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Shout Out

Posted in House on October 28th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: My thanks for Geoff, who visited this morning and worked for four hours, installing laminate flooring in the front and hall closets, followed by moulding (baseboards) in the same areas as well as in the downstairs bathroom.  I stayed out of the way as he used his mitre saw and airnailer to complete the tasks at hand.  Such skills are ones I lack, and I am very grateful to have friends as kind and generous as Heavy G.

.: It has been snowing here all day – always a bad sign for me when this happens before Hallowe’en.  I can only hope it melts in early November.  Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight, if you live in (most parts of) North America.


Posted in Family, House on April 10th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: Last Saturday I took my mountain bike to United Cycle for a spring tune-up. In addition, the bike will get a new seat, handlebars called monkeybars, which are raised up a bit (easier on the lower back), and a new lock. It will be ready on April 18th. Earlier in the week, my dishwasher left this mortal coil, and a new one was delivered and installed on Friday, and works nicely. Thank God my income tax refund arrived just before its demise.

On Saturday I’m going to Calgary, to join my parents, who are flying there on Thursday. My brother Chris turns 50 on Easter Sunday, and we will celebrate with a nice Easter brunch, and a visit. Later in the day I will drive back to Edmonton with my folks, who will visit for three more days before returning to Winnipeg.

Dishwasher Heaven

Posted in House, Web 2.0 on April 2nd 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: A few days ago my dishwasher conked out. It is at least 14 years old, and probably not worth repairing (again.) So I went to Sears Home today, and purchased a new one. It is scheduled to be delivered and installed on Friday.

.: A few sites of interest:

  • Web 2.0 Awards – while I am already tired of the phrase “Web 2.0“, it is here to stay, and serves to describe the evolution from the early, platform-based web to the current version, wherein the user creates content online, using web-based products rather than the desktop. Included in this are blogs, wikis, bookmarkings, mapping, RSS, web development and design, peer-to-peer networks, music, and much more. SOEmoz, a company in Seattle, created the awards:

    It seems clear that Web 2.0 has caught the attention of entrepreneurs and pundits alike, so we set out to see what the meme had to offer: first to collect, then to classify, and finally to calculate the best of the best. We surveyed over 300 sites and sorted them into more than 30 categories. Then, from the biggest categories we selected the top three projects and ranked them based on their usability, usefulness, social aspects, interface & design, and content quality.

    The short version of the awards is here. What’s great about this project is that you can check a site of interest, learn why it is what it is, and decide whether or not to pursue it yourself.

  • Unnecessary Censorship – a weekly bit from the Jimmy Kimmel, this one highlighting the Super Bowl; very funny stuff.
  • The 9-11 Truth Movement – an article from a recent Village Voice. Don’t know what to make of this. Conspiracy theorists eat this stuff up all the time. But who knows?
  • How to Subscribe to TV Shows Using The Democracy Player, Bittorrent, and RSS
  • This Starbucks commercial has been running in the States for some time, but hasn’t played in Canada. It is brilliant and side-splittingly funny.

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 pice de rsistance, 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.

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.