Archive for October, 2010

This Video Will Make You Smile, Guaranteed

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Simply amazing, beautiful, and wonderful…via @rahulsood

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Dear Skechers…Stop Being Dumb

Friday, October 29th, 2010

When I find a type of shoe that I like and fits my feet comfortably, I’ll end up wearing that style of shoe for years. Skechers has a make of shoe called Klone that I really like, and I’ve purchased several pairs of them over the past few years – in fact, I’ve worn the same brand and style of shoes for so long, I can’t recall what I used to wear before.

Typically I wear a pair until they start to wear out/get really dirty, then I’ll swap to a new pair. My current pair though developed a worn out shoelace – you know, that little plastic tip piece fell off – and so I needed a new pair of shoelaces. I measured the laces out that come with the shoes, and the laces were 68 inches long. Thinking I could pop into any store that sells shoelaces and find what I needed, I checked Wal-mart: nope, they don’t have that length. I checked a couple of other stores, including a shoe repair store that seemed to carry every type of laces ever made, and they didn’t have any either. It seems that the seven-hole Klones make for laces that are much longer than normal.

I was in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago, and at West Edmonton Mall I walked past a Skechers store. I thought “Aha! Shoelace victory shall be mine!” I went in and was told that they don’t sell shoelaces there. What? WHAT? The nice young women working there said that they get people coming in and wanting to buy shoelaces all the time, especially for shoes like mine that require extra-long laces, but they’re not permitted by Skechers corporate to sell shoelaces. What? WHAT? That has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve heard this month – why wouldn’t a shoe store sell shoelaces for their own shoes, especially if those shoes require laces that are difficult to buy elsewhere? This is off-the-charts stupid. The nice young women dug through a box of shoelaces they had there – perhaps from shoes they couldn’t sell – and managed to find me a pair of laces that were within a few inches of matching. Good enough I guess.

I’m sure I can find the proper laces online somewhere, but if I, as an extremely loyal Skechers shoe-wearing customer, can’t find what I need at a Skechers store, what does that say about the company and their ability/willingness to service their customers? Nothing good.

Dear Skechers, please stop being dumb.

My First Decent HDR Image

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I’m reviewing some new software that, for the first time in my opinion, puts quality HDR images within reach for average users. The problem I’ve seen with other HDR software is that it either produces awful, garish images, or requires an engineering degree to figure out. I’ve never found HDR software that I found both powerful and easy to use until: HDR Efex Pro really brings the elements together. It’s not exactly cheap ($159.95 USD), but it’s within the realm of what most photography buffs should be willing to pay for quality software.

The above image is available as desktop wallpaper for 16:9 monitors or 4:3 monitors. It was taken at Lighthouse Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada in early September 2010.

UPDATE: Thanks to some good advice from a photography friend, I’ve tweaked the image and I think it’s better. Enjoy!

It ‘Aint Easy Being Green

Monday, October 18th, 2010

A bit over a week ago, I was driving about 5.5 hours for a funeral. We have a 2009 GMC Acadia that seats seven people, and we drove the first leg of the trip (about three hours with a break in the middle, 287 KM) with myself, Ashley, and Logan in the car. We used up 1/4 of a tank of gas, and I refilled it when we finished the first leg. The next leg of the trip, the last 2.5 hours (248 KM) had two more adults (approximately 360 extra pounds including bags), and we used up half a tank of gas. Adding that extra 360 pounds made the fuel efficiency more than twice as worse, which begs the question: does it always make sense to carpool? Or is there a crossover point where, based on the type of vehicle you have, it’s better to take two vehicles because you’ll use up less fuel that way? I’m sure someone who’s brilliant with math can figure that out…but it made me wonder if the common wisdom of carpooling was actually wise in all circumstances.

Hi, I’m Jason. I’m a Cautionary Tale to Investors

Monday, October 4th, 2010

“Of course, not all seminars are created equal. Some are bad ideas, others encourage insanely risky behaviour and, to be fair, some are useful. Most people think investment scams target the elderly and most vulnerable. To counter that idea, I offer the story of Jason Dunn, a 30-something lifelong Calgarian, prolific blogger and generally smart person. To make a very complex story simple, after attending an investing seminar, Dunn borrowed $50,000 against his home and bought a stake in a strip mall, Castleridge Plaza.”

I was contacted a few months ago by a reporter for Avenue Magazine named Tracy Johnson. She found several of my blog posts here about Concrete Equities and Wealthstreet, then contacted me to discuss what happened. We spent quite a while on the phone – the story needed context – as I explained what’s happened over the past few years. I chose to talk about what happened with my investments as a cautionary tale to other investors; this quote pretty much sums it all up from my perspective:

“As someone who routinely spends hours researching which digital camera or laptop to purchase, in retrospect I’m shocked that I didn’t do at least as much research when selecting a company to invest my money in — especially when I was investing 10 to 20 times more money than I’d ever spend on a camera or laptop.”

You can check out the full article here – it’s worth a read.

A Day in the Life of RockPointe Church, Bearspaw Site

Friday, October 1st, 2010

I had the privilege of capturing some of what goes in my home church, RockPointe, on any given Sunday at the Bearspaw site. Children’s ministry, worship, fellowship, and teaching are a core part of what happens every weekend. If you live in the Calgary area, I invite you to come check us out one weekend at any of the four sites we have. The full gallery is here.

Logan’s First Birthday: What Fun!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

On August 16th we had a very special day, celebrating Logan’s first birthday! Friends and family from all over came to help us celebrate this special day – and no, we didn’t spend $4000 and hire an actor to come to the party (read this blog post if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Full gallery here.

A Revelstoke, BC, Wedding

Friday, October 1st, 2010

In mid-August we went out to Revelstoke, BC, for the wedding of Ashley’s Cousin Jeff Honig (a talented mountain guide) to his fiancée Stephanie China. It was a quick weekend mini-trip, but we managed to create some fun memories along the way. Here’s a few pictures from the full gallery.

Logan’s First Calgary Stampede

Friday, October 1st, 2010

After Logan’s first Stampede Breakfast, it was time for his first Stampede two days later. I just had to snap a few photos of him in Ashley’s cowboy boots and hat. How cute is this kid? We went to the Stampede and Logan spent most of the time in mute amazement at all the bright and colourful things he saw. Here’s the gallery.