Sunday, November 19, 2006


Up On The Roof, 19/11/06

And now, Dear Readers, the word of the week: turbidity. That is, cloudiness. Murkiness. Sediment stirred up and suspended.

Last week the Greater Vancouver area was lashed by a particularly virulent winter storm. The wind and rain knocked out power (in some places for up to 48 hours), felled trees, damaged buildings, and closed roads. Chateau FiL escaped relatively unscathed; the lights stayed on and the three stratospheric fir trees in our back garden stood strong. There were a few fallen branches that would have given me or Dearest Wife quite a headache had we been taking out the rubbish at the wrong hour, but thankfully our timing was good.

Our main inconvenience has been the need to boil our water. You see, the authorities have advised that the storm has washed unprecedented amounts of sediment into Vancouver's rerservoirs, therefore increasing the theoretical risk of bacterial growth. So best not to drink or brush your pearly whites with untreated tap water. Actually, the boffins said: "As turbidity increases, there is a potential for increased risk of gastro-intestinal illness. Until turbidity returns to acceptable levels residents may wish to use an alternate drinking water source ... or boil their drinking water." I pictured the press release being written by Muppet Beaker. As a sign of our modern times, Dear Friends, Vancouverites reacted by cleaning out every shop of bottled water. "Why boil? I want my water NOW! Instant gratification, please. What's that? Landfill? Discarded plastic bottles? I don't understand what you're trying to say."

The Buff Medways - Misty Water (buy here)

Actually, for FiL the storm had the proverbial silver lining, in the form of a silver car. You see, on Wednesday I had taken the family car for servicing. Not the Squealing Pigmobile, but our Golden Pimpwagon: an airbag-laden, cream-leather-seated (Oh, yeah, baby!!) Volvo V40. However, the garage was caught in one of the power outages and I therefore had to drive the loaner car, a 2006, 2.5 litre, turbo S60 sedan for three day instead of the one. Oh, the hardship. Dearest Friends, I'm really not a car aficionado, but it was rather fun driving around in that overpowered executive chariot.

The Divine Comedy - Your Daddy's Car (buy here)

Coincidentally, as Vancouver scurried to recover from the storm, I found myself sitting in a hotel ballroom listening to four experts discuss disaster preparadeness and business continuity. You know, how to keep your firm working even when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are sweeping across the land. They talked about Asian flu pandemics, of the coming Big Quake, of fires, of floods, and spooky terrorists. I have very mixed feelings on this whole matter. On the one hand, it is valuable to be prepared. Fire extinguishers in the kitchen, blankets in the car, that sort of thing. Yes, we have our recommended five-day supply of food and water in the garage, just in case of earthquake. But on the other hand, I'm wary of people's fear being whipped up into a paralyzing froth of paranoia and anxiety. Yes, the world is a dangerous place with much that can hurt you. But it is also one of great beauty and wonder. Spend your life hiding in an emotional or physical fallout shelter, and you'll miss so much.

Mudhoney - Touch Me I'm Sick (buy here)
Iggy Pop & The Stooges - Shake Appeal (buy here)
Prodigy - Firestarter (buy here)
Caesars - Don't Fear The Reaper (buy here)

Back to the weather. As I type I'm seeing the sun for the first time in eons. For today, the weatherman forecast more rain and wind. Indeed, since even before last week's storms we've been under one of those wintery palls that makes you feel like dawn hasn't properly dawned all day. Your watch says high noon, but the sediment of grey clouds suspended in the sky tell your heart and spirit that its twilight. And though I find Vancouver gorgeous in any conditions, it has been hard going to remain sunny of disposition. I've also been experiencing a spot of emotional turbidity as well, almost as if nature's huffing and puffing has stirred up more than just mud. Lately I have found myself musing on relationships, in the broadest sense of the word. With people, living and dead, near and far, intimate and distant. With events, long gone, recently past, and in the present. With myself. But the dust motes that float in the dull rays filtering through the window are a salutory reminder that everything, including turbidity, is transitory.

Love & Rockets - It Could Be Sunshine (buy here or e-here)

Post scriptum: For most of the coming week I will be in the throbbing metropolis of Toronto on business. I will therefore probably not have much, if any, opportunity to blog (though I may have a cunning plan). So if indeed I am scarce, that is why.


mjrc said...

ooh, my ears perk up when you talk d.r. and contingency planning. my husband is in that field. he, too, tells us that we should buy 6 cans of soup every time we go to the store to prepare for the coming avian flu pandemic--and god knows what else!

i hope your absence doesn't mean you won't be in the podcast. knowing you, i bet your plan includes warding off that catastrophe, too. ;-)

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

"I may have a cunning plan..."

Busted! Black Adder fan, n'est-ce pas?

Good luck in the Big Smoke. I'm working on a song about this event...

[to the tune of "Feelings"]

Teee - OOOO
Fil - less
Teee- OOOo
I'm sadder than Sartre"

That's all I've go so far. Hurry back or I will serenade you a second time.

Anonymous said...

Golden Pimpwagon: an airbag-laden, cream-leather-seated (Oh, yeah, baby!!) Volvo V40.
I found this very amusing. hehe

I just had deja vu...How odd...Sorry...

I couldn't agree with you more about the "fear" we have come to know and love. How crazy some have become, obsessing about things which are uncontrollable. I mean you can prepare, worry, prepare until you are blue in the face but that won't save you from the inevitable. Denial is a fascinating yet hindering defense mechanism and it is also a hard one to acknowledge overcome.

Can I be honest FiL? I have noticed you have been a bit out of sorts for the last couple of weeks now...I think more than you may think the weather has been a large factor in how you have been feeling as of late. Hopefully the clouds will disperse and the light will shine in. ;) If not then you know I suggest moving here and me there because I have had enough sun for quite possibly 5 lifetimes and I can't take it anymore. :)

I love Firestarter and Don't Fear The Reaper is a classic. Awesome selection of songs to accompany this interesting and enjoyable post.

I send lots and lots of sunshine your way. :)

T&F@tlh said...

My dearest FiL,

I'm glad that you've been busy thinking of your BCP, DRP, MIP and all the other TLAs that go into "being prepared" (what a good little boy scout you would have been all those years ago in NY!)

I only came online to try to book by flight to bring you some cheer from the mother land (well, this one anyway!) We'll go kick the black dog, eat cheese (though not with the Frenchies), drink warm flat beer and maybe sneak off to see some snow....

big kiss

PS - if you and Rachel do swap as she suggests she's in for a shock when I come to stay - sorry Rachel!

Anonymous said...

Haha Oh I think you would probably be more surprised than I.
I suppose the geographic swapping will have to wait until after your visit...
Although I could join you and FiL ..We could all have flat beer and cheese, then we could go see the snow and marvel at how beautiful the scenery is.


verification word: voumkee
Has to be one of the head orcs from the epic Tolkien triology, Lord of the Rings

Anonymous said...

Divine Comedy? Bless, and when Neil Hannon was -good- even! Have you heard the original of 'Your Daddy's Car', I wonder? With the different words. A bit of a downer, that one.

Have fun in, er, Toronto.

FiL said...

Ah, I'm back and am sloooowly ratcheting myself up to speed...

Dearest Marcy: I must admit that about every twelve months I go through our contingency kit, just to make sure everything's up-to-date. However, I can't quite bring myself to stock up for six months in case of a pandemic. I'll just stick with my week's worth of water and MRE's to feed the family in case of an earthquake. And yes, I did manage to sort something out for the podcast, chirpy-chirpy, cheep-cheep... ;-)

Dearest Mentok: Guilty as charged, m'lud... And thank you for the serenade. It's not the quality of the gift that counts, but the intention behind it...:)

Dearest Rachel: Many thanks for the sentiments. And you can ALWAYS be honest. :) "Out of sorts?" Perhaps. I'd say I've been feeling rather introspective, which can lead to melancholia and doubt. But I think I've actually managed to skate rather clear of those perils. But maybe not?

Thanks also for the weather wishes. The sunshine did indeed follow me to Toronto, but there it stayed. Last week in Vancouver was torrentially wet, and now it's snowing a go-go. We probably got about 8 inches in the past 24 hours.

And heck, if you're up for flat beer, cheese, and de la neige, why not? T's mostly harmless. But do leave Voumkee at home...

Dearest, dearest T: So glad you've got the flights booked! Vancouver won't know what hit it...

Dearest Liz: "Fun" and "Toronto" don't really sit near each other in Lexica FiL. But thank you all the same! As for the original versh of "Your Daddy's Car," I plead gross ignorance and would love to be educated.

Natsthename said...

Feelin the Love & Rockets love!!