My reading week was fun. Dad and Mom were around for a bunch of the week, we did some fun stuff and I got two pair of headphones. One pair was a Panasonic pair of headphones that were the highest rated in-ear headphones on Wire Cutter.
They also got me a pair of Sennheiser on ear headphones which are pretty amazing. Dad loves his Bose headphones but has made it clear he will banish me to an igloo in the back if I use them. Now I get what he is talking about.
During the week Mom was looking around at new headphones. She checked out every single pair of headphones in Future Shop before deciding on keeping her Sony headphones.
It was a nice Christmas Eve yesterday. Uncle Lee and Aunt Brittany invited us out to their place in Warman. They picked Oliver and I up early and then Dad and Mom came out around 5:30.
We had a nice dinner of lasagna (of course) while Dad make fun of Uncle Lee for wearing a Rob Gronkowski jersey. Thankfully Uncle Lee didn’t dance topless, break his arm or suffer any concussions while wearing it.
We then opened our stockings and gifts.
Dad gave me a Vivitar Action Cam. I wanted a GoPro but at $400, I knew that wasn’t going to happen but I was really surprised when I opened up the Action Cam. Oliver gave me some X-Mini Speakers which I am blasting right now. I also got some computer speakers for my laptops which are pretty cool. I was really surprised when I opened a gift from Santa Claus and in it was a Sony Xperia J and a new case. Here is the promo video for the Sony Xperia J. According to it, I will be invited to cool parties with attractive older women.
When we got home last night, Dad set it up with a wide variety of cool apps from the National Film Board, Vimeo, CSR Racing and apps from Google and Yahoo!.
Uncle Lee and Aunt Brittany gave me some really nice Huskie Athletics sweatpants and hoodie.
I gave Mom and Timex Ironman watch which I gave dad a book by Joe Clark, err, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark.
After the unveiling of the 2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty, dad, Chris, and I went to the Saskatchewan Legislature to watch Question Period and if there was time, to get a tour of the place from our MLA, Cam Broten.
We got there in time and found rockstar parking. I have a feeling we took the Premier or the Speaker’s parking spot but hey, it was a great spot. We wandered in and on the way in, we saw hundreds of geese loitering around on the legislature’s front lawn. Since dad has a hatred of all things birds, I am surprised he didn’t find a gun and start shooting but instead he more or less calmly walked into the Legislature and grabbed some seats in the Opposition benches. In case you are wondering, those are uncomfortable benches. Really uncomfortable.
Cam saw us come in and came up and asked if he could introduce us and said some nice things and then the fun started. There was shouting, accusation of lying, a lot of table banging, and shouts of “shame” and “hear, hear”. Once the Speaker of the legislature asked them to quiet down like a teacher does to an out of control classroom.
After it was done, we went down to the rotunda and waited for Cam but first we had to wait for the scrums to be done. On television they look kind of chaotic but up close they got the Hon. Don Morgan up and then had Cam Broten up. It seemed so polite.
During that time I had a chance to meet Premier Brad Wall and then Trent Wotherspoon came up and chatted. I met Trent last year when I was down to meet Prince Charles. It was cool he remembered me, I don’t think the Prince of Wales would have.
Then just as Cam was free, dad realized that we had to go now in order to get Oliver out of daycare in time. We drove back to Saskatoon and got there just in time. He serious when he said, “got to go now!”
The bad news is that we didn’t get the tour of the Legislature but the good news is that it means we can go back and take in Question Period on a day when dad has more time.
Ford invited Dad and I to come down to Regina for the day to see the unveiling of the new 2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty truck at the Regina Agribition. It’s the first time the truck has been seen in Canada so it was kind of a big deal.
It’s not the truck you get to drive back and forth to your office in. It’s the truck you use to work. It’s a big, strong tough truck that you make your living with. Well enough of the stock images from Ford, here is the truck in the wild.
“We’re here at the 2013 Agribition in the heart of Canadian Truck Country,” said Ryan Whitehead, Ford’s Product Marketing Manager, Trucks. “The Canadian Western Agribition is built on the ideals of leadership and innovation, values you can see at work in the powerful new Super Duty”
Of course I checked out the backseat (blame Jordon for the less than flattering photo)
As I mentioned before, it is a work truck but I was surprised not to find USB adapters and chargers back here. Considering that many people use their truck as their office, I expected to find more places to charge up devices back here. Maybe the production models will have them and the Platinum models do have two USB chargers and a SD card slot in the front.
It is roomy. Not that I am that tall yet but it is a spacious ride back here.
Up front, you’ll find wood grain trim on the door panels, instrument panel and center stack. The heated steering wheel is wrapped in leather, and the truck’s seats are covered with soft leather (the word Platinum is embroidered on the seat backs). Power adjustable pedals, power telescoping outside mirrors, a rear view camera system and remote start are all part of the Platinum package.
That is all pretty cool but I am really curious to know how a heated steering wheel feels. Like heated seats, it probably feels good on a cold day. Dad also brought up that if you have an injury or arthritis, a heated steering wheel could be very nice.
It has Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch. SYNC allows drivers to pair a cell phone, compatible bluetooth media players and USB compatible items and control them all with voice commands. Other features include 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report, traffic alerts and business search which are voice controlled. Like other Ford cars, it is missing the backseat override controls that I have been asking for. Again if you are too annoying up front, control should go to the back.
MyTouch uses an 8-inch touch screen to display the back up camera screen, heat and A/C settings, radio controls and navigation. The screen was developed especially for the Super Duty, and engineers focused on providing a design that’s easy to use, even if drivers are wearing work gloves.
The truck has a new storage area on top of the dash, with two USB ports, an audio-video connections, SD card slot and a 12-volt charging port for cell phones and other digital devices
You really get an idea of how big it is when you see it beside this Ford Escape
You can see the guy polishing the finger prints off the truck. I am pretty sure you can order him as an extra factory option.
The photo of the 6.7 litre engine is a lot nicer than mine but yeah, this will pull almost anything you need and several things you don’t. According to the press release and the staff, this new engine is kind of a big deal.
A key Ford innovation on the original 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel was its so-called reverse-flow layout. The advanced design places the exhaust inside the engine’s V-shape while the air intake is positioned on the outside of the V. This segment-exclusive design naturally improves a variety of attributes:
- Shorter airflow from the exhaust system to the turbocharger sitting between the engine’s cylinder banks improves turbo responsiveness – key to providing torque quickly to truck customers when they need it most
- Positioning the turbo inside the engine’s valley helps isolate the engine’s hottest temperatures, improving performance and efficiency, while also reducing noise, vibration and harshness
Ford engineers built upon the many benefits of this design as they upgraded the Power Stroke. One improvement is a larger GT37 turbocharger that replaces the previous GT32 model, enabling more airflow to the engine to produce more power beyond today’s 400 horsepower and 800 lb.-ft. of torque.
Dad made me read the Wikipedia entry on The Battle of the Somme today for Remembrance Day.
The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme, German: Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on either side of the River Somme in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity’s bloodiest battles. A Franco-British commitment to an offensive on the Somme had been made during Allied discussions at Chantilly, Oise in December 1915. The Allies agreed upon a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers in 1916, by the French, Russian, British and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. The main part of the offensive was to be made by the French Army, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).
When the German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse in February 1916, many French divisions intended for the Somme were diverted and the supporting attack by the British became the principal effort. The First day on the Somme was a serious defeat for the German Second Army, which was forced out of its first line of defence by the French Sixth Army, from Foucaucourt-en-Santerre south of the Somme to Maricourt on the north bank and by the British Fourth Army from Maricourt to the vicinity of the Albert–Bapaume road. 1 July 1916 was also the worst day in the history of British Army, which had c. 60,000 casualties, mainly on the front between the Albert–Bapaume road and Gommecourt, where the attack failed disastrously, few British troops reaching the German front line. The British Army on the Somme was a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army, Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army which was composed of Pals battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations, whose losses had a profound social impact in Britain.
The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank. At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated 6 miles (9.7 km) into German-occupied territory, taking more ground than any offensive since the Battle of the Marne in 1914. The Anglo-French armies had failed to capture Péronne and were still 3 miles (4.8 km) from Bapaume, where the German armies maintained their positions over the winter. British attacks in the Ancre valley resumed in January 1917 and forced the Germans into local withdrawals to reserve lines in February before the scheduled retirement to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) began in March.
General Sir Douglas Haig, the commander of the BEF and General Henry Rawlinson commander of the Fourth Army, have been criticised ever since, for the human cost of the battle and for failing to achieve their territorial objectives. On 1 August 1916 Winston Churchill criticised the British Army’s conduct of the offensive to the British Cabinet, claiming that though the battle had forced the Germans to end their offensive at Verdun, attrition was damaging the British armies more than the German. Though Churchill was unable to suggest an alternative, a critical view of the British on the Somme has been influential in English-language writing ever since.
60,000 people dead in one day.
After Ninite is done getting it ready for school with Libre Office, Gimp, and Picasa, the fun part of installing some games and other goodness begins. But first the Windows updates. Many, many, many Windows updates.
My football season is done. I played both cornerback and wide receiver this year. We had our struggles but we finished with a 4-6 record. Considering I went 0-9 my first season, it wasn’t that bad.
I won the Zach Dawson Award at our year end final banquet for hard work and having a good attitude. Dad bugged me that despite not being able to tackle or catch, I was quite cheerful about it.
For any of you who are wondering, Zach died during my first year from playing a “choking game”. The award was named in his honor.
Now I have to decide if I want to play Kinsmen Football next year or try out for my high school team.
Right after Dad got the Ford Focus GT, Ford let him review a Ford Mustang GT. I was away at Buffalo Pound Lake mountain biking, hiking, and making ineffective water filters and when I got home, Oliver was going on and on about the “cheap kit” that dad was driving.
The cheap kit was actually “Cheap KITT” and he was referred to a 2013 Ford Mustang GT. We have been watching the remake of Knight Rider where KITT is a Ford Mustang. When Dad brought home the car, Oliver asked him if it had rockets like KITT does. Dad said it didn’t and so Oliver said, “Oh, it’s a cheap KITT then”.
The Mustang came at a good time. Our Mazda had a cracked air hose and so we had the car while we waited to get the Mazda fixed. I was able to ride in the front and the back. Sadly because of outdated laws prohibiting 13 year olds from driving muscle cars, I was unable to take it out for a test drive. 2016 can’t come soon enough.
Like the Ford Focus ST, dad drove me to football and to school where again everyone looked and stared as we rumbled up. When the Mustang starts up, it kind of yells out, get in the car, buckle up, and hold on. I did as I was told. Everyone was asking me about it.
The Ford MyTouch is quite a bit different than in the Focus ST but we kind of liked it. Dad turned on the breadcrumb feature of the GPS and so I could see all of the places they went without me (basically work). We did take it for an extended drive to the cabin after we forgot the electric oil heater when we locked up the cabin for the winter. If it freezes it would have made a big mess so we got in the car on a Saturday night and drove out there. Crawling into the back of the car was dark to say the least. It felt like crawling into the abyss. Black ragtop, black seat, black interior. I was wearing a black jacket and Oliver had a black hoodie. Oliver looks over at me and goes, “It’s dark back here Marky”. He was right. An interior light anywhere back there would have been nice.
Despite backseat passengers not being a huge priority for Mustang drivers, I was comfortable heading up to the cabin. Dad is 6’4″ and didn’t need to put his seat all the way back which was nice. We had the same problems with a poorly designed stereo system, err, I mean defective father on the way up in the Mustang and I heard the first couple of bars of many songs. I really need to get that fixed.
I loaded the heater into the trunk and it is tiny but all of the horsepower takes up a lot of space up front. There was less space available then the Focus ST or our Mazda but I doubt anyone buys a Mustang based on trunk space.
I was able to get some sleep on the way home and was comfortable the entire time. While not designed for the family holiday, it worked well that night.
One other cool thing was the Mustang logo shines onto the ground from the side mirrors. I think that is a really cool feature. I just wish we had it earlier in the year, the convertible would have been more enjoyable then.