Category Archives: Reviews – Techie

Chicago to Missouri

On Friday we left early to go to Columbia, MO.  This was our first road trip in the new Fiesta.  We were supposed to come up with a name for the new car on this trip but I think we kind of forgot about it.  The drive from Chicago to Columbia is about 6 hours.  And it rained/snowed off and on the whole way!

We made a stop in Springfiled, IL  to stop at a diner Don had seen on TV.  It was called Charlie Parker’s Diner.  The diner was cool because it was in an old building from WW2 called a Quonset Hut. I had the country fried steak special and Don had the breakfast horseshoe. The food was pretty good.  I think the atmosphere was a little better though.

We made it to Columbia around 4 pm and we killed some time doing a little shopping.  Then we met up with Judy and Steve and went to dinner.  We ate at Murray’s Restaurant.  We had to wait for a bit but we had some drinks at the bar.  Don and I both had steaks.  It was delicious.

The next day we woke up early to head to Saint Louis (about 2 hours from Columbia). Don and Steve wanted to check out the Star Trek exhibit at the Science Center in STL.  But first we had to stop at Pappy’s Smokehouse.  This place was awesome!!!  I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with potato salad and baked beans.  Freaken delicious.  If you are gonna go make sure to get there early.  We got there right at 11 when it opened and still had to wait about 30 to 40 min. The food was soooo good!!

After Pappy’s we went to the Science Center.  I have never really watched Star Trek but the exhibit was okay.  There was a lot of stuff to read about space exploration that was pretty interesting.  After the exhibit we walked around a bit, but most of the exhibits seemed to be pretty geared towards kids, so we left to check out the arch.  I really wanted to go up into the arch but the wait was long and it was getting late in the day.  So we just took some pictures and next time we will go up in it!

Then we drove back to Columbia.  We picked up Judy (she had to work during the day) and decided where to have dinner.  We decided on 44 Stone Public House.  It was an English/Irish bar.  They had an amazing beer selection.  I couldn’t resist and had to get a Strongbow and an Old Speckled Hen.  We shared a couple appetizers.  Then I had a burger.  After eating we decided to keep drinking and make a fire at the house.  It was a little chilly out but next to the fire it was nice.

Once we woke up on Sunday we got ready to head back home. We made a stop in Springfield again to visit a store called Scheels.  It’s like a sports/outdoors store. It was pretty cool.  But we were really excited to try an Irish restaurant called D’arcy’s Pint.  Little did we know it was closed on Sundays.  So disappointing but I’m sure we will be cutting through Springfield again in the future to visit Missouri.  So we couldn’t decide what to eat, nothing sounded good.  There were fast food places nearby and I said either Arby’s or Pizza Hut sounded good.  We decided on Pizza Hut since we haven’t had it in forever…..ugh I remember why I never Pizza Hut.  It’s okay while you’re eating it, not so good later.  So I was burping Pizza Hut the rest of the way home.

I noticed some things when we crossed the border from Missouri into Illinois. Immediately the price of gas went up 40 cents.  There were tons of political/election signs.  And a lot more traffic signs including tons of No Parking Signs on the side of the highway, which was highway 54.  Seriously…there was nothing on this highway, why in the world would there have to be no parking signs here?!  The middle of no where!  Even if someone did park there why would anyone care?!  I guess that’s just Illinois for you.

The Walking Dead.

Every Sunday Don and I watch The Walking Dead. For the past several Sundays I have felt the same way when the show ends: unsatisfied. Nothing ever happens! Tonight’s episode in particular proved this.

I loved the first season and couldn’t wait for the second to start. But once they got stuck at this freaken farm the show took a turn for the boring. Every episode it was the same thing. The first half of the season was spent looking for the missing girl, only to find she was a locked up zombie in the barn. It sucked they killed her but I thought “yay, now we can move on with the plot! Let’s get off this farm!”

No….the next episodes were spent with everyone in a depression and trying to figure out if they would have to leave the farm. Now after getting into a fight in the town and bringing home an injured teen, we have to get rid of this teen. First of all…why we have to get rid of him is a joke. We nursed this kid back to health and now were going to just set him off to die on his own. When they could just keep the kid and move on from this freaken farm.

So the whole last episode was focused on Rick and Shane fighting over Lori and trying to ditch this kid. By the end of the episode we still have the kid….and is the fight over between Rick and Shane…probably not. Can’t wait for next week for part 2 of the episode where Rick and Shane will attempt to get rid of the kid again and try not to get themselves killed in the process. Then they will return to the farm with no plan. If this show was real, all of these people would be dead.

And yet I keep watching every week. Maybe there’s still hope.

Does coffee always smell better than it tastes?

So I’ve never been a coffee drinker.  Neither me nor Don has really ever been a coffee drinker.  The rest of my family-coffee drinkers. So every time my parents came up here my mom would always be like “you guys need a coffee maker”.  To me a coffee maker just seemed like a useless appliance for us that would just take up space.  For the pleasure of my mom we put “coffee maker” on our wedding registry.  Luckily, Don’s work got it for us.

Before I talk about this coffee maker, let me just explain a few things. First, I’ve never used one.  Second, not too long ago I was the type of person who went to starbucks and got nervous because I had no idea what to order.  But probably within the last year or two I’ve found a few favorites there: Caramel Macchiato, Cafe Mocha, or my favorite Peppermint Mocha.  So when I think of having coffee I want a good flavored coffee, so really not coffee at all. In fact I’d rather just have a Dr. Pepper but since we’ve been eating better this has not been in my diet every day.  And neither has starbucks…it’s just a treat every once in awhile.

So back to this coffee maker. I was very unsure about just buying regular flavored coffee so I bought a bag of some french caramel flavored coffee.  I can’t remember the brand.  The first time I made the coffee, it was a bit confusing for me. I had some issues with the instructions pertaining to the coffee filter.  Since the coffee maker has it’s own filter but it’s still recommended to use paper ones, it was confusing to me where to put the actual coffee grounds.  I know this probably sounds stupid, but if you’ve never used a coffee maker and you read these instructions you would see what I mean.  Believe me, I even showed my parents the instructions when I explained to them my difficulties.  They also said “okay maybe if you’ve never in your life made coffee this sounds confusing”.  Maybe they were just trying to make me feel better.

So the first couple pots of coffee had a few coffee grains in it.  Big deal okay, I’m new to this.  Every time I was using the coffee pot though I just felt uneasy about it.  I don’t know why.  Up until recently, probably since I stopped relying on Dr Pepper, I decided to give this coffee thing a real shot.  Especially since I read that black coffee is not bad for you, calorie wise.  One morning before work I made 4 cups of coffee and accidentally ended up drinking pretty much all of it.  It just went down so easy in the morning.  And I was getting used to the taste (not to mention it makes the apartment smell super good).  After having so much coffee I felt so energized.  It was crazy!  It made me want to experiment more with this coffee maker.

Now I’m not having 4 cups of coffee every day before work, don’t worry.  In fact, I try not to have it all.  I just don’t want to have to rely on something to make me feel good.  So I only have it if I feel I really need it.  But that’s besides the point, today we went to the grocery store and I told Don we need to buy more coffee.  I wanted to try different kinds.  We ended up buying 4 different kinds.  Mainly because the starbucks brand had a sale of buying 3 and get them for $6. We bought: Cafe Bustelo (because Don’s mom always used to make it), Starbucks Vanilla, Starbucks Caramel, and Starbucks Espresso Roast.

When we got home I decided to have a coffee tasting night.  So far we have tried the Vanilla and the Caramel.  Both are good.  I don’t really know if I notice a difference between the two.  I don’t think we will try the other 2 tonight.  So the coffee maker has went from a useless appliance to somewhat more of a friend.  Right now I’m kind of enjoying this new outlook on coffee.  I still think though, it smells better than it tastes.

The word of the day is… CRAZY.

So I decided to stop and eat at McDonald’s today on Clark Street…probably one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had at a Mcdonald’s so far. Picture a scene in a movie where it’s supposed to be just a regular event like a party, or a wedding, or an ordinary drive to work or something….but it’s just gone completely chaotic. But to make it seem more normal there’s calming classical music playing in the scene. There was actually classical music playing loudly at this Mcdonald’s…like really…when has that ever been happening?!

When I walked in it was like being in a nursing home…all these crazy old men sitting alone at tables saying random phrases and just sounding crazy. People just dropping stuff. There was a mentally disabled boy screaming “I want mustard, I want mustard…” and just screaming. One of the old men was saying “Someone needs to give that boy a whipping!” Over and over and over. Then another old man kept backing up his motorized wheelchair into people. It was literally a crazy house.

I was going to get my order to go, but after seeing so many crazy people in one building at once, I decided to sit and relax with my meal and take in the blaring classical music and the old man occasionally complaining about the boy that wouldn’t stop screaming. Entertainment.