twangy box aka Rowena

Oldfud version: Allegra’s not writing fiction so she’s playing music instead. It’s annoying, but ok.


I buy new instruments to encourage me to hear music differently and write songs.

It’s working.

The twangy box now has a number of tunes to go with it.

One is “Form a Line (a protest song)”

One is “Elder Funeral Song”

One is “Horseback Song” <—- newest as of last night

One is “At the Aerie” <—- oldest – started working on it as soon as I got Rowena

One is a new version of an old instrumental “Grieg”

One is “I’m too cheerful for my pants”


The damned thing is virtually impossible to tune and the frets are in the wrong places. I shall check with a luthier. But I don’t care. When it’s close to being in tune, it’s a remarkably plangent and docile instrument and it doesn’t hurt me to play it. Otto, unfortunately, is putting my shoulder out of kilter when I play, and guitars are approaching impossible.


plaintive plea to uncaring universe

I really wish my friends didn’t suffer so from depression and anxiety. I am not exactly free of the guilty pleasures of wallowing and denial but when I see my friends REALLY suffering I have a tendency to bounce around and try to be super entertaining, which must be no end of annoying when you just want peace and quiet.

Anyway, I got a smile out of my friend with this. caution swearing

A quick roundup plus my song for July 1 2017

Called or spoke to a remarkable percentage of the people I love today and am feeling better for it. Got news out of Katie that, independent of the blast of sunlight us poor benighted and bedrenched Vancouverites received at sunset, was THE BEST. Last night was INSANELY UGLY BUSY and there’s a definite uptick of serious illness right now which I believe corresponds to having a thunderstorm during allergy season. Yeah, it’s not good.
There was a thunderstorm the other day. I’m used to thunderstorms in Vancouver – they consist of one crack of thunder, either during February (weird, hug) or late summer, not now.
Toronto trip is on.
I am feelin’ the love.

Oh yes I’m a member of the working poor
and I’ve walked the windy corridor at Yonge and Bloor
There’s always someone wealthier with more to say
And I’m just trying to get through another day

Oh yes I’m a member of the working class
and I think about Vancouver before Jack got gas
Before they took the timber out of Stanley Park
and it was still safe to be native after dark

Go ahead and mock me as a working slob
a bus ride away from a demeaning job
who gets to see exactly how the poor folks do
But I don’t expect understanding, not from you

On facebook and twitter I have found a voice
You’re the one who thinks that I should have no choice
Who wants me to be marginal who wants me to stay poor
calls me race traitor, calls me ugly whore

See my dayglo banner that says “eat the rich”
You’ll run me down cause I’m a social justice bitch
But thank you for clarifying where I stand
Every inch of Canada is someone else’s land
It’s all bound together, it will not go away
Not feeling like celebrating, not today

all the things

Thoughts are flapping round my brain
like plastic bats on a cable
think they all got on the wrong train
when they try to get off, they’re unable

Fuzzy head
blurry eyes
maybe I should
maybe I should
get out of bed
But I think I’m going to think about
all the things that make me mad instead

Threw me on the ground and left
Then with fanfare announced you’re back
You’re the one with style and depth
I’m just standing here taking up slack

Fuzzy head
blurry eyes
maybe I should
maybe I should
get out of bed
But I think I’m going to think about
all the things that make me sad instead
All the things
All the things, yeah

Everything that’s wrong stays wrong
Although in your reality things turn out well
I should hum a happy song
With you fuckers turning up the heat in hell
(bankers, bastards, assholes all work if you want to sub that word)

Fuzzy head
blurry eyes
maybe I should
maybe I should
get out of bed
But I think I’m going to think about
all the things that make me bad instead

I didn’t want to take your call
I didn’t want the baby talk
I didn’t want a home cooked meal
I didn’t want to take a walk
You knew I was impossible
And somehow you can take it
I’ve got a future after all
and you are here to help me make it

Slippered feet
Blinking eyes
Why do I even
Act surprised
You propped me up
You fed my fead
And now I’m going to think about
all the things that make me glad instead
all the things
all the things.

As promised (it’s a 50’s musical patter song) 5 of 50


I’m retired

Go around me

I’m retired

I don’t care (spoken like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive)

You seem so troubled

By my slowness

In your anxiety to get from here to there


You won’t take my advice

but driving slow is nice

I get to see the swans and geese and deer

Always there are more o’ ya

In the City of Victoria

What prompted you to move from there to here?

Oh, you moved cause you hate snow?

And I hear you fine although

Somebody should have warned you that the pace of life is slow

I’m retired, go around me

Get off my bumper, please don’t pound me

Of all the drivers, yes, you found me!

I’m retired, go around me.


Our family understands

That we are now the grands

Who taxi the grandchildren when they’re here

spoken overtop (and the great grandchildren…)

And driving slow is great

And we are never late

Your hurry's no concern of mine I fear.

We stop for farm fresh eggs

so kids can stretch their legs

And gramma wants to buy more crap to put in garden sheds

I’m retired, go around me

Get off my bumper, please don’t pound me

Of all the drivers, yes, you found me!

I’m retired, go around me.




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.

Isn’t it the strangest thing?

So there was a fooferaw in the press after the service for Rev Clementa Pinckney at which Barack Obama sang a few staves of Amazing Grace.

I don’t give a shit about what the white conservative pressgong said; they all lick rich naughty bits for baubles and won’t leave a lasting mark on human affairs.  I was much more interested in what the black & activist voices said on my twitter feed, being spoken in what are individual and human voices.

A lot of them were mildly approving, but a bunch of them said, “It should have been “Lift every voice and sing” instead of pandering to sensitive whites with Amazing Grace”, which as a song, in memetic terms, has long ago gone beyond parody and flown up its own semiotically charged ass.

Now, being a Unitarian… Marcy I hope you’re reading this, because it should give you a chuckle…the first thing I do, ten days later, but I did follow up, is go to the internet and check the U*U hymnal and make sure the damned song is in there.  O committee of U*U musicians, what hath thou wrought???? yup, it’s there, and my easily clenched shamey bits relax somewhat. Good work folks!

Then I go unto the internet, o weary ones, and read the lyrics.  Because that’s how we DO.

Then I go to youtube and randomly pick a rendition with lyrics.

It wasn’t until the second time through on the lyrics that I realized that the words native land appear in the last verse.

SETTLER COLONIALISM enshrined in a black hymn.

Yar.  Arg har.  Bleeble bleeble.

Okay, so first off I’m giving Barry a hall pass, the ****er’s unsingable, so he picked Amazing Grace as being a sound compromise in an emotionally and politically volatile public event.  I got no problem with that.

Second I’m thinking wow I’m going to filk that.  A better tune is coming, but the lyrics, except for the last verse which is where the song makes a right turn from social justice into God this and God that and God on every line, are OUTSTANDING.  I mean it.  Read the lyrics and tell me what you think.

It is now two in the morning.  It’s possible I’m cool enough to sleep.


side note, ever see that using U*U as a short form for Unitarian Universalism makes our symbol look like you’re mooning someone and showing your asshole?  I couldn’t love Unitarianism more now if I tried.

661 words today – Song #3 of 50 Gabriola Camping Trip

I need to make up the deficit from yesterday, but at least that’s only 339 words.  I used the trick of going downstairs and working on the 60 inch screen.  There’s something about seeing my words on the tv screen that I find very amusing and heartening.

Mike took me and Keith to the Union Jack yesterday (I always eat the same thing, and it involves Yorkshire Pudding).

Keith demonstrated great strength of character yesterday.  And he left his hat here again. He walked home from the pub. (It is delightfully close; I can contemplate walking there without horror.)

Then Mike came back here and I assembled the massage table and beat him up for a while.  Then, declaring that I wasn’t happy with the outcome, I beat him up again.  (He was trashed from a yoga retreat with a hike in the middle, and his hamstrings were a nightmare).

There is so much smoke in the air that it’s horrifying.  Yesterday the air quality was so bad I turned off the airconditioner.

So 661 words AND another song.  It’s a call and response, as any fool can plainly see. (The correct response is: I can plainly see it.)

Gabriola Camping Trip – in meter it’s like a Marine Corps running song

I’m not nearly high enough

Who say, who say
We’re not nearly high enough
and so say all of us

I’m not nearly drunk enough

Who say, who say
We’re not nearly drunk enough
and so say all of us

Think I’ll take a naked swim

Who say, who say
Can’t get out if you don’t jump in
and so say all of us

Think I’ll piss in the ocean now

Who say, who say
Someone better show you how

on account of

you are drunk
and so say all of us

Wind came up and the tents blew down

Who say, who say
We’re not sleeping anyhow
and so say all of us

Monday morning comes too quick

Who say, who say
Half of us are puking sick
and so say all of us


I am a Toddler – 2 of 50

Glitter and dirt
Hugs and destruction
Tears that will dry as I laugh
Booboos that hurt
Squeals of affection
I am a toddler
I’m here to learn
And if you can’t help get off my path.

I am a toddler and I like my boots
But I will not like them tomorrow
Guessing at meanings and playing with words
that cause my folks wonder and sorrow


“Will she say F*ck I love it in front of the grands?
Or that the big wind will breathe her away?
Will he curse at his boots and make silly demands
Returning relentlessly every day
To eating non-stop and most int’resting play
And only a fever puts toddlers away
and not even then if they’re stubborn today
and they’re stubborn ‘most every day.”

Glitter and dirt
Hugs and destruction
Tears that will dry as I laugh
Booboos that hurt
Squeals of affection
I am a toddler
I’m here to learn
And if you can’t help get off my path.


I don’t think I’m headed to church today.  There’s so much smoke – I could see it coming in last night and tinting the moon – that it’s not a good idea to be outside and apparently the service is to be held outdoors. 


New Horizons went into Safe Mode last night.  I’m not feeling good about this.


520 words yesterday.

and it was 950 words yesterday / JULY 4 SONG – 1

I’m to write 50 songs in 90 days.

Here is the first. Short enough that I won’t get killed if someone decides to take offence.

O People of America

You must now understand

The Constitution isn’t yours

It belongs to everyone

And since it first was issued

From the mighty pens of men

How many hopes have risen

and been dashed by it again.


There’s little in the words that I take issue with,

but when I see what boughten courts have done

I’d like to have a chat with Thomas Jefferson

And ask him if he’s proud now freedom’s gone.

And well I know the answer

That old Tom would give to me

Who is the boughten traitor?

Will you fight for liberty?

I’d say I’m a poor Canadian

How it hurts my heart to see

My neighbour’s house is burning

But I must quiet be

O people of America

Most righteous people find

The Constitution is a gift

To all of humankind

And since it first was issued

From the mighty pens of men

How many hopes have been cast down

and yet they rise again.



Later – I did manage to get 520 words written.  That and two loads of laundry, I’m a good little doggie.

New song – In the lineup for the ferry

We are in the lineup for the ferry

wonder what it’s gonna be this time

will we see orcas in Active Pass or will we

starve in the White Spot line

and there’s no sense in complaining

cause there’ll never ever be a bridge

and I can’t afford alternatives

the ferry …is really all that there is.

So they’ve started loading up the ferry

And it’s really close, things are getting tight

There’s 400 unexpected walk-ons

Holy crap we’re gonna be here all night

And there’s no use us complaining

They are never going to build a bridge

I can’t afford to fly and rent a car

So BC Ferries… is all that there is.

Five hours in the lineup

Kids are screaming bored and the adults whine

They have called up one of the Queen class

I may get home before midnight

And there’s no sense us complaining

Though we line up for the privilege

It would be an eco-disaster

If they ever built a frikkin bridge

….And still we dream about a bridge.

Edited for singability and actual scansion 29 April 1:29


1300 words and 5.6 hours.  I feel awesome.

I had a Writing Moment yesterday evening. The explanation I dreamed up for my hero’s superpowers is so beguiling and sounds so plausible that I am most gloriously happy.  I can also use it to explain his impairments – the way he locks up when he’s upset or surprised for example – and how his consciousness doesn’t operate the way we’re used to (the whole awake/asleep/drowsy progression is not the same).


I look forward to church.  Sue’s coming to get me.

 Here’s a wonderful Dave Carter song.

Here are the lyrics.  Thanks to Lem for pointing this at me.

Working on songs

I have found (I think) most of the songs I printed out before my hard drive died, and am now going to put them in alpha order and scan the ones I don’t have digitally.

Sisyphus is done, and I also turned it into an MP3 and shipped it to mOm. As a song it’s quite fast; as a repurposed, slowed down, dropped more than an octave piece of soundtrack it’s actually very cool.

I need to do a lot more dejunking. I finally freed up the guest room, which was a staging area for clean clothes, and I hung everything, which would help if I didn’t keep stuffing my room with things that don’t belong in the rest of the house but have no appropriate storage.  In the end, apart from kitchen and bathroom stuff, I hope to be able to get everything into one room; that’s the desired end state as it’s obvious I won’t be living in this house for the rest of my life although far from obvious when I’ll move.

Tomorrow night it’s Theology Pub!  I will be taking a friend to supper and then hanging out afterwards; I wouldn’t miss it as it is at the Heritage Grill and their back room is a treat.

Cpap last night.  No writing.  My mood is very dark and angry, which is great when you’re writing dark and angry scenes, and not so good when you’re trying to do the sf equivalent of the St. Crispin’s Day speech.  I keep losing the thread after a few paras.  Cazart.

Keith came by yesterday but I was still feeling very wobbly so I didn’t hang out with him much.  I ate the burger he brought me though!

Well, I suppose it’s time to shower and ingest vitamins and painkillers, drink some coffee and suchlike.

Katie is coming over on Friday to do some recording.  Blink!  She wants to do an album of songs for Alex for when she’s not around.  I personally think it will make him cry harder, once he figures out not to believe the lie that she’s there and singing, but what the heck. I’ll try anything that doesn’t involve running.  When I was rolling over in bed last night my pelvic joints made so much noise you could probably hear them across the room.

Many songs

So I have written down four additional songs, and I’m working on a blues tune called Don’t you Weep, which is a pisser because no matter how I try I cannot figure out how to render it; it’s played in E but that results in so many accidentals that the mss looks like birds crapped on it.  However, on playback it is sounding really good, and I’m having very little trouble with the tempo.  I now have to readjust everything because I forgot a verse but fortuitously I remembered the last time I had a song this difficult and I’m not putting in the lyrics until the very end, because if you cut and paste in Finale AFTER you’ve put in lyrics they follow around the pasted part and you have to completely redo everything because the lyrics and notes are tied together.  This results in very bad swearz.

I thought I heard Jeff up too and there’s a light under his door.  We’re not sleeping good.  Tonight and last night I used the Cpap for at least four hours.  I like it and then bam I can’t stand having something on my face and literally sit bolt upright and claw it off.  Blergh.

Katie and I went for a shop yesterday – she needed to do a HUGE shop to get as much food into the house after the rent got paid, and I needed a medium sized one.  And, I put gas in the car for what is probably the second time since I sold Ziva.  Anyway I left a bag of groceries at her place and Dax delivered it, which is good since I get crabby without cream for my coffee.  I bought Alex a teething blanky – he’s a chewy little boy.

There continues to be a wave front of disturbances in the Force regarding childrearing techniques.  Jesus fucking Christ people, Katie was raised in the benign neglect corner of the attachment parenting spectrum.  It goes like this: If the parents love each other and the children, feed -starting with breastfeeding- and clothe and house and vaccinate the children, align the children within their families with those who are most like them and like them most, and refuse to injure them with genital mutilation, hey, job done.  We didn’t allow babies to ‘cry it out’ because that means ‘HEY KID YOU CAN BE BLOWING A FUSE AND IN PAIN AND NOBODY GIVES A SHIT’ which means ‘WHY DON’T YOU GROW UP TO BE AN ADULT WHO NEVER COMPLAINS ABOUT WORK CONDITIONS OR HORRIBLE RELATIONSHIPS.’  And you may anyway, but that’s not the way we planned it.

Now Katie is trying to draw a line in the sand with incommonlaws about this, and I burst into tears while driving hearing about it because of my benign neglect attachment style and all of my Dredded Feelz.  Alex is an infant child; if he’s so active he leaves bruises on his caregivers that’s just the way he is; I had no idea my grandchild was going to be a little hairless mountain gorilla, but since he is in most respects normal I’m not worried about it.  I don’t worry because he doesn’t want to cuddle with me now; he will when he’s two, or ten, or NEVER and it’s for me to give him what he needs now and not get all judgy on his mom about how she’s not letting him cry it out.  He doesn’t like to be still.  If I hold him I stand and either walk or rock, and the second he gets yippy I hand him back.  It’s not a point of pride to me to get him to BEND TO MY FUCKING WILL; it’s a point of pride to expect his mother to know what the hell she is doing with her own gorram kid. Thus endeth the rant.

Now I am going to finish my coffee (paradoxically, it will help me go back to sleep) and play another Bejewelled game (I have now opened all the games and am waiting to collect about four more badges) and maybe even finish that damn song, and maybe even try to put the mask back on.  Sigh.

Today’s sermon is about disability.  I am not missing this.  I’m doing coffee next week, I just checked the list. Thank god it’s a google shared document now, siphoning my way through emails sucks.