Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Blacklist - Pilot Review

Well it’s that time of year again, where the major networks open the gates and release a mix of terrible garbage and fantastic shows. One of the most advertised in the recent month, and most anticipated, is the serial national security drama “The Blacklist” starring all around crazy fucked up Hannibal Lecteresq James Spader (Stargate, Boston Legal). I was intrigued by the 1,000 promos shoved down my throat by NBC and Global TV in Canada so I figured last night I’d sit down and check out the pilot.
So this program is about Raymond Reddington (Spader) who is a long time fugitive and former armed forces member who disappeared on Christmas eve many years ago. He magically appears at the FBI headquarters and turns himself into the FBI. And tah dah he refuses to talk to anyone but this cheeseball oversimplified FBI newb named Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boon). What bothered me right off the bat is that she was really nice and kind of naïve and ditzy. This isn’t a problem until she’s pulled into meet with Reddington and the first thing she says is that her former coworkers thought she was a Bitch. What the fuck is that all about? I didn’t know a kind woman dedicated to her man and was trying to adopt a kid was a bitch.
So after the awkward and cheesy character intros are done with, the story actually picks up and makes the Reddington character actually seem pretty cool. He has some daring escapes and there’s some inventive archs as the story goes on and you’re introduced to one of the people on the blacklist.

So Reddingtons blacklist is list of crazy mercenaries, terrorists, hackers, criminals etc. that the FBI isn’t even aware of but for some reason Reddington is willing to help agent Keen capture these baddies.

So the first guy on the list is this crazy Scandinavian guy who is terminally ill and wants to detonate a chemical weapon in Washington as some kind of revenge. As you’d expect his plot is foiled, but I don’t want to go into too much detail in case you’re actually interested in seeing the pilot.  

In my opinion this pilot suffered from what I’d like to refer to as “Pilot Syndrome” where a really good show has a shitty first episode which turns picky assholes like me off. For this reason, when binge watching shows, I usually start at the second episode to know if I like it. This way you’re not watching the intro show that they are putting out for the purpose of the network picking it up, but rather starting on the episodes where the real artistic intention of the show is realized. Overall this pilot was cheesy, but also showed a strong premise, the promise of good twists and turns and some decent actor (mostly from James Spader). I’m definitely interested in seeing more of this show in the coming weeks. I don’t see a reason to rate a pilot but I’ll just give it a comme ci, comme ça and the hand flipping back and forth that goes with it. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bye Bye Cigarettes

Screw you cancer!

So this summer I was finally able to give up my addiction to cigarettes. I can’t even imagine how much money I inhaled and the disappointment I caused my family. But now I feel like I've set things right in my life. About 2 years ago I started reading about electronic cigarettes and their popularity in the US, but in Canada they were basically impossible to get. After a little while they started to release certain brands into the Canadian market, but alas they had to contain no nicotine. It is not legal yet for vendors to sell pre-loaded electronic cigarettes with nicotine in Canada. I tried the no-nicotine e-cigs and yes they produce vapor and taste nice, but without the nicotine it was more of a novelty than anything.
In May of this year I was at my local sketchy convenience store, probably to buy cigarettes, when I saw something I had only seen online, a refillable vaporizer. Upon asking the clerk it turned out he was also selling nicotine e-liquid so I tried it out and fell in love. On that day in late May I threw away the last of my cigarettes and I have not smoked one since. 

Now the apple martini liquid by HD Vape was not very good at all, and I even questioned the actual nicotine content. But after a while I discovered the website http://www.canadaejuice.com. These guys had a great, easy-to-use website with a huge selection of liquids and accessories. They make it really easy to get started with vapeing and have nice staff. Their prices are also much better than other vendors I’ve seen in my area. There’s a guy at my local flea-market who also sells vape equipment and liquid but everything you buy from him is about 5 dollars more expensive and he has no where close to the selection CanadaEJuice has.
nd I can honestly say that after about 3 months I never NEVER want to pick up another cigarette. And how was I able to do this? With a nicotine vaporizer, that’s how, and with the great people at CanadaEJuice.
A typical vape. 
There’s a good chance you have seen a vape or electronic cigarette before but didn't really get what they were all about. Essentially the device is devised of two parts: a battery and an atomizer. The battery is usually activated by a button or by the back pressure from the user pulling on the e-cig. The atomizer is the top section where you suck on and is filled by the e-liquid. The current from the battery heats a coil in the atomizer that vaporizes the e-liquid and produces the “smoking” effect. You then inhale the vapor into your lungs, like you would with a conventional or “analog” cigarette, and then exhale. The main benefit is that you are cutting out all of the thousands of dangerous chemicals that are added to cigarettes and instead are only inhaling 3 very benign chemicals. The three chemical are propylene glycol (often pumped into the air in hospitals to help with sanitization, also used in some dog foods), vegetable glycerin (used in the food industry as a sweetener and is also used in products like toothpaste and cough syrups) and of course the addictive component of cigarettes, nicotine. Now I know that nicotine has a pretty bad reputation because of tobacco and its use as an insecticide. Nicotine can actually increase concentration, relax the body, promotes the growth of new blood vessels (which can really help diabetes patients) and can reduce depression in people with schizophrenia. The medical industry has been looking for a viable delivery system for nicotine for decades, and vaporizers may be that step forward.If you want any more information check out http://www.canadaejuice.com and feel free to search google and find the hundreds of testimonials from long term heavy smokers who were able to drop the habit in a matter of moments. You too can be smoke free! I urge any smoker to try an e-cig or vaporizer and see if its right for you!