Windows 2005

Posted in House on May 30th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: The neverending house renos continued over the weekend. On Friday, a new sofa, washer and dryer were delivered from Sears Home. Today, six new windows and a new screen door were installed in my house. The front window in the living room was replaced, and one of the new windows opens with a crank, allowing for a nice cross-breeze through the main floor. Vertical blinds, which covered both the front windows, and one of the upstairs bedroom windows, do not fit the new ones; replacements will eventually be ordered. For now, two light blue bedsheets will cover the front windows. The house remains a mess; I will work to clean it up after I return from the upcoming two library conferences.

On Saturday, my friend Allison and I attended one of Kevin Pollack‘s standup shows at Rick Bronson’s Comic Strip at WEM. Seldom does Edmonton get a comic of Pollack’s stature, and his show was brilliant and side-splittingly funny. His act included dead-on impersonations of Christopher Walken, Yoda, Ah-nuld, and of course, his pièce de résistance, William Shatner. The sequence of comedy bits followed most of his new (and surprisingly, first) CD, A Little Off The Top. His film resume is impressive, numbering more than fifty; I checked the list, and counted twelve titles I’ve seen. On the way out, I bought his CD, and thanked him for coming to Edmonton to perform here. He asked me to whom he was signing the CD. I said “Randy”, he looked at me and said, “Randy…with an R?”, and we both laughed.

Pollack’s act was polished, professional, and respectful of his audience. I like standup comedy a lot, even more so when the comedian delivers the goods without alienating the audience. His show on Saturday was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

I am off to Toronto on Saturday to attend SLA.

600 Choice Words for the Chatterers

Posted in Film on May 25th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: As an avid moviegoer, and someone who used to do this occasionally myself many decades past, I can relate quite easily to this timely essay by Peter Mehlman. Mehlman attended a showing of Crash, the brilliant new movie by Paul Haggis, and had the unfortunate luck to sit within earshot of a couple who talked through the entire movie. Read 600 Choice Words for the Chatterers, and weep for all who have lived through such an experience. Sure, maybe he could have switched seats, but maybe not, either.


Posted in Random Thoughts on May 24th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: The morning began with a trip to the endodontist, who did an assessment of a tooth that has been bothering me for months, and decided on the spot to do a root canal. The procedure went well, and my lower left jaw feels like it was kicked by a horse. When the throbbing subsides, I’ll have a better idea if the root canal fixed the problem. The endodontist, btw, is a genius, and pleasant to boot – he did a root canal for me some years back, and I can say I looked forward to seeing him again.

Another two hours of tv tonight, another two shows are over for the season. While working away on e-mails and such this evening, a Catholic nun who collects house furnishings for refugees came by with a driver and pickup truck, and they hauled away my chesterfield and loveseat, to be given to a needy family, I imagine. My new sofa arrives on Friday morning, with a new Kenmore washer and dryer as well. I’m hoping the Sears delivery guys will be kind enough to 1) remove the washer and dryer from the boxes in which I expect each will be delivered, and 2) haul the old washer and dryer from the basement to the driveway for me. Subsequently, Heavy G will come by, and haul said washer and dryer to the Eco Station recycling center.

I am slowly getting excited about going to Toronto to attend SLA. The conference comes to Canada once every 10 years; in 1985 it was in Winnipeg (my first time attending), and in 1995 it was in Montreal. Last year was Nashville, next year is Baltimore. This will be my 13th time attending SLA. Afterwards, I will spend three nights with my friends Jason and Brenda in Kitchener/Waterloo, return home on June 12th, then drive to Calgary on the 15th for CLA, at which I will be speaking as part of a panel on blogs and RSS. I’m still getting organized for both conferences. I have yet to prepare anything for the blog panel, and for SLA, I’ve been organizing the annual Standards Roundtable session, where 12 speakers will participate this year, with me as moderator.

Sleep, I need sleep! 🙂

Border Town

Posted in On The Road on May 23rd 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: I spent the weekend in Lethbridge, with a short, 5-hour side trip to Sunburst MT, seven miles south of the Canada/US border on Saturday. I visited Robert, his wife Mary, and children, Tigana and Kasia. Sunday was a very lazy day, and we spent some time playing in the “bouncy house“, which was a lot of fun. It was nice to be away from television and newspapers, although I did check my e-mail periodically. Later that day, Mary suggested that Robert and I see the new Star Wars movie in the evening. I was reminded early in my visit that raising two children, especially when one is 18 months old, is a full-time, 24 hour a day job for both parents. Mary’s very kind gesture afforded Robert and I chance to visit a bit more, and see a movie we would both enjoy, and which I enjoyed a second time in three days, while she stayed home with the girls.

On Saturday, I drove to Sunburst, Montana, to attend the high school graduation of my friend Sharon’s son, Aaron. In contrast to my godson Kellen’s HS grad a few weeks ago, where over 400 students graduated, the 2005 North Toole County High School graduating class numbered 29. The students entered the auditorium in alphabetical order, accompanied by their parents. The ceremony included speeches by two valedictorians, one salutatorian, and one by the guest speaker, a principal from another school in the region. He opened saying he wasn’t going to talk about religion, as was probably expected by the students. After giving the students hints and suggestion for success in life, he said after much thought, he had concluded that the most important advice he could give was to establish a relationship with God. I thought, ok, fine, a relationship with God isn’t “religion” per se. When he told the story of how he accepted Jesus Christ into his life one night in the early 1970s, I thought he crossed the line. He concluded by advising the students to accept Jesus into their lives. I was raised Catholic, but found his speech bizarre and inappropriate. Then again, I don’t know the political or religious culture of the region, and Montana did vote for Bush…

The guest speaker aside, I enjoyed the ceremony, which included tunes by the high school band, featuring Sharon’s daughter, Jenna, on the trumpet.

The last two episodes of 24 are on the air. Tomorrow, L&O: SVU, Wednesday, Lost (another two hour finale) and L&O:CI. I was disappointed to learn that L&O: Trial by Jury, which was just getting its legs, wasn’t renewed by NBC. But tv is over for the year, I can (hopefully) kill my tv until September.

The Dark Side – Why We Need to Give a Sith

Posted in Film, On The Road on May 19th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: Stevie Ray and I saw Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith this afternoon. I had tickets for the 6:45 pm show, and we arrived early, around 4:15, assuming long lineups would be in order. It was the opposite: small lines had formed for some of the later shows, but no line for the 6:45 show had started. As we prepared to wait in line for two hours, a colleague and her family walked by, and said they had exchanged their tickets for the 4:45 pm show, which was in Theatre 1 (the biggest of 16 theatres at South Edmonton Common). We decided to do the same, quickly swapped our tickets, and entered Theatre 1, and found two great seats in the top row.

This was a bit of an event for us; when Stevie (a good friend’s daughter) was 8, I took her to see The Phantom Menace, and when she was 11, The Attack of the Clones. We had a blast, and really enjoyed the movie. It’s easily the best of the first three episodes, with space ship and light sabre battles like nothing seen before. The history and background of the characters is explained, and we learn how Luke and Leia become separated to live on different planets, how Anakin morphs into Darth Vader, why Yoda ends up on Dagobah, and more. The dreaded Jar Jar Binks appears in two scenes with no lines, and C-3PO’s role is also reduced. Most of the dialogue remains true to the bad space opera of the other five episodes, but the performances do compensate for it. Ewan McGregor is solid, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman have matured into their roles, but it’s Ian McDiarmid as Darth Sidious/Chancellor Palpatine who chews up the screen and steals most of his scenes from the other actors. I’m surprised that he hasn’t appeared in more movies. The other scene stealer is Yoda – what more can I say? I also found it easier to accept Samuel L Jackson as Mace Windu – in the previous two films, I couldn’t separate the actor from the character. This time, I bought it – his character’s presence is much more convincing, and he has one great light sabre duel as well.

Besides the release of the last Star Wars ever (or is it?), Canada’s government barely survived a confidence vote today (it was a 152-152 tie), with the Speaker having to cast the deciding vote in favour of the governing Liberal Party. A defeat would have resulted in another federal election, less that a year after the 2004 vote.

This morning, my clothes dryer gave indications that it wants to move on and meet its maker. So after SWIII, I dropped by Sears Home and ordered a Kenmore washer and dryer on sale for $940 or so, with tax. Both will be delivered next Friday with the sofa I purchased in April. Yes, I am still zen with the debt load.

Tomorrow I’m off to Lethbridge, and to Sunburst MT on Saturday for my friend Sharon’s son’s high school grad ceremony, and then back to Lethbridge on Sat night, returning home to Edmonton on Monday. Twelve days later, it’s off to Toronto for SLA.

This news release from Westjet is very cool:

WestJet (TSX:WJA), Bell ExpressVu (TSX:BC.PR.A) and LiveTV (NASDAQ:JBLU) today announced that all 39 of WestJet’s Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft are now equipped with live satellite television. WestJet is the first and only airline in Canada to offer an in-flight TV service that can be individually controlled by each guest from the comfort of their own seat.

WestJet’s complimentary satellite TV service offers a selection of up to 24 television channels from Bell ExpressVu in every seatback on all of WestJet’s 737-700 aircraft, including news, sports, music, children’s and leisure programming. The real-time in-flight experience features individual adjustable seatback screens, personal headphones and an armrest control to change TV channels, brightness and volume levels.

I wonder how long, if at all, it will take Air Canada to follow suit. All the more reason to fly on WestJet. As fate would have it, my flight to and from Toronto in June is on AC.

I am so tired…

Two Tickets To The Dark Side

Posted in Miscellaneous on May 12th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: I renewed my membership in the GeekBoy Club this evening by purchasing two advance tickets to the May 19th, 1830 hrs showing of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. The early reviews are mostly positive, with the Critics Tomatometer reading 86% positive as of this evening. A number of reviewers are calling it the best SW installment since The Empire Strikes Back, which was directed by Irvin Kirshner.

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