Update

Posted in Family, What? on August 20th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: My mother is at home tonight. Thank you to everyone who sent good thoughts and prayers, they were a big help. Apparently she developed food poisoning sometime yesterday. I’m hoping, finally, that she can take some time at home, and begin a rest and recovery period.

:: This is way too much fun.

Mom

Posted in Family on August 19th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Many thanks to all who sent me notes of support regarding my Mom. She was discharged yesterday, but needed to be go back to the hospital this morning in an ambulance, and remains in emergency at the moment, waiting for, yet again, another bed. This is her third trip there since July, and twice in the last few days. I have no other information. I spoke with my Dad, and he’s exhausted and hoarse from talking so much. Needless to say, I am frustrated and feeling useless, being 1,500 klicks and two provinces away from Winnipeg.

Men at Work

Posted in Family, Random Thoughts on August 15th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: One can never have enough good friends – it’s a blessing. Case in point: Heavy G came by Saturday morning to examine three Juniper trees in the back yard and make a recommendation re: having the trees removed. A quote received earlier in the week from a tree service came in at $200.00. G was sure we could do it with a chain saw and solid effort. Convinced this could be done, we went to Home Depot and rented an electric chain saw. Once home, G got down to work, only the saw wouldn’t cut shyte. Trip #2 to Home Depot revealed that the chain was installed backwards on the bar. D’oh!

We returned with an Echo CS-670, gas-powered saw, and it worked fine for about 2/3 of the work until its chain came off the bar. We tried in vain, for about 45 minutes, to put it back on the bar, and eventually called HD, where the staff told us we needed a special tool to reinstall the chain.

Trip #3 to Home Depot resulted in a third saw, a replacement CS-670, after it was determined that the chain mechanism on the first CS-670 had a flaw of some sort. By now we were on a first name basis with the staff. I thanked Darren and Tyler and Marc, and G and I returned, successfully completing the tree takedowns. I took a turn wielding the machine, hacking away at trunks and branches into smaller, fireplace-friendly sizes. The remaining branches were piled up by the backyard trellis. Trip #4 to Home Depot was to return the saw and peripherals, and the boyz there gave me a 50% discount for the trouble.

In the end, it cost $20.01 to rent, plus a case of Coronas for G, instead of $200 to the tree service. The issue of concern had been grinding the stumps, but because the trees were sitting in a planter about 12-15 inches high, any further work in the planter will begin with fresh soil to fill up the space. The stumps and roots will be a non-issue at that time.

My thanks to Geoff for taking time from his day to help me remove the trees.

:: While typing the above, I received a phone call from Winnipeg, from a friend of my mother’s. She is still struggling with her infected shoulder, and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance today because of increasing pain and discomfort. She isn’t eating, and has slept a full night for months. This is causing a lot of stress for my father, who at 77, is doing all he can to help her. Please keep my folks in your thoughts and prayers.

David Byrne at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Posted in Music on August 11th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I spent last weekend volunteering, for the 13th year, at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. The lineup this year was very strong, in support of the 25th anniversary, and included Bonnie Bramlett, Rodney Crowell, Ani DiFranco, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Jerry Douglas, Lucky Dube, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Dick Gaughan, The Handsome Family, Wanda Jackson, Natalie Merchant, Earl Scruggs, Martin Simpson, The Strawbs, Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez, and Hawksley Workman. I am on the Performer Hospitality crew, and had possibly the most enjoyable festival ever, working with my friends on the team, and assisting and working with amazing, friendly performers.

I tend to be restless at the festival, and generally don’t like sitting for long periods of time. As a result, I see little of the music, but hear a lot of it, as my work area is backstage.

On Sunday night, August 8th, David Byrne and the Tosca Strings closed out the 25th annual EFMF in grand style. Byrne is in the midst of his My Backwards Life Tour, in support of his new album, Grown Backwards.

Byrne’s set featured a number of classic Talking Heads tunes, intermingled with songs from his recent releases. He sang at least one song in Spanish, and accompanied himself on guitar a few times. His percussionist, Mauro Refosco, played many diverse and intriguing beats, and his rhythm section of Graham Hawthorne on drums and Paul Frazier on bass was flawless. Tour photos of the band are here.

The show began with “Road to Nowhere“, which Byrne described afterwards as a song he wrote for the Republican National Convention. Despite playing in Canada, the quip drew considerable laughter – it’s not like we don’t know what’s happening below our border! While not familiar with his newer work, I felt the songs he performed from his recent catalogue to be interesting and compelling – I wanted to hear more even though I wasn’t familiar with the music

Byrne knows his fans want to hear a selection from the TH catalogue, and while he can’t play them all (Burning Down the House, my favorite, wasn’t offered), he delivered the aforementioned Road to Nowhere along with And She Was, Izimbra, Life During Wartime, This Must Be The Place, Once In A Lifetime, and of course, Psycho Killer. 27 years later, he made it sound new. As for Once In A Lifetime, I still ask myself, “how do I work this?” I don’t have an answer yet.

I enjoy performers who engage themselves with the audience, and Byrne works in this way. He introduced each band member at one point, injected a few comments throughout the set, and thanked the audience, some 10-12,000 strong on the hill, for their support. He seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself. The mix was very, very good, thanks to vigilant preparation by his production team and the festival front-of-house team. The sharp and well-defined sounds created by the Toscans often left me with goosebumps.

When a band has many members, the placement of each is a critical component, contributing to the show’s success. I have seen many stage arrangements, in which a percussionist or supporting musicians were virtually hidden from site. I appreciated Byrne’s choice of layout (as seen here in a picture from the Rome, Italy, performance): he take centre stage, of course, surrounded by his rhythm section, with the strings at stage left, and the cellists on a riser. There is an intangible excitement experienced when watching a string section play in unison, and the audience is given the opportunity to do so here without sacrificing quality or presentation.

The tour continues, with at least 28 more dates in the USA. If it makes it to your town, I hope you get to see it. I would also highly recommend the Edmonton Folk Music Festival to anyone with diverse music interests. The festival, now entering its 26th year, continues to bring to Edmonton each August, musicians who offer a wide selection of styles and genres. Tickets for the next festival should be on sale on June 1, 2005. See you there!

This post is also available at Blogcritics.com.

Testing Meme Propagation In Blogspace: Add Your Blog!

Posted in Blogging on August 3rd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

The original posting for this experiment is located at: Minding the Planet. (Permalink: http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2004/08/a_sonar_ping_of.html) — results and comments about the experiment appear at that location.

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate — the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is: as098398298250swg9e (Note: this replaces the longer, original GUID — listed below — which didn’t format nicely in narrow column layouts. Those sites still using the longer GUID will still be found in the data set).

The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for the any sites that contain either the short GUID (above) or the long GUID (for your reference, the long GUID is a single 72 character string comprised of the following segments put together with the white-spaces removed:
as098398298250swg9e 98929872525389t9987 898tq98wteqtgaq6201 0920352598gawst — they are listed here as different segments so that they will format better in narrow column layouts.)

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)

INSTRUCTIONS

To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).

REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL: http://alreadygone.blogspot.com/2004/08/testing-meme-propagation-in-blogspace.html

(2) I found it via “Newsreader Software” or “Browsing the Web” or “Searching the Web” or “An E-Mail Message”: Browsing the Web

(3) I posted this experiment at URL: http://www.podbaydoor.com/

(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 03/08/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 20:38:00

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

OPTIONAL SURVEY FIELDS (Replace the answers below with your own answers):

(7) My blog is hosted by: Moveable Type 2.661

(8) My age is: 53

(9) My gender is: Male

(10) My occupation is: Public Services Librarian (Engineering)

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: Awazu, Sharpreader

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: MT, Zempt, w.bloggar

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 11/07/02

(14) My web browser is: IE 6.0.2880

(15) My operating system is: Windows XP

Update

Posted in Film, Random Thoughts on August 2nd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Haven’t been in much of a writing mood lately. This is a long weekend in Alberta. I saw Ripley’s Game last night, on DVD. Directed by Liliana Cavani with a score by Ennio Morricone, it is an overlooked gem of a movie from 2002, starring John Malkovich as Tom Ripley, the character created by Patricia Highsmith, and featured in four movies to date. It’s a very good movie, and I have no idea why it didn’t receive a wide general release in North America. What a shame.

:: The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition is on in Berlin. Wish I could attend. I’ve e-mailed to ask about purchasing the catalogue. Available for viewing now, in pdf, is Matthew Modine’s Full Metal Diary, written while filming Full Metal Jacket. Included are a number of his photographs from the set.

Upcoming this weekend is the folk music festival. My brother Chris, and friends Tony and his daughter Claire, will be staying at my place while they attend the festival. Chris is also volunteering. Expect little if any blogging this year week. I am otherwise uninspired these days.

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