Five in a row

I was challenged the other night to write a proper English sentence that has five consecutive “ands” in it. I was unable to manage it but my friend did with this:

A sign maker delivers a new sign to the owner of the local pub, the Coach and Horse. When he unveils it the owner says, “I won’t pay for this. There’s too much space between Coach and and and and and Horse.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed


Apologies for the lack of content lately but as you can see I’ve been tweaking the blog a bit. I’ve been working with a “framework” for theme design which allows me to create a sort of sub theme in which I have worked to create an attractive (I hope) layout that focuses on content and typography. It has all sorts of places that I can diddle and fart around with but the hardest part so far has been changing the header to accommodate both the sexy font on the title and the cute little graffiti on the wall. The font on the title is called “walkway” and the graffiti is a font called “abuse”. That concrete wall is a photo I took back in Canada. It was a bit of a water feature/fountain at a nearby park. I’m sure the visitors that day thought I was mad as I randomly photographed walls, the back of benches, piles of stones and side walk edges. I did get rather a lot of fine backgrounds but I settled on the wall.

I’m about 80% done, but no further layout changes are planned. All the work to follow is in the background. You’ll notice the “currently listening to” widget. It needs to be “ajaxified” so that the song title updates for you automatically whether you refresh or not. I’m no java programmer so I expect it will be 80% of my work for that 20% of the finished project. Enjoy the site. I must say it looks best on a big screen and I have made no allowances for resolutions of less than 1024×768. If you have less than that, you need an upgrade. On my monitor it looks just lovely. I’m happy with the result.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed


Visual Music – Amon Tobin music video from 12FRAMES on Vimeo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed


for the musicians among my readership (there might be one, come on!) I have a great new site for you. The title above refers to the basic time signature of old English hornpipe music. the site (see blow) is a sort of file sharing service for sheet music.

ABC Notation

It’s a way of transcribing music. It’s a way of discovering music. It’s amazing. On BBC Radio 4 I listened while two musicians searched the archive for a song (because the name was cool, “chicken and sparrow grass”), practiced it, arranged it and finally played it. It might have been the first time in 400 years that the song had actually been played.

this is, to me, a good use of technology. It provides a way for modern musicians to discover new melodies, a way to archive old tunes so they don’t become lost and for all intents and purposes has created an archive that records our past from a purely musical perspective. Very cool…way to go.

The music is transcribed from manuscripts, by artists and scholars. Here’s an example, in fact it’s the ABC notation for the song above:

B2G2G2 Bcd2d2|c2A2A2 cde2e2|\
B2G2G2 Bcd2B2|e2c2d2G6:|!
|:g2gfed e2efge|a2agfe fefgaf|g2gfed e3fg2|a2f4 g6:|]

They use lots of community written software to translate the ABC notation into traditional notes and bars and there are midi samples.

All you need to know is on the site but if you want to hear how the song evolved from a small cryptic text file into a fully formed song, go here: but do it fast, they don’t leave the shows online forever.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

‘millions of words’

“To write, I meditated, must be an act devoid of will. The word, like a deep ocean current, has to float to the surface of its own impulse. A child has no need to write, he is innocent. A man writes to throw off the poison which he has accumulated because of his false way of life. He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing (by writing) is to inoculate the world with the virus of his disillusionment. No man would set word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in. His inspiration is deflected at the source. If it is a world of truth, beauty and magic that he desires to create, why does he put millions of words between himself and the reality of that world? Why does he defer action – unless it be that, like other men, what he really desires is power, fame, success. ‘Books are human actions in death,” said Balzac. Yet, having perceived the truth, he deliberately surrendered to the angel, to the demon that possessed him.

A writer woos his public just as ignominiously as a politician or any other mountbank; he loves to finger the great pulse, to prescribe like a physician, to win a place for himself, to be recognized as a force, to receive the full cup of adulation, even if it be deferred a thousand years. He doesn’t want a new world which might be established immediately, because he knows it would never suit him. He wants an impossible world in which he is the uncrowned puppet-ruler dominated by forces utterly beyond his control. He is content to rule insidiously – in the fictive world of symbols – because the very thought of contact with the rude and brutal realities frightens him.”
— Henry Miller (Sexus)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Six weeks

A few months ago I took a holiday. I went off to London, England for a while, six weeks. It was nice. I was alone to do what I needed but it ended sadly when I had to come home to deal with a sick cat who died shortly after my return. I’m glad I was able to spend those days with her but as I fell back into my life at home I kept thinking about London.

I’m there now. I came back after much difficult soul searching. I haven’t completed my sabbatical and so now I am doing that. I’m not sure what the future holds, if I’ll return, if anyone back there will even want me to. If I’ll survive, though, It will be because I made it happen on my own. I am, for all intentions, penniless and unemployed and it’s expensive here. I have prospects and a decent resume and I have faith in that but it’s a scary thing I’ve done and I often feel lonely and I worry a lot about the strange way I left and the impact it’s had on my life and the life of those I love back there.

A mid-life crisis? Is that what you think? Perhaps you’re right but a crisis means that you need to act to correct it. Time will tell if what I’ve done was a mistake, but for now, I see my life stretching out along new roads. Time to start the journey.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

8 pounds

A friend of mine just had a baby. Sweet little thing, and the baby, too!

I’m thrilled for him and his wife. They are both terribly nice, they are both obviously in love and this baby, I’m guessing one of several, was welcomed, anticipated and loved from the moment it was conceived.

I’ve written about a lot of scary things on this blog but my lord, a baby! How scary is that? I’m sure Fred will be a fine father, I know he’s excited and probably a little freaked out right now, but he’ll do fine and she’ll grow up loving her parents.

What a remarkable event. I’m so happy for them both.

Posted in personal | Comments closed

7 days

I’m not sure what he was raving about, this old hobo on the corner of Cordova and Seymour. He was in a wheelchair of sorts a buggy in front of him with a huge pile of found treasures. He went on and on, to no one in particular, about welfare payments. Most people it seems get only four days worth, he got seven. I have stopped trying to understand it.

It got me thinking about things, though. He was maybe talking about how he could stretch his payments over the course of a week where many people would run out. Even if he wasn’t that’s where I’ll go. Welfare is a strange topic. Most people agree (at least in Canada) that it’s a useful, even required, option for people that can’t provide for themselves, like this old boy.

the social question in it is that the service is expensive. There is a school of thought that says if we pay them too much they have no incentive to find employment. Well, that guy was unemployable, trust me. Do we punish everyone then because a few people are slackers? Do we look at the bad apples and say that barrel is ruined? How can we turn our backs on that old man (as I admit I did yesterday) and not provide for him. We closed the hospital beds where he would have been safe and turned him out to fend for himself. Do we not owe him some sort of proper living?

I’m not saying things should change, I was just thinking about it. I think thinking about these things is a good practice. Maybe I’m trying to justify turning away from him without listening.

Posted in Observations | Comments closed

One more year

The things that make up a life. It’s hard to see, after years and years of living, how all the things that make us into what we are sit in our personalities. It’s hard to see how things that happened when we were twelve still affect us today. They get buried into the back of our memories and seem to be forgotten. They’re not. They snap onto our lives and build a spot for the next little thing to snap onto. I’m getting close to another birthday and as I do I start to get thoughtful. It’s a new thing for me, this worrying about my age but I guess it’s still better than the alternative.

I’ve enjoyed a few nights of solitude this week. During those hours alone I thought back on all the bits and pieces I could remember. I was reminded of things I’d forgotten, some which might be better forgotten. Things I did or said as a kid, as a young man, as an old git. The process hasn’t hurt me. I feel a lot more connected these days to who I am and I actually quite like me.

I can’t help but wonder at what the next thing will be, what it will feel like, where it will snap onto me. For certain, though, after this week, I’ll be watching for them, these snap on bits, and I’ll recognise them for what they are: building blocks.

There’s no way to change the past and no way to control the future. We live with what we’ve done and try to do a good job of it.

Posted in personal | Comments closed

Strike three



She was dressed like a fetish doll and not unattractive. Her voice was too loud, though and clipped and her makeup was from last night. “Want to buy a ring?”

“No,” I said softly and looked away. Strike one. The trolley bus lurched along Seymour and stumbled through a switch.

“Want to buy a camera? I have a camera, too. I figure I should sell it. It’ll probably just get ripped off anyway. Want a camera?”

I shook my head and said no again. Strike two. The other commuters were not looking at us. The bus stopped at Robson and many left, a few new travellers boarded. “Want to party a little? We could party some I bet. I’d put a smile on your face that’ll last all day”

I blinked a little. “It’s 7:45 and I’m heading for the office. I really don’t think so.” Strike three.

She looked sad and turned away from me. It was my stop and I left the bus. Behind me I could hear her sharp, loud voice. “Want to buy a ring?”

Posted in too strange | Comments closed
  • Currently Listening to: Nothing
    This is unusual, I may be asleep