Bug Repellants

Bug Repellants

Any of my friends will tell you that I loath black flies and mosquitoes. They turn the perfect part of the spring into an obnoxious swat-fest. I remember the first time I went canoeing with my wife and father-in-law. He was gung-ho to find the best route and followed the directions of “seasoned” canoeists on an internet database. I should have inspected the route, but I assumed they knew where to go and how long it would take. It was not my first time canoeing, but being the better man, I let my father-in-law run the show. He will never live it down. It was toward the end of day one, when we ended up in a small lake. Actually, a large island, ringed by a small “lake”. Ok, it was a swamp. An island in the middle of a swamp. The map indicated a single swamp symbol, and that was more than enough apparently. When we got there it was about 3pm and as the day turned to night, the hordes of insects descended. First it was the black flies… because why not canoe during black fly season. And as soon as it dipped in temperature, the black flies would disappear and then for five minutes, everything was great. And then the mosquitoes. And they never left us alone until well after 8pm. Flying, Biting Insects Mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies and company, are the bane of every woodsman. I am not talking about the single mosquito that lands on your arm, I am talking about the cloud of mosquitoes that have nothing better to do than drain you... read more
Memory Mastery – Journaling

Memory Mastery – Journaling

In this article, I promise I will jumpstart your memory, allow you to recall details faster, and with more precision and to become your own survival mentor. And I won’t make you sign up for anything, pay for anything, or take elaborate steps to deceive you in any way. Step 1: Make A Journal A bit of a let down isn’t it? Did you think I would tell you about some new smart pill, or a 12 step mnemonic pattern? Nope, just start writing stuff down. Here is the caveat. You have to do it all the time, it must be hand written / drawn, and it needs to be only for you. Who Journals? I have been “journaling” for my entire life. Not a diary or one of those artsy watercolour scrap books you find on Google. I just wrote or drew anything that I found interesting in note books. It started with Mead spiral bound books of varying sizes and colours, then I tried 3-ring binders, mini notebooks and finally settled on The Large Ruled Notebook by Moleskin – they never change and I can always buy another of the exact same type. Also, hardback Moleskins are quite robust and can take a moderate amount of beatings which is going to happen when you carry around a journal all the time. At first I didn’t know that I was writing to my brain, I was just putting things down that  were cool. Cool words that I wanted to remember like lucid, or images that I wanted to come back to, but slowly the stuff that I was interested in stuck.... read more
The Truth About Air Filters

The Truth About Air Filters

If you are like me, you are interested in the truth.  But when you go down the rabbit hole, things start to look very grey. Take furnace filters for example: I was at Home Depot and I was staring at wall-to-wall furnace filters. The prices were all over the place, from as low as $3.00 and going well over $50.00 for a single filter. And as a price, but also value-conscious consumer, I pulled up my phone and started Googling air filters. Then, in frustration, I bought a mid-level multi-pack. It is impossible to find a true answer, because everyone has stakes in the game. Home Depot employees would tell you, buy the HEPA-whatever because the store makes more money on it. An HVAC (Heating Venting Air Conditioning) specialist would tell you that all those filters are crap and what you need is an auxiliary system to scrub your air clean (for over $1000.00). Who is going to tell you the truth? I will tell you the truth. Well, as best as I can ascertain. How Your Filter Works Before I tell you what to buy, I would like to teach you what is happening in your HVAC system, assuming you have a forced air system. If you have a boiler system, then open a window. When your furnace turns on, air is drawn into the system (from an outside vent and also though large inside air-return vents) through the air-return ductwork. It is that large circular or rectangular box that runs along your basement ceiling. The air passes through the filter that is mounted between the air return... read more