During a break in my youngest son’s water polo tournament last Saturday, I took a quick walk down to San Juan Creek in San Juan Capistrano…
This wasn’t down by the creek, but very close…
I have too many cable TV channels. I never thought I would say that, but with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, we don’t watch as much cable TV.
Easy solution. Call Time Warner Cable / Spectrum (TWCS) and downgrade some channels. Cutting out all of the premium channels and converting to basic cable should save me at least $100/month, right?
The TWCS rep seemed very excited to tell me that I would save almost $300/year if I downgraded my service to basic cable and ditched the whole house DVR service. When she quoted me the actual rate, it wasn’t much more than $20/month savings. Apparently, the great deals you get when you sign up aren’t available when you downgrade.
I laughed and asked her if she could hear the words she was saying. Paying almost the same rate for basic service as I do for the premium service doesn’t work for me.
My TWCS TV service has been problematic since day one, anyway. I lost count of the number of techs (including the line techs in the big trucks) who came out to work on my service, only to tell me that the signal comes in too strong when it gets cold and overwhelms the boxes. The techs are very nice guys who really tried to fix my problem, but I don’t want to call them out for multiple visits every winter to adjust my signal. Not fun for any of us.
Since I already have Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, I went searching for a live TV option.
My first idea was to try an antenna. I went to Best Buy and bought a Mohu Leaf indoor HDTV antenna that is supposed to be good for 30 miles. If positioned perfectly, it worked OK, but I couldn’t manage to get CBS or Fox. I think I need an amplified version and/or an outdoor/attic mounted antenna instead.
My second idea was to try a live TV streaming service like SlingTV (currently $20 – $40 per month + addon services) or PlayStation Vue (currently $39.99 – $74.99 per month). Both look promising, but neither had the channel lineup I want. While checking out those services, I learned about a new service by DirecTV called DirecTV Now (currently $35 – $70 per month).
Out of the three services, Vue and DTV Now look like the best fit for me. Vue seems to have better technology (you can record shows and stream on five devices) but DTV Now (no recording and streams to two devices) has more of the channels I actually want. DTV Now also has a great pricing promotion available until 1/9/17 – $35/mo for about 100 channels.
I decided to sign up for DirecTV Now. I even added HBO for $5/month, so after the 7-day trial period, my rate will be $40/month for 100+ channels and HBO. If I subscribe separately to CBS All Access (CBS is not currently offered on DTV Now), then I’m up to about $47/month vs. the top package for PlayStation Vue.
DTV Now offered an option to prepay for three months and receive an Apple TV device, but I skipped that option since I already have a Roku. Unfortunately, I found out that DTV Now is not available on the Roku yet. It’s not available for my Samsung Smart TV yet either.
Roku service is supposed to be added in Q1 2017, but I haven’t read about an exact date.
— Roku (@RokuPlayer) November 28, 2016
I did find a tweet stating that the Roku app will be ready in a few weeks, but that didn’t come directly from Roku.
— CordCuttersNews (@CordCuttersNews) January 7, 2017
My next step is to stream DTV Now through a laptop connected to the TV until the Roku app is available.
** Update 05/05/17: I bought an Amazon Fire TV stick and like it better than my Roku player. DTV works great on the Fire stick.
— OLE (@rivandbeyond) May 5, 2017
Even with the increased internet cost when I cancel my TWCS cable TV and telephone services, I think I’ll still save close to $100/month by ditching those services for internet only + DTV Now + CBS All Access. I’m not including the cost of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon in this equation because I already pay for those.
I also might investigate the option of installing an antenna in my attic. I need to determine if my existing cable wiring can support cable internet and an over the air antenna. This could be a great backup for when the internet and/or streaming services experience problems.
Just thought I’d share my experience so far for anyone who might be considering cutting the cord. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know.
I wasn’t going to write about this restaurant since it is about 400 miles away from Riverside, but recent Instagram posts from this place changed my mind. Now it is on my brain.
Smoking Pig BBQ Company on 4th Street in San Jose, California served me the best brisket I have ever eaten. This is not meant to take anything away from Badlands BBQ in Norco, which serves my favorite brisket in Southern California. In all honesty, if brisket from both places was sitting on a table in front of me I’m not sure I could pick a favorite. Since these two places are separated by about 400 miles, I’m not sure how I could arrange this heavenly brisket faceoff, but a man can dream.
Look at this brisket:
Why was I up in San Jose? Last July, my sons played in the USA Water Polo Junior Olympic Tournament up in Northern California. Since my sons were staying with their teams, I was on my own at meal time. Luckily, I found this place on my first night.
I ended up going back four more times.
I showed up at dinner time and the place was crowded. I screwed up and ordered at the counter, thinking that the food would be served at the table. Nope. I ordered take out. They were nice and set me up at a table anyway.
I also tried the Wolf Turds – jalapenos stuffed with cheese and sausage, wrapped in bacon, and smoked.
This time I sat at a table and ordered the right way.
I knew this was a great place when the server asked me if I wanted my brisket fatty, lean or mixed. They get it.
I thought about trying a new place, but ended up here again. Instead of the stuffed jalapenos, I tried the Chicken Lollipops, which are marinated mini drumsticks wrapped in bacon and smoked. A little too sweet for me, but very tender.
I finally realized they serve Cajun fries. After pondering my failure to realize this fact during my two previous visits, I enjoyed some of the best fries I have ever eaten. The brisket kept getting better with each visit.
My oldest son’s last game was in the morning, so we were able to enjoy a post-tournament meal. Big surprise, I took him here. He loved the brisket and Cajun fries. We reminisce often.
We then went to watch my youngest son’s last game in the afternoon. Before we hit the road for the long drive south, we decided to share our new spot with him. This time we celebrated a great tournament with some Peanut Butter Pie… and some more amazing brisket.
Smoking Pig BBQ Company
1144 N. 4th Street
San Jose, CA 95112
We haven’t played too many board games as a family since my kids were much younger. The game we played the most was Monopoly, and we even started to collect various Monopoly editions (I think our favorite was the Transformers edition).
Last night we drove over to Target with the single goal of buying some new games. The first one on my list was Yahtzee.
As we were playing, I remembered that I had some old Yahtzee scorecards from when I was a kid and decided to break them out.
After a little research, I realized that these old scorecards are from the original 1956 version of Yahtzee. I guess that we had plenty of the old ones when I was a kid in the 70s/80s.
I remembered the basics of the game, but I wasn’t sure if there was a Yahtzee bonus on the scorecards we used when I was a kid. Nope.
Thanks to the bonus, my wife demolished us. Three Yahtzees.
It was fun to play a game with my family that I enjoyed as a kid.
As a bonus, I also found my late parents’ travel Scrabble game.
A little nostalgia built in to family game night.
How about giving running a try? I know there are a lot of you out there who hate running, me included. I’ve never been a gym rat and I needed to find a way to get some exercise in a couple times a week. I tried walking, but unless I walked five miles a day it really wasn’t doing much for me.
I decided to give running a try, and so started my running adventure. By writing this article about my running experience, I hope that it might encourage you to try running too.
In the beginning, I started slow – more walking than running. I probably averaged a 5-1 ratio, meaning five minutes of walking to one minute of running. But hey, at least I was moving. I did this three times a week for about 40 minutes a day. I hated it at first but stuck to it. Now I’m running about three miles every other day, and I’m actually enjoying it. The benefits are great – more energy and I found my waist again.
There are a lot of great tools out there to help you get started. I found two apps that you can download on your phone that I really enjoy: Interval Timer and Runkeeper. Both of these apps are free, too.
The Interval Timer app has a timer you can set that tells you when to walk and when to run. For example, if you want to walk for three minutes then run for one minute you can set the timer for those times. Here is some info on the app from iTunes:
We’re proud to introduce this handy little app that helps you keep track of your work and rest periods during workouts. Whether your into cycling, running, lifting weights, exercise, workout, stretching, boxing, MMA or HIT, this interval timer will prove to be an invaluable asset to you.
The Runkeeper app is what I’m using now. This app uses GPS to track distance, location, time and more. Here is some info on the app from iTunes:
Everyone. Every run. Join the community that helps people get out the door and stick with running forever! Track exercise, set goals, sweat, and see progress along the way. Whether you’re working your way up to tracking a 5K goal or deep into marathon training, use the GPS app trusted by 50 million users and counting.
The only other things I’d recommend are a good pair of running shoes (I currently prefer Asics), ear buds and some good tunes. Give running a try. You might just enjoy it.
Update #3 – 01/05/17: I have received word from the County that the “weather has pushed back the Street “A” opening until 2/3/17.”
Update #2 – 12/27/16: I have heard that the street is ready to go with the exception of the traffic signal at Van Buren. The traffic signal poles are scheduled to arrive on 1/6/17 and the street is scheduled to be operational on 1/13/17.
Update #1 – 12/27/16 #1: Please scroll to the bottom.
– – – – – – – – – –
Last I heard, Citrus Heights Drive in Riverside, California was supposed to open at the beginning of the new year. It looks like they might hit that schedule. I took a little hike in the hills above Dufferin on Christmas morning and snapped a few pictures:
… to Van Buren.
Gorgeous morning for a quick hike with my daughter and this big guy…
A photo posted by Ole (@riversideandbeyond) on
** Update 12/27/16: **
I am trying to confirm how this street will connect to Van Buren. Due to its location and the apparent widening of Van Buren where it intersects with Citrus Heights Drive (FKA Fairway Drive FKA “A” Street), I assume there will be traffic signals. The following information from a January 5, 2016 Riverside City Council Memorandum seems to confirm this (emphasis added), but I will try to get actual confirmation from the City and/or County:
The public infrastructure improvement in the City is a partial road construction project that has recently been approved by the City’s Public Works Department and is a required condition of the project approval. The City improvements identified within the JCFA include:
i. approximately 4,501 linear feet of full width and complete street improvements to be known as Fairway Drive which will connect McAlister Parkway and Van Buren
ii. approximately 824 linear feet of partial width street improvements on Van Buren Boulevard which are necessary for the Fairway Drive connection
In January 2006, the County of Riverside Planning Commission approved Tentative Tract Map 30153 ( “TTM “), which included a 330 lot residential subdivision ( later revised to 343 lots) located in unincorporated Riverside County, easterly of McAllister Parkway, just south of the City. Approval included a condition to construct “A” Street between McAllister Parkway and Van Buren Boulevard. The roadway is approximately 60% in the City and 40% in the County.
On April 10, 2012, City Council approved an agreement with the County of Riverside for the A” Street Improvements. The County assumed responsibility for environmental review, right – of -way acquisition, preparation of the plans and specifications and construction of the project.
2a. Fairway Drive Street Facilities — City of Riverside — Station 41 +46.00 to Station 86 +47.00. Plan Sheets 1, 2 and 5 through 15 of 15.
Approximately 4,501 linear feet of full width street improvements including, but not limited to site preparation, erosion control, aggregate base, asphalt, fog seal, curbs and gutters, cross gutters, sidewalk, handicap ramps, saw cut existing asphalt, removal of existing asphalt, grinding existing asphalt, street signage, utilities crossings, storm drain piping, headwalls, rip -rap, down drains, grading, street light conduit and handholes, signing and striping, traffic signalization and street intersection work.
2b. Van Buren Boulevard Street Facilities — City of Riverside — Station 34 +04.49 to Station 42 +28.20. Plan Sheet 15 of 16.
Approximately 824 linear feet of partial width street improvements including, but not limited to site preparation, erosion control, aggregate base, asphalt, fog seal, curbs and gutters, cross gutters, sidewalk, handicap ramps, saw cut existing asphalt, removal of existing asphalt, grinding existing asphalt, street signage, utilities crossings, storm drain piping, headwalls, rip -rap, down drains, grading, street light conduit and handholes, signing and striping, k -rail and crash cushions; traffic signalization and street intersection work.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday that it has awarded almost $2 billion to over 7,000 homeless assistance organizations throughout the Country.
Combined, Riverside and San Bernardino organizations were awarded almost $20 million. To see the entire list, click here.
The following tables show the organizations in Riverside and San Bernardino (source: HUD)
|CA-608 – Riverside City & County CoC|
|Behavioral Health – Coachella Valley Permanent Housing||498,468|
|Behavioral Health – Men’s Permanent Housing||149,366|
|Behavioral Health – Rapid Rehousing||142,117|
|Behavioral Health – Riverside Permanent Housing||359,743|
|Behavioral Health HHOPE Consolidated Permanent Housing||495,415|
|City of Riverside PSH Chronically Homeless||125,598|
|City of Riverside PSH for Disabled||123,556|
|City of Riverside Rapid Re-Housing||229,728|
|County of Riverside CES Project||500,000|
|County of Riverside CoC Planning Project FY 2016||315,901|
|Desert Horizon PSH||431,577|
|Housing Authority Consolidated||510,304|
|Housing Authority Consolidated All County||448,217|
|Housing Authority EHOP||42,739|
|Housing Authority Street to Home Chronic Homeless Project||114,993|
|JFS Desert Vista Permanent Housing||684,148|
|Lighthouse SSC Permanent Housing for Disabled Women with Children||232,149|
|Lighthouse SSC Rapid Rehousing||263,274|
|Path of Life PSH||1,314,354|
|Path of Life Rapid Rehousing||345,549|
|POLM RRH East County||377,260|
|Shelter Plus Care Project Based w/OSH||72,803|
|Stepping Up in Riverside||888,903|
|US Vets Riverside Permanent Housing||375,292|
|CA-609 – San Bernardino City & County CoC|
|2016 Fast Linkage And Secure Housing – 211 Coordinated Entry||403,136|
|CoC Planning Project Application FY2016||336,602|
|HMIS Renewal 2016||250,158|
|Homes of Hope||361,001|
|Hope For Heroes 2 FY 2016||328,896|
|Hope for Heroes FY 2016||487,237|
|Hope Partners’ Family Stabilization Program||141,137|
|Infinite Horizons – RRH FY 2016||518,002|
|KEYS for Life||241,021|
|Keys for Success||285,480|
|New Hope, Too! (2016)||39,145|
|Permanent Housing for Homeless with HIV/AIDS||76,455|
|Step Up in San Bernardino Bonus Funds Application FY2016||361,002|
|Step Up in San Bernardino Renewal FY2016||1,544,888|
|TAY Permanent Supportive Housing||187,011|
|The Salvation Army Permanent Supportive Housing Program||200,002|
|U.S.VETS – Inland Empire Renewal FY2016||1,021,292|
I have lived in Riverside for thirteen years, and have never visited Fairmount Park in Riverside, California.
This past weekend after I dropped my oldest son off to take the SAT, I decided to take a walk around the park. Here are a few pictures:
For a minute, I thought this Greylag Goose was going to charge me. He decided to pose instead.
A bunch of coots.
These Muscovy ducks seemed to be talking to each other.
I didn’t walk near the tank on this visit, but I was very curious about its background. I found a page on the City’s website that provides a little bit of the history. Here is a summary:
The tank is a light amphibious tracked vehicle called the LVT (Landing Vehicle, Tracked). The LVTs were produced here in Riverside during World War II by the FMC Corporation. The same company also retrofitted these vehicles for use in the Korean War. The LVT was also known as the Water Buffalo.
“In 1949 a monument, complete with LVT, was dedicated to the factory war workers at Fairmount Park near the location where they had conducted testing.”