Dunnett group and instrument acquisition

Interesting. mOm you may find this diary entry provokes some feels about HTW and how he had v. progressive views.

Dunnett meet at the Sandbar on Granville Island was absolutely wonderful; met a woman I felt like I’ve known my whole life, and she’s moving from the bay area to Bellingham in MAY!!! Good news for me anyway – I told her about the Unitarian outfit there and she told me about the Bellingham ukelele orchestra. Then we all mocked Bellis Fair Mall, which, being an American mall constructed in 1988 which I drive by every time I go to Seattle and NEVER ENTER, is extremely mockable, and turns out anyone who’s been there feels the same way.  She’s been to Findhorn twicet! She told me I look younger than 61! Jan wasn’t there but Ingrid and Cheryl and Rob were.

Anyway I had shrimps and scallops and they were so goddamned good words can’t cover it. I did NOT have alcohol, for once; I had raspberry lemonade instead. In consequence, I felt better and did not muck up my digestion. Trip home was dented by wetsuweten protesters, who’ve been fucking up Vancouver for days.

Then I bought a pan drum – think a portable (not fantastically…) steel drum. I shall forward a sound file later, mOm.

This is me with baby Yoda earrings.

A startled looking white woman displays her baby Yoda earrings.

That feeling when

Jeff calls the new Hulu show “Burn Tarot” and expects Jeffrey Donovan to be doing voiceovers “When you’re a psychic,” and you laugh so hard you pull a rib.

Some irritated person threatens to call the Site Leader (basically GOD ON CALL) when you warn them that work requests will be slow tonight because you’re at 50% staffing and your response is OH WOULD YOU PLEASE we’ll need her help sorting through all the work requests that were in the system AHEAD OF YOURS. That was 3/4 of an hour ago.  Yeah, you guessed it, no call. Just as an aside I actually paged the Site Leader yesterday and she didn’t answer, so make of that what you will. She probably pulled an Allegra and when she didn’t recognize the number didn’t pick up lollllol.

People who work nights and complain about the workload and do a shitty job and sleep in the ER until 5 am when they wake up and pretend to do more work are on the receiving end of one of your pointier emails.

I have 64 likes on my Supernatural fic and 4 kudos and I’m thinking I KNOW SOMEBODY LIKES MY WRITING and Jeff says my interest in slash fanfic for a show I don’t watch equals zero, interest in MMCo = 100% and you just think squee.

You’ve invented a fanfic universe in which you have a McGuffin to make any character pairing possible (with a lot of effort, but possible).

Your daughter calls and tells you she got a job, a good job, in a union environment, close to home and you’re dancing around like an idjit.

You think ‘I’m actually going to miss this job’. I mean, I quit a month ago and I’m still working here, it’s insane. And some of the people are so much fun, I come in early just so I can interact with them.  Others, well, you know how it is.

I’ve almost paid off my credit card debt and I did it with money I earned.

You forget to tell your mother that you received and deposited the cheque she sent you… a month ago.

You watch the Wrong Box again.

I’m putting it in my pile of movies to watch when I’m feeling icky. Because watching it put a bounce in my step. Figuring out that John Larroquette based his performance in the Librarians in part on Ralph Richardson’s tremendous turn as Joseph Finsbury; (so many classic lines among which ‘the playing of games, with balls of varying sizes’ never fails to crack me up), marvelling at Peter Sellers’ false nose and moggy filled apartment (at one point he mops up an ink blot with a kitten’s ass); drooling over the set dec and costumes, which are lovely, and the script (done in part by Larry Gelbart whom you may also know as one of the creators of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and M*A*S*H the tv show, also family faves), the hilarious and stylish music, with a score by John Barry, also a fave of mine (his theme for the Persuaders was one of the highlights for me on tv when I was a teen); John Mills’ voice; the ridiculous train derailment; Tutte Lemkow, the professional villain, and his entirely mute performance as the knitting mad Bournemouth Strangler. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, and would like a film that amuses without cloying, it’s really, really good.

So yeah… all in all I’m having a good week, and writing 15k words in 4 days was… interesting. Graphomania is a helluva drug. I was literally pacing when I wanted to write and couldn’t, and that’s PSYCHOMOTOR AGITATION folks.  Perhaps the sun is coming back and making me twitterpated.




Ringing in the New Year via snow shovel

Dug out  the front stairs, walkway and sidewalk, the back stairs, side walkway, garage walkway, and the snow blocking passage to the laneway.

New Years Writing Resolutions:


Publish 5 books (4 out of 5 are written) block out five more, e-publish my book of homilies, write two more of fiction and two of non-fiction. Finally assemble all my filk songs as of the end of 2016 into a big pdf file. Dig more deeply into Scrivener and see what else it can do to help my work flow. Learn more about e-publishing. Print at least a small run of physical books (probably locally) so I can put them in my mOm’s hands. Put everything for free on my website so people who are broke can read it. Develop a mailing list for book marketing purposes. Learn to spam LinkedIn since it’s all they’ve ever done for me. Figure out if it’s worth it to put any version of the ‘trilogy plus bookends’ on Amazon, given all the hassles I hear about. Start a Patreon account. Move 1500 units. Start submitting to publishers once I have some sales. And remember that 1000 words a day is 4 books a year!

I am completely and utterly sober. I have five minutes to pour myself a toast of something before I greet the new year with some Moar Wrdz.

365 Daily Affirmations for the Revolutionary Proletarian Militant

I’m not a prole by virtue of upbringing, education and unemployment, so I really got it in memory of John.  I do like it, even if I don’t agree with all of it.  I supported the Kickstarter and it arrived yesterday and it’s gorgeous.

Yesterday the weather was so yeesh Paul and I mall walked at Brentwood instead, and I came home with more soap and more undies and much sorer feet than normal since we normally walk on more yielding substances than the terrazzo floors one finds in malls. I picked up a dark chocolate Sweet Georgia Brown for Jeff.


The novels I am working on honour and name some women’s experiences that don’t get spoken of much in fiction, and while I meant to write something overtly feminist and goofy (there is a LOT of goofiness in all of the novels, also stuff that’s really sad or formal or media-crunchy or just kinda sideways to the normal flow of contemporary novels) I wanted to deconstruct a lot of issues I find with fiction.

The first novel is written almost entirely from the points of view of the main characters.  They lie, they address the camera with every show of sincerity, and in some cases they go off into wacko country to expose themselves and their feelings to demonstrate how real and how weird they are, on purpose, kinda like a performance piece that you can’t look away from despite how terrible it is.  Later, you hear from a sympathetic female character that she doesn’t believe a word that our heroine wrote on the subject of her relationship with the lead alien, to which her sad response is, “I can’t believe the things that really happened,” which is me saying that erasure happens at every level of human life, fictional or not. Not everyone in your lifeboat is your friend.

What we are willing to consider unbelievable defines us.  When we open the floodgates to unmediated human experience and see with our x-ray eyes the patterns and radiating webworks of connection and alienations, our prejudices will define what we see, our linguistic traffic patterns will define how we talk about it OR IF WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT AT ALL and what springs into the foreground for me as a writer is how crabbed and censored and tied in moneyed, legalistic, sexist knots all of my life is, including, overwhelmingly, most of the media I consume.

I am over the side of a little boat, trying to get a big damned net off a whale that has begged for my help BY BEING IN FRONT OF ME AND NEEDING MY HELP.

And if I’m really lucky, I will experience that moment of success. I’ll get the net off ONE WHALE. The whale will leap into the air and take me to the place of gratitude that belongs to all thinking creatures – at least the mammals.

I am trying to free language so that we can speak about things that mean something to us.  Women, men, everybody. We are all in a net of clunky concepts and ambiguous words.  It’s my job to jump over the side and free the whale.

So no, I’m not going to be a revolutionary militant, but I’m going to hold myself to my goal.  I want my readers to laugh and cry and think and shake their fists. And when they are done, to think about their own lives, all the risks untaken and all the kind words left unsaid, and all the fucking homophobic narcissistic sexist racist assholes who, every time we rub up against them, take a little of our skin and humanity with them.

My son said that the idea of reading ‘a book about alien pregnancy’ made him squick.  Paul laughed uproariously.  Nine months in my body, but disgusted by pregnancy, was his comment.  What a kid. The pregnancy is less than 10 percent of all the words in all three books but see what he has chosen to believe defines it.  And so, in the words of the black activists I follow on twitter, this is me shaking my damned head. (SMH)


I am reading Patton Oswalt’s Silver Screen Fiend and IT’S OUTSTANDING.  Borrow it or buy it and read it.  Won’t say more, don’t have to.

And I have Caitlin Moran and the Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines to look forward to after this.

I can feel the well of my writing soul going dry, and there’s nothing to do but fill the cup at someone else’s spring.

Or have some more Great Blue Heron coffee. Yeah.

I have a couple of potential songs in the queue and since I’m ahead of schedule I’ll pause.  I practiced a good long time yesterday, it was very pleasant.

Paul and Keith are off to the Island this weekend.  Yay for family visits!

Today is Keith’s nth birthday, and glad I am I gave birth to him n years ago, about three hours from now.  I am more glad that we live in the same town/time zone, because he continues to be a good soul who takes no shit from me, and that is a good thing.

Back to Mr. Oswalt, who in his book is lodged firmly in the midnineties catching up on classic cinema.

Balloons go up until they come down

The ongoing crisis looms a little closer to North Americans.  Sell your Airline stock. I’ve asked Paul to retire.  Or to consider it if and when we get an Ebola sufferer coming through town via YVR.

Katie is having a rough go, poor lassie, not getting enough sleep.

Turkey soup is bubblin’ away.

Jeff’s at work and going to bring home treats.  I am going to curl up with Thomas Piketty.



Once there was a man who when his girlfriend was moving out had to wait another week because the elevator broke.

Then the truck broke down.

SRSLY.  WTF.   For a while there we thought maybe this move wouldn’t happen, but after about 6 hours the truck magically appeared.

Anyway, Mike and I had already run away to the Paddlewheeler Pub during Fraser Fest and people watched and ate snax and drank beer.  We went back to his place and met up with the ex and it was reasonably civilized (I left the room).

I have absolutely no tolerance for fun anymore, I came home and collapsed. Now it’s three in the morning and I’m awake.  Heavy sigh.

Don’t expect much out of me in the next little while.  I’m axtually gonna read Piketty’s Capital in the 21st C because apparently you’re nobody until you do. It’s a doorstop.

Continuing to love on Europe Central

This is the best novel I’ve read since the 40 rules of Love, and it’s a really really different book.  I am finding it enthralling reading. (Except for the typos, and there were a couple of doozies).  Historical characters – snared in conflicting loyalties and pushed to the snapping point time and time again, broken on the wheel of tyranny -command attention from every page.  Superlative.  His prose has the effortful grace of a bird of prey taking off.  He calls Hitler ‘the sleepwalker’.  Yesterday I watched a documentary on the death of Stalin for more background.

Hymn sing yesterday at Tom and Peggy’s was wonderful, and I took a cilantro salad based on the one Sandra taught me.  (oh god, the food she fed me…. it was amazing, stellar, eye popping, wonderful). Two bunches cilantro wash the hell out of them pick them over and chop.  One rinsed can kidney beans, make em yourself if you can. A cup of walnuts, broken up.  Rather more garlic than you would think necessary, minced.  Lemon juice all together maybe three tablespoons.  No salt, no pepper.  I’m also going to try this with parsley.

Jeff and Katie went to Wreck Beach yesterday.  I would have gone, but I put out my knee somehow and every time I go up and downstairs my eyebrows bob up and down and I puff and blow in a most elderly way.

I read mOm what I wrote in Madawaska and she laughed in all the right parts. Now on to more serious bits.  It can’t all be waltzes and comedy.

A drunkard’s walk through my most influential reads

I wrote something like this in December 2004, so this is an update for that unsearchable part of my blog. Some of it is stolen from the earlier post, but condensified and tucked up.


Ann Landers.  When I was growing up, I read her column every chance I got.  She asked people to be honest and kind, and OWNED UP when she did or said something stupid.  I wanted every grownup to be like her.

Cynthia Heimel in Playboy.  When I was growing up, she wrote a column about being a mother in which she said that having the ability to drop the pretense of perfection in front of your children was precious, and I took it to heart.

Jane Goodall – In the Shadow of Man.  I came to understand what kind of primate I am, the importance of touch, the idea that no intelligence can be foreign to a truly self-aware person.  And chimp babies are adorable.

Harlan Ellison – at a stupidly impressionable age, I read I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.  His misogyny and manic self-promotion aside, he remains a very influential writer, and his stunt of writing in a storefront impressed me deeply.

The Time-Life book The Mind.  There were illustrations in that book I still refer to.  The science is now shot full of holes, but it started my life long belief that we’re everything we are physically, but mostly we are our brains.

C.P. Idyll’s Abyss.  I read every word of it, about the strange and remarkable deep sea creatures, and it permanently affected me.  When I write about Kima and the Oldest, I am thinking of that book as being on the shelf at my parents’ place, accessible forever in memory.

H B Liddell Hart’s History of the Second World War.  I reread the part on the Holocaust compulsively, and anything about Hitler.

David J Dowker’s Machine Language.  When I run out of things to do, I will memorize it. “Brain pan hammered into a pure sound butter melts across.” That takes me right into the National Geographic Gold issue, which is also a very important work to me, and contains a solid gold frying pan. Butter is gold! my brain has a pan!  I am trying, in an airy and insubstantial way, to show how my own brain works.  “Eat me if you dare”.

The mirror writing of Leonardo Da Vinci.  When he wrote of the wind, he called it the breathing of this terrestrial machine; when he wrote of the moon, he said, it has no light of itself and yet is luminous.  To stand in front of his words, as written in his own hand, from his own journal, was like going to a shrine.

Brief insert for recent humour. I was asked to write a seven word autobiography, and I came up with “Spectrum girl walks world banging her shins.”  Not bad for a thrown together affair.

Dorothy Dunnett OF COURSE.


M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie, and also his work on consensus.

The Lost Queen of Egypt by Lucile Morrison.  Someday I will hold a copy of this children’s classic in my hand again.  It’s about the tragedy of being happy and the glory of true friendship.

The Mary Poppins books.  Never mind the movie, which is good in the Hollywood way, if you ignore the classism and the ongoing travesty-cum-wincefest of Dick van Dyke’s accent. The books have racist and classist overtones as well, but they are also marvellously subversive and really imaginative.

The Kingdom of Carbonel, a wonderful children’s book.

The Vorkosigan novels by Lois McMaster Bujold – yet a new hero to worship. If you like humour, action, dastardly villains and I mean DASTARDLY and deeply flawed and brilliant heroes, look no further than any of the Vorkosigan novels. I started with Cordelia’s Honor and that’s not a bad place to start, as it has the single most memorable exchange between a happily married couple in all of English literature. Suffice it to say that the word “Shopping” is involved.

Wade Davis, One River.  Find it, read it.

Edward Shlain’s Sex, Time and Power. Some of it is just plain wrong, some wrongheaded. But where he got it right, he got it very right indeed.

Elaine Pagels’ the Gnostic Gospels. Poetry, Mystery, God.

Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand, Men and Women in Conversation. Hasn’t stopped being useful

First Things First by Stephen Covey and a couple of his acolytes.  Trenchant, useful, right end up in terms of moral compasses.

The Four Agreements.  It’s another self-help book, and in parts it’s psychologically rather cack-handed, but parts are pure poetry and singing with truth.

Kerri Hulme’s The Bone People. I don’t know what to say about this Booker Prize winning novel except that it is such a rare and crazy book with such deeply memorable characters, that the flimsy plot means nothing compared to how it’s written. Easily one of my top ten favourite books.  Started my love affair (long distance it will likely remain), with the people, history and landscape of New Zealand, whose former denizens keep finding their way into my life, much as Finns do.

Blind Voices by Tom Reamy. I remain alternately hopeful and terrified that it will become a movie; the rape scene is spectacularly gross, but the special effectsy stuff will be glorious.

Paul Blackburn Collected Poems. I dedicated the long poem In Colours Unsuspected to him.

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s the Mists of Avalon. The ultimate read in the bath book. Makes magic and myth and real life into something truly great.  It doesn’t dodge the grosser aspects of being female in an Iron Age culture.


The funny things the characters say

Jeff took me for breakfast… the leftovers will make a loverly brunch.  We also did a shop, including two for one standing rib roasts.  Nom.

Teaching the homeless to code.

I said I wouldn’t, but I did volunteer for something at church; I’m doing esthetics for Sally’s birthday (which is also a choir day so she can’t sing and set up at the same time).  I will be talking to Sue about what she wants, since the Board is doing the service that day. Sue returned my steampunk hat and we had a lovely visit.  It was weird; I thought of her because I knew she was back from vacation and I hadn’t talked to her in yonks, and she rang me up within seconds of this thought occurring.  Ah, the message in the wind.

Trip to Toronto is not yet booked, but it is tentatively 26th Nov to 5 Dec.

Good news for prostitutes and women at high risk of HIV everywhere.

I just had a character whisper in in my ear “Shiny is health, sparkle is magic”.  It made sense in context. (Kima, if anybody cares.)

Jeff and I are watching Cheers.  Shelley Long as Diane makes me want to alternately slap her and make counted crossstitch samplers of her dialogue, but the rest of the characters, especially Coach, are so funny my occasional cringes are worth it.  It’s one of the many shows in my tv blackout period so I never watched it the first time.

I am reading Foucault for Dummies.  There’s probably only one person who reads my blog on a regular basis who will find this amusing.

We are also watching Caprica, which is way, way better than I expected it to be.  As I remarked on another subject, all this and Bear McCreary too.

pOp is feeling poorly, so I am sending him a big hug and a wish that he recover his normal level of grumpiness with all due speed.





The Maid of Tarth Lyrics rev 1.

Oh the Maid of Tarth she went a riding x 2
For her honor and king, for the minstrels to sing
Branded traitor and fled into hiding

Swearing fealty to Lady Catelyn x 2
Put her sword at her feet, promised vengeance so sweet
Little reckoning what she’d be battling.

Lady Catelyn was missing her daughters x 2
To trade Lannister’s life, on the edge of a knife
Never minding their lies and their slaughters

“Take the Kingslayer back to King’s Landing X2
With your guile and your might, staying well out of sight
It’s his miserable life you’re defending.”

He fought but he still could not best her x 2
He’d have drowned like a rat were it not for the trap
Brave Companions had now set to test her

The Companions took Lannister’s sword hand x 2
Put the hand on a string, between them to swing
As in fetters they rode through the wasteland.

Said the Maid, “My lord, live for your vengeance X2
Serve the future instead, you’re no use to us dead
And so plan your revenge with all patience.”

Said the Kingslayer “you are no beautyX2
But your heart knows the right, and you know how to fight
with all justice and fierceness and duty”

Knowing this he defended her virtue X2
Spoke of jewels and wealth, kept her whole and in health
as the Kingslayer worked for her rescue

In King’s Landing he gave her Oathkeeper x2
“Save Starks with Stark steel! it is fitting, I feel;
As their captors sowed death, be the reaper!”

So the Maid rode away from King’s Landing x2
and of her no word comes, not with ravens or drums
But she lives still to my understanding.