Kitundu took this picture

Image

It’s a song sparrow. Gentleman who took this is a Black birder residing in the US – among MANY other things, me calling him a birder is like calling Miles Davis a trumpet player. His website is kitundu.com, and it is full of wonders. Including the video of a phonoharp study. I had no notion there was such a thing as a phonoharp until today. It’s great music. Nature photos galore. A thought-provoking designer too.

Hannah Gadsby

Many thanks to Alex for taking me to Hannah Gadsby when her good friend C. couldn’t make it. Told her to make sure Darwin sees “The Compleat Practical Joker” the next time he’s at the fOlks in Victoria.

If you haven’t seen Nanette, her earlier show which took the internet by storm, I’d advise it, but pack tissues.

Funny fandom note; Misha Collins, whose graceful corpus (along with the rest of the Company of Mad Bad Boys in Plaid from Supernatural) has inspired hundreds of thousands of words of smut’n’otherstuff from YersTruly, mentioned yesterday morning on social media that he’d rewatched Nanette with tears rolling down his face and then about two hours later Alex texts with hey wanna see Hannah Gadsby, and I thought ‘that’s interesting, I thought I was going to the Heritage Grill for the Jam tonight but guess not!’

It was a fantastic show. Superlatively intellectual, emotional and FUNNY on all cylinders.

She doesn’t like antivaxxers. SHE ADDRESSED THEM DIRECTLY and it was SOMETHING I ASSURE YOU

Her little rip through art history, much as in the previous show, was fucking hilarious.

Alex and I didn’t spend longer than two minutes at any point during the show without laughing. HARD VERY HARD XQUUEEEEZE ME

Alex and I both contacted each other after the show to ensure we got home.

Went to see a feminist comedian…. yeah

the end of a perfect day

apart from misgendering Cade Tinney when I introduced them, yesterday, for which I apologized and was forgiven by them and the con com I had the best possible con.

Thanks to my fellow judges for the songwriting contest.

Daniela Festi was an amazing choice as an interfilk guest, like flat out fucking amazing. Her musicality, professionalism and versatility was mindblowing.

Vanessa Cardui has a beautiful voice and penetrating wit and verve as a lyricist.

Rhiannon’s Lark, aka Alyssa Yeager, a zero defect singer, a great and funny lyricist, a good guitarist and hoo boy can she run a harmony looper like nobody’s biz.

Eric and Lizzie of Cheshire Moon were great guests and entertaining as heck.

Sunnie Larsen IS A GODDESS fight me.

It was so good to see Beth Runnerwolf.

Hung with Chaos for a while.

Emailed Jesse my Cthulthu Mars Bar story.

JOHN AND JEN ON SOUND my goodness HOW LUCKY ARE WE as Paul said, on both sides of the mic!!!

Ecumenifilk was great, played Lift Every Voice and Sing on the ukelele AND when I talked about how I would never sing it (just play it) the only poc in the room thanked me for my sensitivity.

BEAUTY AND HAPPY MEMORIES ALL ‘ROUND.

gaw damn

So the government having spun and ground and popped its neck vertebrae has now coughtèd up another 2700 dollars this time for GST/HST.

Unbelievable. Jeff suggested sending fleurs to the woman at RevCan and I’m seriously considering it… anonymous, of course, so as to not have the appearance of a bribe.

Her voice – so peaceful and kind.

The exact opposite of what you’d expect.

Finally did a word count on HOTM can you believe it the rewrite is now almost 30K long!!!

Sad Puppies

A regressive bunch of almost entirely guys has hijacked the Hugo nominations so that their slate is most likely to win.

Info here, here and here (one of the puppies, just to be fair).

 

My response on facebook:

 

They can game the system for a couple of years, and then they’ll be back to crying. The test of their horsemalarkey will come from sales. If the almighty free hand of the market makes it rain for their publishers because the Sad Puppies widdled on the Hugos, then they get to gloat. If, as I predict, all this posturing means nothing to the bean counters, their victory will be virtual and ephemeral. In the meantime, it’s never been easier to find whatever kinds of fiction you enjoy, and even to find ways to avoid bad cover art, which seems to be a problem with the Pupsters.

I intend to write contemporary SF that messes with intent with every one of the Sacred Tropes of the Golden Age of Privileged SF, torches the evidence and makes sidewalk chalk with the ashes.

And my last word.

 

Margot was calling for me after I left

… Or I should say squawking, according to Jeff.

I bought and brought back two packs of specially blended tea from Friday Afternoon, the Serenity blend and the Inara blend.  The Serenity blend is extremely tasty (I’m consuming it right now) and the Inara blend we’ll have to wait to drink.  Jeff and I have both now quit coffee so I’m looking for less caffeinated beverages to enjoy.  It was Friday’s daughter who was the littlest filk wench.  TTTO Away in a Manger

 

The littlest filk wench no corset she has
She jumped into the wenching with verve and pizzazz
With hair all of gold and eyes of bright blue
Just try not to bid when she’s gazing at you.

Mom’s in the dealer room all unawares
how her girl’s superpowers she now freely shares
The littlest filk wench said “LET’S DO THIS THING!”
and Douglas and J. heard the coffers ka-ching.

Seanan McGuire took the stage for a bid
Showing how a fan’s name she had cleverly hid
She said “and he might die quite horribly”
And the littlest filk wench cried “NO SPOILERS!” with glee.

She said “SAY ONE HUNDRED!” and the adults all quailed
We all came with a budget and once more we failed
Twas all for a good cause and we all shared a laugh
But how I wish I’d gotten that girl’s autograph!

Happy Birthday mOm

Tonstant weaders will believe that I have a rather rose coloured view of my mother; those who actually know my mother will know that my pen is a feeble reed in limning all of her sterling personal characteristics.  So to prevent this little screed from becoming a full on panegyric, I’ll take the first three words that come to my mind when I think about her, which are kind, intelligent and industrious, and attempt to fill in the gaps a little.

The grimmer aspects of childrearing aside (for my mother was not kind when she wanted me to clean my room) my mother is kind.  To the extent that she knows of the feelings of others, she doesn’t tread on them.  I had her example in front of me during my growing up and it’s great – also a burden, because the world is full of assholes and sometimes I’d like to go join that party, but my mother’s lingering influence prevents me from going full bore asshole for more than short periods.  My dad is also kind, but he specializes in unemphatic demonstrations of practicality, punctuated by full on goofiness.  My mother’s kindness consists of superb discernment in conversation and a finely tuned ability to see and experience the best in other people; hospitableness; a really amazing ability to take people as they are without immediately rushing to judgement; and most of all taking her own needs seriously while making the people around her comfortable.

That she’s intelligent can be, I suppose, demonstrated by the degrees on the wall, but we’ve all met educated fools.  My mother’s intelligence is woven fine; it encompasses the practical and kinesthetic skills of what used to be called the womanly arts as well as the ability to be curious and ever learning about archaeology and cosmology and sociology; the ability to grow things and be in nature with joy; to envision and execute a multiplicity of ongoing writing and craft projects; to keep the more eyeglazing aspects of family history firmly in hand; and most important, to understand the limits of her intelligence with humour and candour.

Oh, the industriousness.  I don’t envy her kindness or her intelligence.  Both of those things are part of her makeup at least in my view.  But people CHOOSE to be industrious, and that my mother has done.  There’s been a lot of bs in the internet press about ‘having it all’; how hard it is for a woman to have a career, husband, children, house, garden and restful sleep at night.  The reason I think it’s bs is because I’VE SEEN IT DONE.  I know how it’s done.  If you have a supportive husband and reasonably cooperative children, it’s possible.  You just can’t do anything else and not have things go SPUNG.  Oftentimes I think that the whiners are saying “I want all that stuff but I still want exotic vacations and drinks with the girls and 45 minutes of working out every day.”  My mother did not, and does not, give a tinker’s cuss about any of that stuff.  Her priorities were as plain as a three by five card.  It was “Husband, kids, career, home, family, friends” in some order, but not necessarily that order.  And in order to do that, she cooked a lot of meals, and burned a lot of midnight oil studying, and got woken up a lot by puking or nightmare-frightened children, and scrubbed a lot of tubs, and filled in a lot of incident reports, and sewed and knitted a lot of clothing, and pulled a lot of weeds, and took the pager (disproportionately a lot, thanks you sexist asshats) as administrator on call for the hospital, and wrote a lot of letters, and put long hours in at the office, and worked (discreetly and without fanfare) on keeping the magic in her marriage.   (All of this makes it sound like my pOp didn’t do anything; believe me, he was in there working his butt off, but much of what he did was less visible to me as a child.)

So there you have it.  My mOm, in brief.  Happy Birthday, mOm!

frabjous news

I have simply spectacular good news but I can’t say anything about it until I receive authorization.  It has to do with me and music.  I’ll leave it at that.

Board meeting was excellent and productive.  We had a board meeting/potluck and Jeff grazed on leftovers.  One of the joys of Unitarianism is candle wax, and I got some on my gran’s linen tablecloth but sing HA I have already ironed the wax out and I’ve run the tablecloth through the laundry.  So no harm done.  We had to make some hard choices, but Debra is an awesome minister and she is completely unFaZed by organizational change, is a great communicator and gosh darn a nice person.  She told her partner recently that she’s falling in love with Beacon.  I dearly love Rev Katie and really enjoy her posts (and her hubby’s) on facebook (the only way I keep track of her as there is meshugas about a retired minister poking head back in to a church for a couple of years) but she is a reserved individual and Debra is a gregarious individual and it’s obviously playing out in an interesting way in congregational life.

I’m seeing Katie for lunch today – her treat, yippee.

TAMMY IS COMING THIS MONTH.  So looking forward to seeing her and her mum, whom I usually see at the festive season.

Sue is playing Santa Claus in a play which I am going to go see.  She says playing Santa Claus is hot and hard, which kinda makes it sound pornographic now I write it out like that.

I got a completely unprintable and exceedingly welcome compliment from somebody recently, to the point that I must now quote Mark Twain: “I can live two months on a good compliment”.  I may have to stretch it out even farther than that.

I have a very obnoxious complaint to make about somebody and I am not going to publicly state it.  I want a medal or something.

I think Jeff is thrilled we had company; there’s whipped cream in the fridge and the kitchen table is now clear.  Oops, just put laundry on it.  O well, it was nice while it lasted.

This afternoon after my Katietime I will do something productive, just haven’t figured out which of my piles of shit I should attempt to render into something useful first.

I love Lockout.  Guy Pearce is A GREAT SMARTASS. Man after my own heart.  Here’s a quote from him: [2007, on his music] “I don’t want to make music to get into the pop charts and make a career out of it. I just want to play music with other people. Sometimes I record it. I think there is a value in recording it in the same way that you might write a diary. Writing a diary does not mean that you want to publish it. If this is my diary, I’m not sure that I want it to be read. And anyway, I think there is an automatic disdain for somebody who is too ambitious. People think as an actor you are gifted and don’t have any troubles in life. You are lucky to be doing this thing where all you have to do is go around telling lies and you get to kiss beautiful women. So how dare you want to be able to do this other thing. I am not interested in releasing music to a skeptical audience.”

I mourn the passing of Dave Brubeck, and light a candle also for the victims of the Montréal Massacre

Hey hey my my Ai Wei Wei

One of the most brilliant and humane artists of this or any century is Ai Wei Wei.  I recently saw a documentary segment on Frontline about him and both Jeff and I were blown away at how amazing he is.  He’s being set up for a long jail sentence.

The church spring potluck was last night.  It went very well and in the end, as always, there was enuff fud.  I contributed two entrées, set up, clean up, butter, a starch dish and the Tapioca Song and I was exhausted when I got home.  Paul turned up for as much as he could stay for and contributed his best ever quinoa salad and home made bread.

Most mornings I awaken

to the sound of Jeff tapping on his keyboard.  Sometimes it’s a cat and that staccato defooding sound in some very long-to-be-discovered corner.  Sometimes it’s the smell of a skunk penetrating through the window; sometimes it’s my natural clock, which spits me back out into consciousness anywhere between 2 and 7 am.  Sometimes it’s a leg cramp, and that’s what I got this morning.  I woke to pain pain pain and had a hell of a time getting my foot flat to the ground to get the muscle stretched out and the muscle – the same one I blew out running for the bus the year after I hurt my back – is still grumbling and hot.  Ah, but pain is what tells you that you’re alive.

Daughter Katie came over last night.  I picked her up after work (Dax tried to scare me by materializing next to my car window, but Katie had the kindness to warn me, so I let him know that he WOULD have given me a heart attack if I hadn’t been warned.  He also told me the size of his paycheck, which was respectable for his age and educational level) and then fed her and Jeff home baked schnitzel and veg, and we talked and watched CSI and the Mentalist, which amusingly enough had identical plots, and then we walked up to 7-11 where I got her bus tickets and milk and eggs for myself, waited with her for her bus and then walked home.  Canada Way is so noisy for pedestrians it’s practically deafening; two streets in Jeff and I enjoy a very peaceful little enclave, no barking dogs or noisy neighbours, and yet we’re smack in the center of Edmonds, 10th, Kingsway and Canada Way, all busy arterial streets.  We do get train noise at night as it echoes in the Fraser Valley and comes up the hill; we get the eerie booming noises at night that are actually special effects explosions down in that movie set off of Marine down in the flats; and we get airplane noise a fair bit, although rarely at very low levels, and hardly ever helicopter noise, which scares the crap out of me.

Soon there will be a visit by the rest of Paul’s family to abide for a while in the bosom of the alternative justice system of BC.  I have decided that with all my quirks and drama I’m best off staying away.  My mother is hosting them and that will be the right end of the family to shelter and help them while this goes on; who can say what will happen but I earnestly hope for some closure and a feeling that it’s what John would have wanted rather than a trial and jail for the woman whose inattentive driving killed him.

I am very seriously thinking of either giving Ziva to a family member or selling her.  I have taken so much pleasure in owning her that it may seem a little odd, but if I’m going to be that close to the new location of the office and I can still borrow Jeff’s car occasionally to shop, I should be in good shape to have enjoyed her and then released her back into the wild.  Neither of the kids have evinced much interest because they don’t really have the cash flow.

Ocelots at the Seattle zoo.

I am waiting for Jeff to awaken so I can cook him breakfast.  Finn pancakes and coffee; I’m going to have mine with applewood smoked cheddar.

I have shippiles of work to do today; I have Valentines to create.  I am planning on sneaking into work on Sunday after church and putting them in people’s mail trays.  Every year it’s the same thing.  People are travelling, or they never check their mail trays, and the next thing you know you’re getting thanked for the Valentine on March 1st.

I brought home the flowers Jeff and the folks gave me and they are still gorgeous and sweetly scented.  I know cut flowers are frowned on by some people in my connection, but I will never frown.  Their colour and scent brightened my work area and made many other people happy but me for the balance of the week, and now they’ll be pretty in my kitchen until they’re done.

I send a hug into the ether for Lady Miss B and warm wishes to her hub and miniB, and a big old mushy group hug for Tom and Peggy, my folks and brother (nearly typed bother, and that was NOT my intent), Scott for digging up the name of the psychologist for me, my coworkers Mike Y and Hassan and Kev and Patricia, and I blow kisses at Veronica.  Sneetchy scowling at some other folks for workpain, but I won’t name them. More hugs for Rev. Katie who visited me in sickness and hell that’s what ministers are s’posed to do, and Sue, Carol, Kathleen and Gary for a really good board meeting.  I wish the contractors working on the new building the time, money and safety to do a good job.

I wish a lot of things.  It’s strange to think that this time last week I wished for nothing but cessation of wishing.

Life is good.  I’m going to go work on Dandelions Dreaming now, it’s the best thing I can think of for Peggy’s birthday.  Later today I’m going to talk to Jeff about capturing video from games so I can do something really kickass for Left4Dead/Rising in a Zombieland Redemption, which is the new and deliberately awkward title for my zombie choon, and it may get even longer, at which point I’ll shorten it again.  Such is the creative process; you put your best shit in, you take you best shit out, you put your best shit in, and you shake it all about.

Lurkers decloak

the rules keep changing…..

OMFG.  This is disturbing, and yet I found myself laughing anxiously.  Somebody I had NO CLUE follows my blog has emailed me something by way of comment.  I’m paraphrasing massively, but it went like this.  “Next time you’re having problems why don’t you do something useful and strap a bomb to yourself?  I can think of a few handy places to put it, and I’ll even help you with the technical side of things.”  The rest of the email was a charmingly spelled rant about how even insanity is not an excuse for suicide (??!!), it’s for elderly and terminal people neither of which I am and I should be ashamed of myself for talking about suicide publicly.  Oh, yes, I should definitely take your advice and not the advice of people I love, who love me.  Let me just sit with that a moment.

Man, I know a lot of strange people.  The idea of repurposing my private turmoil for a rather expansive (in the gaseous sense) comment on public policy has a certain amount of flair though.  I couldn’t do it, even at the height of my belief that I’d be better off dead…. my rights end where my skin does, and I can’t imagine taking somebody else with me; it’s against everything I still believe.

Anyway, I’ve been lurking in MY OWN blog, which is weird.  Over the years I have had it… have I really been doing this for years and years???? I have said less and less about more and more.  I have been afraid of offending people; afraid of hurting people’s feelings; worrying about what people who already hate me think.  I’ve been afraid of losing my job, making my parents stop loving me, or being the kind of person who gives Unitarianism a bad name.  (I’ve had it pointed out that might not be a bad thing).  I’ve been very very scared.

So I’ll decloak.

I am one opinionated mofette.  ça veut dire mauxfaits.  On va recommencer.  I am going to stop beating myself up and start kicking the verbal snot out of those who more richly deserve it.  I won’t talk about work except to say when things are going well or badly.  I won’t recount personal conversations without the informed consent of the folks involved. I won’t repost emails without permission, this morning notwithstanding and besides it was a paraphrase and further besides he was obviously upset at somebody who isn’t me.  I was just the… lightning rod?  Dude can comment directly on my blog any time he likes… if he doesn’t like, he can take a sex holiday in Enumclaw with my compliments.

Leaving horsefuckery behind…. and yes, I’m against the use of animals for the sexual pleasure of human beings because of this whole ‘informed consent thing’, I’m just being sophomoric and rude…..

Foremost among those I would hear praised, Jeff, Katie, Paul, my parents, Peggy, Tom, Lady Miss B, Sue, Rev Katie, Keith, Chipper and two people who have asked not to be named publicly.  Thank you thank you thank you.  You are wonderful people and I know that you will keep doing what you do, so it’s good to know you are there.

Katie, thank you for telling me that you are and you intend to remain childless by choice.  I was sure I’d never want children when I was fourteen; I wanted kids by the time I was your age.   I think you’re old enough to know what you want.  Keith, haw haw, the joke’s on you.  My dreams of becoming a successful organizm now rest on your creamed-animé-on-tropes-stuffed cranium.  And if I’m never a grandma I’ll be fine; there are enough neurotic white folks in the world already or so I scan it.  One of my other relatives will breed when I’m longing for a baby to spoil.  It’s no biggie.

Back to the real world:

Eddie is wandering up and down the house HOWLING for Jeff.  He cries upstairs, downstairs, and outside (freaked me out, I couldn’t tell where he was; he sounded like he was locked in something).

Yay! Canadian tech for a better world!

Jeff, there’s rice pudding in the fridge.  Maybe you’ve gone off rice pudding but this rice pudding is very superior, and even if you don’t want it I intend to eat every scrap of it before it goes bad; Rozo and Katie already extracted some for their own use at home.

Damn Paul but that was an awesome roast.  I’d forgotten how much I love carrots and onyums done around a roast beast.

Al-Jazeera has been added to our roster of cable stations.  I watched, with amazement, a documentary that didn’t even have a single Arab name attached to it; who knew I’d get a very damning picture of the Latvian forest industry, with lots of lines drawn between the first world’s desire to greenwash everything and the destruction of the last pristine forests in Europa?  Honestly, I want to send an email to the Latvia PM telling him the satellite pictures of the Latvian forests are calling him an asshat and a full bore liar.  Latvian politicians and functionaries are disturbingly smooth voiced and calm, they all seem to speak idiomatic bureaucratese English, and the bigger the lie the calmer they look.  And they are destroying the traditional sustainable forestry operations which are family businesses.  The guy who won the international farmer of the year award was foaming at the mouth showing how all the ‘scientific’ forestry immediately around him – clear cuts all – are causing blow downs on his property and destroying the margins of his sustainable forest.  This is sustainable forestry in Canada.  That’s pretty much what it looks like in Latvia.  Anyway, at the current rate of clear cutting in Latvia- which is going to subsidize DIY homeowners in England, who get to buy wood that has a sustainably harvested sticker on it, sticker purchased by the Latvian forestry ministry from a fucking scam non profit in Britain – they won’t have a forest let alone a forest industry within ten years.  The habitat destruction of rare species is blandly ignored by the politicians because it’s all about employment.  Forestry sustains 40 percent of the Latvian GDP.  They are going to kill their economy.  One wonders, when forestry collapses, what the government will tell their unemployed young men to do.  A social, political and ecological disaster in the making, I’d say.  When the young men of Riga rioted after the economic downturn in 2008, this was the response of the government.  Clear cut Latvia.  Can’t even blame capitalism.  It’s state socialism that is doing the job, ably assisted by the English demand for board feet.

I think of the Ukrainians who froze to death rather than cut down the trees in the parks in Kiev during WWII and I wonder what the hell happened to the Latvians.  Shame.

And now the trivia

Yesterday’s birthday feast was amazing and wonderful.  Brian C., Tom U., Mike and V., Jarmo and Susana, and Jeff, all took me out.  I had much beer and several shooters, and so much ‘appetizers’ that when my burger came I ended up staring at it until it was cold.  I love my friends with a happiness that bends time and warps space.

Mike gave me a Ralph Steadman / Gonzo skin for my laptop; Jarmo a home made wooden clock that you have to be a genius to tell time with, and Susana gave me Tove Jansson’s Moominvalley in November; a very Finnish gift.  All in all a satisfactory and entirely unexpected haul.

There was a bunch of other stuff I wanted to talk about but I think my domestic chores are calling.  A dog defecated on the back deck (why?  and why SO MUCH?) and somebody, probably Eddie, barfed up all over the dining room table.  Nothing like pets to keep you in touch with what is real.  And it’s better than brooding.

Oh, and Jeff took me out for breakfast…. and I had a lazy day.  Now, to work.