Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Gun Safes are Important

Target shooting is great as a sport for recreational purposes. Nancy Lanza of Newtown Connecticut enjoyed the sport up until the point where her son, Adam Lanza, stole her two handguns and her .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle... and then killed her with them.

Adam then went to the local elementary school, where he murdered 26 people, including 20 children, before shooting himself with one of the handguns.

Police and politicians (including President Obama) are now speculating as to how this horrible and horrific crime might have been prevented.

I have a very quick and easy solution: MAKE GUN SAFES MANDATORY.

If you own a gun, you must store it in a secure gun safe. Easy.

It prevents theft. It prevents family members from taking your gun and killing you or other people with it.

Gun theft is a huge crime in the USA.

According to a State-by-State analysis of firearm theft and crime in the USA, 1.7 million firearms were stolen from homes and elsewhere over the period between January 1993 and August 2002.

The States of Alaska, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Georgia had firearm theft rates greater than twice the national average because they don't have any laws governing the storage of firearms in gun safes. Firearm theft rates were dramatically lower in States with safe storage laws.

The same study suggests that there is a need for a federal law concerning the safe-storage of firearms as a means to reduce firearm theft.

Now some people think, hey, safes can be cracked or what if you share your code for opening with the wrong person... Well, there is a solution for that too. They now have biometric safes on the market that use fingerprint scanners. That means quick and easy access for the person who needs it, and futility for the would be thief.

And in the aftermath of the Newtown Elementary School Shooting I think it is perfectly logical that citizens carefully consider where they lock up their guns. If America wants to have the right to bear firearms, fine, but they should be storing those firearms in a safe location where they cannot be stolen so easily.


Let alone be stolen and be used to murder children.

There are plenty of other kinds of safes one might consider buying too.

Cannon Safes - Large heavy duty safes for storing multiple guns.

Drawer Safes - Good for home or office desk drawer.

Fire Resistant Safes - Self explanatory. A lot harder to get into, even with a cutting torch.

Personal Safes - Great for storing jewelry or a small handgun in.

Pistol Safes - Great for storing your favourite handgun.

Quick Access Safes - Similar to biometric safes, but with several other options.

Standard Home Safes - Usually used for storing family photos, legal documents, but can still be used for gun storage.

Wall Safes - Multi-purpose and looks great behind a painting.

Waterproof Safes - Self explanatory.


I think the end result is there is a lot of options out there for people that want to be responsible about how they store their belongings. Especially something as dangerous as a firearm.

Something as simple as two kids playing cops and robbers for example could end in a deadly accident if one of them finds an unlocked gun. In a 1987 episode of the TV show Dallas, Christopher and John Ross have a mock gunfight, and Sue Ellen sends them to play outside. Unable to find a toy gun, Christopher takes Bobby's revolver and after some hide and seek, he takes a shot at John Ross; he misses, only shattering a screen door.

But that story could have ended very differently.

And it does. Gun accidents in the USA kill over 600 Americans per year. Accidents that could have been prevented through proper storage and behaving responsibly.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Medical Claims, Forms and Insurance

I have never had to fill out a form for a medical claim.

Now part of that is that I've never been seriously sick, never broken an arm or a leg, and I've never needed serious medical attention.

Another part is that I live in Canada - where health insurance is free and paid for by the Canadian government.

Thus filling out forms for medical claims to be emailed to insurance companies... well, I've just never needed to do so.

Furthermore when traveling overseas my only worry has been travel health insurance. Which to be fair, I've never been forced to use.

Now there was that one time I nearly fell off a cliff I was climbing in Jeollabuk-do province in South Korea... I was doing some freehand climbing (no ropes) and I slipped, and I could have fallen to my death or at least been seriously injured.

But I didn't fall thankfully.

Also I am pretty fit. I admit I went through a fatter stage years ago, but I've since lost 40 lbs of fat and put on a healthy chunk of muscle. Basically the point I am making here is that I am unlike the typical American, who is either overweight or obese, and therefore has a lot more medical problems.

Thus as a non-American I have never had to fill out any UB04 claim forms. I barely even know what an UB04 claim form is.

Call it a fundamental difference between the USA and Canada. In Canada we have a health card. When we go to a hospital or a clinic we just pass them our health card to prove we are Canadian. Its a bit like having a credit card with unlimited access. In the USA its all about money being funneled through the insurance industry and then they scratch their heads and wonder why health care in the USA is so darn expensive because its never occurred to them to cut out the middle man.

Put simply an UB04 claim form is a very commonly used document in the USA and is a reimbursement claim form submitted by:
  • ambulance companies and helicopter ambulance companies
  • ambulatory surgery centers
  • home health care agencies / clinics
  • hospice organizations
  • hospitals (emergency department, psychiatric department, inpatient, and outpatient services)
  • psychiatric drug/alcohol treatment facilities (inpatient and outpatient services)
  • skilled nursing facilities
  • sub-acute facilities
  • stand-alone clinical/laboratory facilities
  • walk-in clinics
 And so forth. Basically any medical facility in the USA you go to they probably have a few of the forms kicking around.

Now the thing is that companies that manufacture such forms (somebody has to print them out after all!) sell these forms by the truckload to various facilities and insurance companies. Its a lot of paper being wasted, and some of it is presumably recycled, although often such things are placed in warehouses full of records, because insurance companies are perfectionists about keeping old records for everything.

Now the good news however is that some companies are now creating these documents electronically, which means they can also be submitted electronically... Which is great. Saves on postage and shipping costs. Saves on trees too.

Although to be fair, I once worked for a pension plan company, and they also track health claims (because if somebody is off work for 6 months, then in theory they aren't entitled to a pension for that time period unless they can prove an illness or disability with a doctor's note)... And do you know what the company does?

They receive the document electronically and then they print it out as a backup copy (which is then placed in a warehouse full of old records, because pension companies are also perfectionists about keeping old records).

So what is the moral of this story?

Move to Canada maybe? No, not really. We don't really want hordes of Americans moving to Canada. Sounds like a really bad idea.

Is the moral that we do things electronically now, but we still print out backup copies anyway? No, not really. These days the recycling / paper industry is pretty self sustaining.

I think the issue is that some companies are idiots when it comes to keeping records of everything. Sure, the USA needs their UB04 forms for everything because that is just the system they use down there. But eventually they need to start recycling all those old documents in warehouses after 10 or 20 years. Or just get rid of the physical backup copies anyway. Yes, I know, better safe than sorry in case something ever happens to the digital copy...

But to be fair if its stored on warehouses of computers (which I estimate takes up a lot less space than thousands of warehouses full of paper records) the only way those records are going to be destroyed is if there's a nuclear bomb or a flood or some kind of horrific tragedy.

In which case, paper records burn anyway. And water from a flood would likewise destroy them. Thus we would have much bigger worries to worry about than a few lost records from old insurance claims.

Thus why not just go completely digital in the first place? Paper documents will just burn anyway.

Just a thought!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Skylon Tower + Red Bull

Today I am going to be writing two reviews at once.

The first is about the Skylon Tower at Niagara Falls. I went up the tower back in 1985 when I was just a kid and for years afterwards I thought with childish confusion that the Skylon Tower was the CN Tower and that Niagara Falls was in Toronto. Like I said, I was a kid at the time and didn't know any better.

To this day I have been living in Toronto for 12+ years and I still haven't been up the CN Tower. I suppose partially because that distant memory of the Skylon Tower was enough for me. I also recall walking around above the falls and we also got a tour behind / underneath Niagara Falls in the tunnels / caves owned by Ontario Hydro. (I am not certain if they still give tours down there, but back in the 1980s they did.)

Since then I haven't really been up many towers. I recall going up a lookout tower in the Appalachians and I have been up the Seoul Tower in South Korea twice.

What I have discovered I really enjoy however is mountain climbing, something I picked up while living in South Korea. Part exercise, part exploration, part the enjoying the scenery when you reach the top. So to me mountain climbing combines the scenery of going up a really tall building with the exercise and feeling of having accomplished/discovered something.

And lets face it, I live in Canada. And there is a lot of mountains to climb if I want to give myself a challenge. Just so long as I don't fall or get killed in an avalanche.

Which brings me to my 2nd review for today: Red Bull Crashed Ice.

Now before you think Red Bull Crashed Ice is an energy drink with ice in it (which I admit, is what it sounds like) let me explain what it really is: High speed racing on hockey skates.




So yeah... Its not what you think. Its just "Ice Cross Downhill" with a brand name sponsor. Sorry for the confusion.

I actually wish companies would stop purchasing buildings or events like that and then sticking their brand name on the item. eg. The SkyDome in Toronto being purchased by Rogers Telecommunications and being re-branded as "The Rogers Centre". I am sorry but it is always going to be the SkyDome to me, I don't care how much re-branding those marketing morons at Rogers do.


Anyway, back to the whole ice cross downhill topic. It is rather similar to BMX racing like in the video below which I first witnessed during the 2012 Summer Olympics.



There is also Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross, but I have to wonder about the athletes who get into these niche sports and whether they consider it a serious career. If they do, I wonder how many times they've forgotten to wear a helmet and injured their head.

Which begs the question, will be seeing Ice Cross Downhill at the next Winter Olympics? Probably not in 2014 in Sochi Russia, but we might see it become an event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

In which case I might find an excuse to visit South Korea and go mountain climbing just so I can be there for the Olympics that year. Should be fun.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Aviator Jackets

I think Aviator jackets are just plain kewl.

I dunno, its like a strange combination of retro militarism and a like of aerial fashion.

To be fair, I just like retro things in general. Not quite steampunk, but retro fashion and items. Pocket watches, old six-shooter pistols, suspenders. Retro fashion is kewl in so many ways.

Take for example Amelia Earhart - feminist icon and aviator.

She looks absolutely dashing in her jacket. And don't forget posing next to the plane. Huzzah!


Thus a website like landingzone.com is great if you're looking for a dashing looking jacket and love that retro adventurous feel. The site has a variety of different styles of aviator jackets and also a guide that helps you pick the jacket that is the right size for you.


Now for women there is actually a lot more variety of aviator jackets available. Many different styles to choose from. For example the one below is a crinkle cut - which is designed to look weathered. (I bought a backpack once which had the same effect. Everyone was always asking if its dirty and why I don't clean it and I have to explain that is the design.)


And then there is the extra furry designs. Extra faux fur around the neck to make the person feel like they're wearing a fur coat instead of a bomber jacket.




Some jackets will also have more of a motorcycle feel to them too. I think its all the black and the slim fit.


And then there is brown - my favourite. And my reasoning here is that for whatever reason brown jackets look older. Shiny black looks TOO NEW in my opinion.



Now of course, how is an aviator jacket different from any other jacket or coat you might purchase?

Well lets see... There is:

Trench Coats - Also retro, great if you like the Maltese Falcon and film noir. Comes with buttons and a built-in belt.

Chesterfield - Like a trench coat, but with no belt. Uses buttons instead. Looks rather boring.

Duffel Coat - Usually comes with a hood and funky buttons. Reminds me of the new Arrow tv show for some reason, even though Green Arrow's hood and jacket are pretty different.

Polo Jacket - Also like the trench coat, and also uses buttons. TWO rows of buttons. Again, it looks rather boring.

Parka - Really warm, but really only looks right if you live in Alaska or northern Canada.

Pea Coat - A design originally worn by sailors. Fits snugly.

Wrap Coat - More like a trench coat, but with zero buttons at all.

Military Trench Coat - Shorter than the standard trench coat, and has lots of buttons like a Pea Coat.

Cape Coat - Really only looks good on women. It ends up looking a bit like a poncho.

Poncho - Ponchos rock!

Toggle Coat - A bit like the Duffel coat because of the funky buttons, but not made of duffel fabric.


So there you go!

Feel free to contrast and compare, but lets be fair: Very few jackets are as kewl looking as aviator jackets.

:)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How to Use Personal Training Services in Toronto

Personal training services can be used in a variety of ways and customized to suit your goals and lifestyle:

1. Use Personal Training Services in Toronto for Accountability

The most popular reason people hire a Certified Personal Trainer in Toronto is to purchase a block of sessions to guarantee that you exercise/train two or three times a week. If you know that a trainer will arrive at your house or condo as scheduled, there's no excuse to not exercise!

So for example Cardio Trek offers 40 Hourly Sessions for $1,050. Over a 2 month period that is 20 sessions per month and a guarantee that you are exercising, losing weight and gaining muscle (depending on what your goals are).

Some personal trainers are very expensive. $50 to $90 per hour. If you do the math the Cardio Trek offer is $26.25 per hour. That is an amazing price compared to what some other personal trainers are charging.

2. Use Personal Training Services from Anywhere in the World

Customized fitness programs are a way to get the benefits and expertise of a trainer without in-person sessions. This is ideal for someone who prefers to exercise on their own and doesn't want a trainer looking over their shoulder all the time, or perhaps they have no problem establishing a routine but would like a more technical or advanced program so they can challenge themselves more.

3. Use a Combination of In-Home and Online Personal Training Services

A certified personal trainer can customize a program and then come to your home to show you how to use it. This will include form and intensity. Follow-up sessions to re-vamp the program or to monitor progress are also recommended so you don't stagnate/slack off and are always challenging yourself.

Personal training is a fantastic way to reach goals and to learn the correct form to make the most out of every workout.

The certified personal trainer we recommend in Toronto is Charles from Cardio Trek, but you can certainly shop around if that is your desire.

You could hire someone more expensive, or if you're on a budget hire someone who isn't certified. Regardless if you're paying for someone to come to your house or condo and help you exercise, it is going to be more expensive than going to the gym or engaging in frugal exercises to save money.

Regardless of your goals or reasons for wanting to exercise having a personal trainer will help you to achieve those goals faster with much better results.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bic 4 Colour Pen

The classic Bic 4 Colour Pen is just that - a classic.

They may not be anything special to look at, and you might even think they are silly, but they function really well, they are great for designing things and making notes in different colours. Good for a variety of tasks.

And its a case wherein if you're ever looking for a pen that is a specific colour (eg. "I need a black pen to sign this government document." ) then it is right there, ready to be used.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

William Hill SUCKS

Ever heard of the gambling website William Hill?

Its a sports betting website, but they also run online poker websites / etc.

Well, I am really tired of seeing their stupid advertising. They're so annoying. So incredibly annoying I just had to comment on them and denounce their advertising tactics.

In fact, lets stop and denounce the advertising tactics of ALL gambling websites. I want nothing to do with them. If there was a way to block specific kinds of internet advertising, gambling advertising would be at the top of my list of things to block.

And seriously, what kind of person gambles? Lazy people looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. Go out and get a real job. Earn your keep.

And furthermore most gamblers ultimately end up losing their shirts. And their car, their house, their family. Gambling addiction ruins lives.

Want to spend your money and time productively? Go exercise. Live longer, be sexier, be stronger, be faster. Go hire a personal trainer, take up jogging and start weightlifting. You will be happier about yourself and your life and instead of betting on sports you will be playing sports.

Gambling is for losers. Exercising is for athletes and winners.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Flash - Still fun to watch 22 years later

Recently I decided to watch some nostalgia television.

Specifically "The Flash", the 1990-91 live action TV series featuring the character The Flash from DC Comics.

Here is a summary:

"The Flash is a live action series based on popular DC comic superhero. Police scientist Barry Allen accidentally was struck by lightning and bathed in chemicals he worked with. As a result, he now possesses the power of super-speed. Together with his friend Dr. Cristina McGee, he creates a costume, and he becomes the super-hero Flash. Despite its high popularity, the series ran only for one season, and most of the villains were modernized versions of Flash's classic villains like Captain Cold, Mirror Master, The Trickster..."


The entire series can be streamed via http://watchseries.eu/serie/the_flash

As old TV shows featuring comic book heroes go I have to say that "The Flash" is one of the best. Sure, there is The Incredible Hulk and the old Batman series, but "The Flash" manages to come across as being both a superhero TV show... and also something unexpected:

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Barry Allen (The Flash) is a crime scene investigator. At times it will feel like you are watching a CSI episode, but at the same time still managing to be a superhero show. That combo is so good it makes me wish that they would do one of three things:

1. Do a CSI episode which is about The Flash...

2. Bring back The Flash as a new TV show. Huzzah.

3. Make a film wherein Barry Allen's CSI skills and super speed abilities are both put to the test.

Oh well... Even if the powers that be don't do such things at least we have the old Flash TV series to watch. FIVE STARS.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No No Hair Removal? Don't Waste Your Money

No No Hair Removal is a little electronic device that supposedly will get rid of hair follicles and remove hair so that it stops growing back. Similar to laser hair removal if you watch the official videos from the No No company.

When I saw the product in a store I was intrigued. Even tempted to buy it so I could remove some hair on the back of my neck and several other spots. Nothing major.

Just looking at the box I was thinking it would be $30 to $50... but when the lady in the store came over she informed me it was a whopping $300 for the little box.

And I'm like, okay, maybe some more research is in order before investing in such a product.

So one of the things I did was check out reviews on Amazon.com.

The product had a handful of 5 star, 4 star, 3 star and 2 star reviews... but it was the whopping 212 1 star reviews and the utter disgust of people who had tried No No Hair Removal and been vastly disappointed.

Really all it is is a shaving kit. Its not permanent at all. And replacement bits are $20 each and an extra $10 for shipping. So the product not only doesn't work, its a complete rip off because its designed to get you to keep trying it unsuccessfully and coming back for more replacement bits.

I then checked YouTube for additional reviews, same thing. $300 complete waste of time and money.

So now I feel honour-bound to warn people about this shoddy and misleading product.

ZERO STARS.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB = Goes through the laundry, keeps on working!

Okay so I was doing my laundry earlier this morning... Had two loads going at once.

I checked the pockets in my jeans and tossed them in the one washing machine, and had all my nice dress shirts in the other washing machine. Then I sat down to work on some writing...

30 minutes later the washing machines stop and I start transferring my laundry to the dryer... It was during this that I heard a small clunk in the bottom of the washing machine as I was taking shirts out.

I look down and I see my USB key (a SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB flash drive), like the one in the photo shown here.

It must have been in a shirt pocket and I don't usually check shirt pockets to see if anything is in them.

So I immediately think "Oh oh, that has got to be broken now." Water should have got into it and broke it somehow. Still, I've had it for a couple years. It has to get lost or break sometime, right?

Except when I stuck it in my computer later, voila, it still works.

So yeah, I'm impressed. Good work SanDisk. Kudos.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vinyl Record Stores in Toronto

It recently occurred to me that I could get an unusual gift for my mother for xmas...

A vinyl record.

Thus I went looking for vinyl record stores...

The vinyl record stores in Toronto are a true phenomenon since very few prophets would have predicted so many stores would still selling LPs, EPs and 45rpm records over a decade after the millennium, especially since in the 1990s collectors were shedding their records, and vinyl was selling by the pound.

Nobody could have predicted vinyl's survival years and decades later.

After its effective extinction by the compact disc, never mind the Napster and mp3 revolution... the revival of vinyl among young collectors who've embraced the iPod and brought back the turntable and effectively put the stake through the CD's heart. You will still find CDs in all the music stores like HMV, but they're not selling like they were during the 1990s.

But it is vinyl that will survive the test of time. CDs have lost to mp3s, but to the true music collectors vinyl is still king.

After all, what's a CD these days except one extra step between you and your mp3?

The vinyl revival is a sign of what is happening right now. It is a re-injection of new, quality, heavy weight LP pressings into the marketplace, and not just new titles, but classics and obscurities as well. Record store owners expected a surge in demand for classic rock, with a new generation discovering Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin on twelve inch black plastic... and instead they're seeing sales in a wide variety. Everyone it seems is going back to vinyl.

Here is a list of Toronto's best vinyl record stores:

Rotate This
Hits & Misses
She Said Boom
Play De Record
Cosmos on Queen/Cosmos West Records
Vortex Records
Planet of Sound
Kops Records
Slinky Music
Paradise Bound
Second Vinyl
Pandemonium

So there is quite a few and they're mostly in downtown Toronto, which means for fun you could just do a walking tour of all the vinyl shops and make an afternoon of it. No plans today? Go for it!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ever noticed how University and College apparel is overpriced?

Seriously.

Ever noticed how University and College apparel is overpriced?

Let me give an example... I went to York University in Toronto, Canada... for 5 years.

And I don't have a single piece of university apparel. Or a school ring either. I admit, I loved the university too. Loved the teachers. Loved the classes. Loved the campus. Heck, I even grew to love the concrete architecture and bizarre sculptures.

York University even had its own shopping mall on the campus known as York Lanes... and within York Lanes was the official university apparel store... where the prices of t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, hats, scarves, etc were jacked up so high as to make it ridiculous. I am talking like $60 for a simple t-shirt.

Part of this problem I think was because York had somehow privatized its line of apparel and the private company running it, in order to make a profit, had jacked up the prices. Furthermore the private company had to pay to rent the space in the York Lanes mall, and since it wasn't exactly booming in terms of sales they had jacked up the prices more so.

What they should have done is have a tiny basement office in a corner of a rarely used building (like in the basement of the Behavioral Sciences building)... someplace where the rent was cheap and it would really just a storage room (similar to the Lost and Found office) monitored by 1 person.

Now I must admit York University isn't alone in this. A LOT of universities and colleges have jacked up prices for their apparel (and vigilantly guard against "copyright thieves" making knock-off versions).

SIDE NOTE: Since then I think the ownership has changed and York apparel is now sold via the York U bookstore (also in York Lanes)... so presumably prices have probably dropped. Finally. 9 years after I graduated.

But not all places of higher learning do this. Let say for example you attended the University of Alabama... and you wanted some University of Alabama shirts... Well then you just visit their website, browse the prices, and order whatever it is that you actually want.

Easy. And the prices are fair. Not cheap, but fair. Comparable to what you might pay in Old Navy, American Apparel or H&M.

That is the way it SHOULD be done.

Some of them will even have a broad selection of products, like the "Alabama Houndstooth Fedora Hat"... which is *cough* actually not a Fedora. Its a Hamburg hat. Fedoras are broad brimmed. Hamburgs are short brimmed. Sheesh, seriously people, stop calling Hamburgs by the wrong name.

Same goes with Swiss hats. If it looks like a Hamburg but has a feather in the side, it is called a Swiss.

I swear... It is just like idiots in Hollywood (and video game designers) who keep using Egyptian khopesh swords BACKWARDS and having people committing suicide by slicing their wrists sideways (the proper way is to cut lengthwise along the vein).

And this is what you get for attending university for three to five years... You become educated to the point that:

1. You can recognize historical inaccuracies in TV shows and movies.

2. You *should* be able to spot the difference between different pieces of clothing and their proper names. (Like the difference between "leggings" and "stretch pants".)

3. You can do math and you know when something is overpriced and ripping you off.

4. You can recognize when a company is giving you a fair deal (and when their stuff is made by sweatshops in South East Asia) because you know how to read the label.

5. You can use your brain enough to go to a custom T-shirt place with a logo and have a new shirt made for $30 instead of paying $60 for the official university shirt which is grossly overpriced. (Better yet, you can pick colours and designs nobody else has, thus ensuring you have a shirt that other alumni will be jealous of.)

Oh, and assuming you are also potty trained, you should also be able to dress yourself.

Now go join the workforce of brainless zombies who sit at computers and press buttons, doing what you are told by the uncaring bosses with their big salaries... and ignore the fact that you were told for years that people value creativity and individual thinking.

Pfffff!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Private Cooking Lessons in Toronto

Meet Luca. (Note to self, find a photo of him.)

He is a professional Italian chef. He caters private functions and dinner parties.

But what I really want to talk about is his Italian cooking lessons in Toronto. Basically, if you want to learn how make really great tasting Italian food, you give him a call and book some lessons.

Which is funny because he charges less for his private cooking lessons than he does for his catering service. Just check out his prices.

Private cooking service catering is: Starting by $35/person + cost of food & wine.

Private Cooking Lesson: Starting at $25/person + cost of food & wine.

Full prices depends on menu, but basically he charges $10 less if he is teaching you instead of just serving and catering you.

So it is actually a pretty good deal if you want cooking lessons in Toronto and he teaches a variety of different recipes, not just Italian recipes.

Check out the recipes he has on his website.

Orata + Sea Bream

Lasagne + Eggplant and Tomatoes

And my favourite: Potato Pie


Friday, August 17, 2012

The Demon's Pawn

"The Demon's Pawn" is the newest story available from the good folks at Korovia.com...

To understand this book a bit you first need to understand what Korovia is.

It is a "free license fantasy world" where anyone, provided they follow the rules, can join in and publish their story within the setting of Korovia... Korovia itself is a pseudo-Slavic fantasy kingdom similar to Transylvania, but with dragons, elves, dwarves, minotaurs, gnomes, fairies, werewolves, good / evil wizards and demons... basically Tolkien-esque fantasy, but unlike the world of Middle-Earth (which is copy-written and trademarked) the world of Korovia is open to anyone.

That said... lets get back to "The Demon's Pawn".

Demons play a big role in the Korovia Timeline. In less than 8,000 years Korovia has had three demon wars (basically invasions from another dimension) and the demons won't give up because they have marked the kingdom of Korovia for conquest. The demons are always looking for some way to get into Korovia, conquer a city or two, and then start laying waste to the landscape.

Unfortunately the paladins / holy knights from the Holy City of Kost keep stopping the demons. They're not the only ones, but they play a major role.

Enter Katya Yerovik. An orphan girl raised by elves. A demon prince has taken a great interest in her development and somehow she is a chess piece in the demon's plan of conquering the Holy City of Kost...

Yada yada yada, I won't ruin the story for you.

But I will say WOW. This story has a huge web of overlapping bits and pieces and they all come together by the end of the book. It is an exceptionally well written story.

Unfortunately the story is currently only available on Amazon Kindle. But if you have a SmartPhone, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc then just download the free Kindle app and start reading. The story itself costs only $2.99. Less than the price of a coffee and it is superbly written.

10 Reasons why Goodlife Fitness SUCKS

The following review is based on Goodlife Fitness clubs in Toronto, Canada.

#1. They're basically no different than other fitness gyms like Extreme Fitness, etc.

#2. They don't list pricing on their website.

#3. When you call you end up getting a sales agent who is on commission.

#4. The sales agent will want to sell you a yearly contract and he only gets his commission if he gets your bank or credit card info.

#5. Once they have your banking or credit card info Goodlife Fitness with then auto-charge your bank account or credit card once, twice or even three times monthly.

#6. When you cancel your membership they will KEEP charging your bank account or credit card, even though you cancelled your membership in writing months ago.

#7. If you try to get your money back from Goodlife Fitness they will REFUSE to give it to you, claiming that you used the gym during those months they charged you for and claiming that your membership was still active.

#8. The only way to stop them from taking money from your bank or credit card is by closing your bank account or cancelling your credit card.

#9. Goodlife Fitness will then try phoning you, demanding more money or alternatively being really rude to you when you are trying to get your money back from them which they have essentially defrauded from you.

#10. Goodlife Fitness isn't alone in this fraudulent behaviour. Extreme Fitness and many other "big name" fitness gyms all use this tactic of ripping you off financially. (Many cellphone companies do the same thing.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How to make your own T-Shirt Company

Isn't technology awesome?

I mean seriously. It used to be if you wanted to make your own t-shirt company you basically just learned how to make screen prints, purchased lots of cheap blank shirts and then did all the work of screen printing onto the t-shirts yourself.

These days you can just get CafePress or a similar website to do it for you (and pay an arm and a leg for shipping), but that really cuts into your profit margin.

But what if you could just buy a machine that did all that for you? Now I admit Industrial Embroidery Equipment is pretty expensive. Out of the range of most people, but it can be done if you're willing to make the investment.

And a lot of the process can now be easily automated, so the onus on you is really to just set it up the way you like it, let the machine do the work and your job is really to get the sales.

Check out the amusing video below:


Now I admit that is an awesome video and the cartoon mouse sure makes it look easy.

But consider the prices. I browsed swfusa.com and the cheapest machine I could find was $7,500. (American dollars of course.)

The prices of the various machines weighed in between $7,500 to $55,000 USD. So yeah, if you have the money you could get a machine to do all the work for you.

So really you would just need to design the clothing, program the machine and then find buyers for your products, followed by shipping and accounting costs. (And buy the materials, of course. Thread, fabric, etc.)

I think the hardest part of all that would actually be "programming the machine" to do embroidery work on a t-shirt. That sounds super technical and I wonder just how easy the software allows you to do that.

Okay, so I admit that does sound like significant work, but it may all be worth it, especially if you're selling in bulk. But it beats having everything sewn in third world countries by sweatshop labour (*cough cough* slave labour *cough cough*).

Next lets pretend you are up to the challenge and have 10s of thousands of dollars to be spent on machinery. What will you actually design?

In theory you could do quite a few different designs. There are certainly lots of options out there. Worse comes to worst you could just browse Facebook for ideas for slogans, artwork, etc... just so long as nothing is copyrighted.

Speaking for myself I would have t-shirts made of all my artwork, use quotes from famous people (quotes are copyright free) and whenever the inspiration struck me make random limited runs of various things. And then sell it all on fashion blogs like Fashion Salon, etc.

However I am a very creative person. I create new things every day of my life. I would have to be in a coma to not be creating something physical (and even then I'd still be dreaming in a creative way).

Note to Self: If I ever end up in a coma I must remember to wake up and ask for a pint of stout. (Magnum PI fans will like that idea.)

So anywho, having your own t-shirt company (and the heavy machinery to do the actual work) isn't for everyone. You would have to be very creative in the first place. Preferably with some training in the fashion industry.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Lilith Bloodstone Series

The Lilith Bloodstone Series is a series of fantasy short stories set in the fictional kingdom of Korovia and written by Canadian author Charles Moffat. The stories feature a young heroine known as Lilith Bloodstone who is as unusual as the land she lives in.

Korovia is a cold and brutal place, trapped in an ancient curse that has placed the kingdom in a perpetual ice age and it has been that way since the Last Demon War. As such the people of Korovia make their livings by hunting, fishing and trapping, mining and trading their goods with other kingdoms. Korovia still has a summer, but its comparatively short.

The curse that plagues Korovia has also made it possible for monsters and undead to flourish. Most people live in small towns or cities and very few farmers exist except in the southern reaches of Korovia, both because its not ideal farming conditions and also because of the monsters that attack people.

Amidst all of this is the Holy City of Kost, the site of a famous battle during the Second Demon War. The city was founded by an order of paladins (holy knights) and amongst their descendants was a knight known as Phoebus Bloodstone. Phoebus' wife died and he was called away on duty to protect a village of elves, and so he entrusted his only daughter Lilith to the knights for safekeeping. Unfortunately for both Phoebus and his daughter he died defending the elven village from an onslaught of horned trolls.

But you don't really find out all those extra details until later. The stories start with Lilith Bloodstone. How and why she got there and what happened to her parents are revealed as the stories continue.

At an early age Lilith Bloodstone began to exhibit signs of magical talent. At first the knights were uncertain what to do so they hired a tutor to train her in the arte of magic and she quickly mastered the simple spells provided to her. The tutor eventually came to the knights and said there was no more she could teach the young girl who was devouring spellbooks and was proving more adept than the tutor. The child prodigy was therefore sent to the Academy of Arcane (sometimes called the Academy of Magic by non-magic users). Amongst the dabblers, sorcerers and wizards Lilith Bloodstone found her calling, but each wizard typically makes a choice to specialize in one branch of magic...

She certainly had her options. She could learn divination and become a seer, or perhaps summoning and become a conjuror... Or maybe she had the explosive talent of an evoker or the mesmerizing talents of an enchantress. But none of these held interest to young Lilith. Instead she decided to follow a more complex and forlorn path...

NECROMANCY.

Considered to be a "dark arte" by many Lilith Bloodstone had chosen a path few wizards dared to tread and most wizards who went that way fell prey to the dark side of the arte, a dark side known as The Black Rose. And it is the story of the Black Rose wherein Lilith has her first adventure. But Lilith doesn't stop there.

Far from it, Lilith has many more adventures as she becomes a hunter of undead creatures, a vanquisher of evil, and she furthers her goals of expanding the boundaries of White Necromancy (using necromancy to destroy undead and save lives).

The series is written by Canadian fantasy author Charles Moffat and to learn more you're going to have to read the books which are available on Amazon Kindle.






The Black Rose
On Death's Door
The Astral Plane

Brutus and Avianna is another story set in the Korovia world, and also written by Charles Moffat.

Unlike the Lilith Bloodstone Series, Brutus and Avianna is a very different story. For starters its erotic. But its still set in the same fantasy world, Korovia, which is listed on korovia.com as a "free license fantasy world" where any author can self-publish their books using the setting.

Which is an interesting concept in comparison to other shared fantasy worlds like Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance, wherein authors can only publish their books via the company which owns the copyright, self-publishing isn't allowed, and they vigorously defend their copyright.

It does make you realize that if e-readers like Kindle and Kobo are the way of the future (which unlike tablets don't have glare), then self-publishing will become the chosen medium of authors, and free license shared worlds like Korovia are a sign that the publishing industry needs to adapt.

Review: One Simple Trick to get Women to Sleep With You

Okay, you've probably seen the ads for them online. The titles of the ads may vary, but they're all basically selling the same thing: Sex with Women via somekind of mental trick.

When you click the ad it takes you to a long-winded video which is basically just a huge waste of time and the primary goal is to get you to buy his book on how to trick women subconsciously into sleeping with you.

I am now going to save you some time.

Here are the tricks outlined in his video:

#1. Look at her mouth. Don't look at her breasts.

#2. Stand sideways. It makes you look more attractive and indifferent.

#3. Mention that you feel at ease talking to her.

#4. DON'T TALK ABOUT MONEY.

#5. DON'T TALK ABOUT SPORTS OR EXERCISE UNLESS SHE BRINGS IT UP.

#6. Give the impression you're already desirable. eg. Talk about your female friends, women trying to get into your pants. (Pre-Selection based on other women finding you desirable.)

The number six step is the one he stresses the most in the video.

Beyond that he will also try to convince you of all the other great stuff in his book, essentially things you can do that supposedly will make women want you sexually.

Indeed this video-promoting some guy's book isn't alone. There is a lot of books out there all claiming to sell the same thing. Here is some of the one's I found on Amazon.com




All the books are basically preaching the same thing: Be desirable, be confident, play hard to get, make them chase you, etc.

So in theory, yes, the advice in these books can help you get laid. In theory. But I would still argue that exercising and joining Toastmasters International (so you can learn to speak confidently) wouldn't hurt you either.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zombie Archery Target

It cost me $27.67 to have this Zombie Archery Target made at Staples Business Depot. Took about 40 minutes for them to print it off, but it was worth every penny and every minute of the wait.

For archery lessons visit cardiotrek.blogspot.ca.


Christmas Wish List: A Throwing Axe!


Note to Self:

Here is something I would like for Xmas.

"Condor Tool & Knife CTK4011BT - Double Bit Throwing Axe, Black Blade Double bit throwing axe with overall length of 13 3/8in. And 7in. Blade composed of 1075 high carbon steel with epoxy black powder coating. FEATURES Handle Material: 1075 Carbon Steel, Black Overall Length (inches): 14.50 Special Features: Double Bit Condor Tool & Knife CTK4011BT - Double Bit Throwing Axe, Black Blade."

Price? $27 on Google Shopping.

Why? Because axe throwing is one of those sports I would like to try and what the heck, why not buy an axe!

Aroma - Indian restaurant in Toronto's theatre district

Aroma is an Indian restaurant, one of many in Toronto's downtown theatre and entertainment district.

I've been there twice so far and the food and service is always impeccable.

Location: 287 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1J5

For dinner reservations call (416) 971-7242.

Otherwise they have a buffet between 11:30 and 3 PM seven days per week, which is always nice.

They also offer catering and free delivery. While I have not tried their catering or delivery service, my mouth is watering at the very thought of it...

Five Stars!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Twitter: Not as good as you think it is.

When it comes to promoting your website and your company's business there are a number of websites out there that are considered to be good investments in terms of advertising and promoting your company.

Twitter is one of those companies.

And it isn't as good as you think it might be. I shall explain why.

#1. According to Alexa.com (a website which tracks the popularity of other websites) Twitter is only used by approx. 8.5% of internet users. In other words it is really only used by the tech-savvy people who like tweeting to each other. The other 91.5% of the internet population apparently has no interest in Twitter.

What this tells you is that Twitter has reached its limit in terms of "market share" and would really only be good if you are trying to advertise directly to people who are tech-savvy.

Lets take for example the following company Twitter page for US Money Reserve, a company which encourages people to invest in gold and silver as the global economy grows and shrinks periodically. Whenever the economy turns sour the prices of gold and silver soar.

Now think of the type of people who would invest in gold or silver. Hmm. Business people. People with lots of money. Often well educated. Probably own stocks and a 401 K account. Chances are more likely that they're tech-savvy, own a BlackBerry or smart phone, and possibly on Twitter.

Thus a company wishing to sell gold and silver to investors would be wise to marketing via Twitter.

But someone who is marketing a small niche business, like 'Gary's Civil War Antiques Emporium', probably won't do so well on Twitter because it isn't the type of website that caters to American Civil War buffs. That doesn't mean that such a company can't try to promote their business via Twitter, I am just saying it is significantly less likely that Twitter will give them any edge advertising wise.

What does well on Twitter is celebrities like:
twitter.com/ParisHilton

Or renowned writers like:
twitter.com/MargaretAtwood

Or politicians like:
twitter.com/BarackObama

Or brand name companies like:
twitter.com/Microsoft

The point I am trying to make here is that for people or companies who are already famous or brand names, Twitter is added bonus. But it won't make your company famous on its own.

US Money Reserve Inc's twitter page does have lots of useful tips on it and news about the gold and silver exchange, prices, market valuations / predictions, etc... but by itself the company isn't going to see a huge benefit from its Twitter page. It will help it a little because its marketing towards the more tech-savvy people who are more likely to invest in gold or silver, but you first have to get people on to their website and/or Twitter page and that is the really difficult prospect which comes down to traditional marketing techniques and online marketing like Search Engine Optimization.

Twitter pundits like to claim that Twitter can help a website go viral. However the type of topics that do go viral are often not business related. They're always something funny and interesting, and therefore worth sharing on Facebook, Tweeting about, etc... But the problem is that most people on Twitter don't retweet things and even those that do retweet a particular topic aren't going to retweet something that is obviously an advertisement for a business.

"Oh but doesn't Twitter boost Search Engine Optimization"?

Actually no, it doesn't. Two reasons: Twitter links always have "rel=nofollow" in the link coding which means search bots don't follow them and it gives no benefit SEO wise. The 2nd reason is because most links are shortened using Bitly, which means the search engine doesn't even see any useful keywords because it is ultimately just a code like "http://bit.ly/QFytRk". So Twitter does zilch in terms of boosting SEO.

The only benefit of Twitter is to give a company or person the appearance of being tech savvy. Which ultimately can be an utter failure if the person isn't tech-savvy at all and just doesn't care.

Take for example twitter.com/sirseanconnery which shows what happens when an aging actor tries to use Twitter and gets bored with it quickly.

My review of Twitter?

0.5 of a Star out of Five. It doesn't even a full star because as a tool it is shamefully outmatched by Facebook which is a more effective social media tool and currently has a reach of 46% of global internet users and a growing base of active users. Twitter is a complete waste of time compared to the juggernaut that is Facebook.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Roses and delivery services

When it comes to flowers there is only one flower worth buying for that special girl (or guy) in your life:

ROSES.

This isn't so much a product review as it is an endorsement of the plant. Let face it, yes, you could buy carnations, daffodils, narcissi, etc... but then you just look like a cheapskate because you didn't buy roses. (The only exception to this rule is when you go to a funeral in which case you should always get white lilies or whatever colour of lilies the deceased person liked best if you know what their favourite colour is.)

Carnations is what you buy a FRIEND on their birthday.

Or you might get a different flower (eg. daffodils or narcissi) if you knew that the person had a particular favourite, but if you don't know then frankly you're better off sticking with roses because nothing else comes close.

I think its because roses are basically a brand name. Its like buying Coca-Cola or Nike or IBM. You know you are buying the BEST.

However within roses I find there is still room for variety. Depending on the flower shop you can still get something other than red roses... You can also get:

White Roses (Purity / Faithfulness)
Yellow Roses (Friendship)
Orange Roses (Love)
Red Roses (Lust / Passion, Courage)
Peach Roses (Gratefulness / Sincerity)
Pink Roses (Playfulness / Joyfulness)
Lavender Roses (Adoration / Majesty)
Black Roses (Death / Rebirth)

And my personal favourite:

Blue Roses (Attaining the Impossible)

Blue roses don't exist in nature, they're actually white roses that are dyed blue.

As a gift what I like to do is get 1 orange rose and 1 blue rose. Together the blue and orange compliment each other and makes for a truly unique gift on that special day. I would probably still go for red roses on Valentines, but any other time of the year I recommend 1 blue and 1 orange.

Of course not all flower shops (and by extension delivery services) offer blue and orange roses, so it can be difficult to find. I recommend phoning various places to find out what kind of roses they actually have.

eg. Etobicoke flower delivery doesn't have blue roses listed on their website, but they might be able to arrange them if you made a special order. Their website really only offers different flower arrangements. But in theory if you phoned them (416-244-9355 or 800-622-6419) then you might be able to make a special. I have no idea what their delivery rate is.

When it comes to flower delivery its all pretty expensive anyway. You're paying for the frivolity of it. Its a bit like eating out in a super fancy restaurant. You're not eating there because the food is good (in my experience its the dives which have the best tasting food), you're eating there because its a special occasion and you want to be surrounded by beautiful decor (and impress whomever you are with).

Speaking for myself I have NEVER ordered flowers for delivery. Seems like a complete waste to me. I have always gone to the flower shop in person, picked out exactly what I wanted, had it specially prepared for the occasion and then delivered it myself.

If I go back far enough (when I was living with my parents and still a teenager) my mother is a landscape architect / horticulturalist and I would be growing my own roses. I still have a flower bed at my parents' farm and there are orange and red roses growing there, along with narcissi, purple lilies and Sweet Williams of varying colours.

If I had my own house and a back yard I would probably be growing nothing but roses, ivy and wisteria now because my taste in plants has matured. (Wisteria is a vine that produces purple flowers.)

Regardless of where you choose to buy roses (or other flowers) my recommendation is that you put some thought into it.

That and don't buy something they are allergic to. Potential allergy disasters should be avoided.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cherokee Archery Set

When I first decided to stop procrastinating and get into archery I was at the Central Surplus store on Yonge Street in Toronto.

They had a Cherokee Archery Set on sale and it was, according to the clerk behind the counter, "ideal for beginners".

And he was absolutely-freaking-right!

I used that bow for 2 years before finally switching to a more powerful wooden bow because I loved it so much. It was wonderfully easy to use, surprisingly accurate and I had a very quick learning curve when using it. Some heavier bows are more difficult to learn with because you're not used to the pull and need to work your way up to it.

I still have my Cherokee bow (which is best described as a recurve / reflex long bow) and I now use it for teaching archery here in Toronto.

My only piece of advice is that you buy more arrows and a nice quiver to go with it.

I also have a handmade arm guard that I use made out of rawhide and a shoelace that is wonderful to use. Sometimes its the things you make yourself which do the best job.

No word yet on when I will be done carving my first bow.

Kindle Book Review: Anonymous Sex

Okay so I was browsing Amazon Kindle and I came across this book: "How to Find Anonymous Sex Partners on the Internet"






And I thought, hey, $2.99, cheaper than a cup of coffee. True you do have to own a Kindle first, but that is easily done. If you are big on reading then going digital is easier than you think. You can even have it delivered. (Note: I checked the prices in stores and its actually cheaper to order a Kindle online.)




Basically its a guide to meeting people on the internet (and more specifically, having anonymous sex with people you met on the internet).

And its advice is very easily broken down into a long detailed list of tips. What to do, what not to do, safety advice, where to go, what to post, how to be funny and witty, etc.
Some of the advice was common sense, but a lot of it was things you wouldn't normally think of but was ultimately quite logical.

Furthermore it didn't just apply to finding sex partners (although that is certainly the angle the anonymous writer went for). A lot of the advice pertained to online dating in general and could be used when making a Plenty of Fish account, posting personals on Craigslist and so forth.

So happy reading and doing-the-nasty or whatever it is you are looking for.

Snorkeling Equipment

I recently took up snorkeling and I thought I would share which pieces of equipment I purchased.

#1. BODY GLOVE silicone swim mask - Basically a pair of goggles these bad boys offer shatter resistant lenses, UV protection for your eyes, fog free and a strap for binding it around your head.

I picked this particular one in the store because it was: The most manly one there. That is really just enough reason to me. I could have got the really tiny swim goggles (for pansies) or some big huge honking goggles (for dorks), but I chose this one because it was normal looking and I didn't feel I would be embarrassed wearing them in public.

And not being embarrassed to wear something in public (ie. a god-awful ugly bicycle helmet) is reason enough for me. I don't think it matters so much what company it is so long as its quality, doesn't leak and you look good in it.

I chose the black goggles because I figured black matches everything.

#2. DIVE N' SURF professional dive snorkel - 100% submersible (meaning I can dive farther under and then come back up to breathe later as opposed to just floating near the surface), an attachment for my goggles, a purge valve and it is blue so I even liked the colour.

You can get a set for this which also comes with matching ugly goggles and fins, but I opted for JUST the snorkel because the goggles were so ugly and I don't want to wear fins. (Pourquoi? Les fins es tres embarrassing.)

Sadly I couldn't find a photo online of the snorkel without the set so instead I opted for a photo of a hot chick snorkeling. Huzzah!

I like the fact that it is 100% submersible. It has a piece which floats upwards and blocks off the tube to prevent water from getting in when going completely under, snorkel et al. However in actual practice I seem to have difficulty getting myself to go really far underwater. I guess I either float naturally or I am not that good at diving under.

Maybe I just need more practice.

#3. SPEEDO nose plugs - This is arguably the most important part of my snorkeling equipment. Without the nose plugs I simply can't control my breathing through my nose and end up having to pinch my nose when under water to prevent myself from inhaling. The nose plugs work wonderfully and make everything much easier.

HOT TIP: If you have to sneeze go back up first.

Happy snorkeling this summer and whenever else you get a chance!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Professional Moving and Storage in Montreal

When living in Canada there are several things you learn to expect.

#1. Sometimes websites (especially if you live in or near Quebec) will be in French.

#2. If the website is really professional they will have an English version of the website. In this example Déménagement Montréal is a moving and storage company in Montreal, and surprise surprise, they have an English version of their website.

C'est magnifique!

#3. If the website is really good they may even have videos showing what they do. Often the videos will be amateurish but they get the point across.

#4. If they're REALLY REALLY GOOD they will even have a professionally made video like the one below (which frankly really impressed me). So for those of you looking for "déménageur Montréal" (whatever that means...) you get sold on the quality of their service pretty quickly when you see how much quality their video has.



#5. I also really like it when people shown on their website dress professionally. Not necessarily suits and ties, but crisp clean clothing, well groomed people always makes a good impression on me.

#6. No annoying music. Call it a major turnoff but when a website has auto music on then its automatically annoying. However for the website in question, adtmoving.com, I like the fact that the only possible source of music is the video and its actually well chosen music (with no distracting lyrics).

#7. A well designed website always impresses me. Especially when its easy to contact the company. What does annoy me about the adtmoving.com site is that they don't list their email address and use a form mail instead. Form mails are ANNOYING to fill out (and often have errors in them). Plus you send the message and you have no idea if they actually received it and no record of what you asked them. It is my opinion that it is ALWAYS better to have a direct email to contact the company. Having a phone number helps too, but if I only have a question sometimes its better to just send a quick email. Having to fill out a form mail just doesn't cut it.

PET PEEVE: Websites which ONLY have form mail. SUPER ANNOYING!

#8. I also like it when companies have 1-800 numbers. Always handy.

So in summation I give adtmoving.com 4 stars out of 5, but it could have been better if they didn't have that annoying form mail on their website. I have never used their service but their video really impressed me.

When it comes to moving companies I have NEVER actually used any. Myself, family and friends have always just come together for a big move and had a BBQ or pizza party after the move is done.

ie. This past weekend I helped a friend in North York carry over 100 bags of dirt from a truck to the backyard for landscaping, +8 pieces of drywall and 6 huge things of insulation up to the 3rd floor where some repairs were being done. After we had a BBQ of hamburgers and beef hot dogs / sausages.

And don't forget free beer! And then the group of us hung out for a couple hours and relaxed.

So in my mind if moving things is an excuse to have a party, then why would anyone bother with a moving company unless they didn't have any friends? In which case sucks to be you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buying Medications Online

In this era of drugs for everything from preventing erectile dysfunction to anti-wrinkle creams and any number of medications that may or may not work... it really does make you wonder who is lying to you more.

The Big Pharmaceutical companies producing patented drugs with tonnes of side-effects (ensuring that you need to take additional medications just for the side-effects).

or

The small time Naturopathic Healers pushing herbal remedies (although to be fair, many modern drugs like Aspirin were discovered thanks to herbal remedies and determining what the active ingredient is... acetacylic acid found in birch bark = Aspirin).

For example purposes I would like to avoid mentioning companies I don't actually like, so lets start off with the companies I do LIKE.

LIKE
Ibuprofen 400 mg (aka Advil)
Acetaminophen 650 mg (aka Tylenol Arthritis)
Echinacea (not for colds, I buy it for its tissue regrowth properties)
Creatine (found in red meat but also available as a pill it boosts energy sent to muscle tissue, and when combined with Echinacea it DRAMATICALLY boosts muscle tissue regrowth)
Any kind of multivitamin
Vitamin D
Iron Supplements

I also have some muscle relaxants I sometimes use when I hurt myself weightlifting, they're in a drawer somewhere but I can't seem to find them.

Now most of these medications you can find in your local pharmacy. But what happens when you CANNOT find them? ie. I sometimes have trouble finding pharmacies that sell Creatine.

Well then you will have to look online for DCA (cancer killing drug that isn't patented and thus big pharma won't produce it) or whatever you happen to be looking for.

For example lets say you are having problems sleeping at night (hair loss or trouble maintaining an erection would be more funny, but whatever lets pick something that is relatively boring).

Some doctors refuse to prescribe sleeping pills because they are worried some patients might abuse the medication (sleeping pills can be addictive) or even attempt suicide with them.

And pharmacists typically won't sell sleeping pills without a doctor's prescription, mostly because they are worried about people becoming dependent on sleeping pills.

So where do you go? What do you do? You could try chamomile tea, red wine, turkey or other herbal remedies, but maybe you've already tried that and want something more powerful.

Enter Eszopiclone. Ahem, aka Lunesta, a mild sedative drug created by Sepracor. Its out there, but you can't always find it in a pharmacy because usually they're pushing the heavier sedatives for people with chronic insomnia.

But if you mild to moderate insomnia then a 2mg or 3mg dose of eszopiclone (Lunesta) would probably do the trick.

In the USA alone there are over 45 million prescriptions for insomnia medications EVERY YEAR. It is a $3 billion annual business for pharmaceutical companies and much of it is based on charging people large amounts of cash for heavy sedatives with lots of side-effects.

Where in contrast eszopiclone (Lunesta) is a mild sedative and has relatively mild side effects like headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, etc which means you should lower your dosage because you are taking too much. For fun I read the full list of side effects (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eszopiclone) and it includes AMNESIA.

Wow. A pill that causes amnesia. I bet there are some women out there who had one-night-stands they would like to forget. Someone should be marketing "Forget-Last-Night Pills".

Anyway the point is you can now buy Lunesta online and many other types of pills. The website in question, buylunestaonline.net, tells you all Eszopiclone benefits, side effects and so on.

And there is a Big Red Button at the top for if you want to order online right now (always handy when websites have that button)... at which point it takes you to an ordering website wherein the minimum price for a bottle of 30 pills is $103.50.

At which point you realize that the pharmaceutical companies are really raking in the dough, but hey, if they make a good quality drug that solves what ails you then more power to them.

Now if they could get around to selling more DCA (Dichloroacetic acid, aka the cure for cancer) then I'd be happier.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mysteries and Cookbooks, oh my!

The first book here is a mystery written by Vivian Meyer. I liked this book so much I bought a copy for my little sister because I knew she would enjoy it.

"Bottom Bracket, gives us an inside look at alternative lifestyles in Toronto's colourful Kensington Market neighbourhood. Feminist and urban-space activist Abby Faria bike-couriers packages around downtown Toronto to support her expensive bicycle habit. When a brutal murder takes place in the Market just a few houses down from her own apartment, Abby decides to enlist the help of her Market friends: together they protect a frightened young prostitute, fight gentrification in the Market and stand up for the rights of the dispossessed. Along the way, Abby indulges in great coffee, fine bicycles and one or two good men.

Never one to mind her own business, she runs into trouble when she comes up against the world of organized drug and female sex trafficking. Between dodging homicidal cars and attending Save the Neighbourhood meetings, it's all Abby can do to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. It all becomes personal when Abby discovers that the very people she is pursuing may have had a hand in a past misfortune of her own.

Meyer draws on her own savvy experience of Market life and youth culture to imbue her characters with authenticity and spice. Full of unexpected plot twists, memorable characters and down-and-dirty detail, Bottom Bracket is also a thought-provoking exploration of inner-city issues in contemporary times."


Ragged Chain continues the story line of Abby.

"Fledgling private investigator Abby Faria is taking a well-deserved break on Peregrine Island in BC's magnificent Desolation Sound. After the harrowing conclusion of her first case back in Toronto's colourful Kensington Market, she plans to relax and indulge her passion for cycling on the Island trails with her current boyfriend. But romantic plans with boyfriend Andy go off the rails when logging company magnate Jack Armstrong is found murdered on the edge of an island clearcut.

Abby's nosing around in the eco-politics of the island soon brings her into the midst of a whole cast of island characters, many of whom, Abby discovers, had both motive and opportunity to murder the unpopular Armstrong. Her penchant for mixing it up with questionable characters and ignoring legal niceties in the process soon gets her into more trouble than she bargained for."


And lastly for the vegans out there who love ebooks... here is a funky / well thought out vegan recipe book.

"Everyone is part of the solution, no matter where we come from or how we have been raised. This book has 174 full-colour pages filled with photographs and recipes of beautiful dishes that are remarkably simple to make (half of them raw, half of them cooked). It also includes photos and logs of our journey, to bring you closer to us. Our goal is to encourage widespread positive change as people become more and more aware of the link between our every day actions and the environmental/spiritual crisis we are in right now."

So there you go. Three books that I think rock!

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