Sunday, November 27, 2011

Confessions of a Slightly Wobbly Goddess

November has been... interesting. For the first time in 7 years I'm not going to finish NaNoWriMo with 50,000+ words. In fact, at this moment I'm sitting at less than 5,000 words.

It might be that tumble I took off My back stairs, which resulted in a hairline fracture of a leg bone. I just got out of the boot brace this past Tuesday, after the latest set of X-rays checked out okay, and am now in a much smaller ankle brace.

Then again, it might be the fact that I had to spend more than a few November evenings shopping for a new car, after My sweet little lumber-hauling Cavalier got rear-ended by a large pick-up truck.

Or it could have been that nasty cold that was going around -- Not the Mesopotamian Death Flu, but sufficiently potent a virus that I went to Defcon 2 and even switched to almond milk for a couple of days so that dairy products wouldn't trigger a relapse.

My ankle's healing up nicely, My cold is gone, and I have a lovely new second-hand car that speaks fluent Japanese. I'm still not writing, though.

But I shall.

Just not this November.

Sometimes You just have to kick back, make a cup of tea and give Yourself a break... The kind of break that doesn't require X-rays and splints to put it right.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The end of the world again? Oh, goody.

Ah, October 21 (and another bogus End of the World prediction) is nearly upon us. Time for another round of cynical calisthenics.

*sighs heavily*
*rolls eyes*
*makes pleading gesture with Her hands*
*shakes head in exasperation and disbelief*

Ow, that facepalm stings! Now I'm angry. *pace pace pace* Very angry indeed.

Angry enough to make a prophesy of My own:

Harold Camping, you shall never see the rapture or the end of the world. You'll reach the end of your natural life and just keel over like everybody else. No angels. No trumpets. No nuthin'.

In 30 hours or so it should become apparent to the world that Camping's prophesy has failed just as pathetically as all his other prophesies. It may take a wee bit longer before My prophesy is fulfilled, but I'm reasonably sure that I'm on the right track.

In the meantime, I think I'll pop out to the store for some beer.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How to Declutter an Equinox

(Raises a glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon; realizes it's empty; reaches for a can of diet root beer) Happy Spring to everyone south of the equator, and Happy Autumn to all of you on the north side!

In my capacity as the Goddess of Punctuation, may you also have a joyous National Punctuation Day as well.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Discardia (waves across the Internet to Dinah Sanders).

Decluttering has become very near and dear to my heart this year; in addition to hanging out with the good folks on sundry decluttering forums, I've also become a fangirl of clutter-busting expert Brooks Palmer. I do like the chap's style: Gentle mindfulness that evicts mass quantities of crap from people's living spaces.

Works for me... I actually had a *house* under all my stuff. Who knew?

Oh, and a belated Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, too. Arrrr.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Never, ever let a Goddess work behind the bar.

This isn't so much a recipe for disaster as a recipe for a diplomatic incident. I call this drink the Cuban Missile Crisis, because it starts with a basic Havana (rum, lemon, pineapple juice) and ends up at Defcon 2 in rather short order.

Here are the ingredients. Yes, that's Green Chartreuse on the right. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • Put a little bit of lemon juice in the bottom of a glass.
  • Add rum.  (White rum also works, but don't used spiced or dark rum for this.)
  • Add pineapple juice, and more rum if necessary to balance the taste.  Ideally you should get a synergy where the pineapple juice just cancels out the tartness of the lemon, but you can taste both rum and pineapple.
You now have a Havana, but don't stop just yet.
  • Drop a maraschino cherry into the glass and then gently pour in some of the sweet red syrup from the jar.  It should settle on the bottom.
  • Finally, top off the drink with a few spoonfuls of Green Chartreuse, layered onto the top.

(sips drink) Not bad.  I do wonder how it would taste if I set fire to it, though...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Think Like a God Day 2011: Weirding the World

(Springy G jumps out of a bright blue telephone box and waves to the nice Gallifreyan fellow who gave Her a lift back to July 13) Thanks, Doctor!

(rushes upstairs and fires up Her computer, wheezing slightly and smelling distinctly of jelly babies)

Welcome to the 2011 edition of Think Like a God Day! This year's theme is "If I were a god, how strange could I make the world?"

Quantum physics has done some fascinating experiments which support the idea that observation alters reality at a subatomic level.

I propose that we conduct an experiment: Can gods alter reality at a bigger level by just using bigger quanta (e.g. entire planets)?

Mind you, this is just a hypothesis. To do a proper double-blind study we need a statistically significant number of deities* and enough duplicates of the Earth to go around.

And somewhere to put them.

And I volunteer to be in the control group.

Just as soon as I can figure out how *not* to look at the world...

* And fiction authors. Sir Pterry invented the Luggage; DNA invented Vogons; I invented instant lutefisk. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This is why we can't have nice things.

It's 1:09 a.m. CDT on Sunday, May 22, 2011. The purported Rapture has come and gone, and I'm still here. So is...

...Excuse Me for just a second.

*knock knock knock* Chala!
*knock knock knock* Chala!
*knock knock kno--

(Chala stops playing World of Warcrack and yells "Whaaat?" through closed bedroom door)

Já, we're still here.

We were shopping at one of the larger supermarkets in Winnipeg at about 8:00 this evening (a good two hours after the Rapture deadline), and not one of the hundreds of people in the store appeared the least bit upset. No one was wailing or gnashing their teeth in the produce aisle, telling bystanders that a particularly devout family member had Mysteriously Vanished at the stroke of 6:00 p.m.

No noticeable earthquakes here, either, and at last report all the graveyards in the city were still intact.

However, I did take the time to Google +"Harold Camping" +"epic fail" and got over 5,000 hits. (opens a second browser window) Nearly 6,000 hits now.

To all you people out there who actively supported this insanity, wasting time and money and terrifying small children with nonsensical tales of divine wrath: I hereby sentence the lot of you to 120 years community service. All of you. No exceptions.

And, as for the End of the World...

... Drink up, mate. I don't think we have to worry about the cab driver disappearing on us.

Photo editing by Darchala Chaoswind, who also helped Me make a lovely post-PseudoRapture supper of Caesar salad and marinated garlic chicken breast in a white wine reduction.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Have clarinet, will travel

Today I went on a little jaunt to Pinawa, Manitoba. The occasion was the biannual Manitoba Community Band Festival, sponsored by the Manitoba Band Association.

I didn't get any good action shots of the participating bands (Eastman, Assiniboia, Westwood, Royal Winnipeg Rifles or Northwinds, the band I play with) as My hands were, um, kind of full. We collectively tootled melodiously and had a wonderful time.

I did get some lovely shots from the bus from Winnipeg to Pinawa and back again, though. This is the Winnipeg River, which is actually not all that close to Winnipeg:

As you can see, it's also rather full at the moment.

And I got this snapshot of a cute little Class G star when it peeked out through the clouds on our way home:

Ooh, shiny.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring springs into action

Welcome to Spring 2011 (and for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, Autumn 2011)!

Here in Winnipeg we don't have flowers and bunny rabbits just yet, but I'm expecting them Any Day Now. In the meantime...

(pours glasses of mead for Her blog guests and holds out a tin of chocolate chip cookies) Best of the season to all.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Never bet on the hardware.

One of the perks of being the Goddess of Random Equipment Malfunctions is that I occasionally get to vent My wrath on a piece of equipment.

This is an old hard drive after I got through with it. The objective: Open up the drive; make the data unreadable; rescue the cute little magnet within, and to Niflheim with the rest of the apparatus.

The hard drive had been assembled with small proprietary hex screws in a vain attempt to enforce the rule "No User Serviceable Parts Inside." Since I was more interested in destroying the drive than servicing it, this merely slowed Me down. After trying My jeweller's screwdrivers, a smallish Phillips screwdriver and the somewhat obscure #0 Robertson screwdriver, none of which quite fit, I headed to the basement of Astrejurhof.

Clamping the intractable drive in the bench vise, I hauled out a power drill and drilled out the heads of the razzafracking screws. Prying out the platter with the data on it, I clamped it in the vise and pummeled it with a 23-ounce framing hammer until it was bent at a rather interesting angle and the 1's and 0's had been duly rearranged. A bit more drilling detached the mechanism that held the magnet in place, and then everything else went into the trash.

(Springy G walks into kitchen and opens Her hand)

(Cute little magnet sticks itself to refrigerator door)

Done deal.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Springy G and the Enchanted Bobsled Run

(slings Her clarinet knapsack over the back of the chair and sits down) Hæ! I'm back from rehearsal. I joined a community band last week, so this was practice #2. My brain is full of new tunes, and My lower lip is ever so slightly numb.

The rehearsals are in North Kildonan, one of the more boreal areas of Winnipeg. To get there, I have to go "over the Disraeli" -- a short stretch of freeway followed by a longer series of bridge spans that go over the Red River and a lot of buildings.

When I come home after practice, it's later at night so the traffic has eased off, and the view from the bridge is quite spectacular. Tonight I had the Joe Jackson song "Steppin' Out" (one of My all-time favourite tunes) playing in My head as I came over the first rise and saw the city lights. It's a living postcard, Everycity, twinkling on the horizon like an Oz that had been desaturated in Photoshop.

Not that that's a bad thing, mind you: I think Winnipeg looks much better in late-evening greyscale than in emerald green. But I digress.

The fun comes at the downtown end of the bridge, where the Disraeli swoops down at an alarmingly steep angle and takes a 30° turn to the right. These two distortions of 3D space, compounded with residual ice from last week's snowstorm, put this little stretch of road in Xtreme Sports territory.

I don't think I'll be joining the Canadian bobsled team any time soon, though.

Or the Jamaican one, for that matter.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tootling melodiously, harmonically and honourably

It's official: My exam marks are in, and I have passed Grade 6 Clarinet. I achieved Honours status (between 70-80%), which is just fine with Me. And so it begins: The long, hard trek to *gulp* Grade 8 Clarinet. I'm going to aim for the Spring 2013 exam session, which gives me nearly 2½ years to prepare.

First things first: Get a copy of the technical requirements, and start working on the scales and arpeggios...

...No, that's the second thing. (sips some lager) That was the first thing.

Come to think of it, I can't get a copy of the Grade 8 syllabus till Monday. In the meantime, there's lots of things to do this weekend:
  • Research cross-country ski bindings to find out what the heck I've got on My skis (and what the heck I should replace them with so that they actually match the boots);
  • Clean up My office.
  • Research reading Best Practices so that I can get through the average 300-page book in something less than Geologic Time.
  • Clean up My study so that I have room to work on The Dreaded Floor again.
  • Restore the .jpeg scan that I made of the torn and faded dial plate of an old Viking table radio, a very nice-looking piece of cabinetry but completely devoid of circuitry.
  • Clean up My workshop.
  • Schlep a bunch of stuff to the local thrift store, including (but not limited to) books, picture frames, stuffed penguins, surplus carving tools and assorted gently-used knickknacks.
  • Go shopping.
  • Go for coffee.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Go cross-country skiing.
And play some clarinet, of course.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Okay, pencils down!

Reeds, too. You there in the striped shirt -- put down the clarinet and back away slowly.

I've just put My horn away for the third time today, having finished half an hour of practice after a 45-minute lesson and a Royal Conservatory Grade 6 exam.

To get to this point, I had to rehearse 2 pieces (Nocturne by Luigi Bassi and Divertimento #1 by Mozart), 6 studies (half Galper, half Nocenti), plus scales (chromatic plus 12 each major and minor harmonic, plus 12 minor melodic, just because) and arpeggios (12 major and 12 minor).

Let's just say that by the time we got to the sight-reading and the ear tests, My fingers were ready for a nice coffee break... Which I had after packing up the clarinet for the first time and trundling out to the car with the certain knowledge that...

"It's over! The exam is over! Woot!"

I have no idea what the mark is going to be, but I do feel a nice calm inside. The pieces went well, and I and the accompanist played together very well. The studies were fine, and I actually was un-panicked enough to throw in some nice dynamic changes here and there.

The arpeggios were okay, too.

That chromatic scale, however... *shudder*

And in all My years of playing clarinet (about 5½ years of lessons so far), I have never experienced the phenomenon of the reed *and* My tongue drying out simultaneously.

(pauses to sip a glass of Pinot Grigio) Ah, that's better. Remind Me to schedule My next RCM exam for some season other than the dead of winter.