back half August 2006

Elephants on Xanax
2006-08-31— Posted by: allegra

Just in case this link has disappeared, it’s the heartwarming story of how Tanzy the Elephant at the Abilene Zoo quit bugging her barnmate and the keepers when they started putting ibuprofen and Xanax in her chow. Somehow “Elephants on Xanax” was too good a subject heading to pass up. It also reminds me of (editor’s note, knock it off) something I probably should stop talking about right now. Never mind.

2006-08-31— Posted by: allegra

Apart from the Burnaby Now exploding all over our front yard when the minion who delivers it didn’t put it through the mail slot, life is peaceful. I’m off to run/walk/cycling with Peggy and Paul.

I have added a verse to Spinal Clinic. I suspect it will end up being quite a bit longer.

Stolen from
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Stakeholder engagement — the state of being betrothed to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Albino pygmy marmosets
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

They’ll be a whole 3.5 ounces when they’re grown. Photo Reuters.

Quick correction
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Uh, that should be ‘ex-boyfriends’, in that last post. Katie is not working on polyandry, to the best of my knowledge.

New ringtone
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

I screeched the siren call of sushi last night, and Keith and Kate both came home!!! Amazing how food works on people.

I have also, like a complete maroon, started a Meetup group for Simplicity in the Lower Mainland. If Glenn is reading this he is either cackling in disbelief or rubbing his eyes, as he has told me that I have a hellishly complex life (or words to that effect). I don’t think my life is hellishly complex, but I could sure stand to do with less stuff in my life, and it would be nice to have some encouragement.

Last night I wrote out “teamwork” which is my new attempt at a ringtone. I selected a drum track to go with it, so it’s B flat trumpet, acoustic bass and percussion, and it actually sounds pretty good. Still trying to figure out how to upload it to a phone. I am a very slow individual.

Paul’s home tonight, yay. I should get out the door to work, after taking most of yesterday afternoon off.

I’m feeling fine today, I went to bed reasonably early. And I even did the dishes and my laundry before I went to bed, so despite the fact that I was in ‘post migraine’ mood, which involves a lot of walking into walls and not being able to talk so good, I was at least able to move. My back’s worse, though.

Two out of three of Kate’s boyfriends called yesterday, and man, that does NOT sweeten her temper. She’s been hanging wit da girlfriends, though, which is good, and committing retail therapy, which made me a little twitchy, until I found out it was a 7 dollar item.

Spider Robot News
2006-08-29— Posted by: allegra

Scroll down for the AVI files to see the critter in motion. Cool upon Cool!

2006-08-29— Posted by: allegra

Short week next week! Whatever shall I do with the long weekend?

While I was at work yesterday a bug decided to crawl around under my clothes. I am SO proud of myself. I did not leap up shrieking and clawing at myself. I encouraged whatever it was to get out, and eventually it quit moving. I later found the whatever-it-was, something antlike, or miniature wasplike, stuck, quite dead, in my hair.

I have received a wonderful story from my relatives about Bootlegging Mary. One of the stories involves her being done wrong by one of her inlaws back in the old country. He looked her up in the new country to repay her and she more or less told him that a) finding out who stole the stuff and b) getting an apology were good enough for her and refused repayment. That sounds exactly like something I would do. I think I know where I got my strange hoofs and my stranger halo. When you see my relatives ranged in rows lustily singing hymns though, you will also be forced to admit how my presence in the family is a dire necessity.

Paul is in Seattle. He says he ate yummy fish and chips at a restaurant close by to the folks. Alan and Janice are doing famously.

So many things at work have been EXACTLY what is happening at Dilbert that a small group of us are getting a frisson of weirdness about it. Dilbert is a reality show, you know that, right?”

Faces of chasers
2006-08-28— Posted by: allegra

What kind of person is a storm chaser? check out this rogue’s gallery. Other portions of the site are molto cool.

Overheard at the Call Centre
2006-08-28— Posted by: allegra

Once again, I must insist that this didn’t happen at the call centre at my company. I don’t even know if it’s true… I am not reporting it as such.

Rep: Thanks for calling, how can I help you?

Customer: Ya, I finally got the trojan out and now I am ready to reinstall my system.

Rep: I hope you are talking about your internet sir…because I am not that type of guy.

Where we watched the stars
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Shown is a miniature natural amphitheatre, where Jerome set up his One Watt Per Side (feel the Powah!) IPod, stuck it on ‘random’ and we sat and in some cases collapsed and watched the stars. (Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Queensryche, Aerosmith – you know, party music). From here our conversation or music couldn’t bother any of the other campers. It was EERIE how quiet the campground was. It was bung full; every space taken; and yet at 11 o’clock it was so quiet that when we wandered back from our little ‘office’ by the water, we felt like we had to whisper and tiptoe.

After all the crap my back has been through, I am pleased to report that my back is better now than it was when I left.

To recap…. we had a glorious time, and I can’t wait to go back. Anyplace where I can see or hear herons, and kingfishers, and eagles, and seals, and jellyfish many times a day is a beautiful place. And… Descanso Provincial Park is actually open year round! Happy sigh.

Paul cleans the tent
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Here is Paul (Jerome and Mike McG in the background) demonstrating how to get the crap out of a tent.

The view as we ate
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Obviously a digital photo taken by an amateur can’t do it justice, but this was the view for our meal, complete with harbor seals and cormorants….

Things happen for a reason
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Gabriola was, as always, gorgeous; the company, the food, the weather, the many funny stories, the stars above and the water below and the pines in between were balm for the soul.

Pic is of one of the many interesting rock formations on Gabriola.

Many people were invited to the feast at Konrad and Linda’s on Saturday night, but only six of us showed. Frankly, I’m sure it was a relief to have a manageable number of people for them, and for us, it was an opportunity for a meal fit for royalty in a perfect setting.

2006-08-25— Posted by: allegra

This is a picture of two unidentified coworkers pranking yet another coworker. They filled his ball with water and didn’t tell him.

I am pleased to report that the prankee, after his initial discomfiture with the truly bizarre sound and unique rolling characteristics generated by this prank, took it in good spirits, thereby adding to the morale of our department. That is all.

2006-08-25— Posted by: allegra

Katie worked last night, and came home last night, and now I somehow have to give her the money I took out from her check without waking her up.

Paul’s riding/running with Peggy. I gotta go do my exercises.

Keith rode his bike to and from Karate last night. He was very happy to find out that riding the bike is quite a bit faster than taking the bus, and will, as he puts it “Markedly Improve My Conditioning”.

I love shopping for camping trips…. buying all the crap you don’t normally get to. Anyway, more later.

Won’t likely be blogging this weekend
2006-08-24— Posted by: allegra

It is possible that I won’t be blogging at all starting tomorrow morning, but I should have a full trip report – if I don’t find an inertnet cafe on Gabriola – on Sunday night. So worry not, dear mOm, I shall return, though the way be flinty, the road be long, and BC Ferries ever so uncooperative. Paul will be coming in Saturday around 2ish, so I’m VERY happy about that.

Time to pack, yck.

Bela Lugosi is the King around here
2006-08-24— Posted by: allegra

I am pleased to report that after wrestling with it for almost two weeks, I have finally completed Bela Lugosi is the King around here, and can move on to the next song. You’ll have to forgive me, it’s almost 100 bars long, because every verse is markedly different from the others. “I showed her Plan 9 from Outer Space, she said, That’s it, I give up on the whole human race. Have no fear, someone brought more beer, and Bela Lugosi is the King around here!”

How else can I claim immortality, than by lyrics such as these? I cheated though, I didn’t put in the chords. Pic is of the man, hisself.

Not enough sleep
2006-08-24— Posted by: allegra

I went to bed immediately after supper last night, for a variety of reasons which need not trouble my narrative, and woke up at 3 to the sound of unstealthy movements outside my door. I got up to whine at Keith and there was Katie. !! Happy surprise. Groggily I cast about for a reason to encourage her to ‘set a spell’ with me, and made her some chocolate milk. We talked for about an hour. It was entirely remarkable how we have virtually the same reactions to some situations. (Instant rage, for example, or inability to speak.)

After a thoroughly satisfactory chat with her, I crawled back into bed at 4:11 am, so I’m a little punchy now. Other happy news; Katie had been dreading, just dreading, her cell phone bill. She found out to her glee and astonishment that because her boyfriend has the same cell phone company, her bill was $15 LESS than last month. When she saw the total I thought her eyes would pop out of her head. Sometimes the news isn’t all bad. Brother James, I thank you for selling me that phone!!!

Jake’s Golden Morning
2006-08-23— Posted by: allegra

Photo credit Dave Deroy, all rights reserved.

Dave, did you ever consider doing pet photography for a living? What a gorgeous photo, what a gorgeous dog.

One thing and another
2006-08-23— Posted by: allegra

Rob of 9 promised me aircraft pictures and didn’t cough up, the swine, so here’s something of Paul’s (a friend’s Yak 18T, taken at Point Roberts) – and Paul DIDN’T get to go flying at Pemberton yesterday, the towplane lost a magneto about half an hour before he and his flying buddy got there. Okay, so they went for a nice drive on a gorgeous day, but even so…

No word from Katie in almost 48 hours. Grr.

Good physio, but slept funny (again) and my foot’s numb.

Happy birthday Protein Man, and many more, etc etc.

Lovely long talk with Janice last night. Free range conversation over every subject imaginable but substantially about books and authors. It’s disconcerting, but pleasant, to mention a book and then Janice says, “Yes, I’ve met her,” which gives me the feeling that my great great grandfather’s friends must have gotten when he mentioned that he’d had tea with Carlyle again. Janice and I are happily plotting the next set of visits back and forth across the line.

I have learned that I have twin second cousins once removed who own a boutique in Nob Hill in San Francisco. I don’t need an excuse to go back to San Francisco, but this adds to the pile of Irresistable Reasons.

2006-08-22— Posted by: allegra

Last night I dreamed I went to a third world country. Not precisely sure where. I was fine until I had to find a washroom.

Paul is going flying today.

My physiotherapist shifted my appointment from yesterday to today, so even if I wanted to go to Jericho Beach Folk Club tonight I couldn’t. I do have the car, but I’m not going to overturn the results of a perfectly good physio appointment by driving three quarters of an hour across town in the tail end of rush hour traffic. Coming home and collapsing has ever so much more appeal. Besides, I have to shop for the camping trip. Oh, camping trip! Unless there’s an inertnet cafe on the island, I won’t be blogging this weekend; mind you I will likely be too overcome by my various excesses to worry much about that. Sun, air, wildlife and beer. Indeed.

Keith is still asleep; Paul’s out riding/running with Peggy, and Katie is in Maple Ridge. She is coming home for such magical parental input (Paul is responsible for this) as dental appointments and picking up a larner’s parmit. Yes, after all the whizzing and moaning about how she was never going to learn to drive, Katie has her L, and we have the higher insurance rates to prove it. Perhaps the fact that her esteemed bf has a car (not that he can currently drive or insure it, and you can all hiss me for my villainous cattiness – although to be fair the vehicle apparently runs great) has something to do with her new enthusiasm.

The insurance company coughed up some money for my disability, so we can now, Bilbo-like, squeeze through the door of August with only a few gold buttons coming off. I’m still disabled – watch me climb more than a dozen stairs if you don’t believe me – but at least I can work 8 hours without resorting to drugs.

My father made me cry with happiness yesterday. He emailed me that my zombie get up affected him so deeply that I’m going to be Miss October in the next family calendar. I’d like to thank my fellow brain eaters for their somewhat unintelligible encouragement. Grr! Brains!

Back to work full time
2006-08-21— Posted by: allegra

I’m back at work full time as of today. Frankly, I’m really happy about it, mostly for mental health reasons. And finances, let’s not forget that.

Hung out at Stef’s last night; there was plenty of music of the mostly latin variety (classical guitar, sax, flute, drums, bodhran!! and then mando and my Seagull 6 string). Paul even sang Long Black Veil!!!

The world’s most expensive house
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

The world’s most expensive house – in the UK. For a price not unadjacent to $140,000,000 US you can have………..

Zombies need ice cream too
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Okay, I broke character many times, because my leg crapped out about 45 minutes in (which I expected, and was prepared for). So I told people about zombie walk as I walked back to the Skytrain with Paul and Katie, and I ate ice cream, because it was a hot day, and I scared little children on the Skytrain.

PS, Officer 68 of the Skytrain Stasi needs to learn manners, because she harassed my daughter right in front of me and Paul and while Katie was feeling unwell.

Zombies with accordions and brainjos
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

The horror, the horror! Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, Rowan whips out his accordion. That’s Brooke’s elbow and Brainjo, by the way. Zombies … on Robson … but there weren’t any zombie bagpipers, I’ll be really scared when I see me one of those.

Zombie Goths
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Since I can already hear my legion of fans screaming “Show us some cute zombies, you dodohead!” herewith the requested cute zombies. Ain’t they somethin’?

Zombies on Robson
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Katie and Paul both made variants on the remark, “Apart from the makeup, how can anybody tell the difference?” (between shoppers on Robson and the zombies). For further details, check out and get the full scoop of brains on a global phenomenon.

Zombies on Robson
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Katie and Paul both made variants on the remark, “Apart from the makeup, how can anybody tell the difference?” (between shoppers on Robson and the zombies). For further details, check out and get the full scoop of brains on a global phenomenon.

Zombie Walk 2006 – we mass at the Art Gallery
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

This is me in front of the Art Gallery. Don’t I look lovely? I am wearing approximately 10 cents worth of fake blood, and about two dollars worth of skin gunk. does work
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

I repent me of my whining; Ring Factory DOES work, it just doesn’t like the MP3’s that I can rip from Songwriter Finale. This is really, really annoying. Anyway, customer support at DID get back to me although not within their stated time frame, they DID fix my problem, and now I have to figure out how to make the two programs talk to each other, because I have proved it works with an MP3 file, it just doesn’t work the way I want it to. Considering that I’m working with a grand total of 80 Canuck bucks worth of software, maybe I should quite whining and get professional help. No, not that kind.

Zombie Walk 2006
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

I did end up going to the Zombie Walk; somehow hanging around with Paul for the morning (even though he was mostly asleep) made me feel better. I will post pix of my makeup (avocado mask with corn syrup and red food coloring blood) later on today, when it doesn’t involve waking Paul to do it. Ran into Rowan, Brooke, Bree, and a couple of other LJ folks. I had to go, zombies are part of my family heritage. (If you saw my dad’s horror collection, you’d understand).

Katie lost, then won back, her job at the restaurant, but now she has to work the late shift, so it means one of us has to go fetch her or she has to walk home (like she did on Thursday) which is not pleasant, either way. At least she has a flashlight, and she does have to go back to school shortly, which should drive some sense back into her schedule.

Michael Ruppert has left the US.
2006-08-19— Posted by: allegra

My favorite conspiracy theorist has fled the US to Venezuela. Check out for more details.

Raiders of the ripe fig
2006-08-19— Posted by: allegra

While we were eating dinner with Bonnie, a couple who speak Arabic raided our fig crop. Our across the alley neighbors, who speak Finnish, Arabic and English, overheard them discussing it with each other. The man said they shouldn’t and the woman said, There’s no one here (in Arabic). They came prepared, too; they had a car, a step ladder and bags. I laughed when I heard about it but I’m not laughing now. Brazen, eh?

I just learned from Scienterrific American that there is good evidence to support the figs are the oldest cultivated crop.

My head hurts very badly, and I have a nasty dry cough. Unless I feel MUCH better by noon, I will not be attending the zombie walk. Grrrr.

Paul just got back from day 4 of midnights so bye for now.

Oh, and my across the alley neighbor made THE BEST cinnamon rolls ever, and gave me enough for everybody in the family.

Not enough fuzzy animals & more customer service
2006-08-18— Posted by: allegra

It’s a baby tenrec. It looks like when it grows up it will have a starring role in a movie drawn from the Oeuvre of CS Lewis.

Ah, a true story from the Call Center (not mine!!!) but true, I have it from an unimpeachible source, whom I will not identify even though I could…..

Rep: Thanks for calling, how can I help you?

Customer: Brother, Do you have any Christian TV channels?

Rep: Sure sir, do you want Protestant or Catholic?

Customer: Please give them all to me… I just converted from Islam to Christianity.

Rep: That’s great Sir… Mazel tov!

Top that, Gandalf!
2006-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Etna steam ring. 200m across. Ha!

Have they no style?
2006-08-18— Posted by: allegra

I’m appending a picture of Croatian soccer fans. Their human swastika is inelegant and deformed.

I say this acknowledging that Canada has harbored one of the top Nazis of our time, Mr Z, Ernst Zundel, so lording it over Croatians because I’m Canadian would be rude and a nice poke in History’s eye. Let’s not talk about Croatian war criminals, we have lots of our own.

But seriously, these soccer fans are a torment to fascism. Where is the discipline? Why are they not entirely in matching colors, to complete the appearance of casually coordinated effort? This looks like the best they could do after at least six hours straight of alcohol consumption. At which point, now that I think of it, they’d be quite twisted indeed.

I overheard an amusing cell phone conversation this evening, after I dined with Bonnie, more on that later.

A young and handsome native man, wearing a traditional hat, got on at Stadium and sat down behind me; his cell phone rang almost immediately.

He said,
Yeah we were dancing most of the day.
And they hauled some guys out of the washroom for hotboxing.
No, they just made them leave the park.
On my cellphone I got pictures of me with that woman from Smoke Signals.
He says, in a very pleased tone of voice,
I got the evidence.
We finish tomorrow around the pole. Buncha Haidas around a Tlingit pole!

Maybe I’m the only person to find that amusing, I dunno.

Dinner with Bonnie, Steve, Alayna and Paul was simply lovely. Do I need to say anything else?

It’s bedtime, g’night.

Long Live Judge Diggs!!!!!!!
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

NSA wiretapping program ruled unconstitutional. Man, I bet Ann Coulter’s going to say that women shouldn’t be lawyers, because that means they can be judges, and then they can be supporters of terrorists! Wait a minute – Ann Coulter’s a lawyer! My head hurts.

But as for me, I’m happy. I’m happy that US judges actually occasionally really do uphold the Constitution, which is still one of my fave documents. Viva Diggs! Viva Diggs!

Henry wants gold teeth
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

This cat’s owner put bling teeth on him. Can you dig it? Photo credit dentist Dr. David Steele and scanged from

Astrologers having problems with new science
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

I think they should name the new planet after the Parking Goddess. When she’s transiting through Mars, you WILL have car trouble.

Midnight musings
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

Don’t ever ever rent Samurai I with Toshiro Mifune. It’s not worth the time spent, not for costumes, acting, historical accuracy, set dec, direction or fight scenes. May the Emperor spare us a samurai movie with no hollicking fight scenes worth the powder to blow them out of the mono no aware.

I’m going to eat Indonesian food tomorrow night if the fates are kind and the winds propitious.

Phoned my ex-husband to harass him. I mean, what’s the point of having an ex-husband if you can’t phone him up and bug him, in this case to ask like a kid during a long car ride if he’s got internet access yet. Got his message machine, which is a good thing.

I suppose if I was an unwise creature (man at the end of the bar, cigarette ash an inch long, “Oh, why stop now?”) I could rant at great length at the Great Author of my life, who first mimics Dorothy Dunnett, then Dorothy Parker, and then Dr. Seuss. Because my life has reached ridiculous levels of frothy complexity, interspersed with absurdity, lousiness (okay, fleas), health problems, family issues that, for the purposes of this discussion, are the size, shape and tractability of a Borg vessel, and I still don’t have a freaking passport, and I still have not applied for my gun licences, and I’d best get off my ass and onto my horse, and the plum duff didn’t turn out all that well although if it goes into work with Paul it will vanish like dew in the morn, and I need to stake the tomatoes, and work is reminiscent in many ways of “ton histoire est une epopee des plus brillants exploits”, and Keith continues to be my main prop with respect to maintaining my sanity, although Dr. Filk is a close second. And you know there’s more, or I wouldn’t be writing songs with lyrics like (and you can all relax, this song is about work, and has nothing to do with my personal life at the moment, which point I was anxious to make clear to Paul, bull-leave me)

You better watch your ass
Nobody’s going to do it for you
You think you’ve got a free pass
Well I’ve got a bulletin for you
You can blame the whole world
and get away with it for a while
But the forces of nature will collect the back rent
and they’ve got great big teeth in their great big smiles
You’ve crossed that line so many times
you’re acting like it isn’t there
Never had to face any consequences
so now you believe that no one cares
You better watch your ass
Nobody’s going to do it for you
You think you’ve got a free pass
Well I’ve got a bulletin for you
2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

Repeated emails to tech support about not being able to load this product have been fruitless. I changed browsers, as that occasionally makes a difference, and it didn’t help. I am plenty mad, and This is My First Diss of Ring Factory.

They suck, Ring Factory, they plenty suck. They suck like billy-oh. They will feel the fullness of my squirrelly wrath.

The Maori queen is dead
2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

Dame Te Atairangikaahu passed away at 75. RIP.

The following is taken from

A direct descendant of the first Maori King, Patatau Te Wherowhero, and daughter of King Koroki V, Te Atairangikaahu was of the Waikato iwi. She was educated at Rakaumanga Native and Waikato Diocesan schools and groomed for leadership. In 1966 she became the first woman to be chosen to lead the Kingitanga movement, which sought to adopt a structure to give full equity between Maori and Pakeha (white folks, ed.). Her gentle and benevolent nature made her very accessible, and she moved easily among people at all levels, while her astute thinking and clear vision established her as an unparalleled unifying force for Maori. Her wisdom and influence were recognised by an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999.

Te Atairangikaahu hosted many royal and diplomatic visitors to New Zealand, including the Pacific Commonwealth Leaders’ meeting in 1990, and she represented her people at state events overseas. She supported both traditional and contemporary Maori arts, and urged her people to pursue quality and excellence in everything they did, from sports to tribal enterprise and national management. She encouraged women, in venturing into the modern world, to hold on to their great gifts in language, art, craft, dance, religion, and ceremony, while taking a constructive and influential part in their communities.

Happy thought
2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

My coworker recently received a fax from an employee of a customer. The job title is “Defective/Damaged Representative”. Let us take a moment to thank the FSM that we don’t have that printed on OUR business cards.

2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

Keith and I watched Mindwalk last night. Man, did it get a right drubbing from the critics when it came out! Too talky, too static, too idealistic, and just plain ‘not a movie’.

Well, I beg to differ. I liked it, and I’m planning on watching it again and so’s Keith. If you like Sam Waterston and Liv Ullman just watch it, and be damned to the lousy critics.

Paul and I ate at Cafe de Paris last night. It was the perfect amount of food, perfectly cooked and presented, with the world going by on Denman just outside (the binners, the tourists, and me).

I’m looking forward to seeing my girlfriend Bonnie, whom I’ve known since grade school, on Thursday.

I invented a process at work and now I’m dog-robbing materials and social engineering permissions to make it happen; believe me, you’d be bored silly at the details but it’s something that SHOULD happen. It’s all exactly the kind of thing I like to do; I’m a fixer, I can’t help it. Actually, to be entirely honest, I’m re-implementing a process, with localization. Doesn’t that sound exciting? I love the way English can entirely obscure everything that is going on.

The plums are ready. This can only mean one thing, Peggy! Soon, the plum duff.

Paul’s here with the car…. I guess I should start the take off cycle.

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

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