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.


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.