Wednesday, December 31, 2008

610th Post - Baby Come Back!

My beautiful car is back better than ever.

Very long day with lots of running around. Having dinner with Patricia tonight.

Major snowstorm hitting the province this evening. 2009 is starting with a bang!

Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

609th Post - Up In The Air

Well, it is now official: My car will be ready for pick up on December 31st, 2008, at or around 4pm local time.

Think about that.

It is the very end of the year. I have to get to my car, which is about a 75 minute drive from here. I was going to drive the rental down there with no problem. Then, about 4:40 this afternoon, I learned that I would have to pay a $125 "drop off fee" to do this. That because the rental car would be at a foreign rental outlet, this fee must be paid to make up for their inconvenience of picking up the car again.

I told them that this was taken care of by my insurance company, but the rental place people were adamant. If I drive the car down to the part of the province close to where my car is, the fee must be paid. I hung up on them.

Fuming, I tried to reach my insurance company for confirmation. I had left a message earlier today to let them know that my car would be ready on the 31st; I'm sure that the autobody place also told them this. I went to voice mail Hell and finally left a message for them to call me, again.

And, when I got home this evening, there was a message on my answering machine from the rental place. The last day my insurance company will pay for the rental is December 31st!! I either have to return the car tomorrow, or assume payments for it. Yeah, right.

I am not typically an angry man. I try not to let things get to me. But when I can't reach the insurance people who are trying to provide me assistance through this difficult time, it is very frustrating. When the car rental people spring fees on me that I knew nothing about, it is very frustrating. When it looks now as if I will have to return the rental, take a bus to that part of the province, have my father take me to the place where my Grand Prix is, all in an effort to get my own car back, and try to return to the city before a major snow storm hits on New Year's Eve, then that is very frustrating as well.

Is there someone I can throw my shoes at?


Monday, December 29, 2008

608th Post - A Piece of Good News!

Spoke with the autobody shop today. They had to order a new tire for my car. If it arrived today, they'd be able to do the alignment on Tuesday and release it to me then. If it arrived on Tuesday, it would be Wednesday before the car would be in a state for me to drive again.

I may be able to begin 2009 with my car!! Wahoo!

You have no idea how much I have missed the car, since the accident 3 weeks ago. For one thing, the rental car is one that I would never consider even test driving, let alone purchasing. A light blue Hyundai Accent? Puhlease! Why not just castrate me now with a butter knife and get it over with? I want my six cylinder, dark gray 2008 Grand Prix with the air conditioning, cruise control, on*star, built-in telephone, vehicle, and I want it now! I have only had that beautiful car effectively for 3 days. Since the accident on December 9th, I have been driving the Girlymobile. Talk about a loss of dignity!

Soon, my pet. Soon! Patience.


607th Post - A Decent Dinner

Over the years I have worked with many people who bought their lunch, every day. They were mostly women. In my younger, less mature years, I would guess they were going out to lunch with each other to talk about how good looking I was. Today, I just assume that's what they're talking about. But I digress.

Today, the food and beverage industry is struggling in Halifax, if reports are true. People aren't eating out as much as they used to, in an effort to save money. Call it another symptom, another casualty, of the global economic crisis.

A couple of weeks ago, there were media reports that a Halifax landmark, The Economy Shoe Shop, was groaning under a burgeoning debt, mostly brought about by an arm of the company that was not carrying its weight, a place called the Marquee. The owners were downplaying how bad things were, but in the off chance they might not make it until my birthday, we decided to have dinner there tonight after work.

It was not a big mistake, but I regret having spent $53 there this evening. I have had meals at other places that I enjoyed twice as much and cost half what I paid tonight. The nachos were uncheesy and overbearing with onions and peppers. For a place that prides itself on nachos, these were disappointing. The mussels were fine. I'll let you know about the smoked meat sandwich on Tuesday, as I bought it for my lunch. Patricia will report to me how much she enjoyed her Greek salad, and I'll relay that information to you, because I know you need to know everything there is to know about me.

Maybe it's not the global economic crisis that's threatening the Shoe Shop. Maybe they need to watch the quality a bit more. With people's money getting tight, we can't afford to waste it on substandard victuals.

More in a bit.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

606th Post - The Classic Movie for December 28

I bought a dvd boxed set last week containing 4 films. I wrote about that acquisition last evening. We watched "All About Eve" this afternoon, and I am not sure what to say here. I can understand why people would have liked it back then; but by today's standards, it was a hard row to hoe. 150 minutes of people talking, and smoking, and Bette Davis monologues is asking a bit more of me than I am prepared to supply. "How Green Was My Valley" yesterday was far more compelling than "Eve" was today.

We haven't watched the special features yet. They include 2 audio commentaries and some documentaries and some other stuff. Maybe watching them can help us appreciate this movie more. I am skeptical.

Next: Either "Sunrise" or "Gentleman's Agreement". But not for a couple of days. It's back to reality (and work!) tomorrow.


605th Post - Satellite Radio Thoughts

Read this piece about satellite radio on the New York Times website this morning. Bottom line: After years and years they have still yet to yield a profit. Paying people like Howard Stern unseemly gobs of money when your only revenue stream is subscribers paying fourteen or so dollars a month is not a good business plan. Couple that with huge debt and a deep recession where people are going to cut back on things like satellite radio subscriptions, and Sirius XM is in big trouble.

I have thought about switching over to satellite over the years. I may yet do it, but not until those guys get their financial affairs in order.

More in a bit.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

604th Post - An Interesting DVD Set

I still buy dvd's from time to time, but nothing like I used to. See my previous post for more details on my buying habits.

On Tuesday night, as I was leaving the local Walmart, my eyes landed on a dvd box set for less than 15 dollars that contained 4 classic movies that Patricia and I haven't seen. Each film contains special features like an audio commentary, a documentary or two about the making of the film, still galleries, trailers, and... oh, yes! the movie itself.

The boxset contains All About Eve, Gentleman's Agreement, How Green Was My Valley, and Sunrise. The last one is of particular interest to me as it is a silent film from 1927. It is hailed as a masterpiece of the cinema, and I have long wanted to see it. To get a nice special edition of it so inexpensively was a wonderful surprise.

This evening we watched "How Green Was My Valley". It was a very good film and I recommend it. It's about a poor Welsh family in a mining town from about 100 years ago and how they deal with hard times like strikes, unions, and deaths in the mines. We liked it a lot and want to see it again some time.

Tomorrow, we'll watch another one of those films. Don't know which one yet. But I'll keep you, my readers, up-to-date because I know you just hang on every little thing that goes on in my life, don't you?

What movies do you want to see, but never have got around to?


603rd Post - How Not To Write a Blog Post (Or A Novel)!

Upstairs in my house, 2 levels up from where I am typing these words, is a room containing most of my book collection. I am not sure if "collection" is the right word. "Assemblage" might be a better one. "Unholy friggin' mess" would be even better. I have books on nearly every topic in polite conversation, and more than a few on legal topics I'd rather not list here. All they have in common is that I bought them, or they were given to me, sometime over the last 30 years or so. Either I thought they would be interesting to read, or someone thought I might like to read them, and they ended up in that room after I bought this house in 2000.

I still buy books, but at a rate that is much more sensible than it used to be. I hardly ever buy new hardcovers any more, but still buy some new paperbacks, but mostly it's used paperbacks from the bookstore down the street from the office building I work in.

Arranging these books/pamphlets/magazines/comics into any kind of coherent, searchable order has eluded me. The effort would be so immense, for such a small reward, that I have not expended the energy to do so.

Truth to tell, I have so many books that I have never read, and never will read, that I'd be better off selling them for a few bucks. The only problem with that is that most used bookstores are not interested in books that are more than, say, 10 years old; and many of my books are older than that.

Here's some heresy: In order to get rid of the vast majority of the books in my house, the ones that aren't worth anything, that nobody wants (but which may still be perfectly acceptable time fillers to read), I could give them to my father, who would burn them in his wood furnace for kindling. It would at least clear up much of the clutter in that part of the house. Book philes may hate me for stating this, but them's the breaks.

(Don't tell me to donate them to a library or an old folk's home. They are strict about what they will accept.)

But that is not what I want to write about on this Saturday evening.

I am reminded of a couple of books upstairs in that room this evening called "It Was a Dark And Stormy Night", and "Son of It Was a Dark And Stormy Night". They list the winners(?) of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where contestants write the opening sentence to a pretend novel. The more turgid, purple, nonsensical the prose, the better.

Some of these entries are hysterical, if they hit you in the right frame of mind. Maybe I will not have my father burn these books. Maybe I will hold on to them for a bit yet.

I found this website that provides some of the contest entries from over the past 25 years. I thought you might like to check it out.


602nd Post - He Who Hestitates Is ... Not Always Lost!

Well, we were going to see some movies over the holidays. Of particular interest to me at least, and vicariously for Patricia, was "The Spirit", Frank Miller's latest film.

I have been a fan of Miller since the late 1970's. Yes, he has been around that long. He was an acclaimed comic book artist, then writer, then writer/artist, for many years before he ventured into film. AFAIK, his first writing credit was Robocop 2, and if you don't remember that movie, or had forgotten that there was more than one Robocop film, then I do not think any less of you, because RC 2 was not very good at all. I still haven't seen RC 3.

I became less interested in Miller's work as the 1990's progressed. I found more and more of it self-indulgent and pedantic, and not terribly entertaining. I still have quite a few issues of his Sin City book that I have never read, so I will not comment on them, other than to say that I haven't read them and may never. If you want a deal...

I have always liked the work of Will Eisner, though. His Spirit work back in the 1940's was so seminal that he is still cited today as a major influence. I realize he had an awful lot of assistants working with him to produce those weekly 7-page comic stories, but even when he was off fighting WWII, Eisner's presence on the strip was always there.

Eisner produced quality work nearly until his death in 2005. I was and am a member of a Will Eisner mailing list. After I bought a book on parliamentary procedure containing Eisner illustrations explaining how to make a motion, an amendment, and so on, I asked Eisner why he had decided to do this book. He was kind enough to reply to me! He wrote that he knew that parliamentary procedure was a dry affair, and he wanted to, via his unique illustrations, try to make the process more interesting than it would be (and is!) otherwise. I always thought it was kind of him to reply to my e-mail.

Imagine, then, how I should feel to learn that Frank Miller would be directing a Spirit movie! I had high hopes and was looking forward to seeing the film, which was to be released on December 25th.

I'm glad we haven't seen it yet, because the reviews have been horrendous. Rotten Tomatoes Dot Com gives it a lousy 17% rating. Variety thinks it may become the latest cult film, ala The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have yet to see a positive review.

I may yet see this movie, but will likely wait until it hits my movie channels, probably in a few weeks.

What movie have you been looking forward to seeing over the holidays?


Friday, December 26, 2008

601st Post - Boxing Day 2008

Hey, everyone.

My Christmas was fine. I wasn't even sure if I would make it to my parents' place, due to windy and blustery weather. However, I did manage to arrive there around 9:15 Christmas morning. Patricia, not feeling well, remained in Halifax.

We opened our prezzies. My dad was very happy with the new cordless drill I bought him; his old one was on its last legs. My mother will enjoy the Frank Magazine subscription (Dad, too). My sister has a year long membership to iRewards, giving her a discount on anything she buys at a national chain of bookstores.

I got some unmentionables, some clothes, socks, the things that I used to hate getting when I was a kid, but which I appreciate receiving now. Patricia got me a copy of The Dark Knight, which we have never seen actually. When it was in theatres this summer, Patricia was still recovering from her illness and spending a lot of time at the cottage, which is a good 45 minute drive from the closest multiplex. She was there for 4 weeks in a row, and I joined her when my own vacation started at the end of July. We just couldn't make it to the movies as much as we wanted to. We have plenty of dvd's to watch at the cottage, however, and once we're there, we really don't want to leave. Yes, I think about the place during the year and would like to be there right now.

We had Christmas dinner/lunch at my younger sister's place, the one who reads this blog. We stayed there for a few hours, which is how long it took my niece to show off all the things she got for Christmas.

I returned to the city around 4:45, after a quick trip to my old friend Reg's house to exchange gifts. I spent some time with her, gave her some Christmas dinner from earlier in the day, and then came back here, where I have been ever since.

Boxing Day has been a jammy day for me. I slept in and took 2 naps this afternoon. I guess it is in preparation for the Boxing Day sales which commence in Nova Scotia on Saturday. It will likely be a long day. But I hope we have time to watch The Dark Knight.

Man, this post is really helping the blog live up to its claim of being the most boring one in Canada, huh?

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

600th Post - Merry Christmas

From my sisters place.
More later.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

599th Post - Today at Work

Coming back from break this morning (we needed it that much more today given our exhausting and backbreaking half day of work the day before Christmas) I made the mistake of pointing out to my chums the rental car I have been forced to drive as a punishment for having committed the crime of requiring a car after the accident on December 8th.


I made a mistake pointing out the car to these guys.

They all laughed when they saw the Hyundai accent. "What colour is that Bev?".

"I'm not sure. Periwinkle I guess" I ventured.

Then they laughed all the more for what kind of man knows what that word means?

They had a point.

For the record: A woman told me what that word meant. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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598th Post - Newbie And I

Newbie sleeping yet again. What is he? A cat or something?

When I was his age I was chasing mice and peeing in nearby gardens and bringing home rodents to my parents every day! None of this sitting around looking cute stuff. I had to work!

Today's cats have it so easy.

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597th Post - Bevboy is Wondering

I am wondering why Christmas TV is usually so bad. One sucky show after another.

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596th Post - Up Early Tomorrow

It is now 9 PM in Nova Scotia. I will be getting up very early in the morning to visit my folks for the day. The BlackBerry will be coming with me. I am on call at work this week.

Yes! These are a few filler posts as I want the live Blog posts to start with 600. Don't judge me.

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595th Post - Power is back on!

Power got knocked out in 41000 or so homes this morning including my humble abode

Patricia and I hung around the downtown for a couple of hours after work today. By the time I got home this afternoon I had power again. Yay!

May live Blog Christmas tomorrow. That would be fun.

More in a bit.

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594th Post - Christmas Tie Day Twelve of Twelve

The final 2 pictures. One of them is just awful. Sorry about the blurriness. The second one isn't blurry, but let's just say that my Burt Reynolds period is now happily behind me.

You can thank me now.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

593rd Post - Christmas Recipe

I took a sick day today as my neck and back are pretty sore as a result of the tumble I took yesterday morning.

I will spend part of my evening preparing the special dip that my family asks me and expects me to make every year. I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Equal parts of Plain Yogurt and Sour Cream.
One cucumber, seeded, diced, and drained.
One pack, maybe two if you use enough of the first ingredients, of vegetable soup mix.
Dill weed.

Mix them together and let chill in your fridge for a day or so.

Very busy tonight.

See you later.


Monday, December 22, 2008

592nd Post - Dancing Bevboy

I said I'd put this up tomorrow, but I can't wait. It is just too fun.

You can make your own dancing elves, by the way, by going to this website.

But, in the meantime, check out my moves!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Bevboy, the dancing fool.

591st Post - A Canton Mystery Solved!

I have been asked to write as often on this blog as I can, and I can only do what my readers ask me to. When it becomes a chore, I'll stop the blog. But I am nowhere near this becoming a chore, so don't worry!

But, still, there are nights when I sit down to this computer, this old, gasping, wheezing computer with the 6 gig hard drive and 125 megs of ram, which crashes a couple of times a day, and wonder what I will write about.

(I could write about the tumble I took as I was walking to work this evening, and how my back and neck are causing me pain again, undoing a week's worth of physiotherapy. Hm. I guess I just did.)

But on nights when I am not sure what to discuss here, I'll check out some online newspapers, and sometimes I'll find something there that moves me, inspires me, saddens me.

I found this article in the New York Times. It solves a 75 year-old mystery from Canton, Ohio, a mystery I had never heard of before, one that I daresay most people living in Canton now are unfamiliar with as well, which is a damned shame. This story is obscure enough NOT to have a wikipedia article about it, also a damned shame.

I hope you take the time, five minutes or so, to read the NY Times article the above link will take you to. I think you'll be the better for having read it. I know I am. The themes discussed in the article resonate strongly today, given the state of the economy.

Dancing elves tomorrow!


590th Post - Christmas Music

Courtesy of The Strategically HIPP. We get buskers in our lobby every day until Christmas. They're employees who have some musical talent, which I don't have any. I am a lover, not a fighter. Something like that.


More tonight.


589th Post - Christmas Tie Day Eleven

I was lucky to find someone who was willing to pose with me today. Hope you like the images!
Just two more days to go for the Christmas ties!

588th Post - Storm Aftermath

Lots of wind over night

Here is the remainder of a restaurant's canopy. The place is called Mosaic and it is on Argyle Street.

Not the worst I have seen by the way. The door of the subway restaurant at the corner was off its hinges and it is a wonder it was not lying on the ground

By the way: 30 seconds after I took this picture I fell flat on my ass on a patch of ice right by Neptune Theater.

You can laugh now

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

587th Post - Nearly Done!

I feel much better today after having slept for many, many hours last night and this morning. When I eventually did get up, I spent a few hours wrapping Christmas presents. I just have to buy a couple more things for a couple of people and that will be it.

My car is gonna be in the shop until after Christmas. I suspect that I should be able to pick up the car just before January 1st. I have been told I have the car rental until December 30th, and later if necessary. It can't be soon enough, because I hate this car. Whenever a car manufacturer brags about the low cost of a vehicle, like they do about the Hyundai Accent, then do not even consider buying it.

Everything about this car looks and feels cheap. It has no power to speak of. Every time it manages to crest a steep incline, I feel I should throw it a party. It is surprisingly hard on gas; just bopping around the city here and there will chew through gas like a rottweiler chews through a porkchop. And the horn: It toots like a girl! I can't wait to get my car back!

We are supposed to get hit by a major snowstorm tonight. It probably means taking the bus to work tomorrow, which is not my idea of a good time, but beats driving in crappy weather.

Christmas is in just a few days!! Where has the year gone? Can't believe it has been nearly 2 years since I started my new job. The most fun, most challenging, job I have had, probably ever.

Have a good night.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

586th Post - Feeling Better

In the last day and a half, since I last wrote, I have nearly finished my Christmas shopping. I have decided I will never shop at a certain electronics outlet again. And I am sleeping better at night.

On Friday, I went to several stores and outlets to track down the Christmas prezzies I planned to buy. The 24 hour Walmart early on Friday morning was very helpful. From there, I went to the local Zellers for 8 ayem. The time was when that store was the be all and end all of discounted department stores in Canada. Now, I seldom go into them, and when I do, I am disappointed by what I see. I am not sure how they stay in business.

From Zellers, I went to Future Shop, probably for the final time. I was looking for a particular item, and saw a wall full of them (probably about 20 or 30 of them!). I found a sales guy and asked him if the item had a certain feature. "No, it doesn't", he said, without even looking at it. "Well, can I open it up and have a look at it?", I asked. "No, you can't". "But, there are a bunch of them over there; why not have a demo model for people to look at?". "We don't do that here!". "Fine", I said, putting the item back, and stomping out of the store.

I have come not to expect any kind of expertise from the people at Future Shop. They are mostly young people who think they know everything, and don't enjoy discovering that they don't. I used to go in there and look at the eclectic dvd selection, which they really don't have any more. Since the sales staff are useless, even rude, and their wares do not interest me, I see little need to shop there any longer. So, I won't.

I did find the item I sought at the local Canadian Tire store. They couldn't do enough for me there. They practically offered to pay for the item!

I bought some litter for my cat, decided that the clearance sale desk top computers at Wacky Wheatley's could remain there, and returned home.

I went back to Bayers Lake in the afternoon for a while. There were a LOT more cars in the afternoon than there had been early in the morning.

I am feeling better now, and getting more sleep. This is in marked contrast to the first 10 days after the accident, when I could barely sleep at all.

Today, Saturday, I slept in and took a nap later on in the morning. Patricia had a massage therapy session this afternoon downtown, so I went with her to my work and killed some time there waiting for her. After her session, we had an early dinner at the Mongolie Grill, which has a new website. After dinner, we bought some groceries and went to another Walmart, where Patricia bought me some stuff that I'll have to wait till the 25th to see.

Tonight, I will probably turn in early and spend Sunday morning wrapping prezzies. We are anticipating a major snow storm in Nova Scotia Sunday night. I think it's the same one that nailed New England over the last couple of days, so this should be a good one.

I'll write more in the morning.


Friday, December 19, 2008

585th Post - Early Morning Blogging

I slept like a log for several hours last night. It was the first restful sleep I had had since the accident on the 8th. It was probably the alcohol at lunch

I had every intention of getting up early this morning to do some shopping at one of the 24 hour Walmarts. I slept in until around 4:30 before I rose and headed out

Never mind what I bought. Members of my family read this Blog so it is a good idea not to spell certain things out from time to time

I sit here in my car freezing my ass off waiting for the local Zellers to open in another 25 minutes

Gas went up 2 cents a liter over night

Art Bell filled in on his old show over night. Used to listen to Coast-to-Coast AM religiously when it was on CJCH years ago. Bell quit and came back and quit and came back and quit and now fills in when George Noory (the regular host) is unavailable. I just happened to tune into 940 and 1080 AM this morning while driving to Bayers Lake.

Art was discussing the economy. He pronounced the situation as dire and frightening as any ghost story ever told on his show. I cannot speak to that other than to state that whatever transpires in the economy over the next couple of years it cannot get to be as bad as what happened in 1929. We have things like deposit insurance today. We have had the experience of living through a depression and have a good idea of what to do to avoid something like that from happening again.

I am pretty sore at the folks who allowed things like sub prime mortgages to happen and especially those who exploited the loopholes to screw things up as badly as they have. But another depression like the 1930s is virtually impossible

Only 15 minutes until zellers opens! Another reason to go on living.

More later

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

584th Post - Christmas Tie Day Ten

Some pictures also of the ties I can choose from.

I only have 2 ties left, and 3 days. I will have to go out and buy a new Christmas tie, or wear one of the existings ones, twice.

What to do? What to do?

More later.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

583rd Post - Quick Question

I have been reading about Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street financier who is alleged to have bilked clients of upwards to Fifty billion dollars over the course of many years. They describe this as a massive Ponzi scheme.

A Ponzi scheme?!


What does Henry Winkler have to do with this, anyway? He has always seemed like an honest guy.


582nd Post - The Second Massage Therapy

Well, it's actually gonna be the first full session. Tuesday's session was just where we said hello. Tomorrow is when my professionalism will be sorely tested. I remain, however, confident that I am equal to this challenge.

I'll let you know how I made out after the session, tomorrow morning.

May write another post later on tonight.


581st Post - No! No! It's Just Wrong!

Jane dropped the following on my desk this morning, just as I was preparing to move my work things to a new workstation, where I am more-or-less unpacked now.

The contest has now ended, so don't you dare try to enter me in it. I'll never forgive you. God would understand.

Yes, that is John Gracie's daughter. You just know they'll sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" at the show this weekend.

More in a moment.


580th Post - Christmas Tie Day Nine.

People at my work are really getting into this Christmas tie thing that I do every day. Someone from our communications department took these photos. Thanks, Steve!!

More later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

579th Post - Fun With A Scanner

Got home late this evening.

I am finally done scanning in the front and back covers of those books I'm gonna sell on ebay after the holidays. I learned a lot about my scanner and the software that runs it. I have created some very nice 1 megabyte plus jpeg images of those covers. I'll put a couple of them up here for your viewing pleasure.

They are rare, out-of-print books by a guy named Harlan Ellison. I used to read his books voraciously, and defend him and his work to anyone who would listen, and to several who wouldn't. I didn't care. I was part of his cult.

(Yes! This was back in my pre-girlfriend days. Why do you ask?)

Today, I find his work precious and pretentious. The Ellison engine has always been so self-aggrandizing that I am not sure if I would enjoy meeting him or not. I knew someone who had attended a panel that Ellison ran, and found Ellison to be argumentative, impatient, and opinionated in such a way that one would be unable to get a word in edgewise. At any rate one would be so hesitant to express an opinion for fear that it might be contrary to that which Ellison thinks, that one would not bother to say anything should an opportunity arise. I'm told that his friends love him to pieces, and that's fine. I am not one of those friends. I can only judge him by his work and his actions, and at this point in my life, neither appeals to me.

He has made a career over building up his own work, and putting down the work of others. He once called Leon Uris, who wrote "Topaz" and "Exodus" and many others, Leon Urine. He referred to Robert Ludlum as a creative typist. You get the idea.

Ad hominem attacks against fellow scribes don't make you look good. I work in a field where, yeah, you criticize the work of others (been on both sides!), but you don't write, say, an e-mail to someone ragging on the work of a third party. You don't appear in front of a large group of people and rip a colleague to shreds. It is really not done. It is unseemly, and borderline unprofessional. My opinion, of course. People at my work read this blog, and they may care to discuss this point with me over coffee. I'll let them buy.

So, I'm going to try to sell these 19 books on ebay. The economy is in the toilet, which does not bode well for my desire to sell these at a good price, but I will try anyway.

Wish me luck.


578th Post - Christmas Tie Day Eight

With my special friends, the Steel Toed Boots!


577th Post - The First Massage Therapy Assessment

It's over and I am back to work.

And... I was professional!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

576th Post - Bevboy Health Update

I am still having pain in my lower back from the accident last week. My shoulders are still sore.

I met with an independent insurance adjuster this morning. I told my side of the story again. He will now go off and attempt to quantify the injury and come up with up some kind of settlement. He wants to hear from me in a month or two to discuss a final settlement. Sound good to me.

I begin massage therapy on Tuesday morning. I just want to let you guys know that nothing will ... move... tomorrow morning. I am a professional. I will not... lose control of myself no matter how attractive those women are tomorrow. They are professionals, too, and I trust that nothing untoward will happen tomorrow morning.

I promise.

I will be selling some rare paperback books on ebay in a couple of weeks. I spent some time tonight scanning in the front and back covers. It was not until I was done the front and back when I realized that the front covers were all in a lower quality jpeg format, while the back covers were larger files. I increased the resolution in the software and re-scanned the front covers. Now, those files are much larger than the back cover images are. Gee, if I re-scanned the back covers, what will the logical result be?


575th Post -Christmas Tie Day Seven

Once again, more than one picture was taken, this time by Patricia. Only one made my facebook, and you, my faithful readers, get the outtake as well.

Enjoy, my friends!

I'll write more later.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

574th Post - Ew! Gross!

For the last too many years, there has been a Nova Scotia singer/songwriter named John Gracie. I am sure that he is a nice man and loves his wife and children. That doesn't make him a good singer/songwriter, however. In fact, I am not a fan of his singin' and songwritin' at all.

One of my favourite Christmas tunes, even though it is doesn't mention Christmas at all, is "Baby, It's Cold Outside". It is no secret, upon listening to the lyrics, that it is a song about a man who's trying to seduce a woman. The song is along the lines of, "Hey, it's crappy outside. Why not stay here and have another drink? Hubba hubba hubba!" The woman is wavering, vacillating between her obligation to return home, yet she is strangely drawn to this man.

John Gracie is a man of limited musical gifts who has parlayed his meagre talents into a career that has sustained him and his family for years now. I cannot fault him for that. If he is doing what he wants to do, and enough people out there like his work and him, then bully for him.

However, geez, it creeps me out when he performs "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with... with... his daughter!

Who thought it would be a good idea for John Gracie to do this song with his daughter? Did John Gracie really believe that involving his own flesh and blood in this tune would benefit him or her in any meaningful way? Why would his daughter agree to perform this song with him? Why aren't the audience members turned off by the image of a father and daughter performing this song together?

The next time you hear that song on the radio or whatever, ask yourself how you would feel about a father and daughter performing that tune. Would it be along the lines of... "Ew! Gross!"?

Yeah, I think about things like this.


573rd Post - Fun With Morphing

I am not an American, but I was so taken by this recent post from Mark Evanier's blog that I had to steal this link and put it up here.

Someone took the pictures of the 44 American Presidents (including Obama) and had the images morph from one to the next in turn. Very interesting.

If I had morphing software, and a better computer, I'd do the same thing for the Canadian Prime Ministers. Hmm.

More in a bit.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

572nd Post - Overdid It

I overdid it today. I left the house early this morning, around 8:30, and arrived back home around 6:30. In between there was quite a bit of shopping. Patricia bought the digital camera of her dreams. We had dinner out.

And... I'm too tired to discuss it here, now.

I have not had a good night's sleep since the accident the better part of a week ago. I keep flashing back to that moment when the car hit us. I took a nap at Patricia's place this morning, but am even more run down now.

I'll just scribble a little bit before I call it a night.

The $500 deductible on my car repairs has been officially waived. The automotive place has ordered the parts the car needs to be whole again, and they should arrive early next week. They hope the car will be ready for Christmas. I just want it to be in perfect condition when I get it. If that means waiting until New Year's, so be it.

Patricia has begun massage therapy; I begin it next week. The full cost will be covered by our work health insurance, and then by my automobile insurance.

We both meet with an independent insurance adjuster next week. We will tell our side of the story. I am not sure what will come after that. Perhaps some kind of settlement offer? I don't know. This is all new to me. We are finding out this stuff the hard way. Would have been better to have read about this process in the paper or seen some poor bastard discuss it on television. Now, I'm the poor bastard. Sigh.

I'm done like dinner. I'll write more on Sunday.


Friday, December 12, 2008

571st Post - Christmas Tie Day Six (Outtakes!)

Remember that comic strip from years and years ago by, um, some guy named Boltinoff? His brother was Murray Boltinoff, a long-time editor at DC Comics. Murray edited mostly the war comics like G.I. Combat. But his brother is best known for the comic strip where two extremely similar images were put side-by-side, and the reader had to find the, say, 10 things that differed between the two. On a good day, a really good day, I might be able to pick out 3.

I am reminded of that comic strip as I type these words. Not really sure why. :-)
Click on each picture to see it blow up real good.

Once again, the "best" picture made it to my facebook. These are other good photos, and I present them to you as the director's cut if you will.

Oh, you can see "Wright's Building" in the window of 3 of the 4 images. That was named after George Wright, a famous-at-the-time merchant in Halifax who perished on the Titanic. It is said that he was an extremely sound sleeper and may not have heard any of the commotion as the ship sank. And, his ghost is said to haunt the top story of that building. Boo!

My thanks to Penny for letting me use her office for this photo shoot!

I will write something else this evening. Not sure just what, yet.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

570th Post - How to Fake a Car Conversation

This afternoon at coffee, as is their wont, the boys' conversation veered toward the discussion of automobiles. Since I was recently in an accident, and my nearly-new car suffered significant damage, they began to pepper me with questions about my car.

I had no idea what they were talking about. None. Zero. Zilch.

How much "horse powder" does my car have, anyway? What size are the tires? How many litres can the engine carry? Frig, I don't know.

Yet, I am a male. I am Bevboy. I must appear to know.

Back here, I explained how to fake a sports conversation with your coffee chums. With those simple tips, you can fake your way through a simple conversation about sports, and nobody will be the wiser. I have received dozens of thank you e-mails from guys who can now appear knowledgeable about sports with their friends. They are very welcome.

It occurs to me that with a few twists of the screwdriver, you could do something similar with another bastion of male talk: The automobile.

Let's try it out.

Horse powder is the measure of energy that the car has. I know this to be true because horses used to pull cars apparently before the invention of gasoline. I am guessing that h.p. should be a nice, round number. Let's say: 200. 200 horse powder. Give that as an answer the next time someone asks you.

I think that the next question is a trick, because wheels are supposed to be round. There are only a few different sizes of tires. One for cars. One for trucks. One for bigger trucks, like the ones that transport cars to dealerships. I suppose they would transport regular-sized trucks as well. But... what transports transport trucks? Hmm.

Anyway: You have a car, so just say that they're the small, round tires. Your friends, who were trying to fool you all along, will just nod sheepishly and quickly change the subject. The big, silly goofs!

The engine is mostly a solid object with things in it that move around quickly and break often, resulting in costly repairs. There is not much room for water or other fluids, so let's say... 3 litres max. A "3 litre" engine!

By thinking quickly on your feet, by speaking in general terms, by listening very carefully to your chums, you, too, can have a brief, superficial conversation about cars.

Take that, you guys!


569th Post - Christmas Tie Day 5

Today's Christmas tie photo shoot required 3 photos before we ended up with one we liked the most. That's the one up on my facebook page. As a special treat to Bevboy's Blog readers, I thought I'd put up the outtakes, the two pics that didn't make the cut.

The second picture is actually the first one taken. I am not sure why Jane didn't like it. Something about my face not being visible enough.

The third picture was the second one taken. Jane decided that a torso shot might be the best approach, and it is that one that became my Christmas ties facebook photo album entry for today.

I hope you like them. This is fun, posing for a picture every day. I feel like Rod Stewart! I guess he used to be photographed every day. Hope he doesn't do it now, the wrinkled, old fart.

Remember: You can click on each image and see me blown up in all my glory. You know you want to.

I'll write something else later.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

568th Post - Christmas Tie Day 4

Finally! The next Christmas tie in the series

Won't let a little whip lash get in the way of this new holiday tradition

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567th Post - The Car

Here are some pictures of my formerly-beautiful car. It is in the hands of the insurance companies (his and mine) as to what its final fate will be: a repair, or a replacement.

I should have some idea what the decision will be by the first of next week.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

566th Post - The Day After

Hello, gentle reader.

I am still in some pain. I saw my physician this evening. He told me that I have whiplash and a contused knee, which is not to be confused with a confused knee. What is a confused knee, anyway?

But I digress.

I took another sick day today as I still wasn't feeling quite right. Around mid-morning, Patricia and I drove to the towing company impound where my car was taken yesterday, in order to pick up the rest of our things from the vehicle. I got everything back, I think, except for my paperback copy of "Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter, a really good book I have been reading for months now and enjoy a lot. I can easily find another used copy downtown.

We also wanted to see the shape the car was in. My sweet ride is not nearly as sweet as it was. I will post images of the car here on the blog on Wednesday, and you can see for yourself.

Emailed the images to the car dealership where I bought the car on Friday, a mere 4 days ago. The sales manager, an old family friend, thinks the car may be fixable, but of course, he hasn't physically seen it yet. The insurance adjuster will probably examine the car by week's end and prepare a report for the claim investigator, who will then get back to me.

A separate claim has been opened up for the medical claim. We were knocked around by that truck hitting us and injuries resulted. Patricia visits her doc on Thursday and she will then learn what is wrong with her.

You know, looking at the car this morning, it reminds me just how close we came to much more serious injury. A split second earlier, and this man would have t-boned my car; and Patricia, being in the passenger's seat, would have borne the brunt of that hit. I think he was speeding, given the force his truck hit us with, and the fact that it hit us hard enough to cause the car to do a 180 degree turn.

It is foolish to indulge in such what-if scenarios, as tantalizing and seductive as they may be. What happened, happened. We cannot change it. However, we came close, damned close, to serious injury yesterday, perhaps something worse. Moments like this make me want to draw my friends closer to me, to forgive those who have wronged me in trifling ways, to look past the detritus in my life and focus instead on those things that make me happy.

I will try harder to do those things.


Monday, December 8, 2008

565th Post - The Accident

We were in a car accident this morning on the way to work. Let me tell you about it.

We left for work a few minutes earlier than normal because it had snowed last night, and the roads were a little dicey. We drove with extra caution.

We were heading East on Jubilee Road at about 7:25. We had the green light and went through and were about 3/4 of the way through the intersection at Robie, almost to Veteran's Lane, when we got side swiped by a truck heading North on Robie Street that had run the red light. The car was hit so hard that we ended up spinning around, pointing in the direction we had just come from.

I couldn't get the door open. I think it was because the car was still in gear, but I am not sure. I had the presence of mind to press the red On*Star emergency button and spoke with someone who called paramedics for us. He mostly spoke with Patricia though, because I had managed to roll the window down and someone unlocked the door and helped me out. A doctor who happened to be driving behind us was helping out Patricia, who got banged up pretty bad. A woman rubbed my back to calm me down while the driver of the truck manned up and admitted that he had been in the wrong.

My legs began to get weak. Noticing this, a police officer helped me over to the police van where I could rest. I wanted to be with Patricia, who looked to be in some distress, but the officer talked me into sitting in the van.

Time gets blurry around this time. I remember a witness being interviewed by a police officer in the van. The man supported our story. I found out later that there were four witnesses, and they all backed us up. I remember getting out of the van to see how Patricia was doing, before a police officer insisted I go back to the van to rest.

The paramedic came over and checked me out and invited me to ride with Patricia in the ambulance. She was in a neckbrace and some pain. We were a very short distance from the hospital, thankfully.

We spent the next couple of hours at the hospital, getting checked out. My neck is sore. My lower back doesn't feel right. My right knee is causing me some pain. My left hand hurts.

My poor car, the one I bought a scant 3 days ago, took a major hit. We don't know how bad it is. We will find out tomorrow, when we pick up the rest of our stuff from the towing place and see it in the stark light of day. The insurance adjuster will also have an official look at the car, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. This person will determine what it will cost to fix the car. If it is too costly, it will be written off. If not too costly, it will be repaired.

I have heard horror stories about cars that have been repaired that were never quite the same again afterward. This was a sweet ride until about 7:25 this morning. I don't know what can be done to bring it back to what it was before. Maybe nothing can. I just don't know. Right now, my focus is on Patricia and me getting better.

I am grateful that we are still able to walk around, that we still have the appropriate number of arms and legs, and can still count to twenty on our fingers and toes without having to use any more than once. My incredible good looks have not been compromised in any way, and I am thankful for that. So is Patricia.

It could have been so much worse. Let's be grateful for that, and hope that Buddy's insurance company is reasonable with me and mine.

I didn't make it to work today. I think I will probably not make it in tomorrow, either.

Probably the only post for tonight. Going to bed as soon as I can get there.

Give me a kiss.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

564th Post - Is it Cheeta or Not?

Just read this article from the Washington Post concerning the apparent lie that the primate who played Cheeta in the Tarzan movies in the 1930's and 1940's, and even had a role in the original "Dr. Doolittle" film in the 1960's, is still alive.

Very interesting article. Go ahead: Check it out.


563rd Post - Anne Rice on the Radio

I meant to write this a day or two ago, but Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire, and so many others) is going to be on CBC radio today at 1pm ET to discuss her career and her more recent focus away from vampires and toward Christianity in her novels.

I acquired 14 or so Anne Rice novels this winter through freecycle. They are in the vast pile of books to be read, "some day". I probably have 3 copies of "The Witching Hour" by now, just from having acquired it from different sources over the years. Guess I have to read it 3 times.

I will tape the show today, or you can check it out from the show's website, and download it as a podcast if you want to. Be aware that the show only lives on the website for 4 weeks and is then expunged. For copyright purposes, theme music may not make it to the podcast. Too bad, because it is excellent theme music!


562nd Post - The Story Behind the Car

It wasn't supposed to happen.

I was taking a vacation day on Friday to take my 2002 Malibu in for its near-annual undercoating. There is a car dealership across the street from where the undercoating was taking place. My father and I know the sales manager, and he wanted to show me some cars.

I had been hemming and hawing over a new car purchase for months. I was thinking about a Vibe, because it offers more storage space. I decided against one, however, because there was no trunk, and I don't like it when people can just look in and see what I got in there.

Anyway, my dad and I had an hour to kill. We thought we'd go over and talk to Richard at least.

He greeted us and wanted to show me some cars. The first one was the 2008 Grand Prix. The next one was an '08 Malibu, the car of the year. The third one was an '07 Malibu, white.

I don't want a white car. Can't imagine why anyone would want one. It was easy to dismiss it. The other malibu looked nice, but it was a four cylinder, and I am used to six. I asked to see the Grand Prix again, and Richard invited my dad and me to go for a test drive. Yes, we are trusted enough to go for a test drive without having a staff person accompany us.

The car handled smoothly. It still had that new car smell. It was a pleasure to drive. The interior was fine, even if there was a little too much plastic in it for my taste. There was plenty of pep. Over all, I loved it.

By the time we got back to the dealership, about half past the hour, I had decided I wanted the car. We crunched some numbers, and Richard asked for some information about my car. It was finished its undercoating by then, so I traipsed back to the autobody place and got it out of hock, returning with it to the dealership and retrieved the information Richard requested. He introduced me to the business manager, and we submitted the loan request. This was around 10:15.

Dad and I had to go to the grocery store to get some stuff, so we didn't return back to their house until around 11:30. My cell rang, and it was the sales manager to tell me that the loan request had been approved! They were going to install something called diamondkote to prevent corrosion on the car (in theory, that is), so the car wouldn't be ready until 3:30 or so, according to Richard. I called my insurance broker and gave her the v.i.n. on the Grand Prix, making me legal to drive it right away, had lunch, and proceeded to clear out my car. It took a while, unfortunately, but at least I finally found the rest of that pastrami sandwich I had begun to eat in September.

I still had 3/4 of a tank of gas in the Malibu, and I wanted to burn as much of it that afternoon as I could before surrendering the vehicle to Richard at 3:30. Dad and I ran some more errands until 3pm, before we dropped off those things at the house and we began that final trip in the Malibu.

Arrived at the dealership when we were supposed to, and I began signing my life away. I have often hypothesized how the acquisition of debt might be best accompanied by physical discomfort. The bigger the debt, the more pain you receive. It would make us all think twice, even thrice, about buying something on credit.

Eventually, I had signed everything I had to. Richard showed me some stuff on the car, including the fact that it has on*star! That is pretty slick, and I am already wondering, two days in, how I could have got along without this excellent feature all these years.

Dad and I drove to the bank, to pay off the old loan, and went home for dinner. That evening, he and I visited my sister, the one who reads this blog, and I took her for a ride in it.

Saturday, I took my mother for a ride in it as well, as I took her shopping. We left around 9:15 and I didn't return from the final part of the shopping until around 4:30.

Took Patricia in the car last night. Everyone loves the car!

And to think it all began with a simple undercoating.

More in a moment.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

561st Post - Not Today

I was going to tell you about how I got my new car. However, I had an extremely long day, which I'll tell you about tomorrow.

Be patient. It will be worth it.


Friday, December 5, 2008

560th Post - Hello

Say hello to my new car. It is a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix

The story behind how I acquired the car would take longer than I have the strength to type tonight

I will tell that story tomorrow

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559th Post - Goodbye

Say goodbye to my 2002 Malibu. I have had it for three and a half years. It is getting to the point where it will soon cost me money in upkeep

I kept my previous car for many years. The last few years I had it the car was completely unreliable. I kept spending good money after bad to the point where I was going broke keeping the thing on the road. But it was still breaking down

My next post will contain a picture of my new sweet ride. I love it. You will too

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

558th Post - Christmas Tie Day Three

Taken via a much nicer camera. Thanks, Sandra!!

Not working on Friday, so the next Christmas tie photo won't be until Monday the 8th. Wait for it. It will be worth it.


557th Post - Because I Know You're Curious!

The roast beef went over really well today. Nobody spat it out, in front of me at least. Which is all I need to justify living another day.

More in a moment.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

556th Post - The Die Is Cast!

Skipped Toastmasters tonight as I am still recovering from whatever made me sick on Tuesday. I was hardly idle, though.

I washed my dishes, which only took 45 minutes this time. After that, I began to chop the vegetables that would accompany the roast beef in the crock pot. I dumped the cans of cream of mushroom soup in the pot. I placed the onions and potatoes in. I put the roast on top of the whole mess, and then added two packets of onion soup mix. Added some worcestershire sauce. Turned the crockpot on low for 10 hours. By the time I get up tomorrow, the thing will be cooked.

I have made this dish many times. I always get nervous when I make it, thinking it will suck and people will bite into it and spit it out and hate me and beat me up and I'll end up cast adrift, homeless, friendless, wandering the streets by myself (my cat would have abandoned me, too), ruing the day I had made the stupid pot roast.

Is it too late to buy pop and chips for tomorrow instead?


555th Post - Christmas Tie Day Two

Is this getting weird yet?

Enjoy the picture

Back with another one on Thursday

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

554th Post - Where Did The Day Go?

Took a sick day today. I seldom take one. Woke up with a headache, leftover from Monday, and back spasms. Maybe I slept wrong.

Very little happened to me today. I slept. Got up and scratched myself for a few minutes. Slept some more. Kept the radio on for company, since my cat would only make cameo appearances in my bedroom all day long. As long as he gets fed, has a warm place to sleep, and a clean place to crap, he is happy.

Hm. Come to think of it, so am I.

Around supper time, I got up and dressed. When the evening news was over (especially compelling these days with the Canadian constitutional crisis unfolding this week), I went out to buy some groceries. We're having a Christmas tree trimming party at work on Thursday which includes a pot luck lunch. I have agreed to make a roast beef with roasted potatoes and mushroom and onion gravy. Back in my super fat days, this was a food group for me. Nowadays, when I am just fat, this roast beef dish is a very occasional treat. I make it for others more than I make it for myself, which I guess is the way to approach such foods. Roast beef is the kind of food you share with a bunch of people, not just with your honey. Leftovers can be deadly for one's waistline!

Dropped off to Patricia's on the way back home. She has been sick for the last 2 days and had asked me to pick up some things for her, which I did. I prepared a couple pieces of toast for her, and returned home.

Taking Friday as a vacation day. Will be visiting my folks and getting my car undercoated. I should have done it last month or evening in October, but better a bit late than not at all.

Back to work tomorrow. Since I am still recovering from being sick, I will likely skip Toastmasters again this week.

You all have a good night.


Monday, December 1, 2008

553rd Post - Christmas Tie Day One

You will see a picture of me every day with a different tie and outfit

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552nd Post - Cutting Edge Technology (Not!)

Man, this computer is old. It is a 2002 Dell desktop. It has 125 megs of ram, which is almost like having no ram at all. It runs at a thrilling 429 megahertz. The hard drive is an expansive six gigs. It has a 3.5" floppy drive. The usb ports, both of them, are the slower first generation ones, and are in the back of the computer. I had to buy a usb hub last year to make usb ports accessible to me.

From time to time, the computer slows down to a crawl, as it swaps things out of memory to a disk cache and back again. Things like youtube cause the pc to crash more than the stock market. I know better than to ask it to show any video.

The keyboard was wearing out, meaning that some keys barely worked any more. I got another keyboard through freecycle in the last month or so, and another mouse as well (not to mention a monitor!), and they're at least making using this aging pc less than completely frustrating.

Your average dog has a better computer set up than I have. Definitely your average cat, because no self-respecting cat would ever put up with this arrangement!

Just in case you're thinking I have the best of everything: That would be at work. Not necessarily here at home.

I'll publish the post, and have the hard drive grind for a minute or two. I never get tired of hearing it.


551st Post - Headache Ville

Several months ago I wrote about how I get headaches sometimes. A miracle drug called Zomig saved me from taking dozens of sick days. So, when I woke up this morning with a headache, I knew that taking one of those pills would wash away the headache.

Not today.

The pill hasn't had much effect. I functioned with a headache all day. And I promised someone from Toastmasters that I would help her with her speech, the one she's giving Wednesday night, this evening. I'll keep my word, but will do my best to keep this get together at her home as short as possible. After that, I'll come back here and go to bed.

Today being the first of December, I started wearing my Christmas ties to work. I'll try to get a picture of me taken every day wearing the tie of the day and put it up here for your viewing pleasure.

More in a moment.