Thursday, December 31, 2009
I knew it would be one of those days when I forgot my pass card this morning. I usually make fun of those people, skipping merrily past them as they bang their heads against the door trying to get in; but today I was one of them. Payback is a beach.
I won a four pass to go to Big Leagues Beverage Room tonight, New Year's Eve; but we decided we would rather go to a movie. I managed to find someone here at work who could actually use the passes. It's a long drive, and we'd rather see "Sherlock Holmes" and be back home early to watch the 2010 come in on television. Are we middle-aged or something?
At the end of the year, it is natural to take stock of where one is, and where one wants to go. I'll do that for a few paragraphs about this silly blog of mine.
I started it a bit more than 2 years ago, and already have 1059 posts, in about 800 days. Averaging more than one post every single day was not what I had in mind when I started, but I took my cue from Joan Rivers, who visited Halifax a couple of years ago and who spoke of her own blog. She said that a blog is something that should be updated every day, or close to it. If you neglect it one day, it is that much easier not to write something the next. This can snowball into its becoming such a chore to maintain that it withers and dies on the vine. I have worked too hard to make Bevboy's Blog a place that 30 or 40 of you visit every day that I don't want to take that daily visit away from you.
If someone had told me, in 2007, that I would have a blog, and that I would be using it to interview people in the local radio industry, and that I would be embedding videos and scores of website links in these interviews, and that my name would start getting around to the point where local jocks would start contacting ME to interview them ("I know you're busy, Bev, but I'd love to sit down for an interview sometime.") then I would have told them to take two aspirin and call their physicians when the room stopped spinning. I had no idea, when I sat down with my friend Deb Smith in April of 2008, that I was embarking on a journey which would cost me in excess of one thousand dollars (the new camera and video and audio equipment, the lunches, the gas) to document these people's lives and careers. Two interviews are with their subjects for final vetting. Four more people (DC, NB, PH, and writer SV) have agreed to an interview, and there is no end in sight. Each interview is more elaborate than the one before. I want each one to better than the one that preceded it. I ask better questions, edit it better, ask better follow up questions, play with layout, and so on. This upmansship I do with myself will have to stop some day, but not for a while yet.
One interview this year was so much work, just making sense of the guy, that transcribing it to create a cohesive narrative thread for the readers nearly put me off doing any more of them. I can see why his book has been delayed over and over.
At year's end, I have recharged my batteries, and now I'm ready to face 2010 to provide more content for my readers that they can get absolutely nowhere else. In addition to the interviews, where the heck else can you get things like a daily Christmas tie feature every December? Who else writes about things in Halifax that don't make sense? Who else has a feature in which he points out stupid things he has done, or had done to him?
And, if you keep coming back here, I can promise you that the best is yet to come. Come along with me, and I'll show you.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I didn't write yesterday because I was still sick and took a day off work. I spent the day resting and watching episodes of Dexter, season 4. I fell behind on the show after episode 2 of season 3. I watch all of seasons 3 and 4 over the last week or so. There are advantages to being sick, I guess!
My frig, the season ender to the fourth season of Dexter was amazing, as shocking as the internet bloggers have been trumpeting.
I think I mentioned that I had wanted to buy a couple of ebook readers: One for me, one for Patricia. But Costco had sold out of them in a hurry. This has been a North American-wide problem as manufacturers have underestimated demand for these devices. They're becoming affordable and attractive to the average consumer for the first time.
Costco was going to get more in, with a delivery date of December 23. They didn't show up before Christmas, so I reluctantly bought other things for Patricia, which she said she enjoyed. When I told her what I had wanted to buy her, her face lit up at the possibility of having an ebook reader.
A staff person at Costco gave me the number for the local store as well as the sku number for the Aluratek libre ebook reader. Every day since Sunday, I called. Nope. Not in yet.
This morning, after coffee,I half-heartedly called again. This time, they had "10 on hand". I called Patricia, home today. She said she would go and get 2, and hung up on me. Cool!
She called me 30 minutes later from the Costco. Apparently, they hadn't been processed yet, whatever that means. I called them again, and got someone named Florence to confirm that they were "on hand". Armed with the woman's name, Patricia spoke to someone in customer service, who repeated that they were still not processed. She took Patricia's name and number and promised to call when they were out.
This afternoon, she called to tell me that our internet was not working. An hour later, she called back and told me to come right home after work, 3 times. I asked her why she had said it so many times. "Well, I want you to see the new ebook reader I got!"
Costco had called and said that the items were now out. I think they felt badly for misinforming Patricia earlier. Even though they do not normally do this, they agreed to put 2 aside for Patricia, asking when she could come in to pick them up. "By the time you hang up the phone", Patricia said, and hung up. 16 minutes later, she presented herself to the person who had called her, she bought them, and got them home and called me.
One is her belated Christmas present. The other is gonna be my birthday present, and it will be a rough 7 weeks waiting to get that prezzy. I just have to pretend that Patricia got one of them today.
Besides, I get to play with hers. Hee hee.
Monday, December 28, 2009
One of my fave tv shows of the late '90's and into around 2004 was both the British and American versions of "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" It was a show featuring talented improvisational actors. It was often screamingly funny.
The following features special guest star Richard Simmons.
Just watch it, already!
You can thank me now.
Patricia is half-miffed with me for "always" getting sick during Christmas. At least this year, I wasn't in bed for 3 days straight, being physically ill into a bucket next to my bed, like I was one year. The was the same year that my parents had to throw every spare blanket in the house, including one or two from their own bed, onto my bed, as I was freezing to death. When the fever broke during the night, I threw off most of those blankets.
We went into Bayers Lake today to do the Boxing Week shopping we couldn't do yesterday 'cuz I was too sick. They had the mp3 player at Future Shop that I wanted, for the most part. I wanted the 8gb Sansa clip plus, but had to settle for the 4gb version. I coupled that with a 16gb micro sd card, and now I have 20gb of space for tunes and podcasts. I now have over 2300 of them on the device, with plenty of room left to rip and copy over more tunes over the next couple of days. Lots of fun, that. At least now I have room for the C+C Music Factory cd that I've been wanting to add to the playlist. Yep. Lots of fun.
The previous mp3 player, it of the frigged up sectors, it of the clunky interface, it being unable to accept more than a 2 gb micro sd card, will go in a drawer, unless I can find someone to buy it, cheap.
Say, for Christmas I got the Complete National Geographic on dvd. I will store it next to the Complete Mad Magazine on dvd that I got last year. That means that I can get rid of the Complete Mad Magazine on cd rom and Complete National Geographic on cd rom sets that I acquired several years ago. Do you know someone who wants, them, cheap?
And, for that matter, how can I get rid of the Complete Mad Magazine on 3.5 inch floppy disk and the Complete National Geographic on 3.5 inch floppy disk sets that I acquired before I purchased their cd rom counterparts?
Hmm. Come to think of it, I still have the Complete Mad Magazine on 5.25 inch floppy disk and the Complete National Geographic on 5.25 inch floppy disk sets that I purchased many years ago, before I got my hot little hands on the 3.5 inch editions. What do I do with those?
Crap! I just remembered. I also still have the Complete Mad Magazine on 8 inch floppy disk and the Complete National Geographic on 8 inch floppy disk sets that I bought in the early 1980's. Who even has 8 inch floppy disk readers any more?
Oh, my gosh! What's wrong with me? A long, long time ago, I bought the Complete Mad Magazine on magnetic tape and the Complete National Geographic on magnetic tape. Anybody want those, really cheap?
I just wish I LIKED Mad Magazine and National Geographic.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
My facebook friend Stephen Cooke was on, discussing the work of Morecambe and Wise, whom he referred to as the British Wayne and Shuster. I hadn't heard of these two blokes, Morecambe and Wise, and wrote Stephen, who provided the proper spelling for them and directed me to youtube.
Found this skit, which reminds me soooo much of how Patricia and I prepare breakfast every morning that I had to include it.
I hope you like it. I look forward to exploring the work of these guys.
Throat got scratchy on Thursday. I figured I was just tired, which I was. During Christmas Day, I felt crappier and crappier. Today, Boxing Day, I felt that much worse. I slept a large part of the day away.
Did open prezzies, though.
Got a pair of slippers and fancy pillows from Liscombe Sheep Farm in Pictou County. Got the Complete National Geographic on dvd, which means that my cd rom version of the same is up for grabs. Know anybody who wants it, quite cheap?
Got several gift cards from my sister and my parents. Between Patricia and me, we have 65 dollars in gift cards from the Bulk Barn. That is just about enough to buy out the entire store, twice, unless Patricia decides to load up on chia seeds again, in which case a second mortgage on the house might be in the offing.
We went to lunch at Smitty's in Bayer's Lake/Clayton Park today. Or, we would have, had it not been so busy. So, instead, we went to Cora's in Clayton Park, which took us right in and which had plenty of space for two hungry Timberlea-ites.
Came back here, and took a nap. Patricia was checking out refrigerator prices online. When I woke up, hours later, she was watching tv and told me to go back to bed. Instead, I came down here to the computer room and installed some adventure games I bought the other week. A couple of them don't work, period. But a couple more look like fun indeed.
I am so far behind on gaming that it is hard to know where to start. I used to play Doom and Wolfenstein and Heretic. Loved blasting demons, pretending they were some of the people I used to work with. But I never kept up on it, so today I don't know what the current adventure games are, or first person shooter games are, or anything like that. If anyone has any suggestions for such games, please submit them as comments to this blog post.
Got a lot of nice comments on yesterday's blog post. Feels nice.
Took many pictures and much video yesterday. Will post a bit of it here, soon.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas, blog readers!
I am writing this on Christmas Eve, having wrapped the presents I bought for the Patricia and the family, having made my secret veggie/chip dip, and having promised Patricia I’ll go to bed early to nurse this cough and these sniffles.
But not just yet.
I don’t mind sharing my life with the… 30 or so of you who read this silly thing every day. But it’s at this time of year that I have a chance to look back and take stock of my life and reflect on things that are good in my life.
I want to discuss a couple of special Christmas presents I have received in my life. I hope you’ll go along with me.
The first one arrived under the tree 35 years ago tomorrow, December 25, 1974. It was my very first radio! Up to that point, I remember hearing my little friends on the playground discussing what they had heard on the radio. That Fall, the big hit had been “The Streak” by Ray Stevens.
Of course, not having a radio of my own, I had no idea what they were talking about. I wanted a radio!
I began to lobby my parents for a radio for Christmas. “It doesn’t have to be an expensive one!” My father said, if I got one, it would be a good one.
Christmas couldn’t come soon enough. Finally, it did. Frig knows what else I got for Christmas that year. Probably some toys that I have long since forgotten about. Underwear. Socks. Candy. But I got my first radio, and that day will stay with me forever.
With that radio, I could tune in local stations whenever I wanted to. It came with a headphone jack, so it wasn’t long before I had a single ear headphone to listen to the radio with late at night. I discovered, on the AM band, plenty of radio stations from outside the Annapolis Valley, ones I still listen to today. I discovered 1010 WINS, 770 WABC, 920 CJCH, and so many others. That radio was my lifeline to the outside world!
That radio was mistreated. It fell on the floor one time too many and broke. Others replaced it.
Years and years later, when I started a part-time job at the Acadia University library, I learned that my boss, George Halliwell, kept a small second office in the receiving section of the library. It was the part of the building where all of the periodicals, newspapers and even student-written theses arrived. Part of my job was to sort through all that stuff, a couple of times a week, and send off the science periodicals to the science library (long gone now; there is just one library), and stick all the ones we were going to transport to the third floor, on a gurney, where it would be my joy to add them to our files and put them out for people to read.
Anyway, George kept a small radio in that small office. And, that radio was the very same model of the one I had received on December 25, 1974.
George used to read this blog. I don’t know what’s become of him. But if he is reading this: George, you have no idea how many times I wanted to steal that radio from you. I used to listen to it, too, to alleviate the ennui of the job. If you should still happen to have it, and don’t want it, I’ll be happy to cover the shipping costs if you popped it in the mail to me.
Today, I have radios all throughout the house. Here at my computer desk, I have two radios. Yes, two. There is a pretty decent clock radio that’s tuned to Q104. It’s on now. There is a second radio, more of a table top, that I’d given to my father and which he didn’t want, so I took it. It was a cute radio, and I couldn’t part with it. Used to keep it in my kitchen, but after Patricia moved in, it was either bring it down here, or toss it. Tossing a good radio is such an offensive concept to me, so beyond the pale, that I had little choice but to bring it down here and set it up. It’s also tuned into Q104. It isn’t turned on, but it could be.
I also have 2 radios in my bathroom. Two more radios in the master bedroom. A radio in the hallway between the bedrooms. A radio in the living room. One in the kitchen. One in the laundry room. And a big stereo with a tuner in the rec room. I think that’s all.
Yeah, a radio fetish. Don’t judge me.
The second life-defining Christmas gift is not one you may think of in that context, but I sure do. Let me tell you about it.
It was the Christmas of 1993. My Uncle Harry spent the holiday with us. He was out of sorts because his wife had died just a few months earlier. I hadn’t made her funeral because… I don’t remember. Work, probably. I was still on probation at my then-new job, and didn’t want to rock the boat very hard. I remember apologizing to Harry for missing her funeral, and he said it was ok.
I remember we had a great time that day. The turkey was especially good. The mashed potatoes were a class unto themselves. The squash was… squashy. Orange. It was orange.
And, Harry and I talked for a bit, about more than just his wife’s death. I hadn’t really talked to him in a long time and thought I’d just take that opportunity to speak with my uncle.
Skip forward a few days to New Year’s Eve. I was at Patricia’s place (yes, we’ve been together that long, more or less). I checked my answering machine messages before we went out to the Grand Parade to welcome in the New Year. My mother had called and wanted me to call home. I did. Her voice breaking, she told me that Harry had died the night before. My father had tried to call his brother that morning, as had their sister Leona, but nobody had answered. Worried, they drove out to Harry’s home. Dad peered through the window and saw his brother, still sitting in his favourite chair, dead. He had had a massive heart attack and passed.
I have long looked back on that Christmas as a special one. Harry had been with us. I had taken the time to talk to him. We had all had a good time. And, then, he was gone.
In all the years since, I have reflected on the fragility of life, how it can be taken away from us just like that, and how it is precious. Not all share my belief, and there are times when it wavers with me, too. But, ever since, when I am talking to my parents, just as we ring off, I tell them that I love them, because I know that the day will come when I will be unable to tell them that. Harry gave me that final gift that day, 16 years ago, and it is the kind that keeps on giving.
I’ll never forget him, or that day.
Merry Christmas, one and all!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
It is Christmas Eve Day. Even though I overslept and therefore left the house late, I sailed right into work. People are off today, either shopping or wrapping or attending a children's Christmas party, liike folks are downstairs.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Tomorrow, if I have time: A special Christmas post!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
These ones were taken in front of The Waverley Inn on Barrington Street in downtown Halifax. It has been in continuous use since 1867. P.T. Barnum, Oscar Wilde, and George Vanderbilt were guests there at one time or another. Wilde is said to haunt the place. It is so lovely there, that I can't blame him.
The pictures were taken by the manager/owner Calvin. Thank you, Calvin.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Charles Morris was one of the people who first laid out the city of Halifax. The house was originally at Barrington and Morris before it was moved down the block a bit to be exclusively on Morris. Now, it's ain't there no mo'.
Cool video. Thanks for shooting this, Dawn!
It's also no secret that the most popular program the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produces is done by two guys and a horse out of Halifax.
Yes, a horse.
I write, of course, of the splendid program "Maritime Mornings" with Stan Carew and Doug Barron. Doug was Hal Harbour many years ago, when Q104 first went on the air. Stan Carew is best known to Q listeners for the time he walked off the air during a shift! Nobody seems to have a tape of that broadcast, but I know people who heard it, and they loved it. A few of his colleagues didn't like it, though. One woman broadcaster I talked to took him to task for what he did.
Why would I mention that it was a female broadcaster? Well, keep reading, dummy!
During the Q 25th anniversary broadcast a year ago, Stan admitted on the air that he was more angry because a female broadcaster was keeping her job at the Q while he was losing his. He did not regard this woman as being as capable as he. Of course, she would not have been, because he is, well, Stan Carew, and there aren't many broadcasters better at it than he is. I have always wondered, in putting two and two together, if the woman I spoke with late one night in 1995 was the same one Stan was thinking of? I'll probably never know. Probably.
Anyway, getting back to Stan's current show, I tune in every weekend I can. It starts at 6 o'clock on weekend mornings, and that is a tall order for me after working all week. But I love every damned minute of it. Stan and Doug put together an amazingly entertaining, funny, musically diverse program that I'm told would simply not work in private radio, or even be allowed to exist.
I have been lucky enough, over the years, to win several of Stan and Doug's "Mystery Vocalist" contests. They play a brief snippet of a song, or someone talking, and you have to identify who the person or band was. It is really hard to get through. About two-thirds of the time I've gotten through, I've been wrong. Sometimes, I'm not just wrong. I'm dead wrong. Sometimes, I'm not dead wrong. I'm so wrong that it is hard to imagine being more wrong. Of course, 100 000 or so people are listening to my folly.
I won this past weekend. I was getting ready to drive to the Valley for the day. Stan introduced a new contest, with a Christmas theme. I knew two of them, and suspected a third. But I decided to go with the fourth vocalist, who had simply said, "And a beer".
At the appointed time, I called. Busy signal. Drat! I had called too soon. I pressed "redial". The phone rang through! I was in the queue. Now, if only my guess wouldn't be taken. How many people would know the person behind, "And a beer"?
The first person correctly guessed another vocalist. I think the next person was wrong. Then, Stan said, "Hello? Who's this?" I identified myself. Stan said hi; he knows who I am after all these years. I told him I wanted to go for the fourth vocalist. "Is it...", I began hesitantly, "Bob McKenzie?"
"Yes, it is!", Stan exclaimed. I guess I could also have said "Dave Thomas", but he was in character as Bob McKenzie, so it would have been splitting hairs.
I won. Stan took my particulars, and said he'd mail me my prize.
Stan's show is done on a shoestring budget. No big prizes here. I got a cloth shopping bag with a Christmas CD stuffed in it. And... this letter, which I am sharing with you.
I'll share this link with Stan. Maybe he'll take a moment to read it. And, maybe, he'll recognize some of the names of his radio friends under the labels section and read an interview or two. And, just maybe, he'll agree to an interview with me.
Or, maybe it's too much to hope for.
After all, it is Stan Carew!
A very long day! Not as productive as I would have liked. And more than a little frustrating. But it's on the right side of the dirt, so it could have been worse.
I'll write a bit more in a bit. Got some interesting mail today!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
As usual, my mother wore me out. It is impossible to keep up with her. The shopping gene is recessive in some women; but it is highly dominant in my mother. At an age when most women would be slowing down, putting their feet up, knitting, whatever, Mom can still shop with the best of them. Leaping over the aisles like a fading quarterback, she has earned the grudging respect of other women who yearn to be like her. With a sly wink, she leads people to believe that she is interested in one item, when in fact she wants another. She feints to the right as they assume she is going to the left. It is amazing to behold. If there is a Shopping Hall of Fame, then my mother is destined to be in it.
We visited my father after lunch. After the visit, we shopped some more, of course. We finally returned to the family home shortly after 4pm. My sister Glenda had called earlier in the afternoon to tell me that she had purchased a wreath for our brother's grave and would I like to go with her to lay it? I said sure. I called her and she agreed to pick me up at the house and drive us there.
When my brother died in 1970, I was 5, pushing 6. I had no concept of death. I have discussed my brother here before; check out post 500 from November of 2008 if you want more detail. But in all the years since, my father would always, always, buy a wreath for his grave at Christmastime. In the early years, many of us would go with him. As the years and then decades passed, this became more of a solitary ritual my father performed every year. I don't think it was anything personal against my brother that we mostly stopped going. It was just that we felt that it was something that Dad had to do and that we were in the way.
This year, my father is in the hospital for an interdeterminate period of time. I'll leave it at that. He is in no condition to deliver any wreaths to anybody. So, when Glenda called me today and asked me if I would like to go with her to take the wreath to our brother, to pick up the mantle, to carry on the tradition, then of course I said yes.
I'll be there every year from now on. It's the least I can do.
You can count on it, Ernie.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Here it is, the coldest day of the year, by far. Exposed flesh will freeze within minutes. Roads are a mess. It's snowing and blowing. And, I stand out in the elements with my coat off to show off the 12th Christmas tie of 2009.
I'm sorry, Kevin. Really. Now, please put down that blunt object.
Four more days to go in this latest experiment. Will I survive? It's anybody's guess!
Have a great weekend. Expect more blog posts over the weekend.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I have been receiving death threats from people whose eyeballs have been scorched by the bright colours on the ties they must view every day on this blog and on my facebook. Strangers are walking up to me on the street, begging me to stop, just stop, or God please stop, with the ties.
No, I won't.
You can't make me.
Because I dare.
Because I can.
By the way, the threats have been turned over to the local constabulary. But, when they looked at the evidence, including the ties, they told me that any such attempt on my life would be considered justifable homicide. Geez. No respect.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This picture was a compromise I was disappointed to have to make. A manager at my work has this piece of mistletoe hanging from his office entrance. I thought it would be funny not to have a couple of women pretend to kiss me (as much as the women in my office all want to! They do! I don't feel safe in my office, folks! Help me!), but to have a couple of guys do it. Lots of men in my office read this blog and tell me that they enjoy it. This was their chance for a measure of posterity. They could have been somebody. They could have been a contender.
But they all chickened out.
Every last one of them.
Instead, on Monday afternoon, I reluctantly decided to print off 2 colour images of myself, two of the caricatures I had hired Don Pinsent to do a few months ago, and have them held up on either side of me, while I look surprised. Really funny, huh? Yeah. I'm laughing on the inside.
Holding up the pics are Gillian (on the left), and Andrea (on the right). The lovely John had the guts to take the picture at least.
I'll have another fine picture for you tomorrow. Pay day. Woo hoo!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Today's picture was taken by Gillian, with whom I posed on Christmas Tie, Day Three. See? It's all starting to come together.
BTW, this is the first blog post in which I'm using the new blog post editor. It, like me, is pretty sweet.
Tomorrow's tie will be a challenge to my manhood. Wednesday's will be just silly. No idea what I'll do for Thursday yet. If you have suggestions, send them along.
More later. I know you want pictures of the Christmas tree once it's decorated.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Patricia and I have this little game Actually, we have several games, but most of them are none of your damned business. The one I'll tell you about involves the times we go out to lunch. It began years ago when I would whistle in her ear as if it were windy. "What are you doing?", she asked.
"The wind is crying, Patricia. Can't you hear it? It's suggesting we go to [fill in the name of the place I had in mind] for lunch". Laughing, she'd agree that she could hear the wind then, and we'd go.
She did that little game today. The wind cried the Timberlea Beverage Room, which is close to the house.
(When I hear the wind crying, it's usually for a higher end place. When Patricia hears it crying, and brings it to my attention, it's for a place like the TBR. Hmmphh!)
We had our brunch and afterward decided to go into Bayer's Lake to drop off the box of victuals for the foodbank that we had been tripping over in the kitchen for a few months and kept forgetting to deal with. We dealt with it and then went to Wal*Mart next door before deciding to check out the Christmas trees.
The only lot we went to didn't knock us over. As we were heading to the car, the proprietor asked if he could help us. We told him we wanted a smaller tree to fit in the car. He showed us one tree that we liked. He then said for an extra 5 bucks, he'd deliver it to the house. Sweet! The last time I had a Christmas tree in my car, I was vacuuming up needles for months afterward. Well worth 5 dollars to have him deliver the tree to the home.
We got the tree home. Patricia took care of an errand. I stayed back and made room for the tree in the living room. And I took these few pictures, which I hope you like.
Cindy is standing on her haunches sniffing the tree. Newbie doesn't quite know what to make of Cindy or the tree, as I never bothered with a tree the last couple of years, and he's an indoor cat who runs away when he sees me open the door to leave. I think this is the first time he's ever seen a Christmas tree. It's certainly the first time he's seen Cindy on her haunches like that.
This is our first Christmas together in the house. Or, rather, it will be. There are some bittersweet things going on in my life right now that may hamper our enjoyment of the holidays; but we must do our best to think of times like today, and our cats, and the tree that we didn't have to soil our cars to bring here.
I haven't started my shopping in any meaningful way. It's been hard to get into the holidays for some of the reasons I alluded to in the previous paragraph. But, after today, after the tree, and the cats, and all the other things, for the first time I can say, and write, and think:
I'm looking forward to Christmas!!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Didn't write yesterday. Spent hours and hours yesterday playing with the asus, trying to get an instant message client going. No luck at all. I seldom even use instant messaging. It was a pride thing.
Turns out I had to fiddle and fart with the wireless router. Had to open up a port, which I had heard Jack Bauer order Chloey to do on 24. I had never done it. But I figured it out and now I can message my cousin. Could email him or msg him through facebook. But, no! Had to be this pidgin client.
They just opened the phone lines. Gotta go.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
At my work this afternoon, I approached the minister of the department I work for (well, sort of; I don't technically work for the department any more. It's a long story.) and asked him to pose for a couple of pictures with me. He agreed because Bill Estabrooks is a nice guy. In addition to being my minister, he's also my MLA. I have had occasion to have had dealings with him over the years, and they they were always pleasant and cordial.
I have been a civil servant long enough to know that you really don't mess with senior management. Say hello to them in the hallway? Sure. But to approach them to do anything, even something that would make them look good? Well, let's just say I've been burned a time or two over the years and don't want a repeat performance.
I was nervous about approaching Mr. Estabrooks, but he made me at ease while the fellow who took the 2 pics did so.
I am off on Friday. No tie. Back to work on Monday. I know what I want to do for Monday's tie. Tuesday's tie will be something I have never done before, and I don't know if I'll have the courage to follow through on it. We'll have to see. I have an idea for Wednesday's tie, and that's even more audacious than Tuesday's.
Having fun yet?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
In scanning the internet this evening, I see that there are dozens of websites devoted to people wearing ugly ass Christmas ties. They all refer to this blog as their inspiration, however, and that deeply troubles me. How many relationships have I ruined because the guy wanted to wear a tie as horrid-looking as any of mine, much to the chagrin of the wife? I'll never know. I'll also never know how many women have ogled me and salivated over the explicit pictures of me here in this series as well as the unexpurgated pictures on my Facebook.
Anecdotally, though, I know it's a lot. A whole lot.
These pictures were taken at Halifax city hall, at the bell tower, a section not normally open to the public. My friend Dawn Sloane arranged this special access, and took the pictures. As a city councillor, she can do this kind of thing. Me? If I showed up there and asked to go up to the bell tower, I'd be spectacularly unsuccessful in that request. Dawn can open doors. I'm glad she's on my side.
You'll notice that the clock says 9:05. I can tell you that the pics were taken during lunch time. Why the discrepancy. It's simple: this is on purpose. The Halifax Explosion, which killed nearly 2000 people on December 6th, 1917, occurred at this time of the morning. To pay lasting tribute to this somber event, the clock face is forever set to that time.
I am so lucky to be able to present such interesting tie shots for you this year. The month is young, and I have many more ties to show off to you. I hope to be able to cover more interesting and unusual downtown Halifax locations for you.
Come on, people. I know you read these posts. I want lots of comments, so start writing!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This is a picture of Patricia's hand, taken about an hour ago. Notice the ring. It is the subject of this blog post.
The ring disappeared a few months ago, around the time Patricia moved in. Shortly thereafter, Newbie was running around the area of the house where Patricia kept a couple of her rings. She thought she saw Newbie knock the ring into a garbage can; but even if she did, she could not find it at all. No matter. No how.
Today, as she was preparing for Reg Short's funeral, she opened a box of her jewelry that she had not opened since the move in. She opened a small box within that box. She was looking for a brooch of her mother's, an angel. She found it, all right.
But, next to that brooch... that's the crux of the story.
Next to the brooch was the very ring she had not been able to find in months.
She asked me if I had secreted the ring away. I had not. Why would I?
She certainly had not done so. Why should she?
The cats don't have opposable thumbs. Or thumbs at all, come to think of it. They could not have done this.
So, how did this happen? How did this ring mysteriously end up next to her mother's brooch? Did her mother some how play a role in this, some five years after her death?
Maybe I should call George Noory during the next open hour of Coast to Coast AM! They may be able to offer us some keen insights into this amazing story.
That's it for tonight. Three posts in one night is a lot, folks. You don't pay me enough to do more.
We attended Reg Short's memorial service today. Thought I'd tell you about it for a bit.
It was in downtown Dartmouth, at the First Baptist Church, at 2pm. It is a huge church, right there on Ochterloney Street.
The service was very nice, befitting a very nice man. The minister gave a passionate eulogy for a man he would have known for 30 plus years and who, despite being 81, was taken from us too soon.
The picture of Reg that accompanies this post was taken at their former cottage in Pictou County. He's holding a container of some kind that has lobsters in it. We were in that cottage, in that kitchen, many times over the years, and shared meals with the Shorts more than a few times.
Patricia thinks this picture was taken the time she and Reg went to the nearby community of Toney River to fetch lobsters from a wharf that sells them in season. They had left at six o'clock in the morning to get them. The boats hadn't arrived yet, so Reg regaled Patricia with his silly and clean jokes. That morning is one of her favourite memories of him.
It is easy to become maudlin, even mawkish, during a funeral or its aftermath. I have always believed that a funeral should be less about the sadness because there's going to be lots of that anyway. It should be about a celebration of a person's life. Today's was. I am jealous of those who got to know Reg for a longer period of time than I did.
One of my favourite funerals, if that's a word I can use, was for a cousin who died in 1998. As sad as a death from cancer is, the minister told such funny stories about Gordon that we laughed as much as we cried. I'd like my funeral to be that way. I just hope people can think of nice things, funny things, to say about me.
Like the time I... never mind.
How about the time I...hmm, that wasn't funny at all. Someone lost an eye and I had to hide in the woods for 3 days.
Anyway, Reg's life was well-lived. He was a good man, and a good man deserves a good funeral. His, today, was all that and a lot more. We lost a good friend. Betty lost a good husband. Their children lost a good father. While there is nothing good about this loss, we can at least take comfort in his having been a part of our lives for as long as he was.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Welcome to the sixth day of my Christmas tie marathon!
My thanks to Dawn Sloane for taking today's picture. For my foreign readers, I am standing with the mayor of Halifax, Peter Kelly. As luck would have it, he is wearing a Christmas tie, too!
We are in Halifax Council Chambers, where they meet every week. That is the official city crest behind us.
I am blessed to have such good friends that I am able to have my Christmas ties spotlighted like this every day. I am rich in ways that material wealth cannot measure. Which is not to say that I still don't want to win the lottery this week. Patricia doesn't like the kitchen!
I have nothing funny to add tonight. I was at a funeral this afternoon, and I'll write about that in a moment or two.
There is one more Christmas tie I can wear from the ties I acquired back in January, and I'll wear that tomorrow. Dawn has another suggestion for a place where we can get some Christmas tie pics. It is a place not normally open to the public. That's the only tease you'll get for the moment. But I'm very much looking forward to it.
More in a bit.
Monday, December 7, 2009
This picture was taken on August 12, 2005 at our other neighbours, the Taylors. They had invited Reg and Betty and Patricia and me over for drinks and victuals, and we were only to glad to walk the 125 feet from our door to theirs.
Reg and Betty bought the cottage next to Patricia's parents in the late 1970's. Reg was employed as a manager for the phone company. After his retirement around 1982, he and Betty began to spend the majority of their summers at the cottage, arriving in late May, and not shutting 'er down until around Thanksgiving.
After Patricia's mother died in 2004, Patricia acquired the family cottage; and now it's hers, and we spend the majority of our summer vacations there. People keep asking me why we don't travel to Cuba or Europe or Zanzibar or whatever. The short answer is that I hate traveling and would not wish it on my worst enemy. The long answer is that our cottage is already Heaven to us. It contains almost everything we need (except high speed internet service, cable/satellite and other guy stuff). Until 2009, it also contained Reg and Betty.
The cottage became a chore to them over the last couple of years. Reg was getting on. Mowing a big lawn even in a lawn tractor when you're 80 years old is taxing to say the least. In weak moments, they would admit the whole thing was getting to them. Other times, Betty would be on their veranda, reading a book; Reg would be sitting by the entrance to the shed sneaking a cigarette because Betty did not approve of his occasional smokes. In, ahem, short: They loved their cottage as much or more than we love ours, which is saying a whole lot.
They finally decided to sell the place this year. It could not have been easy for them to do this, because I know it will be painful for us when we have to give ours up. I'm pleased that the new neighbors love Reg and Betty's old place as much as Reg and Betty did.
Reg took a fall at the home on November 30th. He was taken to the hospital and put on a waiting list for hip surgery. The surgery finally happened on December 3rd. He did not survive the operation.
Patricia admitted that she would have loved to have had Reg for a father. I can see why. He was a wonderful man, and I am a little jealous that she got to know him for more than 30 years, and me, not nearly as long.
We visited the funeral home this evening and saw Betty and promised her we'd be at the funeral tomorrow. We want to say our final goodbyes to our friend Reg. I know he'd do it for us.
Goodbye, Reg. We will miss you.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
The people at The Heritage Trust Nova Scotia are well meaning, but the perception is that they stand in the way of progress. I can see both sides of the argument. Why they, and others, fought tooth and nail over an empty parking lot which used to house a parkade that had fallen on hard times, is beyond me. Of course, it's also beyond me why, having finally been granted permission to go ahead and erect the "twisted sisters", the owners of the property haven't lifted a finger to do so.
These guys put out a publication called the Griffin, and several years of it are online for free downloads. An issue from March of 2002 writes about a building at the corner of Hollis and Morris Streets that is slated to be torn down any day now. They filmed part of a Kelsey Grammer movie here in the late 1990's. There was an article about that building in the paper last week.
They haven't updated the list of issues of the Griffin for download in a while. If I were you, I'd download them all. Drive space is cheap. Webstorage can be free.
And the Nova Scotia Archives does a very creditable job showing thousands of images of our fair province. You can spend hours there. I keep meaning to spend a vacation day or an EDO there trying to find news about people like Norm Riley. Today, of course, they are spotlighting the explosion. Here's the link.
Should go spend some time with Patricia.
Mark wrote about his love of ventriloquism. I have long admired this talent as well. Mark argues that the best one he's ever seen is Jay Johnson, and I see no reason to disagree with him.
Johnson has a one person play on Broadway. I'll never see it, but he plugs it on David Letterman. Here is that appearance.
You may remember Johnson from the few years he was on the sitcom "Soap". I loved that show back in the day. Some clips I watched this afternoon still hold up very nicely. One of my favourite scenes is when Billy Crystal stuffs "Bob" in the fridge and... why tell you about it, when you can just see it?
Wish I had some talent at something. Sheesh!!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Back in the city after a quick trip to the Valley to see my parents. My mother wanted to go shopping, so I took her.
We left the house just past 9:30. We didn't return until 4:45 or so. In between I took my dad to a bakery in Cambridge before returning to New Minas for a lunch at the (ugh!) New Minas Big Stop. The food gets worse there every time I go, but my parents insist on it, and I want to placate him.
We dropped off my father at the house so that he could rest. We returned to New Minas so that groceries could be purchased. While there, I ran into GT, who's the subject of an upcoming blog interview. He promised to go over the interview transcript soon so that it can be published. It's an excellent interview, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you.
Returned to the city a little while ago. Patricia spent much of the afternoon at the Paula Gallant 40th birthday party. She, of course, is the local teacher found murdered in the trunk of her car. People still keep googling her name and finding a blog post I wrote about her about 2 years ago. Now, they'll find this one.
Composing this post on Bilbo, which I am liking more and more.
Off to bed. Gonna be a busy day tomorrow!
Friday, December 4, 2009
The pretty blonde girl who doesn't know what a camisole is, and who works at the nearby coffee shop, had commented favourably about my Christmas ties this week. Screwing up my courage, I asked her if she would pose for today's Christmas tie pictures. I think I said something like, "Wouldyouliketoposeforapicturewithmepleasepleaseplease?" Much to my surprise, she said yes. We agreed to take care of it in 5 minutes.
But I sat down with my work chums and drank coffee. I regaled them with my tales of derring-do, and they hung on my every word. They were spellbound before me, ladies and gentlemen.
I lost track of time.
I remembered my arrangement with the pretty blonde girl who needs to look up "camisole" at www.dictionary.com, and rushed over to her. She said she was busy making sandwiches. Sandwiches! Have you ever heard a more flimsy excuse? I mean, if she didn't want to pose with me, why not just come out and say so? I am man enough, barely, to sustain such rejection without incurring lasting damage to my psyche.
Dejected, I returned to work.
Around 3:45 this afternoon, I remembered that today's pics hadn't been taken yet. I grabbed the camera and asked the lovely Jeannette to take a few pictures. This is probably my favourite picture of this year's marathon, thus far.
I hope you like it, too. If not, then think about how much that pretty blonde girl who needs to spend a bit more time with her nose in an underwear catalogue feels right about now. She blew her chance! To heck with her, ladies and gentlemen. I don't need her. I never needed her.
I'm caught up on the pic posts. I'll write more tomorrow. Another day taking my mother shopping. Going to bed early. I need my rest!! She wears me out.
P.S. Are camisoles actually underwear? I mean, I understand their function, but do they truly constitute an undergarment? Anybody know? Slowly tell me about it.
Day Three was yesterday, December 3rd. Gillian from our work had asked on Facebook if it would be acceptable if she wore an off-the-shoulder dress. I think my reply was something like, "Yes! Oh, God, yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!! Please! Don't make me beg!!" Or words to that effect. Maybe I was a little more subdued in my comments because I am a shy retiring type not known to make waves or call attention to himself.
Yesterday, I arrived at work and saw her right away. She saw me and laughed, recounting to my work chums the comments I had made on her Facebook. I grabbed my digital camera and had someone, frig knows who, take a couple of pictures.
I say I don't remember who took the pictures because I had long been pondering the sobering situation in the Middle East. It has been keeping me awake at night, ladies and gentlemen, and those thoughts weighed heavily on my weary mind as whoever it was took those pictures. Oh, sure, I'm smiling in these pictures. But, trust me, ladies and gentlemen: My mind was elsewhere.
The humanity, ladies and gentlemen. The humanity.
And let's think of the children. My God. The children.
More in a bit.
Oh, wait a minute. It WAS just a moment ago.
Day two pictures were also taken by the lovely Jane. I'd give her last name out, but she has two last names. Some know her by one; some know her by the other. Doesn't confuse me in the least. Nope. Not at all.
Anyway, we decided to take these pictures by the work Christmas tree, or "holiday tree" as I guess I should call it. We had decorated it on December 1st as part of our eating and drinking orgy. The last time I had seen so much food, I was still able to stand up, look down, and see my feet. Yeah. That long ago.
Jane told me to be funky and spirited in posing for these pictures, and I cheerfully complied. She doesn't know this, but I have a... thing for "holiday trees". The way they look. The way they smell. That come hither glint from the garland. The branches as they coquettishly sway in the breeze. It's hard to put it into words that won't make the whole situation seem unnatural, so I think I'll stop right here, as difficult as that may be.
It was a pleasure to pose for Day Two of my Christmas Tie Marathon!!
More in a bit, after my cold shower.
I will put one picture up a day here. The bulk of the pictures will be up on my facebook.
This was taken on December 1st. My thanks for Jenn for her expert camera use.
As ugly ass as this tie is, you haven't seen anything yet. You'll be gouging your eyes out in a week or two. You'll be praying to whatever deity you believe in for me to stop. But I won't. I won't! I am an unstoppable force, and by definition I cannot be swayed from my single-minded (maybe simple-minded) determination to destroy sartorial tradition in the fair city of Halifax.
Every day. A different Christmas tie. Yeah. I dare. Do you dare, come along for the ride with me, every work day this month?
Well, do ya? Punk!
More in a bit.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
But it's late.
I will run the first 4 of Christmas tie posts on Friday, and then do my very best to post one a day, with a different tie, all the way to Christmas Eve.
I know you're looking forward to it.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
And, thanks to a bit of prodding, you'll see that I have simplified the Bevboy's Blog logo. You can read about me by clicking on the profile button. The counter isn't there any more. And who cares if I was registered with blogged.com? I'll likely change the mint green layout to a blue. But I haven't decided that one just yet.
I was reading the New York Times during my lunch hour. I found a fascinating article about "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. I haven't read the book. That type of Elizabethian writing is hard for me to get into, but I recognize that Dickens was a genius and so on.
Every year at Christmas, the present owners of the one and only Christmas Carol manuscript allow one page to be on display. This year, all 66 hand-written pages can be examined.
Back in the day, that's how people wrote: by hand. Typewriters weren't invented until around 1900. So, professional writers wrote by hand, and submitted it to an editor and a publisher, who took the hen scratching and eventually made a book out of it. Because of computers and writers editing on a computer screen, many books never make it to paper form nowadays until they go to the printers. That's either good or bad. It's good in the sense that trees are being saved. It's bad in that the creative process, rewriting, changing things around, is not nearly as apparent as it was for the years leading up to the invention of computers.
You can see where Dickens added things, took things out, and so on. Fascinating stuff, and like I said, you'll see much less of it as we go forward.
Here's an article about the unveiling. And here's a link showing all 66 pages.
I hope you like it.
Monday, November 30, 2009
This time, I'll discuss a science experiment that went horribly wrong and could have had catastrophic consequences for my family.
I was 13 or so.
(Yeah. Another story of my teenage angst-ridden years. It will be the last one for a while.)
I was up late one Friday night, because I was in the habit of sleeping in until noon on Saturdays back then. I wondered what it would be like to heat some water in my parents' metal tea kettle. This was before we knew the dangers of chemicals leeching into water as a result of molecular excitement. Don't judge us.
I heated the water in the kettle. And watched.
And watched a little bit more.
The water boiled until there was no water left. I did not remove the kettle from the stove.
All of a sudden, there were these horrible smells, burning odors, emanating from the kettle. If we had had a smoke detector it would have gone off. I grabbed a towel and removed the kettle from the stove and tossed it into the sink and poured water on it.
The next morning I told my parents a fictionalized account of what had happened the night before. Dad went out and bought a new kettle that day, and I never even thought about touching it again.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Next time: Check front and back, 35+ years apart.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
1, It's my leisure time, and I want to spend it the way I want to spend it.
2. If I called upon these people to do stuff for me, they'd charge me the going rate.
3. That which has no cost is usually perceived to have no value.
4. I work for you for free, you don't appreciate it, but I'm seen to be a soft touch, and you'll hit me up for more freebies down the road. It never ends.
5. I saw my father work his ass off for the family every day, and then spend many weekends and nights doing pro bono work for non-immediate family members and alleged friends, who never reciprocated by doing free things for him. Not even once.
6. There can be a legal consequence. If I do something for you, for free or not; and it is buggy or flawed in some way, then I can be on the hook for that error.
There are other reasons, but you get the idea. Why should I work for free if I don't want to do it, for whatever reason? I am university educated. I had to shell out a lot of money to pay for my degree and work friggin' hard to earn it. I have had to work hard at jobs ever since. Nobody gave what little I have to me. I had to go out and work for it. Why, again, should I turn around and "dash off" a little system for you?
In Hollywood, there are lots of wanna be's who think they can break in to movies or tv (or whatever the medium is) by exploiting those who have already made it. These non-professionals are a scourge.
But wanna be's are in every line of work, from mine to carpentry to plumbing to pizza delivery.
How this guy handled the man who hit him up for free work is a classic, and I know you'll get a kick out of it and see the lesson in it as well. The man denies he did the hitting up, but the lesson for all of us remains. Don't work for free. Nothing good can come from it. No good deed goes unpunished.
Thanks once again to Mark Evanier's excellent blog newsfromme.com!
I just forgot to ask him is all.
Now you know why!
Here is a clip from a fairly recent episode.
Darrin, I know you follow this blog. How did you get the gig as host of this show? Do you contribute to writing it? Anything else you want to tell your fans about it?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I guess I'll be a little early, too.
I am enclosing a few Christmas songs for your enjoyment. They're parodies of popular songs, and they're pretty funny, in my opinion.
Frank Kelly's interpretation of the 12 Days of Christmas is an absolute scream. As he receives that day's present he becomes more and more upset, to great comic effect. I don't want to ruin it for you. Just check it out.
Bob Rivers has made a career of parodying songs. I have one of his Christmas albums, called Twisted Christmas. The parody of "The Christmas Song" is one I don't want to ruin for you by discussing it.
And Rivers' "The 12 Pains of Christmas" should resonate with... anybody who celebrates the season! Ironically enough, this version was performed on a Christian tv show. Reg, how much do you know about these folks?
I hope you enjoy the Christmas songs. I'll include some traditional tunes here, soon!