last half of December 2005

Here’s an interesting picture
2005-12-30— Posted by: allegra

March of the Penguins
2005-12-29— Posted by: allegra

We’re currently watching March of the Penguins, which is definitely family viewing. Paul is off to work. I have finished all of my laundry and put it away. (It’s the putting away part that is so remarkable.) Brooke picked up a copy of the mandolin music for O Brother Where Art Thou for Keith (which he will be paying for today, I piously hope). I will be returning the accordion and some other stuff to Peggy’s place today (sorry Peggy, can’t keep the accordion).

Jewel Staite’s blog is full of her sister’s babies, it’s extremely cute and funny. Anybody who wants to can access it off www.whedonesque.com. Serenity is #25 in rentals and #3 in sales. No frikkin surprise there.

Keith is juggling three balls without looking. Wow.

Gave Phyllis the Globe and Mail Christmas crossword… her eyes sort of glazed over, and why not, the puzzle and clues are two pages across. I am massively in Sudoku land, but I’ve never progressed beyond an easy one.

Stuck 222 dollars worth of fluids in the vehicle yesterday. The tranny fluid was… uh… rather dark in color; the oil was crispified and the rad needed flushing in the worst way. Now the vehicle is much happier, although the joy would be complete if the spark plugs were changed.

Penguin colonies are NOISY.

Today I make file folders for 2006 and clear out the plant room, which will be easier than it sounds cause most of the stuff in there is just plain garbage.

Make mine wild
2005-12-27— Posted by: allegra

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Dec05/salmon.ssl.html

A risk benefit analysis of wild vs farmed salmon.

Had a simply wonderful Boxing Day meal yesterday; fed Phyllis, Glenn and Maggie, Jessica D, Keith Kate Paul and myself. Spaghetti squash, mashed taters, bowling balls (brussel sprouts) and a big big hunk of roast pork with sauerkraut. Man, it was tasty. For some reason I completely forgot ALL the fresh vegetables I prepped (Radishes? Carrots? Celery with extra crunch?), so, guess what, I had salad for breakfast this morning. Actually salad and coffee isn’t a bad way to start the day.

Today Paul’s at work and I have the car so I will be trying to think of something that doesn’t involve a hellacious amount of walking but is reasonably touristy for Phyllis; I’m thinking the Sun Yat Sen garden, or is that the imperialist running dog garden, I can never keep it straight. Also, laundry. Why does laundry keep happening? And why are there so few clothes I want to wear even when they are clean? I am puzzled.

Ironing for peace?

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2005/12/27/1369908-cp.html

Bizzzzarre. Much in this universe puzzles me. Sigh.

There is way too much attractive sugar in this house right now.

Relatives visiting
2005-12-26— Posted by: allegra

Today we pick up Phyllis, Paul’s mum, from the airport (actually we have to be there in about 40 minutes….) and Katie is off on her shopping trip with her gal pal Jessica D.

Yesterday’s Christmas gathering included *yeah yeah yeah* BROOKE, who magically reappeared from her family gathering up the Valley with her mighty might banjo. And it included Keith singing Angel Band with us (the lyrics are in the mighty mighty Rise Up Singing) as well as Down in the River to Pray and Big Rock Candy Mountain. Down in the River to Pray is one of those songs that generates intense heat amongst the people all trying to play it all at the same time (the time signature is bizarre, frankly) so I cut the comedy and said, “We’ll all have a LOT more fun if we sing it a capella,” to which Brooke said, “Works for me” and that is what we did. So we could concentrate on enjoying it rather than futzing with adding and deleting beats.

Anyway, the singing stuff from O Brother Where Art Thou was as much of a Christmas present as Keith could have asked for, so along with the wonderful turkey dinner (I made salad… and brought pineapple. Did you know that fresh ripe pineapple goes really well with turkey? I didn’t until last night.) Oh, and I brought smoked salmon pate and Peggy thankfully had bikkies to put it on, and I garnished them with italian parsley and avocado, so there, extremely festive. Later on today, or is it tomorrow? I am feeding Phyllis and Glenn and Marilyn. Pork Roast I think. Haven’t seen them for ages, me happy. There is WAY too much chocolate in my life right now, although Cleo’s shortbread cookies, as far as I’m concerned, could be piled hip deep and it wouldn’t be enough. Jessica D’s mom made rum balls. My tongue wants a vacation from sugar. Dax bought Katie a piano chord chart for Christmas and it is now hanging over the keyboard in the livingroom. Is there anything else I can jam in here???? More later, of course.

Keith at his blue belt grading
2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

xmas
2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Let’s try this again…..

enough sleep
2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Now we clean. Grisly, eh? Helluva way to spend Christmas.

Shown are all my Granny’s descendents and spouses. A respectable sized mob. Aren’t the boys adorable???? They were so well behaved at Earl’s I kept rubbing my eyes and wondering how we were related…

Festivus
2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

It’s a rather festive time of year…. my grandmother turns 90+, my parents have their (gasp! choke… Wheeeehueeeeze!) 49th wedding anniversary, and some guy in a sweaty costume scares children while shaking bells and making noises that sound like rude references to working women.

We took the ferry to join my parents, my uncle and his wife and child and daughter in law and grandchildren, my brother and my grandmother at a meal at Earl’s on Blanshard in Victoria. (Talk about easy directions. Uh, get off the ferry and drive until you see a building on the left with two large scabrous fibreglass parrots). We ate ourselves into a pleasant state of repletion (which science fiction novel did I steal that from?) took family pictures, and just plain had a mellow, mellow time. Now we are home again, and we’ve fed the cats including the Pokester, are grabbing a quick bite, and we’re going to settle in and watch Serenity with Joss Whedon’s commentary.

Tomorrow morning we will have the present opening – TamTam’s prezzies – and we will also have the opening of the cash envelopes, a fine family tradition – and then we will attempt to clean the house to the point that a woman who was raised with proper standards of cleanliness (ie, my mother in common law) will feel welcome here. I figure we should get up around nine, have a leisurely breakfast, bash at it all four of us for a couple of hours, and then knock off for dim sum, or maybe a pizza. Paul is making hot rum toddies.

I bought gifts for three people this year. I’m not allowed to say who I bought one of them for, but I bought presents for Katie’s mom in common law Suzanne (she really really liked her gift which I have been jonesing to buy her since Mike first showed it to me) and for Keith, who is foregoing money for a digital voice recorder. All things considered, I did a pretty good job of keeping my hands in my pockets this Christmas. Paul bought me warm socks and brightly coloured cotton tights for Christmas. Warm fuzzies, darlin’.

Karl and Cleo brought us Christmas cookies. Yum. I will return fire, ahem, provide an exchange, when I get around to cooking biscotti early next week.

I am really in a remarkably happy and relaxed mood, and hearing Alan’s voice on the phone (all I need is Hanukkah gelt! give me Hanukkah gelt?!) was the flourish at the end of the day.

A happy, warm and filled with soul-friends Christmas to you all! I’ll have pix of the family celebration when I’ve uploaded them.

partay
2005-12-23— Posted by: allegra

Saw Bryan P for the first time in about a year at the Golf Course last night. I said, speak to me of your first born son (first grandson, both sides of the family) and he whipped out his laptop and gave me a slide show. His 3 month old son is among the cutest babies ever ever ever. Ever. Ever. He looks like a cross between a cherub and a leprechaun, Then I said, so, uh, speak to me of your wife’s labor and delivery, and of course, you ask a new dad this and whoo hoo, an hour goes by like nothing. I know, I’m sick, but I just love the grisly detail, and you never get to talk about it often enough when it’s that new, and I know from past experience that he’s a hell of a raconteur.

In attendance otherwise were a small horde of past and present fellow workers, including Mike the Perfect Master, Rob B, Dave, Brian C and Chari, Ian and Sarah, Susan N, my Paul, Tony Z, John B, Otto-man (it was great to see him) and Jerome and Shannon. Ah. Wonferdle. It was just the kind of gathering we all desperately needed.

Then Paul and I went home and went to bed. Paul slept like I’ve never seen him sleep, which after four days of nights was a plus.

How very provoking
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Grrr, aargh. My brother just sent me a link to his “I Hate Victoria Drivers” blog, and it’s alternately hilarious and wonderfully written. Visualize using your turn signal. Indeed. In space, nobody can hear you scream “Use your ****ing turn signal, you ignoramus!”

If anybody wants to see the link, lemme know.

Wounded Keith
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Keith had a belt test today. He got clipped during sparring practice, but he has a good feeling about his grading, and will know in about three weeks. Doesn’t he look entirely cute, and sort of James Marstersish? Sigh.

I’m not even going to say what the video is called
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

http://www.devilducky.com/media/39600/

Found this. Perfect. Alan, I’m assuming you have already seen this. Christmas carols for the new age. Or not.

????? uh uh !!!!
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

http://www.devilducky.com/media/39096/

I have no idea how to describe this video. It’s by turns deeply disturbing, very artistic, almost erotic in a majorly creepy kinda way and you should definitely watch with the sound on. Bendy bendy bendy girl. For sure. Yeah. Ow.

This is Giles
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

He introduced me to Don Ross, Sherlock (a computer logic puzzle which I still play) and I got some free computer help too, long about ten years ago in Montreal. He’s always been a wonderful photographer, and this self portrait of his, taken in 1991, is one of my all time faves. He’s screaming, just in case you’re wondering about the symbolism. He’s living in Georgia. He has mentioned that being a normal Canadian in the heart of the gun-toting south has been interesting and challenging. I got permission to cross post this from his blog.

Swinging is legal in Canada
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

Jumping Jimmy Christmas!!!!! We may be the retard at the family reunion, as per Tucker Carlson, but by Goddess we know how to have a good time.

Happy happy news

Annals of crusty old buggerdom
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

My father, who had surgery on Monday, and is getting out of hospital today, will be WORKING tonight. I’m telling the kids it’s so he can pay for their Christmas presents, in an effort to get them off their asses and email him. He’s walking pretty much pain free, which was the whole idea behind seeing the sawbones in the first place.

Saw the trailer for Pirates II Dead Mans Chest last night, looks amusing. Well, hopefully Paul is on his way home so’s I can have the car. I’m spoiled, spoiled I tell you.

I neglected to mention that Paul bought king crab legs on the weekend. The fridge was so full that we left them on the back deck. We ate em. Yum.

enough sleep
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

The top figure is a regular helicoid. The bottom is a Genus One Helicoid…. you’re welcome. Photo credit Indiana University.

a study in contrasts
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

I worked in the morning, and I went to Glenda’s funeral in the afternoon, and I went to Chronicles of Narnia in the evening, and now it’s almost midnight, and I’m bagged. Night all.

enough sleep
2005-12-20— Posted by: allegra

pOp sailed through the operation, as anticipated. So I have one fewer thing to worry about. And the laundry is working again, and that’s good. I feel like I’m time looping through season 6 of Buffy. Really, I need a new hobby.

I’m going to Syriana tomorrow.

I finally got around to it
2005-12-19— Posted by: allegra

A couple of weeks ago Tom U tried to tee up dinner with me and Paul, and while we were nailing down dates and what to bring, Paul ‘offered my services’ so to squeak, in producing a TORTE. Five years ago, Paul bought me a spring form pan to make tortes with, but it did not have the desired effect. I remained torte free. Now, I can say that my torteaphobia is over, and I have now produced a light, fluffy and wonderful torte, which was a fitting end to the stellar meal Tom fed us, which consisted of his take on a Waldorf salad and home made Pad Thai (note to Patricia, eat your heart out, baby) the construction of which I viewed with the avidity I usually reserve for porn.

Jibjab.com has a new animation of President Bush reviewing the past year. It’s pretty funny.

If a President stands up in public and admits to shredding the constitution, can’t somebody start impeachment proceedings? Really, it’s appalling.

It didn’t actually freezing rain today so far so I am going to grab the car whenever Paul gets home.

Must jump in shower. This time I’ll turn on the water, just as a concession to my coworkers.

Winter in Ottawa
2005-12-19— Posted by: allegra

It’s enough to make you want to skate to work on the canals. 1/7th of the fleet went out of service during a snowstorm. If you inspect the picture closely you will see four, count ’em, four, jack-knifed articulated buses. Leo sent me this, of course! With the title “Why you live in BC.”

For those of you who may not be aware, I grew up in Ottawa, so the word “Schadenfreude” DEFinitely applies here. Umlauts not included.

Not enough sleep.
2005-12-18— Posted by: allegra

I may have posted this pic before, apologies if I have. The title is “Impending Doom”.

The breadth, depth and scale of my ignorance never ceases to fill me with awe. I do NOT have kidney problems, although it seems I have some ‘equivocal’ test results which will need to be followed up by the pokings and proddings with which those of us over 40 are so intimately familiar. What I DO have is referred back pain, which is feeding into my abdomen in a fashion which mimics colic. The rest of this medical disquisition I’ll keep off line. Suffice it to say that the number of moments during which I am pain free is very small, and I’m being very sparing with the T3s. I have learned that pain makes me boring.

In other news…..

A brief history of Santarchy. Just so you know, I don’t approve, strangely enough. The way you fight the commercialization of Xmas is NOT TO F*CKING BUY ANYTHING. Like me.

This has not stopped Paul from buying stuff, including stuff for me. Sigh. Honestly. Okay, okay, Keith, I am getting off the computer. Today I cook a torte for Tom U. Wish me luck, I haven’t done it in 15 years.

Dear Mom
2005-12-17— Posted by: allegra

Since nobody but my mother appears to be reading my blog these days, I will return to its raison d’etre; here’s a place where she can find out what’s going on with me.

Well, it’s been an interesting week, mOm. You told me not to talk to you about work even before I started Dis Here Blog Here, because you found it alternately perplexing and boring, and by damn, you’re right (yes, I’m paraphrasing, and for any others reading this, you already know my mother wouldn’t say it in those exact words. Actually, she’s just outgrown the whole notion, being cheerfully retired).

Work IS alternately perplexing and boring. That isn’t going to stop me from talking about the surface stuff, though.

The workload isn’t going down, but I’m managing my time better. We had a departmental company Christmas Potluck yesterday (it’s okay, we can say that, as most of us are either atheists or much quiet about the religious feelings). I brought shrimp, GG brought lasagne, Patricia brought HOME MADE TIRAMISU CHEESECAKE, which prompted multiple orgasms (well, so you’d figure, from the noise) in the Finance group, G brought traditional Christmas potato salad (I had seconds…), GD brought buns, & Lindsay brought something healthy (couscous salad, which I didn’t have seconds of because I ladled out enough to begin with). We laughed our asses off telling funny stories, announced an instant tradition and went back to work well pleased.

The all staff meeting was Thursday. The MP3 that was posted of the proceedings has been extremely popular because the Capo di Tutti Capi swore at timecheck 6:55. Everybody with a soundcard and headphones has heard it. What’s really funny is that the big boss did nothing to erode his popularity by this fluff – if anything, we are all quite happy to have something real happen at one of these meetings, even though the rest of the content was very bad news. No bonus this year. As for next year, although I believe we’ll do better, the posted requirements for meeting our bonus would entail that we stop ordering office supplies, start selling prepaid to space aliens, and send hefty guys with semi automatic weapons to kidnap all the people who have signing authority at our customers and keep them in a room with a big pile of blank cheques, while simultaneously killing all the people who would call accounts receivable when we go out past 90 days. When everybody I know at the company who can do math (and there are a lot of engineers) say that what’s being asked for is either ludicrous or impossible, I relax and say, whatever. Twas ever thus. Our company is like an elephants’ graveyard for CEOs; it will irk me that the one who appears to be the most personable, capable of understanding the business and results driven will hole his boat on our many pointy coral reefs, but it sure won’t surprise me. I guess the Board ENJOYS doing executive searches. This wouldn’t surprise me either. The depths of human masochism and depravity are abyssal.

On to other, more cheerful topics. The music was marginally better at the company holiday cheer party (what, you thought I’d stop talking about work? Pish tosh) this year than last, and the food was just as good. I actually danced with a number of individuals and then pulled the pin around 10 pm. Knowing that you’ll likely be awake at 4 am with tremendous pain makes you want to go to bed early. And sure enough, long about five I woke up with the Pain Signal coming in from the same Bat Station. I will be seeing the doc this morning when the clinic opens. I need to get this bug identified and killed, and get a referral to a kidney specialist.

Katie went out drinking last night and Keith went to the internet cafe, but they both appear to be back in the house. Keith departed last night for CAC, as he said – Computer Assisted Catatonia. Katie spent a very pleasant afternoon Christmas shopping with her Dad. I have declared a moratorium on Christmas, but that doesn’t stop Paul, who has even put a rather Charlie Brownish light decoration in the hawthorne tree out front. You’d think after all these years he would have lost the capacity to surprise me, but he never does; and as I cheerfully admit my addiction to novelty, this is a Better Thing among all the Good Things.

Glenda’s death continues to have ripples through our lives. Her funeral arrangements were, apparently, fairly clearly laid out in advance. The funeral is Tuesday afternoon; I’m not going to the viewing on Monday because I’d prefer to do the show of strength thing with the other friends and employees at the funeral.

I heard from Tori last night… she is well and conferred with me about Mike’s Christmas present. That I’m not buying anybody anything doesn’t prevent me from acting in an advisory capacity.

Lessee. What’s going on in the world.

Stretchable silicon

Humans in England for 700000 years.

Why narwhals have horns.

How bottle gourds got to the Americas.

Better image search than Google?

Personalized Web Search Engine.

Video search engine.

Lots of pain
2005-12-16— Posted by: allegra

Well at least I had one day with no pain. Up at 4 in agony, resolved around 6, back in bed and just barely able to post before I leave for work. Jolly.

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Allegra

Born 1958. I write, I sing, I watch TV, I try to fulfil my responsibilities.

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