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.