Sunday, December 31, 2006

Best Pic of 2006

Hands down, this is the best picture of 2006. It is of Saturn, from the far side of it, in the shadow, and if you look through the rings, just to ten o'clock position you can see a tiny dot. That tiny dot is my house. Okay, its the Earth! Kind of puts things into perspective hmmm?
click on this image to enlarge, and for more images of planets, you can go to

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

St. Marie Among the Hurons

Reality has been much on my mind of late. Like, what IS reality! A friend of mine says that reality is that which he sees with his own eyes. So I performed some simple ledgerdemain, coin drops, pea and shell type tricks. I even levitated like David Blaine. So, clearly, what he sees can be manipulated. So I worked on the definition of "reality". The dictionary didn't help. Clearly this thing called "reality" is a slippery concept. I had always believed that anything that causes an effect is "real". Is transubstantiation "real" in the conventional sense? It certainly is real in the religious sense! Are table knocking, psychic readings and speaking in tongues "real" ? I withhold my judgement until I know more.
This needs to be developed. However, (in a most difficult segue....grin!) the monks who opened up the Canadian wilderness with their mission to the Hurons were convinced of the reality of their cause. The pictures you see here are the re-construction on Georgian Bay of that mission. It only lasted a few years, but it made a very big impact on the people there.
The first picture is of the alter at the church. The second is a lived over your workspace. In this case, a boat yard. The last picture is of a Huron "long house". Covered in slippery elm bark, it is very cozy. You can see everything is sort of "tobacco" coloured due to the constant fires going in the middle of the room. You all sleep in the "bunks" at the sides. Not a lot of privacy!
We are going into a new year. Remarkable! I made it!
This calls for a retrospective. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


After a remarkably good Turkey, we walked it off in the traditional way....a tour around Parliament Hill. The building was lit up with projected snowflakes...the only snow in the region. Hah! And about a gazillion lights donated by a local hardware store. The big maple trees look kind of bashful, all bedecked out in lights. Somebody had placed flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier, and somebody else has left Hershey's Kisses.
click on the images to enlarge them.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Oh Blowdy 'ell,
Da whole Shield Wall is Crumbling!
I fear that now I shall see Odin's face.
Aye...there it goes...the Foe is over-running!
There's little time, and I can't find my mace.
A ray of hope, my weary brain rejoices
For up there dawns the salvation of my hide!
Fall on yer face
Pretend the foe has slain ye
Then shiv him in the back,
and then Run...
Run Like the Wind!
Oh shiv, my friend in need!
Oh, oh, my little knive,
My friend in deed!
(adapted from Strygor Von Talmutz, "A Viking's Christmas in Wales".

Friday, December 22, 2006

Two years ago...

Two years ago I built this cool Roman Helmet just in time for Christmas. Didn't turn out too bad. Just thought I would brag a bit since I have not turned out anything so pretty since!
click on the images to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas and Computers...

Just feeling a little depressed this time of year. It is NOT a white Christmas! A good friend called me...desperate to unload a puppy. Do you know how hard it is to say no to a puppy? Oh My! Another friend just got laid off...and will have to sell his motorcycle to pay his rent. And I have been getting these allergy shots every Wednesday. They are killer shots...knock me for a loop every time. And nobody orders armour for Christmas, so the shop is sitting idle. Oh gracious, it sounds like I am complaining! Heck, I don't have to shovel that precip out there, its not MY puppy, and not MY donor cycle. And the shop is, well, not QUITE actually doing some swords. Doing them up right too! Step by step how to on my other blog "South Tower Armouring Guild". And I hope to get that "measured drawing" armour done this December.
Up top is a nice fella who picked up that big Viking style helmet. He looks a bit like me! Its the white beard and the world weary look! I think both of us will enjoy this great Canadian Christmas tree (bottom pic) He is in Louisiana, so the grass is still green there. Building decks in December. Well, I remember roofing in December, and setting the top shingles into hot water in order to get them to bend over the peak!
As usual, click on the images to enlarge.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

With the month of December representing the end of a wild boar hunt in the forest of Vincennes, we return to the Limbourgs and the Duc de Berry.The dungeon and square towers rising above the trees are those of the home in which the Duke was born on the eve of December: November 30, 1340. At that time the Château de Vincennes had not reached the proportions shown here, and the dungeon, begun three years before, consisted only of its foundations.
The enormous rectangular enclosure flanked by the nine towers seen in the miniature was undertaken only in 1364 by Charles V, "sage artiste, savant architecteur" ("wise artist, learned architect") in the words of his biographer Christine de Pisan (c. 1365-after 1430), to make the château "La demeure de plusieurs seigneurs, chevaliers et autres ses mieux aimées" ("the home of several lords, knights and other beloved ones").He subsequently deposited part of his art treasures, precious manuscripts, and fortune here.
Several towers of the ensemble were partially razed during the course of the centuries.Still standing in their entirety, however, are the main tower which served as entrance and the magnificent dungeon that Jean Fouquet (born c. 1420) some time after the Limbourgs, painted in miniature in the Heures d'Étienne Chevalier.
(Bill's note...second pic down is the main tower.)
The forests of Vincennes attracted many kings of France. Louis VII built a hunting lodge there; Philippe Auguste undertook the construction of a small château enlarged by Saint Louis, who, as we know, liked to dispense popular justice under one of its oaks. This is the wood we see represented here in the russet tones of a waning autumn.The boar has been run down and speared by the huntsman on the left, and hounds are tearing it apart. At the right a hunter blows the mort on his small horn.The dogs' desperate eagerness is rendered with astonishing realism: their positions, the gestures of their paws, their greedy expressions, all have been observed and noted with care. These are bloodhounds, boarhounds, hounds whose breeding an expert would recognize immediately.This scene is perhaps the liveliest in a calendar full of lively images; it completes the year in an appropriate seting and time, recalling the birth of the Duc de Berry.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


When the ladder theory deconstructed a woman's mind, they demystified things a LOT. Essentially for all you frat boys out there, there are only two things which are important, babies and shoes. Personally, I would add "drama" to the list, however, the fella's at the "ladder theory" feel that most drama is created by the conflict between babies and shoes. To this end I discovered some absolutely "kicky" items just in time for Christmas.
And for those with a particularly warped sense of humour, you might like
or you might not. Personally, I howled with laughter all through the article.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cold and flue season

The last week I have had a classic winter cold. Now Brenda has it. We have been avoiding all Xmas parties, and have not gone out anywhere. Heck, I have not even gone to work. Its given me an excellent opportunity to catch up on my web site, add another blog to the list, bring this blog onto beta. That was a bit annoying since Brenda already had a g-mail account, I had to change all the passwords and stuff just to log in. Its all part of the "google empire". Instead of having one user name and password, I now have three. I don't see much more reliability in blogger, and it gives "crackers" and "spammers" yet another way to get into my system. For those of you who have not had contact with me in few days....I am still trying to figure out what usernames and passwords will work to leave comments. Apparently it is different whether you are on beta or not....

And I can't post pictures this morning. Right...beta is better. Right. grrrrrr.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Power was out for six hours. This is a little dangerous in Canada...well...because things get cold! Brenda and I had just got home from the abbatoir with half a cow (all packaged) and we put it in the freezer. Half an hour later, the power goes out. Okay....its not cold enough to put the meat outside to let it stay frozen. In fact, except for the fact that it is freezing on contact, it is pretty much raining out there. Well, leave it in the freezer for now...keep the cover closed, it should be fine for a couple of days. Okay, the chicken was just about to be put into the oven, I can cut it apart and barbeque it. An inch of ice on the bbq cover...smash it off. Okay, got the thing started. it is taking a half hour to come up to temperature! Wind is still pretty high, keeps putting the bbq fire out.

Then the sump pump alarm goes off. Right. Basement is flooding from all this rain. Fine....I send up several hundred pails of water up the hatch in the floor, which gets dumped down the drain. Field calls from the security monitoring people, finally disconnect the damned thing. Security people call because it is disconnected. Leave me alone to splash in this water darn it!

Barbeque a lovely chicken. Bring in the stuff that is cooked because I can't wait any longer to eat...I am starved! Gorgeous meal by candlelight...delightful company. Oh crap...the rest of the chicken is still cooking! Yup, Bill, you burned the chicken! First bird I have burned, for, like, ever! Well, it was hard to see how it was doing in the dark....its all silouettes against the flames. Thats my story...I am sticking to it.

After dinner, was thinking about a nap. No such luck. Look down into the basement. Right, its about 15 centimeters deep. Not over my boot tops, but I'll have to do something right? Can't dump any more down the drain....the poor septic system can't take too much of that. So I rig a siphon from a garbage can and an old garden hose. Hose keeps getting stopped up with random bits of wood and flotsam, but generally it works.

I barely keep even with the incoming water. Sooner or later I figure, I will have to quit. Don't know how much damage will happen if I let it flood much higher though. Well, just keep handing those pails of water up to Brenda. Every once in a while, I would crawl out of that hole and walk around outside a bit, watching the ice gradually build up on things. You can tell the people who have home generators...they are the ones with the Christmas lights on so bright! I don't know why it is, but I don't begrudge anybody with the forethought to purchase a generator, but for some reason I don't understand, I just want to throw a rock through my neighbour's window for showing off those christmas lights!

Then the power went back on and things went back to normal.

The joys of home ownership.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One Liners

One Liners from This Years ' Edinburgh Festival

I realised I was dyslexic when I went to a toga party dressed as a goat.
Marcus Brigstocke at the Assembly Rooms

Cats have nine lives. Which makes them ideal for experimentation.
Jimmy Carr

The right to bear arms is slightly less ludicrous than the right to arm bears.
Chris Addison at the Pleasance

My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in Customs.
Patrick Monahan at the Gilded Balloon

My parents are from Glasgow which means they ' re incredibly hard, but I was never smacked as a child... well maybe one or two grams to get me to sleep at night.
Susan Murray at the Underbelly

Is it fair to say that there ' d be less litter in Britain if blind people were given pointed sticks?
Adam Bloom at the Pleasance

My mum and dad are Scottish but they moved down to Wolverhampton when I was two, ' cause they wanted me to sound like a tw*t.
Susan Murray at the Underbelly

You have to remember all the trivia that your girlfriend tells you, because eventually you get tested. She ' ll go: "What ' s my favourite flower?" And you murmur to yourself: "Sh*t, I wasn ' t listening... Self-raising?"
Addy Van-Der-Borgh at the Assembly Rooms

I saw that show, 50 Things To Do Before You Die. I would have thought the obvious one was "Shout For Help".
Mark Watson, Rhod Gilbert at the Tron

I went out with an Irish Catholic. Very frustrating. You can take the Girl out of Cork ...
Markus Birdman at the Pod Deco

Got a phone call today to do a gig at a fire station. Went along. Turned out it was a bloody hoax.
Adrian Poynton at the Pleasance

Employee of the month is a good example of how somebody can be both a winner and a loser at the same time.
Demetri Martin at the Assembly Rooms

I like to go into the Body Shop and shout out really loud "I ' ve already got one!"
Norman Lovett at The Stand

It ' s easy to distract fat people. It ' s a piece of cake.
Chris Addison at the Pleasance

I enjoy using the comedy technique of self-deprecation - but I ' m not very good at it.
Arnold Brown at The Stand

If you ' re being chased by a police dog, try not to go through a tunnel, then on to a little seesaw, then jump through a hoop of fire. They ' re trained for that.
Milton Jones at the Underbelly

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shakespeare on Spam

-------------------------------- Shakespeare on Spam (by Anonymous)
These several airy unnamed messengers
Do daily cram my inbox bursting full;
And with a battery of promises (Of manhood's lengthening, safe and natural;
Of sites whereat strange couplings may be seen,
Or beauties nubile as the law allows;
Of meetings with old schoolmates,
none of whom I've spared a brace of thoughts for these ten years)
Make sifting out my correspondences
A passing trial.
O, take care, my friends!
The rambling jest you send has like been seen Ten times,
forwarded by some jackanapes;
And sooth, I'll not contribute to a chain
But risk the lapse in fortunes an I don't.
Of all conveniences, these are most meet:
The Bulk folder,
"Select All,"
and "Delete."

_________________Please help support Visit the Chain-Breaker's Gift Shop

Saturday, November 25, 2006

High Tech, low function

Carbon fiber. Not just for Star Trek anymore!

It's light, ten times stronger than steel, and is now used to strengthen your favorite washroom. "You know how fast a little fiber can make you go," claims the manufacturer. "Finally, a high performance, race ready composite toilet seat."

Can you say, "pimp my ride"? The seat is hand-layered carbon fiber molded around a foam core using 550,000 psi tensile carbon fiber, and fits standard household toilets. We predict this will be the recipient of a SEMA new product award and our own praised "POS Product" award this November.

For more information, contact Dynamic Composites in Alberta Canada at (780) 435-0619 or email Pimp your crapper for just $229 US.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Auction finds

Last couple of weeks have been good ones for auction going. I picked up a lot of stuff. The coolest thing I picked up THIS week was a huge bearskin rug. Actually, they auctioneer called it a buffalo robe, and maybe it is, though I have never seen a jet black buffalo. It is pretty coarse as well, like bearskin, but on the other hand, when I think of the buffalo I have actually seen on the hoof, the hide was always covered in matts, fleas, and flies. Its not like they even OWN a comb. The downside of course if to figure out how to get the musty smell out of it. I have never had such a bad smelling hide (cept for those uncured deer hides I got a Pensic a few decades ago....)...they smell like an old trunk left in the basement. That "old suitcase smell".
The robe has a nice wool back covering that I was sort of hoping to keep. There is no water marks or anything to indicate the thing had ever got wet, so the problem is purely that of high humidity for too long.
Anybody have any idea how to get rid of the musty odor? I would think that washing it in water with detergent, borax and detol might cause the wool to shrink. And I don't know if detol kills mold. The detol odor is not really all that nice a replacement odor come to think of it. Vinegar maybe? Gasoline? Its not something you do in the winter time, or anytime static can build up, but I have washed leather and hides in naptha in the past. Brenda suggest I remove the backing regardless...and I am inclined to go along with that idea except for the problem that I will have to sew something back on afterwards. If I can get away without all that sewing, I would be happier.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just in time for Christmas

Well, the world is now ready for, get this....Vibrating Soap! Just when you thought it was safe to drop the soap in the shower, along comes THIS product!

Yup...its real. I mean, how fat and lazy do you have to be to need a soap that vibrates in order to bring up a lather! And it is available in three delicious blue and (of course) pink! MMMMMM! I cannot TELL you how hard it is to not make double entendre jokes about this product....resisting....resisting.....oh too late... MMMMMMM Pink, my favorite!

And guess what..this product is so popular it is sold out. For now! Well, thats just great! I guess I'll just have to check out one of the other items on the site...a SHOWER TAP Radio! For that karioki effect I guess! And a starfish LCD bath alarm. Just in case you run a bath for baby, and don't dare to test the temp with your hand, you can throw in the BIG BLUE STARFISH! Hey fish....maybe you can find Nemo for me! I could keep him in my "Sun Jar". A sealer jar which you leave out in the sunlight during the day, and it stores the sun in it all night. Good stuff, I'll keep it beside my JellyFish mood lamp. (Hmmmm...I detect a theme here!)
So no kidding...go check out this site...and remember, there are only 35 shopping days before Christmas!

Friday, November 17, 2006

After Dieppe

900 Canadian soldiers died in a stupidly botched attack on France in 1942, the historians called it the failed invasion at Dieppe. A plane was dispatched from Ottawa filled with maple leaves, to scatter on the graves of the fallen as part of the rememberance ceremonies in November of '42. (Unlike other countries, Canda rarely re-patriates the war dead, they are normally intered in special cemetaries in Europe) This poem appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, written by a journalism student whose brothers were "over there".
Ainslie's younger brother eventually forged his father's signature, and went to war, came back, had a long and excellent career in the public service, and is now a resident of the veterans home here in Ottawa. Through his Alzheimer's, he quoted this poem written by his older brother to a citizen reporter, Kelley Egan. Thank you Mr. Egan for salvaging this piece of doggrel for us. Doggrel it may be, but it IS heartfelt, and illuminates an instant of history.

After Dieppe.

We sent you Maple leaves today
To strew upon your grave
'Tis little, to be sure, and yet
What matter what we gave

There are no words to tell our love
For strong Canadian sons.
No words to thank those stalwart men
Who traded games for guns.

No gifts to pay the debt we owe,
For Death denies remittance
And all our tribute, all our wealth
Were but a puny pittance.

But there are thoughts more deep than death
When hearts are fraught with woe,
The heart of Canada will call
And reach to where you go.

You were so brave, so young, so true;
You had to keep the trust,
For brave young hearts had died before.
You only thought it just.

The rich green fields will miss you, men,
Now that you choose to stay:
And forests, hills and woodland streams
Will weep for many a day.

Now English pines will shelter you
And whisper English grief,
And we who cannot go, we send
A precious maple leaf.

by Ainslie Kerr, August 1942

Flight over Ottawa

Brenda finally cashed in her Xmas present....a flight over the city in a Cessna. The only day it wasn't raining cats and dogs, and we took it! Look at her smile!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Got more wood....

Again, click on the image to enlarge. Hey Zlanth, I asked him to carve you a Mustang, and I got the second one up.....



Click on the images to see them full size.

This guy is just scary good! I think I see several posts on his work coming up!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

...With the Going Down of the Sun....

In a slightly desperate attempt to cross the Albert Canal in their big push through France and Belgium in late '44, the Galgary Highlanders ran into some serious opposition in the form of a well organized counter attack. The newly promoted Lance Corporal William Fedun provided covering fire for his platoon, enabling them to get back across the canal safely. He didn't make it, but his efforts enabled many others to get away so they could fight again another day. He got a medal for that, and they named me after...a hero! Well well!

The lower pic is a photo from the "Book of Rememberance" which is in a chapel in the centre tower (the "Peace Tower") on Parliament Hill. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dear Tech Support:Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0.

I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources.In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activity.

Applications such as Poker Night 10.3, Football 5.0, GOLF 7.5, and Racing 3.6.I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications.

I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0, but the ‘uninstall’ doesn't work on Wife 1.0.

Please help!Thanks,Troubled User.....

REPLY:Dear Troubled User:This is a very common problem that men complain about.Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program.
Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING!!!

It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 7.0. It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once installed.You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed to not allow this.

Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony/Child Support.

I recommend that you keep Wife 1.0 and work on improving the situation.

I suggest installing the background application "Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation.The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE!

Because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway.Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance. Wife 1.0comes with several support programs, such asClean and Sweep 3.0, Cook It 1.5! and Do Bills 4.2.However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program
Nag Nag9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software.

I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0!
WARNING!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3.

This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause rreversible damage to the operating system!

Best of luck,Tech Support