Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Stick Library Reopens

 I am happy to announce that yesterday, the Stick Librarian reopened the Stick Library here at the corner of Lebreton and Louisa.

7 sticks artfully arranged in the driveway next to a metal bucket with thinner sticks and the "Stick Library" sign with "Welcome Back!" chalked next to a full water dish

The library assistant has been instructed to not add any sticks from the inactive stacks to the lending portion of the library without informing the librarian because she will be carefully tracking the annual statistics this year.

Previously in Stick Library news:

Friday, March 29, 2024

Preparing for Stick Library season

With the upcoming reopening of the Lebreton-Louisa Stick Library, the Stick Librarian was concerned that the branch's stacks were getting low.

Unfortunately for some neighbours, but fortunately for the library patrons, a recent windstorm brought down an old tree and the librarian was able to source replacements that just needed a little work this morning with a pair of loppers and an electric saw.

The urban lumberjack using the loppers to trim the branches
The library assistant/retired urban lumberjack lopping a branch

The urban lumberjack using his electric saw to chop a branch
Sawing a branch

The stick librarian sweeping up after making renewing her stacks of sticks
The Stick Librarian is happy the stacks are ready for a new borrowing season

   Before: a pile of tree branches; After: 3 neat stacks of sticks

Monday, January 29, 2024

My new look

Dave looking shaggy, but at least shavedThings were getting shaggy, so I asked the lovely Manon to give me a trim on Saturday.

Dave trimmed up with the lovely Manon vaccuuming his backShe suggested changing things up from my usual all-over #4 or #6 and instead did the sides with a #2 and left the top alone.

Yes, we've been watching two episodes a night of Peaky Blinders for a couple of weeks and Manon wanted to try giving me a Tommy Shelby.

Arthur and Tommy Shelby

I'm very happy with it, except I feel an inexplicable compulsion to take over someone's bookmaking operation.

[I was thinking this was the first time I've had a TV-inspired haircut, but then I remembered that in 2009, I got an all-over buzz so I could be Mike Holmes for Hallowe'en.]

Friday, December 22, 2023

Sambal Oelek update - I cracked

A big jug of Sambal Oelek with a $34.99 price tag (next to a coffee cup that says "No more Mr. Nice Guy")

If you're a serious Sambal Oelek (fresh chili paste) user like me, you already know that the Huy Fong suspension is over and their Sriracha and Sambal Oelek sauces have been back on store shelves at least since early October.

However, the prices are not great. When I saw a 3.8 litre jug of Sambal Oelek at $34.99, which is almost double the price it used to be, I thought I'd be clever and wait a few weeks for this initial shortage pricing to come down.

But now here it is almost 2024 and the price is still $34.99. This hurts my stingy heart, but it's still a lower price than what I'd spend on hot peppers to make my own, never mind the time it would take and that it's very cold outside and I can't grind chili inside because someone else in the house has an aversion to tear gas.

So today I bought a jug. It's not like I'd get it from anyone as a Christmas present. We're only doing stocking stuffers and this wouldn't fit even in my oversize sock.

The question now is, will I be frugal with the Sambal Oelek and make it last until March? Or will it be gone by late January.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Set your TV recorder: Les Cowboys Fringants

Karl Tremblay in 2020 with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Les Cowboys Fringants en concert avec l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

In 2020, les Cowboys Fringant recorded a performance with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. I was lucky enough to record it on my old PVR, and watched it many times.

The concert is one of the most moving, goose-bump raising performances I've ever seen even though my ability to understand spoken or sung French is very limited.

It will air on CIVM (Channel 69 on Rogers-Ottawa) this week at the following times: 

  • Tuesday, November 28 - 8pm
  • Friday, December 1 - 9pm
  • Saturday, December 2 - 9pm

You should set your recorder. 

The concert will likely also play on the Télé-Québec app.

In Memory of Karl Tremblay

The tragic reason that this concert is being re-aired this week is that Karl Tremblay, the band's lead singer, died from cancer on November 15.

CTV reported:

Tremblay's death has triggered what Quebec Premier Francois Legault described Thursday as an "immense wave of love and sadness" across the province.

The CBC reported that Legault also said that Tremblay is entitled to a national funeral.

Although many Anglo-Canadians weren't familiar with Karl Tremblay and Les Cowboys Fringant, their music is well known and well loved in Québec and all of French Canada.

A teaser for the concert:

The hit that anchored their concert movie L'Amérique pleure:

Saturday, November 04, 2023

How I squeeze a bit more out of Spelling Bee

The Nov 3, 2023 Spelling Bee pattern. "BELIKE" was "Not in word list"

Many of us Wordle players have started playing some of the New York Times other games, like Connections, the Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee.

The dreaded "Solid" screen

A frustration with Spelling Bee is that once you hit SOLID, it kicks you out and only lets you continue if you have a paid subscription.*

The Spelling Bee Grid for Nov 4, 2023

I have found a way to wring a bit more out of the game by getting to NICE, which is one rank higher than SOLID. Here is how I do it:

  1. Click "Hints" to open the "Spelling Bee Forum"
  2. Scroll down to the line that indicates how many POINTS there are (144 today)
  3. Determine the number of points for a "Solid" by taking 15% of the number of POINTS (15% of 144 = 22)
  4. Guess words, being careful to not go over the number of SOLID points by concentrating on shorter words - 4 letter words = 1 point each, longer words = 1 point per letter - particularly avoiding pangrams because they are worth at least 14 points
  5. When close to SOLID, try for the pangram by consulting the Spelling Bee Grid in the Hints.because it shows how many words there are of each length for each starting letter and the pangram has to be at least 7 letters long (Spoiler alert for today - there is a 10-letter word that starts with "B" and there are 12 words that start "BO")
  6. Play a pangram and nothing else, if the pangram is worth at least 10% of the total score, you can make it to NICE and you'll see something like this:
Many people don't think much of "Nice", but apparently it's better than "Solid"


* I'll probably never pay to play games, but Google gave a bunch of us free 3-month subscriptions because we were so good about giving ratings and answering questions in Google Maps. I took advantage of this, but have to admit that getting to Genius on Spelling Bee 90 days in a row meant that a lot of chores did not get done around here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Our Hallowe'en

We have no jack-o-lantern this year, but the sea monsters are back on the window, so we may get a few trick-or-treaters tonight. If there are any leftover mini-chocolate bars, I will just have to buckle down and deal with them.

Sea monster silhouettes on the window with a really scary thing behind them