Monday, March 31, 2008

181st Post - Tip of the Month

This is mainly for the guys reading this.

You know when you shave and you might get four, five, or maybe six shaves out of those expensive razors? The Mach III, or the Gillette Fusion? They're, what, 35 dollars for 20 blades?

Folks, you're gonna hate me for this, but I have been using the same SAMPLE Gillette Fusion razor blade for months now. Probably since October. And I shave five or six times a week.

How is this possible? How can you get so many shaves from one blade?

I'll tell you.

Shave as you normally do. When done, rinse the blade under hot water to clear the gunk out. After that, dry the blade thoroughly ( a good 30 seconds) with a small blow dryer.

If you don't do that, the water and gunk on the blade will cause rust to form, which ruins the sharpness of the blade.

By cleaning and drying the blade thoroughly, you preserve the blade for a much longer period of time. When this one eventually gives out, perhaps in a month or so, I'll just move on to one of the 4 other Gillette fusion blades I have. They'll last me for upwards of 18 months, perhaps longer.

The tip of the month!


180th Post - Rant of the Month

I try to keep this a positive place. I try not to look at the negative side of things. There are plenty of blogs written by depressed people, and which attract depressed people.


But, it sure is hard not to think and rant a little bit about something that really bugs me. I think, once a month, I'll allow myself to succumb to these temptations. Let off steam, so to speak.

Here in Halifax, there is much talk on the two open line radio shows from pedestrians concerning the dumb ass drivers out there. I have little doubt about this. I have seen drivers holding a cell phone engaged in an animated conversation nearly run over some poor sod crossing the street. Thank Crom and Mitra that at midnight tonight a law comes into effect in Nova Scotia prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. You can still use a hand free blue tooth headset, or I suppose even a headphone set attached to your blackberry; but you may not use a hand held cell phone whilst driving, starting in just a few hours. That is as it should be.

I have seen drivers pull a u-turn right in front of me, when I was just a car length away. She pulled to the right, did the u-turn, and went the other way, without even noticing I nearly smashed into her. I lay on the horn, and she gives me the finger. Go figure.


However, I sure do see some crazy ass pedestrians out there, too. Every day at coffee I look out the window at Tim's and watch pedestrians walk against the light (they have a red light, and they cross the street anyway). I saw our premier, Rodney MacDonald, do that this morning, actually. Shame on him.

I have seen people cross the street diagonally. Too lazy to use two crosswalks, they use none at all.

I have seen people cross the street as the flashing walk sign was activated. This is illegal. It also prevents drivers from navigating that intersection, vexing them mightily.

What I have not seen, is a crazy ass pedestrian at an intersection at the same moment a dumb ass driver was approaching it. THAT would be interesting. Who would survive that steel cage match?

More in a minute.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

179th Post - My Cat, Newbie!

Enjoy the newbie pic! You can just click on the image to see a full screen image of him. Go ahead. I don't mind.

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

178th Post - That's Better!

Washed my dishes and tackled my laundry today. Bet you thought I couldn't pull double duty like that, huh?

On top of those two things, I also cooked dinner (pasta with meat sauce) for Patricia and me at her place. Her "new" stove is working so well. Best 75 bucks she's probably spent in a long time. We also watched something like 5 episodes of "Rescue Me". We watched them during the fall whilst at the cottage for a week or so, but enjoyed them so much that watching them again is hardly a waste of time. A video store in New Glasgow was going out of business -- it is a trend, folks, as people move more and more toward broadband -- and they had the first season of this show there for a very good price of 4 dollars a disc. It just so happened that the entire first season was there as individual discs; I wouldn't have bought them otherwise. Patricia normally doesn't like Denis Leary, and I am not the biggest fan either. However, we decided to watch the show together down there and fell in love with it.

We have since acquired seasons 2 and 3 on dvd. Haven't watched them yet. Season 4 has already been broadcast on Showcase. But it was before we had started watching the first season, so I haven't taped any of them. If they are rerun I'll get them then or wait for the inevitable dvd release. The show has already been renewed for season 5, which will probably appear later on this year. We have lots of catching up to do!

Back home for the evening. I spilled pasta sauce all over my shirt during supper. I was an ultra klutz. I mean, I am a klutz anyway because I am a left-handed person in a field of endeavour that attracts clumsy people, but I outdid myself this evening. Sprayed some stuff on the shirt when I got home and will soon soak it in my laundry basin overnight.

Cold water.

You don't have to tell me.

Cold water and detergent and maybe some borax.

I am a pro at this stuff. A pro at spilling stuff on myself, that is.

Newbie all over me like a cheap suit. A cheap tuxedo, actually, if you know what I mean.

I am following this post with another one, right away, of Newbie. Hope you like it.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

177th Post - The Day That Shipped Late

Well, we had the best of intentions today!

We had talked about going downtown this morning. I'd do a spin class at the gym; Patricia would go to a wedding dress sell off in Dartmouth.

Patricia called me before 7. What time would I be by? I said I wanted to take a shower and could call her back by 7:30. I took the shower and she called me at 7:25, asking for a bit more sleep time. That time was granted. And then more. And more. She had a headache, and those don't just go away because you want them to.

I had "won" some books off free cycle on Friday, and got a call from the owners this morning to pick them up today. We agreed to 11:30. I got to their apartment at the appointed time and am now the proud owner of 13 Anne Rice novels. Seems appropriate, given that it is Anne Rice.

Got to Patricia's place. She still wasn't feeling well. She had her shower around noon; after that we watched a documentary about tenor Mario Lanza, about whom I knew very little other than that he was a tenor in the 1950's. After that, tired, I took a nap, not rising until 5:45. We finally got our groceries this evening in Tantallon.

Man, where did the day go? It is 10:20pm as I type these few words.

Hope I am a bit more productive on Sunday. Dishes need to be washed again. Damn things.


Friday, March 28, 2008

176th Post - A Strange Dream

Yesterday, Patricia told me about a friend of hers, a woman I also know. Her name will be withheld for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.

Turns out that that this woman believes in angels. She can see them hanging around by traffic lights, perhaps other unusual places.

Hey, it takes all kinds, right?

Anyway, I dreamed about what Patricia told me, last evening. I dreamed that her friend was sitting with me somewhere telling me about her beliefs. As she was telling me this stuff, she was farting.

Like I said, it was a strange dream. Had to share it with you.


175th Post - The Mongolie Grill Rocks!

(You know you can click on all the images I upload to the blog, to make the images bigger. You knew that, right?)

There was a snow storm in Halifax today, so Patricia and I decided to go to dinner after work as we figured that there would be tons of traffic, and poor driving conditions. We were probably right.

We met at the Mongolie Grill. I think it was our 4th time there. I was determined this time to make it to the "Pile High Club".

The way it works there is, you are given a bowl to fill with fresh veggies and meat and noodles and sauces. They cook it for you on a gigantic grill and bring it to your table. If you pile your bowl such that the resulting load of food costs more than $30, you are a member of the Pile High Club. They take a picture of you and it goes on a wall with pictures of others people who have exceeded that amount. They also give you five bucks off the cost of your next meal there.

The restaurant review critic for the Coast recently dissed the Mongolie Grill. The only part of that review I'll agree with is that sometimes some of the grilled veggies can be mushy. That was not a problem tonight. Everything was perfect. I have easily enough food to last me for at least one more meal, and maybe even two.

Jesus, I love the Mongolie Grill! Can't wait to go back. Maybe when I get my income tax return I'll treat Patricia to the place again.

Apparently, the owner of the Mongolie Grill googled "Mongolie Grill Halifax" and an earlier blog post or two of mine came up, including the video footage Patricia and I shot there in December. That video has been played at the Mongolie Grill! Pretty neat. And our server immediately recognizes me now. So, hi, Megan. I hope you enjoy my blog.

Crap, I'm full.

If the weather is acceptable tomorrow, I'll go to the gym in the morning. God knows I need it.



Thursday, March 27, 2008

174th Post - More Torture

Had another dental appointment today. Left work a bit early for the appointment at 3.

I swear, these dentists and their assistants dream up fresh tortures for me every time I visit. And the hell of it is: I pay them afterward. Quite a little scam they have going, ennit?

After dinner, to get over the pain of what I went through at the dentist, Patricia and I checked out the new pizza place, Morris East, on the east end of, um, Morris Street in Halifax. It opened a few months ago. We arrived just as they were opening, at 5pm. Had a nice meal of an eclectic pizza consisting of ingredients one would never dream of putting on a pizza were one making one from scratch (goat cheese! smoked salmon! tartar sauce!). Patricia and I shared a gelato dessert and she had a coffee. I had already had 2 cups of coffee today; a third one would have put me into orbit.

Went from there to Bayers Lake for a couple of things (rolled oats are on sale at the Bulk Barn! Oh, frabjous joy!). Came home to see a gang of youths (including The Boy) in my driveway. Nice to know the neighbhourhood watch committee is out in full force.

And I am home for the evening. Copying over yet another vhs tape to dvd right now. Earlier today I dubbed to dvd the edition of Live at Five for November 8th, 2002. It was the date of my parents' 50th anniversary, and I had sent the producers of Live at Five a picture of my parents to use on their Marriage Milestones feature. My parents were pretty happy to be on tv. They got quite a few calls from well wishes if I recall correctly.

Have a good night.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

173rd Post - More Feedback from The Speech

Well, I presented the colonoscopy speech this evening. This is the speech I posted as post #171. I had competition from one other speaker, but I persevered and will represent my Toastmasters club at the upcoming area contest on April 9th.

I was given some feedback for the speech. Some of it was contradictory. One person wanted me to drop the whole Kerry Grant anecdote. Another wanted me to enhance it so that his death would have a bit more meaning. I am leaning toward the latter.

Someone thought I should not mention that I had had blood in my stool. I should rephrase it so as not to make people uncomfortable. With respect, I want people to be uncomfortable. I want them to go on this emotional journey with me, where I discuss this extremely intimate thing that happened to me, and try to find the humour in the situation at the same time. That there is nothing wrong with having the symptoms; there is everything wrong with ignoring them in the vain hope that they will just go away. I want to try to make people understand that thousands of people die of colorectal cancer every year, and that if these people had just paid more attention to the classic symptoms and done something about them early enough, that the vast majority of them would not have died.

I am reminded of a "cheeky" bus ad that ran a few years ago. It showed a picture of a pair of buttocks, somewhat reddened. The caption read, "Don't die of embarrassment. Get checked for colorectal cancer", or somesuch.

Of course, people got up in arms about this. "It's offensive". "It's inappropriate". "There are better ways to get your message across".

These people completely missed the point of the ad. Hardly a surprise, really.

My speech has been around the block a few times, but it has never been presented at a contest before. Other times I have done it, as a test speech for a contest or something, I have had (mostly) men come up to me and thank me for presenting it. More than a few have told me that they should "get their ass to the doctor".

I did get some other suggestions that I will consider carefully over the coming days. I'll re-write the speech to accommodate some of those suggestions. However, the core of the speech, the message I want to convey, will remain: Get checked.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

172nd Post - The Aftermath of the Speech

OK. I am assuming that you have read post 171 by now. If not, please do so. I'll wait right here until you get back. I'll tell a joke to the rest of the readers while you stragglers are off reading the previous post.

A man is crawling through the desert, dying of thirst. He hasn't had any liquids in two days. He has had to do unspeakable things in order to remain alive. As he crawls along, inch by painful inch, he chances upon a guy selling ties.

"Would you like to buy a tie?"

"A tie? No! I need water, stat! I can't hold on much longer!", the first man managed to croak out.

"Water? No problem! Just over that sand dune, and the one beyond that, is a restaurant serving the best food and beverages in the entire desert. Should be there in an hour, tops".

The dying man prayed he could make it. Summoning every last bit of his energy, he crawled, delirious from thirst, half-crazed from the heat, over the next sand dunes, leaving the tie salesman behind.

An hour passed. Then two. Finally, the man crawled back to the tie salesman. Nearly dead by now, he croaked, "They won't let me in without a tie!"

Back so soon?

All right, then.

I would very much appreciate your feedback on the speech, the one in post #171. If you can offer any pearls of wisdom, any areas for improvement, send them along. I promise to read and consider all feedback, both positive and negative.



171st Post - The Speech

A Whole Other Side of Bev

A number of years ago, I walked into a downtown pub and discovered my girlfriend having dinner with another man.

"Well!", I thought. "What have we here?".

Turned out that Patricia was meeting with the ex-husband of a cousin of hers, a guy named Kerry Grant. No, really, that was his name. I have known non-celebrities named Jeff Healy, Monty Hall, Brian Adams, John Newcombe (for you long-time tennis fans), Robert Young, and Kerry Grant.

I liked Kerry. He was a soft-spoken, thoughtful man who worked on an oil rig, being gone for months at a time from his family. We had a nice meal, some good beers, and took our leave.

A year or so later, Patricia called me to tell me that Kerry had died the night before. Colon cancer. He was only 42. He’s buried in the same cemetery as Patricia’s mother, who died this summer.

In 1999, a year or so before Kerry died, 6300 Canadians died of colorectal cancer. It is Canada’s third highest cancer killer for both men and women. At the same time, it is one of the most preventable and curable cancers. If caught in time, there is upwards of a 90% survival rate.
People can have the classic symptoms for years, and because they deal with a part of the body that we don’t like to talk about, the symptoms are often ignored until it is too late. I wonder if Howard Keel, the actor who in the 1950's was the star of such musicals as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and who in the 1980's was on the tv show "Dallas", ignored his symptoms? He died of colon cancer in November, the same night that there was a reunion of the old stars of "Dallas" on tv.

It was a few months after Kerry died when I discovered blood in my stool.

There. I said it. Phew!

I didn’t do anything about it at first. But the problem persisted, so I sought the advice of my physician. He scheduled me for a meeting with a specialist.

A few months later, I finally met with him: A kindly, older man named Dr. McKeevin, who had been looking at people’s rear ends for a good 30 years. He wanted me to have a colonoscopy.

As he began to tell me of the details of this procedure, something strange happened. One minute, he was telling me what he was going to do to me. The next minute, I observed him run around from behind his desk to prevent my face from hitting his blotter. I had fainted.

As preparation for my colonoscopy, I would have to take a medication that would help me go to the bathroom, a lot, to make sure that my colon was cleaned out. After I had regained my composure, I asked him a question. "Doctor", I said, "do I have to take this medication with food or water?".

"Bev", he said to me pityingly, "it’s not going in that end!"

The day of the procedure drew nigh. Early that morning, I took this medication, which had a nice soft tip at the end of it and resembled a tube of toothpaste. I was still renting an apartment at that time, and remember thinking to myself, "Boy, I hope they don’t have a fire drill right about now!"

Sure enough, shortly after I had applied the medication, I found I had to spend a fair amount of time in the washroom. Thank Goodness for Entertainment Weekly.

And TV Guide.

And The Coast newspaper.

And Frank Magazine.

That afternoon, I went to the Dixon Centre and was asked to put on one of those johnny shirts, with the opening in the back. When I had nasal surgery in 1997, I had worn underwear underneath the shirt. I knew I couldn’t get away with that on this day. I then had to sit in a waiting area with a bunch of other similarly attired people.

I’d see people be called in to another room by a doctor I didn’t recognize. They’d walk in, and then walk back out again, sitting uncomfortably. Imagine how I felt!

When it was my turn, I went into the room I was directed to. Dr. McKeevin greeted me warmly and asked me to lay down on a Gurney. (Or is that "lie down on a Gurney? I can never keep that straight!) There were two other people in the room: A nurse, and an assistant to the doctor, or so
I assumed.

I assumed also that it would be Dr. McKeevin who would perform this procedure. I was wrong. It was actually his assistant. SHE was perhaps 30, blond, and very attractive if you don’t mind my saying so. I could have lived with the old man performing my colonoscopy. Every male insecurity came to the fore when I realized that it would be his female assistant. For the first time, I realized why so many women prefer having female doctors: Kindred spirits, and similar body parts.

I lay in a fetal position, with my legs moved up toward my chest, while the colonoscopy started. She inserted a long, thin tube and moved it so far up I swear I could feel it tickling my tonsils. As she did so, she muttered strange words to the doctor, who nodded sagely and told her to give the tube another big twist. Meanwhile, the nurse held my hand. I prayed that the woman administering the procedure was in a happy, healthy relationship based upon mutual trust and understanding.

After what seemed like 4 days, but was more like 10 minutes, she removed the device. The doctor looked at me and smiled. "Mr. Keddy", he said, giving me some dignity that I didn’t think was warranted at the moment, "I want to apologize to you for making you wait so long for your procedure, and putting you through all this stress. You can thank government funding for that. Normally, we’d prepare a report and send it to your doctor, who would review it with you. But I want to tell you right now that we didn’t see anything. You’re fine".

Relief? That’s not the word for it. I began to sit up right away, until the nurse cautioned me to slow down and keep myself covered, lest she, the doctor, and her comely assistant see yet another side of me.

I got dressed and went home, walking a bit more gingerly perhaps than usual, but relieved and happy.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I needed to do a speech about something. And, as well, people are timid about that part of their bodies and don’t want to talk about any problem down there. I wanted you to know that what I went through wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t as difficult an experience as some of the exams I wrote in university, let’s put it that way.

If I had to put my finger on one aspect of that day’s activities, I’d be hard pressed. But there was one thing I just can’t forget. One thing that was so humiliating, so invasive, so hurtful. I, I, I don’t know how to say it.

That doctor. She never writes. She never calls.

If you’re wondering what the warning signs are for colon cancer, here is a hand out for you.

The "bottom" line: If you have any of these classic symptoms, then get your ass to the doctor.

Madam Toastmaster?


Appendix: Warning signs for Colorectal Cancer:
If any of the following symptoms persist for two weeks or more, consult your doctor. Do not delay.
Change in bowel habits. Any significant change, such as diarrhea or constipation. The presence of mucus around the stools. Smaller than usual stool size.
Bleeding. Blood passed from the bowel, bright red or especially dark and mixed with the stool.
Tenesmus. A constant feeling of incomplete emptying of the rectum.
Pain. A cramping pain in the abdomen. This might be accompanied by an increase in flatulence causing pain or discomfort, or a bloated feeling.
Anemia. This can be associated with abnormal tiredness or unexplained weight loss.

To reduce the risk, consider the following:

Cut down on animal fat and select leaner cuts of meat. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables -- at least five portions a day -- and foods high in fibre and starch, such as cereals, potatoes (not chips), rice, whole-grain bread, pasta.
Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly -- at least 20 minutes three times a week.
Keep alcohol intake down to three to four small glasses a day for men; two to three for women.
Above all, if you are experiencing trouble with your bowels, don't delay. See your doctor.
Don’t die of embarrassment!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

170th Post - My Easter Monday, And I Need Your Help

I wish I could say I did a lot today. I wish I could say that I did my laundry, or prepared a wonderful meal. Or ran the roads. Or went to a movie.

Instead, I slept in this morning. Got up around 7:45 at my cat's insistence. Showered. Shaved. Washed my dishes. Went back to bed around 10, getting up at 12:40 or so. Went to Patricia's this afternoon, where we started to watch season one of "Rescue Me", the Denis Leary starrer about the New York Fire Department (great show, and we have the first 3 seasons on dvd!). Ate dinner at her place, watched the news, and I came back here a few minutes ago. "Dancing with the Stars" is on tonight, and I'll try to stay up late enough to watch it. But 11pm is a tall order when I get up at 5:30 every work day.

I will be doing a speech at Toastmasters this week. Not exactly a big deal, but this is a special speech I have done in the club before. It will be a contest speech. If I win the vote I'll represent my club at the next level, known as the area. If I win that, I'll represent the area at the division level. If I win that, it is on to District, and then the Region, and finally the International Speech Contest, where in the name of God that is held this year.

I realize I am getting ahead of myself here. Baby steps, baby steps. But I will do something on this blog I have never done before. Other Toastmasters who have blogs have likely never done it either: I will post the speech here on the blog. As I do the speech, I will receive feedback from people; that is something that happens in TM whether you want it to or not.

I also want your feedback. This blog is read by quite a few people. I am getting hits from the rest of Canada, from the U.S. and even from Europe. Go ahead, you people, and provide your feedback, too. I want to know where I can improve to make this speech a winner, and I'll need your help to get there. I'll need all the help I can get, actually.

I'll post the speech tomorrow night sometime. It will be post #171.

Have a good night. Enjoy "Dancing with the Stars"!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

169th Post - Happy Easter

Hope you are having a nice Easter.

I prepared lunch for the family today. Or, at least, the ones who showed up. My younger sister, her husband, and their daughter stayed home as two of the three are pretty sick. That meant that my world-famous maple salmon was not given to them until this afternoon.

I made maple salmon with a little parsley and lemon dill weed on top. Delish! I also prepared garlic mashed potatoes and green beans and even carrots. Ever since I was a little kid I have not cared much for carrots. The ones I made today weren't too shabby at all, if you don't mind my saying so.

Drove back this afternoon, seeing both Patricia and Newbie. Missed them both. I know that they missed me too. Newbie has been all over me since I got back home. Won't quite leave me alone. Imagine he'll be glued to my hip all night.

One more day off and it's back to work. These 5 day weekends are nice. Seductive, even. I'll lobby the government to allow for a two day work week from now on. I'm sure they'd be delighted to comply.

May write a bit more later on tonight.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

168th post - Valley blogging

Turning In soon.

Came to the valley this morning. Took my mother shopping. We had lunch at the big stop in new minaa. It is the official restaurant for old people in the Annapolis valley. Surprised they don't play Lawrence Welk music in the background.

Called Patricia just now. She is at the house watching movies on demand. Recommends "Disturbia" by the way. Hope to watch it on my own tomorrow.

You guys know how much I like radio. It is a small world. Radio host Andrew Krystal and Patricia both use the same law firm for their legal services. We met with her lawyer a few weeks ago. Entering the building when we were was Andrew Krystal. He invited me to email him and offered to take me on a tour of the station. I told him I had proposed to Patricia on his competitors. He said we could have our anniversary on his show!

I have been on a tour of a station once before. Terry Williams took me on a tour of CJCH/C100 in 1995. I could have had a tour of magic 97 in kentville in 1990 conducted by the raven haired radio wench Karen Begin herself. She is better known now as Darian O'Toole. But I never followed through and she left the station and the country. Don't want to talk about that one too much. Still have her letters at home somewhere.

Anyway, I may yet take Andrew Krystal up on his offer if it still stands . It does sound like fun

Time for bed. I guess the 3+ hour nap this afternoon didn't sustain me.

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Friday, March 21, 2008

167th Post - Happy Good Friday

In which your humble blogger writes nothing in particular just so he can say he blogs an average of once a day.

Patricia got her new stove this morning. I was a few minutes late getting to her place. But it was no big deal because it only took us a few minutes to move the old stove out. Walked over to buddy's a few minutes before the appointed time, only to find that he had already moved the stove out of his place and was already to move it off the deck. He'd been at it for several minutes, obviously.

We got the stove into the back of his truck, and then I walked over to Patricia's with him driving alongside me. Took us only a few minutes to get the "new" stove into Patricia's place. I also bought a range hood from him. I am scared around electricity. He explained to me in great detail, as an adult would talk to a child (and not a very bright one), but I just feel nervous around live wires and electricity. Sue me.

Have been tired most of the day, but only took a short nap. Newbie would not allow me to sleep for any length of time. I think he knows which days are weekend days, and which ones are week days. He doesn't want me to be late for work, I guess, especially since his cat food is so expensive. I will teach my cat about statutory holidays, and the importance of observing them, later on this weekend.

Newbie is a skittish cat around strangers. Around supper time, there was a knock at my door. It was a pizza guy; the only problem was, I hadn't ordered a pizza! The situation was dealt with within 30 seconds, but that was plenty of time for Newbie to make himself scarce. Didn't see him for 30 minutes or so. He didn't even come out when I put out some tuna juice for him, and his favourite snacks. But he returned from his hiding place, wherever that is, and at this moment is sitting next to me on my computer table. He usually has to be where I am at the moment. He doesn't quite crawl in the shower with me, but does perch himself on the tub between the shower curtain and the shower liner. Sometimes I grab him and expose him to the shower itself. He doesn't like that too much.

Still thinking about the Bruce Guthro songwriter's circle from last night. It was grand fun. The experience was only marred for Patricia by the woman with big hair who sat in front of her. Meanwhile, the woman sitting on the other side of her was wearing a heavy perfume Patricia found disagreeable. What is up with women and their big hair and their malodorous perfume? Stop it, you hooches!

Visiting my parents tomorrow, returning to the city on Sunday afternoon. Patricia will be here housesitting for me, which should confound the criminal element.

Will blog from the bb while down there. I won't forget youse guys!!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

166th Post - What a Wonderful Evening!! Bruce Guthro is God!

The above image, and a few others that turned out even more poorly, was taken this evening at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax as Patricia and I attended a songwriter's circle hosted by Bruce Guthro.

This is the first time Bruce has done a circle with 3 women. And what women! Dahmnait Doyle! Meagan Smith! Sweet Suzie McNeil!

I am a fan of all of these people. Meaghan Smith has a breathy, sultry voice that is impossible to resist. Her first song tonight was "I Know" from an as-yet-unreleased album, but it's a song Stan Carew has been playing on his weekend CBC show since the summer of '07. I love that song. Love it, love it, love it.

Dahmnait Doyle sang some great stuff, too. Her highlight for me at least was the song she sang for Willy Nelson when they toured together last year. She still had the munchies from being on the bus, if you catch her drift.

And Suzie McNeil is best known as a runner up on Rock Star: Inxs in 2005 (Nova Scotian J.D. Fortune got the gig with INXS that summer instead). She is a very sweet person, very funny. She told a great story about Hank Azaria, whom she dated when she was recording her album in L.A. a couple of years ago. He dumped her, and I have to say that Hank Azaria must be a fool, for any man who would dump Suzie McNeil is no man at all.

I can't remember a more fun concert I have attended. There will be another songwriter's circle with Bruce Guthro in June. Patricia and I will be there.

I know that this blog has been googled and read by some Europeans. I can confirm that, yes, this is the same Bruce Guthro who's the lead singer for Runrig.

The evening topped off a decent day. Patricia is getting a new stove early Friday morning, and we were making room in her kitchen to throw the old one out and make a path for the new-to-her one. It's being delivered to her, from around the corner from where she lives. What are the odds that there would be a stove, the same make as her old one, for sale, one street over from where she lives? And that the guy also would have a range hood, and I need a new range hood?

Time to buy lottery tickets!


Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

165th Post - Five Days Off!

Just finished my work day. Heading off to Toastmasters in a few minutes. I don't have to return to work until Tuesday, March 25th. Five days off work! A nice break.

It promises to be crazy busy when I get back next week. What I do best will keep me hopping probably until the end of April, when a major milestone occurs. We simply must be finished what we do best by then. And we will.

Taking my lap top home with me. The only trick about that is I have a helluva hard time putting it back in its docking station. Some days, I can do it in 30 seconds. Some days, it has taken me 10 minutes.

I don't know why silly things like that confound me. I chalk it up to being left-handed, and to the line of work that I'm in, which is festooned with clumsy, left-handed people lucky and grateful to be alive. By rights, we should have electrocuted ourselves, or drowned in a piss pot at the age 0f 38, or maybe even died from an infected paper cut long before this. Yet, here we are.

So, wish me luck docking my lap top upon my return to work on the 25th. I'll need it!

Time for tm!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

164th Post - What Did You Do For Lunch?

As much as I didn't want to go, I went to the gym today at lunch time. I did the circuit today: bicep curls, leg curls, pull downs, etc. Tried to do some crunches, but I still lack the stomach muscles necessary to do them. I am still hoping that I can start doing them soon. Want to impress the women at work with my amazing abs. Not that they will ever see me with my shirt off that is; but they can always dream, can't they?

Patricia was on kijiji during her lunch hour today and found a stove for sale for a very good price. Turns out, that the stove is for sale in her neighbourhood, literally around the corner from where she lives. We checked out the stove this evening, and she will take possession of it on Good Friday. The same guy also has a range hood for sale for a really good price. I need a range hood as mine hasn't worked in several years. I use the light, but the fan died probably around 2002 or 3. I'll get that on Friday as well! Super cool.

Tonight, Dancing with the Stars is not on CTV. They have broadcast obligations with American Idol which is also live, and which is also on at the very same time. CTV wil instead run the show on sister station ASN. Patricia doesn't have cable or satellite, so I will tape the show tonight and we'll watch it on Thursday, when we are both off work.

You know, the people supposedly in the know say that something like 93% of Nova Scotians have either satellite or cable access. I have never believed that number, thinking it is much too high. I know plenty of people, from all economic levels, who don't have cable or satellite. In some cases, they can't afford it. In some cases, they don't want it. In the case of cable, it may not exist as an option for some people. And, it is possible that satellite doesn't work in some areas (hilly terrain, etc.). So, I just can't believe that 93% of Nova Scotians have anything other than the channels that come over the air.

Those of you, the millions of you reading this: Please let me know if you have satellite or cable or neither. Will just take you a moment to post a reply to this post.


Monday, March 17, 2008

163rd Post - Fun With Favourites

Admit it. Don't deny it. You have some odd entries in your favourites list, the vast list of url's that you visit over and over, or perhaps only visited a few times, before forgetting about them.

I thought I'd go through my favourites tonight and share some of the odder ones with your. Won't that be fun? Won't it? Come on: Show me a smile.

I must check, every day, Cat Of The Day. It is, as you might guess, a picture of a different cat, along with a little story about that cat. Some of the stories are heartbreaking. I swear, as a cat person, that cats are subject to more abuse than dogs are. Cats are seldom pure breeds and therefore worth money less often. It is hard not to drive down the road and see a sign that says something like "Free Cats to a Good Home". It is hard not to see cats running around neighbourhoods, even on a bitterly cold night like tonight. As I left Patricia's this evening, I could see a cat scampering across the street, during one of the coldest nights of the year. Some numbnuts thought it would be civilized to let his cat out this morning, and the poor critter hasn't made it home yet. I pray it does.

I recently discovered a website that displays and discusses unsolved murders and missing persons cases in Canada. It is a fascinating, and again heartbreaking, website that you might want to check out. I do.

A companion website, featuring true crime stories mostly from the United States, is Crime Magazine. I can spend hours here, and do, when there is nothing better to watch on television.

To end on a lighter note, there is the hilarity, and odd wit, of I Can Has Cheezburger. If I am in a mood that is best not described here, I can always check out this website and get a chuckle. I can even laugh out loud sometimes. We can always use a good laugh.


162nd Post - Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

Today is also my mother's birthday. She is 76 years young. We will be celebrating her birthday this coming weekend, along with my sister's birthday, which is this coming Saturday. I have offered to make a salmon dinner for the whole family. Spend a tidy sum on a piece of salmon at Costco the other night.

Tonight, "Dancing With The Stars" begins its next season. I can hardly wait. I get teased for watching the show; but I tell the boys that the women on the show are so beautiful, and wear so little, that the program merits attention. Tape it, play it back a few times. Think. Repeat as necessary. Go to sleep. You understand.

More later.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

161st Post - Video Interview with Bevboy

Patricia shot this video of me at the Mongolie Grill in Halifax on December 22, 2007. Finally getting around to putting it up here.

Remember: The beard is now gone. I look considerably younger now.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

160th Post - Podcasts

Anyone reading this listen to podcasts? There are podcasts for every possible interest, it seems. I download and play podcasts about comics, horror, and the American civil war. Have downloaded podcasts from the CBC. I really should download podcasts from the more-or-less late Just Between Us radio show, a program by, about and featuring women that ran on local radio for a year and a half or so. I know one of the co-hosts and liked the show enough that I was very disappointed when it was dropped from the schedule (apparently, the ladies had lots of managerial support but not a lot of advertiser support, the lifeblood of any radio or tv show).

I am asking you, the readers of this blog, to post comments to this post telling me what your favourite podcasts are, along with the links to these podcasts.

Get to work, and tell me what your fave podcasts are!


159th Post - What I Have Been Up To

I haven't updated the blog in two days now. Sorry about that. I have been busy with work and life.

Went to the gym for a spin class at lunch time on Friday. Those classes take a lot out of a person, and afterward I was ravenously hungry. Grabbed a quick lunch and went back to work.

Friday evening Patricia and I had a meeting with a person who will likely end up doing some work around a house, a much-needed improvement I will discuss at a later date. We ate a veggie pizza after that (broccoli on a damn pizza! What is up with that?) I drove Patricia home around 10pm, driving past several police cars that were in the immediate neighbourhood. I am happy to see a strong police presence around here, but I wonder why? I did hear some popping sounds around 9pm, but doubt if it was gunfire. Why the police?

Slept for many hours, interrupted by Newbie wanting to be fed at a very early hour. He has realized that if he starts knocking stuff over in the bedroom, I will get up and feed him. I don't know how to cure him of this. I know he has to eat, but not at 3:30 in the morning. Yet, he will just start making a nuisance of himself if I don't feed him. Any animal lovers reading this? How do I get my sleep and feed him at a decent hour and get him not to knock my stuff over? Help!

When I got up for sure this morning, the forecast storm had not yet started. I had forgotten a couple of items I required, so I drove into Bayers Lake to get them, returning with breakfast for Patricia. I returned to the park with Patricia later on this morning to get a few more items, going back to Patricia's, where we shoveled her driveway out a bit. I got back here to the house shortly after lunch time. Took a nap mid-afternoon, getting back up just before 6pm. And you're pretty much caught up.

More later.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

158th Post - Bizarre News

There is supposed to be a scheduled outage of blogger in about 25 minutes. Got home late again tonight.

Can't get over the story about the woman who spent 2 years in the bathroom. What happened? Was she getting ready for a date or something? Night on the town? Opera, perhaps?

Oh, wait. Details are emerging. She spent two years or so on the toilet. Last time I did that I had just eaten some bad Chinese. What's her excuse?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

157th Post - Fun with Statistics

Some of you may have noticed that I have a counter on this blog now. I added it about a week ago. Don't be upset if you didn't notice it. When I shaved my beard off 10 days ago, whilst visiting my parents, neither of them noticed my clean-shaven face until I brought it to their attention.

I have been spending a bit of time with, and seeing where most of the traffic is from. I'll share some interesting results with you.

First of all: The keyword activity. This would be phrases that people type into a google search which result in this blog being uncovered. The Joyce Dewitt story from around post 100 continues to haunt me, folks. People googling her name will, by the third or fourth screen, find that blog post. Pretty neat, that.

Another popular keyword search is "Paula Gallant", or "Paula Gallant update". That latter phrase will actually result in the blog post by that very name being the first one in the entire list. While interesting that that post is the first in the list, it may give the casual reader the false impression that I know more about this murder case than I actually do. I know what I read in the papers, hear on the radio, and watch on the news. That's it. My interest in the case stems from the fact that I live relatively close to where Paula Gallant last lived, and relatively close to where her body was found on December 27, 2005. I have heard rumours, but I refuse to indulge them here. This blog, any blog, is not the place to discuss rumours, innuendoes, non-facts pursuant to this or any other criminal investigation. I am sure you agree.

What else? A couple of people have typed in the google phrase "know James Taylor" and chanced upon this blog. A couple of early posts mentioned that I do know someone named James Taylor. The one I know is a neighbour at the cottage and is the publisher of a periodical called "Shocked and Amazed". If your interests run toward the bizarre, the unusual, the so-called circus freaks, then this is something you should check out. I do not know the other James Taylor, the handyman fellow.

The last stat I'll discuss this evening -- it has been a long day, and I got home late -- is the one about visit length. People either spend less than 5 seconds here (52.5% of you, in fact), or you kick off your shoes, put your feet up, and stay a while (longer than an hour -- 35.6%). Of course, and this may make me blush, I have not arranged the stats such that my ip address here at home is ignored by the statcounter software. Perhaps I should. Ahem!

I'll do more fun with stats in a week or so.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

156th Post - Interesting Query

I quit a message board last summer when, upon the death of an artist name Mike Wieringo, I mentioned that I had not been a fan of his work, but became one after seeing this work inked by Mike Wieringo. It had looked too cartoony when someone else inked his pencils. The person who ran that board ripped me a new one for criticizing the work of a dead man.

Rather than get in a fight with the fellow, whom I had once revered as a friend, had almost thought of as a brother, had defended with people who did not like him (and to whose daughter I had once send a copy of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game, without cost, just because i wanted to), I quit the board then and there, without saying goodbye. It hurt a little, and still hurts a little, to think about it.

Having said that, I still lurk on the board from time to time. I know I probably shouldn't. I just checked it out, and there are some posts about the death of Dave Stevens. Dave Stevens was many things, but prolific was not one of them. Several people on the board are commenting about this aspect of Dave Stevens and his work. I wonder how long it will be before Tony rips them a new one, wondering why they would denigrate a dead man?

Just wonderin', is all.


155th Post - Death and More Death

I hate to report things like this, but two more comics veterans' deaths were reported today. Jerry Serpe died on Monday, and so did Dave Stevens.

You have probably not heard of either gentleman. If you read DC comics when you were a little one, particularly in the 1980's or earlier, you probably read some comics that he coloured. If you recall that it was brilliantly coloured, if you perhaps remember the colours more than you remember anything else about the book, then there is a good chance that Serpe coloured it. Remember that this was back in the day when comics were coloured by hand, and they only had 32 colours in their palette to choose from. That these people were able to create work of such beauty with such limitations still amazes me to this day.

And Dave Stevens' work is better known than Dave Stevens the man. You can go ahead and read Mark Evanier's tribute to him if you wish. Or you can remember the film "The Rocketeer" from the early 1990's and realize that it was based on a comic Stevens drew in the 1980's. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.


154th Post - Amazing Recipes Sure to Please (Best Chili Recipe Ever!)

Roasted Potatoes:

As you may recall, on Friday I had lunch in Scotia Square in downtown Halifax. It was at a Lebanese place Ray's Place. Love his stuff.

Afterward, I asked him his secret for roasted potatoes. He told me.

Please, by telling you this, you must promise never to tell anyone. It is our little secret. OK?

Cut some potatoes into small cubes and place them in your oven on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees Farenheit for about 20 minutes. Every few minutes, take them out of the oven and shake the sheet, making sure that the cubes are not stuck to the sheet (use cooking spray on the sheet beforehand if necessary).

After the potatoes are cooked, that is when you apply the spices like garlic or lemon or whatever. When the potatoes are piping hot, they will absorb those spices better than when they are just warm or even cool.

Then, you have perfect roasted potatoes!!

Bevboy's Amazing Crockpot Chili

There is so much protein in this meal that you probably can't eat more than one good-sized bowl.

Go to Bulk Barn, or wherever you buy your bulk products, and spend 10-15 dollars on dry beans. White kidney beans. Light red kidney beans. Dark red kidney beans. Black beans. Great northern beans. Bean medleys. Whatever they have in the store, buy it, and stick these various kinds of beans into different containers. Wouldn't hurt to label each container according to what is in it.

Take a handful or two of each kind of bean (I use 15-18 different types per chili) and toss them into a large bowl, filling the bowl with water. Let soak over night if possible. Even if you do, you'll still have to boil the beans before you use them anyway. If not, as Patricia once told me, they'll be harder than the hinges of Hell. That girl can turn a phrase!

I shouldn't but I do use canned tomatoes. Two or three cans.

A couple cans of mushrooms, or fresh if you have them.

Some chili powder, a few teaspoons.

Cumin to taste.

Some peaches and cream corn.

A few onions, cut up small.

Couple pounds of hamburger, or several chicken breasts, or no meat at all as there is already an awful lot of protein in this meal. Cook and drain the meat.

Mrs. Dash, if you are on a sodium-reduced diet.

Peppers if you want, but I don't like green pepper very much. Red pepper is better.

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours or more.

When people ask you for this recipe, and they will, send them to this blog.


Monday, March 10, 2008

153rd Post - Josh:Day Three

I am tired tonight from another workout/workover with Josh today.

This is starting to sound so inappropriate, but there is nothing untoward going on here. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I mean...


You know!

I got to Nubody's at lunch time. We concentrated on the circuit equipment where I set up each piece of equipment by myself (with some supervision from Josh) and I did one set of 12 or 15 reps. That took most of the session, and we finished with me doing 10 minutes on a stationary bike. I must say that these stationary bikes are so much better than the ones I used a few years ago. They don't approach the quality of work out I get from spin classes, but that option was not open to me today.

Josh and I agreed not to see each other for a few weeks as I get used to the circuit work out and cardio and the crunches and so on. After that time, we'll get together again and I'll be introduced to free weights. He says, though, that he'll be monitoring my attendance at Nubody's, seeing how often (or seldom) I attend the gym. Nice to know someone is looking out for me. Nice to know someone... cares! Sob!

I was pretty tired and sore when I got home from work tonight. I had a quick lie down after I got home, before getting back up, eating something and doing my taxes. At least, I think I did my taxes. I don't know why a guy who has a university degree in what he has a degree in struggles so much with such a fundamental thing as taxes. Yet, there I was tonight, missing obvious amounts on my t4, or not adding things up correctly (using a calculator!). Maybe it's because CRA can screw with you so much that I get nervous when I do my taxes. Next year, as I sit down to do my taxes, I think I'll have a couple of drinks beforehand. It may not be correct, but it will be a much more interesting return!

Tomorrow, unless something else comes up, I'll include my recipes for roasted potatoes and Bevboy's crockpot chili! Guaranteed to please!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

152nd Post - The Plot Thickens

More on the disappearance of Ken Williams/Don Larose.

Bottom line: This story broke months ago, but I never heard anything until 2:30 or so this morning.

This is going to be a very interesting story.


151st Post - What did you do all day?

I hope you enjoyed the 150th post, gentle readers. I had fun writing it.

After I signed off last night, I went to bed comparitively early and slept for many hours. I did wake up in the middle of the night, though, and switched between two radio stations that both carry Coast to CoastAM. 940 and 1080 AM. I woke up in time to hear discussion of the mayor Centerton, Arkansas, who resigned last week after claiming he had been living under an assumed name since 1980, following a brainwashing by satanists.

Hey, this happens all the time.

I have been googling this guy, Ken Williams. He has a website where he, as a Christian, espouses an extremely conservative Christian belief. A little of that stuff goes a long way with me.

Who knows why Mr. Williams is doing this? Perhaps it is his way to disavow the past 28 years of his life, to distance himself from some other things he may have said or done over the years.

On the afore-mentioned Coast-to-Coast AM, the host interviewed a sociologist for 20 minutes or so. The doctor explained that this Williams story didn't hold a lot of water. "Brainwashing" is a term that people throw about without really knowing what it means. And there has not been a single documented case of "Satanists" brainwashing anything or anyone. And Satanists aren't organized well enough to do much of anything.

Late night talk radio is fun, isn't it?


Saturday, March 8, 2008

150th Post - D............"House-sitting"

Do you remember the first time you housesat for someone? Even I recall that, and most fondly! Forget about all of the Hollywood-type housesitting movies, with the escaped serial killer raiding a pyjama party!

George was my boss at the Acadia University library when I was a student and had a part-time job there. Halliwell is his last name. I had applied for a part-time job on campus because part-time work off campus for me back then would be things like wrapping hamburgers at Burger King. Just because I had been one of the first people in my family to go on to university (let alone finish high school), I decided I was too good to work at places like Burger King ever again.

Killing time between my classes and my studies now meant pulling some shifts working in the serials department at the university library, with George and Paulette as my bosses. Library science is probably something I'd study if I had it to do all over again, but working in the serials section was more fun than it probably should have been for someone in my field of study. Many a day and night and weekend I'd spend hour after hour serving the public, or putting away magazines, or tidying the newspapers ("How do you tidy so many papers so quickly?", George once asked me. "I get mad at them", I replied).

(Now, don't get me wrong: It was not ever going to be a career for me; my main field of study was something else entirely. )

One day, George told me that he and his lovely wife Ann would be going on vacation and would I like to housesit for them? "Please consider it", I remember George saying, "because it would be a good experience for you".

Quirky lad that I was, I agreed to do it, and it was a good experience for me.

Really, I had no basis in reality to compare this to. Sure, I had done some chores around the house for my parents, but this was the first time I'd be all on my own, by myself (I wasn't dating then), and I have to admit, that first night in that house by myself in the guest bedroom was pretty scary for me. That was the hard part.

Under normal circumstances, that summer I'd go to my job at the library from my parents' place a short distance away. Varying that schedule by walking from George and Ann's to that place of work meant I could enjoy a walk through downtown Wolfville twice a day, and even walk to the theatre at night to see a movie.

Working that summer of 1984 while housesitting in a house that had cable tv service and an intellivision game console was more fun that I thought it would be. Xerxes Aalders was George's neigbhour; he showed me how to start up their lawnmower when I struggled with the starting mechanism. Yes, I made other mistakes that summer, but learned from them. Zero tolerance for mistakes from George and Ann would have been devastating for me; they even laughed it off when I left a pair of my underwear in their washing machine one time!

All in all, I had a wonderful time housesitting over those couple of years. Because of this experience, it helped me prepare for the day when I would be keeping house on a permanent basis.

Can I just finish this post by thanking George and Ann for helping me become the man I am today?

149th Post - Josh: Day Two

I could not write last evening because of the work out I received at Nubody's on Friday afternoon.

I did circuit training yesterday, which involved leg curls, bicep curls, lifts, pull, pushes. Those things all sapped what strength I had, causing me to nearly faint at the grocery store last evening. I was so tired I had Patricia finish the shopping so I could go back to the car and rest.

(After I had the training, I got a quick lunch at Ray's place in Scotia Square. He gave me the secret to roasting potatoes. I am thinking of posting a couple of my very favourite recipes here in the next couple of days. If you want the secret to roasted potatoes, post a comment or two, ok?)

I went to bed 12 hours ago, and got up 11 hours later. Except for a trip or two to the men's, and to feed Newbie, I was resting and recovering from what Josh put me through yesterday.

Monday will be my third session with this young man. We will focus on free weights and abs. Kevin, this will be during my usual lunch time. I don't need to move my lunch hour that day. Thanks, anyway.

Today, right now, I am tackling my laundry. Haven't done it in nearly 3 weeks. I was running so low on shirts this week, I nearly wore the pink one on Thursday.

Yeah, pink. I can say it now.

This is the same shirt that the boys at work tease me about. I tell them it was red and it faded, but that is mere bravado, a desperate face-saving technique I know is not working. To have so few clean shirts that I would be reduced to wearing that one to work means it is high time to wash the manly shirts again.

To that end, I bought some new-to-me dress shirts at Frenchy's last week. I used to work with a guy whose wife would not allow him to wear anything other than store-bought brand-name shirts to work. Patricia blanches at the thought of my wearing an expensive shirt, knowing in her heart that I will just end up getting grape juice stains on it, or blood stains from the fist fights I wage defending her honour. Consequently, I mostly wear the used shirts from Frenchy's, and you can hardly ever tell they are not new. Oh, sure, sometimes the pockets are upside down; or maybe one arm is a short sleeve, and the other one is a regular length. But those are mere bumps in the road.

Later on today: I tackle post #150. Remember: it is the one where I sift through the millions of submissions to that earlier post asking for help (#145 or so), selecting at random a letter of the alphabet and a topic. I will use those two pieces of information to compose a 26-sentence post where I start a sentence with a word starting with the next letter of the alphabet. Too bad I am not getting paid to do this blog!

It is not too late for you to supply me with a letter of the alphabet and a topic. You can post it as a comment on this post, or the original one of a few days ago. You have 8 hours from the time stamp you will see on this post.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

148th post - Mission accomplished!

Dishes are done. Only took an hour

Feel such a sense of accomplishment

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

147th post - What I will be doing tonight

Time to wash my dishes

First time in March. Hee hee!

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

146th Post - Josh: Day One


I hurt.

All over.

I got to the gym a few minutes before noon for my appointment with Josh, my new personal fitness trainer. It would be a half hour session for Josh to determine, in essence, just how pathetic my physical condition is.

I guess the summary would be that it is not quite as pathetic as I thought.

I had to do some steps (up, one, two; down, one, two) to get my heart rate up a bit. I had to do some scrunches. Timing me for a minute, he had me do as many as possible. I did 28, 29 if you want to be generous about it (and we know how generous bevboysblog readers are!). The last two nearly killed me. I had to do something where I would lay on my stomach while on a platform. Meanwhile, Josh held my legs down (get your mind out of the gutter!) and I had to suspend my torso without the use of my arms. (Usually when I do something like this, it is preceded by dinner and flowers. )

The push ups were last, and the hardest. I could barely do two of them before conking out. I would call it one and a half. Like I said before, my upper body strength needs improvement.

Josh measured my girth (i.e., how big my frigging gut is), and my pulse rate a couple of times (to see if I was still alive) and had me squeeze a device that had a "trigger" to see how many pounds of force I could apply.

It seemed I could have done worse today. The next session we get more involved in cardio and the circuit machines and perhaps free weights.

Day Two with my new friend Josh will likely be Friday at 1:30.

Kevin, I know you read this blog: I need to take my lunch hour later on Friday. K?



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

145th Post - A change of pace

Jeez, I had a crappy day today. Less than 4 hours before it's over.

Rather than rant about the couple of things that happened today that were a little sub par, and develop a reputation for being Mr. Negative Pants (What? Me? Never!), I thought I'd completely change pace and run a few more pictures of myself. Oshtur knows, the last time I ran pictures of myself with famous people, it put my many readers into a tizzy. Still recovering from the after effects of the Joyce Dewitt story. Read post #100 or thereabouts for that.

But, before we get to more pictures of me, I thought I'd put up a picture of my betrothed.

I can't say that this is the best picture of Patricia, but it's the most fun one, and probably my favourite at the moment. A couple of years ago here in Halifax, a local charity was selling off these lobster thingies. People would bid on them, and the winner would get to keep the item in question. Some wiseacre decided it would be cool to have a Spider-Man-related lobster thingy, no doubt with the full permission of Marvel Comics.

Patricia was out strolling the waterfront in 2006 with a co-worker who just happened to have her digital camera with her. They chanced upon this item, and Patricia got out her webshooters and put them to work. I call this picture, "Spider-Patricia"!

All right. One more picture without me in it, just to prove that I am not an egotistical lout. Or, rather, to give you the impression that I am not an egotistical lout.

In 2004, I turned 40. It is a traumatic event in a fella's life, let me tell you that. To get over this shock to my ego, and in order to get a Chinese friend of mine to take a day away from her studies and see the eagles that come to a small community called Sheffield Mills, a special invitation was made. Farmers put out chicken guts, pig innards, and the like, in order to attract bald eagles. Daisy and some friends drove down there from Halifax to see them. I convinced my parents, who did not know these people, to prepare dinner for total strangers, calling it a part of my birthday present. They reluctantly agreed.

Around 4pm, Daisy and the others showed up. I only knew Daisy from Toastmasters. I didn't know Franki or his wife Yue or the other two. I have been friends with Franki and Yue ever since. His English was poor at the time and I promised him that if he would agree to join Toastmasters and give it his all, I would teach him enough English to make him comfortable in the club, and perhaps even in society. He can tell you how successful I was, or whether my meager efforts were for naught.

But I digress.

They showed up that afternoon, and stayed into the evening. My father regaled them, and us, with stories of his youth; and Franki, Daisy, Yue and the others all listened in rapt attention. Toward the end of the evening Patricia grabbed me and told me to take a picture of them all huddled around my father. This is one of two that I took back-to-back. I think it's the better of the two.

It was my birthday party, but I was still in the kitchen cooking the fish cakes my parents had prepared.

It was a wonderful, magical evening for us all. My father has had a lot of health issues in the last 8 years or so. He very nearly died in 2000 of an aortic dissection, the same thing that killed John Ritter. Most people who get an aortic dissection die. It's as simple as that. Ever since, he has felt he has a new lease on life, that he had been given another chance. That evening, and on lots of evenings since, he used his time well.

I hope you like the picture. It is one of my favourites.

Another one of my favourite pictures is from another fun evening, a couple of months later. April of 2004. The 17th, I think. Frankie and Yue returned the favour and invited my parents, Patricia, and me over to their home for dinner. Yue made authentic Chinese food, which is totally unlike the repulsive swill that infests most Chinese restaurants most of the time. This picture was taken by Yue, methinks, and features me with my father and Frankie.

Damn, I looked good back then, huh? Nice and trim. Cute. Adorable. Et cetera. Looking forward to getting back to that kind of weight class again.

Have a good evening, constant reader.


Monday, March 3, 2008

144th Post - Manic Monday

Back to the grindstone today.

I made an appointment with my gym to meet with a personal fitness trainer today at lunch time. I have been having a really hard time dragging me sorry arse to the gym over the past year or so.

I used to be doing so well. About 4 years ago, I was in such a habit of doing spin classes (a good average of 2 or even 3 times a week, 40 minutes or even 60 minutes each) that I had worked my way into being in pretty good shape, at least in terms of cardio, but not in terms of upper body strength. I give blood on a regular basis. One time during that period, when the nurse at Canadian Blood Services took my pulse, she remarked that I must be in really good shape, because my pulse rate at rest was only 50! Olympic athletes in peak physical condition might have a rested pulse rate of perhaps 35 or 40. Not bad for an old fella.

From 2003, when I stopped wearing one of those fanny pack things as the summer got over, until the following summer when I put one on again, my body shape had changed enough that said pack fell off me when I tried to put it on. I had to cinch it in several inches to have it fit again.

For those of you in Halifax, or who know what this place is like, there are plenty of steep hills, in the downtown. During that period of 2004-06 or so, I could walk up those hills from the waterfront all the way to Brunswick Street (how many blocks is that? Six?) and barely be winded.

But in the last 18 months or so, it has been very, very difficult to get my rear end to the gym. Just motivating myself has been the biggest challenge for me. And, once I move away from the exercise, I gravitate toward inappropriate food choices, too. A double whammy.

That is why, today, I met with my new friend Josh at Nubody's. He will design a fitness regime for which I may end up hating him, but which I hope will put me back in the place where I have the 50 pulse rate again, and where the pants I wear are too loose, so I have to cinch them up again.

Today, we had the initial consultation. Wednesday, we start the actual work.

You can bet that I'll keep you all up to date on my success, or failure, as I work my way through this program.

Wish me luck. I fear that I'll need it.

Have a good one. See you tomorrow.


143rd Post - I Need Your Help

I will post twice this evening. The first post, I need your help.

Post #150 is coming up quickly. It will probably be here later on this week. For this post, I want to try something never attempted before by any blog, anytime, anywhere, ever.

The post will consist of 26 sentences.

Each sentence will start with the next letter of the alphabet, until the entire alphabet has been cycled through.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is: Supply me with a letter of the alphabet. And, give me a topic to write about.

So, if the letter I'm given is, say, Q; and I have to write about cement mixing, I will write 26 sentences with the starting point being about cement mixing, with the first letter of the first word starting with "Q". The first word of the next sentence will be one starting with "R". And so on, and so on, until I finish with a sentence starting with a word whose first letter is "P". "P" precedes "Q" in the alphabet, you see.

Start sending me your suggestions, via comments to this post. I know that a lot of people read this blog but do not post comments. You're shy, I guess. Don't be.

The night I write post #150, I'll take one of the letters supplied me, and select at random one of the topics to use as a starting point, and go crazy like.

Start thinkin'. And start postin' your suggestions.

More in a moment.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

142nd Post - A radical change

Shaved my beard this morning. After 3 years and change I was sick of keeping and maintaining it

Still visiting my parents. They haven't noticed the change yet

Think newbie has though

More later

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

141st Post - Still in the valley

Still here. Went shopping this morning taking my father with me

A storm had been forecast for today. I was happy to be back home for lunch where I could have a nice nap. My mother however wanted to go shopping as well. So back to town I went with my mother

Superstore was super busy so we did not return until after 2 pm. I was
Resting 2 minutes later and asleep 2 minutes after that. Slept until after 5 pm and still want more rest. Will go to bed early tonight

Newbie is nestled against my leg as I thumb these words. Life could be much worse


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