500 Posts

The past 20 months have felt like a century. The past 100 postings have covered topics from
Hide-n-Seek to 4-year-old logic
Rio Dulce to Prince Edward Island to Vancouver
Barack Obama to Ed Stelmach to nearly a Coalition Government
Audi A4 to Greyhound to Bike Day
Commuting to school to a 3800 km trek to back country driving in Guatemala
Leonard Cohen live to Stuart McLean live to U2 live
Revisiting a crosscontinental bike trip to Pugwash after 15 years
Wordles to SweetHome3D to zip.ca
Raffi Cavoukian to Neko Case to Jon Foreman
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary to la Plage de L'Aboiteau to la Planta Hidroeléctrica Chixoy
iMac to the iPod Touch to a Nikon D90
Salomé's cakes to berries to Spring Brook Farm
NHL Hockey to Beijing Olympics to local boxing
Don't Fear the Reaper to Six Feet Under to Uncle Wolf's passing
Shane's wedding to dates with Amber to a wedding anniversary
Just Wages to Alberta violence to people group name use by corporations
Ginger beer to NB wines to water
LifeTouch Photography to Justin Jeffery Photography
Calgary Zoo to New Hope Church to Bearspaw Christian School Volleyball
Microfinance to financial stress to body cleansing
Getting my car stereo online to a dead battery to getting into my gas tank
Top R.E.M. songs to a new song by Charlie Winston to the Weepies
Thanks for reading everyone!

Premier Stelmach makes a point

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach just hired a new director of communications for the Alberta government. When asked about how it would be different, he replied:
"Umm, it'll be better. Uh, better. It'll be better."
Well said, sir.


My Bedroom Office

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we've had occupants in our basement since October, so I was compelled to move my office to my bedroom. What is great is that I prefer my office in my bedroom - it's warmer, it has more light, and I can watch movies/TV shows in bed with my handy Apple Remote.

This past weekend I decided to bring up the last piece of furniture: a large 5X5 foot shelf in which I house my shrine to the Lord of the Rings, blank media, books and file folders of official stuff. I wanted to ensure that our bedroom wouldn't be too cluttered and to see if a different arrangement of the furniture would suit the room better, so I recreated the room and all the furniture in SweetHome3D - a super freeware application.

After meeting Amber's approval, we moved the shelf upstairs and all of its contents and it looks a lot like SweetHome3D predicted:


Locked Out of My Own Gas Tank

A week and a half ago, I pulled into a gas station to fill up and discovered that the little door that covers the gas cap was locked and I had no way of opening it. It is supposed to unlock with the doors and if the key is out of the ignition. I was frustrated, but only until it opened at a gas station closer to our home.

Then I forgot about it.

Until last night when I tried to fill up again and the same thing happened. I got back into the car and hoped it would open at the 7-11 by our house. Still nothing. Oh well, 1/8 of a tank left. It will work in the morning, right?

Except today it wouldn't open either. When I got home from work I proceeded to seek a solution. A friend at work suggested that it was probably just a fuse, so that's where I looked first.

I finally found the fuse box under a panel, left of the steering wheel. None of the fuses were marked as "fuel door lock," so I had to get my Haynes car manual out. I sought out some kind of reference to this pesky problem and finally found it in Chapter 12: Chassis Electrical System as a part of the electrical diagram as "Fuel Tank Door Unlock Switch" and as a Motor on the grid.

Seeing as how everything else on that particular fuse works well, and the fact that the fuse was fine, it clearly was a problem with the switch or the motor.

I am not interested in spending hours on my own or hundreds of dollars at the dealership just to regain access to my gas tank. Plus, who on earth still syphons gas out of cars these days?

So, I broke in. Blaise even offered to be an accomplice by holding the flashlight.

See that little nub in the middle there, that's what I cut off with my Swiss Army Knife. (I love those knives!)

Kyle: 2 for 2

Last Saturday night, I went to Teofista Boxing Club to watch some boxing matches. In particular, I went to see Kyle fight his second fight. Kyle is my sister-in-law's boyfriend and they, along with their baby, have been wintering with us since October. Kyle's first match was earlier this winter and he won in the first round.

This one was no different. His opponent came out strong, but then Kyle went 1 - 2 - 3 and that was it. The ref called the match over because his opponent didn't recover fast enough.

The whole event was really fascinating. There were maybe 200 people there and about 10 match-ups - half of them were exhibition and the headlining heavy weight fight was cancelled because one of the fighters was in jail. There were even ring girls who hoisted cardboard signs reading "Round 2" and "Round 3." It's a whole culture I had never explored before.

So, congratulations Kyle on a spotless record.


Excitement in the Robichaud Home

Yesterday, I purchased an upper-end used vacuum cleaner at a local independent vacuum cleaner store and repair shop. Michael the Romanian made me a pitch I couldn't refuse since my wife was expecting something because we have guests coming today and our old cheapo piece of junk Bissell conked out a week and a half ago.

So, I bought this used Electrolux Ambassador. What I like about it? It's older and sturdier than most everything the same price. And it sucks. Hard.

Top 2009 Movies

Considering I only saw 16 movies that were released in 2009, my pool of top movies is smaller than I wish - especially concerning foreign language films (which are often released later locally). Anyway, here is my list:

7. Fantastic Mr. Fox : both classic Roald Dahl and Wes Anderson
6. 500 Days of Summer : great comedy and hip pathos
5. The Informant! : superb inner dialogue with a sensational plot twist
4. District 9 : witty, gritty and original alien movie
3. The Road : one of the best book adaptations I've seen
2. Up in the Air : a grounding picture for our culture
1. Where the Wild Things Are : visually stunning and emotionally draining

Some that I am still looking forward to seeing: A Single Man, A Serious Man, The Lovely Bones, The Hurt Locker, Nine, Crazy Heart, Brothers, An Education, Invictus, Taking Woodstock, Coco Avant Chanel, and Amreeka.