Category Archives: Ideas: Good and Bad?

Random ideas that pop in my head. Some are good, some are bad — you decide.

Drivers License with RFID chip?

From what I’ve heard many Department of Motor Vehicles (MOT) or (DMV) are issuing new drivers licenses that contain an embedded RFID chip for enhanced security.

Actually they are referred to as being called the “new enhanced drivers licenses“.

What I do like about them, is that they will all be standardized now, so having a fake ID for young kids trying to obtain alcohol will be that much more difficult.

However, I don’t know much about RFID in identification. For instance, can retailers read this RFID chip so that I will no longer need to carry a loyalty card? I can just swipe my drivers license at the cashier to get my bonus points when I make a purchase?

RFID technology is quite exciting in many ways. I love the new benefits of it.

However, I am also worried about the unknowns out there – what happens if RFID technology is used the wrong way? For instance, say that I owe a large Corporation money on my department store credit card, which is linked to my drivers license RFID chip?

… and then I walk into any chain of that department store to make a cash purchase, and upon entering the the store, their internal security gets alerted and I’m told that I am not welcome to shop unless I pay my outstanding bill.

Or what about unfair discounts – where some lucky RFID people get discounts, and others do not, based on a single swipe of their new drivers license at the checkout? Could this lead to new types of fraud by internal staff and white collar crime?

Could we do away with Debit and Credit Cards if we have an RFID chip on our drivers license? Does this mean that the 32 plastic cards I keep in my wallet can be reduced down to one?

If yes, I see the benefit in that..

But what if these large retailers start creating treaty alliances with one another, and start sharing customer information? Or is that happening already?  I suppose it is on one level with credit bureau agencies – but what if new RFID agencies pop up, and sell consumer information in a similar way?

I guess we’ll all find out soon enough. RFID is no longer a choice when the Government demands you have an RFID chip to drive an automobile, cross a country border, etc.

By law, you must be “RFID” enabled — so hopefully we all have common sense and keep this a nice thing for the people, and nothing worse comes out of it.

The way our lives are now, we’re basically RFID in paper form, which is coverted to computers. Everytime you’ve filled out an application, given your name, your birthdate, or your mailing address — it’s on a computer somewhere, for some purpose.

The only difference now, is that when you walk into a store, or a government building, based on the RFID chip you are carrying, they will be instantly notified you are there.

From what I hear, these RFID chips can be detected from as far as 50 feet. Which means as soon as you park your car, the front entrance of the building could know you’re on your way in..

Pretty neat technology. So many uses.

Surely they must have government law and legistlation that regulates the use of RFID right? If so, I haven’t heard anything about it.  I know that disclosing my Social Security Number is optional to me in many circumstances. But what about unauthorized reading of my RFID chip without my consent?

I’m interested in hearing your comments. Anything related to the new enhanced drivers licenses, or new passports, or the RFID technology in general.

Aspartame vs Stevia – Why is there a choice?

For those of us on a low-calorie diet, we’ve been introduced to aspartame — a chemical produced by man that tastes sweet, has zero calories, and is a substitute for sugar.

Then there is the stevia plant. A natural herb, quite similar to sugar cane, again, with very little calories, totally natural, but it’s not readily available.

So which do you prefer?

An engineered, scientifically produced chemical named aspartame as a sweetener that is widely accepted?

OR

A natural herb, that hasn’t received the merit from the government yet, but beats everything hands down, as a low calorie sugar substitute?

The choice seems pretty obvious to me.

The question is… “why is there a choice?”

New Years Resolutions: Quitting Smoking – How hard is it?

Many of you will make a New Years resolution to QUIT SMOKING.

The benefits are obvious… health and cost…

So how hard is it to quit smoking? It all depends on what angle you are looking at..

Is it possible to do it without “quitting aids”.. like nicotine gum, patches, etc, etc..?

Sure.

The best way to quit smoking is to have ONE SIMPLE CARDINAL RULE:

“Stop smoking 100%”

Sounds simplistic, but I really mean it..

1. No “can I have just a puff?”

2. No “I had a real bad argument, I just need one cigarette today.. only one”

3. No “Well if I cut back to only 1/2 a pack, its better than I was before”…

4. No “Ok, I’ll let myself have up to 4 cigarettes a day, after meals, that sort of thing, it’s better than where I was before”

5. No “I’ll only smoke when I drink. Or.. I’ll only smoke among friends”

6. No “I won’t buy my own, but if someone gives me one for free… well.. that’s a control in itself isn’t it?”

SEE.. the brain addicted to nicotine will play with your thoughts. I will rationalize a 100 ways from Friday why it is perfectly ok to have just that one puff, that one drag, that one cigarette.

Infact, your emotions will become so sensitive, and you’ll argue with people around you to the point your body cries out “just have a smoke. Look how bad things are right now. You have every right to have a cigarette at this particular point eventhough you quit”

Life is full of drama. But when you are detoxing from cigarettes and nicotene Your mind WILL play tricks on you. Your emotions WILL run wild…

Everytime I’ve managed to quit smoking, it has always been “cold turkey”, which simply means, no aids of any sort. I simply stopped putting a cigarette to my lips and inhaling.

People who don’t smoke, don’t understand. There are 3 types of people in this world:

1. Non-smokers. They have never smoked, have no desire to smoke, and secretly are disgusted and despise people who smoke. They don’t understand them, think it is a filthy habit, and “how could you”

2. Ex-smokers. These are a very specialized group of people that totally demand the upmost respect. They were non-smokers at one point. They also became totally addicted smokers. They understand both sides of the social coin that dictates that smoking is no longer socially or ethically acceptable.  Do they crave cigarettes to this day? YES THEY DO.. ALL OF THEM. There are records of people who have smoked for 10 years straight, then abstained and quit for 20 years, and then one day, out of the blue, something major in their lives has put them back to smoking again.

Ex-smokers, deserve respect.  They are fighting a day-to-day battle. Albeit, some of them are hurting more than others.. But any ex-smoker could be a smoker again tomorrow, given the right chance, opportunity, situation, and want.

Ex-smokers have it the worst of all 3 types.

Now the next type….

3. SMOKERS. These are people who are still smoking everyday. There are varying degrees of smokers. Some are up to a pack a day… some are only smoking on the weekends, or while drinking. Nonetheless, these are people who need to smoke cigarettes as part of their normal lives. The nicotine levels in their bodies dictate how often they smoke, and how much they crave to smoke.

Some of these people have quit before.. the majority have not – they have smoked all their lives, and it is the one daily routine that they have that they depend on..

Smokers who have tried to quit, and failed numerous times, have it the worst. They have not proven to themselves that they have the willpower to stop the addiction. They may admit to you, “yes, I want to, need to, and will do whatever it takes to… QUIT SMOKING”.

But some of these smokers just can’t. They’ve tried cold turkey, they’ve tried nicotine gum, they’ve tried the nicotine patch, and they’ve tried all kinds of aids.. nothing works.

———————

Unless you’ve been a smoker, successfully quit, and remain a non-smoker to this day, please don’t volunteer or suggest anything to these groups of people.

Tobacco, nicotine, tar, and 3,000 other chemicals (including formaldehyde) are prevalent in cigarettes today. It is a very ugly and terrible addiction, but the surprising part is that it is taxed and made legal by our government to this very day.

To understand who is writing this blog post. I will let you know that I had successfully quit smoking for 8 years. That’s a very long time. At some point I went on vacation where everyone smoked around me. After 8 years of abstaining I figured I had the strength and drive to be able to smoke with them, and stop when I returned home.

Guess what?
Nicotine back into my blood stream… the addiction came back just like I was a smoker yesterday.

After returning home from my “vacation” where I thought I could smoke and flirt with cigarette death and stop at my own will power.. I proceeded to keep my “high” going for another few months, to another couple years, buying cartons of cigarettes upon cartons of cigarettes.. until one day I realized “I thought I could stop it anytime, but everyday I wake up, I find myself saying “not yet”.. maybe tomorrow”.

Cigarettes, tobacco, and nictotine, are sister families to cocaine, heroine, and alcohol.

Don’t be fooled…

Cigarettes are legal

Cigarettes are $10 a pack or less, affordable in most families

Cigarettes will eventually kill or maim you

Cigarettes are a drug

Cigarettes are extremely difficult to quit

Cigarettes haunt ex-smokers everyday, and should eventually be contra-band.

The addictive nature of cigarettes is enough for people to realise that they do not smoke “because they want to”.. but instead, their bodies indirectly crave and tell them “you need another smoke”.

So what is left to be said?

It’s New Years Eve, and you want to make a New Years Resolution infront of family & friends. “I’m going to quit smoking” you say.

Well compare it to some other socially acceptable things, and see how hard, and stupid your statement sounds…

“As my New Years Resolution, I will only watch TV programs for 12 minutes and then change the channel”

DUMB? YES! HARD TO FOLLOW PERMANENTLY? YES

“As my New Years Resolution, I will only take 2 bites into any hamburger I encounter, and throw the rest in the garbage”

DUMB? YES! HARD TO FOLLOW PERMANENTLY? YES

“As my New Years Resolution, I will only sleep 3 hours every night, and eventhough I am still tired and sleepy, I will wake up and stay awake for the remaining 21 hours everyday”

DUMB? YES! HARD TO FOLLOW PERMANENTLY? YES

“As my New Years Resoluttion, I will no longer smoke cigarettes. The pleasure, relaxation and history I have smoking cigarettes as party of my daily life will now stop, like a train hitting the side of a mountain. My whole daily life will change, on a dime without any friction or problem.”

DUMB? YES! HARD TO FOLLOW PERMANENTLY? YES

Please understand what smokers who try to quit, go through. Their salvation and pain is only a toke or puff a smoke away. When your body cries out for a dose of nicotine, and it plays with your mind why “it should be ok, just this once” realize those that quit smoking cigarettes as a result of a  New Years Resolution are heroes to themselves.

Is quittting smoking important? SURE

Can everyone do it? DEFINATELY NOT

What is the problem? Unless you’ve been a regular smoker and quit for many years, there is no point in talking to you?

Are you saying that nicotine addiction is like cocaine addiction?

YES, YES, AND MORE YES!

Any addiction is exactly that — an addiction.

Stopping a cocaine, crack, or heroine addict is the EXACT SAME THING as stopping a nicotine addict. But it is never presented to people that way…  Illegal drugs seem so wrong, and the addictions that go with them make people seem like outcasts of society. But since tobacco and nicotine are legal, it is perfectly ok, for a daily smoker to have trouble quitting — thats’ our norm.

The crap they put in cigarettes — the prices they charge — the socially unacceptable situations — smokers that need to quit, want to quit, and want to do it cold turkey…

Find someone that is quitting cold turkey, pat them on the back, smile at them, and say…

“I really DO understand what you are going through”

That’s plenty it itself.

A New Years Resolution to quit smoking sounds noble and special.

But people who actually follow through, quit cold turkey, never smoke a cigarette ever again, and fight the daily thought of “maybe if I could just have one, I wouldn’t want another”

……….all of us would have a better understanding of one another……..

Smoking is more than an addiction. Smoking is more than a legal privilege. Smoking is more than an anti-social activity, and smoking is more than a health risk.

Smoking is an epidemic, and the victims of it should NEVER be shamed. The tobacco companies who profited from it, and had early research on it, should be shamed.

If you walk down a local street tomorrow — see someone puffing on a cigarette. PLEASE DO NOT hold contempt for that person, but the exact opposite. Have a feeling that you want to help. You are sorry that they are addicted, and you know how hard it is to break the habit of quitting smoking.

To be honest, New Years Resolutions sound prim and proper, but deep down inside.. all they are, are common day issues that people find a time and date to deal with them.

If anyone who has read this blog, from top to bottom, who is addicted to nicotine, who feels that they have someone out there understanding them.. who can quit cold-turkey without aids..

Can register, respond, and leave a comment..

I am totally interested in hearing from you. Typing all of this, feeling all of this, and saying it all, will not seem like a waste of time if I can reach that one person out there.

Are you that person?

New Years Eve: How to plan a decent party

Planning a New Years Eve party sounds easy. Call a bunch of people, invite them, tell them its BYOB. Buy a bunch of potato chips, make sure you have ice on hand, put up some balloons and wait.

That’s right, that is the basic steps to running a New Years Party, but there’s a lot more to it.

To make your party memorable, people aren’t happy with “potato chips”.

They’d like to see some hot appetizers.. Even if it is melted cheese on a cracker. Anything. Something different that makes it worthwhile to have come to your party, vs anyone elses.

What about music? Do you have enough of it ready?  Is it pre-mixed? Have you spent time to put all the songs in order that you want them played, so the stereo can take care of itself?

At your New Years Eve party, what television station is the countdown going to be on? Are you sure? Or are you going to be one of these common party planners who rush around at 3 minutes to midnight trying to find the best channel to watch the count down? I’ve seen so many people running for TV converters at 3 minutes to twelve.. all it shows is that you weren’t prepared or organized to be running this New Years Eve party in the first place.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll mention it again.

PAPER SUPPLIES are one of the first things that people run out of at parties.

How many times have you heard:

“Do you have any more paper towels? or napkins?

OR

“Where are all the paper plates?

“I can’t seem to find any more of the cups

What you will not hear is:

I was just in the washroom, and I ran out of toilet paper and couldn’t find any more in there..  Oh no, that will be a deep dark secret that no one will dare mention. Instead, you’ll find every last bit torn off of the cardboard roll. I threw a party once where one of our towels looked ideal to someone that had too much to drink. [I know, horrible thought]

The point is, make a list of items you will need. It should take 20 or 30 minutes to draw up a full list.

Consider things like:

Moving your cars 2 blocks down the street early in the day, so guests can use your driveway. Put a couple pilons or similar infront of your house. Remember, New Years Eve is a party everywhere in the neighborhood, and parking can be one of many obstacles.

Have plenty of mixes. People assume already that you will have both kids of soda pop on hand.. They won’t expect to bring their own. What about cranberry juice? How about lemons & limes?  What about marichino cherries? STRAWS? Don’t forget straws!!!

Some parties do well with an hour or two of some sort of group game, like Win, Lose, or Draw. Or other similar minded games. Even Kareoke might be fun. They sound stupid and corny now, but when people have a few drinks in them, they sound like a lot of fun!

Have plenty of snacks available. Have the number ready for some taxi cab companies incase any of your New Years party guests have too much to drink.

What about party favors, hats, noise makers, and Happy New Years signage? This isn’t just a regular party, it has to have a definate New Years theme to it. That will make it memorable throughout the year. This is a special ocassion and people aren’t just looking for a place to have a few drinks — they want happy memories!

Now… WHAT IF….

Some of your guests are too drunk to drive, want to lay down and rest somewhere, and totally unexpected, they end up spending the night.

Do you have Coffee, Tea, Eggs, Bacon and Toast for the morning? Surely you aren’t going to wake them up and make them leave without some breakfast in them in the morning?

As you can see.. being prepared, thoughtful, and on the ready, will have your guests trust you to show them a good time during future party events. You will find it will be increasingly easier each year to have guests agree to come to your party.

After all, on New Years Eve, people often will get 4 or 5 invitations from different people. They always end up picking the most favourite of the bunch.

Boxing Day Deals: Where to shop, and how.

If you’re an expert shopper, you can pick up some fantastic boxing day deals. There are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years.

I’ve done everything from sit outside of an electronics store overnight, being 3rd in line, for 18 hours straight. Temperatures were down to -1 but the windchill brought them down to as low as -9 degrees celcius.

That may not sound cold, if you bring blankets, a hat, two pairs of clothing ontop of each other, double socks, and a warm thermos of coffee..

But when the coffee runs out, and all the nearby coffee shops are closed..  things get progressively worse. When you get tired, the cold gets to you fast.  What was I going after? One of the first DVD players on the market for $139 while the rest of them were priced at $549 and above.

After a long hard night, and to the point where I thought about giving up and leaving 3 separate times.. I finally made it into the store, and got my DVD player for $139.

Problem? It was a buggy low-end model that the store got ahold of at rock bottom wholesale prices to them. It only worked with about 80% of DVD’s put into it. The fast forward feature was difficult to use. I was very unimpressed that 18 hours of waiting in the cold to save $300, turned out that I ended up with a cheap clearance item.

So would I do it again? Probably not. I don’t trust these ultra low deals. There may be a reason why the store has decided to knock down that particular model.

But with any sale, you can pick up good Boxing Day bargains, because the rest of their inventory is also knocked down. Now here’ s the catch. Many stores will open at 7am boxing day. Some open at 9am, and others open at 10am.

The key is to get a list of the stores all lined up and planned out, find out their opening hours. Instead of you and 3 friends going store to store… why not split up the work load, and have all three of you in three different locations grabbing the things you all need?

Boxing Day has planning involved. In the courier business, they call it “logistics“.

So this boxing day, take the extra time to grab all the flyers, study them well in advance. Make sure you are completely ready, and then hit the stores in the right sequential order.

Oh, and please DO yourself a favor. Even if a GPS that normally costs $300 is marked down to $80 — do the research on that particular model number. You might find out that people who bought that item at full retail might have some grips and complaints about it posted on the internet.

I love the chaos of Boxing day sales.. Sometimes I go just to watch people scramble around like idiots even if I don’t feel like buying anything. But look at it from the store’s perspective. It is their opportunity to clear out overstocked inventory. Or to put things on clearance to bring in the new year’s models.

Also pay special attention to the “3 per store” in little fine print beneath the ad. Then drive there early before the store opens.. Speak to the people in line (that sat out the night before).. they will happily tell you what deal they are after, and it will be easy for you to realize what your chances are of getting that particular item.

If you have any boxing day deals you’d like to talk about, I’d love to hear them.

Christmas Gifts: Ideas on what to buy someone

Every year people always wonder what to buy their friends, family, and co-workers. There is a few gift ideas and rules of thumb that should be helpful to you:

#1: Avoid giving money. Money is often used for trivial things like paying bills, buying groceries, or filling the car with gas. Most of the time people who receive money will also use it to buy gifts for someone else. If you want to someone you care about to have a little special treat, this is the worst way to do it.

#2: Gift certificates are a good alternative to cash as long as you buy one at the right store. However the minimum amount should never be less than $50. I know $25 gift certificates exist, but these days, hardly anything worthwhile can be bought for less than $50. Also a little note that says something like “if you’re shopping on boxing day, hope you can pick up a real deal on something special for yourself”.  Boxing day is the day that everyone runs out and buys things that they had their eye on all year, but they never materialized at Christmas. Your gift card at the right store can come in very handy during this special time.

#3: Christmas ornaments for someone’s tree that are engraved, monogrammed to make them more personable are a nice cheap way of giving “a gift that keeps on giving” every year. Consider this option for certain people.

#4: Pre-pay a yearly magazine subscription to a hobby magazine or similar is something people will rarely buy themselves. When the issue comes in the mail every month, you’ll be thought of everytime. The gift of knowledge is always helpful and appreciated.

#5: Arts and crafts, if you have special talent will be treasured. For instance, making a homemade quilt, or painting a nature scene, or even carving something for someone has low cost, but high amount of time and effort. These gifts are appreciated. The key here is you must have special talent. Shabby arts and crafts can be quite embarassing for both the gift giver, as well as the gift recipient.

#6: Food, Drink, Chocolate, Specialty Coffee. These are little inexpensive gifts (generally $25 or less), but they are appreciated. Very rarely do they go to waste. Just be sure the person you’re buying for isn’t suddenly on a new diet, or recently diagnosed as a diabetic. 🙂

#7: Clothing: Try to always avoid buying clothing because this is a matter of personal taste. Nothing worse than buying a sweater for someone that they end up putting in their closet unused because it doesn’t fit their own personal style. What may look good to you, may not look good to the person receiving your gift. Not only that, but sizes may be labeled right, but when the garment is worn, it may feel too tight or too baggy on the person, and they won’t have the courage to say anything to you.

#8: Lottery tickets: Always a welcome gift. They are usually cheap too ($25 and under), but they carry the potential to win someone a lot of money. Not only that, if they do win, some of it may come back your way. Not everyone is a gambler, or will spend money on the lottery. However, if it is given to them as a freebie, I have yet to see anyone not enjoy the thrill of being able to possibly win some money.

#9: Gag gifts. Save these for April 1st / Fool’s Day. This is the worst time of year to give someone a gag gift. There are plenty of other special occassions like a stag, a bridal shower, a birthday, etc, to give a gag gift. Christmas is not one of them. Also avoid stupid gifts that are often shown on TV only this time of  year.

#10: Rare coins, rare collectables, etc. If you find something that is in your budget, that you can give to someone that will appreciate in value, they are very likely to hold onto it for a very long time. This is another gift that keeps on giving. People who aren’t collectors will still appreciate the fun and novelty of owning something that is rare and collectable. It makes a great conversation piece for them, and it’s something they normally would not expect. Depending on the person, and which item you choose, this could be a very great gift.

#11: Necessities: These are always appreciated. They could be things like DVD-R’s, or a stationery set. If the person golfs, maybe some new, high quality golf balls. Any type of consumable item that the person is always needing every few months, will be appreciated. This type of gift means that you know the person well enough to know what is useful to them, and you’re saving them the time and cost to replenish their consumables.

#12: DVD Boxed Sets: Getting the entire series of their favourite television show, or movie trilogy could give them hours of entertainment. Be sure that they don’t already own it. But these generally can be expensive… $5o to $200, but the right boxed set, at the right time, will be very appreciated to whoever is lucky enough to receive it.

Another few caveats…

If you are buying a gift for someone, do some research. Get hints and tips from the prospective person who will be getting your gift. Talk to THEIR friends and family to be absolutely sure that you aren’t going to be buying a duplicate gift that someone is already intending for them.  Nothing worse that getting two cameras on Christmas morning. One that is a cheap $60 one, and one that is an expensive $350 camera.  It causes embarassement all the way around.

Always have a gift receipt ready incase someone would like to exchange the gift for one reason or another.

Don’t over spend, but at the same time, don’t under spend either.

Good gifts are more about thoughtfulness and knowing some time and effort went into getting the proper gift. It is not about how much you spend.

Always have “a prewrapped generic gift” on hand, incase the neighbors unexpectedly come over with a gift. This way you can have something to offer them in return and it doesn’t put you at a vunerable situation. This time of year, is when people socialize together a lot, and if someone gives you a gift spur of the moment, having a gift on reserve in the trunk of your car, or in your bedroom closet (or even in your office drawer) that can be ready in an instant, is something that can come in very handy.

Hopefully this has got you brainstorming about what Christmas gift ideas are good and bad. I’m sure the best gift idea will come from your heart, just be a little creative and take your time.

Finally.. SHOP EARLY.  Nothing worse than running around trying to pick up last minute gift ideas when the stores are running out of stock on certain items.  Christmas shopping is something you can do all year long at the right time, when you see that special something.

Stealing Christmas decorations… what is the point in that?

Every year, people report that their Christmas lights, blow up characters, and other decorations “get stolen”.

What is a decoration thief thinking?

To put up holiday decorations, you are trying to give back to your community. So when someone with an evil spirit stomps on your lawn, rips out your decorations, and brings them home…

..and then puts them up on display on their home.. what are they thinking?

Here’s a pseudo interview with a decoration thief:

Interviewer: “So you walk around late at night and steal Christmas decorations?”

Thief: “Yup”

Interviewer: “why?”

Thief: “Cuz decorations are expensive, and they are cheaper to steal”

Interviewer: “why do you want these decorations?”

Thief: “So I can display them and feel good about myself”

Interviewer: “Can’t you feel good about  yourself knowing they are already being displayed on the owner’s house.. where everyone can see them?”

Thief: “I never spent much time thinking about that.. but I want to be the one that people think favorably about..”

Interviewer: “So what you are saying is, it is OK to rip off the community, steal and take, display what you’ve stolen, and when that happens, you feel good about yourself?”

Thief: “All I know is, they can afford the decorations, I can’t. I have the Christmas spirit too… So those that can afford it, can replace whatever I take..”

Interviewer: “How do you know they can afford to replace what you’ve taken?”

Thief: “Well I assume. Well I don’t know.. Actually well I am just guessing they can..”

Interviewer: “Isn’t the spirit of Christmas about giving? About sharing? About joy? In what way are you a part of that when you steal from someone on the street and fabricate your own display knowing you’ve caused disheartment to someone else?”

Thief: “I never paid attention to any of that. I want decorations, I see people that have decorations. I can’t afford decorations, and they are easy to steal. Will you please stop appealing to my sense of right and wrong, and STOP asking these questions?”

Interviewer: “Does it bother you when I ask you to account for  your actions?”

Thief: “Yes. I saw an opportunity, it seemed right at the time. I don’t want to think about my behavior like that…”

Interviewer: “Do you realize you’re hurting people, cheating your self, and acting like a moron who doesn’t know the difference?”

Thief: “I have nothing more to say, other than.. ok, FINE. 5 minutes of thinking about this, I won’t do it anymore..”

..and there you have it…

When a thief steals your holiday decorations, there is no thought in it. They see decorations, those that they can’t afford.. they think the victim must be able to afford it, and stealing is perfectly fine. But when you drill down the concept to the thief, they buckle quickly and realize their mistake.

This is the world we live in.. stupid criminals stealing and taking without realizing what they are doing..

New Casino Idea for small towns!

Many people like to gamble. They usually allocate $50 to $200 as their limit, and visit a casino. They spend anywhere from 2 hours to all night long trying to triple their money, or more..

But the cost of building a casino is too expensive for small towns, therefore they are out of luck. Even just the cost of one slot machine is very expensive.

So I was thinking of a streamlined, efficient casino idea for small towns.

They could have a small doorway, all light up and decorated. You walk in, hand over $200, they pick a number from 1 to 10, and if your number matches, you’re an instant winner.

Otherwise, for efficiencies sake, they say “sorry, the house took ya” and wave goodbye as you turn around and leave.

Why waste time fighting the inevitable for 2 hours? You can either win or lose your $200 in an instant, and get it done and over with, in a quick efficient manner.

If this was the case, and it was streamlined this way… Would anyone try it?  I think I’d be interested to be a guinea pig for this type of scenario…

Travel agencies aren’t utilized enough.

With the addition of the internet, people nowadays can book their flights and hotel packages online. This lets you get past having to pay a Travel Agent for their services (or artificially raising the price).

Here’s something I learned, and I’ll share it with you.

We were looking at booking a trip to Las Vegas from British Columbia, Canada. We were thinking of booking a package with Westjet as the carrier.

On a whim, while passing through the mall, we saw a travel agent that did not seem busy. (They are really not being given the business that they should).

We stopped in, and talked to someone. After logging into their specialized agent system, which was somewhat of a website backdoor into various airlines, she quickly gave us a quote that was about $s250 less than if we booked it ourselves.

“How can that be?” we asked.

Well she said, you have to be careful on the price breakdown that the retail travel websites give you. Everyone looks at the airfare price, and then quickly move through the ordering process, not reading the fine print. By the time you are done, there are all sorts of extra surcharges, levies, penalties, reservation fees, etc, that get tacked on to inflate the price.

When you book through us, we avoid a lot of those common pitfalls.

She quickly pointed out.. “Look here. See this, if I go through the website, it automatically adds on priority boarding surcharge of $20 and it didn’t even give me that as an option. It just added it on its own. Now look here, you said you were only going to bring 1 bag, but they’ve added a charge for 2.  You didn’t want cancellation protection, but again, they’ve automatically added it”

She then went on to explain how the taxes are much lower by flying out of Bellingham, Washington USA, than in British Columbia. You can save yourself another $150 just by driving to the other airport across the border.

She then went on to say “if you book it yourselves, and the airline carrier goes out of business or cancels the flight (and it does happen in the USA because airlines are having financial issues), you would not be protected. However, if you book through our travel agency, you are completely covered in the event of a complication like that”..

She added a lot of insight to the while thing, and it wasn’t just a sales picture. We actually saw the savings in our travel itinerary if we went through the travel agent.

We thanked her, and took a business card. We signed nothing, paid nothing, and were under no obligation. It was a very calm, informative experience.

Understand that while you may only book yourself a couple trips a year…

These people do it 9 to 5, five days a week, every week. They know where the deals are..

The airlines, the holiday package websites, are all made in such a way, to secure the most reservations while tricking the customer into spending the most..

Don’t be fooled, and don’t cheat yourself. At the very minimum, speak to your local travel agent before you hit the “charge my credit card” button on the website when booking your next vacation.

Good luck.

Online Bingo: Can you trust it?

Online gambling sites are illegal in many parts of the world. In order to run one in North America it isn’t easy. Therefore, many setup shop overseas. Once you do that, people worry about trusting the establishment, since they seem so unreachable. (Ie: Not easy to drive over to their office, or file a complaint with the local authorities).

So it’s about trust. It’s no secret that the early online casinos and online bingo halls were run by fraudsters and tricksters who would modify their software to give few few payoffs.

Things have changed now. I’ve been playing one tonight named www.bingosky.com and it seems very legitimate. There are rules and regulations that you do need to know about, but other than that, it seems like a real legitimate outfit.

For instance, in order to keep your “bonus dollars”, you must make a deposit (minimum $20) every 45 days, otherwise you just get to keep your current cash balance and any winnings. So when you are awarded a 500% bonus when you first login, it is important to make note of that fact.

If you do not keep your account “active” which means either buying bingo cards, or making a deposit once every 6 months, all money you have in your balance is forefeited and donated to charity.

These are big deals that many people do not read when they first login. So before you make that spontaeous decision to start playing. READ THE FINE PRINT. It is there to protect the online gambling site, but also to protect the consumer too.

Now that we’ve talked about the negative aspects of online gambling, let’s talk about the positive ones. You can gamble from the comfort of your own home. That saves on gasoline, wear and tear on your car. It saves on expensive food bought elsewhere. It guarantees you a comfortable seat, in a comfortable setting (your home). You have access to your own private washroom. Using a cellular phone or regular phone in the middle of the session is perfectly ok.

It’s really enjoyable to spend a bingo night at home.

The way I found www.bingosky.com was in a magazine advertisement. Right on their website it says that they have received a stamp of approval from the Internet Gaming Commission.

After doing some more reading, it appears that the Internet Gaming Commission (IGC) was actually a fake watch dog site, a parody of the real “Internet Gaming Council”

So what I’m basically telling you, that if you are gambling, realize, that the whole concept of gambling online is a gamble in itself. You might get paid, you might not. The payoff odds might be correct, or they may be in the house’s favor.

Either way, it is fun. Just be careful with how much you spend. Keep an eye on your credit card balance too. 🙂

Good luck to you.

Fuel Prices: Should be regulated

When fuel prices go up, so does everything else.  Anything that can trigger widespread problems, like natural gas or hydro, is often regulated by the government, even if it is delivered by a privatized corporation.

So why is gasoline any different?

I understand that with global warming concerns and the environment, having high gas prices does keep us driving less. But it’s also driving up the cost of groceries and other basic necessities. We all need to eat. We all need to therefore make a living to support basic survival.

Fuel Prices need to be regulated. Find another way to charge people who drive too much. But leave our grocery prices alone.  There is fuel surtax on wholesale food. Which in turn, drives up the cost of retail food.

It’s important that our Government gets more involved, and starts regulating Fuel Prices, even if it means, only for the trucking industry.

Freegans: Dumpster Diving by the middle class?

Today I learned a new thing about a new movement called Freeganism or Freegans.

Basically it is a group of people, both poor and middle class, who are sick and tired of commercialism and waste in society.  They find that by raiding dumpsters behind grocery stores for food, they are harvesting tons of quality edible food for free!

 

 

Personally, I think if your stomach can handle it, and you’ve got nerves of steel to be caught doing it (it’s not socially acceptable behavior), then more power to you. I agree with the premise.

We overpay at the grocery store for simple items, but one of reasons why the prices are as high as they are, is because of the waste that is going on at the rear of the grocery store.

They are saying that when an egg breaks, often they will throw out the entire carton (because you can’t just sell 11 eggs to someone).  That’s significant waste!

I think the whole concept of Freegans needs more attention. Share this with people you know.

Blog Writers Block and how to circumvent it.

Ok, I’ve got a solution to “writers block” for bloggers. There is nothing worse than sitting down ready to write your blog when you have some time only to sit and stare at the screen wondering what to write.

Now all day long (ok, slight exaggeration, let’s try this again)..

Once or twice a day during my regular routine, and thought will pop in my head, and I’ll say to myself “that will make a great blog topic, I have to remember that”. So the first thing I do is promise to remember, and the second thing I do is forget about 20 minutes later.

I’ve made quite a good routine out of this.. Unfortunately its causing me to have reoccurring epsidoes of writers block everyday.

Not anymore. This time, I will definately write a word or two down when I get these ideas, so that I have something to remember my thoughts by.  If you are a blogger, I recommend you follow this strict regimine yourself (if you need help circumventing writers block).

It seems like a simple concept, but often we always tell ourselves “oh, this idea I won’t forget. No, I like it too much, its too important. It’s very vivid in my mind”. Then.. 20 minutes later, you forget.

Now the last thing that is very important that I wanted to share with you is…

Ooops, I forgot.