Training Buster

I thought of training Miss Margot

to be a circus cat but she wasn’t really ept enough. Buster,

however, has the combination of smarts, suckiness and athleticism which makes for a perfect circus cat. His contemplation time is 5-10 seconds, as opposed to the 18-20 seconds it took Margot to work anything out. (All cats have a response time to inputs, unless you’re dropping something on them or they’re actively in danger. It’s not the only thing I gauge intelligence on but it’s quite indicative.)

This morning, he announced (body language, he’s a quiet critter normally) that he wanted to train. He flopped on the rug (which our mOm made….) and I bounced a couple of treats over to him. It seems weird to start training by offering treats for no harder a task than showing up in the kitchen, but Buster wants to know if I’m going to keep loving him even if he’s feeling lazy, so I bounced the treats. Then he got up and wound himself around my ankles making very quiet mews, so I asked him to jump for treats. And he did, twice. Then he jumped onto the tuffet and stared meaningfully at me. When he sits nicely on the tuffet he gets a reward. I gave him a treat and he dropped it from his paw onto the floor. He just stared at it and I picked it up and put it back in front of him.

He mewed after he finished eating it, and then I put the next treat in the air above the chair next to the tuffet. I said jump, and HE DID, HE JUMPED OVER TO THE OTHER CHAIR, and then jumped up for his treat. Then we did the ‘cool down’ which is him running after treats along the kitchen floor, which can be marvellously entertaining, and then I gave him a pat, told him he was a good boy, and gave him the sign language for ‘all done’, so he knows it’s over (I’m trying to do that all the time now when I’m done with whatever activity, cleaning him or treats or grooming.)

It’s May and it’s just so frikking cold all the time. It’s not my imagination I just checked the data for May 2019. If this is another ‘no sun summer’ I’ma gonna be choked. I think we had the aircon on this time last year at least once.

My current fave pic of Katie

My current fave pic of Keith:

My fave pic of Paul, or among them anyway.

16cm yup another six inches

that’s what’s forecast between now and Thursday night (it’s midnight Wednesday now.) We definitely need more salt,  but I’m not shovelling until 6 am. It’s East Burnaby so we’ll probably get 1.5 times the forecast.

mOm very kindly put cousin Laurel on the phone yesterday so I got to talk to her. There’s been a death on the inlaw side of the family and it coincided with the worst of the ferries and roads, so she’s had an adventure; this is also the week her husband turned seventy. Much sadness about the new normal. Supporting the recently bereaved is a beautiful challenge though.

Anyway, I woke up dizzy, a horrible feeling, got up and peed, sat up and now I don’t actually feel fine but I could probably go back to sleep. I should, I only got four and a half hours…. Read on line, I’m probably dehydrated or have low blood sugar…

No I did not go back to sleep I made coffee.

55073 HOTM

It’s been weeks, but every time I think about that piece of grafitti in Ultraviolet “Czirny fans get sick notes from their drug dealers” I crack up all over again. Czirny was a made up football team for Łódź which is pronounced wutsch.

View image on Twitter

the Duchess of Sussex is out and about – shown here at a women’s centre in Vancouver yesterday AND NOT WEARING A DRESS lawks

I MEAN IT’S WONDERFUL but TERRIBLE and EXPENSIVE like 10 million dollars of extra colonial expenditure and all we really care about in this household was her gig on the TV show Suits. I feel sorry for Harry, although not for his choice of bride.

Environment Canada says Howe Sound is going to get wind and snow something awful so it’s a good thing Laurel’s not travelling today.


HA HA HA HA STEFAN MOLYNEUX that unregenerate Nazi sockwad has been cut off from Mailchimp so his list of 70K asshole supporters is no longer his. LOLOLOLOL excuse me cough cough.

I sent mOm a couple of links about a former colleague….


wanna drive?

Alex’ school’s closed. Katie is staying home. I did volunteer….

Later, around ten after seven

All the schools in the lower mainland are closed. There is not a snowball’s chance in a foundry that I could have made it to Victoria today without considerable horror.

snow mebbe half an inch

winter grips the lower mainland in time for a completely messed up morning commute.

After I hang it up here I’ll be shovelling and salting. I bought a lighter shovel the other week while I was out with Katie, so we now have two shovels in case we have to apply that much elbow grease to the walkways. It’s typical that the first power outages of the day (not here, elsewhere south of Sto:lo) are caused by people driving around on lightly embossed baloney skins and taking out power poles.



there’s about half an inch to an inch of accumulation, and I’ve never seen such perfect snowball snow.

blanky part le deux

Success! I slept an additional 2 hours with the blankie, garnering almost 7 hours of (almost) uninterrupted sleep. I think Katie will be pleased when I hand it over to her this morning for non-destructive testing on Alex.

This is me 30 seconds before I found the box on my step. This is the weather their delivery company dealt with. We got two inches of dense, slippery af snow pounding down over about four hours, then it abruptly stopped and a watery sun came out and said oops.

When that snow all turned to water at once, that was an interesting moment.

Katie took me to breakfast – it’s a grey day, but much warmer and the snow’s off the walkway.

Stanley Donen is dead. The man who directed Charade is gone. But here he is being fucking amazing in 1997.

calm before storm

some unhappy predictions.

Irma the Hurricane is going to stall over south Florida the way Harvey stalled over the Gulf Coast.

By what even atheists are going to describe as a miracle, Miami will not get a direct hit as Irma will veer at the last moment. Evacuation screws ups will kill more people than the blow.

Cuba will not have any fatalities despite a direct strike. Those people know how to do civil defence against hurricanes, people.

The Leeward Islands will just get to figuring out how many people died before José hits, although José won’t be as bad.

José is going to violently change direction and scrape up the coast, causing ludicrous storm surges.

Mar-a-Lago will escape and Trump will thank god.

If Mar-a-Lago doesn’t escape Trump will spend the first federal funds on fixing it.

weather whither

Commute into work tonight was horrific; I arrived, 7 minutes late and as cold as a damp grave, after leaving the house literally an hour early. Translink, which had been faithfully waking me up every fifteen minutes with pings on my phone about cancelled buses, had fallen silent so I assumed, entirely wrongly, that the buses were now running. Anyway, stood in the freezing rain for a long fucking time before a bus came, and got to watch people behave like arrestable idiots on Canada Way.

Shoveled the walkways before I left for work; if the snow stays snow I’ll have to do it again when I get home; if the rain comes it will depend whether the temperature stays above freezing or not. More salt must be purchased; this is obviously not going to be the last snow of the year, since the arctic outflow conditions over the balance of the winter will only too swiftly return….

70 words yesterday


Watched movies and the second episode of Mr. Robot.  Made salads.

Buster’s picked up more scratches.

I didn’t rinse out and drain the milk cartons properly for the recycling, so I feel very guilty about Jeff’s cry of disgust as he was dealing with the trash this morning.  I will do better.

Especially since he made coffee.


I’m up to 516 words already so you can probably tell that it’s cooler in Vancouver.

Good day

Apart from a bunch of stuff healthwise that I’m not going to talk about because EW GROSS, yesterday was awesome.  I wrote 1200 words, watched a bunch of world class soccer, drank beer and stayed the hell out of the sun.

Today Jeff and I are going to do a schlep, and then I’m going to lie around waiting for Mike to take me to the beach so I can at least get in one Wreck Day this year.  Alex had HIS first Wreck Day yesterday and Katie nearly spavined herself on the stairs but he loved it and no sun burn.  Yay. Hope it’s kiteable, Mike always likes that.

Still no word on when C. (Mike’s buddy) can come home from the US.  She already had a work visa here, Las Migras in this country are underfunded fools.  A buddy has been waiting 3 years to bring his wife from the Phillippines!  Cazart.

The court decisions in the States are blowing up my social media feeds. More work remains.  I’m not going to colourize my facebook picture; I’ve got all the goddamned ribbons, medals, encomia and thank you letters I want from the work I have done for equality and if people don’t know where I stand they don’t care enough to pay attention.  Also, I’m not an American and we’ve been able to marry like that for a decade now.

One of Joni Mitchell’s former squeezes has let slip that the aneurysm has blown out her ability to talk.  I figure if she recovers enough to hold a paint brush she’ll be fine.  She’ll certainly be getting the best care.

Back to making lists and getting dressed.  I am going to have another good day, I can feel it.  Tomorrow, when I’m sore from the stairs, that’s something else.

The Northern Hemisphere gets weather

It’s precipitating like, very hard, man, in a variety of places, including, according to my correspondents, England.  Israel and Norway are also getting pounded.

This showed up in my feed this morning courtesy of Ian Michael Walden

To quote the Two Ronnies – “It’ll be choking ’em in Wokingham, killing ’em in Gillingham, and if you live in Lissingdown, take an umbrella”.


Paul asked for additional support for the Yes, It Continues unpacking yesterday.  We also noodled around for a while (quite a while in my case) on musical instruments and vacuumed and swept various surfaces in prep for the party on Sunday…. and Paul made pork stir fry with yellow curry sauce and quinoa and greek salad om nom nom, while I collected Keith from work. Ayesha is a TUB but so affectionate and sweet.

The downstairs neighbours are appropriately chastened that Buster wuz not a grrl.

It would be nice to have a job.  This week I started pulling all my lyrics into one place; I know I’ve written a lot of songs. I’ve gotten better at it as I get older.  The novel sits glaring at me.

Sandy’s pipes are frozen.  My travails, in many respects, are small.

And the wind blew it away

I woke Jeff up about quarter to two to ask him to help me take the awning down before it blew away.  We were both pretty wired after that so we watched some TV and went back to bed around three.  The wind and noise here last night were terrifying.  I don’t think I’d deal well with a hurricane or tornado… this only topped out at gusts of 110 kph.

Sigh.  A hundred and forty bucks up the spout.  The last one lasted 4 years and this barely survived one season.  I’m really disappointed.

morning walk

This morning I had a remarkable experience while walking.  As I stepped out to get a coffee at Starbucks (and strangely, their coffee still sucks) the sun was struggling skyward into a golden haze. One half of the sky was dark and brooding; the other was brilliant gold and white and blue.  I could hear raindrops falling all around me, plinking on leaves and plunking on cars and splatting on sidewalk and asphalt, but nothing fell on me or my phone.  Then of course it started raining heavier but it wasn’t unpleasant to walk.  As I turned onto 6th I was walking almost directly into the sun, and the big juicy raindrops came down like meteors all around me, streaks of white and silver, and none landed on me.  I felt like I was playing a very sophisticated game of dodgeball with the whole universe.

Catching up

It’s been a lively couple of days.  I’ve been writing hard, practiced almost enough, played at church to sincere and life affirming compliments, showed the shop, made the decision to hand the keys over to the landlord, got into last minute negotiations with guys that came in at Christmas, had a spider drop onto my keyboard and scare the shit out of me, I’ve stopped having nightmares but the insomnia has fired up again, we finished watching Jazz, which made me unhappy because it was SO wonderful, and I received some Buddhist wisdom which allowed me to release a lot of stored animus toward my life and situation.  I learned that my travel plans into the US are probably going to be completely fucked up by the INSANE weather ongoing in most of the US – shit, it’s warmer in Alaska – which reminds me of the time that I wanted to get to a con which would have been crucial to my development as an SF writer and 9/11 intervened, except this time it’s all expenses paid and guess what, they’ll WAIT for me, as I don’t imagine I’d be stranded more than two days so I’ll still get to do it.  I learned that Pearl, Cat Faber’s octave mandolin (ALSO by Peter Cox) experienced technical difficulties and is now in the shop, meaning I do not have an octave mandolin as a back up if United destroys or loses Otto. (And I know that as sad as that might be, I would just ask for the bits back or get Peter to make me another one, him being obliging that way, if remunerated.  Who’s to say the replacement wouldn’t be even more amazing?)  This means I would have to do the entire concert on a regular sized mando – which I DO NOT WANT – or transpose EVERYTHING to a guitar, which for a couple of songs would be fine and for everything else would probably cause my nervous system to implode – or sing the entire concert a capella, which would be extremely wearing for my audience.  I will be taking Lemming’s advice about packageration seriously.  I reproduce it below.  Jeff invented the word garbarcage to describe when tv shows are shitty because they have too much arc and too little of what we watch the shows for.  Eddie is needing fluids at least every other day, he has started to refuse his meds and he’s gone off his food, although he’s still making the trek to the litter tray.  Margot has gotten very sucky, which is unusual.  I’m making plans to travel after the shop is gone.  I found out that the Squamish name for Thomas Mulcair is “Angry Beard” (okay it’s just one Squamish dude who is calling him that, but DID I LAUGH when I read that) and that it’s too cold outside right now for the Lincoln Park Zoo Polar Bear. I’ve been applying for jobs every day, no response. However, I am relaxed about it.  What will be, will be.  No use flinching or being rebellious.  The leathern thong descends whether I’ve been a good girl or not.


Tip #1: Depending on size of body, sometimes banjo cases work for octave mandolin type instruments. Tip #2: A way to save money on a case AND protect the instrument: Call guitar stores in area and see if one will give you an instrument-size box. A banjo box would probably work. Check airline regs for box measurements before proceeding. They’re supposed to allow some leeway for musical instruments. Invest in some bubble wrap. Loosen strings. Wrap instrument in bubble wrap, inside soft case. Wrap case in bubble wrap. Stuff bubble wrap in bottom of box, put in instrument, put bubble wrap on all sides and top filling box, seal box with heavy 2″ wide packing tape, about twice as much as you need. Pack one roll of packing tape so you can re-pack before you leave to go home. Add handle (easy to make one with tape, or tape on a handle, or tie on some rope. Mark stuff on package with large black magic marker “THIS SIDE UP! FRAGILE: DO NOT BEND. CONTAINS ANGRY ELVES WHO WILL HURT YOU IF YOU WAKE THEM UP” or some such thing. Tip #3: First, find out if the planes you’re flying on all have closets. Second, carry the thing with you, in the soft case, but do wrap it in bubble wrap inside the case. Make sure it’s small enough to fit in the overhead. Go up to the counter and ask if they’ll find space in the closet for your instrument. If they’re crazy enough to want to gate-check it, well, that’s what the bubble wrap inside the case is for, but if they do that, ask them if they’ve seen the “United Breaks Guitars” video, nicely. If you have to put it in the overhead, stuff a large coat or something all around it so no one tries to smash it with their luggage. Again, bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is your friend

Oh, and don’t forget the loosen strings part. Most of the time, no difference, but the changes in air pressure in the luggage compartment plus string tension will eventually cause the neck to break at the nut.

And take along spare strings because one often breaks when you retighten.

Hot sauce

There has been some of this stuff in my fridge pretty much continuously since I met Paul.

We finished Long Way Round.  I loved it.  If you love motorcycles, OR love travelogues OR are a fan of Ewan McGregor it’s worth seeing the whole thing.

May I just state for the record that Archie Panjabi is amazing in her role as Kalinda in The Good Wife.  She could play Kiaya Khatun or Roxelana Sultan if Lymond ever came to the screen…. that would be so awesome.

Breaking Bad is coming to an end within a few weeks. Here are a couple of articles I enjoyed.  Albuquerque.

and also A Pictorial History.

Keith dropped by yesterday.  Paul and he have a new tortoiseshell barn cat  they imported from the US.  Her name is Ayesha, and she does not want to be a housecat. She is, however, quite mellow.  I haven’t met her yet and look forward to making her acquaintance when she is better settled in.

Eddie let me clip his nails the other day with only one low wail to indicate his opinion of the indignity.

It’s been rainy and blecchy.

Cpap machine for a couple of hours last night.  I took it off when I couldn’t actually sleep with it on.  This is turning into a sore trial…