Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Movin' On Up

While we haven't really posted much here lately, and we are eternally sorry for that, things have been a little busy in the last 3 weeks or so. More on that in a bit.

So first and foremost, why haven't we posted much lately? That's the question I've been asking myself. We've been in existence for over 3.5 years and have somewhere around 200 posts. We've covered lots of hard hitting topics from my prostate to a heated beef jerky and bacon battle royal. We've laughed, we've never cried ever, and we've downed some really good beer. We've covered a lot, but mostly its been about our families, the stuff they do, and how we've handled them. Hopefully you've had some good laughs and, dare I say, learned a lesson or two in the process. So, why haven't we posted? While I won't speak for the others, I'll just say that this was once a huge priority in my life. Over time it has slowly been buried under 4 children worth of diapers and softball games. I got busy... and not in the good way, you know... like getin' bizzzaaay.

But the last 3 weeks have been busy in a good way for the blog and have kind of re-kindled a fire in my gut for this blog. Recently I met with InsideSTL.com & CBS Sports Radio 920 here in St. Louis for some advertising help with a side business I own. Great people and there was some great conversation (you should advertise with them). Somewhat in joking I mentioned that their site was missing a huge demographic, Dads, and that they should just pick up the Suburban Father Alliance to fill that void. Oddly enough, they agreed... So, going forward, we will be expanding our reading audience to a lot more people. With the amount of traffic on their site we've got the chance to hit as many readers in a month that we would get here in a year. I'm pumped to see how it goes.

So, loyal readers of this blog, we encourage you to check out InsideSTL.com and look for us (still working on the official name) in the Community section on the site. Visit early and visit often. We will have some new stuff on the way this Friday on InsideSTL just in time for Father's Day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pacific Rim Is Quite Possibly the Worst Movie Ever

We recently switched from Charter to AT&T Uverse. And, then went back to Charter.

In short, Uverse’s internet speed wasn’t as advertised. Though, I have to give them top marks for customer service.

Anyhow, when we went back to Charter, I picked up the HBO package. YOLO. (as the kids say) It’s worked out nicely because I haven’t rented a movie in about a year. So, everything I wanted to see a year ago is now popping up on HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.

When Pacific Rim was added to HBO a couple weeks ago, I was stoked. The CGI looks terrific and I figured Charlie Hunnam deserved another chance. I was wrong.

Looks pretty cool, right? Nope. It's 132 minutes of suck.

This was by far one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen – a complete loss of two hours of time.

I’m sure there are fanboys out there who will disagree. Let me go point by point. 

1. Charlie Hunnam cannot act. His only shot at hanging around is if he achieves Nicholas Cage’s level of “so bad it’s good, but it’s not actually good.” 

I'm pretty sure this gratuitous shirtless shot was Hunnam's way of saying, "See, I could have played Christian Grey."

2. The movie is chock full of ridiculous scenes that make no sense whatsoever. For instance, at one point a scientist has filled numerous chalkboards full of complicated math to calculate when the next Kaiju attack will occur. (Kaijus are these huge monsters that are pop up from a hole in the earth and subsequently terrorize urban population centers.) In short, the time between attacks is following a very predictable pattern.
What sort of scientist needs that much math to calculate a basic function such as this? Pretty sure I could of figured when the next attack would occur with Google calendar and a calculator. 

3. To battle the Kaiju, humans pilot massive mechs called Jaegers. It takes two pilots to share the “neural load” in order to drive these massive beasts. The pilots must have some sort of neural compatibility.

How do they test compatibility? By stick fighting of course. Yeah, that’s right. No need for any fancy brain technology. Put a couple potential pilots in the ring and let them stick fight. That’s it. If one wins too quickly, they aren’t compatible. Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

4. Speaking of technology, at one point the Marshall describes one of the latest mechs as having 50 diesel engines per muscle strand. He then proceeds to note another mech is nuclear powered. What?!! Why would they shove that many diesel engines in a mech if they can run on nuclear technology?

5. Here’s the final straw. Within five minutes of the movie, you realize the entire mech concept is completely unnecessary.

So, a Kaiju pops up in the Pacific Ocean. They send a mech to intercept. It slowly walks across the ocean floor, until it finds the target. Once the battle begins, we see that the ion cannon is the key technology when killing a Kaiju.

Here’s my conundrum: technology has advanced to the point of ion cannons and mechs. So, why can’t we deploy the ion cannons via satellite and just headshot these fools the moment they pop up? Boom, no need for the mechs and no need for this horrendous movie.

Now that I’ve sufficiently ranted, I will say the CGI is really cool in this movie. It’s a shame the plot was unbelievable and the acting was B-movie-esque.

If you have HBO, save yourself some time and skip Pacific Rim. Watch the True Detective series instead. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are phenomenal.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Double Duty

I said duty... Seems like lately we've been doing some shaving talk on here. Whether it's not shaving in Movember or reviewing razors, we've know our way around a pretty face.

So, recently, I had the opportunity to test out the Schick Hydro. I was lucky enough to get 2 free samples of this product as part of a promotion on Crowdtap. Side note: I should do a blog on Crowdtap. They are awesome. But  digress.. I gave one of the razors to my neighbor and I was ready to start this new shaving challenge.

If you aren't familiar with my face, I have kept it pretty consistent for the last 2 years in the way of facial hair. I keep a short beard and when it get's long enough to be annoying I trim it down and the circle of beard continues. I keep my neck closely shaved and life is pretty good. I shave in the shower because I feel this gives me the lease amount of irritation. However, some issues arise and I have to manage a couple different shavers in the shower. I've gotta get the beard trimmer out when I want to knock down my beard when it's too long. It does a great job but it lives on dry land and I don't want to mess it up with the shower going. I'll trim up the beard in the shower, cast it aside to it's dry dock, and then start the water and the rest of my shave.

The Hydro that Schick sent me pretty much solves this problem. (Check it out on the left). This bad boy is known as the Hydro 5 Groomer and it is amazing. I've got a pretty awesome razor to shave my neck and now I just flip it over and there's this magical groomer that can trim my face however I want it with the water running. The Trimmer on this works just fine. I don't keep my beard long enough to fully utilize the guard on it. I like that it's pretty small to get in places that are hard to reach, and it's got enough power to navigate through my rugged manly face hairs.

What is kind of overshadowed by the cool trimmer is the actual shave you get with the Hydro 5 side of things. The shave is great so far. The shave is close, smooth, and just short of mystically epic. It is a great shave.

So, as always, the SFA doesn't get any money for this. So, you can Google search for it if you want to buy it. I did put together a quick Amazon link below. Regardless, you can find it there for purchase (which you should).


Monday, March 24, 2014

Boiling Point

That's rusty water and calcium all over the place
Recently, I've had some unfortunate circumstances occur with my house. It is and on-going ordeal that involves a 31 year old water heater, a Home Warranty company, my insurance company, a restoration company, a construction company, and 3 different plumbing companies. It is still going on after almost 2 weeks but I am finally at a point in my sanity that I can write about it without insulting any of the companies above.

I received a call from my wife that our basement was flooded potentially from a toilet. After racing home, and squishing through some wet carpet, I discovered that my bathroom, while having an inch or 2 of standing water in it, was intact and it was my Hot Water Heater that was the culprit. It was the original hot water heater in the house and was 31 years old. It died a death where the water inside had finally rusted a hole through its steel chassis and relieved all 55 gallons of itself in my basement. Funny enough, it was right next to the basement drain, but absolutely zero ounces of water made their way there. Instead the water found refuge in my finished area... the carpeted part... where my kids like to play... where we can't hear them and it makes the house quiet.
The current state of hell that is my basement
When surveying the impacted area, it was very real to me that I had no idea where to even start with this. I called a few restoration companies and finally settled on one that didn't work for/with the insurance company, and would fight for me if need be. So, within a day or two, a claim had been filed with my home owners policy and the drying had begun. With that issue being taken care of now, I could focus my time on getting hot water into my house so my wife and I didn't have to drag our 4 children around to random homes asking for running hot water.

We had moved into our house a little over a year ago and we purchased a home protection plan. You know that thing you never use the first year, but need after it expires... Luckily, we decided to renew the plan when it was up and are covered (in theory). Working with this home warranty company is where I am going to take this post. I'm not going to go into the 30 or so calls I've made to them, their utter lack of response, or pretty much their desire to do nothing to make my situation right. That post would take about 17 pages and I'd get frustrated. I'm going to take this post to reflect a little bit at how angry I got at people. Why did I get so angry?

I'm not a mean guy. I might tell my kids they can't watch TV or have dessert some days, but not mean typically. I turned into a mean guy with this experience. I yelled at people. I insulted them. I didn't like it and I felt terrible after scolding people on the telephone. Even the one person that cared to call me back, I wished that she find a new job because her company was that terrible. But why did I get so angry?

It was baffling to me that when I started dialing the number to the Warranty company that I could just feel the anger growing and it didn't matter who answered the phone, they were going to get it. After about 4 days of this, it had impacted my life outside of the basement. There was added stress at work, at home, everywhere I went.

Finally on day 5 or so, I made the affirmation that I was done being angry about this and getting it resolved without yelling was the priority. And with that small change of perspective, life got better and things started moving in the direction of fixed. It was pretty cool. I've never really been one to look at a situation other than the way I saw it and I've surely never changed my attitude in hopes things would be better. I've always just gutted a situation out and moved on.

Anyway, this post probably has no meaning to you or you life but has been a good dump of my brain to sort of recollect my feelings and what made them better. So stay positive WOULD YA?

Just keep in mind that if you do purchase a Home Warranty and need to use it, it might not be be as straight forward as you would think, but give them patience and take some breathes and it might work itself out in the end.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Am I Becoming a Blender Snob?

Almost 10 years ago, my wife-to-be and I created our wedding registry.

Like true, non-domesticated idiots, we registered for some stupid stuff. We chose some oblong plates that have a tendency to push any liquid toward the middle. So, if we're having a steak, vegetable and baked potato, everything is soaked in meat juice about 10 seconds into the meal. (I honestly don't mind. She does.)

While perusing the small appliances, we dutifully scanned a blender. It was an entry-level $25 model. Not a fan of margaritas (I had to look up how to spell the word just now), I couldn't see myself ever needing a blender.

Over the years, the blender bit the dust. It was probably because we used it more as a food processor than actual blender. Not a big loss in my opinion...until now.

Last month, I read an article in Businessweek. It was about Vitamix blenders and how they've become all the rage among affluent health-conscious, smoothie-consuming adults.

Hey, I tend to think of myself as health-conscious. I want to be affluent. Smoothies sound delicious. I shared my dreams of being a smoothie hippie with Tiffany. She scoffed at the idea of shelling out $400+ for a blender.


Then the perfect blend of smoothie components hit at just the right moment. First, I checked around online and realized the Ninja blender comes close to the Vitamix in blending affluence at a fraction of the cost ($99 vs $400).

Next, on a whim I bought a smoothie at an airport smoothie bar. It was delicious. Finally, Tiffany tried making a milkshake last week with a cheapo replacement blender and was disgusted with the results.


We are now the proud owners of a Ninja blender. Yesterday, I tossed in a couple of oranges (cut into about eight pieces), three scoops of orange sherbet, a handful of frozen strawberry slices, two cups of juice and two cups of ice. After about a minute in the Ninja, we were enjoying high-quality airport smoothie bar smoothies.

The Wolverine glass adds an extra bit of affluence. (I'm just showing off at this point.)

As we push into the green, healthy smoothie game, I can't help but wonder if we should have spent the extra affluence on the Vitamix. The three-blade design of the Ninja blender is impressive, but people speak about the Vitamix in hushed tones. I feel like we need to own a blender that's discussed in hushed tones.

One sip and he said, "Oh, I like this!"

Anyhow, if you've got some smoothie tips, please share them with us. We're complete noobs here. Also, don't bother plying me to go with non-GMO, organic ingredients. I'm a blender snob, not an ingredient snob.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Doing the Disney

Since I first became a father, I've told my wife that due to a myriad of reasons I'm going to go to Disney exactly once. She's welcome to take the kids back on her own, but I'm only doing the death dance with the mouse one time. Last week, it was time to pay the piper. I'm going to spare you all as many of the gory details as I can, but wanted to hand out some information for those of you who may be willing to let Central Florida make the beast with two backs with your wallet.


Every ride at Disney dumps out into a gift shop, which is brilliant if you own Disney stock. I don't (although I may have an honorary share now). A friend gave us a great tip to save a little cash and crying and to tell your kids they could look at souvenirs all week but you would only buy stuff from the big store at Downtown Disney at the end of the week. I took a lot of pictures of kids with souvenirs all week, and then at the end of the week we gave each kid an allowance to spend at the big store. If you spend enough, they'll actually ship all of that stuff home for you, but our little soldiers wanted to bring it on the plane.

Time of Year

We went in February, which is considered off-season because it is one of the only one months every year that Florida experiences anything approaching "winter". This seemed like a very small price to pay when we were shooting through all of the rides without standing in a single line (the only delay was the distance you had to walk from the entrance to the attraction to actually board the ride). It seemed like a bigger price to pay when a third of your foot is blistered because you've been rocking soaking wet shoes and socks for three straight days.
Saw a lot of this.
In short, off-season is fine if you are prepared. The weather forecast we looked at before packing was 20 degrees off the entire time we were there, so we were not prepared.

Fast Pass

As stated, we were there in torrential rain the slowest week of the year, so often we didn't even use our Fast Passes. As soon as the sun came out, however, these were critical. It's worth investing a little time into this to make sure you are making the most of this.

Dining Plan

You will buy the dining plan, and you should. On your first day, you'll have no idea what is going on, and it will seem confusing and like it isn't worth it. By the end of your trip you'll be flexing it like a coupon mom and looking back at all of the money you saved. Pro tip: throw a couple boxes of Pop-Tarts in your suitcase for breakfast, which isn't included and which no one cares about.

The Food

I hear a lot of people talk about how great the food is at Disney. I didn't really feel it. Everything was competently made, I didn't hate anything, but I certainly wasn't blown away by anything either. It was all overpriced, but not painfully so (somewhere near airport, well below ballpark) and there was typically variety. The kids meals had relatively healthy choices (grapes and carrots were as ubiquitous as fries) but very limited choices. I was especially disappointed that in Epcot even though I could get a pretty decent Middle Eastern meal, my kids were stuck with chicken nuggets (which they dipped in my hummus).
Work on your upper body strength before heading down there.

Staying Onsite

We bought a package which made staying onsite a breeze. We flew into Orlando, got on a bus, went to our resort, checked in, our bags showed up a while later, and we were off to the park via a bus. I didn't have to worry about renting a car, or parking (which still requires a bus to get to the park) or figuring out a different hotel. Unless you are planning on doing stuff elsewhere, this is the way to go.

Pop Century

This is basically a dorm. I'm not entirely sure my wife and I could have laid shoulder to shoulder in the same bed. Also, combined shampoo and conditioner. Also, no pool towels. This was the cheapest place to stay at Disney, and it showed.


By the end of every day you'll be craving a beer. Have some, but don't get wasted - you'll have to be sober enough to get your kids home on the bus safely (which isn't hard), you'll be so tired you'll fall asleep anyway, and you don't really want to spend anytime here hungover. The exception? Epcot, which has beers for every country and very slow rides.


I wouldn't say I enjoyed myself. There were moments (taking two steps into the park our first day and watching the kids faces light up because we walked straight into a parade, my little princess meeting her first princess, etc.) but honestly I'm not all that convinced my kids loved it. Oh sure, it was better than sitting at home and hanging out in the basement (it's been a long winter) but I think if I gave them each $40 and let them loose in the arcade/food court at the mall they'd have been almost as happy.
$20 worth of tattoos made my kids happier than the thousands I spent getting them there.
As a parent, you're still obligated to go, but don't feel like a failure if you don't love it. Or at least don't feel like the only failure.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mixed Marriage: Android & iOS7 Users

Cats & Dogs living together... MASS HYSTERIA!!!
So fellas, I got a good one for you. If you choose to use this little nugget of tech talk for good or bad, that's on you. Also as a side note, I'll warn you that I haven't researched this too much, but enough to know it's a documented problem impacting many Americans in a mixed marriage where one spouse has an iOS device and the other has an Android. One of those Americans is me. My wife likes the simplicity of iOS devices and all the other moms have them. Me, well, I like Google. My stuff is with them and I subscribe to just about every product they have (except for Glass because $1500 for a pair of non-prescription glasses is dumb). Also as a side note, our AppleID is under my Gmail account... but I digress...

The Issue:
Android devices cannot receive text messages from iOS7 devices (iOS7 devices can still receive from Android). Yep you read that correctly and you can see the potential for disaster. Also, as a small business owner this concerns me as my customers sometimes will just text me an order and I could be missing those orders.

Imagine if you will (dream sequence)*....
Android Dad: Hey honey can I go to Happy Hour after work?
iOS7 Mom: Tonight is bad, Sally has a soccer game, Jimmy has tutor, and someone needs to stay home with the baby....
(text never received by Android Dad)
Android Dad: Honey I haven't heard back from you on this. I'll assume no news is good news and I'll be home by 8pm
iOS7 Mom: Didn't you get my last message?!?! tonight is bad. I need you home!
(text never received by Android Dad and Android Dad proceeds to Happy Hour)
(text never received by Android Dad and Android Dad still at Happy Hour balling hard)
(text never received by Android Dad but Android Dad decides to leave Happy Hour early and get in good graces with iOS7 Mom)
Android Dad: On my way home... early. See how much I love you?
iOS7 Mom: F-U
(you can see how this is going to end when Android Dad gets home)

So, guys there you have it. It's real, it's out there, and I am sure there's some poor Android Dad that is reading this in the proverbial doghouse... on his Android.

*any names or descriptions in this dream sequence were purely unintentional. And no, this hasn't happened to me and my wife

The Solution:
I've been reading about 6 or 7 different forums on this and the solution isn't very clear. Of course I am reading Android forums and all of them hate Apple. So reading through that is a bit troubling. I'm not sure where the "fault" lies on this, but I just know there's 2 Behemoth companies that probably won't be racing to help find a solution. However, the solution that I am trying to make work is the following from forums.androidcentral.com:

  1. Apple ID is stored in two places: App Store and iMessage separately, log out of both on ALL iOS devices in settings>app store and settings>iMessage.
  2. log in to https://appleid.apple.com and change your AppleID to a NEW email address
  3. remove your cell phone number from the apple ID
  4. log back into all iOS devices using new AppleID and deselect the cell phone number and old appleID email address. check the new email address (New AppleID)
  5. Once you do this on all devices your texting will resume to normal. Remember iMessage can be used with email address or phone number that why it is important to get rid of all devices. Leaving just one will screw it up. 
  6. Once all devices are logged into the app store and iMessage under the new AppleID texting should resume normally.
I will follow up with everyone on this and let you know if it works.

What can you do to help?
Seriously if you hate either one of these companies, post your comments on a different blog. What you can do, is share this post with people you know. As texting has become an integral part of the way we communicate with others (right or wrong), this issue should be addressed and it could help resolve a ton of problems for Mixed Marriages and Businesses.