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Home Improvements

Dyson DC25: The MacBook of Vacuum Cleaners

From Dyson DC25

Everyone knows that I am a little obsessed with quality electronics goods. I love my Apple gear: MacBook, iPod, Airport Base Stations, my Acoustic Research speakers are old but still sound awesome, I still love my and often use my Beyer Dynamics DT770 pro headphones for my audiophilia. And although I don’t have a big screen TV for the PS2 (incumbent Wii), it is only a matter of time before the basement wall gets adorned with 65 inches on hot liquid plasma.

So it should come as no surprise that our little Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner that was generously donated to us by my little bro decided to pack it in, we would inevitably look into a vacuum cleaner any geek would love. Bypassing Hoover all together, we went straight to the next best thing to some out of England since the Mini Cooper S and Jonathan Ive: The Dyson. We first saw the Dyson about ten years ago and simply laughed: “a $2000 yellow Hoover with no bag?” It just seems completely over engineered and the design was just just so pretentious: “Hey look at me I can afford to drop 2G on a Hoover!” I had nothing against it’s cleaning power, a very good friend spent a few summers selling Kerby’s for about the same price so I understood where this machine would position itself. But still it just seemed like such a silly looking machine. Not to mention that James Dyson himself always looked like he belonged on the deck of the Death Star along side Lord Vader. He has one of those Berkshire/Oxfordshire accents that you just want to pummel with the fat end of a Cambridge / Oxford roaring oar. Yet, like another egomaniac Tech genius for Cupertino California, you just can’t help but listening to him and then really liking everything he has to say. Dyson’s landmark battle against Hoover who turned their noses at Dyson’s bagless cyclonic wonder and then systematically cloned his devices (Hoover lost big time) is not far removed from Apple own journey with the Macintosh and iPods.

Both the Dyson vacuum cleaner and the Apple computers are superior products than anyone else in their field and sure they cost more but once you use them, even for a few minutes, you know exactly why you should pay top dollar for them. So when we got home from the mall yesterday, we ceremoniously unpacked the Dyson DC25 and tested it out on a small 5 x 8 foot living room rug. We had vacuumed this rug only a couple of days ago and we were in shock at how much dust and dirt were ripped out of the rug. After the initial embarrassment brought on from realising that we are essentially pigs in a blanket, our purchase was forever justified in our minds and we then proceeded to vacuum the whole house. The bottom line is that this Dyson really SUCKS! And we love it already.

From Dyson DC25
From Dyson DC25


“Yup we are slobs, but the Dyson makes sure no one else wll ever know”

Sitting on my Deck on Valois Bay

Sitting on my Deck on Valois Bay

This is my raised patio project that I decided to take on this year as well as the Wendy House. 2009 will be a little too hectic for new projects so I’m trying to squeeze any major work before the end of the fall rather than scramble year or pay over the top to get someone else to do it.

This floating deck is a raised patio resting on 12 paving slabs and using no metal decking hardware, only screws and a bit of glue were used. The wood is pressure treated and come from and area that was cleared for a Hydro Quebec project. I first discovered this lumber at Home Depot but it now appears to be an ever more popular alternate and LOCAL source of lumber. Just to make my buddy Steph happy, we used 994 galvanized screws, the power used to drive the screws also came from Hydro Quebec!

The Wendyhouse: Fortier Estate Expands

So we managed to get the Wendyhouse finished in time for when the girls got back from England. We still have to paint some of the trim, but the girls have moved in already.

I have included a slide show of the construction process. I will post some more photos of the girls playing inside in the next few weeks.

The Wendy House
View the slide show on Flickr

wiki: Wood


I have been doing a lot research on this stuff over the last couple of weeks, in a few short day you’ll see why. Stay Tuned for more Wood

Comic form

New Lodgers on Valois Bay

When we woke up Wednesday day we had some new lodgers at the house. So in looked into it with The Great White North rental board and if we don’t evict them soon, they could claim squatters rights. We had removed another nest only a few days earlier using work gloves but they came back. This time we just used our hands. Our wretched “Human” stench should keep them away this time.

I was really impressed with the quality of work these birds did in a short amount of time.

Twitter in Plain English…

Anyone who has visited any of my blogs knows that I have quite the penchant for Twitter. It’s community seems more vibrant with thoughts, things overheard, questions and ideas rather than just being somebody’s life aggregator (sorry Jaiku). I have to admit that I have been prone to Twittering Habs hockey games, ski trips and the occasional silly outburst in a meeting (read Luddites explanation of technology). It’s often the perfect 140 distraction for when I’m waiting: in line, for someone, while the commercials are on.

Well one of my fellow Twitters: Cali Lewis, host of Geek Brief TV, stumbled on this great flash video from CommonCraft on what Twitter is. Twitter in plain English. Great video, thanks again Cali.

Follow me on Twitter

Kids Cross Country Ski Tips

Chloe and I have been doing a lot of Cross Country Skiing this week. Chloe is really starting to enjoy it, she is pretty strong on her skis but also has picked up on the whole sense of adventure that goes hand in hand with the sport. Tonight after work we are heading into the garden with our head lamps to track snow hares. Cool huh!

We'll I've been reading the MEC Web site a lot more and it's got some really good tips on keeping kids excited in outdoor winter sports:

One of my faves is this one:

  • If you attach a small section of climbing skin to the middle of their skis it will prevent the ski from sliding backward on slight inclines. It also prevents the ski from accelerating too quickly if your child attempts a daring descent.

I have enough trouble myself getting a good duck walk for going up hills. This tip will surely avoid plenty of headaches and tears.

There Goes The Property Valuation

OK So I completely Chevy Chase out and got an 8 foot tall inflatable Frosty the Snowman for the front yard. This thing has got to be the biggest piece of bling/kitch/chintz I have ever bought and it even lights up at night too. I do have a few other other lights around the door and railings, but I have to be careful this year as we only have 100 amps coming into the house. Who knows next year I might go all Tim Taylor à la Home Improvement and put a landing strip on the roof for the Reindeer.

That is still one of my favourite episodes/

The Story Of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is a great video and a fantastically well narrated tale of how our consumer needs are unsustainable and are not only putting our way of life at risk but are also irreversibly damaging our fragile little Blue Planet. Annie Leonard presence through out the whole video, chatting away in the bottom right hand side keeps the story flowing and not only draws you in to the story but make it feel that much more “REAL” as it’s coming form an actual live person.

From the site:

    From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

I actually heard this story about a month ago at a conference in Ottawa that David Suzuki was giving from his home office in British Columbia through video conferencing. The conference itself was actually about how video-conferencing is a viably green and cost effective alternative to traveling by plane. Dr. Suzuki has actually reduced his flying in half over the last few years by clustering his talks, meetings, and CBC’s the Nature of Things production work. He’s now going one step further by hosting his conferences via VC if he can not justify the need for the flight. This use of Video Conferencing is actually geared to reducing carbon emissions or as some call it reducing your carbon footprint. As David often does while talking about the environment he side tracked into the impact of big box stores on Mother Nature and he brought up the Story of Stuff in his own special science meets spirituality way we have all learned to love and respect while growing up and seeing him on the Nature Things as kids.

Once see the video, take the time to visit David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge, sign up and reduce your carbon footprint on our little Blue Planet.

17 Other Uses for Tennis Ball

We had a to buy tennis balls for the bottom of the Chloe’s chair at school. This makes a teacher’s like a little easier when 25 little 7-8 year olds suddenly get for recess. Well this site has some great ideas for other things you can do with tennis balls. Two of my faves is the Super Screwdriver and the Dryer Fluffer. Here’s another good tip on where to get the tennis balls pre-cut and in sets of 4 rather than 3 so you don’t have to buy 2 sets of 3 and then discard 2 balls.