Thursday, June 28, 2012

Julian Bakery Smart Carb Bread review

I've been looking for a low-carb, high-fiber bread for us for a while now. Most of the stores around here just don't stock anything like that. The closest I've been able to get is Wonder's Light Wheat, 2 slices of which have 80 calories, 18 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fiber (net carbs is 13 grams). The flavor isn't bad, if you like wheat bread (I don't care for it unless it's toasted).
Then I found Julian Bakery with a whole line of low- to zero-carb breads. They also have gluten-free breads. So I checked to see if there were any stores in Minnesota that carried this bread, even though it's expensive (at almost $8 a loaf, that's damned expensive for bread). HyVee in Mankato, Rochester, and Owatonna are the only stores in Minnesota that carry it.
Since we were going to visit my son in Faribault last weekend, and Mankato is only 45 minutes away, I thought we'd make a run over there and pick up a loaf or two (of different varieties) to see if it would be worth ordering online. Well, there's also a HyVee in Faribault, so I thought I'd stop in there and see if they had any, just on the off chance that someone had wanted it and they had ordered it for them (stranger things have happened). Lo and behold, the HyVee in Faribault did have two varities of the Julian Bakery low carb bread - Smart Carb 1, and Smart Carb 2, cinnamon raisin. So I picked up a loaf of each and could hardly wait until we got home to try them.
Now, the Smart Carb 1 has 109 calories per slice (wow!), 13 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of fiber (for 1 gram net carbs). The cinnamon raisin has 137 calories per slice (another wow!), 15 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of fiber (for 2 grams of net carbs). While this is great for someone who is counting carbs for blood sugar control, I have to say that the flavor leaves a bit to be desired. Both breads are really bland, even toasted and buttered, and the cinnamon raisin one? Well, I can't tell it's supposed to be cinnamon at all - there's no cinnamon flavor to it in the slightest (but I have that complaint about every cinnamon raisin bread I've ever bought, so this isn't a new thing).
I like the fact that the breads are made with all natural ingredients, and that a lot of them are organically grown. But for the price I paid for the bread, I expect it to have more flavor. It's also very dry and not something that makes a good sandwich - it's too heavy (a 1 lb loaf has 15 slices, and that includes the heels). I don't know if it's the combination of ingredients that makes it bland, or if something is lacking in the recipe, but these two breads are not something I'll be buying again. And for $7.99 a loaf, I'm not willing to try the other varieties either.

Friday, June 1, 2012

ClearWire SUCKS!

I will never recommend ClearWire as an internet provider to anyone, ever. We've had them for the last 2 years, and it's been nothing but hassles from day one. We've been paying for 2 MB service, but have been lucky to get 1 MB. I haven't been able to watch a news video yet that hasn't taken me at least 10 minutes to watch the entire way through - and that's a video that's less than 3 minutes long (because it has to stop every 5 seconds or so to buffer before it will play for another 5 seconds or so). Don't even try to watch a YouTube video, it ain't happening with ClearWire unless you have all day to watch one short video. And forget about streaming anything, that ain't happening either. If it rains, you lose your internet. If you have a router so you can have more than one computer hooked up (which we do), you can't have the router within 3 feet of the modem or the modem only works part of the time - and they didn't bother to tell me any of this until we'd been having problems for over a year. Every time I called because we lost our internet connection, they never even asked if the router was close to the modem (until a year ago, after we'd had service with them for a year). Then they tell me the router has to be at least 3 feet away from the modem. Gee, thanks for that little bit of information.
When I called the other day because we lost our internet connection, the service rep asked me if I had unplugged the modem and the router. I told him yes, I'd done that 3 times, gotten the internet back for 1 minute each time and then lost connection again. He said, "Well, I'm showing you have a strong signal, you should have 5 lights on your modem." I said, "Yeah, I have 5 lights on my modem, but I still don't have any internet." Then he asks me if the modem is facing the tower. DUH, asshole, the modem is sitting in the same position it's been sitting in for the last two years, facing the damned tower, otherwise, I wouldn't have 5 fucking lights on the damned thing. So he says "Well, let me put you on hold and I'll see if I can find out what's wrong." He comes back 5 minutes later and says "There's a problem with the tower in your area and it could take anywhere from 2 to 24 hours before your internet is back. Is there anything else I can do for you today?" Yeah, ya dumb shit, you can tell the crew to get my internet back online for me, why the fuck do you think I called? Geez louize. I told him no, thanks, and hung up. And every time there's an outage, that's the scenario we go through. I realize they have a script they have to follow, but some initiative on their part would be nice (I really don't think they know how to think outside that box they're given to work within).
When I called the first time to cancel service, they wanted to know why, and I gave them the list of reasons, and they wanted to know if I wanted to upgrade my service for another $20 a month. Right, I'm paying $50 a month for 2 MB service now that I'm not getting, so why would I pay another $20 a month for faster service that you aren't going to be able deliver? Do I look like I have "STUPID" tattooed on my forehead or something? Yeah, I don't think so.
So when we decided to change providers, I called to set up cancellation of our service. Now, our billing cycle ran from the 26th of one month to the 25th of the next month, and we were having cable internet installed on the first of June, so I wanted to have ClearWire shut off on June 2nd. Sorry, they told me, no can do. Have to call on the day I want it cancelled, and have it shut off then, and any overpayment will be refunded to me within 24 - 48 hours. So I'm thinking okay, I'll pay the $50.32 on the 26th of May, have it shut off on the first of June, they'll refund me the balance due from June 2 to June 25 and we're good. Nope, not happening. I called and was told that my ClearWire internet can't be cancelled until the billing period ends on June 25 because ClearWire doesn't refund any money, ever. When I told the service rep that wasn't what I was told, he told me that no one would tell me I would get a refund because they don't do that - essentially saying that either I'm a liar or whoever told me I would get a refund was lying. Oh, and we've been leasing the modem, but we don't have to send it back, we can keep it. WTF am I going to do with it? Use it as a doorstop? Use it as a paperweight? It's a worthless piece of equipment to me - I don't have wireless internet anymore, I'll never have wireless internet from them ever again, so why the hell would I want to keep their modem?
So I highly recommend that if you have ClearWire and ever decide to switch to another internet provider, be sure you set it up so that your new provider installs your service the day (or 2) before your ClearWire billing period ends so you can call and cancel it before they charge you for another month of service you won't be using. And if you don't have ClearWire, I wouldn't advise considering them as an option.