Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gun shot Tommy

Rose escaped with much more minor wounds, but Tommy is hurt in several places. His face seems to be the one that's giving us the most concern.
Tommy seems at least as concerned with whatever is irritating his right side just behind his leg. Surely a vulnerable place for embedded shot. The harsher reality check from paradise in rural Canada.

On the sunny side, Tommy is quite playful today. He's still got a great appetite and came to the barn with me this morning to growl at the cats. It's a little less stressful being with him today. He's seeking affection.


Monday, April 27, 2009

drowning in plastic

People suck. From Joe Rogan: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of France

"There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre of the world's oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. Worse still, there seems to be nothing we can do to clean it up. So how do we turn the tide?"


Feeling like a fruit fly

Monday, April 20, 2009


Just so we're all clear that the prairie is as flat as a pancake, I'll try and paint the image a little more clearly.

We are a forty minute drive east of the flooding and muddy Red River.

At that point in the river it's elevation is seven hundred and seventy seven feet above sea level. Our house is at nine hundred and five feet above sea level.

If we have a one hundred and seventeen foot fudge factor over the deck of the Letellier Bridge, you'll all know if we're flooding because we'll be elbowing each other for room on the next trip on The Ark.

I'm looking forward to the flow in the Roseau dropping down until it begins rolling boulders down the valley again. From half a kilometer away my gut vibrates in sympathy every year when this happens. Man those are big rocks moving.

There is some interesting geoscientific information about the Red River that is linked through the image below. The power of water is quite remarkable.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Boo's last trip home for a long while

Boo is home for a visit before she heads off to Grasslands for the summer. She'll be doing field work there similar to what she's been doing for the past two summers at our local tall grass preserve.

We had a house full again this weekend sending Boo off with a grand feast of food, friends and family. She's been quite sick with some serious infection surrounding her trachea I think she said. It was cutting her access to air quite badly so our fine health care services intervened. Hopefully she'll be back to full steam shortly.

I got a good start on making a road into the wood pile later on this afternoon. What a beautiful day to be outside. The tics are out! They are just beginning, but it won't be long before I don't want to walk in the tall grass. There's always so much work to do and so little energy to do it. Allergies are getting underway with the snow mould and pussy willows in plentiful supply. The frogs made their entrance this past week and we had a new bird stop by.

Some of them had some wonderfully orange tones to their plumage. It's so weird to have all these winter birds around when the spring ones are arriving.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Short animated film, More

Apparently well decorated, this little short film really works for me. I do love a good story.

My kingdom for more bandwidth!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

spring running

I ran today. Yesterday it was 20C and I didn't work outside at all. Today it was 15C and I felt unusually warm while running. It's so weird how perception skews me. Sometimes 15C will seem cold, but in the spring it is always warm.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I play mandolin, I work, I play mandolin, I eat, I play mandolin, I run, I work, I play mandolin.

The story of my life. Unfinished beaver hide tanning business under the futon, mando in waiting and running gear.


I loved the light tonight.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

skink, blue tongued or otherwise


This is best if you know what a one skink from another.

help with pain

I found this on Running Mania. It looks like my kind of resource. Empowering people with knowledge about pain so we can best help ourselves. Save Yourself.

Welcome! SaveYourself.ca helps you solve pain problems with several book-length tutorials, hundreds of articles, and clear explanations of recent scientific research. Countless readers have told me that this website is “surprisingly interesting.” Patients, doctors and therapists of all kinds all come here for the most detailed information available about aches, pains and injuries.

Read more about SaveYourself.ca, or visit the articles page. New content is posted regularly here on the front page, or you can keep track by subscribing (RSS). You can get to anywhere on the site from the “more” link at the top of every page.

Paul Ingraham, publisher of SaveYourself.ca

Regeneration Training Publications
408 – 888 Pacific St • Vancouver, CANADA • V6Z 2S6
Call 778-968-0930 from 8am to 8pm PST (Vancouver time is: 8:57pm)
Email paul (at) saveyourself (dot) ca

Visting brother, guitars and weather

I've done little else than play guitar for the last two weeks. I guess it's showing too. Boo called yesterday and asked if that's all I did and she's not even around much these days.

I had a visit from the sibling that's still taking my calls. I don't know how he does it. He's very generous and has tremendous spirit. He was out fairly close to us to help a friend celebrate a 25th anniversary and decided to kill the week coming out to the farm.

It's a butt ugly time of year to come, but he's made of strong stuff apparently. With the snow melting it leaves the world looking grim with the winter debris everywhere.

When he tried to catch the flight to bring him into our neck of the woods, his plane was grounded due to fog. He decided to take an overnight bus across the prairie. There were nineteen stops along the way and a lot of hours. He had a lot of gear with him. He had a suitcase full of gifts and a dismantled electric guitar. The amplifier was boxed up separately and weighed about 14kg. He was a little worse for wear by the time we picked him up at 8:00 am. We drove through freezing rain to get him. Winter storm warnings were issued for that day and forecast was for them to run through the week.

Two big Colorado lows came in and dumped a pile of snow and knocked out the power in long spells. The schools were shut down for two days and the wood stove was cranked up. I did have plans to get some of my friends involved in his visit, but it was just too ugly to ask people to travel anywhere and I wasn't interested in driving anywhere. I didn't even split any wood that week. Shock!

Mighty joined us for a couple of days and was very helpful. I'm grateful to have her help with the logistics of meal preparation and clean up. She's good at seeing what needs to be done and just doing it. She may have had expectations about her uncle that required some adjusting, but I think that's why she made the effort in the first place. That was, to get a reality check on that connection. I'm loving her and she's looking better every time I see her.

We played guitar and ate. I sure didn't sleep much, but I did have a very good time. The northwest of the U.S. produces some amazingly hoppy beers and his suitcase was within one 20oz beer of being overweight. I'm not kidding. He likes to say that he travels light, but there was nothing light about the suitcase. It was very light on clothing, I'll give him that.

Thursday he had to be back in the city to catch a flight to Vancouver, and then on to pick up his car to drive a big chunk back to Seattle. I think we left home shortly after 3:00pm and headed off via Steinbach. The roads were quite dodgy and there was quite a bit of blowing snow. With a brief stop to get some ear rings looked after for his trip home, he found that his phone had gone missing.

Now, everyone loves their phone and he had just dropped off the map from work clients. We don't have cell coverage here or at best it's really sketchy. We can't get broad band service without major expense either so he was really on vacation. He lives on his phone. It does everything and we dragged our feet through drifts of snow around where the car was, trying to find it, but it was nowhere to be found so we headed north to the #1 highway and watched one car freshly spun into the meridian snow, well off the road and hopelessly stuck all within the first few minutes of becoming northbound.

It got much worse as we progressed and 60km/hr felt like racing speed. It was very slow going and somewhat spectacular with a wide variation in vehicle speeds to contend with. Some folks were roaring along at what looked like highway speed and others, like me, were crawling along. As we crossed the flood way I suggested it was pretty hairy driving and others pointed out that it was better on our side. Looking over to the east bound lanes there were five or six vehicles twisted up, pointing in precarious directions on the overpass. It was some of the most challenging driving I've ever done and I've done a lot of it. I wish we had the sense to take some images. The over pass across the Symington rail yards was a perfect horror show of driving conditions. Ripping drifts of snow screaming over the raised highway like a wind tunnel test. The sun was low in the south west to back light the scene and it was spectacular. I took a nano second to appreciate it and then got back to the job of getting us to the city in one piece.

By the time were were done with him, the guy looked a little haggard I must say. I thought maybe he hadn't taken time to shower, but no, he had showered and just hadn't reaped enough benefit from the experience. Ugly. I avoided mirrors after that until I could get some rest.

Once in the city it was pretty easy going, but we knew we had to get back home still, so we dropped the traveller off in the departure lane and put our collective tails between our legs and headed south. We had a very slow and treacherous drive home. We were very nearly in a serious accident that I saw coming in my rear view well ahead of time, but I need to go to bed so you don't get that bit just now. Suffice it to say that the round trip was a five hour ordeal with us getting home just as night settled in at 8:00pm. Brutal.

He's from the west coast where the daffodils were blooming. I'm sure between the weather, the poor bed and the ultra casual lifestyle of the materially poor and hopelessly disordered, we must have rung every drop of energy out of the poor man. We loved his story telling abilities and enjoyed having an entertainer of his calibre around. With any luck we'll see him again this summer when we'll see if we can get his Tom on the dirt bike. How attractive do you think broken collar bones are to his mother? Don't answer that.

The phone showed up, but not soon enough and then it took a week with the postal service to get back to him, but from all reports he's safely home and recovering well.

There was a lot of guitar played. Manon really took it to her uncle. It was funny to watch and it's been funny to reflect on just how that went down. She's a card. Hopefully Mighty will find a way in too. Boo is off, back in love with and old flame, exams, preparing for summer work and generally MIA so she missed all the action.

Friday was repair day for the Ibanez RG220-B. I had done some study before hand on the setup of the floating bridge and we had it up and running once we threw the rule book out, but not before many frustrating hours had passed. Friday I ripped it all down again and applied myself to ridding it of some of the wear to the bridge anchor pins and the bridge pivot knives. I think I ruined a couple of good files doing it, but the job is done well and the guitar is much better. The tremolo comes back into pitch very well now which it didn't before.


My hunch was that with decent gear one can make just about whatever tone one wants with the aid of an amplifier and a well adjusted instrument. I win. These guitars aren't fashionable with the die hard American made crowd, but they represent a new generation of electric guitar that has some very distinct advantages in playability. I gambled on this one, thinking that if players like George Benson preferred these types of guitar necks along with the death metal crowd, I could likely find some middle ground.

The amplifier helps that line of thinking along a lot. It's a VOX AD30VT and it can and will blow your head off if provoked. I can get some very clean jazz sounds and I can also get some great raunchy over driven power chord action going and everything in between. I've been having a riot with it. There are so many variables to keep me entertained. PU is grateful it's out in the guest house. I've learnt a lot about guitar setup as I have dialed this one in. I've just about toasted the first set of strings already and for the first time in memory my fingers are sore from playing. Having the electric has given me a whole new appreciation for the performance of my Perry, so both have been hammered on hard in the past two weeks. Daryl's web site is worth the peek if you're into craftsmanship at all.

We were treated at every turn. The fast lane for a week! Thanks Unca.






Friday, April 3, 2009

Jack White

I was never much for fashion or malls or the main stream. I always managed to contradict and oppose. Less so now, but it's been a defining feature in my life. Even the music I liked best from the popular catalogue were the lean cuts ripped down to their blues roots. Contentious and in your face was best for me. Now of course it's much worse and less painful, especially with others along for company.

My brothers can age people by the music they listen to. I don't like to stand still to long, preferring to remain a moving target of adolescence. 50 and hopeless, but my wife still smiles fondly at me. Today it was Jack White keeping me refreshed with the juice of life. I like my steak without sauce, my eggs from chickens I know, my rye on ice, my hair short enough that it doesn't require tending, and my beer more like bread than beer. I love beer.

I bake bread, make pasta from scratch and cook from my wife's amazingly productive garden produce, lovingly cured, canned, preserved, dried and frozen masterfully. I don't just get mushrooms, I get morels. Our potatoes are like candy they are so sweet this year. I'm a sensual dude that loves the physical things in life and Jack White is like a breath of tomato leaves bruised in the height of summer.. Sharp green and rank with the processes of change. The Jack White is from my people. Straight up. I like strong coffee and sweaty sex.

The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and whatever else this guy does is, to my ears, part of the future movers and shakers of rock and roll. I'm not talking about the corporate marketing department versions of music, but the stuff that happens more organically. The stuff that comes from personality and human imagination. The stuff that might leave your Mum uncomfortable and all my religious, soft head friends, disapproving of it's dangerous feel. It is dangerous too I believe. It's new, unpredictable and unlike never having a fence to sharp to sit on, this bites with the force of Mother Nature.

I'm talking about a little gem I found in a heap of music my brother Biff was so kind as to assemble in a dozen DVD's for me. I struggle with bandwidth. Poop on the bandwidth, but yeah for the Biffmeister.


I haven't actually hear this version of it. I really hope it conveys the potency with which this guy brings a song to life with. Can't say I'm optimistic about the guitar sound, but my version off the White Stripes recording Icky Thump and is titled Effect and Cause. This boy is from a fine tradition and I'm very happy to see him adding to the canon. That's the version that's go me blinking rapidly so I do hope this vid helps make my point.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ten open source books worth downloading

At least a few are worth it to me.