back half December 2006

Interfering in science
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

Sometimes the headlines write themselves
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

The baaing, the baaing.

New Test
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

My new test of whether a film is funny is whether it’s funny with the sound off. This meets the criterion.

Wild Catamaran
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

This weird ‘spider boat’ is a prototype ocean going catamaran, which apparently has been spotted in Seattle.

The oracle
2006-12-31— Posted by: allegra

I consulted the oracle this morning; I made myself up a rather Whedonesque ritual which likely would have been quite amusing to the rational types in the crowd, and then laid down the cards in the Celtic Cross pattern.

It was a hard lesson but a good one.

Tonight I may consult another yet oracle; as previously mentioned in this blog a Finnish form of divination is to melt solder and cast it into water and take note of the shapes formed thereby. Dr Filk as I recollect was supposed to have a much more prosperous time of things, the last time he tried it, although it took a while for that to come true.

There are signs that Chinese citizens are becoming somewhat less willing to bear the brunt of ecological catastrophe as a price for their economic miracle. We shall see how this plays out for stability.

Things I learned today
2006-12-30— Posted by: allegra

I relearned to knit. Casting on caused me some headaches, but I knit for a while and then pulled it all out, it was just for practice.

I learned that somehow some of Maggie and Glen’s presents for other people ended up here, mislabelled for us… dunno how that happened.

I learned that Peggy and Tom have taken on a VERY big project with remodelling the office, but that is going to be a) gorgeous and b) much more useful when they are done. I heart her Ikea desk. I did a tiny amount of painting at the office (everything is prep time…) and got a nice visit in with Martha.

I made up a new recipe for cole slaw – it’s very good.

I learned how I would ideally want my household configured after Paul and I are no longer in the same place, and it actually looks rather different than I originally imagined it. Very strange. I’d like to thank Peggy for nudging me into thinking on a larger scale.

Dr. Porco does it again
2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

I got an email from Dr. Carolyn Porco of today (yes, I’m on her spamlist) and said, MOVIES!, and grabbed the new gif for the top corner. This is Hyperion in color. Her comment … “the Slashdot guys are crashing our server” or words to that effect, are another reason why I’m glad I have 40 readers…. maybe 41.

Some people think cats on leashes are bad
2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

Cat on a Hat!

I think this pic is cute, and I posted it for PaTRICia.

Quite the building boom
2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

2006-12-29— Posted by: allegra

The light is coming back, which is wonderful. The sunrise this morning was stunning. Biscotti and soup are both finally done, and now it’s time to go to work.

Skywatching 2007
2006-12-28— Posted by: allegra

It’s 24 megs and you need adobe, but if you want to know what the sky will be doing in the next year, here’s the link

enough sleep
2006-12-28— Posted by: allegra

I managed to sleep without painkillers last night, a marked improvement over previous nights, and got a fair amount done, including another incremental stage in a batch of biscotti and soup and the garbage out and some paperwork. Oh, and I cleaned the boots I stole from Katie. Katie’s response when I sheepishly announced that I really liked the boots and was feeling pouty about giving them back to her was “Merry Christmas” which royally generous of her.

Tomorrow night I’m heading downtown and giving myself a bit of a break from suburban life and hanging out in the West End for the weekend. New Years I haven’t decided whether I’ll go to Jan’s open house of Spitters and relatives or just watch the world go by.

My to do list is the size of an oil tanker and I’ve yet to learn that going to GTD sites does not constitute progress. Plan the work, work the plan…. Marcus Aurelius, Epicurus and Epictetus all help though. Plain talking sumbitches.

Angels sang out in immaculate chorus
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

Yoiks. At work we call these times Sucking on the Firehose; you’re being sprayed, in a most mentally unhealthy way, with new information and expected to get it into your gullet rather than sprayed all over the walls. At home I call it much bitter and reflective cud to chew. (I think I stole that phrase from Lucy Maud Montgomery, but I can’t remember Jack Schritt these days, so I’m far from sure). At the same time, I feel energized and optimistic. This is a sign that I am about as seaworthy as the Titanic ten seconds after it hit the iceberg. And yet, and yet. I feel …. good. Not like James Brown, like Mad Martigan in Willow.

Right now the kitchen smells of a devastating combination of roasting almonds and the commencement of turkey soup. This place smells like food. Of course, I’ll have to do a lot more cooking before it actually IS food, but them’s the breaks.

Big shout out to m0m and pOp for agreeing to allow Lady Miss Banjola through the door. I wish you all joy of one another.

Now I’m supposed to be doing research, but I’m feeling like cooking and picking Katie up from work instead.

Keith’s got a mofo of a cold.

Enormous amounts of gratitude and love to Dr Filk for acts of loving service this afternoon.

Sorry I missed you Tammy….

Crafty, Mr. Math, very crafty
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

If you’re so smart, let’s see you crochet THIS!

Lady Miss Banjola to the rescue
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

Cartoon exit
2006-12-27— Posted by: allegra

In Paul’s quite natural haste to quit Vancouver yesterday, he left both the front door and the back door unlocked. I can understand his desire to be elsewhere, but I might wish that he would not put the worldly goods of his housemates at risk in the process.

2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

I am so thankful for my friends tonight. Tammy came and fetched me this morning and we spent a wonderful day lingerie shopping, eating sushi, and getting a pedicure, all while Tammy dispensed amusing bon mots and really good advice. At the end of it not only did I feel human I felt quite excellent.

All I really accomplished today was learn a Canadian new folk song (the Fenian Song) and get Katie a new phone number, as she has finally (only TOOK a month) decided she doesn’t want Daxus knowing her phone number. I love it when people finally take my advice…. At least I did something useful today, and like I said, I feel WAY WAY better. Tomorrow, who the hell knows.

mOm I cannot find the pic of John Kovalic’s “my lil Cthulhu” which is aggravating as hell, but I’m sure it will turn up eventually and I’ll forward the link then.

Tammy is leaving for Victoria tomorrow and Arizona after that so it will probably be another year before I see her, but her visit couldn’t have been more welcome or timed better.

Fed Glen and Maggie Christmas dinner last night.

Paul’s in Seattle with Keith.

Hot damn an NRA graphic novel
2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

Great balls o fire!!!!

I am very impressed, it’s a brilliantly conceived work.

Interesting site
2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

The most wonderful dream
2006-12-26— Posted by: allegra

Last night I dreamed I went swimming by moonlight in Muskoka. The water was deliciously cool and I swam backwards away from moon with the light on my face. As soon as I thought I was near land, I turned around and I could feel the sand under my hands. It was a lovely, lovely dream.

I for one hail our new moose masters
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

DrFilk said, “Knowing your penchant for moose pics, I thought I’d alert you to this.” Why thank you, kind sir.

Monastery, 1909 Russia
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Color photos….. I love this picture because it is a genuine color photograph of a monastery in 1909, because it is a gorgeous composition by a good photographer (his name’s in the jpg name, and don’t ask me to pronounce it), and because it looks like something out of a contemporary anime….

And speaking of anime, I am still blown away by the deck of anime cards my cousin Catherine is designing. She is one talented artiste….

Pope’s hat for midnight mass
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Benedict’s hat for midnight mass is pretty encrusted with stuff. It must be heavy. Doesn’t he look like something out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer???

A helluva way to break a fall
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Some Brit fell 15000 feet out of an aircraft, got his chute tangled, and his fall was broken by a blackberry bush. He was found unconscious, with nothing more wrong with him than a punctured lung (Crikey, those spikes are long and sharp!) and a busted ankle. As one wag commented, I told you fruit is good for you. Just keep a weather eye out for the guy with the banana…

My aunt and the improvised weapon
2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

I have learned from one of my more ‘things-go-boom’ correspondents that you can turn a disposable camera into a taser. My aunt had a disposable camera at the family gathering yesterday. Hm. Well, the women in my family always were a little odd. It’s a def trif bad idea to cheese them off………..

Oh, and there’s a video of how to do it on the internet, just in case it’s something the McGyver in you MUST KNOW.

2006-12-25— Posted by: allegra

The choir angelic just got a lot funkier. Just when I’d decided I was going to see James Brown when he came through town next month, the old bugger up and dies on me. He died early this morning of pneumonia. I’ll let other people make the tasteless jokes, I already made fun of him in my blog.

I wish a happy Christmas and a healthy New Year to all my readers (all 40 of you! What a select group you are, to be sure).

I see a tiny patch of blue sky, which is pleasant, because the weather here has been on the downside of atrocious these last few days.

Pic is a captcha from the Blues Brothers of the Godfather of Soul.

Lovely brunch
2006-12-24— Posted by: allegra

No pics (which is hilarious because there were seven cameras there) but Granny’s 95th bday and mOm and pOp’s 50th anniversary went off completely hitchless. In attendance, myself, Paul, Katie (Keith had to work, poor lamb) mOm&pOp (obliviously) Granny (Ditto), Barry, Jackie, Lexi and Rob, Shauna and Catherine, Garry and Diane, Gregory, Tracy and Keegan and Caden, Jeff, Mary… I think that’s all.

We ate like idiots (finger food) and Paul had the brill notion of ordering a couple of jugs of draft rather than all separate beers which meant that we spent WAY less on alcool that we would have otherwise, and we were at a place called Charters which is right on the ocean and HOLY CRAP were the waves high. I am NOT used to seeing 8 foot breakers. Are we going to get on the ferry? It’s looking almost dicey. I’ll post when I get home…

Then the Amazing Cakes Diane made came out and we mounted a vicious assault on them, and then we sang Amazing Grace for Granny, and shmoozed and chatted and admired Catherine’s art work (she’s doing an anime deck of cards!!! send pens…) and had seventeen billion pictures taken. We all had a simply lovely time, and there’s truffles in our bag. Yay us. That was the nicest possible birthday / anniversary party, and I am very very glad I went.

The staff there are darlings and there’s a beautiful saltwater tank with “Nemo and his dad” in it…. two clownfish.

It’s still blowing really hard. I’m going to check the ferries.

Not enough sleep
2006-12-24— Posted by: allegra

I had a lousy nights’ sleep, mostly due to pain, and I’m out of prescribed painkillers. So I took AC&Cs instead, and woke up at 4 am with a bellyache instead. Heavy sigh. Now it’s time to jump on the ferry and get going………

enough sleep
2006-12-23— Posted by: allegra

Saw Tammy and met her beau Henry today, and we had a pleasant meal at Chong Lum Hin. Tomorrow, off to the grands for the 50th wedding celebration and Granny’s birthday party.

Rubber Santa Devil Pirate Ducky?
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a hopeless cultural mashup. Only thing missing are throwing stars and a ninja mask…..

I love the inappropriateness of it all
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

I had a worksibling send me an email that started, “Why you ungrateful hag!” I justabout spewed coffee all over my screen.

I’m okay with it, really, and +so+ wish I could share the circumstances. Anyway, I can die happy now. Actually I’ll be able to die happy when I get a business card that bears the title, “Chief Lackey”. It’s the little things that make a workplace great.

Scarlet Johannsen in fetish gear
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

You’re welcome.

No blog today
2006-12-22— Posted by: allegra

I am trying to model good behaviour…. if you have nothing to say, don’t prove it by talking.

Links to ancient Greek music
2006-12-21— Posted by: allegra

Punkin good Xmas
2006-12-21— Posted by: allegra

2006-12-21— Posted by: allegra

I spend a lot of time working on other people (usually neck and shoulder rubs) so it was a relief to actually be on the receiving end for a change. My feet say, “Thanks!”.

On the other hand, I’m hungover, but it IS the week before Christmas, the drinkinest part of the year.

I light a candle for the immigration woes of some of my friends and colleagues. May the problems be resolved swiftly and in your favor.

So… I mentioned Crisco yesterday, but alas, it gets worse. Imagine working someplace where you say, “I just don’t get Crisco” (the clear context being ‘in the sense of being a personal lubricant for acts of intimacy requiring large amounts of same’, to which your lunchmate’s response is, “But it’s natural.” My riposte, unfortunately for the appetites of my lunchmates, was the first thing that came into my head, which was, “So are gamma rays, but I don’t want them inside me.” This passes for normal conversation at any lunch table I’m sitting at, which is probly why the VPs always look so hunted when I sit down anywhere near them. But really, it’s better than listening to a brace of nerds salivate over expensive cameras, which is the only other conversational oppo.

I think my spine is finally rehydrating enough that I can uncurl from the foetal position, clothe myself, and brave the wild darkness of pre-dawn East Burnaby to get on the bus.

The Wet Spots do it again
2006-12-20— Posted by: allegra

No, as a matter of fact I don’t like Crisco, having a marked preference for O My, but I have to tell you, I work in the kind of place where worksiblings send me links like this… and I like that.

The Wet Spots are from Vancouver. I wonder if my Merkin worksibling was aware of this???? rolling around under the Christmas tree…..

Adventures in wellness
2006-12-20— Posted by: allegra

I had another interesting mini adventure at work yesterday. I asked a worksibling to show me where the gym is because as embarrassing as it is to relate, I couldn’t remember how to find it. He did so, in company with some of our other tablemates at lunch.

The menfolks went into the men’s changing room / shower room / washroom, determined there was nobody else in there and invited me to inspect. It was spacious and well appointed.

Then I pushed the door open into the women’s side. It’s the size of a Dilbert cubicle and the appalling stench that greeted me from the immense pile of shoes just inside the door literally stopped us all in our tracks.

So my worksibling says to me, on the way back up the stairs, I thought girls were supposed to smell pretty, and I told him to shut the **** up.

I wanted to be an honorary man for the purposes of gym usage, but instead I think I am going to draft a smokin’ email to the facilities manager and I’m going to hang an even more smokin’ sign up saying that all those shoes will be handed over to a hazmat team if they’re not outta there by a reasonable date.

In the spirit of the season, I am re-reading Robert Graves’ King Jesus.

It’s that time of year again
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Biscotti  Do not forget to double the recipe

3 large eggs
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
� cup melted butter
1 cup pretoasted any combination of coarsely chopped hazelnuts/almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
� teaspoon ground cardamom (Optional but optimal)
3 drops of almond flavouring (Optional and don�t overdo it)

Add, until no flour shows:

2 � cups all purpose flour (you may add a little more if dough is too sticky)
1 tablespoon baking powder (I use less).

Cover carefully with at least a couple of layers of cling-style wrap and 
refrigerate for NO MORE THAN A DAY
Cook in two stages   Preheat the oven to 350

Form dough into two logs (or four if you have doubled the recipe).  Roll the 
dough between your hands until the logs are between 1� and 2 inches in 
diameter and about 14 inches long.  Place on greased heavy duty aluminum foil 
(properly spaced you can get two logs onto a cookie sheet) and squish down 
with your hands until they are less than 3/4s of an inch high.

Cook for about 25 minutes, but watch it like a hawk for the last 5 minutes so 
it does not burn.  You want everything cooked right through but not so cooked 
that you have trouble cutting the logs up because they crumble.  If it still 
looks bubbly on top it isn�t done.  While still warm, slice logs using 
serrated knife in 1/2 inch thicknesses.  If the dough is gooey wipe off the 
knife with every cut.  Return to the oven at 350 until golden brown, about 
another 15 minutes.  For extra crispiness turn the oven off and let them sit 
for another 10, or even overnight with the oven off.

A double batch makes about 60 biscotti, depending on how thin you slice them.

Sign on a restaurant – now that’s a deal!!!
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

NOW HIRING / TWO FRENCH DIPS / FOR TWO DOLLARS. — A sign at an Arby’s in North Bend, Washington.

It had to happen
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Maybe that Durango owner will do a better job of parking it when he’s living in it.

News I needed………..
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Alcohol protects the brain from trauma!!!!!!!!!!! who knew???

Weather aboveground
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Here’s Dr. Filk inspecting the damage in Robert Burnaby Park. Still over 100000 people without power in Western Washington, not one but TWO of my coworkers had trees come through their houses.

I feel lucky we didn’t lose shingles or fencing. I had to pick my way through an awful lot of debris on the way down the hill from the bus stop this morning.

Are you edible?
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

In the spirit of the Season, Santa Moose
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

Some people have NO RESPECT for wildlife, especially yearling male meese with a sweet tooth. Both pics, part of a series, sent me by my correspondent in Moosonee. I lie, he’s actually in Alberta, and this is from Cousin Gerald. Buddy, you’re a scandal to any self respecting moose, but I kinda like you anyway. Next up!!! a picture entitled, “Are you Edible?”

It’s been Bally Ages since I posted a moose pic
2006-12-19— Posted by: allegra

This is Buddy. He can fend for himself, but in this pic he is demonstrating that he likes hanging around the house where he was fostered when he was orphaned. Note the dog lying around, completely unconcerned, in the background.

I google imaged Rasta Claus
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

Happy Sigh, it’s Rasta Claus…..

How much? That’s all I want to know…..
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

URL sez it all.

Highly recommended blog
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

…and now you know where I stole that pic from 🙂

2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

A great peace comes
2006-12-18— Posted by: allegra

I am feeling much better.

Dejunked 2 boxes of books, a big heating pad thingy and a bag of clothes.

Lexi and I did the production line thang on chocolate truffles, I dipped Mr. Biscotti in Ms. Chocolate with excellent results, and then Rob dipped both into Mr. Latte, with what he pronounced excellent results. That all sounds much more kinky than it really was, I assure you. I’m weird – I don’t dip biscotti in either coffee or wine, both of which are trad.

Katie hauled her first 9 hour shift at the deli, and when she came home I worked on her back and we were giggling because she was crunching something awful, like 16 snaps or something.

Keith closed at Superstore yesterday – he was working the 15 items lane and he says he cannot recollect that it was ever that busy. A lot of people paying for groceries on credit though. I shudder when I hear that.

I have found a dandy blog about the Vancouver housing market. It’s uniformly excellent, and I’ve lost the freaking URL. I’ll dig it up and post it.

Suki, Dr Filk’s new cat, is a complete SWEEETheart. I really wish I had a cat who would sit in my lap when I work…. mew.

Quentin Crisp on avoiding a broken heart
2006-12-17— Posted by: allegra

The quickest remedy is that you must learn not to value love because it is requited. It makes no difference whether your love is returned. Your love is of value to you because you give it. It’s as though you gave me a present merely because you thought I would give you one in return. This won’t do. If you have love to give, you give it and you give it where it is needed, but never, never ask for anything in return. Once you’ve got that in your head, the idea of your heart being broken will disappear.

Christmas 2007
2006-12-17— Posted by: allegra

Ach, it’s too late to think about this year, but next year, buy me one of each from:::::

Off to Lexi’s this afternoon to see what happens when you mashup HER mad homemade chocolatier skillz and my biscotti. Oh yes, there will be calories!

In the meantime, laundry and dejunking.

Sad news
2006-12-17— Posted by: allegra

Paul and I are splitting up and selling the house. I sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to all the various people who thought we were a ‘forever’ couple. Sober consideration yielded the result that killing myself was not the way to get out of this soul-grinding, and unbelievably tasteless, situation. Splitting up seemed a more palatable option all the way ’round. The kids seem fine with it. More details as they become relevant.

enough sleep
2006-12-16— Posted by: allegra

No blog today.

front half December 2006

Housing bubble
2006-12-15— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a nice graphic….

2006-12-14— Posted by: allegra

I haven’t been complaining about it much, but my back is really sore. I no longer have a comfortable sleeping position, and sitting and being in a car are very hard.

Last night I dreamed I died. The hospital paid Paul $50 to cart my body away. I was still having a conversation with the nurse; it was like everybody else knew I was dead and I didn’t.

Bin There, Dun That
2006-12-13— Posted by: allegra

Burned all my con badges this morning. That made a satisfactory offering to Loki, I must say. It’s a good thing to put unpleasant things behind you. There is an offering to Loki that involves dumping a shooter on your head, but I’m not there yet, and I don’t have the courage to ask the Minions of Loki if I can ‘borrow’ a shot of Carn Dum, or whateverthehell they drink for scotch these days and use it for hair tonic, by way of requesting the assistance of an imaginary deity….

Daxus Briggs, Katie’s ex, has, in the last two days, called the house to talk to Paul and texted her (the same day the phone (we had to replace at great trouble and expense after he knocked it out of her hand in the middle of a roadway) arrived, the kid must be psychic). I say this so that if in a couple of days I post that he’s assaulted her again, or killed her, or himself, it won’t come as a surprise.

I guess he doesn’t really understand this whole ‘breach of undertaking’ thing. I’d like to breach his underpants with the toe of my boot, but a) that’s not very Unitarian of me and b) knowing how badly I do anything associated with physical violence, I’d prob’ly just hurt myself.

Work is extremely interesting and extremely difficult right now.

Home life could be better too, but I guess in light of the foregoing I don’t really have to explain much about why. And now Katie’s going to school full time and has TWO part time jobs, which totally reduces the stress of everybody in the house. Keith is continuing to truck along well, thanks for asking.

mOm photocopied and forwarded an article about Dr. Carolyn Porco, about whom previous posts, and Dr. Filk picked up the picture of her and said, in that sonorous and sappy voice he occasionally adopts, “I’m in love.”

Geeks rule.

There is a Christmas tree entirely composed of dead boards at work. It’s about two meters tall and covered in blinking leds out of dead displays. The VP HR loaned her Catbert doll to be the star, and every time I turn around there’s something else on it. Jim from Kanata; please note that the snowman from the Christmas card you forwarded is now decorating the tree. I didn’t think you’d mind….. and thanks for the card, we’re all reasonably well here, except those of us who are entirely insane.

I’m not going to post a picture of the tree made of boards, but I will give you a mental image. I was rendered entirely speechless for the best part of a minute when I saw it for the first time, much to the amusement of those engineering staff who expected a snappier comeback out of little old moi. That about covers it, right?

Paul’s going to Seattle for New Years Eve, possibly with Keith in tow, and I’m not. I’ll be greeting the New Year with snores, in accordance with long standing family tradition.

Another Party, March 10th. Why so close to St Patrick’s Day? Because of Paul’s schedule; February was a write off. There will be live music in The Noisome Lair of Dr. Filk but dancing and drinking will be everywhere else in the house. This will be a dancing party. And drinking. It is the feast day of St Himelin, who changed a pitcher of water into wine and died of the plague three days later. There is a lesson in that for all of us, I guess….

For me pOp
2006-12-12— Posted by: allegra

This picture is for my pOp, who used to hack electrons for a living. Subtext: Oops. If you’re not technical, you probably won’t get why this is funny.

And they made a Christmas tree out of scrap boards in the engineering department, so now I have to find something to put on it.

Scanged from Lifehacker & elsewhere
2006-12-12— Posted by: allegra

This is very useful and very friendly to the environment.

One of the many unindicted co-conspirators I call coworkers sent me this link. And make sure you read the comments….

Me on the beach on Saturday
2006-12-11— Posted by: allegra

That was one helluva blowy day.

There is a diagram for everything
2006-12-11— Posted by: allegra

Black powder
2006-12-11— Posted by: allegra

No pics, but I definitely fired an AWFUL lot of guns today. Some were short and some were long, and they all went bang. When we got to the range, they were firing black powder guns, so the first long gun I ever fired in my life was a black powder rifle. The target was only about 25 yards away, but I hit it two out of three times.

Then we left for lunch. Then we went back to do our own shooting, and the black powder guys were gone and we had the range to ourselves, which is awfully handy so you don’t have to yell CEASE FIRE every time you want to check your targets.

Can’t go into detail about it too much, but I really really really hated the Glock, and really liked the Walther, but I think I liked the .22 pistol best.

Then we went for a walk down the Puntledge River and HOLY CRAP were there EVER A LOT of SMELLY DEAD FISH.

Then we had supper, drove like the hammers to Nanaimo, and drove straight onto the ferry and now I’m home. I had a lovely weekend. Bang! My fingers got powder on them! Cordite!!! wooo and likewise hoo!

Courteney Comox run
2006-12-10— Posted by: allegra

Paul and I had a reasonably pleasant journey yesterday and ate, drank, sang, played and swapped lies for the day with the Lamprey Family. (Yes, Lamprey Geeks Rule!) We also visited Goose Spit during a windstorm… and then we drove and scrambled up to the top of a cliff that some Alaskan dude clearcut after he was told not to and viewed the windstorm from a different angle. Brisk! Bracing! Entirely Nuts.

Today I am going to fire weapons, teach the Lamprey Family how to make biscotti and go home.

We listened to a simply wonderful album by Harry Manx (Wise and Otherwise) last night and are now listening to Twango Bango by David Lindley and Wally Ingram, who manage to sound like a 19 piece ensemble between the two of them.

If this picture actually posts, it’s a baby Morrison Creek lamprey, and I think it’s adorable, especially the eyes.

Weather in space?
2006-12-09— Posted by: allegra

The current pic is of a tsunami on the sun. Molto frio!!!

Sundry & various
2006-12-09— Posted by: allegra

I just laboriously entered an immense post, and of course I hit “Insert Story” and the sumbitch vanished.

Paul and I are off to Courtenay on the 8:30 boat. Katie’s up already, she’s working the brunch shift today. She is showing signs of having transitioned from lazyass teenager to workaholic, a turn of events which partakes of the miraculous.

I got a flu shot at work yesterday, and other than not being able to raise my left arm above shoulder height and being sore, no side effects. The nurse giving the shot was smoother than a mirror.

Something in the computer is chattering like a leprechaun’s Uzi, so I took the precaution this morning of gmailing myself all the critical ‘work in progress’ files, including the song lyrics/listing, and the techno thriller to date.

I was very happy to leave work yesterday. I gave Rob of Nine a lift home (he’s limping, poor guy, having cracked a bone in his foot), then called Paul and got his ETA at 22nd Street Station, then battled the worst traffic I’ve seen in South Burnaby since the last Hyack Parade to get him, then got a phone call from Katie about six blocks from home (and more or less on the way) “Come and Get Me” which we did, and then we stayed for dinner, which was 9 Kinds Nibbly Things with Stella. Then home, and Paul and Katie went to Buffyverse and I had a long hot bath and did Sudoku.

Wish I could find the watch. It is resolutely staying in places I haven’t looked yet.

Glow in the dark Condiments
2006-12-08— Posted by: allegra

It made me laugh, what can I say.

Endeavor to persevere
2006-12-08— Posted by: allegra

Some dude in Metchosin has crucified Santa underneath a Latin sign that says Shop til you drop. I personally take much comfort at this time of year in that line from a Wertmuller movie about people thinking Jesus is Santa Claus as a young man.

I’m off to work early this morning, I don’t know why. Maybe the cafeteria is calling me for breakfast. I brought my lunch; homemade chicken soup.

Lady Miss Banjola dropped by for a 3rd season Buffy fest; for some reason the zombie cat episode, and then there were others.

I’m taking requests for song subjects.

Wish list & other stuff
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

I wish there was a place I could practice at work. I suspect my sanity would get an enormous boost if I could sing and play for half an hour in the middle of the day.

I wish people didn’t keep asking me what I want for Christmas; apart from world peace and a new sciatic nerve I’m kinda tapped out for ideas…. that I can publicly post.

I wish I could teleport over to my brother’s place and stay there for a week.

I wish I could teleport in February, when I’m planning to go to Toronto. Why go to Toronto in February? I miss real winter and I hear the place still has a decent transit system, neither of which obtain in this fair burg… I bet if I pack my skates there will be a thaw. Anyway, I have people to see and I wish to inspect the childrearing success of some of my friends.

I wish I could skate outside this winter without driving to 100 Mile House, or whereverthehell. Apparently there are ski hills around here that have outdoor skating surfaces. I suppose I should hang with Mr Interweb and find out where. It’s just that Apres Patiner doesn’t sound so good.

The latest Frank issue verbed the galactic moose.

The latest Funny Times actually was. I subscribed to Funny Times for a year when I was living in Toronto and working for CDS; the current subscription was a gift from Janice.

One of my projects while I’m in TO is to visit all my old stomping grounds, personal and professional, and take pictures.

I wish I could teleport to Mars and go play with the rocks for a while.

Serenity Shopping List
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

This made me crack up. I found this someplace off Whedonesque – it’s from eckshully, and I thought this was one of the most adorable fanbites I’d seen in quite a while. If you aren’t a Serenity/Firefly fan this will go right by you.

Howard Zinn quote
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

Howard Zinn, from his most recent book.

America’s future is linked to how we understand our past. For this reason, writing about history, for me, is never a neutral act. By writing, I hope to awaken a great consciousness of racial injustice, sexual bias, class inequality, and national hubris. I also want to bring into the light the unreported resistance of people against the power of the Establishment: the refusal of the indigenous to simply disappear; the rebellion of black people in the anti-slavery movement and in the more recent movement against racial segregation; the strikes carried out by working people all through American history in attempt to improve their lives. To omit these acts of resistance is to support the official view that power only rests with those who have the guns and possess the wealth. I write in order to illustrate the creative power of people struggling for a better world. People, when organized, have enormous power, more than any government. Our history runs deep with the stories of people who stand up, speak out, dig in, organize, connect, form networks of resistance, and alter the course of history.

Elvis Preseli
2006-12-07— Posted by: allegra

This Welsh Elvis impersonator – who doesn’t even perform Elvis tunes, apparently – has more charisma than he knows what to do with. Check out that big bald head. Mmm mhmm. His real name is Geraint Benney. As is usual with the Sun Online, may their various minions be cursed and their privy parts struck sore with fistulae and flatulence, the name of the photographer is nowhere in evidence. These Things Are Scent to Try Us. Anyway, whether you were a publicist’s minion or of the valiant, free press, great pic kiddo.

Joke from Cousin Gerald
2006-12-06— Posted by: allegra

In honour of the Liberals, I thought maybe we could go to a quiet, average-looking little French restaurant that no-one’s ever heard of and even French people don’t like, but is environmentally friendly and smart.

Massively urine-worthy clip
2006-12-06— Posted by: allegra

Mary Poppins recut as a horror film. Baybee! Hide yer childer!

Weird experience
2006-12-06— Posted by: allegra

So…. I’m minding my own business last night, in my own patent pending fashion, and a song said, “Play me play me I need to be liberated from silence!”…. so I start picking out the sweet little beatleseque melody line on the mandolin. And ANOTHER song came along and said, “**** the other song, play ME inSTEAD!!!!” No lyrics for either one yet. One is going to be a song about war, and the other song is going to be a love song. Maybe a biscotti song. No, too sweet. It’ll be a love song for Vancouver weather. No, that’s too disgusting. But it will be a love song…. Oh my GOD, I’m playing a MINOR chord on the mandolin. The people I play with on a regular basis will get scared. I mean, this song has FOUR WHOLE CHORDS IN IT. So in the midst of the retreat from Moscow which is my personal life at the moment, some things are extremely buoyant and fun. And I’ll be taking biscotti to work, which will make somebody happy, even if it isn’t me.

And you know what Brian said? “Get your ass in gear and learn Copperhead Road!” It shall be done, superior sir! As long as he doesn’t tell me to learn the Battle of Evermore or Maggie Mae, I should be fine. Brr!

mOm, I can only think of one line from a movie right now…. “We must learn to be happy without it.” I’m working on it, but the sledding is very heavy.

Up next… meeting Katie’s new beau.

Cancelled the Simplicity meeting, only one person RSVP’d.

I’m reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Jumping Jimmy Christmas, what an extremely disturbing and bizarre graphic novel. I say again, Brr!

I just figured something out
2006-12-05— Posted by: allegra

BSE gets into the human food chain not so much with tainted meat from the butcher, but through prions that escape from pet food containers – because we all know that only the most wholesome cuts of meat are in cat food tins…. And all this time I was being a good citizen, cleaning out those cat food cans in the sink. I can feel my brains checking out already…….

Off to school
2006-12-05— Posted by: allegra

We let Katie sleep until 8 and now she’s going to get a lift to school. Sweet, as the kids say.

Still shippiles of snow; the promised rain was so measly and ineffectual that it didn’t actually melt much. We need a really warm spell or some sun.

Today I sort through the tangled mass of songs YET AGAIN to figure out which one to do next, and I made up cards for the ones I just wrote, which include “Short” (sorry, I can’t post the lyrics because they are extremely rude and possibly actionable) “Lady of Komarr” “Going on Vacation” “Buy me a Beer” “The Dream in Fragments” & “Miss Manners has her say”, and I didn’t have a card for “Chance Met”, either, although I wrote it months ago, and I did have a card for “The Merman Lover” which I wrote after “Chance Met”. I have been getting sloppy…. I also remembered a tune I wrote, no lyrics, about 20 years ago. I find driving a car and walking extremely useful in song writing; moving and songwriting seem to go together. I know it sounds stupid, but I could literally write airs all day.

I forwarded one of my tunes to two of my colleagues the other day; one has yet to comment, and the other said, “Wish I hadn’t waited 4 days to listen to that… more please!” which I have to say made my day….

That was for “Crazymaking Boy” a cute little tune which Katie sings backup on. I made the mistake of emailing it to one of Katie’s friends, (shaky fisty, Jessica!) and now the damned song is an Escapee…. there’s like half a dozen kids in Burnaby with the song on their MP3 players. I should probably make it Creative Commons and be done with it. Barn doors and all. Anyway, today should be a tuneful day.

Phone has been replaced and works great. First batch of mailing biscotti is off – Paul scarfed about a third of the batch for a Christmas party last night, which seemed entirely appropriate. Most people are just standing around waiting for an opportunity to eat my biscotti, at least this time of year.

Courtenay folk, prepare to be invaded… this just in from Paul….

2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Katie filled out all the paperwork for her new job. Now she’s hanging with friends for the evening.

We bought a family Christmas present – a phone with two handsets so John can have one downstairs and doesn’t have to schlep it up and down whenever he wants it. We also broke down and activated call display.

Now I’ve seen everything
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

And to think I could have used one of these last week!!!!

More kitty pics
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Zeek! was very very happy to have Paul home. As soon as Paul lay down on the Sofa of Morpheus, zingo, there he was. Oh, and the phone just rang and the good news was that the job that Katie applied for has called her back to fill in paperwork. So all good news.

Busy day
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of Kira. I have lots of work to do today…..

I wrote another song
2006-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Little Jimmy Maple Leaf, the guitar slinging wildman that he is, suggested I write a song. I have done so, but now I am deeply ashamed of myself because I will never be able to perform it in a public venue, it being too scurrilous and potentially career limiting.

Stranger, when you see this story, go tell the Maple Leafs, we have done as we were bid.

Anyway, I’ll debut it at my next party, sometime in February.

I wrote it less than 24 hours after he commissioned it. I wish to do for love what others charge so much for, so we may all be enriched by knowing the true price of art. Pic is of a neighbor.

Shaky fisty
2006-12-03— Posted by: allegra

Dang. One of the perils of the blogslife is the Wildean moment. The wonderful backstory thingee you don’t talk about in public. Anyway, I’m very happy right now, although I’d be happier if I hadn’t just boobytrapped the freezer door with half frozen ice cream which caused Keith to let out a mighty yell, and a mightier scolding to the miscreant (terse, witty, and entirely without profanity) who would be, oops, me. I did clean it up. Kira wanted to help, but I .. uh … pink tinged cat puke is not something I care to contemplate cleaning up at the moment.

Paul’s home
2006-12-03— Posted by: allegra

He was able to get an earlier flight, so he’s home early. Me happy.

Cartoon noises
2006-12-03— Posted by: allegra

Little Jimmy Christmas, I haven’t even had coffee yet, and Keith is enthusiastically (Willis-like, full points if you get the Heinlein reference) bouncing around the house talking about doing a Dorothy Dunnett / anime mashup. Yark! Actually, there are possibilities… there are so many pretty blond boys in anime.

Last night’s company Xmas party was well attended, fun, and in a very choice location. I performed “Buy me a Beer” to a crowd of about 150 people without difficulty or incident. Maintaining the three beer buzz required to adequately render the song was a challenge but I was driving home alone after …. so I had to be good. It was received reasonably well (actually, it received enthusiastic applause and people were clapping along during the song, and I forced the Moomins to get up and dance, so yeah, by me it was a success).

The person who took pix of the event has not yet forwarded them to me… wait a minute, let me check my other email…nope, no joy. I got a quick look over his shoulder at the display afterwards; he took TWO DOZEN PICS of me performing and I didn’t even notice… that’s smooth, considering his camera is the size of a fax machine.

And then I had the unalloyed joy of having two of my long time coworkers admire my cojones, a sentiment as cheerfully welcome as it is anatomically improbable. Both of them only play in public when they have backup, and that just makes me shake my head, as both of them are semi pro or at least have vocal training, and all I have is my widdy head, my native talent (40 years of songwriting, gosh darn) and a cruel muse.

Yupper… Polyhymnia is a badtempered muse – she once dated Loki and man, it did NOT work out. He kept bugging her for drinking songs, and she’d get up and go dance and sing in the woods like an elfmaiden. I’ll have to do a story about that sometime. Hm. I just had a great idea for a whole collection of stories… no actually it would work best as a graphic novel. Okay, in the pile with you, Mr. 29th idea before breakfast….

I tuned that goldinged mandolin three times – the humidity in the, uh, facility we were at went up and down a lot. I’m never buying a crappy tuner again, it’s insane making. We TUNE because we CARE.

My only regret was that Paul was not there to see it, he would have enjoyed it immensely. And my grandboss played keyboards, so there.

Katie’s not here but she phoned. Warning: Relationship in Progress. I can’t say I approve, I never met the lad formally, but if it’s taking Katie’s mind off her troubles I shouldn’t make either horrified OR envious noises. This one at least is a Red Dwarf fan so I’m allowing myself to experience a dilute and cautious optimism.

Off to church this morning; it’s a purely musical service, no sermon. Sunday mornings never looked so fine. Which is not to say I don’t enjoy Rev Katie’s sermons, I just like music a lot. You noticed? How kind!

Keith brought me coffee; all is forgiven.

Now I have to get going on the song Jim commissioned. Hint: I am diving into the thesaurus for words that are confused with “short”.

Gosh, whatever Keith’s cooking smells righteous, and he made bread too, the useful man.

I even wore makeup last night. Now my eyes feel like mortared-over bricks, and I actually removed the makeup before I went to bed last night! Cazart.

I should go move the laundry along.

I’ll post pix when Dave gets them to me. Wish he could ‘shop about 15 pounds off my butt, and 5 off my face, but them’s the breaks………..

back to the grind, not
2006-12-02— Posted by: allegra

Yeehaw 4 days off. I have much in the way of plannyness planned, as well as many Solstice “fatten the relatives” plans. And I have been SPECIFICALLY enjoined by my delightful and hardworking and talented worksiblings south of de border to MAKE BISCOTTI and somehow get them through customs. Having a bit of a problem there, because they are w*apons of mass accretion. However, I am sure I can do it, because they are my worksiblings, and you have to figure on doing what it takes to feed them.

Lessee. The world continues to be a weird and interesting place. Katie did not come home last night, but I want everybody to know two things. I know where she is and she is doing fine.

The November novel writing month is over, but I’m still up 18K words. I’ll have to delete or rewrite most of that, but I have a better sense of what I’m doing and hope to be done this time next year.

I have to enter 15 songs in the next two weeks if I want to get back on schedule. I did get through Buy me a Beer last night, but that was only so I could rip a wav file and get it over to Brian. There are now two more verses from what I previously posted – very funny ones, I may say.

Oh, Glen, I keep flashing on the expression on your face when you said, “I’ve FINALLY heard the Tapioca Song.” Giggle.

Time to update the song list. It’s unbelievable to me how many songs I’ve written in the last 2 months. I haven’t had a spell like this since the summer through fall of 1990…. not that I quit writing in the middle, just didn’t produce that much.

I really want to learn another instrument. I suppose it’s time I actually learned piano; really I want to learn bass but then everybody would think I was just copying Peggy, who is essentially so much herself and not anybody else that I couldn’t dream of that… She’s getting SOOOO good on bass. I just want to squee like a four year old when I think about it.

And besides, basses are heavy and my back is crappy right now.

Paul’s at his mum’s place in London; Frances’ funeral is today.

Keith and I got halfway through Ed Wood and couldn’t hack it after about halfway – although as promised, Martin Landau was amazing – so we watched Jacob’s Ladder instead. Holy Virgin, what a CREEPY movie! I was not watching it directly because when I saw the vibrating heads I freaked out. I just listened to it, and when the creepy voice says “Dream On” in the hospital I justabout convulsed in terror. I have such a bizarre nervous system. Keith’s on a ‘going mad’ movie kick, and I said, well, sheesh there’s lots of those. I am going to bug him to rent Gaslight. I’ve never seen it, except excerpted (try typing THAT fast!) in other shows.

Time to start a load of laundry and review my 36 item to do list; at least finding a cure for cancer and accomplishing world peace have finally dropped off the list… and I owe it all to GTD! And it’s not even 8 am yet. A great start to my long weekend.

I light a candle for Paul, Paul’s mum Phyllis, and all the folks gathered to celebrate Frances’ life today.

I light a candle for the Vancouver Lesbian and Gay Choir – I am FINALLY going to go to a show, I buy tix tomorra.

And I’m lighting a big big candle to the folks who crafted the millennia old orrery. Geeks rule! Greek Geeks rule very much indeed! And as Cousin Gerald said, Cartographers Rule the World. (It’s the sign over his office.) I made the mistake of mentioning printers, and don’t ever do that to a cartographer, they have the best stuff. But we have an instantiator at my work!!! so there!

Pic is Katie in Seattle for the Music Project school trip.

nucular terrierism
2006-12-01— Posted by: allegra

A fistfight with a clown?

Okay actually it’s about nuclear terrorism.

2006-12-01— Posted by: allegra

Katie didn’t come home last night. Nor did she phone. To quote Kryten, “I’m almost annoyed.” I have a rough idea of where she is and who she’s with, but a phone call would have been nice.

Paul called to say it’s raining and blowing a gale in Toronto right now. He and Per were supposed to see the Avro Arrow display (a Canuckistani pilgrimage if ever there was one – damn, I wouldn’t mind seeing it myself) but the traffic and the weather suck too badly. Paul’s off to London at 2 and will meet up with his mum.

Headgear Smackdown
2006-11-30— Posted by: allegra

Normally, Bennie has it all over the other guys in the hat department, but as Lady Miss Banjola remarked, the Patriarch is having a major hat smackdown with the Pope. And, check out the vestments. At least they don’t wear the same thing to the party…..

Silly string…. isn’t
2006-11-30— Posted by: allegra

back half November 2006

more snow
2006-11-30— Posted by: allegra

There was another two inches of extremely dense snow on the ground this morning. Driving was fine because I live just off major routes, but listening to the radio about how 45 seconds of travel was turning into an hour at some of the on ramps made me glad that Dr. Filk told me to put a shovel in the trunk this morning.

I feel like I’m coming down with something.

On the plus side, the distrust, fear and suspicion which has clouded Katie’s life for the last little while seems to be lifting, thanks be.

More writing
2006-11-30— Posted by: allegra

I wrote some more.

I talked to Paul; he’s suggesting I stay put and he’ll fly the family flag at the funeral and come home Sunday – he’s on vacation for the best part of two weeks.

We tried to work out the logistics of getting me out Friday night and then Saturday morning and none of it looked easy; he’s still going to look into it and the situation is still fluid.

Typing the victim impact statement for Katie was a lot harder than I expected it to be. The very starkness and lack of emotion makes it very moving.

There’s a lot happening in my life right now.

Burnaby Library phoned to say that Keith lost his phone and, possibly, his keys. Hope he makes it home soon so I can tell him, he’s probably already noticed that they’re missing and is pretty choked.

Dr Filk, may he be praised and adored, has shovelled the walkways; it’s still bucketing and cusping on sleet.

A good death
2006-11-29— Posted by: allegra

Frances, beloved mother of my best friend from high school, Liz, and her sister Laura, and beloved mom in law of Andy, grandmother to a tidy few childer, died in her daughter’s home last night. They called an ambulance, but with her classic defiance, she chose to go just as you could hear it beeping as it backed up into the driveway.

She was on the phone with her friends – her best friend Phyllis is my mom-in-law – and relating to her family right up until the end, and appeared to be in no pain after she slipped into unconsciousness after three glasses of water and a nice big supper. She was cracking jokes and ribbing her relatives right until the end.

She died surrounded by family.

It doesn’t get better than this, when we must pay our debt, and she paid it in style, with a curl in her lip, and I salute her. (Liz said, I can just hear her say, “I’m not going into ANY ambulance, thanks.”)

The funeral is the same day as the company holiday party, and I’ve already called Paul to put his thinking cap on about travel arrangements, because the party is trivial, and the funeral is important. Paul’s only an hour away where he is, so all that needs to happen is my heading out Friday night and coming back Sunday night…. I’m sure there’s a bed for me somewhere in London….

Love each other while you can; the future’s uncertain and the end is always near.

A company responds to misinformation
2006-11-29— Posted by: allegra

This is MY idea of how a company should respond to bullshit on the web. Boing Boing said, oh you can buy polonium on the web. Guess what? Maybe you can, but it’s a leedle more complicated than that.

Rob of Nine’s snow pic
2006-11-29— Posted by: allegra

Is now on the home page of the SFU site!! Yes, that’s more or less what work looks like now. gorram snow.

special features………..
2006-11-29— Posted by: allegra

Dr Filk bought the entire 40 DVD set of Buffy, so we’ve been watching special features and bouncing around the seasons.

chatted on MSM w/ Leo, et others, last night. Very bizarre to be texting with somebody who bothers to capitalize the commencement of sentences. But extremely pleasant, thanks Leo.

Boil water advisory lifted as the snow starts to fall again. I think my birch tree is very unhappy. You can’t even see my rosemary bush, there’s so much snow. It’s berloody cold here.

Paul is settled in TO for his course, he says he has a very nice room and hung with his former flying partner.

Keith is providing much advice about the novel, to the point I wish he’d find a project of his own to eat his brain. I am in the process of designing an AI, ably assisted by my complete ignorance of all matters computational.

It’s official, I’m writing songs faster than I can transcribe them. Phwoah!

Off to the airport
2006-11-28— Posted by: allegra

Paul’s off to TO for a course. He’s going to be seeing his old flying partner Per and his sis Ruth and their family, and, ever supposing I can remember how to drive when the roads are this crunchy, he’s left me the car. Wish me luck on the commute!

I helped Katie with her victim impact statement last night. Heavy sigh. I remember looking at the inadequate scrap of paper they give you to fill in and saying, as tactfully as I could, “Why don’t you do a rough draft?” and of course she would have more than filled it. Then she decided to type it, which is also probably a good idea. Anyway our mother-daughter bonding event is completing it and faxing it off tonight. And then a LOT of 6th season Buffy.

Michael Ruppert has emigrated to Canada!!!! He’s in Toronto getting treatment. He doesn’t say on his blog that he was poisoned, but it’s hard not to think of that in the current global climate.

Putin must be smirking. The way Russia is denying the activities of the poisoners is great; everybody knows they did it and now anybody inside or outside of Russia who wants to take them on is just going to die a painful and lingering death – or be terrified by the prospect. Nice work! Ever so much more efficient than lawsuits, one must admit with horrified admiration.

2006-11-27— Posted by: allegra

Finally, a picture – a nanoknife.

The Guardian Comes Through
2006-11-27— Posted by: allegra

Betty Comden’s obit.,,1957719,00.html

Security food for thought
2006-11-27— Posted by: allegra

Very too much snow
2006-11-27— Posted by: allegra

I am NOT going to post a pic, because it’s too freaking depressing, but there is a LOT of snow here today, and the temperature has dropped, and now…. the morning commute.

I just checked the weather. What a revolting turn of events. Wind chill of minus 18 tomorrow? Who ordered this up? And check out the jet stream pattern, we’re going to get whacked. Chipper is laughing at me, all the way from Ontario I can hear a demented chuckle….

SHout Out
2006-11-26— Posted by: allegra

No pix of the partay yet… hope Rob will get on that…. but it was, Paul and I agreed as we padded off to bed, the most successful soiree ever. We started singing early because Tom and Peggy are opening the church this morning (and in this weather!!!! we have four to six inches of shnow on the ground and it’s coming down with, uh, grim determination).

Big shout out to the Finn Family Moomintroll for bringing the boys, who had a good time AND a snowball fight, woo hoo. Oh and Susanna brought me a Finnish publication of Moominpappa at sea, so there…. Bigger shout out to Maggie-pants for taking them home in her car (having a Jeep and being the very model of sobriety) so the grups could keep partaying on. Also thanks to Jarmo and Susanna to getting up and DANCING to my new tune “Buy me a Beer”. It made the honky tonk feel that much more real.

Enormous shout out to Paul for organizing the garage for the smokers; I came in from trying to make the smokers feel like they weren’t social pariahs (and I bummed a smoke off Tanya, so shoot me) and PAUL WAS SINGING AUTUMN LEAVES when I came back in – with standup bass and other acoustic accompaniment. I thought my heart would explode with joy – and I think Rob, that sly dog, took pictures just as I realized what was going on, so I will be very interested to see my expression. Then Paul said, “I should do more of this” and Peggy just grinned and nodded like a small and happy child. Paul has a very pretty tenor voice. Like really pretty; he sings with intent and awesome phrasing. I think the next time we do a musical soiree we should bring our top five schmaltziest songs of all time and do a Schmaltz Idol. That could be fall over laughing funny, as well as sentimental as all hell.

We opened with “An Evening of Serious Drinking” and closed with that Joe Hall tune that Dr. Filk always sings at the end of the night (the streets are all … lit up tonight…. not one lamppost is sober…). Festivities closed down around 12:30 but we started singing early.

Oh Lexi, that’s one sweet guitar you have! More morosity!!!

Dr. Filk and Lady Miss Banjola were in fine form as well. The Minions of Loki were also in attendance; Mike sang and played a couple of tunes, but left before American Pie, which somewhat irked the Dalai Jarmo; Heather provided very pretty harmonies on I’ll Fly Away.

The Dalai Jarmo instantiated fries (it’s NOT a proper Paul and Allegra party without Jarmo fries) and he was a saintly trooper, because the oil took forever to get hot because the cooker was outside. ANYWAY the fries were awesome as always.

Big shout out to Lady Miss Banjola for bringing me my very own SUPERHERO CAPE. I will try to describe it. It is lined in BRONZE DENIM. The shoulders are turquoise fun fur. The outer shell is a ketchup coloured fabric with zigzagging lines of lime green sequins all over it. It is the most eyemartyring combination of fabric textures and colors possible, and Keith fell on it with cries of glee when he came home and promptly wore it. Of course it looks better on him; high fashion is for the slender.

Thanks also to Maggie for bringing the shower massager, I will be testing it shortly!

I only had three beers. And now I’m off to church, slowly, slowly. Thank you so much to everyone who came and only two people that I REALLY REALLY wanted to come didn’t show, and they likely know who they are. There was nobody in our house last night that Paul and I didn’t want to be there, and that’s a WONDERFUL feeling.

Thanks be to Loki for a fine fine party.

I ran my fingers through Brian’s hair, but only to get the chip grease off my fingers (kidding, just kidding!!!).

Glen thank you so much for coming, the smile on your face was one of the many highlights of the evening……

The evening was brought to us with the able assistance of a banjola, mandolin, twelve string, resonator guitar, six string in d open tuning, six string, standup bass and a large assortment of lusty voices. Happy, happy sigh.

Tone Deaf?
2006-11-25— Posted by: allegra

I got 80.6 %. What did you get?

Men in dresses – Bush kisses Putin’s forehead
2006-11-25— Posted by: allegra

Keith’s reaction when he saw this pic, which must have been on the front page of every newspaper in the world, but I MUST repost to this blog was “I’ve always wondered about those two.”

And we’ve gotta thank Putin for adding the expression “peeing polonium” to our lexicon.

At least Stephen Harper has a look of polite attention on his face.

enough sleep
2006-11-25— Posted by: allegra

I wish we had a picture like this of Stephen Harper. I kinda like some of the American political traditions, but I take comfort that we still have the scrum.

You can get anything you want.
2006-11-25— Posted by: allegra

Did you ever wonder what happened to….Alice?

Sound advice.
2006-11-25— Posted by: allegra

“The time has come to shed all our fears and prejudices; to stand up against all kinds of terrorism: bomb terrorism, mob terrorism and at certain places, state terrorism. We should neither be condescending towards the reactionary element of minorities nor intimidated by the fascist who pretends to be the face of the majority.”

Javed Akhtar, Indian poet, activist, lyricist and scriptwriter.

2006-11-25— Posted by: allegra

Katie has brightened the lives of her long suffering grandparents by a) bringing Tom’s blackberry jelly to them across the Georgia Strait b) showing up at all c) demonstrating that despite the best efforts of her ruinously insane mother, she didn’t turn out half bad (okay, let’s give Paul the credit for that) and d) engaging in (GASP! alert the MEDIA!) meaningful adult conversation with them on a wide variety of topics. She’s off her to Unca Jeff’s today to watch movies and chill. Since this is one of *my* all time fave activities, I can only comfort myself with the notion that there will be a PARTAY TONIGHT at the Augur Inn.

And only the cool beyond cool will show up, because despite my having invited half the known universe, only the absolutely most musical or most fun loving people will arrive.

And Brian. Te he.

Some people wanted to come and couldn’t get a hall pass from their spouses. Man, that just sucks!

I found an on line dictionary that explained w00t! Forty-eight and I finally get the freaking reference.

I found all my Christmas gifts on one website! w00t!

See, uses novel technology appropriately. Neophilia is actually a mental illness rather than a survival trait, discuss.

I really wish I could play mandolin better, I can hear a mando solo for “Buy me a Beer” that would probably take 100 years to learn, and I don’t HAVE a hundred years.

I’ll be lucky to be still writing songs in twenty. And since I’m composing (ha, typed composting, same diff!!!) the bleeding things faster than I can actually write them down, I’m in the interesting position of watching my own goal posts hike up their skirts and book it downfield.

This line deliberately left blank.

I keep asking Loki to bring me a drum and an accordion – is this wrong? Paul seems to think so.

By copy to mOm, can you tell pOp that I think Loki has a thing for the Parking Goddess? I should figure out when Loki’s feast day is and plan a party. Another noisy, anarchic, fabled in history partay.

One last thing. I fell asleep last night to one of my all time favourite noises…. three of my fave people laughing uproariously. Yes, my pOp provided a collection of Three Stooges videos SO HUGE that there was stuff in there that the menfolks hadn’t seen. Paul was in hysterics even trying to describe it this morning. Thank you pOp. I think.

I light a candle for the folks breaking up with their long term girlfriends; it’s happening in multiples and some of it is civil and some of it is not, but it’s still sad. I could say more, but I’d need more visual aids, and I’d rather post a Stooges pic!!!

Internet cafe security tip
2006-11-24— Posted by: allegra

Excellent editorial about the boil water advisory
2006-11-24— Posted by: allegra

Goodbye to all that
2006-11-24— Posted by: allegra

Well, I was happy, and I’m not anymore, and I was writing, and I’m not anymore. I have to figure out how to get my mojo back. I think I’m going to be making a lot of phone calls over the next few days.

It’s been bally ages since I posted a squid pic
2006-11-23— Posted by: allegra

Stolen from a friend of a friend of a friend on LJ. Oh, and if you want to friend me on MSM I’m u_must_b_joking (you know the drill), and my screen name is Gelis.

It was hilarious, I friended Katie’s buddy and she came back in my face like a rabid rat, who the f*** are you and whaddaya want. Fortunately she and I go way back…. I mind a wonderful evening when I’d been recording and was higher than a kite on adrenaline and harmony – and nothing else, thanks! – and not even the spectacle of her puking up three days worth of food and alcohol all over my back deck could so much as put a dent in my mood. I waited until she was between heaves and forced Katie to take her into the can to hose her down, and Katie tossed her clothes in a trash bag and laundered them. I wasn’t touching them, that’s what friends are for!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my relations south of the line.

In other news
2006-11-23— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been introduced to the joys of MSM Messenging. My interlocutor pronounced it “the lowest form of communication” but I can certainly understand now how it’s addicting. When you remove the social cues, communication becomes very … anarchic.

More verses
2006-11-23— Posted by: allegra

I’m up over 17K words on the novel (if I already said that, I wrote more last night, anyway) and added two verses to the song last night. I <3 November.

Happy family news for a change
2006-11-22— Posted by: allegra

Katie has a job interview at 6:30 pm tomorrow…. wish her luck!!

Where’s the pickup truck???
2006-11-22— Posted by: allegra

So… anyway. New song.

Buy me a beer
Make it cold one
Buy me a beer
or maybe, two or three
I may get to like your face
when the goggles are in place
Buy me a beer, or maybe, two or three

Tell me a joke
make it a funny one
Tell me a joke, or maybe two or three
My heart’s been torn in half
I could really use a laugh
Tell me a joke, or maybe two or three.

Instrumental break….

Tell me a lie
and not just any lie
Tell me a lie
Made up just for me
There’s a lot of truth around
Lying scuffed up on the ground
Tell me a lie
a pretty one…
for me.

slowing down to take a breath
2006-11-22— Posted by: allegra

A week ago I was looking at Katie’s closed bedroom door and grinding my teeth, because she wasn’t behind it. Now I look at it and sigh. Just because she’s home in her own bed doesn’t mean I get to stop worrying. But she paid for sushi last night!

All the preliminary legal stuff has come and gone; the ex boyfriend is out after half a day in jail and he and Katie both know the terms of his release. There’s a wrinkle, but there always is – essentially that he lives a few blocks from the school so it’s hard to make him not go near the school. Mitigating this is that the last time he went, two of the teachers upended him over a table and held him there until he accompanied the cops out of the building. Or so I heard, and I have no cause to doubt it.

Katie went to the cop shop by herself to file the report. I know my childrearing style has been characterized as one of benign neglect, but when they are eighteen and neither stupid nor lazy, parents are no longer obliged to wring their hands about what they did wrong, and how raising kids has been a long siege against their sanity and exchequer.

Yeah, yeah, I know. When we went five years ago to a class on raising your teen, the woman looked around and said, “You know why you’re here? Cause you had a baby and decided to keep it.” A ringing endorsement of personal responsibility, eh wot?

Work is wonderful right now. I have the best worksiblings on the planet.

I am very much looking forward to the company collective consciousness crasher on December 2, the potluck on the 8th, holidays on the 4th and 5th (to bake, you know) and the partay here on the 25th, which will be musical…. ah yes. Now I must clean. Damn, how’d that happen?

Okay, HERE’s the Dandy Warhols Link
2006-11-21— Posted by: allegra

Not safe for work.

2006-11-21— Posted by: allegra

Got up, wrote some more
2006-11-21— Posted by: allegra

Went to sleep at 1:30, up at 6:30. I’m possessed, I’m possessed. The characters pwn me. He is SUCH a schmuck, and entirely irresistible by my standards. SHE’s just a cow, but sort of like a commando raid kind of cow. Now it’s time to pull back, get godlike, and start to move the pieces across the board to the messy, ultra-penetrated by media, finale. Oh, and I need to talk tech to the guys at work… that should hurt! NOT, so NOT!

Nobody has to watch this Dandy Warhols video, but as the comments said, EVERY rock video should have a hot boy twirling a hula.

What, another addiction
2006-11-21— Posted by: allegra

Oh, man, like I don’t have enough calls on my time. But I’m up to 16,750 words and it’s still got me by the scruff of the neck.

Katie’s home
2006-11-20— Posted by: allegra

Finally got to wish her a happy birthday. Helluva birthday, hey?

Ah, married life
2006-11-20— Posted by: allegra

Finally got hold of Paul. Paul has known since 9:30 last night that Katie was at her buddy’s place…. and he didn’t tell me. He says that he forgot.

I must refrain from offering honest comment on this minor lapse, of course; failure to do anything else will earn me sternly worded emails from his legion of fans.

In more driving news……
2006-11-20— Posted by: allegra

This item is about how traffic cameras are being ‘necklaced’ in Britain. Necklacing is when you hang a tire around something or someone’s neck and torch it. I feel a prank comin’ on…..

2006-11-20— Posted by: allegra

OMFG. Check this out.,1518,448747,00.html

The gist is that if you remove traffic signs, assholes magically convert into good drivers. I’m looking at this brave experiment and thinking, Holy Crap. It would never work in Vancouver. And Jeff, if you’re reading this…. I’m thinking about you and your driving blog!

6 am, still no Katie
2006-11-20— Posted by: allegra

Can’t raise Paul on the phone.

Keith and Dr. Filk got home okay via their separate routes (they came on two different buses from Seattle and Portland).

Katie probably needs to sleep, wherever she is.

Came home, no Katie
2006-11-19— Posted by: allegra

Rushed home, to no point. Katie’s not here. I have no idea where she is. I talked to my mOm, and that helped, but life is pretty bleak right now.

From happiness to misery
2006-11-18— Posted by: allegra

Katie was assaulted by her boyfriend and lost her cellphone. I requested the men of my household to kick his teeth in should he be so foolish or mad as to set foot on our property again.

I have not spoken to her since it happened – I am nearly crazy with grief and rage and questions. Paul couldn’t get us a flight out tonight. So I have to paste a smile onto my face and not put a damper on everybody else’s happy time.

The only bright spot in this maelstrom of idiocy and violence is that I have friends like Tom and Peggy, who have staunchly stood in loco parentis.

The rest I can’t say, but I’m sure you can interpolate. And I don’t have my cell, so nobody can reach me….

2006-11-18— Posted by: allegra

So I’m at Orycon 28 at the Waterfront Marriott in Portland OR and having not too shabby a time atall atall. The scotch afforded by Arthur in the fanzine room and the two beers (one of them on the house!) at the sports bar are definitely keeping my mood clipping along at a good rate of knots. I’m loving Fat Tire beer. Can’t find any of my peeps – poked my head into the Buffy singalong and nobody ta home, nobody in the hotel room, nobody in the games room. Just me in the Horspitality suite trying to figure out how to access the internet.

Had a simply lovely chat in the sports bar with a gorgeous woman of a certain age who’s an IT professional checking out the job scene who has nothing to do with SF. She’d like Portland if a house in Indiana wasn’t 150K cheaper. And she’s really liking a consulting gig, rather than being a wage slave for a hospital. I think she was relieved when I was able to throw around words like ERP without undue strain…….

I was singing the Tapioca song while Jem of Pondside and Shaddyr were registering, and we ended up singing 4 part harmony in the downstairs lobby when Jem’s hubby came along and sang too. Then poked my head into the Harmony workshop and billy be damned if *they* didn’t end up harmonizing as well. Well, I’m going to make one last attempt to find Keith and then go find the Bardic Filk track. Worked on the novel today too but only good for about 100 words and it’s not going where I want it, it went really dark for a while. BUT I am learning more about Parkour and I’m hoping to integrate my new knowledge in the book. Up over 12K words, anyway.

Paul’s off to see the Spruce Goose tomorrow, can you credit it???

Spent $60 in Powell’s. US, I hasten to add. Powell’s is the kind of bookstore that’s more like a religious pilgrimage than a mere place of mundane commerce.

The costumes are awesome. I’m sitting next to a full bore Klingon. And there’s a Xena here that would bring tears to your eyes.

Much love to all, and to some piggies more than others…..

Happy Birthday to Me
2006-11-16— Posted by: allegra

The rest of you can go eat your livers, because MY BOSS phoned me at home before 10 am this morning to SING THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG TO ME. I justabout died of happiness. And, of course, I’m up to 11,000 words so you can all just eat your livers some more.

The Minions of Loki fed me last night and I had such a wonderful evening, and I sang and played some, and massaged folks for a long long time. I really enjoy doing bodywork on people. It’s all part of my friendly service, you know, who I am. I am a human switchboard, a song writing machine, and I like singing harmony and doing bodywork and making people laugh and working on folks’ resumes for free. The rest of it is kind of up for grabs….. Well, not like that. But it’s changeable. It is written in the water…..

To recap. I am having a really good time, and it’s going to get better.

I’m off to Portland for Orycon. Full report on filking and other stuff upon my return, although I may hit an internet cafe in the meantime.

I haven’t been this consistently happy in so long that I think I have changed phase from being cheerful to just being nuts. However, I know what will happen when I’m not feeling like a Lab puppy on meth any more, and frankly, it’s better to enjoy it while it lasts than worry too hard about where I’ll be when it’s gone. Trouble, clear my door….

front half November 2006

Ah, time to go do something else
2006-11-15— Posted by: allegra

I’m up to 8000 words, and some of it is laugh out loud funny. Okay, I’m being kind to myself, but I cannot WRITE something serious unless I’m mad, and I’m not mad, I’m, uh, what was it Inara said in Serenity? “I’m giddy!”

6200 words
2006-11-15— Posted by: allegra

My novel is chugging away, and I’m up to 6200 words, and I wrote a song yesterday, another mandolin tune, called Miss Manners Has Her Say. I am having a WONDERFUL WEEK OFF.

Lou Dobbs editorial
2006-11-15— Posted by: allegra

When NOBODY ELSE in the MSM was talking about outsourcing, Lou Dobbs printed a list on the internet of American companies which had offshored jobs. Like him or hate him, he’s consistent. Here’s a smoking hot editorial, and I have to say I like it.

Oh, the Huge Manatee!!!
2006-11-14— Posted by: allegra

Happy sigh
2006-11-14— Posted by: allegra

Peggy and I went for a walk yesterday in Burnaby Lake Park. The rain thoughtfully stopped while we were out (wearing our matching DNA scarves, hoho!) and we saw a native squirrel!! They are so pretty! None of the pics on the internet conveyed the glossiness or beauty of the critter we saw – from 2 feet away, and he even posed for a couple of minutes while he chowed down on sunflower seeds – so I’m not even bothering to post a pic. Also, this one had an ORANGE front, and every other picture shows cream. The one we saw was as fat as anything. Winter is coming!

Peggy said, “You know, I see a lot more wildlife when I walk with you!” and I thought, well JEEZ, when they stand in the roadway and let you gawk at them it’s hard to avoid. But I do seem to have good luck that way. And nobody was running dogs while we were there….that was the other piece of luck. Oh, and I saw oyster mushrooms, but they were sticky.

Hello elk
2006-11-13— Posted by: allegra

Katie buys dinner
2006-11-13— Posted by: allegra

And now we have leftovers.

This is not a bad thing.

Keith isn’t even up yet! Katie was here for dinner and then left again to sleep at Suzanne’s.

Unca Dave is beavering away at the mudding and drywalling and generally upfixingness. The big hole Katie kicked in her wall when she was younger and more impulsive is taking the longest to dry, so there’s a fan trained on it.

Still no sign when his ferstunkiner car will be ready.

Now that the downstairs LR is looking so nice, I am going to declare war on those wretched blinds and get nice drapes. I ask the Parking Goddess to provide; please give unto me, when next I visit Village de Valeur, a nice set of drapes, the right size, and not too ‘spensive, and please please, nothing sky blue with bunnies. John says he will ‘wig out’ if forced to live with sky blue curtains with bunnies. Something that matches the bricks in the fireplace is my only care.

It is my hope that my energetic and casual family will quit knocking holes in the walls long enough that we can paint this joint. I hope also to get quotes to get the place painted, hopefully when none of us have to be here… Unca Dave is helping me formulate a Cunning Plan. Ah!

2006-11-12— Posted by: allegra

Fed Casey and Unca Dave and Dr Filk bbq’d salmon last night, so here’s a pic of a salmon crossing the road. Sample dialogue from last night, “How do you get rid of harpies?” “Plucked if I know.” (Okay, you had to be there.)

I’m up to 4500 words and I’m having a gas with the novel. I’m still in the ‘fun’ part. It will slow down, but right now it’s fun.

The signal only LOOKS like noise
2006-11-11— Posted by: allegra

Very interesting blog plus comments
2006-11-11— Posted by: allegra

The most interesting part of the blog is the comments – there are some folks who just don’t “get it”. The blog is about women in science.

St Petes to Helsinki in one go!
2006-11-11— Posted by: allegra

Homemade Russian sub.

How to get Danes to slow down.
2006-11-11— Posted by: allegra

Brother Jerome sent me this link. Unsafe for most workplaces, (contains large, firm, female breasts) although I suspect most adult Canadians would find the nudity amusing and in context.

It is to laugh
2006-11-11— Posted by: allegra

I’m leaving the storm on Saturn up for the rest of November, up in the corner of my blog. I just went to the news out of Faux News…. and their movie was way worse quality!!!! excuse me while I laugh when I bring the science vid faster and better than the MSM. All hail the interblogs.

Unca Dave’s car still sucks a bus station restroom mop, by which I mean to specifically say that Unca Dave and Paul drove to Hope and didn’t get ten k with the so-called ‘fixed’ car before it died again. So once again, pay for a tow back to the shop, and we are now into a long weekend, so what are the odds that *I* will have to drive to and from Hope because Paul goes back to work tomorrow… which means driving him to work first. I’m disgusterpated. I can barely deal with 30 minutes in the car picking Katie up from work and bringing her back. Ah! Last night when she got home she had a bone to pick with Paul so I fled the scene and shot the breeze elsewhere in the house with Unca Dave until things got a little less ‘intense’. I could say a lot of really unconstructive and disrespectful things at the moment, but I am feeling far too cheerful, if only because it feels wonderful to have had the first dream that involved ‘skin’ I’ve had in about…. uh….. can I get back to you on that? A while, anyway. The images are still floating through my brain in a most wonderful way. Warmth and light…..

I’m having a party on the 25th. In my party invite, which was memorable in a number of ways, I put in, under “obligatory legal notices”

Not Responsible for Lost or Stolen Consciousness.

I’d like to thank Janice for her wise counsel to Paul with respect to Katie, it did help. The rest of the comments are lost, as they say, in the fog of history, or East Burnaby, whichever comes first.

The menfolk have done a wonderful job of drywalling and mudding, and the front hall will be in much better shape with those dreadful dreadful mirror tiles out and the new mirror in. I am very pleased with the results, and they’ve been working very hard.

For laughter of a sweeter kind, check out for an exceptionally cute picture of a newly foaled pony. The photographer has also got some other jim dandy pix in there.

Protect them if you got them
2006-11-10— Posted by: allegra

This is an illustration from a medical article entitled, “Acute Management of the Zipper Entrapped Penis”. This just seems to be a riff on how I feel right now, and yes, I’m identifying with the entrapped organ.

2006-11-10— Posted by: allegra

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald Day. This is the ship’s bell before the restoration.

Hazards of a writer’s life
2006-11-10— Posted by: allegra

As soon as I have one writing project on the cook, I’m outtza mind with other ideas. Now I want to be writing erotica again. Just don’t remember who to send it to, snerk.

another message from Dr. Carolyn…
2006-11-09— Posted by: allegra

Dear Friends and Colleagues, Cassini has sighted on Saturn a phenomenon that has never before been seen on another planet: a wall of towering clouds that ring the eye of an immense hurricane-like vortex whirling around the planet’s south pole. Go to … The top corner of my blog…. that is THE COOLNESS ladies and gents of the audio radiance!!!

2006-11-09— Posted by: allegra

Interesting evening; redoing Katie’s resume cause she’s had it with her job, she wants to apply to the same place Keith is working, and why not? Great to watch the two of them conspiring…. Taking a collect call from Unca Dave to be collected from the roadside in Hope (the car has since been fixed, thank heaven). Paul going to fetch him and coming home faint with weariness. Simplicity meeting which was tons o fun, although only two people showed up. Keith and Kate heading off to see the Minions of Loki; a good time was had by all. Finding out my pOp’s encounter with the medical profession went well, and now we can all hop from one foot to the other waiting for the results. It felt like grand central station, and yet it was really peaceful at the same time…..

Sacred cows make the best hamburger
2006-11-08— Posted by: allegra

My dad says…
2006-11-08— Posted by: allegra

My dad says that a prenuptial agreement is a plan for a divorce. Watching Britney and K-Fed (or Cletus, as some sites refer to him) makes me agree.

I am content with the election results, and Santorum’s disappearance into the glistening streams of, uh, a substance which currently bears his name for once and all time, pleases me most of all.

Katie wants to quit her job because of workplace harassment which the management is doing nothing to stop.

2006-11-07— Posted by: allegra

Excellent video, just in time for the midterms.

2006-11-07— Posted by: allegra

A vehicle caught fire in the underground parking lot of my work today, forcing the evacuation of the building. The top floor, where I work, was apparently ‘safe’ but stank so bad I couldn’t work there, so I went home.

It’s been a pretty bizarre day, and the most bizarre thing is that the sun has come out after a simply miserable couple of days.

One of my favourite virtual bars………
2006-11-06— Posted by: allegra

Adult discussions
2006-11-06— Posted by: allegra

I never thought I’d live to see the day, but the kids were discussing moving out together last night. It’s very hard to describe how I feel about that.

The weather is atrocious.

X and A had us over for a V for Vendetta showing and it was wonderful. Andrew liked his mask! Dinner was good too.

Then I took a hazelnut torte over to Tom and Peggy’s and we sang and played a bit. Keith really liked the standup bass, it’s a sweet instrument. Tom, Keith walked off with your copy of The Moon is Harsh Mistress. He will give it back, but honestly, he should have his own.

Book of Job…. redone.
2006-11-05— Posted by: allegra

2006-11-05— Posted by: allegra

As long as I’m working on this novel I’m not going to have much time for a blog. So don’t mind me, I’m a touch busy. With respect to the more unpleasant background noise, I’m going to take my Dad’s advice and suffer in silence.

On a more cheerful note, we have a new family saying. “When the zombies come, it’s time to visit Santa Claus.” This is a Red vs. Blue reference (an internet cartoon), but it’s also an injunction to the imagination. It’s also practical advice because zombies slow down in the cold and then it’s a lot easier to whack their heads off.

Off later to watch a November 5 showing of V for Vendetta. I think my host will be happy to get a V mask, he’s not expecting it. And Keith’s costume is damned scary.

I’m making chocolate chip pecan cookies for Paul to take to his coworkers.

2006-11-03— Posted by: allegra

This writing is the most hellishly complex thing I’ve ever taken on. I’m asking total strangers about design elements – and they’re giving me good ideas. It’s as if my ten years in Vancouver – ten years snuck by in the last two weeks, oddly enough – are branching like a Mandelbrot set under microscopy (J Coulton “You’re one badass ____ing fractal”) into words. I had somebody ask me, “How will you know when you’ve won?” with respect to the plot, and I was astonished. You don’t win battles like this; the war on stupidity will be over when we’re all dead, and it won’t even be stupidity that won, it will be entropy.

I heart November, it’s the most creative month of the year.

“All things are a flowing, sage Heraclitus says. Yet a tawdry cheapness shall outlast our days.” Ray Pound. Man, he had that right, even if the anti-Semitism and weird monetary theories were a bit much. Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.

Katie came home last night, can you credit it?

John Robert Columbo said the one thing that will allow me to finish this book that I’m working on. And it oughtta be over the desk of every single writer. “The notion of originality is vastly overrated in this culture.”

Flying visit
2006-11-03— Posted by: allegra

My son would rather be pulled backwards through a knothole than read my blog, so I am with amusement and fondness going to recount the events of the evening, events which culminate in Keith making loud, enthusiastic and happy noises, even though at the time of posting they have not been emitted from his cakehole. Keith does not know, and will not know until he actually comes through the door in less than half an hour, that the Minions of Loki came through the house tonight and left not one, not two, not three, but FOUR V for Vendetta masks. Oh yeah. Oh yeah baby.

We now pause for drama and clarity. And possibly more beer.

Cthulhu is picking his way through hell these days, trying to get accepted in polite society. Everywhere he goes, the waiters say, “There goes the calimari man, isn’t it just AWful?” And Cthulhu, freshly decorated with the third place ribbon from a Cthulhu look-alike contest (having been so foolhardly as to go up against ILM) will be slinking away thinking, “I used to be able to drive humans into madness by my presence and now precious little waiters are laughing at me behind my back! FTN, I’m outta here.”

Sorry, had to deke off to weirdsville there for a mo’.

Hugh Jackman is in every movie for the next three months. It will be like a plague. A beautiful plague.

Oh, oh oh, and they’ve cast Nicole Kidman as Marisa Coulter. This is perfection verging on the iconic, as casting goes.

More later.

Lighting a candle or two
2006-11-02— Posted by: allegra

I light a candle for Frances, recovering in hospital from surgery to relieve pressure on her brain. I light a candle for Phyllis and her speedy recovery from knee replacement surgery.

The trickster in the code
2006-11-02— Posted by: allegra

Somehow I have dragged myself into writing a techno thriller for National Novel Writing Month. It has a working title and a plot. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.

It’s like some kind of domestic trifecta
2006-11-01— Posted by: allegra

Realizing there’s no camera to take a picture of the amazing dawn, hearing the cat throw up and discovering you have a nosebleed, all at the same time. There’s a song in there somewhere, and someone else can write it.

2006-10-31— Posted by: allegra

One of my beloved coworkers turned up at work in a beard and mustache (and otherwise fully accoutred as female, as normal). My response, (tones of well bred enquiry) “I didn’t know merkins migrated?”

Back half October 2006

Ex Judge of the day
2006-10-31— Posted by: allegra

No, not my dad. (Scroll down until you hit a picture of a derelict vehicle…..)

2006-10-31— Posted by: allegra

Maggie Mae, runt of Scooter and Cody’s final litter, has passed on from pneumonia. Love each other while you can.

Had a good long talk with my brother yesterday. The kids are thinking of coming to visit him when they next have two spare days to rub together.

You start out thinking they’ll never leave and the next thing you know they’re never here.

2006-10-30— Posted by: allegra

Since when is Tony Blair a friend of the environment? The world’s gone mad, I tell you, mad!

But why?
2006-10-29— Posted by: allegra

George W Bush Speechwriter software….

More retro motor pron
2006-10-29— Posted by: allegra

Oooh, look, a Hubbard steam powered motorcycle. It’s so hot I could die.

rude awakening
2006-10-29— Posted by: allegra

There I was dreaming about lecturing my coworkers on how to emasculate certain other coworkers and somebody abruptly woke me up. Really, it was a lovely dream. But that’s okay, because there was homemade french toast and sausages and coffee. Happy sigh. Today I will do nothing except possibly breakfast dishes and a nice long walk…

Yesterday was eventful; I went to the Bodyworlds III show again (my, what a lot of dissected penises there are at that show!); I saw The Prestige with Hugh Jackman (swoon, double swoon, in Edwardian evening dress), Scarlet Johannsen (swoon) and Christian Bale (meh) and Michael Caine (swoon) and Andy Serkis and David Bowie (interesting pairing, wot?) and I definitely was kept guessing til the end so no spoilers. Then Alan took me and Paul to the Keg in New West and we did NOT have dessert.

2006-10-28— Posted by: allegra

Keith and Alan and I will be off to see The Prestige today for our movie, and then before that we’re going to the Body Worlds III exhibit.

I had the single weirdest migraine ever last night. I got 15 minutes of practically hallucinatory and very beautiful aura – brilliant alien letters in firegold and rainbow colours dancing and shifting in the middle of my visual field – and then no headache. I feel mildly headachy this morning and it hurts to sneeze, but other than that I seem fine. I think this one was triggered by changes in the air pressure. The neurologist told me I have “atypical” migraines, and he wasn’t just whistling Dixie.

Hanging out
2006-10-27— Posted by: allegra

Alan’s here, and pulled about half a dozen items of clothing for me (courtesy Janice, thank you) out of his bag, and an equal number of books for Keith and myself. His bus trip was fine except that it’s not nice when they have the air conditioning running in October.

Today bookstores and assorted running around including dealing with Kira’s asthma, tomorrow dead bodies at the Science Center.

Shout out
2006-10-26— Posted by: allegra

Big beeg shout out to Andrew S my worksibling who got the Echo running again… Paul’s off to buy a battery. Katie ditched work today, but she’s been feeling off colour for a while and will be seeing the doc on Monday.

Moving Day
2006-10-26— Posted by: allegra

I will have my new cube at work this morning.

2006-10-26— Posted by: allegra

I think those oysters were….


Car died.

Dead in parking lot at work. Man, it was dark.

Powerpack could not revive it.

Sneezing all day.

Finishing up Komarr.

Keith’s dreaming up Lymond fanfic. “Give me a few years and I could totally take him. He’s all about the grappling, and I’m all about the kicks to the face and testicle shots.” Snicker, I get to listen to this shit every night. “My kumite is based on fast reflexes and return.” And so it goes.

Have worked on the song and have ALL THREE CHORDS worked out, and Dr. Filk says I should debut it at Orycon. Bedtime. Two verses. Happiness.

2006-10-25— Posted by: allegra

I light a candle for Frances, Phyllis’ dear friend and the mother of one of my oldest friends, Liz, who is gravely ill in hospital in London ON.

I light a candle for Paul, who dutifully reports that his mother sailed through the surgery, was up walking with a walker today, and kicked his ASS at Scrabble. Sounds to me like he needs the candle more than his mum did for the surgery! Bless her, she’ll live to be a hundred, and I’m likin’ that.

Note to the world
2006-10-25— Posted by: allegra

Any company email (where said company does not actually EMPLOY anybody named ‘Guido’) that mentions Guido is automatically funny. In a sick, uncaring, I break your face kinda way.

I have written the second verse to the Lady of Komarr. Man, I love driving in the car because it makes me write songs. Driving by myself, I mean. Being driven or having passengers doesn’t cut it.

Best of all………. I sang it for Keith and he DIDN’T PUKE.

Katie didn’t come home last night but she phoned. It’s a shame, because I bought about $20 worth of junk food to get her through the door.

A cat in the house
2006-10-24— Posted by: allegra

My worksibling Dave has inherited – temporarily – this fine feline, name of Romeo. This cat reminds me SO MUCH of a person, particularly the facial expression, that it’s quite ludicrous.

Forgot to go walking with Peggy yesterday – just as well, or neither of us would have gotten the garbage out – but we did go this morning.

Woke up at three thirty and didn’t go back to sleep.

Dr Filk is still all bubbly and happy about OVFF; I asked which the best concert was and he was incapable of speech for about thirty seconds, and then said, “Now that would be hard to say.”

I am working on a Vorkosigan love song. I have the first verse and chorus but now I have to back and read Komarr.

Pumpkin Patch
2006-10-23— Posted by: allegra

It’s been ages since I posted a pic of a REALLY HAPPY KID. This is my coworker’s littl’un, obviously having a really good time at the pumpkin patch.

It’s nice to know who’ll survive the end of the world
2006-10-23— Posted by: allegra

No rants today
2006-10-23— Posted by: allegra

We celebrated Samhain, Diwali AND Eid last night (Welcome to Vancouver!) (okay, Eid was early, ditto Samhain) at Tom and Peggy’s. So, fresh bread and corn (courtesy Paul), one of THE yummiest veggie curries ever (mild but oh so subtle) courtesy Martha, a jumbo prawn stirfry (PNW cooking) courtesy Marnie, butter chicken (omgomg), two kinds rice, two kinds naan, fresh pineapple, trifle, home made chai and gulab jaman from Baba Sweets on 6th St, which I immediately absconded with so I could nuke them until they were just the right temperature. Ten years ago I didn’t even KNOW what gulab jaman was and now I’m so fussy about them that I reheat them… Vancouver is the city that nudged me from being a glutton into being a foodie. But I still don’t like tripe, and you can’t make me.

And we went walking to Burnaby Lake, where we saw this goose pair. The almost albino one is called Al. Why? I dunno, that’s just what we were told. Been there for years apparently. Lovely lovely day for a walk and we ALMOST saw a tree frog, but man, they are little, and the tree it was hiding in was big. The leaves came CRASHING down. Interesting sound effect. And, as always, when leaves come down, it made me think of the song that Galadriel sings (in the book, not the movie) when the folks are leaving from Lothlorien.

I started feeling weird, and then I realized it was three o’clock in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten or drunk all day. So we stopped off at Katie’s work and found out that instead of her being moved into line prep and cold side she stays in dish pit, grr grr grr. She’s asleep now, although I should prob’ly wake her shortly. I did some of her laundry yesterday and she was so grateful, she hasn’t had a minute of her own in what feels like an eternity to one so young. Working full time and going to school is definitely harder than anything she’s previously taken on.

Paul’s off to London to be there when his mum wakes up from the anaesthetic (she’s turning into bionic gramma, this time it’s a knee) and look up some old friends. I light a candle for Phyllis’ rapid and and comfortable recovery.

Oh boy, less than a month to Orycon, and Powell’s books. Happy sigh.

Willy Pete
2006-10-22— Posted by: allegra

Good morning, everybody. Israel has acknowledged that it used white phosphorus against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon during the last round of hostilities. It strikes me that Israel would do well to learn from its old Uncle Sam and tell international nosy parkers to shove off and mind their own business, rather than to submit to the white hot glare of obloquy.

Have you ever heard what, whether the recipient be uniformed or civilian, white phosphorus (Willy Pete in American military parlance) does to human beings? Google Italian documentary Fallujah phosphorus and find out. links to a number of interesting sites.

The short version is that Americans did use white phosphorus in Fallujah. The Israelis used white phosphorus in Lebanon. Israel admits it, and the US doesn�t.

A professional attitude
2006-10-21— Posted by: allegra

I remember Tammy and Gary being a little shocked when, with my characteristic tact, I told them they weren’t professionals. In those days I didn’t think that Corporate Communications and IT were ‘professions’. When, with some asperity, Tammy asked me how I’d classify their careers, I said, “Hired guns,” which made Gary laugh, but I don’t think Tam was too impressed. When I think of a ‘profession’ I think of a category of work that has a governing body which can cashier you. So a profession is: the military; law; nursing; medicine; teaching; policework; dentistry; accounting; massage therapy; midwifery; architecture; chiropractic, audiology; veterinary medicine; optometry; yes, of course PHARMACY Brooke; social work; speech pathology; physiotherapy; psychotherapy and all of the various and interesting stripes of engineering. Since prostitutes don’t have a governing body, I guess they aren’t professionals. Somethin’ must be wrong with my take on things.

Professionalism is an attitude. It consists of working to a high standard set by your conscience and your closely examined understanding of what you, personally, are capable of doing. There are always minimum requirements in a job…. a professional attitude means that you don’t automatically work to the minimum standard. A professional attitude means that you know there are times when ‘good enough’ really IS good enough. I’m not a working musician, but I tune my instruments before I perform. I don’t proofread for a living (as this blog, alas! shows) but I do care about spelling, punctuation, grammar and little fiddly things like assonance and layout and type size. One of the reasons that I like how limited I am in changing those little fiddly things in this blog is that it FORCES me to concentrate on staying current; otherwise I’d be dicking with the typeface constantly. I keep thinking about changing things, but I am crazy; I enjoy working inside constraints and having well defined limits placed on things. And I’d have to learn a lot more XHTML, or whatever it is people are coding with these days.

I guess I have a professional attitude about biscotti. I DON’T have a professional attitude toward clothing. Any day with no bra and no pantyhose in it is a damned good day. And if a coworker I dislike asks me something work related, I don’t mess around. I just DO THE JOB. Empire building is for little people. Enterprise building is for adults. We rehearsed the show for the congregational dinner last night. Man, I really LIKE Peggy’s bass. It is one of the sweetest sounding instruments evah. And Donna’s harp sounded gorgeous.

I heart Stan Goff
2006-10-20— Posted by: allegra

I don’t always agree with what he says, but I love the way he says it. There have been times, reading his stuff, that I think that Stan Goff is who Hunter S Thompson would have turned into if he’d stayed with the military. Here he is on revolution in everyday life: His comment on the preacher made me laugh, very hard. This is the only pic of him I was able to find in which he is smiling.

2006-10-20— Posted by: allegra

Well, actually, this isn’t cheerful at all….

Dr Filk, take a bow
2006-10-19— Posted by: allegra

Dr Filk is off to OVFF in Columbus OH, one of the stations of the filk year.

And what is filk?

It is a sociable and relatively egalitarian musical genre practiced mainly by a subset of science fiction fans, mostly sf convention attendees, which is characterized by emphasis on group performance until late in the evening, spontaneous harmony and clever lyrics, which leans to the folk/Celtic trad end of the spectrum, and in which at least 95% of the songs deal with science, science fiction, fantasy and cats, or are parodies of songs covering these subjects. AND most of them are too damned long. It is mainly practiced in the US, Canada, the UK and Germany, although Australia & Singapore have been infected.

Duels have been fought over the definition, with copious quantities of pixels shed, but frankly filk music is what filkers sing when they get together, and that’s everything from x-rated rounds to zither music. Filk music comes in three subcategories: heartwrenching, funny, and hymns. Which last is pretty funny, considering.

I light a candle for Riverbend
2006-10-18— Posted by: allegra

Riverbend, the ‘Iraqi girl blogger’ who is actually a young woman, has finally posted again… it had been more than two months and Keith and I were starting to get a little panicky.

mmm mmm
2006-10-18— Posted by: allegra

The legendary twin Spokelsemoose
2006-10-18— Posted by: allegra

Twin ghost mooses! It’s been bally ages since I posted a decent moose pic. This from New Brunswick, via Chipper.

New scarf
2006-10-18— Posted by: allegra

My mom knitted me a DNA cable scarf, and I’m wearing it right now. Tom and Peggy fed me and Paul and Katie last night (spag). There wasn’t enough sauce – only five gallons. I wish I was joking. I am joking about the enough, but not about the five gallons. Tom is a big guy, and his notion of portion sizes is “lots” “vats” and “dozens”. Pears in quince jelly with ice cream for dessert. Life is HARD, not. It’s time for me to buy more hazelnuts!!!!

Look Brooke! Zombie job picture!!!
2006-10-17— Posted by: allegra

All we want to do

is eat your brains

(J Coulton).

The phone rings and….
2006-10-17— Posted by: allegra

We hear that John Makela has been injured in Afghanistan. I light a candle for his speedy and complete recovery, and for the poor shattered nerves of his parents, family, girlfriend and friends.

Holiday in Hrvatska
2006-10-16— Posted by: allegra

“It is a perfect opportunity to combine holidays and dental care,” she said.

This plucked, a direct quote, from a travel blurb about why to visit Croatia. Hrvatska – which is what the folks who live there call it, is a beautiful country, dropping slightly or stable in population, welcoming to immigrants (or so they claim) and practicing of religious tolerance and civil rights – and interestingly, possessing really good, cheap dentistry. Come to Hrvatska and get your choppers cherished for 1/4 what it would cost you in Britain. I mean, who could desire more of a vacation than a damned fine bargain in extractions? $50 US to get a tooth pulled? I know a good deal when *I* see one. The rest of you are just flower maimed wusses.

I …. live for a good cleaning. Feeling half a teaspoon of toxic bacteria being liberated from my oral crevices gives me a thrill words cannot contain.

And cleanings are CHEAP in Hrvatska. I haven’t priced crowns and (dAMN! Root canals! Lord have mercy!) yet, but I want to walk through the streets of Dubrovnik with a headful of dental anaesthetic. That sounds cool. That sounds like the vacation my grandchildren will ask me to tell stories about, over and over.

The only reason Hrvatska exists, in my opinion, is so that there is at least one country in Europe that sounds like it fell out of a Tintin graphic novel. And now, I must bid a fond farewell to the hardworking dentists of Split.

Hey – I found a pic of Thomas Pynchon!
2006-10-16— Posted by: allegra

He’s legendarily private, but I found a pic of him that’s so old that I wouldn’t know him now if he walked up and bit me on the lip.

What doesn’t get reported
2006-10-16— Posted by: allegra

From Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI.COM

Anti-Semitic incidents have proliferated in France in recent times, but the news seldom makes it across the Atlantic and when it does, it must still fight to be heard above the constant melodrama of constant trivia. A Jewish sports club in Toulouse attacked with Molotov cocktails; in Bondy, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish soccer team with metal bars and sticks; the bus that takes Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers attacked thrice in the past 14 months; synagogues in Strasbourg and Marseilles and a Jewish school in Creteil firebombed in recent weeks; in Toulouse, a gunman opened fire — all ignored in the mainstream media in the U.S.

The metropolitan Paris police tabulated 10 to 12 anti-Jewish incidents per day in the past 30 days throughout the country.

2.5 million people live in Paris. This is on a par with the GVRD. Okay, you tell me. If there were a dozen anti Jewish (or anti Muslim, for cry eye) incidents involving desecration and violence in Vancouver every day for a month, do you suppose for a minute you would somehow NOT have heard about it?

I light a candle of solidarity with the Jews of Paris. Siz shver tzoo zein ah yid, as one might say phonetically in Yiddische.

And I&apos;m not too thrilled with Jean le Pen, either; he&apos;s trading in his expensive hatred of Muslims – 40% of the population under 20 is 2nd or 3rd gen North Africans – for the much cheaper hatred of Jews. Fewer of &apos;em, and EVERYBODY hates &apos;em, to coin a phrase. Nothing like political expediency to trim your ideological sails.

What a world.

Retro scooter porn
2006-10-16— Posted by: allegra

This is so hot it defies description. Motorcycle pr(n!

I curse my oven
2006-10-16— Posted by: allegra

I made a hazelnut torte last night which everyone ate, but it wasn’t entirely cooked all the way through. (Cooked enough that nobody was going to die of some bacillus, but even so.) I cooked it at the prescribed temperature for the correct length of time, and the surface redefined “golden brown”, but I have come to the inescapable conclusion that it is not a good idea to trust the gauge on that oven. Oh well, throw whipped cream on the torte and the world’s all good.

Feasted John at Tom and Peggy’s last night, it being the celebration of his birth, lo these many years ago. We were eagerly awaiting what confection Brooke was going to whip together for him, and were treated to the one, the only, MeatCake. (Insert George Carlin reference >>here<<). It was meatloaf, cooked in a bundt pan, and assembled in layers, the icing for which was whipped mashed potatoes dyed a splendidly virulent green, and garnished with bacon bits. It was yummy as well as visually striking. Yes indeed, it was no surprise how many people took pictures of the Birthday MeatCake. Then she made ‘t-bone steak’ for dessert, which was actually a fudge-y thing with marshmallows (for the t-bone) which I passed on because it was so dense (except for the marshmallow bits) that it was appearing to make time run backwards. Oh, and it came with ‘blood’ sauce – something red and deliciously gooey. So there were three desserts, counting the hazelnut torte, because there was also fresh pear (from their garden) flan. As John was heard to remark, “Three desserts! That’s almost adequate!”

Then we played and sang, including my new favourite song, Brooke’s Tune Away Boys, a sea shanty which promises untold horrors if you don’t tune your damned instrument before you go to filk circle. All in all a splendid evening!

Front Half October 2006

Sick, sick, sick
2006-10-15— Posted by: allegra

A comic sketch entitled “Waiters Who are Nauseated by Food”.

2006-10-15— Posted by: allegra

I received an interesting Email from Cousin Gerald today, a forward from a buddy of his who’s very cheesed about a CRTC decision regarding the telcos. If I understand this all correctly, the Canadian telcos have raised about 650 million bucks from overcharging for local service since 2002. They were supposed to rebate us, like, the consumers, but they appealed to the CRTC to apply the overcharge to “building broadband capacity”.

Now, I am a big fan of broadband capacity, and if I believed more than 80% of the money was actually going to be spent in that fashion, I’d grumble but roll over and say “Make it snappy”.

Before I looked at the CRTC decision, I was thinking that I don’t believe a goddamned thing the telcos tell me, and I don’t think that Canadian Government Agencies should be quite so cheerful when they’re letting thieves keep their spoils on the promise that they’ll be spending it for the good of humanity. After, I had a different feeling. Here’s the CRTC decision, which comes close to being in English.

So I guess the upshot is that the CRTC thinks the consumers should get it back, and now we’re arguing about the best way to do it. If I was the benevolent dictator of Canada, I would use it to underwrite broadband access in remote areas and to disabled people, but that just shows what a socialist fluffy headed sap I am. Why not spend it on wealth creation? Who gives a shit if First Nations and disabled people have broadband? Anyway, if you have any interest in the disposition of a pile of money so big it would even make Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffett pay attention, google CRTC and rate cap and Disposition of funds in the deferral accounts, which is what the decision is called. You can also visit (which is a consumer group of some stripe or other) for more links.

News Flash
2006-10-15— Posted by: allegra

Paul’s going to church.

I’m staying home to do laundry.

enough sleep
2006-10-14— Posted by: allegra

Boy, did I get enough sleep. I slept until 1:52 this afternoon, and yes, I am feeling somewhat poorly, which might account for my long rest.

I saw Body Worlds 3 last night with Brooke. She has forgiven me my ticketing meshugas so I will hurriedly skip on to: Yes, it was great, if you’re not too squeamish see it.

The water heater died – the damned thing was only five years old – and Dave the Plumber replaced it. Paul is even now tying the new one back onto the frame of the house so it doesn’t fall down during an earthquake.

The first thing I did when I got up was realize that I was an hour late for the Spit, so I threw on my clothes and flew out the door to the Thirsty Duck, where Jan, Susanne, Dee, Ingrid and myself quaffed bevvies and had a late lunch and then drifted by Renaissance Books. I bought Sex with Kings (a history of European court mistresses which I’ve already finished as it was the definition of a quick read) and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman for Keith – it will be waiting for him on his bed when he gets home. Ingrid was amazed to learn that Vancouver has a Sci Fi convention…. I told her it’s pretty much a media and gaming con, but the filk track is pretty good these days, snicker.

Anyway the only other thing I’ve done today is yawn and sneeze and eat dinner, and frankly, I’m just as happy about that. I am feeling a weird trembly exhaustion which is just crying out for more unconsciousness.

My sleep was full of nightmares… maybe going back to sleep isn’t such a good idea.

You’ve gotta be kidding me
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

and for my flying friends
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

And the Bible doesn’t say a THING about polyandry
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

Read and giggle. The rest of the site is plenty amusing.

Just in time for the apocalypse
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

…. and you should thank your lucky stars I’m not posting a pic. NO I don’t want one for Christmas (although if you do, get me the rainbow). YES I think 150 quid is a bit much for some fluffy polyester. Hm. I feel a prank comin’ on.

Asteroid animation
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

Okay, this is REALLY COOL. The animation is of the KW4 binary asteroid; 1 second is 8 hours and they show 4 different angles. These are not solid masses; they are rapidly spinning collections of space junk; if you tried to land on one you’d be sorry.

So these folks live in Anchorage
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

Either these folks are starting a zoo, or they have animal control problems. To me, the scariest thing about this picture is not that there are four bears in it, but that you CAN’T SEE THE FIFTH BEAR, which will be a black bear sow. How the HELL she ended up with four cubs completely amazes me.

Music of the Domestic Goddesses
2006-10-13— Posted by: allegra

Great pic of musical vacuum cleaners…

Katie said she’d come home and didn’t. Tiresome, but I pushed the door of her room open and pretended I was Hitler looking at Poland.

Keith made bread after coming home from karate; I didn’t know because I forced myself off the computer at 9:34 at went to bed, and now I have actually had enough sleep, which amazes me.

Lexi visited briefly earlier this week, and told the kind of anecdote you hear maybe once a year. Since she doesn’t blog and I can’t repeat it – alas, it is not my story to tell – I’m feeling somewhat crabby, but I will say this…. if the End of the World as We Know It comes along anytime soon, I want Rob and Lexi in MY corner. And of course anybody who knows them feels much the same way…

I’m very much looking forward to the weekend. There’s gonna be a Spit! (See previous blogs for what is a Spit). Maybe I’ll finally get Dunnetteer Jan’s detective books back to her, although given how many books are parked next to my bed right now that seems like a hard prospect. I have finished Joanna Russ’ On Strike Against God, which, if I parse it correctly, she wrote at one sitting during a manic episode triggered by the loss of a lover. There are some really bad typos in it, but also some really great stuff, especially the quotes at the end.

There is an interesting link between the local Spitters and VCon; Academie Duello, which does weapons demos at VCon pretty much every year now, and which held a Dunnett Reenactment this past spring (god, it was amazing!) actually approached some Spitters at VCon and said something along the lines of “That was fun, we should do that again.” Yee haw. Maybe they could reenact the fight between Niccolo and Simon in The Unicorn Hunt (when two guys try to kill each other with large or sharp hot metal items) or the fight in Queen’s Play between Lymond and Robin Stewart, in which Robin does everything wrong and Lymond doesn’t to kill him anyway because he’s trying to make a point. I realize that the only person who reads my blog who will get any of this is the Empress of Brookealonia, but that’s okay.

I’m yawning so hard my jaw is cracking, so I think I’ll go get me some coffee.

A bad bad review
2006-10-12— Posted by: allegra

This man’s command of invective needs to be admired, so admire it already.

OMG it’s a Marketing thing, you wouldn’t understand
2006-10-12— Posted by: allegra

OMG hey pOp
2006-10-12— Posted by: allegra

This will mean nothing to most of my readers, but if I told you that you can now buy a package set of the WWII songs for $30 US what would that do for you? I grew up with these songs. They are part of my sonic landscape.

2006-10-12— Posted by: allegra

The vilification must stop
2006-10-12— Posted by: allegra

Now, in this very blog I have accused Ann Coulter of having a tapeworm, (or was it Michelle Malkin? all Repulsigans look alike to me…) and I’ve told her that I would bake her a pie, because she’s so very slender. So I am definitely in the ‘hater’ category. But I have never, no never, committed the gross calumny of accusing her of being brainless. She isn’t brainless! She’s just differently abled in the truth department. There’s a BIG difference.

Sample Coulter quote: “I have to say I’m all for public flogging.” — MSNBC 3/22/97

Sample Allegra reaction. “Kinky! Girl, you’ll be stampeding cattle through the Vatican next!”

Dr. Porco strikes again
2006-10-11— Posted by: allegra

Check out the wavy rings of Saturn….

enough sleep
2006-10-11— Posted by: allegra

Nothing’s happening to me; I’m devoid of thought. It’s nice and peaceful here right now.

Keep those cards and moose pictures coming
2006-10-10— Posted by: allegra

This moose on the highway (a beautiful Nancy White song by that name is echooooing in my heeeead right now) was captured in NFLD. What a rack!

It’s been bally ages since I posted a moose picture
2006-10-10— Posted by: allegra

From Aftenposten – the legendary Sp�kelsemoose (if this doesn’t show properly, that weird symbol should be an o with a forward slash through it).

Happy sigh
2006-10-10— Posted by: allegra

We had a wonderful meal at Tom and Peggy’s last night – I don’t mind roast turkey two days running! And I was able to recycle the parsnips, so there.

Paul and I are still feeling a warm glow from our very happy and successful Thanksgiving dinner, and we did the bike/walk/run thing at Cariboo this morning so the blood is actually circulating!

2006-10-10— Posted by: allegra

Go see it. I really enjoyed it, even though it made me really uncomfortable in spots. I laughed really hard and I was crying at the end, so I guess it hit the “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me” spot.

Ambivalence and creativity
2006-10-09— Posted by: allegra

2006-10-09— Posted by: allegra

4307 is the sales code for longan – we have some in the house at the moment which are being scarfed down by Carly.

We had a simply fabulous evening. After I cooked pretty much all day we sat down around 6:15 and scarfed green beans, fresh turkey with two kinds gravy (one with mushrooms, the drippings gravy definitely without mushrooms), new potatoes, two kinds salad (green and cucumber/tomato), cranberry sauce, home made stuffing, corn on the cob, parsnips that nobody ate because I didn’t put them out, home made beer, home made perry, tea, coffee, passionfruit raspberry sorbet, Omani butter cookies and home made hazelnut torte with cream personally flagellated by Paul.

Oh, and Mike, Katie and Nita shared a coconut rum shot at the end of it all…

The only picture Jim got of me I’m glaring at the camera so hard it’s amazing it didn’t fly out of his hand. I’m posting a pic of the Carly and the Nita instead, everybody would rather look at them.

I’d list the participants, but let’s just say that we had to buy another table to seat them all, and that when I woke up this morning I had a new program on my computer. (They asked permission first).

I crashed out about the time that the Buffy musical episode came on, and was simply amazed when Paul, who was still suffering from the depredations to his feet from the Science World show, joined me shortly thereafter. It’s wonderul to have guests you can abandon like that, but man, we were bagged.

For everybody else doing Canuckistani Thanksgiving today, have a lovely time!

He’s missing a golden opportunity
2006-10-08— Posted by: allegra

Painting rings on Jabba’s back.
2006-10-08— Posted by: allegra

So many happy, and a couple of unhappy, things to report. Unhappy first. My friend is still in the psych ward. I really hope she gets better soon; this is being very hard on her and the people who love her, so I light multiple candles for her and her family.

On a far less serious note, my hazelnut torte collapsed when I took it out of the oven, but I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble getting the folks to eat something that has the best part of a dozen eggs, a cup of sugar and a half pound of ground hazelnuts in it. Simple recipe, hunh? It will be yummy no matter what the hell it looks like. Paul has volunteered to get whipped cream. The good old heart attack circle is complete…

I took a good brisk walk this morning before the sun came up and feel reasonably sanguine about today’s festive meal.

Paul, Jim, Carly and Nita saw the Body Show at Science World last night. I stayed home, and now I wish I hadn’t because they say there’s NO WAY to see the show in two hours; you need four at minimum and you can’t do it when you start at 7 pm and it closes two hours later… So I guess I should go and see it with Katie or Keith or both some afternoon when it’s not so jammed. It was a good experience buying tix on line from Science World, and I recommend doing that if you’re going. The folks were one and all blown away by the exhibit, and can’t recommend it highly enough, and say that the ticket price is very reasonable for what you get.

Keith has finally written down the days he’s supposed to take off for Orycon, so hopefully we are now all free to go to Portland in mid-November.

Dr. Filk is much enjoying V-Con and has brought me the On Spec that Casey had a story published in. I am going to wait for the houseguest uproar (that’s GOOD uproar, they do dishes!) to die down a bit before I read it, but it looks intriguing.

Katie and Carly burst out laughing when they saw each other this morning (for the first time in AGES); they were dressed almost identically in hoodies and pants and they were in the wonderful teenaged phrase “scrubbed out” which basically means that they were glamour pusses by comparison with the rest of us feeble elderly types. It was a most amusing fambly moment.

Keith continues to amuse and amaze. His most recent quote is a direct hit on George Lucas (a Jabba sized target these days), which he came up with upon learning that George has seen and liked Serenity and is choked that Firefly was cancelled. Keith is hoping that George, who’s richer than God, will tell Joss, “Joss, my flabby old heart and now quiescent sack are not up to another epic production – here’s some cash towards a full season of Firefly.” Lie down when you’re dreaming there, boy.

Has anybody else seen the Family Circus parody which takes a Family Circus cartoon and inserts a Nietsche quote? Okay, I found it funny, I’ll shut up now. Alluva sudden I can hear the Dandy Warhols winding up in the background!!! (they have a song called Nietsche, just in case you were wondering.)

Flabby old heart and now quiescent sack? I’m still howling about that one.

A little bird sent me this
2006-10-07— Posted by: allegra

Maybe I’m really sick to be amused by somebody making fun of Katherine Harris, but don’t I have a right to be sick?

Laugh, I thought I’d die
2006-10-07— Posted by: allegra

If you didn’t grow up in the 70’s don’t bother with this movie but if you did you’ll find it quite amusing. Essentially a bunch of VERY FAMILIAR album covers come to life and, well, there’s an exchange of gunfire, and then – aw watch it anyway, it’s pretty funny.

enough sleep
2006-10-07— Posted by: allegra

Sacrifice Those Animals

no trespassing
2006-10-06— Posted by: allegra

Mike McG took this in Thailand….

Do not google this!!!
2006-10-06— Posted by: allegra

Whatever you do, DO NOT google image Brazilian eye popper. You WILL be sorry.

2006-10-06— Posted by: allegra

Finished the Edgar Award Winning “New Orleans Mourning” last night. I LOVE the heroine, Skip Langdon, and her boyfriend Steve makes me drool. Must… find…. more….

Also finished the last hour of Good Night and Good Luck, which is a bloody awesome movie.

I am going into hibernation mode, so I’m planning a nice long walk sometime this weekend to try and counteract this.

I’m having a small gathering on Sunday night – the trad turkey – what can I say, I’m the world’s most conventional oddball.

My brother sent me a youtube link that made me cry. if you have any interest.

I’m still enjoying the sensation of how tidy the yard is when I pull up. Thanks Keith and Paul.

Katie ACTUALLY CALLED at midnight to say she wasn’t coming home last night. This represents progress, let’s celebrate. Doubles all round.

Overheard at the call center
2006-10-05— Posted by: allegra

Once again, I must INSIST that this didn’t happen at my company.

CS Agent: So… That takes care of your billing issue… Are you looking for a cell phone?

Customer: (starting to rant) Cell phone… I do not need any stinking cell phone… If you sell me a cell phone you might as well give someone a hammer to hit me on the side of the head. That way, I will be just as retarded as the rest of those idiots.

CS Agent: (without missing a beat) That may be true sir, but fortunately for you, I do not sell hammers.

Customer: What? (long pause)… You are a funny guy…


Hey, ya heard it here first
2006-10-05— Posted by: allegra

Out of Jordan comes the bloggy, bloggy news that by the 17th of October (end of Ramadan) there will be a massive attack on North America, and all Muslims are advised to leave. The comments posted at the end of the blog encompass such sentiments as, “Hey, chuckles! Where do you want us to go? Iran? Afghanistan? Sa’udi Arabia? Send me the plane fare and we’ll talk!”

I am no longer worried about the end of the world. I’ve read the latest Scienterrific American, and when the CO2 PPM goes over 900, we’ll all die from the Hydrogen Sulphide gas that will be produced when the chemocline in the ocean shifts to the surface. Read the article and be prepared to be scared out of your shorts.

It’s fall
2006-10-05— Posted by: allegra

I was walking into work yesterday and a 20 inch across maple leaf fell into my path. I put it over my desk yesterday. People laugh when they see it, it’s so big.

Growing up
2006-10-05— Posted by: allegra

As I contemplate the arrival of my 50th birthday, which is taking shape against an eldritch, relentlessly backlit mist, and it only a year and a bit away, I must force myself to pause and consider the lives of my elders. For this year, they will, inshallah, celebrate 50 years of married life. I would call it bliss except it would be a damned lie, one which my parents would vigorously attack. “Yup,” they’d say, “We had a pretty good time, but I wouldn’t call it bliss. Especially when I think of this past month of hacking up my lungs & maintaining a furious schedule while trapped in my house.”

pOp, there’s THE WORLD’S MOST BORING WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE on Greenwood. I looked at it and ached with the desire to scan and post your stories. pOp’s Exploding Bedtime Stories. I can see the button now, edged in blue… There’s the story about how two of the four engines quit on takeoff when you were at full fuel and had many pounds of live munitions on board. Oh, and there’s the arctic survival training story, which features a dog running into your sleeping quarters to take a simply grisly dump; the story of searching for a lost guy who had no survival gear and put stale gas in his airplane prior to take off; and several other memorable and icy anecdotes besides; in other news, seagull guts; the man they called “Microswitch”, who nearly bled to death from a routine injection when they broke the needle off in his arm. Ah yes, these and many other stories enlivened my children’s childhood. I enjoyed reading them a LOT, and hammily.

Then I contemplate my grandmother, whose trek through her nineties continues to be full of adventure and gadding about, which is exactly what a woman her age SHOULD have on her agenda if she feels like it.

Well, I want to talk about my mother too, but I just can’t do it. I’ve backspaced over three sets of paeans to her ineffible Mummy-ness, but they all would have made Hallmark Cards disappear in a bloody shower of pancreatic implosions.

Keith is unhappy; the latest Strangers in Paradise is late. Katie is working. Paul is working.

Life is purty good right now, although not because my darlings are out earning their bread… Oh, look, Keith just fired up Good Night and Good Luck.

Missed a pic
2006-10-04— Posted by: allegra

Earlier I mentioned something I scanged from … here it is.

Moving right along
2006-10-04— Posted by: allegra

I am trying to intuit what Katie’s school fees are this morning; I have emails from the school saying pay up but there’s nothing to indicate what the Viking tax is to keep Katie in school. Yes I know they just declared school fees illegal.

Her boyfriend is trying to pre-emptively break up with her so he can walk away having dumped her. Young love! Katie doesn’t even appear upset about it.

Keith and I watched I Dood It last night. I don’t know what to say about this movie except that it has some of the wildest stuff imaginable in it with interminably long spells of not much happening. The song by the Jimmy Dorsey band and the Eleanor Powell rope dance at the beginning was enough to make my eyes pop out. Anyway, it stars Red Skelton and guests Lena Horne and Butterfly McQueen and the INCOMPARABLE Hazel Scott – her guest bit had my jaw on the floor – what an A MA ZING ivory tickler she was. (Dr. Filk wandered in just before that started and HE was pretty gobsmacked too). Oh, and there’s one piece of physical comedy (Red Skelton trying to get a passed out Eleanor Powell, who appears to be shapely string stuffed into a wedding dress, from the floor to a bed) that was so funny I ran out of air.

If I appear cheerful at the moment, it’s partly because I have a happy secret! I will tell you if you ask me nice, but I can’t post it publicly.

2006-10-03— Posted by: allegra

Scanged from Go there, very funny fridge magnets.

flippin’ out
2006-10-03— Posted by: allegra

It’s been ages since I posted a picture of a black comedian dressed up as a woman. In point of fact, I think this is a first. Didn’t he have great legs? Remember Geraldine’s boyfriend’s name? (Killer, in case you were wondering.) I used to LOVE the Flip Wilson show.

enough sleep
2006-10-03— Posted by: allegra

I found some truly bizarre videos here (Orthodox Jews making Russian emigres drink until they puke? – no I didn’t watch it, the description in the comments was good enough for me) as well as some wonderful Rooslish. If you find the cat picture, enjoy; they are claiming that the facial expression on the cat is not photoshopped but I have my doubts. And if the facial expression on that cat is truly natural, I for one would not want to live with such a creature. They also have a dodge for shipping stuff to Russia which made me smile.

Katie didn’t come home last night and didn’t phone, but I guess we know where she is.

I finished John Barnes’ A Million Open Doors (I heart Giraut) this morning and watched Falling Down last night. Time to do dishes and get ready… Paul is just coming off shift now.

Duly noted
2006-10-02— Posted by: allegra

It takes a LONG TIME to roast and shell 10 pounds of hazelnuts if you are shelling them by hand. On the other hand, when people walk into your house, they are very impressed by the delightful blast of hazelnut scented air.

Boys and girls come out to play
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Maybe men and women aren’t so different after all.

Harrisand Sculptures
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a detail of the previous sculpture.

Harrisand Sculptures
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

This sculpture won the People’s Choice award. I can’t remember the name of it except that Dreams was part of the title.

Harrisand Sculptures
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Another angle of the giraffe family.

Harrisand Sculptures
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

This is part of a larger tableau of the Cirque du Sand. I found the rest of the tableau uglier than a ruptured python, so I lay down on the sand and shot this, and I’m quite pleased with it. This one is for Vampire Mama, who really has a thing for giraffes. The top of the mother’s head was at least 8 feet above ground level, and this sculpture has been up since Labour Day, so you can get an idea for just how stable and amazing these sculptures are.

This one’s for Lexi
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

I can’t remember taking this, so I’ll assume Paul took it. This one’s for Lexi. The rest of the tableau was a bunch of dwarven and dragon extras sitting around bored out of their minds while this dude set up the shot. Very very funny.

Harrisand Sculptures
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Here’s the same pic except shrunk down so you can see most of it.

More Harrisand
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Detail, taken by Paul, of the Mexican entry.

Harrisand Sculptures
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

So we went to Harrison yesterday, and I didn’t hurt my back to nearly the extent I was afeared to, and Paul and I took some wonderful pics. This is a detail from a sculpture entitled, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. The little metal spikes coming out the top are to prevent trickster corvids from landing on the sculptures. It’s kinda Halloweeny, and it’s clicked over the beginning of October, so I figure I can get away with it.

That’s me Mum
2006-10-01— Posted by: allegra

When I am that age, I want to be just like her. Happy sigh.

Back half September 2006

Death in the family
2006-09-30— Posted by: allegra

My auntie Jackie’s mum passed away yesterday. I light a candle for her transition, and the transitions of her kin and friends.

Quick news blast
2006-09-30— Posted by: allegra

1. Finally signed up for
2. Everybody in the household slept here last night.
3. Whipped cream on oatmeal is delicious.
4. I am insufficiently caffeinated for the performance of my duties, but Keith is fixing that even as I type.
5. I am working my way through Suzette Haden Elgin’s The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense and I keep wanting to loan it to my pOp as a model for whatever book we’ll try to squeeze out of him when the Province of BC drop kicks him through the Goal Posts of Retirement.
6. Janice left so many books that I am alternately grinning and looking consterned. I mean, there’s consternation, but where’s the consterned?
7. Katie is taking two pans of brownies to a baby shower that she will not be able to attend. My attempts to console her were met with a wan smile.
8. Katie says that washing dishes is good for meditations on heat transfer.
9. I light a candle for John M. in Afghanistan who narrowly missed being killed in a roadside explosion. He is the eldest of one of my family’s closest friends. 10. I light a candle for the Queen of England, who has given over a portion of Windsor Castle to be a Mosque for her Muslim servants. This is by no means a new thing; the shrine at the base of Gebel Musa has places of worship for Muslims and Eastern Orthodox and Catholic celebrants and it’s been that way for over a thousand years. The places of tolerance are not hard to find if you look; the heart is still the hardest place sometimes.
11. I gotta get off the computer, Paul needs to fire off some emails before we head out to Harrison Hot Springs to look at the sand castles. It’s raining, but I don’t mind.

2006-09-29— Posted by: allegra

What does a Congressman use for a bookmark?
Bent over pages!

Damn that Wackypedia
2006-09-29— Posted by: allegra

Hey Alan, scroll down about half way.

The man who had 14 wives
2006-09-29— Posted by: allegra

This guy is a realllllllll creep. And he lived in Toronto, too! I wonder what his children have to say about him.

Presenting Dr. Killeen

2006-09-29— Posted by: allegra

Janice picked me up in the convertible last night and whisked me away to the Keg, where we had very very good steak and ate a LOT of mushrooms. Yum.

I think Katie is home, her door is closed.

Scanged from, it is to giggle. The gist is a teacher took out a full page yearbook ad messing over the students, administration and school district. If the pic of the teacher is still up, be prepared to wonder when Harlan Ellison got so fat.

Dr Filk has been practicing up a storm for the various cons he and Filkola are playing this fall. Filkola is trying to get him to wear a dress for the Mad Scientist’s Love Song but so far no dice. We shall see if her powers and persuasions and general cussed wiliness will win the day.

Worksibling Mohammed sent me this
2006-09-27— Posted by: allegra

One more thing……Okay, three more things.
2006-09-27— Posted by: allegra

Little more follow up…. that is an extremely athletic Donny Osmond doing the background dancing in White and Nerdy. Goshwow. I mean I loved it the first time I saw it, but this has LAYERS of ARTISTRY that leave me SWOONING.

I haven’t commented on Uwe Boll (pron. oova bowl) and his fight night, but that’s just because I am waiting for somebody more clued in than I to comment, so I can crib the remarks. To set up the comments in a later post, two facts: Uwe Boll makes horrifically, mind numbingly, bone crushingly bad movies. He recently had a fight with some of his worst critics and beat the wooglies out of them.

Here’s how pink I really am
2006-09-27— Posted by: allegra

Okay, I make no secret of the fact that I am one of the pinkest people you ever met. I refer to myself as white, but it’s the same way brown people call themselves black . .. .. it’s a weird thing. I am pink. Anyway, I am so frikkin pink, that when I found out Seth Green (Oz from Buffy, he-man of Robot Chicken, film ecktor and all around cool dude) was showing off HIS OWN cherry collection of action figures in Weird Al Yankovic’s White and Nerdy, I immediately popped back onto Youtube and watched it again. As if obeying some inner law, the playback stopped HERE. I did a screen cap and just about lost control of my bladder. This was on screen for a tenth of a second, but he had to do this!!!!!

Oh, and google Weasel Stomping Day, but not if you a) love animals and b) hate Weird Al Yankovic.

Taking a hint
2006-09-27— Posted by: allegra

I picked up the phone last night and called Tish and Terry. Terry answered, in his usual sephulchral tones, and within about ten minutes I was laughing my ass off, which I was not in the least expecting. I congratulated him on being an empty nester. Sophie, his youngest, who was born within a few days of Katie, has left home for University. We talked about a number of subjects, including canoe paddles, car maintenance, the possibility of a joint jaunt to the Maritimes, what’s really important in life, & in-laws, and then I asked to speak to his charming life partner Tish and he moved off the mike and said (so I could hear him) some variant on “She won’t take a hint, you come and talk to her,” which left me wheezing with laughter, because he came within a hairsbreadth of sounding like he meant it.

Janice arrived shortly thereafter, and all hail fandom! If a friend shows up with a pile of books, she’s not offended if you dive right in and start with the print-lovin’. Unfortunately I’ve been feeling Just East of Dreadful (there’s folks sick at work right now, and I’ve been off color for a while) so I crashed out almost as soon as Paul got home from work, but it was fun piling through the book boxes with frequent squeals of glee.

I was up at quarter to four and now I’m twying to be vewy vewy quiet so I don’t wake everybody up.

The latest Fantasy and Science Fiction has some great stuff in it. Yeah, I could be more specific, but rather than go into full blown review mode, I think I’ll quit blogging and work on transcribing The Dream in Fragments, the song I wrote last Friday morning.

Katie hasn’t been home in three nights. Or I should say she’s dropped in but not slept over. She’s apparently going to school, and I imagine she’ll come home today long enough to grab some clothes, shower and head off to work. I won’t see her, of course. Sigh.

Bettie Rules
2006-09-26— Posted by: allegra

So (scanged from, look what a really fine friend of the owner of the house painted on the side facing the highway!?

The roof beam is strategically placed, wouldn’t you say?

Technobabble runs wild
2006-09-26— Posted by: allegra

2006-09-26— Posted by: allegra

Is anybody surprised that the sixth annual Skunkfest just took place in North Ridgeville?

I useta know somebody with a pet skunk. It takes all kinds to make a world.

enough sleep
2006-09-26— Posted by: allegra

I could fill 10 column inches with descriptions of my physical woes, but that’s just boring, so to the mail bag, Alichino!

For those of us who identify as Cucuteni, a link – I especially like the useful pots to put things in.

Along the same lines,

Janice arrives today. If the winds be fair and the border sane, she will arrive in time to pick me up from work, which means I might have a ride home in a convertible to look forward to.

I’m going to have to stop reading feminist literature, it’s exhausting. I’m being sarcastic, of course. Is that all right?

Executive compensation
2006-09-25— Posted by: allegra

As I was traipsing through, I ran across this article on the effects of executive compensation on an organization.

for me mum
2006-09-25— Posted by: allegra

Hey mOm, go here and scroll halfway down. But take cough syrup first, because this WILL make you laugh.

Bones as art
2006-09-25— Posted by: allegra

Weird you want, weird you get. But I swear, officer, I did NOT melt that man’s lug wrench.

Mother dear Mother
2006-09-25— Posted by: allegra

My mother, despite the fact she’s feeling like somebuddy flung her down some stairs and picked her up with a red hot shovel, is working on my DNA scarf.

Neener, neener booboo.

John M (Mike) Ford is dead
2006-09-25— Posted by: allegra

John M Ford was only a year older than me. He’d been in poor health for a while. Pic is of my favorite book of his.

Smelling the Linden Dairy Air
2006-09-25— Posted by: allegra

Poor Doc Filk. He was heading north to Kanada on a motorcycle when the border guards all jumped on their chairs. Now let me get this straight; how is getting a gun (and requalifying once a year in broad daylight, harumph, harumph) gonna make the Canuckistani border guards safer? Right now, if somebody comes through with a gun, you smile and wave them through and let the Horsemen deal with it, that’s what they’re paid to do, right? Once the border guards have guns, I know that I’ll feel ever so much safer as a regular citizen, knowing that a bunch of underqualified weenies will have service revolvers that they will be LOOKING FOR EXCUSES to wave the frikkin’ things around. Bozoid thinking of the finest water!

I think Doc Filk’s pun was pretty damned funny though, as well as being accurate. Linden Dairy Air indeed….

2006-09-24— Posted by: allegra

Last night I had not one but several work related dreams. One was me walking up to a worksibling’s desk and realizing that the reason I couldn’t see him was because he was napping next to his desk. I was immediately overcome with tiredness and lay down next to him (there was nothing remotely sexual about this) and the two of us ended up sleeping like puppies in a blanket. The second part of the dream is that my work group all went to a training session and during the training session my boss fired an Uzi, but believe it or not it was all in good fun and to a point that he was making in the presentation, so nobody was upset. And there were two other little work minidreams, being stuck in a very bad elevator with three of my least favorite coworkers (all men) as the cable snapped and we plummeted; and having a live minicam on in the car of one of my overseas coworkers while a spectacular bus/motorcycle/car accident happened in front of them. All I saw was the motorcyclist go flying past the car; the rest of it was all reaction shot of the folks inside the vehicle as the dodged debris.

Baby animals
2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

This is a less-than-a-week-old otter. Photo credit Heribert Fischer.

I love crap like this
2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

Chipper called “for five minutes” Like Such a Thing Is Possible. Fortyfive massively entertaining and information packed minutes whiz by, and then I’m thinking, man, I took a nap today and I still feel like “my parachute didn’t open” as pOp says. I think… Maybe I should take my temperature? And I did, and I’m running a degree of fever. Despite it all I had such a productive, me oriented kind of day; worked on Gossip, one of Dr. Filk’s faves (although not because I wrote it for his ex-wife, at least I don’t think so), wrote another tune called The Nothing Doing Vacation (song title not yet fixed, but I sang it to Chipper over the phone and she squee’d in a MOST gratifying fashion (then she sang me a Bjork song that she’s done some clown choreography to); worked on the song I wrote yesterday morning (like at 6 in the ayem, can you credit it?) which still doesn’t have lyrics; got a haircut (phoned the shop “When’s my appointment?” “Five minutes hence, dumbass!”); went shopping for Welding, this amazing AG haircare product that performs PRECISELY as advertised; bought Cobbs Bread for Keith; walked all the way back to the meat market and got schnitzel and bacon and other yummy things and then walked all the way home; I was footsore but very cheerful and who should greet me but Keith. I cooked lunch and then lay down with that book of Canadian Feminist Literary Criticism Janice loaned me which is alternately hilarious, low key, scholarly, incomprehensible (and happy to be so), in your face and aggrieved. My eyeballs started feeling very hot and pressured, not just because of the reading material so I napped. I woke up and it was like three o’clock in the afternoon and I had the house to myself. Every time I tried to do something harder than laundry or dishes I’d feel kinda spacy, and I thought it was just me. Now I know I’m running a temperature and I’m thinking GREAT! Now I take painkillers and lie in bed! And I already got out and stirred my stumps in this beautiful fall weather (by myself, so I could write a song, because I didn’t have to pay attention to anybody else!!), so it’s not like I didn’t get any exercise today. All in all, I picked a great time and place to get mildly sick. We shall see if it turns into something more disgusting or whether a good night’s sleep turns it over. Mind you if my parents gave me double pneumonia over the phone I’m gonna be really mad at them.

Rub my tummy
2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

Imagine someplace where you get to pet tigers for a small fee. (Or so I assume – wouldn’t YOU pay for the privilege?) This is from Kanchanaburi, Thailand, pic scanged from the BBC.

2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

Believe it or not, I have been a passenger on both a 1951 Vincent Black Shadow (I joined the 100 mile an hour club that day) and a Ducati (can’t remember the year, it is one of Dr Filk’s lamented bikes), so when I found out that some crazy dudes were mashing these two bikes together, I HAD to find and post a pic. This scanged from the Cycle Canada website, thanks guys.

Living in Paradise II
2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

There’s Carly communing with the seals.

Living in Paradise
2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

This is Carly, taken Labour Day weekend. Happy sigh. But wait! There’s more!!!

Eating and drinking and talking and planning
2006-09-23— Posted by: allegra

Worksibling Scott and I, joined by Kate, after she got released from the kitchen, ate and drank beer and whined about relationships, work and other stuff. Katie didn’t actually drink beer but she poached nachos and dry ribs from our plates. It was a very pleasant way to end the week. My last glimpse of Scott was of him trying to get a picture of the sunset from the west end of Sperling Station; I’m hoping he did get something interesting, because it was a spectacular sunset and I want to post it.

Paul’s doing his yoga. I should do my exercises as soon as he clears the floor space.

Paul in preparation for winter has hacked down the figs, cleaned out the electret filter for the furnace, and resealed all the doors. He was ably assisted by Keith in the fig trimming, and it was a pile of work. Sometime yesterday one of the hideous, disgusting mirror tiles in the downstairs front hallway fell off the wall. Yay! Now we have a sign that it’s time to rip it all down and replace it with a nice big piece of float glass. Or maybe a nice big piece of cork.

Katie came home last night and has to start work at 10 this morning, lucky her.

Every time I make fun of Chipper for not being able to find things on the internet, it’s because I’m forgetting she’s got dialup. Dur… sorry.

If you have a 2007 IKEA catalogue, make sure you have a good look at the dog on the inside of the front cover. Oopsie. Let’s just say that the dog, which is looking knowingingly at the camera, is ‘happy’.

Yes! I get a haircut today. I was going to say trim, but knowing the mentality of my readers I figured I should make it more specific. The weather looks gorgeous, and it’s just another day in paradise. As all of us Saskatchewan scions know….

State religion in the US?
2006-09-22— Posted by: allegra

I read about it in the blogosphere and then tracked it back to a ‘legitimate’ news source. Gulp. I feel nauseous. I just don’t want to believe this is true. And then I read that there’s a debate about legalizing torture in the US.

First they came for the Jews, and I didn’t say anything, because I wasn’t Jewish….I have to stop reading the news, it’s making me sad.

Jason Fortuny
2006-09-22— Posted by: allegra

It isn’t even 5 in the morning, and I feel compelled to get up and rant already. I guess this is what happens when Paul and I, contemplating all the things we COULD be doing, vote for sleep at 8:30 in the evening. So while Paul does something socially useful, like his morning yoga exercises (how I enjoy listening to him do his yoga breathing) I’m gonna rant. From each according to his abilities, to each according to her needs. Note how a slight gender shift moves the meaning of that statement from high flown drama to a fly blown joke….


Today I’d like to rant about Jason Fortuny. I was waiting for a sign from the heavens before I should join my opinion to the mighty river of obloquy that is (crikey! I had to LOOK UP obloquy to spell it correctly – that a ranter must look up obloquy!?) the blogosphere these days, and I got it in the form of Dan Savage’s column last night.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Jason Fortuny took a picture of a woman’s ass, and posted it on Craigslist in the “looking for sex” column as if he was a hot 25 year old submissive, ah, woman. Well he isn’t. He has had a hard life, and he recently had to sell all of his action figures (considering I’ve been reciting Weird Al Yankovic’s lyrics for White and Nerdy for the last three days, I nearly fell off my chair when I read that) to pay some debts, and he has a history of cruel pranks to look back on, but he’s not a woman, submissive or otherwise, he’s a sad boy child of 30 with a bad temper. His upbringing left him with a tragic inability to be sympathetic to anybody outside a very narrow band, so that means that any and all of us could have been on the receiving end of his bile.

And what prank did Jason Fortuny play on the almost two hundred, I’m assuming mostly men, who answered the ad, including some with their work email addresses and ‘candids’ with their faces and full frontals?

He reposted their emails and pictures to a location which became Schadenfreude’s number one hit URL.

Now, I am vanilla. I’ve always been vanilla. I will always be vanilla. I don’t like spanking or getting spanked (or being tied up or humiliated or ****** on). Causing or receiving pain during adult oriented fun and frolic is icky to me. But, like a true white liberal, I’m gonna get up on my hind legs and bleat “Some of my best friends are kinky!” and say that the thing I object to most emotionally is that Jason Fortuny didn’t pick a very useful target. Why not go after pedophiles? He claims to have been molested himself. But noooooo.

Most of the blogosphere thinks the people he picked on were scumbags who deserve to lose their jobs. Dan Savage, may he nestle in the bosom of the Parking Goddess forever, commented that most of us would not withstand a really close look at our lives. As in, “You would be hopelessly screwed if somebody took a close look at your cookies, your DVD collection, and your email history”. Amen.

I had to back up and delete a paragraph that detailed some of the bad bad things I’ve done with the company email, so let’s just take it as read. Too gross for public consumption, alas. But like Mr. Fortuny, I may be called to account someday, and I am ready.

So what precisely did Jason Fortuny do wrong? In the last analysis, nothing that isn’t self-correcting. The kink community has been served notice that if it wants to keep on trucking, it has to control its own media and messaging services, and practice ‘safe hex’; Jason himself may or may not get his head busted in or face legal consequences for his misuse of public waters, being Craigslist; self righteous Aholes with time on their hands may parse Jason’s livejournal for clues as to the motivations for his behaviour (fortunately I don’t have to, because somebody’s already done it for me. Google Jason Fortuny and you’ve got an hour’s worth of reading, some of it very disturbing indeed, in front of you); civil libertarians can bite first one hand and then the other

I for one, with my own little mind, am thinking of this as being, in a small but very real way, the beginning of the end of the free internet (like it ever was, but you know what I mean). Unless those of us who are willing to PAY for the privilege of communicating freely and without intervention using ones and zeroes get together and make a secure, distributed and functionally paranoid place to exchange information, something not susceptible to foreclosure, political pressure or theft by the Russian Mafia, we’re going to lose every inch of the pipeline we’ve come to be addicted to. Net neutrality is a chimera; anything that can be used steal your identity, clean out your bank account, sic the cops on you for no good reason, and send strangers to your door thinking they are going to be partying with your 12 year old daughter is not a NEUTRAL PLACE. It’s time for those of us who cherish liberty to REALLY pay to play, and not just fork over more cash to the US Telcos for DSL. That’s the lesson of Jason Fortuny.

I’ve found something else for my mother to knit.
2006-09-21— Posted by: allegra

I emailed my mother the link to this scarf pattern. Once she recovers from her terrible cough, maybe I can bribe her to knit it pour moi.

enough sleep
2006-09-21— Posted by: allegra

Last night I dreamed we all lived in a big old Victorian house (like a mirror image of the old house on 74, but about 2 metres wider) and a short man about Paul’s age with a beret and cropped grey beard and a boy of about seven in a beret with a blue star painted over one eye came to my door and dropped off a magic book. The pages were the colour of the Virgin’s mantle and the ink was in all colours, mostly gold, and the words and the pictures moved. It was a directory. I called somebody to find out who they were and they were in town from the States (from Auburn) here to see the plastination exhibit at Science World and they had agreed to drop the book off to select Unitarians.

Weird you want, weird you get. But I swear, I did NOT melt that man’s lug wrench.

After the fact……..
2006-09-20— Posted by: allegra

Never ever ever feed your cats anything with onions or garlic. It can make them very very sick. I suspect that’s what happened to Zeek! after he plowed through some spaghetti sauce.

I have no idea what kind of deer that is
2006-09-20— Posted by: allegra

This picture was sent to me under the rubric “Are You My Mommy?”

Need a lift?
2006-09-20— Posted by: allegra

If you hate cats, don’t watch it. If you do like cats, you’ll pee laughing. The Japanese children’s chorus in the background adds to the charm of it, strangely enough.

Katie finally came home. With A F)CKING BIG TATTOO. After I finished twittering about health issues, she drily said, “I watched Kat take the needle out of the package.” You can see it’s a bit red, but it’s not a bad piece at all.

Carolyn Porco sent me an email
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

Who is she? Well, apart from a brief correspondence regarding atheism and other issues, I don’t know her any better than you do. But she’s a world famous astronomer, and I’m on her mailing list, so without further ado and before the press release rolls, here’s a pic showing a new ring of Saturn. Visit for much more, including a new image of the blue Earth!

A question answered
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

It drives me nuts sometimes that I see native words and can’t pronounce them. Then I trip face down in this – while I was looking for something else.

Appropriate technology
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

Here’s the son of a coworker with one severely phat chair.

It’s talk like a Pirate Day
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

I can’t talk like a pirate, but I can squeak like a rubber ducky.

Alistair Cooke lives on
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

Now, I know I have a fetish for zombie films, but this is both rude and ridiculous. He may be dead, but the lawsuit will be forever.

Waxing my psychic car
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

Katie didn’t come home last night, but she did call to say so, so I am content.

If you want tobacco seeds, just ask me. I have lots. Tobacco seeds are the size of flyspecks and an amazing… uh … tobacco brown.

Paul just said to me that he had a totally screwed up night at work, but he sounded too brighteyed to have been summarily dismissed. I quizzed him, and he said something mysterious and interesting so now I can hardly wait for him to get home for some OTHER reason than that I can’t get to work until he brings home the car..

Last night, I dreamed I was somebody else, but when I woke up, I was still 40 pounds overweight. (Actually, I’m down to 180 pounds, which is amazing considering I’m not actually trying to lose weight and it’s fall.)

Had a lovely long chat with Janice last night (I was reading a book she gave me when she called, which I found a wonderful coincidence) and SHE’s going to the SmithSONian today, and you’re not. My mother is blowing her nose in purest envy, I betcha, and I’m envious too, but in the nice way of appreciating cool things happening to your friends rather than wishing that nothing nice ever happened, except to you.

Janice is coming to visit us soon, and THIS TIME we’re going to a poolhall AND a bookstore. I hope. I’m really a lazy layabout these days. Maggie and Chipper also both play pool, why shouldn’t I? Well, apart from the fact that I’m about as coordinated as a drunken binge, nothing, really.

Brother James has forgiven me for trying to part him from his livelihood and expressed his forgiveness by providing Paul and me with exceptionally good advice about buying appliances. He used to sell them, after all, so he has that secret handshake thing down pat.

Have a good day y’all. The blessings of the Divine Wow attend you….

House of Plague
2006-09-19— Posted by: allegra

First mOm sends me an email saying pOp is feeling so lousy he may not go in to work. Now, you must remember ‘work’ for my dad involves Getting Out of Bed, Donning a Bathrobe, and Walking to the Computer Room to Answer the Phone and Empty out the Fax Machine. This means, of course, and I swore like a stevedore when I saw it, that pOp is on the point of expiring. So the NEXT email is that pOp has double pneumonia (I have had pneumonia once, it SUCKED; I tend more to bronchitis and I haven’t had bronchitis in ages thank Guh).

If he doesn’t markedly improve on the drugs he’s been given, he’ll be into the hospital for an IV, and if you are one of those people who rushes the exits when a needle appears, believe me, my pOp’s out the door so far ahead of you that there’s nothing to see but the scorch marks he left in the linoleum. My mOm’s still feeling like animatronic scrap.

I light a candle for the Plague Victims.

Confidential to Swampy… could it be adhesions?

It’s been bally ages since I posted a moose pic
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

Ah, a moose picture, from Norway. Moosiness. Ah.

scanged from
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

It’s been bally ages since I posted a decent vampire pic. Stolen from Something Awful.

Burt Rutan interviewed
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

Burt Rutan is the very model of the modern libertarian.

I’ve thought this many times
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

I stole and mashed this.

To take the taste out of your mouth…….
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

So after the “you’ve got a purty mouth” bear kiss, how about a 1700 pound chocolate moose?

And now for something completely different…
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

The ceremonial shooting of the florists. Alan, I saw this, and I thought of you, but I don’t think you and Janice went trapshooting right after yuz got married.

Lucky Number Slevin
2006-09-18— Posted by: allegra

I just watched Lucky Number Slevin again, this time all the way through. It’s a good movie, an interesting collection of surfaces. The script is quite remarkable, likewise lighting, editing, score, set decoration, costuming and the insouciant way the film abandons reality when reality stands in the way of the story. Oh, and the wallpaper. If ever an auteur ever announced his presence with authority, McGuigan sure’s-hell does in this film. The bloody wallpaper is a movie in itself. And the film references. Instead of being shyly deferential and subtle in its film references, the movie dances on your toes and says, “Didja feel that?” The Bond references, the Cary Grant reference. Don’t forget Bond shoots people – or whatever it takes to do the job – although admittedly the job is never revenge as it is with Slevin.

Now, Paul’s take on the movie is that the body count is REALLY REALLY HIGH. Being 1 guy, and then another guy, and then another guy, and then a couple of guys, and then another couple of guys, and then another other other couple of guys. And like that. And then a woman. So yeah, there’s lots of dead guys. Dead losses, most of them.

Josh Hartnett goes from being likable and cuddly to being pure evil by very slightly narrowing his eyes. And I’m sure they messed with his vocal track in that scene. It’s just… eerie. Lucy Liu is so adorable you want to pick her up and take her home, and then maybe (ed. knock it off). Bruce Willis makes one expression last a whole movie without it ever getting boring. I have no idea how he does that, but the effect is amazing. Sir Ben Kingsley does a wonderful job messing with a New York accent; the various hired thugs and bit parts are well cast. Morgan Freeman doesn’t chew scenery so much as he allows himself to be heaved in the air from a blanket of support held by his costars. He obviously loves playing the Paternal Figure of Businesslike Evil.

Stanley Tucci is hot. Okay, I’m sick. But it’s not a bad sickness. I think Brian Dennehy is hot (like, 20 years ago). I think George Clooney is his own class of hotness. I think Sam Waterston is hot. (Now that is sick). I think Dylan Moran has his own temperature scale. And just to prove how sick I am… this picture.

Brayden napping
2006-09-17— Posted by: allegra

Don’t you wish you could still sleep like this???

2006-09-17— Posted by: allegra

One of my aunties is in town for medical treatment. She has the same thing my ma had but the course of treatment is different. Get well soon Auntie D.

mOmandpOp are both feeling under the weather with a range of symptoms I am too squeamish to post, so I am lighting a candle for the rapid resolution of their quartain ague (or whatever the hell you want to call it).

My granny seems to be as fine as you can be when you’re casually sneaking up on your second century of life.

Dax slept over; he’s gone home and Katie’s off to work.

Pic is part of my ongoing effort to post as many pictures as possible of dogs riding horses.

Paul has a nice birthday and so do I
2006-09-16— Posted by: allegra

mOm, just read down to the third last paragraph and be prepared to giggle. Make sure you read it to pOp.

Paul had his nicest birthday in years. We feasted him last night at Chong Lum Hin with friends, family and flying buddies; we ate breakfast together this morning at IHOP with the kids (they had been working the night before); and he and I went for a walk in Deer Lake Park and we saw FOUR TURTLES sunning themselves on a log. Happy sigh. Killed ourselves laughing overhearing other people insisting that they ‘weren’t real’. Watched folks get ready for the Lantern Festival tonight.

Then I tried to buy him a birthday present but he insisted on putting it on the household account (!?) which was great because I had also found Three Kings and Bells are Ringing for the kids and he found Bitches Brew (and this is the SECOND time we’ve got the album because it’s been stolen once before) so we ended up buying a lot of media today. Then I treated him (and he let me) to an early dinner at Pho Hong on the Kingsway and then we came home and snoozed.

I finished Lucy Sussex’ The Scarlet Rider and loved it; now I am trying to balance it by reading some more Dale Spender but it’s heavy sledding. I think I will just go back to reading Through Alien Eyes; I’m in a fictiony kinda mood right now.

The kids are home from work, and Paul has gone into work on midnights, and it’s all very peaceful; in about ten minutes Katie is going to a party downtown with Dax and Justin, at which point I suspect Keith and I will be ripping the wrapper off Three Kings. George Clooney, happy sigh.

My heartfelt thanks to the folks who came out to the birthday party; Paul really really enjoyed it.

Please provide caption
2006-09-16— Posted by: allegra

Isn’t this a great picture? Pope Benedict and his ongoing headgear monkey show.

Buying an appliance
2006-09-16— Posted by: allegra

So we figured out which dishwasher we wanted, and, as you may have noticed, Canadian retailers are very grudging about taking your phone calls to give you information. After being on hold for 10 minutes calling a retailer in Bellingham, Paul hung up. Then we called Coast, and they cut me off. Then we called the Bay, and a very nice young man named Afshin took the model information AND CALLED ME BACK within 10 minutes with price and availability, for ten bucks less than the Coast guy had quoted (with no availability). So screw it, if and when we buy a portable dishwasher, it will be from the Bay, because in addition to being less expensive, they gave way better service.

In my continuing efforts to fill the immense demand of my public for more great pictures of Pope Benedict feeding his headgear monkey, I provide you with this “Pope dons Riot Gear” pic. He can come to Fetish Night an-y-time if he’s gonna go for that “aging yuppie biker in a dress” look. It’s from a website which disses the last two Popes as being too worldly. Oh yeah, too worldly. There’s always somebody out there who can out-arch-conservative the Pope; is that a scary thought, or whut? Let’s get something straight. I diss the Popes because they are wily old guys who love me and hate my sin (thanks, fellas) who spend enough on clothes each year to buy school lunches in the City of Vancouver. Hey, did you know people yelled “Santo Subito!” at Pope John Paul II’s funeral? By the will of the people he will be getting his fitting for a halo quite a few years early. Also, Wikipedia reliably informs me (for some reason they’ve locked the Pope’s entry, can you credit it???) that Papa Ratzi will be fast tracking the beatification of the Italian priest murdered in Turkey this past year by a pistol packing teenager who wanted to provide a somewhat percussive commentary on the Catholic Church’s missionary activities in Trabzon. Yeah, all in all, I think the Pope’s visit to Turkey later this year should be a smashing success, although I have spared many a thought for the poor son of a gun who will be running security for the Papal visit to Turkey. My thoughts are with you, whoever you are.

Late breaking tip. If you are collecting tobacco seeds, don’t bite your fingernails afterwards. I’ve accidentally ingested so much tobacco juice that my eyes are blurring and I feel quite light headed.

Front half September 2006

Grumpy apology
2006-09-14— Posted by: allegra

Brother James is under the impression that I can prevent him from making a living by encouraging people to hang on to their cell phones as long as possible. Since the chances that anybody would pay attention to my advice in this regard are actually smaller than you, James, being hit by lightning while juggling a six ball cascade, I wouldn’t be too worried.

What I should have said was, “I’m sure glad I have an excuse not to buy another phone – I can barely understand the one I have.” So I’m sorry. I should’ve passed on that comment.

It’s like finding out that virtually every chocolate bar I eat that isn’t made of fair trade cocoa makes slaves of little African boys and girls (which is also true, malfortunately, and it’s as true of superfine super$$$ Belgian chocolate as it is of a Brand Name Redacted bar).

I’m going to curl up with a book now, I’ve made enough apologies today. I mean, I cain’t hardly ENJOY anything anymore. Can you?

From Beneath You, They Devour
2006-09-14— Posted by: allegra

Okay, this is just plain frikkin bizarre.

Weird you want, weird you got.

Don’t buy a new phone
2006-09-14— Posted by: allegra

If you buy a new cell phone, you are subsidizing slavery.

Looping back to an earlier post
2006-09-14— Posted by: allegra


Thought for the day
2006-09-14— Posted by: allegra

I think I have mind like a condom. No matter what I stuff into it, it always goes back to its original shape.

Yeah, well, two beers later
2006-09-12— Posted by: allegra

So I come home and down two quick beers, and feed a few crunchies to Zeek! who’s bugging me for food the second I hit the door like he wasn’t dying this time last week, (note to self: the bastard) and what to my wondering inbox should appear but a note from the local Meetup group organizers association but a link that says, “Join” and I’m kinda in a joining mood these days, except rejoining church, and that’s really really a separate issue, so I’ll just parenthesise myself here (yet again) by saying that all that needs to happen is for the Reverend to actually formally ask me to rejoin and I will, but it never seemed to occur to anybody to ask me to stay, which really fucking amazed me at the time I quit. It was like everybody was secretly relieved to see the back of me, the minister most of all. Okay, Tom and Peggy do count; they did ask me to stay, but I was holding out for a formal request for the minister, and can you believe it never happened? She promised to call me about it two Novembers ago – or maybe one, I should check my records – I guess it didn’t matter because I was still pledging. Nem di gelt, baybeee!!! Where was I.

Quick note, following up on earlier post. Harlan Ellison quoth “I stand naked and defenseless before your absolutely correct chiding” with respect to the groping of Connie Willis. Like bite my shiny metal ass, ya puta. I meant to type putz, but stet baby stet.

Oh, ya, the organizers. Anyway, they asked me to join and then asked a bunch of rather imprudent questions, because here are my answers. Shit, I think I’m burning my perogies. Nope, they are Keith cooked, which means they are hanging on the hairy edge of burned. Okay, herewith my answers….Of course I’m half-snapped, you idiot, and you’d be too if you were full of things you couldn’t commit to a public forum and two hours away from a conversation in which you could talk about it….. Hi mOm. I’ll call ya later. PS Paul and I are getting along fine, ditto Dr. Filk, the kids, and my coworkers. I’m just a leedle brain burnt….. and hey Sandy/Chipper, Brother James, Bro & Sis Alan&Janice, Dr. Filk (who hath none like him) Brother Peter, Brother Jeff, Brother Jerome, P., Ubersis Peggy, Filkola, Uberbro FIL and Cousin Gerald, PatRICia, I love you all and things are actually fine. I’m just watching my daughter dandle other people’s babies and getting fucking nervous.

Okay, the screen shot….

enough sleep
2006-09-12— Posted by: allegra

Katie showed up at dawn, saying, come and look, it’s a gorgeous sunrise. I’m like, and you’ve been where? But that’s kind of a buttheaded comment, and I gave her the Starbucks card (which my boss gave me yesterday morning by way of apologizing for making me do a real day’s work for a change -long story.) Then she asked me why my MP3 player doesn’t work, and I said, “Well it hasn’t worked for a while!” subtext wtf are you doing in my room going through my drawers.

Speaking of drawers, I’m wearing silk Nordstrom lingerie right now, and you’re not.

I have a tremendous urge to drink all the beer in the fridge and not go to work today. I have no idea where that came from, but considering that today will be a better day than yesterday, and that there’s only one beer cold in the fridge, that’s probably not the best possible use of my time. And I already packed my lunch.

We’re all doing famously here. Except I have to clean the house for a meeting I foolishly agreed to hold. But no good deed goes unpunished. (Clare Boothe Luce). And at the Filkhouse, no good feed goes unpunned. I should shut’er down, I’m obviously too goofy for words right now.

Cutie pie
2006-09-11— Posted by: allegra

I am a big fan of Richard Feynman, and here’s the puckish bongo playing wildman hisself, talking ’bout nanotech in November 1960.

This is for Paul
2006-09-11— Posted by: allegra

This pic is from the June 1940 PopSci.

Zeek! – ignore if you hate cats
2006-09-11— Posted by: allegra

I swore never to give my heart to a companion animal again, and then you know what that first successful feline-porcine cross does? Insists on jumping into my lap while I’m on the computer. He’s never done that the entire time he’s been living with us. He hung around (thought balloon “Her lap seems so much bigger when she’s on the sofa”) for about ten minutes and then jumped down. All I want is a kitty who will sit in my lap while I write, just like Bounce used to do. Heavy sigh.

Thought and Memory
2006-09-11— Posted by: allegra

I light a candle for the dead of this day, 5 years ago.

Mt. Bromo is about to burp
2006-09-10— Posted by: allegra

Here’s an Indonesian volcano called Mt. Bromo.

Zeek! update – ignore if you hate cats
2006-09-10— Posted by: allegra

Zeek! ate independently this morning, drank at least half a cup of water, and to all intents and purposes appears to be on the mend. We still have no idea what the hell is wrong with him, and he could rudely get sick on us again, but he likely would have died without an IV so let’s just assume this is all working out for the best. I’ll quit posting about him unless he starts discoursing on Shakespeare or starts acting like he’s dying again.

2006-09-10— Posted by: allegra

Pic is HIDEOUS new 747 Cargo plane. It looks like a corpulent banana slug with wings.

Housefilk and Tom and Peggy’s last night was AMAZING. Mal’s Song played & sung by the songwriters (Michelle and Tony). Squeeeee squeee. And I cry EVERY SINGLE TIME Dr Filk plays The Guardians. And I cry every time Brooke sings The Eagle has Landed. And it’s so fun matching the livejournal monikers to the people. (Expecially when Mike and Agnes say, “What is this LJ you are speaking of?” and Janice explains, with her usual celerity and clarity.)

Although, I have to say that the high point of the evening was when Tony sang Frank Hayes’ When I was a Boy. (“And we programmed in Ones and Zeroes… and sometimes we ran out of Ones.”) And then sang the Priapic version (“When Viagra was where they have falls”). I laughed until I cried. Tony is one flash guitar player and he sings purty good too.

Zeek! update – ignore if you hate cats
2006-09-09— Posted by: allegra

We spent almost a thousand dollars on him – well, the South Burnaby Animal Hospital has to pay for its new facility somehow – and got PRESSURED into giving him an abdominal ultrasound for another $300 – which pressure we politely disregarded – and brought him home. We are now having to force feed him. I managed to get the IV bandage off him with Keith’s assistance, but getting enough food into him is turning into a full time job. He’s eating enough to keep a cat on a very strict diet alive, but no more, and he doesn’t appear to be drinking enough. I’m not prepared to spend more money on him except in terms of palliation, and while Paul is not as hard core as me about the money side of things, he’s leaning my way. The stupid thing is that he obviously WANTS to eat. But at the last minute he veers off. Heavy sigh.

Spying on the directors & other comments.
2006-09-09— Posted by: allegra

I note that Sarbanes Oxley is (not) continuing to raise the moral IQ of American companies. HP knifed itself in the toe by spying on its own directors, in an attempt to find out which of the little weasels was leaking like a drunken teenager to the media. Didn’t know the methods they used were illegal. It is to turn a laugh into a cough.

I note that Chevron has made an enormous discovery. Mazel Tov, guys! Now build some more refineries. Then I will believe there’s enough oil.

New Zombie Flick is Good – So Buzz Sayeth
2006-09-08— Posted by: allegra

Word from the Toronto International Fillum Festival is that Fido, the new “sort of like Sean of the Dead” film, is really funny and really creepy. I may even take my brother to see it. And it has Carrie Ann Moss in it, too.

09/05 – looping back to a previous post
2006-09-08— Posted by: allegra

The nameless coworker who forwarded me the link about cosmetically bleaching your anus said, “Oh, Allegra. You must never watch porn movies.”

“I AM a porn movie,” I said. This of course is the merest bravado; I can provide no evidence that will stand up anywhere, let alone in court, in supporting such an assertion; I think Paul will hurt himself shaking his head when he reads that.

“No, I mean if you watched porn movies you’d know that porn stars all get their anuses bleached, and now just plain folks do it.”

Never have I been more thankful not to be just plain folks.

I pity the manager who walked in during the last sentence of this conversation. (I just made that up, but it would have been pretty funny).

Now, how can I put this in my blog? This disgusting, pointless anecdote, that merely proves my grade five sense of humor, and the ditto ditto of my coworkers?? Ah, the kicker is that my mother will read this aloud to my father. Snort.

Poor Kira – ignore if you hate cats.
2006-09-08— Posted by: allegra

She saw Zeek! leave in a cat carrier yesterday and he hasn’t come home yet. She is wandering all through the house, into Dr Filk’s place, upstairs, outside through the front door, outside through the back door, and you can see the little thought balloon. Where is he? Where is he? She’s not crying, but she’s very very sucky – for her – and she’s obviously distressed.

Keith rescues me!!!
2006-09-08— Posted by: allegra

Ah, when your kids get old enough to perform roadside rescues, life is good.

So, enniwess, I’m driving down 16th (site of two previous, somewhat more spectacular breakdowns – an axle snapping and a vehicle fire – oh, I’ve never told that story?) when my cell phone rings. Now, I pulled over, because driving and talking on the phone are nasty habits in and of themselves, but simply intolerable in combination. I call back the vet clinic to get an update on Zeek! (he’s eating a little, the IV is in and he’s hydrated, we’ll know more tomorrow).

That’s when I discovered I’d left the lights on.

Mildly annoyed at my own stupidity, I pulled out the Xpower Portable Power Generator that has been in the car for months (duly taken into the house occasionally to be charged) and, after carefully reading, and then rereading the instructions, get the car fired up. Pleased with my calm response to an emergency, I leap up to disconnect the jumper cable clips.

And promptly lock myself out of the car.

Which is merrily running.

So, looking plump, inoffensive, white and female, I hail a passing car, and in two minutes two stopped, but guy #1 had no cell phone, and gal #2 did, so I sent guy #1 away with words of sincere gratitude and phoned up Keith. To the best of my recollection, the conversation went as follows:

Keith, I’m on a borrowed cell phone. Can you please grab the spare car key and your cell phone and ride out to me about the same place the BugBus died?
(brief croggled pause) I gave it back to you. (another brief croggled pause) Maybe it’s on the fridge still….

Never mind that then, just grab your cell phone and get out here.
(a thought occurs) Hey, Keith, do you have any minutes on your cell phone?
Okay, just jump on your bike and get here.

Keith located the key and was holding it up so I could see it glinting in the setting sun as he approached on his bike (he made damned good time, too).

Thus was I rescued.

My heart was made glad by my ability to raise a Useful Person up from a squalling infant. Actually Keith didn’t squall much. He was equable right from the get go. All the same, you will take my point.

Number of the beast
2006-09-07— Posted by: allegra

It’s going to cost $666 to bail my cat out of the vet. He’s staying overnight. His abdomen is very tender and he’s dehydrated as all get out; or he was. He’s had an IV in him since this morning. Folks, this is BEFORE a diagnosis. This is not looking good.

Milagros update
2006-09-07— Posted by: allegra

As my legion of fans (all three of them) know, I have been following the progress of the pride of Lima, Milagros the little mermaid. Here’s an update.

Mother dear Mother -Talk like a Pirate day Sept 19
2006-09-07— Posted by: allegra

Please knit me a pirate booty bag!!!

Also can be adapted for biohazard symbols.

Okay, I know you’re sick (she’s so sick that pOp dragged her off to the sawbones, whujjereckon?) and extremely busy dragging elderly relatives into the 19th century. But isn’t it wonderful?

Zeek! came home
2006-09-07— Posted by: allegra

Zeek! has come back in. He turned up his nose at breakfast (so did Kira, I think they dislike this new cat food) and now his reward is to go to the vet.

Germaine Greer lecturing the grieving
2006-09-07— Posted by: allegra

You know, it’s a sad and human thing to want to lecture people when they are doing something which appears dumb, but I believe Germaine Greer made something of an error in criticizing the Australians who are grieving the death of Steve Irwin, Croc Hunter. If she had said something along the lines of “He harassed wildlife for fun and profit, and he orphaned his children in such a fashion that they’ll be able to watch his death 17 billion times, and now he’s going to live in rerun heaven,” that would have been a personal observation, tasteless, but personal.

To hector the grieving multitudes with how dumb they are to have feelings for an animal annoyance specialist is a sign that after all these years, Germaine Greer has the temperament of a premenstrual teenaged girl. You know, crabby, and mouthy, and holding the human family up to impossibly high standards of conduct and intelligence.

People we see all the time on TV, especially the larger than life ones, become real to us, and it’s like Germaine doesn’t ‘get’ that. I mean, when Princess Di died (my mOm broke the news to me as I came through the door for a visit to Victoria) I was at first astounded that somebody as rich as that would die in such a mundane way. (I was going to say ‘pedestrian’ and then realized it wasn’t quite the right word.) Then, when I found out she hadn’t the brains to click-it, I exploded to my mother, “That woman orphaned her children because she was too frikkin stupid to do up her seatbelt.” But I noted in the global outpouring of grief that followed Di’s death that my opinion was WAYYYYY in the minority, and kept my trap shut.

In my opinion, Germaine Greer would have been wise to do the same. For I would rather look like an idiot grieving than like a callous f*ckwit lecturing. Allegra has spoken.

Oooh, quick note, this is not to deride her other writings, most especially the Obstacle Race. Which rocks.

Expletive deleted
2006-09-07— Posted by: allegra

I used to curse on my blog a lot, and this morning I am tempted to repeat what I said when I got up and surveyed my domain (so to speak) and discovered that Zeek! messed off out of the house when Katie came home from work midnightish. He may or may not come home before I have to leave for work this morning. It’s very, very inconvenient when your cat is moribund enough to require immediate medical attention, and lively enough to avoid it.

I’m going to go have a shower, maybe he’ll be sitting at the back door when I get out.

George Carlin
2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Zeek! is NOT at the vet’s right now. He left the house about the time Paul tried to catch him. I have to take him in tomorrow morning; I hope he doesn’t, you know, die on me or anything like that because there’d be hell to pay from the kids. And I would be a lot sadder than I’m letting on, although I have to tell you that after Bounce I made the mighty vow that I would never fully give my heart again to a companion animal.

Pope Benedict Oh my spurs, go jingle jangle jingle….
2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Benny, Benny. I am almost, but not entirely speechless.

He’s trying to rescuscitate all the hats ever worn by popes. So nu? A yarmulke isn’t good enough for you?

2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Baby pic
2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Happy sigh. Can’t have too many baby pics. From Cousin Gerald, his “going concern” of a grandson!

2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Uh, that’s HANGERS, not HANGARS. I’m a beeg gurl, but I don’t need airplane parking spots for my clothes.

Heavy sigh
2006-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Janice picked me up from work, happy sigh, so I got a lift home in a convertible. We raided the fridge for supper and went for Anny’s Ice Cream after. It’s nice to eat soft ice cream that isn’t substantially bentonite clay. And you can get real Quebec poutine and Montreal smoked meat there.

However, Katie didn’t come home, because of (ow! quit kicking!) okay, I won’t say why except that it was physically non-threatening, but Paul and I are not quite knowing what to make of it all. She was on the way to school when I got hold of her this morning – and she works tonight. I really don’t think she’s going to be able to keep this up, but we shall see.

Zeek! has lost an incredible amount of weight and is at the vet’s right now. I’ll be picking him up tonight after his bloodwork. When he jumped on the bed for a cuddle this morning (and he hasn’t tried to do that for a couple of weeks) he was lighter than Kira; he’s more active than he was over the weekend, but he’s still not eating or drinking much. He doesn’t smell as funny as he did the other day. Janice says his gums are greyish and that’s not a good sign – I’m such a terrible cat owner I had no idea that was a quick diagnostic. Wish him luck. I find it really creepy that we went to visit the late lamented Bounce’s grave the same weekend Zeek! really showed signs of being unwell.

Janice donated TWO WEEKS worth of clothing to me. In the stack she brought up from Seattle there were three items I didn’t immediately scange; I literally had to pull the equivalent volume of clothing out of my closet because I don’t have sufficient hangars! So Janice (pace Alan,) went through the bye bye pile and lemme tell you, she looks WAY better in most of those clothes than I ever did. And the bye bye clothes from THAT pile go off to Value Village – whence most of them originated. So yes, Janice is taking home MUCH LESS than she brought up.And the ciiiiirrrcle of liiiiiife……

Don’t do it.
2006-09-05— Posted by: allegra

This is an extremely ephemeral link, but this story, if true, is quite hilarious. And if it isn’t true, it’s amazing that somebody thought of it.

So if the link is gone, I’ll condense down the moral as: “Don’t cosmetically bleach your anus.” I mean, until today I didn’t even know that it was possible!!! I heart Craigslist.

2006-09-05— Posted by: allegra

I heard yesterday what had some people so choked about the Hugo Awards; apparently Harlan Ellison groped Connie Willis ON STAGE. Now that he is a dirty little old man, I guess the charm of this situation did not sufficiently impress itself upon Connie, who, behaving like an adult and sacrificing her immediate rights of requital in this matter (Boot to the Head!) kept On with the Show.

Harlan has written and done many things for women’s rights, but it’s amazing how you can founder a reputation on a little piece of sophomoronic fun. Shame, Harlan.

Dr. Filk is home from his travels. He made Edmonton in one day on Thursday; that’s 1200 kilometers on a bike. Better his ass than mine, I guess.

Paul and I went to the Puddle yesterday and I asked the fitness instructor on duty for L5S1 exercises and she said, do this and do this, and I did so, and all the sensation came back into my foot for about five minutes. I’m a little sore today but pretty chipper.

Janice is coming up for a week and I am so looking forward to seeing her.

Alan took Brooke to Archie McPhee over the weekend… Uh, just in case I haven’t posted the link before… Oh look! They’ve just come out with glow-in-the-dark Office Zombies! Let’s just say there’s a gift in there for somebody YOU love, and it’s an evil evil place.

I light a candle for the Canadian and American firefighters of the Tatoosh and Tripod complex fires.

ID Theft makes Toronto Man Lose House SCARY. Sandy, read this article….

Companion animals
2006-09-04— Posted by: allegra

If you don’t like cats, skip to the end of this blog.

Zeek! (the exclamation point is part of his name, I don’t know why, it was a condition of my getting custody of him that I maintain the exclamation point) has been very off color for the last couple of days. Anybody who has ever met him knows that he is a) noisy b) greedy & c) gregarious. As I have said many times, he is a teenaged boy, lamentably trapped in a neutered cat’s body.

For the last few days he has been a) quiet b) eating perhaps 20% of his normal daily intake and c) hiding under the sofa I got from Granny. (The local equivalent of the Charmed Couch of Morpheus).

I am pleased to report that as of this morning he was much noisier and ate almost all of his breakfast and deigned to be picked up for a quick cuddle. That’s a good thing, because otherwise Paul and I were going to take him to the vet emergency room today – Labor Day, how charming – and we were hopping from one foot to the other while considering the expense. We will be taking him to the regular vet for bloodwork later this week, as obviously he may be a lot sicker than he looks. Katie’s immediate reaction was to try to feed him some black forest ham, which he refused, which freaked her out so badly she lay on the floor cooing over him and trying to get him to come out from under the couch.

He doesn’t have any obvious lumps or sore spots. I suspect some kind of infection.

Last night Keith got a message from a friend to act as back up in a situation possibly requiring judicious amounts of force. By the time he got home from The Illusionist the situation had resolved itself and he bitterly commented that he missed out on some excitement. I was too tired to comment at that point (I have to be plenty tired not to talk, as those who know me well know well) but I recollect thinking that if he’s looking for a scrap he can go to Gastown when the bars close and that should feed his monkey for months (as he recovers in hospital). Paul should be home from work in about half an hour…. I should prob’ly wash some dishes, or something domestic and icky like that.

Horses and dogs
2006-09-03— Posted by: allegra

This picture scanged from the BBC website, via Fark, no credit for the photo. This is the second horseriding dog pic I’ve posted. If you want to see the other one, check the archives (18th July 2005).

This little piggy
2006-09-03— Posted by: allegra

This link is for me mum. Unless you are fabulously into pigs (and rilly rilly bad spelling and grammer) give this one a pass.

Delayed reaction from the camping trip
2006-09-03— Posted by: allegra

Re Delayed reaction from the camping trip:

Sometimes you have to wait a while for all the feelings to resolve, and all the thoughts to coalesce (I can hear Dr Filk saying, “Don’t hold your breath, Chuckles!”) before you can pin down the defining moment. In this case, it was Jerome, beer in hand, turning to me and in accents of utmost horror, saying, “You’ve never HEARD the Hockey Song?” (by Stompin Tom Connors).

“Uh, no.” I have no idea how I ended up being a white Canadian and making it to an age not unadjacent to 50 without hearing it, but yes, it was true.

And so my defining memory of the camping trip is looking at Jerome, singing along to the Ipod to the twinkling lights of Nanaimo.

Flash for’ard a couple of days, and there’s me, looking up the lyrics, for I am a compulsive woman, and I find out that AVRIL LAVIGNE has covered that song. I love my country. Thanks Jerome.

Catching up.
2006-09-03— Posted by: allegra

I had the pleasure of receiving a long, finely crafted and extremely hilarious email from Kevin D, with whom I haven’t spoken in lo these many years; it contained, among other things, a very amusing anecdote about Robin Williams. Very apropos, given that Keith seems inclined to Memorize the Entire Spoken Part of Robin Williams Live on Broadway.

He came through the back door last night and made very happy noises about the Cobb’s bread, and I told him to thank his pop, it was Paul’s idea.

Looping back to comedy, Margaret Cho’s in town this month. It’s probably sold out but I’m going to talk to Paul and see if he’s free that night.

Quel horreur! Quhat follie be this???? Lord Tubby of Crashedharbor and Breasty Babs FORCED by cruellll fate and the American judishiary to live on 25K a month? Each? American, I hasten to add. Guess you’re gonna have to cut back on the live flower delivery, Babs, but I don’t know what Tubby’s going to do about the customized Depends order.

Tex Ritter’s birth name was Maurice, although he WAS born in Texas. Okay, Kevin, you’re so smart… what’s the popcultref?

The word TRIP in Wikipedia does NOT contain a stub for Guilt Trip. This is an outrage. Why, if I wasn’t so busy, I’d write it myself, but really, the only person who could write it would either have to be Jewish or my workmate’s mom.

Hot Tub Mike and I finally communicated by phone. He’s liking the new job, finding it a challenge, and then the learning curve starts all over again as he’s at SFU finishing up his MBA starting later this month. Little dance of joy. Tori is doing famously; I didn’t get to talk to her because she was still at work.

I went from zero to green beans, corn and grilled chops in exactly 30 minutes last night. It was good to sit on the back deck with Katie and Paul and eat it.

Katie got dressed up last night because she thought she was going to PoCo to hang with friends. Then the guy she was going to meet said, “Well, it will be really boring. I’ll call you back when I’m drunk.” Te he. Needless to say, Katie thought this brushoff one of the worst ever (okay, Adrian’s only 16 and obviously he’s clueless even when he hasn’t been drinking) and promptly arranged to hang with Jessica D. Big big sigh from parental units. She’s back in her own bed, happy sigh, and I won’t wake her until she emerges, mouldiewarp-wise, from her bed.

Keith asked for more hours at work, and appears to have received them. That’s easy around a long weekend; let’s see what happens when it isn’t.

Dr Filk is off visiting rellies in Alberta, on his motorbike. The joint just isn’t the same without him. Is it the noise? Is it the smell? (Not him personally, his cooking is quite different from ours and usually smells purty good). Is it the sound of him tooling up on the Beemer, which allows me to think “All my peeps are home, I can sleep now”? Is it the way he prefaces his (un)reasonable demands with, “Dear, kindly, sweet, GENerous sister-in-common-law”? It is all of these things and more… he is a dear lad, and I miss him. He’ll be back in a couple of days.

Pic is of Descanso Park on Gabriola, taken through one of the many interesting rock formations on the beaches there.

Small farmer’s story
2006-09-02— Posted by: allegra

Forgive the spelling and get the message.

2006-09-02— Posted by: allegra

My name has 66 pages, three columns per page, of anagrams. The internet is a bad place for people seeking displacement activities. Why, I started hitting Random Page in Wikipedia the other day and didn’t come back to ‘reality’ for about 2 hours. In my other inertnet travels I’ve run across this:

Think, oh people, of a name which anagrams to Salmonella Rag (my nom de guerre for the songs I’m not so proud of), and contains both ale and lager (although not at the same time).
A manager lolls!
Re: a mall slogan.
Ma, roll lasagne!
Amoral gal lens.
Galleon alarms.
Alas, legal norm!
Oral angel alms.
Groan, small ale.

Anyway, you get the idea. Pages and pages and pages. When I write my biography, each chapter is going to be an anagram of my name.
No llama lagers.
Ow. Make it stop.

The age old question
2006-09-01— Posted by: allegra

Pic credit AP, a perfect depiction of the age old question.

Katie got home before Paul left last night so we all had a nice long chat. She’s hoping to work full time and go to school full time and this will be possible because she has sworn off men for a year. Now, all together!!! Adopt that stern expression adults wear when children say something completely nonsensical, but the adults dare not laugh in their shiny-clean faces.

Let’s just say that she’s got a killer regimen planned, and she’s going to want some days off in there, and what happens if she gets sick? I await developments with the interest of somebody who has a clear but not vital interest.

Somebody, I suspect Paul, brought carob chips into the house. They are disgusting! I suspect some other people found them so too because they left them to melt in the sink and somebody – wish I knew who – dropped some onto the floor where I promptly ground them into one of the kitchen rugs. Grr.

Oh, grEAT! Now I can hear cats defooding in the downstairs hall. And I’m getting migraine twinklies. Oh well, another 10 hours or so and I can get back to the job of collapsing for three days straight.

Brother James went mano a mano with his manager in a day long sales and call volume smackdown, and I’m not going to post the stats out of respect for his manager, but it was:

a slaughter

a shellacking

a righteous drubbing

massacre-wise, a success

a hollicking great smiting

rather one sided

lacking drama

an asskicking of capital proportions

and a decisive victory for James. And he won fifty bucks, don’t forget that.

A great religious quote
2006-08-31— Posted by: allegra

Quote is from Helmut Theilike

The Gospel must be constantly forwarded to a new address, because the recipient repeatedly changes residences.

back half August 2006

Elephants on Xanax
2006-08-31— Posted by: allegra

Just in case this link has disappeared, it’s the heartwarming story of how Tanzy the Elephant at the Abilene Zoo quit bugging her barnmate and the keepers when they started putting ibuprofen and Xanax in her chow. Somehow “Elephants on Xanax” was too good a subject heading to pass up. It also reminds me of (editor’s note, knock it off) something I probably should stop talking about right now. Never mind.

2006-08-31— Posted by: allegra

Apart from the Burnaby Now exploding all over our front yard when the minion who delivers it didn’t put it through the mail slot, life is peaceful. I’m off to run/walk/cycling with Peggy and Paul.

I have added a verse to Spinal Clinic. I suspect it will end up being quite a bit longer.

Stolen from
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Stakeholder engagement — the state of being betrothed to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Albino pygmy marmosets
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

They’ll be a whole 3.5 ounces when they’re grown. Photo Reuters.

Quick correction
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Uh, that should be ‘ex-boyfriends’, in that last post. Katie is not working on polyandry, to the best of my knowledge.

New ringtone
2006-08-30— Posted by: allegra

I screeched the siren call of sushi last night, and Keith and Kate both came home!!! Amazing how food works on people.

I have also, like a complete maroon, started a Meetup group for Simplicity in the Lower Mainland. If Glenn is reading this he is either cackling in disbelief or rubbing his eyes, as he has told me that I have a hellishly complex life (or words to that effect). I don’t think my life is hellishly complex, but I could sure stand to do with less stuff in my life, and it would be nice to have some encouragement.

Last night I wrote out “teamwork” which is my new attempt at a ringtone. I selected a drum track to go with it, so it’s B flat trumpet, acoustic bass and percussion, and it actually sounds pretty good. Still trying to figure out how to upload it to a phone. I am a very slow individual.

Paul’s home tonight, yay. I should get out the door to work, after taking most of yesterday afternoon off.

I’m feeling fine today, I went to bed reasonably early. And I even did the dishes and my laundry before I went to bed, so despite the fact that I was in ‘post migraine’ mood, which involves a lot of walking into walls and not being able to talk so good, I was at least able to move. My back’s worse, though.

Two out of three of Kate’s boyfriends called yesterday, and man, that does NOT sweeten her temper. She’s been hanging wit da girlfriends, though, which is good, and committing retail therapy, which made me a little twitchy, until I found out it was a 7 dollar item.

Spider Robot News
2006-08-29— Posted by: allegra

Scroll down for the AVI files to see the critter in motion. Cool upon Cool!

2006-08-29— Posted by: allegra

Short week next week! Whatever shall I do with the long weekend?

While I was at work yesterday a bug decided to crawl around under my clothes. I am SO proud of myself. I did not leap up shrieking and clawing at myself. I encouraged whatever it was to get out, and eventually it quit moving. I later found the whatever-it-was, something antlike, or miniature wasplike, stuck, quite dead, in my hair.

I have received a wonderful story from my relatives about Bootlegging Mary. One of the stories involves her being done wrong by one of her inlaws back in the old country. He looked her up in the new country to repay her and she more or less told him that a) finding out who stole the stuff and b) getting an apology were good enough for her and refused repayment. That sounds exactly like something I would do. I think I know where I got my strange hoofs and my stranger halo. When you see my relatives ranged in rows lustily singing hymns though, you will also be forced to admit how my presence in the family is a dire necessity.

Paul is in Seattle. He says he ate yummy fish and chips at a restaurant close by to the folks. Alan and Janice are doing famously.

So many things at work have been EXACTLY what is happening at Dilbert that a small group of us are getting a frisson of weirdness about it. Dilbert is a reality show, you know that, right?”

Faces of chasers
2006-08-28— Posted by: allegra

What kind of person is a storm chaser? check out this rogue’s gallery. Other portions of the site are molto cool.

Overheard at the Call Centre
2006-08-28— Posted by: allegra

Once again, I must insist that this didn’t happen at the call centre at my company. I don’t even know if it’s true… I am not reporting it as such.

Rep: Thanks for calling, how can I help you?

Customer: Ya, I finally got the trojan out and now I am ready to reinstall my system.

Rep: I hope you are talking about your internet sir…because I am not that type of guy.

Where we watched the stars
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Shown is a miniature natural amphitheatre, where Jerome set up his One Watt Per Side (feel the Powah!) IPod, stuck it on ‘random’ and we sat and in some cases collapsed and watched the stars. (Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Queensryche, Aerosmith – you know, party music). From here our conversation or music couldn’t bother any of the other campers. It was EERIE how quiet the campground was. It was bung full; every space taken; and yet at 11 o’clock it was so quiet that when we wandered back from our little ‘office’ by the water, we felt like we had to whisper and tiptoe.

After all the crap my back has been through, I am pleased to report that my back is better now than it was when I left.

To recap…. we had a glorious time, and I can’t wait to go back. Anyplace where I can see or hear herons, and kingfishers, and eagles, and seals, and jellyfish many times a day is a beautiful place. And… Descanso Provincial Park is actually open year round! Happy sigh.

Paul cleans the tent
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Here is Paul (Jerome and Mike McG in the background) demonstrating how to get the crap out of a tent.

The view as we ate
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Obviously a digital photo taken by an amateur can’t do it justice, but this was the view for our meal, complete with harbor seals and cormorants….

Things happen for a reason
2006-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Gabriola was, as always, gorgeous; the company, the food, the weather, the many funny stories, the stars above and the water below and the pines in between were balm for the soul.

Pic is of one of the many interesting rock formations on Gabriola.

Many people were invited to the feast at Konrad and Linda’s on Saturday night, but only six of us showed. Frankly, I’m sure it was a relief to have a manageable number of people for them, and for us, it was an opportunity for a meal fit for royalty in a perfect setting.

2006-08-25— Posted by: allegra

This is a picture of two unidentified coworkers pranking yet another coworker. They filled his ball with water and didn’t tell him.

I am pleased to report that the prankee, after his initial discomfiture with the truly bizarre sound and unique rolling characteristics generated by this prank, took it in good spirits, thereby adding to the morale of our department. That is all.

2006-08-25— Posted by: allegra

Katie worked last night, and came home last night, and now I somehow have to give her the money I took out from her check without waking her up.

Paul’s riding/running with Peggy. I gotta go do my exercises.

Keith rode his bike to and from Karate last night. He was very happy to find out that riding the bike is quite a bit faster than taking the bus, and will, as he puts it “Markedly Improve My Conditioning”.

I love shopping for camping trips…. buying all the crap you don’t normally get to. Anyway, more later.

Won’t likely be blogging this weekend
2006-08-24— Posted by: allegra

It is possible that I won’t be blogging at all starting tomorrow morning, but I should have a full trip report – if I don’t find an inertnet cafe on Gabriola – on Sunday night. So worry not, dear mOm, I shall return, though the way be flinty, the road be long, and BC Ferries ever so uncooperative. Paul will be coming in Saturday around 2ish, so I’m VERY happy about that.

Time to pack, yck.

Bela Lugosi is the King around here
2006-08-24— Posted by: allegra

I am pleased to report that after wrestling with it for almost two weeks, I have finally completed Bela Lugosi is the King around here, and can move on to the next song. You’ll have to forgive me, it’s almost 100 bars long, because every verse is markedly different from the others. “I showed her Plan 9 from Outer Space, she said, That’s it, I give up on the whole human race. Have no fear, someone brought more beer, and Bela Lugosi is the King around here!”

How else can I claim immortality, than by lyrics such as these? I cheated though, I didn’t put in the chords. Pic is of the man, hisself.

Not enough sleep
2006-08-24— Posted by: allegra

I went to bed immediately after supper last night, for a variety of reasons which need not trouble my narrative, and woke up at 3 to the sound of unstealthy movements outside my door. I got up to whine at Keith and there was Katie. !! Happy surprise. Groggily I cast about for a reason to encourage her to ‘set a spell’ with me, and made her some chocolate milk. We talked for about an hour. It was entirely remarkable how we have virtually the same reactions to some situations. (Instant rage, for example, or inability to speak.)

After a thoroughly satisfactory chat with her, I crawled back into bed at 4:11 am, so I’m a little punchy now. Other happy news; Katie had been dreading, just dreading, her cell phone bill. She found out to her glee and astonishment that because her boyfriend has the same cell phone company, her bill was $15 LESS than last month. When she saw the total I thought her eyes would pop out of her head. Sometimes the news isn’t all bad. Brother James, I thank you for selling me that phone!!!

Jake’s Golden Morning
2006-08-23— Posted by: allegra

Photo credit Dave Deroy, all rights reserved.

Dave, did you ever consider doing pet photography for a living? What a gorgeous photo, what a gorgeous dog.

One thing and another
2006-08-23— Posted by: allegra

Rob of 9 promised me aircraft pictures and didn’t cough up, the swine, so here’s something of Paul’s (a friend’s Yak 18T, taken at Point Roberts) – and Paul DIDN’T get to go flying at Pemberton yesterday, the towplane lost a magneto about half an hour before he and his flying buddy got there. Okay, so they went for a nice drive on a gorgeous day, but even so…

No word from Katie in almost 48 hours. Grr.

Good physio, but slept funny (again) and my foot’s numb.

Happy birthday Protein Man, and many more, etc etc.

Lovely long talk with Janice last night. Free range conversation over every subject imaginable but substantially about books and authors. It’s disconcerting, but pleasant, to mention a book and then Janice says, “Yes, I’ve met her,” which gives me the feeling that my great great grandfather’s friends must have gotten when he mentioned that he’d had tea with Carlyle again. Janice and I are happily plotting the next set of visits back and forth across the line.

I have learned that I have twin second cousins once removed who own a boutique in Nob Hill in San Francisco. I don’t need an excuse to go back to San Francisco, but this adds to the pile of Irresistable Reasons.

2006-08-22— Posted by: allegra

Last night I dreamed I went to a third world country. Not precisely sure where. I was fine until I had to find a washroom.

Paul is going flying today.

My physiotherapist shifted my appointment from yesterday to today, so even if I wanted to go to Jericho Beach Folk Club tonight I couldn’t. I do have the car, but I’m not going to overturn the results of a perfectly good physio appointment by driving three quarters of an hour across town in the tail end of rush hour traffic. Coming home and collapsing has ever so much more appeal. Besides, I have to shop for the camping trip. Oh, camping trip! Unless there’s an inertnet cafe on the island, I won’t be blogging this weekend; mind you I will likely be too overcome by my various excesses to worry much about that. Sun, air, wildlife and beer. Indeed.

Keith is still asleep; Paul’s out riding/running with Peggy, and Katie is in Maple Ridge. She is coming home for such magical parental input (Paul is responsible for this) as dental appointments and picking up a larner’s parmit. Yes, after all the whizzing and moaning about how she was never going to learn to drive, Katie has her L, and we have the higher insurance rates to prove it. Perhaps the fact that her esteemed bf has a car (not that he can currently drive or insure it, and you can all hiss me for my villainous cattiness – although to be fair the vehicle apparently runs great) has something to do with her new enthusiasm.

The insurance company coughed up some money for my disability, so we can now, Bilbo-like, squeeze through the door of August with only a few gold buttons coming off. I’m still disabled – watch me climb more than a dozen stairs if you don’t believe me – but at least I can work 8 hours without resorting to drugs.

My father made me cry with happiness yesterday. He emailed me that my zombie get up affected him so deeply that I’m going to be Miss October in the next family calendar. I’d like to thank my fellow brain eaters for their somewhat unintelligible encouragement. Grr! Brains!

Back to work full time
2006-08-21— Posted by: allegra

I’m back at work full time as of today. Frankly, I’m really happy about it, mostly for mental health reasons. And finances, let’s not forget that.

Hung out at Stef’s last night; there was plenty of music of the mostly latin variety (classical guitar, sax, flute, drums, bodhran!! and then mando and my Seagull 6 string). Paul even sang Long Black Veil!!!

The world’s most expensive house
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

The world’s most expensive house – in the UK. For a price not unadjacent to $140,000,000 US you can have………..

Zombies need ice cream too
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Okay, I broke character many times, because my leg crapped out about 45 minutes in (which I expected, and was prepared for). So I told people about zombie walk as I walked back to the Skytrain with Paul and Katie, and I ate ice cream, because it was a hot day, and I scared little children on the Skytrain.

PS, Officer 68 of the Skytrain Stasi needs to learn manners, because she harassed my daughter right in front of me and Paul and while Katie was feeling unwell.

Zombies with accordions and brainjos
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

The horror, the horror! Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, Rowan whips out his accordion. That’s Brooke’s elbow and Brainjo, by the way. Zombies … on Robson … but there weren’t any zombie bagpipers, I’ll be really scared when I see me one of those.

Zombie Goths
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Since I can already hear my legion of fans screaming “Show us some cute zombies, you dodohead!” herewith the requested cute zombies. Ain’t they somethin’?

Zombies on Robson
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Katie and Paul both made variants on the remark, “Apart from the makeup, how can anybody tell the difference?” (between shoppers on Robson and the zombies). For further details, check out and get the full scoop of brains on a global phenomenon.

Zombies on Robson
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Katie and Paul both made variants on the remark, “Apart from the makeup, how can anybody tell the difference?” (between shoppers on Robson and the zombies). For further details, check out and get the full scoop of brains on a global phenomenon.

Zombie Walk 2006 – we mass at the Art Gallery
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

This is me in front of the Art Gallery. Don’t I look lovely? I am wearing approximately 10 cents worth of fake blood, and about two dollars worth of skin gunk. does work
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

I repent me of my whining; Ring Factory DOES work, it just doesn’t like the MP3’s that I can rip from Songwriter Finale. This is really, really annoying. Anyway, customer support at DID get back to me although not within their stated time frame, they DID fix my problem, and now I have to figure out how to make the two programs talk to each other, because I have proved it works with an MP3 file, it just doesn’t work the way I want it to. Considering that I’m working with a grand total of 80 Canuck bucks worth of software, maybe I should quite whining and get professional help. No, not that kind.

Zombie Walk 2006
2006-08-20— Posted by: allegra

I did end up going to the Zombie Walk; somehow hanging around with Paul for the morning (even though he was mostly asleep) made me feel better. I will post pix of my makeup (avocado mask with corn syrup and red food coloring blood) later on today, when it doesn’t involve waking Paul to do it. Ran into Rowan, Brooke, Bree, and a couple of other LJ folks. I had to go, zombies are part of my family heritage. (If you saw my dad’s horror collection, you’d understand).

Katie lost, then won back, her job at the restaurant, but now she has to work the late shift, so it means one of us has to go fetch her or she has to walk home (like she did on Thursday) which is not pleasant, either way. At least she has a flashlight, and she does have to go back to school shortly, which should drive some sense back into her schedule.

Michael Ruppert has left the US.
2006-08-19— Posted by: allegra

My favorite conspiracy theorist has fled the US to Venezuela. Check out for more details.

Raiders of the ripe fig
2006-08-19— Posted by: allegra

While we were eating dinner with Bonnie, a couple who speak Arabic raided our fig crop. Our across the alley neighbors, who speak Finnish, Arabic and English, overheard them discussing it with each other. The man said they shouldn’t and the woman said, There’s no one here (in Arabic). They came prepared, too; they had a car, a step ladder and bags. I laughed when I heard about it but I’m not laughing now. Brazen, eh?

I just learned from Scienterrific American that there is good evidence to support the figs are the oldest cultivated crop.

My head hurts very badly, and I have a nasty dry cough. Unless I feel MUCH better by noon, I will not be attending the zombie walk. Grrrr.

Paul just got back from day 4 of midnights so bye for now.

Oh, and my across the alley neighbor made THE BEST cinnamon rolls ever, and gave me enough for everybody in the family.

Not enough fuzzy animals & more customer service
2006-08-18— Posted by: allegra

It’s a baby tenrec. It looks like when it grows up it will have a starring role in a movie drawn from the Oeuvre of CS Lewis.

Ah, a true story from the Call Center (not mine!!!) but true, I have it from an unimpeachible source, whom I will not identify even though I could…..

Rep: Thanks for calling, how can I help you?

Customer: Brother, Do you have any Christian TV channels?

Rep: Sure sir, do you want Protestant or Catholic?

Customer: Please give them all to me… I just converted from Islam to Christianity.

Rep: That’s great Sir… Mazel tov!

Top that, Gandalf!
2006-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Etna steam ring. 200m across. Ha!

Have they no style?
2006-08-18— Posted by: allegra

I’m appending a picture of Croatian soccer fans. Their human swastika is inelegant and deformed.

I say this acknowledging that Canada has harbored one of the top Nazis of our time, Mr Z, Ernst Zundel, so lording it over Croatians because I’m Canadian would be rude and a nice poke in History’s eye. Let’s not talk about Croatian war criminals, we have lots of our own.

But seriously, these soccer fans are a torment to fascism. Where is the discipline? Why are they not entirely in matching colors, to complete the appearance of casually coordinated effort? This looks like the best they could do after at least six hours straight of alcohol consumption. At which point, now that I think of it, they’d be quite twisted indeed.

I overheard an amusing cell phone conversation this evening, after I dined with Bonnie, more on that later.

A young and handsome native man, wearing a traditional hat, got on at Stadium and sat down behind me; his cell phone rang almost immediately.

He said,
Yeah we were dancing most of the day.
And they hauled some guys out of the washroom for hotboxing.
No, they just made them leave the park.
On my cellphone I got pictures of me with that woman from Smoke Signals.
He says, in a very pleased tone of voice,
I got the evidence.
We finish tomorrow around the pole. Buncha Haidas around a Tlingit pole!

Maybe I’m the only person to find that amusing, I dunno.

Dinner with Bonnie, Steve, Alayna and Paul was simply lovely. Do I need to say anything else?

It’s bedtime, g’night.

Long Live Judge Diggs!!!!!!!
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

NSA wiretapping program ruled unconstitutional. Man, I bet Ann Coulter’s going to say that women shouldn’t be lawyers, because that means they can be judges, and then they can be supporters of terrorists! Wait a minute – Ann Coulter’s a lawyer! My head hurts.

But as for me, I’m happy. I’m happy that US judges actually occasionally really do uphold the Constitution, which is still one of my fave documents. Viva Diggs! Viva Diggs!

Henry wants gold teeth
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

This cat’s owner put bling teeth on him. Can you dig it? Photo credit dentist Dr. David Steele and scanged from

Astrologers having problems with new science
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

I think they should name the new planet after the Parking Goddess. When she’s transiting through Mars, you WILL have car trouble.

Midnight musings
2006-08-17— Posted by: allegra

Don’t ever ever rent Samurai I with Toshiro Mifune. It’s not worth the time spent, not for costumes, acting, historical accuracy, set dec, direction or fight scenes. May the Emperor spare us a samurai movie with no hollicking fight scenes worth the powder to blow them out of the mono no aware.

I’m going to eat Indonesian food tomorrow night if the fates are kind and the winds propitious.

Phoned my ex-husband to harass him. I mean, what’s the point of having an ex-husband if you can’t phone him up and bug him, in this case to ask like a kid during a long car ride if he’s got internet access yet. Got his message machine, which is a good thing.

I suppose if I was an unwise creature (man at the end of the bar, cigarette ash an inch long, “Oh, why stop now?”) I could rant at great length at the Great Author of my life, who first mimics Dorothy Dunnett, then Dorothy Parker, and then Dr. Seuss. Because my life has reached ridiculous levels of frothy complexity, interspersed with absurdity, lousiness (okay, fleas), health problems, family issues that, for the purposes of this discussion, are the size, shape and tractability of a Borg vessel, and I still don’t have a freaking passport, and I still have not applied for my gun licences, and I’d best get off my ass and onto my horse, and the plum duff didn’t turn out all that well although if it goes into work with Paul it will vanish like dew in the morn, and I need to stake the tomatoes, and work is reminiscent in many ways of “ton histoire est une epopee des plus brillants exploits”, and Keith continues to be my main prop with respect to maintaining my sanity, although Dr. Filk is a close second. And you know there’s more, or I wouldn’t be writing songs with lyrics like (and you can all relax, this song is about work, and has nothing to do with my personal life at the moment, which point I was anxious to make clear to Paul, bull-leave me)

You better watch your ass
Nobody’s going to do it for you
You think you’ve got a free pass
Well I’ve got a bulletin for you
You can blame the whole world
and get away with it for a while
But the forces of nature will collect the back rent
and they’ve got great big teeth in their great big smiles
You’ve crossed that line so many times
you’re acting like it isn’t there
Never had to face any consequences
so now you believe that no one cares
You better watch your ass
Nobody’s going to do it for you
You think you’ve got a free pass
Well I’ve got a bulletin for you
2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

Repeated emails to tech support about not being able to load this product have been fruitless. I changed browsers, as that occasionally makes a difference, and it didn’t help. I am plenty mad, and This is My First Diss of Ring Factory.

They suck, Ring Factory, they plenty suck. They suck like billy-oh. They will feel the fullness of my squirrelly wrath.

The Maori queen is dead
2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

Dame Te Atairangikaahu passed away at 75. RIP.

The following is taken from

A direct descendant of the first Maori King, Patatau Te Wherowhero, and daughter of King Koroki V, Te Atairangikaahu was of the Waikato iwi. She was educated at Rakaumanga Native and Waikato Diocesan schools and groomed for leadership. In 1966 she became the first woman to be chosen to lead the Kingitanga movement, which sought to adopt a structure to give full equity between Maori and Pakeha (white folks, ed.). Her gentle and benevolent nature made her very accessible, and she moved easily among people at all levels, while her astute thinking and clear vision established her as an unparalleled unifying force for Maori. Her wisdom and influence were recognised by an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999.

Te Atairangikaahu hosted many royal and diplomatic visitors to New Zealand, including the Pacific Commonwealth Leaders’ meeting in 1990, and she represented her people at state events overseas. She supported both traditional and contemporary Maori arts, and urged her people to pursue quality and excellence in everything they did, from sports to tribal enterprise and national management. She encouraged women, in venturing into the modern world, to hold on to their great gifts in language, art, craft, dance, religion, and ceremony, while taking a constructive and influential part in their communities.

Happy thought
2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

My coworker recently received a fax from an employee of a customer. The job title is “Defective/Damaged Representative”. Let us take a moment to thank the FSM that we don’t have that printed on OUR business cards.

2006-08-16— Posted by: allegra

Keith and I watched Mindwalk last night. Man, did it get a right drubbing from the critics when it came out! Too talky, too static, too idealistic, and just plain ‘not a movie’.

Well, I beg to differ. I liked it, and I’m planning on watching it again and so’s Keith. If you like Sam Waterston and Liv Ullman just watch it, and be damned to the lousy critics.

Paul and I ate at Cafe de Paris last night. It was the perfect amount of food, perfectly cooked and presented, with the world going by on Denman just outside (the binners, the tourists, and me).

I’m looking forward to seeing my girlfriend Bonnie, whom I’ve known since grade school, on Thursday.

I invented a process at work and now I’m dog-robbing materials and social engineering permissions to make it happen; believe me, you’d be bored silly at the details but it’s something that SHOULD happen. It’s all exactly the kind of thing I like to do; I’m a fixer, I can’t help it. Actually, to be entirely honest, I’m re-implementing a process, with localization. Doesn’t that sound exciting? I love the way English can entirely obscure everything that is going on.

The plums are ready. This can only mean one thing, Peggy! Soon, the plum duff.

Paul’s here with the car…. I guess I should start the take off cycle.

front half August 2006

More Music and troubleshooting
2006-08-15— Posted by: allegra

You would think that writing down all my songs would be a pretty cut and dried project; just time consuming. However, every time I turn around there’s something else that needs doing. The songs are in .MUS format, which is for proprietary musical notation software and no good unless I a) rip it to MP3 b) rip it to Midi or c) rip it to PDF, all of which are formats most other people can use. For my songs to be of maximum usefulness and full of meme goodness (nice pun, eh wot), which was after all the whole point, they have to be in all four formats. This involves a trivial matter called work, and by the time I’m done, I will have written probably another four or five songs, and had to write down 85 other songs, about 30 fragments, and then rip them all into all the formats, and that doesn’t even go to ring tone territory, because I intend to have ring tones of about 30 of my tunes before it’s all done. (F— You Jack as a ring tone? Oh baby!) Oh, by the way, don’t buy the software Ring Factory, it doesn’t work; it doesn’t even install. I have repeatedly emailed the company, but I guess nobody works on Gibraltar, which is apparently where the company is. London Thugs already swapped it out once for me.

My coworker Mohsin fed me lunch yesterday. To quote the immortal Jim A, once you take food from their hands, you are theirs forever.

La lutte continue at work. However, ours is a noble struggle, and I’m working on fixing things rather than whining about everything. Although I am good at that. Sometimes I think if there was an Olympic category for whining I’d look like one of these scary Bulgarian javelin throwers from the sixties.

You know, I scare me sometimes with my not being very smart (like, how do I drive? How do I find my way to work? How did I not leave my baby on the bus?) I am going to try installing Ring Factory again; I think I figured out my problem. Well one of them, anyway. It’s hard to see them all at once, and even if you could, that would be a trifle overwhelming.

Pic is a lion cub at the San Diego Zoo who died in a mauling accident. The original pic was scanged from via fark. The first time I saw the pic I thought it had been photoshopped. I don’t think it actually has been, though.

Wakey wakey
2006-08-14— Posted by: allegra

Katie was asleep when I called her this morning, and already late for work. Was it for this I bore the pangs of motherhood, etc etc.

Keith worked last night. He had to reboot his scale (funny notion) and wrestle with cranky equipment and his own cranky neurons all night, but his shift was otherwise okay. He now knows how many more hours he has to work to make his probation, which is excellent. He declares that working at Metrotown is extremely difficult in the “not spending money” department. Ah, yes. I told him what it was like to work at First Canadian Place in Toronto in the early eighties. It’s amazing Paul ever got to see any of my paycheck, the way I was spending money in the late lamented “Legs Beautiful” store.

Fed Glen and Marilyn last night yummy salmon provided by us, and really yummy kebabs (and scalloped potatoes) which Marilyn brought and of course, beer and conversation, and Mike J dropped by after his flying day with Paul with a good bottle of wine in hand so it was a relaxed and convivial evening.

My back is much better.

Midi File
2006-08-13— Posted by: allegra

Click here to listen to Words Fail Midi file.

Fish, fish, music
2006-08-13— Posted by: allegra

Fish, as in salmon. Fish, as in tuna (tuner, bad joke). And music, as in a number of Creaking Planks tunes played by Filkola (for reasons best known to herself they were mostly, uh, double plus ungood for small children, content-wise; providentially, small children were not present). Imagine belonging to a band called the Creaking Planks; glockenspiel? Musical saw? Among other instruments….

Dr. Filk hauled along the resonator guitar; Paul actually played harmonica! Given the instrumental bias, it is no surprise that the blues predominated last night. The meal, as always, was stellar.

Keith is watching Russian Ark again. Happy sigh. He just finished watching Keaton’s Electric House, which definitely has some high moments of low brow physical humor.

Glen and Marilyn are coming to dinner; Katie is supposed to show up later this evening. Paul’s gone flying; apparently he’s heading to Pender with Mike J, and then they’re going to hike, and fly back. That field is not easy, I hope they make it okay.

An internet CLASSIC
2006-08-12— Posted by: allegra

A great combination of pix and text….

More Moose
2006-08-12— Posted by: allegra

This is from the Slat Rat Chronicles, This actually looks like a stuffed moose, but he’s real all right, and the photographer was smart enough to stay in her car. That moose is less than 3 meters away…

Rrrr. Periwinkles.
2006-08-12— Posted by: allegra

I got up this morning and put my back out. Not my lower back, but my upper back. Obviously I am not pleased by this turn of events, but I will endeavour to persevere. NO you can’t put your back out. I pinched a nerve, all right?

Paul and Keith and I went to the Richmond Night Market last night. The number of food stalls has doubled, but all the booths now are just, well, suboptimal…. no tools, no computer stuff, no flashlights, no useful gizmos, just the usual assortment of fake Disney and candleholders and cheapass toys, accompanied by a horrific Cantopop soundtrack.

The usual racial mix was there; two thirds East Asian and one third everybody else in Vancouver; it’s definitely the premiere dating site for interracial couples in this town, there were dozens and dozens of interracial couples there last night. Aryan Nations types were not in evidence, and it’s just as well, they’d be very unhappy.

One last culinary note. Paul and I decided, what the hell, we’ll try something we’ve never eaten before, so we ordered periwinkle meat. It tasted like one third grit, one third hot curry (with much black pepper), and one third low tide; combine it with a rigorously rubbery mouth feel and you have got what can only, if you’re maintaining politesse, be described as ‘an acquired taste’. To get the taste of that out of our mouths we went and got a blueberry whipped cream crepe; but it was two hours before my stomach stopped whining at me. “What the hell WAS that? I feel funny. Are you sure that was edible? Why’d you have to eat a half dozen of them, are you nuts?” I mean, it was food like. I know that I could sustain my worthless existence on periwinkle meat; but I also know that God loves me, because currently I don’t have to.

Listen to the Volcano
2006-08-11— Posted by: allegra

Hair cut
2006-08-11— Posted by: allegra

I got a haircut at Eclipps yesterday and so far the comments have been favourable. I broke down and got a bob. I knew I had the right stylist when she said, “A bob? I love bobs, they’re the hardest cut to do properly.” Of course, because the last cut was layered I will have to go have it reshaped in six weeks, but I already made the appointment.

I’m still losing weight without trying, so I figure I’m sickening with something. Paul thinks I’m either working on an ulcer (I have a lot of the same symptoms he did when he got sick) or the back injury is putting me off my feed. Every time I went to a doctor for the best part of five years there was never anyt’ing wrong wit’ me, and all I was doing was clogging the healthcare system with my hypochondriacal ravings. Now I think I’ll wait until I need to go to hospital, it seems to save time and aggro; “Excuse me, but I’m IN A LOT OF PAIN. Please help me.”

Rejoice Trek Fans
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Go here. Screech, hiccup with laughter. Repost your favourite. And as they say, Rinse, Repeat. Scanged from Fark….

Google video
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Monkey with a Death Wish. That really about sums it up.

Here’s the pic
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Musical Comedy
2006-08-10— Posted by: allegra

I remember walking through downtown on Saturday night and listening to somebody sing “The Party’s Over”. I recognized the song right away; the fun was watching Katie recognize it and start singing along to it.

“The Party’s Over” is a song that was specifically written – as was the rest of the show – by Adolph Green and Betty Comden for Judy Holliday. Bells are Ringing has a very special place in our family mythology; Katie, my mom and I are three generations of fans. I mean, I even like Dean Martin in that movie! I really wish I could have seen the original on Broadway.

What got me thinking about musical comedy was hearing that Alan and Janice have tickets to see “L’il Abner” live in San Francisco. It’s been bally ages since I saw live musical comedy. I mean, there are times when I feel like I’m living in one, but that’s not quite the same thing.

Had another dream about the Really Big Futuristic City last night. I always end up taking a helicopter ride THROUGH these extremely tall, covered in advertising buildings, which makes the safety officer in me stop up like an Englishman in hot weather. (Dunnett reference, sorry). I’m always late for a meeting in this dream. As usual, it’s broad daylight, so it doesn’t look anything like the city in Blade Runner. When I ended up on the ground, I was in a raspberry patch with a group of women who looked like Dunnetteers, and we ate our way through the raspberry patch as fast as we could. Then we found our way to a two story gazebo. I mean, really, a two story gazebo. I know I’ve always wanted one, but the Taj Majal of gazebos? What can it all mean?

Pic is of Judy Holliday, of course.

???? timing
2006-08-09— Posted by: allegra

What can I say about my baby boy’s timing? He decided to rent Robin Williams on Broadway the same day Robin went into rehab. I light a candle for this gifted, gifted man, and hope he gets back to sobriety fast.

A brief conversation with Katie this afternoon leads me to believe that her boyfriend Wade has let an African pygmy hedgehog into his life. Happy sigh. I love them critters.

Another song
2006-08-09— Posted by: allegra

I finished “Chance Met” which is pleasant, since I only wrote it a couple of months ago. Next up, “Bela Lugosi is the King Around Here” in which Protein Man shows up in the deathless line “so I said, ‘Alan, I think you’ve been working too hard!'”

Funny how after 15 years, that’s still true! And how strange it is that I’ve been grinding away at all the many, many drinking songs I’ve written.

Speaking of wretched excess, please do visit and check the 40 things you must do while drunk list. The Star Trek drinking article is pretty freaking funny too, but Keith and I laughed until we cried over the 40 things article, and Keith doesn’t even drink!

CDC stats
2006-08-08— Posted by: allegra

According to the Center for Disease Control, the current kill rate of H5N1 avian influenza is 58%, but in Indonesia it’s running more like 78%. Since we really don’t know how many people got infected and were never reported, this merely represents how many died of the reported total. Any way you look at it, though, this ailment is a righteous bugger once you catch it.

It’s sounding a bit like, “And I, Agnolo di Tura, called the Fat, buried my five children with my own hands.”

On the plus side, the Vietnamese have had zero reports and zero fatalities this year, mostly because they figured out low tech ways of combatting it and encouraging reporting. Other places haven’t figured out the social engineering side of compliance yet.

Neglected to mention
2006-08-08— Posted by: allegra

Picture my astonishment when my father solemnly and casually announced over the weekend that he is now a deist. (This is right up there with the Pope sending out bris announcements for his firstborn….) And who has pOp’s vote? Loki! So I sent him a link to Thalia Took’s site (which is eyepoppingly gorgeous) and this picture. Artwork credit Thalia Took, may she live forever. I especially recommend her pics of Arianrhod, Bride, Laverna, Hekate, Erzulie and Tzazolteotl. I suspect I’m going to be spending money at pretty soon….

The Third Man
2006-08-08— Posted by: allegra

Keith worked twenty hours this weekend, and his reward was to collapse last night with me and Paul and some popcorn in front of Carol Reed’s classic “The Third Man”.

Keith, who is turning into a third generation film weenie (happy, happy sigh) really enjoyed it, and since I hadn’t seen it since I was about 14 when I watched it on the tube with my dad, it was pretty much like seeing it for the first time (and it was much the same for Paul). And of course he liked the zither music. So Keith can take another movie off his lifetime list.

The back deck is pretty much done, and will now be fit for many more summers of use.

The clean up of the plant room continues apace, although Paul is grumbling that there are other things I should be tidying first.

Quick visit
2006-08-07— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of a solar flare in July 2002.

Paul and Katie and I visited Victoria and hung with hordes of our favourite relatives including Auntie Mary, Unca Dave and Granny, and then went to Jeff’s place, where we watched Blues Brothers (it is aMAZing how well that movie has aged – watching the first two minutes put my jaw in my lap) and large chunks of the Last Waltz. As always, every time I see Robbie Robertson in that movie I become a gibbering idiot – but it would take somebody who knows me well to be able to tell the difference from most days. And we played the “What the hell drug WAS Neil Young on for that concert, anyway?” Game.

Keith was working – again – so he missed the festivities.

Today we have to, you know, do domestic chores; how jolly.

Family gathering and fish guts
2006-08-06— Posted by: allegra

I finally have a picture, mental and photographic, of baby Jasmine, who is all and more than reported. Apart from being the standard cute-and-meeting-the-developmental-milestones, she has a distinct personality of radiant calm which is very unlike any other baby I’ve ever met. mOm said she was self-possessed; I would put it that she is the closest in real life that I’ve seen to a baby Buddha. Curt and Darci are over the moon with her, as any sane parents would be with a baby who slept through the night at (I won’t post it, but EARLY).

How wonderful it was to get together with them; they live in Saskatchewan and we don’t see them often, and how I thank the wonderful Lexi & Rob for underwriting it.

We had a nice long talk, mostly for Katie’s benefit (Keith was working) about education (like getting university in early, even if you go on to get a trade) and life management stuff. Rob hadn’t heard my version of the “my father went back to school 4 times” story and was seemingly quite entertained. At one point he said that his family religion was education, and that seems like a better than excellent thing to me.

In the education vein, Curt updated my dad’s story from engineering school; when pOp went, it was “Look at the guy next to you. One of you won’t make it through this year.” When Curt went, it was “Look on either side of you. Two of the three of you won’t make it!”. Rob asked me why I didn’t go on from university to professional school, and I guess the answer is that I’m not personally ambitious (which is a mealy mouthed way of saying I saw what my parents went through and am way too lazy to hack those shucks).

Seeing everybody made me really happy, and I finally dropped of the music and lyrics for “An Evening of Serious Drinking” and “Housewife’s Lament”. I am really happy I have my song project going. It has literally been the only thing keeping me sane some days in the last couple of months.

The fireworks last night (Mexico) were wonderful (good use of the colours of the Mexican flag), and it was great standing on top of one of the tallest buildings in the West End to watch them (although the drunk, fey and twittish twentisumthins who cackled and giggled and jiggled through the entire thing had no notion of how tempted we were to heave them over the side to an abrupt and splatulent death). Jasmine at one point tried to reach out and touch the fireworks, soooooo cute.

On a “This is My Life” note, I got a phone call yesterday morning from the wonderful Peggy, who said, and this is not an exact quote, but close, “Allegra! Come and gut fish!” As it turned out, it was the equally wonderful Tom who dealt with the heads and orts, after which I washed ten fresh sockeye (fingernails are still faintly yielding up that irrepressible smell) in their industrial double sink. God, I love that sink. I mean, I love virtually everything about their house, but the sink is a paean in stainless steel to utility – and hospitality – on a very large scale. In fact, I think I want to take a picture of their sink and post it, just so you can enjoy it too. Anyway, we now have ten sockeye in their freezer, so many happy evenings of salmon lie in our future.

Dang! You know what I just realized? I left both my good knives over there, I had better go collect them!

Oh, and their plums! Their yellow plums are the best I’ve ever eaten. August is a time of such abundance.

Wish the starlings weren’t so abundant, they ate most of the fresh figs, the little bastards. I blame Peggy. The starlings never bothered with them before, but as soon as she said, “Shouldn’t you put up netting or something?” about ten days ago the starling god heard and sent his minions (Peggy you know I’m kidding, but now I’m worried about MY plums so I’m taking your warning seriously.)

Pride Day today. The weather is utterly glorious and I’m sure it will be another record day of attendance and peaceful witness to the beauty of all humankind.

Believe it or not, I walked from Granville Station to Denman and Davie, roughly, yesterday evening & that was quite enough walking for me for this weekend. Between that and the laundry and mopping and vacuuming and furniture assembly yesterday I’m pretty much toast today. But I can’t complain; between the baby visit, the fresh fruit, the fellowship and the salmon, I’d be a fool to. Oh, and Lexi drove us home…. thank you thank you thank you!

Pic is of an industrial fish gutting station.

2006-08-04— Posted by: allegra

I always find it much easier to work on other people’s, as this afternoon for example.

The weather continues fine and cloudless, and Dan H and Paul are ripping off soffit and examining it for general unsuitability and mange.

Keith continues to collect Sandman digests, which makes me happy.

I learn that Daxus has completed a forklift course, which makes me very happy.

I learn in a completely separate knowledge gathering foray that Wade seems to think I have some control over or knowledge regarding Katie’s whereabouts. This in itself is enough to prompt illness-inducing gales of hysterical laughter. Perhaps I should change the subject.

The song I am currently working on is called “The Evening News” and it’s about how living in Canada shelters one a great deal from the starvation, misanthropy, disease and religious mania that seems to afflict much of this planet. Mind you I don’t go into the really corpsy stuff too much, just mention that we, most of us, seem to have enough of the food and shelter type things, so that we can spend our spare time worrying about watching TV advertising and other suchlike occupations.

I have abruptly decided that I loathe my job. As usual, I will have to sit down, or perhaps lie down with an ice pack, until the feeling passes, but it’s a horrible situation to be in. I mean, I feel sorry for anybody who would ever have to interview me, don’t you? I know I do. That feeling will keep me humble, and away from the want ads, in the weeks and months ahead. So even though this post started with a happy comment about working on other people’s resumes, which I did to some effect today, it ends with me, the resume goddess, contemplating my own, as a child contemplates a soggy assortment of semi-chewed cereal pieces, a lover an abbreviated answering machine message, and an ambulance attendant the latest drenching application of alcohol to the extremes of human stupidity.

Keith has rented Yojimbo, but it’s a really skittering VHS copy.

Off to work
2006-08-03— Posted by: allegra

And glad it is I am that I’m well enough to go. I slept a lot yesterday.

I light a candle for the people on the receiving end of munitions, wherever they are and whatever deity they pray to, if any.

Keith has forced me to watch something called Lemon Demon’s Ultimate Showdown & Ultimate Destiny. Despite its unappetizing name, it is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in ages and I think I will listen to it again before I go to work to cheer myself up. If you have a choice, listen to it without the animation, because in my opinion neither the flash animation nor the anime mashup that accompany it are worth much. It’s very filkish and Dr. Demento-ish, if you know what I mean. And any song that rhymes heavenly chorus with Chuck Norris can’t be all bad. Gotta move along now.

2006-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Didn’t get up until 2:30; feel like animatronic scrap. Paul won his court case – the cop not only didn’t show up for the traffic court case, he didn’t even phone in. What is he, a teenaged girl? Cop not exactly as shown.

But wonderful doesn’t last.
2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

Alas, I overdid it last night. I must immediately get off the computer and do something that involves standing for at least two hours. As we are now stacked to the undersides of the cabinets with dirty dishes, I hope, now that the rude amounts of prescription pills I had to stop the pain are finally working, to have the strength to do them. If I’m spared Lord, if I’m spared.

Wonderful video
2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

I am hoping you enjoy this as much as I did. <*Wushu Drunken Master style.

No comment
2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

2006-08-01— Posted by: allegra

When Katie bailed on hanging out with us last night, I picked up the phone and called Peggy, who was only too happy to get out of the house and work out at the “Puddle” as we affectionately refer to our local swimming hole.

I get there, and just about spit out a tooth when I realize that the goddamned swirlpool is closed for repairs.

That means I have to swim instead of loaf, so I do – 20 lengths. I actually feel okay this am.

back half July 2006

Me brudder is 45
2006-07-31— Posted by: allegra

And I’m not getting any younger myself.

Happy Birfday Ben
2006-07-30— Posted by: allegra

Tom and Peggy’s eldest scion has turned, or will shortly turn, an, uh, interesting and, uh, prime number roughly today or thenabouts. How’s that for useless clues. Anyway, many happy returns of the day, whenever it is/was, young fella!

As for the gent what took a gun into the Jewish Community Center in Seattle and laid a woman in her grave, and put four others in hospital, a word of advice. Hate a Jew because he’s a mamzer, not because he’s a Jew! And if you can manage it, don’t bother hating him at all, lest thou be cast into the outer darkness of those forever condemned to pay retail. Allegra has spoken.

Hi Reck. I’m sure if you are reading this you’re shaking your head and smiling a sour little smile.

Keith and I are just about finished watching the Walking with Dinosaurs series from the BBC. The over the top narration by Kenneth Branagh has gone from being an irritant to being a sort of drinking game, where I try to predict (with about 70% accuracy) which adjective the scriptwriters are going to squeeze into the tired tired sentence. The animation goes from being flicking amazing to being SO FROMIDABLE (that’s so cheesy you resort to French puns) that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. All told, I’ve actually learned something about dinosaurs, and I’ve learned that Kenneth Branagh pronounces those jaw cracking dinosaur names with the relish of an oenophile at a wine tasting.

Missed the Lantern Festival last night – could not deal with the notion of walking that much. Paul and John went on the bike. There was masses of food at Stef’s place but Paul was the only person who showed up with wine, which was pleasant. Paul says it was more sparsely attended than last year (to which I can only say thank God, as it was WALLTOWALL last year) but the fireworks were wonderful and the ambience also.

Thunder and lightning last night! Very unusual for this part of the year; normally the only time you get thunder and lightning in Vancouver is (strangely enough) in February and March, towards the end of the wet season.

I note that the record high temperatures in the US continue to plague the frail elderly and those without access to air conditioning. I further predict that when the epidemiologists run the death rate stats for this past month they will find out that the number of people who died as a result of the heat will be at least 50% in excess of what appears in the papers currently. This is what happened in Chicago in 1980 when (get this) 1700 people died of heat related causes. That’s a hell of a lot of people. (See Heat Wave, a Social Autopsy of a Disaster in Chicago for further details – a book I believe I have previously referenced in my blog (and no, I haven’t read it but I read a detailed interview with the author.)) Chicago has a heat wave public health plan in place right now, and it would behoove other major American cities to do the same. One hundred and one in Minneapolis – whoda thunkit? Pic scanged from Google Images “Heat Wave”.

Yet another sendoff….
2006-07-29— Posted by: allegra

Venu left the company which cannot be named for a world class organization with lots of scope…. and we toasted him last night at the Golf Course. I snuck inside and paid for one of his beers. It was good to see the usual assortment of folk, and some folks from the engineering department. It was quite a cross functional showing – not as well attended as Lynne’s but still a damned good showing for almost ten years of employment.

The indifferent service (Tammy, our usual server, wasn’t there last night) was ameliorated by the appearance of an extremely skilled belly dancer, who had the hottest costume evah (black veils and gold tinkly coins) and danced like a personification of Ishtar for 25 minutes without breaking a sweat.

Then Paul and I headed over to Mike and Tori’s – Paul got really tired and fell asleep, but I watched most of Kung Fu Hustle, and am looking forward to seeing the rest, as it is one of the most hilarious cultural mashups I have ever seen. I think the Landlady deserved a medal for her role. Then I IMDB’d her (her name is Qiu Yuen) and when I got her backstory I just about flipped. At the time she accepted the role (after Stephen Chow (writer/star/director) bugged her unrelentingly about taking it) she had been out of show biz for almost 30 years, and had only ever starred in one international production “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Roger Moore as Bond, Blech-0-matic. She went to the audition to keep a younger friend company and the rest, as they say, is history. It is difficult to imagine someone else in the role, frankly. Anyway, she started life as a stunt double and martial arts type, learning from Jackie Chan’s master, and when she could find any interesting roles got married and ditched the whole show biz scene. Like Renee Zellweger and Robert DeNiro before her, she went on a special diet to gain 40 pounds for the role. Man, the things people do for money; I’ve put on 40 pounds and nobody’s asking me to star in anything, although I was once asked to be a stand in for GM Place.

2006-07-28— Posted by: allegra

Paul and I went for a walk last night. As we were just rounding the corner onto Wedgewood, part of our usual walking loop when we aren’t going into Robert Burnaby Park down to Dinosaur Rock, I thought, Man! that guy sure walks like Tom U. And son of a gun, it WAS Tom. Then I noticed Mike, and they were walking Spud and Tasha together. Happy sigh. Paul was very happy too and immediately started picking Tom’s brains about his Bion-X electric bike, and we walked all the way to Mike’s place. I was walking like a hunchbacked ballerina by the time I got there, but I made it.

And then….

What should be in the fridge but my current third favorite kind of beer in the WHOLE WORLD, Mcauslan Apricot, (Ste Ambroise Blonde and Stella Artois still being my faves), and who should be there but Toribird, looking fine and foxy, if I do say so, in a black tailored shirt and a long camel skirt, and what should she be a-cooking but FRESH blackberry crumble (exactly enough for five people)? It was so amazing that I refused to let either beer or inferior snack foods pass my lips after I ate it, ‘twould have been sacrilegious.

Then Tori and I slipped away into the computer room while the menfolks clacked away in the kitchen and we spent a happy hour reviewing the pictures she took of her mom and step-dad’s Inuit and Newfoundland art collection; more than a couple of the pieces were very old and museum quality, and a lot of them were really interesting. There were two bone pieces in particular that I fell madly in love with, the use of material being so very fine and the execution being so subtle. There were a couple of lithographs (big ones, although you know they don’t look as good on a screen) by Newfoundland artists, that I liked too. All in all a satisfactory evening.

I had been expecting that Paul would walk out to Edmonds with me and we’d catch a 106 bus, but he decided to call a cab instead, to which all I can say is thank God.

A broken night’s sleep (I got COLD in the night, what an ingrate after this hot spell) and nevertheless, this morning I feel just fine.

Dreamed that Kira and another cat got into a bath full of warm water, but by the time Janice and I could take a picture, they’d gotten out and were drying themselves off. Cats; magisterial even in my dreams. The rest of the dream starred nobody I know, but I was busy chasing a tall female clown named Giraffe through the subway system of an unnamed city for reasons completely unknown. Damn! How do I put up with all this excitement???

Oh….. my ……. God…….
2006-07-27— Posted by: allegra

Okay, when you look at this picture, I want you to be doing a mental mashup of two songs…. Frank Zappa singing Give Me Your Dirty Love and The Man on The Flying Trapeze. These two slugs are having sex while hanging from a thread of slime; I am assuming that this was as the result of long negotiations along the lines of I’m so tired of sleeping in the wet spot.

And one of the slugs said, hey, wait a minute! I have an idea!!! why don’t we crawl up the side of somebody’s house and do it til our eyestalks hurt!!!!

Credit Jan G in Courtenay. Honestly, Jan, you should take up wildlife photography professionally, seeing as how we keep finding the weirdest shiat in your yard.

It only remains to be added that the slug is the totem creature of my, uh, well, one of my family members; my morning, nay, perhaps my week, are made rapturously glorious by this photo.

I had no idea
2006-07-26— Posted by: allegra

Large chunks of Queens NY were out of power for a week. I knew things suck in Kulifornya as well, but this picture is kinda eerie. The cops set up a light tower for public safety. Photo credit Chang W Lee NYT

Bush Pilot
2006-07-26— Posted by: allegra

Bush Pilot

Janice forwarded this. Since it has subtitles, you don’t even need a sound card to enjoy this little bit of Teutonic teasing.

Life is a series of small disappointments
2006-07-25— Posted by: allegra

Windows Movie Maker doesn’t like the format of the family movie discs pOp sent me.

Katie called at midnight for a ride into town from Maple Ridge, having missed the last bus. $45 worth of physio went up the flue; I drove, not wanting to waken Paul or Keith, who were sleeping peacefully in the tent. I’m very stiff and sore this morning.

Work contains the prospect of a ‘group shot’ for the company newsletter today, which means I have to dress for it. Considering that it’s legal for women to go topless in Canada, they may not like what they get.

I forgot to take cash out of the bank, which means I have to get to a bank machine between now and the time work starts, and then find some kind soul to grab the shelf I ordered and put it in my workspace until Paul can pick it up with the car tomorrow morning.

I really really really wanted to go to Jericho Beach Folk club this week as I have lots of new songs to debut but I suspect it would be a really bad idea -more sitting is NOT what I need right now.

On the plus side, my friend Bonnie called and set up a dinner date for when she and her spouse and her spouse’s kid are in Vancouver in August.

And I talked to Tori. Happy Birthday Mike!!!!

I also got a care package from Janice in the form of a bunch of books, one of which bears the proud title “Revenge of the Cootie Girls” and somebody, I do not know who, in Seattle has seen fit to provide me with the first DVD series of Black Books, which is completely unlike any other TV I’ve ever seen, in that it veers from Kafka-esque “The world has gone mad” bleakness to evil satire to unbelievably funny sight gags (the cup sticking to the table comes to mind) and it all starts with a man choking on the Little Book of Calm. Any series that has as the name of its accountant Nick Voleur can’t be all bad.

I can’t fecking sit any more so I’d better do my exercises and see if I can’t manage 4 hours of work today. Oh, look, lovely, a migraine sign. (Little flashies, probably triggered by way less than adequate sleep.) Bye.

Virago 535
2006-07-24— Posted by: allegra

Dave D has a new/used 96 scoot. Obliviously this pic looks way better in its original size, but even so, here’s the skinny:

Here is a photo of my new cruiser down at Jericho beach on Saturday night. For you photo enthusiasts the shot was taken with my Nikon D200 at 200ISO, f5.6 at 8 sec. and 2 slave flashes in addition to the main flash on the body.

Monday, Monday
2006-07-24— Posted by: allegra

I was all rested up on Sunday… my back was fine, etc. Then I had a horrible nightmare this morning (a torture dream, and the lighting was really bad, so you know it felt real). I’m not going to describe it but sleep afterwards was a theoretical construct so I got up after Kira came and gave me a consoling kiss and gave her some crunchies. Now the dawn sky is pink and gray. I should take pics of the tobacco flowers, they are so pretty.

Also, mOm, the set on tomatoes that were white two days ago are now pale green. The universe is therefore unfolding as it ought. There are about ten spaghetti squashes set on and more tomatoes than I can count.

The plum tree has set on with a vigour that I attribute to faithful waterings and Paul having laid down compost. The fig closest to the driveway is so laden that it’s really remarkable – it too responded to a watering. I really should trellis the grapes; I promise I will next year. I’m going to try to grow plums from the pits this year. I explained container growing of potatoes to Keith and I may have sparked some interest, only time will tell.

Pic, which I hope I didn’t post earlier, is from the Lake Crescent trip. The gates to the local grass area in Port Washington were done up like bamboo, very nice. Anyway, a pic of me behind bars is a good thing. Very Monday like.

It’s 86 degrees already
2006-07-23— Posted by: allegra

I don’t think the house ever really cooled off yesterday; Paul slept in the tent and I don’t really blame him; it was frying hot.

After all these months of trying to train Kira to kiss me to get her breakfast, I was startled as hell to have Zeek! wander up to me this morning, and instead of patting and scraping me gently with his claws extended, as he generally and in a very unwelcome fashion does (this is why he is normally banned from the bedding), he got up in my face and kissed me very gently on the nose. I said, GOOD BOY and leaped out of bed (okay, moved expeditiously out of bed) and fed them. I wish words could describe how startled I was. The only other thing I’m thinking of applying training techniques to is the way Kira cycles around Zeek! at about 90 miles an hour, crying softly, while Zeek! stands there and hairy eyeballs me (occasionally venting a raspy and MOST displeased caterwaul) while the two are waiting for dinner. I hope someday to be able to capture it on film and then train them to do it when I want, which is dopey to put on the wish list, but it’s so very cute to see.

Enough about cats.

I made iced coffee for breakfast. The idea of drinking something hot right now has very little appeal.

I recently had reason to try liquid bandages (location, basically); they sting like fury going on but they actually work. They come in a can and cost about $14 for 40 applications.

Frank Magazine is being published in tangible form again. They occasionally achieve their previous depths of bilious mojo, but they are still pretty inconsistent. What I do to support Canadian satire….

Dr. Filk, Filkola, Peggy and Tom are off at a housefilk in Snohomish; apparently the Tapioca Song will be exposed to that select group at that time.

Met Wade, the new beau, and like him.

Sundry & various
2006-07-22— Posted by: allegra

Jack Warden is dead. He was the fast talking salesman in Twelve Angry Men, which Keith and I recently watched. He was 85.

It’s 86 degrees F at the thermometer in the upstairs. It got to 90 inside yesterday. The house is markedly hotter since we got rid of the trees in the south facing yard. Sigh.

It came as a surprise to Paul that Janice tucked three summer dresses into a bag that came back from Seattle this last time; I am wearing the Delft blue and white one, as it’s the thinnest piece of cotton clothing that I have in the house right now. I did my morning exercises in complete slow motion, but I am still wringing wet. Keith is wandering around saying things like “Would I look good in a sarong?” to which my answer was an unequivocal yes.

We get to meet Katie’s new boyfriend today.

Said goodbye to Lynne yesterday – she is departing to go to a company that markets wine and coolers. We all volunteered to assist, of course. I think even the departee was blown away by how many people showed up. I wasn’t. She is much liked, with that irresistable mix of smartass competence and mushy sentimentality that seems to characterize so many of my beloved cowirkers. Including me, if I may be so bold as to claim competence. Anyway, I did a tequila shooter with her and Brian at the golf course, just to keep myself in good fighting trim.

Couldn’t leave it there, of course. It is now officially gin and tonic weather so we stopped off at ze store, loaded up, and then drank G&Ts on the back deck while a breeze (thank God) picked up. Considering that I drank more yesterday than I have since, uh, probably Christmas of last year, I am amazed how cheerful and lively I feel this morning, given the weather.

Pic scanged from

Baby Black Rhino
2006-07-22— Posted by: allegra

Cute, hunh? Born to mom Circe at a zoo in Florida

I am going to be asking for a public enquiry
2006-07-21— Posted by: allegra

…. into the response of the Canadian diplomatic folks on the ground in Lebanon to the evacuation crisis. I guess I already know the answer “This is what 40 years, more or less, of candy ass Liberal appointees, rather than fully qualified people does.”

Fresh blackberries
2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra

There are native wild blackberries along the trail in to work and I ate some this morning. Yum.

The Bible tells me so
2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra,2106,3736210a11,00.html

I imagine eventually the link will disappear, so I provide the condensed version. Jesus wants you to hit your child….

2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra

Swearing to Success
2006-07-20— Posted by: allegra

Check out Mark Fiore’s Flash today….

Sent off the music and lyrics to Housewife’s Lament to my ma yesterday, and I have printed out copies ones for the El-Villa crowd as well (Tom and Peggy and Filkola). Right. That’s 21, only uh, 88 to go. So far. Worked up a couple of other tunes last night but I thought they were too twee, so I went to bed. If they’re still in my head the next time I play the mandolin (I’ve been playing everyday, and it shows, fortunately) I’ll keep em, otherwise they go back to the Big Song Factory in the Sky. Sure wish I could remember the tune to “A Passage to Atlantis”. All I have is the lyrics I gave to Paul to write down and I haven’t the foggiest what the tune is, except that I remember it was pretty good. Pic is something I picked up after image googling “little furry animals”.

2006-07-19— Posted by: allegra

Paul and Keith are off to Seattle, and Katie’s only coming home to change her clothes. And run off with the hair straightener, the little weiner. Now that she has a job the dishes are starting to pile up; she’s actually working all this week, full time, to cover for a person on vacation, and they are making noises about taking her on full time for the rest of the summer, so she’s learning how to prep and cook as well. She figures no matter what happens she’ll be able to get a job, after her experience with this restaurant. I’m talking to her every day, but let’s just say that her current existence is configured in such a fashion that the family home doesn’t have much appeal.

Look what happens when you try to tell the truth
2006-07-18— Posted by: allegra

You can put in a tsunami warning system
2006-07-18— Posted by: allegra

But if your government is inefficient and corrupt, you’ll still be hooped. I light a candle for the victims of the stupidity in Jakarta, subsequent to the earthquake. The smart ones headed for the hills, and now they have no food and no blankets and have been told they can’t go back because of aftershocks.

There are interesting comments on the website about what it’s like being a Canadian citizen in Lebanon right now, I recommend the reading.

Off to work soon, and feeling much better after traction at the physio yesterday.

Tain’t all doom n gloom
2006-07-17— Posted by: allegra

To protect the, uh, well, let’s not go there. But anyway, somebody sent me the link and I heartily recommend it to anybody reading this who might, uh, be in training to be a pharmacist.

blood in Lebanon
2006-07-17— Posted by: allegra

It is with horror and sorrow that I must report that my colleague’s sister-in-law is clinging to life in a hospital in Lebanon. The Israeli bombs landed in the middle of a village; she’s badly burned and she lost both a leg and her mother-in-law in that attack.

I offer prayers to whatever deity will hear me that this ‘measured response’ doesn’t turn into a full scale global conflagration. And I pray for her swift recovery.

Family stories
2006-07-17— Posted by: allegra

With my red red hair

and my permanent wave

ignoring the elders

as they rant and rave

it was such as me

Jesus came to save

Mary, bootlegging Mary.


Now Katrina is the only one who’ll talk to me

And next to Jesus, she’s the only one

Who’s heard the sad tale of my history

Why I’ve done the things I’ve done

I sold myself to feed my little son

In the years between the wars

And I comfort myself on the nights I can’t sleep

that Jesus walked with publicans and whores


With my red red hair

and my permanent wave

ignoring the elders

as they rant and rave

it was such as me

Jesus came to save

Mary, bootlegging Mary.


Front half July 2006

Family reunion
2006-07-15— Posted by: allegra

I behaved reasonably well, except when my mother announced that there is positively no drinking and no smoking on the Columbia Bible College grounds. I said, Aw. And a horde of Mennonites made me sing “The Housewife’s Lament.” It was the biggest crowd I’d played for in many a year, and Lexi came up to provide moral support. Then Barry and Lexi and I sang up a storm in the car coming home, including many songs of a vastly irreligious nature.

Delicious Irony – Boom Shiva in Toronto
2006-07-14— Posted by: allegra

This restaurant review, from eye magazine in Toronto, refers to my darling friend L.E.’s youngest son’s new restaurant. This is quite possibly one of the funniest positive reviews ever, and here’s Corey’s comment, “Reader discretion warning! This review is not for all ages. It contains coarse language, adult situations, and mature content. Also Jewish-liberal-media lies.” Oh, and the kitchen’s open 6 – 12, brunch on the weekend. Hey, Dave!!!! Take Jo here!!!!

Family reunion starts today
2006-07-14— Posted by: allegra

I can’t find my registration package, so I don’t know where I’m going. Sure hope my mother calls me.

Kelvingrove Museum July 2006
2006-07-13— Posted by: allegra

2006-07-13— Posted by: allegra

It rained pretty solidly yesterday so the lawns have all greened up. One of the tobacco plants has set on flowers, and the volunteer tomatoes and squash in the fenced yard are flowering.

I had the best physio evah yesterday, Kevin put me in traction in the granniest looking bondage gear I have ever seen. I come a dancing out of the machine, and he just gives he that look that physios seem to have perfected, (sort of “I Pity The Fool”) and says, well, enjoy it, it won’t last. And it didn’t, but my range of motion is wider and it did endorphin rush wonders for my mood.

Jessica D slept here last night, Katie is up but incapable of reasoned speech, Keith is still asleep, and I have to throw on my clothes and straighten my hair and fly; ah, work! How happy I am to return to your confines!!!

Paul is back at about 4 pm today; I’ll be getting him from the station so I don’t have to drive too much. Sigh, I miss Tish and Terry.

Cupid’s arrow
2006-07-12— Posted by: allegra

This is a Limpkin. It is having a rough day. The animal rescue people can’t catch it to treat it.

How about a Japanese toilet training video
2006-07-12— Posted by: allegra

I guess things are a little different over there. Animated urine and feces that are happy to be flushed with pride? Okay, admit you’re curious, but don’t watch it, whatever you do, or your brain will explode. Protein Man is responsible for sending me the link to this abomination. Says everything you need to know about his friends…. Okay, it’s cute, but it’s still an abomination.

I’m officially a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I love the Sandman.

Off to the airport. Keith is going to be with me for the drive back in case I run into difficulties. Wa, bye Tish and Terry.

We had a big salmon cookout last night. And scallops, and oysters. And green salad, fresh asparagus, new potatoes, homemade guacamole and then fresh fruit for dessert.

My dad has been sending rips of the HOURS AND HOURS of family video we took in the early days of the kids. I have enough video of Keith clogging his diaper to run a frikkin feature film, and nothing of Katie (standard second child bs) and so it was amazing to see when Paul took Katie to Pemberton when she was about 10 and rode horseback, etc etc. But the tapes show up in the house bearing legends like “Tape 21” and so there I am am trying to figure out how to label things. One was 90 minutes of relatives at Christmas each talking louder than the last and eating like they’re all expecting to get shot the next morning. Any time I open my mouth on this tape it’s to criticize Paul or to ask my mother if she’s spilled something on her shirt (I’m thinking “Who is this frikkin cow who doesn’t have a nice thing to say?”). Paul, despite the fact that he has masses of black hair, is actively uglier than he is now. I really am happy Paul got better looking. I didn’t, but so it goes.

I suppose I’m happy I’m not as much of a cow as I used to be, except for the avoirdupois, so I have learned that I’m a nicer person than I used to be, which I suppose is okay.

Syd Barrett is dead
2006-07-11— Posted by: allegra

He was only 60. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Three burials
2006-07-11— Posted by: allegra

On my brother’s heartfelt recommendation, we rented it. The first thing Keith said about “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” was “Cool, Barry Pepper, the sniper from Saving Private Ryan.” The second thing, which sort of encapsulates why I’d love him even if he wasn’t my kid, is, “Marco Beltrami, what else did he compose for?” That’s the kind of remark I made at his age, happy sigh.

Well, kiddo, how about Hellboy, I, Robot and Terminator III. So yeah, you’ve seen the name before. It was a good score, too, creepy and effective.

Tommy Lee Jones did a creditable job as director. Even if he never directs another film, he’s added to the body of film in a really good way. I only really have one objection to the film, and that’s the corpse. Seven to 10 days in the west Texas heat and he would have been twice normal size and black as a hunk of anthracite. I know I’m supposed to swallow the magic realizm, but when everything else about the movie is SO rooted in reality, a magic corpse just doesn’t fit. Anyway, the movie has both violence and long dead Mexicans in it, but it didn’t stop me from being entirely engrossed. Pic is Tommy Lee directing.

Today’s pic of the sun
2006-07-10— Posted by: allegra

I get really sad when I think of the decommissioning of the Hubble – 2008 at the latest — but we still have some good pictures coming to us.

Up at five to do exercises and shove things into corners before Paul gets home, and then, back to work. I’m feeling purty good about it, really.

And THEN Nicky is coming over to review my songs. Did a recount last night, it’s up to 109. I’m thinking of a Sandman filk next, and then a Strangers in Paradise filk. Happy sigh. Got my work cut out for me.

Food and music
2006-07-09— Posted by: allegra

The Tom and Peggy gang have fed me again. Yum barbecue. Then we had an abbreviated singing and playing fest including tunes of newness, with sides of foot massage. Paul is on the Island visiting rellies, back tomorrow.

The Merman Lover
2006-07-08— Posted by: allegra

A maiden walked upon the shore
And listened to the wind, saying
"If I understand the sea and sky
I'll know how time begins."

Her lover of the merfolk;
She'd not even touched his hand
For she could not live in the sea
Nor could he, on dry land

And the moral of this story
And the point you've got to see
Is for all its grace and glory
It never happened to me.

The merman rode the swaying waves
And gave her options three
"I'll kill myself, or I'll kill you
Or we'll part company"

"For you to kill yourself my lord!
Lamentable! kind sir.
I'm sure that I could live without you
If you'd take no hurt!"

He rode the waves a while before he said
"So shall it be!"
And sad they were of voice and eye
As they parted company

And the moral of this story
And the point you've got to see
Is for all its grace and glory
It never happened to me.

Neil Gaiman Sandman
2006-07-08— Posted by: allegra

Hey Alan, as mentioned I am reading the above noted, (I – III, V) and what I didn’t mention is that I read one issue – just one – at your house on Montrose – it was in one of the digests. The susurrus of recognition was very Gaimanesque. Hey Janice, I dreamed you were helping me straighten out my library last night. !! I was charmed. Sure wish I knew where that dream house was, it was big enough for you and me and ALL OUR FRIENDS (that’s more like a hotel – the kids were there, don’t know where the menfolks were). Like, I woke up thinking, great house, but I think we’d need professional help keeping it clean….

Katie said when she came in last night “I was busier than hell my feet are killing me I don’t like drunks UFC sucks I am peeling like anything and I’m going out with Jessica and some gay buddy of hers who has a car my first cheque was $77 I’m glad you told me to keep a journal of my hours I’m going to check to see if they got it right see ya bye.” More or less in one breath. Whoever this guy is, he has a compulsion to keep cutting Katie’s hair, which is shorter every time I see her.

Soon, laundry. Ack.

Talked to Tori last night, we’ll be going for a walk on Sunday, if we are not both helpless cripples (her from her job, me, just per usual).

Soon, laundry, ack.

Misery me, where is the power supply for the wireless modem???? It’s like the bookbears ate it.

Aislin – the best since Macpherson
2006-07-08— Posted by: allegra

Cousin Gerald forwarded this…. nuff said.

Duncan Macpherson was an amazing Canadian political cartoonist with the Toronto Star from the 50’s to the 80’s. My parents loved him so much they bought one of his originals, which still hangs on the wall in their house. Anyway, Aislin has inherited his mantle, etc.; long may his pen drain his bile.

enough sleep
2006-07-07— Posted by: allegra

I guess I like running pictures of weird skull xrays, as well as baby animals and moose.

Not enough sleep
2006-07-07— Posted by: allegra

I shouldn’t have, because I’m sore as hell today, but I went to the midnight showing of Pirates II with Lil Cthu under my arm and a leather headscarf and a kind of piratical vest and boots get up. Go see it; it’s easily the best popcorn fest we’ll have this summer.

Whoever plays Davy Jones should get an Oscar for most convincing emoting with a hundred pounds o rubber on yer head. aMAZing CGI.

Back to work Monday but Doc Fuller says don’t do more than 4 hours a day. This is exactly what I wanted, because I simply can’t deal with being off work any longer, but I was dreading, just dreading, going back to work full time because I figured I would end up with a full scale relapse. Now I am going to go lie down; I am trashed, just like the physio said I would be after the neurological exam.

One pic…..
2006-07-06— Posted by: allegra

I’d have pictures……
2006-07-06— Posted by: allegra

……of the Garibaldi hike, but Paul is being a bum (ie too busy) and didn’t upload the pix yet. Terry and Paul are going off to the air show in Arlington WA; Tish is going off to see her sis in Courtenay; Keith is hauling a full shift at Stuporstore today; Katie is hauling an afternoon at, uh, the restaurant, and then, oh then, Pirates II although I’d better do my exercises if I’m gonna be leaving the house today – and then a cab home, cause no car after a midnight showing, cause Paul’s in Arlington. Sigh. I wish I could go to the airshow, but I simply can’t walk that much yet. Tish did the Garibaldi hike with shooting pains in her leg (she’s got the same ailment I do but is many years post injury) so she’s obviously made of much sterner stuff than I. I am stiffer than a hatch cover today, no doubt because I tried to sleep without a back support like a normal person. Well, I’m not normal.

Katie broke up with her boyfriend, did I mention that? I liked him, but C’est la Vie.

To the couple who are going to have anaesthetic style surgery this week upcoming, my prayers, useless as they may be, will be offered up to Eris and Loki for your prompt and chaos free recovery, da bot’ of yuz. Paul will be calling about transportation today.

I was going to visit my brother this weekend, but I won’t know for sure until tomorrow morning around noon after I get out of the Spinal Clinic. I wrote a song named Spinal Clinic.

I’ve actually been writing songs like it’s 1991, which I think was my best year ever, and normally the best song I write all year is in November, usually the week before my birthday, so I’m looking forward to whatever gravel the Muse kicks onto my bed for the duration of the year. I even started something last night and all I have is the chorus: The moral of the story/ and the point you’ve got to see/ is that for all its grace and glory/ it never happened – to me. (The song is going to be about singing a story that doesn’t belong to you, sort of a meditation about cultural expropriation. I mean, would anybody WANT to hear a song about how I really feel right now? Christ, even *I* wouldn’t. So I have the chorus, and I think I am going to start off with the single most trite image I can think of – a maiden walking by the sea. Then baby Cthulhu comes, and she pets it. And it eats her leg, and she’s unhappy, until it eats the rest of her, and then spits out her leg bone, which haunts her lover until he is driven mad and jumps off a cliff. Yes. Happy sigh. Even if all I ever have is the chorus, I’ll be fine.)

Ken Lay’s dead. Any bets on whether the US Gov. will pursue his estate for court costs, or will he be chuckling over that lapse into his gin and brimstone with the Big Red Dude? Yah mon.

not enough sleep
2006-07-05— Posted by: allegra

Off to Mike’s yesterday after physio to drink painkillers (in this case, Guinness) and help him do a spot of cleaning prior to Tori’s arrival back from Montreal. I didn’t vacuum because that involves stooping, but nothing stopped me from doing dishes (standing and lying down are okay, no sitting, no stooping). Spud and Tasha (the dogs, see previous pics) are doing fine; Spud is as flatulent as ever (like HOOOEEE, give your head a shake). Heather dropped by and Mike fed us REALLY good spag and sauce (mmmm, cilantro) and then drove me home about 10, which is good, because I was dreading taking the bus; I thought about walking but my leg wasn’t buying the notion.

I haven’t heard from Paul, but I imagine there’s no reception where he is… up a mountain someplace.

Woke up at three thirty. Bleaghh. I slept without a proper back support and I’m sore as hell this morning.

Katie and Keith both work today.

Church of the Holy Cross
2006-07-04— Posted by: allegra

This is on a logging road near Pemberton! Isn’t it pretty. John Lehmann took the picture, scanged from Globe and Mail via Sandy.

Short list
2006-07-04— Posted by: allegra

I only have two things to do today; see the physiotherapist (which I desperately need to do, as houseguests and back pain don’t mix too good) and work on the homily for the family reunion. This being about all I’m up for this is a good thing.

Guests departing….
2006-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Alan and Janice are due to leave, and Terry and Tish and Paul are going up to hike Black Tusk. Pic is of Janice at Tam Tam’s.

We ate at Horizon’s yesterday, thanks to Alan; then the 8 of us wandered around the rose garden and the Ainu sculptures and then drove all the way to the International Gelato place at Glen and Venables. Altogether a satisfactory day…….

Emergencies make for strange friends
2006-07-02— Posted by: allegra

This picture, taken by Pawan Kumar and scanged from, came about because it is very wet in parts of India right now. I am sure the frog has a headache. Isn’t there a nursery rhyme about this? The frog he would a-wooing go, heigh ho Anthony Rowley?

Squid knees
2006-07-02— Posted by: allegra

Time to worship our squid Pavlova overlords. Damn, but that was one good meal we ate last night! mOm, you simply MUST meet Filkola at some point. She is a dessert cook of the finest water, but likely will not be in dessert making mode when she meets you, so you are SAFE. Ha ha. Safe being defined in some new and strictly caloric sense. Oh, tell pOp that one of the local fetish nights (dress up in candid and unusual clothing, rubber, etc) had a guy dress up as a baby Cthulhu (amazing costume, by report) and enlisted a DOZEN scantily clad baebes to worship him. Now that’s what I call entertainment. If they didn’t have techno so loud that your drink spills out of your glass when you’re standing still, I might go back. Anyway, that’s it for today’s SQUID report.

Next up, picture the hospitality that feeds 6 total strangers joyfully and you have the picture of Tom and Peggy’s house last night. They fed us broccoli and hollandaise sauce, corn on the cob, three kinds salad, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, teriyaki chicken and beef burgers and portobello mushroom burgers from the grill and then squid Pavlova for dessert with MASSES of fresh fruit, some of which I picked off the truly productive raspberries on Tom and Peggy’s deck, and coffee. And then we sang, and I premiered my song “Just call me Clem,” which is a Buffy Filk.

Full house
2006-07-02— Posted by: allegra

Here’s a pic of a barred owl Paul took yesterday at Widgeon Creek. They all hiked up to the falls….

2006-07-01— Posted by: allegra

Tish, Terry, Lois, Connie, Alan and Janice are all here. Really full house. Good thing we have two bathrooms and Paul put a pressure balancer on the water system.

back half June 2006

Sis-in-law LOIS is coming!!!!
2006-06-30— Posted by: allegra

We are now putting people in tents in the backyard!!!! And on top of everything else, Peggy and Tom have invited us ALL to dinner on Saturday; think of the magnificence of people who go, COOL, 8 extra people for dinner! And then music afterwards. Yes please!

Sis-in-law LOIS is coming!!!!
2006-06-30— Posted by: allegra

We are now putting people in tents in the backyard!!!! And on top of everything else, Peggy and Tom have invited us ALL to dinner on Saturday; think of the magnificence of people who go, COOL, 8 extra people for dinner! And then music afterwards. Yes please!

Weird physics
2006-06-30— Posted by: allegra

go scotus!!!
2006-06-30— Posted by: allegra

The Supreme Court of the US has handed the neo-cons their balls in butcher’s paper, having remembered a little something called the US Constitution. Military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees is, uh, illegal, and it came down 5 – 3. Yee the freak HAW!

And a formal apology for the Head Tax from the Harper Government. I’m good with that too!!

Now let us see what happens with queer and reproductive rights……

Where’d everybody go?
2006-06-29— Posted by: allegra

When I got up this morning, the kids were gone. You know your kids are adults when YOU sleep in and THEY go to work.

Since people keep asking me, my back is no better. The neuro appointment is early on July 7th. More physio today.

I have asked for, and will receive, professional help in getting my songs written out. I am vastly relieved.

Spoke to Paul – he’s at Sandy’s Red Deer Lodge and Campground in Madawaska ON, low impact eco tourism at its finest, in a beautiful setting of trails, rivers and waterfalls, perfect for canoeing, hiking, fishing, hunting (in season), birdwatching, amateur astronomy, nature photography, fungus hunting and lazing around doing sweet Fanny Adams. (End of commercial plug, but every word of it is true.) He’s been making himself useful and canoeing, so he’s a happy boy. Next up, he’s getting to Cornwall to pick up Tish and Terry and bring them back here.

I miss work. The lack of structure is killing me.

Morning all
2006-06-28— Posted by: allegra

Watched Big Broadcast of 1938 last night. It goes from sophistication to corn so rapidly, and so many times, that I felt as if my critical senses had to be remounted on ball bearings. A remarkable cultural artifact.

Jazz quotes:

Agnes DeMille quote:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening
that is translated through you into action
and because there is only one of you in all of time,
this expression is unique. 
And if you block it, 
it will never exist through any other medium 
and be lost. 
The world will not have it. 

It is not your business to determine how good it is 
nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. 
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, 
to keep the channel open. 
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. 
You have to keep open and aware 
directly to the urges that motivate you. 
Keep the channel open.

Snake on a plan
2006-06-27— Posted by: allegra


The hard working garbage collectors of Burnaby
2006-06-27— Posted by: allegra

For reasons best known to themselves, the hard working garbage collectors of Burnaby (FULL POINTS if you recognize the literary reference) came by this morning with a radio BLARING out the side of the truck. Katie and I were blasted out of bed and foregathered in the kitchen cursing under our breath.

FINALLY GOT AN APPOINTMENT to the spinal clinic, woo hoo. It’s for the DAY BEFORE I’m scheduled to go back to work, ditto, ditto.

Completed another song and fired it off to the archivist. SORRY ABOUT all the ALL CAPS. I’m feeling a bit more lively today, belike.

No, duh
2006-06-26— Posted by: allegra

A study proves that the more bars there are in a neighbourhood, the rougher it is. Like, as in, more violent.

No blog this am, sorry.
2006-06-26— Posted by: allegra

2006-06-25— Posted by: allegra

Very funny nature video. Don’t watch from Dialup….

Unintentional humor
2006-06-25— Posted by: allegra

Downunder websites have headlines like: Impressive Wallabies beat Ireland, which leads me to think that perhaps the Irish involved had been drinking pretty hard that day. I mean, Christ, wallabies aren’t THAT big.

enough sleep
2006-06-25— Posted by: allegra

Paul’s off to Ontario to haul people back and forth, etc. (on airline passes). My mother is bugging me to finish the homily for the family reunion. I established only last night that it’s supposed to be 10 minutes long, so at least I have a better idea of HOW MUCH blather I am supposed to produce…

Kate’s at her boyfriend’s, Keith’s in bed asleep, Dr. Filk is at PondFilk (Paul at the last minute coughed up the motorcycle keys, thank Goddess) and all is more or less right with the world. I wrote a song yesterday, or applied words to one I’ve been working on for a month. My mother wanted to know where it came from, and I can only paraphrase Willie Nelson; songs are in the air, all the time, and all you have to do is listen to them.

Sleeping with the Enemy
2006-06-24— Posted by: allegra

From Gerald, provenance unknown.

Back Doctor
2006-06-24— Posted by: allegra

I read good chunks of Hamilton Hall’s Back Doctor (on Tish and Terry’s recommendation) and I guess I am feeling both better and worse about my back. He says the correct balance of rest and activity for patients with nerve root involvement from a herniated disc is 45 minutes of activity with 15 minutes of rest, which doesn’t really accord that well with going back to work. The tingling (paraesthesia) is quite consistent. It gets worse when I sit, and shifts around when I stand (better in my heel, worse in the ball of my foot). I am not imagining the weakness of my right leg – I limp because I can’t help it. Katie was quite concerned when she was walking with me today (I took her to Starbucks just before her shift started), and I just laughed. (Although I came home and lay down afterwards). I’m not going to fall over, although betimes it looks like it. Dr. Hall says it’s a good idea to distinguish between numbness and paraesthesia; on that basis, I am only truly numb in the outboard two little toes.

On the plus side, except for the Voltaren I am taking no pain killers, not even to sleep. Provided I don’t do anything stupid like bend forward or try to touch my knee to my forehead or twist my lower spine, or for that matter lift anything heavier than a book, I’m fine. I did get some exercise today, but that was after I did some driving, and driving completely sucks still, I’d be way better off not doing it.

The CT films have finally left RCH and have gone on to VGH Spine Clinic, but they haven’t been signed in yet so I’ll have to bug them about it on Monday.

I do feel relieved though. There’s only about a 20 percent chance I’ll have to have surgery, and the one really BAD thing that can happen, which is a rupture that affects the nerves involved in bowel and bladder control, is about as likely to happen as a lightning strike, so I’ve gone from being worried to being impatient to see a neurosurgeon and get some feel for what I’m up against. If I do need surgery, it’s fussy without being particularly complicated and I could be back at work in two weeks (ever supposing I got in promptly, which may not be feasible). One thing is clear…. I shouldn’t be at work and I can quit feeling guilty about it.

Keith just got in, he had a good shift at the Cirque and now he’s playing Final Fantasy X.

2006-06-23— Posted by: allegra

I’m doing better, thanks to a superlative physio session late yesterday but I still can’t sit very long and my foot’s still numb.

Katie just hauled her first shift at the restaurant and it went okay. Paul got to say “Have a good day at work” to her this morning for the first time and I almost burst into tears.

Watched “Captain Blood” with Keith. Anybody who likes Pirates of the Caribbean HAS to see this movie.

Harryhausen does Muffett
2006-06-21— Posted by: allegra

Do I ever shut up about my back?
2006-06-21— Posted by: allegra

Sorry, no.

Doc wrote me off work until July 7th; I have to get my own films from RCH to VGH or I won’t get into the spinal clinic. I am dreading moving around, I am very sore.

Pic was drawn by Brooke; I call on everyone I know to witness that I do NOT look like Bruce Sterling in a wig.

More work
2006-06-20— Posted by: allegra

Katie has a job at a restaurant – she starts Friday!!!!

Pick one
2006-06-20— Posted by: allegra

1) spacy

2) snappish

3) sore

I can’t sit, I can’t sleep, my back is getting worse, not better, despite the physio and the exercises at home. I am too sick to work. I HATE THIS. I want to go back to work. But if I’m not sore enough to work I’m too spaced out to work. I’m back to the doc today, I have to get a note to get off work for at least three weeks.

More moose
2006-06-19— Posted by: allegra

From a Finnish newspic site.

I’d give anything to be able to do this
2006-06-19— Posted by: allegra

But unfortunately my back hurts too much. And I had to clean up cat shit this morning. That really didn’t help.

I see the physio at 4:30.

Pic (thx Sandy) is of a traditional Spanish figure called El Colacho; he’s jumping over the babies to ward off evil spirits.

2006-06-18— Posted by: allegra

It’s still owie owie owie but Paul dug up some more painkillers. Here’s a pic of Harry and William hungover ‘n stuff at their grans 80th. Can’t sit, must get back to my 80’s feminist sf (Native Tongue, can’t put it down).

Last night I dreamed I was Humphrey Bogart and I went to Indonesia for the earthquake (they had scheduled an earthquake, how handy) and when it came it pushed a whole perfectly preserved city into view and then the aftershock knocked it all over. Then I went to a banquet that featured Les Brown and his Band of Renown. Then I watched little mammals who got free food at the temple throw up on each other. Weird, hunh?

Lois arrives in about an hour.

From King5 Seattle news site
2006-06-17— Posted by: allegra

These wild deer are licking a dying cat, Sammy. I am assuming that Sammy, having kidney failure, would smell like a salt lick to them which is why they kept coming up to him and licking him. The cat died a couple of days after this pick was taken. Photo credit Margie Scott, Sammy’s owner.

Sammy apparently put up with it. Mammal biochemistry sure is weird.

2006-06-17— Posted by: allegra

My back is sore, my foot is numb, and I’m taking Monday and Tuesday off next week. I can sit for perhaps 20 minutes before becoming so uncomfortable that I must either stand or lie down, and I’m getting frantic that by the time this is all over I won’t have a job to go back to…. everybody is managing fine without me.

Alan and Janice are here; Paul and Katie have taken up all the domestic slack because of my infirmity. I don’t mind, I just don’t want it to last.

I’m going to try to get into the spine clinic at VGH.

Guest Blogger
2006-06-16— Posted by: allegra

This is Keith here. Allegra isn’t feeling up to blogging today(this really is serious, isn’t it?). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run away and join the Cirque now, sans the running away part.

front half June 2006

The Chaos and, uh, another poem
2006-06-15— Posted by: allegra

This poem is one of the first things I ever saw on the internet – it, however, was an abbreviated version and this is the real deal.

It’s bloody brilliant. Which reminds me…. The following is the first thing I ever copied down from the internet. It was in slightly different form and the artist was not credited. As per freaking usual, eh?

I’ve never heard the song but it’s floating, as it were, around.

I take a back seat to no one in presenting weirdness
2006-06-15— Posted by: allegra

This is an X RAY VIDEO of a guy saying “It’s ten below outside”. Note provenance. Of *course* this came from a Canadian university. If you mess with the link you will also see a guy say en francais, the baker drank six beers.

Baby vulture
2006-06-15— Posted by: allegra

Sandy forwarded this…..

2006-06-15— Posted by: allegra

Relocalization is what happens when the nerve root gets some pressure taken off it. The tingling and numbness are reduced – and the pain increases. This is actually a really good sign.

I went home after work and went straight to bed last night, doing about 1.5 hours of back exercises. I was rewarded with much more back pain and much reduced foot numbness. Anyway, more physio today and this time I’m going to grit my teeth and go for the ice. Gotta be in good fighting trim for the horde (5 people, from two different parties) descending upon my household this weekend.

Lymond Fix
2006-06-14— Posted by: allegra

If you recall from Lymond 1 (Game of Kings) there is a comment, “My dear ass, I ran like a corn crake”. So scroll down and find the corn crake bird sound, and now you can enjoy the dialogue more intensely.

If you don’t recognize the literary reference, just hang wit da boids for a while.

The Dalai Jarmo, who forwarded the link, particularly recommends the Luscinia luscinia.

Look what Grampa bought me!
2006-06-14— Posted by: allegra

For true! One of my coworkers has a very lucky little boy, and his Grampa bought him this extremely shiny three wheeler. Look at that grin! He’s not yet two…. what a cutie patootie!

Net neutrality
2006-06-14— Posted by: allegra

I have a cousin Reck!
2006-06-14— Posted by: allegra

Who is no vernal gallus domesticus. It’s funny to be pushing 50 with a broom and realize that I have family elders who have a) cooler names than mine and b) lots more interesting experience (including woodworking, which is one of my all time favourite human skills). Anyway, welcome Reck, as a reader and hopefully contributor. My family can never be TOO BIG.

My back is much the same as it was yesterday morning but I’m not limping nearly so badly. I am going to have to stand at work today as much as possible. I now have about 25 minutes to do some back exercises, start a load of laundry, and replace my current garb with something more suitable for work before Paul turns up with the car. Dr. S told me to go back to work because it would be easier than staying at home and lifting loads of laundry. Dr. Filk’s amusing rebuttal to this was, Doc, I haven’t so much as lifted an eyebrow since I put my back out; I am recording the comment here lest it be lost from humankind.

I am starting another long poem. I do things like that every ten years or so. It’s based on my take of some of Charles Olson’s commentaries about poetry, and I scanged the titles from Silliman’s Blog, which was recommended to me by David J D., who taught me everything I know about poetry subsequent to my grounding in it back in high school in London ONT with Mike Pooley. I swore I wouldn’t do anything else creative until I finished my songs, but that’s a sucker’s game. I just went back and reviewed some stuff I sent my mother already, and it’s wrong wrong wrong wrong worng. Which means that I have to contact a professional and get straightened out about music theory, and I’m phobic about music theory, and (comment from wings, ahhhh shadddap!).

Suggestions about WHICH professional will be greatly appreciated. And NO I don’t need a psychiatrist.

Shown is the school Paul attended in Grade 2, in Huntsville ON.

2006-06-13— Posted by: allegra

Well everything went swimmingly until the ice pack. I react VERY BADLY to cold, and I sadly said, okay, but my back is going to spasm, and she did it anyway, and two fucking hours of brutal work went up the flue.

Earlier, the physiotherapist said, “WHAT? Your doctor told you to go back to work? You shouldn’t be back at work, that’s insane!”

And insane is what I’ll be if I don’t go back to work; if I can move, drive, etc. I’m obviously getting better. But she said Don’t Sit More than you Have to….. I’m supposed to apply ice tonight. Twice, for 15 minutes. I think I’ll do extensions instead. I’m still twitching from having the ice pack applied. Gah!

Arr there me hearties
2006-06-13— Posted by: allegra

Slate mag commissioned 6 pulp covers for classic works of literature. OF COURSE Melville made the cut. Stolen from the artist, Chris Papasadero/FWIS and Slate Magazine by way of Filkola (Brooke, whom I now dub Filkola, so there).

My site host sent me an email demanding I renew… which I did, for five bloody years, back in April…. so I told them if it was a joke it wasn’t funny, and if it was a clerical error it was uh disheartening seeing as how they had shaken something like $300 US outta my pocket in April. I GOT AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. No kidding. An immediate response. Which consisted of an explanation/grovelling apology. I pronounced myself mollified, and forgave them. What kind of name is Coldy? Strange name for a support person.

I have experienced an outpouring of sympathetic emails about my back, and I thank everybody who sent good thoughts and good advice. I’m off to the physiotherapist tonight and promise to radiate keen attention for the duration of my appointment.

Charming article about King Bhumibol
2006-06-13— Posted by: allegra

Plays like Sidney Bechet? Sigh.

I’m not imagining things (not exactly as shown)
2006-06-12— Posted by: allegra

Well, I got the CT scan results back. I have a herniated disc across L5 and S1. No, those are not my pictures, I stole them off a back site from an American University. SOOOO. I am getting a referral to a neurosurgeon, but if I’m a very good girl and lose 40 pounds and eat my vegetables and do every exercise prescribed by the physiotherapist (whom I see tomorrow in the late afternoon) I will likely not need to have surgery. My bizarre gait is common like dirt among people with the same ailment, so I don’t feel so stupid about my shuffling walk. (I walk really funny these days.)

The joys of over 40 dating
2006-06-12— Posted by: allegra

May Tlazolteotl protect us all! A sweet and wonderful friend of mine reports from the dating front that she met up with a guy who claimed to be 63 in his on line dating profile and turned out to be (****!!?)

87 years old!!!!!!!!!

No kiddums!

I guess there’s no liar like an old liar.

Swallow Chicks
2006-06-12— Posted by: allegra

Brother Jim sent me this. I love their pugnacious little eyeballs and whiskers.

Robber Fly Day 2
2006-06-12— Posted by: allegra

I love this pic. I wish I could post a higher resolution picture.

Robber Fly Day 1
2006-06-12— Posted by: allegra

Cousin Jim sent this and the next pic. Note in the second pic that Mr. Robber Fly – who was hanging out on the same flower two days running – has moisture beading on him. Jim sayeth “I am still getting the hang of this camera” but I’d say he’s doing purty good, how about you?

Couldn’t post yesterday, don’t know why. I was pretty sore all day yesterday and glad am I to see the doc today.

Track their migration to Canada
2006-06-10— Posted by: allegra

Uncomfortably numb
2006-06-10— Posted by: allegra

I’m not experiencing pain, but the numbness is really bad, so I’m going back to bed. Herman Melville (Moby Dick) I abandoned about 1/3rd of the way through so I am now casting about for something lengthy to read (I bailed when he started listing whales…)

I may go back through Harry Potter. I don’t think I ever read Harry Potter IV all the way through, or if I did it was once and a long while ago. Or maybe I’ll run through Lymond again. I suspect I’m gonna be in bed for a while.

Last night I dreamed the forest across the road from Lake Crescent Lodge caught fire, and all we could do was watch and wring our hands. I also dreamed my Auntie Mary moved into a big inflatable igloo style tent (this thing was huge, like the entire upper storey of my house, and I could hear the inflater motor moaning and sputtering in the background), accidentally deflated it on herself, and then popped out of the tent in Inuit garb, saying, “I’m okay, I’m okay, it’ll reinflate in a second!” and it did, sproing. I think if I told her about it she’d laugh.

Watched small portions of Howl’s Moving Castle and Jarhead last night. Howl is one seriously messed up bird, and Jarhead kinda lost me because of its MTV style cinematography. However, since I couldn’t really sit still to watch anything, I can’t really do a review of either movie.

Saw Mike, and how good it was to see him.

2006-06-09— Posted by: allegra

I phoned the doc’s office to make another appointment for Monday am, and found out he’s in the middle of making a referral to a specialist for me in consequence of the CT results. This is NOT good news and I am stumping up and down cursing. I felt better today, too. Piss, moan.

oo oo
2006-06-09— Posted by: allegra

I hope you can see this picture, and the best typo of 2006 so far.

Happy news.
2006-06-09— Posted by: allegra

I forgot to mention that Keith now has two part time jobs – one as kitchen slave to the Cirque de Soleil during their gig in Vancouver, and the other at Superstore. Keith got both of these jobs unassisted. Words cannot express how proud I am of him. As he is making a good hourly wage in both cases, I am very very happy.

Stir crazy
2006-06-09— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been out of the house three times since Saturday; once to buy pillows, which seemed to help, and twice to see doctors or get tests. I’ve gotten a third of the way through Moby Dick, reread King Jesus and Harry Potter VI and I am now officially stir crazy.

Read with horror that when Paul said, “Peggy’s here and we’re going to go walking” I seriously considered crawling out of bed and at least walking up to 16th with them before I remembered that the doc said positively no walking without a cell phone and somebody with. I have contented myself with a brief tidy of the kitchen and making myself a cuppa.

I am now to the point where I am saying things to myself like, “I had no idea how much I love my job” and “I miss my coworkers, bitter tears, bitter tears,” and “Screw Retirement” although I may not feel that way in twenty years.

Stewart Copeland, whom I like in so many of his artistic incarnations – musical dude for Dead Like Me – composer for cartoons (I’m in Trouble Again is a favourite of mine) – drummer for Oysterhead – drummer for the Police – has made a movie about the rise of the Police.

2006-06-08— Posted by: allegra

Unless I miss my guess a dragonfly larva. Western Gomphid, from the size of it. Cousin Jim sent it.

Brooke, it’s all your fault but Linda is singing and playing with people again. (This will mean nothing to most of you, so cheerfully ignore it.)

I just got back from the doctor and she says, stay the hell home (here’s a note) and go to hopsital if you start number one-ing or two-ing when you didn’t think of it first. Hint, don’t take a taxi, unless you bring a hundred dollar cash tip.

I’ll be back to see the doc on Monday as that’s when they figure I’ll have results from the CT scan. I’m going back to bed, Herman Melville and I have a hot date.

2006-06-08— Posted by: allegra

Going to see the doc again now. I had a good night’s sleep but as soon as I stood up, big ow.

Droopy the Plane
2006-06-07— Posted by: allegra

No blog this am, sorry
2006-06-07— Posted by: allegra

Coming and going
2006-06-06— Posted by: allegra

Leaving this earthly plane, Billy Preston, of kidney failure. Some called him the 5th Beatle. He played WC Handy as a young man in a movie that was made the year I was born. Truly a great musician.

Spent 260 dollars on my back yesterday. I bought a Tempur foam pillow, a wedge pillow and one of those chair ball thingies. The CT scan is tonight. John is forgoing Jericho Beach to take me, as I am not convinced I could safely drive down to the hospital; whenever I extend my foot in the accelerating position I get a hell of a pinch, and with the sole of my foot so dead I might have difficulty controlling the car. Paul’s riding the Beemer to work, and given the weather I suspect he’s enjoying it more than he’ll ever admit.

Went completely without drugs last night to see how sore I am, and the answer is, if I move slowly, it’s not too bad. I can’t stay in one position for very long though, and since when I’m off the anti-inflammatories the tingling and numbness get worse, I guess I’m stuck on the vulture killing drug for the time being. It’s also called Voltaren, which sounds like a creepy StarTrekified bunch of aliens. “The Voltarens are hailing us, Keptin!”

I light a candle for the people close to Mt Merapi in Indonesia, and the people of Phuket, who are not interested in being TV movie of the week fodder for the inexhaustible North American appetite for Schadenfreude.

I light a candle for the relatives of the guys busted for terrorism in Ontario. Half of those arrested are probably blowhards that Mohammed (uhbp) would have rolled his eyes over – all talk and no action, except now they’re looking at a LOT of free time to study the Holy Koran. The other half are probably going to cause career problems for the fuckwits in the Immigration department who let them into the country and I’m SO upset about that…. But the womenfolk. Chances are good most of them knew nothing about the alleged three tons of alleged fertilizer. I light a candle for anybody who snickered when they read that one of the alleged suspects allegedly wanted to cut Stephen Harper’s head off. Anybody who wants to make Stephen Harper a martyr needs pity, not censure.

Okay, my back officially hurts now.

Brother James Kissing the Blarney Stone
2006-06-05— Posted by: allegra

Ah yes. Knowing full well that I’d drag myself off my deathbed for the opportunity to post so unflattering a pic of him, Brother James has forwarded this lovely shot. You look like you’ve lost weight, bud! Wish I could say the same. Although I wouldn’t want to have some fragile looking Irish punter hanging onto me trews – it’s a hell of a drop.

My CT scan is scheduled for 8:30 tomorrow night. Now I have to go lie back down again, as I can sit for approximately 10 minutes before my back starts to go spung.

In the humour book yesterday, I ran across this gem: “You are what Rev Dr. Spooner would call a shining wit!” I would so characterize myself at the moment. After I went back to bed I had ANOTHER dream, this time a musical comedy about mutants. And Sears. And a really bad music video. All the mutants were hideously bad CGI – put one much in mind of the Dunnett Phrase “A Face Like a Pound of Candles on a Hot Day.” They were sitting around in a smoky dimlit bar musically deriding another mutant’s music video, which was his attempt to gain cachet in the world of the normal. I dinna ken where this shite comes from, laddie.

The painkillers are giving me formication.

I bless the friends who are travelling soon. Must collapse, back is angry now.

Going to Chilliwack for pie
2006-06-05— Posted by: allegra

Going to Chilliwack for pie, via plane, formation flying. Yes, there are few better ways to go to Chilliwack, and the pie up there is divine. Fwded from Rob of Nine, of course.

It’s 4 am and the drugs have worn off
2006-06-05— Posted by: allegra

To the tune of The Flintstones

Back pain!  You've got back pain!
Your nerves jumped you like a bunch of thugs!
Back pain!  You've got back pain!
And your only question's, Where's the Drugs?

Maybe... you have blown your L4 disc! would have halved the risk!

Back pain! You've got back pain!
You're in fashion now, you're all the rage!
Back pain! You've got back pain!
Welcome to your middle age!

Peggy and Tom fed us last night and we did music. I wasn’t actually in that much pain last night, I just can’t move very fast because I know exactly what will happen if I do and the sole of my right foot is almost entirely numb. Just now when I woke up I realized that I am now getting occasional shooting pains down the other leg, in more or less the same places that are troubling me on the other side. Paul will have the motorbike today and John will drive me to my appointment; I don’t know exactly when the CT scan will be but likely sometime today, possibly tomorrow.

I dreamed that Catherine (old bud from Toronto) and I went exploring in micro gravity… in full suits … with no tethers …. an abandoned space station. It wasn’t until I got back to something solid that I realized what a boneheaded maneuvre THAT was. I think my back was just trying to tell me how very wonderful the notion of no gravity would be right now….. Okay. It’s too early for more vulture killing drugs… do I want one of the jibber jabber pills, or do I want one of the “may cause drowsiness” pills? Decisions, decisions.

NO, I am not going to work today.

2006-06-04— Posted by: allegra

Generally when I don’t post it’s as a result of illness; this was certainly the case yesterday. I was not actually able to get out of bed until 2 in the afternoon yesterday; previous attempts resulted in me curling up in a fetal ball and yelling in a very non-Hollywood kinda way.

Paul helped me into my clothes and drove me to the hospital, where I was attended to right away, by which I mean to say that somebody shot my ass full of morphine within an hour and sent me home with Shumthing Shtrong.

I am not currently experiencing pain, it’s more like discomfort, and I can’t really sit for any length of time. I will mention that the sole of my right foot is completely numb, the doc thinks I’ve blown a disk, and I’m supposed to go straight back to the hospital if I lose mobility or start wetting myself, which, thanks be to the laws of physics, is not currently a problem.

I am supposed to have a CT scan tomorrow. Gotta go, it’s hurting again.

I can’t get any freaking sympathy
2006-06-02— Posted by: allegra

Never poke a pharmacy student in the ribs, this is what might happen…. Brooke sayeth:

Bah, the heart risk is only for high doses. Plus it would just be multiplying your already very low risk of a heart attack. (Maybe. The majority of NSAID studies are on, surprise! an overwhelmingly male patient population.) An NSAID’s reaaaaalllll murder weapon of choice is causing bleeding stomach ulcers.

(aren’t I cheerful! ulcer odds: way below 1%)

Hee hee, voltaren vulture crisis. I must spread news of the piteous plight of the kidney of the carrion-eater among my pharmacy peers.

Rural Tennessee or Western Washington?
2006-06-02— Posted by: allegra

I have obtained a picture of a coworker’s backyard. It is too funny, in a low key kinda way, not to share. Hey Paul! Our backyard doesn’t look like this, and it’s all your fault.

So I read the news….
2006-06-02— Posted by: allegra

And find out my drug may kill me. Well, so will this back pain. Read the wikipedia article on the NSAID I’m taking right now… it kills vultures! For true!

2006-06-02— Posted by: allegra

I have to stop writing about my obsessions! Getting up this morning did not trigger zugswang, but Jumpin’ Elwy Yost, this is not much fun. Another perfect night of sleep, woke up maybe twice, (once because Paul muttered, “I have to get up,” in his sleep), and didn’t experience much back pain at all while horizontal. The slow, Everestian climb toward verticality was not accompanied by immobility, just rude amounts of pain. I stumped up and down the living room trying to shake it off. It’s only 5:30 in the morning; Paul and Katie are off to the Seattle Music Experience today as a field trip.

At Keith’s invitation, watched Casablanca again last night; I had forgotten what a great movie it is. The only fly in the oinkment is the casually racist attitude towards Sam the Piano Player and the other minority dudes and dudettes (Dooley Wilson’s actually called a BOY by Ingrid Bergman) but for 1942 it wasn’t too god awful. Oh, and let’s not forget that Gestapo Nazis don’t wear Luftwaffe uniforms, another clanger, but oh well.

Finally, Diclofenac is a really weird drug. I’m not getting much if anything in the way of side effects, but when it’s worn off, I seize up like a four by eight.

2006-06-01— Posted by: allegra

After an amazing nights’ sleep – we went to bed early and didn’t waken until 7 am, most unusual – I moved to get up and went straight into a spinal Zugswang which lasted about 3 minutes. I couldn’t sit back down; I couldn’t put all the weight on my right foot; I couldn’t walk. Shrieking in pain, I appealed to Paul, who acted as a human cane so I could get out to the kitchen and get some food on board for the anti-inflammatory to sit on.

I am still in so much pain that I can’t force myself not to breathe shallowly. It took me five minutes to feed the cats, and I am contemplating getting dressed with horror and resignation. Up next…. pain killers. And then a horrible ride to work.

Went home from work early….
2006-05-31— Posted by: allegra

My back was just screeching in pain… took me 20 minutes to get to the car. The doc took one look at me, sent me for x-rays and prescribed an anti-inflammatory which seems to be working already (who knows, right?). Anyway, I don’t feel like killing myself anymore (at 2:30 this afternoon it was a near thing) and Katie bought me sushi for dinner, so I declare myself improving; I have now popped some more pain killers and despite it only being 6 pm I’m off to bed.

Dr. Filk may get his old job back; we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Still no sign of Pokey, but I still have hope.

Perimenopause sucks.

Paul’s off to visit a neighbour in hospital. Love that man.