Large Guy Small Aircraft Seat

9 Nov

aircraft seating

So image you’ve taken a flight from France to Chicago, not to holiday, but to get some medical treatment. Then image turning up to the airport to board your return flight with the same airline but instead of being given your ticket and told to have a nice flight home, you get told your too fat to get on the plane.

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Branson in Hot Water

16 Oct

richard bransons home

There’s plenty of information and speculation around the internet about how the super rich people of the world use offshore entities to save themselves a small fortune in taxes. I’ve noticed there has been some buzz around the small time entrepreneur circuit also about how almost anyone with a business based largely on the internet can do the same. I must admit, I’ve never seriously thought about creating offshore entities to hide from taxes but a few years back I did have a conversation with my accountant about how changing my residency could have a substantial financial benefit for me.

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To Plan or Not to Plan?

8 Aug

sapa hill tribes

I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years and my favorite way to travel is defiantly to just strap on my backpack and get on a plane to a cheap country I know very little about. While most people simply can’t bring themselves do this I find that by not planning too much I feel much freer once I get to my destination.

The last long trip I did was a three month backpacking trip through South East Asia that took my girlfriend and I from the north of Vietnam, down to the Mekong Delta across into Cambodia, up into Laos and then across and down through Thailand, all by land or river.

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My Unlucky Encounter With a Furry House Guest

21 Apr

removing cat hair

My best friend dumped his cat together with a long list of instructions at my doorstep and headed down to Africa for a long vacation.  By the time my mind registered the shock, he was already in the cab headed for the airport. By then, there was really nothing I could do but to stare at the hairy creature which in turn ignored me completely and concentrated on making itself familiar with the new surroundings.

Not that I hate cats, in fact I think they are cute, but I have never had one and until then, I never had any intentions of getting one. I grudgingly resigned to my fate and decided that if the cat continued to mind his business as he was already doing, then he could stay.

A few hours later, I started sneezing and coughing and when my nose become stuffy and runny, I assumed I was getting down with a serious flu. I made sure the cat had access to food and water and decided to retire early. I brushed my teeth, dressed for bed and was just about to turn off the lights when I started wheezing and experiencing other symptoms that clearly suggested I was suffering an attack.

I have never been asthmatic all my life but the symptoms were clearly asthmatic and I immediately drove myself to the emergency room. Funnily, all the symptoms had disappeared by the time I reached the hospital and I felt silly reporting symptoms that were no longer there. Nonetheless, the doctor smiled and informed me that what I was experiencing was not an asthma attack but an allergy that had most likely been caused by pet hair.

“But Doctor, I don’t have a pet and have never….”

Then I remembered the hairy cat back home and immediately shut my mouth. After a few tests and a detailed conversation with the doctor, it turned out that I was allergic to cat hair and the only solution was to kick the cat out. But how could I kick out an innocent cat, and where to?

The doctor gave me some antihistamines and decongestants and advised me to find the cat another home until my friend got back. He also advised me to vacuum up all rugs, carpets, sofas and any other area that the cat could have left its hair. The medication helped me somehow through the night, but by morning I had to take another dose.

I avoided the cat all morning but it was soon clear that one of us had to move out, me or the cat, or I would end up suffocating to death. Luckily, I have a neighbor who totally adores cats, she is a sweet old lady and she immediately agreed to take in my hairy guest. She was so sorry about my allergy and just like the doctor from the emergency room; she advised me to get rid of every bit of fur in my house and even directed me where I could get excellent and affordable vacuum cleaners for pet hair.

Bobs Top Kitchen Renovation Tips

24 Mar

kicthen faucets

Nice Kitchen

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been very busy. I’ve been helping my father renovate his house so it’s been busy crazy for me. My dad is great with general renovation and handyman work and I consider myself pretty switched on when it comes to design so we made a great team. There were certainly a few disagreements along the way but in the end everything has worked out really well.

Explaining some of the design concepts to my mother and father really got me thinking that maybe I do have a real knack for this stuff so for this post I thought I’d share some of my own personal design tips and preferences. I will focus solely on the kitchen for this post because it’s by far the hardest part to get right and your kitchen really needs to have the right balance between design and usability so here we go.

Let’s call it Bob’s top kitchen renovation tips!

For the cabinets, think hard about the surface finish. I think staining them makes them look outdated and also makes it very hard to re-do the surface finish if you ever decide you hate it. I recommend a painted surface instead.

Get an awesome looking bench top. Spend your cash on your counter because it will stand out more than anything else. Also make sure you use hard good quality material so you will never scratch it.

Do you really need an island bench? Some of the new and modern designs I’ve seen recently have the most ridiculously small and useless island benches. See if you can plan your kitchen with enough counter space and ditch the island.

For a really modern look I like clean and simple. I like to see straight lines and edges and the use of really unique and modern appliances and fixtures to add that spark to the room. An example is to use a stainless steel range hood and some really cool tap fixtures. To see what I’m talking about take a look some of the kitchen faucet reviews on this website here and you can see a bunch of the best kitchen faucets that I found. Let me tell you, you really don’t know what’s out there until you start looking around.

Beware of the impact on cleaning. This one is not directly related to design in a sense of how your kitchen will look, but there are few things that will drive you crazy with cleaning if you get it wrong. Any naturally textured surface will be very hard to clean, any light colors will need to be cleaned every time you go near them and stainless steel will smudge whenever you touch it. With this in mind, I like to go for darker colored patterns wherever there is going to crumbs and cleaning required.

That pretty much sums it up. I think you should just keep it straight and simple and use some modern colors and fixtures to dress it up. This way you can always simply repaint and change out your taps to give your kitchen another dress up before another major renovation is required.

Some Quick Cash For A Friend

16 Feb

steam mop and quick cash

steam mop and quick cashMatt is a good friend but the problem is that he owes everybody money. Last week, he called me to ask for a loan and I must admit I was tempted to turn down him down because he already owed me quite a sum. Nonetheless, when he said that it was to buy his mom a gift for her 88th birthday, my heart softened and I promised to avail the money the next day.

Come next day, Matt came around and as promised, I handed him quite a sum, I simply adored his mum and I wanted her to have the best gift ever. When he mentioned that he wanted to get her a floor mop that would be easy on her back pain, I suggested he visit www.thesteammopguy.com  where I was sure he would find the best steam mop for her condition.

After a long talk with Matt later that day, it turned out that the reason he kept borrowing money from everyone was that he had bad credit and was sure that no financial institution would be willing to loan him any.

“But you can still access short term loans even as you rebuild your credit Matt!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, I know that, but I really fear such loans, I really don’t want to sink deeper into debt through them like some people I know,” he replied.

Just like Matt, there are so many people out there who have been shying away from short term loans for the fear of sinking deeper into debt. The truth of the matter is that short term loans, when approached very carefully are a good option for borrowers who require fast cash, especially when they happen to have bad credit.

The best way to approach a short term loan is through the following:

  • Appraise all options before opting for a short term loan- do you really have no other option? If you truly have no other option, shop for short term loan lenders with the lowest interest rates. The reality is that you will have a hard time finding reasonable rates if you have bad credit, so you will have to settle for the best rates you can find. Remember that these loans come with very high interest rates and you are better off without them in the first place, unless of course, you have no other option.
  • Review the fees thoroughly – while it is true that short term loans attract hefty fees, you must review the agreement thoroughly to look out for any hidden fees. Some of these loans are a bit more expensive than they appear.
  • Understand eligibility issues – short term loans also come with eligibility rules that could involve age, income and other issues. Make sure you understand such rules before signing those papers.
  • Establish what your next paycheck is worth - as expected, short term loans revolve around the next short term or pay check. This means that your lenders will first consider your overall expenses before limiting the loan to a certain percentage of your paycheck. Make sure to discuss all these with your lenders beforehand so as to avoid future confrontations.

Armed with these tips, Matt actually gathered some courage and acquired a short term loan and after some days he was back again, this time to refund my money. I am so happy for him but I am happier about the money he refunded because my own mother’s birthday is just around the corner and I intend to get her the best steam mop for wood floors as her floor contains a heap of hardwood surfaces.

HCG Diet Drops, Injections, and Brands

14 Dec

The HCG diet plan has taken the world by storm with its crazy testimonials of people losing a pound of fat per day! Dr. Oz helped to boost the diets popularity and since then there have been numerous suppliers and methods to getting the HCG into your system. Some ways to accomplish the consumption are through food, injections, and drops.

HCG-DietOkay, well food maybe a bit of a stretch. This category is only here because people have started to add HCG into their food. There are recipes that are very low calorie and require an extra ingredient: love. No, not love, HCG! The only downfall here would be if someone decided to add the HCG into hot food, thereby altering the integrity of the drug.

The second way we mentioned is through injection. This is the most direct and fast approach to get HCG into your blood stream. It is quite unattractive as you will have to stick yourself with a needle every day. It seems a bit unsavory and most people would not opt for this method of consumption simply because they do not like needles. It is interesting to learn how many people are deathly afraid of needles. So much that they will pass out at the sight of it, or their own blood.

Probably the most popular way of consuming HCG is orally. A person will put the HCG drops under their tongue and it would be absorbed by their system. This method has been proved by the FDA to contain the least amount of HCG, however thousands of people report that it works just as well as the injections.

So how do you choose which method would be best for you? Well it would take a bit of soul searching. If you can stomach the pretty point of a needle and don’t mind a prick every day, it might be best to use the injection method as you would be consuming the most HCG. However if you are like most people, there will be a multi-purpose aspect of the drops: you can use them in your food, or take them as drops under your tongue. It’s a very personal decision.


Are You a Paleo Pretender?

18 Nov

the paleo diet

There are millions or fad diets out there right now and it seems to me like there’s a new popping up every day with a large cult following but one group I keep seeing around the internet are the Paleo Diet grocery list diet people.

I’d heard the name bandied about over the past few years but I never really took any notice as I’m the type of person that couldn’t care less about crazy people that push a diet every other week. It wasn’t until I made the connection between the names “The Paleo Diet” and “The Cavemen Diet” that I started to take notice. I was really curious as to what kind of cavemen went on when they wanted to trim a few pounds.

the paleo diet grocery listIt turns out that cavemen didn’t need to lose weight and according to this diet cult, cavemen were all super healthy and never had any diseases so we should stop doing what we’re doing and go back to eating like they did. Some of the principals these guys follow do make sense to me though and I have to say I like the idea of cutting out processed foods.

If you want to eat like a caveman, you basically have to stop eating anything that’s been processed and go back to natural free range foods. This even includes not eating chickens that have been pumped full of steroids. The idea is that obesity and most modern day diseases like cancer, diabetes etc…. only came into existence when we started to mess with what we ate and began pumping all sorts of random crap into our food.

While this makes sense to me I can’t help but look at it from a sceptical point of view. I think that back 10,000 years ago if you had cancer or diabetes you would just die, and everyone would put down to bad luck or some kind of spiritual curse. We a race of people tend to think up the most random things and part of me feels like eating like a caveman in order to dodge modern day diseases may be yet another random thing that we will look back at and laugh about in a few years time.

Maybe instead of justifying a heap of reasons that cavemen were all really healthy and trying to link it to the food they ate we should just accept that fact they did not eat crap like KFC at all and they had to chase their food down instead of picking up the phone and ordering pizza. So I tend to think that the whole basis of The Paleo Diet is that we should eat less crap and be more active…… Surprise surprise, another diet that is exactly that same as every other diet but with a new spin so it can be marketed as something entirely different, packaged and resold to the exact same people that have been sold on the last four different diet methods.

I guess you just have to do your own research into these things and not be so naive to believe everything you read, especially regarding the caveman diet meal plan.

Unique Carpet Cleaning Guy

14 Nov

carpet cleaning pros

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a very unique person traveling through my local city. I met a guy called Ron from Chicago that runs a small Naperville carpet cleaning business called Carpet Cleaning Pros. While the subject of carpet cleaning in not that interesting, Ron was still running his business whilst he was sipping on beers talking to me in a Dublin bar.

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Can You Win Gardening Gold?

1 Nov

C:\Ugardening world cup winner

So I’m browsing the news this morning and I see the typical headlines like earthquake here, famine there, disaster over there…. you know what I mean, but one thing in particular catches my eye. I see a story about a gardening world cup. Now I don’t know about you guys but the last thing I can imagine turning into a competitive sport is gardening.

The guy that won the gardening world cup of 2013, held in Japan, is 33 year old landscape designer Leon Kluge from Johannesburg, South Africa. This guy seems to be a superstar in the garden design arena and he’s designed custom gardens for celebs like Brad Pitt. I guess the thing that struck me most about this whole story is that when I think of a “world cup” I’m thinking about football, cricket or hockey, or some kind of high tempo sport, certainly not gardening…. I mean, do these guys televise this and do they have some sort of commentary? I bet there’s a TV channel out there somewhere dedicated to this.

Ok so a quick search tells me there is no TV channel but there is an official website.

C:\Ugardening world cup winnerI took a look through some of the pics of what this guy had done and I guess I can see why people get so excited about this kind of stuff. It’s certainly impressive but I think it’s the same deal with art in a museum. I see some things that impress me, but I can’t help but wonder how some of that stuff even qualifies as “art”. My girlfriend calls me ignorant with some of this stuff but I can never understand how some guy can splatter coloured paint all over a canvas and then sell it to a museum. No joke, the last museum I went to was in Montreal, Canada and there were three plain white painted squares hanging on the wall. I have no idea what the deal is with that type of art.

I took a look at Kluge’s website and I have to say that looking at the garden he created to win the gardening world cup I can’t help but feel it was a little crap compared to some of his other stuff. I know there was whole story behind the garden, and South Africa, and Nelson Mandela, and maybe it was just that the pics I saw didn’t really do the world cup winning garden justice, but I would pick one of his other gardens over this one anyway. But like I said, I guess it was just the pics I saw because to be judged the best garden in the world, it must have been impressive.

I also discovered that once Kluge finishes a garden he actually stays “employed” by the garden owner as a consultant to keep an eye on his masterpiece and to make sure everything stays perfect. So it seems to me like this guy is being flown around the world to look at gardens…. I even read that sometimes he will get on Skype and look at the garden live so he can advise the local garden maintenance guys on what to do. I want that job…. Give me a round the world ticket and watering can and I’ll see you in six months!

Gardening World Cup

So I’m browsing the news this morning and I see the typical headlines like earthquake here, famine there, disaster over there…. you know what I mean, but one thing in particular catches my eye. I see a story about a gardening world cup. Now I don’t know about you guys but the last thing I can imagine turning into a competitive sport is gardening.

The guy that won the gardening world cup of 2013, held in Japan, is 33 year old landscape designer Leon Kluge from Johannesburg, South Africa. This guy seems to be a superstar in the garden design arena and he’s designed custom gardens for celebs like Brad Pitt. I guess the thing that struck me most about this whole story is that when I think of a “world cup” I’m thinking about football, cricket or hockey, or some kind of high tempo sport, certainly not gardening…. I mean, do these guys televise this and do they have some sort of commentary? I bet there’s a TV channel out there somewhere dedicated to this.

Ok so a quick search tells me there is no TV channel but there is an official website.

I took a look through some of the pics of what this guy had done and I guess I can see why people get so excited about this kind of stuff. It’s certainly impressive but I think it’s the same deal with art in a museum. I see some things that impress me, but I can’t help but wonder how some of that stuff even qualifies as “art”. My girlfriend calls me ignorant with some of this stuff but I can never understand how some guy can splatter coloured paint all over a canvas and then sell it to a museum. No joke, the last museum I went to was in Montreal, Canada and there were three plain white painted squares hanging on the wall. I have no idea what the deal is with that type of art.

I took a look at Kluge’s website and I have to say that looking at the garden he created to win the gardening world cup I can’t help but feel it was a little crap compared to some of his other stuff. I know there was whole story behind the garden, and South Africa, and Nelson Mandela, and maybe it was just that the pics I saw didn’t really do the world cup winning garden justice, but I would pick one of his other gardens over this one anyway. But like I said, I guess it was just the pics I saw because to be judged the best garden in the world, it must have been impressive.

I also discovered that once Kluge finishes a garden he actually stays “employed” by the garden owner as a consultant to keep an eye on his masterpiece and to make sure everything stays perfect. So it seems to me like this guy is being flown around the world to look at gardens…. I even read that sometimes he will get on Skype and look at the garden live so he can advise the local garden maintenance guys on what to do. I want that job…. Give me a round the world ticket and watering can and I’ll see you in six months!

Faster Disaster Home Rebuilding

25 Oct

emergency housing

While most of us in first world countries would scoff at the thought of living in some sort of temporary shelter, there are millions of people out there in the world that don’t really have a choice. I image everyone reading this blog will live in a modern house with all the creature comforts of first world society, maybe you have a pretty little garden out the back which you look at through the window from your couch and think “ah life is peaceful” whilst sipping on a steaming hot coffee.

emergency housingImagine for a minute though that all of that was taken away. No more couch, no more nice garden, no more roof over your head and certainly no more steaming hot coffee! This is the exact situation that has faced millions of people in third world countries, sometimes more than once in their lifetime. There are however, some people out there looking for ways to help restore some sort of balance to the lives of people from less developed countries that lose their homes through natural disasters, and one of these guys is Dutch designer Pieter Stoutjesdijk, and let me tell you, for a guy with such complicated name, he has developed some very simple solutions for getting people from less developed countries back into their homes fast when they’ve been hit with some sort of disaster.

Stoutjesdijk has come up with an emergency shelter that can be fully erected and functional in just five hours. If your thinking about some kind of tin shack then think again, this shelter / home is amazing. It has a large fluted roof for collecting rain water, a porch, high ceilings and he has even came up with a system that uses mirrors, sunlight and water to create steam. While it doesn’t come with furniture, it’s a fairly amazing house which can be thrown up extremely fast.

After the last earthquake in Haiti destroyed thousands of homes and as a result made 1.5 million people homeless, Stoutjesdijk started work to create this masterpiece in a camp southeast of Port-Au-Prince called Villa Rosa.

This entire house can be made from fiber board and the manufacturing process has been simplified by using some complex machinery to cut the boards to the exact sizes straight from a CAD design file which means no manual cutting. This home also requires no bolts, nails, nuts or any other fasteners as it just fits together like an interlocked puzzle. Currently this design is being used to create some homes for people in Rwanda with some great success.

This type of story is a great example of what we can do when we really get creative and try to help out other people. I can image these things being flat packed and shipped in by the thousands to places all over the world to help rebuild societies that have been hammered by natural disasters. I may be way off here, but when I think of some of the slums around the world, I would think that this type of design could almost be the first choice for building permanent housing for less developed countries. I’m very certain that your typical third world slump city does not have homes with a porch and a way to collect rainwater.