Proper use of the word "eh"

Eh is a great little word. It's properly used thusly:

"That was a great show, eh?"
"Buddy looks pretty drunk, eh?"
"You had to count all those tootpicks again, eh?"

To emphasize the statement made, to request confirmation, to add a humourous twist to a statement that might be taken as too serious.

Makes more sense now, eh?

A perfect Day in Halifax

Start your day on the Halifax waterfront at Two if By Sea Cafe. Get a fancy coffee and a croissant. This will have enough calories in it to take you through the entire day, however it will be delicious enough that you won't care. If you have a friend to share with even better

Walk up Duke street, cross Hollis and take a left on Granville. There's an antique store there on the corner. Have a little browse.

Continue along Granville street until you hit George street. Take a right onto George and go up one block, take a right on Barrington street. Stroll along Barrington, perhaps purchase some candy in Freak Lunchbox or buy an interesting thing at Oddjects. There's lots of great shops along Barrington so take your time, look in some windows.

Continue along the water side of the street until you hit Sackville then cross the street. Since you're on vacation, you might be ready for a drink. Pop into Obladee Wine Bar for a nice glass of shiraz. Once you're nicely lubricated, stroll into the super friendly sex shop next door - Venus Envy

When you're finished in there, pop around the corner and head up Sackville street to Strange Adventures comic shop. I have a crush on everyone that works there. 

Head back down the hill and turn right onto Argyle Street. 
You are tired and hungry now and it's time for lunch.  Rest your weary legs at Dharma Sushi. **
  **If you don't like sushi and are interested in donairs, keep going, turn right and skip ahead to Pizza corner. **

Have a delicious lunch special but don't drink too much tea, because when you are finished you will be strolling over to World Tea House for a delicious to-go bevy. It involves backtracking but only by half a block. Turn left when you leave Dharma and go back the way you came. Go  into World Tea House and say hi to Phil for me. 

Take your London Fog and walk back toward Dharma. You will hit a dead end, affectionately known as Blowers Street. Pop into Blowers Street Paperchase for a magazine. when leaving the store, turn right and head down the hill. You're taking another slight detour that is absolutely worth it because it's a tiny detour and you're about to enter one of the most unique stores in Halifax, J&R Grimsmo. cross Barrington Street and turn right. J&R is in a beautiful old building that used to house the Freemasons, so it's haunted as f.  

When you leave you're going to retrace your steps to Blowers Street Paperchase, so cross the road, turn left to go up the hill and take a deep breath before you enter Pretty Things Boutique. Take your time in here because there is an awful lot to look at (including the unfairly pretty girls that work there)

When you finally leave Pretty Things, turn up the hill and pause for a moment at the intersection. Look around. You are now on the infamous Halifax Pizza Corner. Is someone getting stabbed? Are there lots of drunk people? Don't worry, that's normal here. Scoot on through (or eat a donair if you want one, but avoid the slices unless you are fucking hammered)

Turn Left onto Grafton Street. On your left is a colourful store front. Pop into Mary Jane's smoke shop if you need a bong or something, 

then go next door to The Black Market for some colourful jewelry or incense. This is my favorite storefront in Halifax. So pretty. 

Cross the street and keep right. You're going to cut in front of the library now, that's what everyone does. If you skipped sushi and donairs, you might want to eat some chips out of the chip truck here. Bud the Spud has the best fries in town. Yum. You can eat them while listening to one of the many buskers that cluster around this area. 

If you drink as much coffee as I do you're going to need one to keep going. Take a right on Brunswick and cross the street. Steve-O-Renos has some seriously delicious coffee.  When you leave the store turn back the way you came. Pop into Folklore music store. Buy a harmonica. (you can use it later to busk in front of the library.) 

turn right onto Doyle street and walk half a block until you hit Queen street. There is a cluster of great second hand stores here, pop into every single one but make sure you hit Elsie's.

If you go back down Queen Street you'll hit Spring Garden Road. This is Halifax's shopping centre. If you're into that sort of thing, go nuts. Then you'll probably be tired and have to go back to your hotel for a while. If you're not into that sort of thing, continue along Spring Garden looking at the punks and juggalos until you hit the Public Gardens. Sit in there a while, contemplating life. If you still have the energy then we're going to the North End. 

There are two stores in Halifax that you should absolutely visit. If we're going to keep walking, then drop your packages off before you head off this way. It's a bit of a jaunt but do-able and totally worth it. 

Keep going down Spring Garden road but turn right onto South Park Street - The Public Gardens will be on your left. You can cut through there if you want a scenic route. Follow it until it turns into Bell Road - along past CBC, past the Bengal Lancers. Turn right onto Trollope street. Citadel Hill is on your right. Keep left onto North park Street and continue along with the Commons on your left. This is a great place to play baseball, go skating on the oval, or get swarmed at night on your way home from the bar. 

Now you're about to hit Agricola street. There's lots of interesting things on this street but our main goal is to get to Lost & Found on the right. When you leave here, stroll along Agricola street and take your time. COntinue along Agricola past the LC and then turn right on Cunard Street. Keep going until you hit Gottingen and then turn right. If you need a coffee or a snack, pop into Halifax Backpackers - it's a hostel too so if you're super tired you can probably just sleep here. 

Cross the street and go into Plan B. This is a wicked place that is full of various vendors - from tattoos to antiques there's something for everyone. 

Now you are finished. Take a taxi home because you are tired. The buses are probably still on strike.

If you are like me, you are sick to death of shopping. Now it's time to have a rest and then go out to a bar or something. Maybe tomorrow you would rather go to an art gallery or visit a museum. I'm going to make a different blog about that kind of thing. 

Here's a map of Halifax.

The Beautiful Muse

I'm lucky to have a family full of artistically talented people.  This means that I have a bunch of beagle art. Keep in mind that we've had Sam for 10 years and Frank for    just one, so the ratio of Sam to Frank art is 10:1

This is a drawing that Zoë, my sister, did for me a few years ago. I have it next to my bed so I can gaze at Sam on the wall and then glance down and gaze at him next to me. 

 Zoë did this one as well. It was a birthday present that made me cry. 

Actually, Zoë did this one too..... it's the first Sam painting she ever did.

 My cousin Maria made this little guy. She said "You know, one of those popsicle stick guys" and I had no idea what she was talking about. I was blown away by this little paper Sam.

I did this pencil drawing of Sam. Once my friend Jason said to me "I have no doubt that you know every hair on his body off by heart" I do, but I'm not the best at drawing.

When we got Frank, Zoë promptly painted this for us for Christmas so Frank wouldn't feel left out. 

 It's hard to show you how awesome these little guys are. Molly made them out of felt. They have solid little bodies and they are really nice to hold
                                             Frankie really wants to eat them so I have to keep them up high.                       

I like to hold them in my hands.

Rich or Poor?

I grew up in Purcells Cove. It was great place to spend my childhood. just far enough outside the city that there are woods to build forts in, trees to climb, frog ponds to swim on in every community, lakes for swimming and a bus route to take you into the heart of Halifax when you get tired of all of those things.

I loved it.

25 years ago, Purcells Cove had pockets of poorly built low rent cottages converted to year round for single moms, small neighbourhoods full of middle class housing, trailers and shacks and a few mansions. Gradually communities full of these larger, upper middle class mini mansions started to appear. The first one that I remember was named Pine Bluff. It even had a gate at the front, although I never saw it closed.

I didn't realize it until much later, but most of the houses in my neighbourhood were kinda small and dumpy. There was one family that had a large ritzy house with a hot tub, string art and a polar bear rug, but the rest of us had pretty modest homes. Compared to most of our houses, the houses in Pine Bluff seemed enormous. They were on the lake front and most homes had sailboats moored to the dock in back of their home. Every family had 2 cars and clotheslines were banned. Most of the pets in the houses were poodles or golden retrievers. As far as I know there were no wild packs of cats roaming around at night.

The kids I went to jr high with were a diverse bunch. There were a lot of children from very poor families.

One of the girls I went to school with was pretty popular. She was preppy  back when preppy was one of a few things you could be. In my school you could be preppy and or a jock, metal, or a weirdo/nerd. You could either like rap or metal but not both. I didn't fit in anywhere except the weirdo category.

Anyways, this girl lived in one of the huge houses. Her dad had a porshe and was a lawyer. her mom stayed at home and was an aerobics instructor. Both of her parents were super good looking. They had a dog, a golden retriever I think. In their basement there was a pool table and some pinball machines that looked out onto the hot tub that was in a glass room off the deck that led down to the dock that you could jump off and swim to their sailboat. You get it. There was a bathroom that joined the girls bedrooms.

This girl was nice, I guess she was sort of my friend. She would have parties in the 'rec room' and people would drink punch and play pool. She was really competitive about grades and sports.

The thing I'm building up to here is that she always used to say something that has stuck in my head for more than 20 years now. Whenever people would come to her house she would say, apologetically "I'm not rich"

It was like she was defending herself, like to be rich was a wonderful and terrible thing that her family had not yet reached. I'm not rich.

She would say this to kids in our class that lived in two room houses full of ferrets and dogs, with trashed cars out back and bunk beds in a room shared by three kids. She would say this to kids that had mothers in their 20's that were struggling by working at the gas station and wearing hand me down threadbare clothes. She would protest her wealth to kids who had dads that were drunk and sometimes sold their friends drugs. She would say this to kids who had their heat turned off and empty refrigerators.

It has always seemed to me that by repeating "I'm not rich" that she was emphasizing her wealth to us. In comparison to most of the kids in the class - and most of the people I pal around with now, actually - she had it made in the shade.

I have thought about this off and on for most of my life. It's a good trick to know if you want to tell people you are something - just protest that you aren't before they even ask. I don't think she was even doing it on purpose, but it seemed really mean spirited. That's all.

Beagles Road trip

 The Beagles and I are on a road trip. They don't mind the car - especially since I made the backseat into a huge friggin nest for them. My car is a piece of shit but I love it - the only thing that kind of sucks is that it doesn't have air conditioning and I am used to driving a huge minivan with satellite radio and AC and removable seats that would have been SO DOPE to drive to Ontario in.

I hate that drive. There is no way in hell I ever would have done it but my good pal John Davies wanted to go to Toronto and he was down with taking 3 days to drive, so it was better than going alone. I wanted to come up here with the beagles and I will never put them on a plane. Too many dogs get lost and hurt. I think Frank would be fine because she doesn't give a fuck about anything but Sam would be scared - actually, scratch that she'd be scared too. I don't think dogs should fly.

SOooooo what am I going on about here.. no idea what the point of this post is. No cohesive story.

We left really late in the day for a long drive - I picked Davies up after noon - and went to visit my darling friend in NB whose house just fucking burned down. Ate sushi and got drunk in the hotel room.

There are a million Monarch butterflies in Burlington.

A Snarling Beast

Did I ever show you my brothers chihuahua? His name is Spike. Geoff was driving home one day and saw a commotion in the street. He hopped out of his car to find a bunch of people madly dashing around trying to catch a tiny dog that was darting in and out of traffic. Any time someone got near the dog he would bite the shit of of them and they would drop him. No one knew where the dog had come from.

Geoff strode into traffic, reached down and grabbed the small dog with one hand (I call him Clamps cause he has big hands) ignored the biting frenzy, stuck the dog in his coat and said "FInders Keepers" and drove off.

Now he lives with Geoff and Robyn. They tried to figure out where he came from but no one ever claimed him. He's so friggin small you can't even believe he's a dog. he likes to sleep on top of their other dog, Nellie - a large pit bull. If you knew my brother you would think it was typical Geoff to find a tiny dog and name him Spike to help his self esteem. He is a rescuer of beasts.

Sam Song

My friend Sarah Hutka and I made this song up about Sam once when we were drunk

Click this link to listen:

Sam Song