Winnipeg Goings-On

Posted in On The Road on July 26th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: The Winnipeg trip is nearing its end, and I’ve had a great time so far. Other than having to deal with hot and muggy weather, it’s been eight days packed with activity. I reached Winnipeg around 0030 hrs on Wednesday, 19 July 2006, after a long drive from Edmonton. I arrived late in the day because upon leaving Edmonton in the morning, I realized I’d forgotten a few items, and had to drive back to my house to get them. (A day later in Winnipeg I realized I forgot even more stuff, which had to be shipped Priority Courier to me by a friend, to whom I am deeply indebted!) I was pretty much a vegetable the first couple of days here, and on Thursday evening, did the family thing. My folks and I attended a Reichardt Family picnic at St Vital Park. A couple cousins from out of town were there as well – Ian from Dallas TX, and Kathleen and her family from Simcoe ON. Before we left, we had a group photo taken by someone passing by. Reichardt Family Picnic (Click for larger image)Afterwards, we visited cousins on my mom’s side of the family for a couple hours before heading home.

On Friday, I attended Part 1 of the WPC Class of ’71 High School Reunion. This included a visit to the high school where a brief open house was held, followed by a classic Winnipeg social at the local community club. On Saturday, Steve George and I paid our annual visit to Chester Cuthbert, well-respected Winnipeg book collector who will turn 94 in October. It’s always great to drop by and catch up with Chester, who is still in good health and reading actively. In the mid-1970s during my sf heydays with the local Winnipeg fan group, we spent many a Saturday afternoon at Chester’s discussing sf, fanzines, and the like.

Saturday night was the pig roast and bonfire with the high school gang. We had the dinner at the local church hall in Oakbank MB, just east of Winnipeg, and followed that with a bonfire at the home of Barb and Doug Zawada two blocks away. Barb was in the 1971 class. This was another great evening with old friends, and this time around, a few classmates attended who had passed on the previous two events, in 1996 (25 years) and 2003 (when we turned 50.) This included my dear friends Barry and Liz Zilkie, neither of whom I’d seen since the mid-70s. We spent much time catching up, and I know I will stay in touch with these amazing people. The day before Liz and Barry left Winnipeg, we met at The Forks, where Barry and I took lessons on riding Segways – what a blast!
Barry and Randy Begin Their Segway TrainingBarry on the SegwayRandy on the SegwayRandy and Barry Master Their Segways
Subsequent to the Segway experience we headed to Assiniboine Park (aka City Park) for lunch and a stroll about the Conservatory follwed by a walk about the Assiniboine Park Zoo until the heat and time overtook us.

Pictures from the high school reunion events are here.

On Monday night I moved across town to Mike and Susan’s house, and upon arrival, Mike and Steve took me on one of their now-legendary bike rides, as documented since 2004 at Bike With Mike. About halfway through our ~25.5 km ride we stopped to refuel on water and Gatorade before returning to Mike’s house.

On Tuesday night it was over to Steve’s for a bbq with Steve and his family and Mike and Susan. This is a tradition whenever I am in town, and was a good time as always. Tonight (Thurs) I am off to my parents’ place for dinner, and then back to Mike’s to pack up for the trip tomorrow. Then in two weeks, NYC…

Pictures from my latest Winnipeg trip are available on Flickr, but need further editing to include descriptions, names, etc
Randy and Barry Master The Segway

You, Me and (Cousin) Dupree

Posted in Steely Dan on July 19th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: Owen Wilson’s current stinkbomb, You, Me & Dupree, has garnered the attention of our boys Don and Walt over at Steely Dan Inc. Seems that they are concerned about the obvious parallels between the premise of the movie (relative comes home and spends time on the couch) and their 2000 Grammy Award winning song, Cousin Dupree. In a hilarious open letter to Owen’s brother, Luke, they write:

Hey Luke –

Hey man – it’s, like, Don and Walt, we’re the guys from Steely Dan, the group, we won those Grammies that time, maybe you recall? You know. “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”?
“Reelin’ in the Years?” “Hey Nineteen”? “Babylon Sisters”? Right, that’s us. So how’s it going?

After some further prelim discussion and explanations, they go on to say:

What we suspect happened is this: some hack writer or producer or whatever they call themselves in Malibu, or Los Feliz apparently heard our Grammy winning song “Cousin Dupree” on the radio and thought, hey, man, this is a cool idea for a character in a movie or something. OK, so the “cousin” idea was no doubt eliminated so as not to offend the Fundamentalist ticket buyers in the Flyovers. Nevertheless, they, like, took our character, this real dog sleeping on the couch and all and put him in the middle of some hokey “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” ripoff story and then, when it cam time to change the character’s name or whatever so people wouldn’t know what a rip the whole thing was, THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO THINK UP A NEW F*CK*NG NAME FOR THE GUY!”

The letter goes on and on – read it and have a good laugh. It ends with:

P.P.S We’re now seeing that according to Wikipedia, Owen older than you are. But you seem a lot more mature somehow…don’t you?”

Can’t wait to see the boys perform on Long Island on August 17.

.: I am in Winnipeg. I arrived last night around 0045 hrs in the morning, after a long and uneventful drive.

Road Trip

Posted in On The Road on July 17th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: I am driving to Winnipeg tomorrow for a 10-day visit, including a high school reunion event next weekend. I’ll be staying with my folks for part of the time, and with friends otherwise. It will be hot and muggy while I’m there; thankfully, both locations where I will be staying have a/c. I’m looking forward to seeing the Usual Suspects, including my parents. My father’s lymphoma has apparently returned, so please keep him in your prayers, if I may be so bold to ask such things.

The car is packed except for guitar and bicycle. Yes, for the first time ever I will drive to Winnipeg with bike rack on the back of my car, with mountain bike attached. I plan to drive the Yellowhead straight through to Winnipeg, and upon return, take Highway 1 to Regina, the mind-numbing drive to Saskatoon, and return on the Yellowhead to Edmonton from there.

A New Way To Solve Problems – Do It Like Zidane

Posted in Humour, Zidane on July 13th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: This is so funny I am still laughing.

This and That

Posted in Books, NINT, Steely Dan on July 8th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: Kenton recently posted a couple of comments (1, 2) on the prices of new books, specifically of how the difference between the Canadian and US prices does not reflect the current exchange rate, which has been near ninety cents for quite some time. Typically, the difference is between 20-25%, but can be much worse – the paperback edition of that book about some kind of code, which was released earlier this year, was priced 38% higher in Canada. The hardcover edition, released in 2003, was priced 52% higher. According to the article in the Toronto Star, prices will dip by 5-10% by the end of the year. I don’t know if federal regulations cover books being imported into Canada – in other words, are US publishers required to price their books within a certain range based on the exchange rate? If not, what’s to stop them from jacking up the prices as much as they desire, within reason?

The second article to which Kenton refers, which is actually an edited version of an editorial that appeared in the Montreal Gazette, notes the following:

Major booksellers have taken to posting explanations in their stores. Prices are set by publishers according to a 12-month cycle, they say. But if retailers are paying inflated wholesale prices and passing on the hardship to the consumer, they are no less complicit.

When I went to Baltimore, I took my copy of The World is Flat with me to read on the flights. On the way back, I either left my copy on the last jet, or in the Minneapolis airport. Since buying the book, Friedman had revised and updated it, and I wanted another copy. The book jacket US price is $30.00, the Canadian price $39.95, or a 33.17% increase. While in Indigo books, I noticed the book on sale for 30% off, with an additional 10% for Indigo club members. (Since buying the book again, the price online dropped another 10% to CDN$21.97.) So the final price, with 6%GST, came to $25.40, a heckuva deal, as they say in Minnesota. Hopefully Canadian booksellers will continue to offer at least some selected titles at more reasonable prices, to counter the continuing price gouging of US publishers.

.: Busy times are ahead. In about 10 days, I will drive to Winnipeg for a 8-9 day visit, which will include another high school reunion. I’m planning to bring my bicycle, using a bike rack kindly donated by Geoff some months ago. I’ll return on the 28th or 29th of July. Shortly thereafter, I’ll be volunteering for the 15th straight year at the EFMF. Two days afterwards, I’m off to NYC, a trip which will include seeing Steely Dan and Mike McDonald perform at Jones Beach on Long Island.

.: Last Tuesday I moved into the new NINT building, which opened officially on 22 June 2006. After I returned from Baltimore, I helped with the opening as a volunteer coordinator that day. On July 4, I was given a temporary office on the 2nd floor, in an area populated by members of the Fenniri Group. The move into the new building began on 29 May 2006, and was done in stages. At present, some of the labs, carrels, and offices remain empty as more people and equipment are still forthcoming.

The reason my location is temporary is that my permanent office is located on the fourth floor, and that floor is still being constructed. The fourth floor will be occupied by off-campus companies, which will lease office and lab space and time on equipment for various lengths of time. The fifth and sixth floors of NINT will be occupied by the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical and Materials Engineering.

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