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?

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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.

“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.

@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.

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!

Lawrence of Arabia (Restored Version) Only $8!

The restored version of Lawrence of Arabia (affiliate link) is only $8 on the US Apple store right now!
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One of the screen’s grandest epics, this monumental story recounts the true-life experiences of T.E. Lawrence, better known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia. A young, idealistic British officer in WWI, Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is assigned to the camp of Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness), an Arab tribal chieftain and leader in a revolt against the Turks. In a series of brilliant tactical maneuvers, Lawrence leads fifty of Feisal’s men in a tortured three-week crossing of the Nefud Desert to attack the strategic Turkish-held port of Aqaba. And following his successful raids against Turkish troops and trains, Lawrence’s triumphant leadership and unyielding courage gain him nearly god-like status among his Arab brothers.

If you’ve never seen this movie, BUY IT NOW. One of the most incredible films of all time – acting, directing, cinematography – you can not watch a better movie than this.

RealTime Industries' Reflective Decals

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I ride a motorcycle – a 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES to be specific.

Riding is the single most dangerous thing I do but it’s also the most fun I can have with my clothes on, so I do it as much as I can. But you have to “manage the risk”. One way of doing that is by being visible to those who drive cars, whether it be through bright colors, high visibility gear, more lights, etc.

I highly recommend these kinds of reflective decals you can easily put on your bike. Hell, even *I* can do it and I’m usually pretty incompetent when it comes to these kinds of things. Similar to the kinds of materials you see on a bicyclist’s clothing, these “stick” to your bike and become visible when car headlights hit them. They have the added bonus of looking really good, too!

I got my set from the nice people at RealTime Industries. They don’t have decals for every make and model but if they are available for your bike, I really encourage you to get a set for your ride.

Here are the before and after shots (click the image for a larger image). The light source is the camera flash:
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As you can see, the difference is obvious. Every little bit helps and this is a great way to make yourself more visible to “cagers”.

How to do a Whisky Tasting


Highland Park Whisky 101 – How to do a Whisky Tasting:

First thing we do, we look at the colour. We hold it up and look at the colour. Now, colour in whisky tells us….absolutely nothing…basically, all you’re doing is making sure your glass is clean…”

The Highland Park Distillery has posted this funny and very informative video on how to “taste” whisky (no “e” means it’s Scottish booze). Bad whisk(e)y tastes like gasoline but good whisk(e)y is sublime. I’m always trying to get friends to try out the good stuff. It’s a wonderful spirit.