F 1 D 0 - 2003 04 17 at 13 00

More than eighteen days.

I got up this morning early. I did this originally
because I was thinking how happy I'd be all day if
I started with an early step class. Karen's class 
is at 910am at the complex, and she teaches it well.

Well it was a good intention. I didn't actually
start the day until 1100am. But anyway.

Often she lets me lead a portion. I like that too.
The participants in the morning are easy going. Tough
people, as they're runners. One of the eldest there
regularily does marathons and half marathon runs.

When I was in Karen's evening class, they were kidding
her, and she was kidding back. "I need more!" sings Karen.
"Who will keep me company [running around] Boulevard Lake?"

This was in jest, because she had just led a Ball Class.
These are very difficult classes for me. All of the 
exercises require a balance component, making them
extra difficult. Oh yes, the ball can support our 
weight, but I found the ball keeps trying to get away,
and I expend a lot of energy trying to keep it from
zooming across the floor, and in the process, prevent
the laughter that goes with it.

I've been taking exercise classes on and off for a long 
time, and still, I'm finding these Ball Classes difficult.

- -

How does a church confession begin? "Forgive me father
for I have sinned. It has been more than eighteen days
since my last confession."

Yes, it's been a while since I wrote you last. Sorry
about that.

Lots has gone on. I'll try to remember some of the 
good stuff. But what will actually happen is I'll
remember the most recent things. Perhaps that will
suffice.

- -

I've been plowing through receipts. Once you're organized,
it has a kind of spirit of its own. Pick up the receipt, and
look it over. Pick up a tag, and write the transaction details
onto it. 

Transaction number. This is just a sequential number I'm using
in the spreadsheet. As many of you know, I avoid MS brand
products when I can choose something else, so I'm using 
Lotus 1-2-3 for the job. It also corresponds to the row
number. Yes, I didn't use numbers 1, 2 and 3. I tend to
put my totals at the top with the titles, and lock them
into view.

Receipt, Invoice or Statement? Receipts and statements are a
good source of documentation. They admit that a payment has
happened. I prefer the receipt, as it will include a unique
number. Actually, I don't want to miss any opportunities for
money already expensed, so I use the statement to hunt for
them. Invoices are almost receipts. Usually they have a hand
written note about how and when it was paid, but it doesn't
count the same. That information was written by us, not the
receiver of the money. 

Media. This may not be important, but I record it anyway. Was it 
paid by Cash, Cheque, Visa, Mastercard, Debit or Electronic
funds transfer?

Date. I write it yy mm dd and so it looks like a date, and
not like another kind of number.

Number. Modern electronic registers have numbers everywhere.
Did you know that? Finding the transaction number is rough.
Once you find it, it can be very long. I'll keep up to eight
digits of it. Ring number, Invoice number, daily Transaction
number. Anything as long as it is the same, and some auditor
can use it to confirm this isn't a dream I'm writing down.

Amount. This should be straight forward enough. Often it is.
But there are times when you only want to claim a portion
of a receipt. That makes it harder to check, but more honest.

Description. I put a word or two down to say what the money
was spent on, if not really clear. 

Column. This word is specific. To which account column have I
posted this figure? 

Once it is all written onto the tag, I can post it into 1-2-3
right away. I've thought about dates, and usually prefer to use
text formats over date formats. So I use a single quote, followed
by year month day. This will sort correctly. I know a date would
also sort, but I've had trouble with this over the years. The
software often wants input in the form mm/dd/yy but will display
it any way I ask. That's nice, but it feels weird to enter it as
04/06/02 when I want to see 02 04 06. I'm almost certain to mess
it up during entry.

You American readers have already done your returns for April 15th.
In Canada we have to send them by April 30th to avoid penalty.

- -

We've had spring time here. Warm 65F 18C temperatures. Well, with
some exceptions. Today is such an exception. It is snowing Right
Now. It was snowing gently all night, and there was nothing accumulating.
But in the last twenty minutes, the road here has turned white. 
Lucky Us.

- -

Magnus Theatre has live plays performed on a regular schedule
over the year. They have it worked out to a science, actually.
Ann is one of the local artists invited to show works there in
the lobby. People see it before the show.

They have a formal opening day, which is preceded by a dress
rehearsal. I liked how people could purchase tickets to this
dress rehearsal. It is on their schedule, which is always two
weeks long. Some of these days are more expensive than other
days. Hard to convey, but I liked how each production had a
matched schedule to previous productions.

I saw Possible Worlds (I think that was the title) months ago
and loved that production. Most recently I saw Trafford Tanzi,
and didn't like it at all. 

The motif was good. The entire play was set in a boxing ring,
and all of the family interractions were battled out WWF style.

So what went wrong?  The dialog was either evil or sticky
sweet. It stuck to me like hot porridge. It burned, and
didn't feel right. And what is more, I couldn't brush it
off. The Chronicle Journal complained that the actors couldn't
sing. Well, that's true, but I didn't hold that against them.

My complaints with this production was the script itself.
It was as well presented as it could be.

One of the actors was staying in the studio with us. He was
telling me about an accident. One of the ropes of the ring 
broke near the end of one performance! This was serious. 
These actors were always bouncing on the ropes to get in or
out of the ring, just like the WWF clowns. So if a rope breaks,
someone gets hurt. It was the senior actor, the one who played
Trafford's father. They cancelled the next day's show so he 
could heal up and get emergency chiropractic.

- -

Am I fussy when it comes to coffee? Maybe I am.

I've been a regular customer to Starbucks for some time now.
Here in town, though, the Starbucks is not close to home. 

This place is comfortable, and the need to be away just
to relax and have coffee isn't as important as it has 
been to me in the past.

While shopping at the warehouse store, I saw something.
A 1kg bag of coffee for 4.28! This is exceptionally cheap.
I needed to know whether this was edible coffee or not.

So I can tell you. Yellow brand, club pack, original roast,
normal grind coffee is Just Fine. It's not special at all.
Just fine nevertheless.

But I've hated coffees over the years, and there are places
I regret getting anything. I don't like the coffee from Seattle
Coffee House, nor the Second Cup. These are nice places to meet,
but the coffee they sell is sometimes acidic, other times 
very weak tasting, to the point of disturbing to me.

If you are curious, you won't be disappointed. The President's
Choice section of your store should sell "yellow brand" generic
products, as they're produced by the same people (Sunfresh Limited).
This economy product is acceptable.

- -

I've been teaching Shadow (the cat) about laser pointers.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a very interesting
device with only limited uses. I've enjoyed mounting them
into the elbow of binoculars, and lighting things up. When
you spot something reflective, such as a licence plate, a
car's reflector, or a parking sign, even from far away, you
and a friend will see a bright burst! 

I have used dollar store lasers for some time. The last 
ones I've purchased were for getting the attention of others
at a party. So you point it near someone you are trying to
irritate. When they look, you release the switch. But aha!,
this cheap laser blinks four LED lights in a circle, identifying
you as the culprit. 

You think I'd avoid a device this tacky. But it shone straight
and far. 

The laser I tested last night, before the snowfall, looked far
more tame. Grey steel exterior, and a life threatening label
warning you not to stare at the laser diode inside. When I
mounted this onto the binoculars, it wasn't as good as the
goofy laser. The beam pointed down and to the right. I should
be happy it was in the field of vision. But I'm fussy you know.

Cats love the red dot. A lot. In fact, now that Shadow 
understands what a laser pointer actually looks like, 
she comes over to me at the computer, and begs for me
to operate the gadget. She knows it is just me. And still,
she likes it when I give her a spot to chase. And Huey,
the cat next door seems to feel the same. After I was
leaving his home, he kept baying for more. Poor pussy cat.


- -

April has been interesting to me. March and April have been
moving quickly. It wasn't that long ago when I was thinking
"This is April Fool's Day, and perhaps I should write something
funny."

But I've never celebrated Fool's Day.

I don't celebrate Easter. And I think about Passover.

This season I've had a turkey (about a month ago)
and I'm preparing another one now. I guess turkey
at 99c a pound is how I celebrate Easter/Passover
right now. 

I'd enjoy some matzo. Well, don't look for it in 
Thunder Bay. Nobody sells it. I've confirmed it.
No stores carry passover foods. Most of them don't
know what Passover even is.  

March and April are the times for celebrating the
spring festivals. Bread and Circus? Unleavened bread
and turkey.

- -

Scottish dance has been going well. I like predictable
choreography, and have been getting it.

There was a Scottish Ceili a few days ago. Now for me, when I
use the word Ceili, I mean a dance with live music, and just 
sufficient teaching to get any newcomers through the night.

But this party was a place to (mostly) sit at long tables
(these had 24 people at each. Long tables!)

I'm not really into the concept of social dance used
for performance sake. Why? Glad you asked.

I'm certain most dancing was primarily for fun, and then
someone decided that it could be elevated to an art form,
and entertainment became the watching instead of the doing.
(That's my take on it, anyway)

So showing of demonstrations for benefit of people clapping
seems wrong to me. Why particpate then? Well, this time we
did two dances for show (Mairi's Wedding, and a medley of
three dances, two which end with a Poussette, and the Cumberland
Reel, a barnlike dance).

We each took a partner from outside for Gay Gordons, The 
Tempette Reel (this dance has a lovely choreography! It is
a longways set with two couples facing two couples. 
First corner COUPLE star right then left. Second corner
COUPLE star right then left. Face partner and set TWICE.
Two hand turn. Gallop down, gallop back. With opposite
COUPLE circle left then star left. Approach and retire,
then pass through to the next.) And we did a circassian
circle with three facing three.

So my feelings about demonstrations? I'm glad we did
it (I'm glad I joined in!) in spite of all I've written.

That's all I know.