Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Full-Contact Housecleaning

(Steps gingerly over a pile of ancient lumber formerly known as a workbench) You know, a crowbar makes an excellent tool for tidying up around the basement.

As does a pair of Vise-Grip pliers. (pulls a dozen humongous staples out of a sheet of plywood)

But at times like this I do rather wish for the use of a pickup truck. No garbage collection till the far side of the weekend.

Oh, well... I'll just use this here circular saw. After I've salvaged the good stuff from the old bench I'll chop up the leftovers, box them up, and take them to the dump in my car.

(wonders to herself if a 4" belt sander would do a good job on the basement floor)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gleðileg Jól!

Oof.

The Yule parties, yes, parties, are over for another year. We had two because all the guests from Party #1 had departed by the time the next group of visitors arrived.

I didn't get around to bottling the mead, and the orange cake and the crab-stuffed mushrooms have been deferred to a later occasion -- Probably Hogmanay.

We had honey-garlic chicken thighs, gluten-free brownies, almond butter-crunch candy, spicy chicken drumsticks, meatballs, spare ribs, sautéed mushrooms, potato salad, lemon squares, chocolate chip cookies, and a giant apple pie thingie which stayed in the fridge because we had Way Too Much Food for eleven people.

Especially after the cheese, crackers, salad, crudités, potato chips, a second container of chip dip, and two bottles of wine showed up.

I reiterate: Oof.

Happy Yule, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yule baking and cooking

We are officially underway with our preparations for this year's Yule party.  This is how the menu is shaping up so far:
  • Brownies (done)
  • Almond/chocolate butter crunch candy (done)
  • Lemon squares (done)
  • Orange cake (I'll probably bake it Wednesday night)
  • Skor cookies
  • Macadamia chocolate chip cookies
  • Meatballs
  • Honey-garlic chicken
  • Caribbean spice chicken
  • BBQ ribs
  • Potato salad
  • Crab-stuffed mushrooms
  • Assorted chocolates
  • Chips and dip
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Mead (still to be racked and bottled)
  • Assorted veggies
  • Butter tarts
  • Apple pie
  • Possibly apple cider (peeks nervously into fermenter)
  • Coffee, tea and pop
And I keep thinking I've forgotten something...

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Lakshmi Project

My environment is changing, one scrap of paper at a time.

I'm straightening out my workspace, putting away CDs and books, and generally cleaning house. This rather uncharacteristic madness does have a rather serious purpose:  Making room for visiting goddesses and their garudas and elephants and Significant Others so we can all sit down and have a nice cuppa.

(runs paper shredder to dispose of some old paid bills and bank slips)

I am rather fond of collecting Stuff; however, when one's primary workspace is weighed down with a Spike Milligan boxed set, volume 3 of Buntús Cainte, and no less than 33 CD's, something's gotta give.

Oh, look! Here's one of the elephants now. Sit right over there between the drum pad and the stapler, little dude.

Já, this feels better already. (starts transcribing a poem scribbled on the back of an envelope)  If this keeps up I'll actually be able to get to my study window by New Year's --

-- Without having to step over half a dozen cardboard boxes. W00t!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cold call

*meep*

A confession here: Until age eleven or so, I was friggin' terrified of telephones. You couldn't pay me to dial one. Until I was about seven or eight, the thought of even speaking into one was nigh unthinkable. Somewhere around 1968 or so I did manage to get my act together so I could call my friends.

As with the man who got polymorphed into a newt in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "I got better." Did switchboard stuff and reception, and actually developed a rather pleasant telephone manner.

But it's still nerve-wracking to just pick up the telephone and call a complete stranger.

On my morning coffee break as I sat reading the paper, I noticed a want ad from an agency specializing in the medical field. I didn't want the job they had to offer, but I do want to be considered as a candidate for Bigger, Better Things.

So I called, mentioned where I'd heard of the company, and obtained a contact name for resumé-sending.

Which means that I'll soon be using my word processor for something other than NaNoWriMo. What a bizarre concept...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

...And it's only Tuesday!

Quest for Cat Gazebo 2.0 continues, even as Winnipeg's weather turns cold and fierce winds invade from the northwest. The garage needs a major rework; and the back wall of the house is, at this writing, unfinished.

But I'm finally starting to feel confident that I can and will finish what was undertaken before it all gets buried under three feet of crystallized dihydrogen monoxide.

Exhibit "A": The back wall. Insulation in place. Tar paper also in place. Siding... Mostly in place. 24 more strips of pine are waiting in the garage, stained and dry and ready to install.  While parging the east wall of the crawlspace I ran out of topping compound, but not before I covered all the areas that the gazebo walls will eventually touch.

Exhibit "B": My long-suffering garage -- Leaky and saggy roof, rotten 2x4's, and a footing that got thoroughly mauled when that Bobcat howled through my yard last summer. I spent a good chunk of both Monday and Tuesday hand-mixing concrete, four bags of the stuff, and have successfully repaired the northwest corner of said edifice. When it's fully cured, I can install a new 2x6 sill plate and enough new studs to stabilize the building.

So, tomorrow afternoon I'm installing siding and wetting down the new concrete. But, in the meantime...

(reaches for clarinet; cats scatter in all directions)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ode to Cat on My Desk

It's fast approaching 1 a.m. CDT, and I really should be getting to bed.

After picking up and stapling the novel excerpt that I printed out for tomorrow night's writers' group. (trudges up to the third floor and retrieves four copies from laser printer)

And throwing my karate gi into the dryer. (grabs laundry basket, trudges down to the basement, moves various pieces of laundry hither and yon, trudges up to main floor and folds socks for a while)

And feeding the cats and the... No, I fed the fish when I came in from karate class. (puts the fish flakes back in the drawer and opens up a fresh tin for Qat, Caramon, Raistlin, Walter, Greyscale, RJ-45, Frey, and...)

...Freyja girl. Asleep on my desk, in a pile of CD's, notebooks, guitar picks, writing instruments and rubber lizards. How I envy you, lovely lady cat.

(logs off, shuts down computer, trudges into bedroom) *click* Zzzzz...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quality is its own reward

At the behest of my clarinet teacher and my violin teacher, I recently made two small purchases (<$20CDN in total) with unexpectedly huge results.

Violin: After being informed that my E string probably needed replacing, I replaced it with a different type -- A wound E, not the plain E that I had been using since my first lesson in early 2003. This one is a D'Addario designed to cut down on "whistling" in the high registers, and Vilma is quite enjoying it.

Clarinet: I finally got the go-ahead to advance to a harder reed, having played 2½'s from the beginning of that course of studies. Picked up two #3 Vandoren "56 rue Lepic" reeds to try them out.

Results: An immediate, audible improvement in sound and control on both instruments.

Listen to your teachers. Buy the best parts and supplies you can afford. And, while you're at it, get the action and intonation fine-tuned on those guitars, too. Music is intense enough without making things harder for yourself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A blót to Dad & co. Just because.

(looks up from the "belated Equinox" section of the local card shoppe) Oh, hi. Something a little different tonight.

I dedicate this post to my Scandinavian ancestors, the folks who provided 50% of my genome.

And to the many people, places, things and ideas that they chose to honour.

(raises glass of brandy, but only because the mead won't be ready till Jól)

To the Æsir and Vanir and Jotnar: May you continue to inspire me to be the best possible me, and may all be well in your respective houses.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It'll all end in tears...

Ahh, the vagaries of Saturday night. I have a particularly weird collection of things happening around me as I write this:
  • My 18V cordless drill (I'm recharging the batteries for a construction gig Sunday afternoon);
  • A pile of indie band demos from a secondhand CD store;
  • A calculus book;
  • A piece of dark chocolate;
  • A large Margarita frappé in a frozen picnic mug (a few Triple Sec fumes short of being a triple);
aaaand...
  • A clarinet.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Astreja Five-Oh!

I was born fifty years ago today. A lot has happened since August 7, 1957, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Sang in a choir, entertaining the mayor of Winnipeg and the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba.

Had various attempts at rock bands fall apart due to lack of a drummer and bassist.

Achieved an arts degree, a business administration degree, an MCSE, and Grade 3 Violin (with honours).
Broke the 5th metatarsal of my right foot while square dancing on the concrete patio in front of Dawson College in Montreal, after a 1976 protest march.

Won trophies at various martial arts tournaments in the 1980's.

Sat in the hallway of a New York hotel and, in a sleep-deprived buzz, read glowing purple poetry off the carpet.

On this day, I am reminded of the poignant comment made by Raistlin Majere at the end of The Soulforge:
If I am to be judged by those who come after me, let me be judged for the truth.
'Nuff said.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stairing match

Today, Red and I built stairs for the parental units.

Again.

The back story: Two years ago, we rebuilt the porch stairs at my parents' previous home. It was painfully hot that spring, but with some huffing and puffing and the help of our trusty crowbar, we pulled off the old staircase and used the stringers as a template for new steps. It took two very long days to get it all back together.

This time we worked smarter, not harder. We bought pre-fab stringers, and had the 2x6's for the steps cut right at the lumber yard. My chop saw, my cordless circular saw, and my dad's Japanese pipe saw handled all the other cuts, and that poor cordless drill was working virtually non-stop.

Not counting a trip to the lumber yard to get the treads and some 1x6's for the risers, it took us about three hours to gut the old, rotten stairs and install vastly superior new ones. Much better use of our time.

But it's déjà vu all over again. (Writes 'Build stairs for parents' on her 2009 calendar)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hot fun in the summertime

"I'll take 'Springy Summer' for $200, Alex."

And the answer is... "An air conditioner; new blinds; and a blender of Margaritas."

The question: How do Astreja K. & Co. deal with a painfully hot summer day?

This afternoon, Red hooked up the air conditioner that we got from the parental units. (They have central air in their new home and don't need the portable.)

Then I installed new blinds on the west-facing window in the study, to cut down on incursions of sunlight.

Finally, we made a lovely supper of salads (potato, egg, chicken; plus guacamole and coleslaw) and washed it down with the aforementioned Friendly Drinks.

And here are a couple of recipes!

Guacamole

Five avocados, peeled and de-seeded and squished beyond recognition
Three cloves garlic, minced very fine
One medium onion, chopped fine
Juice of one lime
One teaspoon coarsely ground cumin seed
A couple of grinds of black pepper
Something hot -- Caribbean spice, Louisiana hot sauce, whate'er ya got.
Salt to taste (but not much)

Combine in a non-metallic bowl and mix thoroughly. (I make mine with a potato masher.) If you aren't eating it all right away, cover closely with plastic wrap to keep it from turning brown on top.

Aaaand...

Margaritas à Deux

Juice of two limes and one lemon, or four limes (Cut a thick slice off one of them)
Fourteen capfuls of tequila
Six capfuls of Triple Sec
A couple of cups of ice
A saucerful of sea salt, coarse but not too coarse
Two rather large wineglasses

Prepare the glasses: Wet the rims to a depth of about 1/4" with the saved slice of lime, then roll in medium-coarse sea salt.

Combine the lime juice, tequila and Triple Sec in a blender. Add ice till about 3/4 full. Blend in short pulses till the ice is mostly broken up, then finish with a ten second blast to create a frappé.

Pour carefully into the salted glasses. Split the lime slice in half and put one half on the rim of each glass.

Serves two. Or, in our case, serves two but I get the leftovers. Yum.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I am become Shiva, Destroyer of... Patios?

A Bobcat was loose in my yard this afternoon.

The Dark Legion, predictably, was Not Impressed. Lovely summer day, they're reduced to staring out the windows in feline horror while this... this woefully mis-named thing rampages over *their* precious turf.

But, after a few hours of banging and clanking and diesel-fueled racket (and two massive truckloads of concrete!) we have an actual Yard. Not four- and sometimes six-inch-thick slabs of concrete poured willy-nilly over even older concrete. Not rebar and baling wire and old bedframe bits. Actual dirt, suitable for gardening.

My heartfelt compliments to the extremely skilled operator of this Fiendish Thingie -- He manoeuvred the bulldozer between two small trees (less than six inches clearance), and made a right-angle turn between the garage and my back stairs. Extracted massive slabs of stuff, and I also think he had fun doing it. I certainly had fun watching.

However, first thing tomorrow morning I'm going to the lumber yard to buy a small set of stairs for the side door of the garage. That first step is a lulu.

I've created a monster!

Mwahahaha, and all that.

I actually sat down and attempted to write some scenes for Donuts: The Musical!, with one week to go in Script Frenzy. Am over the initial hump, with about one eighth of the script finished (about 2500 words so far).

Problem #1: I don't actually have a plot yet.

Problem #2: Little Slurp, a small and perpetually hungry green dragon, is trying to eat the entire population of her daycare group. With salsa.

Problem #3: I now have a sentient donut named Fred, and he's addicted to Minesweeper.

Please send mass quantities of tequila cooler. A 55 gallon drum oughta do it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Verklempt over Norrin Radd

*snif* I just got back from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. I got fair warning about painfully silly acting, but this was a movie that I've been eagerly awaiting for, oh, 20-25 years or so. (gingerly pets her 1968 original but nowhere-near-mint, don't-even-go-there copy of Silver Surfer #1 that she purchased for twenty bucks in 1980)

I'm glad I went. Seeing one of my all-time favourite characters on the big screen was indeed worth the price of admission. No complaints about the portrayal of the Surfer, none whatsoever. Beautifully realized with great special effects and a wonderful voice.

Oh, and I liked Ben Grimm too. The Thing... uh... rocks?

(ducks and runs for her life, giggling maniacally)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Framed!

Or, "The Lady and the (imitation) Leatherman".

Or, possibly, "Yes, I do windows".

It's a quarter to midnight on an entirely reasonably cool-ish May evening. The cats are finally coming out of hiding after my late-night Noise Rampage. Two circular saws, a cordless drill, a hammer, a box of 3 1/2" spiral nails, and sixteen linear feet of construction spruce were implicated as accomplices.

This is, ironically, part of the renovations to the Cat Gazebo. And, like most of my projects, its tentacles reach far beyond the original plan.

First, we decided that 2007 was as good a time as any to put a permanent roof on the Gazebo.

Hold on a second. First we have to move the cable that supplies electricity to the garage.

The one that nearly got squished last December when an old patio awning 2x4 cracked under the weight of the Gazebo awning bearing 30 centimetres of wet snow. The awning that I cut down with a steak knife whilst dodging suddenly-released masses of wet, 30-centimetre-deep snow. Brr...

Oh, yes. So the old beam had to come down and the cable got liberated. Out came a dead motion-sensing light attached to the cable run. That left enough outdoor-grade 14/2 to consider putting a GFCI outlet right at the junction (now in a weatherproof box, and eventually going into some plastic conduit once the new roof is up).

What the heck, might as well re-insulate the back end of the kitchen before reattaching the Cat Gazebo walls and adding the new roof. So, off come dozens of heavy, brittle asphalt tiles and reams of tar paper.

On goes fresh 3/8" plywood, soon to be topped off with foamboard, vapour barrier, and tongue-and-groove pine.

For a change of pace, I invest in a *large* prybar and make some progress in the removal of the old concrete between the kitchen and the garage. (And tentatively enlist the help of a neighbour's friend to smash out and remove the rest of it sometime in June.)

And out comes the old kitchen window. Which brings me back to the aforementioned Noise Rampage.

Sometime tomorrow (barring torrential rain, and even that might not stop me), framing of the new kitchen window will be complete. Tonight I cut and drilled and nailed all of the 2x6's that I bought earlier in the evening, creating a new frame for the new window. Yesterday I cut some fir for the visible part of the window, then rabbeted it on my new router table. This afternoon I clamped it and glued it. The finished box frame is wide enough to sit flush once all the insulation is in place, also wide enough to comfortably accommodate the rear end of a cat.

Not that this is a major issue -- The cats are getting a floor-level VIP entrance as part of the deal...

(sighs heavily and starts playing with the new multi-tool she also picked up while running amok at the lumber yard this evening)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Blog against theocracy: A Canadian heiðinn's perspective

Midway through a cold and windy Good Friday afternoon, I sit here at my desk and ponder the truly baffling events occurring south of the border.

In my forty-nine years in this particular body I have visited the United States only a handful of times, never going further south than NYC. Perhaps some people think that I, a non-resident and non-citizen, speak out of turn. For the record, I have family in the States: Brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, cousin, aunt. I have friends and acquaintances down there: Old schoolmates, teachers, bandmates, artists, and many nearly-anonymous Internet penpals.

And I worry about them.

I have tried to bring myself up to speed on the intricacies of U.S. governance -- Enough, at least, to know of the Establishment Clause; Thomas Paine's Age of Reason; Dominionists; the Lemon Test.

It amazes me and saddens me to see the truly nonsensical debates on issues that were supposedly put to rest centuries ago. To see disdain for scientific method in a country that claims Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison and adopted Albert Einstein as its own. To hear the ravings of public figures who think blind obedience is a virtue and who view the world through a simplistic us-versus-them lens.

To watch helplessly as theocrats dismantle the work of Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Dewey, Margaret Sanger.

And I worry about you.

But I know, and history shows time and time again, that you have the will to take back your birthright. May you safely emerge from this nightmare with even greater strength and resolve.


A Springy Goddess contribution to the 2007 blogswarm at http://www.firstfreedomfirst.org/

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Floored!

(pulls spruce splinters out of her palm) The saga of The New Floor in the Study continues...

I started to put in new joists today and managed to install two 8' pieces of 2x6 spruce. There are a couple of 2x8's down on the front porch, but I probably won't get to them till Monday. I haven't yet decided whether to use them to start the next two reinforcements or to finish the section I worked on today.

It's already obvious that the subfloor took a substantial beating sometime in the last fifty years or so. The original beams are in varying states of disrepair, and reinforced with quite an assortment of materials. Even with those reinforcements, the floor drops several inches from northwest to southeast.

This is not too much of a surprise, however. A year and a half ago, when I put a new subfloor on top of a small section (The "office" part of the room where I do my computing and blogging), there was a differential of 2½ inches from west to east. Nice and level now, though.

But now... Time for a nice, hot, lavender-scented bubble bath.

As for these splinters, nothing that Cure Light Wounds (and three or four days) can't fix.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Equiknock knock... Who's there?

Welcome to spring, folks. (For those of you in the southern hemisphere, feel free to scratch out 'spring' and write in 'autumn' in crayon. The autumnal deities will make it official just as soon as they get back from their Wednesday morning coffee-and-donuts run.)

I would've made my own ex officio announcement at 1907 hours local time on 2007-03-20, but I was out teaching guitar lessons and admiring some gloriously weird and wild windy weather.

It's actually been a really good day for music. One of my students is currently learning "Spanish Romance" (Romance Anónimo), from the 1954 French movie Jeux Interdits. Another student is learning the Mason Williams iconic piece "Classical Gas", which I've loved since I was a kid.

And I just put away my clarinet after tootling melodiously for about an hour. I'm working on a David Hite study, some Wagner, and a polka-like fiendish thingie. Really glad that I changed reed brands a couple of months ago -- All of a sudden I can control the blasted horn. Currently I'm using a Vandoren 2½, a bit harder in the heart than the previous brand. And a good match for my B45 mouthpiece which I got last spring.

Gooood grief... Listen to me. I've been playing clarinet for just over a year and a half and already I've turned into an instrument geek.

Not that I mind, mind you...

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Plus ça change...


There's a lot of activity in my life, but bordering on the sound-and-fury model espoused by Will Shakespeare. Stuff is getting done, after a fashion, but it feels very much like I'm treading water instead of swimming. The future is in a holding pattern over Eris International Airport, and the folks in the control tower are taking an extended lunch break.

I know this because I'm at the same table at the same restaurant, and no one's in a big hurry to get back to work. (Ordered pastrami on rye, hold the rye. *#$%!! gluten-free diet.)

So today I removed another eight square feet of flooring from the study. The cats tried to help. Freyja prevented my toolbox from escaping, Frey did likewise with the rolled-up carpet. And RJ-45 supervised. She's good at it.

As you can see from the picture, the room is in a state of organized chaos. I've been using my new 18-volt cordless circular saw (w00t!) to cut through and remove short sections of ancient fir boards, replacing them as I go with 3/4" plywood. The new flooring is currently resting atop the old joists, which had been previously (and badly) reinforced with various chunks of lumber. I'm going to bring in half a dozen pieces of 2x6 fir to put in brand new joists, as I've already found one very badly cracked joist under the old floor.

But the floor project is moving along steadily, limited only by my free time and my budget. Eventually there will be new joists, several new electrical circuits, and maple hardwood. And built-in bookshelves (*drool*), walkways and ledges for the cats, terrariums full of plants, and an aquarium full of goldfish.

(makes mental note to put in really, really good joists to support the fish tank)

In other news, my current temp gig ends next Friday and I'm getting an MRI for my knee the following Monday. And, sometime in the next month or two I hope to get tested for 8th kyu (yellow belt) in karate.

(pushes away from table at Café Procrastinato and slides a loonie and two quarters under the plate) Yoi. Hajime!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rift in the space-time continuum's spin cycle

The washer is fixed. It's alive. Alive! Mwahahaha!

Except for one small problem.

A basement that's now running on Samoa time (GMT-11h) rather than Central time (GMT-6h).

Or so it appears, anyway. When the little arrow on the washer's timer knob is pointing to 5:00, the washer itself is performing the function at the 12:00 position. Other than that, the new timer went in just fine. So, until such time as I decide to open up the console to fix this (possibly as soon as tomorrow, because things like this bug me), I drew a bright red line at 12:00.

I also managed to bolt down the top with a fresh set of self-tapping metal screws, with several thick nylon washers as spacers, and a few dollops of Automotive Goop (originally purchased to stick rubber lizards on the wall of my study, but next time I'm using 5-minute epoxy because only two lizards are still up there.)

And I levelled that sucker too, using my 4' spirit level (the magnetic one that lives on the side of the fridge). Smooth like butter.

Darn, now I'm getting hungry. Tea time!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"It's dead, Jim."

My washing machine timer, that is.

Tonight I decided to tackle the Machine that Refuses to Spin 66.666... percent of the time.

First problem, opening up the machine. Not so bad as all that. It helps that I remembered some of what transpired when I replaced the water intake valve last year. Actually managed to get the console open without dismantling anything completely unnecessary.

As Qat and the other felidae observed (sometimes from on top of the machine), I extracted the timer using a socket screwdriver from a set I was given last weekend. Nice hand tools are a joy to work with, and these are very nice indeed. Professional quality stuff.

I also took off one of the two remaining lid-closing screws. (I lost the front two the last time I worked on the machine, not realizing the #$%!! lid was screwed down from underneath. Let's just say I used excessive force, and leave it at that.)

And then upstairs I came, to do troubleshooting on the timer. A quick Internet search didn't turn up anything obvious on the outside, so I snapped the case open.

Then I saw the piece of plastic that had broken off the cycle-selecting knob. The piece that pushes contacts up and down to engage or disengage various things like the water intake, drain pump, agitator, spin. Picture a player piano or one of those bumps-and-levers music box thingies, and it'll give you a good idea of how washing machine timers work.

Bottom line is that I need a new timer. While I'm at it, might as well pick up a new set of lid screws and washers. The deceased unit is in a plastic bag, tied to the strap of my purse, to remind me to swing by an appliance parts store tomorrow after work.

I'm just hoping that my cat Walter (who loves chewing on plastic bags) will take the night off...

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Green Chartreuse Oracle is in

(sips liqueur) I predict that Something is going to happen Somewhere tonight. There. I've said it, and I'm glad.

Prognostication is an ugly sport. I've read enough Nostradamus to know that prophesy is in the eye of the beholder.

Unless one starts naming names, that is. Early in 2006 on Internet Infidels I predicted the death of Slobodian Milosevic, and I was right. I also made some other, more vague predictions and scored about 67% overall.

Which brings me to... Confirmation bias.

We tend to remember the hits and overlook the misses, unless someone is keeping an honest and objective count. Most of My hits are items that I can see impartially. Most of the misses are things where I got my hands dirty. You see, if I *want* something to happen, it turns into a kind of full-contact Jeopardy as I word My desire in the form of a prediction.

It doesn't work. For one thing, it's conflict-of-interest. For another thing, it tips My hand.

So don't expect me to tell you what I'm really up to.

Other than finishing this glass of Chartreuse, that is.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pull rope, blog sputters to life


It's a Saturday night, uh, Sunday morning in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Freyja, one of my eight cats, is curled up on my desk.

As usual, said desk is a mess. In addition to this lovely tabby Siamese lady (and mother of five), I also see three tech manuals for recording equipment and software; a CD by Antony and the Johnsons; about two dozen shards of used paper; two MIDI cables and a couple of audio cables; a jar full of pens; and a rubber lizard.

Then you dig deeper and find the envelope with the pay stub; the Schaum's Physics book; the leatherbound copy of Friðþjófssaga.

The rest of my office is even scarier: Drumsticks, a bass amp that needs fixing, an ankle weight, and half a dozen boxes of books.

And the other side of the archway is worse still -- I'm currently making ready to tear up the old fir floor in the study so that it can be levelled. Then I can install proper bookshelves and unbox literally hundreds of books. Then I'll finally be able to set up that tank of goldfish, that cat-proof winter garden, the coffee machine, the stereo.

And, Xaos willing, find that soldering iron that I need to fix the bass amp.

Welcome to My world.

Now put down the chocolate, and back away slowly...