Cool stuff

Sometimes I find the coolest stuff on the internet and I feel compelled to share!

Meet the DODOCase – a handmade case for your iPad.

Why is this so cool? It turns your electronic gadget into something that feels like a book. It keeps traditional bookbinding skills alive and it’s made in San Francisco. And they use cargo bikes for deliveries. All my favourite things coming together in a single company!

Meet the DODOs from DODOcase on Vimeo.

Cool eh!

Snackaroos

Carrots

Here are a few ideas for some primal/paleo snacks:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nut balls
  • Nuts – cashews, macadamias, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts
  • Cold meat
  • Leftover lunch or dinner
  • An apple cut into slices with a dollop of almond butter for dipping
  • Carrot sticks and guacamole/avocado slices
  • Almond flour baking (in small quantities)
  • Dried fruit (just one or two pieces at a time)
  • Dark chocolate (70% or higher)

We’ve also been trying to eat more local food, so last weekend while we were running around the Cowichan Valley organizing the 200km bike ride, we stopped at the Saturday morning market and talked to a couple of local beef farmers. They both sell meat at the market as well as directly from the farm, so we’re planning to drive up there with our chilly bin (cooler) and get some local grass-raised meat. Once we’ve visited the farms I’ll put up some links to their websites.

We’re also planning to try growing some vegetables using square-foot gardening. We’ve weeded our raised bed in the back garden in preparation for buying some dirt next weekend. I’m hoping Patrick comes up with a plan for an automatic watering system. Either that, or I’m going to have to enlist some help with watering reminders – (I pick plants for the flower beds based on how drought-resistant they are!)

Has anyone else tried square-foot gardening? What kind of vegetables do you think we should plant?

Photo via Flickr user havankevin

Volunteer fun and games

April is a hectic month here. It’s tax season, which is never fun. But it’s also the start of the randoneuring season in BC.

Randoneuring is long distance cycling. Events are organized, and riders follow a prescribed route, stopping at controls along the way to prove that they have completed the ride. Distances start at 200km and go up from there. The most well-known event happens once every four years – Paris Brest Paris – a 1200km ride that has to be completed in less than 90 hours.

Patrick has been doing these events since we lived in San Diego. To begin with, I just said he was crazy, and left him to it. But at some point, it sounded like he was having a lot of FUN, and being one who hates to miss out on some fun, I agreed to do a 200km ride with him on the tandem. When he said he wanted to do PBP, I said “Yeah Right!” assuming THAT would never happen. Well it did! Four years ago, we rode all the qualifying events and completed PBP on the tandem. It was a heck of an adventure. But this isn’t the story of what happened four years ago. This is the story of what happened as we drove the route for the 200km ride we now volunteer to organize every year in the Cowichan Valley.

The day, a Saturday, started off clear. Blue skies, sunshine. As we drove over the Malahat on our way to the start, we both lamented not having our bikes with us. Why had we decided to drive the route rather than ride it? Surely we could have wheeled our way round, despite our lack of riding fitness? But it was too late now.

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We drove along the back country roads, Patrick driving and me reading the route sheet, checking the names of all the roads, looking for potholes, new roundabouts, anything different than last year. By the second control, at Glenora, at the 100km mark, we were getting pretty hungry. And since this was the control we were planning to man for the event, we wanted to go inside and introduce ourselves to the people running the store. Half an hour later we emerged, tummies full of the best omelet ever. Patrick later admitted she’d added cream to it and cooked it in butter. No wonder I was licking my lips!

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We kept going, out to Lake Cowichan, where we hit a huge bump as we crossed the bridge over the river in town (made a note on the route sheet to warn the riders of that!), carried on out to Gordon Bay Park – lots of potholes there as usual – then headed back down the hill. Halfway down, the sky suddenly darkened, and before we knew it, it was sleeting. And then on the way back over the Malahat, snow!

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Ha ha, we thought. Glad we’re in the car and not on our bikes now!

Luckily for the riders, the weather the following Saturday was not so bleak!

Using Evernote

Evernote is a notebook application that you can use on your computer and ipod to keep yourself organized. Here are some of the ways I use it:

  • A cookbook to store recipes I find online
  • A place to keep my to do lists
  • A place to save maps
  • A notebook for creative writing ideas
  • A shopping list
  • A list of movies I want to see and books I want to read
  • A list of things I want to change on my website

There are lots of other ways you could use Evernote – in fact, there are endless possibilities.

What makes it so cool, is that you can search all your Evernote notebooks like you would search with Google. Just type in a search term and it will find the note you’re looking for. And you can sync your notebooks across all your computers, ipods and ipads, so your notes are available whereever you go. Let’s get started!

1. Download and install Evernote on your computer and sign up for a free account.

  1. Go to http://www.evernote.com and click the Download Now button.
  2. Click Save As and save the file to your desktop, or somewhere you can find it.
  3. Double-click the file and follow the instructions to install Evernote and sign up for a free account.

2. Create a notebook.

You can create any number of notebooks depending on how you want to organize things. A notebook is like a folder in Windows – a way of keeping similar notes together.

  1. Click File, New Notebook.
  2. Enter a name for the notebook.
  3. Select Synchronized notebook if you want the notebook to be available to you on another computer or ipod. (If you don’t select this option, the notebook is only available on the current computer.)
  4. Click Make this my default notebook. (If you don’t want this to be your default notebook, obviously don’t select this option.)
  5. Click OK.

3. Add a new note.

Any time you have an idea that you want to remember, you can create a note in Evernote and enter it. Or use a single note to keep a list of ideas. It’s up to you.

  1. Click New Note.
  2. Give the note a title.
  3. Type in the content of your note.

4. Clip a selection of text or take a screenshot.

If there’s something on your screen that you want to save, like a recipe on a website, you can select the text and save that as a note, or you can take a screenshot and save that as a note.

  1. Right-click the Evernote icon in the system tray at the bottom right of your screen. (If you don’t see the icon in the system tray, you might have to open Evernote and make sure you are logged in.)
  2. If you have selected some text to save, select Copy Selection. A new note is created in the current notebook.
  3. If you want to take a screenshot of the webpage or application, select Clip Screenshot. When the crosshairs appear, draw a frame around the part you want to save. A new note is created in the current notebook.

5. Sync your notes.

If you want your notes to be availabe on another computer or on your ipod, you can sync your notes to update them on the server.

  1. Click the Sync button. Any Synchronized notebooks are updated on the server.

6. Install the free Evernote app on your ipod.

If you have an ipod, you can sync your notebooks from the ipod back and forth with the computer, so that you always have the notes you need.

  1. On your ipod, search for the Evernote app in the App Store.
  2. Touch Free, and install the app (you need to know your iTunes password).
  3. Once you’ve installed the app, open Evernote on your ipod.
  4. Enter your username and password (the one you created when you installed Evernote on your computer).

Evernote will sync your notebooks so that you can read all your notes on the ipod/ipad.

7. Save a local copy of notes on your ipod for when you will be offline.

If you are going out and know in advance that you need a copy of a note, you can make that note a Favorite. This stores a local copy on your ipod so that you don’t have to have a wireless connection to read it. I find this particularly useful if I have to drive to someone’s house. I clip a screenshot of Google maps showing where I need to go, sync my notebook on the computer, turn on my ipod, wait for it to sync my notes, then make the map note a Favorite. Easy!

  1. Find the note and touch the Star icon.
  2. When you are offline, touch Notebooks at the bottom of the screen, then touch Favorites to see all the notes you have saved on the ipod.

8. Create a new note on the ipod.

  1. In Evernote on the ipod, click the Plus button.
  2. Give the note a title.
  3. Type in the content of your note.
  4. Touch Save.
  5. Next time you’re online, the note is automatically synced.

Try it out and let me know what you think!