Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Diplomatico in Little Italy

4 stars.

Good fish n chips, good pizza, good drinks, good service.

Par prices.

Decor is a bit lacking.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Heart Rate Monitor Watches

Heart rate monitor watches have a number of benefits both for the fit and the ill.

#1. If you have high blood pressure you can monitor your heart rate and hopefully avoid stressful confrontations / heart attacks.

eg. Like the Incredible Hulk monitoring his heart rate so he knows when he is about to transform.

#2. If you are into exercising a lot - cycling, boxing, high endurance training, swimming, anything that is heavy cardio activities a heart rate monitor will give you a better idea of what your limits are and how far you can push yourself.

#3. Unlike checking your heart rate with your fingers having a watch do it for you means it is constant, much more accurate and hands free.

You can also get heart rate anklets too. Works better if you are missing both arms from a tragic car accident.

Heart Rate Monitor Watches make a good gift item.

They also come with a variety of features, so if you choose to shop around you may find some with some useful extra gadgets such as...

The watch still functions as a normal watch, telling you the time / day.

Plug and Play apps so you can track your performances.

Training reminders.

Stopwatch.

GPS speed and distance in real time.

Water resistant to 30 meters / 100 feet.

USB for recharging / downloading data to your computer.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Snakes and Lattes

Snakes and Lattes is a cafe / gaming place with lots of board games. I wanted to go there for my birthday, but they don't take reservations because apparently the manager is a moron.

So instead we showed up, no reservation because you can't get one, waited over 2.5 hours. Never got a table. Gave them my cell # so they could call/text when the table was available...

Total time?

4 hours before they called. Complete waste of time.

I give Snakes and Lattes ZERO stars out of five. Complete disappointment.



Meanwhile my family and I found a glorious Korean restaurant down the street that serves traditional Korean food (including samgyopsal and bulgogi BBQ).

So check out Arisu, if you enjoy fine / traditional Korean cuisine.


Their website is www.arisu.ca.

584 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Phone 416-533-8104 for reservations (and yes, they take reservations, so no worries there).


I give Arisu 5 stars out of 5. The prices are a tad expensive, but the service, menu and atmosphere are all impeccable.

And they had a Korean cinnamon tea drink that I have been trying to find since 2005 when I first tried it in Insadong in Seoul. So that totally boosted their rating simply because they had things on the menu I couldn't find anywhere else (and I am a bit of an expert when it comes to Korean restaurants).

The drink is Sujeonggwa... And here is the recipe if you want to make it at home.

Yield: 4 -5 servings

Ingredients:
4-5 dried persimmons
5 cinnamon sticks
½ cup of ginger, sliced
1 cup of sugar
pine nuts
7½ to 8 cups of water
  1. Wash, peel, and slice ½ cup’s worth of ginger. Put it into a pot or kettle.
  2. Rinse 5 cinnamon sticks and put them into the pot.
  3. Add 7½ to 8 cups of water and boil for 20 minutes over high heat.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and boil for another 25 minutes. If it boils over, take off the lid.
  5. Add 1 cup of sugar. Stir and cool it down.
  6. Remove the stem of the dried persimmons and wash thoroughly.
  7. Strain cinnamon sticks and sliced ginger in a colander.
  8. Pour it into a glass jar or glass bowl and add the persimmons.
  9. Put the lid on and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. It will keep in the fridge for more than 1 week.
  10. Serve cold with ice cubes. Use a ladle to give each person a small bowl of punch. Each serving should have one persimmon in it with a few pine nuts sprinkled on top.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Frankenstein Theory

I give "The Frankenstein Theory" 3 stars out of 5.

I realize that is a small budget film, and while it is an original idea as far as the first 5 minutes of the film goes... the rest of the film is incredibly predictable.

It is one of those films where if you made it into a drinking game (drink a shot every time you notice a predictable plot development) that you will be drunk in very little time.


Firefox keeps crashing on me today

Firefox (my internet browser of choice) has crashed on me over 5 times today.

So far.

I think I need to restart my computer, but I am not sure if its the computer's fault - you see Firefox has been crashing a lot on me during the past week.

Very annoying when I am working on something.

I prefer Firefox over Internet Explorer, Chrome and other internet browsers... but if it keeps doing this I am going to need to try reinstalling it and see if that fixes the problem.

If that doesn't work I may need to try a different browser for awhile until Firefox sorts out whatever bugs they have in the system.

It doesn't even give me an error message. It just randomly shuts down without warning.

Firefox has a bad reputation for crashing a lot (see the image above). Its because of all the plugins.

Now the thing is I haven't added any new plugins recently. Its the same plugins I always use and I rarely get crashes except for the last week - and especially today. So what gives?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Virgin Mobile referrals? Waste of Time!

Virgin Mobile in Canada offers a referral program whereby if you refer friends to Virgin, you get a $25 gift card for each friend you refer.

However what they don't tell you is that the referral program is ridiculously complicated (you and your friend both have to be on Facebook, and you need to get a code off a Facebook page, which your friend gives to Virgin, your friend has to sign up for 1 specific package deal, and your friend has to pay their first bill on time to be considered a proper referral).

So to repeat that you MUST have the proper code.

You must both be on Facebook to qualify.

It only counts if your friend signs up for Virgin Mobile SuperTab™ or 3 year agreement.

And the first bill must be paid on time.

Or else you get nothing.

Lastly, the prize?

Its just a gift card. Possibly even has an expiry date. A mere $25. If you spend 3 hours talking to your friend, getting the proper code, going with them to the store to browse phones, make sure they pay their first bill on time... well then its not even minimum wage.

A better solution would be a decent number (say $40 to $50 per referral), ignore the Facebook requirement, ignore the "on time" requirement and make it "as soon as they pay their first bill"...

And don't make it a lousy gift card. Make it $40 or $50 cashback. Virgin Mobile Canada can certainly afford it, they're owned by BCE which reported $5 billion in profits in 2010.

Now you might think, hey, if you refer lots of friends each month then you could basically get free service on your phone... but there is a limitation in the fine print.

You can only refer up to 5 friends maximum. After that you get nothing.

Basically Virgin is looking for FREE social marketing from people promoting their products - social marketing they don't really have to pay for, because the gift cards are being supplied for free from advertising partnerships.

But I don't recommend people actually bother referring friends. Waste of your time. You would be better off getting a part time job, starting a profitable hobby, or even starting your own business.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Film Noir movies

The following is a list of Film Noir movies I recommend... I have watched them all during the last month and have become a bit of a film noir buff during the last month.

If you are unfamiliar with Film Noir they are defined as stylishly made crime dramas dating from the 1930s to 1950s.

The films from this genre I recommend are:

Touch Of Evil         1958
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt    1956
The Night Of The Hunter     1955
Sudden Fear         1952
Detective Story         1951
Ace In The Hole         1951
The Third Man         1949
Key Largo         1948
The Lady From Shanghai     1947
Out Of The Past        1947
Dark Passage        1947
The Killers        1946
The Big Sleep        1946
The Maltese Falcon        1941
Suspicion            1941
Angels With Dirty Faces     1938

My favourites from the bunch is Sudden Fear (starring Joan Crawford), Detective Story (starring Kirk Douglas), Key Largo (starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall), Dark Passage (starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall), The Big Sleep (starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall).

Now you might think looking at that list that I simply love Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall together. Not so. Joan Crawford and Kirk Douglas are definitely my faves, but I must admit Bogart and Bacall worked well together.


I also really like Orson Welles' work in "The Lady From Shanghai", but he doesn't impress me so much in some of the other things he did. Touch of Evil for example was a good film, but I didn't really like Orson Welles in it... Charlton Heston playing a Mexican however, that is just hysterical.


Mink Fur Shawl

Who would actually wear that these days?

Nobody. But I know some young women who would wear a cute knitted shawl that only looks like a mink.

Similar to the Hippo knitted shawl below.

Automotive Insurance Vs Leasing / Renting

I want to take this moment to point something out.

If you live in a city and don't actually drive that often you can save a bundle of money by renting or leasing... Simply because you don't to pay for insurance quite so much.

This is especially true if you are young and male.

Example - A friend of mine has his car in his wife's name just so they can save on insurance. Because it is in her name they only pay $3000 per year on auto insurance. If the car was in his name the insurance would be $5500 per year.

However lets pretend for a moment that they took the subway / TTC to work and they only drove two days per week... Well then they would save a huge bundle of money on the following things...

Auto insurance.
Car repairs / maintenance.
The cost of purchasing a car.
Renting or leasing thus can be a huge money saver.

It is true that you can later sell the car... And then buy a new one, which is another problem because then your insurance goes up because its a newer / more expensive car. If you buy a new car every 5 years you will end up spending a bundle on new cars, replacement parts, automotive insurance, repairs...

Thus if you don't really drive that often it really makes huge economically sense to rent or lease only when you actually need a car.

A Trip to the Post Office

Yesterday I got a note from the post office in my mailbox informing me that a package had arrived.

I had no idea what was in the package - as I had neither ordered anything recently and was not expecting any products being sent for me to review. (If you want a product reviewed, contact me and I shall give you my mailing address.)

On Tuesday I received a free wedding dress from simplybridal.com, which will be used for my sister's upcoming wedding in 2014, so I wasn't expecting anything else to show up in the near future.

When I went to the female clerk in the post office I also spied a series of Zodiac based stamps for sale. The Sagittarius stamps especially caught my attention (because I like archery).

So on a whim I purchased some stamps. I can use them for snail mailing relatives.

The clerk came back with my package, which turned out to be a package of underwear and socks from "MeUndies"... I had previously reviewed MeUndies on the Fashion Salon website.

The package included a letter which said:
"Hi Charles!

Here are some samples from the brand new men's and women's product line we've put together at MeUndies. It includes some awesome patterned socks, newly designed and super comfy Lenzing Modal undies, and some of the best fitting basic tees around.

We would love to get your feedback!

Best,
Greg Fass
Head of Marketing"
Now when I received the package I was really only expecting a rather delayed package of women's underwear which was supposed to be sent back in Mid September 2012 - and is now 6 months late being delivered. I had already reviewed the men's underwear for the Fashion Salon website, but I was going to give the ladies underwear to a female friend so she could review it also. Except it never arrived.

And now, 6 months later, a package does arrive... and it does contain...

4 samples of women's underwear
1 pair of red socks with black dots
1 pair of boxer briefs with a water tower pattern on it
1 white shirt, size medium
1 black shirt, size large

Which is all really wonderful - and they do look really comfortable. But I am left wondering... what happened to the women's underwear for my friend which was supposed to be delivered 6 months ago???

And then I look at the package... USPS (United States Postal Service) and then Canada Post.

If the package from 6 months ago was sent... did it get lost in the mail? Or was it never sent?

Luckily, Greg Fass included his email in the letter so I will be emailing him soon in an effort to discover if the older package was ever sent.

Maybe they simply ran out of "Briefs, Medium, White"...? Which I doubted until I checked their website (which has been updated recently) and it no longer lists white briefs as something they sell, so maybe they really did run out of them...

FedEx (which delivered the wedding dress on Tuesday) never had any problems with that showing up. But things do sometimes get lost in the mail...

eg. When I was 18 I ordered a package of music CDs from Columbia House... and then they never arrived. So I had to ask them to resend them.

And it really isn't so much that things get "lost" in the mail. Nobody "loses" a package of things like that. Its simply that sometimes postal workers realize what is in a package and just steal it for themselves.

Which is why I NEVER send large important packages via regular post. I always pay extra for courier because the rate at which packages are not delivered is significantly lowered. That doesn't mean FedEx, UPS, etc doesn't steal stuff too... it simple means they don't do it as often because they know the packages are being tracked electronically.

Which begs the question, since the postal service is evolving anyway due to the internet / email / text messaging / etc... maybe its time they also evolve to add electronic tracking to all their parcels too? Just slap a barcode sticker (stamp???) on each package, scan it, and then track the package from being sent to the place it is delivered.

Yes, over time that means that prices will go up - but the prices at the post office are going up anyway!

Those Sagittarius stamps I purchased? $7.12 for the package of 10. $0.712 each.

If I wanted to send a small package by courier I might be spending $10 to $20 on it, depending on the weight. If I try to send the same package using nothing but stamps... It might take all 10 stamps to do it... and it might get lost in the mail. So it is worth spending a little extra so you can track its progress and make sure it doesn't get lost. Especially if its something valuable.

Thus stamps are really only good for sending small items - letters to relatives, friends, etc.

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