07 Dec 2017

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Family

Sinterklaas 2017

‘Tis the season to make poffertjes!

This past weekend was our annual Langendoen family Christmas gathering. Every year, for the past 11 years, we have set aside the first weekend in December (as close to 5 Dec as possible) to celebrate Sinterklaas with all 15 cousins. This year we added Brenda’s cousin Anna and her family who have moved to Alberta this year. In all we had 31 for much of the weekend. This year we all met a the senior’s center in Rocky Mountain House – it’s wheelchair accessible for Brenda’s Dad and very close to their home, so that worked out very well with lots of room for everyone.

The gathering has changed a lot over the years – five of the kids are adults over the age of 18 now. But many things remain the same as the first time we met up for Sinterklaas in 2007 at the Banff Gate Resort in Dead Man’s Flat. We still have wooden shoes full of Dutch treats, a visit from Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet, board games and lots of food.

Poffertjes are a staple for brunch on the Sunday – every year Brenda and I bring poffertjes and bacon and it never fails to be a hit. This year, we made almost 700 of the little pancakes – we have to double the recipe and then make 3 of the doubled batches. We made them at home the day before we headed to Rocky and re-heated them while we cooked the bacon.

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27 Oct 2017

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

End of the Season

I accomplished quite a bit with the MG this summer – it took plenty long enough, but the results were quite good. The rear suspension was refreshed, rear axle repainted, rear brakes replaced and the clutch hydraulics all replaced as well. There was a noticeable improvement in the handling from the suspension work and the cost was fairly reasonable. Parts are easy enough to find, it’s just the US dollar sticker price and the cost of shipping (especially the gouging from the couriers on brokerage fees) that is painful. Fully half of the parts cost is exchange, shipping and handling, duties and brokerage.

The front brakes, cooling system and the front suspension update never quite got to the top of the “to do” list. Since the car didn’t get on the road until August 1st, I wasn’t too keen to lose any more driving time. The level of trust that there was sufficient reliability to go on longer day trips really never was there due to marginal oil pressure and really poor gas mileage. 20W50 motor oil seems to have addressed the worst of the oil pressure situation but the fuel efficiency problem lingered. There was always a smell of unburnt fuel and it wasn’t until the last day of the season that I figured it out.

After topping off the gas tank, I let the car idle after I got home while I added fuel stabilizer to the tank for the winter. After letting the car run long enough to get the treated fuel to the carb, I moved the car to it’s winter parking spot. When I got out of the car I saw a big puddle of fuel where it had been sitting and idling. Unfortunately, the next day it got cold and the fix will have to wait until spring time.

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21 Sep 2017

Posted by under Family

Chloe 2011 – 2017


b. 2 January 2011 Calgary, AB, Canada

d. 21 September 2017 Calgary, AB, Canada

We are deeply saddened as a family today as our wonderful Frenchie is no longer with us.

Mark and Brenda first saw Chloe at a pet store in Calgary. They had gone in on a whim while doing some other shopping and within a day we had a new member of the family. Chloe was full of fun, loved to have her belly rubbed and had no tolerance for animals intruding into her television. All chew toys were “birds”, as far as she was concerned, and life was rarely better than when there was a sunbeam to sleep in. Chloe’s final illness was sudden and unexpected – we are all reeling from the loss.

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05 Sep 2017

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Geekstuff

The Big Finish

After 14 years, 5 months and 19 days I have finally completed the CNPS game that I started back in 2003! The realization, this past March, that I was close enough to finish the game in under a year gave me the push I needed to start paying closer attention to the game and actively look for plates. Once the weather got to be nice, I just made a point to go out for a walk at lunchtime almost every day.

Working along 9th Avenue at the west end of Calgary’s downtown, was quite convenient as there are surface parking lots from 4th to 8th Street – loads of cars to walk by every day. With enough variation to constantly see new cars and enough stability to find numbers a second time when their turn came. … hey, don’t be giving me that look!

The graph above shows the progress since the start of 2017. The open circle data point is the where I was on 17 March, the 14 year mark. You can see how the 3 or 4 per month rate in the first quarter jumps up around the end of May going to a rate of about 12 per month over the summer. There were multiple occasions where I saw two or three plates in a single day. What a difference from when I was languishing in the 700’s at 45 plates per year.

Anyway, it’s a giant relief to have finished and I hope it doesn’t take too many weeks to train myself not to swivel around to see every car license plate that goes by!

Best of luck to Scott and Joel as they continue the Quest! Remember, it’s not crazy – it’s a calling.

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