Archives 2007

Archives 2006

Archives 2005

Archives 2004


Elephants on Xanax
2006-08-31-- Posted by: allegra

Just in case this link has disappeared, it's the heartwarming story of how Tanzy the Elephant at the Abilene Zoo quit bugging her barnmate and the keepers when they started putting ibuprofen and Xanax in her chow. Somehow "Elephants on Xanax" was too good a subject heading to pass up. It also reminds me of (editor's note, knock it off) something I probably should stop talking about right now. Never mind.

2006-08-31-- Posted by: allegra

Apart from the Burnaby Now exploding all over our front yard when the minion who delivers it didn't put it through the mail slot, life is peaceful. I'm off to run/walk/cycling with Peggy and Paul.

I have added a verse to Spinal Clinic. I suspect it will end up being quite a bit longer.

Stolen from
2006-08-30-- Posted by: allegra

Stakeholder engagement -- the state of being betrothed to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Albino pygmy marmosets
2006-08-30-- Posted by: allegra

They'll be a whole 3.5 ounces when they're grown. Photo Reuters.

Quick correction
2006-08-30-- Posted by: allegra

Uh, that should be 'ex-boyfriends', in that last post. Katie is not working on polyandry, to the best of my knowledge.

New ringtone
2006-08-30-- Posted by: allegra

I screeched the siren call of sushi last night, and Keith and Kate both came home!!! Amazing how food works on people.

I have also, like a complete maroon, started a Meetup group for Simplicity in the Lower Mainland. If Glenn is reading this he is either cackling in disbelief or rubbing his eyes, as he has told me that I have a hellishly complex life (or words to that effect). I don't think my life is hellishly complex, but I could sure stand to do with less stuff in my life, and it would be nice to have some encouragement.

Last night I wrote out "teamwork" which is my new attempt at a ringtone. I selected a drum track to go with it, so it's B flat trumpet, acoustic bass and percussion, and it actually sounds pretty good. Still trying to figure out how to upload it to a phone. I am a very slow individual.

Paul's home tonight, yay. I should get out the door to work, after taking most of yesterday afternoon off.

I'm feeling fine today, I went to bed reasonably early. And I even did the dishes and my laundry before I went to bed, so despite the fact that I was in 'post migraine' mood, which involves a lot of walking into walls and not being able to talk so good, I was at least able to move. My back's worse, though.

Two out of three of Kate's boyfriends called yesterday, and man, that does NOT sweeten her temper. She's been hanging wit da girlfriends, though, which is good, and committing retail therapy, which made me a little twitchy, until I found out it was a 7 dollar item.

Spider Robot News
2006-08-29-- Posted by: allegra

Scroll down for the AVI files to see the critter in motion. Cool upon Cool!

2006-08-29-- Posted by: allegra

Short week next week! Whatever shall I do with the long weekend?

While I was at work yesterday a bug decided to crawl around under my clothes. I am SO proud of myself. I did not leap up shrieking and clawing at myself. I encouraged whatever it was to get out, and eventually it quit moving. I later found the whatever-it-was, something antlike, or miniature wasplike, stuck, quite dead, in my hair.

I have received a wonderful story from my relatives about Bootlegging Mary. One of the stories involves her being done wrong by one of her inlaws back in the old country. He looked her up in the new country to repay her and she more or less told him that a) finding out who stole the stuff and b) getting an apology were good enough for her and refused repayment. That sounds exactly like something I would do. I think I know where I got my strange hoofs and my stranger halo. When you see my relatives ranged in rows lustily singing hymns though, you will also be forced to admit how my presence in the family is a dire necessity.

Paul is in Seattle. He says he ate yummy fish and chips at a restaurant close by to the folks. Alan and Janice are doing famously.

So many things at work have been EXACTLY what is happening at Dilbert that a small group of us are getting a frisson of weirdness about it. Dilbert is a reality show, you know that, right?"

Faces of chasers
2006-08-28-- Posted by: allegra

What kind of person is a storm chaser? check out this rogue's gallery. Other portions of the site are molto cool.

Overheard at the Call Centre
2006-08-28-- Posted by: allegra

Once again, I must insist that this didn't happen at the call centre at my company. I don't even know if it's I am not reporting it as such.

Rep: Thanks for calling, how can I help you?

Customer: Ya, I finally got the trojan out and now I am ready to reinstall my system.

Rep: I hope you are talking about your internet sir...because I am not that type of guy.

Where we watched the stars
2006-08-27-- Posted by: allegra

Shown is a miniature natural amphitheatre, where Jerome set up his One Watt Per Side (feel the Powah!) IPod, stuck it on 'random' and we sat and in some cases collapsed and watched the stars. (Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Queensryche, Aerosmith - you know, party music). From here our conversation or music couldn't bother any of the other campers. It was EERIE how quiet the campground was. It was bung full; every space taken; and yet at 11 o'clock it was so quiet that when we wandered back from our little 'office' by the water, we felt like we had to whisper and tiptoe.

After all the crap my back has been through, I am pleased to report that my back is better now than it was when I left.

To recap.... we had a glorious time, and I can't wait to go back. Anyplace where I can see or hear herons, and kingfishers, and eagles, and seals, and jellyfish many times a day is a beautiful place. And... Descanso Provincial Park is actually open year round! Happy sigh.

Paul cleans the tent
2006-08-27-- Posted by: allegra

Here is Paul (Jerome and Mike McG in the background) demonstrating how to get the crap out of a tent.

The view as we ate
2006-08-27-- Posted by: allegra

Obviously a digital photo taken by an amateur can't do it justice, but this was the view for our meal, complete with harbor seals and cormorants....

Things happen for a reason
2006-08-27-- Posted by: allegra

Gabriola was, as always, gorgeous; the company, the food, the weather, the many funny stories, the stars above and the water below and the pines in between were balm for the soul.

Pic is of one of the many interesting rock formations on Gabriola.

Many people were invited to the feast at Konrad and Linda's on Saturday night, but only six of us showed. Frankly, I'm sure it was a relief to have a manageable number of people for them, and for us, it was an opportunity for a meal fit for royalty in a perfect setting.

2006-08-25-- Posted by: allegra

This is a picture of two unidentified coworkers pranking yet another coworker. They filled his ball with water and didn't tell him.

I am pleased to report that the prankee, after his initial discomfiture with the truly bizarre sound and unique rolling characteristics generated by this prank, took it in good spirits, thereby adding to the morale of our department. That is all.

2006-08-25-- Posted by: allegra

Katie worked last night, and came home last night, and now I somehow have to give her the money I took out from her check without waking her up.

Paul's riding/running with Peggy. I gotta go do my exercises.

Keith rode his bike to and from Karate last night. He was very happy to find out that riding the bike is quite a bit faster than taking the bus, and will, as he puts it "Markedly Improve My Conditioning".

I love shopping for camping trips.... buying all the crap you don't normally get to. Anyway, more later.

Won't likely be blogging this weekend
2006-08-24-- Posted by: allegra

It is possible that I won't be blogging at all starting tomorrow morning, but I should have a full trip report - if I don't find an inertnet cafe on Gabriola - on Sunday night. So worry not, dear mOm, I shall return, though the way be flinty, the road be long, and BC Ferries ever so uncooperative. Paul will be coming in Saturday around 2ish, so I'm VERY happy about that.

Time to pack, yck.

Bela Lugosi is the King around here
2006-08-24-- Posted by: allegra

I am pleased to report that after wrestling with it for almost two weeks, I have finally completed Bela Lugosi is the King around here, and can move on to the next song. You'll have to forgive me, it's almost 100 bars long, because every verse is markedly different from the others. "I showed her Plan 9 from Outer Space, she said, That's it, I give up on the whole human race. Have no fear, someone brought more beer, and Bela Lugosi is the King around here!"

How else can I claim immortality, than by lyrics such as these? I cheated though, I didn't put in the chords. Pic is of the man, hisself.

Not enough sleep
2006-08-24-- Posted by: allegra

I went to bed immediately after supper last night, for a variety of reasons which need not trouble my narrative, and woke up at 3 to the sound of unstealthy movements outside my door. I got up to whine at Keith and there was Katie. !! Happy surprise. Groggily I cast about for a reason to encourage her to 'set a spell' with me, and made her some chocolate milk. We talked for about an hour. It was entirely remarkable how we have virtually the same reactions to some situations. (Instant rage, for example, or inability to speak.)

After a thoroughly satisfactory chat with her, I crawled back into bed at 4:11 am, so I'm a little punchy now. Other happy news; Katie had been dreading, just dreading, her cell phone bill. She found out to her glee and astonishment that because her boyfriend has the same cell phone company, her bill was $15 LESS than last month. When she saw the total I thought her eyes would pop out of her head. Sometimes the news isn't all bad. Brother James, I thank you for selling me that phone!!!

Jake's Golden Morning
2006-08-23-- Posted by: allegra

Photo credit Dave Deroy, all rights reserved.

Dave, did you ever consider doing pet photography for a living? What a gorgeous photo, what a gorgeous dog.

One thing and another
2006-08-23-- Posted by: allegra

Rob of 9 promised me aircraft pictures and didn't cough up, the swine, so here's something of Paul's (a friend's Yak 18T, taken at Point Roberts) - and Paul DIDN'T get to go flying at Pemberton yesterday, the towplane lost a magneto about half an hour before he and his flying buddy got there. Okay, so they went for a nice drive on a gorgeous day, but even so...

No word from Katie in almost 48 hours. Grr.

Good physio, but slept funny (again) and my foot's numb.

Happy birthday Protein Man, and many more, etc etc.

Lovely long talk with Janice last night. Free range conversation over every subject imaginable but substantially about books and authors. It's disconcerting, but pleasant, to mention a book and then Janice says, "Yes, I've met her," which gives me the feeling that my great great grandfather's friends must have gotten when he mentioned that he'd had tea with Carlyle again. Janice and I are happily plotting the next set of visits back and forth across the line.

I have learned that I have twin second cousins once removed who own a boutique in Nob Hill in San Francisco. I don't need an excuse to go back to San Francisco, but this adds to the pile of Irresistable Reasons.

2006-08-22-- Posted by: allegra

Last night I dreamed I went to a third world country. Not precisely sure where. I was fine until I had to find a washroom.

Paul is going flying today.

My physiotherapist shifted my appointment from yesterday to today, so even if I wanted to go to Jericho Beach Folk Club tonight I couldn't. I do have the car, but I'm not going to overturn the results of a perfectly good physio appointment by driving three quarters of an hour across town in the tail end of rush hour traffic. Coming home and collapsing has ever so much more appeal. Besides, I have to shop for the camping trip. Oh, camping trip! Unless there's an inertnet cafe on the island, I won't be blogging this weekend; mind you I will likely be too overcome by my various excesses to worry much about that. Sun, air, wildlife and beer. Indeed.

Keith is still asleep; Paul's out riding/running with Peggy, and Katie is in Maple Ridge. She is coming home for such magical parental input (Paul is responsible for this) as dental appointments and picking up a larner's parmit. Yes, after all the whizzing and moaning about how she was never going to learn to drive, Katie has her L, and we have the higher insurance rates to prove it. Perhaps the fact that her esteemed bf has a car (not that he can currently drive or insure it, and you can all hiss me for my villainous cattiness - although to be fair the vehicle apparently runs great) has something to do with her new enthusiasm.

The insurance company coughed up some money for my disability, so we can now, Bilbo-like, squeeze through the door of August with only a few gold buttons coming off. I'm still disabled - watch me climb more than a dozen stairs if you don't believe me - but at least I can work 8 hours without resorting to drugs.

My father made me cry with happiness yesterday. He emailed me that my zombie get up affected him so deeply that I'm going to be Miss October in the next family calendar. I'd like to thank my fellow brain eaters for their somewhat unintelligible encouragement. Grr! Brains!

Back to work full time
2006-08-21-- Posted by: allegra

I'm back at work full time as of today. Frankly, I'm really happy about it, mostly for mental health reasons. And finances, let's not forget that.

Hung out at Stef's last night; there was plenty of music of the mostly latin variety (classical guitar, sax, flute, drums, bodhran!! and then mando and my Seagull 6 string). Paul even sang Long Black Veil!!!

The world's most expensive house
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

The world's most expensive house - in the UK. For a price not unadjacent to $140,000,000 US you can have...........

Zombies need ice cream too
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

Okay, I broke character many times, because my leg crapped out about 45 minutes in (which I expected, and was prepared for). So I told people about zombie walk as I walked back to the Skytrain with Paul and Katie, and I ate ice cream, because it was a hot day, and I scared little children on the Skytrain.

PS, Officer 68 of the Skytrain Stasi needs to learn manners, because she harassed my daughter right in front of me and Paul and while Katie was feeling unwell.

Zombies with accordions and brainjos
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

The horror, the horror! Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, Rowan whips out his accordion. That's Brooke's elbow and Brainjo, by the way. Zombies ... on Robson ... but there weren't any zombie bagpipers, I'll be really scared when I see me one of those.

Zombie Goths
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

Since I can already hear my legion of fans screaming "Show us some cute zombies, you dodohead!" herewith the requested cute zombies. Ain't they somethin'?

Zombies on Robson
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

Katie and Paul both made variants on the remark, "Apart from the makeup, how can anybody tell the difference?" (between shoppers on Robson and the zombies). For further details, check out and get the full scoop of brains on a global phenomenon.

Zombies on Robson
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

Katie and Paul both made variants on the remark, "Apart from the makeup, how can anybody tell the difference?" (between shoppers on Robson and the zombies). For further details, check out and get the full scoop of brains on a global phenomenon.

Zombie Walk 2006 - we mass at the Art Gallery
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

This is me in front of the Art Gallery. Don't I look lovely? I am wearing approximately 10 cents worth of fake blood, and about two dollars worth of skin gunk. does work
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

I repent me of my whining; Ring Factory DOES work, it just doesn't like the MP3's that I can rip from Songwriter Finale. This is really, really annoying. Anyway, customer support at DID get back to me although not within their stated time frame, they DID fix my problem, and now I have to figure out how to make the two programs talk to each other, because I have proved it works with an MP3 file, it just doesn't work the way I want it to. Considering that I'm working with a grand total of 80 Canuck bucks worth of software, maybe I should quite whining and get professional help. No, not that kind.

Zombie Walk 2006
2006-08-20-- Posted by: allegra

I did end up going to the Zombie Walk; somehow hanging around with Paul for the morning (even though he was mostly asleep) made me feel better. I will post pix of my makeup (avocado mask with corn syrup and red food coloring blood) later on today, when it doesn't involve waking Paul to do it. Ran into Rowan, Brooke, Bree, and a couple of other LJ folks. I had to go, zombies are part of my family heritage. (If you saw my dad's horror collection, you'd understand).

Katie lost, then won back, her job at the restaurant, but now she has to work the late shift, so it means one of us has to go fetch her or she has to walk home (like she did on Thursday) which is not pleasant, either way. At least she has a flashlight, and she does have to go back to school shortly, which should drive some sense back into her schedule.

Michael Ruppert has left the US.
2006-08-19-- Posted by: allegra

My favorite conspiracy theorist has fled the US to Venezuela. Check out for more details.

Raiders of the ripe fig
2006-08-19-- Posted by: allegra

While we were eating dinner with Bonnie, a couple who speak Arabic raided our fig crop. Our across the alley neighbors, who speak Finnish, Arabic and English, overheard them discussing it with each other. The man said they shouldn't and the woman said, There's no one here (in Arabic). They came prepared, too; they had a car, a step ladder and bags. I laughed when I heard about it but I'm not laughing now. Brazen, eh?

I just learned from Scienterrific American that there is good evidence to support the figs are the oldest cultivated crop.

My head hurts very badly, and I have a nasty dry cough. Unless I feel MUCH better by noon, I will not be attending the zombie walk. Grrrr.

Paul just got back from day 4 of midnights so bye for now.

Oh, and my across the alley neighbor made THE BEST cinnamon rolls ever, and gave me enough for everybody in the family.

Not enough fuzzy animals & more customer service
2006-08-18-- Posted by: allegra

It's a baby tenrec. It looks like when it grows up it will have a starring role in a movie drawn from the Oeuvre of CS Lewis.

Ah, a true story from the Call Center (not mine!!!) but true, I have it from an unimpeachible source, whom I will not identify even though I could.....

Rep: Thanks for calling, how can I help you?

Customer: Brother, Do you have any Christian TV channels?

Rep: Sure sir, do you want Protestant or Catholic?

Customer: Please give them all to me... I just converted from Islam to Christianity.

Rep: That's great Sir... Mazel tov!

Top that, Gandalf!
2006-08-18-- Posted by: allegra

Etna steam ring. 200m across. Ha!

Have they no style?
2006-08-18-- Posted by: allegra

I'm appending a picture of Croatian soccer fans. Their human swastika is inelegant and deformed.

I say this acknowledging that Canada has harbored one of the top Nazis of our time, Mr Z, Ernst Zundel, so lording it over Croatians because I'm Canadian would be rude and a nice poke in History's eye. Let's not talk about Croatian war criminals, we have lots of our own.

But seriously, these soccer fans are a torment to fascism. Where is the discipline? Why are they not entirely in matching colors, to complete the appearance of casually coordinated effort? This looks like the best they could do after at least six hours straight of alcohol consumption. At which point, now that I think of it, they'd be quite twisted indeed.

I overheard an amusing cell phone conversation this evening, after I dined with Bonnie, more on that later.

A young and handsome native man, wearing a traditional hat, got on at Stadium and sat down behind me; his cell phone rang almost immediately.

He said,
Yeah we were dancing most of the day.
And they hauled some guys out of the washroom for hotboxing.
No, they just made them leave the park.
On my cellphone I got pictures of me with that woman from Smoke Signals.
He says, in a very pleased tone of voice,
I got the evidence.
We finish tomorrow around the pole. Buncha Haidas around a Tlingit pole!

Maybe I'm the only person to find that amusing, I dunno.

Dinner with Bonnie, Steve, Alayna and Paul was simply lovely. Do I need to say anything else?

It's bedtime, g'night.

Long Live Judge Diggs!!!!!!!
2006-08-17-- Posted by: allegra

NSA wiretapping program ruled unconstitutional. Man, I bet Ann Coulter's going to say that women shouldn't be lawyers, because that means they can be judges, and then they can be supporters of terrorists! Wait a minute - Ann Coulter's a lawyer! My head hurts.

But as for me, I'm happy. I'm happy that US judges actually occasionally really do uphold the Constitution, which is still one of my fave documents. Viva Diggs! Viva Diggs!

Henry wants gold teeth
2006-08-17-- Posted by: allegra

This cat's owner put bling teeth on him. Can you dig it? Photo credit dentist Dr. David Steele and scanged from

Astrologers having problems with new science
2006-08-17-- Posted by: allegra

I think they should name the new planet after the Parking Goddess. When she's transiting through Mars, you WILL have car trouble.

Midnight musings
2006-08-17-- Posted by: allegra

Don't ever ever rent Samurai I with Toshiro Mifune. It's not worth the time spent, not for costumes, acting, historical accuracy, set dec, direction or fight scenes. May the Emperor spare us a samurai movie with no hollicking fight scenes worth the powder to blow them out of the mono no aware.

I'm going to eat Indonesian food tomorrow night if the fates are kind and the winds propitious.

Phoned my ex-husband to harass him. I mean, what's the point of having an ex-husband if you can't phone him up and bug him, in this case to ask like a kid during a long car ride if he's got internet access yet. Got his message machine, which is a good thing.

I suppose if I was an unwise creature (man at the end of the bar, cigarette ash an inch long, "Oh, why stop now?") I could rant at great length at the Great Author of my life, who first mimics Dorothy Dunnett, then Dorothy Parker, and then Dr. Seuss. Because my life has reached ridiculous levels of frothy complexity, interspersed with absurdity, lousiness (okay, fleas), health problems, family issues that, for the purposes of this discussion, are the size, shape and tractability of a Borg vessel, and I still don't have a freaking passport, and I still have not applied for my gun licences, and I'd best get off my ass and onto my horse, and the plum duff didn't turn out all that well although if it goes into work with Paul it will vanish like dew in the morn, and I need to stake the tomatoes, and work is reminiscent in many ways of "ton histoire est une epopee des plus brillants exploits", and Keith continues to be my main prop with respect to maintaining my sanity, although Dr. Filk is a close second. And you know there's more, or I wouldn't be writing songs with lyrics like (and you can all relax, this song is about work, and has nothing to do with my personal life at the moment, which point I was anxious to make clear to Paul, bull-leave me)

You better watch your ass
Nobody's going to do it for you
You think you've got a free pass
Well I've got a bulletin for you
You can blame the whole world
and get away with it for a while
But the forces of nature will collect the back rent
and they've got great big teeth in their great big smiles
You've crossed that line so many times
you're acting like it isn't there
Never had to face any consequences
so now you believe that no one cares
You better watch your ass
Nobody's going to do it for you
You think you've got a free pass
Well I've got a bulletin for you
2006-08-16-- Posted by: allegra

Repeated emails to tech support about not being able to load this product have been fruitless. I changed browsers, as that occasionally makes a difference, and it didn't help. I am plenty mad, and This is My First Diss of Ring Factory.

They suck, Ring Factory, they plenty suck. They suck like billy-oh. They will feel the fullness of my squirrelly wrath.

The Maori queen is dead
2006-08-16-- Posted by: allegra

Dame Te Atairangikaahu passed away at 75. RIP.

The following is taken from

A direct descendant of the first Maori King, Patatau Te Wherowhero, and daughter of King Koroki V, Te Atairangikaahu was of the Waikato iwi. She was educated at Rakaumanga Native and Waikato Diocesan schools and groomed for leadership. In 1966 she became the first woman to be chosen to lead the Kingitanga movement, which sought to adopt a structure to give full equity between Maori and Pakeha (white folks, ed.). Her gentle and benevolent nature made her very accessible, and she moved easily among people at all levels, while her astute thinking and clear vision established her as an unparalleled unifying force for Maori. Her wisdom and influence were recognised by an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999.

Te Atairangikaahu hosted many royal and diplomatic visitors to New Zealand, including the Pacific Commonwealth Leaders' meeting in 1990, and she represented her people at state events overseas. She supported both traditional and contemporary Maori arts, and urged her people to pursue quality and excellence in everything they did, from sports to tribal enterprise and national management. She encouraged women, in venturing into the modern world, to hold on to their great gifts in language, art, craft, dance, religion, and ceremony, while taking a constructive and influential part in their communities.

Happy thought
2006-08-16-- Posted by: allegra

My coworker recently received a fax from an employee of a customer. The job title is "Defective/Damaged Representative". Let us take a moment to thank the FSM that we don't have that printed on OUR business cards.

2006-08-16-- Posted by: allegra

Keith and I watched Mindwalk last night. Man, did it get a right drubbing from the critics when it came out! Too talky, too static, too idealistic, and just plain 'not a movie'.

Well, I beg to differ. I liked it, and I'm planning on watching it again and so's Keith. If you like Sam Waterston and Liv Ullman just watch it, and be damned to the lousy critics.

Paul and I ate at Cafe de Paris last night. It was the perfect amount of food, perfectly cooked and presented, with the world going by on Denman just outside (the binners, the tourists, and me).

I'm looking forward to seeing my girlfriend Bonnie, whom I've known since grade school, on Thursday.

I invented a process at work and now I'm dog-robbing materials and social engineering permissions to make it happen; believe me, you'd be bored silly at the details but it's something that SHOULD happen. It's all exactly the kind of thing I like to do; I'm a fixer, I can't help it. Actually, to be entirely honest, I'm re-implementing a process, with localization. Doesn't that sound exciting? I love the way English can entirely obscure everything that is going on.

The plums are ready. This can only mean one thing, Peggy! Soon, the plum duff.

Paul's here with the car.... I guess I should start the take off cycle.

More Music and troubleshooting
2006-08-15-- Posted by: allegra

You would think that writing down all my songs would be a pretty cut and dried project; just time consuming. However, every time I turn around there's something else that needs doing. The songs are in .MUS format, which is for proprietary musical notation software and no good unless I a) rip it to MP3 b) rip it to Midi or c) rip it to PDF, all of which are formats most other people can use. For my songs to be of maximum usefulness and full of meme goodness (nice pun, eh wot), which was after all the whole point, they have to be in all four formats. This involves a trivial matter called work, and by the time I'm done, I will have written probably another four or five songs, and had to write down 85 other songs, about 30 fragments, and then rip them all into all the formats, and that doesn't even go to ring tone territory, because I intend to have ring tones of about 30 of my tunes before it's all done. (F--- You Jack as a ring tone? Oh baby!) Oh, by the way, don't buy the software Ring Factory, it doesn't work; it doesn't even install. I have repeatedly emailed the company, but I guess nobody works on Gibraltar, which is apparently where the company is. London Thugs already swapped it out once for me.

My coworker Mohsin fed me lunch yesterday. To quote the immortal Jim A, once you take food from their hands, you are theirs forever.

La lutte continue at work. However, ours is a noble struggle, and I'm working on fixing things rather than whining about everything. Although I am good at that. Sometimes I think if there was an Olympic category for whining I'd look like one of these scary Bulgarian javelin throwers from the sixties.

You know, I scare me sometimes with my not being very smart (like, how do I drive? How do I find my way to work? How did I not leave my baby on the bus?) I am going to try installing Ring Factory again; I think I figured out my problem. Well one of them, anyway. It's hard to see them all at once, and even if you could, that would be a trifle overwhelming.

Pic is a lion cub at the San Diego Zoo who died in a mauling accident. The original pic was scanged from via fark. The first time I saw the pic I thought it had been photoshopped. I don't think it actually has been, though.

Wakey wakey
2006-08-14-- Posted by: allegra

Katie was asleep when I called her this morning, and already late for work. Was it for this I bore the pangs of motherhood, etc etc.

Keith worked last night. He had to reboot his scale (funny notion) and wrestle with cranky equipment and his own cranky neurons all night, but his shift was otherwise okay. He now knows how many more hours he has to work to make his probation, which is excellent. He declares that working at Metrotown is extremely difficult in the "not spending money" department. Ah, yes. I told him what it was like to work at First Canadian Place in Toronto in the early eighties. It's amazing Paul ever got to see any of my paycheck, the way I was spending money in the late lamented "Legs Beautiful" store.

Fed Glen and Marilyn last night yummy salmon provided by us, and really yummy kebabs (and scalloped potatoes) which Marilyn brought and of course, beer and conversation, and Mike J dropped by after his flying day with Paul with a good bottle of wine in hand so it was a relaxed and convivial evening.

My back is much better.

Midi File
2006-08-13-- Posted by: allegra

Click here to listen to Words Fail Midi file.

Fish, fish, music
2006-08-13-- Posted by: allegra

Fish, as in salmon. Fish, as in tuna (tuner, bad joke). And music, as in a number of Creaking Planks tunes played by Filkola (for reasons best known to herself they were mostly, uh, double plus ungood for small children, content-wise; providentially, small children were not present). Imagine belonging to a band called the Creaking Planks; glockenspiel? Musical saw? Among other instruments....

Dr. Filk hauled along the resonator guitar; Paul actually played harmonica! Given the instrumental bias, it is no surprise that the blues predominated last night. The meal, as always, was stellar.

Keith is watching Russian Ark again. Happy sigh. He just finished watching Keaton's Electric House, which definitely has some high moments of low brow physical humor.

Glen and Marilyn are coming to dinner; Katie is supposed to show up later this evening. Paul's gone flying; apparently he's heading to Pender with Mike J, and then they're going to hike, and fly back. That field is not easy, I hope they make it okay.

An internet CLASSIC
2006-08-12-- Posted by: allegra

A great combination of pix and text....

More Moose
2006-08-12-- Posted by: allegra

This is from the Slat Rat Chronicles, This actually looks like a stuffed moose, but he's real all right, and the photographer was smart enough to stay in her car. That moose is less than 3 meters away...

Rrrr. Periwinkles.
2006-08-12-- Posted by: allegra

I got up this morning and put my back out. Not my lower back, but my upper back. Obviously I am not pleased by this turn of events, but I will endeavour to persevere. NO you can't put your back out. I pinched a nerve, all right?

Paul and Keith and I went to the Richmond Night Market last night. The number of food stalls has doubled, but all the booths now are just, well, suboptimal.... no tools, no computer stuff, no flashlights, no useful gizmos, just the usual assortment of fake Disney and candleholders and cheapass toys, accompanied by a horrific Cantopop soundtrack.

The usual racial mix was there; two thirds East Asian and one third everybody else in Vancouver; it's definitely the premiere dating site for interracial couples in this town, there were dozens and dozens of interracial couples there last night. Aryan Nations types were not in evidence, and it's just as well, they'd be very unhappy.

One last culinary note. Paul and I decided, what the hell, we'll try something we've never eaten before, so we ordered periwinkle meat. It tasted like one third grit, one third hot curry (with much black pepper), and one third low tide; combine it with a rigorously rubbery mouth feel and you have got what can only, if you're maintaining politesse, be described as 'an acquired taste'. To get the taste of that out of our mouths we went and got a blueberry whipped cream crepe; but it was two hours before my stomach stopped whining at me. "What the hell WAS that? I feel funny. Are you sure that was edible? Why'd you have to eat a half dozen of them, are you nuts?" I mean, it was food like. I know that I could sustain my worthless existence on periwinkle meat; but I also know that God loves me, because currently I don't have to.

Listen to the Volcano
2006-08-11-- Posted by: allegra

Hair cut
2006-08-11-- Posted by: allegra

I got a haircut at Eclipps yesterday and so far the comments have been favourable. I broke down and got a bob. I knew I had the right stylist when she said, "A bob? I love bobs, they're the hardest cut to do properly." Of course, because the last cut was layered I will have to go have it reshaped in six weeks, but I already made the appointment.

I'm still losing weight without trying, so I figure I'm sickening with something. Paul thinks I'm either working on an ulcer (I have a lot of the same symptoms he did when he got sick) or the back injury is putting me off my feed. Every time I went to a doctor for the best part of five years there was never anyt'ing wrong wit' me, and all I was doing was clogging the healthcare system with my hypochondriacal ravings. Now I think I'll wait until I need to go to hospital, it seems to save time and aggro; "Excuse me, but I'm IN A LOT OF PAIN. Please help me."

Rejoice Trek Fans
2006-08-10-- Posted by: allegra

Go here. Screech, hiccup with laughter. Repost your favourite. And as they say, Rinse, Repeat. Scanged from Fark....

Google video
2006-08-10-- Posted by: allegra

Monkey with a Death Wish. That really about sums it up.

Here's the pic
2006-08-10-- Posted by: allegra

Musical Comedy
2006-08-10-- Posted by: allegra

I remember walking through downtown on Saturday night and listening to somebody sing "The Party's Over". I recognized the song right away; the fun was watching Katie recognize it and start singing along to it.

"The Party's Over" is a song that was specifically written - as was the rest of the show - by Adolph Green and Betty Comden for Judy Holliday. Bells are Ringing has a very special place in our family mythology; Katie, my mom and I are three generations of fans. I mean, I even like Dean Martin in that movie! I really wish I could have seen the original on Broadway.

What got me thinking about musical comedy was hearing that Alan and Janice have tickets to see "L'il Abner" live in San Francisco. It's been bally ages since I saw live musical comedy. I mean, there are times when I feel like I'm living in one, but that's not quite the same thing.

Had another dream about the Really Big Futuristic City last night. I always end up taking a helicopter ride THROUGH these extremely tall, covered in advertising buildings, which makes the safety officer in me stop up like an Englishman in hot weather. (Dunnett reference, sorry). I'm always late for a meeting in this dream. As usual, it's broad daylight, so it doesn't look anything like the city in Blade Runner. When I ended up on the ground, I was in a raspberry patch with a group of women who looked like Dunnetteers, and we ate our way through the raspberry patch as fast as we could. Then we found our way to a two story gazebo. I mean, really, a two story gazebo. I know I've always wanted one, but the Taj Majal of gazebos? What can it all mean?

Pic is of Judy Holliday, of course.

???? timing
2006-08-09-- Posted by: allegra

What can I say about my baby boy's timing? He decided to rent Robin Williams on Broadway the same day Robin went into rehab. I light a candle for this gifted, gifted man, and hope he gets back to sobriety fast.

A brief conversation with Katie this afternoon leads me to believe that her boyfriend Wade has let an African pygmy hedgehog into his life. Happy sigh. I love them critters.

Another song
2006-08-09-- Posted by: allegra

I finished "Chance Met" which is pleasant, since I only wrote it a couple of months ago. Next up, "Bela Lugosi is the King Around Here" in which Protein Man shows up in the deathless line "so I said, 'Alan, I think you've been working too hard!'"

Funny how after 15 years, that's still true! And how strange it is that I've been grinding away at all the many, many drinking songs I've written.

Speaking of wretched excess, please do visit and check the 40 things you must do while drunk list. The Star Trek drinking article is pretty freaking funny too, but Keith and I laughed until we cried over the 40 things article, and Keith doesn't even drink!

CDC stats
2006-08-08-- Posted by: allegra

According to the Center for Disease Control, the current kill rate of H5N1 avian influenza is 58%, but in Indonesia it's running more like 78%. Since we really don't know how many people got infected and were never reported, this merely represents how many died of the reported total. Any way you look at it, though, this ailment is a righteous bugger once you catch it.

It's sounding a bit like, "And I, Agnolo di Tura, called the Fat, buried my five children with my own hands."

On the plus side, the Vietnamese have had zero reports and zero fatalities this year, mostly because they figured out low tech ways of combatting it and encouraging reporting. Other places haven't figured out the social engineering side of compliance yet.

Neglected to mention
2006-08-08-- Posted by: allegra

Picture my astonishment when my father solemnly and casually announced over the weekend that he is now a deist. (This is right up there with the Pope sending out bris announcements for his firstborn....) And who has pOp's vote? Loki! So I sent him a link to Thalia Took's site (which is eyepoppingly gorgeous) and this picture. Artwork credit Thalia Took, may she live forever. I especially recommend her pics of Arianrhod, Bride, Laverna, Hekate, Erzulie and Tzazolteotl. I suspect I'm going to be spending money at pretty soon....

The Third Man
2006-08-08-- Posted by: allegra

Keith worked twenty hours this weekend, and his reward was to collapse last night with me and Paul and some popcorn in front of Carol Reed's classic "The Third Man".

Keith, who is turning into a third generation film weenie (happy, happy sigh) really enjoyed it, and since I hadn't seen it since I was about 14 when I watched it on the tube with my dad, it was pretty much like seeing it for the first time (and it was much the same for Paul). And of course he liked the zither music. So Keith can take another movie off his lifetime list.

The back deck is pretty much done, and will now be fit for many more summers of use.

The clean up of the plant room continues apace, although Paul is grumbling that there are other things I should be tidying first.

Quick visit
2006-08-07-- Posted by: allegra

Pic is of a solar flare in July 2002.

Paul and Katie and I visited Victoria and hung with hordes of our favourite relatives including Auntie Mary, Unca Dave and Granny, and then went to Jeff's place, where we watched Blues Brothers (it is aMAZing how well that movie has aged - watching the first two minutes put my jaw in my lap) and large chunks of the Last Waltz. As always, every time I see Robbie Robertson in that movie I become a gibbering idiot - but it would take somebody who knows me well to be able to tell the difference from most days. And we played the "What the hell drug WAS Neil Young on for that concert, anyway?" Game.

Keith was working - again - so he missed the festivities.

Today we have to, you know, do domestic chores; how jolly.

Family gathering and fish guts
2006-08-06-- Posted by: allegra

I finally have a picture, mental and photographic, of baby Jasmine, who is all and more than reported. Apart from being the standard cute-and-meeting-the-developmental-milestones, she has a distinct personality of radiant calm which is very unlike any other baby I've ever met. mOm said she was self-possessed; I would put it that she is the closest in real life that I've seen to a baby Buddha. Curt and Darci are over the moon with her, as any sane parents would be with a baby who slept through the night at (I won't post it, but EARLY).

How wonderful it was to get together with them; they live in Saskatchewan and we don't see them often, and how I thank the wonderful Lexi & Rob for underwriting it.

We had a nice long talk, mostly for Katie's benefit (Keith was working) about education (like getting university in early, even if you go on to get a trade) and life management stuff. Rob hadn't heard my version of the "my father went back to school 4 times" story and was seemingly quite entertained. At one point he said that his family religion was education, and that seems like a better than excellent thing to me.

In the education vein, Curt updated my dad's story from engineering school; when pOp went, it was "Look at the guy next to you. One of you won't make it through this year." When Curt went, it was "Look on either side of you. Two of the three of you won't make it!". Rob asked me why I didn't go on from university to professional school, and I guess the answer is that I'm not personally ambitious (which is a mealy mouthed way of saying I saw what my parents went through and am way too lazy to hack those shucks).

Seeing everybody made me really happy, and I finally dropped of the music and lyrics for "An Evening of Serious Drinking" and "Housewife's Lament". I am really happy I have my song project going. It has literally been the only thing keeping me sane some days in the last couple of months.

The fireworks last night (Mexico) were wonderful (good use of the colours of the Mexican flag), and it was great standing on top of one of the tallest buildings in the West End to watch them (although the drunk, fey and twittish twentisumthins who cackled and giggled and jiggled through the entire thing had no notion of how tempted we were to heave them over the side to an abrupt and splatulent death). Jasmine at one point tried to reach out and touch the fireworks, soooooo cute.

On a "This is My Life" note, I got a phone call yesterday morning from the wonderful Peggy, who said, and this is not an exact quote, but close, "Allegra! Come and gut fish!" As it turned out, it was the equally wonderful Tom who dealt with the heads and orts, after which I washed ten fresh sockeye (fingernails are still faintly yielding up that irrepressible smell) in their industrial double sink. God, I love that sink. I mean, I love virtually everything about their house, but the sink is a paean in stainless steel to utility - and hospitality - on a very large scale. In fact, I think I want to take a picture of their sink and post it, just so you can enjoy it too. Anyway, we now have ten sockeye in their freezer, so many happy evenings of salmon lie in our future.

Dang! You know what I just realized? I left both my good knives over there, I had better go collect them!

Oh, and their plums! Their yellow plums are the best I've ever eaten. August is a time of such abundance.

Wish the starlings weren't so abundant, they ate most of the fresh figs, the little bastards. I blame Peggy. The starlings never bothered with them before, but as soon as she said, "Shouldn't you put up netting or something?" about ten days ago the starling god heard and sent his minions (Peggy you know I'm kidding, but now I'm worried about MY plums so I'm taking your warning seriously.)

Pride Day today. The weather is utterly glorious and I'm sure it will be another record day of attendance and peaceful witness to the beauty of all humankind.

Believe it or not, I walked from Granville Station to Denman and Davie, roughly, yesterday evening & that was quite enough walking for me for this weekend. Between that and the laundry and mopping and vacuuming and furniture assembly yesterday I'm pretty much toast today. But I can't complain; between the baby visit, the fresh fruit, the fellowship and the salmon, I'd be a fool to. Oh, and Lexi drove us home.... thank you thank you thank you!

Pic is of an industrial fish gutting station.

2006-08-04-- Posted by: allegra

I always find it much easier to work on other people's, as this afternoon for example.

The weather continues fine and cloudless, and Dan H and Paul are ripping off soffit and examining it for general unsuitability and mange.

Keith continues to collect Sandman digests, which makes me happy.

I learn that Daxus has completed a forklift course, which makes me very happy.

I learn in a completely separate knowledge gathering foray that Wade seems to think I have some control over or knowledge regarding Katie's whereabouts. This in itself is enough to prompt illness-inducing gales of hysterical laughter. Perhaps I should change the subject.

The song I am currently working on is called "The Evening News" and it's about how living in Canada shelters one a great deal from the starvation, misanthropy, disease and religious mania that seems to afflict much of this planet. Mind you I don't go into the really corpsy stuff too much, just mention that we, most of us, seem to have enough of the food and shelter type things, so that we can spend our spare time worrying about watching TV advertising and other suchlike occupations.

I have abruptly decided that I loathe my job. As usual, I will have to sit down, or perhaps lie down with an ice pack, until the feeling passes, but it's a horrible situation to be in. I mean, I feel sorry for anybody who would ever have to interview me, don't you? I know I do. That feeling will keep me humble, and away from the want ads, in the weeks and months ahead. So even though this post started with a happy comment about working on other people's resumes, which I did to some effect today, it ends with me, the resume goddess, contemplating my own, as a child contemplates a soggy assortment of semi-chewed cereal pieces, a lover an abbreviated answering machine message, and an ambulance attendant the latest drenching application of alcohol to the extremes of human stupidity.

Keith has rented Yojimbo, but it's a really skittering VHS copy.

Off to work
2006-08-03-- Posted by: allegra

And glad it is I am that I'm well enough to go. I slept a lot yesterday.

I light a candle for the people on the receiving end of munitions, wherever they are and whatever deity they pray to, if any.

Keith has forced me to watch something called Lemon Demon's Ultimate Showdown & Ultimate Destiny. Despite its unappetizing name, it is one of the funniest things I've heard in ages and I think I will listen to it again before I go to work to cheer myself up. If you have a choice, listen to it without the animation, because in my opinion neither the flash animation nor the anime mashup that accompany it are worth much. It's very filkish and Dr. Demento-ish, if you know what I mean. And any song that rhymes heavenly chorus with Chuck Norris can't be all bad. Gotta move along now.

2006-08-02-- Posted by: allegra

Didn't get up until 2:30; feel like animatronic scrap. Paul won his court case - the cop not only didn't show up for the traffic court case, he didn't even phone in. What is he, a teenaged girl? Cop not exactly as shown.

But wonderful doesn't last.
2006-08-01-- Posted by: allegra

Alas, I overdid it last night. I must immediately get off the computer and do something that involves standing for at least two hours. As we are now stacked to the undersides of the cabinets with dirty dishes, I hope, now that the rude amounts of prescription pills I had to stop the pain are finally working, to have the strength to do them. If I'm spared Lord, if I'm spared.

Wonderful video
2006-08-01-- Posted by: allegra

I am hoping you enjoy this as much as I did. <*Wushu Drunken Master style.

No comment
2006-08-01-- Posted by: allegra

2006-08-01-- Posted by: allegra

When Katie bailed on hanging out with us last night, I picked up the phone and called Peggy, who was only too happy to get out of the house and work out at the "Puddle" as we affectionately refer to our local swimming hole.

I get there, and just about spit out a tooth when I realize that the goddamned swirlpool is closed for repairs.

That means I have to swim instead of loaf, so I do - 20 lengths. I actually feel okay this am.