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Acne.org August 17, 2009

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Acnefplusacne.orgLike most people, I’ve always struggled with acne. I’ve been lucky in that breakouts have never been at the more extreme end, but enough to stress about as a growing teenager and well into adulthood. Thankfully, I came across Acne.org and if you are concerned about acne I can recommend stopping by acne.org because:

  • The advice can work. The site does sell related products but I have no opinion on the effectiveness of the products but the actual course of treatment (if followed regularly) does work.
  • Nothing about acne is taboo on the site. If you have a question, most likely someone has already answered that question. Most people are probably too shy to talk about acne to their friends, this site provides the info they would look for discreetly.
  • Clear explanations. My main complaint about looking for information is the lack of info on how the product actually works. Most of the time its a general, gets in their and kills stuff high-level bull, with the regiment in acne.org he explains how it works and treats the reader like an intelligent person.

Ultimately, the site reinforced the idea that taking care of skin is like taking care of teeth or showering. The power of the regiment is locked in to how consistently the regiment is being done. I can honestly say that following the regiment on this site has kept my skin relatively clear for the past 6 months (when I started to really commit to it).

Anyways, if you or someone you know wants to deal with acne, I’d say give acne.org a serious shot. Just a note, I use products that are consistent with the approach but I don’t use the specific products the site sells so don’t feel pressured to buy the specific products.

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Toronto Drivers August 6, 2009

Posted by huymix in Random.
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Highwayfminus401 sign

Toronto is a big city and its hard to say that my experiences driving in this city are solely from Torontonians. However, some of my worst driving experiences have occurred due to Torontonians. I can’t really say how Toronto drivers stack up against other cities or anything objective like that. If you’re reading this post, you should know that almost everything written is 100% subjective anyways. Given the above caveats, Toronto drivers are an F- because:

  • Angry when they are breaking the law. One of the worst behaviours I’ve observed drivers here do is flip off a driver when they try something illegal and it is either blocked off or something. An example, on the 401, a driver tried to pass using the shoulder and had to come back because of a pillar. That same driver chose to cut off the another driver on the right and get all upset. I’m sorry, but I was going the same speed as the guy just in front of me and I will not be bullied.
  • Cannot handle different driving conditions.  You would think growing up Canadian you would be able to handle different weather conditions. Unfortunately, even light rain grinds traffic to a halt. Obviously, you should slow down, but really, light rain should not send traffic to a full stop and turn 10 minutes of driving into 45.
  • Toronto drivers get worse the easier the roads are set up. Here’s what I mean. There is a stretch of the 401 from Keele to Jane that has the worst record of the entire 401 highway (its a very long highway too). This part of the 401 is not at all twisty or narrow but rather straight and wide. The problem is, Toronto drivers are like kids in a candy shop when they get straighaways and cannot control their enthusiasm and drive even worse.

I’ve always heard of how bad LA or NY traffic is and I have no doubts that traffic there is a huge pain, probably ” F-able”. But if you find yourself in Toronto please do yourself a favour and take the train or get someone else to drive. Driving in Toronto is only an exercise of your patience.

The Louvre July 29, 2009

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louvrefplusLouvre at night

In my first visit to Europe I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days in Paris. Even though I was only in Paris a short while and there are a million things to see, I ended up spending about 5 hours just in the Louvre. Most people do pay a visit to the Louvre (maybe an hour or 2), however I advocate really spending a lot of time in the Louvre. If you find yourself on vacation in Paris really do try to spend a lot of time in the Louvre because:

  • Even in Paris, I feel its visually the nicest place to go. Inside and out, the Louvre looks awesome. You are surrounded by way classier stuff than I could possibly afford in my life.
  • It’s huge, even at the 5 hour mark I had only visited like 1/4 of the museum. A lot of that time was kind of rushing through too. So, you can spend the time because there is plenty to see.
  • Its a good place to people watch. Some people like watching other people. Personally, I don’t really watch but I am aware of the people around me. In the Louvre, you get not only a lot of people you can watch but a very international cross-section of people.

I think the parts of the Louvre that I really enjoyed were away from the crowds. I really enjoyed the Louvre and if I went back to Paris today, I would go straight back to the Louvre as the first stop. Please note that while I can appreciate the art on display in the Louvre I would not call myself some sort of enthusiast or anything. I just like what I like, even if I can’t verbalize why.

Side note: my favourite part of the Louvre are the French sculptures.

The Tube July 27, 2009

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Riders in the TubefminusUnderground logoThe London Underground (“Tube”) pretty much does one thing very well. They get you from point A to point B fairly easily. Unfortunately for me, that’s not the only factor I care about. While the Tube does have a pretty regular schedule and covers a good area, there are other factors that ultimately make taking the Tube a gigantic pain. If you’re in London, be prepared for the Tube because:

  • It’s not cheap. A day pass can be pretty hefty and thus present a problem of offering sufficient value-for-money to the Tube’s passengers.
  • It’s uncomfortable. When you get to the station above ground it can take a full 5 – 10 minutes to actually get to the platform (depends on which station) because of the often long walk and many staircases. Added to that, the train itself is often hot (not air conditioned) and cramped (very low ceilings, even at 5’10” I have to bend to fit.
  • It can be dangerous. The TTC here has signs that say to “Mind the Gap” and the Tube also has the same slogan. In comparison, the TTC gaps are incredibly small to the virtual chasm on some Tube stations. Also, the stairwells are very high and steep, a fall could seriously mess you up.

I suppose at the end of the day the Tube is still widely used by tourist and commuter alike regardless of the above. I think its less to do with the competance of the Tube as a system and more to do with the power of monopoly. I’m sorry but for a much touted world-class system, the Tube is a disappointment.

CheapAssGamer.com July 23, 2009

Posted by huymix in Random, Videogames.
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CheapyDfplusCheap Ass Gamer

If you regularly read the Snuh Zone, by now you should have figured that I enjoy videogames. What I do not like are these prices! If you like videogames (or know somebody who does) and want to get a good deal on games you should check out CheapAssGamer.com. The site does more than just list deals, you should check out CheapAssGamer.com because of:

  • The CAGCast. The owner of CheapAssGamer is named CheapyD and he co-hosts a weekly podcast with Wombat. Their opinions can be quite funny. What I like is the lack of pretense and bullshit. Personal bias is admitted and you know their opinion is their honest opinion.
  • The deals are not confined to just videogames but can be for anything. I found out about some pretty nice Blu-ray deals because of CheapAssGamer.
  • You can get deals for what you care about. Forget the mess that is RedFlagDeals. You want game deals, this is where you go. There is definitely an element of satisfaction from not having to resort to RFD.

When you get a deal for a game, it feels like a meta-game where finding and getting a deal is like a game itself. CheapAssGamer is awesome for that. Keep up the good work CAG-crew. In the meantime, I’ll still be waiting for Valkyria Chronicles to go down in price…

Roundabouts July 20, 2009

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Arc de TriomphefplusRoundabout diagram

Personally, the major change higher gas prices forced on me was to evaluate my driving habits. So after some internet perusing on techniques to stretch out the kilometers per litre, I found that a lot of energy was wasted braking for stop signs and red lights. Having recently returned from England and France, the extensive use of roundabouts was a revelation in terms of road design. I wouldn’t say Canada should have roundabouts only because average North American driving skill level is not good enough. I’m a fan of roundabouts because:

  • They allow for what would be considered a rolling stop but with the safety a regular stop. This is a key feature for gas efficiency since all you have to do is slow down to make the turn safely instead of coming to a complete stop.
  • They prevent people from just barreling through the intersection. If somebody runs a stop sign, they can kill people making a turn, with a roundabout, a physical barrier prevents them from charging through at full speed like that.
  • It’s more simple to use. At all times you are limited to turning right and this lack of options should make driving easier since the simplicity does not reduce the options of driving. With a roundabout you can still get to where you need to go.

Traffic deals a lot with the idea of flow. The less disruptions, the smoother the flow of traffic. Using roundabouts would be a good way to maintain, and in some ways improve safety, as well as improve traffic flow. The main flaw with roundabouts in Canada is the driver. I do not trust that Canadian drivers have the skill, in general, to deal with roundabouts. If you find yourself in a country with roundabouts, try to take some time to get a feeling for your movement and the smoothness of the driving. I’m sure afterwards you’ll wish we had more roundabouts in Canada.

Finch and Weston May 29, 2009

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Emery C.I.fminusWeston and Finch Map

I used to live in the Finch-Weston area for about 10 years, but really I’ve been connected to the area for much longer than 10 years. Since I’ve finished high school, I have had very little reason to come back to the neighbourhood. If you ever think about visiting this part of Toronto, unless you’re there for a specific family thing or something, I’d recommend you spend your time elsewhere because:

  • If you need a bus, it’s possibly one of the worst lines in the TTC. From this area, there are 2 ways to get to and from Finch and Weston. On Finch, that bus will take you pretty far to the Yonge line, most of the time you don’t need to go all the way to the Yonge line. The Weston option is no better because a) there are sometimes over an hour wait for a bus b) it takes the least direct route possible to get to Wilson Station. If you gotta go, try to drive or get a lift.
  • I think in Canada we’re pretty safe. However, Finch and Weston is not very far from the infamous Jane and Finch area. Now Jane and Finch’s reputation as being dangerous is a bit overblown but not unfounded. Finch and Weston doesn’t have the name baggage, but is close enough to have the same problems. I’m not gonna wear a bullet proof vest, but I’m also not going to carry credit cards or a lot of cash on me if I visit.
  • It’s a boring neighbourhood. There used to be a mall which is now this horrible blighted lot. If you’re not visiting someone there is really nothing in this area for you.

Finch and Weston is a combination of suburban boredom and inner city danger, insofar as the City of Toronto can really be considered dangerous. I don’t totally hate the place, but given the ability to go elsewhere I’ve almost always chosen to go somewhere else. The biggest knock against Finch and Weston is that it offers no reason to go/live there so why bother yourself.

Metacritic.com May 20, 2009

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Metacritic screenshot

fplusMetacritic

I know that The Snuh Zone is the place on the interwebs for reviews but one of the more popular sites for reviews actually does not review anything. If you don’t know, Metacritic pretty much aggregates reviews and links, where possible, to the actual written review. Although I particularly care about the score that is aggregated at Metacritic, I’d say to check it out because:

  • It makes a variety of reviews easily accessible. So if I want a variety of opinions on say a movie, after The Snuh Zone review, I can go to Metacritic to find as many other reviews as I could possibly want.
  • Metacritic does not just cover movies. It does a pretty good job of covering a broad range of media. The glaring missing piece is really product review (devices) other than that I can generally find the review I want from Metacritic.
  • The last thing I like about Metacritic has less to do with the site than what happens as a result of Metacritic. 2 words: Flame Wars. I actually think it’s pretty hilarious when Fanboy X says “Uh haha, look at Y’s score all fans of Y r gayz” of course followed up by more hilarious back and forth. As a bystander, it’s like watching a really dumb tennis match where both sides lose.

The site is really just an organizing portal for information. Next time you’re debating if you should see this movie or buy that game, give Metacritic.com a quick post-Snuh Zone browse and see what the reviews have been saying. At the very worst, you’ll just disagree with some Internet nobodies and you’ll have spent all of 5 minutes figuring that out.

Golf Umbrellas in the City April 29, 2009

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golf umbrellafminuspeople using golf umbrellasSpring is my favourite season of the year. I don’t normally mind the rain and all that comes with the Spring weather. I work downtown, so inevitably it will rain and people will be milling around with their umbrellas. Most people have what I would call “normal” sized umbrellas. Once in awhile, you do run into somebody using an umbrella meant for golf. I call these people jerks because:

  • Downtown Toronto sidewalks are congested enough as is. Add in umbrellas and you have an even tighter fit. These golf umbrellas tend to take up 75% or so of a given sidewalk width. Imagine if 2 people with golf umbrellas were to collide? A situation most dire that can only lead to bloodshed.
  • Completely unnecessary. Now generally I’m not in favour of judging what people need (ie. I could care less if you have an SUV or whatever) but if the idea is you can better protect yourself from rain with a golf umbrella you might as well wear a poncho or a rain coat. You’ll actually look less silly than with a stupid oversized umbrella.
  • These things can be dangerous! To either your face if the giant metal claws at the edge of the umbrella or to your umbrella in an umbrella-to-umbrealla fight to the death. These things are built pretty sturdy, beware if you cross one, I’d rather walk under a ladder, stepping on broken glass carrying a black cat than go toe-to-toe with one of these things.

If you really really don’t think a regular umbrella can meet your needs definitely look into a rain coat. There are some actual good looking raincoats that don’t look made for 10 year olds. The solution to the problem’s of life are not found in super-sized versions. I think next time I see one of these I’ll purposely jump in a nearby puddle to splash on them just to deliver the F- personally.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) April 22, 2009

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Chinese Medicine BottlesfminusTraditional Chinese Medicine Logo

Ok, so if you know me, you’ll know that I tend to not exactly respect some of the medicinal beliefs that TCM uses. The reasons why TCM is an F- isn’t due to my own rampant racism rather its due to:

  • TCM lacks consistent quality control. Put it this way, how many of you think drinking tap water is bad? Well, for some TCM the impurities and other bad stuff can be many orders of magnitude higher than tap water (this also has to do with the relatively high quality water we have in Canada).
  • TCM contributes to both species extinction as well as unnecessary pain. Have you heard of Bear Bile Farming? It’s not only disgusting but incredibly painful and inhumane.
  • Defendents of TCM make very bad arguments. Typically, you hear either calls of racism (straw man argument) and/or appeal to popularity (how can millions of people over thousands of years be wrong? type of argument). These are arguments that are used by those who don’t have a legitimate argument.

Bottom line, this stuff doesn’t work. If it did, it could withstand the scrutiny of western science standards. I’m sorry but science could care less about race or tradition, you just gotta be right. TCM will never change unless the consumers start demanding better from them. Do not support TCM.