a grazing mace

2005-06-27— Posted by: allegra

Slept til quarter after seven…. of COURSE! It’s a work mornin’. Dinner last night was quite successful and now we have pasta sauce leftovers, which was the idea. I made a sign that said Danger, Zach’s Room, which he liked, and everybody else ate and talked and looked reasonably comfortable. Dax didn’t come but I am no longer upset about that as he is really sick, we don’t know with what; hopefully he will be off to the doc shortly. Suzanne, his mum, is a pet, I really like her. More later, I have to unstick my eyes and clean up.

Burning Teen Action
2005-06-27— Posted by: allegra

So I called Katie about 10:30 am, asking her whereabouts, and she said, Mom? in that tone of voice that means she has something important to communicate. What?

I got bear maced again.

How many times IS this now?

Four, she said. I’m going to be a hermit.

Apparently some kid named Shawn took the safety off his bear mace to impress somebody and he accidentally fired it and Katie got the backwash. As did Jessica D.

It’s ludicrous, isn’t it?

squirrelly girl

Squirrelly girl
2005-06-26— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been accused of being squirrelly on a number of occasions, and I thought I’d document it. The feet belong to Keith; the squirrel, a junior who died about two days after this photo was taken because I didn’t give him Complan or something similar, is Burt; and the fashion sense is entirely my own. However, the blue nylons are completely necessary for the story, as they gave the squirrel the purchase to reach such heights. Please congratulate me on not dropping the baby. This is another scan, so sorry ’bout the dirt and blur.

2005-06-26— Posted by: allegra

Kira started dancing up and down across my chest, and after I rolled over, my back, at 4:38 this morning. That’s okay, I had nothing better to do than play kitty gym furniture at that time anyway. Sleep is for wimps, right? My own damn fault for thinking that the cats had developed manners and would not start campaigning for food so early. So I groggily crawled out of bed and punted Zeek! out the back door – he had already popped his claws into my face (gently, but it’s a hell of a way to wake up) and commenced the takeoff cycle.

I don’t think there’s any way in hell I’m going to be able to get the pictures over to Toribird today; I have an awful lot of cooking, cleaning and life maintenance to do. For those of you just joining, Toribird, a wonderful person, singer, artist, cook, etc etc, possessor of the world’s most infectious giggle, is going to do my family portrait Edward Gorey style… but not before I give her the darned pix to work from! This was commissioned by my parents like MONTHS ago, so I publicly apologize for not getting off my duff sooner.

(2019 says mOm still looks at it from time to time)

Katie slept over at Jessica Ds. Or so I was led to believe; the little weiner turned her phone off, but seeing as how it had been ringing non stop with people she didn’t partickly want to speak with I’m not too choked. I am at last month’s telecom bill, though… what the hell was she doing making a long distance call or was that when she ‘loaned’ the phone to one of her morally ambiguous chums? The way of the parent is hard and thankless.

I think it absolutely hilarious and quite typical that after not speaking to each other for 4 years, or so, maybe three, the first thing that passed between Sandy and me is the gloomy agreement that the economy is about to tank because of the level of indebtedness of the US, and the amount of personal debt in Canada. She’s having a good year, as these things go, in the tourist business; but please don’t ask her what she thinks of the policies of the current Ontario Legislature, or the weather, which is broiling. She was very happy to report that the blackflies departed the earliest ever, June 9.

It’s hard to say which of my boys I miss most – Paul or Keith. So now I have to root through about six places on the hard drive, because of COURSE I haven’t put all the pictures in one place OR developed a standard nomenclature and find my favourite pic of Paul. This is a scan, so forgive the blurriness. I just think he looks so hot. Anybody know where he is? it’s the lower mainland (that’s BC). He’s standing on a railway trestle (yes, we shouldn’t have been up there and I bailed after I took the picture (or did Keith, I can’t remember) because bridges and heights etc. make me queasy). Hint. The bridge he is standing on goes over one arm of the Fraser. That should narrow it down!!! ha ha.

Alone again. Good Gosh.
2005-06-26— Posted by: allegra

Well, I’m off to a great start. I was going all confessional (bleaggh!) and I guess I’d better nip that in the bud so I just reefed on that backspace key.

The funniest part of my Mom being away (she’s currently taking a six deep bath in family in Saskatchewan, which is where both of my parents were born) is that it is very likely, and to my way of thinking, almost certain, that my father will not go near my blog until my mother gets back to read it to him.

I really like the new Gorillaz album. I keep wanting to slap Katie’s hand as she bounces over the tunes she doesn’t like; I like pretty much all of it. Their music is a colloidal suspension of homage, pastiche and collage. I’m a hopeless loser about musical tempo – no sophistication at all – so I can’t tell whether the beats are really as phat as all that. I just like it. I try to be honest in my genuine appreciation, artists like praise.

What I like about the human voice on the album is that it intertwines decent, intricate, fun loving rap with Damon Albarn whose voice (okay, whiny Brit moaning) is a colloidal suspension of Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Jason Pierce (Spiritualized). I just read that Ike Turner (Ha! typed Tuner) guested on one track. Can such things be? Ibrahim Ferrer did an amazing turn on the last one. I am prepared to believe Ike sang, but – well I’ll be darned, there he is on the tracklist. The inertnet is strange and dangerous.

Anyway, it’s time to do dishes and start putting myself away for the night.

Katie’s off to a party at Jessica D’s. She sounded happy to be going, apparently the guest list is tiny, like five people in total, all girls.

When I came back from dropping the screen and projector at Mike’s – and it was good to see him however briefly –

oh, and I forgot to mention there were THREE west facing accidents on the way home, I literally detoured away from one accident and drove into the debris of another. Took a frikkin hour to get home with the construction and everything, always too far north or south and then smack, dead end

Where was I. Oh yeah, there are no fewer than three neighbourhood kids of various sexes, ages, and ethnic origins, mauling the living snot out of Pokey, who merely accepted it as his due. Katie chuckled, but I was laughing my ass off as I pulled up. “Hey, wanna get out of my driveway?” I asked them, choking.

Pokey of course chose this moment to leap up and pretend to run directly under my wheels as I’m pulling into the driveway, triggering thoughts of Oh My God, I mushed John’s cat. But no such luck (John’s thought balloon “Just a minute!) and I’ve now been through this drill a couple of times. All you have to do is keep your speed constant, and Pokey will have no trouble staying out of your way.

So the reason I’m laughing is because the REASON we tossed Pokey outside into an uncaring universe (you should SEE him suck up to passersby, it’s shameless) is because he clawed Paul, Keith, a niece, Brooke, John once or repeatedly; his banishment was behaviour mod. I’m thinking – that cat’s DYnamite, kids; you may get much more than you bargained for. But now that he gets to go outside, he doesn’t have the energy to be contrary. This morning he found the greenest part of the lawn (sets off his fur, of course) to wash himself on. Then he sprawled out, looking like an expensive plush toy. This is while I’m taking two wheelbarrow loads of moss off the lawn. I was dumb, I didn’t wear gloves or I could have worked longer.

Katie and I did a shop. I loathe Superstore. I want to stop shopping there.

Nita called and I made sure John called her as soon as he had his helmet off. The move is on for this week. Happy family news, she’s been accepted at UBC.

Three kinds pasta with three kinds sauce tomorrow night. I’m thinking meat sauce with a little heat, crunchy veggie sauce and my homestyle Alfredo, and we’ve already got the pasta, some of which looks quite odd. Yum, delights await tomorrow.

message on the wind

The Drugs I Need
2005-06-25— Posted by: allegra

This is a parody…. Austin Lounge Lizards provided the music and the chorus is frikkin hilarious.


Message on the wind
2005-06-25— Posted by: allegra

I have felt compelled to call Sandy in Ontario for a week now, and when I finally overcame my qualms (I thought perhaps one of her relatives had passed on) and called her, it turned out Bitsy, a very good dog, departed this life last Friday of a heart condition. We quarrelled some years back and I hadn’t spoken to Sandy since. When I called (like what the hell was I thinking, 9 am on a Saturday when the Lodge is open???) it was the usual, work to the ceiling and guests driving up and breakfast cooking. I was amused and pleased to learn that Paul had called her on his way to Grundy Lake; of course no one else in the convoy wanted to stop but I’m sure Keith wouldn’t have minded reacquainting himself with one of our favourite family spots.

Anyway, if you are looking for a really wonderful vacation spot which is just comfortable enough not to be roughing it and just wild enough to be interesting, you can do MUCH worse than Red Deer Lodge & Campground Madawaska ON.

(Notes from 2019….. heavy sigh)

my new lawnmower
2005-06-25— Posted by: allegra

This $3K (US) Solar Mower will really show the neighbours who’s upscale.

for sale by owner’s government

Somebody’s response to the eminent domain ruling
2005-06-24— Posted by: allegra

found a great site
2005-06-24— Posted by: allegra

that helps you make custom safety signs.

Alone…..if you don’t count John
2005-06-24— Posted by: allegra

Paul phoned me as I was wending my way home from the restaurant last night (and I’m glad I pulled over) to tell me that the song I recorded (actually that was with Gomi, not with PD) which is WB Yeats set to music (The Second Coming) had ‘the best harmonies I’ve ever heard’. Which was really nice to hear even if I could not hit a note during the first two bars for the life of me. It’s a damned hard song to sing and I wrote it. I was feeling musical after that so I found the mandolin – it was hiding in the dungeon – and banged out a couple of tunes, and then, because the mando does that to me, started writing another tune. Just music so far, but it has something to do with summer and I keep hearing the Edge doing backup guitar. Yeah, like that would ever happen. But it helps the process so I’m not complaining.

After joining me for part of the evening Katie vanished again, so I decided to cut the lawn. (I had been planning watching a movie with her, Finding Nemo, which I have never seen but…)

So There I Am, feeling virtuous and hardworking and property owner like. But that was then; and now I am ready to beg Keith’s forgiveness for making him touch this clapped out hulk of a lawn mower (Keith as noted in previous blogs hauls 99% of the lawn duty). Jeez, Louise, as they say, where do I start.

Okay, the extension cord has been run over repeatedly and repaired repeatedly and you have to snake it around your hand while you’re mowing to keep the juice coming. I think, “Interesting!” and keep going. The power switch has an intermittent in it, but I figure out how to let it out slow and take it back in slow and I manage to keep it going, thinking, “Fascinating!” but I keep going. I notice that the handles have broken and been repaired in a way that is functional – to a point – but hardly decorative, making pushing the lawnmower a rather Zen experience as it is not laterally stable, which accounts for the interesting appearance of the mowed rows – the ones I finished. I think “That’s weird” and keep pushing. I notice that the wheels are wobbling; cursing, I stop tighten one of the nuts (not realizing until afterwards that I HADN’T CUT THE POWER! WHAT a moron), but don’t realize that I’ve tightened the wrong one, because as soon as I get to the plum tree, a wheel comes off. I turn it over (again? again??*) and realize that the blades look like the discard pile after a Viking melee, and I can’t find the nut (although the washer, being bright and shiny, is easy to find) and then I say **** this noise, I’m off to the hardware emporium tomorrow to buy another lawnmower and after consulting with John I push the lawnmower into the garbage area by the garage and leave it, with its little wheel on its head like a party hat. Why Keith has not boycotted lawn duty until given something approaching a real lawnmower I have no frikkin idea, but I just want to publicly state that I’m sorry. And of course in my enthusiasm for weed whipping the other day I destroyed the back garden hose, and we need more extension cord, so I’m going to be heating up the debit card Friday night, I can tell.

Rob of Nine wants his Munchkin game back so I am returning it, but Brooke handed back the next three SIP digests (that was fast), so he’ll get those today too. I can hardly wait for his opinion of High School, digest 6, which has some of my all time favourite comic art in it and is screechingly funny. “Sidekick!” she spluttered. Ah yes.

John came up to me after the lawnmower debacle and said, well, if you haven’t used up all your mowing mojo, come and mow me, so I ran a rizzer over his head and trimmed his ear hair (how unfair the goddess is in her liberality, sometimes!) and of course that always calms me down; it’s a primate thing.


Hope you enjoy this mum, I thought it was interesting.

* You’re supposed to hear My Life in the Bush of Ghosts when you read this.

the headlines write themselves

enough sleep
2005-06-23— Posted by: allegra

Cousin Gerald sent me a bunch of pictures. Some cute, some bizarre, but I REALLY sat up and took notice when one combined two of my fave themes, aircraft and moose. Herewith…..

Sometimes the headlines write themselves
2005-06-23— Posted by: allegra

This morning, another miscellany. First up:

Theological and classical studies are suffering intellectually because the academic tools used to study them have not progressed or evolved the way other scholarly subjects have, says Professor Bradley Mclean of Biblical Studies at Knox College.

Culled from Eurekalert.org.

I read on Eurekalert this morning that there’s a virus that’s endemic in human populations that infects and destroys cancerous cells. I remember theorizing the existence of such an organism when I was in my teens.

Also read in Eurekalert.org what causes bedsores. This is actually important because infected bedsores are hell for the patient and not much fun for the caregivers. What happens is that the healing mechanism gets stuck. The cells at the bottom of the wound are supposed to unstick and migrate to the edge of the wound. In bedsores they stop – they literally stick together and quit migrating. That’s what forms that nasty cliff at the edge of the non healing area. Also, cells at the edge of the wound are supposed to lose their nuclei and form that tasty scab – uh, I mean, they are supposed to transform into a mat of cross linked proteins that forms a waterproof barrier while what is underneath continues to heal. That process stops at the same time. There is a substance your body normally makes indicating whether the healing process is happening properly or has stalled so now we know how to demonstrate that wound healing is screwed up when the wound is small and can hack it off earlier rather than later, or better yet come up with a non invasive treatment. May you never have bedsores! They really suck.

It’s 6 am and I’m just waiting for the bread to come out so I can go to work.

Katie’s asleep.

I have been wanting to write a guerrilla marketing piece about work for a long long time now and I got about a third of it done last night. “A girl’s guide to our products”. Sexist, but somehow thrilling and chewy, and I get some lovely shots in at the competition. This line deleted, as is the rant that flows naturally from any comment you ever make about marketing. I will insert one comment, which is Why Can’t We Use Geek Factory as our marketing Mavens, but I imagine, given that they actually work, that would be too much to pay for. This was OF COURSE last night when I was supposed to be doing something else for work, but my frontal lobes began to strangulate my optic nerves, so I had to stop and do something else. My muse wants a beer.


2005-06-22— Posted by: allegra


Read the complaint. I don’t know whether to feel sorry for the guy or consider him to be the biggest, most self-absorbed wanker I’ve run across recently. Or is Jessica Cutler an even bigger wanker? You be da judge…

Do yourselves a favor, and don’t sleep with people who have anonymous blogs.

Then ask yourself how anybody would KNOW whether somebody else has an anonymous blog in which they described in gruesome detail your shrimp fetish. Mmmm, shrimp. So I just want you to all be happy that my name and my blog address are exactly the same, that I do not even hint at what’s going on in my sex life (although I must make it clear that I have no *legitimate*, *civil* or *performance* complaints, just the usual tiresome and not to be published kvetching which any middle aged woman can uncork without effort given half a bottle of wine and a sympathetic audience, and sometimes even without those) and that even if I had the world’s hottest sex with you, personally, last night, I’m not going to describe it because my mother would rather firewalk than read it to my dad (she reads the blog to him because sometimes he has to explain things to her, which is pretty funny when you think about it). Let me find something safe to talk about.

How about those gas prices??? I’m driving by signs and I can’t tell if it’s the gas price or a cross promotion for an FM station. You know, 102.9 FM. 103.5 FM. The sound of our culture screeching to a crawl.

post haste
2005-06-22— Posted by: allegra

The boys are headed to Ontario for a week to camp and frolic, etc. I have to get off the computer right away and drive them to the airport as check in time is about an hour from now. More later…..

enough sleep
2005-06-22— Posted by: allegra

Finally met the inlaws, this would be Katie’s boyfriend’s mum and the rest of the family in their lovely apartment in New West (with the damned BIG deck). Dinner was make it yourself subs and potato and pasta salad. That woman makes the best potato salad on earth.

Happy solstice everyone.

As is usual at the Solstice, I had a number of happy daysigns. The first was on the way into work when a six foot tall fibreglass lobster went by me, tied on to the back of a flatbed, I hasten to add. Afternoon and heading back up the car with Rob of Nine and Patricia – giving them a lift – Rob nearly killed a freshly hatched garter snake, on the stair by the waterfall, so wee that its head was, like, the size of three matchheads tied together. I went into raptures about its beauty and cuteness, and then put it on the ground next to the stairs where it would not get trodden on by the next person to come along. Dang, it was a cutie patootie.

Then we had a MOSt EXcellent discussion about Disgusting Smells. It was a classic… “I can top that story” series of anecdotes. Bloated wretched mice pried from under sink floorboards, nicely gassing seal carcasses trodden on land mine style by large dogs who after FOUR baths still reeked, and the four year old boy who decided that a bucket would do for an ensuite…. ah yes, much hilarity.

Picture is some guy who appears to have worn a gorilla suit while jumping on the standing stones at Stonehenge. Man, the civil authorities in England must be really mellow, or this guy must have been really persistent.

I’m in a much better mood today, just waiting for Paul to get home.

Work is so disgusting in between bouts of euphoric hope that I think I’m going to have a complete failure of health between now and August. I might show up to work naked or start drinking at noon and then somersault myself down the cafeteria stairs while howling verses from Revelations. Jeez. I guess that’s been done. I’ll know I’ll think of something original and apropos to indicate that my last gasket has lost its seat. I know this feeling won’t last, or will last until I slap my task list into something resembling order… right now it’s making like the opening scene of Van Helsing.

Keith is at an end of term movie. Katie of course is at the in laws. And Paul will be home soon.

Chor Leoni

Chor Leoni
2005-06-21— Posted by: allegra

Ma. Ma… I had about 20 “I wish my parents were here” moments last night. 45 beautiful voices singing about opera (pianissimo…FORTISSIMO… pi zzi ca to cresCENDO!) and then That’s Amore, and the Funiculi Funicula song, and it opened and closed with Comedy Tonight, and the triumphal march from Aida was in there, and they sang Send in the Clowns, and the back up band included a freaking amazing guy on violin, a really good bassist, oh, hell, they were all good… but there was a mandolin! and the costumes were absolutely hilarious (all these guys wearing Roman style costumes, but one of the togas was… a sleeping bag). 30 guys wandering on stage with violin cases and black suits and snap brim fedorae. Sigh. And a really silly audience participation song (which they only do once a year) Honestly, you would have loved it. Promise me you and pOp will go to see them in Victoria this summer, you WILL not regret it. I have seen them six times now, and they are always amazing. And the guest singers were amazing; may I draw your particular attention to Mariatheresa Magisano, whose unabashedly operatic name belongs to a Juilliard trained soprano who hails from Montreal. She combines angelic features, the luscious mezzo frame, a soaring, effortless and joyous voice and gutbusting physical comedy skills. As always the ‘showmanship’ was great and the audience was practically giddy as we strolled out to our cars under a full moon which danced amid beautiful noctilucent clouds….


I am so choked
2005-06-20— Posted by: allegra

May the pilots of Air Canada go to hell and keep a place warm for me. Whatever the hell happened to ‘buy the airplane your neighbors build”???? Boeing aircraft are safe and well built but NOOOO Air Canada pilots are paid by the weight of the aircraft, and since Boeing is making them lighter, they want to stick with the heavier Airbuses. Somebody should slap those guys (excuse me – I’d reason with them but there have to be some neurons on the other end).

I have other Air Canada news, but I’ll keep it cryptic. NorthWest Contract = Delta Contract, and I refer you back to a previous blog.

In other news, when Katie isn’t studying for her Provincial, she’s watching Angel.

Keith applied for a bunch of jobs yesterday. It’s grindingly slow.


2019 called and said that Boeing aircraft suck

little to report

little to report
2005-06-19— Posted by: allegra

Brief correcting note – the last line out of the last post was mine, not Alex’s.

When I first started hanging out with Paul, he used to sing, “You ask me why I don’t say much, that’s because I don’t have much to say,” which about covers it. I’ve had my coffee so I can’t go back to bed. But I really feel like lazing around, so I think I will.

Paul is off to work shortly.

Happy Hallmark card day to you all. Hey Ma, tell pOp that I did get him a card but forgot to mail until yesterday. The review board, aka the family, approved, and hopefully he will too…. still no word on the computer parts…

Hm. I actually do feel motivated to do something – I see spider webs all over the place and think I will remove them.

I was unduly harsh about the LXG comic. The funniest part is not the comic part, which is frankly narsty and colored in a fashion I don’t like, but the ‘text intermission’ at the end, which is a tour of all of the imaginary places extant at the turn of the 20th century, like the Island of Dr. Moreau, and the Lost World, and Arkham, etc. The descriptions of these places are quite dry and quite amusing, and you have to really be paying attention to catch all of the references.

I have learned the extent to which cats are creatures of habit. I bought them new food dishes and while Zeek! was okay after I jammed his face into the dish repeatedly, Kira has decided that she wants her old dish back. Okay, eat mice, see if I give a flying fig. I mean, you should see, or not see, the old dish. It was impossible to clean, and cat food dried onto its surface in such a fashion that even if you soaked it in hot water for half an hour it was still a bear to clean. Let me give you a hint. It was so disgusting that John CLEANED it while he was doing cat care for us one weekend. People who know us will understand the significance of this.

So I gave up and got stainless, and now the cats are freaking out about how weird and shiny their dishes are. Shown is another grad picture, this time with the star. Doesn’t he clean up nice? Paul looks charming as well.

I think Harry Potter is out today? I must go acquire it. Dibs!

Keith is a grad

note from cousin Alex
2005-06-18— Posted by: allegra

There may be some weird html dreck in here, but the message is a solid one….

Hey Allegra!

If you wanted to post something on your blog re this with a link to my donation webpage….

This is the year I promised myself I would do two things that are important to me: get involved in community events, and work at fundraising for cancer research. The Weekend to End Breast Cancer is a way for me to accomplish both goals at once – this year I am registered as a walker.

I hope that you will support me in this effort, and visit my webpage at http://va05.endcancer.ca/site/TR?px=1111220&pg=personal&fr_id=1000 and make a donation.

I am walking in memory of my cousin Dierdre Heagy, who succumbed to her battle with cancer 14 years ago at the age of 26. I hope to personally raise at least $5000, and my team “Hunger For Da Cure” captained by my cousin, Michael Hungerford, has a combined goal of raising $66 000.

Please support us on this journey to find a cure for this indiscriminate disease that has touched all our lives.

Derry was a sweetheart, I miss her.

2005-06-18— Posted by: allegra

I’d like to thank Paul for the strongly composed and thoroughly wonderful pic – when the kids tossed their caps in the air, one of them stuck to the ceiling, a beautiful end to an interesting evening.

We didn’t stick around for the dance but everything else was quite fine. Because the grad was so small – maybe 25 kids – everybody got a turn at the mike to get all teary or congratulatory or full of happy advice. I kept my mouth shut, for once, but Keith made everybody laugh when he said, I was trying to compose a speech consisting of 80’s song titles, but I’ll stick to one, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.”

A lot of the kids who graduate from Keith and Kate’s school have a lot of problems with people and academics both, and family of origin issues. One of the grads is a (FTM transsexual  2019 CALLED AND SAID YOU JACKASS IT’S) trans lad and he turned and told everybody in his grad class that he would not have made it without them. I got the story from Katie earlier this year and man, I was choking back tears during his speech. If we don’t support the kids who are ‘different’ the school system is a damned cruel place, so I am really really glad that this place exists for kids with gender identity and legal and substance and family of origin problems – as well as kids who just can’t hack regular high school.

The affection and respect of the kids for the staff, teachers and principal of the school were PALPABLE – it was an incredible display. And the food was damned good too. Just to round out the delights of the evening, it was at the Gizeh Shriners Hall.

enough sleep
2005-06-18— Posted by: allegra

Keith graduates today. Gotta remember to take the camera.


2005-06-17— Posted by: allegra

I scan eurekalert.org mostly for good news about science, as the tone is irrepressibly upbeat. (Makes the donors and funders and sponsors and overseers and taxpayers happy). So I finally saw some nanotech news that made -me- happy; as far as I can tell somebody’s come up with a modelling tool that actually works for custom building nanocrystals without which we can’t have littler processors.

It works, as far as I can understand it, which is nae far at all, by being able to predict the dielectric of a nanocrystal based on its size, surface area and the base material. Anyway, I am going to follow the careers of the gentlemen who ran the labs and the computational horsepower and the software because I suspect that they and intelligent backers are going to be able to commercialize something within 4 – 7 years. And the pictures were purty! What a sap I am!!

Have a lovely evening all.

I shouldn’t have had that hamburger for lunch.

I really wish I could talk about work, but the interesting customer interaction all ended well and a BIg BEEG shout out to Debbie D for her amazing catch.

I don’t really want to say goodbye, I’m just stooging around in the doorway.

Paul has gone flying with Dan P.

The kids have disappeared into Angel’s bosom. Keith brought home the second Volume of League of Extraordinarary Gentlemen and frankly it’s nowhere near as good as the first one.

With respect to media I may say that the prospect of Batman Begins beguiles and Serenity makes me smile in anticipation.

And I’ve gotta get back to Jeff’s place. I wish to sail to that country …

crypto cat

Crypto Cat
2005-06-16— Posted by: allegra

There’s a kid’s page for the NSA! Isn’t that cool? This is Crypto Cat. I can’t make this crap up.

Did you know that the mere presence of encryption software on your computer indicates criminal intent in the state of Minnesota? And did you know that within this past week, the first gay military wedding and the first gay divorce took place in Canada? Man, that would be a great thing to have on your resume, the wedding photographer at the first gay military wedding. If it was the first one in the world somebody would have said so, so now I’m trying to figure out where the first gay military wedding was. Swedes! I betcha it was those Swedes!

Did you know that Belgians have one of the highest rates of consumption of child pornography in the world? I would have thought with all that beer and chocolate they would have better things to do with their time.

Katie has a provincial exam in social studies on June 21st, wish her luck… and Keith graduates tomorrow. Sigh.

Paul is back, and being exceedingly Paul like.

Heron feather

just go there
2005-06-15— Posted by: allegra

http://cgee.hamline.edu/see/goldsworthy/see_an_andy.html <—– don’t bother, it no longer works

Heron feather
2005-06-15— Posted by: allegra

My new coworker Patricia presented me with a heron fledgling feather yesterday morning, which I thought was an amazing sign – great way to start the day. (In a white sateen jewellery box! which I returned, of course.) As I contemplated the intersecting avalanche that is my work I also regarded the ovoid feather, which is soft as down, funny that, and mostly white with pale brown tips, about two centimetres long.

A long time ago, when the gods were young and frisky and I weighed much less, there was a rule, or a standard, or somesuch, about what the name sign at your desk was supposed to look like. My boss, a man of much subtlety, vision and humour, responded to this challenge very well; but I’m not going to say how.

What *I* did was read the standard and then see how many deviations I could put in before somebody said anything. Now the really weird thing about me is that not only do standard rules not really cover me, nobody seems to notice when I flout them… this is all part of this thing that’s going on with my middle age, when I am more and more invisible (but not inaudible, as I affirmed recently). So the first thing I did was go home and print the name tag in Rainbow Colours on the inkjet. In a non standard font. Okay. So I’m contemplating the sign, tapping my teeth with my pen, and thinking, it’s just not GARISH enough, and then a former boss gave me a prezzie. A coaster that said, *when you come to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on*, which was appropriate under the circumstances, and now sits next my bed and prevents beer from dripping condensation on things. The wrapping paper was EXTREMELY cool and changes color depending on the light. So I cut it out and put it above and below my name on my sign. That still didn’t have that enoughness feeling. So I brought in a totem pole that my 25 years dead grandpa carved – it’s about 20 centimetres tall – and stuck it on top of the divided end of my pod. Of course it wouldn’t stay put so I had to scotchtape it down, but the point of this whole tedious anecdote is that I taped the heron feather to the back of my grandpa’s totem pole which sits atop of my non-standard sign, and so, as of yesterday, my sign is perfect. I have hit the enoughness line. And nobody says a thing, because I’m invisible. It’s all good. I suppose at some point I should take a picture.

so here is the rest of the month

enough sleep
2005-06-14— Posted by: allegra

Cousin Gerald sent me this picture, culled from Elsewhere. Looks like Oklahoma to me! I was walking with the kids when I lived in Etobicoke – they would have been four and six respectively – and the sky went like this. When the sky goes green, it’s time to make tracks to the storm cellar. That same day a tornado came right through the complex within metres of my building and then went out onto the water and turned into a water spout as tall as a six story building. I didn’t see it because I was cowering in my bed with the kids, but the noise was as advertised in the movies, deafening.

Lovely anecdote from a cow irker yesterday. I mentioned that I had seen Training Day, and he said, “So did I. At work.”

So I said, say what?

Yeah, when he was working someplace else he got a meeting request to ‘review a training video’. So he and a bunch of his cow irkers all herded into a room and after about two seconds, everybody in the meeting room sat up and went, hey THIS isn’t a training video! To which the meeting organizer calmly replied, sure it is. And they sat an’ watched it. How come cool stuff like this never happens at MY work??? Although there has been a persistent rumour that we’re going to do that with another cinematic high point, (had to cut this work reference).

(Had to cut this work reference but it led perfectly into the next sentence). I missed my calling, it’s like I’m some extremely perverse form of dominatrix, a specialist’s specialist. If you want a torrent of genteel abuse in the form of literate emails, I’m your girl. Woman, whatever. (Okay, had to delete this work reference as well.)

Nana’s wisdom
2005-06-14— Posted by: allegra

If you are female and over the age of 15, you will like this link, and if you are my mother you will laugh out loud at least once. The rest of you…. Oi, mess off!


Killing the Buddha is a site for people that aren’t raaaahhlly cool with the notion of organized religion. Found this site following links on nmazca.com which is STILL one of the best blogs around even if Mr. Damon doesn’t post very often. I dunno, new gf or what?

Spoke to Paul earlier. He sounds wonderful.

Fraser Institute on Teen Unemployment
2005-06-14— Posted by: allegra

At a macro-level, the best means to reducing youth unemployment include a strong macroeconomic climate — which improves employment prospects for everyone — and a flexible labour market, which opens the doors to more employment opportunities. Since young workers are the hardest hit by the adverse effects of a rigid labour market, it is only by the elimination of provincial minimum wage laws, the repeal of closed shop union privileges, and cuts to payroll taxes that employment prospects for young workers will improve, according to the report. ”

Allegra sez:

Gracious. The employment prospects for young workers will only improve if we boot organized labour in the ass, hand money back to the owners of the business and kill the minimum wage law. I don’t have a problem with door number two, but the rest of the raping and pillaging can’t count me in as a fangirl. The problem with killing the minimum wage law is what it does to the societal perception of what (and when it is appropriate) to steal. If I don’t get what I think is minimal, I will steal. Then you will put me in jail and pay for me twice, once in the loss of my productive labour for the culture, and once to keep my sorry ass fed and free of HIV. Ha Ha. So once again the problem with the Fraser Institute recommendations is that you can feel calm and correct about them until you have to deal with the fallout from being on the receiving end of their implementation. These guys just don’t know a damned thing about lube, you know what I mean? And if you work with materials, as well as people, you KNOW that cost reduction is not the answer to every problem.

Reducing the size of government, depending on the goals to be achieved, is not always intelligent either, and I’m a goddamned anarchist and would prefer we were smart enough and distributed enough that we (us, the people who live here) could deal with most circumstances locally and leave governance of furrin parts to the people who live THERE, while avoiding having any level of government sprawl on us like we were throw cushions. I know, aren’t I a simplistic moron to so conceive of the future? My mamma, she slappa me upSIDEa da head if I say dat.


Anyway, if you find your way to the Fraser Institute on line you can look marvelling upon their works. Tastes like self-reliance pimping for the dreams of the rich. But I don’t owe anybody anything, do I? If my ancestors were blithely unaware that their tea and rubber and sugar were being pulled from the flesh and bone of indigenous peoples across the planet, I can do that too. It’s my traditional way of life, what do you mean I can’t pursue it? And too bad, because my ancestors handed money to somebody, so anybody with a grievance about this should just pipe down. Money fixes everything. Strip it of its sarcasm and it just seems uncomfortably close to the truth, with those happy folks at the Fraser Institute.

Yuck. Anyway, earlier in the article they talk about how there is a youth unemployment problem, but only among the kids who are too stupid to get an education, so who cares, and that’s the school system’s fault anyway. That’s another rant. And nowhere whispered …more money for education… what we need is STANDARDS, and that’s yet another other rant. And the youth unemployment rate hasn’t increased over time, so they say, now I’m going to have to look. So on one hand they say there’s no problem, except with stupid kids, and who cares, and on the other all the youth employment issues would go away if we loop back to paragraph 2? With a boot boot here, and a boot boot there? I wish John were here. He’s so much better at eviscerating thinktankspeak than I’ll ever be, it’s like watching the master at work.

enough sleep
2005-06-14— Posted by: allegra


enough sleep
2005-06-13— Posted by: allegra

Training Day and part of the Incredibles.

All in all, a fabulous weekend, an uneventful trip home, and here’s Katie wearing the blue hoodie G’ma knit for her. Briefly saw Mary, Shauna (Katherine stayed home, ha ha, our darling daughters!), Lexi, Lexi’s Rob (who HELIjetted over to Victoria from Vancouver, are you pea green with envy?), my folks and my darling grandmother who BAKED ME MY FAVOURITE CAKE, which is dark chocolate with vanilla butter icing. And vanished. And my parents gave me Amaretto Cheesecake to take home. So my first words upon entering my domicile were Katie, you awake? There’s cheesecake! which is one of those things that helps a teenager achieve consciousness with a minimum of fuss. And the house! All the dishes were done, the cat litter changed, the counters wiped, the floors all vacuumed. It was recognizably my house, and recognizably cleaner and tidier than when I left. Then an assemblage of brilliant people composing a part of Peggy’s household appeared and Pokey treated Tom like furniture… unabashedly and repeatedly. At one point – Ben and I saw – Tom and Peggy were sitting side by side on the stairs. Pokey placed his right paw on Tom’s shoulder and his left paw on Peggy’s shoulder and then heaved himself over them, leaving them with startled and amused expressions on their faces.

Pokey has avoided the attentions of cars and coyotes now that he is being let free to go and is a much happier cat than he used to be. (We’ve seen coyotes less than two blocks from the house, again.)

Keith said something very wise last night. When told not to be too honest in interviews, he soberly replied “Being honest will get me hired by the right people”. This in response to news that Katie may be working as early as next week at a fast food joint. Keith is feeling like his job search isn’t doing very well, but I reminded him that she was taken into a place that was hiring by a friend of hers who already works there, which kind of got her a leg up. And Keith refuses to work fast food, so far.

2005-06-12— Posted by: allegra

Lessee now. Cooked dinner last night, pork chomps, salad and cauliflower with cheese sauce. Other than that had a very nice day of doing absobloodynothing. Movies viewed included Van Helsing, which I enjoyed rather more than I should have, and I just adored the guy who played Dracula, and Huge AAAK!man wasn’t uglified either, can that man wear a hat, and did anybody notice that Van Helsing couldn’t have been made without the Rocky Horror Picture Show first? and the day of viewing also included a repeat of Hero, a repeat of Prisoner of Azkaban (that is a very entertaining move, and the next movie will have Emma/Hermione in a ball gown, hubba hubba), and Down by Law (which I thoroughly enjoyed), Garden State (which is a weird weird movie but Natalie Portman is amazing in it), the 2004 Dawn of the Dead which I actually enjoyed and was in response to Jeff pleading with me, just ONE zombie movie, one eentsy meentsy zombie movie, and some weird crap on tv including athletic young men permanently damaging their organs of generation while disporting themselves on dirt bikes with dirty great jumping ramps. Oh, and I forgot to mention Girl with a Pearl Earring. Scarlett Johannson rocks.

I managed to avoid beer after 8 pm yesterday and so had a fairly good night of sleep.

I am publicly going on record as saying that I think Alan Rickman as Snape is hotter than a two dollar pistol. Anyone who knows me already knows I’m crazy and the rest of you can start sharpening your knives and assembling the war canoes.

I am also reading a bio of James Cook, just in case that last reference escaped relevence.

Today I have to bathe, as I am expecting to see my parents, and being primates of the first order, they would be horrified if I am not shiny clean. So I’m off the shower….. you can all thank God now. I like being a guy. I need to do this more often.

Being a guy
2005-06-11— Posted by: allegra

Wish i had a pic of my brother’s coffee table. Andrew, Jeff’s roommate, surveyed it and said, “He used to have seven.”

Remotes, that is.”

Now he only has five.

Above his work desk there’s a small whiteboard. I ignore all the small stuff – even though it’s all apparently in English I can’t understand word one – in favour of a beegass sidebar in black.



Words to live by, indeed.

For who among us has not multitasked beyond the capacity of our systems, personal and social and mechanical, to bear.

There are two sets of family calendars up in Jeff’s house. The paternal one is in the computer room, the maternal one is in the kitchen. In the computer room is a big metal folder holder. It is jammed, but not disastrous. I can see maps to real and imaginary places. I can see early versions of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. I can see the CD insert for Total Air War. Are you getting excited yet? There are 30 countem at least 30 movies sitting on big screen DVD heaven out in the living room that I haven’t seen and want to. Daunting, isn’t it. Yesterday’s festive blowout consisted of Lost in Translation, followed by Radiohead’s Amnesiac followed by ALL of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis, followed by Vanilla Sky. I was mought near dying at that point and Andrew fetched me a glass of water, thank you, and then I nagged Keith into going to sleep (he was going to pull a war gaming all nighter) and we all crashed about 12:30. Now let’s see if I can get the boys to put on something I want to see. And now the best part of posting at a strange computer… finding a pic off the hard drive, cropping whatever, and posting.

Aha. Mossman? Great name for a superhero. Pic is of Mossman. I believe this is a character from City of Heroes, but nobody has specifically told me so.

I’ll be back from the multiverse in a while and post again once I find out where my bro stashes his pix.

enough sleep
2005-06-10— Posted by: allegra

I have to move along as I am expected in Victoria at 12:30 this afternoon. Katie bailed on the trip to Victoria but she promised to do cat care.

I’m mildly annoyed, but only mildly. Now I have to figure out how to shlep all this stuff without the car.

There was a Serenity preview and I missed getting tickets, calice. Pic is another of Katie’s from her trip down to the railway tracks.

Adorable food
2005-06-10— Posted by: allegra

Um. Cousin Gerald sent this. This is a cake. You could eat this, if it wasn’t pixellated. He sent about ten cakes, but this is what screechedpost ME post ME loudest. The reason I like it is because it is eXACtly, and I mean eXACtly like the kind of a purse that would be carried by a Nick Park heroine. Wendolene!! you forgot your purse!

Rob of Nine tells me I missed something funny at the all staff meeting today. Let us meditate, children, on the utter lack of conviction with which I report this.

I have been having a customer interaction for the last week which is very funny and very bizarre. It’s so compelling that I am picking up my work email – I don’t want to miss any of this delicious saga. Because of my company’s privacy policy, which oddly enough I respect, I can’t cross post it, but gosh darn, I’d give my eyeteeth and my left ovary to do so. A conversation this bizarre should be shared with the world. Anyway, I’m sure he’s a very nice man in person, and if he called me a name in his first response to my attempt to help him, I’m sure it was because he was having a bad day.

I just want to help him. He’s sure helped me. I tell the story, and people say: Jumping Jimmy CHRIS’mas, I’m glad I don’t have your job; so he’s made a lot of people happy, by being rude. Isn’t it weird how a sense of humor can turn crap into diamonds? That or a really tight sphincter. Anyway, Brother James, I’m thinking of you. You know man, I can’t forward it to you. Dude, I so want to. You would whiz yourself. Days later you would giggle involuntarily and then have to stifle it.

Shazbat! Look at the time. I have to heave myself into my maternal role and look fondly on my son while he tries to hit his classmates. Er, that is, watch the last 15 minutes of karate class at the Nikkei. Just so.

enough sleep
2005-06-10— Posted by: allegra

How can I type when my head just caved in? Anyway, here’s some Shrek trivia.


Benedict the 16th speaks about Jewry
2005-06-10— Posted by: allegra

In the years following the Council, – sez Benedict XVI -my predecessors Pope Paul VI and, in a particular way, Pope John Paul II, took significant steps towards improving relations with the Jewish people. It is my intention to continue on this path. The history of relations between our two communities has been complex and often painful, yet I am convinced that the spiritual patrimony treasured by Christian and Jews… will lead to a future of hope.

Benedict added that it was important for both sides not to forget the past, stressing the need for a *continued reflection on the profound historical, moral and theological questions* raised by the Holocaust.

Nicely said, although how you’d get the Israel and the Diaspora to “forget” about the Holocaust under any circumstances – you know “quit bringing up that old tired Holocaust stuff, have a drink, live a little” – I have no idea.

Pic is of his name predecessor, Pope Benny 15. He was a neo modernist who herded all the canon law between two covers around the time of WWI.

enough sleep
2005-06-09— Posted by: allegra

Ah yes. When I’m on holiday, this is very funny

It’s 5 in the morning, and I’ve been up for an hour. The cough sirop wore off and Paul was making fussy noises, so I decided to go look at what had happened to the world while I was asleep. I discovered that if you’re an American citizen and you carry a bloody chainsaw into the country from Canada, they won’t even check to see if you have any outstanding warrants. But if this guy had had, say, a tan…. Not that I’m impugning the competence or work ethic of US Border guards. I’m not going to post a link to the picture of the guy, now accused of cutting somebody’s head off. It is the single most disturbing head shot I have ever seen in my life. You know how people say stupid things like “He had eyes like marbles?” Brrr.

My favourite overheard in the office comes to me from Toronto, by way of the Gman…. “Has anybody seen my copy of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? I think I left it in the photocopier…”

cute kitties
2005-06-09— Posted by: allegra

These fishing cats were born in the Minnesota Zoo early last month. Their furbears hailed from SE Asia and they do like to fish out of streams. They are endangered, so the zoo is pretty happy about successfully breeding them. They look like they have interesting personalities.

more pigs
2005-06-09— Posted by: allegra

And this is what you get when you have four pigs. Aren’t they adorable? These pix are for my mother, who very much likes pigs.

Pigs and more pigs
2005-06-09— Posted by: allegra

These are from richsoil.com.

2005-06-08— Posted by: allegra

Pic is from Courtenay, by way of my double first cousin in common law, once removed, Carly. That means that I live with her double first cousin once removed. A double first cousin is what happens when a man marries a woman, whose brother marries her husband’s sister, and both couples have children. The children are double first cousins. This concludes my efforts to educate anybody about genealogy today.

Keith graduates on June 17th. Paul and I and Keith are going. Katie is looking hard for a job and experiencing unhappiness in the process. I really appreciate that.

Went into the office for a meeting and actually had a good time. I am obviously markedly insane and you should speak softly to me if you meet me.

I screamed so loud this morning that Paul assumed I had hacked off a limb. What actually happened was that I reached for the wooden cutting board and an insect crawled out from underneath it onto my hand. It turned out to be some sort of pyramid moth (gray until it starts flying and then you get brilliant orange underwings) which crawled onto the stove top looking pensive and then went, o dear o dear as it realized it was sitting next to a red hot stove element. It flew someplace cooler and obligingly crawled onto the inside of a glass – with no coaxing, it was like it was reading my mind – and stayed stuck there until I got it outside, at which point it flew at about 20kph into the walnut tree in the back yard. Moths have furry little feet and I wasn’t expecting it so I screamed like Jill St. John in some forgettable 70’s movie.

It’s raining again. Katie thinks it’s going to be a hot summer, but I think it’s going to rain a lot this summer, and I’m happy about that, because every year I think to myself “Is THIS the year a homeless person sets fire to Stanley Park?” and other such cheerful thoughts.

Alan Greenspan says that the bond market appears to be signalling a downturn. Say whut, Alan? The debt load of the United States is enough to scare you, finally? Your predecessor is predicting doom and gloom?

Tam-Tam sent me an interesting article about using compressed C02 to drive oil to wellheads that are otherwise dry. It’s a promising technology and it’s being developed in Canada. I wonder if the Saudis are going to try it; right now they are using water, and that’s actually making things worse.

Of course, if we could figure out how to get methane out of klathrates in the bottoms of the oceans, we’d have enough energy for another 500 years even at current rates of consumption; I imagine that’s one of the things the Japanese are working on. And we’ll always have coal. On the basis of current research, it’s beginning to look as if without human intervention we’d actually be in an ice age right now, so coal is not a bad thing… if you don’t mind asthma and lung cancer along with your industrial civilization. We’ve certainly got enough coal in BC to last us a long long time. Everything will be fine… who needs salmon?

A Japanese research consortium is going to try to dig a hole more than six miles into the crust. It’s gotta be about oil, but it didn’t get mentioned in the article. Or maybe it’s about geothermal. Anyway, I remember reading the article and thinking, at this rate, press agents will outnumber human beings at a factor of two to one within a scant few years; you have to read between the lines for everything.

Anyway, I’m not scared about the end of oil anymore. It’s a childish nightmare. Makes a lot more sense to be worried about a nuclear war. That’s actually a lot more likely, and there are still 10 ‘enemy nukes’ out there for every major city in North America. So, for the next few months I will research everything I can about nuclear war (which really really scared me when I was a kid) until I get bored with that. Then I think I’ll work on communicable diseases. And of course, oil or no oil, nukes or no nukes, the economy IS going to collapse. Don’t see much to stop that. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

2005-06-08— Posted by: allegra

Katie took 70 pictures of tags down by the tracks today. Here’s one of them.

enough sleep
2005-06-07— Posted by: allegra

I don’t imagine even my mother cares about my physical state at the moment, so I’ll skip that part and go on to something cheerful, like why climbing a tree to get away from a bear is a bad idea, why Bolivian peasants don’t like their president, why the obesity epidemic is going to be short lived (if it really exists) and why the sea is boiling hot. The pigs having wings bit I am still struggling with.

The sea is only boiling hot in a few places by the way. It’s not boiling hot all the way through.

I have to go to a meeting at work today. Everybody who hears about it thinks that I am crazy, which makes me irritable. I should have thought the evidence for this was heretofore overwhelming, and there is nothing one can add to the pile of evidence to make this ‘more true’.

In fact, everything right now makes me irritable. Maybe I’ll just write it off to hormones.

More moss patrol yesterday. Paul cleaned it up thank goodness. I really didn’t want to convey it to the compost.

An unidentified dead bird appeared under the back stairs yesterday morning. I think it was a member of the thrush family, but unless it’s something really dramatic like a curlew, all dead birds pretty much look the same to me. I don’t think the cats got it as it was intact. I suspect it ran into something. Or maybe it died of West Nile and we should have run off to the public health types with it. In my current fragile condition if I caught West Nile I’d likely croak; my insurance will pay for quite a party so the prospect is cheering rather than otherwise. Which reminds me, I should try to finish my list of funeral music.

Walked with Katie over to Peggy’s last night to drop off Brooke’s copy of the first season of Angel. Desperately needed the exercise and it was a pleasant visit and a pleasant evening, although a bit chilly on the way back. There are a number of things in the neighbourhood I want pictures of; I may get round to taking pictures today.

Katie definitely wants to take some pix of the graffitti in the tunnel by Edmonds Station and there’s also some really cool graffitti up by Canada Way and Edmonds close to the Steel Temple Tattoo parlor.

Some graffittista in New York put a copyright on his tag. How brilliant! As the graffitti from many years ago in Toronto put it, “Our City, Our Walls!” My personal favourite remains the note under the bridge on the way out of town in Montreal, that you could only see from the train, headed west, “Visualize Industrial Collapse.” My second favourite, from the Post Office wall on Spadina, “My love is like heroin, she cannot miss a vein.” Have a Velvet Underground kind of day!!!!

enough sleep
2005-06-06— Posted by: allegra

CNN.com has a whole bunch of tornado pix posted to their site right now. There is one in particular of a white twister with a rainbow that I recommend but the whole gallery is so cool… check it out if you can.

enough sleep
2005-06-06— Posted by: allegra

Drivable fuel cell car – road test

Well, it’s 4 am or thereabouts. I did some research on Sigrid Undset, the gal what wrote Kristin Lavransdatter, and she wrote more than 20 books and lots of articles, went to work full time at 16 (and hated it) to support her mother; her archaeologist dad died of some lingering disease of the central nervous system when she was 11; she met her future husband in Rome (and might have been born there) and once the divorce was final took him and his two kids on – one of whom was developmentally delayed – and had three more, one of whom was developmentally delayed. She fled Norway ahead of the Nazis (her work was banned by the Nazis) with one son, another son having died in the defence of Norway, and ended up in the US and died in 1949.

She never supported votes for women. Her works have been criticized by toeliner feminists since then because she believed and wrote that motherhood is the highest calling of women. Methinks that anybody whose books are still selling, who is disdained by feminists and loathed by Nazis can’t be all bad. My only objection to her works is her harsh depiction of Catholicism. I mean, it’s nice to have a notion of right and wrong, but you don’t make God look better by mashing people into the ground.

Her depictions of the emotions around childrearing are the best I’ve ever seen – although the net effect is that I am anxious to lay my hands on a more recent translation, which exists if Amazon isn’t giving me a bum steer. Reading Kristin Lavransdatter in this translation is a lot like wading through the thickest parts of Tolkien’s prose, and UNLIKE Dunnett, there’s no frikkin genealogy, so the aunt’s cousin’s whatsits pile up pretty fast.

I think she was a proto fan, though! She had a house built that was like a medieval Norwegian house, wore wadmoll – probably that she made herself – and knew everything there was to know about plants.

Danged if I can find instructions to make wadmoll easily though. I’m looking for one that starts, “First you catch a sheep…”

Wadmoll is going to make a comeback! Betcha it’s scratchy, though.

Beer Glorious Beer
2005-06-06— Posted by: allegra

I just went to pick up my current fave beers (St. Ambroise Blonde and Robson Street Hefeweizen) at the Liquor Store that’s open on Sunday, how civilized (only goddamned thing the Liberals did in their last stint in office that I can wholeheartedly concur with) and when the guy in the line up ahead of me refused his receipt the checkout staffer said, “Well it ain’t tax deductible.”

I looked at her, smirking, and then said, “And then I woke up.” We both had a good laugh.

I just exchanged an email with Rob of Nine; he recently sampled a WA state microbrew called “Moose Drool”. As I said, I am turning artistic shades of green, but that might be the coughing.

My lungs
2005-06-05— Posted by: allegra

Here is a very interesting microphotograph of my bronchial tubes. Actually I wish I knew where this pic was taken; it isn’t every day you watch a lava flow eat a parking lot. Both of these photos cadged from Fark, and why not. David Jordan of AP took the original photo, of which this is a portion.

Finished Kristin Lavransdatter bucketing tears. Her estranged husband is killed in front of her, a bunch of her boys die, she goes off to a nunnery, catches plague and dies. Man, they just don’t write books like they used to.

Nice Kitty
2005-06-05— Posted by: allegra

This is Gidget. She is training guide dogs not to run after every cat they see. She lives in Australia, where Cane Toads are a nuisance.

Nice Kitty
2005-06-05— Posted by: allegra

This is Gidget. She is training guide dogs not to run after every cat they see. She lives in Australia, where Cane Toads are a nuisance.

enough sleep
2005-06-04— Posted by: allegra

Must post b8st8rding fast as Katie is anxious to get out of here and buy conditioner. (as well as do the rest of the usual Sat’day shop.) Halfway through Kristin Lavransdatter. I’m OBviously really enjoying it. It’s interesting how the story doesn’t just focus on Kristin but also on her parents’ passing strange relationship and various other people, including the religious types. A week of vacation, including hanging out at my brother’s house and having a media overload. Yeah yeah yeah.

Cousin Lexi says that Herons are Noisy. This is not the kind of thing you’d notice unless you were living next to a heron rookery, but they make lots of noise in the nesting season. You’ll hardly ever hear the noise a heron makes the rest of the time (a harsh, guttural croak – we call it a ‘gark’ around here). But living next to them is cool and Lexi says she’s never actually seen herons fly while looking DOWN on them (she’s up on the 15455th floor of some building in the west end). They are big beasties.

Keith is off at Mando lessons.

I’m still coughing and coughing, but I don’t actually feel too bad….more fighting with vegetation today…. but later.

Grrrr and vroom.
2005-06-04— Posted by: allegra

I’m choked. Katie did a fabulous job of cutting three inches off my untidy mop o’ hair last night and NOT A SINGLE PERSON AT WORK NOTICED OR COMMENTED. Personally I think it’s the best haircut I’ve had in years – I told her what to do and she did it.

Got Kristin Lavransdatter parts 1 2 and 3 and so I know what I’ll be up to tonight!

The boys at work had a show and shine of their bikes today. I will forebear comment except to say, tsk tsk, riding around the company parking lot with no helmets. The liability! The liability!

Oh what am I saying, they all looked hot! Okay, except for one of them, and I’m not saying which. Anyway, hopefully the weather will clear as they meet up with their counterparts across the line. Good evening all!

enough sleep
2005-06-03— Posted by: allegra

I am coughing up blood! Haven’t done that for years. Anyway, in keeping with my Calvinist forebears’ wishes I am going to go to work ANYWAY. I kind of have to, because calling in sick on a gorgeous Friday before a weeks’ vacation is usually considered suspicious. The stupid thing is I feel fine when I am not coughing, and I think I’m actually on the mend. I slept okay last night, but that might because I doubled up on 5-HTP and Benylin. Man, I lay down and started playing solitaire on my Palm Pilot and the next thing I knew the crows were squawking outside my window and it was morning again.

Not much to report. Kids are fine, I’ve dodged moss patrol two days running, and although my day today will be jam packed with meetings and incident, I’ve got a week off, although I volunteered to come in for a meeting on Tuesday. Never seen a meeting invite quite like the one I saw for this one. The meeting invite included a directive to turn off your Blackberries when you came into the meeting room. I was thinking, hey, they didn’t mention the three kneelings and the three knockings. (That’s for when you go see the Tsar… you have to kneel three times and knock your forehead on the ground three times. A Dunnett reference, sorry.)

Anyway I really shouldn’t talk about work. Jobs growth in the US is weak and everybody is in debt up to their eyeballs. I know I keep poking at this subject, but I’m more and more convinced that it’s the level of US personal and government debt that’s going to pull the first deuce out of the house of cards. Whenever things get icky the “gold and silver is the best” dudes start lecturing us about the intrinsic value of gold and silver, and I think, hm. But I don’t believe it. Social organization around food production doesn’t require gold.

2005-06-02— Posted by: allegra

Make sure you aren’t drinking anything.


walk the dog
2005-06-02— Posted by: allegra

I’m glad my married life isn’t this exciting.

What I don’t understand was why the cops kept making her put her clothes back on. Drunken young woman drives boyfriend’s truck into pond because he doesn’t want her to go to the casino…. sigh.

My cold is now bad enough that my husband is saying things like “You’re not going to work like that?” making me sound like I’m dripping with syphilitic sores or something. I’ll be fine once I have a cup of tea. I don’t really feel that bad.

I am on vacation next week, although some might say it’s hard to tell the difference. Paul is making noises about going off to see buddies in Ontario, and I have no objection.

My mother is happy I’m posting links now. I’m unhappy that now I have to go through and check for broken links, and get emails from people telling me to take links out, which is what happened the last time. Sigh.

Writer’s group last night was aMAZing. Lots and lots of discussions about mental health and social isolation. Picked up Katie from New West (her non bf lives in front of what used to be St. Mary’s Hospital) so she could involve herself in this strange condition called ‘sleep’. Didn’t see Keith at all yesterday except briefly at breakfast; he was asleep when we got home, like a sensible individual.

No moss patrol last night. Darn.

Pic is of a Poodle named Pluto who decided to become bipedal and can keep it up for over half a kilometer. Credit Mainichi Shimbun. I have to admit snapping a pic at a crosswalk was a deft touch0.

enough sleep
2005-06-01— Posted by: allegra

Milagros Cerron is intellectually normal, so her parents will get to ask their little mermaid someday, was it worth it. And being intellectually normal, she will probably say yes.

Last night I dreamed a toddler was mauled to death by a pit bull in my front yard and I didn’t help because I was too frightened. The owner messed off and so did the dog, dragging its leash. I could hear screaming down the block. I was pretty disturbed. That was around 5:30 am; I got up and did dishes to try to calm down.

More moss patrol and fig trimming last night. Three wheelbarrows of moss. Good Lord, when will it end? And the worst thing is that even if it rains all day, it clears up enough in the evening that I don’t have any excuse not to work on it, so I am finding the weather unusually trying.

Mama has declared she can’t follow my links, so here’s a couple, one funny and one decidedly not. It’s Heifer so Windy

Above noted being a pic of a very well behaved British Tornado.

First step in the book burning… I am SO inclined to go out and purchase these books, just because a bunch of academic no talents – look at the list of judges! – says they are harmful. Nobody is frikkin going to tell me what I can read, calice. (Oh, and by the way, calice in Brazilian Portuguese means exactly what it does in French, the chalice of mass, BUT it’s also a homonym for SHUT UP Cali se. So when I use calice in future, it will be with that in mind as well). Let the book burnings begin

As you read through the list, did you notice that it’s mostly dead white guys? Sheesh.

A miracle and some other things

obviously photoshopped
2005-05-31— Posted by: allegra

But amusing nonetheless. You’d never see four bears together like this UNLESS there’s a very very big pile of food in front of them.

Getting to Makkah
2005-05-31— Posted by: allegra

Makkah is, as most of us know, a hard place to get into if you aren’t Muslim. Or is it? I checked with my co-worker, and apparently if you’re Ahmadi, Ismaili or Druse AND you make the mistake of letting the authorities know you are before you go, you can be refused entrance. These are sects of Islam considered apostate. I consider the Ahmadis to be like the Mennonites of the Muslim world, and the Ismailis to be pretty amazing; like the Jews, they have made a contribution to civilization that is disproportionate to their numbers. I know nothing about the Druse except that they are a minority in a minority wherever they live. Anyway the rules are applied so haphazardly that it’s hard to tell when it’s bureaucrats being crabby or real rules; and of course if you’re somebody’s relative you’re more likely to get passed in.

The other thing he told me is that Makkah is not off limits to non-Muslims. If you are a member of a construction crew for the ongoing infrastructure upgrades in Makkah, the authorities don’t care if you’re Muslim or not. As long as you don’t do anything actively stupid or disrespectful, and you get a long list, I’m sure, of what those activities might be, it isn’t an issue.

Floating mat of condoms
2005-05-31— Posted by: allegra

Whitley Streiber, well known whack job, has a note on his website about a mat of condoms floating around the Pacific that’s SO BIG you could land an airplane on it. Uh huh. I looked it up on the internet, and the first reference to it dates back to, get this, 1996, ha ha, and is on a website of dubious soundness when it comes to the information gold standard. So Streiber’s site referring to it as a possible catastrophe and then providing a link to purchase a book on catastrophes is just another example of how, when it comes to making money, maybe he isn’t a whack job; maybe he’s just a relentless opportunist with a well rounded millennial shtick. Carl Sagan is still dead, but if he was alive, he’d be shaking my head that I’m even looking at Streiber’s site.

Gardening with Pokey
2005-05-31— Posted by: allegra

Pokey continues to enjoy his freedom in an entertaining way. He used the utility pole in the left front corner of the property as a scratching post vigorously for the best part of five minutes yesterday. I told him he was a most excellent kitty and watched him wait for John; he was restlessly patrolling the front edge of the property waiting for his dinner to get home. All the while a crow was sitting on the utility line about two meters from the pole.

Pokey quite visibly came to the decision that this ongoing scolding (the crow went on and bloody on about it) had to stop; then he sprang up about a third the height of the pole, at which point the crow went Holy Crap and flew off. Good Pokey! I assured him. And went back to moss patrol. Another two wheelbarrow loads of moss, and I trimmed back the hawthorne and the rhodo in the front yard as well as top dressing a couple of parts of the front beds. Man, 40 litres of gardening soil is NOTHing. If we’re going to level this hellish lawn I’m going to need many cubic metres of dirt. And the back compost bin, which is like 4 cubic metres, is jammed to the gunwhales with the moss so far. Dunno what to do about it.

It is now too late in the season to do anything about the grapes, we’re just going to have to live with it until next year.

Neglected to mention that I found a pupa, which looked like a carved, oiled wooden peg, in the back yard while raking moss (what else) the other day. It was the same day I took all the pictures but I didn’t take a picture of it – closest I could find on the internet is posted here. It was so close to hatching that it MOVED in my hand when I picked it up, a totally science fiction moment during which I startled but didn’t drop it. I set it aside so other people could look at it but when I went to look for it yesterday morning it looked as though some enterprising crow had gotten to it. It was, given its size, very likely something I didn’t want in my garden anyway.

A sacrifice to science
2005-05-31— Posted by: allegra

Milagros Cerron is a year old, just. She has a condition she shares with a handful of other children across this planet, partly because her condition is rare and partly because the ones born with it don’t often get this far. Her name in English could be rendered Miracle Hill. Her irregularity makes her like a cross between a chicken and a mermaid; her legs and feet are fused. She faces 15 years of surgery to get her legs apart and her plumbing working through the correct number of taps. She’s running on the equivalent of half a kidney and has had a *lot* of urinary tract infections. Now she faces the first surgery, to separate her feet from her heels to about halfway up her calf. The parents aren’t talking to the media, and I think they are being wise.

Let us meditate on the life of Milagros. Oh my father, who has served the law all his life; oh my mother, who has served the nurturance of being likewise. Keep my mind steady while I think about this.

I have a number of reactions to a birth defect of this severity, and they don’t always play nice in the sandbox.

I think, what would I do if it were my child? And I think, I’d fight, but to a point. If I could see nothing in her quality of life but one painful operation after another, during which she’d be subject to GHAStly systemic infections and organ shutdowns and be the nexus of… Hey, let’s see. A media circus? The personal torment of my entire family? Human medical experimentation of an imperfect but well-intentioned kind?

So let me get this straight. I’m supposed to support the continued existence, in a state of suffering, of my child, despite the costs, so doctors have a child to operate on…. to practice new techniques on?

This is a painful dilemma, unless, of course, you take a Deist view of the situation, and agree to ‘prolong life’ and ‘trust God’s will’ as part of your contract with your exacting deity. Then you have no choice, and a lot of people will support you in your most commendable action for religious and ethical reasons. Embarrassing to mention, but there are bits of me, scattered here and there, which take this view, which will be trading slaps with the previous view pretty fast if they don’t conclude a truce, or at least get distracted with ice cream.

The allocation of resources question could be raised, and just as swiftly dispensed with. Is this set of surgeries the best allocation of resources? On the other hand why bring up the notion of scarcity when life is so plentiful? (Bazillions of surgeries, flare up/die down media glare until she dies, money in the system diverted to save the one when the many are unvaccinated, waste and pomp, harumph harumph.) I figure my opinion aside, the people who live in Peru have laws which reflect their national character, and so I leave it to the people of Peru to deal with any legal, medical or financial implications, and that means allocation of resources. I imagine the Catholic Church has the religious aspect pretty much in a holy headlock. I would not contribute money towards keeping her alive; if the parents decide to sell the story and the state picks up the medical tab, I am not sure my contribution would be required and it would be insulting, like they can’t look after their own. I didn’t see anything about fundraising efforts.

When I was a kid I was an interested observer of the goings-on of a major teaching hospital. I remember thinking there are a lot of desperate folk willing to throw themselves under experimental knives. And why shouldn’t they? What is more human than hope? Brief pause while I refrain from taking a cheap shot that had something to do with plastic surgery.

There’s nothing wrong with being simple folk who believe that their prayers and a doctor’s skill will draw down God’s mercy. I must admit a shade of envy towards people who can think that way. It is amazing how, through the testimony of their own lives, people of faith can exert force on the world. Whether God is seen or unseen, looks like a rat or a man, makes cool sounds or is a still small voice within, followers of every path can find a way to shining communion with all that is. Frankly some find communion and dispense lightly with God. Some of us wonder what could be better than injecting heroin… keep your communion, pal. There are a lot of deities, and there’s certainly a roaring trade in interpreting their wishes on subjects of morality, behaviour and shoe wearing.

I know what I’d do. I look back at my ancestresses, who, crying, put down mermaid-tailed babies and walked away into the tall grass. I couldn’t do that, even if part of me says, even after 2,000 years of Christianity and fancy rhetoric, that putting that baby on the ground is the wisest thing to do. I believe it’s okay to be conflicted, but not okay to put that little girl down.

So I finish where I started. If she was mine, I’d fight. When I judged that fighting was no longer humane, I would face the moral responsibility and endure the recriminations of those who didn’t think I fought long or hard enough. I would acknowledge to myself from the very beginning that I would have few options and most would be bad. I would have to trust the doctors to an unprecedented extent. I’d have other issues to deal with as well as the simplest, which is that most of my free time would evaporate and there would likely be catastrophic financial consequences from my daughter’s medical condition – there’s always a drug the government won’t pay for, even though it’s the only thing that will get her through her next infection. I can see worrying a lot and reading medical textbooks. I can see arguing with the doctors if I could witness or attend the surgeries. I can see being considered either an angel or a complete pain in the ass at the hospital depending on who you talked to.

So I wish well to Milagros’ parents, who no doubt are being coached by somebody friendly what to do and not do about the media. I wish the surgeons and the surgical staff clean conditions, steady hands and good light. I offer a brief prayer for the sanity of the senior hospital administrators, who are probably going frikkin’ bananas, right about now. I hope the media behave themselves, and that Milagros pulls through. Who knows? Maybe she will walk for my 60th birthday. In the meantime the doctors will learn plenty, and that’s a good thing, right?