Where You're Not

Short posts written relatively frequently, ostensibly to my scattered friends and family over various seas. However, everyone is welcome and I'm honoured if you take an interest.

Crispy Edin

Because word came through in the positive regarding my visa it’s been a very cheery week here. In fact on Tuesday evening, after guitar/bass group (which is a thing that happens once every three months and where Psycho Killer and Picture This were the two main events this time around) we ended up celebrating with Tomorrow and Kajsa, plus Kasjsa’s mom who is currently an author of crime novels in Iceland. Tomorrow and Kajsa are both in full on Festival/Fringe prep.

Needless to say I’ve been a bit behind on sleep and unfortunately my writing productivity has suffered due to this.

It’s been so warm here that tonight we have thunder in the distance, so far it’s just in the distance. I’m very happy to hear it.

Update from 40 minutes later: It’s no longer in the distance, it’s right overhead and the rain is chucking down.

Meanwhile, in bagpipe land, Billy was a bad bag who was flayed and hung in the window as a warning to other bags.


Just kidding, the bag is still great, though it is requiring lots of seasoning in its infant stage.

Jalapeño has not been enjoying the heat as much as I have but he has had a lot of gigs. He also had to deal with an exploding ketchup bottle today which took everyone by surprise.

Family reunion number two is underway now. Again, we all wish we were there. It sounds like it’s going to be a humdinger of a shindig as usual.

At work more golems are achieving self-actualization than ever before and now our shipments of gold dinner sets and rubies are delayed by 3-4 days. The dragons have  been spending a lot of time calling in and roaring, though I spoke to some very nice Spindled Thorksnaggers today who were handling the situation very calmly.

The gremlins have been doing surprisingly well because they rigged some hands free flasks they can drink from while they work so all systems have been running smoothly. That being said, a bunch of them got a bit out of hand the other day and started running hedgehog jousting matches after hours. One must keep an eye on them . . .





Happiness is a new sheepskin pipe bag

Strong statement, I know. But it’s true. This is a beautiful sight.


It sounds great. HARMONICS. And it feels so much more comfortable than my old bag. It needs a second round of seasoning soon.  It just got tied on yesterday. (When I asked Realism if he would mind if I played because he was in the next room over his reply was, “Well, it doesn’t bother me and the neighbours haven’t complained yet.”) They’ve been hearing a lot more piping this summer since the World Championship is coming up in August.

Meanwhile, back in New England, today was Reunion Day for Dad’s side of the family. Some photos have trickled over and it looks like everyone is having a good time. I truly wish I was there.

Jalapeño, Realism, and the kids got back from Corfu yesterday. Kids are at their mum’s now and Jalapeño is at a gig. However, I was lucky to have today free from dragons so Jalapeño and I at least got to catch up some. They brought back some lovely gifts for me most of which will be eaten, worn, or used up very soon. Jalapeño has written a new, unexpected, jig. I say unexpected because it goes unexpected places. Perhaps he was inspired by all the sunshine in Greece. Anyway, it’s a wild one.

Realism is upstairs watching The Handmaid’s Tale and I can hear exactly which episode he’s on.

This afternoon we had Storm the Palace practice which was fun and we got to work on new material. Strigine has been doing Things With Strange Tunings which is always a good idea.

Now, for a perhaps more universally appealing lovely sight — appearing here with special permission from the Hannimal — it’s baby Skidbear!


She’s wearing a traditional Mongolian deel, in which, as the Hannimal so rightly pointed out, she has room to grow. Looks like she’s entirely pleased with this idea.


The most beautiful rose . . .

. . . is in our garden here.


It is the very epitome of everything a rose strives to be. This particular breed is a Whimsical Flibbersnoot. They grow best if watered with the joyful tears of mosquito larvae shed when their mother comes home having survived unsquashed.

I hope everyone’s having a nice July and enjoying all this rather fantastic sunshine. I myself just spent an hour and a half lying in the sun finishing reading a novel called The Philosopher’s Flight. More on that later.

I’m now 28, which so far has been going well. Jalapeño, the kids, and Realism have been in Corfu for the last two weeks, on holiday. They’ve been mainly avoiding the beach (because they’re crazy) learning to swim if they didn’t know already, attaining small injuries, reading, and sampling the local restaurants.

Things that have happened here:

I got a bass of my own.


It’s secondhand but in good shape. Needs new strings and probably to have the pickup guard taken off. It has a very different (but good) sound from the Rickenbacker, as one would expect. I’m still playing Ricky Baker though. I’m spoiled. Jalapeño got very excited about the whole thing and for my pre-birthday birthday (because they left on the 6th and my b-day was the 9th) got me that lovely leather bass strap, and this amp:


It sounds great and it has a built in tuner! The Owedazzler is jellin’.

I got to help celebrate Renaissance’s birthday as well. There was a small party at Brendan’s of Canonmills which was great fun and I met lots of lovely people including a journalist and fellow fiction writer. We shall call her Wimbledon because that occurred shortly after. Ellipsoid and I have decided we ought to read The Wealth of Nations and discuss. So far, I haven’t started . . .

Then on my actual birthday, Storm the Palace had a gig at the Leith Depot as part of the Save Leith Walk movement. We had a number of excellent guest stars and some great supporting acts, and we debuted two new songs by Strigine. One about sea animals and existential crisis (which is in 5/4 and 6/8) and one about a cheese plant name Clive and existential crisis. Also, Mom and Dad opened up a tab for me from the States which was amazing. We ended the night with a round of shots. Strigine gave me some great earrings and a thing of blue hair dye . . .  to be continued.

Here is some graffiti from the Leith Depot WC.


Mom and Dad also sent me flowers and a package of Charleston Chews. I tried sharing some with Vim at work and she was politely not a fan. It’s a very particular thing, the taste for a Chew.

There’s also been lots of work of course. There have been many angry dragons calling in lately due to the fact that we’re still having trouble with sun-lulled pegasii sometimes  failing to complete their deliveries or arriving very, very late. Some of them seem to be actually leaving their parcels in sheds and then just wandering off following nymphs into the hills. This has been especially bad in the Netherlands.

There’s also a continuing issue where the golems who process returns at the warehouse keep attaining self-actualization and simply walking off to meditate or read. This means dragons keep calling, extremely angry because they haven’t been refunded for jewels and various treasure they sent back over a month ago. Many have actually had to be passed through to the elves the next level up from us humans. The elves are somewhat better equipped to handle very angry dragons.

Sometimes they  get escalated to the elves simply because their gnome helpers placed an order using the their name instead of the dragon’s and one cannot legally help out the dragon. When this happens even the elves get rather annoyed and they have to go brush their hair until they calm down. The good thing about elf ears though is that they cannot get singed down the phone line, unlike the ears of yours truly.

I went to the anti-Trump protest on Saturday.20180714_133222

It was a spur of the moment decision and I wandered into the march at North Bridge. This picture was taken way before even half the protesters arrived at The Meadows. I heard someone say 50,000 people turned out. As you can see, the blimp from London made it up. Apparently it was sent on an overnight train. Now there are plans to get it across the Atlantic for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

My favourite protester was a really cute puppy with a sign around its neck that said “Trump is a bitch.” Today at my  bass lesson Radio showed me a picture he took of a bunch of golden retrievers who had signs which read, ‘Bitches against Trump.”

I’m going to have to pause in this narrative to go play D&D with some workmates. A series of one off games has been started. Today the characters are all pre-created. It will be a relatively short game with no combat and extensive role-playing.

I’m playing a reggae musician from Chelsea. We are a band called The Habadashers and we have between us a set of bongos, having had to sell all our other instruments so we could eat. We are all frontmen/women and now have an impending gig.

How much do I know about reggae or Chelsea? Zilch. My name is Austin Prestige.


D&D was excellent. We actually  made it to the gig. Only one of us almost died on the way. We talked to asses (literally chatted with donkeys) fought guardsman, exchanged taunts with a rival band made of Tritons, and actually created and sang a song for the final performance. Hopefully it will never be revealed to the world of real humans.

The rest of this post is written under the influence of wine.

And now, back in time again.

This past Saturday Sangaree came around for curry, wine, and films. It was great to catch up (it’d been ages). We watched The Death of Stalin, which I had only seen some of due to falling asleep when I saw it in the cinema (through no fault of the film, I was just really tired that day). It is very funny. Highly recommend if you enjoy dark, caustic humor. Then we watched the remake of Jumanji because we’d both heard good things about it and were curious. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a light laugh.

Sunday was Book Hunt Day. It was my personal experiment and way of stretching out my birthday. Now that I know it works doubtless a number of my friends will be tricked/manipulated/blackmailed into participating in this in other forms.

Basically, I had two pals, Phoenicia (aka. Ethel) and Janus, give me a list of their top five interests, and I made a list of mine as well. Then we all met up at a much beloved secondhand bookshop in the Grassmarket, Armchair Books, and we all had to find the other two a book each which involved one of their interests, and one thing you yourself wanted them to learn more about, or which you thought might interest them.

Then we went to the Hanging Bat to discuss, debate, and drink nice beer.

I actually have ended up with a lot of books this month. This is sign of excellent people in my life.


Obviously, not all of these are from the book hunt. So, left to right, top to bottom.

The Philosopher’s Flight is in fact the book I got Jalapeño for our anniversary as tradition demands. It’s got great world building/alternate history in it and flips the usual gender roles in multiple ways. Definitely recommend if you’re looking for a refreshing fantasy.

The Good Bohemian I accidentally bought when I passed by Lighthouse Books whilst in the anti-Trump march. See, I’d followed them on twitter for a wee while and I was delighted to finally locate them in the physical world. They have a bookshop dog named Artemis. I didn’t take picture of Artemis because she was busy Doing Dog Things like Looking Out the Window and Contemplating Life While Whining because she may or may not have wanted to go out. She ended up going out with the assistance of the very lovely people who run the bookshop. She’s tall and white and fluffy and wonderful.

Anyway, the book is a collection of the letters of Ida John. I know nothing about her. After I bought the book I did a quick read of her Wikipedia page. It looks like her life is the very thing I most fear for female artists. Should be interesting reading.

Fireworks is a bonus buy which Phoenicia gave me after the Book Hunt because I’ve only read one Angela Carter short story in my entire life and Phoenicia is (rightfully) concerned about furthering my education in that regard.

The Left Hand of Darkness is a book I’ve wanted to read for almost decades now and still haven’t. Strigine gave it to me for my birthday and I’m delighted to finally read it. It is next up. It’s from Golden Hare Books and had awesome wrapping paper with golden hares on it.

The Name of the Rose was Janus’*choice for me in the book hunt. I’m 100% intrigued as I’ve heard a lot about it and I just read another book which Umberto Eco greatly praised but which was entirely different from The Name of the Rose so far as I can tell. I’m quite psyched about sinking my teeth into it.

The Monk was Phoenicia’s choice for me. It’s apparently depraved and mental. Very intriguing. Also, it is small and will travel well.

The Spinning Blowfish, the band my pal is in which was shut down by the police after 6 years of playing in the same place because one person said they were too loud, had their silent protest which went amazingly well. I was so impressed by the amount of energy summoned up by them and the crowd. The council wouldn’t know what to do if their members had a quarter the amount of passion. Fingers crossed for the future.

I also had dinner with Phoenicia and Stalwart this week which featured delicious halloumi burgers and good talk, plus Bunbun the rabbit nudging my calves for attention and slipping about on the floor whilst stretching.

Here is a picture of Inverleith Park looking pretty.


Here are some pictures of Dangerous Beans, because it’s been a while and she’s been photogenic.


Last night I met up with Strigine for drinks and got to meet (a surprise) her soon-to-be-adopted Fluffpooms (dogs). Their names are Lily and Ted and I took photos but they don’t do them justice so I’ll wait until I have better ones. They are a major hit everywhere they go.

Meanwhile, over the pond, it’s reunion season. The family from Dad’s side is gathering, gathering, and will soon descend on an old farm in New Hampshire. Cousin Krakow, having obtained her very competitive and highly sought job in Japan, has been spotted in Vermontland enjoying a tour of the northeast US amongst family and friends before returning to Japan to take up the mantle of teacher.

In Mongolia, Baby Skidbear has been taming toy horses and trying on a most charming deel which she will grow into. The Hannimal has been writing about wombats and doing final Thesibeast battles, small skirmishes one might say.

And that brings us to the end of this, rather epic, post. Please forgive the typos. It’s now midnight. The cat is in, I’ve been a reggae musician from Chelsea for much of the evening, and there is still washing up to do.

Take care, space cowboys.




*I’m going with apostrophe no second S here because Janus is the name of a Roman god and generally it seems one doesn’t put the second S on classical Greek/Biblical names so why not the same rule for ancient Roman ones? Janus himself may disagree, (the person, not the god) but only because we disagree about most things.




Old reels

Happy Saturday evening!

After a lovely open mike night at Woodland Creatures with Strigine (at which we did not perform but we did score some free plastic cups with tattoo-like designs on them) I had a very normal sort of Friday at work.

There has been a lot of bass and bagpipe playing around here lately due to my preparations for both another Storm the Palace gig coming up in July, and the world pipe band championships in August.

This morning I accidentally made incredibly weak coffee and then finished weeding the garden (for the moment). Jalapeño suffered through the coffee, poor man. I’ll aim for stronger stuff tomorrow. He did still help me with a new bass line later though so I didn’t totally short circuit his brain with my poor barista skills.

This afternoon I was very indulgent and went to two films at the film festival. One was a documentary called Saving Brinton which Realism highly recommended (and indeed, he went to see it a second time). It’s about a man from Washington, Iowa who saved the entire film collection (including projectors, slides, posters, and of course film reels) of a couple called Frank and Indiana Brinton. They travelled around the US showing these films back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

So this guy, Mike Zahs, tried for years to get historians and their ilk interested in the films and finally the University of Iowa took an interest. It turned out some of the films were the only remaining copies of Edison and Méliès films, along with other very early works of filmmakers, they haven’t ID’d all of them yet. Some were ones assumed lost. It was a great documentary and Mike Zahs himself was there at the end for a Q&A as were the two filmmakers.

Then, best of all, they showed some of the old films including a Méliès film which hadn’t been shown since 1910 (outside of Washington, Iowa, where they hadn’t realized it was the only copy of that film in existence and had been happily watching it once a year for 20 or so years, if I recall correctly), while Mike Zahs provided very amusing commentary. It was amazing, and the documentary is a really nice portrayal of small town USA which makes a good change. It also made me slightly homesick. Zahs himself is certainly a national treasure. If you see Saving Brinton showing anywhere please go see it.

The other film I saw was a light French comedy called C’est la vie!, about a catering company running a huge wedding and everything going wrong. It was fun.

Tonight Jalapeño is out at a gig, as he was last night. The kids are in good form, washing up was accomplished with no quibbling. Hagg-Bag has been decorating his model of the trenches with blood, though when I queried him about it he said “actually, it’s more flesh than blood.” While he may not understand the full emotional impact of war at this point he’s at least aware of the technical and physical aspects of it.

I bumped into North (piper) on my way back from the film fest and we caught up briefly on how things are, and the war against live music the council and grouchy old bastards continue to wage against the city. How will these grouchy bastards ever cope when the Festival starts? We shall keep on doing our best.


A surplus of snails

I have now experienced my first ever paid sick day. It’s only a cold but I realised, hey, I don’t have to go in. Reader, it was amazing. Nothing untoward happened while I was gone, though the trouble with the pegasii continues. They’ve now started sleeping really late so their deliveries are also increasingly late. They claim the increased summer sun has a soporific effect on them. They say this every year of course.

That on top of the dragons going mad over sales of as much as 50% on select helmets, goblets and whole treasure chests, means there’s been an increase in singed ears. There’s a particular breed, Flaming Whingnuts, who get especially agitated when the pegasii in Ireland, which we have particular trouble with, don’t show up for return collections on time. Still, we’ve all survived so far and the gremlins have been kept well-supplied with whisky so they’ve been behaving for the most part.

Today I had a day off. In the morning I had a bass lesson. I’m currently learning the bass line for Picture This by Blondie, along with several other songs. (The song choices are from Radio’s other students. Because I’m the only bass student at the moment I have to learn all the bass lines for the student get-togethers). So the lyrics for Picture This, they are not great and do not make much sense but I’m starting to grow strangely fond of them because I’ve heard them so much. Also, Debbie Harry’s voice is just so nice no matter what.

Then I pretty much spent the rest of the day weeding. The bluebells are now well past their prime and are all falling about the garden turning brown and, in many cases, slimy. I got the majority of them out today in the back garden. The ones in the front garden must wait for the weekend.

I did much of the weeding while listening to an audiobook of War and Peace. I’m rather delighted by how this is working out. I downloaded it because I’ve been meaning to read it and I realised I could slowly work my way through it on my walks to and from work/whenever I get the notion in my head to go jogging. It totals 61+ hours so it’s going to take a while but so far it’s hilarious. The way the narrator describes people and what they’re doing, and what they’re actually doing, is excellent and very dry. I got through 3 hours of it today while weeding.

Dangerous Beans helped in the garden by sunning herself and being American Psycho, the bird edition. Realism came out eventually too and mowed the grassy bit. Jalapeño stayed inside and finished playing a game called Nooki the Flying Horse or somesuch.

I’m just kidding, it’s called Ni no Kuni II and it was very pretty.

The kids are here and suffering through the last two weeks of school before the summer holidays. There is a weird phenomena surrounding kids doing dishes. Everything can be going along fine, then the kids start doing the washing up, and somehow, suddenly, things turn sour amongst them. To be fair to the other two, this usually has something to do with Vault Boy. But I do remember exactly the same thing happening with the Owedazzler and the Hannimal and myself when we were little and doing the dishes. I guess it just offers such opportunities for pettiness if you happen to resent what you’re doing.

I’m currently reading a book called We Want Everything by Nanni Balestrini about a worker from southern Italy moving to northern Italy in 1869 to work in a Fiat factory and getting involved in the worker/student strikes/protest there.

No, I’m off to support live music with Strigine!






In which Storm the Palace goes on tour and I learn about midgies

So I actually had sat down with the bass to practice just now. I usually try to stand up to practice but I have a cold so I’m home early (as opposed to at Jalapeño and Tomorrow’s session) and in my pajamas and I feel like sitting down. But then Dangerous Beans started making horrendous yowling noises outside the door of the music room so I got up and opened it to check on her and she came sliding in and I sat down again with the bass. She proceeded to jump into my lap, got the cable all woven through her legs, and started rubbing her head aggressively against the neck of the bass. I now find myself plus one cat, (a purring, content cat,) and the bass is leaning harrassedly nearby. In short, I thought I’d make good use of cat-time and do a blog post.

Backing up a bit, we had a visit a couple weeks ago now from my cousin Jerez. (For those of you I know are wondering, Jerez is a city in southwestern Spain famous for making sherry. It seems like a good name. Why? I don’t know. Maybe Jerez has been there. She has been many, many places now. Or maybe she likes sherry. Or maybe she shares characteristic with sherry. The mystery continues . . . )

Anyway, she and the kids got on like a house on fire and she very kindly came to STP’s gig at the Safarie Lounge. Me oh my, it was a good night, better for some than others and ain’t that just the way of it? Jerez was also very patient about me dragging her to various foreign films with varying amounts of plot and substance behind them throughout her stay.

Storm the Palace was on tour last week as many of you are aware. It was only a week but it was the first time I’d ever been on tour and it was very fun and highly educational. I also saw more of Scotland in one week than I had to date. We met loads of great people, and a few who are Dead White Males at heart, but mostly it was great people and we saw many great places. Here are lots of pictures:

Some of you will have already seen this one but I wanted to post it again due to Rapid’s face. This was in Appin, on the beach by Castle Stalker.


This was the view from the kitchen of the St Mary’s Space where we stayed and performed when we were up in Appin. Though actually, St. Mary’s Space is in Fasnacloich which is so fun to say. A lovely couple run it while raising their daughter and having day jobs. It’s an amazing former church turned art space/studio/venue. The interior decor,  all done by Chablis, the lady of the couple, is to die for. The wallpaper made of old books and magazines. Everywhere you look you see something new.  Also, the gig was great and the folks there were fantastic. There were some true Buffy fans in the crowd. Please do feel free to visit St. Mary’s Space’s facebook page here.


Castle Stalker. We didn’t quite make it inside. (Slept a bit too late for the one-time-a-day tour).


On the way from Appin to Skye we witnessed what could have been a very bad accident indeed on one of the twisty roads through the highlands. However, everyone survived uninjured. They somehow managed to just barely miss a huge gully and all the really big trees. We even caught up with one of them later in Portree.

Fairy Pools on Skye/the mountains behind them + Jalapeño


Intrepid explorers at the Fairy Pools.


Meta Fairy Pool photo


On Skye, Strigine and Rapid stayed in a B&B while Jalapeño and I stayed with an old mate of Jalapeño’s. We got to hang out with real locals and get a feel for the politics underlying the Portree community.

The midgies were terrible. I mean terrible. But, though  I saw them on me here and there I only sustained a few non-itchy bites, to the disgust of my bandmates.

Here’s the dressing room for the venue in Portree. The gig itself was one of the quieter ones but we had fun anyway. Here, Strigine is going for what we’ve called ‘full Megan Draper’ with her attire and makeup. It’s a strong look.


Why is this photo here? I believe it was something to do with how the strawberries matched Strigine’s shoes. It’s not because I have a weird crush on Strigine and her ankles.


Then we were off to Wick for the Lyth Arts Centre! Or, to be precise, about 10 miles north of Wick. It was really cool and strangely flat there and it didn’t really get dark. I realize I failed to take photos of the actual centre or  stage or accommodation but try to imagine them, they were all really pretty and comfy AND they had a Cluedo set from the 30s.  (Rapid won.) The folks who run Lyth Arts Centre are full of energy and, like St. Mary’s Space, they’re doing great things for the community. (Vermont people, both places are very akin to Catamount Arts).  You can visit their facebook page here.

We were also supported on this night by a young local band called Forgetting the Future who were fab and should definitely keep doing what they’re doing. They’re also really organised.

Here is Cluedo.


Here is Strigine looking sooooo elegant in her pajamas. (So as I mentioned I’m in my pajamas right now and I do not look that elegant. The bass bullying cat curled up on my lap doesn’t help but she’s warm and soft so that’s fine.)


Before abandoning the far north we went as far north as you can go. Here’s a lighthouse from that point.


There be puffins in them there cliffs. We did see them, flying around and talking about how orange their beaks were.


We had a gig in Inverness the next night but I didn’t take any photos there and it was the other quiet one. However, we did meet two excellent friends of Strigine’s who play D&D and understand Firefly etc.

Then our last gig was in Nethybridge in the below excellent place. We performed in an actual tipi. On the left is the cottage we stayed in. On the right, the tipi. Previous to that we met up with Strigine’s sister, Applecross, for a walk around a nice loch. Before the end of the tour she gave me some tiny trees (rowans and birches) to bring back. They’re in the back garden now, in pots, doing tiny tree things.


The inside of the tipi.


Pretty flippin’ sweet, right? And the fire kept the midgies away. We had a very fun night and the show went really well. We may have had sore heads in the morning. Worth it.

Now we’ve been home for a while and I’ve been very busy. At work we’ve had a problem with some pegasaii eating weird berries en route back to the warehouse. As a result they’re leaving their parcels for days sitting in hedges and stone circles while they wander around hallucinating vividly before remembering what they were supposed to be doing and that they really need a drink. This has lead to some very upset dragons, as you might imagine.

We took the kids to see Solo the other night. I really enjoyed it for a heist film and everyone in it was just so good looking. Except the big evil slimy aliens of course.

Jalapeño and I also saw Deadpool 2 last night, heh. That was fun.

There has been other stuff of course. I could get into what I’m reading and all but it’s very complicated and now it’s slightly past 23:00 so it’s time to use these pajamas for their true purpose. The cat will be mad. Thanks for reading, space cowboys, and please forgive typos I’ve missed.





An uncertain day in May

We are currently in a weird week between gigs and submitting my visa renewal application. Plus the weather isn’t sure if it wants to rain or be warm .

Anyway, waaaaay to much has gone on since May 3rd to put all in one post but for now, here are some photos. To start with, a nice tree in Stockbridge.


Here is Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Craigs from Calton Hill. I can’t remember why I went up there but I do remember Jalapeño couldn’t hear me on the phone because the wind was too strong.


Here’s one of my favourite bits of the Water of Leith, next to the nice tree pictured above. Not shown, multiple ducks.


Here is a graveyard wherein I ate a Twinkie a couple of weeks ago during my lunch break at work. Among others, (obviously) David Hume is buried here.


Here is a lovely latte art rose the barista in Artisan Roast made for me when I met Renaissance there for coffee and catch-up.


Here is a loaf cat.


Here is a shot from the dog show(!!) Strigine and I went to yesterday. (Strigine is on the hunt for the perfect small dog). Sometimes it was confusing.

Dog show

Here is an uncomfortable Chihuahua.


Here is a book printed in 1910 which I picked up from The Gently Mad today. The woman who illustrated the cover and other parts of this series, was born in 1875. Her mother still believed art was the work of the Devil and went so far as to destroy some of her daughter’s work but said daughter prevailed and eventually went to the Glasgow College of Art. I will look up her name again after this . . .


This also gave me the chance to find out more about the bookshop and the mystery people who run it and their various skills.

And lastly, Scrimmy Bingus won a region-wide art contest at her school! The prize is 4 days (I think) studying at the Edinburgh Uni Art School and with all sorts of art pros from different industries, including Rockstar North. It’s pretty frickin’ sweet and she beat a lot of stiff competition.

And that is all for now except your polite and friendly reminder that Storm the Palace has a gig this Friday along with many fine artists at the Safari Lounge. All are welcome and we’d love to see you there 🙂


Things are much as they were. Very worky. Jalapeño is still jet-lagged because I can’t get him to go to bed earlier than 23:00 even though he has to get up at 6:30 for the school run. It must be terrible being male.

To celebrate my return to the 21st century, here are some garden pics!


Don’t be fooled by the sunshine. It is NOT warm. Dad says it got up to 85F in Vermontland yesterday. That is true warmth. Mostly all Scotland gets is illusory warmth which looks warm from inside but outside there’s always a cold breeze. It’s like getting what you think is a filled chocolate with caramel and nougat and realizing it’s hollow inside after you bite into it.

I am really happy some of my tulips are still surviving though.

I’m currently halfway through this lovely book.


It’s absolutely riveting and makes me want superpowers in a way I haven’t before. Like really want them. Even if I didn’t use them it would be amazing to know I could. It has blurbs from Margaret Atwood and Joss Whedon. It was my anniversary gift from Jalapeño when he got back. I gave him one called The Philosopher’s Flight, by Tom Miller.

Short hair was well received by the kids, especially Scrimmy Bingus who shouted, “I’m so proud of you!” and ran over to give me a hug. All the kids keep busting out old school dance moves at random. I’m not sure where this is coming from but it’s very entertaining.

Other than that it’s dragons, practicing, visa stuff and so forth. Many thanks to all who have watched and commented on the new Storm the Palace video. We had fun making it and we hope you enjoy playing it!

If you give a mouse a G&T . . .

It was a weekend of dragons, drink, and delight.

The dragons this week have actually been pretty snoozy. Sometime they get like that for a bit when the weather gets warmer. However, one actually bestirred herself enough to claw-type a very nice email praising the work of two colleagues who work in the actual trading halls, (which are blessedly gremlin free I hear) where the dragons and their gnomes show up in person. She was a very well-bred Tufflehoot, such that she likely drinks tea with her raw steak.

Anyhow, I sent a gremlin down to the trading hall in question via hedgehog (to give him something to do other than mess up the computers here), to pass on the kind words. By hedgehog because gremlins grumble terribly if forced to walk long distances since they’re mostly used to sitting around in motherboards spitting on things. You can fit twenty of them on one hedgehog but they get overexcited and start singing inappropriate songs.

On Friday evening I went out after work to meet Strigine and briefly Rapid as well (though he was a tired bunny and had to go home early) and hear several bands at a place called Safari Lounge, (it has good beer and, surprise, surprise, a safari theme).

The hard working gentleman, Suzerain, is putting on a series of these shows featuring several bands each time. INCIDENTALLY, STORM THE PALACE WILL BE PLAYING THERE ON THE 25TH OF MAY.


It was a fun night. Earplugs were needed, (small venue, big sounds) but the music was highly enjoyable and original. Only one drunk guy tried to talk to me and it turned out he was offended I was wearing earplugs because the drummer was his brother.

I also got to meet Grappa, a mystery person I’d been wanting to meet for a while who runs a recording studio. And I got re-acquainted with Cardinal, whom I’d met briefly before but not really gotten to speak with. She’s not so keen on dogs but seems pretty cool nonetheless. One the way home we kind of walked a nice little U around/through Leith. I’m imagining a U, it was probably more of a topless rectangle.

Then it was back to the dragons in the morning. I increased my sleep debt this weekend but the days have been so moreish I couldn’t help it and have no regrets. Then after work along came Strigine for pizza, practice, and drinks. So we sang, (and in Strigine’s case played guitar). Strigine has taken some words I wrote down and turned them into a living melodic creature which is wildly exciting to me. We crashed out after lots of wine and Ella Fitzgerald.

What was Realism doing during all this? Turns out he was meeting a friend who sometimes travels to Scotland for football matches. (He and Realism met whilst travelling in . . . maybe Patagonia?) Realism has also been busy attending concerts and films the last couple of nights. Specifically, film-wise, A Fistful of Dollars.

The Hannimal is on chicken pox watch at the moment with Skidbear who wasn’t showing symptoms last I heard but we’ll see. Skidbear is now eating mush and mostly likes to push it into her face.

On an unrelated note, white wine and cucumbers go surprisingly well together.

I’m currently reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. It was Dad’s suggestion. It’s very fun and a positive twist on the relationship between the internet and printed word. I also just finished reading The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. I’m still kind of confused about how that ended up happening. I was talking to a photographer at work and things just got out of hand but I’m glad they did. And I also finished Bitch Planet Vol. 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, which was a cunningly concealed surprise gift from Jalapeño in his absence. The book itself was grim but good.

I’ve been talking to Dangerous Beans A Lot lately. She doesn’t mind but she’s not a great conversationalist. She did enjoy all the practising on Saturday night though. She zens out to guitar.

Now I finally have a day off after 6 days of dragons in row and I’ve mostly eaten Battenberg cake and been out to get shopping plus continued gathering visa paperwork. (Today was verified bank statements.) Feelin’ the Sisyphean vibe at the moment but we’ll keep going. I did garner some ice cream treats and a random compliment about my coat from a nice young woman in a red hoodie.

Now, off to gather up Jalapeño!

Oh, and I am this close to having my phone back with the original number. Stay tuned.

A hail from the salt mines

Pssh, it was hardly salt mine-ish to be honest. Today the dragons were pretty calm, though I did have one who was having a lot of trouble using a discount charm. It turned out she’d never actually been given one. I just barely stopped her from placing an order without it which would probably have resulted in a crispy gnome or two on her end, not to mention my poor ears.  (If she’d consulted with her gnomes in the first place there probably wouldn’t have been an issue.) We got her all sorted out and in the end and sent her on her way with a fresh order of red hot slippers.

I forgot to mention – I had most of my hair cut off while I was in the States. It caused a much exclaiming at work, in a positive way. The gremlins disapproved by making my computer do weird things all afternoon but we all settled down eventually.

Meanwhile, seedlings continue sprouting in Vermontland and I’ve been eyeing up the disused greenhouse in the back garden here. Realism has given his blessing for having it cleared out but it occurs to me I don’t actually have any idea what grows well in greenhouses in Scotland.

Tonight I managed to squeeze in practising almost all my instruments. Now I’m going to go watch a puzzling film to wind down. Dangerous Beans may come along too and make snarky comments but she should be in a good mood as she stole some Wensleydale earlier.

Two thirds of Balancing Monks are back in Vermontland, doubtless they are quaffing fine beer and building mountains — or at least large hills — of future plans, this is healthy and normal behavior for such beasties.