Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Silence (2016)

Silence (2016). I had a coupon for a free Redbox movie and thought it would be a good thing to try this movie with it so I wouldn't have buyer's remorse if I actually spent money to rent it. The movie trailer and poster both have Liam Neeson prominently shown in/on them in his Jedi-esque form. However, Liam plays a very quiet and limited role. The main roles are portrayed by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. Garfield's beard looks incredibly sad and fake. Driver's beard is much better but his physique is very gaunt and that's before he endures trials and tribulations later in the movie.

The synopsis on both IMDB and Redbox do not fully introduce what this movie is about. The Redbox version is way better though. I guess I just didn't read it very well or pay attention while I read it. It just wasn't what I expected. The movie is VERY long and I endured it to watch in one day but my wife was pretty much done after the first forty-five minutes. There are definitely parts that could have been edited down/out to make watching less of an endurance challenge.

VERDICT: I did not totally dislike this movie but I cannot recommend it to anyone. Like I said, it's long and drawn out. If you are really interested in the story and want to occupy two and a half hours of your time with a slow-moving movie, then by all means rent it. Otherwise, find a highlight reel somewhere.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Trolls (2016)

Trolls (2016). Watched this movie today...all by myself. My kids have gotten to an age where they don't really care to watch too many “kid” movies anymore. I try to just enjoy the entertainment value of the movies versus look at them as child, kid or adult.

Anyway, this movie has the voice-over talents of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski,, Jeffrey Tambor, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden and others.

So the movie has a similar story line like many other animated movies or “family” movies in general: something happens bad; someone has to step up and save the family/village/day, someone(s) learns something special about themselves along the journey and in the end everyone (mostly) lives happily ever after. You get the gist.

The songs are poppy and relevant. The movie is mostly on the happy end of the spectrum (as it should be since they’re ‘happy’ trolls) with the occasional glum-turns to-glad scenes.

VERDICT: It is worth a $1.50 rental from Redbox or free if you can get it. I wasn’t wowed but I wasn't disappointed either. If you have young children about 9 and below, they’ll enjoy it for the sheer entertainment value from the bright colors and singing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Packers defeat Cowboys 01/15/2017

Dear Cowboys friends and fans,

I must apologize and take responsibility for causing the Cowboys' loss to the Packers today.

No, it wasn't the seemingly blatant favoritism towards the Packers by the refs: their bad-calls/no-calls, no-calls/bad-calls.

It was me!

Frustrated, I stopped watching at halftime with Cowboys 10 Packers 21.

Sometime later while surfing the web, I saw an update showing the game score tied at 31. So, I turned the game back on with 53 seconds left and well, you know how it ended.

Yeah, I have that kind of power. The Force is strong in my family although I'm the only one who has it.

So anyway, again, it was me and not the officiating.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Jeep CJ66 Retro Wrangler

Just saw an article (here while it lasts) about Jeep showing a retro Wrangler concept vehicle to celebrate their 50th birthday.

In the photo, it looks like a Hot Wheels die cast toy.

All I can say is, "I want!!"

I miss my 1990 Jeep Wrangler. I should have never sold it.

I still don't know why I did.


That's why.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hardcore Henry (2016)

Hardcore Henry (2016). Funny thing about this movie is that I was registered to attend a free screening of it a week or so before it hit the theaters. I'm a part of some screenings list—Gofobo I think it's called. I didn't get to make my screening because life happened. I was kind of bummed because watching the trailer I felt like it was an interesting way to shoot a movie. It's like watching a first-person video game without having to worry about controlling the character.

So when this hit Redbox, I knew I wanted to rent it. To double the fun, I got it for free with a coupon code! Yay, me!

The movie is fast-paced. It's like the poor guy never gets a break. There's a lot of action and blood. Perfect for the manly man...or woman. I could go on and on but I wont.

VERDICT: Rent it. It's not a cinematic masterpiece. It doesn't have an overwhelming story line or plot. It's just...pure fun.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I need to make more money

I'm about to move to a new place. Move in is September 1st. I have to prorate rent on my current place for three days, 1st thru 3rd, so I can move out and clean the place. It'll run about $210 for those three days. I have to pay $2,100 for the first month's rent. I have connection and reconnection fees for utilities.

It sucks!

This will be an extremely rough month financially, particularly because it follows an already tough month of August.

In August, there was school registration for both children, one college sophomore and one high school senior. Books for the college student. Band registration and fundraising as well as theater performance dues for the high school senior. Both need new laptops for school. One of the current nine-year old laptops is dead and the other one is dying.

I had to put our family pet's recent surgery on a payment plan with Care Credit. If I don't pay the $1,700 within eighteen months, I'll pay a whole lot in deferred interest.

I already had a payment plan for a recent ambulance ride and E.R. visit for the wife. That started out at like $1,400.

I also have a few more payment plans and just paying outs of accrued debt with interest that won't end for at least six months to a year.

But I try to remain positive. We have our health (barely/mostly). We have a place to move to (as long as nothing goes wrong). I have a job to pay for necessities as well as all this debt (well I have credit to pay and then some money from the job to make payments towards the credit).

So, life is good!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chili Pepper Grill Food Truck

I didn't much care for walking very far today for lunch so I decided to partake in the offerings of an available food truck on campus, the Chile Pepper Grill food truck.

What you see is (from left to right, top to bottom) the Alambre and Cowboy "deluxe" tacos, asada and a carnitas tacos from the food truck. Their menu on the side of the truck said the deluxe are $3.00 each and and the regular tacos are $2.00 each. However upon payment, she only charged me $7.50. Weird but I'm not complaining for saving $2.50.

Anyway, I've had the tacos from Chile Pepper Grill before. In fact, all these I've had before except for the Cowboy and they taste the same as I vaguely recall. The meat is still fairly flavorless for all.

One thing I do notice is that the bacon on the Alambre has changed. Before I think I described them as bacon bits/chunks. This looks to be more like bacon slices.

Either way, I really only recall tasting the flavors of lime juice and the green salsa (the peach/orange is too damn hot for my tastes) that I put on the tacos.

So, I will probably eat from Chile Pepper Grill food truck again (1) if they are the only truck or food provider and I'm starving or (2) someone else purchases the food. I'm not saying it tastes bad. I'm just saying it just really doesn't all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chacho's in San Antonio

I just remembered I had eaten at Chacho's off Poss Rd in San Antonio. I was down there for a competition for my youngest. There were a couple of parents we were with who were familiar with the area and recommended this place. The group consensus was that we'd give it a try.

On the night we went, I think it was a Saturday, it was pretty hopping...packed and busy. Interestingly, there were a lot of 'Mexicans' there. I quoted it because they could be Latino, Puerto Rican, Spanish or whatever so I loosely generalize them all as 'Mexicans.' There were also a lot of Black and Caucasian diners as well as a few Middle-Eastern types. Point is, is that this place seemed to appeal to the masses.

Anyhow, the menu had many choices to select from like burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and nachos. The pricing seemed alright and inline with many Tex-Mex restaurants around Dallas like Desperados, Enchilada's, Matt's Rancho Martinez, Chuy's and such.

I had the fajita taco dinner combo. I figured it was a dish that couldn't suck no matter where it's served. It was served fairly quick especially with the rush the restaurant was having. It was good. Not overwhelming or overly exciting but just tasted good.

This is the Bean & Cheese version of the Pile High Nachos. I didn't order it but a friend did. It looks much larger and more filling than it really is. I mean it is filling but it LOOKS very filling. Unfortunately, the way they make it isn't conducive to making sure the bean and cheese gets in between the nacho chips. It's essentially a pile of nacho chips with bean and cheese poured over the top. As quickly as the nacho cheese starts to thicken and the already-thickness of the beans, it doesn't have much of a chance to absorb and seep into the chips. I did have a taste of the nachos and just like the taco dinner combo, it was just good. It didn't make my mouth water and say I needed a dozen more bites but also didn't make me say, "gross."

All in all, I'd say it was worth trying out this place...a seemingly popular place with the locals in this part of San Antonio, Texas. Would I make a point to return if I'm in the area or recommend it to someone I know who will be? Probably not. But I'm always willing to try new and interesting restaurants whenever I get the chance to travel.

* images courtesy of Google search

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hatch Chile Tacos at Taco Bueno

A couple of weeks ago, I became a Buenohead. It sounds better than it far. Basically, you sign up with your email address and you get email "specials" sent to you. Taco Bueno doesn't yet have an app like some other chain restaurants such as Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A. Anyway, the benefits of submitting my email have not come to fruition as of yet. In fact, I've received better coupons from the junk mail fliers I have received via snail mail.

Anyway, I received an email Wednesday morning stating "99&#162 Hatch Chile Tacos today only!" (see image below)

I wasn't even thinking about taking them up on this offer but my youngest was going to In-n-Out Burger which is right next door to Taco Bueno. I figured I'd ride along and try out the hatch chile taco since I wasn't really making any extra effort to go.

I entered the Taco Bueno and confirmed that they were running the deal. I didn't know the regular price until I looked at the menu (yes, I didn't realize until I uploaded the image that it was in the email). Regularly priced at $1.99 so it's a dollar off. From the images, I couldn't tell how big the were so I ordered two just in case. Good thing I did. Anyway, I also got a free bean burrito courtesy of a coupon from the junk mail flier.

Apparently the hatch chile taco comes with chicken. It's not exactly listed as such in the name or anywhere that I remember like on the menu, but it does. I thought it was just an option they were showing but it's the default option.

So, what you see below is what I received as my order of a hatch chile taco.

As it looks after receiving my order

As it looks opened up

The first image does not look ANYTHING like the advertisement from my email. There is no care or elegance to the making of the taco. They were not busy and I was not in a rush. You would think some worker in the fast food business would give a shit about being as close to a truthful representation as possible.

I know, I know. It's just a fast food taco. But if people don't give a shit about their quality of work, then the country deserves to be destroyed by electing Donald Trump as President.

The second image is the guts of the taco. I count roughly a dozen various bite-sizes of chicken, some mushy green bits which I assume are the hatch chiles and some melted cheese. I would think since it's called "hatch chile taco" that the hatch chiles would be more abundant. I guess that's just me.

Luckily, I got some toppings to go from their condiments bar. I got some diced white onions, pico de gallo and red sauce. This added to the fillings of the hatch chile taco but in no way did it help justify the 99¢ price. Especially when I think I can spend about $5 for various ingredients to match and get about ten times or more of the amount of produced product.

For me, even if the price were $0.59, the hatch chile taco is flavorless. I didn't get any flavoring from the chicken nor did the hatch chiles add any taste. I could tell there was cheese, mainly from the texture, but I don't think it had any taste either. I do recall the red sauce and the pico de gallo flavors but that was about it.

So, after a little bit of ranting and raving, my final verdict is PASS!

Monday, May 23, 2016

MyBuds Pro Ear Buds

I started this probably a year or so ago but just now getting it typed and posted.

I'm not a big fan of spending big bucks or even little bucks for ear buds. I'm not an audiophile of any kind. I just like to be able to listen to my music from my smartphone or my iPad or from whatever source that I'd need to plug in some earphones/buds to.

I picked up these MyBuds Pro Ear Buds pretty cheap from somewhere. It's been so long since I got them and wanted to write this review that the place of purchase has escaped my memory. I do remember that they were something like $20+ at stores found online but I believe I got a really good deal for them at around $3.99 plus tax with free shipping. So let's say $5.00 for argument's sake.

I've read some recent reviews on these or those that are very close to the same as these and they weren't very good. I'm not sure why. Maybe they paid over $20 for them and weren't satisfied. Maybe they are just earbud snobs. Maybe they just had a bad day. I don't know.

What I can tell you is that I didn't have ANY issues or complaints with them for what I used them. I walk to and from many places. I like to listen to music while doing so. These ear buds did that. Were they the best in sound? No. Were they the best noise-canceling? No. Did they play music with a decent-enough sound? For me, sure.

These came with an inline microphone. I didn't purchase them for the microphone but it's almost impossible to purchase any kind of earbuds/phones without this feature included. I did use it a few times with my mobile phone and the person on the other end did not have much trouble hearing me. However, I did hold the mic closer to my mouth because the placement of the microphone is right where the earbuds connect to the main cord at the 'Y' junction. That should make sense to everyone and if it doesn't then you're probably a dumb ass. The buds do come with a clip on the cord and I did use it to clip to my collar of my polo shirt but I was told that the sound was muffled-sounding probably like 3 out of 5 times I used it like that. Again, not a big deal to me as this functionality is not why I purchased.

What I really liked about them was the inline volume dial. It added an additional volume boost to the sound coming out of the earbuds. Sometimes, a track is softer than the previous track or a station on Spotify has a low set volume for some reason. This volume dial allowed me to turn the music up quite a few more notches so I could hear the music at an audible level either just to hear or to hear over some ambient noises that were not fully noise-canceled by the ear buds.

Only reason I no longer use these, is because one of the earbuds stopped working because of user abuse and not product defect. Occasionally, I would accidentally jerk the buds out of my ear(s) by the cord getting caught on something. Do this enough times and the cord starts to become loosened from inside the earbud. This is what happened and it's not the same listening to music while walking with a uni-bud versus stereo. I did take them to my work and plug into my computer's headphone jack to listen to music as I like to have one ear "open" at work. Eventually, I jerked the cord enough on the one working earbud to where neither one worked. That's when I finally got rid of them.

Did they have the best audio? No. Was it good or decent enough? For me, sure. Again, I'm no self-proclaimed audiophile. I just know what is acceptable to me and at what cost. So for $5, I'd say that I got my money's worth.