Jul 9, 2018

Too Many Zooz - "Bedford"

One of the best videos I've seen in 2018.  So many things run through my mind when I watch this video like..  Is this what it's like to like to ride New York Subways?  How does that guy get those sounds to come out of that Baritone Sax?  Were these guys band geeks that broke the mold and took their craft to epic proportions?  How the hell does that trumpet player do that?  Enjoy..

Jun 26, 2018

Family and PARTY sized OREO packages

OREOs fascinate me.  I mean.. how could they not?  What's almost equally as fascinating, is the phenomenon of the perpetual shrinking OREO package. Many others think so as well, because my old blog post on this very subject, garnered about 10,000 views this month alone.

Never one to shy away from a walk down memory lane, or to talk about comfort food, I thought it was time to revisit the topic.  Let's begin with classic packaging that we used to get back in the 70s and 80s..

  OREO Package of my youth 
(contained 54 cookies)

On the rare occasion that we would have these in the house as a kid, I remember them lasting all week.  Why is it, that in 2018.. my family kills a package in one day?  Oh yeah.. the new packages can almost fit in the palm of my hand.

But.. they do have larger packs available now.  Albeit with a heftier price tag.  I used to go with the family size which still wasn't as big as the 80s packaging, but have now started buying the PARTY SIZE!

33% more cookies than Family Size you say?
Now we're in business.

Side by side comparison
Wimpy.. FAMILY.. and PARTY size packages.

I absolutely love the behemoth Party size package.  With 52 OREOs in the Party size pack, it's almost as big as the original.  At a price point of about $4.50, it's also a pretty fair value in my opinion.  

The only thing left I have to be disappointed about, is the amount of cream that are between the cookies.  Now you have to buy 'MEGA STUF' OREOs to get as much cream that used to be in 'DOUBLE STUF OREOs', and don't even get me started on the quantity of cream in a regular sized OREO!  So in the end, we've taken one step forward.. and one step back.

The cream filling controversy is a discussion for another day, but maybe I should just move on and enjoy the larger packs they are selling now. However.. I just know the whole cream thing is going to keep bugging me.  Don't be surprised if you see a 'Where's the Cream Filling?' post soon.

Jun 23, 2018

Rosie's Fried Green Tomato Sammich at DIsney's Hollywood Studios

Nestled in the back of Sunset Ranch Market on Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios, sits Rosie's All American Cafe.  I got off of work early the other afternoon, and decided to hit the park to do some shopping.

I had skipped lunch and was quickly on the verge of getting "Hangry", so I made myself stop to get some fuel.  Having wanted to try Rosie's Fried Green Tomato Sandwich for quite some time, I ordered one up.  At $9.99, it definitely did not break the bank, and was served with a heaping helping of hot fries.

This beauty sported Fried Green Tomatoes topped with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing, Pepper Jack, Red Tomatoes with Arugula on Ciabatta Bread.  It really did look and taste like something you would get in a nice sit down restaurant.

The sandwich was indeed as good as it looks.  Freshly made, the fried green tomatoes were piping hot, and the arugula and red tomato cold and crisp.  The only fault I could find with this sandwich, was with the jalapeno ranch.  Mind you.. the sauce was great, but I feel the sandwich just needed more of it.  The Ciabatta bread was nice and dense, so that combined with the breading of the fried green tomatoes, made for a bit more dryness that I normally don't like in a sandwich. 

But fear not! This problem can be simply remedied with your choice of spreads from the condiment bar nearby.  The condiment bar offers several options, so adding some mayo or hot sauce is a nice touch you can pull off yourself.  I opted to mix these two with just a wee bit of ketchup, concocting a spicy spread which nicely complimented the sandwich.  Of course.. you could ask for extra jalapeno ranch, which is what I might do next time.

So in closing, Rosie's Fried Green Tomato Sandwich is a tasty, affordable and super filling sandwich that will calm any "Hangry" beast very quickly.  I myself am a huge fan, and can't wait to enjoy another one very soon.

Jun 22, 2018

Successfully Relocating Across the Country

Followers of this blog may have noticed a lack of activity here during this last year.  There was a big reason for that, being.. relocating to Florida from Colorado.  At one point I almost started up a weekly blog about the whole process, but restrained for one main reason.  I didn't want the newness and excitement of the move to sway my thoughts.

I wanted to be as realistic and truthful as I possibly could about what it was like to move my family and everything I owned across the country.  Giving myself some time to settle into my new life, has given me good perspective and insight, and I feel it could help others that want to take the plunge and relocate to Florida, or cross country for that matter.

My bride and I have known for close to thirty years that we wanted to end up in Florida.  Why did we wait for so long?  We had three very good reasons.. our kids.  It just never seemed like there was an appropriate time to pull them out of their schools and make them start over somewhere else.  This happened to both my wife and I as young children, so we both know how that can adversely affect you as a child.  Needless to say, we had tons of time to research central Florida and plan out our move, which we got real resilient with during the last two years.

Plan, plan, and plan some more
The best piece of advice I feel I can give anyone in regards to making a move like this one, is to perform your due diligence with planning and research.  My last two years consisted of visiting central Florida on multiple occasions to research areas to live, and to get a feel for the local culture, the job market, schools, cost of living, quality of life, etc.

Even if you can't travel and visit the area as much as you'd like, the internet is an incredible resource if used right, to learn about all of these things.  I gained some great information on message boards and blogs, from local folks who were more than happy to help others who were thinking of relocating.  I must admit however, there is no substitute for getting your feet on the ground and really getting a feel for where you want to move.  Many areas that we were convinced we would love to live, turned out to be places we ended up scratching off of our list once we got the feel for said areas.

We have friends that live in central Florida who we came to visit on multiple occasions over the last two years.  Our friends proved to be an invaluable source of information for us.  Just look at some of the things we learned about from friends..

  • Local under performing schools
  • Undesirable areas of town
  • Cost of utilities
  • Cost of vehicle registration and driver licenses
  • Cost of living
  • Roads and Highways to avoid
  • Hot job markets and local pay scales
  • Public services
  • Florida house maintenance 101 (it's way different than Colorado)
  • Incredible value at local grocery stores

One of the biggest shocks I experienced during my research, was the local hourly pay rates.  My wages now, are actually half of what I was making in Colorado.  However, the cost of living in many ways is more affordable than Colorado.  Our electricity bill is double what we paid in Colorado, but my water, sewer, trash, cable, and internet are all lower.  Plus, I no longer have a natural gas bill.  Oh yeah, and there is NO state income tax in Florida!

All in all, I would say that I pay less in utilities here in Florida.  I make a lot less in wages, but I already knew this was going to be the case.  This being said, I made appropriate adjustments in my life so I could still live the same quality of life I lived in Colorado, in fact.. it's now a lot better.

Log what you learn
What personally helped me, was keeping a journal and spread sheets that documented new information I acquired about central Florida. I logged side by side comparisons of living expenses, deposit costs for utilities, the cost of auto and driver licensing, insurance rates, moving truck rates, road trip planning, and basically anything and everything that had to do with the relocation.

Nothing should be overlooked, and no detail is too small.  I'm the kind of person who doesn't like surprises, and I very much believe knowledge is power.  My sometimes obsessive method of gathering and reviewing information, helped us immensely in our move.  I had two years to fully plan my family's move, so I was able to take practically everything into account.  While you can't control everything in life, planning greatly improves your chances for success.  We hit a couple of bumps along the way while moving, but I was in a good state of mind, and aptly prepared to handle them.

Finally, and maybe the most important thing of all, is to give yourself some kind of a safety net.  If you have a good idea what your move is going to cost, increase that number as much as you possibly can.  I can almost guarantee that your expenses will surely exceed any number you've come up with, so give yourself a cushion.  This is not the type of move you want to make if you are tight on expenses, up to your eyeballs in debt, or living paycheck to paycheck.

Planning and preparation are definitely the key to successfully pulling off a relocation such as this.  It took awhile, but I'm finally settling into my new life.  This means I'm able to start buying out time once again for hobbies.. one of them being this very blog.  I look forward to getting back into the swing of things, and sharing all new Retro rants, musings, and adventures with you all.

My new SANDLOT Kitsch Shirt from RSVLTS

One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1993 coming of age flick.. 'The Sandlot'.  While it was set place in an era roughly fifteen years or so before I was a pre-teen, the movie resonated with me and reminded me of the simpler days when I was a child growing up in the 70s and 80s.

While the story was full of unique characters like 'Benny the Jet Rodriguez', 'Squints', and 'Smalls', my favorite character was Hamilton Porter aka 'The Great Hambino'.  Imagine my surprise when I learned of a great shirt design featuring his likeness!  Behold..

Yes.. in a world of Benny the Jet Rodriguez's, I'm a Hamilton Porter..
and I'm perfectly fine with that.

I absolutely love this shirt, and get compliments on it everywhere I go.  I am now a Superfan of RSVLTS, and am ordering more of their great shirts soon. I'll share my future purchases here.  

If you happen to be in the market for some unique and kitschy Dad shirts, visit the link below..

Jun 21, 2018

Remember when McDonalds used to sell Milkshakes?

Retro Dads tend to rant. It's what we do. You know what I mean..

"Turn off that light".. 
"Turn that heater down"..
"Get off my lawn!"

Get the point?  Well today I have a 'Dad Rant' that involves fast food giant McDonald's.
I must admit, there's not much these days that I eat from the McDonald's menu.  However, there are a few items that spark up nostalgia, that I still consume from time to time. One of them being their Milkshakes.

I say this, but in all actuality it's been well over a year since I've been able to even purchase a McDonald's Shake. And it's not from a lack of trying mind you. I think I'm on a current stretch of 13 visits now where I have been denied a McDonald's milkshake.

It really is the damnedest thing.  Upon ordering my shake, the person taking my order always responds in the following manner..

A) "The machine is being cleaned"
B) "The machine is broken" 
C) "We're out of Shake mix"

Now it's not my place to tell McDonald's how to run their business, but I have some experience in the food industry and have a suggestion for them.  How about trying to clean the machine before or after business hours?  Here's a novel idea.. how about maybe trying to get corporate to fix your broken machine?  Also.. having an adequate stock of shake mix on hand might be a good idea.

Not that I, or anyone else for that matter really believes that the machine is always broken or needs cleaning. I really don't know what the heck the reason is, but why is the problem existent throughout the entire company.. across different stores.. and in multiple States?  I don't know, is it a conspiracy? Some kind of cruel joke? I know I'm not the only one that experiences this. In fact.. When I say anything about it on social media, friends, family, and acquaintances come out of the woodwork saying they have the exact same problem!

The only way I may ever obtain a McDonald's Milkshake again.

So many times I just wanted a simple cheeseburger and a strawberry shake and couldn't satisfy my craving over this last year.  Not to mention the seasonal shakes I actually went out of my way to purchase. I tried to order McDonald's eggnog milkshake three times last winter to no avail.  Same story with the Shamrock Shake which I wasn't able to purchase twice this spring.  Anyway, I have all but given up on ever getting a milkshake from McDonald's again. It's just a waste of my time and frustrates me to no end, so I guess I need to find somewhere else to satisfy my cravings.

I actually went to a D-Luxe Burger not too long ago at Disney Springs and ordered a hamburger and a strawberry milkshake.  Subconsciously, well.. maybe not so subconsciously, I was actually expecting to hear that their shake machine was down.  I actually paused a moment when I didn't get denied, because I was so shocked that I was actually going to be able to order a shake!  Yep.. D-Luxe Burger apparently cleans their shake machine prior to opening, keeps it maintained and in working order, and makes their shakes fresh (No mix needed).  By far.. the shake was one of the best I've had in recent years.

Then I got cocky.  A week later I went to Ghiradelli Soda Fountain also located in Disney Springs and ordered a Strawberry Milkshake. They too had no problems taking my order!  I watched anxiously as they hand scooped strawberry ice cream into a mixer and hand spun my shake made to order.  What a concept, getting a shake any time you want.  I could actually get used to this!  But.. you can't always buy out of the time to visit a sit-down restaurant for a burger and a shake, not to mention the hit to the pocketbook. That's why the novel idea of being able to get a milkshake from a fast food drive up is so appealing.

Well folks, that's the end of my mini rant, I feel a little bit better, but I'll be damned if I'm not craving a shake now!  If there are any App developers out there looking for the next big app idea.. designing an app that notifies you of the closest McDonald's with a functioning shake machine might be a big hit.  Heck.. you'd definitely get my dollar!

Jun 17, 2018

1970s CHIMO 10 speed retro bike rebuild

Florida quite simply, is not the bicycling state that Colorado is.  In fact, we ranked #2 this year for most pedestrian and bicyclist deaths!  Needless to say, the biking culture here leaves something to be desired.  That being said, I feel bad that since I relocated here about a year ago from Colorado, I have not been very active in the hobby.  Thinking about the following retro bike rebuild however, makes me want to roll up my sleeves, start another project, and seek out new trails to explore.

During a home brewing session at my friend Mark's house a few summers ago, I noticed an old bike sitting under his deck, upside down, and covered in mud.  I inquired about the bike, and he explained that it was bought by his father in the mid 70s, who absolutely rode the heck out of it.  When Mark moved from Colorado to Arizona in the 90s as a young man, his dad handed the bike down to him, and Mark too put an incredible amount of miles on the bike on the streets of Phoenix.

The bike I'm referring to is pictured below.  It is a mid 70s 'Chimo Special' made by Hong Kong Bicycle (HKB) which is still in business to this very day.

Mark expressed that this bike had sat under his deck for over the last two decades.  He had always wanted to get the bike back into shape and give it back to his old man, but didn't know where to start, nor how to do it.  I immediately told him I'd be glad to tackle the restoration, and put a couple of my own bike projects on the back burner for my buddy.

So without further ado.. here are a slew of pictures, showing exactly what I had to work with, and the majority of steps that it took to get her back into shape.  Be forewarned that there are a ton of pictures accompanying this post.  Enjoy..

The first step of business was to knock the 20+ years of dirt off of it.

Mark was adamant that he wanted the decals on the bike preserved, so it would resemble its former self.  It was great luck that the HKB badge sticker on the head tube was in tact, but the "CHIMO" decals on the seat tube would have to be totally redone.

The chain was quite rusty and unbend-able.  I had a bit of struggle actually getting it off of the bike, but finally got it removed after about 5 minutes.  It's deplorable state scored it a two week long bath in rust remover and lubricant, followed by a good scrubbing with a wire brush.

There were some serious miles put on this bicycle, and no grease at all was left on the bearings.  Any grease remnants were caked onto the bearings and bearing cups.. baked with heat and friction into a hard crust.  Miraculously.. the crank, headset, and wheel bearings were all sound and totally reusable after cleaning and repacking.

 Shine baby shine!

When I delivered this bike to Mark, he asked how I got the steel to shine once again.  That question is easily answered in two parts..  patience, and a crap ton of steel wool.  I polished and scrubbed until it felt as if my fingers were going to fall off.  I believe you will see however, that the end results were worth it..





I was able to save the pedals that were original to this bike.  After an oiling and cleaning, they were both good to go, and will last for years to come.

The front and rear Shimano derailleurs were totally shot, so I dug up a set of Falcon derailleurs from the same decade to swap them out with.  After a thorough cleaning, oiling, and polishing, they looked good as new, and worked perfectly.

Amazing what some steel wool and elbow grease can do!

 New gum-wall tires can really pull the look of a bike together, and give it a nice 70s vibe

 All tore down and ready for repaint prep

This is what she looked like after a few coats of new paint.  The head tube badge was in pretty good shape, so I simply taped it off before painting.

I re-lettered the down tube with the 'Chimo' name using some vinyl lettering, and wrapped the tube with some auto pin striping.  It wasn't an exact match of the font type, so I cut and trimmed the letters a bit to help it better resemble the original lettering.  Not an exact match mind you, but close enough to make the bike easily identifiable as an HKB Chimo.  Several layers of clear coat shot over the lettering will assure it stands up for quite some time. 

 The finished product..

As I stood back to take a gander at the rebuilt Chimo, I was quite impressed with the overall engineering of this bike.  It has a sharp looking lugged steel frame that is surprisingly light.  The seat tube and head tube have fairly steep angles of around 70 degrees (give or take a few degrees).  

This bike was made when lots of road racing bikes were hitting the market, which might explain why the bottom bracket that houses the cranks is a full 13 inches off of the ground.  A bottom bracket that sits this high, allows you to lean the bike down around corners at an incredibly steep angle even while pedaling.  I'm not so sure I've ever owned or even seen a bike with a bottom bracket this high off of the ground.  It's really very impressive (to me anyway).  


Mark ended up giving this bike back to his father as a birthday present, and I happened to be there when he presented the gift.  His old man was ecstatic, and had no clue that the bike even still existed.  Instantly, memories of past rides on his bike started flooding back to him.  He couldn't believe he was once again reunited with his old bike, that had brought him so much joy and adventure over the years.  I could relate to exactly how he was feeling, which made being part of this whole experience more than worthwhile.

I was amazed at how great this bike held up over the years.  The majority of parts on this bike are original, and needed nothing more than cleaning, resurfacing, and lubrication.  Below is a list of every item I had to replace..

Two new tires and inner tubes
era specific bicycle seat
era specific kickstand
era specific frame cable clamps
brake and derailleur cables
front and rear derailleurs
Shimano gear shift lever set
handlebar tape
a few assorted nuts and bolts

Many folks see bikes in this type of condition and write them off as trash or scrap, but I'm the complete opposite.  I always see them as a blank canvas, or as bikes that simply need a little.. or a lot of TLC.

There's definitely a sense of relief, pride, and satisfaction that floods over me after a bike build is complete, and it's always a bit sad to me when a project is finished.  That rebuild will by no means be my last rodeo, and I'm sure it won't be long until I share results from my next retro project here on this site.