Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sunny Bunkle Saturday...

Apparently you only need one ear.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Before and after....





















A few posts ago I mentioned a new couch. What I failed to mention was the new dishwasher. That weekend will be known as "Jan's blow out extravaganza" until I do something equally out of control again.
So - the old dishwasher was a Caloric (yes, that was apparently a brand of appliance at some point in the early 20th Century). It didn't clean well, sounded like a small aircraft, and was rusting on the inside. The new is a Bosch, chosen not really because Bosch are great dishwashers (thankfully they are), but because my crappy counters are not standard depth, and Bosch are neatly european and small in size.
The shiny beauty is highlighting the complete lack of beauty around it (note the crap flooring that stops just short of the base of the DW...and I'm guessing you've already noticed the other spots of beauty - like the stunning chipped forest green cupboards - in my very old kitchen). I should mention that the top control panel is grey plastic, not white like it appears in the photo. Funny how the more I try to un-bunkle the place, the Bunklier it seems to get ;-) Good thing love is blind.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not everyone enjoys pedicures....



Every six weeks or so the cats go for a nail trim (referred to by my vet as 'pedicures', I think so they can charge $20 a pop...sigh). Not something I can do at home unfortunately without having my flesh flayed from the bone. Maggie is better about it now - there have been times at the vet when she has had to be completely mummified in towels with one limb protruding at a time - guess she prefers the way long nails slim her paws?

Thomas is fine once he is actually AT the vet (other than doing some sort of spiderman manoeuvre to stay lodged in the completely inverted cat carrier when it comes to trying to get him out onto the table) - the fun with him is catching him and getting him in the carrier in the first place. Once it involved taking my old bed completely apart as he had managed to get up inside the box spring - old bed has gone, new bed thankfully has no kitty access point.

But I've gotta say, the $40 is almost worth the look on Thomas' face.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Who needs legs anyway...







So I've taken a bit of a break from birding. I tried to make some legs with florist wire, and wasn't very happy with the results. So I stopped.


Until last night, when I made the newest member - who is a Western Meadowlark by the way - and tried the legs on for size.


I'm still not very happy with them - they are too shiny, too gold, and too metallic looking. They also were a complete pain in the rear when I was sewing because the thread kept getting caught in the wire.



Seems to me that I might be losing my way a bit - the intention here was to make birds for my tree next Christmas and I'm getting lost in the details. I like Mr. Meadowlark, but he seems to be a bit ...beyond... the original intent. Maybe too much detail. We will see. ( As an aside, am I the only one that goes a bit crazy when you post more than one photo? Find it impossible to get the layout right...sigh.)

As I sit typing this Thomas started rolling on the blanket box. The photo is fuzzy but I have to share...funny thing was that when I got up to take the photo, my shadow moved, and so did Thom...it's a fuzzy sequence, but he's a fuzzy guy.















Saturday, March 17, 2007

Me and Meg White....


Moving slowly today - a rainy Vancouver day, bit of a headache (damn atmospheric pressure...can't we do without atmospheric pressure?). The Big News is that I have bought a fold out couch for the red den. Quite excited about it - it should be ready for delivery in 6 to 8 weeks, and god help me that better be enough time for me to install baseboards into that room ... and who knows, maybe finish refinishing the door between the den & bathroom (though the cats are so used to rocketing through the current torn-paper door that I dread to think what is going to happen when something solid is put there - may have to get cat crash helmets of some sort for the first little while).

On the way back home from buying the couch I stopped at Thomas Haas and picked up a double baked almond croissant. If anyone comes to visit and sleep on my new couch, I promise a visit to Thomas Haas. As a pal at work said, no problem is so large that it cannot be solved by a Thomas Haas double baked almond croissant. Anyway, came home, and had it with some tea from this little pot I painted years ago. The painted houses look surprisingly like the Bunkle.

Speaking of good food, had a great night out at my pal L's house last night with a group of old and new friends eating great home made pizza and playing Bohnanza.

And in other news, according to this oh-so-accurate site, my celebrity look alike is Meg White of the White Stripes. Followed closely by a series of young asian actresses I've never heard of, Sela Ward, Christina Aguilera and Beyonce. Anyone who knows me will be laughing hysterically at this point. I think they were matching the spacing of the eyes or something. I guess mine are wider than I thought...? At least it didn't pull up Rodney Dangerfield. I dare you to try it. I did try it on a photo of Thomas to see if my pal's assertion that he looks like Peter Lorre holds water, but the site didn't recognize his furry mug as a face. Too bad.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Something for the fans.....




I have had a request for more cat photos. I can't quite believe it, but am more than happy to comply!
Makes me wonder if I shouldn't set up an official fan club.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ranking Full Stop...

So, as promised, here's the Dave Wakeling blog. I know you were all (all 3 of you?) holding your breath.

It was at the same venue I whined about in early blog (the Grizzly Bear night), so we tried new seats - up on the balcony, but right at the end, very close to the stage, far away from the bar, and RIGHT infront of the flown speakers (sorry, ears, really I am). Much much better choice.

So. Where to start.

DW & the Band - As my brother said, you couldn't have asked for more. They sound fantastic, played everything (that didn't feature Ranking Roger as lead vocal) and were having an exceedingly good time. For over 2 hours. And they were determined to make sure everyone else had a good time too - somehow a positive spin was put on everything (including a fight and some dodgy moments thanks to the monitor tech which I will touch on later) - which might have something to do with the super upbeat DW consuming a steady stream of Red Bull. It was an unbelievable love fest.

The Audience - oh, where to start, where to start. A roiling boil of skanking 40+ year olds would be the quick description, though that is probably only 70% true. Falling outside of that would be the female Tom Waites look-alike (in body, hair, and outfit...and yes, female) who wandered up on to the stage to start some sort of incredibly slow, incredibly stoned 'oooh I'm moving in jello' dance until she was finally coerced to leave by some friends. At which point she continued the same slow dance with the wall, though my gut call is she couldn't tell the difference. I could go on. People's need for acknowledgment at concerts baffles me sometimes. Are you trying to connect with the band? Do you need to have 500 people's eyes on you to feel special? I don't get it. The band seems to get it more than me and had no problem trying to accommodate their needy fans, including those feeling the need to share the spotlight on the stage. A fight did break out at one point - even the oldies can get feisty I guess - but the perp was ejected like a cannon ball, and DW glossed over it in his own uber-positive way.

The Sound - A small drama all on its own. There were some major monitor issues during the opening band, which resulted in VERY cranky sound tech hopping up on stage in the middle of the set to verbally tear apart the obviously not very on the ball monitor tech - using the lead singers mic, so we were all part of the joy. When DW et al start playing, DW mentions that the sound is GREAT despite the problems he heard about earlier. Then his voice starts to crackle. And sound guy storms over to monitor guy. Who hops up on stage and manages to switch DW's mic cable in between verses. Which DW praises as soon as the song is over (remember the 'positive spin' mentioned earlier). I have seen so many bands that would have been having major fits over this kind of stuff. But, in DW land (or rather, Red Bull land) EVERYTHING'S GOOD. And really, I've gotta say, it was.

Me - Yes, I get my own heading. It was a weird time warp for me. I found myself thinking about who I was when I used to listen to the Beat all the time. What I wore (what happened to those red and black loafers anyway?). What I thought my life would be. What my view of the future was. And I've got to say, nothing has turned out how I thought it would. Not that it has turned out worse - not that you can judge better or worse when you only end up living one way I suppose - it has just turned out differently. And I have to admit relief that my teenage fear that I'd be wearing polyester elastic waist pants when I hit 40 has proved unfounded.

It has taken me so long to write this that I've actually seen another concert since then - a fantastic evening with Guy Clark, Joe Ely, and musical demi-gods John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett. Every time I see Lyle Lovett live I am floored by his voice. It is so easy for him. What an incredible treat. And to the lone off-beat clapper in the middle of the super-quiet audience...oh, I'll stop. It's not good for my blood pressure.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Did you hear the one about...?



Didn't I mention (warn) at the start of this whole blogging thing that it was completely self indulgent? Brace yourself.

I'm off to see Dave Wakeling & The English Beat (what that will look like remains to be seen) this weekend with my brother. On the way to work this morning I started thinking about the last time I saw the Beat. It would have been in the mid-80s, and I went with my pal Ian. Somewhere is a cassette recording of that night - Ian smuggled a tape recorder in the crotch of his jumpsuit (yes, jumpsuit...). It all got me thinking about what makes a concert memorable.

The ones that stick out in my mind aren't necessarily the best ones, but there was always something...special.

Cheap Trick - I was 11 or 12, and my brother took me to see Cheap Trick at the Coliseum. I didn't really know them, he took me as his beard - no self respecting 18 year old would be caught going to a Cheap Trick concert, but taking your little sister was a pretty good excuse. I didn't really know the band but it was like the Second Coming. I chewed my gum so hard that my jaw hurt for two days afterwards, and I spent the next two years trying to play I Want You to Want Me on the piano.

Joe Jackson - think it was the Night & Day tour, mid 80s - once again, with Ian. It started with me tearing the heel off my favorite vintage pump in a crack in the sidewalk outside the new (and hideous) Terry Fox Memorial, and ended with having to call a tow truck because Ian backed his Dad's station-wagon into the ditch outside my parent's house. There was stuff in the middle too - including a fantastic concert - but I'll leave that out.

Violent Femmes - at UBC, in the early 80s, with my friend Maureen and her boyfriend. Who was an idiot. Who I was also sort of seeing (making me a bit of an idiot too). We were squished right up against the stage. I'd never been that close before and the band was sweaty and loud and amazing.

Kiss - in Toronto, in about 2000 - yes, that recently - with my pal Anne. Her friend was on the lighting crew and got us free tickets and backstage passes - how could you not go? I borrowed a leather jacket with flames on the sleeves, and we sat close enough to see the ingrown hairs on Gene Simmons' thighs, and to get a particularly interesting view of Paul Stanley as he ...flew...above the audience on a wire. You just can't pay enough for that level of cheese. And I do like cheese.


Sufjan Stevens - pictured above - for reasons I've gone into on a previous post. I just needed a good photo for my blog, and all the other bands I mention have photos that are...let's say, a bit past reflecting the year I actually saw them in. And I figure as he's wearing bird wings it kind of fits into the general bird theme of recent posts....

This just scratches the surface, but even I'm getting bored with myself at this point... I'll let you know how memorable Dave & the Beat are another time.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bunkle Weekend....



It's Saturday at the Bunkle and we are all moving slowly. I am a morning person by nature - I love getting up when it's still quiet outside, and time seems to move slowly (is it just me or do clocks speed up as the day goes on?). This morning though I slept in - I got up at 6:30 at the insistence of the cats (a good 45 minutes past their regular breakfast time - and when I say insistance, I mean Thomas chasing Maggie through the house, up on the bed, through the house, up on the bed...and when I say up on the bed, I mean 15 lb cats leaping onto - and off of - my bladder which is fairly hard to ignore), then went back to bed and dozed until just before 9. If I say "cats?" out loud from the bed there is the sound of scurrying and I am suddenly surrounded by two large purring beasts - one of the few times that they allow each-other to be on the bed at the same time (usually there is a territory battle). I get up, have a shower and sit on the couch with my coffee and toast, and once again am surrounded (you'll see the dent between them on the couch - that's my spot). There is nothing that exemplifies complete coziness like a sleeping cat.

Bunkle renos continue, thanks in part to my brother - I took the day off yesterday so he could help me retrieve a pile of baseboard and door moldings - somehow my Corolla doesn't move 13 foot lengths of wood as well as his Jeep does. Hope to get them all painted this weekend, and then will have to figure out when the cutting happens. It shouldn't be as tricky as the bedroom as there are less corners (no cupboard), but there are also some outlets that happen below the level of the top of the baseboard that will require some shnizzeling (the official word for tricky little things you have to do to make things work). It will be great to have the den done & ready to decorate - oh, wait, still have to finish refinishing one door...ok, well, ALMOST done. Also toying with (gasp) hiring someone to paint the livingroom/diningroom for me - can't stomach the idea of doing it myself and it is really what is holding me up when it comes to decorating - most importantly hanging my art. Will depend on how much it would cost. I can't wait - oh, ok, yes, I can wait but I don't want to ...

And before I forget, yay to pals & 'old house collective' members Graham and Kathleen! Their incredible "old queen" and all their hard work has received some much deserved recognition. It's an incredible house, and their determination and perseverance is amazing. I should also mention that without Graham's calm and reassurance I probably wouldn't have bought my beloved Bunkle - and much of the work done on the place has involved him, and I will forever be indebted to him for wresting me from the clutches of a truly evil floor sander. Congratulations!