Thursday, 29 March 2007

On Tuesday night the FabulousSavings crew went out for an evening of fun dedicated to the hard-work of we, the employees. As was the case with the Christmas Party, the Upstairs in Charge of FabulousSavings blew it out, delivering us first - by giant Limo/Bus - to Yamato, the Yorkville Japanese restaurant of choice, then to a performance of the 'smash-hit musical' We Will Rock You.

The show was fine - I only liked Queen for one afternoon about ten years ago - but the dinner was incredible. It was one of those joints where the seats encircle the cooking surface, and the guy slices everything up and grills it before your eyes. The beef was marshmallow-tender and the shrimps were the size of Red Lobster lobster-tails. There must have been something in the sauce, because I got taken on a trip by this cooking. I was giddy, delirious and in some kind of trance as we got to the end. Thanks FabulousSavings, and you're welcome.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Upset! Not since the 1919 Sanford Memorial Stakes, when 'Man O' War' lost to the horse that gave his name to coin the phrase, has there been a bigger one. Sunday night, March 25th, Blackbirds actually won a game. I suppose it wasn't really that big of an upset; we were playing the second last team, but being so long since we've tasted victory, it's sweeter than I remember. And I wasn't even on the field! Still serving the suspension, I acted as Offensive Coordinator - keeping track of time and ordering line changes. Is it coincidence that we happened to score more goals that in any other game in recent Blackbirds history? I think so! But roll on Balckbirds, San Paolo's up next...let's see if we can't repeat the magic.

In Wallace & Son Antiques News, 'The Lamp', as predicted, did better than some around our camp expected. Again, there was a last minute flurry of activity, and we more than quintupled our reserve price. Not bad.

Next up is a charming little piece of pottery from the mid-30s. This wee gem is a Crown Devon Musical Tankard, and I think it was probably a little suggestive back in its day. Rumour has it that there are two more somewhere in the Newmarket Antiques Mall for $15 a piece, and that Grammy Gallagher has one too. I expect that this will be the first item to come in under $100, but we shall see.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

The second eBay auction is complete, and was a bigger success than the first! Wallace & Son Antiques is an online-antique-auction-force to be reckoned with! The third item is now up for bids, and maybe I'm still flush from the excitment of the bidding war at the death of the tank auction, but I think this is going to surprise us.
It's a beautiful old lamp, and Wallace says it's from a yacht, while Son's taking a guess that it's a miner's lamp. In either case, my relative familiarity with the concept of 'keywords' and 'search engine optimization' means that the strange title of 'Brass Lamp - Yacht or Miners? Nautical or Safety?' means that anyone searching for 'brass lamp, yacht lamp, miners lamp, mine lamp, miner lamp, nautical lamp or safety lamp' will find it. I'm not surprised that at last check, 20 eBayers are watching this auction.


In Blackbirds news, my indiscretion last week resulted in a 3-game suspension. So I'm out until the last game of the regular season. I've never been suspended for games before, so this is strange territory. I'm still going down to be with the boys on game nights, but it'll be strange watching from the sidelines. This episode has taught me a valuable lesson: if you're going to be suspended for violent conduct, make sure the conduct is REALLY violent. Don't waste it on a little shove...throw some Karate Kid crap in there and make it worth everyone's while.

Monday, 12 March 2007

The worst part about my soccer game last night was somehow getting rug burn on each of the four main joints. The one on my right elbow is especially annoying. Craig asked me if getting the red card wasn't the worst part of the game, but chicks dig it when you're ejected for violent's like a black eye.


The second WallaceandSon Antique is available on eBay for you Louis Marx & Co. collectors. It has a couple of bids so far and looks like it might perform as hoped. It's a wind-up toy tank from WWI. At least the tank is a WWI tank, I think the toy is from the 30s. I can't even imagine how scary it would be to see one of these things coming over the field and you in your little trench with a peashooter. Terrifying! But this little guy is a nice toy and would make a great Easter gift.

On the left is a picture of the real deal, rolling over a trench and possibly some poor Germans. On the right is the Jawa Sandcrawler, which bears more than a passing resemblance.

The Wallace and Son eBay Empire took a great leap forward today! Our first item sold at a handsome profit, and we eagerly await payment. That pistol had been around for a while, so there may be a little unspoken sadness, but we got a good price, and I think my dad and I both enjoyed the experience very much. May it be the first in a long line.

Also tonight, Blackbirds were in action at the Hangar. Like last week, we completely outplayed the opposition, and narrowly missed a dozen excellent chances. And as is the case so often in games like that, we got caught out once and lost 1-0. I was so incensed at the goal - they cheated on a player substitution and totally caught us napping - that moments after, when I got clipped collecting the ball, I momentarily lost my cool and confronted their striker. I was so mad that they had scored this cheap goal after being outplayed the whole frigging game (I'm still mad over it) that I just walked over to the guy and pushed him. I was rightly ejected, and will miss the next game under suspension. In fairness to me, he was really late and clipped me as I was picking up the ball, and as per the Unwritten Code, he deserved more than I gave him. But I miss the next game, and that sucks.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Whenever we're driving along a highway or a road somewhere and I see an old abondoned barn or farmhouse out in a field, I get the almost compulsive urge to just 'go through it'. Most of the time I'll say something to Suzanne like, 'Man, I just want to go through that building'. I say it about buildings we've passed a million times, and I never get out and do it, usually because the 400 isn't really a great place to park, but I love the idea.

So when this image of a streetcorner in the abondoned town of Bodie, California (above) appeared as the Wikipedia 'Picture of the Day' today, it got me to clicking. It turns out there are thousands of ghost towns in North America (6,000 in Kansas alone!) all just sitting there waiting for me to 'go through'. In Canada, the largest number of ghost towns is found in BC. There are some 1,500 abondoned settlements, mostly old logging and mining sites, but some fully realised towns like Barkerville (above), once the largest city north of San Francisco and west of Chicago.

In Ontario, the are close to 200, so I declare today that this summer, the coming, glorious Summer of 2007, will not only be the Summer of Toronto FC, but it will also be the Ghost Town Summer. To start, Suzanne and I drove out Highway 9 to just beyond Hwy. 50, and the former community of Ballycroy. An Irish place with a chopping mill, Ballycroy was known in the 1870s as a booming, if somewhat alcoholic, little town. Today, there is an ancient sign, a couple of old buildings that have been reclaimed, and a barbed wire fence that keeps visitors away from the real abandoned stuff. Maybe in the summer we'll make a trip back and hop the fence.

ain't but one kind of blues

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a bidder! The auction action is heating up, and the Buck Rogers Atomic Pistol is causing quite a stir. To the potential bidder who inquired as to whether or not it was actually fired by Buck Rogers, I can confirm that it was. In fact, this gun - and his badge - was taken away from Buck near the end of his galactic career after an 'incident' at a space-bar on the wrong side of the system.

It seems Buck had downed a few pints of Pulsar, when a pair of Mongols came in and started slamming down some Pulsar of their own. It wasn't long before insults were thrown - 'You going home with Twiki tonight, Rogers?' - and Buck earned his reputation as a loose phaser.

So bid with confidence!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Today was a good one. I mentioned something in the last post about new business ventures, and today we made a little progress. See, my father is an antiques dealer. Every room in the house is filled with Old Things, and he's even built a little shop at the end of a lane on his property. On summer weekends he loads up the truck and sets out a stall in Rosseau. I had the wild idea that he should get some eyeballs on his gear in the offseason, so I suggested eBay. After some reluctance - he's a hands-on dealer - he agreed. He selected five items and it's my responsibility to get them sold. Today I got the first of the initial five up and running on the site. So if you like pre-70s vintage toys, perhaps I can interest you in a Buck Rogers Atomic Pistol?

Also tonight, our soccer team - Blackbirds - played Diesel, the top team in our league. We completely outclassed them from start to finish, and only a dubious penalty decision prevented our first win of the year. I've added a little updater on the right sidebar where you can keep up with our progress as we march to Downsview Park Men's League Sunday PM Division 4 glory.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

I believe the correct term is 'shit-show'.

That describes the drive home from work today/night. Our office was abuzz with storm talk for much of the late morning and early afternoon, but it wasn't until the parking lot looked like Antarctica did they tell us to leave. So at 3:30 I left to pick up Suzanne. Three and a half hours later we arrived in Newmarket where I quickly sucked down four beers to loosen the ol' nerves. For much of the drive, there were no lanes and continually freezing wipers. We alternately sat in non-moving traffic and hydroplaned through deep snow. It's a very strange feeling when you depress the accelerator and the front of the car slides sideways and the back end stays put.

The weirdest part was when we were stuck on Lesmil, waiting for them to move an accident on the 401 onramp at Leslie, and there was this guy who came along in a really powerful looking Mustang. He tried to turn into a parking lot, but the combo of deep, thick snow, slight incline and rear wheel drive proved too much. He got stuck and couldn't go forward or back. He tried to rock it, but it just wasn't going anywhere. Eventually he got out and half-heartedly tried to swipe away snow from in front of the wheels with his windshield scraper, but he was buggered. All the while a completely immobile group of drivers just sat and watched him. I couldn't bear to, so I ran over and pushed the guy up the driveway. In the end, he changed his mind, backed out, drove off and didn't acknowledge me. I think he was stoned.

Thanks to Lynn and Alex for feeding us, and I hope you all made it home safely tonight, wherever you are.