Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kent Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen

I started this a few weeks ago...probably around December 10th or so. I get busy. Sue me!

Because the boss of the office I work in typically takes out and pays for all of her minions for a Christmas holiday luncheon, I had the opportunity to dine at Kent Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen in Prestonwood Center in Dallas.

In the past, we have eaten at Buca Di Peppo. Buca isn't too bad but it's also not something that I tell people that they have to try. It's always been free when I've gone but I'm not sure I would want to pay for it or it would be an option that I would chose from. My mindset is if I'm going to pay for food and pay more than what I consider a decent price ($8-$10 or less a person), I'm going to go somewhere that is really, REALLY good!

Kent Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen is about the same for me. I'm not going to run out and tell people that they don't want to miss trying this place for lunch or dinner. I don't know if the prices for dinner are more expensive than those at lunch. If they are, I would recommend people staying away from this place and try something else in the same price range. There are plenty of other places that I would compare Rathbun's too and they would win my recommendation hands down.

So anyway, let me describe my experience...

At first glance from the outside, the signage and building look pretty low key—nothing fancy or flashy. It's not in a stand-alone building but more of a strip mall so maybe that's why it's not full of frills and flash. Not a big deal as frills and flash usually are done to help redirect people's attention from some flaw or failure in the business.

Entering the restaurant was kind of interesting as the entrance is a revolving door versus the typical push/pull door. I would have thought this type of door would have provided more of a seal from the outdoor elements but it didn't. I'll probably touch more on this later. The host/hostess stand is right inside the entrance and we (I was with two female coworkers) were greeted by the hostess and someone who looked/acted like the restaurant manager. The manager looked to be carrying a walkie talkie which was somewhat silly since the entire restaurant was similar in size to a standard Applebee's—the open concept and more of a square/rectangular shape overall. I don't what he was carrying exactly as I didn't pay too much attention but it was something I noticed him holding in his hand as he pointed us to our lined tables for the big group. I got the feeling that this place felt they were much cooler or "refined" than they really are.

We get to our seats and got out drink order taken. The appetizers were ordered by the boss and were a variety of items like fried green tomatoes, calamari and some other things that I can't remember what. I don't know if the boss ordered sampler plates but it looked like it as there were probably around six plates with a variety of items.

The waiter made his way around the table taking people's orders and explaining the specials and the food items in general. I went with the special of the day which was a sirloin steak sandwich with sweet potato fries. My good friend and coworker ordered the grilled ahi sliders. The two of us also split the shrimp, crab and lobster "coleslaw" salad.

We got our salad first which is what we asked. I'm not a food critic. I know what I like and I know what I don't like. I was very disappointed. Living in the south and living in Texas, there is a certain kind of coleslaw we are used to. I know that. I am not opposed to trying varieties of a food item. That's what makes eating food so awesome...the many different ways an item can be made and still taste good. Unfortunately, Rathbun's does not know how to make their "coleslaw" taste good. It was a huge bowl for sure and one person would be pretty full after eating the whole bowl. They did split it in two bowls for us. However, it only had six medium sized shrimp (3 per bowl) and I really couldn't tell you how much crab and lobster. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the very finely sliced brown stuff was lobster. It was more like they used the lobster to flavor or garnish than it being part of the actual salad. I can't remember ever finding or tasting the crab. There was about 95% red cabbage, 3% shrimp, 1% thin crispy things (think of long croutons), and 1% lobster/crab. My friend and I both ate all the shrimp given, ate what we could of the lobster and the crispy things. There was a WHOLE LOT of red cabbage left in both of our bowls.

We finally got our entrees. The steak was sliced into four or five medallion-type sizes. On top of those, there was melted cheese (Swiss I think) two or three fried green tomatoes, and then some sauce like a gravy. The bun was very thick on top and bottom. It was all held together with three toothpicks. The sandwich was SO thick that unless you're a reptile and can unhitch your jaw, there was no way anyone could eat this as a sandwich. I had to open it like a philly cheese steak to start but then I just ate the steak as if I sliced it myself. I tried to eat a slice of the fried green tomatoes with each steak piece to add some taste to them. When all was said and done, the bread/bun was left from the sandwich. The sweet potato fries were so dang salty that I think they should have been called salt with a slight hint of sweet potato flavoring.

For the grilled ahi sliders, my friend and coworker almost ate them the same as I with the steak sandwich. She ate one with the bun/bread and another she just ate the ahi out of the slider. The third one she gave to me and I ate it with just the bottom half of the bun. What I remember about the ahi is that it was a bit over peppered.

On to dessert. It was a variety of options like the appetizers. I think the boss had them bring out some of everything from the dessert menu. You can do chocolate cake, cheesecake or bread pudding wrong.

Overall, knowing what I know now, I would have gone straight for dessert at Rathbun's. However, I'd much rather have a good and tasty entree than a dessert so I wouldn't go to Rathbun's in the first place. For the pricey PRICEY items on the menu, I truly expected better than I experienced.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What more can I say about this

Saw this gift card at my local Tom Thumb. I think I'll be shopping there more often.
 
 
 

That's all I got to say about that!
 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The many translations for the White House Down DVD

How many languages does "White House Down" need to have for its viewing audience(s)?


There are no mosquitoes in November

This spoken from the mouth of an infectious disease specialist in Dallas, Texas.

Well, I'm here to tell you that doctor is an arrogant asshole full of himself and I hope an anvil drops on his head like the ones on Wile E. Coyote in the old Road Runner cartoons.

The photo was taken this morning, 12/20/2013, in my master bathroom after I smashed this little fucker on the mirror.

This was after the freeze Dallas had that started the evening of 12/5/13 and lasted until about 12/10/13. Dallas then had a couple of 50-70 degree days.

Anyway, this is my way of letting you know what everyone probably already knows and that's you cannot trust ANY doctors that are "experts" in their field. This infectious asshole...I mean disease specialist...didn't even want to hear about mosquitoes in November.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Dell XPS 15 Touch Screen Laptop

The new Dell XPS 15 Touch Screen Laptop might be my next laptop. The touch screen part doesn't affect me in any way as I'm not accustomed to the touch interface via tablet or smartphone. I just need a light, powerful, portable laptop with resolution higher than 1366 x 768. I prefer at least x1024 because I don't like huge icons or text. I make due with it on my ASUS G50VT-X5 because it's a work horse desktop replacement—rated one of the best at it's time of inception about five years ago.

This is a little pricey...like a Mac Book Pro or Air but I'm a long-time Windows user and I don't feel like learning a new operating system or keyboard shortcuts.

We'll have to ponder this decision a little longer...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Will I continue to watch Sons of Anarchy?

I finally watched the season finale of SOA. No way can you make me believe that a drunk, high, 50-60 yr old woman who had heart surgery a season or two ago can overpower a sober, healthy, not-so-frail, mid-20-30 yr old woman. I liked this show much better in season one or two. Now it's gotten ridiculous, predictable and not so entertaining.

It's all this backstabbing and screwing around they do to each other. They find out. They hate for an episode or four and then they are trustworthy of each other again. It's not common sense or realistic! And yes I know it's a TV show!

I just can't believe that Jax would trust Gemma after all she's done to him, Tara and his father. I can't believe that Gemma would trust Wendy after all she's done to Jax and Abel.

Also, in this episode, I sort of get why Juice did what he did in covering for Gemma but he's still going to get his! He's on the "the-club-can't-trust-you" list which means he's probably got just a few more episodes in him. I'm sure this is his way of "getting back" at Jax for his ultimate demise whenever it may come.

Anyway, that's all I want to share about my building dislike of the Sons of Anarchy television show.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Office Max uses wasteful shipping practices

I ordered this 128 GB PNY USB 2.0 Flash Drive from OfficeMax.com sometime last week — November 27th I believe. This isn't USB 3.0 but I'm okay with that. It was a pretty good deal for USB 2.0 for this much space especially since there aren't a lot of USB 3.0 flash drives at this capacity. It was $50.87 (price + tax + free shipping) whereas the original price is $149.99. I consider that a pretty decent savings!

Anyway, I got home from work and what did I see on my front porch? This big 11x14 manila envelope. I couldn't think of what I ordered that would come in a flat, large envelope. Once I got a closer look and saw the shipper name, Office Max, I figured it was my flash drive.

Sure enough it was the flash drive tucked in the corner of this envelope. A package flash drive that's about the size of a 3x5 card and they put it in an 11x14 padded envelope. Well, so enough of the rambling. I just thought it was interesting with the choice of packaging.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday is a waste...

...of your time, money, blood (could be literally these days) and sweat!

I don't know why people [still] put themselves through the Black Friday mess. If you know how and take the time to price compare, you will always get the best deal online or at the store. It's way more worth your time to shop around all year or months before the holidays than on some fictitious 'super sale' day big business marketers created.

For instance, Target has a few brand new PS3 games (like COD: Ghost, ACIV: Blackflag, BF4 and FIFA 14)on sale for $35.00 + tax + in-store purchase only...roughly $38.00 total. Amazon has those same games for $34.99 + tax + free 5-7 day shipping...roughly $38.00 total. If you happen to have Amazon Prime, it's free two-day shipping.

So, who makes out better: the person who braves the crowd of people that believes they're getting the best deal(s) to hoping a copy of the games remain on the shelves for their potential purchase or the person who ordered from Amazon knowing they're getting the games and continues to sit in the warmth of their home eating dessert and watching TV? I'm with the latter. Besides, if I can't find something at the price I'm looking with the easiest effort possible, I feel like it's not something I "need" at that time.

Fight the urge people! Force them to have Black Friday every day!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Game of Washers

This is a little...okay, a lot...late but when I was on vacation in Taos, NM a couple of years ago I entered a Wal-Mart looking for one thing and happened upon these little gems.

This is what we poor people call the game of washers. Before they became a product at Wal-Mart, Target, and wherever else, these washers were randomly found at hardware or plumbing stores or maybe just by dumb luck.

My dad created a "course" in the backyard of our house out of the bottom of a dual burner gas grill and some washers that were like 2-3 cms thick, about 2-3" in diameter with a center hole about a 1/2" in diameter. I don't know where my dad found these washers because you can't find them anywhere nowadays. They cannot be found exactly like I remember nor can they be found similar in size and weight. They are either too thin or too light and typically none in 3" diameter. They at least can't be found at your local Lowe's, Home Depot or Ace Hardware stores.

Anyway, this is a really fun pasttime for the family. It's similar to horeshoes in scoring and play (tossing something on to something else). When I was in junior high school, the coaches made the game out of an empty can goods can. Again, the washers weren't the same in size and weight as the ones my dad had but the ones they had served the purpose. It was fun playing a game that these adults were new to that I was used to playing my entire life.

When I saw this package in the Wal-Mart, I had to buy it. Even if I didn't have a 'course' set up to play it on it was worth already having the washers because the holes are easy to construct out of just about anything. It wasn't until months later when I got back to Dallas that I saw these again at Target. However, this time they were part of a set and it wasn't exactly the same game I grew up playing. There are tons of variations but none will replace the game of old. Some of the variations are similar in set up to the old game.

There's just nothing like sliding or bouncing a washer from about 10 inches in front of the hole into the hole. Or having a washer toilet bowl the hole to either make it close or inside the hole. Some of the variations now are set up to where you have make a hole-in-one to get a point or points. That's not the fun part of it. The fun part is being able to knock the opponents washer away from the hole if it's closer than your washer OR making a sinker. The sinker isn't the end all be all.

Anyway, that's my brief walk down memory lane that only took me two years to type about. I'm glad to see it the washers game coming (or came) back. I guess we should thank tailgating and it's appreciation of any game that can be made into a drinking game.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

In the news 09/19/2013

This is ridiculously stupid. From the Park Cities BubbleLife News:
HPHS Softball Field Lighting Still in Limbo

A decision on whether the Highland Park High School girls softball team should have lights at their stadium, one that has been in the making for over two years now, still was not reached at Tuesday’s University Park city council meeting.

Click here for article while it lasts.

This is just ridiculously stupid! Did I type that already?

These residents are bitching about the possibility of noise and light pollution from the high school for which probably is the reason why they moved into the area in the first place!? Highland Park residents are the whiniest, most egotistical people. The odds are probably zero for any activity at the fields in Highland Park to go past 9:30 or 10 p.m.

I wonder what the residents around the TCU, SMU, UT Austin, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and others schools say about the noise and light pollution—not to mention parking pollution.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trance (2013)

As per my M.O., I started this some time ago. It was probably started no less than two weeks before posting.
 
Trance (2013). This was one confusing movie. I still don't know if I know what the hell was going on or who was not hypnotized versus who was. Does that make for a good movie or a bad one? I truly don't know.

ALERT possible spoilers ahead...

The movie had decent pace, good action, twists and turns. It also had a few glorious scenes of Rosario Dawson's sexy, nude body—even full frontal. I don't know if they had a body double or if it was Rosario. I don't care. It has already found a place in my memory bank of actresses who have appeared nude in movies or print. Anyway, Rosario plays a hypnotist that supposedly is hired to help James McAvoy's character remember where he stashed some stolen, famous painting. Vincent Cassel's character plays the villain who actually wanted to steal the painting but turns out that McAvoy's character saved it or stole it himself. That's part of the confusion. Did McAvoy actually want to steal it or did he just put it in safe-keeping or was he a part of the original heist or what?? I still don't know.

Now, in my defense, I was watching the movie while working...at work...so my attention span was definitely split between multiple activities. I may have to watch it briefly again but at the same time I don't think it was really that great of a movie to have to sit through again and actually pay more attention.

Final verdict: it's watchable. It wasn't boring and it had some good parts (and no, not just the nude Rosario parts). If you have a coupon or get it from RedBox for like a buck twenty, it wouldn't be a waste of your time.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New advertisements in Yahoo?

Is this the new way that Yahoo is advertising in its email? I don't know if they decided to minimize their ads like Google does or what. I noticed it first in the Yahoo app on my Samsung SIII about a week ago—I think it was after a Yahoo app upgrade. I then noticed it on my computer via the browsers.
 
 
If they wanted to be like Google, they need to move the ad a few lines above the emails list. Google at least separates the emails and ad by a couple of lines.

Anyway, this is just me sharing my powers of perception.

 

That's all I got to say about that!
 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Pluckers Wing Bar Lovers & Greenville Location

As usual...I'm a little behind since I started this post but better late than never.

I took the kids to Pluckers Wing Bar (Lovers and Greenville) a couple of weeks ago for the first time. I had been there once previously with some friends and coworkers when it first opened but hadn't been back since—probably at least 3-5 years. My delay in returning wasn't because the food was bad on my first visit but more of the fact that I'm frugal and I think $19.99 for 20 wings is WAY overpriced! In case you need help with the math: that's a dollar a wing. I can buy a pack or two of 8-12 wingettes per pack from Kroger for like $3.50 a pack, a bottle of cooking oil for like $2.00 and a bottle of wing sauce for $3.00. That comes to $12.00. Again, I'm a tight wad and so yes, I would (and have) purchased these items to make my own wings.

So, fast forward and/or rewind to my second visit with the kids.

I originally was going because I had a coupon that got me 20 wings for $13.99. It was only for one person but I thought it would be enough to get us started. However, it turns out that my coupon was expired. The kids and I were already craving the wings so I decided to go ahead and eat at Pluckers.

They had a 10 wings combo 'special' for $11.50 which is still too much but I guess at least it came with a side...which is really just filler for me because I prefer the meat over the potatoes. Anyhow, we ordered the fries as the side and they weren't too bad. My oldest ordered honey bbq while me and the youngest ordered buffalo medium. We went with medium because you know how different restaurants have different measures for flavoring and we didn't want to get something too spicy and not fully enjoy the wings.

My kids were craving and starving but the oldest only ate like 3-4 wings while my youngest ate about 5. They did eat the fries as well as drink almost all of their GIANT freaking sweet teas. I left no chicken bone unstripped and ate all ten. I felt like I could eat more but that was a good start and I'm trying to be less of a pig when eating things I really like. You know, all good things in moderation...or some shit like that.

All of it tasted good. No real complaints other than our server was a little lacking in the 'being in tune with the needs of your customers' department. Too many times I had to wait for a refill on my Diet Coke. I go to a restaurant and order my Diet Coke, it's like an I.V and I need to have it constantly flowing. I have to wait and it affects the tip—which I start out at 20% and work my way down so it gives the server room for error. This guy just couldn't learn from his mistakes and it wasn't really busy. I would see him chatting with other servers and not being attentive to my table when it was right by where he was hanging. I think he barely got 15% and that's only because I was a server once (a damn good one) so I know how it sucks to serve to live. I definitely reward based on the servers ability to replenish my drink before I'm chomping on the ice. Too early is almost as bad as too late because who wants a watered down second drink because I haven't gotten close to finishing the first one?

What the kids and I did walk away with is that Monday is all-you-can-eat wings for $16.99. I think that's a good deal because regularly it's $19.99 for 20 or $11.50 for 10 wings combo. I don't think the kids would eat 20 but I would most definitely be sure to eat 20 at the minimum and probably a lot more.

So, there's my story about my second ever Pluckers visit. I would recommend the specials if you are a bargain shopper like myself. I would also recommend having a backup restaurant at which to eat because there are days when the line is out the door and the seating is packed. We actually wanted to eat at Pluckers three times previously within a week and a half before we did eat there because everytime we drove by it was just too damned packed.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Sushi on McKinney

Had lunch at Sushi on McKinney today.

It was good sushi. I went with a coworker who actually was the one to suggest it. We first thought of Blue Fish and then Deep Sushi but Blue is a bit more pricey than we wanted and Deep is a longer drive from our work. Sushi on McKinney wasn't our third choice so much as it was the third place that we thought of when we tried to think of sushi places at which to go eat.

I've outlined where we sat in the pic below thanks to Google street (or really-inside-the-business) view.

I'm not a huge quality comparer so I can't say that one place has better eel, salmon or yellow tail than the other. I do notice what I like and flavors that appeal to me. So, I can say that one wasn't any worse than the other. Make sense?

Our actual rolls ordered were the Negihama [yellow tail and green onion] (6ct), Eel Avocado Roll (8ct), Smoked Salmon Roll (6ct), and 2 Shrimp Tempura sticks. My coworker liked the yellow tail best and then salmon but thought the eel was 'greasy'. I thought all tasted just fine but the sweet sauce on the eel was very tasty.

I would be careful ordering a carbonated beverage. I ordered a Diet Coke and it came out tasting too carbonated. My second glass tasted a little better but I don't know if that was because I got used to it or it really was different. Who knows if all other carbonated beverages they serve would be the same but just something to think about.

Our meal totaled up to be $28.xx. The pricing was about the same as I've paid at Sushi Kyoto II. Even though our meal was $28, we only tipped $2. I know it sounds like we gyped them and I felt kind of bad because I'm a good tipper—starts at 20% and goes down from there but usually no lower than 15%. The more I thought about it though the more I realized that they really didn't do shit for us. They took our drink order and brought it out. I filled out the card to order the rolls. They took it and brought our food. They refilled my drink once. Do they deserve a 15-20% tip just because their pricing is so high? We didn't think so.

Sushi on McKinney was a quaint little place. It was much more quiet than I expected on a Friday around noon but I guess not everyone likes sushi for lunch. It's also on a strip of McKinney Ave and backs up to a strip of the service road of North Central Expressway (US Hwy 75) that are populated with many other restaurants of varying cuisines. Because of this, parking is pretty crowded depending on the time and you may run into no parking or parking with dumb douche bags that take up two spaces with their vehicles because that's how privileged they fucking are.

Anyway, if you like sushi, you'll like Sushi on McKinney.

AT&T Uverse tried to skim $7/mo. off me

Here's something to look out for when you move. This happened with my ATT Uverse account/contract but I'm sure seemingly little things like this occur in all aspects of B2C interactions that people overlook or discard as not that big of deal. Not this consumer!

I recently moved. These days most utilities can be canceled, restarted, and/or relocated from one location to another via an online portal. ATT Uverse is one of them and I used their portal to set up my start date and installation time at my new place.

All was fine and dandy until I received my first bill for the new address. I see this $7/mo charge listed for a receiver. I don't know why as I signed on to a contract for a free wireless receiver with my home base DVR. So, I call Customer Care.

Longer story shorter. I signed on for a one-year commitment contract with a guaranteed price for two years. When I moved, about six months after the start of my contract, the promotion for a free receiver had ended so the new pricing took effect at my new address. They said that because the free-receiver promotion had ended that now I'd be charged a $7 monthly fee for it.

I don't think so! This isn't my first rodeo.

After raising my voice and getting my $7 back for the already billed charge, they gave me a lump sum for the remainder of my two-year pricing to cover the $7/mo. It came to $112 plus some estimated taxes. They had to do this because their system will not allow them to remove the $7 fee since the promotion is no longer going. I never ended my service, I just transferred it to a new location. So, I will be billed $7/mo for the next 16 months because some programmer does not know how to program to keep the original contract valid after a promotion ends.

The Customer Care rep kept telling me I forgot to check a box that said keep my receiver or some idiotic thing she knew nothing about. I had to tell her that when I used the online portal to move my service. I had to input my new address and then it stated something like the following: Congratulations! You are able to move your service "AS IS" to your new location. Press 'Next'. To me, that means service at my new address will be exactly like my service is at my current address. When I pressed 'Next', it took me to a page to pick my appointment date for a technician to come out and set up my service. Nothing else.

Anyway, that's my rant. I've not had any issues with ATT Uverse service since my original DVR was bad after initial installation. However, this kind of action just pisses me off as they are already charging so much for something and now they are trying to milk an extra $7/mo out of me because their stupid system can't keep up with all their promotions.

So, lesson to learn from Absent-Minded Jay?

Always go over your bills with a fine-tooth comb. At the very least, it could save you the cost of a Chipotle burrito/tacos.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blockbuster really needs help

Blockbuster should seriously reconsider their marketing plan and business model. If they want to survive, Blockbuster is going to have to come up with something WAY better than this!

Why would I want to rent three movies to get ANYTHING at a Blockbuster store for free? The popcorn, candy and/or Coke have usually been around the store for a while that's why they are "giving them away for free." But they already make their money off of you by making you pay $1.99-$3.99 for each of the three rented movies.

I guess that's smart business if you can get the stupid customer to do it. I'm not a stupid customer and no one else should be either!

If you haven't read any of my other Blockbuster rants, I am a Blockbuster Total Access Plan member. So, I don't speak from inexperience or from an outsider looking in. I have a pretty good grandfathered deal with my Total Access Plan but the moment they increase it or get rid of it, I will no longer rent movies from Blockbuster.

I've recently used Red Box a few times and although it has to be watched within 24 hours, I think $1.20 (total with tax) isn't a bad deal—especially back in the day when there was a dollar movie theater. I also got a free movie rental for signing up and after my initial rental. Then I got a free online credit for one movie. Basically I've watched seven movies from Red Box for the price of four. Granted they don't have a lot of new releases and sometimes I have to find the movie I want at different Red Box locations but overall it's not been too bad.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Albert Nobbs (2011)

Albert Nobbs (2011). I feel like this movie has been prodding me to watch it for a few months now. I keep seeing it over and over when I browse my Netflix account. I almost watched it a few times but never did because I felt like it wasn't a movie that would keep me interested. It's always been on my Blockbuster Total Access Plan queue. I just kept having it pushed further down the queue as I added movies that I thought I'd like to watch sooner or would be more entertaining.

Apparently, the movies I'd prefer to watch are also the preference of many other people so every one of them kept being in the Availability status of Medium or High Demand. So, the queue jumps to and sends the next available movie in Available status. Which recently finally got to the point of sending me Albert Nobbs.

Anyway, Glenn Close plays Mister Nobbs. She's a woman dressed as a man to get a man's wages and respect. Apparently she has played Mister Nobbs for a very long time. The movie is done well and the acting is fairly good. It's interesting to see what people would go through to "get ahead" in the world. To live a secret life in such close proximity with other people had to have been pretty stressful.

As mentioned, I passed this movie by time and time again when seeing it show up in Netflix. It just didn't seem like a movie I really, really wanted to watch but it kept nagging at me to watch everytime I saw it. I guess you could say that I was finally forced to watch it when it came in the mail from my Blockbuster Total Access Plan Queue.

One thing to mention is that Janet McTeer has HUGE boobs...they remind me a bit like Mimi Rogers' boobs...and I knew she was playing a man from the moment I saw here in the movie.

Final verdict: it's watchable. It's not overly exciting. There is no real action, adventure, or violence but it's still tolerable. I would recommend watching but don't expect pomp and circumstance.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

What makes people think family fucking them over is acceptable or overlook-able?

If it were a friend or an acquaintance, would they give them the same leeway?

Just because they are family, it doesn't excuse them for the negative behaviour. In fact, in my opinion, it makes them worse because they ARE family!

I don't understand people putting up with the bullshit from family just because they are family. If it was a friend or just an acquaintance, they would surely distance themselves from these people.

I just don't get it. I'm baffled.

I for one can say that I don't take shit from anyone like that; not family. not friends. I don't need you around if you are not going to be a positive influence on me or my kids. I get taken advantage enough at work as it is but they pay me to put up with their shit!

Anyway, it was just a thought that popped into my head because I saw a Facebook wall post that my niece and nephew (two of the few family members I tolerate) were a part of with my older sister, their aunt. Their aunt responded to them about some "family" get together but she said that it wouldn't really be family because of the ones that are "Above Us All."

You goddamn fucking straight! I AM above those assholes and ALWAYS will be. I do not treat and take advantage of family the way those fucks did so they are no part of my family anymore and that makes me "Above Them All."

Oh well, just a quick rant. Back to my meditation or medication. :-)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More "reviews" on movies I've seen recently

Many of the movies I've listed below are ones that I watched within the past few months. Most have been watched at least a month ago or more. I've been busy doing other things and some of these movies don't deserve any of the characters I'm going to type to discuss them.

Update: I've decided that there has been too much time between now and when I watched these movies so I'm just going to type more for the ones that I actually remember things from.

Ted (2012). What can be said about Ted? It's overly vulgar. It's pre-adolescent humor. It could be considered downright immature by many. That's part of its attraction. If you go in expecting these things, you will enjoy it. If you go in expecting anything more or different, you will find this movie ridiculous and probably will stop watching after the first 15-30 minutes.

It's like Grown Ups but with way more sexual content and vulgarity. Or American Pie with just Jim and Stiffler but the Stiffmeister is a stuffed bear. Actually, I think I found American Pie more entertaining overall.

Besides the fact that Ted is a fucking stuffed animal that talks and "is alive," there are parts of the movie that are just ridiculous. Namely, the sex scenes with Ted. What the fuck is Ted fucking with? Are the girls he's "banging" that easy and sexual that they just like having their vajayjay rubbed by a plush toy?

Yes, yes, I'm reading too much into the movie but seriously. It's that inane! I think Seth MacFarlane has so much sexual frustration and tension pent up from having to do public television shows that he revels in the opportunity to let his inner 12-yr-old perverted self out in a 'real' movie.

Were there parts that were funny? Yes. Were there parts that other 12-yr-old boys (physically and mentally) will quote from now until the end of days? Yes. Were there good parts throughout the movie to keep one interested for the entirety of the movie? No, but we keep watching to see what fucked up thing Ted will come up with next!

Final verdict: I would recommend it only if you have nothing else to do and need to watch a movie with occasional moments of funny shit mixed with failed attempts at comedy that are still sort of funny. I've seen it and I wouldn't watch it again except for the parts of hot, naked chicks which are probably better than the entire movie.
 
The Watch (2012). This movie was pretty funny. It had moments where if I were drinking while watching I would have squirted the liquid out my nose. I watched this with my kids. Other than the occasional bad language which isn't really anything that they haven't heard already, it was pretty teen-friendly.

Ben Stiller's character is typical Ben Stiller. It fits right into his comfort zone of what we are used to seeing him portray.

Jonah Hill's character is pretty funny too. It's a little more out of his typical character but he does it fairly well.

While both Ben and Jonah's character are similar to other roles they have played, they aren't annoying actors or their roles are annoying.

However, Vince Vaughn almost always plays the same...exact...character in ALL of his movies. I guess if that's what made you famouse you should go with it. The problem is that he is just playing fucking annoying! I don't know where writers/directors think that hearing Vince Vaughn ramble on and on in that annoying as tone of voice he has is entertaining. It may have been...when we saw him in the very first movie where he was that annoying person. Even the second movie may have been funny but after that it's just TOO GOD DAMN MUCH! Put a giant fork in Vince Vaughn...HE IS DONE!

Final verdict: This movie is pretty funny. My kids wanted to watch it again with the friends and I think they even watched it a couple of more times. I on the other hand would not mind watching it once in a while. It was worth the time the first watch and it would probably be worth it the next time or two.
 
Casa de mi Padre (2012). This movie was pretty funny. Like The Watch, I could watch it once or twice more. Will Ferrell is his typical funny self. Fortunately, it wasn't one of his 'bad, funny' movies. The only thing that made this movie difficult to watch was all the Spanish dialogue and subtitles. Of course, it wouldn't be the movie it is without the Spanish dialogue. It's almost like watching an old Jackie Chan, Jet Li or Donnie Yen flick where they speak in Chinese/Cantonese and all the subtitles while all this fighting is going on. It sometimes makes it difficult to watch the movie AND understand what in the hell is going on.

Final verdict: It looks like a movie you'd waste your time on but it is pretty funny and entertaining. It's not a movie that you can multitask because of the foreign dialogue and subtitles so make sure you have to time to read, watch and listen. It's also not one of Ferrell's best/funniest, but it's still worth watching.
 
Extreme Justice (1993). I thought this might be at least a decent movie since it had Lou Diamond Phillips and Scott Glenn in it. It wasn't hugely disappointing. However, watching it now does show its date. It was an action flick with some comedy. If you want to reminisce of older movies from the early 90s then you won't be greatly disappointed by this one. Otherwise, you could find some newer movie that has a very similar story line with updated videography.
 
Dead Man's Shoes (2004). This was an interesting flick. I didn't like a lot of the cinematography but it was a fairly decent movie. On the Blockbuster rating scale, I'd say "this movie was just so-so" but I remember it, I watched it in its entirety and I didn't end up hating it. In parts in was kind of frustrating because of the story line but not because it was bad or anything. It's one of those movies where one guy is always trying keep his brother or very good friend out of trouble or from doing the wrong thing ALL the time. It makes me think to just put a damn bullet in that person's head so the 'good' guy doesn't always have to get his ass kicked or hurt because he's helping someone else out. Anyway, it wasn't high action or anything like that but it might be worth a look for something different.
 
Hunger (2009). This movie along with many of the ones to follow is one I was browsing the Netflix movie library and thought I'd give it a try. Just like the ones to follow and ones I've 'reviewed' before, I wasted my time for you so you don't have to. It was basically a different take on the Saw movies. Almost all of the Saw movies sucked and if you've seen one you've seen them all, so you can forego watching this piece of crap movie. It's so great that I've forgotten most of the scenes in the movie. How's that for making an impression? No matter how low the budget for this movie was, it was WAY too much!
 
Dead Season (2012). There is a plethora of zombie movies to choose from. Don't choose this one. I can overlook poor makeup and juvenile cinematography but I cannot look pass a horrible story line and excruciatingly bad acting. Even good...well, decent...acting can make a crappy movie watchable, bearable. There was absolutely nothing in this movie that could make me recommend it to anyone, even those who are deaf and/or blind. It would inflict horrible feelings upon ALL people!
 
The Perfect Witness [a.k.a. The Ungodly] (2007). This movie lacked just like the movie above. There was absolutely nothing that I can recommend about this movie. And, that's about all I think I can remember about this movie...that it sucked!
 
Sweet Angel Mine (1996). It's been too long since I watched this movie. However, I cannot remember anything about it which lets me know that it wasn't a good movie. I could maybe take a quick gander at it on Netflix to maybe recall what I watched originally but I'm thinking it isn't worth the time. Which means it isn't worth your time.
 
 
Bellflower (2011). Nothing comes to mind other than it wasn't good enough to remember.
 
The Teacher (1974). Nothing comes to mind other than it wasn't good enough to remember...and there were boobs.
 
Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption (2011). Nothing comes to mind other than it wasn't good enough to remember.
 
Grievous Bodily Harm (1988). Nothing comes to mind other than it wasn't good enough to remember...there were boobs.
 
Rites of Spring (2011). Nothing comes to mind other than it wasn't good enough to remember...there were boobs.
 
No Vacancy (1999). Nothing comes to mind other than it wasn't good enough to remember.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Frozen food stuffs from Schwan's

A relative of mine sent a care package to my family that she ordered online through Schwan's. I don't recall ever hearing of this company but who am I to turn away from trying free food?

The food came frozen in a pretty sturdy styrofoam chest about 2 1/2 feet long by 2 feet deep and wide. All the food was sealed in plastic and placed in cardboard boxes. There was a variety of food stuffs she ordered. There was chicken pot pies, pizza, angus mini cheeseburgers (pictured below), and lasagna.

At the time of this picture-taking and posting, I had only tried the mini cheeseburgers. However, the posting started about 4-5 weeks ago and I'm just now getting to typing something.

So, first of all, the mini cheeseburgers reminded me a lot of these frozen White Castle cheeseburgers a friend shared with me some time ago. Similar packing, presentation and taste—yes, I just equalled the taste of them to White Castle frozen burgers...if you've had frozen, precooked burgers you show know that they all pretty much taste the same when heated. They also reminded me of sliders. Anyway, the burgers were tasty. They may not win cooking awards but for free and frozen, I wasn't grossed out.

  

It was probably a few weeks later before I was able to try more dishes but the next item was the lasagna. The lasagna tasted just about the same as a Stouffer's, Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine or any other kind of frozen lasagna. Again, it wasn't horrible but it wasn't like "Wow!"

Next was the frozen pizza. We were afforded two of them. They were just pepperoni and cheese but my kids are kind of picky on their toppings for pizza anyways. I hate to sound like a broken record but once again the pizzas were good but they weren't mouth-watering or awe-inspiring just like the previous two items.

Some days later, the wife and kids finally tried out the chicken pot pies. If having one barely eaten and the other untouched after baking tells you anything, it would be that these were not very good at all...to my family. I didn't try them because by the time I realized there were leftovers, they were already way too cooled down and I didn't think reheating them again would help with the taste.

What's left in the freezer is a box of frozen enchiladas. I've had frozen enchiladas before from the likes of Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Hungry Man or those type of meals and I wasn't very impressed. Therefore, I'm a little skeptical at trying them from Schwan. We'll see how it goes.

Overall, I can recommend the mini cheeseburgers, the lasagna and the pizza...probably in that order too. I don't know how much these costs as they were gifts but if they aren't a huge savings versus the grocery store, I don't see why one would ever order it online from Schwan's.

So, there you have it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Email humor 04/22/2013



Sprint referral "rewards" is pretty lame

This is the graphic from an email I received from Sprint (Yes, I'm a Sprint customer).

What I find amusing is once again Sprint thinks so lowly of its customers...especially long LONG time customers like myself. A $25 gift card is not worth the time or effort to even just ask a friend to join Sprint. If Sprint wants people to really refer someone, they really need to up their ante.

Hell, almost ten years ago when I first got on DirecTV, they gave me $50 per referral ($10 a month off my bill over five months). Not only did I get $50 but my referral got $50 disbursed the same way. Fast forward to the present and DirecTV is offering $100 per referral...of course, disbursed $10 per month for ten months only for the referrer...BUT the friend only had/has to sign a minimum one-year contract whereas Sprint requires the two-year service contract!

So, who is giving the better deal for a referral? Now it's not exact science comparing a satellite provider with a cellular provider but you get the point.

I just don't see that $25 is incentive enough to refer a friend to Sprint. If I just happen to know of someone that is going/moving to Sprint, then sure I'd ask them to say I referred them, get my $25 and not split it with them. Otherwise, I'm not wasting my time!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Death by paintball

Okay, it didn't quite die from the paintball hit but it did lose an eye.

Tagged this freaking nuisance about 30 feet away running down the trunk of a pecan tree. Shot it in the head (eye).

It kind of staggered on the tree and then leaped off the trunk. It plummeted about 20 feet to my driveway.

I went to take a look and it was breathing/panting heavily with the damage eye towards me.

I hit it a few more times with paintballs just to add to its pain and misery.

I then took this photo.

I went back outside about an hour later and the thing was gone. Either it recovered enough to go to the squirrel shaman for an eye patch or a neighborhood cat had lunch!

Goodbye and good riddance!


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - a visit to Dallas

Saw an episode (probably old) of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives the other day with the burger joint Maple & Motor as one of the restaurants Guy Fieri visited. Normally, they present multiple items from the menu for the show that impress customers. They only had Jack (M&M owner) cook up one burger—a bacon cheeseburger with fresh green jalapenos.

First, Guy misquoted M&M as the best burger in Dallas. I think that's limited to certain people or an article that was written by one person and with that one person's opinion.

Second, Guy wasn't as complementary of the burger as he is with other restaurant entrees in MANY other episodes I've seen.

Third, unimpressed, Guy cooks/creates his own burger concoction during which it looks like Jack at times isn't happy with because of all the ingredients Guy's using. Which begs to wonder how much did Guy really like the burger Jack cooked if he ended up creating his own? Again, I've never seen Guy do this (cook his own item) on any of the other episodes!

I've been to M&M two or three times because a coworker of mine was initially impressed by the burger. The 2nd or 3rd time finally woke her up to realizing it's not really any better than many other places in Dallas that are closer to our work, have a more inviting seating area and don't have an arrogant, asshole owner!

Don't get me wrong. The burgers I've had there are good. However, it definitely is not "the best burgers in Dallas." As I mentioned, Jack's an arrogant arse and his rules are juvenile (think of the mentality of if you don't like it then go somewhere else). I also was part of the many who "Like" the M&M Facebook page but have since "un-Liked" it. Many of Jack's "joking" posts about his workers and people in general does not go along with a manager, owner or someone who respects that his customers are the reason why he's in business...even the customers he doesn't like. Don't get me wrong. There are always asshat customers but asshat begats asshat quite often with Jack.

So, go and make your own opinion of Maple & Motor. Like I said, the burgers are good. But they are also good (and maybe even better) at Keller's, Jake's, Chili's, Twisted Root, Snuffer's and a whole lot of other places in the Dallas area.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chile Pepper Grill Food Truck

This is a photograph I took of my order from the Chile Pepper Grill food truck. What you see is (from left to right) the Alambre "deluxe" taco ($3.00) and two carnitas ($1.75 each).

The Alambre comes standard with cilantro and onions but the 'deluxe' status adds cheese, green peppers and bacon. Truthfully I really didn't feel the add-ons added anything to the flavoring or taste of the taco. The green peppers were more like dices versus slices or something of real substance and there were so few that I almost didn't realize they were in there. In fact, I only looked for them I knew they were supposed to be in the "deluxe" taco from reading the menu. The bacon was in small chunks—the kind you'd be more likely to find on a pizza. You can see a little bit of it in the photo near the top left of the taco. There was also cheese. I don't know what kind as it wasn't stated and I don't know how much there was. I guess it was pretty minimal like the green peppers. I think you can see a little bit melted on the steak to the left side of the taco sort of blending in with the diced white onions. All that being said, I have to say that the steak or even the flavoring of the taco in its entirety did not leave a lasting 'flavorable' impression. I did have it a few days ago but I can't remember what it tasted like. For reference, I can tell you exactly what each slider from the Easy Slide Truck tastes like and it's been at least a couple of weeks since I had one. Is the 'deluxe' status worth the extra $1.25 difference from 'regular' taco? I'd have to go with "No."

The Carnitas taco is just corn tortilla filled with cilantro, onions and carnitas. It's their 'basic' taco which only varies (as far as I can remember) from the choice of meat. The carnitas was tasty. I like the simple flavoring. For some it may be a little wet in the sense that they could probably dab it with a paper towel to absorb some of the juice and/or "sweat" from being in the storage container with a lid on it. Hopefully, that last part makes sense. I'm not picky and it doesn't bother me but it did make for a very drippy taco eating session. Anyway, the onions helped to add a little bit of crunch to each bite but like the Alambre, I didn't feel it added any flavoring.

In the image you'll also see to small containers above the tacos that contained two types of sauces. I don't know their official names but I'm going with the green sauce and the red sauce. I dipped a finger into each to see how they tasted. I decided the green sauce was more appealing to me. I first tasted each of the tacos without the green sauce to get a true sense of their taste. I then took a few bites with the green sauce added to see how it changed, enhanced or detracted from the taste of the tacos. I'd have to say that it changed but did not enhance or detract. For the Alambre, it actually hid the taste of the steak...maybe that's why I don't remember it much. For the carnitas, I think the carnitas meat was flavored enough that it still came through the spicy-ness of the green sauce. I actually preferred the carnitas taco without the green sauce and that's how I ate the second one.

Overall, I did not feel that I could recommend this food truck to my friends, family and coworkers. I don't think it was bad necessarily. I just didn't feel like I was awed or impressed enough by the flavoring of the tacos to put my recommendation on it for others. Now, I'm not a snoot and I eat just about anything especially if the price is reasonable for what I'm getting in return. In my opinion, for $1.75 if this is the only food truck available or it's next to one I thoroughly do not like I will most definitely eat Chile Pepper Grill tacos again. In fact, my recommendation for this food truck is to forego the deluxe option and stick with the regular taco. My tab came to $6.50 ($3.00 + $1.75 + $1.75). I could get four regular tacos for $7.00 and feel fuller from eating four tacos versus three since the deluxe I had was really an overpriced 3rd taco. I would also like the feeling that I got a good deal at 4 for $7.

So that's all I've got. Now go try it yourself.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Some people are just too pompous

So, I was subscribed to a YouTube users channel that I initially found sort of interesting. He really only appealed to me in his occasional sharing of technology "reviews." I subscribed some six months or so ago when his channel originally piqued my interest. I really haven't found anything else interesting than the first time I was piqued but I do get notifications via email of all my YouTube subscriptions. Now unfortunately, I think he's bought into gaining (and probably receiving) more advertising dollars and with that his arrogance and pompousness seems to have grown and is starting to show through in his videos.

He seems to post at least a video a day. Half of them or more are useless, very useless. Who really gives a shit about an UNBOXING!? Save the freaking unboxing for a REVIEW! But it seems that if he doesn't post a video at least once a day, he doesn't get his advertising dollars.

He occasionally posts videos of "a techie's room" which I find ridiculous. No techie has that clean of a room/desk. He's very opinionated and that's all fine and dandy except for when he comes across all 'holier-than-thou.' I've seen a few of his posts and comments on his posts that suggest he's got that "I'm better than my commentors" complex.

The below screen capture of his most recent video post shows his response/comments in regards to a pretty innocent questions. A commentor asks, "...Do you torrent?" A simple question yet DickFranco took immediate offense to it, assumes the commentor refers to piracy and puts himself above him by stating, "I do not condone piracy." What a fucking idiot! To be so crass and assuming of one of his subscribers...what a fucking douche bag! Does anyone comment about what a pussy HE is that he is a college graduate and still lives at home!? Anyway, see the screen capture and do not fall into this boys channel as a subscriber.


As you can read, another commentor explains to DipFranco that piracy and torrent do not go hand in hand. But DoucheFranco says that "when people ask if I torrent I'm sure they are referring to piracy." Again, a douchebaggery way to automatically think...IDIOT!! Anyway, as stated previously, I don't find his videos of worth. He had an opinion that on something months ago that interested me but since then he's truly disappointed. That's what ALL his videos are...his opinion on something. Granted, some people like that and like him for it for some reason but eventually they'll wake up and realize they can better waste their time on Temple Run and be more fulfilled. Arrogant-for-no-reason people like him irritate me when they are disrespectful to the people that made them who they are...essentially his "customer." Anyway...


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The cost of living in Hawaii vs Texas

I was looking for a cost of living calculator to see what a salary in Honolulu, Hawaii would have to be compared to what it is in Dallas, Texas. I don't remember the link but I think it was off cnn.com or money.com. The calculator already had an amount of $45k so I went with it. I selected Dallas and Honolulu and this is what it gave me.

Can you freaking believe that you have to make almost double what you make in Dallas to make a comparable salary in Honolulu?! What the hell!? It's that damn tourist industry making the COLA higher. I'm sure there is no way or barely a way that the locals are surviving on a minimalist's salary like this! $45k barely goes that far in Dallas!

It's also an interesting feature on this calculator when it shows where and what percent the increase is: 235% Housing, 55% Groceries and 50% Utilities.

No wonder there are so many houseless people in Hawaii—as I was told by a local the majority of the people on the streets are not homeless but houseless because they own a house but cannot afford to live in it. Sad...


Email humor 03/21/2013

A man and his ever-nagging wife went on vacation in Jerusalem . While they were there, the wife passed away.

The undertaker told the husband, "You can have her buried here in the Holy Land for $150 or we can have her shipped back home for $5,000."

The husband thought about it and told the undertaker he would have her shipped back home.

The undertaker asked him, "Why would you spend $5,000 to have her shipped home when you could have a beautiful burial here, and it would only cost $150????"

The husband replied, "Long ago, a man died here, was buried here, and three days later, rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance!"


Friday, March 08, 2013

Justin Bieber is a douche

Saw an E online article today about Justin Bieber "lunging" at the paparazzi. I didn't read much of the article but the photographs are humorous enough. The first one he looks like a 10-yr-old boy crying about wanting his binky. The second one shows what even more of a douche he is because his bodyguard lifts him like a big baby. I'm thinking the bodyguard should have done a 'shaken Bieber' move on him!

Bieber looks like a baby with a dirty diaper that's full of shit and is about to fall off of him. Does he really think that this style is cool, especially for a WHITE boy from Canada??! Someone needs to bitch slap these white boys that think they're 'gangsta.' Hell, the black boys that think they're cool with the pants' waist at half-ass-crack need to be smacked the fuck around too!

Black, White, Asian, Mexican or whatever the fuck you are...you look unbelievably STUPID with your pants looking like you bought them from the little people store. Do you realized how idiotic you look walking down the street in such a hilarious manner trying to keep your pants from falling completely down? Or how walking around with your hand down the front of your pants to hold them up makes you look like a complete and utter douche bag as well?

There is absolutely nothing cool or intelligent about this 'style.' You look like a douche, you look like you're shitting in your pants, you look like you need to be run over by a 'dumb ass' truck! If the law would allow me, I'd like to be the one to smack you upside your head and say, "W-h-a-t t-h-e f-u-c-k!" Not once do I hear anyone of ANY age say, "Man, I like that style" when they see it on the street. They typically say, "What a fucking ass hat!"

And in case you fucking ignorant parents who allow their kids and young adults to wear their pants in such a manner, do you know where this originated? PRISON! That's right. Your fucking kids and family members are emulating ignorant people in prison...they're not ignorant from the pants thing...they're ignorant because they are in prison. They are ignorant because they chose to do a crime and they are ignorant because they got caught! Anyway, they're prison "uniforms" were stripped of all strings that could be used as a weapon OR to hang themselves with so most of the time their pants were droopy and at half ass. So, you go on promoting and allowing your family members to look like idiots and emulate even bigger idiots!

IDIOTS!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

In the news 03/05/2013

Headline reads from the Dallas Morning News:
Man stabbed in downtown Fort Worth after panhandlers want more than he gave them

Click here for the article while it lasts.


This is why I don't (and everybody else shouldn't) give money to any beggars/panhandlers/whatever-you-want-to-call-em-ers. I don't care what puts them on the street. I just know that if they approach me, I feel that my safety is at risk and I will not hesitate in beating the wholly Hell out of them.


That's all I got to say about that!
 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Mountek MT5000 hands free car mount

I recently purchased the Mountek MT5000 hands free car mount from Meritline.com which I saw in their Monday Madness Email Deals (I think). Regularly $24.95 + shipping but it was on sale for $17.99 + free shipping. I've paid for other hands free mounts around $15-$20 so I figured this would be a decent enough investment. (a few images of it below)

  


Besides the price, what caught my attention was that it used the CD slot in the radio for mounting instead of a suction cup or a clamp onto the air vent. I mean who really uses CDs to play music these days especially with the auxiliary input or direct control for MP3 players these days?

I ordered this and another item that I'm sure I'll write about some day on January 21st. I received it on February 1st. I thought this was shipped from a domestic warehouse but I can't be completely sure. If it was, the free shipping took longer than most domestic free shipping on other products I've ordered online. Since it was almost two weeks, I'd think it was definitely from a domestic warehouse because internationally I've received things in 3 weeks or more.

Anyway, the packaging was pretty good. It came in a very sturdy cardboard box instead a bubble-wrap padded envelope. There was a small booklet of instruction but I didn't use it as I had previously googled this item before purchasing. When I did, I saw a video review which explained how the mount was secured in the CD slot.

A couple of days after receiving it was when I was finally able to get it into my car stereo CD player slot to test it out. When tightening the mount inside the CD slot, I was started to think what kind of damage I could cause to it...whether it is with the mouth of the slot or the playback ability of it. The mount doesn't go much deeper than a 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch but when I began to tighten the screw to secure the mount I could see the mouth of the CD slot move. The more I did it the more it moved but I didn't do it to the point of actual breakage. I'm not stupid! I actually didn't tighten it a whole lot and I've had no problems with the mount slipping or moving within the CD slot.

I tested it with a next-to-latest generation iPod Touch and a Samsung SIII with an Otterbox cover.

With the iPod Touch, the MT5000 did quite well. It was easy enough to size the holding arms down to fit the Touch. It was also fairly simple to push the button release to remove the Touch after use. With the Touch, the padding on the arms seemed to keep their shape while securely holding the Touch in place.

With the Samsung SIII, the MT5000 did well enough. Just like with the Touch, the holding arms and release button functioned as they should. However, the holding arms felt like they weren't as sturdy with the wider size of the SIII. When squeezing the arms together, it seemed like they bent back a little in a sort of "V" shape instead of holding their "U" shape (hope that makes sense). Even without the Otterbox the arms seemed weak. I had to squeeze them tight enough to be able to hold the SIII in place while I manipulated the SIII for either changing music, dialing a phone number or getting driving directions. A couple of times I didn't have them tight enough and my SIII slide out and to the floor board. After some practice, I was able to get the SIII fully secured without movement but I felt like consistent use of it this way could weaken and damage or break the holding arms. Sometimes bending a bit is better than more rigidity but I'll just have to wait and see how long it lasts if/before I break it.

My takeaways:

Pros: I didn't pay much more if anything more than I would for any hands-free mount from Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon or wherever. So far, it's done what it's supposed to do and does it fairly well. I like the fact that when I need my air vents, particularly in the summer for the A/C, one or more are not being blocked by my SIII/Touch. I like the simplicity of the design and it's very beneficial to me that it can hold my iPod Touch as well as my Samsung SIII (w or w/o case).

Cons: The overall construction of the MT5000 seems sturdy enough except for the holding arms. They seem a little less solid compared to the rest of the MT5000 and the slight flexibility of them could lead to breakage while trying to push them together to secure your device.

Depending on how big your device is, where you place it in the MT5000 and where your CD slot is on your radio, it could block the display of your radio and even disrupt the air flow from your center vents—again depending on your vehicle type and arrangement of your radio. When I have my SIII in the MT5000 situated where the top of the SIII is lined up with the top of the MT5000, the SIII blocks my LCD display of my radio. For instance, if I have it in auxiliary and am using the SIII to listen to music, I cannot see the volume level because of the way the layout is...the volume is centered during auxiliary use and the SIII is dead center. This is not a total bust but sometimes I just like to know how high/low the volume is currently set. Now when I have my SIII in the MT5000 situated where the bottom of the SIII is lined up with the bottom of the MT5000, the top of the SIII slightly blocks the center vents on my Honda CRV. It doesn't stop the airflow or block it like a holder that sits directly on the vent. It does have some clearance space of maybe 3-5 inches between the vents and the SIII. However, it could limit the air flow to the backseats. I just don't know for sure at this time as it's "winter" in Texas and I have no need to use my dashboard vents.

And to compare this to another product or two I own and use(d): The first mount has a suction cup and a bendable 4-inch arm that I used during our trip to Florida and Taos this past summer (see images below). I used it on the left-hand side of my steering wheel on the windshield (suction cup only) because it was too far away if I put it centered on the windshield. I also felt like it hendered or distracted my vision a little when I initially stuck it centered on the windshield. It came with a disk that you can use for adhering to the dashboard but I didn't know if it would jack up my dashboard or not so I haven't used the disk. This particular mount cost $17.99 at Fry's Electronics. After applying a little water (or spit when I didn't have water) to help the suction cup adhere better, it stayed mounted while my iPod Touch with the power cord and auxiliary cable rested in the cradle for the entire 12-hour drives—Dallas to Fort Walton Beach, FL and Dallas, TX to Taos,NM. While in each of the respective cities, it stayed adhered most of the time. Occasionally, I would accidentally knock it off while inserting/removing the Touch from the cradle. However, it easily re-adhered without issue and lasted until the next time I knocked it off. It currently resides under the center console of my CRV because I need to clean the windshield AND the suction cup because both are pretty dirty and the mount won't stay properly adhered. I've been too lazy to clean either. Then I saw this deal on the MT5000, I thought I wouldn't have to clean it after all. I'm lazy...I know. I figured that if I ever stuck the disk to my dash or window, that the suction cup would work even way better but I still am hesitant. Maybe I'll do it on my van dash since it's a lot older. We'll see. I haven't tested this mount with my SIII because at the time of the trips I had an HTC Evo Shift. The shift is roughly the same width as the Touch so there weren't any issues with occasionally securing my phone in the mount when I need to use the GPS. A few times I have entered my car to find that the mount is on the floorboard or it has fallen while in use during driving. Overall, this mount is very good but the need and possibly worry that the suction cup may falter makes it's use less stable and consistent...again that may change with the suction disk if I were to use it.

  

Second, I have another mount that is smaller than the one just described (see images below). I got it purely for the iPod Touch but it did hold my HTC Evo Shift as well. It had two ways to mount: either adding 'clips' to the back and then clipping it onto one of the A/C vents or it had a sort of stand about 1" x 1" with double-sided tape that I could adhere to the dash and then secure the mount to it. Again, I didn't use this dash stuff because of not wanting to damage my dashboard. The mount did exactly what it was supposed to do. However, the clips that were on the back to connect to the vents were fragile and broke fairly quickly after a few weeks of use. They didn't completely break off. It's hard to explain in words but the bottom part of the clip was thinner than the top and the bottom part is what broke off (see 1st image below). This is turn made the mount technically not clip to the vent as much as it was hooked to it. Hopefully, that makes a little sense. So, clipping (not hooking for me) this mount to a vent blocks that vent entirely. I have four vents: one on each end of the dashboard and two in the center. Depending on where I hook it, using the mount knocks me down to three vents. Not a huge deal if I'm not using them but a big deal for the people in the back seat that aren't getting enough A/C air flow during the hotter days in Texas. This mount is limited to what size device you can use. It will not hold anything much larger than the iPod Touch and it definitely will not hold a Touch with a not-so-thin case. As stated, I strictly purchased this to hold my Touch to listen to my music so it worked for exactly what I wanted it for. This is actually my second mount of this type. The first one I had for about six months. The clips broke just like my second one but I also snapped the arms of the cradle when pushing them together to secure my Touch. I was more careful with the second one but I was surprised when the first one's arms snapped. This mount has served its purpose and I'm sure will continue to do so until I lose it or it breaks.

  

Overall assessment: I don't think you could go wrong with the Mountek MT5000. I got it at a very good price and I definitely like the use of the CD slot versus a suction cup to the window/windshiled or using some adhesive to hold a flat plastic surface on the dash for the suction cup to properly and securely adhere to. It could probably use an update (if this is the 1st run) with such things as stronger cradle arms and maybe smaller screws/nuts that are used to expand the mount inside the CD slot for stability. That way it doesn't block the display of the radio. Even with all these possible updates, it is a very decent product that I've used just about everyday so far since the initial testing a few weeks ago.

UPDATE: I finally got around to uploading some photos to show how the MT5000 mount interferes with the radio display and buttons since anonymous commentor Brent asked for clarification almost a year ago which I guess this could be sort of a testament to the build of this mount since I still use it...although I am also fairly conscious to be careful with it. Hope the pics help.

 
 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Outbeak Steakhouse ad on Facebook

Saw a Facebook status for Outback Steakhouse mentioning they brought back their special of Sirloin and Lobster Tail (see image).

I don't find the image very appealing. Both the sirloin steak and lobster tail look dry to me. I don't know if this is a "low-calorie" meal but it definitely looks low appetizing from the image. Where's the dripping butter from the lobster tail or the succulent juice from the steak. I honestly saw this image and thought, "I'm gonna have to drink a lot of water/soda to help wash that meal down."

Now, I haven't tried the meal and I probably won't get around to ever doing so. I'm just making my observations from the image alone and if the image doesn't make my mouth water, I don't think it will get me in the doors to an Outback Steakhouse! It's common sense marketing—it needs to make the potential customer WANT to go eat this meal now! This image and advertisement did not do it for me.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In the news 02/26/2013

Saw this article today on Gizmodo.

Just my two cents:

If you take away the pirating issue (Argh!), I'd say the recording industry had a harder time "making money" because people were able to pick two songs individually that they liked for about $3 versus purchasing an entire album with 12 addt'l songs they didn't want at $17.99+...not to mention that the overall quality of a song these days has gone down drastically.

Even when music was (IMHO) better, there aren't many albums which I liked ALL the songs. I can probably count on one hand how many I did but even then I only purchased the album for a few songs and figured I'd listen to the other songs. 98% of the time the songs they didn't play on the radio but were on the album weren't very good and that's why they packaged it together.

Anyway, when the RIAA and MPAA start putting out GOOD or even BETTER products, I'm sure they'd make tons of money like before but more from a good product rather than shoving shit mixed in with the good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More food truck commentary

Today, I was able to taste test a couple more food trucks.

First up: Ruthie's Rolling Cafe. I previously posted about Ruthie's but did not comment on the taste and quality of their offerings since I had not had any of them at the time. Now, I can comment on at least two of their items: The Boss ($7.50) and Ham-I-Am ($7.00) — each shared between me and a coworker.

Let me start first by saying that I still would never pay $5 or more for a grilled cheese sandwich. The only reason I (we) even decided to get something from Ruthie's is because we had a coupon for a buy-one-get-one sandwich of equal or lesser value. So, between the two of us, we paid $8.13 for both of sandwiches since we brought our own drinks. I can get a loaf of bread for $1.50 (or less) and 16 slice American cheese pack for $3 (or less)—this makes about 8-10 sandwiches depending on the size of the loaf.

That being said, The Boss is not a grilled cheese sandwich! It's a BBQ sandwich with cheese. The ingredients for this sandwich are BBQ meat (mine was shredded) with cheddar cheese on sourdough bread. I love BBQ and I love sourdough bread—my favorite burger at Jack in the Box is the Sourdough Jack‐so this was a no-brainer for me to choose on my first tasting. The sourdough bread was grilled to perfection! The BBQ meat was flavorful...it was generously doused in BBQ sauce...and the cheddar cheese seemed to be holding it all together. So much so that I didn't have a problem with the BBQ meat falling out of my sandwich. For something seemingly so messy, I didn't get a bit on me or the table.

On the other hand, the Ham-I-Am is definitely a grilled cheese made with ham and Swiss cheese on sourdough bread. Most definitely not worth $7.00 in my opinion! I won't go over what I can make and how much with $7.00 spent at the grocery store. I don't know what more to say about it. Was it good? Yes. Is it worth making a trip to wherever this truck may be? Only if you truly are too damn lazy to make yourself a grilled cheese at home.

My overall take of Ruthie's Rolling Cafe isn't all bad. The two sandwiches I shared were good. The Boss was way better than the Ham-I-Am. The guy that took my order was very nice and the service was fairly quick. Is it worth the cost? Not in my book but that is strictly based on the fact that I can make either of these sandwiches at home and probably the entire menu. Other people may find it worth the money so it might be worth to try it and see for yourself. Will I eat at Ruthie's again? Yes, because I have a couple more buy-one-get-one coupons.
 
 
Second up: Nammi Food Truck. This truck was at the same location as Ruthie's. Even though I had already ordered from Ruthie's, I've wanted to try Nammi for some time. I love Asian food...just about any kind of Asian food...and Nammi is Vietnamese Fusion style. Nammi had been there for at least an hour or so therefore when I got there two of their "meat" choices were already marked off the menu and unavailable. I was left with (honey?) battered pork and tofu. I don't eat ANYTHING tofu so pork was the meat of choice.

My order with Ruthie's was completed first. I took a few bites of The Boss and then my Nammi order was ready. I ordered two of the tacos. They looked tasty...and to me they were.

The tacos had good spice and filler like carrots and some other stuff I don't really remember at this time because I tend to wolf down my food. Also, I'm writing this in between doing work stuff and randomly surfing the 'net. I only ate one taco because I ate half of The Boss. I saved both remaining food items for lunch tomorrow.

Overall, I'd have to say that I liked both food items. Would I pay full price for The Boss? No. Was it good and someone else might pay full price for it? Probably, yes. Would I buy the tacos? Yes, probably again and again when the craving arises.