Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Banh Shop

I wrote about the Banh Shop some time ago shortly after it opened. I went with a friend for my first experience of banh mi.

I hadn't wanted to go back even though the banh mi wasn't bad but a few months ago I saw an advertisement about them having half-price banh mi on Tuesdays and half-price bowls on Thursdays. The bowls are normally $8.50—$8.75 so at half price my interest was re-piqued.

I went for lunch one Thursday a few weeks ago with a friend and most recently stopped by on another to get dinner for the family.

The first re-visit I ordered the Drunken Noodles Bowl with Steak. It was pretty good and cost around $7.00 for the bowl and a fountain drink. That's really not too bad at all for one person's lunch.

The second re-visit I thought I'd try a couple of different bowls so ordered the Drunken Noodles with Steak, Pad Thai with Chicken and Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Shrimp. I've had pad thai and coconut curry from a Thai restaurant before so thought they'd be similar. I guess the flavoring of both were similar to what I had but the texture of the rice for the curry was not what I expected.

First: The Drunken Noodle with Steak was very good both times I've had it. The sauce is very tasty as well as the steak. The steak has a sort of sweet marinade kind of like sweet teriyaki. Even though it's a noodle dish, I felt like it could have also been put over some steamed rice. I think mainly to help soak up some of the sauce as it might be overwhelming to some straight.

Second: The Pad Thai with Chicken was pretty good. My wife and kids liked it the best. I thought it was good but prefer the drunken noodles to the rice noodles. Maybe if it had drunken versus rice I'd like it better. I don't know. I'm not saying it was bad. I kind of felt like I was eating spaghetti noodles more than some Asian noodle.

Third: The Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Shrimp was good. My wife and kids did not like it but curry isn't exactly something they particularly like. I thought the curry was very flavorful. It mixed well with the shrimp but it wasn't exactly a marinade taste as with the steak. What I didn't like about the dish was the rice. The description says, "served over white rice." That part was true. However, it didn't say the stickiest, wettest rice every made! I'm not sure if it was standard or it was because they were pretty busy that night for dinner and they didn't cook the rice well enough, but it was CLUMPY! In fact, the rice was more like a cheese ball than rice. Each grain of rice was mushy and just mashed together in the bowl. Even when I tried to mix and stir everything together, the rice just kind of stuck to my fork. I tried to separate it by using the tines of the fork and it just mushed the rice even more. I basically ended up with the consistency of cheese ball mashed potatoes. So, I think if the rice was less mush and clumps, this dish may have been better. Again the flavoring of the dish was good, it just didn't work at all with the rice I was given.

So, overall, I'd say I'm pretty satisfied with what I've tasted at The Banh Shop so far. You definitely can't beat the price of half-price with the amount of food given...even for the banh mi, although I haven't had any since the first visit. I might try it once again but I'm just not a fan of the thickness and slight hardness of the bread.

For $4 dollars an entree on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'd be silly to not keep going at least until they end the deal.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

MacBeth (2015)

Macbeth (2015). I went to a free screening to see this movie on December 7th at the Angelika Film Center Dallas.

I know of Macbeth. I remember reading the play in junior high or high school. I saw the trailer to this movie and thought, "That looks like a good movie."

However, it was...interesting. At times, it was like watching a Chinese movie without subtitles. If I didn't sort of remember the story, I'd probably have walked out because I would have been very lost, confused and frustrated. The preview showed more action, not so much.

Oh well...'What's done is done.'

So, my opinion is that unless you're a huge Shakespeare fan, you can probably skip this rendition. To me, it's essentially the play we've all seen before but with a little bit of useless Hollywood flash.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Stainless steel restroom facilities

I occasionally play tennis at Colleyville City Park. Sometimes I have to pee before, during or after I play. The images below are what greets me (and others) if using the restroom facilities is needed.

They're quite interesting and somewhat disgusting! Wouldn't you agree?

Truthfully, I can pee in anything. So, the urinals aren't really a problem. However, they are always filled about halfway with water or pee. I'm not sure which. The stench of old, puddled urine is overwhelming. The flooring around the urinals stinks as well which is surprising since it's a pretty open restroom in the sense that they keep the entrance door wide open and there is metal screening around most of the top of the walls just before the ceiling. So, it's 'airy' but the stench still settles within the cement walls.

With the very strong odor, it makes me think that maybe boys/men may pee in the urinal, on the wall, on the floor—basically anywhere that isn't in their pants! I don't blame the little boys. I used to do the same when I was a little boy for some reason.

Anyway, I don't understand the reasoning behind the stainless steel urinals and toilet other than they think it would mean less maintenance. Sure, it's probably impossible to damage them unless you have a metal bat or sledgehammer but the usefulness kind of ends there.

Who in their right mind would want to use the toilet at anytime but especially during the cold weather? Sometimes city parks and recreation managers do not think through an idea.

Oh well, random thought over.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum

What you see in the photo is called The Trough from Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum. It's described on their menu as "1 beef rib, 1 lb of pork ribs, 1 lb brisket, 1/2 lb of pulled pork and 3 sausage links." It serves 4-5 and costs $75.00 — with tax it's about $82.00.

I ordered this for me and the family (4 of us).

It's the first time I've been to Pecan Lodge. It's been around for a while and a few of my friends have visited without me (bastards!) but I've just never gotten around to checking it out for whatever reason. Finally, I decided this day I would have the intent to go to Pecan Lodge and depending on what the line looked like as I've heard it's always busy and the line is long, I would stop in and order something.

I did look online at the menu before heading that way just to have an idea of their offerings so I wasn't some idiot holding up the line. I wasn't sure what I wanted to get but thought at least the brisket and pork ribs would be good options. I read the description of The Trough but words do not describe well enough what it actually looks like. I did see some photos of it on Yelp which kind of made me lean towards it as it's essentially a sampler of their barbecue offerings.

So let's get to the assessment.
  • Beef rib: It is big. The meat on it is probable the same amount as three of the pork ribs. The outside of the rib (the char, I guess) is way salty. Too salty for my tastes. I did get through it to reach the meat which was very good. The meat was very tender and mostly fell off the bone. After the first little bite, I decided to use a fork or two to scrap the char off and just eat the meat.
  • Pork ribs: One pound of pork ribs isn't a lot, to me anyway. It also doesn't look like a lot and at Pecan Lodge, it's about five ribs. Although seemingly short on quantity, they do not lack in quality. The smoke flavor was good and the tenderness just right. The char was much less and not even close to as salty as the beef rib. These were a hit with the entire family.
  • Brisket: It's pretty tasty. Has a good smoke flavor and very tender. We all enjoyed the brisket very much. I wish there were more than a few slices given.
  • Pulled pork: The pulled pork is pretty good, flavorful and tender like the rest. It has a pretty good crust within the pull parts which added to the flavor. It looks like it was scooped by a spoon and placed in the foil dish but I can overlook that. The family liked it but they liked the brisket and pork ribs better.
  • Sausage link: Out of all the meats, this was the least favorite. It wasn't as flavorful as the others and it tasted just alright. It didn't have the smoky flavor like the other meats. It really just tasted like any other plain sausage I've had at other places or even from the grocery store. I was the only one that ate it and it was the last thing left after the second day. I probably ate it slowly over 3-4 days.
Overall, The Trough was pretty good. Was it worth $82.00? I'm not sure. I mean I'm not a foodie expert but I know what I like and at what cost that I like to pay. That being said, I like the taste and cost of North Main BBQ. However, Pecan Lodge's pork ribs and beef brisket were a couple of notches above North Main BBQ but a little higher cost when I can get North Main as a buffet. Will I try Pecan Lodge again? Yeah, probably at least once more if I'm paying. If I can mooch off a friend, then maybe more than once.

Monday, October 19, 2015

North Main BBQ 10/17/15

North Main BBQ Ribs & Brisket
I visited North Main BBQ this past Saturday. It's been a year or more since the last time I've eaten there and I thought it was time to visit again.

What you see in the image is the slice brisket and pork ribs. I could eat this shit all day! The brisket is still pretty tender and the meat on the ribs pretty much just falls off the bone. After this initial plate, I had a bit of the pulled pork and chopped brisket but then decided to stick with the sliced brisket and pork ribs after.

North Main BBQ still offers sides of cole slaw and baked beans but I consider these as unnecessary. Sure these two things are pretty good if your grilling and barbecuing at home but not if it takes way from my ability to truly eat all I can of the meats available at a restaurant.

What's funny is it's only been a couple of days since I ate there but I can't recall for the life of me how much I paid. It is still a buffet but also offers a sandwich plate. I know I had a twenty dollar bill that I paid with but I can't remember the change I received. I'm sure the buffet costs somewhere between $15 and $18.

I tried to actually pay attention to the tastes and flavoring of the meats this time around. While the meat is tender and flavorful, I did realize that it was pretty salty (for this time) particularly the pork ribs. The sliced brisket wasn't nearly as salty but the crusting of the meats (brisket and ribs) was mainly where the saltiness could be tasted.

Even with the saltiness, I will return to have more barbecue buffet at North Main BBQ. I probably will visit once or twice a year just because but maybe not more than that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Broken driver side mirror

So the street I live on is bound and determined to make my vehicle-owning life a living hell. First, my CRV was rear ended and then my Grand Caravan driver-side mirror was sideswiped. I don't see other cars on the block or along the street having this problem but it happened to me within a few months time for both my vehicles.

I have a two-car drive way but sometimes my wife's family stops by while I'm at work. I come home and one of my vehicles and an in-laws' vehicle is in my driveway so I have to park my second vehicle at curb of the street. The in-laws leave and I end up leaving my vehicle parked at the curb for whatever reason like laziness or I'm already in bed. Then some idiot comes by and hits my vehicle(s) and doesn't own up to it because they're probably some stupid drunk assholes!

I looked all over the world wide web and local auto parts shops like O'Reilly's or Pep Boys for a cheaply priced replacement mirror. I didn't want to buy from a dealership because of dealership pricing. I almost had to because my particular model seems to be rare for some damn reason. It seems my mirror is in-between the two models that are widely offered from various vendors and dealerships. Either, I can find a replacement manual mirror or mirror with remote and heat. My mirror is remote with no heat. I have no problem having a manual mirror as I hardly adjust my van mirrors but I didn't want to order online and then the damn thing not fit/work like I thought. Then I'd have to go through the process of returning and probably getting screwed out of some of my money that I thought I was saving. Since I couldn't find my particular model on the Internet or in retail auto parts stores and surely didn't want to go to a dealership, I had an epiphany and thought of looking at a junkyard.

Hell, I haven't been to a junkyard in something like twenty five years! I didn't even know if they still existed...for pulling parts, anyway. I figured there were ones around where they just crushed, stacked and stored cars for scrap metal but what the hell do I know these days. I don't work on my own vehicle much at all these days since I'm busy and they have all these new technologies and shit that only "smart mechanics" know how to fix. Anyway, I googled 'junkyard' and found a few in my general vicinity. The closest was about fifteen minutes away. It closed at 6 p.m. and I get off of work at 5 p.m. but with rush-hour traffic happening at that time AND going the direction I'd need to go, I'd have to either leave work early or wait for the weekend. The weekend timing won.

I made my first trip towards the junkyard and got about three quarters of the way before I realized that I did not bring ANY tools for removing the mirror if I found a replacement. I went ahead and drove the rest of the way to know for sure the location and to be sure it actually existed. I mean it did have a website and all but I just wanted to be doubly sure.

It took me a couple of more weeks before I was able to head to the junkyard again. This time I was prepared. I brought the old mirror as well as my tool box of which I really only needed a couple of tools.

I walked all over this junkyard. It was much bigger than I imagined. The area where most of the vehicles that would contain my mirror was the farthest distance in the farthest corner of the junkyard from the entrance. It was a hot, dry day with a slight breeze and this place was very dusty. After about fifteen minutes, my eyes were watering from the dirt, my nose was running from the dust and I think I was getting a farmer's tan from the sunshine.

So long story completed, I finally got my driver-side mirror replaced.

compared to

Saturday, September 19, 2015

CNET's deal of the day

Look at the picture. Who has that many credit cards to fill all the slots in the Kattee Retro Crazy Horse Genuine Leather Long Bifold Wallet?

It was part of a CNET Deal of the Day email.

This seems like a pretty good deal but to me, it's for the man that can afford more...a lot more.

Just look at the screen shot of one of the images from the product page. Look at all the credit cards and the size of the bills in the wallet. I'd fill like three slots: a credit card, a debit card and my medical insurance card.

Anyway, random randomness complete.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Minimum wage then (1970s) and now (2010s)

Saw an article on Reddit about a guy that used to work at McDonald's back in the 70s. A simple read but interesting to hear about the changes over the years as far as his experiences goes. One thing that caught my eye was someone asking about paychecks. This man earned minimum wage and felt like he was "rolling in money." Granted he wasn't supporting himself but he also didn't plan on flipping burgers as a life-long career choice but who does? Apparently those people protesting that minimum wage is to minimum.

I think this is what is lost on the current minimum wage debate — minimum wage is not a support-the-family wage. It's a stepping stone towards (potentially and expectantly) earning more money by either moving up within a company or moving to another company.

As defined:  Minimum wage is the lowest wage as permitted by law.

Do you minimum wage earners hear that? Do you understand it? It's the MINIMUM wage allowed by law! Employers can't pay below that rate but they sure as hell can pay just that rate.

If you want to earn more, learn a SKILL or take some college or continuing education courses specific to learning a skill or craft. Do you really, I mean REALLY expect to earn $15/hr working at a McDonald's or Wal-Mart? Those are very easily learnable duties and do not take any sort of educational training or specialized skills. Let's put employment at McDonald's and Wal-Mart into perspective:

At McDonald's you either take orders at the front or drive thru, flip burgers, deep fry things like fries or chicken and maybe occasionally clean the restrooms. At Wal-Mart you either walk the floor as a "helper" for customers or refolding/refixing things the customer messed up on shelves or hangers, "guard" the dressing room, checker, stocker or greeter. All in all the McDonald's employee seems more happy/friendly than the Wal-Mart employee even though both think they should make a lot more per hour but I feel the McDonald's worker could have a worse job because of all the grease, food smells, nasty restrooms, etc. Anyway, do any of the duties I listed require any kind of specialized training and/or education? HELL, NO! So, why in the world would you think you DESERVE ANYTHING more than minimum wage? Again, it's the MINIMUM an employer can legally pay and not a minimum LIVING wage. Hell, I'm not making too far above the latter and I AM skilled and educated! So fuck y'all!

Anyway, most minimum wage jobs were previously occupied by 15-18 yr olds or so until they went off to college. Sometimes they'd come back during holiday breaks and summers to that same job. I'd bet none of them complained about it like the minimum wage earners now.

Minimum wage is a stepping stone to learning about working hard to earn matter how little that was after getting raped by the governmental taxes. A step to learning how to stretch that money over time until the next paycheck. A step to learn a sense of responsibility and build trust with employers, family and friends. A step towards life maturity. A step to learning that there's got to be a way to make more money whether it be a college education or learning a skilled profession as an apprentice or something. It sucked to earn minimum wage and sometimes it took a while to earn more but no one EVER wanted to stay making minimum wage in ANY job. The minimum wage worker at McDonald's typically stayed there for a long period of time to try and work their way up the ladder to assistant manager, then manager and then whatever is next. They didn't EXPECT to earn more than minimum (or even double as the bitchers are bitchin' for now) as a burger flipper or order taker.

Wake up people! Why should we cater to you people that want to stay in the same job doing the same duties for ever and ever and ever? Many jobs are like educational courses — you take one and then move to a new one at a higher level unless you fail or suck at it and you stay at the same level. Stop looking for free upgrades that you feel you are entitled to because you ARE NOT entitled!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What IS Blockbuster on Demand

I don't know how I got to this page—Blockbusternow—but apparently Blockbuster still has not realized that their business model is out-dated and over-priced although I guess it's now Dish's fault since they bought them.

Why would someone want to stream a movie from Blockbuster for between $2.99-$4.99 per movie when they can play a flat rate for Netflix, Amazon Prime Movies, or any other better-than-Blockbuster streaming service.

They were on top of the world with all their stick-it-to-you late fees and's too little too late for these guys.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How much for that sandwich!?

You can barely read the prices but for the filet mignon steak sandwich you see in the photo, it costs $18.00!

Maybe next time when I attend the U.S. Open, I'll treat it like going to Six Flags and have an ice chest with drinks and sandwiches in the car in the parking lot because it did not taste like an $18 sandwich!

I did purchase it and I didn't taste anything special from it other than it tasted like a steak (meat) sandwich. It definitely wasn't worth $18 but there isn't anything cheap to eat at the U.S. Open!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Colleyville Public Library

I sometimes play tennis early on a Saturday morning in Colleyville. I think the park used to be called Bransford but now it looks to be called Colleyville City Park.

I've been to this park many times but have never walked around it. Years ago I brought my kids when they were little because it had a pretty cool playground facility made out of railroad-ties type timber...but not exactly. It was like a giant wooden fort or an on-the-ground tree house. That's been since removed for a "safer" playground.

This one particular Saturday I drove out to play I had arrived fairly early. My friends, for doubles play, weren't going to arrive for at least twenty minutes so I decided to take a walk around the park to stretch my legs from the thirty minute or so drive from my home in North Dallas. It was a pretty cool day compared to the energy-sapping heat/humidity we had been having. I walked about halfway around the park and saw that it actually backed up to the town square. I've driven through that square once years ago because I thought I could cut through it to get to the tennis courts. I was wrong.

Anyhow, this is the first time I noticed the Colleyville Public Library building.

It's not a huge deal for all people but it looked kind of cool to me. I walked in the little archway there to see what it looked like. I peeked into the building through the large glass windows like a little kid. Nothing extraordinary but nostalgic since I've probably not been in a public library in many, many years!

It briefly took me back to the days I'd go to the Euless Public Library as a kid for class field trips or the occasional origami book to check out so I could learn new paper-folding patterns to impress people.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Masala Wok - Preston Center

The wife and youngest kid were in the mood for something different, something Indian for dinner. We've previously ordered via GrubHub from Roti Grill but thought we'd give another place a try.

Enter Masala Wok - Preston Center on Luther Lane.

The total cost of Masala Wok for pickup was $40.59. The Roti Grill tab was $49.00 but included delivery fee and a tip to the driver. So, they are probably fairly comparable in price minus the delivery fee and tip.

One thing about Masala Wok is that they not only have Indian food but also have Asian cuisine, particularly Thai. It was kind of nice to be able to get both in one location.

In the images, you'll see that I ordered two Indian entrees and one Thai entree. They were all pretty good. The Kung Pao Chicken was good but it wasn't "wow-fully" seasoned to make me say it was any better than anywhere else, except for sure maybe Panda Express. I mean it is what it is: Kung Pao Chicken and that's what it tasted like. The Chicken Butter Masala was very good as was the Chicken Mughlai. I have no idea what they are supposed to taste like, if anything different than they do, but they were very, very tasty. I'd definitely have them again whereas the Kung Pao Chicken I feel like I can pass on since I know it tastes just like it should (if that makes sense).

The veggie spring rolls were pretty good but just like the Kung Pao Chicken, they didn't taste much different than those from some other "higher-scale-than-Panda-Express" Asian restaurant.

The one thing I was not a fan of but bought so much of because I thought my wife and kid were fans, is the samosa. It's just not something that I was impressed by nor would I order again. It wasn't bad. I just now know that it isn't something that I would order in the future because the other stuff is SO much better.

One thing to know about Masala Wok is that there is no beef/steak. The closest thing to it would be lamb.

Kung Pao Chicken
Chicken Mughlai  Chicken Butter Masala
Samosa & Vegetable Spring Rolls

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Triple chili cheeseburger from Burger House

This is the triple chili cheeseburger from Burger House on Hillcrest. It's a burger of wonderful death by food coma.

The family was craving some burgers. I didn't want to eat such a "healthy" burger but it just called to me when I got to the order window. Food does that to me some times.

At Burger House, my standard is the Zoe's Chicken because it comes with fries versus ordering a burger and having to order fries as a side. And I like it. However, the Zoe's used to be a cheaper option but I don't think it is as much anymore.

Anyway, this triple chili cheesburger was messy. The chili was dripping and pooping out the burger with every bite I took. It tasted pretty good too. I've had a double chili cheeseburger from Keller's Drive-in (or here). It's been a while but if I recall correctly, they both are pretty darn good with the Keller's version slightly better.

These are basic burgers. Nothing spectacular but also nothing disappointing. It's pretty tough to screw up a burger but it takes a lot to jazz up the taste of one enough to make me say, "Daaaaaamn!"

This Burger House burger was pretty tasty. Better than a basic burger like from Sonic or McDonald's but not a "Daaaaaamn!" kind of tasty. I'd probably have it again next time but I still like a Zoe's Chicken, so it may be tough to decide.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Snappee Auto Care

I'm just getting around to writing about this but a few months ago I needed to get my vehicle inspected. It's been out for a few months and I've been able to wait since in Texas (I'm assuming it's just in Texas) they have combined the vehicle registration and inspection into one sticker. Essentially, if you have a registration sticker, you had to have had your vehicle inspected before getting it.

Anyway, I just haven't had time to take it. I was also trying to decide where to take it because I just needed an inspection and did not want to be upsold on anything like a freaking air filter, chassis lube or transmission/radiator flush which is what the typical Jiffy Lube, Kwik Kar Lube & Tune or the plethora of other automotive service centers tend to do.


My vehicle is a 2000 and a current lube or flush is not going to do anything new that one of those a few years ago didn't already handle. My vehicle runs fairly well [knock on wood] for being 15 years old and heavily used as it has been. It's been a great vehicle and I just want to maintain it for as long as I can. It's more in the reactive maintenance zone than the preventive maintenance zone.

So, I opened up Google on my phone and did a generic search for oil change venues near my location. Kwik Kar was one of the first in the results. There are quite a few around the DFW Metroplex but the one closest to me was not favorably rated. I've been there before some years ago but I think more recently more people have had a less than stellar experience. The reviews mentioned the upselling, the over-charging and the problem-causing where they go in for just an oil change and then the vehicle starts to shake, rattle and roll when it never did before service. There was one in the Forth Worth, maybe Keller, area that was highest rated and seemd to have ownership which took pride and care in everything they do. However, I wasn't driving way the hell out to Keller for an oil change!

At any rate, I saw a pretty highly-rated place on Yelp listed as Snappee Auto Care & Lube. It only has four reviews: 1 in 2012, 2 in 2013 and the last in March 2014, but they are all 5 STARS. I figured it was fairly close to where I am and it was worth a try since I am only getting an oil change and inspection.

I took the picture below as I was waiting for service because I knew I wanted to share my "review" on Yelp and/or on my blog. The building is painted yellow. Probably could be considered bright yellow. However, I missed it on my first drive by and had to make a U-turn because it sits back a bit from the road. I drive by this place at least once if not twice a week, have for months/years, but have never really seen or paid too much attention to this building. I guess if you are looking for it you don't see it although again, I should have seen it and thought, "Damn, that's a yellow building!"

As you can see from the above photo, it's a pretty non-descript place. The inside (photo below) is even less glamorous. It reminds me a lot of Quix State Inspection which I typically get my inspection done but I needed the oil change they Quix only does inspection.

So, the oil change charges are pretty straight forward. There are two types/prices laid out on the front of the counter to be easily seen, read and understood. I just needed the basic. I spoke to the owner who is the guy in the middle of the guys in the photo on the company's home page. He seemed to be a very nice guy. I chatted with him a bit and he said that there was someone before me so it'd be like twenty minutes. I told him, "No problem."

I'd chat with him off and on as he came back in the office to do paperwork on the current customer. I asked how long he'd been there—only a few years in this location. I told him that I found him on Yelp and he had very good reviews. I pulled it up on my phone and showed him. He was like, "And I don't even advertise!" I said, "With reviews like these, I guess there's no real reason to."

So, before I get too much more long-winded on this post, I will probably give Snappee Auto Care a try if I have auto repair needs. I can't give an opinion on anything other than the oil change and inspection. I'm assuming the oil change went well as I haven't had any problems with a leak or such. My van passed inspection so I can't rate the inspection process any lower than top-rated. He reminded me to keep the receipt of the inspection for my records because they might ask for it when I get my registration done. I actually think it's supposed to show in some governmental database that it has been inspected but it was good of him to recommend keeping because we all know how well the government is with maintaining records.

A few other things to note:
  1. He's one guy/mechanic who hires other mechanics for weekend work. If you can't leave your vehicle for more than a few hours, then you might want to go elsewhere. He told me that he's lost customers because they don't want to leave the vehicle for more than a day or so. He said he can't fully assess all problems unless they want to leave the vehicle plus the majority of the "big" work is done over the weekends when the part-time mechanics can work.
  2. He's tried to hire some weekday workers but they just didn't cut it or live up to his standards. So, again, he loses customers but I'd say it speaks to the integrity of his work and business.
  3. He plays Christian radio in the office. I commend him for sticking to what he believes in and is willing to play his music, which may or may not be liked by all. He's not shoving his Christian beliefs in my face but I respect his playing of his music and not what the majority may like/prefer. Again, for me, it speaks to his integrity of sticking to his guns.
There you have it. A "brief" review of Snappee Auto Care.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Let's play "name that food item"

I'm going to sound like an old man but I can remember the days when you knew without a doubt if you were seeing an burrito supreme or a bean burrito. My, how times have changed!

I remember when I was in high school and we got to leave the campus for lunch. We would head over to Taco Bell with our cash in hand knowing that we could get a medium drink and two soft tacos, two hard tacos or two bean burritos for $2.00 even. If we wanted a burrito supreme, it was like $1.59 but it was much bigger and it would fill us more. We all usually did the $2.00 deal because we'd be saving our money for going out over the weekend to the movies, bowling or whatever.

If I remember correctly, back in the day the tacos and bean burrito were priced around $.59 and the drink was like $.69. Add the tax which was probably around 7.5% back then and we'd get the $2.00.

Now what is it, like a $1.09 for a bean burrito or soft taco and $.99 for a hard taco? However, you get a little less filling for twice the costs. Ridiculous! Oh well. Unfortunately I'll still pay some of their prices because me and my family still love us some T Bell!

So, let's play the "name that food item" game. You have a 50/50 chance of being correct. Easy right?

Which one of these Taco Bell items
is a Burrito Supreme
and which is a Bean Burrito?



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Aloha BBQ Grill - Lubbock, TX

This is the stir fry noodles Asian-style dish from Aloha BBQ Grill in Lubbock, TX. While in Lubbock, I wanted to try some different places other than the staples of like McDonald's, Chick fil A and Chipotle. However, while exploring the area via Google maps, I saw Aloha BBQ Grill come up as a recommended place. Although it's sounded similar to Aloha Hawaiian BBQ in Dallas, I figured it might be at least a little different because I think Aloha Hawaiian is owned and operated by Koreans whereas Aloha BBQ Grill is owned and operated by Japanese. Race matters not but it does in the area of taste buds and sometimes in the actual cooking process.

Anyway, the family was starving and we passed a Chipotle but I decided to try Aloha BBQ Grill. I didn't fully realize that the distance from our hotel (Overton Hotel & Conference Center) to Aloha was not 1.5 miles like I thought. It was actually 10 miles away more in a residential area in a corner strip shopping center.

Our hunger grew as the drive got longer. About seven minutes in, we thought about just driving back to the Chipotle which was right around the corner from the hotel but seven minutes back would be the same as seven minutes forward to our destination. We probably would have been better off getting Chipotle.

The food wasn't bad at Aloha BBQ Grill. It just wasn't really good or worth the roughly fifteen-minute drive or ten to twelve-minute wait for them to serve our food. As you can see in the image, the food is quite dark. Most aloha food isn't dark like this. What this tells me is that they used too much soy sauce in the cooking of this entree.

If you like dark, salty food then this place might be for you. I do not like my food cooked this way. I love to eat but I can tell you that I had almost half of the food left and did not eat the leftovers before leaving Lubbock. I can't speak for all the entrees prepared at Aloha BBQ Grill in Lubbock but since this one wasn't even close to my expectations, I cannot recommend to anyone nor will I visit this place if I visit Lubbock again.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Six Flags Over Texas survey

I'm on the listserv for Six Flags Over Texas. Yes, I joined on purpose when I was a season pass holder.

I was a season pass holder a couple of years ago and was for a few years. In my eyes, it's more of a value to purchase season pass tickets versus buying a one-day ticket. One reason is because you don't have to feel like you have to fit in getting to ride all the rides in one day and then feel jacked for not being able to do so because two to three rides had a wait line for an hour(s) or more.

Anyway, trust me. The season pass with season parking is the best deal becaus if you go 2-3 times the ROI on the passes costs is made back. Plus, the first time you go you can ride just five or so rides then the second time you can ride five different ones and the third five more different ones or even the same. That way you don't feel like you got jacked out of your money like you would with the one-day costs unless, of course, you got very lucky and went on a non-busy day for the one-day ticket.

My season pass days were for my kids...and me. I like to ride almost all the rides. There are some that sort of made me sick, mainly kiddie rides, because I guess I'm old(er) but all of the big rides are not a problem so far. We did season passes because my kids were younger and still wanted to hang out with their dad. But they got older. One wanted to go with just friends even though those friends liked to have me along because I'm a FUN. The other decided there was really no desire to go because of the hatred of roller coasters and anything else that goes higher than ten feet.

Six Flags Over Texas sent me a survey to complete via email. I thought it was interesting when I got to this part shown in the screen shot below.

The second sentence starting with "Below" must have been written by someone for whom English is a second language.

The questions to follow were about ideas of new rides and what I thought about them. Basically, they are querying people (well me) about things that are already being done at other amusement parks. I get it. They are trying to see if there is an interest in certain types of rides/attractions. That's what they should do.

But...can they really and truly hold me to clicking the "Yes, I promise" button? Who's going to know if it was me or someone else who spilled the beans?

Although, the best idea would be a NEW idea and not one that's already being done.

Anyway...stupid randomness, I know...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Redbox rental blunder

I was in Lubbock over the weekend. While there, I was curious if there was a Redbox in town and if so, how close to my hotel because I had a coupon code for a free rental that expired on Sunday the 21st. I found one but didn't really find a movie that I wanted to watch and I really didn't have much time to watch it between the activities for which I was in Lubbock. So, I just closed down the Redbox app on my phone.

Late Sunday night, I get home and think I'll use my coupon before it expires on some random but hopefully good movie. I open the app, find a movie, add to cart, enter promo code and as I hit the checkout/confirm (whatever it is) button, I realize too late that it still has the Lubbock location selected. So, I reserved a freaking "free" movie in Lubbock but I'm now in freaking Dallas!

So, that's my weekend blond moment. I've screen captured a portion of my receipt for all those that give a shit to prove my blondness. No big deal really because they send me coupon codes all the time. I just hate wasting "free" stuff and doing silly stuff like this...that's why I'm Absent-minded Jay.

Friday, June 05, 2015

How much is that doggy in the window

Saw this little puppy while walking during my lunch break around Snider Plaza. Apparently there's a pet boutique that opened up which specializes in teacup and toy breeds. A friend and I stopped in out of curiosity. She asked if the dog was full-grown. It's still a puppy but won't get much bigger than it is now.

My friend asked if she could hold it. The sales girl said that she'd have to sign a release which I'm sure says one has to pay for the dog or damages to the dog if it's dropped or whatever. Weird but understandable, I guess.

My friend then asked how much the dog was. The sales girl said that she'd have to make an appointment to know the actual costs but it was a few thousand. So in my mathematical mind, a few is more than two but less than infinity. Right? Ha, ha!

Anyway, if you want teeny tiny dogs, you might check it out. I would not like to spend that kind of money...a few thousand...on a pet, especially a dainty one.

The dog was a cutie though!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekend breakfast

Over the past few years or so, I've tried to create a tradition of making breakfast at least on one of the weekend mornings for the family but usually Sunday. This is about what it looks like but with a bit more bacon, eggs (scrambled and over-easy), toast (french or toasted).

Add Dunkin Donuts coffee for me, milk for the family and breakfast is good to go in the House of Jay.

I believe creating this tradition has worked as many times my kids have had friends stay the night and I hear them say, "Dude, you picked a good night to stay over because my Dad makes breakfast with bacon and eggs in the morning!"

I'm a good—no, great Dad and husband!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Good Kill (2014)

Good Kill (2014). This movie stars Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot. He sits in a box flying military drones for overwatch or killing people as ordered. He starts to have issues with his job. You can read the rest at IMDB. Based on actual events.

Final verdict: The movie was kind of slow. It was kind of predictable. It was kind of boring. I'd pass on this one.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Watched this movie today from the comfort of my couch via the world wide web. No, I didn't download it but I did watch it through my browser via a will-remain-unnamed website. I'm glad I did. I feel that I might have been disappointed if I rented the DVD and would have absolutely been disappointed if I paid $8+ to watch this in the theater.

I'm all about the action but that's at like the Nitro Circus or Monster Truck events. You go in expecting just straight on action and excitement. However for a movie, I expect a little more. Not a lot more but enough.

This movie had no substance, no story, no real reason to keep my interest. I don't need a full-on story but something other than just driving and killing which overall just weren't that great (the driving and killing). The action scenes like the crashes, explosions and killings have all been seen many, MANY times before. There was no start to the movie. At the beginning, it had some voice over about some shit that I can't recall or even really understood but then it jumped right into the action. Well, first there was a stomping on and killing of a two-headed lizard by Max where he scoops up the carcass and eats it. What point that had to do with anything other than he was hungry is beyond me! So, then it jumps right into the action with Max rushing to get into his vehicle and then getting chased by a spray-paint huffing, white-body painted "gang." They capture him and this form of Max becomes kind of cowardly, if you ask me. Not like the Mel Gibson version where yes he gets captured but he still has a set of balls and takes the torture or whatever like a man. Tom Hardy's version seemed more panicky. I guess he just doesn't seem as hardened and experienced as the previous Maxes. Now, he did become a little more hardened as the movie progressed but the intial impression for me was kind of wimpy. Charlize Theron's character, Furiosa, was more manly. It just kind of bothered me.

The gang leader seemed decrepit. It shows him having some scars and work done on his back scars. It reminded me ala Baron Harkonnen from Dune. However, he wears some kind of oxygen mask ala Bane and he's much better. Also, when he speaks in the movie, it's difficult to understand what he is saying. Some of the time I was wondering if he was speaking a foreign language and I was looking for subtitles.

So, before I get too long-winded, George Miller decided that "high-speed" action and explosions without really anything else would make for a good movie. For me, he was wrong. I've read and heard from other people that it was "good," "awesome," "beyond expectation," etc. I don't know what's wrong with them/me but I totally disagree. It did remind me more of the original movie but without the thin story line it had and without anything new brought to the table other than bigger explosions which weren't always great. It's like Miller said, "Okay, we haven't had an explosion for like two minutes so blow that truck up now."

I really found it difficult to watch it through to the end. However, I just cannot not complete a movie — well there have been one or two probably — no matter how awful it is.

In the end, I just wasn't feeling this movie. I wanted it to be awesome. Hell, I would have taken good. Instead I was left with what the fuck and disapointment.

FINAL VERDICT: Rent it if you must. But make sure you don't spend more than a couple of dollars. If you happen to find short clips of the movie with the chases and explosions, watch those as that's about what you get in the full movie.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Benihana Dallas

My oldest wanted to go to Benihana Dallas for a birthday celebration. It's sort of pricey but it's not like a regular thing. This is a special day.

However, I personally am not a huge fan of the food or the fanfare. I think it's basic food with basic entertainment from a chef whose ethnicity quite often does not match that of the restaurant's name but more of the massive land mass just south of the Rio Grande! No matter how they try to sound when they speak, Jorge is not Miyagi.

Anyway, the photo is of my plate with beef, chicken, shrimp and some fried rice. I enhanced it with some color filters to make it look more enticing than in real life or at least eye-appealing.

Again, the food's not terrible but I think I can get just as good from Mei Mei's Chinese Buffet off of Central Expressway and Meadow Rd and pay about a third of the cost.

Hopefully, this phase has passed now from my children's birthday dining wants.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dugan's Moving Company

Dugan's Moving Company located at Hebron & Josey in Carrolton — at least when I used them.

Used this company almost three years ago. Started a review back then but never completed it because I got busy with life important things. Yelp has reminded me to complete my review but today I decided to follow through.

As many others have mentioned...


Here's my story...

Emailed Brad Dugan, owner of Dugan's Moving, after calling another recommended moving company (Alpine Moving Co) who were very short & rude on the phone-like he was so busy he didn't need another customer. I didn't want to lose it in case Brad was just as rude is why I emailed. Brad finally called three days later. Brad said they were available for my dates because he currently wasn't very busy. Red flag #1?

We talked cost & he quoted something around $400 if I remember correctly because I told him he would not have to do ANYTHING but move already-packed boxes & furniture which I placed almost all of it downstairs in my living room by myself over a few weeks before my move. The biggest things they had to move were a couple of computer desk armoires measuring about 36" wide x 20" deep x 60" high & no more than 75 lbs. I was also only moving about a mile away.

Night before the move, it rained pretty good all night. It was pretty wet the morning of the move but had stopped raining. Brad calls around 8 a.m. asking if I still wanted to do my move. Like I had a choice, idiot! I told him I had to be moved out by that day (my last in the place) because that was the earliest time my other place would be open—it was a tight time frame. Brad reluctantly said okay but it'll take him a bit to get his guys together. Really!? Should he not have had them already gathered & waiting for me to tell him to not come instead of assuming I'd cancel? Or maybe call and confirm the night before? Red flag #2?

They finally show around 11 a.m. — 6 guys & one 27' truck although a few drove their personal trucks since they all wouldn't fit in the moving truck. They all seemed nice enough. 4 guys in their 20s & 2 older guys about 40+. Brad was one of them. He's a heavy set guy & he barked orders to the others. He maybe carried five small items but I'm sure he felt like he did a lot more. He kept telling me that his guys really didn't want to work today because of the weather so they were going to try and "book" it to get done in a few hours or less. Red flag #3?

I had hardwood floors at my old place except the stairs to the 2nd floor. I laid down towels to keep the mud & water at bay as much as possible why the movers were going in & out. Once the truck was loaded they drove roughly one mile to my new place to unload. I had them move one desk armoire upstairs in my new place because my wife didn't want me doing it later. EVERYTHING else they just had to bring in & place in my living room for me to unpack, place and/or set up later. Simple right? All the ease that I made for them was definitely going to be $400 or less, right?

So, my mother-in-law offered to pay for the move & she was also the one that gave me their contact info. It was a small move but she wasn't hugely impressed with them previously because she thought they overcharged for a simple move she too had. However, I was in a time crunch & limited on who I could call without getting thoroughly raked over with the costs. Well, I (my mother-in-law) still got raked in the costs.

My mother-in-law was doing a walk through while I was handling something else and noticed that they had damaged the computer armoire they had moved upstairs. How the hell it happened I have no idea. Two guys moved it up in the new place but I had moved it upstairs in my old place by myself without ANY damage! It's funny but they seemed like they tried to hide it. Five guys hovering in a circle around the item like they were trying to keep prying eyes from seeing what they're doing. Just weird. My mother-in-law talked with Brad about it and he said he'd take off $75 (I think it was) from the total cost. Red flag #4?

That was such a great savings I tell ya. I believe the total cost was around $650. My mother-in-law said I was quoted $400 & Brad started saying stupid stuff like, "Well we came in the rain & I had to bring two extra guys so we could get it done quicker, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH." Basically, reasons that should not have been shared & I could not believe he was arguing his point of overcharging us. My mother-in-law & I must have been in crazy good moods as we just said, "Screw it!" & she paid. I personally would've argued a bit more if I was paying but I figured if it was really something she wanted, she would have argued more too! Although, a few days later she had thought about it more & it grated on her that she wasn't more upfront about her disgust of Dugan's Moving's service & price!

So once again, unless you want to be screwed over...


The damage they caused and subsequently tried to "fix" on my armoire.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why they would have wood glue on hand unless they've damaged wooden furniture before.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Aukey 20000mAh Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank

Some weeks ago I saw a deal on the Aukey 20000mAh Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank from  I've been looking for a good, decent portable charger for my devices, especially my S3.  I've seen a few deals here and there from my daily/weekly emails but nothing that really stood out to me because the products weren't mildly/heavily reviewed.  Although some might have been worth a chance for $5-$10 after the promo code, I just couldn't pull the trigger.  However, when I saw this deal for the Aukey, I was about to take a trip to Austin & then The Woodlands, Texas. I didn't want to be stuck without a way to charge my phone because I wasn't going to be around an outlet for at least 6-8 hours of the day(s) when I would be in those cities.

I read many reviews about the Aukey as well as other comparable power banks.  Many reviewers mentioned going with some other brands if price wasn't an issue.  However, for the price, the Aukey was pretty much thumbs-up from every reviewer.  Most reviewers mentioned that this was fairly heavy and slightly bulky to be considered truly portable but I wasn't really looking for something that I'd carry in my shorts/pants pocket.  I was really looking for portable to be carried in some kind of pack whether it be a back/string/fanny pack.  Again, after a day or two of browsing looking for any "real" negative reviews, I took the leap to purchase for the grand charge of $15.99.

It took two days from order to delivery which I didn't expect any less from my Amazon Prime membership -- and luckily this seller was able to provide the two-day shipping for Prime although I would have had no problem waiting as I didn't need the power bank that quickly, 5-7 days shipping would have sufficed.


The above image is just a shot of the top of the Aukey.

The above image is another shot of the top of the Aukey but this angle shows the white button with some blue lights. The white button is two-fold. Push and hold the button and the LED flashlight will come on. Push it again to turn it off. Push the button once, and the blue lights you see in the image will show. These blue lights show the remaining capacity of the Aukey charger. Four lights is fully charged, three is 3/4, two 1/2 and one is 1/4.

The above image is just simply a shot of the input for charging the Aukey. It accepts a micro USB cord.

The above image shows the Aukey's USB outputs as well as the LED flashlight. The LED light is bright enough for many tasks. I don't know where or when I'd really use it in place of some other flashlight LED such as the one on my Samsung Galaxy S3. If for some reason it is the ONLY thing available, then yes it would be used but otherwise, I did not buy the Aukey for the flashlight.

The USB output on the left is a 1.0A and the one on the right is a 2.1A. Each is designated by one lightning bolt for the 1.0A and two lightning bolts for the 2.1A. This is significant in the fact that the 2.1A charges faster than the 1.0A and the 2.1A is able to charge more power hungry devices like say a Samsung/Apple tablet.


The two images above give you a sense of the size of the battery pack compared to my S3. It roughly measures 6" long by 3" wide and about 1/2" thick. I don't know the exact weight, maybe a pound, but it's (obviously) much heavier than my S3.


So, in my non-scientific testing, I found that it took about just over an hour for the Aukey power bank to fully charge my Samsung S3 from about 9% using the 2.1A port. I was able to fully charge my S3 multiple times...I don't know maybe five or so 64GB iPod Touch, and two S4s (my kids' phones) before the battery pack showed two blue lights. I didn't fully drain it before I charged the Aukey battery pack. I don't know how long it took to fully charge because I plugged it in around 9 p.m., went to sleep, and then unplugged it fully charged around 7:30 a.m. the next morning. I have yet to charge it again - it's been about a week - but have used it three times to charge my S3 from about 15-20% to full charge. It's still showing four blue lights.


Again, in my not-so-scientific manner, I am satisfied with the purchase of my Aukey 20000mAh Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank. I actually ordered this on February 19th so I figured it was enough time to give a fairly proper review of the my use of this product. I would consider this product portable only in the fact that you CAN easily carry it around in a backpack, laptop bag, or such. I wouldn't be carrying this around in my shorts/pants pocket as the weight is just not that comfortable to be having it bouncing around or weighting down in your shorts/pants. That's what one of those pocket one-time per charge charging battery packs are for but I wanted a little more at the time of my purchase and for just three times the cost of some of those pocket chargers this was worth it to me. As I check out this product on Amazon right now, it's currently priced at $34.99. I think that's still a good deal but to each his own.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Map Packs

Why is Sony still charging $14.99 for the Call of Duty: Black Ops map packs? Black Ops came out in, what, 2010? How many new games have we had since then: MW3, BLOPSII, Ghosts, Advance Warfare and coming soon, BLOPSIII? If one were to buy these four map packs, they could essentially buy a brand new game in the series or if they found a good discounted deal like previously owned, two or more of the new games could be bought.

Yes, I still play BLOPS. I am more attuned to the weaponry in it than the newer games, especially when it comes to playing Gun Game or Core-Pure. I can't stop loving running around with my double-barreled Olympia shotgun and a pistol owning the other team and hearing on my earpiece after the game is over, "Who the hell is running around with a shotgun!?" Brings a smile to my face every time!

So, back to the costs of these map packs...just ridiculous! C'mon Sony, how about charging $15 for all four? I have two PS3 and two copies of BLOPS. If I want to purchase the new maps, I'd have to buy for both for my kids to be able to play on one or both of the PS3 systems.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Meshack's Bar-be-cue Shack, Garland, TX

Some of us friends and coworkers were going to be in the Garland area around lunch time during our work week and decided to try this place. It doesn't open until 10:30 a.m. but we heard it gets busy quickly. In fact, we got there around 11 a.m. and there were already twelve people in line and three in the "waiting area."

We waited in line for about thirty minutes before we got to approach the very small, barred order window. Think of those movies where you see some crack house where they just slide a metal, wood or glass window open to about four to six inches max so you can't really reach in or if you did, it'd probably hurt like a bitch because the person on the other side could slam the "door" shut quickly enough to bust the wrist or forearm.

Not knowing about this place before we got there, I was doing some quick Googling in line to see what was said about this place on Yelp. There was also some article in the food blog of D Magazine called Side Dish.
There were a few options that sounded tasty but the overall consensus on Yelp or Side Dish or wherever it was said do not pass on the item called "Da' Jasper."(pic inset) which is a huge entree/sandwich thing and you won't know that unless you read about it somewhere or until after you receive it after ordering it.

So let me tell you what it is. It's starts with two bottoms of sandwich buns, then chopped/shredded brisket, then 6-8 halves of four inch sausages finished with the tops of the buns. When I initially received my order, I didn't think it was supposed to be some kind of double sandwich meal. I thought it was weird to just see the bun tops but just figured it was the way they did their "Texas toast." Speaking of toast, I wold prefer it if the buns were toasted on grill because they might have stood up a little better to the meats which were slightly over-drenched with sauce. The sauce wasn't bad but so much sauce was one of the reasons why I didn't know what the Da' Jasper was. Overall it was pretty darn good. It was a lot of food and I could only eat half. Actually, I probably could have eaten it all but I would have been so miserable at work that I was smart and only kept to half. Funny thing about ordering Da' Jasper was that they only gave me four tiny thin napkins which was ridiculous.

You can probably do a Google of Meshack's yourself but I'll give you a head start: here, here, here, here, here and here. They all pretty much say the same thing which is...

GIVE IT A won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Some protestor should've protested from home

Protestors are going to protest. There's always something out there people aren't happy with and they're going to show it with writing on a poster board. It's our God-given right in the great old U. S. of A.

However, it would be prudent to not show the world that you're a bleeping idiot and that there's a reason why there are stereotype jokes about your state!

Forrest Gump was right, "Mama always said, 'Stupid is as stupid does.'"

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Harvey B's

Went to Harvey B's for lunch today. It's been on my radar to try since I saw an article on it about a month ago. At the time of that article, I believe it was called Harvey G's but now it is Harvey B's. I didn't ask why the change. I was just there to try out a new burger place.

This photo is of the Pancho Villa — which was referenced in the article. They had other items that weren't so flashily named but I figured if I was going to test out the joint that I'd start with the fanciest-named, largest-sounding, most-toppings burger they offered. Turns out it was a good choice!

That my friends is a 1/2 pound burger with hashbrown, egg, bacon, ham, cheese and 1000 Island sauce. To tell you the truth, I was a little hesitant about the 1000 Island sauce. I expected it to be drenched in the sauce like many places do with the "special" sauce that makes up the sandwich. However, I didn't taste a whole lot of the 1000 Island sauce or at least it wasn't so overwhelming that I really didn't know it was the sauce. Is that good or bad? Hell if I know but the burger itself was pretty tasty.

The inside of the hash brown was steaming when I bit into the burger. The egg was not runny but it wasn't a well-done egg either. The bacon was...well, bacon and it was the right combination of not soft and not crunchy. I didn't taste a lot of the ham but it could have just been drowned out by it's brother bacon. The bun held up well with all this juicy gooey innards. I didn't get any sides because I figured the burger would be filling enough. However, my kids did get a combo: one with spiral potato fries and the other with cheesy spiral potato fries.

The spiral potato fries are basically thin potato slices cooked not too soft and not too crispy (although we preferred a little more crisp but maybe not quite like a chip). They were flavored fairly well. The queso fries to us was more like Ro-Tel poored over the fries and they weren't really generous with the queso. I'm thinking they didn't want to put too much on it to make them like droopy nachos. Which was fine with us since again it tasted like Ro-Tel.

The cashier was very friendly and knew her stuff when taking my order. I probably took more time ordering than she did punching in everything. She also was kind enough to bring us a small cup of the queso to taste test with the fries before she realized we actually ordered some. She said, "Well go ahead and take this too." Which was smart because it's better to offer than not to in my opinion. About 7-10 minutes later, she came by again to give us plastic Easter eggs which had two Hershey Kisses in each of them. It was Easter Sunday after all and it was a wonderful gesture by the business.

All in all, it was a good outing. My kids liked their burgers: one got the 1/4 substandard and the other got the 1/4 B.B.Q. Bacon Cheese. It did hit me on the way home that it cost me like $31.00 for all the food and three medium drinks. Which makes me think of other establishments like Smashburger, Twisted Root and Liberty Burger where the burgers are fairly priced (around $5-$7) but then when you add a side and drink it's like $12-$15 for one person. That's kind of outrageous for me. But again, it was a good time with the kids and we tried a new burger joint. Between the drive from my home and the costs, I'll probably stay closer to home but it's nice to know if I'm in that area again and I get hungry that Harvey B's has a pretty decent burger.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

UPDATED: Some of the most stupid songs

Either aired on Spotify or if it is aired anywhere else. Unless you're a freaking idiot these songs are ridiculously stupid! I hate (sort of) promoting these just by hating on them.

I'll probably update this post as I hear more idiotic songs instead of posting multiple entries.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dermatology Is a Lucrative Career

Went to a dermatologist appointment today. The office was in a building I've passed many times. I've been in it once — to eat and use the restroom. This was during a time that I took my kids and some of their friends to enjoy a little bit of Easy Slider Truck. They were parked outside this building.

Anyway, the elevators have a wall-to-ceiling glass window wall at the back of the elevators. I don't recall if the sides did too because I was too busy looking out and down through the back glass. Three of four sides of the building are offices and the fourth is all glass windows to the outside world.

Once I got to the dermo's office level, the 13th floor, this was the view...and the dermo office takes up almost all of the 13th floor. Daughters or sons, find a dermatologist to marry. :-)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Burger Island Dallas

I read about Burger Island about a month or two or more ago. I initially saw it when I first downloaded the GrubHub app. It was one of the few places that delivered and interested me as far as a new place to try. Unfortunately, I wasn't brave enough to try it with my first time using GrubHub—instead I went with Bangkok City for my initial GrubHub order.

Recently, I was talking with a coworker about it and she was game to accompany me to try it during lunch today.

When we arrived, it basically felt like a hole in the wall but one that is on a bustling street of a bazillion other restaurants serving all kinds of food. In fact, it's in a sort of strip shopping center type of location.

Walking inside, there isn't much to brag about in regards to the interior. It's very basic. Olden-type of dining tables and chairs like you'd find in a Waffle House back in the 80s or some diner off a farm-to-market road. There's a sitting area separated from the order line and kitchen area. So, like I said, pretty basic.

The cashier was very familiar with the menu offerings and called back to the kitchen our order as quickly as we ordered. We paid and sat down. About 7-10 minutes later, we had our burgers.

What you see in the photo is the Guacamole Cheeseburger with Curly Fries (her order) and the Hawaiian Cheeseburger with Seasoned Fries (my order). I believe we both had sodas too.

The curly fries ($2.49) were good but probably tasted just like any other place that sells similar ones like at Jack in the Box or Arby's but not as seasoned, if at all, as those places.

The seasoned fries ($1.99) were okay. I think seasoned meant garlic salt and pepper. They weren't very crispy and not as tasty as McDonald's french fries. For me they were passable. If we go back, I'll just share the curly fries or stick with just a burger and soda.

I didn't taste the guacamole cheeseburger ($7.99) but my coworker said it was good. Not better or worse than anywhere else, but it was good. It did seem to come with a good slather or guacamole. As described on the menu, "Loaded with guacamole, American cheese, Provolne cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions."

The Hawaiian cheeseburger ($7.99) was good. It wasn't what I was expecting being called 'Hawaiian' but it tasted good. As described on the menu, "Pineapple, ham, Provolone cheese, American cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions."

The main problem I had with the Hawaiian burger is the pineapple was not consistent throughout the burger. They use pineapple chunks like you would find on a pizza a Cici's versus pineapple slices. I think slice(s) would allow a piece of pineapple with every bite of the burger whereas the chunks were sporadic. Most of them fell out of the burger if you took bites of it vertically versus keeping it horizontal. Overall the flavor was good especially when I got a pineapple in my bite. If you don't get the pineapple, you don't get what they are calling 'Hawaiian' which means you are basically just eating a regular old cheeseburger with MLTPO.

Again, I liked the burger. However, the location is not as convenient as other places for me that have just as good or better burgers are closer to me. Some even have better prices for the same sized entree. I would recommend this place if you are in the area and what a burger different than a McDonald's, Wendy's or Jack in the Box. Otherwise, it's not worth the drive to dine in and, in my opinion, the delivery fee is overpriced on the GrubHub app.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Netgear Wireless Range Extender

I purchased this WN1000RP Netgear Wireless Range Extender from Fry's Electronics. It was on sale for like $15 so I thought it would be worth the investment if it did what I needed it to and what it's supposed to do.

So, let's start off by me trying to be a little more fancy with this one and do an unboxing video. Below is the quick unboxing video just to show what's in the box...Exciting to say the least.

The set up was pretty easy for this device. I think even your 70-yr-old grandmother could do it. Simple, I like it. However, after that, it basically went down hill.

If you look at the above image, the labeled signals of "wireless router" and "range extender _ex" are within my home and are the home wireless router and the WN1000RP range extender. What do you see? Five bars on the router and four bars on the extender? Not a big deal right? Except for the fact that I was sitting about two feet from the extender and the router is about fifteen feet up and thirty feet back on the second floor. If anything, the range extender should be showing a minimum five bars! Oh yeah, all those other signals are the various signals outside of my home and of my surrounding neighbors.

So, in my real-life non-scientific test, the range extender already fails for the purpose I purchased it — to extend my wireless range. Okay, it does extend it but it doesn't provide the same signal strength or more of the wireless router itself.

About two weeks later, I tried to connect to it, which I did, but it was no longer connected to my wireless network. I reset it and reinstalled it to no avail with connecting to my network and the Internet. So, I effectively had a plasticky 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" square brick plugged into a wall outlet. You ask why I don't return it. Well, I bought this and didn't get around to using it until about fifteen days after purchase. It then failed which was about thirty days after purchase. The Fry's return time period had passed. It has since been recycled to some electronic graveyard.

If I can save anyone time, effort and money, you should avoid the WN1000RP Netgear Wireless Range Extender no matter how cheaply priced you find it. The $15-$30 you may have saved ends up being wasted if it doesn't work for a longer period of time.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Grand Opening - Vertskebap in Preston Hollow Village

Saw an article yesterday about a grand opening of a "new" restaurant called Vertskebap. I found out that it's new to the area but there are a few locations already in Dallas/Fort Worth locale. It seems to have started in Austin and has expanded across the state.

The article said that the restaurant would be giving one free entree per patron from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. I've never heard of the restaurant or what they serve but you give me something, something real like this not a sample, and I'll try it...within reason of course like drive time, waiting in line time, etc.

During my searching mentioned in the first paragraph, I looked to see what the food offerings were. They sounded tasty enough and the drive was about ten minutes from my homestead. I mentioned the freebie offering to my kids and the oldest was cool with it but the youngest already had plans. I ended up taking two friends of my oldest. Why not? I wasn't paying!

The restaurant is located at Walnut Hill and Central Expressway/US75. It's been a while since I've been near this location and it has changed quite a bit. They've got a whole little shopping center there now with a Trader Joe's, Blue Sushi Grill (or something like that), another small market/grocery place and a few others I don't remember or are coming soon. Quite a change from the apartment complexe and hotel that used to occupy that corner years ago.

So, we did our customary slo-mo drive by to see how busy the place was. Through the windows, the line looked long but not too long. We decided to at least walk in to check the wait.

The line wasn't too bad so we got through fairly quickly. Again, not knowing about this restaurant or how it works we just went with the flow. Turns out the flow is just like a Chipotle, Qdoba or even a Subway. You pick one of their items from the menu (or you can build as you go) and you move down the assembly line until you get to the end where they wrap your sandwich or wrap and you get a drink or not and pay.

I ordered The Texan with beef & lamb which is described by the menu as: Beef&Lamb or Chicken, Spring Mix, Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, Onion, Jalapeño, Spicy Red Sauce. My oldest got The Verts Original with chicken and the friends got something but I didn't ask what. The line movie fairly fast. Again, the options are a panini-like sandwich, wrap or salad. The salads that other people ordered looked tasty and the wraps looked just like a burrito. Maybe if I go back, I'll try one of those. Watching how they prepared my sandwich along the line, it looked like eating was going to be messy but I wouldn't know for sure until I got it home. It also made me wonder if it would be like most burritos or pita-like sandwiches where the ingredients don't necessarily mix or stay together. Instead there are layers of items that one can't eat all or mostly together.

By the time I got home, The Texas was a little softer than it probably would have been if I ate it right after buying it. Letting that slide, I think it was pretty good. I wouldn't say I have to go back because it was so good but it was definitely worth free. I wouldn't say I won't go back if I had a craving for a meal like it or if someone asked me to come along. I just don't think it won me over to eat there again and again. Now, I will probably try it a couple of more times just to taste other items but after that, if those don't really WOW me then I won't return again...not because the food was bad but it's just not one of the foods I crave now and then.

While they last, articles can be found here and here.