Saturday, March 12

Getting the new desktop computer ready

My much beloved laptop was dying.  It was running Windows Vista and while it was still working, Dad wanted to upgrade me to Windows 10.  He was going to just upgrade it but for the same price, he bought me a Lenovo ThinkCentre from OTV that had Windows 7 on it.  It then upgrades itself to Windows 10.  We ran the benchmarks on it last night and it does really well although the onboard video is a little slow.  I can’t see Dad dropping $700 for a new video card for it any time soon.

I had a monitor but it was tossed in a cleaning purge so Mom went out and got me a 19.5 inch monitor from HP.  It’s a nice setup.

So today we are running Ninite to get me the programs that I need. 

Dad also put WordPerfect Office X7 on it along with some video editing software and Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  He also installed Pinnacle Studio 16 on it.  It’s not Adobe Premiere but I am not exactly J.J. Abrams either.

Update: Now running Windows 10 in all of it’s glory (and bugs).

Wednesday, March 2

Bad door design is everywhere

If you've ever pulled a door that you should have pushed, you're not alone. Vox and 99% Invisible collaborated on this video about bad door design via

Sunday, February 28

My new Pentax K-5 II DSLR

Pentax K-5 II DSLR camera

So on Friday, dad came home from work and we were talking when I noticed a Pentax K-5 II box on the chair.  I asked him what was up and he just said, “look at the invoice”.  I did and it had my name on it.  I opened up the box and there was a Pentax K-5 II in it.  I was more then blown away and was really happy to see it. 

My Pentax K-30 is incredible but this is better.  It has better JPG quality, faster autofocusing, and a better build quality.  I am going to sell my K-30 (as soon as it gets back from some warranty work) and order myself the grip to go with the camera.  I’m pretty excited by it.

I put on my Tamron 18-200 lens on it and I could tell right away how quickly it autofocused.  It looks like it will be an incredible camera and a fun camera to take exploring with me this summer in Banff.

Wednesday, February 3

Semester Deux

Well semester one is done.  Semester 2 has started and I had a hiccup in my scheduling.  I was scheduled to take guitar and then dad found out.

Dog stops a dude from playing a guitar

He mocked me for a bit and then asked my why I wasn’t taking photography  which I wanted to take last semester.   Good question.

So I changed all of my classes around.  Mom came by to chat with the guidance counsellor to make sure that I was taking what I needed to graduate.  So it looks like this.

  • Photography
  • Phys Ed
  • History
  • Math
  • English

Saturday, January 30

New friends for the journey

Stanley 20 oz Travel MugSince I survived final exams in one piece, Dad and Mom picked me up a couple of things for this summer.

One of them was a nice black duffel bag for travelling.  They got one for Oliver as well.  The last thing as brothers we want is for our clothes to ever touch each other. 

In my bag was a new Stanley 20 oz Travel MugOutside Magazine just rated it as the best mug out there.

Capacity: 20 ounces

Usability: This burly mug has the easiest-to-use lid, thanks to its ergonomic, trigger-like opener. It’s big, and as such won’t fit in a car’s cup holders, but I found that this was my go-to for bringing to work. 

Spillage: Zero 

Keeps Liquids Hot for (Claimed): 8 hours
Temperature Loss After 2 Hours: 24 degrees
Temperature Loss After 8 Hours: 60 degrees

Bottom Line: The Stanley was the big winner in terms of short- and long-term heat retention. If you like your coffee hot, this is your mug. We also loved the trigger-style lid that never spilled but was easy to use, even one-handed.

Both will be great company on some trips and adventures in 2016.

Wednesday, January 13

smc Pentax M 50mm f/1.7 lens


Dad got me this lens today, it is an old Pentax 50mm f/1.7 lens and is considered one of the best lenses that Pentax has ever made.

One made it’s way into Dons Photo the other day and so he picked it up for me.  I have the smc Pentax-A 50mm f/2 but from everything I read, it doesn’t capture colour nearly as well as this one does.

Wednesday, January 6

New cell phone

I managed to break my Motorola Moto G (dropped it and screen shattered).  Instead of signing me up for a contract phone (it wasn’t going to happen), Dad got me a Acer Liquid Z410.

Acer Liquid Z410

It’s a basic Android smart phone but it’s all I need.  I can run Twitter, Flickr, and even Spotify.   Dad picked me up a 16gb Micro SD card so I can put some music on it.  Of course Dad reverted to his evil self and signed me to a lot of bad playlists on Spotify.  That was kind of funny but now I am listening to Justin Bieber.  That’s not good.

Wednesday, December 30

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens

Dad and Mom suprised me today with a new lens as a gift for taking care of Oliver.  It’s a Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens for my Pentax K-30. 

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens for Pentax

It’s not the best lens in the world, no all around lens really is but it’s good for heading out and exploring the city or going on hikes when weight is at a premium.

I was suprised to get it.  I enjoy taking care of Oliver and I am not really a guy who enjoys wandering the mall so chilling out with Ollie is cool and he has been really good.

If you want to see what else I carry in my camera bag, here it is.

Friday, December 25

Christmas Day

I got up this morning and took Marley for a long walk through Caswell, Mayfair, and Hudson Bay Park.  It was really, really quiet.  Normally I am out the door at 7:00 a.m. and there aren’t a lot of people out but there are cars being warmed up, people scraping windshields and people going to work.  None of that today.  The entire westside of Saskatoon was sleeping in.

Dad had to get up early and go to City Hospital for treatment on his leg.  When they got home, they started making breakfast.  There was scrambled eggs on salmon and toasted croissants and some eggs benedict.  Eggtastic (yes I went there).  They were served with some fresh squeezed juice and fresh ground coffee.

After breakfast Dad pointed out that Oliver and I had forgotten to open a gift from the night before.  I was like, “What? How could that have happened?”  We opened the gift and inside it was a BB-8 robot and four tickets to Star Wars: The Force Awakens for this afternoon.  How cool is that?

So after breakfast, Oliver and I chilled out in front of my television while Dad updated his computer.  Then we headed downtown with some hot coffee and took some photos of downtown.  As we got closer to the movie time, we headed back home, dropped off our gear and then went down to watch Star Wars.  It was everything that you would expect from the biggest movie of the year and a lot of fun.

Mom had preparing a roast for dinner in the slow cooker. I thought it was because that is what she wanted to make for dinner but now I realize it was something she could cook while we were at the movie.  Well played Wendy.

When we got home, the roast was ready and we had French Dip sandwiches on fresh rolls.  It was excellent.  Later on Christmas evening, Mom brought out a chocolate fondue for dessert.  Then Mom and Dad called it a night while Oliver and I went downstairs and watched some television.  As soon as I hit “publish”, we are calling it a night.  Oliver is crashing in my bunk bed tonight.  With him and I high on chocolate, it could be a short night and a long day tomorrow.

Thursday, December 24

Christmas Eve

Good morning everyone and Merry Christmas if you are into that sort of thing.

Some of you have read that Dad was a) declared free of the infection in his leg last week and b) it came back strong enough to almost kill him this week.  So he was super sick the last couple of days until the antibiotics started to fight their way back.  Well he is still super sick but not as sick as he was earlier this week.

Today was his first day back at work and we went and got him around 3:30.  While the malls may have been chaotic still, the rest of the city was slowing down.  We came home, had some coffee and hot chocolate.  I also went outside and lit a bunch of lanterns with candles and tea lights.  It gave the house a really cool glow.  We then had some Family Pizza delivered by 6:00 p.m.  After we had pizza, Oliver got to hand out the Christmas presents.

In my stocking was the expected chocolates, candies, and toothbrush.  I also got a Magnum M5 razor and blades.  The Gillette Sensor3 had fought the good fight but it was time to move on.  I also found the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, a Saskatchewan Roughrider travel mug (Green is our colour, losing is our game), and Call of Duty: Ghosts in there.  Also there was a Sandisk 32 GB SD Card for my Pentax K-30.  I have a 16 GB card but this one is faster and will hold a lot of photos from next year when we hike in the mountains. To keep warm this winter, there were also some leather gloves.  Since I suck getting organized, there was a 2016 organizer from Staples in there.   Finally as is tradition, there was a magazine in there.  This year it was an edition of Sportsnet Magazine.  The whole stocking was pretty amazing.

For Christmas, Dad and Mom gave me a 24 inch television to go downstairs and Oliver gave me a Google Chromecast 2.  I had no idea but I can watch Netflix independently of what is being watched upstairs.  Of course I like watching nerdy documentaries with dad but I still love the gift.

Mom & Dad gave me a really great but discrete looking ring while Dad gave me a really nice stainless steel Timex Calgary Flames watch.  Hopefully the watch works better than the Flames have this season.  Mom gave me a Cross Adventura fountain pen and a couple of journals to write in as well.

Here is what The Art of Manliness says about keeping a journal
In studying the lives of great men, I’ve noticed a common trait: they were all consistent journal writers. Now, I’m not saying that their greatness is directly attributable to their journaling. I’m sure Captain Cook would still have been a bad ass even if he hadn’t kept a diary. But I figure, if great men like these thought it was important to keep a journal, maybe I should, too. Heck, if it weren’t for their journals, we probably wouldn’t know much about their great lives and deeds.
Here’s a short list of great men from history who kept journals:

  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Charles Darwin
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Captain Cook
  • Winston Churchill
  • Sir Edmund Hilary
  • Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton
  • Doogie Howser M.D I could go on, but I think you get the idea. 
  • Why Keep a Journal

    Your children and grandchildren will want to read it. I know it’s hard to believe right now. Your life probably seems quite ordinary and of little interest to anyone else. And every generation believes that life will pretty much continue on like it is now. When your great-grandpa was kicking it in the 1920’s, he thought to himself, “Who would want to read about this new fangled radio or how I get my food out of an icebox? Phhht! That’s boring stuff!” But it’s not boring anymore; to this generation, such a peak at the olden days is fascinating. And so it is with you. When your grandkids are talking to people via hologram, they are going to be absolutely fascinated by your impressions of those ancient things like the alta vista and cell phones. And unfortunately, they’re not going to be curious about it until they get into their 20’s, realize you’re going to die, and start asking you questions. 
    Trust me, while you think that you’ll be able to remember everything just as clearly in the future, you won’t. Remember when you were a kid and you thought your experiences would be easily recalled at age 30? Now what do you remember from those days besides that time a dog bit you in the face?

    As each year passes, the pixels of our memories burn out and the haze sets in. By age 80, you’ll only remember the faintest outlines of the big things that happened to you. But the stuff that’s really interesting is often the little, seemingly mundane details of life. What was a man’s daily routine like in 2009? Of course, the whipper snappers will ask you about the big stuff too: “Where were you when you found out about the attacks on the World Trade Center?” and “What did you think about the election of Barack Obama?” Your journals will give them the answers they’ll be looking for and will bring you closer.
    And who knows? Maybe the whole world might be interested in your musings someday. You may not think so now, but how many famous men knew that they would be famous before they actually burst onto the scene? And how many men were ignored in their lifetime, only to be celebrated after their death?
    To help me think of things to write about, Dad hit me up with some books on architecture and urban planning, something that the people of Saskatoon hate. I may have to leave town after I read these books.  I have a bunch of thoughts to journal and then blog about. 

    Santa made an appearance and gave me a North Face t-shirt and Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers.

    Hutch gave me a Coleman trekking pole, and Marley gave me a Black Diamond Orbit 60 lumen lantern.  I had one before but someone stole it while on a school trip so it’s nice to get a new one.

    One present that is in progress is that Dad gave Marley a GoPro Fetch.  He put his GoPro on her.  At first she wasn’t crazy about it but got used to it.  Tomorrow you should be able to see what Christmas looked like from the dog’s perspective.

    Wednesday, November 4

    Christmas Gift Ideas for the Teen

    Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Teen

    Dad has posted some Christmas Gift Ideas for the Teen over on his blog.  I have also carefully gone through this list looking to see if there are any clues for me and so far, I am not finding any but still, it is worth checking out.