Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

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Pithy, Pithier, Pithiest…..

January 20, 2010

…. or just plain pithed.

I’ve held out on posting to date in hopes the tides would turn and I’d have some positive news to share. Well, here it is January 20 and it is ‘same old, same old’. No news to share regarding the job search – same frustration. The financial stress has eased a little but the situation will quickly become problematic at any ‘sudden needs’ expense.

Mentally and emotionally I enjoy enough self-awareness to be acutely aware of where I’m at cognitively, mood-wise and attitude and perception-wise. At times it is downright scary where your mind can take you after a long period of unrelenting stress. Hypochondria?? Ever little ache, pain and twinge is the harbinger of some new life threatening illness. And looking in the mirror I can honestly say I’ve aged about five years in these last 10 weeks.

On the plus side – I have enough to eat; I have a warm home; I have a wife who loves and supports me; friends and associates who care about me.

Things of note: Yesterday I attended the follow-up meeting regarding funding for the mental health and addictions programming run through the local hospital and detox. Yahoo – their funding will stay intact through having creatively shuffled the finances. Had a quick word with the Director from there to let him know I’m still looking for work. (We keep running into one another at various functions so I’m on his radar.)

I regularly attend one hour seminars at the local Mental Health hospital that are put on for other area stakeholders re mental health and addiction. The topics are really varied and the presenters very good.

Last week was my girlfriend Audrey’s 90th birthday and I (we) was invited to a house party held in her honour on Saturday afternoon. When I get a picture or two I’ll post them here – she’s a sweetie.

Today marks 7 smoke free years for Lynda. I’m very happy for her and proud of her. Today is also exactly 6 1/2 years of sobriety for me – 2,376 days – one day at a time.

Sunday I chaired our monthly area A.A. executive meeting and it was the first time I felt I was on top of things and had done a good job of it. Progress, I tell ya…..

axaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxax

I wrote awhile ago about the season 2 premiere of ‘Spectacle’; must have been about 5 weeks ago now. A question?? What the hell were the programmers thinking by airing the premiere….. and then nothing week after week??? What was the point in that?? I’m all geared up and ready to go but they haven’t scheduled the follow up programs as yet. Makes absolutely no sense to me, at all.

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Such a contrast between last winter and this one. By this time last year I couldn’t shovel the snow from the driveway any higher; it was shoulder high. So far this season we haven’t accumulated any more than a couple of inches at a time and it has all eventually thawed, melted and disappeared. Last night we got a dusting but you can still see the grass. Incredible!! Loving it!!

Making tracks - Jan 6

 

goodbye crystals - hello lace curtain

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Spectacle: Season 2 Premiere

December 11, 2009

Musicologist

Tonight on the CTV network here in Canada is the season 2 premiere of Spectacle; Elvis Costello’s music and interview show where he features different performers each week. Episodes are rebroadcast on Bravo channel on Saturday and Sunday evenings. In the States it airs on the Sundance channel.

Tonight’s episode features Bono and ‘the Edge’ from U2 which has to be considered quite a coup d’etat considering their stature in the music industry. I’ve had a sorta hot & cold take on U2 over the years so I’m hoping this show meets expectations. Looking forward to Edge’s guitar stylings.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to speak at an A.A. meeting this evening and I really don’t like having a long lead time to consider what I might have to say – I’d really much rather arrive at a meeting, be asked last minute and let it happen. Anyway, I’ve put enough thought into it now that I ought to do alright even though my frame of mind hasn’t been the greatest of late. Today is my 2,335th day in sobriety and I have attained a measure of serenity in day-to-day living. 

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Over the last couple of days we’ve had our first major winter storm which included lots of snow, sleet and rain…. and was followed by the big chill and high winds. Temps down to -10C and wind chills of -30C. The snow is now all crusty and about 3 inches deep. And so it begins….. I broke two snow shovels clearing the driveway and need a new one.

We’re getting close to the solstice so days are very short; dawn around 8 a.m. and dusk just after 4:30 p.m. Come on JUNE!!!

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Chief Cook….

November 25, 2009

… and bottlewasher.

fractured vision

I’m doing a pretty good job at staying away from blog cruising and have only indulged briefly a couple of times this week. Mostly I have set aside a couple of blocks of time in the late morning and late afternoon devoting myself to the job search. I find I need a break from the computer screen…. and also the frustration and associated anxiety at the paucity of jobs. I have sent out a fair number of CV’s but without any resulting invitations for interviews.

Besides that, it is me that largely takes care of things here on the homefront; hence the title of this post. Laundry, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, looking after the animals…. I’m your guy. Yesterday I threw together a nice beef stew in the slow-cooker and that’ll be tonight’s dinner; beef, potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, sherry, a little tomato soup and browning sauce. Mmmm, mmmmmm…. good.

What else?? The weather has been unseasonably mild (daytime highs around 8 or 10C) but lots of grey skies with some drizzle and rain. On the bright side…. I prefer this to below zero temps and snow. The trees are completely bare and all the songbirds have flown off south for the winter. The last of the migrators – Canada Geese – have been over flying the house in continuous, enormous flying Vee’s.

With Lynda on afternoon shift this week I’ve had a few hours out of the house in the mornings to run around town. Yesterday I blew a wad of cash on a new set of tires as the old set had little tread left and were beginning to show some cracks. No way they’d have been of any use in heavy weather. There have been some problems with the documents regarding my unemployed status which is holding up my benefits. Lots of phone calls between me and my former employer; then to the employment benefits outfit. It’d be nice if things could go smoothly especially at times like this… but no.

Generally Lynda has been pretty good about it all but had a couple of off days where she was pretty snappy and strange. Likely because she spent a couple of hours talking with her #2 son, C. He is what we refer to here as a ‘shit-disturber’ and he’s damned good at it, too. We aren’t one another’s biggest fans, he and I.

Lynda’s brother has now been living with us for 6 or 7 weeks and everything is going really well. Well, except for one minor complaint (natch). Ed is a really big fan of all the low-brow shows on the Fox Network and will plunk himself down in the living room and watch all these crappy shows back-to-back, by the hour. Lord, give me strength. I have to leave the room and find somewhere else to be else I’d be in full rant about Judge Judy, Family Court or Jerry Springer. Ed quite enjoys them and laughs like a loon at all the foolishness he sees. Me… can’t stand any of it. Patience, tolerance, understanding…. it’s an exercise, right?

Otherwise; the kid’s mother flew Sarah and Zeph to Calgary last weekend so that Zeph could meet his cousin Madison. Sounds like a good time was had by all. My Mom is good – spoke to her this afternoon. Mother Mary is still a concern and is waiting for more diagnostic tests. Freedom is coming along slowly and we’re concerned about how she will fare once the snow starts falling. Will she blow out her leg? Hope not. Milo and I have been having some fun in the yard as I’ve spent some time training him to do a few things… and burn off a little energy at the same time.

Having some difficulty focussing on reading these days; can’t seem to get into an Anne Lamott novel I borrowed; same with the Vonnegut compilation of early short stories. Listening to a lot more music lately as a way of moderating moods. Today’s ‘ear-worm’ is Billie Holiday’s ‘Willow Weep For Me’. Not the most upbeat tune but better than ‘I Wish I was an Oscar Myer Weiner…’, fer sure. 

Time for dinner and the news. Later…..

shadow and flare

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Catch-Up / Catch-All

October 20, 2009

Since I got off work Sunday morning things have been pretty much a blur. After that lengthy stint – 130 hours over 11 days and nights – there’s a long, long list of things to catch up on.

Sunday afternoon I was to chair that district meeting at 1:30. I sorta, kinda came to in bed knowing I was supposed to be somewhere and wondering what time it was. Roll over to see the clock and it is 1:05!!! SHIT!! Threw some clothes on, ran a brush through my hair, crammed a stick of gum in my mouth and I was off. I broke a few speeding laws on the way but made it across town by 1:25. The meeting itself went well; nothing contentious but we ran almost a half hour long. I walked in the door at home and Lynda loaded up her car and left for her Mom’s place. This ‘hi & bye’ existence is wearing thin, I tell ya. Too soon to tell completely but it seems her Mom is doing pretty well.

Monday was a sleep-in, slow to wake day. Lots of calls to make and arrangements sorted out for this out-of-town trip Friday, S & S. Today, Tuesday, I finally made it to get my hair cut. If it had got much longer I’d have had the full retro early 70’s look happening – not good. A trip to the library for more book and music – found a book that cousin BJ recommended; ‘Water For Elephants’ by Sara Gruen. I got into the first chapter while I waited for my oil change to be done.

Dinner looked like it was going to be complicated but because I’m ‘batching’ it I decided to keep it simple. Instead of dirtying a bunch of dishes I baked chicken pieces, hot Italian sausage and spicy fries all on the same baking sheet (on foil for a quick clean-up.) My evening is mapped out – there’s a re-broadcast of Steve Earle’s appearance showcasing songs from ‘Washington Square Serenade’; followed by ‘Hank Williams – The Show He Never Gave’ featuring Sneezy Waters in the lead role. Time to grab some dessert and park it in front of the TV. See ya…..

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Enough About Me

September 19, 2009
time standing still

time standing still

…. and my problems. So sorry folks – I haven’t exactly been ‘on’ this week what with complaining about back pain, insomnia and fatigue. Sometimes life can get on the sucky side…… but all this too shall pass, eventually.

Shazzam!! Flipside of that is I have things to be grateful for, like:

I was up early this afternoon and got some things done and out of the way, then decided to take it easy and maybe snooze through a movie. Surfing the channels I found a show I actually wanted to see – a rarity in itself – the documentary ‘Johnny Cash’s America’. (2007) It was terrific and I think every / any one would find aspects about it they’d enjoy whether they’re a fan of Cash and his music or not. Lots of historic footage, interviews with family, fellow musicians and songwriters – it managed to give a full picture of the man during it’s 2 hour length. I was especially happy they spent about 15 minutes on the series of sessions he did with Rick Rubin producing for ‘American Recordings’ in the years leading up to Cash’s death. Here is the video that had me on the verge of tears at the end of the show – covering Nine Inch Nails ‘Hurt’.

Once our dogsitter arrived tonight I drove down to check on things at my townhouse. I had to ask my boarder to leave and his time is up at the end of next week. There has been some packing done and some clutter thinned out – a good sign. I’ll have some real gratitude about that whole thing when he has gone and the locks have been changed. Leaving there I headed uptown for a quick visit with Mom before coming to work. She’s happy to be moved, settled and satisfied she made the right decision to give up the house. If she’s happy, I’m happy. I think she made the right move, too – a nice condo in a quiet area.

The weather!?!? Amazing!! We have set a record for the longest period without rain for this time of year because of a big fat high pressure system that has been parked over us for 3 weeks. Beautiful!! It’s just what the farmers needed to finish the growing season after our late, long, cool and wet spring. There has only been a couple of days or nights with short periods of light overcast. It has made for the most excellent star gazing – amazingly clear conditions; no humidity to muddy the view. One of the guys here in tratment loaned me a couple of astronomy magazines he had brought with him; one of which included a sky map for the month. Cool; it’s helping me identify a lot more constellations. Here is a link for the coming week re: celestial events which can be viewed across Canada and the northern US states.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance/59732092.html

It’s been a long week in part because Lynda has worked afternoon shift all week. Later today when I get up we will finally have some face time, T.G. Phone calls and notes just don’t cut it somehow, ya know? Once my work week is done Sunday morning we’ll have the rest of the day after I’ve slept and then attended an A.A. service committee meeting in the early afternoon. Everything is kicking back into gear following the summer down time / break.

I’ll have to get busy again with my camera because this one below is the last one in the media library. It was taken outside the wee country church where we attended the wedding a couple of weeks ago. The bell is inscribed with the donors name and dated 1920.

no way - it's not tolling for me!

no way - it's not tolling for me!

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Rambling On

September 15, 2009

First off a flower for a friend:

a rose for Robin

a rose for Robin

If I’m not mistaken you said you liked the peachy coloured ones.

Yesterday was my late father’s birthday; he would have been 83.  Six years gone now. I miss him, too.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

I spent Friday helping with Mom’s move from the house to her new condo and everything went incredibly smooth. The movers were done in 6 hours. A girlfriend of Linda’s, along with Linda and I put in a couple more hours getting the necessities put where they needed to be before clearing out so Mom could relax. Brother Dave came down for the weekend and helped unpack and hung a bunch of stuff for them. Speaking on the phone with Mom today she sounds more herself, more rested and less stressed. Their internet is yet to be connected so Mom has me downloading crossword puzzles and printing them off for her to do with her morning coffee.

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A couple of enjoyable shows I’ve caught lately – a re-broadcast of ‘Dylanesque’; the in-studio video documenting Bryan Ferry’s project recording a selection of Bob Dylan songs. Highly recommended viewing (and available on DVD). My only complaint is the sound mix isn’t as good on the show as it is on CD; small potatoes whining.

– an art show called Celebrity Portraits. 3 artists are brought in for a sketch / photo session with a celebrity and are given 2 weeks to finish a portrait of them. The episode I saw had Elvis Stojko (Olympic skater) as the subject. It was interesting to see the differing approaches the artists took, the variety of techniques applied and the final results. The time slot could easily have been expanded to a full hour instead of 30 minutes and still held interest.

– less enjoyable but…. I’ve written several times about Elvis Costello’s show ‘Spectacle’ and how I liked the format and various artists he had interviewed and performed with. During the run of the show I missed a few episodes and have just caught a couple in these last couple of weeks. The most recent one, which featured Lou Reed, was a real disappointment. The interview wasn’t at all interesting and the performances were awful. Lou’s voice has gone. In the episode previous to that Elvis had Jakob Dylan on and it was much better – good revealing interview; solid performance. I just found that a DVD of season 1 will be released in November.

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I don’t know how but I’ve messed up my back again during these last couple of weeks and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It’s about time for some anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. The long muscles running up my back feel like slabs of wood and are in constant spasm. Turning certain ways results in sudden gasps and red clouds across my vision. My left leg alternates between shooting pain and numbness. Stretching and rubs provide little relief and it doesn’t last any length of time. Low end pain relievers aren’t cutting it. C’est la vie – time to take it easy for a while. I had forgotten how uncomfortable this can be because it had been in good shape for quite a while.

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I’ve had a little mp3 player for 5 or 6 years and used it only for the first year or so. I came across it today, hooked it up to the computer, uploaded about half the playlist and downloaded a bunch of newer material. I don’t know individual tracks from most of the CD’s I have saved so it was a pretty much random selection. These last few hours have been spent listening to some old faves and potential new ones.

Speaking of music – on my most recent trip to the library I borrowed:

Bob Dylan’s latest – ‘Together Through Life’;

Dylan’s 2008 release – ‘Tell Tale Signs; rare and unreleased 1989-2006’;

Jeff Buckley (2000) ‘Mystery White Boy’;

John Mellencamp (2003) ‘Trouble No More’;

Elvis Costello & The Imposter’s ‘The Delivery Man’ and ‘Momofuku’ – (2004 & 2008 respectively)

Books – Almost finished Margaret Atwood’s ‘Moral Disorder’ – loving it! On a recommendation from blog-friend Susan M I picked up ‘The Shipping News’ by Annie Proulx. A reading list circulated by cousin BJ has been printed off for future reference.

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Enough rambling, already? Maybe so, but first what else do I have stashed away in the photo library??

another rose for Robin

another rose for Robin

That’ll do. Ciao.

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How I Spent My Week Off….

August 4, 2009

Most of you know I was pretty much housebound as the result of Freedom’s repeat surgery and spent virtually all my time in the same room as her – the livingroom. We moved some furniture out and set up a double bed in there as it’s the only room on the main floor with carpet (better footing for her than ceramic or hardwood).

Thankfully, early in the week I got over to the library and picked up a few books and some music. What a change to have time and opportunity to read for pleasure. Over a few afternoon hour-long sessions I finished the autobiographic ‘Catch Me If You Can’ which detailed the one man crime spree of Frank Abagnale Jr. – con man, counterfeiter and ‘goodtime Charlie’ extraordinaire. Written in 1980, it was made into a movie in 2002 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent on his trail. Besides that one I picked up a couple on writing; one is very instructional and emphasizes the importance of clarity in thought and expression, and correct word usage. It is called, ‘Compose Yourself: and write good English’; written by an Oxford grad Harry Blamires, D. Litt. The other is titled ‘The Autobiographer’s Handbook’ (2008) and is edited by Jennifer Traig. Input is culled from 30 writers on a variety of topics and also includes a history of autobiography / memoir and a list of suggested reading. I’ve just started reading it but the first quote that struck me is, ‘I write myself into existence’. BTW, I had hoped to pick up one of Natalie Goldberg’s books but was saddened to find they have none of her books in any of their branches.

reddish-orange on green

reddish-orange on green

One afternoon we entrusted Freedom to the company of our dog-walker for a few hours so that we could pay a visit to a friend of Lynda’s – Debbie. Deb andher husband were recently on the receiving end of an enormous inheritance and had decided to have their house knocked down and to re-build from scratch. Deb wanted us to swing by to see if we wanted to scavenge anything – windows, doors, kitchen cupboards, whatever. We came away empty handed but enjoyed the time out and company. Deb’s husband and I removed a few last large items to their storage shed. The following morning the crane did it’s work in just a couple of hours bringing the whole place to the ground. Scattered about the property were a variety of trees, most of which are fruit bearing. One that I can’t recall ever having seen before was a Mulberry – bushes or canes, yes; a tree, never. Here’s a shot of it’s truncated trunk:

mossy mulberry

mossy mulberry

NEWSFLASH – TV is a wasteland especially at this time of year. The one shining nugget I happened to catch was a documentary on CBC-TV’s ‘The Nature of Things’ regarding brain plasticity (it’s ability to be rehabilitated after trauma). For an article about it and a link to view the episode see here; LINK. It covers some fascinating stuff and left me wondering if some of the therapies might have applications in recovery from addiction.

One of the CD’s I borrowed is journeyman saxophonist David Sanborn’s latest “Here & Gone’ (2008) which features the music of Ray Charles and his saxophonist Hank Crawford – a mix of jazz, blues, gospel and R&B. I was thoroughly enjoying the album, the music, guest artists and production right up until the last track came on when I just about went through the roof. One of my fave blues tunes of all time – ‘I’ve Got News for You’ – wrapped up the disc. The first time I heard that track was back around ‘the year One’ (well, 1971) when it was performed by Edgar Winter’s White Trash band with the great Jerry LaCroix on lead vocals. Sanborn’s version features Sam Brown on vocals. Here is Ray Charles performing it on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1990.

Hearing that tune puts me way up here:

on high

on high