gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for May 2008

Steering the Algonquin College Singapore Slings

May 14, 2008 @ 06:58 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats

Once again this year, I am steering a dragon boat in the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival for the Algonquin College Singapore Slings.  And like the other teams in the festival, we’re taking part in the pledge challenge raising money that will go to support the charities selected by the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation.

If you’d like to help my team reach its pledge target and thus help the various charities selected by the ODBF, please consider clicking on the link at the top of the right column, or clicking here, and sponsoring me.  All donations of $20 or more automatically receive a tax receipt and you can request one for donations of less than $20.

Many thanks for reading this and thinking about it.  And a special thank you if you do sponsor me. 🙂

Grand Choeur Dialogue for handbells

May 13, 2008 @ 08:59 By: gordon Category: Handbells, Music

At the “Bells In Spring” handbell concert held the first weekend in May at Rideau Park United Church, I had the unique privilege of conducting the world premiere performance of Kevin McChesney‘s arrangement of Grand Choeur Dialogue by Eugène Gigout that had been specially commissioned by the ringers and friends of the bell choirs for our director, Marcia. There were two bell choirs, a pipe organ, timpani and cymbals.

I contacted Kevin last fall and said we wanted to commission a “Big” piece of music in recognition of all the time Marcia devotes to the bells that would take advantage of the two bell choirs and organ at Rideau Park. Almost immediately, he suggested an organ piece called Grand Choeur Dialogué by a French composer named Eugène Gigout. I listened to a version of it available on iTunes and gave him the go-ahead. A few weeks later I received an email with complete arrangements for 3- and 4-7 octave handbell choirs, organ, 5-piece brass, timpani and cymbals. (I thought it would take a couple of months, at least!)

The piece itself is basically a conversation between the two bell choirs and the organ. It starts off with the first bell choir playing for a few bars. The second bell choir and the organ respond supported by the timpani and cymbals. The first choir replies with a slight variation and so on. There’s an organ solo in the middle of the piece after which both choirs play together for most of the rest of the piece. The end of the piece is a big grand finale with the bells, organ and cymbals all playing together.

We gave the cover page to Marcia at Christmas with the title, composer, arranger and all other identifying information removed and told her we’d be performing it at the concert in the spring. Starting in January, we chased Marcia out of the weekly practices promptly at 8:30pm and practiced it for about an hour.

It was worth it because we rocked. I don’t think I’ve ever heard our choirs sound better than we did that evening. Special thanks to Maxime Philippe and Andrew Harris for playing the timpani and cymbals that added so much to the piece.

And, of course, thanks to Marcia for the staggering amount of time she devotes to the bells.

New picture

May 13, 2008 @ 01:36 By: gordon Category: Meta, Photography

I’ve updated the header picture with one I took this past weekend of the lighthouse on the breakwater protecting the Nepean Sailing Club’s harbour, CAN-1352 on the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society‘s World List of Lights.

For the curious, the previous picture (seen below) was taken in 2004 on the Noire River in Quebec near the Noire 5050 geocache (GC7C99).


Things to avoid when at a job interview

May 12, 2008 @ 12:24 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

CNN’s coverage of the CareerBuilder.com annual survey of worst job interview mistakes made me reminisce about job interviews I’ve done over the years, from both sides of the table and I’m happy to report that, as far as I know, I haven’t done any of the don’ts on their list. I know a couple of people looking to change jobs, which means they’ll have to go through the interview process at some point. Hopefully they won’t do any of the following things that were reported in the survey results:

  • Ask the interviewer for a ride home after the interview
  • Smell their armpits on the way into the interview room
  • Tell the interviewer they were fired from their last job because they beat up their boss. (You have to wonder how long that last interview went on for.)

But, my favourites are probably these two:

  • Flush the toilet during a phone interview
  • Answering their cell phone during the interview and asking the interviewer to leave the room because it was a “private” conversation

You wouldn’t think you’d actually have to tell someone either of those were inappropriate, eh?

Windows Live Writer

May 10, 2008 @ 06:05 By: gordon Category: Gadgets, Meta

A Lifehacker article talks about the top 10 tools to help with blogging.  It lists things like tools to help you cut and paste, Google Alerts to help you find things to write about and things like that.  But it doesn’t actually talk about any editing tools, in particular Windows Live Writer.

My friend Rob tipped me off to Windows Live Writer a few months ago.  I was a little skeptical, but tried it out anyway.  I haven’t look back since.

Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer is probably the single most useful program I’ve downloaded off the Internet in quite some time.  It’s a free program that allows you to create and edit blog entries offline for most of the major blog systems out there.  But it’s not some cheesy kludge — it’s a full-featured rich-content editor.  You can create a list of frequency used links that you can easily insert into an entry and plug-ins you can add to give you extra formatting and other options.  One I use allows me to insert pre-formatted source code and add line numbers and alternating shading.

There are even instructions out there to show you how to create a stand-alone version you can install on a USB flash drive so you can use it anywhere without having to install it anew.  Very cool.

Not even over my dead body! Please!

May 09, 2008 @ 18:58 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

The Globe and Mail had a story this morning about the next latest-and-greatest way of disposing those pesky corpses: gooification alkaline hydrolysis. Basically, you take a large pressure cooker, add some lye and a corpse, and heat it up under 60 pounds per square inch and wait. In no time at all, you’ll have a big pot o’ brown goo that used to be the dearly departed.

Seriously. I don’t need to make this stuff up!


Busy busy busy

May 06, 2008 @ 23:30 By: gordon Category: General

I’ve been rather busy lately.  For example,…

Saturday, I had to get up unreasonably early (for a Saturday) and move my car out of the parking garage because it was being cleaned.  Then I headed off to meet up with the rest of my dragonboat team for our first practice of the season.  After the practice I headed down to Mallorytown to replace the container for one of my geocaches (GC6009).  It was about three and a half years old and was no longer watertight.  After replacing it, I logged a nearby cache (GC14V4P) before heading back to Ottawa.

Sunday, I got up early because I was playing bells at church in the morning.  Afterwards, I went out to brunch with my parents and then headed off to do a little shopping before stopping by the Parkdale Market en route to the church for the final rehearsals for our end of season concert later that evening.  The concert was a lot of fun and we sounded great.  More about the concert in a future entry.

Monday, I got up even earlier so I could make it down to the Congress Centre to attend Day 1 of the Socio-economic Conference.  In fact, I presented a paper on home heating behaviours in Canadian homes I’ve been working on for the last few months.  I’m happy to report that the presentation went well. 🙂

Today (Tuesday), I got up early again and headed back to the Congress Centre for Day 2 of the conference.  After the conference, I headed home, grabbed my stuff and headed out for another dragonboat practice.  We had almost a full boat for the practice, which is always a bonus considering there’s 22 people in the boat, plus our coach.  Afterwards, we headed to a local restaurant for a bite to eat.

No wonder I’m tired.  At least I don’t have to get up quite so early tomorrow…