Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Think about that.
It is the very end of the year. I have to get to my car, which is about a 75 minute drive from here. I was going to drive the rental down there with no problem. Then, about 4:40 this afternoon, I learned that I would have to pay a $125 "drop off fee" to do this. That because the rental car would be at a foreign rental outlet, this fee must be paid to make up for their inconvenience of picking up the car again.
I told them that this was taken care of by my insurance company, but the rental place people were adamant. If I drive the car down to the part of the province close to where my car is, the fee must be paid. I hung up on them.
Fuming, I tried to reach my insurance company for confirmation. I had left a message earlier today to let them know that my car would be ready on the 31st; I'm sure that the autobody place also told them this. I went to voice mail Hell and finally left a message for them to call me, again.
And, when I got home this evening, there was a message on my answering machine from the rental place. The last day my insurance company will pay for the rental is December 31st!! I either have to return the car tomorrow, or assume payments for it. Yeah, right.
I am not typically an angry man. I try not to let things get to me. But when I can't reach the insurance people who are trying to provide me assistance through this difficult time, it is very frustrating. When the car rental people spring fees on me that I knew nothing about, it is very frustrating. When it looks now as if I will have to return the rental, take a bus to that part of the province, have my father take me to the place where my Grand Prix is, all in an effort to get my own car back, and try to return to the city before a major snow storm hits on New Year's Eve, then that is very frustrating as well.
Is there someone I can throw my shoes at?
Monday, December 29, 2008
I may be able to begin 2009 with my car!! Wahoo!
You have no idea how much I have missed the car, since the accident 3 weeks ago. For one thing, the rental car is one that I would never consider even test driving, let alone purchasing. A light blue Hyundai Accent? Puhlease! Why not just castrate me now with a butter knife and get it over with? I want my six cylinder, dark gray 2008 Grand Prix with the air conditioning, cruise control, on*star, built-in telephone, vehicle, and I want it now! I have only had that beautiful car effectively for 3 days. Since the accident on December 9th, I have been driving the Girlymobile. Talk about a loss of dignity!
Soon, my pet. Soon! Patience.
Today, the food and beverage industry is struggling in Halifax, if reports are true. People aren't eating out as much as they used to, in an effort to save money. Call it another symptom, another casualty, of the global economic crisis.
A couple of weeks ago, there were media reports that a Halifax landmark, The Economy Shoe Shop, was groaning under a burgeoning debt, mostly brought about by an arm of the company that was not carrying its weight, a place called the Marquee. The owners were downplaying how bad things were, but in the off chance they might not make it until my birthday, we decided to have dinner there tonight after work.
It was not a big mistake, but I regret having spent $53 there this evening. I have had meals at other places that I enjoyed twice as much and cost half what I paid tonight. The nachos were uncheesy and overbearing with onions and peppers. For a place that prides itself on nachos, these were disappointing. The mussels were fine. I'll let you know about the smoked meat sandwich on Tuesday, as I bought it for my lunch. Patricia will report to me how much she enjoyed her Greek salad, and I'll relay that information to you, because I know you need to know everything there is to know about me.
Maybe it's not the global economic crisis that's threatening the Shoe Shop. Maybe they need to watch the quality a bit more. With people's money getting tight, we can't afford to waste it on substandard victuals.
More in a bit.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
We haven't watched the special features yet. They include 2 audio commentaries and some documentaries and some other stuff. Maybe watching them can help us appreciate this movie more. I am skeptical.
Next: Either "Sunrise" or "Gentleman's Agreement". But not for a couple of days. It's back to reality (and work!) tomorrow.
I have thought about switching over to satellite over the years. I may yet do it, but not until those guys get their financial affairs in order.
More in a bit.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
On Tuesday night, as I was leaving the local Walmart, my eyes landed on a dvd box set for less than 15 dollars that contained 4 classic movies that Patricia and I haven't seen. Each film contains special features like an audio commentary, a documentary or two about the making of the film, still galleries, trailers, and... oh, yes! the movie itself.
The boxset contains All About Eve, Gentleman's Agreement, How Green Was My Valley, and Sunrise. The last one is of particular interest to me as it is a silent film from 1927. It is hailed as a masterpiece of the cinema, and I have long wanted to see it. To get a nice special edition of it so inexpensively was a wonderful surprise.
This evening we watched "How Green Was My Valley". It was a very good film and I recommend it. It's about a poor Welsh family in a mining town from about 100 years ago and how they deal with hard times like strikes, unions, and deaths in the mines. We liked it a lot and want to see it again some time.
Tomorrow, we'll watch another one of those films. Don't know which one yet. But I'll keep you, my readers, up-to-date because I know you just hang on every little thing that goes on in my life, don't you?
What movies do you want to see, but never have got around to?
I still buy books, but at a rate that is much more sensible than it used to be. I hardly ever buy new hardcovers any more, but still buy some new paperbacks, but mostly it's used paperbacks from the bookstore down the street from the office building I work in.
Arranging these books/pamphlets/magazines/comics into any kind of coherent, searchable order has eluded me. The effort would be so immense, for such a small reward, that I have not expended the energy to do so.
Truth to tell, I have so many books that I have never read, and never will read, that I'd be better off selling them for a few bucks. The only problem with that is that most used bookstores are not interested in books that are more than, say, 10 years old; and many of my books are older than that.
Here's some heresy: In order to get rid of the vast majority of the books in my house, the ones that aren't worth anything, that nobody wants (but which may still be perfectly acceptable time fillers to read), I could give them to my father, who would burn them in his wood furnace for kindling. It would at least clear up much of the clutter in that part of the house. Book philes may hate me for stating this, but them's the breaks.
(Don't tell me to donate them to a library or an old folk's home. They are strict about what they will accept.)
But that is not what I want to write about on this Saturday evening.
I am reminded of a couple of books upstairs in that room this evening called "It Was a Dark And Stormy Night", and "Son of It Was a Dark And Stormy Night". They list the winners(?) of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where contestants write the opening sentence to a pretend novel. The more turgid, purple, nonsensical the prose, the better.
Some of these entries are hysterical, if they hit you in the right frame of mind. Maybe I will not have my father burn these books. Maybe I will hold on to them for a bit yet.
I found this website that provides some of the contest entries from over the past 25 years. I thought you might like to check it out.
I have been a fan of Miller since the late 1970's. Yes, he has been around that long. He was an acclaimed comic book artist, then writer, then writer/artist, for many years before he ventured into film. AFAIK, his first writing credit was Robocop 2, and if you don't remember that movie, or had forgotten that there was more than one Robocop film, then I do not think any less of you, because RC 2 was not very good at all. I still haven't seen RC 3.
I became less interested in Miller's work as the 1990's progressed. I found more and more of it self-indulgent and pedantic, and not terribly entertaining. I still have quite a few issues of his Sin City book that I have never read, so I will not comment on them, other than to say that I haven't read them and may never. If you want a deal...
I have always liked the work of Will Eisner, though. His Spirit work back in the 1940's was so seminal that he is still cited today as a major influence. I realize he had an awful lot of assistants working with him to produce those weekly 7-page comic stories, but even when he was off fighting WWII, Eisner's presence on the strip was always there.
Eisner produced quality work nearly until his death in 2005. I was and am a member of a Will Eisner mailing list. After I bought a book on parliamentary procedure containing Eisner illustrations explaining how to make a motion, an amendment, and so on, I asked Eisner why he had decided to do this book. He was kind enough to reply to me! He wrote that he knew that parliamentary procedure was a dry affair, and he wanted to, via his unique illustrations, try to make the process more interesting than it would be (and is!) otherwise. I always thought it was kind of him to reply to my e-mail.
Imagine, then, how I should feel to learn that Frank Miller would be directing a Spirit movie! I had high hopes and was looking forward to seeing the film, which was to be released on December 25th.
I'm glad we haven't seen it yet, because the reviews have been horrendous. Rotten Tomatoes Dot Com gives it a lousy 17% rating. Variety thinks it may become the latest cult film, ala The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have yet to see a positive review.
I may yet see this movie, but will likely wait until it hits my movie channels, probably in a few weeks.
What movie have you been looking forward to seeing over the holidays?
Friday, December 26, 2008
My Christmas was fine. I wasn't even sure if I would make it to my parents' place, due to windy and blustery weather. However, I did manage to arrive there around 9:15 Christmas morning. Patricia, not feeling well, remained in Halifax.
We opened our prezzies. My dad was very happy with the new cordless drill I bought him; his old one was on its last legs. My mother will enjoy the Frank Magazine subscription (Dad, too). My sister has a year long membership to iRewards, giving her a discount on anything she buys at a national chain of bookstores.
I got some unmentionables, some clothes, socks, the things that I used to hate getting when I was a kid, but which I appreciate receiving now. Patricia got me a copy of The Dark Knight, which we have never seen actually. When it was in theatres this summer, Patricia was still recovering from her illness and spending a lot of time at the cottage, which is a good 45 minute drive from the closest multiplex. She was there for 4 weeks in a row, and I joined her when my own vacation started at the end of July. We just couldn't make it to the movies as much as we wanted to. We have plenty of dvd's to watch at the cottage, however, and once we're there, we really don't want to leave. Yes, I think about the place during the year and would like to be there right now.
We had Christmas dinner/lunch at my younger sister's place, the one who reads this blog. We stayed there for a few hours, which is how long it took my niece to show off all the things she got for Christmas.
I returned to the city around 4:45, after a quick trip to my old friend Reg's house to exchange gifts. I spent some time with her, gave her some Christmas dinner from earlier in the day, and then came back here, where I have been ever since.
Boxing Day has been a jammy day for me. I slept in and took 2 naps this afternoon. I guess it is in preparation for the Boxing Day sales which commence in Nova Scotia on Saturday. It will likely be a long day. But I hope we have time to watch The Dark Knight.
Man, this post is really helping the blog live up to its claim of being the most boring one in Canada, huh?
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I made a mistake pointing out the car to these guys.
They all laughed when they saw the Hyundai accent. "What colour is that Bev?".
"I'm not sure. Periwinkle I guess" I ventured.
Then they laughed all the more for what kind of man knows what that word means?
They had a point.
For the record: A woman told me what that word meant. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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When I was his age I was chasing mice and peeing in nearby gardens and bringing home rodents to my parents every day! None of this sitting around looking cute stuff. I had to work!
Today's cats have it so easy.
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Yes! These are a few filler posts as I want the live Blog posts to start with 600. Don't judge me.
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Patricia and I hung around the downtown for a couple of hours after work today. By the time I got home this afternoon I had power again. Yay!
May live Blog Christmas tomorrow. That would be fun.
More in a bit.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I will spend part of my evening preparing the special dip that my family asks me and expects me to make every year. I thought I'd share the recipe with you.
Equal parts of Plain Yogurt and Sour Cream.
One cucumber, seeded, diced, and drained.
One pack, maybe two if you use enough of the first ingredients, of vegetable soup mix.
Mix them together and let chill in your fridge for a day or so.
Very busy tonight.
See you later.
Monday, December 22, 2008
But, still, there are nights when I sit down to this computer, this old, gasping, wheezing computer with the 6 gig hard drive and 125 megs of ram, which crashes a couple of times a day, and wonder what I will write about.
(I could write about the tumble I took as I was walking to work this evening, and how my back and neck are causing me pain again, undoing a week's worth of physiotherapy. Hm. I guess I just did.)
But on nights when I am not sure what to discuss here, I'll check out some online newspapers, and sometimes I'll find something there that moves me, inspires me, saddens me.
I found this article in the New York Times. It solves a 75 year-old mystery from Canton, Ohio, a mystery I had never heard of before, one that I daresay most people living in Canton now are unfamiliar with as well, which is a damned shame. This story is obscure enough NOT to have a wikipedia article about it, also a damned shame.
I hope you take the time, five minutes or so, to read the NY Times article the above link will take you to. I think you'll be the better for having read it. I know I am. The themes discussed in the article resonate strongly today, given the state of the economy.
Dancing elves tomorrow!
Here is the remainder of a restaurant's canopy. The place is called Mosaic and it is on Argyle Street.
Not the worst I have seen by the way. The door of the subway restaurant at the corner was off its hinges and it is a wonder it was not lying on the ground
By the way: 30 seconds after I took this picture I fell flat on my ass on a patch of ice right by Neptune Theater.
You can laugh now
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Sunday, December 21, 2008
My car is gonna be in the shop until after Christmas. I suspect that I should be able to pick up the car just before January 1st. I have been told I have the car rental until December 30th, and later if necessary. It can't be soon enough, because I hate this car. Whenever a car manufacturer brags about the low cost of a vehicle, like they do about the Hyundai Accent, then do not even consider buying it.
Everything about this car looks and feels cheap. It has no power to speak of. Every time it manages to crest a steep incline, I feel I should throw it a party. It is surprisingly hard on gas; just bopping around the city here and there will chew through gas like a rottweiler chews through a porkchop. And the horn: It toots like a girl! I can't wait to get my car back!
We are supposed to get hit by a major snowstorm tonight. It probably means taking the bus to work tomorrow, which is not my idea of a good time, but beats driving in crappy weather.
Christmas is in just a few days!! Where has the year gone? Can't believe it has been nearly 2 years since I started my new job. The most fun, most challenging, job I have had, probably ever.
Have a good night.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
On Friday, I went to several stores and outlets to track down the Christmas prezzies I planned to buy. The 24 hour Walmart early on Friday morning was very helpful. From there, I went to the local Zellers for 8 ayem. The time was when that store was the be all and end all of discounted department stores in Canada. Now, I seldom go into them, and when I do, I am disappointed by what I see. I am not sure how they stay in business.
From Zellers, I went to Future Shop, probably for the final time. I was looking for a particular item, and saw a wall full of them (probably about 20 or 30 of them!). I found a sales guy and asked him if the item had a certain feature. "No, it doesn't", he said, without even looking at it. "Well, can I open it up and have a look at it?", I asked. "No, you can't". "But, there are a bunch of them over there; why not have a demo model for people to look at?". "We don't do that here!". "Fine", I said, putting the item back, and stomping out of the store.
I have come not to expect any kind of expertise from the people at Future Shop. They are mostly young people who think they know everything, and don't enjoy discovering that they don't. I used to go in there and look at the eclectic dvd selection, which they really don't have any more. Since the sales staff are useless, even rude, and their wares do not interest me, I see little need to shop there any longer. So, I won't.
I did find the item I sought at the local Canadian Tire store. They couldn't do enough for me there. They practically offered to pay for the item!
I bought some litter for my cat, decided that the clearance sale desk top computers at Wacky Wheatley's could remain there, and returned home.
I went back to Bayers Lake in the afternoon for a while. There were a LOT more cars in the afternoon than there had been early in the morning.
I am feeling better now, and getting more sleep. This is in marked contrast to the first 10 days after the accident, when I could barely sleep at all.
Today, Saturday, I slept in and took a nap later on in the morning. Patricia had a massage therapy session this afternoon downtown, so I went with her to my work and killed some time there waiting for her. After her session, we had an early dinner at the Mongolie Grill, which has a new website. After dinner, we bought some groceries and went to another Walmart, where Patricia bought me some stuff that I'll have to wait till the 25th to see.
Tonight, I will probably turn in early and spend Sunday morning wrapping prezzies. We are anticipating a major snow storm in Nova Scotia Sunday night. I think it's the same one that nailed New England over the last couple of days, so this should be a good one.
I'll write more in the morning.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I had every intention of getting up early this morning to do some shopping at one of the 24 hour Walmarts. I slept in until around 4:30 before I rose and headed out
Never mind what I bought. Members of my family read this Blog so it is a good idea not to spell certain things out from time to time
I sit here in my car freezing my ass off waiting for the local Zellers to open in another 25 minutes
Gas went up 2 cents a liter over night
Art Bell filled in on his old show over night. Used to listen to Coast-to-Coast AM religiously when it was on CJCH years ago. Bell quit and came back and quit and came back and quit and now fills in when George Noory (the regular host) is unavailable. I just happened to tune into 940 and 1080 AM this morning while driving to Bayers Lake.
Art was discussing the economy. He pronounced the situation as dire and frightening as any ghost story ever told on his show. I cannot speak to that other than to state that whatever transpires in the economy over the next couple of years it cannot get to be as bad as what happened in 1929. We have things like deposit insurance today. We have had the experience of living through a depression and have a good idea of what to do to avoid something like that from happening again.
I am pretty sore at the folks who allowed things like sub prime mortgages to happen and especially those who exploited the loopholes to screw things up as badly as they have. But another depression like the 1930s is virtually impossible
Only 15 minutes until zellers opens! Another reason to go on living.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A Ponzi scheme?!
What does Henry Winkler have to do with this, anyway? He has always seemed like an honest guy.
I'll let you know how I made out after the session, tomorrow morning.
May write another post later on tonight.
The contest has now ended, so don't you dare try to enter me in it. I'll never forgive you. God would understand.
Yes, that is John Gracie's daughter. You just know they'll sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" at the show this weekend.
More in a moment.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Got home late this evening.
I am finally done scanning in the front and back covers of those books I'm gonna sell on ebay after the holidays. I learned a lot about my scanner and the software that runs it. I have created some very nice 1 megabyte plus jpeg images of those covers. I'll put a couple of them up here for your viewing pleasure.
They are rare, out-of-print books by a guy named Harlan Ellison. I used to read his books voraciously, and defend him and his work to anyone who would listen, and to several who wouldn't. I didn't care. I was part of his cult.
(Yes! This was back in my pre-girlfriend days. Why do you ask?)
Today, I find his work precious and pretentious. The Ellison engine has always been so self-aggrandizing that I am not sure if I would enjoy meeting him or not. I knew someone who had attended a panel that Ellison ran, and found Ellison to be argumentative, impatient, and opinionated in such a way that one would be unable to get a word in edgewise. At any rate one would be so hesitant to express an opinion for fear that it might be contrary to that which Ellison thinks, that one would not bother to say anything should an opportunity arise. I'm told that his friends love him to pieces, and that's fine. I am not one of those friends. I can only judge him by his work and his actions, and at this point in my life, neither appeals to me.
He has made a career over building up his own work, and putting down the work of others. He once called Leon Uris, who wrote "Topaz" and "Exodus" and many others, Leon Urine. He referred to Robert Ludlum as a creative typist. You get the idea.
Ad hominem attacks against fellow scribes don't make you look good. I work in a field where, yeah, you criticize the work of others (been on both sides!), but you don't write, say, an e-mail to someone ragging on the work of a third party. You don't appear in front of a large group of people and rip a colleague to shreds. It is really not done. It is unseemly, and borderline unprofessional. My opinion, of course. People at my work read this blog, and they may care to discuss this point with me over coffee. I'll let them buy.
So, I'm going to try to sell these 19 books on ebay. The economy is in the toilet, which does not bode well for my desire to sell these at a good price, but I will try anyway.
Wish me luck.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I met with an independent insurance adjuster this morning. I told my side of the story again. He will now go off and attempt to quantify the injury and come up with up some kind of settlement. He wants to hear from me in a month or two to discuss a final settlement. Sound good to me.
I begin massage therapy on Tuesday morning. I just want to let you guys know that nothing will ... move... tomorrow morning. I am a professional. I will not... lose control of myself no matter how attractive those women are tomorrow. They are professionals, too, and I trust that nothing untoward will happen tomorrow morning.
I will be selling some rare paperback books on ebay in a couple of weeks. I spent some time tonight scanning in the front and back covers. It was not until I was done the front and back when I realized that the front covers were all in a lower quality jpeg format, while the back covers were larger files. I increased the resolution in the software and re-scanned the front covers. Now, those files are much larger than the back cover images are. Gee, if I re-scanned the back covers, what will the logical result be?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
One of my favourite Christmas tunes, even though it is doesn't mention Christmas at all, is "Baby, It's Cold Outside". It is no secret, upon listening to the lyrics, that it is a song about a man who's trying to seduce a woman. The song is along the lines of, "Hey, it's crappy outside. Why not stay here and have another drink? Hubba hubba hubba!" The woman is wavering, vacillating between her obligation to return home, yet she is strangely drawn to this man.
John Gracie is a man of limited musical gifts who has parlayed his meagre talents into a career that has sustained him and his family for years now. I cannot fault him for that. If he is doing what he wants to do, and enough people out there like his work and him, then bully for him.
However, geez, it creeps me out when he performs "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with... with... his daughter!
Who thought it would be a good idea for John Gracie to do this song with his daughter? Did John Gracie really believe that involving his own flesh and blood in this tune would benefit him or her in any meaningful way? Why would his daughter agree to perform this song with him? Why aren't the audience members turned off by the image of a father and daughter performing this song together?
The next time you hear that song on the radio or whatever, ask yourself how you would feel about a father and daughter performing that tune. Would it be along the lines of... "Ew! Gross!"?
Yeah, I think about things like this.
Someone took the pictures of the 44 American Presidents (including Obama) and had the images morph from one to the next in turn. Very interesting.
If I had morphing software, and a better computer, I'd do the same thing for the Canadian Prime Ministers. Hmm.
More in a bit.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
And... I'm too tired to discuss it here, now.
I have not had a good night's sleep since the accident the better part of a week ago. I keep flashing back to that moment when the car hit us. I took a nap at Patricia's place this morning, but am even more run down now.
I'll just scribble a little bit before I call it a night.
The $500 deductible on my car repairs has been officially waived. The automotive place has ordered the parts the car needs to be whole again, and they should arrive early next week. They hope the car will be ready for Christmas. I just want it to be in perfect condition when I get it. If that means waiting until New Year's, so be it.
Patricia has begun massage therapy; I begin it next week. The full cost will be covered by our work health insurance, and then by my automobile insurance.
We both meet with an independent insurance adjuster next week. We will tell our side of the story. I am not sure what will come after that. Perhaps some kind of settlement offer? I don't know. This is all new to me. We are finding out this stuff the hard way. Would have been better to have read about this process in the paper or seen some poor bastard discuss it on television. Now, I'm the poor bastard. Sigh.
I'm done like dinner. I'll write more on Sunday.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Remember that comic strip from years and years ago by, um, some guy named Boltinoff? His brother was Murray Boltinoff, a long-time editor at DC Comics. Murray edited mostly the war comics like G.I. Combat. But his brother is best known for the comic strip where two extremely similar images were put side-by-side, and the reader had to find the, say, 10 things that differed between the two. On a good day, a really good day, I might be able to pick out 3.
I am reminded of that comic strip as I type these words. Not really sure why. :-)
Once again, the "best" picture made it to my facebook. These are other good photos, and I present them to you as the director's cut if you will.
Oh, you can see "Wright's Building" in the window of 3 of the 4 images. That was named after George Wright, a famous-at-the-time merchant in Halifax who perished on the Titanic. It is said that he was an extremely sound sleeper and may not have heard any of the commotion as the ship sank. And, his ghost is said to haunt the top story of that building. Boo!
My thanks to Penny for letting me use her office for this photo shoot!
I will write something else this evening. Not sure just what, yet.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I had no idea what they were talking about. None. Zero. Zilch.
How much "horse powder" does my car have, anyway? What size are the tires? How many litres can the engine carry? Frig, I don't know.
Yet, I am a male. I am Bevboy. I must appear to know.
Back here, I explained how to fake a sports conversation with your coffee chums. With those simple tips, you can fake your way through a simple conversation about sports, and nobody will be the wiser. I have received dozens of thank you e-mails from guys who can now appear knowledgeable about sports with their friends. They are very welcome.
It occurs to me that with a few twists of the screwdriver, you could do something similar with another bastion of male talk: The automobile.
Let's try it out.
Horse powder is the measure of energy that the car has. I know this to be true because horses used to pull cars apparently before the invention of gasoline. I am guessing that h.p. should be a nice, round number. Let's say: 200. 200 horse powder. Give that as an answer the next time someone asks you.
I think that the next question is a trick, because wheels are supposed to be round. There are only a few different sizes of tires. One for cars. One for trucks. One for bigger trucks, like the ones that transport cars to dealerships. I suppose they would transport regular-sized trucks as well. But... what transports transport trucks? Hmm.
Anyway: You have a car, so just say that they're the small, round tires. Your friends, who were trying to fool you all along, will just nod sheepishly and quickly change the subject. The big, silly goofs!
The engine is mostly a solid object with things in it that move around quickly and break often, resulting in costly repairs. There is not much room for water or other fluids, so let's say... 3 litres max. A "3 litre" engine!
By thinking quickly on your feet, by speaking in general terms, by listening very carefully to your chums, you, too, can have a brief, superficial conversation about cars.
Take that, you guys!
The second picture is actually the first one taken. I am not sure why Jane didn't like it. Something about my face not being visible enough.
The third picture was the second one taken. Jane decided that a torso shot might be the best approach, and it is that one that became my Christmas ties facebook photo album entry for today.
I hope you like them. This is fun, posing for a picture every day. I feel like Rod Stewart! I guess he used to be photographed every day. Hope he doesn't do it now, the wrinkled, old fart.
Remember: You can click on each image and see me blown up in all my glory. You know you want to.
I'll write something else later.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I should have some idea what the decision will be by the first of next week.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I am still in some pain. I saw my physician this evening. He told me that I have whiplash and a contused knee, which is not to be confused with a confused knee. What is a confused knee, anyway?
But I digress.
I took another sick day today as I still wasn't feeling quite right. Around mid-morning, Patricia and I drove to the towing company impound where my car was taken yesterday, in order to pick up the rest of our things from the vehicle. I got everything back, I think, except for my paperback copy of "Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter, a really good book I have been reading for months now and enjoy a lot. I can easily find another used copy downtown.
We also wanted to see the shape the car was in. My sweet ride is not nearly as sweet as it was. I will post images of the car here on the blog on Wednesday, and you can see for yourself.
Emailed the images to the car dealership where I bought the car on Friday, a mere 4 days ago. The sales manager, an old family friend, thinks the car may be fixable, but of course, he hasn't physically seen it yet. The insurance adjuster will probably examine the car by week's end and prepare a report for the claim investigator, who will then get back to me.
A separate claim has been opened up for the medical claim. We were knocked around by that truck hitting us and injuries resulted. Patricia visits her doc on Thursday and she will then learn what is wrong with her.
You know, looking at the car this morning, it reminds me just how close we came to much more serious injury. A split second earlier, and this man would have t-boned my car; and Patricia, being in the passenger's seat, would have borne the brunt of that hit. I think he was speeding, given the force his truck hit us with, and the fact that it hit us hard enough to cause the car to do a 180 degree turn.
It is foolish to indulge in such what-if scenarios, as tantalizing and seductive as they may be. What happened, happened. We cannot change it. However, we came close, damned close, to serious injury yesterday, perhaps something worse. Moments like this make me want to draw my friends closer to me, to forgive those who have wronged me in trifling ways, to look past the detritus in my life and focus instead on those things that make me happy.
I will try harder to do those things.
Monday, December 8, 2008
We left for work a few minutes earlier than normal because it had snowed last night, and the roads were a little dicey. We drove with extra caution.
We were heading East on Jubilee Road at about 7:25. We had the green light and went through and were about 3/4 of the way through the intersection at Robie, almost to Veteran's Lane, when we got side swiped by a truck heading North on Robie Street that had run the red light. The car was hit so hard that we ended up spinning around, pointing in the direction we had just come from.
I couldn't get the door open. I think it was because the car was still in gear, but I am not sure. I had the presence of mind to press the red On*Star emergency button and spoke with someone who called paramedics for us. He mostly spoke with Patricia though, because I had managed to roll the window down and someone unlocked the door and helped me out. A doctor who happened to be driving behind us was helping out Patricia, who got banged up pretty bad. A woman rubbed my back to calm me down while the driver of the truck manned up and admitted that he had been in the wrong.
My legs began to get weak. Noticing this, a police officer helped me over to the police van where I could rest. I wanted to be with Patricia, who looked to be in some distress, but the officer talked me into sitting in the van.
Time gets blurry around this time. I remember a witness being interviewed by a police officer in the van. The man supported our story. I found out later that there were four witnesses, and they all backed us up. I remember getting out of the van to see how Patricia was doing, before a police officer insisted I go back to the van to rest.
The paramedic came over and checked me out and invited me to ride with Patricia in the ambulance. She was in a neckbrace and some pain. We were a very short distance from the hospital, thankfully.
We spent the next couple of hours at the hospital, getting checked out. My neck is sore. My lower back doesn't feel right. My right knee is causing me some pain. My left hand hurts.
My poor car, the one I bought a scant 3 days ago, took a major hit. We don't know how bad it is. We will find out tomorrow, when we pick up the rest of our stuff from the towing place and see it in the stark light of day. The insurance adjuster will also have an official look at the car, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. This person will determine what it will cost to fix the car. If it is too costly, it will be written off. If not too costly, it will be repaired.
I have heard horror stories about cars that have been repaired that were never quite the same again afterward. This was a sweet ride until about 7:25 this morning. I don't know what can be done to bring it back to what it was before. Maybe nothing can. I just don't know. Right now, my focus is on Patricia and me getting better.
I am grateful that we are still able to walk around, that we still have the appropriate number of arms and legs, and can still count to twenty on our fingers and toes without having to use any more than once. My incredible good looks have not been compromised in any way, and I am thankful for that. So is Patricia.
It could have been so much worse. Let's be grateful for that, and hope that Buddy's insurance company is reasonable with me and mine.
I didn't make it to work today. I think I will probably not make it in tomorrow, either.
Probably the only post for tonight. Going to bed as soon as I can get there.
Give me a kiss.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Very interesting article. Go ahead: Check it out.
I acquired 14 or so Anne Rice novels this winter through freecycle. They are in the vast pile of books to be read, "some day". I probably have 3 copies of "The Witching Hour" by now, just from having acquired it from different sources over the years. Guess I have to read it 3 times.
I will tape the show today, or you can check it out from the show's website, and download it as a podcast if you want to. Be aware that the show only lives on the website for 4 weeks and is then expunged. For copyright purposes, theme music may not make it to the podcast. Too bad, because it is excellent theme music!
I was taking a vacation day on Friday to take my 2002 Malibu in for its near-annual undercoating. There is a car dealership across the street from where the undercoating was taking place. My father and I know the sales manager, and he wanted to show me some cars.
I had been hemming and hawing over a new car purchase for months. I was thinking about a Vibe, because it offers more storage space. I decided against one, however, because there was no trunk, and I don't like it when people can just look in and see what I got in there.
Anyway, my dad and I had an hour to kill. We thought we'd go over and talk to Richard at least.
He greeted us and wanted to show me some cars. The first one was the 2008 Grand Prix. The next one was an '08 Malibu, the car of the year. The third one was an '07 Malibu, white.
I don't want a white car. Can't imagine why anyone would want one. It was easy to dismiss it. The other malibu looked nice, but it was a four cylinder, and I am used to six. I asked to see the Grand Prix again, and Richard invited my dad and me to go for a test drive. Yes, we are trusted enough to go for a test drive without having a staff person accompany us.
The car handled smoothly. It still had that new car smell. It was a pleasure to drive. The interior was fine, even if there was a little too much plastic in it for my taste. There was plenty of pep. Over all, I loved it.
By the time we got back to the dealership, about half past the hour, I had decided I wanted the car. We crunched some numbers, and Richard asked for some information about my car. It was finished its undercoating by then, so I traipsed back to the autobody place and got it out of hock, returning with it to the dealership and retrieved the information Richard requested. He introduced me to the business manager, and we submitted the loan request. This was around 10:15.
Dad and I had to go to the grocery store to get some stuff, so we didn't return back to their house until around 11:30. My cell rang, and it was the sales manager to tell me that the loan request had been approved! They were going to install something called diamondkote to prevent corrosion on the car (in theory, that is), so the car wouldn't be ready until 3:30 or so, according to Richard. I called my insurance broker and gave her the v.i.n. on the Grand Prix, making me legal to drive it right away, had lunch, and proceeded to clear out my car. It took a while, unfortunately, but at least I finally found the rest of that pastrami sandwich I had begun to eat in September.
I still had 3/4 of a tank of gas in the Malibu, and I wanted to burn as much of it that afternoon as I could before surrendering the vehicle to Richard at 3:30. Dad and I ran some more errands until 3pm, before we dropped off those things at the house and we began that final trip in the Malibu.
Arrived at the dealership when we were supposed to, and I began signing my life away. I have often hypothesized how the acquisition of debt might be best accompanied by physical discomfort. The bigger the debt, the more pain you receive. It would make us all think twice, even thrice, about buying something on credit.
Eventually, I had signed everything I had to. Richard showed me some stuff on the car, including the fact that it has on*star! That is pretty slick, and I am already wondering, two days in, how I could have got along without this excellent feature all these years.
Dad and I drove to the bank, to pay off the old loan, and went home for dinner. That evening, he and I visited my sister, the one who reads this blog, and I took her for a ride in it.
Saturday, I took my mother for a ride in it as well, as I took her shopping. We left around 9:15 and I didn't return from the final part of the shopping until around 4:30.
Took Patricia in the car last night. Everyone loves the car!
And to think it all began with a simple undercoating.
More in a moment.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
I kept my previous car for many years. The last few years I had it the car was completely unreliable. I kept spending good money after bad to the point where I was going broke keeping the thing on the road. But it was still breaking down
My next post will contain a picture of my new sweet ride. I love it. You will too
Via BlackBerry enterprise server
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I washed my dishes, which only took 45 minutes this time. After that, I began to chop the vegetables that would accompany the roast beef in the crock pot. I dumped the cans of cream of mushroom soup in the pot. I placed the onions and potatoes in. I put the roast on top of the whole mess, and then added two packets of onion soup mix. Added some worcestershire sauce. Turned the crockpot on low for 10 hours. By the time I get up tomorrow, the thing will be cooked.
I have made this dish many times. I always get nervous when I make it, thinking it will suck and people will bite into it and spit it out and hate me and beat me up and I'll end up cast adrift, homeless, friendless, wandering the streets by myself (my cat would have abandoned me, too), ruing the day I had made the stupid pot roast.
Is it too late to buy pop and chips for tomorrow instead?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Very little happened to me today. I slept. Got up and scratched myself for a few minutes. Slept some more. Kept the radio on for company, since my cat would only make cameo appearances in my bedroom all day long. As long as he gets fed, has a warm place to sleep, and a clean place to crap, he is happy.
Hm. Come to think of it, so am I.
Around supper time, I got up and dressed. When the evening news was over (especially compelling these days with the Canadian constitutional crisis unfolding this week), I went out to buy some groceries. We're having a Christmas tree trimming party at work on Thursday which includes a pot luck lunch. I have agreed to make a roast beef with roasted potatoes and mushroom and onion gravy. Back in my super fat days, this was a food group for me. Nowadays, when I am just fat, this roast beef dish is a very occasional treat. I make it for others more than I make it for myself, which I guess is the way to approach such foods. Roast beef is the kind of food you share with a bunch of people, not just with your honey. Leftovers can be deadly for one's waistline!
Dropped off to Patricia's on the way back home. She has been sick for the last 2 days and had asked me to pick up some things for her, which I did. I prepared a couple pieces of toast for her, and returned home.
Taking Friday as a vacation day. Will be visiting my folks and getting my car undercoated. I should have done it last month or evening in October, but better a bit late than not at all.
Back to work tomorrow. Since I am still recovering from being sick, I will likely skip Toastmasters again this week.
You all have a good night.
Monday, December 1, 2008
From time to time, the computer slows down to a crawl, as it swaps things out of memory to a disk cache and back again. Things like youtube cause the pc to crash more than the stock market. I know better than to ask it to show any video.
The keyboard was wearing out, meaning that some keys barely worked any more. I got another keyboard through freecycle in the last month or so, and another mouse as well (not to mention a monitor!), and they're at least making using this aging pc less than completely frustrating.
Your average dog has a better computer set up than I have. Definitely your average cat, because no self-respecting cat would ever put up with this arrangement!
Just in case you're thinking I have the best of everything: That would be at work. Not necessarily here at home.
I'll publish the post, and have the hard drive grind for a minute or two. I never get tired of hearing it.
The pill hasn't had much effect. I functioned with a headache all day. And I promised someone from Toastmasters that I would help her with her speech, the one she's giving Wednesday night, this evening. I'll keep my word, but will do my best to keep this get together at her home as short as possible. After that, I'll come back here and go to bed.
Today being the first of December, I started wearing my Christmas ties to work. I'll try to get a picture of me taken every day wearing the tie of the day and put it up here for your viewing pleasure.
More in a moment.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I heard as much of the 25th anniversary radio reunion this weekend as I possibly could. I have captured the entire Sunday 8 hours and 40 minutes on tape, and soon it will be on dvd, to share with... nobody, I guess. Good point. Thanks for asking. Now I really feel like crap. Appreciate that.
At any rate, I heard perhaps 50% of the Saturday broadcast, which ran from 10am until about 4:45pm; I heard the vast majority of the Sunday broadcast. It is possible they will rebroadcast some of it, maybe even all of it, on New Year's Day. But perhaps J.C. Douglas will take pity on me and furnish me with a copy of yesterday's show.
Anyway, what I heard, yesterday and today, I loved. The behind-the-scenes stuff, the stories, the anecdotes, were often priceless. It was as if a bunch of them were sitting around a bar, talking shop, swapping stories, and someone stuck microphones in front of them, allowing we mere mortals to listen in.
This weekend was so magical, so special, to long-time listeners of this magical station, that I hope they do something like this more often. Say, every five years, have a big piss up. I'll go to the next party. I promise.
The best part, the most interesting, compelling part, of the last two days, was the very end, when they had a special Q104 tribute song, listing nearly person who has worked at the station over the years. It was to the tune of Billy Joel's, "We Didn't Start the Fire", and it was brilliant stuff. I will be playing it many times.
J.C., if you're reading this, can you help a brother out?
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I couldn't attend the Q104 25th anniversary concert last night because I had my parents with me and I couldn't just leave them alone for the night. I sure did want to go, though.
At least I could content myself with the fact that I was gonna be taping the full 6+ hours of the radio reunion this morning and this afternoon, while I returned my parents to their home. I would listen to as much of it as I could; but I would always have the dvd of this for posterity's sake.
Not so much.
While my radio has a line out jack, and I used a special cable running to the back of a vcr and used that vcr to record the signal coming from the radio, the radio turned itself off about 45 minutes into the proceedings. Bob Powers is just announcing how the station went on the air, and then, poof! The vcr kept recording, but it recorded, well, nothing at all as the radio signal ceased.
Yeah, I feel stupid.
Any radio folks reading this? Can anyone help me and get me a copy of today's six hours and 40 minutes of the guys talking about the good old day on the Q? I missed probably 50% of it today.
Yeah, I feel stupid.
Yeah, I feel stupid.
Can you help me out?
Friday, November 28, 2008
Maybe I got this news a bit later than Judy Tomaini-Rock wanted to get it to me, but the news is the saddest I've gotten in a long time regardless. Showman William "Billy" Rodgers, owner of show supply shop The Pirates Treasure Cove in Gibsonton, FL, died Nov.24 at the age of 74. If you want more details, you can go to
http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/article918349.ece, though I've been told there are a number of errors in the piece. Despite those errors, I can tell you accurately that Billy was a huge friend to SHOCKED AND AMAZED! over the years, one of the best. I met him on my first visit to Gibtown at the start of my work on S&A!, and from moment one he was a major source of material and contacts on the show business, putting in many a good word with the showfolk, recommendations he needn't have given except, well, that was the kind of guy he was. At the end of my very first visit to Gibtown, disappointed that I had not achieved one of my major goals for the week (though with Billy's help I'd accomplished much, much more than planned), I told him my regret: that I'd not met "Lady Sandra" Reed, photographic subject of renowned photographer Diane Arbus. Sandy Reed's image – head thrown back, arms thrown out, cruciform, multiple swords down her throat – had been an iconic inspiration to me from the first time I'd seen it. And now, at the end of that initial journey, I'd come no closer to her than the picture I'd seen years and years before. Billy looked at me across that dining table there in the showmen's club, put on that huge grin he was famous for, and told me, "Why, Sandy's one of my best friends." And the rest was history. Thanks for that, Billy, and much, much else.
The information was released on the 27th. Here is the link to the BBM website listing the information.
Kool FM, whose program director I interviewed for this blog a few weeks ago, had a very good book. They are number one in listeners 35+. Z103.5 took a hit from that new station, the one that replaced CJCH, and whose name will not be written here. C100 did very well. The Q's ratings were up a bit. Hal FM is in a free fall, ratings wise. How much longer can they justify this classic rock format, when Q104 is so much better known and is clearly winning the battle time after time with Hal? FX 101.9 took a hit. They will probably do better once KIXX leaves the airwaves in '09, as they will be the only country station in this market.
It is a fact that radio stations that take a hit in the ratings respond in some meaningful way. They change format. They announce a nifty contest. They fire their morning show crew. Whatever. You will see changes in the coming months with some of the stations that didn't fare well in this book.
I predict that Hal FM will not exist in 2009. God knows what they'll do with that license. A polka format might draw fewer listeners, but most anything else would only be an improvement.
Any more radio folks reading this? Wanna bet how some stations will respond?
My car back then only had an AM radio, so I could only listen to it at home on my home stereo, with the aid of both an FM dipole antenna and a friendly weatherman who could conjure up the kind of weather conducive to permitting me to receive this far away station. I eventually invested in a powered FM booster, which I still have, and use, when I visit my folks. It still enables me to pick up Q104 down there.
Anyway, the Q was like nothing else on the dial, not by a country mile. 25 years ago, hard rock was essentially not played on the radio, and we fans of that genre were ill-served by the radio stations of the day. I can appreciate much of that music now, but back then, top 40 music was something I was not interested in.
I listened to Q104 every bloody chance I got. I loved it. I couldn't get enough of it. It was quite a different station back then than it is today. They played a lot of more obscure music. Their play list was much more expansive. I recall they didn't play the same tiresome songs over and over. The music was fresh, exciting, and if I could have found a way to weld an FM tuner to my head, I would have. I was single back then, very single, frighteningly single, and this thing stuck to my head would not have helped my situation, and not hurt it much either.
Over the years, and J.C. Douglas knows this, my interest has waned. I still like that kind of music, but not the same songs played ad nauseum.
But this doesn't stop me from wishing Q104, all of its jocks past and present, a most happy birthday.
On Saturday and Sunday, they are inviting back their old jocks to talk about the good times. Here is the schedule. I will listen to every damn bit of it that I can. You know I will. You know me better than that.
All the best from your humble blogger!
We had to go to Dartmouth for a meeting this morning for 9 o'clock. After that, Patricia had to go to a funeral, also in Dartmouth, for 11. She dropped me off at Mic Mac Mall, the largest mall east of Montreal, for a couple of hours.
I used to go there a lot, back when I lived in Dartmouth. Now, though, I seldom go, and I don't miss it one bit. There are more women's clothing stores there than you can shake a stiletto at. That's great if you're a woman, or one of those guys, but for a regular dude like me, it means walking past a lot of stores without going in.
After about an hour, I trekked across the parking lot to the only bookstore in the area (there used to be three in the mall, but they're all gone now). The Chapters at Mic Mac Mall is smaller and has fewer categories of books than the one in Bayers Lake, the one closest to my home. I killed less time than there I would have liked to.
I walked back to the entrance to the mall where I had left Patricia, so she could go to the funeral, to wait for her to pick me up. Around 12:20, I saw my car, with her in it. We returned to my house, where we had a late lunch and rested a bit before Patricia and I took my mother to her doctor's appointment in downtown Halifax.
The appointment was insane. It was for 3:50. By 5:15, we were still waiting to get in. We were finally served around 5:20, but didn't see the actual doctor until 6pm. We left around 6:20. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and returned to my home around 8:30, approximately an hour ago.
My father was busy today. Last night we began to create a new shelf for my computer desk. There was quite a bit of empty space between the top shelf and the middle one, and this new shelf is perfect to hold things like cd's or other things of a computer nature that I can reach in a hurry. I got the desk for free this summer from a neighbour. In looking on kijiji, or on the Staples website, I can only find a computer desk that costs $300 or so that looks better than the one I have now. I did see one on kijiji the other day that looked really nice and was only $100, but it would be so huge it would dominate this room. This one, especially with the addition of the shelf, is the perfect one for me, my needs, and my space considerations.
It was a busy day today, and it will be followed by a busy one tomorrow, too.
More in a moment.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
But some of you have been asking me what blogs did win. I am happy to provide the list for your edification now.
Number one is: Living Between Wednesdays. It mostly deals with a young woman's interest in comic books. When I was heavily into reading them, women in the hobby were few and far between. They still are. There are many, many posts on the blog where she takes a few pages from an old comic book and comments about them in negative terms.
Runner up was Hero Hill. It's about the local culture. Apparently, there is some.
Second runner up was Bringing it to the Table. It seems to be the blog closest to this one, where I talk about whatever is on my mind at the moment.
Check them out if you are of a mind to. Leave the owners a comment if you want to. It is hard work to contribute regularly to a blog, and my hat is off to those who can do it, and do it well. Obviously, a lot of people like these blogs.
Maybe next year, I'll be in the list. I'll keep working hard on this blog to help earn your vote in the 2009 Best of Halifax Awards!
The blog is a year old. When I started it a year ago, I had no idea that I'd have over 500 posts in that length of time. I had no idea there would be enough posts to go much past 100 entries, yet here I am.
I still feel like I am just getting started.
More in a moment.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Elton John song lyric goes, "she's got electric boots", not "electric boobs". Elton John, in fact, has so many misheard lyrics that one could write a book about them. Someone probably has.
I have a few books of misheard lyrics in my possession. And, there is at least one website devoted to misheard lyrics. Go ahead and check it out. I don't mind.
I want to discuss a misheard lyric from my own life. I am pretty sure it is one you will not find in the above website. I am a little embarrassed to talk about it.
Do you remember the summer of 1981? Some of you weren't born yet, so go ask your parents, or grandparents, as the case may be. There was a musical artist from that summer, who was also a major soap opera star. His name was/is Rick Springfield and he was on General Hospital. I understand that he has returned to the show, and may still be on it for all I know.
His big hit was Jessie's Girl, and it is now that I must admit to my nearly fatal misheard lyric. This song of unrequited love contains a refrain, oft-repeated, that goes, "I wish that I had Jessie's Girl".
In my youth, perhaps not paying enough attention, I thought it was, "I wish that I was Jessie's Girl", and I sang it out loud and often, to anybody who would listen. (Hey, I liked the song. Sue me!) My parents thought about making me see a psychologist. I was shunned in grade 12.
Still, today, when I hear the song on a classic hits radio station, I think to myself, that it is "was" and not "had".
It is one of those funny things, a misheard lyric. You could swear that a lyric is what you think it is. Any intrusion of reality is met with skepticism, perhaps even an ad hominem attack against the person who tried to tell you the truth. I will probably go to my grave thinking there is a variant version of "Jessie's Girl" out there with the lyric as I expect it to be.
I mean, if that were the case, and it were "was", what does that say about Jessie? That could be a woman's name, too, like Bev usually is, unfortunately. If I, a guy, wanted to be Jessie's girl, and Jessie were a woman, then I'd want to be the female partner to another female. That would take some fancy doing. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement for those who want to be that way, but it doesn't mean that I must aspire to that goal, or take hormones or undergo transgender surgery to achieve it. Even if I did all that stuff, Jessie may still not be interested in me, which would be her right of course. All that effort on my part would have been for naught.
I am not sure if there is an operation to restore male doin's to a female who used to be a male. They probably threw away the male doin's after the first operation, assuming that they would no longer be necessary. If there is such an operation, well, some things are best not known until one has to know about them.
Am I over analysing something again? Sorry. I do that sometimes.
Bevboy, and I do mean boy!