A Leap in Speed

I just switched over to Time Warner 300/20.  It costs less than AT&T was charging me for 45.

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I’m hoping this will last me at least until Google fiber comes in.

Posted in Computers, Geek | 8 Comments

New Phone

I’ve had my Samsung S4 for 2 years now so I figured it was time for an upgrade.

I gave a fleeting thought to an iPhone but figured there’s really nothing that new about them that would drag me back to Apple.

I’ve been very happy with my Android so I decided to go with a Samsung S6.

It’s very similar to the S4 and the S5 that Betty got about a month ago with a few extra perks.

1)  It has an honest to goodness fingerprint reader.

2)  It has built in induction charging.

3)  It’s made out of metal and glass instead of plastic.

4)  It has a REALLY high resolution screen, much more than the iPhone 6.

5)  It’s got a REALLY good camera that takes low light photos very well and will take 4K video (although I don’t know what to watch it on other than the phone).

6)  It has an 8-core CPU vs the 2 core iPhone. (although the 2 core iPhone CPU is pretty good)

All of that plus I’m not shoehorned into the App Store and what Apple thinks I should use.

I’ve heard the new Samsungs are really locked down but I unrooted my S4 not long after I rooted it and never missed it.  I have a friend at work who says he could never be happy with not being able to change ROMS.  I guess if you live for doing that it’s understandable but if I want to geek out I have my computer.

I’ll play around with the new phone and report anything that’s super cool.

Posted in Camera/Photography, Computers, Cool Stuff | 9 Comments

Heading Back Down

We will be heading back down to Mexico on June 30th.  Since they need about 4 days to put in my permanent plate I figured I might as well take advantage of the extra US holiday that they don’t celebrate.

According to the email they sent me it takes 1 day to make the new plate then I have to go back for any adjustments the next 2 days.  It’s possible I will be done on the 3rd and if so we could come back then instead of waiting for the 4th.

We are also going to stay in a hotel on the US side this time.  It’s the Quechan Hotel and Casino right at the off ramp from I8.

Maybe I can win enough to pay for my implants!  Ha!  I’m a funny guy.  I’ll be lucky if I don’t lose much.  I do like the nickel slots though but I suspect they will be updated like the slots in Vegas where you don’t use money anymore.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Family, Life, Personal | 7 Comments

Net Neutrality

Is anyone else worried about the fact that the government that couldn’t make a website work now has complete control of the internet?

Just curious if it’s only me.

Posted in Computers, Geek | 4 Comments

Implants in Mexico

I’ve been wanting to get implants on my upper for about 6 years but with the cost of them in the US I couldn’t justify it.  I had actually had my middle four teeth on the upper pulled and a bone graft done about 6 years ago but when I was finally told the actual cost I decided to wait.

The cost in the US was going to be around $30,000 and that was for just 4 teeth (2 implants).

Earlier this year I realized since I was over 59 1/2 I could take some money from my 401K without a penalty so I started looking at dentists in Los Algodones, Mexico.  I heard about Los Algodones from Richard and I know Dale and Donna also got some work done there.

The dental group that seemed to be the largest with many good reviews was Sani Dental Group.  I got a quote from them and scheduled my first visit for December 27th-31st.

We arrived on the 26th and drove over the border without talking to anyone.  We went straight to the Hacienda Los Algodones which is a hotel owned by Sani.  It’s a very nice little hotel with decent sized rooms and very friendly employees.

The next day we went to Sani and they did a CT scan and a panoramic X-ray.  Then I met with a diagnostic specialist.  He said I needed an All on 4 (which is what I wanted anyways) and he suggested I get an implant on my lower back right molar (which had been extracted quite a few years ago).  I agree with them and we also planned to do a post and crown on one of my teeth I had done a root canal on a few months ago.

They said to come back on Monday so we spent Sunday checking out a few stores in town.  Every few feet someone comes up and tries to sell you something.  We weren’t buying.

Monday morning I went in and they numbed my right lower side so he could put in the singe implant.  That was completely painless so I was ready for the extractions.

He then numbed my upper right side and started pulling teeth.  I had 4 on that side with one a molar.  That wasn’t very pleasant and he had to keep adding Novocaine.  He finally had them all out and started doing the implants.  Again, the implants were not painful at all and he had the 2 in within 15 minutes or so.

Then he numbed my upper left and extracted the 2 teeth and then put in the other 2 implants.  As before there was no pain involved (of course my mouth was very numb).

Next came the part I did not like at all.  He said my bone was medium to soft and that he didn’t want to install the temporary plate that screwed on.  He wanted me to use a full denture for the next 6 months.  I told him I really didn’t want to do that as one of the reasons I went with the All on 4 was you get teeth screwed into the implants basically the same day.

He convinced me to try the denture but as soon as it was in I started gagging.  I told him there was no way I could put up with that for 6 months let alone 6 hours.

He said he would go ahead and install the temp plate like I wanted as long as I signed a paper absolving them of any damage caused by not waiting.  I went ahead and did that since I was not going to use the denture.

So later in the day we started doing the temp impression/plate.  To do that they put a plate in your mouth and start painting what I believe was acrylic material so that once they had it done they used it to make the temp.  That was probably the most uncomfortable procedure of the whole day.  It was in my mouth for close to a half hour and wasn’t doing my gag reflex any good.

On Tuesday I went back to have the new temporary screwed in.  It looks great and feels *okay*.  I suspect I’ll get used to it in time.  I do have to take it easy for the next 3 – 4 weeks and not eat anything hard.  I figure I can handle that.

To sum it up my experience was mostly good with the exception of the full denture.  I know I will be very happy once I get my permanent plate in about 4-6 months.

I should also mention that Betty got a post and crown while we were there.  The cost for both including a panoramic x-ray was only $300.

I would like to say something about the town but we really didn’t spend much time walking around.  On Monday we did go to a restaurant for lunch and then another one for dinner.  The one we went to dinner at was called Kashas and it had excellent food for decent prices.  When we first got there we noticed only one other couple.  While there a bunch more people came in and they were all locals.

If you walk around town be prepared to be semi-accosted by all kinds of people trying to sell you trinkets, artwork, and various other items.  Most of them would take NO but a few were very persistent.  One guy actually scared Betty with his aggressiveness.

I highly recommend going to Mexico if you need any dental work that would be expensive in the US.  You can save a lot over the cost in the US where it costs 300-400% higher.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Family, Personal | 11 Comments

Update to the Upgrades

In my last post I went over some of the upgrades we are doing to the house. I figured I should update everyone on how that is going.

We added a few things to the list. In addition to the AC, windows, insulation and solar panels we decided it was time to paint the outside since it hadn’t been painted since we moved in at the end of 1999.

The house was kind of yellow when we moved in but it wasn’t newly painted then. Every year I kept thinking we should look into painting and finally along with all the other stuff we decided to bite the bullet even though it wasn’t an energy upgrade.

We decided on a light gray with dark gray trim. I think it looks very nice now.

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We also decided it was time to remove the carpet that was used as a liter box by our old blind cat Jasmine during her last year or so of life. We knew there was a hardwood floor underneath but had no idea what shape it was in. As it turned out it was in great shape.

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We also replaced the dishwasher that we bought shortly after we got married in 1994. I would walk into the kitchen and see Betty or Michelle or Jen hand washing dishes and then putting them in the dishwasher. I couldn’t understand why you would even put them in the dishwasher if you had to wash them by hand anyway but apparently I don’t know much about such things. We replaced it with a Bosch unit that cleans the dirtiest dishes very well. It even has a water softener even though our water isn’t that hard.

We also figured if we were going to do the floors then we should pull off the old wallpaper and do some painting. When we pulled it off over by the shower in our master bath the wall was darkish. When we pulled up the carpet it was clear there had been some water damage. We called a plumber out and he opened the wall and found that our pipes had been leaking along with the shower pan. Because it was going to cost a lot to re-tile the shower I decided to rip it out and replace it with a fiberglass one that is more modern. The whole shower/leak thing wasn’t in our budget but it needed to be done so we did.

We also replaced the old couch we bought shortly after we got married with a sectional with recliners. That won’t show up until after the floor is done.

And finally I ordered a 70″ Sharp Q+ TV that is going to go over the fireplace. It will turn that room into a theater. I originally thought about getting a 4K TV but after talking to Ken H. about it he convinced me it would be better to get a little larger 1080p as the 4K technology is still in it’s infancy. There is also a limit as to how good something looks based on your distance from it and a 70″ 1080p will look about as good as a 60″ 4K from the distance we will be viewing.

The final thing we are probably going to do is a hot tub but that’s going to wait until we get the solar panels.

Lots of upgrades and now you are up to date.

Posted in Family | 7 Comments

Time for Some Upgrades

After spending the last 20 years in the San Fernando Valley with only portable air conditioners and paying outrageous prices for energy Betty and I decided it’s time to spend a little of that money we’ve been saving for so long.

We figured the main problem with the energy cost can be improved with a quadruple prong approach.

  1. Install central air conditioning.
  2. Install modern windows.
  3. Add insulation to attic
  4. Install solar panels.

We have #1 done and have #2 in the works.  We hired a window company and the measuring guy is here while I’m writing this.

#3 is going to be done tomorrow.  We are having cellulose blown in to bring it up to R-38.  I’m guessing right now it’s R-0.5 as the insulation in the attic is probably an inch thick.

#4 is going to be the long pole but should also be the biggest return.

I have asked Donna and Daryl both for as much information and feedback as they can give and it’s been very helpful.  Of course they both have solar systems on their houses.  Richard does too but his is a very different animal.

I’ve gotten multiple quotes and I’ve looked at both lease and purchase and I’m leaning more towards the purchase option.  Daryl purchased and Donna prepaid a lease.  Both have pluses and minuses but one of the things I’m trying to do is increase the value of my home.  Having a prepaid lease solar system does improve your value but not near as much of it is going to end up in your pocket if you sell.

One thing we learned yesterday and today is different companies will give you wildly different price quotes.  For instance the first company that quoted our windows said they could do them all plus 3 doors for a bit over $16,000.  That really seemed high to me.  I figured probably $10,000 but wasn’t sure.  While we were about to go with the high price I got a call from another guy who said he thought he could beat the price by $6,000.  We sent the first guy away and had the other guy come quote.  He did quote at a tad over $10,000.  While that guy was quoting Josh remembered there was a guy on his pool league who owned a window and door company so today he came out.  He is going to do everything for $9,000.  Moral of this story is never take the first quote unless you really know what it’s going to cost.  We might have paid a bit more than we needed on the A/C but I did research that beforehand and feel we got a pretty fair price.

On Friday the A/C was installed and they left around 8pm.  By 9pm Betty and I looked at each other and said we had never felt the house be more comfortable in the 14 1/2 years we’ve lived here.  Another plus is we don’t have that annoying window or portable air conditioner noise.  It’s just quiet and comfortable.  I wonder why we waited so long.

All of these projects also qualify for government and power company rebates.  The biggest one will be the federal rebate on the solar panels.  That’s currently at 30% so will be close to $10,000.  The power company rebate will be around $4,000 so it makes a big difference to the actual cost.  The other upgrades also qualify for rebates at different values.  Well, except for the A/C.  If we had gone with a 16 SEER unit we could have gotten $400 back but it would have cost $1100 for the upgrade.  The A/C guy said we wouldn’t really benefit from the extra SEER based on where we live so he suggested we not do it.

Along with all the upgrades we also plan to throw a bunch of junk away and generally clean.  Painting the exterior is probably in the future but we don’t have anything scheduled yet.

Lots of stuff going on in our house.

Posted in Family, Life, Personal | 8 Comments

Never Forget 9/11/2001

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Posted in Nothing | Comments Off on Never Forget 9/11/2001