Saturday, August 30, 2008

399th Post - Shopping

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I drove up to see my dad in the hospital in the morning. My mother wanted to go shopping. We arrived back home mid afternoon

Visited dad last night. He is doing a bit better but will be in hospital through the long weekend at least

This morning took my mother shopping again. She is now at a local frenchys outlet the second one she has visited this morning

We will visit dad this afternoon. He called very early this morning with a list of things he wanted us to bring

Post 400 may be delayed a bit

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

398th Post - Oh, I Almost Forgot!

The CBC reporter has decided she is too busy to speak with me until after my vacation. You may recall that she wants to talk to me regarding freecycle, and what things I have snagged from it, and what things I have given away. She was hinting that rather than a local story to run on Halifax's Information Morning, that she may try to make it a national story, to run coast-to-coast. That would be pretty cool.

I'll let you know how this pans out.


397th Post - Dad Update

My father was rushed to hospital on Wednesday morning. He remains there this evening.

He has a gallbladder infection. He is not a good candidate for surgery for various reasons. They are trying to combat it with antibiotics. They will try to drain the fluid in a couple of days.

I am on vacation next week. Was gonna go to the cottage. That is now on hold while I deal with this latest health crisis. I am adding one more day to my vacation and will go to that part of the province tomorrow morning. I did a quick round trip there Wednesday night, arriving back here around 10:30.

This evening he was in a crabby mood. This usually means he is improving. I hope that it is the case this time, too.

I will continue blogging while I am away from a computer on a regular basis. The BlackBerry goes where I go.

Have a good night.


396th Post - Kismet

I managed to snag two Elton John tickets today, for his concert on September 27th. It was quite a story, how I got these tickets; and I'd like to take a few paragraphs to tell you about it.

I know a guy in Toastmasters who is on Facebook, just like me. He had updated his status a few weeks ago saying that he had 2 tix to Elton John, but would be unable to use them. I had been unable to obtain tickets despite my best efforts and had given up all hope of getting a pair for any kind of affordable price. I saw his note, and contacted him asking how much he wanted for them. I didn't hear back.

Saw him at TM last week, but forgot to ask him about the tickets.

This morning, I arrived at Patricia's, but she was a little bit late leaving her place.

Traffic was a little more snarled than usual.

I chatted with Patricia for a few minutes after arriving downtown. It made me later than usual.

And at the corner of Barrington and Morris Street, I saw my TM friend and beckoned him to join me on my side of the street. He came over, we said hello, and walked together to our respective works. I asked him if he still had the EJ tickets. He said he did, but that the person who had expressed an interest in them had not come forth with the money.

The tickets were still available!!!

I told him I'd speak with Patricia as soon as I got to work. Could he hold on to them for a few hours? He agreed to do so.

I called Patricia by 8:05 and told her I had a line on these tickets. Did she still want to go? I told her how much he wanted for the tickets and it was reasonable, given their face value. We both agreed we wanted to go, and I called my friend, but got his voice mail. Patricia went down to his office and left a note for him to contact her.

Didn't hear from him by 10am, so I wrote him on my BlackBerry telling him that we would have the cash for him by the afternoon. He wrote me back on his BB that that would be fine.

After a few more attempts to contact him -- he is a busy guy -- he visited Patricia's work. She gave him our money, and he gave her the tickets.

We have been saying "Elton John" to each other for the last several hours. "Patricia, pass me the Elton John, won't you?" "Bev, I Elton John you." "Let's Elton John, right here, right now. Let the world watch us!"

You get the idea.

Yes, we're excited.

Yes, the tickets are in a safe place. No, I am not going to tell you where.

I am just marveling at how this all came together in a matter of hours. We left a few minutes late. I was later than usual arriving at the parking space. I just happened to see my friend across the street; he usually leaves earlier, I think. He had been getting the run around from this other person. And it was a payday! All these pieces fell into place in such a way that we managed to luck out for a change. We could never plan for this kind of thing to happen.

Kismet! Fate. I am starting to believe in it.

More in a bit.


395th Post - Only in Halifax

You don't see this in Des Moines!

I was walking to coffee this afternoon when I saw this guy across the street. He was wearing robes and had long hair. "Jesus Christ!", I said. My boss, Kevin, asked me not to swear. "No", I said. "That's a guy dressed like Jesus Christ!" Kevin agreed.

Saw the Buddha guy later. They were kind enough to pose for the above picture.

This is all my way of saying that the Atlantic Fringe Festival started up today in Halifax. It is all about plays and theatrical performances. The above guys are part of Jesus and Buddha at Play at the Khyber Theatre on Barrington Street.

A number of years ago, Patricia and I attended a fringe performance at a former movie theatre, a place that has since been changed into a Mountain Equipment Co-Op store as well as a satellite office to the Nova Scotia Community College. It was ok. These are at best semi-professional actors and writers and directors. The joy in seeing this stuff is in what might happen on that stage, and seeing these people learn their craft.

There is the old adage of their being a big difference between knowing what the rules are and breaking them; and not knowing what the rules are and breaking them. All too often, the latter applies much more than the former. That is not always a bad thing, not when one usually learns more from his mistakes than from what he does right.

I am not saying that the guys who play Jesus and Buddha don't know what they're doing. They were nice to enough to pose for me. Their play is probably great fun and may even have something to say about religion and peaceful co-existence. I just know that when I attend a fringe festival production, not to expect a lot. I am, therefore, rarely disappointed.

More later.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

394th Post - Voiceover Guy

From Mark Evanier's blog, here is a link to an interview with Don LaFontaine, legendary voiceover actor. He is ailing, but this is from when he was hale and hearty.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

393rd Post - Odds and Sods!

The CBC reporter could not make it out here this evening. She wants to visit next week, but that doesn't work for me. I wrote her back asking if she can come out tomorrow night or Thursday at the latest. We will see how that goes.

I have been in communication with the webmaster/developer for the Baxter's Harbour website. He promises that they are working on another musical event for the church and the community centre across the street. He didn't say when it might happen, just that it would. He wants to enhance the website as well to have a message board and an area where people can post pictures of the place too. Those would be very nice enhancements. B.H. is an old community and back in the day it was a thriving one.

Those days are long over. My grandparents and all of their children except for my mother had to leave the province in order to find suitable work over 50 years ago. Our visits with them, my uncles, and cousins were in the summer in New Brunswick. With all due respect to that fine province, I can't remember being more bored in my life than during those summer visits. My younger sister and I would be there for weeks at a time, bored silly, nothing to do except read crappy books and fight with each other. No cable tv, either. Merv Griffin was on every day after lunch. Highlight of our day.

One of my cousins from there reads this blog. Bruce, you're a good guy. I love you and your brothers and other cousins. Yadda yadda yadda. But when we were kids, there was nothing for us to do in little Beaver Harbour, N.B. I can appreciate that kind of lifestyle now, but could not back then. I'd say I sometimes yearn for that kind of laid-back way of living, but my boss also reads this blog, and he chuckles every time I use that word.

Yearn, Kevin. Yearn.

Watched the season ender to "In Plain Sight" on Global this evening. That show is growing on me. I look forward to seeing season two in the spring.

I have to replace this keyboard. The "b" key doesn't work unless I practically pound on it.

And that is all the news that fits.


Monday, August 25, 2008

392nd Post - Family Illness Day

I am very lucky that where I work I am allowed up to 5 family illness days a year. I had to use one today to take my mother to a specialist here in the city.

My parents came up here Saturday night. We went shopping on Sunday afternoon, and to Swiss Chalet for dinner. I don't really get that place. The food value is really not there in my opinion. Portions are not large, but the cost is. I am not rushing back there.

My father and I added a ledge to my computer desk last evening that accommodates my free-to-me scanner. I doubt it will see much use, but it is there when I need it.

I don't think I'd ever buy a scanner. For one thing, I don't have that much need of one (selling crap on ebay, or something like last night's memorial bulletin for my uncle). For another, most of the scanners today are the multi-function units, offering a scanner, fax machine, copier, and printer in one device. We should, as a society, be moving away from the use of paper. I still write grocery lists on paper, but ideally should be using my digital voice recorder to keep track of what I need to buy at Superstore each week. I have several hundred sheets of looseleaf here at my desk, and that paper will last me for years and years. To go out and buy bond paper to support an addiction to a fax machine, printer, copier and scanner device seems like an awful waste of finite resources to me. I am trying to downsize my life, people!

Anyway, we left the house around 8 this morning for my mother's appointment. We finished with it around 11am, and I promptly drove them back home, 75 minutes away. A quick lunch, and I returned to the city, as I was expecting a call from someone at CBC radio who wants to talk to me about freecycle and how I use it to get some things I'd like at no cost, but more importantly how I use it to get rid of things I no longer want or need. But the reporter was too busy to visit here today. That was fine. It just gave me more time to sleep, which I did. She may show up here tomorrow.

Back to work tomorrow. And the cottage this weekend. Two more reasons to continue living.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

391st Post - A Family Gathering

The above bulletin is from the memorial service for my Uncle Bev that was held yesterday in the tiny hamlet of Baxter's Harbour.

(Yes, I was named after him. You didn't think I was named after a girl, did you?)

Bev died in February of this year. To my everlasting regret I was unable to attend his funeral in New Brunswick, due to inclement weather. I was bound and determined not to miss this special service in his home town.

I drove up from my home around 10:15 yesterday morning, arriving at my parents' place around 11:30, just in time for lunch. I scarfed as my parents prepared for the trip, about 20 minutes from their home. My sister arrived around 12:30, and the two cars drove there, arriving around 12:55.

The band started playing next to the community hall around 1:20, until the service commenced at 2 at the church across the street. The church is no longer used on a weekly basis for a service. It has not been deconsecrated; it is just that the congregation and the church cannot afford to have a minister each week. Sad. But it is used for a Christmas Eve service each year. I wouldn't mind going sometime.

The service began around 2pm. I liked it very much. People did not ignore Bev's faults and foibles when they discussed him. He was not a perfect man, but a good one, a really good one, one who left behind many people who cared for him, who loved him, who will miss him. Count me as one.

After the ceremony, we made our way back to the community hall for the potluck mid-afternoon-meal. There was plenty of food, lots for everybody, with leftovers galore. I had a couple pieces of dessert, one being something I'd swear was a piece of carrot cake, but which turned out to be "tomato soup" cake. Donna, a cousin I met for the first time yesterday (and who also works in downtown Halifax) has promised to e-mail me the recipe. I will put it up here to prove to you, my legions of readers, that such a thing exists. It was delicious!

Around 5pm, we all waddled back to our respective cars. I drove my parents back home. I took a short nap, and then I took their packed suitcases and threw them in my car as they were returning to the city with me. My mother has a doctor's appointment on Monday, you see, and we thought we'd spend the day together in the city before her appointment. She loves Value Village, you see, and doesn't make it there very often.

We had supper at Swiss Chalet in Bayers Lake before returning to the house. We added a ledge to my computer desk to hold my scanner; we had bought shelf brackets/braces at Rona this afternoon and I put them and the ledge on the side of the desk this evening, under my father's supervision.

I will have a busy day tomorrow, carting them around to Mom's appointment, and probably driving them home afterward. In the afternoon, I may be interviewed for CBC radio, as well. I'll keep you abreast of that interesting development if it indeed happens.

See you tomorrow. And I hope that the cousins I told about my blog are finding it.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

390th Post - More Family

My mother and my other sister

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389th Post - Mother and Daughter

My sister Glenda and her daughter Maggie

Maggie starts university just after labour day

Glenda reads this blog. She found the Dawn Sloane interview too long. Harrumph!

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388th Post - Baxter's Harbour Blogging

Here I am at a family function which I will discuss in a subsequent post. Had to take this picture of the Baxter's Harbour Community Centre. Once upon a time, it was a one room school house. When these schools were amalagamated into bigger schools years ago, the buildings were returned to the communities to use as they saw fit. Many of them are still in use for local functions such as wakes, wedding receptions and the like. This one, from a note I read on the door, is being used this summer for free yoga classes taught by a local woman. The Baxter's Harbour website (and I didn't know there was one until I googled and found it) talks about other uses for this old building and the church across the street. It is nice to see these old buildings still used and appreciated by locals!

Church service for my uncle is going to start soon.

More later.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

387th Post - Because I Can

Here is another picture of newbie as he is curled up on my lap


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Thursday, August 21, 2008

386th Post - Life Long Learning

I learned a new phrase today. Well, a couple actually, but the one I'll share with you is "Nuke the Fridge".

According to the Urban Dictionary, "nuke the fridge" is the film equivalent to "jump the shark", which is the situation when a tv show begins to decline in quality, or has changed to such a degree that it isn't nearly as much fun any more. "Jump the shark" refers to that classic scene in a 1977 episode of "Happy Days" when Fonzie, well, jumps a shark. It has its own website.

"Nuke the Fridge" refers to a pivotal moment in a film series when it begins to decline sharply in quality, or when something so silly, so farcical, so inappropriate happens, that it can be pointed to as a sign of the beginning of the end. The phrase began this Spring when, in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indy saves himself from a certain death in a nuclear explosion by jumping into a lead-lined refrigerator. The explosion destroys everything around him and sends the fridge (with Indy in it) flying across hundreds of metres of desert. Indy escapes without a scratch. Just like it would happen in real life.

Yeah, we waited 19 years for this movie. George Lucas rejected every script up to that pointed (Bill Shakespeare himself could have written a script, and Lucas would have rejected it for whatever reason).


Anyway, this film has spawned the phrase "nuke the fridge". This horrible film will at least be known for that, at least.

Which film series has nuked the fridge, in your opinion? And what scene in it makes you think that?


385th Post - Pasta-Eating Cat

During a recent edition of one of the morning talk shows, they broke away from a very important discussion of women and binge drinking to show a picture of a cat eating spaghetti.

I think Newbie is getting hungry.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

384th Post - The Scanner in Action

Read post #383 if you haven't already.

Here are a couple of pages from Power Man #30, from April 1976. You may recall it was written by my least favourite comic book writer ever, Don McGregor. There are people who like his writing. I found it ponderous and pretentious as a child. As I stated before, he wrote so much copy, and the poor letterers had to work so hard to jam it all into the allotted space, that they were paid a premium to do so.

Page one, called the splash page in case you want to amaze your friends with the lingo:

And here is the page where the gf (girlfriend, not garlic fingers!) remarks at how good her man feels. Note the reference to the cost of gasoline later on in the page. Times were different then, weren't they?

Don't forget that you can click on the images to enlarge them.

Like my scanner so far?

These pages, and many more, are copyright 2008, Marvel Comics.


383rd Post - I Love a Bargain, Part Two!

A few years ago, probably 2004, I responded to an ad on freecycle offering a free scanner. The owner couldn't configure it to get it working on her computer, became frustrated, and wanted to get rid of it. I was the second one to speak up for it, but because it turned out that we worked in the same building, she decided to give it to me.

Last evening, I finally decided to try to get it working.

I can see why she had a problem with it: It was never designed to work under XP. I had to search around on the net for a few minutes to locate the correct drivers, download them, and install them along with the software that came with the scanner.

It now works. Woo hoo!

How well? Read post #384 and find out!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

382nd Post - Serendipity

Earlier today I was wondering if the Halifax Mooseheads hockey (excuse me, ice hockey) games will be broadcast on the radio. For years they were broadcast on CJCH. I figured they would end up on the Rogers station, News 95.7.

I wrote someone at the Mooseheads organization today, asking her if she had heard anything about it. She kindly wrote me back that, yes, the Mooseheads games will be on the radio again. And, yes, John Moore will still be handling the broadcasts (he and I share the same birthdate, but he is older than I am). But this year, they'll be on 780 KIXX, the final AM station left in this market.

I know that this station has been sold to Rogers. I am not sure just when the takeover will happen, and how long the station will remain on the AM dial. But it appears that for the upcoming Mooseheads season, we'll be able to still hear the regular season games (24 of 34, at least) on the radio.

Good news!


381st Post - Cheap So And So

I love a bargain. Just love one.

Earlier today I was visiting the local kijiji site, looking for a computer chair to go with this computer desk I got a couple of weeks ago. Just something with wheels that won't topple when I lean back, causing me to break my neck and die. A humble request.

I was happy to see a lady in Halifax offering a very nice computer desk for $60, or an acceptable trade. That trade would include an old digital camera, of which I have one, one it turned out would be one she would like to have. All was good so far.

I wrote her, and it turned out that there would be someone else checking out the chair during lunch time. If that person didn't want it, she and I could do a deal involving this camera. As luck would have it, this person did want the chair, and I was s.o.l.

Disappointed but undaunted, I kept looking, as my lunch hour dwindled away. Another lady, in downtown Halifax, was selling another computer chair, for only $10. I decided to check it out after work, and I did. I ended up buying it.

It is a ten dollar chair, if you know what I mean. When it was new, it was probably quite nice. Now, it is threadbare in places, but still reasonably comfortable. I am pleased with it. If I can get a year or so out of this chair, it will have earned its keep around Casa Bevboy.

I am leaning back in it, and so far, I haven't fallen and split my head open. Woo hoo!

Patricia returning to the city as I type these words. Should be home in the next 90 minutes or so.


Monday, August 18, 2008

380th Post - Patricia Update!

She is staying out of town for an extra day. Woo hoo!

Are "my friends" available? And do I get a volume discount?


379th Post - I Still Have It!

A couple of months ago I wrote about my least favourite favourites. It was a list of faves that had somehow ended up in my favourites list on my computer. Face it: You have some "favourites" on your computer that you wish you didn't, or you wonder how they heck they got there. Don't you lie to me.

(Yes, I know. I run Firefox now. They're called bookmarks now. But the original post was when I was still using IE, and they're called favourites there. )

One of that llst was for my least favourite comic book writer. Don McGregor. I quoted a frame from an issue of a book he wrote long ago and which I read as a child. I giggled even back then when a female character remarked at how good her man felt.

Guess what I found tonight? That very issue!! And, it's just as cheesy now as it was back then. And, now that I have known the company of a woman or 70, the line is even dumber now!

Behold from Power Man number 30 from 1976.

Tee hee!

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378th Post - Does It Work Now?

Couldn't get this video to work on Friday. Let's see if it works now:

Woohoo! I still got it.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

377th Post - Where Did The Weekend Go?

I had a 3 day weekend. I wish I could say, in looking back, that I did more.

I gave myself the task of cleaning the house this weekend. I did some, but am not finished. I am determined to have the house looking presentable by the weekend.

When Patricia was sick, when her life was threatened by her infection, I had other things on my mind other than cleaning the house. Now that she is better and the summer is winding down, the reality of the situation is settling in.

I'll be busy every night this week. At least it keeps me off the roads.

Patricia is out of town this weekend. She's back tomorrow.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

376th Post - Request

Still coming down from the natural high that was the Dawn Sloane interview

If you want me to interview other local people send those requests to me via a comment to this post. I can contact them and ask at the very least

Start commenting!

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Friday, August 15, 2008

375th Post - Interview With HRM Councilor Dawn Sloane!

I e-mailed Dawn Sloane several weeks ago. She agreed to a sit down with me, so I sent her the questions before I went on vacation in late July. We set the date for our lunch for August 13th at 1pm, right after the scheduled Tunes at Noon at the Grand Parade.

We made our way to the Bluenose restaurant on Hollis Street. (Lovely renovations there, by the way; check it out sometime and tell them Bevboy sent you.) Patricia was already waiting for us. We looked at the menus, ordered our food, and began to talk.

Bevboy: Why did you choose to enter politics?

Dawn Sloane: I entered politics because I saw the need for someone that cares for the community to be there. When I first started doing things in my neighbourhood, such as helping out with litter issues, we had a gentleman who was dumping litter in our community. I found out whom to call and how to have it remedied. Then people saw me helping out with the prostitution and drug problem in the area, and so I ended up knowing who to call when there were problems. So I ended up basically doing the job without getting paid for about five years. And, it was funny because I was working for Heritage Canada at the time on contract and when someone said to me, "You seem to be getting more and more involved in community issues. You should run for Council.", I laughed at them. I said, "I'm not ready for that". And other people thought I was. And that's how this all started was I felt I could do something good for the neigbhourhood.

BB: And didn't [then Mayor] Walter Fitzgerald give you a push as well?

DS: Yes. It was kind of funny because I had done some things in the neigbhourhood for HRM in fixing up an abandoned building. The councilor of the day wanted to take District 12 out of the community council. The community council for the peninsula consists of 4 councilors. If he had dropped out, there would only have been 3. Any issues in the downtown would have gone to full council. So, if someone wanted to do a rezoning, or do an addition or anything on their property such as build or to deconstruct, they would have had to go to full council. And that would have been crazy. There are residential areas in this area. There is the north end and the south end. Some individuals called me and said, "You have to go down to council and speak". I asked why, why would you want me to speak at council? And they said you need to go because you are our voice. "But there are other people. Why not the councilor?". "He is the one who wants to get out of it". "OK, I'll go", I said.

So there was a group of us that went down. I spoke at council. I made a reference to a potato chip commercial that was then running, featuring two Inuits where one asks for a chip from the other. "If I give one to you, I have to give one to everyone else". I alluded to that in my little speech.

When I left, I was standing in the hallway shaking my head saying, "I referenced a potato chip ad at council! This is crazy!". And that is when Walter Fitzgerald came to me and said, "Sloane! You said it right in there. You should run for this district". I said, "No. I am not ready". He said, "When will you be ready?" And that is when all my friends came over and said, "We have been trying to get her to run for the last three years!". I said I wasn't a lawyer. I don't come from a lawyer's background. My parents are working people. My mother was a nurse. My father was in the military. I know about public service in that manner. I just don't think I'm ready. He said, "Well, when will you be ready?"

BB: A good question, really.

It was. It made me think, that's for sure. And then the other ones kept taunting me while I was trying to leave city hall. And I said, "Do you know what? I have no money." I was unemployed at this time. I was a student. I was 33. "I don't have anything. So, I can't run. But, if you want to call my parents, to whom I owe $5000, and see if I can get out of paying them back.". They laughed and said, "Maybe that's why you need the job: so you can pay your parents back".

Well, a couple of days later, I get a phone call from my parents. My mother is like, "Your friends have been calling" [laughter]. I go, "My friends?". All I can think about is credit cards, and what didn't I pay? "Yeah. They're saying they want you to run for Council". I went, "Oh, that! I used that as a scape goat to get out of city hall because they kept taunting me to run." My mother said, "Well, your father has something to say". My father doesn't talk on the phone a lot so, it's like, "Yeah. Your mother and I have been talking. You've been doing the job for free for five years, so you might as well run. We have no money. Don't ask us for money. We'll help you, but we have no money. Here's your mother". [laughter] And that was it. So then I had to take that and I said, "I don't even know if I want to run, Mom". She said, "Think about it for the weekend and then we'll talk."

So, that's how it started. I sat down on a Sunday night and started writing out what I thought was important about our district and what needed to be protected and what needed to be enhanced and started my platform right then and there.

Patricia: How many years have you been in council now?

DS: Eight.

P: So, what do your parents think now?

DS: Very proud. Extremely proud. In fact, I bought my first car in 2001 on my own. I looked out my window one day of my little apartment, and I could see my dad kinda hunched down in front of my car. I thought, "What is he doing? He's trying to open the hood to check on things, I'll bet". [laughter] He wasn't. He was actually putting a license plate on it that said "Councilor" [laughter]

So, it was pretty touching that he would do something like that. So, yeah, they're pretty proud.


BB: What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

DS: Be yourself. That has been the best. Don't put on any airs. Don't try to impress people. Just be yourself. If people like you, they will like you. If they don't, they won't. But they will respect you for being yourself. There is nothing worse than seeing fake people. I take that to heart.

P: Who gave you that piece of sage advice?

DS: Funny enough, it was my grandmother, many, many years ago. She passed away in the late 1980's. She always used to say to me, "Don't try to impress the boys. Don't try to impress your friends. Just be yourself. " Since that time, that is what I have tried to stay with because who knows you better than yourself? If you start acting fake, you'll know it and then you're not yourself any more. People catch on to that. There is that smell of fear. People know when you're being fake. When you grab someone's hand and you give them that limp handshake. I can't stand that. I'd rather say, "Hi. How are you doing?" Or, just be who I am.

BB: Are there times when you have to go to some kind of councilor activity, and you think, "I'd rather not go to this baked bean supper"?

DS: If you love this job, you're going to go with as much gusto to a hot dog barbecue as you are to a big fancy big wig thing. If you love it, you're going to do it. And at this time, I am not tired of it. It is part of the roles and responsibilities to represent the district. You're supposed to do it to the best of your ability, so that's what you do.

There are days when you might have a migraine or your phone has been ringing incessantly and you want to get everybody's work done for them, but you know that time is of the essence and you're trying to do two things at once You might end up being late for something, or you might have to leave early so you can deal with some issues, but at least you made an appearance.

Someone said to me a couple of weeks ago, "Dawn Sloane? She'd go to the opening of a can of baked beans!". I said, "You're damn right. I'd even bring the official can opener!". [laughter] That is what your job is, so that is what you do. But it is very difficult at time when an event might be going on and you might have official business to do also. So, what do you go to? The neighbourhood event, or the official business? I believe you can go to both. Spend quality amount of time at each. You don't have to be there for everything. But at least you made an appearance and helped out as much as you could.

BB: What do you mean by official business? Council meetings?

DS: Council meeting. Community council meeting. A board meeting of one of the different boards and committees that we are allotted to. We had Prince Andrew here a while ago, and there was an official reception we were asked to go to. We are willing participants in this: to go and meet someone. We met David Suzuki when he was in town, and Ravi Shankar a couple of years ago. It was interesting to meet him also. So, for every person you meet you learn something. And it's like every day of your life you should learn 5 things. If you're not, you have a pretty boring life, I think.

P: Hello!

DS: Small things. I am not talking rocket science or anything like that. I am talking about interesting facts or something even off the news. If you feel you want to make a difference you have to be involved as much as you can. But you have to have some "me" time, too. A half hour to an hour a day just so that you can be yourself. Just sit around with a bag of Cheetos and watch tv. And then, back to work.

P: It doesn't sound like a lot of "me" time.

DS: No, there isn't. But when you think about, in this district, it is very busy. It is a mini city within itself. It has its own little dynamics going on both sides of the hill [Citadel Hill]. And then you have downtown, which has its own flavour, and also the waterfront. So, when you look at it, you have several different areas, and then there are smaller groups inside that also. So, you might have something happening down on the Commons, but it could affect people in the North Commons, or people on Maynard Street, or on Gottingen. They're doing some things with water pipes up Cunard Street. It is affecting people on Agricola and all those small little areas. There are lots of things going on, so you just try to do your best with that.

BB: What is it like to enter a room where everybody knows you, but you don't know anybody?

DS: Well, it's a weird feeling; that's for sure. But it's part of the responsibility. The best thing to do is you go around and introduce yourself. "Hi. I'm Dawn Sloane". If they go, "I know who you are", I'd say, "Fine, but I don't know who you are!". It's better to be curious than to be shy about it. I think it is quite difficult at times depending on what kind of event you're walking into, or what kind of room you're walking into. Say you're walking into an issue such as Peninsula Place [The apartment building at the foot of Inglis Street that has flooded sewage into the parking garage three times in the last six months]. People are in a bad mood. They don't want smiley, Pollyanna stuff. They want serious business. They want something done. So, you're going to walk in there. They know who you are. You don't know who they are. And you just go introduce yourself to everybody in the room. You're going to know who's going to be nice, and who is not going to be nice. But that is when the thick skin comes in. And you sit down and find out the answers and get back to them as soon as you can. That's in a tough situation.

If it is a light event, you just walk in and introduce yourself to everybody and find out some information about people. That's the best thing to do. Knowing where someone is from or what kind of work they do, you might have something in common and not even know it. It could be a relative around here. I've done that. You just have to go with the flow. It can be unnerving at times if you're not feeling so good and not at the top of your game.

BB: Is it difficult for a shy person to be in political office? Not asking if you're shy

P: I think we know the answer to that question.

I can be shy. You haven't seen it, but it's there.

BB: Some people seem a little more reserved in political life than others. I'm guessing that those people work harder to be outgoing and gregarious than the ones to whom it comes naturally.

DS: It also depends on your philosophy of life, too. If you're someone that is always negative and you're walking into a room, that aura comes off of you. People can feel it. If you walk in there, and you're relaxed and sit back and positive you'll probably get more positive feedback from people

When I first started in politics, I was very shy. In fact, speaking in public killed me. My knees would sweat. I was a mess. I wouldn't even remember what I would say on the stage half the time. I'd just say it and get off and say, "Oh, my God! What did I just say?". It was very difficult at first. There was a gentleman who came over here from Serbia and gave me a book on public speaking. I have been going through it when I can, just to get some tips of that nature. It has helped a lot. Feeling confident. Taking courses such as The National Advanced Certificate in Local Government Administration and Authority (otherwise known as NACLGAA).

BB: I'll have fun transcribing that tonight!

DS: It is through the University of Alberta. It is all about municipal governance. It is all about the different parts. It covers the law, public consultation, citizen engagement, organizational behaviour, and management. There are 10 parts to this course before you can get your certificate. I am on number 6, which is human resource management. So, learning the behind-the-scenes kind of jargon/vernacular helps me feel more and more confident, which is why I went from being kind of like a wallflower to being able to speak in public a little bit better.

I still don't like reading speeches. I like them to give me the notes in point form, and I absorb it and go out on stage and do what I have to do. That's what I do for an event. Because, again, it is me; it is my reputation. I don't want to be reading someone else's words. They aren't the elected person. I am. It is very nice of them to give me those notes. They are helping me out by doing so, but it is not my style. Every person has a different style.

BB: What is the most misunderstood thing about Dawn Sloane?

DS: That's a hard one. I thought about this after you sent the questions. That is a very hard question.

BB: How about this? On the CJCH Hotline Blog several months ago, Amber LeBlanc wrote about you. People on the Hotline were saying that you were not the nicest person. Amber was defending you by saying that Dawn is an opinionated woman, and people often misinterpret that as being something else.

DS: A b-i-t-c-h?

BB: Yes.

DS: Well, I'm far from that. I think I'm a pretty nice person. I guess that would be the thing I would say. They see me when I am in work mode. I will defend downtown Halifax to the hilt. I will die on that hill. I believe in downtown that much. If you look at the things that I have done, where I have worked with other people on, such as "Milk for Moms", where we donated 2,740 litres of milk during Hurricane Juan. It was my idea with J.C. Douglas and the Q104 morning crew. When it came to the fire aid, it was my idea with the other people to raise money for people who lost their homes up on Gottingen Street back in 2002. We raised enough money for each of the 23 people was able to get $1100 to start their life off. None of them had any insurance.

So, people who think I am a b-i-t-c-h: I am like that because I am defending my community. I think if they saw what I do in my spare time, such as helping out with things, and trying to foster groups, and trying to get people to build their social capital, to make this a better place to live, they would see that I am not a b-i-t-c-h, that I only play one on tv.

BB: What political figures do you most admire?

DS: Trudeau. Alexa McDonough. John Kennedy. Malcolm X. Gandhi. Bobby Sands.

BB: The guy who starved himself to death because his belief system was so strong that he was willing to die for that belief system?

DS: Yes. Princess Diana. Joseph Howe.

BB: What techy device do you need or use the most?

DS: BlackBerry. I was the first one on council to have one as part of a pilot project. It was black and white. I could send and receive e-mails, but I couldn't use it as a phone. When people saw that I was sitting over in a corner and I was able to do my work, they were astounded. The next thing you know, we started upgrading. And now, we're on to the new ones.

BB: What model do you have now?

DS: Right now I have a Curve. This is the Pearl, which they gave me at the beginning, but unfortunately, it crashed and I lost all of my data, twice. So, I told them I needed something reliable. I am back to square one, where I have a phone, and a BlackBerry on the side. That is absolutely ridiculous, but I don't want them to screw up my phones for a day. It is too important to get phone calls. I was without a phone for a weekend, and I was going mad. I didn't know what to do, when the phone wasn't ringing.

BB: What are your thoughts about the cancelation of the Hotline?

Very disappointed in CTV Globemedia. That was one facet where democracy could be discussed. It was an outlet for those who needed to vent. It was an informational area for those who wanted to learn. And Rick [Howe] was able to stir the pot just enough to make sure everybody was informed. He was able to keep a discussion going sometimes for days. I think that was really important.

Democracy is really difficult to foster at the best of times. And negativity breeds negativity. You see that in the Chronicle Herald now, with their comments section.

There also needs to be a place where information can be disseminated. It can be given to people in a way and means where they can give feedback and ask questions. You probably get that on your blog.

Oh, yes!

DS: I get it on my Facebook. I get it in my e-mails. I get it on my phone. I get it in person. I'm lucky enough that I'm able to be out there enough that if someone has a problem with me, and they want to talk to me, they can walk up to me, and I'll talk to them. I had one person come up to me and say, "You know what? Not a lot of people like you, but I think you're doing a damned good job." I said, "Thanks, but who doesn't like me?" It was when I first started as a Councilor, and I had to get over that. That is just the way it is. That's the hard part.

BB: Were there times when Rick Howe would say something on the air that would be wrong?

DS: I'd e-mail him. Immediately. Where ever I was. I heard him one time talking about sewage treatment. I e-mailed him back, and he corrected himself on the air. But you see that with every media source. You're not going to print something that's boring. As they say, "If it bleeds, it leads". If it is controversy, it leads also.

I hope that there is a Hotline, soon. It can be called Rick's Line.

BB: I've got an idea for Rick's first billboard. It would be a picture of him sitting behind the mic, and the caption would say, "Now, where were we?"

DS: That would be perfect.

BB: Do you prefer cats or dogs?

DS: I like both. At this time, I have two cats, Eight-Ball and Minnesota Fats. They are both fixed and indoor cats. The reason why I don't have a dog at this time is that I am never home. I am not home enough for a dog. They are very needy creatures, and it wouldn't be fair to them. I have a friend who has a dog that comes over; that's my adopted dog.

BB: When HRM council was talking about cat bylaws on and on and on, I was thinking to myself, "If people just kept their damn cats at home, we wouldn't need to talk about this".

DS: Exactly. If you have your cats trained properly, you can have them so that they don't want to go outside. You can have them so that when you do go outside, they'll come with you for a walk and then go right back in the house. Minnesota Fats is a good example. She is about 13 years old, fixed. She goes outside with me. She'll sit on the deck. She'll go into my backyard when I beckon her. She'll chew on some grass. She throws it up five seconds later. And then she'll walk up the stairs and stand by the door. "That was my fun. Thank you. I want to go in now". She doesn't want to stay outside.

Now, for Eight-Ball, who's only four years old, she is a little more rangy because she is so young, and I don't want her outside because I know she is skittish, and it wouldn't be fair to her. So, instead, I raise her in the house.

Minnesota Fats was found outside a pool hall, and when my old cat died, Pookie, Minnesota didn't know how to be an alpha cat, so I adopted Eight Ball to be her Alpha Over. Eight-Ball tried to be Alpha, but it didn't work very well.

BB: What is the most fun part of your job?

DS: I would have to say, all the events we go to. All the events for Natal Day and Canada Day, celebrating our city would be the answer to that. It could be anything, like the "Tunes at Noon" is a prime example. It might be a small facet of 100 or 150 people, but they listen to great music, new music, local music, and people are enjoying themselves. The kids were dancing around today, people were clapping. We're celebrating our community. That is my favourite part of the job.

BB: What is the most challenging part of your job?

DS: Getting people to understand the dynamics of downtown. The reason why I have certain views on certain topics. A good example is last night's Farmer's Market [discussion at the Regional Council on August 12th focused on whether HRM should fund the new Halifax Farmer's Market; the motion carried by a wide margin to fund one million dollars toward that cost], how important it is to foster things in our community, foster the communities that spill out to other areas, or the exterior areas and how they affect our downtown.

When you look at development, for example, some people want tall buildings, and some people want short buildings. Some people don't want any changes at all. Others want everything modernized. Finding that good balance of new and old; being able to celebrate heritage but not shrink wrap the city, I think will be the biggest challenge really, but understanding the dynamics of downtown. Like I told you, one person [on Council] didn't even know where the Pogue Fado was. The other person [on Council] asked what was the charge to get into the Farmer's Market. I mean, my God! You can tell who really doesn't use their city to its optimum.

BB: So, you still have the fire in your belly, and you'll keep running for Council for years to come?

DS: Well, not years to come. I would like to do it for the next term, and then decide on what I'm going to do. If I am able to achieve a lot of things that I need to do, then I will pass it on to someone if I know that person would do just as good a job.

My passion is my community. And, as someone said to me the other day, "What about your private life?" I said, "I'm married to the district. This is my husband. I take care of it the best I can. My children are the different parts of the district". So, I make it very clear that this comes first. Because there is so much that we can be if we were only given a chance, if we were actually given the ability to build on things like Tunes at Noon, on the Farmer's Market. Can you imagine? We're getting free transit for the downtown next year. I don't know if you heard about it.

BB: Fred on steroids! [Fred is short for Free Rides Everywhere Downtown]

DS: Exactly. So, if you had that, plus a new Farmer's Market, music at lunch time for free, wouldn't you want to live in an area like that? That's the ultimate: To have all of those amenities right there at your fingertips within a two block radius of where you live or where you work or where you play.

We have a Pharmasave in Timberlea.

DS: Well, I'll have to go out there now. I'm actually as you know a Shoppers Drug Mart kind of gal. But that's just it. In your community you're going to want those kinds of amenities or things that you want. You have a Pharmasave, but you probably also want a Sobeys. You probably also want a library. Every area has its own little node of amenities. Downtown has Centennial Pool, the George Dixon Centre, the Grand Parade, Citadel Hill (which is federal but still ours), the waterfront. We have Cornwallis Park. We have Victoria Park. We have the Public Gardens. Think of all that. That's all in one district, which everyone can use and celebrate. That's why I love my district.


DS: I think Joel Plaskett said it the best, though.

BB: "I Love This Town".

DS: Yes. My favourite song.

BB: It's a great song. Well, thank you very much, Dawn Sloane, for doing this.

DS: Oh, no problem. Any time.

I got up to pay our bill, and asked Patricia if she had any final questions for Dawn. She did.

P: With regards to the Farmer's Market, it's a lovely location because it has that Old World feel. The proposed talk is that it will move down to the Pier section. What will happen to the [existing] location [at the Brewery Market]?

DS: I love the old ambience, too. But, when the rent goes up and you can't afford to be there, they were going to move anyway. Now, with that being said, the new one will be a first grade, Leed certification, which basically means that they're going to have their waste water is going to be reintroduced into the system. They're going to have wind power, solar power. They're going to have a roof garden. So, there are going to be all of these wonderful amenities that go along with it. Granted, yes, I love the old brick and walking down the winding, weird ways.

P: But the history. The archway is worn away from where the barrels were moved through.

DS: The interesting thing is that it never used to be down there. For years it was at the old Market Street location [that is how the street got its name]. So, it's been all over the place. It is the oldest farmer's market in North America. I didn't know that, but I found that out while doing some research.

P: When is the Farmer's Market moving to its new location? Is there a year?

DS: Probably in about a year. After they finish off the building.

P: So, for the existing building, what will become of that?

DS: As you know, Halkirk Properties is going in next door, that 22 story building. Greenwood Lane said they were going to make it so that the parking lot could also be converted into a farmer's market. So, they might even try to rival the [existing] Farmer's Market people. Which isn't bad! Competition is good. The more local food we can get into our gullets around here, the better, I think.

You know, I went into the store the other day. I went, "Oh, blueberries!" So, I picked up a pack and it was only $1.99. I thought that was a pretty good price. I get home. I look at the package, guess where they're from! B.C.

I like to buy local. Unfortunately, our big chain stores don't really go for that. They believe in taking in all produce that goes to Moncton and distribute it evenly to all the stores. Well, what if I just want to get the plants from Tantallon? I don't want to have them be shipped all the way to Moncton (a waste of gas), and then shipped all the way back (a waste of gas). And packaged? How much does that cost? So, your buy local has just gone up.

I know that the Farmer's Market will do very well for itself. I'm hoping that if there is an alternative market or an extra market, where the quality is as good as what we have right now. And, we'll see what happens. Wouldn't it be nice to have two Farmer's Markets? And have them seven days a week?

P: I guess I just have that fear that that wonderful stone building will fall apart.

DS: Yeah, I know. And that is because we have lost our civic pride. We lost it when we became HRM. How can you have any kind of affection for an acronym? Seriously. You can't. When I was doing my projects on human resource management this year (HRM!) I couldn't put in any of my essays "HRM" for Halifax Regional Municipality. I had to write it all out because I'd say, "the HR department of HRM". No. I had to write out "Halifax Regional Municipality". How can you love an acronym? How can you love something that has become not a public service any more, but an actual corporation? People don't love Hasbro.

BB: People love the products, but not the company.

Exactly. They don't want the bureaucratic stuff that goes on behind the scenes or the working operation part. They care about what they see up front.


Thanks again for doing this, Dawn Sloane! And, remember: You told me you would put in a good word for me with the mayor, so that I could interview him, too.

Stay tuned to Bevboy's Blog for more amazing interviews with local movers and shakers!


374th Post - Where Did Friday, August 15, 2008, Go?

Well, that was fun! Wish I could say I did a lot today. I was going to do Hell and all, and kinda ran out of gas in the afternoon.

I slept in, as I had the day off. I got up around 8, and left the house shortly after 9. Andrew Krystal was interviewing people behind a new documentary about the black hockey league in Nova Scotia, which ran from 1895 to 1925. The film was based on a book, and Andrew was giving away copies this morning. I snagged one by calling in and asking a question. Two questions, actually, as Andrew wanted me to ask a question of the guests. I guess he is having a hard time getting callers. Too bad. The program is becoming better and better all the time. And, if I want to hear talk radio, I don't have much choice any more.

I spent the balance of the morning running errands, including picking up that book. I went to Staples, to Walmart, to the dollar store, before going to Patricia's place for a late lunch and a nap. I waited for her to get home from work, stayed with her a while, and returned here.

Yes, this is a filler post. I wanted #375 to be the interview with... well, read this post first, and then the next one, which will be going up shortly.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

373rd Post - Done!

Well, I see that blogger has changed its layout a bit. Not sure if I like it yet.

I have finally finished transcribing the interview with... well, you will find out soon enough. I really think you'll like it. I have just e-mailed it to the subject to see what the person thinks of the wording. If it is liked, it will go up, probably on Friday.

Had a long day today. Up at 5:30, worked all day, transcribed parts of the interview during lunch, took Cindy to the vet's tonight, and took Patricia to dinner tonight. The first place we were gonna go to, Rylan Jack's, is out of business. Not paying $15000 in rent will do that to you (I read the notice of distraint on the door). So, instead, we went to a Chinese restaurant and order a la carte.

Yawn! Time for bed.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

372nd Post - It Will Be Good. Trust Me!

I have spent the last few hours transcribing the interview I conducted today with the next interview subject for the blog. I want it to be post #375. I may not post here for a couple of days in order to make sure that the person who's the subject of the interview will have a chance to vet it first. After that, it will go up here.

Folks, this is my third interview for the blog, and the first one that I used my digital voice recorder for. I was able to capture everything the person said, which is more than I did for the first two interviews. When I interviewed Deb Smith a few months ago, I made a lot of mistakes. I learned from them, and made fewer when I sat down with J.C. Douglas in June. I learned from those mistakes, and will learn from the ones I made today when I sit down with my next subject, soon.

It's a lot of work to transcribe the interviews, but the quality of the final result will be so much better.

Maybe I missed my true calling. These interviews are a lot of fun.

More soon.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

371st Post - Get It Right!

I read quite a bit. Not as much as I used to. Before I was dating, back in those lonely days, I read voraciously. I'd read before classes in university, in the student union building, in the car after classes were over (and the car was parked). You get the idea.

I used to correct people's English. "No", I'd say. "You say 'It is I' not 'It's me'!". Or, "Don't say 'Between you and I'; say 'Between you and me'!". And don't get me started on the times people confuse "who" and "whom".

Because I wanted friends, because I was ticking people off, because I matured and stopped caring less about how people said things and more about what the content was, I pretty much stopped correcting people's speaking and writing.

Pretty much.

There are still a couple of mistakes people make in their writing that, when I see them in a blog or an e-mail or whatever, I stop reading the whatever. I figure that if they don't respect me enough to know the correct way to express such fundamental things, then I have more important things to do with my time than read the whatever.

Would you like to know what a couple of those things are? Sure.

1. People who don't know the difference between "it's" and "its". They are two entirely different words. If you write something like, "I enjoyed the movie very much. It's strengths far outweigh it's weaknesses", then you lost me with the first word of the second sentence. I'm going to bail out on whatever you are writing. When you write "it's", then that is a short form of "it is". "It's a great movie. You have to see it." makes perfect sense and is grammatically correct. But "It's strengths far outweigh it's weaknesses" is just wrong as the correct form of the possessive for an object is "its".

2. When people confuse "they're", "their" and "there". "They're going to be happy because their car is over there", once again, is correct. "They're" is short for "they are". "There" is the opposite of "here". And "their" is the possessive for a plural person, place, or thing.

3. Learn when and how to use a comma, people. As the story goes: Alexander III personally wrote the death sentence of a prisoner with the following words: "Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia." His wife Dagmar (daughter of Christian IX, king of Denmark) believed the man innocent. She saved his life by transposing the comma. The sentence then read: "Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia."

The simple transposition of the comma in that sentence was enough to have the man set free.

So, don't tell me that it doesn't matter where commas are used, or whether they're used. It does.

What is your English grammar pet peeve?


370th Post - Is This Joke Funny Or Not?

Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?

Because it was dead.


Monday, August 11, 2008

369th Post - The Saddest Thing Ever

I recently discovered the website Garfield Minus Garfield, which removes Garfield the cat from the comic strip of the same name, leaving his human Jim talking to himself. It reveals just how lonely and sad the poor man is, as he struggles and fails in his fight against loneliness and depression. These strips will be collected into a book come September. Even Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, supports this work.

Check it out. I think you'll like it. If you're like me, you'll like it more than the original strip.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

368th Post - Welcome to Firefox!

Well, earlier this evening, I took the plunge and changed my browser here at home to Firefox. It is version 3.0.1 if that kind of thing matters to you.

I use a pretty old computer at home. You might laugh at me if I tell you what it is, so I won't, but trust me: It is old. It has a 3.5" floppy drive. I was running IE version 6.something, but it kept crashing, over and over. Websites that had been stalwarts for me would no longer load, or would crash upon loading. In trying to upgrade to a newer version of IE, I was told that I would need an XP service pack 2 or better. I am not about to upgrade the operating system on this old pc. I figured I would try a new browser, and had heard good things about firefox. I downloaded it about an hour ago.

I find it works fine, but is a little slow. That would be a function of the cpu I use here. Perhaps it is time to hint for a better pc.


I find this browser has some features that IE doesn't have. Typing in a url, Firefox tries to anticipate what I want by suggesting previous url's already in the bookmarks list. I like that a lot. There is a link for the latest news headlines, from the BBC currently, but there is probably a way to have it look at other online news sources. I like FF so far. I am looking forward to learning more and more about it.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

367th Post - Visiting Some Friends

Visiting some friends for dinner tonight

Here is Patricia with Yue. Not pictured is Franki, Yue's husband. If you take a look at my main picture in facebook, that is Yue posing with me (along with Rui, Yue's friend).

Yue is an amazing cook. We had authentic Chinese food for dinner tonight. I am absolutely stuffed.

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Friday, August 8, 2008

366th Post - What Was That?

Are you the kind of person who can't make out the lyrics to songs you hear on the radio? So, instead, you make up your own wild approximations in a desperate attempt to fill in the gaps. I do, all the time. I will never figure out the words to "Rock the Casbah" by the Clash (how strange that they're mostly known today for that song, when back in the day they put out all of these political-charged records). Even when I have the true lyrics in front of me, and I'm reading them as they're being sung, I struggle with the lyrics to "Louie, Louie". One guy even wrote a book about that song, the subject of an FBI investigation. Turns out those those guys couldn't discern the words, either!

In honour of these non-enunciating vocalists (I'm talking to you, Elton John! And John Lennon! And most hip-hop artists!), here is a sample of what I am discussing. Someone trying to figure out the words to a classic CCR tune.



Thursday, August 7, 2008

365th Post - Horehound Feedback

Here I am reacting with bemusement to these horehound candies. There is no hound flavour to them, and I can't detect any hore either. In fact, they don't taste like much of anything. There is such a subtle flavour that there might as well be none at all. Ted thinks they taste like humbugs, and that is what Buddy told me in Pictou last week. Andrea finds them reminiscent of cabbage.

Man, look at me. I have more chins than an Asian phonebook. Time to go back to the gym, Bevboy!

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

364th post - The Quest Is Over

This beautiful young lady at the freak lunch box just sold me a bag of horehound candy

Hope I like it

Via BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

363rd Post - Old-Time Halifax

Discovered this website with pictures and articles about Halifax buildings, restaurants and so on that no longer exist. It is very interesting, but I wish it were updated more often and had more content. An hour or so and you'll have thoroughly gone through the entire website.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and check it out!


362nd Post - This Time With Feeling

Lots of people (even my mother!) have been asking me lately if I'll be volunteering for the Buskers festival this year. I volunteered, usually as a driver, for about 5 years for that august organization. But no. I have "retired" from that role. I no longer volunteer for those people. In fact, because of how the fine folks at ESP Productions (producers of the Buskers Festival) and the Tall Ships festival treated me last year, I have pretty much given up on volunteering for anything.

Briefly, as I wrote at length about this last Fall, I offered my humble services as a driver to the Buskers Festival in 2007. Drivers are hard to come by and tend to be treated a bit better than other volunteers. They never replied to the proposed shift schedule I faxed them (I have a job and can't work days, except weekends). I waited. And waited. And, rather anticlimactically, I waited some more. I heard nothing from them. I began to e-mail them asking them what shifts they wanted me for. I found a phone number for the volunteer co-ordinator and called her. No e-mail or phone call was returned.

Finally, a few days before the festival last year, I went to the offices of ESP Productions and confronted them. In a mealy-mouthed kind of way, they told me that they had no shifts for me, that I had been "too late" in getting my schedule to them, that they didn't need me. I was disappointed that they wouldn't need me, and out-and-out angry that they had kept putting me off. I wrote them and asked them to drop my contact information from their database. They told me that this had been done. That should have been the end of the story.

In May of this year, they sent out a mass e-mail, asking for volunteers for this year's festival. Ticked, I wrote this year's co-ordinator and asked her to drop me from the database, and explained why I didn't want to work for them any more. Very sorry, she said she had dropped me, once again, from the database.

A few weeks after that, she went back to the 2006 contact database and sent out another e-mail, pleading for volunteers. Guess what? I got a copy of that e-mail. This one, I just ignored.

I hate disorganization. I hate having my time wasted. And I hate it when I am disrespected and even lied to and put off. The fact that they have someone working for them this year (and in years past) who was the subject of a manslaughter charge in 2005 also doesn't sit well with me. I just don't want to be involved with these people. As Bo Jackson once said about someone else, their crackers do not settle well in my soup.

So, no, I am not volunteering for those people again. And, yes, it is a shame, because I had very much enjoyed meeting the actual buskers, the performers, who would come to Halifax every summer from around the world. Some of the nicest people I ever met. A damn shame.


361st Post - Hungry?

I eat too many of these. But have you ever wondered about the history of the hamburger? Here, read all about it!

I got this link from Mark Evanier's newsfromme blog. Thanks, Mark.

More in a bit.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

360th Post - A Word That Sounds Dirty But Really Isn't (Really!)

Last week, we went into the town of Pictou and had lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Sharon's Place. Afterward we went for a walk and I snapped some pics, some of which made to the blog last week. We saw a new candy store along Water Street and wandered in.

It is quite a place, with many varieties of fudge. I bought a pound's worth, and ate a little bit of it (I noticed the empty box this morning when I threw out Patricia's garbage. Hmm!!). I also noticed some small bags of hard candy, and one of them caught my eye.

It was a bag of... God help me! ... something called horehound, and I had to know more. The mental image conjured by that word in my noggin was one best left undescribed on this blog, as my sister reads it, and my former boss at Acadia University reads it, and my present boss reads it (and wants to know what this stuff is, too, I'll wager!). The proprietor replied, in a world-weary voice, because he has probably answered the question raised by many a person of a prurient nature over the years, that horehound tastes a lot like humbug.

(All I know about "humbug" is that it is the word that Ebenezer Scrooge says over and over in "A Christmas Carol", but Patricia at least knew what that was like. )

The next time I am in that store, perhaps as early as next week, I'll buy a bag of that horehound candy, and share it with my blog readers upon my return to the city, or at least the ones who read it at my work. The rest of you, we'll have to make special arrangements.

Horehound. Get used to it.


359th Post - Special Non-Boring Post!

Hello, gentle readers. Welcome back to my blog.

One could forgive you for having decided to give the blog a break the last couple of weeks. Many of the posts consisted of me complaining about a lack of rain at the cottage while people in Halifax dealt with a near-daily monsoon. Can't be exciting reading.

We needed rain at the cottage because the well was taxed to its limit, and the lawn was becoming brittle. We were becoming pretty gamey by the end of the second week. I took my first shower in 13 days on Saturday, upon my return to the city. When I had another shower on Sunday Patricia wanted to know why. "Because I can" was my simple reply. "I don't need to; I just wanna".

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I won't say I was excited about returning to work, but I was looking forward to a return to a routine that filled my days with things other than Regis Philin, Whoopie Goldberg, and Oprah Winfrey. And Dr. Phil, Martha Stewart, and Judge Judy. And those two gay guys on CBC in the afternoon. And Heidi Petracek. And Seamus O'Regan (remind me to tell you about my Seamus O'Regan sort-of-story somtime). Over-the-air TV, more such TV, and yet more such TV, with some road trips to the town of Pictou, or River John, or Tatamagouche. Two weeks away from digital cable, hot showers, high speed internet, and a surfeit of radio stations to listen to is enough. We'll be back there plenty of times before we shut the place up for the winter, but Bevboy enjoys his creature comforts a little too much to give them up or compromise them for a long period of time.

I had a high quality radio with me. Remind me to tell you the story of how I acquired it sometime. It does a great job of picking up most Halifax radio stations. I was able to hear Rick Howe on Q104 mostly just fine. It sure was nice to hear him on the radio again. I look forward to listening to him on the Rogers station later on this month.

And, Patricia returned to work today as well, after having been off sick for three and a half months. She needed a return to a routine as well. Heck, she was criticizing my driving in the city within a few minutes this morning, so I knew she was on the road to normalcy!

More in a bit.


Monday, August 4, 2008

358th Post - The Last Day of Freedom!

I go back to work in the morning after being off for two and a half weeks. Looking forward to returning to work, but I sure did enjoy my vacation.

I really should have stayed home today and done some cleaning around the house. Getting the computer desk on Saturday and rearranging my home office to accommodate it got me in a cleaning frame of mind; heck, I even mopped my kitchen floor that day! But I had promised Patricia I would take her to see "Mamma Mia!", and I try to keep my word.

We saw the movie at Bayers Lake at 12:30pm. It was a'right. Patricia was enthralled, long having been an ABBA fan. I like some of their songs, and a few of them percolate through my mind and make their way to the surface like a drowning man seeking oxygen (that was a simile, and NOT the much-hated-by-me-at-least metaphor!) . Pierce Brosnan was a brave choice of the producers, as the man cannot sing well and the actors were not dubbed.

We decided to see a second film this afternoon. Upon a bit of reflection, we decided to see "Swing Vote", the latest film produced by and starring Kevin Costner. I loved everything about it. It is about an unemployed slacker, Costner, who through interesting plot contrivances finds that his uncast vote will decide the outcome of the presidential election. It is smart, funny, and may end up being a classic. I want the special edition dvd! There must be deleted scenes!

Newbie was waiting for me at the door tonight. He missed me. He is on the table next to my desk, cleaning himself, as I type these humble words. Isn't that sweet?


Sunday, August 3, 2008

357th Post - Yawn!

I have been back in the city for just over 24 hours now.

While I loved being at the cottage, there is no place like home. For one thing, I have access to my digital cable again, and learned yesterday that I now have 4 new movie channels for the month of August (Superchannel). For another, I took possession of a computer desk yesterday, and it didn't cost me a cent. I love freecycle!

I did manage to blog most days I was on vacation. In fact, I posted 55 messages here in the month of July. I can't promise to post that much every month, but I will endeavour to post an average of once a day.

I spent a few hours yesterday catching up on my laundry and preparing my office here for the computer desk. It is as if I had always had it. I am wondering how I ever got along without one all these years. I have a little shelf where I can store some important documents for my work for those times when I get a call in the middle of the night and have to come down here and do some stuff. The monitor is now at eye level. The modem and router are on a shelf by themselves. And the speakers are on the top shelf along with a pencil sharpener the previous owners would have just thrown away. I don't use a pencil sharpener very much these days, but you never know. My phone is next to the computer. I tellya, if I ever get a conditional sentence for something, I'll be fine right here at home!

Back to work on Tuesday. With my previous job, I'd dread going back. However, I am looking forward to returning to work these days. Hope I never have to retire!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

356th Post - Back in the City

Back home

Nice to be back

Time for a shower

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Friday, August 1, 2008

355th Post - Back to the City

Going back to the city in the morning

I love it here but I am also looking forward to going back home

The house sitters are looking forward. to getting their lives back

Will report back here when I am back home

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