Saturday, December 30, 2006

Exhibition game: St. Lawrence Thunder 4, Gloucester Rangers 3 (shootout)

The game was played in Potsdam, NY at a beautiful athletic facility on the campus of SUNY Potsdam (State University of New York - Potsdam).

The hosts scored a couple early goals, before the Rangers began dominating the game. But they were unable to score until mid-way through the second period, when they popped in a couple quick ones.

The score after regulation time was 3-3. A five-minute overtime period failed to settle anything, then St. Lawrence won the shootout.

Rangers staff are considering another trip to Potsdam, to watch a Clarkson University hockey game on Friday, January 26; stay in the dorms at SUNY Potsdam, then play a game Saturday.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Geez, it's slow around here

I say slow, because in my business, when you say it's q---t (opposite of loud or noisy), the proverbial poop hits the fan. Ask me sometime, I'll give you a couple examples.

Sooooooo, how are ya? Whudjaget fer Christmas?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Boxing Day!

...Not Thanksgiving Boxing Day, or Canada Day Boxing Day, or My Birthday Boxing Day, THE REAL DEAL!

I had a nice, albeit quiet Christmas, which was okay, because I have a cold and/or throat infection, and feel like a poop sangweech without the bread. I went to two walk-in clinics on Saturday: one had an estimated wait time of two hours, the other was two-and-a-half. It wasn't that serious, and I didn't feel like waiting that long. So I saw a pharmacist on Sunday, and he just said to use lozenges and Tylenol. I tried to get some Tantalum from him to gargle with, because I've used it before and it's great stuff, but you have to have a prescription for it. So I called my doctor's office this morning (my own doc is on maternity leave, but I was hoping one of her colleagues would see me), but it's not open 'til Thursday. Crap! So i'll just soldier on, and keep gargling with salt water. I only wish I was also immersed in the salt water, off the beach in Varadero or somewhere.

I did okay in the gift department. Basically the same old, same old sweater, DVDs, lottery tickets, books, but nice nonetheless. And the receiving isn't done yet. Purolator is delivering a parcel from my brother tomorrow; and Little Bro Dan's mother is bringing his gift for me, when she returns to Ottawa from Porcupine later in the week.

I'm itching to do my traditional Boxing Day and/or post-Christmas shopping for myself, but with my layoff date less than a month away and no new job yet, I'm trying to resist. Last year, I bought my satellite radio. Two years ago, it was a beautiful oak bookcase; three years ago, my digital camera. It's always something like that, or just clothes, or both.

My wardrobe does need a bit of freshening up, but another reason I should wait is because I'm not sure how I will have to dress for my next job. A-Channel is pretty casual, you can even get away with jeans most days. Where I go next and what I'll be doing could dictate how I should shop. I still have jackets, suits, shirts and ties from my anchor days, but they're pretty tired and verging on out of style. After all, it has been over six years since I was on the air.

Oh well, off to have a turkey sandwich and see if I have the energy to do something today, besides playing Scrabble online and watching my new DVDs.

Post a comment at will, and let me know whether I should treat myself, or do the smart thing and hold on to my money, just in case. Background info here: I have no debt. My car and my Visa are both paid off. The only recurring expenses I have are rent, groceries, phone, the Rogers cellphone/cable/internet bundle and car insurance.

Advise away!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas, fellow Bloglodytes

Just in case I don't get around to it before the big day, thanks for a lot of fun and friendship. May it continue into 2007 and beyond.

Newsguy Bob/BigBroBob/Bobbycakes
and all the voices in my head.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dude, it's the middle of freakin' December!

Another idjit in shorts, tonight at about 8:30, at the Harvey's/Swiss Chalet take-out: a kid, about 16 or 17, in soccer shorts with a pair of those pajama pants around his neck like a scarf, and a ring through his lip. It was about five degrees outside, and chillingly damp.


Eastern Ontario 3, Gloucester 1

Turn about is fair play. Full marks to the Cobras; they played a great game, and their goaltender stood on his head. Our team wasn't putting forth a strong enough effort, or getting any breaks.

It's a good time for a two-week Christmas break to relax and rest up for the big push to and through the playoffs.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gloucester 3, Eastern Ontario 1

In Hawkesbury today. Goal #3 was on the empty net.
Goalie Chris played awesomely again, and for once, his teammates played a solid game in front of him.
The rematch is tomorrow at the Earl Armstrong, and we know the Cobras are gonna want blood.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Thanks to my friend and former co-worker Anni for passing this along. I hope it's not too late for my fellow Bloglodytes:

If a man comes to your door and says he is conducting a survey and asks you to show him your bum, do NOT show him your bum. This is a scam - he only wants to see your bum.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Hottest Gifts for Christmas 2006

Exhaustive scientific research, also known as listening to the commercials on BOB-FM while driving in to work this afternoon, has reached these conclusions on the hottest gifts for Christmas, 2006:

-Jewelled frames! Gotta be the hottest... I heard about them in two consecutive commercials, for Winners and Home Outfitters.
-Brazilian wax. Not sure what it is, something you get at a spa, I think. Is it used to make Brazilian crayons that you use in a colouring book while getting a massage?

Feel free to add your own picks for hottest gifts.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cumberland 1, Gloucester 1

Our first tie of the season. It should be noted that three apparent goals were disallowed by the referee.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dude in Shorts spotting

Just a few minutes ago, walking through the Rideau Centre from my bus stop, on the way to work.
I mean sure, it's mild for the middle of December, but IT'S THE MIDDLE OF DECEMBER.
Dude, your nuts must be so far up inside your gut...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Who the hell is Todd Langdon?

For the past several weeks now, I've been getting automated phone calls that start out "This is not a solicitation. It is an important call from (some credit agency or other) for Todd Langdon."
I've been hanging up because a) I don't talk to machines and b) I am not Todd Langdon. I even checked my ID to make sure.
But in the past week, while I've been temporarily marooned on the evening shift at work, the calls have been more frequent, and all at 8:10 a.m. So this morning, I listened to Annie Automation long enough to know that if I pressed "0", an attendant would be with me shortly.
So after close to ten minutes of listening to a really cheesy remake of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" that's apparently on a tape loop, interrupted occasionally by a ring tone that goes nowhere, a very bitchy sounding woman finally came on the line. I told her that I am not Todd Langdon, and would appreciate it if her machine would stop calling me. "And you have no idea who Claude is...?" she asked, then told me that I would be removed from the list within 24 hours. When I politely told her that even less than 24 hours would be appreciated, she abruptly said "Thank you, Sir," and hung up. Earth to Bitchy Lady: If you don't like dealing with deadbeats like Todd Langdon and can't be pleasant to other people, change careers. Become a drivers' licence examiner. Otherwise, piss off!
So hopefully, Todd Langdon is out of my life. Now if I could only get rid of Suzanne Robinson, who keeps getting calls at my number from the Mental Health Outpatient Department at one of the local hospitals. I've tried calling there to get the calls to stop (although they only happen a couple times a year), but I think the staff have patients pass the time in the waiting room by answering their phones for them.

Have a good day and a great week. Oh, and one more thing: except to bring something back because I already found out it's the wrong model (boombox for Little Bro's satellite radio), and to go to a bank to get British currency for my niece who's going to England between Christmas and New Year's, I AM FINISHED MY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I struck out with the teaching job

"...unfortunately, I don't have good news... strong pool of candidates... yada yada yada."

Crap! Talk about a rude awakening at 10:20 am for a guy working night shift.

But I do hope you have a nice day. Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to wallow in my self-pity for a while. Feel free to chime in with some "now now, there there" and other ego-stroking words of condolence.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa: I need a double-double cyber hug!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Inside my head

Here's what's firing across my brain synapses tonight:

-This is big: I work with a young gay man who doesn't know who David Schwimmer/Ross Geller is/are! -- Says he never watched "Friends". I told him it would be between him and me, because I wouldn't want his citizenship in the Queer Nation to be revoked.

-Okay, so I'm at work, waiting for my supper to heat up in the microwave oven. It should be an atrocity punishable by death, when someone uses a workplace microwave and doesn't let it air out after heating up their stinky slop! I almost lost my appetite. Microwave #1 stunk; Microwave #2 was worse. Why do some people spice their food with bodily fluids?

-Three hours to go until I can go home and so far, so good -- no nutbar phone calls, and the moon is still full! If you don't believe that the full moon brings out the weirdos and/or leads them to their phones, spend a full moon phase working in a radio or TV newsroom. I could tell you stories...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ohmigawd! My blog's been spammed!

Please see the comments under the posting below "Rangers 2, Titans 0" and join me in letting my new stalker/spammer know what we think of him/her/it/the crud on the bottom of your shoes.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rangers 6, Raiders 2

A much better effort today. Next game: Saturday against the Valley.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The hockey-related rant I promised last week

As mentioned in earlier posts, my Minor Bantam team was in a tournament last weekend in Syracuse.
On Saturday night, we played against a team from Connecticut that has an abusive, power-hungry maniac for a coach.
From beginning to end of the game, he hollered, and most of it was abusive. Twice, I heard him threaten to kill a kid. Another time towards the end of the game, a kid who said he was hurt wanted to come off the ice, but Coach Idiot said "I don't give a f**k if you're hurt, get out there!"
Now, I'm a very even-tempered guy who caused my own team to crack up a few weeks ago, when they heard me drop the f-bomb for the first time, but it took everything in my power not to climb the divider between our benches and choke the s.o.b. Our coach even noticed how upset I was.
The Connecticut team won the game and secured a later game time for Sunday morning, but there was no joy or jubilation from that bench. One the ice, it's a good team, but motivated only by intimidation and abuse. Those kids do not have fun playing hockey.
After the game, I met the referee in the hallway and asked him if something could be done about the idiot. He said he heard the coach tell the hurt kid to stay on the ice, and would consider noting it on the game sheet.
In Canada, there's no way he would get away with any of that crap. The rules and policies intended to prevent sexual abuse of players include all forms of abuse.
I was part of a discussion with our parents in the lobby after the game. Coach Idiot was so loud, everyone in the rink heard him. Our parents were unanimous: they would not let someone like him coach their kids. You might as well keep them home and abuse them yourself, if that's the way you want them to be treated.
A mother from the Connecticut team overheard our conversation, and actually defended the idiot, calling him a great man! I had to leave, before I heaped some verbal abuse on her.

Sting 2, Rangers 0

It's only our fourth loss in 19 games, so no cause for alarm. It just wasn't our game.

Goalie Chris played an outstanding game. It easily could have been 3-0 in the first four minutes of the game, and he continued to play well. The second goal was on the empty net, as we tried to tie the game 1-1.

The streak starts again tomorrow against Nepean.

On another note, of special interest to CQ:
On my way to the game this morning, I stopped at Tim's on Hawthorne Rd. in Ottawa to pick up coffee for the coaching staff. In line was a deliveryman wearing shorts! It was -3C, kind of breezy, with snow and ice everywhere from yesterday's storm. WHAT IS IT WITH THESE PEOPLE? WHY DO THEY ALL GO TO TIM'S? Personally, I think that's beyond weird -- it's nuckin' futs.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rangers 2, Titans 0

Awesome effort against our arch-nemesis on Thursday night.
Next stop: Barrett East to blunt the Sting, Saturday morning at 10:30.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Five Levels of Hangovers

You might have seen this already, the way things like this fly around cyberspace. If not, join me in thanking my friend Cindy for passing it along.

One Star Hangover (*)

No pain. No real feeling of illness. You're able to function relatively
well. However, you are still parched. You can drink 5 cokes and still
feel this way. For some reason, you are craving a steak & fries.

Two Star Hangover (**)

No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay, but you have the mental capacity of a staple gun. The coffee you are chugging is only increasing your rumbling gut, which is still tossing around the fruity pancake from the 3:00 AM Waffle House excursion. There is some definite havoc being wreaked upon your bowels...

Three Star Hangover (***)

Slight headache. Stomach feels
crappy. You are definitely not productive. Anytime a girl walks by you gag because her perfume reminds you of the flavored schnapps shots your alcoholic friends dared you to drink. Life would be better right now if you were home in your bed watching Lucy reruns. You've had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 3 iced teas and a diet Coke--yet you haven't peed once.

Four Star Hangover (****)

Life sucks. Your head is throbbing. You can't speak too quickly or else you might puke. Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore nice clothes, but that can't hide the fact
that you only shaved one side of your face. For the ladies, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding the bumper cars. Your eyes look like one big red vein, and even your hair hurts. Your ass is in perpetual spasm, and the first of about five shits you take during the day brings water to the eyes of everyone who enters the bathroom.

Five Star Hangover (*****)

You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually
annoying the employee who sits in the next cube. Beer vapor is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth in an attempt to get the remnants of the poop fairy out. Your body has lost the ability to generate spit so your tongue is suffocating you. You don't have the foggiest idea who the hell the stranger was passed out in your bed this morning. Any attempt to take a dump results in a fire hose like discharge of alcohol-scented fluid with a rare "Floater" thrown in. The sole purpose of this "Floater" seems to be to splash the toilet water all over you. Death sounds pretty good about right now...

Indubitably; Innovative; Preliminary; Proliferation; Cinnamon

Specificity; British Constitution; Passive-aggressive disorder;
Loquacious; Transubstantiate

1.) Thanks, but I don't want to have sex. (haaaaa)
2.) Nope, no more booze for me.
3.) Sorry, but you're not really my type.
4.) Good evening officer. Isn't it lovely out tonight.
5.) Oh, I just couldn't. No one wants to hear me sing.
6.) Sorry I'm being such a jackass.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Syracuse tournament: don't ask

Oh, alright: We won our first three games, then lost the next two, including the quarter-final game in triple-overtime -- a shootout, actually.

As for other matters, I have to respond to a couple other blogs here, because every time I try to post a comment, MSN crashes. Farg!

So here goes:
Nattypants: Happy birthday and happy new place.
Ma: Parties? Where? JB's new place? Am I invited? What should I wear? Can I bring anything? Are they BYOB?

In the next couple days, I'm going to spill about something I witnessed at the Syracuse tournament that really upset and disgusted me. It reminds me of the soccer debacle that I think Maria posted about on in the days before everyone was blogged-up.

Later. Gotta run for now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Life's dips and turns

So here I am, sitting at home, drinking coffee out of my "I (Heart) NY" mug (have I ever mentioned that I unofficially collect coffee mugs?) in honour of my weekend coming up in Syracuse, instead of being at work. It's the result of some minor unexpected developments in a weird day yesterday.

I was driving to the hockey game that wasn't (see previous post), when two cellphones starting yapping at me -- my personal phone, and my work phone. Work had a couple brainless questions, and my own cellphone featured a hockey player who was going to be late, because he had to pick up his jerseys where he had brought them to have his Canada flag crests sewn on.

Then work phone starts ringing again, asking me to work tonight, producing the 11pm news, instead of today, in my usual job of Assignment Editor. I protested a bit, because I was planning to head to Syracuse tonight, but relented without much of an argument. After all, until something else comes along, I need that place for up to two more months. Besides, Boss Hogg claims to be working on a plan to rescind my layoff.

So change in plans again: The trip to Syracuse is delayed until morning. I had to call the hotel and cancel the reservation for tonight, which had already been an on-again, off-again thing while we waited for the final game schedule.

Damned cellphones!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Hockey Game That Wasn't

So we drive all the way to freakin' Kanata in freakin' rush-hour traffic, and the boneheads forget to book referees for the game! What a p***off! We were gonna clobber them, and strengthen our hold on first place.

Oh well, that's the way the puck bounces sometimes.

Next stop: Syracuse this weekend!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday night: Rangers 5, Seaway 1

First place beats last place. I wasn't at the game (see posts below), but Coach Trevor tells me that when Seaway scored its only goal to make the score 3-1 at that point, the kid who scored it celebrated as if he had just won the Stanley Cup.

My response: Are we starting to have that effect on the other teams?

Next stop: Kanata again, Wednesday night. A Rangers win will put a bit more distance between us and them, making our hold on top spot a bit less tenuous.

Phew! It's over

And frankly, I rocked their world!

I was calm and cool and on top of my game. The entire exercise was done in front of six people, all representing the college. They were the "class" I had to teach, and they tried as hard as they could to act like obnoxious drunks with short attention spans (translation: typical college students). I also knew three of them previously, including the course co-ordinator, who was a classmate of mine at Canadore in the middle-1980s. I had to teach for 45 minutes, so was a tad nervous about whether I had enough material. Just as I got to the end of the material, I was given the time's up sign.

And get this: Canadore College is on the flight path from CFB North Bay. I was lecturing about recording audio, and (sorry, non-broadcast types, if you don't grasp this) the pitfalls of using AGC -- automatic gain control. For an example, I was using an airshow and a Snowbird jet flying overhead. Just as I mentioned it, a plane flew right over the college. One of my faux students exclaimed "Whoa! How'd he do that?" Karma, baby, Karma (not Ma's pooch, real Karma).

The class was followed by a series of eight oral questions that all candidates are asked. I took notes while the questions were being asked, to make sure I answered all parts. As confident as I felt with my answers, I still asked -- most of the time -- whether my answer was sufficient. I was also told going in that supplementary questions would be asked if they arose. None did, telling me that my initial answers were indeed complete.

Now, the waiting. They told me they would make a decision by late next week. I would cross my fingers, but then my typing would look like this: psalo;slkjsp;suifdol3.

I refuse to obsess about any of this. I know I did extremely well, and will have to let the chips fall where they may.

In the meantime, I have another interview scheduled for Friday, December 1, for a job in corporate communications at Ottawa City Hall.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I can't contain myself any longer

I've been keeping a tidbit from my fellow Bloglodytes for over a week now, trying not to jinx myself, but I think it's sharing time... after the break!

Alright, I'm neither Ryan Seacrest or Howie Mandel, so I won't pull that "after the break" crap. Besides, it doesn't work as well in print. So here goes: I have an interview on Monday for what is essentially my dream job. I've been trying to keep it low key so as not to jinx anything, as I mentioned above, and because at this point, it is ONLY a job interview.

The job: Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Canadore College. And coincidence of all coincidences: I'm listening to my Sirius satellite radio right now, and as I started this paragraph, Steve Anthony on Iceberg Radio (Channel 95) was talking about some list of best jobs. College or university professor is number 2.

Canadore College is my alma mater. I graduated top of the class of 1985 in Radio and Television Broadcasting. I "majored" in journalism, because the Broadcast Journalism program only started when I was in second year of the two-year RTV program, so you were allowed to concentrate on the news-type end of things, rather than on being a DJ or any of the dozens of other jobs in broadcasting.

Another coincidence that might not help me, but surely won't hurt: The woman who is now the course coordinator was one of my classmates.

So Monday at 1:00pm, I have an audition, actually teaching a 45-minute class on Broadcast Technology (technology and technical things are not necessarily my strong point, but I'm confident nonetheless), followed by a sit-down interview conducted by a panel.

Why "dream job"? I've often thought that I would like to teach budding broadcast journalists, which is something I do informally almost daily, being the old fart at A-Channel Ottawa who often coaches the youngsters, vets scripts and offers advice, even when it's not solicited. Plus, since I was a teenager, I have maintained that if I was ten years or so older, I would have been a teacher. At one time in Ontario, you could get into teacher's college right out of high school, get your certificate, and teach at the elementary level while working on a degree that would allow you to teach high school. I have an uncle who did exactly that, getting his first teaching job at the age of 19. He did get a bachelor's degree later, but ended up teaching elementary school for the next 34 years, retiring with a great pension at the age of 53.

This job at Canadore could be the answer to avoiding the layoff at A-Channel. As it stands now, my job and those of more than a dozen co-workers come to an end on January 19th. The position at Canadore begins January 2nd. I would love to be out of A-Channel before the 19th. The July day when the layoff was announced was a weird, black day. A few days since, when other people's layoffs have taken effect have also been drab. January 19th is just going to be brutally depressing.

I don't really want to leave Ottawa and the nice little life that I've fashioned for myself since moving here in March 2005, but I've always said that if I have to leave Ottawa, North Bay would be top of the list of places to go. I worked there for a couple years after college, and love that city. Plus, it's only four hours from Ottawa, four hours from my family in Iroquois Falls, and Little Brother Dan in Porcupine. The only reason that I left North Bay in 1987 was for a job in Timmins that was a move up. I was fifth man on the totem pole in a five-person radio newsroom in North Bay, behind a couple of long-term employees who had no intentions of leaving.

So on Monday afternoon, think of me, and send good, positive vibes towards North Bay. Naturally, I have no real idea how good my chances are, and no clue as to who else might be getting an interview, so all I can do is my best, and let the chips fall where they may.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rangers 4, Blazers 3 : Now THIS is Rangers Hockey!

Two big wins on back-to-back nights.

Tonight's victory over Kanata was hard-fought and well-deserved, to say the least. We were down 3-1 going into the third period. Maxwell Sunohara potted the tying goal, and Stephen Fullum got the winner. After letting in a stumper just a few seconds into the game, Goaltender Brett Foster turned his anger into focussed, positive energy, and came up with a great game.

We are now firmly in first place in the league. Every ounce of pride felt by team members tonight is absolutely justified.

Rangers 6, Barons 3

...last night. Our team was back in full form, playing, as Coach John pointed out, "Rangers hockey." Goalie Chris played a great game, showing signs that his confidence is back.

The next big test is tonight, in Kanata against the Blazers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Finally, the Halloween photo

...if I can get this dad-blamed thing to work. I'm concentrating so hard on getting it to work, that my tongue is sticking out the side of my mouth.

Here goes...

Whew! It worked!

Okay, so it's not the BEST Halloween costume ever, but where the heck were you when I was looking for help? Huh?


The voices in my head are singing "ABC" by the Jackson Five! Please, make them stop!

Hey, do you remember when Michael Jackson was a young... black... man!?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Law & DIS-Order?

I heard what sounded like an urban myth this week, and being the grizzled, veteran reporter that I am, decided to investigate.

Someone told me that in the opening of Law & Order ("duh-duh-duh-DUH-DUM-DUM"), a certain male appendage shows up: a willy, Dewey the One-Eyed Worm, a phallus, a johnson, a wang, dick, or whatever one of the hundreds of other names for penis you think sounds most delicate and proper.

My attempt at finding information about it via Google was fruitless (nutless?). I record the show every Friday night, so just minutes ago, I went through the opening repeatedly, pausing on the pictures of the guys in handcuffs, which I was told is where the trouser snake supposedly appears.

Unless someone can prove me wrong, it is just as I suspected: an urban myth. No pecker shows up.

Now, the dog with the proportionately gigantic human-looking schlong in the IKEA catalogue is for real! It's as plain as the nose on your face, or (insert pee-pee reference here).

Any other urban myths we should try to debunk, you and I? Like, did Elvis really die on the toilet (the King dying on the throne: kind of poetic, ain't it?)? Or that entering your PIN backwards into an ATM will summon the police?

Bring 'em on!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Big Nickel Tournament news

The Rangers are just back from the Big Nickel Major AAA tournament in Sudbury. Our team won the first two games on Thursday, playing excellently. Yesterday: Not so well. We dropped both Friday games. We had to hang around Sudbury until about 12:30 this afternoon, to see how the wild card designations shook down.

Next tournament date: Syracuse, New York in three weeks.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Costume update

I should have posted this two days ago!

Anyway, despite your suggestions for costumes, here's what I did:

Keeping with the theme "The Shining" and its location -- a wintry mountain -- I wanted to be the Abominable Snowman. But Audrey's Costume Castle didn't have a suitable costume. Sure, they had Chewbacca bodies and ape bodies, but no suitable head. The Abominable Easter Bunny just wouldn't cut it.

Plan B: A mummy or zombie costume representing bandages; fake blood and other make-up to look like a) I'd fallen down the mountain; or 2) I'd been attacked by the Abominable Snowman. But both of Audrey's mummy costumes were already rented. At this point, I'm not terribly impressed with Audrey's.

Plan C: What Audrey's calls "Mountie Uniform", just because it's a red jacket with black pants. So I make a deal with Nice Clerk Lady: Find me a bellhop hat, and we're in business. After all, "The Shining" is set at the Overlook Hotel, and every swanky and/or spooky hotel needs a bellhop or concierge. So after about five minutes in the back room, bingo! -- Nice Clerk Lady finds the bellhop hat. So I take some black make-up, spread it around my mug, blend in some white to make it look deadish grey, use black only to get the salt out of my salt and pepper moustache, and scare the hell out of myself when I look in the mirror!

Actually, I did get several comments on the costume and make-up job at the party. I did not, however, win the prize for best costume. That was a well deserved landslide for a girl from work who dressed up as the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. Last year, she was a flying purple people eater, but Randy and Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys won the contest.

So thanks for your help. It was truly inspiring. If I ever get a photo of moi in said get-up, I'll post it here. I didn't have my camera with me, but several people did.


That's all. Move along. Nothing more to see here.

Happy Halloween from the crabby old guy who turns his lights off and lets on that he's not home.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Gloucester Rangers 6, Seaway Valley Rapids 4

Strange game; not a stellar effort; but we'll take the two points.
And the home crowd was not chanting "Let's go Rabbits...", rather "Let's go Rapids".
Then again the NHL has the Ducks...

Gloucester 5, Kingston 4

A fine performance. We fell behind 2-0 early on, but after getting the rust out (six days without a game and a two-hour drive), we got our hockey team back.

Tonight: Seaway in Maxville.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Dixie Chicks rock!

I was at the Dixie Chicks concert last night at Scotiabank Place, and it gets two Big Bro thumbs up! Those Chicks can rock!

The Accidents and Accusations Tour has added Canadian dates to replace American venues that are hostile to the Chicks, because of their stand on George Bush and the war in Iraq. Radio stations in the States won't play their songs and even organize Dixie Chicks CD burning events. Natalie Maines mentioned last night that they just learned yesterday that NBC won't air the commercial for the documentary Shut Up & Sing, about the Chicks and the redneck backlash against them that includes death threats. She mentioned how strange that is, considering that her husband (Adrian Pasdar) acts in an NBC series (Heroes).

Question to Americans in general and Bush-ites in particular: Whatever happened to The Land of the Free? You preach democracy and say it's essentially what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are all about, but a little high-profile dissent evokes such insanity? I'm glad I'm Canadian, and glad the Chicks at least have the democratic freedom to come here.

I also want to congratulate the thousands of fellow Canadians who gave a standing ovation to "Not Ready To Make Nice", the Chicks' song that in a veiled way says "Kiss my ass, George Bush and the rest of you rednecks".

And I'm sure there have been no death threats over Maines's discussion of going to Australia and mentioning that the U.S. has Bush, but the Ozzies have Mel Gibson, leading into notable Canadians such as William Shatner and Pamela Anderson, dedicating "White Trash Wedding" to Pam and Kid Rock.

Yes, the Chicks have the right attitude about all the brouhaha, and the concert ticket and CD sales record that thumbs its nose at the backlash. You go, girls/Chicks.

One more concert note to the two women in front of us. We were second row from the boards at Scotiabank Place, right on the back corner to the left of the stage as you face it. From the first note of the Chicks' two-hour set, those two stood and swayed. The woman sitting next to me couldn't sway them to sit down, so that she and her husband could see the concert. Ushers told the woman that they couldn't allow the swayers to go down on to the floor, because they didn't have floor tickets. Instead, they found other seats for the woman and her husband. So to the Sway Sisters, I say next time, get floor tickets, or keep your scrawny asses in your seats. The rest of us paid for tickets, too.

Alright. I have vented and feel much better now, except for this stupid cold I picked up, just before a very busy weekend. Hockey in Kingston late this afternoon, then a Halloween party, and more hockey tomorrow in Maxville.

Have a good weekend, fellow Bloglodytes.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cumberland Barons 5, Gloucester Rangers 3

Ouch! They wanted it more than we did.

HOWEVER...We have put the game under protest. The third period was supposed to be 20 minutes long, not 15. And ya know what? Our guys were finally getting things going in the third period. That five minutes could have made the difference. The Cumberland excuse about not enough ice time is bogus. The Zamboni wasn't on the ice until at least ten minutes after the game was over -- plenty of time to squeeze in five more minutes of stop-time playing time.

Rules are rules: If there's a flood after the second period, then the third period is 20 minutes long.

That's not to take away from the Cumberland players. As I said off the top, they deserved to win.

And we're still in first place.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gloucester Rangers 2, Kanata Blazers 0

And the mighty have fallen. Kanata was undefeated until tonight. Now both teams are 8-1, but we take over first place, because we have a better goals for and against record.

I am so proud of my team. They played like they deserved the win tonight.

Back at it early tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Halloween Costume Help, Please!

I've been invited to a Halloween party, the theme of which is The Shining -- the Stephen King novel/Jack Nicholson movie, not The Shinning, the Simpsons version, although it might work, too.

Anyhoo, I need help with costume ideas. I'm contemplating going as The Abominable Snowman (a.k.a. Yeti, Sasquatch, Bugs Bunny cartoon character: "I will love him an' squeeze him an' call him George"). I'm going to check at the costume shop to see if they have something that would work. A co-worker has also offered me the faux-fur coat his wife bought at Value Village, and apparently doesn't intend to ever wear again. Something about it making her look like Cruella DeVille or something.

I would go as Milky, but that's too scary. I would go as Ma Horton, but not even the best make-up artist in the world could make this hairy, chubby guy even remotely as beautiful. Besides, it wouldn't fit the theme. Then again, maybe my attempt at being as beautiful as Ma would fit the scary theme.

Okay, I digress. Fire away with your suggestions -- and be as tongue-in-cheek and/or brutal as I'm setting you up to be. I would.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Freddy Fender R.I.P.

Another memory of youth is gone. How many of us actually thought we knew Spanish, because we could kind of sing along with "Before The Next Teardrop Falls"?
Here's the obit:

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Grammy Award-winning singer Freddy Fender, whose country and Hispanic-flavored music reached across ethnic boundaries to find a broad audience, died of cancer on Saturday at his Corpus Christi, Texas home, a family friend said.
Fender, 69, died quietly with his family at his bedside, friend Ron Rogers told reporters.
Fender was diagnosed with lung cancer in January and was told this summer the spreading disease was incurable.
Born Baldemar Huerta to migrant worker parents in the Texas border town of San Benito, he began singing and playing the guitar at an early age.
He is best known for a string of mid-1970s hits that included "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," "You'll Lose a Good Thing," and a remake of "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"
When he began his career in the 1950s, two of his first records, Spanish versions of Harry Belafonte's "Jamaica Farewell" and Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" were big hits in Latin America.
But in 1959 he changed his name to Freddy Fender -- after the brand name of his guitar -- with the intent of broadening his appeal.
In 1960, he had a hit with his first version of "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," but was also busted for marijuana possession and went to prison for three years in Louisiana.
Afterwards, he worked as a mechanic, went to school and played in bars and clubs until "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" resurrected his career.
His soulful tenor struck a universal chord and the mid-1970s hits rose to the top of Billboard charts for both pop and country music.
In the 1990s, he played with the Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven, both of whom won Grammys for best Mexican-American music performance.
Fender won a third Grammy in 1992 for best Latin pop with his "La Musica de Baldemar Huerta" album.
He also acted in a number of television shows and movies, including "The Milagro Beanfield War" in 1988, directed by Robert Redford.
Fender's final years were plagued by health problems -- in 2002 he had a kidney transplant and two years later a liver transplant -- but he told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in August he had had a good life.
"I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run," he said. "I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."

Just another Saturday in my life

Same old, same old. Got up, had toast and coffee, went and pulled a large airplane 20 feet. You know, a routine Saturday morning.

Okay, so not so routine. Nine A-Channel compadres and I went out to the Macdonald-Cartier Ottawa International Airport for a United Way fundraiser. We had to pull a Dash-8 twenty feet, in less time than any of the other teams in the competition. But for us, there was only one other team in the competition: CTV Ottawa. And we smoked 'em by almost three seconds! We even did better than the Mounties who were up right after us.

So there, CTV! Your company might be buying us, but we OWN you!

The event is probably wrapping up about now, because there were several teams after us. But if our time holds up as the best, we win airplane tickets for each of us, from Porter Airlines. It's the airline that just started service between Ottawa and Toronto Island this past week. I could use that ticket to hook up with the rest of the group that's going to the Dominican Republic in April for a wedding. The flight to Puerto Plata originates in Toronto. Most of the group of 50-some-odd are from Iroquois Falls, my hometown. The bride is the daughter of good friends of mine. I just hope I have a job by then -- one that lets me take a week off for the trip.

That's all for now from me. Have a good weekend, dudes and dudettes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rangers 8, Barons 1

The streak begins again. The team on the ice last night was the team we've come to know and love, not those impostors who showed up last week.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thanks... a whole hell of a lot! :)

Yeah, right, lurk but don't post... and don't tell me that I had a typo spelling error in the heading on my last post. It said "Happy Thanskgiving" until I just noticed it myself.


Love and kisses,

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

If you haven't had your turkey-fuelled celebration yet, may it be as pleasant as mine was yesterday, surrounded by extended family at my sister's house. My nephew, Scott, who is my brother's son, joined us. Scooter is 23 and works in I.T. here in Ottawa. Also there was Ma Tante Sue, my brother-in-law's sister. So as my sister, Dale, said, she told co-workers that her brother, sister-in-law and nephew were going to be at her place, and then got puzzled looks when she added that they're from three different families. Sue is a widow and her only daughter, Alexie, is in university in Guelph and unable to make it home for the weekend. Of course, in addition to bro-in-law Den (my favorite brother-in-law, regardless of being my only brother-in-law), he and Dale's daughters Michelle and Caitlin and Golden Doodle Zoey rounded out the gathering.

Coincidentally, today is also Dale and Den's 24th anniversary. It's hard to believe that my baby sister has been married for almost a quarter century. Brother Danny and sister-in-law Candy (my favorite and only brother and sister-in-law, respectively) will have been married 26 years in December. I was their best man, one of two times that I've been best man. The other marriage only lasted 17 years, so I figure as best man, I'm batting .500 .

Family is among the things I have to be thankful for, and I think that's something that becomes more apparent as one ages. Needless to say, that includes Dad and StepMama, niece Jen (Danny and Candy's daughter), my Mom's sisters and their families, who continue to consider my dad family. Of course, he and Mom were married 50 years when she died four years ago, but if my aunts didn't like him, it still would have been easy to write him off shortly after Mom's funeral. Four of the five aunts who live in Cochrane attended Dad's wedding to StepMama in 2004, and his 75th birthday party this past summer, and say he'll always be like a brother to them, so I'm thankful for that.

And of course, I am eternally thankful that a certain 10-year-old kid entered my life in July, 1993. As I've said before umpteen times, if fate decided that I wouldn't be a Dad, being Dano's Big Brother has more than compensated for it.

So count your blessings today, and give thanks to God or whoever.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The transition between seasons

What is up with people who wear shorts when it's three degrees outside? I saw several of them this morning on the bus.
I mean, crap, I was half frozen, wearing jeans and just a windbreaker over a T-shirt, and these schlubs are wearing shorts! I'm all like "Dude! It's like three degrees!".
And talk about a paradox or oxymoron or whatever: I saw one young guy wearing shorts and a winter jacket!
One of the voices in my head is that of an 83-year-old Jewish mama. And this morning she's saying "Oy vey! Young people these days! They'll catch their death!". Unfortunately, 83-year-old Jewish Mama is just a voice, so she can't even make chicken soup. The frustration from that fact aggravates her condition -- never mind what kind of condition, a condition! And if there's one thing the doctors can't cure, it's a condition.
But I digress. So what is up with wearing shorts when it's three degrees outside?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Get your own personal slogan

Check out . Type in your name (after clicking on the "English" tab at the top of course, to change it from German) and voila!

You can do it several times. My latest result is "I'd walk a mile for BigBroBob".

You've probably already heard of the Soap Opera Name thing. Take your middle name, tack it onto the name of the street you live on, and voila! My soap opera name is Thomas Innes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Titans 7, Rangers 1

In a word: OUCH!
Oh well, we're still 5-1 on the season.

Rangers 4, Rideau St. Lawrence 3

That's all I know about last night's game so far. I wasn't there because I had to work, and the coach left a message for me when I was in the bathroom (never fails, does it?).

Anyway, that makes us 5-0 on the season. Big test tonight: a rematch against Ottawa Valley, in which the boys have to prove that last week wasn't a fluke.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cheese strings: Strings or sticks? - Discuss

Alright, so I'm scalping a bit off Linda Richmond-- no big whoop. But I want some input from my fellow bloglodytes.

I love cheese, except the really exotic ones. I'm mostly a cheddar and mozzarella man, although curds (especially from the soon-defunct Thornloe Cheese Factory) are a nearly-addictive guilty pleasure.

I live alone, so buying a block of cheese is a waste of money. It looks like a furry Grade 7 science project before I can eat it all. So I buy Black Diamond Cheese Strings -- yummy cheesy goodness in just-right portion sizes. I usually buy the marble ones, because they cater to my cheddar and mozzarella preference, in perfect proportion.

Now, here's where the debate/discussion/bloglodyte input comes in: Should they be eaten as a solid piece of cheese, one bite at a time; or should you actually peel the strings, make little stick people as the wrapping suggests, and then eat them? Discuss.

Me, I bite chunks off them. I've tried the stringy thing, but the voice of my dear departed mother elbows her way into the midst of the other voices in my head, with a stern "Robert Thomas McIntyre! Don't play with your food!".

Lemme know: whaddaya think?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Rangers 4, Nepean 3

Another solid effort -- not very pretty, frankly, but coming off last night's big time and playing the purportedly next best team in the league, we'll take it.

Tomorrow, a bonding experience with the boys, going golfing. Lord help me.

How the media CAN effect change

Yesterday, A-Channel News in Ottawa did a story about a certain coffee and donut chain that is EVERYWHERE -- including the Canadian military base in Afghanistan -- not allowing employees to wear red ribbons on Wear Your Red Fridays, as a show of support for all of our troops all over the world. Our story was based at CFB Petawawa, where the outlet of said coffee and donut chain was affected by the no-ribbon policy, and where the Wear Your Red Fridays campaign began.

I am pleased to announce, as Assignment Editor at A-Channel Ottawa, that our story and the public reaction to it, have contributed to said coffee and donut chain reversing its policy, and allowing the ribbons. A corporate spokesperson just announced the change on our sister radio station, News-Talk Radio, 580CFRA.

Comments, please (yeah, you too, Ma).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rangers 4, Valley Titans 2

Amazing game from everyone. Goalie Brett was totally in the zone.

The boys are particularly jazzed about this, because the Valley apparently went undefeated in league play last year. Plus, it's basically the same two teams that have been playing against each other for years, and our team hasn't beaten theirs in three years.

Bring on Nepean tomorrow night!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Who's hotter? Leanne or Belinda?

I tried for about an hour yesterday to post photos of Leanne Domi and Belinda Stronach on here, but the dad-gummed thing wouldn't work for me.

So: Who's hotter? Tie's ex or the woman who split them up? Photos are easily accessible on the web.

I have asked several people of both genders at work, and it's a unanimous no-contest: Leanne is much hotter. Tie's a puckhead.

Get "LOST"!

Yeah! The best TV show in a long time returns tonight. ABC has a recap of the first two seasons, setting up Season 3, which starts next Wednesday!

So for anyone who has heard the talk but hasn't seen the show, this is your chance to catch up with all of of Lostaholics, and get in to the loop.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rangers 5, Barons 1

Last night. 'Nuff said, except that our boys played a fantastic game, and showed a lot of class by not getting sucked in to the dirty stuff.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rangers 3, Rideau St. Lawrence 1

The hockey team for which I'm trainer -- the Gloucester Rangers Major Bantam AA team -- won the first game of the regular season yesterday, 3-1 over Rideau St. Lawrence in Prescott.

The boys played well. One thing the game underlined is that we have to work on shooting, especially during the power play. We had about a million power plays (Rideau St. Lawrence is still adjusting to the total crackdown on stick infractions), and could not capitalize on them. Not to take away anything from their goalie, but holy moley, we made him look good. The score should have been more like 8- or 9-1. Our goalie played really well, too, considering that 90% of the game was played in the other team's end, making it difficult for Brett to stay warm and focussed.

I'm already really enjoying this team, which is totally new to me. They're a good bunch of kids, very supportive of each other, with no real sign of any tension among them. That's remarkable in any group of 17 or 18 people.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wear red for our troops

Today and every Friday is Wear Red Friday, in honour of all Canadian military personnel, overseas or not. Please do your part.

Today, 580CFRA is staging a massive Wear Red rally on Parliament Hill. Thousands of people are expected. You can watch it at .

If you can't be there today in person, be there in spirit, and stop for a minute at Noon eastern time to think of the task and potential sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. It's totally non-partisan, and whether you agree with our troops being in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else, please show them that you support what they do (or, if you look at it this way, what they're forced to do).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Aging gracefully

I just saw Carol Burnett on the Megan Mullally Show, and I have to say, the aging comic genius looks fabulous! She's 73 years old and while she's obviously kept herself in good shape physically, she looks her age: slight wrinkling around the eyes, more so on the loose skin on her neck. What a classy lady!

People like Joan Rivers and Mary Tyler Moore -- who look like their faces are going to snap like a rubber band at any second -- could learn a lot from Ms Burnett.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

I love spotting signs -- especially the changeable letter kind -- that say something other than what is intended. Unfortunately, I don't usually have my camera with me at the time.

Just this afternoon, driving by Dairy Queen, I spotted the sign that I think was probably missing a percentage symbol, a space and a letter or two. It says "10 OFFAL CAKES". (Don't get the joke? Look up "offal" in the dictionary).

Until a few weeks ago, there was a Hooters restaurant about three doors down from where I work. Alas, all good things must come to an end. It was the only remaining Hooters in Ottawa, but is now closed, and a TJ Pagoda's Asian restaurant is going into that space. Across the street, we're finally getting rid of Nickels and any association with that screeching weirdo, Céline. It's being replaced by a Lone Star Texas Grill. Yee-haa! Anyway, earlier in the summer, the sign at Hooters said "HOLD 'EM TUESDAYS". Yeah, at Hooters! No mention of Texas or a card game or poker (although including poker in some way or other might have proven to be funny, too).

One more: At the entrance into the small community of Connaught, just about a 20-minute drive from Ma and Pa Horton's coffee and donut emporium, is a yellow road sign that says "CAUTION: SLOW CHILDREN". Yeah, ya gotta watch out for the slow ones.

Once again, ya can't write this stuff, fellow Bloglodytes -- it just happens!

If you have any samples of your own to share, then share away. Photographic evidence would be even sweeter.

Some day, I'll get into on-air flubs I've heard over the years in broadcasting, and some of the crap that passes for news writing, especially from an illiterate co-worker who is not being laid off at A-Channel.

Friday, September 15, 2006

What a week!

Little did I know when I was bitching about having to work two early-morning shifts, that it would stretch into five!

We're three producers short at A-Channel News in Ottawa right now, so the rest of us are pulling double- and triple duty, totally multi-tasking. Part of that was me working this past Monday and Tuesday at 4am, producing the news portions of A-Channel Morning.

Fine. But then Tuesday night, I get a phone call, telling me that the producer scheduled to be in Wednesday morning had called in sick. Back in I go at 4am.

Then, just as I'm winding down, getting ready to leave at 2pm, we get word that a useless bag of skin had gone on a shooting rampage at Dawson College in Montreal. Having no CHUM TV station in Montreal and being less than two hours away, we dispatch a crew there. Now, I have no one to blame for the rest but myself. Here's why: I know that the off-sick producer had gone to Montreal on her weekend. So a little light goes on in my head, figuring she was probably still there. So I call her, and assign her to field-produce, helping the crew we had sent to Montreal. That extended into late yesterday (Thursday), so I end up finishing the week by producing morning news.

I really like the work, and the morning crew, but the hours??? Yeesh!

Oh well, there's no "I" in team, although a member of said morning crew pointed out that there IS one in bitch. And Little Bro Dan reminded me that it's the same team that's getting rid of me in the next few months.

So I'm going to try to stay awake as late as possible tonight, so that I don't wake up at 3am, but I'm not sure how late that will turn out to be.Then I think I'll sleep until St. Swithin's Day, whenever the hell that is.

Have a great weekend, fellow Bloglodytes.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Sorry. The photo I tried to attach to "It never fails", failed. It worked for Boo-Boo bear in the blog before that one.

You'll just have to trust me if you don't know what I look like: I am NOT usually Greaseball Gus.

It never fails

Okay, so today, I'm on the bench during the semi-final game of the hockey tournament that my Major Bantam AA team is at (we lost the game 4-2). I'm looking like a total crappy greaseball because last night, I stayed at the assistant coach's cottage near Smiths Falls, and didn't shower this morning. I'm one of those people who should never go out in public without showering or at least washing my hair -- terrible greasy bedhead that cannot be fixed with just water and a comb. Thank gawd for Ontario's no-public-smoking law. If anyone in the Bell Sensplex had lit a match, my head would have burst into a fireball.

So anyway, at the end of the game, a guy bangs on the glass behind the bench, and makes signs to me that I don't understand. I shrug, and he makes the finger-going-in-a-circular-motion-beside-the-head sign, so I think he's saying the referee is crazy (which he is).

Then when I leave the bench, this guy says "You don't recognize me, do you? We grew up together, as backyard neighbours. I'm Dino." It turns out that the crazy sign actually meant "think back". I haven't seen Dino in, I figure, 25 years. He's a tall, slim, good-looking Italian guy, but was a porker as a kid. It turns out he has seven-year-old twin boys who were on the ice for a hockey development clinic, right after our game. Dino's dad was with him, too.

So I can imagine Dino telling his three brothers about meeting me, and what a grubby greaseball I am. The four boys own a chain of barber shops and hair salons across Ottawa, so they know "grubby greaseball". PLUS, one of Dino's older brothers, Tony, is married to my stepsister. So he's going to tell Tony what a slob his stepbrother-in-law is. Hopefully, Tony will point out that I'm not usually that way, and was probably having a bad hair day (understatement).

Anyone else have any "It never fails" stories of embarrassment? I have a few others, like the time I was at a house party, in the era of the no arms, no legs jokes. After a few brown pops, I'm sitting on a couch with a lampshade on my head, telling said jokes. Okay, so I wasn't wearing a lampshade, but I very easily could have been. So I tell the one about the girl with one short leg: Eileen. And then at the instant, the loud music stops just long enough for me to blurt out: "And the Chinese girl with one leg shorter than the other? Irene," Sure enough, sitting directly across the room is a nice-looking Asian girl, who hadn't been there when the music was loud -- honest!

So share your similar stories. Meanwhile, I have an urgent date with my shower and my very special guest, Johnson Baby Shampoo.

See? I'm not usually Greaseball Gus:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bracing for the early morning brutality

This coming Monday and Tuesday, and then the same days two weeks later, I have to be at work by the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m. I will be producing the newscasts on Ottawa's A-Channel Morning.

I FREAKIN' HATE THOSE EARLY HOURS! When I worked in radio, apart from a couple temporary fill-in stints, I succeeded in avoiding working early morning hours. Unfortunately, when I worked at CTV Newsnet, the bulk of my shifts started at 5:00 a.m., with a few starting at 4:00 and even a handful of 3:00 a.m. shifts. I am simply not a morning person. Besides, it is totally inhuman and unnatural to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to work. Most early-morning radio or TV people I have ever talked to actually thrive in those hours. And almost without exception, they can snooze in the afternoon, allowing them to have an evening social life, when everyone else is off work. I can't nap during the day, regardless of how early I'm awake. If I could, I could probably handle early starts.

I will admit, however, to being curious about what kind of freaks I'll encounter in the Byward Market at four o'clock in the morning. The Market is a fascinating place. When it gets dark at night, it takes on a totally different atmosphere from daylight hours. But the latest I've ever been there is around midnight, so it should be a treat to see what it's like a few hours later -- and when the moon is still close to full. If you don't believe that the full moon makes weird things happen and brings out the weirdos, you've never worked in a newsroom -- not to mention as a cop, paramedic, in a hospital or any other occupation that requires nighttime work.

For all its charm, the Byward Market can exhibit its gross-out factor any time of the day or night. For example, this morning, shortly before eight o'clock, the pigeon outside Minglewood's (a bar/restaurant -- or as they're known in Québec, resto-bar), pecking away at someone's puke. Mmmmmm... great way to start your day, even before your at-work breakfast of toast, peanut butter and jam, and coffee.

On a less disgusting note: The Major Bantam hockey team for which I'm trainer (all the players born in 1992) is in a tournament in Kanata (west-end Ottawa) this weekend. We've played two games so far, tying the first 1-1 and winning the second, 3-0. I'm finally getting to know the boys by name. They seem like a great bunch of kids, and show signs of being a formidable force on the ice.

One more thing: If you're ever in Kanata, drop in to Subway on Terry Fox Drive, in the Terry Fox Plaza. Just after our first game today, a strong thunderstorm rolled across Ottawa, knocking out electricity to much of the city. We had planned to take the boys to Subway anyway, because we didn't have much time between games, and didn't want them scarfing down McDonalds food (yuck! I'd rather pick at the pigeon's breakfast than eat that crap!). The young folks working at Subway didn't let a power outage get in the way of serving our team quite admirably. By the time they were done, they were running short of bread, but our boys were fed, and that's all we cared about. Nothing else in the neighbourhood could handle the lack of power -- including McDo and sorry, Ma, but even Timmy's. Another thing that impressed me was that the young guy manning the calculator and taking cash-only for the sandwiches actually knew how to make change, without a cash register! That's a rare quality these days.

Okay, fellow bloglodytes, that's all for now. Your comments are welcome, as usual.

BigBroBob out!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ya can't write this stuff!

I just have to share this with my fellow bloglodytes.

Here at A-Channel Ottawa, we have a weekly gardening segment in our Thursday 6pm newscast, done by the owner of a local nursery. Tonight, he's talking about weeding flowerbeds, and the different hoes available. There are several chuckle-inducing lines in his impromptu presentation on this hoe and that hoe, but the classic line is "It's always better to have a hoe, than to have to pull by hand".

Hoe-larious! Classic stuff! Truer words are seldom spoken.

As you can imagine, the segment has already been saved to our Christmas Party blooper tape.

Have a good Labour Day weekend.

Friday, August 25, 2006

JB, I feel your pain!

Ah, the joys of multi-tasking.
For the next seven weeks, I'll be bouncing around the schedule at work like Pong gone wild! Over the space of just a few days, I'll be producing every news show and segment at A-Channel Ottawa. For some strange reason, management didn't anticipate that people would leave for other jobs BEFORE their effective layoff date, leaving the rest of us to pick up the slack. Sheesh.

I had lunch with Little Bro Dan and The Lovely Christine today. She had a bit of a health scare this week, so he flew back to Ottawa to be with her. Fortunately, as it turns out, it was a false alarm. So the plan for her to move to Timmins is back on track. She heads north with another convoy next Friday.

All good vibes should now be directed towards Montreal, to N@ and her pooch Flea, who is having a health scare of her own, on her fourth birthday no less. Cyberhugs for the whole family: N@, Corn, Flea and Chachi. Be strong, little one.

Friday, August 18, 2006


That sums up my crappy mood these days.

Work is a drag lately, what with people leaving voluntarily and otherwise, in the wake of last month's bombshell called a layoff notice. I just want to be among their ranks ahead of January 19 (my effective layoff date).

Oh well, I should be in a better mood this weekend. Hockey season starts tomorrow, with the first round of tryouts. I've never played hockey, and can't even skate, but for 22 of the past 30 years, I've been trainer and/or manager of a hockey team. This year, I'll be trainer for a team of 14-year-olds, "trainer" meaning water boy, gate opener, boo-boo fixer upper, and any other urgent role that pops up. Actually, I prefer "hydration coordinator" to water boy, and "portal attendant" to gate opener -- just sounds more sophisticated, like calling a mop jockey a custodian. Anyway, I get a kick out of the kids. They keep me young.

Hey, if anyone's up for it, I'll resurrect my search for the Quintessential Canadian Song. Anyone? Buhler? Buhler?

Later, gators. Bonne fin de semaine, tout le monde.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rumour: Ma Horton has moved to Ottawa!

Okay, she hasn't -- it just seems like it. The Coffee and Donut Queen herself showed up at the CHUM Market Media Mall again today -- this time with Best Friend, Tante Suzanne, and Eldest Beautiful Daughter Dawn.

Always great to see you, Ma. Sorry if I seemed less than hospitable today; it was shaping up to be a crazy day when I got the call from Reception that you were out front.

On another topic: I'm back from vacation. It was a relaxing, pleasant time. I got some visiting in (although, as usual, didn't see as many people as I hoped to), and spent some time with Dad and StepMama, and with Little Brother Dan (who looks great in his Paramedic uniform -- oops, is my pride showing again?).

The job hunt is shifting into a higher gear. I'm not ready to panic yet, and there have been a few developments that add to the optimism. I don't want to say too much, in case I jinx myself.

Now that I'm back, I invite all lurkers to say hi.

Later, Gators.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My turn to go fishin'

I am done work for the next two weeks, and not soon enough. I head to the cottage in the morning -- an eight-hour drive away -- for some family time, friend time and general R&R. Little Bro Dan will be there waiting for me, along with my Dad, StepMama, Sister, Brother-in-law, their two kids and their dog, and perhaps Brother, Sister-in-law and their daughter. Sunday, we're having a "do" for my Dad, who turns 75 next month.

The two weeks away from work will do me good. It's been a weird, melancholy time there since the big layoff announcement last Wednesday. We said goodbye to an Audio Operator today. He's taking a voluntary severance package, thereby saving someone else's job. The next exodus is August 31, when a few more people leave; then January 19 is the big day that the rest of us leave for good. I truly hope to have a new job to go to long before that.

There's been a lot of "WTF?" among my co-workers since the announcement, and in the wake of a few other developments since then. I won't say much about my situation in particular, but suffice it to say that it has become clear that management is taking the opportunity to get rid of me and my above-average salary, and replace me with a less experienced, less versatile, much lower-paid person. That's another slap in the face, on top of the one that occurred to two other supervisors and me last week, when we realized that one suck-up is being kept on, despite the fact that the three of us are more literate (yes, literate!) and versatile than he is.

All that aside, there are some hopeful signs. I have a few lines on jobs, and I'll kick the job hunt into high gear as soon as my holidays are over.

So don't expect much in a post before August 8. But don't worry, I'll be back.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

You can only escape the axe so often

You can only be lucky enough for the axe not to fall on you so many times, especially in this crazy business we call broadcasting, where staff reductions are an almost regular, almost routine feature. In my 27 years in journalism, 22 of them in broadcasting, I've been lucky enough to have never been laid off... until today.

As part of CHUM restructuring (which, we're told, is a total coincidence to Bell Globemedia buying the company today), I am among about 280 people across Canada who were handed their walking papers today. Some took effect immediately -- such as 47 of my colleagues in Vancouver, one of whom called me from a bar. At A-Channel Ottawa, where I work, a handful were immediate, a few more at the end of August, and the rest -- including me -- as of January 19, 2007. I'll tell you, there was a lot of unabashed hugging and "What the f***?" going on in our newsroom this afternoon. Anyone who says they weren't blindsided by this is either lying or on cheap drugs.

And that's not to criticize management, especially at the local level. Is there ever a right time and/or right way to handle layoffs without looking totally callous? Don't answer that question: it's meant rhetorically.

So I have six months to find another job. In the meantime, I'll weigh all my options, which might even include a different position at A-Channel. My resumé is up to date, and I've never been one to wallow in pity. I would rather pick myself up, dust myself off, and make the best of the situation. Yes, fellow bloglodytes, I'm gonna make lemonade outta this bushel o' lemons!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Whirlwind Weekend Trip

Well, I'm back at the grind after a three-day weekend, during which I joined a convoy from Ottawa to Timmins (Porcupine, to be more precise) to move Little Bro Dan into his new apartment. He started his new job as a paramedic last month, working between Timmins, Matheson, Iroquois Falls, Cochrane and Smooth Rock Falls.

He has a beautiful apartment, which is just around Porcupine Lake from Ma and Pa Horton's Timmy's South Porcupine location. His girlfriend will move up there late next month, after completing a summer job and a course she needs to get her Master's degree.

I guess there's no denying now that my Dano is all grown up. We were matched by Big Brothers in Timmins 13 years ago this Friday. In ways, it seems like just yesterday; in others, it seems like eons ago -- and that's all good. We are the ultimate in successful Big Brothers matches. He was ten at the time, and we quickly fit into each other's routines, lives and families, and decided it would be forever. I wouldn't trade a second of it.

Dan has grown into a fine, respectable, respectful young man, and although his mom is the absolute best, I don't mind taking some of the credit. It is really neat to watch a young person as they grow and mature, and realize that some of the values they exhibit in word and deed are values that they learned from your word and deed.

On a totally different subject: if you're lurking here and haven't participated in helping select the quintessential Canadian song that I began searching for in my last post, please take the time to do so.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What's the quintessential Canadian song?

I was thinking about this when I was in Cuba in April, and want to hear what my fellow Bloglodytes think.

What got me thinking about it was the day tour to Havana (I was staying in Varadero), and the tour guide on the bus teaching us all to sing "Guantanamera".

I brought a journal with me to Cuba, and wrote in it quite a bit. I would write in it on the plane, on the bus, on the beach, on my patio, or in my room, jotting down my impressions of the place, and whatever would come to mind. That night in Havana, between dinner and going to the show at The Tropicana, I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel where we had dinner, listening to a string quartet. That's when I wrote about trying to find the quintessential Canadian song.

My nomination: BTO's "Takin' Care of Business". Sure, my buddies Mike and Greg used to sing it into empty beer bottles in the wee small hours of the morning back in the mid- to late-1970s, or on the hockey bus, so it brings back a lot of good memories (Greg was killed in a car accident 25 years ago last Tuesday -- perhaps another topic for another post on another day). But it still rocks to this day, and deals with the Canadian work ethic ("Get up every morning to the alarm clock's warning..." -- okay, so maybe we could leave out the bit about workin' at nothin' all day).

Anyway, argue for or against my choice, or suggest one of your own.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Canada Boxing Day!

...And a day late, but White Rabbit! White Rabbit! White Rabbit!
Okay, I'll stop infringing on N@'s territory.

So, while I was stuck in my parents' basement creating BigBroBoblog, how did you spend your Canada Day? Truth be told, my parents don't have a basement, and I was actually in my third-floor apartment, an eight-hour drive from their house. Actually, I was rather enjoying a veg-out day, after having worked a lot of overtime the past couple weeks. I've been in downtown Ottawa on other Canada Days. It's an amazing experience to be among the hundreds of thousands of revellers, but the timing this year just wasn't right.

Last year, I worked on Canada Day, producing the 11pm newscast at the TV station where I work (A-Channel Ottawa). It's in the ByWard Market, just east of Parliament Hill. In fact, you go out our front door, look west, and you see the Chateau Laurier a couple hundred yards up the street. The Market was as insane as it is on any day, times about three thousand.

I had a chance to watch the fireworks from our back parking lot, with the Lebanese couple that runs our lunch counter at the station. Toni, the female half of that team, was almost overcome with emotion over how great it is to be Canadian. As the fireworks boomed overhead, she commented that noise like that in Lebanon usually meant someone is shooting at someone else. A great perspective on what it means to be Canadian, and live in the best country in the world.

Next weekend, I join a convoy of vehicles to Timmins, helping Little Bro Dan move up there. He just graduated from college as a paramedic and got a job with the Cochrane district ambulance service. So he returns to where we met 13 years ago this week, when fate brought together a ten-year-old fatherless boy and a 35-year-old TV news anchor. In later posts, I'll wax poetic (or otherwise) on what a great experience it has been. I've never been a dad (I know, JB, not yet) but this has been an amazing substitute.

Have a great rest of the weekend.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Damn you, N@, Ma and JB!

I was being obstinate, not admitting to liking the whole blog thing (still not sure), but a weak moment swept over me, and here I am -- in Blogland!

I blame N@ and Ma Horton -- both of whom I actually know in the real world -- and JB, who I only have the pleasure of knowing in Cyberspace, but who I know I would be great friends with, should we ever actually meet. So, JB, if you're ever in Ottawa or if I'm ever in Hamilton...

Actually, to those three and others who lurk and post on their blogs, I'm better known as Newsguy Bob. But seeing as this is my blog and it will likely delve into other things about me and my life than the Newsguy side of things, I chose to use the name BigBroBob. I am a Big Brother (through the Big Brothers and Sisters organization), and fiercely proud of that status and of my Little Brother -- both of which you're bound to learn plenty about here on BigBroBoblog. So call me Newsguy Bob or BigBroBob, just don't call me late for supper! Nyuk nyuk nyuk. I got a million of 'em -- just ask Little Bro Dan!

So Happy Canada Day, everyone. I welcome your comments and contributions.