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Tweeting from My BlackBerry

August 28, 2010

I average about 100 tweets a day and hardly any of those come from my laptop. Well over 90% of my tweets are made from my BlackBerry, whether I’m at home or not. (You should follow me on Twitter!) I’ve been very frustrated recently with the applications that are available for me to tweet with on my BlackBerry. I’ve always been a dedicated ÜberTwitter user, but I really don’t fancy the newer version. It’s slow, it freezes my phone and it drains my battery. I’m not a fan of the new user interface either. It was my intention to continue using the version that I prefer (0.971), but to my dismay, that version would no longer be available as of August 30, 2010. (Download ÜberTwitter here). In anger, I deleted ÜberTwitter from my phone and re-downloaded RIM’s shabby Twitter client.
Don’t get me wrong, Twitter for BlackBerry is a satisfactory application that performs the basic features of Twitter (tweet, reply, retweet, follow, unfollow, block, shorten links, post pictures) without draining the phone’s battery and I love the user interface. But something about it just didn’t click with me though I cannot explain what. Twitter for BlackBerry is available in BlackBerry App World.

So off I went in search of a Twitter client that wouldn’t give me urges to throw my phone against a wall.

Seesmic, known for their desktop and web applications, also provides an option for the BlackBerry. The interface is very clean and simple, almost to the point of being boring. The app performs all the basic features I highlighted above and it doesn’t require too much battery. Download Seesmic for BlackBerry here.

TweetGenius is another option that i considered. Many months ago, I had a free 30-day trial of the application and I really liked it. In my search for the perfect Twitter client, I had forgotten that I had already used my trial and I was greeted with an error message, asking me to register the application, which would cost me US$5. I am in no mood to pay for an application for the BlackBerry, so I quickly closed the browser and deleted TweetGenius from my phone. You can try TweetGenius free for 30 days, then decide if you like it enough to buy it. Just search “TweetGenius” in BlackBerry App World.

I went searching again. I came across Vodafone Update, an application that is available for desktops, Android devices, iPhones, BlackBerries and Nokia devices. Vodafone Update integrates Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, while being efficient on the battery. The interface is clean and aesthetic. All in all, it’s a very good app and I cannot remember why I stopped using it. Download it here.

I also found another application called YATCA (Yet Another Twitter Client Application) that received good reviews but appears to be obsolete now as I was unable to find an OTA link for it. By now, I was getting very frustrated and I reverted back to ÜberTwitter, cursing my luck (or lack thereof).

SocialScope invite code

SocialScope's login screen

SocialScope has been dubbed “A Mobile Inbox for your Social Networks” because it incorporates Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Flikr in one. The app is in private beta and users must be sent an invitation before they can use the app. I’ve heard extremely good things about SocialScope and I’ve been wanting to try it for a while. I sent a request about six months ago and it was only two days ago that I received my invite (via Direct Message on Twitter; it appears they were having a mass giveaway). I’m very satisfied with the application. It seamlessly runs all four services in one, no glitches or freezes and it’s kind to my battery. Hopefully they’ll stop being so stingy with their invites or release the app to the public, though I doubt either of those will happen. You can request an invitation here.

HootSuite, which has mobile apps for the Android and iPhone, released word last month that they’re looking for Beta testers for their soon-to-be-released BlackBerry app. I was very excited and signed up immediately. I’ve never been very lucky with private betas, but hopefully HootSuite will allow me to test the app before its public release; I’m very anxious. From what I’ve read, the app will enable users to use both Twitter and Facebook as well as a host of other features. Click here to sign up for the beta release of the app.

HootSuite BlackBerry

Early screenshots of HootSuite for BlackBerry

In my short time as a BlackBerry user, I’ve tried everything in terms of Twitter clients: Twitterberry, Tinytwitter, Blackbird, Tweeteev, Ubertwitter, Seesmic, bbTweet, TweetGenius and RIM’s Twitter for Blackberry. I always seemed to find something wrong with all of them; I’m yet to find a problem with SocialScope and I’ve deleted all other Twitter clients from my phone as well as the native Facebook application and my Foursquare application. I’m anxiously waiting to see if HootSuite will live up to my expectations.

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Rising Stars Recap: the Fantastic Five

August 23, 2010

Rising Stars Judges

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We are now approaching the final leg of the Rising Stars competition. Usually, it is the persons who have made it to the Top 5 who are considered the real performers. On Sunday, August 22, 2010 the top 5 contestants were announced who we like to call the Fantastic 5 (we’ll cover the titles we will use for the rest of the performance shows later). Now lets deal with the eliminations. The host Lady Renae called the names of those who were safe one by one starting with Camaley, followed by her superman Jermaine Michaels, this order has been repeated for the passed three weeks. I called him her superman because he has been her brace during the whole competition. Then Nekorah. Then “dog face” Dalton. Persons who have been watching will know why I call him that – his facial expression.
So that left Toni Blair and Ms. Low Self Esteem Latoya Chambers to battle for a position in the Fantastic 5. Toni graced us as she did last week and Latoya once again, annoyed us. Can’t she smile and appear happy for once? You can imagine my excitement when all the judges, without hesitation or contemplation, chose to send Latoya packing. I just loved that moment when Lady Renae told Latoya that there’s no one like her. I found it funny because in my mind I only heard no one likes her.
Here are the weekly titles for the rest of the competition:

    The Fantastic 5
    The Fabulous 4
    The Terrific or (terrible) Three
    The Tantalizing Two
    The Winner.

Wayne Marshall was co-host in the Chill Room with Pepita this week and told the contestants that they are role models and advised them to keep their reputation clean. (HEAR THAT MAD-MAN BERES? NO BANGARANG!)
Onwards to the episode recap!

THE FANTASTIC 5

This week, the contestants were again put to the test as they were asked to perform the genre ska. For those who are not familiar with the genre, here is an explanation.
Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae. Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant music genre of Jamaica and was popular with British mods.

Nekorah was first. Dressed in layers and layers of plaited material, she performed a song called Shanti Town, which she spoiled. She was flat for the most part and from what I know about SKA it involves a lot a dancing, you are required to move and I doubt walking from left to right would ever be considered dancing, yet surprisingly I was more focused on her moving than her voice. She did well for the past two weeks, but this week she failed.
The judges, Anthony being the main culprit, highlighted that the first song she sang was not SKA. The judges did like the second song she chose. I liked neither. Here’s a picture of Nekorah for all our readers who have not been watching.

Nekorah Phillips

Toni Blair followed after. She performed Oh Henry and Simma Down. You can’t help but smile when you see Toni perform. She was clearly enjoying herself and I am not mad at her! She gave us that umph. The vibe was there and her presentation was accurate. She did great and she deserved to be in the Fantastic 5. I have to commend her on her SKA movement, she tried. Anthony however had a different view on her performance. He called her dull, co-judge Nadine wasn’t going to let him get away with that and rebutted saying she NO ONE CAN LOOK AT TONI AND CALL HER DULL. I would have to agree. To patronize Anthony a bit more, Toni kept laughing at him while he tried to bash her! She had that “negro plz’ face. She laughed and laughed and made me laugh and laugh and I’m sure she made everyone laugh and laugh……AT ANTHONY. Hilarious! Here she is.

Toni Blair

Word on the street this week with Kimone asked what persons would change in the competition if they had a chance. Most persons said nothing. But of course there were some who said that they would change Anthony and immediately the vox pop was changed to “is Anthony a good judge?” many said he is the reason why they watch and that he displays tough love. While some said he needs to go because he is too harsh.
Dalton was third. This was a test for Dalton because I wasn’t sure is his voice could manage a SKA song but surprisingly, he handled it well. He didn’t sound like the real SKA singers but he compromised and we accepted it. One thing is bothering me though. When he is required to dance he doesn’t but he chose to annoy me the other day by crucifying Crawl by Chris Brown. Anthony said that he was not pleased by the performance as he did not have the SKA thing going on. Of course, Nadine opposed by saying she wanted “Dalton Singing Ska” and that is what she got. Here is he.

Dalton James

Camaley the sweetheart in the competition performed My Boy Lollipop by Millie Small. This genre, as mentioned before asks for dancing to add the finishing touch on any Ska performance. So clearly this would have been a challenge for Camaley. Was it? NO! Her dramatics made up for that restriction. She was being a girl and enjoying every second of it. Her notes were on point and she did not miss a key. At one point she started kicking her legs like a cute 5 year old and she flirted with her backup dancer. She left it to him to do the dancing while she dealt with the vocals. Anthony commented saying that it seems that she was the only one who knew the art of Ska. Here is Camaley.

Camaley

Ok you know who is last. And boy was his performance funny. Seeing this “rude bwoy” embarrass himself made my night! Jermaine proved to us that he can turn Ska into praise and worship! What in the lords name was he doing? NOOOOO JERMAINE, ROCKING LEFT TO RIGHT IS NOT SKA! Oh my god, I was too ashamed to look at my television screen clearly the camera man had the same issue as for the most part the camera was focused on the back up dancers. The celebrity judge, Tanya Stephens said she was easily attracted by the dancers because basically, he was not pleasant to look at during his performance. I guess she was just as embarrassed as I was. Here is Jermaine Michaels.

Jermaine Michaels

So there’s the episode recap. Here are some of the popular tweets made on Twitter Sunday night.

    FINALLY LATOYA GAWN HOME!
    Nadine cyaa stan Anthony enuh
    Dem cyaa find some betta ppl fi interview?
    Tanya Stephens was a good judge.
    Pepita did well this week.

So that’s all. See yah next week when I cover the Fabulous 4. Its yah boi Durvii.

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The Road To Hell

August 21, 2010

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The Road To Hell

I’ve often heard the old adage, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and I had always disagreed with it. Surely, the road to hell would be paved with bad intentions, right? I’ve recently discovered that the phrase is indeed true; I guess you can never fully understand something until you’ve been forced to experience it.
The aphorism can be credited to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a French monk who lived in the 11th Century. It was he who wrote “l’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs”, the French version of the phrase.
The phrase simply means that people often end up doing bad things even though they had intended that the results would be good. Another interpretation is that good intentions may not result in a good outcome because of inaction due to procrastination, laziness or another subversive vice.
For example, a student intends to get 100% on a test, yet does not study. His intentions were good, but his course of action was bad, thus ending in bad results.
In researching the phrase, I read that psychological studies indicate that there is some truth in the proverb. Perfectionists are especially prone to have their intentions backfire in this way. When judging intentions, they are more likely to interpret good intentions for their own actions than they are for those of others.
This phrase can be applied to parents, who instinctively want the best for their children. Their intentions are always good, but sometimes their actions can cause their children to be unhappy, even though they genuinely mean well.

So it’s true, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, in three scenarios.

    Hurting a person without meaning to. This is as a result of the imperfections we have as human beings. Often the case with friends, or in other intimate, interpersonal relationships
    Forcing your will upon someone else because you think you know what’s best. This is often as a result of egotism, where we assume that our way is better than their way. Often the case with parents and their children.
    Improper planning or poor execution of a plan. While you may have a great idea that should end well, if you don’t work towards achieving the goal, you’ll end up with a failure, or in “hell”, as the case may be.

    I guess I can now look at it this way: when bad things happen, people never wanted it to be that way, it was just the circumstances, just the way it turned out.
    I can also look at it this way: when bad things happen, the best of us can find happiness in misery. But that’s another idiom for another blog post.

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Fairy Lover by KleanColor

August 18, 2010

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I have a vast nail polish collection; if you’ve seen me, my fingers and toes are very rarely bare, except during school time when only my toes are done. Whenever I go shopping, I somehow always end up buying multiple bottles of nail polish, because I see a colour that I simply can’t resist.
I’ve always wanted to showcase my polish collection to the world; I tried doing it via YouTube, but my webcam’s quality is so bad that the colours wouldn’t be properly displayed. Yesterday I stumbled into a blog called The Polish Addict, where a girl would review hundreds of nail polishes; the blog seems to be dormant though, it hasn’t been updated since 2009. I think it’s a great idea, so I’m gonna steal it.
I’ll only feature a colour occasionally, to ensure that my blog doesn’t become too girly and I’ll lose half my audience.
The first colour I’ll be fearuring is Fairy Lover by KleanColor.

Yes, I’m well aware that the photo quality is poor, but it was taken with the 2 megapixel camera on my phone. However, I scoured the internet for a better quality image of the polish, so you’ll be able to see its beautiful details. It’s a dark purple with medium grain holographics. I saw it in a pharmacy and I just had to get it because it’s almost the same colour as one of my BlackBerry skins. I love this brand because the formula has just the right thickness; application is smooth and the brush is wide enough to cover three-quarters of your nail in one stroke. Only one coat is needed for great, long-lasting colour, but you can apply two or three to increase the opacity. A clear top coat isn’t required, because the colour will not fade or chip, but I usually add a top coat to provide shine.

Visit the KleanColor website to view this and other great colours!


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Rising Stars Recap: Top 6

August 16, 2010

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On Sunday night, the top six contestants were announced. One by one they breathed a sigh of relief as their names were called. The last three on the stage (to no surprise) were Dalton Harris, Latoya Chambers and Phylea Carley. The suspense resulted in a very worried Dalton, as it was quite evident that he was nervous, but like I mentioned last week, Dalton would not be sent home. His name was called, leaving Latoya and (for the third week in a row) Phylea to battle it out for that 6th slot.

  • Rising Stars 101, the last time someone was voted in the bottom spot so many times was in the 2nd season and that was Kimanda Cummingham who was known for her infamous dutty whine performance (and she entered the competition singing a gospel song).

Let me give you the guidelines of the eliminations for those who are not familiar. The two contestants receiving the lowest amount of votes for the week will be given one more opportunity to fight for a spot in the competition. It is then left up to the judges to choose who stays. The song they performed in the eliminations should be the song they performed the previous week. Now I can continue.

Phylea must have realized that she was in a tight position and tried to trick us by singing a completely different song! Her planned flopped as the music and her microphone were shut off! Ha! That’s some funny stuff. She was clearly discouraged as she did not give us the flavor that we are use to. I would be dissuaded as well if the country, week after week, subliminally told me that they were tired of seeing me on their Television screens. Latoya amped up her performance on Sunday and convinced two of the judges that she really wanted to remain in the competition and so she was chosen to stay. Mind you, the performance was still horrible.

Anthony chose Phylea (who was his wildcard). Both Clyde and Nadine chose Latoya

  • Rising Stars 101 the last known successful wildcard Anthony had in the competition was Nickeisha Barnes who placed second in the 3rd season.

Dj Nicholas was co-host in the Chill Room with Pepita this week and lamented on how important discipline is for the contestants. Onwards with the episode recap!

THE TOP 6!

This week, the contestants called on the Holy Spirit as they were required to grace the stage, the audience, the judges and this crime riddled country with some good sanctifying gospel music and they did just that. ALL the performances this week were exceptional! I said that last week was the best performance show but I will now have to retract that statement. It took the grace of God to bring out the talent in the performers this week.

Jermaine started off the night singing Glacia Robinson’s Hold My Hand. I have commented on how much I think this guy can sing, but this week, I signed and made it official. I felt the passion when he sang; his vocals were on point! He showed the sensitive side he has covered under that hardcore demeanor. And now I have greater respect for him. I must comment on how consistent he is, and he has been by far the most consistent  in the competition. He made Nadine tear up and I’m sure she was happy to have chosen him as her wildcard.

Camaley came right after him singing Lord I Believe in You. She believed in him and now we know why. The lord was truly on her side during this performance. On Sunday night, Camaley gave the best vocal performance since she’s been in the competition. English was not enough for her as she then started to bellow the lyrics in Latin. At the end of the performance she did something that I know would have caused many persons to shout HALLELUJAH! She rose to her feet. As simple as it sounds, it symbolized a lot. To those persons who have not been watching the show but want to keep up to date, Camaley has a condition that has caused her to be crippled. She is currently undergoing treatment. That gave us an inside scoop on her strength. She got under the skin of the host Lady Renae who, at one point, could not speak, trying to hold back the tears. Both Clyde and Nadine were moved by Camaley’s stellar performance. Anthony was rather cold and blunt and he commented on her performance saying it was corny.

Third was the person who was almost sent home. Latoya Chambers, who is really starting to annoy me. This week the production staff decided to give us an inside look on how the contestants prepare for their performances. I really don’t know what this girl was trying to say. At one point she was saying something about not being from Jamaica, and not listening to gospel and whatever.  She then commented saying that she won’t be comfortable until Anthony approves of her; low self esteem much? Well with regards to her performance, it took the presence of the Lord to make this girl deliver something worth listening to. She stayed away from those keys that she and Phylea stole from prison and gave us what we were waiting for. I can just imagine how she felt when her “god” Anthony shunned her. That was some really funny stuff, I laughed until I rolled.

Word on the street this week focused on what the public like to hear. Many of the ordinary citizens made some very stupid comments but from what I could fathom, they like to hear some deep RnB Soul and they love when the contestants take risks.

The fourth performer was Dalton Harris who performed When I Call on Jesus. He came back on track and redeemed himself from that ludicrous performance last week. I was waiting for the gospel theme because I know that Dalton would have nailed it and he did nothing but! Mind you, he was not he best as he must have grown accustomed to, but he was still very good. He seemed to have been feeling the spirit at one point because of how he was throwing his hands around and doing his face. Good for him!

Toni Blair followed right after singing a gospel storyline and brought all the dramatics that came along with it. She handled her high notes well and you could see that she was really into what she was doing. This girl is one of my favorites and I loved the performance. Not much to say about her. Anthony said her act was as “dowdy” as her dress. She was wearing black if that helps you to understand what he was trying to say.

Nekorah, like many of the other contestants, performed very well. It was not the best performance for me but it was for many persons, I still don’t understand the huge uproar she got. She sang a song that would most like be done at a funeral. Don’t get me wrong, she was good and she was the only one who got a good comment from Anthony!

That wasn’t the last performance of the night though; Chill Room co-host DJ Nicholas gave us a “special treat”. He performed some of his songs that angered the Holy Spirit the contestants were worshipping.

That’s the episode recap here are some of the popular tweets made on Sunday, August 15, 2010.

  • Big up the back up singers
  • Is Anthony an atheist?
  • I hate gospel reggae
  • Why did DJ Nicholas have to perform?
  • All the contestants did well

Well that’s all for this week, until next week I’m yah boi Dervin. Peace!

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The Truth About Ana L. Retentive

August 15, 2010

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I don’t know how many of you BlackBerry users have received the following broadcast message from a contact on your BBM:

This official message comes from the desk of Ana L. Retentive, head of communications at RIM:
I regret to inform you that a virus has been sent out on all BlackBerry smartphones today, the 15th day of August in the year 2010. We are working feverishly to correct this problem, but we require your help. Broadcast this message to all your BlackBerry messenger contacts so we will be able to identify your smartphone by its pin and debug it immediately. If you do not broadcast this message within 24 hours, your phone will be shut off, due to the deadly nature of this virus. You will not be compensated, for you were warned.

Sincerely,
Ana L. Retentive
Head of Communications, RIM North America

bbmI regret to inform you that it was I, Francine Derby, who created this broadcast message. Actually no, I’m laughing so hard that I am almost in tears. Today, I was waiting for an important message from one of my contacts. Each time that my phone vibrated, I rushed to check if it was the message that I had been anticipating. I was greeted with an annoying broadcast message instead, most of the time. I was getting quite annoyed, so I complained to my best friend about the stupidity of persons that send out these messages. Then I thought it would be funny to create one for myself, just to see what would happen. I sent it to six persons on my BBM, the contacts that are the usual perpetrators of sending out silly broadcasts. I got it back from five of them. My friend and I had a good laugh and I thought it was over.

After a few minutes, I sent the following message to the five contacts who had sent it out:

Yes, that message was fake and made up by me, just to see how many of you would send it around. 99.99% of these messages are fake and made up by someone to laugh at your ignorance. Please uncheck my name next time you are sending a stupid broadcast message.
Thank you,
Francine Derby ❤

To my extreme amusement, the message from “Ana L. Retentive” has been delivered to people all over Jamaica. My boyfriend has informed me that he has received it from many of his friends in other Caribbean territories. It has even been delivered to persons in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Tennessee (I found this out by doing a Twitter search, then I searched Facebook). The comments I have received on this post are from persons all over the African continent, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Turkey. I had no idea that it would be this widespread. I intentionally named the person “Ana L. Retentive” to make it even funnier. As I’m sure you know, “anal retentive” is a term used to refer to a person who feels a need to be in control of all aspects of his or her surroundings. Or, in other words, an anal retentive person “can’t let go of shit.” I assumed that this name would indicate to persons that the message was fake. Evidently, I was wrong.

Broadcast messages can be useful, but they can be annoying if the service is abused.

If Research In Motion was having a worldwide problem, wouldn’t they use a better medium than broadcast messages to get the word out? Think about it. The same can be said for the “each time you send this, 25 cents gets donated to charity” messages. Why is it that RIM never makes these grand announcements using their website? Or, surely you would have heard of such a big thing on CNN or at least crackberry.com

Luckily, I have deleted most of the contacts from my BlackBerry messenger that are guilty of sending stupid broadcast messages.

If you have been annoyed by the message from Ana L. Retentive, I’m not sorry at all that I started it. I sent it to only six persons and now it has gone worldwide. A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect.

Please think carefully the next time you send a broadcast message.

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Three Uses for Expired Yogurt

August 10, 2010

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My father often complains that after purchasing yogurt in the supermarket, it stays in the fridge until it expires, then has to be thrown out. Yogurt is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Fermentation of lactose produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang. The product has a very short shelf life.
I thought it was necessary to research uses for expired yogurt. I hate seeing food go to waste. We are in a recession, after all.

Use it on your skin

Yogurt, when consumed is very good for the skin. The same can be said for applying it directly to your skin. Just warm for a few seconds in your microwave and put it on your face. Allow 20 minutes for it to dry and rinse with warm water. This helps to deep clean and tighten the pores.

For those of you with acne problems (like myself), mix two tablespoons yogurt with some oats and lime juice and apply to your face. I did this just before writing this post and I was impressed with the look of my face after rinsing it off. My skin was very smooth. I can’t say much for the acne treatment because my skin has cleared up. I should be breaking out again in about two weeks though, so I’ll try it then.

For quick, temporary relief of mild sunburn, apply cold plain yogurt to the affected area. The yogurt adds much needed moisture and, at the same time, its coldness soothes. Rinse with cool water.

Use it in the garden

This is also true for expired milk. Simply dilute the yogurt with water in a 50:50 ratio and use the solution to water your plants. It is claimed that this makes fruits and vegetables tastier and makes flowered plants more vivid. When I told my mother about this, she said she’d give it a try. I look forward to seeing the results.

Feed it to the pets

My veterinarian at JSPCA advised me that it can be very beneficial to feed my puppies yogurt once or twice a month. When I asked him if it’s safe to feed them expired yogurt, he responded “expired yogurt is the best kind to feed dogs and cats”. The bacteria present in the product helps in regulating their digestive system, thus alleviating problems with vomiting, diarrhea and flatulence. I mix about a quarter cup of yogurt with a tablespoon of glucose powder for each dog (glucose powder provides extra energy). My puppies really love the taste of it and lap it up within a few seconds.

These are just three uses for expired yogurt, but I found many more in my research, including using it to shave your legs and getting the prefect front lawn.

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