last half of December 2005

Here’s an interesting picture
2005-12-30— Posted by: allegra

March of the Penguins
2005-12-29— Posted by: allegra

We’re currently watching March of the Penguins, which is definitely family viewing. Paul is off to work. I have finished all of my laundry and put it away. (It’s the putting away part that is so remarkable.) Brooke picked up a copy of the mandolin music for O Brother Where Art Thou for Keith (which he will be paying for today, I piously hope). I will be returning the accordion and some other stuff to Peggy’s place today (sorry Peggy, can’t keep the accordion).

Jewel Staite’s blog is full of her sister’s babies, it’s extremely cute and funny. Anybody who wants to can access it off Serenity is #25 in rentals and #3 in sales. No frikkin surprise there.

Keith is juggling three balls without looking. Wow.

Gave Phyllis the Globe and Mail Christmas crossword… her eyes sort of glazed over, and why not, the puzzle and clues are two pages across. I am massively in Sudoku land, but I’ve never progressed beyond an easy one.

Stuck 222 dollars worth of fluids in the vehicle yesterday. The tranny fluid was… uh… rather dark in color; the oil was crispified and the rad needed flushing in the worst way. Now the vehicle is much happier, although the joy would be complete if the spark plugs were changed.

Penguin colonies are NOISY.

Today I make file folders for 2006 and clear out the plant room, which will be easier than it sounds cause most of the stuff in there is just plain garbage.

Make mine wild
2005-12-27— Posted by: allegra

A risk benefit analysis of wild vs farmed salmon.

Had a simply wonderful Boxing Day meal yesterday; fed Phyllis, Glenn and Maggie, Jessica D, Keith Kate Paul and myself. Spaghetti squash, mashed taters, bowling balls (brussel sprouts) and a big big hunk of roast pork with sauerkraut. Man, it was tasty. For some reason I completely forgot ALL the fresh vegetables I prepped (Radishes? Carrots? Celery with extra crunch?), so, guess what, I had salad for breakfast this morning. Actually salad and coffee isn’t a bad way to start the day.

Today Paul’s at work and I have the car so I will be trying to think of something that doesn’t involve a hellacious amount of walking but is reasonably touristy for Phyllis; I’m thinking the Sun Yat Sen garden, or is that the imperialist running dog garden, I can never keep it straight. Also, laundry. Why does laundry keep happening? And why are there so few clothes I want to wear even when they are clean? I am puzzled.

Ironing for peace?

Bizzzzarre. Much in this universe puzzles me. Sigh.

There is way too much attractive sugar in this house right now.

Relatives visiting
2005-12-26— Posted by: allegra

Today we pick up Phyllis, Paul’s mum, from the airport (actually we have to be there in about 40 minutes….) and Katie is off on her shopping trip with her gal pal Jessica D.

Yesterday’s Christmas gathering included *yeah yeah yeah* BROOKE, who magically reappeared from her family gathering up the Valley with her mighty might banjo. And it included Keith singing Angel Band with us (the lyrics are in the mighty mighty Rise Up Singing) as well as Down in the River to Pray and Big Rock Candy Mountain. Down in the River to Pray is one of those songs that generates intense heat amongst the people all trying to play it all at the same time (the time signature is bizarre, frankly) so I cut the comedy and said, “We’ll all have a LOT more fun if we sing it a capella,” to which Brooke said, “Works for me” and that is what we did. So we could concentrate on enjoying it rather than futzing with adding and deleting beats.

Anyway, the singing stuff from O Brother Where Art Thou was as much of a Christmas present as Keith could have asked for, so along with the wonderful turkey dinner (I made salad… and brought pineapple. Did you know that fresh ripe pineapple goes really well with turkey? I didn’t until last night.) Oh, and I brought smoked salmon pate and Peggy thankfully had bikkies to put it on, and I garnished them with italian parsley and avocado, so there, extremely festive. Later on today, or is it tomorrow? I am feeding Phyllis and Glenn and Marilyn. Pork Roast I think. Haven’t seen them for ages, me happy. There is WAY too much chocolate in my life right now, although Cleo’s shortbread cookies, as far as I’m concerned, could be piled hip deep and it wouldn’t be enough. Jessica D’s mom made rum balls. My tongue wants a vacation from sugar. Dax bought Katie a piano chord chart for Christmas and it is now hanging over the keyboard in the livingroom. Is there anything else I can jam in here???? More later, of course.

Keith at his blue belt grading
2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Let’s try this again…..

enough sleep
2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

Now we clean. Grisly, eh? Helluva way to spend Christmas.

Shown are all my Granny’s descendents and spouses. A respectable sized mob. Aren’t the boys adorable???? They were so well behaved at Earl’s I kept rubbing my eyes and wondering how we were related…

2005-12-25— Posted by: allegra

It’s a rather festive time of year…. my grandmother turns 90+, my parents have their (gasp! choke… Wheeeehueeeeze!) 49th wedding anniversary, and some guy in a sweaty costume scares children while shaking bells and making noises that sound like rude references to working women.

We took the ferry to join my parents, my uncle and his wife and child and daughter in law and grandchildren, my brother and my grandmother at a meal at Earl’s on Blanshard in Victoria. (Talk about easy directions. Uh, get off the ferry and drive until you see a building on the left with two large scabrous fibreglass parrots). We ate ourselves into a pleasant state of repletion (which science fiction novel did I steal that from?) took family pictures, and just plain had a mellow, mellow time. Now we are home again, and we’ve fed the cats including the Pokester, are grabbing a quick bite, and we’re going to settle in and watch Serenity with Joss Whedon’s commentary.

Tomorrow morning we will have the present opening – TamTam’s prezzies – and we will also have the opening of the cash envelopes, a fine family tradition – and then we will attempt to clean the house to the point that a woman who was raised with proper standards of cleanliness (ie, my mother in common law) will feel welcome here. I figure we should get up around nine, have a leisurely breakfast, bash at it all four of us for a couple of hours, and then knock off for dim sum, or maybe a pizza. Paul is making hot rum toddies.

I bought gifts for three people this year. I’m not allowed to say who I bought one of them for, but I bought presents for Katie’s mom in common law Suzanne (she really really liked her gift which I have been jonesing to buy her since Mike first showed it to me) and for Keith, who is foregoing money for a digital voice recorder. All things considered, I did a pretty good job of keeping my hands in my pockets this Christmas. Paul bought me warm socks and brightly coloured cotton tights for Christmas. Warm fuzzies, darlin’.

Karl and Cleo brought us Christmas cookies. Yum. I will return fire, ahem, provide an exchange, when I get around to cooking biscotti early next week.

I am really in a remarkably happy and relaxed mood, and hearing Alan’s voice on the phone (all I need is Hanukkah gelt! give me Hanukkah gelt?!) was the flourish at the end of the day.

A happy, warm and filled with soul-friends Christmas to you all! I’ll have pix of the family celebration when I’ve uploaded them.

2005-12-23— Posted by: allegra

Saw Bryan P for the first time in about a year at the Golf Course last night. I said, speak to me of your first born son (first grandson, both sides of the family) and he whipped out his laptop and gave me a slide show. His 3 month old son is among the cutest babies ever ever ever. Ever. Ever. He looks like a cross between a cherub and a leprechaun, Then I said, so, uh, speak to me of your wife’s labor and delivery, and of course, you ask a new dad this and whoo hoo, an hour goes by like nothing. I know, I’m sick, but I just love the grisly detail, and you never get to talk about it often enough when it’s that new, and I know from past experience that he’s a hell of a raconteur.

In attendance otherwise were a small horde of past and present fellow workers, including Mike the Perfect Master, Rob B, Dave, Brian C and Chari, Ian and Sarah, Susan N, my Paul, Tony Z, John B, Otto-man (it was great to see him) and Jerome and Shannon. Ah. Wonferdle. It was just the kind of gathering we all desperately needed.

Then Paul and I went home and went to bed. Paul slept like I’ve never seen him sleep, which after four days of nights was a plus.

How very provoking
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Grrr, aargh. My brother just sent me a link to his “I Hate Victoria Drivers” blog, and it’s alternately hilarious and wonderfully written. Visualize using your turn signal. Indeed. In space, nobody can hear you scream “Use your ****ing turn signal, you ignoramus!”

If anybody wants to see the link, lemme know.

Wounded Keith
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Keith had a belt test today. He got clipped during sparring practice, but he has a good feeling about his grading, and will know in about three weeks. Doesn’t he look entirely cute, and sort of James Marstersish? Sigh.

I’m not even going to say what the video is called
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

Found this. Perfect. Alan, I’m assuming you have already seen this. Christmas carols for the new age. Or not.

????? uh uh !!!!
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

I have no idea how to describe this video. It’s by turns deeply disturbing, very artistic, almost erotic in a majorly creepy kinda way and you should definitely watch with the sound on. Bendy bendy bendy girl. For sure. Yeah. Ow.

This is Giles
2005-12-22— Posted by: allegra

He introduced me to Don Ross, Sherlock (a computer logic puzzle which I still play) and I got some free computer help too, long about ten years ago in Montreal. He’s always been a wonderful photographer, and this self portrait of his, taken in 1991, is one of my all time faves. He’s screaming, just in case you’re wondering about the symbolism. He’s living in Georgia. He has mentioned that being a normal Canadian in the heart of the gun-toting south has been interesting and challenging. I got permission to cross post this from his blog.

Swinging is legal in Canada
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

Jumping Jimmy Christmas!!!!! We may be the retard at the family reunion, as per Tucker Carlson, but by Goddess we know how to have a good time.

Happy happy news

Annals of crusty old buggerdom
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

My father, who had surgery on Monday, and is getting out of hospital today, will be WORKING tonight. I’m telling the kids it’s so he can pay for their Christmas presents, in an effort to get them off their asses and email him. He’s walking pretty much pain free, which was the whole idea behind seeing the sawbones in the first place.

Saw the trailer for Pirates II Dead Mans Chest last night, looks amusing. Well, hopefully Paul is on his way home so’s I can have the car. I’m spoiled, spoiled I tell you.

I neglected to mention that Paul bought king crab legs on the weekend. The fridge was so full that we left them on the back deck. We ate em. Yum.

enough sleep
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

The top figure is a regular helicoid. The bottom is a Genus One Helicoid…. you’re welcome. Photo credit Indiana University.

a study in contrasts
2005-12-21— Posted by: allegra

I worked in the morning, and I went to Glenda’s funeral in the afternoon, and I went to Chronicles of Narnia in the evening, and now it’s almost midnight, and I’m bagged. Night all.

enough sleep
2005-12-20— Posted by: allegra

pOp sailed through the operation, as anticipated. So I have one fewer thing to worry about. And the laundry is working again, and that’s good. I feel like I’m time looping through season 6 of Buffy. Really, I need a new hobby.

I’m going to Syriana tomorrow.

I finally got around to it
2005-12-19— Posted by: allegra

A couple of weeks ago Tom U tried to tee up dinner with me and Paul, and while we were nailing down dates and what to bring, Paul ‘offered my services’ so to squeak, in producing a TORTE. Five years ago, Paul bought me a spring form pan to make tortes with, but it did not have the desired effect. I remained torte free. Now, I can say that my torteaphobia is over, and I have now produced a light, fluffy and wonderful torte, which was a fitting end to the stellar meal Tom fed us, which consisted of his take on a Waldorf salad and home made Pad Thai (note to Patricia, eat your heart out, baby) the construction of which I viewed with the avidity I usually reserve for porn. has a new animation of President Bush reviewing the past year. It’s pretty funny.

If a President stands up in public and admits to shredding the constitution, can’t somebody start impeachment proceedings? Really, it’s appalling.

It didn’t actually freezing rain today so far so I am going to grab the car whenever Paul gets home.

Must jump in shower. This time I’ll turn on the water, just as a concession to my coworkers.

Winter in Ottawa
2005-12-19— Posted by: allegra

It’s enough to make you want to skate to work on the canals. 1/7th of the fleet went out of service during a snowstorm. If you inspect the picture closely you will see four, count ’em, four, jack-knifed articulated buses. Leo sent me this, of course! With the title “Why you live in BC.”

For those of you who may not be aware, I grew up in Ottawa, so the word “Schadenfreude” DEFinitely applies here. Umlauts not included.

Not enough sleep.
2005-12-18— Posted by: allegra

I may have posted this pic before, apologies if I have. The title is “Impending Doom”.

The breadth, depth and scale of my ignorance never ceases to fill me with awe. I do NOT have kidney problems, although it seems I have some ‘equivocal’ test results which will need to be followed up by the pokings and proddings with which those of us over 40 are so intimately familiar. What I DO have is referred back pain, which is feeding into my abdomen in a fashion which mimics colic. The rest of this medical disquisition I’ll keep off line. Suffice it to say that the number of moments during which I am pain free is very small, and I’m being very sparing with the T3s. I have learned that pain makes me boring.

In other news…..

A brief history of Santarchy. Just so you know, I don’t approve, strangely enough. The way you fight the commercialization of Xmas is NOT TO F*CKING BUY ANYTHING. Like me.

This has not stopped Paul from buying stuff, including stuff for me. Sigh. Honestly. Okay, okay, Keith, I am getting off the computer. Today I cook a torte for Tom U. Wish me luck, I haven’t done it in 15 years.

Dear Mom
2005-12-17— Posted by: allegra

Since nobody but my mother appears to be reading my blog these days, I will return to its raison d’etre; here’s a place where she can find out what’s going on with me.

Well, it’s been an interesting week, mOm. You told me not to talk to you about work even before I started Dis Here Blog Here, because you found it alternately perplexing and boring, and by damn, you’re right (yes, I’m paraphrasing, and for any others reading this, you already know my mother wouldn’t say it in those exact words. Actually, she’s just outgrown the whole notion, being cheerfully retired).

Work IS alternately perplexing and boring. That isn’t going to stop me from talking about the surface stuff, though.

The workload isn’t going down, but I’m managing my time better. We had a departmental company Christmas Potluck yesterday (it’s okay, we can say that, as most of us are either atheists or much quiet about the religious feelings). I brought shrimp, GG brought lasagne, Patricia brought HOME MADE TIRAMISU CHEESECAKE, which prompted multiple orgasms (well, so you’d figure, from the noise) in the Finance group, G brought traditional Christmas potato salad (I had seconds…), GD brought buns, & Lindsay brought something healthy (couscous salad, which I didn’t have seconds of because I ladled out enough to begin with). We laughed our asses off telling funny stories, announced an instant tradition and went back to work well pleased.

The all staff meeting was Thursday. The MP3 that was posted of the proceedings has been extremely popular because the Capo di Tutti Capi swore at timecheck 6:55. Everybody with a soundcard and headphones has heard it. What’s really funny is that the big boss did nothing to erode his popularity by this fluff – if anything, we are all quite happy to have something real happen at one of these meetings, even though the rest of the content was very bad news. No bonus this year. As for next year, although I believe we’ll do better, the posted requirements for meeting our bonus would entail that we stop ordering office supplies, start selling prepaid to space aliens, and send hefty guys with semi automatic weapons to kidnap all the people who have signing authority at our customers and keep them in a room with a big pile of blank cheques, while simultaneously killing all the people who would call accounts receivable when we go out past 90 days. When everybody I know at the company who can do math (and there are a lot of engineers) say that what’s being asked for is either ludicrous or impossible, I relax and say, whatever. Twas ever thus. Our company is like an elephants’ graveyard for CEOs; it will irk me that the one who appears to be the most personable, capable of understanding the business and results driven will hole his boat on our many pointy coral reefs, but it sure won’t surprise me. I guess the Board ENJOYS doing executive searches. This wouldn’t surprise me either. The depths of human masochism and depravity are abyssal.

On to other, more cheerful topics. The music was marginally better at the company holiday cheer party (what, you thought I’d stop talking about work? Pish tosh) this year than last, and the food was just as good. I actually danced with a number of individuals and then pulled the pin around 10 pm. Knowing that you’ll likely be awake at 4 am with tremendous pain makes you want to go to bed early. And sure enough, long about five I woke up with the Pain Signal coming in from the same Bat Station. I will be seeing the doc this morning when the clinic opens. I need to get this bug identified and killed, and get a referral to a kidney specialist.

Katie went out drinking last night and Keith went to the internet cafe, but they both appear to be back in the house. Keith departed last night for CAC, as he said – Computer Assisted Catatonia. Katie spent a very pleasant afternoon Christmas shopping with her Dad. I have declared a moratorium on Christmas, but that doesn’t stop Paul, who has even put a rather Charlie Brownish light decoration in the hawthorne tree out front. You’d think after all these years he would have lost the capacity to surprise me, but he never does; and as I cheerfully admit my addiction to novelty, this is a Better Thing among all the Good Things.

Glenda’s death continues to have ripples through our lives. Her funeral arrangements were, apparently, fairly clearly laid out in advance. The funeral is Tuesday afternoon; I’m not going to the viewing on Monday because I’d prefer to do the show of strength thing with the other friends and employees at the funeral.

I heard from Tori last night… she is well and conferred with me about Mike’s Christmas present. That I’m not buying anybody anything doesn’t prevent me from acting in an advisory capacity.

Lessee. What’s going on in the world.

Stretchable silicon

Humans in England for 700000 years.

Why narwhals have horns.

How bottle gourds got to the Americas.

Better image search than Google?

Personalized Web Search Engine.

Video search engine.

Lots of pain
2005-12-16— Posted by: allegra

Well at least I had one day with no pain. Up at 4 in agony, resolved around 6, back in bed and just barely able to post before I leave for work. Jolly.

First half of December 2005

Ms. Tylenol and Mr. Cipro are on the job
2005-12-15— Posted by: allegra

I went to see a doctor Wednesday morning because I was in so much pain I didn’t feel safe to drive. After a two minute wait at the clinic I got a doctor who believed me when I said OW, inspected my pee and said YUK and wrote a scrip for three days of Cipro (until the culture comes back), which meant that from the time I decided to see a doctor to the time I got antibiotics into me was about an hour. Then I drove back to work, sat in the cafeteria, slugged down some Tylenol, and then floated up to my desk and attempted to work for the rest of the day.

During the course of the day I found out we have a work wiki (!!??!!) and I will be pursuing this information next week. But I’ll have to download Firefox. Interesting.

After work I ran into the Energizer VP and we had a full, free and frank discussion about serial numbers. This is going to prevent me from looking like an ass at the All Staff meeting this morning, so I’m really glad I talked to him, and I gave him a heads up about an issue which may potentially bite him, forewarned is forearmed etc.

So I’ll go back to my first question for the Capo di Tutti Capi, which is how’s the product rationalization going? Zow.

Check this out, forwarded by a colleague.

Woke up this morning pain free. I may be, like, frisky for Christmas.

Helped Katie deliver papers last night. One more delivery to go, thanks be to the Blessed Virgin.

I have no functioning laundry at home. I’m starting to cross dress out of sheer desperation.

My dad’s surgery has been put over until the 19th December. Keep your fingers crossed.

And some good news
2005-12-14— Posted by: allegra

Janice sailed through the surgery. I got almost as much in the ‘gorey’ detail department as I wanted from Alan, whose voice on the phone was a welcome event last evening; Janice was having a restorative snooze. I imagine I will get more when we visit them over New Years’; but in the meantime, I am facing forward and thinking about my dad.

I worked from 7:10 until 8:10 yesterday, that’s am to pm, Snively. And it’s still piled to the ceiling. Anyway, it’s late and I have to get out of here and go back to work. I am planning on working more reasonable hours today. Like maybe only until 6.

Give someone you love a hug today.

A eulogy of sorts
2005-12-14— Posted by: allegra

Glenda Haist died today. That’s a little picture of her up in the top corner. She was one of the most honest, decent, hardworking and loving individuals I ever met; her fortitude during her hospitalization and under her many personal trials, which I will not enumerate, was an inspiration to those of us who were lucky enough to know her.

Her generosity spilled over onto all of us. You could count on her to help plan a wedding or a wedding reception; she bought wonderful gifts, and brightened the office with her charming, often made-by-her-mother outfits, which sported pussy cats and Santas. She had a sharp word only for people she thought should know better, and held herself to a higher standard than just about anybody else.

I called Mike and Tom U to tell them; Mike was flabbergasted and Tom taken aback. Paul was shocked and upset when I told him (he had a big hug for her the last time he visited her), as was Katie, who had gone with me to visit her in hospital as well.

I’ll say only three things. Diabetes is a scourge. We must love each other while we can. She will be missed.

Updating the basement and the DSM
2005-12-13— Posted by: allegra

The basement, where the flood was, is shaping up nicely. The subfloor is now in and Paul is insisting on putting in laminate flooring. I so do not want to put in laminate flooring, but I suppose as long as we have cats it makes sense. Paul also wants to put laminate in the kitchen, and on the stairs, etc. Whatever makes him happy – I just get to help pay for it, I don’t actually get a say in what happens, or what it looks like (I personally think the laminate in the dining room is hijjus). After all, if Paul REALLY cared what I think, we would have had a functioning dishwasher in the upstairs portion of the house some years ago, hm? Now he is going to take me to task for whacking him in public, and I say, bring it on. The dishwasher that is. Yes, laminate is easier to clean. It’s also much noisier and a lot colder. I suppose I should look on the bright side – Paul has given me an opportunity to present him with an undeviating stream of complaints (Dunnett reference, points if you know which book) for as long as we’re in the house. There, that’s better.

A small but vocal minority of American psychiatrists think that racism and bigotry which cause employment and emotional difficulties to the person so afflicted should be classified as mental illness. I don’t know what about this notion is more appalling – that we’d trust a bunch of Jew doctors to diagnose it properly, that racists could use it to spring themselves from legal difficulties, or that racists could use it to force employers to keep them on because “it’s illegal to discriminate against people with mental disabilities”! I already have an abiding distaste for psychiatry but this bids fair to push distaste past the door of loathing. I guess that makes me mental, big whoop. Oh, and by the way, the reference to the Jew doctors was in response to a story about a woman who was deathly afraid of Jews, and knew she needed help, but wouldn’t go to see a psychiatrist because… well, what are the odds? We all know what the problem with racial stereotypes is. If I meet one more self satisfied, suffering-insensitive white person, I’m going to really really have to whine.

One of the techs sent me this
2005-12-12— Posted by: allegra

If you look at this, you will understand the life of tech support.

enough sleep
2005-12-11— Posted by: allegra

Head part III
2005-12-11— Posted by: allegra

Now in a bug veil. But you should see her in a flying helmet. Tres chic.

head part II
2005-12-11— Posted by: allegra

Dressing up
2005-12-11— Posted by: allegra

So, here’s the styrofoam head I acquired with thanks from Tori, dressed up with a special hat. I was thinking of taking it in to work, and then realized that the message I would convey having this perched over my desk might not be all that welcoming. Accurate, perhaps, but not welcoming. I wanted also to leave it with a “frankentine” card on the desk of one of my beloved coworkers, but I’m not sure he’d either get, or once having got, appreciate the joke. Actually, there is precisely one person I could leave it with, but that’s because he gave me a zombie card last Valentines day, which I will treasure forever. The next two lines I had to delete, which is too bad, because they were rather amusing. ‘s tragic, having ta mind my mouth.

enough sleep
2005-12-11— Posted by: allegra

wonderful pix

Katie and Paul are off doing what is hopefully her last delivery of local papers. We got the computer back from the Krankenhaus – it was riddled with viruses, but appears to be all good now, and we’re not using Norton Antivirus anymore.

I’m in the middle of a major Buffyfest.

John is off filking at Cindy’s place. I didn’t really feel up to it – my cold has got me all sniffy and hoarse.

2005-12-09— Posted by: allegra

I am posting from an Internet Cafe in Brentwood Mall, which I don’t recollect ever having done before. I have the day off work, so I can collect a baby shower gift for a woman who hates me, and hang with Keith while he job hunts, and and hang with Katie while she is unhappy about various things that need not bleed onto this blog, as ’twere.

Work continues to occupy way too much of my brain.

Dined at House of Dosas last night. The four of us ate ourselves into a very happy state for $50 (but Paul and I stayed vegetarian and drank no beer, which helped). The food was beyond superlative – truly, some of the best food of any ethnicity I ever ate. Mike and Tori were in fine form, and then we headed back to Mike’s place, watched Oz/Dark Side (again, but this time it seemed like there were fewer coincidences for some reason) and then I bought a head off Tori (she handpainted a styrofoam wig stand with half muscles and half skull Way F*cking Cool and I will post a picture when my computer is up again. It is currently on top of the tv upstairs. Wonder when the tv is going back downstairs.)

Did I mention the computer is in the Krankenhaus? Did I mention that kitchen floor is being pulled up while the floor is being laid downstairs? Did I mention I bailed on Paul to run away and commit consumer mayhem? I am very bad, but fortunately Paul has just the punishment in mind for me (gd&r).

We also acquired a pencil sketch of Amelia Earhart and a piece of cardboard painted with the contents of a typical grrrl’s purse. WHICH as I suspected Katie dived onto and instantly loved.

Got the keyboard back from Daxus, with thanks. Anyway, I am overdue back home so I will grab kinder and head out, as our evil consumerism has been accomplish’d. I think we may stop at Cobb’s and get bread and maybe pick up some milk while we’re at it.

enough sleep
2005-12-08— Posted by: allegra

Man, it was axmurderworthy fog in Burnaby this morning. Other than that, nothing printable to report.

2005-12-07— Posted by: allegra

Yeesh. The Victoria trek seems to be in jeopardy because Paul is getting a cold – there’s certainly a standard lemon of a cold going around, and Paul is balking at the prospect of giving my pOp a cold just prior to surgery. Frankly, I’m in a damn the torpedoes kind of mood, but Paul is currently on the phone to Cherished Female Progenitor to find out whether it’s on or not.

I had a lovely soak and swim last night at the pool; joined by John, Peggy, Tom and Brooke. Brooke swam a mile. I only did 14 lengths, but the weigh scale purred at me so I am feeling somewhat more cheerful.

Keith is not looking for alternate employment as hard as I’d like him to, but o well. He proposed marriage to a clerk in Lougheed Mall yesterday. Cute, works in a reproduction sword shop and likes anime? He couldn’t help himself… he is alleged to have said, “Marry me… just kidding!” and for some reason this amused her. One of these days some gal is going to think, “Half in jest, whole in earnest” and then Keith is DOOMED.

I am pain free for the first time since I went to the hospital a couple of weeks back.

I’ve got Daniel Lanois in my brain this morning, “Are you wearing your colours?” Answer came there… YES I am wearing tie dye this morning. Basic black and tie dye, c’est moi.

2005-12-06— Posted by: allegra

Not Safe For Work
2005-12-06— Posted by: allegra

In the spirit of caring, and sharing, for Christmas…

Should have phoned my mother earlier
2005-12-06— Posted by: allegra

20 minutes on the phone with my mother and my resemblance to a sane human being is markedly more accurately rendered. I am going to see her for her (blessed feculae!) 70th birthday. God almighty, how DID you get that old? And there’s me old dad, springing for a meal, not knowing that at least three more, and possibly four more, people are coming for a festive lunch in my mother’s honour.

Was irrationally and greatly cheered by Jim P’s comment:

Sorry to hear your job sucks. It seems so cool from the outside. Would it comfort you to know I detest most everything about my job, especially my moronic and abusive supervisors? And Machiavelli could learn a lot from some of my manipulative coworkers.

I must re-iterate, it is not my immediate supervisor (whom I revere) whose blood I wish to use to fertilize our profit margins. No, indeed. And as it would be indiscrete and possibly actionable to describe what I would like to do and how I would like to do it, to those many, those deserving vermin, earwigs, headlice and bedbugs infesting our corporate body in these parlous times, I won’t. I greeted a new coworker today at a meet and greet session with

I’m Allegra and I’m here under duress

, and then enjoyed the meeting. Bizarre. It turned out I came away with no fewer than 8 action items, which I took care of in a single email (I am quite effective when I don’t have an ERP like a fucking boat anchor tied to my already Gargantuan ass).

SPOILER ALERT. Don’t read this if you are not a Firefly fan, it will be really boring.

Keith and I are working on a script for the Second Season Opener of Firefly. It is MAJOR fun, especially since we are introducing a “morally ambiguous” character who can go toe to toe with River and killing off the blue handed guys in the first 15 minutes. We’ve decided to be canon and leave Wash and Book out of it as living characters (except, OF COURSE) that both of them will make virtual reappearances at crucial moments. I know, it’s cheap, but when I realize that Harry Potter gets to see his parents when he’s duelling Voldemort, it comforts me. (Ie, go ahead, it’s FICTION, have fun.) Also, we’re figuring on making Inara a series regular but not a core cast member (which sucks a mop, frankly) but she did found a Companion House on a border planet, so we’re going to leave that as is and mess with it as a possible plot device.

So along with morally ambiguous dude we are thinking of a pilot to replace Wash, or have a running gag about how they keep hiring a pilot, who then screws up royally and has to be fired, and going back to River, and then hiring another pilot, etc etc. until they figure out that River IS Serenity, somehow. Like how to belabor the obvious…. Oh, and Jubal Early IS NOT DEAD (Joss hinted at this in an interview, and I danced and sang when I read that – heroes are cheap like borscht, but a great villain is a FIND). His ship has an override which Early doesn’t think about until after River is back on board Serenity (he’s so startled by the turn of events) so she doesn’t ‘read it’ on him. So the ship comes back and dutifully collects him, and then he has some interesting backstory adventures, and then returns to the scene of the crime with a really really deep thirst for revenge, a thirst so deep that he would – well, later on that one. Too bad there’s only one guy in the ‘Verse evil enough to stop him…. and he’s on Serenity’s side. Fan Fic is Fun! OOh. And Zoe will get a new love interest but she’s so stoic nobody notices except her. Did I mention the Professional Stowaway? Only one moon to go and he’ll have been everywhere in the ‘Verse at least once. And Simon will get somebody to talk to about River who actually understands what’s going on. Oh, and FINALLY, an explanation of why the Reavers kill humans and not each other, and some of their ‘instant culture’ and how they manage technology when they don’t appear to have much in the way of conversation.

2005-12-06— Posted by: allegra

Pic credit Robert Hogg, who went fishing, and had a four metre long great white shark chew on his boat. Not shown, his wife whacking the shark with a paddle, shrieking hysterically, It’s not PAID FOR you BASTARD! Okay, I made that up.

Still experiencing transports of misery in virtually all aspects of my life. Anybody who wants me to feel better should offer body work, and plenty of it, by damn.

2005-12-04— Posted by: allegra

Too adorable not to post…. the dog is in the employ of the Police, of course.

Went to the Oracle
2005-12-04— Posted by: allegra

I finished the Eyre Affair. I was about halfway into the book before it really grabbed me, but after that I was sunk, I had to finish it.

My back still hurts, but I soaked it last night. I also swam 20 lengths and have taken off a pound and half since the last time I was down there, which was startling. Dax, Kyle and Jasmine joined me and Katie at the pool. I bought them Mickey D’s afterwards because teenagers don’t believe you love them unless you feed them.

It is MUCH easier to deliver papers in daylight.

I consulted the Oracle about my job, and it delivered a very terse worded bitch slap. Basically, things suck immensely now, but anything I do will make it worse. Oh, Oh, suck it up, Buttercup.

books n things
2005-12-04— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been crying off and on for 24 hours, and screaming at everybody in the house, except for John, who has a freaking black belt. But now it all makes sense. I want to quit my job!!!! I am hating every minute of it these days, and when you’re answering customer calls, that’s not good. And when you’re taking calls because the senior managers are (sigh, deleted)…. As soon as I realized that, I no longer wanted to kill everyone in the known universe and suck the brains out of their skulls. It’s not me, it’s THEM!!!!! So it’s time to polish up the resume and get going.

Yes, I won’t be able to make as much money. But, frankly, I don’t care. It would take a miracle to make my place of employment “a place of honor” and “the habitation of heroes” again. So I am going to compose two resignation letters, one for private consumption by the select few, and the terse and polite one for the HR staffers. I can’t believe the relief I feel. I’ve been telling people for years I’ll go out of that job feet first. Fortunately, things change, your perspective shifts, and life shows signs of getting better.

Ha ha, just kidding. I’m supposed to hang in there because we’ll be getting a new phone system. If it works, all my current agony will dissolve like epsom salts in warm water. But if it doesn’t, I will quit. I can’t take much more of this. I’m not joking about the screaming and crying; I’m not joking about the lying in bed worrying and worrying and worrying about work. It sucks.

Finished the Jared Diamond book, it was wonderful. Still working on the Eyre Affair. Working my way through the Serenity movie companion (which has the original script – hey Joss, you WANTED it to be 2.5 hours long? Wouldn’t have hurt my feelings.)

Paul can’t sleep. Katie quit the paper route, but we still have four deliveries to make. Off we go. Then I’m going to buy some incredibly expensive nice food and bring it home and cook it. I’m in the mood to spoil myself.

I send hugs and nudges to Alan and Janice, currently disporting themselves in San Diego, Tom and Peggy whose last meal was a sanity saver, and to Mike and Tori – who will live together ever so briefly before she’s off to further her education in Glasgow for three months. Sigh, Scotland in January. Seeing as how she grew up in Newfoundland, she’s probably better able to cope with it than I.

Now it’s time to consult the oracle…. I will consult the oracle about my job, and a few other things. Not the Tarot… I’m leaning towards the I Ching.

enough sleep
2005-12-02— Posted by: allegra

Tom and Peggy fed me and Paul and John last night, and as usual it was yummy. Then we soaked. I did Four Whole Laps in the Pool, before my back said screw you. Didn’t go to writers group because I can’t stand the commute… I’m thinking really I want to start my own.

I am reading Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, on loan from Scott the Zombie from work. (He’s not a zombie, he’s an engineer, but he did the Zombie Walk this past year and you know how these mental images stick. Must remember the corn syrup and red food coloring this year, I swore a mighty oath I will do it next year.) As a result of reading the Diamond book I can feel my consciousness expand. It’s better than admitting that I am also trying to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by PK Dick and that I’m dipping into Dunnett’s The Game of Kings (for the uncountableth time) or that I’m reading the Writer’s Book of Days (again, but mostly for Jack Kerouac’s advice on writing, which is the most hopped up poetry evah) all in the same time period. This plus the work reading, which is enough to make my brain explode from the lack of adjectives. Mike the Time Lord (not Mike M) once referred to me as the “adjective goddess” which gave me a happy glow in my node of nodes. Adjectives are very important.

Starting new paragraphs is important too.

The world continues to suck in new and unforeseen ways, although my little corner of it seems to be ok so far. I really think I’m in the right place for the apocalypse, however it wishes to express itself.

I will be waking up Katie now, because I’m taking her into work to pay her to do a bunch of stuff I simply can’t find time to do – which involves the usual counting sorting and stacking. Pretty soon we will be moving to a different location in the building where I work, and I have unFORTunately acquired a huge mound of crap which I will have zero room for after the move (because, like everybody else, I expand to fill the space available, except with respect to my clothes, which stay the same size while my integument ever expands). So I will be calling in my dejunking assistant, the charming and hardworking Katie.

Dave D at work sent a bunch of us links to the party platforms of the major parties and urged us to vote with our consciences on Jan 23rd. I said, But What About the Rhinos!? and his response was to post the Wikipedia Rhino link, which I recommend. Gone, but not forgotten. Don’t forget the Christian Heritage party too; they are fielding no fewer than 36 candidates in this Federal Election. Wonder if they’ll get their deposit back.

World AIDS Day triggered many handwringing articles, and I just think to myself, yeah. Well, in the 22nd century, anybody who’s left alive will likely be living in a society where women’s fertility is so tightly controlled that it will make purdah look like Wreck Beach. Just think, no more birth control. No rubber, no condoms; that means birth, fertility and disease control will be dependent on men standing over their womenfolk with pointy objects. Why no rubber? Ah, well, we’re really close to a nasty lot of climate change and a really nasty lot of rubber blight – in fact we’ve already dodged a number of bullets on this. Wrap that rascal while you can, boys. Or as a friend of Jim E’s once remarked, No Party Hat, No Puddy Tat, which you have to admit smacks of genius. Yes indeed, I’m living in the Golden Age of Godless Feminism, and I’d be a freaking idiot if I didn’t at least acknowledge it.

Tonight, beer at the Golf Course. Tom U and Jim A are supposed to be in attendance. Sigh. As I remarked to Brian C… dip me in honey and roll me in geeks.

Cry me a river
2005-12-01— Posted by: allegra

Tubby Black’s Blues.,6903,1651713,00.html

sundry and various
2005-12-01— Posted by: allegra

pOp’s surgery is finally scheduled for mid-December, yippee.

I light a candle for all my family experiencing health problems at the moment, this means you too Janice….

Katie, Paul and I delivered papers last night. May God strike dead the peeple who don’t clear their freakin’ walkways. Tried to shove the paper through one slot and heard….

MUFFLED MIDDLE AGED MAN’S VOICE: don’ want no ****in’ paper!)

Allegra: You’ll miss the Canadian Tire Flyer!

(MUFFLED VOICE: I don’ give a sh*t!)

My back still hurts.

Work is insane.

Got a very funny email of apology from Sandy for forgetting my birthday (I am at that comfortable stage of life where my birthday isn’t that important anymore so whatevah) but by way of apology she sent me a useful link about kidneys. Which reminds me, time to go drink a big glug of water.

Did I tell you that the bundle buggy exploded the first time we tried to use it? We had to deliver 106 papers from the car last night. Then we were just paralyzed, so we went down to soak at Canada Games Pool. Katie’s day was a nightmare, all in all.

Writers group tonight but I just can’t deal with the commute.

Somebody told me yesterday that they could smell my perfume. You know that cold, sick feeling you get when you have committed a gross solecism? Yeah. Perfume, as they say, is supposed to be applied with subtlety, not a spraybomb.

Last half of November 2005

Grumble grumble SMILE
2005-11-30— Posted by: allegra

So, Katie is an Honour Roll Student with a local paper route. When the farce did this happen? Did I fall asleep and wake up in the Harry Potter ‘Verse? Tonight we fight the snow and sleet to deliver her first papers, and Good Goddess, you should SEE how THICK the papers are this time of year. (Grinning to note my company’s product in the Canadian Tire flyer…) Each of these papers, with the inserts (we finished stuffing late last night) weigh about a pound and a half. Good thing Paul bought me a bundle buggy for my birthday. Katie asked for a paper route 2 years ago and they finally got around to calling her. The paper route comes with instructions that look like the rough draft of the frikkin’ Normandy invasion.

Saw Mike last night and introduced Keith to Pho. Pho is soup. Soup is good.

My back is trashed. Enough complaining, life is purty darned good right now.

More snow
2005-11-29— Posted by: allegra

I like the tiny snow monster peeping over the top of the roof. You can tell there was ZERO snow last night, it’s stuck to the clothesline.

Woke to two inches of snow on everything
2005-11-29— Posted by: allegra

Black and white pic of the figs.

What isn’t being said
2005-11-28— Posted by: allegra

And why were they suicidal in the first place?

Picture is of a model of the Nonsuch, which, 37 feet long and with 12 crew, crossed the ocean in 1668 to trade for furs; its successful voyage prompted the granting of the Charter for the Hudson’s Bay Company. What isn’t being said…. The trade wasn’t really a very good deal for the people then living here.

Paul is doing yoga, I just booted Katie out of bed, and I’m ready to go back to work after three blissful days of S&S. That’s one step beyond R&R.

A very pleasant evening
2005-11-27— Posted by: allegra

We ate a nice family meal at Chong Lum Hin (although you should have heard Katie cursing this morning when she realized her father had absconded to work with all of the leftovers, so it isn’t all rosy) and then spent a very pleasant evening watching Buffy and talking. I forced the Tapioca Song on Janice and Alan, which was very mean of me, but I am kinda compulsive that way. It troubles me that I have not yet recorded it to share with an unsuspecting and completely unprepared world; my plan of world domination through infectious tapioca is still in the larval stage.

Then I had a really pleasant sleep, undisturbed and dreamless, and woke up when I felt like it, which was also very good.

The first thing Paul said to me this morning is “I dreamed of snow.” And we got up and son of a gun, it was SNOWING. Unbelievable. It was like, in the words of Lucy Maud Montgomery, a slap in the face when you’re expecting a kiss.

Now I must leap into the car with the kids and do a power shop and get back here in time to let the folks in for an afternoon visit prior to their return to Seattle.

I wish everyone a kind and comfortable Sunday afternoon.

Wish I’d taken the picture
2005-11-27— Posted by: allegra

Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to wrest the camera out of Paul’s hand, but I narrowly missed witnessing this train derailment at Granville Island. No injuries were reported. When we went to the Model Train etc museum Alan went to a very happy place and started thinking of all of his friends and acquaintances who would go gonzo over this display. There are 6,000 handmade trees in the display. Anyway, I had the great joy of running downstairs and yelling “There’s been a derailment!” at the attendant.

Paul and Janice are off flying. They should be back in time for the family dinner at six at Chong Lum Hin, yum. Katie may or may not join us.

Dax has borrowed the keyboard for the weekend.

Banjos for Brooke
2005-11-27— Posted by: allegra

Check it out. This is a 100 year old banjo. Pic snapped at Granville Island earlier today.

Grrls in Space
2005-11-26— Posted by: allegra

I have no idea where Janice’s buddy Lauryn got this fabric, Mummy, but isn’t it a hoot? Please ensure pOp sees it. If I find out where I can get some I will send you same….This is a bag she made. Covetousness doth explode.

Forgot to mention
2005-11-25— Posted by: allegra

The Burnaby sunrise pic recently posted is also credit Rob of Nine.

enough sleep
2005-11-25— Posted by: allegra

Didn’t get home til ten past three this morning…. just as well I slept in and don’t have to go to work today. Janice and Alan are in town and so we got jawing. Janice, may her name be revered, got me the next three Precious Ramotswe books and a couple of other books which apparently are ‘genre busters’. Ah, having enough to read always makes me feel better.

Went to the Keg for dinner. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be eating meat, but believe me, I drank enough last night, bless the foaming vat of beer.

Off to drink cranberry and fizz and then go pack a lunch for the folks as we are going to walk in Lynn Canyon. So much for the weather being good, it’s quite dreary and drippy.

The whole house seems to have holes cut in it and the laundry is down again as they had to disconnect everything to lay a new floor in the laundry room.

Another Burnaby Sunrise
2005-11-25— Posted by: allegra

sundry and various
2005-11-24— Posted by: allegra

Saw Harry Potter IV and loved it. Best of the four so far in my opinion.

Did I mention that the washing machine also quit? Paul dealt with it. Did I mention that we could have had TWO floods? The pipe going into the old washing machine was ready to let go. And there’s a new tap in the upstairs sink. Paul has been busy, busy, busy.

Did I mention he took me to Horizons for dinner on Tuesday, for, like, no reason? (Horizons is one of the best restaurants in Burnaby). We ate an enjoyable meal. (I had the polenta). Then, when we came out, we had an amazing sight in front of us. You will recollect the fog, of which Rob of Nine has snapped such an evocative picture. Well, picture the same fog, at night, with all the lights of the city shining up through it. It was magical. It acted like healing balm applied to the various smarting bits of my psyche.

Katie came home last night RIGHT after school, and as promised, slept. Then she woke. Ate dinner. Went back to sleep. I’m almost scared to tell her she has a meningitis shot today. But you know, after John nearly died of it as a teenager, I think we have our own object lesson in the family about grabbing the vaccine while one may.

Keith is starting to develop an intense bitterness about being a member of the working poor. Hopefully this bitterness will serve him well when he goes back to school.

Bird of a different feather
2005-11-24— Posted by: allegra

This is what happens when you set the parking brake on an aircraft PRIOR to landing. I think Dumbass about covers this. Aircraft is an EMB-170; date and provenance unknown.

Lulu spots a Pterodactyl
2005-11-24— Posted by: allegra

Of course we know this is not a Pterodactyl, it’s a Damned Large Woodpecker. Lulu of the Birds sent me this; pic is of her back deck. PS. Her parrotlets are BREEDING AGAIN. Coquitlam is going to be up to its oxters in little funny birds.

When the twisted get crafty
2005-11-23— Posted by: allegra

This, friends and neighbors, is a Flying Spaghetti Monster Sex Toy Cozy. Does it say anything about me that I can immediately think of three people I know who NEED one? Stolen from a link provided by Brooke. You are all completely spankable and need to contemplate your issues while bringing me more beer for my kidneys.

up on the rooftop
2005-11-23— Posted by: allegra

Photo credit Rob of Nine.

Cheney comment
2005-11-22— Posted by: allegra

In response to my Cheney pic, Big Al sez: “Arrrrr! As a matter of fact, I AM a pirate…. but don’t tell anyone.”

enough sleep
2005-11-22— Posted by: allegra

I hate drinking fluids during the day that aren’t coffee; after 4 o’clock I prefer tea. If it’s coffee I can drink it, if it’s anything else, I have to force myself. However, coffee isn’t all that great for me right now, so I am trying to drink other things instead and my body is being grumpy about it.

Paul tried to get me to accompany him on his yoga today and I can’t even sit right now. Jiminy Christmas, aren’t I whiny.

Katie asked to be woken up early this morning; I think she’s not even awake enough yet to be monosyllabic, although she had her shower.

Three straight days of fog – I find it amusing that where I work is literally above all the fog. Paul insisted (politely) on taking me to the Horizons parking lot after work yesterday so we could watch the sunset – ah, peachblow and gold and dark, dark blue – and the entire lower mainland was covered in fog, even Capital Hill which normally sticks out a bit. Nothing in Vancouver was visible, not any of the buildings downtown. Not a breath of wind, either. The only other time I’ve seen it like this was about five years ago, when we went up Cypress on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day, and apart from Burnaby Mountain and Capital Hill you couldn’t see squat. Just a rippling, shiny blanket of white. Above the fog it’s icy clear with brilliant sunshine.

Trainees started yesterday. I have been extremely subdued, since things are still ouchy. Not my usual self at all.

Hope you all have a simply lovely day. I, of course, have other plans.

Great Moments in “ooops!”
2005-11-22— Posted by: allegra

Got caught singing “It’s No more Mr. Nice Guy, Let’s Go out and Get Revenge” from Ramboing by Leslie Fish – by the VP HR, in the stairwell. Yikes.

Not enough sleep
2005-11-21— Posted by: allegra

I had a reprise of the pain I had last weekend, which means that the fix was not a fix. I am suspecting a kidney stone and maybe some kidney grit. Anyway, I took two T-3’s, slept fitfully and am now in full bore stunned mode. The pain is gone – more or less.

Experimental Gyroscope
2005-11-20— Posted by: allegra

I boosted this picture from the following story… it is a very special gyroscope that will be used to prove or possibly pick holes in relativity.

Remembered Dog’s Name
2005-11-20— Posted by: allegra

Dog shown above is Lazarus. I assume there’s a story behind that.

Speaking of stories, my invite to the 2006 family reunion has arrived.

enough sleep
2005-11-20— Posted by: allegra

I hate this f*cking mouse, and I am not going to mince words as I say so. I just did the morning post and the mouse was possessed of Satan and made everything disappear – all I did was touch the f*cking thing, I didn’t even click on anything. I’m gonna get me a new one. Don’t tell me about optical mice, the last one I got was junk too.

Here’s the Pandacam link

My mom planted bamboo for to make the Pandas come and in the meantime she can look at this Panda Cub. He’s kipped out now, but he was rolling around like a methed up monkey a minute ago.

Write today in the calendar!!! Keith came home later than Kate. Frankly I never thought I’d live to see the day, but Keith was off gaming at SkyPC. Katie announced that the local teens are doing WWF style wrestling “But they rehearse, so when one of the stunts goes wrong it isn’t usually too bad, not much blood.”

Cue Maurice Chevalier singing “I’m glad I’m not young anymore” because frankly, I don’t think I’d survive a Burnaby minute on the mean streets of this burg as a teenager.

Unbelievable fog, but it’s not just in Burnaby, it’s the entire city. I’m supposed to go to Tori’s place today, which is over yonder on the other side of the city. If I do drive out there I’m going to be vewwy vewwy caweful.

Missed Perpetual Dream Theory’s CD release party, because – this is embarrassing – I slept through it. I’ll leave to your imagination what made me so sleepy so early in the day.

Pic is of Lois’ dog, whose name escapes. Did you ever see such protective coloration? If it wasn’t for the leash and his tongue hanging out, dog’d be invisible.

American History X
2005-11-19— Posted by: allegra

Just finished watching this movie, which was thought provoking and well written.

Katie loaned me a complete outfit; I am now DefinItely Mutton dressed as Lamb. And as such I will be accoutred as I go to my next SPIT! Yee haw. I hope people brought pictures of the Malta trip. A Spit, as I have frequently explained, is a meeting of the Dorothy Dunnett fan club, and it would take a lot of tedious explanation about why it’s called a Spit.

Now a bunch of mostly middle aged women will sit in a very comfortable and nicely decorated condo and clack and chat and eat in a restrained way and talk about all the things we like, which usually includes Paul Bettany, which of the current crop of film stars could play Lymond (I lean Ewen McGregor, puhsonally), Buffy/Firefly, what mystery novels we’ve been reading and getting up to date on various family news. Then we’ll ask pointy questions about the behaviour of some of our favourite Dunnett characters and then eat some more. My all time favourite is still Dr Tobias/Tobie – he’s so REAL. And a complete pain in the ass.

Well, time to go try not to wake up Paul in the attempt to bail out my purse from the bedroom, and head off to the Spit. Poor Paul is working midnights, but we put up blackout curtains the first night and it’s like a cave in there now, so he is actually sleeping marginally better.

Dr. Filk is off to the Island – Ma you can expect to hear from him at some point although he won’t be looking for crash space.

The Many Hats of Brooke
2005-11-18— Posted by: allegra

The cat-lovin’, banjo plucking, nerdy pharmagirl is at it again. Too late boys & girls, she’s married, to a tall, brave, fireball-enhanced nerdfella.

enough sleep
2005-11-18— Posted by: allegra

I went to Riverbend’s blog on my birthday and followed a link and watched a documentary about how the Americans… excuse me, the coalition…. dropped white phosphorus on Iraqi civilians in Fallujah. Oh my brothers and sisters, the things we do to each other. I light a candle for the dead of all the wars. Keith watched it with me.

Katie is encouraging me to watch American History X with her, but I dunno.

Finished the first three Precious Ramotswe (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency) books. I love ’em.

Very much looking forward to not taking Cipro anymore. Virtually no side effects except a slight rise in the background level of itchiness.

Monday 2 new people start and I have to train them, with Patricia. Ack.

This is also Harry Potter opening weekend. Tomorrow I Spit (fan club meeting) and Vote in the Municipal Erections and hopefully get to go do something cultural. I have assembled the names of the people I am going to be voting for.

I am terrified of going into the basement now and I can’t really explain why. I’m afraid of stepping on a nail, mostly.

I have been asked to preach at the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship again, sometime early next year. I have to coordinate car stuff with Paul unless somebody’s prepared to drive down to Sweet and Gooey Bar (Nanaimo) to pick me up. Jim P, hint, hint. Actually I have hordes of relatives and former coworkers in Courtenay Comox these days, shouldn’t be a problem getting a ride with somebody if Paul is working during my ‘preachin’ weekend’. Or mOm? Maybe you can provide car if I provide driving.

There is no beer in the house. Can’t you feel the deprivation and want?

Paul went flying with Dan T. yesterday and fed him dinner. They fed John too so John did the dishes! I hid in the bedroom as I was feeling about as sociable as an animal in a leghold trap.

A bright spot! Spoke to TamTam yesterday!

Nope, clouded over again. More later.

I’m still working on my list of funeral music, but in the meantime… herewith Funeral Music in Britland

enough sleep
2005-11-18— Posted by: allegra

Not much to report. Pic is of Darla; I know _I_ couldn’t sleep that close to Carly’s soccer shoes. Yowza.

There are cinnamon buns in the oven.

The naked gingerbread Wreck Beach Party was fantastic – quite the tableau, with the breaking waves and people sunning themselves on hollow gingerbread rocks (how DID Brooke and Peggy DO that?), but unfortunately, what’s left of it is still too uh … well… I guess “graphic” is the word I’m looking for … to post to my site. Yes, I, even I, have limits.

To the tune of the Volga Boatmen
2005-11-16— Posted by: allegra

Happy birthday

Happy birthday

Your hair falls out

your teeth will too

the yawning grave

it waits for you

but happy birthday

happy birthday!

Happy birthday

Happy birthday

May your deeds

with sword and axe

match your deeds

with sheep and yaks

but happy birthday

happy birthday.

Tonight a feed at Tom and Peggy’s and I get my gingerbread personages. Hopefully. I am really tempted to go back on the T3’s; my back is making me really really crabby and I don’t need the additional help.

Oh joy, oh rapture, I get to help train two new people starting the 21st.

I send virtual birthday oinkouts to Mom, Dad and Jeff; Granny R and Lexi; Alan and Janice, Mike and Tori, Tom and Peggy, Brooke and Joe, Breeonne, sp?; Lois Bob Kaitlyn Jesse; Ruth John Kaileagh Lindsay and Jessica; John (Dr Filk, I presume); Patricia, Lindsay and the lunch bunch including Mario (chocolate!), Peter T (there’s nothing like good old fashioned butter for a good old fashioned heart attack), Rob of 9 (the formation flyer), and Dave DeR (whose inner happiness would be an ongoing trial if it wasn’t deserved); Cousin Gerald; Brother James; Brother Jerome; the triple goddess Red Deer/Morchella/Sandy; the CanaDDian crew (we spit this week!); PD Wohl; Gomi (who has a new album coming out!), Irina in the caf (who is still not back at work because HER back is out), TamTam the magnificent; the crew from Edenvale working on our house right now; Daxus, Suzanne and L’il Z (and Limpet the mighty bat catcher (catch and release….)); also our neighbours Cleo and Karl, and Mo and his family; the Baumfire and little Arden; Kira, Zeek! and Pokey, and Callie the Loud and Repellently Smelly Cat.

Yet another Pokey anecdote. Neighbour down the alley sez to Paul, That your big orange cat? Paul, evasive…. Maybe…. “Well I’d like to thank you, because he killed a squirrel that’s been making a mess of my yard and getting into my attic.” And we found another dead’un in front of the garage. One of these days I’m going to get a picture of him popping his claws into the utility pole in front of our house. The difference in scale is quite hilarious.

Paul bought me a new feather pillow, a new feather duvet and a bundle buggy for my birthday.

Janice, the books & CD got here, thank you!

Katie doesn’t know how she did on the exam and she’s back to school today full time, including taking a course on Canadian Law.

A special final oinkout to Tish and Terry and their fambly. Pic is of Terry, who doesn’t look bad for a guy who went through a windshield recently.

From the Shropshire Star
2005-11-16— Posted by: allegra

Crikey, even the dogs and owls in England are eccentric. Hazel is a dog, and Boobah is a burrowing owl. Hazel recently had puppies… yes, this is another cross species love story, the kind that humans find so entrancing. Anyway, Boobah loves riding on Hazel’s head. Motherhood has its trials.

My South Park Avatar
2005-11-16— Posted by: allegra

First half of November 2005

enough sleep
2005-11-15— Posted by: allegra

Back is still trashed. Made the mistake of checking my work email last last night – rack and ruin are the words that spring to mind. I definitely have my work laid out for me upon my arrival this am.

My fingers are really sore – I practiced mando for about 2 hours last night including not one, not two, but THREE half hearted attempts to write something. No dice. I also have all of the chords worked out for “I can’t get over you, so why don’t you get under me” which is a Nate Bucklin tune. It’s sorta c&w anyway so mando sounds great with it.

The Symphony of Gas continues unabated. I wish I had a personal recorder. When I hit the high notes, it would bring tears to your eyes, and the low notes make the blinds shiver.

Workers are here ripping things up; all the trash from yesterday is out front of the house; I’m assuming somebody will be along to collect it at some point. Much less mold in the basement than I thought, actually.

Katie writes her science provincial today, wish her luck at 1 pm.

Damage assessment
2005-11-14— Posted by: allegra

It appears that most of the flood damage is going to be covered by the insurance company; the carpeting and flooring that got wet downstairs will be replaced as will the interior walls. The mold problems will be looked after. Right now we have about ten air moving and water removing machines in the house, all making a hell of a racket.

On the subject of air moving, I know there is not a single person reading this who cares about my digestive tract, but I have passed the same amount of wind this morning as a high school gym class would in a year. Since 4:30 this morning, I have been going off with metronomic regularity. I didn’t think it was humanly possible to contain this much gas under pressure without exploding, and I have to assume this is the cipro talking. Apart from feeling a little itchier than normal and a having a taste in my mouth that Dow Chemicals would be proud of, I’m not reacting to the antibiotic at all. Considering that some of the side effects are burst tendons, personality changes, photosensitivity, hollow heels and thrumps, I figure I’m doing okay. And I’m not taking Tylenol 3’s any more. As for personality changes, maybe I’ll turn into somebody cheerful and hardworking. God knows Paul could stand the change.

My back is still completely trashed though; I’m going to try to go for a walk later today. Then back to work tomorrow, screech.

One damned thing after another
2005-11-14— Posted by: allegra

AP photo shown is from a guy who flew his aircraft into some wires in Minneapolis. He apparently didn’t speak to his rescue workers, which irritates me; THANKS would have sufficed. He is being tested for drugs and alcohol, but on the other hand, the weather was bad. We don’t have to assume he was a bad guy; witnesses on the ground say he was doing his best to avoid hitting houses.

It’s been a helluva 24 hours, folks. Normally I post earlier, but it’s been jampacked.

First, the upstairs cold water line into the kitchen sink sprang a leak at 5:30 pm yestreen, while I was attempting to deal with my incredible abdominal pain with a hot bath. So I didn’t notice, dickhead that I am, for about an hour, that water was pissing all over everything downstairs. As far as we know no science fiction novels were hurt, but everything directly sitting on the floor in the basement is subject to wicking action and damage. Root cause was some badly done plumbing, which as it turns out could have let go at any time. As we survey the damage, we must keep in mind that it might have been far worse.

In the middle of all this I called Paul home from work (and the supervisor wanted to keep him, for non-airworthiness issues?!) and told him, Hi, Here’s a flood; got the water turned off (with his assistance on the phone) and now you can drive me to the hospital because the pain is now so bad that I can’t think.

So I went to hospital and got my abdominal pain dealt with, and WHICH I should have figured out myself what it was instead of troubling all those good people, but such is life.

The worst part of it was the frikkin IV’s; I was dehydrated because strangely enough I haven’t felt much like eating or drinking anything due to -heavens!- abdominal pain (and you can tell it was really hurting, because I have to be on the point of death before I lose my appetite), and the gal blew the first shot and then called in her back up. The back up got started, cussing my red-headed forebears with their puny recalcitrant veins, and then got called away to poke holes in a couple of car accident victims who’d been airlifted in.

I improved the shining fifteen minutes by running my left hand under hot water, and then let my hand hang down until she got back, to pool the blood and puff up at least one of the veins in my hand. This allowed her to hit paydirt, or payblood, I should say, with ease (and it’s a good thing too because I HATE having IV’s put in although I’m a good patient and don’t whine at the time) to the point I fountained blood, which she cleaned up while I VERY diligently did not watch. Then along came sister morphine, and I said WHOA about half way through the drip as it was pretty clear to me that I was getting plenty, although I didn’t feel that way about three hours later when it had worn off. ER Doc (and he was good looking, too!) found the problem with speed and dealt with it, and I’m now on cipro and T3’s to deal with any residual infection and pain. Paul turned up about 11:30 pm looking tired and worried, and every time I told him to go home as I would cab it home told me to get real. We got home about 1:30 am.

As always, everybody at Royal Columbian was a total pro and extremely civil, and especially kindly to pregnant women and children, as I observed; at no point in the proceedings did I feel dehumanized or badly treated. I must say though, that the contrast media for the CT abdo scan tasted like insecticide flavoured water, and the stuff they give you IV during the scan – holy crap. That was a very interesting sensation in an evening full of interesting sensations. Tech said, “You will feel a total body flush of warmth and the distinct urge to urinate, which is transient and not to be believed.” I thought ?? But he was absolutely right.

The only comfort I can take out of all this mess is that I did actually have a situation which could have been pretty dismal although likely not life threatening had I left it, say a week longer, and that I wasn’t being a hypochondriac; the pain would have driven me to seek help faster than that anyway.

Kids will be coming home from the grandparents’ tonight, and between Paul having to hang around waiting for the estimate dude (we’re looking at about 20K MINIMUM in water damage – the carpets are trash) and supper at Tom and Peggy’s, I’ve more or less told the kids they can get home on their own.

I sang that Tom Paxton song in church this morning ably assisted by the Good Times Band, who did their best to drown out my unearthly caterwaul and were not entirely successful. There was something appropriate in my Jesoid bandages on the backs of both hands from the IV.

Paul is napping on the couch. If you had any clue how hard he’s been working you’d be smiling fondly at him too.

The abdo pain may be almost entirely gone, but I was guarding my abdomen so hard that I put my back out and I am now walking around with little slow steps.

The only thing (apart from making it to church) that I have actually accomplished today is put Pesto Scallopped Potatoes into the oven. Hope they turn out, I kind of invented them on the fly. I suspect Peggy will eat them no matter how they turn out, and they sure smell good. I even pureed the onions, in Brooke’s honour.

And I can’t really pick up the kids – I have to go to Peggy’s – Brooke is making naturist gingerbread people, or so I have been led to believe. Can such things be? Must find out and report back to y’all. Hm. Camera. Must remember camera. It’s amazing how chipper you feel, despite all life’s trials, with a regular supply of Tylenol 3’s to smooth out the bumps. I will leave to your imagination the duel between the Cipro and the Codeine now taking place in my digestive tract.

Mt St Helens
2005-11-12— Posted by: allegra

Mmmm. Looks a little frosty up there this morning.

Not enough sleep.
2005-11-12— Posted by: allegra

Pain. Lots of it. If this keeps up I’m going to seek medical attention. Since I’m not a doctor I won’t speculate on what’s wrong with me, but for sure it will follow the Number 1 rule of “when things screw up”. Three things can happen. You’ll get better by yourself, you’ll do something to fix it, or you’ll just die a little earlier. Cheerful, eh wot?

Not enough fuzzy animal piz
2005-11-11— Posted by: allegra

This is Bob. He lives in Seattle with Janice & Alan. I really like the composition of this photo, dunno zackly why.

enough sleep
2005-11-11— Posted by: allegra

I am reading Titus Lucretius…. No Single Thing Abides. Very Epicurean.

Tin Foil Hats on Parade
2005-11-10— Posted by: allegra

Science gives Pseudoscience a boot to the head.

enough sleep
2005-11-10— Posted by: allegra

Deep Sigh. Thinking about the good old days. Pic is Syd (Roger) Barrett.

Get a poppy that works
2005-11-09— Posted by: allegra

What’s all this fooferaw about Stephen Harper and his poppy? Why, I have a friend who’s been using the same poppy for about thirty years, so it’s not like it’s impossible to get the damned things to stick. Didn’t he have a decent public school education? One of the high points, if I can be sharp about it, of the public school teachers’ year here in Kentucky-Fried Canuckistan, is Remembrance Day assemblies, and the harrowing prospect of sticking boxes of poppies onto hordes of recalcitrant little chests (of course, without losing any or stabbing any of their sweet little charges). Most public school teachers have a dodge for this, and I’m amazed that Steve the Reaver couldn’t figure this out. I guess he’s fired so many people out of his office that what’s left of the hired help is scared to say anything to him. Except maybe, Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

And Blessed Saints! Lookee Here! Another election in I’mLovin’It Canuckistan! Those of us currently hiding in the shadow of Jack Layton’s ‘stache are rolling our eyes at his histrionics. If there’s an election, he’ll lose deck chairs off his bridge, that’s for sure. And he says he’ll play patticake with the Conservatives if need be? I’m snapping mental daisy chains while I think of it.

I’m certain Jack ‘n’ Steve can agree on the quaintness of the decor at the Governor General’s residence and that her daughter is a sweet little pookins, and that her husband is going to make John Ralston Saul look like an agreeable mensch, but that line of conversation will soon turn into mutual accusations of sodomy, greed and baby-strangling.

Stephen Harper breaks into pustules (points if you know which Dunnett book I stole this expression from) at the very thought of adopting any policies from the NDP, and Jack Layton makes a remarkably unconvincing bottom for such sado-masochistic shenanigans. And I really think both of them play for the Breeders Cup side of the course anyway, manboobs and homostache aside.

Such speculations are futile in the face of the creeping horror of casting yet another vote in the slush. Whatever is possessing that asinine crew, to give us a winter election? Damn them all, and Gilles Duceppe too. I wonder if Paul Martin’s seat is safe? That would be hilarious. Okay, maybe a winter election would be fun! I’ll cheer up now.

Efrank is worth the money. Subscribe today! It’s only 9.95 a month.

Edible underwear?
2005-11-09— Posted by: allegra

late breaking correction to previous post
2005-11-08— Posted by: allegra

That should read “SHE”, because the reporter is Dawn Westlake. Have to wonder if she’s related to Donald Westlake.

bad taste
2005-11-08— Posted by: allegra

I’ve posted things in questionable taste before, but, Sodom and Begorrah, this takes the wafer. A reporter who covered the Michael Jackson trial has trademarked “Jesus Juice”. He and his partner are looking for a winery with a sense of humour…. Normally I don’t drink red wine, but I suspect I’d pony up as much as $15 CDN to grab me one of these puppies. On the other hand, hint, hint, I have friends with label makers and wine bottles. Doncha all crowd ’round at once, now….

enough sleep
2005-11-07— Posted by: allegra

Well, it wasn’t a completely bad weekend. I raked leaves and Katie got them into the back composter; we did a grocery shop; I watched Pink Floyd’s The Wall; I made lasagna and cinnamon buns; and of course I finished the Doorstop.

If I had any energy, I would go into grisly detail about everything that was wrong with The Wall, but Katie loves it, so I’ll try to leave it at that. She asked me if I liked it and I said it was ‘interesting’. I also think that Bob Geldof was awfully cute ten years ago, It was very amusing (to me, and of course not explainable to the kids) how at the commencement of the movie, when Our Hero first comes on screen, that I thought, “Who would have thought they’d hire Jerry Seinfeld for that job… Hey, that’s not Jerry Seinfeld, that’s Bob Geldof!” And I correctly identified Bob Hoskins as the Manager. Keith’s comment was they spent a LOT of money on the movie, and I would have to agree. It’s a very well meaning movie in some ways, but I like my oppressive imagery dished out in smaller doses with more dialogue in between. And if I decided to uncork that asskicking genie called Argella the Feminist Movie Reviewer… but I won’t. There’s a time and a place for everything.

Fun news for newspapers.

Or cn u rd dis msg? I emoticon!

Well I’m off downstairs to fire up the laundry, and then off to work.

Pic is what I can see on a sunny day from my bus stop at work. That would be Mt. Baker tucked into the bottom of the picture. I’m very lucky – my work is surrounded by forest and it’s very peaceful coming in sometimes, with all the bears and coyotes and squirrels and slugs and frogs and snakes and university students and the drip drip drip of the leaves after a rain.

Paul’s home Tuesday, and I can hardly frikkin wait.

Save it for the mirror
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

Holy Virgin! Get a load of this Cheney pic. Okay, a contest. What caption should this picture have? I suggest, “I AM smiling”.

Didn’t anybody ever tell this guy to keep a straight face while the flashbulbs are a-poppin’? He looks like, for two pins, he’d rip your head off your neck & jam it in the stump. Credit AFP Joe Raedle.

Patricia, I know your parents were married, but even so… I finally finished A Suitable Boy and it’s good to see the girl waking up and marrying the right guy in the end, even if his shoes are appalling. Fifteen hundred pages! You could paper my yard with the damned thing.

Big eyes
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

There is something really weird about this picture. It’s an alpaca. Credit AP, no human name though. Katie took one look at this and said, “Isn’t that a camel relative that spits?” Alas yes, but who could believe it of such a soft eyed critter.

enough sleep
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

Still have a headache, but I have to post this picture. This is Finnegan, who was adopted by a preggers Papillon bitch and now has puppies for stepsiblings – yes, mom allowed him to nurse. It is my opinion that, as weird as testosterone is, estrogen is weirder yet. If you want the whole sequence of photos, which is truly remarkable and quite aesthetic, go to

enough sleep
2005-11-06— Posted by: allegra

I have been abominably slow to post today, and it’s all that damned Patricia’s fault. She loaned me A DOORSTOP of a book – Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy; I am now half way through, entirely in love with 2/3rds of the characters and queasily fascinated by the other 1/3rd.

I am also working on a migraine – shopping at Stuporstore this afternoon came perilously close to being an out of body experience – but I am pouring tea and painkillers into myself and hope to shake it soon. Unfortunately I can’t really look at a screen for long so I’m shutting down now. Normally I can’t read and have a headache at the same time but all of my migraines now are atypical. This one is entirely on the left side – not usual at all – and apart from a little queasiness and light sensitivity, along with the pain, it would be hard to tell it from a regular headache. I’m signing off, the screen is undulating.

Great trampolining goats!
2005-11-04— Posted by: allegra

Sandy sent me this, credit Glen Hartong AP.

Katie came home
2005-11-04— Posted by: allegra

I don’t have any other news.

Except… Air Canada’s cost cutting measure is going to kill 350 Canadian jobs at Cara. Consequences, there are always consequences.

Panexa – for everything that ails you
2005-11-03— Posted by: allegra

I ‘specially like the side effects.

enough sleep
2005-11-03— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been much concerned with my own internal affairs of late, and thought I would turn my attention back into the larger world.

Air Canada is doing very well. I am thinking to myself, odd, isn’t it, that a company that pays its employees a decent wage can be profitable? Most of the profits can be attributed to the reduction in the fleet – not in terms so much of the number of aircraft but the seats per aircraft, meaning that the load factors are pushing 80% across the system, but especially on the regional flights. They have started charging for meals, but that doesn’t particularly bother me; given the cost of jet fuel they are having to pry money from someplace. Yes, I’m biased. But I will ask the flying public a simple question. Would you rather see an airline take money from you up front or from the maintenance department, which you don’t necessarily see as you board? Hm?

I find it sickly just that WestJet, having stolen Air Canada’s proprietary information, including maintenance schedules and reservation information, and paying their people a lot less, is not as profitable. Investors beware; the planes they fly are frigging gas hogs – not much to dispute there – and WestJet is pushing maintenance to the wall – or so I hear. They have a fleet of cheerfully middleaged Boeing 737 aircraft, all of which, properly maintained, are good for another decade at least.

I note that 3 million people are still homeless in Kashmir and environs and that the appearance of aid sparks riots. The rescue and aid workers need helicopters; nothing else can get in to the 40 or so villages that still have not been reached.

In Florida, FPL (the utility) is promising lights back on to the hardest hit customers by November 22nd at the latest, but Miami and Broward will be back in their entirety by the 13th of November. The last of the public schools in those districts will be up prior to that as the schools apparently were number one. Cable is about 60% up but a lot of people with their cable back are bitching about the quality. I’m still feeling really sorry for the folks who are going a whole month without power and I haven’t lived through a big earthquake yet, so I can’t really advise anybody to move, although I’m sure tempted to tell people, get outta Florida. There are still thousands of people homeless, who are, as always, disproportionately the poor and elderly.

Did you know that France has a Minister of Social Cohesion? What the hell does he do… hand out condoms and brie at social functions? During the ‘riotous’ last days in France, where poor young men, who happen to not be very socially cohesive with the police, have been enlivening the nightly news, I’m sure Jean-Louis Borloo’s been very busy giving speeches about how much air he can push past his gums in any given news cycle. Twenty percent unemployment and non stop media coverage. Hm. They should take everybody they detain and give them a six month contract to advise the French government on immigrant issues. If you can’t tear gas ’em, co-opt ’em, I always say.

Off to the bagel joint on Hastings for my first and last brekky with Tom U and the bagel gang. Tom’s last day is November 9. I’ve worked with him (not the same department, I hasten to add) for 8 tumultuous years, and I can’t say how much I’ll miss him. He has virtually every quality that I admire in a man, and his vices are entertaining rather than appalling, at least to me.

Keith is up. Katie came home – I drove her home about 11:30 last night.

I nearly killed a pedestrian at a cross walk yesterday. I dug out my reflectors and resolved to wear them. If you are much given to pedestrian goodness during this ‘dark as the inside of a cow’ time of year, please wear something reflective! Pic was forwarded by Cousin Gerald, provenance unknown.

10 pounds of adorable
2005-11-02— Posted by: allegra

From the Smithsonian Zoo site. No picture credit, darn them. Link supplied by Brooke-n-Banjo.

His truth goes marching on
2005-11-02— Posted by: allegra

Some inertnesting news today.

First, the non-resized animated gif in the top corner is Mike becoming the Transformational Ninja in the Sacred Meat Loaf Tshirt. Don’t try this at home, you must sit at the feet of the Master for a long time to even attempt it.

Second, Katie slept in her own bed last night!

Third, a referendum to decriminalize marijuana as in possession under an oz (which has no legal force, sigh) has succeeded in Denver CO. Brief double barrelled aside… I know that Hunter S Thompson is smiling down from heaven… did I mention that Chris S at work DRESSED AS HUNTER S THOMPSON FOR HALLOWEEN? I was, like, the only person who recognized him. I could have hugged him, I was so happy.

Fourth, the Good Times Band is going to sing (among other words) ‘nigger’ in church! You have no idea what this represents. This will be a mountainously huge cultural watershed for the church. By the way, in context, it’s COMPLETELY appropriate; the sermon is about evil, one of those things that Unitarians don’t usually grasp with a nuke-station waldo.

Fifth, and this is going to make my mother sport a bewildered expression, it’s my PARENTS’ FAULT that the Good Times Band is going to sing ‘nigger’ in church. Because THEY made me listen to the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Bob Dylan, and the Limelighters, and the Weavers, and the Brothers Four, and Joni Mitchell and stuff like that when I was wee and helpless. Packed away on one of those albums – I think it was Singing our Minds, CMT – there’s a little gem of a Tom Paxton tune called “We Didn’t Know”.

So the minister’s husband, who’s codelivering the sermon, was casting about for a good genocide song, and when I heard about this I said to Peggy, Ya know, I only know off the top of my head about one genocide song and it’s an Indigo Girls tune which is wretchedly complicated as I recollect (also, I couldn’t sing it without crying, I don’t know how the righteous hell THEY manage it). And then I said, Hey, wait a minute! I know ANOTHER song with genocide in it! Jiminy Christmas, who knew I knew two genocide songs? I mean, I could always go to (not exactly as shown) and download a Prussian Blue song (see previous post), but I would rather sing (or hear sung) Tom Paxton, who’s a brilliant song writer. And I SHOULD know two genocide songs at least – it being the subtext of all humanity. My ancestors were at the receiving end of attempts to commit genocide, and so were yours.

Fourth item, continued….I could go on at great length about the n word, but frankly, it’s been covered better by cross posts in so if you go back about two months and look at the story of the black guy who cycled across Africa and came upon an ‘urban clothing’ store at the corner of No and Where in rural Africa called, “Niggers”, you’ll do better reading about his epiphany than reading any nonsense I could spout. And God knows I can, for hours, without apparent effort.

Anyway, thanks Mom and Dad. You rock.

that girl
2005-11-02— Posted by: allegra

So Katie has been sweet talking in an effort to get me to pay to sling her in a tanning bed, and I’ve been saying to her that melanin deficiency is just a question mark we have to bear as, you know, members of the Pink People. But Katie is not having any; she wishes to have a better colour on her cheeks, and I am expected to fork it over for her. At the same time this is going on, she has been increasingly concerned about the spots on her body. With the appalling lack of concern that I show for her every waking minute, I have repeatedly told her a) it’s not a problem and b) it will go away by itself. She wasn’t having any tonight and we went on the internet and bopped around differential diagnoses for Leprosy, Lymphogranuloma and Pugnacia, but alas, all she has is Pityriasis Rosea. Pityriasis Rosea is the Perfect Disease; your patients won’t die but they’ll come to visit, and visit often, while they actually get better all by their widdy selves. So I told Katie that there’s nothing much wrong with her, and then we read the treatment suggestions. Ten guesses, my good fen! Yup, off to the tanning bed. That kid’s gonna kill me. Pictured is her current state of mind; she was rolling around giggling when she realized she might chisel some skin cancer time out me anyway. heavy sigh.

2005-11-01— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-11-01— Posted by: allegra

Last night we celebrated the life of Tom U, and actually didn’t wait until he was dead to do it. After a stunning meal at Arroy-D on Cambie, enlivened by plinking Thai music and pleasant company, which included the original Lunch Bunch (me, Tom, Mike M and Jerome) and which included Ian as a drop in. Fortuitously, the server had just brought me my second 1516, so I slid it in front of Ian once I viewed his squash pinkened and thirsty looking phiz. Ian and Jerome had other engagements, so Tom and Mike and I repaired to Mike’s place to settle in with a couple of simply wonderful scotches, finishing up with a Martell cognac. Now it sounds like I did a fair bit of drinking, but the scotches were tastes, and spread out over about two hours; besides, Tom U has a very precisely machined tolerance for drunkenness in the folks driving him home; he would simply have refused the lift had I been impaired. Our entertainment for the evening consisted of petting Spud and shushing Tasha when the fireworks freaked her out too badly. We also conversed on a variety of subjects. At one point during the evening Mike fixed his eye on the ceiling and said, in response to the absence of some object in his life, “I don’t know what happened to that.” My response was, “The aliens took it.” Tom and Mike both nodded gently; their thoughtful expressions didn’t change. This will, hopefully, give a hint of the quality of our interactions.

This morning Mike sent me an animated gif of him transforming his Meat Loaf t-shirt into a ninja head covering. Keith and I giggled when we saw it; I want to stick it on my blog but I don’t think Mike will let me.

I cannot believe how much happier Tasha (pic in previous posts) is now she’s living with Mike. She’s even given up on being the alpha dog – Mila can do that guard dog crap now and Tasha’s just as happy about it. Tori was busy with school work so she didn’t join us.

Katie spent the night at Dax’s again. Why are my tax dollars subsidizing the delinquency of a minor? I wonder if she’ll go to school today, I asked the office to call me if she didn’t show up.

Oh well, Patricia alone knows my sufferings. And shares them….

I’d kill to have copies of the pictures Trent took at Kevin C’s stag; there was one picture in particular that was so remarkable and bizarre that it looked like it had ALREADY been photoshopped. Tom and I stood in front of Mike’s lap top and viewed the picture with jaws agape. Brian C is one of the more remarkable looking men I know; in this picture, he transgressed physics and went to a locale where jaws come unhinged and eyes come out on stalks. Mike? Please? Mit sucaryl? Hm…maybe there’s a market for a blog that’s nothing but stag and stagette pix. Maybe, also, I don’t want to go there.

Pic is of Leo. Can’t you just feel the crisp fall air in that picture?

I miss Paul. I woke up around three (I did manage to go back to sleep) overwhelmed by the urge to roll over and hug him. But there was nothing there but laundry (which I piled on the bed to keep my feet warm).

Yes, I skipped Halloween. Can you imagine trying to keep Pokey out of the house while the little tykes were coming and going. Good grief…. I liked skipping Halloween so much, I think I’ll do it again next year. My youngest child is seventeen this month. I won’t be upset to put away these childish things.

Golly, sarge, look at the time. Gotta put on my roller skates and go….

last half of October 2005

from the Yorkshire Evening Post
2005-10-31— Posted by: allegra

Jailing him, Judge Alistair McCallum told Hoyle “Never before in my time at the bar or on the bench have I ever had to deal with somebody who voluntarily allowed himself to be buggered by a dog on the public highway. Frankly it is beyond most of our comprehension. It is an absolutely disgusting thing for members of the public to have to witness.”

I don’t even know if this story is true, but the notion of hearing this opinion rendered in a plummy British accent is too delicious.

An accordion followed me home
2005-10-31— Posted by: allegra

It’s weird, but if you buy a musical instrument, all the other musical instruments who are homeless listen to the jungle drums and the next thing you know… well, I opened the door and it was making little anguished choo choo train noises, and it was a damned wet and drafty evening. It hopped up the stairs making the most bizarre hooting sounds. How could I resist? It’s the smallest accordion I’ve ever seen that wasn’t actually a toy. When I finally calmed it down with some Weird Al Yankovic music, it let me get close enough to see that it was especially handmade for the Canadian Accordion Institute. It’s a little beat up, no question, but it sounds great and now it’s begging me to buy it a proper harness so we can go for walks.

I’m definitely going to be the scariest thing at the Parade of Costumes at work today. Is there anything scarier than somebody practicing the accordion? Stop me before I play Lady of Spain one more time! I’ll post a pic of my new friend later …..

Burt Bacharach
2005-10-31— Posted by: allegra

I just got nine out of ten on the multiple choice quiz on Burt Bacharach on I rule! I only missed the first question. I TOLD you I was a fan!

Eventful day
2005-10-30— Posted by: allegra

Well, I could have been knocked down with a feather when I had been up for a couple of hours yesterday morning, and my daughter swanlike and exhaling sleep and good humour sailed into the living room. I have a Shoe Gauge by the back door. It read emp-ty, so I assumed no Katie. She actually came through the front door, so the Shoe Gauge had been downstairs. We then got up and went to Brrrrr, Value Village, which is a freaking zoo/carnival of retail hor-ror the weekend before Halloween, and got my Brooke-suggested costume, which was “Partly cloudy, chance of showers”. (Blue dress, gray towel cut up for clouds, squirt bottle.)

Katie and I then came home and grabbed a snack and then headed over to Jessica’s place and went to the Halloween Haunt at Bridge Studios (where SG1 is shot) and had a pic of ourselves taken of a guy in a bat costume. We also had a lovely time in the haunted house. There were stunt men and balls of fire and zombies and a morgue and … you know, like that.

Then we came back to see Carly and Jan who were relaxing before a stressful dash out the door to the ‘Wack for a soccer game. Keith kept them entertained with Cirque de Soleil Dralion and what else, more Firefly.

Mike’s party, at which I, in the moisty depths of my geeky social incompetence, turned up early (I was actually expecting to assist with preparations) and drove the dogs crazy trying to figure out whether somebody was really home and just ignoring me before I called Mike, which is what I should have done in the first place. They arrived at 7:59, and we entered and started chopping vegetables. A whole bunch of people showed up, but not too many for the facility, and the live music included an a capella rendition of Down to the River to Pray which was heart rendingly gorgeous, and Jim E. and Morgan noodling, and me attempting to da na na na myself through “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers, and we actually didn’t do too bad on that one. We also did some Simon and Garfunkel. May I just gently say that I drank responsibly? I brought a metered 3 beers (two DABs and a Lion Winter Ale, yum) and ceased to drink two hours before I started driving. Mike and Tori encouraged me to hang, but my bed exerted that mystical gravity which draws all miscreants home, and I departed. Jan expressed astonishment that I got up… but it wasn’t hard, as I didn’t do anything stupid to my sensorium last night. And I phoned Mike when I got home, as he does worry….

Today will be a day of laundry, leaf raking and lolling about, briefly interrupted to a run to Richmond to pick up that Casio keyboard from Craigslist, if it is still on offer. I haven’t had my tea, so I’m going to deal with that. And the folks are about to leave for the soccer game, so more later, folks.

2005-10-29— Posted by: allegra

Check out the Oct 28th news item entitled What Makes the Brain Tick Tick Tick.

Also from Eurekalert, and contributing to my bleakness of mood.

Possible predictors of relationship violence

Men behave in certain ways to retain their partner and to continue their relationship with her. Sometime it is sweet, like holding hands or giving flowers, and sometimes it is a harbinger of danger. A study published in the latest issue of Personal Relationships identifies several specific acts and tactics that lead to the possibility of violence. Vigilance over a partner’s whereabouts was the highest-ranking tactic predicting violence across the researchers three-study investigation. Emotional manipulation, such as a man saying he would quote die end quote if his partner ever left also was predictive of violence. Monopolization of time and the threat to punish for infidelity also were signals of violence. Showing love and care was among the tactics not associated with violence.

I’m almost annoyed.
2005-10-29— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of Henry the Elephant Seal, who took up residence… until somebody gave him a polite shove with a bulldozer… at an Australian beach. Photo credit Colin Stuckey.

Can I own to some honest annoyance? The Government of BC, liberally funded, ha ha, by the taxpayers of BC (that would be you and me) is maintaining a love nest for my daughter. Does this seem right to you? Anyway, later on today I’m going to take a picture of the house where Dax is living, photoshop out the address, and post it to my website with the title “Government Sponsored Love Nest”. The Ministry of Child and Family Services can kiss my ass. Dang! I just realized Paul took off with the camera. Oh well, I’ll save it for another day. I wonder if I can find a lawyer to help me sue the government for abetting the delinquency of a minor, or whether they would take that as proof that I’m an unfit parent and try to scoop her. Ya know, I’d better think through all the implications of this.

Comings and goings
2005-10-28— Posted by: allegra

Birthday dinner for Tom U on Monday; Jim and Jan visiting on the weekend with Carly in tow; Festive Gathering at Mike’s on Saturday evening; Firefly meetup at the Halloween Haunt at the film studio on Boundary Saturday afternoon; Paul leaves for a 12 day trip tonight to Calgary, Medicine Hat, Toronto, London, Barrie and Cornwall; Katie came home.

enough sleep
2005-10-27— Posted by: allegra

coming and going
2005-10-27— Posted by: allegra

Pic was forwarded from Cousin Gerald, no clue where he picked it up. Pimp my Smartcar, indeed.

Katie hasn’t come home for most of a week. I spent an evening with Suzanne last night. Strangely, Katie and Daxus turned up at Suzanne’s at the same time I did; I didn’t feel competent to be civil, so kept quiet; in my anxiety I didn’t pay attention to the buzzer notice and pressed the wrong buzzer to get in.

Anyway, we had a long talk and while I understand Katie’s motives, I don’t think she is being very wise.

A belated birthday to my pOp; as is typical with me I got him a birthday card a month ago and keep forgetting to mail it….

Hey Red Deer
2005-10-26— Posted by: allegra

This was too good not to steal. This a buck with a camera mounted on him. They got about 200 hours of footage, most of which (I bet) will cause intense amounts of vertigo and motion sickness. Bambi, the thicket! Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Channel and the University of Missouri, no human photo credit. Kinda like the Elizabethan style ruff, contrasting nicely with the Terminator stylings of the camera mount.

enough sleep
2005-10-26— Posted by: allegra

Epistemology and the Principles and Sources of UUism October 23, 2005 In this homily I will attempt to define epistemology and link that branch of philosophy to your own exploration of belief, knowledge and faith. As that is a tall order for 15 minutes, I�ll get going. When I first went to the dictionary for definitions of epistemology, I became apprehensive. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn�t make epistemology funny, and I was hard pressed to come up with a story to link it to our own lives. As Rev Katie has said, and I�m paraphrasing here, people don�t come to church for a lecture, they come for stories. So I became very discontented with the definitions. The best one I found was �Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge.� Or, what is knowledge, where does it come from, and how do we agree on where to set the boundaries for the discussion. I became so discontented with the definitions, that I fired them all and hired my own. �Epistemology is the process whereby human beings organize their thinking about knowledge.� This makes epistemology everybody�s business; and while epistemology has specialists called philosophers, it also has everyday day practitioners, who would be you and me. We humans have common beliefs about knowledge, a point which I will illustrate in a moment. This morning I will not be talking that much about the details of contemporary epistemology, rather I will be talking about the folkways of the knowledge gathering process especially as they relate to UUism. Of course, you can�t define epistemology without tackling knowledge. Knowledge, according to Plato, is justified true belief. This definition stood up well over for two millennia, until the nineteen sixties, and has since been adjusted to say, Knowledge is true beliefs which have some other quality which we are still arguing about. The specialists agree that true belief is necessary for knowledge to be knowledge, but they are still wrestling over justification. If there is anyone in the congregation who is a professionally trained philosopher, I am sure you are scandalized by my compressions and omissions, but this is the fifty cent tour. I said I was going to illustrate common beliefs about knowledge. I went to a skeptical website some years ago, and was much struck when the author said, �Almost everybody argues about God, and hardly anybody argues about gravity.� If I pushed my lecture notes from the pulpit and they flew up to the ceiling, there would not be a single witness who believed that gravity had been suspended. They would suspect a trick, or a rational explanation. The most mystical person in the room would assume this. In fact, most of the people in this room would say I know that was a trick. And they�d be right. What I just did was a rhetorical trick. If you are one of those people who would immediately assume a trick when my papers flew up, you are (drum roll please) a foundationalist! A foundationalist is somebody who believes that there is knowledge which is foundational, and that means it�s integral to other knowledge. Everyone is subject to gravity. It is a justified true belief, and it�s a foundational one. We can argue very well the finer points of gravity, but its influence on human affairs is not a matter of much debate. The great thing about being a foundationalist, and I recommend it as a strategy, is that you can say, I gather information through my senses and then use my reason to discern which information is true and which is false. If it�s true it goes onto the storehouse of knowledge. If you�re not a foundationalist, you have to prove that something is a piece of knowledge from scratch, establishing a chain of logic from the start to the finish. That�s definitely work you want to leave with the professionals. I will provide another example, this one deceptively simple. What is the first game that a baby learns to play? Why, it�s peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo is a very interesting game, and it becomes more interesting the longer you look at it. It may not be very clear what peek-a-boo has to do with the branch of philosophy concerning knowledge, but bear with me. Peek-a-boo can be played with a very young child, six months or less sometimes, and, prior to speech and prior to much socialization, the child can play cooperatively with any other human being whom the child is interested in looking at. Language and culture are unimportant. Peek-a-boo is a game which illustrates the expression �common knowledge�, and suggests that there is a lot more common knowledge than we are consciously aware of. Peek-a-boo is a game which illustrates that even at an extremely early age, human beings can handle the notion that something can be there and not there at the same time. This ability is foundational�. Without it, human beings couldn�t know anything about anything, because once the source of their knowledge disappeared from view they wouldn�t have the knowledge any more. As an aside, this ability is what distinguishes the smarter, more social animals which human beings hang out with, like dogs, horses, cats, pigs, dolphins and elephants, from other animals. Smart animals have a good idea that even if they can�t see something, it�s still there, and their idea can be shown not to have a basis in habit. So the next time you�re playing peek-a-boo, you can loftily announce that you are teaching the child about epistemology, and you won�t be wrong. It�s foundational to the human ability to acquire knowledge that we know that something can exist which is no longer in view. I believe that every time a person acquires knowledge, it is because that person has learned to keep more than one piece of knowledge in mental view, and the link between those two disparate pieces of knowledge is now obvious and repeatable, at least to the person who knows it. I said earlier this morning that the current working definition of knowledge is that it�s true belief with optional, arguable, extras. My definition of knowledge reflects my prejudices. Although the acquisition of knowledge as an internal mental and physical process taking place in individuals is not clearly understood, I believe that knowledge has a quality that implies sociability. If information wants to be free, then knowledge wants to be where the people are. I have a mystical streak a mile wide, and this is forcing me to make another aside. I believe that the knowledge that we trade words about it is amazing, and our ability to communicate nothing short of miraculous. But I also believe that every cell in my body is more knowledgeable than I am because it has knowledge that I do not. I have no clue how to transport oxygen or repair cell walls or grow hair. My body knows, though. The definitions I provided of knowledge at the beginning essentially shut this way of knowing out. Technically, the cell contains information and automated processes, not knowledge; knowledge is something that belongs to people alone. However, if I�m going to stick to the party line about knowledge, in this instance a human being can know what the chemistry or physics of a cellular process is well enough to describe it. This description can then be shown to be true or false. That makes it knowledge in the philosophical sense. I think most of us have had the experience that our bodies can distinguish true from false and act on the results, but without belief, it isn�t knowledge. The mystic in me objects to this, but I am also, most of the time, quite committed to rationality. It is this constant tension between the ways of knowing that are closed to human beings, and the ways that are open, that led me to Unitarianism in the first place. Epistemology distinguishes between knowing how to do something, and knowing that something can be proved true or false. Gilbert Ryle said that �Efficient practice precedes the theory of it�. Maybe Unitarians are so interested in doing church that they don�t want to get into theory. It�s like that little poem: A centipede was happy quite, Until a frog in fun, Said, “Pray, which leg comes after which?” This raised her mind to such a pitch, She lay distracted in the ditch Considering how to run. By this I mean to say that if you come to church, you may need to come to church for a while and practice before the theory behind what you�re doing becomes clear to you; I think this is a great idea, as it fits in perfectly with the UU attitude towards the individual. Also, you will have noticed from your own life that sometimes thinking about what you�re doing doesn�t help. Our common faith is a safe place to let the boundaries made of words dissolve, so that we may approach matters of knowledge, faith, truth and falsity, and our beliefs, with our quest and our humanity intact. Church allows you time to disentangle yourself from the struggle to put one foot in front of the other. On Sunday mornings, we know how to �do church�; we dress and move and speak in an orderly way. But the reason that we �do church� is so that we can �be church�; we know from hundreds of years of common experience that worship is a folkway � informal knowledge – that is as durable and fragile as humankind itself. We also know that the practice precedes the theory, so we may not always be able to articulate the theory. What happens in church cannot be defined as knowledge, although church exists in part to help us discern the true from the false. Epistemology uses words to address questions of knowledge. We have no other common mode of understanding these things, which is why epistemologists spend an excruciating amount of time defining things. Worship is an acknowledgement that words may not suffice; that definitions, rationality and logic may not be enough to get you through your everyday life. I invite you to re-read the principles and sources of Unitarian Universalism with the word knowledge in your mind, because the word knowledge is nowhere mentioned. This is because the worship experience, as conceived by most UU�s, is not something you can apply the word knowledge to. I am going to paraphrase our principles with the philosophical definition of knowledge in mind. Our lives mostly happen outside church; the puzzle then becomes how we behave when we�re not at church. We live, or try to live, in testimony to the inherent worth and dignity of every person, applying justice, equity and compassion to human relations, accepting each others spiritual growth and taking care as we search for our own truth and meaning, and the truth and meaning which we find in community. We try to be principled and loving in our exercise of power, however it may be bestowed upon us; and we try to stay aware of our obligations even when we�re having fun or creating beauty. We imagine a world where no one is subject to violence, and tears come to our eyes. We imagine a better world and a world where have we ceased our feeble attempt to tyrannize nature. None of this is knowledge; but how can the world be better without imagination and awareness? In the process of imagining that which we cannot know, we are wise to acknowledge our ancestors, both of our bodies and our minds. We point toward transcendent wonder, which is not knowledge, but is something precious nevertheless. We learn the words and deeds of the brave and the eloquent, and are we moved to be like them. Love is not knowledge; it is more like a motive source, and it finds its face reflected in many scriptures. Our spiritual forebears are Jewish and Christian but we have turned aside from much of the violence our forebears upheld; toward the bodies of women and children and slaves, and toward the followers of other religions. The humanists, God bless them, prevent us from becoming clogged with spooky rituals and idolatry, and the elders of the first peoples remind us that nature is not something we can pretend to be outside. We have principles and sources which are not, technically, knowledge. They are folkways. UU�s believe that we must heed science and rationality in our quest for spiritual truth. We are participants in a stubborn and ongoing effort to be the living link between faith and knowledge. For we are not so foolish as to think that everything we believe is true; but we are not so cynical as to think that everything we believe is false, even if we are not allowed to call it knowledge. The wisest among us can only stake a small claim upon knowledge. I return to the definition I made of epistemology, that it is the process whereby humans organize their thinking about knowledge. Maybe, when you are confronted with a new situation, this definition will be of use, because sometimes it is not knowledge, but awareness of the many ways of knowing, that is most useful as we confront the challenges of our lives.

Shop sign
2005-10-26— Posted by: allegra

David D has some fun with Me
2005-10-26— Posted by: allegra

My beloved, twinkly coworker David D took my normal sized meatball and transformed it into what looks like a sizable chunk of alien viscera.

Yes, I’ve been very posting of a lot of pics of me lately, but you have to admit this one is magnificent in its freakout factor. Table for five at the Restaurant at the End of The Universe.

Not enough sleep
2005-10-25— Posted by: allegra

Two nightmares, both of which involved the torture of children, one by the father, one by persons unknown. One little snippet of dream that had Adam Baldwin dressed up in a suit that made him look like something out of James Bond while he leered at Morena Baccarat. One little snippet of dream where a musical instrument that looks like a washboard with strings is played by a child prodigy while the adults look on in astonishment. A house where somebody has taken the tin snips to the ceilings and applied the results haphazardly to the doors instead. And the entire house decorated in yellow and orange (bleah), including Tiffany style interior windows.

Note to self…. don’t bother trying to talk to somebody who’s asleep. Now, to come up with some method of ensuring this somebody is actually awake that doesn’t involved jamming a pin into his sorry ass. I must think on it.

News from Brooks AB
2005-10-25— Posted by: allegra

Meat packing strikers in Brooks (Lakeside Packers, owned by Tyson Foods of Arkansas) are a hell of a group to try to organize. They are about 50 different immigrant nationalities deftly mixed with guys straight out of the jailhouse, so just imagine the union challenges, not counting simultaneous translation into several languages. My spies inform me that a couple of recent immigrants from the warmer climes of Afric, after much soul searching and fondling of empty pockets, crossed the picket lines, where they learned, after about an hour of stooging about, that there, er, ‘wasn’t any work’. So our intrepid labour activists said screw you Jack and went back on the line, where they at least draw strike pay. One assumes that the management has completely thought this through. On the other hand, maybe they didn’t. Union busters tend to think with the fists they hire.

Wish I could talk about work. It occurs to me that I’ve said enough about work in previous posts to get me fired, but frankly, if they fire me, I’ll be dining out on the stories I am now free to tell for the rest of me fourscore plus ten.

Best customer call this week so far…. “Jesus! Your hold music! Your hold music’d make a dog eat her puppies!” Well, whatever; I don’t have to listen to the grisly, tinny strains so I feel fine. PS, can you tell the caller was Canadian? I can’t picture an American customer saying that no matter how hard I try.

Katie as Kaylee
2005-10-25— Posted by: allegra

Taken September 30, just as we were heading in to the Serenity opening.

Mat Hatter Allegra
2005-10-25— Posted by: allegra

This is not a flattering pic of me, but I really like it anyway.

2005-10-25— Posted by: allegra

Tamar is a truly stunning looking woman, and I especially like the nails (and the smile….) Pic from a wedding reception in Toronto recently. Let’s just say it would have been a commitment ceremony a couple of years ago. Thor bless Canada!

What, no picture?
2005-10-24— Posted by: allegra,975.html

I was really really disappointed. Click fast, the link won’t last.

enough sleep
2005-10-24— Posted by: allegra

My uncle Garry is in hospital in Courtenay. He’s in the ICU but to keep him safe from other bugs, not because he’s in imminent danger of dying. He wasn’t allowed to see his wife Diane for a while which must have been crazy making for both of them. I light a candle for them both.

I spoke to Granny yesterday and she’s fine, a little tired but otherwise okay. Still no word what’s wrong with her, and quite frankly I think the docs are never going to figure it out. Once every couple of years she gets the whirlies really bad, which state is accompanied by her blood pressure just pancaking. She spends a day or two laid up, in hospital or at home, and then she’s okay again. She did mention that she’d never had quite so many people ask her what her name was and what day it was, but she mentioned this with a little grin in her voice and no sign of annoyance, and was careful to say that ‘they took very good care of me’.

The homily went well; I will not recount the praise I received as it would not be appropriate, but I’m glad I got the praise, because I busted my brain cells trying to write something that a) was a homily and not a university lecture, b) was aimed at the congregation (ie, took their life experiences and interests into consideration) and c) tried to link epistemology with every day experience, which was a poser, lemme tell you. In the end I threw in the towel by saying that the dictionary definition of knowledge doesn’t apply to church; and guess what? None of Unitarian principles or sources even MENTION knowledge. I also got to deliver the line, “The humanists, God bless them…” which got the biggest laugh of the morning, and would probably get a big laugh in pretty much any UU church you delivered it in. All in all a wonderful weekend. Off to work now. Check if you want to see a portrait of San Francisco done in…. jello. Brooke said it brought a tear to her eye. I just stood here looking over Keith’s shoulder with my jaw hanging open.

Katie FINALLY CAME HOME, and she wouldn’t tell me where she was. Damn!!!!

My fans comment (paraphrased)… Sandy said… I think the shaggy mushroom and the shaggy sheep were separated at birth, and Brooke said of the shaggy manes that “the Hattifatteners are coming!” which is something you’d only get if you’re a Tove Janssen fan.

Flu link
2005-10-23— Posted by: allegra I tried to post the link to the first PDF shown on this page, and it didn’t work – I actually got a message I’ve never seen before – so my apologies. But the preparedness brochure has some stuff in it I haven’t seen before.

Pic is of a flu virus.

2005-10-23— Posted by: allegra

I finished up the homily and will deliver it today. In some respects it is the least successful one I ever wrote, but when you’re trying to jam epistemology into 15 minutes, it’s a bit of yer average challenge.

Gotta go clean up, the folks will be here shortly to pick me up.

Katie away again, but that’s okay.

enough sleep
2005-10-23— Posted by: allegra

The climate mash just in time for Halloween.

Link from Dailykos.

Husbands Day
2005-10-23— Posted by: allegra

On Karvachauth, Indian women do themselves up with henna and pray for their husbands. Seems like a great idea to me!

enough sleep
2005-10-22— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of Prussian Blue, the front girls for a racist hate band. Gotta love the t’s.

Katie finally came home.

Paul’s in Seattle for the day.

I am having quite the lazy day.

enough sleep
2005-10-22— Posted by: allegra

Pic is e e cummings, who was raised a Unitarian.

enough sleep
2005-10-21— Posted by: allegra, but don’t tell em I sent you.

standing sheep
2005-10-20— Posted by: allegra

Cut yer hair. From New Zealand, of course.

Leo and Linda’s Lawn
2005-10-20— Posted by: allegra

Gotta love it. Shaggy manes – and that’s just a small fraction of what their lawn in Kanata looks like.

Here’s to you….
2005-10-19— Posted by: allegra

Baby animals
2005-10-19— Posted by: allegra

Born in Florida. 200 and some odd pounds, cazart. Earlier post was my letter to

enough sleep
2005-10-19— Posted by: allegra

Dear Cheerful Incompetents: Hi, how are you? Howzit goin’? I sent you my credit card information and pressed enter and it all disappeared. There’s no obvious place to log in, even if you do get a magic, you know, password. Actually having a log in on the front page of your site would be a sign that you have actually entered the land of webbiness, and left your inkstained days behind. Oh… look….you have to mouse over Already A Subscriber? which isn’t on the front page of your site! And look, even though I sent my information to you, it won’t take my username and password. Under the circumstances, should I really trust you? I mean, you guys died off from the newstand before my last subscription ran out. F/ckers. I’m over that, honestly. It’s time to let bygones be bygones. You have twenty four hours to demonstrate that you want me to subscribe. The response email shall be entitled “Grovelling Apology” and contain the magic words “We didn’t bill your card, please try again”. Also, some verbiage indicating that the subscription is for One Month and I’ll have to do it again to get more, and what your cancellation policy is, would make me a lot more comfy with the notion of throwing money down your particular drain. If I get an auto generated response to this, I’ll give you such a pinch, you’ll look like the after picture from a BDSM party. Warm, somewhat moist and nitrogenous personal regards, Allegra Sloman Pic is a sunrise from my back deck.

sundry and various
2005-10-18— Posted by: allegra

Here’s my definition of epistemology.

Epistemology is the process whereby human beings organize their thinking concerning knowledge.

I’m not going to try to make smarter than Plato, so I’m defining knowledge as he did…. Knowledge is justified true belief.

There! Now you don’t have to come to church this Sunday.

2005-10-17— Posted by: allegra

Can’t we all just get along? Credit Mike M.

Duh, please provide credits
2005-10-17— Posted by: allegra

Brooke is responsible for that lovely sketch, which she gave to Dr. Filk as a birthday card. I am charmed beyond words by the whole thing.

Katie’s friends Kyle and Jessica are here.

Lovely tarot readings. Starters for me… Hanged Man crossed with the Wheel of Fortune. Huh.

Dr Filk and his cat, Kato
2005-10-17— Posted by: allegra

Found humour
2005-10-16— Posted by: allegra

From Dr. Filk.

Wetness defying water?
2005-10-16— Posted by: allegra

Wetness defying water?

Had to rub my eyes when I saw this. From the same source, Pop Rocks from the Depths

Oh…. wash your pillows, they’re disgusting. Or buy a new cotton one every year and keep it as dry as possible. Note to self, quit going to bed with your hair wet. Apparently pillows have an immense fungal ecosystem in them. Bleah.

Pic is of a Yak belonging to one of Paul’s flying colleagues during the annual inspection wringout.

Review of family and other news
2005-10-16— Posted by: allegra

Saw Corpse Bride and Curse of the Were Rabbit. Were Rabbit is much better but Corpse Bride is quite pretty in spots, and Sean C was right about the soundtrack. There were at least six places in Were Rabbit when I laughed so hard I had to cover my mouth so I wouldn’t laugh over the next piece of dialogue. This movie is genuinely hilarious.

When are people going to stop imitating Peter Lorre’s voice for cartoon characters? It irritates me, that the maggot in Corpse Bride has a Peter Lorre faceandvoice.

Jessica D is sleeping over.

Kira is putting a paw on my shoulder and mewing loudly. I ALMOST convinced her to get in my lap, but she’s just not that kind of cat. I am never getting another cat unless I can get a written guarantee that it will sit in my lap as I write.

Keith has been applying for other full time jobs, Kate has been staying up all night on the internet chatting (to real, as opposed to imaginary, teen boys), Paul is working nights and I’m up way too early.

John will be at church this am playing with the Good Times Band.

That’s a moose
2005-10-16— Posted by: allegra

There’s a blob about halfway down this pic, taken by Ken Kastner in Alaska. It’s a moose. He managed to get himself stuck on a cliff, and now he’s likely to die.

Spelling correction
2005-10-16— Posted by: allegra

That’s Cousin Darci with an I and Curtis (probly spelled THAT wrong… sigh) who recently produced my new first cousin once removed … Jasmine Emaleth! A good sized child for 3 hours of labour. Thanks to Lexi for the correction. Still waiting on pix, grr argh.

First half of October 2005

Mom, lookit the piggies!
2005-10-15— Posted by: allegra

2005-10-15— Posted by: allegra

I try to write satire, but reality is always three steps ahead of me. Paddy Chayefsky ran “Network” for a bunch of college students recently. When nobody laughed, he realized that they weren’t seeing it as satire. This is the kind of news that makes old farts like me… I’m 47 next month …. desperate for something cheerful on the horizon. Lucky for me there is. My cousin Darcy had a baby, which made my family bigger, and I have friends and relatives who really love me, despite the fact that I’m just plain crabby.

Hung out with Mike and Tori last night, watching movies and eating pizza. Very much like the Friday Night Veg-in of my youth.

When I was a child/teen, and my father bought the first videotape machine that any of us had ever seen, my mother and her two best buddies from work and me and Jeff and my dad and any house guests we had, like Leo or Ron, would sit around and watch a movie on Friday night, because we were all so beat from work or school that week that we weren’t up for anything more dramatic. I was weaned away from live TV in the process. I haven’t really watched much live tv since I left home.

Katie was up all night. Paul came out at 7 and told her to go to bed, which she did. She was resolutely uncommunicative when we got home from Mike’s last night.

You have to love Vancouver though… Mike’s closest fast food joint is the wonderful Uncle Fatih’s Pizza. (Pronounced Fatty’s, for extra ethnic points.)

Pic is railroad car graffitti collected by Katie this past summer.

2005-10-14— Posted by: allegra

Stolen from Eyepopping images.

Meditating and interviewing
2005-10-14— Posted by: allegra

Went to small group ministry last night at Tom and Peggy’s and the group meditation was awesome, as always. The meditation was about groundedness and my prodrome FINALLY lifted although that could be my new glasses, too.

Katie spent the night at Jessica’s but that’s okay because she doesn’t have school on Fridays anyway. Her school isn’t affected by the strike.

Keith has another day working temp at Lordco, but he has really bad allergies, and he’s not enjoying the dust. I am thinking it would be a kindness to get him a decent air filter.

Tam-Tam is coming to Vancouver in December, yipppppeeeee! I just about burst with happiness when she emailed me this morning.

Yet more interviews at work today and also into next week. I am helping hire a new person and I am finding it exhausting, although Patricia and I have formed the World’s Most Effective Good Cop Bad Cop Interviewing Tag Team. I’d share some clangers from a couple of interviews but that would not be fair to the poor applicants; they sure made us snort and chortle afterwards, though.

Gotta go help Paul with the trash, it’s that day again.

If anybody remembers the Johnny Cash tune “One Piece at a Time” about the car that an auto worker stole and assembled…. this is that car. Apparently it has bits from a very large number of American vehicles in it. I find it rather spooky looking, so here it is in time for Halloween.

Happy Ramadan
2005-10-13— Posted by: allegra

I shamelessly stole this image from Mr. Damon’s blog ( You have to admit that this pic from Doha, Qatar is something else. Does it…. remind you of anything? I mean, now that you can get Happy Ramadan lights and hanging decorations? PS I don’t think Ghazi Kanaan committed suicide the other day.

enough sleep
2005-10-13— Posted by: allegra

The internet which bringeth all things, washed up “Cats in Sinks” recently, and now, Gosh! this…. Yup, dogs in bee costumes, including their first scandal. Go to the link to find out what on earth would scandalize a person who specializes in pictures of dogs in Bee Costumes. Shoot, that reminds me, I gotta put together a costume for Halloween with Mike and Tori.

Cousin Gerald sent me a pic purporting to be of a mesocyclone in Alberta, but yesterday had a link to the Oklahoma Storm Chaser dude who ACTUALLY took the picture. Okay, so the stolen pic is from and guess what? He’s no longer hissy that people are stealing his stuff, he’s just shaking his head. There’s some funny stories in there, and some Extremely Fine Photographs of Major Weather Instability.

Got reading glasses yesterday. HOLY COW. I really wish I’d done it earlier. Between that and getting my bite adjusted I am throwing off this three week long prodrome and feeling a lot more human, chipper, etc. Okay, less like cutting my throat with a dull spoon, but you know what I mean.

It’s 6:15, time to get the hell off the computer and get dressed and find some customers to abuse.

space shot
2005-10-12— Posted by: allegra

When I was a kid I read lots of books about Weird Phenomena like Heuvelman’s On the Track of Unknown Animals and spooky crap that passed itself off as journalizm but was really trash. One of the things that fascinated me in one of those books was the radiating oceanic light that sometimes surrounds ships in the Indian Ocean. Then somebody took a pic from space….. This is so cool, for me, that the hair stood up on my arms when I saw this. I’m still working on what happened to the Andrea Doria, though.

2005-10-12— Posted by: allegra

2005-10-12— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-10-12— Posted by: allegra

At this point I’m convinced that all I’m doing on a day to day basis is trying to find a more comfy handbasket to ride to hell in. Currently my handbasket is quite comfy. Hope yours is too. But don’t go to copvcia ifn you want to stay cheerful. And now is the time to sell your airconditioner and buy a woodstove, haw haw haw.

enough sleep
2005-10-11— Posted by: allegra

It’s a foggy, creepy, axe murdering Burnaby morning.

Whenever I wake up smelling skunk, I think Pokey got sprayed, but he didn’t so that’s good. He’s killing things in the house again, this time a robin. What a mess!

Finally did all my laundry (including towels, yeesh), now I just have a wee bit of mending and ironing.

The things I want to do in space
2005-10-11— Posted by: allegra

I actually invented a microgravity bed for two, hint hint, but I never got around to patenting it. Second on my list is popping a water balloon. Herewith, pic, screen captured from a NASA film.

2005-10-10— Posted by: allegra

Leo took this picture out his back window in Kanata. Doesn’t look much like a cityscape, does it? Happy Thanksgiving everybody…. the sky is still free.

gone from the face of the earth
2005-10-10— Posted by: allegra

Pictured is the armature for the wererabbit from the Wallace and Gromit film. It was destroyed in a fire, which completely gutted Nick Park’s studio, with all the sets and props, for all the Wallace and Gromit films. As a cultural loss it is a great tragedy.

Worse, however, is the news that India and Pakistan will not be cooperating or coordinating relief efforts. The death toll for the Kashmir quake is now well over 20,000 and 40,000 people may well be dead. May a merciful Providence soften the hearts and suffuse the heads of the dolts who have decided to put a line on a map before the welfare of the people they are supposed to be governing.

An earthquake kit here in BC seems more necessary than ever… but I must say, I think we’ll probably be using it in dealing with a global pandemic rather than for an earthquake. Or maybe we’re just heading for a more geologically active part of earth’s history; we are certainly living in frightening times.

The endowment effect
2005-10-10— Posted by: allegra,,2-1816574,00.html

Science news I can use…. a rational explanation for clutter.

family news roundup
2005-10-09— Posted by: allegra

Glenn said something entirely remarkable yesterday. He said, “If I’ve told a story three times, I’m bored with it… why should I inflict it on other people if I’m bored with it myself?”

This is so contrary to my understanding and appreciation of the world that I could feel my cognition slowing to a crawl. Family stories – any kind of stories – if they are any good – are supposed to be repeated. Sometimes the circumstances under which they can be told are special.

I am put in mind of the story Wade Davis told. (I saw him live, don’t miss him if you get a chance.) He was a teenager, and a parks employee in the ass end of nowhere in BC. He had already gone on his own to south America when he was fifteen, so he was not unused to fending for himself and dealing with all different kinds of people. Wade had asked one of the local elders to tell him the creation myth of his people. The elder demurred. Wade was mystified, but not put out. Later on he was involved in a moose cull and was left a large portion of the carcase; he was perfectly happy to eat parts of it but it was a bit much for one, so he offered it to the elder. The elder received it with thanks, and then as they walked together, marked out their journey with the creation story. A small portion of it took many hours.

So I see that under some circumstances it is not appropriate to tell a story. Definitely, being bored with it is one. But one of the joys of family life – and I mean this most sincerely – is how, when you’re with a group of people who have never heard your spouse’s Amazing True Story of the two pilots with harelips you can look at your spouse and say, “Tell them the story,” and people settle in, and at the end of it shake their heads in sympathy or laugh uproariously. (The moral is, don’t assume that people are making fun of you…) The story may be old, but the reaction of the audience is not.

Jim and Carly are here; her team kicked ass in the tournament yesterday, and she got exposed to Firefly: another willing wictim.

Woke up with a spider on my shoulder this morning. Let out the standard high pitched scream and flicked into unconsciousness against the closet mirrors.

Katie still unconscious.

Paul is being dropped off at Harry’s by Jim, so I am not having to stir, which is lovely.

Keith and John off to Richmond for V-Con; there’s a Joss Whedon-verse thing happening and then a swordplay demo, so Keith is all wildeyed about going. Filking broke up at two last night according to John, which is scandalous by IFS (International Filking Standards).

Tom L. got t-boned yesterday. He’s sore but not otherwise damaged. Car is drivable but the passenger door no move.

I just made chocolate chip cookies.

Cooked early Thanksgiving dinner for Keith, Kate, Glenn, me, Jim and Carly – Paul came home in time because he was called into work early. Then we ate until we all became quite sessile (Bird, stuffing, corn, squash, smashed potatoes, homemade gravy, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, vats of foaming beer, and Jim brought wasabi cheese and smoked salmon for starters). Jim did the dishes, may he be praised and adored; all I had to do was clean up after the dead bird.

I hope that you all have a very wonderful Thanksgiving; I am in to work tomorrow as it is simply astonishing how much there is to do. Patricia is going in as well so I’m bringing entree and she’s bringing dessert and I’m thinking – okay, I’ll leave the beer at home, but Dang, it was a tempting notion to haul Al K Hall into work. Makes the afternoon so much more shiny.

John last night was given – GIVEN – a 12 string guitar to be his “Beach Guitar”. Coming to a Wreck near you.

Carly and Jim will be off to the next tournament game for 1 pm and I will be left with an empty house – but for Katie – and will likely be reduced to getting my ass kicked at cribbage again. That girl is deadly and inexorable!

Hat of hair
2005-10-08— Posted by: allegra

Darain Housen is sporting a hat made of hair. He is from St Thomas WI. Norman Grindley took the picture.

Once upon a time I had a black husband. He divorced me after I took up with Paul. I don’t normally talk about him, but I can’t look at this picture without thinking about the time that I tried combing out my ex’s hair. He wore his hair in a kind of Contents Under Pressure style afro. I tried to comb it out one time, starting with the edges. I combed all the way around and then he got a call and had to abruptly go to a union organizing meeting (the drivers for Purolator at that time were trying to organize, in Toronto). When he looked in the mirror he screamed, and I don’t blame him. There is NOTHING more transgressive than a black man wearing a hairstyle that is identical to a 1940’s German helmet. I mean EYEdentical. Like, I wish I had a picture, but Phil was not having any. “I can’t go out in public looking like this!” to which I heart-heavily concurred; he stuffed his hair under the world’s ugliest toque and went to the meeting, where he was teased unmercifully because Phil NEVER wore hats of any description.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love nappy hair. I know it’s hard work keeping it looking good, but if I woke up tomorrow with nappy hair, I’d actually be happy about it. I’d prob’ly play with it endlessly, and it would certainly keep my daughter busy; she just loves fixing hair.

Isn’t it funny how nobody is happy with their hair (except Keith, and he’s not like the others, and you have to admit he has a really amazing head of luxurious brown curls.) And John… he just gets me to shave his head once in a while. And Paul… because I cut his hair. I love cutting his hair, it’s very satisfying, and I only ever really screwed up once – right before a Company Christmas Party. Keith said, “Hey forehead boy!” when he saw Paul afterwards.

Have a good hair day, y’all.

2005-10-08— Posted by: allegra

This guy was fishing in Wales when the weight came up and slammed through the corner of his eye. His mates noticed the weight sticking out and took him to hospital. The docs spent five hours removing it. Can you believe it? One micron further and he likely would have lost the eye. If you’re going to be clumsy, be lucky! (Part of my ongoing series of WTF skull xrays).

I heart heart Pam
2005-10-07— Posted by: allegra

We need more political commentary like this

Heading back to church
2005-10-06— Posted by: allegra

Apparently Pope Benedict is instituting some reforms that only LOOK radical if you aren’t German. After buying Dortmunder Bier last night, this appeared like an act of Providence in my mail box this morning. Thanks Sandy!!!

2005-10-06— Posted by: allegra

Did anybody notice that when you open my site now there’s a little icon which shows my widdy eyeballs staring at you at the top? There’s a really cool utility at HTMLkit that allows you to do this. Me happy.

I went to the optometrist today and emerged $517 dollars poorer. But at least I know I don’t need frikkin bifocals for another two years. Thank God. Paul cooked breaded pan fried sole, corn on the cob and brussels sprouts for dinner, and it was good.

Dave the Plumber, may he be blessed and adored throughout the Lower Mainland for his many gifts, received money and a heartfelt gift from Paul for installing a sewer cleanout (the gift, which Dave Really Liked, was a really skookum flashlight from Lee Valley Tools). At the end of the installation he said, “Don’t bother digging it out, just buy a snake and clean it out when it backs up and tell the women in your house not to flush elephants (read, feminine protection) down the toilet.” I suspect it wasn’t elephants but clothing lint and kitchen waste which precipitated our last disaster, as neither of the women living in this house are that gauche, AND we’re using renewable hygiene products. Downstairs will shortly be hip deep in silica gel and drying out thoroughly. I cannot express how relieved I am about this; we were looking at an expense of between 5 and 10 K to get everything dug up and if necessary reattached to the city drains, so being told by a professional Don’t Spend the Money put Paul into the best mood he’s had in a very long time.

Work’s gross, chunk-style and sideways, but a family meal and being a passenger in a car Keith was driving and dicking around with HTMLkit, and picking up Dortmunder beer (such a deal! 12.60 for 6 half liter cans of imported beer INCLUDING a glass mug so hefty you could deck a bouncer with it) as WELL as discovering that I’m not living in Bifocal Acres yet, mellowed ME out considerably. Paul read his former flying partner Per’s name in a COPA magazine article so he’s having a great evening. I gotta go to bed, I’m bagged.

Hot housing market in Vancouver
2005-10-05— Posted by: allegra

The housing market is slackening in the US – sales are off pretty much everywhere – but here in Vancouver, you can’t get a detached shack for less than a quarter mil. Paul says the market is going to be wild until the Olympics in 2010 but I have to wonder.

Christmas singalong at church?
2005-10-04— Posted by: allegra

Here comes Yog Suggoth, indeed. There are CHORAL ARRANGEMENTS for these songs on the website.

2005-10-04— Posted by: allegra

Glad there’s no picture. But it’s about moose, and I’ve been told, More Moose; My Public Demands more moose.

Moose hits car. No, wait, moose LANDS on car.

Paint the town white
2005-10-04— Posted by: allegra

Pallet of white paint meets gravity. Interesting image, isn’t it? Happened in downtown Oslo.

wyrd tales
2005-10-04— Posted by: allegra

Ady Feeney, still smarting from the time Colin Cousins and a bunch of his mates ‘redecorated’ Ady’s pub in Southampton UK, extracted a clever revenge. All I can say, it’s a good use for a Vauxhall Astra, whether the damned thing is running or not. Pic stolen cheerfully from the Sun Online, the UK’s premium source of extremely funny pictures of animals, people and things. Also gleaned from the Sun Online; the Canadian Folk Band the Wyrd Sisters is suing JK Rowling for copyright infringement, because a band frequently mentioned in the Harry Potter books is called, how strange, the Weird Sisters. How this can be anything except the world’s most venal publicity stunt is difficult for me to fathom… The spelling is different, and guess what!!! Weird Sisters is a Shakespeare reference and Shakespeare is NOT COPYWRITED. Give me a flocking break, dears. Why don’t they sue the filk band with the same name, could it be the filk band has no MONEY? Can such things BE?

OOO OOO pr0n for my mom
2005-10-04— Posted by: allegra

Go nuts, ma, your Dream Boy is in there someplace…..

Breakfast of liberals
2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

I prefer Cheerios, obviously

2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

Dr. Filk had this to say…

These percolated to the top of my cerebral swamp in response to your blog today (on immigration, see earlier)

1) Cheating Your Way In

Note that the official, legal, non-cheating way into Canada is seriously ferkokt. Every recent year Parliament AKA the Martin mob have set immigration “quotas”, and each year the number of actual, breathing immigrants entering the country has been well below quota, largely because people cannot get through the Kafkaesque process, which is miserably badly administerd and expensive, insecure, inconsistent and slow. It also dosn’t allow for anywhere near the number of relative-in-Canada sponsored entries that folks already here want.

So what’s a person who may be dying (no metaphor meant) to gain entry to asafe, liveable country to do? They may or may not have relatives here. If so they will be sheltered on arrival, and either way they know there’s not much enforcement once you get past the border. You don’t have to be a felon or potential bad neighbor to “cheat” your way in. Of course enforcement, like making it impossible for illegals to work legally, will make sure that a proportion of them will seek a living by other means. People being sucked down society’s plug-hole are likely to behave in unpleasant ways. Do you want us to have more enforcement, like immigration cops busting desperate illegals in the homes of their famillies, most of whom will likely be legal residents whose only crime is harboring a fugitive who is also a relative? That’s not the kind of country I want to live in.

2) The Bogeyman

The fellow who was a semi-official thug in another country is most likely here all legal and kosher. The government in his home country probably certified him as a sterling citizen, either because he’s an embarrassment or a liability at home and they’ll be glad to see his back, or because he’s STILL ON DUTY.

Don’t expect Canadian officials to investigate such. They don’t have the inclination or the resources.

I suggest making the whole process more public. During the period after you’re landed and before you’re a citizen any other resident should be able to challenge the immigrant’s status and present evidence. Who else but others from the same country would know, or care?

The converse of this case also happens: the immigrant who is in bad odor with the authorities in his home country. This can happen for a number of reasons, from legitimate to political to personal animus, and Canadian officialdom finds it the path of least effort to take it at face value.


The !sshole redneck beating up furriners actually has a point, a half-witted, half-#ssed point but a point. The guy from just in from Honduras may not be pumping gas, though the gas bar I used to patronize near Main & Great Northern Way was staffed by a rotating crew of new Canadians from West Africa.

The new immigrant will start out with the worst, most ill-paid jobs, but as soon as he learns his way around and a little English he”ll be clutching the next rung of the ladder, the same one Joe Redneck !sshole is precariously clinging to, And, the not-so-new immigrant likely has a functional, extended family that will support him, like (name redacted) with rent-free housing.

Result, Joe A’Hole R CAN’T COMPETE. And there’s no effective enforcement, and neither W nor PM the PM are going to do anything about it because the way it is their business buddies get work done on the cheap by illegals who don’t need no stinkin benefits or safety standards, and their business buddy’s wives get their kids raised by overqualified Filipinas working for sub-minimum wages. If it’s PM’s business buddies the Filipina in question is an indentured semi-slave in the country legally under a special programme – ain’t that sweet!

Joe AHR has more of a problem with W and PM2 than they have with greaser wetbacks, but the big boys are far away and well protected and the illegals are near and vulnerable.

Allegra’s comments on the foregoing…. I like the idea of presenting evidence during the landed period. If people feel strongly enough about it, they can publicly protest. I wonder if anything like this is on the books already and not being used?

Entertaining synchronicity
2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

When I called Sandy last night, we both had gouda cheese in our mouths. What are the odds? She’s looking for a place to board her cats for the winter so she can consider what she’ll be when she grows up. Gosh, now that I’m not sure I’m supposed to be a comedian, I have no idea what I’m supposed to be. It’s a good thing I know the chorus to Nate Bucklin’s “Preposterous”. “When I grow up I’m going to be prePOSterous! PrePOSterous is what I’m gonna be, two three four, one two KICK.”

I’ve been reading Greek philosophers
2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

Epictetus sez:

When a raven croaks with evil omen, let not the impression carry you away, but straightway distinguish in your own mind and say, “These portents mean nothing to me, but only to my bit of a body or my bit of property or name, or my children or my wife. But for me all omens are favourable if I will, for, whatever the issue may be, it is in my power to get benefit therefrom.”

Further along, he also says,

Do you wish to win at Olympia? So do I, by the gods, for it is a fine thing. But consider the first steps in it, and the consequences, and so lay your hand to the work. You must submit to discipline, eat to order, touch no sweets, train under compulsion, at a fixed hour, in heat and cold, drink no cold water, nor wine, except by order; you must hand yourself over completely to your trainer as you would to a physician, and then when the contest comes you must risk getting hacked, and sometimes dislocate your hand, twist your ankle, swallow plenty of sand, sometimes get a flogging, and with all this, suffer defeat.

Don’t ask her to scratch your back
2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

A baby Aardvark from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha NE.

Katrina body count
2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

It’s complicated. It’s also a tragedy for families needing closure.,0,5171979.story?coll=la-home-nation

For all you jugglers
2005-10-03— Posted by: allegra

This picture, which was taken by Martin Waugh and stolen from his Liquid Sculpture site, was entitled “The Amazing Juggling Nipple” and is in the … yeah, “Pournography” section. It’s amazing how something can be beautiful and sensuous and just plain creepy, all at the same time. It’s water, possibly with some gelatin added.

Terasen Q&A
2005-10-02— Posted by: allegra

I feel much better now; everybody go back to sleep.

They don’t expect any jobs to be lost. The Head Office of the merged company will be in Houston. They don’t mention anything about the environment or safety, just that the bill you get will look the same and your rates won’t go up. And if you read the Kinder Morgan documents on the site, all they talk about is securing the energy requirements of the US. Mission Accomplished, Baybee.

I am still going to make a submission, but folks, this is a done deal. The sale will go through. Look at the verbs that all the principals are using to describe the sale…. it has already happened. Even though the Terasen shareholders have not approved it, and won’t until October 30th.

enough sleep
2005-10-02— Posted by: allegra

Connect the dots
2005-10-02— Posted by: allegra

Then consider the following:

Which is the cleaned up, PC version of

The Aryan Nations website is worth seeing, if only for one of the funniest typos I have seen lately. (Their ‘religious’ leader is referred to as a Chaplin… Adolf Heinkel anybody?) Also, could somebody who reads Arabic translate the line of Arabic at the top of the website? You kin always tell them cheap assed racists, they don’t spell check. If you can’t stand the idea of having a record on your computer that you visited a racist website, stay away from both of the websites after the CNN story on the migrant worker killings in Georgia.

Just so you know; there is a substantial and growing portion of the “white” (I prefer “pink” – it’s more accurate) voting population in the US that doesn’t hate George W. Bush for anything except his immigration stand. Why, will paint Hillary Clinton, Satan’s favorite lesbian! in a warm golden light if she gets up on her hind legs and says US immigation laws should be more vigorously enforced. And frankly, after talking to a LOT of people who migrated legally to Canada, they would really like it if we started enforcing the immigration laws in the Great White North, too. There’s nothing like walking through Metrotown and coming face to face with a Hizbollah thug who used to terrorize your neighborhood to make a legal immigrant want tighter restrictions on entry into Canada. As my Muslim buddy at work has frequently said, it’s NOT about race or creed. It’s whether you meet the criteria to get into Canada in the first place; and then, once you’re here, whether you will assimilate to the point you support the legal and cultural framework of the country; whether you will be a good neighbour, educate your children, and refrain from sending money overseas to support civil wars and drug smuggling and genocide. He fully supports the notion that people caught doing something illegal before they get their citizenship should be stuck on a plane within hours of being convicted, and given the right to appeal the conviction and the deportation from overseas. (But what about the people wrongfully convicted on tainted testimony? that’s a poser. Justice ain’t simple. I still want to stick them on a plane, though. If life is game, gotta have enforceable rules.)

And after citizenship is granted? Revoking citizenship is a serious thing. How about you have to leave your passport with the cops for five years until you’ve demonstrated you can stay out of trouble? The cops would hate it. I kinda like the idea. Mind you, with all the scams in the Canadian consulates going on, I mean, you can BUY a passport that was issued by the Canadian government for something like 10K US, maybe handing over your passport wouldn’t be much a deterrant for a world class scumbag anyway. Just a cost of doing business, folks.

To loop back to connecting the dots. Immigration laws in the US are not being enforced. Migrants, legal or illegal, especially Spanish speaking migrants, are subject to harassment to the point of injury and death by folks who were too stupid, diseased, mentally unstable or drug addled to get into the American military, which these days (holy cow, read the Vanity Fair article on military recruiting from a couple of months ago) is going some. And the people they are beating to death are doing work that these white guys wouldn’t do anyway!!!!! That’s the part that blows me away. If the illegal immigrants were pumping gas, that would be one thing. But they’re working suckering tobacco, the meanest job in farming, or up on rickety ladders picking peaches, or working 14 hours a day as domestics. None of these guys would dirty their hands with these jobs, so why the animosity??? The political and social climate in some parts of the US is allowing the perps to get away with it, for the time being; but for every good ol boy who gets caught because he was stupid enough to keep his forensically interesting baseball bat in the trunk of his plate expired vehicle, there will be bunches more. Like dragon’s teeth. The morons keep marching. And, if you scrape off what I’m saying to what I’m saying underneath, there’s a very big inconsistency that I am wrestling with. If countries shouldn’t exist, why should an economic or political migrant bother me? And the answer is very simple, and very selfish. I prefer good neighbors to bad ones. If they cheat their way in….

Note on spelling. After due consideration, I generally drop the u in ‘our’ words. This is in part an effort to standardize my outbound emails to American customers in my work environment and in part because I believe that written English is in drastic need of radical reform; I’m only chewing at one end of it. Although, I must admit, when I hear Katie said “supposably” for “supposedly” it’s hard to believe that Shakespeare is in my living room gaily improving English.

Rabid gun fans rejoice
2005-10-02— Posted by: allegra

Here’s another sign our government is run by wretched incompetents with the gumption of a gunnysack full of lupins.

Link forwarded by Sandy.

The whole hole
2005-10-01— Posted by: allegra

I would be remiss if I did not catalogue Paul’s labors over the last few days. Here’s the Hellacious Hole of Horror. (We had to expose the sewer pipe to put in a cleanout as otherwise you can’t get a snake out to the street.)

How many signs of the Apocalypse….
2005-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Can you fit in one blog…?

Pic was taken leaving Brooklyn, September 15, credit AP, and thanks to Cousin Gerald again for providing the actual pic as I looked everywhere on the net and couldn’t find it until he emailed it to me.

Burt Bacharach is dropping an album into the public consciousness on November 1st. Phat beats on three tracks are supplied by Dr. Dre. Now, normally, anybody who knows who Burt Bacharach is won’t know who the hell Dr. Dre is and vice versa. AND to complete the trifecta of weirdness, Elvis Costello also sings on the album; Rufus Wainwright is the lilac maraschino on top. It’s kinda indescribable how I feel about this; I am a very big fan of Burt Bacharach as he is a complete master of the ‘tunes people can hum’ school of songwriting. My dear old dad will never forgive him for “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”, though, as one of his coworkers sang the first line over and over and over again until the notorious D.O.D. almost snapped a chain and throttled him, so his music has a dark side, I admit. But I think I’m going to buy the album, because Burt Bacharach doing a collaborative album that is entirely protest songs about George W. Bush is too good to miss out on.

Off to visit Glenda as soon as I press send on this.

Paul is finally asleep downstairs; the green tea at supper and Serenity on top of it made him too wired to sleep when he came home.

Walked around downtown New Westminster and the leaves falling off the trees lining Columbia were an amazing visual; also the fluffy cu’s mushrooming up (and occasionally spitting on us) were very pretty.

Looking forward to seeing Colin H tomorrow. Have to figure out where the best brunch is.

I am working on my presentation to the regulatory authorities about Kinder Morgan’s proposed acquisition of Terasen Gas. Read Kinder Morgan’s press release on the subject if you want to lose your lunch. Also, a great Google search dodge from Lifehacker yesterday… add “Database” to a search and you’ll be amazed how different your search results are.

Did you know Kinder Morgan nearly killed a couple of thousand people in a pipeline breach? These are the folks we’re inviting into the pipeline business in Canada. Did you know that both of the founders are cronies of and big donors to George W. Bush? Feeling better already, aren’t you? Deep and heavy sigh.

Give me a hand
2005-10-01— Posted by: allegra

Hand belongs to a nice little boy in India named Devender Harne. He has a galloping case of polydactyly, and it doesn’t bother him.

Colin H is in town. We think of him often, and I’m not allowed to say why. We will be brunching with him Sunday.

Glenda did go home from hospital for a while but she’s back in, and I’m going to go see her tomorrow.

Just got in from Serenity. It’s a wonderful movie, I am so happy. Go see it; it’s genre bending and loads of fun.

Last half of September 2005

I’m beyond irony; I’m justing sitting with my mouth hanging
2005-09-30— Posted by: allegra

This is a screen capture from the Amazing Race game. I am so fricking glad I don’t watch network TV that interpretive dance, fireworks and multiple orgasms couldn’t even touch conveying it.

Rock paper scissors
2005-09-30— Posted by: allegra

Rock Paper Scissors now has 25 hand signals. I am NOT posting a pic, as I can’t fit in this tiny space, but I will post the link.

… you gotta admit, including the cockroach was a coup.

Stayed up half the night to finish a book Patricia loaned me called The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. Highly recommended. When you find yourself yelling at the characters rather than “observing the artistry of the author” she’s probably done a good job. What I found particularly interesting is that the scene shifts back and forth between a dysfunctional Southern family (mental illness, death in the family, Daddy’s gone to live in another state with his mistress) and a REALLY dysfunctional Southern family (taxidermy, a decrepit grandmother named Gum, a rebel preacher, a meth lab and addiction, mental illness, siblings in Angola Prison, Lots and Lots and LOTS of snakes who, uh, well, that would be telling) and the language the two families use is really different and very scarily convincing. I mean, I didn’t want to do meth BEFORE I read this book, but Danny and Farish’s twin spiral of doom into complete meth freakeoutness really put a stake in the heart of my urge to “bump” – just this once. As for Harriet, the main character and a child of 12, she’s one of the better fictional concoctions I’ve run acrost recently. The book is a counterpoint to O Brother Where Art Thou; it’s also set in Mississippi.

No more sleeps until Serenity. Excitement is at a fever pitch here.

More meese
2005-09-30— Posted by: allegra

Why, it’s been bally ages since I posted a good moose picture. Tip of hat to Sandy for a simple “Van Gogh” moose moment.

little birdies
2005-09-30— Posted by: allegra

Remember those ugly little birds I had pictures of earlier (apologies to Brooke). Here they are all grown up.

It’s time to cash out
2005-09-29— Posted by: allegra

The balloon is going up

I’m calling my broker….

Blue Sun shirts
2005-09-29— Posted by: allegra

I have made one Blue Sun tshirt for the Serenity opening and have now transitioned to plastic stencils, as the paper one I used yestreen kinda disassembled half way through. I consider it interesting and coincidental that I already had the correct shade of blue fabric paint, and I have plenty left over for the one I’m making for Peggy (the art work should be a) clearer and b) straighter on her shirt). That will be tonight… I had to leave hers til second because she’s not going until Saturday and it needs at least a day to dry.

I am tasting excitement.

Insufficient squid pix
2005-09-28— Posted by: allegra

From the ocean depths…. a GIANT SQUID!!!!!

Credit card debt
2005-09-28— Posted by: allegra

If this link is busted, it’s about how the late payment for charge cards is at an American All Time High. Fasten your seat belts, even Alan Greenspan thinks the deficit is too high.

Real tired
2005-09-28— Posted by: allegra

Wo. Just found out we’re looking at many k’s of dough to fix sewer issues. Ah, the joys of home ownership.

Keith scored Serenity tix for all 4 of us last night, yee and likewise haw. Happy happy girl.

Tex Avery Drools the World
2005-09-28— Posted by: allegra

Words cannot describe how much I love the work of Tex Avery. Bugs Bunny on reds and acid. Yeehaw.

Old, but good
2005-09-27— Posted by: allegra

2005-09-27— Posted by: allegra

Cindy Sheehan’s court date for obstructing a sidewalk, leading to her getting busted in front of the White House, is my birthday.

Waiting for the advance tickets to be available for Serenity is killing us.

I really wish I could talk about work.

We’re playing the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou non stop. It’s starting to drive John nuts, especially when ‘the Warby girls’ come on and Katie starts dancing around and singing. Katie has an account on Nexopia, and she was complaining about it last night. I said, “You’re not paying for the damned thing, what gives you the right to complain?” Oh, and by the way, if you’re not ready to stay home for a long period of time, you’re not ready for the flu pandemic. Buy masks and gloves. I’ve been handing out the document located HERE like it was candy since I first located it. It’s sixty pages long, but believe me, I’ve been all over the frikkin web looking for good documentation and this is the best I have found, exspeshully for BC residents. If you can print it out, do so, otherwise print out the checklists for the home preparedness, they are amazing.

Filking Hazard Ahead
2005-09-26— Posted by: allegra

I simply cannot get the chorus of “Ivan, you Idiot” out of my head, which is a Brookean filk of the everlovely Vorkosigan series by the multiply talented Lois McMaster Bujold.

Ivan is, like, the perpetual sidekick, who isn’t quite as dumb as everybody thinks he is, and is nowhere near as smart as he considers himself to be.

RIP Don Adams
2005-09-26— Posted by: allegra

Brother James
2005-09-26— Posted by: allegra

Brother James reports that his hands are cool and dry, thanks. I am interested in YOUR comments, o my other readers. Looks like I’m going to have a 13k hits month. Who is reading my blog? I hear from Sandy, my mother, Brother James, Patricia, Cousin Gerald, Mike and Brooke, but unless they suffer from OCD and are hitting it 42 times a day (uh?) I’ve got lurkers galore.

I know somebody who doesn’t read my blog, and that’s Stephanie – she asked me to dinner the other night in a voice mail. Cue the Hanna Barbera style snickering noises.

Some good news
2005-09-26— Posted by: allegra

Whenever I see grass roots efforts to assist a really marginalized group, I feel a little bit better about the world. I tip my Jayne’s toque to Sandy for forwarding the link.

The costumes for Serenity opening are finished; the teddy bear has migrated onto the leg of Katie’s Kaylee costume, and Keith’s costume is NOTHing short of terrifying. He looks VERY scary; he figures there’s got to be at least one other villain going so he plans to stand next to whoever it is and they can be scary together…. And I’m just wearing my Trinity coat with my Jayne’s toque on top, so we’re are going to look like one seriously verkockt trio on Friday night. Still no advance tix, you bastards! Shaky fisty! Went to Metro-t yesterday and they didn’t have any advance tix, although FOR ONCE I got some customer service and they gave me live numbers for the theatre co. I didn’t get any decent info from Vancouver Browncoats, have no idea why I joined. There will be an advance screening on Wednesday but apparently you have to win tix.

Collapsed yesterday at 8:30 pm. Don’t know what’s wrong with me but I am seriously tired all the time, and I forgot to do a shoulder check yesterday and almost trashed the car. Glad that the guy next to me was awake, I sure wasn’t.

No beach, it was too cold. Did a little earthquake prep, watched Keira Knightley’s commentary on Pirates of the Caribbean, tried to watch Terry and Terry’s commentary on Holy Grail and couldn’t, tried to watch Johnny and Gore’s commentary on Pirates and couldn’t, couldn’t even make myself dinner I was so tired, and crawled into bed and slept. Paul says I didn’t even wake up when he came to bed after his shift, although my restless leg was hyperactive last night. Yes, in addition to everything else that’s wrong with me, I have restless leg. I think it would be funny to do a cartoon of it hopping ’round the house freaking out the cats.

Hey, we have costumes for V-con! I may go filking there.

Insufficient baby animal pix
2005-09-25— Posted by: allegra

Black tailed Marmosets. Ain’t they sweet?

I tried to go through the sliding doors into the plant room this morning without opening the door first. After determining I was not severely injured, Katie killed herself laughing. It was pretty funny. I was trying to catch a glimpse of the woodpecker…. and I did. Got a nice bump on my knee and forehead though.

Heard from Terry yesterday, he’s in a frame and at home. He was conscious through the entire ordeal and has a ‘hangman’s fracture’ of the C1. He’s expected to make a full recovery but can’t work for three months. Katie got to talk to him for a while and was astounded by how calm he was.

Sleep eluding me again
2005-09-25— Posted by: allegra

I’ll start out with something interesting, culled from Google news.

I keep telling my kids that the jobs that will exist in the future don’t even have names now.

It’s 4:16 in the am and I am awake due to a very bizarre dream.

I had sent something to the report generator that shouldn’t been sent because it wasn’t configured properly. The entire company ERP crashed (and it hasn’t crashed in 3 years, so this is like a Really Big Deal) after spitting out bizarre error messages (you know, like

“Your socks are on backwards – 0000045F433V89”

) The CFO – not the current one, the one who hired the current controller – came to my desk with a stack of papers and an irritated expression, saying he was having difficulty understanding what happened, and I replied, waspishly, that it was a keyboard error, and he walked away muttering, “The kids are NOT all right.”

Still at my desk I look up and see an entirely weird looking middle aged gentleman in suit pants and a short sleeved, rumpled, cream coloured dress shirt. He was above middle height and scrawny in the way of men who don’t get enough exercise.

His hair deserves a paragraph to itself; as best as I can describe it, he had a white guy’s ‘fro on the top and straight hair between the top of his neck and the middle of his shoulder blades. To add to the follicular nightmare, he had thinning hair and a forehead the size of a medicine ball, so his hair stood out in dandelion puffs above his ears with a Clown Sized forehead in the middle. Really, he looked Quite Odd.

I took an instant dislike to him. He had commenced to address me without introducing himself. I said, I would really like to help you, but I have no idea who are, and this is a secure area (subtext… don’t talk to strangers).

Still without introducing himself, he said he was on the Board of Directors. I stood up, stuck out my hand, clearly said my name and job function, and he muttered something. I could FEEL his clammy handshake, and his disdain for me came at me in a physical wave. So I said, I’m sorry, but I didn’t catch your name, and he muttered it again and it SOUNDED like Brion Gysin which I knew couldn’t possibly be the case and then he said he was formerly with the Alliance.

Cue the omen-ous muzak, please.

So I said, ah, you fought against the Rebellion, and he said, to the best of my recollection, “You now have no further interest to me as a person.”

So I said, well, if that’s the case you can get the hell out of my work area. He played with his hair while trying to stare me down. When I said, “And by the way, I can tell you’re a premature ejaculator from your handshake,” at which point he figured out he should leave, and did.

By the way, this is true… premature ejaculators have clammy handshakes.

I was reading this book about six years ago written by a clinical sexologist and she says it’s true, and of course it’s one of those things I WANT to believe, so it must be true. So when I say it’s TRUE I’m saying I just spent 1/2 an hour looking for the damned book on the internet, and while I knew it was technically possible to have a lot of different book titles with Sex in them there are about 19000 hits in Amazon; I didn’t have time to go through them all, (and I had no frikkin idear there were so many Christian sex books) so I can’t actually give the book as a citation, but I affirm that I really do believe I read it, and as a matter of fact Brian C at work heard this (I read that part of the book to him over lunch) and he immediately gave me a hearty, warm, firm, masculine handshake which confirmed all my worst (or best) suspicions about him. So I kinda have a witness, but I can’t remember the name of the damned book.


ANYWAY, to continue with this damned dream. Patricia showed me how to use my new cell phone, and while she was showing this to me, ANOTHER member of the Board of Directors came THROUGH my work area (walked behind me around my desk!) and I told him I felt violated, “Not that you appear to care” and then he PUT MY HEAD IN A HEADLOCK as he drew my unwilling attention to a product purchase form. The man’s BO was enough to make my eyes water, and as I grabbed his forearm and pulled up and out to release my head, which he was squeezing hard enough to hurt, I woke up, heart pounding.

I very rarely have dreams with smell in them. I very rarely have dreams with physical sensations in them. And now, it’s 5:07, Paul has sweetly and sleepily asked me to come back to bed, and I will.

One last thing. As soon as I woke up from the dream, I had an insight into Katie’s character that made me realize that my current attitude towards her non boyfriend is not helpful, and that I should possess my soul in patience and be quiet. This is not me, but the insight was very powerful and rooted in a life time of observation of her character – sweet and stubborn – so I know I’m on the right track.

She dyed her hair last night two different colours and it looks amazing. She’s a clever lassie.

I Call BS
2005-09-24— Posted by: allegra

MSM reports on previous Scarebus troubles here Now, call me mentally fragile and intellectually suspect, in the full throes of cognitive fibrillation, but I call me a steaming heap of BS. If my husband, who is the person I trust most (after my parents, but only because they got in line first), tells me, after working on Scarebuses for many many years, that there is NO fix in for the Scarebus nosewheel problem – and the MSM reports that there is, I hope you can forgive me when I believe my husband. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No aircraft is intrinsically safe. Nothing made by humans is. But a Scarebus properly maintained by an organization with enough money to effect repairs, pay its mechanics a living wage and subject to proper oversight by TECHNICALLY QUALIFIED persons who are not completely lacking moral fibre, that is a Scarebus I will fly in.

Keith made coffee and pancakes
2005-09-24— Posted by: allegra

yum. Today we’re going to get an acoustic coffee grinder.

2005-09-24— Posted by: allegra

Some little SD rang my doorbell at 1 am this morning so I am now awake at 2:30 am. I blogged *like, typed* and I type very fast…. for 20 freaking minutes after cruising around the net for about an hour trying to garner something worthwhile to say and then the Spyware scan appeared out of nowhere and NOT ONLY did it kick me off the internet, it destroyed everything I had just written even though I cut and copied it. Shaky fisty.

Patricia and I consumed two beers apiece at Stella’s on Commercial yesterday after work. That woman should write her life story; my life feels like a cataclysm of tedium by comparison.

I light a candle for Terry’s speedy recovery.

I look forward to the house filk at Gadget House East tonight. I guess it’s tonight.

Just found out that Allison Durno has a weblog so it’s really easy to keep up with what Urban Tapestry is up to these days… which is touring Germany! Can you believe it? Filk groups are so … cosmopolitan these days.

Katie wants to go to Corpse Bride but Sean C blogged that he’d forgotten how gross Danny Elfman’s music is (I paraphrase), which it is, damnit. Apart from the Simpson’s theme, he’s hopeless at giving the people a tune they can hum. So I plan to feast my eyes and then rinse my ears out after I see it. Less than a week to Serenity.

Did you know that the Airbus company has no manners? The instantly and universally well known video – thanks Jerome for alerting me to it – of the Jetblue landing should be better known as The Sixth Time it Happened but the First Time Somebody got Video. (I may be exaggerating about the number of previous incidents, but that’s what Ro9 said). All the f-cking Scarebuses should be grounded until the fix is in, I groused to Paul, who gently told me that Scarebus has known about the problem for years and hasn’t figured out how to fix it. The biggest problem with the nose gear is that IT DOESN’T HAVE A CENTERING CAM. This is a mechanical device that forces the nose gear to align with the fuselage when it drops into place. Scarebus, as anybody who follows the aircraft industry knows, has a massive amount of disdain for mechanical anything, prefering to rely on electronic devices to do things. But you know what? I think maybe they will actually have to get a fix in this time; talk about yer bad publicity. And ponder for a moment that there have been other pilots who had to go through that previously….Woo hoo, a chance to use those expensive skills instead of setting the autoland and waking up on the taxiway.

Oh, and another thing. I know it’s all the rage to think composite aircraft are wonderful, but about five to ten years from now any badly maintained Scarebuses (marginal, regional, impoverished and venal carriers….like, there aren’t any of those) are going to start delaminating like the top of the Superdome under Katrina’s tender ministrations, thus creating “large lawsuits”, “substantial debris fields” and “big writedowns”. Oh, did I mention loss of life? No, I don’t think Air Canada will have an issue. Do you know what prevents Air Canada from being an unsafe airline? A bunch of really crabby middle aged guys who occasionally stroll away from their assignments to ‘check on something’ when their managers tell them to push back an aircraft that they don’t think is safe or has blown past the deviation date. A bunch of crabby middle aged guys who occasionally duct tape a coworker to his chair and stick him on top of the lockers when they catch him sleeping in the ready room. Of course Air Canada asks mechanics to sign out aircraft that are over their deviation dates, it isn’t Air Canada that will lose its licence if the government agency – Transport Canada – investigates subsequent to an ‘incident’. Yup, Goddess bless the crabby, middle aged guys who stroll up to the pilot in command and say, Look in the log. Refuse the aircraft! Crabby, middle aged guys who give up evenings and weekends and an awful lot of sleep to keep you and yours safe. Astute, safety conscious, public minded and diligent middle aged guys like the one currently peacefully asleep in our bed, who will be getting up in two hours to keep you safe some more. And if you tell Paul that he’s one of the forces of light he’ll blow air through his lips with a dismissive noise and say he’s just doing his job.

Time for me to crawl back into bed. What a life. Hope your weekend is full of mannerly people. Here in Vancouver, this will be my last Wreck Beach weekend of the summer, as it will be unseasonably warm.

Pic is of a recovery of a jumbo that left the end of the runway in Hong Kong (everybody got off okay); they had to fly heavy duty buoyancy bags in from the Isle of Wight to get the airplane to the point they could salvage and tow it, as it was keeping one runway closed and restricting operations in another.

Intervenor status
2005-09-23— Posted by: allegra

You will have heard that those f*ck*ng b*st*rds who run things in this FAIR province have CHANGED THEIR MINDS and do NOT WANT TO HAVE public hearings into the PURCHASE OF TERASEN GAS by KINDER MORGAN, a company with the WORST EVER US$ FINE ASSESSED FOR PIPELINE SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE INFRACTIONS (and this in the middle of the most riproaring destruction of the environmental safety regulations since the US told Britland to f*ck off). So a while back I raised hell with the person responsible for the public hearings, and as a result I have been forwarded a PDF document to request intervenor status or the right to make written submissions. Hell yeah, and if you want a copy of the request you let me know via email and I will email the PDF. Intervenor written submissions are due by October 14 – nice way to completely f*ck the process, hunh?.

This purchase is a TERRIBLE IDEA. It represents a destruction of Canadian Sovereignty (because any pipeline company in the US will be enabled to operate in Canada subsequent to the sale, under NAFTA rules), a direct health threat to our children, a safety threat to any of the poor b*st*ards working for the company (safety record, pshaw!) and I could go on at length.

If you aren’t going to make a submission, the least you can do is get a working woodstove, because, you poor ignorant gomerel, you’re going to need it.

Baby octopus
2005-09-23— Posted by: allegra

Thanks Brooke-meister.

Sad and angry
2005-09-23— Posted by: allegra

Terry G., our friend in Cornwall ON, was struck from his bicycle on Tuesday evening and now lies in a hospital in Ottawa. Although there is (from first report) no spinal cord damage, his neck is broken. Tish, his wife, is up there with him. My thoughts are with his remarkable and wonderful man, who hand made me the best canoe paddle ever (it burned up in the truck fire) and is one of the more talented and energetic individuals I know personally, and I know a LOT of talented and energetic people. Tish and Terry are among Paul’s oldest friends and they normally go on a canoe trip every year with him, including this summer just past (see many many pix from previous blog).

I light a candle for the residents of the Texas Gulf and for their rescue workers.

The Province of Quebec is attempting to extort money from Paul for a speeding infraction from over ten years ago. Not only do they want the $170 for the fine, they want him to a bunch more for not showing up in court. I’d say more but it wouldn’t be fitting for a family blog.

Living with a troupe of baboons
2005-09-22— Posted by: allegra

I don’t mean to complain, it just kinda happens anyway. I am living with a bunch of people who under most circumstances might be considered intelligent, but when it comes to loading down the D drive with megs of extraneous shit, when we have a 120 GIG drive for all the media, they default to “Let’s see how much shit we can put on D drive before the system doesn’t have enough swap space and CRASHES.”

So screw it, I’m removing all of the cables and taking them to work. And then, when I have everybody’s attention, they’ll maybe, just maybe, pay attention to me when I tell them NOT to do that any more.

Jobs jobs jobs
2005-09-21— Posted by: allegra

First, a note from Peak Oil (o sh*t are you on about that again….)

Keith’s job evaporated, heavy sigh, so he’s back to working temp but he’s now absolutely committed to going back to school in January so my evil plot has worked. John has formally been hired at his new job, working with Tom, so we celebrated with a fabulous meal at Grand Buffet last night (they had Lobster?! on Tuesday?!) and it was all five of us, so that was fabulous.

Katie is turning into an adult and I’m enjoying that. You can understand why.

My coworkers are all beautiful and the sun is shining, and we have to rip up our entire yard because of tree roots.

My new credit card came. This after TD Canada Trust told me I couldn’t have one, prompting one of my angriest customer service calls ever; but they fixed it with a keystroke…. ha…. and I now have a credit card again after CIBC Visa cancelled my friggin card out from under me.

Giant pink bunny
2005-09-20— Posted by: allegra

Gadzooks and Zounds! Tis been verily an age since I posted a decent bunny pic. Herewith, one giant pink bunny, lovingly knitted by public art loving grannies, and erected on a mountain in Italy for the benefit of hikers and aerobic aesthetes. If you look very closely in the lower left corner you will see people, for scale.

Nothing much…
2005-09-20— Posted by: allegra

Apart from the fact that I have commenced biscotti production about two months early, I have nothing to say. Actually, that isn’t true. I f/cking hate perimenopause. There. Biscotti recipe is back in the archives, I think December, for last year. Keith is off to his new job. I am very happy for him, he seems very content. Paul is doing yoga. Katie went to visit Daxus last night; he’s not living in New West anymore. I’m going to go hack up the biscotti loaves now. Mm. Biscotti.

yay Keith
2005-09-20— Posted by: allegra

Keith got himself a full time job at $3 an hour more than he was making with the temp agency. It’s less than 20 minutes away by bus. I am so happy I could burst.

just for fun
2005-09-19— Posted by: allegra

Quick visit
2005-09-19— Posted by: allegra

Glenda was doing great today, and although she had to be coaxed, she agreed to have her picture taken. The food at Peace Arch Hospital continues to suck.

Bread truck
2005-09-18— Posted by: allegra

Yannig Tanguy decided, screw it, gas prices ridiculous, no more bread van. So, here he is with Copper the pony, delivering bread the old fashioned way. Get over it… there’s a lot more of this coming.

Walking around
2005-09-18— Posted by: allegra

Went walking last night. We managed to herd all five of us out the door, and what an amazing skyscape we had before us. The moon was nigh on full, and the clouds and the wind speed contrived to present a unfolding tableau of elven wonder. There was no point taking a picture of it… without a tripod and a telescopic lens, nothing we took with our current batch of cameras would have worked out anyway. Pic isn’t anywhere close to what we saw although I thank the internet for disgorging it; the moon was plainly visible rather than obscured as in this pic; last night the clouds were just barely thick enough to provide cover.

We stopped for a long, long time on the football field at Cariboo, it being a place where we could look at the sky without any wires; the moon was being eaten by a dragon coiled around the southern end of the horizon; the moon was a crystal in the centre of a geode; the moon was a glowing pearl resting in a massive oyster; the moon was trampolining gently up and down on a pillow; the moon was donning Groucho and mariachi disguises and then dancing veiled. And more, more than this, the polarized light from the moon lit up the evershifting clouds, so the iridescences ran like melting butter and reformed into shapes and colours that were just bliss-inducing to look at.

Just tore the house apart looking for my National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Weather (highly, highly recommended), from which I extracted the (edited) following:

Iridescence: Description: Colorful bands or patches observed in clouds seen near the sun or moon. The colored bands are due to light being diffracted by water droplets of a fairly uniform size in altostratus and altocumulus clouds (note, these were altocumulus). Season: Any time of year, most frequent in winter over mountains. Range: Most common and frequent over the western cordillera and the Appalachian Mountains. The grading of droplets to smaller sizes near the edge of a cloud may produce a fringe of iridescence.

Okay, now imagine that ‘a fringe of iridescence’ extended over, at any given time, a 30 degree arc, and you can understand why all of us were gobsmacked. If you weren’t out walking last night, I feel sorry for you.

Then we came home and watched a George Carlin show video (You are All Diseased) and went to bed, sore from laughing.

What the hell is this?
2005-09-17— Posted by: allegra

Obviously it’s an egg mass. But of what?

enough sleep
2005-09-17— Posted by: allegra

Okay, let’s get something straight. I have a very strong lexical memory and an overwhelming amount of curiousity and would like to be the person who finally gets god and science on speaking terms, but I do not know everything. 1. I don’t know what the Voynich manuscript says, although I suspect it’s a fraud. 2. I don’t know what Bill Murray says to Scarlett Johanson at the end of Lost in Translation. 3. I don’t know what I’m going to die of or when, although I find it entertaining to speculate. 4. I don’t know when the next earthquake is coming through. 5. I don’t know anything about weapons, although I sure know who to ask. 6. I don’t know if I’ll ever fall in love again with the bucketfuls of cheesewitted abandon I have shown in times past, not that I’m complaining about my love life this morning, no, not at all. Happy sigh. That’s just off the top of my head. I could literally sit at this computer for hours and hours and hours, compiling a list of things I don’t know. I had been wondering about Judge Crater for literally thirty-five years, and when I found out he was killed in what was essentially a mob hit, I experienced a burst of satisfaction to find it out. Now if I can just get spontaneous human combustion and the Andrea Doria and ball lightning and Cadborosaurus squared away in the annals of science and nature, I’ll be a happy woman.

another heapin’ handful of WTF
2005-09-17— Posted by: allegra

LED bathtubs? Isn’t this a sign of somebody ELSE’s apocalypse? It’s $1800 Canadian. I mean, I love green, but anybody spotting my um ample um you know lovingly bathed in Zombie Green would probably have a really hard time doing anything but drinking heavily and weeping copiously for many long days afterwards. Stolen from Gizmodo.

2005-09-16— Posted by: allegra

Rob of Nine sent me this link
2005-09-16— Posted by: allegra


This one’s for Liz
2005-09-16— Posted by: allegra

My Papal fan base screams for this pic, stolen from

Google earth
2005-09-16— Posted by: allegra

Hey, Rob of Nine and Cousin Gerald, check this out, if you haven’t already.

Roman villa found with Google Earth

I’m writing filk, God help me
2005-09-16— Posted by: allegra

Joss's Blues

The man who tilts the mirror is a very mixed and subtle man
he posts a letter better than the very finest steadicam
he opens up a doorway and then he beckons you inside
the best part is the minute that he strikes and leaves you stupefied

the man who bends the beams of light 
and shines them in your eyes
you get all excited 
want to eat it all before it liquefies

The man who wanders where he wants to into vales of weighty thought
Then knees you quite by accident before you know you should have fought
he shows a chunk of skin and then he beckons you aside
the best part is the minute when you jump because you're terrified

the man who bends the beams of light 
and shines them in your eyes
you get all excited 
want to eat it all before it liquefies

My friends mean this to me and more, for art is never daily life
I don't mean to be keeping score, I like to know just what you like
I hear the noise, it all makes sense, you're coming in just fine
I've drawn the circle wide tonight, I'm offering the holy wine

the man who bends the beams
of light 
and shines them in your eyes
you get all excited 
want to eat it all 
before it liquefies

First half of September 2005

The last time they lost a city
2005-09-15— Posted by: allegra

San Francisco Earthquake Timeline

Homer is a Commie????
2005-09-15— Posted by: allegra

Homer is a Commie??

Hey pOp
2005-09-15— Posted by: allegra

Not funny
2005-09-15— Posted by: allegra

Ground Zero EMS Katrina
2005-09-15— Posted by: allegra

Why is it that I think the death toll in this makeshift hospital has not been included in the death toll so far?

What Moore’s Falls look like in August
2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

This is Shadow… another of Sandy’s cats. What gorgeous markings!

2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

This is Sandy’s cat Bashful. He went up against a fisher, thus the missing eye. I think he looks very raffish.

Flood in Vancouver
2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

If Vancouver were New Orleans

Interesting to see that I’d just be on the edge of the flooded area. If this link turns out to be ephemeral, somebody has used Yahoo maps to plot out how much of various North American cities would be covered in water if they had been flooded to the same extent. Kinda personalizes the catastrophe, which I imagine is the whole idea.

I simply must go to bed.

Still can’t sleep.
2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

Now there’s some niche marketing for you.

Can’t breathe
2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

I was WOKEN UP by the smoke from the Burns Bog fire. My throat and lungs hurt and the level of particulates is so high that I’m afraid the fire alarms in the house are going to start going off. So it’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m staring at the little screen again, again.

Altogether now…. EWWWW

I find the PRC Chinese attitude towards their executed/death row prisoners to be loathsome to start with; this story just makes me feel horrible. What’s worse is the attitude of the people who now know what’s in it and WILL BUY IT ANYWAY.

enough sleep
2005-09-14— Posted by: allegra

I would like to compliment Paul on his ability to deal appropriately with my chiropteran feces.

2005-09-13— Posted by: allegra

God damn the bureaucrats, the petty minded thieves of lives, who steal with paper and delay what they would not dare to steal with guns. Goddamn! Read it and weep.

Justice, sort of
2005-09-13— Posted by: allegra

I’ve been following this case for a long time…. it’s been dragging on for the best part of three years. It isn’t exactly justice, what we see here, but I just thought I’d mention that it’s a hard universe to be transgendered in. RIP Gwen. If this link doesn’t work, google Gwen Araujo.

Beacon Unitarian church did a program called the Welcoming Congregation a while back, and we had a couple of transgender people come and talk to us, and I watched some videos, one of which talked about Gwen’s case. Since then Katie has had two transgender schoolmates; that’s one of the best things about Katie’s school. It’s a safe place to be ‘different’. How long, stern Goddess mine, how long? Before we can be seen as we are….

2005-09-13— Posted by: allegra

Check it out!!! User interface clunky, basic idea sound!

Many thanks to Cousin Gerald the Cartographer!!

Also from Gerald….

I am Ol’ Mama of the Dead Donkeys MC. I like it!

Wikipedia on Katrina
2005-09-13— Posted by: allegra

Interestingly there is another mention of 50 Canadians – but they are correctly identified.

Mounties? Wrong
2005-09-13— Posted by: allegra

Murricans can’t tell the difference between rescue workers and Mounties. I think this is the source of that weird story you mentioned earlier, mOm. ….you will note it is a ‘politico’ and not a reputable official who said the Mounties got there before the Feds. Vancouver Rescue was in Chalmette very early on.

2005-09-13— Posted by: allegra

Ryan Finkbiner of Minot ND took this picture a couple of days ago.

Bridge across the Tarn
2005-09-12— Posted by: allegra

This is a pic of the bridge across the Tarn in France. It cost about half a billion US, is about 300 metres tall at the tallest point and spans almost two and a half kilometres. Damned French can’t do anything in a straight line, it looks like the ass end of a Citroen, doncha think?

After the Correction
2005-09-12— Posted by: allegra

We’re going to need new entertainment that doesn’t cost any money. With that in mind…. Stolen from Umop, reposted from Fark.

Keith and work
2005-09-12— Posted by: allegra

Keith says…. I think I am becoming on of the temp agency’s star performers. I asked, “Why is that?” and he said, “I show up on time, I don’t leave early, I don’t mouth off the supervisors and I keep my paperwork in order.” AH, the things he is learning. So his gig this morning is apparently 1 hour of work for 4 hours’ pay (truck unloading), and all his coworkers are envious, because that’s the softest gig there is. Back to work, I wonder what joys and sorrows await me.

Burns Bog is on Fire
2005-09-12— Posted by: allegra

Paul and Dan were diverted out of landing at Boundary Bay airport to circle the fire and report on its size. Paul said it was huge… this pic taken about 3 hours ago doesn’t really do it justice. The entire valley is filled with smoke and there’s a smoke plume that looks like the most terrifying funnel cloud ever on the southwest horizon. Katie said, it feels like the end of the world.

On a brighter note, just ate a stellar meal at Tom and Peggy’s.

take a hint
2005-09-12— Posted by: allegra

Horror show
2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

You’ve probably seen this
2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

I’m sorry, but one of the things about being me is that I find the juxtaposition of Cops and Tim Hortons innately hilarious. Also forwarded from Cousin Gerald, I just LOVE pix like these. Hopefully this won’t get too shrunk in the process of being posted… pic is from T.O.

More meese
2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

It’s been bally ages since I posted a decent moose pic. Herewith, with kind regards from Cousin Gerald, provenance unknown.

From today
2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

In four years, Roosevelt and allies defeated Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. In four years, Bush has not managed even to corner Bin Laden and a few hundred scruffy terrorists; or to extract himself from the deserts of Iraq; or to put the government finances in good order so that it can deal with crises like Katrina.

Jerome and Shannon’s back yard
2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

Picnic Pix
2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

Picture is of a deity. Strangely enough, I am NOT a devotee of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; I am not a Pastafarian. However, I am deeply in sympathy with the Pastafarians, and hope that the imminent split between the Spaghettarians and the Linguinarians does not result in bloodshed.

Had a great day partying my brains out at the company picnic and also at Jerome and Shannon’s. In a later blog I will post a pic of their back yard, which is entirely too gorgeous for words.

Saw Cam and received word that the guy I want to take the Firearms Safety Course from is a standup guy, so that really calmed my nerves. Me and the boys are engaged in a charming debate about which gun I’ll buy first after I get my licence. Cam just got back from his second spell at The Project (didn’t know that the Burning Man had changed his name, didja). His response to questions like how was it were met with a single word “Dusty” (must have water, must have goggles, must have dust mask, and don’t even dream about wearing contact lenses). Only two deaths this year, one misadventure complicated by alcohol, the other likely a congenital heart defect. Met Cam’s girlfriend, whose name I won’t even try to spell, and she pulls cable for a living! Women in trades are so hot. She has also apparently memorized all the dialogue to Planes Trains and Automobiles, and proceeded to do the 2 minute version with sound and mime, to the guffaws of those assembled.

My mum says that an American cousin sent her an email saying that the Mounties showed up in New Orleans before the Feds did, and I said BS. There was nothing on and you can bet your ass that they’d be reporting on that, strike or no strike. Nothing. Mum had to tell the guy that it was a lovely story, but simply not true (she did her own research though, which gave me a secret thrill). These kinds of rumours abound in the wake of a catastrophe. Oh, by the way, if you want some interesting historical commentary, Go Read about the Johnstown Flood. There are interesting parallels with contemporary events.

2005-09-11— Posted by: allegra

The company picnic featured a four way tug o war, which Paul’s team won, and a raffle draw for the DVD of Sin City, which was won by ticket 666, and me winning the first prize handed out, which was a Starbucks card, which I promptly gave to Katie (just like the last one), and yummy salads, and Katie and I doing the balloon toss thing, and even though I dropped it twice it didn’t break until that last time I threw it to Katie. She rushed up to me and rubbed all the water off on my face and clothes. Ah, parenthood! Wish somebody had video of that I’m sure it looked extremely goofy. Pix later, didn’t have a chance to upload them yet.

enough sleep
2005-09-10— Posted by: allegra

Off to the company picnic and then off to Jeromy’s for his housewarming partay. Everybody have a nice day and try to stay out of trouble. I am severely aggravated and can’t say why. The only good thing about it is that it won’t last. Peak oil folks say that this is our August 1914. We’re wandering around in the sun, not knowing the world’s about to blow up.

Nasty nasty activist judge
2005-09-10— Posted by: allegra

Pic stolen from, and references this person as being Judge Janet Hall. Judge Janet Hall just ruled that it’s not democratic to put gag orders on the public identification of librarians involved in Patriot Act inquiries at libraries.

It’s like trying to do the fish-slapping dance with a Sherman tank as a partner, but it’s a good decision anyway.

Shaky fisty
2005-09-10— Posted by: allegra

That Brooke. She says her cat Toby was caught napping on “memorably, a pile of knives”. So she has one upped moi, yet again, again. Damn you Brooke the First Pharmacist in Space! Shaky fisty!!!

And She who can read Dr.’s Handwriting Quoth, that NAZI I saw Means NAnaimo Zone Inbound… so she’s got me coming and going, as usual. I get my revenge as best I can…..

Another funny
2005-09-09— Posted by: allegra

This is hilarious. Every once in a while a fly lands on the camera at Mt St Helens, and I managed to grab this image. Mothra is coming! Flee! Everybody keep moving their mouths after they stop talking!!!

Tee Hee
2005-09-09— Posted by: allegra

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

Day signs
2005-09-09— Posted by: allegra

I am not quite ashamed of my religious beliefs, but I don’t exactly trumpet them either. The biggest problem with the human brain is that some of the things it was designed to do very well came into conflict with each other after we learned to talk. In the process of naming our foodstuffs and methods of acquiring them, and our kinship relationships and methods of acquiring them, we learned how very useful it is to reduce the vastness of the universe to a single word… universe. Whoo hoo, I got the whole universe in my hand!! Or mouth, as the case may be. Somewhere along the way, coincidences and accidents and just plain ‘weird tangles of non-causally related crap’ acquired Deep Signifance and Spiritual Meaning. Ie, this rock is better than that rock because of the way the sun hits it on a fine morning. THAT kind of crap. The way we assign meaning to the meaningless, and then the assignment of meaning becomes the meaning we need. And then, because of the meaning assigned to a particular pretty rock, I acquired fitness (you know, merit, status, excellence, breeding plumage) as a member of a certain group, because of my relationship to a stupid although excellently pretty rock. Now sometimes the rock is visually stunning and imbued with skookumness, but it’s still a rock. The meaning I assign to it, however, makes me part of a group that will help me acquire foodstuffs and kinship relationships, and believe me, you can reduce all human behaviour as being related to the acquisition and maintenance of foodstuffs and kinship relationships. This blog is ALL ABOUT kinship relationships. No, duh.

So, let me tell you about my rock. It’s a very nice rock… I really like it. It “works for me”. Your rock might be the Bible, or Ohm’s law, the principles of Unitarianism, or a higher mathematics, or notion that you are the centre of the universe and you should have anything you want, which, with any luck, you grow out of. But my rock is a spooky blend of the laws of physics and visual imagery tied to poetry and myth. I’ll give you an example.

Yestreen I left my house and turned to my right on the way out of the door. Pokey was sleeping in the sun next to the house…. and using a rock for a pillow. Now, anybody who knows Pokey (and I can hear Brooke snickering) knows that this is exactly the kind of thing that you could expect him to do, because he is Not Usual. But I thought “A day sign! Hmp, wonder what it means,” and continued along my way. Katie came galumphing out of my house to join me, as she was meeting up with a girlfriend at 6th and 6th, and I was heading out to my writers group. So we got on the bus and chatted, which was pleasant. I got off at 22nd Street and you’ll never guess what happened next? I got the FRONT SEAT in the Skytrain. That happens like once in two hundred trips, so I sit down and notice that the window is even mostly clean, and I ride from 22nd Street to Broadway, eyes closed when the sun’s shining directly onto my face and eyes open the rest of the time. The mountains, the play of light, the shape of the clouds. The trip proceeded from sunshine to cloud. Then, around Joyce, a crow was on the right hand rail and got up and flew away. Another day sign, I think. Then, and this is the really really weird part, because unless I’d been sitting where I was I couldn’t possibly have seen it (and I’m still having trouble believing it, but my lexical memory is very good) somewhere between Joyce and Broadway there’s a little white sign with red letters sticking up next to the tracks, so close to the train you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see it, that reads:



Z (the Z has a bar through it)


I sat bolt upright and said to myself, Mother of Babbling God! Did I just see that?

Then two more crows, sitting on the right side of the tracks, leaped into the air, one after the other, totalling three for the trip. Three crows means two things to me, based on experience and research; one is Maiden, Mother, Crone, the three faces of a woman/goddess, and the other is the three Norns, the Norse goddesses of fate (Urd, Verdandi and Skuld who are the past present and future, sort of the same thing but not quite).

There was only one more day sign before the rain of day signs stopped (I get about one day sign every two weeks, and I’m watching for them all the bloody time, so this was quite the storm) and it was the most interesting of all, aesthetically, because normally day signs are visual. Sabena left her front door open, and after sunset the wind picked up very hard, and blew the first of the sere and fallen leaves up and down the street; the rustle was so evocative that I stopped listening to the conversation in the room to really hear it.

Part of the fun of interpreting day signs is that there’s no right way of doing it; the worst part is you have to understand that you can’t really take it too seriously. So there’s a kitty with a rock for a pillow… Bob Marley reference, and just plain Do You Know What Comfort Is? Then the seat at the front of the car… Do You Know How to Enjoy Being at the Front of the Line (and do you understand you have to take your turn?). The first crow was The Past. And then the NAZI sign came up and it’s like Do You Acknowledge Evil in Yourself? It was like being struck. Then the other two crows flew up and all the hair is standing up on my arms, and I come staggering off at Broadway fully expecting ANYTHING, you know Santa in camouflage, or a man walking his iguana. But all I got was the rustle of leaves, and I’ll leave you with that, because I didn’t need to interpret it. It just was.

Bengal kittens
2005-09-08— Posted by: allegra

Stolen from, which has some interesting and evil links. I don’t think the proprietor is a Christian. But the flying red eyed kittens destroying a large building image is pretty much burned into my brain.

Quoted without comment
2005-09-08— Posted by: allegra

This would be funny if it wasn’t true.

I don’t hate all Republicans
2005-09-08— Posted by: allegra

Once upon a time, in Kansas, lived a newspaperman named William Allen White. He was a Republican. If you want to see how far the GOP has strayed, google william allen white quotes, and follow your nose. I think the classic is, “My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias” but there are other dandies in there as well. Bon appetit.

A day in the life
2005-09-08— Posted by: allegra

Pic is a formal portrait of JK Rowling.

Up at 6 to check my gmail,, accounts to see if my legion of fans has sent me anything interesting. No pix today. Responded to a couple of cousin Gerald’s emails re humor; he did me a favor by sending me something I was actually looking for so I could forward it to my daughter.

Then to the usual sites,, Astronomy Pic of the day, and it’s Thursday so it must be day (don’t go there unless you think George Bush is not doing his best work these days), and then by various ways and means to, where I find out that nanotechnology is being used to fight the “bad hair day” and parents don’t use car seats properly for their kids. Off to where 25K body bags have been shipped to Louisiana, and DMORT has been asked to prep for 40000 dead.

Over to to read a review of a book on porn. Gracious, what a LOT of comments there were. There was a lot of debate about whether technological innovations are driven by pornography, to which my response is, no DUH. My parents told me that 20 years ago, and I haven’t seen a damned thing since to change my mind. If a technology is related to visual imagery resolution & propagation, speed of dissemination and ability to relieve one of cash through the internet, you’re titty well right prOn is driving the truck. I find it fascinating that anybody would think that ‘gaming’ is the reason for the tremendous increase in bandwidth crunchiness. But you’re allowed to worship your God in your own way; I’m sticking with a Goddess who prefers her sensuality big, fecund and messy. And personal, thanks. And I remember thinking, as I read through Post after Post after Post of boys basically saying “Don’t take my pR(n away!” you know, you guys have missed the point. You respond strongly to visual imagery of sexuality because you’re deeply wired for it. You don’t have to defend it. But you do have to step back and ask at what point the wiring and the concept of a civil society come into conflict, and that line is not always where you think it is. A little honest introspection is called for. Every man I know who has what I believe is a healthy attitude towards his own sexuality likes porn, dislikes porn which appears to be non-consensual, believes he has the right to purchase, make and consume porn, and spends more time fondling real girls or boys than ogling pix of them, unless he’s currently involuntarily single, in which case all bets are off. To me, an addiction to porn – and let’s face it, there are folks of both genders who are like that – indicates that a person doesn’t have enough excitement in his or her life from other sources. That’s just sad. And as for child pornography, may its purveyors rest on a specially selected bed of coals in the farthest reaches of a hell constructed by a vengeful Goddess and history’s most tortured minds, I will say again what I’ve said many times. Child pornography is bad not because I can prove that the images themselves are bad – there is a line, and I don’t know where it is – but because I can prove that there was no informed consent. Two year old children do not provide informed consent. That makes it wrong, and no amount of whining and special pleading makes it right. (Fourteen year old children? If they have legal representation, receive payment which goes to them or into a trust account, appear to understand the nature of a contract and have had independent counsel explain the life consequences of being involved in pornography; if they are protected from disease, and pregnancy, and damage to their fertility…. I’m willing to at least consider that that might be a consensual act, although I’d hiss and scratch at anybody who tried it within earshot of me. However we all know that the big kick of kiddie porn is that YOU HAVE TOTAL CONTROL OVER ANOTHER PERSON’S LIFE. You don’t enter into contracts with non persons. You use them. They are yours to toy with. If they have lawyers, that takes ALL the fun out of it. So my solution is no solution at all, because you can’t reason with the makers of kiddie porn. If they were reasonable people they wouldn’t torture children). If I was the benevolent dictatrix of the world, I’d either remove the organs of generation of any person caught making child pornography or summarily execute them, depending on my mood, victim testimony, and how many people showed up to defend them. Okay, I’d let them live. But I’d certainly be asking for volunteers at the knacker’s yard, and I’m sure I’d have no trouble filling the roster.

Gosh, one little book review and I work myself up into a full scale rant, and it’s not even 8 am! Aren’t I just the little vehement thing this mornin’.

Back onto the net to troll for… Hey…. I didn’t change my voicemail at work and I’m off for two days. Okay, phew, got that done.

Back to the news. Over at, there’s yet another evac from NOLA story, this time from a bunch of EMS folks in NOLA for a conference. The line that sticks out is “Throughout, the official effort was callous, inept and racist.” As above, so below.

Check for information on a breakthrough in nanomachinery.

Oh, and oddballs ARE more creative. There’s a study that says so.

I’m getting a callous, so I’d better get off the chair here and actually do what I said I’d do on my days off.

David Rovics sings about NOLA
2005-09-07— Posted by: allegra

Everybody knew that it could happen
The likelihood was clear
The future was coming
And now it�s here
They had to fix the levees
Because otherwise they�d break
On one side was the city
Above it was the lake
It was in the daily papers
In bold letters was the writ
What would happen
When the Big One hit
But every year they cut the funding
Just a little more
So they could give it to the Army
To fight their oil war

? No confirmation
2005-09-07— Posted by: allegra

I have no idea if the horrifying story of a doctor euthanizing a patient he couldn’t move is true, but it’s being reported as such. I haven’t seen this story elsewhere. Note to self…. lose some weight.

very little to report
2005-09-07— Posted by: allegra

Katie came home with two boys I’ve never seen before last night. They hung out in her room talking and then she walked them home (?). They seemed like decent enough kids. One of them was wearing a t-shirt from Chichen Itza and when I asked him if he’d actually got it from there, he nodded with an “It was SO BIG” smirk. And he’s going to China later this year… or so his buddy said. And then Poof, they were gone. The TV had migrated upstairs on the weekend (funny…) and then Keith came out of his bedroom long about ten pm and said, “And now it can go back downstairs, I’m trying to SLEEP”; slam. So John had to watch 4th season Buffy (I think the one where Giles gets turned into that thing with the dirty great horns) downstairs.

I am pleased to report, in Canadian cultural news, that Deepa Mehta’s next project is SUPPOSED to be a film on the Komagata Maru incident. If you don’t know anything about this landmark incident in Canadian immigration history, this is a kindly person urging you to edumacate yourself about it before it’s all over the popular press and there’s a lot of controversy about it in about 18 months’ time. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. And since part of what happened took place in Vancouver (British authorities elsewhere opened fire on a prayer meeting; we were just racist bastards and kept them drowning in lawyers and on the ship for two months), really I should be staying on top of developments.

Pic is Jack Kerouac’s official Navy portrait, filched from Does he look schizoid to you?

Albino squirrels?
2005-09-07— Posted by: allegra

Squirrels in Scotland are adapting life in modern buildings by becoming lighter in colour… or so the theory goes. Photo credit Sean Bell from the Scotsman.

Our boys in Chalmette Louisiana
2005-09-07— Posted by: allegra

That’s Joe Rohrbacher standing in front of his house.

It just keeps getting worse
2005-09-07— Posted by: allegra

A Canadian waste management magazine weighs in about New Orleans.

Good God A’mighty. That’s all I can say about it.

Short Trip
2005-09-06— Posted by: allegra

It’s a short trip from Serenity to Spamalot. That’s Alan Tudyk in the centre of this cast photo. Doesn’t he look wonderful with…. long hair????

2005-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Tasha was completely screwed up from her trip to the pound; but she appears to be in much better shape as of today, and here’s the complete mob: Tasha, Winkie, Spud and Mila in front of Mike’s folks’ place in the beautiful sunshine yesterday. I love a happy ending.

As for Steph, the only excuse that would make sense to me is that she had to commit herself to a mental hospital and couldn’t find foster care for the dogs in time. I am not going to speculate further on her abrupt abandonment of her responsibilities, and I am really going to be nice and not print what her soon to be ex-husband Mike wrote on the subject, although it was, uh, terse and emotionally charged. Mike, would you say that covered it? 😉

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

Pic is more Finn Slough. Picturesque, eh wot? Looks sorta like a house on the bayou, and it should be on stilts, given that the Fraser river is about 30 metres in back of it.

Paul has recaulked the bathtub. Man, what a difference it makes to the appearance of the bathroom. I realized that immediate action was called for, so went outside and ripped out all the dead vegetation in the front yard flowerbeds and collected the coriander seed and trimmed back the rhodo a bit and hacked and slashed at the Rosemary Tree (it’s bloody huge) and removed about two garden buckets of dead stuff. Appearance of front yard much improved.

John saw something at the con that Screamed Katie’s Name. A t-shirt which says…. Knowledge is Power. Power Corrupts. Study Hard. Be Evil. She is contemplating wearing it today, it is after all the first day of school. Oh yeah, she liked it. John got me a cartoon magnet for the fridge which shows an attractive brunette saying, “Fleet’s in! May not be home for a week!” which I thought was pretty funny. John also got an amazing bloody bumper sticker which says Death is but a doorway… here, lemme hold this for you.

I dreamed that Rob of Nine and I attended a really boring and badly run meeting about ‘the remediation of a park area’. I dream about co-workers and my workplace all the time, male and female (no nudity was involved, of course) but what made this dream special was two things… 1, he had long hair. Rob normally keeps his hair even shorter than John does, so that was startling. (You will note a post of Mike showing Much Long Hair earlier, and you can gather from this that I like long hair on guys – please also note that a wisecracking goddess has given me a man who looks waaaay better with short hair. It is to chuckle). 2. I got to go back to my work area during the course of the meeting – hey, it’s a dream, it doesn’t have to make sense – and all that Herman Miller crap (I said crap, and I mean crap – you should at least be able to park your butt on furniture without going wobbly-ka-boom) had been replaced with a mahogany lawyer’s set, facing the window. Sigh, deep sigh. That was a lot like heaven. I didn’t realize I was such an elitist about office furniture.

Did you hear about the 3 college kids who rescued 7 people from downtown New Orleans by impersonating journalists? I hear things like this and I just wanna pop something. PS. That was a two wheel drive HYUNDAI they were driving, not a Hummer. Civic minded AND ecologically responsible.

Keith at Finn Slough or is it Finns Slough
2005-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Mermaid III
2005-09-06— Posted by: allegra

Finns Slough etc.
2005-09-06— Posted by: allegra

John is back from the south end of Cascadia (Cascadia is the Land of the Salmon) having been to CascadiaCon in Seattle, and if his description is accurate, Brooke, accompanying herself on banjo, sang her way through “Gentle Arms of Eden” which is a Dave Carter tune. Hm. Did you know that border guards are not legally required to know what a banjo is? I thought not.

Katie looks so cute in her Kaylee outfit that I want to buy her Fluevogs, or something.

We went to Finns Slough today, and grabbed a little bit of Vancouver history; this pic and the next few are from Dyke Road/Finns Slough.

2005-09-05— Posted by: allegra

After many long months of not posting much,, the Home of Mr. Damon, has come roaring back with a blistering series of links about Katrina. Thank you Mr. Damon.

Carly’s team won one and tied one yesterday… a great start to the season.

I still don’t have a functioning dishwasher (either in the human or mechanical sense, as the children are NOT responding to bribes), so I had to stop cooking this morning and leave the kitchen so Paul could do dishes, because the way the kitchen is set up you can’t cook and do dishes at the same time with two people.

I decided not to continue with this anecdote because it just plain wouldn’t be a good idea. But I really wish I was living someplace else right now.

Am continuing my plans to make Joss Whedon the master of the universe by exposing Jan to Firefly. We watched the pilot – aGAIN. My goodness, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I watch it, I see stuff I hadn’t seen previously.

Glenda visit
2005-09-05— Posted by: allegra

Glenda is in hospital, as noted earlier; I went to see her and found out that the Peace Arch Food is LOUSY; her ER nurse used to be the bagboy at Safeway; the staff are wonderful and kind; the doctors have no idea what the hell is wrong with her; and her sugars are okay. This woman has had no fewer than 8 doctors look at her in the last three weeks and they still don’t know what’s up. Sigh.

Fluorescent shark
2005-09-05— Posted by: allegra

Details on I wanna dress that color!!

Operation Rescue Spud and Tasha
2005-09-05— Posted by: allegra

HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL. Mike and Tori grabbed the dogs from the pound just now. Hugs to Mike’s parents for offering to take them in; they already have one dog, a cutie named Mila.

The Palimpsest
2005-09-04— Posted by: allegra

On the one hand, here’s a bunch of pictures of extremely hot, mostly of-African-descent women. On the other hand, this is a really cool insight into how what you see in a magazine is .. um… manipulated. So what you get out of this really will depend on your age, gender and orientation. My honest reaction was, “Hey! He can make my cellulite disappear!!!!” I am hoping my legion of loyal, heterosexual, male fans will thank me for this. Notice how sneaky I am getting at trying to interject some feminism into my blog.

Heat wave autopsy
2005-09-04— Posted by: allegra

This address is liable to be ephemeral – ie it will be gone within weeks, but if you get the chance I urge you to read the article, which is a talk with the author of a book about the disastrous 1995 Chicago heatwave, in which some 750 more people than normal died, while the authorities stalled and denied what was happening. Disasters have a social context; there are echoes of New Orleans in there.

Connecting the dots
2005-09-04— Posted by: allegra

Articles about the connection between the Katrina response and Gulf II

Family news roundup
2005-09-04— Posted by: allegra

Glenda is in hospital (but able to talk on the phone) and so I hope to get out to see her sometime today. I had called the hospital earlier and they said she’d been discharged, so it was bizarre getting Peter T’s email indicating that she was still in. If you need to know where she is contact me for details.

Jan, Marilyn and Glenn over for dinner last night. Paul cooked an AMAZING array of barbecued meats, including what has to have been one of the best pork chops ever, and chicken and Marilyn and Glenn brought a salmon. I don’t think it was ten pm before I blasted through as many of the dishes as I could and hied myself off to bed. It wasn’t the company, whom I love… I could barely keep my eyes open after my exciting day running around downtown and using public transit.

Nita has been moved into her modern day equivalent of a monastic cell – the university dorm. The whole experience, according to Jan, was quite painless.

Carly’s soccer team won its season opener 4 zip. Oh yeah! She’s at the hotel with the team and her mother Jan was here last night.

Jim is fighting a virus – on his computer. Glenn sez: Keep those virus updates current! Words to live by. It’s just a pain to deal with the aftermath, heaven knows.

Stephanie took Spud and Tasha to the BCSPCA. I am curious as to her version of events. Mike is going to try to retrieve Spud on Tuesday but he can’t take Tasha. If anybody knows of someone looking for a middle aged spayed Rottie cross who is great with people and loathes other animals, the shelter has a dog for you.

National Geographic article from before the storm

And today Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security, says that nobody could have foreseen it.

So, like, compare and contrast.

Paul is doing yoga and Keith wants the computer back, so later, y’all.

enough sleep
2005-09-03— Posted by: allegra

Something cute
2005-09-03— Posted by: allegra

Haven’t run any cute animal pix in ages. Can you spot the towel? Cousin Gerald sent me this.

enough sleep
2005-09-03— Posted by: allegra

Photo credit AP, the Shreveport paper. The MSM rarely sticks the names of the photographers on the credits, piss me off; I am retitling the picture “Louisiana Hospitality”. And yes, I’m being very grim, because that’s about how nice the hospitality would be around here after the big one came through.

Finished Patricia Cornwell’s bio of Jack the Ripper, whom she says was a right weird artist named Walter Sickert, who died in his bed in 1942. She had me convinced. Now I have to get the book outta my house, it has intensely bad vibes. Patricia at work loaned it to me… thanks, I think. It was interesting, and anything to do with forensics rivets me. Funny that I don’t have TV, I’d probably be watching all three versions of CSI regularly. I’ve only ever seen the original one with the Grissom dude once, and I couldn’t take my eyes from it.

Brooke and John (renamed “Dr. Filk”) are off Stateside at a Sci Fi con, and appear to be doing fine if her livejournal notes are indeed accurate.

Keith made a fine omelet and really great coffee this morning, it was nice to get up to that.

Paul is either going flying or canoeing with whomever he can dig up, perhaps Suzanne if she’s available, and then he wants to do a salmon barbecue this evening for various of our relatives that may or may not turn up (not having been invited it’s hard for them to say whether they are coming@).

I’m going to the demo with the kids; the sun’s coming out so the weather should cooperate.

What I want for Christmas., items 23305 and 6684112. Actually there’s a lot of stuff in there, but that will do for starters.

Out of the catalogue, item GL270, item 45K17.85, PA745, 29T32.05 and 29T32.06, 81D32.01, 99K69.51. I really want the 45K17.85 more than anything; I think it will be the single handiest thing I own after the big one comes through. Also, tarps. Anybody who wants to give me a tarp for Christmas will get a big hug. You simply can’t have a good disaster without tarps.

More from NO
2005-09-03— Posted by: allegra

Interesting description of why things aren’t happening faster.

2005-09-02— Posted by: allegra

This is what the drier parts of New Orleans look like.

There are – five days late – troops on the streets of the Big Uneasy.

I feel better
2005-09-02— Posted by: allegra

Man, it’s been so long since I hung out with Mike by himself I’d forgotten what it’s like; we killed a couple of Stellas apiece at Toby’s Grill and ate ribs and wings and shot the breeze. Winkie is as pretty as she ever was, and she was always a very pretty cat.

Did a tarot reading for work at lunch yesterday. More of the bloody same, as far as the eye can see! Confusion, miscommunication, selfishness, lack of openness to change. First card was death, last card 4 of cups. Go figure.

2005-09-01— Posted by: allegra

Tori took this picture of Mike on Hornby Island. Sigh. Had to put something up that was nicer to look at than the centipede.

enough sleep
2005-09-01— Posted by: allegra

If you feel like donating for the relief effort for New Orleans, the American Red Cross Toll free is 800 Help Now. I don’t know if it works in Canada. I am more inclined, seeing the devastation, to prepare for our own Big One, which is a geological eye blink away. I think I’m turning into a harsh assed old crone.

Holy crap
2005-09-01— Posted by: allegra

Tonstant weaders will recollect a previous post in which a gentleman in the UK was bitten by a South American Critter, a Brazilian Wandering Spider as I recollect, and damned near died. Well, picture if you will, yeah, GROSS isn’t it? I just finished reading Allen Steele’s Labyrinth of Night (full of motorized insectoid critters) so I was underwhelmed when I read the story of Aaron Balick of the UK, who was expecting to find a mouse in the papers behind the tv and whipped out this behemoth 9 inch Scolopendra gigantea, no kiddums. Being of the British Phlegm, and holy crap, as they say, that took some doing, he popped it in a jar and got it to the Museum of Natural History, where the head bug dude just about spasmed. Yes, folks, that IS the biggest centipede currently extant, and it hitched a ride to Britain on some fruit. Now, I found an earwig in my home grown grapes yesterday and that made me plenty nauseous… but if I saw this thing I’d pee my pants. Jeez, Dale, they have these things in Belize? No need to strip down the bed in the guest room on my account, I ain’t never going to South America now.

last half of August, 2005

live from New Orleans
2005-08-31— Posted by: allegra

This is a live feed from a tv station in Louisiana…. I have no idea how they kept going (while I was watching the feed their lights cut out). is the home page, and there’s up to date information on rescues, which roads are impassible, etc. I note in their events blog that the state officials are already dissing the Army for their inability to start putting down sandbags. Also, the newspeople were saying, if you’ve reported that a rescue is required, please don’t call back to monitor progress; the rescuers are only flesh and blood and they’re rescuing people one family at a time.

Officials are now calling for the complete evacuation of the city, and frankly there is no other sensible course of action if they want to stop the looting and prevent a full scale epidemic; water is available but on a boil water advisory, which doesn’t help when there’s no fuel but what’s left of the buildings in the city.

Medical staff who evacuated into Baton Rouge are being asked to return to the city.

After the end of the emergency
2005-08-31— Posted by: allegra

I want this guy’s life story. He looks like the town character. And, to a Canadian goil like me, it seems obvious; I have to love The Man Who Saved the Beer. I am such a sap for icons.

I spread blessings of joy and light on my beloved coworkers.

Mario gave me chocolate today. I should have swooned, but I didn’t.

Katie hung out at Jess’s and came home with me; Paul worked and slept far too little… and remember, this man gave blood in the last 48 hours, did I fail to mention that? Remiss of me. So he’s tired and subdued. I am going to stop typing and go kiss him.

Storm in Ontario
2005-08-31— Posted by: allegra

Parrotlets on Parade
2005-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Scientific American Quote Sept 2005
2005-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Herman E Daly, a ecological economist, sayeth thusly: “As important as empirical measurement is, it is worth remembering that when one jumps out of an airplane, a parachute is more beneficial than an altimeter.” Or, The sky’s no limit, the ground is.

Feeling nostalgic?
2005-08-30— Posted by: allegra

It’s just a sign
2005-08-30— Posted by: allegra

stolen from

Bunnatine Greenhouse update
2005-08-30— Posted by: allegra

Bunnatine Greenhouse, who fought obvious pork barrel procurement contracts in Iraq on behalf of the US Army, has been demoted. I find it interesting, given what else is going on in the US right now, that her story is getting any play at all.

2005-08-29— Posted by: allegra

Looking for armor against fundamentalist swill about gay people? Look what some Christians put together. Nicely done, nicely argued, and the section What Would Jesus Do says it all.

enough sleep
2005-08-29— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-08-29— Posted by: allegra

run away, run away
2005-08-29— Posted by: allegra

And my next homily is going to be on … not radical hospitality but Epistemology, if you can believe it. I am already trying to drag Goddess worship, Monty Python and monster trucks into the same homily; we shall see.

Gotta write this and run; the bus comes in about 8 minutes and my mother panics if I don’t post something. I am post migraine which means I’m walking into doors and going Tweet Tweet a lot.

Twas fabulous to see Alan and Janice; they haven’t changed a bit except to get better, as far as I can see. Thanks to Katie for suggesting that we do the Quay boardwalk yesterday, which meant we could all have coffee and walk someplace flat, because I wasn’t looking forward to Robert Burnaby park after all the stairs I did at Lexi’s the other night.

Fabulous party, by the way, food, musique and company most excellent. And I got to see 2/3rds of Pulp Fiction; I can understand why a LOT of men I know quote the damned thing extensively. As Janice said, rather indelicately, there are chick flicks, and there are Dick flicks. Dick Nixon, Dick and Nora… you know what I mean.

Pic is of Hunter’s departure, as forwarded by Sandy. Her dog Sparkle continues to refuse to die, which is just peachy with all of us, even if Sparkle did always bark at me. Sandy’s got her on Ayurvedic medicine for parasites and off the rest of her meds, and while she has good days and bad days, mostly she’s better. Well, how was the vet supposed to know that a parasite had jumped species? It’s not like it ever happens.

Okay, which comes first, the housing bubble bursting or the global pandemic, place your bets.

2005-08-28— Posted by: allegra

I am having one of the weirdest migraines ever. My right eye is drooping, I have transitory head pain, nausea and little bouts of aphasia, interspersed with feeling almost chipper. However, I can’t look at the screen anymore so I’m bailing shortly. I light a candle for the people of Louisiana, but I can’t help playing New Orleans is Sinking in my mental background loop. Pic is an MRI of a migraine. I don’t think mine is that bad.

enough sleep
2005-08-27— Posted by: allegra

Brooke informed me last night that there will be not one but two zombie walks in Vancouver today, one at 4 in front of the Art Gallery, and one at 5 at 8th and Sophia. Can such things be?

I said, whining, that I had no fake blood, to which her response was a “Corn syrup and food colouring; cheap and effective” but this was followed by a short meditation on which items of clothing she was willing to sacrifice in her on-going one-woman attempts to cleanse Vancouver of the stain of being “no-fun” city.

Of course, if Alan and Janice weren’t here, I’d go.

Keith wants to go to some kind of comics thing, Katie is still unconscious, and I made the coffee so strong this morning that there is a centimeter of sludge at the bottom of my cup.

Lexi is some ridiculous age; she’s celebrating her birthday; and it doesn’t matter how many she celebrates, she’ll always be 12 years younger than me. I am very much looking forward to her party, as there is likely to be singing.

Despite the fact that John quit his job, he went back for an additional two days of lighthearted abuse. I could not believe it when he said that there was going to be no farewell dinner or libation for him. Holy Virgin! If I worked for the same guy for 8 years and he didn’t so much as buy me a cider at the close of our contract, I would consider myself well shut of the place indeed, so I am no longer having sentimental sighing notions about John’s long and (for me anyway) entertaining tenure at his soon to be ex-job. Superman’s appearance in my front drive was indeed a sign of great change.

I will miss the truck, though. The Thing That Wouldn’t Die was like a cuter version of every possessed vehicle ever written about. And the graphics on the side were adorable; Betty Grable putting five cents in a jukebox….

It has been very emotionally peaceful at home. This is good, because work has meant heroic amounts of self-control around NOT poking people in the eye and yelling at them. Thank god for the lunch bunch. I frequently feel as if they are the only people who keep me sane.

Paul had a 3 and half hour soaring flight yesterday. He was getting 1000 feet a minute lift cheek by jowl with 1000 feet a minute sink; not enough to tip the glider over but enough to push him within 200 feet of the unforgiving granite of the Rockies. Rob of Nine, Paul would very much like to take you up for some serious fun. Since you formation fly and do aerobatics, I’m sure there’s nothing about soaring that you would find discomfiting….

Pic is Jerome standing on Mike’s hot tub.

Polar bear
2005-08-26— Posted by: allegra

I haven’t posted a polar bear pic in ages. Here’s a new addition to the Detroit zoo, Talini; her mom Barle was rescued from a circus in 2002. Thanks folks! I think if I was a polar bear I’d rather live someplace I could swim than it a Puerto Rican circus, and they actually have winter in Detroit. Polar bears are not designed for the tropics, they get all kinds of fungus and skin problems because the hair shafts in their fur are hollow. Credit Bill Pugliano Getty Images.

enough sleep
2005-08-25— Posted by: allegra

Pic is credit Paul, a continuation of his last sunset photo taken on the I5.

I know this will annoy the crap out of my webmeister, but I still think that we’re headed for lawless starving anarchy. And no birth control. The housing bubble in the States is about to deflate, or maybe even pop; savings are at the lowest rate in US history and Canada isn’t far behind; the world’s superpowers are grappling with each other for access to fuel; Kinder Morgan god help us is going to be taking over the pipelines in BC, which is terrible news for individual Canadians (get a wood stove and a wood lot); and all I can hear as background noise is Peter Lorre as Ahmed in Five Weeks in a Balloon yelling, “It’s KEEEEZMet, we are DOOOMed!”

On the other hand, things are nice and quiet and peaceful here right now.

Baby Parrotlet
2005-08-24— Posted by: allegra

I spy, with my little eye…… For purposes of scale, a woman’s index finger is about how big it is.

enough sleep
2005-08-24— Posted by: allegra

I was going to post the first little bit of my autobiography here but I could not get the layout to behave. I actually got up at 5 am to water my lawn. Katie actually stayed home all day yesterday, but that might have been because she can barely move; I mean, I’m no big fan of the stairs at Wreck Beach, but at least I pace myself. I’m stiff but not whiny, if you know what I mean. It might also have been because she’s expecting a shipment which includes “Ferngully” from her grandparents, which, if I’m lucky, will have my ‘loose shoes’ in it. I have to tell you, I have really missed my shoes. They are the comfiest I have ever had, and when you’re 46 and overweight, comfortable shoes hover ever closer to the top of your list of really important things. Keith actually worked most of yesterday – he’s working most every day now – and he completely horrified me by saying that he wanted to work in a warehouse full time. I mean, the whole point of him working temp was to get an abiding distaste for physical labour and intensify his desire to go to school… I feel very thwarted, especially since he’s not making enough money for us to chisel rent out of yet.

John’s big news is that he is no longer working for the Pinball Wizard, and that he has gone on to bigger and more industrial strength things. He will be assisting in the manufacture of devices to haul containers off ships.

Nothing to report
2005-08-23— Posted by: allegra

from a song Paul quotes all the time…. You ask me why I don’t say much. That’s cause I don’t have much to say.

Actually, lack of stuff to say is not, and never has been, my problem. It’s prettying up how to say it, so that I don’t sound crazy… that’s the problem. Hunter S Thompson has been laid to rest in a very unrestful way. RIP baby.

Who would Jesus assassinate
2005-08-23— Posted by: allegra

Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez.

Um, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected, and the ‘successful’ coup was no such thing; it was backed by the US government and fell apart when the people opposed it. The US has already tried to assassinate Chavez; but I guess the will of the people and democracy only meant something in 1776 but we have ‘a new reality’ now. My god, the framers of the Constitution would be having a cow if they could listen to a man of God call for the assassination of the head a democratically elected foreign government.

Fig Plucking
2005-08-22— Posted by: allegra

As it turned out we plucked no figs, because the wasps were on every one. However, Jim, by way of Carly, provided this gem: “I’m not a fig plucker, but I’m a fig plucker’s son; I’ll pluck the figs ’til the fig plucking’s done.” Add beer; rinse, repeat; won’t that be fun?

2005-08-22— Posted by: allegra

Wreck Beach yesterday was magnificent as always. Katie and I went for a meander up and down the beach (the tide was out RRREAL far but I got us a good spot close by the stairs) and Mike flew his kite and Keith sat by himself and reread his beatup SECOND copy of Neuromancer and Tori was full of funny anecdotes and good advice, as always. And, as always, there were a lot of naked men, and not a single one of them looked better than the men I was with, or with the man I would have BEEN with had he not been working, grr. And Mike gave me about twenty minutes of work on my back, which I was completely desperate for, and I did get lightly toasted, but I only got burned in one spot.

Redid my hair last night (Garnier No 60) and I keep thinking I’m going to stop, but I figure that plus plucking my eyebrows is the only concession I make to the juggernaut of “thou shalt change thy appearance” this culture serves up with every commercial break; I can only thank a merciful goddess that she provided me with a man who doesn’t even dream of asking me to get waxed, except in an old fashioned and not safe for work kinda way.

Now off to work. It’s 6:39 am, do you know where your boss is?

Thumbnail is me in my Jayne Cobb hat. Somedays I’m too stupid to smile when a camera is pointed at me.

enough sleep
2005-08-22— Posted by: allegra

This is Bonnie and me on the dock in Steveston. We had a lovely meal at the Steveston Seafood Restaurant; but from this picture you’d think I want to take Bonnie home, cook her up with star anise and yogurt, and eat her. I just don’t look sincere in how I have placed my arm around her; it’s funny how you can look at a photo afterwards and think, this does not convey how I felt at all. I was so happy to see Bonnie, it felt wonderful to hear her voice in person after some years. I’m mostly posting this for my mum… Bonnie hasn’t changed much, has she?

Bazillions of Basilians
2005-08-21— Posted by: allegra

The title for today comes from Catherine C in Toronto, an old and dear friend, who went to the funeral of a Catholic priest and came back saying that she had seen…. indeed.

The pic, of course, is from a recruiting poster for the priesthood from Fr Jonathan Meyer. I saw the link on Fark and had to repost it. Because I am on the side of love, peace and understanding, I won’t launch into the six paragraph analysis of this pic of which I am ever so capable of; I’ll just say, Kewl! and leave it at that.

Have recently heard from Alan R, Catherine’s ex, now married to Janice; they are coming to town for a wedding next weekend, and I can’t wait to see them; even though I only live a three hour drive away I see them shamefully infrequently, and they are big favourites of mine (& Keith’s, as they are so very print, media and computer intensive). We usually eat something yummy and walk someplace interesting, which is a fine tradition to have.

Also we kill ourselves laughing; Alan is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met; when he gets going it’s paralyzing. Anyway, he and Janice are off in San Fran right now celebrating three birthdays at once, including his own, so I light a candle for old friends and throw in a hug for the magnificent cat-rescuer Janice, who gave me a Molly Ivins book the last time I saw her which I promptly devoured.

Today I have a number of tasks before me which I will ignore in the order they come in. I have to phone the worship services committee chair and straighten out the homily. I have to go visit somebody who may or may not still be in hospital. I have to go to Wreck Beach. And I have to finish the Process Narrative for the Returned Materials Submodule of the Revenue and Receivables Process. Honest to Murgatroyd, I wish I was making that up, but if I don’t have it done by tomorrow, I’m going to be run through by the corporate equivalent of a roasting spit. I find it hilarious that I get to do important stuff like this and also cover for reception. If I ever did a factual job description it would sound like the editor for the Harvard Business Review trying to do a comedy routine. Now, if you were confronted with a to do list like that for the day, wouldn’t you want to just go to Wreck Beach and hope you were hit by a semi on the way home? (Note to mother, no, I am not suicidal, and besides, I’m planning on making Keith drive.) More later…. I can’t sit here blogging all day, I forgot to mention that I’m also supposed to pick the last of the figs. I ain’t going on the roof and there may be too many wasps. We shall see.

2005-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Sorry if there’s any meshuggas with HTML but I wanted to reprint this entirely. This is some way exciting science news.

U. T. Dallas-led research team produces strong, transparent carbon nanotube sheets Numerous electronic, optical and structural uses demonstrated; Advance reported in Aug. 19 issue of prestigious journal Science

RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 18, 2005) – University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) nanotechnologists and an Australian colleague have produced transparent carbon nanotube sheets that are stronger than the same-weight steel sheets and have demonstrated applicability for organic light-emitting displays, low-noise electronic sensors, artificial muscles, conducting appliqu�s and broad-band polarized light sources that can be switched in one ten-thousandths of a second.

Carbon nanotubes are like minute bits of string, and untold trillions of these invisible strings must be assembled to make useful macroscopic articles that can exploit the phenomenal mechanical and electronic properties of the individual nanotubes. In the Aug. 19 issue of the prestigious journal Science, scientists from the NanoTech Institute at UTD and a collaborator, Dr. Ken Atkinson from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), a national laboratory in Australia, report such assembly of nanotubes into sheets at commercially useable rates.

Starting from chemically grown, self-assembled structures in which nanotubes are aligned like trees in a forest, the sheets are produced at up to seven meters per minute by the coordinated rotation of a trillion nanotubes per minute for every centimeter of sheet width. By comparison, the production rate for commercial wool spinning is 20 meters per minute. Unlike previous sheet fabrication methods using dispersions of nanotubes in liquids, which are quite slow, the dry-state process developed by the UTD-CSIRO team can use the ultra-long nanotubes needed for optimization of properties.

Strength normalized to weight is important for many applications, especially in space and aerospace, and this property of the nanotube sheets already exceeds that of the strongest steel sheets and the Mylar and Kapton sheets used for ultralight air vehicles and proposed for solar sails for space applications, according to the researchers. The nanotube sheets can be made so thin that a square kilometer of solar sail would weigh only 30 kilograms. While sheets normally have much lower strength than fibers or yarns, the strength of the nanotube sheets in the nanotube alignment direction already approaches the highest reported values for polymer-free nanotube yarns.

The nanotube sheets combine high transparency with high electronic conductivity, are highly flexible and provide giant gravimetric surface areas, which has enabled the team to demonstrate their use as electrodes for bright organic light emitting diodes for displays and as solar cells for light harvesting. Electrodes that can be reversibly deformed over 100 percent without losing electrical conductivity are needed for high stroke artificial muscles, and the Science article describes a simple method that makes this possible for the nanotube sheets.

The use of the nanotube sheets as planar incandescent sources of highly polarized infrared and visible radiation is also reported in the Science article. Since the nanotube sheets strongly absorb microwave radiation, which causes localized heating, the scientists were able to utilize a kitchen microwave oven to weld together plexiglas plates to make a window. Neither the electrical conductivity of the nanotube sheets nor their transparency was affected by the welding process — which suggests a novel way to imbed these sheets as transparent heating elements and antennas for car windows. The nanotube sheets generate surprisingly low electronic noise and have an exceptionally low dependence of electronic conductivity on temperature. That suggests their possible application as high-quality sensors – which is a very active area of nanotube research.

“Rarely is a processing advance so elegantly simple that rapid commercialization seems possible, and rarely does such an advance so quickly enable diverse application demonstrations,” said the article’s corresponding author, Dr. Ray H. Baughman, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the UTD NanoTech Institute. “Synergistic aspects of our nanotube sheet and twisted yarn fabrication technologies likely will help accelerate the commercialization of both technologies, and UTD and CSIRO are working together with companies and government laboratories to bring both technologies to the marketplace.”

The breakthroughs resulted from the diverse expertise of the article’s co-authors. Dr. Mei Zhang and Dr. Shaoli Fang, NanoTech Institute research scientists, first demonstrated the nanotube sheet fabrication process, and this result was translated into diverse applications by the entire team. The other team members include Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, associate director of the NanoTech Institute; Christopher Williams, Zakhidov’s graduate student from the UTD Physics Department; Dr. Sergey Lee and Dr. Ali Aliev, research scientists at NanoTech Institute, in addition to Atkinson and Baughman.

The applications possibilities seem even much broader than the present demonstrations, Baughman said. For example, researchers from the Regenerative Neurobiology Division at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dr. Mario Romero, Director, and Dr. Pedro Galvan-Garcia, Senior Researcher Associate, and Dr. Larry Cauller, associate professor in UTD’s neuroscience program, have initial evidence suggesting that healthy cells grow on these sheets – so they might eventually be applied as scaffolds for tissue growth.

Baughman said that numerous other applications possibilities exist and are being explored at UTD, including structural composites that are strong and tough; supercapacitors, batteries, fuel cells and thermal-energy-harvesting cells exploiting giant-surface-area nanotube sheet electrodes; light sources, displays, and X-ray sources that use the nanotube sheets as high-intensity sources of field-emitted electrons; and heat pipes for electronic equipment that exploit the high thermal conductivity of nanotubes. Multifunctional applications like nanotube sheets that simultaneously store energy and provide structural reinforcement for a side panel of an electrically powered vehicle also are promising, he said.

UTD researchers began collaborating with their counterparts at CSIRO last year. In November 2004, the organizations achieved a breakthrough by downsizing to the nanoscale methods used to spin wool and other fibers to produce futuristic yarns made from carbon nanotubes.

The latest research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Texas Advanced Technology Program, the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology.

2005-08-20— Posted by: allegra

Sorry if there’s any meshuggas with HTML but I wanted to reprint this entirely. This is some way exciting science news.

U. T. Dallas-led research team produces strong, transparent carbon nanotube sheets Numerous electronic, optical and structural uses demonstrated; Advance reported in Aug. 19 issue of prestigious journal Science

RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 18, 2005) – University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) nanotechnologists and an Australian colleague have produced transparent carbon nanotube sheets that are stronger than the same-weight steel sheets and have demonstrated applicability for organic light-emitting displays, low-noise electronic sensors, artificial muscles, conducting appliqu�s and broad-band polarized light sources that can be switched in one ten-thousandths of a second.

Carbon nanotubes are like minute bits of string, and untold trillions of these invisible strings must be assembled to make useful macroscopic articles that can exploit the phenomenal mechanical and electronic properties of the individual nanotubes. In the Aug. 19 issue of the prestigious journal Science, scientists from the NanoTech Institute at UTD and a collaborator, Dr. Ken Atkinson from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), a national laboratory in Australia, report such assembly of nanotubes into sheets at commercially useable rates.

Starting from chemically grown, self-assembled structures in which nanotubes are aligned like trees in a forest, the sheets are produced at up to seven meters per minute by the coordinated rotation of a trillion nanotubes per minute for every centimeter of sheet width. By comparison, the production rate for commercial wool spinning is 20 meters per minute. Unlike previous sheet fabrication methods using dispersions of nanotubes in liquids, which are quite slow, the dry-state process developed by the UTD-CSIRO team can use the ultra-long nanotubes needed for optimization of properties.

Strength normalized to weight is important for many applications, especially in space and aerospace, and this property of the nanotube sheets already exceeds that of the strongest steel sheets and the Mylar and Kapton sheets used for ultralight air vehicles and proposed for solar sails for space applications, according to the researchers. The nanotube sheets can be made so thin that a square kilometer of solar sail would weigh only 30 kilograms. While sheets normally have much lower strength than fibers or yarns, the strength of the nanotube sheets in the nanotube alignment direction already approaches the highest reported values for polymer-free nanotube yarns.

The nanotube sheets combine high transparency with high electronic conductivity, are highly flexible and provide giant gravimetric surface areas, which has enabled the team to demonstrate their use as electrodes for bright organic light emitting diodes for displays and as solar cells for light harvesting. Electrodes that can be reversibly deformed over 100 percent without losing electrical conductivity are needed for high stroke artificial muscles, and the Science article describes a simple method that makes this possible for the nanotube sheets.

The use of the nanotube sheets as planar incandescent sources of highly polarized infrared and visible radiation is also reported in the Science article. Since the nanotube sheets strongly absorb microwave radiation, which causes localized heating, the scientists were able to utilize a kitchen microwave oven to weld together plexiglas plates to make a window. Neither the electrical conductivity of the nanotube sheets nor their transparency was affected by the welding process — which suggests a novel way to imbed these sheets as transparent heating elements and antennas for car windows. The nanotube sheets generate surprisingly low electronic noise and have an exceptionally low dependence of electronic conductivity on temperature. That suggests their possible application as high-quality sensors – which is a very active area of nanotube research.

“Rarely is a processing advance so elegantly simple that rapid commercialization seems possible, and rarely does such an advance so quickly enable diverse application demonstrations,” said the article’s corresponding author, Dr. Ray H. Baughman, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the UTD NanoTech Institute. “Synergistic aspects of our nanotube sheet and twisted yarn fabrication technologies likely will help accelerate the commercialization of both technologies, and UTD and CSIRO are working together with companies and government laboratories to bring both technologies to the marketplace.”

The breakthroughs resulted from the diverse expertise of the article’s co-authors. Dr. Mei Zhang and Dr. Shaoli Fang, NanoTech Institute research scientists, first demonstrated the nanotube sheet fabrication process, and this result was translated into diverse applications by the entire team. The other team members include Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, associate director of the NanoTech Institute; Christopher Williams, Zakhidov’s graduate student from the UTD Physics Department; Dr. Sergey Lee and Dr. Ali Aliev, research scientists at NanoTech Institute, in addition to Atkinson and Baughman.

The applications possibilities seem even much broader than the present demonstrations, Baughman said. For example, researchers from the Regenerative Neurobiology Division at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dr. Mario Romero, Director, and Dr. Pedro Galvan-Garcia, Senior Researcher Associate, and Dr. Larry Cauller, associate professor in UTD’s neuroscience program, have initial evidence suggesting that healthy cells grow on these sheets – so they might eventually be applied as scaffolds for tissue growth.

Baughman said that numerous other applications possibilities exist and are being explored at UTD, including structural composites that are strong and tough; supercapacitors, batteries, fuel cells and thermal-energy-harvesting cells exploiting giant-surface-area nanotube sheet electrodes; light sources, displays, and X-ray sources that use the nanotube sheets as high-intensity sources of field-emitted electrons; and heat pipes for electronic equipment that exploit the high thermal conductivity of nanotubes. Multifunctional applications like nanotube sheets that simultaneously store energy and provide structural reinforcement for a side panel of an electrically powered vehicle also are promising, he said.

UTD researchers began collaborating with their counterparts at CSIRO last year. In November 2004, the organizations achieved a breakthrough by downsizing to the nanoscale methods used to spin wool and other fibers to produce futuristic yarns made from carbon nanotubes.

The latest research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Texas Advanced Technology Program, the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology.

Gonna Be a Bear
2005-08-19— Posted by: allegra

Paul sent me this. I have no idea which genius came up with this, or who THEY stole it from, but I know about half a dozen women who are going to fall about laughing when they see this, so here you go.

2005-08-19— Posted by: allegra

Pic is of Moore’s Falls up near Sandy’s place. Sparkle is doing much better; goddamned vet never checked her for parasites and a single dose of OVER the COUNTER, excuse me, Combantrin got her to ‘give it up’ so to speak. Poor little tyke was so full of worms it was amazing she could move at all.

In other news, Keith is still working at the HBC warehouse – and then he went to karate last night. Must be nice to have the energy.

Eminem’s being treated for addiction to downers. I light a candle in my heart for him. It’ll only get worse as his daughter hits her teens. And of course he will rise triumphant and write something really funny about his hospital admission. The tears of a clown….

2005-08-18— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Went to the Arms on Coast Meridian yestreen for dinner. I ordered liver and onions, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I hardly ever go to restaurants with that on the menu. Poor Glenn! The waitress (personal comment about her residential status and appearance deleted) presented my liver and onions to him, and he absentmindedly started eating it. He even thought to himself, “Gosh, this veal cutlet is thin, and a funny colour,” but soon enough his error (he loathes liver) was revealed to him and he fired it, with an “I guess I can’t really scrape my tongue off in public” look, over to my side of the table. Everything on my plate was yummy. Then I ran into my ex-boss smoking a stogie on the patio. “I wondered where the hell that stench was coming from” I said, and then told him I’d see him back at the salt mines in the morning.

And we’re going drinking again on Friday night – I emailed like about 70 people at the company to come drinking to see if we could start getting another batch of folks to come out, as the Golf Course scene is not happening so much (mostly because the beerganizer (just made that up, me happy) adopted a child and is rilly busy). So a whole bunch of the fun people are not coming but swearing they will come in future. We shall see. I mean, I even invited a VP and people from HR. I’m very broad minded. Eckshully, I’m broad everywhere.

Bunny version of Rocky Horror Picture Show
2005-08-17— Posted by: allegra

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What life will be like after the collapse
2005-08-17— Posted by: allegra

Except it will be food we’re talking about. This story is about a riot over …. laptops.

enough sleep
2005-08-17— Posted by: allegra

Katie never came home from Dax’ but at least she called, and Keith was gone when I got up this morning… he was only going to wake me up before I left if it didn’t rain last night so I could place the sprinklers, but it rained good and steady last night, so he let me sleep; he’s gone off to his 7 til 3:30 shift at the HBC warehouse in the farthest ass end of Richmond. He says the work there isn’t bad, and the pay is way marginally better than other jobs, but the buses suck. Then he’s going to a Starbucks job fair; for reasons best known to god he wants to work retail in this town, which strikes me as insane. He’ll probably be a zombie by the time he gets home… at which point I’ll be gone, because we’re heading to Glenn and Marilyn’s at some point after work. This will make Keith very happy, I imagine, as nobody will be competing with him for the computer, and he’s going to really want to collapse in front of his current game. So I’m not likely to see anybody in my family ‘cept Paul for another 24 hours, and I STILL haven’t talked to John about his lifechange – he got in dreffle late last night and I wasn’t going to go staggering down the stairs and demand the full gory, especially when it was the first time Paul had been able to sleep in his own bed for four days and I was extremely snuggle deprived. Paul says I didn’t snore at all last night and that any time he woke up, which was lots because of adjusting back off midnights, I was breathing deeply and regularly. I woke up a lot too, but every time I did I heard the rain and promptly clunked out again. Last night I dreamed I had an apartment by the ocean and there was a winter storm and the frozen spray came right up to the windows. It had a lovely window. We had a house filk, and we were expecting four people, and twenty came, and even though they all brought instruments a lot of them hadn’t seen each other for ages and they were talking over the singing which is TOTALLY bad form for a house filk and I kept yelling at them but they were all big bearded geeks and they ignored me. So sue me, I didn’t feel like putting in paragraphs this morning. If they posted terror alerts at work I’d be floating around orange. I’m gonna kiss my boss’ feet when he comes back from vacation. I had no effing clue what he protects me from when he’s around. It’s the classic “Wanna know what I do? You won’t know until I leave!” situation. Rev Katie phoned last night in response to my email about my homily which was supposed to be in September but isn’t going to happen; finding this out last week triggered on my part a GREAT DEAL of furniture kicking and swearing, which is extremely funny when you think about it. Rev Katie of course has nothing to do with the scheduling and she advised and rightly so to wait for people to get back from Ontario and Antarctica (never had to juxtapose those two words before, life is good!) to find out what’s going on. It simply wouldn’t occur to me to travel to Antarctica even if I had the dough because I consider it to be too ecologically fragile. Actually everywhere is, which is a considerable inducement to stay the hell put. See y’all later.

Mummy look!
2005-08-17— Posted by: allegra

It’s a cute bearded Frenchman named Jacques Barrot, competing in the annual Pig Squealing Competition in Trie sur Baise, France. I have now got two corners on my mom’s trifecta of bearded men, pigs and quilting. If I can ever get all three into a pic, my mum will be rendered speechless.

Allegra’s pithy sayings, advice etc – Part I
2005-08-17— Posted by: allegra

Heroes drive convertibles.

Never say, “Bite me!” to a vampire or “Flip you for it” to an acrobat.

Don’t moon werewolves or play leapfrog with unicorns.

Never pay list.

Pull over or don’t answer.

Never attribute to malice what is explained by stupidity.

Send snail mail to people you love.

The moon belongs to everyone, but some of us get more pleasure from it than others.

People who don’t like recycling should be told that dinosaurs have peed in their drink.

Teach your children to swear when they are young and when they’re teenagers it will hardly bother you.

Don’t be too hung up on being respected. If you can find people to help you move, you’re probably doing okay.

Buy metal utensils.

Whenever I hear the word self-respect, I reach for my pig bladder, and I feel better almost immediately.

Never buy furniture you can’t burn in a woodstove or won’t stand up well in a barricade.

If you’re female, guard your fertility. It may be your biggest bargaining chip.

If you don’t want to have kids, don’t, and take no guff about it. Make friends with people in your family younger than you and tell the breeder world to kiss your ass.

It’s embarrassing to state the obvious, and usually necessary.

Go to family reunions. At least one person will turn up who makes the trip worthwhile.

It is better to visit the sick than bury the dead.

The best opinion I ever have is that now is a good time to keep my trap shut.

Wish I could take my own advice, but it never seems to be where I left it.

People with OCD and insomnia invented civilization.

If you’re depressed, find someone worse off than you and drive them crazy with your self important inanities. Hey, works like a hot damn for me.

enough sleep
2005-08-16— Posted by: allegra

I was going to start off the blog with a list of my symptoms, but there was no way I could pretty them up enough to be an accompaniment to any sane person’s breakfast, so I’ll be nice and vague and say “Olfactory hallucinations – unpleasant” and “general malaise” and “sleep disturbances” and “noticeably higher levels of general background irritation” (and if you can hear Keanu Reeves saying “Whoa!” in the background when I say that, we’re in psychic communion).

I could proceed from here to work but that’s no fun, so let’s skip over that (except to say that after 8 years with the company I did what I have never previously done and went to HR to complain about the actions of a coworker – can you tell my boss is on holiday) and go wah wah wah about the CBC strike. Non Canadians, or persons who don’t listen to the CBC, are not going to find this of any interest. However it does affect my daily and personal life, negatively, so my crabbiness is growing spikes.

Watch this space for intensely different news about my brother in common law (typed low, which is extremely funny n’est-ce pas, John?.

Sandy reports that Sparkle is better; who the hell knows what’s wrong with her (the vet doesn’t) but she appears to be responding well to the various medications and has returned to having a dog’s life rather than that of a moribund invalid, so that’s good. I asked Sandy how she was going to deal with no dogs after Sparkle goes to her reward and she said she would reacquire same after she retires; somehow, Sandy without dogs is like Santa after three months at a spa; of course it’s all right, really, but you can’t help but feel that it’s all wrong. And she has settled on a Bouvier as the next installment in the story of her and dogs, and I love those dogs, so that’s happy making for me. A previous Bouvier in her life was Bear, and Bear was awesome.

What else. I am thinking a lot about forgiveness these days.

FDR’s speeches are on line. I read about six of them last night; he wasn’t always right, but he sure as hell could write a speech. Hm… sounds like somebody else I know. What strikes me is how he emphasizes the cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. I had to keep rubbing my eyes and going back and rereading it, I thought I had missed something. Imagine coming to office in 1933. His inaugural speech was something. Anyway, check them out; some of them have MP3s, but isn’t it funny to know that recorded copies of many of his speeches simply don’t exist. Just about everything both Bushes did in public is on tape; that’ll make a great Presidential library some day. Not one paper, just lots and lots of videotape. I think I’ll stick with FDR.

First half of August 2005

2005-08-15— Posted by: allegra

Point and laugh, everybody, point and laugh.

not enough sleep
2005-08-15— Posted by: allegra

Up at quarter after four, feeling scratched over. This weekend simply wasn’t long enough.

Had kebabs for dinner last night; Katie and I made them and Paul cooked them perfectly. So we actually, all four of us, did TWO things together yesterday, which was shop and eat dinner.

Calling all aircraft and lightning fans
2005-08-14— Posted by: allegra

You absolutely must check out


Elephumps is clever
2005-08-14— Posted by: allegra

Here’s an elephant throwing the first pitch at a West Michigan Whitecaps game. From the story:

I’ve never caught an elephant before, catcher Chris Robinson told The Grand Rapids Press.

Jumping Jimmy Christmas! I should think it’s something you only do once. I am definitely filing this one with “Get out, get out! The alligator is coming!” under “no, duh!”

Yes, we have no bananas
2005-08-14— Posted by: allegra,20967,1076199,00.html

I heard on the radio that bananas were going extinct about 6 months ago and thought it was bogus. Now I’m not so sure. This article is very interesting, and covers a lot of ground. I recommend it.

I wish somebody would do the same for rubber. Wade Davis says that rubber trees the world over are one good fungus away from being wiped out. If you wanted to make industrial civilization slowly keel over, killing rubber would be one way to do it.

scary dream/dreaming screenplay
2005-08-14— Posted by: allegra

Last night I had really scary dream, which, as dreams do, morphed into something else. I dreamed my desk had been moved down into the factory (which except for the noise and light level I would actually prefer) and I was taking a call from a customer who had expected a shipment – or so I thought. He talked a lot of gibberish, an excessive amount for a dream, and I was getting increasingly testy with him. Finally the customer said, “I’ve got something for you, but you’ll have to listen closely” and I could hear a gun being cocked over the phone. Somewhat wildly I said something to the effect of, I’m outta here, and pulled the plug on the call.

This next is going to seem like a digression, but it’s not.

Now, I am old enough (and I say it with more pride than shame) that I have actually WORKED with a cord board, and I’ve literally unstuck extensions, going back into the equipment room and taking a plastic spoon to a weird little switch and pushing it up so it could click back down into the disengaged position. A cord board is a switchboard like in the old movies. A call flashes in and you answer it by poking a plug into a hole which has a flashing light on it, and you connect it to a hotel extension (or whatever) by poking its partner plug into a labelled hole on this massive board of holes at your operator position. One of the beautyful things about a cord board is that if you get a particularly interesting caller, say a “What colour panties are you wearing” caller, three people can listen in on the call; I fondly remember rolling across on my chair to listen in on such a caller; however you could not plug in to an existing call without triggering a hail of static into the customer’s ear; he got spooked and hung up. “AW!” ANYWAY, the point I am heading to with about as much success as Umberto Nobile’s Polar expedition, is that when I hung up on Mr. I Have A Gun, I pulled the cord out. There was a little twist you made with your arm to get it to seat back down again (there were reels on them but they were cranky sometimes.) I turned to my boss, who in the way of dreams, was conveniently to hand, and he was most sympathetic. Then I look up and a guy I don’t recognize with a very broad face and high forehead and crazy blue eyes is pushing a cart full of finished goods past my desk and he gets right in my space and breathes (he had a very distinctive voice, sort of honey poured over gravel) “Miss me?” and I realize it’s my “needs to order a product and keeps changing his story” wacky caller, whom, last I checked, had a gun. Well, needless to say I freak; I snap the proverbial chain and run into the bathroom, where I…. perform a duet of the Tapioca Song with a male coworker who was using that particular bathroom to get in touch with his feminine side. Great great harmonies. However I came back out and I was fired, although crazy guy gets hauled off to jail for busting up the factory….

Then the dream turns lucid. I’m thinking, this would be a great screenplay, and all of a sudden our heroine is not a tubby middle-aged woman with a gas problem, but a brunette stick insect not a day over 22. I won’t bore you with the rest of it, but it’s sort of an Xfiles meets crazy guy chasing chick screamfest; at one point he fixes it so that her own cat attacks her…. although around HERE that wouldn’t be much of a plot point.

Muppets in bags
2005-08-14— Posted by: allegra

Oy vey. I’m assuming they were taking the cast of “Avenue Q” which is a (or so I’m told) very funny musical – out to the dry cleaners, or bringing them back therefrom. I find this pic unutterably freaky, which is why I am sharing it.

Graham Chapman’s eulogy
2005-08-14— Posted by: allegra

I want a funeral service like this.

baby animals
2005-08-13— Posted by: allegra

Harassed parents
2005-08-12— Posted by: allegra

These harassed looking parrotlets rather abruptly laid six eggs. They have now all hatched and the parents are looking kind of ….. well, busy!

enough sleep
2005-08-12— Posted by: allegra

The little lemur previously posted is Microcebus lehilahytsara, which mashes Malagasy and Latin…. gotta love it.

It’s 5:32 in the morning. I had a horrible nightmare in which I was stung to death by wasps during a Spit (a Spit being, in case you didn’t know, a gathering of Dorothy Dunnett fans). Woke up whining to Paul and of course neither of us could go back to sleep so now he’s doing his yoga and I’m blogging.

For eighty bucks US you can purchase a blank keyboard. Is it a sign that I am easily influenced that I immediately thought Must Have It?

Stephanie of the writer’s group hosted a pot luck / group read last night, and she invented a dessert that I immediately dubbed Blueberry Awesomeness. It definitely had the Buddha nature. Start with a not very sweet shortbread crust, with a thin layer of custard, a fat layer of blueberry compote, a thin layer of cream and then a fat layer of whipped cream with blueberries on top. Maybe I should mention the writing. Never met Melinda before, she read an elegantly constructed two page rant which was an interweaving of her rage with cheap slogans, psycho babble, the war on Iraq and the meditative sequelae from a 20 year high school reunion. We were mesmerized. Celine continued with her autobiography… she’s written 95 pages since I last saw her, bless her… and of course it was amazing as always. Stephanie read a dialogue between an atheist and a deist which could have been a Unitarian sermon, and I read the homily I delivered at the family reunion, at which point several of those assembled told me I should publish it. This somewhat startled me, but I will investigate it. So much of what I write is occasional… not meant to stand the scrutiny of the ages in other words… that the idea of publishing it anyplace more transitory than a blog usually doesn’t occur to me. It was great to see Taylore and Hana and LE and Anna and the rest, and Paul came, bless him, the only boy in a crowd of uprising women.

We brought cheese.

We had a wonderful time and got home around 11 and ColLapsed.

Work is utterly miraculous at the moment. I had a conversation with a coworker that I have been wanting to have for 6 years. I basically bounced around the inside of my skull like a monkey on crunk for the rest of the afternoon, or would have if I hadn’t been trapped in a process meeting. Only the charm and intelligence of the other two people I was trapped with prevented it from being a massive sinkhole in an otherwise glorious day.

Is it possible to hurt yourself yawning, and who might afford me sympathy? I think I’ll traipse back to bed.

Pictured is the recently rediscovered Whiskeytown Falls in a remote area of California; it has a four hundred foot drop. Photo credit AP.

Tori being adorable
2005-08-11— Posted by: allegra

Taken during Mike and Tori’s Hornby vacation last weekend.

Snowbirds in White Rock
2005-08-11— Posted by: allegra

Taken Tuesday evening, credit Rob of Nine.

Snowbirds in White Rock
2005-08-11— Posted by: allegra

Taken Tuesday evening, credit Rob of Nine.

Not enough fuzzy animal pix
2005-08-11— Posted by: allegra

Aw… it will grow up to rake its claws down your arm. Pictured is a baby ocelot. Brother James is in town; I am very much hoping to see him for lunch. More later….

Keith’s day as recounted by him
2005-08-10— Posted by: allegra

It starts out innocuously enough. As John was just leaving the driveway, like before he hit the sidewalk, the phone rang. It was a gent on Elwell Street who was reporting that after several attempts to discern the number on Pokey’s tag, that he had brought him in and fed him. Nobody else was home. Dad was out with the car at Boundary Bay, Allegra was at work and John had just pulled out of the driveway as I was taking the call. It therefore fell to me to retrieve Pokey, as his finder had not wanted to hang onto him any longer than necessary. I was just coming away from a 9 hour shift at the Kay Can warehouse in Langley (a one and a half hour commute, one way) and I felt frazzled, and I felt as though I’d blown every sweat pore in my body. The muscles and tendons in my forearms were issuing cries of pain and resentment of which Job might have been proud. I was in short, rather less able of mind and body than normal. Nothing truly surreal happened to me on my trip to get Pokey until Robert Burnaby park. While walking towards the baseball diamond, I noted a ragged crew, clad in various shades of mottled brown, of perhaps one hundred persons, gathered around two devices strongly reminiscent of medieval catapults. It is telling of my mental state that I did not find either of these sights remarkable and reacted to neither for about the space of half a block’s walk. My brain only engaged enough to realize that they were extras and the devices were props in a movie production, and then I noted the Uhauls, first aid station and white tents set up around the baseball diamond. In such circumstances, with many many people running around frantically, and many others simply looking on, a long haired galoot with an empty cat carrier simply is not remarkable enough to register. I passed this sight by, contemplating my mental and physical reaction, and wondering if I would have bestirred myself had they turned out to be real orcs, having thoughts directed towards me involving full or partial disembowelment and catapults. In the spirit common to fantasy stories, where travellers know their way without knowing how they know their way, I turned randomly at one street and found that it was actually Elwell, although it had not been marked. I walked up the street hearing nothing and seeing nothing of the sight at the baseball diamond, and wondering if it had been some fever induced hallucination. I heard lots of dogs barking. As I continued, I saw Pokey sitting in the driveway of a house which I passed and a youngish couple who came out as I approached. I thanked them profusely of course for keeping Pokey for the time that they did, and made two recommendations should they ever meet the orange mooch again, and those were not to invite him in or feed him again lest he come to consider their house a second home. I got him into the carrier with no difficulty and walked off considering my odd-look-free exchange with the young couple. I thought I must have returned to full or partial coherence and on impulse I decided to test this supposition by returning via the same route, passing the baseball diamond and the same crew of movie makers. Pausing to watch their antics as they packed up from the day’s shoot, I hit most shamelessly upon the notion of using Pokey as my attention getting device, and did attract the attention of two gentlemen getting into a mini van. Feeling a sudden strong sense of civic duty to the social group I identify with, I said to them, You are making a movie of Dungeon Siege. They nodded and said this was indeed their purpose. I replied, Then speaking on behalf of fans world wide, please remove a great deal of repetitive monster killing and add a great deal of plot, as these were, respectively, qualities which the computer game Dungeon Siege had in truly unnecessary abundance or truly appalling lack. Both the gents considered this amusing as they were whisked away in their conveyance. As I continued on, I had in my fiendish & feverish brain the notion that I should variously embarrass and degrade Pokey on the trip back. As I passed a blackberry bush which I know very well which exists at the edge of Robert Burnaby Park I hit upon the notion of a primeval regression similar to that depicted by the extras I had just seen. I decided to set Pokey down while I went blackberrying. Continuing on with a load of blackberries strewn across the top of Pokey’s cage, I met with no further incidents and thus filled the empty minutes with a one sided and rather loud conversation with Pokey touching upon such subjects as his elemental stupidity in crossing 16th Ave and the various habits of cats which make them so violently allergic to any sort of loyalty. The last incident was merely a sighting; tent caterpillars are taking up residence in one of our trees. Freeing Pokey in the downstairs suite, I repaired upstairs to copious quantities of lemonade and media saturation, and wonder even now how much of the above provably occurred in reality.

A wonderful site
2005-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Wonderful photogallery of equipment warning signs.

I posted a reference in an earlier blog and I had to share the whole thing again. I wish I’d written the commentary.

New Mouse Lemur from Madagascar
2005-08-10— Posted by: allegra

Don’t you just want to take it home? This newly discovered critter (pic shamelessly ripped off from New Scientist) is just as sweet as can be. Thanks Jerome.

In other news, I was somewhat … uh…. startled when Mike answered the phone with “Mike’s Drive-in Computer Service”. Let’s just say I’m waiting for the pictures, and that it was a bad way to end a vacation.

Welcome home Peggy and Tom.

Next sermon
2005-08-09— Posted by: allegra

The next sermon I give at Beacon has been moved up to September 11th, and the topic is “Angels Unawares” being a sermon I’m actually basing on Scripture, can you believe it ? (Hebrews 13 1-3, although I, I, I’m holding up at the stuff about fornication).

One of these days I’m going to finish my extended, drunken riff on Revelations. I kind of hinted at it in an earlier blog, but reading Revelations (King James, of courrrrse, nothing matches it for sheer grandeur and rolled r’s) out loud while taking it literally (you can’t take it literally, the whole thing is an extended metaphor) is a lot of fun. And I didn’t get hit by lightning. As I recollect, it was to honour the death of Hunter S. Thompson – he read a lot from Revelations while he was ripped, and who can blame him? Them who’s got ears, let ’em hear. Some dude in the most recent Harper’s said that modern American Christianity, with its emphasis on Revelations (it’s about to hit the fan, and I’m gonna go to Heaven, and You’re Not) over the gospel (love God, love your neighbour – how boring is that) is all part of the medianation thingy…. At the family reunion one of the Mennonites said, I can’t remember the words to these hymns, I’m used to seeing them on a screen; my blood ran cold.

I wrote in a song once, “You want to do well, you want to do well, but if God’s an environmentalist – you’re going straight to hell. I don’t want to be the cold voice of reason that drops a hailstorm on your … tourist season; but it’s hot where you’re going to go. As a gesture…of friendship… I thought I’d let you know….”

News from Belize
2005-08-09— Posted by: allegra

I can add “international recording artist” to my resume.

From Dale:

Well, you have now debuted in the Green Dragon Internet and Deli in San Ignacio, Belize. Full power for the whole house! Its great! (Other bits of the message redacted) I would reciprocate if I knew how. Later

Song debuted low on the charts, but I’m going to be following up Lifeline with the soon to be world infamous

Tapioca Song. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Dale, don’t worry about the religious aspects of my blog. I go to a church where the atheists and the Christians can sit side by side. Makes writing sermons interesting, you always have to have an eye on the atheists, because they offend a lot easier than the Christians (snort, snicker). No, let me rephrase that. Let’s just say that the atheists’ ability to tolerate BS is very, very low. Atheists get made if you insult their intelligence; Christians their faith.

Post for pOp
2005-08-08— Posted by: allegra

Hey Dad, check this out. Saw this, thought of you. Forwarded to me by the Multilingual Mario. You know, the guy who shows me up by doing crosswords in English better than I can, despite it not being his first language.

not enough sleep
2005-08-08— Posted by: allegra

Is your tortoise roadworthy?

Hope everybody had a better night of sleep than I did. Kira is butting her nose into my ear and complaining about breakfast… but it’s only 6 am so I won’t be feeding her quite yet. Katie’s back… I found her keys on the back deck, complete with the little fake ruby Playboy bunny charm which frankly gives my slumbering feminist the pip every time I see it.

Keith will be getting up shortly to see if there’s any work; I imagine Paul will come in from the tent sometime soon.

I really wish the guy across the street would get his car fixed; last night he spent half an hour trying to start it, and this morning at 4:30 he spent about fifteen minutes trying to start it, and it’s about 20 meters from my window, so I get every agonized splutter and grinding noise with hi fi clarity. Who needs an alarm clock?

The only thing I accomplished yesterday was making greek salad. It’s extremely fine greek salad, but it doesn’t seem like much done given the fine day I had.

2005-08-07— Posted by: allegra

Somebody, whose parents likely weren’t able to pound sense or manners into him/her, raced up and down the streets of east Burnaby on an inadequately muffled dirt bike, at 3 am this morning. I was so mad I got up and clipped my toenails. Little did I know that the annoying …tick…. tick…. tick…. noise was lovingly conveyed outdoors, where Paul was attempting to sleep in the tent (no, no domestic insanity, just him trying to get relief from the heat). So Paul knew I was up. He couldn’t go back to sleep either and after about fifteen minutes got up and found me playing solitaire on the computer. No sooner had we arranged ourselves back in bed but Drunken Rectum was at it again, just long enough to guarantee we’d be lying in bed, dreaming up punishments and floral tributes for the subsequent funeral. I lost a couple of hours and only just got up in time to say goodbye to Paul, who is working today.

None of this detracts from the simply lovely time afforded at Rob, Char and Arden’s yesterday. Brother Jerome and his lovely livein Shannon were there; LOTS of kids, lots of Babies, including ones I’d never seen, sigh, and two dogs – Chari brought her dogs and a couple of the kids tried to exhaust themselves throwing balls. What they didn’t know, and I do, is that it takes TWO straight DAYS of ball throwing to wear those dogs out, Brian told me once.

Pic is from Gapers Block, the Chicago website.

Figs went moldy, darn it.

enough sleep
2005-08-06— Posted by: allegra

The mosquitoes abruptly got really bad around here. I’m wondering if it’s time to invest in mosquito nets. Katie’s gone to a girlfriend’s place for a couple of days but appears to be picking up her phone, so that’s okay… I’m also a little concerned that she’s going to the fireworks on Saturday but hopefully she won’t sass cops or do anything else that’s dumb.

Paul’s doing yoga, Keith’s asleep, Pokey’s outside crying to be let in and something caught fire in the neighbourhood last night, a firetruck came right by the house and there’s a sort of hint of “burning insulation” smell in the air this morning.

I’m really abruptly turning into a pro deportation hag. (This is not the same as an anti immigrant hag). I am now thinking, on the basis of personal experience and the news over the last six months, that if you are a foreign national on Canadian soil and you commit any crime more heinous than a parking violation, and it’s proven in court, out you go, and if you get caught here afterwards, out you go in 72 hours (basically long enough to see relatives that might be here), no appeal. When I think that three taxpayers were murdered because Canada failed to deport some crook in 1994 it makes my blood boil. I would be a lot happier with my government if it actually started deporting people who commit violence and fraud against my fellow citizens. And if you’re a foreign national and you are a person of interest in an investigation for anything more serious than a parking violation, you’d bloody well better surrender your passport to the local cops.

‘Course, when the pandemic fires up, the whole immigrant thing will be very interesting…. it will trigger the biggest mass migration in history.

weir were we
2005-08-06— Posted by: allegra

mmmph, missed this

2005-08-06— Posted by: allegra

Somehow, when I looked at this picture, it was the shadows that interested me more than the people. So all you get is feet and legs and shadows, which allows you to concentrate on an ugly, stranded, venomous, jellyfish. Bleaaah. Pictured are Carly and Jan’s feet.

And we’ll throw in for free…..
2005-08-06— Posted by: allegra

Another picture of the fish weirs. What were your ancestors doing a thousand years ago? Turn your face across the water and ask yourself the question.

The weirs are in the estuary in Courtenay.

But that’s not all
2005-08-06— Posted by: allegra

So I couldn’t stop with just one. Jim sent five pix. What you are looking at, in this picture, is aboriginal title. It is a picture of how the Coastal peoples sank the forest into the ocean to catch salmon and other fish.

When it’s the lowest low tide, you can see the pilings for the fish weirs march out into the ocean and along the beach and estuary for kilometers.

If people want to talk about title, what about a thousand years? What if you could say, for a thousand years, my people caught fish here?

2005-08-06— Posted by: allegra

Okay, I love this picture. It is a family picture. Let me bulk up the richness and the strangeness of it. First of all Carly, Jim and Jan’s athletic, graceful and very amusing youngest daughter, had the idea for it. Next, Jan sat still for it, probably making clever suggestions all the way through. Then Jim lay there like the most esculent parody of emaciated boys ever seen, and parked shells over his pechos. Ah yes, taken all in all, a masterpiece of digital bliss; a picture for the ages. Thank you so much.

enough sleep
2005-08-05— Posted by: allegra

This cat is named Pikachu; he took on a 4 foot alligator while his master went for the phone. I am amused by his resemblance to my cat Zeek!

I am even more amused that the incident occurred in Joliet IL. Nice to know that at any time, in any place, you might be dealing with a critter that isn’t from ‘these parts’, like that chef that got bitten by a Brazilian spider in England and damned near died.

Keith is off at work. He had to get up at five to get to work in Richmond for 7 am. Bleahh. His job involves cleaning and degreasing food grade containers.

Had a simply lovely time at the Steveston Seafood House last night with Bonnie. Misunderstood her – Stephen is in North Bay, not here. Anyway, the best part of the evening was looking at her pictures of Turkey. The pictures of Ephesus in particular were spectacular; Turkey looks like a very dry country, though; and pictures of the Topkapi and the Hagia Sophia were splendid as well. Dunnett fans would have been pleased.

Bonnie herself hasn’t changed much in, like, 35 years. Meant to ask her where she hides the Dorian-Gray-equivalent but decided that would be tacky.

Looks to be another spectacular day in Vancouver.

Paul is doing yoga and looking quite fine and Katie is unconscious.

Here we are, working on our 25th year. Hard to credit.

24th Anniversary
2005-08-04— Posted by: allegra

As blogged previously, Paul and I have 3 anniversaries in August. Today is our first anniversary – the anniversary of the day we met. We are celebrating by going to eat with my friend Bonnie B, who goes back the furthest with me – I’ve known her since I was eight or thereabouts. She has THE most infectious giggle in the known universe. We finally get to meet her sweetie Steve…. how many years is this??? And hopefully we see pix of her trip to Turkey.

Yes indeed, Paul and I have had our ups and downs, but today we appear to be shiny.

going flying
2005-08-04— Posted by: allegra

Paul took Dax flying … only one incipient spin. More than I could take, that’s for sure. Apparently he’s going flying again tomorrow to take computer bits to my folks. This is all a good thing.

Watermelon judgment
2005-08-03— Posted by: allegra

This dude – John Conroy – is also Marc Emery’s lawyer. I haven’t commented about this case because I am angry, and waiting to calm down.

The judgment cited is with respect to Watermelon, may she live forever in song, story, fable and myth. Those of you with legal background may find it of particular interest, as it is closely and finely reasoned… or resined, as the case may be.

corrective and explanatory notes
2005-08-03— Posted by: allegra

I use Alex and Lexi interchangeably.

Brother James is not my brother – I refer to him that way because we were in the trenches of customer service together. Looking forward to seeing you this summer!

That’s Takamine, not Nakamine. Duh.

Paul and I aren’t married. However, when you live together for nearly a quarter century, referring to the father of your children and the other name on the mortgage as ‘spouse’ or ‘partner’ just doesn’t seem right to me, although I normally try to be as accurate as sanity allows.

There’s a lot going on in my life that I can’t talk about. When I am being circumlocutory, it’s because a completely fair rendering of events would either make me look worse than I do (I have a pretty good idea how this blog makes me look, and believe me, the reality is far better and much worse) or would give a greater emphasis to something bad (or excellent) than circumstances and life history warrant; and I know my opinions change over time so I try to be somewhat judicious about expressing them although I can hear the collective whoosh of eyebrows going up as you are reading this.

Also, I can’t talk about work until they fire me or I retire, because I’ll never quit. Okay, never is a long time. But I sure have it in my mind not to quit. And if I do…. Brother James and I will have a little confab, and the results should be quite entertaining.

2005-08-03— Posted by: allegra

Bully’s is a rehearsal space in New Westminster. We were there last night to visit with Katie and Dax, who had space for about an hour; they were noodling, rather amazingly given how long they have practiced, with bass and drums. The people who run Bully’s are Super Nice – Frank and Mark … as in just completely wonderful, and they are obviously trying to make a rehearsal and music space that is as welcoming as possible (ie they have business practices which suggest that they want to make money over the long haul rather than right this instant).

At one point Paul picked up the bass and was noodling with Dax, who was playing drums. Sounded pretty good.

Earlier Paul and I went to the Pho Hong on Kingsway and I ate a number 3 on the patio (a little noisy for my taste but cooler than inside). Dang, but they make good pho.

Then we went by Suzanne’s to see Katie and hang out on the deck at sunset (twas gorjus) and a couple of Suzanne’s buddies were there and I admired pix of her girlfriend’s garden (her girlfriend lives ‘beyond Hope’ and has a moss garden, which is unique and exotic and very pretty.) Taught Suzanne how to sent Rogers text messages from her computer. Rogers makes it really easy, although recent changes to the website made me pretty cranky for a while.

I’m thinking of Peggy and Tom and hoping they have a fabulous time out east.

Finally caught up with John after we got home – he returned safe around quarter to one night before last – and he had, as usual some funny anecdotes.

Lois and Bob’s son Jesse keeps snakes, plural. I me demand why I have not seen pic-a-tures? One is almost completely white with faint orange markings and the other is a reticulated python. And both big. Not small. Jesse! Obey the message on the wind and send me pix!

Paul and Dax go flying today.

I light a candle of thanksgiving that no one was killed in the Air France accident yesterday, and predict hydroplaning as the proximal cause of the accident. And the pilot shouldn’t have accepted the landing – he’d already missed one approach.

Jumping Jayne Cobb, lookit the time. ‘m outta here.

Gizmo the Mighty – From Brother Jeff
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Weird thing happened yesterday. I went for a walk in the woods with Gizmo. He loves doing that – he gets really excited, climbing trees and racing around. So far so good.

We walked along the path for a while, then Gizmo stopped and went off the path and sat down, so I stopped and looked back. Someone was coming along the path behind us, walking their dog on a leash.

As the dog got closer, Gizmo started to retreat into the woods but I stayed put, thinking that the dog would just pass by. In similar situations in the past, both cats basically disappeared when a dog showed up.

The dog didn’t notice Gizmo but was intent on sniffing the path. I think it probably smelled Gizmo. I don’t know what breed it was, but it was slightly larger than your typical dog, with droopy ears – it looked like a hunting dog.

When the dog was within about 5 meters, it finally noticed Gizmo and lunged for him, straining against his leash. I expected Gizmo to take off, but instead HE LAUNCHED HIMSELF AT THE DOG. Gizmo was a blur, circling the dog and lunging at it with his claws. I think he hit the dog a few times, but in any case, the dog started to whine and back away.

I tried to grab Gizmo but he was out of control and kept attacking. The dog and his owner tried to continue down the path, but Gizmo kept after them. I was finally able to keep him back with a stick, but not without a few angry looks from Gizmo.

I had to apologize to the dog’s owner from a distance, but he didn’t seem too upset, just shocked – as was I.

It’s hard to say what would have happened if the fight had continued, but clearly Gizmo won the first round.

Allegra sez: Pic is, obviously, of Gizmo. I hung out with him & Jeff this weekend. The only thing Gizmo savaged was his food. Jeff lives in Colwood right next to the woods. You can see the stars at night from his back deck – it’s a very peaceful spot.

Mine is an evil laugh
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

A-ha! My mother is now a Firefly addict. Ditto Alex (aka Lexi). She showed up at the door yesterday wearing my recently completed Jayne Cobb hat; I burst out laughing, and then thankfully accepted her cargo of left behind underwear, etc. I do not think I have EVER visited my parents without leaving a debris trail that would make an accident investigator cringe. Two children help with this project immeasurably.

There is a wasps’ nest in the second shed eaves. Something must be done. The figs are STILL dehydrating, they are ver’ juicy. Paul is contemplating the solar dehydrator plans from Home Power magazine back in 1998; he downloaded them or ordered them last night. Animated discussion about how we’re going to deal with food after Power Down.

Animated discussion this morning about commercializing this site. The first first thing I’m going to do is talk to Glenn – the long postponed dreaded talk – at least I already know which software I’m going to use to charge people with. Then I’m gonna put up music, some free (starting with the Tapioca Song, which wants to be free! I asked it), most for coin (sorry, I’m not letting The Evening News go for free. Not gonna happen). Then I’m gonna do is ask my mother if she wants her own subdirectory for publicly posted family stuff and genealogy, as pix are a complete bandwidth hog. Ok, Mummy, consider yourself asked. You too can learn to upload pictures to a website. It isn’t hard; I can do it…. Then I’m going to post all my miscellaneous writing, most free (including the homilies), some for coin (for obvious reasons, I’ll be charging for the erotica… Old enough for a credit card? C’mon down!) And then, to quote Firefly, I’m gonna “be the king of all Londinium and wear a shiny hat”.

While I like Supreme Server which is “mine English host” (they do the job, and they’ve dropped the ball once in one year, and heck, who hasn’t had a denial of service attack at least once), I keep thinking about moving the host to Vancouver. Then I think about earthquakes. Hm. It’s a poser. Back to work and a mountain of emails.

Moving sunset
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Paul grabbed this picture out of the window of a moving car. I used to yell at him for doing that, now I eagerly wait to see what beautiful thing he’s come up with this time.

Saanich Fair Grounds
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

This is where the reunion was. Great kitchen… and I saw a lot of it. Not that I’m complaining. I love feeding people I love.

Katie smiling
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Our canoe was called Bambi…. We had a really good time that day, as you can see.

Why go to family reunions?
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Because the relatives bring mementoes of times past. Does anybody remember the joke that goes with this item from yesteryear?

the coolest cat in Burnaby
2005-08-02— Posted by: allegra

Please take out this catheter
2005-08-01— Posted by: allegra

So I just read in that if somebody actually programmed a doctor’s pager to go off at some predetermined point after the insertion of a catheter, he or she would be reminded to take it out and thus prevent humiliation, infection, and lots of money to treat the infection. Yeah, I’m always really happy to be intubated, reminds me I’m alive. You can be really really glad that after I searched the internet I chose to NOT post a picture of a catheter. So I’m posting something else instead…the copter I went for a ride in the middle of July in Arlington WA.

In keeping with the helicopter pic, I offer vibrations of happiness to the SFU engineering team that got an RC helicopter (10 kilos) to fly a prescribed 3.3 kilometer course, being the first team to successfully do so. Competition was held in the US. Way to go, guys!!!

I have found out what Keith’s goal is in life. My brother never reads my blog, so I can comfortably say this… Jeff, you’re hooped.

Paul and I are looking for matching old fashioned floor lamps – tri lites by preference – with big solid ugly bases and fabric lampshades. Any assistance in locating them so we can stop buying floor lamps every two years, since the contemporary floor lamps are roughly comparable in quality to a bubble gum machine bracelet, would be greatly appreciated.

Paul was very happy that we came home yesterday evening. And I’m happy too. But I don’t want to canoe Widgeon Creek today because I simply have too much life maintenance, and I sure as heck won’t feel like moving when I get back. Fortunately, Dan P., may his name be blessed and adored, wants to go flying with Paul. As I said to Paul, I sleep in your bed every night, but the weather is only good when it’s good, so that means it’s time to go flying.

Figs, figs, fresh figs, lots and lots of fresh figs, which I am attempting to dehydrate. I think I should have cut them in half first. FOR ONCE, I have one upped my across the alley neighbours, Karl and Cleo, may they also be blessed, because I actually grow nicer figs than they do. However, I got the over the fence love tap right back into hopeless fecklessness AGAIN when she casually handed me a little container of blackberries – that were unusually large, but I didn’t think too much of it. I’m not crazy about blackberries until Tom L turns them into jelly (and he makes jelly….;) but in THIS case, I took a bite, heard a heavenly chorus, and had to sit down from the excess of sensory input. These are NOT wild blackberries. These are a cultivar, and she’s GOING TO GIVE ME cuttings. Oh yeah, baby. They are unbelievably, stupendously good. Oh, and the figs are good too. It turns out that I have a completely different kind than Karl and Cleo. THEY have figs that are white inside. Mine are a lovely wine colour, and although I’m not a big fan of fresh figs I’ve eaten two already, and the skins are so soft you don’t have to peel them.

I send vibes of love to all my peeps, including Mike & Tori, Tom U, Tom and Peggy, L.E. and Doug, Sandy, Liz M, and all my relations, including Paul’s, which would include the wonderful Marilyn, the amazing Glenn, the good Dr. John, the glorious Lois and hardy Bob, and the marvellous Ruth and uxorious John. Hi Dale. I promise I’ll send the CD soon.

Last half July 2005

2005-07-31— Posted by: allegra

I finished the homily. Now all I have to do is deliver it without turning into a big puddle of tears.

guppa guppa guppa guppa
2005-07-31— Posted by: allegra

Okay, so I me making babbling noises. I experienced joy and also a family reunion story telling contest, in which my cousin Wyona was the undisputed champeen. She started off the family reminiscences with a story so Rabelaisian that my mandibles collapsed under the strain. Then there was a roomful of weird, low-key THWOKing as everybody else’s jaw hit the floor. I’d repeat it if I thought I had a snaeball’s chance of doing it justice.

Lessee, for my musical friends (and you KNOW who you are) Lexi pulled out that sweet black Nakamine she’s been abusing these odd few years, and she and I and cousin Laurel all sang together for the first time in front of a small crowd of adoring relatives. And WHAT did we sing? Uh, I’ll Fly Away. And then Peace Like a River. In three part harmony, at least some of the time, unrehearsed. It was like ballooning on acid with God.

Earlier in the day, Lexi told me she’d been in a corporate box for a Motley Crue concert (please insert umlaut, although it is up to you where yu insert it).

Now I really have to write that sermon. ‘Scuse me.

2005-07-30— Posted by: allegra

So yesterday morning got up, ate dry cereal for brekkie, and went to the Agricultural Hall of the Saanich Fair Grounds. I took pix but no USB cable, I forgot to pack the spare from work, so I have no way to upload them until I get home.

Unhappy mutterings from behind me (I’m in my brother’s game room, having spent the night here) as my brother does the shaky fisty at the Firefox development team. He reported a major bug and it’s apparently not going to get fixed before the beta 4 version. I said, all alarmed – as you will notice I tend to get rather easily – should I stop using it and he said, no, but I don’t use it because it’s buggier n hell and they tend to break thing a in the process of patching thing b. I’ve never had so much as a hiccup, belch or blast of flatus from Firefox, and IE crashed, popped up garbage and passed through scum all the gorram time, so now I dunno what to do.

Saw Shaun of the Dead last night – as promised, at least one zombie movie per visit – and laughed myself silly. A brilliant, brilliant script brought to magical life by the charm of the principals, even as they beat zombies back to death with cricket bats. Enough scary bits to be a real zombie movie, and more laughs per minute than supposedly hit US comedies. Must see The Aristocrats soon. I know I shouldn’t be rewatching movies while I’m here, but Katie had never seen Van Helsing. Or Bubba Hotep. And I just love the lead vampire in Van Helsing, he’s so over the top I want to put him in my pocket and love him to death.

I suppose I should drag the POV back over to the family reunion. The point of contention is that most of the people attending are Bible believing Christians, and alert readers will note that we just had our first gay wedding in the family, yay Rawd and Graham, and Yes, despite the fact that I am an anarchist (non violent variety) and I Personally have No Love for the Institution of Marriage blah de hopping blah, I cherish the rights of my fellow creatures, and if they want matching corsages and the right to write their own vows that is cool by me. Okay, that was catty, but overall, an accurate take on my feelings on the subject. And I did like the wedding pix I got and I put them in a photo album right away, which I, like, never do, so you can tell even as I’m poking fun I’m taking it pretty seriously. Where was I. So OF COURSE the gay marriage is not flying particularly well with those who know about it and will make large groups of elderly mostly female relatives scorching mad, and it’s my job to find the middle ground on the subject, of which there is vanishingly little, unless you reframe the whole thing rather dramatically. Now other people would quail at such a prospect but I don’t, because I am NOT a dualistic thinker. The theological, interpersonal/family dynamic, sociological, legal, moral and logistical implications, not to mention the sheer gorram humour value of all this, impress themselves on me just about equally, so really, I’m prob’ly the only person in the family who COULD do this. I will be holed up in a corner working on the homily likely today at the reunion, and actualllly, I should go work on it now. Remember, a sermon / homily is easy. Tell em what you’re gonna tell em. Tell em. Tell em what you told em. Do it in less than 20 minutes, and break into a really good hymn immediately afterward. Or a Beatles song, if you can’t remember any hymns. If you’ve got a really rough crowd, a beer commercial will do; but the homily shouldn’t be over 10 minutes and you should keep packages of peanuts handy to ping the hecklers with.

I slept on the floor last night, and believe it or not, I slept FINE. Maybe I will be able to go camping after all.

I forgot to pack black tights. I have 24 hours to locate same.

No, duh
2005-07-29— Posted by: allegra

First thing my mother does this morning is look for my blog. Hm, I’m in Victoria and haven’t had a chance to get to a computer, so unless I’ve magically transported to the 29th century and uploaded it with the sheer energy of my widdy brain, don’t see How That’s Possible.

Much sturming und dranging over an aspect of the family reunion which is Potentially Dire. Fortunately, although I haven’t been mentioning it in my blog, I had been thinking about precisely the problem my mother presented me this morning with for the last two weeks with what spare brain cells I have. I will be covering the issue in my homily on Sunday – and reposting the homily if anybody is interested. Now I have to write it; hopefully the words will flow, because I’ve made no fewer than three attempts to start it and I’m having a heck of a time. I was even thinking of doing it ex tempore but my mother’s aura started pulsing “Warning Will Robinson”.

Love each other while you can and keep singing.

Thanks Randy
2005-07-29— Posted by: allegra

For your pleasure, the all new, totally free Red Neck Grill.

Allegedly true
2005-07-28— Posted by: allegra

Okay, this is probably a hoax, but it’s a damned good one. This is SUPPOSED to be a real sign from the London Tube System.

Happy Birthday Mike
2005-07-28— Posted by: allegra

Mike is some undetermined age now. He’s still younger than me though. Tori gave him a very nice birthday present, unspecified.

I have to pack and git out of here tonight, Paul is driving me to the ferry.

I don’t know why, but even though I got plenty of sleep, I feel really tired.

Pokey, despite the fact we are letting him out, is still hanging around the house a lot. I suspect he actually misses John and doesn’t want to be gone when he reappears.

Revenue flight
2005-07-28— Posted by: allegra

Okay, Paul sent me this and I MUST repost it. Note the ‘repair’ on aircraft engine, which got grounded in Frankfurt after an ‘unscheduled fuel stop’ and a damned good thing too.

Best. Customer. Contact. This. Week
2005-07-27— Posted by: allegra

Picked up the phone and got “Hi! this is Bill “I have read the manual thoroughly” So-and-So.” Thought I’d die laughing. (This is a repeat caller). Told him that was a great way to start the day. He also told me that I was on speed dial, and after I quit laughing – again – I said “Words customer service people dread to hear.” What a guy. Have a great vacation, dude!

I must make my writing more terse. Laconic, even.
2005-07-27— Posted by: allegra

My brother sent me this link. I think my favourite is the condensed works of Stephen King.

enough sleep
2005-07-27— Posted by: allegra

Keith is off to work – at an ungodly hour, but such is life.

Paul’s doing yoga, and Katie’s unconscious.

Katie and I went to work out at Canada Games Pool yesterday; tried to invite Tom and Peggy forgetting that they had to be up Very Early this morning for their trip out east. Bon Voyajee as Bugs Bunny would say. My mother has pretty much finished my Jayne Cobb hat, and you can just Eat Your Liver!

Scrappy little fairies
2005-07-27— Posted by: allegra

I don’t know about YOUR neck of the woods, but in Vancouver, the fairies are very very scrappy. When they aren’t granting wishes, some of which are easy to manage, and some of which are downright difficult, they are writing letters to the editor and playing the banjo and scratching skunks behind the ears. Some of us are very envious of the fairies, and supportive of their mysterious activities whether in Trout Lake Park or the bottom of the garden or mopping up the dark matter between the stars: I know I am! but others have laid in a supply of Brownie B Gone. We know who THEY are, and we hates them. Okay, we dislikes them intensely. Okay, after a few beers we feels sorry for them. In the meantime, here is a specially truncated picture of a real live wish granting fairy, I do believe in fairies, I do, I do.

Reminiscing – from Lexi
2005-07-27— Posted by: allegra

Long John Baldry – it’s due to him that my name evolved from Alexis to Lexi.

I first met him when he played at a bar in about 1991 or maybe 1992 in Watson Lake, Yukon (The Belvedere – a fine establishment of sustenance and good cheer, if anyone is heading that way. Tell Pat Irvin I say hi…) I was assistant manager there and he and all these fantastic musicians descended on us and rocked our world for a weekend. He put on a brilliant show.

When I first moved here to Vancouver in early 1993, I was trying to be a songwriter. All my friends were musicians – several of them, including Kathi MacD, were members of the various bands he had over the years, and I looked them up when I arrived. I was sofa-surfing with one of them in a house on Kits Point right across the alley from his penthouse apartment. We would occasionally all hang out at Baldry’s place (or Uncle Bobby’s, as Kathi used to call him) for drinks etc. He was as much a performer in a Kitsilano apartment as he was on the stage — a raconteur of great skill – and a little eccentric. (He kept rabbits in a hutch on his rooftop deck!) He never could remember my name as Alexis – it was Lexi right from the get-go. Eventually everyone in that circle started calling me Lexi as well, and the name stuck. Although I had vehemently objected to Lexi ever since I’d decided as a little girl that I was a big girl now and insisted on being called by my full name, I just had to let it go. When someone with his kind of charisma and presence decides something, you kind of just have to go with it…

I’ve not seen or talked to him in over ten years, but being on the fringes of that group of people at that time in my life is something I will treasure always.

Thanks, Lexi.

That’s no moon – that’s a sponge!
2005-07-26— Posted by: allegra

All right, all right. I know that they’re trying to save money, but taking a blurry picture of a sponge on a black background and claiming it that it’s the moon Hyperion is RAhhhlLY stretching it.

enough sleep
2005-07-26— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-07-26— Posted by: allegra

Pokey alert
2005-07-26— Posted by: allegra

Dang! The cat with More Personality Than Brains is at it again. This time it’s a phone call – “You own a cat?” “Oh yes,” I say. “A big furry dumb orange one? Blue tag? Green collar?”

Of course, when I get there, Pokey is not interested at ALL in even looking at me, being well absorbed in suckin’ back a big bowl of milk. I tried carrying him home, but he turned on me – politely, gave me PLENTY of warning of his intentions – so I put him down and he jog trotted back into the house after me, and I fed him. Many thanks to the neighbours at 14th Ave who now know where he lives and kept him occupied for a while. PS to John… the tag is a little worn. You’ll be wanting to be investigating a new one, perhaps something a little sturdier. And he’s in for the night.

enough sleep
2005-07-26— Posted by: allegra

My blog now gets 10,000 hits a month now… Hint. It isn’t all my mother. I just listed, in an extremely stupid and self congratulatory manner, all the reasons why I’m getting hits, and I accidentally deleted it. Sometimes, the Goddess smiles at me, usually while she’s treading on my toes and elbowing my ribs.

Note to the wish fairy; have you considered what naked pix of you will do to your mother’s political prospects? I mean, one could be pro, and one could be con. But the internet is forever, and Mal doesn’t hand ammo to his enemies, last I checked.

I know, I know; I haven’t come clean about all the things I’M interested in, but that’s because I still have minor children at home; although I can imagine them giving a spirited and cogent defense of my various ‘life-style’ choices were anyone brave enough to ask for their opinions. Three things have to happen before this blog will get REALLY eyepopping (ie, I will no longer be constrained by the last shreds of common sense, good taste and puerile self-interest) and they are all, thank goodness, a long way from crossing my life event horizon. Although, looking back on my life, and the history of changes therein, it seems clear to me that all my prerequisites for a truly, monumentally tasteless blog will likely happen in the same week. I am the Heron Woman; many long hours of standing around breathing, followed by lightning like movement and little frogs wriggling.

I light a candle to honour the departure from this life of Long John Baldry. I saw him live at Fryfogle’s in London ONT many many many years ago, and he was a great stage presence and a solid entertainer. They don’t seem to make ’em like they used to. Lexi, if you have anything elegaic to say, I will gladly cross post.

Love each other and sing while you can.

Radio Free Saturn
2005-07-26— Posted by: allegra

The Cassini mission grabbed some radio transmissions from Saturn. I urge you to check it out, it’s bloody amazing. I’m listening to this right now, and it’s so eerie, and so wonderful… think of the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet and the hair on your arms will stand up. They are actually ‘aurora noises’.

enough sleep
2005-07-25— Posted by: allegra

Feel like animatronic scrap this morning thanks to a canoe outing yesterday at Widgeon Creek. We only have one canoe; I rented another one at Ayla canoes and then the four of us canoed across the Pitt River and went, by stages, over about an hour and a half, to the Widgeon Creek campsite. There must have been fifty canoes dragged up on the bank when we got there, it was quite entertaining to see, but past that point nothing but a very shallow draft kayak could get through as the creek dries up any farther up. There were so many people on the Creek that there was no wildlife to be seen, but it was still a wonderful trip and you can’t beat the scenery.

Katie and I were in one canoe as neither of us could stand the notion of having Paul bag at us non stop for our technique, or lack of it. Apart from me cutting off a kayak three times running (did I feel like a maroon) I didn’t actually do too badly in the steering department.

My mother, who is a domestic goddess masquerading as a retired nurse, has already commenced my Jayne Cobb hat. The rest of you can just croak of envy, thanks!

Back to yesterday’s events… ah, yes, after a brief stop for veg etc at a roadside stand, we headed off to Tom and Peggy’s where we ate a fantastic dinner cooked by Brooke and sang very very very appropriately, Vive l’amour (Vive la compagnie) among many other songs. Got to watch Ben have a very public religious experience as he communed with the bass Peggy’s stellar hubby bought for her a couple of weeks back. We’re not talking electric, it’s a dirty great standup bass. And if that’s what that sucker sounds like with old strings, I’m gonna be scared to sit next to it when it’s got new ones. Amayzing bass, how sweet the sound, etc. Mike J, Agnes and #1 son Sean were there as well; I had a lovely time.

Frankly did not expect Katie to want to come home, as she’d gone of to the bf’s… but she DID want to come home, and do you know why? Harry Potter!

Pic is Paul Paez snap of a polar b’ar being treated with Gentian Violet. This matches the Green polar bear I posted earlier. Since there are now two, do you suppose they’ve started a support group for Differently Coloured Polar Bears?

Kicking and screaming
2005-07-24— Posted by: allegra

I’m off to Widgeon Creek.

Knitting instructions for Jayne Cobb’s hat.

2005-07-24— Posted by: allegra

Went to the Lantern Festival at Trout Lake last night. I wish I could say I had a good time… let me rephrase that. I had a good time up until about 10 o’clock. After that, things kind of fell apart, and I have a really bad blister.

Briefly saw Tom, Peggy, and Brooke. Should have stuck with them but I always was a f*cking idiot when it comes to keeping promises to people.

Did the usual, put on a garment covered in Christmas lights and walked around Trout Lake with a Powerpack in my knapsack – lit up like a festive tree. Having three year old girls run up to you saying, awestruck, “You’re pretty, you’re pretty!” is balm for wounded nerves.

Mike, what did you do, turn your phone off? I had my phone with me and turned on.

Went to Stef’s to say hello to her, Patty and the dogs (Nathan’s in Toronto for the summer, and I can only pray he’s got air conditioning where he is) and hung out with her salsa buddy Diana for a while.

Missed the fireworks. Being told “They weren’t all that great this year” was not an adequate recompense, thanks.

Paul crushed his hand yesterday. He can flex it, so it’s not, as far as I can tell, livelihood threatening, but it looks like it hurts like hell.

I think I’ll go back to bed. In my current state of mind, only large amounts of unconsciousness will do.

Keith took pictures on his new used cell phone of the festival but we don’t have the right USB cable to upload them.

2005-07-23— Posted by: allegra

Course, the Chinese revalued the yuan, so everything’s good. Anybody want to take Mandarin lessons with me?

enough sleep
2005-07-23— Posted by: allegra

Farewell beers at the Golf Course last night for Elizabeth; quite an appropriate turnout for someone who always impressed me as both very smart and very hardworking. A couple of old timers, long since out of there, showed up as well. One of them, who shall remain nameless, was advised by a current employee to buy a round and expense it as ‘recruiting’ as his company has already poached a couple of really good hires. Just as well that nobody from HR showed up.

All five of us went for a walk just at sunset last night and we walked over to the Cariboo pedestrian bridge and back.

2005-07-22— Posted by: allegra

With so many Red Deer references in my blogging world at the moment – hsifyppah among them – I am appending the following:

Stolen from the Red Deer Site:

Discover the Official Cookie of Red Deer:

Caramel Surprise

625 ml (2 � cups) flour

175 ml (3/4 cup) cocoa

5 ml (1 tsp.) baking soda

250 ml (1 cup) white sugar

250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar

250 ml (1 cup) margarine

10 ml (2 tsp.) vanilla

2 eggs

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped pecans

40 Rolo Caramels


125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped pecans

15 ml (1 tbsp.) sugar

In a large bowl cream margarine. Beat in both the white and brown sugars until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, beat well. Add flour, cocoa and baking soda and blend well. Stir in pecans. Shape 15 ml (1 tbsp.) of dough around 1 Rolo Caramel, making sure it is completely covered.

In a bowl combine the two topping ingredients together. Press one side of each ball in the topping mixture and place nut-side up on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 180�C (350�F) for 10 minutes. Makes 40 cookies.

Note: If the cookie should spread too much while baking, add a little flour to the dough.


Red Deer Sunset
2005-07-22— Posted by: allegra

Katie finally came home last night. Went to L.A. Sushi to celebrate.

Then, oh joy of joys, we sat down and watched a whole bunch of Firefly again. Then I went to bed relatively early but between Paul and Keith they were making so much noise that I wasn’t actually able to go to sleep until 11:30 so I’m very crabby this morning.

Previously deleted portions of this blog include such gems as “Dish dirt like a front end loader.” Thank You.

Pictured is a reason to go to Madawaska, ON.

Mocking the afflicted
2005-07-22— Posted by: allegra

NORMally I don’t bother with stuff like this, but this picture is, um, well, let’s just say I’m glad my mother raised me not to become addicted to inhalants.

I can’t hold it in any longer
2005-07-21— Posted by: allegra

Brief holiday
2005-07-21— Posted by: allegra

Okay, so this is a brief holiday. This is what Red Deer Lodge and Campground looks like. Shade, rustic cabins (not shown in this pic), sandy beaches, clean water. Sigh. I’m a long way from there right now but I thought I’d give myself a visual vacation.

2005-07-21— Posted by: allegra

China has unpegged its yuan from the US dollar, which the US has been requesting for ages now. I find the timing interesting. The Chinese tried to buy two large US companies, Unocal was one and I can’t remember the other, and was soundly rebuffed for its troubles.

As best I understand the potential negative consequences of this move, they run like this: American manufactured goods will get more expensive, quite abruptly, because most of the American brand names are now manufactured in China anyway. Also, unpegging means that currency speculators now have something to bet on; they won’t just bet that the yuan/renminbi will rise, they’ll bet on all the Asian currencies to hedge their risks, and why the hell not? The American dollar looks like an ant carrying an anvil, in terms of the amount of debt tied to it. As some economists think, this will pummel growth in Asia. Central banking reforms in the Asia Pacific region will assist in helping these economies weather the storm, but if the currencies go up too much and the exchange advantage for export goods vanishes in a wave of currency speculation, a lot of these countries may have problems. There are contrarians who say this won’t happen and that China will be careful to manage the process, but I have my doubts. The Chinese are perfectly capable of planning and executing a currency shift that smacks the hell out of some of their biggest competitors, lets them unload a pile of US dollars (which they can’t use right now because the Yanks won’t let them buy anything), dampens growth back home just enough to kill inflation without too much damage to the rest of the economy, and allows them to buy energy with less cash. Oh, and kick a lot of American manufacturers in the noogies. Yup, and when everybody is really upset and the housing bubble in the US breaks, they’ll repeg to the American dollar, but at a different rate. It is possible that the revaluation will result in hugs and puppies all ’round, but I don’t believe it for a minute, and anybody who does offshore manufacturing should be prepared for at least two quarters of hell while things adjust. I started saying six months ago that anybody who can move production back on shore should be doing it; between gas prices, earthquakes shutting down western ports (yes, I know, that’s an if AND a when), and saber rattling on the part of both the US and China I am not at all convinced that offshoring is either safe or profitable in the long term. (Then somebody said, but Allegra, all the parts are made in China too… intimating that I am a dumbass. But I stick with what I’ve predicted.) The Chinese want our timber and our energy and our cement, and they’d much rather drive us into bankruptcy for it than fight; they have the advantage of being able to shoot their own people with impunity if they complain about the homeside consequences of any economic restructuring. So I have been waiting for this move for a long time, but I don’t think it’s going to play out to my personal advantage. I await with interest what will have to say on the subject.

thank goodness
2005-07-21— Posted by: allegra is back on line.

Just cruise through the links sometime, they’re mindblowing.

In other news, Keith drove back from the canoe outing yesterday and Paul said his driving was ‘perfect’ end quotes, and he also learned how to operate the canoe from the stern. All in all, Keith is turning into a wonderful well rounded human being, and I’m extremely happy I’m his mom. Also, we took him to the Golf Course for a beer on Friday – but he didn’t drink it and wanted to run away a lot faster than we did. He sure was happy to get out of there. It was good seeing Matt last Friday though, and better hearing that his S/O got into speech pathology at Purdue…. Good to see Jerome, too, I really miss the old bunch of us.

This entire, extremely funny, scathing paragraph, deleted on the fierce insistence of my lawyer, who is currently pouring drinks and making Be Reasonable noises. It was about work, could you guess? I have saved the best line for use later…. eet waz a good wan.

That’s a moray
2005-07-21— Posted by: allegra

In keeping with today’s watery theme, Amore meets A moray.

This link won’t last
2005-07-20— Posted by: allegra

As frequent visitors doubtless know, I am a repeat offender when it comes to Octopots. This particular Octopot, a denizen of the Copenhagen Zoo, is particularly expert at opening jar lids. Sic Semper Cheez Wiz, baby! Anyway, if you come upon this when the link has expired, Google octopus Copenhagen Zoo jar lids. Which, you have to admit, is a wonderful grouping of words.

Mr. Damon
2005-07-20— Posted by: allegra

One of my top ten fave blogs,, run by Mr. Damon, has gone off the air; I find it weird and fitting that his registration expired on Lunar Lander day. Sic transit gloria mundi, baby.

Mike, in an excess of Sanity, closed the shop on Monday and stayed at the beach instead. What a great idea, wish I could have joined him and Tori. I’m not a fool, so I won’t talk about *my* work right now.

Keith and Paul had a lovely canoe ride out to Widgeon Creek yesterday afternoon. They saw quite a variety of wildlife including beavers.

So Bush has nominated somebody with the same belief system for the Supreme Court. Yeah, so? The Supreme Court has meant nothing since the passage of the Patriot Act, except perhaps as a marker for the capacity of all the arms of the American government to make life incrementally worse for anybody who doesn’t worship money.

2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

A fitting end to the day
2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

As I was about to destroy it, I realized, ah, it’s not so bad, speshfully if I take the more extraneous bits out. I look so happy, innocently spanking an inanimate Superman. He can’t feel it, and I damned near broke my finger! I am innocent no more, lemme tell you. Hard stuff is ouchy and hurty, did you ever notice that? I look at him, manfully holding up my weight on, uh, an inconveniently small amount of surface area, and wonder how many little children he viciously dumped on the terrazzo of large malls over the years of his career thus far. For his life, his death-in-life, is not over; he will continue to have slushies rammed down his skivvies, be barfed on, and be the recipient of other rude fluids besides; he will be repainted, each time looking somewhat worse, especially as nobody bothers to repaint his face anything but a garish and not very healthy looking pink. He will terrorize storefronts in very small towns. From the very front, he looks to me like a man who’s (ed note; knock it off). From the back, well, if paradise is hard and painted blue and red, his butt is a dead ringer for it. Deny that if you can!

What have we here?
2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

And there was, o my god, a picture of me attempting to spank Superman. It too, has joined the Great Dead Pixellator in the sky, and a damned good thing, too…. However, Pokey made his opinion of events quite clear, as shown hereunder:

But wait, there’s more
2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

In deference to commonly adhered-to standards of decency and taste, I have had to pull this next picture. It adds nothing to the fund and sum of human knowledge, and would detract from the digestions of those miserable few who viewed it. I was not born to lie curled up on an epoxy Superman. You DON’T want to see a picture of it, and I’m frying them from both the camera and hard drive in a brave and uplifting last stand against the oncoming, flux-ridden horde of nightmarish images. (Sorry, I heard “No Quarter” sung on Saturday night and some of its martial imagery stuck).

Where do I plug him in?
2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

So here I am, contemplating how Superman has finally been made real to me. A coin-operated Superman, with his own airsick bag. Okay, off the top I see three, but there must be at least ten, really odd / scary features of this photograph. Share them with friends, collect the entire set.

Superman has handles?
2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

Cool! Johnsquared’s truck is parked in front. John says, in that quiet conspiratorial tone he uses for odd and wonderful things, I brought Superman home!

Now, how could anybody who knows John even raise an eyebrow at this. Jaded as I am with his Many Years of Durance Vile with one employer, I immediately assumed it was a bar top game, and that he had just been playing on words. But, and it’s all blissfully true, he brought home a SUPERMAN, a corporeal superman, and my elderly neighbour who walks his dog past my place just about seized up laughing when he saw me sprawled on top of him. He croons to his dog, a golden lab pup and a gorgeous one, “You wanna fly with Superman?” and then starts laughing again, shaking his head as he moves the dog along.

So enniwess, I run out there and let John take some rifrikkindiculous pictures of Superman and me. Okay, in this one, I thinking, “Wot de hell is dis?” because the untoppable man has handles, and that has a girl’s mind turning to pink skin, not that it will show through his painted shorts. I did spank him and the digitus impudicus on my right hand is squawking at me as a result, mental note, dumbass. Hey, I made it up the stairs at Wreck Beach without croaking! Not … ready … for a wheelchair.

Brief detour, Paul mentioned the other day that the only thing wrong with Wreck Beach was that it wasn’t wheelchair accessible, and all us just looked at him and said right on, and then talked about how you’d do it without destroying the ambience. Very nice moment.

Superman has handles. Happysigh.

Architectural detail
2005-07-19— Posted by: allegra

I am a big fan of rococo decorations in theatres, and Sandy sent me a very nice example of it. If you notice anything else about this picture, then you are obviously very vulgar minded.

Peak Oil
2005-07-18— Posted by: allegra

Oh, Allegra, why won’t you grow up and realize that Peak Oil is just imaginary?

Because of articles like this.

Busy day then
2005-07-18— Posted by: allegra

Saturday night went to a house filk at Cindy’s which was fun, and there were a LOT of instruments there. And voices. Next day we went to the Buffy Singalong for Kelly’s birthday, we being Keith and John and I, and then Paul, who had been flying with Dan P, met us at Wreck Beach, where we got free parking in the beach side lot and met up with Mike and Tori, narrowly missing Trent, who had arrived and departed on his Zodiac, which was amusing because Keith was rereading Neal Stephenson’s Zodiac while we were at the beach. Mike liberally applied balm to my wounded nerves in the form of about half an hour of desperately needed bodywork, and despite my not so happy return trip up the stairs (I insisted we leave before sunset) I still have that languorous, boneless feeling you get after a really good massage. And of course I got completely covered in that Wreck Beach composite material, sand and sunblock, which means I have now completely exfoliated. Finished Harry Potter VI; when they said ‘it’s dark’ they are not just whistling Dixie. However, it has plenty of Rowling’s trademark combo of finely observed social commentary, ouch-that-smarts plot points and laugh out loud dialogue and descriptions of persons and behaviour. Okay, it’s 4:30, back to bed.

Monty and Tyler
2005-07-18— Posted by: allegra

From the Sun Online, via Fark, Monty the horse and Tyler the dog. Tyler learned to ride when he was quite small and now the two animals ride together pretty much every day.

Dawn Patrol
2005-07-17— Posted by: allegra

I’m about half way through the new Harry Potter. I’m off to a Buffy singalong and then Wreck afterwards. I hope to be in a better mood some time before the end of the year, but as long as Paul is doing an imitation of Eeyore as an attack therapist, I find it hard to picture.

sigh, happy sigh
2005-07-17— Posted by: allegra

Keith and Paul are singing and playing “Lousy Copilot” together on guitar and mandolin.

Pottie Harrie
2005-07-16— Posted by: allegra

Went to the world famous Coquitlam Superstore – the one that ‘uh, sorry’ released the Harry Potter VI early. Picked up a legal copy and am now attempting to negotiate a reading schedule. I want to read it aloud, but if I can’t get some freaking cooperation I’ll just hide in my bedroom with it for the rest of the day.

Sun came out for thirty seconds – thought, that’s funny, the Sun is mooning us – and now it’s hiding again.

House filk tonight and Buffy Singalong at Pacific Cinematheque tomorrow afternoon.

Neighbour showed up to borrow a phone today; Sprint sucked her in and now she’s spitting Sprint out and going back to Telus. I’m sticking with Telus because they are the phone company that actually puts people up poles when the disaster comes.

Now I’m off to Rowlingville, see ya later.

Law Society
2005-07-15— Posted by: allegra

My spies inform me that there’s a new CEO at the Law Society of British Columbia. If his actions during his first six weeks on the job are anything to go by, I have to assume that there is going to be what they delicately refer to as a ‘housecleaning’. Considering that they don’t even currently do monthly financial reporting and there hasn’t been much in the way of corporate governance since the last CEO was s-canned for conflict of interest (in BC? never happens), it’s maybe a good thing that this gent has come on board. Oh, and a non lawyer is in charge of regulatory. Give me a break.

Came up with a good one yesterday. Patricia said, There is no I in Team, to which my immediate response was, and there’s no F in Way.

enough sleep ?
2005-07-15— Posted by: allegra

Came home last night and crashed out, I was feeling tired and having waves of weirdness and dizziness. Woke up with Paul off to work, Katie off to Youth Night, John not in evidence and Keith at Karate.

Stooged about for a while feeling sorry for myself – a weird feeling of disconnection – and then got about a third of the way through Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter, a POWerfully weird book, and then Keith came home. He wanted to watch Firefly and I refused.

Then Katie came home and said, Why the hell is it that every time I walk out of the house I end up having to talk to cops? Keith and I sagged a little, but it turns out that she watched a guy assault one of her friends. Get this. This man assaulted Billy for swearing. Seems a little harsh, don’t you think? He outweighed Billy by a factor of two to one. Katie was really angry with herself for being so stunned at how uncalled for it was that she didn’t take her camera out and snap this big guy holding Billy on the ground. And of course it’s Billy that gets tossed in the patrol car, which made Katie furious.

At that point I said, soothingly, let’s all go downstairs and watch Firefly, which we did. Three freaking episodes, didn’t get to bed until one. Inara just told Mal she’s leaving the crew (just when she’d participated in a caper, too!). Katie has definitely decided she likes the show. I just love Nathan Fillion. Now I have about thirty seconds to have a shower, or my coworkers will look askance, and no car today because we have to replace the windshield.

first half July 2005

more media, dead bodies, and strong emotions
2005-07-14— Posted by: allegra

A corpse fell into traffic in Texas the other day. I dunno, if I saw something like that I would take it as a sign to slow down. Some employee of a funeral home didn’t secure the back door of the truck, and down will come corpsey, gurney and all.

Saw Paul Bettany in The Reckoning last night. I thought a lot of it was a wilful misrepresentation of medieval English life, but there was almost enough dirt for a Python flick, so I guess that was okay.

Then watched the War Stories episode of Firefly. Ah, playful banter during torture. TV is so much better than real life, don’t you think? I think it is possible we may have converted Katie into a fan, though. Ha! Feel the sinister clutches!

Got a call from Alan last night. He will be in town for a wedding the end of August (whee!) so I get to see him and his lady wife Janice. I told him we speak of him often (uh oh was his response) mostly in connection with various cultural high points that he introduced me to, like, lessee… Art Spiegelman’s Maus… Dead Can Dance… Neal Stephenson (he loaned me a first edition of Zodiac back when nobody knew who the hell Neal was) and I’d give anything to put a Wonkette style reference in here but everybody I know, including my mother, would be crimped at me.

Note from 2019. Alan dumped me, a few years later, (I mean you knew I was poly, right?) over the phone, while I was at work, and sitting across from my boss’s cubicle.  He had an office. It never occurred to him to even think about that. What a ….He’s an utter polished turd, and I wish his third wife well of him. Sure he introduced me to a lot of great stuff but Paul’s worth five of him in terms of character, humility and usefulness.

Note to Dax… I witnessed Katie’s reaction to a good chunk of the extended IM session you guys had yesterday, and while I still like you, I think you need to a) get out more and b) shake your head a couple of times. If you don’t give people an opportunity to revise their story, they won’t, especially when the slightest shift causes hysteria in the audience. Maybe you think that you have the right not to be lied to by anyone, but most of us old tired adults are used to being lied to so much that we hardly take offence at it anymore. We emotionally shelter with people who don’t lie to gain respite from a world of lies. I don’t know if you think yesterday’s exchange was useful; it didn’t look that way to me. So may I humbly suggest that you SHIF-W your communication style a bit.

see you doing this.

hear you doing this.

imagine this means … whatever fevered imaginings are troubling your brain.

feel and then sum up how the action/speech makes you feel.

Then, the grand finale – I want this outcome, this behaviour change, this speech change.

This communication technique does two things. I allows you to think through what you’re feeling so that you can express it without sounding like you’re coming unglued, and it prevents you from having the message you want to convey get derailed as you respond to what the other person says.

PS, it doesn’t work in an employment sitch. Tried it in a product meeting once, sucked to be me.

PPS, wish I used the technique more consistently, but sometimes it feels way better to uncork the whupass, and it definitely makes better theatre.

Writers group tonight, must print something off.

The water heater is now tied to the frame of the house, yay Paul.

2005-07-14— Posted by: allegra

The toll free number at work was broken for about 2 1/2 days this week. Considering all the other crap that has been going on I’ve been getting a little torqued and got bitchslapped by a customer on the phone today. I deserved it, but I’m finding this really tiresome.

enough sleep
2005-07-13— Posted by: allegra

Woke up this morning feeling like somebody had been lovingly dropping grains of silica gel into my mouth all night.

Saw Fantastic Four last night – three of us got in for $12 cause it was cheap night at the New West Cinema. The movie is unpretentious and completely ridiculous, and only worth seeing because of the Thing. If it doesn’t win best makeup I’ll be annoyed.

2005-07-12— Posted by: allegra

This is Suzanne’s cat Limpet, who is missing a hind foot. (Missing foot not shown). She’s an extraordinarily pretty cat; quite tiny, and this pic does not convey the beauty of her plushtoy fur, although I must say it conveys her personality nicely.

2019:  this ‘crippled’ animal once CAUGHT A BAT AND BROUGHT IT INSIDE. pandemonium ensyued.

Must reads and rumors
2005-07-12— Posted by: allegra

He must have posted about two minutes ago (it’s 3:30 am here) but it’s a full grown fire breathing dragon of a post. Hint. He don’t like Karl Rove.

Rumors… Keith Richards to do a cameo as Jack Sparrow’s Pop in Pirates II? Magic Excellent Air Guitar Riff Inserted Here. 2019 says I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED SON

From Boing Boing…Those Crazy Koreans: Associated Press reports that Korea’s Doosan Bears pitcher Park Myung-hwan was caught keeping frozen cabbage under his cap. He explains that he was trying to keep cool, but the Korea Baseball Organization issued a ruling in a statement that said quote wearing cabbage leaves inside a baseball cap constitutes an inner quote alien material end inner quote that may disrupt a game end quote. I must start following the Doosan Bears; they sound like they really know how to have good fun.

In news that will surprise no one who wishes Bill Gates would either convert to open source or die abruptly after changing his will, MS is buying a spyware company and has changed its new Anti Spyware to ignore the festering code of this new limb of Satan. Question… how many arms does one Prince of Lies need, anyway?

Also from Boing Boing, a picture of a chair which has a juicer on it so a lapdancer can, um, extract the juice from a 🙂 piece of fruit using nothing but the gift the Goddess gave her and, that’s right, pelvic force. Sales in Surrey are expected to be brisk, and Kevin Federline has already bought two, I assume for two different rooms in his house.

Jim E is back from the opening bars of the new song of his life; his little girl is here and apart from sleeping issues, she’s the new queen of his heart. No word from Carol but I await their reports on parenting with abiding love and interest.

2019 says she’s gorgeous, she’s smart, Jim and Carol still love her with everything they have.

Charbaum made my life a beautiful thing by sending me an invite to Arden’s 1st birthday party (his pic posted in a previous blog); set for a weekend Paul can’t attend, aw.

Since quite a few people want to know, I am back to sleeping in my own bed, and Paul’s hearing appears to have been restored. This means that I can make my requests in future at a more reasonable volume. I can’t say all is well but much is better. Also, it’s just wild how many one bedroom apartments are for rent in New Westminster right now… there are forty, and I already got approved for two, and I only started looking Sunday, and here it is Tuesday am at 3:48…. Alert readers will connect the dots and think “Uh oh, hot tub!” but if you throw in (all right, that’s enough, the laundry list of grievances real and imagined here redacted), you get the idea. If you burn your arse, as Dunnett so poetically wrote, you sit on the blister. Hey, that loops back to the juicer seat! Very nice. On that note, I’m back to bed. Paul’s at work. Jumping Jimmy Christmas, what buttheads I have living in my ‘hood! Who would honk their horns at 3:54 am? Bastards. Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m already awake. Katie home, shoes here. Must let her know that really nice apartment on St Andrew isn’t a happening thing. Dang, it was a gorgeous place, and heh heh…. cable was included. Now it would be an Elastigirl style stretch to think I could ever get Paul to consider cable, but to quote Hemingway, isn’t it pretty to think so? A mosquito just flew up my nose, I’m outta here.

very funny
2005-07-12— Posted by: allegra

me laughing…..

Got Wood?
2005-07-11— Posted by: allegra

This is TamTam dressed for Pride Day standing in front of a statue of Alexander Wood. He was gay, a long long time ago, before it was fashionable. LIKE the coat and that fancy hat. This statue was unveiled in the heart of the gay barrio in Toronto, and TamTam’s choir sang at the dedication. He was an honoured public servant even though he had to leave town due to a sex scandal in the early part of the 19th century.

Google Alexander Wood gay 1844 for more details.

So I lied.
2005-07-10— Posted by: allegra

Nuthin but hugs and puppies from now on
2005-07-10— Posted by: allegra

This is a Stump Tailed Macaque. He is 7 days old. Isn’t he cute?

too bad, so sad
2005-07-10— Posted by: allegra

At 7:30 this morning Paul told me he doesn’t want the hot tub. So I’m emailing people and phoning people to make the whole process stop. I am very sad about his decision.

This now colors my entire experience of this weekend. Half an hour ago I wanted to talk about how much fun I had yesterday, but now it seems pointless.

I did have a lot of fun with Mike McG and his wife Liz yesterday, as we sucked back Sleemans and traded screechingly rude aviation/childrearing stories on his back porch. One of his stories I will cherish forever, and the picture of the sloth was cute.

Katie is back from Dax’s in fine form. Upon her return to the family fold, she presented me with a malapropism that combines anatomy, geography and political incorrectness in such a fashion that I justabout whizzed myself. Unfortunately I can’t repeat it in a family publication, but adult readers of this blog are invited (no, urged!) to make discreet personal enquiries of your excitable correspondent.

Capitalism at work
2005-07-10— Posted by: allegra

Capitalism at work
2005-07-10— Posted by: allegra

enough sleep
2005-07-09— Posted by: allegra

Short sharp blog this morning as I am about to jump in a car and go to the airshow in Arlington. At some point I’m hoping to meet up with coworker Mike and drink beer and coworker Rob of Nine and ditto ditto. If the winds are favorable and the fates propitious I may even get to combine the two. Then back to town to level the playing field, literally, for the hot tub to sit on. Keith had a nice birthday with his dad and has already phoned Paul’s mum to thank her for the birthday gift. Yet another dream about dark old houses with non standard corridors and strange but seemingly normal events. There was a lot of writing in this last one, which is okay. I love the road trip to Arlington, it’s a long standing fave. I’ve been down that road in a brand new Mustang with the top down; I’ve been down that road in brand new rental cars; I’ve been down that road alone, and in a Miata with the top down (thanks Lexi!) and with coworkers who, as soon as the doors closed, started gossiping so hard my eyes nearly bugged out (extremely entertaining and very informative). I’ve been down that road at the speed limit and at a constant 30k over the speed limit, while the driver kvetched about how really, the company was being backward about not paying for the speeding fines as we really were being more efficient. I note that at no point, thanks to Paul’s constantly inculcating me with an insouciant attitude to the prospect of an abrumpt (quoting a departed VP) cessation of vehicular movement, was I worried. And the tunes were crankin’. I’m driving, so I’m happy. Mind you the Echo makes whiny noises if you try to push it past 100k, but o well. Katie at Dax’s, like you didn’t already know. Did you know that elephants can make a surprisingly large range of vocalizations? There’s an elephant in Kenya that imitates trucks, but only at night. Now there’s a solitary vice for you. There’s another elephant that was raised with another species of elephants, and has stopped making the vocalizations of her own species and now chirps like the ‘phants she grew up with. Ah yes. The Eminem of elephants. Did I say that? Time to go.

My spies talk to me
2005-07-09— Posted by: allegra

Personal commentary from one of my spies about Nathan Fillion.

I have redacted the first portion as it was an undignified neener neener about how my spy has shared air with Nathan Fillion, and I haven’t. Quote commences, “….funnier than all get out, and a REALLY nice guy. I’ve worked with him twice now, (show names redacted).

He is most definitely crush-worthy, on every level. Sigh.”

end of quote.

You bet your gorram ass, sigh.

In other news, my doctor’s daughter-in-law’s mother is running for Mayor of Vancouver. (Can you tell my mother does the genealogy thing???) She’d better win. That’s Deb Abbey we’re talking about, and now I’m happy Larry Campbell retired. I wasn’t before, but it’s looking good.

I light a candle for the dead of London. Life is short. Love each other while you can.

‘s no joke
2005-07-09— Posted by: allegra

Snow leopards, c/o Denver Zoo.

2005-07-08— Posted by: allegra

Keith worked very hard yesterday but I guess it didn’t work out – so he’s not working again. Today is his 19th birthday. Paul’s supposed to do something fun with him today.

Katie is ailing with something.

I need help moving a hot tub this Sunday afternoon at one, if you want to volunteer, call me.

Keith is working
2005-07-08— Posted by: allegra

Today was Keith’s first day of paid employment, a day before his nineteenth birthday.

Sigh. I’m so happy, and so proud.

from screenhead
2005-07-08— Posted by: allegra

stolen from someplace else. This is Xander’s coffee. This is Joyce’s decaf. This is Spike’s …. mmmm… blood.

I’m not too good at this
2005-07-07— Posted by: allegra

but I was in a hurry.

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

Damn you Brooke! (fisty shaky gesture). I am now SO madly in lust with Nathan Fillion. I am about a third of the way through Firefly and am having a rahhhlly hard time controlling my urge to… oh hell, I think I’ll just indulge myself. Amazing pink and grey sunrise. Must do dishes, kitchen is a sty. Katie must be home, her door is closed and her shoes are here. Excuse me while I titter behind my hand, because I know something that Katie doesn’t know, and when she finds out she’s going to be PPPPPP… choked. Titter. Giggle. I told my mother, the rest of you are going to have to wait, but more news soon. My coworker Patricia told an anecdote yesterday that made me laugh so hard that people in the cafeteria turned around and stared at me, and I laugh really hard every day, so this was a little over the top even for me. Oil is $61 but it isn’t going to affect my traditional way of life. I will say gun ownership is looking more attractive. Still no idea why a coconut ended up in my yard. If somebody tells you to visit a site about Mr. Gisby’s Totally Gay Pet Store, don’t bother, it isn’t that funny. I will say that the collection of 1900 – 1960 mug shots on is perversely satisfying. I got more Sleeman because they are giving away free glasses. Keith bought me sushi yesterday, and I know why, and Katie doesn’t. I have seen the future, and there will briefly be a much higher TV to Work ratio, which will work well for some people. There were bombings in London. I light a candle for the eight, so far, dead, and the wounded. Sometimes it’s better to be dead than wounded but it’s not considered polite to say that.

2019 says it isn’t polite to say that, because it’s ableist. 

I don’t have the car today, and I’m trying not to be all resenty about it. Sigh. But the best thing about today is that the sun come out just about two seconds ago, and that means, I can’t tell you, because Kate doesn’t know yet. Giggle.

what the ffff
2005-07-07— Posted by: allegra

When I went to the car this morning, there was a coconut in my driveway. I remember hearing something really bizarre in the front yard this morning long about 4 ayem but I had no idea that the suspicious muffled clattering was a coconut. Where did it come from? Can such things be?

I’m sitting at home right now sucking back beer and contemplating the other strange thing that happened this morning. I got to work, logged in, blah blah blah, and then looked down and realized I had somehow conveyed a Whole Slug into the office. It was entirely undamaged and serenely making its gooey way across the floor. I picked it up and conveyed it back into the great outdoors. I know I somehow Got It On Me as I was walking past the little waterfall to work, but how did it Get On Me? And how did it Get Off Me without being injured? These are the things that perplex my tiny, acorn like neural tangle.

You’re an Eight.
2005-07-07— Posted by: allegra

Katie is sleeping at Dax’s, according to her mominlaw.

This is a urinal in the shape of a hibiscus.

Can such things be?

shameless plug
2005-07-06— Posted by: allegra

I don’t feel any better, but there’s no reason not to post a funny picture. Stolen from, which I heartily recommend if you have a cat lover on your gift list, and who doesn’t?

2005-07-06— Posted by: allegra

I feel entirely sick at the moment. Katie left the house about 8 pm last night and hasn’t been seen since. I have no idea where she is. She wouldn’t – or couldn’t – pick up the phone last night and did not respond to text messages. Normally she calls. She’s not at Dax’s that I know, having left for a friend of Wendy’s. I at least know where Wendy is and plan on banging on her door later.

I got two pieces of wonderful news last night and now I can’t enjoy either of them, and my eyes aren’t completely unstuck yet – I scarcely slept.

not enough sleep
2005-07-05— Posted by: allegra

Woke up I don’t know when, hitting Paul, in an effort to get him to stop screaming. I’m obviously the cause of all of his troubles; he’s hardly back two days and he’s having nightmares.

Woke up AGAIN to the unmistakable and highly unpleasant sensation of having a bug crawling across me, only I decided to inspect it before I killed it and it turned out to be a ladybug, so I took it to the bathroom window and encouraged its exit from my house.

My mother is back from her eastern perambulations, thank the Goddess in all of her forms; not being able to pick up the phone and call her has been very anxiety inducing, especially with Paul & Keith out of town the entire time as well. My mother doesn’t enjoy travelling, but the seeing relatives including ones she hadn’t seen for half a century was nice.

Current fave news quote
2005-07-05— Posted by: allegra

I kept telling him, ‘The alligator’s coming. Get out! Get out!’

Medicine Heart
2005-07-05— Posted by: allegra

White Buffalo are very special. David Stephenson took the pic.

22 year old cat
2005-07-04— Posted by: allegra

Forgot to mention I shaved a cat yesterday – Callie. I mean, it’s not like that happens everyday. So I had a squirmy squally 22 year old tortoiseshell kitty on my lap while I was going zuzz, zuzz, with the clippers, because her mats are godawful, with Tom L. holding the biting end with his welding gloves on, and then Tom vacuumed me (I really wish somebody had been videotaping that, it must have looked hilarious). I have to say that 22 year old cats who haven’t been grooming themselves well do NOT smell great, and I wasn’t happy until I doffed my duds later in the evening because I couldn’t get rid of the smell until then. After about 7 or 8 minutes she was biting and screeching so hard we figured we’d injure her if we kept it up.

But the best part was finding out she is tortoiseshell all the way down… her skin is the same colour as her fur.

The glorious 4th
2005-07-04— Posted by: allegra

I’m looking forward to seeing more pix of the comet impact.

The Mighty catcher and releaser
2005-07-04— Posted by: allegra

I think John is getting the picture about leaving the goldarned window open so Pokey can come and go. Yesterday around 10 of the clock Pokey caught a juvenile squirrel and pranced up and down the downstairs apartment with it.

Katie got a look of consternation and said, “Pokey’s caught another bird, John’s yelling and I can hear cheeping”. We went downstairs to render what aid we may, and it turned out to be a squillill. (Durrell reference). I thought Tom L. was going to blow a head valve when I told him I had let the squirrel go; he has despatched many of them this year, but I’ve given up – I have karma to repair.

My cats have NEVER caught a squirrel, although I suppose they may have tried; Pokey is both so dumb and so athletic that it never occurs to him not to. I have a picture of him pretending to be a chock for the Echo… I will post it later.

Pokey has been way too busy to take a round out of anybody lately. I saw him sleeping in a corner of the yard… on the concrete… yesterday.

Brooke dreamed a song a couple of days ago. I was favourably impressed.

Tom L. cooked a stupendous pork roast yesterday. Meshuggas with timing meant we were late, and it was still damned good.

Saw the Dalai Jarmo and Susanna yesterday, with the boys – all well, the boys squabbling non stop as per usual – and their boat has a new fuel injected four stroke which doesn’t suck up nearly as much gas. No Hot Springs trips planned. We were there to inspect the camper van for suitability for the road trip to the air show, but I think maybe it will be later in the year.

Anyway, about that window…. if Pokey is going to do what he does, maybe he should be encouraged to do it outside. Otherwise John is going to come home to a serious cleaning problem, and then there’s the issue of other cats figuring out how to get in, with the attendance pandemonium….

Camping pix
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

This boat is not blue – the awning is. Gives a most beautiful and painterly effect. Paul took this pic, also on the camping trip.

Camping pix
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Turtle. Don’t know which species.

Camping pix
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Camping pix
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Camping pix
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Camping pix
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Paul got some great pictures.

Tennesseeing is believing
2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

This cow stuck her head in a tree and was still patiently standing there when the vet (John Brunner, amusingly enough), a tractor and a wholelottalube showed up. This took place near Milton, Tennessee and was reported in the Murfreesboro Tennessee Daily News Journal. Apart from a scrape to the back of one ear the cow was none the worse for her remarkable demonstration of curiosity. The hole has since been closed.

2005-07-03— Posted by: allegra

Sh…. don’t tell anyone, but Marilyn just phoned and asked me if I really wanted to come for dinner seeing as how Paul was arriving tonight, and I owned that I would really rather see Paul, even if she is a stupendous cook (and I wanted to pick Glenn’s brains too about the site). I will, therefore, be waiting here when Paul gets home (if he doesn’t call me to let me know he’s landed, in which case I’ll go get him.)

Line dried sheets and freshly cut grass will be waiting for him, therefore…

2005-07-02— Posted by: allegra

So I learned something about the dream world last night. I learned that if somebody hands me a cup of coffee, I wake up.

So I’m minding my own business, the way I do in dreamworld, because it’s just not a good idea to start opening doors, and I end up on this boat that was built a long time ago. It’s very large and the corridors don’t meet on the square and it’s remarkably spiffy as far as fittings are concerned. We go cruising through something that looks like a cross between the Gulf and the Thousand Islands, and there’s this frikking naked giant huddled in a ball on an island (which he dwarfs) really trying hard to look inconspicuous. He can’t though, I mean he’s about twice the size of my house. I ask my companion, a slender woman in nondescript clothing who appears to be in her late twenties – whom I have never seen before – what gives, and she says: He was a really bad piano player and this is his punishment (subtext – beats shooting him, I s’pose). How bad is bad? I say, thinking this is a bit much, and she shows me a piece of promo he put together which indicates that he has a piece of promo, but not that he can play piano, and he got this cruise line gig, but he’s useless; he can’t even play “Feelings”. Now to my way of thinking this is not negative, but whatever. Then she handed me a cup of coffee… dang, I could smell it…. and I woke up.

You know, of course that you’re not supposed to take food from the hands of the dead, in dreams, because it’s how they claim you. But she was alive; I wonder who she is and if I’ll meet her soon. I have dreamed the faces of people I haven’t met before. One turned out to be my grade 10 math teacher, but you can’t have everything.

Enniwess, I assume that all this boat crap has something to do with watching the ferry crash on Thursday. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It really seemed like the classic Canadian accident; millions of dollars of damage; no fatalities.

Bucketing rain when I got up this morning. Katie still at Dax’s.

John says we nearly beat the record for a gloomy June… more overcast than is normal and in fact five more hours of sunshine this month that it would have taken to beat the record. Me, I’m happy every time it rains. It fills the reservoirs and prevents fires. Although Criminy, my grass is growing like it’s training for some form of horticultural Olympics.

Keith told Katie on the phone the other day that he has a most excellent tan. Katie is now saying she’ll go next time, but I know perfectly well that she won’t go because (this part deleted, cause I’ll get my butt kicked).

Here come a twister
2005-07-02— Posted by: allegra

From Coaldale Alberta last week. Happy Canada Day!

enough sleep
2005-07-01— Posted by: allegra

Shown are Terry, Clare, Tish and a small black bear. This is someplace around Grundy Lake close to Sudbury, but I don’t have anything more specific than that… like a GPS reference. Paul emailed me another picture, purportedly of a mink playing in some water, but it didn’t matter how hard I squinted, I couldn’t see anything. Like a frikkin Margaret Atwood poem, mutter mutter.

enough sleep
2005-07-01— Posted by: allegra

Received the sad news that Cody, Sandy’s oldest dog, died yesterday. I emailed her saying I was sorry and that he was a good dog, and her response says it all: “I beg to differ. He was a great dog.”

Keith and Paul have delayed their return by one day; the flights today just suck, so tomorrow is looking like a better bet and Tish and Terry wanted them to stay another day anyway.

Watched both of the Bill and Ted movies last night and ate dinner over at Suzanne’s. Katie of course spent the night. Woe = parenthood! Katie was describing a dream the day before yesterday and said that she went home in the dream. It was clear from context that Home meant Dax/Suzanne’s place. She looked apologetic for about 30 nanoseconds, then looked impatient. “Home is where Dax is,” she said.

Pic is from our beach walk last fall.

This is really cute, but not for dialup. No, I’m not going to do a link. Checking links is such a pain in the ass. And I’m about to get emails about how to automate checking links, I can just tell.

Ato the Praying Panther
2005-07-01— Posted by: allegra

She’s at a zoo in Japan, and she’s apparently praying for rain. Credit Mainichi Shinbun, again. I was going to post pix of Albino Cobras, but you’d be looking at it all month long, and I prefer pussercats.

yucca filamentosa

enough sleep
2005-06-30— Posted by: allegra

Katie’s off job hunting today with Wendybird; Keith and Paul are due back on Canada Day but since they are flying standby they may not make it back; off to Glenn and Marilyn’s for dins on Saturday; the yucca filamentosa exploded into bloom yesterday; Pokey caught and brought home a live bird of some description, which he let loose into the house with the attendant disarray – John’s portion of the house, I am thankful to say, not mine. I had wondered if he was going to be a hunter after watching him with that crow, and he hasn’t disappointed me. Mine have brought live mice in, but they had the decency to despatch same on the kitchen floor. Gizmo and Eddie, Jeff’s cats, have caught everything under the sun and killed it on the living room carpet… to the point that my brother is expert on dealing with the most atrocious stains and has this ‘amazing stuff’ that reduces the damage to a vague, unclassifiable blotch; although if you hit the place with fluorescene you’d think different. (Isn’t that the stuff they use on CSI? I don’t watch network TV but that doesn’t stop me from paying attention to what people talk about.) Cousin Gerald sent me last night’s link. He also sent me a link to the best television ad I’ve seen in many many years.

Nita is moved into her sublet until school starts up in the fall.

This is a note to those just joining us that my host is in England, so everything is 8 hours ahead. My posting window for getting it into ‘today’ starts at 4 in the morning. Yes, eventually I will get a local host.

Pic is of Paul and Rob of Nine (sorry ’bout the red eye) at last year’s Holiday Celebration, which was in the same hotel as the liability seminar. You can tell what kind of person I am by the fact that a) I had fun at both and b) figure this was likely because of the food.

Have a kickin’ Canada Day; if you’re on the other side of the line, have a safe and terror free Day of Independence, and remember that your founding fathers wanted you to be free of tyranny. I still think that the Declaration of Independence is one of the finest products of collective human inspiration, and I salute all those who honor it.

Catacombs of Paris
2005-06-30— Posted by: allegra

Revive your rusting French and play follow the leader through the catacombs of Paris. They were down for ten hours, and if you can read, say, grade eight french you should pee yourself laughing, I know I did. The human who wrote it is a complete card. Even if you can’t read French the ambience is cool (and did I mention damp) and the Medusa is def trif. I now know the French for “The water is sparkling clean, but I wouldn’t advise you to drink it.”

I found the pic on Isn’t it amazing which websites come up when your search criteria are ‘rats’ ‘catacombs’ and ‘leptospirosis’? I had no idea there WAS a website called And then I found this guy.

Oh my god. I was looking at motorcyle mags tonight. I think I want a scooter. It’s a very retro looking thing.

Writer’s group was great.

Went to see Mike for dins and got so thorough-lee stuck in traffic (Ironworkers Memorial comPLETEly crapped, apparently people were stuck on the bridge so long that they were peeing off the bridge deck. (Hope they checked the “look out below” first.))that it took me 90 minutes to get from SFU to Broadway and Commercial, calice tabernac. So I bailed on that and ended up eating at Quizno’s before getting to Sabena’s place on West 10th. I have a wonderful anecdote which I can’t post, but can share that I groomed a cat I never saw before today with my own comb for about 10 minutes. What a suck!

Okay, this pic is just plain tacky, so wait for it.

I was so stressed out today that I was indiscriminately handing out neckrubs. One of my coworkers pretends to faint when I do that, which when he is standing up presents a very amusing tableau.

I am terrified of dying. No matter how many times I tell myself that it’s like childbirth, I’m going along for the ride whether I want to or not, it still scares the hell out of me. I’m really happy to be alive, and take no pleasure A-tall in the notion that I’m going to join my ancestors. Then I see pictures like this and temporarily feel better.

family pic and aurora

Family Pic
2005-06-29— Posted by: allegra

Jim P sent me this a long time ago. I have wanted to post it for a long time with my comments, but first attend to the way the pic looks. The children are all looking at the camera. The adults, for whatever reason, appear to think that a piece of something has stuck to the back of Jim’s head. We don’t want to know what… because his uncle looks amused, his grandmother repelled and his mother stunned. Jim himself looks like he has accomplished something Le Petomane would have been proud of.

I have wanted to post a picture of my urbane and camera shy webmaster for a long time, and this is perfect. You can’t see all of him, but what there is is really hot. In 1959, I was pretty cute too, in a bald headed, diaper wearing, spherical-headed sort of way. You will note that absolutely nothing has happened to Jim’s smile in the intervening years, apart from the fur (which he still has). Hopefully the notes will be clear, unlike the last time I tried to do this.

Great aurora pic
2005-06-29— Posted by: allegra

Sorry, no attribution or date, but it’s from Voisey Bay, NFLD.