Thursday, November 29, 2018

Post 3804 - The Weekend Is Here! (For me)

Thursday night, and late.

I have spent the last hour incrementally changing a minor aspect of one of my research aids for my Frank work. For a couple of years I was old school: took a sheet of looseleaf and draw a little table with a pen and ruler with column headings for newspaper and date range and microfilm number and whether I had found something. Worked fine. Nothing wrong with this approach.

I decided to automate it a bit a few days ago. I went into a couple of different word processors and created tables. Then I just changed headings, and added shading, and made small incremental changes that if I showed them to you, you would think that perhaps I needed a vacation and a long nap. Which I do, come to think of it.

The upshot is that I believe I have simplified my research a little bit. The time I spent messing around with these tables will eventually pay for itself.

In theory.

Off work on Friday. My weekend dance card is filling up quickly. Friday and Saturday are nearly chock a block. Hoping to be able to slow down a titch on Sunday.

I am going to turn in. Been a long day, and there's plenty awaiting me tomorrow.

See you tomorrow or Saturday.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Post 3803 - Two Days Later

Well, I didn't write on Tuesday night because a friend of mine died Monday evening. Her death very much put things into perspective. Complaining about much of anything is trumped by something this serious.

Anyway, I have worked the last two days. I went to the Archives for a couple of hours after work to research a missing persons case from a very long time ago. I had hoped, perhaps naively, that there just might be something there. But the newspaper holdings from that time period are so poor that the date of the person's disappearance is not represented.

A local writer, the better part of twenty years ago, managed to write 1000 words or so about the case. I have a copy of that article. But I need some vintage articles.

I will even tell you what the case is. What the heck? I have mentioned it on my Facebook. It is about a man named John McDonald who in November of 1846 stepped out of his house at 95 King Street in Dartmouth, and was never seen again. That house to this day is known as the Dartmouth Mystery House. It is for sale, by the way.

If you know anything about the disappearance of John McDonald, or can point me to some articles or to someone who has some information about the case then let me know. Best bet is to write me here. I guarantee anonymity if you ask for it.

After all that crazy fun, we drove out to the Mission Mart in the new part of Bayer's Lake. It's the new thrift store, where every cent after their operating costs goes to the Soul's Harbour Rescue Mission. Unlike Value Village, it is non-profit. I have a bunch of books and DVD's and other stuff I can donate to them, and I will.

But Patricia was looking at some stuff, so I wandered over to the handbags and luggage. I saw a black bag, masculine, that looked as if it would hold the binder I use for my Frank work. Most bags are either too girly, or too large by far, or too small by a mite. I went out to the car and retrieved the binder and it fit very nicely in the bag. Whereupon, Patricia snatched the bag from me and proceeded to the cash. I guess I will be getting it for Christmas.

The bag I have been using is threadbare. It is actually a swag bag from an event I attended a year and a half ago and doesn't owe me anything. This "new" one is in very good condition and far more robust than the one I am using now, and cost very little. I am looking forward to receiving the bag for Christmas next month. I will try to look surprised!

I have a long day again tomorrow, so I need my shut eye.

See you tomorrow, my lovelies.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Post 3802 - A Nice Lunch...

We got up a bit late this morning. Cooked breakfast but didn't have any lunch prepared. Normally I trudge over to Superstore on Young Street to get some overpriced tasteless product. Or I go to the Italian Market to get an overpriced tasty product. Or to Burger King, to get an underpriced tasteless product. Or go to Burrito Jax to get a tasteless product that is relatively good for me, although I'd rather eat cardboard. Or go to the Metro Deli, which is sort of the Goldilocks of nearby places to eat. Good food at a good price.

But not today. I walked up Young Street, past the places I mentioned. Not sure where to go. I recalled having two meals at the Lion's Head last week and contemplated going there again. But then I saw this place, and decided to check it out.

It was a very nice, clean establishment, in an apartment building that rose from the ashes of one of Bill Mont's old buildings a year or so ago. Street-level retail that seems to be fully occupied.

I found out that one could order a soup and sandwich combo, with a can of pop or tea or coffee, for $8.50, I think it was. The soup of the day was minestrone, not exactly my favourite. But it was a cold day, and a day, therefore, for soup.

The sandwich I chose was chicken pesto. It was fine. More than fine, actually. And the can of Pepsi was.. a can of Pepsi. But the soup! Spicy, zesty, thick. Plenty of pasta and veggies lurked below the surface.

I loved the soup.

I told the owner, Rami, who gave me the above business card, how much I had enjoyed the soup, even though minestrone soup is not something I crave. He thanked me and told me with some pride how much effort they put into producing their soup every day. He listed the kinds of soups they prepare. One of them is Italian Wedding, a soup I like even less than minestrone. But I told him that if the Italian wedding was even half as good as the minestrone, that it must be good indeed.

I returned to work, with a skip in my step, and faced the afternoon with renewed vigour.

After work, we went to Clayton Park and grabbed some food from the Cheesecurds outlet by the RBC. Had never been there. Had a couple of really nice tacos.

We returned home. I washed some dishes and started some work on my next Frank article.

I keep thinking about that minestrone soup, though. I can't wait to go back and get some more.

I may even settle for Italian Wedding.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Post 3801 - Black Friday Recovery Mode

Well, that was fun!

Friday, I got some stuff taken care of at the house in the valley. Learned some stuff. But before that, Patricia and I went to the Bayer's Lake Superstore where I got a couple Black Friday specials, including that Amazon Fire tablet for $70, no tax. Just a bit of environmental fee thingy.

I dropped Patricia off where she would spend her work day and then took care of that issue in the Valley. After that, I went to the Superstore in nearby New Minas and... got a few more Black Friday things. Batteries, cheap. Went to the Canadian Tire there and got a couple of those power bars I coveted along with a set of pliers. Returned to the Superstore and after a great deal of thought dropped several hundred dollars on a 55" Sanyo Smart TV. It ever-so-barely fit in the Soul. They were also selling a 58" RCA Smart TV. I don't think it would have fit, which is just as well.

There was going to be a house showing Friday afternoon, so I hung around town for several hours. Hit some bookstores I don't get to that often. Killed time until around 3:30, when I finally returned to the house. I barely had time to sit down before the man I hire to keep the driveway plowed showed up and did this thing. I had to move the car out of the driveway so he could do his work.

We chatted a bit before he left. I had a dinner appointment with my realtor in Kentville, so I returned there. Over steak tacos, pan-fried haddock and deep fried dill pickles (!) we talked about the best approaches to selling the house, which has been on the market for eight months now. We hope to implement those approaches in the coming few weeks. I admitted to have been dragging my feet about it.

I returned to the house and spoke with Patricia. Watched some stuff on the tv and fell asleep in front of it before deciding to go to bed.

Saturday morning, after breakfast in New Minas, I returned to the city. Unloaded the car with all kinds of things including the tv and an Instant Pot. Patricia was... well, she reminded me we need a new dryer more. I agreed, but emphasized the price. She wasn't happy with me.

Saturday night, after a supper from a local church, I went back to Superstore in Bayer's Lake and got some more stuff, including Brita water filters, a snow shovel for the car, a toaster and a second one of those Amazon Fire tablets, for Patricia. As soon as I got home, she asked if I had asked about the tablet. I told her I had not, and then presented her with her belated birthday present. She was very happy to get it. I can tell you that, 24 hours later, she is using it a whole lot. So am I.

The Amazon Fire tablet has an 8" screen and for the price is an incredibly good bargain. It is very fast. I can use it as a tablet, an e-reader, and has a dedicated Amazon app that makes shopping on Amazon very easy indeed. I love this little tablet.

Sunday I had some other things to take care of, but when they were done we started watching season two of "Outlander". Loving is so far...

This has been a very expensive few days for me. My goodness. But I have some things to show for it. I don't regret making these expenditures. Well...

Another work week beckons. I should get ready for it, huh?

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Post 3800 - Post 3800

Welcome, sort of, to post 3800!

As I have noted before, over the past 11 years, I have lost count of what the actual post number was. I would forget the previous number and therefore the next one (or next several!) would be incorrect. By the time I discovered my error, I would have to decide what to do regarding the numbering. It is all very confusing, and something I don't wish to discuss at this late hour.

The Black Friday flyers arrived sometime over night. I spent time this morning and this evening poring over them and have jotted down some things to get, in addition to what I wrote about last evening. Like, I can only find a few pliers here and in the Valley house. Either Dad only had a few of them and used them for decades, or there is a stash of them down there somewhere that I have never found. Meanwhile, Canadian Tire has a set of pliers for $30, so I may invest in them. They also have a Master Craft power bar for $10, a sharply-reduced price. I'm told that the Master Craft line is manufactured by Dewalt, which is a terrific name.

I may also buy a solid state drive for this computer. The one in this machine is 128GB, which should be plenty for the OS. But my dropbox folder is gradually taking over the world, so I may have to get a bigger drive to accommodate it. Best Buy has a 500GB one for $100.

Still thinking about getting an RCA tv. People have been writing to tell me that RCA is now a generic brand taken over by manufacturers in China or wherever, where they slap the RCA label on whatever potential piece of junk they're slapping together. I get that. But the RCA tv's I have, all have a magnificent picture. And maybe I'm naive, but why would Loblaw's bring in, what, tens of thousands of these televisions across the country and sell them this cheaply if they were all junk and subject to disappointed consumers returning them en masse? It would reflect poorly on Loblaw's, or Canadian Tire, or whomever. So, I'm not sure what to think, other than, if I buy one, to keep the receipt close to my heart.

Also still thinking about getting that Amazon Fire tablet, too. $70 at Superstore. The reviews are quite good. The low-end Samsung tablet I got a few years ago is practically useless to me. Slower than dirt.

So much to consider. So much I can justify.

I think I will turn in and think about it all.

Likely won't be able to write a post on Friday. Back at 'er on Saturday.

See you then.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Post 3799 - Four Days Later...

Well, that went by quickly!

Uh, what happened? We went to the Valley on Sunday morning and returned around supper time. We spent some time, and Patricia some money, at the Acadia University Craft Show thingy. She goes most years. I looked around, impatient, wondering why people want to buy that crap, and also wondering why people spend so much time producing that crap, before I returned to the car and waited for Patricia to be finished.

We ended up having dinner in Wolfville. Prime beef at Rosie's. We have never had a bad meal there.

Monday night, we finished watching season one of Outlander on Netflix. My goodness, what a saucy show that is. And we have more than two seasons left to go before we're caught up with the rest of the world. I have sourced a couple of the "Outlander" novels and am wondering if the books are even half as raw and erotic as the tv series.

Last night, I took Patricia to Ele in Bayer's Lake. The Greek restaurant. It was her birthday. She had some wine, and shared some appetizers before the main courses arrived. I had the chicken skewers, which were excellent. Patricia had one chicken skewer and one lamb skewer. I had never eaten lamb, at least not to my recollection, and had a piece. Chewy, like beef steak. I liked it, but am not sure how much of it I want to eat on a go forward basis. I like what I like.

And today, was another work day. We have caught up on some content on the pvr. Patricia is upstairs watching "Hollywood Game Night" while I tap out these few words.

I am taking a vacation day on Friday. I have some things to take care of, yet again. I look forward to the day when I can take a vacation day or three and actually kick back and relax. It has been a while. Maybe over Christmas...

Black Friday deals are coming up in Canada this week. I am trying to figure out what to get. They are selling flatscreens larger than any other one in the house, by far. I am tempted to get one. They have the RCA label on them, which deters a lot of people. When it comes to televisions, I am not sure why. I have an RCA 32 inch flatscreen here in my home office. I don't use it much; but when I do, the picture is exceptionally good. The sound quality is not great, but that is what soundbars are for.  There is another 32 inch flatscreen in the Valley house that I got in 2016 on a Black Friday deal. That picture is also excellent. I don't get why people hate RCA televisions so much. I think they are fine.

Also looking at an Amazon Fire, which is a tablet/e-reader. I bought a Samsung tablet a few years ago. A very low end model that they still sell. It is slower than molasses rolling uphill in the middle of Winter. I haven't turned it on in months. But the reviews for the Fire are quite good. The price is practically a steal. I am tempted to get it!

Other than that, I don't plan to get much at all for Black Friday. How about you?

I am going to turn in for the evening. Long day tomorrow. Won't be home until relatively late.

See you then, I hope, unless sleep claims me as soon as I get home.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Post 3798 - A Symbol of... Something

Happy Saturday night.

Thursday and Friday I turned in early. In fact, Friday night, I got home from work and was dozing off during the supper time news. I went down stairs "for a few minutes" to "take a short nap", and was down for the evening.

We had a very nice afternoon. We went to Hatfield Farms in Hammonds Plains. It is an actual farm and wood mill that they commercialized such that folks can go out there and recreate for periods of time. My union arranged the event. Ten bucks per person. Well spent. They took us out to the lounge via wagons pulled by horses. Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, hotdogs, fries, and hamburgers. A zipline. A bouncy place where you could pretend to fight someone. An urban cowboy mechanical horse. And some good people to hang out with.

Before it all started they had a petting zoo. Patricia befriended some goats....

They get rowdy, those goats. You don't mess with them...

The zipline was great fun. Getting up there scared the hell out of me. But I got my legs on the "swing" and grabbed on to the rope and held on for dear life. As soon as we started to zip along, I was laughing.

Patricia took quite a bit of convincing to try it. She nearly gave up when she got up there. But once she started zipping, she had a great time, too.

I do recommend Hatfield Farms for your corporate retreat, large-ish party, or whatever. I hope our union does this again. It was a great idea.

We left around 5:15 and made it to the Home Hardware in Tantallon just as they were closing. They let me in because I had cash and I only wanted a few wood screws.

We got back to the house and watched some episodes of "Outlander" on Netflix. Washed some towels and blankets. And a little while ago I used four of those screws to mount a pencil sharpener that I rescued from the Valley house last weekend. There is a story about that pencil sharpener, and I will share it with you now.

When I was... 14 or so, when I was attending Kings County Academy in Kentville, the school where i was bullied every damn day, there was one day when I saw the janitor unscrew a metal pencil sharpener from the wall and throw it in the garbage. A student had done something to cause a dent in the pencil sharpener.  Not that big a dent, in my opinion. It didn't look like a grave injury to me, so I fished it out of the garbage can and took it home. That evening, I asked my father to screw it in to a bookcase or something in my bedroom, which he dutifully did. It worked flawlessly for me from that night on.

That pencil sharpener got me through the remainder of junior high school, senior high school, university. In 1985, my sister and I switched bedrooms, and the pencil sharpener came with me. I left it behind when I moved to the city in 1988. It remained attached to the underside of a bookcase all these many years, unused, and probably feeling unwanted, until a week ago, when Gary and I removed that bookcase from the wall and unscrewed the pencil sharpener. I brought it back to the city with me a week ago. I lost the four screws that had attached it to the bookcases for the last 40 years somehow, but that's okay because they were stripped anyway. That's why I needed new ones this evening.

The pencil sharpener is now attached to the side of an old entertainment center here in my home office. I use it to hold books and some old computer equipment and the thousands of Bevboy's Blog business cards that I will never go through. And, you know what? I had a package of ten pencils here. I took one out and sharpened it. It is a beautiful thing to behold, that pencil. The pencil sharpener worked just as well as it did all those years ago. I still squirted a bit of WD40 on the mechanism and the handle, and it turns much easier now. There is no reason why it should not last me for many more years to come.

Here it is, where it belongs...

We have an automatic pencil sharpener at work. You stick a pencil in, and it tries to sharpen the pencil. It doesn't do that good a job. But the one I rescued from the Valley still does a magnificent job, and I am so very happy that it has a new home here. If you're nice to me, I will sharpen your pencils with it. If.

No. I don't like so-called mechanical pencils. I had to write a test with one nearly about a year ago and asked to have a regular pencil, which my manager was kind enough to get me.

I know that this doesn't mean much, if anything, to you. But it means something to me. Anything that reminds me of a pleasant memory of my childhood, and young adult hood, is something I wish to cherish. The house down there is on the market, and there are many memories I have of that place. Good ones. Bad ones. Indifferent ones. For some reason, that damn pencil sharpener, with its dent in it created by some punk kid in 1978, is a symbol of a more innocent and happy time, and I will keep it into perpetuity.

Patricia and I have an early day, Sunday. I will tell you about Sunday night...

See you then.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Post 3797 - Uhhhh...

Hello again.

It is as if I am introducing myself with every blog post lately.

I've been going through a lot in the last several days, to be honest. I will give you a summary.

Friday I drove up to the Valley, right after I dropped Patricia off at work. The furnace guy was dropping by to replace the pipe going from the furnace to the outside. The old one was very much worn. I don't know what that will cost me, but the man was there for about 30 minutes.

I remained there over night, watching stuff on the television until my eyes could no longer function.

Saturday morning was the main part, and the saddest part. At 7am, the man I hired to help me clean out the house, showed up. We were systematic. We went through nearly every room in the house, upstairs and down. We had rented a bin/dumpster. Working nearly non stop for five hours, we carried out, tossed out, said goodbye to, dozens and dozens of items, including furniture my parents had owned since the 1970's.

The barrel and the furniture and so much other stuff

One chair was especially interesting. It was in my father's workshop downstairs. As he grew older, it became more and more difficult for him to stand and putter around down there. So he took an old chair and extended the legs on it so he could sit in it, legs dangling, while he worked away, at a good level with the items he needed within easy reach. It still went out, but I kinda wish I could have found a use for it.

The chair I just mentioned

Other things were just junk. A couple boxes of ash from the wood part of the furnace. A barrel. Garbage bags full of, well, garbage. Some broken glass. Fluorescent tube lights. Broken tools. I can't even list it all.

At noon, we called it a day. We were both tired. The dumpster was close to being full. And I was emotionally exhausted.

Among other things, the lighting I mentioned

When I decided to sell the house, it was the result of a tremendous amount of soul searching. I knew the time would come when I would have to decide what to do with the place, but I kept putting it off until the decision was all but made for me. We had many many thrift store donations over the months, but removing the bulk of the stuff was something I had put off for so long. It hurt, but at the same time, it felt good.

Not me standing next to the bin. The man I hired, named Gary

Anything of a family heirloom nature, running the gamut from family photos to an old clock to just some neat stuff, has been kept. Things with people's names on them that are not heirlooms, will be shredded, although that will take a very long time to do.

It was a sad day, Saturday; but ultimately, it was a good day, too.

I returned to the city Saturday afternoon, after a lunch at Rosie's in Kentville. Took a nap and watched some telly with Patricia before turning in early.

Sunday was more or less a day of rest for me. Monday I took some stuff in from the front and back decks for the Winter. Threw a bunch of stuff out for recycling on Tuesday.

We returned to work on Tuesday. Patricia wasn't feeling well, so I took her home at lunch time before returning to work. I was feeling a bit under the weather so I turned in early.

And, today, Wednesday, I worked again, while Patricia remained home.

Pretty boring, huh?

The cleaning out of the family home on Saturday took a lot out of me. Not just physically, but mentally. Part of me thinks I let my parents down by doing this, but no one, not even me, would want any of that stuff.

There are two more work days left before another weekend, which will go by far too quickly for my liking.

How about this? I will write you tomorrow. Let's make a date.

See you then.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Post 3796 - Four MORE Days Later...

Sorry I haven't written much. Monday and Tuesday I slept the nights away. Wednesday, Patricia went to the library to see Ami McKay do a book signing. I worked on my next Frank article, working quite late into the night on it. I am pleased with how it turned out. There is information about this case, an unsolved murder from the 1990's, that has never been reported elsewhere. I hope you check it out when it appears on newstands next week.

Jordan Bonaparte just told me that his Night Time Podcast series (which will be broadcast on Global radio stations in large swaths of the country, starting this weekend) will include at least one of my appearances. The Three Musketeers of Hollis Street was selected by the producers of this series as being one of the episodes they wanted to start the series with. I am beyond flattered to learn this.

We also have been discussing recording more podcasts in the coming weeks. They will all discuss cases I have written about in Frank, so if you have read all of my work, you will be at an advantage.

I never thought, never dared dream, that I would have this opportunity, to write about missing persons cases and unsolved murders. It is a subject that has interested me for most of my life. If I ever did get a chance, it was my hope that I could take these cases to the next level. Do my best to uncover information either never reported before, or not reported in many years. You can judge whether I have been successful.

Getting up very early tomorrow morning, even though it is a day off work. Will be hitting the road and taking no prisoners. Spotty internet service. May not be able to write you until I am back, later on Saturday. Sorry!

See you... soon.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Post 3795 - Four Days Later...

Uh, hello again, my friends. How have you been?

I have been sleeping an awful lot since we last corresponded. I had my flu shot on Tuesday after work. Ever since, I have had a hard time staying awake. I get through my work day. Go home. Eat something. And conk out early. Thursday night and Friday night, I went to bed frightfully early. Saturday, after a trip to the archives and some dinner, by 8 or so, I had to "take a nap".

The time change hasn't helped today. I slept in late and took a long nap this afternoon. That means that I will be up all night now. It is pushing 10:30, and I daresay I will be awake until 1 or so, long after I have found out what happens to Rick Grimes on the Walking Dead.

I am going to call this post short. I just wanted you to know that I am still alive, probably well, and that I am still resolved to write a post as often as possible.

See you tomorrow.