Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Extreme Fitness in Toronto

I have been (on and off) a member of Extreme Fitness here in Toronto for the past 2 and a half years roughly.

Initially they gave me one month free.

And then in 2009 they gave me three months free, but I had to sign up for a whole year on a contract. (They lost 1 star right there.)

Plus there was the price. About $60 per month, pricey when you consider some other gyms in Toronto only charge $40 and don't hassle you with a contract or fees. (They lost another star because of the price.)

Seriously, for that price I could have been buying $60 worth of gym and exercise equipment every month and be able to work out in the comfort of my own home.

I might have been willing to forgive them the price, except for the lousy service. The one time I lost my water bottle, asked about the Lost & Found and discovered they didn't even have one. Apparently they just throw things out. That was not the only issue with poor service either.

They kept moving the gym equipment around every 3-4 months. You'd come to the gym some days and you couldn't find the piece of equipment you were looking for. ie. Today I went there and they had moved the punching bag and apparently put it in storage, thus totally negating me bringing my boxing gloves with me today. (This was the straw that broke the camel's back.)

I am utterly appalled by the low quality of their yoga studio and their instructors. Perhaps that is because I've gone to traditional yoga studios like Buddha Body Yoga (four stars) on Church Street or Urban Edge Yoga near Bloor and Spadina (five stars + vegan food).

Oh and one time I went there to discuss getting a personal trainer so I work on my boxing and learned that personal trainers cost about $75 per hour. Holy ****! What a fundamental waste of money. (Apparently $75/hour is pretty normal for personal trainers, but wow... I am in the wrong business!)

Oh oh oh!

And when I decided to cancel my membership I tried to talk someone in sales. Apparently they aren't allowed to cancel memberships, only the manager can do that. And the manager (Sam) is normally only there between 9 AM and 5 PM. Otherwise you have to make an appointment.

Well today Sam was in and I managed to catch him in his office, but there was a lineup of people. One of the staff asked what I was waiting for and I said I wanted to cancel my membership. So she gave me his card and told me to do it via email. Seriously. Canceling it via email. So I did so.

And to top this all off the Toronto Star recently ran a series of articles about Toronto gyms and how they are ripping people off and treating them like ****. Basically everyone is getting ripped off with fees, even if they cancel their gym membership and the gym conveniently "forgets" and keeps charging their credit card anyway. Or worse, charges cancellation fees on top of that.

So what are we down to...?

ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE.

And what did Extreme Fitness actually do to earn that one star? Well they have weightlifting equipment, a fair amount of it. Just like every other gym in Toronto. They also have the TVs on the treadmills, computers in the lobby/waiting area and saunas (which I never bothered to use). Just like every other hum drum gym.

Extreme Fitness also tries really hard to sell you "sex" although they don't actually come out and say it. They try really hard to be sexy, playing dance music (all the freaking time its the same songs by Katy Perry and Lady Gaga!) and they even have singles events (which I thought "Wow, what kind of loser goes to those?")

Thus Extreme Fitness is nothing special. Same crappy service, same equipment, and so forth.

They didn't even have a pool!

FYI! I am looking for a new gym so if any local businesses want to offer me a couple months (or a whole year) free please let me know and I will come review your gym. :)

Levis Jeans

I have always loved Levis jeans.

Probably just because when I was a kid and a teenager it was all about the brand.

When I got older I branched out and started buying jeans from different companies. Some of them were cheaper / less quality - because I was on a budget during university.

But having graduated 10 years and rethought my position, I have determined its better to pay for quality - because Levis jeans simply last longer - fewer rips in the knees / etc.

And to be fair it doesn't cost much more to get Levis. Especially if you remember to look for sales.

Looks great on you or your girlfriend. Which sadly means sometimes you have to make certain they don't go missing on you.

Just a hunch, but I bet many a teenage couple has fought over Levis after someone borrowed them without permission.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Internet Explorer 9 beta

TECHNOLOGY - Okay, I know it is only the beta version, but it is complete crap. It keeps freezing the page, I have to restart it constantly, when I click on certain buttons it has lots of lag time...

And in order to make this blog post I had to use Firefox instead.

I've been using Internet Explorer 7 for the past 8 months roughly, and when I decided to update the software I was given two options... Internet Explorer 8... or I could try Internet Explorer 9 beta... But because IE9b is so crappy I am going to have to install IE8 anyway and see if that one at least works properly.

So yeah, if anyone out there is thinking about trying out the beta version of IE9, DON'T EVEN BOTHER!

Zero stars out of five!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wanted: Cinnamon Tea

I am looking for a good quality cinnamon tea. Any suggestions?

In related news I recommend "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky". Its 20% alcohol, goes well with Coca-Cola, is super fiery and cinnamon-y (if that is a word) and I really like the bottle it came in...

So much so that I've decided to keep the bottle and use it for storing cinnamon tea in, so I can stick it in my pocket and take it with me outside. Yummy.

Its made in New Orleans USA, but I can forgive them for not being Canadian.

I bought the 'Fireball' a couple weeks ago when I buying Mill Street Tankhouse Ale (which is brewed in Toronto). I give their ale 4 stars. I drink it when I relax after a long day, usually while watching a movie or TV show. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Green Hoodie Wanted

FASHION - Now that I have my red socks (don't ask why), I am now hunting for a green hoodie. I want a nice warm green hoodie, with a zipper up the front, and no logos on it. Pockets would be nice, but not mandatory.

Plain green, not army green or puke green.





UPDATE!

I did eventually find a green hoodie. I got one from American Apparel. It has no logo, a zipper up the front and its super soft and warm on the inside. It is now one of my favourite hoodies. (My very favourite is a black KNITTED hoodie with an extra big hood.)

Red Socks, Red Socks, Finally!

I have been looking for a pair of good quality red socks for several months now to keep my feet warm. Red socks have a psychosomatic effect of feeling warmer than they really are. (The same works with red sweaters, red scarves, etc.)

Anywho... I found them at the Bay across from the Eatons Centre in downtown Toronto. They are Ralph Lauren POLO, cost $16 CDN + tax. I would have preferred a lesser price, but seeing as these will be keeping my tootsies warm for this winter (and likely more winters to come) I gave in and paid what I consider a high price for mere socks.

They were made in South Korea, but I am okay with stuff made in SK because I lived there twice and (you might think this sounds weird) the quality of things made in South Korea is actually very good. I have a number of shirts from South Korea and they are by far the best quality shirts I've ever owned.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Canada is Best in International Survey

As a brand, Canada is the best brand in the world according to a survey conducted by New York-based consulting firm "FutureBrand". Canada beat the USA (which came in #2) on the basis of Canada's quality of life, healthcare, stable economy, low crime rate and low level of violence and political upheaval.

America has apparently been slipping in recent years. Last year the United States was #4, beaten by Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Canada's tourism appeal, quality of life and value systems were the big deciding factors in the survey. Some argue however that its not what Canada has, but what Canada DOES NOT have that helps Canada's image on the international stage.

Namely crime, violence and warmongering leaders (although Stephen Harper is pretty damn close to that).

The USA's unstable economy and high crime rates are big reasons why the USA lost the #1 spot this year.

But it may be difficult to unseat Canada from the top spot in the future. We're so damn nice and polite that it appeals to foreigners. We're not arrogant and pushy like Americans.

Branding Canada is not an easy feat, according to Jeanette Hanna, founder of Trajectory Brands in Toronto. “It’s a difficult thing to do without resorting to clich├ęs. The key is not to think of the Canadian brand in traditional, two-dimensional terms. It’s much more complex,” she says.

Michele McKenzie, CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission, believes the Winter Olympics in Vancouver helped lift Canada’s image on the world stage.

4 years ago Canada was ranked 12th but has been climbing steadily.

The worst performing country brands are Zimbabwe, Iran and Pakistan.

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