Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Food Is Good F.I.G. Cleveland, Tennessee

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Food Is Good or F.I.G. for short is a new Southern Bistro in Cleveland, Tennessee. I found out about it through a friend on Facebook and then researched to see if they had a Facebook page for more information. On their Facebook page I also found a link to their website with their menu and hours.

In late October I finally had the opportunity to go eat at Food Is Good, which is located at the corner of Stuart Road and Old Tasso Road next to Jumpin’ Junction. My friend and I were warmly greeted before we even walked to the door. We were quickly greeted by our waitress and seated promptly.

Our waitress handed us a plain black and white printed menu and to my disappointment they were out of the Roast Beef for the day. I instead chose the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and turnip greens. For dessert I had the peach cobbler served with ice cream.

I have to say the food was absolutely awesome. All the food was very flavorful, especially the turnip greens, they were the best I have ever eaten!

Our waitress often checked on us and refilled our water glasses. She even encouraged us to take the menus to share with our friends and family. My friend had the fried chicken sandwich with the seasoned fries and absolutely enjoyed her meal as well. I had the opportunity to try some of the fries and they were very delicious.

The F.I.G. Southern Bistro has great food, but be prepared for the prices. For both meals for my friend and I as well as dessert for both of us and gratuity the cost was $35. As great as the food was this will be a place I might visit every now and then.  I will definitely recommend to others in the Cleveland area if they are looking for a place to eat real southern home cooked food this is definitely a place to consider.

Magic Mike

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Since the movie Magic Mike came out in movie theaters I was curious about it but not enough to go watch it. I had some family and friends go see the movie and they thought it was good. I figured though it may have been because Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum are in it.

Then my sister asks me if I would return a movie to Red Box since I live in the city. It turns out it was the Magic Mike movie. Of course she asks me if I have seen it and I tell her no. She tells me if I want to see it I am welcome to watch it then return it for her, but she warns me to make sure the kids are not around when I am watching it.

I definitely agree that this is NOT a movie for children, much less teenagers to see. The movie was good, however there was a lot more sexual innuendoes that I expected for the movie. The biggest surprise was one penis scene. I would say there was more crotch grabbing in this movie that probably would have put Michael Jackson to shame. Expect a lot of sexually explicit talk and nudity as well.

It almost seems as if the movie was hanging by a bare thread with its rating though. If you are open minded and into movies that have some great looking guys then this is a movie you will probably like watching, without kids around.

Flying Southwest Airlines

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Anytime someone is considering flying and they are looking for the best deal the first thing I recommend is Southwest Airlines. This is especially true when it comes to unaccompanied children. When my brother and I were kids anytime we had to fly it was with Southwest. Then when I had to make the decision to have my kids fly back from their grandpa’s house in Texas, I did not hesitate getting tickets for them.

The last week of October I had to make a quick trip to Texas. Since it was during the week I did have to fly out of my local airport which does not have Southwest, but I knew on my way back home I would definitely be using them. I was able to make reservations two days prior to leaving out and I still got a great price.

I will admit that flying out of other Airline carriers was not the best choice. Their planes were smaller and you couldn’t stand up on the airplane without bonking your head. Plus you have to pay for luggage and have an assigned seat, which someone took mine. I also had to walk out on the tarmac to get to the plane, something I had never done in my life.

I had never flown into Atlanta on Southwest since it has only been several months since they started service into Atlanta. Typically I would fly to Nashville or Birmingham. Why I chose Atlanta this time is that it is the closest to home by an hour.

Using Southwest was a very easy process at least at Houston Hobby. Checking in the person at the counter was very friendly and helpful. When we were in the process of boarding the plane all the Southwest employees were very warm and friendly. My grandfather chose to sit by the wing which is also where the emergency exits were. One of the flight attendants asked him as well as myself if we were willing to be the ones to open the emergency exits should there be an emergency. As we were preparing to fly to Atlanta, another flight attendant came and stood in the mid section to do their routine demonstrations of the seat belts, emergency exits, oxygen masks and the like.

Overall I will say the employees of Southwest were much more pleasant and friendly than the other airlines we flew on days before. I am one to first and foremost recommend Southwest not just because the first two bags fly free, but that they are typically less expensive and have great service. Because of that I have trusted them to fly my kids back home and I also recommend Southwest to other families who have to fly children unaccompanied to destinations. If you are looking for reasonable flights with great service to get you from point A to point B then I recommend Southwest.

Skype on iPhone

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Before starting the summer 2012 adventure of working as a checkpoint worker with The Great Race I worked on a plan on how I would communicate with friends, family and especially my kids once I went into Canada. Our adventure started in Traverse City, MI and went around the Great Lakes in Canada and back into the US in New York before ending in Dearborn, MI.  After looking at a plan for my Verizon iPhone 4 as well as some prepaid phones (as the sales rep at Verizon suggested) I decided I would try downloading the Skype app for the iPhone and try it.

I also added $10 worth of credit to my account

Once into Canada and settled into the hotels I would connect to the hotel wi-fi to make a phone call. Majority of the time the phone calls went through and were clear. There were a few times the calls were dropped which skype would say it was due to a weak wi-fi signal. Usually I would have at least three bars and still received that message. Sometimes there was a delay during the conversations but overall, I was very, very pleased and in fact thankful I was able to talk to my loved ones back in the U.S. for a very reasonable price.

There is a drawback though when you do call someone: your phone number does not show up on their caller ID. So, if you know you are going to use Skype, let your family and friends know ahead of time that an odd number may call  them.

After spending nearly four days in Canada and making about 15 phone calls I ended up with approximately a $4.90 credit.

If you know you will be going out of the country, have an iPhone or another smartphone and you know you will have access to wi-fi I highly recommend using skype. While it is not perfect, it is the best thing to use when you want to talk to those who are important in your life.

How to Save Money on Car Repairs

Monday, October 8th, 2012

One of the first things I wanted to do at 16 was learn as much as I could about car maintenance and how to do the basic things: check the oil, change the oil, flush the radiator, change a tire…etc. When I started to have common issues with my first car (fuel pump quitting, starter dying, timing belt going) the cost of those repairs really ate at me.

After dealing with mechanics who took advantage of me and gouged me with costly repairs I made a vow to myself I would find a vehicle I could do most of the maintenance and repairs myself. Five years ago I bought a 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport off Ebay. My best friend aka the Jeep Guru has helped guide me through a lot of the repairs I have done.

Last Fall I ended up with the project of a lifetime: rebuild my mom’s 1993 Jeep Cherokee Country that had a fire in the engine compartment. While the engine was not injured in the fire, most of the damage was on the drivers side that included the air box, computer, brake booster & cylinder, radiator, intake manifold, valve cover, power steering pump and the steering box.  My mom wanted the Jeep to be salvaged and I wanted that and her to save money in the process.

We used donor Jeep parts from an XJ we have from a friend, parts from an XJ that was at my brother’s work in TX, An XJ off roading friend from KY, Ebay, new parts from O’Reilly Auto, Advance Auto and Crown Automotive, which we are a dealer of. I spent a great deal of time writing an entire list of the parts needed to complete the project as well as doing price research.

If you would like to save money on repairs:

1) Find out if your automobile has a forum- there are plenty of forums out there for Jeep Cherokee’s (XJ’s). I found forums for my recently acquired 2000 VW Passat GLS, before I purchased the car off Ebay. I was able to learn about many of the common issues, how to take care of them myself as well as save a lot of money.

2) If you can buy used parts and save money go that route. Some parts are not meant to be purchased used and often times you will learn this through the forums. Most parts though you should be able to find at a junk yard, Ebay or through the forums through trades or purchases with transactions through PayPal.

3)Buy a service manual. Most auto parts stores sell service manuals whether they are Haynes or Chilton. Some book stores that sell new or used may have them as well. If all else fails, then definitely google and some forums may have a PDF version of a service manual for your vehicle. Many times Ebay may have sellers who have CD’s or downloads (just review feedback before making a transaction). Learn as much as you can about your vehicle and repairs.

4) If you feel comfortable working on your own vehicle or you know someone who would be willing to assist you or help do the work then go for it. If not then ask your mechanic if they are will to put on a part that you purchased.

5) Ask your mechanic if you can get a discount if you pay cash for repairs. I recently had to have a snub motor mount put on my car. Because I paid in cash, the mechanic knocked off $23! Before you go to pick up your vehicle make sure you ask.

6) Do NOT let family or friends deter you about your vehicle and repairs. Just because certain vehicles have a reputation does not mean they are lemons or jalopies. Go get involved in a forum about your vehicle, learn from the owners! They are the ones who will reassure you on things that most people would panic over. They are the ones who will direct you to places to purchase parts at reasonable costs, how to make repairs yourself and much more.

7) Find out if your forum has people in your area who work on vehicles like yours. Some forums will have a list of people with similar vehicles who work on the vehicles themselves for reasonable costs.

8) Check engine light is on? Don’t panic, take your vehicle to AutoZone where they will check the codes and print them out for you. Google check engine light codes for your vehicle OR if you are involved in a forum check and see if they have all the info for you. Often times they will.

 

I can recall so many times I have had family and friends question me on having my Jeep and now on my VW Passat, including my brother who is an ASE certified mechanic. What they fail to understand is how much dedication I have put in to learning all I can about my vehicles. I spend countless hours doing research, asking questions on forums and learning about similar issues that others have experienced. This has helped me from feeling unnecessary panic when something goes awry.

Before I purchased my Passat, I was aware that the ABS light was on. Now many people would go into absolute panic if that light was on in their vehicle. Because I had previously assisted a friend in repairing their vehicle that had a similar issue, I knew it was not a big deal. The forum had plenty of discussion on this issue and most would tell you it is NOT a big deal. In fact, many of them recommended a specific person who had rebuilt their ABS modules for a huge fraction of what a professional mechanic shop would charge to replace it with a new one that would in time fail just as the original one has!!! Why pay $600, $700, $800 or even $1,000 to have a new ABS module installed with the same issue as the original? What would it be like to pay someone who was fed up with the company who builds most of the ABS modules for  millions of automobiles to just rebuild and make your ABS module stronger for a mere $100??? Check out http://www.cheapabs.com/ if you are serious about saving money.

Recently my CEL (Check Engine Light) came on in my VW.  Thanks to spending time on the PassatWorld.com forum, I learned that as long as the CEL was not flashing it was not anything serious. And when I had the codes pulled at AutoZone, I learned they were very minor codes. In fact, they were extremely common, very minor ones.

 

Do your research and do not leave it up to others to do it for you. Know your vehicle so you are not the one taken advantage of. Be aware of what the parts cost and learn how long it truly takes to do a repair so you are not taken by others. Learning as much as you can will save you money, time and your sanity in the long run.