back half July 2006

Me brudder is 45
2006-07-31— Posted by: allegra

And I’m not getting any younger myself.

Happy Birfday Ben
2006-07-30— Posted by: allegra

Tom and Peggy’s eldest scion has turned, or will shortly turn, an, uh, interesting and, uh, prime number roughly today or thenabouts. How’s that for useless clues. Anyway, many happy returns of the day, whenever it is/was, young fella!

As for the gent what took a gun into the Jewish Community Center in Seattle and laid a woman in her grave, and put four others in hospital, a word of advice. Hate a Jew because he’s a mamzer, not because he’s a Jew! And if you can manage it, don’t bother hating him at all, lest thou be cast into the outer darkness of those forever condemned to pay retail. Allegra has spoken.

Hi Reck. I’m sure if you are reading this you’re shaking your head and smiling a sour little smile.

Keith and I are just about finished watching the Walking with Dinosaurs series from the BBC. The over the top narration by Kenneth Branagh has gone from being an irritant to being a sort of drinking game, where I try to predict (with about 70% accuracy) which adjective the scriptwriters are going to squeeze into the tired tired sentence. The animation goes from being flicking amazing to being SO FROMIDABLE (that’s so cheesy you resort to French puns) that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. All told, I’ve actually learned something about dinosaurs, and I’ve learned that Kenneth Branagh pronounces those jaw cracking dinosaur names with the relish of an oenophile at a wine tasting.

Missed the Lantern Festival last night – could not deal with the notion of walking that much. Paul and John went on the bike. There was masses of food at Stef’s place but Paul was the only person who showed up with wine, which was pleasant. Paul says it was more sparsely attended than last year (to which I can only say thank God, as it was WALLTOWALL last year) but the fireworks were wonderful and the ambience also.

Thunder and lightning last night! Very unusual for this part of the year; normally the only time you get thunder and lightning in Vancouver is (strangely enough) in February and March, towards the end of the wet season.

I note that the record high temperatures in the US continue to plague the frail elderly and those without access to air conditioning. I further predict that when the epidemiologists run the death rate stats for this past month they will find out that the number of people who died as a result of the heat will be at least 50% in excess of what appears in the papers currently. This is what happened in Chicago in 1980 when (get this) 1700 people died of heat related causes. That’s a hell of a lot of people. (See Heat Wave, a Social Autopsy of a Disaster in Chicago for further details – a book I believe I have previously referenced in my blog (and no, I haven’t read it but I read a detailed interview with the author.)) Chicago has a heat wave public health plan in place right now, and it would behoove other major American cities to do the same. One hundred and one in Minneapolis – whoda thunkit? Pic scanged from Google Images “Heat Wave”.

Yet another sendoff….
2006-07-29— Posted by: allegra

Venu left the company which cannot be named for a world class organization with lots of scope…. and we toasted him last night at the Golf Course. I snuck inside and paid for one of his beers. It was good to see the usual assortment of folk, and some folks from the engineering department. It was quite a cross functional showing – not as well attended as Lynne’s but still a damned good showing for almost ten years of employment.

The indifferent service (Tammy, our usual server, wasn’t there last night) was ameliorated by the appearance of an extremely skilled belly dancer, who had the hottest costume evah (black veils and gold tinkly coins) and danced like a personification of Ishtar for 25 minutes without breaking a sweat.

Then Paul and I headed over to Mike and Tori’s – Paul got really tired and fell asleep, but I watched most of Kung Fu Hustle, and am looking forward to seeing the rest, as it is one of the most hilarious cultural mashups I have ever seen. I think the Landlady deserved a medal for her role. Then I IMDB’d her (her name is Qiu Yuen) and when I got her backstory I just about flipped. At the time she accepted the role (after Stephen Chow (writer/star/director) bugged her unrelentingly about taking it) she had been out of show biz for almost 30 years, and had only ever starred in one international production “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Roger Moore as Bond, Blech-0-matic. She went to the audition to keep a younger friend company and the rest, as they say, is history. It is difficult to imagine someone else in the role, frankly. Anyway, she started life as a stunt double and martial arts type, learning from Jackie Chan’s master, and when she could find any interesting roles got married and ditched the whole show biz scene. Like Renee Zellweger and Robert DeNiro before her, she went on a special diet to gain 40 pounds for the role. Man, the things people do for money; I’ve put on 40 pounds and nobody’s asking me to star in anything, although I was once asked to be a stand in for GM Place.

2006-07-28— Posted by: allegra

Paul and I went for a walk last night. As we were just rounding the corner onto Wedgewood, part of our usual walking loop when we aren’t going into Robert Burnaby Park down to Dinosaur Rock, I thought, Man! that guy sure walks like Tom U. And son of a gun, it WAS Tom. Then I noticed Mike, and they were walking Spud and Tasha together. Happy sigh. Paul was very happy too and immediately started picking Tom’s brains about his Bion-X electric bike, and we walked all the way to Mike’s place. I was walking like a hunchbacked ballerina by the time I got there, but I made it.

And then….

What should be in the fridge but my current third favorite kind of beer in the WHOLE WORLD, Mcauslan Apricot, (Ste Ambroise Blonde and Stella Artois still being my faves), and who should be there but Toribird, looking fine and foxy, if I do say so, in a black tailored shirt and a long camel skirt, and what should she be a-cooking but FRESH blackberry crumble (exactly enough for five people)? It was so amazing that I refused to let either beer or inferior snack foods pass my lips after I ate it, ‘twould have been sacrilegious.

Then Tori and I slipped away into the computer room while the menfolks clacked away in the kitchen and we spent a happy hour reviewing the pictures she took of her mom and step-dad’s Inuit and Newfoundland art collection; more than a couple of the pieces were very old and museum quality, and a lot of them were really interesting. There were two bone pieces in particular that I fell madly in love with, the use of material being so very fine and the execution being so subtle. There were a couple of lithographs (big ones, although you know they don’t look as good on a screen) by Newfoundland artists, that I liked too. All in all a satisfactory evening.

I had been expecting that Paul would walk out to Edmonds with me and we’d catch a 106 bus, but he decided to call a cab instead, to which all I can say is thank God.

A broken night’s sleep (I got COLD in the night, what an ingrate after this hot spell) and nevertheless, this morning I feel just fine.

Dreamed that Kira and another cat got into a bath full of warm water, but by the time Janice and I could take a picture, they’d gotten out and were drying themselves off. Cats; magisterial even in my dreams. The rest of the dream starred nobody I know, but I was busy chasing a tall female clown named Giraffe through the subway system of an unnamed city for reasons completely unknown. Damn! How do I put up with all this excitement???

Oh….. my ……. God…….
2006-07-27— Posted by: allegra

Okay, when you look at this picture, I want you to be doing a mental mashup of two songs…. Frank Zappa singing Give Me Your Dirty Love and The Man on The Flying Trapeze. These two slugs are having sex while hanging from a thread of slime; I am assuming that this was as the result of long negotiations along the lines of I’m so tired of sleeping in the wet spot.

And one of the slugs said, hey, wait a minute! I have an idea!!! why don’t we crawl up the side of somebody’s house and do it til our eyestalks hurt!!!!

Credit Jan G in Courtenay. Honestly, Jan, you should take up wildlife photography professionally, seeing as how we keep finding the weirdest shiat in your yard.

It only remains to be added that the slug is the totem creature of my, uh, well, one of my family members; my morning, nay, perhaps my week, are made rapturously glorious by this photo.

I had no idea
2006-07-26— Posted by: allegra

Large chunks of Queens NY were out of power for a week. I knew things suck in Kulifornya as well, but this picture is kinda eerie. The cops set up a light tower for public safety. Photo credit Chang W Lee NYT

Bush Pilot
2006-07-26— Posted by: allegra

Bush Pilot

Janice forwarded this. Since it has subtitles, you don’t even need a sound card to enjoy this little bit of Teutonic teasing.

Life is a series of small disappointments
2006-07-25— Posted by: allegra

Windows Movie Maker doesn’t like the format of the family movie discs pOp sent me.

Katie called at midnight for a ride into town from Maple Ridge, having missed the last bus. $45 worth of physio went up the flue; I drove, not wanting to waken Paul or Keith, who were sleeping peacefully in the tent. I’m very stiff and sore this morning.

Work contains the prospect of a ‘group shot’ for the company newsletter today, which means I have to dress for it. Considering that it’s legal for women to go topless in Canada, they may not like what they get.

I forgot to take cash out of the bank, which means I have to get to a bank machine between now and the time work starts, and then find some kind soul to grab the shelf I ordered and put it in my workspace until Paul can pick it up with the car tomorrow morning.

I really really really wanted to go to Jericho Beach Folk club this week as I have lots of new songs to debut but I suspect it would be a really bad idea -more sitting is NOT what I need right now.

On the plus side, my friend Bonnie called and set up a dinner date for when she and her spouse and her spouse’s kid are in Vancouver in August.

And I talked to Tori. Happy Birthday Mike!!!!

I also got a care package from Janice in the form of a bunch of books, one of which bears the proud title “Revenge of the Cootie Girls” and somebody, I do not know who, in Seattle has seen fit to provide me with the first DVD series of Black Books, which is completely unlike any other TV I’ve ever seen, in that it veers from Kafka-esque “The world has gone mad” bleakness to evil satire to unbelievably funny sight gags (the cup sticking to the table comes to mind) and it all starts with a man choking on the Little Book of Calm. Any series that has as the name of its accountant Nick Voleur can’t be all bad.

I can’t fecking sit any more so I’d better do my exercises and see if I can’t manage 4 hours of work today. Oh, look, lovely, a migraine sign. (Little flashies, probably triggered by way less than adequate sleep.) Bye.

Virago 535
2006-07-24— Posted by: allegra

Dave D has a new/used 96 scoot. Obliviously this pic looks way better in its original size, but even so, here’s the skinny:

Here is a photo of my new cruiser down at Jericho beach on Saturday night. For you photo enthusiasts the shot was taken with my Nikon D200 at 200ISO, f5.6 at 8 sec. and 2 slave flashes in addition to the main flash on the body.

Monday, Monday
2006-07-24— Posted by: allegra

I was all rested up on Sunday… my back was fine, etc. Then I had a horrible nightmare this morning (a torture dream, and the lighting was really bad, so you know it felt real). I’m not going to describe it but sleep afterwards was a theoretical construct so I got up after Kira came and gave me a consoling kiss and gave her some crunchies. Now the dawn sky is pink and gray. I should take pics of the tobacco flowers, they are so pretty.

Also, mOm, the set on tomatoes that were white two days ago are now pale green. The universe is therefore unfolding as it ought. There are about ten spaghetti squashes set on and more tomatoes than I can count.

The plum tree has set on with a vigour that I attribute to faithful waterings and Paul having laid down compost. The fig closest to the driveway is so laden that it’s really remarkable – it too responded to a watering. I really should trellis the grapes; I promise I will next year. I’m going to try to grow plums from the pits this year. I explained container growing of potatoes to Keith and I may have sparked some interest, only time will tell.

Pic, which I hope I didn’t post earlier, is from the Lake Crescent trip. The gates to the local grass area in Port Washington were done up like bamboo, very nice. Anyway, a pic of me behind bars is a good thing. Very Monday like.

It’s 86 degrees already
2006-07-23— Posted by: allegra

I don’t think the house ever really cooled off yesterday; Paul slept in the tent and I don’t really blame him; it was frying hot.

After all these months of trying to train Kira to kiss me to get her breakfast, I was startled as hell to have Zeek! wander up to me this morning, and instead of patting and scraping me gently with his claws extended, as he generally and in a very unwelcome fashion does (this is why he is normally banned from the bedding), he got up in my face and kissed me very gently on the nose. I said, GOOD BOY and leaped out of bed (okay, moved expeditiously out of bed) and fed them. I wish words could describe how startled I was. The only other thing I’m thinking of applying training techniques to is the way Kira cycles around Zeek! at about 90 miles an hour, crying softly, while Zeek! stands there and hairy eyeballs me (occasionally venting a raspy and MOST displeased caterwaul) while the two are waiting for dinner. I hope someday to be able to capture it on film and then train them to do it when I want, which is dopey to put on the wish list, but it’s so very cute to see.

Enough about cats.

I made iced coffee for breakfast. The idea of drinking something hot right now has very little appeal.

I recently had reason to try liquid bandages (location, basically); they sting like fury going on but they actually work. They come in a can and cost about $14 for 40 applications.

Frank Magazine is being published in tangible form again. They occasionally achieve their previous depths of bilious mojo, but they are still pretty inconsistent. What I do to support Canadian satire….

Dr. Filk, Filkola, Peggy and Tom are off at a housefilk in Snohomish; apparently the Tapioca Song will be exposed to that select group at that time.

Met Wade, the new beau, and like him.

Sundry & various
2006-07-22— Posted by: allegra

Jack Warden is dead. He was the fast talking salesman in Twelve Angry Men, which Keith and I recently watched. He was 85.

It’s 86 degrees F at the thermometer in the upstairs. It got to 90 inside yesterday. The house is markedly hotter since we got rid of the trees in the south facing yard. Sigh.

It came as a surprise to Paul that Janice tucked three summer dresses into a bag that came back from Seattle this last time; I am wearing the Delft blue and white one, as it’s the thinnest piece of cotton clothing that I have in the house right now. I did my morning exercises in complete slow motion, but I am still wringing wet. Keith is wandering around saying things like “Would I look good in a sarong?” to which my answer was an unequivocal yes.

We get to meet Katie’s new boyfriend today.

Said goodbye to Lynne yesterday – she is departing to go to a company that markets wine and coolers. We all volunteered to assist, of course. I think even the departee was blown away by how many people showed up. I wasn’t. She is much liked, with that irresistable mix of smartass competence and mushy sentimentality that seems to characterize so many of my beloved cowirkers. Including me, if I may be so bold as to claim competence. Anyway, I did a tequila shooter with her and Brian at the golf course, just to keep myself in good fighting trim.

Couldn’t leave it there, of course. It is now officially gin and tonic weather so we stopped off at ze store, loaded up, and then drank G&Ts on the back deck while a breeze (thank God) picked up. Considering that I drank more yesterday than I have since, uh, probably Christmas of last year, I am amazed how cheerful and lively I feel this morning, given the weather.

Pic scanged from

Baby Black Rhino
2006-07-22— Posted by: allegra

Cute, hunh? Born to mom Circe at a zoo in Florida

I am going to be asking for a public enquiry
2006-07-21— Posted by: allegra

…. into the response of the Canadian diplomatic folks on the ground in Lebanon to the evacuation crisis. I guess I already know the answer “This is what 40 years, more or less, of candy ass Liberal appointees, rather than fully qualified people does.”

Fresh blackberries
2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra

There are native wild blackberries along the trail in to work and I ate some this morning. Yum.

The Bible tells me so
2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra,2106,3736210a11,00.html

I imagine eventually the link will disappear, so I provide the condensed version. Jesus wants you to hit your child….

2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra

Swearing to Success
2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra

Check out Mark Fiore’s Flash today….

Sent off the music and lyrics to Housewife’s Lament to my ma yesterday, and I have printed out copies ones for the El-Villa crowd as well (Tom and Peggy and Filkola). Right. That’s 21, only uh, 88 to go. So far. Worked up a couple of other tunes last night but I thought they were too twee, so I went to bed. If they’re still in my head the next time I play the mandolin (I’ve been playing everyday, and it shows, fortunately) I’ll keep em, otherwise they go back to the Big Song Factory in the Sky. Sure wish I could remember the tune to “A Passage to Atlantis”. All I have is the lyrics I gave to Paul to write down and I haven’t the foggiest what the tune is, except that I remember it was pretty good. Pic is something I picked up after image googling “little furry animals”.

2006-07-19— Posted by: allegra

Paul and Keith are off to Seattle, and Katie’s only coming home to change her clothes. And run off with the hair straightener, the little weiner. Now that she has a job the dishes are starting to pile up; she’s actually working all this week, full time, to cover for a person on vacation, and they are making noises about taking her on full time for the rest of the summer, so she’s learning how to prep and cook as well. She figures no matter what happens she’ll be able to get a job, after her experience with this restaurant. I’m talking to her every day, but let’s just say that her current existence is configured in such a fashion that the family home doesn’t have much appeal.

Look what happens when you try to tell the truth
2006-07-18— Posted by: allegra

You can put in a tsunami warning system
2006-07-18— Posted by: allegra

But if your government is inefficient and corrupt, you’ll still be hooped. I light a candle for the victims of the stupidity in Jakarta, subsequent to the earthquake. The smart ones headed for the hills, and now they have no food and no blankets and have been told they can’t go back because of aftershocks.

There are interesting comments on the website about what it’s like being a Canadian citizen in Lebanon right now, I recommend the reading.

Off to work soon, and feeling much better after traction at the physio yesterday.

Tain’t all doom n gloom
2006-07-17— Posted by: allegra

To protect the, uh, well, let’s not go there. But anyway, somebody sent me the link and I heartily recommend it to anybody reading this who might, uh, be in training to be a pharmacist.

blood in Lebanon
2006-07-17— Posted by: allegra

It is with horror and sorrow that I must report that my colleague’s sister-in-law is clinging to life in a hospital in Lebanon. The Israeli bombs landed in the middle of a village; she’s badly burned and she lost both a leg and her mother-in-law in that attack.

I offer prayers to whatever deity will hear me that this ‘measured response’ doesn’t turn into a full scale global conflagration. And I pray for her swift recovery.

Family stories
2006-07-17— Posted by: allegra

With my red red hair

and my permanent wave

ignoring the elders

as they rant and rave

it was such as me

Jesus came to save

Mary, bootlegging Mary.


Now Katrina is the only one who’ll talk to me

And next to Jesus, she’s the only one

Who’s heard the sad tale of my history

Why I’ve done the things I’ve done

I sold myself to feed my little son

In the years between the wars

And I comfort myself on the nights I can’t sleep

that Jesus walked with publicans and whores


With my red red hair

and my permanent wave

ignoring the elders

as they rant and rave

it was such as me

Jesus came to save

Mary, bootlegging Mary.


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

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