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To My Parents, With Love – by Esmeralda Cabral

Posted in Friends on May 29th 2007 by Randy Reichardt

.: Esmeralda Cabral is a good friend of mine whom I have not seen for much too long a time. She lives in Vancouver with her husband Eric and their two children. Some time ago, Es lost both her parents within a year, and it was a very difficult time for her and her family. I tell you this, because on Wednesday night, 30 May 2007, on CBC Radio One, Es will be featured on the show Outfront, with a 15-minute documentary called To My Parents, With Love.

Outfront is described asradio stories about real life. It’s all about your ideas, your experiences, your perspectives, your story. It’s fifteen minutes of storytelling, experimental audio and new ways of making radio. Stories told from Canadian perspectives about the Canadian experience. You won’t hear traditional storytelling, and you won’t hear reporters or hosts. Outfront explores new ways of presenting stories which break the radio mold.”

Outfront is heard Tuesday to Friday on CBC Radio One at 8:43 p.m. (9:13 p.m. NT).  I hope you are able to tune in for Es’s heartfelt love letter to her parents.

Short Videos of Hilarity and Originality, and The Kindness of a Friend

Posted in Friends, Video on January 21st 2007 by Randy Reichardt

.: Various people including Keith and Taras forwarded some of these links to short videos, most of which are on Each is worth a look.

.: Speaking of Keith, he is due some props. Last December, I wrote about my Dell Dimension 4400 freezing and crashing after I connected a 320GB external drive to one of its USB ports. The machine froze because its USB ports, all 1.1, could not handle the Maxtor, designed for USB 2.0 and Firewire connections. It took me a few weeks to recover the data on the hard drive, and get it functional again. A few days subsequent to the blog entry, Keith appeared at my house with a “Christmas card” – a USB 2.0 card, which he proceeded to install in the Dell, giving it four 2.0 USB ports. His generosity and kindness didn’t end there however – knowing that the four new ports would be on the back of the computer, he also brought a USB extension cable, so that I wouldn’t need to turn the computer around every time I wanted to use one of the 2.0 ports. Thank you, Keith, for making my life a wee bit easier.


Posted in Friends on January 10th 2007 by Randy Reichardt

.: Thirty years ago I was in the midst of my first year of library school at the University of Alberta. I lived in residence on campus, in the Lister Hall complex, specifically Henday Hall. Among the many friends I made there was a girl named Sharon Kinakin. We remain friends to this day. After graduation, Sharon returned to Coutts AB, to work at what is know called the Canadian Border Services Agency, where she did customs and immigration work. At some point in time, Sharon met Brad Haugen, a US Immigration officer working at the Sweetgrass MT crossing office; eventually they married. I first met Brad when I visited them both at their home in Sunburst, some seven miles south of the border crossing in Montana. (I always thought it was cool that to get to work, Sharon would drive to the Canadian border crossing, clear Canadian Customs, and then park and go into the same office to work. At the end of her shift, she’d clear US Customs, and drive back to Sunburst.)

I liked Brad, he was friendly and very welcoming, a very nice guy. On a subsequent trip years later to visit them and their two children, Aaron and Jenna, I approached the US Customs crossing in my car and noticed Brad was working the window, with another US Customs officer at his side. He saw me, and asked, “How are you doing today, sir?” I replied something like, “Very well, thank you.” Brad proceeded to ask the necessary questions, such as where do you live, what is your citizenship, where were you born, etc., each of which I answered dutifully. Finally he asked, “And where is your final destination in the United States?”, to which I replied, while trying to hide a smile, “er, your house”, which resulted in a few good laughs all around.

I last saw Brad in May 2005, when I drove from Lethbridge AB to Sunburst to attend their son’s high school graduation. Brad and Sharon had divorced by that time, with Sharon moving back to Milk River AB, in Canada, and the children, Aaron and Jenna, splitting time between them, but everyone remained on good terms. There was a lot of excitment in the house in preparation for the grad ceremony, which went quite well, and afterward there was time for more food, drink, visiting and general merriment. In the post Sept 11 environment, US Customs had become part of the Department of Homeland Security. I noticed that Brad had a small, colourful DHS pin in the house. I mentioned in passing that it would be cool to have one, and he said he would look into it for me. I returned to Lethbridge later in the day, and that evening discovered the pin in one of my jacket pockets. Brad was that kind of a person.

On 31 December 2006, Brad was at Sharon’s house, where they and Aaron and Jenna celebrated New Year’s Eve as a family. On New Year’s Day, Brad suffered a massive stroke, and left this world on Saturday, 06 January 2007. He was 55 years old. It was sudden and unforseen. Sharon wrote to many of us shortly afterwards, and this line resonated in her message:

For those who knew Brad, he was a private and simple man. He was a kind, forgiving man and he loved and adored his children. He was a good son, brother, husband and father.

In a few simple, powerful words, Sharon captured the essence of her former husband and good friend. Brad’s obituary appeared in the Great Falls Tribune; it’s worth the read.

Lexy and Me

Posted in Friends on June 8th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: With SLA over, it’s time for visiting. Tomorrow, I will meet my Dad’s first cousin, Susan, who is coming by the hotel around noon to take me to see her mother, my Great-Auntie Anne, whom I have not seen since probably the late 50s/early 60s. I spent this evening with my dear friend Alexis, who lives in Toronto and is working hard to make it in the entertainment industry (audition after audition…) We went for dinner at a restaurant with a lounge called Lexy, so I had to take a picture of her under the sign. Later we went for drinks at Montana’s, where her friend took a picture of us there. Finally, it was coffee at Starbucks, where she looked up at the CN Tower while we sipped our cuppas.

Alexis is the daughter of an old friend from Winnipeg who has lived in Calgary for many years. I hadn’t seen her since 2001, and we had planned to go for dinner on her 18th birthday in Calgary in February 2002, but a few days before, my 1990 Corolla was written off in the now infamous carport fire at my house. So we celebrated 3.5 years later, and had a great time. She is planning to go to McGill in August to study voice. I am proud of her determination and drive, love her and miss her dearly, and wish her the best of luck – she is a very special and dear friend. She has an amazing voice, and deserves much success after so many years of dedication and hard work honing her singing and acting skills. Watch for her in a soccer commercial, where she plays an Italian woman having shoe problems (or something like that, anyway); currently it’s playing on PPV sports channels in Canada, but may make it to cable soon.

Wasps At The Speed Of Sound

Posted in Friends on April 5th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: Word up: Are you looking for that perfect gift for yourself or a friend/lover/relative who (like yourself) enjoys literate, well-written science fiction, and enjoys supporting local talent? Look no further than my friend Derryl Murphy‘s first release, Wasps At The Speed of Sound. Wasps is the first published collection of eleven of Derryl’s short stories, which he describes as “environmental SF”, many of which I have read already and can attest to the high quality and originality of his writing. The title story is quite imaginative and riveting.

Information on ordering Wasps At The Speed Of Sound is in Derryl’s entry about the book, which is available in hardcover (HC) and trade paperback (TP). I’ll be ordering a copy soon, and encourage you do to so as well. Congratulations, D. And what’s the latest on Napier’s Bones? 🙂


Posted in Film, Friends on March 20th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: Saw William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice on Saturday night. Film versions of Shakespeare plays are usually a bit beyond me, primarily because I haven’t studied the plays, and get lost in the dialogue. Of the few film versions of his plays that I’ve seen, this was the most enjoyable, with great performances from all cast members. The problem I have in any film version of a Shakespeare play is twofold: trying to hear what the characters are saying while simultaneously attempting to process it, or put another way, translate Shakespeare English into the way we speak now. Two factors always work against me: the sound system in the theatre is never top-notch, and the lines delivered by the actors are often done so in the midst of extraneous noise, like music, laughter, or shouting, and the actors’ enunciations are not consistent, nor is the volume used to deliver their lines. Now it’s time to read The Merchant of Venice For Dummies Official Teacher’s Giude, so I can better understand what I saw this evening.

:: Friday night after work I spent three hours with a new friend, and had a lovely time, visiting with her and sharing stories about work, music, ambition, and other things, and testing with my new digital camera on each other. A wonderful way to start the weekend.

:: Today I continued work to purge “stuff” from my house. It will take long hours to do this. In between this lengthy project, renovations are being planned. The carpet on the main floor on my home will be replaced with laminate flooring, with the living room walls being painted beforehand. Friends have said they will help, and I will graciously accept it when provided. I’m also fighting off a minor but quite annoying chest cold. I am tentatively planning a two-day trip to Lethbridge for the Easter weekend.