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9/7/14 Review - Need a Spare Pair of Glasses?

 If you wear glasses, you've been there.

Your specs go missing.  Or they break.  Or, like me, your German Shepherd decides to high-five your face and chips one of the lenses.

You need your 'emergency specs.'  Do you have a spare pair?

If you need extra prescription glasses, I highly recommend  Ordering from them was quick, mostly easy, and I received my glasses in the mail 10 days after I placed my order.

Each pair will arrive in a hard plastic glasses-case with a microfiber cleaning cloth.  While the fit wasn't perfect, you can take your glasses to any mall eye-store for a free adjustment.  (They don't care where you got the glasses, they just want to try and sell you things while you wait.)

When ordering glasses online, there are a few things you need to know.  First being your PD, or pupil distance.  This should be on your prescription, and is very important when choosing frames.

Each frame will give a 'PD Range' as well as measurements for lens width/height and frame width/height/length.  If you're trying to get a similar-fitting pair when compared to existing frames, measure your current specs.

This is probably the most important step, if you want the frames to fit your face perfectly.

I would also recommend the 'try it on' feature, but it seems to be a little choppy.  I tried it, and the frames weren't fitting my face properly.  I don't think it asks enough questions before it starts putting frames on your face, so it's best to read the dimensions to determine size and fit.

Overall, was easy to use, had a good selection of frames in my style, and had fair prices.  You can easily get two pairs of glasses for $100 or less, while looking like you didn't spend under $100.

Two things I especially liked about the shopping experience:

- If I wasn't completely satisfied (which I am), I could return everything for a refund/exchange within 45 days.

- I get to offer my readers a discount on their order.  If you use the code GSBrandon on checkout, you get 20% off your entire purchase.

(Note: Using that referral code does not help me at all.  I get no commission for sales, just a discount for you for being an awesome Idahomie.)

Best of all, I was able to try a pair of sunglasses I normally wouldn't buy.  They're Carolina Black & Blue, so I can support my Panthers in style this NFL Season.

What do you think?
Whether you're shopping for new glasses, replacement glasses or spare specs, give a look.  Enjoy the 20%, and let me know what you think of the site.


Mormons, Politics and Your Money

When I first moved to Idaho I noticed the sheer number of Mormons and Mormon-owned businesses in the area.  I went looking for a job and was asked repeatedly "what Ward I went to" when I lived in California.  When I responded I wasn't LDS, the interviews stopped.  Repeatedly.

I went to work for a car dealership.  I lost sales because I wasn't Mormon, and my deals would be handed over to an LDS salesman to keep the customer happy and to 'keep his money in the church.'

When I say keep the money in the church, it is because tithing is a requirement of the LDS faith.  So much so, that when I went to an Idaho bank to open an account, they (a mormon-owned bank, I know this now) had a 'direct-tithe' option where 10% of my direct-deposited paycheck would automatically go to my church.

It boggled my mind.

Originally being from California, I was well aware of the Proposition 8 campaign on marriage equality, and the major push from the LDS Church to make sure it passed (thus making same-sex marriage illegal).  Mormons and the Mormon Church gave massive amounts of money and ran TV ads in California to 'protect family values' and whether you agreed with them or not, the odds are YOUR MONEY was helping make that happen.

Why?  Because of the sheer number of businesses either owned by the LDS Church itself, or owned by prominent Mormons who tithe and donate regularly.

Have you ever stayed at a Marriott hotel?  Purchased doTERRA or Young Living oils?  What about the Melaleuca company?  Purchased a pair of Oakley sunglasses?  If so, you're putting money in the pockets of Mormons, and thus the LDS Church.

Here are a handful of links showing Mormon-owned businesses, as well as businesses owned by the LDS Church itself.  Yes, a non-profit, tax-exempt church owns for-profit companies.  Let that one digest a bit...

This link isn't just to pick on the Mormon profit-machine faith but to make you realize where your money is going.  When you spend your hard-earned cash, find out where it goes.  Remember the Chick-Fil-A fallout from a few years ago?   People disagreed with the owner's political agenda so people boycotted the business.

Why stop there?  Look at the regular places you shop and the regular brands you buy.  Follow the money trail.  Are you contributing to a political or ethical message you disagree with?

I know a decent amount of good, friendly Mormons.  But I know more asshole xenophobic, I-know-better-than-you, 'Jesus will be resurrected in the USA' Mormons, and I try to make sure my money doesn't go to further their religious or political causes.

Where is your money going?


Best Farm Ad EVER

Meanwhile in Idaho:


...or something.

Thanks to my buddy Q for sharing this with me, so I could share it with you.


Rainbows and Unicorn Farts

Hello from ...not Idaho!

I have been back in California for a few months now, and while I'm enjoying being 'back home' it isn't all sunshine and roses.

...hence the fun title of today's post...

I am sure you've been watching the news in the last few weeks and have heard of all the fires in San Diego.  I was in the middle of that shit.  At its height, I had 5 fires going within 10 miles of my home.  I was out of danger's way, but it was dark and ashy and horrible.

Which is par for California.  Instead of 'Winter' we have Fire Season.

I didn't miss that at all.

I also didn't miss the traffic, which is pure evil.  I have to drive into LA on occasion for work, and every single time is like pulling teeth.  Too many people, too little space, to few IQ points to go around.

Mostly, I'm still torn on where I live.  I am close to a military base in San Diego county, and can hear the BOOM BOOM BOOM throughout the day.  Sometimes even on weekends and late nights.

Military Base suckage #2, there are a LOT of dumbass military 'bros' in my area.  I see Marine Corps decals the size of Smart Cars on some vehicles.  Towing hitches that look like claymores with "point this end toward enemy" staring right at you.

And then there are these decals on cars.  EVERYWHERE.

The 'infidel' stickers piss me off the most.  "Infidel and Armed."  "All American Infidel," and so forth.  Way to spit in the face of another religion without regard.

And yet, no one seems offended.

If I had a "Fag Stomper" sticker on my car, I'd wake up to keyed doors and broken windows.  If I had a Army logo being pee'd on by Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, I'd be a dead man.

...but it's ok to make fun of Islam.  It's making me hate this town, hate our military, and want to move again.

...I hear Belgium is nice...


Freaky Fast

...but is that always good?


Make Money Blogging with The Shower Blog

I love to write.  I love money.  And I love winning contests.  Which is why I am thinking about entering the monthly writing contest at The Shower Blog, a new site designed for writers.

The rules are simple.  Sign up for an account, choose from a list of topics and write the best article possible.  You can write multiple posts on multiple topics to increase your odds of winning.

For those of you who remember Dude Write, the premise is somewhat similar, but instead of weekly it's monthly, and instead of winning 'Man Cards' you actually win money.

And as much as I love my collection of Man Cards, I also appreciate a stack of Andrew Jacksons in my wallet.

You can find the rules for the current contest here.  April winners will be announced on the 25th, and May submissions will start on the first.  You can view the latest showerblog posts to get an idea of current writing styles.

And, if you're like me and think you can do better, sign up and show your stuff.  First place gets $50, and who doesn't like money?

So, in a way, I'm back.  Sort of.

This page may or may not have posts sporadically, but I will continue to write.  I'll dabble here and there, and will let you know about my articles on twitter (are you following me on twitter??).


Retirement (sort of)

Bad news, people.

I started this blog 3 years ago to tell my stories.  I was a California boy, now living in Idaho.  I wrote about the culture shock, the weather, the people, and all the good/bad/interesting times I had.

But the foundation of this blog was living in Idaho.

5 weeks ago I was offered an amazing job.  It's with a great company, it pays very well, and it moved me back to California.

I'm now living in San Diego county.  I've been here for about 2 weeks and am loving it.

...and boy, am I exhausted.

This was an unplanned move, but a good one.  I'm closer to my kids, I'm with an amazing company, and I'm back in my natural element.

The bad news is I'll have less to write about.  Which is why I'm retiring this blog.

I'll still be around, in one form or another.  I manage a Facebook page, create content for another, and write from time to time for Manderstanding.  I may start another blog in the future, and if so, I'll shout it out here.

But for now, I'm a Cali boy living in... Cali.  Not very interesting.

Thank you all, to the readers, contributors, commenters and trolls.  These last 3 years have been more fun thanks to this blog, and the many people I've met along the way.

For those of you wishing to stay in contact, still works.  My facebook page is still up (even though it may be changing names soon) and I'm still the same me.  I'm just not 'Idaho' or 'Idahomie' anymore.  

Keep in touch.  And thanks for the memories.


Idaho (me) Goes to a Colorado Pot Shop

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Colorado is now selling marijuana for recreational use to anyone 21 or over.  In fact, recent reports are showing that tax revenue generated from this law is exceeding expectations.

News stories show Texans coming in droves to Telluride.  Tourists from Wyoming, California, Minnesota taking 'pot tours' of the city, seeing sights while stoned.

And now I am going to share my story.  Not many Idahoans in the news, and I recently went to Colorado, so I decided to be the Idahoan ambassador for Colorado's marijuana stores.

I went earlier in the month, on business, and didn't see as many lines as the news stories showed.  My hotel was within walking distance to a pot shop, and I never saw a traffic rush or a swarm of stoners.

I asked a local friend where would be the best place to shop, and she recommended a store near the Denver/Lakewood border.  Again, no lines, but there was a bouncer checking ID before anyone could go in.  Their security measures were super-tight, and they explained it was "to protect minors and other non-legal people" from entering the store.

Overall, my ID was checked twice.  I was told it would have been checked a third time if I had actually purchased something, but I didn't.

(oh yeah, disclaimer:  I didn't come to Colorado, or even the pot shop, to get stoned.  This trip was for research and understanding only.  Sorry if you were expecting an "I'M SO WASTED" narrative)

I wasn't shocked to hear I was their first patron from Idaho.  The store had a US map, and had little green dots on states, signifying where "the pot pilgrims are coming from."  They said I was state #27, and Idaho's first.  An honor.

Because I get insomnia on the road, I asked what would be good to help me get relaxed and sleep.  The consultant behind the counter helped show the different strains of marijuana, what they did, how they would help certain ailments, and which ones were popular with the recreationists "just looking to get wrecked."

They also showed me their line of edibles, popular for people trying to be more discreet.  There were THC-infused chocolates, pastries, brownies (of course) and these little gummy things.

Edipure makes a line of cannabis candies.  Gummy bears, peach rings, cola bottles, you name it.  These were definitely my favorite thing about the trip, because I could see how some of these at a movie theater could be loads of fun.

And yes, I know the law treats marijuana like alcohol.  No public consumption, no driving under the influence, etc.  Just, when I think of candies and gummies, I think "Let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby..."  (And come on, who hasn't snuck a flask of booze into a theater for merriment with friends?)

Although I didn't buy anything, I did enjoy the trip.  Customers were all mature, inquisitive, and responsible.  The employees at the shop were helpful, secure, and made sure people were well-aware of the do's and don'ts of the laws and weed in general.  Overall, it looks like a well put-together venture for the state of Colorado, and I hope this kind of business model spreads to other states mature enough to handle it.

And maybe one day, I'll be back, to buy some jelly beans and to experience things first-hand.  We'll see.


Las Vegas is full of NOPE

Las Vegas has many interesting sights to see.  Shows, concerts, aquariums, exhibits, tours and more.  As someone who covers Vegas for work, I have seen a lot of these sights.

For my Birthday, my wife and I went to Vegas for a few days of fun and celebration.  We've been there and done that, so we were looking for something different.

There is plenty of 'different' in Vegas as well.  As different as you want to be, with very little limitation.

It was the big '33' for me, so I wanted to do things in threes.  We went to 3 bars, did 3 shows, and planned on going to 3 'new/different' places.

But different place #1 derailed all of that.

The girl working the front desk at our hotel recommended the Erotic Heritage Museum.  Fun place for couples, showing the history of sex and lots of exciting 'exhibits.'

We bit, and decided to go.  As we were pulling into the area, it started to get seedy.  The museum is on Industrial Parkway, which is the 'backdoor' entrance to many strip hotels.

Things looked very backdoor.  In the museum's parking lot itself, there were dilapidated cars, and what looked like a drug-deal happening.  The building is attached to a local strip club, and some scummy patrons were loitering around.

My wife is fairly attractive, and she was dressed to impress.  She didn't like the idea of walking through a bunch of horny, grubby men to get to the museum.

We both looked at each other and went:

...which is funny, because I grew up in a ghetto-ish area.  I'm used to being in dicey situations, but this just looked too much for the both of us.

Luckily, google maps had an inside tour of a lot of the museum.  We did the virtual tour, didn't pay admission, and there were no awkward situations to confront.

Have any of you been to the museum?  Is it worth going, even though the parking lot looks like 'park at your own risk?'

We should have just made the 3rd '3' a threesome.  Oh well.


Experience Adventure the Idaho Way

Silverwood Amusement Park - Athol, Idaho
Idaho boasts a number of great places to see and activities to enjoy in both land and water. It is no wonder why Idahoans love to invite visitors to their state. While in Idaho, here are some of the best things to do that can kill your boredom:

Skiing and Boarding
Country-style skiing is what you can enjoy in the beautiful mountain resorts in Idaho. Some of the most recommended resorts are Tamarack Resort, Sun Valley Resort, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Silver Mountain Resort, Brundage Mountain Resort and Bogus Basin Mountain Resort.

While in Idaho, fishing is something you should try. In here, you can spend some time for fly-fishing at the South Fork of the Snake and Henry’s Fork. It’s either you practice catch-and-release or catch some fish for dinner. Idaho is such an ideal fishing spot.

Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
Water adventure is done best in Idaho as it is known for having more whitewater river miles compared to other states. The best whitewater rafting spots are found at the Payette, Lochsa River and the Snake.

Fort Hall Indian Casino - I-15 Fwy, Exit 80
Casino Adventure
For those who are on the hunt for casino entertainment, Idaho boasts its own share of casino hubs. If gaming is what you are looking for, you can spend some time at the Fort Hall Casino, Coeur d'Alene Casino, Clearwater River Casino & Resort or Best Western Plus Kootenai River Inn Casino and Spa. However, if going to any of these places takes so much time, an exciting alternative is through mobile casinos using your phone or tablet.

Golfing is such delightful activity in Idaho. It is home to the best golf resorts in the world. It is for this reason that people come to Idaho. A golf vacation package is truly worth a try.

Family Activities
Idahoans make sure that every minute is spent productively and meaningfully. Since the state is gifted with natural attractions, people will always grab the chance to spend some time enjoying the great outdoors. Activities such as camping, boating and swimming make families bond together. Although Idaho is quite laid-back in lifestyle, some people go for a picnic bringing their gadgets with them so they could play mobile casinos.

Spending some time in Idaho is a confirmation that there will never be a dull moment. From undiscovered municipal gems to world-class resorts, Idaho will guarantee you unending recreational activities. While there is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sceneries, it would also be fun to explore casino games at


Title Goes Here

I have no idea why, but I've had a major case of writer's block for the last.... well...


And I don't know why.  Interesting things have been happening to me, and a lot of it has been blog-worthy.  So why aren't I writing all of it down?

For example, I started a new job 2 months ago and have had some fun experiences.  My company's parent office is in China.  And while my office is in Los Angeles, the big bosses are all overseas.  Because of this, I'm one of the few 'round-eyes' in the company.

I say 'round-eye' because when I went down for orientation, they put me in a hotel in the City of Industry.  Essentially Asian-town.  I was the only white boy in the entire hotel.  Someone bumped into me and said "Watch it, Round-Eye" so that's my slur.

Speaking of slurs, I learned "ne-ga" in Mandarin is a filler word.  Like saying 'that... that thing.'  Everyone in the hotel would say 'ne-ga' this and 'ne-ga' that.  On my last day there, a college basketball team was staying in the hotel.  All black.  They heard 'ne-ga' as 'nigga' and you can imagine the result.

I have also become a content creator for Manderstanding, a place for men to converse and enjoy the finer things.  While they're working on finishing their website, I'm helping manage the Facebook page.  There, I go by 'Dom.'

I get to create little gems like the picture you see to your left.  I also get to be in charge of 'Submission Saturdays,' where women submit sexy pictures for us to feature.  Think of Chivettes but on a smaller scale.

Essentially, I get to look at boobs a lot.  So I can't complain.

Lastly, I witnessed a rant at my local grocery store.  There was a coupon for eggs on all the cartons.  50 cents off this carton of eggs, when you buy any "Real California Cheese" brand cheese products.  Most Idahoans don't like California, and one dude was going off.  "I DON'T WANT TO BUY ANYTHING THAT BENEFITS CALIFORNIA!"  It was 'Motherfuckin Mexicans' and 'Motherfuckin Liberals' and something about Obama and Paris Hilton.  I forget.  Long story short, not only did the guy not want to buy those eggs, but he wanted to yell at the store manager for being so insensitive and 'anti-Idaho.'  Best. Grocery Trip. Ever.

Oh yeah, and this happened on my Facebook page:

And yes, the typos have already been pointed out to me.
So yeah... Plenty to report, yet I'm oddly allergic to writing on this blog.

What's been going on in your lives?  Anything interesting?


What I Learned as a Blogger Idol Judge

I blogged earlier about being a judge for the Blogger Idol competition this last year.  It was fun, but not without blog-worthy experiences.

For those of you not in the know, Blogger Idol is a writing competition.  Over 200 (felt like 600) bloggers auditioned this year, and a council of judges had to pick their favorites.  A Top 12 (13) was picked, and they squared off weekly in writing competitions.  Immunities were granted, people were voted off the island, and controversial eliminations were rampant.

Back to my experiences.

I didn't want to share this information before the competition ended, because some people could have misinterpreted some of my comments for bias.  Was I a little biased?  Read and find out...

During the judging process, all judges had to read ALL auditions and assign points from 1-50.  If they did extra credit, a submission could earn up to 53 points.

...yet you'd be surprised how many auditions received a 51, 52 or 53 without doing the extra credit...

Most of us adhered by the rules.  Every now and then someone would forget.  Or ignore.  I dunno.

When reviewing auditions, here are a list of observations.  If you auditioned and this applied to you, this is probably why you didn't get in.  If you're thinking about competing in 2014 and want to stand a chance, make sure you're don't fit into any of these categories:

  • Holy blogger-templates, batman!  It surprised me how many people were still using basic, out-of-the-box layouts.  Your blog is a reflection of you as a writer and you as a brand.  'Cookie cutter' layout screamed 'cookie cutter blog' to me, and you immediately lost 8-10 points on design alone.
  • Everyone is a mommy blogger, even if you have a penis.  MY. GOD.  Kids are adorable.  I've blogged about my children before as well.  But come on... COME ON... that can't be all you write about.  Even if it's a nice trick, a one-trick pony will never go far in a writing contest.
  • (This one may call out 1-2 in particular... sorry)  I know you like pink.  It's a neat color.  And I'm not against the pink layout, but when your link buttons are pink, and the test is a slightly different shade of pink, I can't read shit.  They just look like mystery-squares with no purpose.  That's a 50 dkp minus.
  • You have 6 Facebook fans, but over 5,000 twitter followers?  And both accounts have been open for the same time?  WTF??
  • You submit two posts to review.  One is when you break up with your boyfriend, the other is your road to recovery.  You mention you dated for less than 6 months.  The posts are dated 16 months from each other.  AND YOU STILL HAVEN'T MOVED ON.  *backs away slowly*
  • Your submission piece is 3,100 words - of which 2,500 is pure ramble.  Do you have a 'you talk it types' program you use for your blog writing?  Because OH MY BALLS some of these posts wanted to make me gouge my eyes out.
As a blogger myself, I am most proud of my first 1-2 posts (go read 'em, I'll wait).  Because of this, I'd usually go to a blog I liked and read their first few posts.  First posts = first impressions, and it often gave be a better gauge of writing than the submissions did.

My favorite observations didn't come from the auditioners, but from the other judges...

27!  Because FUCK YOU.
We did have a few rogue over-scoring judges (again, giving 53 out of 50 points, with no extra credit done...) but what I loved most were the rogue under-scoring judges.

I tried not to let the other judge's scores influence my marks, but you would notice patterns after a while.  You saw clusters of 30s.  40s.  High-40s.  Marks would be very similar, with a minor deviation...

...mostly.  One post was scored like this:  48, 50, 45, 43, 27, 44, 42


This confused me for a while.  The final scores were an average score, and the top average scores made it to the finals.  Was this to prevent non-favorites from getting in, in the hopes of getting your friends in?  Or did the judge just NOT like the writing style at all?

But then I noticed it was more than one judge doing it.  And they didn't always go rogue.

And then I found a post I didn't like, gave it a 34, and was the lowest score by 11 points...

Sooo I dunno.

Now that I've auditioned (2011) and judged (2013) I have a new insight on how things work in the BI world.  Will I audition again?  Probably not.  Will I judge again?  Maybe.  There were some headache-inducing times, but I did discover about 10 new bloggers I love to read.  That alone made the process completely worth it.


Oh SNAP, it's 2014 already?

Wow, 2013 went by quickly.

Happy 2014, all.  I'll be back.