Category Archives: review

Review: Top marks for Boston Pizza’s Pizza Taco


I sometimes get requests to try new fast-food concoctions, and who am I to deny readers? The latest in this cavalcade of artery-hardening goodies is the Pizza Taco from Boston Pizza. It just so happens that I love pizza, and I also love tacos, so how could I resist? Here’s the thing – this particular item is only available till June 1 so you’ll want to hustle if this review piques your interest.

I’ll admit to not having done my research on this one, which is why I was surprised to sit down and see not one but two Pizza Tacos on BP’s menu. There’s the Chipotle Chicken and Bacon Pizza Taco and the Pulled Pork Pizza Taco. I’m on a pulled pork kick of late, but I couldn’t help but gravitate toward the other option, mainly because it had more, more, MOAR! in its title.

Beyond the headline meats, the two are mostly the same, each filled with “fresh tomatoes, crunchy tortilla strips, lettuce, cilantro and red onions and drizzled with a creamy sweet chili sauce,” as per the menu.

Not being able to decide, I asked the waitress and she handily suggested the chicken-and-bacon option. My instincts were right. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Boston Pizza, food, pizza, review


Review: Sika fence post foam a big labour saver


Over the past two weekends I’ve been engaged in some rather heavy physical labour: I’ve been building a new fence in my backyard, mainly for aesthetic reasons but also so that the wife and I can let our cat outside without it being menaced by the neighbour’s giant dog.

I hadn’t done any real carpentry since high school shop class so I went into the project with some pretty basic thinking – the process of building a fence can’t have changed that much in the history of building fences, right? Dig your holes, stick some posts in them, nail together some cross-beams and attach the boards. It seems relatively straightforward.

That was the case for the most part, but we were surprised to learn that some modern technology has actually entered the equation. While stocking up on the requisite supplies, we inevitably came to the question of how to secure our posts in the ground. Since time immemorial, the answer to that has been concrete. But lo, there’s a new option in town: foam.

The Home Depot guy suggested something called Sika Post Fix as an alternative. As per the website, it’s “a two-part, pre-proportioned polyurethane resin which when mixed produces an expanding foam” that fills the hole and then solidifies into a base that’s as solid as concrete. Naturally, this appealed to the nerd in me so we picked up seven pouches, one for each post.

The process couldn’t be more straightforward. The mix comes in two attached-but-separate pouches; you simply squeeze one into the other, then mix up the whole pouch for about 20 seconds. Then, you cut a small hole and pour the liquid into the hole. That’s when the magic happens.

The liquid instantly congeals into a bluish foam that then expands quickly upward, taking about two minutes to fill the hole. It’s pretty much exactly like those baking-soda-volcano science projects we used to do in grade school. About two hours later, it’s rock solid, except with any excess material on the surface, which is relatively brittle and can be easily carved away with a knife.

I’ve never used concrete so I can’t really compare it to the Sika foam, but the wife and I were both deterred by the notion of having to mix and pour it, then cleaning up afterward and waiting a full day for it to dry. The foam is made for people like us: painfully easy-to-use, no mess and fast-acting.

We’re also not positive how the foam is going to stand up to our horrific winters, so we’re putting a good amount of faith in Home Depot’s decision to sell the stuff in Canada in light of that fact. That notwithstanding, I couldn’t recommend the foam more – it made a relatively difficult project a tad bit easier.

It’s not cheap, though. Each pouch costs around $15, with its manufacturer suggesting that each one can fill a three-foot hole. With concrete, you’d need about two $6 bags each, meaning that the foam is slightly more expensive in theory.

In practice, though, we ended up needing about two pouches per hole, which was considerably more costly than concrete. But after the back-breaking work of digging holes and the rock-and-root excavations that inevitably followed, it was money well spent.

Here’s a video showing how it works:

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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in review


Review: Sandcrawler the best Star Wars Lego set yet

sandcrawler1Is there a better way to celebrate May the 4th than with some new Star Wars Lego? I certainly don’t know of it, which is why I went down to the local Lego store bright and early Saturday morning to pick up the brand new Sandcrawler. The 3,296-piece monstrosity is the first big, new, original-trilogy vehicle in some time, so I was naturally jazzed for it. At $349, it’s pricey, but it is one of the biggest sets Lego sells – not just in the Star Wars line, but overall. (Anyone wondering at this point why a grown adult may want to play with Lego should probably read this before continuing on).

I was immediately impressed upon cracking the box open to find 20 plastic packages of Lego, as well as a thick, 315-page booklet that resembles a car manual more than a set of toy instructions. It’s clear the Sandcrawler is something special, with a six-page introduction giving some background on how the Jawa scavengers of Tattoine use their rolling factory to collect and sell droids, plus an interview with model creator Olav Kroigaard. I’ve never seen such a preamble in a Lego instruction book before.

The first few hours and plastic packages were the most enjoyable part of the build since, with a big set like this one, you’re never really sure which section you’re starting with or why. It was obvious that the vehicle’s base was up first, but I couldn’t help but wonder why the instructions didn’t start with the tracks. This only became clear several hours later, once a strong foundation had been established upon which the rest of the Sandcrawler – including its locomotion apparatus – would depend. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in lego, review, Star Wars


Review: Xperia Z2 has a surprisingly good camera

xperiaA couple weeks ago, I took a look at the crop of new Android smartphones hitting carriers this spring, including the HTC One, the LG Flex and the Samsung Galaxy S5. I’ve had some time now to test out Sony’s new Xperia Z2, so let’s add a new review to the pile.

Generally speaking, I quite like the Z2, which is coming to Canada in May. It’s exclusive to Bell for now, but it will also be sold unlocked in Sony stores to anyone who wants to shell out its full $699 price tag. It’s a big device, to be sure, with a 5.2-inch display, but it still feels good in your hand. That’s due to its solid construction, with an aluminum frame and a solid glass front and back that makes it feel sturdy. I wouldn’t want to drop it, even though it feels like it could survive the ordeal.

All told, the Z2 is about as big a phone as I’d like to handle, which is to say that I’d stop short of a phablet like the Galaxy Note 3. Indeed, after trying out so many bigger-screen devices, I have to agree with many of the pundits who are crying out for Apple to up the iPhone’s visual real-estate size. It now feels puny in comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in mobile, review, sony