Saturday, June 30, 2012
We got up late. We drove over to Dartmouth to try to get some stuff to clean up the smell of cat pee downstairs. We got a lead from Bobby Mac from Q104, so we drove to a store in Dartmouth, only to discover that it was closed for the holiday weekend. I guess we should have called first. Rats.
We had lunch next door at Cora's before returning to Halifax to pick up something that Patricia bought through kijiji. From there, we went to the new Seaport Farmer's Market. I had never been there when it was in full bloom. Very impressive.
We started to go home only to decide at the last minute to go to Spryfield. We ended up at the library there, where we had never been. A very nice library. I borrowed a Lawrence Block published by Hard Case Crime that I didn't already own. I love the Hard Case Crime series. I have the vast majority of all the books they have published, but it's hard to justify spending 30 bucks on any book these days. I'm glad they're back, but I preferred the earlier series published in smaller paperbacks. Now, they're either hard covers or larger paperbacks.
We went to the No Frills story for a few minutes before returning to the house. A very hot day indeed. The cats are actually getting along today; I guess it's too hot for them to fight today. Works for us.
Finally got around to watching an episode of season 2 of Game of Thrones this evening. We may concentrate on watching the rest over the balance of the long weekend.
Tomorrow I will try to get back to the "Year in Review" series. Very time consuming to write.
See you tomorrow...
Friday, June 29, 2012
I completed Grade Three and went into Grade Four in September. My teacher in Grade Four was Mrs. Levy, and I have an interesting story to tell about her.
It was sometime during the academic year when she told a story about when she was a little girl. As a very young girl, in 1910, she told of the time when she went to bed one night convinced by her family members that the world would end that evening. 1910 was the first time in the 20th century when Halley's Comet came to visit. In 1910, knowledge of science was such that many average people did not understand that this comet would not harm the earth. Many people apparently believed that we were in the end of days.
She went to bed. The next morning, the earth was still there, so she got up and went downstairs to face the rest of her life. I am guessing her parents were a little sheepish. Oddly enough, Mark Twain was born in 1835, the previous appearance of the comet, and died the day after it came back in 1910.
It turns out that there was a bit of hysteria about the 1910 comet. Here is a link to one article about it and other appearances of Halley's Comet. Here is another one that captures the times very well. No wonder my one-day teacher felt the way she did! You can do a simple google search and find many more webpages that discuss the great panic of 1910.
Before I started Grade 4, I became friends with some friends named Hill who lived on a hill. They lived pretty close to my home, so I could call them up and go visit them. They read comics back then just like I did, and we would read them and discuss them the way little kids did. I remember reading some issues of Werewolf by Night. I remember hearing from my friend Howard Hill about a character named the Ghost Rider (featured in 2 Nicolas Cage movies in recent years). The character got his own comic, and I found issue #1 on sale at the same drug store where my sister had bought that issue of Captain America the previous year. I was hooked. The book came out every 2 months, so I could squeeze it in to my reading budget.
(Which leads me to the following. I could only afford to buy so many comics. There were many more I wanted to buy but couldn't. The only thing I could do was read these comics on the sly in the drugstore every week. I would read them as quickly as I could so that I could get an idea of the storyline. This became a habit for me, so that even today, I can remember parts of those storylines and things like dates. It has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has enabled me to write these blog posts. On the other, it has meant I'm unable to forget every stupid thing I have ever done in my life.)
The Hills lived in a house that was next door to one of the biggest homes, estates really, in Port Williams. They lived on Sutton Road, named after the family of Mrs. Sutton, who lived in that house, I think by herself. She graciously allowed us kids to ride our bikes on her long drive way. We would ride our bikes up the hill to her house, dart around by her home as fast as we could, and then boot 'er down the driveway toward the road. More than once, I wiped out my bike on her drive way. It was paved, so it was more painful than wiping out on Sutton Road itself, which was still a dirt road back then.
The barn next to her was haunted, or at least we convinced ourselves that it was. We would explore this old barn, easily more than 100 years old. We would find trap doors everywhere and leap from the top of one hay pile onto another one, naively thinking that we would land in hay and not on something harder. It was a good time.
Sometime in the summer of 1973, my father took me out to Murphy Lake where he was doing some work. I was given some comic books to read at one point. I noticed some kids swimming on the lake and joined them in my trunks. I did not feel confident in my swimming so I used a flutter board to "swim" out to where they were. We ended up on someone's boat.
The owner yelled at us to get off his boat, so the kids jumped off and swam back to shore. I was with my flutterboard, remember. I jumped off the boat and found myself sinking to the bottom. The flutterboard tried to get away from me, but even then, I knew that if I let go, I would continue sinking and likely drown. I held on for dear life. The board floated me back to the surface and I "swam" to shore, scared crapless by the experience.
My mother would get a cab to go to town every week, usually Thursdays. To keep us happy, she would give my sister and me money to buy some lunch at a diner in Kentville. I remember the diner in question quite well. It was just past the railway tracks before the Royal Bank building. In that same space, there was a hair place and some kind of temp hiring agency. In future years, there would be a place that repaired vacuum cleaners and sold used books and had plenty of pornographic materials in another room. The owners of the place were sleazy.
Anyway, we would have a decent lunch and meet up with Mom at one of the 3 grocery stores that existed in Kentville back then. We would get a few comics and go back home, and Mom would find a way to stretch her food purchases until the next time we would go to town. That would go on until we planted a garden (a tale for another day). Not much point to this story. I just remember that restaurant and wonder how many others from Kentville do.
A bookstore in the mall where my sister worked in New Minas opened up. She worked for a store called Discount Shoeland, which was across the hall from this bookstore. I think it was that year, but it may have been the year before. It was called Reader's Delight. I remember wandering in there many a time during those early years. I would buy a book as my budget permitted. I bought a book featuring the characters from the Brady Bunch. I read it, of course, but was surprised by the foul language in it. It was a kid's book, but characters were saying "Hell" and "Damn", shocking for a little kid. I still see that book in used bookstores from time to time. I wonder if some kid reading that book today would feel the same way I did back then?
Other comics I would have read that year would have included reprints of Uncle Scrooge. A friend at work enjoys the tv show "Duck Tales". I have kept meaning to tell him, and I guess I am now, that many of the stories in that series were adaptations of these stories I read as a child. Those reprints were 20 and 30 years old even then. They were mostly written and drawn by a man named Carl Barks, but he was not allowed to sign his work. He retired from producing new comics around 1967. These stories, as far as I know, are still in print.
When I began grade 3, in '72, I met many new people. One fellow in particular, I went to university with. I haven't seen him in several years. But I met one girl that year whom I developed a crush on. I will supply her first name, Kathy. We were from different worlds. Her dad was some mucky muck in the Valley, but I did not know that until 1977, and I will write about that in due course. She mentioned that she and her family had been to Disneyland. Not me!
Another girl I liked was named Michelle Hart. I thought she was a real cutie. Long, dark hair and protruding teeth. I used to chase her around the class room. She never chased after me. Unrequited love!
I am pretty sure it was 1973 when I was injured, and the injury wasn't repaired until many years later. I was playing soccer. I was the goalie. I took my job pretty seriously. I will never forget the time I was in goal and the ball came toward me and hit me directly in the face. I can still taste the mud from the ball. I am pretty sure that was what caused my deviated septum in my nose. I would not get that set straight until I was 33 years old in 1997.
It was either 1973 or '74 when a guy who didn't like me walked up to me while we were all playing some sport and told me I couldn't play any more. "You can't play any more. OK?" I said OK and left. I have never forgotten that because this guy, Clifford Condron, never liked me. This was but the first time he had treated me like that. There would be more incidents, and I will tell you about them in upcoming posts.
1973 drew to a close. '74 was on its way. Something would happen to me that would affect my life in a fundamental way. Also, I would lend a guy 10 cents and not be reimbursed. And The Beachcombers was in full gear. It's all coming up on your next amazing chapter of Bevboy's Blog!
See you then.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The year in review piece for 1973 will probably happen on Friday. These posts take quite a bit of time to write, as you can well imagine. Expect a shorter piece than the one about 1972, and something longer than the one about 1971.
Have a good night, my lovelies.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I turned 8 in 1972.
We grew up in a small house in a rural part of Nova Scotia. At one point, 6 people lived in it. After my brother's death, we were down to 5. Me, my 2 sisters, and my parents. When I hear about people who live in a house many times the size of what I grew up in, who want to sell their own place because it could not accommodate another child, I inwardly roll my eyes and pretend to commiserate. Eventually, Dad would add to the house, but that is a post for sometime this weekend.
I attended a school a couple miles from my family home. We got to that school by bus. When the weather allowed for it, I would ride a bike around. I got my first bike in 1972. It was a different time then, long before kids had to wear helmets and kneepads and padded clothing to protect them from every little thing. I was allowed to ride my bike pretty much wherever I wanted. My parents bought me a little bell for the bike so that I could let folks know I was coming and to get out of my way.
I once rode that bike to my school where they were checking kids' bikes for road worthiness. My bike brakes were not that good and I nearly ran into the man who was checking the bikes over. Irony. He would go on to be my Grade Six teacher in a few years. It's called foreshadowing, folks. A reason to read the appropriate blog post this weekend.
Returning to my parents' place that morning, I drove on Sutton Road, a shortcut I still use to get from and to my mother's. Back then, though, it was a dirt road. I wiped out on my bike and took quite a tumble.
Sometime in the Spring of 1972, our school was visited by Bobby Gimby. Remember him? You would if you are of a certain age. Gimby had written the Canada Centennial song for Expo '67. Years later, he would tour schools across the country, and eventually found his way to my school. I remember we were all led outside to the front parking lot, where Gimby would tell us stories and perform songs, including, one presumes, this one right here:
Did Bobby Gimby ever make it to your school, middle-aged readers of this blog?
In the summer of 1972, I took swimming lessons. I know it was then because I had never taken swimming lessons before, and haven't taken them since. It was 1972. Don't challenge me on this. I just know this.
The classes were taught by some students at Acadia University. They were conducted there, too, at one of the big pools on campus. I still think about that large, imposing room with the nearly-as-large pool in it; it is not a pleasant memory, as you will soon see.
The student teachers would yell at us kids a lot. I had never been spoken to before by someone like that, not even by my father, who could have a gruff side to him. These guys ruled by fear. I grudgingly learned to float, but that's about as far as it got. My younger sister was also there, and she couldn't learn to do even that. The near verbal abuse from the teachers didn't help our confidence, which is a big part about learning to swim. Ever since then, we have both had a fear, probably irrational, of swimming. I avoid it like the plague, and I know that my sister does, too. Too bad, because it is apparently an excellent form of exercise.
I earned my swimming badge. Correction: My floating badge. Returning to the pool the next day, one of the instructors yelled at me because my mother had not yet sewn the badge on my trunks. What was I to do? Go home and yell at her to take time from her schedule of cleaning and cooking and sew the damn badge on my trunks?
My parents had shelled out 5 dollars for each of us to take swimming lessons. I know that that money was hard-earned by my father, and my parents would have had to do without something that they perhaps needed to enable us to go on these lessons. I did not feel comfortable telling my parents that I didn't like the class, and that the teachers had made my sister cry. In fact, all I had learned from the course was that swimming is not fun and should not be undertaken at any reasonable cost.
I learned something else as a by-product of the swimming lessons. I learned the importance of punctuality. My dad would be out working. My mother did not drive. My older sister would be out working some Summer job. We relied on the mother of a girl taking the class (this woman died last year, by the way), to drive to our place, pick us up, take us there, and return us home afterward. The class started at a certain time. We would need time to get there, and change and be by the edge of the pool to be raked over the coals at by the instructors. Instead, Joan would show up fashionably late and get us there either barely on time or past the time we were supposed to be there.
I would grow impatient waiting for her. I would go outside and stare past our property to the road off in the horizon and look for her red truck (it's impossible to do that now, due to some trees planted a few years later by the neighbor). I would fret about being late and therefore being crapped on by the instructors who delighted in doing such things. I would feel stress and aggravation until Joan finally pulled into our driveway and spirited us away.
The class eventually ended, but not soon enough for me. I would not swim again for a year, and when I did.. well, you will learn about that incident tomorrow.
That Fall, I joined Cubs. This was back in the day when only boys could join. It's not like today when it is co-ed. I would go on to earn a badge or two in Cubs, but eventually quit when I just didn't like it. I learned even then that I was not one to join a lot of organizations.
Also during the Summer of 1972, my younger sister innocently set me on a path that would eventually take over a big portion of my life and disposable income, and which I only wrested myself from in the last few years. One day that summer, we went to town. As was our habit, and our wont, we made our way to the drugstore to look at the comics on the spinner rack. A comic on the rack caught her eye. It was an issue of Captain America, #153. We got back home. I borrowed the comic. I loved it.
I had no way of knowing this, but it turned out to be the first issue written by a man named Steve Englehart, who would go on to become one of my favourite comics writers. It was pencilled by a man named Sal Buscema, whose art, while simple, was perfect for a little kid to read. You could be a new reader like me and still get an idea of what was going on, just by looking at the pictures. I came to appreciate Sal's work a great deal and if he were still working, I'd probably be buying those books just out of respect for the man.
Here's an overview from Mr. Englehart's website in which he discusses his run on Captain America.
This issue was also the first part in what would become a 4 part story that would run into the Fall of 1972. If you saw the Captain America movie in 2011, or the Avengers movie of 2012, you'd know that Captain America is a man out of time, frozen in a block of ice from the end of World War II until some time later (1964 in old Marvel time; who knows what in "today's" time). Well, there were some Captain America stories in the 1950's, and the editor of CA at the time, Roy Thomas, asked Englehart to consider resolving this discrepancy. He did, and they even included some pages from a 1950's Cap story, which fascinated me all the more. They showed a montage of many 1950's era Marvel superheroes, most of which are forgotten today, but which made me want to know more about them. Good luck. I still don't know much about the 1950's Electro.
I read this book voraciously. Couldn't wait to read the next issue, and developed math skills by examining the issue numbers on the cover and figuring out what the next issue would be and when it might be out. Bought the remaining issues in the story. I soon discovered that Captain America was a member of the Avengers, so I bought their comic, too, with my first issue once again being the beginning of a pretty cool storyline. Other folks were in the Avengers, and I'd pick up their books as I could afford them.
I started reading The Fantastic Four, and resumed buying Spider-Man (I'd looked at some Spidey book as early as 1968).
There was a problem, though. My allowance would only allow me to buy so many comics every week. What was I to do? Well, what I did is something that will make many of my readers and friends go, "Aha!".
By the holidays, I was addicted to comics. I was in Grade 3 and reading at a level far beyond many of my classmates. I would use a dictionary at school to learn the words in the comics that I didn't understand.
1972 drew to a close. 1973 beckoned like a dead relative after an all-night bender. It was a year of more comics reading, of moving over to Grade 4, of hanging out with some kids named Hill who lived on a... hill. And, The Beachcombers were in full swing. I'll tell you all about that tomorrow.
Bevboy's Blog. It's the place to be in '73!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I turned 7 in 1971.
I remember reading (if that's the word for it when you're 7) a Superman storyline, or parts of it as it was published in several issues and I didn't see all of them, in which there was a fake Superman made out of sand. It became more and more corporeal until ... well, I'm not sure what happened. I think he must have confronted the actual Superman at some point, but I never saw the conclusion to this storyline. It's a fairly famous Superman story from the 1970's, but I don't think it's ever been reprinted in its entirety, which doesn't make sense given how much material does make the cut for reprint.
I would have finished Grade One and entered Grade Two. My teacher was Miss Coulson, and I am trying to remember if that is how she spelled her name. I had a crush on her. Many years later, I saw our class picture from back then. The clothes she wore! Typical 1970's stuff. I am not sure what I saw in her. It worked out for the best. I hope I let her down easy.
Honestly, that's about all I remember.
I guess we'll do a bit of business to fill out the rest of this post. I was thinking about this today when I was downloading some Oracle clients to some application servers, and I wonder what you think about what I am about to tell you. I am gradually scanning in a bunch of pretty unique photographs, like those of my maternal grandfather in uniform serving in World War II. I found what is perhaps the only existing photograph of my grandmother's mother, taken not long before her death in a fire that's still controversial in my family. Over the weekend, I re-found what is probably the earliest picture of me ever, when I was about 1, being held by my mother. Last evening, I scanned in a very attractive black and white picture of me and my younger sister posing for a photographer who happened to be in the neighbourhood (which people did back then).
Rather than retrofit these pictures into already-existing blog posts, where they might be missed by people who already read them, would you instead like to see a "Life In Review" series of posts in which I highlight these photographs with some written stuff as context?
Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.
Meanwhile, I remember much more about 1972. It was the first year I could really read on my own. I joined an organization. I got my first bike. I entered Grade 3. The Beachcombers started. So much happened, and I will tell you all about it, tomorrow.
See you then.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Before that, though, my brother died of cancer. My father had got into the habit of driving to the city to see my brother in the hospital most every night after supper. He knew exactly one way to get into the city. He would sometimes take some of my brother's classmates with him in the car.
Note that I was awfully young when this happened. I am going from memory and I am not cruel enough to ask my mother to relive that day. She has enough on her plate. But my recollection is that my father was about ready to drive to the hospital again when the word of his death reached the house. The outpouring of grief is something I still remember.
I do not remember the funeral. That is because my younger sister and I did not go. That's the way things were done back then. I am pretty sure that a friend of the family kept us occupied while the rest of the family attended the service. Afterward, though, there were refreshments back at the family home. I remember the many people in the house, and being all but pushed into a corner of the living room, by the front door (it's the same place whose handle I fixed 2 days ago).
When I returned to school a few days later, during show and tell, I stood up and talked about my brother's death, how he was in a grave, how sad we were. That kind of thing. My Grade Primary teacher kept saying, "Oh, my goodness", over and over again. I can only imagine what was said in the school's staff room during the recess and lunch hour that day.
Many years later, my mother told me that, following my brother's death, that she had a choice either to spend the rest of her life in her bedroom or try to focus on the children who remained behind who needed her care and guidance and love. She managed to put aside, or control, her grief, and get on with life. Some people have interpreted that as being mean and unfriendly. I reject that, strongly. Anyone who feels that way about my mother, even a member of my family, clearly does not know her.
Summer came. My father thought it would be a good idea for Mom and the 3 remaining kids to go visit my maternal grand parents in New Brunswick. While there, I took ill. Mom took me to the doctor's. The doc kept saying, "It has to come out!", and I was scared to death. I had just lost a brother, and now I would be going under the knife. Turns out that my adenoids and tonsils were acting up, and would be excised.
Here's my fave picture of my maternal grandparents, taken sometime in the early 1970's:
We played with our cousins up there. You have to realize that, back in 1958, six years before I was born, my mother's siblings, and her parents, all pulled up stakes and moved out of province to Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, in pursuit of work. My parents remained behind because they were already married with 2 children and Dad had work. One of my uncles even took his young wife with him. He remains friends, all these years later, with the father of a girl I went to high school with. The siblings eventually had children of their own, who became our first cousins, one of whom I saw at the housewarming party I attended 2 days ago.
Anyway, my older sister was closer friends with these cousins because they were closer in age than my younger sister and I were, and are. We would see each other from time to time. The last time I saw a bunch of them was at my father's funeral in 2010.
We returned home after the summer vacation. I had the surgery. When I awoke, there were my parents, staring back at me, relieved that I woke up at all (so was I, come to think of it). I still can't remember a happier sight than when I was six and had my operation. I would not have another surgery until 1997. The reason for that surgery will be revealed in a future post in this series.
September came. I began Grade One. My teacher was... Mrs. Smith? I am not sure. I know that my teachers in elementary school, until Grade 6, were all women. I thought that there was no such thing as a male teacher.
Christmas came. It was our first holidays without my brother.
1970 came to a close. 1971 would soon come, and I remember precious little about that year. I will dredge through my memory banks and try to write something about that year, tomorrow.
See you then.
PS What do you remember from 1970?
Sunday, June 24, 2012
I didn't have a chance today to scan in anything from the photo albums I borrowed from my mother this weekend. I can promise you that there is stuff in there I don't remember seeing before. There is so much cool stuff that I will either write additional entries in the series, covering some years twice, or I will go back and edit existing entries in the series to add some of these amazing pictures. I haven't decided which yet. Maybe you can let me know your interest. Or whether you even give a crap about this series, or this blog in general. Go ahead. I can take it. After all, I grew up in a house full of women.
After my long day on Saturday, today was a comparatively lazy one. I slept in until 11am. We watched "The Hangover Part 2" this afternoon, and it was easily funnier than the first one. I washed nearly all of the dishes this afternoon. Of course, being a man, I missed a couple, and Patricia very gently reminded me of the few dishes I had missed. Sweet of her.
We had a roast beef dinner this evening. Of course, afterward, I needed a nap, because I had been up for a full 7 hours at this point. An hour later, I got back up. It's 10 now, and I will turn in shortly.
The Year In Review series should resume on Monday. Fear not, effendi.
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I woke up at my mother's this morning. By the time I was eating breakfast, she was asking me when I would mow her lawn, since I wouldn't be home for a couple of weeks and nobody else will do it. I mowed her lawn. I fixed the door handle on her front door; I noticed it already to fall off when we moved Dad's old hospital bed out yesterday.
While I was mowing the lawn, Mom was digging out some old photo albums, the better to use for upcoming "Year in Review" posts. Grabbed some of Dad's albums, too. I will be putting my scanner to good use on Sunday.
I left Mom's shortly after 10 this morning. I drove to Wolfville to buy some marrettes, wire connectors for some upcoming work in my mother's garage. I checked my email, and the woman who had been trying to sell me a laptop bag would meet me at 11:30 at the Starbucks in Clayton Park. I wrote her back and asked if we could meet at noon, as I was about an hour away from there.
I got to Clayton Park a few minutes before noon. I got a coffee and waited for her. She got there about 12:03. I examined the bag for a moment and bought it for the requested price. She got a Bevboy's Blog business card as a bonus.
On the way to the house, I chanced upon a barbecue put on by Live 105. I got a couple of hot dogs and some Live 105 swag and drove home. Patricia acknowledged me.
We ate our hot dogs and I went upstairs to have a nap. Up by 2:30 or so, I took a shower and cleaned up for tonight's housewarming party at my cousin's in Fall River.
We left the house about 4:50 and got there around 5:30. We ate more hotdogs and some burgers and some salads and some trifle and drank beer. Patricia held both of Heather's babies. I saw some relatives I hadn't seen in quite a few years. A few I hadn't seen since Dad's funeral in 2010. Others, even longer. We left around 9:05. We got some food from the Fall River Sobeys and finally got back here just before 10pm. It is now 10:45. I am listening to Saturday Night Blues on CBC radio while Patricia watched an Adam Sandler movie downstairs called "Jack and Jill", which I'm given to understand is a piece of crap movie.
It's been a long day, and a good day. Looking forward to tomorrow.
See you then.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Afterward, it was several hours of shopping. Mom had to pick up "a few things". That is code for "buying out every store in sight".
I took a nap when we got back here. Had to. No choice.
This evening we watched Dallas.
No "year in review" post today. But I have been finding old documents I can use in future posts. I think you'll agree they will add to the posts when you see them.
Back to the city in the ayem. Housewarming party in the pm. Blog post tomorrow night.
See you then.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Welcome to 1969, ladies and gentlemen.
I turned 5 in 1969. That September, I began school. I actually remember my first day of school. There were 2 grade primary classes. One of them was taught by a younger teacher. The other, by this old hag who yelled at kids all day long. She would not let students used purple crayons or coloured pencils or anything purple of any kind. God forbid they should wear any purple-coloured clothing. I ended up with the younger teacher, thank goodness. Her name was.. Miss Ingles?
I met some people that year when I was 5 whom I still see around from time to time.
I remember taking an art class, during which a girl in the class, Monica Brewer, accidentally spilled paint all over herself. I don’t think that family had much money, and her outfit had been new, so this likely had an effect on them all. Yes, there are people who are that poor that the loss of one blouse can have an effect on the family finances.
My brother’s health continued to decline. I am pretty sure it was 1969 when he had his right leg amputated above the knee. He had been working on a farm beforehand. After the surgery, the owner of the farm called the house and urged my brother to report to work. My brother demurred. Finally convinced to go to the farm, he was moved, we were all moved, when he discovered that the man had reversed the pedals on the tractor such that my brother could operate the tractor with his left foot. If I recall correctly, Dad also reversed the pedals in the car my brother drove so that he could operate that with his left foot, too.
My brother had a girlfriend, or at least a girl he hung out with. I remember he was out riding his bicycle with her one evening when he had an accident (the chain fell off, his prosthetic leg wasn’t up to the task, whatever) and they had to return to the house sooner than expected.
Later in the year, Dad came home and beckoned us all outside. We did, and learned that he had gone out and bought us a snowmobile, a “ski-doo” as we called it, even if it wasn’t that brand name.
I am pretty sure it was 1969 when I got pretty sick, myself. I had pneumonia with the measles, at the same time. This was back in the day when doctors still made house calls. The doctor came to the house, stuck a needle containing penicillin or something in my ass (while the entire family watched), and went on his merry way. I got better. Thank you for your concern.
1969 drew to a close. We would have had a decent Christmas in that small house. It would prove to be the last Christmas for a member of the family. How we coped with that loss, and its terrible aftermath, and with my own health scare, will form the core of the next post, in which I discuss the events of 1970.
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I turned 4 in 1968.
After his death, we executors went through some of Dad's effects and found some things from many years ago that he never threw out for some reason. Two items are from '68. Here they are.
I never knew my father to give a lick about sports, so why he would buy a raffle ticket to the 1968 World Series is beyond me. I can only guess that he got suckered into buying a ticket by someone, perhaps someone he was working for at the time. The tickets were "only" 50 cents back in the day, but would be the equivalent of a few dollars today. Dad wasn't making much money, so 50 cents back then would have been something he would have noticed. Sort of how I noticed the 800 dollars I spent getting the rotors replaced on my car today. Yikes!
The other thing was some kind of beautification project from 1968 for the part of the province where the family lived (and where my other still lives). I do not know anything else about this campaign from 44 years ago. I wonder if Dad even considered putting a bit of paint on the place or planting a garden or something?
Interesting, the flotsam and jetsam that you find, isn't it?
A couple of other things happened to me in 1968. I met a guy I have remained friends with ever since. His name is Reg Schofield. Our fathers were friends. Dad and I were at his grandmother's; she lived down the road from us. Reg and I were introduced, and we ran away from each other. Ha ha. We would end up attending school together a year or so later. I will write about, that tomorrow.
I learned a life-long lesson in 1968. I am pretty sure it was that year. Mom was getting groceries one night. I went into the store after her. I saw a Mars Bar on display, and I just took it and went back to the car. Dad gave me a tongue lashing and made me take it back to the store. Even now, I seldom eat Mars Bars. Now you know why.
Even though I could not yet read, I looked at comic books that year. I am guessing I would leaf through the books of my older cousin. I remember looking at Captain America and The Falcon. For some reason, the Falcon's costume was green. It would not remain that way for long. I saw some Spider-Man comics, too.
1968 was my last year before starting school. Life wasn't bad. I played a lot. Ran around as much as I could. Just did was little kids did in the 1960's in rural Nova Scotia.
It all led to 1969. I will tell you about that... tomorrow!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I turned 3 in 1967.
In July of that year, my younger sister was born. I still remember Dad coming home from the hospital, so happy that there was another mouth to feed. I'm not being sarcastic. He really was happy. But there were six people living in a very small house with one bathroom. And it would be several more years before Dad would have the means to put an addition on to the house. That incident will be discussed in due course.
It was either 1967 or 1968 when I looked out the living room window and observed my brother getting of the school bus. He was limping. We all thought it was an injury in gym class. It wasn't.
And I'm pretty sure it was 1967 when I looked out my parents' picture window in the living room (I looked out a lot of windows back then!) and noticed a boy about my age walking down the street, all by himself. About an hour later, my dad was taking me out for a drive. At the corner from our house, a man in another truck pulled up beside us and asked if we had seen a little boy walking by himself. I initially said no, and then remembered the boy, and spoke up. The man thanked us and took off down the road. Only later did I find out, from my father, that the boy I had seen earlier was actually that man's son. The boy had run off somehow, and the man was able to find him because I had innocently seen the kid not long before. Dad had a pretty proud look on his face.
I had a strange dream that year. At least, I hope it was a dream. I was sitting out on my parents' front steps, stone steps that we would later leap off from as if we were superheroes, when a vicious wind whipped up and unlaced my shoes and ripped them off of me. I was powerless to stop this from happening. I remember being very frightened
That's about all I remember. Sorry.
This is usually the point where I point out the things I learned about the year in question and find a way to segue into the next year. I am not sure how much of that I can do now. But I will say that in 1968, I would meet a guy I am still friends with. I would learn a valuable lesson. And a family member's health would begin to falter.
Be here, tomorrow, for the year 1968 in review!!
Monday, June 18, 2012
Please expect these early posts to be brief; however, I will scour my memory logs for every little tidbit of information in my life that I can possibly recall. Please further note that in my very early years, I read an awful lot of comic books, so I will discuss them quite a bit. I will be advertising those posts heavily with the comics creators who are my Facebook friends. Those posts may or may not be to your taste.
These early posts will reflect my life from back in the day. Comics. School. Growing up a bit. The 1974 post will include getting my very first radio, which I remember quite well. 1975 will be about how I used that radio. And so on, down the line, until we reach 1986, when the series will end, because I began it by discussing 1987.
Every one of these posts, including this one, will have the "YearInReview" label so that you can easily read and re-read each post in this special series.
It all starts... tomorrow.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Over the last few years, I have been building up Optimum points. I had so many that it amounted to $85. I could use that as cash toward purchases, including a Kindle.
After we returned from the Valley last night, I went into the Shopper's in Clayton Park. It was pushing 9pm. I made my way to the electronics section and saw one kindle on display. I pointed to it and the sales clerk got it for me. With my points, I got the thing for about $41.
Today, after I mowed the back lawn, I started trolling amazon for a suitable cover for the kindle. I think I will instead get a sleeve for it, so that I can remove the kindle from it and read it with one hand, rather than use a cover for it and hold it with two, like a regular book.
I got a kindle for Patricia for Christmas. Nearly six months later, she still hasn't got a cover for it. I am a man. I will select a cover or a sleeve for it this week.
I just can't decide on the colour. I'd like to have one that goes with my eyes, which I guess would be pink.
Once I get the cover/sleeve for it, I will charge the device and start downloading books. I am looking forward to playing with it. It only has wifi. I would prefer it also have 3g, but one can't have everything, not at that price.
Don't worry. I will tell you all about this nifty new play thing of mine as I discover all the things it can do.
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
We got up just before 8 and left the house around 8:30. We arrived in Wolfville just past 9:30 and checked out the Farmer's Market there. It's a nice market, meaning that it isn't very big and doesn't take very long to go through it. I always run into someone there. This morning, I heard a woman call my name. It turned out to be the wife of a former professor of mine. Rick was there as well. They met Patricia. Rick thanked me for the anecdote I contributed to his retirement booklet (former students were encouraged to send in a funny story about him, and I sent in one I thought was pretty good). We talked for a few minutes and parted. Like I said, I always run into someone there. Last time, it was Lea Miller from K-Rock. Time before that, it was someone from my high school. Time before that, it was someone who was in my Toastmasters club back in 1994. You get my drift.
We went to my mother's and then out to her garage for a few minutes. Returning to the house, where my sister had arrived, we all ate lunch prepared by my mother. Drove to a local flower shop. Picked out some flowers. And... we drove out to my father's grave.
Here's a picture of the grave with the flowers on it. Following that is a picture of my mother next to the grave.
Yeah, those damn shrubs are in the way. We will cut them back or eliminate them, sooner rather than later.
Dad is 2 years in his grave now, and I still think of him every day, sometimes at the oddest of times. He wasn't a perfect man, but neither am I, and neither are you. Focusing on his faults misses the point: That he stood by us, wanted us to be successful, and worked hard for everything he ever had in life. Those are pretty good traits in my book, and should be in yours, too.
Tomorrow, I will get up and face my day. It will be Father's Day. I will endure the ads on television and the songs on the radio that are devoted to fathers everywhere; and I will absent-mindedly reach for the phone to call my father before I check myself. I'm just glad I told him how I felt about him many times while I had the chance.
I miss you, Dad. And, I love you, always.
See you tomorrow.
Friday, June 15, 2012
I put the pieces together this morning. I had noticed that Gary was now friends on Facebook with Floyd from Live 105. I had further noticed that Greasy Gary was no longer live on Q104; they were just re-running some of his old jokes. Friday morning's GG segment was just a joke from some time ago. I had lunch with Dan Barton in late May, during which I was told that Gary was still in the running for the PD job at Evanov.
I wrote Gary around 9 and asked him if there might be an announcement coming shortly. He confirmed that he had been offered the job on Tuesday the 12th. His last live Greasy Gary hit was on Monday, June 11th, although he didn't know it at the time.
As things stand, the Greasy Gary feature on Q104 will end, but PD JC Douglas told me today that they haven't yet decided the how's and when's.
Greasy Gary is one of the most popular bits in Halifax radio. Gary Tredwell told me he had lost count of the number of people who had told him that they would tune into Q104 long enough to hear GG and then tune back to their regular station. People who work at the dockyards or on construction sites will not exit their trucks and report to work until Greasy is finished for the day.
While Greasy Gary is soon to be over at Q104, what remains to be seen is whether the character will make the transition to Live 105. Let's hope he isn't. Nobody wants to piss off a construction worker.
Here's the press release:
On The Air Breaking News - Halifax, NS — June 15, 2012 — Paul Evanov, Vice President of Evanov Radio Group, announced Gary Tredwell as the new Program Director for the company’s Halifax radio stations. Effective June 25, 2012, Tredwell will oversee day-to-day programming for CHR formatted CKHZ-FM (Energy 103.5) and modern rock CKHY-FM (Live 105). “Gary is a tested veteran of east coast radio - as a programmer, music director, and air talent,” says Mr. Evanov. “The majority of his work has been in Halifax, where he uniquely understands the competitive and creative forces at work in the marketplace.”
Most recently, Gary launched upstart 89.3 K-Rock (CIJK-FM) as Program Director with Newcap Broadcasting in Kentville, Nova Scotia where the station debuted at number 1, adults 25-54. “I am delighted to bring all my passion and energy to the Evanov Radio Group,” says Gary Tredwell. “Both Energy 103.5 and Live 105 are great radio brands with excellent people and resources. I look forward to achieving new heights with the entire team.”
Prior to K-Rock, Gary served for 4 years as Program Director with Coast 101.1 in St. Johns, NL. Tredwell’s Halifax career started in 1990 with CIEZ-FM followed by 8 years with Metro Radio Group. Throughout the past 11 years, Mr. Tredwell appeared regularly in-character as “Greasy Gary” on a popular Halifax radio morning show. About Evanov Radio Group: The Spirit of Independent Radio Broadcasting ERG has expanded to incorporate 13 stations in a variety of formats serving communities across Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba. Evanov Radio Group remains a positive force in promoting independent radio in Canada.
My very best, as always, to Gary as he embarks on this exciting opportunity!
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
We had dinner out tonight at a bbq place downtown-ish called Boneheads. We go there once or twice a year. My appetite for barbecued food is limited, and the place is not that cheap, so we don't need or want to go there very often. But, when we go, we love it.
Thursday night is "Big Bang" night here at Casa Bevboy. It's on CTV for half an hour at 7:30. Then, at 8, it's on WSBK (channel 250) and Peachtree (channel 51) for a full hour, but they're the same shows, and the second show always repeats the show that was on at 7:30 on CTV. Then, at 9pm, CBS and CTV run a newer Big Bang. Tonight, we were extra lucky because at 9:30, there was a bonus 5th episode of "Big Bang" on CTV.
(The only problem is that I have a thing, a phobia, about odd numbers. I checked, and nobody has given the fear of odd numbers a name. I feel sullied. They have phobia names for the most inconsequential fears, but nothing for my very real fear of odd numbers. Crap.)
The thing is, I have downloaded the entire series. I can watch them whenever I want. Patricia watched them over and over on her computer at the cottage last week. But, we still flock to the show when it's broadcast. There is something about the communal experience that is hard to overlook. It's just the 2 of us, plus the cats, but we enjoy the humour and enjoy each other enjoying the show. If that makes sense. It is something that cannot be duplicated by just watching the show on a computer in a room by yourself. Especially when you'd rather be watching porn. You understand.
Tomorrow is Friday. Saturday follows that (in Nova Scotia at least.) There are special plans for Father's Day weekend on Saturday, and I will show you that stuff then. Bring a hankie! I think you will like it.
See you tomorrow, my pretties.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Patricia and I had decided that we would go out to a movie this evening, after getting dinner somewhere, probably that place that used to be called Opa!, until they had to change their name a year or so ago to avoid copyright infringement.
We wanted to see The Avengers. Well, I wanted to see the Avengers, and Patricia was agreeing to do so in that "Oh, let's get it over with" way that women sometimes have. Come to think of it, men sometimes have it, too. I mean, what man wants to go to a craft show? I rest my case.
Instead, we discovered that The Avengers has been downgraded to later evening showings, a sign that its days in local theatres are drawing to a close. We didn't want to go to an 8pm showing at the local cinema. The downtown cinema still has the show at a decent hour.
Rather than go out to dinner and a movie this evening, then, we decided to postpone it for a couple of days. Rats. That meant that dinner was up in the air. We decided on fish and chips from a local pizza place. The fish was obviously deep-fried stuff that came from a freezer 10 minutes before we picked up the stuff, and the fries were of the same vintage and origin.
We ate while watching the news. We watched "Innerspace", a really good entertainment news show on the Space channel that I got Patricia interested in watching recently. "Big Bang Theory" came on at 7:30, so we watched that on Channel 9 before jumping over to channel 250 to watch another half hour of it. By 8:30, they were repeating the show we'd just seen on channel 9, so I came downstairs to write this blog post. Only I decided to watch a show about early humans on youtube (homo sapiens and neanderthals have a common ancestor! I'll bet you didn't know that) before beginning this blog post. But, before that, I corresponded with the person who will be the first of possibly 2 interviews next week.
It's weird how things turn out. Just because we were tardy going to see The Avengers, and they scaled back the showings, the evening took a completely different turn. It wasn't a bad turn, just a different one. What is that saying? "Drinking a bowl of green tea, I stop the war"? Or, as it was stated in that old Outer Limits episode, "For every human act there is a moment of decision; a single thought, a breath, a heartbeat... after which all possible outcomes narrow to one." That one action, or inaction, on our part changed the whole evening. What happened tonight, had to happen, as a result of what we did, or didn't do. Capish?
But, I still say it's Patricia's fault.
See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I gave out some Bevboy's Blog business cards today at a work thing. The folks all promised to check out the blog. I take them at their word as gentlemen.
So, once again, hello.
Welcome to Bevboy's Blog.
Bevboy's Blog began in November of 2007 because I needed an avenue to express myself. I was tired of reading blogs that contained a ton of misspelled words and decided that there was a market for blogs that had fewer misspelled words and didn't have any particular political bent.
Over the years, I began to find my voice. Or, if you believe in these things, my voice found me. I began to write about silly things like my distrust of metaphors, and why I don't volunteer for stuff any more, and the like.
I have become best known, and known across the country, for my interviews with folks who are on the radio. I know that I have had readers in British Columbia, and other provinces. A guy in California was a regular reader for a while. Some posts about some international hockey tournament in Halifax led to some amusing replies from Europeans. Those wacky Europeans!
Of course, every 1000 posts or so, I do the alphabet game. It's where I ask you, my lovely readers, to supply a letter of the alphabet and a situation. I must compose a blog post of 26 sentences where the initial word of each sentence begins with the next letter. So, if you supply "S", and the situation is "my first romantic encounter", the first sentence must begin with a word starting with the letter "S". The next word, with "T". And so on, until I have cycled through the alphabet. I really must do that game again sometime soon. It's been a while.
I also write posts about things in Halifax that don't make sense. I have over 20 posts that are "years in review". I have a series called The Early Bevboy. The "Year in Review" series will resume shortly.
I do hope that, as new readers, you check out the blog from time to time. I update it nearly every single day. There are over 2000 posts of free reading for you. So many hours during which you can ignore your children and other loved ones. Put a strain on your marriage! Tell your gf, "Not tonight, honey. I have to read another dozen posts of 'Bevboy's Blog'!" She will understand once she realizes that Bevboy is, in fact, a boy, and not a girl. Remember: Beverly was a man's name for hundreds of years before women said, "Gimme!".
Welcome aboard!! Drop me a line via a comment to this blog post, or via an email sent right here!
I'm so excited!!
See you tomorrow.
Monday, June 11, 2012
I took a sick day today, unfortunately. Normally, my pills can counteract the pain, but not this time. I slept until 2pm and then got up and had a slice of pizza for my breakfast and lunch. I lay back down after that. Even now, after a decent dinner, I feel like going back to bed.
So I will.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
I returned to the city late morning, but not before once again checking the 57.5 cent light bulb I attached to the electric eye above her garage. It still worked. I am hopeful that it will work for months and months and earn its keep much more so than the expensive flood lights I have been using ever did.
I got back here just after noon and immediately fed Newbie. His food bulb, which I put quite a bit of food into Friday night, was empty. It certainly isn't now. He was standoffish with me for a while but soon came around to the point where he is friendly again. Well, as friendly as cats become. Ha ha.
It is the beginning of yet another work week. I don't understand where the weekends go, and why they go by so quickly.
Patricia got back here around 4pm. We got a couple of pizzas for dinner and each had a square from the package of them that I bought at that bake sale in Port Williams yesterday morning. There are 4 left and they will probably be gone by Monday evening.
There's work to be done around here. The dishes, of course. There are always dishes to wash. Tons of laundry. And the back yard needs to be mowed before a family of leprechauns takes up residence. I'm sure you understand.
Later on this week, we resume the "year in review" series. Aren't you excited? Well, aren't you?
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
The coolest thing, though, was a computer desk for 20 bucks. The sellers even agreed to deliver it in their van to my mother's place. It rests in 4 easy-to-reassemble pieces here in my old bedroom. I just have to figure out, on my next visit here, how I will re-arrange this room such that I can have this cool desk in it.
In the afternoon, my mother and I went shopping for a few hours. All through Wolfville and then to New Minas to clear out every store there. We returned to her place and put the perishables in the fridge before we went out yet again to the annual Port Williams community supper. I met Queen Annapolisa, who's from Port Williams, like you care. Very nice girl.
Having eaten, we returned here yet again. Pooped, I lay down on the couch and didn't wake up until 9pm.
I decided to stay the night. Newbie will have to go a second night without me. There's plenty of food out for him. Lots of water. Litter boxes are cleaned out. If I were a cat, I'd be happier than a swine in feces except there'd be no human at my beck and call to feed me and serve my every whim. Can't have it all.
I will return to the city in the morning. It's the weekend of the Great Curbside Giveaway. More stuff to grab, for free this time. Yippee!
See you tomorrow!
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!
Friday, June 8, 2012
I will return to the house Saturday night. I left Newbie behind and he'll miss me too much if I'm gone longer. And I didn't want to drag him from pillar to post tonight only to reverse the procedure tomorrow. I'm sure you understand.
I will turn in shortly to be all bright-eyed and bushy tailed for the yard sales.
Wish me luck!
See you tomorrow.
From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!
Thursday, June 7, 2012
New readers to this here blog will wonder what the fuss is all about. So do I, to be honest. But this series is about things in Hali that might be neat at first blush, but which, with just a little digging, don't make any sense.
This episode of Things In Halifax That Just Don't Make Sense deals with ... Bridget.
As you might predict, women's groups are up in arms because, well, they typically are up in arms about something, aren't they? What was it that George Carlin said? "Have you noticed that most of the women who are against abortion are women you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place?"
It's like that.
Today is Thursday. Is a woman who's dressed in high heels and a short skirt asserting her femininity, or is she doing it because men forced her to and she's degrading herself? Or is that the way it is on Friday? I forget. Help me out.
The advertising company that devised the Bridget campaign is full of women. Do you really think that they would come up with a campaign that would be degrading to women? Do you? Really?
This campaign "sexualizes" women? Really? How? I went to the Halifax Shopping Centre after work tonight to get some shoes. I walked past several stores that sell women's clothing, and at least one that specializes in lingerie. Another one seemed to focus on teaching women how to apply make up. Are you telling me that those services do not sexualize women, too? Where are these women's groups? Why are they not charging the bastille? Why are they not shrieking about those stores? Why are they picking on poor Bridget? Leave the poor girl alone! She's just trying to do the right thing.
I knew from the moment that Bridget came into being that some people would complain about the campaign. Anything that features a woman wearing anything other than a burlap sack and Birkenstocks is destined to incite anger.
It is not that the Bridget campaign makes no sense. It is the hateful response to it that makes no sense. Anything that gets people's attention and convinces them to drive more responsibly is a good thing. If that thing is a picture of an attractive woman, or her voice urging you to slow down, then what is the big deal?
Face it: The people who don't like Bridget, just don't make any sense. And, they need to get a life.
Next time in this series: You want people to move downtown? Really?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Been busy running the “year in review” posts lately. The latest editions of Mark Dooley’s “The Journey” have been piling up. Sorry about that, buddy.
And, thanks, Mark, once again, for letting me be your official Canadian distributor for your excellent work!
See you tomorrow for my thoughts about “Bridget”! A little Halifax content for a change!
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Typically, we go out to a movie on New Year's Day. Over the years, we have gone from going out New Year's Eve to New Year's Day. However, the appeal of digital cable with tons of movies coming into the house 24x7 is hard to ignore. We are tired of sitting through a movie in a theatre, what with people going up and down the aisles for the duration, cutting off your view. Or they talk during the film in a faux sotto voice. And the snacks are expensive. Other than the really big screen and quality sound, it is hard to find a positive reason to go to see a movie any more.
Work began early in the year. Six months earlier, we had been moved from the downtown to where we are now. There was much grousing about the move, but six months in, people had accepted it, more or less. I still take my life in my hands every time I cross the street to go to Superstore. I wish they would do something about the cross walk situation around here. Someone could get hurt, easily.
Every morning, me and the boys, and the occasional girl, go to the local deli to get coffee. We discuss things that are of a manly nature, but they let me come along anyway. The best thing about it is that the deli is in Young Tower, which houses 2 radio stations. Pretty cool to see Katey Day or Earle Mader or whomever coming in to get a beverage. When they see me, they look away or at the floor or even the ceiling, until they leave, at which time they resume their regular viewing mode. I love it there.
I turned 48 in February. Patricia took me to a sushi place downtown after work. She also replaced the battery in my watch, which is Dad's old watch.
In March, I caught a bug and missed at least 50 percent of the work days there in. I was sick a fair amount in 2011, but that was nothing compared to how crappy I felt in March. My doctor took one look at me and signed me off work retroactive to March 1st, lasting until March 19th, I think it was. I returned to work feeling much better. In keeping with what I wrote yesterday about family illness time, I put this here blog on hiatus until I returned to work.
I continued to go home to my mother's on a regular basis. My going home always seemed to correspond with my having to change the floodlight over her garage. It is screwed into a receptacle that is on a light timer. At night, the light comes on; in the morning, when the sun comes up, the light goes off. I have had to put 3 different floodlights in that fixture since January 1st. As you probably know, floodlights cost considerably more than regular ones.
Every May and October in the Valley represent clean up months. You toss out the things you don't want to the curb, up to certain limits and they are picked up. This year I got rid of a wok and some old mattresses that were taking up space in the garge. I am already planning what to get rid of in October.
So far in 2012, I have not interviewed anybody for the blog. I really must get off the stick and find some folks to sit down with, and soon. I miss talking to people. I reached out today to Christina Fitzgerald of Live 105 and Zach Bedford of C100. Bobby Mac of Q104 is about to be scheduled.
In April my Toastmasters club went to its annual off-site, team-building exercise. This one was at the Discovery Centre during their last big event, Grossology. I wonder if there is a spell checker in the world that would accept that word, by the way? Probably not.
My mother turned 80 in March. The family all held a nice birthday party for her. I cooked chicken and a roast beef for everyone. She's doing well for an old lady, still sharp as a tack. Whatever that means.
Mother's Day this year was nice. I'd taken her to Cora's in New Minas the week before, knowing that restaurants in the area would have been crazy. On Mother's Day, I made her a nice lunch again.
Yesterday, June 4th, would have been my dad's 81st birthday. I celebrated it by thinking about him and going to bed late after playing with my new-to-me laser printer. I got it through kijiji Monday after my doctor's appointment. It's a monochrome Samsung without any network capabilities, so it has to hooked up to a computer. Took about 10 minutes to get this linux machine to talk to it. I'd circled around the purchase for the last couple of weeks, but decided to get it in the end because it was a good price and the reviews for it were very good, plus it was only a couple of years old. The woman who sold it to me included the barely-used toner cartridge, which new would have cost me twice as much as I paid for the printer. She even threw in some paper that was already in the paper tray. Well worth the little bit of money I paid for it.
It is June 5th. The year is nearly half over. In early January of 2013 I will write about the balance of 2012. So far, though, not much has happened to me, either good or bad. It has been a year that could be better, but could be worse. We will see what the rest of the year brings!
Tomorrow, and for the next few days, I will write about other matters. The first of the week, it's back to the year in review series. I will set up a special "year in review" label for those folks who want to read the full series.
See you tomorrow.
Monday, June 4, 2012
I could have written some shorter, non "year in review" posts, but I really like the blog post number being the same as the year in discussion.
Also, after tomorrow's post, where I discuss the first six months or 2012, I will be running a few other blog posts about other subjects. Then, after a few days, I have decided to go back in time to cover the years from 1968 through 1986. You will remember I began the year in review posts with 1987. I don't remember much before 1968. Many of these very early blog posts will be brief.
Anyway, let's discuss 2011.
In 2011, I turned 47. It was my first full year without my father. I was dividing my time among my house, the cottage, and my mother's. I would mow her lawn more than I mowed my own. I bought a new weed whacker to replace the older one that didn't work well, and which my mother had spent far too much money refurbishing. The new one runs on a battery, and I got a second battery. Works great.
In May 2011, I was out mowing her lawn when the lawn tractor got stuck, and stuck such that I could not move it, no way, no how. I looked across the street and noticed a guy mowing his own lawn. I went over and introduced myself. Unfortunately, he was wearing headphones and didn't hear me or see me, so I gave him quite a fright when I tapped him on the shoulder. Once he got over his shock, he was very helpful. Together, we used a large 2x4 and a tree stump to create a fulcrum that freed the lawn tractor. I threw it in reverse and it nearly slammed into my new friend's lawn tractor. I have been very careful not to mow that part of the lawn ever since. I really should get a push lawn mower for my mother's.
I spent 2 decent weeks at the cottage, although the trespassers were making their extreme presence known. They just don't get it. They just don't care. I don't understand those people, and they all think we're assholes for being territorial.
My mother had a stroke in September which required me to be away from work for a couple of weeks. She required surgery to remove the blockage that could cause a second stroke, which might have killed her. I was able to take advantage of the family illness days afforded us so that I could be with her and not tap into my vacation allottment. As luck would have it, though, I was criticized for it when I returned to work because I hadn't kept a low enough profile. I would tweet stuff and update the blog; and people took it that I was on vacation when I wasn't. I was running back and forth to the hospital several times a day worried sick about my mother; the tweets and blog updates were my way to relieve stress as I don't drink much and stay away from recreational drugs. At any rate, I have learned from my "mistake". If I need to use any more family illness days going forward, I will shut down the blog and tweet and update my FB status either not at all, or very, very little until my return to work. That should appease the people who complained about me last year. Harrumph!
My mother is doing much better now. Thank you for your concern.
That was in September, as I mentioned, after my 2 weeks of vacation. Normally, we would both be at the cottage in September, and in October, and perhaps into November. However, due to my mother's condition, and working on my father's estate, I haven't been to the cottage since the Labour Day weekend. Patricia was at the cottage several times after that, without her Bevboy. In fact, she's there as I type these humble words, doubtless wondering why I'm not there with her.
In November, after a couple of false starts, a guy at my work came to my mother's and bought the bulk of my father's power tools. Many of those tools performed tasks that I would never require be done. I need a decent cordless drill and a few hand tools and that's about it. The sucky part is that the main cordless drill still down there only holds a charge for 45 seconds or so. The second one probably works great; but I have no idea where the charger is. Only about half the bits for the original one still exist.
The other two executors, my sisters, did not participate in the sale of my dad's power tools. It was me and the two guys who came by to pick them up. A lot of work for 3 middle-aged men. The 15 inch planer was sold (goody!); I thought Dad had used it, but he had bought it on spec, more or less, and apparently never even plugged it in. He had also bought a generator that he apparently never used. The generator has been sold. That was not part of the original sale of goods, but I did not feel comfortable with the existence of a generator in my mother's garage. Those things tend to go missing in the Valley. If certain people had known there was a generator there, they would have stolen it. There was one guy in particular who was nosing around there last year when I was in there. I'm sure he was casing the joint. He is the brother-in-law of a person who's fairly high up in the provincial government, a person I once thought was my friend. I don't trust either man as far as I could throw him. The brother-in-law was actually peeking through the garage window last week, looking for a roto tiller that I had apparently promised to sell him. He talked to my mother about my promise, which I never made, intimated or implied. I wouldn't sell that man the sweat off my doings. If she had had a key, my mother might have let him go out there where he would have had a merry old time. That's why she doesn't have a key. The roto tiller was also sold to Bruce, along with many other tools and appliances, including a snow blower. Anything that this brother-in-law would have wanted is probably gone. Poor baby.
A couple of other things happened last year. Well, a lot of things, but a couple that I will tell you about. On March 1st, my dad's rental property finally left the family and was sold officially to the people who now own it. From the time that it was sold until the closing date of March 1st, the house remained our responsibility. On February 28th, the final day it belonged to the estate, I went through the place one last time, taking many pictures, and shooting much video. I knew it would be the final time I would be in the house, and nothing has happened to make me think otherwise. I am not sure if I would accept an invitation to return to the house, to be honest with you.
I always had mixed feeling about that other house. Dad built it in the early 1970's after my brother died. He would work all day and then pick away at that house on nights and weekends. After it was built, he rented it out to various folks before my sister moved in in January of 1986. She remained in that house until January of 2011.
For the 25 years she lived there, I was in the house perhaps 50 times. I seldom felt welcome there. She changed the locks on the house and refused to give a key to my father. Think about that for a moment. The amount of rent charged for the property did not increase for those two and a half decades, mostly for political reasons that have to do with not renting property to a close relative lest you run afoul of other relatives. There was therefore no money coming into Dad's coffers to pay for increasingly-much-needed repairs. Upon Dad's death, selling the place was the best thing we could do for it. It would finally, at long last, receive the TLC that it very much required.
The new co-owner works in the place where my mother gets her hair done. She showed me some pictures not long ago of all the work that they have done to the place. She told of the sheer effort it took her and her partner to remove the cabinetry that Dad built long ago. I pictured Dad looking down on them with an combination of admiration and annoyance.
Let's talk about Hallowe'en for a few paragraphs.
For 10 years or so, I was in the habit of giving out comic books to local kids. The squeals of delight from the children made it all worth it to me. "Mommy! I got a Superman comic. Read it to me!", the 15 year old kid would scream to his parents. Little children loved them too.
I did the same thing in 2011. Afterward, I went on to Facebook for the pages concerning my neighbourhood. I saw something that made my blood run cold. Some woman on the page was complaining about the man who was giving out comic books that featured violent acts and questionable content.
I was always very careful not to give out some of the comics that I do own. There was a publisher back in the day called Eros. You can imagine what they put out. Never gave out anything of the kind.
One comic that these people fixated on was called The DNAgents, published in the 1980's by Eclipse comics. It was written by the notorious pornographer Mark Evanier, best known for writing literally thousands of comics featuring such characters as Scooby Doo, Garfield the Cat, Blackhawk, and dozens of characters known as funny animals. Chances are, if you read comics in the 1970's featuring any of those characters, you read more than a few Evanier books. He also has written 1000's of hours of television, most notably as a story editor/writer on "Welcome Back, Kotter", but he has done so much more. I have exchanged a few emails with the man over the years and regularly check out his website, which is right here.
Anyway, DNAgents was an X-Men-type book featuring superheroes who were non-human teenagers who looked human. They were created through genetic engineering, and not through the result of humping in the back seat of a car.
One of the issues I gave away this past Hallowe'en was an issue of this comic book in which one character says to another, "You don't have any genitalia!" They didn't show any genitalia; they just used the word. The woman focused on this the way that a mongoose focuses on a laser beam, the way that a computer focuses on data, the way that a Rottweiler focuses on a pork chop.
Over the next few days, I lurked on that page, reading these horrible things about myself. One person was going to knock on my door and "confront" me. I therefore kept my doors locked at all times, with the alarm set, for fear of a potential confrontation with some guy who might express his disappointment. Another couple of people were going to "report" me, whatever that means. If it meant calling the police or the media and having the latter parked outside my house for 3 days, then that would not go over well, either.
A few people in the area came to my defense, and I am grateful to them for that. But others kept hammering away at me, not knowing, not caring that I might be reading these hateful comments.
Obviously, my days of giving away comics in this area are over and done with. I do not need the hassle or the aggravation or the stress of trying to do the right thing, only to be ripped to pieces by these people.
I am stuck with these comics. I do not want to give them away for the reasons stated above. I don't want to throw them out with other recycled papers for the reasons stated above. My God, if some kid saw these comics on the curb in a clear bag and showed them to his parents, then I'd be in for another world of hurt.
All I can think of is to burn these comics in my mother's furnace. Before you go off the rails about burning books, the books are mine to do with as I please, including destroying them to keep them out of the hands of people I don't want to have them.
Over the next few months I will be taking these comics home and storing them in my father's old workshop downstairs. Once I figure out how to use the wood furnace, and the weather gets colder, they will find a final, toasty home.
And now you know... the rest of the story.
In 2011, I interviewed Cub Carson, Brad Dryen, Floyd, Kate Milton, Dan Barton, JAX, Neil Spence, Shane Wilson, Robert Maillet, Drakaina Muse, Debbie Rochon (on the cover of the current issue of Fangoria!), and Julia Kirkey (that one hasn't run yet). In one day, I had lunch with Jeff Cogswell and dinner appetizers with Cub Carson and Brad Dryden, who worked together in Ottawa several years ago. I began to interview Katey Day, only to realize that her life story is so fascinating and complicated that I will have to sit down with her for a week of Sundays to get it all. I found out a ton of information about legendary CJCH broadcaster Norm Riley. I believe I refuted some of the things stated about him by others.
2011 was a busy year for me. I had some good times with the radio people. I had some crappy times what with health crises for my mother and the distress associated with spending too much time on Facebook. I believe I am a stronger person for what I went through last year. It all leads nicely into 2012, or at least the first half of it. I will discuss that stuff... tomorrow.
See you then.