Tag Archives: Family


Not much time to blog today as by only 8am my coffee machine died, we’ve started celebrating birthdays and that damn Chaos butterfly is making its presence felt. Fortunately the weather is being kind.

I see Volkswagen, already caught with ‘green’ credentials around their ankles and spanked for cheating an emissions test, have decided to admit that the fix has been in on just about every diesel engine they make, even the commercial models. I’ve had VW’s before and they’re a damned good make. Good quality control and a reasonable price. I see no reason for not buying one. If VW made a symmetrical All Wheel Drive as good as Subaru’s, we’d have bought one instead. Not a diesel though. I’ve driven other makes of ‘Eco-diesel’ and wasn’t impressed with the engine cutting out at traffic lights to ‘save’ fuel because an engine cutting out at low revs and speed is bloody unsafe. These things may auto-restart, but there’s a second and a halfs lag at best, which in heavy traffic can be an eternity. I hate them. They’re dangerous because they always stall right at an awkward moment.

Right. We’re eating a late breakfast out today. Must dash……

That was easy

Guests have come and gone. Suitably full of wine, curry and a hearty fruit and cereal breakfast. We must have got it right because they’re angling for a return visit already. My Pratchett Discworld collection just grew by another six, and I’ve compiled a list of the few remaining hardbacks left to fill the gaps. I can buy a copy of The Shepherds Crown (Terry’s final work) locally. Details have been left with all the local secondhand bookstores to let me know the minute a copy of Sourcery with Josh Kirby’s dustcover artwork becomes available. There is a particular, if sentimental reason only that edition will do. It was the first Discworld novel I ever read, and had me in fits from start to finish. Coin, eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son, Conina the Barbarian Hairdresser, The Drunken Seriph of Al Khali, Rincewind, Nigel (Signature battlecry; “Erm….”) and guest appearance by the Ice Giants (“Vot you vant? Go Avay hot person.”) all left a strong impression with me. This is from someone who generally doesn’t like Fantasy. You can keep Tolkein about what you find Hobbit forming, but I just wish the LOTR mob would stick an Orc in it.

Otherwise life trundles on; I seem to have contracted some obscure form of lurgy, but the quacks aren’t sure what it is yet, so I’m off to get do my best impersonation of a pincushion yet again this week. It’s nothing debilitating, just bloody annoying. Results of the first set of tests came in thankfully all clear yestere’en. However, I was sent a web link and code to register for future results, which of course didn’t work because I tried to register ‘too early’. Blood and sand. Hey ho. None of my bits are dropping off (Yet) so I’ll simply try and register again on Friday.

I see a few rather less than genius level intellects have an ill advised “Shout out your abortion” campaign on `social media`. Personally, even having seen the procedure done properly, I have no issue with terminating unwanted pregnancies. But ‘shouting out’ to the world you’ve had one? Seriously? That will come back to bite you, people. Are we going to have ‘shout out’ campaigns for Haemorrhoid removal next?

Never mind the strident misandry of certain campaigners. All I have to say is it takes two to Tango folks. Never mind leaping up and down after sex, screaming “You should have done something!” at your chosen bedmate when the test result is positive. You can’t use politics (or even shouting) on biology. Pregnancy is the female bodies way of telling them “Congratulations! You can conceive.” That said, I have always been a firm believer that the decision to terminate or carry to term is the woman’s choice, no-one else’s. Not the family, nor the biological father, clinic manager, nor priest or politician. That foetus does not belong to them.

This is from someone who has two grown up stepdaughters about whom he cares very deeply. Even if they are a right pair of (well educated) little rascals. Should they become ‘with child’ I would, regardless of what they decide to do, support their decision. No matter what my personal feelings are at the time.

It’s one of the things they don’t tell you when you sign up for this parenthood lark. That little bundle of gurgles and pinkness will gravitate (Whether you like it or not) from the cute as a button / Mummy and Daddy’s little darling stage, through “Well he / she doesn’t get it from me…” and “Don’t slam the….” (Too late) and unsuitable ultrashort clothing to “Your college fees are how much?” and “OMG! I’m too young to be a grandparent!”

It’s life. Enjoy it while you got it.

A predilection for Ginger Beer

I like Ginger Beer, specifically the non-alcoholic kind, which is proving a little difficult to source here on Vancouver Island. Now let me explain that I’m not talking about Ginger Ale, which is a completely different beverage altogether, but real, firebomb your gullet Ginger Beer. This Summer, our local supermarkets bought in a job lot of a very fine example of non-alcoholic Ginger Beer called Old Tyme Jamaica Ginger Beer which I must confess I got quite partial to. Hint for the web site guys; list your stockists. Although at ten bucks for a six pack, I think it’s a bit on the pricey side. Nice though. I’ve tried Phillips and Crabbies, which are freely available, but they aren’t quite as gingery as I’d like. Which is a shame. That Old Tyme is non-alcoholic and has a better bite than a hungry Grizzly.

Now that it’s disappeared off the shelves, I decided to have a go at brewing my own since Ginger was under three bucks a pound a few days ago. I already had some yeast and sugar, so why not? Grate the Ginger, add the sugar, boil up a gallon, add the yeast and sugar mix and stick it in a big container. Dead simple. That was three days ago, and I’ve decanted the sieved mix into a four litre plastic milk carton three parts full of the sieved mixture. This mornings taste test of my murky brew told me I’m on the right track. Not too fizzy with only natural carbonation and a nice gingery bite, quite dry on the palate, but I do have to keep depressurising the fermenting mix at least three times a day to stop the container exploding.

Easing off the pressure can be a delicate job, as if I undo the cap too fast, pow! The cap shoots out from between my fingers and bounces around the laundry room. However, the milk carton was a good choice of container as there’s a fair bit of give in the plastic. Now I could of course spend a small fortune on brewing kit, but as this is by way of one of my culinary experiments, I don’t see the point.

Anyway, have picked up Youngest from airport, and she is visiting with the aunts and uncle up island for a few days until she’s down in the fleshpots of the provincial capital in our little domicile. I have to keep her entertained while Mrs S is in Seattle with sisters, so I’ll be setting up currys and cocktails so she doesn’t get homesick. Not that she ever does.

Update: I’ve just discovered that Wal-mart do something called ‘Grace Island Ginger Beer‘. Investigations have concluded that it has precisely the right heat in the back of the mouth, and it’s half the price of the alternatives. Our crew of Igors have given it three big thumbs up. Each. Heavy sigh. Looks like I’m going to have to buy a few caseloads then. Of such little things are the equations of happiness formed.

Upgrading my book collection

New Books againAustralian sister in law is visiting at the moment, I was let off the leash while she and Mrs S shared some sistahood girly time downtown. So I disappeared into a bookshop and ended up with the following to shore up my P.J.O’Rourke collection:
Bachelor Home Companion
Modern Manners
On the Wealth of Nations

I also found a copy of ‘Evil Plans‘ by Hugh McLeod, which I bought on impulse, because I’m fresh out of Evil and Cunning Plans at the moment and feel in need of a little inspiration. More on this at another juncture.

Considerably bigger bookshelvesLooks like we’re going to need considerably bigger bookshelves…..

Nothing new under the sun

Life trundles on with no big deals apart from several ongoing sagas over legacies and banks. I won’t bore you with the details. That’s for my lawyers (Lye, Cheetham and Runne). Suffice it to say, someone was trying to dip into my cookie jar and I’ve cried ‘havoc’ and set the dogs of law onto them.

Nice display of Sundogs in the late afternoon a couple of days ago. Nothing unusual for August. Although they do presage a change to cooler, rainy weather which will have everyone crying for the return of unremitting sunshine after three days. Mrs S and I are now both getting back into the swing of work before relatives descend upon us in the latter half of September. ‘Les Girls’ (Wife and sisters) are off to Seattle while I play host to Youngest, which will give me a fine excuse to go see all the movies and go a few places Mrs S doesn’t much care for. The Imax beckons.

The only thing of any note is attending various lectures at UVIC, oh and Neil McCollum over at Forgotten Weapons has uncovered this little gem (See video below). A Gyrojet carbine? Well I never.

As he says. No flying cars or jet packs, but a rocket rifle? What fun.

Seriously, I’m quite a fan of Neils videos because unlike so many firearms blogs he brings a thoughtful and considered approach to studying antique and not so antique firearms, often field stripping them on camera so you can see the innovation that made the gun either ground breaking or prematurely obsolescent.

Happiness is…..

….a full bookshelf. The Sticker household is nine books richer this afternoon. Eight hard and one paperback. Awesome Books delivered a series of secondhand and brand new volumes for me, while Amazon deposited two heavyweight historical tomes upon our doorstep. After over eight years, my once almost complete Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams Hardback book collection is gradually being rebuilt.

This promises to be a curl up in a corner and read weekend. With real books made of real paper. With real alcohol in real glasses, and possibly a side trip to see some real furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. And a few real guffaws. Which will be very good for my nervous and cardiovascular systems.

First dickhead to say ‘but eBooks are better’ in the comments will be mocked unmercifully. Religious nutters and political cold callers, between whom there is no neurological difference if you believe what Stefan Molyneux has to say, (see video below) will be left to bake on our doorstep.

I’m almost inclined to put a clear plastic cover over the doorbell with an ‘Emergency use only’ sticker on it. Wonder if Canadian Tire do such an item?

All I know is that we’re going to need considerably bigger bookshelves……
New BooksThe Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Maskerade, Jingo, Interesting Times and the Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.

Un mauvais quart d’heure

Yeah. Today has not been as happy a day as might have been. A creeping sense of FTW has shadowed my every waking thought, casting a pall over what has otherwise been a pleasant day. I know why. It’s been a year to the day when first my Mother, then my dog, died. I really don’t know whether to feel hopeless, sad or just plain angry. This mood will pass, I’m just having a bad quarter of an hour, that’s all. These feelings always fade like a morning fog, but while with you, serve as a reminder that you’re just as full of shit as the next guy. Kind of reassuring really.

Anyway. Tomorrow Mrs S and I set out on a little road trip which will eventually take us down south of the border for a little drive around the US of A. Just dodging the wildfires through Washington and Oregon. Nothing fancy. See the sights, sample the food and wine. Watch the people. Ignore the mass media. Intwerweb stuff will be patchy, but if I see anything vaguely noteworthy I’ll probably post about it, Wi-Fi permitting.

Routine shizzle

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker apart from hanging around for Mrs S’s appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. She needs to talk to one to get a proper referral for rehab. Because she broke her arm out of country, she needs to follow procedure to get into the BC system. Which means a BC Orthopod has to give her busted wing the once over before she can get any physio. No matter our health insurance is paid up to date, and we’ve got cover coming out of her ears, the niceties must be observed. It’s a pain, but it’s slack season as far as work is concerned, so it’s not like we’re having to juggle two dozen other items at the same time. Just a case of hurry up and wait. So long as we can make our conference next week, we can easily shift arrangements. There’s also a little road trip dahn sarf to see how the folks across the border are faring and take a pootle along the Oregon and Washington scenic coastlines.

As for the Greek business, our investments aren’t going to be hit as we’ve no real exposure in the affected markets. The whole schemozzle, at least from this side of the pond and the FT’s pages, looks like it’s devolved into some kind of bizarre economic winking contest. No-one is actually dumb enough to take the last support from under their respective houses of cards, but it does look like the financial penny is dropping regarding the Euro. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ top down financial philosophy is showing a pair of Achilles heels which anyone with any real financial acumen could see a mile off. Real life economies are subject to the financial whims of populaces, politicians, banks and corporations, which tend, at least in Europe, to be a bit more locally focussed. The financial systems of the USA evolved from a roughly common culture with the same basic language. Europe can’t be like the USA, no matter how much the federalists would like it to be, because Europe doesn’t have the basis of that roughly common culture. It’s too, well, Balkan if you catch my drift. Not literally, but kind of. While the Common Market wasn’t a bad idea as far as promoting free trade was concerned, trying to shoehorn all the splendid diversities of mainland Europe into a centrally governed Federal republic was always a step too far. Various empire builders have had a go by assimilation and even military invasion, but in the end the locals always end up having their say.

And the centralisers wanted to bring Turkey and the Ukraine into their hegemony? Oh dearie me. Soo not a good idea.

What else? Various mini sagas over property etcetera grumble on. As far as that’s concerned I’m just biding my time. New neighbours downstairs. Some sociable, others not so much. Landlady is looking after a yappy little Yorkshire Terrier with a habit of shitting on doorsteps. Which can make walking through the back yard a very eyes down affair. Its owners will return next week, so by the time we come back from our conference and road trip, the little bastard will be gone. You can’t even make friends with the territorial little sod, it just runs away and yaps at you, as it it were his territory alone. Then when you turn away, tries to sneak after your ankles.

In my more evil moments, most of them between waking up and going to bed, I’m minded to remember a small rural adventure from my younger days regarding stupid dogs that have no off switch; a mate was shagging his girlfriend. Both of them a little shy of their sixteenth birthday, but this was in the 70’s and everyone involved but me is no longer around. No injury, no foul – right Officer? In the way of hormonally charged youth everywhere, he begged me as his best friend to keep his intrusive twelve year old brother out of the way. In my youthful lack of judgement I agreed, providing we could go rough shooting the following day with his Dads then-legal pump action shotgun. The lovers arranged their horizontal jogging, I baby sat younger brother downstairs and out of the lovers tryst. His and her lust was satisfied and all was well. Up until we were exiting the house. As we did, next doors Jack Russell broached the fence and began having a go at my friends ankles as we made our way out of said girlfriends back garden gate (That is not a euphemism BTW). I still have to work hard not to collapse in fits of giggles as I recall the rapidly dopplering ‘Yap-yap-yap-yap-yeellpppp!’ as my friend perfectly drop kicked the noisy little tyke back over the garden fence to where it belonged.

The temptation to do likewise to Landladies friends’ Yorkie is sometimes quite hard to resist.

Cast off

Pirate breath fresh advert bArrh me hearties! We be a-putting back to sea to flog the oggin once again. Back to work ye swabs and fetch me a fresh roast cabin boy!

No, no, no, no, wrong! Not that type of casting off. Nor are we cannibalising the crew of the good ship Bill Sticker (or even doing other unspeakable things to them – even if the little scamps thoroughly deserve it). Yet. Although if the mutinous mutterings I’ve been hearing from the mob below decks continue, there may be floggings. If we’re lucky I’ll get a Groat for each of the devils rejects. Honestly, they’re so low they need a telescope to look up to the scum of the Earth.

No. The sun is above the yardarm, celebrations are afoot, and the Hummingbirds are visiting. I am enjoying a large Vodka and Tonic, and so is Mrs S, who has finally had the cast removed from her arm. Nice job by the French Orthopaedic surgeon BTW. Another month or two and you’ll hardly know there was a scar there. Very neat.

Mrs S has been in the shower, singing happily as she gets properly clean, and my heart is so light you’d think ’twere filled with Helium.

The outside world can do what it pleases.

Hands up the mittens Mister Bosun, full speed ahead and damn your tomatoes!