Friday, October 20, 2017

Post 3580 - The Weekend Is Here!

How are you doing this evening, my lovelies?

I am typing this post on the desktop computer to which the model m keyboard is attached. I have only had the keyboard for a day, and not typed that much on it, but so far, it is excellent. I have decided I will keep this keyboard. And I wish I had a few more of them. I would love to be able to replace my other keyboards on my other computers with a similar Model M keyboard.

What a joy to use this keyboard. Lovely, responsive keys. Noisy, so you know it got pressed. And I have to wonder how many more years the keyboard has left in it. I think I want to find out.


The weekend is here. We have plans for Saturday night. Dinner at friend's place. Patricia is in charge of purchasing an appropriate bottle of red wine tomorrow morning. I will tell you about it tomorrow night or on Sunday, depending on how late we get home.

I think I will turn in. Been a very long day. These 18 hour days can wear a fella down.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Post 3579 - Two Days Later

Sorry I didn't write last night. I was exhausted and turned in around 9:30.

Boy, did I get something neat today.

I got an IBM Model M keyboard, manufactured in October of 1989.

For fifty cents.

Here it is!!


Okay. Maybe I should back up.

Keyboards are nothing new. They have been the primary way of getting information into a computer for decades. But for the past 20 years or so, keyboards that have been bundled with newly-purchased computers are, well, cheap. Sucky. Mushy. Not very good.

There are exceptions to the above rule. Old PS/2 keyboards can be not bad at all. But the keyboards I used in university, and into my 20's, haven't been made in bulk for many years. There is a company that makes 2017 versions of these classic keyboards, but they are not as good as the real thing.

The keyboards that IBM manufactured in the 1980's and into the 1990's have a special spring under each key that gives a very satisfying "clack" every time you press it. These "mechanical" keyboards are nearly indestructible and can last for very long time. The one I got today, which is attached to the computer I am typing this blog post on, was manufactured in March of 1989.

Even now, typing this, I am getting back the old feeling of typing again, and I am enjoying the sensation very much. Takes me back to that first job after university where we would clack away all day in an office on these and similar keyboards. I can find and use the home row of keys much more easily. I was a little concerned that the keyboard tray would not accommodate this keyboard as it is quite a bit "taller" than the one I just had here, but the keyboard tray is closing. It fits, if only barely.

My goodness, this is a wonderful feeling, typing on this keyboard. A little noisy, perhaps, but it feels great to use a real keyboard again. I wish I had several more of these critters. I will keep looking.

I bought it today at a thrift store on Almon Street in Halifax. I go in there from time to time. They had a box of keyboards, 50 cents apiece. I sifted through the 8 or so, until I found one that was very heavy relative to the others. I noticed that all the keys were present. I flipped it over and saw the underside of it. Here it is:

Yep. Model M. Manufactured in October of 1989.

I have the option of selling this on kijiji or ebay for $100 or more. I am leaning toward keeping it. I will let you know. If I keep it, I imagine I can get a few more years, maybe quite a few more years, out of this keyboard.

What cool things have you found and purchased at a thrift store over the years?

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Post 3578 - Traffic and Construction


I need a drink.

Maybe two.

Traffic in Halifax is a nightmare. All the bloody construction is driving me crazy. It can take me as little as 20 minutes to drive from my  home in Timberlea to my work.

Took me 65 minutes this morning.

The construction on the St. Margaret's Bay Road has been delayed over and over. Especially disheartening was the news on Monday that the road will not be open again until the end of November. Two major delays. I am not putting money on it being open then. How about Christmas? Of 2018?

But that is only a tiny part of it. There is so much construction in so many parts of the Halifax and Dartmouth that thousands of people are inconvenienced every day. Plus businesses are suffering. I don't know how many of them are holding on. I feel sorry for them.

I am sick unto death of municipal politicians telling us to be patient about this work. That things will be so much better once it is over. Be patient. "Shut up" is more like it. I cannot remember the last time I was more disappointed by so many municipal politicians than many of this sorry lot.

Why can't we have politicians at the municipal level who would at least pretend to listen, to give a darn when people complain to them about the traffic and the construction and the frustration? At least say something like, "I feel your pain"?

But no.

They just tell us to keep waiting.

Businesses are suffering. Drivers are getting so frustrated that I am shocked that there are not more accidents.

We just want this to be over.

When, folks? When?

See you tomorrow.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Post 3577 - RIP, John Dunsworth

Well, I just learned that John Dunsworth died. You know, Mr. Lahey from the Trailer Park Boys.

I was only ever a casual fan of the show, which has defied all logic by remaining on the air in new episodes years and years after anybody cared about the show, sort of like a Canadian "South Park". But even though I was not that big a fan, I was a fan of John Dunsworth's, who played Lahey with such abandon and enthusiasm that you couldn't help but watch him.

He had an extremely varied career, and seemed to take on any kind of role offered to him, probably because he lived in Nova Scotia most of his life and acting roles are not exactly plentiful at the best of times.

I only ever met him once. I think it was at the Spatz Theatre at Citadel High School, at the Sons of Anarchy discussion that Kim Coates was invited to. I can only imagine they knew each other, having worked at Neptune Theatre in various productions over the years. Somewhere I have a phone picture of Dunsworth posing with Patricia. I will try and find it.

It's a testament to his acting ability that John Dunsworth played Mr. Lahey, an inveterate drunk and gambler, but did not drink in real life, and embarked on an anti-gambling crusade in recent years that bordered on the over zealous and puritanical.

I have to respect a guy who lives his life the way he bloody wants to and doesn't let anything get in the way of that resolve. I wish I had a tenth of that determination.

Rest in peace, John Dunsworth!

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Post 3576 - An Eventful Weekend.

Sunday night. Back to work in the morning.

Another vacation is behind me. Once again, I do not know where the time has gone. It was just the other day when it started. Now, it's over, and it is back to reality tomorrow.


Had some fun this weekend. Went to the Giant Book Sale, presented by Women For Music, a fund-raising arm of Symphony Nova Scotia. They have been doing these book sales for something like 55 years now. I had gone to one or two of them when they were at the Halifax Shopping Centre, but in recent years they have been in Maritime Hall at the Halifax Forum, a nice space, but they have to pay rent for the room.

I got the following books. Details and commentary to follow:

Okay. It occurs to me that many of you, maybe even most of you, don't know who "Fireside Al" was. I grew up listening to "As it Happens" on CBC radio. Started listening to that excellent program in the early part of 1975. The host was Barbara Frum, with the story intro's by Alan Maitland.

My god, I loved that show. Every week night, Barbara and Alan would interview people from all walks of life, all through the magic of the telephone. When she left the show around 1982 to become the host of CBC television's The Journal, much of the magic was gone from AiH, at least for me.

Barbara had at least two children. Linda used to write those smarmy books about the coolest Canadian universities to attend, which often got her in trouble for her superficial overviews of those universities. I remember a particularly snotty story about Linda when she visited Acadia University that was reported in the university's newspaper, The Athenaeum.

And her son David Frum is a well-known political commentator who wrote speeches for George W. Bush, before writing one of the first books about that administration. He is on tv all the time.

Anyway, Alan Matiland was the other half of the AiH team back when I was initially listening to it. I loved his voice, which is just as well, due to his 1950's era rock and roll roots.

Later in his career, around the holidays, he would read Christmas stories. Other times of the year, as the feature became more popular, he would read stories, as only he could, about that time of the year. I can never forget his reading of O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi".

Years and years later, long after his 1997 death, maybe even up to the present day, around the holidays, the CBC dusts off one or two of Alan Maitland's story readings and replays them for the AiH audience.

As the feature became more popular, Alan started referring to himself as "Fireside Al" around the holidays for the presentations of these stories. I think, for the summer stories, he was "Porchside Al". I think I have that book.

Anyway, I got the "Fireside Al" book yesterday. And as you can see from the cover, it is authographed by Mr. Maitland himself. Set me back three dollars. I will never part with it. I have a "cell" in one of my bookcases devoted to Christmas books. It will be up there soon.

The Rick Boyer "Doc Adams" books go back to the 1980's. I bought the first one, "Billingsgate Shoal", in the summer of 1986 after I read a positive review of it in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. I probably bought it at Chisholm's Bookstore in downtown Kentville.

I will confess now that I was unaware of how many Doc Adams books there were, but he wrote them well into the 1990's. The three books I got yesterday, ranging in price from $1 to $2, I did not know existed. I just read "Shoal" all those years ago and recalled it fondly, but had never seen or heard tell of the other books in the series.  Now, I have three more of them.

Boyer also, as a 23 year old, wrote "The Giant Rat of Sumatra", one of those Sherlock Holmes stories that Doyle had Watson allude to in one of the canonical Sherlock Holmes short stories or novels. I got that book for Christmas in 1976 and loved it. Edge-of-my-seat stuff. I am pretty sure I still have that book, down in the Valley, where it has remained on a bookcase all these years. Ah, youth!

Walter Mosley is a writer I have tried to get into, without much success. His most popular character is "Easy Rawlins", the subject of "Devil in a Blue Dress", which became a Denzel Washington movie some years back.

They had a large section of books devoted to the mystery genre, which is a very, very, very big tent. I try to be informed about detective/crime fiction at the very least, and take pride in being able to be familiar with many of the luminaries in that under-appreciated field. So imagine my surprise when I saw the vintage (copyright 1932) "Case for Mr. Fortune". Two dollars. Never heard of "H.C. Bailey" or "Mr. Reginald Fortune" before.  Here. Read about him on wikipedia if you want.

Reading about him this evening, he appears to be a largely-forgotten writer who was very popular in his day, and whose stories take a darker turn that may appeal to me. I think I lucked out.

Anyway, we took our leave of the book sale around 4:45 and proceeded downtown for the annual Nocturne event. We decided to have dinner first. After wandering around Spring Garden Road for a while, we went up Queen Street and checked out the menu at the sushi place there. It is called "Minato Sushi". It has been there for 15 years, winning best restaurant in urbanspoon in 2014. And it was transcendent. Here is the website.

We had the "Tokyo Dinner for Two", 20 pieces of sushi, two salads and two bowls of miso soup.

It is obvious that this is an old house. It had great bones. We ate downstairs, but the upstairs is open as well. There is a little area upstairs that can accommodate parties of up to 12 or so.

People at the next table had been there many times. I think that we will go back there, soon, and eventually beat their record.

After dinner, we had coffee at the Starbucks on Spring Garden Road. By the time we were done, it was dark enough to see some Nocturne art projects.

And the disappointment began.

We looked at the map and the write ups from The Coast, whilst at Starbucks. We started walking down toward Barrington Street. The throngs from previous years were not present. There were a lot of people out, but not as many as we had been expecting. We did manage to crush some bubble wrap as part of some performance art. We  observed a Halifax Dance exhibit while both of us lamented growing up in rural Nova Scotia, where there was no such thing at the time. The Halifax Circus fire show was impossible to see, so we went next door to St. Matthew's Church to see the circus aerialists. That was fun. We proceeded North on Barrington and saw very little, actually. The odd little performance here and there.

Made our way back up to Spring Garden Road to the Public Gardens, which is never open at night, but was last evening. Saw some arty things. We were getting tired at this point, and ever more disappointed, so we made our way home.

Today we lazed about, but did laundry and washed dishes. I made dinner. I am freshly showered and shaven.

And first thing in the morning, before we go to work, we have to take the car for its semi annual oil change. Good times. Good times.

I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Post 3575 - Where Was I?

Hi. Sorry I didn't write on Thursday night. I was up crazy late doing stuff. Then, Friday morning, I got up crazy early. I was functioning on about four and a half hours of sleep.

Patricia and I went downtown quite early Friday morning to take care of some business. Once that was done, around 10:45, we had the rest of the day to ourselves. We walked around the downtown for a spell and had lunch at the Hali Deli on Agricola Street. I am not sure if I will ever go back.

The food was fine, but I am puzzled about the place. It is a sort of Jewish deli, but yet, you can order bacon and eggs on the menu. Not exactly Kosher. And I thought that actual Jewish deli's did not serve milk products. Like, you can't get a cheese burger at an authentic Jewish deli. Maybe I am wrong about that last part. Feel free to correct me.

I am not happy about the service at the place. Our server was busy and wasn't goofing off or anything, but when I told him that I needed a detailed receipt, he just said that the slip of paper that had the amounts of the items recorded on it was all they offered. He did write the name of the place on the cheque, along with the date, so that is something. I ended up leaving a much bigger tip than I should have. I will carry that regret to my grave.

There are plenty of people who can expense their meals, on a regular basis. Occasionally, I can too, due to my freelance work. When that does happen, I need a detailed receipt spelling everything out that was purchased. I don't think it is too much to ask. Especially in this day and age.

The Haligonian Cafe and Bistro across the street is much, much better. We should have gone there.

Anyway, Patricia and I made our way to the Wal*Mart in Bayer's Lake. She needed to pick up some things. I got some more of the shaving soap that I use. Less than two dollars a bar, and lasts me 6-8 weeks, or even longer if I go for the scruffy look.

We returned home mid-afternoon. I kicked back and relaxed and slept for a few hours. We spent the evening here at home watching the tube.

Tomorrow is a bit up in the air. Nocturne is at night. Gotta see that, weather depending. There is a farmer's market at the Halifax Forum. Never been to that one. And the Forum is also playing host to a semi-annual massive book sale. Never been to that, and they have been holding this book sale twice a year for quite a few years now.

I should also put in an appearance at the archives. I need to start work on another true crime case for Frank.

I think I will turn in. Looks like a busy day tomorrow.

See you then.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Post 3574 - Another Day Later

About the same time tonight as when I wrote last night's blog post.

We slept in, like, really slept in. A whole bunch. And I made breakfast and washed the dishes. After that, we parked in front of the tv for the rest of the day.

A vacation day where we did nearly nothing. I love it.

Thursday, we will take a little trip to a thrift store and drop off the stuff we're getting rid of. We wish like crazy that we could get rid of the old magazines and papers and stuff that are in a clear bag, but that is not for another 12 days. Ditto for the cardboard I lashed together a couple of days ago. The living room will look much better than.

I think I will turn in. Need some sleep.

See you tomorrow, my lovelies.