Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reliving Childhood: The Oregon Trail

After 20+ years away from the Apple IIe, I decided to invest a few seconds in a Google search to find an Apple emulator. I wanted to relive a little of my past and play The Oregon Trail!

Not the crappy Ponzi scheme of the Oregon Trail on Facebook, THE REAL Oregon trail.

I hopped on virtualapple.org and was able to enjoy The Oregon Trail as God intended, with sound effects.

I loaded up the wagon and put the pedal to the metal and made the journey in my first attempt! Success! All those years of schooling really paid off!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dollar General, A Real Find!

I love a good deal, now, more than ever! For years I have managed to avoid $.99 stores assuming they were several steps below Walmart the socio-economic ladder. Although, I was partially correct, I didn't realize what I had been missing!

I recently took a bold step and visited my local Dollar General store. For years I mistook this store as a check cashing place similar to Dollar Tree.

I was surprised to find a wide selection of pretty much everything. I immediately headed for the facial tissue and stocked up on several boxes of off-brand tissue for a buck a box. Kleenx has hit $1.99 in Vons and I was keen to give this a shot. I wasn't disappointed with the quality and headed back to the DG when I needed more tissue.

My second visit made me realize DG is like the TJ Maxx of small box stores. The inventory and brand availability is in constant flux. When I returned to my facial tissue isle, this time I found Scott brand tissue where the off-brand had been. Again, I stocked up, but was a little disappointed because these boxes did not have as many tissues as the offbrand.

No trip to the DG is complete without a trip to the candy isle! They have a wide selection of almost all of your childhood favorites. Everlasting Gobstoppers, Runts and Spree usually end up in my basket.

A Costco/Sam's membership will probably save you money over some of the items in DG such as tooth brushes, but if you are not looking for a gross of 12 toothbrushes at a time, DG may be the way to go.

Dollar General Tips:
  • Cleaning Products- Bleach, Comet, Rubber Gloves & Sponges
  • Candy- Halloween candy is a no-brainer
  • One-Use Food Containers
  • Trash Bags
  • Greeting Cards- When was the last time you bought a card for less than $2.50?
  • Don't get caught up in the frenzy, I have noticed some food items and other miscellaneous that actually are sold for less than a dollar in other stores.
  • Try to combine your DG visits with a trip to your favorite grocery store. This will allow you to get everything on your list if you hit the DG first.

2009 F1 Regulation Changes- More & More Like NASCAR

Coming off the most exciting season in recent memory and probably the most competitive season on record, 2009 brings a plethora of changes to the pinnacle of racing, F1.

This silly/informative video from Red Bull outlines many of the rule changes for the new season.

It is comforting to know they will still be driving cars as Sebastian Vettle points out in the video.

F1 is basically a spec series these days with frozen engine designs, 18,000RPM rev limits and spec Bridgestone tires. (note, Bridgestone has locked up F1 & Moto GP as the exclusive tire supplier for each series) In the near future, customer cars will be allowed on the grid, making F1 a VERY expensive version of Champ Car (Actually Indy Car).

Look for KERS to be an interesting topic this season. Many teams seem to be struggling with it and I doubt it will be a lasting feature in the series.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's What I Like: Vinturi Wine Aerator

It seems all too often, I don't have the time to open a bottle of wine and let it breathe before drinking. The taste and bouquet of almost all reds seem to improve after sitting open for ten minutes or so. If you are like me, you don't plan your life in the 15 minute increments required to enjoy great wine that has been open prior to drinking.

A decanter does the job, but it seems like a hassle and I don't own one.

This Christmas, I discovered the Vinturi. I got one as a gift for my girlfriend. Ironically , she had the same idea and gave me one too!

The concept is simple, You pour the wine through a venturi with air holes on the side. The wine and air mix during the pour, creating a satisfying sound and properly aerating your wine, glass by glass.

The Vinturi is made of high quality acrylic, sits in an attractive rubber stand and even has its own carrying pouch.

I was worried that holding the wine bottle in one hand and the glass in the other would prove difficult. I was thinking about making a stand for the Vinturi, but found the process is actually pretty easy to accomplish although you may spill a few drops from time to time.

The improvement can be remarkable with some wines. The instructions recommend use with reds and whites. I don't notice as big of impact with the whites, but haven't tried nearly as many whites as reds.

Bottom Line: The Vinturi costs about as much as two decent bottles of wine and can end up paying for itself by turning around a bottle or two of wine you may deem undrinkable at first taste.