Sunday, January 31, 2016

Post 3181 - Sunday

I wasn't feeling well last night. I took an antihistamine, which knocked me on me arse and made me sleep not only the night away, but most of the day as well. Here it is, 9:15, and I have only really been up since around 4:30.

We had a lovely roast beef dinner tonight. It was from an order of beef from some time ago, and I think that's it for that order of beef. It was a cross rib roast, which I have decided is not my fave cut of beef.

We have spent the last couple of hours watching that crazy wildlife show hosted by Dominic Monighan. He goes around the world, dragging his camera man Frank with him, looking for and usually finding these wild animals, some of which bite him Dominic. Meanwhile, Frank wants to sit down and have some pizza. I like Frank.

On that note, I think I will sit in my rec room and watch tv until I get tired again.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Post 3180 - Do It

Tim Bousquet published part two of "Dead Wrong" today on his website, The Halifax Examiner. This saga will continue for weeks to come. Tim admitted on the H.E. podcast on Friday that he did not know how many more "episodes" it would take to tell the full story.

It is about the wrongful conviction of a man accused of murdering a sex worker in Halifax in 1995. He is presently out of prison and likely will remain so. Meanwhile, the real murderer of Brenda Way is still out there. Since then, there have been quite a few other murders of women in the Halifax area. Tim is saying that many of these murders are related. Over the course of many weeks, we will get the full story. If nothing else, it is interesting how Tim is focusing on a part of society that gets very little attention in the media. Poor, disenfranchised, desperate people who sometimes make poor decisions are not given much ink. They are, now.

I read part two this afternoon. Perhaps in response to my (and perhaps others') criticism that there are a lot of people in this narrative, Tim has helpfully provided a "cast of characters" page on the "Dead Wrong" website. Thank you, Tim.

The series is behind the paywall. What is NOT behind the paywall, though, is the weekly podcast. Friday's was especially good, because Tim spoke for 30 minutes about the series. It was captivating stuff. Go ahead and listen to it. The only cost is 30 minutes of your time.

There are people who object to this series being behind the paywall. They think that the news should be free. Fools. I had suggested that Tim offer the first chapter, or a part of it, for free, as a way to hook the readers in and get them to subscribe. He disagreed, which is his right. And I think he was right, because he has mentioned that there has been an uptick in the number of subscriptions to the Examiner since the series started.

It costs a paltry 10 bucks a month to subscribe to the Halifax Examiner. For that, you can read this series, plus all the other paywall-ed content he has put up there. It also means you can post comments on the website.

Ten bucks is nothing. If you go out to coffee with the boys five days a week, that is going to be close to ten dollars after just one week. Over the course of a month, that will be upwards of 30 dollars, or 3 months' worth of the H.E. What's more important? Reading and supporting The Halifax Examiner, or caffeine?

There is lots of other content on the Examiner besides this series. El Jones writes a long column every Saturday. Her work is focused very heavily on the incarcerated and how they are treated, particularly how the mentally ill are treated behind bars. There is a great deal of satire in her work. It is not always to my taste, and I am not always sure where the hell she is going with what she writes, but lots of people appreciate her work, and her. Even if you disagree with her, as I often do, she makes you think and challenges your strongly-held opinions about those who break the law and how they end up.

I will get off my soapbox. I am a fan of the Examiner's. I much prefer it over All Nova Scotia Dot Com, and it costs less than a third of that over-priced website. I hope that you give it a chance, and I hope that you try out "Dead Wrong". You will not regret it.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Post 3179 - Friday

The weekend's here. The weekend's here!

We are having a weak 'nor Easter today. Work was shut down at 3pm, but I left an hour earlier than that. I'll make up the time. We got home around 2:30, and have been here, in warmth and bliss, ever since.

We have cash to pay the young man down the street to shovel out the driveway, should enough snow accumulate to warrant his doing so.

We have storm chips.

I liberated a large cross rib roast from the freezer Thursday night, which will become our dinner on Sunday.

The fibreop internet and tv bill is paid.

And the second part of Tim Bousquet's series is published on the Examiner website by noon time on Saturday.

Actually, if you wish, you can listen for free to the weekly podcast, in which Tim discusses the second part of his series. Here is the direct link. You can download it or stream it. Up to you.

Tim reported this week that since the series is behind the Examiner paywall, that there has been an uptick in the number of subscriptions to the site over the past week. That is a good thing. And the quality of the series will only lead to yet more subscriptions. 

I think I will spend the balance of my Friday evening listening to that podcast, so if you'll excuse me...

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Post 3178 - Wait A Minute

According to the internet movie database, the third episode of "Billions" will not be broadcast until January 31st. They have an unusual broadcast schedule this month, and go to weekly episodes this week.

Oh, well. Silly me.


Post 3177 - Thursday

The weekend is nearly here. Yay!

I have been spending the last hour fiddling and farting around with an application called Sonarr, which one uses to set up tv shows one can download. I had got it working perfectly with a usenet agent, but the exchange rate with the Canadian dollar was nasty, so I discontinued it. I have been trying to interface it with a torrent client. It says it is connecting, but no shows are showing up. Even the ones one can see for free locally. Sigh.

I hate it when something is supposed to work. It's "transparent". It's "easy". And it doesn't work for me. Makes me feel like a real dumb dumb. I will likely find another usenet download client, one that's cheaper, and go with that. I know it will work. Torrents are old-fashioned, anyway.

How many of you have "Crave" tv? It's a Canadian streaming service for TV shows. It is supposed to have the new show "Billions" on it, but the third episode hasn't shown up in the list yet. Been waiting all week for it. What's going on?

All this talk about tv. You'd think I didn't have a job or something.

I think I will turn in. Been frustrated enough for one evening.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Post 3176 - A Night Out

We are back home after a pleasant night at Chapters in Bayer's Lake. Gail Vaz-Oxlade was there plugging her latest book, and all her books in general.

For those who don't know who she is, she is Canadian's financial guru, telling it like it is, getting us all to save for our retirement and so on. I have to admit that I have more time for her than I do many of  her "colleagues", who extol the virtues of investing in gold, or retirement savings plans, or whatever. Her focus is for you to get out of debt while also putting aside something for retirement. 

And she thinks it's mostly b.s. how you need to retire with millions in savings. Her rule of thumb is that you should be able to retire on about 70% of what you make when you're working, taking into account things like how you don't have to pay for lunches and transportation and fancy clothes and so on. If you have a pension through your work, as I will when I call it a day, then that along with some frugality should be enough. Makes eminent sense to me.

Last year, Patricia and I went to another such event, but sponsored by a company all of whose employees wear a blue sports coat and preach and scream about purchasing their retirement products, or you're doomed to twilight years eating cat food and fighting with New York's pizza rat for a slice of slightly-used 'za. I saw through their duplicity and convinced Patricia of it. We are having nothing to do with their crap. And shame on the co-worker who used work time to get people interested in this side-enterprise of hers.

I think I'm on a good course. I am contributing to a pension through work. I am paying down my debt, including my mortgage, in a relatively timely fashion. And I try to cut back on major purchases, although my car is getting to the point where it won't last me more than two more years if I'm lucky. I could have it worse. A lot worse.

On that count-your-blessings moment, I think I will turn in. Another long day.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Post 3175 - Grr!

There was a bit of a flame war on my Facebook this evening. I feel a little responsible about it.

I noted the death of Abe Vigoda today. It was initially reported by Variety. "Why trust that rag?", says I, so I went here and here. And, sure enough, they both reported he was a goner.

A FB friend wrote that she was surprised that he was gone at 94 and suffixed the remark with an "LOL". That set off another person, who spent the next few hours ripping into her, calling her all kinds of names in the book, and several others. It was vicious, and vile and disgusting. I put a stop to it around 9:30 tonight by unfriended the a-hole. He retaliated by following me on FB. I got back at him by blocking him. He can no longer see anything on my timeline and inflict his hateful comments on anyone on my Facebook ever again.

He knows I'm a blogger. He should know, and I am reminding him now, that I moderate every comment on the blog. Nobody can post anything here that I don't approve first. Let him try!

This crap did not have to happen, yet it did. And it was all over a joke. Apparently this doofus did not know that Vigoda himself was in on the joke. Vigoda's death was reported over 30 years ago. It got him in the news, and on talk shows, and likely got him some acting jobs to boot. He had a sense of humor about it, and it endeared him to people enough that he likely financially benefited from these false reports of his death.

A couple wiseacres started the above websites. I would check them out from time to time and see that, yes, Abe Vigoda was alive and relatively well. Meanwhile, Vigoda acted in a Superbowl commercial, the one he did with Betty White.

I don't know what Vigoda died of today, but he was 94. It wouldn't have taken much.

My apologies to Theresea Babb for what she went through this evening. It will not happen again.

And you, Frank Rhyno. Just go back to running your sex shop and leave the adults alone. K?

See you tomorrow.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Post 3174 - Monday

Just finished watching the first two episodes of the new X-Files. The first one was drab and boring and talky. The second one is much better. I hope that the remaining 4 are as good.

The ratings so far have been very good. I don't know if there's been any talk of more episodes down the road, but I am guessing there is a good chance of it.

Patricia took a vacation day today. I arrived home to a lovely salmon dinner. She made bread pudding for dessert, but it won't be consumed until Tuesday night. She wants to add a maple topping. Hey, don't let me get in the way of someone wanting to add a maple topping to something. It's Un-Canadian even to consider it.

It has been a long day. I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow, my friends.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Post 3173 - Sunday

Gee, that feels nice.

I slept in nearly until noon today. I awoke earlier with a headache. I took one of my magic pills and slept some more. This afternoon, I watched some shows with Patricia, including last night's SNL, which was hosted by someone named Ronda Rousey. A quick wikipedia search tells me that she is a female MMA fighter. Apparently, she lost a major fight with another female MMA figher a couple of months ago. Imagine. Two women fighting, and it wasn't over a man.

The new X-Files miniseries debuts this evening. Fox has only been beating us over the head with this show for the last six months. There is no excuse not to know about this show. My ancestors know that the show is about to start. Out of sheer spite, I will not watch it this evening but will record it instead. So there.

I am still thinking about the first chapter of Tim Bousquet's "Dead Wrong", which I wrote about last evening. I do hope that you decide to check it out. It is excellent reading, and I can't wait to see where it is going. BTW, Tim started work on this series long before "Serial" and "Making of a Murderer", so you can't accuse him of jumping on a bandwagon.

The end of another weekend. Where do they go?

See you tomorrow, folks.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Post 3172 - J Stuff

Two things.

First thing.

The staff at the local paper, the Halifax Chronicle Herald, went on strike at midnight. They are probably out for a while, maybe even quite a while. They made major concessions to the employer, the Dennis family, but those were rebuffed; and today, the employer issued layoff notices to 18 of the 61 striking staff. The union is investigating the legality of those layoff notices. One of the notices went to the union captain.

I get that legacy media are suffering these days, but there must be a better way to get around this. The Herald has been in operation since 1824, but has become a thinner and thinner read by the year, with shorter and fewer investigative pieces along the way, as reporters are forced produce articles every day and cannot focus on pieces that take much longer to produce. This makes the paper a poorer product and drives away readers. It is a vicious circle.

The employer has contracted with a New Brunswick news provider to produce some local articles. And, too, the employer has apparently contacted local freelancers to produce local content with the assurance that their byline will not be used. So, scabs will be working on the paper, likely starting on Sunday, to make the Monday deadline.

Some freelancers, such as my friend Jodi DeLong, have promised not to do any work for the Herald while the strike is on. Bless them. This will cost them monetarily, and there is a chance that the employer will remember this and no longer hire them once the strike is over. I get the feeling that the employer has a long, scabrous memory and may enact revenge on those freelancers who are shunning them.

About two weeks ago, staff took a byline strike, and refused to let their names be published with their articles. In retaliation, the employer has stricken all bylines from the paper ever since, likely in anticipation of the strike that began today.

I thought about buying the Herald today. It would have been produced before the strike and I could in good conscience buy it. If I do, it will be the last Herald I buy while the strike is on. I will not link to any articles the Herald announces on Facebook. If I happen to find out who the scabs are who write for the paper during the strike, I will announce their names here.

Second thing.

The Halifax Examiner, run by Tim Bousquet, finally launched his long-promised series today. It is called "Dead Wrong", and is about the many unsolved murders of women and girls in Halifax, which go back decades, and how many of these cases may have been bungled by the police. The first part, which he tells me runs about 10 000 words, ran today, and took me a good hour to read on my tablet. He promises that subsequent chapters will run on Saturdays, being released around noon.

There is an underlying tone of anger and skepticism in Bousquet's best work, and those traits are in abundance here as he focuses on the murder of a young sex worker some 20 years ago, and how the man convicted of that murder may be utterly innocent of it, as other murders continued while he was in the clink. It is an interesting read so far, and likely to become a fascinating one. I heartily recommend it.

If I can fault Tim just a titch, it is that there are an awful lot of people to keep track of. I wish he would remind the reader who people are a bit more often. At one point, he mentions this girl's pimp by name, and then doesn't mention him again for several thousand words. I recalled the name, but it would have been nice if Tim had said something like "Brenda's former pimp" prior to stating the guy's name. But that's about it.

Tim is overly generous with the Examiner. A huge percentage of its content is free, but this article is behind his paywall. To get a teaser for the series, and a link to the podcast in which he discusses it, go here. It is only ten bucks a month to get full, unfettered access to the Examiner, and after paying the mortgage and buying cauliflower, it is the best bit of money you can spend. If this enables him to produce more and more of these long pieces, then he has a reader for life in me.

It's funny. This post is about journalism, from a legacy publication like the Herald, to a cutting edge one like the Halifax Examiner. There is room in our lives for both kinds.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Post 3171 - Friday

Ha. The weekend is here.

Ha. The major storm that's lashing the Eastern seaboard will miss Nova Scotia.

Ha. We are getting an IKEA in 2017. But it will be in Dartmouth and not on the Halifax side in Bayer's Lake.

Ha. Am I the only one who wonders what the big fuss is about IKEA? Don't they just sell cheap pressboard stuff that you have to assemble once you get it homes?

Ha. Can't sleep in and way I wasn't to tomorrow. Guess i should turn in.

See you tomorrow.



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Post 3170 - Various Things

Just watched the pilot of "DC's Legends of Tomorrow". It is a show that has been in the works for many months now. And my response is, "Meh."

I don't understand why Rip Hunter selected these particular people to be his "team" to go up against Vandal Savage. Well, I get that Hawkman and Hawkgirl have a hate on for Vandal Savage, but the rest of those people have no idea who he is, and a few of them have no superpowers of their own, just relying on heat guns, freeze ray guns, a suit Iron Man would reject, and a lady who used to be dead but got better. Even after they learn that Rip Hunter was being less than forthright with all of them, they decide to stick around and help the loser. The show doesn't make any internal sense. I will give it one more episode and that's it. Life's too short, man.

I see where IKEA is making a major announcement in Halifax Friday morning. Word is that they are going to open up one of their smaller stores here, where you go in and order the thing you want and they deliver it there and you pick it up. You can also order online. But does that make sense? Why have the head of the company be in town for that announcement? I think they will have a full-fledged store here, and my gut tells me that it will take over the Rona building in Bayer's Lake, which just became suddenly available again in the last 10 days or so.

I don't get the appeal of IKEA. You order the misbegotten thing you want, lug it home, and frustrate yourself into a tizzy trying to assemble it. How many divorces have resulted from trying to put together one of their pieces of "furniture"? How many bromances have been shattered over too many beers trying to figure out how some IKEA pieces fit together to form the item in question so that it looks the way it does on the box? But for some reason I will never understand, people will drive long distances to get to one of their stores. There is a guy who drives to the IKEA in Quebec several times a month just to pick up items for people who live around here. I wonder if he assembles the contraptions, too? Value added is the way to go.

I will probably wander into the IKEA, assuming it is an actual store, if only to try to understand why people go crazy over the place. If not, if they are only a depot, then I guess I won't bother.

And I have a gmail question. Have you "lost" emails on gmail before? I gave away the family church organ last month, and exchanged various emails with the woman whose friends picked it up. I cannot find any of those emails. I would not knowingly delete them. She did send me a picture of the organ once she had set it up in her apartment, and I downloaded it to my dropbox, but that is the only evidence of the series of emails we shared. It is most strange.

Before I work myself into a different kind of tizzy, one revolving around emails I can no longer locate, I guess I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Post 3169 - Wednesday


Didn't write on Tuesday because I took a family illness day to help care for Patricia, who was sick. Much better today.

I have got a few comments about Monday's blog post, in which I commented about some downtown Halifax businesses that are coming and going. I think I will continue this series.

I may also revive some long-dormant series on the blog. The YearinReview series needs to be caught up on, since the last year I covered was 2012. The series about things in Halifax that don't make sense should come back, as there are several things that don't make sense in Halifax. And I'm sure there are other things I can write about.  But not tonight.

As I think I have mentioned, repeatedly, I am throwing out a lot of old books and magazines. Two full bags of books went out with the recycling on Tuesday. Eventually I want to be able to have everything I'm gonna keep, in this here home office. And that will mean sorting them to be in some kind of retrievable order. I mean, is there any reason why my Ed McBain 87th Precinct series in paperback should not be in proper order (by publication date, natch)? How about my Doc Savage paperback reprints published over the course of many years? The Avenger 1940's reprints (although the last 12 were new books written by Ron Goulart) should all be in one place. I have so many Max Allan Collins novels that they won't fit on one shelf, so I will have to put the overage on another shelf. I have most of the Repairman Jack novels by F. Paul Wilson on one shelf, but I don't have the later ones in the series, and they may spill over to another shelf.  You have no idea how much stress this stuff causes me! I try to keep all my local history books in one place, but I have misplaced a few.

And my hardcovers. My goodness, what about them? Sort them by author? Genre? Segregate fiction and non-fiction?

Anyway, I start thinking about this stuff, and I start to hyperventilate. If I drank wine, I would have some right about now.

I think I will turn in, my lovelies. See you tomorrow.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Post 3168 - A New Focus

Short and sweet tonight.

I developed a headache at work today. I took one of those magic pills. It worked, mostly. But I was left beat, so I napped the night away. Here I am, 10:50pm, and I will likely be awake for some time yet.

I have commented on radio developments for years now, and will continue to do so. But I want to discuss a couple retail developments in the downtown. Let me know what you think of these early efforts.

The Dandelion Cafe on Blowers Street seems to have closed, after it barely opened. Patricia finagled a tour of the place a couple of months ago and reported it looked nice in there. It makes me wonder, therefore, how a business can have a relatively soft opening, and fold up like a house of cards just a few weeks later? Was some loan called in or something?

And The Highwayman Restaurant is coming to Barrington Street sometime in March. It is taking over the old Certainly Cinnamon space. I bent many an elbow drinking coffee at CC over the years. I wonder at the new owners' interest in squeezing 40 seats in that small area. Certainly Cinnamon had some long tables, and a couple short ones. They had a table in the window overlooking Barrington. 40 people in that little space is a mighty tall order.

And I had to chuckle when I read that the new owner feel that Barrington is out to bust open. There is pent up demand for new restaurants there to accommodate the people who will soon be living downtown and working out of the Nova Centre, a couple of blocks away. That may be true, but it is not happening any time soon. The Nova Centre will not be completed until September of 2016, with the grand opening in of 2017, a full year from now. (These are estimates, not psychic predictions. Something can happen between now and then to force a delay.)  I don't know what the folks who own The Highwayman will subsist on until then. When the Carlton is suffering and panhandling on "fund me" pages, you know the downtown is having a hard time.

The Sushi Jet on Salter Street closed before the holidays. It is in a prime location, but every eatery that sets up there, is doomed. The Highwayman is a few blocks away, but if other downtown eateries are coughing up blood, who's to say that a new one will flourish?

This was fun. I think I will comment more on retail comings and goings as the mood strikes me. If you have any retail news and don't want to tell The Coast or Halifax Re-Tales, let me know and I promise to report it here. Best bet is to email me here.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Post 3167 - Sunday

Hi. Past ten.

Another 3 day weekend has come and gone. Once again, I wonder where they went.

I keep thinking about the events of a year ago. The 17th of January in 2015 was a Saturday. We had to wait a week to bury my poor mother because of circumstances I dare not repeat here, but which you can readily find if you read blog posts from early last February. We were in a holding pattern, waiting for the funeral. The whole time, my mother was laying on a slab at the funeral home in Kentville.

It was a hard week, and now I am reliving it, day by painful day.

I had breakfast with Constant Reader Ken last week. Among other things, I gave him my spare copy of the book about the Golers. He told me something that I have taken to heart, which is that this first anniversary of my mother's death should resonate with me. I should feel this way. If I didn't, there would be something wrong with me. If it were the tenth anniversary and I felt this way, then that would indicate another problem.

Let's try to finish this post on a fun note. I chanced upon a website a week or so ago that will take your inputted text and produce a cover for a pulp-related magazine for you. You can customize it a great deal, but not quite enough to suit me. For example, I could find not way to put the Bevboy avatar in there.

Don't know what pulp magazines are/were? Here you go.

But, here is what I came up with:

Do you want to come up with your own pulp magazine cover? Use this link. Share what you come up with, with me. I get a kick out of this stuff.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Post 3166 - Saturday

There is a nor'easter lashing Halifax this evening. Well, "lashing" may be too strong a word. The snowplow has been by the house a few times now, and not a lot of snow is accumulating in my driveway. If I were not such a lazy son of a gun, I would shovel it off myself. But, it is not to be.

I got up early this morning to go to a friend's house to take him to the Toastmasters thing I mentioned last night. We got there in plenty of time. We have been to so many of those TM events over the years that we know much of the material by rote.

We ducked out a bit early as the weather was becoming increasingly inclement. The parts we missed were the question period  and the portion where they stand around and congratulate one another for doing such a good job. That part, I don't need to see, yet again. It is tiresome, and I wish more of them would realize that.

I dropped off my friend and returned home. We watched the last two episodes of the British series "Run" on Netflix. We started to watch "The Usual Suspects", a film we had never seen, but Patricia pronounced it not her cup of tea, so we watched "Galaxy Quest" instead, which resulted in a similar sentiment from Patricia. I think she said it was a floating turd, if memory serves.   Even the Sandra Bullock-starrer "Gravity" did not meet her approval.

I spent an hour or so this evening in the middle bedroom, sifting through the magazines I am going to keep and which ones to toss out on Tuesday. I am going to keep the stuff like Alter Ego and Back Issue and some others. I am also going to keep all back issues I can find of The Comics Journal, and I sure do have a lot of them. I grabbed an issue to read in bed this evening before I turn in. It has a long interview with Milton Caniff. A couple of my readers may remember that he wrote and drew Terry and the Pirates in the 1930's and 1940's, before he left that feature and founded Steve Canyon, which he wrote and drew until his death in 1988.

(If you have ever heard of a woman being referred to as a "dragon lady", it comes from a character in Terry and the Pirates, by the way.)

TCJ is one of the few places out there that still run the long form interview, the kind I used to do here on the blog when I sat down with radio personalities. Actually, come to think of it, I still have the full, unexpurgated interview with Don Connolly from 2014. Frank Magazine only ran about 25% of it. I probably should run the full thing here some day. Not sure who really cares at this point.

Think I will turn in. Been a long day.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Post 3165 - Friday

After 10pm.

Had a quiet day, away from work. We went to Costco, to the Paderno store where they are having a big sale (read: some items are affordable), before ending up at Value Village, where I bought nothing at all. We had a mid-afternoon late lunch at the Chinese food place on the Bay Road before returning home around 3:30.

I got a SSD for a desktop computer today, from ebay. 30GB, large enough to hold an OS and apps, while the data are stored on a traditional hard drive. However, the desktop is a small form factor thing, and there is no room in it to store a second hard drive. There are no data or power connections on the mother board that are unused. I would have to disconnect the multi drive and replace it with the SSD instead. But I still need that multi drive so that I can rip some cd's I bought last year. So, I have a perfectly-good solid state drive that has no home. I will find a use for it some time, somewhere.

I have a Toastmasters thing early Saturday morning. Starts at 8:30 I think. Way the hell over in Dartmouth, Cole Harbour. The only thing is, we are supposed to get a major storm in the morning. I have made it clear that I am not risking my life to drive anywhere tomorrow in the middle of a freezing rain storm. Not worth it. Some people would disagree with my attitude, but I would disagree with their zeal.

At any rate, I should turn in, so I will bid you adieu for the nonce.

(When is the last time someone wrote "adieu" and "for the nonce" in the same sentence? Do I win something?)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Post 3164 - A Year Later

It is 9:58pm.

It was around 9:20pm on January 14, 2015, a year ago to the day, when I learned that my mother had died. I already knew it, in my heart, because I had spoken to her around 8:30. She was not well. My sister then spoke to her and then called me to say that Mom was more lucid. I called Mom back around 8:45, and she did not pick up. By 9, the nursing home had called me here at the house to tell me they could not find a pulse. 20 minutes after that, I got the official word. But it just confirmed what I already knew.

A year. I don't know where it has gone. It has gone by so quickly, and slowly at the same time. I have had ample time to think, and to decide what is important to me, and what is not. Let me tell you about some of my life decisions.

I have decided I have no room in my life for people who make me unhappy and miserable, and whom I do not trust, like, abide, tolerate, acknowledge or recognize. This has resulted in at least one relationship that is gone for good, but it is not my loss. It is hers, and someday she will realize that. At least, I hope she does.

If something I do not have to do, is not fun to do; if it has no pay off, no reward, no light at the end of its tunnel, then I won't do it.

If I can find some way, any way, to simplify my life, then I will take that route, every time, without fail.

If  can honour my parents in some way by being the best person I can be, then that is what I will do, every time, without fail.

And if I can live up to the words I expressed when I presented the eulogy at my mother's funeral last year, then I will die happy, myself. Here is the link to that post, in case you missed it.

This is a day of mourning for me, but a day of reflection as well. Please leave me to that time, now, if you don't mind.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Post 3163 - A Sleepless Night

Past 11:30 p.m. . I just finished reading a horror novel by a writer named Jeff Strand. It is the third in the series about a character named Andrew Mayhem.

These novels are horrifically frightening and extremely funny all the same time. They will be a moment of utter horror one second and then something extremely funny in the next.

The first novel by Strand I read was called Kutter. It was about a serial killer who had no conscience whatsoever, at least until he acquired a dog. The story takes a turn at this point, and you almost feel sympathy for him. Almost.

You are either into this type of material, or you're not. It turns out that I am, and sometimes I wonder what that says about me.

There is one more novel in this series. I look forward to reading it.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Post 3162 - Guilty? Nah!

Sorry I didn't write last night. Body shut down around 8:30. Much better tonight.

I don't usually discuss politics here on the blog, but I am sorta kinda making an exception this evening. Today, the Canadian dollar fell below 70 cents US. The price of a barrel of oil is hovering around 30 dollars a barrel. Many economists feel that the price of both has quite a ways to fall. I feel there are too many economists, not one of whom predicted this whole mess happening a couple of years ago. But I digress.

Many thousands of jobs have been lost in the oil sands of Alberta. That province is crying hard times, so much so that the Premier of Alberta's life has been threatened by some arseholes who blame her for her government's direction. One man has offered her one million dollars to resign. Madness.

Alberta did well for many years because the price of oil was so high. They did not have a scintilla of sympathy for all the people who struggled to put gas in their cars, or to heat their homes. Companies instituted gas surcharges in their shipping costs to cover their additional costs. Consumers, already strapped, had to pay those surcharges if they wanted to get their stuff.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. And I don't feel one stinkin' bit of guilt over paying less for gas and oil today than I did before this happened. I like how the monthly bill to heat the family homestead in the Valley went down by more than 50 dollars a month this past Summer, and how all signs point to that cost decreasing further when they re-calculate the monthly budget billing in July. Gas is still too high, but I am told that the Canadian dollar's decline is affecting the cost of gas, and I don't feel like waging that battle, not when a liter of gas is less than a dollar again, when it was easily 50 and 60 cents more a couple of years ago.

Should I feel like guilty because I feel this way? Maybe. I don't know. The point is, I don't, and I have no intention to. And I strongly feel that most Canadians reading this will concede that they don't feel guilty, either. They love having a few extra dollars in their pocket so they can spend it on cauliflower.

I look forward to your comments. Write me privately or comment on the Facebook post or add a comment to this post. You know the deal.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Post 3161 - Sunday


I returned to the city around 2:15. Newbie was happy to see me. Patricia acknowledged me warmishly.

We watched the pilot of a show called "Psych", which ran for 8 seasons on ... the USA network, I think. The whole series is on Netflix, and the remote landed on it, so we watched it. 119 episodes to go.

I am trying to think of a better, pound-for-pound entertainment deal than a monthly subscription to Netflix. It is, what, 9 bucks a month? We get two profiles, so Patricia can watch what she wants and I can do the same on my side.

It is back to work in the morning. I keep wondering where weekends disappear to. It is a four day work week for me, though, so I get to spend Friday cleaning up around here.

You guys have a good evening. See you tomorrow.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Post 3160 - Saturday

Hi. 10:30.

Been a long day. I ran some errands this morning and came back here in time to take care of a long-planned task this afternoon. Then, I paid the snow plow guy for his two visits here in the last couple of weeks.

I have spent a good chunk of the day watching a couple of the Pink Panther movies, the ones starring Peter Sellers before the series went to heck when Sellers died, and long before the Steve Martin movies, which I have not seen. I am not sure how much of that subtle visual humour would work with today's crowds.

Tomorrow, I am having brunch with an old friend, and one of the blog's 4.7 readers. I always like to reach out to my fans. I know it makes them feel good.

Why do weekends go by so fast? Not fair.

What are you wearing, anyway?

See you tomorrow.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Post 3159 - Friday


I am in the Valley this weekend. I drove up after work tonight. I got some victuals at the Giant Tiger in New Minas. They were  having a clearance sale on their burritos, 50 cents a piece. They are not bad for what they are so I bought the remaining 15 they had in the store. With what I already have here, I now have something like 57 burritos in the fridge freezer. I am not sure how many years it will take me to eat them all. Do frozen products, "keep"?

To make room for the burritos, I had to remove some frozen cabbage rolls. My goodness, those were nasty little things. We hated the first tray of them something fierce.  The second tray has been in the freezer here, and will go out in the green bin this weekend because I wouldn't feed them to a dog. And I bought some mustard, because the mustard in the fridge had lost its potency. Like, there was no flavor at all. I might as well have put glue on my hot dogs, for all the taste the mustard provided.

Anyway, I have some chores to take care of this weekend, including paying the fellow who had been plowing out the driveway at the house. He has been here twice already, without my having to ask him to. Least I can do is pay him on time.

A month or so ago, I ordered some new ram for this desktop computer. It only has 1 GB of ram in it. I ordered on ebay what I thought would be the right kind of ram for this machine, doubling it to two gigs, which is still an okay amount of memory for an older computer when you only use it for writing blog posts and surfing the web and the like. It is a small form factor machine, which is great if you only have a small amount of space to house a computer, but a pain in the onions if you want to do something like expand it.

I got the back of the computer off. In order to access the ram, I had to remove the multi drive. I removed the existing ram, and replace it with the two sticks of 1GB each. Put the multi drive back in place, and put the screws back where they should be. Put the back back on. Plugged back in the usb devices, the  monitor, the keyboard, the speakers, and so on. Rebooted the computer. Nothing happened. The machine just "beeped" at me over and over, a sure sign that the ram was not a good fit for the computer.

I put the original 1gb of ram back in place (well, when I bought the machine last Winter, it only had 500mb of ram in it, if I recall correctly. I had some other ram in place to bring it to a whopping 1gb.) Started the computer back up, and here I am writing you on a machine with barely enough memory to do anything. At least I set up a 4GB ram disk last month to make things run a bit better.

I will always wonder: Why do they have so many kinds of ram, all slightly different, and all designed to confuse us?

Anyway, the weekend is firming up nicely. I think I will turn in and get up early-ish on Saturday.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Post 3158 - A Science Question

Speaking of last night's Toastmasters meeting...

A guy in the club mentioned that for Christmas one of the gifts he gave his wife was a pair of socks, with the individual toes in them. His wife would slip them on and move each toe into its appropriate position. I guess they would look something like these:

I called him out on it, saying that her feet would be warmer if she had just got a regular pair of socks. I reasoned that with the toes being separated, they couldn't keep each other warm. Plus, the surface area of the socks was greatly increased, letting more heat out than would a regular pair of socks.  I wonder if he really loves his wife.

(Of course he does, you silly sausage!)

Other people in the club chimed in, agreeing with me that regular socks would be the best bet.

My question to anyone reading this is, am I right? Are the above socks heat-inefficient relative to regular socks? After all, heat radiators that you see in older homes, like this one:

are designed this way, with the "coils" resulting in a much larger surface area, to let off heat, not conserve it.

So, do toe socks socks conserve heat, or expel it? I think they would expel more than they would conserve. But what do you think?

See you tomorrow.

PS. Why are all toe socks butt-ugly?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Post 3157 - Tonight's Toastmasters Meeting

Well, I'm home from the first TM meeting for 2016. Good meeting. A guest seemed to enjoy himself. We are all hoping he comes back. The fact that I foolishly left my water bottle behind is the only downside.

There was that downside. Now, I want to discuss "the darkside".

Let me explain.

Table topics tonight was provided by Tyrone. He came up with some pretty provocative, dark, frightening opening lines to non-existent books, and we had to continue the story line for up to 2 minutes. Mine was along the lines of "The old man was dead. But he got up, looked around and said..."

I completed the sentence.

"I don't want to go yet!"

I asked how many members had heard of the writer Robert Bloch. No hands went up. "His most famous novel was probably 'Psycho', which became an Alfred Hitchcock movie?" Still no hands. I should have mentioned that A&E's "Bates' Motel" is a prequel to "Psycho", but didn't.

I was undaunted, and continued.

"Anyway, this guy Robert Bloch once wrote a short story about a man who died in his home. The next morning, they're all sitting around the breakfast table mourning the old man, when who should come downstairs, BUT the old man. He was just too ornery, too stubborn, to concede that he was dead, so he was just going to keep on, keeping on. That is why the story is called, 'A Case of the Stubborns'"

I went on to explain that the old man's condition continued to deteriorate, day by day. He was decomposing in front of their eyes. Eventually, they summoned the local preacher. He came to visit. It didn't help much. That scene is on youtube. Here it is:

The preacher is played by a very young Brent Spiner, who a few years later would go on to play Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation. And the boy is played by a childlike Christian Slater, and you have seen him and his work for many years. This is likely one of his very first roles. The old man is played by veteran actor Eddie Bracken, whose work goes back to the 1940's. He lived until 2002, almost another 20 years after he did this show.

At long last, the young boy went to visit an old woman, who gave him something that he took to his grandfather. I don't want to ruin the story for you. It is actually quite funny and I think you should check it out.

The "darkside" part of the table topics I alluded to above was that the Bloch story was filmed for a syndicated tv show from the 1980's called "Tales from the Darkside". Here is the opening of the show. How many of you remember it?

I finished my topic and sat down. I did not win the vote for best table topics speaker. But I was the Quiz Master tonight and was able to ask questions like who wrote the story, what was it called, and what was the name of the show the story appeared in. Nobody got those questions right.

I guess it was my inner geek talking again. I thought it was down and out, but every once in a while, it comes back with a vengeance. Funny how one throw away line would lead me down this path

Which reminds me of the time when I...

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Post 3156 - Tuesday

Is it Friday yet?

Just Tuesday? Rats.

One of those nights when I had a headache. I took a nap downstairs when we got home, and only got up around 8:45. Here it is, 10:21, and I will likely be awake for a few more hours.

Frank Magazine today listed its top 50 stories for 2015. These are the articles that had the most hits online for the year. My story about Paula Breckon being fired from her job in Fredericton last year landed at #15. It is one of the stories I am most proud of. I did a lot of work on it, and wrote several drafts before my editor and I were happy with it. I am glad that it was reflected in its high ranking. It was my only story in the top 50, but I will take it.

I am still waiting for you guys to get back to me regarding what you're wearing. Get to it, people.

Short post tonight. Sorry.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Post 3155 - Monday

Hi. 9pm. I'm showered, shaven and smelling pretty. And I have a load of clothes in the washing machine. What else does a fella need?

First day back to work after 11 days off. It was very hard to get up today. Once we got going, though, we got to work and functioned, barely. Patricia keeps murmuring about retirement. She can go in the next couple of years. I have 4 left.

Hard to believe that I am closer to the end of my working years in government than I am to the beginning of them. Years ago, I spoke to my former guidance councilor from high school. He was just about to retire and gave me advice: do not wish your life away. The years go by at their own unique pace. That day when you can go on permanent vacation will get here soon enough. I keep that in mind as much as I can.

When we got home tonight, I undecorated the tree and then carried it out to the front deck. We will have one last look at it in the morning to make sure no decorations were overlooked, and then throw the tree on the front lawn for the recycling guys to take it away. Sorry to see it go. It was a nice tree this year.

I don't know what it is with me, but I can't seem to keep my hands on a pair of gloves or mittens. I am constantly misplacing them. That's why, after work this evening, we went to the local Mark's Work Wearhouse, where I bought a pair of gloves and a pair of mittens. They are the "thinsulate" type, so they are smaller and thinner and should not be lost this time, as long as I keep them stuffed in a coat jacket or something.

First day back, and we are both bushed. I think I will turn in early tonight. See you tomorrow, my friends. Keep smiling. And please take the time to tell me what you're wearing. Makes me happy.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Post 3154 - Sunday

Say, I just noticed something. I "only" produced 294 blog posts in 2015, which is the lowest number of posts I produced in any year except 2007, when I began the blog, late in the year. Let me endeavor to produce at least one post every day in 2016. Deal?

How was your day? Being the last day before I return to work, I wanted to get back into a regular routine, which is why I didn't get up until noon. Hmm. That doesn't make sense. At any rate, I got up late, made a late breakfast for us both, and then spent a couple hours this afternoon throwing stuff into large plastic bags, to go out with my recycling on Tuesday. I made sure not to fill the bags too much, lest the people who collect such recycling throw out their backs or something. I had some bags rejected a few months ago and had to distribute stuff into a few other bags, plus hold on to the stuff for two more weeks.

Newbie seems to sense that his humans will not be around come the morrow. He has been lethargic today, and if cats could seem unhappy Newbie was.

I keep wondering why vacations go by so quickly. I think it has something to do with Einstein's theory of relativity, which had something to do with "an hour with a pretty girl can go by in a minute. A minute holding on to lava rocks can seem like an hour."

I guess that is it for tonight. I think I will take my beauty coma and emerge tomorrow morning, all ready to return to work.

See you tomorrow, my friends.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Post 3154 - Saturday


Newbie wants me to turn in. He sits on the computer desk, between the keyboard and the monitor. His head obscures the bottom left hand portion of the screen. He looks up at it from time to time as if to wonder how much longer I'm going to type. Not much.

We went into Bayer's Lake today. First trip there in nearly a week. The headphones I wanted at Walmart were not to be found. The place is pretty picked over after a week of Boxing Week sales. Meanwhile, next door at Superstore, Patricia wasn't having much luck finding another fresh turkey to cook. They only had frozen ones left, and they were the regular price, which is outrageous.

We returned to the house. I took a nap, because I'm old and like to sleep. Afterward, we watched "Spy", the movie from last summer starring Melissa McCarthy. An absolute scream. Loved it to bits. Then, we we watched "Frozen", the Disney movie from a couple of years ago. We had never seen it. Patricia liked it much more than I did. I think it's aimed more at girls.

One more day off before we return to work. Where do vacations go, anyway? I want more, please.

I guess that's it for tonight. See you tomorrow, me hearties.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Post 3153 - Friday

Hi. Late.

We return to work on Monday, so we have to get back into a normal routine. A couple of nights this week we stayed up until 3am. One night I was still awake at 4.

Saturday morning we will get up comparatively early and head into Bayer's Lake to get some victuals. We will likely go to Walmart to see if there are any Boxing Week sale things left. I was promised a new set of headphones to replace the ones that are one wire away from falling apart. I don't understand why people spend a couple hundred dollars on a pair of headphones. There are 10 and 15 dollar headphones that sound perfectly fine. Frig you, Dr. Dre.

We watched a couple more movies today. "The Peanuts Movie" was barely a movie at all. They just took all the pieces of Peanuts that you are familiar with, and hold dear, and worked out a way to put them on the screen. I was disappointed.

"Vacation" is a continuation of the Griswold movie series from the 1980's that starred Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo.  It was pretty rude, and we laughed our arses off. My fave scene was one that referred back to the original 1983 film, only it ended far differently. The film bombed at the box office this past summer. Too bad. It deserved better. Tomorrow we'll work our way through a couple more films.

Two more days before I return to work. Where do vacations go, anyway?

See you tomorrow.