Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razor Review

I had a GLORIOUS full mustache at 13 and I have been shaving my beard since I was 14. Yes, I was one of those kids.  I am a quarter Indian and I was given the gift of hair… the gift that just keeps growing. 

I swam competitively all through high school but only shaved my whole body once for a swim competition (swim meet). That was to “get the girl”. The girl in question was in a relationship and is now married and has mothered his children. Look at what you missed “Linda”! You missed all this manliness and hair! I digress.

Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razor Review

Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razor

A few nights back I was watching TV and an ad for Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razors came on. I was shocked because this razor was introduced in the late ‘90s. I have tried a bunch of different razors and electric shavers. I have gone cheap all the way to the most expensive 5 blade systems. I always return back to my Gillette Mach3 Turbo. My problem with electric shavers is my hair is so coarse and thick that is just doesn’t give a good shave. The 5 blade systems pack all those blades into almost the same size package as my 3 blades and the hair just clogs the blades before I finish the first stroke. Cheaper blades have dulled after the first shave so much, they cut me on the second shave.

Shaving

I have to shave my neck, chest, and back at least a few times a month to look presentable. I have to shave my face every day if I don’t want that stubble look.  My shower at home has a mirror I have mounted in the shower. I like easy.

I was talking with a friend of mine about a year or so back and we were talking about shaving and the topic of what brand of shave gel I use is and I told him since I shower shave I just use a bar of soap. There was a slight disbelief because of how close of shave I get. I told him to try it at home and from what I have heard that is all he uses now. I like to use the moisturizing bars because it helps keep my skin from drying out and it also keeps my face clean.

Final Thoughts

I wrote this review because of that commercial. I thought if they still stand behind this razor maybe it was worth talking about.

They make three different types (from left to right in the picture above) the Mach3, M3 Power and the Mach3 Turbo. All of the handles use the same style cartridges so if you have any of the three handles you can use any of the cartridge heads. The Gillette Mach3 products are still some of the more expensive razors on the market but for the shave I get I am okay with paying for it. I have yet to test an online shaving service so I do not know how they stand up against this razor.   

Comfortaire Company Review

I am a 189 pound 5’ 7” gym rat. I am not a 6’ 5” 325 pound offensive tackle for a professional football team. My bed however seems to think I am. Let me rewind and start from the beginning.

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The Prelude

Short cute story, I broke my back which ended with me in constant pain in my back. My relief normally comes from sleep, which I need from a bed that can cradle my body and keep me from rolling around at night.

The Bed

About 3 years ago I needed to replace my mattress and I found an ad online offering a Comfortaire Celesta dual chamber queen side airbed. My folks had bought a used Sleep Number Bed about 5 years prior. They loved it and have had no problems with it. I figured for the price, I would go and check out this bed.

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The lady I purchased the bed from was an older woman who had keep the bed in her spare bed room for guest. Since they were moving she did not want to take it with them and she wanted to sell it.

I looked over all the parts and found the bed was in perfect shape so I bought it and brought it home. A year and a half later I started noticing the foam between the pillow top and the air chambers had started to tear in the middle of the bed where I sleep. I let this go until last year when I started developing small air leaks on only one air chamber.

At this point I decided to call Comfortaire and see if they would help me.

Comfortaire and ‘Debbie’

Last year I called Comfortaire to ask two questions.

1. Will they warranty the foam pad or the air chambers even though I am not the original owner,

2. What is the air chamber made out of? (so I could patch the air chamber in the meantime)

The first young lady I spoke with was of no help. She did not know what the chambers where made out of. She told me that I should just use camping air mattress patching kits that use rubber cement. My second question had her even more baffled when I asked do they warranty either part.

I was frustrated at this point so I asked the customer support girl if she could transfer me to her manager. I normally do not like to call someone out in a review but for the sake of how horrible she was I am willing to put aside my rule.

I have to say at this point that while I will admit to being frustrated, I make it a point to never be rude or belligerent on the phone. No one deserves that, even if they are that way to me. I normally find that being polite and nice gets me what I need.

I spoke with Manager ‘Debbie’ about my dilemma about the foam tearing and to keep this review short I will just say she told me flat out that they do not warranty the foam on their bed because they know they will wear out and need to be replaced. (really? It is inside a zippered case covered by a pillowtop!)

Debbie is the type of customer service help you want to have helping the people you really hate. Debbie left a really bad taste in my mouth and is the whole reason I wanted to write this review. She was never really interested in helping me and at one point she told me to just throw away the bed and go and buy a new bed from a different company.

The Foam

Since Comfortaire was in no real mood to even discuss replacement of their foam I went and found a foam mattress topper at my local bulk item club and I replaced the foam. $75 for something that should be warrantied. Tsk tsk, shame on you Comfortaire.

The Leak

To date I have dealt with 7 cases of one air chamber leaking air through the night and giving me a bad night.

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My air chambers as I found out are not made of rubber or nylon or any of the normal patchable air mattress material. No, that would have been too easy. They made the air chambers out of urethane.

This means that rubber cement patching kits are worthless. You need to use superglue. The problem is that you cannot just put a few drops, you have to create a large patch using the glue, which takes hours to dry.

I have found I can use a rubber patching kit if I superglue the rubber patch to the air chamber.

I have also learned that getting into and out of bed is how the leaks have started. These air chambers are extremely thin, and I can only guess that I am rubbing the top to the bottom getting in. Also, anytime someone sits on the bed while someone else is laying in the bed, a new leak starts to form. The longer two people are on the bed, the bigger the leak gets. (Remember, this is a QUEEN BED!)

How to find leaks

Do you have an air mattress that you think is leaking but you do not know where?

I use an old spray bottle filled with a little drop of soap and then fill the bottle with water and then I spray the whole mattress while it is inflating and you can see the soap bubbles start to appear.

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Conclusion

If you are in the market for a new mattress I can only share my experience with you and say that if I had known what I know now I would have spent a little more money and gone with the Sleep Number Bed.

Comfortaire was rude and not caring at all when I tried to get help and no one deserves to deal with that.

Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey Review and Recipe

I have been fall down drunk twice in my life. I have been over the legal limit drunk but I have never lost my ability to make wise decisions (that I am aware of). When it comes to going to the bar on a weekend with friends or coworkers I am normally the designated driver. Not because I don’t enjoy drinking, but because I like falling asleep in a comfortable bed and not in a jail cell.

My dog decided to go for an adventure when I was 15. I was lucky and a policeman picked us up and drove us home with  my dog in my arms. That was my first and only time I have been driven in the back of a cop car. I swore never again.

I share these stories with you because I feel like my readers should know what kind of drinker I am. When you read more than one review on alcohol on my website you will understand that I drink because I enjoy the taste. I am not drinking to just drink.

BirdDogBlackberryWhiskeyReview

While I will be the first to admit I am not a connoisseur of any type of alcohol. I am a simple gentleman who likes to taste his drinks and not get completely wasted. I drink more at my house than I do at a bar because I like to know what I am drinking and I like to know that I am not going to pay $14 for a $1.50 worth of whiskey sour.

The Backstory

I was spending a day with my mother shopping (I don’t have a Sam’s Club membership so I use hers and it gives us a chance to spend some time together). On the way back to the house I wanted to stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey for dinner and she wanted to looks for a moonshine that a friend had turned her and my father on to.

I didn’t normally don’t spend time shopping for different brands of any kind of alcohol because I never really thought about it. I am simple I know that I like this brand and this price so I do the straight line for my bottle and the register and then I am out.

Since my mother was with me, we did a little browsing and came across Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. My mother saw blackberry and she was like YES! we need to try this. The whiskey was $15 for 750ml bottle which seems like a fair price for flavored whiskey in Texas.

The Taste

We brought it back to my parents’ house and we opened the bottle and the aroma was wonderful! I stuck the bottle in the freezer for an hour to chill it down and then we tasted the Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. This whiskey is smooth. It has all the tastes of whiskey when you first taste it and it finishes with a sweet taste of blackberry.

*Side note: when tasting alcohol I was taught to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. the reason for this is that if you breathe in through your mouth you vaporize the alcohol which makes it evaporate and cause the burning feeling in your mouth.

The Recipe

The Atticus James Whiskey Sour

AtticusJamesBlackberryWhiskeySour

Ingredients
2 ounces Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey
3-4 ounces Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix
Ice to fill glass
Directions
Combine the Bird Dog BlackBerry Whiskey and Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix in a large old-fashioned glass with ice. Stir, and serve.

This makes a great refreshing summer drink.

Overall Thoughts

After buying Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey I am excited to try their other flavors. They have made a whiskey that is not only tastes good just on the rocks but also makes for some mean whiskey cocktails.

Bird Dog Whiskeys are reasonably priced and doesn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth

Fajita Recipe

I love to cook. I have always loved preparing meals for myself and my family. Growing up in the BSA I was taught how to create menus, purchase the correct amount of food for a group of upwards of 12 people for a weekend and do it on a budget. For half of my teens, I was the troops cooking instructor which meant I taught the rest of the boy scouts in my troop how to do the same.

My specialty was single Dutch oven meals over coals.   I have friends from my adult life who have been begging for me to take them camping just so they can see if I am as good a camp cook as I am in a fully stocked kitchen. (I give my best friend a pan of homemade lasagna for his birthday and Christmas every year because that is what he asks for)

My review

I use two products on all my grilled beef.

Adolph’s (no MSG) Tenderizer (unseasoned)

and

Fiesta brand Fajita Seasoning

 

I have been using these two on all my steaks for as long as I can remember. If you cannot find these in your local grocer you can pick it up on Amazon (I will link the pictures below to the link online. I am an affiliate and do receive a small compensation if you purchase products after clicking.  Thank you.)

These two together are a simple and tasty prep for your steaks.

The Recipe

Note* While I am prepping beef fajitas in these pictures, the only change when making just steak is the cut of meat. I do this to any cut of meat to insure I get the most tender steak I can. I can prep and grill a cheap cut of steak and a more expensive cut and they will both be tender with my method.

We want the grill to reach 400-500°F max. Depending on the type of grill you have, you will want to start your grill with the appropriate amount of time needed to reach that temp, before you start grilling. I use a gas grill so that is a few minutes, if you use charcoal, you will know the time needed.

AtticusJames.com type of meat to buy

For Fajitas I use skirt steak. When prepping your skirt steak you want to remove as much silver skin and fat without cutting into the steak as possible.

AtticusJames.com cutting of the silver

You want to be able to see as much red meat as possible because the tenderizer does not do a good job of penetrating the fat and silver skin.

AtticusJames.com start to tenderize

Once your meat is prepared you are ready to start tenderizing with the Adolph’s Tenderizer.

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There is no need to be stingy with the tenderizer; but don’t go overboard

AtticusJames.com tenderize both sides

After covering both sides with Adolph’s tenderizer, you will want to have the steak on a tray so when the juices start flowing you do not have a big mess.

AtticusJames.com Times fajitas tenderizer 30 min.

Start a timer for 30 minutes and leave the steaks alone (there is no reason to flip the steaks).

AtticusJames.com Fajita Recipe

After 30 minutes you will see the steak is juicy. No water has been added.

Wash the steaks under cold water until the tenderizer is washed off.

AtticusJames.com Fajita recipe with tenderizer

Reapply tenderizer and leave the steaks with the opposite side facing up

AtticusJames.com Fajita steak recipe

Set timer for 15 minutes and leave the steaks alone.

AtticusJames.com another 15 minutes for tenderizing

After the 15 minutes are over you can see the fibers holding the steak together are starting to release.

AtticusJames.com wash off tenderizer

Wash the steaks and tray off until the tenderizer is gone.

AtticusJames.com start the grill for fajitas.

Now it is time to start your grill

(We want the grill to reach 400-500°F  max so start your grill with the appropriate amount of time needed to reach that temp before you start grilling).

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Now it is time to season with the Fiesta Fajita Seasoning.

AtticusJames.com seasoning for fajitas.

Beef and other red meats have more natural flavor than chicken so season to how you like your fajitas.

AtticusJames.com grill temp for fajitas

Time to start grilling.

AtticusJames.com cooking fajitas 2 minutes

I set a timer for 2 minutes and let the steaks cook on each side for 2 minutes before flipping.

AtticusJames.com fajitas melting on the grill

You can see the steak is wanting to just melt

Atticus James fajitas recipe

AtticusJames.com temping your fajitas

Temp your steaks to make sure they reach a minimal internal temp of 145°F degrees

Atticus James Fajitas

When cutting your steaks you want to go against the grain of the meat. This way of cutting makes the steak easier to chew and makes it melt in your mouth.

AtticusJames.com cutting fajitas against the grain

Atticus James Fajita Recipe

Dinner is Ready!

Work Sharp Blade Grinder and Tool Grinding Attachments for the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

At the end of 2014 I reviewed the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener. The company was very nice and shipped me out the Blade Grinder and Tool Grinding Attachments to test shortly after that. I wanted to wanted until after winter and into spring so I would be able to get a good use out of the tool grinder so I would have a enough time behind the sharpener to write a fair review.

The Tool Grinder/Sharpener

The tool grinder is designed for exactly what it sounds like. To grind tools and sharpen the cutting edge. I use three tools for all of my outdoor cutting yard work. a chainsaw, pruners and loppers. I don’t care much for use of an axe or hand saw unless I am just wanting to get some exercise in because the chainsaw makes quick work of any large projects. for my pruners and loppers however I dull them pretty fast. In my workshop I have a vise that I can secure either in and in just a few short passes I can be back to work with sharp tools.

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This tool grinder attachment was the easiest of the kit I own (tool grinder, blade grinder and the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener) to get the edge I wanted since you are not looking for a razor edge on your gardening tools.

Growing up in the BSA we were always doing conservation projects that required us to fell trees. I would always have to spend 30 minutes getting my two axes ready for work before we starting felling trees. I wish I had this sharpener back then so I could always have the best axe heads. Before I would have to sit with the metal file and work on the edge and this would have made quick work of that. 

The Blade Grinder

I have not really liked this for sharping my knives. While out at a show in Vegas I saw Benchmade using the Blade Grinding Attachment with razor precision.  I have found I am better at getting a good blade with just the base Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener than I am with the blade grinder. I know that you can get a better edge on the grinder but I haven’t been able to achieve it yet.

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The Box

Work Sharp as far as I have seen only sells a “gear bag” for storing your sharpener and attachments. I do not like soft bags to store my tools in because I  prefer to be able to stack boxes on my shelves in the workshop. While over at my local home improvement store I found a Husky 16-Inch Rugged Hand Tool Box with Metal Latch. the box measurements of 8.8” W x 15.4” L x 8.2” in height. This box is perfect! It cost $15 online but $10 in the store.

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Overall thoughts

The  Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener is a great tool to have at your disposal for keeping your everyday knives at the sharpest they can be. If you are someone who does your own yard work and the tool grinder is invaluable. You always run a higher risk of hurting yourself or others when working with dull blades and edges on tools.

The blade grinder is something I am hoping to master in the next few times but until then I always have the main Ken Onion Edition sharpener.

(Attachments sold separately! Requires Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener WSKTS-KO)

A Gentlemen’s review of Apple’s iPods, iPhones and Mac computers

Apple logo

Intro into Apple

Growing up I living in a PC household. I remember my first PC was my folks old Windows 95 when they got their new Windows 98. I did my homework on that computer and I loved it. I had all kinds of cool games and I grew up thinking PC was where it was at. In my teens I bought my first apple product after my Microsoft Zune bit the dust 2 weeks after purchase. I am happy to say I have only purchased 2 iPods and both are still running.

My life before the iPhone

In the spring of 2010 I bought my first smart phone, the Apple iPhone 3GS. I tend to spend upwards of a few months weighing the pros and cons of spending any large chunk of change. In January 2010 my contract was up and I wasn’t sure if I really needed the iPhone or if it was just a toy. I spent a week visiting my Grandfather who is an Apple nut like myself. I read every article I could find in his stacks of Macworld magazines.

At that time I was using my folks laptop to check emails on my trip, which would have been easier had I owned a smart phone. I even got to play around with my great uncles iPhone while he was visiting. This was when I got the green light in my head to go out and buy one.

Apple Care and other protections

When I buy an iPhone I get the $99 Apple Care plan and then I immediately head over to my local electronics store and buy a Zagg screen cover.   What is the point of spending that much on a device you carry everywhere if you have no plans on protecting it?

To this day I can tell you I have had my 3GS replaced twice and my 4S replaced 3 times (my 6 is less than a month old). I live about 10 minutes from an apple store which makes it quick and easy to get a phone fixed or to just go and check out the latest products.

My father who is the only android user in the family had a problem with his S4. It took about 2 weeks for it to get replaced by mail and cost him more on top of the protection plan he had with his carrier.

While upgrading to the iPhone 6 at my bulk foods club the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted the protection plan they offered. He tried to tell me how it was better so I started asking him questions from past complications I have experienced with my phone. I asked how long it would take to get a new phone or if they would even warranty it. After 10 minutes he looked at me and told me that he has to try to sell their protection plan. I know from experience the Apple care is better protection for me.

My Home Office Set Up

Screens from left to right

Envision Professional series 19” LCD (Windows)
iMac 27” (2014) with 16GB RAM and 1TB Fusion HHD/SSD, 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz Intel Nvidia GeForce GT 755m 1GB GDDR5
Dell 17” LCD (Windows)
Hisense 50″ K610 Series Smart TV (connected to the PC and Mac for screen sharing as well as cable)

On the Desk

UBL iPod dock
Seagate 2TB External HHD (Windows)
Seagate 2TB External HHD (Mac)
Sony STR-DH130 2-Channel Hi-Fi Receiver (TV, Mac, PC, UBL)

Windows

Acer Aspire X3400 8GB RAM and 2TB internal HHD
Windows 7 Home Premium

PC MAC PC

As you might have figured it can be confusing at times which mouse or keyboard you need for the project you are working on or trying to get the PC mouse to drag something from the iMac on to the PC. I have found that after a few months with the split of the Windows monitors that my brain didn’t really see the iMac in the middle as part of the mouse movement anymore.

Why iMac?

This is the second iMac I have owned (the first being a Mid 2007 24” iMac w/ Yosemite, 4GB RAM and 500GB HHD). I received the first one as a gift from my grandfather in 2013 when I was starting my process of looking at Macs. This was a great way to get into the Mac world and see what I was missing, without having to drop $1800 on a new iMac.

I have been working on videos for my other company and I needed a better way of making quality videos than my old windows movie maker. When working with any amount of footage the more CPU speed and ram and hard drive space the better.

I am able to produce better quality videos in a shorter and less frustrating amount of time using the the Mac and the PC side by side. I like to think of my Mac as my creative computer and my PC as my work computer.  This is not to say Mac is not great for work. However, I spend most of my time writing blog post on my Windows Live Writer to upload to my websites. I use my Mac for the “pretty stuff”. I have CS5 Photoshop and a number of other programs that help me edit video and pictures with ease. I have the more boring Word docs on my PC.

Are Apple Products Worth the Cost?

I get asked that question a lot since I use them. I will share with you what I tell most people.

For me? YES! I love that I can backup my phone and know that if I drop my phone and it breaks that I haven’t lost everything. I love the fact that I can get a replacement for my product if it is broken that day and all it takes is an appointment to the local Apple store.

I love that if I am having problems with any of my devices, Apple Care or not, I can get help 24/7. But the biggest reason I think they are worth the money is that they are like a car, if you take care of them they will last you a good long time.   Out of the box, they are simple and I like the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it simple, stupid).

Final Thoughts

I am an Apple user and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hisense 50" K610 Series Smart TV Review

Hisense 50 K610 Series Smart TV Review

Introduction

I found this 50” Hisense Smart TV in a black Friday ad in 2013. I had been looking at a new TV for a few months before buying this one as my old CRT had started to die. I am the kind of guy who loves new tech but if I don’t need to replace something I do my best not to and save a few dollars.

The TV is for my home office where I spend most of my time. so I typically watch TV there. I have a nice size office but the layout of the room does not leave many choices for viewable wall space from the desk. While researching TVs I looked at everything from a 32” up 55”. I decided I wanted something larger and could fit this 50″ Hisense in the open wall space.

Specs & Features

Hisense 50K610GW Series Smart TV

Diagonal Screen Size: 50 inches
Type: LCD, LED
Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 120Hz
Native Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
HDMI Ports: 4
Video Interfaces: Component, Composite, HDMI, USB, VGA
Networking Options: Ethernet, Wi-Fi
3D: No
Web Streaming Services: Yes
Height: 25.9 inches
Width: 44 inches
Depth: 2.3 inches
Weight: 55 lbs
Average Contrast Ratio: 6359:1
Average Black Level: 0.0603 cd/m^2
Peak Brightness: 383.46 cd/m^2
Average Power Consumption: 105 watts

Price

The MSRP is $628.00 but I picked this up for $350 during the holidays.

Web Apps

I run more than one computer on my desk and I normally have either music or a YouTube video playing in the background as I work. When I am rendering or gaming my computers are not able to keep up with another video playing on my screen so I switch over to the YouTube app on my TV and I am able to watch full HD videos.

When I do some video editing for my other work I like to be able to check the quality of the video on different size screens and see how the video came out.

Video Interfaces

Since my computers are set up to run multiple screens, I have a VGA cable that is connected to both the TV and the computer. This allows me to view the projects I am working on with a large screen.

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Overall Thoughts

While 4K and 5K TVs are the big thing right now I don’t have a need to see every pore on my new anchors face. This 50” Hisense Smart TV is the perfect size for my needs. I like the fact that I am able to use hulu, youtube, netflix, and all the other apps on this TV. I mainly just use it for my normal cable viewing. The TV is slow to respond at times but overall I like the TV and I would say if you are in the market for a new 50” this is worth looking into.