All posts by Ryan Cameron

From A Woot Deal To QVC To A Sous-Vide Supreme Demi

When I initially took advantage of a Woot daily deal on a Rival Food Vacuum Sealer, I thought maybe at best, I was going to be able to really take advantage of my Costco membership and actually start buying some of the bulk meat packages. I was looking forward to taking advantage of the discounts available for buying in bulk because now I’d have a way to actually save the meat in the freezer without getting freezer burn by the time I finally got around to using it all up. The last thing I expected that it was going to lead to two additional purchases and drastically change how I cook in my own home.

When the vacuum sealer from Woot showed up, I was hooked. I got a good deal on the unit, I spent a total of $24.99 for the sealer which was very reasonable for an entry level machine. The unit came with four bags, so I went to the store and bought some bags in the form of a FoodSaver roll that lets you custom make bags to your choice of size. And within a few days I was really enjoying the ability to vacuum seal food and finding the Rival unit to be decent but lacking in the ability to cut off the vacuum and move directly into sealing if I didn’t want to completely remove all the air. Also the Rival unit operated by applying pressure to the lid until the hands free operation light came on, at which point it would then take over and continue sucking out all the air until it could suck out no more then activate the sealing mechanism. The lid required quite a bit of pressure to activate it, which is fine, but I could see the complaint I later saw from a lot of people commenting on the unit in online reviews. But ultimately, I decided I was going to need a fancier vacuum sealing unit for my needs.

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AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Leaves Me Annoyed

When news this week was announced that my current cell phone carrier, T-Mobile, is going to be merging with AT&T, I was less than thrilled. This comes after last week’s rumors that T-Mobile and Sprint were going to be merging. I was hoping this was just another bad rumor but the fact it was being reported by real news organizations, not just websites that post rumors, meant there was more to this one than the speculation about the merger with Sprint. With official announcements coming from T-Mobile, it just confirmed what I hope was not going to be the case. I’m not a happy camper about the news.

Why would I be not happy about the news? Well first off, I’ve been a very happy T-Mobile customer since 2003. I originally switched to them from my first cell phone carrier, which was Sprint. I didn’t leave Sprint because I was not happy with their service, I switched because Sprint is a CDMA technology carrier and I wanted to go to a GSM carrier as it’s more of a world standard service and since I do like to travel outside of the United States, I wanted a phone I could easily use outside the US. T-Mobile also offers to unlock their phones when you’re one of their customers so that when travelling abroad, you can easily switch out your T-Mobile SIM card with a pre-paid SIM card in the country you’re in to get a local number there. It’s a great option.

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Fat Head Says Super Size Me Is Full Of Bologna

Perhaps you’ve seen Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, “Super Size Me” where he takes McDonald’s to task with an experiment over 30 days to see how unhealthy McDonald’s food is. Well, filmmaker Tom Naughton, decides to do the same experiment but prove it’s possible to lose weight eating only fast food for 30 days and in the process takes not only Morgan Spurlock to task, but also the US Government, consumer action groups, and basically every diet and exercise guru who advocate low fat, high carb diets.

Naughton points out that in Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me”, Spurlock consumed over 5,000 calories a day, which by anyone’s standards, would be likely to make anyone fat. But Spurlock had three rules he was going to follow, he ate only three meals a day, would try everything on the menu at least once, and would super size the meal if asked by the clerk. Naughton pokes a hole in this because there’s no way he could put together three meals a day and hit that calorie level without adding extra food. Spurlock gained over 25 pounds during his experiment, and it’s Naughton’s claim that Spurlock intentionally “Mc-Stuffed” himself because had he only gained four or five pounds, it wouldn’t have been as dramatic a film. And repeated efforts to contact Morgan Spurlock to review his food log were refused.

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Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly

If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.

What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”

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Meeting The Ultimate Prairie Bitch – Alison Arngrim

Most people will remember Alison Arngrim as the wickedly evil bitch, Nellie Oleson, from the television series “Little House On The Priaire.” The show ran from 1974-1983 and since I was born in 1975 so much of my experience of “Little House” was in reruns in the early 1980’s when the show aired on one of the three channels my family had while growing up in the rural areas outside of Calgary. You see in Calgary, which sits in Canada’s Prairie region and the outskirts of Calgary didn’t look so different from the scenery of the show. Also Calgary is well known for the Calgary Stampede celebration where the entire city embraces it’s Wild West past and is home to Heritage Park Historical Village which preserves many Little House era buildings in a town like setting, so the “Little House On The Prairie” show didn’t seem quite so removed from the 1980’s I grew up in.

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Free Play At Dave And Busters

Last week my good friend Vito Grandolfo and I took advantage of a couple of great freebie coupon deals, one was for Smashburger, and the other at Dave And Buster’s. The offer from Dave and Buster’s was for $10 worth of free play on their arcade just for signing up at FreePlayDay.com. For those not quite familiar with Dave and Buster’s, they are essentially a similar to a kid oriented Chuck E. Cheese restaurant which is basically a restaurant combined with a arcade of video games and games of skill. The difference is that Dave and Buster’s is for adults. Instead of crappy pizza, they have a full menu of a wide variety of food options, and a full bar to serve any kind of alcoholic drink you could want. Not that Dave and Buster’s doesn’t cater to kids, but they do reach a point where kids get kicked out and only people over 21 can go there.

While moving I found all my old Dave and Buster cards, including a couple of unused play cards from the birthday party I had there several years ago. I figured they probably had no value left and all the previously collected tickets that were put on my card, I was sure after this long they’d probably been wiped out. To Dave and Buster’s credit, all the points were still on the cards and I still had tons of tickets to redeem on the crap they have available to redeem points for. But I always like to collect the tickets and so I opted mostly to play the games that spew out the tickets and I was surprised my old favorite machines that were cash cows for tickets for me in the past were now down to only one machine and it wasn’t working. I was disappointed with that.

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A Day At Disneyland With Friends Familiar And New

I had no plans on going to Disneyland but caught the tweet on Twitter of one of my local friends, Michael Carrera indicating he was on his way up to Disneyland. I sent him a post back saying I wished I had known he was going because I would have gone. So he said, just come on up, and after thinking about it for probably the briefest amount of time possible, I wrote back saying I would be on my way up shortly. My Twitter conversation was picked up by another friend, Chuck Salerno, who was at Disneyland helping out with a “Flat Stanley” project for one of his family members. (If you’ve not heard of “Flat Stanley” (as I had not) essentially it’s just an elementary school project consisting of a cardboard cutout in the shape of a person (aka Stanley) that gets sent to people to photograph in random places to create a photographic travelogue of the cardboard cut out. Essentially a neat way to travel vicariously through photos and the creativity of the people Flat Stanley gets sent to.)

As I arrived at the Disneyland resort, I notified both Michael and Chuck that I had arrived. Michael sent back a text saying he and his friend were just finishing Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure Park and would be crossing over to Disneyland right afterwards. Chuck indicated he was on a park bench near the central hub of Disneyland. I was going to wait outside for Michael and his friend outside Disneyland when Michael sent a text saying he and his friend would be making a quick stop to the car, so I opted to go into Disneyland and meet up with Chuck and would catch up with Michael and his friend later as the trip to the car would add at least half an hour to the wait time for them.

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Paula’s Picks Presents You Have To Be There From Kristina

If you are lucky enough to live in the Portland, Oregon area, or happen to have an Internet connection (which I suspect you might if you’re reading this) then you had the opportunity on Thursday May, 6th, 2010 to tune into the Paula’s Picks program on KBOO FM during her program and hear her present “You Have To Be There” performed by Helen Sjöholm from the musical “Kristina.” “You Have To Be There” is written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA. Paula Small is a friend of mine that I went to high school with and she moved to Portland and one of the fun things she does out there is host a radio program on the first and third Thursdays of every month for KBOO.

The last time I saw Paula was when she was back in town to visit some family at the end of 2008, so I took Paula to see the Xanadu production at the La Jolla Playhouse, and when I saw her online on Facebook and I said hello using the chat feature of Facebook, we ended up discussing some music. I was so excited about the live album “Kristina At Carnegie Hall” coming out and I’d just gotten it in, I sent her “You Have To Be There” to share my excitement about the show. Paula really liked the song and we both commented about how it starts out similar to “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” but ends up being a much more powerful song. Paula thought it might make a great addition to her show the following night.

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