Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The latest Coach's Corner

Here's this week's advice from Milana Leshinsky who is with the life coach people:

There is a fine line between being a successful coach and being a shameless self-promoter. No offense to Debbie Allen (author of Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters), but those coaches who shamelessly promote their products and services are secretly regarded as peddlers of hype, spam, and B.S.

The Fine Line
There is even a finer line between a cautious promoter and a starving coach. The question becomes, "Are you in business to make money, or to give charity?"

I talk to many different people in our business, and they all fall under one of four categories:

#1: The Curious Coaches are brand new to coaching. They have either just graduated from a coaching school or simply decided to become a coach. They either break through the first year of business building struggle, or call it quits within just a few months.

#2: The Conscientious Coaches believe that their expertise should speak for itself. They know they are good and feel it is below them to market. Their biggest concern is that helping people contradicts asking them to pay and usually never reach a full practice.

#3: The Methodical Coaches believe that no business is possible without marketing. They consistently promote their coaching business and build full practice within 6-12 months. These coaches also begin developing products within their first year in business. They make a good living.

#4: The Hard-Core Coaches never miss an opportunity to promote. They rarely care what other coaches or business owners think of their tactics. Their over-promoting makes them look like they'll market anything just to make money and they start losing respect.

Where are YOU? Which category do you want to fall under?

I think I'm in category #5, the Hard-Core Conscientious. I never miss an opportunity to over-promote, but I'm embarrassed by it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Gift for R < $20

No need to go to Montreal, Canadian Tire has the Foldaway BBQ [Product# 85-1020-4] for $19.99:

And if it gets him cooking like a man, so much the better.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Swimming in the Soup

Holy frig! "You can't be all things to all people, 5M," I said, "Maybe you should let the soup lovers go."

She's decided to focus on a niche with a vengeance and gone after the soup lovers. And not your Campbell's or Heinz soup lovers. No Knorr packs for the Muse. Oh, no, it's spagetti squash with red peppers or roasted red peppers with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar, black olives, sweet-potato soup.

That R puts more stuff in his soups than I have in my ice box.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Coaching Advice: Niches

I've not been passing on the weekly coaching advice. I apologize for that. This week we have:

Focusing On Your Niche

Discovering and capitalizing on your niche can be the single most powerful concept you develop for your coaching practice. Defining your area of expertise and marketing that to the world differentiates you from your competition and allows you to operate from a position of strength and confidence.

Here are three reasons to become an expert in your field:

    1. Experts make more money.
    2. Command more respect.
    3. Gain more control.

The Magic of Thinking Small
In developing your niche, smaller is better. The more focused you are on a specific market, the better you can serve that market. The smaller the market, the easier it is for you to research and meet the needs of those clients. The added bonus is that it is easier and also less expensive to market to those prospective clients.

Serving too many different types of clients can stunt your growth and hold you back. You can't be all things to all people. People won't be able to "get you," which - after all - is what they are buying. Is it not?

There you are. You know this is good advice because it has a 3-item list. Now are we applying it?

Me: I'm going after the people who follow 5M's exploits and are interested in space travel. Yes. A nice small niche.

Coyote: People who like elegant poetry. Yes. Perhaps a smaller niche than it should be.

IO: People interested in Nordic artifacts. Well done, IO.

Chair: People interested in dating issues and can put up with someone who has commitment issues. Yes, another small niche.

Bob: Home renovations? Entertaining? Going Out? You're a little more Lifetime network than HGTV, Bob.

Lucy [and here]: Hmm. Poetry lovers = small niche. Art lovers = broad niche, especially with the wide variety of topics covered. Perhaps, Lucy, you should only do frog pictures.

5M: Okay, you had that narrow niche of people who liked ongoing dysfunctional relationships. Then you started going after the kitten lovers. Then the new relationship that's working out. You can't be all things to all people, 5M. Maybe you should let the soup lovers go.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lost in Space?

Have you ever had that feeling that your safety tether has snapped, you're out of reaction mass, your transponder has failed, you're slowly drifting away from the only source of oxygen within a million miles of vacuum in every direction, and flapping your arms ain't gonna help?

I've had that feeling. But I'm still here. Things worked out.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I know exactly what she's talking about

Great news from 5M today: She's not going to see M for a while. She's decided it's better that way. Amen.

Meanwhile, R is not respecting her feelings. He's doing the staring at other women thing. Looking right over Musie's head while he does it, too.

I know exactly what she's talking about.

Well, not exactly. None of my girlfriends have been big on staring at men while they were with me. A few were big on staring at other women. (I knew because I'd look to see where they were looking before I'd do my staring. Fellows, it's an excellent argument for dating the bi-curious.) But they'd never stare over me to do it, because I like to arrange seating so that we're not across from each other.

Has the dwarf finally gone too far?But where a number of my girlfriends have shown a lack of honouring me is when we'd be walking somewhere and come across a puppy or a baby. There you are discussing how you'd like to install a fireman's pole in the house or whatever and suddenly she's forgotten you and is down on her knees talking like a deranged nanny. "Look at you, isn't you a wittle sweetie! awww, I wanna take you home."

No, you can't take him home. Leave these people alone and pay attention to me, dammit!

Let's not get into the issues of how she's objectifying these human children or animal companions.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Me and my misdiagnoses

Click this photoshopped image by BlueOrb to see some fabulous imagesI'm struck by yesterday's posting from 5M. She's chided me in the past for suggesting that depression might be a factor in her life. Yet it seems that a problem that is costing her $50 a month has made her unable to write in her blog. My mind leaps to depression as the reason this makes her not write, but perhaps it's red hot anger? $50 a month is worth paying attention to, I'll agree, but making one unable to blog?

Yesterday, she walked to Sandy Hill and got blisters. She mentions that R did not tell her how far they were walking. Perhaps R assumed as I would that 5M would not own a pair of shoes that would injure her while doing what is ostensibly their designed purpose. If I was writing the DSM-V, I'd put a disorder in for that, but I'd be excoriated for my sexist bias.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


  1. Where is the wee she-demon? Silence since Thursday. What was bothering her and keeping her awake at night?

  2. Where on that big blue ball are my old friends Agatha and Conch Shell? Are they even alive?

  3. When Musie says "A work of post-modern/feminist/colonial fiction" is it "postmodern, postfeminist, and postcolonial fiction"? Or does the "post" only go with the modern? If it's the one where everything is "post", does "post" mean the same thing for each of those words?

  4. Will Coyote dislike the picture I sent him because he thinks I made him look too fat? Everyone knows that a spacesuit adds 30 pounds.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Poetry Review

I pretty much always like Musie's poems, but I don't generally say anything, because I figure my reviews fall in the "don't know much, but know what I like" category. So I don't say much about Coyote's poems either, even though I like them too.

Coyote doesn't really like wearing a spacesuit. It interferes with his ability to sniff himself.The other night I ran into Coyote at the Cantina and he brought up the poem 5M wrote on November Sixth. (The one with the "your leg against my thigh and yellow-shot blue eye pressed into mine".) I've reproduced Coyote's concise but heartfelt review in the accompanying cartoon.

I suspect this poem is what triggered the Chair's "final" posting. One of his best, I thought. Good and punchy, and introduced several dating concepts that haven't been overworked on Seinfeld and Sex and the City, and are relevent to life in Ottawa.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Remembering Aggie

Remember Agatha? She had that way of cutting right to core of a topic.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Latest Life Coach Tips: Web Sites

Okay, you, that's enough fucking around on the internet. Back to work!
It's been a long time since I've shared a tip from the Life Coach people. I still get them every week. This week it's Misconception Busting on Websites:

Misconception #1 If I create a website that will appeal to everyone, I’ll get more clients.

The Better Approach: Create a website that is designed to attract one distinct target market.

Misconception #2 If I start by surfing other coach’s websites I’ll learn what I need to do for my own.

The Better Approach: Unfortunately, few coaching websites are well written and designed to funnel prospective clients to coaching services. Instead, start with an introspective process.
  1. What are the three most compelling challenges and desires for my target market? Write streamlined content that addresses those issues.
  2. What message do I want my web visitors to get from my website? Craft an authentic message that carries through all of your marketing.
  3. What actions do I want my web visitors to take? Sure, you want them to contact you for a sample session but most visitors will need an interim way to get to know the value of your services. Make subscribing to your ezine compelling and easy.

Misconception # 3 If I write content that ensures coaching will bring my clients “a more fulfilling life” that will be enough to get prospects to call me.

The Better Approach Dangling abstract promises of fulfilling dreams and goals rarely produces results. Instead, design a marketing funnel – ezine and other free information, mid-price products and services, then higher end products and services – that will build credibility and visibility with your target market.

Monday, November 07, 2005


It looks like Musie is trying out for the Chair's Blog with her latest piece on relationship stages.

I find it interesting that she sees the 3 month mark, which will be Jan. 7th, as

when you determine whether or not you are in love or have the potential to have a long-term, committed relationship.

I'm sure some of you are thinking exactly what I'm thinking: Jan. 7th? That's less than a month before Fish or Cut Bait Day!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Weekly Roundup

It's been an eventful week for the muse. This morning she writes of saying farewell to the kitties. Breaks my heart, it does. I'm tempted to swoop over to the Humane Society and take those little critters home myself. But a space capsule is no place for a cat. Mice, hamsters and monkeys perhaps, but cats need gravity.

I just had a look at the Humane Society's Adoption page. Lily and Simon don't seem to have made it there yet. This little gal, Peach, is making me think perhaps she could be thinking I'm wrong about cats reaching for the stars. Do you suppose she dreams of asteroid mining the way I do?

Back to Musie, imagine our surprise when she arrived at the Halloween party dressed as Coyote with Rchie in tow!

Our mistake. When she said "New York", she didn't mean "New York, New York", she meant upstate New York. Potsdam probably. Only 131 km or 2 hours by car.

She and R seemed to enjoy themselves and they did plenty of mingling, although some of the other partygoers might have had the idea that Musie wasn't really interested in getting to know them if they weren't the elusive Coyote.

That puppy is a shy one. He slipped away sometime after the costume prizes were awarded.

We've learned a few things about R*, some of it by implication. Here's a quick list of differences from M (Lurkers, feel free to contribute other differences in comments):
  • It would appear that when driving, he does not tailgate;
  • When he kisses 5M, it's not a peck; and
  • He offered to help with the kitties.

In other exciting news:

The Independent Observer is alive! Apparently he was rescued by Vikings (good people those Vikings, and is recovering from his ordeal in Scandinavia.

Back to 5M:

This week, she's given us a little politics and some social commentary. We'd all agree that it's not what we read her blog for, but I for one am glad to see now and then what she's thinking about these things.

I'm also glad she's able to get counterpoint from Bob when the Dude gives her his impersonation of what a man is supposed to think and act like.

*We did identify R from clues in 5M's blog. I wonder is she has ever considered inventing details to throw us off. Put people's houses on nearby streets, give them an extra sister, use a word to name them that is evocative for her but is not tied to their actual name instead of a letter that is.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

441 Miles or 710 km

I'm sure we all wish 5M well on her trip to New York. It's a good long car ride. And New York is an intense place to be.

Am I the only one who is worried that if this trip goes well, we may have a far less interesting read ahead of us?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Could it be love? and How far can dogs swim?

The things I do for art...It is delightful to hear the Muse in her current state. "Entirely intoxicated"! Just what she needs for these cold, dark days.

I wish my old crew-mates were around to enjoy this delightful news. Which reminds me of something odd I discovered yesterday.

I was out looking for other bloggers interested in outer space, the solar system and planetary bodies when I came across this site called Singing Moon. It's my old friend Coyote. I'm sure of it. You can't tell from the photo, that could as easily be his evil twin Alvin. But the poems are as individual as a paw print. And the obsession with rabbits.

But how could it be he hasn't dropped by with some biscotti?

I have only two explanations:
  1. In whatever disaster that befell the Vendetta, he was conked on the head and is suffering amnesia. In which case, it might be deeply disturbing for him to have me show up and start bothering him.
  2. It wasn't a storm that took the Vendetta, but an inter-dimensional rift in the space-time continuum that took the ship and my other crewmates away and left a "Coyote" from another dimension here in our universe. This Coyote has all of our Coyote's traits, but somehow never hooked up with the Elgin Street Irregulars. Or perhaps in his universe, there was no Fifth Muse to have brought us all together.

I have to say that I'm hoping it's Amnesia. I'd hate to think there's another universe out there with no Fifth Muse.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The X-Factor

Ottawa, it's a small townOh, dear, it looks like R and the Dude have an X-factor.

Always an interesting situation that X-factor. There's the Seinfeld episode where Jerry finds out his new girlfriend used to date Newman. To Jerry, someone who could have dated Newman couldn't possibly be right for him.

That's not quite the situation 5M has. For her it's R used to date X, and X used to date the Dude. If X could like the Dude and X could like R, maybe R is not right for 5M.

But who in this town doesn't have an X-factor with the Dude?

I suppose it will all come down to who dumped who. If X dumped the Dude because she was too good for him, and R dumped X because he was too good for her, then R could be good enough for 5M.

But if the dumping direction went the other way it would be disturbing.

Of course, it's impossible to really know why someone dumps someone else. Some people really do dump their love interests because they need someone not so good. Maybe so they can manipulate them, or feel superior to them, or even just so that their imperfections will be seen in a more favourable context.

Now was the Dude scowling because R has info on the Dude that makes the Dude look bad or was it the opposite?

I know I'm not the only one curious about this.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Why don't they ask questions?

...I like talkin’ about you, you, you, you usually, but occasionally
I wanna talk about me!
Toby Keith, I Wanna Talk About Me lyrics Official site

For 5M this is a problem with men, for Toby Keith it's a problem with women. So why don't they ask questions. Here are some possible answers:

  1. They think they know all the answers anyway: In their mind, they've got you figured out already. You look and sound just like their fantasy of you.
  2. You're so hot: It really doesn't matter whether you grew up a Catholic or a Protestant or your parents died when you were young because all they care about they can already see.
  3. You make them so nervous their brain freezes: Either they clam up unless you ask questions or they just start babbling away.
  4. The major relationship crisis of our time?
  5. They're a narcissist: There are some excellent, highly detailed articles out there on NPD. Very detailed information from someone who lived with one here and an excellent 31-item list here. Interestingly, although Narcissists are only supposed to be 1% of the population, the authors of Help I'm in Love with a Narcissist say narcissism is the "major relationship issue of our times".
    4D's simple test: Wear mirror-shades [a narcissist won't ask you to take them off, Unless it's a bad hair day.]
  6. They have Attention Deficit Disorder: When you start talking the Deficit part kicks in. Lots out there on ADD (or ADHD, same thing). Interesting article on the communication difficulties of ADD kids and how to help them here.
    4D's Simple Test: Ask. [ADD people all seem to know they've got it and are happy to talk about it.]

What can we do about these non-questioning people?

There are a lot of websites out there that are ready to help an interested person become a better listener. Some are focussed on listening as a study skill, others for counselling or therapy and others for relationship-building. I didn't provide links to any, because we don't need those. We need a site that tells us how to make someone be a better listener.

I came across an English teaching site that had an article on using questions to carry on a mutual conversation. It raised these Points to Remember:

  1. In English, questions can be used to get specific information. They are also used to carry on a conversation.
  2. Sometimes a simple question can keep the conversation going and/or indicate an interest in continuing it.
  3. Both speakers should be prepared to ask each other questions. If one speaker has to ask all the questions, she or he may feel the other speaker is not interested in a conversation.
  4. Short answers to questions sometimes are perceived as an unwillingness on the part of the speaker to share information.

Possible solutions:

  1. If asked a question, don't give a short answer, instead give some detail, perhaps with a teaser. (Example: Q: How are you? A: Fine, now that I've finished dealing with the police. How are you?)
  2. Don't help them talk about themselves. Stop asking questions. Don't even nod or say uh, huh. See what happens.

Monday, October 17, 2005

How fast? Try Escape Velocity!

In space no one can hear you snoreRemember that unresolved issue I had? I've resolved it. I'm turning my back on the sea and setting my sights on the stars.

There are rumours that I'm not the only ESI to have survived the disappearance of the Vendetta. (I'm not at all sure she sank.) Good news if true.

Musie has been busy with her re-focussing.

R was getting to be too good to be true, but now we've seen the tip of the iceberg with the cat allergy.

I love how M pretends he doesn't read 5M's blog.

Those kittens are cute. I hope Minty doesn't mind me saying that she took some excellent photos of them.

I'm not going to say anything about this Kyle fellow who gave a nice supportive comment except that his method for avoiding fornication doesn't appeal to me.

Finally, anyone who thinks 5M doesn't give us enough detail should be thankful that she doesn't give us more detail than we really want. Which I have to admit is what Green Colander gave me in a recent post in which she shared with the world her new Diva Cup. [Say Scout, would using a "keeper" be something that would qualify a woman for being a ghettosexual? It's certainly eco-friendly.]

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A hole in the sacral joint?

Dear me. If only Aggie and Conchie hadn't gone missing in the hurricane. They know all about these "alternative" therapies.

I've had excellent results with physiotherapy on my lower back, especially when I do the exercises they told me I should do. But physiotherapy is mostly evidence-based (I say mostly because I don't think there's a lot of support for those electro-vibrator suction cup things that are right out of an episode of KinK) and evidence-based medicine just can't give the answers that alternative medicine has.

Meanwhile, poor Musie seems to need one or all of:
- a Reiki master,
- colour therapy
- sexual healing, or
- something else to fill that hole.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Is she being meta-ironic?

Back on Thursday, 5M suggested that Nice Guys:

...never put themselves down, as though fishing for reassurance and putting you down at the same time,...

Saturday, she told us:

The Dwarf always seemed to see me as particularly dreary, whereas most people who know me in person seem to find me funny.
She also gave us a quote from Linda Hutcheon on the use of irony. (The quote uses expressions that I find dreary, like "discourse" and "dominant tradition".) It also seems to be saying that "saying one thing and meaning another" is a "simple sense" of irony.

In my world, "saying one thing and meaning another" is sarcasm. It's something I do so much that when I compliment someone they often look at me with narrowed eyes and I have to say, "no, no, I mean it! I really do think it's terrific." On the internet, I've wound up in bizarre fights because I've jokingly said something and the receiver took me seriously. (Ask me about my encounter with the Skipper of the Pirate School some day.)

So... I am about to say a series of things that are what I mean to say. Not sarcastic, ironic or facetious:

  • There have been a number of times that I thought 5M was speaking seriously when she was "joking". Notably, I didn't get it that she thought the Pool Guy was being funny when he told her she might catch a cold going out with wet hair on a hot day. I believe it's because her reply to him didn't play with his irony, but contradicted it. The rest of the ESIs had the same misconception as I did.
  • When someone puts themself down to seek reassurance, I think they should be encouraged to not put themself down. I also think they should be reassured. And if I'm in a relationship with them, I try to think about what I'm doing that they don't feel reassured enough. If they put me down while they're doing it, it's certainly something I'll note. Perhaps confront them on it.
  • I've never thought the 5M is dreary. I think the person described in her blog is unhappy more often than a person should be unhappy. The person she describes as an ideal partner is not realistic, but she's demonstrated that she'll spend time with someone who is far from ideal. And that she's open to new experiences.
  • How could you describe a woman who tells you about meeting a man and wanting to jump him as dreary?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Being Patient

Early this morning at 2AM, the Fifth Muse was asking herself many questions. I wonder if she's noticed this sign in front of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, just across the street practically from the Bridgehead.

And now here's the Chair, ready to wade into the "nice guy" issue with her.

It's interesting that neither Bob nor the Chair seem able to measure up to the standard that Musie has set for them. If I know any man who is a nice guy it is the Chair. And if Bob is not a nice guy, he is doing a remarkably consistent impersonation of one.

I, of course, am not a nice guy, and so won't even take her test. Besides I have something unresolved in my heart that I need to address.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sense and Insensitivity

Had some trouble parsing the Muse this morning.

I couldn't find yesterday's Ian Brown column in the Globe. I imagine it would have helped explain what she means.

how incommensurate to compare the visual consumption of women's naked bodies to that of unadulterated curiousity about difference.

incommensurate: adjective, (often followed by 'with') not corresponding in size or degree or extent; "a reward incommensurate with his effort"

visual consumption: I'm not getting anywhere with this. It seems to be about images being commodified, but it's not like food or energy consumption, the commodity doesn't get used up or turned into something else. Found an interesting article on 19th-Century dating that the Chair might want to look at.

unadulterated curiousity about difference: This must be the good way to be looking at women. When the viewing is not about sexual arousal or objectifying women.

It comes down to sensibility. Are there any men of sensibility?

sensibility: 1. sensitivity: (physiology) responsiveness to external stimuli; "sensitivity to pain" 2. In measurements, the smallest change that is reliably detectable. 3. refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions; "cruelty offended his sensibility" 4. Sensitive feeling, emotion. The term arose early in the eighteenth century to denote the tender undercurrent of feeling in the NEOCLASSICAL PERIOD and continued through Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility(Holman 425).

I think 5M is getting at definitions 3 and 4. But the question is, is it about how sensitive the men are? or about what they're sensitive to?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A broken man on the Quyon pier

Ahh, Vendetta, th' places ye've been ta, th' stories, ye tell...All I remember is stumbling in the dark below decks, a crashin' thump on the back of me' skull and I awoke in a stormy sea, with a carpet bag lashed around me neck fer a life preserver.

I floated fer several days. Me only sustenance a tin o' lemon squares in th' carpet bag. When I began to give up hope of ever seeing land again, a US Coast Guard cutter rescued me. I'd a fine time convincin' them not to send me t' Guantanamo or Damascus. They were mighty suspicious of the cross-shaped bruise on the back of me head.

I'm back home now. The adventure didn't kill me, but I can't say it made me stronger.

I fear the pirate's life may not be fer me after all. I've some thinkin' t'do.

As fer the Fifth Muse, I was worried about her when I first got back to reading her entries, missing all of Tuesday and obsessing about M instead of sleeping, but now she's spied a rainbow through the slats of her blind. Amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why you should join a whistling ensemble

  1. Creating harmonic music with others is a transcendental experience
  2. Working with others forces you to listen more carefully and pay attention to your tuning, rhythm and tone. This deepens your appreciation for music and makes you improve.
  3. Having a deeper appreciation for music will add to the pleasure you experience every day.
  4. Improving at something so worthwhile will give you pride and a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Working with others to make music will help you learn to work better with others in other contexts.
  6. They say developing musical ability improves your mathematical abilities.
  7. When whistling with a group, you develop your breathing (this also applies to singing and playing a wind instrument) , giving you many of the benefits of yoga practice while having more fun.
  8. Every now and then you get to dress up and perform somewhere, probably to thunderous applause, maybe even a standing ovation. Who couldn't use that?

Monday, August 29, 2005

This Time for Sure

All right, so I missed the audition weekend, but I've still got a chance to get my gnarly self in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Or at least my gnarly hands:

Johnny Depp’s hands too girly for a ‘Pirate’!

London: Fans may consider Johnny Depp a ‘macho man’, but according to the producers of his upcoming movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, the actor’s hands are so ‘girly’ that they have to search for a hand double for his role in the sequel.

According to sources, the producers are on the hunt for a gnarly-handed actor to replace Depp’s feminine hands in his role as swash-buckling pirate in the movie. “Johnny has very feminine hands with long, slender fingers. It’s posed a bit of a problem,” femalefirst quoted a source as saying to America’s MSNBC website.

(Thanks to the CRTF Research Team for putting me onto this. And for the news that I'll get a chance to meet Keith Richards if I get the part. Apparently he won't be needing any gnarly parts doubles.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Another one for Coyote

So this Coyote is behind a bush relieving himself when a prairie dog comes along. "Say," asks the Coyote, "does shit stick to your fur?"

"Oh, yeah," says the Prairie Dog, "big time."

So the Coyote picks up the Prairie Dog and wipes his arse with him.

There's a version of this story where a bear asks the same question of a rabbit and the rabbit says no and the bear uses the rabbit as toilet paper. Bears aren't as bright as Coyotes, I figure. It'd be like using wax paper or something. Pointless, he'd just smear it around.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to School Soon

Y'know, although I could use a longer summer break and have been enjoying life at the salt mine, I'm looking forward to my last year at Pirate School.

Here are the courses I've signed up for in the fall semester:

SHIP ORGANIZATIONS: There are many different choices in organizational structure with a ship. My ideal is the democracy of a pirate ship with every pirate taking their fair share of the booty. But when you're battling merchantmen and government ships, you'll want to know how they're run. My favourite way of capturing a tyrannical merchantman is to offer all the downtrodden sailors the life of a pirate and an even share of the proceeds. You'd be surprised how many ships give up without a single cannon being fired when that offer is made.

PIRATES AND THE FAMILY: A pirate's life is hard on a family. What do you do when the spouse wants out? How do you divide the treasure? Are there options to duelling a man to take his bride?

CHILDREN AND LIFE AT SEA: Is it okay for the young ones to be working aboard ship? Should they be kept below decks during a battle? What share of the loot should they get?

PIRATES AND SOCIETY Selected Issues in Feminist Piracy: Should we male pirates be cleaning up our language? What can be done to increase the number of female captains? And flogging - is it a women's issue only? What about the violence of a pirate's life - does it encourage the abuse of women?

PRIVATEER PRACTICUM: This is going to be the best. I'll get one day a week of privateer life. Sure it's government work, but it's just like real piracy with better hours and the law on your side.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Is it a Date Square?

The Amazon took me to the Loblaws this afternoon. In one of my favourite aisles, the one where they keep the giant cans of tomatoes and the big bags of walnuts, they also keep big bags of pitted dates. An urge suddenly came over to me to make date squares.The Finished Product

This is remarkable for a number of reasons:

  • I don't bake (unless you count lasagna);
  • I've never made date squares or any other kind of dessert square (unless you count the brownies I whipped up last summer from a box of Betty Crocker mix);
  • I've a long list of things to do today that does not include making a dessert, but does include "lose weight"; and
  • With today's heat, I'd planned supper based on not using the oven or stove.

But something told me to make date squares, so I bought two bags of pitted dates and a bag of rolled oats.

Back at the cave, I looked in my first reference when I'm learning something new in the kitchen. Rombauer and Rombauer-Becker's Joy of Cooking (the 1975 edition). I was non-plussed to discover they don't have a proper date square recipe, only something called Date Bar Cockaigne, which looked to be a poor substitute and required pecans.

I tried another cookbook with no luck and then went to the internet.

The first recipe called for shortening. Having none, I went to the second recipe. It turned out to be from Diana Rattray! Our dear friend Agatha tells us that this Rattray woman ran off with Aggie's first husband and her lemon square recipe!

Could it be that if I used this recipe, I'd be getting something that came from Aggie's great-great-grandmother? Worth trying, I said to myself.

So I mixed it up, following the recipe closely, except, maybe a third more dates than called for. For me, a date square should have a lot of dates. Also, instead of "chopping" the dates, I used my blender.

Look at how nicely pressed that bottom layer is!But it came out okay. Here's a picture of the date mixture going on top of the bottom layer of oats, flour, etc.

Follow-up News

  1. The blender caused no harm, the dates were really smooth (except for the unpitted pit in one.)
  2. Next time, I'll use more margarine for the crust, (and perhaps try butter - it's hard to believe Aggie's great-great grandmother used margarine, and I bet she wouldn't have skimped.)
  3. I gave six of the squares to the gardening gnome in the hut next door. "Dwarfie," she cried, "how did you know date squares are my favourite thing!" (She's done wonders for the flowers around here, I owe her.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right.

Yes, those are child circus slavesYes, I missed the audition for the pirate movie. The car broke down on the way and I wound up kidnapped by circus folk.

When BlogAdmin realized I'd gone 16 hours without checking in to the ESI site, he knew something was wrong. It took him until Monday morning to track me down and rescue me.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Just for Coyote

My top 3 Talking Dog jokes:

Number 3:

These two horses are talking to each other about feed. "For stamina, I really like oats."

"For my part," says the second horse, "I like alfalfa for a burst of speed in the home stretch."

Before the first horse can reply, a dog pipes up from a corner of the stable, "hey, have either of you guys tried beef?"

The first horse turns to the second horse with big wide eyes. "How about that, a talking dog!"

Number 2:

This guy is wandering around town when he sees a pet store with a sign in the window that says "Talking Dog $10". He goes in and asks, "what's this about a talking dog?"

The owner points at a big yellow dog by the counter and before he can say anything the dog starts."That's me, I'm the talking dog. Please buy me. This guy never feeds me, doesn't even give me water and I used to be the most famous trick dog in America. I performed before kings and queens. For a while I worked for the CIA and was awarded medals from the President. You've got to take me away from this store!"

"Wow," says the guy, "this dog really can talk. How come you're selling him for ten dollars?"

The owner looks up and says, "I'm tired of all his lies."

Number 1:

This guy goes into the circus owner's office with his dog. "Have I got an act for you."

"Look, pal," says the circus owner, "I see a lot of lame acts and I ain't got time to see another."

"No, really," says the guy, "I've got a talking dog."

The circus owner rolls his eyes, but the guy carries on. "Rover, what's on top of a house?"

"Roof" goes the dog.

"Oh come on," says the circus owner.

"No, no, watch," says the guy, "what's on the side of a tree?"

"Bark" goes the dog.

"You've got one more chance," says the circus owner.

"Rover, who's the greatest baseball player who ever lived?"

"Ruth" goes the dog.

Two minutes later the guy is out sitting on the curb with his head in his hands. The dog comes up to him, licks his face and says, "DiMaggio?"

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Favourite ESI Posts

My favourite postings of the Chair:

My favourite postings of Agatha:

  • Sultry... Aggie bringing the blog back on track with some good research and a fine illustration
  • Six Reasons to Love an Asexual Once again, Agatha raises the bar for standards of scholarship on the metablog
  • Birthday gifts for the 5M Even if she'd made no other contribution, the image of Coyote with the 5M alone is enough to justify Aggie's presence on the metablog
  • Music for the 5M A good example of how metabloggers can engage with their blogger subject even when the subject is away and not descend into self-referential wanking
  • Omigod! Sometimes eight words are all that are needed
  • Our Gravest Fears as to Why 5M has not posted... I have a co-author credit on this, but it's really Aggie's work; her first try at illustration and it's a tour de force!
  • What in the name of God is going on with Tom Cruise? When Aggie first posted this, I thought, what is up with this off-topic bit of celebrity trivia? But then it garners 11 comments on the metablog and turns out to be an early citing of one of the major pop culture topics of the early summer, with many relevent connections to the 5M, the metablog, our lives and of course, our new friend Francis Heaney

My favourite postings of Conch Shell:

  • Where is my painted stick? With her long voyage to deep waters, Conchie has not been able to start many threads, yet she has been a strong presence in the comment section. Her first posting set the tone for the metablog and demonstrated the thoughtfulness and wisdom she brings to us

My favourite postings of Coyote:

  • Happy Birthday! Coyote shows his almost psychic ability to understand 5M by clipping a horoscope that 5M missed in her own birthday posting
  • Rage and fury, revisited... To a simple dwarf with pirate inclinations, a Coyote posting can strain the attention span, but in this posting Coyote keeps the attention of even the most ADHD among us as he delves into aspects of the 5M's personality that we'd all been avoiding.
  • Disaster... An interesting dream analsyis
  • Waidaminnit...! Coyote asks an important question about the poet and double standards
  • M*ses, p*ets & the vortices of Brownian motion Coyote demonstrates why he is one of the ESIs top field operatives

My favourite postings of My Own:

  • Between 4 and 6 Every one of my posts have been invaluable contributions to our efforts to understand the 5M and ourselves, so I'd have to list all of them. But if there is one that rises above the others it has to be the one that got the famous Francis Heaney to mention our metablog on his blog. (I have a secret hope that Minty finds it someday and puts the part that she inspired up on her fridge.)
  • What Really Happened to the Kitties Okay, the above was true until this one. My expose of M's true evilness is my all-time favourite 4th Dwarf Posting.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Farewell Cartoon to my Old Friend the Chair

This could have been a gory operation, but I didn't want to draw that.
Now that the Chair is gone, I figure it's all right for me to reveal he was a plaid recliner.

Monday, July 04, 2005

How to Spot the Rogue

This is me, Baby!

  • the messy hair;
  • arrives late at meetings, draws pictures, colours them in, leaves early;
  • carries unlicensed equipment;
  • doesn't participate in the coffee fund; but
  • has an excellent relationship with the receptionists and cleaning staff;
  • socks might not match;
  • moves his own computer, doesn't call IT;
  • showers alone;
  • looks good on a Vespa; and
  • gets the job done.

Friday, July 01, 2005

End User Licence Agreement

So I was thinking of checking out the security software available from Rogers Yahoo.

Thought I should actually read the EULA first. Here's one of the things I'll be agreeing to if I click "I accept":

b. You represent and warrant that YOU WILL NOT:

vi. use the Yahoo! Software to operate nuclear facilities, life support or other medical equipment, manufacturing or construction equipment, weapons systems, aircraft or nautical navigation or communication systems, air traffic control systems, or for any other mission critical application where human life or property may be at risk. You understand that the Yahoo! Software is not designed for such purposes and that its failure in such cases could lead to death, personal injury, or severe property or environmental damage for which licensor is not responsible;

Of course, after going through this whole thing, it turned out they have no software I'd want badly enough to risk on my machine, even if I'm not operating a nuclear power plant.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ask the shopkeeper

Spent half an hour at Canadian Tire in the automotive section looking for products recommended at Cool Tools. Couldn't find any of them. Finally asked a clerk. She located all three within a few minutes.

So when I went to the tool section, as soon as I saw a guy in a red shirt, I said, "drill bits?" Then after I got set up there, "drywall anchors?"

I'm telling you it's the way to go.

Mind you, it's not like the next time I'm sailing somewhere and not sure where I am on the chart, I'll be asking for directions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dandelion Salad

Last evening when I got home from the salt mine, I noticed some fresh dandelion leaves beside the stump outside my cave.

Plucked them, rinsed them, put them in a bowl, added some salad dressing from a bottle in the icebox and ate them.

Tasted okay and no ill effects.

I realized half-way through that if I did have ill effects, I'd have to still try them again because the salad dressing in the icebox must be at least four years old. Lucky, eh?

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Horror Abates

The sweet receptionist is using my coffee now. She's just not using enough.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Downside of a Secret Identity

  1. When somebody famous says "Nicely done" for something your secret identity did, your public identity can't put the quote on the back of a book.
  2. Mysterious gaps in your resume.
  3. The answer to "how are you?" is always complicated.
  4. So is remembering all your passwords.
  5. Different allergies.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Royalty of Sinking Ships

Insane tourists on bus/boat atrocity
I wheeled past the Lady Dive up in Confederation Square today. It takes all I can do to not yell at the tourists, are you crazy?

What do you think, could we get a web mob together some day? All along their route people could yell things like get off the bus! and don't do it! and we could carry signs with messages like Remember the Lady Duck!".

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Royal Watching

To get away from the coffee situation (let's not talk about it, enough to say, I failed to make the switch yesterday) I had lunch at the Shawarma Queen.

My first time there. Of course I've been to the Shawarma King. The Elgin and the Bank Street both. And at the Bank Street Shawarma King I learned that they were owned by the same people. Along with the Shawarma's King further north. (The sign-maker made a mistake.)

So after ordering my sandwich and glass of water, I asked if I could ask a question. "The Shawarma King and the Shawarma Queen... are they married?" Before the guy could answer, I added, "or divorced?"

"Divorced," he said.

I left it at that. I felt like I'd already pried too far into something that might be painful.

Good shawarma, I must say. Lots of chicken. Tasty sauce.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Horror Continues

"I made coffee again," she said. "How was it yesterday?"

And with 89 days still to go to Talk Like a Pirate Day, I merely said, "it was fine." But I've got a plan. Mix some Nicaraguan Dark with her unpalatable blend and see if it perks it up tomorrow. (Ha, get it? "perks it up"? I'll have to save that for my pun-loving friend Coyote.)

Meanwhile, it's good to see the wee ducklings practicing up for Sept. 19:

Monday, June 20, 2005

Good News Bad Coffee

Got some good news this morning. Seems next year I'll be working an upper tunnel. So stopped at the Bramasole for a celebration breakfast. Great western sandwich, great homefries, terrible coffee.

So here at the Salt Mine, was all set to mix up some Nicaraguan Dark Roast, but one of the other miners had made coffee already. "Help yourself," she said. Couldn't see a way to pour her stuff down the drain and make my own so now I'm drinking even worse coffee.

It just goes to show that the universe is all about balance.