Sunday, September 30, 2007


Okay, so one of the guys who delivered by new bed from Sleep Country Canada on Tuesday told me he tried out for Canadian Idol, but didn't make it past the producers, into the audition room with Sass, Zack, Jake and Farley. The producers told him he was too shy. He also thinks he chose the wrong song, because a lot of people sing Stand By Me (the movie of the same name, incidentally, is one of my all-time favourites).
He also told me he isn't in a band, but sings Karaoke a lot. Uh-oh! Should that set off alarm bells? You be the judge. Pepe also participated in a contest run by Tourism Ontario, singing its newest jingle. You can check it out and vote for him online:
He says he'll try out for Idol again next year. I told him I would watch, because I now have a reason to, and haven't watched Canadian Idol, because I can't stand Ben Mulroney.
By the way, if you check out the link, you can vote for my new friend, too, and help him in the tourism jingle contest. He says a lot of people are voting for others, by using a lot of bogus email addresses.

Oh, one more thing: By the time you read this, it will likely be time to say "White rabbit". :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Drum roll, please... NUMBER TWO-HUNDRED!

Thanks for joining me and being part of this momentous occasion in my teeny-tiny little corner of Cyberspace -- and thanks for the suggestions about what to post. I will use some of those suggestions, and ignore the rest of them, such as the photo of me wearing nothing but my Crocs.

It was March, 1976. I had turned 18 about a month earlier, and was working at the Cinequois Theatre, the movie theatre in my hometown of Iroquois Falls. The Cinequois was owned by my best friend's Mom, and I was affectionately referred to as The Assistant Manager.
The previous summer, I had visited another friend who was working in Toronto for the summer, and bought the most bitchin' pair of platform shoes -- zippered boots, really -- with a two-inch sole and three-inch heel. They gave me extremely painful shin splints, but sure were cool, especially when I was also wearing elephant pants and puffy-sleeved shirts.
On this fateful night, I wore the boots to work at the theatre. During the nightly screening, it had rained outside, then the temperature dropped below freezing, leaving a nice coat of ice on the sidewalk. As I was leaving work, I slipped on the ice, fell forward, and braced my fall with my hands. The next day, my left wrist was extremely sore. So I went to see the doctor, and ended up in a cast from my fingertips to my elbow for a month, with my hand at a double-90-degree angle in the cast. I had broken a little bone in my wrist not much bigger than a fish bone.
I never wore those stupid shoes again.

Finally, to use one more suggestion from my Cyberfriends, here's a photo of moi on my second birthday -- February 8, 1960. Colour photography wasn't very common, good or affordable back then, but no, my father did not chisel this photo out of a stone tablet.

So that's it: Post #200. Kinda underwhelming, eh? For 201, I'll tell you about the kid who delivered my mattress today, and could be the next Canadian Idol.

What should I do for Post #200?

Yes, my next post will be number 200. So I'm looking for ideas on how it should reflect that milestone.

I like revelling in life's little accomplishments or achievements or acquisitions that to others might seem trivial. But hell, why not?

For instance, I'm awaiting delivery sometime in the next couple hours of a brand new bed, my first queen-sized bed (No, Kitty, it doesn't mean that at all). And in case you didn't notice, last week I was celebrating having booked my trip to Dubai. By the way, did I mention how jazzed I am about it?

So let's hear from you: What can I do to mark post number 200 on my blog?

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm gonna be on the Interweb Thingy

I am featured in today's edition of "Inside A-Channel" on
I'm producing tonight's 6:00 pm show, and our anchor, Sandra Blaikie, interviews me about what's coming up. It should be online by four o'clock.

Before you say anything, I'm having a bad hair day, hence the pouffy thing at the front (it's time for a haircut), and the red Senators T-Shirt is because our station observes Wear Red Friday every week, in honour of Canadian military personnel. Also, you'll see that the computer I'm working at has two monitors. The right-hand side one has the photo of me and my sibs.

Okay, watch away and comment away: I'm ready for it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm the big bad wolf

I participated in something today that is, frankly, disturbing.

For a series called "Stranger Danger" which will run during fall ratings coming up next month, we at A-Channel in Ottawa asked parents to let us know if they wanted their children tested, to see if they knew how to respond to being approached by a stranger. The idea came from the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher in Québec last month.

Today, we tested two girls. I played the part of the stranger. I was equipped with a hidden camera and microphone. One of our ENG camera operators was using a camera hidden in the back of a van, while the reporter putting the series together used a mini-cam in the van, getting the mothers' reaction while each scenario unfolded.

In the first scenario, I was looking for Zoey, my lost dog, as ten-year-old Chelsea came walking down the street, on her way to school. I asked her if she had seen Zoey, and gave her a poster with Zoey's picture on it. Chelsea immediately started talking to me, calling for Zoey herself, telling me her name and where she lived. When I asked if she would come in my car to look for Zoey if I dropped her off at school, I could feel the wall go up between us. She kept walking towards school, and said if she saw my puppy, she would phone me.

In the second case, five-year-old Stephanie was brought to a park by her mom, who works part-time in a building on the edge of the park. After playing for a few minutes, Stephanie's mom told her she had to get something at the office, and she should sit on the bench and have some candies and water. After Mom walked away, I walked over to Stephanie, called her by name, and said I worked with her mom and she would like me to take her to her. With no hesitation, Stephanie started packing up her things and came with me. She wouldn't talk or hold my hand, but responded to all my questions with head gestures. When we reached the parking lot and the camera van, Mom opened the door and stepped out.

Each mom was shocked and upset, but kept repeating how glad she is to have participated in the exercise. It gives them a starting-off point to reinforce or expand on their warnings about stranger dangers.

Chelsea passed when it came to not getting into the car, although I could have easily dragged the little thing into the vehicle. Stephanie, as it turns out, did not talk to me, taking her mom's warnings literally.

Phase 2 happens in a couple weeks, when the kids will be tested again in different circumstances, and approached by a woman.

From my standpoint, it was an eye-opening, disturbing experience. It was too easy to engage the girls and get them to go along with what I was suggesting. I felt creepy but didn't realize how much the first case (Chelsea) rattled me until I tried to start the car. My hand was shaking so badly, I had to steady it with the other hand to put the key in the car's ignition.

I sincerely hope that when the series airs, it prompts families right across our viewing area to discuss stranger danger with their kids, in enough detail.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I am so jazzed. I just booked my flights to and from Dubai. I leave Nov. 22 and return Dec. 2. Und I land in Churmany on ze vay zere und ze vay beck -- Munich und Frankfurt, respectively.
Not bad for a guy who never left the continent until less than two years ago, huh? In fact, except for a couple quick trips to Michigan (as in a couple hours) and a hockey tournament or two in New Yawk State, I had never left Canada. And by "leaving the continent", I mean once to Cuba and once to the Dominican Republic.
Have I mentioned that I am so jazzed?
Work is being very co-operative, too. Of course, I can't go until after fall ratings, the final day of which is the day before I leave, but Boss Peter said book the trip, and we'll make it work.
Have I mentioned that I am so jazzed?
I intend to fill my one-gigabyte memory stick on my new camera. If you think Kitty posted a lot of his vacation pictures, all I can say is "Hah!"
Have I mentioned that I am so jazzed?
Okay, bloglodytes, start envying in three... two... one... NOW!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Household Hints from Bob

Today's episode: Cleaning those nasty Crocs -- the fun rubber shoes that anyone who is anyone is wearing. After all, they come in a veritable kaleidoscope of bright, fun colours.

Glad you could join us on this sunny September day. We hope you had a great weekend.

Y'know, it doesn't take much for a really excellent idea to cross over to the fourth dimension known as [fast, dramatic violin riff in reverb] The Urrrrrbbbbbaaaaannnnn Mythhhhhhhhh.

Today's tip comes from that dimension... and is pulled back to Reality. I know you've heard that Ethel's mother's best friend's niece's twins' kindergarten teacher sent a note home, demanding that the twins' dirty Crocs be cleaned, before she would allow them back into the story circle. Teacher's suggestion: Put the dirty little buggers in the dishwasher -- oh my goodness, I mean the Crocs, not the twins! Heavens to Mercy!

"Pishtosh!" you exclaim. "The dishwasher??? Tsk, tsk. The dishwasher is meant exclusively for dishes, and seeing as you wouldn't eat out of the Crocs, they don't qualify. How trailer park!"

Well, someone has their nose much too high in the air, now, don't they, hmmmm?

That's where the crack research staff at Household Hints from Bob comes in, as usual, to put the theory-slash-myth to the test and -- pardon the vulgar sound of this -- de-bunk it.

So we put our favourite pair of red and black Ottawa Senators Crocs in the dishwasher with the usual stuff that goes in there, and set the dishwasher to run in the wee small hours. After all, we must all do our part to conserve energy and protect this great planet of ours, so that we can continue offering Household Hints from Bob for generations to come.

Drum roll, please, as morning arrives and we open the dishwasher... [brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (drum roll effect -- you can come up with better?), [BING!(cymbal crash)] ...and my stars, it worked! They're so brand-new shiny clean, we would eat out of them before the twins put them on their grubby little feet and smear toe jam in them again.

There you have it, another urban myth dragged back into the third dimension, joining the Household Hints from Bob Household Hints Hall of Fame!

Join us next time, for the episode we like to call "Get rid of that deep-seated belly button lint, without going to the garage to get the extra heavy duty shopvac".

Thanks for joining us. Have a great day, and may you get your next goose long before Christmas Day! Buh-byeeeeeee.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Clean out your lint traps!

There's no joke here. It's a word of caution that I hope you'll help spread around.
My second cousin and his wife, who live in a house across the road from our cottage, have lost their beautiful home to a fire, caused by a blocked lint trap on their clothes dryer. Luckily, they woke up at 1:00 a.m. (I'm not sure, but probably from a smoke detector) and got out of the burning house with the proverbial clothes on their backs.
At first, it was thought that the house was just gutted, and could be restored. But on the phone tonight, my Dad told me that once they could inspect it, they learned that it has to be torn down and totally replaced.
I've heard of this before, and hope you keep your lint trap cleaned out. It doesn't stop at the screen that traps most of the lint from each load, either. Get in behind it with your vacuum cleaner on a regular basis. It's surprising how much lint gets past the screen. It builds up and eventually catches fire.
One time that I heard of such a thing was at a fire that I covered in Timmins as a videographer. Damage was very minor that time, because it was one o'clock in the afternoon in an urban residential area -- not one o'clock in the morning, in a rural area some ten kilometres from the nearest fire hall. Anyway, the lady in that house neglected her lint trap, and it caught fire, killing her cat. The fire chief told me that when cats sense fire, they hide -- under a bed, in this instance. And because a cat's lungs are so small, it takes very little smoke inhalation to kill it.

So please, check that lint trap regularly, and go deeper than getting the lint out between loads.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My weekend at Lac du Cerf

The weather was beautiful, and the company was great -- even if some of the young people were drinking beer and smoking dope before breakfast. Oh well, they are family, and not my responsibility. Every family has a little bit of white trash, doesn't it?

Here's a pic of Zoey, my dogniece who I sometimes babysit, and who ate the poopy diaper and licked the peepot. Hey, maybe the white trash got her stoned, and she had the munchies! Isn't she pretty?

Speaking of pretty, check out these two beauties. Claire and Caitlin are five months old, the daughters of my second cousin Charlie, and his wife, Trish. They also have an almost-three-year-old son, Carter, who's quite the little cutie, too.
I learned from Claire Bear and Caity Cait that I'm too old to be a Daddy, but I'm going to be an awesome surrogate Grandpa to Little Bro Dan's eventual kids. Yep, old Uncle Bob has the touch. I rocked Claire to sleep twice, and Caitlin once. Of course, I do have that effect on women of all ages.
We had a lot of laughs and ate a lot of great food this past weekend. I only wish this stupid sinus infection for which I'm now on antibiotics hadn't made me feel like crap. I had three beers all weekend -- between Friday night and Monday afternoon!

Has anyone seen my damned camera cable?

I'm jonesin' here to start posting pics from my weekend, but I can't find the stupid cable. It can't have gone too far -- this is only a two-bedroom apartment, and I usually keep all that junk on or in my desk.


Catholics, please pray to St. Anthony for me. It used to work for my best buddy's Mom, when she had misplaced something.

Any other suggestions for finding it?