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Peaceful Restaurant

Peaceful LogoPeaceful Restaurant first opened in Vancouver in 1997 specialising in Northern Chinese cuisine. I remember the first branch, which wasn’t very big, always had long lines outside waiting to get in.  Whenever the in-laws visited Vancouver this was the number one destination for them to go.

The restaurant increased it’s popularity when it was showcased on the Food Network’s Diners Drive-Ins and Dives television show:

Now we extremely lucky to have a new branch of the restaurant chain open right here in Newton, Surrey, British Columbia. When we saw the signage the other day we asked ourselves whether it could be the same chain that we have known and loved for 10 years.  Today we found out that it was!

We were thinking of a nice restaurant to go to for Valentine’s day lunch so we thought we’d try it out. We didn’t realize it was their first day of business at that location and we were, in fact, their first customers.  As in typical Chinese tradition, they had an open ceremony with Lion Dancers.  The restaurant was crowded attended by and in celebration of, the suppliers and stakeholders of the chain.

The food was amazing as usual, as good as all the other Peaceful restaurants. We had all our favourite food. It was a fantastic treat for Valentines.

Since the restaurant is very near where we live we’ll be visiting them frequently. I hope everyone else will be too.

By |2019-02-15T06:16:50+00:00February 15th, 2019|General|0 Comments

Shreddies vs Shreddies vs Chex

One of my favourite cereals that I must have is Shreddies. Over the years I haven’t noticed a change in the taste, at least since I’ve been eating them which is probably for almost 50 years now.  I only eat Shreddies in hot milk, I know some people like to mix it up with dried fruit and other cereal with cold milk but this isn’t for me.

So who has the better Shreddies?

Shreddies UKUnited Kingdom

Production of Shreddies in the United Kingdom began in 1953, much later than in Canada. They were first manufactured by Nabisco until they were taken over by Nestle.  This is probably the best of all the Shreddies, as in better quality and flavour profile.  I enjoy two of their products, both Original and Frosted.  I don’t care for the Coco flavour but haven’t had the chance to try their Shreddies Max product. The price of Shreddies is GBP£2.00 for 415g, at least this is the current price from Tesco, the cost is very reasonable. [Shreddies UK]

Shreddies CanadaCanada

Production of Shreddies in Canada began before that of the United Kingdom, in 1939, by Nabisco.  Post Cereal went on to buy them out. This hasn’t got the same taste as the UK version but its pretty close, however, I still enjoy this product very much.  I only like their Original Flavour, they don’t do the Frosted variety in Canada as much as I have lobbied them to introduce it into this market. The price of Shreddies in Canada is around CAD$3.97 for 100g but depends where you buy it from, there are always deals and sales. [Shreddies Canada]

Wheat ChexUnited States

Shreddies isn’t sold in the United States so when I lived there the closest I could find was Wheat Chex, this is manufactured by General Mills. The taste is very different, more bitter, is harder and just not as enjoyable.  I don’t enjoy any of the other Chex products.  I bought Wheat Chex when it was on sale and would eat it occasionally. Some Chex products are available in Canada but not the Wheat brand.  Chex isn’t available in the United Kingdom.  I’m not sure of the price of Chex in the US. [Wheat Chex]

So, who wins in this contest?  Yes, British Shreddies. Canadian Shreddies coming in as a close second. US Chex is third.

By |2019-02-12T01:16:54+00:00February 12th, 2019|Canada, Food, United Kingdom, USA|0 Comments

Oliver – The Comic

OliverOliver Twist was Charles Dicken’s second novel written between 1837-39 originally sold in monthly installments. It told the story of an orphan born in a workhouse as an apprentice to an Undertaker. Oliver escaped heading for London where he met The Artful Dodger who was part of a gang of child pickpockets headed by the evil Fagin.

WARNING: SPOILERS

Image Comics has recently released the first issue of their Oliver series, re-telling the story in a different context. Set in the aftermath of World War III in London this version of Oliver is born into a gang of super humans made in a factory to replace the many who had died as a result of the war. These men are resilient to the post-war atmosphere in London and it’s questionable if Oliver, who is naturally born, can survive it too.

This is my review of the comic.

Artwork

Cannot fault the art at all, especially that of London post disaster.   Every page is dark with tints of blue or brown which gives the brilliant effect of a world without colour.

Story

The introduction of the story is pretty intriguing, pulls you in wanting more. I can see how Oliver is going to be the hope that the human race needs to be able to continue. I would say the story could have been written, so far at least, without the parallel to Oliver Twist, to me it doesn’t really have the same feel. Charles Dickens certainly wrote the book not pulling any punches against the criminal element of Fagin and others but those near Oliver at the moment I can see are potentially good and some potentially very evil characters. Oliver might have some super abilities as he was able to jump from one building to another without much effort. There was a part of the story when Oliver had just been born but then “3 years later” it appears he was more like a 8 year old, did he grow at super-speed?  So far we know, when the child was born, there was a reference saying “that’s not normal” but we don’t know what that is as yet, there is a secret yet to be revealed.  The story is excellent and maybe I didn’t grasp the flow of it.

Talent

The comic book has many talented people behind it including:

Resources

Image Comics website for Oliver Comic

Score

So far I score the comic as 4/5. Recommended.

By |2019-02-09T22:56:23+00:00February 9th, 2019|Comics|0 Comments

Financial Services Compensation Scheme Scam Email

I received a scam email from someone who claimed to be from the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme which I have been following up with the organization who has now handed it over the police. A journalist at the Financial Times, Rachel Addison, picked up the story. The text of the email is below.

It was pretty easy to know that it was a scam, as follows:

  1. It wasn’t addressed to me personally, just a “Good Day”.
  2. English is very poor including many spelling mistakes. “Hope to read from you soon” – LOL.
  3. Some text copied from the website, some obviously weren’t.
  4. I’ve never had any relationship with this organisation.
  5. Going through their LinkedIn page there is no one of that name there.
  6. Most telling is reviewing the email headers which is a reply-to email address of a company in Russia.

Obviously, the best policy is to not to click on any of the links, do not reply to their email or phone them, mark the email as junk and ensure it’s been deleted. If they are fraudulently impersonating an organization then you could report it to them.

FSCS Scam

By |2019-02-05T23:35:10+00:00February 5th, 2019|Technology|0 Comments

White Rock

White RockWhen we came back to Canada one of the places I really wanted to move to was White Rock.  Why White Rock?  Two main reasons really 1) it was by the sea so I would get the fresh air from the water, and 2) it reminded me of a typical British seaside resort, therefore, I would feel it would be a little piece of home in Canada.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be due to a number of reasons but pleased to live close by.

White Rock is a municipality of Metro Vancouver and is easily reached by car and public transport. Some of the draws to the city are its quaint shops, the beach, the pier and restaurants, especially those on the promenade. There is ongoing development in the area which is good for driving new business and new residents including those who can no longer afford to live in Vancouver.

Businesses and Restaurants

Following are some of the businesses, large and small, we have frequented and enjoyed, too many to provide a complete list:

  • White Rock Framing
    We have a lot of artwork that has required framing and re-framing, we have done business with this store many times in order to get this work done, they have done an amazing job. We still have more artwork to be framed as soon as we get it all catalogued and decide where we want to place it.
  • The Boathouse
    This is a regular haunt for us and the restaurant is part of a larger chain.  However, this particular outlet has always been friendly to us and the food very good.
  • Moby Dick’s Restaurant
    This is a very well-known and much loved Fish and Chips shop along the seafront, during the summer there is always a long line.  If the weather is good customers will take their food down to the seafront to eat.

Things to do

The most enjoyable things to do are basically strolling around enjoying the beach, walking along the promenade, the pier, and White Rock Museum. People in general just like to hang out when they are not enjoying the shops. Personally, I like to watch the BNSF train because in the UK I used to live near the major route into Liverpool Street Station, kind of makes me feel at home too. Unfortunately, the pier was damaged in a recent storm, but they managed to fix more complex ones in the UK so no doubt this will be fixed too.

You can find more things to do on the Explore White Rock website.

Photos

Following are some photos from our last trip to White Rock, which was to celebrate our birthdays.

By |2019-01-18T23:23:36+00:00January 18th, 2019|General|0 Comments

Crystall Mall

Today we did one of our regular trips to Crystal Mall.  This shopping centre has mainly Asian businesses or ones that target the Asian community. It is best known for its Food Hall and food shops. There are many other businesses such as travel agents, kitchenware, immigration advice, hairdressers and toy shops.

There are a number of routes to the shopping centre and is conveniently located in Burnaby near Metrotown, Metropolis at Metrotown is a mega-shopping centre.  Metrotown can be very stressful so we tend to keep clear and keep to Crystal Mall.

What a fantastic array of choices there are in the Food Hall from Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and more. Unlike many other standard food halls this one is of very high quality, maybe it’s because the competition is great with the other stores.  We do like to have DimSum there, a couple of outlets do this very well, but spend time and discover for yourself.

Here are some photographs from our trip to Crystal Mall today.

By |2019-01-16T01:00:33+00:00January 16th, 2019|Canada, Food|0 Comments

My Neighbor Charles

My Neighbor CharlesOne of my favourite TV programs from South Korea is “My Neighbor Charles”.

Currently, there is a lot of negativity towards immigrants that I have seen and heard particularly from the United States, this is due to the fear mongering from the current administration there. It is extremely refreshing to have such positive and constructive views of immigrants in this weekly reality TV show.

Every week the program explores the life of immigrants who have moved to South Korea.  A camera crew following the guests round for 2 weeks to learn about their new day-to-day life. They then go into a sit-down studio to discuss their life with four regular hosts.

Most of the guests have really inspiring stories of how successful they have been since landing in South Korea and how they have fit in with society. From the show, locals seem very welcoming to new visitors and keen to learn about new cultures.  The most rewarding part of immigration is that culture arrives in your neighbourhood and can learn many things from the people who have settled there. If only this happened everywhere.

Most of the episodes are placed on YouTube by the broadcaster the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS).

By |2019-01-11T05:06:34+00:00January 11th, 2019|Immigration, South Korea, Television|0 Comments

Pink Pearl

Pink Pearl LogoOne of the Chinese restaurants we go to quite frequently is Pink Pearl here in Vancouver, we recommend it for the following Dim Sum dishes:

  1. Baked Char Siu Bao (Baked BBQ Pork in a Bun)
  2. Char Siu Sow (BBQ Pork in Puff Pastry)
  3. Sui Mai (Pork and Shrimp Dumpling)
  4. Steamed Sticky Rice
  5. Pork and Corn in Rice Noodle

Photos for 1-3 and 5 shown below.

Quick Review

Staff in the restaurant are really friendly even though one or two might come across as being brusk this is just Chinese mannerisms.

The restaurant recently went through a refurbishment, therefore, look quite amazing inside.  Although it looks quite an upscale type of restaurant I wouldn’t call it overly posh food, it is all traditional and most of it tastes awesome.

They have Dim Sum carts plus a menu you can order most other items, we usually order a mix of both. The portions are of a very decent size and always end up taking food home, but order a little extra which will see us over two more lunches or dinners.

They have on-site parking but can fill up quickly depending on the day and time you go. There are streets in the area you can park but that is also limited in space. We do tend to go outside of busy times.

So I would say this restaurant is a must, hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

By |2019-01-10T23:22:15+00:00January 10th, 2019|Canada, Food|0 Comments

Circle Two Worlds Connected Review

Circle: Two Worlds Connected” was a sci-fi/mystery television show from South Korea created by broadcaster TvN which aired in 2017. We have just finished viewing all 12 episodes and I really recommend people watch it.

This sci-fi mystery was very unique and innovative, it was set in two time periods; 2017 and 2037. In 2017: It starts off with young twin brothers and their father witnessing an alien arrival, the family take in the woman although would rarely say a word. The twins grow up, while at college a number of suicides occur with fellow students which appear to be linked to one of the twins and possible sightings of the missing “alien”. In 2037: South Korea is divided into General Earth, a heavily polluted place where crimes are common and Smart Earth, a clean and beautiful city/island where no crimes occur until one day there is a murder.

Each episode is 60 minutes in duration with the first 30 minutes set in 2017 and the last 30 minutes in 2037.

Review

The storyline is quite complex in the first episodes and can be tough to keep up with the plot, however, one does become totally transfixed so it’s worth being patient with. There are many unexpected twists and turns that will continue to surprise the audience. The special effects and sets in the 2037 scenes are extremely well done and thought through, especially how technology might evolve by that time period. The acting is very good, the actors put a lot of effort into the production. In many other Korean shows you would see a lot of romance but there was very little of that at all. The music score was quite dramatic, probably too much so at points. There were quite a few unanswered questions which would lead into an interesting season 2, I’ve heard rumours about the studio wanting to make more episodes which I would really encourage them to do.

I really would like to have seen this drama shown in the west, I think it would be popular in the US, Canada and the UK, however, subtitles is not something those countries have the patience for.

DVD

Circle Two Worlds Connected is available in DVD format via YesAsia.

By |2019-01-09T21:53:54+00:00January 9th, 2019|South Korea, Television|0 Comments

Worst Customer Service 2018

Customer ServiceEvery year I have reported on my worst Customer Service experiences, this is a summary of my bad experiences in 2018.  I seem to report the same companies year in year out who aren’t able to get their act together or at least don’t learn lessons from previous experiences. I’m not sure why that is, maybe they just don’t want to listen to clients or they are too big to be able to pull themselves together.

When it comes to Customer Service my expectations are as follows:

  1. Preferably I can resolve any issues via self-service through a website/online account.
  2. If I have to reach out to a company I expect that:
    1. I only have to call them once
    2. I don’t have to keep chasing them for an answer
    3. I don’t have to escalate to social media, or even worse the Better Business Bureau, to get them to do something about the issue

Sounds easy huh? Not for some companies.

Kaiser Permanente

I stopped doing business with them 18 months ago when we moved from the US to Canada.  I had many awful experiences with them when I was a customer I was so pleased to be shot of them.  All of a sudden this year I started receiving sales emails from them despite telling them to never contact me again. Of course, they don’t have any business in Canada so I reached out to them to find out why they had started contacting me and asking them to take me off the mailing list.  This episode went on for many weeks trying to get an answer from them to the extent that I had to report them to the Better Business Bureau.  They finally responded to the BBB comment but not only did they lie but didn’t answer the questions I had. So, the issue was never resolved but hopefully, they got the message and won’t ever contact me again.

HSBC

Again, another company who we consistently having issues with, the UK is much better than Canada and the US.

We closed our accounts in the US as we experienced some racism from one of the Virginia branches. We tried for over a year to get a safety deposit box here in Canada.  We went to multiple HSBC branches, some had availability and some didn’t. No one ever seemed to be available to take us through the “sign up and approval” process, not sure why we had to go through that, didn’t have that workflow with any other banks. So, this went on and on with promises of a call back’s and more, it never happened. Finally, we escalated to a manager who we were dealing with about something else. She tried to be as helpful as she could but it took weeks for her to get something going too by which time we were so fed up and dragged down by the process we just had to say we’d take our business elsewhere.  This should have been the simplest thing to resolve and I’m not sure why it was so difficult for them.

Hostgator

I used to host my website with this company and had multiple problems, in particular with downtime. I had so much back and forth with them I was never getting really helpful answers. They charged me for something they shouldn’t have done but fortunately they did resolve that, not without a bit of aggravation, but it was thankfully put to rest.  I just think this company take on more than it can chew with the number of customers on shared hosting plans that many sites fall over despite not reach the limitations of the plan they signed up for.  I’ve never come across a friendly and helpful person in this company, I wonder what the work climate in there is like.

Telus

Earlier this year Telus tried to sign us up for their cable package but there was so much confusion over the plan they were offering we decided not to go ahead.  I believe this was mainly due to Telus agents, companies that act on Telus’ behalf to sell plans.  We wanted to see details of the plan in writing with terms and conditions, I thought this was reasonable before signing up to anything.  This was not forthcoming from anyone, even Telus told us this wouldn’t be available until after we had signed the contract.  I found all this terribly bizarre and they wouldn’t supply me with what I needed to make a decision so we didn’t go ahead. It could have gone better for them. We have encountered some of Telus’ own salespeople at various events, to say they are aggressive is an understatement, although I do appreciate the company sponsoring so many good community events. There was one issue I had with them which was resolved very quickly, maybe they are improving?

Summary

It could have been worse, I know many people who are going through far worse issues with companies that I have, so I am thankful most of these are just annoyances rather than something more serious.

By |2019-01-07T23:33:30+00:00January 7th, 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments