Sunday, March 27, 2011

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Have I discovered a time machine?

It would appear that my spare room storage is really a time capsule. Amongst all and sundry, I found one of my Aunt's photo albums.

Yes, indeedy.

It's one of those old-school albums that has the peel-back plastic and low-tack glue designed to hold your prized photographs in place.

On the back page my Aunt kept our school photos over the years. They were awkward to scan, but when I tried to remove the photos to lay them out on the scanner bed individually, I discovered that 1970s low-tack glue - over time - becomes New Millennium Super Glue. As cropped and weird as the scans look, here's a glimpse into not only my past, but my sister's past as well.

Hee hee... not sure what I'm going hear about leaking her photos...

Turtle Guy Evolves. If you compare the first photo, taken in Kindergarten (c. 1975) to the photo currently on the sidebar of the blog (c. 2010), you'll note I no longer use binding tape to hold my glasses together. Quite an accomplishment.

Turtle's Sister. The photo sequence is far more complete, ranging from K-12. The time period however (c. 1973 - 1985) corresponds.

So from photos of childhood beginnings to school-day computers unearthed to long-lost lighter 5-packs, it's been an enlightening, if not entertaining weekend... not to mention educational.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Have I discovered a time machine?


Saturday, March 26, 2011

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Is it good that I kept all this stuff?

Further to yesterday's post, I've been blasting through the bedroom/storage room (or should I say, "dumping ground"). The process has culminated in stuff being strewn throughout the house in an attempt to sort it all out. When I was wee, Mom and Dad used to say I'd make a bigger mess "cleaning up" than the mess I'd started with.

Organization has been my nemesis. I've always felt it takes so much time to "get organized", I tend to shortcut. It's a double-edged sword of sorts because I waste more time, energy and frustration looking for stuff I've laid out just any-old-where. I admire, nay am jealous of those who can seemingly go through life highly organized.

At 41, and after having cleaned out my parent's house in 2005, I've slowly (like... 6-years-slowly) come around to believing that less is more. Mom and Dad kept everything. It was a function of the times in which they'd grown up - through the 1930s. Here I've recently lived through a fairly deep recession, and yet the only thing I truly feel like collecting now is money.

Money doesn't clutter your space and make your house all messy. would be interesting to see what it would look like.

My digging and sorting endeavours have yielded a long-lost 5-pack of Bic lighters that I'd bought ages ago since I find matches so messy. I picked up the habit (of carrying lighters, not smoking!) from my friend Dave B. who would take them camping. It seemed so convenient, I caught the habit. Sadly, along with my habit of tossing stuff here and there, I'd lost the whole 5-pack! (behind the dresser, on the floor)

The creme-de-la-creme of my finds this morning was an unopened (up until about 30 minutes ago) bottle of Irish Creme. I'd bought it to take to Christmas Morning breakfast at my sister's, thought it got lost in the van, and found it today in a bag of goodies I'd swept up from the van and simply tossed into the store room.

Are you getting the picture of my nasty little habit?

My friend Norm told me years ago,

"If you have less stuff, it takes less energy and effort to keep it organized." (1998)

See how I jumped right on it and got organized right away?

A/C commented on the last post,

"An Apple IIC. Really?"

Yup, I've been hoarding a realack of a computer, in a box, complete with software and all the cool games - not on display and hooked up ready to enjoy... simply packed away and stuffed into a spare room.

So, QUESTION OF THE DAY: Is it good that I kept all this stuff?

Who knows.

I've got most of the floor cleared away so I'm going to move my sorting table from the living room into that bedroom and finish up my taxes this weekend.

Perhaps another Irish Cream first, though.

Friday, March 25, 2011

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Who made the rule that says we have to keep stuff??

I'm taking a break from cleaning out the "spare" bedroom - the one I've used over the years as a Master, a yoga room and most recently a catch-all storage room for - well, to be honest - just stuff. It's full of stuff that I've felt should be kept, but never bothered to sort. Makes me wonder if I really need it all anyway?

I've given it a good three hours tonight and I'm exhausted, but determined. I'm going to bang away at it until it's clear. I really need a place to put all the stuff that I want to throw out. I've felt for a couple years that perhaps an industrial dumpster might be handy.

Moreover, what do I do with the stuff I want to keep? For instance, I came across a box FULL of snap photos dating back to the 90s. I've never bothered to album them up, so do they really matter? My Apple IIc and all it's accessories... boxed, but it might go well with my "vintage" theme. Alas, I have no place for it.

So the sorting and pondering will continue tonight until I drop.

It begs the question that is also tonight's title: "Who made the rule that says we have to keep stuff??"

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Celebrating 41 Venice Style - a very long post

The first birthday I had in the blogosphere was in 2006. I had celebrated nine days early with tickets to see Bryan Adams at the Saddledome.

In 2007 I spent the day at the pottery studio, according to the blog post, " making a mess of myself".

In 2008 I reflected on how much I admire those with drive and ambition to accomplish their dreams.

In 2009 I observed Viagra being advertised at an all-ages hockey game.

In 2010 I was on the ferry between Naniamo and Vancouver. It was the year of the delectable coconut cream pie adventures - not to mention... my big 4-0.

This year was different, yet again.

Back in October I noticed that a very nice mixing console was "on sale", of sorts, at Axe where my industry friend Dwayne works. When a showroom piece has been on display for a year or longer, it goes into what they call the Dutch Auction. The retail price is reduced by 5% each week, until it sells.

I got excited. Not just... excited, but ecstatically excited. You see, in the world of professional audio there are all different grades of equipment. The world in which I live, professionally, is commonly served by "mid-market" equipment; that is, equipment priced in the middle of the market. It's commercial grade stuff that's acceptably reliable, sounds great and is priced suitably; not inexpensive, and not out-of-this-world unattainable. The console that went on sale is leaps and bounds above mid-market.

Most people I know drive a car of some description. To draw a parallel, the mid-market equipment I speak of (Mackie, Numark, Tascam, Soundcraft) is really great stuff, comparable to a Honda, Toyota or Nissan. The low end equipment (Behringer, Gemeni, Peavey) is great for those who want to get their feet wet in the pro end of things without spending a lot of money. My experience with these low-end products however, has been quite literally equipment failure BEFORE the expiration of the warranty period. After a horrific experience last July I will NEVER again purchase a Behringer product, and after a very frustrating system installation in January using Peavey product, I will likely never again buy it either. This is equipment comparable to a Ford Pinto: it blows up if you bump it.

Now... the BMW or Mercedes of mixing consoles, at the top of the market is Midas. They're designed in Britain, not the U.S., built in Germany, not China. The board on sale was their entry level 28-channel Venice. Not many people in the Calgary market own one, mostly based on price. You see, a mid-market board with its features is relatively affordable and reasonably reliable.

A Midas will do what every other mixing console on the planet will do, but it does it with finesse. It's like the difference between a Mac and a PC. PCs work great, they're affordable and somewhat reliable. Macs do much the same thing, are generally more reliable but have all the little operational refinements that make them a simple joy to operate.

I'm sure if Mac were to build a mixing console, it would be a Midas.

I've been harping on about price, so perhaps I should clarify something: I normally wouldn't look at a Midas. It's WAY out of my price range. In need of a console, I would naturally look at a comparable Mackie. I have the utmost respect for Mackie - they're an amazing mixer.


Back in October, I started dreaming about the Midas when I saw it could possibly be within my grasp. I consulted Dwayne who was excited to see my interest. Of course, in October the price had barely moved. The big orange tag had only a couple entries reflecting a price I still could not justify, let alone afford. As the weeks went by, Dwayne too became more and more excited for me.

I decided, for the sake of my sanity, that I wouldn't get too excited about it for fear that someone could walk in at any time and grab it from under my nose. I told Dwayne that I would play the "Midas Lottery". I would set a date, far into the future, and IF it were still available, I would buy it on that date.

I decided on my birthday at the end of January

Come January, I could hardly contain my excitement at the prospect: it was still in the showroom!

Come my birthday, it was sitting there, simply waiting for me to bundle it up and take it home! For the months of anticipation, and a little of Dwayne's "encouragement", we felt an official photo was in order.


After one of the other salesmen snapped the photo for us, I jokingly (but not really) asked Dwayne if, because it was my birthday, the $250.00 steel stand it was sitting on would be included...

His words?

"Uh... not today."

We returned to Dwayne's office to complete the paperwork and to figure out just how much I'd saved. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $6502.84. (A comparable Mackie (the Honda) is $2400.00, a comparable Behringer (the Pinto) is $1100.00. I won't tell you what I paid for it, but I realized the other day that it cost me less than moving a girlfriend across the country.

While we sat and congratulated ourselves on the results of our combined efforts, the fellow who took the photo returned to Dwayne's office. Dwayne excused himself briefly only to return with a big grin on his face:

"The stand, my boy, is yours!", he said.

"Um... for why?", I inquired.

It turned out that the stand had come with the board as part of the display promotion. It didn't exist on the store's inventory, therefore it was to go with the console.

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...

Further celebration continued at the pottery studio that night. As luck would have it, they decided to have a pot luck supper that very evening. I took a bottle of scotch (don't think I didn't have one with Dwayne first, though!) to celebrate.



Sadly, a road case wasn't included in the the deal, so I went shopping. An eBay deal out of British Columbia got me a case designed for a Mackie, but the Midas fit... at the Behringer price! The day the case arrived by Fed-Ex, I snapped a few pics:

Oh, and one more thing: Dwayne dropped a bombshell on me that day. Apparently, and it pains me to publish this, Behringer has bought Midas.


It turns out I bought from the last generation of Midas boards before the buyout. My friend Sharon would say,

"Happy Claps!!"

I figure the sale is going to run the quality of the Midas into the ground, but Dwayne says it may just raise the quality standard of the Behringer product. With the 25th anniversary of my company fast approaching, the Midas represents in my world, an increase in the quality standard of what we will be doing.

One night last month I couldn't sleep, so i got up and tinkered away at the Mac. I created this, which I circulated to my industry friends with the tag, "Sad really, the irony."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Request to blog

I'm a tired Turtle.

Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you there was nothing like a good night's sleep to make the world a brighter place?

They weren't kidding; they were actually serious, and for good reason:

It's true.

I went to lunch with my Mom last Tuesday because when she has a day off from her regular weekly yoga, she likes to sample the ethnic food theme days in the cafe. Last week they tried to pass off frozen mixed veg, as Vietnamese stirfry and plain white rice as Jasmine. The chicken skewers were tasty, but I didn't know that skewers were a Vietnamese thing. We both agreed that the meal was somewhat less than stellar, but what stood out in my mind was my mood - also less than stellar.

I was irritable, grumpy and generally no fun to be around. It might have been a good time to suggest a different day for a visit, however I knew Mom really wanted to go to the cafe lunch because even at its worst, it's better than the assembly line, no-flavour-added "chicken-or-beef-selection" they get in the dining room on their floor. The "sameness" of it all I think gets to her after a while.

Today her yoga instructor was off, so with yoga class cancelled she could stay in and enjoy another Tuesday lunch in the cafe. She invited me - kind of her since I was such a barrel of laughs LAST week - so I joined her for a Greek repass.

You know what?

It was bordering on phenomenal! Albeit, no feta cheese OR black olives in the Greek salad... nevertheless, it was good and Mom went wide-eyed over the "warm Greek potatoes" and Lemon Fish while I savoured the chicken pita wrap.

I've been spending the last while sorting out my year end, preparing for my accountant her requested 12 envelopes of financial fun. The dollars picture around here is still not back to sparkly, and that being the case, I anticipate a GST refund, perhaps enough to say... cover the accounting bill?

The other day I said to the teller at the bank,

"I'd like a year where my taxes go through the roof... only because it would mean I've made a TON of money!"

We laughed because we both knew that's not the ONLY way one's taxes might go through the roof. Wishful thinking though.

Last weekend was harried. I arrived at Sunday feeling beat down, exhausted, burnt out and overworked. Even though I was doing what I love to do, I over-did it.

One event on Saturday that contributed to my tiredness, but was quite enjoyable was the annual Baiden Powell Dinner for the 38th Scouts of which my middle niece is one. In fact, not only was she decorated with her Religion In Life badge, she also graduated from Cubs to Scouts.

My friend Matt (the fellow who helped me refinish my hardwood floors here) and who's famous in my circle of blogging buddies for his dislike of raisin pie (the story here), was at the dinner. His Dad, Lorne, is a fire chief in Calgary and is also involved quite actively with the Rover company. He gave a talk on water rescue in the Calgary area which included a 5 minute department video.

I ended Saturday on a really pleasant note. My last pickup of the evening was at the Alberta Wilderness Association's Music For the Wild. I supply the sound system for this quarterly event. This month, Jim McLennan played amazing guitar tunes: many of his own works plus lots of familiar favourites.

It's been a chilly time here too. Today was -37C if you take into account the windchill factor. Here we are at the beginning of March, and for the last number of weeks folks around here have been grumpy. Yours truly, no exception. I think it may have contributed to a number of road incidents I've witnessed too.

Yesterday I went down to Okotoks to drop off an order for the school and was greeted with this as I reached the top of the Glenmore overpass:

On my return from the bank around 9:00 this morning, I drove by my friend Sharon's parent's house, not two blocks from my own and saw a car "parked" on their front lawn. At first I literally thought it was intentional: it was dead-straight, and the driver appeared to simply be sitting in the car as if she were waiting for someone to come out of the house for a ride. When I slowed down to realize that she was indeed stuck, I stopped, got out and told her I'd run home and grab a tow rope and a shovel to help. On my return there was a fellow towing her car out with his truck. When I inquired with Sharon via email (she's my friend in the Vancouver area) if she'd heard from her parents about it, she said it was a result of "doing donuts in the intersection". Funny - the girl seemed really rather embarrassed and said,

"Do you think I should leave them a note? ...I really feel like I should go home and start this day all over again!"

Additionally, I found out via Facebook that my friend Sarah had been rear ended today - the second time in four months. Her car is likely written off, but she's OK aside from a headache and stiff from head to toe.

I do have some happier news - what should have been blogged about in late January alas, I've been remiss in my blogging duties. You can thank my sister for putting in a "request to blog" It seems that's how she keeps tabs on her Turtle brother. She's a "lurker". (I KNOW I'm going to get a call about THAT one!)

Tune in tomorrow for how I celebrated my birthday "Venice Style"!

Until then, keep warm and cheerful.

About Me

My photo
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.