I used to be a customer with Global Payment Solutions and they gave away my information to a telemarketer who called me on behalf of EVO Canada, another merchant provider. My account with Global Payments (also known as Federated Payments) has been officially closed since 2012.

I had no idea that listening to the offer meant that this is a binding contract, they used the negative option acceptance tactic that is illegal in Canada. During the call I asked why I am contacted and it was explained that it is because I am a former customer with Global Payment solutions.

I only found out later when I saw the charges in my account since I’ve never even been sent a statement or a receipt. I tried to talk to EVO about this and they are completely unhelpful. Even worse, without my permission they put up my personal information on 411.ca search engine.

There is absolutely nothing in writing from my behalf accepting the offer or authorizing the charge.

At the moment I am looking into this. 411.ca is not helpful at all, they just direct me to EVO. Luckily my bank reversed the charges.  Global Payments refuse that they have anything to do with it. They all refuse to give their last names or e-mail, including the manager.

Please leave a comment if you are in the same boat.

coca cola in las vegas

Did you know that Las Vegas has a giant Coca Cola store with a selection of different colas from all over the world? I didn’t even know that these exist! I got a tray to share with my guy. It looked like small samples, but we couldn’t finish it and totally maxed out on Cola that day!

Coca Cola

Inca Cola from Peru

Sunfill Blackcurrant from Mauritius

Stoney Tangawizi from Tanzania

Fanta Magic from Estonia

Vegitabeta from Japan

Sparletta Sparberry from Zimbabwe

Smart Watermelon from China

Kinley Lemon from England

Lift Manzana from Mexico

Fanta Kolita from Costa Rica

Bibo Pine Nut from South Africa

Ciel Aquarius from Mexico

Sunfill Mint from Djibouti

Smart Apple from China

Beverly from Italy

Mezzo Mix from Germany

offerswizard how to remove malware adware

Do you see ads all the sudden on your computer that are not supposed to be there? Let’s say, on my eBay page all the sudden today I got a bunch of annoying ads. If you have a closer look, you’ll see that it is by OffersWizard. As I tried to click on the options to remove the ads, it took me further and further into this spam.


OffersWizard is an example of a potentially unwanted program that shows up and annoys the hell out of the user, trying constantly to show sales ads at any possible opportunity. It even makes me wonder who would possibly advertise through such means.


Turns out I got mine through converting Excel files into pdf files for free. This malicious program went to work the same day!


How to remove it? First you should click on the Control Panel and select the programs option. See which programs were recently installed and most likely one of those is in fact the adware.

remove adware network system driver


You may also want to check chrome://extensions/ and see if there is anything unauthorized there.


payfirma review customer service vancouver

My first encounter with Payfirma was at a tech event. Their CEO, Michael Gokturk, talked about how their company helps people to build dreams, being authentic, thinking big at Payfirma. He finished his talk with ” if we inspired you, come and inspire us”.

I actually used their services for some time. The statements come in from First Data actually, that’s a company located in Mississauga, Ontario.

They are pretty good and they have nice customer service. They even had a $100 promotion VISA card to join and there is a referral program too. Their ethics are much better than of some previous horror stories I’ve got from previous providers. They really care to keep their customers.

One thing though that sort of didn’t make sense was that they charged interchange fees on some premium cards and I had no way of knowing that upfront. I even asked if they could tell me at least which specific transactions had those fees (which they should be able to, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to calculate them), but I was told that they can’t.

Rates that are charged are reasonable, but there is a small monthly fee. So if you are doing a lot of transactions, that’s good. However, since business to business transactions often involve premium credit cards, account for the possibility of those interchange fees.

The software itself needs some tweaks. It is not acceptable in my industry to ask for tips, but my clients every time would get a receipt on it stating “TIP – $0.00″, thus maybe hinting to them that they should have tipped me. I mean, tips in certain industries are not at all normal, so I’d rather have that taken out, but even though I addressed it, it still remained like that.

The best thing about this company is that there is no contract! Yes, that’s amazing. Contracts are terrible because their cancellation fees are usually very high.

My business is sort of seasonal, I may come back to Payfirma if I don’t find anything else to accommodate the seasonality of my transactions. In general I recommend their services, especially if you’d like to have a live person on the phone.

Their main competition in my opinion would be Square and Northpay.

asimo disneyland

Even though we all know about walking robots, only a few of us had the opportunity to actually see it happen in front of our eyes. I was thrilled to see a robot like that for the first time in Disneyland. Honda’s ASIMO robot is just as exciting for the children as it is for adults.

He can run, kick, walk up the stairs, and even dance! Imagine the engineering put into it to make it possible. This humanoid design resembles a child so much that he naturally feels like a member of the family.

ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative MObility. Such robot can’t be purchased, it can only be rented from Honda.



Russian skier, Sochi Olympics, spinal injury

Since Sochi Olympics many of us follow the progress of the Russian athlete, Maria Komissarova, who was seriously injured during her ski-cross training resulting in a spinal fracture.  Doctors confirmed that her chances to walk are next to zero after two operations and rehabilitation in the clinic in Hamburg, Germany.

Not willing to give up her hopes, Maria looked for other options and found a doctor (Dr. Blum) who gave her a 90% chance to walk again and immediately went to his clinic in Spain. Maria’s fiancé Alexey Chaadayev is by her side, helping her with rehabilitation exercises and providing emotional support. Here is a translated segment from their latest video talking about improvements from the treatment.


 translated by Yuri, Ukraine 


exercise techniques for spinal injury Alexey: “We are in Marbella now, Maria is training. As you can see, I also take part, every day we lift higher, every day we go through a new distance, every day we get new sensations. The technique with a help of which Maria is recovering, I’ve never seen anything like this, the most important thing that I see, I see the result, I see the positive trend, I see like Maria comes to revival, how her mood changes, how she finds the strength to live again, to love, to fight. Sport life initially means the struggle to learn something new, to get the win over you, to come to the target. We are here for 25 days, of course, many things have changed for this time, in the beginning we only tried, but now we make a full phase of work, plus at each stage the intensity and the trainings are changing.”


Maria: “I feel like my muscles are starting to work, some kind of muscles’ pain, especially in the back, that is the muscles in the body. I should not feel these muscles according to the diagnosis of other doctors.”
Russian skier, Sochi Olympics, spinal injury Alexey: “We can say, that here is the marking of paralysis, below the injury, there was not any movement, no activity, it is like a label, I have noticed it in Germany, exactly on the line. Now we can see that the muscles begin to work below the injury. For us, this is the best picture, which can be seen at this moment. We understand that the path is very long, very heavy, but we are ready to come to the end. Everyone who is not indifferent to the Maria’s destiny, who are interested, and if someone wants to help, please write, support, because it is very important.”


Maria: “The 25th day of trainings, 145th hour, I aspire to the target, go through the hard work, I am not going to give up in spite of  negative feedbacks, words of another people, I will work to the end in order to come to the target. I find it very hard, and I’m not giving up.”




If you want to help Maria Komissarova by submitting a donation, please do so at . Rehabilitation costs are incredibly high and her family can’t do it alone. They no longer receive funding from the government.

coctail drink Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacation

crab eating grass after rain Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationSo I went to Melias Las Dunas with my parents, April 22-29th 2014. It is located in Cayo Santa Clara, a city that has a big crab symbol because they actually come out after rain. Lucky for me, I even got to see such one big crab eating grass after rain in our hotel. I never knew that they even come out of the water and somehow I began to consider them more as animals as compare to just fish after this experience.

Mixed emotions about this trip though. It was great to spend time with my parents and to enjoy the beach and warm weather. However, some things are just not acceptable considering that this was supposed to be a relatively high end hotel (4.5 stars). Please let me remind you that I’ve been to Cuba prior to that 3 times.

airplane at the airport Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationCan you imagine, we were victim of one of the most common tourists scams? My father went to change some money and got tricked at the currency exchange that was located in the hotel. Actually even though it is not part of the hotel officially, the Sunwing representative recommended to change money there.  So he exchanged over $200 Canadian dollars there as soon as they arrived. Perhaps he though this was normal, but they didn’t give him a receipt. I guess that should’ve been the first warning.

However, only when we went shopping 10 days later we had another not so nice surprise. Turns out that instead of $50 Cuban peso the staff person substituted a $50 Mexican peso, thus ripping us off in the difference of the exchange rate. He didn’t notice among the other bills that one of them was not Cuban since all the currency was foreign to him anyway. We reported it only when we found, but there was nothing they could do because there was no receipt, even though we spent a good portion of the day explaining and writing reports. My dad, as a matter of principle, would go as far as filing a police report, but they said that police will not come to the hotel and we’d actually have to go to Santa Clara for this.

Currency exchange scams are common in Cuba. Actually there are many cases on the internet where they will give “Cuban peso” instead of “Convertible peso”. However, I have not come across a scam where they’d substitute it for another currency all together.

street tabby cat in Cuba relaxing in the hotel Cuba Melias Las Dunas Cayo Santa ClaraLike any tropical country, Cuba is full of all sorts of critters, some pleasant and some not. I am somewhat phobic of spiders and cockroaches I must admit and I had a selection of all sorts of things in my room – small ants, big ants, a couple of roaches, moths, mosquitoes, a spider and a gecko lizard climbing on the wall. I love the lizards, so I had no problem with those, but the other insects I wasn’t so keen on having there. Perhaps a better solution would be to ask for a room on the 2nd floor.

Outdoors, where they belong, there were many cute lizards and chameleons. One review on trip adviser claims that they had a toad jump out of their toilet. There were also some street cats that seemed to be quite happy, I even saw one playing with its kitten.

OK, so insects maybe manage to get in somehow, but how do you explain the basic negligence like not doing laundry properly? At first I saw that the linen wasn’t flawless and thought that probably it’s just an odd case. My pillow had black marks on it and some of my towels too, I also saw some yellow stains on the bed sheets. There was some kind of a musty smell from the linen. Usually I am not picky about beds, but the beds there in Las Dunas were not as comfortable like in other hotels. I kept on missing my bed at home that is so comfortable to sleep on.

city square Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationSo later on I made friends with some Polish women and they were quite upset about the same thing. Turns out that one of them marked her towel with some nail polish and threw it on the floor. When she returned, it was neatly folded, with that same mark. What made her do that was that she had a suspicion of her towels not being chanced since she felt that the “new” ones were somewhat damp to touch.

Turns out to they don’t wash your towels that you use, they just fold it. That Polish lady brought it up and got an answer that there is a problem with the laundry. Well, she had to throw a real fit to ensure that her towels would be changed daily. Lucky for her, she spoke Spanish fluently, so they couldn’t pretend like they don’t understand.

May be some people notice, maybe some people don’t, but sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference. We had no facial tissue paper there in the room. Even cheap motels offer a box of Kleenex in their rooms. Another thing that was quite crucial in my opinion that was missing was a an alarm clock or at least some kind of a clock to tell the time. Even in buffets there was no time anywhere.

exotic fruit selection Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationIn every room there is a mini bar and it was constantly refilled. That was a pleasant surprise and something to enjoy in front of television in the evening. Beer, pop drinks, water. If I would have a “don’t disturb” sign, they’d leave a bottle of water by the door.

Food selection was alright, but could be better if compared to hotels in Mexico let’s say or in Punta Cana. I really enjoyed freshly cooked seafood and meat. However, some tourists mentioned that squid was undercooked frequently. Exotic fruits were always a nice touch, but of course I must admit that mangos could be cleaned better and at least peeled. Every morning there were freshly squeezed juices.

fresh fried fish at the buffet in Cuba Melias Las Dunas Cayo Santa ClaraOn one of the reviews I saw a person writing about seeing roaches at the buffet and the manager said that it is an isolated incident. I’d like to confirm that it happens because I had a shocking story to share. I saw a cockroach on top of the cheese plate at the buffet and asked the waitress to come, hoping that she’ll change that plate and get rid of the pest. To my surprise she simply chased off the roach without harming it, put the plate black, smiled at me and laughed that the roach was hungry. Then she walked off to do her work and that plate, sampled by the roach earlier, was still there for customers to enjoy. On another recent review I saw a person mention that there were cockroaches in the bread basket on daily basis.

In customer service employees learn that to the customer they are the brand, they represent the brand. Maybe hotel management at Melias didn’t get that training. I was surprised to see so many students with no English in customer service positions. I am all for training and so on, but these students should’t actually do the job, simply observe it and learn first. I asked twice for something at front desk and the young girl didn’t understand me at all. One of the questions was quite simple – “can I go see another hotel?”.  Only later another one there told me that she is a student, otherwise I wouldn’t know. I wonder how this is OK, especially in front desk where visitors get their first impression and last impression.

Same story happened at the snack bar when I went there with my mom to get a pizza. Whoever came up to our table didn’t understand anything at all and said something in Spanish, then walked off, came back, and said “NO”. My mom asked why, since she got pizza there before, and then finally someone emerged who spoke some English and said that pizza is only for lunch. Why do students approach customers when they can’t even talk about the menu?

fashion show models posing Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationOtherwise staff are friendly. We went to the same waiter / waitress on daily basis and they gave good service and were really nice. Of course, we left them gratuity and even some of our used clothing for their families. People in Cuba don’t have much, they appreciate whatever clothing they can get.

I gave away most of my used clothing to girls who did the fashion show there, they were skinny, my size, so it would work for them. They were so happy to get it and thanked me so much. Here is a photo of them all posing together.

At some point my parents decided that I went dancing and didn’t come back, they were freaked because they couldn’t get a hold of me. Turns it that calls didn’t go through. Actually I was in the room, waiting for my guy to call me from Canada all evening and in the morning surprised that my parents didn’t call. So for whatever reason the phone half the time would not ring. I missed many calls and that drove me crazy and my parents too. I reported the problem with my phone to front desk and to the phone service room, but it was not fixed. Later on other reviews I saw that some people complained about the phone service too.
coctail drink Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationThere are some stores in the hotel (even though they officially don’t belong to the hotel) that sell rum, cigars, and other items. Demand receipts at all times because otherwise they don’t give it to you and make up other prices. My dad at first was surprised that on some items there were no price tags, so he right away suspected something dirty there. If you ask for a receipt, you will see that the price they charge you is lower than what they told you. Once I even demanded a receipt for 3 cigars, and the staff was refusing to give, saying that I don’t need it for Canada, but I still insisted to have it.

One night there was a man in the lobby with a whole set up, he was making fancy cocktails like you see here, but I don’t remember the name of them. It had liquor, whipped cream, coffee beans, and chocolate. These were delicious! I think I even got a little buzz after. That was quite an experience just to observe how it was made and many people were making videos.

sandy beach in Cuba Melias Las Dunas hotel Cayo Santa Clara vacationThere is a craft market walking distance from the hotel and another market that is accessible by a bus or by cab. I saw many cool things there and bought some leather flip flops for myself and leather slippers for my guy. Well, that was basically the memorable visit when we found out that we had Mexican currency instead of Cuban currency.

OK, finally let’s get to some good things. Very good beach there, one of the best ones I’ve seen! I enjoyed beach aqua fitness, it was so much fun to do exercise in the water. The water was warm, the beach was clean, and there was no rocks or sea urchins there. I had a really good time at the beach and in the water. My parents would have to wake up early though, at 7 a.m. in the morning, to reserve a spot in the shade.

kids little mermaid ariel show hotel Cuba Melias Las Dunas Cayo Santa ClaraThere was also a live band playing every evening and lots of shows on stage like contests, acrobatics, and so on. I even got to dance a little. As far as I know, there was a disco there too, but I never went there and drinks there are not inclusive as it turns out. One of the big entertainment high lights for me were the fashion shows and the magician.

I already knew that I’ll have no chance to go on the internet, so I delegated it to my assistant to do herself while I’m away. But in case you want to know, there is no Wi-Fi and the only computers provided by the hotel have very slow internet.

Overall it wasn’t so bad because I enjoyed spending time with my parents, but this is not a 4.5 star hotel. It’s more like 3 star hotel. Actually, maybe in some cases even less, because according to some recent reviews I see that the laundry problem and the roach problem didn’t disappear.

It was under different management before and this hotel was recommend to us by our travel agent and her daughter, both of them went there and loved it. So it had good reviews over a year ago, but it went downhill. But now it looks like they cut a lot of costs and the service goes with it.

Some videos from Melias Las Dunas in Cayo Santa Clara:

red grapefruit

red grapefruit health dangers and benefits How can something so tasty and healthy be actually dangerous for you? Surprisingly, citrus fruit may have adverse side effects, especially on those people who take medication.

Let’s take a closer look at the fruit. The most common opinion is that it is a close relative to a pomelo. It first was popular in Jamaica and then migrated to Florida. To this day majority of grapefruits come from Florida state.

Here are some popular types – Thompson seedless pink fruit (introduced in 1913) and the seedless Ruby red type ( introduced in 1929). 

It’s low in calories and full of nutrients, with even some anti-oxidant properties. However, it is not actually a fat burner as some people tend to believe.

Now, the danger comes from the fact that enzymes found in grapefruit can interact with some medication. One of the big examples of this is felodipine (also known as Plendil) – this is a drug used to treat hypertension. If it’s consumed with grapefruit, it will get released into the blood stream at a higher rate and cause low blood pressure. Another group of medication known to interact with grapefruit is statins, the kind used to lower cholesterol in the blood. One more pill, quite common among ladies, is the birth control pill – its effect can be simply cancelled out. 

Scientists warn patients in hospitals to be careful when they take prescription medications. Grapefruit combined with such has been known to cause acute kidney failure, respiratory failure, internal bleeding and even sudden death.

Whatever you do, don’t take your medication together with grapefruit as you may not be familiar with the full list of ingredients and side effects. Same may apply to oranges and limes.

Maria Komissarova clinic in Spain dr Blum

Maria Komissarova Russian skier update from Spain clinic therapyAs you may know, Maria chose to continue her treatment in a clinic in Spain (city of Marbella, province of Malaga) with Dr. Eugene Blum who has revolutionary technologies that according to him give Maria Komissarova a 90% chance to walk again after her sports injury in Sochi. Currently Maria is in a wheelchair, but she is determined to walk again. On her website she posted a video addressing the public and explaining the need for financial assistance.


Maria Komissarova addresses the public:

translated from Russian by Yuri 


I am in Spain now, in the clinic after two months after the surgery, after rehabilitation in Germany, in the clinic of Dr. Blum.

How did I come here? Honestly, by chance, a friend advised me to go to see. He is in a wheelchair for five years, and after numerous searches of various doctors, procedures, he came here and advised me not to waste time for a search and to try the rehabilitation here. Here is completely different technique, I train about 6 hours per day, every day without days off and in 6 days I see a positive dynamics, my muscles below the injury, begin to work, some new sensations appear.

Why I decided to train here? Because in Germany, in the clinic, where I passed the rehabilitation, they just taught me to live in a wheelchair , to get used to  life, all in a wheelchair …  They have a diagnosis, and it is like a verdict, I do not want to make it up with any verdict,  I will stand on my feet for sure, I believe in it , and the doctor who helps me here, gives me 90% of guarantees, I believe him.

I have heard it from other people who train here and I like being here.  I feel comfortable here, I feel that I aspire to the goal through work, through sweat, 6 hours of trainings – it’s not what they proposed me in Germany and in Moscow.

Maria Komissarova treatment Marbella Spain dr BlumThat is a completely different technique, not even much in the way of treatment but of trainings. Here you need trainings, here you need to sweat, to try, and I know that I will succeed for sure,  I want other people to believe in me and not to offer me to cope with a wheelchair but to start a new life, as they say…

So, I ask for a financial help, because the treatment costs money, a lot of money, but I’m ready to do everything in order to get up, start walking and come back to a normal life , so help me please to gather that sum of money to walk again and, if I have the chance, why not use it . The doctor says that within a year he would help me to stand on my feet. A year is not such a long time, and I’m sure that I will succeed , and I try, and I aspire to it,  and to help me, I hope that more people will help me, but also the environment helps me here, my family, friends believe in me.




Maria’s website - http://www.maria-komissarova.com/index_en.html

Please help Maria Komissarova with your donations to get her back on her feet!


Maria Komissarova feels improvement in Spain after treatment Maria Komissarova rehabilitation Spain dr Blum  Maria Komissarova training Spain doctor Eugene Blum  Maria Komissarova will walk again in Spain dr Blum

Point Roberts WA marina
I shipped a package today out of Point Roberts, WA. It’s actually an interesting spot geographically because it is a tip of a peninsula that is cut off from the rest of WA state by Canadian land. It’s a really tiny piece of USA surrounded by Canada.
There are multiple post offices because of all the Canadians going there to ship stuff, but they have no doctor clinic and no school. Their residents go to Canada for shopping and appointments and school buses have to drive through Canadian land and then to Bellingham, WA. So such bus crosses the border twice.
On the flip side, they say that Point Roberts is one of the safest places to live in United States because it is so sheltered. They have virtually no crime rate.
point roberts WA
Point Roberts WA marina