Saturday, August 29, 2009

YouTube vidoes for imode

Erm, while working diligently on updating my ipod classic- I mean, updating my syllabi, I stumbled across this very cool hack for downloading YouTube videos as mp4 files that will transfer directly to iPods, Zunes without any pesky video file converting needed.

Basically, you install a web browser toolbar button that you simply click once you have the YouTube video showing on your screen, and down it comes as an mp4. My kinda application!

Read more about it--and find the button to add--here:

If only I'd known about it a few months ago when I was on my Monty Python downloading blitz!

Cool image search engine

So, while working diligently on my syllabi (koff! koff!) for the upcoming new semester I just happened to stumble upon this very useful image search engine (and subsequently lost quite a few hours to playing with it--sooo much more interesting than updating bibliographies!).

It's called Tin Eye and, according to their "About me" blurb:
TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.

They have some interesting search results listed here.

For me, this is an easy way to track memes, or to find out where a particular image originated (to check on photoshopped details etc.).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Walk to Cedar Cove

Yesterday Harvey took us to Cedar Cove, which is two coves to the south of Bottle Cove. You set out from Little Port, which still operates as a fishing harbour -- and is caught briefly in the first video. Cedar Cove is behind the hill at the finale of the Little Port clip, although thankfully you walk though a valley to get to Cedar Cove, rather than over the hill.

Bottle Cove home in a painting

The other day we were in Corner Brook getting materials for working on completing the cottage at Bottle Cove. Across the road from the paint store was a shop selling various souvenirs and crafts, along with prints and paintings. Michele went in to have a look – as one does – and found a painting of Bottle Cove by a local artist. It was a landscape with faint overlays of a ‘naïve’ style, shown to good effect in the representation of the fishermen’s sheds and the roads and our own signal red cottage and barn. The barn is set where the cottage is in real life, and is drawn over scale, in comparison to the cottage.

We had to buy it.

The good Sheppards

Bottle Cove is almost 50 kilometers due west of Corner Brook, on the west coast of Newfoundland, about a third of the way up the western seaboard. The Cove is a kilometer or two from the settlement of Lark Harbour, which is the local municipal administrative unit. Among the 1800 or so people living in the Lark Harbour-York Harbour-Bottle Cove-Littleport area a good number have the surname Sheppard.

During the 19th century, so we are told, our families of Sheppards settled in the area, mostly having come from the east of the island, over toward St John’s. From a statistical standpoint it is not surprising that the first local person we met after buying our land was a Sheppard. This was Harvey. The first weekend after we bought the land we came out with a machete and a bushman’s bow saw and a set of long handled pruning shears and began clearing some of the scrub on the land to get a better send of how the land lay. After a while Harvey appeared and introduced himself. After a short chat he said “I’ll be going now”, so we said goodbye. A little while later he came back – with a chain saw. He proceeded to thin a large area of the scrub and after 40 minutes or so said “I’ll be going now”.

Since then he has been a constant friend and companion to us out here. He arranged for us to be able to run a water line from his family’s well, introducing us to his nephew, Perry – also a Sheppard. Perry has shown us many kindnesses over the years, including helping with our water supply, ploughing out the snow from the driveway in winter, clearing the ditch alongside the road so the snow melt can get away in the spring, and bringing in topsoil by the truckload so we could sow a lawn to help stabilize the land after building..

Roger Sheppard and his heavy machinery operators landscaped our property, brought in endless loads of rock, gravel and topsoil, dug the foundation areas for the house and barn and excavated the field for the septic system. He also dug the trench 400 metres along the side of the road for our water supply, and has always been there to give advice and to lend a hand when something has come up that needs the kind of attention he can provide.

Alison and Dave Sheppard run the local store and gasoline service, keeping a brilliantly stocked shop that has rarely been unable to come up with what we have come to buy. From vegetables to plumbers supplies, to caulking material, and paint, via Lamb’s rum and Budweiser – The World’s Best Beer – they have it pretty well covered.

Last winter when I came up to do some flooring and window casing I ran out of time, and Harvey arranged for George Sheppard to come in after I left and finish casing the lounge and kitchen windows – so the still incomplete cottage would look as welcoming as possible upon our return here for the summer.

So, it is hardly surprising that when we arrived on this trip with a lot of finishing work still to do Harvey suggested we ask Lawrence Sheppard, a retired fisherman and builder, if he would be available to help with the finishing. We thought that sounded an excellent idea, and Harvey promptly organized it. Lawrence came over and we talked about the work. We all thought it would be a good arrangement and Lawrence began immediately. Two weeks later the work we thought would consume this summer and next is all done. Doors hung, all the trim has gone in, doors and remaining windows cased, the laundry completed, hot water hooked up, kitchen cupboards built, a hatch put into the top floor ceiling to give access to the roof area for fumigating and for quick checks of the wiring. He has done beautiful work at a pace that has been stunning – even after we got used to it.

Neither is it surprising that when the well ran dry soon after we arrived this trip it was Perry and his son, Col, and brother, Dwayne, who got the air out of the 400 metres of tubing and got the water running again. The expansion and contraction in the tubing after 5 winters had opened up a join, and the water had been leaking. The additional drain on the well from our daily water use had proved too much for the well. Once the water had fallen below the foot valve the flow stopped and air got in the pipes. Once the well filled again after we had located and fixed the join the water could not flow because of the air in the pipes. Harvey and we had tried to get the air out with borrowed pumps, but to no avail. But Perry knew where to get hold of a very powerful pump, and that did the job.

So far so good, thanks to so many good Sheppards.

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