Monday, December 31, 2007

A snow shovel’s best friend…

I know we’ve mentioned this before but just to remind everyone that the best helper you can get with the heavy snow shoveling is good old Watkins Cooking Spray.

Yup, all you have to do is put a good thick coating on your shovel and that miserable old wet snow will not stick. Why lift all that weight over and over again if you don’t have to, right?

Oh yeah, it also works great at coating frying pans and I think it tastes a lot better than that other stuff anyway. Of course, since it’s a Watkins product you can use a lot less of it and it works out much cheaper than those other brands because you can get about 1,600 servings per 397g can. That's a lot of pancakes!

PS: It will also work great on your satellite dish. The snow just keeps sliding off so no more getting up there with the broom after a big storm.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Boredom Tyler, Boredom...

That is what’s wrong with the world according to “Rosie” the Beaver flying bush pilot in one of my favorite movies, Never Cry Wolf. The story takes place somewhere in the western arctic and is filmed with a fantastic cast of Brian Dennehy, Charles Martin Smith and some really great actors from the north, Zachary Ittimangnaw as Ootek and Samson Jorah as Mike. In the movie Smith has been sent north to prove that wolves are responsible for the dwindling caribou herds and of course proves that theory wrong, as most southern hypothesis are. There is nothing quite as silly as some brand spanking new MBA trying to tell an old Inuk that the thousands of years of stories and history passed down from generation to generation together with what he has seen and learned for himself during a lifetime of living on the land is all wrong.

Wolves do take their fair share of caribou of course but these are mainly the old and sick or the very young that have become separated from the rest of their group. There is safety in numbers within the caribou as well as human societies.

Back to boredom... Personally I like boredom, it forces the brain to think and develop along a number of different lines and at least keeps mine active, even if it's only in a complaining state. I love being bored out on my deck just watching the world go by and wondering what the trees are thinking. What sites have they seen, what did they think of that deer that stopped by to rub it’s antlers on the rough bark this morning and what do they think of the woodpeckers that rat-a-tat-tat on their sides searching for insects. Are the trees grateful for this intrusion because the birds get rid of parasites or is it only an itch that they are unable to scratch. Strange thoughts, eh?

How about that wave that just hit shore on the beach? How far did it come, how do wave dynamics work anyway, did it travel here from Killarney or perhaps all the way from Christian Island or even Collingwood? What would it think of the artificial waves created at Wet and Wild in Wasaga that we have visited so often and hope to get back to with the grandson next summer?

That eagle that just went over… does it know that It is a sacred symbol or is it just cruising and wondering if it will get to eat today or not. Hmmm… “The Northern Lights have seen queer sights but the queerest they ever did see, was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.” You certainly can’t fault those strange thoughts by one of my favorite poets, Robert Service who no doubt had more than his share of boredom during a lifetime in the north.

What is that youngster thinking while rolling those cars about the room and parking them in the new garage that appeared under the tree last week? Does he realize he is building motor skills and taking early driver training or is he just having fun? Is he perhaps thinking up new ways to sneak up on me and go BOOP! while poking a finger on my leg or butt, a trick that I sometimes wish I had never taught him.

Ahhh… the ultimate sign of boredom… writing silly blog entries in the middle of the night. Working my brain cells or just destroying them from lack of sleep… I don’t know, but at least I’m not bored. Good night all!

(This was typed up after I finished shoveling snow at 3:45am this morning. I came in after 2 hours of clearing white stuff, took a shower, poured myself a glass of the good sherry and worked on this while waiting for sleep to kick in. Guess I'd better get a life, eh?)


Well I’ve sort of neglected the old blog lately but it’s just an all round nasty time of the year for me and I try to stay away from everything and everybody if I can. Sorry people, but I just can’t get into all these “festivities” and don’t understand them… never have and never will. Maybe it’s just an excuse but I think it’s got something to do with too many years in retail stores where you’re working 14 hours a day (most often seven days a week) for about a month leading up to the chimney creeper arriving. After you put up with all the crap (“I want to charge $1,000.00 even though I know I’m 10 months overdue on my account and haven’t paid a penny since June but it’s Christmas and you have to let me charge and don’t you care about my babies you prick?!”) for 30 or so years you just don’t even want to hear the word Christmas or anything related to it anymore. I know the family thinks I’m nuts and I probably am, but by the time I’m certifiable I won’t know what’s going on anyway so I’m not going to let it worry me.

Anyway, what’s new with you? I got the laptop back with its new hard drive a couple weeks ago and have been busy putting all my files back in. I think I mentioned that I couldn’t restore some of them from backups for some reason or other but that’s not a problem except for a couple of them… and those are things that are for the most part in my mind anyway. I’m thinking of some photos that had not been uploaded to Flickr and my collection of quotes that I had been building up for years but oh well, as I said these are things that live on in memory if not in bits and bytes. I actually don’t really mind having to input it all again as it’s been an opportunity to organize things a little differently. I had wanted to do it before but it just seemed like too much work to move it all around. Somehow it’s easier just to start from scratch, just like after a big yard sale, eh?

I’m keeping busy being at war with the Blue Jays and Squirrels who are just too greedy for my liking and don’t let the smaller birds eat in peace. I’ve also become hooked on “Puzzlebee” on Facebook and just HAVE to make a run at the daily jigsaw with my morning coffee. I also try to keep the brain active by doing an “easy”, “medium” and sometimes a “hard” Sudoku and after that there is a little addiction called “Drift ‘n’ Burn 365" at Shockwave that I have to earn my daily car at. Other than that and doing a little recruiting for my Watkins business it’s been a lazy month off. I don’t suppose it will last too much longer though as I expect an email any time now with a request to hit the road again for Northern.

That’s if for now, time for a nap.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All I can say is WOW!!!!

Have we got a deal for YOU!

Steve Bretzke, who is the head of the group of Independent Watkins Associates that I belong to, has just announced a special promotion for new associates who sign up between December 18th and 28th, 2007. Steve himself will send you a $60.00 Watkins Gift Certificate upon confirmation of your signup! We just have to let him know by January 5th, 2008 and I will help you with that. On top of his incentive I still have my own standing offer of a $20.00 Watkins Gift Certificate for new associates signing up at any time of the year.

So go to right away to get registered (no sign-up obligation of any kind at this point) and I’ll get some more information on the way to you. Drop me an email at or post a comment to this blog if you prefer, but either way there is no obligation, only opportunity. Our smallest starter kit is only $69.99 plus taxes and shipping and after you take into consideration the $80.00 that Steve and I are offering you how can you lose? I can even send you information on how to save the $69.99 if you want! Again... WOW!

PLUS! I can’t give any details on the following but… there will be a huge announcement coming from Watkins and The Summit Group within the next few weeks that is almost guaranteed to increase and quite possibly even double or more the amount of business and money that many Independent Watkins Associates are earning now. It will greatly benefit you as a new associate also. Can I send you information on this as soon as I can release it?

PS: Many of you have asked me how much money can be made by becoming an Independent Associate for Watkins and a member of The Summit Group operating your own home business… well, what if I told you that I know of people that are earning well into a six figure annual income? Am I making that much yet? Hah, no way… but I may be some day and YOU could be too. ASK ME HOW!

Progressing slowly...

This is Day 4 of reinstalling programs and files to my laptop after having to get a new hard drive put in. I have a number of programs that I feel are essential and these include a good virus checker like McAfee (which gets installed first) with “SiteAdvisor”, SpoofStick, and
OpenOffice. The latter is a full suite of programs that practically duplicate all the Microsoft Office products such as Excel, Word, Power Point and all the others.

The best part of OpenOffice is that it is all free! You are encouraged to make a donation but it is not required and you are free to use it for as long as you want and even get all the updates as they come out also. Not a bad deal at all I think.

I’ve got a number of other favorites such as LimeWire, Boinc/Seti, Flickr Uploader, and also my regular utilities such as the software for my Palm Pilot, a good spyware and malware program, a registry checker/cleaner and of course a very few games that I play semi-regularly.

These would be Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Diablo, SimGolf and Railway Tycoon. Lately I’ve become addicted to Puzzlebee on Facebook and Drift ‘n Burn on Shockwave but those don’t have to be installed.

My real loss is some of my files as I have absolutely no idea why I can’t restore them from my backup CD’s. I can easily rebuild my Watkins files, I have paper copies of most of my web page business files and most of the photos I wanted to keep are already uploaded to Flickr. One big loss is my collection of quotes that I had been building up for years. I had close to 70 text pages of the ones I considered special or profound and although I will eventually remember most of them I’m sure there will be a few that are gone forever. I even had my epitaph in there!

I was going to look into one of those online backup services but I see that for the next 2 days Dell has a 320gig USB hard drive on sale for only $99.99 so I’m tempted to go ahead and order that. It would hold all the backups for desktop and the three laptops that are kicking around the house. We’ll study on that possibility today and decide about it tonight or tomorrow.

Anyway, back to work…

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I see that several other people have had computer problems over the past week. LifeOnManitoulin and a couple others that I have heard about had their modems blow, and the hard drive on my laptop went. As near as I can figure this all occurred at about the same time. The repairman working on my laptop figures that it was a brownout because of the nature of the hard drive problem and tells me that he does a very good business because of these occurrences on Manitoulin Island.

This is the second time I’ve had this problem in the past three years and since I didn’t invest in a better quality surge suppressor / drop-off protector the last time I guess I’d better do so now. At least I’m lucky to have the old desktop to use but it’s just so miserable to work with after my little Dell that I’m anxiously awaiting the return of the latter next Tuesday with a brand new 120gig drive installed.

By the way, a couple experts I know have always insisted that all hard drives eventually fail. It's just fact of life so if you're not regularly backing up any important data you'd better start. Three sets, grandfather-father-son, is the old standard rule. Wish I'd followed it a little bit better myself as I've lost about a months worth of data. :-(

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Manitoulin Celebrities…

I feel as if I met Manitoulin movie stars this morning. I was making a delivery to lifeonmanitoulin and upon arrival was immediately greeted by “Chance” and shortly after caught glimpses of “Fred & George.”

I’ve been reading so much about these characters over the past months that I felt that I knew them but had never had the pleasure of meeting them before. Their lives have been so well documented that they are almost celebrities and we could almost consider them as animal ambassadors for the island, although I guess we’d have to give that distinction to our deer population. Hope to see you guys again soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Arrogant Worms

I've just added a link under my "Favorite Sites" for The Arrogant Worms. For anyone who is not familiar with this group they are a fantastic trio who play a great selection of what you might call folk music with a twist. They have such classics as "We Are The Beaver," "Me Like Hockey," "Canada is Really Big," and my personal favorite "The Mounted Animal Nature Trail."

The Mounted Animal Nature Trail is of course about our own Manitoulin Island Gordon's Park located on Highway 6 in Tehkummah. The group stayed there a few years back and enjoyed themselves so much they wrote a song about it. If you haven't heard it you've got to do some research and pick up either their C'est Cheese or Live Bait CD's or their DVD, Three Worms and An Orchestra I've never been able to find any of their work in stores it's all available from their web site.

What do you say gang, they've helped make Manitoulin famous. Shouldn't we invite them back for another visit?

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I was just contemplating the events of 24 years ago today. I remember feeling a pat on the backside about 4:00 am and this voice saying, “It’s time”. Having been camped out in Moose Factory in a borrowed apartment for the past couple weeks I knew exactly what those words meant. I was about to witness my first being born.

We were living in Moosonee then but the hospital was in Moose Factory and it was freeze-up time which meant all kinds of transportation headaches so we went over to the island early to wait.

Della, a good friend of ours worked and lived right next door to the hospital and she was nice enough to offer us a spare room in her apartment for the duration of the wait. Anyway, Gloria called across the road to let them know we were on the way and we headed out the door.

It was freezing rain that night and we could see the nurses watching nervously out the third floor windows as we took tiny and unsteady steps across the road and down the walkway to the emergency room doors where we were met by an orderly with a wheelchair.

I think I needed it more than Gloria by that time but they made me walk anyway while she was wheeled up the ramp to her room.

The next couple hours are a little foggy in my memory but all I remember for sure is the doctor making a football catch of this little purple bundle that was squirming and healthy.

Sandra turned 24 today but that’s not possible… it couldn’t have been that long ago, could it?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Well it used to work...

Sorry, but I didn't notice that the link to the Our Manitoulin! photos at Flickr wasn't working anymore. I've got it fixed now, I think. There is lots of space on my Flickr site and I can open up a "group" on there for you if you want. Just let me know, and if anyone has photos on there now that you would like me to remove just say the word.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Dear Blogger:

I don’t know how much trouble I’ll get into over this but some “truisms” occur to me occasionally. There are 3 males (myself, son, grandson) and 2 females (wife, daughter) making up our household at this time. When I take a shower I notice that I have my shampoo (Watkins, of course) the one my son prefers plus another milder one for the young grandson. This makes 3 bottles on the edge of the tub. However… if I count the total number of assorted shampoos, conditioners and who knows what scattered about the area the total comes to 19 at this time. I’ve spent many hours sitting on the deck attempting to understand all the exotic needs and requirements of the female of the species but my male brain just can’t fathom what circumstances could require the 16 remaining types and brands. Hmmm…

As an additional observation, and keeping in mind that the grand total of 5 people living in the house still stands, I note that there are exactly 11 toothbrushes. Hmmm…

I won’t get into the number of different tubes of creams and whatnot scattered around the room but they are many in number. If any male out there could enlighten me I would most appreciate it, or perhaps silence is the wiser course to take?

Yours truly,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Waiting for the Snowflake...

Saturday, December 1, 2007
Mindemoya Community Centre
10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Great Xmas gift ideas! / Samples! / Free draw!

We’ll be looking for you!

Another new one...

Another first for our feeder today was the arrival of a pair of Pine Grosbeaks. My photo didn't turn out very well so I went to Wikipedia and VIREO to find a better one. Turns out that this is considered a "threatened" species and it's the first time I've seen these birds anywhere.

My Evening Grosbeak problem seems to have moved on, one way or another. I saw our friendly neighbourhood cat trotting across the lawn with one in his mouth yesterday.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New sightings...

A few new birds have moved into the area since I’ve been away...

I know they’ve always been around the island but the Grosbeaks don’t very often show up at the house and this is the first time we’ve had Cardinals around the feeder. The latter can stay but the Grosbeaks and Blue Jays can flock off… they’re just too greedy. Anyone have some ideas on how I can keep the cardinals coming back?
I also have to find a way to keep the cats away as I’ve seen them a couple them with mouths full of feathers. I normally like cats but ever since my episode with "Gizmo" a few months back I don't get friendly with them at all. It's seems to be a waste of time and nothing that a nice pit bull wouldn't fix I suppose.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 27... it's coming!

Well we’re on the way home. It’s been a good trip all around except for problems mentioned previously and for the most part they had workable fixes. There was snow on the ground this morning but the sky was mostly clear. Beware Manitoulin, the white stuff is on the way!

It's just me, I guess...

I've decided that I have a problem. I go to work on time, I stay the hours I'm expected to (and usually several more), I do the best I am able to while I'm there, and even after I do go home I think and worry about little things that happened or what I didn't get completed that day. I do this a minimum of 6 days a week.

Apparently there is something wrong with me as many of the people I work with seem to truly believe it is OK to wander in a half hour or more late, work for 10 minutes, take a half hour break, work for an hour, take an hour and a half or more for lunch and then pepper the afternoon with 6 or 7 smoke breaks in between serving the customers that pay all our salaries.

I should also mention that it is apparently perfectly all right to step on bags of potato chips and other items that have fallen on the floor. It seems that instead of picking things up it is better to just kick them aside. Hmmm... I know what I'd like to kick, and not in the side either.

If anyone out there can direct me to a physician who can cure me of my serious problem of having a conscience, loyalty with a touch of dedication thrown in I would be most grateful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 21, 2007...

We’re coming down to the end of another one here in Weagamow Lake. This is Day 27 of this trip and I’m due to head back home on the 27th via Muskrat Dam, Sachigo Lake, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Sudbury. It’s been a quiet little trip compared to some and it’s a great setting with the house and store semi-hiding among the trees. We’re located right on the shore with a sand beach and a great view of sunsets in the west when the weather is clear. There have been a few flakes of snow in the air during the past week in between the rain showers and it’s forecast again for Monday and Tuesday. I hope it’s enough to make people think of winter because I’ve got 4 snowmobiles sitting outside just waiting for customers to get the urge.

Store problems have been limited to people not showing up on time, or at all. Just par for the course and I’ve had to hire and fire two since I’ve been here. I’ve got another new hire now who started Friday and seems to be working out well. Saturday was a busy day with the child tax cheques hitting hard and she handled customers well while keeping her cash balanced nicely. I may add one more this week to help out with the grocery side as the grocery manager, will be taking a few days off to go hunting. Haven’t seen any geese or eagles around, just a few ravens and a little dog that comes begging around the door when I come home at night. He’s a friendly little beast and I’ve been giving him a few scraps as he lets me know when someone is around at night. No problems with anything like that yet though, just the opposite of my last location where I just about went a full month with only a few hours sleep at night.

So here are a couple photos of the location and there are more posted on my Flickr site. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Silence of the dawn...

Up at 6:00 today as I knew that power would be going off for the day. It’s a planned outage by hydroOne and it was very nice of them to let us know it was coming so I could get up early to make sure we had some morning coffee.

I’m normally up by 7:00 at the latest as I find that I’m sleeping less and less the older I get. Dawn is the best time of day anyway. The night’s coolness is still with us, the air is clear and the world is new.

Right now the geese are on the beach just starting to exchange stories of last nights dreams, the crows are talking just for the sake of making noise, there are a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers tapping the trees awake and I’m on my second cup of coffee. You can’t buy this… nothing finer… I wonder what the poor people are doing?

(The above was written at dawn this morning but is being entered into this blog late in the evening. We went and spent the day in Sudbury while the power was off all over Manitoulin. Meet you for coffee on the beach tomorrow at dawn?)