Friday, May 8, 2015
When renovating the bathroom, some people don't consider how much weight the floor needs to sustain in order to remain intact. This is especially true when considering large tubs or hot tubs. Gallons and gallons of water used to fill these comfortable additions can weigh quite a bit, and an older floor may be too degraded to sustain the weight.
Water Damage from the Past
Hiring a bathroom renovation specialist can help you determine if the support beams for the floor are sound enough to sustain additional weight from a tub upgrade. Over time, water damage can rot support beams reducing the capabilities of each one. This damage could have come from overflowing toilets, water from the shower, bad sink drains and much more. Until you tear into the floor itself, you may never know just how degraded these beams can be.
When installing new fixtures, it is important that the edges be sealed with a waterproof substance. This is usually done with a sealing calk that prevents water seepage under the floor. Over time, this sealant can be compromised leading to the water damage of floor boards and support frames. Even a few droplets of water each day from each shower taken in the home can eventually lead to rotten wood or mold growth.
Before you put that larger tub in the bathroom, seek the advice of a professional. Without proper support, the extra weight from the additional water could cause your bathroom to cave into the space below. While this might not be a overly damaging prospect in a single level home, multiple levels houses could have a great deal of damage done from an upstairs tub sinking into the floor.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Excellence or Exceptional
Final weeks to save
Giving 110 Percent
Going out of business sale
Home of the ______
Loaded with options
New and Improved
Once in a lifetime
Outside the box
Pass the savings onto you
Quality of Life
Setting the standard
Take advantage of
Your _______ needs
Zero money down
However on the internet, where keywords are EVERYTHING, these advertising words become filler - complete useless. The primary goal is to use the words for which the website was made for.
So for example lets pretend you were trying to sell car insurance on television. The monologue for a car insurance TV commercial might sound like this:
Are you looking for employee pricing car insurance? Imagine being able to get great deals on car insurance rates, the best service from our team of friendly and professionally trained staff who will fulfill all of your car insurance needs - offering you the best quality and excellence you can expect, all while making car insurance more hassle free and affordable. Get zero money down on your first month of car insurance by calling now!
Now imagine a website that has everything written like that? It would look idiotic. The stuff people get away with in television advertising would look like it was written by an amateur on the internet. The meaningless words shown in print are revealed as such and suddenly any normal person can no longer take the website in question as anything but either an amateurish mistake or a joke, poking fun at the use of meaningless words.
I don't even know what "cord blood" is. I just looked it up. Apparently it has to do with special banks that store blood from umbilical cords for future use in stem cell transplants.
So back to the example of insurance, an insurance company's websites goal is to show lots of content. Content about every kind of insurance they sell, and in theory they should also be showing consumer stories about their customer experience - talking about how their car got stolen, they needed the car to get to work, and the insurance company was so fast, the service was friendly and helpful, and even got them a rental car while they processed the insurance claim.
This way their website gets lots of content on the topic, includes customer feedback, and customers end up feeling like they were treated like an individual instead of like another number.
Ask yourself which do you prefer: To buy your car insurance from a company full of gibberish or a company which shows they live up to the claims. I know which company I would pick.
African-American culture isn't entirely different from some mainstream cultures, but it's different enough that African-Americans feel an emptiness when they look at mainstream media. They don't see people who look, think, and talk like them, and they detect a noticeable absence of African-American figures in the arenas of politics and business. For those people who want their children to grow up appreciating their culture, and for those African-Americans who want to hold onto their own culture, there are channels that broadcast African American news and issues that hit home with its audience.
News and issues
News and issues focus on central figures in the African-American community that are up and coming on the political scene or that are doing noteworthy things in the community. There are also stories of community news that deal with noteworthy legal issues that might be pressing for the African-American community.
Sports and entertainment
It's not all serious on African-American channels. There are entertainment and sports features that bring home those genres to the masses and give the entertainment an African-American voice to appreciate. This might include musicians, actors, sports figures, and stand-up artists who bring joy to the world through those gifts.
You don't have to be African-American to appreciate the culture. Anyone can tune in, just like African-Americans also watch mainstream networks and news shows that focus on a more causation audience. Diversity in our entertainment broadens horizons across the board for people across cultures.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
The reasons why myself (and others) have opted to boycott Nestle vary, but my personal reason for boycotting Nestle is because of the company's stance on the privatization of water.
In the video below the Nestle CEO asserts that water is not a human right and that it is a foodstuff like any other, and therefore should be packaged and controlled by corporations and not controlled by the government providing free tap water to citizens. Basically he wants to make money off selling water (and soft drinks and coffee and assorted beverages) to people and wants governments to stop controlling the distribution of free water.
So for example in South America, where water supplies are dwindling so much that even the plot of the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace" was about an evil corporation trying to take over the water supply of Bolivia, well, the concept of a war over water supply is certainly a real prospect.
Enter Nescafe - created by the Nestle corporation in1938. Nestle you may recall is a Swiss company that began in 1866, began from humble beginnings selling condensed milk (to be mixed with free water) and instant baby formula. Nescafe is now one of the largest producers of coffee in the world, and Nestle one of the largest corporations in the world.
Nescafe is extremely popular in South America. The name is almost a synonym for coffee.
So what happens if Nescafe / Nestle decides they want to take over South America's supply of fresh water? Package it and sell it. The privatization of everything from sewer pipes, the water you wash yourself with, wash your clothes with, and use to wash your dishes. What happens?
Imagine a system wherein people are charged for the amount of water they use and if they don't pay they are cut off and left to die - and if they try to get their water from another source they discover that Nestle owns that too. Because according to Nestle, water is not a human right and is a commodity. Given time (and government bribery) they would probably even make it against the law to collect rain water or other ridiculous laws designed in an effort to make the Nestle corporation richer.
Now you might think, hey, this would never happen in Canada or the United States would it? Are you so sure of that? The American Midwest is becoming a desert (thanks to global warming) and places like Las Vegas are in such a short supply of fresh water they are piping it in from other regions.
Mark my words, the privatization of water and rising prices of fresh water will lead to riots in the streets and people / nations killing each other for a drink.
In Canada we have tonnes of water - so much we are already packaging it and sending it overseas as bottled water. But will it be Canadian corporations who make it rich, or foreign corporations who extort our water and makes themselves billionaires while sharing only a tiny fraction with the Canadian government? After all Canada has NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and various other free trade agreements. That means Canada makes ZERO on the export of water and only makes money off the income tax of employees. Water bottling plants are mostly robots, so the number of employees is minimal - and local managers can be paid peanuts compared to what a corporation can make selling Canadian water overseas.
Monday, January 12, 2015
And if you are like many Canadians, you can name most of the James Bond films, you have a favourite actor who played James Bond (mine is Roger Moore, but Daniel Craig is pretty awesome too), and you probably can't wait to see the new 007 film, which is due to be released on November 6th 2015.
So the good news is that Spectre is back - a villainous organization dating back to a time when that hack Sean Connery was playing James Bond (seriously, Connery just says his lines and looks good, he doesn't have any acting skill).
You know what I would really love however?
Bring back Jaws, the villain-turned-hero who appeared in two different James Bond films and becomes a hero by the end of the 2nd film. I know who would be a good actor to play Jaws as well - the guy who played Ser Gregor Clegane or “The Mountain That Rides" in Game of Thrones, also known as Hafthor Bjornsson. The guy is so big he makes Arnold look small, which makes him a great option to play Jaws.
At 6'9" tall, 386 lbs Hafthor Bjornsson can not only play Jaws, but as one of the top 5 strongest men currently alive - and the only one of those who is an actor, he can play the role well. The guy dresses up as the Incredible Hulk just for fun.
But in the meantime, just for fun, lets have a look at the introductory music videos found at the start of the last 3 James Bond films made by Daniel Craig.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Thus when I see websites like Sole Society I shake my head in disgust. The site in question sells shoes, handbags, jewelry, hats, scarves, sunglasses and accessories - most of which are things you would probably rather try on in the store before purchasing.
For example I have never purchased shoes without trying them on first.
I have never bought a handbag / backpack or anything like that without opening it first and checking out the inside.
Jewelry? Well, if it was a ring for example I need to try it on to see if it fits. Bracelets and necklaces, okay, probably don't need to try it on, but it is still nice to see it in person first. Maybe check to make sure the diamonds are real.
Hats and sunglasses, again, need to try them on and check yourself in the mirror.
Scarves are the only item on the website I would even consider ordering.
In which case, am I that low on stores nearby that sell scarves? I can get to the Eaton's Centre in 30 minutes if I time the buses and subway perfectly. (When I lived downtown I was able to walk there in 10 minutes or bicycle there in 4.)
So I really don't see much benefit in buying shoes/similar items online unless they are ridiculous cheap compared to a store, which I doubt because the cost of shipping must be worked into the price somehow. Or if they are ridiculously cheap, there must be something wrong with them.
For example I know I can go on Alibaba and order lots of super cheap things from China and India. eg. You can buy 100 bamboo arrows from China for $30 + shipping. And the more you buy, the cheaper they are. That is amazingly cheap for a product you can sell in Canada for roughly $5 per arrow. So as long as a person could find plenty of buyers, you could conceivably buy 1000 arrows on there for about $300 + shipping and then sell them here in Canada for $5000.
That is the big trick about Alibaba. Everything is in bulk orders. eg. 50 pairs of shoes, or 120 pairs of shoes - everything is a minimum order of a relatively large amount.
But you won't find reputable brand names on there because you have to purchase those from the manufacturer's distributors. eg. I tried looking for Nike shoes, but the only thing I could find is display cases for selling Nikes on.
So in this case, yes, you can find things for ridiculously cheap prices online. But they won't be brand name and you have to order it in bulk. And the shipping isn't free.
However having the convenience of watching movies sooner - and not having to wait for the film to download - is rather nice to have. This is why I have a subscription to Netflix.
But there are other companies which offer movie downloading - including free trials.
Mega Flix has a 5 Day Free Trial
CraveTV has Game of Thrones, Dallas, Sopranos, Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, Corner Gas, Monty Python (the TV show and all the films) and a whole lot more. It is very tempting. However there is just one flaw:
Most of the shows on there that I would want, I already own on DVD. Or have access to on Netflix.
So at this point I am undecided. That doesn't mean however that CraveTV might not be right for you. Maybe you don't have Netflix like I do. Or maybe you prefer to download everything for free (in which case, check out that free trial - it is basically 5 days worth of free movies).
Monday, December 29, 2014
I have been meaning for several months now to post a review about this small but very handy knife I purchased at Canadian Tire.
If I recall correctly it was $14.99 + HST, but I don't recall precisely.
What I do know however is that I haven't any problems with this knife's usability, sharpness or any problems with it breaking.
My previous knife, which I lost back in the summer, was a Gerber. The problems I encountered with the Gerber were two fold:
1. The Gerber blade dulled pretty easily. Although I admit I sometimes used it to draw lines in the dirt, which is a bad thing to do to a knife because it dulls the blade pretty quickly. Once dulled however I found it was difficult to sharpen and never held an edge that well. I also determined that the Gerber blade got scratched up pretty easily, which leads to my belief that the quality of the steel wasn't the greatest at holding its edge if it could get scratched so easily.
2. The Gerber had a belt clip on the side of it that got caught on a guard rail and got bent out to the side. When I tried to bend it back it would just spring back to its new position sticking out in annoying fashion. The bent clip meant it didn't hold into jeans pocket that well and would fall out easily - hence how it eventually got lost.
After the clip got bent I started looking for a replacement knife for the Gerber because I knew it was just a matter of time before I lost it.
When I purchased the Buck pocket knife I really just wanted a replacement for the Gerber that would work well for my purposes. I wasn't expecting it to last forever and I was secretly expecting it to dull quickly like the Gerber did.
But it hasn't. It holds the edge very well, I haven't had any sharpness problems with it. It is just a small and handy knife.
I also routinely carry a Swiss army knife, but I must say that I am now in the market for a new Swiss army knife so if there are manufacturers out there looking for a review of their product contact me (charlesmoffat at charlesmoffat dot com) and I shall review a sample of your product(s).
Note - "The Interview" starring Seth Rogen and James Franco was Made in Canada - which means, arguably, that North Korea should be threatening Canada, not the USA for its production.
In recent years North Korea has been ramping up its long range missile development and its focus on nuclear weapons. The country currently has the capability of launching ICBM nuclear missiles across the Pacific Ocean and striking targets in the western USA, Hawaii and Alaska.
And to make matters worse, the leadership of North Korea has been handing from father to son, so the current leader of North Korea is a 31 year old man. A man which has been tasked with defeating the USA, staying in power while his people starve, and smashing any hopes of rebellion against him.
Thus making a comedy about two American reporters sent to kill him is just hilarious with the premise alone, but I want to make clear here that having watched the film myself that this film is extremely well scripted, well written, and well acted. The best comedy of the year, in my opinion.
Thus I am giving it FIVE STARS out of five.
And I am not just saying this just because I have an interest in North Korea's eventual defeat and reunification with South Korea, I sincerely believe this film is the best comedy film I have seen this year.
When North Korea heard about the comedy they became worried about what it might contain that would embarrass their country and their "supreme leader", and you know what, the film does not disappoint. The film brilliantly shows off Kim Jong-un as a maniacal dictator who pretends to be a god.
Sony, which funded the film ended up pulling the movie out of movie theatres due to terrorist death threats made against audiences that watched it, but later released it on YouTube anyway (for a fee) and also released it to privately owned art theatres.
Thus the film won't make as much money as originally predicted, but it is my opinion that this film should be seen by millions of people anyway - simply because it is that good.
Case in point - My girlfriend doesn't like the actor Seth Rogen, but she ended up liking the film anyway. Kind of like how I like Romeo and Juliet, even though I cannot stand Leonardo DiCaprio.
There are many parts of the film I really enjoyed, but my favourite part is when Kim Jong-un cries so hard that he s**** himself.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
#1. Puppy, Kitten or Fish
Depending on whether the person is a dog, cat or fish person - this could actually be a really good gift to give them. You should also get them pet food (the appropriate kind) with the pet, and in the case of fish you will also need to buy a fish tank and any accompanying gadgets for the fish.
Note - Not all people are into pets (eg. some people are allergic). I personally would LOVE a kitten for xmas. Preferably a Russian Blue (which is technically grey, but whatever). I think they're adorable.
#2. Tools and Power Tools
If the person in question is a manly man (or a handy woman) then you can never go wrong with tools. But you can buy the wrong type of tools. Way too many people buy hammers, screwdrivers, ratchet sets, drills and drill bits - but for the really tough jobs men need a greater variety of tools like:
Mallet + Chisels (these go together)
But then there is also the power tools. Nail gun, band saw, jig saw, rotary saw, chain saw, oxy-acetylene cutting torch, drill press, etc. eg. I saw a wood lathe awhile back I saw in Canadian Tire and I decided to take a photo and put it on my "TO BUY LIST", which is a list of things I personally want to buy sometime.
#3. Ties, Belts, Suspenders
For the non-manly men you probably don't know their shoe size, precise pants size (length and waist), shirt size, etc. So what can you get them? Well you're in luck. You can probably guess their waist size and be able to pick out a belt that is in their size - or if not are sure, you can more easily get them a tie or suspenders (all men look awesomely retro in suspenders).
#4. La Senza Gift Card or Shoes Gift Card
Honestly, men are clueless when it comes to buying lingerie, bras and panties. So if you are sincerely wanting to buy something "sexy" for your significant other this xmas, maybe you should not buy it yourself but instead get a gift card - so that they can approve of the purchase before you buy something they will never wear.
Now you might think "Why La Senza?" Well it is like this. Not all women like Victoria Secret or La Vie En Rose. But they do all like La Senza. I don't why this is, it just is. La Senza is like the "happy middle ground" apparently that all women can apparently go to when shopping for such things. I don't claim to know why, I am just reporting the way it is. Maybe a woman would be able to best explain why ALL women apparently like this store, but dislike certain other stores. (I have a hunch it has something to do with sizes, marketing styles, etc.)
Failing this your next best option is SHOES. So find a shoe store you think they would like and get a gift card from that store. Shoes are an universal commodity according to many women.
#5. Hobby Related Books or Magazine Subscription
Let us pretend for a moment you are buying a gift for your mother, step-mother, mother-in-law, sister or grandmother however - and thus lingerie is probably a bad idea, and even shoes might be a bad idea if they only use orthopedic shoes. Here is what you do - go on Facebook, sneak around and research their hobbies - or judge based upon your past knowledge of the person what their hobbies are.
For example lets say your mother-in-law's hobbies are cooking, sewing/knitting and going to the ballet. Thus you have a long list of recipe books, sewing/knitting books, and even books about ballet to choose from.
To say nothing of subscriptions to "Canadian Living" (a recipe / crafts magazine based in Canada), "Chatelaine Magazine" (also based in Canada) and "The Dance Current" (a Canadian based magazine about ballet and modern dance). Or if she likes to travel, then you can guess she would probably like "National Geographic".
Speaking for myself I would love to have magazine subscriptions to "Traditional Bowhunter Magazine", "Popular Woodworking", "Canadian Woodworking", and "National Geographic".
After all band saws are extremely useful for cutting any kind of wood for DIY projects (using a thin blade band saws can even be used like a jig saw, making intricate curving cuts in the wood).
But when it came to finding a replacement blade I discovered that my lowly "hobby band saw" was so small that many stores did not sell band saw replacement blades in that size.
So instead I ended up buying a brand new band saw, and purchased one that had a more standard size blade (62 inches), which meant that if the new one ever breaks I just have to go buy new replacement blades and never have to worry about whether they have them in the correct size, because they are a standard size that are really popular.
Asides from the noise (it is fine cutting through softwood but it screams like a dying cat when you cut hardwood) I am quite happy with this band saw.
As a tool, it does everything I expect it to do for my needs. Easy to use, operate, clean, etc. It is even easy to replace the blades.
Today, the band saw blade that came with it finally broke. I should note in broke because I was rushing through the cut too fast, possibly combined with normal wear and tear. So I need to go purchase replacement blades.
So I check Home Depot (where I purchase the Ryobi last winter) for the prices of band saw blades. I see a variety of blades, different sizes and widths. I double check the length of the blade I need: 62 inches, and I see right at the top two blades that suit my needs by a company called AvantiPro, available in 62 x 3/16ths and 62 x 1/4.
So I think I will buy 1 of each. That way the next time a band saw blade breaks I will be able to just open the packaging for the other one - or I can swap for the thinner blade when doing detailed cuts, or use the thicker blade when cutting through harder/thicker wood.
So now I am patting myself on the back for my wise purchase last winter, wondering why I didn't buy replacement blades at the time, and also fuming at myself for rushing through the cut that broke it in the first place. So reasons to be both happy for the product I purchased, but unhappy about my lack of foresight. That is my fault however, not the band saw's fault.
If you are looking to get someone a gift this xmas, consider getting them a band saw if they don't have one already. Also buy replacement blades while you are at it.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
On the right is Urban Beard Moustache Wax (blonde), which you can find at urbanbeard.ca.
I enjoyed reviewing both of these products, but ultimately ended up preferring the Urban Beard Moustache Wax because it was available in blonde. The dark Firehouse wax was equally good in my opinion, but the colour was slightly off for my dark blonde beard. It was fairly close.
The Urban Beard Moustache Wax is made using organic oils, and while the Firehouse moustache wax doesn't say anything about whether it is organic, I think it probably is organic judging by the similar smell. Both of these waxes smelled nearly identical so I have a sneaky suspicion that due to their very similar performances on my moustache that their recipes are practically identical. They are basically the same product, but different colours and different brand names.
Since these two products ended up being so good at their job and nearly identical except for their colours I ended up making homemade moustache wax using bees wax and coconut oil - and determined that I am not very good at making homemade moustache wax, so maybe I should stick to the store bought stuff. I made the homemade wax in an effort to find a 3rd comparison, but also to see just how easy it is to do. The instructions (below) seemed easy enough, but having instructions and following them are two different things.
Homemade moustache wax still works, but the process of making it made me realize I would rather just buy stuff that someone else made so I don't have to do the work myself.
There are many other companies out there who make moustache wax, these are just the two companies I have reviewed so far. If additional companies want to be reviewed they can contact me via email: charlesmoffat at charlesmoffat dot com.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE MOUSTACHE WAX
Get 1 ounce of bees wax and 1 ounce of coconut oil.
Step 1. Melt the bees wax in a container inside boiling water. Go easy on the heat, wax can explode under heat and pressure.
Step 2. Remove the container from the boiling water and add the coconut oil. Stir until everything is melted and completely mixed.
Step 3. Pour the mixture into a glass heat-resistant container or into leftover moustache wax tins.
Step 4. Let cool for 45 minutes or more.
HOW TO APPLY MOUSTACHE WAX
To apply wax keep the wax warm (room temperature or slightly better). Use small portions at a time by scraping it with your thumbnail like a bulldozer, roll the scraping into a ball, and then work it into the moustache. Comb your moustache to style it.
Omidragon the 6 ounce burgers are good. Good fries too. Price of burger platter was $16.
I also recommend the buttermilk fried chicken, served with buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. Something about buttermilk makes fried chicken taste waaaaaay better. Price of buttermilk fried chicken platter was $20.
Served with London Heineken (tastes better than regular Heineken) our meals were amazing.
The bill was pricier than most pub fares, but the service was excellent, the location conveniently close to the Eatons Centre, and the food was freaking amazing.
Definitely a place worth coming back to. Five Stars.
The owners of The Senator should renovate and add a 2nd story, just so they can bring in more customers. This restaurant is a hidden gem of deliciousness.
Note - I have never used AutoTrader, I just really like this commercial. They should make a Dukes of Hazard movie (with the original actors starring, not that horrible film with the younger actors).
I was going to post a 2nd video on here, a documentary about the making of Dukes of Hazard (the show, not the ad above), but the video was disabled for embedding. Boooooo!
So instead here is a videos about many of the jumps made during Dukes of Hazard.
Mmm... microwaved bacon.
If you have this item at home and it works well/poorly, please post your review in the comments. I am curious to know whether it works well or whether it is a piece of junk. (But not curious enough to spend $$ on it when I can just make the bacon on the stove instead.)
FREE HANDBAG GIVEAWAY
The handbag is a limited edition Hammitt handbag created for Stearns & Foster. Just visit the Stearns & Foster facebook page and Like it to enter for the chance to win a limited edition handbag by Hammitt. That is all you have to do to enter.
- American Made Luxury. Superior Craftsmanship. Timeless Design.
- Handmade with the finest materials by master craftsman.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
What is more annoying is that fact that the Sim card is still there. It has not been removed. It hasn't even been touched at all.
"SIM card removed - The mobile network will be unavailable until you restart with a valid SIM card inserted."
Note - Different cellphones use slightly different messages, but they all claim the Sim card has been removed. What would make more sense is a message that says "Your Sim card is broken. See your phone company for a replacement."
And the only way to get the phone to work properly again is to restart the phone... which appears to be a roughly 70 / 30 chance that you get the message again...
"SIM card removed - The mobile network will be unavailable until you restart with a valid SIM card inserted."
Or it works normally - for the moment. And then decides not to work later on and gives you the message again.
"SIM card removed - The mobile network will be unavailable until you restart with a valid SIM card inserted."
Thus when I woke up this morning.
"SIM card removed - The mobile network will be unavailable until you restart with a valid SIM card inserted."
So I restarted it and it worked fine. So I took a shower and then checked it again.
"SIM card removed - The mobile network will be unavailable until you restart with a valid SIM card inserted."
Very annoying. To me it would make sense to have the option to click "Retry Sim Card" on my phone instead of having to restart it each time. Obviously it is not "trying hard enough".
I have checked various forums on the topics, people with the same problem - people who try removing the back, replacing the battery, removing/readding the Sim card, etc.
And the only conclusion that seems to be a permanent fix is to go to your phone company and replace the Sim card.
This follows the idea that the Sim card is just old and broken, and the only solution is to replace it.
My thoughts on this is that Sim cards must suck donkey balls if they break so easily for no apparent reason. Why are we using a piece of technology that breaks so easily?
Friday, October 17, 2014
Well the neighbours next door tore down their house and are rebuilding a new house. So it is rather noisy. I am not sure who did it - either the neighours or the construction company - but they left a Starbucks Gift Card in our mailbox as an apology for all of the noise.
Which, frankly, I barely noticed the noise over all the noise I make playing with my woodworking tools. Or the movies I watch. Or the episodes of The Woodwright's Shop I have been watching lately.
But whatever, the Starbucks Gift Card was a nice gesture. And what is also nice is that it is reloadable so I can use it again and again - and I go to Indigo a lot, and there is a Starbucks in every Indigo, so this just works well for me.
In totally unrelated news I am addicted to watching The Woodwright's Shop. It is a TV show that has been on the air since 1981 (33 years!!!) and is dedicated to traditional woodworking.
Now I admit, I like my power tools - especially my band saw - but as TV shows go The Woodwright's Shop has the trifecta of everything you want in a woodworking TV show. It is funny. It teaches you new things about woodworking and woodworking tools. And there is a healthy dose of history for the people who like historical examples of woodworking.
Just watch the 20th Anniversary episode of The Woodwright's Shop to see what I am talking about.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Now granted, Toronto has over 1000 dentists according to Yelp (or 800+ dentists according to Google) which means I could go to a new dentist every day for 2 to 3 years and still not try every dentist in Toronto. So trying each and every dentist in Toronto is impractical.
So instead what I have decided to do is to start at the top of the list.
(Plus my friend Robert recommended the place, so that is another reason.)
Archer Dental, according to my research, was listed as the Best Dentist in Toronto by NOW Magazine in 2013, so I think it is a good place to begin my series of dentist reviews. However let me backtrack a bit here and take us back to 2003 so I can review a different dental practice for comparison purposes.
In June 2003 I had was getting read to leave Canada and go overseas to South Korea. Since I didn't know what the dentists would be like in South Korea I opted to have a visit to the dentist before I left and hopefully I could forego visiting any dentists for the year I was in SK.
The dental office I went to was the dental office at York University's York Lanes, now known as York Lanes Dental Office.
I had already been to the York Lanes Dental Office several times before - without incident - but during that final trip I was given a deep cleaning by a new dental hygienist who - as best as I can tell was just fresh out of dental school or was still a student. What followed was the most painful experience of my entire life. It was absolute torture. It went on for what felt like hours.
When the dental hygienist was done I was missing part of my gums. They had literally torn my gums to pieces and one of the pieces was missing, completely cut out.
Thus began a very long period in my life in which I swore I would never go to another dentist again. Ever. Instead I embarked on a daily brushing / mouthwash ritual that sometimes included me taking a toothbrush with me to events so I could immediately brush my teeth after eating.
And believe me when I say I was paranoid about my teeth. I would brush too hard, I use mouthwash a lot (I have become a bit of an expert on mouthwashes and really should post a detailed review on them sometime), and I am a big fan of using sugarfree gum when I am outdoors so I clean my teeth using the gum.
It was 11 years and 3 months before I finally went to see another dentist, in September 2014.
Despite all of my paranoid brushing time had still built up a layer of calculus on one small section of my teeth I wasn't brushing properly. My bad. Need to brush there more often.
So let us go back to the present.
I arrived at Archer Dental slightly early (about 9:50 or so AM, for a 10 AM appointment) on September 25th. I was given a very comprehensive form to fill out, covering everything from whether I was diabetic to what kind of medications I was on.
Once that was done I sat there and waited, playing with my phone because the choices of reading material available in the waiting room was limited to women's magazines and National Geographic. Oh what I would give for a Lee Valley catalogue for men to read... Seriously, they should add that to the pile of magazines on the shelf. Lee Valley catalogues are free and men LOVE reading anything that has tools or tech items in them. Add a Wired magazine subscription, plus a Lee Valley catalogue subscription and any man visiting their waiting room would be quite happy. I think I will bring along a Lee Valley catalogue during my next visit and surreptitiously leave it behind for other men to read. (I think the reason why it was mostly women's magazines because it is usually mothers who end up taking the kids to the dentist instead of fathers.)
Fortunately I did not have to wait that long. You know how most dentists make you wait FOREVER before you actually get to see them? Well my wait really was not that long. I was early after all, but I do believe my appointment actually started on schedule.
I was introduced to my dental hygienist for the day, Mary, who was extremely polite, considerate and willing to explain everything as we went along. I met Dr Archer later on, who likewise exemplified those values I find to be so important in a dentist. It was Mary however who ended up cleaning and also deep cleaning my teeth - and removing 11 years worth of calculus from my teeth, making me feel like I had a brand new set of teeth. And she did it while being as gentle and as understanding as possible. (That doesn't mean I wasn't in pain during the deep cleaning, that stuff is still painful - but at least she didn't rip my gums to pieces like that dental hygienist at York Dental.)
Afterwards I felt like I had been given a brand new lease on life. Like I was suddenly going to live long and have a fuller life. I was so happy with the results I promised to bring flowers the next time I visit, which will likely include a thank you note too.
When was the last time you went to a dentist and was so happy with the results you wanted to bring them flowers?
Subscribe to Product Reviews Canada and read more reviews of dentists in Toronto in the future as I explore other dentists and try to determine which is the best. For now, the best dentist office in Toronto is Archer Dental.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
If you are familiar with iPhone screens breaking then you already know they break super easily. You drop the phone onto any hard surface (just a foot or two is enough) and the screen shatters instantly. Well now what happens is that the phone bends and the screen breaks when people try to bend it back into shape.
I think not. Apple makes $100 every time a customer comes in with a broken screen ($150 for the 6 Plus).
This kind of defect would have been noticed during product testing. What Apple therefore must have done is shrugged greedily, knowing every time the screen breaks they make more money.
Defect? Pff. More like an opportunity to make waaaaaaay more money off of screens breaking.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Stuff My Neighbours Throw Out (Part 1)
or click SMNTO to see the list of posts on this topic.
On this week's episode, my neighbours threw out a mirror (minor scratches on the frame) and a rather well-made set of drawers for putting clothes in - which similarly had a few scratches on it. Both mirror and clothing drawers work fine. Unlike the previous episode however I did not do a "Yoink!" and grab the stuff for myself. This time I just snapped a photo for use as part 2 of this series of blog posts.
Okay so I purchased this "Super Glue Pen" because I figured it would save time. I would just need to press down on it like it was a pen and then glue would be dispensed slowly on the surface. I was expecting it to be slow.
What it was instead was a dot of glue.
So I tried again, pressing harder into the surface as I moved it along the surface.
Just a dot of glue at the start point.
Tried again, going more slowly this time. Same result.
I re-read the instructions on the packaging. Yup. Press hard, go slowly. Doing that. Why is it not working? ARGGGG!!!
So instead I finished the project I was working on by using dots - lots of dots. Like this:
Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot. Dot.
It says on the package it is "easy to use". That is BS. This product was a pain in the royal behind.
Friday, September 19, 2014
I just purchased a 1 TB portable hard drive at Best Buy. The brand and model is WB Absolutely's "My Passport Ultra".
The 1 TB blue version. Also available in red and grey. But not black or white. WTH. (You can get a black one, but only if it is the 500 GB version.)
I could have purchased different makes and models that are 500 GB, 2 TB, 3 TB or even 4 TB versions but I only needed 1 TB... So whatever.
What I found interesting (asides from the prices of the product and similar products) was the warranty... Which included a binding non-class action agreement in the warranty. Meaning if you ever lose your data and try to sue the company, then the company refuses to go to court on a class action basis and you can only sue the company on an individual basis.
What this tells me is several things.
#1, Some purchasers in the past expected the device to work perfectly on a permanent basis. (I hold no such illusions. I fully expect this device to break eventually - likely sometime 5 years from now. By which time I will have transferred any important data to a different device.)
#2. That aforementioned purchasers not only sued for lost data as a class action lawsuit but evidently must have won their case against WB.
Which I find funny.
Below are photos of the various models and several different manufacturers.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Well if the person you are giving the books to likes historical fiction then I recommend the series by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear.
I have been giving a family member for the books for years now and they LOVE them so much they keep asking for more. The book series has like 20 books in it.
The photo below is more for my record keeping so I can keep track of which books she already has.
We recently went to a wedding in which the bride and groom had done something amazingly cute and thrifty with their wedding cake. They made the decoration for the top of the cake themselves using large wooden clothes pins.
So yes, you could spend $50 - $300 on a very expensive decoration for the top of the cake.
Or you could just use some creativity and decorate it yourself.
People at the wedding thought it was so cute they were taking photos of it.
Honestly, I think my one set of neighbours have yet to hear of craigslist or kijiji.
Why? Because they throw out a lot of nice stuff.
Furniture. Paintings. Exercise / Sports Equipment. Appliances. Electronics (computers, laptops, tablets, phones). Bicycles / Skateboards.
Most of the time the things they throw out disappears pretty quickly - I am not the only one grabbing stuff they set on the curb. I almost wonder if they have a webcam set up to record people taking the stuff... And they put so much nice stuff out there that you have to wonder "Why are they throwing this out?"
So finally I have decided to dedicate some posts to just the things they throw out. (I was even tempted to start a whole new blog titled "Stuff My Neighbours Throw Out".)
Like these slightly used ice skates they threw out (see photo further below). Put on new laces and have them sharpened at Canadian Tire and they would be practically brand new. Total cost of sharpening + laces = less than ten dollars.
Earlier today I spotted a perfectly good (no damage whatsoever) large picnic basket they tossed out. Looks like it had been used once or twice before they threw it out. If it is still there when I get home I will snatch it and put it in the garage. I don't know when I will use a large picnic basket - I might end up using it for target practice for fun.
Now I can understand when people throw out a sofa. But what about when they throw out a leather couch with no damage on it. Maybe the dog peed on it. I don't know. Whatever. Even if there was a rip in it or a smell, hire someone to rip off the old leather and replace it with new. Silly to throw out a sofa like that.
Or the bicycle with the flat tire. Seriously. Inflate the tire. Patch the tire if it had a hole in it. Purchase a new tire if necessary.
People throw out really nice stuff sometimes. It boggles my mind.
This year my xmas wish list is building upon several big ticket items designed to make life easier around the house.
#1. Roomba Robot Vacuum (see further photo below).
Honestly, for the $300+ for a robot vacuum, that is well worth the convenience of not having to vacuum with an old fashioned vacuum any more. The prices of robot vacuums have dropped a lot recently and they are now very economical.
#2. Countertop Dishwasher - because my kitchen is too small for a conventional dishwasher.
Note - In addition to taking up less space, countertop dishwashers are also more water and energy efficient and also work well in the cottage, RV, etc because they take up less space, and use significantly less power and water. Which means you can easily run one using solar / wind with battery system or diesel generator. And you don't need a plumber to install one. Size wise they are about the size of a microwave.
#3. Robot Dog that Fetches Shoes
Okay technically I made this up, but what the heck. This really should be a product on the market. The dog should come with some sticker tags, you attach the tags to different things you want the dog to fetch - and the dog is programmed via voice command of the owner(s) to fetch various items.
Rover, fetch my shoes.
Rover, fetch my laptop.
Rover, fetch the TV remote control.
I can even see military, police and security applications of such robot dogs. GuardRover, K9-Rover, MarineRover, etc. Hollywood would probably make a movie based off the concept of a robotic dog... Like the old Short Circuit movies, but canine-esque.
#4. Voice Command Remote Control
Honestly, why hasn't this already hit the market?
No more searching for the remote control. You just say commands for what you want the TV or whatever to do.
TV Rewind 30 Seconds
TV Skip Commercials
TV On and TV Off
TV Lock Parental Controls (plus password)
The 3rd option alone would be a big money maker if you had programs recorded and you could auto skip the commercials.
My cellphone has voice command on it. Why not the TV?
According to the photo I took at a booth 2 days ago (Sept 2nd) the cost of getting a Samsung Galaxy S 5 has dropped. Time for the various companies to get into a bidding war before Xmas comes.
If you want to get a better price, wait for the weeks before Xmas (Black Friday etc) or wait until the Boxing Week sales.
Monday, September 1, 2014
So my girlfriend awhile back didn't like that my hair was messy the one day so she bought me a 200 mL bottle of Alberto European Texturize Gel - Styling Putty.
A product I would never normally buy.
But whatever, she bought it. She put it in my hair.
And yes, I will admit it works.
I also admit she forced me to write this review. Consider this review to be under duress.
The product does work - and it works very well.
But I will caution you: A little is a LOT! It only takes a little of this stuff to get your hair to behave properly.
The first time I tried using this stuff I used too much and it made my hair all crunchy and stiff. So the piece of advice I will pass on is USE IN SMALL DOSES. You don't need to use a lot of it. A tiny amount goes a long way.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
They apparently tried to deliver twice in the last two days and left notes in my mailbox, the 2nd note indicating that I would need to pick up the package.
But the note doesn't say WHERE to pick it up.
Where being the most important factoid they should have on the note they left behind.
So I phone DHL and get a machine...
I go through the computer operated nonsense and all I get is a self repeating recording, which doesn't tell me WHERE the package is. When I press 0 to speak with someone the recording just starts over. When I press 0 multiple times the recording just starts over and over each time.
When I try the website dhl.ca it tells me that my package is in Toronto... But it does not say WHERE IN TORONTO. It is kind of a big city...
So finally I just say screw it, and I Google DHL locations in Toronto and I found a location that is near me.
I phone the location... And it is UPS. Which doesn't store packages for DHL, they only pick them up. They don't handle deliveries for DHL. So I ask the guy where the DHL depot is so I can pick up the package. He says he doesn't know and recommends I phone DHL or check their website...
Seriously. What good is a courier company that makes it so difficult to pick up a package by ignoring the WHERE to pick up the package.
I give DHL's website and automated phone system a flat ZERO for making it ridiculously impossible to FIND a package.
And I am not alone in my hatred of DHL. When I mentioned the company to a friend she said she once waited 18 months to deliver a passport from Africa - and by the time the passport was finally delivered a year and a half later, it had already expired.
And when I check other reviews of DHL I find the company is averaging 1 star out of 5 on many of the review websites. 1 star...
Got a horrific courier story to tell? Write your story in the comments.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
For example the photo on the right is a movie still from the Elvis movie "Tickle Me", during which Elvis briefly teaches an archery lesson.
But much better examples of old archery movies are films like:
The Flame and the Arrow - starring Burt Lancaster (who is frankly awesome in everything he does).
A Man Called Horse - starring Irish actor Richard Harris, whom you may recognize from his many other movies - including playing Dumbledore in the first 2 Harry Potter movies.
Deliverance - starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight (I don't care for Voight, but Burt Reynolds is again very awesome. What is it with actors named Burt being so awesome???)
Below is the movie trailer for Deliverance.
And of course there is also films like Rambo II, Rambo III and all the various Robin Hood films...
Robin Hood - 1938, starring Errol Flynn (with archery stunts by Howard Hill).
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves - 1991, starring Kevin Costner.
Robin Hood - 1973, Disney animated film.
Those are three of the more famous ones.
But there is actually many more Robin Hood films...
Robin Hood - 2010 with Russell Crowe
Robin Hood - 1991 with Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman
Robin and Marian - 1976
Robin Hood Men in Tights - 1993
The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men - 1952, Disney live action
The Men of Sherwood Forest - 1954
Rabbit Hood - 1949 with Bugs Bunny
Beyond Sherwood Forest - 2009
And a slew of other Robin Hood films...
During my research I have determined there hasn't been a lot of William Tell movies made (a planned one for 2012 starring Brendan Fraser was scrapped when the producers ran into financial difficulties getting funding for their film).
There is an old Austrian William Tell movie from 1960, in German of course. Good luck finding an English dubbed version.
And an older William Tell film from 1949 - and a 1998 TV series called "The Legend of William Tell" with 15 episodes (which looks gawd awful, like a cheap rip off of Xena Warrior Princess).
During my research I have determined there was a lot of archery films (especially Robin Hood or Robin Hood esque films) made during the 1940s and 1950s. It was part of an archery fad that started with enormous financial success of the Errol Flynn / Howard Hill film in 1938, and the fad continued until the early 1970s and included the 1972 film Deliverance starring Burt Reynolds.
There was a brief renewed interest in archery in the 1980s when 2nd and 3rd Rambo movies came out, and again in 1991 with Robin Hood Prince of Thieves - but it was nothing like the fad from 1940s to 1970s.
With the introduction of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2001 archery saw a bit of interest, but the fast shooting abilities of Legolas made archery look beyond the skill of the common man.
A couple years later however something interesting happened.
Alabama, at that point the fattest state in the USA, was trying to come to grips with an obesity epidemic and high schools were looking for ways to get teenagers outside and exercising. So someone came up with the idea of starting an archery club in one of the schools. The club took off in popularity, the model was spread to other schools in Alabama, and eventually the program was expanded to other states.
By the time films like the Hunger Games, Brave, The Avengers, Killing Season, Hanna and other archery films came out archery was already a growing phenomenon in the USA.
And when those films became popular it was partially because archery was growing as a fad. It was the fad fueling the films, not the other way around. (Although at this point it is more cyclical, archery fanatics are fueling the films and the films are creating new archery fanatics.)
Below is the movie trailer for Killing Season, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta.
|Above - Hello Nomad USB Chargecard : Below I/O Magic Battery Pack|
I am typing this product review at the beach on my tablet while my phone is charging thanks to three things.
1. The Hello Nomad USB Chargecard - which is a credit card shaped USB cord that fits nicely in my wallet.
2. The I/O Magic battery pack - which once charged provides roughly twice the battery juice of my cellphone battery.
3. And the portable wifi hotspot from my phone, which grants my tablet internet access.
Which means I can go on a 3-day vacation and charge my phone using these two handy devices and still have plenty of juice by the time I return on the 3rd night. (I am basing this on my normal battery consumption per day, which is about 66% of a full battery per day.)
I purchased the I/O Magic battery pack months ago and have been meaning to do a review on the topic. It works, it is handy when I am going to be using my phone often on a particular day. It does exactly what it is supposed to do and having three times the battery charge is very handy for vacations.
When I purchased it it also came with a 2nd battery charger, so if I take both batteries I can go on a 5 day vacation and really not have to worry at all about my battery power.
|Hello Nomad Chargekey|
Together these two products make it really easy to charge my phone. The Chargecard alone is handy because then I just need to find a power source and it takes up very little space in my wallet.
But in combination, they are handy little things to have on me for vacations, work, events, etc.
Sometimes I forget to charge my phone and they end up saving a lot of time too since I can just grab the battery pack and I already know I have the Chargecard in my wallet so I don't need to go searching for a cord to take with me. Very handy.
If you are the type of person who uses their phone a lot - and it runs low regularly - then these are two devices you will find very handy. I use both devices regularly.
Monday, August 18, 2014
I give it 3.5 stars out of 5. A friend of mine gives it 3 stars.
Why? Because it was good, it was entertaining, but it wasn't spectacular.
The highlight of the movie was Antonio Banderas stealing the show.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Don't believe me? Watch "Into The Storm" at the movie theatre and then watch "Night of the Twisters" on YouTube further below.
The biggest difference between the two movies is that "Into The Storm" has infinitely better graphics. Behind the tornadoes, the drama in both movies is an emphasis on the importance of family and perseverance/survival.
I give the graphics for Into The Storm 5 stars - but I only give the drama / plot 3 stars. Honestly, I would watch tornado movies just for the graphics if the movie was nothing but tornadoes and just skip the plot entirely. Just 2 hours of mind-blowing graphics and tornado carnage would be something I would love to watch.
NIGHT OF THE TWISTERS, FULL MOVIE
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