A Whole Lotta Joshes

There was a time last year when I was in active communication with three people named Matthew, all of whom went by Matt casually, and who had overlapping domains. More than once I caught myself emailing Matt № 1 when I meant to email Matt № 2 or 3. And, indeed, once I did that. And because of the overlapping domains, the email kind of made sense. 

This year I’ve swapped out Matts for Joshes. I’m juggling four Joshes this year. Their domains don’t overlap as much as the Matts, but I suspect that, nonetheless, I will end up emailing Josh № 4 sometime soon when I mean to email Josh № 2. Thank goodness I’m not dating any of them.

(I’ve met a new Mitch this summer, which pushes my Mitch-count to three, so it’s possible that there will be similar Mitch-problems in parallel).

All of which got me curious about first name frequency, so I exported the 1,092 contacts in my address book, extracted their first names, and then sorted and calculated frequency (if you’re a command line-user and have never explored uniq -c, you haven’t lived!).

There are 32 first names that show up 5 or more times in my contacts; in order of frequency, they are:

  18 John
  12 Peter
  11 Paul
  10 David
  10 Dave
   9 Steve
   9 Chris
   8 Mark
   7 Stephen
   7 Mike
   7 Kelly
   7 Bill
   6 Robert
   6 Patrick
   6 Karen
   6 Ian
   6 Heather
   6 Gary
   6 Alan
   5 Tom
   5 Tim
   5 Susan
   5 Scott
   5 Ron
   5 Nancy
   5 Kevin
   5 Jeff
   5 George
   5 Doug
   5 Don
   5 Bob
   5 Ben

It’s worth noting, per aforementioned first name confusion, that in that top-32 are the names of all of my brothers (John, Stephen, Mike).

And, in the number two slot, is my name. Given that nobody has been named Peter since the 1950s, this tells you something about the age of my contacts.

This blog post actually started off being a blog post not about Joshes, but about Peters. About Peter Bihr, in fact. He’s the youngest Peter in my contacts, an exception to the aged rule.

And what I wanted to mention about Peter is that he’s started to post his weekly email newsletter to his blog, which means that I can consume his weekly newsletter in my RSS reader. For which I am truly thankful.

I should really send him a thank you note. There’s a good chance that one of the Peters Bevan-Baker, Foley, Hooley, Johnston, Livingstone, Lux, Mutch, Noonan, Porteous, Richards or Whittle will get the thank you instead, but that’s a risk I’ll have to take.

How I Won the War Against Fruit Flies

Fruit flies in the kitchen have been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember (I wrote about this bane in 2004 and 2008, and received much helpful advice in reply).

This year I decided that it was a losing proposition to try to control fruit flies once they’d taken over: I needed to get ahead of them, and remove the conditions in which they thrived.

And so that’s what I did.

I never left food or dishes out on the counter.

I washed everything to be recycled, immediately.

I washed out the kitchen sink drains with vinegar and baking soda every few days.

I wiped down the kitchen counters constantly.

Despite all advice from purists, I stored all fruits and vegetables in the fridge, tomatoes included.

And it worked.

The kitchen wasn’t 100% fruit fly-free, but over the summer I saw only perhaps a dozen, and I took their emergence as a sign that I needed to double-down on my prophylactic control measures.

In saying all this, I suppose it’s equally possible that this year happened to be an off year for fruit flies for other reasons: perhaps the combination of sun and rain and temperature conspired to be inhospitable to them, and nothing I did had much influence.

I will chose to believe, however, that I conquered them through my vigilance.

Goodbye Rain

Here’s a Spotify playlist of 25 songs that prompted me to hit “like” this spring and summer.

Here are the songs on the playlist:

  • Goodbye Rain — Hush Kids — Hush Kids
  • Yo Mae Leh — Invisible Minds — Make up Your Own Stories
  • Trying — The Staves — Trying
  • Nothing’s Gonna Happen (Demo) — The Staves
  • By Your Side — Ane Brun — Leave Me Breathless
  • What You Want — May Erlewine — Mother Lion
  • Moon Song — Phoebe Bridgers — Punisher
  • Julianna Calm Down — The Chicks — Gaslighter
  • A Feeling Felt or a Feeling Made — Siv Jakobsen — A Feeling Felt or a Feeling Made
  • Is There Something in the Movies? — Samia — The Baby
  • Rest — Leif Vollebekk — Twin Solitude
  • Darcy’s Song — Sierra Eagleson — Darcy’s Song
  • Sad Girl Summer — Maisie Peters — Sad Girl Summer
  • Slow Burn — Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
  • Soft Line — Lucy Wainwright Roche — Little Beast
  • Elergy for the Present — Philip Glass, Dennis Russell Davies
  • Options Open — Kathleen Edwards — Total Freedom
  • Spiracles — COMA — Voyage Voyage
  • Warped Window — Anna Mieke — Idle Mind
  • Tourism (feat. Fenne Lily) — Henry Jamison, Fenne Lily
  • Wild — May Erlewine — Mother Lion
  • I Burn but I Am Not Consumed — Karine Polwart — Laws of Motion
  • Zona Rosa — Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Thomas Bartlett
  • Salters Road — Karine Polwart — Traces
  • Killer + The Sound — Phoebe Bridgers, Noah Gundersen, Abby Gundersen
Oliver makes a Spotify playlist before going to bed every night, something he’s been doing for several years now. Meaning he has hundreds of playlists, to my one. It’s a start.

Apple Plum Sauce

With Hurricane Teddy on the way, it seemed like a good afternoon to pick the apples. And as I was picking the apples, I realized the plum tree was filled with the most wonderful ripe plums. So I picked some plums too. And then made apple plum sauce.

A joke from my childhood:

What’s the difference between elephants and plums?

They’re different colours.

What did the man say when he saw the elephants coming over the hill?

Here come the plums!

(He was colour blind).

Saturday Night at the Movies

Ever since we installed a video projector in our living room a few months ago, Oliver and I have had a movie night every Saturday.

Oliver came up with a system for selecting what movie we watch: one week it’s a film released during his teenage years, the next week during my teenage years. Oliver picks the theme, I pick the movie.

Here’s what we’ve watched so far:

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The In-Laws
  • Carrie Pilby
  • Volunteers
  • The Best Offer
  • Peggy Sue Got Married
  • A Star is Born (2018)

This week I secured special dispensation to extend my pool of eligible films back to my pre-teen years; the themes Oliver selected were death, Canadian history, animals, running, and autumn.

Could there be a better week for 1978’s Heaven Can Wait, directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry with the stellar cast of Beatty, Henry, James Mason, Julie Christie, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Vincent Gardenia, and Jack Warden.

It may lack animals and Canadian history, but it’s got death, running and autumn in spades. It’s also my very most favourite film.

And it was as good in 2020 as it was when I saw it in a theatre 42 years ago.