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Randsco News

It takes time to create blog entries and not everything that happens, merits an entry. So, we've created this 'news' section, to keep readers up-to-date with our misadventures and accomplishments. Read about it here FIRST, before it makes it into a blog entry.

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New Year Speed

January 5th, 2012  · stk

NewsBrief: [Need for Speed] We're in the middle of revamping our website so that it's much speedier to access (links to tools & techniques) • [Happy New Year] What's planned for 2012 (besides finishing a myriad of projects)?

Need for Speed

Maidenhead, England - Those who follow Randsco.com know that news has been slow-coming during 2011. In an effort to get 2012 off to a good start, we've been busy working behind-the-scenes. One of the areas of focus over the past few days has been website page speed. You can say, "We've felt a need - for speed!"

Ironically, this blog hails not from Canada, but from England (randsco.com is currently hosted on an Apache server in Maidenhead, a tad west of London). Hopping over the pond - even electronically - isn't the fastest connection, but thankfully, electrons move quickly! The server location speaks more to economy, than speed (read: We're lucky and are currently hosted for free).

Despite the electronic distance, there's still lots we can do to help speed up our website. This past week, we've been busy learning about all these nifty things ... and putting many into action. Here's the big list:

We've also found some nifty tools that help to evaluate page load speed. We use Pingdom to monitor server uptime. We learned they also offer a free tool for testing the load time of a web page (includes a waterfall diagram, performance grade, page analysis & keeps a history chart).

Another good tool is Site Load Test. This no-nonsense tool quickly shows areas that can be improved, to make websites load faster (identifies potential savings from minify'ing CSS, JavaScript and combining small images to make CSS sprites ... reducing the number of server calls).

All good stuff and part of our commitment to positive visitor experience. (We ALL hate slow-loading websites!)

Randsco.com ... it's a work "in-progress", eh?

Happy New Year!

Hutton House - We want to wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012!

On that note, we took stock of our own situation right after the new year. Alex and Scott started the New Year by being sick! Joy.

Scott also quickly realized that he started off the New Year behind on most everything. (Rachel might say he started it of as a "big behind", but I digress).

The list of Scott's unfinished projects is long:

  • Rental trailer renovations
  • Chicken coop renovation
  • Pumphouse reno
  • Kitchen reno
  • Utility room reno
  • Woodshed #2 construction
  • Camper improvements
  • Upstairs bath reno
  • Hot tub / deck
  • Raised bed garden(s)
  • Orchard & watering system
  • Firebox heat ducting
  • Boat repairs
  • Auto repairs
  • Kayak repairs

The list goes on and on!

Of course, this is all on top of maintenance, yard work, fire wood gathering, fire hall duties, at-home dad duties (cooking, cleaning, homework, etc), chicken farming, website work, blogging (who has time for THAT?) and "me-time" (rinse, repeat)!

So ... what resolutions for 2012? It may be the year of "finish stuff"? ... or maybe ... the year of "don't worry - be happy"? Scott is hoping for a bit of both, including more time to enjoy life & update the blog.

We're all hoping for a little less death in 2012. (2011 was bad in this regard, as we lost Scott's grandmother, a business partner and friend, our trailer renter & our cat of 19 years.) :(

Do you have any New Year resolutions?

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Updated: 2-Sep-2012
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Not Your Normal Call

November 29th, 2011  · stk

As a volunteer firefighter, you train in preparation for many different kind of emergencies. This one came across as a "river rescue", but it turned out to be much different than that. These calls don't happen very often - thank God - and it's something straight out of a Hollywood movie.

"Swift-water Rescue"?

When you're a volunteer firefighter, you never know what kind of emergency you're going to attend. You try to prepare for anything. Sometimes, however, a call comes across for which, no amount of training, can help. This was such a call. Something a screenwriter in La-La Land might come up with.

The call came across to us as a river rescue, but it was ... and turned into ... something much more bizarre.

Man Arrested after Hours-long Pursuit

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Broken Arm Update

June 22nd, 2011  · stk

NewsBrief: [After Six Weeks] An update on Alex's broken-dislocated arm, after her bicycle crash on May 7th. It's been six weeks and the bones appear to have mended, but the news from the doctor isn't that great.

After Week Six

Hutton House - The bones appear to be mended, but the elbow still looks 'fat' and the ROM is still not 100%.

Reporters gathered on the Randsco campus on Tuesday, to celebrate the summer solstice and to find out how Alex was doing after she suffered a fracture & dislocation of her right arm in a freak bicycle accident, in early May.

"I'm fine," she told the assembled group, holding up her right arm (still bent at a slight angle).

"As always," reported mom, "her spirits are good, despite the fact that she still looks like she has a 'broken wing'.

Alex crashed her bike into a steep ditch on May 7th. Her parents rushed her to the emergency centre at Nanaimo Regional Hospital, where she was prepped for surgery only a few hours later. Dr. Malone performed a closed reduction, while Alex was under a general anesthetic. The fractured bit of bone seemed to "fall back into place", so Alex was placed in a tensor bandaged 'half-cast' for a week. The cast came off after a week and she was encouraged to 'use her arm'. At about week three, it was evident that Alex was not regaining full motion in her arm. The doctor prescribed physio-therapy, where they measured her loss of range of motion at 55%. Working diligently the past 3 weeks, (joylessly) doing prescribed exercises, Alex made rapid gains - 20% on contraction and 15% on extension.

Unfortunately, just after six weeks, Alex has hit a tad of a 'brick wall' on her ROM. It seems that she's lost about 15% of extension and cannot straighten her arm, despite exercising.

Dr. Malone's take?

"That's just the way nature works. It's a functioning arm, so it just might be something that she has to learn to live with."

Say What?

Parents were disappointed to hear this news and thought it was poor bedside manner to give up so soon and also to plant seeds of doubt in such a young, bright mind.

"The doctors might be giving up," Scott told reporters, "but we're not!"

Scott plans on building a pull-up bar on the Randsco campus, from which Alex can hang. Hopefully, using her body weight will help to gain back that last 15% of extension.

"Nooooo!" Alex said, reacting to the perceived pain of stretching her tendons.

Alex doesn't like working her arm and she seems to have adapted to its limited range of motion. For starters, Alex is a 'lefty' and it was her right arm that was broken, so she doesn't use it as much as she would if she were right-handed. The pain of the break and dislocation is also fresh in her mind and she winces each time Rachel or Scott assist with 'exercises'. Stretching tendons reminds her of this pain and she holds back and whines.

"Her arm is still really 'fat' too," said Rachel, "The physio-therapist told us that the size of her elbow will gradually diminish, over the next six months or so. Alex took a very serious blow and there's still lots of swelling and irritation."

"Thanks to everyone that has wished Alex a speedy recovery," added Scott. Members of the North Cedar Fire Hall, where Scott volunteers, bought Alex a book on "How to Draw" and sent a (Shaw Cable) "Care Bear" stuffy. Members of our local Credit Union sent Alex a get well card and "Penny the Owl" goodies. Alex's "Fairy God Mother" in Seattle asks after Alex on a regular basis and sends hugs over the Internet. Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and great-Aunts have all sent cards.

"Alex is doing fine, but we're not quite out of the woods yet," said Scott.

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Updated: 5-Jan-2012
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Canada Post on Strike

June 20th, 2011  · stk

Did you know Canada Post is on strike? The Canadian postal system shut down over a week ago. The United States is no longer accepting mail addressed to Canada. Who cares? In the age of text messages, email & a myriad of private parcel delivery companies to choose from - is Canada Post even relevant?

Canada Post is on Strike? Who Cares?

 Canada Post Strike 2011 - Mailbox closed

My seven (and a half) year-old daughter recently participated in day-long "Hands-Across the Border" event, where girl scouts (Brownies) from Canada and the United States traded goodies and celebrated at the near-by Peace Arch border crossing. Alex had obtained some nice "City of Nanaimo" and "Canada Flag" trader-pins from our MLA, Leonard Krog, when Rachel visited his office a couple of weeks ago.

"What's this got to do with the Canada Postal Union strike?" you might ask.

Well, Alex wrote a very nice, colorful, personal letter of "thanks" to MLA Leonard Krog and we took it down to the post box this morning to mail it. We couldn't put it into the outgoing mail slot, as it had been covered over with the Canada Post "closed" sign shown above.

"Oh, right," I told Alex, "Canada Post is on strike, so there's no mail delivery."

Sadly, MLA Leonard Krog will have an easier time finding his mail here, than he will finding it in his mailbox (an e-mail from his website will let him know that he can read his "Canada Post mail" here!)

This incident made me curious about the Canada Post strike. I know the Postal Union members have been on strike for a while and that mail delivery stopped over a week ago. But ... why are they on strike? If the strike doesn't affect me much, how many others don't care? How relevant is Canada Post in today's world of electronic mail, Skype, cell phone text-messaging, FaceBook, Twitter and private parcel services (e.g., UPS, Fed-Ex & DHL)?

The Irrelevant Postal Strike

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Updated: 24-Oct-2011
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Boating & Fishing Safety Tips

June 19th, 2011  · Zooey

Kinda like Tom Sawyer, we were paid $55 to allow someone to write an article on Randsco. We are not otherwise affiliated with BoaterExam.com. This "advert post" by Zooey, is now part of an Randsco SEO experiment (write-up to come after data are collected. In the meantime ... a big "sorry" to our loyal readers who subscribe by RSS or eMail! We're not suddenly turning SPAMMY on you!

Fishing and boating are exciting family-oriented activities that can be both fun and educational. They can also be quite dangerous, especially when we lack awareness or are not properly prepared. It is for this reason that British Columbia now mandates a BC boating license regardless of boat size and other aspects. In fact, this kind of regulation is now popular throughout Canada and the United States because the statistics show that it saves lives.

Read full story...

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Updated: 20-Jun-2011
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