Thursday, August 08, 2019

Instant Potpourri

I like the Instant Pot which cooks all the food for a meal at the same time in a removable, stainless steel inner pot.  I have the Duo Mini (3 quart) so the pot easily fits in the dish washer.  It has seven modes of operation.  Some pots have more modes.  There is an expensive Immersion Circulator add-on device for Sous Vide. But I only need Saute and Pressure cook modes.

There are tons of recipes on the WWW.  I just make spaghetti or stew with beef or chicken. Saute is optional for meat because the blending of flavors during pressure cook makes it seem unnecessary.  Pasta recipes with tomato sauce need to have the sauce added last to prevent scorching.

The Full Release valve emits a startling blast of steam.  Steam is bad for kitchen cabinets so I place the pot on the glass-top range and turn on the ventilation fan before releasing.  Also I tap the valve several times to lessen the initial blast.



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Can You Be Manipulated?

Can you be manipulated?  That is the question posed by the Netflix documentary "The Great Hack".  It considers the Donald Trump 2016 election and the surprise Brexit vote in Britain.  Cambridge Analytica was hired to provide voter data which it acquired from social media.  They collected data points on millions of voters.  They wanted to know likes, dislikes, Google searches, et cetera to profile undecided voters which they bombarded with biased political ads.

Take care when you connect to the Internet World Wide Web (a.k.a  World Wide Waste of Time).

Sunday, June 09, 2019

James Naismith, Father of Basketball

Naismith was a Physical Educator who invented Basketball.  His students who thrived on rigorous outdoor sports were too rowdy when confined indoors during the winter.  So he designed Basketball to minimize body contact.  The goal was placed high over the players heads to make it unguardable.  There is an interesting description of the games inception here  The origin of Basketball

I watched the recent Raptors-Warriors game 3 battle.  It was a feisty, exciting game with plenty of body contact. The local pub had a noisy crowd standing room only.  Eager fans are already gathering at Jurassic Park for tomorrow night's battle.

Naismith earned many awards in Sports Halls of Fame. He was born and raised in Almonte,  Ontario. So another Canadian game, eh.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Great Undoing

Liberal governments implement policies that help financially-challenged people. But they make mistakes and are perceived as wasteful with the public dollar.  Conservatives believe that saving money and paying off the deficit is more important than public service.  They tend to be petty and mean-spirited, in my view.

Now the great province of Ontario has a Progressive Conservative government who do nothing for progress.  Doug Ford is the leader who has bumper-sticker talking points in lieu of well-considered policies. He was bested by John Tory in the election for mayor of Toronto. Now Ford is Premier so he can take revenge on Toronto.

Ford was loudly booed at a recent Special Olympics event.  He is changing Ontario License Plates from "yours to discover" to "a place to grow".  However, funding is being cut in many places.. education, autism support, day care, libraries, health care, tree planting, and so on.  These are some of the many services needed for families to thrive.  Doug Fords Ontario is only for the rich to grow.

Well, grumpy cat has died.  There was too much to be grumpy about.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fire HD 8 -- Economy Tablet Upgraded For Google

Well, my old Nexus 7, which was made by Asus for Google, finally died after six years. I used it everyday to read the Google News app.

Alternative Android tablets cost hundreds of dollars but the Amazon Fire HD is only $100CDN so I got that.  It has a great display for reading the news and the performance to handle the stream of included images. However, Amazon has modified Android and called it Fire OS.  It has the Silk browser instead of Chrome.

Fortunately, there is a procedure to upgrade Fire OS so that it can run or play all the Google apps. Upgrade Fire HD Tablet

The procedure installs four APK files.  The files have long names and it is important to install them in the same order as the download.

Finally, you will have a good tablet without paying hundreds of dollars.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Struck By Car -- But I Am Ok

It is normal practice at an intersection for a car with a green light for turning left to wait for pedestrians who have a walk light at the same time.  But yesterday I was struck by a car on a Yonge street crosswalk I had crossed ten thousand times before.  The car was turning left and I was astonished to see it was not going to stop. There was no time to avoid it so I must have jumped at the last instant to avoid broken legs. So my shoulder and hips absorbed most of the impact with me atop the car instead of under it.  When the car stopped, I rolled off the car, fell to the pavement and scraped my left knee.  Fortunately, this was a compact car with relatively low front end.  A big SUV or truck would have flattened me instead.

I was fuming and ready to attack something but the driver looked like he was going to have a breakdown.   He jumped out of the car "are your ok ... are you ok".  So I got his phone number, made sure it worked, and walked away.  Meanwhile, there were many witnesses and someone called 911.  The police were looking for me but I was bundled for a cold winter's day and wearing sunglasses.

I called the police from home and a policeman came to interview me.  He asked me to fill out a report by email.  I was struck from the left side, my left leg is undamaged but my right leg has some swelling below the knee. It does not bother me when walking but I will get the doctor to check for lingering issues.

Advise For Pedestrians -- Put away your phones. Practice defensive walking.  Assume every driver is an idiot.  This seems harsh but there are some idiots hiding in the herd of drivers on busy city streets.

Advise For Drivers --  Put away your devices. Assume every pedestrian is an idiot. This seems harsh but you must have seen some zombies ambling across the street with hoods over their faces, eyes down, and hands clasped as if praying.  Drive where you are looking if the right of way is clear. So don't turn right at an intersection while looking left.  Never stop on a crosswalk.

----------------------
January 27

The right leg which the doctor noted had superficial abrasion eventually developed a skin infection.  Now I am on Cephalexin 4 X 500mg per day.  The infection is diminishing.

___________
February 06

A pedestrian hit by a car usually ends up in the hospital and/or dead.  But a Utube stuntwoman suggests how to avoid this fate. Unrealistic Staged Hit By Car

Yes, one can minimize the damage by rolling with the hit to distribute the force. The stunt people in the movies do that with careful planing and setup to choreograph exactly how the event will unfold.  Then the film editors merge it into the movie so that it looks normal in realtime.

However, the street has all sizes of vehicles moving at speed. Some of them controlled by careless drivers.  There is no time to train, practice, and prepare like the movie stunt people.  The best advice in the Utube clip is to get evaluated by a medical expert.

Finally, notice the old Honda Civic used in the demo. It has a low front end like the one that hit me.  However, most of the vehicles on the street are trucks and SUVs (light trucks) which ride high on big wheels. Pray you don't get hit by one of them.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Protect Your Cookies

The Internet is always stealing your cookies.  That is, it is reading all the cookies automatically collected so that it can post ads which might be relevant.   This annoyance can be minimised by changing your Web Browser settings.  The images here are from Google Chrome.

So turn on "Block third-party cookies"



Monday, December 17, 2018

Minimalist Living

Google reports 956 million candidates for minimalist living so it is an important topic for many people as the new year approaches.  There are Utube videos, books, blogs, and so on.

The site Money Under 30 gives a good outline of the pros and cons.  It suggests to focus more on value or quality and less on quantity.  If you have more stuff you have to spend more time managing it.  Mess causes stress.  Marie Kondo suggests to discard things that do not Spark Joy.

Ironically, minimalism is not a good principle for the financially challenged.  For example, buying food and supplies in bulk to fit a budget is not minimalism.   But it has a sympathetic perspective.

I recently discarded a stuffed chair because it was a useless obstacle in my 630 square foot condo apartment.  I replaced it with a tilt-back office chair on wheels which is more comfortable and practical.  I was eyeing the matching sofa but Brownie The Cat has claimed it for 20 hours per day of sleeping.  She does not like the room being changed.

Then there are various online accounts, forums and such.  Today I closed my LinkedIn account because it was a bother to scroll through the feed looking for something interesting.  Twitter will be next to go.

If I bring something home I must throw something out to make room.



Monday, October 15, 2018

Leonard Cohen Roasts Kanye West

So Kanye West went for a bizarre meeting with DJTrump, the POTUS and
self-proclaimed 'very stable genius' of the White House. Leonard Cohen
would have called this 'bullshit culture'. He wrote a poem roasting
Kanye West in 2015 'Kanye West Is Not Picasso'. Cohen died in 2016 and
the poem is found in the 2018 book aptly named The Flame.  In the
poem, Cohen pretends to be more Kanye than Kanye. It is a bragging
contest and Cohen is the winner. "I am the Kanye West Kanye West
thinks he is". You can see the poem on Twitter Leonard Cohen, various
news articles, and in the book.

Review

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Ketchup Wars

Vintage Heinz ketchup was so thick is was difficult to pour from the tall glass bottle. After tipping and shaking, I used a butter knife to get some. It seems the current recipe is much thinner so it can be squeezed from the upside down plastic bottle. There is a wide plastic cap with a small opening such that it resists squeezing until a big blob spurts out at once. Some shaking is necessary so that the sauce settles into the cap before squeezing. I tried some recently and threw it in the garbage because it was sour. Perhaps it needed more shaking to disperse the vinegar.

Heinz had a plant in Leamington until a few years ago. They moved production to Ohio. Now there is a 10 percent tariff to import back into Canada.

French's ketchup was a poor seller until Heinz moved. Now French's has a plant in Toronto so their product is marked as made in Canda with Canadian tomatoes. By Canadians, I assume.

I like the French's ketchup. Their web site has some funky recipes. For example, Meatloaf Bombs

By the way, French's is U.S. owned by McCormick, a spice company.

Monday, June 18, 2018

McIsaac Family Crest

I purchased the high resolution McIsaac Family Crest from House Of Names. Click the image to enlarge it.



The McIsaac family comes from the ancient Scottish Dalriadan clans of the mountainous west coast of Scotland. The name McIsaac is derived from the personal name Isaac. The Gaelic forms of the name are Mac Isaac or Mac Iosaig, both of which mean son of Isaac.

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. McIsaac has appeared in various documents spelled MacIsaac, MacIsaack and others.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Vintage Photos of Stephenville, NL

Some family picture albums have been lost so I was looking for old photos of Stephenville on the WWW. Google pointed to photos at this site www.c-and-e-museum.org/Pinetreeline/Photos/. The top-level domain redirects to the Military Communications And Electronics Museum which does not yet have the Stephenville 1959 photos. I got permission from the museum facebook page to use them.

Most of the photos are about the military site on "table-top" mountain usually called Pinetree. There were many Pinetree sites with big dish antennas for communications and RADAR. Powerful snowstorms sometimes ripped the roofs off buildings since there was nothing to break the wind.

There are photos of the British Queen Elizabeth visiting Stephenville in 1959.

See photos here: NORAD Pinetree Site

Monday, June 04, 2018

Cod Jigging

I thought of my maternal grandparents when reading an article about the decline of Newfoundland outports and scattered villages. Little is known of my grandparents before World War II, I believe they were Acadians who made a living from fishing and farming. Many outport residents having these occupations were paid subsidies to move to urban centers for less costly, more efficient, goverement services.  But my grandparents did not need to move because modernity came to them with the construction of Harmon Air Force Base by the Americans.  See Memoriam.