Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Jeep CJ66 Retro Wrangler

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

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

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

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

I still don't know why I did.


That's why.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hardcore Henry (2016)

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

I need to make more money

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

It sucks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, life is good!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chili Pepper Grill Food Truck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chacho's in San Antonio

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

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

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

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

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

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

* images courtesy of Google search

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hatch Chile Tacos at Taco Bueno

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

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

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

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

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

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

As it looks after receiving my order

As it looks opened up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

MyBuds Pro Ear Buds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My new sunglasses

So, I've been in the market for a new pair (or more) of sunglasses. I previously had some white trim with blue lenses sport sunglasses that the lenses finally just cracked away. I got them from Academy a few years back. Some months maybe a year before then I had purchased some red trim with red/yellow/orange lenses sport sunglasses. I favored the white trim ones because they felt better while wearing them. They didn't slide down my nose or feel too big behind the ears. I also liked the blue lenses more than the amber (yeah, I guess they could be called that) on the red trim sunglasses. I would say I used them more for my daily outings of walking, driving or just hanging outside.

The red trim glasses slipped down my nose just a tiny bit but noticeable. They also didn't grip well with the ear pieces over/behind the ear which might have added to the slippage. I mainly wore them for playing tennis because when it's sunny, I usually work a cap/visor and the head band of the cap/visor would help keep the glass from sliding down my nose.

The white trims were basically worn out and the lenses went from slightly cracked, to cracked to falling apart. I guess I could have just Googled and found some replacement lenses but I really didn't think about that until JUST FUCKING NOW when typing this. I probably could have saved myself some dollars versus buying new ones. DAMMIT! Oh well. Anyway, I had the back up red trims until about three weeks ago when I left them at an after-work function. I'm sure they might have been taken to the lost and found of the building I was in but I was too lazy to follow up and check. Once again, I probably could have saved myself some dollars. I'm an idiot!

So, enter my newest sunglasses purchase. I've researched for a few days/weeks about different types I wanted to try, lens colors, pricing and reputable (hopefully) on-line shops if necessary.

What I finally decided to "add to cart" was the Tifosi Jet Sunglasses (Metallic Silver Frames, Smoke Blue Lenses) and Tifosi Hagen Sunglasses (Crystal Clear Frames, Polarized Clarion Green Lenses) from B & H Photo.

I've ordered some camera items from B&H before so I figured they were at least reputable. They had the lens colors I was looking for. The pricing wasn't perfect, especially for the Hagens but I figured if I liked them that I would take much better care of them than any of my other sunglasses purchases. The shipping was free.

So the cost breakdown is the Tifosi Jets were $25.95 and Tifosi Hagens were $58.50. I've NEVER paid more than $25 for a pair of sunglasses. In fact, I think my ultimate limit has always been $20. However, as mentioned, I figured if I spent more this time I'd be 100x better at taking 100% care of these sunglasses. $59 for a pair was a huge stretch for me and I almost have a little buyer's remorse just because of the price and nothing to do with the sunglasses themselves.

Anyway, below are some pictures of the case they came in and then the sunglasses:

So, the lenses themselves are pretty smooth, clear and look great. The frames aren't too bad either. They both should look good since I chose each pair based on both the frames and lenses.

Wearing both is very comfortable. I've worn both while walking for long periods of time as well as very long periods of driving while recently traveling. There is no nose pinch, ear fatigue or head pinch. I've gotten compliments on how they look but a few have said they look small on my head. I do have a fat head but plan to trim that down. Haha!

I do think the Jets are not quite as wrapped as my previous wraparound sunglasses. I feel like the part of the lens near the ear pieces could have extended a bit more like maybe a half inch to wrap a bit more around my eye sockets/face. I can also tell that it seems like the build of the Jets seems slightly askew. I feel like my left eyebrow touches the frames more than my right eyebrow. I want to bend them a bit on the left-hand side but I'm afraid it might snap and then I'd be pissed off for wasting $25+! So, essentially, the glasses aren't built to 'perfection' or maybe my head is slightly too big for them. Either way, my previous wraparound glasses had a much better fit and were not askew-feeling like these. They were also about half the cost as the Jets.

The Hagens fit fairly well but they too have a slight problem. It could be just me. I feel like the ear pieces could be a little tighter or have sort of like a thin grippy pad added to them. They tend to slide down my nose a bit because the end of the ear pieces don't curve like the wraparounds but they also aren't tight enough to maintain their position on/over my ear. The clear frames are sometimes distracting until I got used to them because often I'd think something was coming at me from the side but it was just the way the frames refracted light and images. These things weren't coming at me but occasional I could see things that looked like they were. I guess think of it kind of like a house of mirrors.

Overall, I'm mostly satisfied with my sunglasses purchases. Surely there could be improvements and I think there may have been as I believe there are a new model of each on the market. I know too much research (or not) on my part. I will take care of these with the utmost care as they're more expensive then ANY I've purchased in the past. I will deal with the minor issues and I might even try to rig my own adjustments. Again, they're totally usable and likeable but for the price, I expected more. I guess it's like anything purchase that is made in large quantities — there is bound to be a few that miss the standard and that doesn't mean they are all bad.

So, these purchase have definitely enforced the fact that I prefer to try things out before purchasing. I thought I'd trust the company(ies) I've purchased from before and had the hopes of the slightly higher price justified a better quality product from these companies. I was wrong. I'm not totally disappointed but I'm not completely satisfied either.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Aukey Lightning USB Sync & Charging Cable

Some months ago, like in February 2015, I ordered the Aukey Lightning USB Sync & Charging Cable from Amazon for $9.99 and free shipping with my Amazon Prime account. I saw it somewhere like CNET's Cheapskate or Slickdeals saying it was a good deal.

I think it was a very good deal for a lightning charging cable which normally starts around $19.99 and goes up.

What is there to say about this? I ordered one evening. It delivered in about three days (Thu to Sun). It does what it's supposed to do. For the price, it's a very good option for a back up/replacement lightning cord.

It's a much cheaper option than buying from Apple and that's ALWAYS a good thing!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Weird, I felt like I lost a close friend

This was originally started like a year ago but life happens...

I recently had to say goodbye to a friend I've known for 15+ years. They've changed over those years a few times but I've always supported them as best I could. Though I often felt a little taken advantage of. Even when times were tough for me, I put the effort out to maintain the relationship mainly because my kids were younger and enjoyed having them around. However, slowly over the years they became more of an acquaintance as the kids got older. I mulled my decision over a few weeks time and discussed deeply with the wife. It truly was a tough call but it had to be done. I give and gave but we had to move forward with what's best. Being more forgiving, my wife is still not sure about the move but is making do. Truthfully, I feel much better each day since I ended the relationship. I'll always have memories but.....


Initially, the adjustment was slow and difficult. Not being able to turn on the television and browse 100+ channels was weird at first. Eventually, we got used to it.

I did go buy an over-the-air HD antennae to get local channels because we didn't want to be completely without television channels. I found a highly-user-rated one at Walmart with a 50-mile range. I was intrigued at first because I've never seen the actual local channels via OTA since they were regulated to be aired as HD. Once I got everything hooked up and programmed the channels, NBC/Channel 5 showed the picture below.

I was like "Holy shit! That's a pretty damn clear picture." The wife was like, "Is that from the over-the-air antennae? That's an extremely clear picture!" I was like, "I know, right?!"

So, that's are journey into being disconnected from pay television. I needed to save money and we just realized that we were watching a lot of reruns of L&O, L&O:SVU, House and many others via USA Network or TNT. I've never paid for movie channels like HBO since the early 90s when I lived in my first apartment with a roommate to split the cost. I don't care to pay a premium to watch movies I've seen many times before and some decades ago (like E.T.). It's just throwing away money when one can pay-on-demand for recent movies via whatever medium is available.

Speaking of pay-on-demand, I must fully confess that we did have some access to certain 'cable' channels. My close friend came over one day and downloaded a few apps like HBOGo on my iPad. He logged in as himself and told me we could watch via his account anytime. It does require a re-log in after so many days/weeks and I'd just have him re-enter his information. We didn't watch many movies but more series like Game of Thrones and such.

Besides my buddy's login, I already had memberships with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. These two services help alleviate some of the transitioning pain but truly after a few months, we were so happy to get rid of the high-cost of pay television. I saved about $150/mo after rate, taxes and fees on my AT&T bill. I had to keep Internet and we still have a house phone which allowed me to bundle the two and save. Those monthly costs were like $95 after all charges are added and the deal was good for two years even though I had to only commit to one. So, not too bad.

One thing we did notice about over-the-air signal is that location of the antennae is important. We lived in the center two two-story condos all made out of brick and with firewalls in between. There were two-story brick condos very close behind us about twenty feet. The signal would flicker occasionally even when I had the antennae on the inside of the window pane facing the back condos at the highest point I could to the first-floor ceiling. I bought a fifty-foot coax cable to move the antennae to the second floor window near the highest point of the ceiling. I got a much better signal but would still occasionally lose signal especially when the weather was bad. I'm assuming it had a bit to do with the location but I could not get the antennae any higher unless I got a ladder and tacked to the top our condo somehow or had a pole/rod extend above the roof with the antennae attached from the side of the condo. Both options were not easily done so I stuck with what I had.

Just another thought, we noticed that WFAA/ABC 8 was the weakest signal of the 'big' four which also include KTVT/CBS 11, KXAS/NBC 5, and KDFW/FOX 4. Back when I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s, the weakest signals were typically channel 4, 11, 5 and 8 (ordered in weakest to strongest signal). That being said, I live within 15-20 miles of all the stations especially WFAA and it was always losing signal. In fact, there were days that we'd not have channel 8 come in and the weather would be clear skies and sunny. Anyway, we just thought that was weird since we should be in a very good location to receive the strongest signals.

Well, that's my story on cutting the cord. We'll see how long it continues.

Oh yeah, I also upgraded by Uverse Internet as part of the cheaper bundle. I was on like 6 MBPS upload speed but was bundled with 40 MBPS. That's all 'up to' speeds of course. I did a speed test just to be sure they weren't charging me for something that I wasn't actually getting. The speed test was almost exact when I ran it. See below.

Okay, now that's the end of this story for now...