A Tour of Restaurants

Summer is here and it is time for travel, good food, and family fun. And what better way to experience this than a trip to Ohio. Yes, for the first time in about 4 years, my wife and I were able to go on a semi-economical vacation out East to visit her family. But one of my personal objectives was to eat at a few select restaurants that we currently do not have in our city, or state for that matter.


The number-one place on my agenda was a place I grew up with and have fond memories of our family gatherings and great food: Rax.

Ready to chow down - although I think that they need help on their sign

Just like I remembered

I ordered the signature Rax roast beef sandwich and fries... and yes, it tasted just as I remembered. I really wish we still had one back home.

The last documented time we had a Rax in our city and we enjoyed a meal there was in 1994. But soon after, it unexpectedly shut down. A while after that, a news station moved into the old building. I am considering writing to the company to see if they would reconsider opening a location back in my hometown here in Montana.

TGI Friday's

One of my all time favorites is TGI Friday's. I discovered this place in my college days back in Colorado. My friends and I would frequently eat there ordering a meal with a side of special-order cheese fries. When it came time to order the fries with our sandwich or burger, we ordered them with extra, extra cheese and bacon bits with a side of sour cream. Sometimes we would have to go into detail with the waiter/waitress and explain what we meant my extra cheese so they could correctly relay our ideas to the chef.

We are pumped!

Cheese String Theory

For such a delicate operation, it is a good idea to not go it alone. Accompanying me on this journey was a good college friend that frequented Fridays with me in the past and has the experience to revive me in case of cheese fry overload.

Unfortunately, our GPS guided us to a Friday's that was not quite the full version. This place was called Friday's Cafe and it's menu contained a subset of the full Fridays menu. This also meant I was unable to order the signature Friday's Chicken Sandwich. Nonetheless, the chicken sandwich I ordered (can't remember the name) was still quite good and the cheese fries were quite enjoyable.

Dunkin' Doughnuts

Sometimes you just get that craving. Doughnuts can be a pretty powerful one. It used to be easy where we used to live just to go down the street any time night or day and fulfill the need at Dunkin' Doughnuts. I recall an incident where me and a friend battled a snow storm at about 11:00 p.m. in my two-wheel-drive truck.

Sorry, no picture in front of the building - it was dark and busy

The best two kinds of doughnuts

Although I like all of the doughnuts at Dunkin' Doughnuts, the two best doughnuts at this place have to be the Toasted Coconut and the French Crueller. Have you tried them?

Misc Stops

We sampled a few other restaurants and places that served food. Some of them included Bob Evans (excellent chicken on the sandwich), Heini's Cheese Chalet (where I sampled over 20 different kinds of excellent, fresh cheese!), and White Castle. All are quite enjoyable.

Posted on July 12, 2009, 7:32 pm

TEA Party Day

Its April 15, 2009. Taxes are due today. But that’s not all that’s going on. Today also happens to be TEA Party Day! TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already and represents the feelings of Americans that we are currently taxed too much and will be taxed at a much a higher rate in the future. The TEA party also represents the disapproval of the bailouts and stimulus packages the current administration is, or will be, handing out.

People Gathering
In support of TEA Party day, I decided to join my fellow like-minded Americans in a protest against the Government’s handling of the situation. Thousands, if not millions (the numbers are not in yet), of Americans from every state took place in this event to hopefully gain some notice from Washington and our representatives. I just happened to be one of many that participated in the demonstration founded to bring REAL change to our government in hopes that we can get back on the right track – and soon!

As with most every Conservative demonstration (come’on, we have all seen the liberal whackos ripping crosses out of old ladies hands and stomping on them on the news before), there was a far left-wing loon that meandered onto the scene. He proceeded to randomly single out individuals, then pointing at everyone, screaming that we were all terrorists. A gentleman took up the challenge and tried to explain to him that everyone there was not a republican, but a mix of independents and perhaps even democrats as well. The gentleman went on to explain that he was indeed an independent but was coming to let his voice be heard. Stereotypically, the leftist refused reason and stormed off in a rage after a few more exchanges. Good riddance.

Protester Sign

More People Gathering

The general tone of the crowd was warm and calm, yet passionate about their country and the way their tax dollars are being spent. A lot of us had never participated in a protest demonstration before (since the majority of us are conservatives), so there was some uncertainty on peoples faces as we gathered on how this whole thing works. People were looking around and kind of silent until the speakers started the program.

After a few people spoke through the microphone, most of us participated in a march that lead down one of the busiest streets in town. Near the end of the street, the group reassembled and participated in the last part of the demonstration on the Post Office’s lawn and adjacent street corner. Signs were held high as the passing drivers honked their horns in support of this grass-roots movement.

Left Side of Street

Right Side of Street

I am glad to see that I am not alone in my frustration towards the current spending spree of Washington.

Posted on April 15, 2009, 9:20 pm

Lights ON Earth Hour

Its currently Lights Off Earth Hour. And as I type, I have EVERY light in our home ON along with other electronic equipment. This includes: exactly 40 lights, 2 T.V.'s, 2 computers, TiVo, a stereo, and some other misc electronic items.

The Left is absolutely ridiculous and anything I can do to combat their ludicrous and nonsensical ideas (take for instance almost everything our current President has done in office) will be done in my power. What the current administration is doing is beyond wrong and damaging our country. At least this is one way to take a stand against one of their idiotic ideas.

Lights off: my foot.

Posted on March 28, 2009, 8:55 pm

What the Snow?!

The year: 2009. The human race has been in the business of predicting weather for hundreds of years. And given that we have been predicting it for so long, we have virtually perfected the art... or have we?

Is it just the areas I live, or is this a national (or even international) problem? Ever since I took an interest in the weather and "what was to come", I have noticed a prominent pattern emerge over and over again: "They just cannot get it right!".

But who is "they"? When I speak of "they", I refer to the meteorologists and others that are involved in making a forecast. I have noticed the habitual pattern of almost every single forecast that involves precipitation to be exceedingly wrong. So today, I will WEBLog about it.

The most recent example takes place this past week. Take a look at the picture below. I regret that I didn't screen capture it the night before, but I will fill you in on the details.

An invalid forecast
(click to enlarge)

Wow! Looks like we are going to get hit good according to this prediction. The part that you don't see is the previous block which forecasts "60% of snow... 3 inches expected" for the previous evening. The evening came and gone and when I woke up (a bit early because I was going to have to navigate all the snow to get to work) there was not even a single flake. No big deal. But there is definitely going to be a bunch coming according to our forecast.

So according to the weather service there is 100% CHANCE OF SNOW and we are going to get hit with 2 inches! The day came and gone: nothing. BUT the forecast bumped the 80% chance for the "Tonight" block to 100% chance for that evening. The evening came and gone...and you guessed it: nothing. So in the end, our 7+ inches of snow predicted turned out to be this much:

No snow here!
(click to enlarge)

So why do I care so much? Well, this is an on-going thing. "They" are pretty much ALWAYS wrong in every city (spanning two states now) I have lived in. And on days where there is only a 30% chance or so, it has dumped snow like crazy.

My general rule is to immediately take at least 20% off any moisture prediction given and that seems to be much more accurate.

So how many more hundred years is it going to take before we can actually depend on the forecasts? Only time will tell.

Posted on January 15, 2009, 9:41 pm

** Removed to keep peace in family **

Update 12-03-2008:
This sums it up rather nicely (click here).

Posted on November 4, 2008, 9:54 pm

Custom Bicycle Trailer Hitch Bracket

They said it couldn't be done... We recently bought a child carrier from Kidarooz so we could take our child with us when my wife and I bike. Its sleek looks and unsurpassed quality is what caught my attention one day at Costco (that, and the fact it matches my bike rather well). We budgeted for it and one evening we went back and bought it.

After checking out the attachment process, it became apparent that there were problems fitting the trailer arm and hitch to my bicycle. In fact, the Q&A Section on Kidarooz's website explicitly states that the trailer arm is not compatible with over-sized wheels nor bikes that are equipped with disc brakes. Well darn! Should have read that before I bought it. But the real problem came with the fact that even when the arm was hitched to the bike, it was directly in the way of my over-sized (12) feet! The tightening knob just stuck out way too far.

The recommendations were to 1) use another bicycle to pull the trailer (not an option for us) or 2) purchase another bike (hmm.... I just spent a good sum to get the one I have and can't afford nor need another). So, those being the options, I propose a 3rd: Make it work.

While analyzing the situation and thinking of possible solutions, I noticed 3 unused holes - 2 in the chainstay and 1 on the seatstay. What their purpose is is beyond me, so I decided to seize them for my use.

So after a few trips to the hardware store, cutting and grinding with a hacksaw and a Dremil kit,8 hours later on a Saturday I managed to carve out a bracket that would utilize the three holes (the lower-right hole did not have threads so I had to tap them out). And after the neighbor gracefully did a favor and welded my braket together (and did some other awesome tricks including sealing each end of the pipe and putting an initial coat of paint on it), we ended up with this thing:

Here is what it looks like installed on the bicycle:

Another shot of it hitched up and ready to go:

Conclusion: It works great! We had to devise a safety strap to extend the stock one but after we figured that out, the project came together nicely. I tested this bracket throughly including hauling around 50 lbs worth of rocks for a few miles over a variety of terrains and turns. However, I do notice that the 1/8" steel we used likes to flex a bit and if I have to do this again (in case anything breaks) I will remake it with 3/16" steel. But for now, it seems to do the trick!

"And remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they'll sure find you handy..." (No duct tape was used in the making of this project)

Posted on April 28, 2008, 9:54 pm

A Crushing Experience

Ever get so upset at your laptop when it freezes and you lose work? I do too. So this is what I did with my last laptop...

May it rest in pieces... at the dump.

Posted on January 2, 2008, 5:14 pm

Camera Phones

I love camera phones... wish I still had one but my old Nokia doesn't have that feature. Until I can one day afford the Voyager (it has been released to the public finally!), I will have to reminisce about some of my old shots:

Who says waiting for your food at a restaurant has to be boring? (Especially when there is straw wrappers to play with)
Picture of man and tree made with straw wrappers

I watched this dude totally slam his truck into this Walmart shopping cart wedging it between his vehicle and the curb and then walk into the store. Unbelievably, he cracked the plastic grille and scratched the hood of his truck. Guess we now know why we always get the cart in the store that rides on 3 wheels and is impossible to turn unless it is into a shelf of glass jars.
Truck crushes cart

And of course there is our cat of whom I am convinced is from another planet named "Stinky".
Alien Cat

Posted on November 19, 2007, 4:54 pm

Where does my Personality Rank?

I am nerdier than 80% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!
Guess that means I am only 20% cool. So then I found that you could do a more in-depth analysis and so I took version 2.0 of the test...

NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!
At least the Technology / Computer category scored well!

So then I proceded to take the Comptuer Savviness test and this is what the results were:
My computer geek score is greater than 82% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!
I wonder if the scoring is low because I don't shun Bill Gates and I prefer to use Windows?

I posted this up under the About section as well since it seems like a good place to put it.

Posted on November 14, 2007, 5:30 pm