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.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Post 3585 - Grr!

Don't you just love it? The drama.

I share one meme on my Facebook timeline, and people go crazy.

It is this one.

Let's step back, and unpack this.

Here in Halifax, we have some pretty narrow streets. There are not as many parking spaces as we need, and some councilors decided that they would take some of those parking spaces away and replace them with bike lanes.

By Dalhousie University, on University Avenue, many, maybe even most, of the parking spaces ain't there no more. They are replaced by a bike lane that is likely not used all that much. But, fine. It's happened and isn't going away. I can accept that. I don't like it, but I can accept it.

What I cannot accept is how some bicyclists do treat the road as their plaything. They ride on sidewalks, which is clearly illegal. They dart in and out of traffic. They ride abreast with cars and keep them from passing, making traffic worse. Traffic lights are a suggestion at best.

I have been nearly knocked over by people on bikes, as I was walking across the street. Dammit, there are irresponsible bicyclists. There are also irresponsible pedestrians who walk out against traffic or ignore oncoming traffic, expecting cars to stop as if by magic, and getting insanely ticked off when the cars cannot accommodate their unreasonable demands. And, of course, there are irresponsible drivers who wreak havoc on our roads, flying through red lights, nearly running over pedestrians who were clearly at cross walks, and blithely ignoring people on bicycles.

On the other hand, in Halifax, bicyclists have nearly been killed in traffic over altercations that were not their fault in any way, shape, or form. It is horrible carnage for them. I feel their pain.

The roads belong to all of us, not some of us. We all have to get along out there. All of us.

The above meme might be overkill, but there is some truth to it. And people on bikes have to realize that.

That's all I'm trying to say.

You can rant and rave on my Facebook, email me here, or leave a comment on my blog. Have at it.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Post 3584 - An Early Night

Don't mind if I do.

Have an early night, that is.

Patricia remains off work. I left for work before 7 and arrived there shortly after 7. I supposed I could have ducked out a bit early this afternoon but hung around until 4:30.

Tonight Patricia made some kind of beef dish with potatoes for dinner. I had two helpings and will have the rest for lunch tomorrow.

We watched what is rapidly becoming one of our fave shows, this evening. It is called "I'm Dying Up Here". It is about standup comedians and their struggle to learn, and use their craft in 1970's Los Angeles. People think I have a sense of humor and some have wondered why I did not attempt such a career. I point to this show and tell them that this is why.

It is a quantum leap from being witty and urbane and going up in front of people and say something funny. I like what a friend of mine said years ago. He said that most stand up comedians should sit down and shut up. But I guarantee that everyone of those people thought they were funny and thought they might have a future in the business, if only they could get that small break. "I'm Dying Up Here" is all about those people and those elusive breaks. I really, really like this show.

Even though it is not yet 9:30, I think I will turn in. I think I am fighting something.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Post 3583 - Later On Today

Well, this will be fun.

I was up until 4:30 Wednesday morning, until about an hour before I had to get up for work, actually. My sleep pattern was hopelessly thrown off by the long nap I took around 6:30 Tuesday night. Even after I sent in a draft of my next true crime piece to my editor at Frank, and wrote a blog post, I was still keyed up. So I spent time watching the last episode of "Keepers", the true crime series that Netflix debuted last month, and which they present so well.

I got up at my usual time and had an extra long shower. I took Patricia with me, and dropped her off at the Dickson Centre for an X-Ray requisition. She told me she was out of there by 7:55 so she killed some time at the Public Gardens before taking the bus to the Young Street Superstore. She got some food and then called me. I picked her up and drove her home before returning to work.

I got home around 5:15. We ordered a pizza. I started to doze off again during the news, but woke up in time to realize that Inner Space on the Space channel was a repeat, so we watched iZombie episodes on the PVR until we were caught up.  Then, we got caught up on "Whose Line is it, Anyway?". I swear, any time I am in a bad mood, or tired, or irritable, or whatever, watching "Whose Line" puts a smile on my face. Absolutely adore the show. Nine empty years of my life were those in which the show was off the air.

It is now nearly 10pm. Work BBQ tomorrow. Party games. I have no idea what to expect.

See you guys tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Post 3582 - Late/Early

Yeah. It's nearly 3:30 Wednesday morning.

I took Patricia to the medical clinic on Tuesday morning, and didn't get to work until nearly 1pm. Worked until 4:30 and drove home. Cooked and ate beef stirfry. But by 6:30, watching the news, my head was nodding. I kept dozing off. So I went downstairs to the lazy boy and promptly fell asleep.

I got up to check in on Patricia around 9:30 or so, but then returned to sleepy time.

By 2am or so, I decided to get up, as I was wide awake. I hung up some stuff I had washed, and then wandered into my home office to finish work on a draft of my latest true crime piece for Frank. I just sent it to my editor, who will be shocked at the time stamp on the email.

Patricia remains sick. Pneumonia flaring up again. She is off work for the balance of the week and is back on meds.

Around midnight, 1am, I got up to freshen things up a bit. Newbie was in the laundry room, at the window. He saw something, maybe even someone, but I could see nothing. Maybe these true crime pieces are making me paranoid.

I think I will try to get a bit more sleep before I get up and go to work.

Talk at you later.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Post 3581 - Uhhh

So, it's been a long day.

I spent my lunch hour, like I do many lunch hours, working on my latest true crime piece for the next issue of Frank, out in two weeks. I hope to have it in to my editor by Wednesday or Thursday. This coming Wednesday is a non-Toastmasters night, and I need to research some murder cases, so I will be at the Archives that night. Patricia can run the roads or something.

It is only June, not even the middle part of it, but already the humidity is getting on my nerves. I sat out on the front deck and watched some kids play street hockey tonight, and had to come back inside to cool off.  That didn't work, so I stood in the doorway, half my body inside and half outside. That didn't work either. It will be a long summer.

Maybe I will move to some place cold. I'd like that.

You have a good night. Talk to you tomorrow.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Post 3580 - Sigh

I hope you'll excuse me. I am dividing my time between writing this blog post and the Tony Awards.


I haven't seen any of these plays, but there is always "Come From Away", based upon the events following 9/11 when dozens of planes landed in Gander, Newfoundland, a town of 9000, and how the citizens took all those people in. The same thing happened in Halifax, but I guess the producers of the play thought the story in Nfld was more compelling. Maybe it was.

There is not much to report. I slept in. Ate something. Went out to the car and cleaned out as much of the detritus as I could that had accumulated in the last couple of months. There is much less storage in this car than in the Grand Prix, so we have to be more diligent with the Soul.

Last night, I stayed up until nearly midnight, playing back the audio file I recorded in Wolfville yesterday, and made notes of what I heard. After I cleaned out the car, I sat out on the front deck with a copy of those notes and marked them up, noting the items I found particularly compelling. I will use those notes as a basis for my next Frank true crime article, which I hope to have completed by Wednesday or so.

(To answer your question: No. I don't share those notes. I don't share the audio files I record. They are the tools I use to do the actual work. Any mechanic, or carpenter, or millwright, or what have you, doesn't share his tools. So, don't ask me.  Ain't gonna happen.)

Another work week awaits. Can hardly wait.

I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Post 3579 - 24 Hours Later...

Wow. What a day.

We did a super quick trip to the Valley this morning. We got up early, almost as if we were going to work. I put my work pass around my neck at one point, so unaccustomed to getting up so early on a Saturday morning was I.

We got to Port Williams around 8:10. It was Port Williams Days, and there is always a village-wide yard sale on that Saturday, so we participated. I have never missed one. Got some books. Got a hammock for three dollars. Got some index dividers for ten cents that I can put in my true crime binder. Got a flashlight/radio combo for 25 cents. Found out this evening that the flashlight part doesn't work, but the radio does.

Patricia got some plants and some books and a cooking vessel and matching soup tureen. Some other stuff. Met some people and yakked.  A former neighbor and I chatted and discussed some unsolved... well, murders might be too strong a word. A couple of unexplained and mysterious deaths from the 1970's that I had not known about, or had long since forgotten about. A couple of guys both named Graves who were run over repeatedly and killed. I don't know what happened there, but if I can find someone willing to talk to me about these cases, I am willing to listen.

Around 11am, we drove to Wolfville. I had an appointment at 11:30 with a documentary film maker who has long been working on a film about a case that goes back a couple decades now. He asked me some questions, and I attempted to answer them, cogently, and without stumbling over my words. I wrote a three page document full of notes and printed it off last evening. I ended up mentioning nearly everything in that document without having to consult with my notes.

After that was over, I turned the tables and interviewed him. I am hoping that the result of that discussion, along with material about the case he is investigating, will be my next true crime article in the issue of Frank that comes out in two weeks. Look for it.

After we finished talking, Patricia and I headed over to Paddy's Pub for lunch. I looked back, and the filmmaker and his assistant were loading up their vehicle. I ran over to them and invited them to join us for lunch. They did, and a very nice off-the-record conversation ensued. They're good people, and I look forward to seeing the resulting work. You should watch it even if I make it to the final cut.

We parted ways. Went back to the house for a few minutes to check the place out. Returned to Wolfville and got some food before returning to the city. Got back here around 4:45. Newbie was tapping his foot, wondering where we were. The last few hours have been about us relaxing, something that may happen again tomorrow. A day of rest sounds good to me.

I have about an hour of work ahead of me, though. Need to transcribe the audio file I recorded today.

Talk to you tomorrow.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Post 3578 - The Weekend Is Here

Friday night. Where did the week go?

An opportunity landed in my lap on Wednesday to do something over the weekend that I have never had a chance to do before. I can't tell you about it just yet. I hope to do that, tomorrow. I can't wait for it to be here.

So, how was your day? Getting up was hard today. Really hard. I wanted to stay in bed soooo bad, but my backup guy was off today, so that was impossible.

After work, not wanting to go home just yet, we had dinner at Boneheads in the South End, Barrington at Inglis. Excellent barbecue food, if pricey. We had left overs for a meal this weekend.

I think I will turn in. A very busy day tomorrow.

See you then.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Post 3577 - Yawn!

Hi. Sorry I didn't write last night. I had a very long day.

Worked all day. Went to my Toastmasters meeting. And, then, I went to the library in the downtown as I was told they had some information about some unsolved murders. And, they did. One case I have been researching had its full story laid out there. I now know who was charged and convicted of a murder from long ago. There was one other murder from back then about which the library knows nothing. It means another trip to the Archives, next week I think, to try to find out what happened to this person.

I was there until about 10 minutes before the place closed at 9pm. I drove home and ate something. Spent a bit of time with Patricia. And went to bed. I had promised my editor I'd have my column ready before I went to bed, but I couldn't keep that promise, so wiped was I.

I got up at 5 o'clock this morning and started writing away, producing 500 words or so before I went to work. I finished the column during my lunch hour today and sent it off to him, 13 hours or so after I had first promised. He said he was cool with it, but even so, I will try to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Once again, my media column has content in it you will find nowhere else. What I call a "major" story of 500 words or so, followed by some shorter articles. You will have to see it for yourselves when it hits the web and stores next week.

After work, we drove home. We were both bushed, dozing off in front of the tv. We ate something and got our second wind, and just watched a couple episodes of "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?", a revival of an improv-like show that is on the CW every Summer. Hysterically funny if you are into that sort of thing. Which we are.

Tomorrow is Friday. Then, another weekend. Something cool may happen on Saturday. No point telling you about it until it has been confirmed and locked in.

I think I will turn in. I need my beauty coma.

See you tomorrow, my lovelies.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Post 3576 - Grr!

Calm. Blue. Ocean.

So, yesterday I told you about how I had to return the satellite receiver to Bell, which is in Mississauga. They provided a label and I had to find a box to put the receiver and the remote and cables and stuff in. Packed it with newspaper and sealed it this afternoon.

Purolator has an office or depot or whatever it's called, in Dartmouth. But fear not, effendi. You can go to many authorized Purolator drop off centres throughout the province. Turns out that the Staples in Bayer's Lake is one of those places.

I drove there after work and presented the box and put the label on it. Turns out that Bell only pays for the cheapest form of couriering, which is ground pick up. Two or three days to Mississauga. And the letter they sent me urged me to record a tracking number so I could keep track of the item once it leaves the store, which will be around 3pm on Wednesday.

They don't provide that service. You have to go to the full-fledged depot place in Dartmouth for that.


I have to hope, assume, whatever, that they package arrives by next Tuesday, which is 15 days after the letter was dated, because, barring a few days grace, I will be out the cost of the receiver, which is 500 dollars.

This has been such a waste of time and effort and money and mental health and everything else. I said it last night. I say it again: I will never do business with Bell  Canada again. Bell Aliant, the local arm, is fine, if expensive. We will stay with them, unless/until they tick us off. But the parent company? Frig 'em.

Anyway, the rest of the evening was fine. Patricia is recovering incrementally. She has one more day off work until her expected return on Thursday. I am still not convinced she will be ready to return to work by then.  I don't think she is convinced, either. Time will tell.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day. Work. Toastmasters. A Frank deadline. I think I will turn in and prepare for it.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Post 3575 - Outrages

Wow. A blog post, two nights in a row. How much will you pay now?

Patricia and I returned to work this morning. But, at lunch time, she asked me to take her back to the doctor's in Tantallon. Last week, we were in and out of there in an hour. Today, it was pretty close to two hours. The doctor ended up excusing her from work for the next two days.

Afterward, we got some stuff at the nearby Superstore. We drove home, and I proceeded to cook a bunch of things, including a chicken pot pie, some mac and cheese, heated some of those Cavendish fries we like too much. We also snacked on some chicken drumsticks. There is plenty left over to add to what was still left over from dinner on Sunday. Meals for the next couple of days. Except that I plan to do a haddock fish fry on Tuesday.

At the superstore I noticed the prices on some items. Some things were reasonable. Some things, like fish, were through the roof. They had at 50% off, a mix and match cooked salmon steak package. Two for twelve dollars. Two steaks, and they were not large. At half price, each steak was three dollars, which is barely a reasonable price. The fact that they were originally six dollars is downright offensive.

We are not wealthy people. We pinch pennies like everybody else. But what about the folks who make, like, much less than we do? How are they coping? What are they eating? Have they dropped meat as a frivolous waste of money, and resorted to growing veggies in a raised area on the verandas? Or, if like us, they have a small backyard, do they have a garden? Or, do they just buy what ever foodstuffs their meager budget can handle?

And don't get me started on housing. They are building more and more condo's and townhouses, at "price points" that, were I about to purchase my first home, I'd have to throw up my hands and remain in a rental situation. Even in my neighbourhood, homes are reaching $200 000 for a two level semi detached home with  a very small backyard and even a smaller front lawn. I am not sure where the value is in that.


So, like a fool, because that is what I am from time to time, I ordered a satellite dish for the house in the valley. Even though I am not there that much. Because I am a fool sometimes. I was led to believe that the cost of the programming would be added to the monthly phone/internet/tv bill here in Halifax. Turns out I was wrong. Because I'm a fool sometimes.

I discontinued the service late last month. I got a call from them last week wondering where their money was. I will pay the full amount in the coming days, but I am inclined never to do business with Bell Canada again. They are just so casual about how they do business that it is incredibly easy to misunderstand silly things like billing.

The kicker is that the physical dish is now attached to the house and remains a lovely parting gift. But the receiver has to be returned through Purolator. I was told they would send me "a box and a return label" in the mail, into which I was to place the receiver and upon which I was supposed to place the label before delivering it to a Purolator depot and say goodbye to the damn thing.

Well, I was half right. I checked the mail before I went to work this morning (hadn't checked it since Wednesday, being sick and all), and saw "an important notice about returning our equipment" letter. The label is there, but I have to supply a box, one not so large that the receiver will slosh around in it. I found one this evening that I kept duplicate mystery magazines in. The receiver just fits in it. I will find a depot in the morning and get rid of the damn thing once and for all. I am just wondering what to do with the duplicate mystery magazines now.

If you are thinking about getting a satellite for your house, go ahead. Be my guest. Knock yourself out. But keep in mind that if you are unhappy with your product, you will go through a special kind of hell to make amends with the satellite provider people. I cannot wait until this incident is behind me. And that day is Tuesday, June 6th, 2017.

Grr. Grr. Grr.

It is getting late. I have to get up early.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Post 3574 - I'm Back!

Well hello there, handsome. Buy me a drink?

I haven't written in five days. I owe you an apology. I'm sorry.

As I wrote on Tuesday evening, Patricia got sick last week. A pretty nasty combination of illnesses that felled her hard. Wednesday morning, I awoke with a scratchy throat of my own. I emailed work to indicate that I would be late as I had to take Patricia to the walk-in clinic in Tantallon. We got there around 8:30 and didn't get out until handy to 10am. The doctor signed a note for her to stay home for the balance of the week.

We went to Costco to get her antibiotics and a puffer. I dropped her off at the house and drove to work. Because so many folks were out of town last week, we ended up canceling our Toastmasters meeting. It is just as well because by 3:30 or so Wednesday afternoon, I was sick with a cold of my own.

I took it easy Wednesday night. Thursday, I felt much worse than the night before. I emailed work that I'd be sick. Friday was a usual day off, so I would be off for the balance of the week, too.

I do not remember the rest of Thursday. Maybe vague recollections here and there of seeing how Patricia doing and preparing something for us to eat, and trying to keep hydrated, but that's about it. Mostly sleeping.

Friday we were a bit better, but only a bit. Ate somewhat more. Showered. Shaved. Not sure why, other than to feel human again.

Saturday we were feeling better again. I suppose I should have written a blog post, but wasn't up to it. I thought about going to the Archives but I wasn't up to that, either.

Today, I have been nearly back to normal. I cooked breakfast and dinner. Washed dishes twice. Showered and shaved.

It is back to work tomorrow. I hope the folks at work remember me. I dimly recall them.

I promised my editor I would have my latest true crime article in to him by the time he got to work Monday morning. Before I fell ill, I had printed off a draft and begun editing it. I think I should finish that now, before bed time.

You guys have a good evening. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Post 3573 - Yawn!

I have spent the last few hours watching the elections results on tv and listening to them on the radio. CTV should be ashamed of itself for its coverage. They had a political panel, but barely used them. They went to commercials every few minutes, losing continuity and credibility.

I am a civil servant. I cannot really comment publicly on how these elections turn out. I can only say that this situation, where it looks more and more like a Liberal minority government, will be interesting. Very interesting.

Patricia remains sick. I left work early to take her to the walk-in clinic in Tantallon. We got there only to learn that they had closed at 4pm. Obviously closed early so staff could go out and vote, which is their right. Doesn't help us. It just means I will be late for work in the morning.

I also worked this evening on my next true crime piece for the next issue of Frank, out in two weeks. I am not happy with the draft I wrote this evening, so I will hack and slash at it  during my lunch hour on Wednesday. I will make the changes to make it look pretty and may send it to my editor tomorrow night, a day and a half earlier than I had originally promised.

I think I will turn in for the evening. Long day tomorrow.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Post 3572 - Keep Hydrated

Well, that's what you get when you brag.

Patricia was proud of herself last week, stating that she had not had a major cold or flu or pneumonia so far in 2017.

She has a combination of all three, today.

She took a sick day. Slept most of the day away. I was fine, so I went to work. Got some provisions on the way home and prepared them for dinner tonight. She woke up long enough to eat but admitted to me that she fell asleep tonight whilst eating strawberries. An hour or so she woke up and finished them.

I just got her some more tea and water. Got her an ice pack.

The new Frank Magazine went up today. You can read it now online, or buy it in Nova Scotia stores on Wednesday. I "only" have my media column in there. My editor changed virtually nothing. There was some last minute material I sent him late on Thursday afternoon that he edited into my column, but that's about it. Nearly two full pages of content. Stuff you will find nowhere else.

I already have a couple items for my next media column, and am working on my next true crime piece. If it works out, it will be a different kind of true crime piece from any of the ones I have done so far. So, with a bit of luck, I will have two articles in the next issue of Frank. We'll see.

We're off on Friday. That means three more days left in this work week. Our plan is to go to the cottage this weekend, check the place out. Depending on how we're feeling, that is.

I just love this computer monitor. The one I got for $5.72 on Friday. I can angle it back. It was seemingly made for the space allocated for a monitor on this computer desk. It's wonderful. I hope I get years and years of use out of it.

I think I will turn in. I want to keep rested so that I don't get the cold/flu/pneumonia that Patricia has.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Post 3571 - This And That

Well, hello there, handsome. How are you doing?

My body shut down pretty early Saturday night. It does most nights after I have spent hours and hours at the Archives, researching unsolved murders and missing persons cases. Something about investigating death tires me out.

After I finished there, I picked up Patricia. We voted at the advanced polls in Lakeside. Or is it technically Beechville? I am not sure, but at any rate, the voting process is over for both of us. I look forward to seeing how the results will turn out, and whether the candidate I supported will win on Tuesday night.

There are some strange elections laws in Nova Scotia. I think I understand some of them. But I do not understand why the law states that a provincial election must fall on a Tuesday. A weekend, I get that. People may be out of town or traveling or something. But why, specifically, a Tuesday?

Time was, liquor stores had to close on an election day, but that has not been the case for quite a few years. That law went back to the day, back when my parents were young, when politicians would openly bribe the electorate with bottles of liquor, usually rum. My mother once told me that when she was first able to vote, around 1950 I guess it would have been, that the candidate asked her if she had voted "correctly". When she replied that she had, he gave her a crisp ten dollar bill. The men were given bottles of rum. That candidate was Liberal, but the Conservatives did the same thing.

Also, back in the day, some candidates got their hands on actual voting ballots and devised a method by which they could ensure votes for themselves. They would procure these ballots somehow and fill them out with the X next to their name. They would give those filled-out ballots to willing voters, who would go into the voting booth, pretend to fill out the ballot and return it to the voting clerk. The already-filled-in ballot would be put in the box to be counted. The blank ballot, given to the voter just before he entered the voting booth, would be returned to the candidate. Satisfied he had just got another vote, he would give the voter a small sum of money, or, more likely, a bottle of rum or other liquor.

I am sure there were other scams and schemes along the way. For all I know, there still are, but those are the ones they had back then that I heard about. Today, voting ballots are jealously guarded. I can't imagine how a candidate could get his hands on them ahead of time. Even if he could, he would be found out and driven out of town, and rightly so. There is a little strip containing a unique number that the voting clerk tears off the returned ballot and places in a separate bag before the clerk gives the remaining portion of the ballot to the voter, who places it in the box to be counted when the polls close. That is supposed to fix the problem I described in the previous paragraph.

Hey, here's what we can do. If you know of any past scheme employed by political candidates to ensure votes for themselves, tell me about them. You can put a comment on my Facebook, leave a comment on the blog, or write me directly here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Oh, someone wrote me the other day saying she did not know how to leave a comment to a blog post. You need to have an account on Google and be logged on to that account when you access this blog. Once you do, you can leave a comment on a given blog post. I am pretty sure I turned off anonymous blog comments some time ago. I was getting too many abusive comments.  So, now you know.

Another work week beckons. Yippee.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Post 3570 - Two Days Later

Once again, I must apologize for not writing on Thursday. My body pretty much shut down around 8:45. I was trying to play back the political roundtable when my eyes grew heavy. I will watch it over the weekend. I mean, I have pretty much decided how I'm gonna vote, but I still feel I should watch the thing.

I took Friday afternoon. Half a vacation day. Patricia and I hit the road. We had lunch at the Chicken Burger in Bedford. We go there a couple of times a year just to remind ourselves that we don't know what the fuss is about the place. 75 years of nostalgia, I think.

From there we went to the BFM thrift store, a short distance away. Every time you go in there, you check the whiteboard to see what that day's or week's specials are. Today it was stuff priced with a blue tag, excluding jewelry, 50% off. I found a couple books that would have been 75 cents, down to 38 cents. And, I found a computer monitor with a blue tag on it. Normally $9.95, half of that. With tax, it was $5.72. I hooked it up this evening and am typing this here blog post using that monitor. It is a bit dirty, so I have to put Windex or something on it, but other than that it is lovely. It is an Acer 19 inch monitor, widescreen. I think it is the very same model of monitor that crapped out here a few months ago. I'm pretty happy with the purchase. If I only get a year out of the monitor, then that will have been money very well spent. But I hope to get a few years out of this monitor!!

The monitor that was hooked up to this computer will go back in a closet for the day it is required again.

We went from there to the nearby Bedford Common shopping area. I went to Wal*Mart to get a couple shaving soaps. Drove over to the Winners. Patricia thought it was a lovely store compared to some of the other Winners stores around. I went to the Staples two doors up. I found a 19 inch Acer monitor there. I am surprised they still make them that small. It was $100.00. Man, I made out like a bandit.

We were getting tired by 4:30, but we decided to bop over to Dartmouth to Princess Auto. I got some batteries. Then we went to Dave's Fruit and Vegetable Market, if for no other reason than to see what the fuss was all about. Nice store, and good prices. Some of the produce was cheaper than was at the Gateway Meat Market, which we also visited. Sale on chicken legs. We got some.

We returned home and I cooked dinner. Found room in the fridge for the meat we bought. Came down here and hooked up this computer monitor and monkeyed around with the settings. And, now, after a very long day, I think I will turn in.

I plan to go to the Archives in the morning. We will see if I have the strength to get up comparatively early. Ha. Of course I don't.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Post 3569 - Yawn!

Pushing midnight. Just put my Frank media column to bed. Time to put myself there, too.

My goodness, it has been a long day. Non-stop fun from about 5:30 until now. And I have to get up for another work day in naught but a few hours.

No, I did not go to the Timberlea Dental place after work tonight. I will try to go there tomorrow. After Patricia finishes her Pilates class, that is. They're open until 8pm, so there should be time to get there before they close. I am still royally ticked about how they treated me at Gladstone Dental on Tuesday morning. Grr.

Anyway, bed beckons. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Post 3568 - Why, I Oughta!

Man, what a long day at work.

First day back after a pretty good long weekend. The weather was terrible. Rained all day. Matched my mood.

I had a dental appointment today at 11. I made sure I was there early because I love to go there so much. I got some... well, let's go with "news". The hygienist told that the previous dentist at the practice had left, and is frig knows where now. The new dentist on staff wants fresh x-rays of her patients. I have a gag reflex the likes of which are hard for mere mortals to contemplate. I fight the hygienists every step of the way. I can't help it. X-Rays are the worst. We nearly come to blows. Once again, I can't help it.

They are urging me to try out another dentist, at least for things like X-Rays. Deal with a dentist who uses something to relax me, maybe even put me out. Not fussy about that. They are putting in a referral, and will call me about that soon.

I don't like how this is being handled. They could have picked up the phone and told me about this issue, rather than wait for me to show up for an appointment that never happened. I psyched myself up to go in for the teeth cleaning or whatever fresh hell they had in store for me. Dwelled on it for days and days. Then, I show up, and they all but kick me out. Makes me want to go to another dentist, if only to spite them.

There is a dentist here in Timberlea. They are open most nights until 8pm. Here is their website. Been there. Seems nice. And I like to support local where I can.

I think I will give them a call. Perhaps I will even drop by after work later on this week. It can't hurt.

Even if everything else about going to the dentist does.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Post 3567 - Three Days Later

Well, hello there.

I didn't write on Saturday because come that evening, I was tired. We had spent hours that day running the roads. Patricia and I attended a talk at the Tantallon library about vegetable gardening. We thought it would go on for the full afternoon but after about 75 minutes it was announced that the session would reconvene at a woman's house, where people would be put to work in the fields. We bailed. I'm sorry. Wrong word. We ran for the door.

We ended up going to Lefty's Bar and Grill for a late lunch. We each had bangers and mash, were most delicious, but started off with Irish Nachos. They are thinner, like a potato chip, and everything was smothered in cheese and onions and bacon bits. We loved them. They were 100x better than the nachos we had had the night before.

Patricia wanted to go to the Lee Valley in Bayer's Lake. We did. After that, we went to Value Village. I found some interesting local history books. For whatever reason, VV is becoming an excellent place to purchase books about local history. People must be clearing out their collections and donating them to VV.

We got home around 7pm. Stayed in and watched episodes of The Outsiders on Crave TV. I am not sure how I feel about season two. One was building toward some kind of war between the town folks and the mountain people, but in season two, they still are. Is it a budgetary thing or something?

Sunday morning, I drove to the Valley by myself. I wanted to mow the lawn at the house down there. In keeping with my policy, I did not announce it here on the blog, my twitter, my facebook. I arrived just in time to see a neighbor finishing a rough mow. The grass was apparently very high. I had not had a chance to go there for a few weeks. I thanked him.

We got to talking about my true crime series in Frank Magazine, which he says he loves. I told him why I cannot do one for every bi-weekly issue. We discussed a couple of the Valley missing persons cases. He asked me whether I had ever received a late night phone call from someone warning me away from writing about these cases.

I replied that nobody had, but perhaps I should have mentioned the time someone threatened to sue me over one of my articles. Nothing ever came from it, and nothing ever will. People often threaten to sue as a way to discourage the so-called offending party, but suing is not something that one enters into lightly. It is not for the faint of heart. It is expensive in any sense of the word. My editor even expressed pride in me for having had my first law suit threat. He told me he felt a little verklempt about it.

Anyway, I went into the house and hooked up a device to the tv so I could get sound from the stereo. The tv only had one of those new coax cables, and the stereo had no such attachment. Had to buy an adapter thingy whose output was the familiar RCA jacks. Works like a charm. Same arrangement as upstairs, by the way.

I went into New Minas. Went to the Value Village there and donated an old computer monitor. Went in and found yet more local history books, and got ones I did not already have. One was by a local... eccentric named Ted Hennigar, who wrote several books in the 1960's and 1970's containing content one could find nowhere else. Local history. Local folklore. Not sure what to make of this guy, but my parents had several of his books, some of which were barely above the level of pamphlet.

I returned to the house and whipper snipped around the property. The anti-histamine I took made me groggy and I fell asleep early, after watching just one episode of Netflix's "The Keepers", one of those long-form murder mysteries they do so very well.

I got up this morning. Made coffee and breakfast. Did some cleaning up. And packed my bags and returned to the city.

Been doing not that much since I came back. I am always tired upon a return trip from the Valley. I am not sure why.

Anyway, that's where I am at. Another three day weekend is behind me. A shortened work week yawns before me. And I think I will yawn before it.

You guys have a good night. Talk at you tomorrow.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Post 3566 - A Pleasant Evening

The long weekend is here. Yes!

After work, Patricia and I strolled around the Public Gardens for a few minutes before deciding to go further downtown and grab a bite. We ended up on Argyle Street, at a place called East of Grafton. They opened at 5:30 and had half price appetizers. We ordered the following:

That's a strangely-wrapped thing of nachos, which we had never seen presented that way before. Some chicken wings in the middle. And a few soft pretzels on the left.

The nachos were not only presented in a strange way, wrapped in paper, but were skimpy in terms of the stuff that was on them. There was some cheese, but not the quantity one would typically expect. The salsa and the guacamole in the foreground were what you were supposed to dip the nachos in prior to stuffing them in our pie hole. The salsa in the above picture looks like uncooked hamburger. The guacamole was not smashed up enough. There was a big chunk in the middle that Patricia mashed up on her own using her brute strength (of character). The salsa was okay. The little ramekin on the left was some damn thing or other that didn't taste like anything I would want to put in my mouth.

The pretzels were fine. Nice cheese sauce to dip them into. But with only three of them, we had to cut one in half to be equitable.

Patricia found the chicken wings too spicy. Only ate one. I managed to finish them. Acceptable.

She had a glass of Tidal Bay Wine from Pete Luckett's vineyard in the Valley. She reported it was fine.

There are, well, a lot of wineries in the Annapolis Valley. Pushing 20 last I heard. That part of the province is hoping to be like California's Napa Valley, I suppose, but my knowledge of wine is so scant that I will never be able to be in a position to judge. I fear, however, that the area can only support so many wineries, so I wonder how long they can keep building new ones before some of them fold.

The bill came to just over $30, so it would have been nearly twice that amount (the wine is discounted by two dollars a glass during happy hour) for what we ate. Not nearly worth that much, but at half price, I could live with it.

We drove home. Watched some tv. And around 10, we both started to doze off. I woke up long enough to write this blog post, but already my eyes are getting heavy.

You guys have a good evening. I will bark at you tomorrow.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Post 3565 - I Wonder Why?

Okay, so, after  work I had to hang around for a while because Patricia had Pilates. I heard that another murder case had been added to the province's list of awards for major unsolved crimes.

I found a bit of online information about this person. Located his obituary. Found some family members. After some digging, I found his sister on Facebook. Messaged her.

About an hour ago, whilst washing dishes, she wrote me back. Says she's interested in talking to me about her brother. I told her to go check out the most recent issue of Frank, as my latest article is there, right on page nine, and is three pages long.

Every time I think I have hit a brick wall with this true crime series, something happens. Something falls in place. And I get a lead on another story.

Why do other news media not do this again? Too much work? They have five other stories to do that day? Unsolved murders are not a priority to them? They can't be bothered? It is just easier to go to the police website, get the information there, and "present" it as a new article?

I wonder why? You tell me.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Post 3564 - A Wonderful Night

Got home from a pretty good Toastmasters meeting earlier tonight. Not that many people, but we had two guests, which is only a good thing.

We had a debate. The resolution was along the lines of whether a political candidate's social media history should be a determining factor in whether that person should seek political office. We have had three such people be forced to drop out of the Nova Scotia election campaign in the last week or so, because of tweets or FB updates that they wrote years ago.

Nobody is without sin. We have all said and done things we should not have. Have we set the bar so high that A) nobody can vault over it; and B) nobody would even want to bother trying? It's the second one that scares me the most. If you get people of high quality who would really make a good difference in Nova Scotia, but they wrote a dumb dumb tweet six years ago, should they bear the burden of that mistake for the rest of their lives? Or if they didn't do that, but just don't want the scrutiny into their private lives that seeking a political office seemingly requires, then we may be missing out on some really good representatives. Not sure if I am stating it very well. It's late.

The PRO side won the resolution, by the way.

I may be beat to heck, but even after 25 years of Toastmasters meetings, I always feel better after a meeting is over than I did before it starts. It is the strangest thing. 

After TM was over, we went to the Superstore on Young Street, which is where my pharmacy is. I had left work early today to go see my doctor. He renewed some meds for me, so I picked them up tonight.

Watched the season ender of "Designated Survivor". It ended on a pretty decent cliffhanger. I look forward to what they do in season two. I just hope they do something about the pacing issues on the show. We started to watch an episode of "Bosch" on Crave, but Patricia was getting tired, so she toddled off to bed.

Patricia has Pilates after work tomorrow. You can guess how excited I am about that.

See you tomorrow. Keep smiling.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Post 3563 - Much, Much Better

Here is what I looked like about 12 hours ago:

Then, I walked across the street and now look like this:

I also purchased the following hair care products:

My glorious tea tree oil. How I missed thee.

I feel much better now. The hair was becoming hard to manage. I was using ever more product to keep my glorious locks in place. Now, I can dial it way, way back. What do the kids say these days? "Awesome sauce". Yeah, let's go with that.

I look so serious in the second picture because it is deemed a military haircut. I wanted to get in character.

Some women who read this blog may have some idea of what I am referring to, but I find it so challenging to find someone competent enough to do my hair. The lady who takes care of me at Helen's on Kempt Road is quite good, and I will continue to go to her.

So, what do you think of my hair, folks? Do you like it? How much? Tell me. I want deets.

Time for bed. See you tomorrow.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Post 3562 - Don't Be Cruel

So, I read a lot of crime fiction, in particular, short crime fiction as published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The editor of "AHMM" was interviewed a couple of years ago and noted how many stories crossed her desk that started off with a weather report. Kinda brought things home for me.

When someone noted last week that I was starting off many of my blog reports with what time it was, it really hit home for me, too. I am working really hard not to mention that, but work with me, will you?

The new issue of Frank went online this morning. My humble contributions this time come in at seven pages, which surprised me. I was doubly surprised at lunch time when my editor wrote to inform me that my cheque was ready for pick up. Patricia, who works downtown, close to the Frank offices, picked it up for me.

I have written about this before, but I can remember times in my life when it seemed that getting paid for my efforts would result in near fisticuffs. Once or twice, I felt I was inconveniencing those who were paying me. Putting them out.

My dad never forgot the people for whom he did work who never "got around" to paying him, sometimes mentioning them years and years later, with ever-increasing bitterness. He would have to pay his men, and the businesses that had sold him the supplies necessary to do this work, but the so-and-so's never actually paid him. And then there were the people who took their sweet ever lovin' time to pay him. They were always the ones who had the nice cars and houses. Doctors. Lawyers. One man strung Dad along in the early 00's. Guy with the same last name as one I hear on the news from time to time. An unusual name. Wonder if they're related? Makes me not want to trust him, just by association.

I never forgot those experiences, when Dad would have to almost beg these people to pay, and the excuses they employed to delay doing so. So, when it came time for me to start earning my own money, I was particularly sensitive to what he had gone through. The few times it happened to me stung me as much as his experiences, stung my father.

This has never been the experience with Frank. They pay me on time every month. Sometimes, it is literally the last day of the month, which is fine, but I get that money, and it is broken down by each piece that I submitted that was published. This media column has X number of words at Y cents per word, working out to a certain amount. That true crime piece with Q number of words also at Y cents per word, working out to another amount. That kind of thing, covering my contributions for the full month, which is usually two issues. Add up those numbers, and that is the amount of my cheque. Easy peasy. And very much appreciated.

I'd be interested in your stories of getting paid late, or not getting paid at all, for work you performed. 

Anyway, we got home after a quick trip to Costco. Had some more of those astonishingly-good salmon fishcakes. There are enough for tomorrow night's dinner, I hope, so that is six meals we will have had using stuff we already had on hand. We finished the night by watching two more episodes of season one of "The Outsiders", which I know is canceled, but let's hope that there was some kind of resolution. Don't tell me what happens.

It is getting late. We were up extra early this morning to get the car to the dealership to have the Winter tires swapped out with the regular tires. So, we are extra tired tonight.

Turning in.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Post 3561 - Where Did The Weekend Go?

I mean, seriously. Where did the last three days go?

The weather outside has been wild and woolly for the last six hours or so. Thank goodness for television and Netflix and Crave TV on demand.

We had salmon fishcakes for dinner tonight. My goodness, they were delicious. I had made dinner Saturday night, of haddock with mashed potatoes. Patricia cooked some salmon and mixed the remaining haddock with it, before adding that mixture to the remaining mashed potatoes. Added some herbs and stuff. Then, I fried them and near-instant ambrosia.

I am showered and shaven and ready to turn in. Back to work in the morning.

Yay. Work.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Post 3560 - Oh, My!


Sorry I haven't written the last couple of days. Thursday night, by the time we got home around 7pm, I was so tired, that it was all I could do go to bed. I slept all night long and well into morning.

We were off on Friday. That morning, we went out to breakfast. We had grandiose plans to go to breakfast at the Westin in the downtown, but by the time we got going, that mealtime was about over, so we ended up going to Smitty's on Lacewood, which I just realized I don't know whether it's part of Bayer's Lake, or part of Clayton Park. At any rate, we ate there.

Then, we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Because it was a day time viewing, on a Friday, there were very few people there. Maybe a dozen. I don't know how they make money on those viewings. I didn't like it as much as the first one. There was a whole middle act that sagged like an overloaded diaper. But the final act was excellent. I got most of the in-jokes. And we stayed until the very, very end to see the final vignette. It really puts Stan Lee in a different light, seeing him talking to those other characters like that. I will leave it at that.

We were not content to see just one movie. Because of the timing of the next movies, the one that fit out schedule the best was "Boss Baby", the animated film featuring Alec Baldwin. It was a cute, fun little movie best for young families to watch. Why we went I am not sure. A scheduling thing.

We hung out at Chapters for a spell. I finally bought the missing Steve Berry thriller to complete my collection, at least in paperback. I know it's weird. Just work with me.

Patricia had a book club meeting not far from the house, so she walked to that. Got home around 9 or so.

Turned in around 11.

Today I washed the dishes.  This afternoon I cooked an early dinner. Tonight we watched some stuff on the PVR. And because I hadn't written much of anything on the blog in a few days I wanted to let you know I was still alive.

I spoke to my Frank editor today. The boy never takes a break. He tells me I will have three more articles in the next issue, which goes on sale this coming Wednesday. My media column, another unsolved murder piece that he said was one of my best, and something else. Just check it out and you will see for yourself.

Sunday awaits. Housework awaits, too.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Post 3559 - Zzzz

Well, I won't give out the time because I was teased about that. Let's just say it's late. I have spent the last couple of hours putting my latest Frank media column to bed. I filed it a few minutes ago. Like with most parades, I start working on the next one, tomorrow.

Once again, there is content in this column you will find nowhere else. And some different content this time.

Patricia has Pilates tomorrow night, so I will hang around work until six or so. We are off on Friday. I have promised to take her to a nice place for breakfast on Friday morning, so if you can suggest a place in Halifax that's nice, maybe a step up from Smitty's or Cora's, then let me know. Gotta spend some of that extra Frank money on something like silly old bills.

It has been a long day. I get up for work in six hours and do it all over again. So, please excuse me.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Post 3558 - Well, Well, Well!

Why, hello, you!

Last night I wrote that I was getting far too many notifications with certain Facebook updates. A couple of my Constant Readers took the time to tell me that you can just click on the little down arrow by any FB notification and select the option for turning off notifications. Thank you, Ken and KellyAnne.

Ken also supplied some prospective blog post titles. Here they are:

-Lord it's hard to be humble... about my hair.
-The saga of my hair continues.
-Valley born & maybe proud of it.
-So, what is this thing called hockey?
-I'm going to call it a night...  never mind
-It's pushing 10:00.
-Live & direct from Newbie's house.

I will use all of these titles, except maybe the one about what time it is. I hadn't noticed that I was putting the current time in my blog posts to such a degree that people would notice. I am now aware of this, in the same way that someone at  Toastmasters points out a nervous tic or walk or wink that I may effect.

The hair ones are low-hanging fruit. Of course I will write about my hair. There is almost no subject I would rather write about. I could go on for hours and hours. And because of Ken's wonderful suggestions, there will be more!

Valley stuff? Of course. In the top five of things I like to write about.

Hockey? What the hell is that? Is it, perhaps, a team sport or something? I must jump on Wikipedia and find out.

And Newbie? Of course. Posts about Newbie practically write themselves.

Maybe I could write a post about the time I had Newbie with me in the Valley while I was doing my hair. Man, that would be a good one!

In all honesty, please keep sending along blog post title suggestions. They will be used in future blog posts. As you can see, I have come up with a new label for this promising series, "Suggested_Blog_Post_Titles.

(Labels in Blogger are the equivalent to hashtags in Twitter, in case you were wondering.)

The excitement all starts tomorrow, folks. Watch this space.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Post 3557 - This Title For Rent

Pushing 10pm.

You know, a couple of weeks ago, a reader suggested I come up with more meaningful blog post names. Since then, my stress level has gone through the roof. You have no idea how difficult it is to come up with a good blog post name, day after day.

So, how about this: you suggest blog post titles. The ones I like, I will use. They may not have a blankety-blank thing to do with the content of the blog post, but the names will certainly be catchy and unique. Let's go with that.

How was your day? Mine was okayfine. This evening I sent off 40 pictures from the top secret story I covered, to my editor at Frank. I alluded to something extraordinary in a couple of pictures I had not sent. He insisted I send those, too, so I did. I hope he is not disappointed.

Say, I know. I will tell you about a recent mistake, one that is still kicking my rear end, days later. By telling you, it will remind me not to make that mistake again. Okay? Okay.

I joined a true crime-based Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. Because I follow true crime. In case you didn't know. One of the posts asked people where they were from. I chimed in, proudly proclaiming I was from Nova Scotia. Like anybody would care.

Anyway, for the last 5 days I have been getting FB notifications from people with their own answers to that fine, fine, fine question. Five. Days. Several times a day, people reply to that damned question. And I am not sure if Facebook notifications can be turned off for a given page, or if it is a FB-wide thing. So frustrating.

So, don't answer questions on Facebook. You'll never hear the end of it.

On that fine note, I will call it a night.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Post 3556 - A Weekend Gone

It is three days later. I have not had a chance to write.

I was in the Valley with Patricia from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. Returned late afternoon and stayed in last night.

Today we ventured over to Dartmouth. Patricia was buying some stained glass supplies from a woman who was getting out of the hobby. Afterward, we went to the Dartmouth free market or whatever the hell it's called. It's on Canal Street, where the Value Village used to be. Let's go with eclectic.

Met Bill Mont, who's a character to say the least. Lots of stories, some of which I may be able to work into my Frank media column.

We returned home. Patricia resumed watching "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix. People who are harping about the show and how it glorifies suicide have not seen it. It was renewed for a second season today.

What we did in the Valley will be revealed in the coming days. And once again, when I go to the Valley I no longer announce it here on the blog. I think you know why, but if you don't, and write me privately, I will tell you.

I think I will turn in. Ten pm. 5:30 comes early.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Post 3555 - The Weekend Is Here (Again!)

Pushing 11pm.

I just spent the bulk of the evening transcribing another interview for my editor at Frank. The family of a deceased broadcaster in the Valley let me look through some of the cassettes he left behind, which were full of interviews. The current issue of Frank has an interview with Vera Lynn, conducted in the Spring of 1978. The one I just sent off to my editor was a few months early, September of 1977. It is quite long. I am not sure how much of it he will want to run. I will let you know.

Tonight was my window for working on this interview because we will be out of town on Friday, a vacation day. I will tell you all about it when we get back, but we likely will not be back until Saturday afternoon. And by the time we do return, it will be time to start work on my next media column. That should prove to be another interesting column. Just read the one that is in the current Frank and you will see what I mean.

I have found there are a couple sure fire ways to rile things up on Facebook. Mention religion. Doesn't matter the context. Be in favour of it, or against it. People on each side of the debate will rise up and express their opinions, to sometimes comedic effect. My goodness.

Donald Trump is another way to get people going. Just the name. You could write your FB status update with just his name and walk away and see the feces hit the fan. Good times. Good times.

A third way is read my current Frank column (issue 766) and see how that might cause some vituperation. It just hit newsstands on Wednesday, and already I have been taken to task over part of what I wrote. I am not a controversial guy. I hear things and comment on them. Try to present both sides of the story. Try to be fair. But not everyone sees it that way. You cannot win. My goodness gracious. And that is the only comment you will see about it, any time, anywhere, ever. Further, affiant sayeth naught.

I think I will turn in. We will have a busy day tomorrow.

See you then.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Post 3554 - Something to Consider

Pushing 11pm.

I just sent off a draft of my next true crime article to my editor at Frank. It's more than a week before the final deadline. I'm happy to have it under my belt. Assuming it is okay, my editor will be happy to have it done and locked and loaded for the next issue.

I will be transcribing a 1970's era interview for the next Frank, too. I'm told that lunch hours are a good time to kick back and relax and eat something. But it is about the only time I will have to do this other work.

And, of course, Friday is the special assignment day. Taking a vacation day and everything. Looking forward to it.

There is a guy in town named Robert Devet. He has an online publication called the Nova Scotia Advocate. Lots and lots of SJW stuff that becomes tiresome after a while. Patricia knows the guy. Recently they were advertising on Facebook for freelance writers. They pay real money and everything. They went on to state that you didn't have to have any real writing ability. They will take whatever stream-of-consciousness stuff that rolls off your fingertips, decipher it via a method known only to them, write it so that it makes sense to people who know how to read, and then publish it in their fine, fine online publication. After that is over, they will decide what to pay you.

Anyway, Patricia suggested I pitch some ideas to Robert Devet.

I've met him. He seems like a nice guy and everything. I'm sorry that he lost his wife so suddenly, several years ago. But I have no interest in writing that kind of material. And, quite frankly, Frank Magazine is keeping me busier and busier. I have three articles in the current issue, and hope to have that many for the next issue, maybe even the issue after that. I have no time to come up with a pitch for the NS Advocate, and no interest in doing so, even if I did.

But you can. If you live in these here parts and wanna make a little extra money, and feel you can get behind writing about social welfare issues, then write Robert Devet and send him your pitches. There are too few writing opportunities out there for writers, and I am getting more and more work from Frank, so you can rest assured I will not try to go after this market, too. Contact him here.

Tomorrow is my Friday. Looking forward to my day off.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Post 3553 - Tuesday Night

Past 9:30.

I have finished going through the audio files recorded two weeks ago, have typed them up, printed them off, and marked the most interesting aspects of the conversation, so I can now start writing the next true crime article in Frank.

The hardest part of these articles to write is the opening paragraph, even the opening sentence. I want that sentence to be something that if someone is skimming the article in the grocery store, or has a copy of it at home and is trying to decide whether to read the article at all, decides in the end to read it on the basis of that opening line or two. It is the approach I use to my leisure reading. If the author can't hook me from the opening why should I stick around to the bitter end?

After a half dozen false starts, I think I found one that works. I may throw it out tomorrow, revise it, or build on it. Not sure, yet. Will let you know.

Our work week is half over. We are taking Friday off to do a super secret excursion. Will tell you about it in a few days.

Toastmasters is tomorrow night, too. Those meetings sneak up on you.

I think I will turn in. Need to get up early, and lots to do tomorrow.

See you then.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Post 3552 - The Last Few Days

Pushing ten pm.

So, the last couple of days.

I went to the Valley Saturday morning, by myself. Left Newbie and Patricia behind. Wanted to check out the house. I no longer announce when I will go down there. I have sound reasons for not announcing this. I don't want to get into them here. Sorry.

If you want to hook up with me when I'm in the valley, let me know beforehand and I can work it out with you.

Anyway, the house was fine. I ran a few errands but was settled in for the night by mid-afternoon. I started working my way through the audio files associated with the next true crime article for Frank Magazine. I had a couple of beer while I was working away. Even though I was using the headphones, I still had the radio on next to me at the computer desk, tuned into the K-Rock Saturday night all request show.

I returned to the city Sunday afternoon. As was in keeping with other visits there, I returned tired, so I napped for a couple of hours before deciding to take the rest of the day off.

Work today was uneventful. I had brought back from the valley the Soul's all season tires. I learned today that it will be a full two weeks before we can get the snow tires removed. What a drag. Mid-May while still driving on snow tires. I am hoping they are not overly damaged. I am told that it is not a good idea to drive on snow tires once the good weather hits. Or is that an old wive's tale?

The new Frank Magazine went online today. I have three articles in there. My usual media column. An article about an unsolved murder. And a neat little interview with Vera Lynn, conducted in 1978. It was on a cassette tape that I dubbed this Winter from the family of the man who used to work in radio in the Valley, who interviewed plenty of celebrities back in the day. I have a full six and a half pages in this issue of Frank, and my editor would like me to keep up that kind of output for a few issues at least. I will do what I can. Strike while the iron is hot. May hay while the sun shines. Et cetera.

All of this content, by the way, will never appear here on this blog. Not gonna happen. You have to take money from your damned pocket and go to the newsstand and buy it. The articles are long enough that you can't sneak peek them at the grocery store while you're waiting to buy your victuals. Besides, they are of such high quality that you will want to keep referring to the articles for years and years.

I think I will turn in. I need some shuteye.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Post 3551 - Ugh

Not feeling well tonight. I will tell you about my weekend, tomorrow.

I hope you think the wait will be worth it. I am not convinced.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Post 3550 - The Weekend Is Here!

Pushing 10:30.

It's two days later. I spent the last two days attending a computer security conference in downtown Halifax. My goodness, my head was swimming Thursday night. I turned in early.

Today's was nearly as hectic. During one session, I began to nod off. I pray that I didn't actually fall asleep because I was sitting in the second row and the guy could see me if I did. The topic was interesting enough, but the day had grown long, the chair was comfy, and my eyes grew heavy.

There were door prizes. At lunch they drew for most of them. The guy sitting on each side of me won something nice. They drew for the grand prizes just before 5pm. The guy sitting next to me won an iPhone 7. I'm ... happy for them. Yeah. Let's go with that.

The weekend is in a fluid state. I am not sure what I will do tomorrow. Let's find out, shall we?

See you then.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Post 3549 - Another Day Gone

Pushing 10pm.

I just sent off my latest media column to my editor. I told him today that it is either my best column, or my worst one. I am too close to the material and the subject matter to have any degree of objectivity. Read it for yourself when it goes live next week.

At coffee today, they were running the Live with Kelly show at the deli we frequent. They showed that new app that takes a person's face and adds special filters to change it in unique ways. Adam happened to have that app and got a picture of yours truly, running it through those filters. Here is how it turned out.

The upper left is the real image of me. I look haggard, even old. Then, Adam ran the pic through filters. My fave is the smiling one. The teeth look creepy AF as the kids say today.

There was a filter that is supposed to make you look old, but in my case, it made me look younger, so Adam didn't bother keeping it.

That was fun. Real fun.

Tomorrow and Friday I will be at a security conference. There will be panels about various data security topics. I look forward to attending as many as I can. I expect both days to be busy ones.

You guys have a good evening. Talk at you tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Post 3548 - Fun Times

Pushing 10:30pm.

Another uneventful day at work. Patricia had a rough day. On the way home, she kept saying she wanted to eat read meat for dinner. Steak. Bloody. We went to Costco and picked up some steaks and went home. I cooked steaks with mushrooms, probably overcooking them, but Patricia ate hers anyway.

I ended up washing the dishes. By this time, it was 9pm. I showered and primped my hair. It looks pretty good tonight. Pretty, pretty, pretty, good.

Unbeknownst to me, my editor at Frank mailed me my cheque late last week. It arrived today, unexpected. It actually reminded me of the time I read an introduction to a set of Stephen King short stories. As a young man, he would write short stories for magazines featuring women who were, as my art professor in university called it, "undraped". As smutty as these magazines were, they also published fiction, mostly horror and crime related; and many up-and-coming writers sold their stories to them. They were an important source of revenue, now almost completely dried up, to many writers back in the day. They paid on publication, not on acceptance, so in many cases, the writers would only know their stories had been published when they got the cheque in the mail.  Stephen King stated in that introduction to "Skeleton Crew" that those cheques came in very handy. He could pay the phone bill or buy medicine for one of his kids or what have you.

I don't have kids. My phone bill is paid up. But the money I get from Frank is most welcome and appreciated. And they also pay on publication, but I get paid for my work on a monthly basis. If I write something during the month, and it is published that same month, I get a cheque by the 30th, or even a few days earlier, reflecting that work.

I still remember the time, many years ago, when I had to run around to get a pay cheque at the place I was working for a short time. I felt I was begging for the cheque. And the guy who sifted through other cheques to find mine gave me the impression he was doing me a favour, that I was inconveniencing him somehow. I never felt so debased in my life up to that point, or even since. I will never forget that smarmy little so-and-so.

My latest Frank media column is taking shape. I have had to conduct some little interviews as research for a topic for that column. Another interview subject came forward this evening, and I look forward to what that person has to say on this topic. I am hoping that the subject matter will prove interesting to my readers. We will see.

I think I will turn in. See you tomorrow.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Post 3547 - Monday Night

Well, Bevboy feels foolish.

I wrote Sunday night's blog post, but I forgot to publish it. I apologize for that. I was wondering why people didn't write and praise me for its beauty and elegance. Now, I know.

So, you get two blog posts today. How much will you pay now?

First day back to work, man. A long day. I did hear that my editor was pleased with my latest true crime article. It will likely go up in next week's Frank. I will keep you posted. I think it is one of my better articles, and I hope you agree.

I have begun researching a topic for my latest Frank media column. It may cause me some grief and aggravation when it goes up, but that is something that Frank loves, and the topic is something that I have wondered about for a very long time. Now, I have the sources at my disposal to answer the question more effectively than I ever could before I had the column. I hope to get some answers to that question in the coming 48 hours. You will know what I mean when that column is published next week.

Sorry to be so enigmatic, but that content, you have to pay for. Enigmas are free, though.

I think I will turn in. You take care of yourselves and enjoy the "extra" blog post.

See you tomorrow.


Post 3546 - Another Couple of Days Later

Past 10:30.

I didn't write yesterday, natch. Sorry about that. I spent a full six hours at the Nova Scotia Archives, looking for information about unsolved murders and missing persons cases. I found information about a murder that I had forgotten about. A quick look at the Halifax police website page that lists and discusses the unsolved crimes tells me that this particular case is still outstanding. It is now on my list to track down information about.

I also found out some radio information whilst at the archives. Some historical information, to be exact. Something you will find nowhere else. I look forward to sharing it with you, in the next issue of Frank.

Saturday night, we tried to binge watch a couple of shows, with varying degrees of success. We finished season one of "Shut Eye". There were plot holes in it I could drive my KIA through. The final plan concocted by the main characters worked in spite of their best efforts, not because of them. A disappointment in a show that mostly wasn't.

"Chance", starring Hugh Laurie of "House" fame, was monotonous. Too precious by far, and slower paced than a postal worker on Valium swimming through a vat of molasses. We watched the pilot and we're done.

"Imposters" captivated us. It's about a couple of grifters who make a few mistakes and the ones they ripped off come after them. Throw in another "mark" who is stealing from the grifters' boss, divided loyalties, cons conning each other back and forth, and the law not far behind, and you have a terrific show. We were up until 2:30 Sunday morning watching it. We finished the last three episodes this afternoon.

"National Treasure" stars Robbie Coltrane as an aging comedian who gets accused of sexual assault by much younger women. It was a four part series that should have been a three part series, maybe a two and a half part series. We finished watching it this evening.

My editor at Frank told me last week that he thought I was a workaholic. I told him that there is little else I enjoy more than binge watching tv shows, or reading a book on my front deck.  But if he wants to think this I won't stop him...

Another short vacation is over. Back to work in the morning. The time away from work whizzes by at a rate that is totally unfair. I know that my work day will crawl along at a very unsatisfactory rate.

On that note, I will bid you adieu. See you tomorrow.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Post 3545 - A Couple Days Later...

Pushing midnight on Friday.

I am not sure what happened to me. I wrote my blog post Wednesday night after sending in the first draft of my latest true crime piece for Frank. I was keyed up, so I stayed up and watched The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

I should re-word that.

Trevor Noah was not with me while I watched the show that he is the star of. I was alone watching the program entitled The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Understand now?

Anyway, after that was over, I turned in, but was still keyed up. I guess spending most of my Wednesday contemplating, discussing, and writing about local unsolved murders took an emotional toll on me. I awoke Thursday morning with a migraine. Eating something didn't help, so I returned to bed. Other than a few trips to the bathroom, and alternating between the bed and my recliner, I didn't get up until nearly 8pm. By that time, my headache was finally gone. Watched some tv with Patricia and slept yet more.

I got up earlier today than I did on Thursday. Cooked breakfast for both of us. My editor read the draft of what I sent him Wednesday night and asked for a few changes, which I was happy to make. I made those changes and sent him the revised article around 4pm, well ahead of next week's deadline. That done, I can start work on my media column, whose deadline will be Wednesday or Thursday of next week. I also need to carve out some time to start writing my next true crime piece. I have two hours or more of audio files that I recorded at dinner Wednesday night. I lost my Thursday. Hope to make up some of that time over the weekend, after I return from my Saturday trip to the Archives.

We return to work Monday morning. No idea where the time off has gone. I mean, I spent 40% of that time off asleep, I guess that accounts for quite a bit of time there.

Here's something. Earlier today I decided to take a really old laptop out of mothballs and try to get it running again. It's a Dell latitude D410. A 12 inch laptop workhorse that started giving me a hard time about six months ago. A TPM error, which I have learned is related to a security module in the bios. I booted it up with some effort and turned off the TPM security, and it reluctantly started up. I ran it for a while, and then shut it down.

It would not boot back up again. I went online with another laptop and learned that if you press the Fn button and then power, it goes into a diagnostic mode. It did, and after a bit more fiddling I got it up and running again. I keep getting the TPM warning message and press f1 and it starts up the OS. I am writing this blog post on that old computer.

I am not sure how to get around the TPM warning or it that is the new normal. The OS I am running is 7 years old, so maybe if I put on a newer distro of Linux, like Mint or something, then maybe the problem will go away. A problem for another day.

I think I will turn in. I have a busy day on Saturday.

See you then.