Where Did That Fifteen Years Go

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That is a short and very incomplete list of websites that the Vomit Comet is both older and slightly less popular than. I was going to make a MySpace joke here, but apparently it beat us online by a couple of months and is rumoured to still exist.

But yeah. Fifteen years. Not bad for a dumb little blog that most of the world wouldn’t miss were it to suddenly disappear tomorrow. Having said that though, thanks to everyone who would miss it. Whether you stop in every day, swing by once in a blue moon to see if we’re still alive or came around once, got mad about something and swore never to come back, we’re glad you’re here. All of you being here is the reason that we’re still here. That and we like the sound of our own voices, but whatever.

Thanks to everyone who has said nice things to me over the years that I really don’t deserve. Thanks to everyone who has said nice things to Carin over the years too. She does deserve them, because Carin is awesome. Thanks to everyone who wonders who the hell Matt is. He’s this guy, for the record. You should listen to his podcasts. They’re pretty good. They’re especially good because he doesn’t have to spell anything. Thanks to the people who send in jokes and stories and things. There are less of them these days because everything that used to go around by email goes around by Facebook now, but I appreciate the ones I do get even if I don’t use them all. And to the search engines that started obscuring all of the search queries, thanks for nothing, you tools. You killed “You Are Here?”, and I’m still not over it.

Here’s to another fifteen years, I hope.

Happy 29th Birthday, CBC Newsworld!

It’s hard to remember a time before CBC Newsworld, or CBC News Network as we know it now. For years it’s been the first place I turn when I hear about the sort of breaking news that gives me an urge to follow it nonstop, because it’s one of the very few television news outlets that doesn’t leave me feeling either totally gross or less informed than I was when I started.

But for a little while in the 1980s, it sometimes felt like it might not happen. Between carriage disputes, court challenges and mandated changes to how it had to operate, getting it up and running was anything but smooth sailing. But on July 31st, 1989, nearly two years after its license was granted, it finally did get up and running, and this is what it looked like.

Just try getting that bumper music out of your head, I dare you.

Here’s more from the CBC Archives.

When viewers first tuned in to CBC Newsworld on July 31, 1989, they saw a slew of technical hiccups. Satellites lost their signals, audio crackled in and out, and hosts clumsily stumbled through their first demanding day.
That applied only to those who could actually get the channel. Due to a disagreement with cable companies in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Quebec, Newsworld wasn’t universally available.

But, for the first time in this country, Canadians had their own dedicated 24-hour news channel. Designed for on-the-go viewers, Newsworld offered frequent news updates and magazine-style programming. The network had an exhilarating if imperfect debut, as shown in this local Halifax television report.

Newsworld debuted at 6 a.m. on Day 1 with a taped recording of the national anthem and prepared speeches by CBC president Pierre Juneau, CBC TV vice president Denis Harvey, information programming chief Trina McQueen and Newsworld chief Joan Donaldson.

CBC Newsworld’s first year of programming included a current events program titled Canada Live, the cross-country news program This Country, Newsworld Morning, Business World and Fashion File.

Happy Birthday, Canadian TV!

This week kind of sort of marks the 65th birthday of Canadian television. There were experimental broadcasts years before then and if you lived in the right place and had a big enough antenna you could pull in some American stations, but until September 6th, 1952, Canada had no actual broadcast television of its own.

It was on that day that CBFT, more commonly known as CBC Montreal, signed on. It was followed two days later by CBC Toronto A.K.A. CBLT. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

On September 6, 1952, CBC TV debuted in Montreal on CBFT. At 4 p.m., viewers tuned in and watched the movie Aladdin and his Lamp, followed by a cartoon, and then a French film, a news review and a bilingual variety show.
Two days later, CBC TV debuted in Toronto. Seconds before the cameras went live, a technician removed and cleaned the CBC logo slide. Producer Murray Chercover shouted at the technician, “Don’t do that!” and the rattled crew member placed the slide back in upside down as the network took to the airwaves. “I can’t remember what we did, or if we shot the poor guy responsible,” Norman Jewison, then a 25-year-old floor director, later recalled.

Say what you want about the CBC, but you’ll never convince me that Canada would be better off without it than it has been with it. You simply won’t find a more reliable, consistent source for news, sports, music and comedy in this country.

Happy 40th Birthday, Q107

I just learned something that blew my mind a little bit.

If you’re like me, knowing what you know about Toronto’s best rock Q107 which turned 40 years old yesterday, you would probably guess that the first song the station ever played would be something by Rush or the Who or Neil Young or the Stones or Zeppelin or Sabbath. But no. That honour goes to, of all things, “Hard Rock Town” by Murray McLauchlan.

I won’t bash the choice since it’s a decent song and it wound up being appropriate, but seriously, I could have sat here guessing songs all day long and not come up with that.

If you want to hear what things sounded like on May 22nd, 1977, Toronto Mike has some audio.

Man, station launches used to be a whole lot more understated than they’ve become today.

The Tanser Bear Birthday Bash!

It’s almost Tansy’s birthday. The beast turns 5 on Tuesday. Can you believe it? I can’t, and I know it to be a fact. Since I have missed all the other anniversaries this year, it’s time to have a giant Shmans chatter fest. Goddamnit, her life needs to be documented too, even if it has to come in giant inundations.

Poor Shmans has been dealing with my go-rounds with the captain, and I think they have left their mark. For one thing, for a while, she was not a fan of scooching into bathroom stalls. It was almost like she was afraid of the door. I can only theorize that in my haste to get the hell in there, get her in there, lock the door and get to business, I must have unintentionally had a few close calls where I almost got her stuck in the door. She’s good stuff, and still goes in there, but I had to be a little more conscious of where all our limbs and parts are when closing the door. The funny part about this is she doesn’t make nearly as much of a fuss about getting into cars, and she has good reason to fight that one. Strange beasty.

We have two more songs to add to the Tans goes nuts soundtrack. When she retires, I may have to make a CD of her favourite songs. We might have enough by then. Now it’s S.O.B.

and Unchained Melody.

I’m less sure about Unchained Melody, but I know S.O.B. does it consistently. I can’t figure out what makes a song good to her. I heard this song,

which to me sounds similar to S.O.B., but Shmans couldn’t care less.

This year has been quite the year of odd veterinary issues for the bear. You’d never know it, but she’s been making us scratch our heads for quite some time. For example, suddenly, in the winter, she lost a patch of hair on one of her back paws. My coworkers blamed it on the boots I put on those feet, but I would think she would have lost it on both paws if that was the case. The vets didn’t think so, but as a precaution, I used only Pawz on her for the rest of the winter. We have no idea why it disappeared, but it appears to be back.

Then, one day, I noticed her cyst that felt hard suddenly felt soft and fleshy. It reminded me of a zit that was ready to pop. I guess I was right, because the next day, while I was at work, it burst, and random ooze was coming out of it. Um, sorry for the graphic description.

Without thinking, I called the vet and told them what was up. Of course, their first question was “what colour is it?” A fine, sensible question…that I couldn’t answer. The first words out of my mouth were “I don’t think it’s blood…I sniffed the ooze and it didn’t smell like blood.” Wow, disgusting much?

There’s nothing like walking into a casual meeting and selecting a colleague that might be ok with answering a question as nasty as “Excuse me, what colour is this ooze coming out of my dog?” But that’s exactly what I did. Thankfully the answer was a good one, “yellowish whitish.” Ah, pus! I had it checked out in a couple days, but all was good.

But the weirdest issue we had was one that appeared a smidge before her cyst burst. One day, without provocation, she took off across the office like an out of control freight train. Shocked, I got her leashed up and I sat down to work. Not 5 minutes later, “Yee yee yee!” Realizing she might have to go fertilize the snowy lawn, we made for the exit…and when I say we made for the exit, I mean I think we nearly mowed down 8 people to get there. Sorry, folks. When we got out there, good lord the…output was no good, and not easy to pick up.

This didn’t stop, so I took her to the vet. They first gave her some antibiotics and treated it as a one-off, but as soon as the antibiotics wore off, we were back to the nasty poops again. We eventually figured out, after trying all sorts of antibiotics and probiotics, and running a whole, heh heh, butt-load of tests, that she had become allergic to lamb. Now that she’s switched to salmon, after a little delay while everything wore off, things are back to normal. I’m glad we didn’t have to resort to a prescription food.

It is here that I’d like to call myself a dumbass. Remember when I mentioned those treats that didn’t agree with her? Remember when I said I would scan bags of treats before putting them in the pouch in case they didn’t agree? Well I didn’t follow my own advice, and guess what? Treats from the latest bag I gave her set off anger within her. But because I was stupid and didn’t scan them, I’ll never know what was in them so I can figure it out. But I gave her those treats at the worst time…2 weeks after the last antibiotics were given. So I thought we were headed for another round of detective work in doggie doodoo land. But thankfully, after not feeding her any treats, miraculously, everything went back to normal.

To her credit, she had not a single accident. That could not have been easy for her. Tans, you rock.

Another small oddity I noticed since about April is her face is itchier. Before April, if she has to wear her gentle leader, when I take it off, she rubs her face. Now, she doesn’t even have to wear it for her to start grinding her face on things.

I’m happy that through all of this, she still has no grey hair. Trix had some grey at 3 years old. I haven’t heard one comment about Tans having any grey. I hope that means that the beast will stay young-looking even when she’s old. I’ll never know if Trix’s early greys had to do with stress, but it makes me wonder sometimes.

She’s had enough changes to make some hair turn grey. Between the constantly-changing bus stops due to construction, needing to change entrances because of rennovations around the building, and my desk changing locations, her little brain keeps getting work. The desk location change made some of my hair turn grey, that’s for sure. But before I mastered it, she had it figured out. This became clear one night when I went to get her food. In my old spot, I didn’t have to go far to the water cooler to put water on her food and then come back, so I’d just leave her on her mat. But I couldn’t do that here. Well, once we got the food all ready, Tans took a shortcut I didn’t understand…and, hey! We were back at my desk! That’s when I knew that she had it figured out. From time to time, colleagues said she looked frustrated when I didn’t know where to go and she did. Somebody described the look on her face as, “What in god’s name does this woman want?”

Why does this always happen to me? When we lived in Guelph, they replaced our telephone shower head, you know, convenient for bathing dogs, with a straight shower head. That made me have to find a groomer. I was lucky enough to find a place where I could bathe her myself for a reduced rate. When we moved here, we noticed we had a telephone shower, yea! Then, when our tub broke and they replaced the shower head, what did they do? Stuck a standard shower head in. We’re going to have to see if we can change it back, but in the event that we can’t, I am looking for options.

I never want to have to leave her at the groomers for hours, for so, so many reasons. There’s the obvious, my schedule isn’t full of flexibility…and I don’t relish walking around with my cane for hours just so the groomer can go “la-dee-da, taking my time grooming your dog.” But there are other less obvious ones. I’m pretty protective of her, since she’s more than just a pet…so leaving her in some rando’s care doesn’t really thrill me.

Tans got to do something Trix never did. We went to a Blue Jays game. Here’s a tip: If you’re going to take your guide dog to a Blue Jays game, make sure you request an accessible seat. Things are much more roomy, the chairs are movable, and the food folks actually ask you what you want, so you have a shot of getting some food during the game. Tans seemed to be relaxed, although I noticed her head swivelling around a lot.

I feel bad. Ever since the captain, I’ve been less good about taking Tans to the park. I’m going to try to do better this year. She deserves all the sniffy time we can give her.

Here’s another small brag I feel like documenting. One day when I thought our one relieving spot had melted enough to use, I discovered too late that I was wrong. There I was, teetering on a steep slope of ice. If I fell, I would land in the parking lot, and it was dark and I might not be seen. Tans let me edge forward, and dig my heels into the slushier bits of ice to give myself a bit of security. Then, and only then, did she jump off the curb and bring me with her. How she knew to do that, I’ll never know, but man was I proud of her.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned Lucky by name, but he was one of the dogs in this building. He would always walk next to Tans, never bug her, but definitely express that he was a fan of hers. I learned that he was 17, and wondered how long he would have. Well, before he made it to 18, he passed away. I never thought I’d miss some random fellow dog in the building, but I was sad to hear that he was gone.

I do have to say that most of the dog-owners in this building keep good control of their dogs. Man, does that make life better for us. I’ve had a few dogs growl and snarl at us, but no incidents like those in the Mylo days.

Before I wrap up this monster of a post, I have to mention a couple of Tans’s quirks. I have no idea why, but the act of doing laundry seems to stress Tans out. As soon as the cart comes out and gets filled with clothes, she starts chasing us around, being super excitable, and occasionally, leaping on one of us. I wonder, does it resemble packing in her little canine brain? Is it just that I’m zipping around more than usual, so she feels like she has to be vigilant? Whatever it is, it’s definitely a thing.

While we’re talking about her jumpiness, in the sense of being super alert, I’ve noticed that since we have a few loud neighbours and neighbours that just come by and knock on our door randomly, if one of us is not home, she’s a lot more keyed into noises outside the apartment door, and will run to the door at the slightest noise. It’s kind of cute…I just hope she’s not stressing out.

That’s about it for *this* post. I really hope you’re not bored. That was quite the Shmans deluge.

A Beastly Post

Brad sent this in. I’m so glad he did. I can’t really tell Trixie stories because I don’t see her every day. It’s so nice to have a few more, and this one has pics! Woo! So in honour of Trix’s recently-passed 11th birthday, here’s Brad. Oh, and here’s the post about the nail disaster.

It’s been quite a spell since you fine Vomiteers were blessed with any sort of Trixie update, and, before I fall asleep, I’m going to get this written, thereby rectifying the previously mentioned lacking of such a post.

The big black beast turned eleven last Saturday, the ninth of April. I have to admit that it went by relatively unobserved due to the fact that I had to work for upwards of ten hours, then go out of town to a friend’s buck and doe, however, tomorrow, or today depending on when this is posted, we are going to celebrate properly with a trip to Trix’s favourite two places, Global Pet Foods, and Dairee Delite.

I’m not sure if Carin mentioned Trix’s problem last Fall. Her nails started sort of chipping off, and were very soft and caused her some discomfort. It turns out she has something called Lupoid onychodystrophy, which is similar to Lupus in humans. It took some time, but we’ve got it under control now. The vet actually had to pull three of her worst nails out. They have since grown back and look pretty good. The treatment is fairly simple, a lot of fish oil, a supplement I was giving her anyway, as well as Vitamin E. She is completely back to normal now, hour walks and off-leash trail hikes and all.

Last Fall, right before the Nail disaster, Petsmart had dog beds on sale, and I got Trix two of the memory foam ones that are supposed to be good for older dogs. She absolutely loves the things. There’s one in my room where she generally sleeps at night, and one in the livingroom where she spends the day. There are pictures of her on the livingroom one near my fireplace.

Trix enjoying her new memory foam bed
Nobody can say Trix isn’t well-cared-for

There are also some pictures of her while we’re hiking. There’s one of her in a field of long grass roaming around,
Trix in long grass
Sniff sniff sniff…
as well as a couple of her charging up and down a hill in the snow. Trixie running down a hill from behind
Trixie running down a hill towards Brad.
Ooo this is so much fun…got any treats?

We actually got sort of lost early last Fall and wound up doing an almost seven hour hike. We left the house around twelve thirty, and didn’t make it back until after seven thirty. We both slept well that night.

I think that covers most of the Trixie adventures.
Happy belated birthday Trixie! Enjoy your ice cream and Global treats.

It’s Canada Day. How’d We Get Here?

Soundtrack time.

Yup, it’s Canada Day. Where is this year going? I hope people are finding fun things to do somewhere, just enjoying the day off. I’m probably going to be spending some time outside if the weather decides to be good. I’m just glad to be doing what I want to do.

Not a whole bunch is new, but that’s probably good. I did get to see the wee nephew a week and a half or so ago. He’s cute, and I think he’s thinking about teething…he sure loved trying to chew on our hands. He also thought the sight of Tansy running in the backyard with their wee little dog was hilarious. I love how babies giggle with everything they’ve got, and it doesn’t matter how many times they see the same thing, it’s just as funny.

It’s pretty official. I’m going to the guide dog reunion. I haven’t been to one of these things in 7 years, and I thought it would be a good idea to go on a little trip and make sure that I know how to handle all things post-captain in a setting that isn’t work-related, plus it would be fun to see some people. At least one of my Tansy classmates will be there. But lord it’s expensive. I nearly fell over when I paid for the flight. Oh well, at least I have a big amount of travel points to put towards it. And at least I’m sharing a room with other people, so that’ll help with costs.

I guess that’s about it for now. I hope everyone has a good one, and Trix doesn’t have another fireworks-induced meltdown. At least now, she has a relatively sound-proof basement where she can go take shelter.

Thanks for reading our stuff. I hope, over the next few days, to get a bunch of things up that I’ve wanted to post for a long long time. We’ll see what I can pull off.

Have a good Canada Day, everybody.

Believe It Or Not, Tansy Is Four Years Old.

I can hardly believe it, but Tansy, affectionately nicknamed “the bear”, turned 4 today. She’s 4. Woe. I would like time to slow down, please.

She’s still doing awesome, and I think we managed to knock off all the extra unwanted hound pounds. She looks good, and seems perfectly healthy. I don’t think I have been at the vet’s nearly as often as I had to be with the Trixter.

I have misplaced her favourite cuz ball…or maybe she misplaced it. I haven’t seen it for a week. I hope I find it again, I like watching her growl at it. I bought her a squeaky frog to replace it, and though she likes it, she doesn’t growl at it. And god can that thing make noise. I don’t know how it seems more irritating than the cuz, but good god. Squeaky squeaky squeaky squeeeeeak! Well at least she enjoys it.

This LRT construction, although it’s driving me nuts, doesn’t seem to phase tans. She doesn’t seem to mind that we have to go to another bus stop, or do other dumb things. Or maybe she just blows off more steam with her squeaky squeaky squeakies.

I’ve noticed another pattern she picked up on. When we pay for a meal, she knows the next step is usually getting up to go, so she springs up from calmly lying down. But what is it about paying that she always notices? The only thing I’ve figured out is usually, after we pay, with a debit or credit card, a receipt prints. So, she’s learned that when the receipt rips off, we usually get up and go. Good god she’s good at patterns.

I don’t really have that many other Tansy tidbits. She had a bit of a quiet birthday today, although she did get more tripe, even if I was afraid I would harf while trying to handle it. Yesterday we got a nice long walk in, too bad we both got supremely drenched. At least it ended with a trip to the pet store, new dog food, and that oh so enjoyable squeaky frog of hers.

Happy birthday Shmans the bear. I hope you roar through life and stay as full of happy craziness as you are now.