Friday, December 27, 2013

Ponchos back in Fashion 2014

Apparently ponchos are back in fashion for Winter 2014. They're warm, durable, stylish, and also work well in Autumn and Spring too.

The one below I spotted at H&M.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Underdog Knight - Chinese Movie with English Subtitles

Underdog Knight is a Chinese martial arts movie about a young naval officer who suffers a mental injury and is discharged from the navy... only to become a vigilante protector of the common people, fighting "evildoers", thieves and the mafia.

I also find it interesting because the villains in the story are after a famous historical spear made from meteorite.

I give it four stars out of five. You can watch it on YouTube for free, with English subtitles.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Camo Dress Jackets - Huh???

I saw the jacket below on Friday at the Hudson's Bay Company store near the Eaton's Centre.

It is evidently a stylishly made jacket, but using a camouflage print. Bizarre and definitely made for the hipsters out there.

Hipsters that want to look tough, but still dress stylishly...

I think it looks lame. Anyone who buys a jacket like this needs to have their head examined.

I suppose it would be okay if your name was Don Cherry, but if it is not then you have no business dressing like that.

If you are into hunting, you are in the military (or former military), or you are some kind of protesting hippie / anarchist, then you could wear camouflage like that - possibly even the jacket below if you want the more posh look while you are out hunting deer, moose, elk, etc.

But if you are not knee deep in snow covered bushes, not carrying a loaded weapon, not carrying deer hunting tags - well then stop wearing camouflage. Then you are not fooling anyone. You just look lame.



Friday, December 13, 2013

2C 55W Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Honestly.

They're garbage.

The 2C 55 watt fluorescent light bulbs only last about 5 to 10 months before burning out - although the
packaging claims they will work for 4 years.

They are also overpriced. $16 for a 55 watt lightbulb. You can buy a better quality lightbulb for $1 from the Dollar Store.

Conclusions? Complete rip off. They sell lamps that only use these lightbulbs and then charge an arm and a leg for the replacements light bulbs.

It is basically the same marketing ploy as the cheap computer printers and then super expensive ink cartridges. Complete rip offs.

Mark's Work Warehouse doesn't honour its sales

I just bought an outdoor work vest which was SUPPOSED TO BE ON SALE but instead was not.

The sale was "save up to 50% off all men's regularly priced outerware."

An outdoor work vest is obviously outerware. It is basically a sleeveless jacket.

And judging by the price it was definitely "regularly priced". No discounts whatsoever.

So why was it not on sale? Because it is a vest? Because Mark's Work Warehouse doesn't consider an outdoor vest to be outerware?

Rubbish!

They just don't want to honour the wording of their sale.

So now they get this negative review and I will be back on Sunday to return it / demand a refund. Or maybe they will be tempted and shamed into giving me the sale price.

Subscribe to find out what happens next!

UPDATE - Yesterday I argued politely with the staff (I have been through this before and know you never get anywhere with staff if you are rude to them), they admitted the wording could have been better, but they still refused to honour the wording of the sale. Returned the item for a full refund. Staff was very rude and snarky about it even though I explained the problem in a calm and evenly toned voice (although I might have sounded a bit condescending, like I was talking to a little kid who can't do basic math). Not much Christmas cheer there either.

If any Mark's executives read this, it was the Mark's Work Warehouse located at the Eaton's Centre.

So word to the wise, if you want a place to honour their sales, don't shop at Mark's Work Warehouse.

For future reference here is Mark's Customer Service info if you have a complaint about their service / lack of honour.

customer.service@marks.egain.net

Mark's Work Wearhouse Customer Service
Po Box 2000
Welland, Ontario
L3B 5S3

Phone 1-800-663-6275
Fax 1-800-452-0770


Monday, December 2, 2013

Glass and Aluminum Vs Plastic SmartPhones

Have you ever seen a broken iPhone or BlackBerry smartphone? Usually it will be the glass front that is broken.

They're so breakable they can fall from a mere 2 feet and shatter easily.

And then it costs you between $60 to $120 to replace the front glass piece - a piece of glass that costs the manufacturer less than $1 to make, but they make huge profits off of selling new glass pieces to people with broken iPhones and BlackBerries.

In contrast plastic smartphones like Samsung and similar companies don't break as easily. They're more durable and don't shatter like glass does.

Plastic does scratch more easily than glass, but it doesn't shatter and break.

And it is the same deal with aluminum cases for iPhones and BlackBerries. They get dented more easily and once broken are useless. In contrast the high grade plastic used in many smartphones is more durable because it absorbs shocks more easily.

Speaking for myself I have had 5 different cellphones in the last 11 years. All of them were made of plastic, and while they did get scratches I never broke a single one of my cellphones. Never had to replace any parts. I never had any complaints about their build quality.

My first cellphone back in 2003 was a LG. It was used, but I got it in South Korea which is a country obsessed with cellphones and new tech devices. If a new device comes on to the market it is often available in South Korea any where from 6 months to a year before it is available in North America.

I was immediately addicted to my 1st cellphones ability to send text messages. Texting quickly became one of my favourite things to do on my cellphone.

My 2nd cellphone I picked up when I returned to Canada in 2004. I opted for a LG again because I liked the one I had used in Korea.

When I returned to South Korea in Summer 2005 I took out my old LG phone from my first visit there and voila, it still worked. And I was getting free phone calls off it because somebody else was now using the same signal I was - so they were paying the phone bill and I was getting free calls. Waha! (South Korea reuses the same signal codes on cellphones. I don't know how it works precisely, I just know they reuse them.)

When I came back to Canada I started using my 2nd cellphone again. Lasted me a long time. I still have it in a box somewhere. Still works technically.

My 3rd cellphone was another LG, purchased in 2006. Came with a camera and video camera, which was a nice change. Meant I could have more fun with my phone. The display was black and white, but the photos it took were still in colour.

My 4th cellphone was a Sanyo, purchased in 2008. A change for once. Used it for 4 years and was very happy with it. Like #3 it had a camera and video camera, but more importantly it has a colour display. It had many more options too, like internet and other gadgets on there (many of which I didn't even use).

My 5th cellphone (and first SmartPhone) is my current phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy SII. Been using it since 2012 and it has no dents, no scratches, I have dropped it numerous times, and I never have any hardware or software* problems with it.

* I do sometimes have software problems with 3rd party apps that I download, in which case I just delete the offending app and then it is back to normal.

Phones 1 to 4 sometimes got scratches on them. My 5th phone is still in pristine perfect condition despite being dropped numerous times.

In contrast I have lost track the number of times I have seen people using broken screens on their iPhones or BlackBerries. Or trying to use a dented aluminum phone that can't get a proper signal any more.

Clearly, based on the evidence, plastic phones are far more durable.

And what is more in the future there are a number of companies planning to release flexible plastic phones - making them even more indestructible.

Some of the companies that are working on such flexible phones are LG and Samsung. No surprise there. They are leading the way in making phones more indestructible.

And I shake my head at any parents dumb enough to give their child or teenager a glass / aluminum phone. That thing will probably break in the first month!

I can guarantee that if someone surveyed teenagers in a highschool as to what manufacturer they got their cellphone from and whether it is broken or not, all the broken ones will have glass / aluminum cases. And the broken ones will all be iPhones (because teens don't buy BlackBerries).

Now that doesn't mean you cannot break a plastic phone. You can throw it against a wall, slam dunk it against a hard floor, run over it with your car - and absolutely, it will break. But simply dropping it during normal day to day use, no, it won't break.

You would have to be an idiot to buy a glass phone.

Plastic 1

Glass / Aluminum 0

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mouthwashes - Alcohol Vs Alcohol Free

I have posted on mouthwashes before, but this time I was trying out the alcohol free version of Crest mouthwash.

I even compared it with Scopes' cool peppermint, and I must say I prefer the alcohol free mouthwash from Crest. It was waaaaay better tasting and I could feel a definite difference in terms of how clean my mouth was afterwards. Longer laster flavour too.

Tried both of them for over a month, got way better satisfaction from Crest.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cancelling Rogers Internet

Two days ago I cancelled my Rogers internet.

Had it for 7.75 years. Would have been 8 years in February.

Made the change because I was moving into a new apartment and frankly, Rogers wasn't giving the best quality service.

See all previous complaints about Rogers internet crashing, going down, etc.

Don't get me wrong, most of the time Rogers worked perfectly. And it was fast. I give Rogers internet 5 stars for the speed I was getting with respect to downloads and so forth.

But "most of the time" doesn't cut it when I need my internet to be working constantly for work reasons.

And then there was the customer service... which was a combination of computer system and whatever poor saps work in the customer service department. I feel sorry for them, I really do. That is a horrible job.

Big corporation customer service is often less than stellar. I give Rogers customer service 2.5 stars out of 5.

There are other factors too that I didn't like.

Hidden fees on my bills that come out later.

The email spam / snail mail they send customers.

Their insistence on trying to get everyone to sign a contract for a year or more for service.

Overall I give Rogers 3 stars out of 5. Fast, but not reliable and very annoying.

So who am I replacing Rogers with?

Bell.

Which I have tried before and it was "okay". 3.5 stars out of 5 if I recollect correctly. Marginally better than Rogers.

It does make me wish there was more internet companies wooing Canadians than just Rogers and Bell. Or rather, more internet companies with lots of speed and GOOD or decent prices.

For example TekSavvy is a newer company that sells internet connections via dialup, cable, and DSL.

They advertise their prices as being competitive. And it sounds good on paper, but the prices in the commercials and advertising is for their BASIC rate.

Meaning if you want more speed, more bandwidth, etc... well then you need to pay extra. They also charge you extra for the cable activation fee if you don't purchase a modem from them. (And if you don't like their service, they don't take back the modem and refund the difference.)

Cost of the modem? Between $99 and $120, depending on the type you purchase. If you don't buy the modem then they rent it to you. So you end up paying for it either way.

If you go over on bandwidth they charge 50 cents for every GB over.

So TekSavvy is just as much a money grubber as Rogers and Bell.

One of these days a new company is going to come along, offer internet service for a fair price - set a really high limit on the bandwidth, and have 100% uptime. At which point nobody will complain about the customer service because they won't need any customer service. It will just WORK the way it is meant to.

And then maybe Rogers and Bell will start taking the quality of their service seriously.

UPDATE!

Rogers is overcharging me on my final bill. No surprise there. Booooo Rogers! Boo!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Apple Vs Windows - The Screen of Death Statistics

If you Google various combinations of "screen of death" you get some interesting results as to which products people complain about the most when it comes to their computers / devices failing to work / load properly.

102 million for iphone blue screen of death

70.2 million for android black screen of death

58.9 million for apple white screen of death

54.7 million for windows blue screen of death

34.3 million for windows 7 blue screen of death

26 million for windows 8 blue screen of death

16.4 million for android black screen of death

6.76 million for windows me blue screen of death

5.48 million for linux screen of death

3.13 million for mac white screen of death

1.56 million for windows xp blue screen of death

546,000 for windows 3.11 blue screen of death

276,000 for windows 3.1 blue screen of death

Feel free to do your own research into this topic. Draw your own conclusions as to which operating systems are the most reliable / best for your computer / phone needs.

Please note that some products have larger market shares, and yet have less complaints about them.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Wireless USB Adapters

I just spent the last half hour browsing wireless USB adapters.

I am heading to Best Buy soon to pick one up.

I have decided I want to get one that is dual-band (for added speed), has an actual antenna (for better range), and a five star review.

Which means I will be spending $50 - $70. But it will be worth it to get the added speed.

It was this or running an ethernet cable all the way from the living room to the office. And buying a rug to hide the cable on the floor.

Some of the reviews I have been reading say they get a strong connection from 3 floors down. I am curious just how far away I can get such a strong connection... Maybe the laundry room in the basement? Lets find out!

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Steel Toed Boots

By Charles Moffat.

Every couple of years I buy a new pair of steel boots. This is a bit of a tradition I have been doing for 16 years now, ever since I worked in a welding shop when I was 18 years old. I got addicted to wearing the boots and with time I just didn't notice the weight any more.

In the photos further below you see my old Dakota steel toe boots that I got in December 2011. They lasted almost 2 years before the heels / ankle bits started to fall apart and needed to be replaced.

So I got a new pair of Dakota steel toe boots, similar model. Price? At Mark's Work Warehouse they were $119.99 + $15.60 HST. Total 135.60. (Thanks to the elimination of the penny in Canada we now round up regularly.)



Design wise they are basically the same pair of boots. With minor differences. The blue around the ankles, different holes for the boot strings, the sides of the ankles are higher on the new boots. But whatever, essentially the same.

I think I have an even older pair of Dakota boots somewhere in the closet. I should throw them out. Never going to wear them again I am guessing.

The old pair above saw me through two winters and literally hundreds of trips to the archery range, hiking trips, trekking across muddy fields and more. They have seen wear and tear and look like they went through a battlefield.

The only reason why I even chose to replace them was because the ankles / heels were falling apart. Cleaned up (the mud makes them really bad) they look almost brand new except for the rips in the blue ankle bits.

Judging by the hard life that my boots live, the fact the lasted almost two years was pretty amazing.

And the wear on the ankles is my fault. I don't untie my boots regularly, I just tie the laces semi-tight and then yank them on my feet, which damages the ankle of the boot over time. So they're not meant to be yanked on like that so they're bound to take damage.

Price wise these aren't even that expensive by steel toed boots standards. They pass all safety requirements for steel toe boots, but they're relatively inexpensive compared to the $200 to $400 steel toed boots you can buy.

The trick is however is that I KNOW my boots will be treated harshly. I don't see the point in shelling out an extra $100 to $300 on boots that I am just going to wreck anyway.

I gave my old boots to the cashier at Mark's Work Warehouse and told her to toss them in the trash. Although I did briefly make a joke that the company might be curious in analyzing the boots for defects, but honestly they were NOT defective. They simply lived a hard life.

But they stood up to the test which is why I got a new pair from the same company. Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mugwarmer

By Tamyka Bullen

* Illuminated on/off switch
* No-mar, no-slip feet

Recently, I bought the mug warmer from the Canadian Tire store. It costed me $12.99 but with taxes it was $14.68. I did the little experiment with it. I decided to turn the warm drink cold, then placed it on the mug warmer to see if it could heat the drink. I left it for a short time, it didn't heat the cold drink, but it didn't prove that it didn't heat it enough because I turned off the mug warmer less than 30 minutes. The instruction said that it was NOT designed to heat drinks anyways. I placed the warm drink on it and left it for more than 30 minutes, behold and lo it was still warm. Other time, I left the warm drink on it again, still it was warm. It seems that it is designed to keep warm drinks warm. 

I read the information about the mug warmer. It said that the mug warmer will keep warm drinks at the ideal temperature. If you have the 110/120 volt electric outlet, it will work. 

Personally, I really like it a lot because first of all, it keeps my drink warm and it is perfect for any places that I can use as long as there are plug outlets. BUT it will torch plastic or styrofoam cups! It also can keep soups warm!!! Yummy!

 

(Note, we admit it does look a bit like a toilet seat.)

Milk Chocolate Vs Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds

Honestly, they are both good.

I recently tried both. Dark chocolate covered almonds from Bulk Barn (a large bag of it at a fair price) and a 330 g container of milk chocolate covered almonds made by a company called "M&L Quality Snacks".

The milk chocolate covered almonds were sweeter(higher sugar content), but the dark chocolate covered almonds were more chocolatety - more flavour due to more cocoa in it.

I cannot decide which one I like best, but I am leaning towards the dark chocolate because it is healthier and has a stronger flavour.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Chocolate Milk II - Low Calorie Edition

This is my 2nd post about Chocolate Milk... and it is delicious!

And it is brought to you by Sealtest 100 Calories Chocolate Milk. Why? Because it has less calories than the regular 160 calories per 250 mL chocolate milk - which is tasty, but has sugar added for sweetness.

The 100 Calories Chocolate Milk has no sugar added (instead it uses Splenda for sweetness), which means more wholesome milk without all the sugar. Still tastes great, but it is healthier for you.

PLUS the 100 Calories Chocolate Milk has more 14% protein. The 160 calorie / sugar added version is 28 grams of protein per 1000 mL. The 100 Calories Chocolate Milk version has 32 grams of protein. And lots of other healthy good stuff in it too.

So huzzah for healthier chocolate milk!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A&W Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Tried A&W's bacon and egg sandwich this morning.

$2.10, including coupon and tax. (Not sure what the regular price is without the coupon.)

Not bad for a breakfast sandwich. Really hit the spot.

 430 calories, and a whack load of sodium (790 mg) according to the A&W website.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

PayPal Credit Card Not Available in Canada

I really hate credit cards.

I admit they are handy to have, but they're also very annoying when they get out of control.

Let me explain...

Let's pretend you make the average amount an American makes per year, which is $50,000 per year, but you max out your credit card and it has a really high spending limit of say $60,000. And you only pay the minimum each month which is 2% of the total.

Note: The average American has $15,185 in credit card debt (2011 stat). Some have no credit card debt at all, some have a lot more so the number of people out there who have $60,000 or more in credit card debt is a fair amount.

2% of $60,000 is $1,200 per month.

Now when you are only making $50,000 per year, $14,400 is a lot to be spending just on your credit card.

And then there is the interest. 19% on $60,000 is $11,400 annually (in reality it is compounded monthly so it ends up being a bit more than that).

So $14,400 minus $11,400 = $3,000 paid off the total amount. The rest is all interest.

It really makes you realize what a huge ripoff credit cards are.

Try doing the math on your own credit cards sometime. They're just a huge waste of money.

Lets pretend for a moment you have the same credit card debt as the Average American, which is $15,185. So you are paying minimum payments of $303.70 every month or $3,644.40 per year. And paying $2,885.15 in interest per year. So in reality you are only paying off the total by $759.25 per year and the rest is all interest. (Which means you only need to use your credit card for $63.27 each month and you are right back where you started from.)

Credit cards are basically a huge scam designed to entrap people and make them slaves-for-credit for the rest of their lives. Even elderly people have sometimes huge credit card debts!

Now if you pay an annual fee you can get a lower interest rate of 10% - which will save you thousands per year in interest.

However you are better off just consolidating your debt, and getting a line-of-credit at a much lower interest rate of 3 to 5%, depending on what your bank is offering. And you are better off doing it sooner than later, because if it grows out of control you may be looking at a 2nd mortgage, losing your home, or bankruptcy.

And then once you have cut up all your credit cards, pay off that debt and become credit card free (and DEBT FREE!) so you can go on with your life and use cash regularly.

I made the switch to cash years ago and I am loving it. Cash is so easy to use and there is a feeling of security with knowing I have lots of cash on me. (And live in a city with a really low crime rate.)

However I still sometimes purchase things online, using PayPal - which I love because it means the cash is already in your PayPal account and it is not credit, it is more like a bank debit card.

Which is why I LOVE the idea of a PayPal credit card, which allows you to buy things either online of offline and the amount comes straight out of your PayPal account in the same way a normal bank debit card works.

However in trying to apply for the PayPal credit card I learned a disappointing fact...

The PayPal Credit Card is Not Available in Canada.

Very disappointing PayPal. Why is it not available in Canada? I would seriously like to know.



Monday, September 30, 2013

Four Funny and Amazing Shampoo Commercials

Below are Four Funny and Amazing Shampoo Commercials I found on YouTube.

This is not an endorsement of any of these shampoo products, I just find these videos amusing.








Friday, September 27, 2013

No Name TV dinners

Got the following email from someone wanting to express their opinion on No Name TV dinners.

Just to add my two cents to theirs, I think all TV dinners are horrible tasting.

And I think it is a matter of no matter how good the ingredients are going into it, and how precooked the food is, heating up a meal like that that has been frozen is always going to taste bad. You will have way more enjoyment from fresh ingredients and food you prepare yourself.

Or if you really must have something that is quick and easy and prepackaged, I recommend couscous (just boil water...) with canned soup (I recommend Campbells).

The email...

"Please don’t misunderstand, most of NO NAME products I really like.  However the TV dinners are another matter.
 
Have you yourself tasted the potatoes?  Hoping to get rid of the taste I have tried “drowning potatoes in ketchup” regardless, that horrible taste still comes through? 
 
If the potatoes were like Swanson’s (just have a good potato taste) I would always buy NO NAME, as the rest of the dinner is delicious. 
 
I have only spoken about this matter with 4 friends, was surprised that all of them went back to Swanson - same reason – the yucky potatoes. 
 
I miss the apple crisp (which was a plus for me) however it wasn’t worth not being able to eat a whole dinner.
 
I solved my problem by buying my apple crisp separately.
 
I’m just letting you know from 5 people. if perhaps your sales may not be as good for tv dinners as you
had anticipated.
 
Swanson TV dinners have a brownie as desert, which doesn’t compare to apple crisp, but at least I can eat their potatoes.
 
Thanks for listening,
Bev Walker"

THE GREATEST RAID OF ALL

The Battle of St Nazaire - also known in military circles as the Greatest Raid of All Time. See the documentary below.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Business Cards from Staples

Today I picked up new business cards today from Staples for my personal training business.

Since a lot of my personal training clients come from word of mouth and online, having business cards is kind of 20th century these days. In a world of twitter, facebook, youtube, social media the old fashioned business card is likewise an old fashioned and obsolete form of advertising.

Lets face it, websites are essentially online brochures for whatever it is you are promoting. They get a much bigger audience if you promoted with Search Engine Optimization, etc.

Yet sometimes people ask for them and I procrastinated about getting them for waaaaaaay too long.

Anyway, I got a discount on these cards from Staples. 250 cards for $29 roughly. Total would have been closer to $49 under normal circumstances.

Which proves a point. You can get a great deal on business cards if you time it right and buy them on sale.

For me getting 250 was a smart choice. In the past I have always purchased business card in 2000, 1000 or 500 units. And I never used them all. If I was lucky I used half of them. I only got them in such large numbers because my mentality was that I didn't want to run out of them. Which is backwards now that I think of it for a variety of reasons.

Another problem I have run into in the past is I would sometimes design a new / better business card... and then what do I do with the old cards? Just toss them out? Now when I run out of business cards I can just commission better new ones.

Same thing happens if my phone number changes or something like that. The old business cards then become a waste.

Thus I lucked out when Staples had a sale on 250 glossy paper full colour cards on the day I went in to order them.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Samuel L Jackson Movies

Word to the wise, if you have kids who are impressionable. Maybe you should not let them watch Samuel L. Jackson movies. Just a hint.

The video below stars Samuel L. Jackson and deals with this topic in a funny way.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

3 minute commercial brings tears to your eyes


The video below is a brilliantly made commercial. I don't even know what it is advertising and don't really care. It is the commercial itself which brings tears to your eyes.


Friday, September 13, 2013

A&W gouging healthy choice customers

Costs extra 50 cents for orange juice or apple juice if you swap out the soft drink for something healthier. $1 more if you get the large juice.

So instead I got the rootbeer.

But I did swap out my fries for a salad, as I usually do.

Still it annoys me that they charge extra for juice. It is like they are actively discouraging people from ordering a healthier drink - even with a combo.

The regular juice prices at A&W are highway robbery.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dog Clothing

Dog accessories is big business.

I mean yes, the entire canine industry has everything from dog food to dog leashes, dog collars and dog harnesses...

Oh and dog figurines, dog paintings, dog beds, dog bowls, doggie water bottles...

Oh and then there is the breeders, the pedigree papers...

Dog artificial insemination, spaying, neutering, whelping, registration for pedigrees.

Dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting, dog boarding.

Like OH MY DOG, it is just really ridiculous after awhile.

Thus when people start dressing up their dogs in dresses, gowns, vests, with matching leashes - or better yet Halloween costumes for dogs - well, then you know it is an industry without and end in sight.

My topic today however is dog clothing. Specifically dog bows, dog vests and dog dresses, which are so adorable on your little poochie poo that you just have to have it.

My advice? Shop on Etsy, because at least then you are buying from an actual dog owner who is making the vests, dresses and bows themselves. As opposed to buying from some company that is likely using slave labour in South East Asia to make the clothing.

It also means what you buy will be unique, higher quality - and more likely to stand the wear and tear of everyday life on your dog.

For example Kasamile's Klosette is a company that makes dog bows, vests, dresses and leashes, all made by a Maltese breeder who lives here in Toronto. So immediately you know she is going to be one of those dog obsessed people who wants the absolute highest quality materials for her little snookie-poochie-poos.

And a guarantee that she probably really uses words like "Awwww, that is so cute!" on a regular basis.

After all, what kind of woman would make a matching vest, leash and bow tie for her dog - and use ladybug buttons?



Air Purifiers

I purchased an air purifier today from Canadian Tire.

The reason?

Lately my allergies have been bothering me more - possibly due to the fact that I was recently doing some woodworking and the sawdust is still in the air.

So instead of taking allergy pills constantly I have decided to buy an air purifier and see if that provides a permanent solution to my dust allergy problems.

The air purifier I purchased was a Honeywell HEPA Clean Air Purifier with Ionizer.

I took it home, removed all the plastic wrap - including the plastic wrap around the air filter, installed the air filter and then plugged it in and turned it on.

And voila!

Its a fan.

A $69.99 + tax fan.

Okay, technically it is a fan that cleans the air. I am not being fair by calling it just a fan. It does come with a lot of features.

#1. Three stages of air purification - Pre-Filter, for large air pollutants, which is hand washable; HEPA filter, which filters 99% of air pollutants; air ionizer... which presumably runs an electric current through the air and filters out even more air pollutants somehow.

#2. A Night Light - No seriously, a night light you can turn on and off. I guess it is so if the air purifier is on the floor you don't kick it.

#3. Different settings for the fan - I stuck mine on MAX. Why would anyone stick it on medium or low...?

#4. The HEPA filter is permanent and never needs to be replaced. It does however need to be vacuumed once in awhile. They are pretty clear also that you should never get the HEPA filter wet (because then it will turn into gremlins and run amok). No seriously, it will just ruin it if you get the HEPA filter wet.

#5. Reminder light to let you know when it is time to vacuum your HEPA filter. I am guessing it is on a timer because in the booklet that came with my air purifier they recommend cleaning it once per month.

And that is it.

So I shall run it non-stop for a week or two and see how much cleaner my air is. Honestly it has only been running 30 - 40 minutes already and already my air feels cleaner. But I want to wait a week or two before passing judgment on how well it is working.

I wonder if it also sucks out moisture from the air? Acting a bit like a dehumidifier? If so that would be awesome because I need a dehumidifier during the summer months. If it filters out contaminates in the air then in theory it should also filter out moisture which is stuck to contaminates.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wanted... An old diner that serves 50s style burgers and milkshakes

I am on a quest to find the perfect 50s style diner in Toronto.

It must have...

Burgers and cheeseburgers.

Milkshakes in a variety of flavours.

Ice cream.

Really awesome homecut fries.

Staff dressed in stereotypical 50s fashion.

Fair prices.

Excellent service.

If you know of such a place in Toronto please leave a comment below.

Rudder Bows Archery - Longbows

I purchased a new bow today.

I now own 7 bows, so this is really nothing new.

It is a 35 - 40 lb hickory longbow from "Rudder Bows Archery" company. Paid $149 + tax.

I bought it from a new archery store in Toronto which specializes in traditional archery gear. If you are regular at the Toronto Public Archery Range you already know the owner. His name is Gary and you are probably familiar with him if you visit the Toronto Archery Range regularly - older guy with mustaches and a longbow. Shown here on the right with a buffalo target.

Gary called his new archery store "Basically Bows Archery" - but I think he should have just called it "Gary's Archery Shop", after himself because he is quite well known at the Toronto Public Archery Range.

Anyway back to the bow.

The hickory longbow is a traditional longbow that still performs really well today. Its simple easy to use design means that basically anyone can pick it up - beginners or professional archers and get some amazingly good accuracy out of it.

I found the video below praising the bow I purchased. I think the video summarizes what I am getting at here, that this is a classic longbow design that works really well and performs above expectations.

I have yet to try my new bow at the range, but it is certain to be a lot of fun.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Consumer Tips to prevent Vehicle Theft

Aside from your home, your car is the biggest investment that you make in your life and whether it’s a luxury car you take pride in, or just what gets you to and from the loss of such a large personal investment is devastating. While there are many ways to minimize theft, being aware of the most targeted models is important when choosing your next car.

The top 10 most stolen car models are:

DODGE TRUC CARAVAN
HONDA ACCORD EX 4DR
CHEVROLET / SILVERADO
FORD TRUCK F350 SUP
DODGE TRUC RAM 1500
CHEVROLET SILVERADO
GMC TRUCK / SIERRA 1
HONDA CIVIC LX 4DR
FORD TRUCK F350 SD

In other words trucks are the most stolen vehicles in Canada since most of the top ten vehicles are trucks (and Chevrolet Silverado is on the list twice...? Not sure why.). And it is usually the result of someone leaving their truck for "a few minutes" and leave their keys in the ignition. Trucks are also easier to break into and easier to hot wire and typically don't have any anti-theft features.

Most vehicle crime is opportunistic and therefore preventable. Here are some helpful tips to help prevent your car from being targeted:

Know where your keys are at all times.

Never start your vehicle and leave it running with the keys in the ignition unattended.

When you take your car in for service make sure that you’re taking it to an accredited repair facility that you are familiar with.

Be careful about loaning your vehicle to people, their actions can have implications on your insurance.

Make sure to always close the garage door at night and that vehicles are locked. Check to make sure that you haven’t left anything valuable in your car, and make sure your sunroof is closed.

If you’re out shopping don’t leave any cash lying around in the car, make sure that your wallet, keys and purse are all out of sight or safely locked in the trunk.

At times thieves will target specific types of cars and gain access through an unlocked door in the house in order to take the keys of your vehicle and drive away. Make sure that all of your house doors are locked at all times.

The cost and time spent on repairs, buying a new vehicle and replacement of stolen items can easily be prevented by following the above tips. Having theft insurance helps too, but basically you're just begging to have your car stolen if you are careless.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Son of the Morning Star

If you think I am on a Western movies kick you would be correct.

Except the following is not a movie. It is a two part mini series made in 1991.

Son of the Morning Star is a retelling of Custer's Last Stand - wherein the Battle of Little Bighorn is retold from multiple perspectives, the widow of General Custer, the 7th Cavalry survivors of the massacre and also from the perspective of Kate Bighead, a young Cheyenne woman. It is also the tale of Crazy Horse, who fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn and later surrendered and was killed.

The mini series stars Gary Cole (General Custer), Dean Stockwell (General Philip Sheridan), Rosanna Arquette (Elizabeth Custer), Rodney A. Grant (Crazy Horse), Nick Ramus (Red Cloud), Buffy Sainte-Marie (voice of Kate Bighead), and Floyd Red Crow Westerman (Sitting Bull).


Monday, September 2, 2013

Triton Showerhead

Honestly - the commercial further below may look really sleek and everything, but what they don't tell you is that it is just a showerhead.

A showerhead with a fancy control that looks like an iPod (ripoff!) and made of polished stainless steel.

So in other words, yes, it gives you more control over the hot and cold in your shower, and yes it looks pretty awesome with the polished stainless steel - but how well does it actually work???

Well it works just as well as say a $39.99 showerhead that has 5 settings. Which is to say, okay, because it gets the job done.

Except this isn't $39.99... the Triton Showerhead shown here is a whopping $415 CDN.

Plus 13% HST. So $468.95 including tax.

Proof that if you design something that looks like an iPod you can charge an arm and a leg for it.

In contrast if you buy a Creda showerhead for $120 you get everything you want in the Triton plus other extra settings not available on the Triton - but it will be white instead of polished stainless steel, so it will not look like an iPod.

Proof that if you make something shiny you can charge a lot more money for it.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Man Called Horse - Movie Review

A Man Called Horse is a 1970 American Western film starring Irish actor Richard Harris and directed by Elliot Silverstein.

Unlike The Indian Fighter (which was rife with historical inaccuracies), A Man Called Horse attempted to be very accurate with respect to costume design, languages, marriage ceremonies, etc, such as the film's representation of tribal practices and rituals (including the Sun Dance) is shown as based upon historical records.

The film makers evidently wanted to be as historically accurate as possible and you can tell by the level of detail that they tried the best they could. As such the film is largely about Native customs and rituals.

It is still however a white man's fantasy story - but hey, what can you expect for a film made in 1970? Only 10 years earlier John Wayne films was still shooting Natives as savages. In contrast this film treats both Natives and white men equally - which is more than can be said about many earlier films.

There was also two sequels made, both starring Richard Harris. The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976); Triumphs of a Man Called Horse (1983).

4 stars out of 5.




Saturday, August 31, 2013

Motion Capture Video Game Console

Someone should invent a motion capture video game console.

It would be better than the Wii console because it doesn't use a controller. A camera detects motions and tells the game what to do.

I presume it has already been invented but hasn't been picked up by Nintendo or Sony Playstation, etc.

Update...

Some other developers have been working to make existing game consoles to be more like a Wii. Like in the video below called "Halo Motion Sensitive Gaming with the Mad Genius Motion Capture System".

However that is not what I am looking for. I am looking for a "pure motion capture" system using cameras. No hand held devices needed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lidocaine cream with aloe

I love this stuff. Lidocaine is a topical painkiller for your skin.

Works great on the following:

Itchy skin
Sunburns
Bee stings
Mosquitoe bites
Rashes
1st and 2nd degree burns

Basically if your skin is in pain in any way lidocaine with aloe is the way to go. I used it today on a bee sting and it made a huge difference.


How I fixed the leaky tiles in my bathroom with a $5 bottle of silicone

General Electric Silicone Glue
Or perhaps the title should be "Glory be to General Electric's Premium Waterproof Silicone Glue"...?

Whatever you want to call the title, here is the story.

For over a year now I have been bugging my landlords to fix the tiles in my bathroom.

They have tried to fix it twice, but both times they botched it and the silicone just breaks the next time I use the bathtub or shower. Note: I always waited at least 24 hours before using it again, but it breaks anyway.

Anywho, I think the reason why it keeps breaking has nothing to do with water usage in the bathtub or shower - it is afterall, waterproof silicone. What I think is happening is that the when the bathtub fills with water it WEIGHS more and this is an old building... when the bathtub weighs too much and the bottom tiles are literally glued to the bathtub using silicone, for whatever reason the bathtub sinks into ground a little further - only by a millimeter or so.

This causes the tiles to pull apart at the weakest point because it can't handle the extra weight. It is only a millimeter, but it is enough to break the silicone.

Now my landlords (bless them) have been fixing the tiles each time with the bathtub empty... so no extra weight in it. But they haven't heard my whole theory about the bathtub sinks an extra millimeter lower when its part way full of water (or even just has someone standing in it).

Thus every time they fixed it was fine up until the point where the bathtub had someone step into it or filled it with water.

So how did I manage to fix it myself???

I bought a $5 stick of General Electric Silicone Glue (roughly the size of a tube of toothpaste) from Canadian Tire, I filled the bathtub with water (for the weight) and then I fixed the cracks in the silicone myself.

Done. The next time I have a shower or a bath it shouldn't sink at all because now the bathtub is being held down instead of held up. That is my theory at least. We shall see if it works.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dread and Ragnarok - Roleplaying Games at Fan Expo

Yesterday I tried a slew of roleplaying games at the convention Fan Expo. A number of them I really enjoyed and some I felt were broken.

THE GOOD

DREAD (I forget the name of the creator)

FIVE STARS

This was my favourite of the games I tried yesterday. Oddly enough it used a Jenga set to determine how the events unfolded. The game was rather freeform and the players had a lot of options to explore in a town that is apparently haunted, has weird funky mushrooms, and seems to attract rather psychotic characters - including my character who was a pyromaniac with an unusual personality that mimics the personalities of those around him.

The Jenga-based game follows the idea that every time a character does something that could potentially result in death they have to move a Jenga piece. If the Jenga falls over their character dies. I think it was quite an interesting and fun way to have a roleplaying game with a high death toll - and thus a good game system to use when fighting zombies, etc.

RAGNAROK (or its long title "Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok", created by Andrew Valkauskas)

FOUR STARS

The game takes place during the mythological Ragnarok (Norse for Doomsday), which conceptually means this game is likely to be very interesting and high in figures and monsters from Norse mythology.

I really liked this one despite its complicated system of using runestones for actions. Unlike most games which use dice, the runes system feels a bit more like card based roleplaying. It was fun and interesting - and my viking berserker got to kill stuff - but it does take a little getting used to.

THE BAD

D&D NEXT

TWO STARS

A variant if Dungeons and Dragons, but I felt the game was rather broken and unbalanced. It is a problem with the rules system that needs to be fixed to prevent players from taking advantage of gaping holes in the rules.

DUNGEON WORLD

ONE STAR

This game is another new version of D&D that someone was promoting. It had even more rules problems than D&D Next and was very unbalanced and broken. Certain classes were ridiculously overpowered and others were completely gimped. Many of the abilities given to characters had no logical reason for them and were completely unrealistic. eg. The Fighter is waaaaaay too powerful, the paladin has ridiculous abilities - and is gimped compared to the Fighter. Even the Paladin's "Lay Hands" ability was gimped and useless. Various other class related problems within the game.

I must admit I was rather disappointed by the two Dungeons and Dragons variants. I have tried quite a few different versions of the game and have determined previously that 1st, 2nd and 3rd Edition D&D are the best versions of the game. 3.5 is too overpowered and ridiculous. 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons is a complete flop for a long list of reasons.

Next week I will be trying "Pathfinder", which is based off of 3.5, but is supposedly more toned down - but don't quote me on that because I have yet to try it and form my own opinion on it. Some people refer to it as being "D&D 3.75" so we shall see how it fares...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Escape Plan, starring Sly and Arnold


Okay, I admit it.

I am really looking forward to seeing this movie.

And not just because it has Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone working together. I also happen to like the plot.

However I do worry I might end up being disappointed by this film - because the trailer makes it look impressive, like Rambo meets Terminator meets Mission Impossible (the old series, not the Tom Cruise abomination). So hopefully I am not disappointed by what the trailer promises to be a real Ocean's Eleven of action films. We shall see.




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bo De Duyen Vegetarian Products

What is funny is that this store opened smack dab in the middle of Toronto's fur district north of Queen and Spadina.

That is just ballsy.

I mean you're right in between fur stores on the left, fur stores on the right, fur stores across the street. Talk about marketing in the enemy's front yard.


Java Jive on Queen Street West, Toronto

537 Queen Street West Toronto

I had breakfast this morning at Java Jive at the above address.

Had bacon, eggs over easy, toast, salad, hashbrowns, a pancake side order and ice water.

Cost? $7.29 + tip.

Excellent value and I like the decor and service. See interior photos below.

Toronto's Fashion District

I arrived this morning in Toronto's fashion district (Queen Street West, west past Spadina) to buy fabric for a project I am working on only to discover many of the fabric stores aren't open on Sunday.

Almost all of them are closed Sunday. And those that do open today open at 11 am according to their signs - but when you show up at their doors at 11:15 they're still not open.

Arg! I am now waiting down the street at Java Jive having breakfast while I wait for the one store to open.

There are probably better places in Toronto for me to buy fabric (with better Sunday hours too) but I have yet to find such a place.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I purchased a Samsung Tablet

Today I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - and before you jump to conclusions let me first start by saying the following.

I HATE TABLETS.

They don't have a keyboard.

The touchscreens get annoying after awhile.

You have to learn a whole new operating system.

You have to be more careful with them than laptops - which in comparison don't need screen protectors, etc.

In general I consider tablets to be annoying gadgets which are flashy and really meant for show...

Which is exactly why I bought one, for meeting website design / SEO clients who want to know that the person they are hiring to design their website / do their search engine optimization knows what they are doing.

My old notepad computer, a Toshiba, still works just fine, but I find it has become a nuisance during business meetings because the battery wears down faster and sometimes I end up using my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone by the end of the meeting.

With the tablet on a full charge it lasts for 5+ hours - so unless it is a really long business meeting I should be just fine.

And it is flashy and serves its purpose for snagging new clients. The Toshiba notepad meanwhile will stay at home where I can use it when I feel like watching TV and typing at the same time. It at least has a proper keyboard.

Now I could - and I am very tempted to do so - get a bluetooth keyboard that is compatible with my tablet. I will think about it at least.

Now why did I choose the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 you might wonder?

Well, I wanted an Android tablet because they are more reliable software wise. iPads have a lot of software compatibility problems, so anything made by Apple was automatically useless. The last thing I want to do is have a business meeting and my client wants to share a file with me and they can't show me the file because the iPad isn't compatible.

When it comes to Android tablets I could basically take my pick of companies.

I could have got a Sony instead - and indeed BestBuy had a sale on Sony products today, but the Samsung caught my eye because I have had such a good relationship with my smartphone so far that I felt some brand loyalty there.

I could have gotten a much smaller 7" model too, but I opted for 10.1" tablet because when showing websites to clients during a business meeting size really does matter.

Beyond that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 had everything I wanted in a tablet - and at this point in the whole tablet market they're all pretty much on even footing. They're all roughly the same speed, have the same stuff on them and offer the same services.

So it really comes down to which brand do you trust when conducting business meetings on your tablet? I trusted Samsung, and there just happened to be a 10.1" Samsung tablet on sale today so it all worked out nicely.

In the past I also have pondered getting a HP tablet - because Hewlett Packard is another brand I trust. But there was no sale on HP tablets and I didn't see any I truly fancied.




Or if you like, the newer Tab 3.



Or the smaller Tab 3, 7" version.

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