Saturday, February 24, 2018

Post 3666 - Two Days Later

So.

I had my birthday on Friday. I am now (sigh!) 54 years of age.

I worked during the day. After work, I met up with Patricia at the Casino. I had been looking forward to dinner at the buffet, all week long.

Deeply disappointing.

We queued up. Patricia paid. She had forgotten her own casino card, so she had to pay full price for herself, while I got the five dollar discount. We got in quite quickly. The food was... well, it wasn't very good. The beef carvery was fatty. The chicken and fish were nearly cold. The mussels were swimming in grease. The pizza slices were doughy and gross.

Desserts were not much better. The rice pudding was acceptable. The white cake was okay. The bread pudding, which used to be the best thing they ever offered, looked desiccated, nearly mummified.

I did see an old friend from the Valley, though. Dave Hines was a photographer down there for many years. He took my university grad photos, actually. My dad knew his dad. We chatted for a few minutes, and caught up somewhat. Nice to see him, and meet his wife.

That was the best part of the meal.

We got up to leave and noticed about 18 people lined up to get into the buffet. They had already paid, so there was no backing out. I wanted to tell them to run away from the place, not to waste their money, or cause rack and ruin to their colons. But it was too late for them. Too... late.

We had thought about playing some slots, but the meal was so disappointing that I couldn't bear to lose money on top of that, so we went home. My body conked out early, and Patricia's gave out not long later.

Today, we have spent the day inside. I got my b'day present that I didn't get yesterday. It is a solar-powered radio/flashlight. It also has a weather band, so I can listen to the weather all day long. I have the radio upstairs, outside the bathroom, in a window that gets plenty of sunlight.

Here is what it look like:



We had looked at some other such radios a couple weeks ago, at the MEC in the downtown. They all looked flimsy, cheap even. One had a built-in bottle opener, which was neat; but it looked as if it were about to crumble to pieces if I looked at it hard. The freeplay looked much more rugged than the others, with the only vulnerability being that the radio antenna is not protected when not in use.

The flashlight is decent for what it is supposed to do. There is the ability to charge the device via usb, solar, or a big wind up thingy. It has a headphone jack, and one can allegedly charge a cell phone or other device via a mini usb connection. Not many devices have a mini usb connection any more, so that will likely not be used too much. I can live with that.

I'm pretty happy with this gift. Thanks, Patricia.

So, I'm 54 now. I have more years behind me than ahead of me, unless I live to be 108, which nobody with my last name ever has, or will. I can only hope that as many of my remaining years are as good as I can make them. That is all one can ever hope for.

Tomorrow, Patricia has a thing in Bayer's Lake. I will hang back here and make dinner or take a nap or something. The people who think I am a workaholic would be so disappointed if they saw me.

You guys have a good evening. I will bark at ya on the morrow.

Bevboy




Thursday, February 22, 2018

Post 3665 - One More Day To The Weekend

Thursday night.

I just sent off my next cold case article to my editor at Frank. It is a full week ahead of my deadline, so I am sure he is pleased by that if nothing else. I still plan to work on another article in the coming days.

It is another unsolved murder, from several years ago. Another case that has been nearly forgotten about, one which I hope to shed some light on. With any luck, it will be in the issue of Frank that goes on sale the week after next.

My goodness I am tired this evening. Tuesday night I had to turn in early. Wednesday night I was up until after 11. I nearly turned in early this evening, too, but instead had my shower and finished the above article. I have earned my beauty sleep tonight.

I am going to give a bit more thought regarding the numbering of the blog posts going forward. I will let you know. Dozens of you have written me or stopped me on the street. I promise I will let you all know, soon.

I think I will turn in. I have a busy and momentous day ahead of me.

See you then.

Bevboy


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Post 3664 - Wednesday Night Wailings

Or is this post 3748?

I am no longer sure, ladies and gentlement.

Let me explain.

I have tried to number these post consecutively over the years. You would think that this would be an easy thing to do. Look at the post number for the previous post, and add one to it.

Enter... a minor case of dyslexia.

I have transposed digits in numbers nearly my whole life. If someone told me to write down, for example, 13728, there is a good change I would jot down 17328. Not to be plucky or irreverent, but because the digits would get mixed up between my brain and my hand and some out the wrong way. Happens all the time. It is a good thing I didn't go into Accounting, huh?

So, why did I start numbering these posts?

I am not sure. I think it may have been that when I started with post number one, in late 2007, that I would never make it to post 3664. It was such a far away goal that it seemed like science fiction, so I dutifully kept adding one more to the next post until here we are.

Except, when I look at the blog's history, it says that there are actually 3748 posts. This would be 3749, actually.

I can explain some of the discrepancies. Early on, to be cheeky, I had things like post 100.1 and 100.5 and that kind of thing. But I know that there are times when I threw the sequence off entirely, forgetting that this is the 3600 series of posts, and lopping off one hundred, and starting up again at 3526 or whatever it was. More than one post that has the same post number, in other words. Once or twice, I plumb forgot to put numbers on the posts at all.

So, what do I do?

I am thinking of doing a "post jump" to catch up with the actual number of published posts, which would mean that the next post would be something like 3750, and not 3665. This would confound the archaeologists who, one hundred years hence, would discover this blog on some ancient hard drive Google left behind after it colonized Jupiter in 2062. These people would read the blog, love it of course, but then wonder why some 85 posts were no longer there. I have to think about my legacy. You understand.

I could just blithely go on and continue with this faulty number, of course. But I don't like that, either. I have written those other 85 post, gosh darn it. I have earned that higher number. The blog should not suffer because I messed up the numbering a few times over the years.

Or, I could stop numbering the posts. I like this suggestion the least. How many other blogs have the numbering built right in? It is comforting to the reader, and to me, to be able to see that there is a unique stamp on each and every blog post, here on Bevboy's Blog. No other blog post in the world is ever going to be called "Post 3664 - Wednesday Night Wailings". I guarantee it.

Perhaps I could use two numbers. "Post 3664/3749 - Wednesday Night Wailings", for example. Then, over the course of a couple of weeks, I could drop the earlier number, and just keep the higher number. This way, the archaeologists in 2118 will have a fighting chance of figuring out why the blog post numbering jumped that way.

So, what should I do, folks? Keep this numbering? Go for the "actual" number for the blog posts? Drop the numbering altogether? Use both numbers for a spell? Adopt a Dewey Decimal-type approach? How about a logarithmic scale? Astronomical units? Scientific notation?

Help a Bevboy out.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy




Monday, February 19, 2018

Post 3663 - Monday Night -- Bevboy Needs Your Help!

Another long weekend is behind me. I wish I could say I got more done.

I did spend some time doing some work for Frank. But, you know, otherwise, I was here at home sleeping and watching stuff on Plex and on Netflix.

I cooked breakfast this morning, and dinner tonight. So, there is that.  I washed some clothes, so I don't have to worry about running out of underwear any time soon. So, there is that. I just spent 30 minutes re-arranging a storage area here in my home office, throwing a bunch of stuff out in the process. There is that.

Newbie has enjoyed having us around the house the last few days. He will be disappointed when we return to work in the morning.

Before I ring off this evening I need your help with something.

I want to buy a decent usb-powered light. I presently have one I got with some other similar items a few years ago. It is a very small lamp, on a stand. It has five small led lights. An on and off switch. Two of those lights have burned out. If one more goes, leaving me down to two, then it is pretty much useless to me. That can happen any day now.

Does anybody reading this have a suggestion for a usb-powered light, similar to the one I just described? It would be great if it had enough light to allow me to read a book by, but I would make do with it being strong enough to enable me to see this keyboard if I am here late at night with no other lights on. Most usb-powered lights are crap. I don't know why that is. Surely to heck there is a decent one out there. Your mission is to tell me about it, and how to go about ordering one.

Thank you.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Post 3662 - Saturday Night

Turned in crazy early Friday night and slept in this morning. I have spent quite a few hours today working on some stuff that has taken a bit longer to do than I had originally expected. I need to finish that task in the morning.

I did have time to day to make a nice breakfast for us. Western sandwiches, only I used bacon bits instead of -- ugh! -- ham. Ham is not food, in my opinion. It should not even be a thing.

I showered after that, so I am smelling all purty now. Newbie and Patricia are impressed.

I need to turn in. I have an early day tomorrow.

Bevboy


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Post 3661 - One More Day To Go

I didn't write last night because I got home late. I was at the Archives until 8 or so. Then, on the way out, the commissionaire recognized me and we spent 20 minutes talking about unsolved murders, missing persons, and Denyse Sibley. Denyse was mixed in there, popping up every few minutes.

I went to Atlantic News to pick up the newest issues of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I learned that local journalist Dean Jobb is the new columnist at EQMM. They are combining the very long running Jury Box book reviews section, and the Blog Bytes section written by Bill Crider, who died on February 12th and who had been unwell for some time.

Anyway, as sorry as I am to learn of Bill Crider's death, and the ending of The Jury Box (which went back to the 1970's, if not earlier), I am excited to learn that local Dean Jobb, a true crime writer several of whose books I have here in my home office, is taking on this prestigious job. EQMM's editor, Janet Hutchings, takes the time to say some very nice things about Dean Jobb. I'm very much on board with this new column.

Here is a link to Dean's first column. You will be able to read it for free, so check back every month.

Anyway, today was another work day. Busy. And things promise to get even busier over the next couple of weeks.

The weekend is nearly here. It can't get here quite soon enough.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Post 3660 - A Great Find

I am cheap.

Well, let's go with thrifty.

If I can save a buck somewhere, I will.

The computer which I am using to type these humble, sub-par, slightly pathetic words, was purchased at the Staples in Bayer's Lake in January of 2009. Nine years ago. It was part of a Boxing Week Sale. A HP Slimline machine that came with 2gb of Ram, a 500GB hard drive, and which ran Windows Vista.

Vista was utter crapola. I eventually installed a Linux distribution on it, and used that version until long after it had become outdated and its developers had abandoned any updates. I am now running Linux Mint, and it is very nice indeed.

But it was starting to show its age. The traditional hard drive gasped and wheezed and apps took too long to load. I was starting to think I would have to break down and get a newer machine. But instead,  I took a 120GB SSD (solid state drive) and installed that a few months ago. The 500GB drive now holds my data. Now, it runs like the wind. It does everything I need it to do, flawlessly. Unless something untoward happens with this machine, I can probably get another couple of years out of it. I may yet, however, double the ram all the way to 4GB.

But I had a mere 15 inch flat screen monitor. I had a 19 inch one briefly, but it did not work on this computer. It would blink out after a few seconds. Maybe it was the drivers. Maybe it was just a dud monitor from the thrift store.

I took that monitor, and three others, to an enviro depot over the weekend. When cleaning out the closet that had those monitors, I found this one, a 17 inch LG. I swapped out the 15 for the 17 about 20 minutes ago, and it works very well. I will save you the math. It is about 13% bigger than the 15, which makes quite a difference to me.

This upgrade this evening cost me nothing. It was a monitor I had forgotten about. Swapping out the two monitors took me about 45 seconds. And I have a better computer experience now than I had before.

When I bought this machine nine years ago, I had no idea I would still be using it in 2018. I figured three or four at the very most. Now, like I stated above, I think I can get a few more years out of this.

What things have you bought that lasted you much, much longer than you expected they would?

You know how to contact me.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Monday, February 12, 2018

Post 3659 - What Would You Do?

I don't talk about it much, but I work as a civil servant. I have the part-time writing gig for Frank, but most of my income emanates from my day job.

The government recently decided to allow civil servants to tap into what is called a public service award, an amount of money paid to retiring civil servants. One week of salary for each year of service, up to twenty six weeks. In order to get this money, you couldn't leave your job in any way other than retiring. If you left to go somewhere else, you didn't get it. If you got fired, you didn't get it.

They want the money off the books, so they're letting us get the money now. By now, I mean in the coming few months, as there are only so many people working away at calculating these amounts owing, and it takes a while to do this work. I won't pretend to know about it.

Last week, we all got letters spelling out what our PSA amount will be. We also got options for how to receive that money. We could get it as one big payment, less income tax, CPP contributions, EI contributions, and everything else. Those going for that option, will likely get about 50% of that money. Maybe 55% at the most.

You could also opt to put all, or some, of that money into a retirement savings plan and defer the tax, as you would never see it.

What you do with that money, and how it is disbursed as above, depends on one's financial situation. I decided to go for the full payout, although it means taking a kick in the teeth, tax wise. I took on a fair amount of debt before my mother died, and added to that right after she passed. I have had to add yet more to get other important things done, too. I have been dutifully paying it down over the last few years, and I have about two years left to go.

If i get this payout as I have described, I can pay off that balance of that debt pretty much instantly. I will free up the cash designated for this debt, and put it toward other things, including savings. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

But others like the idea of socking the money away into the RSP thing, getting the tax break, and applying THAT money to whatever debts and other financial obligations confront them.

In speaking with a co-worker today, I opined that many people give little thought to their financial planning. They just want their net pay every two weeks that they can spend on what they want. As they approach retirement, they feel they should retire as much of their debt as they can, but that is about it.

I am not too far away from that attitude, and we suspect that most people are not, either.

I think my decision works for me. The die is cast. I mailed in my decision last week.

I am wondering what you would do in my case, and why? You don't have to tell me your precise financial situation. Don't give me actual dollar amounts of what you owe, or what you would spend it it. Just give me a rough idea of what you would do, and why.

I look forward to your thoughts.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Post 3658 - Two Days Later

Sorry I didn't write on Saturday. I did a quick Valley trip, to check out the house down there and take care of a few things.

I know I have some friends down there, and maybe they're disappointed that they didn't hear from me. I promise I am not trying to be a so-and-so. I promise to look you up in the near future. I know we need to have lunch and talk about stuff.

Soon.

I returned mid-afternoon. A friend wanted to borrow our Toastmasters club's old timing device and stopwatch, so I dropped them off on the way home. I was greeted with the usual enthusiasm from Patricia and Newbie. I reported that I had brought back a quiche and a pizza, and prepared them both for dinner. After dinner I cooked some salmon, which will be for our lunches this week.

Once again, a three day weekend flew by as if it had never happened before. Once again, I wonder where the time went, and what I have to show for it.

I just remembered that I should re-plug the slow cooker in, and let it run most of the night. Patricia is making a beef stew, and I want to make the chaps at work jealous because their wives only made them flakes of ham sandwiches.

I am such a stinker.

You guys have a good night. See you tomorrow.

Bevboy




Friday, February 9, 2018

Post 3657 - Friday Night

A day off work. I love three day weekends.

Patricia had a make-up Pilates class this morning, or rather, thought she did. She got there and soon discovered it was cancelled, so she did some exercises and returned to the car early. Meanwhile I went to the nearby thrift store.

It's the same thrift store where I got this handy dandy Model M keyboard a few months ago. The same keyboard I am using for this blog post, actually. What a wonderful clickety-clack it produces! Anyway, they had a few keyboards there, but not anything like this find.

We had lunch with a friend, whom we had not seen for a while. After that, we went to the Young Street Superstore, and then made our way back home. We have spent the rest of the day just hanging around the house, taking things easy.

Weekends are nice, and there are two more days to go in this one.

Lots of fun on Saturday and Sunday. I will tell you about those days as the time draw nigh.

I learned "nigh" from reading comics.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Post 3656 - Listen!

I didn't write on Wednesday because my body shut down around 8:15. Sorry about that.

I would have told you that the next edition of the Night Time Podcast is up. It is the episode that features me talking with host Jordan Bonaparte for 40 minutes or so, regarding the 1998 disappearance of Troy Cook, from Truro, Nova Scotia.

Here is the link. You can either stream it, or download it. If you have a podcast catcher you can set it up to grab every edition of this fine podcast ever done if that is your desire (it should be).

I am happy with how it turned out. I thought that my voice was slowed down, but Jordan tells me that he did not adjust my modulation at all. I guess I worked a little too hard to make sure I spoke at a deliberate rate. You may not even notice it. We spoke for about 43 minutes, and nearly all of it made the podcast, so that is cool.

One little bit he did cut was my offer at the very end to sit down with Jordan again and discuss another cold case. I hope he takes me up on that offer.

I don't know if my articles, if Jordan's podcasts, help solve any cases or not. I haven't heard about the police arresting anybody and thanking Frank Magazine or The Night Time Podcast for helping generate tips that led to the arrest. But I like to think they do help keep the word out about these older unsolved cases, and that word can lead to discussion, which can lead to people calling the police with some piece of information that can lead to an arrest or three.

Thanks, Jordan. That was fun. Let's do that again sometime.

See you guys tomorrow.

Bevboy


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Post 3655 - A Good Laugh

I have spent far too much time this evening, and during my lunch hour today, enjoying the heck out of a thread on a Facebook page I follow with some interest. It was inspired by something I had written the other day.

On the "Marvel Comics Fans 1961-1986" page, on Tuesday, there was the following exchange:


People have been writing at great length about it all day, and I have had a wonderful time reading these posts. Here I am with one of my contributions.



My very favourite made me laugh out loud. Here it is:





I got such a kick out of this because, well, I learned to read from comics more than I did from anything else. I developed a taste for other types of reading, fiction and non-fiction, but it all came from comics. I sold off 99% of them over the years, but I still remember reading them very fondly. And I remember the insults that, say, Doctor Doom would throw at his minions. "Craven cur" was likely my favourite.

I learned that "laser" and "maser" were acronyms.

I learned that "moribund" means "dying" because I read that a comic book was in that state due to poor sales and was in danger of cancellation, a form of death if you want to look at it that way.

There will be a new Ant Man movie in 2018, with The Wasp as his partner, played by Evangeline Lilly. Her character is often described as "winsome", so I have known that word since I was a child.

I learned that "naught" means "nothing" from reading comics.

I had a job more than 30 years ago when I told my boss I was working on something "for the nonce". He told me he had not heard that phrase since he had studied Shakespeare. I got the phrase from reading Thor years earlier.

I learned that full moons last for three nights because I read "Werewolf by Night" as a youngster, and Jack Russell would become a werewolf for three nights per month. Gotta love those old stories by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. I asked a teacher in a science class why they last for three nights, and got a perfectly scientific answer for my troubles.

(Doug Moench and I share the same birthday, by the way).

I occasionally tell people here on the blog to calm down by writing, "Fear not, effendi". Got that from reading one of Stan Lee's Soapbox entries from back in the day, in some Marvel comic, likely from the early 1970's. Probably written by someone else, but you get the point.

I really hope that this Facebook thread goes on for days and days. Grand old fun.

What does this mean to you? Well, not much, except that if you catch a seldom-used word here from time to time, there is a decent chance I got it from reading comics. You know, the scourge of literature.

And I have paid it forward a bit in my Frank articles. In one I did in the Autumn, I could have stated that a man was so "sad" that he took his own life, but wrote "disconsolate" instead. My editor did not change it, so it was all good. I am pretty sure I got that word from comics I read as youngster.

Now, begone, ye vile miscreants. I must needs sleep ere the morn, lest I be enervated.

Bevboy


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Post 3654 - Another Weekend Behind Us

No. I am not watching the Superbowl. Why would I?

After the excitement of yesterday, the podcast taping and the Halifax Seeds visit and the quick trip to Gateway Meat Market in Dartmouth, it was a pleasure to sit around the house and do very little today.

We slept in. I made something to eat. Patricia made dinner. In between, we tried to watch "Snowpiercer" on Netflix. It is going to become a tv show at some point, so we decided to watch the film. After ten minutes of looking at grimy people in dirty situations with poor lighting, we bailed on watched a Will Ferrell movie called "The Other Guys". I had to take a nap halfway through, so we finished watching it over dinner. The best thing I can say about it is that I vaguely recall that the "cucumber water" scene in the trailer was longer than what was in the movie. It was among the best scenes in a pretty crappy movie.

Tonight, I showered and am all ready to return to work in the morning. And once again, I wonder where the weekends go. Some kind of weird time warp makes Saturdays and Sunday fly by.

I am told that the next edition of The Night Time Podcast, featuring little old me, will be published in the coming days. I am very much looking forward to hearing myself. Jordan gets many thousands of downloads, so it is possible that some of that will spill over to my Frank work. It is also possible that I may be asked to participate in future podcast recordings. We will have to see.

It is getting late. I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Post 3653 - Podcast Time

Well, how was your day?



Friday night, my body went timbbberrrrrr! pretty early, so I didn't do a post.



We had to get up relatively early to be at our friend Jordan Bonaparte's home for ten, to record the next edition of The Nighttime Podcast. The podcast has been increasing in popularity since its inception a couple of years ago. Jordan has had hundreds of thousands of downloads, rivaling many other Canadian podcasts.



It has moved away from its horror and conspiracy roots more and more toward true crime, much more in my wheelhouse. In 2017, Jordan did a very good three part series about the 1992 McDonald's murders, interviewing author and reporter Phonse Jessome at length.



Jordan decided some time ago to do an edition of the podcast about the 1998 disappearance of Troy Cook. He told me he thought my article in Frank in 2016 was the best of the ones he had read, which was very nice of him to say. He wanted to do a second episode of the podcast about Troy's disappearance and invited me to talk to him about Troy and what happened to him.

 


We recorded it in about an hour this morning. He messaged me on FB this afternoon to say that it sounded great. He has some time off this coming week and hopes to have the show uploaded to the Nighttime Podcast website by Wednesday or so. I will link to it when I see it.







As we finished the recording session, Jordan asked if I had anything to add. I just repeated that I would love to talk to Lorraine, Troy's mother, who hasn't spoken to the media since 1999 or so. I would like to talk to Troy's roommate of three weeks, James Taylor. And I thanked Jordan for the opportunity and said something like, "Let's do this again sometime".







Perhaps, depending on listener reaction, I will be back in Jordan's dining room recording another edition of the Nighttime Podcast with him. There are plenty of unsolved murders and missing persons cases we can talk about.




Thanks, Jordan. I had a blast!!





See you guys tomorrow.

Bevboy

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Post 3652 - Is It Friday Yet?

Darn. It is only Thursday.

Groundhog Day is nearly every day for me. Get up. Go to work. Work. Eat something at mid day. Work some more. Go home. Eat something. Watch tv. Play with the cat. Work on an article for Frank for a bit. Write a blog post. Turn in. Repeat.

Weekends mix things up a bit, with sleeping into until late substituted for working.

Am I in a rut? Maybe. I was re-reading a few blog posts this evening from nine years ago. They had a much more jovial tone than I am able to muster these days. Perhaps I need to examine my life a bit more and find out why I feel this way.

Or not.

I was farting around with a laptop computer last night, trying to install Java on its linux os. I succeeded only in disabling the wifi, and don't ask me how I managed to do that, because I do not know. I could not re-awaken the wifi at all, so I put a dongle in a usb port. Tonight, I re-installed Linux Mint on the machine and made sure it was using the correct drivers. That made the wifi work again.

Are you proud of me? I told Patricia, and she asked me to pass the crudites by way of reply, so something tells me she was not impressed.

What impresses you, anyway? Do you care that I have produced over 3600 posts on a blog that is just over 10 years old? That I misinterpret directions all the time? That I can't understand metaphors to save my life? That I can get computers working long past the time when they should have been thrown out? That I cannot do much of anything in this world without my glasses on?

It is pushing 11:30. I have spent the last hour Messengering with two folks on Facebook. They know who they are, those little rascals.

See you tomorrow.

Bevboy