Fredora 14: Android SDK

February 13th, 2011

Started installing the Android SDK on my Fedora laptop.
I’m interested in making improvements to an app that leverages the Environment Canada data sets plus learning about how Android applications are developed.

These are the instructions I’m following to get started:

I <3 our Snowblower

January 12th, 2011

I was cleaning up the 10cm of snow we got over night with a shovel early this morning after Lauren left for work. Next thing I know the plows both came by and filled up the boulevard – the bit between the road and the sidewalk – with snow from the street and snow from the little sidewalk plow. Usually the sidewalk guy has a split triangle blade, but today it was a straight one pushing everything into the boulevard.

That was the straw that broke the camels back – I didn’t feel like shovelling all that. Luckily our neighbour parked so I could get the snowblower out of his backyard.
A snowblower does ruin the calm of a morning with a fresh layer of snow but the two neighbours down the street already had theirs going so ours just joined the chorus.

Christmas Present Utilization Day

January 9th, 2011

Today I got to break out both the new meat carving set and pneumatic impact gun.

Carved a block of back bacon with the Classic W├╝sthof carving set for breakfast. Then later that afternoon Chris and I put on his wife’s winter tires using a FatMax 1/2″ impact gun that works with my Motomaster twin stack compressor from Canadian Tire. The impact gun cost more than the compressor but the gun needs to be more efficient since it only has a small volume of air that the compressor can provide.

I’m very happy with both!
The big problem of the day was that we found a nail in one of the winter tires going on the car.

Meat Pies & A Rack of Lamb

January 2nd, 2011

Lo and I made up the meat pies again for this years New Years Day party in Niagara at my Grandparents. My Dads cousin remarked that only Scottish folks get together on New Years Day because they didn’t have enough to drink on New Years Eve.

This year our variation pies were made with venison graciously donated by Nick and Annyse. Apparently Nicks family got two deer this year so there is plenty to go around. We added a bit of regular pork to try and keep it from drying out too much. Bacon fat also helped during the browning. Both pies got way more vegetables than the original recipe calls for – it keeps the pies moister and changes the texture for what I think is the better. Nothing fancy just your basic common soup stock veggies – onion, celery, carrot and garlic. The originals didn’t have any garlic in them since some people in our family are a little sensitive to it.

We stayed in this year and had a quiet New Years Eve roasting a rack of lamb and all the trimmings. Next year we’ll throw on a New Years Eve party again. It’s just a lot of work but I do like the commute from the living room to the bedroom at the end of the night.

IIHF WJHC Russia vs Canada

December 27th, 2010

This year for Christmas I got my father tickets to the World Junior Hockey Championship round robin game on boxing day showcasing Russia vs Canada.

Lauren, Katharine, Dad and myself travelled over to Buffalo for the game. Tonnes and tonnes of Canadian hockey fans showed up. HSBC is a pretty nice rink to watch a hockey game in – good sight lines but it is already showing signs of wear and tear.

Christmas Eve Snowshoeing

December 27th, 2010

Lauren and I always spend Christmas Eve dinner with her father and his family. It is the starting point for our winter trip around Lake Ontario for family visits. We have stops in Toronto for brunch and Niagara for dinner on Christmas day.

We both had the day off this year so we did some snowshoeing in the Durham Regional Forest north of Whitby. It was a nice little trek to prepare us for the Christmas eve feast.

The main trail is a well marked double track walking/skiing path. It just helps if you take some time to read the posted maps correctly. There are some interesting side trails you can take as well but you’ll have to crouch and bend your way through evergreens loaded with snow drooping all around you. The main path is very well maintained though and you’ll have no problems there.

Turkey Fry

November 27th, 2010

What is a Canadian with a cheap frozen turkey purchased on sale after our own Thanksgiving to do on American Thanksgiving? Why fry up a turkey in the backyard of course!

We invited as many people over as we could find to help us eat up a 16 pound turkey. It was my first turkey fry so I didn’t really know what I was in for. Worst case we could order in pizza with chicken on top.

We defrosted the turkey in the fridge for 3 days before the weekend. On the day of the fry I measured how much oil we needed by putting the bird on the rack drumsticks up. Cut some slits in the skin underneath each drumstick to allow the oil to drain out. Then put the bird in the pot and filled it with water to the top of the turkey. Remove everything but the water and mark the height with tape or something. You now know how much oil you’ll need for this bird. You can be a little over or under and I wouldn’t do this with another 16 pound turkey, I’d just put in 15L of oil next time based on experience.

Since the volume of the pot is constant the more turkey you can fit in your pot the less oil you’ll need – it’s the best of both worlds. But there is a maximum of course. The turkey can touch the sides, but shouldn’t crowd the pot.
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Winter Tire Day

November 13th, 2010

The Vibe and Outlander got their winter tires rotated on today from the basement.

It’s so much faster in a garage with a lift and all four corners off the ground. Using the scissor jack and cranking them up one at a time sure does slow things down. The lock nuts on my rims were on way tighter than the lugs. The electric impact gun couldn’t get them off so I had to go and get the 2′ breaker bar and break them by hand. All the brake pads look good. I didn’t get into the drums on the Vibe – they should probably be looked at for Lauren’s next oil change. I have a feeling her drums are going to be my next job.

Canadian Tire just recently had a tool commercial with this Stanley FatMax impact gun connected to a dinky recoil spring air hose. I was about to get upset that they were misleading people that they could use their crappy little portable compressor with such a tool but according to the spec’s it looks like it should work with my compressor. Needs 3.3 CFM@90PSI mine puts out 4.1.

It is listed at $170 and out of stock for something I already have an electric tool for. Kind of hard to justify the purchase even if it means one less thing to lug upstairs.

Changing Seasons

November 7th, 2010

I had a really good weekend knocking things off my to-do list around the house.

  1. Replaced batteries in smoke detectors, thermostat and the living room clock
  2. Pulled the tomatoes and herbs at the side of the house. Frost got most of them except the parsley.
  3. Planted garlic
  4. Cut the grass for the last time – changed the oil in the mower and put it to bed for the winter with the weed eater
  5. Washed the car
  6. Point trowelled some mortar in where it has washed away from the brick pedestal and set the cap stone again
  7. Woke up the neighbours snow blower from a long summer sleep.

The snow blower was in pretty good shape for sitting outside for the summer. I re-lubed the inner gears/drive selector since it has been rusting up for a while now. Cleaned the spark plug and shot a bit of WD-40 into the cylinder. I tried starting it up with the old gas in but the blower ran really choppy. It seemed like it would run for the bowl of fuel primed but then would stall out when it tried to pull from the tank. A quick drain and fill of fresh fuel and she started right up and ran strong without the choke. Changed the oil once it heated up. Didn’t see any white milky water in the oil this time which is very good.

Still to do some time this week includes the front flower bed clean up, rear tree garden raking out the leaves, hanging the Christmas lights and snow tires on both vehicles before the snow starts falling.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2010

October 11th, 2010

Lo and I did lots of hiking between family dinners and re-caulking the side door. We went up to Kelso Conservation Area to walk the edge of the escarpment looking at the leaves changing. Looks like we got there just in time as they have really nice colours. This part of the trail happens to be part of the Bruce Trail.

Then we packed up and took off with Chris and Denise to The Cheltenham “Badlands” north of Brampton. So many people and kids rolling around in the red clay dirt. Quite a few covered head to toe in red dust. Kind of PEI like. ;)

Photos from the weekend. If there are trees it’s from Kelso, red dirt is from the badlands.