Mixed Gems 02

Mixed Gems 02

Monday, Mar 29, 2021

Listening To: Little Sprout - Fake Cake
Photo: Stanley supervises Mr Merlot’s performance
Video: Mixed Gems TV Episode 2

Last show of the pandemic. Done. I was hesitant about this one as we are ramping into a third wave due to the slack pandemic response by both citizens and government locally (see: Slow Canada: Here’s How Badly We Muffed the Pandemic).

But we forged ahead with only three performers unmasked and a otherwise (distanced/masked) skeleton crew. This unit is going to stay isolated for a time to make sure it doesn’t spread anything, I hope the others do the same. Chances are low, but it’s better to be safe.

The show, while mostly comprised of pre-recorded submissions went well. A very savvy director and crew made it so that after initial show prep, it was smooth sailing. While the rough and tumble of less experienced staff learning the ropes is the intended goal of the production equipment, considering the timing, it was most welcome.

“STANLEY STOLE THE SHOW” was the overwhelming response. The bugger loves attention SO much that he stayed on stage for the entire thing. And even awake. I assumed he’d wander off for a nap at one point but never did. Even watching the closing act perform and loving the crew afterwards.

Everybody was masked for our bus ride home (I’d had a few :-), which was surprising, as the few other times we’d braved transit it was a nightmare, so bad that we’ve jumped off and walked home.

It’s starting to be nice out and with the wave upon us, expect a slow spring of solo expeditions. Unless we get to the “stay at home order stage” stage.

Well, then I win a bet…

2 minutes read
The End of the Random Snog

The End of the Random Snog

Monday, Feb 15, 2021

Listening To: Alien Boys - Night Danger (“Mother Chaos” is my fave)
Photo: Alien Boys play a boxing ring.

I’m not one for celebrating commercial holidays, but Valentine’s day was still still a bit rough.

Running into a lot of “science-unawareness” in my attempts to date in the midst of a pandemic.

Despite following all the guidelines and having no contact with any outside household for almost two months now (won’t lie, it’s been rough), I’ve actually been told twice I was thought to be “COVID unsafe”. Maybe it’s my appearance or demeanour, I haven’t got it sussed out.

On the bright side, I’m not up for a judgemental partner, so at least they are weeding themselves out. Right?

No choice but to continue. Spending the next four or five years (what, you think this is gonna be over in the fall?) single just isn’t an option.

ps. From The Guardian: No more drunken random snogging, perhaps ever.

1 minutes read
Snow Day

Snow Day

Saturday, Feb 13, 2021

Listening To: Liquids - Life is pain Idiot
Photo: Damn cat’s gotta photo-bomb everything.

Had a nice walk, took some pics. Hard to do when it’s overcast. Think a chair and lamp by this big window would be nice for reading.

No thanks world, not today.

Bonus Item: Pop music made on a warm summer day. In Spain: Russian Red - The Sun The Trees

1 minutes read
Sun Posers

Sun Posers

Sunday, Feb 7, 2021

Listening To: Supermoon - Playland
Photo: A Sunny Day Out With Stanley

Minus fourteen (Celsius) in the forecast. Spent the day hanging in the sun.

1 minutes read
Firefox Addons

Firefox Addons

Thursday, Jan 21, 2021

Listening to: Dream Nails - Dream Nails
Photo: pic taken with my first digital camera, the Olympus D-360L (bought 1999 in New Orleans). Still works!

I use Firefox. One of only a small percentage of people who do these days. The market is dominated by Chrome and it’s derivatives. I could go on about how a mono-culture on web access is dangerous, or how that it would be headed by what is effectively an ad firm/data broker with little sense of ethics, but I’d be digressing.

This is about add-ons. Mostly so I don’t forget what I’m using. You’ll probably want to go back to doing something more relevant to your life at this point (videos of goats cavorting is my go-to).

uBlock Origin - blocks lots of ads* and crap. Makes the web faster to browse.

Privacy Possum - reduces and/or falsifies data gathered by tracking companies.

Privacy Badger - learns to block invisible trackers.

Firefox Multi-Account Containers - lets you run each website in isolation.

Facebook Container - wraps Facebook automatically and generally screws with their tracking elsewhere on the web.

Decentraleyes - Messes with CDN (Content Delivery Network) delivery. Third parties that host web content and may monetise your data.

ClearURL’s - Removes tracking elements built into links and URL’s themselves.

HTTPS Everywhere - Just removed this one as the feature is now built into Firefox. Warns you when you load insecure websites (any password would be transmitted as plain text).

*I have no problems with seeing ads. I ran a site for a decade that depended on them for revenue. But those were topical, self-hosted and did not contain any trackers. Alas, many modern ad services are kinda shitty about that stuff.

2 minutes read
Fraser River Park

Fraser River Park

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021

Listening to: Negative Scanner - Nose Picker

Photo: Fraser River Park

Stanley likes digging a hole at the beach, dropping his ball into it then barking at the ball for a spell. Dig another hole, move the ball, bark at the ball…

Brain the size of a pea, I swear.

1 minutes read
Mr. Flay and "Gormanghast"

Mr. Flay and "Gormanghast"

Monday, Jan 11, 2021

Listening to: Personality Crisis - Mrs. Palmer

Photo: Snowshoeing on Seymour with Stanley

The domain “Flay.Com” seems to get a lot of attention. Not the content (though I’d be flattered), but the name itself.

“Flay” is derived from one of my favourite trilogies, “Gormanghast” by Mervyn Peake. The first, “Titus Groan” was published in 1946 and the second “Gormanghast” in 1950. Some think they are on the level of better known authors like Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. I do. The first two books are unique in that, while certainly fiction and often classified as ‘fantasy’, they don’t actually contain much in the way of fantastic or supernatural elements. Full of ponderous description, if you’re a reader that visually imagines the scenes described, it’s chock full of wonder.

Mr. Flay was the Lord’s personal servant in the series, one of the core characters. I finally got to see the BBC film adaption of Gormanghast years ago when I bought the DVD set. Christopher Lee played the part of Mr. Flay along with a well chosen cast. Worth a watch IMHO.

If you visit the official site, mervynpeake.org, you can find some of the original character sketches and more information on his writings and life:

“Mr Flay appeared to clutter up the doorway as he stood revealed, his arms folded, surveying the smaller man before him in an expressionless way. It did not look as though such a bony face as his could give normal utterance, but rather that instead of sounds, something more brittle, more ancient, something dryer would emerge, something perhaps more in the nature of a splinter or fragment of stone. Nevertheless, the harsh lips parted. ‘It’s me,’ he said, and took a step forward into the room, his knee joints cracking as he did so. His passage across the room - in fact his passage through life - was accompanied by these cracking sounds, one per step, which might be likened to the breaking of twigs.”

2 minutes read
My Friend Percy

My Friend Percy

Saturday, Jan 9, 2021

Listening to: Red Gate Compilation Mixtape

Year ago I used to volunteer as a barn worker for a local rescue. S.A.I.N.T.S. in mission is a pretty unique place. A home/refuge/hospice that specialises in older animals. So looked forward it every week.

As I cleaned out the stalls, various animals would participate. Chewie would always make mischief. Tipping over your wheelbarrow JUST when you finally finished filling it. So much character, he always got a skritch between the horns when I wandered by.

Pigs, goats, llama, sheep, horses, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and more inhabited the place. But some of my favourites were the cows.

Percy (pictured) was a 2000 pound steer hand raised after being rescued from a calf auction. The closest thing to a “lap cow” you’d ever meet. Always curious, he would run over to say hi when you passed by. It should be mentioned he was a bit licky. OK, a lot licky. I mean, in an affectionate way, like a dog. But with a massive tongue that felt like it was going to take your skin off when he wrapped it around your arm.

And he smelled good. Perhaps it was growing up on and around farms as a kid, but the smell of cow has always been a strong olfactory memory. When biking through nearby pasture country I’ll always cruise slowly with my visor up, taking in the barnyard smells.

Heck, as kids we played “king of the hill” on mounds of dried poo. Good for the immune system I once read.

If the world ever returns to normal, S.A.I.N.T.S. used to have tours at 11:00am Saturday and Sundays. By donation. Totally worth it.

2 minutes read
The Cast - Willy

The Cast - Willy

Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021

Listening to: Primetime - Tied Down

Here he is rather disoriented from a recent move. His WTF?! pose.

I wandered into a animal rescue a decade ago, ready for another medical foster (the previous had been a doozy so we’d taken some time off).

“Wait here, we have an emergency that needs to get out today” was the reply. And a small beige box appeared before me along with medication and a sheet of instructions. The box let out one high pitched “mew!” on the way home. Sounded like a tiny cat although the box was rather heavy.

When finally opened a large forest cat uncurled itself and looked up. “Mew!”.

Willy was pretty much unadoptable. He was dying at the SPCA and after a large number of tests (barium series, the works) was, amongst some physical issues, diagnosed with a severe anxiety/abandonment disorder. If he doesn’t get enough love his body starts shutting down.

So he became the first of a number of “foster fails” over the years. He couldn’t go back into the system and not many people could (or would) be able to meet his various needs. Five homes was enough, he’d found his final one.

Life with him has not been without challenges. He’s a jealous thing who’s bitten partners and acted out when he doesn’t get enough attention. At one point I started playing console games so I’d stay still for at least an hour a day and recharge his batteries. He’s very affectionate and the:

BEST PANDEMIC BUDDY EVER!

2 minutes read
The Cast - Stanley

The Cast - Stanley

Monday, Jan 4, 2021

Listening to: The Shiverettes - Dead Men Can’t Cat Call

This is my “Oh, hey. While you’re up can you grab me a beer?” photo.

Stanley was born atop Chilliwack Mountain. Runt of the litter, it was hit or miss whether he lived. Lucky for us, he not only pulled through, but became largest of the bunch. Size AND personality.

If you met him, you’d know he’s rather outgoing. Assuming he’s welcome wherever he goes, whether you’re a stranger sitting quietly reading on a park bench or a family having a picnic. Welcome to Stanley.

We did a lot of training with him at first. A lot because he was considered “wilful for the breed” and had to stay after class. Even so we eventually won a trophy for “most improved” of the year. Though he immediately forgot everything. Probably my fault.

He’s worked as a support dog both in workplaces during crunch times and as an anxiety dog of sorts at other events. He’s even been asked to help children get over their fear of dogs. If you wander about with him chances are people won’t remember your name. Been called “Mr. Stanley” on more than one occasion. All good.

If you see him out in Vancouver, please say hi. His entire reason for being (besides food) is to love strangers. Walks are great as you’re never alone for long. Even those brief distanced conversations help a lot during these isolating times.

I love the bugger. He lives upstairs now because of pet number 2. Willy the attack cat. More on him in another post.

2 minutes read

About Me

A dorky artist living in Vancouver, BC.

email: flay@pm.me

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