The best blog in Canada. Probably the best blog there ever was. Comments are my own and not necessarily those of an employer. Because I am retired and do not have one.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
853rd Post - Stupid Things Bevboy Has Done, Part One
This feature, which I'll publish when I feel like it, will showcase things that I have actually done, or had done to me, which made me look or feel foolish. The mental list is growing by the moment. I will formally record them, thereby creating a database of dumbass things that I can draw upon for these posts.
For the first entry in this shameful list, I will go back to when I was about 15 years of age. I used to hitchhike around from time to time. Yeah. I know. It was a dumb thing to do all by itself. But that's not what I want to talk about this evening.
That fine day, I was thumbing a ride home. A young couple pulled over and I gratefully accepted the ride. I opened the passenger front door and tried to wedge the seat open so that I could crawl in the back and be driven closer to my parents' home.
The seat wouldn't budge.
The wife, in the passenger seat, looked at me as if I had just grown a second nose and a third mouth. That's when the husband leaned over and looked at me and said, "Um, young man? This is a four door car!"
Yep. Sure enough. There was a door I could have just opened and used to get in the car, but I hadn't seen it.
I got in the car, feeling sheepish. They drove me to my parents' street and I got out and ran home.
This was a long time ago. But I still think of it from time to time. To this day, I hope those people thought I was stoned, freaked out on some drug, or maybe even some escaped mental patient. I would much rather have them think that of me than for them to think that I was stupid.
Next: People see a little too much of Bevboy, back when he was a boy.
Monday, June 29, 2009
852nd Post - New P.D. for the Rogers Station in Halifax
I know nothing about this man, Danny Kingsbury. I know nothing about what the format of this new station will be; Rogers is playing its cards very close to its vest. However, the assignment of Mr. Kingsbury as p.d. may provide a few clues as to what the format will be like.
I googled this man's name. This website indicates he was as CISS FM in Ottawa in 2005. According to this issue of Broadcast Dialogue, he left Rogers nearly six months ago. Perhaps that is why he has agreed to come to this sleep backwater: He's been outta work for a while.
This link lists places he has worked over the years.
It is difficult to extrapolate from the above what the format of this new station will be. Q107 is classic rock. CFNY/the Edge is a new rock station, but may not have been back when Kingsbury was working there. CISS/KISS FM looks like a C100-type station, with a slant toward female listeners.
Some folks were speculating that the new Rogers station will have a Country format. I think I can put that speculation to rest. Ain't gonna happen. I can see nothing on his resume to indicate that they would want to hire him to be a Country station p.d.
Others have speculated it will be an easy-listening type station, geared for old gummers like me. I don't think it will be that either. Ditto for an Oldies station, like CJ was when it went bye-bye last year.
My gut feeling, based upon the hiring of Danny Kingsbury, is that the new Rogers station in Halifax will have a new rock type of format. We already have C100, and they will go to extraordinary steps to protect their segment of the listening audience. Their G.M. told me that a couple of years ago. With Z103.5 and the station that replaced CJCH going for the really young crowd, and their not being much of an outlet for the new rock bands and tunes, I am thinkin' that fans of the Trews, Matt Mays, Joel Plaskett, and all the other young rock-types will be pretty happy with this new station. Which means quite a bit of competition for my friend J.C. Douglas.
I am looking forward to finding out, when this station goes live, sometime this Summer.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
851st Post - Back In Halifax
Off to bed. Up early tomorrow for a shortened work week.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
850th Post - Two Days At The Cottage
Friday, June 26, 2009
849th Post - Cats Like Vacations Too!
He got that habit from me.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
848th Post - Cottage Standard Time
A sad day. Farrah died. Michael Jackson died. And we see that our cottage neighbours have grown too old to maintain their place and have decided to sell it. For a lot of $oney. They don't have ocean frontage. We do. But it is still going for a pile of cash. If it goes for that much it will affect the value and tax rate we pay. Sigh!
Sleeping sickness hitting me. Will sleep for 12 hours or more tonight. Looking forward to it.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
847th Post - Boxing History
There is a book about Tommy Burns, a couple actually. The better one was published about 9 years ago. My own copy is on my boss' desk for him to look through some day and return to me. I sought a copy for my new friend, and will give it to him the next time I see him, prior to the publishing of the interview here.
I think about Tommy Burns when I think about how the only thing that survives one's death is one's reputation. They say you are born with nothing, and you die with nothing. I don't quite agree. You die with your reputation. That lives on forever, or at least as long as people remember you.
Those few who know who Tommy Burns was think of him as a bum, the man who lost the championship to Jack Johnson, the first African American champion. Having had the nerve to lose the championship to a black man, the press spent copious amounts of ink destroying Burns' reputation. The fact that, 100 years later, Burns still holds records has been conveniently ignored. The fact that Burns was the first champ to agree to take on blacks has also been overlooked. To this day, people rag on this man, and it is just so patently unfair that I don't have words to describe it.
There is little footage of Tommy Burns extant. I can't find any footage of anybody discussing him. Except this: A documentary about every chamption from John L. Sullivan to Ali. It's pretty old and out of date, but there are a couple of nice things said about Burns. A couple.
I have found some other footage of Burns. That will appear with the published interview when that goes up here, soon.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
846th Post - Things in Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense, Part Five
You are looking at pictures of the Halifax Common. It is a big, big piece of property in downtown Halifax. Originally, the land was about 3 times bigger than it is now, but over the years, it has been whittled down to what it is now. Huge tracts of land have been ceded over to schools, the CBC television building, and other things.
It is called The Common because it is supposed to be for the Commoners, the great unwashed, people like you and me. It is supposed to be full, unfettered, public property. The Pope, when he came here in 1984, held mass on the Common. I'm not Catholic, but I'd have no problem with such an event taking place there.
Today, the Common, what's left of it, is used for soccer and baseball teams to play on. They pay fees for the upkeep of the land. A friend of mine, who reads this blog, plays on a ball team there. Hello, Kirk. Perhaps you could comment on the fees you have to pay to use this land. Is it a fair fee, one designed to cover the costs of the upkeep, or does it strike you as excessive? Once again, I think it's a fine use of the space. Several teams can peacefully coexist side-by-side, while runners dash through the land between them.
As you can see, there is a fountain in the Common as well. It is a lovely fountain, minus the graffiti.
As much as I like the Common, as thousands of other Haligonians love the Common, I hate what it is becoming: A haven, a venue for large concerts. These are for-profit bands like the Rolling Stones, Keith Urban, Paul McCartney, and KISS, who play there, attracting tens of thousands of folks who run and jump and drink on the Common all day long.
After a concert, thousands of dollars are expended to clean the place up. After the Urban concert last year, the afore-mentioned team sports could no longer be played, as the Common land had been so damaged.
This year, McCartney plays on the 11th, and KISS on the 18th, of July. With the one week between the shows, there will be little time to bring the common land back to some kind of decent shape before the next set of people comes along and tramples everything.
I have a big problem with for-profit uses of this land. It is supposed to be for everyone. It is offensive to charge access to this property, especially such a fee that many cannot afford to pay. Especially when those bands are subsidized and seduced into coming by the city in the first place.
I was off sick on Monday, June 15th. I had a radio on to keep me company as I drifted in and out of consciousness. I listened to the Andrew Krystal show on the News 95.7 that morning. His main guest was Harold MacKay, of the company that is bringing shows to the Common. Krystal decried the naysayers who object to the use of the Common for this purpose. "If you don't want to go, nobody's forcing you to". "If you complain, then bands will stop coming here, so be quiet and be positive".
I'm sorry, Mr. Krystal; but this is a democracy. We have a right, a duty, even an obligation to express our opinion. You may not want to hear these opinions, but they exist, and have a right to do so. I have this humble blog, and hundreds of others in Halifax have their own blogs and have a right to express themselves as they see fit. If we do not agree with for-profit use of this land, then we are allowed to say that. You can't stop us. It is a free country. Those who feel we should not be able to say these things can always move to Iran. Their ilk is welcome there.
Let's face it, folks: Use of the Common for for-profit use just doesn't make sense. And it's immoral, too.
Next in this series: A tourist trap!
Monday, June 22, 2009
845th Post - More Mark Dooley Star Treks
Sunday, June 21, 2009
844th Post - Yet Another Long Day
Visited Dad for Fathers Day. Took him to lunch and then to see Mom in the hospital.
Ran errands before returning to the city.
Turning in early.
Back to work in the morning.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
843rd Post - Today
This afternoon we went to a barbecue which went really well. Just got home and it is past 10:30. The rain didn't materialize. Yay!
Tomorrow is Fathers Day. Plan to drive down to see him for the day.
Very long day. Time for bed.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Friday, June 19, 2009
842nd Post - A Long, Productive Day
Bought some groceries after work. I typically favour the Bayers Lake Superstore as it is relatively close to my home. They have re-jigged the place, removing the electronics section, putting other stuff in its place. I won't miss the electronics section that much: Their dvd's were, to be polite, not competitively priced. Most things in that section weren't. If they can't compete with the big boys, then it's best not to carry that type of product.
Got back home. Fed Newbie. Sat down here and finished transcribing the N.B. interview. This time, I did it the old-fashioned way: I typed it. The whole voice recognition thing just doesn't seem to be there yet. You say the thing you want typed on the screen, several times, over and over again. More often than not, the computer misunderstands you and types something else. You correct it. Say it again. Correct it again.
I will probably do a combination of typing and echo dictation from now on. I can still type pretty fast when I get in a zone, like I did this evening, because it took my mind off things that have been bugging me. I whipped through the final question relatively quickly and e-mailed the first draft this evening to her. I hope she reads it over fairily quickly and gets back to me so that I can publish the interview soon. I think you'll like it.
Going to bed early so that I can (in theory) get up early. Wanna get some pics early tomorrow morning for tomorrow's blog post.
Also going to a Toastmasters barbecue Saturday afternoon, rain or shine. It will probably rain. Big deal. We won't melt. Burgers taste the same if it's a hot, sunny day, or if it's a warm, rainy one.
Have a good one.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
841st Post - Another Unusual Song
It's been recorded many times. I like the Chet Atkins' version, even though his vocal range extended from A almost all the way over to A.1! He was still able to pull it off.
You know, it is obvious, hearing the tune, that it is an older one. The subject matter is that which you would never hear a rapper do. And, besides, the lyrics are clever, very clever; and they rhyme, too. Most songwriters today don't bother rhyming their lyrics.
I am including the Ray Stevens version because the absurdity of it all is not lost on him as he sings it. It is as if he is having a hard time believing it happened, even though (to the song's main character) it did.
Here it is, with a diagram to help you out: :"I'm My Own Grandpa".
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
840th Post - Weirdest Hit Song Ever
Probably the weirdest, because, well, who would have thunk that such subject matter would become an enduring classic that, 38 years in, continues to be played on oldies radio stations? Who would have thought that a tune about a guy who kills another man because that man said something inappropriate to the protagonist's wife or girlfriend, causing the murderer to run for his freedom, only to be caught by the police at the end, would even be recorded, let alone released, let alone become a hit?
Today, with focus groups, buttinsky's who think they know what makes a hit, radio stations afraid to take much of a chance on something so different, this song would never make it out of whatever fevered brain spawned it.
Back then, however, you could get away with this type of material. I guess it's because you could record a song about puppy mills, a ditty about a nuclear holocaust, a jaunty tune about a slaughterhouse, if it were catchy enough, if it had enough of a hook, if the lyrics were ambiguous enough to make people think the song was about something it wasn't.
I have been beating around the bush. I am referring to R. Dean Taylor's "Indiana Wants Me".
I have found this full-length recording. Go ahead and watch it.
And, as a real curiousity, here is a 1971 music video, shot for about $1.98, for the song.
This song is about as hard to get out of your head as "Mamma Mia"!
839th Post - A Bevboy's Blog Change
You'll notice to the left of the blog posts that I have a region called "Bevboy's Labels". They contain quick jumps to key parts of the blog that you will likely want to visit frequently. All of the 9 published interviews are reachable this way. Or, if you want to, you can just click on the name of the person who's interviewed. You are but one click away from the fabled (and very popular, given the stats I examine on a regular basis) Denyse Sibley interview, the Rob Johnson interview, or whatever. Of course, the six interviews that are in various stages of production will add to this total, and there will be a label for each of the folks I sit down with.
(And, two more people have already agreed to an interview. And yet two others, who have been very patient with me, agreed months and months ago. One is a writer and one is an editor. So, you interview addicts: There will be lots of interviews to read about in the months to come. Tell me how much you like them. Please. These kind words will sustain me as I sit here night after night, hunched over this computer, typing my life and fingerprints away.
I have also created a label called "Radio". I will be gradually going through all 839 posts (give me time, folks!) and labelling the posts that are about that most sacred of broadcast mediums (media? medio? I need a medic!). That way, you can spend hour after hour and read about all of the radio-related blog posts. You and I both know you want to. I'll probably do a similar label for comics, not that I write about them much any more. I mean, Captain America is coming back, but you've probably already heard about it by now. You don't need me, your humble blogger, to tell you this stuff.
We are heading into the summer. I want you to start thinking about The Coast's Best of Halifax awards that will be coming up in the next few months. You know, winning for best local Blog sure would be nice... I mean, really: It would be nice!
Back to work on the N.B. interview!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
838th Post - Call For Assistance
Turns out it doesn't work. I was perhaps snookered on this.
I don't know if it's worth looking around for the missing parts, a paper cassette that feeds into the device so's you can print, or if I should just write off the wasted ten dollars and search for a new photo printer for Patricia. I don't want one; I have long believed that we should be moving away from using paper. I have plenty of paper at my desk, but assure my boss (who reads this blog nearly every day!) that I seldom use the printer outside my office. I use it to print off my monthly standby/overtime sheet, and the times I print off pages for the Oracle licensing stuff he has me do; but other than that, I very seldom print anything.
Patricia feels differently. She wants to be able to print off pics from her digital camera.
So, you guys reading this: Can you recommend a cool photo printer? I notice that the new ones can print directly from SD or SDHC cards. The printers have little lcd screens that enable you to select and print the pics you want.
The printer we got on Saturday came with several extra boxes of ink cartridges and postcard-sized sheets that you print pics onto. It'd be nice if whatever printer I got could make use of those things so that the purchase on Saturday would not have been totally in vain.
Thanks in advance, folks. You may have saved this relationship.
Monday, June 15, 2009
837th Post - Where Did The Day Go?
My mother remains in hospital. My father visited her, not feeling well himself. I thought he had been admitted as well, but my information was incorrect. He should have been admitted, and should still be so; but he is at home this evening.
I slept until nearly supper time, at which time I got up, fed Newbie, and went back downstairs to rest some more. Quite frankly, I would like to go back to bed now. I guess I'm fighting something, and it may be winning a conditional victory.
I'm gonna transcribe/dictate a couple parts of an interview and go to bed, folks.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
836th Post - A Coincidence? I'm Not So Sure
I eventually got up, ate something, washed my dishes(!), and settled down on the couch, where I started to watch a documentary I taped last night. I have HBO Canada here now, and you can imagine what the subject matter was. Yeah. That. Didn't finish watching it before I went to Patricia's.
We were both hungry, so we went to the local Swiss Chalet for a late lunch. During lunch, my BlackBerry rang. It was someone looking for someone else, but that someone identified himself as... the guy I interviewed at the end of April, and whose first interview draft had been sent to him a few weeks ago. Wires got crossed and he called me in error. That's fine. We chatted for a bit. He asked if we could get together for coffee in a week or 10 days to discuss a few changes and additions he wants made to the interview, and I said sure.
The coincidence alluded to in title of this post? When we met for lunch in April, we ate at a Swiss Chalet! We had not been there in the intervening six weeks. The decision to eat there today was a last minute thing. And, he called me when he meant to call someone else. Divine providence? Things lining up in sequence like tumblers in a lock? Or, what is it, anyway?
My mother is still in the hospital. In the last few minutes, she was moved to a room. I think she will be there for a few more days.
Newbie sits in the box over my left shoulder, half asleep. I think he misses me when I am not home. I miss him.
Started watching season 2 of Burn Notice this evening. I copied the show through Video on Demand, to a couple of dvd's. Beats the heck out of the cost of buying the dvd, and is quicker, legal, and more convenient than using a torrent to download the show off the net. Great to watch this show at the cottage. We like the show a lot. I still prefer "Breaking Bad", but that show is pretty dark, and Bryan Cranston's character is going into a deeper and darker place with every episode. I recommend both shows, but they're totally different.
Ever see each show? Wanna know more about it? Knock yourself out. Read about Breaking Bad. Read about Burn Notice.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
835th Post - Say Hello to Ed Coleman
I went to bed for three and a half hours, rose, got dressed, and drove to Patricia. Thence, we drove to Port Williams for the village-wide yard sale.
There weren't a lot of "wow" moments for me today. I found a really sweet camera bag, in excellent condition, for five dollars. I can store my digital camera, my camcorder, and my digital voice recorder in, with room left over. Also bought a photo printer for Patricia. Without using a computer, she will (theoretically) be able to print off pics from her camera to this printer. Came with plenty of paper and ink cartridges. Ten bucks. More her thing than mine, but I want to see how well it works.
Bought a cat scratching post for three dollars. A fresh carpet remnant, and it will be A-1 again.
Patricia bought some plants.
But, overall, there wasn't a lot to brag about this year.
Visited my mother in the hospital, ran errands for both parents, and found time for a 20 minute nap before we went to the supper at the community centre. Scalloped potatoes, baked beans, ham (which I didn't want), tomato slices, tea/coffee/juice, and desserts. Free will offering.
The man ahead of me in the coffee line looked familiar to me. I recognized him from an excellent column he has written for more than 20 years. It is all about history in Kings County, Nova Scotia. A second column that he has written since 1960 or so is about hunting and fishing in that part of the province.
"You're Ed Coleman aren't you, sir?"
He allowed that he was that person. We chatted for a moment and went our ways.
Turns out that he was sitting next to us. Screwing up my courage, I asked him if he might be willing to pose for a picture or two with me. He agreed, and after we had all eaten, the four of us went outside to my car, where I grabbed my camera, and Patricia took several shots. The one I liked best accompanies this post. I also shot some video of Ed and told him where he would find this blog; the video will go up here shortly. Lastly, I asked him if he might sit down for an interview with me. He has agreed.
I am not an historian, just a fella with a blog who takes an interest in local history. If I had been thinking straight, I would have asked Ed about Jack Pineo, an Annapolis Valley boy who eventually worked as a broadcaster for NBC in the 1960's. But I wasn't, and I didn't. Perhaps I'll save that for the interview.
I have linked to Ed's columns before. I will again. This page will take you to both of his columns. Ed tells me that someone will be updating it shortly to include more recent columns, but there is a lot to read here. I see that the history columns, online, begin in 1996, even though he started writing it in 1986 or so. I would love to see the earlier columns up there, too.
Ed Coleman, thank you for your time, sir. I hope you find my blog and like it. Keep in touch.
834th Post - My Mother
She will be here for several more days.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Friday, June 12, 2009
833rd Post - I Can Hardly Wait!
I am trying to downsize and simplify my life by buying less crap. But, I have been lucky over the years, buying things that we can use at great deals. We needed a microwave oven at the cottage; I got one last year for two bucks. A coffee maker would have been nice there. I went to a yard sale where a guy was selling theirs because his wife didn't like the colour, black. Two more bucks. A slow cooker for five dollars. A chaise longue for ... a few dollars. Broadcast spreaders.
Of course, the coolest thing is probably the computer desk on which I am typing these words. Got it for free.
Anyway, tomorrow, we will rise very early and drive down there, returning in the evening. We'll see what kind of deals we can get.
Will also be visiting my mother in the hospital tomorrow. She took a fall at home on Thursday and was rushed to hospital. She will be there for several more days. I visited her Thursday night, returning here around 10:30.
Lack of sleep this week caught up to me at work this afternoon. I left early, feeling very unwell. Came back here, fed Newbie, and went to bed for 4 hours. Will probably be up all night now.
Time to try to go to bed.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
832nd Post - Better Late Than Never!
Don't believe me? I'm hurt.
But I'm still hurt.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
831st Post - Hump Day
Killing a bit of time before I go to Toastmasters this evening. It will be another long day, arriving home 8:30-ish.
Found out there are now 2 TM clubs that meet out toward my home. These long days, don't think that it doesn't cross my mind to consider joining one of them. Still be a long day, but I'd be that much closer to my residence.
Patricia went out this morning to an appointment in the downtown, and I haven't been able to track her down since. I am guessing she has gone to a girlfriend's place to say hi.
Nothing much new to report. Had lunch with an old friend today. Well, she watched me eat. Maybe she's into that kind of thing. Not sure. There's a fetish for every possible interest nowadays. I'm so far behind in that stuff.
When I get home tonight, I'll resume dictating the interview audio files. My life is so exciting.
Time to brush my teeth and head out to my meeting.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
830th Post - A Quick Bevboy Update
Finished the first draft of an interview with a well-known radio personality, last night at 10pm. E-mailed it to him. It's a waiting game until I hear from him, so I'll resume work on 3 other interviews I need to transcribe. I also have a first draft of yet another interview being conducted via e-mail, to which I need to add some follow up questions. Beautiful stuff. Great behind-the-scenes stories in there. I know you'll like it. The loss of this man to Halifax radio in the late 1990's was very disappointing to me.
I have 6 interviews in the works. Another guy agreed to one yesterday. I would like to interview local horror author Steve Vernon for this humble blog. I have met him, and he is an interesting cat. He does palm reading at a store up the street from where I work. But I haven't approached him yet. Not sure why.
Had lunch with Patricia just now. Rudy's across the street from my work. Not exactly gourmet food, but I am no longer hungry, which goes a long way in my book. I hate being hungry. I don't mind being too cold, or too hot; but I hate hunger. Good thing I live in this part of the world.
Patricia returned from the cottage last evening, and is already talking about returning there, maybe as early as this weekend. I have to stay in the city.
Port Williams Days are this weekend. There will be a village-wide yard sale on Saturday. Every year I go, I seem to buy a broadcast spreader. I am starting to think that there are only a few broadcast spreaders in the world. People buy one when they need it at a yard sale, use it until they no longer need it, and then re-sell it at another yard sale, until the next guy who needs one comes along and purchases it. Who would pay 40 dollars for a broadcast spreader, when one can be had for 5 bucks or less at a yard sale?
Other years, as a man on a mission, I looked for and bought a big pet carrier for Newbie along with a chaise lounge, which Patricia promptly appropriated for herself and which I seldom get to use at the cottage. This year, I want some seat covers for the plastic chairs I bought from a store that was going out of business last year. Patricia bought some a few years ago for 25 cents each. I hope to get some for myself this year. Just hope they're not butt ugly like hers are.
Will be perched in front of the tv all night, watching the provincial election on tv. Jim Nunn's last night before he retires. Sorry to see him go.
Monday, June 8, 2009
829th Post - Hand Shadows
Nice to see that people can still make a living at this.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
828th Post - McSweeney's Internet Tendency: God Texts the 10 Commandments.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
827th Post - Colleen and Friend
Colleen sells a lot of lobster.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Friday, June 5, 2009
826th Post - One More Thing
I thought I'd link to this, their final hit song, from 1988, IIRC. The same liner notes refer to Lou Gramm's vocal performance as being "professional", whatever that means.
It's a good tune, one you don't hear on the radio very much, and I thought you'd enjoy it. But notice that nobody from the band appears in it.
Things that make you go hmm.
825th Post - Off to the Cottage
I got up at 5:30 this morning after sleeping for more than seven hours last night. That is the most sleep I have had in one evening for probably a couple of weeks. Very much required. I would have loved to sleep in this morning, but I had scheduled an oil change for my car for 7:15 this morning and didn't dare miss it.
I had the oil change. Got some breakfast. Bought some groceries. Came back here, and dictated a couple more questions from an interview that's been taking me too long to transcribe. The voice recognition software is getting smarter every time I use it. It was able to spell "non sequitur", when I am not sure how to spell it myself. I am not sure why I can't use it directly to dictate one of these blog posts, though. I have to dictate into a word pad document and then paste it here. I am doing this post the old-fashioned way: Typing. Good exercise.
My cat is also getting smarter. It is becoming more and more difficult to trick him into his pet carrier. At some point, he will probably trick ME into the carrier. Don't laugh. It's really not very funny.
Time for lunch.
Ciao for now.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
824th Post - Happy Birthday to My Father
And, now, I'm going to bed, because I have to get up early again on Friday. Sigh.
I'll upload the video from lunch here when blogger starts cooperating with me again.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
823rd Post - First Attempt at Voice Recognition
This evening, after Toastmasters, I went shopping for a USB based microphone. I finally found one at Future Shop. I do not care for that store, but they did have a microphone I wanted, so I purchased it.
I have spent the last 2 hours playing with the voice recognition software that comes with Windows Vista. I took the tutorial and spoke when it asked me to speak. I've learned how did enter certain commands like next or or the command to move to the end of the paragraph. I know I am just scratching the service of the features that voice recognition can provide. I can speak at more or less a regular speaking pace, and most of the time the computer gets it correct. From time to time it misunderstands me, which can be very frustrating for me and the computer :-)
I spent about half an hour later on this evening transcribing some of the interview I did with a radio person at the end of April. Sure enough, by wearing the headphones attached to my digital voice recorder, and playing little bits at a time, I was able to speak what I just heard and the voice recognition software more or less got it right. The "hyper echo dictation" is something that will take me a while to master.
I am in the early days of learning voice recognition software, but I'm having fun so far.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this short blog post as much as I have enjoyed dictating it!
I get up in about 6 hours, feed the cat, brush my teeth, find some clean clothing, and drive down to the valley to visit my parents for the day. June 4 is my father's birthday. He will be 78 years old. And he has no idea I am coming to visit! Promise me you will not tell him. Can it be our little secret?
822nd Post - A New Approach
Four more interviews are still in the transcription stage. It's a bottleneck.
I'll complain for one paragraph only. My frig, this is a lot of typing! I am wearing my fingerprints off.
I have been researching a new approach to producing text and think I have found one. There is software called Dragon Naturally Speaking from Nuance. There is now a version for Vista, 64 bit. The standard version is a hundred dollars U.S. I might invest in that.
However, Vista itself has voice recognition software built into it. I must confess, being fairly new to Vista, that I didn't know that.
As I have explained before, there is no voice recognition software on this planet that will take the spoken words of more than one person and produce any kind of reasonable text from them. The technology isn't there yet, and won't be for a long time to come. Since I have these audio files, dozens of them, to transcribe, I thought VR software wouldn't fly.
But I have done a bit of research over the past 24 hours. I like what has been suggested to me. One can fire up this Vista VR software, "train" it to become accustomed to one's voice over the space of an hour or so, and then do something that someone called "hyper echo dictation" to transcribe these audio files.
Let me explain.
Wearing headphones and playing my digital voice recorder, I would listen to an audio file. After a 2 second-or-so delay, I would simply repeat what I had just heard into a microphone that I'll purchase this evening, and which is hooked up to a usb port in my computer. The result, I hope and pray, will be a fairly clean text file that will require minimal editing before going on to the next audio file and repeating this process.
If this works, I should be able to blaze through this transcription process from now on. It will mean a much faster turn around for these interviews. Much less drudgery for Bevboy. Which means a better end product for you guys to read.
I'll let you know how this works out. There will be a learning curve for me and the VR software. I am willing to make this time investment.
Can hardly wait to get home and try this out!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
821st Post - Taking Things LIterally
Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when I discovered these wonderful videos. These are popular songs you have heard many times, but interpreted literally. Please join me in basking in the honesty of these beautiful songs, told as they should have been all along.
Under the Bridge
Head Over Heels
Take on Me
Ah! I feel so much better now.
Monday, June 1, 2009
820th Post - Things in Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense, Part Four
Welcome to the fourth installment of the irregularly-scheduled feature, Things in Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense (TIHTJDMS). Post 777, 794, and 814 contain the earlier editions of this new, fun Bevboy's Blog feature, that you won't find anywhere else. No other Halifax-produced blog gives you so much content, so much fun, all for free.
Remember: The idea behind this series is to showcase things in the Halifax area that, at first blush, may appear quaint or interesting. But, upon even the most cursory examination, it just doesn't make sense.
This is a weird one because I have no idea what the person who sculpted this had in mind. I mean, I do, but the execution is so off-base, so strange, that I have to chalk it up to bad judgement. I'll be polite and diplomatic and say that I just don't get it.
Here: Have a look at the pictures that are floating around these paragraphs.
Yeah, I know. What the Hell is this?
It is called "The Wave", and I suppose it is meant to represent the ocean, and how we can never master it, and so on. To me, it looks like a giant tongue. Birds use it for target practice. I would, too. Maybe I have and I am just too timid to admit it.
Even though there is a sign explicitly asking people not to climb it, kids do all the time. I can't really blame them. I would, too. Maybe I have and I am just too timid to admit it.
This is a popular place, for some reason, to pose for a snapshot or two. I don't know why. You're standing in the shade, which may be a challenge to a camera. But maybe it has something to do with the fact that there is a giant tongue along the Halifax waterfront, and tourists want to show the people back home this strange construction. Your guess is as good as mine.
For years and years, I have seen people walk up to this "wave", this "tongue", this escapee from a Rolling Stones logo. They look at it, scratch their heads, and walk away.
One wonders what body part they will sculpt next. What do adenoids look like, anyway?
Face it, my friends: The "Wave" just doesn't make sense.
Next time: Either it's public property or it isn't. Make up your mind!