Friday, August 27, 2010

Cleaning my sneakers: Adidas Superstars

I must confess, I hate cleaning; I hate yard work, I hate washing my car and I hate house hold duties.  Naturally this vexation for cleaning stuff transfers over to the stuff that I wear.  That’s why I usually like to wear stuff like jeans, t-shirts, hats and hoodies because you don’t need to struggle to keep them clean.  The exception to this rule is my sneakers; I like them to look as clean as possible.  This becomes even more difficult when you like to wear white sneakers such as Adidas Superstars, Nike Air Force 1’s, and Converse All Stars.  For some unexplained reason white sneakers just look good with anything you wear, so I can’t give them up.
However wearing a pair that is yellow, beat up, and dirty all over can ruin any outfit you wear, so that’s why it’s important to keep them clean.  This is where I compromise my hatred of cleaning and put some effort into cleaning my shoes so they always look new.  Besides the appearance, having them look good can save you money because you don’t need to keep buying the same shoe over and over again.  The basic first rule of keeping your sneakers clean is to make sure you take care of them by not walking in the rain or in the mud, and if you do get them wet make sure to dry them off before you store them away.
As for storing my shoes I like to keep them in a place that is always cool and dry, such as the basement.  Any place that fluctuates in temperatures or that is hot will turn your shoes yellow and can lead to cracking of the midsole.  The second rule of keeping your sneakers clean is to wash them every so often when they get dirty.  To wash my sneakers I like to use household cleaning products that I have around the house.  I usually like to use Vim or Comet with a little bleach (though using too much bleach can actually stain your sneakers yellow), and then add some water and use a tooth brush to scrub away the dirt.
Once the dirt is gone, pass a wet paper towel on the areas that you scrubbed to wipe away the excess bleach.  Then let them air dry in a place where the sun doesn’t hit them directly.  You can also clean your sneakers by putting them in the washing machine, but I avoid this because they can become warped.  I do however like to put the laces in the washing machine because it doesn’t affect them.  Once my sneakers are dry I like to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe any stains that are left (wet Q-tips can also be used).  Once you’re done, you’re ready to hit the pavement again and show off your sneakers with pride.
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23u96O8O_34

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Optimus Prime Papercraft

Recently I’ve been looking to buy a new Transformers toy, more specifically an Optimus Prime.  Optimus isn’t just a good guy, but he’s also the biggest and baddest hero you can find.  This makes him really popular and a toy that many people want to have in their collection.  Unfortunately his popularity also makes his toy really expensive and hard to find.  My local toy store had the 25th anniversary collection version but it was so expensive I decided to look around for a better price.
While I was still looking for an Optimus Prime, I decided to do a papercraft version of him.  This papercraft version of Optimus Prime comes in color, takes up about two pages for the template and one for instructions, and uses rubber or string to attach it all together.  While the actual template might seem a little armature at first, when you are done you will notice how professional it really is and how special this papercraft is compared to others.  What makes it stand out from the rest is that since it is a Transformer, it actually transforms from robot to truck; how cool is that!  This papercraft took me about a couple of days to finish, and I would really recommend it to anyone that loves transformers and wants to have their own Optimus Prime in paper.
Papercraft template link:
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25c_7bpWNwA

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Raspberries

One of the joy’s about summer in Canada is enjoying all the summer fruits and vegetables that are in season.  They’re not only good for you, but are also cheaper to buy.  While going to the supermarket and buying all these fruits and vegetables is fun, I also really enjoy going to farms and picking my own fruit.  A local farm that I love is Brooks Farms, a farm just north of Markham Ontario (where I live).  While Brooks Farms has many fruits to ‘pick’ from, my favorite to collect is the raspberry.  Raspberries are in season from July to August, but it’s best to visit early in order to pick the best fruit first.
Someone once told me that the raspberry is the champagne of berries, and after eating a couple I concurred.  Raspberries are fragrant, sweet, and are good for your health.  Raspberries contain lots of vitamins, and also have antioxidants that protect against free-radicals.  The only negative part about raspberries is the price and the seeds they come with.  Even though they are pretty expensive, I figure I would much rather spend my money on something that is not only delicious but healthy, than on some fast food junk that is bad for my body and can upset my stomach.
As for the seeds, they’re not much of a bother because I like to scarf the berries down when I eat them, lol.  However one solution to the seed problem that I have found is to make raspberry juice and remove the seeds.  Making raspberry juice is pretty simple; to start off, after bringing home your berries you just want to give them a light wash.  I then like to store mine in zip-loc bags, and I use a straw to suck all the air out of the bag so that I may store them in the freezer (for up to 12 months).  Then whenever I am ready to make juice I defrost the bag for a few hours, then put it in the blender, add some sugar and water and mix.  Once it is fully mixed I like to strain the juice to remove the seeds, and finally put it in a pitcher with lots of ice.  Once that is done you can sit back and enjoy a nice glass of raspberry juice and reflect on all your hard work.
Brooks Farms:
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w4rUquIp10

Friday, August 20, 2010

R2-D2 Papercraft

The R2-D2 papercraft has been one of the most intimidating papercrafts that I have done to date. Although the template only takes up three pages, what seems difficult is all the cutting and gluing that is required to finish it. But if you take your time like I did, eventually it all comes out pretty smoothly. For this project I decided to use special tools that I borrowed from a manicure set. In this case I used small scissors to cut little tiny details (the zig-zag areas), a nail file to press down on areas that needed to be bent in a straight line, a nail cuticle tool to paint on the glue, and some eyebrow tweezers to glue small pieces together.
I also used a pen filter which I wrapped masking tape around so that I could glue paper parts that were circular. This project took me about a week on and off, and the cutting was what was most time consuming. Advice that I would give anyone that wants to do this papercraft is to print out two copies of the template so you can have one as a guide line along the way because this is a pretty confusing project. My only complaint about this template is that it doesn’t come with English instructions, but the pictures more than make up for it along the way. I think this is one of the best papercrafts you can find online and it being part of Star Wars makes it a 10 out of 10 in my opinion.
Link to the template:
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smrhiPsq55A

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Next Great Novelist

“Hmmm…. what do I want to write about?” Yup, if you’ve said that before you can relate to what I’m talking about. There comes a point when we’ve thought we could write a book, only to end up thinking maybe next year will be better. You rationalize (procrastinate) that you need more life experience before you get a clear idea of what you want to write. So that great novel that you know will turn the literary world upside down gets pushed back or maybe never gets published. The truth is that just like any contest, you can’t win if you don’t enter; so it’s important that you at least get your ideas on paper. But despite having the tenacity to write your novel, there are also other impediments that can prevent you from actualizing your book. With so many publishing houses going bankrupt, it’s getting harder and harder to publish a book.

Yet despite this fact, any jerk off the street will tell you that if you really want people to read your work then you might as well get a blog. But of course that’s not the same as having a piece of your creation in your hands or in the hands of others. Luckily there are places that can help you with this problem. Lulu.com is a great website that will not only publish your ideas, but will also make them available for other people to purchase on Amazon.com. The best part is that it’s all free for you, since only people that want your book will have to pay. Translation; you, yourself, your mom, dad, sister, best friend growing up, spouse; heck all your kin and kith. On the website you get to pick what type of cover, text, pictures, and price you want for your book. There are also great forums with friendly people that can help you along the way. So if you’ve always wanted to publish a book of your writing, then this website is for you. As for my book, uhm… well I’m planning to start it next year as soon as I get more life experience.

Lulu:
http://www.lulu.com

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Taste of the Danforth

This weekend Toronto celebrated its annual Taste of the Danforth, a Greek themed festival that is on the Danforth (a street that is mostly populated by the Greek community).  This year the Taste of the Danforth was sponsored by Pilaros and ran from August 6th to 8th 2010.  Every year this festival attracts thousands of people to come and enjoy Greek culture by listening to live music and enjoying delicious food.  With every year this festival has grown and has become more diverse by including other cultures as well such Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Americana (hamburgers), Italian, and others.
My favorite part of the Taste of the Danforth with no surprise is the food.  My mouth always waters when I think of the day I will finally be able to eat a chicken souvlaki on a pita with tomatoes, onions, and extra tzatziki (you lika da juice?).  Other delicious foods to try out as well are the gyros, calamari, Spanish paella, fresh oysters, and ribs (the list can go on and on).  For desert you must try the baklava, Galactoboureko, Karidopitta, and then wash it all down with freshly made lemonade.
As for the price of most foods, they’re pretty average not too expensive but also not a great deal.  Almost all souvlaki pitas were around $5, meat on a stick was $3, pop cans a $1, and corn on the cob $3.  A couple of hours roaming around the Danforth and eating can really burn a hole in your wallet.  Still the chance to enjoy a beautiful summer’s day in Toronto while eating amazing food and enjoying such a peaceful and friendly atmosphere is worth every penny.  This is the reason why I keep coming back every year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Island Way Sorbet

It’s the middle of summer here in Canada and what better way to enjoy the days than with some great ice cream.  This year I am smitten with Island Way Sorbet, an ice cream or rather a sorbet that is made with fruit flavours and comes in a fruit shell.  The box I bought was purchased at CostCo and comes with 4 different flavours.  You can also buy the sorbet individually at certain malls that carry their carts, but they are a little more expensive.
The flavors included in my box are 3 Mango Orange (in an orange skin shell), 3 Lemon (lemon skin shell), 2 Pineapple (pineapple shell), and 2 PiƱa Colada (coconut shell).  Other flavours that Island Way sorbet comes in are Passion-Orange, Heavenly Coconut, Green Apple, and Delicious Red Apple.  Although the sorbet isn’t diet food, it is still lighter (more than half) than most fatty ice cream you can find at a supermarket.
So it’s pretty much guilt-free ice cream.  My favorite flavour out of the 4 would have to be the pineapple because it is so creamy and yet hits you with this sweet pineapple taste.  I also love how when you’re done eating it, you’re left with this empty pineapple shell and not some Styrofoam cup that you can’t recycle.  This is a wonderful treat if you’re looking to cool down this summer (or at anytime), and I recommend you try it out when you see it.
Island Way Sorbet:
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2agcqM3Sszg