to write something. No dice. I also have all of the chords worked out for “I can’t get over you, so why don’t you get under me” which is a Nate Bucklin tune. It’s sorta c&w anyway so mando sounds great with it.

The Symphony of Gas continues unabated. I wish I had a personal recorder. When I hit the high notes, it would bring tears to your eyes, and the low notes make the blinds shiver.

Workers are here ripping things up; all the trash from yesterday is out front of the house; I’m assuming somebody will be along to collect it at some point. Much less mold in the basement than I thought, actually.

Katie writes her science provincial today, wish her luck at 1 pm.

Damage assessment
2005-11-14— Posted by: allegra

It appears that most of the flood damage is going to be covered by the insurance company; the carpeting and flooring that got wet downstairs will be replaced as will the interior walls. The mold problems will be looked after. Right now we have about ten air moving and water removing machines in the house, all making a hell of a racket.

On the subject of air moving, I know there is not a single person reading this who cares about my digestive tract, but I have passed the same amount of wind this morning as a high school gym class would in a year. Since 4:30 this morning, I have been going off with metronomic regularity. I didn’t think it was humanly possible to contain this much gas under pressure without exploding, and I have to assume this is the cipro talking. Apart from feeling a little itchier than normal and a having a taste in my mouth that Dow Chemicals would be proud of, I’m not reacting to the antibiotic at all. Considering that some of the side effects are burst tendons, personality changes, photosensitivity, hollow heels and thrumps, I figure I’m doing okay. And I’m not taking Tylenol 3’s any more. As for personality changes, maybe I’ll turn into somebody cheerful and hardworking. God knows Paul could stand the change.

My back is still completely trashed though; I’m going to try to go for a walk later today. Then back to work tomorrow, screech.

One damned thing after another
2005-11-14— Posted by: allegra

AP photo shown is from a guy who flew his aircraft into some wires in Minneapolis. He apparently didn’t speak to his rescue workers, which irritates me; THANKS would have sufficed. He is being tested for drugs and alcohol, but on the other hand, the weather was bad. We don’t have to assume he was a bad guy; witnesses on the ground say he was doing his best to avoid hitting houses.

It’s been a helluva 24 hours, folks. Normally I post earlier, but it’s been jampacked.

First, the upstairs cold water line into the kitchen sink sprang a leak at 5:30 pm yestreen, while I was attempting to deal with my incredible abdominal pain with a hot bath. So I didn’t notice, dickhead that I am, for about an hour, that water was pissing all over everything downstairs. As far as we know no science fiction novels were hurt, but everything directly sitting on the floor in the basement is subject to wicking action and damage. Root cause was some badly done plumbing, which as it turns out could have let go at any time. As we survey the damage, we must keep in mind that it might have been far worse.

In the middle of all this I called Paul home from work (and the supervisor wanted to keep him, for non-airworthiness issues?!) and told him, Hi, Here’s a flood; got the water turned off (with his assistance on the phone) and now you can drive me to the hospital because the pain is now so bad that I can’t think.

So I went to hospital and got my abdominal pain dealt with, and WHICH I should have figured out myself what it was instead of troubling all those good people, but such is life.

The worst part of it was the frikkin IV’s; I was dehydrated because strangely enough I haven’t felt much like eating or drinking anything due to -heavens!- abdominal pain (and you can tell it was really hurting, because I have to be on the point of death before I lose my appetite), and the gal blew the first shot and then called in her back up. The back up got started, cussing my red-headed forebears with their puny recalcitrant veins, and then got called away to poke holes in a couple of car accident victims who’d been airlifted in.

I improved the shining fifteen minutes by running my left hand under hot water, and then let my hand hang down until she got back, to pool the blood and puff up at least one of the veins in my hand. This allowed her to hit paydirt, or payblood, I should say, with ease (and it’s a good thing too because I HATE having IV’s put in although I’m a good patient and don’t whine at the time) to the point I fountained blood, which she cleaned up while I VERY diligently did not watch. Then along came sister morphine, and I said WHOA about half way through the drip as it was pretty clear to me that I was getting plenty, although I didn’t feel that way about three hours later when it had worn off. ER Doc (and he was good looking, too!) found the problem with speed and dealt with it, and I’m now on cipro and T3’s to deal with any residual infection and pain. Paul turned up about 11:30 pm looking tired and worried, and every time I told him to go home as I would cab it home told me to get real. We got home about 1:30 am.

As always, everybody at Royal Columbian was a total pro and extremely civil, and especially kindly to pregnant women and children, as I observed; at no point in the proceedings did I feel dehumanized or badly treated. I must say though, that the contrast media for the CT abdo scan tasted like insecticide flavoured water, and the stuff they give you IV during the scan – holy crap. That was a very interesting sensation in an evening full of interesting sensations. Tech said, “You will feel a total body flush of warmth and the distinct urge to urinate, which is transient and not to be believed.” I thought ?? But he was absolutely right.

The only comfort I can take out of all this mess is that I did actually have a situation which could have been pretty dismal although likely not life threatening had I left it, say a week longer, and that I wasn’t being a hypochondriac; the pain would have driven me to seek help faster than that anyway.

Kids will be coming home from the grandparents’ tonight, and between Paul having to hang around waiting for the estimate dude (we’re looking at about 20K MINIMUM in water damage – the carpets are trash) and supper at Tom and Peggy’s, I’ve more or less told the kids they can get home on their own.

I sang that Tom Paxton song in church this morning ably assisted by the Good Times Band, who did their best to drown out my unearthly caterwaul and were not entirely successful. There was something appropriate in my Jesoid bandages on the backs of both hands from the IV.

Paul is napping on the couch. If you had any clue how hard he’s been working you’d be smiling fondly at him too.

The abdo pain may be almost entirely gone, but I was guarding my abdomen so hard that I put my back out and I am now walking around with little slow steps.

The only thing (apart from making it to church) that I have actually accomplished today is put Pesto Scallopped Potatoes into the oven. Hope they turn out, I kind of invented them on the fly. I suspect Peggy will eat them no matter how they turn out, and they sure smell good. I even pureed the onions, in Brooke’s honour.

And I can’t really pick up the kids – I have to go to Peggy’s – Brooke is making naturist gingerbread people, or so I have been led to believe. Can such things be? Must find out and report back to y’all. Hm. Camera. Must remember camera. It’s amazing how chipper you feel, despite all life’s trials, with a regular supply of Tylenol 3’s to smooth out the bumps. I will leave to your imagination the duel between the Cipro and the Codeine now taking place in my digestive tract.

Mt St Helens
2005-11-12— Posted by: allegra

Mmmm. Looks a little frosty up there this morning.

Not enough sleep.
2005-11-12— Posted by: allegra

Pain. Lots of it. If this keeps up I’m going to seek medical attention. Since I’m not a doctor I won’t speculate on what’s wrong with me, but for sure it will follow the Number 1 rule of “when things screw up”. Three things can happen. You’ll get better by yourself, you’ll do something to fix it, or you’ll just die a little earlier. Cheerful, eh wot?

Not enough fuzzy animal piz
2005-11-11— Posted by: allegra

This is Bob. He lives in Seattle with Janice & Alan. I really like the composition of this photo, dunno zackly why.

enough sleep
2005-11-11— Posted by: allegra

I am reading Titus Lucretius…. No Single Thing Abides. Very Epicurean.

Tin Foil Hats on Parade
2005-11-10— Posted by: allegra

Science gives Pseudoscience a boot to the head.

enough sleep
2005-11-10— Posted by: allegra

Deep Sigh. Thinking about the good old days. Pic is Syd (Roger) Barrett.

Get a poppy that works
2005-11-09— Posted by: allegra

What’s all this fooferaw about Stephen Harper and his poppy? Why, I have a friend who’s been using the same poppy for about thirty years, so it’s not like it’s impossible to get the damned things to stick. Didn’t he have a decent public school education? One of the high points, if I can be sharp about it, of the public school teachers’ year here in Kentucky-Fried Canuckistan, is Remembrance Day assemblies, and the harrowing prospect of sticking boxes of poppies onto hordes of recalcitrant little chests (of course, without losing any or stabbing any of their sweet little charges). Most public school teachers have a dodge for this, and I’m amazed that Steve the Reaver couldn’t figure this out. I guess he’s fired so many people out of his office that what’s left of the hired help is scared to say anything to him. Except maybe, Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

And Blessed Saints! Lookee Here! Another election in I’mLovin’It Canuckistan! Those of us currently hiding in the shadow of Jack Layton’s ‘stache are rolling our eyes at his histrionics. If there’s an election, he’ll lose deck chairs off his bridge, that’s for sure. And he says he’ll play patticake with the Conservatives if need be? I’m snapping mental daisy chains while I think of it.

I’m certain Jack ‘n’ Steve can agree on the quaintness of the decor at the Governor General’s residence and that her daughter is a sweet little pookins, and that her husband is going to make John Ralston Saul look like an agreeable mensch, but that line of conversation will soon turn into mutual accusations of sodomy, greed and baby-strangling.

Stephen Harper breaks into pustules (points if you know which Dunnett book I stole this expression from) at the very thought of adopting any policies from the NDP, and Jack Layton makes a remarkably unconvincing bottom for such sado-masochistic shenanigans. And I really think both of them play for the Breeders Cup side of the course anyway, manboobs and homostache aside.

Such speculations are futile in the face of the creeping horror of casting yet another vote in the slush. Whatever is possessing that asinine crew, to give us a winter election? Damn them all, and Gilles Duceppe too. I wonder if Paul Martin’s seat is safe? That would be hilarious. Okay, maybe a winter election would be fun! I’ll cheer up now.

Efrank is worth the money. Subscribe today! It’s only 9.95 a month.

Edible underwear?
2005-11-09— Posted by: allegra

late breaking correction to previous post
2005-11-08— Posted by: allegra

That should read “SHE”, because the reporter is Dawn Westlake. Have to wonder if she’s related to Donald Westlake.

bad taste
2005-11-08— Posted by: allegra

I’ve posted things in questionable taste before, but, Sodom and Begorrah, this takes the wafer. A reporter who covered the Michael Jackson trial has trademarked “Jesus Juice”. He and his partner are looking for a winery with a sense of humour…. Normally I don’t drink red wine, but I suspect I’d pony up as much as $15 CDN to grab me one of these puppies. On the other hand, hint, hint, I have friends with label makers and wine bottles. Doncha all crowd ’round at once, now….

enough sleep
2005-11-07— Posted by: allegra

Well, it wasn’t a completely bad weekend. I raked leaves and Katie got them into the back composter; we did a grocery shop; I watched Pink Floyd’s The Wall; I made lasagna and cinnamon buns; and of course I finished the Doorstop.

If I had any energy, I would go into grisly detail about everything that was wrong with The Wall, but Katie loves it, so I’ll try to leave it at that. She asked me if I liked it and I said it was ‘interesting’. I also think that Bob Geldof was awfully cute ten years ago, It was very amusing (to me, and of course not explainable to the kids) how at the commencement of the movie, when Our Hero first comes on screen, that I thought, “Who would have thought they’d hire Jerry Seinfeld for that job… Hey, that’s not Jerry Seinfeld, that’s Bob Geldof!” And I correctly identified Bob Hoskins as the Manager. Keith’s comment was they spent a LOT of money on the movie, and I would have to agree. It’s a very well meaning movie in some ways, but I like my oppressive imagery dished out in smaller doses with more dialogue in between. And if I decided to uncork that asskicking genie called Argella the Feminist Movie Reviewer… but I won’t. There’s a time and a place for everything.

Fun news for newspapers.

Or cn u rd dis msg? I emoticon!

Well I’m off downstairs to fire up the laundry, and then off to work.

Pic is what I can see on a sunny day from my bus stop at work. That would be Mt. Baker tucked into the bottom of the picture. I’m very lucky – my work is surrounded by forest and it’s very peaceful coming in sometimes, with all the bears and coyotes and squirrels and slugs and frogs and snakes and university students and the drip drip drip of the leaves after a rain.

Paul’s home Tuesday, and I can hardly frikkin wait.

Save it for the mirror
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

Holy Virgin! Get a load of this Cheney pic. Okay, a contest. What caption should this picture have? I suggest, “I AM smiling”.

Didn’t anybody ever tell this guy to keep a straight face while the flashbulbs are a-poppin’? He looks like, for two pins, he’d rip your head off your neck & jam it in the stump. Credit AFP Joe Raedle.

Patricia, I know your parents were married, but even so… I finally finished A Suitable Boy and it’s good to see the girl waking up and marrying the right guy in the end, even if his shoes are appalling. Fifteen hundred pages! You could paper my yard with the damned thing.

Big eyes
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

There is something really weird about this picture. It’s an alpaca. Credit AP, no human name though. Katie took one look at this and said, “Isn’t that a camel relative that spits?” Alas yes, but who could believe it of such a soft eyed critter.

enough sleep
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

Still have a headache, but I have to post this picture. This is Finnegan, who was adopted by a preggers Papillon bitch and now has puppies for stepsiblings – yes, mom allowed him to nurse. It is my opinion that, as weird as testosterone is, estrogen is weirder yet. If you want the whole sequence of photos, which is truly remarkable and quite aesthetic, go to

enough sleep
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

I have been abominably slow to post today, and it’s all that damned Patricia’s fault. She loaned me A DOORSTOP of a book – Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy; I am now half way through, entirely in love with 2/3rds of the characters and queasily fascinated by the other 1/3rd.

I am also working on a migraine – shopping at Stuporstore this afternoon came perilously close to being an out of body experience – but I am pouring tea and painkillers into myself and hope to shake it soon. Unfortunately I can’t really look at a screen for long so I’m shutting down now. Normally I can’t read and have a headache at the same time but all of my migraines now are atypical. This one is entirely on the left side – not usual at all – and apart from a little queasiness and light sensitivity, along with the pain, it would be hard to tell it from a regular headache. I’m signing off, the screen is undulating.

Great trampolining goats!
2005-11-04— Posted by: allegra

Sandy sent me this, credit Glen Hartong AP.

Katie came home
2005-11-04— Posted by: allegra

I don’t have any other news.

Except… Air Canada’s cost cutting measure is going to kill 350 Canadian jobs at Cara. Consequences, there are always consequences.

Panexa – for everything that ails you
2005-11-03— Posted by: allegra

I ‘specially like the side effects.

enough sleep
2005-11-03— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been much concerned with my own internal affairs of late, and thought I would turn my attention back into the larger world.

Air Canada is doing very well. I am thinking to myself, odd, isn’t it, that a company that pays its employees a decent wage can be profitable? Most of the profits can be attributed to the reduction in the fleet – not in terms so much of the number of aircraft but the seats per aircraft, meaning that the load factors are pushing 80% across the system, but especially on the regional flights. They have started charging for meals, but that doesn’t particularly bother me; given the cost of jet fuel they are having to pry money from someplace. Yes, I’m biased. But I will ask the flying public a simple question. Would you rather see an airline take money from you up front or from the maintenance department, which you don’t necessarily see as you board? Hm?

I find it sickly just that WestJet, having stolen Air Canada’s proprietary information, including maintenance schedules and reservation information, and paying their people a lot less, is not as profitable. Investors beware; the planes they fly are frigging gas hogs – not much to dispute there – and WestJet is pushing maintenance to the wall – or so I hear. They have a fleet of cheerfully middleaged Boeing 737 aircraft, all of which, properly maintained, are good for another decade at least.

I note that 3 million people are still homeless in Kashmir and environs and that the appearance of aid sparks riots. The rescue and aid workers need helicopters; nothing else can get in to the 40 or so villages that still have not been reached.

In Florida, FPL (the utility) is promising lights back on to the hardest hit customers by November 22nd at the latest, but Miami and Broward will be back in their entirety by the 13th of November. The last of the public schools in those districts will be up prior to that as the schools apparently were number one. Cable is about 60% up but a lot of people with their cable back are bitching about the quality. I’m still feeling really sorry for the folks who are going a whole month without power and I haven’t lived through a big earthquake yet, so I can’t really advise anybody to move, although I’m sure tempted to tell people, get outta Florida. There are still thousands of people homeless, who are, as always, disproportionately the poor and elderly.

Did you know that France has a Minister of Social Cohesion? What the hell does he do… hand out condoms and brie at social functions? During the ‘riotous’ last days in France, where poor young men, who happen to not be very socially cohesive with the police, have been enlivening the nightly news, I’m sure Jean-Louis Borloo’s been very busy giving speeches about how much air he can push past his gums in any given news cycle. Twenty percent unemployment and non stop media coverage. Hm. They should take everybody they detain and give them a six month contract to advise the French government on immigrant issues. If you can’t tear gas ’em, co-opt ’em, I always say.

Off to the bagel joint on Hastings for my first and last brekky with Tom U and the bagel gang. Tom’s last day is November 9. I’ve worked with him (not the same department, I hasten to add) for 8 tumultuous years, and I can’t say how much I’ll miss him. He has virtually every quality that I admire in a man, and his vices are entertaining rather than appalling, at least to me.

Keith is up. Katie came home – I drove her home about 11:30 last night.

I nearly killed a pedestrian at a cross walk yesterday. I dug out my reflectors and resolved to wear them. If you are much given to pedestrian goodness during this ‘dark as the inside of a cow’ time of year, please wear something reflective! Pic was forwarded by Cousin Gerald, provenance unknown.

10 pounds of adorable
2005-11-02— Posted by: allegra

From the Smithsonian Zoo site. No picture credit, darn them. Link supplied by Brooke-n-Banjo.

His truth goes marching on
2005-11-02— Posted by: allegra

Some inertnesting news today.

First, the non-resized animated gif in the top corner is Mike becoming the Transformational Ninja in the Sacred Meat Loaf Tshirt. Don’t try this at home, you must sit at the feet of the Master for a long time to even attempt it.

Second, Katie slept in her own bed last night!

Third, a referendum to decriminalize marijuana as in possession under an oz (which has no legal force, sigh) has succeeded in Denver CO. Brief double barrelled aside… I know that Hunter S Thompson is smiling down from heaven… did I mention that Chris S at work DRESSED AS HUNTER S THOMPSON FOR HALLOWEEN? I was, like, the only person who recognized him. I could have hugged him, I was so happy.

Fourth, the Good Times Band is going to sing (among other words) ‘nigger’ in church! You have no idea what this represents. This will be a mountainously huge cultural watershed for the church. By the way, in context, it’s COMPLETELY appropriate; the sermon is about evil, one of those things that Unitarians don’t usually grasp with a nuke-station waldo.

Fifth, and this is going to make my mother sport a bewildered expression, it’s my PARENTS’ FAULT that the Good Times Band is going to sing ‘nigger’ in church. Because THEY made me listen to the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Bob Dylan, and the Limelighters, and the Weavers, and the Brothers Four, and Joni Mitchell and stuff like that when I was wee and helpless. Packed away on one of those albums – I think it was Singing our Minds, CMT – there’s a little gem of a Tom Paxton tune called “We Didn’t Know”.

So the minister’s husband, who’s codelivering the sermon, was casting about for a good genocide song, and when I heard about this I said to Peggy, Ya know, I only know off the top of my head about one genocide song and it’s an Indigo Girls tune which is wretchedly complicated as I recollect (also, I couldn’t sing it without crying, I don’t know how the righteous hell THEY manage it). And then I said, Hey, wait a minute! I know ANOTHER song with genocide in it! Jiminy Christmas, who knew I knew two genocide songs? I mean, I could always go to (not exactly as shown) and download a Prussian Blue song (see previous post), but I would rather sing (or hear sung) Tom Paxton, who’s a brilliant song writer. And I SHOULD know two genocide songs at least – it being the subtext of all humanity. My ancestors were at the receiving end of attempts to commit genocide, and so were yours.

Fourth item, continued….I could go on at great length about the n word, but frankly, it’s been covered better by cross posts in so if you go back about two months and look at the story of the black guy who cycled across Africa and came upon an ‘urban clothing’ store at the corner of No and Where in rural Africa called, “Niggers”, you’ll do better reading about his epiphany than reading any nonsense I could spout. And God knows I can, for hours, without apparent effort.

Anyway, thanks Mom and Dad. You rock.

that girl
2005-11-02— Posted by: allegra

So Katie has been sweet talking in an effort to get me to pay to sling her in a tanning bed, and I’ve been saying to her that melanin deficiency is just a question mark we have to bear as, you know, members of the Pink People. But Katie is not having any; she wishes to have a better colour on her cheeks, and I am expected to fork it over for her. At the same time this is going on, she has been increasingly concerned about the spots on her body. With the appalling lack of concern that I show for her every waking minute, I have repeatedly told her a) it’s not a problem and b) it will go away by itself. She wasn’t having any tonight and we went on the internet and bopped around differential diagnoses for Leprosy, Lymphogranuloma and Pugnacia, but alas, all she has is Pityriasis Rosea. Pityriasis Rosea is the Perfect Disease; your patients won’t die but they’ll come to visit, and visit often, while they actually get better all by their widdy selves. So I told Katie that there’s nothing much wrong with her, and then we read the treatment suggestions. Ten guesses, my good fen! Yup, off to the tanning bed. That kid’s gonna kill me. Pictured is her current state of mind; she was rolling around giggling when she realized she might chisel some skin cancer time out me anyway. heavy sigh.

2005-11-01— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-11-01— Posted by: allegra

Last night we celebrated the life of Tom U, and actually didn’t wait until he was dead to do it. After a stunning meal at Arroy-D on Cambie, enlivened by plinking Thai music and pleasant company, which included the original Lunch Bunch (me, Tom, Mike M and Jerome) and which included Ian as a drop in. Fortuitously, the server had just brought me my second 1516, so I slid it in front of Ian once I viewed his squash pinkened and thirsty looking phiz. Ian and Jerome had other engagements, so Tom and Mike and I repaired to Mike’s place to settle in with a couple of simply wonderful scotches, finishing up with a Martell cognac. Now it sounds like I did a fair bit of drinking, but the scotches were tastes, and spread out over about two hours; besides, Tom U has a very precisely machined tolerance for drunkenness in the folks driving him home; he would simply have refused the lift had I been impaired. Our entertainment for the evening consisted of petting Spud and shushing Tasha when the fireworks freaked her out too badly. We also conversed on a variety of subjects. At one point during the evening Mike fixed his eye on the ceiling and said, in response to the absence of some object in his life, “I don’t know what happened to that.” My response was, “The aliens took it.” Tom and Mike both nodded gently; their thoughtful expressions didn’t change. This will, hopefully, give a hint of the quality of our interactions.

This morning Mike sent me an animated gif of him transforming his Meat Loaf t-shirt into a ninja head covering. Keith and I giggled when we saw it; I want to stick it on my blog but I don’t think Mike will let me.

I cannot believe how much happier Tasha (pic in previous posts) is now she’s living with Mike. She’s even given up on being the alpha dog – Mila can do that guard dog crap now and Tasha’s just as happy about it. Tori was busy with school work so she didn’t join us.

Katie spent the night at Dax’s again. Why are my tax dollars subsidizing the delinquency of a minor? I wonder if she’ll go to school today, I asked the office to call me if she didn’t show up.

Oh well, Patricia alone knows my sufferings. And shares them….

I’d kill to have copies of the pictures Trent took at Kevin C’s stag; there was one picture in particular that was so remarkable and bizarre that it looked like it had ALREADY been photoshopped. Tom and I stood in front of Mike’s lap top and viewed the picture with jaws agape. Brian C is one of the more remarkable looking men I know; in this picture, he transgressed physics and went to a locale where jaws come unhinged and eyes come out on stalks. Mike? Please? Mit sucaryl? Hm…maybe there’s a market for a blog that’s nothing but stag and stagette pix. Maybe, also, I don’t want to go there.

Pic is of Leo. Can’t you just feel the crisp fall air in that picture?

I miss Paul. I woke up around three (I did manage to go back to sleep) overwhelmed by the urge to roll over and hug him. But there was nothing there but laundry (which I piled on the bed to keep my feet warm).

Yes, I skipped Halloween. Can you imagine trying to keep Pokey out of the house while the little tykes were coming and going. Good grief…. I liked skipping Halloween so much, I think I’ll do it again next year. My youngest child is seventeen this month. I won’t be upset to put away these childish things.

Golly, sarge, look at the time. Gotta put on my roller skates and go….

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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