Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lots of snow in Moncton today!

The first winter storm of the year hit us hard today. Even the snowplows got stuck! These videos are courtesy of Newschaser's YouTube account.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Capitol One needs to hire better proofreaders!

I work in the public relations industry, and it's a nightmare when you produce something only to find a huge typo that forces you to either trash what you just printed or go to reprint.

I normally have an eagle eye for typos (and yes, I probably make typos in my blogs), but it's not often that I see such a huge error in an ad in a national magazine. The ad above appeared in the October 20, 2008, edition of Maclean's Magazine. If you can't see it right away, look at the second word of the second line below the devil.

(Click on the photo for a larger version.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You can't live without a few scuffs, scratches

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Editorial Page
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

There's a saying that goes something like this: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways -champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other - body thoroughly used up and totally worn out, screaming 'Woohoo! What a ride'!"

Now, I'm certainly no daredevil by any means, but it's a philosophy that I try to follow whenever my reserve of courage is topped up. When not applying it to my own personal life, I at least try to apply it to the things I own.

For instance, I'm currently in the market for a few pieces of new furniture. Just recently, I purchased one of my planned acquisitions -- a new dining room set. Nothing fancy, but very nice at great quality and an affordable price.

Buying new furniture can be stressful. First, it's usually something quite expensive, not to mention something that you'll have to live with seeing every day for the next several years. I went on a furniture buying spree in 1988 when I was setting up my first solo apartment. It was practical and on the low-end of the quality scale, but still nothing to sneeze at.

The dining room set lasted about 14 years. One leg had fallen off the table while the metallic chairs had become scratched beyond repair. The sofa and loveseat only got discarded a couple of years ago, at the same time as my mattress. They had served me well, but it was long past the time to let them go.

Disgustingly comfortable, the sofa set was broken beyond repair. The springs were busted. The fabric was so dirty that you could have grown a crop of wheat in the dirt between its fibres, and large holes had started to appear. The mattress, for its part, was saggy in the middle, full of holes, and had wires sticking out of it due to many broken springs. Whenever I turned over in bed, I would scratch myself.

For sure, I got my money's worth out of that furniture. Most of it lasted for the better part of 20 years and several moves. No matter how often I moved, my "stuff" was always with me.

Eventually, however, all good things must come to an end. The dining room set was replaced by a hand-me-down set from my mother. This served me well until last week, when I decided that it was high time to once again invest in some new stuff of my own. I'm pleased to say that it's getting rave reviews from those who've seen it, and I couldn't be happier.

The sofa, loveseat and mattress were also replaced about two years ago -- both at the same time. This time, I focused on quality - something that would last and be fashionable. No flowery patterns. No weird colours. Just good and solid.

If you've purchased a bed lately, you'll know that you practically need a ladder to get into the new ones. I'm surprised the obituary section isn't filled with poor souls who kicked the bucket after falling off of these new super-high mattresses. It took me a week to sleep properly. It was like sleeping on the top bunk of a bunk bed without a railing. One innocent turn in the night you'd end up on the floor.

My point - if you remember the saying at the beginning of the column - is that getting new furniture is like buying a new car. It stresses you out before you finally get that first little ding. Then you can relax. And when you have pets, the first "ding" in the furniture comes mighty quickly.

The minute the new dining room arrived, I sprayed it with a can of "pet repellent" that I bought. It was supposed to have my pets running for the hills. My cats being who they are, of course, scoffed at the repellent and interpreted it as "Please adopt me as your new bed and play area."

My cat Casey sniffed the repellent and rolled around on the chair like it was catnip. Cindy, the other cat, immediately adopted the dining room chairs. So much for keeping the cat hair off them, eh?

Some people suggested that I get rid of the cats to preserve the furniture. Huh? No way. My furniture is just stuff. Pets, however, are part of the family. I would never deprive myself of the pleasure of having pets just because of some hair and a scratch or two on my stuff. My furniture isn't surgical equipment. It's furniture. The cats may cause a bit of damage, but I'm lucky in that it's minimal and there are lots of other less drastic remedies to fix that sort of problem.

A house is meant to be lived in. I know people who practically tip-toe around their own house because they're afraid to scratch the floors. The furniture is covered in plastic to preserve it like a work of art by a long-dead painter.

Hogwash, I say!

Live your life. Walk on the floors with your dirty shoes! Let the dog sleep on the sofa! Life isn't meant to be lived without a scuff or scratch... and your furniture should be there for you to use and enjoy, not protect like a diamond.

When I get to heaven, I hope I'll have a few scuffs and scratches on me, too. You can't say you have truly lived if you arrive looking like a new car.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about the stress of buying new furniture. It's just "stuff", but why do we treat it like gold? We try to keep our pets off of it, and cover it up to ensure it doesn't get dirty. I say "Hogwash!" to all of that. Let's start living on it and using it for what it was meant to be used for. We weren't meant to live life in a bubble, and our furniture isn't meant to be treated like surgical equipment. The same can be said of our own lives.

Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of Wednesday's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted here on Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Celebrity deaths for November 17th

Good Times' star Esther Rolle died 10 years ago today in 1998. She was 78.

Country singer Don Gibson died five years ago today in 2003. He was 75.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Honey, the neighbours have the biggest freakin' dog I've ever seen!"

October 28, 2007, in the Kingswood Park area of Moncton.