Monday, December 31, 2007

65th Post - Catching UP

Didn't have a chance to write yesterday. Patricia and I met with the woman from work who was selling the Kitchen Aid mix set. Afterward, we all had dinner at a local Tex-Mex place. We had sworn off the place a couple of years ago; last night, it was much better. We'll go back there again, sometime.

Andrea is tossing in a few Grohmann knives. Grohmann knives! Does anyone reading this know how great these knives are? And that they're a Nova Scotia product? A Pictou County product at that? We drive past the Grohmann knives outlet and factory many times every year when we are in the town of Pictou. It's usually when we're on our way to Sharon's Place for a great meal.

Patricia is at the house right now, cookin' a New Year's Eve free range chicken dinner for us. We're going to stay in tonight and watch the new year come in, assuming I don't fall asleep before midnight, that is. We'll watch movies either on tape, a recently-burned dvd, or the video on demand option that Eastlink provides.

Speaking of which, Movie Pix will be running nearly all of Stanley Kubrick's films in January. Stuff going back to the 1950's. Most of them, maybe even all of them, will be in full-screen mode. A pox on full screen films on the movie channels! I know that the people behind the movie channels have no control over the films they receive; the vast majority of these films are in full screen mode because that is the way they're provided by the movie studios.

Anyway, I haven't seen many of these Kubrick films, either ever, or for a very long time. I fondly recall "Full Metal Jacket". I saw it in theatres. In January, I'll find out if I still like it. And, maybe, I'll be able to stay awake during "Eyes Wide Shut" this time.

I'll try to blog again tonight.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

64th Post - The Day After the Night Before (And Morning of)

I worked until 4 this morning. Started at midnight, finished at 4. After work, I fed the cat and took my greenbin to the curb, along with my recycleables. And, after that, I went to bed.

It was an interesting evening. My cat, Newbie, was with me nearly the whole time. When I was here in my office, he would more often than not be by my feet, staring up at me, as if to say, "Hey! It's way past your bedtime, human! Pay attention to me now!" I kept explaining to him that he was an expensive cat. I buy him the highest quality food I can find. He gets his shots, even though he is exclusively an indoor cat. Those things all cost money, and if I can make a little extra coin to provide him with better care and food and scratching posts, then that is an opportunity that I will take.

Slept until around 10:30. I was just starting to wake up when Patricia called, wanting to know how things had gone. She wanted to get groceries and be home in time to beat the storm, and I decided to tag along, if she did the driving.

We went to the store, and she dropped me off here. That was shortly after 1pm. Nearly 5 hours later, I am here. Spent part of the afternoon sleeping, and most of the rest of it catching up on this season's episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" through video on demand. Fed Newbie again, and here I am.

There will be a shift change in a week, so I won't be on call for 2 weeks. That should coincide with the next overtime to take place. My backup will get those hours. He is welcome to them.

Long night, quiet after afternoon. Will turn in early tonight.

May post later. Kinda tired.


Friday, December 28, 2007

63rd Post - Patricia's Replacement Gift

(Please read post 62 if you haven't already read it. It reveals important plot information that you need in order to follow this post)

So, today, I approached a co-worker. I remarked that it was snowing outside her window. She looked out her window and agreed that it was, indeed, snowing outside her window. I am very good at small talk.

I also noticed that she was eating lebkuchen. German cookies. She agreed that she was, in point of fact, eating lebkuchen. I guess I should capitalize it, as German nouns are always capitalized.


(Should be an umlaut over the "u", but one can't have everything. If someone knows how to add foreign characters to these blogs, let me know)

We talked some more. She mentioned that her father had been a master baker, and had taught baking at a local community college. He had passed in January, and was selling off some of his gear through kijiji. It was a Kitchen Aid professional grade mixer. Barely used.

I remembered that Patricia had been wanting such an item. She had been hoping I'd get her one for Christmas, instead of the thrice-accursed Gilmore Girls boxed set, collecting all 153 episodes under one roof.

I was shown the item on kijiji. I called Patricia and Andrea sent her the e-mail link.

They spoke later on this morning. Agreed to a price. And agreed to rendezvous this weekend so that Patricia can take possession of it.

It was so fortuitous, almost kismet, that we would talk this morning. That the subject would turn to her father. That she would mention she was trying to sell this device. And that Patricia would want this very item. And that she would yield nearly enough money from the return of the Gilmore Girls boxed set to pay for this item.

Two more hours to kill before I have to do what I do best.


62nd Post - Friggin' Gilmore Girls!

On Thursday, at lunch time, I made my way to the retail outlet that services those of us who have BlackBerries. I had ordered a holster for it a few weeks ago, but it hadn't arrived yet. Someone told me I should go there anyway and see if it might be there. That sometimes the staff there do not remember to call when an ordered item arrives.

So I did.

Patricia and I went there yesterday. Sure enough, the holster had arrived. I took possession of it, a little disappointed that they had not called me when it had come in. Who knows how long it had been there? Oh, well. Not worth getting upset over.

Afterward, Patricia and I sat outside the store and gazed lovingly into each other's eyes.

No, we didn't.

We talked.

No, we didn't.

She talked, and I listened.

No, we didn't.

She talked, and I heard some of it.

More like it!

After a few minutes of these pleasantries, she got to her point. She asked if she could return one of the gifts I had given her. "Gee", I thought. "Which one would that be?"

"The Gilmore Girls?", I offered.



I guess we need a little background here. Several years ago, I gave my parents a coffee maker. Mom's birthday, I think. I went to considerable expense to get them a nice one. I bought them some good quality coffee.

I was there when she got the gift. She opened it up, regarded it, and the look on her face, on my father's face, on my older sister's face, was all the same. Not quite disgust, but a look that said, "What the Hell were you thinking, giving us this?"

I was crushed. They drink that instant coffee crap, not fit for human consumption. I thought, naively it turned out, that they might appreciate a coffee maker and real coffee.

I was not prepared for the criticism from every corner. I can't remember if my younger sister inveighed against me for my poor gift choice, but everyone else sure did. I was made to feel like crap. I returned the item, and the coffee went to Patricia, I think. I bought Mom something more suitable. I have long since forgotten what that was, but at least I wasn't pilloried that time.

Anyway, Patricia knew all about that time. I told her all about it. How much it had hurt me. In that light, in that context, she was very timid about asking if she could return that dvd boxed set. She had seen the show, liked it, but it was no longer on the air, and she had no interest in sitting down to watch all 153 episodes over and over.

I paid a fair amount of money for that boxed set. It was her main gift. I didn't want that money to be wasted. I wanted that outlay of cash to result in a gift that would make her go "wow", not "ehhhh!".

So, I was not upset that she wanted to return the item. I found the receipt last evening and we returned it today. They credited my debit card, and this afternoon I extracted the cash from my bank account and gave it to her.

What does she want? And what is she getting?

Well, that's for the next post, you silly person you!


61st Post - More Overtime!

I swilled a large double-double tonight because I have to work more overtime this evening. Around midnight, I have to log on and do what I do best. Afterward, around 1:30 tomorrow morning, I must reverse that procedure, and undo what I undo best.

Rather than go to bed for a few hours, and be groggy upon waking up at 11:55, I am going to persevere and stay awake until this is all over.

I didn't write last evening because there wasn't much to talk about, really. I went to work on the bus, because the forecast had been so dire. We had at best a little skiff of a storm, barely enough to make the roads greasy. But I was stuck. I took the bus home last night, too. On that bus, about half way home, the boy got on the bus. You know, the charming young man who broke into my house this summer.

I don't get it. Why are his parents allowing him to roam around like the Wandering Jew? He should be at school (which is out this week), or at his weekend job (and it wasn't the weekend). He should be otherwise at home serving penitence. He should be home writing me that letter of apology that was promised to me as part of his contract, the one we all signed, and to which he must adhere on pain of his case being reverted to the court system. He shouldn't be out shopping, running the roads, hanging out with his dumb ass buddies.

I still get freaked out that he lives so close to me. I still have difficult nights in this home by myself. I still feel vulnerable here. Meanwhile, "Raffles" gets to do whatever he wants.

(If you don't know what I mean by "Raffles", check out the wikipedia entry.)

I still hope that the boy makes something of himself. However, I am dubious. I am not of the opinion that that is a likely scenario. He should feel like absolute crap for what he did to me, and allegedly others in the neighbourhood. Instead, he seems cavalier and exudes a disregard for what he did to me and his family.

I have a couple of hours to kill before I have to do what I do best. I'll post more in a bit.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

60th Post - Boxing Day

I don't drink very much. Sometimes, during the holidays, I'll imbibe a little, but I do my best not to over indulge. The last time I was probably feeling a little good was about 18 months ago when a bunch of us from work went to someone's apartment, just as my 3 week vacation was starting. As if to punish me, my car broke down the next morning, costing me $1100 in repairs. Sigh, and double sigh.

It is, therefore, difficult for me to relate to a film like "The Lost Weekend", which deals with alcoholism. Except, maybe, in one respect: Today, Boxing Day, was a "lost day".

I pretty much slept the day away. I went to bed last evening at a relatively early hour, and got up this morning long enough to feed Newbie before returning to bed, not to rise for the day until nearly 9:30. I did little this morning, but became tired by the afternoon, and took a two-and-a-half-hour nap.

Didn't see Patricia today. Only left the house long enough to throw some stuff into my green bin.

Tomorrow, it's back to work for the balance of the week. Forecast is for a snow, followed by ice pellets. Marvellous drive home from work tomorrow night, I'm sure. Looking forward to it.

The radio stations were all pretty much automated today. Hard to get any local news from them, even the brief periods when I was awake, although News 95.7 did have brief news hits at the top and the bottom of the hour until noon. So, I did hear about the tiger in San Fransico that went berserk, again, and mauled some poor bastard to death. This is the same tiger that chewed off someone else's arm last year. It's been put to death, thank God.

Why do we even have zoos? What is the appeal? I don't get it. If the animals are better off, more or less, in the wild, why not let them live that way? If their instinct is to be a predator, then let them do that, in the wild. Or, at the very least, make it impossible for these animals to get loose.

Looking forward to going to that bookstore tomorrow to begin "spending" that credit I accrued the other day with the true crime books I took in. There were three or four paperbacks there I would like to have.

Say, isn't this blog living up to its promise of being the most boring one ever?



Tuesday, December 25, 2007

59th Post - Merry Christmas!!

Hope you had a nice Christmas, my legions of fans.

What did I get? Some clothes. My dad made me a toolbox to hold the tools he and Mom bought me: a saw, a level, and a carpenter's square (or maybe it was a boomerang; or maybe it was a giant letter "L" for when I teach my cat Newbie to read).

Patricia got me some stuff for when I cook. Perhaps she was dropping me a hint.

Got a couple of paperback books. One is by Richard Laymon, a horror novelist whose work I recently discovered and want to check out. Too bad he died in 2001. But he wrote 30+ novels so it would take me a long time to track down and read those books, should I choose to do so.

Got some blank cd's for burning podcasts and stuff on to. Blank cd's, which have a much lower storage capacity, cost so much more today than single layer blank dvd's. Doesn't make sense to little old me.

I gave my dad an electric staple gun and every size staple I could find. Also gave him a more advanced puzzle than the one he's been playing with for several months now. He has already solved it once.

Gave Mom gift certificates for a restaurant in Halifax that they like, along with a year subscription to Frank Magazine and six months free cable television.

Gave my older sister a couple of books on cleaning, along with cleaning supplies. Not trying to drop her a hint. She is just about the hardest person in the world to buy for.

Somebody once asked Mother Theresa, just what she owned. She shrugged her shoulders and replied that she had a couple of robes, a bucket, and perhaps a mop. My sister is about as hard to buy for as Mother Theresa must have been.

Gave Patricia, among other things, a sudoku game, a free manicure and pedicure, and the complete Gilmore Girls on dvd. All 153 episodes of that show. Long time readers of this blog may recall that I had bought this for her a few weeks ago.

We ate too much for Christmas dinner. I had to nap for an hour or so this afternoon. We came back to the city around 6pm. Got back here around 7:45. I had put out 3 food bowls for my cat, and three bowls of water, expecting this food to last him just from yesterday afternoon until this evening. All three food bowls were empty! He is not a cat. He is a pig!

Fed him anyway.

Long day. Probably should go to bed.


Monday, December 24, 2007

58th post - Christmas Eve

Long day. Blogging from my parents

Worked this morning. Had breakfast with Patricia making us a few minutes late. Childrens party at work so lots of kids roaming around. Little anklebiters

Cashed in vast majority of true crime books. Many used book stores will not accept this disreputable genre but this one does. Pretty much doubled their selection today

Thought I might get a little more for them. But I am glad to be rid of these books. 100 times more selective in what I buy now

After work went home to pack and leave lots of food and water for the cat. Left him at the house until tomorrow night. Miss him. Will spend Boxing Day with him

Had to shoo kids off property today. The nerve of them

Got to parents around 5 pm. We all had fishcakes prepared by parents

Our tradition is to open 1 present Christmas eve. I got a package containing a saw a nice box cutter and a small square. Much appreciated

Patricia opened the sudoku unit

Sister got her exotic cocoa mixes

Mom got coasters

Dad got a puzzle from me

Other sister who reads this blog came by with her family and daughters bf

Watched worst Christmas jobs in history and Larry king

Will get up by 8 tomorrow to unwrap prezzies

Miss my cat. Wonder what he is doing right now? And is some jag off kid hanging around my property?

Time for sleep

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

57th Post - Working on a Sunday

Got up at 5 30 this morning to go to work. Luckily working for me meant just going downstairs to my study for a few hours and logging to my work computer from home

7 hours later I was done. Took a nap afterward. Also wrapped Christmas prezzies today

Bundled up some true crime books to take into a used bookstore tomorrow for trade. Keeping a very few that I still want to read. However most p these books I never read. Terrible waste of money. But very few book today at least at full retail. Who does but a lot of new books nowadays?

I will trade these books for other ones alas. But it will be a smaller pile of books than I am takigh in tomorrow

Just working a half day tomorrow. Off work until Thursday the 27th.

Posting from BlackBerry again. Very convenient

Have a good one


Saturday, December 22, 2007

56th Post - time for bed

Blogging from blackberry again

Arms are sore from the chipping and shovelling and salting this morning. Not used to that type of exercise. Big fat teddy bear

Patricia shot some video of me on this device yesterday. May upload it here over the holidays. Haven't decided yet

Made the dip this evening. In the fridge until Christmas. Should be pretty tasty by the 25th

Have to get up 5 30 Sunday morning to do what I have to do

After I finish work I will wrap prezzies for a couple of hours. Hope I have enough tape!


55th Post - Free at Last!

My car is free from the driveway!

Starting around 9 this morning, I chipped away at the ice and snow at the front of the driveway. I'd chip a little, shovel away at what I had chipped, apply a little more salt to what was left, and repeat the process. Took short breaks along the way as I got tired. Had a radio on the car to keep me entertained and occupied as I worked. That radio helped the time go by much faster.

Two and a half hours later, I felt I could drive my car out of the driveway. So, I did. I went to the Superstore in Tantallon to get the fixings for the dip I make for the family every year. I'll provide the recipe in a little bit.

At the Superstore, they had tremendous deals on a couple of items. For instance, they had Christmas wreaths, medium size, regularly $19.99 for ... 50 cents! Don't know what happened there. Maybe they had far too many in stock or something. I got two. The one I picked up a couple of weeks ago had been "cooked" on my metal front door, so I tossed it a couple of days ago. Nice to get another one so cheap. And the spare one I got today is on my front deck. It may be deployed to the front, door, too, if the one I put on the door today gets fried, too.

The line ups at Superstore were crazy long. Took nearly 20 minutes to get to a cashier to pay for this stuff.

Got home, exhausted from the effort it took to clear the driveway, plus the grocery store excursion. Napped most of the afternoon.

I will have a busy night. I will at least begin wrapping what I have got people for the holidays. And I will also prepare that dip. Here is the recipe:

2 cups of plain yogurt
2 cups of sour cream
1 cucumber, diced, and seeded and drained.
1 package of vegetable soup mix.
Dill weed to taste
Other spices like garlic if you want to.
I throw in a little hot red pepper spice for a bit of a kick.

Mix everything together in a big enough bowl and let the flavours mingle and get to know each other for a day or so.

People in the family ask me, even expect me, to make this every year. They take home their share. I might have a few chips worth if I am lucky.

Have to work tomorrow, Sunday. Will have to get up really early to do what I do best, and then undo what I undo best several hours later. Not how I planned to spend my December 23rd, but at it does pay double time, so I am not complaining.

More later.

Friday, December 21, 2007

54th post - blogging from bed

This is so cool. I am in bed waiting for the late news to start. And I am blogging too

Expect more changes to the blog coming soon. Pictures and video. Maybe other stuff too

Good night my many fans!


53rd post - I can Post from Anywhere Now!

I can clean this up later. I just wanted to prove that I can blog from my blackberry

And I just did

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

52nd Post - What a Deal!

I was off work today. Someone from work wanted to take next week as a vacation, so I agreed to move my day off a week early. I won't have another day off for four weeks, other than the statutory days that is. I'm hardly complaining.

My car is still stuck in my drive way. There has been a huge run on salt in Halifax the last couple of weeks, to the point where it is very hard to find. However, I did find a small cache of it in a store this evening, so I spread the contents of an entire bag on the snow tonight. I am hoping it will melt it enough for me to chip away at it tomorrow morning.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Patricia and I went back to Costco this morning. We both spent more today than we did last night. I decided that the Peanuts volumes were just too good a deal to pass up, so I got all three of them. I now have the first 16 years, complete, of Shultz's Peanuts. It will be fun reading these books and seeing how he worked the kinks out and developed Charlie Brown and Lucy an Snoopy and all the others. I believe, having checked the Fantagraphics website, that I am completely caught up on these collections, too. Damn, I cant wait to read these books!

After Costco, we went to the local WalMart. Remember, I was still looking for a micro sd card for my BlackBerry. I went to the electronics section, found the digital media section, ad located the micro sd cards. I recalled some of the boys at work saying that the cheapest price they had seen for a 2 gig micro sd card was $40. Imagine my surprise when I saw a sandisk 2 gig micro sd card for $33.84!!

I couldn't believe my eyes. I got the sales guy to release a card for me to take to the cashier. They are so paranoid about some of their products that he carried the item for me to the cash. Imagine my surprise, then, when the cashier rang it up at $50!

I told her that I thought I'd seen it for a lower price. She went over with me to the display, and confirmed what I had told her. She sold it to me at that misquoted price, and immediately peeled off the incorrect price, revealing the correct one underneath.

So, I got a huge bargain today. Two, if you count the Peanuts books. But the one I will rub in everyone's face is this micro sd card.

I have already used the expanded storage to shoot a few videos. I will download some tunes at some point. There are some podcasts I'd like to listen to. It is just nice having all this extra storage. 2 gig is still not as much as 4 or 8, but apparently the BB operating system can't handle more than 2 gig. I'm sure they'll fix that with the next release.

After Walmart, and a quick return to our homes to drop off the stuff we'd got, we went to CJCH to pick up some winnings from last week. Patricia is getting a free manicure and pedicure for Christmas. I got a calendar. Yay!

After that, we had a mid-afternoon meal (what do you call a combination lunch and dinner? Linner? Dunch?) at the Mongolie Grill. We really like that place. I installed the micro sd card and shot fascinating footage of cars driving by, and even more of Patricia speaking with the server.

After that, we went to the local farmer's market, which was having a craft sale heading up to the holidays. It lacked most of the vendors that are there on Saturday mornings, so we left after a short time. I did, however, decide to buy my parents a new sign to put on their house.

From there, we decided to return home, but stopped off at the store which just so happened to have bags of salt that we needed so much, and which are in such short supply in Halifax. Not a bad price, too!

Got home couple of hours ago. Finalized another dvd I'd recorded for this guy in the States, and started the dubbing of another one, decided what movies to tape off the Movie Channels over night, and sat down here to blog.

I'll blog more in the morning. I'll have lots of fun trying to free up my car. Hope all the salt I put down helps!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

51st Post - Conspicuous Consumption

How was YOUR day?

Had no time for breakfast. With my car still stuck in my driveway, and not being able to find someone with a snowplow to fix me up, I am taking the bus to Patricia's place in the morning.

Never had time for anything to eat until I ran to the banking machine at 10 to get some cash. I bought a snack there, which sustained me until our annual Christmas luncheon, at which I consumed something greasy and afterward waddled back to work. When I got there, there was an e-mail saying that there was plenty of leftover food in a boardroom and that we could help ourselves while quantities lasted. I made my way to this boardroom, sampled some wares, and realized that I was about one wafer away from severe embarrassment. I crawled out of there and made my way back to my office.

Crap, I gotta go back to the gym soon. I am working through the holidays, so there is no reason why I cannot hit the gym a couple of times next week. And by posting this resolution here, that means I must now go forward and do it.

After work, we went to Costco. I need a micro sd card for my BlackBerry, but they didn't have any there. They had every other time of storage medium there short of 8 inch floppy disks, but not what I needed. Ditto for Staples, too, at least the sale items (not going to pay 80 dollars for a 2 gig micro sd card!). I'll check out another store tomorrow.

I did get the first two volumes of the Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz, though. He drew that strip from 1950 until his death 50 years later. The latter years were not terribly entertaining, and neither were the first several as Schulz found his footing and worked out the kinks. Fantagraphics Books is gradually reprinting every single Peanuts strip, a project they have been working on for several years, with many more years to go. The company has had some tough financial times in recent years, and seeing nearly-remaindered Peanuts collections does not fill me with confidence for their future. However, perhaps Costco made such a good deal with them that these sales will sustain them and help them complete this important work.

The books look great, by the way. Even though the art is crude, and the characters are not refined yet, the actual reproduction is first class. I used to read other Peanuts paperback reprints when I was just a young fart (those books skipped many key strips), and look forward to re-reading some of these classic strips again.

And, just maybe, I'll go back to Costco on Friday and get one or two more of these double volume sets. At a price way below what it sells for in the United States, it is too hard to resist!

If you need further impetus to consider buying these volumes, it may help you to know that the covers to the entire series are being done by a Canadian! Goes by the name of Seth. If memory serves, he has grandparents on Prince Edward Island.

Tomorrow: More shopping. My quest for a micro sd card. The Mongolie Grill. And, maybe, just maybe, my car will be freed from its icy prison and I won't have to rely on public transit or Patricia's 1997 Toyota to get around. I have standards, you know!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

50th Post - The 50th Post!!

I can't believe, barely a month after I began this blog, that I am writing my 50th post. 49th, I guess, if you don't want to count the time I tried to advertise this blog with a website that presents blogs to other potential interested blog readers. What a friggin' waste of time that was. I'll try that again, just as soon as I am in the mood to waste a few hours some evening when I could be doing something more pleasant (like another colonoscopy, for instance).

50 posts! These happened easily, and quickly. I feel that I am just getting warmed up. Writing like this has been much more fun than I thought it would be.

Getting you caught up: Yes, my car is still land locked. A guy at work asked me about that today, after having read some blog posts last evening. However, the snow is not quite as hard as it was last evening, so I may be able to chip enough out to be able to get out of the drive way tomorrow morning. I'll try later on.

Local Wal-Marts are open 24 hours until Christmas Eve. I may get up frightfully early Thursday or Friday morning and see what other fools are shopping at 4am. Last year, I went out early one morning and bought some stuff for people in my family before going to work a couple of hours later (and following breakfast at a place that has since gone to that great greasy spoon in the sky). The only problem is that I was so tired, so discombobulated (sp.?) that by the time I got to work, I'd forgotten what I had bought. I prayed that I had purchased appropriate things (no shaving cream for my mother, no night gown for my father, no condoms for my cat). Through sheer luck, everything turned out ok.

(Well, the cat was confused, but that is nothing new.)

Work was fun today. At lunch time, the Premier of Nova Scotia played the fiddle in the lobby of my building. He posed for a picture with me, too. I know he had long wanted to pose for a picture with me, so I was only too happy to be finally able to comply. Maybe now, his publicist will leave me alone.

I think I'll call it a night. It's a night.

Please join me, my many adoring fans, the millions of you just must know the trifles of my existence, for post number 51. It will be here before you know it. You don't want to miss it, do you?



49th Post - Why I Didn't Write on Tuesday Night

Well, I had been having problems sleeping. Not last night! I slept like a log, going to bed earlier than the oldest old man you could name.

Word of this blog is beginning to spread. There must be, what, 8 of you reading this every day? Days I don't post, people ask me why. It feels good, knowing that there are people hanging on every word here.

Well, can we talk about this evening?

I bought a dvd recorder the other week. Just figuring it out now. It is from Panasonic, which means that A) It should be of good quality; and B) The manual is written in English by way of Japanese to Swahili to Gaelic. Manual is nearly incomprehensible. It is a good thing that the user interface is intuitive enough that someone from the Annapolis Valley can figure out how to use this, because I have been through this manual more times than ...


(You'll be disappointed if I can't come up with a funny analogy. Give me a moment)

than... Britney Spears has been through coke spoons?

than... oh, to hell with it!

I have managed to copy a couple of vhs tapes for a guy in the States who likes Dr. Who as it is broadcast on the CBC. The show also runs on the Sci Fi channel in the States, but apparently the broadcasts are edited to accommodate more commercials. He covets the Canadian broadcasts. I am only to happy to make him happy, because he in turn records shows off the American History channel for me.

Have I ever told you how much the Canadian History channel sucks? It sucks scissors, man. If a show takes place more than three weeks ago, it is potential fodder for that channel. Three hours of their broadcast day are devoted to CSI:NY for goodness' sake. The CRTC finally intervened after viewer complaints, and have forced the History Channel in Canada to remove CSI:NY from their schedule. The channel hired a lawyer to argue why the show should be there, but the CRTC (and common sense) won for a change. I just wonder what they'll replace CSI:NY with? What wonderful historical programming will takes its place on the schedule?

The Flintstones?

The Beverly Hillbillies?

Hogan's Heroes?

More later.

Monday, December 17, 2007

48th Post - Can't Sleep

Been having problems sleeping lately. Lot on my mind. Piddling things that by themselves are insignificant, but which together conspire to rob me of sleep.

Been at my new job for nearly a year now. What a wonderful contrast with my previous job. That place, which will remain nameless, was a place where I had gone as far as I ever would go. You guys know what it's like to know, to KNOW, that what you have now, right now, is as good as it's gonna get, ever? That no matter how hard or not hard you work, no much how much or how little effort you put in, you will never get ahead, no way, no how, no never? How the hardest, most challenging thing you'll do the whole damn day, is getting out of bed? How no matter to whom you beg for meaningful work, that entreaty will fall on deaf ears? That if you persist in your request for stretch assignments to get out of the rut you're in, you'll get a reputation as a trouble maker (with a "bad attitude"), so you just shut up and suck it up?

You've been there? I feel sorry for you, and I have been there, too!

Where I am now is a god-send. I get to go in to work every day and work hard, learn a lot, and laugh my ass off during coffee break and just have fun. I am on call 2 weeks out of the month. I get some overtime here and there. I get use of this BlackBerry 8130, so new that the local provider doesn't even have the holsters in stock on a consistent basis.

There is an estimate made by someone somewhere that about 85% of us are working stiffs who do what we have to do to put food on the table. We work to live, not live to work. We may not love our jobs, but we don't like 'em either.

It is so nice, so very nice, to be in the other 15%!

I hope that you, my adoring fans, the millions of you reading these words, who hang on every sentence that emanates from this keyboard, find that you are in that 15% some day, if you are not there already. It makes all the difference in the world.

Is it too late for a Redbull? It's only 10:30pm!

47th Post - Snowbound!

We took the bus to work today because of the inclement weather last night. I guess we could have driven, because the roads weren't that bad. It was a two fold mistake: Now, my car is jammed in my drive way. There was a snowfall during the evening and into the day. It froze. I can't chip the snow/ice away from the beginning of the drive way. My car is stuck in the driveway, at least until we get some rain or the temperature rises enough for me to be able to shovel. Who knows when that might be?

Sold some old sf magazines on ebay recently, and the money order arrived on Friday. Cashed it today. Bundled up the guy's magazines (they're from the 1950's) and will mail them tomorrow. I think I didn't charge quite enough for the shipping. I still tend to underestimate how much it costs to mail things, even with the addition of the scales I bought a couple of months ago.

Patricia prepared a cake and iced it tonight for a pot luck lunch thing at her work on Tuesday. We had ours 2 weeks ago.

My edo is moved up from next Friday to this Friday. I'll have to spend some time this week wrapping prezzies and finishing my shopping to boot. Christmas has kinda crept up on me this year. Not prepared at all.

Who reading these wonderful words is working through the holidays, besides me? I'll be in to work on the 24th (half day), and then again on the 27th and 28th.

Where has the year gone?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

46th Post - My Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, Patricia and I went to her boss' home in an obscure part of the HRM, there to pick up a free Christmas tree. Nancy was kind enough to offer her staff free Christmas trees. Very nice of her.

What a lovely home they have! I am the son of a carpenter. My dad specialized in wood working. To this day, I marvel at well-done wood working. I love the smell. I love the texture. I love everything about, good quality wood working. Well, imagine a whole house full of this stuff. Cabinets and closets nooks and crannies all made of wood, and mostly done by Nancy's husband.

After we left there, we grabbed a quick bite before I dropped Patricia off here, and I high tailed it my second 2007 shift at Operation Red Nose. I got there around 6:30 to help Corinne set up, and remained there until about 2:45 this morning. I could have stayed longer, perhaps should have, but it is a 30 minute drive from ORN headquarters to my home. As hopped up as I was on coffee and redbull, I knew I'd be pretty tired at some point, and didn't want that point be on my way home.

The ORN shift was uneventful except for a couple of calls. One guy asked us to pick him up a local bar, which is fine. When the ORN volunteers showed up in their red vests, they were told by this jive turkey that his car had run out of gas, but could they drive him home after all? "No", they said. We don't run a taxi service.

The other call came from another jive turkey who wanted us to drive him from downtown Halifax all the friggin' way to Lawrencetown. That is a considerable drive. We do not ask the volunteers to drive a client that far. It ties up a team for far too long. Yet, this j.t. insisted that he'd spoken with an ORN volunteer at 9:30 and that that person had said that we did service that area.

We absolutely didn't say that to anyone last night. He was pretty pissed as he was, well, pissed and expecting us to drive him all that way home. We were diplomatic, but wished him luck and a pleasant tomorrow.

I am glad to be a part of Operation Rednose. But there is a danger that people may begin to take us for granted, expecting things from us that no unpaid person would be or should be willing to do. To expect us to do it anyway is inappropriate at best and presumptuous at worst. We're all tired after a shift, sometimes dog tired; and to have some person expect us to do things that are beyond a reasonable request discourages us from volunteering in the first place.

Got home around 3:30 this morning. Slept until 7:30 when my father decided it would be funny to call and say hello. He won't do that again.

Felt sluggish most of the day. Fell asleep on my recliner late this afternoon, and blogged for the last hour or so to prove I could do something constructive.

Big ass storm today. Same one that's been lashing the mid west and places like Ontario and Quebec. We'll see if work still happens tomorrow. No way will I drive in this. If the buses are pulled off the road, I'll try to work from home. I can remotely connect to my work computer from home, anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal.


45th Post - Another rumour? One hopes so!

The other article I want to discuss for a moment from the website concerns the future of Rick Howe's Hotline on CJCH.

I discussed this a couple of weeks ago on this weblog. I am a little surprised that Frank Magazine and halifax live are only getting around to talking about it now. But the CRTC decision regarding CJ's inevitable flip to the FM dial does not explicitly include the Hotline and the Halifax Mooseheads games survival on this "new" radio station.

I have since managed to find CHUM's proposal to the CRTC, many documents to wade through. There is what I would call an expectation of performance, where CHUM expected that the Hotline, the Mooseheads games, and "Just Between Us" would have a place on the FM dial.

However, the fact remains that "Just Between Us" is now, at least for the time being, gone. And there is only speculation, based upon reading the CRTC decision, that the Hotline and the Mooseheads games will not make the grade.

If you read the Hotline blog, you'll see the show's producer, Amber, thank Hotline listeners for making this show the number one show in Halifax. Not sure what that means, actually. Does it mean that there is no other radio program in this market, AM or FM, music or talk, that has a larger audience than Rick's? If so, than it would be silly or even foolish for CJ to cancel this show, and in essence deliver its audience to Andrew Krystal, who is listened to by nearly nobody.

Anyway, as I wrote in my previous post, this is all speculation. I wish to God that someone from the radio station would assuage listeners' worries and tell us we have nothing to worry about. That the program on which I proposed to Patricia last year will be on the air for many, many years to come.

Wanna take a bet we'll not see such an announcement?

44th Post - Rumour? Maybe not.

I read the headlines in from time to time. If the headline interests me, I read the article.

There were two articles about radio station CJCH that bear a little closer scrutiny.

The first one deals with the cancelation of "Just Between Us", the woman's radio show produced here in Halifax and broadcast on CJ and on a radio station in B.C. The show was pulled from the schedule a couple of weeks ago. The link has now been pulled from CJCH's website ( and any reference to it stricken from the public record.

I have always wondered about this. When someone leaves a radio station, or a program is canceled, that person or that program is just gone, with no explanation whatsoever. People are just left wondering if that person or thing ever existed at all, or if the person or thing was just a product of an overactive imagination or perhaps something more troubling.

In the case of "Just Between Us", I do happen to know a little bit more about why the show is no longer on the air. The reasons have little or nothing to do with lack of managerial support and more to do with simple dollars and cents, and the economic realities of running an AM radio station in 2007 in Halifax.

I do hope that the show manages to return in some form. And it would be nice if someone could announce on the air why the show is gone. In the absence of the truth, people are left to speculate, even natter, about why it is gone.

Listeners are owed that much.

The other article, I'll discuss in my next post.

43rd Post - My Weekend

Haven't had a chance to post in the last couple of days. Sorry to have disappointed my many legions of fans.

Friday afternoon, Patricia had her Christmas party with her work. I hung around after my own work to wait until she was available. I used that time to clean up my work space a little bit, but I am by no means finished. I am the kind of guy who hates to throw out anything. Anything! I never know when I may need something, you see, so it is a challenge for me to get rid of anything.

But my work station only has 3 drawers. One of them holds my gym gear. I have an overhead storage unit, but that can't hold much, either. I have 2 computers on my desk: My own (a laptop), and that of the person who used to occupy my position. About 6 months ago, I went through her old computer, trying to find some stuff on it that might be useful to my present position. Didnt find much. Lilia did a good job removing her old files.

I realize, understand, and appreciate that the procedure is now to relinquish the old pc, to let it live out its final days in some government warehouse, where it might be sold as a crown asset after having had its hard drive wiped clean. Happens all the time.

Yet, having become part of the topography of my desk, I find it hard to let it go. I am used to not having that part of my desk to work on; and not having the computer there would look odd to me.

I keep a Far Side calendar on the cpu, and I am accustomed to tearing off the next page each day and taking a moment to try to understand how I ever found The Far Side to be funny in the first place. So far, I have not had much luck. Thank goodness I didn't spring for the Compleat Far Side Hardcover a couple of years ago, the huge coffee table book reprinting every single Far Side cartoon, with accompanying commentary and dialogue by Gary Larson himself. Not only would I have wasted my money, but the sheer boredom associated with reading through it might have been too much for me to bear.

Anyway, I do not have the luxury of storing endless computers in my work area. I will give up this old computer over the holidays.

After work on Friday, we went to get a few groceries and then to our respective homes, where I tackled my laundry and turned in early.

More to come.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

42nd Post - Without a Trace

I really have no idea what I am going to write about this evening. It is getting late. I should probably head to bed soon.

Got home relatively early tonight, around 6:45. Began doing laundry, and am still doing it at nearly 10:30. Watched this week's episode of "Dexter" through video on demand.

Just watched "Without a Trace", which is a program that I find to be so formulaic lately. They used to make an effort to show the characters' private lives. Now, this year, Sam is preggers and spends most of her time sitting down, because Poppy Montgomery was even more pregnant than her character was and producers must not have wanted it to show on camera.

In years past, they'd focus on the other characters, like the two (Martin and the other guy) who were substance abusers. Jack Malone's divorce. Vivian's health scares. Whatever.

Very little of that occurs today. It is just the missing person of the week, while the actors stand around yakking about how Buddy had X number of dollars in the bank, or maybe he withdrew X number of dollars from the bank. Maybe he was having an affair; or not. The actors look as bored as I feel.

The show is just increasingly formulaic to the point where it is difficult to enjoy. I was hoping with the addition of James Marsters, late of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, might inject some life into the show. Maybe a little humour. But Marsters has only been in one or two episodes so far, and with the writers strike in effect, who knows when he will return?

Without a Trace is going to the coib!

And I'm going to bed. Maybe read another chapter of the "Alexandria Link".

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

41st Post - I Friggin' Love My New BlackBerry!

How did I ever get along without a BlackBerry in general? And, how did I ever get along without this new one, the 8130, Pearl 2?

I am a left-handed dude. The old one, with the trackwheel on the right hand side of the unit, was awkward to use. I used to hold the BB in such a way that the forefinger of my left hand operated the trackwheel, which made people think it was uncomfortable for me, but in point of fact it felt more natural for me than to hold and use it with my right hand.

This new BB has a trackball in the middle of the unit, right on top, where God would want it. I can decide which hand to use to roll it around. And, Patricia told me why it is called the Pearl: The trackball looks like an actual pearl. How would I, a guy from rural Nova Scotia, have ever known that? We don't have pearls down there! We have girls, and some of them like pearls, but you'll never find a pearl down there. Nossir!

(And, no, these girls didn't date me when I was single! I had... baggage! I was too... literal! I had all my teeth! I had a job. But I am not bitter!)

The new one also is much smaller than the old one. It holds a battery charge far longer, too (it is at 65% after more than a day of use of the phone, gps, e-mail, picture takin', and so on). I am not quite used to the keyboard yet; the keyboard is curved and a little more hard to type on than my previous BB. I'll get used to it. It's only my second day of using the thing.

There is a woman in my Toastmasters club who works for another department, and who highly coveted my previous BlackBerry. I am not sure how she'll react when she sees this one. Hee hee!

So, do I watch "Dexter" tonight, or read some of that book?

Book, I guess. This guy Steve Berry is growing on me. Check out his website at: If you like action adventure novels, he's a good choice.


40th Post - Last Toastmasters Meeting of 2007

Subject pretty much says it all: Tonight's TM meeting was the last one of 2007. We focused on mentorship this evening, making sure that all new members have a big brother or big sister to oversee their development in the club.

We have been in this meeting space since January. We are so blessed to have such an excellent meeting space for free in downtown Halifax. Since we lost the space with our previous corporate sponsor, we were very much concerned about what we would do next. Well, we needn't worry. We have a meeting space there for, one hopes, a good long time to come.

After last week's meeting, several of us stayed back for 40 minutes or so and labelled and stuffed envelopes for a member who works at our meeting space. It was our way of thanking them for letting us meet there for free. She and the sales staff were so grateful (we had saved her a couple of hours work on her own) that they provided us with coffee, tea, water and cookies for tonight's meeting. Everything is prepared in that building by highly-skilled chefs and cooks, so we had a huge treat tonight!

Drove home that member tonight and then to Patricia's for a few minutes before coming home. The snow had melted enough in my driveway that I could shovel it again, so I did that for a few minutes. I am happy to be able to come home at a relatively early hour. It means I can watch this week's episode of "Dexter" through Eastlink's on demand feature, or perhaps pick up that book I started a few days ago.

You see: This blog is starting to live up to its name. It really is the most boring blog in Canada.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

39th Post - Keith Urban is Comin' to Town

Very short post here, but I just heard on the late news that Keith Urban will be playing the Halifax Commons sometime in the summer of 2008.

I can't name any song by this man. I just know he is married to Nicole Kidman.

My only comment is when someone responsible for bringing him here all but warned Halifax media (and, by extension, bloggers I suppose) not to be so negative about potential acts coming here. The whole Celine Dion situation, where she decided not to come after all after there had been a little bit of negative press, told me that she has a pretty thin skin. Well, everything about Celine Dion is thin, isn't it? Has she ever eaten a cheeseburger?

I don't get how people can't legitimately comment positively or negatively about anything. As a democratic society, we have a right, a duty, even an obligation to speak and write our minds on things. If people start calling Rick's Hotline and say that they hate Keith Urban, if the few people who listen to Andrew Krystal on 95.7 state that they aren't fond of Urban's tunes (assuming Krystal lets them get 5 syllables out of their mouths before he makes some inappropriate and off topic comment, that is), then I don't see what is wrong with that.

I won't pay to see Keith Urban next summer. I have no problem with his coming, but why should I pay to see something that interests me not at all?

Time for bed. Up in 6 hours!

38th Post - Paul Anka

Just got home from the Paul Anka concert at the Halifax Metro Centre. I got the tickets from a silent auction at work. $184 value that I got for $75. Not too shabby.

I don't know about you, the millions of you who hang on my every word, but I have never really appreciated Paul Anka's music. I have always thought of it as kinda schmaltzy, Vegas-style tunes that had a cheese factor. But the tickets were comparitively cheap, and I did like some of his songs, so we went after a really nice dinner at the Mongolie Grill on Granville Street.

God, we had a wonderful time at the concert! I found myself singing along to these 50 year old songs, laughing silly at some of the goofy jokes, usually the ones he made at his own expense, and just enjoying myself far, far more than I ever thought I would.

The highlight for me was probably "Do I Love You?". The uptempo version was played so much on CJCH over the years that it began to grow on me to the point where I would turn the radio up when Brian and Deb played it in the mornin', or the automated computer software would play it after the Hotline was over. Tonight, he did the song as a slow, slow standard, just him and his piano initially, although a sax player came out toward the end of the tune. Chills up and down my spine, tearing up, we all gave him a standing o.

It was a full two hour show. Worth every penny.

I'm now a Paul Anka fan. I had no idea he wrote songs for Tom Jones (he wrote "She's a Lady"), Buddy Holly ("It Doesn't Matter Anymore") and Chicago, and so many others.

He doesn't need the money. He could have just stayed home and counted his cash. But I have to respect someone who is his age, who has his kind of money, who still works that hard on stage, and still gives the impression that he wants to impress his audience.

If he comes back to Halifax, I'll pay full price next time!

Monday, December 10, 2007

37th Post - Early Christmas Prezzy

So, some boys at work got new BlackBerrys recently. Next to theirs, my BlackBerry looked so... small. Puny. Not good enough. It just provides e-mail, phone, calendar synced with my work one, a browser and a bunch of other things. The new one, the 8130, offers all that, plus a few bags of chips. GPS. Built-in camera capable of shooting and playing video. MP3 storage and playback (via stereo headphones). More options I don't know about yet. And it is much smaller and lighter than the one I already had.

Oh, this one also has voice-activated phone dialing. I can say, "Call Mom and Dad", presumably, and it will call the local pizza place, or maybe my parents. I'll keep you up-to-date on that little feature!

I wrote some people in the office, asking if I might be eligible for an upgrade. Six minutes later, I heard that I was. I selected the 8130. When I came back from lunch, there was a voice mail waiting for me that my BB was available for pick up! I got it after work.

Went to Odyssey 2000 during that lunch hour and picked up my books. It is their 30th anniversary. On Sheldon's birthday, he has a special deal only announced a few days in advance. This year, today only, you would get 30% off the American price off stuff. And, he had a table of items for 60% off! I got a book that originally retailed for $28 Canadian and which cost about $20 American, for less than $7.50. I wish his birthday were every day. He'd be out of business in a month, but it would be pretty good month for his customers!

I also got a book that retails for $75U.S. for just over $50. The Canadian price is still crazy high. Don't have it in front of me or I'd quote it for you. Probably $90 or so. And, it is the first printing, sealed. I can try to flip it on ebay after the holidays.

Or, maybe, I'll try to flip it before the holidays!


Went to Wal*Mart after work to replace a shoelace that my cat gnawed or something. Tried to put on the shoe this morning, only to discover that half the lace was gone. Was there last week at work. Maybe a rat at work gnawed it off.


After Wal*Mart, we went to dinner at a place that opened last year and had received high marks from friends of ours. Redwood Grill on Lacewood Drive. Pretty good place. Check it out.

Got home about an hour ago. Fed the cat and have spend most of the last hour blogging. I guess I should have been vacuuming or something, huh?

Have a good night!

36th Post - My Weekend, Part Two, and Cleaning Up!

Saturday night, my dad and I started to watch "Casino Royale", the newest Bond flick, on the dvd player I bought them a few years ago. I buy them these things because I want them to have them, plus when I visit them, I want to be able to watch a dvd or a vhs tape, or whatever. I am self-serving.

I was bushed from all the shopping with my mother Friday and having driven my dad around all afternoon Saturday. Went to bed at such an early hour that one might think I was 63 rather than "just" 43. Slept for more hours than I had a right to.

Sunday, I prepared lunch with my mother. It was a casserole containing organic chicken leftovers from Saturday. Remind me to put the recipe here some day. Maybe one of the 4 people who read this blog can ask for it. Yeah, feedback on this brog would be nice, people!!

Returned to the city after lunch, and Patricia was here. She was cleaning in the kitchen, and admonished me for my lack of cleanliness with respect to, well, everything. She asked the question, "What do you think that kid thought as he prowled through your house? That you were a slovenly person given to clutter and disorganization?"

I allowed that what he thought might have crossed my mind, but quickly rejoined with a comment that what passed through the dear boy's mind mattered little to me. I am much more concerned about the variety of peanut butter I purchase, the flavour of toothpaste I covet, the type of paper towels popular in Des Moines, Iowa, than I cared about what that young man thought. About anything.

But, my betrothed has a point. I need to clean up here more. I got home late again, tonight, but will take some time later on this week to vacuum, and clean, and perhaps even wash the dishes that pile up in the sink like a cereal-encrusted Leaning Tower of Pisa.

More later.

35th Post - My weekend

Didn't get a chance to post since Friday. Was with my parents all weekend. Managed to post on Friday from a local library, but that opportunity did not present itself on Saturday or Sunday.

On Saturday, my father wanted to deliver some apples and squash to his sister a half hour away. I drove us and them to her. From there, he wanted to deliver some wreaths to some family graves.

One of those graves was my brother's. He died of cancer when I was not quite six years old. I do not visit his grave nearly often enough. I don't really feel guilty or undeserving of having had a life while he did not. It still makes me a little sad that he did not have a chance to grow up, become an accountant as he had expressed a desire to, date the girl he had been interested in, or have a chance to enjoy the experiences I have had (not that I have had THAT many, that is).

I found out this weekend that his tombstone is pointed the wrong way. That the side with his name on it is pointing away from him, if I am making any sense. How could the gravedigger have made that mistake, all those years ago? It seems like a pretty fundamental thing to do, digging a grave such that the head is facing the name of the deceased. I guess anyone can make any mistake.

I still remember when he died. Unable to understand the enormity of what happened, I discussed it in my Grade Primary Show and Tell class. The look of shock on my teacher's face is something I have never forgotten, and never will.

Anyway, from Ernie's grave, we went to another local community and another cemetary, where my mother's parents are buried. We lashed a wreath to their tombstone, and then Dad regaled me with tales of some of the other people buried in that small graveyard. One cross, one wooden cross, simply states "4 baby girls". Dad told me that those little girls were murdered by their mother's father (maternal grandfather, in other words) because girls were not wanted in that family. He pointed out the house where this apparently happened, and stated that the spirits of these little girls still haunt that house.

I would have a hard time believing that last part. The part about the girls being murdered because they were girls, while deeply upsetting, doesn't surprise me that much. In that backward little town, which is even more backward today if you can believe it, boys were more favoured in a community because of the perception that they could work harder than girls.

The mother of these girls is buried a short distance away. The man who murdered the girls, allegedly, is buried a short distance away from the wife, whom he allegedly murdered, too, because he wanted to be with another woman. I wandered over to his grave. His second wife is with him in death. The tombstone describes him as a "loving husband and father".

This man, this alleged multi murderer, is a guy that my father knew, and once worked with. He apparently gave no indication of his ways. Dad liked him. This was before he found out what may have happened.

I didn't want to stay there any more. The stories were starting to disturb me, the gray skies matched the mood, and I wanted to go home.

More later.

Friday, December 7, 2007

34th Post - Shopping

Went to my parents' home this morning, early, to take my mother Christmas shopping. She is 75 years old. She needs a cane. She is hard of hearing. She is diabetic. But she can still shop anybody under the table.

We left the house around 9:30 this morning. We came back around 2:45 this afternoon. 5 hours of shopping, except for lunch.

I am bushed!

Decided I'd try to stay here all weekend, rather than return to the city on Saturday to work my shift for Operation Twinkletoes. Called the volunteer co-ordinator, who said I could certainly work the 15th instead, so I will. Apparently, there will be a videographer at the dispatch centre that night anyway. I may be on tv or something. That would be kinda cool.

My father wants to buy some Christmas wreaths. Will try to post on Saturday.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

33rd Post - Long, long day, and watch your driving!

Worked all day, to get you money to buy you things.

Went to a downtown store during lunch today to buy Patricia her main Christmas present. Showed it to a woman at work, who thought it was pretty cool. This woman reads this blog, so hi, Jane! Patricia also reads this blog from time to time, so there is no way in heck I will mention here what I got her. But it is something I would never buy for myself. Not too many men would, actually.

Had a meeting with a colleague after lunch. After work, I had to go pick up Patricia at a shopping center, where she had had a medical appointment. I was late getting to her, and thought she might be upset with me or be bored from having had to wait so long. I said as such to her, but then I said: "Wait a minute. You're a woman in a shopping mall. Why would you be bored?" She nodded, and another woman a few feet away smiled knowingly.

I was pretty much ready to go home at that point. I was tired from a long week. But Patricia wanted to go to the jewellery stores in the mall, and one in particular. Jesus, what is it about jewellery and women? If I never walk into another such store as long as I live, I'll be happy. They tried to show me things that she was interested in, "to give me ideas for future presents". Like I'm gonna spend 2K on diamond earrings for anybody. The day I spend that kind of money on earrings, there had better be a 42" plasma tv attached.

We eventually left, and went to a local Wal-Mart, where I had to get some keys cut. On the way home, on the Bay Road, the entrance to Bayers Lake (you know, by the Tim Hortons and Wendys?), we came across a major accident. At least two cars were totalled and there were injuries. Took us several minutes to get in a left turning lane onto the 103, because the Bay Road heading to Beechville was impossible to access.

Got Patricia home, but then called a local snow plow dude to clear her driveway. Finally, lord all mighty finally!, got home a few minutes ago.

There was a call from the boy's case worker asking me how much detail I'd like on his progress. I'll call her back saying I do want to hear about the milestones he achieves and to express my concern about something that happened in the meeting that I can't get into here.

Enigmatic little bastard, aren't I?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

32nd Post - Paula Gallant Update

When I was preparing a post on Monday night, I had to check out something about the Paula Gallant case, so I googled her name. One of the entries was for a website about Paula.

If you go to the website now, it is counting down to midnight tonight (local time), at which time it goes live one presumes. I do not know what the content will be. My best guess is that it will be a tribute to her, along with providing updates on her murder case.

(You will recall that Paula Gallant was the elementary school teacher whose body was found in the trunk of her car parked in the parking lot of the school where she taught. )

If nothing else, it is interesting how persistent this case has been, how pervasive the coverage has been. Just as it seems to leave the papers or news broadcasts, something happens to bring it back to the fore.

The school where she taught is close to my home. She lived one street over from me. I did not know her, but I know people who did. I have heard the same rumours you probably have, assuming you live around my neighbourhood and listen attentively enough.

This blog is not the place to air these rumours. Rumours are like cookies: Irresistible, but crumble under close inspection. Nobody has been charged with her murder. People have been questioned, but nobody has been charged.

In early 2006, I began receiving calls and entreaties from the police asking me to call them with any information I might have about the case. I played phone tag with them for a while, but eventually spoke to an investigating officer. I mentioned that I heard and saw nothing that evening pursuant to the Paula Gallant case. I told him that I didn't want to keep wasting his time when he could be chasing down actual leads. He did say something that might indicate the possibility that a person may have escaped via a walkway that is fairly close to my home, but once again, I did not see or hear anything that evening that might lead the officers to reach that firm conclusion.

The CBC evening news in Nova Scotia tonight will discuss the murder case. I am guessing that the website will be mentioned at length, along with a list of what will be on the website. Too bad I won't be home until late. I may tape it early tomorrow and watch it tomorrow night.

Looking forward to checking out that new website, though.

Time for my TM meeting!

31st Post - High Speed

Just heard that the province is going to hire companies to provide high speed internet access to rural parts of the province. Thank God! At our cottage, there is no such access available. We are lucky to have cell phones working down there.

This summer, I took the laptop to the cottage. Hooked it up to my BlackBerry, using the latter device as a tethered modem. This process is crazy expensive, though, so it is not something one wants to use very often. Just in emergencies.

I'll have to find a way to talk Patricia into getting it hooked up at the cottage when it becomes available.

30th Post - And How Was Your Day?

Slept quite well last night. The meeting with the young man last night actually drained me emotionally, making it easier to sleep for a change. Monday night, the night before this meeting, I was keyed up and unable to nod off.

Of course, the young man now has to perform certain tasks in order to live up to the terms of a contract that we all agreed to. It is our hope that he performs them with a certain degree of, if not professionalism, then at least not in a sullen, perfunctory manner.

One thing that he offered to do was shovel my driveway. I am capable, thanks; but this morning, furiously trying to burrow my way out of my driveway, I wish I had taken him up on his offer.

Toastmasters tonight. Second last meeting of 2007. Last meeting on the 12th, and then a Christmas party on the 16th. Just hope that my house hasn't been burned down by the time I get home. Teenagers, you know.

29th Post - Update

Someone just told me about changes she'd like to see made to the post. Why number each post? Not sure. Habit, I guess. But I'll use digits now, as opposed to writing the numbers out.

She also preferred the previous template. So do I! So, it's back.

More later.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Twenty-Eighth Post - The Boy

Well, at long last, and this late, I am home from the restorative justice thing with the boy who broke into my house.

I have agreed not to discuss the details via any method. What happened in that room tonight, pretty much must stay in that room. I will just state that I feel much better having met with him, and having discussed with him what he did to me that night in August. He signed a contract to do certain things, by a certain date. It is my hope, and everyone's hope actually, that he will do these things and move forward, becoming a productive member of society.

I am naive enough, perhaps foolish enough, to believe the best in people. I wish the young man well, and will avidly look forward to the successful completion of his contract.

Got home very late. Cat mad at me. Should spend time with him.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Twenty-Seventh Post - Odds and Sods

Heading off to bed soon. As you know from the earlier posts tonight, tomorrow will be a busy day. Won't be home until very late, 9:30 or 10. Break-in artists, be advised!!

Haven't told my parents about the break-in at my house. They worry about everything. Everything. Everything! A teacher's body was found in the trunk of her car, which was parked in the parking lot of the school where she taught. She lived one street over from me, and taught at the school close to my house (no, I didn't see or hear anything that night). Paula Gallant's murder hasn't been solved, and it's nearly 2 years since this happened.

Anyway, my parents transferred that horrible crime and its proximity to my home to my own life and location, and therefore worry that something untoward may happen to me, even though I have nothing to do with people of ill repute (except for a few swarthy characters in Toastmasters, that is!), and keep every door locked when I am at home. Yet, they worry; if they knew about the break-in, they'd be so sick with worry that I dare not tell them. This has been a burden to me, not being able to tell many people about this.

As I said before, some nights here are easier than others. Some nights I still feel safe here, and it is easy to pretend that nothing bad happened. Other nights, I think about that young man going through my stuff, prowling through my home, and what he might have done, had he found my cat that day in August. Those feelings will be dealt with tomorrow night when I meet with the boy and his family.

The chili has been in my fridge since Sunday afternoon. I cleaned off my steps just now, putting ice on them to prevent me from falling ass over teakettle carrying the crockpot tomorrow morning.

Bound and determined to get the chili to work tomorrow. Will drive to my work, plug the crockpot in at my office, drive the car to where I park it, and then walk to work. The chili should be nice and hot by the time the party starts at 11.

Have a good night!

Twenty-Sixth Post - Tomorrow's The Big Day

Forgot to mention earlier that it is tomorrow, Tuesday, when my fiancee and I meet with the young man and his parents regarding the break-in that occurred at my home this summer.

I have been making notes as to what to say to him, practicing it in my head many times. I have tried to treat it as if it were a Toastmasters speech. Somehow, the "real world" part of it is intimidating to me. I want this to be over. I am determined not to lose it in front of him. I want him to walk away from this understanding that he is on a path to a place he should not want to go toward. That getting caught could be the best thing that happened to him. That what he did to me had little to do with stealing my wine and loose change, and a helluva lot more to do with stealing my peace of mind.

I don't want to tip my hand on this blog as to what I will say. I have a pretty good idea, but the place to reveal that first is tomorrow night, at the meeting, and not here.

I'll reveal as much about the restorative justice process as I can, probably after I get home tomorrow night.



Twenty-Fifth Post - Snow!

After I eventually woke up on Sunday morning, I pretty much just vegged for the rest of the day. Not much to talk about.

The chili is in the fridge awaiting a trip to work tomorrow. I just hope I can transport it there. The weather today is not very good; police are asking people to stay off the road. I am happy to comply with this request, let me tell you.

Couple buddies from work got new BlackBerries last week. Makes my BlackBerry look so... small. Mine doesn't have gps, can't play mp3's, or take pictures. No! It "just" lets me receive and make phone calls, send and receive e-mails, keep track of appointments, and the like.

When I got my BB back in January, I had only even held one, once. I didn't see what the big deal was. I understood that they were referred to as "CrackBerries", but didn't see how I could ever be swept up in the addictive maelstrom associated with these devices.

I'm hooked!

I can't possibly give up my BlackBerry now. I check online reviews of the latest versions. I jealously look at other people's BlackBerries to see if theirs have more features than mine. I constantly check my e-mail, even when I am watching tv, or when I am blogging (like I did 10 seconds ago). I check e-mail when I am using the facilities. Last week, I checked my e-mail was using the urinal, and managed to reply to an e-mail with the use of one hand (if you catch my drift). I send e-mails in bed, 11 o'clock at night. If I wake up in the middle of the night to freshen things up (if you catch my drift), I'll "just see" if I have some important e-mails to check. Since I am on call for 2 weeks out of every month, there are over night e-mails that I need to check. Three a.m. is as good a time as any to do this! I check e-mails during dinners in restaurants with my fiancee. She doesn't like that too much.

If someone tried to take away my BB, that person would have quite a struggle. I suppose he'd win, but he'd have war wounds. Let's leave it at that!

What is the background image on your blackberry? Mine is a picture of me when I was 11. The same one which currently adorns this very blog, to be exact!

Oops. Just got the tell tale buzz. BRB!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Twenty-Fourth Post - Over Tired

It is nearly 5am Sunday morning as I type these few words. I have completed my first evening at the dispatch centre of Operation Red Nose, Halifax.

Got there around 7 last night. Was told that they needed a Rudy for the night, so I agreed to put on the costume and be mauled by attractive, young, drunken, lonely women. The sacrifices I make for ORN should secure me a nice place in Heaven.

We went out (Team Rudy!) around 9-ish, returning to the headquarters around 10:30. For the most part, we were treated very well. I'd go into most bars and clap my hands (hooves?) together, and people would crack jokes about reindeer hunting season being over or whatever. But an awful lot of people applauded us as my colleagues gave out ORN contact information. Only one hotel was a little snooty with us, but it was the last place we visited, and I was just glad to be able to take off the Rudy head and gulp oxygen again.

We returned to the dispatch centre and waited for the pizza and the calls to come pouring in. Pizza came around 10:45; the calls came in earnest about an hour later. We took as many calls as we could, but people still left voice mails complaining about how they couldn't get through and they were relying on us to take them home, etc., etc.

Folks: We had 7 teams of 3 tonight. 21 people driving people home. Each team probably drove home an average of 4 or 5 sets of clients. One client might take an hour to pick up and drive home before returning to, say, the downtown to await the next call. But they probably got their next call half way through driving home a client.

All we can do, is all we can do.

I left the dispatch centre around 2:50 this morning, just over 2 hours ago. Got home around 3:20. Keyed up, I decided to begin cooking the chili, so I cooked the chicken breasts and boiled the beans. Opened up the cans of tomatoes and threw them in the crockpot before adding the cooked chicken and beans and chili powder and other things. Finished only a few minutes before 5.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Time to toddle off to bed. I hope that the aroma of the cooking chili doesn't wake me up.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Twenty-Third Post - Ambrosia!

It is a coincidence that the last couple of posts, and now this one, involve my favourite radio station, CJCH.

But I had to mention, I would be remiss otherwise, that as of today, December 1st, all the music that CJ plays is Christmas music. And not just the non-secular music you're sick of hearing. No! There is a great deal of traditional music on the station this month. I know I'm gonna hear Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, just as I have already heard some crooners today so far. A lot of "I love God" music, too, which is fine by me, particularly with the beautiful Christmas music out there that has a strong Christian flavour.

There have been a few technical glitches so far since midnight (yes, I was awake to hear the first one, just after midnight). This afternoon, the station went to dead air; at that moment, I was close enough to the CFDR/KIXX transmitter that my car radio substituted that station instead. Pretty jarring stuff.

So, if you like traditional Christmas music, and some somewhat newer stuff (Brian Adams, the Carpenters, the Eagles, that sort of thing), then tune into CJCH, 920 AM. Or, check out their website at . There is a listen live option on the website if you want to use it.

Now, are they going to play someone singing the ORIGINAL lyrics to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"? The updated ones make my teeth ache.

Operation REDNOSE tonight!!

Bev, who has 2 radios in his bathroom.

Twenty-Second Post - The End of an Era

CJCH radio, 920 on the AM dial, is switching to the FM band.

Read about it here.

While I can't stop progress, and won't even try, I am concerned about the apparent loss of spoken word content on CJ. Rick Howe's Hotline broadcasts 3.5 hours each week day. There is a live call-in home renovation show on Saturday mornings. There is a woman's radio show on 3 times a week, which is produced and broadcast from that station. The Halifax Mooseheads broadcast their away games on that station.

Well, according to one point in the CRTC decision, the new CJCH would only have a total of about 8 hours of spoken word content, PER WEEK! That would certainly seem to indicate that all of the above shows would disappear.

I proposed to Patricia on Rick's show last year. I can play it back on cd anytime I want to. I have been listening to CJCH since I was in my early teens. I have supported it by listening to it for an awfully long time, through thick and thin (except for the Sports Talk format of several years ago). I don't know if I can support the station if it throws out all of these important programs, especially if they are in favour of yet more long strings of songs I am already sick and tired of hearing.

I very much hope I am wrong, and that the CRTC got the wrong information somehow.

Operation Rednose tonight. It will be a long night, but worth it.