Help building a Bench

I am almost completely incompetent when it comes to using tools or mechanical things. They are skills I never learned and don’t innately have. So when Melissa suggested we use the old wood we have in the yard to build a bench out of cinder blocks, I knew it would be a challenge. But we’ve had fun so far! The next step is where I need help.

We have this “artisanal, reclaimed wood” in the yard. It’s just old lengths of 2×4 and 4×4. Some of it was rotting at the ends so I chainsawed off the rotting bits and we roughly put together what we’d like to see in the benches. Next step is gluing everything down. Problem is, the old wood wasn’t taken care of. It’s not been treated, painted or stained. I was thinking we’d have to plane it down on all four sides then sand it, paint or stain it and maybe urethane it. Is that the right way to go about it?

IMG 4609IMG 4287IMG 3560IMG 3686IMG 1322IMG 0495

What would you suggest to do about the ends? Just treat/paint/stain or smooth them off first?

Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated.

Rage Against the Machine (first time reaction)

I saw this tweet this morning:

So I check out the video. Now, Rage Against the Machine is one of my Top Five favourite bands and their debut album (iTunes affiliate link) is one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. If you’re on Spotify, you can listen to it here.

Do you remember the first time you heard a truly powerful album? I bet you didn’t have a camera recording your reaction. I’m jealous of this guy. He gets to experience this album for the first time and his reaction and joy and excitement and surprise is contagious and wonderful to see. I haven’t felt that way about new music in a very long time.

I’m listening to the album again right now. On repeat. AS LOUD AS I CAN MAKE IT.

“Weather Live” is a crappy weather app

As a motorcyclist, I’m always very concerned about the weather. How, where, when, and if I ride is weather dependent. What I wear is weather dependent. Having an accurate forecast is crucial to my enjoyment and safety when I ride. So I check out every weather app I can lay my hands on.

On Thursday, I installed an iOS app called Weather Live. I particularly liked this feature:

Weather widget for the Notification Center. Check current temperature, get an accurate forecast for the coming hours.

This time of year in this part of the world, the weather can change quickly and drastically. I signed up for their free trial. Yesterday, I got this notification:

Wait…what? “heavy snow”? What the fuck? It’s *mid-April*. There’s *zero* chance of “heavy snow” in this part of the world in April. Even by their own forecast (low of 5 Celsius (41F) and a high of 8C (46F)), there’s zero chance of snow.

Today, I got this one:

It’s cloudy and raining here. I’ve deleted this POS app and recommend no one else waste $3 on it.

Screwed by Amazon, Part Eleventy Billion

Every Canadian knows the pain of shopping at the US Amazon store. Here’s an example.

You find an inexpensive charcoal grill, say the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill (affiliate link). You check it out and it sounds like just what you’re looking for. You see the price is $63.69. Great deal. But then comes the kick in the groin.

The price doesn’t include “$217.05 Shipping & Import Fees Deposit to Canada” – three times the price of the grill itself!

So, you go to the Canadian version of Amazon and search for the exact same grill. The price? *398.00* – over a hundred dollars more.

This happens over and over to Canadians.

Last Night’s Dinner

If you know me, you know I’ve discovered a love of cooking (short version, reminds me of my mom). So I’ve been using a great app on iOS called AnyList (affiliate link). It’s also available via the web at Anylist.com.

The app lets me collect recipes I find on the web (at last count, I’ve got over *1,300* recipes in the app!) and create shopping lists. It does a LOT more so check it out yourself.

The key to all my recipes has been simplicity. I don’t want to cook anything complicated or requires hours to prepare. So it makes cooking a lot of fun.

Now that I’m married and the cook of the family, I’m branching out from making just my faves and instead trying to find stuff that myself, two boys and my lovely wife would also like. Last night, I made my best meal ever!

Using my fantastic 6 Qt 8-in-1 Multi-Use Express Crock (affiliate link), I first made Sweet and Tangy Slow Cooker Brisket. I’ve never made anything from a brisket before so I bought a small one. But it came out so well, I’ll buy the biggest one I can afford next time!

Alongside the brisket, I made Buffalo Cauliflower. It came out really tasty and was a nice change up from boring old cauliflower. I also made Garlicky Red Potatoes. They weren’t as garlicky as I’d hoped but they were still delicious.

This was the first time I’d tried to make three different things simultaneously. The Crockpot really helped because the slow cooker function meant I didn’t have to rush and the cauliflower and potatoes need similar temps and times to cook so I threw them all into the oven at the same time.

Best part is the brisket recipe has a *lot* of leftover sauce so tonight, I’ll make brown rice (again, really easily in the crockpot), throw it into the sauce, roast some Italian sausage and vegetables and make cornbread (SO GOOD!).

If there’s anyone who thinks they can’t cook (I’m looking at a lot of you guys out there), let me know and I’ll show you some recipes that are ridiculously easy to make!

@Tweetbot and @Twitterrific for Mac, iOS

Further proving that the people who run Twitter have no idea about Twitter, they’ve announced they are killing the native Twitter for Mac app.

Ignoring that first full-of-incredible-amounts-of-BULLSHIT sentence, those of us familiar with the app know they effectively killed it months ago and it hasn’t been in active development for a very long time. I was surprised to hear how many folks not only liked the native Twitter app but didn’t realize there were other, better options available.

I am a big fan of the Tapbots apps (affiliate links below):

Tweetbot for iPad

Tweetbot for iPhone

Tweetbot for Mac

But I am now a constant user of Twitterrifc from The Iconfactory (affiliate links below).

Twitterrifc for iPad

Twitterrifc for iPhone

Twitterrifc for Mac

Both Tweetbot and Twitterrific are more full-featured than the Twitter for Mac app and both block the annoying “Promoted Tweets” you see on the web site and in the Twitter for Mac app. Additionally, both have much greater control over muting and “muffling” (in the Twitterrific app) than anything else I’ve used.

I especially like Twitterrific’s Muffle feature. Unlike Tweetbot, which allows you to Mute “people, hashtags, or tweets via keywords” and therefore hide those tweets for a period of time (or forever), Twitterrific allows you to “muffle” tweets in the same way (and even faster/better). I personally prefer the Muffle feature because it lets me choose words or phrases that then get grayed out in my Twitter feed but not hidden:

In the above case, I still want to see tweets from BC Ferries but not the ones that have to do with Tsawwassen. And, if I do want to see the tweet, all I have to do is click on it and it expands.

This is a huge help when there is a news story or an event (the Olympics!) going on you don’t want to see information about but still want to see other tweets by that same account. The problem I always had with the way Tweetbot hides tweets is I would often forget that I’d hidden them. With the Twitterrific way, I still see the tweets.

But, make no mistake – both Tweetbot and Twitterrific are great apps and well worth the money if you are a fan of Twitter but want a better way to manage what you see in your feed. And both are made by great Mac developers you should support.

Good Bye Old Couch


It’s completely ridiculous but today, I’m a little sad and wistful.

After I moved to Nashville, TN from Vancouver, I found a nice little apartment. But it had no furniture. So, for the first time in my life, I went furniture shopping on my own.

I found this wonderful leather couch and loveseat combination. I loved the couch – its design, the suppleness of the leather, its length (I could lay down on it without body parts hanging off either end!), its depth, its softness, all of it. I was very proud of myself for striking a good deal with the sales guy and was very excited when it was delivered.

That couch remained with me for the next 16 years. It is the oldest object I own. Through twelve subsequent moves – eight different towns, two countries, four states and two provinces, that couch was there for me every day to rest on, watch TV on, eat on, talk on.

When I moved to Gibsons, we assumed the couch would join us. Sadly, the place I moved to has doors too narrow and windows too sealed to fit through. We tried and tried but it simply wouldn’t fit in the house. We thought we might be able to give it to a friend but they didn’t want it. In hindsight, I should have sold it while I was still in Vancouver.

So it’s been sitting on the deck for the past four months, getting moldy, rained on and neglected. Finally, we decided it had to go and today, we dismantled it and took it to the dump.

Except for a few cat scratch marks, that couch looked as good as the day I bought it. Even though I sat in the exact same end of it every day for 16 years, it showed no sign of age, sagging or collapse. The leather aged only slightly and even then, remarkably well. As we took it apart, we marveled at its inner workmanship. There were straps and connectors and bolts and all manner of carpentry inside to ensure it would last a lifetime.

Sadly, it didn’t. And I honestly feel bad that, in the end, I treated it so poorly. It deserved a better fate than to be destroyed and taken to the dump.

I’ll miss that couch.

Aukey’s 12,000mAh power bank for $12!


Amazon has a great deal on the “AUKEY 12000mAh Portable Charger”. I used a variation of this charger during my trip to Australia last month and it worked great.

It lists as costing $25.99 but check out this screenshot:

To get the deal, click on the drop-down menu where it says, “3 Applicable Promotion(s)”. Click on the bottom one where it says, “Save 54% each on AUKEY 12000mAh Portable Charger offered by Aukey Direct when you purchase 1 or more”. At checkout, you’ll see the price change to $12!