Family Stuff: 10 (or more) Weird, Different or Otherwise Interesting Things To Know

Posted in Family on June 18th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

One of my favorite blogs is Tonya‘s brilliant adventure journalist: the notebook. Seemingly without much effort, she weaves colour, shape, love, intensity, creativity and passion into her writing. In her latest entry, she writes of “10 weird, fun, interesting and/or disturbing things about my family“. What I wrote on her site is below, with a few minor editorial changes. Do you have anything interesting to share about your family? If so, let both of us know! 🙂

    1) My maternal grandmother, Marie-Ange, known as Mary, and her sister, Yvonne, married the Carriere brothers, Jean-Charles (known as Charlie) and Armand, and lived in Winnipeg. Two of her other sisters, Florence and Blanche, married the Chale brothers (George and Red), and moved to North Dakota. My grandma and grandpa, Mary and Charlie.

    2) My mother’s birthday is New Years Eve. Her first ever birthday party was when she turned 51.

    3) My dad’s birthday is Sept 12, as is one of my best friends, Lea. On Sept 12, 1983, I was phoned and offered the job I have to this day, working as an academic librarian at the U of Alberta. When I was working at my first job in the early 1980s, a woman with whom I worked, who had been trying to conceive with her husband for years, but was told by her doctors that it wasn’t possible, learned on Sept 12 of that year that she was pregnant. Something else happened on Sept 12 of significance to me, but I’m blanking at the moment.

    4) My niece’s birthday is May 29, 1992, which, depending upon how you write it numerically, could be a palindrome: 29/5/92.

    5) My paternal grandmother used to bake “money buns”. She’d bake buns for the grandchildren, and put coins in each one. Each of us hoped we’d get the one with the 25c piece in it when we got to eat the buns. Then she’d make us tea, which we loved to drink with cream and sugar.

    5) My maternal grandfather got me hooked on eating white bread, milk and brown sugar. I’d dip the bread in the milk, put brown sugar on it, and eat it. I don’t eat bread, milk and brown sugar together any more.

    6) Neither of my parents finished high school, but between my two brothers and I, we have five university degrees. My parentsare nonetheless smart, articulate and talented.

    7) My father is an artist, but didn’t have his first art show until he was 67. He worked full time for 31 years, and never had the time to organize an art show of his own works until he was retired.

    8) When I was small, I tried to break a hard plastic cup by smashing it on the sidewalk. A piece flew up into one of my eyes, and I had to wear an eyepatch for a time while my eye healed.

    9) In junior high school, I slipped on ice and the top of my head hit an edge of the outside school wall. I felt no pain, but a moment later, blood began gushing out of the crack in my skull. I lived.

    10)I had pneumonia when I was 5 years old, one of at least four times I had it. At the time, my body temperature rose to 105.5F, and my parents were told that if it hit 106F, I wouldn’t survive. I lived.

St Elsewhere

Posted in Blogging, Library, Music, Random Thoughts on June 17th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: My mind has been elsewhere for the past few days, for reasons known to some of you. Here in Edmonton, a few days of grey skies and wet, clammy weather ended today, with that bright, shiny thing called Sol beaming light and warmth on the city, improving everyones’ moods.

I spent part of today at the TELUS Centre, where NanoForum Canada is being held. As one of the engineering librarians, building and maintaining the UA Libraries’ collections in nanoscience and nanotechnology is my responsibility. NINT, The National Institute for Nanotechnology, is housed on our campus, and will move into its own building when construction is completed in 2005. At this time, faculty from at least nineteen different departments on campus are working and/or have research interests in nano-whatever.

It would be interesting to prepare a list of all the new words entering the language that begin with the prefix “nano”. Today I learned two new ones: nanorosette, and nanostencil. No, “Nanook” doesn’t count. A rosette is a six-membered supermacrocycle. Rosette nanotubes that self-assemble could be used as tiny scaffolds. The chemist leading this area of research is Hicham Fenniri, formerly of Purdue, but now working at the U of A as a chemisty professor and a NINT researcher.

:: With Geoff Harder, I maintain another blog, STLQ. I was pleased to learn that STLQ has received some press of late. Stephen Abram mentions STLQ in the latest issue of Information Outlook, and the blog was highlighted twice, once in a brief review, in the latest issue of SciTech News, the newsletter of a number of SLA divisions.

:: Jenny mentioned a new book out this month that I think will be worth reading, especially since I’m old enough to have lived through the period in question. The book is Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics, Edited by Jim DeRogatis and Carmél Carrillo:

Kill Your Idols is a collection of 34 essays in which some of the best rock critics of Generations X and Y address allegedly “great” albums that they despise. This anthology is every bit as thoughtful, provocative, entertaining, and valuable as Stranded, but it also returns some vital, stimulating debate to the canon of rock and roll history. Kill Your Idols is a spirited assault on a pantheon that has been foisted upon this new generation of music critics, a defiant slap in the face to the narrow and hegemonic view of rock history presented by the Baby Boom generation’s critics. As a collection of the new generation of rock writers, it is the first of its kind, as well as the first and only anthology devoted solely to critiquing rock and roll’s most sacred cows.

Nothing like insurgents kicking dust in the face of the old guard. Go for it, I say. Some of the albums ripped apart by these young lions include The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds, The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street, The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks . . . Here’s the Sex Pistols, and U2, The Joshua Tree. Will it be informed criticism, or Gen X whining? The foreword is available, as are a few reviews.

Nashville Cats

Posted in On The Road, Random Thoughts on June 13th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I returned to Edmonton from Nashville a day earlier than scheduled, on Thursday, 10 June 2004. The conference was a good one, my 13th SLA, and my 11th since 1993. The conference was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the largest facility of its kind – whatever kind that is – I’d ever seen. Enormous glass atriums with lush, tropical indoor gardens, walkways, waterfalls, and an indoor river connect the hotel and convention center sections of this sprawl, kept at 72F all year round. The place seemed to have a sense of humour as well. The utility costs must be staggering. Nonetheless, it was nice to have the convention in one location rather than many, as it was in NYC last year. More details about my conference time are available at STLQ.

Away from Opryland and the conference, I did little else while I was there. There was a party at the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville, which was the only time I made it into the city. After spending some time at the Saloon, some of us wandered over to the Country Music Hall of Fame – not to go in, but to catch a free bus ride back to Opryland! I did not make it to the Grand Ole Opry either, despite it being on the same grounds as Opryland. My disinterest in country music aside, yes, it would have been cool to visit these places, but the time nor the moment never did seem right. By Thursday the 10th, Nashville was swarming with country music fans, coming from all parts of the world for the CMA Music Festival.

The last night I was there, I wandered a bit past my hotel, and noticed a store with the sign, Ernest Tubb Record Shops. I decided to check it out, and entered country music heaven. Wall to wall CDs and cassettes – yes, an entire wall of prerecorded cassettes, there is still a market for them, and it’s in country music – trinkets, doo-dads, curios, photos, music books, souvenirs, you name it. The place was packed with what appeared to be a tour group, and while standing in line to pay for a couple of items, I listened to them talking, detecting more than one British accent. I asked one of them if they were over from the UK. The fellow said they were part of a tour, organized by a UK country music disc jockey, who was also present. It was very surreal to be in a country music store in Tennessee, only to be surrounded by c/m fans speaking in English and Scottish accents, waxing poetic about the CDs and souvenirs they were buying. When asked if country music was popular in the UK, he said to me that if you were from the UK and liked country music, you were “considered to be a bit of a mick.”

In Nashville, I learned that “tea” means “unsweetened ice tea.” “Tea” was served at every luncheon and dinner buffet I attended at the conference. If you want what we call tea, one asks for “hot tea.” A number of new friends I met at the conference, many of them true southerners, took me to Cracker Barrel, a restaurant chain that features true southern homestyle meals. Well, sorta.

It was quite the experience. I checked the menu, noticing many items with “n’” in the title: Salads n’ Such, Vegetables n’ Sides, Beverages n’ Juices. After careful consideration, I ordered the Grilled Pork Chop from the Country Dinner Plates menu, and my two “vegetables” were Fried Apples and “Dumplins”. Not dumplings, but dumplins. Others at the table ordered the Breaded Fried Okra and Turnip Greens, promising me I could sample them. At least one order of Hickory Smoked Pork Barbeque arrived afterwards, which I can only describe as shredded meat. This was also served at one or more convention events earlier in the week.

The meal was not one of my most memorable dining experiences, but the amazing company made up for it. I can best describe the “dumplins” as thick, white, square-shaped pieces of what seemed to be pasta, smothered – no – drowned in what appeared to be a white goo. The fried apples and pork chop were ok, and the turnip greens and breaded fried okra I sampled seemed fine. I passed on dessert. The weird thing is, someday I want to go back and try something else on the menu. {Note to my new friend in NC: Hey, Mary, does that sound like a heckuva deal (as they say in Minnesota?)}

Mary, btw, bought me a Moon Pie, which was quite tasty, and reminiscent of a Wagon Wheel, available from our corner store for a nickel, when I was a kid in Winnipeg. In fact, moon pies are called wagon wheels in some parts – It sez so right here. Further investigation reveals that the Wagon Wheel was the creation of Garry Weston, the “UK son” of Canadian biscuit baron, Garfield Weston., mentions the UK and “Canadian Wagon Wheel” in their “Biscuit of the Week” discussion from 29 June 2003. Too bad the pictures aren’t working.

Biscuit of the Week? Mary, thank you for the Moon Pie! 🙂

On Wednesday evening, Christina Pikas and I visited Opry Mills, a local mall, to see Shrek 2. Before the movie, we browsed Tower Records, where I purchased a DVD, the D-Day Anniversary Edition of Saving Private Ryan. This will no doubt shock Heavy G and KGo (that I actually bought a DVD, that is). While in the store, I listened to a CD called Happenstance, by Rachael Yamagata. I liked the sound: a deep, smoky voice led by her piano and backup band, and good songwriting with catchy hooks. Comparisons to Norah Jones will be inevitable. I passed on buying it there, but on a lark, checked the local A&B Sound when I returned to Edmonton. I asked the multi-pierced goth druid working the help desk if the store had a copy, thinking the chances were as good as him knowing who Yamagata was in the first place. Well, he had no idea who she was, but he did find her on the in-store db. Then, when he pulled a copy from the shelves, I was so stunned that I bought it on the spot. It’s a great record, and I’m glad I made the effort to look for it in town. Miracles can still happen.

The people of Nashville are incredibly friendly to visitors, something I’ll always remember about the city. I have never been overseas, but upon my return, I checked the list of 50 states, to determine how many I have visited in my life. The number is 25: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. So, 25 more to go!

In 2.5 weeks, I am off again, to Winnipeg, and then St John’s, for the KG wedding. Time flies, and seems to move faster when you get older. In Nashville, I saw old friends, made some fascinating new ones, and experienced a pretty good professional conference. Other things happened as well, about which I will write at a later date. Now, I find myself staring into the void, wondering what life has to offer next, and trying not to think too much about it all…

Greetings From Nashville

Posted in Library on June 6th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Hello from Nashville. Arrived yesterday on time, spent the evening hanging with a number of good friends, and made a few new ones as well. Watched the Flames game from a sports bar in the Gaylord Opryland, the largest hotel complex I have ever seen in my life. As usual with this conference, I am already running on empty, which means the more caffeine, the more awake and alert I shall be. Attended an academic librarians roundtable this morning (0730 hrs *groan*), but do not have a meeting until 1600 hrs this afternoon.


Posted in Blogging, On The Road on June 4th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I am flying to Nashville tomorrow to attend the annual SLA convention. I’ll be back in a few days. I may try to post once or twice while I’m there. The editors of Information Today are blogging the conference already; technically, it started today.

:: Kudos to Heavy G – he’s taking the summer off from blogging to concentrate on other things, like his upcoming wedding!

:: It appears I do not have shingles, thankfully, as previously speculated. More likely it’s a problem with a rib in my back, with the discomfort following nerve endings to the front of my ribcage. I’ve got Robax Platinum for the pain.

:: Congratulations to Darcy and Michael, on the announcement of their engagement!

“Randy ‘Burly and Curly’ Reichardt: Cat-3 roadie, kick ass tri-guy”

Posted in What? on June 3rd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I don’t know what any of that means – it has something to do with cycling. When you search your name on the web, interesting results appear – depending, of course, on how common or uncommon your name is. Many of my friends and colleagues have names that are common enough that when searched on the ‘net, return web sites and hits for many people with the same name. Best example: my Winnipeg friend, Mike Nichols. Search his name, and the results will take you to sites about the film director of the same name.

When search engines became popular, I searched my name, and discovered two others with the name, “Randy Reichardt“. One was an insurance broker in Arizona, the other a student in Iowa, whose name kept appearing in university soccer match results, and then in bicycle race results. I assumed it was the same person, and still do. For some time, I’d been aware of the Reichardt name in Iowa. The clothing store, Reichardt’s, has been in Des Moines for over 50 years. William J Reichardt was a politician in the state.

I searched my name tonight, and discovered a page I hadn’t seen before, with photographs of the members of the QCP (Quixote Racing Program, Des Moines IA), including Randy “Burly and Curly” Reichardt. It’s rather surreal to see a picture of someone who shares your name, when the name is not common. I wonder if he pronounces his last name as my family does: RYE-cart.

Weird, wacky stuff. Now if only I was in as good a shape as my namesake in Iowa…
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