back half December 2006

Interfering in science
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

Sometimes the headlines write themselves
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

The baaing, the baaing.

New Test
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

My new test of whether a film is funny is whether it’s funny with the sound off. This meets the criterion.

Wild Catamaran
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

This weird ‘spider boat’ is a prototype ocean going catamaran, which apparently has been spotted in Seattle.

The oracle
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

I consulted the oracle this morning; I made myself up a rather Whedonesque ritual which likely would have been quite amusing to the rational types in the crowd, and then laid down the cards in the Celtic Cross pattern.

It was a hard lesson but a good one.

Tonight I may consult another yet oracle; as previously mentioned in this blog a Finnish form of divination is to melt solder and cast it into water and take note of the shapes formed thereby. Dr Filk as I recollect was supposed to have a much more prosperous time of things, the last time he tried it, although it took a while for that to come true.

There are signs that Chinese citizens are becoming somewhat less willing to bear the brunt of ecological catastrophe as a price for their economic miracle. We shall see how this plays out for stability.

Things I learned today
2006-12-30— Posted by: allegra

I relearned to knit. Casting on caused me some headaches, but I knit for a while and then pulled it all out, it was just for practice.

I learned that somehow some of Maggie and Glen’s presents for other people ended up here, mislabelled for us… dunno how that happened.

I learned that Peggy and Tom have taken on a VERY big project with remodelling the office, but that is going to be a) gorgeous and b) much more useful when they are done. I heart her Ikea desk. I did a tiny amount of painting at the office (everything is prep time…) and got a nice visit in with Martha.

I made up a new recipe for cole slaw – it’s very good.

I learned how I would ideally want my household configured after Paul and I are no longer in the same place, and it actually looks rather different than I originally imagined it. Very strange. I’d like to thank Peggy for nudging me into thinking on a larger scale.

Dr. Porco does it again
2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

I got an email from Dr. Carolyn Porco of today (yes, I’m on her spamlist) and said, MOVIES!, and grabbed the new gif for the top corner. This is Hyperion in color. Her comment … “the Slashdot guys are crashing our server” or words to that effect, are another reason why I’m glad I have 40 readers…. maybe 41.

Some people think cats on leashes are bad
2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

Cat on a Hat!

I think this pic is cute, and I posted it for PaTRICia.

Quite the building boom
2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

The light is coming back, which is wonderful. The sunrise this morning was stunning. Biscotti and soup are both finally done, and now it’s time to go to work.

Skywatching 2007
2006-12-28— Posted by: allegra

It’s 24 megs and you need adobe, but if you want to know what the sky will be doing in the next year, here’s the link

enough sleep
2006-12-28— Posted by: allegra

I managed to sleep without painkillers last night, a marked improvement over previous nights, and got a fair amount done, including another incremental stage in a batch of biscotti and soup and the garbage out and some paperwork. Oh, and I cleaned the boots I stole from Katie. Katie’s response when I sheepishly announced that I really liked the boots and was feeling pouty about giving them back to her was “Merry Christmas” which royally generous of her.

Tomorrow night I’m heading downtown and giving myself a bit of a break from suburban life and hanging out in the West End for the weekend. New Years I haven’t decided whether I’ll go to Jan’s open house of Spitters and relatives or just watch the world go by.

My to do list is the size of an oil tanker and I’ve yet to learn that going to GTD sites does not constitute progress. Plan the work, work the plan…. Marcus Aurelius, Epicurus and Epictetus all help though. Plain talking sumbitches.

Angels sang out in immaculate chorus
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

Yoiks. At work we call these times Sucking on the Firehose; you’re being sprayed, in a most mentally unhealthy way, with new information and expected to get it into your gullet rather than sprayed all over the walls. At home I call it much bitter and reflective cud to chew. (I think I stole that phrase from Lucy Maud Montgomery, but I can’t remember Jack Schritt these days, so I’m far from sure). At the same time, I feel energized and optimistic. This is a sign that I am about as seaworthy as the Titanic ten seconds after it hit the iceberg. And yet, and yet. I feel …. good. Not like James Brown, like Mad Martigan in Willow.

Right now the kitchen smells of a devastating combination of roasting almonds and the commencement of turkey soup. This place smells like food. Of course, I’ll have to do a lot more cooking before it actually IS food, but them’s the breaks.

Big shout out to m0m and pOp for agreeing to allow Lady Miss Banjola through the door. I wish you all joy of one another.

Now I’m supposed to be doing research, but I’m feeling like cooking and picking Katie up from work instead.

Keith’s got a mofo of a cold.

Enormous amounts of gratitude and love to Dr Filk for acts of loving service this afternoon.

Sorry I missed you Tammy….

Crafty, Mr. Math, very crafty
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

If you’re so smart, let’s see you crochet THIS!

Lady Miss Banjola to the rescue
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

Cartoon exit
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

In Paul’s quite natural haste to quit Vancouver yesterday, he left both the front door and the back door unlocked. I can understand his desire to be elsewhere, but I might wish that he would not put the worldly goods of his housemates at risk in the process.

2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

I am so thankful for my friends tonight. Tammy came and fetched me this morning and we spent a wonderful day lingerie shopping, eating sushi, and getting a pedicure, all while Tammy dispensed amusing bon mots and really good advice. At the end of it not only did I feel human I felt quite excellent.

All I really accomplished today was learn a Canadian new folk song (the Fenian Song) and get Katie a new phone number, as she has finally (only TOOK a month) decided she doesn’t want Daxus knowing her phone number. I love it when people finally take my advice…. At least I did something useful today, and like I said, I feel WAY WAY better. Tomorrow, who the hell knows.

mOm I cannot find the pic of John Kovalic’s “my lil Cthulhu” which is aggravating as hell, but I’m sure it will turn up eventually and I’ll forward the link then.

Tammy is leaving for Victoria tomorrow and Arizona after that so it will probably be another year before I see her, but her visit couldn’t have been more welcome or timed better.

Fed Glen and Maggie Christmas dinner last night.

Paul’s in Seattle with Keith.

Hot damn an NRA graphic novel
2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

Great balls o fire!!!!

I am very impressed, it’s a brilliantly conceived work.

Interesting site
2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

The most wonderful dream
2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

Last night I dreamed I went swimming by moonlight in Muskoka. The water was deliciously cool and I swam backwards away from moon with the light on my face. As soon as I thought I was near land, I turned around and I could feel the sand under my hands. It was a lovely, lovely dream.

I for one hail our new moose masters
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

DrFilk said, “Knowing your penchant for moose pics, I thought I’d alert you to this.” Why thank you, kind sir.

Monastery, 1909 Russia
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Color photos….. I love this picture because it is a genuine color photograph of a monastery in 1909, because it is a gorgeous composition by a good photographer (his name’s in the jpg name, and don’t ask me to pronounce it), and because it looks like something out of a contemporary anime….

And speaking of anime, I am still blown away by the deck of anime cards my cousin Catherine is designing. She is one talented artiste….

Pope’s hat for midnight mass
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Benedict’s hat for midnight mass is pretty encrusted with stuff. It must be heavy. Doesn’t he look like something out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer???

A helluva way to break a fall
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Some Brit fell 15000 feet out of an aircraft, got his chute tangled, and his fall was broken by a blackberry bush. He was found unconscious, with nothing more wrong with him than a punctured lung (Crikey, those spikes are long and sharp!) and a busted ankle. As one wag commented, I told you fruit is good for you. Just keep a weather eye out for the guy with the banana…

My aunt and the improvised weapon
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

I have learned from one of my more ‘things-go-boom’ correspondents that you can turn a disposable camera into a taser. My aunt had a disposable camera at the family gathering yesterday. Hm. Well, the women in my family always were a little odd. It’s a def trif bad idea to cheese them off………..

Oh, and there’s a video of how to do it on the internet, just in case it’s something the McGyver in you MUST KNOW.

2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

The choir angelic just got a lot funkier. Just when I’d decided I was going to see James Brown when he came through town next month, the old bugger up and dies on me. He died early this morning of pneumonia. I’ll let other people make the tasteless jokes, I already made fun of him in my blog.

I wish a happy Christmas and a healthy New Year to all my readers (all 40 of you! What a select group you are, to be sure).

I see a tiny patch of blue sky, which is pleasant, because the weather here has been on the downside of atrocious these last few days.

Pic is a captcha from the Blues Brothers of the Godfather of Soul.

Lovely brunch
2006-12-24— Posted by: allegra

No pics (which is hilarious because there were seven cameras there) but Granny’s 95th bday and mOm and pOp’s 50th anniversary went off completely hitchless. In attendance, myself, Paul, Katie (Keith had to work, poor lamb) mOm&pOp (obliviously) Granny (Ditto), Barry, Jackie, Lexi and Rob, Shauna and Catherine, Garry and Diane, Gregory, Tracy and Keegan and Caden, Jeff, Mary… I think that’s all.

We ate like idiots (finger food) and Paul had the brill notion of ordering a couple of jugs of draft rather than all separate beers which meant that we spent WAY less on alcool that we would have otherwise, and we were at a place called Charters which is right on the ocean and HOLY CRAP were the waves high. I am NOT used to seeing 8 foot breakers. Are we going to get on the ferry? It’s looking almost dicey. I’ll post when I get home…

Then the Amazing Cakes Diane made came out and we mounted a vicious assault on them, and then we sang Amazing Grace for Granny, and shmoozed and chatted and admired Catherine’s art work (she’s doing an anime deck of cards!!! send pens…) and had seventeen billion pictures taken. We all had a simply lovely time, and there’s truffles in our bag. Yay us. That was the nicest possible birthday / anniversary party, and I am very very glad I went.

The staff there are darlings and there’s a beautiful saltwater tank with “Nemo and his dad” in it…. two clownfish.

It’s still blowing really hard. I’m going to check the ferries.

Not enough sleep
2006-12-24— Posted by: allegra

I had a lousy nights’ sleep, mostly due to pain, and I’m out of prescribed painkillers. So I took AC&Cs instead, and woke up at 4 am with a bellyache instead. Heavy sigh. Now it’s time to jump on the ferry and get going………

enough sleep
2006-12-23— Posted by: allegra

Saw Tammy and met her beau Henry today, and we had a pleasant meal at Chong Lum Hin. Tomorrow, off to the grands for the 50th wedding celebration and Granny’s birthday party.

Rubber Santa Devil Pirate Ducky?
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a hopeless cultural mashup. Only thing missing are throwing stars and a ninja mask…..

I love the inappropriateness of it all
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

I had a worksibling send me an email that started, “Why you ungrateful hag!” I justabout spewed coffee all over my screen.

I’m okay with it, really, and +so+ wish I could share the circumstances. Anyway, I can die happy now. Actually I’ll be able to die happy when I get a business card that bears the title, “Chief Lackey”. It’s the little things that make a workplace great.

Scarlet Johannsen in fetish gear
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

You’re welcome.

No blog today
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

I am trying to model good behaviour…. if you have nothing to say, don’t prove it by talking.

Links to ancient Greek music
2006-12-21— Posted by: allegra

Punkin good Xmas
2006-12-21— Posted by: allegra

2006-12-21— Posted by: allegra

I spend a lot of time working on other people (usually neck and shoulder rubs) so it was a relief to actually be on the receiving end for a change. My feet say, “Thanks!”.

On the other hand, I’m hungover, but it IS the week before Christmas, the drinkinest part of the year.

I light a candle for the immigration woes of some of my friends and colleagues. May the problems be resolved swiftly and in your favor.

So… I mentioned Crisco yesterday, but alas, it gets worse. Imagine working someplace where you say, “I just don’t get Crisco” (the clear context being ‘in the sense of being a personal lubricant for acts of intimacy requiring large amounts of same’, to which your lunchmate’s response is, “But it’s natural.” My riposte, unfortunately for the appetites of my lunchmates, was the first thing that came into my head, which was, “So are gamma rays, but I don’t want them inside me.” This passes for normal conversation at any lunch table I’m sitting at, which is probly why the VPs always look so hunted when I sit down anywhere near them. But really, it’s better than listening to a brace of nerds salivate over expensive cameras, which is the only other conversational oppo.

I think my spine is finally rehydrating enough that I can uncurl from the foetal position, clothe myself, and brave the wild darkness of pre-dawn East Burnaby to get on the bus.

The Wet Spots do it again
2006-12-20— Posted by: allegra

No, as a matter of fact I don’t like Crisco, having a marked preference for O My, but I have to tell you, I work in the kind of place where worksiblings send me links like this… and I like that.

The Wet Spots are from Vancouver. I wonder if my Merkin worksibling was aware of this???? rolling around under the Christmas tree…..

Adventures in wellness
2006-12-20— Posted by: allegra

I had another interesting mini adventure at work yesterday. I asked a worksibling to show me where the gym is because as embarrassing as it is to relate, I couldn’t remember how to find it. He did so, in company with some of our other tablemates at lunch.

The menfolks went into the men’s changing room / shower room / washroom, determined there was nobody else in there and invited me to inspect. It was spacious and well appointed.

Then I pushed the door open into the women’s side. It’s the size of a Dilbert cubicle and the appalling stench that greeted me from the immense pile of shoes just inside the door literally stopped us all in our tracks.

So my worksibling says to me, on the way back up the stairs, I thought girls were supposed to smell pretty, and I told him to shut the **** up.

I wanted to be an honorary man for the purposes of gym usage, but instead I think I am going to draft a smokin’ email to the facilities manager and I’m going to hang an even more smokin’ sign up saying that all those shoes will be handed over to a hazmat team if they’re not outta there by a reasonable date.

In the spirit of the season, I am re-reading Robert Graves’ King Jesus.

It’s that time of year again
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Biscotti  Do not forget to double the recipe

3 large eggs
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
� cup melted butter
1 cup pretoasted any combination of coarsely chopped hazelnuts/almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
� teaspoon ground cardamom (Optional but optimal)
3 drops of almond flavouring (Optional and don�t overdo it)

Add, until no flour shows:

2 � cups all purpose flour (you may add a little more if dough is too sticky)
1 tablespoon baking powder (I use less).

Cover carefully with at least a couple of layers of cling-style wrap and 
refrigerate for NO MORE THAN A DAY
Cook in two stages   Preheat the oven to 350

Form dough into two logs (or four if you have doubled the recipe).  Roll the 
dough between your hands until the logs are between 1� and 2 inches in 
diameter and about 14 inches long.  Place on greased heavy duty aluminum foil 
(properly spaced you can get two logs onto a cookie sheet) and squish down 
with your hands until they are less than 3/4s of an inch high.

Cook for about 25 minutes, but watch it like a hawk for the last 5 minutes so 
it does not burn.  You want everything cooked right through but not so cooked 
that you have trouble cutting the logs up because they crumble.  If it still 
looks bubbly on top it isn�t done.  While still warm, slice logs using 
serrated knife in 1/2 inch thicknesses.  If the dough is gooey wipe off the 
knife with every cut.  Return to the oven at 350 until golden brown, about 
another 15 minutes.  For extra crispiness turn the oven off and let them sit 
for another 10, or even overnight with the oven off.

A double batch makes about 60 biscotti, depending on how thin you slice them.

Sign on a restaurant – now that’s a deal!!!
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

NOW HIRING / TWO FRENCH DIPS / FOR TWO DOLLARS. — A sign at an Arby’s in North Bend, Washington.

It had to happen
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Maybe that Durango owner will do a better job of parking it when he’s living in it.

News I needed………..
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Alcohol protects the brain from trauma!!!!!!!!!!! who knew???

Weather aboveground
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Here’s Dr. Filk inspecting the damage in Robert Burnaby Park. Still over 100000 people without power in Western Washington, not one but TWO of my coworkers had trees come through their houses.

I feel lucky we didn’t lose shingles or fencing. I had to pick my way through an awful lot of debris on the way down the hill from the bus stop this morning.

Are you edible?
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

In the spirit of the Season, Santa Moose
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Some people have NO RESPECT for wildlife, especially yearling male meese with a sweet tooth. Both pics, part of a series, sent me by my correspondent in Moosonee. I lie, he’s actually in Alberta, and this is from Cousin Gerald. Buddy, you’re a scandal to any self respecting moose, but I kinda like you anyway. Next up!!! a picture entitled, “Are you Edible?”

It’s been Bally Ages since I posted a moose pic
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

This is Buddy. He can fend for himself, but in this pic he is demonstrating that he likes hanging around the house where he was fostered when he was orphaned. Note the dog lying around, completely unconcerned, in the background.

I google imaged Rasta Claus
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

Happy Sigh, it’s Rasta Claus…..

How much? That’s all I want to know…..
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

URL sez it all.

Highly recommended blog
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

…and now you know where I stole that pic from 🙂

2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

A great peace comes
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

I am feeling much better.

Dejunked 2 boxes of books, a big heating pad thingy and a bag of clothes.

Lexi and I did the production line thang on chocolate truffles, I dipped Mr. Biscotti in Ms. Chocolate with excellent results, and then Rob dipped both into Mr. Latte, with what he pronounced excellent results. That all sounds much more kinky than it really was, I assure you. I’m weird – I don’t dip biscotti in either coffee or wine, both of which are trad.

Katie hauled her first 9 hour shift at the deli, and when she came home I worked on her back and we were giggling because she was crunching something awful, like 16 snaps or something.

Keith closed at Superstore yesterday – he was working the 15 items lane and he says he cannot recollect that it was ever that busy. A lot of people paying for groceries on credit though. I shudder when I hear that.

I have found a dandy blog about the Vancouver housing market. It’s uniformly excellent, and I’ve lost the freaking URL. I’ll dig it up and post it.

Suki, Dr Filk’s new cat, is a complete SWEEETheart. I really wish I had a cat who would sit in my lap when I work…. mew.

Quentin Crisp on avoiding a broken heart
2006-12-17— Posted by: allegra

The quickest remedy is that you must learn not to value love because it is requited. It makes no difference whether your love is returned. Your love is of value to you because you give it. It’s as though you gave me a present merely because you thought I would give you one in return. This won’t do. If you have love to give, you give it and you give it where it is needed, but never, never ask for anything in return. Once you’ve got that in your head, the idea of your heart being broken will disappear.

Christmas 2007
2006-12-17— Posted by: allegra

Ach, it’s too late to think about this year, but next year, buy me one of each from:::::

Off to Lexi’s this afternoon to see what happens when you mashup HER mad homemade chocolatier skillz and my biscotti. Oh yes, there will be calories!

In the meantime, laundry and dejunking.

Sad news
2006-12-17— Posted by: allegra

Paul and I are splitting up and selling the house. I sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to all the various people who thought we were a ‘forever’ couple. Sober consideration yielded the result that killing myself was not the way to get out of this soul-grinding, and unbelievably tasteless, situation. Splitting up seemed a more palatable option all the way ’round. The kids seem fine with it. More details as they become relevant.

enough sleep
2006-12-16— Posted by: allegra

No blog today.

front half December 2006

Housing bubble
2006-12-15— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a nice graphic….

2006-12-14— Posted by: allegra

I haven’t been complaining about it much, but my back is really sore. I no longer have a comfortable sleeping position, and sitting and being in a car are very hard.

Last night I dreamed I died. The hospital paid Paul $50 to cart my body away. I was still having a conversation with the nurse; it was like everybody else knew I was dead and I didn’t.

Bin There, Dun That
2006-12-13— Posted by: allegra

Burned all my con badges this morning. That made a satisfactory offering to Loki, I must say. It’s a good thing to put unpleasant things behind you. There is an offering to Loki that involves dumping a shooter on your head, but I’m not there yet, and I don’t have the courage to ask the Minions of Loki if I can ‘borrow’ a shot of Carn Dum, or whateverthehell they drink for scotch these days and use it for hair tonic, by way of requesting the assistance of an imaginary deity….

Daxus Briggs, Katie’s ex, has, in the last two days, called the house to talk to Paul and texted her (the same day the phone (we had to replace at great trouble and expense after he knocked it out of her hand in the middle of a roadway) arrived, the kid must be psychic). I say this so that if in a couple of days I post that he’s assaulted her again, or killed her, or himself, it won’t come as a surprise.

I guess he doesn’t really understand this whole ‘breach of undertaking’ thing. I’d like to breach his underpants with the toe of my boot, but a) that’s not very Unitarian of me and b) knowing how badly I do anything associated with physical violence, I’d prob’ly just hurt myself.

Work is extremely interesting and extremely difficult right now.

Home life could be better too, but I guess in light of the foregoing I don’t really have to explain much about why. And now Katie’s going to school full time and has TWO part time jobs, which totally reduces the stress of everybody in the house. Keith is continuing to truck along well, thanks for asking.

mOm photocopied and forwarded an article about Dr. Carolyn Porco, about whom previous posts, and Dr. Filk picked up the picture of her and said, in that sonorous and sappy voice he occasionally adopts, “I’m in love.”

Geeks rule.

There is a Christmas tree entirely composed of dead boards at work. It’s about two meters tall and covered in blinking leds out of dead displays. The VP HR loaned her Catbert doll to be the star, and every time I turn around there’s something else on it. Jim from Kanata; please note that the snowman from the Christmas card you forwarded is now decorating the tree. I didn’t think you’d mind….. and thanks for the card, we’re all reasonably well here, except those of us who are entirely insane.

I’m not going to post a picture of the tree made of boards, but I will give you a mental image. I was rendered entirely speechless for the best part of a minute when I saw it for the first time, much to the amusement of those engineering staff who expected a snappier comeback out of little old moi. That about covers it, right?

Paul’s going to Seattle for New Years Eve, possibly with Keith in tow, and I’m not. I’ll be greeting the New Year with snores, in accordance with long standing family tradition.

Another Party, March 10th. Why so close to St Patrick’s Day? Because of Paul’s schedule; February was a write off. There will be live music in The Noisome Lair of Dr. Filk but dancing and drinking will be everywhere else in the house. This will be a dancing party. And drinking. It is the feast day of St Himelin, who changed a pitcher of water into wine and died of the plague three days later. There is a lesson in that for all of us, I guess….

For me pOp
2006-12-12— Posted by: allegra

This picture is for my pOp, who used to hack electrons for a living. Subtext: Oops. If you’re not technical, you probably won’t get why this is funny.

And they made a Christmas tree out of scrap boards in the engineering department, so now I have to find something to put on it.

Scanged from Lifehacker & elsewhere
2006-12-12— Posted by: allegra

This is very useful and very friendly to the environment.

One of the many unindicted co-conspirators I call coworkers sent me this link. And make sure you read the comments….

Me on the beach on Saturday
2006-12-11— Posted by: allegra

That was one helluva blowy day.

There is a diagram for everything
2006-12-11— Posted by: allegra

Black powder
2006-12-11— Posted by: allegra

No pics, but I definitely fired an AWFUL lot of guns today. Some were short and some were long, and they all went bang. When we got to the range, they were firing black powder guns, so the first long gun I ever fired in my life was a black powder rifle. The target was only about 25 yards away, but I hit it two out of three times.

Then we left for lunch. Then we went back to do our own shooting, and the black powder guys were gone and we had the range to ourselves, which is awfully handy so you don’t have to yell CEASE FIRE every time you want to check your targets.

Can’t go into detail about it too much, but I really really really hated the Glock, and really liked the Walther, but I think I liked the .22 pistol best.

Then we went for a walk down the Puntledge River and HOLY CRAP were there EVER A LOT of SMELLY DEAD FISH.

Then we had supper, drove like the hammers to Nanaimo, and drove straight onto the ferry and now I’m home. I had a lovely weekend. Bang! My fingers got powder on them! Cordite!!! wooo and likewise hoo!

Courteney Comox run
2006-12-10— Posted by: allegra

Paul and I had a reasonably pleasant journey yesterday and ate, drank, sang, played and swapped lies for the day with the Lamprey Family. (Yes, Lamprey Geeks Rule!) We also visited Goose Spit during a windstorm… and then we drove and scrambled up to the top of a cliff that some Alaskan dude clearcut after he was told not to and viewed the windstorm from a different angle. Brisk! Bracing! Entirely Nuts.

Today I am going to fire weapons, teach the Lamprey Family how to make biscotti and go home.

We listened to a simply wonderful album by Harry Manx (Wise and Otherwise) last night and are now listening to Twango Bango by David Lindley and Wally Ingram, who manage to sound like a 19 piece ensemble between the two of them.

If this picture actually posts, it’s a baby Morrison Creek lamprey, and I think it’s adorable, especially the eyes.

Weather in space?
2006-12-09— Posted by: allegra

The current pic is of a tsunami on the sun. Molto frio!!!

Sundry & various
2006-12-09— Posted by: allegra

I just laboriously entered an immense post, and of course I hit “Insert Story” and the sumbitch vanished.

Paul and I are off to Courtenay on the 8:30 boat. Katie’s up already, she’s working the brunch shift today. She is showing signs of having transitioned from lazyass teenager to workaholic, a turn of events which partakes of the miraculous.

I got a flu shot at work yesterday, and other than not being able to raise my left arm above shoulder height and being sore, no side effects. The nurse giving the shot was smoother than a mirror.

Something in the computer is chattering like a leprechaun’s Uzi, so I took the precaution this morning of gmailing myself all the critical ‘work in progress’ files, including the song lyrics/listing, and the techno thriller to date.

I was very happy to leave work yesterday. I gave Rob of Nine a lift home (he’s limping, poor guy, having cracked a bone in his foot), then called Paul and got his ETA at 22nd Street Station, then battled the worst traffic I’ve seen in South Burnaby since the last Hyack Parade to get him, then got a phone call from Katie about six blocks from home (and more or less on the way) “Come and Get Me” which we did, and then we stayed for dinner, which was 9 Kinds Nibbly Things with Stella. Then home, and Paul and Katie went to Buffyverse and I had a long hot bath and did Sudoku.

Wish I could find the watch. It is resolutely staying in places I haven’t looked yet.

Glow in the dark Condiments
2006-12-08— Posted by: allegra

It made me laugh, what can I say.

Endeavor to persevere
2006-12-08— Posted by: allegra

Some dude in Metchosin has crucified Santa underneath a Latin sign that says Shop til you drop. I personally take much comfort at this time of year in that line from a Wertmuller movie about people thinking Jesus is Santa Claus as a young man.

I’m off to work early this morning, I don’t know why. Maybe the cafeteria is calling me for breakfast. I brought my lunch; homemade chicken soup.

Lady Miss Banjola dropped by for a 3rd season Buffy fest; for some reason the zombie cat episode, and then there were others.

I’m taking requests for song subjects.

Wish list & other stuff
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

I wish there was a place I could practice at work. I suspect my sanity would get an enormous boost if I could sing and play for half an hour in the middle of the day.

I wish people didn’t keep asking me what I want for Christmas; apart from world peace and a new sciatic nerve I’m kinda tapped out for ideas…. that I can publicly post.

I wish I could teleport over to my brother’s place and stay there for a week.

I wish I could teleport in February, when I’m planning to go to Toronto. Why go to Toronto in February? I miss real winter and I hear the place still has a decent transit system, neither of which obtain in this fair burg… I bet if I pack my skates there will be a thaw. Anyway, I have people to see and I wish to inspect the childrearing success of some of my friends.

I wish I could skate outside this winter without driving to 100 Mile House, or whereverthehell. Apparently there are ski hills around here that have outdoor skating surfaces. I suppose I should hang with Mr Interweb and find out where. It’s just that Apres Patiner doesn’t sound so good.

The latest Frank issue verbed the galactic moose.

The latest Funny Times actually was. I subscribed to Funny Times for a year when I was living in Toronto and working for CDS; the current subscription was a gift from Janice.

One of my projects while I’m in TO is to visit all my old stomping grounds, personal and professional, and take pictures.

I wish I could teleport to Mars and go play with the rocks for a while.

Serenity Shopping List
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

This made me crack up. I found this someplace off Whedonesque – it’s from eckshully, and I thought this was one of the most adorable fanbites I’d seen in quite a while. If you aren’t a Serenity/Firefly fan this will go right by you.

Howard Zinn quote
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

Howard Zinn, from his most recent book.

America’s future is linked to how we understand our past. For this reason, writing about history, for me, is never a neutral act. By writing, I hope to awaken a great consciousness of racial injustice, sexual bias, class inequality, and national hubris. I also want to bring into the light the unreported resistance of people against the power of the Establishment: the refusal of the indigenous to simply disappear; the rebellion of black people in the anti-slavery movement and in the more recent movement against racial segregation; the strikes carried out by working people all through American history in attempt to improve their lives. To omit these acts of resistance is to support the official view that power only rests with those who have the guns and possess the wealth. I write in order to illustrate the creative power of people struggling for a better world. People, when organized, have enormous power, more than any government. Our history runs deep with the stories of people who stand up, speak out, dig in, organize, connect, form networks of resistance, and alter the course of history.

Elvis Preseli
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

This Welsh Elvis impersonator – who doesn’t even perform Elvis tunes, apparently – has more charisma than he knows what to do with. Check out that big bald head. Mmm mhmm. His real name is Geraint Benney. As is usual with the Sun Online, may their various minions be cursed and their privy parts struck sore with fistulae and flatulence, the name of the photographer is nowhere in evidence. These Things Are Scent to Try Us. Anyway, whether you were a publicist’s minion or of the valiant, free press, great pic kiddo.

Joke from Cousin Gerald
2006-12-06— Posted by: allegra

In honour of the Liberals, I thought maybe we could go to a quiet, average-looking little French restaurant that no-one’s ever heard of and even French people don’t like, but is environmentally friendly and smart.

Massively urine-worthy clip
2006-12-06— Posted by: allegra

Mary Poppins recut as a horror film. Baybee! Hide yer childer!

Weird experience
2006-12-06— Posted by: allegra

So…. I’m minding my own business last night, in my own patent pending fashion, and a song said, “Play me play me I need to be liberated from silence!”…. so I start picking out the sweet little beatleseque melody line on the mandolin. And ANOTHER song came along and said, “**** the other song, play ME inSTEAD!!!!” No lyrics for either one yet. One is going to be a song about war, and the other song is going to be a love song. Maybe a biscotti song. No, too sweet. It’ll be a love song for Vancouver weather. No, that’s too disgusting. But it will be a love song…. Oh my GOD, I’m playing a MINOR chord on the mandolin. The people I play with on a regular basis will get scared. I mean, this song has FOUR WHOLE CHORDS IN IT. So in the midst of the retreat from Moscow which is my personal life at the moment, some things are extremely buoyant and fun. And I’ll be taking biscotti to work, which will make somebody happy, even if it isn’t me.

And you know what Brian said? “Get your ass in gear and learn Copperhead Road!” It shall be done, superior sir! As long as he doesn’t tell me to learn the Battle of Evermore or Maggie Mae, I should be fine. Brr!

mOm, I can only think of one line from a movie right now…. “We must learn to be happy without it.” I’m working on it, but the sledding is very heavy.

Up next… meeting Katie’s new beau.

Cancelled the Simplicity meeting, only one person RSVP’d.

I’m reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Jumping Jimmy Christmas, what an extremely disturbing and bizarre graphic novel. I say again, Brr!

I just figured something out
2006-12-05— Posted by: allegra

BSE gets into the human food chain not so much with tainted meat from the butcher, but through prions that escape from pet food containers – because we all know that only the most wholesome cuts of meat are in cat food tins…. And all this time I was being a good citizen, cleaning out those cat food cans in the sink. I can feel my brains checking out already…….

Off to school
2006-12-05— Posted by: allegra

We let Katie sleep until 8 and now she’s going to get a lift to school. Sweet, as the kids say.

Still shippiles of snow; the promised rain was so measly and ineffectual that it didn’t actually melt much. We need a really warm spell or some sun.

Today I sort through the tangled mass of songs YET AGAIN to figure out which one to do next, and I made up cards for the ones I just wrote, which include “Short” (sorry, I can’t post the lyrics because they are extremely rude and possibly actionable) “Lady of Komarr” “Going on Vacation” “Buy me a Beer” “The Dream in Fragments” & “Miss Manners has her say”, and I didn’t have a card for “Chance Met”, either, although I wrote it months ago, and I did have a card for “The Merman Lover” which I wrote after “Chance Met”. I have been getting sloppy…. I also remembered a tune I wrote, no lyrics, about 20 years ago. I find driving a car and walking extremely useful in song writing; moving and songwriting seem to go together. I know it sounds stupid, but I could literally write airs all day.

I forwarded one of my tunes to two of my colleagues the other day; one has yet to comment, and the other said, “Wish I hadn’t waited 4 days to listen to that… more please!” which I have to say made my day….

That was for “Crazymaking Boy” a cute little tune which Katie sings backup on. I made the mistake of emailing it to one of Katie’s friends, (shaky fisty, Jessica!) and now the damned song is an Escapee…. there’s like half a dozen kids in Burnaby with the song on their MP3 players. I should probably make it Creative Commons and be done with it. Barn doors and all. Anyway, today should be a tuneful day.

Phone has been replaced and works great. First batch of mailing biscotti is off – Paul scarfed about a third of the batch for a Christmas party last night, which seemed entirely appropriate. Most people are just standing around waiting for an opportunity to eat my biscotti, at least this time of year.

Courtenay folk, prepare to be invaded… this just in from Paul….

2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Katie filled out all the paperwork for her new job. Now she’s hanging with friends for the evening.

We bought a family Christmas present – a phone with two handsets so John can have one downstairs and doesn’t have to schlep it up and down whenever he wants it. We also broke down and activated call display.

Now I’ve seen everything
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra


And to think I could have used one of these last week!!!!

More kitty pics
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Zeek! was very very happy to have Paul home. As soon as Paul lay down on the Sofa of Morpheus, zingo, there he was. Oh, and the phone just rang and the good news was that the job that Katie applied for has called her back to fill in paperwork. So all good news.

Busy day
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of Kira. I have lots of work to do today…..

I wrote another song
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Little Jimmy Maple Leaf, the guitar slinging wildman that he is, suggested I write a song. I have done so, but now I am deeply ashamed of myself because I will never be able to perform it in a public venue, it being too scurrilous and potentially career limiting.

Stranger, when you see this story, go tell the Maple Leafs, we have done as we were bid.

Anyway, I’ll debut it at my next party, sometime in February.

I wrote it less than 24 hours after he commissioned it. I wish to do for love what others charge so much for, so we may all be enriched by knowing the true price of art. Pic is of a neighbor.

Shaky fisty
2006-12-03— Posted by: allegra

Dang. One of the perils of the blogslife is the Wildean moment. The wonderful backstory thingee you don’t talk about in public. Anyway, I’m very happy right now, although I’d be happier if I hadn’t just boobytrapped the freezer door with half frozen ice cream which caused Keith to let out a mighty yell, and a mightier scolding to the miscreant (terse, witty, and entirely without profanity) who would be, oops, me. I did clean it up. Kira wanted to help, but I .. uh … pink tinged cat puke is not something I care to contemplate cleaning up at the moment.

Paul’s home
2006-12-03— Posted by: allegra

He was able to get an earlier flight, so he’s home early. Me happy.

Cartoon noises
2006-12-03— Posted by: allegra

Little Jimmy Christmas, I haven’t even had coffee yet, and Keith is enthusiastically (Willis-like, full points if you get the Heinlein reference) bouncing around the house talking about doing a Dorothy Dunnett / anime mashup. Yark! Actually, there are possibilities… there are so many pretty blond boys in anime.

Last night’s company Xmas party was well attended, fun, and in a very choice location. I performed “Buy me a Beer” to a crowd of about 150 people without difficulty or incident. Maintaining the three beer buzz required to adequately render the song was a challenge but I was driving home alone after …. so I had to be good. It was received reasonably well (actually, it received enthusiastic applause and people were clapping along during the song, and I forced the Moomins to get up and dance, so yeah, by me it was a success).

The person who took pix of the event has not yet forwarded them to me… wait a minute, let me check my other email…nope, no joy. I got a quick look over his shoulder at the display afterwards; he took TWO DOZEN PICS of me performing and I didn’t even notice… that’s smooth, considering his camera is the size of a fax machine.

And then I had the unalloyed joy of having two of my long time coworkers admire my cojones, a sentiment as cheerfully welcome as it is anatomically improbable. Both of them only play in public when they have backup, and that just makes me shake my head, as both of them are semi pro or at least have vocal training, and all I have is my widdy head, my native talent (40 years of songwriting, gosh darn) and a cruel muse.

Yupper… Polyhymnia is a badtempered muse – she once dated Loki and man, it did NOT work out. He kept bugging her for drinking songs, and she’d get up and go dance and sing in the woods like an elfmaiden. I’ll have to do a story about that sometime. Hm. I just had a great idea for a whole collection of stories… no actually it would work best as a graphic novel. Okay, in the pile with you, Mr. 29th idea before breakfast….

I tuned that goldinged mandolin three times – the humidity in the, uh, facility we were at went up and down a lot. I’m never buying a crappy tuner again, it’s insane making. We TUNE because we CARE.

My only regret was that Paul was not there to see it, he would have enjoyed it immensely. And my grandboss played keyboards, so there.

Katie’s not here but she phoned. Warning: Relationship in Progress. I can’t say I approve, I never met the lad formally, but if it’s taking Katie’s mind off her troubles I shouldn’t make either horrified OR envious noises. This one at least is a Red Dwarf fan so I’m allowing myself to experience a dilute and cautious optimism.

Off to church this morning; it’s a purely musical service, no sermon. Sunday mornings never looked so fine. Which is not to say I don’t enjoy Rev Katie’s sermons, I just like music a lot. You noticed? How kind!

Keith brought me coffee; all is forgiven.

Now I have to get going on the song Jim commissioned. Hint: I am diving into the thesaurus for words that are confused with “short”.

Gosh, whatever Keith’s cooking smells righteous, and he made bread too, the useful man.

I even wore makeup last night. Now my eyes feel like mortared-over bricks, and I actually removed the makeup before I went to bed last night! Cazart.

I should go move the laundry along.

I’ll post pix when Dave gets them to me. Wish he could ‘shop about 15 pounds off my butt, and 5 off my face, but them’s the breaks………..

back to the grind, not
2006-12-02— Posted by: allegra

Yeehaw 4 days off. I have much in the way of plannyness planned, as well as many Solstice “fatten the relatives” plans. And I have been SPECIFICALLY enjoined by my delightful and hardworking and talented worksiblings south of de border to MAKE BISCOTTI and somehow get them through customs. Having a bit of a problem there, because they are w*apons of mass accretion. However, I am sure I can do it, because they are my worksiblings, and you have to figure on doing what it takes to feed them.

Lessee. The world continues to be a weird and interesting place. Katie did not come home last night, but I want everybody to know two things. I know where she is and she is doing fine.

The November novel writing month is over, but I’m still up 18K words. I’ll have to delete or rewrite most of that, but I have a better sense of what I’m doing and hope to be done this time next year.

I have to enter 15 songs in the next two weeks if I want to get back on schedule. I did get through Buy me a Beer last night, but that was only so I could rip a wav file and get it over to Brian. There are now two more verses from what I previously posted – very funny ones, I may say.

Oh, Glen, I keep flashing on the expression on your face when you said, “I’ve FINALLY heard the Tapioca Song.” Giggle.

Time to update the song list. It’s unbelievable to me how many songs I’ve written in the last 2 months. I haven’t had a spell like this since the summer through fall of 1990…. not that I quit writing in the middle, just didn’t produce that much.

I really want to learn another instrument. I suppose it’s time I actually learned piano; really I want to learn bass but then everybody would think I was just copying Peggy, who is essentially so much herself and not anybody else that I couldn’t dream of that… She’s getting SOOOO good on bass. I just want to squee like a four year old when I think about it.

And besides, basses are heavy and my back is crappy right now.

Paul’s at his mum’s place in London; Frances’ funeral is today.

Keith and I got halfway through Ed Wood and couldn’t hack it after about halfway – although as promised, Martin Landau was amazing – so we watched Jacob’s Ladder instead. Holy Virgin, what a CREEPY movie! I was not watching it directly because when I saw the vibrating heads I freaked out. I just listened to it, and when the creepy voice says “Dream On” in the hospital I justabout convulsed in terror. I have such a bizarre nervous system. Keith’s on a ‘going mad’ movie kick, and I said, well, sheesh there’s lots of those. I am going to bug him to rent Gaslight. I’ve never seen it, except excerpted (try typing THAT fast!) in other shows.

Time to start a load of laundry and review my 36 item to do list; at least finding a cure for cancer and accomplishing world peace have finally dropped off the list… and I owe it all to GTD! And it’s not even 8 am yet. A great start to my long weekend.

I light a candle for Paul, Paul’s mum Phyllis, and all the folks gathered to celebrate Frances’ life today.

I light a candle for the Vancouver Lesbian and Gay Choir – I am FINALLY going to go to a show, I buy tix tomorra.

And I’m lighting a big big candle to the folks who crafted the millennia old orrery. Geeks rule! Greek Geeks rule very much indeed! And as Cousin Gerald said, Cartographers Rule the World. (It’s the sign over his office.) I made the mistake of mentioning printers, and don’t ever do that to a cartographer, they have the best stuff. But we have an instantiator at my work!!! so there!

Pic is Katie in Seattle for the Music Project school trip.

nucular terrierism
2006-12-01— Posted by: allegra

A fistfight with a clown?

Okay actually it’s about nuclear terrorism.

2006-12-01— Posted by: allegra

Katie didn’t come home last night. Nor did she phone. To quote Kryten, “I’m almost annoyed.” I have a rough idea of where she is and who she’s with, but a phone call would have been nice.

Paul called to say it’s raining and blowing a gale in Toronto right now. He and Per were supposed to see the Avro Arrow display (a Canuckistani pilgrimage if ever there was one – damn, I wouldn’t mind seeing it myself) but the traffic and the weather suck too badly. Paul’s off to London at 2 and will meet up with his mum.

Headgear Smackdown
2006-11-30— Posted by: allegra

Normally, Bennie has it all over the other guys in the hat department, but as Lady Miss Banjola remarked, the Patriarch is having a major hat smackdown with the Pope. And, check out the vestments. At least they don’t wear the same thing to the party…..

Silly string…. isn’t
2006-11-30— Posted by: allegra