ltmurnau: (Default)
I planted some seeds on Sunday, a week after weeding, digging up and loosening the soil in my raised beds, and adding a bit of compost, peat mosss and fertilizer.

I planted two rows each of broad beans, kale, Swiss chard, daikon radish and leeks. Leaving the fence up of course so the deer don't eat it all. I will grow pac choi in a box on the sundeck.

Sunday happened to be a full moon as well, just a coincidence but it can't hurt.

The apple tree is very heavily weighed down with apples, the pear tree had a good crop too but the fruit is mostly small. Soon I will start harvesting the apples, hell I still have some frozen from last fall that I haven't eaten. Who wants some?
ltmurnau: (Default)
Life Soundtrack Meme
Ganked from [ profile] sabotabby who got it from.

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every "scene", type the song that's playing. Comment on its hermetic relationship to whatever the scene is.
5. When you go to a new scene, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits:
Devo, "Freedom of Choice"

Waking Up:
Skinny Puppy, "Glass Houses"

First Day At School:
Devo, "Mechanical Man"

Falling In Love:
Soundtrack to Godzilla, "Godzilla's Rampage"

Fight Song:
Man or Astro-Man, "U-Uranus"

Breaking Up:
Klaus Nomi, "Return"

Devo, "Mr. B's Ballroom"

Life is good:
Thomas Dolby, "Flying North"

Mental Breakdown:
Nina Hagen, "Russische Reggae"

Dead Kennedys, "Holiday in Cambodia"

Devo, "Whip It"

Getting Back Together:
Devo, "Please Baby Please"

SPK, "Romanz in Moll"

Final Battle:
Iggy Pop, "Funtime"

Death Scene:
Wire, "It's a Boy"

Funeral Song:
Pixies, "Monkey's Gone To Heaven"

End Credits:
Severed Heads, "Chasing Skirt"

Hm. Interesting, not least for the amount of Devo that shows up in this random selection - five out of 17, on an MP3 player with over 1,000 items on it. Is it possible for a "shuffle" to be broken, or am I just paying too much attention?


Well, a pretty good long Easter weekend, even though it rained for two of the four days. I got some cheap fir 2x10s and gave them a double coating of linseed oil, to make 5x3 foot raised beds for my garden this year. If it hadn't rained on Monday I would have gotten it done. Anyway, it's not too late for next weekend. Going to plant spinach, snow peas, radishes, green onions, cucumbers and soybeans this year, among others.

Made some notes for my Cyprus project. Cooked and organized stuff. Did my and Lianne's taxes.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Far too long since my last post, but it was a busy month or six weeks in there. I eked out some of my vacation and took most Fridays off, I suppose I could get used to a four-day week but certainly not as much gets done.

Aki got home without incident (pity about the 14-hour bus ride to his town from Tokyo, and back again), and I think making the flight by himself really boosted his self-confidence and ability to deal with the unknown. At least, I hope so. Like any 15 year old he has grumpy non-communicative days, and other days where he just amazes me with his insight and intelligence. Now he's in Grade 11, with a full load of demanding courses - Physics, Chemistry, Drafting and Design, and Computer Programming. Next term is English, Social Studies, Math and Auto Mechanics. He says he's planning on Engineering at UVic - if he can maintain the focus, not get distracted and cultivate good study habits, I think he'll make it. I hope so, because he doesn't have the option of becoming a glib nerdy Poli Sci fake-it type like me.

Tuvan Independence Day party went off well, lots of people showed and most of the meat got eaten. [ profile] shadesofwinter and Blair came with a big ice cream cake with the Tuvan flag on top - printed on a piece of rice paper so we could eat the flag! [ profile] epexegesis came, I hadn't seen or talked to him in a year or two. It was a nice warm day without too many bugs and afterwards we sat in chairs and watched the meteors come down.

A couple of weeks later my friend Lissa and her kids came to visit from Bainbridge Island. I've known Lissa for 24 years, she was one of my first contacts in Mail Art, back when she was "Phlegm Pets", doing pieces for a zine called Cerebral Discourse that her then boyfriend "Burnt Raisins" and other friend "CDR Rotor" printed on an offset press in a Seattle basement. Her kids are 19 and 15 now. They stayed for a few days and we all climbed Mount Doug, which I hadn't done before. With binoculars and difficulty I picked out our house from the summit.

I got to DJ again, this time in a public place! Recently the [ profile] goth_vic people have had two chances a month to dress up and go out - "Cabaret Noir" mid month at Logan's and "Boneshaker" near-end-month at Paparazzi. Dan usually plays a lot of vinyl but was getting bored with it, and gave me a chance to play for an hour and a bit at the latter night. I brought a bunch of CDs and had a lot of fun! The best part was playing Nash the Slash's "Dance After Curfew" and getting a really good reaction from people. I hope I can do it again some time.

For the first time in years I went to a Fringe play - a production of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". It was OK, the cast tired hard with some interesting set design (scrim on angular frames that suggested the distorted buildings and perspectives of the film) but no one had any voice control and the sound (drones and the odd "deee-DEEE" to underline moments that were supposed to be scary) was just plain annoying.

Labour Day weekend would have been a lot more fun if, midway through Saturday, I hadn't cracked a big porcelain onlay while eating a chicken salad sandwich. A month before the same thing had happened when I was eating a tortilla chip. At first I thought it was the same tooth, but no it was the neighbour tooth (cracked in 2007 - Still, I couldn't do anything about it until Tuesday - got it fixed all right, then Wednesday I had both toenails removed (I had lost both of them before in accidents, and each time they grew in more lumpy and ingrown, so I thought I would just get them removed once and for all, the scientific way) and I am still gimping around from that, then Thursday more dental indignities (cleaning and grinding). I mean, I'm glad I have a set of teeth in good repair (though many more of these porcelain onlays and my mouth will be on its way to life as a sink) and in a while my feet will be all right, but I was glad to see the end of that week.

The garden died with a whimper. Lots of snow peas came out, and there was some nice spinach and a few turnips, but most other plantings were - not good... radishes bolted, cabbage disappointing, onions flowered, and deer at lots of things. But the apple tree is loaded down - not so the pear, but next year should be good for it. I wonder what I should plant on the plot to save it from going back to sod during the winter, I'd like to do a bit less digging to prepare it this time.

Not a great deal of gaming done, but I am selling and trading a few items. I took Virtualia and pulled it apart into basic, intermediate and advanced versions, so that an acquaintance at McGill University could try and use it in his classroom. If it works and there is some kind of lesson from it we might make a presentation on it at the fall 2011 meeting of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies, in Ottawa. Hope so.

And, you know, I think I am really starting to like instrumental surf music.


Jul. 6th, 2010 03:08 pm
ltmurnau: (Default)
Well, been a while but been-a busy too.

Stayed home on Canada Day, to avoid the horrific scenes downtown. It seems to me that, Back In The Day, people did get drunk but it was at barbecues etc. in their own backyards and they normally weren't a pain in the ass (except for immediate family members). But now it's de rigeur and somehow patriotic to dress up in a Canadian flag wearing like a toga or diaper and spend the evening vomiting on your friends and pissing on people's heads off the Embankment? I also note that display of the flag and waving it around on any and every occasion was also a lot more restrained, though people were no less patriotic then. This fixation on symbols of nationality has been a long time coming, due to our time-lag of adopting American cultural norms, and certainly was accelerated after 9/11. Anyway, we could see the top half of the fireworks show from the back sundeck.

Garden's done really well! Radishes bolted almost immediately, grew 2 feet tall and flowered. I got a lot of good spinach, it's mostly bolted now too. Cabbages making lots of leaves but no actual cabbage yet. Turnips good, I've picked and eaten most of them and the zucchini have bloomed and are ready to start fruiting. And peas, lots of snow peas... in fact, when they flowered that finally attracted the deer and I had to put up the deer barrier. I will probably weed and replant part of the garden this weekend. The pear and apple trees were pruned in March and the apple tree is simply loaded down with good-looking fruit; the pear tree has only a few pears on it but next year will probably be good.

On Saturday I took Aki to the Vancouver airport for his flight to Japan. Air Canada has stopped service to Osaka so his mother has to travel all the way to Tokyo to get him; over 500 miles. This is the first time he has ever travelled alone, I got him all the paper he needed but he was still nervous about the procedures at Immigration. He didn't really want to go to Japan, but he does want to see his mother and that's the only way that will happen. He will be back on the 31st.

Meanwhile, Lianne is still in Ontario visiting her Mom, so I am alone for about 10 days - haven't been on my own for so long in years. I should be at Monty's with my pants wrapped around my head hooting at the dancers, but instead I went to Value Village to buy a new old hoodie and went home to make lentil soup. I'm getting old.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Well, a few things have been a-happening.

I'm slowly getting out from under this stupid cold; figure I have produced enough phlegm in the last 10 days to fill a large salad bowl. Now I'm waiting for the "hinny" to strike. Argh. The high point of my birthday weekend was a short trip to Dairy Queen - I had a small Blizzard. But I got some nice books, though - The Fighting Canadians by David Bercuson, Kilcullen's very good The Accidental Guerrilla, and a history of the AK-47 rifle (there are actually several such in print right now, I think I got a good one).

Also recently is issue #259 of Strategy and Tactics magazine, containing my game Battle for China and my large accompanying article on the Sino-Japanese War 1937-41. Seems to have been well received, at least no one has written in demanding to know why I didn't use his favourite reference book or that I missed mention that the 1st Parachute Battalion was dropped in the second battle for Changsha, Or Something. I think this is the high point of my gamer notoriety - World at War has a circulation of about 5,000 I think, and S&T about 15,000. This will be the last time these games will be published as I sold the copyrights to the publisher - but this marks the third time for the Spanish game and the fourth for the China game, not bad for an amateur effort.

Now I need to get going on an article on the impact of the Dieppe raid on Allied doctrine - I'll have some time to work on it next month maybe. Meanwhile, finishing up a game on the Finnish Civil War (January-May 1918) that tries to do something a little different. Also worked on the cover artwork for my Greek Civil War (1947-49) and Balkan Gambit games; they ought to come out in early 2010.

I don't think I wrote about my fruit trees. I have a large apple tree and a smaller pear tree in my backyard, and while neither one has been properly pruned or looked after in years, they both bore lots of good fruit. I made many, many crisps, since I can't be arsed to make pies or cakes. This spring we will have them looked at by a tree surgeon, and they should do well. Will also cut back that large maple tree that overhangs my backyard and made my vegetables waste most of their effort growing sideways to get out of its shade.

Been listening to Gang of Four's early albums lately - if the Situationists had had a house band, they would be it.

The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure
Ideal love a new purchase
A market of the senses
Dream of the perfect life
Economic circumstances
The body is good business
Sell out, maintain the interest
Remember Lot's wife
Renounce all sin and vice
Dream of the perfect life
This heaven gives me migraine
The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure

Coercion of the senses
We are not so gullible
Our great expectations
A future for the good
Fornication makes you happy
No escape from society
Natural is not in it
Your relations are of power
We all have good intentions
But all with strings attached

Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest
Repackaged sex keeps your interest

The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure
Ideal love a new purchase
A market of the senses
Dream of the perfect life
Economic circumstances
The body is good business
Sell out, maintain the interest
Remember Lot's wife
Renounce all sin and vice
Dream of the perfect life
This heaven gives me migraine
This heaven gives me migraine
This heaven gives me migraine

SRL 30

Nov. 25th, 2008 03:03 pm
ltmurnau: (Default)

Survival Research Laboratories is thirty years old today!

"Survival Research Laboratories was conceived of and founded by Mark Pauline in November 1978. Since its inception SRL has operated as an organization of creative technicians dedicated to re-directing the techniques, tools, and tenets of industry, science, and the military away from their typical manifestations in practicality, product or warfare. Since 1979, SRL has staged over 45 mechanized presentations in the United States and Europe. Each performance consists of a unique set of ritualized interactions between machines, robots, and special effects devices, employed in developing themes of socio-political satire. Humans are present only as audience or operators."

Like many weirdos not indigenous to San Francisco in the 1970s, I first learned about SRL in the still incredibly entertaining "Industrial Culture Handbook" by Re/Search Publications. It wasn't until 1989 that I got to see an actual SRL performance, in Seattle. Took time off from my Army job in Ottawa (well, it was leave due me) to see it, and probably lost a good girlfriend over it, but it was worth it. I even got to shake Mark Pauline's claw afterward!

Also, here is a link to an old book from 1918 on how to grow War Vegetables in your yard ('cause you need to be ready when your neighbour's vegetables come boiling over the wire....)
ltmurnau: (Default)
Thanks for the reminder [ profile] rosminah.

Everything is growing great guns, except for the carrots! The day or two of acceptably hot weather over the weekend helped to start things over again. I've had to pull lots of poppies, which in some places are crowding out the young vegetables.
The potatoes in the tires are doing great, and the taller snow pea plants are almost 2 feet tall.
Spinach plants are healthy but still small. Haven't bolted yet, and if the summer continues cool I won't have to worry about it anyway.
Corn is about a foot tall, and the cucumbers and zucchini are doing fine.
I think I will have loads of zucchini all ready at the same time, like always, and have to find homes for them.
Watermelon vines are growing but are still tiny - we need really hot weather for them to get to any size and bear fruit.
But I wish we'd have hot summers again. I miss them.

Akito arrives in ten days!
It will be a busy time, but lots of fun I think.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Everything in my garden has sprouted quite nicely!

The potatoes aren't out yet, but the broccoli sprouted first, followed by the zucchini and corn (shoots are now 2 inches tall). Then the peas and cucumbers, sunflowers and watermelon. Carrots and spinach last. I scattered handfuls of poppy seed and parsley around between the rows and they are sprouting nicely too.

I sowed a lot of seed because I wanted to get rid of the leftover seeds from the last 2-3 plantings, mixed them in with this year's seed. I will thin the plants week after next when I get back. Just hope they stay watered, as I've asked!

Meanwhile, the deer have to cooperate by staying the hell out. I put up the deer fence, it's about four feet high which may or may not stop them but I didn't have any poles that were taller. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any deer around the neighbourhood lately....
ltmurnau: (Default)
On Saturday I did some testing of my new urban counterinsurgency game (government fell and fell hard because they let the gringos in to do the fighting for them, though the insurgents did not have a lot of popular support).

Later we went shopping, and I got an air rifle for Aki - he wants to shoot a "real gun" this summer while he is here, so I thought to get him an air rifle to teach him how to shoot (body alignment, breathing and trigger control, etc.) first. The one I got, an Airmaster 77, looks good and got good reviews, but firing it requires it to be pumped several times for more power - I probably should have got the "break-barrel" type that cocks a piston and makes it ready in one motion.

Speaking of which, I spent a hot and busy Sunday working over the garden. Filling in those trenches ( was a lot harder than digging them in the first place, but that's the general rule with defensive earthworks. I finished the clearing out of sod (the neighbour suggested I lay down tar paper to keep the grass out of the garden), dressed the soil with lime, bone meal, steer manure and "pink" fertilizer, laid down some new dirt (in beds edged with old boards) and sowed seeds. This year I'm planting (from left to right, not that it matters to you):

- potatoes, grown in tires
- broccoli
- two rows of snow peas
- carrots
- cucumbers
- spinach (a bushy type that is supposed to resist bolting)
- two rows of corn
- five "hills" of zucchinis
- two "hills" of watermelons
- sunflowers on the ends of the rows, for birds and fun

My deer protection plan this year is to get a roll of "deer fence" from Home Depot - it is a black plastic 1" square mesh and stake it out with rebar at the corners so they can't jump it (yeah, I know, famous last words), and leave some kind of gate in the edge so I can get in and water/ weed it. And I have an air rifle now, too.

It is so great to have a garden, and be able to grow even a little of my own food. I'm lucky. (You'll be lucky too, in August when I have 35 pounds more zucchini than I can possibly eat!)

That took most of the day, I was really tired. I went in, made burgers for us and we watched the new Romero, Diary of the Dead. It was interesting, quite grisly special effects but it is mostly a meditation on media/ new media, spin, the observer and the observed, truth in life vs. truth through the lens, got a little self-referential too (there was one point where the audio track in the background was the TV broadcast from the original Night of the Living Dead talking about "Civil Defense Authorities", something that does not exist today).
ltmurnau: (Default)
This weekend promises to be sunny, so I think I will put my Trench Garden to bed for the year.

Reference link

I planted these things; how did they do?

- potatoes (grown-in-the-tire trick): These did very well, better than I expected. Yukon Golds. Got about half a bushel out of two tires. I will do this again next year.

- onion sets (for green onions and winter onions): some green onions, but more bulb onions. I think next year I will just grow green onions from seed, as the little ones seem to be more popular.

- snow peas: the deer ate almost all of these, or rather the flowers - but if you don't have pea flowers, you don't get peas. Some hid successfully underneath the leaves, but not enough made it through to be worthwhile. I don't think I will bother with it again.

- spinach: Plants came up and promptly bolted. Think I got enough for one small salad before the deer got it.

- tomatoes: Did fine, but they took their time ripening. One plant made a lot of nice large tomatoes, and the other made masses of delicious cherry tomatoes.

- peppers: one got eaten by the deer, one tried to grow a pepper but got overshadowed by the tomato plants. Ended up with one the size of a ping-pong ball.

- corn: planted a row or two, grew quite nicely, got taller than Aki. Raccoons got only one cob.

- watermelons: Just for fun. Did not grow very quickly, and we ended up with two or three about the size of tennis balls.

- Strawberry plants: survived the winter, but only one plant produced any berries. I think I will pull them up and convert that bed along the side of the house into a herb garden.

- Poppies: got some really unusual colours and tall ones this year!
ltmurnau: (Default)
Kiva at the cafe: the place was pretty full and it was a nice evening except for four people at the very back of the cafe who would NOT stop talking at the tops of their voices about their cycling and hiking trips up-island; as Kiva played they would just yell louder. And they kept it up for over two hours. I felt like causing a scene but there's no percentage in that.

I talked to Kiva for a moment about Tyva Kyzy, an all-women throat singing group from Tuva who toured around the Northwest in early 2006. She knew about them and had met them in Finland (for some reason Finland is a magnet for throat-singers, and I don't know why), told me she had written a song about them that was performed there with three other throat-singers and an enthusiastic dog!

In other happenings, I mowed the lawn before the next crop of dandelions went to seed, planted some parsley and radishes where the spinach didn't come up, and stuck in some trellises for the peas. Many of my papaver somniferum, though small, have now bloomed and they are all dark purple, though there has been one pure white one. The red ones bloom later.

Digging In

May. 23rd, 2006 11:12 am
ltmurnau: (Default)
I spent the long weekend (the part that didn't rain, anyway) digging slit trenches.

I thought I had forgotten all about how to dig a hole for one's personal protection against unseen enemies, but by the third (and last) one I was constructing dead-straight rectilinear positions, with level floors and neat spoil heaps.

I even revetted the walls with leftover sheets of galvanized metal left from The Shed That Died, cut lengthways by the Armstrong Wire Method*.

I was tired but proud. Next comes camming up the position as a whole, by judicious planting of leafy greenstuffs.

None of this should mean anything to anyone, but if I get around to it I'll take and post a picture.

* [EDIT: The "Armstrong Wire Method" of cutting corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) is as follows (excerpt from Chapter 8 of the Canadian Forces Basic Field Engineering Manual):

CGI can be quickly and easily cut in the field by the following method:

a. anchor two strands of 14 SWG wire about 1.80 m long securely to a picket in the ground and secure the other end to a stick or pick helve;

b. lay the CGI over the wire at the position to be cut and as close to the anchor picket as possible. The edge of the corrugations of the sheet are turned towards the ground;

c. stand on the sheet facing away from the anchor picket with the feet close to the line of the cut and pull the wire upwards, as vertical as possible, using the stick held in the crutch of the arms; and

d. as the wire cuts through the sheet move the feet back along the line of the cut. Do not jerk the wire but apply a steady pull.

Fig 6-3-4 Cutting Corrugated Iron

[I did not have any 14 SWG wire on hand so I used some vinyl-covered wire clothesline I had lying around, and Aki's old baseball bat instead of a pick helve. Improvise, adapt, overcome.]
ltmurnau: (Default)
I got one of these on the weekend:

It works all right but God damn, it's safe. The way it's designed, I couldn't stick my fingers into the whirring roaring blades even if I wanted to. And the hopper is way too small, I'd have to chop my victim up into at least 32 pieces before doing a Fargo on 'em.

I ask you, where's the thrill in yard work if you can't lose a limb or at least digits, and what good is a powered appliance that can't help you hide evidence?

Poppy Seeds

Mar. 7th, 2005 11:49 am
ltmurnau: (Brian Duke)
It's spring, and I have a lot of poppy seeds lying around. I can't plant them all, so if any of you would like to get some seeds from me, please let me know.

Most of them are dark red with a black centre, but many of them are coming up dark purple, almost black, viz.:

They're rather mixed up, so I am not sure exactly what you will get. I also don't know if there would be any issues about mailing seeds outside of Canada. Poppies grow pretty well around here, best spot would be a warm sunny spot with sandy soil. Germination rates are great, they come up like a little field of lettuce so you need to thin them out early for best results.

(xposted to [ profile] gothgardening)

Moan Day

Jun. 23rd, 2003 09:49 am
ltmurnau: (Default)
Well, a weekend spent resting, for once. Or mostly resting.

Friday night was Gothvic coffee night, so windy and cold that we all moved inside when it got dark. Kiri_bean's friend Manjari was in town, and a few other people came out of the woodwork. Scuttle was there before going to work, and now she's home dying of some awful biological thing, seaofrain was in Vancouver organizing her Elegant Gothic Lolita tea party, and that's all the Gothvic/Livejournal people I can reference for now.

Saturday we went grocery shopping and I deked out to the Salvation Army up the hill from the mall. I found a book of Varga pinup girls in good shape (the book was good too, only a few dog-ears) and a strange French-language {{metiers de loto}} bingo style game for 99 cents. It came with six cards with six pictures of people dressed in their work clothes but with empty hands, and 36 little cards showing various implements. So players had to match up the typewriter with the typist, or the {{machine a ecrire}} with {{la dactylo}} or something like that (sorry if I get the genders wrong, I wasn't paying attention). It was a pretty old set, because there were cards for gas jockeys in peaked caps, sculptors, manual typists and so forth. Funny too, because some of the implements were out of scale so the nurse was threatening her patient with a syringe the size of a bicycle pump! I suppose these days you could work a few changes on it, too - try to argue that {{le facteur}} (the postman) needs a cleaver to do his job correctly, and the butcher needs the syringe to dope up the meat so it has a taste, etc. and so forth.

Then I mowed the lawns (actually, these days it's more like chopping the dandelions off short, as the grass has stopped growing until the fall) and we set up the new used tent in the backyard. I am planning on taking that one to Burning Man and wanted to test it out for leaks and tears and how quickly one could set it up in a wind. It's a fine little bit of shelter, but it's definitely not for two adults unless they are Siamese twins. New sleeping bag and sleeping pad are fine too.

Sunday I hacked around weeding the garden, picking cherries off the tree (they are good this year, and the birds didn't get near as many as they usually do), going for a long bike ride in search of a stamp, and watching an anime I had found last week: "Wings of Honneamise". There is so much imagination in this movie: the people who made the story of the beginnings of space flight on another world stocked this alternate Earth with believable alternate technologies, religions, styles of dress, etc.. Really must have been a labour of love.

And this morning woke up late for work already - SOMEONE had reset the alarms we use to get up at 7:15. One was set for 6:00 am and one for 7:20 pm. I love having twelve whole minutes to do all the bathroom business, shave, dress, grab food, pack bag and rocket out the house with my boots on the wrong feet (OK, so that last bit was exaggeration but you get the idea). So now here I am, updating this journal!


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