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!
Friday, November 27, 2009
I just downloaded a new blog development tool on my asus. Windows Live Writer won't run on a linux-based computer. There is no shortage of similar tools on linux. I decided on an interim basis to go with Bilbo.
I understand that the Tolien estate has contacted the manufacturers of this software, forcing the developers to rename it to... Bilblio? I can't remember the name. I'll get it for you because I know that you need to know.
For those who've forgotten, or didn't know, these blog tools are useful for times when you're offline, like at the cottage, and still want to write a decent blog post. I can develop it here, preview it so that I know it looks pretty, and publish it when I am internet range again.
I daresay I will use this tool a lot, should I like it. There are competing products a couple of touchpad taps away and can use them if I want to.
So far, it is fun to use Bilbo, or whatever it's called.
Gotta go. Seeya.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I hereby recant, unequivocally, without reservation of any kind, my opinion of linux. Or, at least, ubuntu.
Jeff at my work took home the asus eee pc to show his wife the other night. In return, he kindly installed the latest, netbook-based version of ubuntu on the computer.
For the most part, I love it. It is very easy to use, and most applications run like the wind. There are software repositories where you can download pretty much whatever you want, all for free. I am downloading a money management app now. Earlier tonight I downloaded a word processor called abiword (even though ubuntu comes with open office, I'd heard that abiword is really good, and it don't cost nothin', so I decided to give it a whirl). I downloaded a hangman game. I downloaded a music player that plays any file I throw at it; it's playing the latest edition of the Pod of Horror now, only the best horror podcast in the world. I just downloaded an app called "Alexandria Book Collection Manager". While open office is included with ubuntu, the database portion of it isn't. I downloaded that.
They say that the beauty of ubuntu is that it is a good operating system that should run acceptably well on older, slower computers. Well, I still have my previous desktop: All 125 megs of ram, all 6 gigs of the hard drive, all ??? megahertz it runs at. Other than the ram, and maybe the processor speed, it meets the minimum requirements for running under the current version of ubuntu. I am thinking of hooking up that old computer again, blowing away the xp that's installed in it, installing ubuntu on it, just to see how well it works.
There is a bug or two with this version of ubuntu on my asus eee pc. The toggle switch to turn wireless on and off only half works. If you turn it off, it crashes the computer. You reboot, and it's off. You can then turn on wireless without incident. A conversion program I downloaded the other night doesn't work, but there is another version I can download, unpack, install (using arcane linux commands I haven't figured out yet!) and run a version that works. I'm intrigued enough by that app that I may go ahead and do just that. There are apparently other bugs, but I haven't found them yet. Give me time.
So, yes: Ubuntu is very nice. I hate Xandros linux, but Ubuntu is awesome. I am now one of those people who will try to convert or seduce others away from Windows.
Have a good night!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Why can't I clone myself? The suave, debonair version of myself could continue to have fun and a life and conduct the interviews. The drone could stay home and transcribe them.
Sounds better, the more I think of it.
I did 2 audio files today. I'll do that many more tomorrow if not more. Will finish the TB interview by the weekend.
Good TM meeting tonight. Two more meetings in 2009!
Have a good one.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
You may not have known this about me, or cared for that matter; but I was a huge KISS fan back in the day. My friend Reg, who reads this blog, was a bigger fan. His passion for the band transcended all logic. I can state this because I know mine did.
For the most part, I am embarrassed that I liked their music so much. Most of their songs are stupid, with sophomoric lyrics that discuss things I'd rather not mention here. There are metaphors in their tunes that I didn't notice at the time, because, well, metaphors are things I don't get at the best of times.
In 1978, as a marketing ploy to get people to buy 4 albums rather than one, the boys released solo albums simultaneously. Even the most stalwart KISS fans have a hard time defending these albums. They mostly suck. There are some decent tunes here, but precious few. Peter Criss' album barely qualifies as a professional recording, in my opinion.
The biggest hit from the 4 records is an unlikely one. It was by their lead guitarist, Ace Frehley, who up to that point had barely squeaked on one of their albums, let alone sung on one. He had sung on a tune called "Rocket Ride" on Kiss Alive II the previous year, and that's about it. (Yep. Another metaphor. I actually thought it was a science fiction song for the longest time. See what I mean about metaphors?)
I thought I'd share that hit song with you. I hope you enjoy "New York Groove". It still holds up rather nicely.
Oh, I thought I'd mention this: A year after these albums were released, all four of them were on sale for the cost of what one had cost the year before. Instead of costing, say, 8 dollars each, you could get all 4 of them for 8 dollars! Yeah. They sucked that hard.
Frehley was not invited back for the current KISS tour. Neither was Criss, who recently revealed he had been diagnosed with breast cancer (yes, men can get breast cancer). But Frehley is still out there, and released another solo album this year.
Here is the official commercial for that album, "Anomaly".
And here is his version of Sweet's "Fox on the Run".
Thanks for playing both songs tonight, Ian. I appreciate it!
Monday, November 23, 2009
I may have misspoken, miswritten, about linux. The flavour of linux on the asus eee is called Xandros. It is not considered a good version of linux. I can vouch for that one, as I was losing my mind trying to install the simplest of add on's last evening. I did everything I was supposed to do, everything, a few times, and it just didn't work. After a while, you lose confidence in yourself that you're screwing up a new-to-you operating system and lose sight of the fact that maybe the operating system itself is buggy.
A friend at work told me today that Ubuntu has a netbook version of its operating system. I checked out a web link and it looked nice. He installed it on a usb key this afternoon and ran it on the asus. It looked really sweet and I asked him to go ahead and install it on the computer, which he kindly did. He has taken it home to show his wife in case she wants to buy that computer or one like it. If she doesn't, then I'll have a fresh operating system with more free disk space, as soon as tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to playing with the computer and will tell you all about it.
Time to check my facebook and call it a night. It's a night.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Their biggest hit is arguably "Stairway to Heaven", and I defy any person reading this to tell me what that song is about. I read in a rock magazine in 1978 that "the lady" mentioned in the song represents The United States. Right. Sure. It's just another damned metaphor if you ask me. Long time readers of this blog will remember that I don't like metaphors very much at all. They make no sense. They lie. They cheat. They steal. They tell you they're something, when in fact they're something else. Buncha friggin' liars. I do not like metaphors. And I don't trust them either. Similes, though, are just fine in my books. At least similes don't lie to me.
Anyway, I don't like Led Zep that much; and "Stairway to Heaven" is a nonsense song that people have been reading stuff into for over 30 years. However, Rolf Harris, the Australian guy with the emu, has recorded "Stairway to Heaven", and it's a hoot. I love this interpretation, as irreverent as it is (not that I mind in this case).
Check it out. And check out his version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" while you're at it.
Don't say I didn't do anything for you.
I heard the tail end of Q104's Tom Bedell's interview with Collective Soul just now. I learned that none other than Dolly Parton has recorded their song, "Shine". I found it just now on youtube, and loved it.
I thought I'd share both version of the song with you, so that you can compare and contrast them. For the record, I love both versions, but for different reasons. Guess it depends what mood I'm in, which one I'll listen to.
Man, I've gotta get back to transcribing the TB interview. I know you'll love it.
I was thinking about the Ghost Walk I went on this summer with Patricia as I drove back this afternoon. We had wanted to go back on the walk around Hallowe'en but we didn't.
The best one is conducted by Andy Smith, a professional actor you may have seen on television or in locally-produced films. As an actor, he would know how to conduct himself and express himself in an interesting manner. The stories, while hogwash, are interesting if you want to hear stories about old time Halifax, which I sure do.
At one point, we were on the corner of Bishop and Hollis Street. Andy told the story of how Government House had once had its entrance facing Hollis, only to move it to Barrington Street because of all the hookers who have historically plied their trade on Hollis. Andy pointed to the empty lot behind us and mentioned the brothel that had once been on that site. "Ada", I said, and Andy smiled. I told him I had a documentary on tape somewhere about the notorious Ada McCallum. He gave me his card and asked me to get him a copy of that show. I still haven't found it, Andy. Give me a bit more time.
Anyway, I thought you might like to see a bit ofAndy in action, courtesy of his daughter and youtube. They are standing in talking in front of the building that I work in. Small world indeed.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
We drove up to the cottage this morning, for the final time in 2009. I swear! This time we mean it. No crap. We may drop by to check the place out, but we won't stay there any more until 2010.
This weekend will consist of removing the battery from the lawn tractor, sleep, clean the place up, sleep, toss out the food we no longer want, and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.
I type these words at the River John library on my asus eee pc. Patricia is at another table using an official c@p site computer. Me? I'm just hopping on the open network the library provides. I must say that this c0mputer is running a lot better since I did the reinstall of Linux the other night.
Today is Patricia's birthday. We were at Lismore Sheep Farms a little while ago and told her to pick out a pair of slippers for herself and I'd pay for them. She did, and I did.
Time to go back to the cottage and see Oprah make her big announcement!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I am not happy about the situation, but I restored linux on my asus eee pc. I was told that XP would run just fine on that computer, but such proved not to be the case. It was never fast, but the performance degraded to such a degree in the last few days that the computer became unusable to me I came thisclose to tossing it out the window, literally.
I don't have an external drive for the computer, so I had to use my main pc to copy all the linux files to a 2g thumb drive. That didn't work because I couldn't get the discs to load under Vista. I had an old laptop around the house, running XP, so I used that to copy linux to the thumb drive. I loaded the thumb drive in the asus, pressed ESC as the computer powered up, and told it to boot from the thumb drive. The rest was a simple matter of loading linux. The computer is running fine now, and I'll keep that linux iso on the thumb drive should I need it again.
I am not the biggest linux fan in the world. People reading this just love it, but I don't see the point. It seems like a half-baked operating system to me whose interface is not exactly intuitive. You want to list the files at the equivalent of a dos prompt? LS will do that for you. Yeah. Makes sense to me. A few commands are pretty similar to the ones I know and love from my DOS days, but downloading and installing software is not something I look forward to doing. Repositories. Run specialized get commands. Unpacking. Yeah. Makes sense to me. Some people love linux the same way that some people love rutabaga or eggplant: They're allowed to; they have the right to; but I don't necessarily want to know about it.
Yes. I'm ready to be mocked at coffee on Thursday, boys. Bring it on!
I started feeling crappy on Tuesday afternoon, and those symptoms became amplified last night and this morning. I took a sick day. Despite all the sleep I got today, I am still not feeling that swift.
Up early tomorrow morning to get my car inspected. That's always fun. They ALWAYS find something. I could buy a 2010 model car today, drive it to a garage for an inspection tomorrow, and they would still find something.
Time to watch Heather Locklear on Melrose Place. I know where my priorities are!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I went on youtube and typed in "movie mistakes". Found these mistakes from various James Bond movies, starting with Dr. No in 1962. There are many, many youtube videos featuring movie mistakes. I'll post a few more here from time to time.
Monday, November 16, 2009
You may remember that I had severe connectivity issues up to this morning. Downloads were sluggish; I might get 100kb/second. Just trying loading youtube and playing something.
Buddy came and did some stuff and told me that I should be up to 2.5mb/s. It was fine for the afternoon. Tonight, however, the connection is slow again, to the point where I might get 200kb/s. An improvement, sure, but not nearly enough to make it convenient. Youtube videos, my benchmark for success, mostly run fine but pause from time to time. Better, but still not good.
And the asus eee pc. My gosh, I have never been more frustrated by a piece of electronics in my entire life. I gave up on linux recently and put xp on it and replaced the on-board 512mb of ram with 2g. After buddy left today, I was able to view videos on the asus again, but once again, it slowed down throughout the day. I removed open office before supper. Still runs slowly, taking 30 or 40 seconds just to show me the options available to me in the control panel. I added virtual memory. Took it away. Added it back. No dice, but I was able to view a youtube video just before I had supper. Took the computer upstairs to charge the battery (I get maybe 90 minutes on a charge), and hauled it out after my shepherd's pie.
This is where the real fun began.
Keep in mind: I have little confidence in this machine. It has become more and more crappy every time I start it up, but until this evening, until 90 minutes ago, I was at least able to connect, slowly, painfully, pathetically, to the internet wirelessly.
Not any more.
Somehow, the wireless network adaptor has stopped working. It is enabled, but not connected, whatever the heck that means. Any attempt to repair the connection leads to failure. I can still stick a piece of cat 5 cable in it and it will work, but it is still a lot slower than it should be.
I wish I could tell you what the problem was. I could spend hours scouring google and finding some clues that would lead to a solution. Or, I could throw the computer on my drive way and drive my car over it 76 times.
Guess which one I'd rather do?
I know that life is short. Things like this shouldn't get to me. If inferior internet service and a crappy netbook computer are the only things in my life I have to worry about, I don't have much to worry about. But it is these little bugaboos, these pet peeves, that drive a person the craziest. We can't do much about family members we may not like. If you're in a job you don't like, in this economy, then you pretty much have to grin in and bear it (I like my job!). But we expect things like new computers and internet connections to work all the time. When they don't, well, it is disappointing.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wainy and windy out there, but it's warm in the wadio station...
Which got me to thinking about... Elmer Fudd, of course!
I remember a comedy album, back in the days when comedians would record albums for commercial release that is, by Robin Williams. It was called, "Reality. What a concept." I am pretty sure my friend Reg bought it, and we played it on my record player, back when I had a record player that is. I have long since forgotten everything else on the album; Reg would have too, I'd imagine. But we both recall William's hysterical impression of Elmer Fudd singing a song by Bruce Springsteen: "Fire".
Williams has performed this song live, and I am sharing it with you now.
Chris, look at what you've done!!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I spent hours with my father at the hospital yesterday. After one appointment, I urged him to lie down on the gurney he was sitting on. He complied, and fell asleep. And, so did I, in the chair I was sitting in!
He had another appointment and returned to the Valley hospital and I returned to work. Beat to snot, I went to bed early, and slept in.
This morning I went back downtown because I had espied a sign on the Saint Matthew's United Church on Barrington Street that they were having a yard sale today. I arrived shortly after 9, and was warmly greeted and told that there had not been many people there. It was like an NDP lovefest though as I saw Megan Leslie and Leonard Preyra there. I wonder what was so interesting for two NDP'ers at different levels of government to be there at the same time.
I picked up a bunch of paperbacks including quite a few old John D. MacDonald books. MacDonald is best known for writing the Travis McGee mysteries for 25 years or so. But he wrote for many years before that, and these paperback novels show it. I also picked up 2 paperbacks he called "the good stuff", short stories he had written for pulp magazines in the 1940's. MacDonald died in 1987, and his books are seldom in print now. A little sad.
Of course, most of you don't care about that, do you? You're just being polite.
Thence, I went to the local farmer's market and loaded up on Cheelin's Chinese food before I returned to my car and drove to Chapters, had a large egg nog latte at the Starbucks therein (which woke me up like you wouldn't believe!), and decided to see "Law Abiding Citizen" at the Bayers Lake Empire Theatres. It is one of those shoot-em-up, blow-things-up movies that men like a lot, even though it made no sense whatsoever. I came back home and began doing my laundry and ripping Christmas cd's in anticipation of loading them on my mp3 player in a couple of weeks. The way I figure it, if CJCH is no longer around to go all Christmas all the time, then I can at least have my mp3 player do that for me. Right?
Spent a couple of hours today catching up on some tv shows I'd missed. I am really liking "Flashforward", and the two most recent mysteries are racheting up the mystery to the point where I am realizing that, if there is such a thing as fate, there is no point in fighting it at all. Of course, if you have no idea what I'm talking about because you don't watch the show, then I guess I'm out of luck.
I am on the internet this evening, which surprises me a little. I keep thinking it will be so slow that I might as well be writing out the 1's and 0's myself and throwing them at my monitor. I can't wait until Monday, when they fix what's wrong with my internet.
Newbie is behind my left shoulder, in a box he appropriated several months ago, and in which he sleeps when I am here in my office doing stuff. Kind of sweet. He can be that way until he wants to be fed at 3 in the morning and he starts irritating the shit out of me until he gets his breakfast.
I'm gonna call it a night shortly.
Good night, my readers.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
It did, for a few hours. I was able to watch youtube videos on this computer as well as on the asus eee, do some downloads at an inoffensive speed, and just enjoy having a high speed internet connection.
Wednesday night, however, shortly after I finished and posted post 1000 and devised the new blog template, the friggin' internet slowed down to a speed that would shame the lowliest postal worker. Youtube videos were coughing and wheezing like a five pack a day runner: I'd see 3 seconds of a video, followed by 15 seconds of buffering and a few more seconds of the video. And so on.
It's no way to run a life. I need this internet connection for my work. It is not acceptable to have this situation.
I called customer support just now. The first time I tried, I couldn't even establish a connection to the internet. Firefox and IE just froze and I had to shut them down. I turned off the computer, unplugged and then plugged back in the router and comtrend adsl modem. After that, I could establish a connection, but it sure was slow. The CSR had me do a test download and tell her what rate it was downloading at. I told her the number fluctuated, but it was in the 80 and 90 kb per second range. She said it was horrible, along the lines of a dial up connection!
Looks like I will have to be here on Monday to get this fixed. Not sure what to bill this to. Kevin reads this.
Kevin: I need to be home on Monday between 8 and 5 to get my connection fixed. I'll be at work as soon as they have it up and running. Patricia has doctors appointments and can't hang back. Is it ok if I stay home and get this working? I do need it as you know. Pretty please?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the 1000th post of Bevboy's Blog. Or, rather, Post 1000 of Bevboy's Blog!
I swear to you, I had no idea the blog would last this long. When this hit post 300 or 400, I would write that I felt that I was just hitting my stride. Well, the wind got knocked out of my sails by some personal stuff a couple of weeks ago; but I am getting better and still feel that there are many more things I want to write about on this here blog.
The direction of the blog has changed since I started it. I still write about the things that annoy me. I still write about radio a lot. But the biggest change is probably the interviews, which I started with post 200 in April of 2008. If I had had any idea that they would become what they have, and that radio folks would be contacting ME for an interview rather than the other way around, then I would have wondered why. I guess it's because, while thousands and thousands of people listen to the radio every day, and to the dedicated professionals who toil in the medium, the public knows little about them. I hope that the interviews have been interesting enough for you to learn something about these folks. And I hope that the professionals have enjoyed the behind-the-scenes stories.
I am transcribing one interview now; another one is on my digital voice recorder awaiting transcription. Other radio folks have expressed interest.
The lovely Krista Cook of Seaside FM was kind enough to send me a note on the occasion of post 1000. Here it is:
I think that Bev’s Blog is vitally important in capturing radio history. Not only does Bev do in-depth interviews but he does it all for the love of radio. He is to be congratulated on his efforts. Best wishes for many more blogs.
Thank you, Krista. That means a lot to me. I look forward to sharing the Clive Schafer interview with my readers that you set up for me.
I have decided, as you can see, to change the layout of the blog and its "motto". I was tired of the solid blue background. Not that easy to read. And it was tiresome to read "Hard to say. Easy to conceptualize" all the time.
I have also changed the picture logo on the blog (and my facebook). The picture of me when I was 11 has served me very well. It is fun. It will be used again, sometime, somewhere; but I have decided to go in a different direction.
I recently hired a professional caricaturist (I spelled that right the first time! Yay!) to produce some drawings of me, based upon the style of me as an 11 year old. It's a little hard to describe, but I wanted Don Pinsent to take the picture of me when I was 11 and draw a caricature of it. It will be the new logo for the blog.
When an interview runs, you will see the picture of me as an 11 year old listening to an old-fashioned crystal radio set. It will be one of the drawings that accompany the interview. I bet Don had fun finding a decent picture of a crystal radio set on the internet. It looks like it might work, though.
Just for fun, I also got Don to draw a picture of me now, as a 45 year old, but in the style of the pic of me as an 11 year old. Same hair style. Same ugly ass suit and tie and shirt. Same grin and glasses. Just with wrinkles and bigger ears.
Don prepared some sketches of me, for me. I thought I'd share them with you. He thought I still had a beard when I don't for example. In another, he got my eyebrows and nose wrong.
The black and white picture is one I'll use for the inevitable Bevboy's Blog business cards which I am developing. It is high time I had some, wouldn't you say? If nothing else, I can put them in one of those fish bowls I see in downtown Halifax restaurants where they ask you to drop in a business card in the hopes of winning a free lunch. Free is good. Don't ever forget that.
The other change I'm making to the blog is in the titles. I am tired of writing ordinal numbers in the blog titles (first, second, 33rd, and so on), and am changing them to cardinal numbers (1000, 1001, and so on). I don't want to write, down the road, "1234th Post"; it will instead be, "Post 1234". It will give a consistency of post titling, since each post will begin with "Post", rather than an ordinal version of the number. Besides, ordinal numbers are adjectives, and cardinal ones denote quantity which is what the blog post title means. Easier to write, too.
I am excited and proud of what I have done so far with Bevboy's Blog.
But, you know something?
I am just clearing my throat.
I am just warming up the keyboard.
I am just getting started.
Come along for the ride with me, won't you?
Hope you like the video.
Coming up very soon: post 1000!
Sunday, November 22 at 2pm Slapstick Show-Biz Part Two: Chaos on the Set The second part of our Show-Biz programs finds our silent clowns poking fun at themselves and their style of filmmaking. Nothing could be simpler or handier (not to mention cheaper) than using their own studios as background for slapstick antics, which today gives us precious behind-the-scenes glimpses of where and how these films were made. On the bill is Everett True Breaks into the Movies ('16), Charlie Chaplin's Behind the Screen ('16), Hey There ('18) with Harold Lloyd, Our Gang's Dogs of War ('23), and The Daredevil ('23) starring Ben Turpin. All programs (except Dec 6) will be held at the Arclight Theatre, located at 152 W 71st Street, between Broadway & Columbus. Click on theatre/tkts for theater details and info. Tickets are $10 all adults, and $5 for seniors, kids and members. Live piano accompaniment by Ben Model at all shows. -- Bruce Calvert
I realize that most of you don't know who these actors are, or anything at all about the films in question, but the one that caught my eye, and has fired my imagination, is the mention of Everett True Breaks Into The Movies from 1916. Up to this point, I had thought that there were no ET movies at all.
Everett True was a comics strip that ran from 1905 to 1927. He was a big man with a bowler hat and an umbrella. He brooked no insolence, took no guff, suffered fools not at all. He did, in other words, the things that you and I would like to do, but don't, because we fear reprisal or the consequences of such rash behaviour. It was a brilliant idea for a comic strip 100 years ago; he would work out just as well today.
Nearly every strip was set up as two panels. In the first panel, somebody would do something that pissed off the titular character. In the second, he would beat the crap out of that person and/or berate him for that boorishness. Many of the strips, if you read them today, might appear to have been written this week, as much of that behaviour still happens. How would Everett True react to cell phones and how they're used by people who want the world to know what they're discussing, anyway? And I've given up the number of times I wish I had had Everett's courage when jerks talk within my earshot during a concert at the Metro Center or the Rebecca Cohn or something.
The strip stopped running in 1927 and languished in obscurity for decades until a small book company reprinted some of the strips in the early 1980's. That might have been the end of it if the book had not been reviewed in a publication called "The Comics Buyer's Guide". A writer for that magazine, Tony Isabella (who is the same person who inspired me to start this blog, by the way) read that review and thought that he could revive it with new strips to run in CBG most every week.
Turns out Everett was a comics fan who hated boorish fans, artists who blew their deadlines, endless storylines, and so much more. Same 2 panel format. I probably have a few of them around the house and will try to find them for you.
Frig, I loved the character. I loved him so much that I briefly wrote an Everett True comics strip for my university newspaper around 1987. They sucked, mightily, as did the ET article I wrote for that same newspaper. I don't know if I still have those strips in my old filing cabinet in Port Williams or not. If I do, and find them, I'll burn them. Yes, I'm that embarrassed about them.
At the character's height he inspired a series of films, the one cited above being the first, and which seems to be the only one to exist. This is not surprising, given that the vast majority of silent films do not exist in any form.
(I will do what I can to get my hands on a copy of the extant Everett True film. I am interested enough to see it. )
The CBG series stopped around 1990 or so. But the character's name continues to be used. There is a music critic in the United Kingdom who took the name of Everett True, perhaps because he takes no prisoners with his album reviews. I don't know how many of this Everett True's readers get the reference and realize that the name is more than 100 years old!
If there is a lesson to be learned from Everett True, it is that we should all be kinder to one another. Don't butt in lines. Don't speak during a movie. Be nice to animals. Don't gawk at women's ankles. Common sense stuff.
If we are doing something that might be pissing off another person, then try to imagine what that person might be thinking, or what he might want to do to us. That guy might wish he were Everett True, if he knew there had once since been such a character that is.
The more I think about it, the more I think that the world could use a modern day Everett True. There are enough jerks in the world who just don't care what others think of them that they need to be reminded that they are, in fact, jerks who need to be brought down a peg or three.
I'll write more about this amazing character at a later date.
Monday, November 9, 2009
This is my first attempt to create a blog post using Windows Live Writer. It is a free download from Microsoft that lets me create blog posts off line. I can be at the cottage without an internet connection and yet write something that can be uploaded at a later date when I am attached to a network.
There are a frightening number of add-on’s and plug-in’s to Windows Live Writer. I am sure that in the upcoming months I’ll have fun learning them. Right now, though, I am daunted by now much I have to learn from it.
I can write a blog post in this editor and press a button to see a preview of how it will look when I choose to publish the thing. This should (“should”) eliminate some of the unpleasant spacing issues I have had with things like the interviews I have published over the last few months. Maybe you haven’t noticed them, but I have.
Oh, in the late hours of Sunday night, I received a major piece of what will be revealed in post 1000, coming up in a couple of days. I’ll show that stuff off then. I very much hope you like those things. I sure do. I am very excited about showing them to you.
There are always growing pains as one learns a new technology. Do wish me luck learning this one, won’t you?
Deadwood was a very frank look at the town of Deadwood as it tries to become civilized, going from a lawless community to one where laws are upheld. The language is raw and violent, but also picaresque, with a Shakespearean quality to it. This was done on purpose as creator David Milch knew that language in mining camps was outrageous. He also cited local newspapers and books of the day, with its florid prose. Combining the two types of language made sense to him.
There is no guarantee that the actual words uttered by characters on the show were used by people a hundred plus years ago. However, Milch wanted the words to be as shocking to us as the words they used back then would have been to visitors to Deadwood. Those words may not be nearly as upsetting to us now, with our 21st century mentality.
There were supposed to be 4 seasons of the show. During season 2, it was renewed for seasons 3 and 4. Something happened to make HBO decide not to go forward with season 4. I think that reason was season 3, which was dull and lifeless compared with the first 2. HBO promised 2 tv movies to wrap up the loose ends, but they have never materialized and are now unlikely to.
We have those 36 episodes to sustain us, and they will have to do. They, and these gag reels I found on youtube just now. There is a gag reel for season 1, but the audio has been removed, which is most of the fun.
You can tell when actors blow a line on Deadwood. They DON'T swear!
More tonight,if you're good.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Slept a frightening amount last night and took a long nap this afternoon. Patricia and I call it "The Sleeping Sickness": Our overwhelming desire to sleep when we are at the cottage. I sleep well here, too, but much more so at the cottage.
Had a headache all day. Hope to sleep it off tonight.
See you tomorrow.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to BevBoy's Blog!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
People keep thinking that we are rich because we have 2 households. Nope. Not the case at all. And there are time when it can be a pain in the ass. Coming up in November to deal with the cottage is one of those times.
We hire a plumber to remove the pressure tank from underneath the cottage because the last one mysteriously disappeared a few years ago. The water pipes are all drained.
We also have to remove the things that we would prefer to keep in the city. We'll remove the battery from the lawn tractor. We'll get rid of the food we no longer want. We'll turn up the heat so that we don't freeze our scrogies off. And we'll pray that the ATV in the next lot drops off the face of the earth.
Time to head back to the cottage. 2 weeks of "Dancing with the Stars" to watch. Life is good.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I took lots of pictures this morning. Probably too many, actually, because I think I was getting on people's nerves. But the way I figured it is, "I'll never be in this building again as long as I live. Ain't nobody going to appoint me Lt. Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia, ever. I'm unlikely to be invited to the annual tea party. I'm going to take full advantage of this opportunity".
I'll put up a couple of pictures here on the blog; but most of them will go up on my facebook. Not tonight. It's getting a little late and I don't look forward to driving in the snowstorm that's supposed to this evening. But probably on Friday I'll put up a picture or two and share my impressions with you.
I'll give you a hint though: It was pretty neat, being there today. I hope the 100 pictures or so that I took will give you some idea of the grandeur of the place.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
But one song I have enjoyed since the 1980's, and which I still like a lot (mostly because it doesn't get played to death on the radio) is Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills". If you want to take the time to listen to the lyrics, it seems to be about how white men have treated native people so shabbily.
When I hear the song on the radio, I turn it up. This evening, after Toastmasters, I booted up youtube and played several versions of the song. This is my favourite, from Rockin' in Rio. I hope you like it.
Another song I can't get out of my head, try as I might, is for a local taxi company. It is hard to remember their phone numbers. From time to time, this company is the official taxi provider to the provincial government. It changes from year to year. I think it's Yellow Cab this year, but I just can't remember and don't worry my pretty little head about it.
At any rate, once you hear this song, which has been played on local radio and television since the 1970's(!), you'll have a hard time forgetting the number to... Casino Taxi!
The song was originally done by Joe Murphy and the Water Street Blues Band, a long time ago. They were paid a few hundred dollars to write and produce the song, which was their only compensation. And yet, 30+ years later, you have a hard time not hearing the song on any given day.
You non-Haligonians: You're lucky!
This time, I want to discuss a stupid event from my early adulthood. I had just moved out of my parents' home and forged my own life in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I was living at 55 Dahlia Street, Apt. 208. My phone number back then was (902) 466-4755. I wonder who has that number now? Why don't you call and find out?
Anyway, I had become independant but there were still apron strings attached. Lonely and hating my job and not being used to the city, I'd go home every weekend. Lazy and incompetent, I'd have my mother do my laundry for me. I think every young man who's just moved out gets his mother to wash his clothes for a bit after he moves out.
I'd carry home the week's worth of clothes in a garbage bag, and return them in the same garbage bag. My parents bought the same brand name of bags for their own use. This was before you had to recycle everything.
I justified my mother doing all this work by the fact that I was busy during the week, working at this crappy, underpaying but overdemanding job. At night, the building's one washing machine and one dryer were often in use, and I'd have a hard time finding a time when one or both of them were available.
I kept my garbage bag full of clothes in the kitchen by the wood stove. My parents' garbage bag, with actual garbage in it, was always nearby.
My father enjoyed eating prunes back then. It was one of his favourite snacks. The pits, of course, are inedible. Dad would spit them out into the woodstove, or place them in the garbage bag.
One Sunday night, I returned to the city with my bag full of clean clothes to wear that week. I upended the bag and placed the contents on my bed, in preparation of arranging them into piles of socks, undies, pants, and so on. You know: So I could put them away.
There were sticky, hard things attached to some of the clothes. Upon closer examination, I discovered that my father had confused the two garbage bags. Rather than put those pits in their bag, he had spat them into mine. My dirty clothes, cleaned by my mother, had become dirty again.
Yeah. I know. I felt pretty stupid.
To this day, I don't know if this was a subliminal way to get me to stop taking my dirty clothes home every weekend, or an honest mistake on his part. He would not remember this small event after so long. But I remember it, and I am sharing it with you now because I learned from this. I never took my clothes home again. I found a way to find the time to wash them during the week, fending more and more for myself, like I should have all along anyway. Some lessons are hard learned and not appreciated at the time. This was one of them.
Next time: A science experiment that went wrong.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Obviously, I haven't written much the last few days. I have been busy to the point where blogging just wasn't practical.
On Friday, I drove to the Valley to visit my father in the hospital. We didn't arrive back here in Halifax until late.
On Saturday, I judged a speech contest at Saint Mary's University. I judged with 2 other people whose professional accomplishments make mine pale in comparison. I kept thinking, "I have no business being with these 2 people!" But a friend had had enough confidence in my abilities to judge the speeches that day, and I didn't want to let him down, so I went through with it.
We had to judge a speech contest for university students who were vying for significant cash prizes. They were all good speeches, all 12 of them, and it was a hard choice for us. But there was one guy who was better than the others; we all agreed it should be this particular person.
I hadn't paid as much attention to the fine print as I should have. There was a celebration dinner afterward, but I didn't know about it. I was invited; I could have gone; but instead, I came back home to spend Hallowe'en with Patricia and 134 kids who dropped by.
How many kids did you have? 134 is actually less than what we had last year. I got rid of 134 comic books, too. Some kids didn't know what they were. "Mommy, magazines! What are these?" A little sad, actually.
Sunday, yesterday, we drove to the Valley to visit Dad again. We were there for a few hours before leaving and taking Mom shopping to two Frenchy's places in nearby Coldbrook. We finished the afternoon by having supper at the pub in Port Williams.
People have ragged and bitched about that pub since it opened. I was sort of one of them for a bit, but now I'm a champion of it. We have been there twice now, and we like it a lot. It overlooks the mud flats of Port Williams on one side, and the ruins of a Shurgain feed mill on the other. The surroundings could be better, but perhaps this pub will become a draw for other places down the road. There is already a new coffee shop in town, next door to a pretty decent diner/bistro. Growing up there, we would have killed to have places like that. Instead, we had to tolerate a convenience store that charged too much for stuff you didn't want in the first place, an antique store just off the bridge that contained all stuff that nobody wanted (it was a hardware store before that); a pretty decent furniture store which was a Kawasaki dealership before that; and a couple of service stations that stopped selling gas a long time ago.
Oh, yes. Let's not forget The Mad Barber of Port Williams. He was the village barber for decades. I had many a hair raising experience there until I rebelled and fought to have my hair grow longer and longer, which was a mistake. The Mad Barber of Port Williams knew only one way to cut hair: As short as possible. "A little off the top, Doug" was a direction to him to LEAVE a little on the top after he got out his pruning shears and put them to work.
But I digress.
We had a nice dinner at the Port Pub and returned to the city last night. I worked today. And I have to take Tuesday off to return to the Valley yet again.
All this gallavanting around the province has cut into my blogging time. I apologize for that. But, I will try that much hard to write more often.
I am still planning a pretty major change for post 1000. If what I need to have done isn't done by then, I may put the blog on a brief sabbatical until it is. Or maybe I won't. All depends on my mood, actually.
I added a 2gig micros sd to my mp3 player this evening. Ripping some cd's now to stuff onto the player. I am not sure why. I usually only listen to mp3's for 15 minutes or so before I give up and revert to the built-in FM tuner that the player has. I'll soon have well in excess of 2000 songs on the player, more than any one radio station has in this market. But I still listen to the radio more than I do to the songs I put on it. Isn't that a definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result? Yeah. Yeah. It is.