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Archive | February, 2012

Blogs, Webpages and Non-Imminent Success

28 Feb

“Movie reviews,” “Recipes for homemade corn bread,” “How to make soap,” “How to make nitroglycerin out of soap.” The mind-numbingly distracting, opium-like preparation that is the age of Google and “the web,” have not only enveloped, but have become the embodiment of our generation.

Search engines and websites have taken the place of libraries, shopping centres and even television.

Many, if not most, therefore assume, not for unjust cause, that the internet, being the success that it is, is in itself the key to success.

The question is apparently less a matter of feasibility and more one of finding a direct, or at least clear, path to success.

There are many sites that load up on tags and advertisements so that every time you search for something popular, you accidentally pay a fraction of their daily earnings. Clearly this is not a path of integrity and certainly not one of distinction.

Thus, the importance is not with the, “how,” but rather the, “what.”
Your focus should not be on luring some unsuspecting fool into your site, but rather focusing on assuring content that you feel is meaningful if not interesting, thereby giving readers that share your views and perhaps even your personality, incentive to view your page.

All precautions aside, those who are looking to write or start businesses on the internet must keep certain things in mind, the following in part.

Certain blogs do not allow writers without independent domain names to post ads, this includes, but may not be limited to, the one on which this post resides.

That’s right, WordPress does not allow you to make money off of your writing, reading this post does not improve the financial standing of the writer, nor does any other post on, “Reviewing Your Life.”

This blog exists because you deserve something well-written and sarcastic to read while you sit on the toilet, not to pay someone’s rent.

As for getting people to actually view your page, therein lies another challenge. Unfortunately, people will rarely look at your site purely by virtue of its existence. Your friends, fans, followers and yourself, are your best way to, “spread the word,” and truth be told, most of those up until, “yourself,” probably will not, so it would be wise for you to work hard to become a top-notch publicist for yourself.

Another consideration is what service you provide, selling things is probably the best way to make money. Words are cheap. If you plan to sell products bought wholesale, you would initially think that a lot of thought is required, truth be told, the more thought you put in, the worse off you are.

Limit the thought to the following, “In what category of goods, would my friends, my family and I be interested?”
Do not overextend either. Would you prefer to purchase coffee from a coffee, clothing, shoe polish and hair-dye shop or a coffee boutique?

Ultimately, success is not guaranteed in the slightest and worst case scenario is a small investment lost (worry more about the time lost, than money).

The only way to guarantee success for your page is to do what you enjoy, follow your passions and if you get one view a year, it does not matter, you did this for yourself and you still have your integrity.

Do not look for money, business or success.

If you do what you love, business and money will eventually create themselves, the only true success however, is learning from your mistakes and seeing nothing as failure.

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”
-Henry Ford

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The Seventh Annual Coffee and Tea Festival Hits NYC Like a Shot of Espresso

28 Feb

This weekend marked the seventh annual, “Coffee and Tea Festival,” at, “7 West,” located on 475 E. 34th Street in Manhattan.
The event, celebrating coffee and tea, featured samples from several vendors and small businesses as well as a regional, “barista competition.”
The scene upon entrance mid-event, looks much like you would expect a tradeshow to look while still in the preparatory or end-stage. Scattered empty cardboard boxes line the eleventh floor entranceway, just outside of the elevator doors where hundreds of people are scurrying in, out and around like hornets out of a nest shot with an arrow.
The tables are placed adjacent to one another but in a non-diagrammed and disorganised fashion. The first table to the left belongs to, “ING Direct,” a company which has apparently branched out from banking into the coffee industry, but still is sure to offer information on mortgages, accounts and investments with their firm.
Next is, “The Village Voice,” they unfortunately have taken the obvious and logical path of a newspaper firm, that is, opening a coffee house; they fortunately make up for their crime by offering, “Kind,” bars to anyone who signs up for one of their various newsletters.
The man and woman at the, “Kind,” stand did not live up to their name, sadly. They filled cups with granola samples and otherwise texted and talked to one another, occasionally glancing at customers with a, “move along,” look.
The event is far from limited to its implicit focus. Among the displays you will find exhibitors such as Justin Perry, 23, spokesperson for, “Green Mountain Energy,” whose goal is to, “Switch you over from Con-eds disgusting paradigm of coal and nuclear gas to hydroelectric energy.”
Product samples are limited to half inch biscuit and candy bar pieces and one to two ounce coffee, tea and juice samples, the money spent pays more for the experience than the products themselves.
The event drew not only consumers, but also competition, such as owner of the award-winning coffee company, “Organic Coffee Cartel,” Clay Enos. “I’ve never been to a regional competition before,” says Enos, “I have been to world competitions, but when I heard it on the radio this morning, that it was up the street I said, ‘Why not?’ today’s efforts are on a smaller scale but the efforts and rules are the same.”
As for the vendors, Enos says, “the tradeshow itself is on a smaller scale and far more tea-biased than I expected, but when it’s up the street and you can share a barista competition with someone who hasn’t seen one, why not?”

Weekend Movie Number Two: House on Haunted Hill

25 Feb

This horror movie may easily be considered a cult classic. Starring horror-legend Vincent Price, it was the prototype for, the “haunted house,” genre and has inspired many take-offs and even a more recent remake. The effects are somewhat cheap and the acting in some cases is a little overdone, but Price delivers a character complexity and anti-hero-esque charm that adds tension and mystery to this classic thriller. Another factor to consider is that there are few moments when the production will take the easy way out with rapid, loud items jumping into your field of vision or gory effects to make you cringe; rather, through a decent plot and strong acting in the lead roles, the cast pulls you through this production by the ears as you watch the story unfold, with a wide-eyed sense of horror and suspense.

Easily Confused Easy Words; Reference and Remediation guide

23 Feb

There are many words which are misspelled commonly and many common faux pas in grammar, in today’s techno-crutched society, here is a quick-reference guide to benefit those (mainly American-English speakers) who find these to be recurring tendencies.  This is not limited to typos, it also will cover tenses etc.  I will try to update it now and again.

Their, They’re, There

Their-Possessive form matched to, “they”

Their lawn is lovely.

They’re-They are, conjugation

They’re in possession of a lovely lawn.

There-Antonym of, “here”

Look over there, that lawn is lovely.

Lose, loose

Lose-Fail, not win, present tense of, “lost”

Loose-Not firmly and/or tightly fixed in place; detached or detachable

Did you lose your tooth?

Is your tooth loose?

Two, to, too

Two-The number before three and after one.

To-For, until

Too-Also

I love you two.

We love you too.

*I would love you to.

Where, wear, were, ware, wore, war, whore, worn, warred etc.

Where-In, or to what place, circumstance or situation

Wear-To attire or adorn oneself with; accessorise oneself with

Were-Past tense of, “are”

Ware-A product, “Warez” have an independent definition with regard to the internet

Wore-Past tense of, “wear”

War-Large scale battle

Whore-A prostitute

Worn-Affected by, “wear”

Warred-Battled

Warren-A given name for males, do not use this in relation to any of the above, always make sure you are using a real word, don’t just guess

Brung, Brought, Broughten, Brang, Bought

Brung-Only usable as a dialectic past-participle, but avoid this word

Brought-Past tense of bring

Bought-Past tense of buy

The others are not words, neither is “buyed.”  Please mind your tenses.

I, eye

I-Myself, ninth letter of the English language

Eye-Attached to your optic nerve

You, U, ewe, yew, ur

You-Yourself

U-You tell me what this is.

Ewe-Female Sheep

Yew-Coniferous tree or shrub

Hue-Shade

Hugh-A name

Hew-To hack at with a heavy instrument

Ur-Not a word.

Mines, Mine

Mine-Belonging to me, explosive device

Mines-A group of aforementioned explosive devices

You’s,use, yah, yizz, yous, yahz

You’s-Not a word.

Use-To utilise.

Yah-Not a word.

Yizz-Most certainly not a word.

Yous-Plural of the word, “you,” otherwise not a word.

Yahz-No.

Ear, air

Ear-The auditory device on the side of your head

Air-Pronounced differently than, “ear.”  That stuff you are breathing

Breath, breathe

Breath-Inhalation and exhalation, noun

Breathe-Verb form, to breathe

Hour, our, are

Hour-sixty minutes

Our-Like, “mine,” but plural

Are-Like, “am,” but plural

Have, half, halves

Have-To possess

Half-Fifty percent

Halves-Plural of, “half”

So, sew

So-Then

Sew-Stitch

Knit, nit

Knit-to darn using yarn

Nit-Lice eggs.

Gnat, Nat

Gnat-A fly

Nat-Short for, “Nathaniel”

*This is merely an example, if at all avoidable, which it generally is, do not end sentences with prepositions.

This will clearly never be everything, but it should be a start for some people…

Free Movies to Celebrate the Weekend: One-Eyed Jacks Starring Marlon Brando

18 Feb

I figure that we could all use some relaxation after a long week, well, not me, I have been here for a long time trying to download movies to put up here, but I will reward myself with a pat on the head and some supper.
Anyway, I have resorted to embed a youtube video, it is a good picture, not Brando’s best, but I will do this every Friday hopefully.
This video is public domain, as will be all others I post. This means they are legal to watch, legal to download, legal to post and you are still a law abiding citizen if you watch videos on here.

Here is to a relaxing weekend, a pleasant spring break and a new weekend tradition.
Feel free to leave thoughts on the video and to tune in next week.

How to Appreciate Cigars and the Art of Smoking

17 Feb

Cigars have been popular in England and the Americas for ages, they were of extreme popularity in the 1800s as seen in their mass consumption by Mark Twain and the fictional character, “Dorian Gray.” They were immensely popular in the 1900s, becoming the trademark of Winston Churchill, after whom the largest size cigar is named; and by many popular entertainers and celebrities of the era.

Cigars, like any hobby or vice, should be used in moderation and should be enjoyable, which it could never be as a habitual practise.

That being said, cheap cigars are not a way to go. They will save you money but you will not get any real value out of your savings, they are made for people who need the nicotine, are sprayed with preservatives and toxic chemicals and do not take the form of an art.

Cigars, for many, are an acquired taste. For some, they cause too much displeasure to ever want a taste for them. Some people enjoy cigars ab initio. Whichever you may be, if only to better acquaint yourself with an age-old hobby, I will lay out the steps to understand and enjoy your cigar to the fullest.

Requisite Investments:
Cigar(s)
A humidor of decent or high quality
Propylene Glycol Solution
Distilled water
Wood Matches
A good cigar cutter

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Suggested Additions:
A good single-malt (I will follow up with an article on whiskey)
A substantial but not overfilling meal beforehand: The nicotine will make you feel ill if you are not used to it and your blood sugar is low, some people enjoy this, but most people do not. Hydration is important too.
Friends: When you start out you will probably be smoking alone. Many people associate cigars with negative stereotypes such as old men or criminals so they dislike them. Others smoke them wrong because they think of character’s like Al Pacino’s “Scarface.”
Either way, you will encounter some resistance but may find some of your friends asking you to introduce the hobby to them and it is a hobby that is more enjoyable in a social environment.

First Step
Purchasing:

Go to your local tobacconist, most people even acquire a favourite after shopping around a bit.
If you do not know the people employed there, then do not trust them completely, they are not your guardian angels, they are salesman.
You are going to want a small cigar with a light and easily palatable flavour. Cigarillos are very good and I most certainly suggest them with one deterrent; if you do not like one, you are stuck with nine to twenty-four more of them.
“Hoyo de Monterrey,” makes a very good cigar, mild, versatile and appropriate for virtually any palate, you will be purchasing the, “Petit Corona,” the small size which is, chiefly in “Hoyo de Monterrey’s,” products, referred to as, “Demitasse.”
Next you will purchase a cutter, do not get the cheapest one, get one that is sharp, nicely constructed and comfortable for you, mine is a guillotine style, double-edged.
Your humidor needn’t be prodigious, start with a small, good quality one and purchase with it an electric hygrometer and a small size bottle of Propylene Glycol with a crystal humidifier. -Tell this to the salesperson, he/she will understand and explain if necessary.
You may save money by purchasing a travel humidor if you do not plan on owning a large amount of cigars at a time, mine is called an, “X-treme,” it was inexpensive and I am thrilled with it. You will, however, have to add your own hygrometer.
Distilled Water and Matches, guess for yourself.

“What? He did not mention Cubans?”
I assume my readers primarily to be within the US, Cuban cigars are terrific. I own some. These I took with me to the United States, I did not buy them here. I have heard that there are a lot of peddlers selling what they claim are “real,” and I have been consulted about this over the phone. I don’t know. If I cannot see them, smell them or examine the packaging, then I cannot verify their authenticity. I also do not know anything about where you can illegally purchase them, I am not in that business.

As for my suggestions, if you are in Cuba and decide to violate federal regulations, or you happen to be from somewhere outside the USA; I would suggest the Montecristo Mini Cigarillos, the Montecristo Number 2, Partagas Torpedos and a few others. Feel free to send specific inquiries relating to suggestions.

Now, on to Part Two of Our Mythical Journey
Setting up your humidor:
The easy answer is to neatly put in your cigars and hygrometer, put a 50/50 mix of propylene glycol and distilled water into your humidifier and close it.

What you will do in actuality is, without “pre-soaking,” your humidor, as some suggest, because this damages the wood; you will take out your humidifier, put in the 50/50 solution, wait for it to absorb, in the mean time place your cigars gently and carefully in your humidor along with your hygrometer, after 10-15 minutes, you will lightly dab with a clean paper towel at the humidifier, replace it, and shut your humidor. Do your best to maintain about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 65% humidity at all time.

Step Three
Hard Work and Investments Pay Off:
If your cigar is fresh, have your matches ready, carefully cut the sealed end off of your cigar, do not over-cut but do not undercut as this will make it impossible to smoke.

This is a two match process, you are not lighting with the first:
Put the cigar to your lips and light a match, slowly move it across the end of the cigar, warming it evenly to insure that it lights evenly. Light your second match, bring it to the end of your cigar and move it around slowly and evenly as you pull in the smoke, being careful not to salivate onto the cigar. When the end of the cigar is lit in a seemingly even fashion you are done lighting it, it is okay to take it out of your mouth to examine.

Now you are going to pull in the smoke, with your mouth and throat, not your lungs. Remember, cigars are not to be inhaled. Let the smoke roll over your tongue and relax as you enjoy your cigar, try to focus on it intently and appreciate each subtle flavour and texture.

That is it, no more to it really.
The only thing left to do is experience different brands, sizes, types and discover which one is best for you.

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Cuban Cigarillos
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Cuban Cigars to the Left of the Divider Regular Premiums to the Right

What Type of Dress Shirt Suits You?

16 Feb

As Promised in:
“How to Choose a Suit”

Dress shirts come in all different types, there are different fits, sleeves and collars, different designs, cuffs, nicknacks and embellishments.

A shirt is a shirt, a lot of things don’t matter about your shirt, what matters is that the shirt works on you.

The main things are:

Face Shape

Neck Size

and Body Type

Colour-complexion matches and considerations are a universally important factor, it is not only a consideration for shirts but for everything, we will therefore discuss it elsewhere.

Your face comes into play because despite what the adult industry tells you, it is the thing first noticed. You want to leave a good impression, don’t you? The idea is to deviate from extremes, an extremely round face should be made to look longer, a long one should be shortened, this is why oval is seen as the ideal.

Your body plays a role because too loose looks sloppy and too tight, well, you’ve seen for yourself what that can do.

Standard shirt fits in descending order are:
Traditional Fit
Regular Fit
Athletic
Slim
Extra Slim
and combinations of the preceding.

Also know your measurements, every man should be able to call in an order to a good tailor and get a perfect fit having never met the tailor. If you cannot do that now, have that skill down by next Tuesday. Or at least get started on it by then.

Middle-Pleat, no pleat and side-pleat are options that come with a shirt too, we are just being thorough, these are inconsequential and are only a preference, they hardly affect the look of the shirt and will not change how it looks on you.

Cotton is the preferred material, there are always arguments as to which cottons are of the most superb quality, the top three are generally considered to be Sea Island Cotton, Egyptian Cotton and Pima Cotton. Pima Cotton is the rarest of these and they are in descending order for average price.

Weaves Consist of the Following types:
Broadcloth-A thick, durable, plain design
Oxford(pinpoint is thinner, Royal Oxford is thicker)-A basket-weave design
and Twill-Parallel diagonal ribs, this often looks triangular

Collar:
Forward Point-A traditional design with origins in military uniform, this will work well if you have a round or oval face
*Ainsley Collar-Softens face, good for those with pointy faces or features
*English Collar-Wider than Ainsley, popularised by the Prince of Wales
*Londoner Collar-As wide as it gets.
Snap-tab-Basically envelopes your neck, this is good if your neck is long
Polo-Often refers to a short, button collar, this is more casual, which by nature should not be worn with a suit and which will probably accentuate the width of your face
Golf Collar-This collar, rounded, much like American, “golf polo shirts,” is best for men with angular or chiseled features. This is part of the Eton school uniform, it is thus often referred to as the, “Eton Collar.”
Tennis-This collar has long points and is meant to balance a round face. It was once very popular and worn by the likes of Cary Grant.
*If your face is wide, round or square, avoid this collar.

Which pretty much leaves the cuffs:
French cuffs use cufflinks, these are completely optional and annoying to put on and take off at times. Like anything nice they take maintenance, polishing, putting away, not losing, not scratching etc.
Barrel Cuffs look like barrels, they have one button and two button varieties. This too, is all a matter of preference.

Now you know all the basic concepts of shirt-matching. The real focus is on the collar, the spread of which dictates tie knots. My one suggestion is that you keep an open mind, try out a few things and do not go to a low-end store. You needn’t purchase Turnbull and Asser or Ted Baker, but do not go for the Walmart brand.

If you work too hard to control your wallet, your wallet will control you; think of your relationship with it as a partnership, give a little, take a little.

If you have any questions about this article please feel free to ask.

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