All posts by Robert Ouimet

Desk Clutter

It’s a long weekend here in Canada, so today’s a chance to catch up on a few things. Happy BC Day!



Since it’s a holiday, I’m clearing the top off the desk. One item that I’m using as a paper weight is my old EDITall block. Back in the day, this was THE tool for audio editors, basically holding the audio tape in place while you sliced through it with a razor blade, lifted out the bit you wanted to get rid of, then literally taped it back together. I used to spend hours and hours cutting tape every week in my job as a producer, and most people who pick up the EDITall block have no idea what it’s for.

flask

Also on my desk is this flask from Alias software, picked up while at VidFest in Vancouver. The Alias gang got mobbed when they handed these out, but they let me have two, one for each of my grade school aged kids. I’m not sure what their teachers thought when they showed up at school sporting these nifty flasks…

Since it’s a holiday, I’m cleaning out piles of files. My satellite radio file has been quiet of late. Very quiet since the CRTC awarded licenses to Sirius and XM. CHUM’s also been given the green light for its terrestrial pay audio network over DAB. Maybe just summer holidays ? There are a number of appeals in the works by groups representing artists in Canada who think the Canadian content impositions are too low. Stay tuned for lots of hype when they roll these out, looking to convince Canadians to pay for broadcast.


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Old is OK.

I’ve got a few thousand negatives, both B&W and colour, from the mid 70’s when I got my first SLR while still in school. The negs are all in acetate sheets, which is good, and I keep hoping I’ll eventually be able to digitize them all. Not much chance of that happening any time soon, but I’m always really gratified when I do a few strips of negs.


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Taken while stopped at a light, downtown Dauphin, Manitoba, circa 1973. On the right is the Grange Cafe, the after-school hang out where you could get a vanilla coke (with real vanilla) and cop a smoke without anyone seeing you. Shot from the driver’s side of my 63 Ford Galaxy 500.

I’m not at all nostalgic about this time in my life, I couldn’t wait to get out of that town. But I do get a kick out of digging through the photos. The ones I enjoy the most are the ones that propel me back to a specific moment, or ones that capture the look & feel of the day.


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I turned 16 in the winter of 1972, and in the spring my dad bought me this car, saying “This is yours. You keep in running, pay for the gas and insurance, and whatever you do, don’t ask me for the keys to my car.” It was a 4 door standard with column shift – about as dorky as you could get. I stuck a huge ball on the end of the shifter, and discovered just how much you could do in the backseat of one of these babies.

This picture of a gas pump is from 1977 I think, on a road trip to California. Filled the tank with 11 US gallons for just under 7 bucks. Yep, that’s 60.9 cents a GALLON for regular gas.


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Below, a couple of shots of me spinning tunes in 1974 at CKDM in Dauphin. By then I was a seasoned pro, having started work there 3 years earlier, just before my 15th birthday. This must have been a country music shift, the 45 I’m looking at is House of Love, a remake by Dottie West.

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Customer of the Week

Claim to fame – I was the “customer of the week” at my local Starbucks in Edgemont Village. Interestingly, my “week” lasted almost 15 days, and since then, they seem to have been unable to proclaim another COTW. Most of my friends figured I was getting free coffee the entire time – not so. The COTW gets 1, count ’em, ONE free coffee out of the deal.

One of the great things about living up here on the ravine – wildlife. Sure we’ve got the obvious black bears, racoons, skunks, etc. But I’m digging the woodpeckers these days. Lately we’ve got a pair of them hammering away at the top of the light standard across the street. It makes a great sound, you can hear it all over the neighbourhood (I’ll try to get it for a podcast). I thought they were just too stupid to know it wasn’t a tree they were hammering on, but apparently they’re just trying to get a date ! I have a cousin in Kamloops who’s house was a favourite target for local woodpeckers. This is apparently quite a common problem. Who knew ?

We’re moving larger and larger files all the time. Many of our clients run into issues with their internal systems, so we’ve started using yousendit.com. I’ve never been all that comfortable moving anything that’s sensitive over third-party servers, but for big graphic and audio files it’s awesome.


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We Be Blogging

Connected with some great folks this week at the SFU new media workshops. I’m always impressed (and humbled frankly) by the people who make time to give back to the community by agreeing to be a guest speaker or panelist.

Now am lighting a fire under the At Large podCast and PSPcast. Time is always the challenge – but there’s no good excuse for not doing it. In the words of Iain Ross, “Stand by to Stand by.”

More indie film work for Garnet. He had his screen debut earlier this year in 24/7 that was part of the Crazy 8’s festival in Vancouver. He’s booked another short that shoots over the next couple of weeks. Interesting “how I spent my summer vacation” story when he heads to grade 3 this fall.


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