gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for June 2009

Eat. Sleep. Ring.

June 06, 2009 @ 19:18 By: gordon Category: Handbells

Ring To The World, the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers‘ biennial handbell festival has been taking place at Carleton University the last couple of days. This is the second time in recent history it’s been held in Ottawa and this is the fourth or fifth Festival I’ve gone to in the almost 30 years I’ve been ringing bells.

There have been workshops on all sorts of things related to handbells from sessions for beginners to workshops on techniques such as four-in-hand to solo ringing to conducting to composing. There was even a workshop on the ergonomics of ringing. I signed up for a number of workshops, but I only ended up going to three of them. One was on change ringing, another was sight-reading some new music and the other was on advanced conducting techniques.

In addition to the workshops, there are a number of festival choirs, split up by the level of experience of the ringers and the difficulty of the music. The bell choir I usually ring with is in the bronze level, which is the highest level of the larger groups. I’m also ringing in the gold choir, which is doing a pair of quite challenging pieces. Adding to the challenge is the fact that the person leading the gold choir (and the bronze choir, too) is Tim Waugh, who wrote a number of the pieces.

Because the gold choir is made up of people from all over this is the first time many of them have played the pieces. (My regular choir had copies of the music so we ran through it a couple of times prior to Festival.) Thus, I’ve been doing a lot of ringing. Thursday evening, we rehersed for a couple of hours. Friday, I rang for about 6.5 hours, including the workshops. Today, I’ve rung for about 5 hours so far and the final concert is to come. So, I’ve been through the ringer. (Pun intended — substitute your own bell joke if you don’t like it.)

But there’s been more than ringing. After the practice yesterday evening, there were some step dancers who did some amazing tap dancing.

And then the Maria Hawkins Band was introduced. Maria Hawkins has visited a lot of schools over the years in support of an anti-bullying campaign. She’s also performed with a number of famous artists, too.

So, she started singing and interacting with the audience and at one point she said she needed an A. Well, someone grabbed an A off one of the tables. Then she said she also needed a C and a couple of other notes, so I went and grabbed a C5 while other people grabbed other notes. And then we jammed on Mustang Sally and some other songs. And we rocked!

I bet that’s the first time someone’s jammed with a D3 bell!

It’s about 20 minutes to showtime, so I’m going to post this and then start getting ready for yet more ringing.

On deporting Mikhail Lennikov

June 02, 2009 @ 17:01 By: gordon Category: In the news

Mikhail Lennikov, his wife and son have been living in Canada for the last twelve years. Before coming to Canada, he worked as a low-level translator for the KGB (which was disbanded in the mid-1980s) for five years, which probably isn’t as big of a deal as it sounds. Lots of people worked for the KGB as translators and agents, many of them involuntarily. His wife and son were granted permanent residency on “humanitarian and compassionate grounds” earlier this year, but that apparently does not extend to Mikhail.

Lennikov has been deemed a security risk according to a CBC report and is scheduled to be deported on June 3rd. He appealed to the courts to overturn the Minister of Public Safety‘s decision, but that was denied. Now, he has claimed sanctuary in a Vancouver church in order to avoid deportation. He fears being arrested and charged with treason should be be returned to Russia, something the judge decided was not well-founded.

The questions I have are these: If he really is a threat to national security, why was he even allowed into the country in the first place? Presumably he underwent some sort of background check when he first applied for permission to stay in Canada and whatever was found was not determined to be a reason to exclude him at that time.

And if he is returned to Russia but his wife and son remain behind, is the risk any less? Could not his family be coerced into spying for whichever organization has replaced the KGB by telling them that he’ll be arrested/disappeared if they don’t do as they’re told? Finally, he’s been in the news lately, so it’s not like he has a low-profile, so presumably any risk he posed has been significantly attenuated.

The way to deal with this is to allow him to stay, assuming he hasn’t been engaging in illegal activities, and simply deny him a security clearance if he applies for a job that needs one. And if the screening system is really broken, then fix it so that this problem doesn’t happen again in the future.

Canada has allowed much more undesireable individuals to stay in the country, so I really don’t see the point of deporting this person who doesn’t seem to be “undesireable,” at least based on the reports in the media.

D-Link DIR-655 upgrade annoyance

June 02, 2009 @ 02:14 By: gordon Category: Gadgets, General

I decided to upgrade the firmware on my D-Link DIR-655 router this evening. I downloaded the latest firmware from D-Link’s website and reviewed the instructions. Basically, they said to make a backup of the settings, upload the new firmware to it, connect to the web interface after it rebooted and then restore the settings. Sounded simple.

Of course, my experience was slightly different.