front half August 2006

More Music and troubleshooting
2006-08-15— Posted by: allegra

You would think that writing down all my songs would be a pretty cut and dried project; just time consuming. However, every time I turn around there’s something else that needs doing. The songs are in .MUS format, which is for proprietary musical notation software and no good unless I a) rip it to MP3 b) rip it to Midi or c) rip it to PDF, all of which are formats most other people can use. For my songs to be of maximum usefulness and full of meme goodness (nice pun, eh wot), which was after all the whole point, they have to be in all four formats. This involves a trivial matter called work, and by the time I’m done, I will have written probably another four or five songs, and had to write down 85 other songs, about 30 fragments, and then rip them all into all the formats, and that doesn’t even go to ring tone territory, because I intend to have ring tones of about 30 of my tunes before it’s all done. (F— You Jack as a ring tone? Oh baby!) Oh, by the way, don’t buy the software Ring Factory, it doesn’t work; it doesn’t even install. I have repeatedly emailed the company, but I guess nobody works on Gibraltar, which is apparently where the company is. London Thugs already swapped it out once for me.

My coworker Mohsin fed me lunch yesterday. To quote the immortal Jim A, once you take food from their hands, you are theirs forever.

La lutte continue at work. However, ours is a noble struggle, and I’m working on fixing things rather than whining about everything. Although I am good at that. Sometimes I think if there was an Olympic category for whining I’d look like one of these scary Bulgarian javelin throwers from the sixties.

You know, I scare me sometimes with my not being very smart (like, how do I drive? How do I find my way to work? How did I not leave my baby on the bus?) I am going to try installing Ring Factory again; I think I figured out my problem. Well one of them, anyway. It’s hard to see them all at once, and even if you could, that would be a trifle overwhelming.

Pic is a lion cub at the San Diego Zoo who died in a mauling accident. The original pic was scanged from via fark. The first time I saw the pic I thought it had been photoshopped. I don’t think it actually has been, though.

Wakey wakey
2006-08-14— Posted by: allegra

Katie was asleep when I called her this morning, and already late for work. Was it for this I bore the pangs of motherhood, etc etc.

Keith worked last night. He had to reboot his scale (funny notion) and wrestle with cranky equipment and his own cranky neurons all night, but his shift was otherwise okay. He now knows how many more hours he has to work to make his probation, which is excellent. He declares that working at Metrotown is extremely difficult in the “not spending money” department. Ah, yes. I told him what it was like to work at First Canadian Place in Toronto in the early eighties. It’s amazing Paul ever got to see any of my paycheck, the way I was spending money in the late lamented “Legs Beautiful” store.

Fed Glen and Marilyn last night yummy salmon provided by us, and really yummy kebabs (and scalloped potatoes) which Marilyn brought and of course, beer and conversation, and Mike J dropped by after his flying day with Paul with a good bottle of wine in hand so it was a relaxed and convivial evening.

My back is much better.

Midi File
2006-08-13— Posted by: allegra

Click here to listen to Words Fail Midi file.

Fish, fish, music
2006-08-13— Posted by: allegra

Fish, as in salmon. Fish, as in tuna (tuner, bad joke). And music, as in a number of Creaking Planks tunes played by Filkola (for reasons best known to herself they were mostly, uh, double plus ungood for small children, content-wise; providentially, small children were not present). Imagine belonging to a band called the Creaking Planks; glockenspiel? Musical saw? Among other instruments….

Dr. Filk hauled along the resonator guitar; Paul actually played harmonica! Given the instrumental bias, it is no surprise that the blues predominated last night. The meal, as always, was stellar.

Keith is watching Russian Ark again. Happy sigh. He just finished watching Keaton’s Electric House, which definitely has some high moments of low brow physical humor.

Glen and Marilyn are coming to dinner; Katie is supposed to show up later this evening. Paul’s gone flying; apparently he’s heading to Pender with Mike J, and then they’re going to hike, and fly back. That field is not easy, I hope they make it okay.

An internet CLASSIC
2006-08-12— Posted by: allegra

A great combination of pix and text….

More Moose
2006-08-12— Posted by: allegra

This is from the Slat Rat Chronicles, This actually looks like a stuffed moose, but he’s real all right, and the photographer was smart enough to stay in her car. That moose is less than 3 meters away…

Rrrr. Periwinkles.
2006-08-12— Posted by: allegra

I got up this morning and put my back out. Not my lower back, but my upper back. Obviously I am not pleased by this turn of events, but I will endeavour to persevere. NO you can’t put your back out. I pinched a nerve, all right?

Paul and Keith and I went to the Richmond Night Market last night. The number of food stalls has doubled, but all the booths now are just, well, suboptimal…. no tools, no computer stuff, no flashlights, no useful gizmos, just the usual assortment of fake Disney and candleholders and cheapass toys, accompanied by a horrific Cantopop soundtrack.

The usual racial mix was there; two thirds East Asian and one third everybody else in Vancouver; it’s definitely the premiere dating site for interracial couples in this town, there were dozens and dozens of interracial couples there last night. Aryan Nations types were not in evidence, and it’s just as well, they’d be very unhappy.

One last culinary note. Paul and I decided, what the hell, we’ll try something we’ve never eaten before, so we ordered periwinkle meat. It tasted like one third grit, one third hot curry (with much black pepper), and one third low tide; combine it with a rigorously rubbery mouth feel and you have got what can only, if you’re maintaining politesse, be described as ‘an acquired taste’. To get the taste of that out of our mouths we went and got a blueberry whipped cream crepe; but it was two hours before my stomach stopped whining at me. “What the hell WAS that? I feel funny. Are you sure that was edible? Why’d you have to eat a half dozen of them, are you nuts?” I mean, it was food like. I know that I could sustain my worthless existence on periwinkle meat; but I also know that God loves me, because currently I don’t have to.

Listen to the Volcano
2006-08-11— Posted by: allegra

Hair cut
2006-08-11— Posted by: allegra

I got a haircut at Eclipps yesterday and so far the comments have been favourable. I broke down and got a bob. I knew I had the right stylist when she said, “A bob? I love bobs, they’re the hardest cut to do properly.” Of course, because the last cut was layered I will have to go have it reshaped in six weeks, but I already made the appointment.

I’m still losing weight without trying, so I figure I’m sickening with something. Paul thinks I’m either working on an ulcer (I have a lot of the same symptoms he did when he got sick) or the back injury is putting me off my feed. Every time I went to a doctor for the best part of five years there was never anyt’ing wrong wit’ me, and all I was doing was clogging the healthcare system with my hypochondriacal ravings. Now I think I’ll wait until I need to go to hospital, it seems to save time and aggro; “Excuse me, but I’m IN A LOT OF PAIN. Please help me.”

Rejoice Trek Fans
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Go here. Screech, hiccup with laughter. Repost your favourite. And as they say, Rinse, Repeat. Scanged from Fark….

Google video
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Monkey with a Death Wish. That really about sums it up.

Here’s the pic
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Musical Comedy
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

I remember walking through downtown on Saturday night and listening to somebody sing “The Party’s Over”. I recognized the song right away; the fun was watching Katie recognize it and start singing along to it.

“The Party’s Over” is a song that was specifically written – as was the rest of the show – by Adolph Green and Betty Comden for Judy Holliday. Bells are Ringing has a very special place in our family mythology; Katie, my mom and I are three generations of fans. I mean, I even like Dean Martin in that movie! I really wish I could have seen the original on Broadway.

What got me thinking about musical comedy was hearing that Alan and Janice have tickets to see “L’il Abner” live in San Francisco. It’s been bally ages since I saw live musical comedy. I mean, there are times when I feel like I’m living in one, but that’s not quite the same thing.

Had another dream about the Really Big Futuristic City last night. I always end up taking a helicopter ride THROUGH these extremely tall, covered in advertising buildings, which makes the safety officer in me stop up like an Englishman in hot weather. (Dunnett reference, sorry). I’m always late for a meeting in this dream. As usual, it’s broad daylight, so it doesn’t look anything like the city in Blade Runner. When I ended up on the ground, I was in a raspberry patch with a group of women who looked like Dunnetteers, and we ate our way through the raspberry patch as fast as we could. Then we found our way to a two story gazebo. I mean, really, a two story gazebo. I know I’ve always wanted one, but the Taj Majal of gazebos? What can it all mean?

Pic is of Judy Holliday, of course.

???? timing
2006-08-09— Posted by: allegra

What can I say about my baby boy’s timing? He decided to rent Robin Williams on Broadway the same day Robin went into rehab. I light a candle for this gifted, gifted man, and hope he gets back to sobriety fast.

A brief conversation with Katie this afternoon leads me to believe that her boyfriend Wade has let an African pygmy hedgehog into his life. Happy sigh. I love them critters.

Another song
2006-08-09— Posted by: allegra

I finished “Chance Met” which is pleasant, since I only wrote it a couple of months ago. Next up, “Bela Lugosi is the King Around Here” in which Protein Man shows up in the deathless line “so I said, ‘Alan, I think you’ve been working too hard!'”

Funny how after 15 years, that’s still true! And how strange it is that I’ve been grinding away at all the many, many drinking songs I’ve written.

Speaking of wretched excess, please do visit and check the 40 things you must do while drunk list. The Star Trek drinking article is pretty freaking funny too, but Keith and I laughed until we cried over the 40 things article, and Keith doesn’t even drink!

CDC stats
2006-08-08— Posted by: allegra

According to the Center for Disease Control, the current kill rate of H5N1 avian influenza is 58%, but in Indonesia it’s running more like 78%. Since we really don’t know how many people got infected and were never reported, this merely represents how many died of the reported total. Any way you look at it, though, this ailment is a righteous bugger once you catch it.

It’s sounding a bit like, “And I, Agnolo di Tura, called the Fat, buried my five children with my own hands.”

On the plus side, the Vietnamese have had zero reports and zero fatalities this year, mostly because they figured out low tech ways of combatting it and encouraging reporting. Other places haven’t figured out the social engineering side of compliance yet.

Neglected to mention
2006-08-08— Posted by: allegra

Picture my astonishment when my father solemnly and casually announced over the weekend that he is now a deist. (This is right up there with the Pope sending out bris announcements for his firstborn….) And who has pOp’s vote? Loki! So I sent him a link to Thalia Took’s site (which is eyepoppingly gorgeous) and this picture. Artwork credit Thalia Took, may she live forever. I especially recommend her pics of Arianrhod, Bride, Laverna, Hekate, Erzulie and Tzazolteotl. I suspect I’m going to be spending money at pretty soon….

The Third Man
2006-08-08— Posted by: allegra

Keith worked twenty hours this weekend, and his reward was to collapse last night with me and Paul and some popcorn in front of Carol Reed’s classic “The Third Man”.

Keith, who is turning into a third generation film weenie (happy, happy sigh) really enjoyed it, and since I hadn’t seen it since I was about 14 when I watched it on the tube with my dad, it was pretty much like seeing it for the first time (and it was much the same for Paul). And of course he liked the zither music. So Keith can take another movie off his lifetime list.

The back deck is pretty much done, and will now be fit for many more summers of use.

The clean up of the plant room continues apace, although Paul is grumbling that there are other things I should be tidying first.

Quick visit
2006-08-07— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of a solar flare in July 2002.

Paul and Katie and I visited Victoria and hung with hordes of our favourite relatives including Auntie Mary, Unca Dave and Granny, and then went to Jeff’s place, where we watched Blues Brothers (it is aMAZing how well that movie has aged – watching the first two minutes put my jaw in my lap) and large chunks of the Last Waltz. As always, every time I see Robbie Robertson in that movie I become a gibbering idiot – but it would take somebody who knows me well to be able to tell the difference from most days. And we played the “What the hell drug WAS Neil Young on for that concert, anyway?” Game.

Keith was working – again – so he missed the festivities.

Today we have to, you know, do domestic chores; how jolly.

Family gathering and fish guts
2006-08-06— Posted by: allegra

I finally have a picture, mental and photographic, of baby Jasmine, who is all and more than reported. Apart from being the standard cute-and-meeting-the-developmental-milestones, she has a distinct personality of radiant calm which is very unlike any other baby I’ve ever met. mOm said she was self-possessed; I would put it that she is the closest in real life that I’ve seen to a baby Buddha. Curt and Darci are over the moon with her, as any sane parents would be with a baby who slept through the night at (I won’t post it, but EARLY).

How wonderful it was to get together with them; they live in Saskatchewan and we don’t see them often, and how I thank the wonderful Lexi & Rob for underwriting it.

We had a nice long talk, mostly for Katie’s benefit (Keith was working) about education (like getting university in early, even if you go on to get a trade) and life management stuff. Rob hadn’t heard my version of the “my father went back to school 4 times” story and was seemingly quite entertained. At one point he said that his family religion was education, and that seems like a better than excellent thing to me.

In the education vein, Curt updated my dad’s story from engineering school; when pOp went, it was “Look at the guy next to you. One of you won’t make it through this year.” When Curt went, it was “Look on either side of you. Two of the three of you won’t make it!”. Rob asked me why I didn’t go on from university to professional school, and I guess the answer is that I’m not personally ambitious (which is a mealy mouthed way of saying I saw what my parents went through and am way too lazy to hack those shucks).

Seeing everybody made me really happy, and I finally dropped of the music and lyrics for “An Evening of Serious Drinking” and “Housewife’s Lament”. I am really happy I have my song project going. It has literally been the only thing keeping me sane some days in the last couple of months.

The fireworks last night (Mexico) were wonderful (good use of the colours of the Mexican flag), and it was great standing on top of one of the tallest buildings in the West End to watch them (although the drunk, fey and twittish twentisumthins who cackled and giggled and jiggled through the entire thing had no notion of how tempted we were to heave them over the side to an abrupt and splatulent death). Jasmine at one point tried to reach out and touch the fireworks, soooooo cute.

On a “This is My Life” note, I got a phone call yesterday morning from the wonderful Peggy, who said, and this is not an exact quote, but close, “Allegra! Come and gut fish!” As it turned out, it was the equally wonderful Tom who dealt with the heads and orts, after which I washed ten fresh sockeye (fingernails are still faintly yielding up that irrepressible smell) in their industrial double sink. God, I love that sink. I mean, I love virtually everything about their house, but the sink is a paean in stainless steel to utility – and hospitality – on a very large scale. In fact, I think I want to take a picture of their sink and post it, just so you can enjoy it too. Anyway, we now have ten sockeye in their freezer, so many happy evenings of salmon lie in our future.

Dang! You know what I just realized? I left both my good knives over there, I had better go collect them!

Oh, and their plums! Their yellow plums are the best I’ve ever eaten. August is a time of such abundance.

Wish the starlings weren’t so abundant, they ate most of the fresh figs, the little bastards. I blame Peggy. The starlings never bothered with them before, but as soon as she said, “Shouldn’t you put up netting or something?” about ten days ago the starling god heard and sent his minions (Peggy you know I’m kidding, but now I’m worried about MY plums so I’m taking your warning seriously.)

Pride Day today. The weather is utterly glorious and I’m sure it will be another record day of attendance and peaceful witness to the beauty of all humankind.

Believe it or not, I walked from Granville Station to Denman and Davie, roughly, yesterday evening & that was quite enough walking for me for this weekend. Between that and the laundry and mopping and vacuuming and furniture assembly yesterday I’m pretty much toast today. But I can’t complain; between the baby visit, the fresh fruit, the fellowship and the salmon, I’d be a fool to. Oh, and Lexi drove us home…. thank you thank you thank you!

Pic is of an industrial fish gutting station.

2006-08-04— Posted by: allegra

I always find it much easier to work on other people’s, as this afternoon for example.

The weather continues fine and cloudless, and Dan H and Paul are ripping off soffit and examining it for general unsuitability and mange.

Keith continues to collect Sandman digests, which makes me happy.

I learn that Daxus has completed a forklift course, which makes me very happy.

I learn in a completely separate knowledge gathering foray that Wade seems to think I have some control over or knowledge regarding Katie’s whereabouts. This in itself is enough to prompt illness-inducing gales of hysterical laughter. Perhaps I should change the subject.

The song I am currently working on is called “The Evening News” and it’s about how living in Canada shelters one a great deal from the starvation, misanthropy, disease and religious mania that seems to afflict much of this planet. Mind you I don’t go into the really corpsy stuff too much, just mention that we, most of us, seem to have enough of the food and shelter type things, so that we can spend our spare time worrying about watching TV advertising and other suchlike occupations.

I have abruptly decided that I loathe my job. As usual, I will have to sit down, or perhaps lie down with an ice pack, until the feeling passes, but it’s a horrible situation to be in. I mean, I feel sorry for anybody who would ever have to interview me, don’t you? I know I do. That feeling will keep me humble, and away from the want ads, in the weeks and months ahead. So even though this post started with a happy comment about working on other people’s resumes, which I did to some effect today, it ends with me, the resume goddess, contemplating my own, as a child contemplates a soggy assortment of semi-chewed cereal pieces, a lover an abbreviated answering machine message, and an ambulance attendant the latest drenching application of alcohol to the extremes of human stupidity.

Keith has rented Yojimbo, but it’s a really skittering VHS copy.

Off to work
2006-08-03— Posted by: allegra

And glad it is I am that I’m well enough to go. I slept a lot yesterday.

I light a candle for the people on the receiving end of munitions, wherever they are and whatever deity they pray to, if any.

Keith has forced me to watch something called Lemon Demon’s Ultimate Showdown & Ultimate Destiny. Despite its unappetizing name, it is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in ages and I think I will listen to it again before I go to work to cheer myself up. If you have a choice, listen to it without the animation, because in my opinion neither the flash animation nor the anime mashup that accompany it are worth much. It’s very filkish and Dr. Demento-ish, if you know what I mean. And any song that rhymes heavenly chorus with Chuck Norris can’t be all bad. Gotta move along now.

2006-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Didn’t get up until 2:30; feel like animatronic scrap. Paul won his court case – the cop not only didn’t show up for the traffic court case, he didn’t even phone in. What is he, a teenaged girl? Cop not exactly as shown.

But wonderful doesn’t last.
2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

Alas, I overdid it last night. I must immediately get off the computer and do something that involves standing for at least two hours. As we are now stacked to the undersides of the cabinets with dirty dishes, I hope, now that the rude amounts of prescription pills I had to stop the pain are finally working, to have the strength to do them. If I’m spared Lord, if I’m spared.

Wonderful video
2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

I am hoping you enjoy this as much as I did. <*Wushu Drunken Master style.

No comment
2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

When Katie bailed on hanging out with us last night, I picked up the phone and called Peggy, who was only too happy to get out of the house and work out at the “Puddle” as we affectionately refer to our local swimming hole.

I get there, and just about spit out a tooth when I realize that the goddamned swirlpool is closed for repairs.

That means I have to swim instead of loaf, so I do – 20 lengths. I actually feel okay this am.

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

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