58 (Penrose Place)

Posted in Personal on June 27th 2011 by Randy Reichardt

.: 58 Penrose Place is the address of the last house in which I lived in St Boniface (Winnipeg), Manitoba.  My family moved there in 1971 – I can’t remember which month – and stayed there until 1985, when my folks moved to a mobile home in St Vital.  I moved to Edmonton in the fall of 1978, but the time I spent living at 58 Penrose Place was memorable for many reasons.  While living in that house, I attended the University of Manitoba, where I met many new people and made the first new friends outside of my school years.

58 is also the age I am as of today, 28 June 2011.  I was born at 01:05 MDT in Winnipeg on this date in 1953.  With each passing year, I become a little more nostalgic about parts of my life, less so about others.  Regardless, it’s good to be alive, there is always much for which one can be grateful.  I work in one of the best library systems in one of the best universities in North America.  I have great colleagues who have tolerated my moody behaviour for almost 28 years!  The job has afforded me dozens of opportunities to travel, including a trip in February 2011 to India.  My parents are still alive and in decent health, as are my brothers and their families.  I live in Edmonton, a great city in perhaps the best country on Planet Earth.  I have a seemingly unlimited supply of good friends in many places, and am surrounded by people who care about me.  So on this day, I give thanks for all of these blessings.

In 2011, I have already traveled six times in the following order: Chennai and Mumbia in India, Winnipeg, Cambridge MA, Winnipeg again, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.  Please check the photos and videos from my trip to India, which was a work-related visit, but perhaps the most fascinating trip of my life.  It was the first time I’d been to country other than Canada or the USA.  I hope to make the time to write more the India trip, and the other trips, sometime soon.


Posted in Personal on November 14th 2010 by Randy Reichardt

.: Hard to believe at times that I am 57, living in my 58th year.  Recently I received two new credit cards, and found myself staring at the expiration dates, both of which are when I’ll be in my early 60s.  I find it next to impossible to comprehend such numbers, but I’m grateful to still be alive and kicking, to coin an 80s’ musical phrase.  But as one gets older, one tends to pay closer attention to how one’s body is functioning, as it were.  Earlier this year, I was told by my physician that I have Type II diabetes, based on blood sugar readings on previous blood tests.  He advised me to work on a better diet, and to begin exercising regularly.  I met with the community nurse at the Family Medicine Centre, and it was a wake-up call.  I had to get an eye exam, and have my feet checked for circulation.  I was told that diabetes, when left untreated, can lead to blindness and poor circulation, which in turn can lead to loss of limbs.  Yikes.  The nurse gave me a monitor to check my blood sugar, and I also have a blood pressure monitor.  I use both regularly and record the readings each time.

While I have not been idle when it comes to physical activity, I am one who does not enjoy, in any sense of the word, working out, at the best of times.  I knew I had to do something, so Fate intervened.  At the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in August 2010, I met a woman who was working backstage in the same area as my crew (Performer Hospitality).  Early in our conversation, I learned she (Laura) was a personal trainer, and a few weeks later, we met to discuss a potential program.  I decided to go ahead with 10 sessions, and to date, we have met 15 (or 16) times.  Generally I meet her at the Kinsmen Field House, and I work through a series of exercises she organizes for that session.  The exercises include some using free weights, barbells, weight machines, and occasionally, the TRX Suspension Trainer.  I’ve made marginal progress so far, and plan to continue working with Laura indefinitely.  To offset the weight and resistance training, I do 30 minutes on the upright cycle in my basement three to four times a week.  The long range goal is to continue this regime indefinitely.  The trick is to continue to make myself do it!

In June, after travelling to Kingston ON and New Orleans LA, I have not been “on the road”.  This will change in a couple weeks, when I fly to Boston to spend a week in Cambridge.  I’ll be in a studio apt, close to Harvard.  I am going there to hang out with friends I have made there, mostly via Facebook, and to do so in places like Atwood’s, Lizard Lounge, and Toad, three clubs I was in when I was in Boston last November.  The last three trips I took at this time between 2007-2009 were to attend a conference in downtown Boston.  While that conference is on again, I’m not attending, but the desire to return and hang out with good people in Cambridge was too strong to resist.  I’m looking forward to going, and seeing performers like Kristin Cifelli, Ruth Peterson (The Wild Sea), and Tim Gearan.

5 Things

Posted in Personal on January 16th 2007 by Randy Reichardt

.: I have been tagged by Pam (but wasn’t aware of it until I checked her site), nor was I aware that Christina tagged me about the same thing. Blog memes aren’t my thing, but apparently when one is tagged, one must comply. This is Five Little-Known Things About Me, which doesn’t necessarily mean they are interesting or unique.

1. I was a DJ on the University of Manitoba’s closed-circuit radio station in 1974-1975. Once per show I would read a few “True Facts” from issues of National Lampoon while playing the music from Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance in the background.

2. I have a tiny crease in my skull from slipping and falling against a brick corner on the outside of my junior high school. I slipped on some snow while playing with a friend during lunch hour. I didn’t feel any pain, but a couple seconds later, blood started pouring from my top of my head. In restrospect, this could explain a lot about me.

3. In the mid-1960s I collected comic books. Gabriel, my friend at the time, and I decided to create our own comics, which we wrote, drew and coloured by hand. My super-heroes included Mr IBM and The Prism. I forget the other super-heroes I created, and unfortunately no longer have the comics.

4. I have no affinity for building or repairing things, so any renovations or repairs to my home are always done by friends who are accordingly compensated afterwards. My father, however, can repair and renovate just about anything.

5. The first band I joined was called Ram, when I was in Grade 12, in 1970. Ram was an 11-piece group: two lead singers, two guitars, two trumpets, keyboards, bass, drums, trombone and saxophone. We were together for less than a year. We played cover tunes by Chicago, Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, and others. We once played a outdoor gig on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature Building, but for some reason the horns couldn’t stay in tune. The first song the band learned was Vehicle by the Chicago band, The Ides of March. If you can, find me in the band picture (10 of 11 members were around at that time.)

I’m not sure who to tag next, so I’ll nominate Darcy, Cindi, Tony, Keith, and the newly-married Lauren.


Posted in Personal on June 28th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: I was born on June 28, 1953, at 0105 hrs, in Winnipeg. Today I turned 53, in the year my age matches my year of birth. It’s a scorching, sunny day in Edmonton, and I am glad to be alive, surrounded by good and caring friends, family, and colleagues. I am fortunate and grateful for many things in life, and today is a good day to reflect on all of them, and give thanks. To everyone who has been or is a part of my life, thank you. – Randy

Progress and A Grand Slam

Posted in Personal, Sports on October 23rd 2005 by Randy Reichardt

.: I returned home from dim sum today, determined to make some progress on house renos. I washed the downstairs bathroom door and door frame with T.S.P., a heavy duty cleaner, and then covered both with white primer. Following that, I installed a new face plate for my cable connection, and replaced the plugs and cover in the downstairs bathroom. Since April, when the work began, the main floor of my home has been littered with paint cans, brushes, rollers, pans, tools, wood, latex tiles, curtains, and more, and I am growing weary of looking at all of it on a daily basis. The next job is to paint the door and frame a semi-gloss white, and reinstall the door afterwards. Once done, I will call upon the help of friends to install the baseboards in the washroom, and the mouldings around the door frame.

.: I am at home on Sunday night, with the World Series on the tube. As a kid, I was an avid hockey and baseball fan, and my love of these sports continued into adulthood. I’ve also enjoyed NFL football over the decades. Growing up in Winnipeg, it seemed natural to cheer for the Minnesota teams, the Twins and the Vikings. As well, we had relatives living there since the 1950s, and we visited them often. My father was a Montreal Canadiens fan, so we followed suit as kids growing up in his house; despite having lived in Edmonton since 1978, I still cheer for the Habs.

Since the mid-80s, I’ve had few friends who share my interest in sports, so there are few people with whom I can discuss the latest developments. That said, I’m not sure it’s such a big deal anymore. (Aside: White Sox just hit a grand slam, with two out!) My interest in hockey began to wane as the game deteriorated in the 1980s – the NHL expanded to 30 teams and watered down the product, players showed no respect for each other, offense diminished as the emphasis switched to defensive style, and the game itself slowed down as players resorted to clutch-and-grab tactics. The recent lockout, which resulted in a cancelled season, may reinvigorate the game, but this is conditional on a number of issues, not the least of which is whether the referees will enforce the new rules, designed to allow for a more fluid, faster game. Regardless, while I will be a Habs fan for life, I am no longer interested in spending three hours in front of the tube to watch a hockey game. Baseball, however, continues to fascinate and intrigue me, and I will continue to follow it closely for years to come.

The 2005 WS features a team that has never won, the Astros, and a team that has not won since 1917, the White Sox. I’m rooting for the White Sox. Last year, the Red Sox won the WS for the first time since 1918; if the White Sox win this year for the first time since 1917, the two Sox championships would feel like bookends, and the White Sox would end a drought of similar proportions and agony shared by the 2004 Red Sox. Then in 2006, the pressure would be squarely on the Chicago Cubs, a team that hasn’t won the WS since 1908. If the White Sox win this week, and the Cubs perform a miracle in 2006, the three teams with the longest stretch between WS victories will have each one again, in three consecutive years. Lyrical, magical, mathematical. Now I hope I haven’t jinxed the White Sox.


Posted in Personal, The Web, Weblogs on October 22nd 2005 by Randy Reichardt

.: I’ve been home from NYC for six days, and am still recovering from a minor cold I picked up late in the trip. I stayed home for three days, missing Access 2005, which from all accounts from my colleagues with whom I spoke on Thursday, totally rocked. I attended one day of NetSpeed 2005, and went to work briefly on Friday to teach a class. I’m doing my best to relax this weekend, but feel like I’m falling behind in work that needs to be done around the house.

.: Wikipedia, the free, online Encyclopedia by Committee, is coming under fire for its inconsistency, slipshod editing, and its many flat-out awful entries. Read “Wikipedia founder admits to serious quality problems – Yes it’s garbage, but it’s delivered so much faster!”, from The Register. I don’t think anyone should be surprised that Wikipedia’s quality is uneven and at times, atrocious. The Register article mentioned a post by Nicholas Carr, The amorality of Web 2.0, and it’s worth reading:

In theory, Wikipedia is a beautiful thing – it has to be a beautiful thing if the Web is leading us to a higher consciousness. In reality, though, Wikipedia isn’t very good at all. Certainly, it’s useful – I regularly consult it to get a quick gloss on a subject. But at a factual level it’s unreliable, and the writing is often appalling. I wouldn’t depend on it as a source, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a student writing a research paper.

.: The Great Canadian Blog Survey is available, complied by U of Alberta Masters student Aaron Braaten. Details: “This survey was conducted by CanadianEconomist.com over a period of three weeks in September, 2005. It asked bloggers and blog readers various questions that enable in-depth analysis along 25 different variables. Overall, 1146 responses were collected.”