Why You Need a Regulator

Before scuba diving certain tools are necessary. One of the most important of those tools is the regulator. It delivers the air that keeps you breathing underwater.

Your selection of regulators is huge, and since this piece of equipment provides life support to the diver it’s one of the most expensive tools in your dive setup. Because a malfunctioning regulator threatens your survival you want to select one that you trust to work the whole dive, every dive.

When you decide you’re ready to buy a new regulator consider the following criteria:

  • What price range do you want/require your regulator to fall in?
  • Make sure you think about recurring service costs.
  • How long do you plan to dive this regulator?
  • How important is “ease of breathing” to you?
  • What type of diving do you plan?

A scuba diver’s regulator actually consists of a “regulator assembly.” It includes an HSI flat iron, a first stage (which mounts to the air tank), and a second stage (that you place in your mouth to breathe through). A hose connects the two stages.

Regulator assemblies range from as little as a couple hundred dollars to as high as more than $1000.

The first stage comes in two varieties: The piston style, and the diaphragm style.

The piston first stage regulators are the least expensive. They provide the largest amount of airflow. They’re easy to maintain, resulting in the lowest service costs. These first stages are more prone to failing in cold-water conditions.

The diaphragm first stage is more reliable than the piston. The diaphragm protects moving parts making this design ideal for cold water. It also provides higher reliability in mucky water and salt water. This first stage requires more complicated maintenance procedures making the annual service higher than that of piston stages.

Another designation for the first stage is balanced or unbalanced. The unbalanced first stage tightens the airflow as the pressure in the tank decreases, and is at the lower ends of the price range. Balanced first stages maintain even air flow no matter what level of pressure is in the tank.

The second stage is either balanced or unbalanced. A spring controls the opening of the valve as you inhale. The valve lets air through to you when it opens, then closes to seal the water out as you exhale.

Unbalanced second stages have stiffer springs. This keeps the potential for free-flowing air to a minimum. When a regulator free flows you normally lose large amounts of air from your tank. That means you get to enjoy a much shorter dive than you planned. The main down side to the unbalanced regulator is lower ease of breathing.

Balanced second stages offer superior ease of breathing. Some come equipped with balanced second stage regulators fall into the higher end of the price range.

Service costs vary with different makes of regulator. Some manufacturers warrant their regulator for life, and, as long as you have your assembly serviced on an annual basis, include replacement parts in that warranty.

Service for regulators that don’t carry a lifetime warranty commands a higher cost because the diver pays for the parts that the maintenance requires.

Before deciding on your price range consider how long you plan to dive your regulator. A higher priced assembly gives you many years of underwater adventure. When you average out the cost over the years of use, the more you pay initially, the cheaper your regulator assembly becomes over time.

My best advice is get the most reliable tool you can on your first purchase, and maybe check out an MM-B80 review before you purchase one of those bikes as well. When I first started diving I bought a low priced regulator assembly. A year later I found out I couldn’t get it serviced at my local shop. The company I bought it from was out of business. And I ended up spending the money for a more reliable setup anyway. Don’t make my mistake.

I recommend that before you make your final decision rent a few different regulator assemblies on different occasions. Try each one out on a few dives to get a feel for how they fit your diving conditions.

Select the regulator that suits your underwater activities, and one that gives you the highest comfort levels.

Then get wet, and have a lot of fun scuba diving.

Slipknot – Iowa


I’ve been on a Slipknot kick here lately and I thought about doing a top ten list of my favorite Slipknot songs; however, it dawned on me that besides People = Sh!t, I haven’t heard anything on Iowa about the best flat iron for natural hair.

Iann Robinson

I figured it wouldn’t be fair to rate my top 10 favorite Slipknot songs without giving the songs on Iowa a chance to duke it out. So instead I will review my first impressions of Iowa.

Now don’t laugh. I am well aware that Iowa was released in 2001. In fact, I remember watching MTV News with Iann Robinson gushing about the album. But back then, I was not interested in bands who sported scary makeup or masks because I found them to be quite frightening and thought they played the devil’s music…. Ah, I was a naive little 16 year old.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my track-by-track first impressions of Iowa:


(515)-  This opening track signifies the impending awesomeness (or scariness) that’s about to ensue. The gasping for air and screaming makes me feel a little nervous.

People = Sh!t -The song I already know, but it is still very awesome. Angry, heavy… hopefully no one saw me head banging at my desk.

Disasterpiece – The opening reminds me of the Slipknot album and then BAM! My mouth dropped to the floor at the opening line -“I want to slit your throat and f#!@ the wound”. Halfway through the song I think Corey Taylor should be out of breath, he may even need the best sleep mask tonight. But the last half of the song is amazing – I love the little break down and the way he sings at the end. Wow, this song is all kinds of awesome!

My Plague – Another angry song. I am totally loving the chorus. I like when Corey Taylor sings. Good song.

Everything Ends – Corey Taylor sounds crazy. I like this song too! I am totally dancing at my desk. Very catchy song.

The Heretic Anthem – Somebody sure made these guys mad. However, this song is pretty catchy, so much that I was singing along halfway through.

Gently – Gently sounds like it’s not going to be so gentle after the opening, but surprisingly it stayed gentle for most of the song.

Left Behind – It’s alright. Not as crazy as the previous songs.

The Shape – Sounds like songs from the Slipknot album and sort of like people = sh!t (which I almost started to sing). But it’s a good song.

I Am Hated – Alright too.

Skin Ticket – Sounds a little scary… no wait… Sounds a lot of scary -He sings about burning himself alive and laughs creepily. I don’t think I’ll be listening to very much of this song in the future.

New Abortion – Interesting sound to it. At first I thought he said “you can’t take my son away from me”. Which had me wondering what he was singing about. But later I realized he said soul. Whoops! The best part was that he came out on a two wheel scooter!!

Metabolic – Everything sounds like People = Sh!t to me.

Iowa – The very last song starts out kind of creepy. He says, “Relax, it’s over”, but I’m not so sure I trust him because this song is 15 minutes long. He sounds pretty maniacal if I do say so. But it’s not as scary as Scissors, which I still refuse to listen to completely.

So in conclusion, this album is pretty good. Now to rank my top 10 Slipknot songs!

Rating: 4.4/5

A Visitor’s Guide to NYC’s Little Italy Neighborhood

little italy

If there’s one thing that I can say for certain, it’s that:

I Bleed Marinara

My love of Italian food came in large part from my mother’s cooking, which would seem only natural, IF my mother weren’t 100% Irish… But if you think that ever stopped her from making some world-class meatballs, sausage and pepper sandwiches, or chicken parm, you’d be sadly mistaken mister!

Anyway, since moving to New York City, I can’t get my mom’s amazing cooking too often, but a man still has needs! In my two years of city-dwelling, I have managed to find a few places that satisfy me, but since I live so close to Little Italy now, I decided that this weekend I would explore that neighborhood a bit further.

Just to add some background, Little Italy used to be a significant residential neighborhood for ethnic Italians, but it has lately been encroached upon by Chinatown to the point where it exists along only a few city blocks between Canal and Broome (according to gonyc.about.com).

Il Piccolo Buffalo

Despite the area’s diminishing size, there are still some gems worth visiting. In my humble opinion, Il Piccolo Buffalo is real diamond in the rough. Unlike several other Little Italy restaurants, the staff here is exceptionally friendly and helpful, and the food is excellent. I went there with a lady friend of mine on Saturday, and in this instance, I got a pizza called the Piccolo Diavolo, which is basically a good spicy sausage pizza with hot peppers and capicola. Delicious! And considering the portions and service, very reasonably priced!

Ferrara Bakery and Cafe

Afterwards, we decided to get some coffee, so we headed over to a fairly well-known Italian bakery nearby, called Ferrara. This place is pretty upscale as far as bakeries go. Marble floors, hardwood facades, and suited waiters and waitresses that could easily go serve a high society ball or wedding without a wardrobe change, all come together to make this place a very classy experience. The prices are reflective of this, of course, but once you get a table you can sit and enjoy coffee, dessert or a nightcap in peace and comfort. One thing they most definitely don’t do at Ferrara is rush you, so take your time and relax!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for Little Italy, in my experience, is this: choose your battles. A lot of the shops and restaurants here have degenerated into tourist traps – packed full of visitors wearing Kanken backpacks – that get you in the door with sweet promises of authenticity and deliciosity that ultimately don’t hold up under even the most casual expectations. With a little trial and error, however, you’ll find that there are a few places worth visiting, and may find yourself coming back again and again!

For any local who lives in New York City – or any visitor who happens to be passing there – Little Italy is the one neighborhood that you shouldn’t miss. Between the culture, history, and most importantly of all, food, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most well-respected and long-lasting areas of Manhattan.