Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Post 3631 - Yawn!

Very late. Very long day. Worked all day, and then went to the Archives. I was there from about 4:45 until 8:55, five minutes before they closed for the evening. As long as I was there, I could have used another couple of hours. Time goes by very, very quickly when I am there.

When I got home, around 9:20, I spent a bit of time with Patricia before coming down here to back up the stuff I had downloaded to the thumbdrive I use for my archives work. Then, I started revising the Frank article that is due tomorrow. That's done, I think. Just waiting for some information from the police so I can weave it into my article.

Thursday promises to be as busy as today, so I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Post 3630 - Yes

Yes. It is true.

I have two fax machines in the back seat of my car. I haven't brought them into the house yet. I will do that soon.

I bought both of them in case one was dead on arrival. Frig knows what I will do if they both work. A fax machine is something I will use very infrequently. I could barely justify buying one machine. Having two fax machines is overkill. I may end up selling it, if I can find someone who wants to buy a used fax machine, that is.

Silly me.

I spent much of the evening working on my next true crime piece for Frank. Today, Patricia went to the library and retrieved an article from 1989 which has some information about the subject of my next piece. I read that this evening and incorporated some information from it in my article. I have scanned in that article from the library and now have a digital copy of it for my own archives.

Patricia is off work tomorrow, but I still have to get up. So I think I will call it a night.

It's a night.

Ha ha.

Get it?

I have to stop doing that.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Post 3629 - At Last


Sorry I haven't written much the last couple of days. I had a crazy busy weekend. Let me tell you about it.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early. We wanted to drive down to the Valley to go to Grand Pre to see the Acadians and Mi'kmaw gathering. It was advertised a great deal on tv over the summer. We hit the road by 9 or so, but by 9:30, on the highway, the weather took a sudden turn. Rain coming down in torrents made us reconsider our decision.

We decided to do some other things.

I had some other business down there. I was going to buy a fax machine. Yes. A fax machine. I have a specific need to send faxes from time to time, a task associated with my work with Frank Magazine. I am not comfortable using the fax machine at my work for this purpose, and rather than burden my editor by asking him to send those faxes on my behalf, I thought maybe I could purchase an inexpensive fax machine of my own and use it for this periodic purpose.

(Yes. I know I can use a fax server. But the fax servers I have investigated usually charge a certain amount each month for using them. Maybe they let you send a couple free ones before you have to sign up. The thing is, even the cheapest plan is more than I want to pay, since I will send maybe 10 faxes per year. Cheaper to buy a fax machine and go semi old school)

There were two fax machines I was considering purchasing. One of them was in Hantsport. Because of the rain, it took us longer to get there than I would have liked, but we finally arrived around 10:55am. The lady showed me how to use it, gave me a sheet of paper that summarized the functions a fella would be likely to use. It is a plain paper fax, but received faxes print off on thermal paper, which sucks, but I have no intention of receiving faxes on it. Well worth five dollars.

We went up the road to Windsor and ended up in a bookstore called Reader's Haven. I had heard about that store for a while, but had never been. We walked around there a bit and Patricia got a couple of books. We will return, now that we know where it is.

While there, I got a call from another woman. The fax machine she and her hubby were selling was still available. I decided to go check it out. We drove to New Minas to the main Tim Horton's, across from the Super store. The woman was there waiting for us. I looked at that fax machine, which was bigger than the previous one. Ten dollars. I bought that one, too. Total expenditure: 15 dollars.

From there, we decided to drive to Coldbrook, to Guy's Frenchy's. Patricia found some clothes she wanted there. I found nothing. We decided to drive further up the Valley, to Berwick. There is a Guy's Frenchy's there, too. Tons and tons of women's clothing, but not much for men. Patricia found some stuff. I found nothing.

It is my theory that men wear out their clothes more than women wear out theirs. Women like to swap out their clothes when they get tired of wearing them. The situation is even more obvious when it comes to shoes. I wear my shoes until they start falling apart. That's why there are so many used clothing stores that have far more women's clothing than men's. Ditto for shoes.

We decided to go yet further up the Valley, to Middleton. By 3:30 or so we were there. I wanted to go to Blue Griffin Books as I had never been there. I had purchased some mystery magazines from its owner, Jonathan, but had never met the guy and had never seen the store.

My goodness.

So many books.

Only John Doull's store in Dartmouth has more books. And Jonathan has a basement where even more stuff in it, so maybe he has more books that John does.

I asked to see those mystery magazines again. I saw some I had not noticed in the list he had sent me in June, so I grabbed them. He had a lot of back issues of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (everyone calls it "F&SF"). I picked out the ones that did not look familiar to me and put those aside for purchase. Two days later, I still don't know if I got some back issues that I already had. Give me time, will you?

After all was said and done, and Jonathan had counted what i wanted to purchase, I had selected 97 magazines. Because I was getting so many, he knocked down the per issue cost to 35 cents, from 50. When I added in the two books Patricia wanted to get, the total cost was $45. A great deal for me. And a decent sale for Jonathan.

Turns out that he owns the building that the store is in. He lives upstairs in a three bedroom apartment. He has an office up there where he runs the publishing part of his business, which is about reprinting public domain Nova Scotia-based history books. He prints off a few copies of a book at a time to keep costs down.

We left shortly after 4. We were starving, not having eaten since breakfast. We hopped back on the 101 and drove for 30 minutes to Soonhan's Sushi in New Minas. We had several sushi rolls, stuffing our faces past the point of comfort. Damn, I love the food there.

We went to the house for a few minutes, to check the place out. Then drove to Wolfville to get some reduced items at the grocery store there. We always get some good deals on meat there. Saturday was no exception.

By the time we got home, we were exhausted. We turned in early.

Sunday morning we got up around 8am. We dithered for a bit and then decided we would return to the Valley, and make a bigger effort to go to Grand Pre.

We arrived there around 11:30. We were directed to a dirt road where there was still some parking. We made our way to the main entrance at Grand Pre.

We had not been there in years and years, since before it was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. They spent some money on the place. They were running a 20 minute film about the 1755 expulsion of the Acadians, so we decided to watch it.

I studied the Expulsion back in elementary school and then again in junior high school. I always walked away from those accounts thinking that the English were so-and-so's to expect the Acadians, who were French-speaking, to swear allegiance to the British, back when France and England were at war. The English could not leave well enough alone and drove these peace-loving people off their land, where they had lived for 150 years. Then, they destroyed every house, every church, every farm building they could find. Then, they invited fellow Brits to move on to that vacated land, where they became known as Planters. Some of those families still live on that land, many generations later. The Acadians were eventually allowed to return to Nova Scotia, where they settled along what we now call the French shore. And to this day, it is a provocative act to ask an Acadian to sing God Save the Queen, and rightly so.

We wandered around Grand Pre for the next several hours. I got a few snaps. Here are some of them.

The highlight for both of us was the Mi'kmaw man who spoke about the many berries and plants that can ward off illnesses. We had to use the Mi'kmaw terms. I made the mistake of calling something snapdragon, and he affixed me with a baleful glare and half-jokingly threatened to kick me off the walking tour. I shut up after that. It was pretty interesting learning what these plants are for. Even things like blueberries can be mashed together and baked into something that has a ton of nutrients and which can feed folks in the winter.

By 4pm, it was all over, and we returned to the city. We cooked burgers and steak for dinner, stuff purchased Saturday night in Wolfville. By Sunday night we were so tired we turned in early.

Monday came too soon.

So, there you have it. A crazy busy, but crazy fun, weekend. I wish they could all be that way.

Is it the weekend yet?

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Post 3628 - Tomorrow. I Mean It!

Another busy day. Back to work tomorrow. Will seem like a vacation after this weekend.

Too tired to type. Will tell you all about it tomorrow.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Post 3626 - Almost

The weekend is nearly here. My goodness, I love these short work weeks.

We are nearly caught up on episodes of "Wynonna Earp". Less than a week ago, we thought that the show sucked. The pilot was tiresome and derivative, but the rest of the episodes of season one rocked. Season two has been more uneven, but still worthy of watching.

I posted a link to an article on Variety dot com today. It was about how the film industry is in big trouble. People are voting with their wallets and staying home in increasing numbers. The studios respond by producing yet more sequels,  more superhero films, more explosions. Television, meanwhile, has quietly gotten better and better and better. They have lower budgets but can focus on storytelling and character, and have a much richer canvas on which to paint their narrative. Film has what Stephen King calls the sitting on a suitcase syndrome, where you stuff that suitcase so full that you have to sit on it in order to close it. Too much information, too much story, too much detail, forced into a 2 hour movie, so the result is a mess. Television has lots of room, in theory, so it can hold much more. It is a more satisfying experience than film today.

When Video Difference closed last year, one of the owner's complaints was that people were moving away from renting films, even watching films, in favour of binge watching tv shows. Films by and large have become lazy, bloated, boring, and far too predictable. The whole industry has a problem.

Patricia wants to go to a film thingy tomorrow night after work. We will see if the previous couple of paragraphs still hold true.

But who cares about all this dreary stuff? This is Bevboy's Blog.

Patricia made a delish stir fry this evening. I wanted to eat all of it, but managed to restrain myself. So, we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I will not have to steal bites of people's sandwiches at work tomorrow. They will be so glad!

I think I will turn in. Lots on the go tomorrow.

See you then.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Post 3625 - Don't Read This Post!

Well, sure. Read it if you want. I can't stop you.

Being Wednesday night, the provincial archives were open. I decided to go there and research a particular unsolved crime. It was on my list to work on, but some things came along that bumped it up in my priority. Sorry to be so circumspect. I will tell you what the case is when it is published in Frank in the near future.

Rather than let Patricia languish on the bus for the better part of an hour, I drove her home first, and then doubled back to the archives. I got there around 5:45. It was windy. The folder containing my notes blew out of the car and I nearly lost those notes forever. . The water bottle I sip from, which I keep in the locker they let me use when I visit, fell off the car, twice, on to the concrete parking lot, scratching its formerly-pristine appearance. I uttered a few mighty oaths, not knowing that a little old lady was within earshot. I did not make a good impression on her or her daughter.

I got in and proceeded to work. The next three hours flew by. People don't realize how time consuming, how absorbing, this work is. Load the microfilm. Zip through it to find the articles you want, sourced earlier using a different database. Highlight the article using the application on the computer the microfilm reader is attached to. Save the article to a thumb drive. Repeat as necessary. I've gotten pretty good at that, but still, three hours is not as much time to work on this as you'd think.

I ended up finding nearly two dozen articles about this particular case, and several others about a few other cases on my radar. I drove home.  Ate something. Watched an episode of "Wynonna Earp". Showered and shaved. Came down here and backed up the files I downloaded earlier, and started writing this lovely post.

Two more work days in the work week. Weekend is already shaping up nicely. Looking forward to it.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Post 3624 - I'm Back! With New Friends!

Hello, you furry humans, you!

We returned to the city Monday afternoon, after two days at the cottage. No internet. No shoes. And a hard drive full of movies and tv shows hooked up to a media player hooked up to an HD tv for entertainment. Roughing it, 2017 style.

In our unbridled enthusiasm to return to work this morning, we neglected to take anything out of the freezer to thaw out for dinner tonight. By the end of our work day, we were hungry and at loose ends. We decided to return to Fredie's Fantastic Fishhouse in Bayer's Lake. Third visit in less than two weeks.

You have to understand something about Fredie's Fantastic Fishhouse. The fish and chips are, well, fantastic. They oftentimes sell out of certain products before they shut down for the evening, so it is best to get their early. A couple of weeks ago, we got there as they were about to close. They had almost nothing left to sell to us. The co-owner actually offered me the fish pieces she was going to take home to her family. I declined, so she promptly wrote out a "$10 off" note on a business card. We returned for a delicious dinner the following evening, and got it for ten dollars less.

We are fans of the place.

You also have to understand something else. The place is popular. Very popular. They expanded their business a few months ago, adding seating, but it fills up quickly. They set up tables and chairs outside, but it was raining tonight, so we elected to sit inside.

There are only a few tables and chairs. People routinely sit with strangers. That's what we did. When they left, they were replaced by four others, folks from the States here in town for a photography seminar thingy.

Here they are:

From left to right: Dale, Barbara, Cathy, and Milbren.

When we weren't stuffing our gobs with fish and clams and scallops and fries soaking in vinegar and salt, we got to know each other a bit. You wouldn't know it from their extremely youthful looks, but they are all retired folks. They are up here to take photographs in various parts of the province. By this weekend, they will have been to Peggy's Cove twice, one of the times at sun up.

They are from Georgia, Maryland, California and North Carolina. We felt so boring when we told them we were from the province, born and bred.

We had a lovely chat. Dale is retired from IT and threw around enough buzz words that I knew he wasn't bs'ing me. Cathy was in business for herself, I think. I don't recall if Milbren said what he is retired from.

All too soon, we were done eating, and took our leave. We will see you soon, Fredie's Fantastic Fishhouse. 

There is a certain harmony, a beauty if you will, associated with meeting friendly folks from different parts of the world. Sharing a meal with these folks just puts the cherry on top.

I promised my new friends that I'd mention them on the blog. I have kept my promise. And they each got a blog business card, so they have no excuse but to read this and think what a great guy I am. They're welcome.

Pushing midnight. Up for work in less than six hours. Think I should turn in, huh?

See you tomorrow.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Post 3623 - The Blog Returns Tomorrow

Bevboy's Blog returns on August 8. A few days off at the cottage. Other stuff.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Post 3622 - Another Day Later

Friday night/Saturday morning. Still not at the cottage.

In the morning, 8 or so, we will get up and drive down there. We are not trying to fritter away our long weekend, but we did have a good time the last couple of days.

Friday we slept in, but eventually hit the road to the Bayer's Lake theatres and saw "Atomic Blonde", which was hard to follow. The action scenes were very good, especially the one shot to look like one very long take. It probably took days to film it. But I am getting tired of the grim and gritty nature of so many Hollywood films. The colors are muted, almost non-existent in places. Even sunny days look drab and dreary. Please stop doing that, Hollywood!

Tonight we watched "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." on Netflix. Enjoyed it much more than Atomic Blonde, if you ask me. (And it's my blog, and I don't have to be asked for my opinions on things.)

Just finished watching "Real Time With Bill Maher". Missed the old coot while he was on vacation. The funniest part by a country mile was when he got Obama impressionist Reggie Brown to say the same words and phrases that Trump has uttered over the last couple of years. Check it out on youtube. Should be there by now.

We hope to be on the road by 8 or 9. Gotta get some sleep.

See you in a few days, my lovelies.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Post 3621 - A Day Later (And Several Dollars Shorter)

Hi. We haven't gone to the cottage yet. We slept in this morning. I cooked breakfast. My editor and I discussed my latest true crime piece for next week's Frank Magazine. And Patricia and I hit the road late in the morning.

We went to a couple of thrift stores. BFM, or Bibles For Missions, is a huge thrift store out Bedford way. Prices are terrific, not like the over priced stuff you get at Value Village. And they have tag days. If the item you want to purchase has the colour of tag that is that day's tag, you get it for half price, with a few exceptions like jewelry. So, a 75 cent book will cost 38 cents, plus 5% GST, which is like 39 cents total. Furthermore, clothing which had a yellow price tag on it was going for a dollar per item. I got a couple summer shirts, one of which was half price, so I got it really cheap. Walked out of there with some decent clothes and barely paid 10 dollars.

The cashier told me they get all kinds of stuff in there. From time to time, someone will contribute a flat screen television. It usually is sold almost instantly, as it is discounted so much, maybe 80 dollars or less. Getting a 40 inch tv for 80 or 100 dollars is a pretty good bargain.

I think I mentioned before that the computer monitor on this media server, which I am writing this blog post on, came from the BFM store. It happened to be blue tag day that day, and this monitor had a blue price tag on it, so it was instantly half off. It was the very same model monitor that I bought 8.5 years ago new, and it cost something like $150. It crapped out six months or so ago. Anyway, I got a replacement 19 inch widescreen monitor, same model as the other one, at BFM for $5.72.

From there, we went to the Guy's Frenchy's which was about a 60 second car drive from the BFM. I got a few more shirts there, and a couple pairs of shorts. That cost me about 20 dollars.

I wanted to go to a couple other thrift stores in town, but Patricia was tired. So we drove to Fredie's Fantastic Fish and Chips in Bayer's Lake and tied one on before returning home.

We have lazed around the house ever since.

I like these laid back days, sifting through the detritus that people discard and finding useful stuff.  We should do it more often.

Tomorow, as far as I know, cottage country.

See you soon.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Post 3620 - The Weekend IS Here!

Wednesday night. Weekend is here.

Let me explain.

We have booked off on vacation on Thursday. Our earned day off is Friday. And Monday is a holiday. So, five days away from work. Of course, those days will fly by in a heartbeat. They always do.

After work tonight I went to the Archives to research some more unsolved murders and missing persons cases. I found one particular article that I tapped this evening for my next true crime piece in Frank, which I hope will be published next week. Once I found that, I started looking for more articles about other cases that I will be writing about in the coming months. I found quite a bit.

One case in particular that has confounded me is a murder in Dartmouth back in 2012. I finally managed to track down the man's sister in the last few days. But she doesn't want to talk to me. I don't get it. Do they want these murders solved or not? The media can really get the word out about these cases, in a way that the police cannot. They need us as we need them. I'm happy to talk to these people to write an honest article about their loved ones. When they don't want to talk to me, or other media folks, then I am flummoxed.

I picked up Patricia and the Halifax Shopping Centre. I didn't see her at first, so I had to double back, and I took the wrong turn, and I don't want to talk about it any more. Not my finest hour. We got home and I ate something. Around 9pm, I came down here and finished the true crime piece I mentioned earlier. I filed it with my editor about 20 minutes ago.

That done, I can enjoy the next several days. Most of that time, we will be at the cottage, so blog updates will be spotty between now and Tuesday. Sorry about that.

I think I will turn in. Lots of fun on Thursday.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Post 3619 - Is It The Weekend Yet? No? Okay Wake Me Up When It Is

Monday night. One day down. Two more days to go before we are off work for a few days.

I barbecued dinner again tonight. Hamburgers and chicken breasts. Patricia has been pointing out that meat, while an important food group, was never meant to replace things like vegetables, carbs and grains. And water. I think that is her subtle-ish way of telling me that we are using the bbq too much. She may be right. I cleaned it out last evening. After about a month of use, a lot of food crud got inside there. Stuff that dripped off whatever I was cooking at the time. And we bought a propane tank that has a meter on it indicating how much fuel is left. After 30 days it is down a good third. And other than some mushrooms, of the non-magic variety, and some onions and peppers from a chicken kebab,  there's been nothing but meat on that puppy!

I am working on another true crime piece for next week's issue of Frank. I have to get it done in the next 48 hours. It will be quite a bit shorter than the article two issues ago. That was nearly three full pages. This one may be only one page. Hard to find out facts about this guy.

I think I will work on that article for an hour or so before turning in, so if you will excuse me...

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Post 3618 - The Weekend Is Over

Sorry I didn't write on Saturday. I was up doing stuff and then we stayed up quite late watching movies on Netflix.

We watched the first Mission:Impossible movie and then the most recent one, made 19 years later. I didn't really notice that Tom Cruise is not a young man until we watched the second Jack Reacher movie last year, but there has been this creeping-age thing going on with him for several years now. He looks much older in the most recent Mission:Impossible movie, which came out in 2015. We have not seen "The Mummy" yet, but I have read all about it. Apparently Tom Cruise insisted that his character be referred to as "young", even though he made it at age 54.

Anyway, today, Patricia went on a course to build a potting bench at Hands on Halifax, where people pay money to build things they can turn around and use. They also provide a place where people can go and rent tools and build stuff. Pretty cool thing to be able to do right in the heart of the city, although my father had a very nice work shop in the house, and before that, he would work long into the night in the garage. She got to use a mitre saw for the first time. The bench would not fit in our car, so one of the instructors delivered it to us, which was good of them. Ten dollars in delivering costs was money well spent.

We dragged it to the back yard after dinner this evening. After work tomorrow we will get some sand paper and some verathane and some stain for it. Patricia can lovingly sand it down and then stain the thing while I stain the front deck.

We only have to work three days this week. We are off Thursday and Friday. Looking forward to this mini vacation.

I think I will turn in. 5:30 comes really early.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Post 3617 - The Weekend IS Here

Finally. At long last, the weekend is here.

The tall ships are in town. We are avoiding that part of town this weekend. I volunteered for the tall ships festival in 2007. The experience was so negative that it turned me off even wanting to watch the damn things. I mean, if that is what floats your boat, go; but I won't be there with you.

We haven't quite decided what we will do this weekend, yet. Patricia wants to go to a farmer's market on Saturday, so we likely will. Maybe a day trip to Hubbards or Mahone Bay or something. We will have to see.

Patricia has a thing on Sunday, so I will be batching it that day, if only for a few hours. Have many things to do.

There is an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which Sheldon announces that rather than go out with the boys that night, he is going to stay home and refresh the operating system on his laptop. The laugh track comes on. Very funny. Ha ha. The only thing is, that is an actual thing.

Thursday night, when I should have been going to bed, I was instead installing Linux Mint on a solid state drive and then making that drive the primary drive for this computer. I tried to format the former primary drive, but I couldn't for some technical reason/bug in linux. I had to install gparted this evening and use that to partition the original drive, which got rid of the contents on the drive (sort of, if you catch my drift). That has worked well. I am now installing dropbox on the SSD and synchronizing that content. I also backed up a lot of the content from the original drive Thursday night, and will shortly start copying some of that stuff back to that newly-repartitioned drive.

I don't hear a laugh track. Maybe I should turn off the radio.

I did all this work because this is a really old computer that moans and groans when I ask it to do much of anything. I figure installing a SSD will speed it up. Next week, I will buy more ram for it as well to make it that much more useful, for I hope another couple of years.

Still not hearing that laugh track. If I had Sheldon Cooper's delivery, people would be rolling in the aisles.

I think I will turn in. I'm a little hurt.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Post 3616 - Not Quite The Weekend

Is it Friday yet?

No. Too bad.

Patricia had Pilates after work tonight, so I had to cool my heels at work for an extra hour and 45 minutes. I ended up chatting with a co-worker who was also working late. I left about five minutes after he did.

She was hungry after her class so we ended up going to the Chinese place in Lakeside for a quick combo plate. It is the kind of place where the food is agreeable enough, but you shudder to think what the conditions are like in the kitchen. I no longer go to the washroom in that place because it disturbed me too much to see a big honking bowl of boiled rice cooling off in the hallway outside the men's room. I try to maintain the illusion, at least in my mind, that the food is cooked in a pristine environment. Ignorance is bliss.

We got home. The neighbour's cat greeted us. We fed him, and his face was whisker-deep in the bowl. Newbie was jealous. He saw us and started eating. His bowl of food was pretty much untouched all day. I think he thinks we are not coming home when we leave for work in the morning, so he tries to make his food last as much as possible. Then, when we come home, 10  hours or more later, he eats his food, quickly, and vomits in the hallway, on the carpet. I clean it up before Patricia sees it. If she does see it first, she tells me to clean it up, so I am no further ahead.

I am not sure what the weekend plans are yet. Patricia wants to do a day excursion on Saturday, as far away from the tall ships as possible. Maybe we will hang around the house. Maybe we will go to Otis&Clementine's in Tantallon. Sunday she has a course in the downtown, so I will likely hang around here and stain the front deck, something that is long overdue. I will try to wake up before noon to do that.

I think I will turn in. A long day tomorrow.

See you then.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Post 3615 - Yawn

So, it is much later than I would like it to be for writing a blog post. After work, I spent nearly two hours at the archives. I did not find what I was looking for, but did find some other interesting things. Which is always the way, huh?

I know that there was a certain criminal trial in 1991 for a certain person, who later went missing. But I am a darned if I can find the what and the exact when. And even though I go through the microfilms as quickly as I can, and I know that the local news was always in the first few pages of this particular paper, it is still a great deal of slogging.

I will find it. Soon.

Tomorrow is Thursday already.  Where does the time go, anyway?

Time to turn in. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Post 3614 - A Good Deed

Hello, you glorious hunk of man, you!

Sorry I didn't write last evening. By the time we got home, around 6:30, I was so tired I had to take a nap. It ended up lasting nearly 11 hours. I don't know what to say. I do feel better this evening.

So, after work, Patricia arrived at the Superstore parking lot where I was waiting for her. It is our usual ritual. I park across the street from my work and she takes the bus from the downtown. Tonight, she wanted to go into the store and get a few things, so we moved the car closer to the entrance. As we walked past a gentleman I heard him say how stupid he was. I figured he was gonna swear so I covered my ears.

Then I told him not to be so hard on himself, that whatever he did couldn't be that bad. He told me that he had locked his keys in his car and had no way to contact his wife to come pick him up.

I did not revise my opinion of him. I was going to tell him about the time when I was 15 and I was hitchhiking, which is stupid unto itself. But I got picked up for a ride and reached behind the female passenger to try to open the door behind her, with zero success. The driver then informed me that it was a four door car. I defy anybody to try to beat that level of stupidity.

But I digress.

We made it as far as the entrance when my heart strings began to tug for this poor man. I left Patricia to her devices and went back to talk to him to console him, to see if there was something I could do. He wanted to talk to his wife and didn't have a cell phone, so I called his wife for him and let him talk to her. After that was over, I asked him what his plan was. He said he was going to have to leave the car there until his wife could show up with the other set of keys, but in the meantime he would have to call a cab and be transported to his job in the city's North end. I learned that he was a former police officer. I offered to drive him to that job. He nearly jumped out of his skin.

After I told Patricia of my plan, I drove the man to his job. We chatted. I told him about my side job at Frank. After he finished asking me about Denyse Sibley and her travails, we spoke about some unsolved murders. I learned a thing or two about one of those cases I am investigating.

As I dropped him off, I made the man promise that he would contact me to see how the issue with his car worked out for him. I gave him one of my blog business cards. With any luck, he will see this post and be reminded. He can write me right here at this link.

I met a nice man this evening and did him a solid. I like to think that down the road, when I need help with something, someone will do me a solid.

I am not sure what the lesson is. Maybe it is that a small act or two I did for that gentleman this evening made a real difference to him. Maybe a small act or two that you can do for someone will make that person's day and help him/her out of a real pickle. Let's try to keep it in mind that it doesn't cost anything to be nice to people.

You have a good evening and take care of yourselves. There's too much crap out there.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Post 3613 - Ugh

It is very late. How late? Well, I promised some time ago I would stop writing about how late it was when I wrote a blog post. Suffice it to say, it is late.

And I was up early. Something after 7. On the road shortly before 8. Went to the Valley to mow the lawn down at my Valley estate. It had not been mowed in two weeks. I won't be back there for a spell so I don't want it to be too shaggy by the time I get back. Also whipper snipped around the property, something that was over due.

After a quick lunch, I drove over to New Minas to drop off some electronics at the depot and then set out to buy a couple short sleeve shirts. The ones I have are getting ratty and don't owe me anything. I was gonna buy several, but I didn't feel like pay 12 dollars for a used shirt at  Value Village, and the Frenchy's in NM had nearly nothing. I will keep looking.

Went to Wolfville and bought some reduced items at the IGA before returning to the city by 3:30 or so. I was greeted with the usual enthusiasm from Patricia ("Who are you? What do you want?"). Then we resumed watching Ozark on Netflix. I cooked burgers for dinner and we watched some more episodes of that fine, fine series. We watched the final episode finishing just before 11pm.

Tomorrow is the start of a major bit of construction running for 11 weeks. We will have to leave that much earlier in the mornings, and take a different route, to boot. We do not look forward to this.

Need some sleep. Lots of under-my-breath cussing to do on the way to work in the morning.

Bye, y'all.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Post 3612 - Psst! Over Here! Let Me Show Ya Something!

Glenn Bourgeois was murdered on July 21, 2007. His murder remains unsolved.

To mark the tenth anniversary of his murder, my editor at Frank has taken my article about Glenn and his murder out from behind the paywall. This means you can read it for free for a few days.

Here is the link.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Post 3611 - Sweltering

Crazy hot around the Bevboy house this evening. We have been trying to cool off, to no avail. Newbie has gone into hiding, in search of a place where he can feel less hot. Good luck, Newbie.

I bought some more Alpine beer after work tonight. I developed a taste for it a few years ago when I hired the guys to build my new decks. That was the main guy's fave beer, as he had worked with some guys from New Brunswick, where Alpine is popular, and developed a taste for it, too. The beer is not a popular seller in Nova Scotia. You can't buy a 2-4 of it anywhere, so you make do with a 12 pack.

But when the guy rang up the Alpine, it came up as another product, that cost slightly more. After a bit of confusion, they realized that their point of sale system was out of whack, and I got my beer for 21 cents less. I don't know how long that beer was showing up as the wrong product. Perhaps a while, but I was the first one to notice and bring it to their attention. Another thing that goes to show that this beer is not popular in NS. Don't know why. I think it's pretty good. Better than a lot of beers around here that people lap up.

Watched the first couple episodes of "Ozark" on Netflix this evening. A dark show starring Jason Bateman who ends up laundering money for the mafia in the Ozarks. There are many twists and turns to come up.

We have a busy day tomorrow. I have a task looming that will take a better part of the day. I will tell you about it tomorrow.

See you then.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Post 3610 - Today!

So, I woke up this morning and decided I had to do something about my hair.

I mean, nothing radical. It is still beautiful hair, the envy of most men. Even straight men like to run their fingers through it.

But it was getting long.

Here. Take a look.

Very hard to handle. Lots of product had to be used to keep it all in place. Driving me crazy.

So, during my lunch hour, I wandered down to Helen's Barber Shop on Kempt Road and was taken right in. 20 minutes or so later, this is what I looked like...

The good news is that if you don't like it, it will all grow back by next Wednesday.

After work, I drove Patricia home and had a quick shower to get the loose hair out of my head. Then, I drove to the Timberlea Dental Centre for my first appointment there.

They treated me very well. A thorough and professional cleaning. I will not say I enjoyed the experience, but I do not dread going back there next month for the X-Rays.

It was nice to hop in the car and be home in less than five minutes rather than be downtown or whatever and be faced by a 20-25 minute drive. The offices are clean and inviting. I could look out the window where I was with my hygienist and see a couple people kayaking on the lake behind the building. Next door is a farmer's market. Across the street are a drug store, a physiotherapist, a pub, an Ultramar station, and just up the street, a Tim Horton's. Between those two places there will be a brewery or a distillery. I forget which. It is a pretty decent part of the world, and I am glad to live in it and be able to contribute to a local business in this way. I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Timberlea Dental.

I think I will turn in. The stress of getting my hair cut, plus the time in the dental chair, has left me exhausted.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Post 3609 - Tomorrow!!

Sigh. On the way home tonight we stopped off at Timberlea Dental Center. I have a cleaning with them scheduled for Thursday night.

I am thinking that I will like it there. Seems like a pretty decent set up. The staff I have met so far seem very nice.

I am just nervous about going to the dentist. Even at my age, after all these years. Hate. Going.

But I am deeply unhappy with my present dental providers. The dentist left last year, likely ran out the door when he realized how messed up the place was. They didn't have an actual dentist on staff for a time. They recently hired one. The hygienist was not that kind to me in the last appointment. I got there, plopped myself in the chair, prepared for that session of torture. He told me what I just told you, about the new dentist. How they wanted to do x-rays, but feared my gag reflex would cause me and them grief. Suggested I go to a dentist that specializes in "sleep dentistry". Have a nice day. Would not even check my teeth.

I was so ticked off, that I resolved then and there to find another dentist. Assuming these new folks are at least half-way kind to me, I may have done so.

I will keep you up-to-date on this important, even critical, aspect of my life.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Post 3608 - A Busy Night

I feel a sense of accomplishment tonight, ladies and gentlemen.

I spent a few hours tonight staining my back deck and side steps.

I did not perform that necessary task in 2016. I am trying to recall why. I think it comes down to laziness, but perhaps the weather did not co-operate the way I needed it to, along with my laziness.

There is now a coat of stain on those areas of the house. I have not done the portion of the back deck that faces out, that one can see from other houses, if you catch my drift. I will finish that task over the weekend if the weather lets me. More important, though, is concentrating on the front deck, which gets a lot of foot traffic, and which has also been unstained in two years.

After all this time, the wood was so thirsty that the stain seeped right in. By the time I had finished staining the side steps, and the "pole" that the clothesline is attached to, I had nearly used the entire can of stain. I used the rest on part of fence separating me from my neighbor. I will have to buy another can of stain this week so I can do the front deck.

If there is time, and money for that matter, I will do a second coat of stain on the decks and side steps later on this Summer.

Shame on me for not doing this in 2016.

Wednesday night I plan to hang around the archives for a couple of hours. I promise to think about you while I am there. Will help take my mind off the unsolved murders I want to research.

You guys have a good night.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Post 3607 - Is It The Weekend Yet?

Well, hello there, handsome. Come here often?

Turns out that Patricia and I had a little stowaway from our Pictou County long weekend. A guy at work came back from coffee break this morning and asked me what we were planning to have for dinner tonight. "We haven't decided yet", I told him. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, maybe you can have a nice bird for supper!" He showed me a picture he had just taken on his phone of the Soul's grill. Wedged in it was a very dead small bird. We must have hit it at some point during out trip to or from the cottage. Maybe Patricia hit it on the way to or from New Glasgow Friday afternoon. Doesn't matter.

When we got home tonight, and after we had dinner, I got out my garden hose and unrolled it to the point where I could hose down the grill of the car. With a bit of coaxing, the very dead bird fell out on to the ground. I scooped up the poor dead bird and threw him in the green bin.

I did not get pictures. Might be upsetting to you. I know it didn't make my day to do that.

At least now I have a nice clean front grill again.

We watched this week's episode of "I'm Dying Up Here!", which is the funniest and saddest show at the same time. I am in awe of what they are doing. You have to see it. Just drop what you're doing, watching the first six episodes of "I'm Dying Up Here!", and report back to me when you're done. I will wait right here.

Are you back already? So, what did you think? Hmm? You want to collect your thoughts and let me know? No problem, man.

Not much else goin' on. Think I will turn on. Newbie is giving me that come hither look. I know better than to resist him.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Post 3606 - Back From Break

Well, that was fun. Did you miss me? I missed you.

We are back in the city, after a couple days at the cottage. As long as we thought the lawn would be, it was even longer. In places, it was up to my hips. I spent hours and hours on Friday afternoon and into the evening, mowing the lawn, with the blade all the way up. I had to re-fill the gas tank twice, and had to stop the lawn tractor several times in order to clear grass away from the blade.

Thanks to the anti-histamine I had to take to prevent the hay fever from killing me, I turned in early Friday night and slept for the better part of twelve hours. I mowed some more on Saturday and took another anti-histamine, so I slept most of Saturday afternoon. When I was awake, Patricia and I watched episodes of season three of "Better Call Saul". We finished watching the season Sunday morning.

Patricia was quite grateful to see the rough cut of the lawn done, at long last.

There was time for some fun. We dipped into Pictou Friday morning and had lunch at Fat Tony's. We both had soup. I had turkey vegetable. Patricia had cream of zucchini. We shared a privateeer's bounty or whatever the hell they called it. Fries and onion rings and  mozza sticks and chicken wings and veggies. Not bad. Not sure it was worth $26, though. The food over all was pretty good, and the location is terrific. They clearly spent a ton of money on the place. Downtown Pictou has much more to offer than one would expect. I still miss the pub that was across the street, though. What was that place called? The Pressroom? Something like that.

But other than that one trip together, it was either work or sleep or watching "Better Call Saul". Friday afternoon, Patricia did dip into New Glasgow for provisions. She bought enough stuff to last us until we shut the place down again in November. Fridge freezer is full up.

We returned to the city this afternoon. We spent the evening taking it easy and getting ready to return to work in the morning.

Three day weekends go by too quickly. What is up with that?

I think I will turn in. Newbie is getting lonely.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Post 3605 - Another Break

The blog is taking a couple of days off.

Friday morning, we will pile into the Soul and drive to the cottage. We still haven't been there in 2017. We shudder to think what the condition of the lawn will be. It will take two days to mow the thing. And we have no internet coverage down there, so unless we make it to the library in River John or Tatamagouche or something, then we will be sans internet, which means no blog.

I'm sure you understand.

As things stand, we will be back in the city Sunday afternoon, with a relatively mowed lawn at the cottage. Plus bug bites, dehydration and maybe even lyme disease from walking through the tall grass for a couple of days.

I think I will turn in. Long day tomorrow.

See you Sunday.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Post 3604 - The Nerve

I need to rant.

I won't mention names. But I was trying to track down information about a true crime that occurred some years ago. Managed to find the man's father's obituary. From that, I found names of grandchildren. Used that information to contact a grandchild, a daughter to the man who went missing. She got me in touch with her mother, whose name I had never seen before. All good so far.

We IM'd on Facebook earlier this evening. Seemed enthusiastic to talk to me. Then she springs on me the fact that she expects me to sign a contract agreeing to show her a draft of the article, which she will vet, so as not to embarrass her or the family.

This is not done. Just. Not. Done. No media person would ever sign a contract agreeing to show the draft of an article, or a rough cut of a video or audio piece.

She had just got through telling me that she was trying to get people to do an article about her ex-husband as she has lots to tell. But assuming that she would expect all media people to sign a contract first, then it is no wonder that people are not doing articles about her ex-husband.

Flabbergasted.  Shocked. Disappointed.

Almost as bad, maybe as bad, possibly even worse, than the time a few months ago when a woman expected me to pay her cash money before she would talk to me about her cousin who was shot to death a number of years ago.

I don't know what to say. Absolutely speechless.

Do they want us to get the word out about their missing or murdered loved ones, or not?

Why do I bother?


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Post 3603 - A Pathological Fear

Why, hello there, you handsome sailor man, you!

Another day down. Patricia had a Pilates class after work, so it gave me some time to kill. I walked to Jesse's Pizza on North Street and got their slice and pop deal, for five dollars. The pizza was acceptable. I don't think I like pizza that much, any more. You can't get a decent slice for a decent amount of money, and the higher end pizzas are so expensive as to be out of reach for most people. And who would want to take his sweetheart to a gourmet pizza place, anyway? Nothing says romance like pizza. Not.

Across King Street, still on North, is Java Blend coffee. Had never been there. A very nice place, indeed, if along so busy a section of the city that I can't imagine ever relaxing there. They are yet another in a very long line of local coffee roasters in this province. I don't see how it is economical for so many roasters to source coffee beans, grown in Peru or wherever it is, bring them to Nova Scotia, acquire the equipment necessary to grind them in a way to make them useful, and sell them at a price that is tolerable to the average person. I could not begin to list all the coffee roasters in this province. I am discovering new ones, all the time. At least Java Blend is among the most established roasters. They do make a very good cuppa. Perhaps I will buy a bag of their stuff at some point.

I walked back to where I had parked the car. Was gonna read a book, but instead listened to a podcast on the car radio. The car stereo has many features. In addition to the AM/FM radio, there is also satellite radio. Plus, I can plug in a usb key that contains up to... I think the limit is 6000 songs, but I may be off by 1000 or so. Plus there is a small internal flash drive that I can copy songs/podcasts to if I want. Plus, there is an input that I can insert a standard audio cable into. Oh, let's not forget that there is bluetooth, so I can stream songs from my phone to the stereo if I wish. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy content on the car stereo

Patricia's class was done around 6:30. We drove home. Patricia grabbed something to eat. I showered and shaved. I applied some coconut butter to my face to moisturize it. I think I used too much. I will know for sure if someone at work in the morning tries to rub lime juice on my face. ("You put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up"). A guy can dream.

Two more work days, and then off for three. Cottage, we will be there. We are scared about how high the lawn will be, but we will persevere.

You 4.7 have a good evening. Bark at ya later.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Post 3602 - Retirement Musings

Hello there, you scurrilous little pup. Ruff! Ruff!

So, I don't talk about this much, but I think about this a lot. I am eligible to retire late in 2018. The way it works for me in the civil service is that you become eligible to retire after your age plus years of service equals 80. Unless you joined the civil service after April 6, 2010, when the "rule of 85" kicked in. I joined before that.

The way I figure, a few tumblers have to line up.

1. The "rule of 80" thing, above.

2. Can you afford to retire?

3. Do you like your job?

4. How is your health?

#2, no way. I pay off a major debt in 2020. Maybe then.

A guy last week told me he was retiring at the end of the month. Told me some stuff. The difference between him leaving this month and staying another year, in terms of his pension amount, is about $120 a month. He says he could work one night a week at a department store for minimum wage and make more than that over the course of a month, minus the felgercarb associated with going into work every day.

I can see myself going on to another job for a few years after leaving where I am now. I haven't decided yet. The 2020 debt thing makes sense, but you never know. I don't want to be "that guy" who just hangs around and hangs around until five minutes before he dies, never having enjoyed a retirement.

So much to think about.

What are your thoughts? You know how to reach me.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Post 3601 - A Quick Trip

Boy, are my arms tired.

A Sunday morning. We got up around 6:30. I showered and shaved. By shortly after 8, we were on the road to the Valley. I had to mow the lawn at the house. Patricia wanted to pick haskap berries.

I commenced mowing around 10am, after Patricia took off in the soul to the nearby fields where you pick those expensive berries. She was told to "caress" them, gently pull them off the branches that hold them. Very time intensive. Six boxes she picked herself cost her something like $22.

It took me until around 11:45 to mow the lawn. I took little breaks along the way to keep myself hydrated and catch my breath. By the time I was done, the lawn looked much, much better.

Around 2pm, we hopped in the car and drove out to Elm Grove cemetery in Steam Mill. It is where my parents and my brother and other relatives are buried. I had not seen the grave in a little while. One of Dad's sisters is buried along the same row between my parents and their parents, if you see what I mean. My parents. A couple more graves. Margaret Rose. A couple more graves. Then their parents. We wandered around the cemetery for a few minutes and marveled at how intricate some of the headstones are. Some of them have colour pictures on them, in some process I will not quite ever understand, either how it is done, or why people would go to that time, trouble, and expense.

I still miss my parents like crazy. My dad died in 2010, and Mom died suddenly in 2015. I still wish I could pick up the phone and say hello to them. That I cannot still upsets me.

From there, we drove to Berwick. We wanted to get some North Mountain Coffee from the roaster there.  But, they are closed on Sunday. WTF! When we got back to the car, a couple of women also wandered up to the entrance and were disappointed. 10 minutes later, when we drove past, four bicyclists were leaving the area next to the store, doubtless disappointed that they could not refuel before riding some more.  So, eight people, eight customers, disappointed they could not grab a coffee there, in ten minutes. How many others stopped by and learned they could not get in? How many of those people will perhaps decide to check out another place next time?

I don't get it. I understand needing a day off, a day of rest if you will. But why not make that day a Monday or a Tuesday or something, when things are naturally more quiet? It is the summer. People like us are driving around and wanna buy stuff, but can't because the stores that have those items are not open.

We grabbed an early dinner at the Union Street Cafe up the street. Decent meal. Great service. Not running back there, mostly because we have a metric tonne of food in a couple of freezers in Halifax, and every time we buy more food, and try to find room for it in those freezers, we get frustrated and angry with one another. We have the barbecue now, so that will become the go-to arena for preparing food for us going forward.

We returned to the house and got our things and hit the road. We needed some milk in  Wolfville, so we got some, and drove home.

Got home around... 6:45 I think it was. Shortly more than 12 hours after we got up.  We are tired, irritable. But I am at least no longer sweaty, after my second shower of the day.

Back to work tomorrow. Yippee.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Post 3600 - Special Non-Special Post

Well, hello there, you glorious hunk of human, you.

Sorry I didn't write Friday night. My body pretty much shut down around 9:15. Slept for nearly 12 hours. Why does sleeping in on weekends feel so good, anyway?

Spent much of the day watching episodes of "Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away", a British reality show on Netflix about bailiffs who seize property from debtors, even evict them. A fascinating, compelling, even addictive show. It is up to season five in the U.K., but Netflix only provides the first two seasons, so I am not sure what we will do when we burn through the next few episodes.

We are at post 3600, not exactly the kind of plateau that merits a big mention, but I won't ignore it, either. As I have mentioned before, I have lost count of the post numbers of the years. I might think it was 3214, for example, and I'd just name the next one 3115, knocking 100 off the number for no reason other than my carelessness. The number of the post is not quite arbitrary. It is close to the actual number of posts. But it is not exact by any means.

I am curious about one thing, though: how many of you have been reading this blog since close to the beginning? It turns 10 years old this Fall, believe it or not. How many of you were "here" back in 2007, when I started this thing? If not the beginning, let me know you have been reading. Did you discover it recently, or have you been around for a while?

You can leave a comment on the post, write me privately on my Facebook, tweet me at @bevboy0223, comment me publicly on my Facebook, or email me here.

I am not sure how much longer the blog will last. I have no plans to stop it, but interest in anything can wane rather than wax. I have plenty of blog business cards here in my home office, and I would hate to see them go to waste, so I think I will be here for a while yet.

Special plans for Sunday. Will tell you about them tomorrow night.

See you then.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Post 3599 - Thursday Night Round Up

Random thoughts.

Stan Lee's wife, Joan, died today at age 93. They had been married for nearly 70 years. When I told Patricia, she remarked that Stan is likely the next to go, and fairly soon. Long-married couples often die within short times of each other. I recall a long-married couple in Beaver Harbour New Brunswick, the Greencorns. I think the order was that she died, and he died just a couple of days later. Their daughter, Dorothy, pre-deceased them both. Terribly sad.

Bob MacLaren, former owner/head of CKBW in Bridgewater, died today. Years ago, Bob was the guy smacked in the face by the man who killed the CJOH sportscaster. That man just died a week or so ago.

Thanks to a last minute influx of information, I can report that I will have a true crime article in the next issue of Frank. That makes two issues in a row, assuming my editor has enough room to accommodate the article, which is a bit longer than most of my other true crime pieces. This one is somewhat different than previous articles. This one posits a theory that would have been nearly unheard of in Nova Scotia in the period of time when this crime occurred. Find out what I mean on Monday, when the issue goes online. Wednesday if you want to get a print copy.

We're using the barbecue an awful lot. The tank has a gauge on it. We are still in the "green" section, indicating there is plenty of propane left. But the needle has moved a fair amount in just a week. Cooked sausage this evening. Burp!

I forgot to tell you last night, but on my way out of Toastmasters last evening, as I was heading for the elevator, emerging from said elevator was former premier John Buchanan. Dressed in a very nice suit. Does that man even own a pair of jeans? I told him who I was. He said that he thought he knew everybody who had my last name. I gave him one of my blog business cards and told him I write for Frank. His face lit up. "Why, Cliff Boutilier is one of my best friends!", he exclaimed. Told my editor about the incident this morning. He said that news would come as a surprise to Cliff.

Filled up the gas tank on the way to work this morning. Was on fumes. The little orange light had come on Wednesday night. That light means, "Get some gas for your car, you cheap so-and-so. Heck's wrong with you?" Gas is supposed to go up two cents a liter over night, so I thought it best to fill up before that happens.

The Soul had an oil change today. Won't need to worry about that chore again for another 6000 kilometers. I also ordered an external car wash, which would have set me back ten more dollars. When I went to pick up the car, I learned that they had comped it. Very nice of them! A nice job, too. The bird poop on the side is now gone. And to forestall all the hassles associated with this task, today I also booked an appointment to install the Winter tires on the car, on November 14th!

I used the ten dollars I saved on the car wash to pay for my lunch. Will pack, tomorrow. Barbecued animal flesh, anyone?

Let me know if you think I should I do any more of these Thursday Night Round Ups. This was fun.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Post 3598 - Wednesday Night Musings

Hello there, you little scamp.

I did not write last night because by the time I got a chance to sit down to produce a post, it was late, and I was tired, and I had nothing to write about. But, of course, having nothing to write about is sort of par for the course, eh wot?

We had our final Toastmasters meeting until September, tonight. Five people showed up. A member did a very nice speech. We did a short table topics session in which people were given pairs of items (tea and coffee, AM or PM, etc) and had to decide which item they liked better, and why.

After that, while Patricia was getting her hair done, I went to the Archives to investigate a couple unsolved murders. I found some stuff about a 1985 double homicide, including their obituaries, which I can now use to try to find some family members. Obituaries are a very important tool to track down family members. A free tip.

When I registered at the Archives, the commissionaire acted as if he recognized me, and said as much. I had not seen the fine gentleman before. On the way out, he asked me what I did for a living. I told him. But then I added that I write about unsolved murders and missing persons cases for Frank Magazine. His face lit up. Mike and I chatted for a few minutes there. He said he liked my radio column, and my true crime work. I told him to be sure to write my editor to let him know that he enjoyed my work. I guess he recognized me from the picture that accompanies my column.

I was the first one from Frank, a magazine he has been reading for years, whom he has ever met. I feel honoured.

Picked Patricia up and drove home.

Tomorrow we have to get up early and take the car in for a semi annual oil change. Another 80 dollars gone, but in order to maintain the warranty, it must be done. That, plus, we have to keep this car for as long as we can.

I can hardly wait.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Post 3597 - Uhhhhhh

Well, that was fun. Or maybe not.

We did not end up going to the cottage. Or anywhere else, for that matter. In fact, the car has not left the driveway since Friday night.

Let me explain.

We wanted to go to the cottage to mow the lawn. We haven't been down there yet in 2017. Grass is likely up to me arse by now. But the weather has not been cooperative at all. Heavy rain showers, followed by overcast conditions, followed by more rain. That was Saturday and a big chunk of Sunday.

We were booked off on vacation for Tuesday and Wednesday, returning to work on Thursday. But because of the weather, it would have taken 48 hours of dry conditions to allow the grass to reach the point where we could mow it.

The forecast would not allow for this.

So, we remained in the city, but did not do much. Like I said, the car remained in the driveway. We hung around the house. Watched Netflix. I finished watching this season's "Blacklist" this evening. And very little work. Just laying around, bbq'ing too much, sleeping too much, and preparing for work tomorrow.

We have canceled our two vacation days for this week. This means I have to figure out how to rescind vacation days from the scheduling software we have to use. I doubt if I am the the first one who has done this.

Anyway, a good rest, but nothing done at the cottage. We will get there, eventually.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Post 3596 - A Break

This will be the final blog post for several days.

We are going off to the cottage Saturday morning, returning to the city on Wednesday afternoon. Where we're going, there will be spotty-at-best internet coverage. And if we pretty much don't leave the cottage for those several days, then we will have zero internet coverage. Hard to write a blog post under those circumstances.

I listened to part of Denyse Sibley's final show on 89.9 The Wave this morning. Around 8:50, she announced she was leaving to take a job with Maritime Travel, where she will escort folks on vacations to places like Nashville.

It is a damn shame that the company she worked for sucked the passion of radio out of her, to the point where she felt she had to leave the medium entirely. I don't know her well at all, but I cannot help but think that she is just one phone call away from an enterprising program director who will offer her a dream job. There are several radio stations in the Halifax market that are struggling, that would be very lucky to have her. She has a huge fan base. A couple hundred have written her on her Facebook wishing her well. Come Tuesday morning, after the holiday, people who didn't listen to her final show will notice she isn't there and wonder what happened. A terrible, damn shame.

The next issue of Frank will have more details on this tragedy. I am sure that my friend Cliff Boutilier will be the one writing it. I will stay out of the way.

I barbecued several chicken breasts for dinner tonight. Devoured all but part of one of them. I think I will be gaining weight this summer.

I think I will turn in. Long trip tomorrow.

See you next week. I miss you already.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Post 3595 - Yum!

After a last-minute return to Canadian Tire to swap out the hose, we got the tank connected to the barbecue. It took a moment to start the thing. Then, we cooked a few kebabs and then several hamburgers.


So good.

I think we will barbecue again very soon. Like, maybe, breakfast.

I'm told that the barbecue will produce better food once it is seasoned, which I gather is just something that happens when you use the thing. I don't think that will be a problem!

Friday is in just a few hours. Friday morning I wanna listen to 89.9 The Wave, because it will be Denyse Sibley's last show. Like, maybe, forever. Her last radio show. Unless someone else snaps her up, she's gonezo. Which really sucks.

They have already advertised her job. The next guess is, who's going to apply? Who will want to fill her shoes?

When I find out, you will find out.

I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Post 3594 - Done!

Here is our new barbecue:

Look at that beauty. And we assembled it ourselves.

Well, I had a lot of the screws and washers and rotated the barbecue as more and more of it was assembled, to enable Patricia to access the areas she needed to. That's probably more accurate.

We haven't used it yet. In our frenzy to assemble the thing, we neglected to take out any hamburger or chicken or whatever, from our freezers. That was done this evening, so Thursday night we will try it out for the first time. Assuming the propane tank doesn't blow up in our faces, killing us, I will tell you about that first meal here tomorrow night.

Super yay.

Tonight we went to Lee Valley on the way home. Patricia had to pick up something. I stayed in the car. I don't "get" Lee Valley. I find the items expensive. You can get most things there, elsewhere, cheaper.

We got home and dozed off in front of the tv. I awoke and made my way to the home office, where I am tapping away at this post.

Tomorrow is Thursday already, which usually precedes Friday. We are off for a few days next week, returning to the office on Thursday, July 6th. A break from work is always welcome.

You guys take care of yourselves.  Assuming the propane tank doesn't blow up in our faces, killing, us, I will talk at you tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Post 3593 - An Honour

Well, the new issue of Frank Magazine is up. As a joke and as a plea for him to get more recognition, they have changed the name to "Sidney".

What I want to tell you about is how the cover of the Valley edition plays up my latest true crime article.

I can now tell you it is about the 1992 disappearance of Allan Kenley Matheson from Wolfville. He was last seen on the campus, not quite two weeks into the Fall semester. There are some interesting twists and turns in the piece, and some exclusive information, too. I hope you find it interesting. It was years in the making.

Here is the Valley cover:

Yep. My article made the cover. But not just the cover. The top part of the cover. This has never happened before.

I hope the magazine sells a few extra copies down there, as this is a long-outstanding mystery, one that needs a resolution.

You can buy the next issue of Frank Sidney, issue 770, on June 28th, probably mid-morning.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Post 3592 - The Barbecue From Hell

I should keep this short as it is quite late.

I know you have been wondering. People have been stopping me on the street. This morning, as I was standing at a urinal, a woman saddled up next to me and asked me about it. And I was in the men's room!

They all wanted to know how good Sissiboo coffee is.

It is good. Pretty darned good, actually. The medium roast has a nice and robust flavour without being obnoxious about it. I think we will revert to North Mountain Coffee when this stuff is gone, but Sissiboo is nothing to sneeze at.

After work, we wanted to go to Crappy tire and get a replacement battery for the cottage lawn tractor. We ended up buying a portable barbecue. Good quality parts and worksmanship. Marked down to $150. $50 off the regular price.

Anybody who prices barbecues knows that even the used ones are expensive. You can look on Kijiji and find plenty of barbecues. But even the rusted-out ones that look like they'll fall apart if you look at them sideways can cost a couple hundred bucks, which is outrageous. The more I think about it, the more I think the great maxim of life applies to barbecues: It is better to buy a new barbecue and buy your own problems, than it is to buy a used barbecue and buy somebody else's.

We bought our own problems tonight.

We went to Costco to get a propane tank, and filled it up for $9.45. Got everything home. By then it was nearly 8pm. We spent the next hour plus trying to assemble the thing. My heart sank as I opened the big box to see several little boxes inside, each with tiny parts looking up at me, mocking me, daring me to put them together in the correct order.

The lady in the store said this one was really easy to assemble.

Ha ha ha. Hee hee hee. Ho ho ho.

Patricia took control. By 9:15, as it was getting a little too dark to continue working, she had attached the handles to the side, the hinges had been installed, part of the cooking element was in place. Tuesday night, we hope to finish. But I don't find this easy at all. At. All. I am developing heart palpitations at the very thought of continuing this process. A few times now I nearly ran over to the young man who mows our lawn to ask him if he'd be willing to do this job for us. Each time, Patricia glowered at me with a "don't you dare tone", so I didn't dare.

I have a profound inability to take a diagram and relate it spatially to a series of objects within reach. I find this process so bewildering, so confusing, so frustrating, so maddening, that it causes serious damage to my mental health and self-esteem. The easier I am told something like this is to do, the more frustrated I become, and the dumber I feel when I don't get it. You would have an easier time explaining calculus to me. If I worked in a store where part of my job would be to assemble barbecues, or most anything else for that matter, I would have to resign from that job, to forestall being fired from it.  I am not kidding. This is a serious shortcoming in my skill set.

So, anyway, let's hope that the barbecue is put together by Tuesday night. It may not be, but we can try. Or, rather, Patricia can try, while I hold the washers and screws and nails for her. I might not muck that up.

But you never know. I cannot overstate my capacity for misunderstanding directions.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Post 3591 - The Weekend Is Behind Me

Well hello there, handsome.

It is Sunday evening. I have had a good weekend. Let me tell you about it.

Friday morning Patricia wanted to make up a couple Pilates classes, and I wanted to go to the Archives to research a couple murders, so she dropped me off there and went on her way. 4 hours flew by, and I still needed a bit of time there, so she picked me up around 2:45. We returned home.

But only for a little while, because we had a Toastmasters barbecue that night to go to. We had not had one in a few years, so this one was extra special. Lots of good food and yakking. At one point, I noticed that a member was drinking a tall can of something, so I asked her what it was. She told me was a radler, beer with grapefruit juice and some other kind of juice, like orange or something. She further explained that the juice pretty much took away the taste of the beer.

Damnedest thing I ever saw in my life.

Saturday morning I drove to the Valley. I wanted to mow the lawn up there and maintain some kind of presence at the house. Since I got rid of that bloody satellite dish a few weeks ago, my tv choices were slim Just the over the air channels and Netflix plus the plethora of dvd's I need to do something with. I ended up watching a documentary on Netflix about how Hulk Hogan managed to sue Gawker out of existence, and how billionaires are buying up newspapers and other publications to ensure that they no longer have to read crap about themselves. Sort of like the Irvings in New Brunswick and how they control the media there.

I also went to Kingsport for their gala days. I thought there would be a crap ton of yard sales, but there were only a few, and I seemed to be too early for others. I thought about going back in the afternoon, but I did not bother.

Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of my graduation from high school. I don't know where the time has gone. No idea. The years have just whizzed by.

Let's see here. I got up this morning and mowed the lawn. I have a little underpowered lawn mower, a far cry from Dad's old lawn tractor, which stopped working a couple of years ago. So I pushed that thing around for a couple of hours this morning and kept myself hydrated inside as much as I could.

I dropped into Wolfville this afternoon to get a bag of North Mountain coffee, but the Wool n' Tart no longer sells North Mountain Coffee. They sell Sissiboo coffee now, which is out of Annapolis Royal, so I tried out a sample of their dark roast and decided to buy a bag of their medium roast. Smells terrific. We are still partial to North Mountain out of Berwick, but we will give this a try.

For years we consumed Just Us coffee, but we have found that the quality has diminished lately. And we went to the Just Us coffee shop on Spring Garden Road a few months ago and had a very unpleasant experience. The coffee they served me was rank and disgusting. I would not finish it. I returned it to the counter and they didn't apologize or offer me a replacement or anything of that nature. It was expensive, and it was awful, and we haven't been back. We have been to the one in downtown Wolfville but once again, the quality is not what it used to be.

When we did a day trip to the Valley a few months ago, we ended up in Berwick, which is like a  Wolfville lite. That is the home for North Mountain Coffee. We went in and loved the place. The coffee was delish, and we were converted to their product then and there. Until today, when I bought the Sissiboo brand.

I promise to keep you up-to-date on this important change in our lives.

Back to work in the morning. Yippee.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Post 3590 - The Weekend Is Here!

Ah. That's better.

I am off until Monday. Three days away from work.

Tomorrow we plan to have breakfast, likely in the Smitty's in the downtown. We both have errands to take care of in that part of the city, tomorrow.  By suppertime we will be at a Toastmasters barbecue. Really looking forward to that.

I have a bunch of other plans this weekend. I will tell you about them as they unfold.

I just got a notification on my Facebook that someone had updated the Darian O'Toole RIP page. It made me think of the Raven-Haired Radio Wench, so I jumped over and clicked on the videos section. I can now say I have seen the infamous section of "48" Hours in which she appears discussing how she had been fired from an American radio station for having lied about her credentials.

Very long time readers will recall that this here blog got its first big exposure in April of 2008, when Darian/Karen died. I had some lingering issues regarding Karen that went back to 1990, and I attempted to work through them here. For some reason, some of those posts went... well, maybe not viral. But people googling information about her found those posts and began to add comments to them, which are still there if you want to go read them.

What a talented woman she was. Fired for lying on her resume, but she would never have got to the States to take on Howard Stern if she had not grossly exaggerated her credentials in the first place. That incident, plus her drinking and not working hard at her craft, caused her career down spiral. Getting fired from Q104 in Halifax in 2004 must have really stung.

What a terrible waste of talent. She coulda been a contender.

I think I will turn in. Lots to do tomorrow.

See you then.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Post 3589 - Sigh

Sometimes you wonder why you bother. Know what I'm saying?

The time was, not all that many years ago, when I volunteered for a lot of organizations. The Buskers. Jazz Fest. Tall Ships. Other places. I did it for a few reasons, but the main one was, at the time I had a job that I absolutely despised. I hated getting up in the morning. I hated being at that job. I looked forward to going home with an enthusiasm that I cannot describe using polite terms.

I figured that if I volunteered for those places it would give me a sense of purpose, of belonging, and that my efforts would be appreciated.

I was dead wrong.

Most of the time I was given the crap jobs to do. I felt taken advantage of. One time, another guy and I had the task of walking from one end of the Halifax waterfront to the other, only to turn around and repeat that process. All afternoon. It was a boring, monotonous, literally thankless task. By 2007, after an especially brutal experience with the Tall Ships festival, I pretty much swore off volunteering my time, with the exception of Operation Rednose.

I learned a lot about myself volunteering for those places, and a great deal about the organizations. I cannot understand how any organization can build its financial model around having a certain percentage of volunteers working for them. I just can't. It doesn't make sense.

I find it vaguely insulting when someone asks me to do something on spec, to do it without any kind of compensation. Someone once reasoned with me that since I spend time on this here blog, that it should not make a difference if I do free stuff for them. My rejoinder to that would be that I do this blog for me and not anybody else. If you want me to work for your for free, then I guess I can ask my plumber to work for free, or my lawyer to do pro bono work for me, or to ask my tax accountant to waive the hefty bill she sent me recently.

Not sure where I am going with this. I suppose it is that, the older I get, the less inclined I am to do things for other people, unless there is some kind of financial or spiritual gain for me.

I will keep the above in mind after I retire.  I'd rather stay home and read a book or go for a walk or do something for me, than devote my energies to someone's for profit enterprise that is too cheap to pay me anything.

Trying to figure out how to write about something that has been bugging me for quite a while now. Let me figure that out in the coming days. It is a topic that may really tick some people off.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Post 3588 - Is It The Weekend Yet?

Two days in, and I am beat.

We are off this coming Friday. Supposed to be at a Toastmasters barbecue Friday night, the first such thing in a few years, but not many are going. Sigh.

I mentioned some wingnut bicyclists here on the blog a few days ago. Now it's time to discuss some motorists who need a refresher course in driving.

On the way home tonight, we went through the Armdale roundabout. We entered it from Quinpool, and stay hard right to go up the Saint Margaret's Bay Road to Timberlea. The guy in the next lane, to our left, who should have been going to Purcell's Cove Road by rights, instead sped up, past us, and on to Dutch Village Road. If he had been going a little slower, if we had been going a little faster, then there would have been an accident.

I see more and more of this: impatient drivers not giving a rodent's rump about the rules of the road or the rules of common decency. They feel perfectly entitled to drive every which way, and woe betide anyone who gets in their way. I don't understand these people.

I live in fear of an a-hole motorist encountering an a-hole bicyclist. It will not be a pretty sight.

I promise I will soon write a post about a-hole pedestrians. There are more than a few of them, too.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Post 3587 - Done

This will be brief.

I just finished the latest revision to the latest true crime piece for the next issue of Frank. My editor thinks this is one of my best articles. All I can say is that I didn't work any harder on this piece than I did on any other one, but my interest in this case goes back many years, so maybe the passion showed through a bit more. I look forward to sharing it with you next week. The changes tonight were mostly to include some comments from the police regarding the case, plus the addition of a brief sidebar to the piece. My editor may elect to incorporate it in to the actual article, but the subject is different enough that maybe it should be a sidebar. His choice, of course.

We have been watching episodes of "Riverdale" over the last couple of days. We did not like the pilot at all, but people have been going on and on about it, so we decided to give it a second chance. The second episode was not much better, but the third one, about slut shaming, was riveting, so we kept going. We are on episode 10 now, I think it is. May finish watching it tomorrow night.

I heard from Heather today, regarding the Al Riggs' painting. His widow decided to give the painting to Heather's eldest son, who took an earlier painting his grandfather had done and turned it into a tattoo. Now this young man has an actual painting his grandfather did to cherish.

And we are still looking for a painting of a guy bent over in front of a hovel on a wind-swept day. So, you know, help us out if you ever see such a painting I can buy for Patricia.

I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Post 3586 - A Father's Day Gift

Well, hello there.

I'm sorry I didn't write on Saturday. Things got away from me.

I had a Toastmasters thing in Dartmouth in the morning. I had arranged to meet up with a woman whose father was a member of my club, back in the 1980's. He died suddenly. More on that later. And after he died, the family gave one of his paintings to our club. But I'm getting ahead of my story.

For many years, up until 2005 or so, we gave out the "Al Riggs Award" to the member of the club who best exemplified the spirit of Toastmasters. The recipient would get to keep the painting for a year before returning to the club so it could be awarded to someone else. I don't know how it was done before I joined, or for several years afterward, but we eventually developed a point system, one that excluded members of the executive, because the executive was the ones who gave out that painting, every year.

One year, around 1995, the recipient of the Al Riggs award/painting was a man who up and moved to British Columbia, I think it was. We barely got the painting back from him before he left town. I think we had other close calls over the years. Eventually, our club membership began to suffer, to the point where there might be only two or three or four club members who were not in the executive. And, maybe, those people were new to the club or did not exemplify all of the traits that we wanted people to have. The decision was made to include executive members in the process of determining who would get to keep the painting for a given year.

By 2004 or 2005 or whatever it was, I got the painting. The point system was abandoned because nobody wanted to do the job any more to figure out who the next recipient should be, and we can't even recall where that point system is, either.  The painting was all-but forgotten about by members, who came and went, went and came. The painting kept hanging on the wall of my dining room.

Here is what the painting looks like:

Al Riggs was a sales manager at Ben's Bread in Halifax for many years. He joined Toastmasters sometime in the 1980's. He was an amateur, and very talented, painter with paints as well as with pastels. I can still go to a Ben's Thrift store anywhere in the province and talk to an old-timer and drop his name. And the employee will smile and tell me an Al Riggs story.

The painting was there on my wall for many years. One time I asked club members who knew what I was talking about, what to do with the painting. Should we reinstate the point system, rotate it among members? They just told me to hold on to it. It was where it should be.

It made me uncomfortable.

The family wanted us to give the painting out to a deserving member every year. We had not done that in many a year, and realistically, we never would again. It did not seem right, or fair, or just, for me to keep that painting into perpetuity.

Last month, I decided to contact Al Riggs' family and offer the painting back to them.

I had spoken with Al's daughter once before, back when we were giving out the painting, to see if she and other family members would like to see us give out the painting to that year's recipient. They declined, but I remembered her name. Which is weird, given how I forget names all the time.

I reasoned that she would be on Facebook. She was, using a hyphenated last name which included her maiden name, so she was easy to find. I messaged her. Told her who I was and asked if she remembered me and where I was from. I took the above picture of the painting and emailed it to her.

I told her what I just told you, how the painting was no longer given out, how it was hanging on my wall, and how it occurred to me that it would be her father's wish that if we were no longer giving out the painting that he might want it to go back to the family.

She went away to talk to her family. Her mother, Al's wife, is still alive. Heather told me that the family would love to have the painting back if we were not going to use it any more.

She lives in Dartmouth. I'd be in Dartmouth on Saturday. I knew we'd be on break from the TM thing I was attending around 10:45, so she said she'd be there at that time for the hand off. I put the painting in the backseat of the car. It was in a bag and wrapped in a towel to protect it from the spits of rain.

Two other club members were there with me. I told them what I was planning to do with the painting, and they readily agreed. The three of us went out to the parking lot around 10:45 yesterday. Heather and her husband were there waiting for us.

We chatted for a moment. I went to the car and retrieved the painting. And we walked to the entrance of the meeting place, a church, to do the hand over. Here are two pics:

That's me on the right.

Heather and her husband, who told me his name twice and which I have forgotten twice, told us some tales about Al. We had had the impression that Al was running around Dal Plex when he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot. We thought it was around 1986. But Heather said no, that he died in 1988. He was at home. Got up one morning and went into the kitchen, and collapsed and died then and there.

They told us about the house he was building at the time of his death. It still stands and would have a studio with a lovely view to inspire his muse. His work in pastels was so good that one of his works hangs in a gallery in Toronto to this day. He was a forward-thinking guy, at one point warning his colleagues not to produce bread for other brands like Sobeys because it would diminish the Ben's brand, which it eventually did, because Ben's no longer exists, its plant closed and about to be torn down there on Pepperell Street.

I can't remember the last time I saw two more grateful people. 29 years after his sudden death, Al's family gets one final piece of their father, one more memory to cherish, one more item of his that they can pass from family member to family member. With or without a points system.

And it was done the day before... Father's Day.

It felt good. It felt right. I don't regret the decision at all.

I just owe Patricia a painting of a guy bending over in front of a small home on a wind-swept day, so if you know of any, let me know.

See you tomorrow.