Thursday, March 29, 2007

This coming Saturday I'll be performing once again at the NAC's Fourth Stage with Steve and Kim:

SATURDAY MARCH 31ST 8:00 p.m. at the National Arts Centre's 4th Stage

“SWING INTO SPRING!” Featuring Jazz vocalists Kim Kaskiw and Steve Berndt performing jazz standards and duets with an all star band.

Kim Kaskiw and Steve Berndt have been invited back to the National Arts Center to perform many jazz standards that have been dedicated to the season of spring.
Mike Tremblay-Saxophone
Rick Rangno-Trumpet
J.P. Allain- Piano
Mark Rehder-Drums
Tom McMahon- bass

Tickets are available at the NAC box office for $20.00

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fan mail!

I got a very nice email from a woman on the West Coast named Sasha. She found my website a while back and the trailer pages got her inspired to build her own. She gave me permission to quote it a bit and post a photo:

Hi Mark,

Great website! So much interesting stuff to see. I wanted to email you to let you know that discovering your site last Spring inspired me tremendously and set me on the road to building myself a bike utility trailer! I'd wanted to buy one but discovered that they are very expensive and somewhat hard to find. So I decided to find out if I could build one, did some web searching for ideas and came upon your site and plans.

The excitement! I was instantly bent on making one, and set about following the instructions you'd laid out. At this point I would like to say thank you very much for the details, the photos, everything you provided to make your plans so user friendly. I bookmarked the page with the plans for the bigger bike trailer, and referenced it, as well as those for the cargo trailer, (and oohed and aahed with my boyfriend at the cargo trike) many, many times.

She then talked about building the trailer, and how she'll eventually build a box instead of just the flatbed, finishing with:

To cap off my letter, another thank you for the ideas and inspiration! I'm
super excited to use my new hauler and happy to remain car-free :)

Well, you're very welcome Sasha! I've had many inquiries about the trailer over the years, which led me to add more construction details to its page. And then when I built the big trailer I was able to do the photo documentation, which helps a lot. But this is the first instance of someone actually completing one and sending me photos, so thanks for that.

(My old roommate Rob recently built one, which I've seen but not yet taken photos of. He borrowed my bender for it, and got it on the road a month or so ago.)


I've been getting a bit more spam in the comments than I care to deal with, so I've turned the verification thingie on.

(And I'm noticing that Blogger has not adjusted their date and time stamp to meet the new Daylight Savings Time.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do...

Or not... if it's the seasonal ice break-up on the Rideau River!

Early every March the city has to dynamite the river ice ahead of the Spring melt to get things moving. One of the reasons is that people upriver built on the floodplain, which of course FLOODS in the Spring due to ice build-up (are these people daft, or just victims of unscrupulous developers?). A side benefit is watching the huge chunks of ice go over Rideau Falls, and piling up at the bottom, as the dam gates are slowly opened to let increasing amounts of water through. The amount of ice varies, and sometimes it builds high enough to match the height of the falls! Then a few days later it will get too heavy and sink down, leaving a large pool that just gets wider as the Ottawa River ice also starts to melt.

The photos and video were taken last weekend, showing this large ice pile. The video (posted to YouTube and linked back here) also shows a charge of dynamite going off, resulting in someone's minivan getting dented by a chunk of falling ice.


Time for more cat photos!

The first two were actually taken at the end of February, just before the last dump of snow. Jett will go outside as long as it's not freezing rain or a snowstorm (sort of like me and winter cycling!), while Kitty stays in until the snow is gone. Some snow had melted from the back deck, and the sun's rays had that extra warmth to them that says Spring is not far away, and so Jett had his first outside snooze for 2007 (it was about -3C).

(photos taken through window covered by plastic film)

There's always room for two at their favourite sunny window.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

IJO gig

The show went very well. It's wonderful to work with fellow professionals; people that work hard to make the music happen. We did this show on four rehearsals, and some of the music was quite tricky. Each time we got together it sounded better and better, and we were rewarded by a very appreciative audience, and the room was just shy of a sell-out!

So as noted below I got Kyoto out of winter hibernation to get to this gig. Added some air to the tires, checked the brakes and shifters, and off we go. The main pain in the butt with being a drummer is moving all the gear, and that applies to getting it in and out of the venues. All of the hotels and conference centres I've been to have loading docks that are generally cheerless, dark places, sometimes with the added "bonus" of smelly garbage bins. And in many you battle for possession of the single freight elevator, which is also used by the staff, and then often face a few long hallways to your final destination.

For this gig I thought I'd be clever and bring my drums in through the lower front entrance of the hotel, bypassing the loading dock, as I remember doing a gig on one of the upper floor and it took forever to get loaded in. And while bell hops and security people tend to get fussy about equipment being moved through the front doors, this hotel has the lobby on the second floor, accessed by a driveway ramp, with doors to the ground floor underneath. The ballroom doors are about 25 feet from these doors, so I figured I'd park Kyoto right there, load up the dolly, and get the drums in before anyone objects.

And that's what I did. It worked great, and I came out and locked Kyoto to a parking meter. Then into the ballroom, which is quite large, and a long push to the back wall where I put my drums on the stage. I then looked to my left and saw the large doorway that led right onto the loading dock! Doh!! I could've parked at that dock, and moved the drums all of about 30 feet, instead of 200! So I got permission to park Kyoto there for the evening, and went and moved it. At least it made for a quick getaway at the end of the night! And it means the rest of the IJO shows there should be stress-free in terms of load-in.

And no, Kyoto is too wide to go up that ramp, otherwise I could have driven right to the stage, which is directly at the back of the dock! That would've been fun...

The crowd. And in that crowd were friends and family...

Brother Mike and his wife Jane at left, friends Andrea and Terrance on the right.

And a gaggle of HPVOoO types.

Lorenzo gets the timpani warmed up for dress rehearsal...

...and photographs his photographer.

And no, I don't get to play that silver bari sax (though it's the exact same make and model as mine) as it belongs to Mike Tremblay, who has the unfortunate seat right in front of my bass drum.

Professional photos of this event, along with hopefully audio and video, should be available soon at the IJO website.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I've been busy with rehearsals for the Impressions in Jazz Orchestra, as our first gig of the season is this coming Thursday, March 15. Ticket price is CHEAP for this kind of concert, and it will feature the IJO along with other performers. Please check the website for details, where you can also hear audio clips from last year's gig by clicking on the Listen button.

It should be a fun evening. My Mom (who's 85) and step-dad are coming up from Kingston to see it, and it looks like some cycling friends are planning to attend as well. I'm using my large kit for this gig (large not in terms of number of drums, but the sizes of them) and it won't fit in the big trailer. So I hope to use Kyoto, since borrowing a car to go about 1 km and then try and park downtown seems is a bigger hassle. It's a little early to dig the trike out, since there's still snow in the backyard where it hibernates and crusty salt on the sides of the roads, but hey, it'll be an early sign of Spring!

Monday, March 05, 2007

In the News!

Last week I was interviewed and photographed for a feature on winter cycling here in Ottawa, and it was printed in today's Ottawa Citizen. The reporter, Patrick Dare, is also interested in doing a feature on my cargo trike in the Spring!