the amazing Brentwood

It was spitting when Paul and I left the house around 1 pm yesterday so we mall walked instead. We went to Brentwood to look at the new mall, and it’s actually very nice and pleasantly accessible. We ate at Cazba, having the chicken platter and shirazi salad (which is actually a late addition to Iranian cuisine thanks to the introduction of the tomato during the Qajar period). It was spendy as hell but the chicken was done over a grill and it was very nom, and my body kept encouraging me to finish the salad, it was so tasty, fresh and healthy. We were back home in a couple of hours after walking all over the joint and checking out the spots where the old mall and the new mall have been joined up. Personally I really like the new food court which is not completely full yet but it was funny listening to Paul feel sorry for the retailers because he said “Malls are dead, they were dying before this pandemic,” and we walked mostly in silence past covered shop window, after covered shop window. Some of the old merchants like Purdy’s and the banks and phone kiosks, and Daniadown are still there, but the smoke shop/post office (to my sadness) was gone, and whether in the old part of the mall or the new there were lots of signs saying who was moving in and a lot of empty shops. One thing about Brentwood hasn’t changed though, the fucking surface parking is a disaster zone; we went all the way to the southern Beta Street exit to find a goddamned parking spot.

There are enough seats all around the new Brentwood and even the outdoor ones are the kind you can stretch out on (they are all backless). I saw a lot of people with strollers and in powered wheelchairs, and at the base of the walkway there’s a little nook with comfy chairs and a fireplace – which was jammed with people using the wifi. That’s also close to a place called the Rec Room which uses their smart phones to track guests as they play on a wide assortment of games. Not exactly pandemic friendly but they’re checking IDs and vaxx status.

Unfortunately all those hard surfaces did a number on my joints and by the time 6:30 rolled around I felt like I’d been wheelbarrowed across cobbles for a while. Had a lousy night of sleep.

2021 – the year of living ancestorily

So for 2021, this blog is going to change up a bit. There will be at least one drafted post that goes live every day. (I’ve started pre-posting awready.)  The hope is that I will put together useful or historical facts or just … information that’s easy to find arranged by subject PLUS post a song every day.

Now this involves many different KINDS of posts; some will be PDF’s, some MP3s, some videos, but there will be a song a day. I thought about posting it to youtube, but…. it’s a toxic waste dump that I have virtually no control over. And yes, some of the song posts will be from previous posts, but there will be a particular category: Song a Day 2021

And then, if I have the energy, I’ll write about laundry and cooking and grandson goo and boring domestic shit and progress on my writing projects — that none care about but me.

The point is that I am going to highlight my lifetime of achievement because I’m tired of always thinking to myself that I haven’t accomplished anything in my life. Taken all together, why yes I have. I was autistic and had ADD and mental health issues the whole time, too.

I’m considering password protecting my content or at least some of it, and I’m considering moving the blog to a VPS, after non-definitive discussion with Jeff.

I’m also thinking about money and immortality, a lot, but it’s nothing bad. I just want to eat steak for a thousand years while I drink beer and write nasty shit about misogynist slurs like Jordan Peterson.

By the way mOm the cat poets are Lu You and Liu Zhongyin

Not going outside


Popular Science publishes this article


james stout june 15

1. The Physical Approach

The force required to pull down a statue isn’t as great as you think, says mechanical engineer Scott Holland. Most statues are bronze, using an alloy of 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin and a maximum thickness of 3/16 of an inch. The Statue of Liberty’s copper sheeting is only 3/32 of an inch thick, for comparison.

Holland says your average statue of a person tops out at around 3,500 pounds. (FYI: A horse statue is approximately 7,000 pounds.) Meanwhile, the OSHA-mandated upper force limit for horizontal pulling per person is 50 pounds of force–“but that’s for working every day,” he says, “so you could probably do twice that.”

At 100 pounds of force, then, we’re talking about a 35-person job to drag the statue, Holland says. But to pull it down, “let’s assume twice the force–so you’ll need twice as many people.” So before you start toppling, you’d better recruit 70 buddies with a bit of muscle.

Now that you have your crew, you’ll need the right tools. Holland suggests grabbing a few 4×4 recovery straps, which can be rated to over 32,000 pounds and are far less cumbersome than a chain. Once you’re properly equipped, you want to get leverage, Holland says, “so you need to get the straps around the head or the neck [of the statue].”

To break the statue from its base, split into two teams on either side and work in a back-and-forth motion. Most statues are attached to the base by 2 to 3 feet of rebar, so you’ll actually be breaking it at the bronze above the rebar–not the rebar itself, says Holland. (That’s steel.) “When the U.S. took down that statue of Saddam Hussein, you can see it folds at that spot where the rebar is in the base of it,” he says.

operation iraqi freedom day 21 us troops enter central baghdad and topple statue of saddam hussein on april 9, 2003 in baghdad, iraq

U.S. troops topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq on April 9, 2003.


Let’s say you can’t find 70 friends. If you still want to attempt this with a smaller removal squad, you have to weaken the monument itself. That’s where temperature comes in.

Yield strength changes a lot with temperature. A 90 percent copper/10 percent tin statue, for example, will have a yield strength at room temperature of 31.4 megapascals–that’s compared to 275 MPa for 6061 aluminum–“so structurally,” Holland says, “it’s not hard to break.”

temperature and strength of metals chart

With 35 people, you need to cut the statue’s yield strength in half by heating it up. And how do you do that? For a bronze statue, your target temperature is around 450 degrees Celsius, or 842 degrees Fahrenheit. “You could use a butane torch,” says Holland, “but it would be much quicker with a propane torch. Those burn hotter. You’ll be there for 15 to 20 minutes, but it’s a lot easier.”

Just make sure you use the proper protective equipment and look to see that nobody is underneath the statue when it falls. That means using a long rope to make sure the first person on the rope is farther away from the statue than the statue is tall. Use this handy Pythagorean triangle calculator to help figure that out.

black lives matter protests

Protesters in Bristol, England throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the harbor on June 7, 2020.


2. The Chemical Approach

Maybe you’re operating with an even smaller team–or toppling the statue all by yourself. In that case, your best bet is melting the damn thing. So let’s make a thermite reaction.

“The formula is very simple,” says Chris Harrison, a chemistry professor at San Diego State University. “It’s 3:1 by mass of rust and aluminum powder. You mix those together and use a piece of magnesium to use as a high temperature fuse. And if you don’t have one, you could use a sparkler.”

The melting point of the hypothetical bronze statue is 1,742 degrees Fahrenheit, but even if you come across a racist cast in copper (melting point: 1,984 degrees), you can still easily melt both with thermite, as it burns at 2,500 degrees.

While thermite might burn nearly half as hot as the sun, it isn’t explosive. “You could pack the thermite around [the statue’s] ankles using a plastic or metal bucket with the base removed,” Harrison says. “You could invert the halves of the bucket and place them on either side of the feet, and then pour in the thermite, packing it down as best as possible. The more open space there is, the less efficient the reaction will be.”

head removed from christopher columbus statue in north end of boston

A statue depicting Christopher Columbus is seen with its head removed on June 10, 2020 in Boston.


Once you melt the statue’s ankles, it should just fall over, Harrison says, as that metal likely supports everything above it.

If you’re out of sparklers, snag some liquid nitrogen from a distributor like Airgas or Praxair. Then, drill a hole in the statue and pour the nitrogen inside to shatter the ankles.

Or you could combine the two, says Harrison. “If the liquid nitrogen is above the height of the thermite, you’ll have some very cold metal, right next to some metal getting very hot,” he says. “This should induce a lot of thermal strain, likely causing the metal to crack in that region.”

Just keep that hole way above your thermite, or you’ll be spraying incredibly hot molten metal into the air.

And here’s a fun bonus: The liquid nitrogen will quickly turn to a gas and come shooting out of that hole you drilled, says Harrison, which will almost certainly cause a high-pitched squeal. “One could imagine it sounding something like the sound a confederate general would make if their feet were on fire.”

small shop

yesterday I had a burst of energy after a morning during which I felt like scrap. Is it the allergies? who knows.

So, washed the kitchen floor after Jeff swept, washed the kitchen rugs, did some gardening, went for a walk with Jeff and Paul and we sat on the deck for a while.

Today a small shop. Hope I can find the head for a Bee Mop.

8:14 am – Bee Mop head achieved. Also, spongey white bread, a continuing comfort food. spongey mop spongey bread what can it mean. Save-on continues to be a civilized place to do the seniors shop


from CrimethInc

Just…. Canada is going to end up ground between those two countries.

Just bizniss

Kenny Gu and the housing blues. I knew the Vancouver market was fucked up, but holy shit.

Dinner with Mike last night.  It was such a spectacular early fall evening we ate on the patio at the Quay. I had the prawn pad thai and Mike had the glass noodles with chicken from Longtail Kitchen, and the meal was so good my eyes couldn’t focus for a while afterward. I drank a Tiger beer.  I should get it for Jeff. It has ABSOLUTELY NO TASTE.

Now I’m hongring for coffee and thinking about Starbucks.  I don’t normally want to have anything from Starbucks, but the alt-right wants to boycott them, and I do fancy their chocolate croissants.


Amaze is no longer amazing

I’ve been using the laundry product Amaze for almost a quarter of a century and it’s off the market.  I’ve been to all the places I used to buy it, and I’ve been on line, and I’ve been to the brand website and it’s vanished.

So apparently the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet has shed so much ice to climate change that it’s changed gravity.

So apparently we have ants.

So apparently I hurt my left knee walking yesterday

So apparently Pluto has 5 wobble-orbited moons.

Well then.

No words yesterday but a lovely long walk in the park (Oakalla, aka Deer Lake) with Master Alex, who was completely adorable and said Ma-ma when Katie put him back in the car.  Thanks to Paul for providing car. We saw frogs, great blue herons, towhees and little twittering birds of some description. Katie particularly enjoyed the sound of the wind in the long grass.


Some progress

Used CPAP last night.  The Liposic allowed me to open my eyes without creaking this morning (still dreffle dry, but not the :spend twenty minutes thinking sad thoughts to get my tear ducts to work so I can open them: dry of yesterday morning, which was a horrid start to the day). My new routine is Liposic at night since I can’t see a ****ing thing when I put that stuff in, and Systane in the morning since it is much runnier.  I am also going to start supplementing with evening primrose oil again and start monitoring how many hours a day I am at the computer and watching tv, which will probably horrify me into a neurasthenic stupor.  Also I have to drink water or tea instead of coffee, GRRR.

The congregational dinner was absolutely lovely and I sang Tapioca, but my almost new medical problem (self-diagnosed from symptoms, so YMMV, and almost certainly triggered by my slip and fall in the shop although the broken shoulder got all the attention) fixed it so that by the end I was barely able to walk, drive or lift anything, which given that I was on the cleanup crew didn’t halp.  I am good for about 2.5 k of walking before the pain is so bad I start to waddle (which is characteristic) and all the strength goes out of my legs, (ditto). When I got out of bed this morning all the bones in that region of my body grated and popped like a ship’s rigging in bad weather.

As this is almost certainly the consequence of not having proper foot support and wearing the same shoes day in and day out (which Chipper has warned me about many times) I need to drag myself off to the doc and get a scrip (again, I lost the first one) for  foot support and to quit walking barefoot in the house, since anytime I put my foot to the floor without arch support I’m just being an idiot and making it worse.

Last night as I was driving home a passenger jet came so close to the ground as I was driving along 10th between 8th and 6th that I nearly drove off the road, and then it BANKED like it was heading into the ground.  I have no problem with jets flying over my house as long as they are 1000 ft AGL like they are supposed to be, but that close scared the bejabbers outta me.

Chili and buns for today’s meal has been prepared or purchased.  I’ll head over to Planet Bachelor at some point after church.

So tired… all I can think of is coffee, and I shouldn’t.

At last a deadline

I am going to try to complete a couple of songs in Songwriter so I can export them as PDFs and get them into the Conflikt song book.

Much as it pains me to say it, I can’t afford to make trips to the US and otherwise spend the income I have, so I am going to go to $15 worth of church event as opposed to the $500 con.  Yes – I could spend less but I don’t like going to a convention if I have to bunk in with anyone else for the usual reasons, like my privacy requirements now I’m no longer a live in parent are rather absurdly high.

So I’ll be sending the songs along instead.  I’ll send Gateway and Dishing with Joyce, since Fred Pohl’s stuff is going to be commercialized over the next couple of years (I believe it’s going to be a tv show, which would likely work fine, helmed correctly) and Buffy never stops being popular with certain crowds and the Scoobie gang have dozens of songs and Joyce not so much. I find it amusing that I have repurposed a song with was a song about a crush on a coworker into a filk, but one of the great appeals of filk is how it mashes things together into a great media pulp.

Saw Mike yesterday, and he popped by later, after he fed me a light supper at the Oliver Twist, and I will be seeing Sue for brekkie this morning to feast her for her birthday.  She is so wonderful, I am sure we will have a lovely earflapping. For she is the Great She-Elephant, and I am her dear chum.

Okay, enough demonstrating that I left the house yesterday (I did twice, and with all the cat commotion with Buster and his collar Jeff did three times) and I have friends, I gots work to do, coffee to make and songs about Giant Squids (words) (music) to listen to for its inspirational effect on my opus.

Sleepovers and trash

Keith and Paul and Mike dropped by last night for pizza, movies and conversation, and it was wonderful to see them all.

I’ve done a lot of things wrong in my life, but picking my friends hasn’t been one of them.

Keith slept over – I put a bunch of Woly shoe creme on his work shoes, which are so trashed by salt water that the leather is starting to come apart in layers. There must be six bucks worth of it on there… I hadn’t even opened it and I’ve had it three years, so I’m glad to be using a resource.

One of my fave Beaconites, Dina Davidson, local midwife extraordinaire, got some press time on her favourite subject.

Katie cut her dad’s hair yesterday.  Given that she and Paul hadn’t spoken in the best part of a month – immediately after the birth of the first grandchild – I will leave you to parse that as best you may.

I am doing coffee at church tomorrow.  I think I’ll make a cake, but make something else to leave here so Jeff doesn’t come looking all expectant with no treats.  So I have to remember to immediately put on bread dough the instant I get up tomorrow, because if I do it today, it will be gone tomorrow. Treat Logistics.

I am learning to my horror that the second section of the book is in disarray, and the timelines are all squidded up, and I appear to have TWICE written the same scene twice without incorporating the necessary elements from the other draft.  It’s ugly and I’m frustrated.  I think I’m going to need another writing week without the siren song of Agents of SHIELD to fix this mess (although we are close to the end LOL) so I’ll be checking in with the mOmster to see when would or might be convenient.  Won’t be until after my homily January 4 though.

Autumn, who may really be Peaches, loves Agent Coulson.  She sits on the back of the sofa and gazes at him adoringly.

I have laundry.  I’m doing it, I’m not digging it.  I have to ditch a whole bunch of my clothes because they are not meeting my needs, but that in itself makes me sad.  I should just take a picture and move on.

I’m also hoping to walk over to 6th and do a mini shop.

We’ll see what happens when Keith gets up… he may want a late brekkie.  I can definitely help out with the coffee.

There’s been an update to wordpress, the engine that runs this blog, and it allows me to have an empty screen when I’m typing, which is actually kind of cool and gives you a nice electronic typewriter feeling.

Weird clouds this morning

IMAG0711_1Random Hallowe’en notes:

Bought $28 worth of candy, got rid of all of it.  Most of the kids costumes were store-bought, but one made a Mardi Gras like impression.  No pic… but she said she was a peacock fairy, and yes, that is what she was.

NO MUSIC.  But lots of convo with Lois, and I even dragged the coffee maker upstairs from its place of banishment in the basement.

Birds are too shell shocked to sing this morning.

Score!  One of the kids recognized my mask as being from Assassin’s Creed.

Score! Keith came over and he announced that pufferfish are back in stock.  I loves my boy.

Score! Chili was a massive success, and as it proceeds through the colons of my loved ones, it will move from success to success.

Score! Paul brought apple pie from the Mexican bakery in the Quay. And Lion Winter Ale, duh.

Score! Wrote a filk to Robin in the Rain.

Riding in the rain
I don’t mind the weather
I have got a 12 volt heater
underneath my leathers
dodging all the bicycles and trucks and cars
weaving ’round the drunks as they come out of bars
Riding in the rain
I don’t mind the weather
even when it’s getting dark
I am a commuter in a first person shooter
but I have a place to park! (with apologies to Raffi).

Now I must write.  It’s NaNoWriMo, kittens!