Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Post 2070 - I Still Got It

I did manage to transcribe several questions in both the Bobby Mac and Christina Fitzgerald interviews.  Are you happy now?

It is Tuesday.   I return to the city on Thursday to prepare for something that will transpire Saturday.  I am pretty excited about it.  I will share more details with you as the time approaches.

When I think about the cottage, certain things come to mind.  For one, there is another idea of what constitutes cleanliness.  I may wear the same shirt 2 or even 3 days in a row.  Ditto with shorts.  And showers?  They're for wussies.  We don't want to challenge the well any more than we have to, what with the extremely dry summer we've had. 

Also, I think about what constitutes clothing.  I wear clothes at the cottage I would never wear to work.  Guys, remember that Boston Red Sox shirt?  That's an example.  I don't know what was wrong with that piece of clothing, but it will never be worn at work, ever again.  And I have some garish shirts that I would never even wear around the city.  If I wore them at my mother's, she would say something.  But at the cottage, it is perfectly OK to wear this stuff. 

I shouldn't think about this stuff, but I do.

You guys have a great day.  See you tomorrow.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Post 2069 - The Second Week

Where did  the first week of vacation go?  It is now Monday the 30th of July.  I am officially in the second week of my vacation. 

Because I was able to mow the lawn on  Sunday, I have every intention of doing as little today as possible.  Because the Olympics are on, and I don't give a poop about them, this frees up time away from watching "Live With Kelly", "The View", "Dr. Oz", "Ellen", "Anderson Cooper", and "Dr. Phil", and perhaps some time to devote to transcribing a couple of blog interviews that are way overdue.  I want to go back to work next week knowing that I have made a good dent in them. 

(Yes.  I watch that much tv.  More if there's something good on.)

I will report back here tomorrow with my success or failure with respect to transcribing and other things.  After all, I know you want to know.  You hang on every word I type, don't you?  You're like my mother.  Yes.  You!

You guys have a great day.  I have some work to do.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Post 2068 - My Sunday

I have put it off enough.  WE have put it off enough.  The lawn at the cottage need attention, and lots of it.
This means several hours of sitting on a lawn tractor, probably with ear muffs on, to protect my delicate hearing.  For the most part, I don't mind being out there.  I can be on the lawn tractor for hours at a time, lost in my thoughts, solving all the world's problems, plotting the Great Canadian Novel, and scarcely notice the time go by.  As long as I have access to a bathroom from time to time, I'm good to go. 

Patricia will remain inside while I sweat my Bevboy's off, or perhaps sit outside on the back deck, watching me without a trace of guilt on her face.  It is a Bevboy's lot, after all.

Perhaps she will make a good meal for us, or point innocently at the kitchen and order me to wear that French Maid uniform yet again and prepare dinner. 

What a wonderful day I've planned for myself.

I'd better get started.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Post 2067 - One Down. One To Go

Welcome to Saturday.

I turned 48 in ... oh, that series is over.  Sorry!

As of midnight this evening my vacation will be exactly half over.  I have another several days to kill around here before I return to the city for that secret mission I will tell you about next week.

I want to clear up a misconception, if you don't mind.  There is a huge, honkin' satellite dish in front of Patricia's cottage.  It is a relic of a bygone era, when satellite dishes were the size of an elephant's arsehole.  There were magazines that spelled out what would be on the most obscure of channels, and people made it their life's work to check out all of those channels, as much as possible.  Remember Johnny Carson?  Back in the day, he would send the raw cut of his show to the various affiliates by this old satellite method.  They contained the asides that would normally be edited out of a broadcast, or not be seen at all, due to commercial breaks.  (Ever wonder what they're talking about during commercial breaks?  Wonder no more).  People used to be able to pick up those broadcasts on those big satellite dishes until Johnny got wise and found a way to scramble them.

Anyway, we don't want that satellite dish.  We want it gone.  But who removes these things?  Is there a scrap metal dealer who would take it off our hands?

The side effect of that monstrosity is that everybody around here thinks we have scads of channels to watch.  Such is not the case.  We only have the few channels that come over the air.  We had to buy a digital tv descrambler last year when the analog signals mostly went away.  Two of them come in great, but the Global signal comes and goes.  When we're not watching tv, or staring lovingly into each other's eyes, we're watching movies or tv shows on dvd's from my collection that we never got around to watching before, or even watching stuff on the vcr we keep there.   I don't buy dvd's any more, except maybe as presents for people who haven't figured out bit torrents yet.  I have quite a few of these dvd's.  The other night, we watched "Mission Impossible: III", and liked it a whole lot.   Not sure what we'll watch this evening, assuming we don't go to the River John parade and fireworks, not that you want to hear my rant about that stuff again.

I will let you know what comes out of our decision, tomorrow.  If we stayed in and stared etc., or ventured out to see the parade and fireworks.  I am hoping for the former, as long as tv is involved as well.

I guess that's it for now.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Post 2066 - Belch!

The end of my first week of vacation draws nigh.  I have one more week to go.  As I stated before, I will be returning to the city sometime in the latter part of next week to prepare for a special event to transpire on August 4th.  I will tell you about that as the time approaches.

A friend provided me some constructive feedback about the blog recently.  He mildly complained that I foreshadow things and then state, "I will not discuss that here on the blog."  He found that frustrating because every trifle in my life interests him.


Going forward, when I foreshadow certain events, rest assured that I will give you the payoff and discuss what those events are.  I may not do it at the time, but after they happen, why not?  If there really is something too personal to put here, like stuff about my family that they wouldn't want to get out, then I will simply not bring it up here at all.  Sound fair?

We're trying to figure out whether we should go to the River John parade Saturday night, which presages the fireworks later on  in the evening.  Color me the guy who has seen enough fireworks to last a lifetime.  You make all the effort to get to where the fireworks are, fighting traffic and nearly running over pedestrians on the way.  You stand there for 10 minutes and say, "Ooh!  Ah!" a lot, as if you were treading on a hot beach in your bare feet after the calluses were removed.  Then, you fight traffic again to get back home, once again nearly running some folks over.  All for what?

Patricia is not quite as sick of fireworks as I am, but she's getting there.  Me?  Unless they're the kind of fireworks that erupt from Katy Perry's breasts, I am probably not interested in seeing them.

Maybe we'll stay at home and stare lovingly into each other's eyes instead.


Let's watch another movie.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Post 2065 - River John Blogging

Greetings from the River John Library in, um, River John, Pictou County.  (Did you expect it to be in Tatamagouche?)

This hamlet is in the midst of its annual River John Festival Days.  Each morning they have different people serving up breakfast for a nominal cost.  In years past, we would go 2 or 3 times.   This year, we haven't gone at all.  We plan to go on  Saturday.

Patricia went, like she always does, into a local church to look at and drool over the quilts sold there.  My drooling days are over.  I am an anti-drooler.  I don't get why people want to look at these things, let along buy them.  While Patricia was doing that, I was across the street in the River John Heritage Museum.  I had been there before, but today, I had lots of time to kill, so I went through the place with a fine-toothed comb.  They had an old Eaton's Catalog from 110 years ago.  I leafed through that.  There was a book published in Halifax more than 100 years ago about the Boer War.  Enjoyed looking through that.

I think I saw a memento mori picture, but one can never be sure.  For those who don't know, in the very early days of photography, people would seldom be photographed.  It cost money.  And people had to remain stock still so that they wouldn't appear blurry in the finished picture.  They invented a contraption that would enable a person to pose in a stiff manner.  There were wires that would go down a person's sleeves and keep people in place.

This was, of course, also the time before people would fly to a relative's for a funeral.  Oftentimes, people would only be photographed when they were dead, posing with living relatives.  And infant mortality was very high back then.  When people say that we're living on average 10 years longer than our forefathers, or whatever the number is, they're not taking into account that great strides made in recent years to reduce infant mortality, which increases the average.

It is estimated that one-third of all photographs taken prior to 1910 are of the memento mori variety.  That is to say, the pictures contain one or more dead person in them, posing with living relatives and friends.   Creepy as frig by today's standards, but certainly accepted back then.

Here is an embedded youtube video.  In each photograph, there is at least one dead person.  You can have fun trying to figure out which is which.  And it is not always the person who's lying down, by the way.  They invented another contraption to stand bodies up and position their bodies so as to appear life like.  Yeah.  Creepy as frig by today's standards.

If you have problems sleeping tonight, then don't blame me.  I know these pictures aren't for everybody.

Anyway, I think there was a picture of a fellow who might have been deceased at the time the picture was taken.  I scrutinized it, but like the above video, sometimes it's really hard to tell.

Patricia finally (finally!) finished at the quilt sale.  We came here to the library and will kill sometime until we go get some dinner somewhere.

Of course, Saturday is the day of the mile-long yard sale.  We rest up for that every year.  It will be so much fun.  Every year, I buy crap that I don't need at a good price and wonder why I bought it in the first place.  Just because it's a good deal, doesn't mean I have to buy it.  Right?  Well, that's the theory.

Guess I'll check out for the time being.  See you tomorrow, me hearties!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Post 2064 - Seepy time

People at my work were teasing me last week. They thought that I'd spend my vacation sleeping.

Harrumph! I'm a little hurt.

But it's true.

I got up around 5 this morning to throw out a bag of garbage. The garbage truck comes down this lane by 7. After that I returned to bed until 9.

I was reading some stuff on my kindle when I began to feel tired. It was about 12:45pm. I lay down "for a few minutes". It was more like 4 hours. Newbie was with me nearly the whole time.

Tomorrow I will try, really hard, to be more productive.

I think we'll watch a movie tonight.

See you tomorrow.

From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Post 2063 - Ah!

First full day at the cottage. We ran the roads picking up victuals. We picked up some water from the natural springs not far from here.

Tonight, we'll have hot dogs for dinner. We will probably watch a movie.

Vacation! Ah!

See you tomorrow.

From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Post 2062 - Cottage

We're finally here at the cottage. We didn't leave until 7pm. We spent the day farting around the house. Well, I farted.

I will be here for several days, at which time I return to the city and prepare for something that I will discuss with you as the time approaches.

I have downloaded dozens of samples of books to my kindle. I love my kindle so far. Just wish it had 3G.

Looking forward to a good rest here.
BlackBerry will be turned on once a day to check my email and write a short blog post. Will have it off the rest of the time. This IS a vacation after all.

See you tomorrow.

From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Post 2061 - A Request

Hi again, folks.

As you probably know, I just finished the "YearInReview" series.

When I am back from vacation in a couple of weeks, I will begin a spinoff series called "LifeInReview".  It will be a much shorter series and contain a bunch of family-related pictures along with my commentary on them.  I will be showing pictures of me as a young 'un, pictures of  long-gone relatives, tell a few famly things that maybe I shouldn't (nothing that would upset anyone), and the like.  I have been scanning in images over the last couple of weeks, and I am hardly done yet.   I am looking forward to getting to work on this special series.

I am on vacation now, returning to work on August 7th.  I will try to write something for the blog every day over the next 2 weeks, but those posts will mostly be short.   I have been neglecting 2 interviews that need to be transcribed.  I have been so busy writing this series that there hasn't been time to tap away at the interviews with Christina Fitzgerald and Bobby Mac.  I am looking forward to sharing those interviews with you folks.

I now turn to the subject of this post.  I have a request for you.  I have heard from a couple of you about how much you have enjoyed the "YearInReview" series.  I would like to know from as many of you as possible what you liked about it.   I am interested in knowing how the minutiae of my life might be something you would want to read about.   This series has been more self-indulgent than anything else I have done for Bevboy's Blog, including the interviews.

Please, if you have a moment, let me know what you thought of this series, what you liked and what you didn't like.  You can write me at this email address, or reply to the tweet that this post will generate, or reply to the Facebook status updates.

I look forward to your feedback.

Thank you.

See you tomorrow.


Post 2060 - 1986 In Review

Welcome to 1986, ladies and gentlemen.

I turned 22 in 1986.

I went out a couple of times with a girl from the library that month or so.  She was a very quiet and shy girl.  Very pretty.  But not into me.  She is probably married and happy and living a quiet life somewhere.

The Challenger blew up on January 28.  I remember sitting around the SUB discussing it with folks.  A couple of weeks later, though, there was a company that came to the university to try to recruit some of the better students.  For some reason, they decided to sit down with me.   The interview went well, so well that I was called back for a second interview.  That went less well.

I was taking an English course that semester.  It was a Fantasy course.  Not sexual fantasy.  Fantasy as in science fiction and fantasy.  In addition to my other courses, I had to read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The professor had a King Arthur fetish, so there were several other Arthurian-based novels we had to read such as "The Sword in the Stone" by T.H. White;  "The Dark is Rising" by Susan Cooper; "Firelord" by Parke Godwin";  and, my favourite, "Arthur Rex" by Thomas Berger.  That last book remains the funniest book I have ever read in my life.  I would have to put it down and howl with laughter .  I eventually secured a hardcover edition of the book.  I keep meaning to re-read it to see if it holds up, all these years later.

There was a young woman in the class who began to sit behind me and talk to me from time to time.  She borrowed my notes and called me at my parents' place to help her interpret my handwriting.  She talked to me more and more.  I didn't respond.  I just thought she was being friendly.  The last time I saw her, was at the final exam for that course.  She sat in the row in front of me, just to my left.  Just before we got the papers, making communication inappropriate, she turned to me and smiled.  We started writing.  I would have loved to have hung out with her after the exam was over, but I had a second exam that day, right after lunch, and had to rush off to that.  I never saw her again.  And I don't know her name.  Like I wrote before, regarding a girl I worked with at Burger King in 1983, it is fun to play "What might have been" from time to time.  She's probably married with children and I am but a distant memory to her, if I am anything at all.

Exams were over.   I was without a summer job.  The library job wasn't gonna happen because I had given that up when I took my first co-op work term, and they had hired somebody else.  CFB Greenwood, where I had just worked, but they couldn't take me back either.  I was unemployed.

I registered for jobs everywhere I could.  Finally, in June sometime, 2 months of little work later, I secured a job for the balance of the summer at the Wolfville Tourist Bureau.  They call them "Tourist Information Centres" now for the same reason why schools are now called "educational centres", and "janitors" are called "sanitation engineers".

I got to meet people from all over the world.  I worked with some interesting people.  One person, though, resonated with me in a unique way.  She was married to a man who was going into dentistry in Milwaukee that Fall.  He was heading out ahead of her to find a place.  She ended up leaving the job early so that she could be with him and asked me if I could work a shift or two for her.  She would pay me for that trouble.  I got talked into going to our old high school where she secured a copy of her official transcript and then doctored it to improve her marks, to make her chances of being accepted into whatever program she was applying for, better.

She paid me with a brace of cheques.  I cashed the first one.  A few days later, I discovered that the funds allocated to the cheque were removed from my account.  The cheque had bounced.   I didn't bother to try to cash the other one.  And she had skipped town by then.  I later found through a mutual friend that she was worried sick about having enough money to get down there.  She would be driving one of those portable moving trucks that you can rent for 20 dollars a day, all the way from NS to Milwaukee.

So.  I was used.  I ended up working for free and was a witness to her changing her marks on her official transcript.

In the spring, I met a young lady, who was a mutual friend of a friend of mine.  She began to sit at our table in the SUB.  She laughed at everything I said, which I'm told is a sign a woman is interested in a man.  Patricia never laughs at anything I say, so what does that tell me?

But I digress.

I found out her name was Dianne.   She would be graduating that spring and would seek employment as a secretary after she returned from a European vacation.  She had borrowed a book from me and returned it, with a small graduate picture and a friendly note on the back of it.

That summer, when out to a movie with a friend, she saw me and asked me to call her  by putting her right thumb and little finger up to her ear and mouth, and motioning the dialing of a phone with her left.   These motions were directed at me, it turns out.  I forget how I got her actual number, but I did, and called her.  We would date for a month or so in the summer.  We spent time together a couple of years later.  Of the women I have dated, I can't help but think that she is the one that got away, but we have remained friends ever since those days of our youth.  She is married and happy and I am happy for her.

The summer was "getting gone", as my mother likes to say.  I really couldn't afford to return to school that fall because of my unemployment situation earlier that summer.  I decided to accept another co-op work term, this one at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth.  I would start in September and finish in December, like I had a year before.  Once again, I was working for the Feds.

This job was less fun.  My boss was British, a man named Aubrey.   I used to correct his English.   I had no idea what he wanted me to do half the time.   I knew we were speaking the same language, but I needed direction and training at first, and he wasn't giving me any.   I worked with another guy named Robin and he had similar feelings about him.  Robin was, well, successful with the ladies.  He had a very outgoing personality and knew how to use it to his advantage.   One of his brothers was a paramedic who, years later, would be killed in a drug deal gone bad.

Robin and I became pretty good friends for that semester.  We would hang out as much as we could, given that I was commuting  to the city every day.

During that semester, a young lady who worked there accepted another job in the building and left.  They needed to back fill her position, and pronto.  I remembered someone from high school, and her boyfriend, had studied things that would be useful to that position, so I called her.  They were unemployed at the time, so they were grateful for the tip.  They called the company the next day.  Turns out that the woman hadn't even told the company she was leaving yet, so my friends had an advantage.  They never forgot this small favour I did for them.  At their wedding 5 years later, they asked me if I had another job for them.  Sorry.  One per customer.

The co-op work term drew to a close.  There was a Christmas party there every year, and they were looking for people to participate in the talent show.  Being young and stupid, we signed up.  There would also be a party, a dance, at the Mic Mac Aquatic Club in Dartmouth.  I had no intention of going.

One day, during lunch,  a young woman who worked with us looked at me and said, "I don't know how to say this, but would you like to go to the dance with me?"

A woman, asking me out?

Are you kidding?

Before I answered, I looked behind me to make sure she wasn't talking to someone else.  Then, I remembered that I was leaning against a wall.  I agreed to the date request.  

It turned out to be a very nice date.  I had a wonderful time, and I crashed at the apartment that Robin and Solly shared.  Robin had a lady friend over.  I was on the cot just below the loft they were in.  Never mind what I heard.

The work term was over.  I ended up dropping Robin off somewhere in Dartmouth.  We shook hands.  He tapped my car as I drove off.  And I have never seen  him since.

At the wedding I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, I saw someone who had worked at BIO when I was there.  I knew he was friends with Robin.  We chatted and it turned out that Robin and Solly became an item afterward.  21 years later, I have no idea what they are up to.  Once again, I hope they are both happy, whether they are still together or if they have forged a life with others.

1986 drew to a close.  I got some stuff for Christmas.  I bought some things for people.  And I saw 1987, off there in the horizon, getting closer and closer.  1987 would be a year of hard academic work, another co-op work term, two marriages, and finishing my degree.  It would be one of those pivotal years in my life.  And "The Beachcombers" was heading into its final couple of seasons.

But, you know all that  stuff already, don't you?  That was post 1987 a couple of months ago.

We have reached the end of this series.  In a few minutes I will write a brief follow up post with future plans for a spinoff series that I will start when I am back from vacation in a couple of weeks.  The post will also have a request from moi.

See you shortly.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Post 2059 - Saturday

The "YearInReview" should appear on Sunday.

It's 11pm.  It has been a long day, and I haven't had a chance to spend the few hours writing the 1986 entry.

We got up late.  We decided to go out to Cora's in Clayton Park for breakfast.  From there, we shopped for the next few hours, returning to the house around 4.  I needed my nap, so I slept for 3 hours before getting up to make dinner.  At 10pm, I started washing the dishes.  Now, it's just past 11 and I am half-watching a 48 Hours special about the Aurora Theatre shootings.

I am on call for work until Monday morning.  This means I will probably not leave for the cottage until then.  Patricia will probably head out on Sunday sometime.

Sunday, unless I get a phone call, I will continue with the laundry and other cleaning.  It will be nice to come back  here after vacation and see a cleaner place and not have any underwear to put on.  I mean, sometimes when I go to work I have no clean underwear so I go without.  The secret is out.  Or is that too much information?  Or am I b.s.'ing you?  You will never know.

Actually, I haven't even begun to pack for the cottage.  I must do that tomorrow.  And I must do it in such a way so as not to arouse Newbie's suspicion.  He will just slink off somewhere in the house where I won't be able to find him.  In fact, I don't even want him to see this blog post, in case he learns to read over night and deduces what will soon happen.

Tomorrow will be a busy day indeed.

Guess I'll turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Post 2058 - 1985 In Review

Welcome to 1985!

I turned 21 in 1985.

I was in the winter term of my 3rd year of university.  I was getting tired of the grind of classes, studying, writing and producing deliverables, working part-time jobs.  Repeat as necessary. 

I was single.  I wanted to go out with someone.  I had been interested in someone for a while and decided to ask her out.  She didn't say yes, and didn't say no.  I kept persevering.  One night she was studying at the library and I asked her out one last time.

She rolled her eyes. She sighed.  She practically screamed.  And she said she wasn't interested and I might as well stop asking her out.  Of course, this was in an area where there were quite a few people, all of whom saw and heard what happened.  One of them was a friend of mine, who probably told everyone she knew.  Sigh and double sigh. 

I stormed off, trying to muster my dignity, and not really succeeding.  From then on, for the next 2 years, she would avoid eye contact with me.  Even after graduation when we had both moved to the city, we might run into each other on the street and not even be acknowledged.  What did I do, other than specifically ask her out when I had not received a firm no, to piss her off to the point where she would hate me?  It is a mystery for the ages.

I wrote my final exams in April.  As I recall, I literally wrote my final, final exam, dropped my stuff off at the locker I was renting at the SUB, and walked down the hill to the library to work a shift.  I segued from my studies to my work without missing a beat. 

It was in May of 1985 when actress Shirley MacLaine received an honourary degree from Acadia.  It was big news at the time; my boss George took a picture and gave me a copy.  Many years later, I rescued it off a bookshelf in my old bedroom at my mother's and scanned it in, posting the result on the blog.  It's one of the "Early Bevboy" posts. 

The previous summer I was more-or-less alone for my noon hours.  I'd eat my lunch by myself in the SUB and read my book.  In the summer of '85, several of my friends and fellow students were also working on campus and would sit with me.  We would talk about life and so on.  The difference was that they were working for the computer centre on campus, while I was not.  I felt a little... what's the word I'm looking for?  Disadvantaged?  Out of their league?  I'm not sure. 

Some of the people I sat with, didn't always like each other.  One guy in particular was someone who remains the most opinionated person I have ever met or worked with or heard about.  Maybe the writer Harlan Ellison is more opinionated than Rob was/is, but it would be a tough call. 

Rob would get into heated discussion, spirited, passionate arguments, with just about anybody about just about anything.  What are the Canadian nuclear reactors called?  CANDU?  He had an opinion about them.  Someone else at the table disagreed with his position and mounted his own.  They went back and forth. 

People who are extremely opinionated run the risk of alienating their circle of friends.  They will not consider, even for the sake of discussion, alternative viewpoints; and swaying them to that other viewpoint is so much trouble and work as to be not worth it.  God forbid you get two opinionated people in the same room: Anybody else wouldn't be able to get a word in edge-wise.

Most people may have opinions they hold and discuss with their friends.  They won't necessarily go to the wall with another person about these opinions.  Most people will just shrug their shoulders and walk away, leaving the other party thinking he has won the argument, when that may not be the case at all.   The one who walked away has more important things to do than argue with someone who will not concede a point.

During the summer, I received a phone call from the woman who ran the co-operative education program  at the university.  It was a new program back then, having only existed for a year or so.  Companies were approaching her looking for students who would be willing to leave university for a few months and take on these work terms, which paid much more money than most of us were used to making.

She called me to ask me if I might want to consider taking a job working for the federal government, specifically the Department of National Defense, more specifically, Canadian Forces Base Greenwood.  I would be the only candidate for the position.

I agreed, and met with the man who would be my boss.  His name was Steve.  It was a formality.  I was the only candidate.  He just asked me what my approach to handling certain tasks would be, and how I felt about working in a certain environment.  I  nearly turned down the position, as not every aspect of it appealed to me.  But as I stated earlier, I was burned out after 3 years of university.  The prospect of making more than the minimum wage was compelling.  The only other job that paid more than minimum wage in my young life, I had quit after 5 hours (the chip plant in 1983).

I accepted the job.  I would have to leave university for 4 months and work for these folks.  They even helped me arrange transportation with other guys who commuted the 40 minutes or so to and from work.  But I didn't know that yet.  The first day, I drove there myself.  I was told to show up at a certain time.   The man at the gate, as you would expect, was not terribly polite, but he told me to go to a certain building, there to await the person who would pick me up and take me to the work place.

I did what I was told.  You do that when you're on a military base.  The man showed up and I got my pass to work on the base.  I was taken to the place where I would be working.  It was made very clear to me what sections of the building I could go to, and what places to stay away from unless I were accompanied by someone who was allowed in those sections.  There were parts of the base I could go to, such as the mess hall, and lots of places I daren't go to.  I paid keen attention to what they told me.

I guess I should admit this now.  My maternal grandfather had fought in World War II.  He was never more than a Private.  He was teased and tormented and bullied by his so-called "buddies" because he didn't have much education and had reading and writing problems.  He had a bad experience, which he told people about.  I grew up with the perception that military folks were rude and hateful.  I would see them in military marches and nothing would disabuse me of that perception.

So, there I was, scared to death, taking my first professional job, and at a military base to boot.  You can imagine my nervousness and reticence.  However, I was treated with respect.  My supervisor, Steve, was a civilian.  And there was a mixture of civilians and military folks working in that office.

I was getting briefed on what I would be doing, and where I would be doing it.  I told the Captain I was talking to, Lou, that I had a very basic question: Given that there were people in the office of different ranks, was everybody on a first-name basis.  He said they all were, but with one exception.  There was a Major whom I hadn't met yet, and I should call him, "Sir".  I readily agreed.

I learned a lot over the next few months.  I made my share of mistakes and learned from them.  But what I learned most, was about myself.  My grandfather had had a terrible experience many years before.  My own was vastly different.

There were elements of humour over those months.  There was one civilian, Jack, whom many disliked.  He was a guy who felt he was always right and everybody else was always wrong.  One day, after he left work, he had left his radio on.  The work area that we were all in was quite small, and the sound was piercing enough that Lou turned looked at me and said, "Bev, could you do me a favour and turn that shit off?"  I cheerfully complied.

Another day, Jack approached Lou, in front of me and a few others, and said he wanted to register a grievance.  He felt he had been disrespected over some trivial matter.  Jack had a way of shifting from one foot to another.  Lou replied in some fashion.  So did Jack. It went back and forth.  I probably should have excused myself, but at 21, I didn't have that level of common sense yet.

The word that they used, over and over, was "advised".

"You were advised to do this."

"No, I was not advised."

"Yes, you were advised".

After about 40 minutes of this, I had heard that word a few dozen times.  I was sick of that word.  I remain sick of that word.  It is an overused word, overused to the extreme.  How many memos or emails have you read, or written,  that started with, "Please be advised that"?  Ask yourself, "What do those 4 words add to the message the writer is hoping to convey?"  The answer is, "Nothing."  Nothing at all.

I remember there was a holiday dinner on the base.  We all had to dress up.  My boss,  Steve, wore a tux that he owned.  I think I wore my one and only suit.

Christmas came.  Claire, another Captain, brought in some home-made Christmas decorations and gave me one, which was very kind of her.  We had an off-base Christmas drinkeroo at a pub.  I may have imbibed more than a bit.  I felt a sense of family, a sense of being with... maybe not friends, but certainly people I would have enjoyed getting to know better.

I got a good review of my performance.  I met with the man who ran the base, who was polite and well mannered with me.  I regret, however, not having told him about my grandfather and how I had learned, more than all the technical stuff, that military folks were human beings.  They had mortgages and discussed hockey (it's where I first heard the name, "The Toronto Make Believes".)  They bought groceries and had families.  They were like me and you.  I hadn't known that.

Believe it or not, from September to December, I took a course every Monday night at Acadia.  It was Business Law, and it was taught by a sitting judge.  He expected everyone to be on time, every time.  He would frown mightily at people who were ever late.  I made sure I wasn't late.  So, yeah, I would work all day and then take my course on Mondays and study the course during the week and weekend.  Oh, and to rub it in: The woman who had thoroughly repudiated me the previous Winter, and discussed at the top of this post, was also taking that course.  She must have thought I was stalking her, when in fact I could never have known that she and I would be taking the very same course the very same night.

After I finished working at CFB Greenwood, the guys dropped me off at the campus, where I wandered around and sobered up before driving to my parents' place.  I must have written that Law exam sometime that month, but I don't remember just when.

Christmas came.  I got some good presents.  And I bought some good presents because I had been making some decent money and could afford to do so.

1985 was over.  1986 was just around the corner, lifting her dress and getting my attention.  '86 would mark a return to full-time student status, a period of unemployment, and something cool involving a person who reads this blog.  And, the Beachcombers was waning.  How sad.  Poor Nick.

I will tell you all about that... tomorrow!  Be here for the exciting final chapter in the "LifeInReview" series!!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Post 2057 - Thursday

Hi.   It's nearly 9:30, and I haven't begun writing the "YearInReview" post for this evening.  A little late to write it this evening, so the series will resume on Friday.

My vacation starts on Friday, and I keep wondering if I will make it till 4:30 tomorrow.  I really need a break.

During my lunch hour, when I usually start writing the first draft of the "YearInReview", I instead went to C100 to spend 10 minutes or so with Nicolle Bellefontaine, filling in for Zach Bedford this week on mid days.  She let me go up in to mcr (the master control room) and take some pictures.  A real radio geek moment or two.

After work I donated some blood.  Patricia dropped by Canadian Blood Services as I was finishing my refreshments, and they fed her too, even though she hadn't donated anything.  Bitch.  From there, we drove to see "Ted", which we loved to pieces.  There was a tiny technical glitch which resulted in our missing a trailer or two.  After the film was over, the manager gave everyone a general admission pass to see another movie.  Totally unnecessary, but a free movie is a free movie.

One more working day and I'm off for two weeks.  Yay!

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Post 2056 - 1984 In Review

Welcome to 1984, my lovelies.

I turned 20 in 1984. 

In the Winter of 1984, I became a letter hack.  I had my first letter of comment published in the Comics Buyer's Guide, just in time for my birthday.  I would write many more letters to CBG over the next 6 or 7 years and see a goodly percentage of them see print.  It was a thrill, reading my own words in a newspaper and even seeing people reply to them.

Of course, I was a student and my focus had to be on my studies.  I did not find it easy, but how many things in life that are worth having, are easy to obtain?  Not many.

I finished my second year of university.  I had continued to work some shifts at the university library and was happy one day when my boss, George Halliwell, informed me that he had been pleased with my performance so far and that I should consider applying for a full-time summer job with the department.  I did, and got the job.  No more Burger King!

I remember George gave me a couple pieces of advice, which I have never forgotten.  He said, "Let me be blunt.  We do not want you to start phoning it in.  We expect you to come in to work every day and put in a day's work."  No problem, George.

The other piece of advice, or maybe it was just a heads up, was that he told me that the job was boring, and that the days would be long.  I can tell you that while I enjoyed some tasks more than others, overall, the job was fun.  I look back fondly on the 2 summers I worked there.

My job was to work in the serials department.  The journals.  The magazines.  Newsletters.  Whatever.  They all had to be placed in alphabetical order.  As new things came in, they had to be put out, either in the section where new journals were on display.

Some of the titles were funny.  Not funny ha ha.  Funny weird.  Or, "funny strange" as a reader characterized Bevboy's Blog to me this morning.  People just know that "JAMA" is the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Does it go under the abbreviation?  Under "J", for "Journal"?  Or under "A", as in "The American Medical Association Journal"?  There were all these anomalies that I had to learn to keep track of.  It wasn't always easy, not for me, and not for our patrons.

There were some entries in the catalogs that were disquieting.  On the shelves I saw one day a newsletter for a far right-wing group from somewhere in... Alberta, I think.  Their symbol was one highly reminiscent of the swastika.  Why the university chose to subscribe to this newsletter, I do not know.  I know that universities are supposed to, if not embrace, then certainly to tolerate for the purposes of discussion, alternative opinions, even ones that a lot of folks would find offensive.  But I was still surprised that it was there.

Another journal of interest was one that emanated from the RCMP.  There was a section in that journal that listed the names of folks who had been seconded to CSIS, the Canadian equivalent to the CIA.  There had been a story on the news about that very thing not long before, and there it was, the names of people who were now working for CSIS.  If I had been a spy, then I could have made out very well.

I also became acquainted with things like The Economist and various history magazines, and even newspapers.  The serials department had a reading room off in the corner, named after some university benefactor from long before I was around.  The reading room was where we kept the newspapers.  Part of my job would be to go in there a couple of times a day to tidy up.  The people who read the papers were largely pigs.  They would go over to the shelf, grab a paper, and sit down and read it.  And leave it there.  The sections were often helter skelter.  I had to arrange all those papers and put them back on the shelves so that a fresh set of readers could mess them up again.

I did this so often, so regularly, that to this very day, when I see a newspaper whose sections are out of order, I re-arrange the sections so that they are where they should be.  And I make sure that the pages are not mis-aligned with the other pages in a section.  I sometimes do it here at work in our lunch room.  Now you know... the rest of the story. 

By and large, I liked the job there very much.   The only part that I didn't like that much was that I didn't always get along with the female student I worked with.  We eventually became friends, but she was a Fine Arts student and I was anything but.  We just rubbed each other the wrong way, without meaning to.  We were both much younger then and lacked the skills necessary to find a way to work together.

Anyway, one day George and Paulette summoned us into the office and excused themselves, leaving the two of us alone to talk things out.  She told me all the things about me that she didn't like, much as women have done with me my whole life.   I didn't say too much although there were plenty of things about her that I found objectionable.  It was easier to let her vent than it was to counter an argument and prolong the nastiness between us.  It seemed to work.  After that day she was better and spoke to me a little bit.  Our paths would continue to cross, and in 1987, they did again, in the most unusual way.

My lunch hours were usually spent in the Student Union Building, where I would sit off by myself and eat my lunch and read whatever book I was going through at that time.  It was a quiet time for me and I cherished it.  I knew it couldn't last forever.  I was right, as you will see next time.

I had applied for a job in the security section of the university in '83.  I got a PFO letter in return.  You know what PFO stands for, right?  Anyway, there was going to be a summer dance and shindig at the SUB that summer, and they found my application and asked me if I would be interested in helping out.  I agreed.  Money was money.

The SUB was on 3 levels, with the party on the upper two levels.  My job that evening, my entire responsbility, was to prevent people from taking their alcoholic beverages from one level upstairs to the other.  Why was this done?  Nova Scotia's strange liquor licensing laws.  In NS, you cannot take a beverage from one level of an establishment to another.  There is a real hang up about carrying glasses up or down a flight of stairs.  A few years later, a place called JJ Rossy's started up in Halifax.  They had more than one level where drinks were served.   I knew the owners slightly.  The hoops that they had to jump through in order for patrons to be able to carry their beverages from one level of the place to another were something to behold.  It was astonishingly difficult.  When I heard about this, I thought back to my night at the Acadia SUB when I had to politely ask people not to take their drinks upstairs.  (One guy said, "You know, it's a hot night, and you look thirsty.  Have my drink!"  I was tempted.)

The summer wore on.  I dated someone from the library, a woman named Wanda.  It did not last long. 

September came, and I began my 3rd year of my studies.  I was friends with a guy whose initials are AC.  I will not identify him further for reasons that will soon become apparent.  We were in the habit of collaborating on assignments.  

One assignment we were given was to write a computer program to do... whatever it was.  We developed the algorithm together and were pleased with ourselves.  It looked efficient and struck us both as an innovative way of tackling this particular problem.  I went off to type in the program.  It worked almost from the get-go.  Very little debugging was required.

AC then took the code I had typed in and typed it in for himself.  The only real changes were in re-wording the comments.  I'd written, "change the node type".  He'd type, "change the type of node".  That sort of thing.

The university has always taken a dim view toward cheating and firmly promotes academic integrity.  It is spelled out in great detail in the calendars and on their website.  Rightly so.  Our assignments were flagged for this reason.  The professor called out our names at the beginning of the class and made it clear that he was always on the look for cheaters. 

Great.  Just great.

The professor wanted to see us together to explain why we had done what we had done.  I was game to go right away, but AC dragged his feet.  He had become very tired of university, very sick of the rigamarole.  He cut classes constantly.  One class, if he went to it at all, it was very infrequently.  On one occasion, at the very last minute, he complained of a headache and said he didn't want to go that day.  He was backed up by a mutual "friend".  

It was several weeks before he agreed to meet with the professor and me.  When we got there, the prof took the assignments out of his desk and said that it was ok to collaborate on work, but that the parties should stop the collaboration when it came time to do the actual coding.  It is in that process that one's programming style comes through.  The algorithms can be the same, or very similar, but people code the way they code.  Lesson learned. 

AC continued to cut classes and consequently failed many of them.  He ended up getting a D+ in the course we took together.  Any mark below a C- is not counted toward your degree.  AC flunked out at the end of the academic year.   His fault.

The reality of earning a university degree is that you have your core courses, and other requirements such as taking a language course.  There are other courses, called electives.  They can be pert near anything you want it to be as long as it fits in your schedule of other classes.  My main elective that year was in the Interdisciplinary Studies division.  These were courses that would not easily fit anywhere else.  They were sui generis, if you like Latin.

The course I took that year was in Musicology.  Don't ask me why it wasn't part of the Music Department.  It was taught by two people: Professor Blackmer and Professor... crap, I forget his last name.  But in the 1970's, he was the professor who was nearly fired by the university and mounted a media campaign to get his job back, successfully.  I don't know why the university would have been all over him, because I thought he was marvellous.

We would sit in a classroom while the two men played music from all over the world, every possible genre, and discuss its context and origin.  Blackmer would buy records remaindered in department stores, cast aside as worthless in used record stores, buying the most obscure stuff, just to get it home and glean some interest from it, before sharing his findings with us.    I loved that course.  Just loved it.

I wrote a paper that year about the history of Urban Blues, which eventually evolved into Jazz.  Rural Blues is more like the Blues music of today.   I wrote another paper about the Beatles, but not about their music that much.  In conducting my research for the paper, I became so interested in the reasons why they broke up that I threw away the original idea for the paper and wrote about that instead.   I still feel it is an undermined area of the band's history.  I'm only aware of one book that is specifically about this story, and that was the primary source for my paper.

Blackmer and the other guy were considerate and helpful and encouraging.  They were gentle but specific with their criticism.  It was all about trying to find ways to get us to improve and not tearing down our self esteem.  I liked them both very much.   No.  Wait a minute.  I respected them both very much.

It was my custom to throw out most of my notes after the academic year was over.  But I never got rid of the notes from that course.  They are somewhere here, in the house, along with the home-made cassette tapes of music he would prepare for us to listen to.  No iPod using any shuffle algorithm could possibly come up with a more eclectic mix of music than what exists on those tapes.

That IDST course was one of my favourite courses of my university years.  I lost track of the time I would walk out of it with a smile on my face.  What these 2 professors are doing now, I have no idea.  I hope they google themselves and find this blog post.  And I will think of the name of the other professor five minutes after I post this.

I wrote exams and made it through.  Phew.

I had a chance to work at the library during the holidays that year, and agreed to do so.  Except for the actual statutory holidays and weekends, I was at the library every day.  I enjoyed being on the campus when there weren't so damn many people around.  It was much quieter and much less hectic.

1984 was over.  I had found it a busy and hectic and trying one.  I said goodbye to my teens and was on the road to being a full adult.  I was even old enough to drink.

1985 was down the street on the left, waiting patiently for me to pick her up and take her out for 12 months.  It would be a year of great embarrassment and humiliation, finishing my 3rd year of university and an unexpected and welcome career opportunity. Read all about it tomorrow!

See you then.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Post 2055 - 1983 In Review

Welcome to 1983, ladies and gentlemen!

I turned 19 in 1983. 

I was busy.  I was a full-time student, and I was dating someone a little bit.  I will not reveal her name because I have nothing much nice to say about her. 

We had begun going out in the Fall of 1982.  In '83, in addition to my studies, I was taking her to movies and to the concert at Acadia for a very young Bryan Adams.   Other places.  Other things. 

She made it clear we would not be bf/gf, but she continued to drain my limited finances until she met a guy who did become a boyfriend. 

Anyway, I wrote final exams in April of 1983 and began to look for a summer job.  The prospects for finding work were bleak.   Same kind of economic problems as I discussed in 1982.

I spent the balance of April and into May trying to find a job, any job, to no avail.  Finally, on June 4th, 1983, my father's birthday, I began my summer job working at the Burger King in New Minas.

It was... a job.  I was older than most of the staff there, who were younger teenagers.  The boss' sons both worked there and I knew not to mess with them.  (They still work there, by the way.) 

There are things to be stated about the disconnect between university students, people who are trying to get an education; and the people who aren't or don't or can't.  There is a deeply-rooted jealousy from one group to the other.  I worked with high school students, yes.  Many of them would go on to post-secondary education, or at least go to a vocational school to learn a valid trade.  All well and good.

But there were plenty of people who didn't fit into either category.  They were folks who couldn't hack school, there were "too many rules", they didn't see what studying Shakespeare had to do with their eventual work, et cetera.  To be kind, to be charitable, these folks made mistakes that had life-long consequences.  They quit school without having any kind of backup plan.

As we university students took on some of these menial summer jobs, it would be the final time these dropouts would be able to put the boots to us, the last time that they would be able to give us a hard time and order us about, before our educational achievements would open doors for us that would be forever locked and bolted to them. 

I saw this over and over.  It even happened to me that summer.  I got the crappy shifts.  I did not work at the counter taking food orders from the public; I was always in the kitchen, that hot kitchen, day after painful day.  Another guy I met that summer, Andrew C., was treated even worse.  One time, he refused to work a particular shift and was punished by having his next week's shifts awarded to someone else. 

There is a funny, telling story about my first pay cheque from the Burger King in New Minas.  A few weeks after I started, it arrived.  I looked at it.  I noticed that the hourly wage was less than what it should have been. 

Screwing up my courage, I went into my boss' office.  I said, "Jeff, there appears to be a discrepancy on my pay cheque."

He didn't know what "discrepancy" meant.  I explained that it meant a mistake.

It became a joke around the restaurant.  "We don't want any discrepancies today", they would say over and over and look at me.  "Let's not have any discrepancy between what the boss wants and what we do."  It was all about discrepancies.

The, uh, mistake on the cheque was that they thought that I was below the age of 19.  If you're under 19 in Nova Scotia, they can pay you less than the minimum wage under the argument that you're being trained.  This training wage, or whatever it is called, is supposed to cease after 3 months, and does not exist at all for those 19 and above.  They corrected the error, the mistake, the discrepancy, for the next pay cheque and paid me the difference. 

There was a girl who worked at that Burger King who talked to me.  She was a year or so behind me but we had gone to the same school.  She told me that she had run into me in the hallways on purpose, but I had not noticed her.  Again with the not noticing when women are trying to get my attention.  If they walked naked (except for high heels, of course) in front of me carrying a sign, "Bevboy, come get me!", I would assume they were addressing this need to some other Bevboy.

Anyway, we talked a bit that summer, but once again, nothing came of it.  And don't ask me her name.  I don't remember to save my life.  But it is occasionally fun to play what might have been.

Also that summer, I was hired by my church to be their janitor.  My job was to make sure the place was clean and heated for the weekly service, and for times like weddings.  The pay was 80 dollars a month, plus expenses.  That meant that if I needed to get some Brasso to clean the collection plates, or some other cleaning supplies, I would keep the receipt and be reimbursed for that purchase when they paid me my monthly fee. 

I mostly liked the job, at first.  I applied the cleaning skills I had acquired at  Burger King to this job.  I would mop  the floor, vacuum the church area, and so on.  They didn't care very much when I did the job, just that it got done.  I had no problem fitting in that work during the week.  It gave me time away from my studies and to think about life.  I had a radio on to keep me company.  I would keep that job for 3 years.

The upstairs at the church was where the Sunday school was.  I shudder to this day at the condition of some of those rooms.  I did not think my job included spending untold hours trying to remove the crayon that had become embedded in the floor.  I would vacuum there, but other than ripping out the old carpeting and replacing it with new carpeting, which would end up with the same fate, there was nothing I could do.  Not everybody agreed with me.

One Summer's day that year, as I was cleaning the foyer of the church, a couple people dropped by, scaring the crap out of me.  Turns out that they were tourists, I think from the US.  They saw the open church and asked some questions about it.  I gave them a small pamphlet about the history of that church, and they made their merry way.

I am not a religious guy now, but I was at one time.  I went to church pert near every week, even after other members of my family had stopped going.  Part of it was that I was the janitor and pretty much had to be there.  Another part of it was that it did provide me comfort.  And yet another part of it was that I had known those people since I was 6 years old and liked them.  That church held such memories for me, mostly pleasant, and I didn't want to see them end.  I can see the church in my mind's eye and remember very fondly the people who attended back in the day.  I would see these people in their Sunday best and not know that during the week one guy was a big executive at the phone company, and another was a tenured professor at Acadia, and his wife was the secretary to a department head there, and that a current politician and his political rival attended the very same church!  Another guy was a maintenance man at the local chip plant.  We had stay-at-home mothers. Students like me.  People from all walks of life who came together every Sunday to worship.  For that one 90 minute period, it didn't matter what people did the rest of the time.  Church was the great equalizer.

I still think about that church, all these years later.  I still drive by it from time to time and wonder what's going on in there and who from the old days is still attending.

I have discussed my summer job at Burger King, and the church position.  I have not talked about the summer job that I quit after 5 hours.  It is a lost tale of Bevboy, and it is high time I let you know about it.

Remember I told you I was applying for jobs everywhere, to no avail?  Well, there was some avail a few weeks after I started working at Burger King.  The local chip plant called and offered me a job.  I was told to show up at a certain time and place, and I did.  Also hired was a girl I went to elementary school with, one who would go on to become a doctor.

My job was to work with the men out in the factory and take the boxes of potato chips off the conveyor belt and place each box on the appropriate pallet.  Seems easy.  I got all of 10 minutes worth of training and was left on my own.

The boxes of chips started coming at me.  I tackled them as best I could and kept up for a short time.  But the belt sped up and more boxes came rushing out toward me.  It was a sea, a tsunami, of potato chips.

I tried to persevere.  I grabbed boxes as best I could, but for each box I could get, two got past me and crashed on the floor.  Worse yet, after a few minutes, the boxes began to back log and log jam on the conveyor belt.  The women who were putting the boxes on the belt tried to clear them off, but it was too little too late.

I was nearly buried, literally, in potato chips.  The boxes were falling on the floor, squeezed on the belt by other boxes, and some boxes exploded open, spilling chips all over the place.

Finally, some other guys saw me and ran over.  Together, we put the boxes on the pallets.  They looked at me.  I looked at them.  They said something about how it was a training issue and things would get better.  I said,  "I quit".

The whole thing reminded me of the time Lucy got a job working in a chocolate factory.  Here's a peek:

I had given my notice at Burger King.  Imagine their surprise when I showed up the next day for my regular shift.

And imagine my surprise when I got a cheque in the mail from the chip plant a couple of weeks later.  It was my vacation pay.  A whopping $1.42.

Because I had been late getting a summer job, and because I would need the money, I decided to take on a second part-time job, one that did not involve salty snacks.  I had applied for a job working a few shifts a week at the university library.  I got the job!  I found out I would work for a man named George Halliwell, who reads this blog from time to time.

One day that summer, I was heading into the mall as the little red-haired girl from 1982 walked out.  We chatted for a moment and parted.  What the hell was wrong with me?  Maybe she even played with her hair or batted her eye lashes.  I don't remember.

In late August, I went into the Sears store in Kentville and bought a basic stereo, with record player, AM/FM radio, cassette, and an external rca jack input.  It became my pride and joy, especially when I got an FM booster for it that enabled me to pick up Halifax radio stations.   I would keep that stereo, with an exception or two, until 2010 when it finally gave up the ghost.

Speaking of radio, it was late in 1983 when Q104 went on the air.  That station has proved to be a big part of my life.  Hello, JC Douglas.  Let's go out for coffee sometime. 

I took out a subscription to Amazing Heroes and to The Comics Journal.  I had subscribed to The Comics Buyer's Guide in 1982.  In early '83, the original owner sold the paper to Krause Publication in Iola, Wisconsin, and hired Don and Maggie Thompson (columnists for the old paper) to edit the weekly paper.  It became must reading for me.  Oftentimes, getting CBG in the mail each week would be the best thing that happened to me.  Sounds sad, huh?  It was what it was.

My second year of university started.  I was, by definition, a sophomore.  The course load was intense.  I would struggle that second year.  In fact, I would fail a half course by Christmas.  I had to take it again, and passed it that time.

I went out once with a girl from one of my classes.  It didn't go well.  I will leave it at that.

One day, working at the library, a young lady approached me at the desk and asked me some questions.  We shared at least one class.  We talked for a few minutes.  Every time she saw me, she would smile and sometimes say hello.  Nothing came of it (see above!), but many years later, after she realized she was gay, and they had moved to another part of the country, her partner killed her by burning their house down with her in it.  It was quite the story at the time.  Frank Magazine was all over it. 

Sorry to bring down the tone of the post!

I saw some movies that I still remember fondly, in 1983.  I saw "Never Say Never Again", the film in which an aged Sean Connery returned to the role of James Bond.  I liked the film and still like it when I watch it today.  It is leagues better from the "official" Bond movie that year, "Octopussy", featuring an even more aged Roger Moore (Moore is even older than Connery). 

And, quite by accident, a buddy and I went to see a movie in Kentville one evening late in 1983.  We thought it would be one film but it turned out to be something else entirely.  It was "A Christmas Story", and I loved it.  Of course, it would go on to become a holiday favourite.  I saw it in its original run.  How many can say that?

Exam time came.  I failed one course and struggled with another one.   I was bummed.  I had graduated high school with honours, not that it made a lick of difference in university.  As one professor told me that year, "High schools are a funny place." 

I had had some personal set backs, and a couple academic ones, so I looked forward to a mini high school reunion at a classmate's apartment.  I think it was at Elaine's.  Several people came from the graduating class, including the red-haired girl.  We talked that much more that evening, until others suspected that we would become an item.  The reality of that situation was, I didn't see her again until 1986.  And I haven't seen her since then. 

1983 was over.  1984, replete with its Orwellian overtones, beckoned to me like people going down on a sinking ship.  It would be a year when I left my teens, when I became a letter hack, when I would date another girl, and an acceptance of what and who I was.  And The Beachcombers kept on keeping on!

We will talk about that stuff tomorrow, when I discuss 1984 in review!

Be here, unless you have something more important to do.  Like washing your hair or cleaning the paper out of the bottom of the bird cage.  I'll understand.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Port 2054 - 1982 In Review, Part Two

Welcome to July of 1982!

I remained 18 years old.

By this point, I had earned my high school diploma.  I would be going to university in the Fall.  But, until then, I needed a job.

This was the early 1980's.  It was the era of interest rates at the level of 20% or a bit higher.  It was great if you had investments; it was awful if you were renewing a 5 year mortgage or paying down some other debt.  I don't mind telling you that the interest rate on my mortgage is 5.15%.  People were doing what they could to avoid going into any kind of debt.  I couldn't blame them.

I couldn't find a job to save my life.  I think I was still working here and there at the dog kennel, but that work was sporadic, even ad hoc.  I would get very little notice if they required me.  To use a term that I heard from my mother's aunt, I couldn't buy a job.  Other classmates had things a little easier, but only a little. 

My parents gave me a $500 cheque for graduating high school.  I kinda "lived" off that money for the summer, and went to a few movies and read a few books and so on. 

I certainly tried to find work, though.  In order to qualify for my student loan, I had to prove that I was seeking work and get places where I applied to sign a document indicating that I had applied for a job there. 

One place I applied, 30 years later, shows you the near-uniqueness of my situation.  I had applied to a vegetable processing plant.  The place has changed hands many times over the years, so I will not identify it, because the people who worked there then, are almost certainly not working there, now.  I put my name in, and went about my business applying for other jobs at other places. 

About a week later, give or take, the phone rang, and it was for me.  I identified myself and heard some hesitation on the line.  The woman who was calling was from that vegetable processing plant and was about to offer me a job. 


"I was looking to hire a lady", she said.

She had seen my name, assumed I was female, and called me up to offer me a job.  When the reality of my sex hit her, she backed off, stammered the above, and rang off. 

It was the first time in my life that I had knowingly been the victim of sexual discrimination.  I did not like that feeling.  I resented it.  I felt I could sort yellow beans as well as any woman.  But I never got the chance to prove it.

Yeah, that rankled with me, especially in light of my employment situation that year.  And, I wonder how many "Mike's" or "Gary's" would never even have got that phone call?  Probably quite a few.

I did some farm work that summer.  Paul and I from high school were hired to.. pick peas or something.  We received no training.  We were just told to pick "over there".  So, we did.  We were there for a few hours.

We picked everything that looked like a pod, including, as it turned out, quite a few pods that were not yet ready to be picked. 
Hey, folks.  We were 18!  We may have thought we knew everything, but I assure you, we did not.

We presented our baskets of peas to the owner.  He turned beat red with rage and said we were stupid and clue less.  We left, without having been paid a nickle.  In retrospect, I am surprised that he did not make us pay for the peas we had picked prematurely. 

I would be attending Acadia University come September.  I wanted to get to know the town of Wolfville better.  Keep in mind that my parents usually bought groceries and did other shopping in Kentville or nearby New Minas.  There was little need to go to Wolfville.  I began to explore it.

I really came to like Wolfville that summer.  I really liked the used bookstore I discovered on Gaspereau Avenue, called Thoth's Book Shop.  Thoth was the Egyptian god of learning or some such.  But I didn't know that.  I figured that the store was run by a guy named Mr. Thoth.  I was surprised to learn that it was actually run by someone named Jim Snelson.  I still see him in nearby Kentville from time to time.  He sold his business in 1998 and his house and moved into a mobile home somewhere in Kentville.

Jim had cats.  They had a tendency to.. spray the books.  There was always a pungent odor in the place.  He also rented out rooms to university students.

But I loved the books.  The sun room was pretty much fully devoted to mysteries.  Imagine my great delight when I chanced upon dozens and dozens of old back issues of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.  Most were but 25 cents each.  I bought nearly every one.  Adding those issues to the ones that I had from my 1976 subscription made me pretty happy.  Didn't take much, back then.

Other rooms had books about film (I bought The Golden Turkey Awards there) and politics ("The Night of the Long Knives", about how John Diefenbaker was deposed as leader of the Progressive Conservative party).  The main room, where Snelson had had his cash register, was so full of books that one could hardly navigate it.  But there were gems there, one in particular that I would learn about later, which I still wish I had bought.  Seems someone had written a novel where Acadia University was the backdrop.  Jim had a copy, and I saw it, and haven't seen it since.  I do not even recall the exact title.   But it would be cool to see a copy of this book again, after all these years.

The summer passed.  Just before university started, just days before in fact, I visited that girl who had spirited me away back in March of that year.  She was heading off to commence studies to become a veterinarian at the University of Guelph.  We talked for a few minutes.  And.. I kissed her goodbye.  There.  How many folks reading this knew that?  Hmm?

I began university.

You guys ever hear of Harold Lloyd?  He was a silent film star of the 1910's and 1920's, but his career petered out in the 1930's.  Arguably more popular than Chaplin at the time, and certainly better known than Keaton.  Harold starred in film after film in which he played over exuberant, extremely confident and resourceful men who could  think their way out of any situation.  I have a boxed set of some of his films, and I enjoy it very much.

One of his movies was "The Freshman" in which he gets to go to university.  Read about it here.   His character is elated.  Back in the 1920's, to be able to go to university was a Very Big Deal, especially for middle-class folks.  Well, for me, in the 1980's, it was very unusual, too.  Most people in my family did not go to post-secondary school.  They would quit high school to get a trade, or finish high school and simply not even consider the possibility of university.  It was much the same in other families.

I still have a clipping from the local paper from 1982 in which they list the people who would be going on to university.  It was a fairly short list, and my name was on it.  The writer indicated that the village of Port Williams was proud to see so many of its young people going off to university. 

Anyway, there I was: My first day of university.  I didn't know my way around the Acadia campus.  I marveled that one class might be at, say, the Beveridge Arts Centre, and the next one might be at the Huggins Science Hall, across the campus.  Frig knows where the Huggins Science Hall was, though.  I just learned to follow other students, who had somehow magically learned where everything was. 

I began to feel overwhelmed almost immediately.  But I dove into my courses and did my best.

I met a lot of people that Fall at Acadia.  And I became re-acquainted with some folks I had gone to elementary school with.  In some cases I had not seen them since I finished grade 6 in 1976.  Remember that guy who told me I couldn't play on the soccer team any more, back in 1973?  Well,  he was at Acadia that year.  His girlfriend was a girl I had gone to elementary school with as well.  She greeted me warmly and said, "Cliff, you remember Bev, don't you?"  He just looked at me and scowled and walked away.   I will go to my grave wondering what I did to piss him off so much that he would be that way with me, all those years later.

I was busy that first semester.  Heck, I was busy every semester.  But that first one was special because it was the first.  I was responsible for doing my own work.  I had to get myself to every class on time and make sure that my papers and assignments were down on time as well.  It was a steep learning curve.

However, I did make one mistake that semester that made me shake my head.  I registered for all the right courses, but not always the right classes.  My discrete math class might have been the B class, but I'd show up for the C class.  Same material.  Just at a different time and location.  This mistake happened a few times when I discovered, the hard way, that I was registered in the wrong class.  I would go on to do that even into my second year.  And, I made a mistake in my second year that makes this one look like nothing, not that this mistake was a big one in the big scheme of things.

Christmas exams came.  I wrote what I had to and waited for my marks.  Back then, they were mailed to the student's home.  They arrived usually between Christmas and New Year's.  Today, of course, I'm sure they're emailed to students.  Not back then.

I passed everything.  Yay.

1982 was over.  It had been a busy year with many changes.  I had begun it a high school student.  I finished it, a frosh man in university.   1983 waited in the wings, its coat hanging open, revealing the naughty bits best kept out of view.

1983 would be another busy year.  I'd finish one academic year and begin the next.  The second year would be fraught with peril and heartache.  And, the Beachcombers kept plugging along.  Oh, that Jesse!  What a card.

See you tomorrow for 1983 in review!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Post 2053 - More Heat

I'm back in Halifax.  It was a busy day at my mother's snipping her weeds and installing a shelf in the garage.  I showed that stuff to my mother after I was done.  She hadn't been to the garage in quite a few months and remarked that my gradual cleaning job there is starting to pay off.

I drove back around 4pm.  Patricia returned home from the cottage around 9:15.  We will both be back at the cottage this coming  Saturday, for the better part of 2 weeks.  Yep.  Just 5 working days to vacation.  Can hardly wait.

The second part of the 1982 in review will show up here tomorrow.  I will finish the whole year in review series by Friday.   When I'm back from vacation I will have a few entries in the "life in review" series, which as I mentioned before will contain lots and lots of pictures, most of them obscure pics of family members, most of whom are gone.  A regular reader will be happy to know that her home town will be featured to some degree.

5 days to go.  Let's do this.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Post 2052 - Heat

The heat and humidity have conspired to produce a "feel like" temperature of about 37C.

I got my Summer hair cut this morning, but it's done little to cool me off.

Mom and I went shopping today in this extreme heat. We got back mid-afternoon and I flaked out on my bed. I eventually got up and ate something. This evening I washed the dishes. And I'm spent.

September, please get here. You're so much cooler!

See you tomorrow.

From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Post 2051 - A Day Off

Welcome to my mother's!

I drove up this morning after too many hours of sleep Thursday night. When I finally got here, my mother looked at me and said, "You're finally here!" She had despaired of my arrival I guess.

I had a host of errands to run today. For one thing, the last task associated with Dad's estate was performed today. We're all happy that it's over. Relieved.

After several hours of running those errands, I returned here. Newbie, whom I'd brought with me, strutted out to the kitchen and made his interest in dinner very clear to me.

This evening I was gonna do Hell and all. Instead, I've done nearly nothing. It's just too frigging hot.

Tomorrow Mom and I will go shopping. Probably for most of the day. And into the evening. I will return here and collapse on the bed in a quivering heap. Thanks in advance, Mommy!

And, thanks for reading this silly blog post, folks.

See you tomorrow.

From Bevboy's BlackBerry to Bevboy's Blog!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Post 2050 - 1982 In Review, Part One

Welcome to 1982, folks!

I turned 18 in 1982.

On my 18th birthday, I ran afoul of the new student behaviour policy that I teased you about yesterday.  I need to take a few sentences and explain it to you.

In December of 1981, all students received a little note with their report cards, spelling out a new policy.  It was a merit/demerit system.  Students would receive a demerit for contravening any of the rules spelled out for us.  There were an awful lot of these rules.  However, if a student performed beyond a particular expected level, he or she might earn a merit point.  I do not recall what the consequences were for receiving too many demerit points, nor what the rewards might be for getting several merit points. 

The entire program was stupid, with a capital S.  Receiving a demerit was at the discretion of the teacher or hall monitor.  If the person were in a bad mood, or of a really conservative bent, then many demerits could be doled out, and the student would have no recourse of defense.  And it would seem that the effort to earn a merit point would be such that all it would cost was a piece of your soul.

There were complaints quietly expressed by many students.  The seniors, those about to graduate, were insulted to be put in the position of having to brown our noses or be careful about every misstep or every errant syllable that came out of our mouths. 

Anyway, there it was, my 18th birthday, and I was munching on something in a classroom.  A school monitor came up to me and announced I was in contravention of statute whatever-it-was, and was therefore being given a demerit.  When she found out it was my birthday, a moment later, she rescinded the demerit and walked away. 

Real nice of her.

The winter student carnival came up.  Because of my outrageous sense of humour, I was asked to write something for it.  I wrote something along the lines of how, in a school, far, far away, there was a Derek/Bo Derek system in which students would be unfairly nailed for perceived violations of a vaguely-written code. 

We had a student wearing a t-shirt with question marks all over it.  She got a Bo Derek point because she was wearing a t-shirt that had a "questionable" logo on it.  Another girl was pretending to smoke a candy cigarette and got hauled away.  In another situation, I believe that a boy consoled a girl who was upset about something.  Because the only public display of affection that was acceptable in that school was simple hand holding, they were both awarded Bo Derek points. 

If I were writing it today, the satire would be even more pronounced.  I'd have a kid going around like the little dog that follows around the bigger dog (Spike) in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.  The kid would appear every few minutes during the skit  and do some suck-hole task in an effort to curry favour with the authorities.  At the end of the skit, he would be rewarded with the only  Derek point that the school had ever given out in the history of this imbecilic program.  He'd get the point, look at it, and say, "What?  I spend years sucking up to you guys, and this is what I get?  Screw you!"

The Biology teacher was renamed "Mr. Befuddled".  The English teacher became "Ms. Hamlet".  You get the idea.

There was also a skit in which I openly mocked Mr. Sinnott, renamed "Mr. Sin Not".  I affected a Germanic accent and recited the homework that was expected of the class the next day.  It was along the lines of, "Read chapters 1-40 and do questions 1-60".   He gave a lot of homework out to us. 

We excoriated the librarian, Miss Blumel.  A girl dressed up like her and screamed at students for no apparent reason, which is what Miss  Blumel did for sport anyway.

Frig, it was a funny evening.

The next day, at school, Mr. Sinnott gave me a look and then made fun of my nose, knowing I daren't say anything in return.  The Biology teacher scowled at us.  The librarian said she would sue if she could. 

We had our defenders.  The Physics teacher mentioned the Derek/Bo Derek point system a few times.  Another teacher smiled at me as I walked past him.  The history teacher kept that same, serene, Baptist smile plastered on his face. 

Later on that Winter, on a Saturday night, I was invited to go to a party with other classmates at one of their homes.  I reluctantly decided to go.  I am not sure how they got me out of the house.  I was picked up and driven to the house, in Delhaven. 

They started playing games like Twister, but I demurred because I had never played it in my life and it would likely entail having to have physical contact with a girl, something I was uncomfortable with. 

A little while later, a girl announced that she needed to return to her house to fetch something and return to the party.  She did not want to go alone.  She said that she wanted me to go with her.  I do not know to this day if this was previously arranged by the devilishly-fiendish women there that evening, in some kind of divide-and-conquer process.

She and I drove out to the house.  I saw the back of her father's head as he slept in a chair in front of the television.  And we drove back to the party.  Nothing happened between us.  I do not know if something was supposed to happen or not.  Remember what I wrote yesterday about being utterly unable to understand the subtle clues and hints that women drop?  I swear, if she was coming on to me, I didn't detect it at all. 

We got back to the party and played some more games and then we went home.

Graduation was swiftly approaching.  The big day would be Thursday, June 24th. 

Something I had noticed, in poring through my siblings' old year books, was something called The Class Prophecy, or the Class Prophet.  It was a person who would speculate about what would become of the students after graduation.  What they would be doing for a living.  Where they would be living.  That kind of thing.  The feature was usually restricted to one page, with one sentence or so per person. 

I thought I could do better.  Armed with my trusty, and rusty, used manual typewriter, and having taken the typing course offered at the school earlier that academic year, I proceeded to write out a scenario outlining what would become of my school chums.  I would also be including the home room teachers. 

The first one was so fun to write.  There was an overweight student named Bruce.  He had become a boxer and was fighting another student named Bobby, who was a well-built jock.  I had Bruce beat the shit out of Bobby, not because I disliked  Bobby, because I didn't, but because I wanted the put-upon person to win for a change. 

It took me quite a while to write the first draft.  I presented it to the home room teachers, who gave me some feedback.  It was typed up by the school secretary, who chuckled the whole time.  And I was asked to present the prophecy at the Graduation Dinner, 2 days before graduation, on June 22nd, 1982. 

The full story behind this event, and the actual class prophecy, may be found right here

The reading went over very well.  Teachers and fellow students congratulated me.  One girl kissed me.  Each student got a copy of the prophecy, and I remember signing a couple of them.  Nobody threw their underwear at me, though, which was disappointing. 

The next night, was the prom.  I did not go to the prom.  I had offers to go as late as the afternoon of the event.  I just didn't want to go, as sad as that sounds. 

Graduation  was the next evening, June 24th.

Afterward, there was the graduation party, which I only found out about after the ceremonies.  It would be at the cottage of the parents of a classmate.  It was an interesting evening. 

June was over.  The summer awaited.  In the Fall, I would start university.  My life would change, forever. 

Seems like a good place to stop writing.

Expect the second part of this 1982 in review, in a couple of days.  Off to my mother's tonight, for another weekend.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Post 2049 - 1981 In Review

Welcome to 1981.

I don't remember as much about 1981 as I do other years.  Perhaps by writing I will remember some things.

I turned 17 in 1981.

I finished Grade 11 in June.  I was happy to be finished school for 2 months.  But I had no job to go to.  I had no money.  I probably picked some strawberries that summer for a few weeks.

I have commented here and other places about how having a job,  any job, is better than having no job, the vast majority of the time.  I really feel that way.  But no particular job is going to suit everybody.  People have different strengths and weaknesses.  There are people who are good at farm work and don't mind it at all.   I am not one of those people.  I sucked at it.  I was too contemplative and aware of my own internal dialogue to be able to concentrate on that kind of work the way it deserves.  Working at these jobs when I was young and hungry and needing work helped me appreciate the better jobs when I eventually got them, and the mistakes made by some friends of mine only encouraged me to try that much harder to get an education so that, to be a prick about it, I wouldn't end up like them.

J.R., our cat, was fun to hang out with.    He was allowed to live downstairs in the cellar, where we would feed him every day.  I would also make a point to visit him every day.  He would see me and come bounding up the stairs.  Sometimes, at night, I would sneak him upstairs and into my bedroom to stay with me.  Glenda and Dad liked him, too.  Mom?  Not so much.  She likes Newbie today; but back then, any animal that wasn't dead and on her plate was unwanted in the household.

I still miss J.R.  It remains a deep regret of mine that I didn't pay as much attention to him as I could have, and should have.

In July, my cousin Steve got married to his first wife, Cheryl.  Later on that summer, my cousin on the other side of the family, Wayne married his betrothed, Karen.  Wayne and Karen came to visit us shortly thereafter.  My mother and 2 sisters and I went to both weddings.  It would be the last time I visited those cousins in New Brunswick for 8 years.

There is a story regarding Steve and Cheryl and my father that I will tell you about, probably tomorrow, as I am pretty sure it happened in 1982.

I am pretty sure it was the summer of 1981 when my part-time employers at the dog kennel decided to go to Disney Land (or maybe Disney World) for a vacation.  They put me in charge of the kennel.  Every morning and every night I would dutifully feed each animal and clean out each run and each cat "cell".  I tallied every day what I thought I was owed.

Upon their return, they gave me a hat.  I gave them the bill for my services.  A day or so later, the husband asked me if his wife had spoken to me, because they thought I had over charged them for my work.  I replied that she had not and that if they felt I had over charged them, we could go over the bill together.  If it turned out I had made a mistake, I would apologize and reimburse them the difference.  Not another word was said of it, so I can only conclude that they realized that they had made the error, or they had perhaps hoped that I would undercharge them because I was a dummy or something.

Look: I had to wade through dog crap every day for 2 weeks and tolerate screaming cats and feed and water all of them.  I wasn't gonna undercharge for my work.  And my ethics dictated that I would not knowingly over charge them either.  I wanted what I was entitled to, what I had earned.  Not one penny less.  Not one penny more.

Summer was over.  I entered Grade 12.  My home room teacher would be Mr. Sinnott, who had been my German teacher for 2 years and my math teacher for one.  I would continue with both of those courses.  I would take English.  I would take 3 science courses (Physics, Biology, and Grade 11 Chemistry, because I hadn't been able to take it the year before).

In... October, pretty close to Hallowe'en, I was summoned to the Principal's office.  My name was called over the PA system.  The regular principal was away that year.  His assistant was filling in for him.  The new assistant (the deputy principal?  What do you call these people?) was a man named John Vaillaincourt.  I may not be quite right with the spelling.  But I and a few others ended up in his office, all at once.

The first thing he said was, "You guys are not in any trouble."  We had been selected to participate in a peer education program to discuss the evils of drug and alcohol with students in the junior grades.  I didn't say anything.  I didn't smoke.  I had never done drugs.  And I had only been drunk once in  my life (read the 1978 entry if you forget that story).  To train us, we were invited to go to the Kingswood Bible Camp retreat for a weekend with students from other schools.  I got my parents' permission, and it was a go.

We were to meet at the school at the appointed time.  The bus picked us up and took us to the other schools with the kids and teachers who would be participating in the program.  One of those schools, much to my chagrin, was the school that had caused me such grief and consternation just a few years before.  One of the people who got was my English teacher from that school, whom I remembered and who remembered me.

The weekend was fun.  We had to do little exercises to learn how to speak in public and how to control nervousness.  We were bunked together, boys in one room and girls in the other.  They fed us Kentucky Fried Chicken one evening.  The next we had a much better meal, and I was presented with my first baked potato, ever.  I watched others eat theirs and then dove into mine.  Baked potatoes remain a treat for me to this day.

We got back home in time for me to housesit for my employers at the dog kennel.  It was Hallowe'en, 1981.  My sisters decided it would be fun to knock on the door and scare the crap out of me, so they proceeded to do so.  I have a long, painful memory, ladies, as evidenced by these blog posts.  I am not dead yet.  I will get you for scaring the crap out of me that evening.  Just you wait.

That very evening, I tuned into CJCH radio.  They had a very unusual weekend that weekend.  They got  Dave Wright to announce that, coming that weekend, CJCH would become "a thing of the past".  I was out of town on retreat so I couldn't listen to discover what the transition was.  But that evening I could.  They decided to pretend it was the 1960's, complete with the broadcast style of the day, the psychedelic music and approach to speaking common to the time.  By Monday morning, they were back to their regular format.  It was a very interesting experiment, a publicity stunt, and I still remember it 30 years later.

Later on that Fall, our English teacher arranged for us to go to Neptune Theatre in Halifax.  For one cost, we would be transported to and from the city and attend a matinee play.  The students were very much looking forward to it.  I wasn't.  Not because I didn't want to go, but because I couldn't afford to go.  I did not feel comfortable approaching my parents for the money because we were not well off and that sum of cash, whatever the amount was, could be better spent on those things necessary to the family and household.

So, they went and had a good time, one presumes.  I hung around the school with the other students in my grade who had decided not to go, probably for the same reasons I had.  I think it was just one study class after another, all day long.   It was like being punished for being broke.   Thanks, guys.

There was at least one girl who showed interest in me that year.  At least, I think she did.  I was so used to being ignored by girls, or looked down upon by them, that I did not have the skill set necessary to help me read the sometimes-subtle clues that females send out to show interest in a member of the opposite sex (I still live in a black and white world, where there are one's and zeroes, and lack the ability to discern anything that is subtle or understated.  It is a product of my early years of coping with being bullied.)  I will leave her name out of this blog post to protect her from embarrassment.  But she seemed to hang on every word and called me, "Bevy Sweet" over and over.   I mean, she wasn't throwing her breasts in my face, or saying she needed a man, or indicating that quiet guys with acne scars who don't say 3 words when 2 will suffice were a big turn on for her.   She may have been interested in me, or she may not have been.  It is a mystery for the ages.

Another girl, who reads this blog, revealed a terrible secret to me that year, or perhaps the year before.  She told me that she...


Was a fan of Stephen King's!

I didn't have a chance with her.  Not one at all.  For one thing, I never got that vibe from her (see the long paragraph above.)  For another, she only dated guys named Allan (any spelling of that name seemed to be acceptable.)  No matter how I arranged the 17 letters in my fully-spelled out name, I could not come up with any variation of "Alan".  Lord knows I tried.   So I just settled for conversations with her about Stephen King.  I do not know, 30 years later, whether she still reads his books or not.  Considering he comes out with a new book every few months, even now, we would have gone broke buying these books over the years, and thrown our backs out reading the thicker ones.

That Fall we had to read a Margaret Laurence novel.  One of those "Can Lit" books that critics love to pieces, but which most normal people find tedious.  It was "The Stone Angel", and all I remember about it was  The Silver Threads Nursing Home.   I think Ellen Page was in the movie version of the book, but I couldn't bring myself to watch it.

Also that Fall, we did a paper for our English teacher.  What the Hell was the subject matter?  I can't remember.  All I recall is that Elaine Ells did a paper and I did one.  They had similar titles.  One was called "A Tale of a  Whale".  The other was called "A Whale of a Tale".  No, it wasn't a book report about Moby Dick.

We got our report cards.  There was a note attached with the package. There would be a change in what would be expected of all students come January 1982.   We read these notes over and over, in shock and disbelief.

Christmas came.  I got some clothes and underwear and a KISS album.  That was the year for "Music from the Elder", a concept album that sucked so much it made me pine for the solo albums. I also got the 3 Lord of the Rings books by Tolkien.  I wouldn't get around to reading them until 1986, and I will tell you about that, then.

1981 was over.  1982 sashayed up to me and said howdy.  It would be a year of coping with the change in student behaviour expected of us, a night out with boys and girls on a foggy Saturday night, some life-altering decisions, graduating high school and moving on to university.  A lot happened in 1982.  A lot.  So much so that I may break it up into 2 parts.  

Come back here next time for... 1982 in review!!