Category Archives: shopping

Trader Joes

The Trader Joe’s Chain
~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions as a 5 stars out of 5 ~

Manifested and created by the German grocery store chain Aldi – Trader Joe’s is the Americanized version of Aldi Markt or Aldi North. They tapped the American kitch and spirit of what middle class America wants with an affordable price that catches the budget. But it is different and quite unique, as it is driven by American culture, philosophy, and business practices.

I was first introduced to the shop when living in California the wee stages of Y2K. (year 2000 for the Generation X crowd) Back then, there wasn’t many stores around America. When I moved to Colorado in 2005, i was saddened there were none. It was at that time my favorite grocery store and I really appreciated the food quality, the pricing, and their business model. I can’t say I fully feel the same way today now that Trader Joe’s is in pretty much every state with locations everywhere. By 2015 they became a major grocery store competitor. By the beginning of 2018 they have over 480 stores in America expanding 43 states as well as the District of Columbia. With the growth comes sub-standard practices. They have become a bit more generic and similar to practices that regular grocery chains use. Their prices have increased substantially. Food quality is not so great and they over-use plastic and packaging contributing to the great trash problem on the planet.

Although birthed as its manifestation today being a branch of Aldi Markt (Aldi North) from Germany it was originally founded by Joseph “Joe” Coulombe in 1958 as the Pronto Market convenience store which mimicked 7-11 style and operation located in Los Angeles. He weaved the idea of the Trader Joe’s South Seas motif after vacationing in the Caribbean borrowing its Tiki kitch style as it was very popular motif in the 50’s and 60’s. It wasn’t until 1967 when it was called “Trader Joe’s” and appeared as such with one store on the Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, California. He leased out space with local butchers to provide fresh meat, operated a sandwich shop within, offered fresh cut cheese and squeezed orange juice.

Trader Joes really didn’t become the genius idea it is today until being owned in 1979 by German entrepreneur Theo Albrecht who purchased the store from Joe as a personal investment for his family. By 1987 Joe was succeeded by John Shields as CEO who expanded the market into Arizona in 1993 and the Pacific Northwest by 1995. By 1996 they opened stores in the Boston area opening the East Coast market. By 2001 Dan Bane took over being CEO expanding to 156 stores within 15 American states. Theo died in 2010 passing the Trader Joe’s business on to his family becoming even more so the Americanized Aldi Markt.

The Good
Trader Joe’s has unique items, still good pricing, and matches the populous generation’s budgets. It is still one of the best stores in America. In 2016 Trader Joes made a goal to have all the eggs they sell in Western STates to come from cage-free suppliers by 2020, and all eggs nationally to be cage-free by 2025.

The Bad
With its growth has come sub-standard quality and practices, pushing out local markets and chains. While this is normal for any major growth of a company, their practices are beyond secretive. Reports have claimed at the majority of Trader Joe’s products are made on equipment that doesn’t separate out production for those of philosophical or health-concerned needs. The equipment is exposed to dairy, nuts, meat, and non-kosher foods. In 2017 they claimed to have invented the “puff dog” – a roll of spiced sausage meat wrapped in a puff pastry, but British and Commonwealth Media challenged their claim by stating this was already a traditional British savoury snack.

The Ugly
Trader Joes uses too much packaging causing it to be a plague on the environment. This has caused Trader Joes to rank low on Greenpeace’s sustainable seafood report card stating they have excessive packaging with even produce sealed in plastic and utilizing a business mode that forces consumers to buy large enough quantities to encourage waste. They have been known for their lack of transparency about their sources of their products.

Stores reviewed:

Products reviewed:

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Like this review? want more? consider donating a chai, coffee, tea, or meal to the reviewer as a way to say “thank you! I want more …”





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Greendot reloadable VISA card

Greendot re-loadable VISA card
~ www.greendot.com
~

Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

What their advertising promises: A re-loadable pre-paid visa card that you can use anywhere VISA is accepted, in stores, online, recurring monthly payments, and a card to direct deposit to. What you get: A gift card that is not reloadable, cannot be used online, cannot be used for monthly payments, and cannot accept direct deposit.

This is a scam folks, and you will lose money even trying out the service. This afternoon I went into Safeway excited to see their service promise only to discover I was scammed into buying a $1.95 gift card. In addition, they will assess a $7.95/month use fee. To close the account, it’ll take upwards of 2-4 weeks to get your money back. Tech support was horrible and they did not care that their service is a scam. They wasted my time, wasted my money, and just proved how inept their idea is. Their web site is buggy as is there validation system. They are just as bad as Capital One pre-paid Master Card. Rating: 1 star out of 5. / Tested 2/13/18.

As the paper boy in “Better Off Dead” declares … “I WANT MY $2!” (back).

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Like this review? want more? consider donating a chai, coffee, tea, or meal to the reviewer as a way to say “thank you! I want more …”





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EBT/SNAP – Not just food stamps

Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT)

Historically known as “Food Stamps”, EBT or the “Electronic Benefits Card” is a state operated program to assist no or low income families with monthly food expenses. There are however much more benefits to the cards than just monthly food allowance. The card can get you discounts and admissions to family museums and/or events. Just because poverty has given you a hard time recently, doesn’t mean your children have to suffer and not experience educational programs, museums, and ability to play with other children.

This article is centered around Colorado as that is my home state, however, many of these benefits extend to other states and other state recipients can benefit on these when coming to Colorado.

The Food selection of the EBT card in Colorado can be used for food and grocery purchases, food deliveries from Schwans, Pizza from Papa Murphy’s (and other take-n-bake outlets some of which will cook the pizza for you for an addition $1-2), Energy Drinks (has to have a food nutrition label on it), Fresh Produce at Farmer’s Markets, Starbucks in Grocery Stores, Seeds/Plants that grow food, live lobsters/shellfish, birthday cakes, special event cakes (unless decoration makes up more than 50% of cake), non-ornamental pumpkins, and gift baskets for the holidays (as long as all contents are edible and don’t contain prohibited items). Showing your EBT Card in Denver can get you and your family in for $1 each admission to the Denver Children’s Museum and the Denver Museum of Natural History.

ALL STATES

  • Look up your state here: https://lowincomerelief.com/ebt/

    COLORADO

    Double Up Food Bucks – Colorado

    Denver, Colorado:


    • Children’s Museum – $1 admission ticket for each family member.
    • Denver Museum of Natural History – $1 admission per person up to 10 in party.

      Lafayette, Colorado

    • WOW Children’s Museum – $10 per family per year.

      WASHINGTON STATE

      Bellevue, WA

    • KidsQuest Children’s Museum – $3 admission

      Everett, WA

    • Imagine Children’s Museum – $3 admission

      Olympia, WA

    • Hand’s On Children’s Museum – Free admission

      Seattle, WA

    • Living Computers: Museum + Labs – $1 daily admission OR $10 Family Memberships
    • Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) – $2 per person
    • Pacific Science Center – Family Memberships for $19/YEAR
    • Seattle Children’s Museum – $1 per person with EBT or ProviderOne Card

      Tacoma, WA

    • The History Museum – $1 for an individual OR $2 for the whole family
    • The Tacoma Art Museum – $1 for an individual OR $2 for the whole family
    • The Museum of Glass – $1 for an individual OR $2 for the whole family
    • Tacoma Children’s Museum – Donations Only
    • My kiddos at Tacoma Children’s Museum

      General Services and Purchases:

    • AMAZON PRIME $5.99/month : https://www.amazon.com/l/16256994011
    • Amazon Prime for $5.99/month
    • Bertoglio’s Pizza
    • Community-supported agriculture programs including organic delivery services sometimes accept EBT.
    • Farmer’s Markets (not all, but most – and some will double your money value – i.e. $20 worth of produce for $10)
    • Fast Food Restaurants (certain ones in certain states): https://lowincomerelief.com/fast-food-restaurants-ebt/
    • Food and groceries from most chain grocery stores like Albertsons, King Soopers, Safeway, Trader Joes, Costco, Walmart, City Market, Fred Meyers, Cheapies, etc. SNAP EBT Locator
    • Hot and Ready Pizzas at 7/11 (buy frozen with EBT and they’ll cook it afterwards on site)
    • Internet (Free and discounte): https://lowincomerelief.com/how-to-get-free-internet-almost/
    • Internet Essentials and Low Cost Laptops
    • Leonardi’s Pizza (inside Winco) ($1 cash per pizza to get it cooked)
    • Papa Murphy’s
    • Schwan’s Food Delivery Trucks (does not cover delivery charge)
    • Starbucks within Grocery Stores that accept EBT
    • Subway Sandwiches (inside gas stations)

    Recommended Reading:

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    16th Street Mall (Denver, Colorado)

    Wandering the 16th Street Mall (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=31821)

    16th Street Mall
    16th street, Denver, Colorado
    https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/denver-attractions/16th-street-mall/

    The iconic “Main Street” that most think of when thinking of the center of Denver. This foot traffic and shuttle bus strip dotted by upscale stores, chain restaurants, and entertainment avenues is one of the hotspots for tourism to Denver. It is a central drop off location for those staying downtown. It offers a lot of activities for its patrons and visitors. It is a central location for entertainment, festivals, fairs, shows, events, flash mobs, street performances, and zombie crawls. It boasts a free transit mall ride or shuttle bus called the Free MallRide. I’ve had many memories of this place from the Denver Freeze to the Denver Zombie Crawls, to late night and daytime activities. During the summer, the center strip was dotted with free pianos to play, lounge chairs, games, chess, bean bags, rolling chairs, and local performances. ~ Leaf McGowan. Visited 8/5/17 – 5 stars out of 5

    The tree-lined pedestrian and transit mall runs approximately 125 miles across downtown Denver from Wewatta Street at the historic Union Square to the Civic Center Station at 16th and Broadway. There are over 300 stores dotted along the corridor ranging from chains to locally owned shops. As costs become over the top, more chains have replaced local businesses through time. There are over 50 restaurants and the Denver Pavillions Mall. The Mall opened in 1982 as a pedestrian strip running from Market Street to Broadway but has since expanded to Wynkoop Street in 2001 and to Union Station in 2002. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.

    Directory of Services: Please visit web site linked above. As we review various places and events, they will be linked here in the near future.

    Museums:

    Past Events:

    • Denver Freeze Flash Mob
    • Denver Zombie Crawls: 1st Annual, 3rd annual

        Wandering the 16th Street Mall (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=31821), Denver, Colorado. Scenes from the Streets. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken Saturday, August 5, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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    Union Station (Denver, CO)

    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station

    Union Station
    ~ Denver, Colorado ~

    Write up coming soon ….

    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Denver SantaCon 2016 ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29647), Union Station ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29651); Denver, Co – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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    Poor Richards (Colorado Springs, Co)

    Poor Richards

    Poor Richards
    ~ Colorado Springs, Colorado ~

    Write up coming soon ….

    Poor Richards ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29645) – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

    Poor Richards ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29645) – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

    Poor Richards ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29645) – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 23, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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    Trick or Treat Main Street Parker, Colorado 2016

    Trick or Treating Main Street Parker, Colorado (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28095). New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 31, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Trick or Treating Main Street Parker

    Trick or Treating Celebration
    ~ Parker, Colorado ~

    Each year, downtown Parker Colorado puts on a street block event along mainstreet closing off the streets for vendors and local businesses to hand out trick-or-treating treats and candies from their booths to the local kids and attendees of the fest. They have a mini-corn maze, performers, actors, music, and information/goods from the businesses in the area. Its a free event with a great attendance. My son came home with a bucket load of treats. Good times and a nice scenic downtown sector. This year (2016) was held on Halloween itself (10/31/16). Rating: 3 stars out of 5

    Trick or Treating Main Street Parker, Colorado (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28095). New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 31, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
    Trick or Treating Main Street Parker, Colorado (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28095). New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 31, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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    Prince August Toy Soldier Factory

    113013-232

    Prince August Toy Soldier Factory
    * Kilnamartyra Village, Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland * Phone + 353 (0)26 40222 * Fax + 353 (0)26 40004 * http://www.princeaugust.ie/ *

    As we were driving around Ireland looking for stone monuments, dolmen, tombs, and holy wells we stumbled upon this toy factory in the small village of Kilnamartyra in Macroom, near Killarney town and Cork City. The parking lot was empty but the open sign was up. The outside of the building had beautiful artwork and painting of mythology, toy soldiers, and dragons. Inside we were greated by a mom and her son who showed us around the store, let us take a peek in the warehouse, and demonstrated lead casting of the toy soldiers. Apparently this is the only Toy Soldier Factory in all of Europe and one of the largest of its kind in the world. They offer tours of the facilities, demonstrations, school tours, family days, parties, and craft making sessions.

    113013-238

    They offer casting and painting workshops as well. The Factory creates a variety of start kits that contain moulds that can be used for home crafting to create your own toy soldiers or mythical beings. The selection ranges from toy soldiers, traditional soldiers, Romans, Vikings, Faeries, Mythological Figures, Chess Sets, Christmas Ornaments, and Teddy Bears. The factory was founded in 1976 by two new Irish residents from Sweden. They bought a factory building in Kilnamartyra, recruited local help, and bought mould making machines beginning production. They originally packed and distributed in Germany while manufacturing in Ireland at first, but as their resources grew in Ireland, moved operations completely into Ireland. We had a great visit, and enjoyed the figurines. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

    113013-243

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    Galleon’s Lost (Charleston, SC)

    Galleon's Lost
    Galleon's Lost

    Galleon’s Lost
    * 165 King Street * Charleston, SC 29401 * galleonslost.com * (843) 577-3875 *

    Down the city center along King Street, in the historic pirate town of Charleston, South Carolina, you can find a treasure shoppe of timeless maritime collectibles, treasures, rare objects, antiques, and an authentic pirate treasure gallery. Being a big fan of “all things Pirate” I definitely had a fun browse through the store and brief chat with one of the staff. I found friendly and hospitable service, good conversations, and a great collection of fascinating finds. The shop is a subsidiary of Voyager International that brings treasures of the Island Kings collection to Charleston. The focus of the era of these antiquities covers items collected from the spice routes to China dating from the 16th-17th centuries. In addition, one can find fabulous jewelry, black pearls, pieces of 8, gold doubloons, Keris knives, salvaged treasures, and Spanish/Portugese bronze armaments. Voyager International is a world acquisition and trade service organization led by Rich Mutschler specializing in the importation and sale of maritime treasure related goods, ethnographic art, and investment quality stringed musical instruments. They also organize trade and cultural expeditions to Indonesia featuring trade and cultural experiences through business activity and social interaction. Any history buff, adventurer, pirate, gypsy, and/or hobby would enjoy this shop. Definitely a great shop to visit while in Charleston. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

    Galleon's Lost
    Galleon's Lost

    Galleon's Lost
    Galleon's Lost
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    Rosewood Market (Columbia, South Carolina)

    Rosewood Market
    * 2803 Rosewood Dr * Columbia, SC 29205 * (803) 256-6410 * http://www.rosewoodmarket.com/ *

    A nice alternative to Whole Foods … this wonderful local natural grocery store and community center has all of your natural, organic, and healthy lifestyle grocery and health needs. Still high priced like Wholefoods (but a bit more affordable), Rosewood Market is worth the support. If you live in or will be travelling through Columbia, South Carolina – this is a great place for grocery shopping and finding out about up-to-date community events. Rosewood Market was opened in 1973, originally as a restaurant called the “Basil Pot”, and began carrying groceries until it took over. The Cafe is spectacular, tasty, and good healthy food. They pride themselves on local foods, fresh produce, organic and free range meats. They have a Deli, cater, and have a outside dining patio. We’ve had the pleasure to visit the store many times, and have indulged in their fine cooking, baking, and creations. Rating 4.5 stars out of 5.

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    Swift Water beads (Columbia, South Carolina)

    Swift Water Beads
    * 3104 Rosewood Dr * Columbia, SC 29205? * (803) 252-2020 *

    If you live near or if you’re travelling through Rosewood Community in Columbia, South Carolina and are a crafter, artist, jeweller, hobbyist, or bead enthusiast … this is the store for you. A great selection of beads and treasures. I enjoy looking through their collections, beads, stones, gems, and supplies even though i’m currently not making jewelry. Good service, nice location, fabulous ambiance. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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    Jackalope Pottery (Santa Fe, NM)

    112213-002

    Jackalope Pottery
    * 2820 Cerrillos Rd * Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507 * Phone:+1 505-471-8539 *

    One of Santa Fe’s star shopping attractions, Jackalope Pottery is a complex of artisan booths and shops based around Southwestern Art and multi-cultured treasures. Created by a self-made entrepreneur named Darby McQuade from Richwood, West Virginia, who was inspired to weave this maze when he moved to Santa Fe in 1976. He began by selling out of the back of his truck near the historic Santa Fe Plaza selling pottery and merchandise we brought back from Mexico. Once funds rolled in, he set out to create the village that is now called “Jackalope” where visitors could experience shopping as entertainment with the treasures they could discover. Now it is one of Santa Fe’s premiere home and garden shopping centers and a five star attraction to the area visited by over 900,000 tourists every year. He has expanded his collections from Mexico to include unique items from India, Thailand, Bali, Africa, China, and Egypt as well. Focused on folk art, ornaments, pottery, handmade furniture, rugs, and hand-blown glass … the garden as well as the indoor shop is a bountiful array of gifts and curiousities. There is wildlife in the trees, hosts a prairie dog village, an animal barn, a plant nursery, a furniture store, a Mercado and a cafe. THere are now more than 1 store in Santa Fe, with additional outlets in North Hollywood California. Personally I found it a bit over-rated as the “Pier 1 on steroids” with items a bit over-priced and generic. Nonetheless, I had a good experience and even bought some trinkets. Rating: 3 stars out of 5, visited 11/22/13.

    112213-003

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    Starwood XXXIII – 2013: Tree Leaves Oracle / Pirate Relief / Faeid Fellowship Booth

    070913-003

    Starwood 2013:
    The Tree Leaves’ Oracle, Pirate Relief, Faeid Fellowship, & The Naiads Well Booth

    * July 9th-14th, 2013 * Starwood Festival XXXIII * Wisteria Nature Sanctuary * Pomeroy * Ohio * http://www.rosencomet.com/starwood/ *

    For its seventh year as the manifestation of The Tree Leaves’ Oracle (of the 33 Starwoods), joined for its first year with its brethren of Pirate Relief and the Naiads’ Well, and the 5th year with the Faeid Fellowship – Tree Leaves presents its collection of treasures, art, clothing, incense, oils, bath and body works, leaf works, faeries, pirates, zombies, and fantasy collection at the annual Starwood Festival. First time they’ve attended on the new location of Starwood on the grounds of the Wisteria Pagan and Nature Sanctuary in Pomeroy Ohio. It was a fun-filled 6 days of vending through sunburns and drenching rains welcoming in new friends, extended family, clientele, and window shoppers for the duration of the event. A catastrophic storm demolished one of its 10×20 tents, a electrician helped try to solve the solar panel burnout, and a leaking RV roof only added to the adventure. Sales were decent, definitely covering festival costs, but nothing to write home about especially given the weather-induced damages. However, the festival was so incredibly fun that wasn’t a consideration as the crew plans to return next year. Albeit a different experience from it being held at Brushwood, Wisteria has a different experience and magic to be part of. Thanks for a wonderful Starwood!

    The Tree Leaves Oracle, Pirate Relief, Faeid Fellowship, & The Naiads Well Booth at Starwood 2013
    Wisteria Campground
    * Pomeroy, Ohio * http://www.wisteria.org/ * * info@wisteria.org * 740-742-4302 *

    Monday, July 9th, 2013
    Good times as we were setup during Wisteria’s Wormhole event, so didn’t have to stress with the craziness around us of incoming traffic, choosing camp locations, building and erecting camps … we welcomed in newcomer’s, revelled with those who already had been there, and provided supplies and gifts to those who sought them. New friends and extended family was made. Weather bounced between overcast and rain with a sprinkling of sun. Good times.

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    070913-015

    Continue reading Starwood XXXIII – 2013: Tree Leaves Oracle / Pirate Relief / Faeid Fellowship Booth

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    Carmax.com – Columbia, South Carolina

    083013-010

    Carmax.com
    555 Jamil Rd * Columbia, South Carolina, 29210 * (803) 750-0856 * www.carmax.com *

    We just had our Isuzu Trooper checked out for our cross country journey we’ll be taking later this week at AAA Car Care Center in Columbia, South Carolina and found bad news. Leaking head gasket that could run between $700 and a couple of thousand to repair, water in oil – possibly the intake, right outer CV Boot was busted and both the upper and lower ball joints had play in them, both of which would cost about $1400-$1600 to repair, and the air conditioner would need about $150 to get it to pump cold air again. At 170,000 miles that would of been a few thousand, and unsure of how long it would last or if it could get us across the country. So obviously, time to get another vehicle – one that could make the journey. We asked the rep at AAA if they had a suggestion of where to go, and he personally said he had a friend who worked at Carmax.com and they seemed reputable. So we thought we’d give it a try. Since we’re leaving in a week, we’re pressed on time, and Carmax not only would sell us a car at a no-haggle straight-forward price, but would buy our vehicle as well, and transfer the tag for us – simply in and out process. We certainly could have gotten more for our Trooper if we sold on Craigslist, but tallying up the cost of waiting for the vehicle to sell within a week, dealing with showing it to numerous people, haggling, etc would be more time consumption than we have. Same with going around from dealership to dealership. Then we’d be car-less looking for another car on Craigslist and having to either rent a car or use public transport with a baby. Nothing seemed appetizing in that manner, nor along our timeline. We also needed a vehicle that could easily handle the journey across the US, had a strong engine that could pull a trailer if we needed to get one, and had room for the stuff we needed to move across the movers wouldn’t be moving. Our little Trooper couldn’t pull anything over 2,000 lbs and with its issues, was a death trap thinking it could.


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    We drove over the Carmax, parked, and headed on into the lobby. Everything was clean, sparkling, large gallery, and friendly staff. We were offered to go look around until a sales rep was available. We pretty much looked the lot over for vans and trucks – finding a few we liked, but wasn’t really in our preferred price line as we’re the type that go for “Cheap” used car price deals you can find on craigslist, not Kelly blue book values or higher. We definitely was discouraged with the prices. So we were about to leave when the sales agent Kelsey found us, and started to show us around the insides of the vehicles we liked, the perks, told us about their 5 day return policy no questions asked, their 30 day warranty that supposedly covers anything from breaking, and their policies, and that they could evaluate our Trooper while we waited and come up with a price for it we’d get in the next 7 days regardless of whether or not we’d be buying a vehicle from them. It would take 30 minutes he said, and that it did. Interestingly enough, they gave a clear “Ok” on the engine and other mechanical issues, stating the dash needed repairs, and the front door needed repairs. Given what the other mechanics said, we were a bit surprised. It also needs a new paint job and alot of work, so wasn’t expecting being offered much, and wasn’t. I doubt they’d be reselling this one. We probably could have sold it for more on Craigslist, but given the time restrictions we have for our move, not really practical and be more costly than its worth. Plus having to register a car, stand around at the DMV all day and pay additional taxes and fees on another vehicle is another day away from packing up for the move. Carmax could transfer our tags to the new vehicle automatically in 10 minutes, and it would cost about $30. We were told by two sales reps at Carmax, the price on the window included taxes, but that wasn’t the case. Turns out the price we got for the trooper just covered the sales tax addition for the vehicle we bought, and so we therefore walked off the lot for $30 more than the window decal price.

    We were stuck between a really cool van that had a roof rack, seats that folded down into the floor board, on dash navigation, and towing capacity of about 4,700 lbs or a 2007 Ford Explorer that had a towing capacity of 7,200 lbs, already had a tow bar, a roof rack, on-dash navigation, dvd player, automatically folding into floor board third row seats, (though second row didn’t fold into floor board) and everything else we needed for this journey. The Ford Explorer was substantially more affordable, so we went with that. We discovered that one on the web site with the rep and when going to test drive it, discovered that the person test driving it before us had decided to buy it and it was no longer available. We were disappointed. But then the rep said we could test drive it to see if its the kind of vehicle we wanted, so out for a test drive we went. Since we were paying cash for it, the rep somehow made it no longer “sold” and removed the “sold” tag from the rear-view window and said if we wanted it we could have it. Test drive went well, no noises, smooth sailing, good alignment, did a couple figure 8’s in a shopping lot, and gave it the speed test, and everything working. We figure if something was going to break, it would do so in this next 30 day journey we’re about to take, and it has a 30 day warranty. They did however very hard sell on the extended warranty to cover it to 150,000 miles for close to $2,000 with a $300 deductible. Given this vehicle was 111,000 and we’d be putting on about 10,000 miles on this journey alone within the 30 day warranty, I couldn’t see the sense in paying a couple of thousand to extend a warranty for just over 25,000 miles. Maybe I’m making a mistake, but right now the bottom line was saving money and we feel that if anything goes wrong, it will be in the next 10,000 miles over the next 30 days which Carmax claims will fix at their centers, which they claim are all across the country.

    Charleston Harbour Pirate and Ghost Tour

    It took nearly the day (4-5 hours) to shop and process paperwork, transfer items from vehicle to vehicle, and process the sale. That was surprisingly long given it was a cash deal. But everyone was friendly, helpful, and non-pressured (except during the extended warranty offer). So far so good, we’re happy with the vehicle, and think we made a wise purchase. Next step is to have a mechanic check it out during the 5 day no questions return policy, and make sure its a gem as we hope to have. We’ll post updates here as our experience with car-max runs its course. Experience 8/24/13 – Sales and Purchase Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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    That sunday we took a drive down to Charleston to visit our niece. After our day at the beach, the engine light came on. Vehicle was running fine, and nothing visually could be detected, but figured with the 30 day warranty I should go check it out. On monday, we dropped by AAA Car Care for a check over since we had 5 days to return this vehicle to Carmax no questions asked. AAA gave us the engine codes of concern, either a engine misfire or a catalytic converter issue. On to Carmax, they scheduled us for Wednesday to check it out, Carmax free of charge. I dropped it off on wednesday, and everything went smooth – they found that a catalytic converter was malfunctioning and had to send it off to the muffler shop. They hooked me up with a free rental car from Enterprise so I could get around with my chores. Unfortunately I still had to pay the $36/day insurance for the rental because my insurance (Allstate) only transfers over liability. That was a bit crappy since it was going to be about 2 days. It was fixed on Friday and everything free of charge, just as the Carmax warranty promised. So far, so good … I’m very pleased with Carmax. The experience at the service desk, how attentive they were, and how they saw to the issue quickly was top notch. The Enterprise rental guy however seemed to claim alot of calls come from Carmax for rentals while repairs are being done, but they do have alot more cars than any other used car dealership, so didn’t think much on that. Experience 8/25-8/29/13 – Service and Operations, Repairs, Warranty. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

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    Dream Dinners : Quick meals for the weekender traveler

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    Dream Dinners @ Pigly Wiggly

    * http://dreamdinners.com/ *

    We first discovered this little “making life easier” treat when my co-workers and company chipped in and got us $100 worth of “Dream Dinners” – a service we’ve never heard of before until this event. As we were in recovery mode from the birth of our baby … they generously helped out with making meals easy on us. The service is brilliant, as they make meals easy to do especially for when you don’t have much time to gather ingredients and cook. Realized quickly the meals would be grand for taking on outings, picnics, and camp-outs. The company was founded on a mission of bringing together families around the dinner table, providing everything needed to assemble great dinners to enjoy with meal preparation times under an hour. Here in Columbia, South Carolina they are based out of the Pigley Wigley grocer stores. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

    031513-004

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    The Baby Grocery Store (Charlotte, North Carolina)


    022313-004

    The Baby Grocery Store
    * 10225 Park Rd * Charlotte NC 28210 * (704) 543-8635 * Curbside Pick-up – (704) 543-8637 * http://www.thebabygrocerystore.com/ * http://www.facebook.com/thebabygrocerystore *


    A unique little boutique and grocery store that is styled like a “Whole Foods For Babies” is set in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. Travelers with babies might want to take a gander through these aisles. We discovered this little gem while taking a “cloth diapering class” which was offered free by Ivy’s Diaper Service in Charlotte in the baby / community room hosted by this store. Its a unique all-inclusive grocery store just for babies including natural, organic, and non-GMO food products, fresh and frozen meals, cloth diapers, disposable diapers, wipes, and gear all from companies that are set to minimize the environmental impact of babies and keeping infants safe and healthy. Great business idea, great model, and looks like its building a great community around it. Browsing their aisles as we’re expecting soon, we found a nice selection around. Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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    Fresh (Dublin)

    Fresh

    * 1 Crown Alley * Temple Bar * Dublin, Ireland * 2 * phone: (01) 671 8423 * http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fresh-Temple-Bar/ *

    One of Dublin’s little hotspots for fashion, club wear, and alternative garb … “Fresh” is in the heart of Temple Bar along Crown Alley, and boasts the best of alternative brands for vintage, punk, gothic, mod, street, rock, metal, and raver clothing, accessories, and fashion. Open from 11-6 mondays through saturdays, and sundays from 1 to 5. Great shop, great selection, and for Dublin, one of its finest. Lots of eye candy in the shop and good offers.

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    The CHQ Building (Dublin, Ireland)

    The CHQ Building

    The CHQ Building
    * River Liffey * Dublin, Ireland * http://www.chq.ie/ *

    A shopping center with future promise, as many of the stores are empty as they stand today. But big names like Starbucks, Louis Copeland and Sons, Fran & Jane, Carphone Warehouse, and Pilates IFSC have set up shop within. Historically the building was known as “Stack A” as a tobacco store with vaults below to store wine and was designed by the infamous engineer Scot John Rennie. It is a protected building under the Planning Acts, steeped with local history, and traditionally known as the “Banquet Hall” as it was used for the Crimean War banquet in the mid-nineteenth century which gave it its popularity.

    The CHQ Building

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    Manly Market (Queensland, Australia)

    Manly Market
    Manly Beach, Queensland, Australia
    http://www.manlyharbourvillage.com/

    Every sunday the Manly Creative Markets spreads out its presence in the Little Bayside Park along the Esplanade of the beaching and boating resort of Manly Beach. It runs from 8 am to 3 pm offering a wonderful assortment of hand crafts, Australian local gifts, food, snacks, handcrafts, and farmer’s produce. Lots of Food, fruits s, vegetables, plants, and crafts are available. On the entertainment side offered are kid’s rides, a coffee shop, massage services, performances, and a dog wash. Great place to get gifts!

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    The Ferocious Mingle Market (Dublin, Ireland)

    The Ferocious Mingle Market
    The Ferocious Mingle Market

    The Ferocious Mingle Market
    * Thursdays to Sundays * 72 Thomas Street * Dublin 8 * Ireland * (086) 0282344 * Hours: Thu-Sun 11:00 – 18:00 * http://www.facebook.com/mingle.mkt * http://www.thejosiebaggleycompany.com/pages/FerociousMingleMarket-info.htm *

    A great little odd and bizarre market open every thursday to sunday in the heart of Dublin’s Medieval district. Hidden behind a candy store is a passage back into time, a time of Steampunk visions and vintage affair. Live music sounds out every saturday and sunday with a cafe serving up a mean coffee and cake. Antiques, collectibles, art, vintage fashions, and oddities await. Much of the market takes on a “Steampunk” ambiance and flavor with an assortment of steampunk collections, gifts, and offerings. Every Sunday is fancy dress with costumes galore. After my first visit I was inspired to believe it would soon become a regular hangout! I vended the event once and had a splendid time (even though didn’t make much it was a great event). Every Second sunday it branches out to the Dublin Food Co-op for fancy dress goodness. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. [rating:5] ~ Leaf McGowan: visited 3/4/12, 3/24/12.

    Continue reading The Ferocious Mingle Market (Dublin, Ireland)

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    Technogypsie Treasures and Services

    Technogypsie Treasures
    & Services is Live!

    Our web shop is open for business as of August 5th, 2012. We’ll have new listings available daily from our found treasures, gifts, collectibles, art, photos, publications, and services ready for your viewing, purchase, and shipping. We’re embarking on a grand journey this month and next to re-open our warehouse and relocate it to our Charleston, South Carolina office – so many more products and services will be offered in the next two months.

    We’re travelling from our Dublin, Ireland office to Scotland, then Iceland, and on to our storage facility in Colorado. We’ll be taking a road trip relocating our gifts and merchandise from Colorado, and collecting new surprises and treasures from the trip on through New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and to our port in Charleston, South Carolina. You can keep up with the travel tales and adventures in our blogs at Technogypsie Travels and Tales and Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf.

    Currently, we only have our Graphic Design and Web Design Services, Bumper Stickers, and Decals uploaded for your access. Check back daily for our daily updates.

    Coming soon: Found treasures, gems, rocks, books, and publications!

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    Dublin Docklands

    Dublin Docklands

    * http://www.ddda.ie/ * Dublin, Ireland *

    “Ceantar Duga tha Cliath” is a section of Dublin in the heart of the city centre along both sides of the River Liffey, extending from the Point Depot up to the Talbot Memorial bridge westwards. It is an area of Dublin that at the time of this writing is being re-vitalized and developed. In the center of activities is the historic famine ship – The Jeannie Johnson, The Customs House, The CHQ Center, and the new office buildings for Google. The developments in this area are being labelled the largest and most ambitious urban regeneration project in all of Irish history including new office spaces, retail spaces, waterside apartments, local amenities, a linear park, places set aside for recreation & leisure. Spencer Dock – offices, retail, parkland, and home to the Convention Centre Dublin. Point Village – redevelopment next to the Point Depot, housing a 120 meter tall tower, hotel, shopping center, over 13,000 square meters of office/retail spaces, a three story underground car park, 12 screen cinema, and a “U2 Experience” museum. Grand Canal Dock is being re-developed and home to Alto Vetro, Grand Canal Square, Montevetro, and the Grand Canal Theater. A train station operates from within the Docklands area called Iarnrd ireann. the Red Line Luas to Point Depot saw extension of the C1 here in December 2009 connecting Central Dublin to Connolly Station. Lodging is pretty popular in the Docklands area with giants such as the Gibson Hotel, Clarion Hotel IFSC, and The Grand Canal Hotel. The area is managed by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority that was created by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Act of 1997 to regenerate Dublin’s East side. This is over 1300 acres being re-developed, and to date has attracted over 3.35 billion of public and private investment with over 40,000 jobs being created because of it.

     

    Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

    These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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    Chinese Domain Name Scams

    Ah the wonders of the internet and email. This morning I awoke to some Asian domain registrar claiming another company is seeking trademark of my corporate name and website – “phishing” for validity that I was indeed the trademark holder. Of course in my sleep-deprived dreary morning eyes, clicked reply and told them indeed I was the owner. Of course as the morning chai started to settle in, and seeing three other such emails to other email addresses at my site I decided to “google” said company and found quite quickly it is a well know internet scam trying to get you to buy domains and register in Asian companies. Thankfully quite a few blog articles are up to warn people of these scams … as a friendly reminder to ALWAYS research an email before replying to it. Don’t know what curse I’ve laid upon myself with that particular email address … but better late than not at all.

    This particular scam begins with an email to you at your various domain email addresses … so there is a culprit behind the action who doesn’t seem to have any worthwhile activities on their brain but trying to scam others. Seriously you’d think with the warnings already out on the web already they’d at least change their name, company, and wording. But no, same cut-n-paste letter as sent to others around the web with similar responses and reactions.

      RE: Notice of Intellectual Property – Trademark Name

      Dear Manager:

      We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Anhui, China. On December,20th,2011, We received DATON Company’s application that they are registering the name “xxxyourcompanynamexxx” as their Internet Trademark and “xxxyourcompanynamexxx.cn”,”xxxyourcompanynamexxx.com.cn” ,”xxxyourcompanynamexxx.asia”domain names etc.,It is China and ASIA domain names.But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so I am sending you this Email to check.According to the principle in China,your company is the owner of the trademark,In our auditing time we can keep the domain names safe for you firstly, but our audit period is limited, if you object the third party application these domain names and need to protect the brand in china and Asia by yourself, please let the responsible officer contact us as soon as possible. Thank you!

      Kind regards

      Angela Zhang

      Anhui Office (Head Office)

      Registration Department Manager

      Room 1008 Shenhui Building
      Haitian Road, Huli Anhui, China


      ?
      Office: +86 0553 4994789

      Fax: +86 0553 4994789

      web: www.gytrademark.com

    Of course the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and bad English should be a warning – one I should have noticed but didn’t in this world of fast typing, internet syntax, text’ing grammar we’re submerged in. Many articles discussing this internet scam letter states too, if a real Chinese company drafted this letter, it would have been done differently if it was a real letter. The website “gytrademark.com” relays back to http://www.rg-net.org/ – which a quick google will tell you is a scam company such as listed in this article: http://www.the-name-i-wanted-was-already-taken-so-i-used-a-lot-of-dashes.com/yg-networks-com-is-a-scam-rip-off-warning/. Apparently Chinese Domain name scams is quite common – and out of my 20 years of web weaving, domain hosting, internet designing … this is the first time they’ve targeted me. Apparently the above “Angela Zhang” works for many similar named companies that she operates from – if she indeed exists at all. So be forewarned … its out there.

    Its quite advised if such a letter was indeed real, if you are registered in the United States as a legitimate company, own the domain name, can prove a history or trademark of the company name and purpose, you’re pretty protected. Holders of federal trademarks are afforded protection when the mark is used in connection with a particular service or goods. You can prove infringement if you can prove you’ve been using the trademark or name prior. We’ve been using ours for over 20 years and since we’ve coined the terms, not much worry behind that one.

    Bibliography/Recommended reading:

    Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

    These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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    Brisbane CBD

    Brisbane Central Business District (CBD)/Queen Street Mall

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Everyday for the first part of May I passed through the Brisbane CBD along the Queen Street mall enroute to my volunteer job as tourguide for the HMB Endeavour. Always distracted by unique shops, cool fashion, and foodstuffs along my journey. This area is Brisbane’s City Center and is considered its own suburb along the northern bank of the Brisbane River. It is triangular shaped and bounded by the Brisbane River to the east, south, and the west. Its tip is known as “Gardens Point” where it slopes up towards the northwest where the parklands and inner city suburbs are located. The area is concentrated with skyscrapers, retailers, and walking malls. It is also home to the City Botanic Gardens, Wickham Park, and the Roma Street parklands. The area was laid out in the early colonial era as a grid with the northwest-southeast streets named after male members from the House of Hanover with the northeast-southwest streets after female personas. Queen street runs along its center encompassing the most popular shopping district in Brisbane as a pedestrian mall. Its North Quay is where the first European explorers along the Brisbane River. It was near here that the original settlement farm known as “Petries Bight” was originally established to feed the colony named after Andrew Petrie, later home to the wharves, and now where the water police are located. The Center is also home to the Brisbane City Hall, Museum of Brisbane, City Council, Queensland’s Parliament House, Pancake Manor, Masonic Memorial Center, Queensland University of Technology Gardens Point Campus, Queens Gardens, Post Office Square, King George Square, and the City Hall. Four bridges connect the CBD with the rest of Brisbane as the Captain Cook Bridge, the Victoria Bridge, the William Jolly Bridge, and the Go Between Bridge. The area is surrounded also with bicycle and pedestrian footpaths, including some bridges specifically for them such as the Goodwill Bridge. It is also home to the central hub of all public transport including the main bus stations, railway station, and city ferries. Very enjoyable place during a visit to Brisbane. Rating: [rating=3.5]. ~ Leaf McGowan

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    Brisbane’s West End

    Brisbane West End
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    My first online Couchsurfing experience in Australia was in Southern Brisbane’s infamous inner-city suburb called “The West End”. A great alternative artsy lively area of cultural hodge-podge, the West End I found was one of the more exciting neighborhoods in the city. It is also one of Brisbane’s oldest. It has the Brisbane River weaving around it from its west and south. The West End is accessed from downtown via the Victoria Bridge and past South Brisbane. The area was first home to many indigenous communities acculturating to western culture, and migrant families who settled in Queensland for a new start in a new world. The area was named after London’s West End by the early English settlers in the area. The Indigenous called the area “Kurilpa” for “place of the water rat”. Since then however, the suburb has been redeveloped and gentrified. One of the most attractive aspects to the area I found was its culinary delights and variety from Asian to Indian, pizza to gourmet burgers, lots of ethnic, vegetarian or organic restaurant selections, and a plethera of coffee shops which it is most known for. Lots of diverse shopping attractions along Boundary street as well. Well known for its ethnic and organic grocery stores. Great second hand shops abound from book dealers to vintage clothing. Good transportation options abound in the area from the high-frequency bus service, bicycle trails along the river’s edge, and the Citycat ferry service running to the Unversity at St. Lucia down the river to Hamilton. There is also access stations to the South Brisbane Railway and the Cultural Centre Busway Station giving access to all parts of Queensland. Every Saturday, a popular food and craft market is held in the Davies Park at the former Tristram’s Drink Factory from 6 am until 2 pm along the Brisbane River at Montague Road. The West End is also home to Brisbane State High School (Year 8-12), lodging for the University of Queensland & Griffith University Southbank, QUT, and the West End State Primary School. The West End is home to many young professionals, students, teachers, artists, and the hipster crowd. It was one of Brisbane’s first suburbs to be serviced by a tram line which began in 1885 with horse-drawn service until 1969. The film “Jucy” was filmed in the area in 2010. During the 2010-2011 Queensland floods, the area was evacuated and devastated from water damages including destruction of the West End ferry wharf. Overall, the West End is a great center for culture and healthy living. If I ever moved to Brisbane, it would be my top choice of places to live. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley

    Southbanks Parklands

    Bibliography/References:

    Continue reading Brisbane’s West End

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    The Phoenix Flea Market (Canberra, Australia)


    The Phoenix Flea Market
    * Phoenix * 21 East Row * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * * 2601 * (02) 6247 1606 * http://www.lovethephoenix.com/ *

    The Irish ultra-cool hip hangout in Canberra, Australia known as the “Phoenix” celebrates its connection with the arts and alternative culture by hosting a sunday Flea Market where vendors can come and sell their art, creations, wares, used goods, and treasures. Its a definite trendy move for alternative bars and establishments today to have a market once in a while, monthly, or even weekly. I’ve become a great fan of these moves by venues as I think it is an extroadinary motion on their behalf – supporting the arts, community, local culture, alternative subcultures, and home based merchants. I feel the Phoenix has a great potential with their market and idea. During our participation in the market, unfortunately due to a bus strike during Easter sunday weekend, we were the only participating vendors and clientele was at a minimum. We still had a blast, good time socializing, and face painting. Visited 4/24/2011. Reviewed 11/15/2011 by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com.

    Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

    These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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    Aldi Grocery Stores

    Aldi Grocery Stores (North and South)
    ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

    Aldi Grocery Store
    * http://www.aldi.com/ *

    One of my favorite affordable international grocery stores. I was first introduced to them in their home country of Germany by my good friend Vanessa and have been hooked on them through my international travels ever since. Affordable, simple, and economic. I’ve continued to enjoy them through my travels in Australia, Europe, England, and Ireland. Aldi is a chain made up of two groups – the “Aldi North” (Aldi Markt) that has its headquarters in Essen and “Aldi Sud” headquartered in Malheim an der Ruhr. They were started by Germany’s richest man, Karl Albrecht with his brother Theo (Germany’s 2nd richest man). They now have over 2,500 stores in western, northern, and eastern Germany, and Aldi Sud’s with 1,600 stores in western and southern Germany. Internationally, they can be found in Denmark, France, the Benelux countries, the Iberian peninsula and Poland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and Australia. In the United States; Aldi Nord is the parent company of Trader Joes. Trader Joe’s is simply the Americanized version of Aldi Nord. Aldi was started in 1913 as a small store in Essen by Karl and Theo’s mother. The sons apprenticed in the shop and took over a food shop formerly ran as the “cheapest food source”. After World War II, the brothers took their mother’s business and opened another retail outlet nearby and by 1950 had over 13 stores. Their idea was to subtract the legal maximum rebate of 3% before sale to give customers additional discount. They split the company into the North and South by 1960 when they disputed over the sale of cigarettes at the till. By 1962 they came up with the Aldi name and became separate legal entities in 1966. They expanded internationally in the 1970s. The brothers retired in 1993 and gave most of their wealth away to foundations. To cut costs, they are “no frills” and expect customers to be orderly, bring their own bags, and until recently only accepted cash. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Review by Leaf McGowan.

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    St. Kilda

    St Kilda
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    St. Kilda is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia with a population over 16,000. It was established in 1839 with its own Local government area as “City of Port Phillip”, and an inner city suburb just 3.7 miles outside of the Melbourne Center. The area was named after a schooner Lady of St. Kilda which was moored at this beach for most of 1841 by Charles La Trobe and the ship’s master James Ross Lawrence. During the Victorian era, this suburb was most popular amongst Melbourne’s elite which led to the construction of numerous palatial mansions in the hood along the hills and waterfront. It became similar in function through time as New York City’s Coney Island did to NYC with a very similar parallel, even involving popular amusement parks. Postwar it became Melbourne’s Red Light Distric with low-cost rooming houses. Then it became the area of Melbourne known for its bohemian inhabitants, artisans, musicians, punks, LGBT, techno scene, and subcultures. St. Kilda is the focal point of “Luna Park”, the Esplanade Hotel, Acland Street, and Fitzroy Street, as well as St. Kilda Beach with its theaters, festivals, and events.

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    Isabella Plains of Canberra

    Isabella Plains
    * Canberra/Tuggeranong, Australian Capital Territory, Australia *

    Within the district of Tuggeranong in Canberra lies the suburb known as “Isabella Plains” which was named after Thomas Brisbane’s daughter “Isabella Maria Brisbane” who lived from 1821-1849. As Thomas Brisbane became the first white explorer of the area in 1823 who later became colonial Governor of New South Wales it made sense to name this area after her. The area borders the suburbs of Monash, Richardson, Calwell, and Bonython. It has boundaries by Drakeford Drive, Isabella Drive, Johnson Drive, and Ashley Drive. It contains a small shopping center with a supermarket, hairdresser, a Chinese Restaurant, a pathology clinic, a chemist, small doctor’s surgery, a Neighbourhood House, and a takeaway shop. It also has a few schools and universities both private, public, and government operated. There is also three churches in the area.

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    Echoe Park Time Travel Mart

    Echo Park Time Travel Mart
    * Echo Park * Los Angeles, California * http://www.826national.org/stores/ * 1714 W Sunset Blvd * Los Angeles, CA 90026 * (213) 413-3388 *

    In the heart of Echo Park is the thriving little convenience mart for “Time Travellers”. Is your flux capacitor out of commission? This is the place to go for repairs. Need leeches? They’ve got them in stock. Need a Toga in a jar? Need beards for disguises? weapons? dinosaur eggs? freeze dried milk robot milk? Viking odorant, mammoth chunks, Ricky Martin lunch boxes? they are in stock. While this shop has everything to peek one’s interest and give a chance to get a souvenir while visiting historic Echo Park, in reality this shop is a facade for another artsy “www.826national.org” shop known as www.826la.org. These are amazing writing labs where kids can go to write and learn with a non-profit organization that tutors kids ages 8-18. Throughout America are 826 stores that have a creative facade to attract tourists and souvenir shoppers while supporting the non-profit witha mission to support the local community, sell books, and teach under-privileged youth. San Francisco’s shop is a “Pirate Supply Store”, New York City’s is a “Superhero Supply Company”, while Seattle’s is a “Space Travel Supply Company”, Chicago has a secret agent supply store, Boston a Cryptozoology shop, and Michigan’s Liberty Street location is a “Robot Supply and Repair Shop”. L.A.’s Time Travel shop is operated by Miguel Arteta, Mac Barnett, Joshuah Bearman, Nnive Clements Calegari, Dave Eggers, Jodie Evans, John T. Gilbertson, Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, Keith Knight, Melissa Mathison, Salvador Plascencia, and Sally Willcox as the Board of Directors. Drop In Tutoring is available from Monday through Thursday, 2:30-5:30 pm. Tutoring has a focus on personalized instruction offering local students individualized help with their homework. Often many of the student’s works are published by Dogtown Books, an in-house publishing outfit in L.A. Workshops are offered to help students strengthen their skills, foster their creativity, and give them an opportunity to execute projects that showcase their work. The 826LA also sends volunteers to local L.A. schools to support teachers in their classrooms.

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