front half of March 2006

Note from my brO
2006-03-15— Posted by: allegra

Allegra, this just occurred to me the other day as I walked the halls of UVic with my ears covered to avoid serious damage to my hearing from people screaming on their cell phones. [1] Regular phones provide audible feedback consisting of the talker’s voice, amplified and emitted from the earpiece. [2] The louder their own voice seems to the talker, the more quietly they tend to speak. You can test this easily enough on a regular phone that allows you to adjust the earpiece volume. Office phones usually have a feature like this. [3] Cell phones apparently don’t have this feedback feature. My own cell phone has an earpiece volume setting but this has no apparent effect on sounds coming from the microphone. In fact I can detect no evidence whatsoever that sound from the microphone is being directed to the earpiece. [4] So I think this explains why everyone seems so loud when talking on cell phones. The whole notion of feedback as way to regulate your voice volume is pretty well understood. If you cover your ears you tend to talk louder. Same thing if you’re temporarily deaf after a loud concert. [5] Now the real question: assuming I’m right about cells having no talker feedback, WHY is that the case? My suspicion is that it’s to save power. To get the sound from the microphone to the earpiece and provide sufficient feedback strength, you have to amplify it. Cell phones are all about minimizing power use for extended charge life. It makes sense, but this is yet another case of unintended consequences, IMHO. Jeff

Working away
2006-03-15— Posted by: allegra

Paul went up to Kamloops with Mike J yesterday – the weather was apparently foul – and got back in time for some daylight, so they hung the engine.

It hailed with unbelievable fury around 10 to 6 last evening. I was just dropping Rob of Nine off at his place after a trek to the liquor store in Lougheed Mall *no Lion Winter Ale OF COURSE*, and the skies opened and 1.5 cm chunks of ice fell for about ten minutes. I was figuring it was pretty local and it was – my place is only about 4 km away by car and nothing fell in East Burnaby. The temperature on the ground was about plus 4 so obviously nothing lasted, but Yumpin Yiminy it was slippery underfoot. I remember driving by a jogger who was blinking somewhat more often than usual but appeared otherwise unperturbed, and one seriously distressed looking motorcyclist, who had pulled over and put his kerchief up.

Futurama-dama continues unabated with a side of a 3rd season of Babylon 5…

Last night I resisted and stuck to my song writing, and am now very well into Mothers Day, including the dirgelike bass line. Hm. Well, I have another half hour to work on it before the work cycle starts again so I’ll get back to it.

Since it’s been ages since I posted a decent moose picture, I will leave you with this gem, culled from a site in New Zealand of all places. Provenance is entirely unknown.

Feelin’ Squiddy Part Deux
2006-03-15— Posted by: allegra

So my mother writes me…..

With just a little encouragement, I might knit a squid…


My ever so UNfilial response:

Really? So typing Knitting pattern squid in Google is too much for you? What a drag it is getting old.

Okay, now you can throw a pillow at me and scowl.


And my mother’s response, a warm and measured….:

Right. So I found the squid knitting pattern, and it wouldn’t print out. I HAD thought I could try it without a pattern but now that I know there IS one, I want it!

Knitting a squid is as a phrase in English on par with another one unlikely to be heard: Hand me that piano. That appeals to me.


Karl Marx RIP
2006-03-14— Posted by: allegra

Karl died 123 years ago today.

We’re coming up on 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster. I remember being pregnant with Keith and feeling very helpless and sad. So expect the usual media feculence as we ramp up to the actual anniversary.

2006-03-14— Posted by: allegra

Apart from my yard looking like Saruman’s minions have been at it, I’m doing okay. Paul, in a masterful demonstration of his command of space, removed the branches on the walnut without bringing down any hydro lines, and if you’d seen the conundrum you would have pronounced it a poser and likely said, plaintively, why not hire a professional. But with a borrowed Sears electric chainsaw (a damn good one too!) and the determination for which he is justly famous, he got the last of the branches down at sunset… One wire did get munched a bit…. but it was the cable – which Paul took side cutters to about 6 years ago, anyway, where it came into the house – when we found out the cable wasn’t actually disconnected and the kids were using it. Snip. Paul is a man not to dick around with.

I have the car today, yippee. Paul and Mike J are driving to Kamloops to pick up the engine for Mike’s aircraft, John’s just gone off to work, Katie’s in the embrace of Morpheus and Keith has to work later today. Blew off karate, the little weiner. Futurama proved TOO much for him, and frankly for me too.

What a sitcom it is! What mastery of the form! At least twice an episode I find myself laughing so hard the kids tell me to shut the fuck up, they can’t hear the dialogue.

I am sad about the trees, and Paul’s really not happy about it either, but it wasn’t our idea to plant those trees on a sewer line, and we will be planting more trees on the property – on the other side, little fruit trees.

As per Brooke’s request, I am working on the song Mothers Day.

Work has finally lightened up. Oatmeal is calling, must run.

Feelin’ squiddy
2006-03-14— Posted by: allegra

I feel squiddy.

enough sleep
2006-03-13— Posted by: allegra

We sang and played at Peggy and Tom’s last night. Tom cooked a stellar meal, and I made a DESSERT! Yes, yesterday was a day I got off my ass and did stuff, including mending, laundry, trimming figs (I am SO sore) and baking a spice cake for Peggy (and a small army of food colouring enthusiasts, truth be told). Paul and I slept like kitty cats. I had yet another dream about a coworker – this one involved me looking puzzled while he tried to explain something to me. This is so close to what happens in real life that I woke up grinning. I can’t tell the difference between reality and dreams. Here comes Paul up the back stairs, having gone running with Peggy (enterprising folks that they are); Katie is asleep in bed and Keith is long gone off to the early shift at Cobs.

I awoke to the sound of a woodpecker drumming in a tree.

Super sad sad note. All the trees in the side yard are coming down. The sewer line is right under them and we’ve already had one near disaster. Only the walnut was productive, and only for the freaking squirrels, anyway. Instantly I have a sunny south facing side yard to plant in.

Karl got cuttings from our fig trees. Apparently they are dead easy to propagate.

“My vegetable love should grow ….
2006-03-13— Posted by: allegra

Vaster than empires, and more slow.”

Perverted pepper and quote (Andrew Marvell) supplied by WHO ELSE, Dr. Filk.

Confluence of coinkidinks
2006-03-13— Posted by: allegra

Cousin Gerald found this on a BBC website. It purports to be a recent picture of Glasgow. Now, Glasgow is the place where Toribird is shortly to return from (she finished all of her assignments and got them graded and she’s coming home like two weeks early (Tigger bounce)). So it looks like the Glaswegians get snow. Or, as I read in a Scots Dialect on line dictionary, “Aw naw, SNAW!” Of course, the logo on the van makes it standalone funny, but I wanted you to enjoy the coincidence.

Weekend news roundup
2006-03-12— Posted by: allegra

Absolutely nothing is happening. Everybody go back to sleep.

Bye Vijay
2006-03-11— Posted by: allegra

My colleague Vijay is fleeing the scene. It is tempting to place a bug on the wall of the room where he will be having his exit interview, but it did give us an excuse to drag the teetotal dude to the golf course. Tom U (ach, how I miss him) and Jim A (ditto), Mike, Robbie B, Rob of Nine and Liz, Jessica, Brian C, Venu, Kevin C, Sau, myself and Alex S saw him off.

Jessica was having conniptions at the prospect of her stagette. I am so frikkin glad that is something I will NEVER experience that words cannot describe it. Considering that 3 beers make me garrulous (what, more than normal? ed.) and 7 make me puke, a stag would probably result in my presentation to RCH with alcohol poisoning.

Katie just called from Suzanne’s to indicate all is well; bring underwear. Bring underwear? Okay, I won’t ask any questions. (Actually she needs two days’ worth of clothes but the underwear question sort of got my attention.)

Keith is playing Prince of Persia on PS2 and making a certain amount of interesting banging noises.

Slobodan Milosevic is dead. Happens to the best of us, eventually. Of course there is the little issue of the autopsy… at least he wasn’t alive and dead at the same time, like poor Schrodinger-style Arafat.

enough sleep
2006-03-11— Posted by: allegra

Moose in Bondage
2006-03-11— Posted by: allegra

God, looks like a dull day in rural New Hampshire. “Mert, the moose tied himself up in the swing set again.”

Did you know there is a Distinguished Moose Biologist Award? Bernt Earik Saether of Trondheim Norway won it in 2002. He was inspired to study moose after one bit his sister. I’m making all this up, but you can check it on the inertnet if you like. I know what you’re thinking, Brooke. You can’t fool me. It’s time I posted a picture of a moose playing BANJO! Now THAT would be entertaining. But as moose do not actually have hands, I’ll be a while getting that picture to you.

2006-03-10— Posted by: allegra

I appear to be recovered from my migraine. A lot of snow fell last night, and I’m glad I wasn’t driving in it because the 106 bus driver was doing chewies in the snow trying to get out of bus stops; he refused to go down the hill into New West and was cycling between the mall and Edmonds Station.

That was because I was on the way back from Mike’s place, where I went to commingle with his harem (

Prior to Mike’s I was with Paul at Katie’s parent teacher night. It’s frikkin weird to think she’s in grade 12. In fact, I felt my innards contract a little when I typed that, no lie.

Then I jumped on the Skytrain (which, when the doors open on the new cars is kyTrain, did you know that?) and disembarked at Nanaimo (I think it would be bad form to say I ‘got off’ at Nanaimo) and walked over to his place. Yes, this news item is full of temporal distortions.

When I got home, Savage Love was neatly folded face up on the living room couch. I didn’t even wait that long for the bus at Edmonds, which is a frikkin miracle, considering how underdressed for the weather I was.

Side note to Rob of Nine. My new record is 7.

Getting to work today will be interesting. It’s 8:15 and Paul isn’t home yet – I’m supposed to have the car.

Pic is of the snow last night.

Here piggy piggy piggy
2006-03-10— Posted by: allegra

For Mom

2006-03-09— Posted by: allegra

The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Acts of Service
with a secondary love language being
Words of Affirmation.

Complete set of results

Acts of Service: 9
Words of Affirmation: 7
Physical Touch: 6
Quality Time: 5
Receiving Gifts: 3


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don’t understand our partner’s requirements, or even our own. We all have a “love tank” that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

My head the weather balloon
2006-03-09— Posted by: allegra

Between midnight and noon today (March 8) the barometer dropped from 101.9 kP to 99.9 kP. My head responded by giving me one of the most bizarre migraines I’ve ever lived through. I went home around noon feeling completely screwed up (Thank God Paul could pick me up) and only just woke up – it’s about five thirty on March 8 whatever the date header says….

I got:

Visual disturbances (like, vertical bars in front of my eyes;

balance disturbances;

coordination disturbances;

unbelievably stiff painful neck, but just on my right side, which persists;

differences in colour vision between left and right eyes;

worst dizziness I’ve ever had when I hadn’t been drinking and didn’t have flu;

transient nausea at the commencement of the ‘ride’.

Get this… appetite and tolerance for noise and light were undisturbed, except for video screens. Even now I’m thinking I should just shut ‘er down and run a bath… the screen is too harsh to look at. As always the fix was to take codeine and lie down. I’m going to go run a bath. More later. That was just plain weird. My brain never ceases to amaze me.

2006-03-08— Posted by: allegra

Hey Alan, I dreamed about you last night! You had grown much taller (?!) and when I went walking with you I had to wrap my arm around your leg. Odd dream, but pleasant withal. The rest of my dreams were full of greasy salesmen trying to sell me “snake chow” when I KNOW that snakes eat live food only. Hm. Wonder if I should read something into that.

Puddled briefly last night.

Shown is a new hairy lobster. Actually, it isn’t. It’s a whole new genus of crustacean called kawa hirsuta. The hairs are eye substitutes because this critter is blind. It was discovered in very deep water off of Easter Island. I find it quite beautiful although there likely will be other opinions. Credit AP.

expire of the cuteness
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

For more pix like:

Ali Farka Toure
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

Is dead after a long illness; RIP.

Perseus taking a shower
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

Perseus in marble
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

Perseus in marble
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

A pictorial meditation on Perseus
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

Cellini’s masterpiece, seen from the side.

Pig snouts
2006-03-07— Posted by: allegra

Strange, strange, are the ways of fortune. I actually had a good reason to be searching for images of pigs looking up. What I looked at instead, about half the time, were repulsive veterinary style closeups of mucosal diseases of swine. Hrrr! bah…. brrrrrr bleaughhh! It was beyond words ghastly, and yet strangely compelling.

So after looking at a LOT of diseased pigs, I found one pig that was *almost* anatomically correct in the correct posture for me to thieve in the name of kitsch, and decided to quit while I was ahead. I am planning a piece of fabric art for my mother, which involves an enchanting young pig looking adoringly at a hummingbird. Thus the warning about kitsch.

Work was actually entertaining in a dry, pinned to a neat label in a neat box, kind of way.

I light candles for Peggy, Brooke, Rev Katie, Dr Filk, my folks, Jeff, Jerome, Tammy, Alan, Janice, Mike, Tori, Keith, Kate, Patricia, Rob of Nine, Peter T, Gianna, Lindsay. I send virtual hugs to Paul. (As soon as I typed that, Paul magically appeared behind me and started massaging my shoulders, which struck me as being pretty funny as coincidences go.) He’s gone off to look after himself and he deposited a kiss on me on his way out the door.

My life has changed abruptly for the better and the worse. My mother’s mother said repeatedly in my hearing that her family could never be TOO big, but she didn’t give me the heart-stopping corollary, which is that you have one fuck of a lot more people to worry about then or be forced to cough up for, which is not always a good trade for the number of relatives you can sponge from, if you follow my venal train of thought.

I’m signing off, Buffyverse is taking over again and I’ll have to take refuge in my bedroom or be suck’d into its aweful power especially as it’s my fave 2nd season ‘sode. Must fleeeee, and take Mandolin with to drown out noise. Yes. A Plan. I have my grip on a Plan.

Word cloud
2006-03-06— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a word cloud of my blog.

Many remarkable things.
2006-03-06— Posted by: allegra

mOm, please do not feel obliged to watch this. But if you do, please be advised that the most remarkable thing about this extremely, uh, sophisticated and adult oriented video, is the guy playing the banjo… at least in my opinion. And as a warning for everyone else, if the sight of dildoes and pasties bothers you, please don’t go there.

I am not going to say who sent this to me, but I will admit “Geez, that’s kind of a personal question!” occurred to me as I was viewing it. By copy to Dr. Filk… I believe you saw a band perform this live at an Ivan Coyote book launch, or maybe you didn’t.

Bambi Blanco II
2006-03-06— Posted by: allegra

I just HAD to post the other picture. Cute as the dickens, ain’t it.

Bambi Blanco
2006-03-06— Posted by: allegra

This picture came to me via cousin Gerald, who got it from a coworker, who got it from a friend who lives in Texas. This little creature, nicknamed Powder by the family who got him briefly before the game warden came and got him, was hours old when they nearly hit him with their car. They figured he was a baby goat, but he’s a whitetail deer fawn. Look how small he is compared to the shoe!!! He took to the bottle right away and will probably end up at a game farm or petting zoo.

Travelling about
2006-03-05— Posted by: allegra

Paul, Katie, Keith and I got on the ferry to Victoria this morning. I spent the whole ferry trip sorting through my pile of songs and writing out lyrics for songs from memory, and adding cards for new songs; all boring administrivia stuff, nothing as fun as actually getting the songs into sheet music form.

My dad’s about to go pick up his mom and Jeff is coming over later too, so it will be a small festive gathering.

Fed Suzanne and John last night; I would have fed Zach more but I pulled out the Nutella. What a mess I made of the roast – I didn’t cook it nearly long enough and then of course overcooked it.

When we got off the ferry we were greeted by what appeared to be a huge pollen cloud; I am now itching and blinking constantly while my brain slowly swells. Everything is flowering here; there are daffs at the side of the road and cherries in bloom – blooming well everywhere.

To keep with the family theme, the picture is of my cousin Shauna (on the left) and my cousin Derry (on the right, and now sadly and too soon departed many years ago of cancer) in about 1973.

Keith is happily telling the grandparents what it’s like to work at Cobs Bakery. Paul pulled out the Jericho Beach flying boat book John bought for him for Dad to look at. All in all, a peaceful Sunday.

Nuff said
2006-03-03— Posted by: allegra

It is the weekend. It is payday. I am feeding Suzanne on Saturday and we’re visiting my folks on Sunday. Oh, sorry, mOm, I neglected to mention that in my phone call this ayem. Work fellates the galactic moose. Katie slept at Suzanne’s. John puddled last night. In reviewing the last sentence I must hasten to add that he neither ‘puddled’ like a Rudy Rucker character, nor ‘puddled’ in the sense of lost control of his sphincters, but went to the Pool to swim. Brooke puddled too, in the same sense of the word. Keith appears to have been taken on full time by the Cobs on Commercial Drive and is working a full shift today. He is on the counter, not in the bakery. They adjusted his shifts around his karate. Paul is singing J Geils “My Angel is a Centerfold” which should give you some idea of his mood. His class was cancelled and I got called into pick him up from work. Katie got 35 out of 45 on her Psych presentation. Keith enjoyed Karate last night but I think he enjoyed the three hours playing Whorecraft much more. Keith is admonishing me. He actually caught some live music at Myles of Beans last night. Quite the man about town, he’s becoming.

Course was cancelled
2006-03-03— Posted by: allegra

So Paul just worked an ordinary day today. I’ll go pick him up later this evening. I feel like steak tonight, and by Gar I think I’ll go get some. Steak and epsom salts, on my shopping list. Not to eat all at once of course.

Some cats like to watch
2006-03-02— Posted by: allegra

and some like the parallel bars. Some do pawstands. This is a cruelty free cat show – the cats are doing it as a result of his observation of their special talents and then developing it.

2006-03-02— Posted by: allegra

Paul’s on the plane to Toronto to learn about a new inflight entertainment. I miss him already.

But what about small aircraft?
2006-03-02— Posted by: allegra

Gosh. I guess if I don’t want to feel guilty about travelling any more I’d better not go anywhere in the future.

enough sleep
2006-03-01— Posted by: allegra

Bird flu in cats? Now I’m worried.

Published by


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

Leave a Reply