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Drat this working for a living all to heck.

Jan. 31st, 2016

01:11 pm - My culture is a disturbing place.

So.  My culture makes children's animated movies where worker ants are boys (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antz) and worker bees are boys ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_Movie) and boy cows have udders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnyard_(film), and this is passed off as one of those metaphor things, and not important; and this usurpation of female agency is pretty common.  One of its most straight forward messages is that what is true is never as important as what should be true.

There's also a little bit of the big pink fake plastic breasts that are apparently a common feature of drunken men by themselves being drunkenly humourous, as per Blackadder (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/371617406723267689/) (and others, I'm sure) about this whole making female attributes safe by rendering the attribute that derives its value from its essential femaleness as not actually female.

Which is all ubiquitous and habituating.

But then something creeps you out again, making you aware of your self-forged kiddie gates:

There is currently a commercial for the Laughing Cow cheese snacks, which has the mother-like Laughing Cow admonishing us to eat healthy snacks, in that really condescending stereotypical Cinderella-Evil-Stepmother-guaranteed-to-make-you-want-to-never-ever-do-the-sensible-thing-again way.  And .... and .... she has no udder.


In the 3/4 image of the Laughing Cow above, it is possible that her udder is just delicately out of frame - but in the commercial, she is sitting on the couch beside the snacker, and there is nothing in her lap, except that vaguely indecent pale patch of a teddy-bear belly.

Even when we want to draw our authority from female authority, it has to be weakened; trivialized.

It's those weird little moments that scald your awareness and remind you of the concessions you have made with your culture so that you aren't too scary to the easily scared.


Dec. 30th, 2015

12:04 am - Christmas in Tappen & the Coquihalla Blues.

We went to Tappen to spend Christmas with my parents.  It was excellent.  Family friends came over for Christmas dinner and we all had a good time.  I know my parents are sorry they don't have grandchildren, but they seem to be resigned - which is good because I am nearly 60.  This is what can happen if you put all your genetic eggs in one basket.

The horrible part of travelling to Tappen in the winter is the Coquihalla mountain pass.  Argh.  There aren't enough arghs to cover the amount of arghs needed to express all of the ARGH needed to be expressed.  Argh.  This is the highway televised as "The Highway from Hell" in the eponymously named reality show.  Argh.

The trip up (higher elevation as you go to the interior) was notable for the semi which had careened down hill taking out the meridian barrier in various places and ending up jackknifed on the other side of the highway with the body pointing up hill and the cab bent back pointing downhill crushed against the remaining barrier bits. People heading down to the coast were diverted to the Fraser Canyon from Merritt, unless they had already passed the last u-turn place, in which case they were stuck there for several (four?) hours.

For Lorne the trip down was fun (not) from Merritt to the summit.  It had not yet been plowed and there were four to eight inches to work through, depending on elevation and local microclimate.  Yes, there were fools out there without winter tires, but they were mostly in the ditch, unfortunately not necessarily right way up.

For me the bus arrived late (problems with the Roger's Pass), and those of us embarking from Salmon Arm were sent from there to Kamloops in a chartered bus.  Argh.  Not the best driver; not confidence building. Once on the regular Greyhound from Kamloops on it was winter conditions, but the driver seemed to know his stuff, so one was able to relax from complete plank.  It wasn't until we got to the lower mainland (mostly flat), that we discovered that he had never driven to Vancouver before - he gave up looking for Chilliwack and asked the bus passengers for directions.  :)

So - we had an excellent Christmas - one of the best.  Hate that road, though.

Dec. 6th, 2015

03:36 pm - 06 December 1989

Taken from :


Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.

Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.

Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.

Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.

Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.

Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.

Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.

Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.

Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.

Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.

Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.

Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.

Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.

Twenty-six years ago, this seemed like the canary in the coal mine - and it was.  And we're still being willfully obtuse about the societal norm it festered up from.

Oct. 19th, 2015

08:56 am - Voted.

Polls close in BC at 7:00 pm BC time.

Go go go go go.

Sep. 23rd, 2015

10:55 am - Outliers.

So.  One worries that Martin Shkreli *isn't* the greediest weenie on the planet.

Tags: ,

Sep. 16th, 2015

10:18 am - Chocolate cookies - controlled carb

I was desperate for a cookie last night, but I am through the sugar withdrawal (and my knees feel soooo much better), that I did not want an actual cookie.  So here's what I made:

2 package ground almonds (each pk 100 grams)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Sweet & Low artificial sweetener packets (tea serving size)
2 eggs, large
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, generously estimated

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Sift together ground almonds, cocoa powder, and sweetener in a bowl.  Set aside.  Whip together eggs, whipping cream, and vanilla until smooth consistency achieved.  Make a well in the almond mixture and pour in the egg mixture.  Stir until well combined.  Grease cookie sheets with butter.  Place blobs on the cookie sheets.  Once oven is up to temperature, place cookie trays in oven and bake for 13 to 14 minutes.  Cool until you can touch them and then eat.  Store in fridge because these will spoil fast.

Cons - texture is between a pancake and a cooled biscuit - no crisp or crunch.  This soft texture will probably increase in fridge.

Pros - CHOCOLATE.  Also, but way less important: not too sweet; nice with black coffee or tea.

I got 19 blobs, but more careful blobbing could give you twenty-four, especially if you put a pecan half on the top of each.

Each blob = 83 calories; 3 total carbs, of which 1.5 are fiber carbs.

Sep. 5th, 2015

12:19 pm - This is our theory which is ours and which we own.

So, we like to watch TV shows like Coast and Sacred Wonders of Britain and Ancient Weather - all interesting tidbits of information without the breathless hysteria of The! Monumnent! That! Killed!!!! 10,000! Men! and similar "everything is a blow-em-up-good scene in a cheesy movie" approaches to entertainment documentaries. At least with things like Edwardian Farm the silliness is from experts being genuinely excited about the true details of their speciality.  (Gosh - I can just imagine a similar program being filmed in the states - they would probably have Ruth Goodman mud-wrestling her neighbour as they compete to get the best stall in the market - argh.)

Anyhoo.  We have seen several episodes of Sacred Wonders of Britain

And one of their theses, broadly, is that the first group of farmers were seen as visionaries which the next generation venerated, and so the next generation spent this huge amount of time building stone mounds (covered in dirt) and stone circles as a way to claim the landscape and venerate the visionary generation.

I am rather doubtful of the veneration bit, considering how the current young muscled generation thinks about its parent and grandparent generation.  Also, for the young providing building power, farming wouldn't be novel - farming would have been all they'd ever known.  Feature kids having never known a world without internet - are they busy venerating the creators?

Anyhoo again.  One thing that big piles of rocks do, though, is stake your claim to this bit of dirt. If you tell the people sweating to shove the rocks across the ground that they are doing it for their god or gods, and that outsiders can contaminate their hard work, then it is probably much easier to convince them that outsiders need a good seeing to (still works today y/n?).

So, we'd reached this point in our cogitations, when Lorne said that it was easier for wolves, since they just run around peeing on the boundaries of their territories.  And I said that probably explained all the stone circles because then groups could travel from afar so that their head pee-er (peer - hoho) could pee on the group's special rock in the circle.  Or maybe everyone peed on all the rocks.  And Lorne said that certainly explained the ditches that surround many of the stone circles.

So Stonehenge - a giant willy waving contest festival site.  :)

Man - the pong would travel for *miles*.  :)

Aug. 20th, 2015

10:19 pm - Quick grape update.

So: pickled grapes, yum.

However, it a now been mumble days, and the grapes have lost their fresh-grape crisp, and this is critical to the success of the pickled grape.

So, I would say to go ahead and make up the whole amount of brine, but only do enough grapes for the next day.  Save the unused brine for the batches you make after that.

Spicy crispy grapes - very nice.


Aug. 3rd, 2015

11:13 am - Canadian Parliament Vote List URL

All the items voted on since the 38th session in 2004 (not sure if anything earlier is there) can been seen here in detail - how each MP voted on each thing:

I was interested because there has been a rumour circulating that Trudeau the Younger has voted in lockstep with Harper the Horrible on every vote.  I suspect hyperbole - probably not on every last eensy beensy vote - but it might be interesting to see how he voted on issues other than the big fumble of Bill C-51.

My mind is made up.  Trudeau has not shown himself to be sufficiently different from Harper.  Cuter but no backbone.


Aug. 2nd, 2015

07:16 pm - Pickled Grapes

I need to put this recipe somewhere I can find it again.

P (I need to put these here because LJ just jambs all the paragraphs together without something to mark the blank line when I copy and paste from Word. Argh.)


I read about pickled grapes in a book from Lee Valley (https://www.leevalley.com/)[1], but it used tarragon, and I just can’t do tarragon.[2]


So, I went to the internet, and found more than you can shake a stick at [3] [4], not a one of which even alludes to tarragon. Very good.


So, then after shopping in the heat and forgetting many things, I checked in my cupboard and did the following:



Some red and green grapes (seedless)[7]

1+ ½ cups cheap elderly red wine vinegar

½ cup modestly priced balsamic vinegar

1 cup tap water

½ cup brown sugar, more or less packed down

1 teaspoon pickling salt

2 cinnamon sticks

½ tablespoon whole round coriander seeds[5]

½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns

½ tablespoon whole allspice berries

½ tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves (scant)

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, seeds only

1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into sticks


Put everything except the grapes into a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes (or as long as you can stand in this heat). Turn off heat and while the brine cools prepare the grapes.


Wash grapes. Pull from stems and dry. Slice off just a tidbit from the stem end. Pack in clean, dry jar[6]. Pour brine into the jar, shaking to remove any air pockets, and topping up to the shoulder of the jar. Screw lid on tight and place in fridge.


These are not properly pickled pickles, so they must be kept in the fridge and used within a few weeks to a month. They need at least 8 hours for the brine to start saturating the grapes, but they will develop more flavour the longer they are kept.



Because I was impatient, I took all the little grape ends and put them in a bowl with some of the brine. Immediately they were tasty, and we polished them off on top of cream cheese covered crackers. I am now impatient for 8 hours to pass.


[1] – oooooo Lee Valley oooooo

[2] – using the “if a little is good, a lot is better” principle I overdid it in something in my 20s. Ugh ugh ugh.

[3] – I’m sure there is a good reason for shaking solitary sticks at a limited number of things.

[4] – here are all the ones I adapted from:











[5] – whole coriander comes in round and oval.

[6] – I think mine is a one litre.

[7] – I bought more than I thought would fit so that we could eat some fresh.


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