Sunday, November 30, 2008

550th Post - An Amazing 25th Anniversary

I will go to my grave, many years hence, regretting missing the Q104 25th Anniversary Piss Up at the Cunard Centre Friday night, November 28th, 2008. Personal circumstances would not permit me to go, and circumstances suck sometimes.

I heard as much of the 25th anniversary radio reunion this weekend as I possibly could. I have captured the entire Sunday 8 hours and 40 minutes on tape, and soon it will be on dvd, to share with... nobody, I guess. Good point. Thanks for asking. Now I really feel like crap. Appreciate that.

At any rate, I heard perhaps 50% of the Saturday broadcast, which ran from 10am until about 4:45pm; I heard the vast majority of the Sunday broadcast. It is possible they will rebroadcast some of it, maybe even all of it, on New Year's Day. But perhaps J.C. Douglas will take pity on me and furnish me with a copy of yesterday's show.

Anyway, what I heard, yesterday and today, I loved. The behind-the-scenes stuff, the stories, the anecdotes, were often priceless. It was as if a bunch of them were sitting around a bar, talking shop, swapping stories, and someone stuck microphones in front of them, allowing we mere mortals to listen in.

This weekend was so magical, so special, to long-time listeners of this magical station, that I hope they do something like this more often. Say, every five years, have a big piss up. I'll go to the next party. I promise.

The best part, the most interesting, compelling part, of the last two days, was the very end, when they had a special Q104 tribute song, listing nearly person who has worked at the station over the years. It was to the tune of Billy Joel's, "We Didn't Start the Fire", and it was brilliant stuff. I will be playing it many times.

J.C., if you're reading this, can you help a brother out?


Saturday, November 29, 2008

549th Post - Rats!!

Boy, do I feel silly/stupid.

I couldn't attend the Q104 25th anniversary concert last night because I had my parents with me and I couldn't just leave them alone for the night. I sure did want to go, though.

At least I could content myself with the fact that I was gonna be taping the full 6+ hours of the radio reunion this morning and this afternoon, while I returned my parents to their home. I would listen to as much of it as I could; but I would always have the dvd of this for posterity's sake.

Not so much.

While my radio has a line out jack, and I used a special cable running to the back of a vcr and used that vcr to record the signal coming from the radio, the radio turned itself off about 45 minutes into the proceedings. Bob Powers is just announcing how the station went on the air, and then, poof! The vcr kept recording, but it recorded, well, nothing at all as the radio signal ceased.

Yeah, I feel stupid.

Any radio folks reading this? Can anyone help me and get me a copy of today's six hours and 40 minutes of the guys talking about the good old day on the Q? I missed probably 50% of it today.

Yeah, I feel stupid.

Yeah, I feel stupid.

Can you help me out?



Friday, November 28, 2008

548th Post - Sad News For Carny Fans

From my friend James Taylor, publisher of Shocked and Amazed! James is one of our neighbours at the cottage. I can spill the beans and tell you that he has agreed to an interview for the blog, but it will not happen before the summer of '09. It will be worth the wait. James is a fascinating guy!

Maybe I got this news a bit later than Judy Tomaini-Rock wanted to get it to me, but the news is the saddest I've gotten in a long time regardless. Showman William "Billy" Rodgers, owner of show supply shop The Pirates Treasure Cove in Gibsonton, FL, died Nov.24 at the age of 74. If you want more details, you can go to, though I've been told there are a number of errors in the piece. Despite those errors, I can tell you accurately that Billy was a huge friend to SHOCKED AND AMAZED! over the years, one of the best. I met him on my first visit to Gibtown at the start of my work on S&A!, and from moment one he was a major source of material and contacts on the show business, putting in many a good word with the showfolk, recommendations he needn't have given except, well, that was the kind of guy he was. At the end of my very first visit to Gibtown, disappointed that I had not achieved one of my major goals for the week (though with Billy's help I'd accomplished much, much more than planned), I told him my regret: that I'd not met "Lady Sandra" Reed, photographic subject of renowned photographer Diane Arbus. Sandy Reed's image – head thrown back, arms thrown out, cruciform, multiple swords down her throat – had been an iconic inspiration to me from the first time I'd seen it. And now, at the end of that initial journey, I'd come no closer to her than the picture I'd seen years and years before. Billy looked at me across that dining table there in the showmen's club, put on that huge grin he was famous for, and told me, "Why, Sandy's one of my best friends." And the rest was history. Thanks for that, Billy, and much, much else.

547th Post - Radio Ratings

The local paper used to publish an article twice a year discussing radio ratings when the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement released that information. It stopped doing that some time ago. Pity, that.

The information was released on the 27th. Here is the link to the BBM website listing the information.

Kool FM, whose program director I interviewed for this blog a few weeks ago, had a very good book. They are number one in listeners 35+. Z103.5 took a hit from that new station, the one that replaced CJCH, and whose name will not be written here. C100 did very well. The Q's ratings were up a bit. Hal FM is in a free fall, ratings wise. How much longer can they justify this classic rock format, when Q104 is so much better known and is clearly winning the battle time after time with Hal? FX 101.9 took a hit. They will probably do better once KIXX leaves the airwaves in '09, as they will be the only country station in this market.

It is a fact that radio stations that take a hit in the ratings respond in some meaningful way. They change format. They announce a nifty contest. They fire their morning show crew. Whatever. You will see changes in the coming months with some of the stations that didn't fare well in this book.

I predict that Hal FM will not exist in 2009. God knows what they'll do with that license. A polka format might draw fewer listeners, but most anything else would only be an improvement.

Any more radio folks reading this? Wanna bet how some stations will respond?


546th Post - Happy Birthday to Q104!

Q104, the local classic rock station (well, the better known of the two!) turns 25 this weekend. I fully and fondly recall when it went on the air in 1983. I was attending Acadia University, my sophomore year. I knew the station was coming, but not exactly when. Alluvasudden, I saw some guys wearing Q104 t-shirts. "The Rock of the Atlantic".

My car back then only had an AM radio, so I could only listen to it at home on my home stereo, with the aid of both an FM dipole antenna and a friendly weatherman who could conjure up the kind of weather conducive to permitting me to receive this far away station. I eventually invested in a powered FM booster, which I still have, and use, when I visit my folks. It still enables me to pick up Q104 down there.

Anyway, the Q was like nothing else on the dial, not by a country mile. 25 years ago, hard rock was essentially not played on the radio, and we fans of that genre were ill-served by the radio stations of the day. I can appreciate much of that music now, but back then, top 40 music was something I was not interested in.

I listened to Q104 every bloody chance I got. I loved it. I couldn't get enough of it. It was quite a different station back then than it is today. They played a lot of more obscure music. Their play list was much more expansive. I recall they didn't play the same tiresome songs over and over. The music was fresh, exciting, and if I could have found a way to weld an FM tuner to my head, I would have. I was single back then, very single, frighteningly single, and this thing stuck to my head would not have helped my situation, and not hurt it much either.

Over the years, and J.C. Douglas knows this, my interest has waned. I still like that kind of music, but not the same songs played ad nauseum.

But this doesn't stop me from wishing Q104, all of its jocks past and present, a most happy birthday.

On Saturday and Sunday, they are inviting back their old jocks to talk about the good times. Here is the schedule. I will listen to every damn bit of it that I can. You know I will. You know me better than that.

All the best from your humble blogger!


545th Post - May You Live In Interesting Times!

Had a very long day. Let me tell you a bit about it.

We had to go to Dartmouth for a meeting this morning for 9 o'clock. After that, Patricia had to go to a funeral, also in Dartmouth, for 11. She dropped me off at Mic Mac Mall, the largest mall east of Montreal, for a couple of hours.

I used to go there a lot, back when I lived in Dartmouth. Now, though, I seldom go, and I don't miss it one bit. There are more women's clothing stores there than you can shake a stiletto at. That's great if you're a woman, or one of those guys, but for a regular dude like me, it means walking past a lot of stores without going in.

After about an hour, I trekked across the parking lot to the only bookstore in the area (there used to be three in the mall, but they're all gone now). The Chapters at Mic Mac Mall is smaller and has fewer categories of books than the one in Bayers Lake, the one closest to my home. I killed less time than there I would have liked to.

I walked back to the entrance to the mall where I had left Patricia, so she could go to the funeral, to wait for her to pick me up. Around 12:20, I saw my car, with her in it. We returned to my house, where we had a late lunch and rested a bit before Patricia and I took my mother to her doctor's appointment in downtown Halifax.

The appointment was insane. It was for 3:50. By 5:15, we were still waiting to get in. We were finally served around 5:20, but didn't see the actual doctor until 6pm. We left around 6:20. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and returned to my home around 8:30, approximately an hour ago.

My father was busy today. Last night we began to create a new shelf for my computer desk. There was quite a bit of empty space between the top shelf and the middle one, and this new shelf is perfect to hold things like cd's or other things of a computer nature that I can reach in a hurry. I got the desk for free this summer from a neighbour. In looking on kijiji, or on the Staples website, I can only find a computer desk that costs $300 or so that looks better than the one I have now. I did see one on kijiji the other day that looked really nice and was only $100, but it would be so huge it would dominate this room. This one, especially with the addition of the shelf, is the perfect one for me, my needs, and my space considerations.

It was a busy day today, and it will be followed by a busy one tomorrow, too.

More in a moment.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

543rd Post - Blech!

Been home resting/sleeping all evening. Not feeling well

Parents coming to visit tomorrow and house is a mess.

Will be a fun 2 days with them

Back to bed!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

542nd Post - I'm Not Bitter!

So, I didn't win, place, or show in the best local blog in the Coast recently. Fine. Whatever. Life goes on.

But some of you have been asking me what blogs did win. I am happy to provide the list for your edification now.

Number one is: Living Between Wednesdays. It mostly deals with a young woman's interest in comic books. When I was heavily into reading them, women in the hobby were few and far between. They still are. There are many, many posts on the blog where she takes a few pages from an old comic book and comments about them in negative terms.

Runner up was Hero Hill. It's about the local culture. Apparently, there is some.

Second runner up was Bringing it to the Table. It seems to be the blog closest to this one, where I talk about whatever is on my mind at the moment.

Check them out if you are of a mind to. Leave the owners a comment if you want to. It is hard work to contribute regularly to a blog, and my hat is off to those who can do it, and do it well. Obviously, a lot of people like these blogs.

Maybe next year, I'll be in the list. I'll keep working hard on this blog to help earn your vote in the 2009 Best of Halifax Awards!


541st Post - Happy Birthday!

You know, this blog turned one year old last week, on the 17th, and I didn't acknowledge that in a post. I will now.

The blog is a year old. When I started it a year ago, I had no idea that I'd have over 500 posts in that length of time. I had no idea there would be enough posts to go much past 100 entries, yet here I am.

I still feel like I am just getting started.

More in a moment.


Monday, November 24, 2008

540th Post - A Shameful Admission

Admit it, if you dare. From time to time you hear a song and think that a lyric is something it turns out not to be.

The Elton John song lyric goes, "she's got electric boots", not "electric boobs". Elton John, in fact, has so many misheard lyrics that one could write a book about them. Someone probably has.

I have a few books of misheard lyrics in my possession. And, there is at least one website devoted to misheard lyrics. Go ahead and check it out. I don't mind.

I want to discuss a misheard lyric from my own life. I am pretty sure it is one you will not find in the above website. I am a little embarrassed to talk about it.

Do you remember the summer of 1981? Some of you weren't born yet, so go ask your parents, or grandparents, as the case may be. There was a musical artist from that summer, who was also a major soap opera star. His name was/is Rick Springfield and he was on General Hospital. I understand that he has returned to the show, and may still be on it for all I know.

His big hit was Jessie's Girl, and it is now that I must admit to my nearly fatal misheard lyric. This song of unrequited love contains a refrain, oft-repeated, that goes, "I wish that I had Jessie's Girl".

In my youth, perhaps not paying enough attention, I thought it was, "I wish that I was Jessie's Girl", and I sang it out loud and often, to anybody who would listen. (Hey, I liked the song. Sue me!) My parents thought about making me see a psychologist. I was shunned in grade 12.

Still, today, when I hear the song on a classic hits radio station, I think to myself, that it is "was" and not "had".

It is one of those funny things, a misheard lyric. You could swear that a lyric is what you think it is. Any intrusion of reality is met with skepticism, perhaps even an ad hominem attack against the person who tried to tell you the truth. I will probably go to my grave thinking there is a variant version of "Jessie's Girl" out there with the lyric as I expect it to be.

I mean, if that were the case, and it were "was", what does that say about Jessie? That could be a woman's name, too, like Bev usually is, unfortunately. If I, a guy, wanted to be Jessie's girl, and Jessie were a woman, then I'd want to be the female partner to another female. That would take some fancy doing. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement for those who want to be that way, but it doesn't mean that I must aspire to that goal, or take hormones or undergo transgender surgery to achieve it. Even if I did all that stuff, Jessie may still not be interested in me, which would be her right of course. All that effort on my part would have been for naught.

I am not sure if there is an operation to restore male doin's to a female who used to be a male. They probably threw away the male doin's after the first operation, assuming that they would no longer be necessary. If there is such an operation, well, some things are best not known until one has to know about them.

Am I over analysing something again? Sorry. I do that sometimes.

Bevboy, and I do mean boy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

539th Post - A Mouse in the House?

Had to re shovel my driveway today because the snowplow dude knocked over the pile of snow from Saturday and added some new snow to the works. The result was a big pile of snow behind my car and 2 hours of work to remove it.

Haven't felt well since. Perhaps I am coming down with something

Newbie hears something in one of the homes ventilation vents. Is there a mouse? Something else? Will my cat drive himself crazy finding whatever it is?

Back to work tomorrow. Up in just over 6 hours! Another weekend gone. I like my job and everything but weekends seem to be getting briefer and briefer all the time

See you tomorrow

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

538th Post - After the Storm

Been shovelling for an hour

We got a good foot of snow last night and this morning

Lots of work left to widen my driveway


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Friday, November 21, 2008

537th Post - Calm Before The Storm

It is friday night in Halifax. Over night we are supposed to get nailed by an early winter storm

As is typical for us nova scotians on the night before a major storm (upwards of a foot of snow is expected) people hit the grocery stores in droves plucking the places free of such staples as popcorn and chips and salsa. You will have a hard time finding very many salty snacks around these here parts

Saturday morning at 6 gives us another Stan Carew show. Can hardly wait!

No news to report on the nasty note left on my monitor yesterday. DNA testing will begin on Monday. Don't tell anyone. Our little secret!

Batten down the hatches!
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

536th Post - The Search For The Real Killer!

Do you have an image on your computer desktop? It might be a picture of your spouse, or your children, or your house or whatever. Not me! I like to have pictures of myself on my desktop. These pictures are typically unflattering. My very favourite pictures, though, are unflattering photographs of myself when I am at the cottage.

The picture close to this paragraph was taken in July of 2007. My hair is long, and there is something I got from Patricia to hold the hair in place on top of my head. What do you call those things, anyway? Like an elastic band.

(Oh, remember: You can click on the images in this or any other Bevboy's Blog post to see a bigger image. Go ahead and click. You know you want to.)

Today at work, there was a silent auction. I was lucky enough to win an ipod nano, which I gave to Patricia after work, as it is her birthday. Go ahead and wish her a happy birthday on facebook if you want to. She'd appreciate it.

I paid for the ipod. Upon returning to my office, there was the following note on my monitor:

Hmm. What was this all about? I asked a few people if they recognized the handwriting. Nobody did. The boys at coffee chuckled at the note, and one of them opined that a guy in the office might have written it.

A guy?


What kind of man writes that way? For one thing, it is legible. Most guys write like they're on a sinking ship, and there is one spot left on the last lifeboat, where the
women and children are, and an old lady is making her way over to it.

This handwriting has a decidedly feminine aspect to it. The curlicues, the haughty attitude, the fact that it was written on yellow paper, all lead me to believe that a woman produced this note. A woman, it would seem, who doesn't like cottages very much.

I wasn't sure what to do. I am still not sure what to do. I changed the picture on my desktop to the one you see near this paragraph. It is in some ways even more outrageous and unflattering than the one it replaced. I am wondering, by doing this, if I can smoke her out, if I can lead her to do something stupid, so that I can find out who did this to me.

If you have any pearls of wisdom to assist me in tracking down the person who wrote this scurrilous note, this apoplectic screed, this mangy missive, please let me know via comments to this post. I fear that this will be an ongoing challenge for me, and that I will have to expend considerable time, strength and energy to track down this horrid person.

Wish me luck! I will need it!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

535th Post - The Latest Interview Is Up

For those of you wondering about the missing post #510, you can go back and read it now. It is an interview with Kool FM Program Director Rob Johnson.

Go ahead and read it now if you like.

More later.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

534th Post - Like to be Scared?

Many years ago, I joined a battery club through Radio Shack. I am still trying to live that one down. I was entitled to one free AA or AAA battery each month for each card I could pull out of my pocket at the RS store when I needed a battery or 3. I was only supposed to have one card, but by times I'd have several on the go. It is one of the cheapest things I have ever done in my life. Not quite as cheap or stingy as now, when I freeze Hallowe'en candy for eleven months and 29 days as preparation for the following October 31st, but the free battery club thing was certainly up there. Not a nice way to impress the ladies.

I am careful about the clubs I have joined ever since. Or at least, I am careful what I tell people pursuant to the clubs I check out.

Earlier this year, I joined a horror book club, run by Dorchester Publications. Each month, for one low fixed cost, they mail me two hot-off-the-presses horror paperbacks, by established and upcoming horror writers. The books are great fun if you are into that type of fiction. If you're not, they're not.

They can be deeply disturbing books if you want to look at them that way. I choose not to. YMMV, of course.

I have spent quite a bit of time at that publisher's website. They have a writer's guidelines link that tells them how long a book they will accept, what type of genres they will accept, and the type of story they will entertain within the genres.

You know, I have always marveled at how writers are able to work within what can be construed as limitations or constrictions to produce work of great quality. Here: Read the guidelines, if you want to. You'll see what I mean.

I don't really have a point here. Just wanted you to know that the December 2008 selections arrived in the mail today. They will go in the queue of books to be read. And, you'll see them in book stores in the next week or so.

Another overly long day. Still trying to recover from what a bunch of us saw on Monday morning while having coffee at Tim Horton's. Still not sure how or even whether to discuss it here on the blog. I guess I'll provide this link to the story as starters. It may be the only allusion to the story on the blog at all. I have discussed it a little bit on my facebook page, but not here. The story is still too raw, too emotional, for me to discuss here yet. Sorry.


Monday, November 17, 2008

533rd Post - A Little Pick-Me-Up!

For reasons I don't want to get into, I had a very crappy morning. Nothing to do with my job, just something I saw this morning. We who saw it were excused from work for the rest of the day. A couple of us did go home, but I decided to stay. I did take an extra long lunch hour to try to come to terms with what I saw, though.

Just as Patricia and I were heading back to our work, some carollers strolled into Historic Properties and serenaded us. It really perked me up, and how could they have known that the wassailing song was one I enjoyed so much? It was nearly kismet.

Thanks for the music, and thanks for the cheering up. I needed it.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

532nd Post - Hold On A Minute

In all the excitement yesterday regarding Stan Carew, and all the crazy live bloggin' I did, I neglected to mention that I KNOW that post #510 hasn't gone up yet. It exists in draft form, but will not be published until the subject of that post tells me it's ok to put it up. I am hoping that will happen tomorrow, Monday.

Had a fun night at a local auction. I won auction item #92. The auctioneer is a radio guy and we shared a laugh over it. He has tentatively agreed to an interview with me, which you may see as soon as next month. I also have a second interview in the works.

Back to work tomorrow. Had a great weekend. Hope you did, too.

Where is my buddy in Northern California, anyway? Haven't seen him here for a while.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

531st Post - Our Favourite Chinese Restaurant (With a Caveat!)

We have been eating here for a couple of years. Thought it was ok. We always ordered a combination plate. You know: Egg roll, chicken-fried rice, lemon chicken, or beef and broccoli, or whatever. You get the idea.

The food was acceptable. We'd eat it, feel full, and not go back for a few months, until the memory of the bland meal had faded and we wanted to give them another chance.

But a few months ago we began to order a la carte, ordering stuff off the menu such as an order of beef and broccoli, or kung pao chicken, or singapore style noodles. The difference in quality was frickin' amazing. Night and day. Fresh ingredients like broccoli which practically shimmered on the plate, it was so bright. Tender noodles. Moist chicken. Spring rolls to die for, or to kill someone over. The place instantly became our favourite Chinese restaurant in the Halifax Regional Municipality, better than places that have been around for decades, and which ride unfairly on their reputations.

We made the mistake of ordering a combo plate a couple of weeks ago, because we were foolish and in a hurry, and the food was gross. No details. Just trust me. It was gross.

But tonight we ordered various dishes again and it rocked. Singapore-style vermacelli noodles. My beloved beef and broccoli. Ginger chicken. A couple of spring rolls to start with. $33 later, we were stuffed, and there were plenty of leftovers.

I am thinking I'd like to go there for my birthday dinner in February. Dinner and a movie. Sounds good to me, and to Patricia, too.

I promise, this is the last post today. 20 posts in one day is a lot, huh? Sorry you didn't vote for me for best Halifax blog? Some of the winners only post a couple of times a week, folks. Look how much you get for your blogging dollar from me, boys and girls! There's no comparison!

But I'm not bitter. No, not at all.

Frig, I'm tired. Been on the go since 3:30 this morning, and it is nearly 7:30pm. I am not even running on fumes any more. It is more like fume residue.

Will tape Stan Carew's show in the morning. I'll probably sleep through a lot of it, unfortunately.

You all have a great night.


530th Post - One More Stan Carew Picture (OK, Two!)

Just got home and scanned in the card/ticket (both sides) of the Stan Carew 40th Anniversary Show from this morning.

First of all, it was a helluva great show. It exceeded all of my expectations, and they were high expectations. I was up at 3:30 this morning. I may get up in the middle of the night and have a pee at that hour, but I am not up actually doing anything else at that time, let alone preparing for my day.

We arrived at the CBC building around 5:40 and were let in a few minutes later. There were already people ahead of us, so we had to content ourselves with being in the second row.

A few minutes after we got there, I decided to live blog the event. It was important enough to me, and to Stan's listeners if they find this blog, for me to cover it in my own special way.

I like my BlackBerry quite a bit, but I wish it had a better digital camera with some kind of decent optical zoom. Asking a lot as it was never meant to be a really good camera, or a really good browser, or a really good e-mail client, or a really good anything, I guess. It does what it does, and does it well, but not so well that one wouldn't wish for it to be better at most everything.

At any rate, I was able to take a picture and send it to this blog right away, so the pics you saw this morning might have been just 2 or 3 minutes old prior to being published.

It was a thrill to guess one of the mystery vocalists this morning. I was told I'd win a little somethin' somethin', but had to fight to get a ball cap after the show was over. No biggie. And I wish the pic of Stan and me were better. The one that's up there in the earlier post is awfully fuzzy. Nobody's fault.

After the show was over, we got some breakfast. We were tired, but forced ourselves to walk around the Spring Garden Road area until around noon. Went to Bayer's Lake Business Park for the afternoon, where Patricia got me a Christmas present (my official position is that I do not know what the gift is). We were looking around for a good digital camera, and were bewildered and nearly overwhelmed by the choice, and didn't get anything. I nearly bought a computer from a store that is getting out of selling desktop computers, but decided in the end I didn't want to spend the money. People like me are causing this global economic crisis!

It took us 40 minutes or so to leave Bayer's Lake. Traffic was out of this world.

We had Chinese food at a place in Lakeside. I'll scan in the front page of their menu shortly.

What a long day! But, by Crom, it was an excellent one!

Stan: All the best. May you have 40 more years in broadcasting.


529th Post - the Last Picture

Me with David Myles

Damn it, I had a good time.

Why can't radio be this much fun all the time?

And when did I get so fat?

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528th Post - Its Almost Over!


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527th Post - The Dynamic Duo

Stan and David Myles
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526th Post - More Live Music!

David Myles

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525th Post - A Better Picture

Still can't spell his last name on the BlackBerry

Will try harder later

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524th Post - Another Stan Picture

With Costas

Yeah. I can spell his last name at this hour

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523rd Post - Mandolin Stan!

He plays the mandolin too!

Second hour is just about over. One hour to go!

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522nd Post - He Sings!

Is there no end to his talents?

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521st Post - Stan and Me!

I want a new digital camera! This one half sucks!

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520th Post - The Gang Is All Here!

Stan with Bob Bauer and Doug Barron

Bob once worked with Glenn Gould. Once the interview for post 510 goes up you will see more about Gould

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519th Post - Live Music

Sparing no expense they have provided live music

I am in heaven

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518th Post - Autographs!

Stan and Doug just signed a card for me

Will scan it in here later

Told Stan my Blog address. Hope he checks it out!

One cup of coffee. Feels like I had 12!

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517th Post - I Was Right!

Vocalist number 2 was Peter Falk

Nice round of applause!

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516th Post - Mystery Vocalist number 2

I know who it is!

Will they pick me?

So excited! Might pee myself!
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515th Post - It's A Fake!

The Wilf Wheel is not real

Shocking. Simply shocking! How could they have fooled us all these years?

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514th Post - The Two Guys

Show is just starting!

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513rd Post - Stan the Man

Here is the man of the hour doing the preshow warm up

I am so excited!
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512th Post - Crazy Bev

Am writing from the cbc building. Just a few minutes before Stan Carew begins his show the one celebrating 40 years in broadcasting

I am never up this early on a Saturday morning. Never. Will crash hard later on today

Show starts in 10 minutes

Patricia is not a morning person. Would rather not be here. She is doing this for love. Whose I am not sure about

Will try to Blog during the show

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Friday, November 14, 2008

511th Post - Separated at Birth?

I am not sure about this one. Some of my relatives are a little batty.

You wouldn't believe how much hair gel I have to use these days to keep every follicle in place. Not even the Ben Stiller brand (ever see There's Something About Mary?) would work very well for me right now.

Via BlackBerry enterprise server

Thursday, November 13, 2008

510th Post - Interview with Kool FM Program Director Rob Johnson!

Wow, the Lion's Head Tavern is a busy place for lunch! I was worried that my little digital voice recorder would be unable to pick us out amidst all of the din. But it did for the most part. From time to time, the yakking at nearby tables nearly overwhelmed us, but we persevered.

We selected that place because Rob Johnson works around the corner at the Pretty Pink Palace on Agricola Street in Halifax. We had originally decided to meet in late September. However, Rob Johnson was buying a house and had to postpone our meeting.

Before we started the formal interview, Mr. Johnson mentioned he had been to the blog, and was happy that there were other cat people out there. He also said that J.C. Douglas said hello. Hello right back, J.C.!

I had had a long morning getting my car fixed and then paying my permit renewal before picking up Patricia and making our way to the pub. Mr. Johnson met us there. We sat down, ordered our food, and began to chat. Patricia pipes in from time to time.

Bevboy: What is a day in the life of a program director?

Rob Johnson: By the time I show up in the morning, I have already checked my e-mails on my blackberry. I have a good idea of what I am in for, of what happened before I got in there. Usually, I start out the day with just going over the music for the day, making sure that everything looks good. If, for instance, it's a rainy day like today, I might go back and go, "Oh, let's add a few rainy day kind of mood songs", or things like that. Then the morning show gets off the air and I meet with them every day at 10 o'clock. We talk about what they did and what might be coming up. We cook up plans for what might be good topics to work on.

BB: Maybe some things not to talk about sometimes?

RJ: Well, yeah, sometimes. [chuckles] But, they're pros. They know what's appropriate. I was really fortunate to come here to a group of such pros that really get it. Once the reins were loosened a bit they all rose to the challenge.

Patricia: You say you came here. Where did you come from?

RJ: Charlottetown.

P: Because usually it seems that when people say (anyone that's from the tv or radio) they always seem to be from out West.

RJ: Well, I am from out West. I grew up in Saskatchewan. Bruce Frisko and I actually worked together when we were just starting out in radio at CKCK in Regina.


P: Why is it that people from out West, work here? And why do people here, go out West? Is there some kind of secret handshake or some kind of secret club where you switch coasts?

RJ: Well, I think it was a matter of coincidences that I ended up here. I was working in Calgary. I spent most of my career working in Calgary. I had a roommate from Nova Scotia. We were good friends. Air Canada had these weekend getaways fares back in the mid '90's that were really cheap. You could fly anywhere in Canada, so she talked me into coming down here for a weekend. There was a whole bunch of us who came down. And I instantly fell in love with this city. It left its mark. So I came back on holiday again the following year. I was feeling that I had hit the wall of where I was in Calgary, so I threw caution to the wind and gave my notice and moved down here. I was out of radio for two or three months before settling in at MBS [Maritime Broadcasting Systems]. And, then I met my wife. That pretty much cemented the Nova Scotia connection.

BB: Is your wife in radio as well?

RJ: No. She works for the bank. So, we lived here for a while. And then we went out to Vancouver, came back here for a bit, went to Calgary again for a while, then Charlottetown and now here.


BB: When hired as a p.d., is it necessarily to change a station's format? Or to change much of anything if the ratings are good and the advertisers are happy with the on air product?

RJ: People are hired in this position for a number of reasons. Sometimes it's because ratings are bad, revenues are down, and changes are needed. Sometimes a program director just leaves and goes on to another opportunity and leaves a wildly successful radio station. When things are working, you don't mess with it, but if there are signs of a problem it's time to start tinkering.

BB: What position was Kool FM in?

RJ: Kool FM was strong but not to its fullest potential. The feeling is that a lot of people had kind of forgotten about the radio station and the sense of fun and energy that should have been there but the music we were playing was just lacking. So there were just some minor little tweaks that we made, We changed the station voice [His name is Jamie Watson and he works out of Toronto] and modified the music just a little bit and basically gave the on air team a lot more leeway to be personalities and have fun at their job.

BB: Griff and Caroline get along like an old married couple.

P: It doesn't even come across as work, for crying out loud. They laugh, they joke, they kid around, they play great music. It's not work.

BB: And they get paid every two weeks.

RJ: Exactly. They're like that off the air, too. Luckily, all of us get along really well.

P: I heard on the radio that Griff is on vacation for two weeks. I should e-mail her and say, "Hey, if you need a hand, I'll gladly be your bitch for mornings." [laughter]

RJ: She'd get a kick out of that. Ian [Robinson] will be in for two weeks.


What was your last on air job, and your first job as a program director?

RJ: Well, coincidentally, it was my last job. My first job as a program director in Charlottetown. I got hired from Calgary to come down and launch a brand new rock station. Newcap had got approval for a new FM station.

BB: Oh, uh, K-Rock 105.3?

RJ: 105.5.

BB: We can listen to it at the cottage in Pictou County. It comes in as clear as a bell.

RJ: We used to get a lot of calls [from Pictou County].

P: We're there, and Charlottetown is right there [across the water; we can see Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick from the deck]

RJ: So, I got the opportunity to come down to PEI and launch K-Rock, which was a huge learning experience for me. And I also did the afternoon drive from three until six. It was interesting, balancing all of those things: Being on the air, being the program director.

BB: Oh, you were both? That is unusual.

RJ: There are a few stations where [this happens]. We have a K-Rock in Newfoundland. Their operations manager is their morning guy.

BB: And the K-Rock in the [Annapolis] Valley? They have, uh, Greasy Gary... Gary Tredwell on the air. [He is their program director]

RJ: Well, it happens mostly in smaller markets where money's a little tighter. I don't know if I was ever really that good at it. [chuckles].

BB: Is the K-Rock format some kind of package that stations buy or something, like the KIXX format?

RJ: No, no. It's an idea, a concept, for a logo really that is memorable. We used it in Edmonton very successfully, and in Newfoundland very successfully. When we got the rock license in Charlottetown we looked at a few different names and we came back to [the K-Rock branding]. There's no K-Rock anywhere around the Maritimes, so why not go for it? It will be memorable enough.

I mean, every station is different. The K-Rock, which is now K-97 in Edmonton, was 100% classic rock. There was no new music at all. K-Rock in PEI was a bit more like Q104 where there was a lot more new rock. Even K-Rock in Newfoundland played a little bit of new rock, but mostly classic. The nice thing about Newcap is that they leave it to us at the local level to make the decisions for programming.

BB: So, you get lots of leeway?

RJ: Yeah. Absolutely. We have a V.P. of programming. His name is Steve Jones. He has an excellent radio mind, but he is there to guide things along, to monitor. But at the end of the day, the decisions for programming are [made locally].


How did you decide on the "we play anything" format? How broad a musical spectrum do you hope to ultimately tap into as you acquire more music? Can we expect big band tunes on the station? Some light jazz? Bluegrass? And Patricia is asking if you will be All Christmas music for the month of December?

RJ: Well, we haven't fully decided on the Christmas thing yet. That's something that's up for discussion right now and we're just trying to decide when the right time to do that is.

As far as deciding on "We Play Anything": It wasn't so much of a format as it was a slogan change. We didn't really change the music that much. It's funny. I've heard people say, "I'm hearing more '70's [music]", but in actuality, we scaled back on the '70's stuff. There is actually a little more '80's stuff. It was just some minor changes. It's essentially been the same format. We were just looking for a different way of describing what we play and what we're all about, so that seemed kind of fun.

We were actually sitting around debating playing "everything", or playing "anything". To allude to another question you sent [I had asked him what Griff Henderson had meant the morning he said that they play anything, but they don't play everything]: I guess it comes down to a matter of semantics. The way I look at it is: "We Play Anything" is a declarative statement. There is nothing after that. We play anything. To get into linguistics, but there are ellipsis after that. We play anything like. We play anything we have. It's a little bit more open.

BB: If a song exists in the pretty pink palace [where there are 5 radio stations of differing formats] and somebody requests it on a Friday morning, will you guys play it?

RJ: Most likely. Unless it's ridiculously out there. We're not going to play Iron Maiden from Q104's fan base on the Kool morning show. I think that would freak out a lot of people. We have to be within reason. We have a broad appeal, classic hits radio station. That thing is not precluding us from playing new music, if it fits. We don't have a grand plan. We're kind of winging it. [chuckles]

BB: A couple of weeks ago they played "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", by John Denver. They played the Muppets recently. [Patricia chuckles]. I requested "Midnight at the Oasis" from 1974 [it was actually 1973!]. I guess it's a light jazz song if it's anything. And you played it. So, there is a pretty broad range there on a Friday morning at least.

RJ: Yeah. Certainly our Friday mornings have been the most eclectic. If you are at all familiar with our musical selection scheduler, we have different categories of songs. I have a certain amount of category that a song is in that we play on a regular basis. And I have this one giant category of 2500 songs that we play just every now and then. We'll draw from it for our requests or if the mood fits or if it looks like it might be good variety.

BB: Like "Disco Duck" a couple of weeks ago.

RJ: Yeah, exactly. Nobody wants to hear "Disco Duck" every two days, but once every six months it's kind of fun.

BB: They played "Disco Duck" a couple of weeks ago. I was walking to work, and there it was [on my walkman].

RJ: I was driving over the MacKay [bridge], laughing my ass off.
I hope that explains the way we view [We Play Anything].

BB: You won't get so eclectic that you drive away your core listeners...

RJ: No, exactly!

BB: ... but you want to play stuff that will attract people who are thinking of sampling the station and may be drawn in a little more with some of those tunes you choose to play.

RJ: Certainly, ultimately what we want to do is give people a few surprises. We don't want to be predictable. I think there is a fun element to delivering a surprise. Maybe jogging somebody's memory of a song they haven't heard in a million years.

BB: And you won't ever have requests every day, just on Fridays?

RJ: We'll review that at some time. It makes for a very busy morning show, and I am not sure if they can handle the pace five days a week.

BB: You'd need a third person, I guess, to source the music.

RJ: Exactly. By Friday at 10 o'clock, they're looking a little haggard. [laughter] They're running around trying to find this music and taking calls and it's just a whole other level of work on an already-busy morning show. As I tell them every morning, "It was Griff's idea".

BB: Griff's idea to go all-request.

RJ: Yeah. He just said, "I think it would be kind of fun to do that". I said, "Yeah! Let's do it. If you want to do it, let's do it". So I can remind him, "It was your idea".

BB: Well, we love it. It's a lot of fun.


Is there room in this market for a private classical music station?

RJ: Oh, God, I wish.

BB: Really? You like classical music, do you?

RJ: I do. It's something for my own personal taste I will listen to.

BB: Such as?

RJ: I'm a huge Glenn Gould fan. I have a remarkable collection of Glenn Gould. So, therefore, I've become a bit of a fan of Bach. There is something about his music that's captured my imagination.

BB: If someone ever requested that on the [Friday] morning show, would you like to play it, but you'd say no?

RJ: I'd love to! [chuckles] I do have the 1955 Goldberg Variations in my office.

BB: Oh, really?

RJ: [chuckles] But I don't think anybody will ever request that. But, yeah, the private classical stations would be for such a small market. Even CBC Radio 2 has scaled back on the classical music.

P: Yeah, they have.

BB: They claim they haven't, but they have.

RJ: They have.

BB: You're a classical fan. You like the stuff...

RJ: It would never fly here.

BB: You wouldn't be allowed to?

RJ: No, we would be allowed to. I mean, anybody can do it. As a matter of fact, it would be fairly easy to get a classical music license provided you can justify your existence because it's something that is so diverse on the dial [that there wouldn't be a huge audience]

BB: You would be programming to used bookstores.

RJ: Yeah, exactly. It attracts a very small segment of the population. The perception is that it is 65 plus, people over the age of 65. Listeners are dying off. If the truth be known, it is such a small sliver of the population. I mean, News 95.7 up here [gesturing up the road to that radio station on Young Street] is having a hard time making a go of it.

BB: It's a good product, but...

RJ: Well, it is, but news stations take a long time to develop a following and make a go of it, but anytime somebody launches a news station you're going to have to expect to face losses for at least 10 years. It just takes a long time for the loyalty to build up, for the awareness. It's a tough format to build up. Classical would be even worse. Washington D.C. lost its classical music station. WGMS was a great classical station.

BB: Where were they on the dial? Was it AM?

RJ: No, FM. It was at 103 point something. The Washington D.C. market you would think have the support, but [it didn't]. But having said that, KING in Seattle does very well. But this market [in Halifax] is too small.


Toronto is probably the biggest radio market in the country. How large is the Halifax market in real terms? I guess I mean in terms of audience and revenue stream.

RJ: Well, it's not considered major. We're the 13th largest market radio market in Canada. There's Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg...

BB: Is this the biggest this side of Montreal?

RJ: Yes.


RJ: There's a bunch in Ontario: Kitchener, London, Hamilton. They lump the Niagara Peninsula into one big market, so they're slightly bigger than us, too.

As far as revenue, [Halifax] is certainly the biggest this side of Montreal, for Atlantic Canada. This is the largest city and the most important.

BB: And there's no lack of interest in starting new stations here. Global Television had a license and for whatever reason they let it lapse, and now Evanov wants to acquire that license if it can.

RJ: I don't think that's ever been officially released. That certainly seems to be the consensus. They can apply for it, but there's no guarantee that the CRTC is going to award to allow another station. I think at this point in time things are tight. I'm not sure that adding another station to this market at this time is the best for the health of the radio industry in this city.

BB: Things are a little constricted now, are they?

RJ: It is. It's getting tight as far as revenues go and that's happening all across North America.

BB: The global economic crisis.

RJ: Exactly.


BB: How do you decide when the station is not live, when it is voice tracked?

RJ: Really, it comes down to man power. However much we can do live, we do live. When we can't, we go voice tracked. We're live from 5:30 until 7pm Tuesday till Friday. Kelli Rickard is in live from 7 till 11pm on Monday nights. The rest of the evenings are voice tracked by Frank [Lowe]

BB: And [it's voicetracked] most of the weekends, except that Kelli is on in the mornings and the afternoons.

RJ: Yes. She and the newsperson are the only live people in on the weekends. Hopefully, as we become more successful, we can make an investment in more talent. It's a matter of economics. You can't overload yourself with extra salaries.

BB: Is there an appetite for live, local overnight radio? I guess I'm saying: I wish you guys were live all night.

RJ: We don't hear that so often. I mean, moreso in the evening. There's an interest in our part at least going live till midnight as often as we can, and overnights would be brilliant. I did overnights in Calgary for years and it was an interesting experience.

BB: A lot of drunks calling you up, I'd imagine.

RJ: Yeah! I also did weekend mornings in Calgary. We'd get at 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning the drunks who hadn't gone to bed yet. [laughter]

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

RJ: Probably from a program director in Calgary. He said, "We're not saving lives here. It's just radio." [laughter] The tendency is in a lot of professions you build undue stress on yourself. Everybody who's working at our station has a passion and drive to win. At the end of the day you're making this a lot more complicated than it should be. I was just trying to drive home the fact that we're just here trying to have fun. This is a fun industry, so at the end of the day if something doesn't work out nobody's gonna die. The worst-case scenario, you might lose a couple of bucks. You learn from your mistakes.

BB: It's not your money anyway!

RJ: Yeah. Exactly. [laughter] So, that was probably the best advice I ever got: Take it easy!


BB: What is your opinion of satellite radio?

RJ: I think it's interesting. The first real intimate experience I had with satellite radio was in May. I was in Miami for two weeks. I had a rental car with satellite radio, XM. We kind of flipped around and there was nothing on there that really caught my attention. A lot of the stuff that I would listen to I could also find [locally]. Granted, this was south Florida where there is a fair amount of diversity. Most things I could find on the FM dial, or AM dial. I listened to WIOD out there. But the thing I found I used most with satellite radio was the traffic reporting service. Miami! [laughter] That was easy to get around with that on. The traffic reports were pretty accurate.

But other than that, I understand the appeal. [With] people who are absolute music fanatics, commercial radio will probably never fully appease them.

BB: There's an extraordinarily broad range of programming available on satellite radio. I can't get over it. But I like listening to my cheap old transistor radio.

RJ: Well, I like the local aspect of it, too. It just seems nicer to know that it's coming from where you are.

BB: During the morning show, there is a lot of chitchat, goofing around and so on; but after that's over, the morning show is over, you have these long sets of music punctuated by a little bit of talk, an updated weather forecast, [or] a traffic report if necessary. But mostly it's music, and I've always wondered why you can't have more of that interaction with the audience during the day.

RJ: Well, we could. A lot of people are busy during the day. The appetite during the day is for more music. People when they're going home or going to work are maybe more interested in what's going on. They want to hear some stories and then hear some music. In that 9 till 4 or 3 range the research tells us that people like more music, so we give it to them.

BB: And that's why the news hits are fairly short as well?

RJ: Yeah. Exactly.

BB: They could be a lot longer.

RJ: If we wanted them to be, but people aren't coming to KOOL for hard-hitting news. We give them the basics, which is what they're coming to us for: What's happening, what's going on.


BB: Can you give me one piece of Kool FM breaking news for my readers?

RJ: Yeah, I've given this one a lot of thought. We're currently deciding when to play Christmas music. [laughter].

P: I'll be making requests!

RJ: We tend to like to try to plan things in advance, but oftentimes they get changed at the last minute, so I've learned to never really count on things 100% coming through because a lot of times we have to kind of scramble and get something on that's more topical.

BB: When CJCH was still on the air, they would go wall-to-wall Christmas music on December first until after Boxing Day. Do you see yourself doing something like that?

RJ: We really haven't given it a thought. How would you guys feel about that?

BB, P (in unison): Oh, God, we'd love it.

BB: And to hear it in stereo would be awesome. And they played some pretty broad stuff: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, more pop stuff, symphonic music, orchestral music. They played old time radio shows. We just adored it. It's something where we'd listen to it at night. We'd listen to it rather than watch television. We'd have the radio on. It was just a fascinating experiment. I thought it was relatively successful for them. But we're just two listeners. But, our two cents. Our four cents! [laughter]

RJ: So, that's about all I can give you right now.

BB: Fair enough. We'll wait and see.

I got up and paid the bill for the three of us, while Patricia and Mr. Johnson chatted. I left the digital voice recorder on, so I know they talked about me, but in glowing terms, of course.

Upon my return, we talk about what model of BlackBerry Mr. Johnson had. Turns out it is the same model as mine, the 8130, Pearl 2. He told us that it crashes on him all the time, too. Sigh. Like my boss said at coffee on November 12, "pearls are for girls!".

BB: Thank you very much for doing this, Mr. Johnson. We appreciate your time. And we want to interview everyone else in the building, so spread the good word. I am absolutely honest about this.

P: If you interview Caroline [Parker], I want to be there!

For more amazing interviews, keep checking out Bevboy's Blog! A couple more are in the works!
For my past interviews:

If you want to read my interview with Deb Smith, click here.

The J.C. Douglas interview is here.

The Dawn Sloane interview can be found here.

And don't forget about the Jeff Cogswell interview!

509th Post - More Cat News

I know you're getting tired of all these cat posts, but Daily Variety today is reporting that Dewey Readmore Books will become a film with Meryl Streep.

I bought the book over the weekend, and Patricia wrestled it away from me. Hurry up and read it, honey. After I finish that man fiction by Stephen Hunter, I want to read about Dewey!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

508th Post - Corporate Canada

First of all, I sent the first draft of my interview with so-and-so to him a few minutes ago. If he approves of what the draft says, you'll see it here as soon as Thursday.

I e-mailed someone today regarding life in the private sector. He reads the blog and wrote of some things that had happened with him, which he asked me not to tell on this blog, so I won't. But it reminded me of something that happened to me, back in the day.

Some of you know that I work as a civil servant, but my roots are in the private sector. I thought I'd relate an amusing anecdote from that period of my life, my misspent youth.

It was the annual Christmas party. There were door prizes. The top prize was a free trip anywhere Air Canada flew. The second prize was a bottle of wine.

Throughout the course of the evening, staff names were removed from the board. My name remained up there. Also throughout the course of the evening, I drank. We had been given a couple of free drink chits, and the practice was that the married folks didn't drink much, and we single guys were the beneficiaries of these chits. I drank a lot that evening.

I was feeling pretty good within a couple of hours. Not so good that I tried to dance on the buffet table, not so good that I tried to grope someone, not so good that I puked in the punch bowl, but I was very comfortable. I was comforted further that evening by the fact that my name remained on that board.

Despite my stupor, I couldn't help notice that my name was still up there on the board, while more and more of my colleagues' monikers were not. People began to speak of me in hushed tones, the kind of tones usually reserved for people they respected, even liked.

By 10pm or so, there were just a few names left. Mine was one of them.

I began to pray that they would select my name next. It was an inebriated form of reverse psychology, I guess. But it worked, because my name was still on the board as more names were shed from the board.

Finally, at long last, whatever time it was, there were just two names left on the board. And... my name was one of them! I could hardly stand at this time. Remember, free liquor!

I should pause for a moment and tell you that the corporate world and I never really did see eye-to-eye. I mean, I respected the big wigs who visited our branch. I knew they could make my life miserable, barely worth living, if I crossed them sufficiently. My nose would get the appropriate shades of brown and I had learned to laugh at whatever attempts of humour they mustered. But I never felt comfortable there, and people who knew me well, knew that.

So, who was the other person whose name was on the board, along with mine? None other than the general manager's, of course!

And, do you want to guess who ended up winning that free trip, and who got the bottle of wine?

Do I really need to finish this story? I mean, really?

It was probably the most overt example of sucking up to management that I had ever seen up to that point. The moment I saw the g.m.'s name up there on the board, as liquored up as I was, I began to sift through the bottles of wine and said, "I'll take this one", and shambled away, my spirit broken.

And, of course, Mike's name was drawn. I hope he enjoyed the damned trip. I enjoyed the wine.

Bevboy, who still doesn't like Corporate Canada that much.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

507th Post - A Comics Website

Yes, comic books are still being published. New ones. I do not know what the readership is like for them any more. In the 1980's, it was estimated that there were perhaps one million readers out there. Since then, with the internet, with video games, with so many more accoutrements, who knows what the numbers are like now.

I have a house full of them, and every year at Hallowe'en I give a bunch of them away to the kids. They go nuts over them. I am getting a reputation in the neighbourhood as the comics guy.

I just now had an online chat via facebook with a guy named Jim Salicrup, who is now editor-in-chief of Papercutz comics in New York. I just visited their website and they have some interesting stuff including, new Tales from the Crypt stories. Yes! Books first published in the 1950's have been revived.

Check out their website. I have, and will be back.

Mr. Salicrup says he will check out my blog. I hope he does and likes it.


506th Post - Yawn!

We had a day off work today as it was Remembrance Day. Yes, I respect what the veterans have done for us. I quietly reflected on what they did, but I didn't leave the house.

I slept in today before eventually rising and washing my dishes. Finally. Yes.

I spent a few hours today transcribing the latest interview for the blog. We conducted the interview this past Friday. I am hoping it will be up here before the end of the week. Keep in mind that this is a time-consuming thing to do. They are a real labour of love. I am not sure how many of you even bother to read them, but I do them because I am genuinely curious about the people I talk to and enjoy finding out about them and what they do for a living.

Took a nap this afternoon.

Back to work tomorrow. I love short work weeks.

Guess I'll transcribe another question or two tonight.



Monday, November 10, 2008

505th Post - Nova Scotia English And Something Ugly

Someone who regularly reads this blog asked me today what "run the roads" means. Since I now have an international readership, it occurs to me that perhaps I should take a few paragraphs and explain what some of these phrases mean, the ones I use in the blog, that is. Take notes. There will be a quiz later.

Over the weekend, Patricia and I ran the roads, and it sure did tucker me out. I had a long nap after work this evening, and I know it will throw off my sleep for the night, when I eventually get there. But "running the roads" just means that I drove my car a lot this weekend, driving all over the place. Since my signal lights are now working properly, I had them on for every gentle curve in the road. I guess I am a show off.

Do you want to hear some more expressions? Well, do ya, punk?

"Fill your boots" is an expression that I didn't hear until I moved to Halifax in 1988. If it is used where I am from, I certainly didn't hear it. It means to take your fill of something, to do something until you don't want or need to do it any more. "You need some hay? There's lots over there. Fill your boots!"

In Nova Scotia, "some" is an intensifier, like very. "That's some good pie!" "You're some smart!" "That's some good movie!" There is even a cookbook up here called, "Some Good".

The something ugly I promised in the subject heading deals with a story I probably should not mention here, but will anyway. In the 1980's, there was a family that were... unkind to their children, abusive in the kind of way I cannot bring myself to express here. Extreme poverty, isolation, poor education, and the most despicable family tradition passed down from one generation to another all contributed to make the Goler family notorious in these parts, and their reputation became well known to those who study that kind of thing, world-wide. The eventual trial in the 1980's proved embarrassing to prominent people who had allowed this to happen for as long as they did. There was a book summarizing this story in the late 1990's. It is called "On South Mountain". I own it, but have never brought myself to read it. I do not know if it remains in print or not. I suppose you could still find it in a used book store or on abebooks or something.

I am not going to list any of the jokes here. I want this to be a friendly place to hang out. It is just that they exist.

On that jovial note, I wish you a pleasant evening.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

504th Post - Sunday, Sunday

Slept in this morning, and did some laundry. Didn't have a chance to wash my dishes though. They are starting to plan their escape, so I'll be sure to take care of them Monday evening.

This is a short week for me, but not as short as Patricia's. She is taking Monday off as a vacation day, while I work. We are both off on Tuesday for Remembrance Day. I plan to take the bus on Monday.

Today we went to Tantallon to buy some groceries and get some stuff for supper. Turned out to be roast beef. After dinner we watched "Octopussy", that classic James Bond movie from the early 1980's. There was a time when such films captivated me. I'd find Roger Moore's interpretation of the Bond character to be engaging and witty. Today, I find those films, except for "For Your Eyes Only", to be boring, trite, silly.

Back to work tomorrow. I ran the roads for three days. A nice relaxing day at work is what the doctor ordered.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

503rd Post - Another Picture From Tonight

Patricia with my parents

Another long day

Time for sleep

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502nd Post - Happy 56th Anniversary

Spent several hours today with me parents. Patricia and my sister and her husband took them out to dinner tonight

Patricia and I ran some errands after that and then visited my parents where Patricia took this photo

More in a moment

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Friday, November 7, 2008

501st Post - A Very Long Day!

Hey, everyone.

I have been on the go since 5:30 this morning; it is now just shy of 9:30pm.

Had to get my car fixed today, and the more fool me, I decided to take it to the stealership for 7 today, meaning I had to leave the house not much later than 6. So, I did.

I mentioned a few days ago that my signal lights were not working properly. I figured it would be hundreds of dollars to fix this problem. Turns out that GM has decided to cover the cost of this repair. I was only on the hook for the oil change I had also authorized. Sweet.

I was at the stealership until just before 10am. I drove from there to renew my vehicle permit, which took about 20 minutes of waiting at the dmv. From there, I drove back to pick up Patricia at her place, before returning back downtown to pick up some stuff I won at the radio station. Rod Doiron thinks my hair is too long. Fine. I'll get it cut, Mr. Shorthairguy. From there, we drove around the corner to a nearby pub, which took much longer than it should have, due to construction taking place in that part of the city.

We made our way to the pub because we were about to conduct the next interview for this blog! I hope it turned out ok. My digital voice recorder can't work miracles. There was a lot of ambient noise there during lunch. We had no idea it was such a popular spot!

I'll transcribe the interview and you should see it here sometime next week.

From there, we drove over to Dartmouth for an appointment at 2pm. I asked the office receptionist to tell me the best way to get to Dartmouth Crossing. She wrote out some directions and also printed off directions courtesy of google maps! That was very kind of her. I should have told her not to bother, though.

After the appointment, we used these directions to find our way there. I must tell you, if I haven't already (this is post 501 and I can't remember everything I have written, folks!) that directions and I don't always see eye-to-eye. In fact, there is no set of written instructions that I cannot misinterpret to my disadvantage. If you tell me to turn right, I'll turn left. Not out of spite, or a fit of pique. It is just that I cannot always tell the difference between left and right. In fact, when we are driving, I get Patricia to say, "correct", if I am, well, correct about something. Like that happens a lot. If she says, "right", in the context of being correct, I'll just take the next right on the road, thinking that she is telling me to take that next turn. It is very confusing, and frustrating. Maybe we should take the bus everywhere. But I don't want to, because my signal lights are working again. You see my conundrum.

Anyway, the woman had written something like "get on to the 118 and keep to the right". I saw an exit ahead of us and asked Patricia if I should take it. She said something like, "right" (thereby contravening my request above), and I took the exit, when she was just quoting what was on the piece of paper. That little stunt of mine cost us 15 minutes. Hey, I now know where the Hooters restaurant in Dartmouth is, because we ended up out there! I hear that the wings are plump and juicy.

We retraced our steps and arrived at Dartmouth Crossing. I know it is a huge, sprawling place, but we concentrated on a few stores as we were losing our light and the weather wasn't very good. We want to return soon, only during the day.

After we left Dartmouth Crossing, we got lost in the Burnside Industrial Park. Shut up. Just shut up.

We eventually find our way out of the Burnside Industrial Park, and drove into Bedford. We went to Pete's Frootique because Patricia wanted a break from my driving. So did I. After spending too much money at that pricey place, we finally made our way home, and here I am.

So, a very long, frustrating day. I have earned a few hour of sleep, haven't I?

Newbie has missed me terribly. I can tell. He actually momentarily made eye contact with me. If that isn't a cat's idea of love, I don't know what is.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

500th Post - He Ain't Heavy

Say hello to my brother, Ernest Cecil Keddy. He died in 1970, a month or so shy of his 17th birthday.

His first name came from my mother's father. The middle one is my father's first name. I have Dad's middle name, David, as my middle name.

I was 5 years old when my brother died, a month and a bit before I turned 6. I was too young to understand what had happened. I remember seeing the stump where his right leg had once been. I remember the prosthetic leg he wore and his attempts to ride a bicycle and participate in gym class. I remember my brother's car; a kindly mechanic had, for very little money, reversed the accelerator and brake peddles.

I remember my father working all day at his job and then driving to Halifax each evening to visit his son as the cancer ate away at him. That was an hour's drive each way, and my father only knew one way to get to the hospital. I think he would even take some of his school mates with him to visit if they wanted to come.

I remember when Ernie died. Like I said, I didn't understand what had happened, but I some how knew that I would never see him again. I remember all the tears. I remember my grief-stricken parents. I remember the post-funeral get-together at the house. There have never been so many people in that house, before or since, then there were that day. I remember the show-and-tell at my school where I told everyone what had happened, and the shocked look on my teacher's face.

Some of you know that I read a lot of comic books when I was growing up, and still read a few here and there. A common cliche in them, then and now, is the character who comes back from the dead. A few comics people are my friends on facebook, and they may even be taking the time to read this, for which I am grateful. Even when I was in my formative years, those stories pissed me off. Yeah, Captain Underpants could swallow an atomic bomb and everyone would think he had been killed. Blah blah blah. But the next issue, there he was, hale and hearty. But I knew that no amount of prayer, of super technology, nothin', would bring my brother back to me, to us.

I visited him on Sunday, November 2nd, to take some photographs of his tombstone. I had not been to see him in some time, and the more fool me. The trees that used to be next to his grave are long gone, a victim of some elm disease. The tombstone is becoming a little hard to read, thanks to the elements.

Ernie has spent the last nearly 39 years in the ground, while I have had so many opportunities that he never had a chance to experience. I hope, if there is an afterlife, that he is up there looking down on me: sometimes proudly, sometimes shaking his head, sometimes wagging his finger.

I have my good days and my bad days. We all do. When I am at my lowest, I think of what my brother missed out on, of the chances I have had that he did not have, and I pick myself up and dust myself off and try again.

It is what he would have done, and what he would have expected of me.

What else are big brothers for?


499th Post - It is Official!

I suck at mini golf!

Got corralled into playing it this morning for the first time ever. I may play it again in a year or so

There will be prizes at 330 today. Am hopeful of getting the booby prize

Coming up in a few hours: Post 500!

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498th Post - Funny Cat Video

I'm turning into one of those crazy old ladies, aren't I? The kind with all the cats and who gushes over them all day long.

I hope not. For one thing, I am no lady. And, for another, I have been given a clean mental bill of health. I just like cats, is all. So sue me. Some people like goldfish. Some people feel an affinity for boa constrictors. Some people have a thing for cacti. I am a cat person!

This is a funny video, though.

I hope you like it.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

497th Post - Cats!

I feel I must discuss cats again on this blog. I was thinking of spending a bit of time reading about the Rescue Cat Awards, when I received some disturbing news.

I am friends with a few radio people on facebook. One of them just updated her status, wondering why someone would put a box full of cats under a car. I am trying to source the story, and when I do, I'll put up a link here.

Last week, the same evening I picked up a new-to-me computer monitor I stopped off at the local drugstore (I live in a small community!) and noticed a message on a bulletin board asking if anyone wanted a free cat. A woman had captured some in her back yard and was worried they might perish if not dealt with soon. I called the number on the paper and left a message.

She called me back last evening. She told me about the cats, who sounded adorable, and while I resolved not to take any of the cats, I did promise to purchase a bag of cat food to help her and her husband defray the costs of keeping the cats. Turns out they are neighbours of mine from down the road.

This woman's theory is that people moved recently and decided to leave their cats behind. They were left to fend for themselves in increasingly-cold weather. Thank goodness she and her hubby have been able to capture the kittens. They are trying to get the mother and father now.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that there is no need for people to be abusive to cats. There are always others like this woman, her husband, and fools like me, who are willing to do whatever we can to make sure that cats are treated well and do not suffer.

A pox on the jerks who moved away and left their cats behind. And I hope I never find the so-and-so's who put the cats in a box and put them under a car.

Here is a short video describing the ultimate rescue cat. If you can watch it without getting choked up, I do not want to know you.

Toastmasters tonight. Like I feel like going now.


P.S. Caroline just sent me the following:

Sad story today .. someone put a box with two cats in it .. under a car at the SPCA in dartmouth. The owner of the car was an SPCA employee .. she left work last night and ran over the box. One kitten was killed, the other was pregnant and suffered severe facial injuries and needed emergency surgery. Don't know if it will survive!

Sad .. hope they catch who ever is responsible