Jasper

Posted in On The Road on April 27th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’ll be in Jasper tomorrow until Sunday afternoon, attending the Alberta Library Conference.

Comment Problems

Posted in Blogging on April 25th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’ve learned today that the comment function on my blogs isn’t working. Comments can be submitted successfully, but never reach the site for approval. I’m working to repair the problem asap. My apologies to those who have posted messages and may have thought I was late to approve them, or was deleting them.

:: Update: Comment function is working again. Thanks to Tony for his help in solving the comment problem, as well as Demonsurfer on the MT-Blacklist Forum for suggestions on how to solve the problem.

Fewer and Farther Between

Posted in House on April 24th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: Before this post, the number of entries on PBD and STLQ were equal: 559 each. The number is misleading for PDB, because I have yet to import the entries from the July-Sept 2002 version on Blogger. STLQ began in April 2003, some seven months after PBD migrated to Moveable Type. That STLQ has moved up to tie PBD for the number of posts suggests that my blogging priorities have become more professional than personal, not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoy posting to both sites, but lately I have been without much energy to post here, largely due to other activities, like the home renos.

Speaking of which, Geoff was over on Thursday to complete the installation of the baseboards, and to undo a wee bit of the laminate flooring, in order to remove a register which was inadvertently covered up during the original work. Terry came by on Saturday morning to help with repairs in the main floor bathroom, the walls and ceiling of which were damaged in the overflowing toilet flood of some weeks ago. I am indebted to Geoff, Kathryn (who helped with painting) and Terry for their kind help, guidance and encouragement they have provided during the project.

When this project began, I knew everything would need to be moved about in the living room, including my home entertainment equipment. Being lazy, I did not label the cords, cables and speaker wire which connected the nine units, including VCRs, DVD player, tv, tuner, turntable, cassette deck, digital box, and CD player. Geoff and Kenton reconfigured the setup for me, but I have been unable to get the 3.1 surround sound to kick in when watching tv. Last night, I tried to resolve it by moving wiring here and there, frustrations increasing as the evening wore on. I had moved my new laptop computer onto a chair next to where I was sitting on the floor, behind the Ikea entertainment unit, so that I could view wiring documentation on the Shaw website. I continually moved between the back and front of the unit, so that I could check the settings and determine if the rear speakers were working.

Around 2130 hrs, I stood up for the leventy-leventh time, and kicked something near the fireplace as I walked back around the unit. I looked back to see a can of dark blue paint, which had been covered but not sealed tight, tip over and spill paint on the floor. In a panic, I moved cables and wires, including the laptop power supply, out of the way as the paint globbed towards them. I grabbed paper towels and tried to mop up the paint. It was an incredible mess. I scooped up paint with whatever was handy, dumping it into a large plastic paper shredder basket which I had been using for garbage while working in the living room. At one point, I thought the paint was moving towards more cables, so I pushed the chair on which the laptop was sitting away from the paint, causing the laptop to fall and crash on the floor.

At this point I thought, what next? I checked the laptop, it was fine (praise be to the Sony engineers), and continued to remove as much paint from the floor as possible. Eventually the thicker paint was removed, leaving a large, bluish blob in its wake. I began cleaning the floor with a wet dishrag, which helped somewhat. I filled a bucket with hot water and continued cleaning. Eventually I filled the bucket with hot water and Mr Clean, and used a brush to remove as much as I could. Luckily, I was able to remove 99.99% of the paint from the floor. Unless you examine the floor closely, there is no evidence paint was spilled there last night.

Exhausted, I returned to trying to solve the wiring mess, and didn’t get far. It still isn’t working properly today. I’m set to raise the white flag. The frustration is compounded knowing that before the equipment was moved, the wiring was configured in a way to make everything work the way I wanted it to work, including stereo sound.

Whatever. I bought some nice clothes and a new pair of shoes this weekend, and my brother Chris, up from Calgary for a few hours today, graciously helped me purchase my first cell phone. I am exhausted. On Thursday I will drive to Jasper to attend the ALC. I don’t know when I will post here again.

Value Added

Posted in House, Technology on April 17th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: This weekend, Geoff was over again, helping me with the home renos. He cut and installed a few sections of baseboard, as well as a couple pieces of transition moulding. I stained some smaller pieces of moulding, to be installed around the piece of slate in front of the fireplace. In the evening, I visited Geoff and Kim, we had Chinese food and watched this movie on their big basement screen. Today I drove with Amelia to Smoky Lake, where we, along with her Harvest Moon Fiddlers, performed for the locals as part of a celebration in honour of town volunteers.

I was also in a spending mood this weekend. I bought one of these, to be delivered on May 27th. The model is called South Beach, but I can’t find an example on the web site. Then I went to Best Buy and bought this, this, and this.

There is more to come: new clothes, a cell phone, and a few more items for the home renovations. I think I will enjoy the laptop. My Dell 4400 is three years old, and somewhat sluggish, but still useful. I’m surprised at the ease of transition to the laptop, and look forward to learning more about it. The wireless mouse works well so far, and the wireless router is a godsend.

Various

Posted in Hurtin' Unit, Music, Television on April 12th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: Yesterday I received acupuncture for a tendonitis problem in the area surrounding my right elbow. The practitioner is an acupuncturist and a physical therapist, and came highly recommended. Needles were placed in the area around my right elbow, the tops of my feet, outsides of my calf muscles, in and in my chest and forehead, for other reasons. None of the needles hurt, and in fact, I nearly fell asleep during the time the needles were in me. I will go for at least three more treatments.

:: I don’t know if it’s a function of age, but there are more and more moments while watching a tv show, I will not understand a line said by a character. It’s not that I didn’t hear it, it’s that the actor didn’t enunciate it well enough for me to interpret what she or he just said, or the sound editing is bad, or whatever. One solution is to turn on the closed caption function, which I’m doing more often these days. For certain shows like Deadwood, where the dialogue occasionally sounds Shakespearean, the CC function is a blessing.

:: A new, modern rock radio station is in the midst of its four-week testing period on the air at 102.9FM in Edmonton; the station officially begins broadcasting on May 5 or 6, 2005, with live djs, etc.. Sonic 102.9 Modern Rock is a welcome breath of fresh air, at least so far. The other rock stations in Edmonton collectively suck big time. My car radio is tuned permanently to this station at the moment, which is playing, and I hate to use the word, alternative rock. But in this case, my meaning is that the music being played is indeed an alternative to anything the aforementioned stations are offering at the moment. And it’s new, content from the 90s foreward. My hope is that it continues into their broadcast life, and that their djs show some respect for their audience. One of my favorite kinds of music is edgy, noisy rock, with good melody and song structure, and that’s what I’m hearing so far..

:: Filed under, “What Th-??”, a woman in Arizona ran 301 miles in just under 80 hours, without stopping to sleep or take any breaks, other than one brief stop for a leg massage.

:: Yesterday, while talking to my friend Pam in her office, I leaned against a bookshelf that was holding a glass jar of coins of all denominations. Of course, the shelf was adjustable, and therefore not one with the entire unit, and it flipped, sending the jar crashing to the floor, where it broke into a million shards. I’m always good for a few yucks, and once the laughter subsided, we spent time picking up the glass and coins, until I realized I cut my right hand in a few places – nothing major, mind you. I owe Pam a new glass jar.

Captain Klutz, at your service.

Spamalot

Posted in Blogging, House, Music on April 10th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: No, no, not the play currently running on Broadway, as much as I’d like to see it. (The web site is hilarious!) Maybe it will still be playing in the fall when I return to NYC (dates yet to be determined, trip yet to be confirmed.) I’ve been fighting a steady battle with blog spammers lately. The amount of spam targetting blogs is torrential. After Tony advised that my comment function wasn’t working, I upgraded to MT-Blacklist 2.04b a couple weeks back, and in the time it took to upload and install the necessary files, I was hit with over 100 comment and trackback spam. Even with 2.04b installed, I’ve been moderating and deleting hundreds of blogspam a week.

Until a few minutes ago, MT-Blacklist had blocked 34,932 spam on my site since its reinstallation, and for that, I bow in a southwest direction towards California and give thanks to Jay Allen for creating the program. Earlier today while checking my sites, I noticed the new link to “Introducing SpamLookup.” Desparate for anything to improve the situation, I read Jay’s entry, and immediately went to Brad Choate’s site, downloaded, unzipped and installed the gobbler, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work brilliantly. I have had NO spam since it was installed this morning. I bow for a second time in the same direction. Thank you, Brad, for writing this program, and thank you Jay, for letting us know.

BTW, ever notice that the plural of spam seems to be spam? Who made that decision? I’ve never seem a statement that read something like, “I’ve been receiving a lot of spams lately.”

:: I played guitar today at Amelia’s annual spring tea, including a few songs with her, and a few with her group, The Harvest Moon Fiddlers. Next Sunday we have a gig in Smoky Lake.

:: It took me half a century, but on the weekend, I bought my first one of these. I feel like such a guy’s guy now. What’s next, NASCAR? Meanwhile, the house renos continue. Floor screws were drilled into the floor by the front door entrance to help reduce floor squeeking. It seems to have helped somewhat. Next, the purchase of 70 feet of MDF baseboard.

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