Thursday, July 19, 2007

Anyone For Tennis Elbow?

I'm coming to the end of the third week with a never-had-it-before, really bad case of tennis elbow. At least, I think that's what it is. And it doesn't seem to want to go away on its own.

Oddly enough, it doesn't affect my drumming. But mousing is irritating, and I'm learning to drink coffee left-handed, because picking up a full cup with my right hand and getting it all the way to my mouth is a fifty-fifty proposition. And I don't want to play guessing games with my coffee before I've had my coffee.

I woke up with it on 2 July...the day after the Canada Day festival. And at first I couldn't figure out what was up with my arm. Now that I've figured out what it is, I'm working on figuring out what caused it. Applauding all those excellent performers?

Naturopathy says ice and wet heat. While it feels good to put the elbow on ice, especially on a hot day like we've been having lately, all the ice accomplishes is a cold elbow. No relief.

I'll try all kinds of non-invasive remedies before I see my doctor next week and lay this thing on his table. Any suggestions?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Deadly Sincerity

We got home last night to find the apartment door jimmied open, a lot of valuable items gone, and everything else pulled out of drawers and closets,and dumped in heaps on beds and in the middle of the floor. A good-sized three-bedroom apartment full of looks-like-a-drunken-tornado-hit-it.

Two of the six guitars were gone (and the other four stacked and waiting with other stuff in the hallway -- these guys were intending to come back), plus cash, jewelry, the entire DVD collection, my toolbox full of Snap-On screwdrivers (a new set of burglar tools for someone), all the prescription drugs in the house, and various and sundry other goodies that I'm still finding out about. Oh...and my "essential" ID -- birth certificate, DL and SSN card.

Looks like a great time to change my identity. The old one is no good anymore.

The fridge and freezer had been ransacked, as well as the pantry. Food packages were opened, dumped out, and the contents ground into the floor. Melting ice cream fucking everywhere! And that's what really pisses me off. Not the theft -- that's pretty much the way the world works these days -- but the waste and destruction.

So far, roughly guessing, somewhere between five and six thousand dollars walked out of here yesterday in broad daylight, in my own shopping carts, fer crissake, and nobody in the building heard or saw a damned thing...

Now, just in case the perps know how to read, and they know enough about me to read this, I have a message for them:

You think you got yourself a couple of nice, new daggers to play with yesterday, don't you? Guess again. What you have in your temporary possession are my athames. And with that, you've sealed your own death.

Felt good in your hands, didn't they? Nice weight, excellect balance, sharp enough to shave with? Felt kinda warm and maybe a little "tingly" when you picked them up? Did you not wonder why they were carefully wrapped in silk and then again in robes and tucked away in a special drawer with other things that might have alerted you to the identity of your victim had you been smart enough to pay attention?

Let me clue you in, you miserable pieces of shit. I am not a nice, polite, "an-it-harm-none" type Wiccan. I am a thoroughly-versed-in-the-arts, well-practiced, "know-what-ye-do" type Witch. Those blades are tuned to me, and right now, they're planning how best to go about initiating the process of your earthy demise.

There is no pardon. I suggest you make whatever final arrangement you can, and soon. Karma can be a bitch, but she's a playful puppy compared to that which hunts you now.

With deadly sincerity



There were two of them. Three is a possibility, but not a big one. Three would be colliding with one another. Two.

There is a high probability that one is female. Things went missing that only a female would consider taking. And a fairly young female, at that.

They were young. Possibly late teens, but not children, and not living at home with their parents.

At least one of them is a chocaholic. Either that, or seriously jonesing. How bad does it have to be for them to steal boxes of baking chocolate and a half-full bottle of chocolate sauce?

The building security guards don't know it, yet, but they interrupted the thieves and scared them off. Security knows something. They're just not aware of it, yet. I will be getting them more involved.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Angrypendence Day

Keith Olbermann wishes George Bush a happy Fourth of July. Preferably to be celebrated from a prison cell. Or the bottom of a pit full of rattlesnakes.

Everything here except the call for violent overthrow of the government.

Keith Olbermann for president, anyone?

(Thanks to Zorpheous and Stageleft for the link)

Blogs Against Theocracy

You can read other bloggers' posts on the subject here.

No Theocracy In Canada!

I committed myself to blog against the theocratization of Canada (and the USA) a few days ago, and then I sat down and actually thought about what might be involved. So many directions from which to approach the subject, and so many talented others who are already putting together their arguments against country-wide religious obligations and laws which all must follow, regardless of their individual thoughts and needs.

Tempting as it was, I have not yet read any of the other bloggers' posts. I shall do so after I've fulfilled my own committment, because, rise or fall, it's my own idea I need to express here rather than a shadow of someone else's. Any relationship between this post and any other will be strictly accidental and entirely serendipitous.

So. Why not live in a theocracy? Besides the fact that the ones that already exist are killing people left, right, and center, I mean -- their own people included.

Well, besides the three Book religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which I will set aside for this post -- because others will be writing about them, I'm sure -- there are several other religions who have adherents in this country. And while the Book religions are busy wiping one another off the face of the earth, one of the less well known religions might like a chance to rule. Now we just have to decide which one. Let's take a brief look at a few and see what's what:


No diety sitting on a cloud in the sky, scowling down upon unbelievers and throwing lightning bolts at the enemies of its worshippers at the bidding of the worshippers. So far, so good.

"The Five Precepts involve the taking of vows, one for each precept. Vows are taken only if they can be kept. The precepts apply to body, speech and mind. The precepts of the body oblige the adherent to abstain from (1) killing, (2) stealing and (3) sexual exploitation. The precept of speech (4) implies abstention from lying, while the precept of the mind (5) requires abstention from mind-altering drugs and intoxicants."

Vows taken only if they can be kept? Kinda like promises? Well, that will put paid to any electioneering by politicians, and I could live with that. On the other hand, there are days when the only thing that keeps some people sane is indulging in some mind-altering drugs or intoxicants. Sometimes, as Heinlein said, "Everything to excess! Moderation is for monks!" And Buddhism has monks. Oh, well...


There seems to be a bit of built-in doctrinal contradiction: "The Vedas (Scriptures) are the divine word of the gods (plural)." and, "There is one Supreme Being (singlular) above all, the Source and Creator of the universe." Hmm...this could keep the theologians busy enough not to interfere with the lives of the citizens. And that could be a good thing.

"No single religion offers the only way to salvation. All are equal as paths to oneness with the Supreme Being."

Oops! That will NOT go down well with the hard-line theocrats, who firmly believe that "my way is the only way and if you're not a believer you'll go to hell and I'm going to help send you there!" Pity, because this is whence came the Kama Sutra. Then again, cows are sacred, so no cheezburgers. I definitely like my cheezburgers.

Native Spirituality

Ah, yes...the original religion of the original inhabitants of the country. Getting back to the roots. There are lots of good things about it, but there are major drawbacks. First, it's an oral tradition, which requires that people pay attention in order to learn. And since the average human attention span these days is comparable to the life span of a politician's memory of the promises he made, this will not fly. Besides, there is a pipe ceremony, and smoking is naughty.


Good gods and goddesses and all the heroes! Take a look around you! Can you imagine your MP in dreadlocks? Besides, ganja is a sacrament, and smoking is naughty.


Very promising, but first, let's settle the argument about the chairs -- yes or no? If we can't agree on how to sit, how can we get anything else done?


Also promising, but much too individualistic for most peoples' liking. A High Priestess once told me that organising Witches is not quite as easy as herding cats. And a theocracy depends very much upon tight organization.


Alas, you can only become a Zoroastrian by being born to it. They don't allow converts, and intermarriage with other religions is discouraged. So, unless they get really fertile, fecund, and fast, they have no hope of becoming a theocracy.

I have deliberately left out the Book religions -- all aspects of them. Until they stop trying to kill one another off or convert everyone by force under threat of death, they get less respect from me than Rodney Dangerfield. Practitioners of the Book religions may approach me with caution. Until they grow up and start treating each other with courtesy, if not respect, I will have none of them. And I encourage others to do the same, including lay members of those religions.

All this is one way of saying that I'm not all that much worried about the threat of a theocracy. We in North America are much too accustomed to making our own choices. Even in the face of others who will insist on trying to limit our choices. Our constitutions guarantee us all freedom of religion.

And freedom of religion equals freedom from religion. It guarantees my freedom from your religion, and your freedom from mine.

Learn to live with it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Not Just In Kansas, Anymore

There's a good bit of back-and-forth, is not/is too, so's-the-horse-you-rode-in-on commentary about whether or not we're in the middle of a climate change. I have resisted commentary. Until now. Time to take a stand.

We are in the middle of climate change. The hook is that it's not new. We have always been in the middle of climate change. And we will continue to be there until climate goes away permanently.

I'm old enough to remember when there were no tornadoes in Canada. We were too far north for the right climactic conditions to develop into funnel clouds. Several years ago, they started making the news in Ontario, then later in Alberta. A few days ago, I was on my way home late at night and waiting for a bus when the wind took a sudden sloppy/warm/wet slap at the people in the bus loop, then gusted, swirled, keened, stole a few caps, and kidnapped a whole pile of morning papers that had been tied in neat bundles to an anchoring post and scattered them from hell to breakfast.

I grabbed everything I was wearing tightly to me and opined, "That's tornado weather!" A few people looked at me like I was crazy. We don't get tornadoes in the Lower Rainland.

Weather reports the next day included sightings of funnel clouds and waterspouts.

How's that again?

Here's a really awesome, up-close-and-personal look at a recent storm on the border of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

We're not too far north of Kansas, anymore, Toto. Toto? Toto! Now where'd that damn dog get to...?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Not Bad For An Old Gal, Eh?

Just before April Wine took the stage, Dianne Watts looked out over the sea of some 60,000 faces and yelled, "Hey! Surrey! Do we know how to throw a party, or what?!" And the crowd went nuts.

One hundred and forty years old yesterday. That was Mama Canada. So, one of her daughters...Surrey, (at a mere 128 years old) threw her one helluva birthday party! And it went on for thirteen hours or more.

I gotta say right off the top that I'm one of the biggest cynics you'll ever meet/read. If government does it, I expect to see them screw it up every time. But lemme tell ya, if your city intends to do any kind of community celebration in the future, and you want it to run smoothly and hassle-free, tell them to get hold of Surrey City Council and get the blueprint for this one. Higher praise I cannot offer.

I hit the edge of the park around 9:30 ayem and kicked off my shoes. I stayed barefoot (and safely so, despite the horror stories about "needles" and "doogy-poo" with which mothers around me were scaring their children who wanted to do the same) for the next twelve hours. My feet got royally filthy, and it was when I was scrubbing them in the shower after I got home that I found out they got royally sunburned, as well! Red and white (well, pale, anyhow) are the colors of the day? Right wit' ya, guv!

I turned one of my staves into a flag pole, and carried the dual flag around with me all day. Got quite a mixed bag of reactions to it. Lots of people couldn't figure out what it was, and some of them asked. A very few people -- mostly young turks -- challenged my "right" to bring anything American to the celebration. And one guy, at the end of the night, told me flatly that what I "did" to the flag was an insult and disrespectful to the flag and should not be tolerated. Some of my fellow babies are not very nice people. On the whole, though, the reaction was a smile and a nod. I gotta give full attaboo, though, to the guy who carried around a Canadian flag with a hockey stick for a flag pole, and wearing Team Canada's hockey jersey in all that heat!

One of the biggest little open secrets (in other words, it wasn't advertised anyplace that I could find) was the Seniors' Strawberry Tea. I don't go much for group-by-age thingies, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to be waited upon by a politician. All the Surrey representatives on three levels and from all political parties carried trays of strawberry shortcake and pitchers of tea and coffee. All you had to do was find a seat and snap your fingers -- instant service! The strawberries were fresh. The shortcake was fresh (and it was all supplied by one of the sponsors), and the cream was whipped. And real. Coffee and tea were served from carafes, rather than from big industrial urns. And the service was at your table, with a smile and a willingness that belied the reputation of the profession. Entertainment was provided by a choir whose members were mostly propped up with walkers and determination, singing songs from WWI. Everybody wore red and white. Except for the RCMP Honor Guard, who wore red and navy. Even they seemed to be enjoying themselves!

There were lots of food and beverage vendors. Still, with some 60,000 (that was the projection, coulda been more) people wanting to eat and drink, there were lineups. At least there were lots of privvies, too. One of the sponsors gave away free watermelon, others gave away cloth bags, energy bars, canned drinks, lottery chances, do-it-yourself potted plants for balcony gardens (everything in the bag except the soil). And with a plethora of garbage cans and recycling cans around the grounds, the park was still a mess by the end of the night. Some of my fellow babies are not only messy, they're downright pigs.

Entertainment started for the adult main stage around noon. I didn't pay much attention to the kids' entertainment area, except when I wandered over to catch Kutapira again. These kids were not just alright -- they were amazing! And throughout the day, all events were mostly on time!

I love drums. I love dance. Put them together for me, and I'm happy. The SFU Elite Bhangra Team makes it look soooooo easy.

Danny Sveinson is some kinda prodigy in a youth suit. Only fourteen years old at the time of his appearance here. And he's a local boy, too. We grow talent in Surrey.

Damian Marshall rode in from Calgary to grace the stage. Somebody wanna introduce him to YouTube? Until then, you'll have to take my word for it that he's good. Even if you're not a country music fan.

Karen Lee Batten got the voice that Celine Dion wishes she had. And this video doesn't really do her justice, either. It shows her on an indoor stage. Put her on an outdoor stage, like the one she was on yesterday, and let her strut her stuff. She'll make a believer out of anyone who thinks "Canadian talent" is lukewarm.

Ian Tyson got an entusiastic welcome from the crowd. The first couple of songs seemed to be a little subdued, even for a laid-back country style like his. Then he apologised for having laryngitis, and hoped we weren't too disappointed with his performance. Laryngitis. And he showed up anyway. That's professional for ya!

I'm not a real big fan of jazz or blues, so I really had never heard of Wide Mouth Mason. But they got a roaring reception from the crowd. And somebody on vocals can hit the high ranges purely enough that at first I though it was sustained feedback from one of the guitars!

The Kim Mitchell went for a soda. And the gusto. He brought back some really old tunes, thanks in part to something he called the Trailer Park Boys. Shades of Max Webster ("...are there really people here over forty years old?")!

And then the headliners (who took up more time than anyone else in getting their soundchecks done and their stage set...and they still started almost on time). April Wine. You'd think that after performing for nearly forty years, a group would get tired, get stale, get boring. Or something. Nope. And because they were playing a little longer than any other perfomers, they built in a little break for themselves. All the band members except Jerry Mercer left the stage, and the drum guru treated the audience to a session of drum therapy. What you see on that video link is pretty much exactly what we got. And afterwards, the entire audience was soaked with sweat, panting, and out of breath. Whew!

I'm not much into fireworks, so I didn't stay for them. I needed to find a way through the anticipated crush of traffic (cops had already re-routed all the streets surrounding the park) and find a bus that was not only still running, but going in my direction. I wasn't exactly an original thinker, either. The buses (special runs contracted by the city of Surrey!) turned themselves into huge sardine cans, packed us in, and we passengers got real friendly with one another all the way home...

And the price of admission for this supremely organized and executed birthday bash?

Absolutely free.

Hey, Canada! Does Surrey know how to throw a party, or what?

Oh yeah.