Saturday, June 30, 2018

Fighting my Internet Connection - Packet Loss and Downgraded Speeds affecting Upload Performance

So after I finally got that nice new computer, things had run great for a month.  However, over the past two weeks, I've been fighting 10-50% packet loss on my internet connection where my upload speed will just go to crap for 5-10 seconds every other minute.  I've probably called Cox about 10 times in that timeframe, had a tech come out every weekend, tried two new 24x8 cable modems, and still the problem persists.

It's really frustrating having crappy internet and I hope the problem gets resolved soon.  I really want to switch to fiber, but the only service provider in my area is Century Link and they only have a very small 20/1 MBPS plan, which is not enough for my needs.

A fourth Cox technician is coming on Monday to run a new line in my house.  Let's hope it helps.

P.S.  I had really nothing else to blog about this month, heh.

NEW UPDATE - 7/10/18

Last Monday, Cox sent a third-party technician to my house to run a new line from the cable box outside my house to the wall on my bedroom where I connect the cable modem.  The very first technician they sent had only run a new line from the cable box to the main unit across the street.  After this tech ran the line for my house, I was guaranteed a brand new line.  Immediately after he ran the new line, the issues I was having seemed to go away and I was completely ecstatic.  I was able to stream to for 8 hours without a single packet being dropped.

While I've had pretty consistent packetloss-free service over the past week, I still notice a drop in upload performance from time to time.  However, if I'm not streaming, I almost never drop anymore packets on Fortnite while I'm playing, which leads me to believe that the line was indeed a problem.  I do believe that when I see downgraded upload performance I'm experiencing either poor QoS from Twitch or Cox.  Either way, the internet has been much more stable since the brand new line, so I'm satisfied from that standpoint.

For any random visitors seeking problem resolutions for similar issues with their cable internet, I suggest the following:

  • Latest Firmware - Some wireless routers need to be manually updated, so check if you've got the latest firmware.  You can't manually update the firmware on most cable modems, as this is done automatically via your ISP whenever you reboot the modem.
  • Cable Modem / Wireless Router isolation - If you're using a wireless router, remove it from the equation and plug your computer directly into the cable modem using an ethernet cable.  This will determine if you have an issue with the router.
  • Replace the Cable Modem - If you're running more than 5 years on a modem, chances are it could be going bad.  Sometimes the lifespan of modems is even less than that.
  • Have your ISP run a new line - Make sure they run a brand new line all the way from your neighborhood's hub to your house.  For me it took two visits because they only replaced the line across the street the first time and a second tech had to replace the one from the box outside my house to the jack in my bedroom's wall.
  • The issue is almost never software related (excluding spyware/malware attacks), so if your internet was working fine beforehand and then randomly went bad, don't bother messing with registry settings or adapter tuning.  Chances are you'll mess things up worse than they were before.
  • If all the above fails, it's likely just bad QoS from your ISP or the streaming services you utilize.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Ass-Kicking Computer!

In December of 2007, I built my first home computer.  It was a computer that lasted me 10 years, having undergone several upgrades between the 5-8 year range.  These days, 5 years seems to be the average life of parts keeping up with the performance and graphics demands of new and upcoming games.  Lately, I've really been getting into Fortnite: Battle Royale, which itself is very demanding of CPU and GPU centered around its 100-player Free-for-All game mode.  I've also gotten back into streaming my games, something that we know only adds more CPU demand.  My old computer was struggling to run both at anything higher than 40 FPS on average...

After a solid 10-year run with the old comp, I decided to build myself a new rig!  Below you'll find my new setup and some pictures during assembly.  Overall, I was looking to spend around $1,000-$1,500 for the system.  Most of my parts are mid-range in terms of performance and cost.  The theory is that I will likely need to upgrade in another 5 years, so getting top-of-the-line components is not really necessary.  Here are the results.  Enjoy!

Configuration and Purchases:

For my build, I did a lot of research on, a great site for putting parts together, reading reviews from other PC builders, ensuring compatibility, and gathering price comparisons from multiple vendors.

Product Vendor Cost
Processor Intel Core i5-8600K Coffee Lake 6-Core 3.6 GHz LGA 1151 (300 Series) Newegg $244.99
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper RR-212E-20PK-R2 LED CPU Cooler Amazon $29.99
Cooling Gel Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Paste Amazon $6.51
Motherboard ASUS Prime Z370-A LGA 1151 (300 Series) Newegg $164.52
Memory G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 3000 SDRAM Newegg $164.99
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING, 06G-P4-6163-KR, 6GB GDDR5 Newegg $319.99
Case RAIDMAX Cobra Z ATX-502WBU Black/Blue ATX Mid Tower Newegg $39.99
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1 120-G1-0650-XR 80+ GOLD 650W Fully Modular Newegg $69.99
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit System Builder OEM Amazon $101.08
Primary Monitor ViewSonic XG2701 27" 144 Hz 1ms Free Sync Gaming Monitor Newegg $319.99
Ethernet Adapter TP-Link TG-3468 Gigabit Ethernet PCI-Express Network Adapter Card Amazon $16.29

Total $1,478.33

Computer Assembly:
Built on May 7, 2018

For my case, I decided to go with Raidmax, which was the brand I used for my previous computer.  Their cases are not only affordable, but the material feels nice and I like their look and layout.
For the motherboard, I was deciding between ASUS and Gigabyte.  For me, it came down to reputation and BIOS functionality, so I went with ASUS even though they are slightly more expensive on average.  In determining a CPU, I looked at user benchmark results with Fortnite to determine which CPU produced the best benchmark at a reasonable cost.  Because the i5 8600K performed almost the same as the i7 8700K and was some $80 cheaper, it was a no-brainer to go with the top i5 model.  I've always used Intel, so I was not interested in switching to AMD at this time.  While I could have gone for the minimum of 8GB of RAM, memory is so cheap these days that there was no reason not to just go for 16GB and not have to worry about RAM for a while.
Since the CPU didn't come with a fan/cooler, I needed to add one myself.  I went with a popular Cooler Master and honestly, it was the biggest bitch to figure out how to mount above the processor.  The instruction pamphlet had no words, only pictures.  The videos I found online all omitted a very important step for my particular motherboard, which is that there are plastic spacers to add to the mounting screws in order for the cooler to be installed correctly.  Ignorantly, I tried installing it without these spacers and found myself wasting an hour trying to force the bracket on.  Eventually I figured it out and it should have been much simplier than I made it to be.
The power supply was pretty standard.  I selected one that supplies more than the estimated power I needed and had a 80+ gold rating for optimal energy performance. I also wanted a modular one to gain the convenience of easy cable management (the shorter and less needed, the better).
At the time of this build, video card prices were 2-3x more then they should be, due to cryptocurrency mining...ugh.  Again, I looked at Fortnite benchmarks to determine what GPU would produce the the highest average FPS while maintaining a reasonable cost.  I ended up going with the GeForce GTX 1060 [6GB] because it maintained close to 120 FPS and was valued around my price range of $300.
For this computer, I didn't have to buy any storage, as the 2 SSDs (128GB and 250GB) and SATA (320GB) drive from my old computer were fairly new and more than sufficient for my data needs.  I also moved the DVD-RW drive over, because why not?
Overall, it took me 5 hours to put everything together (1 hour wasted on that damn CPU cooler, lol).  I took my time putting the computer together because I wanted to make sure everything was done carefully and properly.  Some of you may freak out that I assembled it all together on my bed, but don't worry, I used anti-static bags to rest the important parts on and discharged myself on a metal chair nearby.
It was then time to boot the computer up and voila, success!  At first, one of the RAM sticks wasn't being detected as well as a case fan, so I had to re-open the case and reseat the RAM and move the fan's power cable to another motherboard port.
I installed Windows 10 on this computer because Windows 7 is no longer being supported in 2020, so might as well get the "upgrade" now than have to worry about it two years later.  At first, I was hesitant to use Windows 10 based on all the horror stories of telemetry and data sent to Microsoft, but I did my research and was able to disable just about all of it.  Windows 10 runs fine for me with no real concerns and now I think it's just as good as Windows 7, you just have to learn how to make it operate how you want it to.

The final step was to purchase a new monitor capable of a 120Hz refresh rate.  Newer games are now able to produce over 100 FPS and I currently play Fortnite at 120 FPS without any latency issues.  I needed a 120Hz+ monitor to actually see the higher framerate and wow, it really is noticeable just how much smoother the gameplay looks.  It makes sense, that's twice the frames as the standard 60 FPS of your common HDTV.  I use a dual-monitor setup at home, both Viewsonic (love the brand, I've now owned 5 total in my lifetime) and at 27" each.

I'm so happy with my new computer.  Everything runs super fast and looks amazing.  Windows loads up in literally 5 seconds.  Fortnite runs perfectly at 120FPS and I'm enjoy every aspect of the new comp.  If you're interested in watching me play Fortnite on my new rig, you can find me on my Twitch stream:
Thanks for stopping by and happy building/gaming!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Unexpected Expenses

Over the last year, I've had to endure 3 major expenses unexpectedly. :'(

Car Repair:

My IS250 is approaching 12 years at 160,000 miles.  Last year, the clutch went out to the point where I could not even accelerate effectively and it was almost dangerous to drive the car on the road.  I took my car to the dealer (I know, some people will say to take it to a 3rd party mechanic, but I guess I am more trusting of the Lexus service shop than a 3rd party for something like this).  They estimated about $4,000 in repairs needed to fix the car, most of it going towards the clutch and clutch assembly.  They believed there was still value in the rest of the car being in good shape, and given that I was only at 160,000 miles, there was still a lot of life left in this car.

I began to weigh my options.  Should I just buy a new car?  If I spend $4,000 here, the car would last me what, another 5 years or so?  Could I even get any value back for my IS?  Maybe $2,000 at best knowing that it would need repairs for whoever bought it?  It was a tough decision for me, especially since this is my first car and my realistic dream car from 2006.  I wasn't ready to give her up just yet and decided to fix her up.  This was the first major repair ever needed on her since the 100,000 mile warranty ran out, so I figured she earned it.

My hope is that she'll last at least another 5 years before her time is finally up.  I want to get another Lexus, but they don't make them in manual transmissions anymore, so I'll really have to enjoy this time until I am basically forced to buy a new car...

Golf Clubs Replacement:

So around October of last year, a friend of a friend needed a place to stay for just a few months.  I was feeling nice at the moment and offered my place to him.  That ended up being a horrible decision.

So you may recall that just 2 years ago I started really getting into golf and got myself a brand new Taylormade set for about $800.  Well one day, the roommate left the house through the garage and left the garage door open (even though I asked him to exit through the front door instead of the garage).  I was one of those people who leaves their clubs in the garage, so as you can imagine, by the time I had realized the garage door had been open for so long, the clubs were gone.  Who knows, maybe the roommate even took them, I'll never know.  A strong lesson learned here, never leave anything valuable in the garage.  But I will also argue that the roommate didn't value my belongings like I would, so him accidentally leaving the garage door open wasn't a big deal to him.

Now I was out an $800 set and very upset.  In addition, we decided that the roommate couldn't live at my house because he couldn't co-exist with Duncan (Duncan haaaaated him and wouldn't allow him to enter my house without hissing and attacking him).  In the end, he would eventually move his stuff out and give me $200 for storage, but the headaches of having to be home when he needed something he left here at the house, having my clubs stolen, and the effort of moving stuff around in my house to make room for his, it was just not worth it.  Another lesson learned here.

I still wanted to play golf so eventually I had to rebuild my set.  I wanted to go back to the Taylormade Outlet Store in Tucson, but they ended up closing shop in March.  Unreal, what bad timing!  So now I was forced to shop online, but that experience was eye-opening and actually worked out really well.  First I went to the PGA Superstore to try out all the brands and sets that I would consider buying.  I ended up really liking the Callaway clubs and shopped online for them.  Here's what I bought:

Club Description Vendor MSRP Sale Price Discount Price

Irons XR OS Irons (8 Iron Set, 4-PW,AW) Graphite Rock Bottom Golf 899.99 649.99 617.49
Driver 2017 GBB Epic Driver 10.5° 499.99 349.99 244.99
Wood 2017 GBB Epic 3 Wood 15° 279.99 199.99 139.99
Hybrid 2017 Epic 3 Hybrid 20° 279.99 181.99 127.39
S Wedge Mack Daddy Forged Chrome 56°-10 169.99 78.99 55.29
L Wedge Mack Daddy Forged Chrome 60°-08 169.99 83.99 58.79
Putter White Hot RX Rossie 35" 189.99 98.99 69.29
Bag 2017 X-Carry Stand Bag DICK'S Sporting Goods 129.99 129.99 108.68

Totals: $2,619.92 $1,773.92 $1,421.93
Only my irons are brand new, but the quality of the preowned clubs are actually phenomenal.  I think the preowned clubs may have been display sets even, or struck just once and returned because they didn't like them.  There was even an additional 30% off on order $300 and more the weekend I bought them!  Here is a picture of my driver, which basically looks brand new:
I'm really happy with my new set and already took them out to the course once.  A $2,600 set for $1,400!  Not too shabby at all.  But if you think about it, it's still about $2,200 in expenses (since I lost the Taylormade set for nothing).
Don't worry, I no longer keep my clubs in the garage.  They stay in a protected area inside the house so that they will never get stolen again!

HVAC Replacement:

My house is 18 years old in 2018 and the original air-conditioning system finally went out on me early this month.  I had a couple companies come look at it, but I decided to go with Hamstra based on their reputation (multiple friends referred me to them) and their inspection was very knowledgeable and informative.  I honestly felt they would do the best job and they had a very competitive price.
Unfortunately, HVAC replacements are not cheap.  I would go on to pay $8,000 for a 3-ton Night & Day set including installation and a Nest.  However, it does feel super nice in the house once again (it was so miserable that one week alone without A/C)!  And hopefully the system will save me some money in energy savings in the long run too.

A lot of major expenses to handle unexpectedly, but at least we're good to go for a while now.  I guess that's why they say you should try and save up a nice nest egg of monies for times like these!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Tyler & Tina's Wedding, Another Bowling Championship

Tyler & Tina's Wedding

February really took a lot out of me.  All those Vegas trips were wrapped up by Tyler and Tina's wedding in Mesa, AZ.  I stopped keeping track, but this was another wedding I was in but probably the first time I had ever been in someone's vows!  My 30th birthday in Scottsdale was a memorable one, but not just for me, for Tyler and Tina as well.  While the two of them had met before at pool league at the Fox and Hound, it wasn't until my birthday weekend that they really hit it off.  Tina needed a ride and and Tyler offered one, I bunked them up together in the same room, and well I guess the rest is history.  Tyler was kind enough to mention me in his vows, saying how he "knew he loved [Tina] ever since Andy's birthday."  I am quite honored to have been a part of their connection.

I got to Phoenix on Friday night and got changed at my parents house in Scottsdale.  The rehearsal dinner was at Salud in Tempe and several of us decided to go out to Old Town Scottsdale afterwards.  Most of Saturday was devoted to getting ready, but since guys can get their tux on in less then 20 minutes, it was really just drink and relax time.  The wedding was at the Red Mountain Ranch Country Club and fortunately I didn't have to give any speeches this time.  The next morning there would be your typical brunch (this was hard for me as you know I am not a morning person) and then we were on our way back to Tucson.  Another successful wedding in the books!  Apologies for the lack of pictures this time, I'll have to do better next time.

Maybe I'll steal some from their photographer whenever they finally get posted to Facebook... Hehehe. :)

IBM Bowling League Championships

The championships for my bowling league were held on March 15th and my team defended our title and won for the 3rd year in a row, wow!  We've now won 6 championships over the 9 or so years I've been bowling.

As for me, I didn't meet my expectations of averaging a minimum of 190 pins for the second straight year, finding myself in the 180's again.  After learning more about the way I bowl, I have decided I'd like to try a new ball next year (I've had this one for 4 years and my previous one for 5).  I don't throw as hard as everyone else, but since I'm more about finesse and consistency, a ball that suits my slower ball-speed would be better for me.  We'll see though, got a long offseason ahead before having to make that decision.

Thanks for stopping by my blog again!  Until next time!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

RE: A Vegas Trifecta

January and February were busy months for me that included 3 trips to Las Vegas in a 6-week period.  That's a lot of Vegas for any one person to handle, even myself.  Nonetheless, we continue to Make It Happen and here's a recap of how the 3 trips went:

Jan 12-14: Mike's 30th Birthday

My fellow IBM colleague and friend Mike was turned 30 this year.  He moved away to Austin several years ago and while I don't see him as often anymore, we still keep in touch through work or when playing video games online.

I arrived in Las Vegas on Friday night and met up with everyone at the Westgate.  We would be staying at the Hilton Grand Vacation Suites near the Westgate since our friend Chris's parents owned a timeshare with the chain.

This trip was about trying some of the things that people talk about in Vegas but never actually do.  For example, the first night we rode the ferris wheel of balls at the LINQ.  For 30 minutes, you go around in a ferris wheel of spherical rooms that overlooks the strip.  We also went ziplining down Fremont Street, something I've never done anywhere.  We got two drinks literally in ice cups at the ice bar "-5", which was way too cold to want to spend more than 40 minutes inside.  They also got me to try one of those oxygen bars, but it didn't do anything for me.

For a 30th birthday, I was disappointed that half of Mike's friends didn't show up for him in Vegas, but it is what it is.  He still had a great time and while the tables weren't as nice to me this trip, I was happy to have tried all the new activities that I'd seen but never actually thought about doing.

Airfare: $230
Hotel: $75
Gambling Wins/Losses = -$500

Feb 3-5: Christina's 30th Birthday & Super Bowl LII:

The next Vegas trip would include a stay at the Flamingo.  The D.C. group of friends who I know through my other friend Mike were all going to Vegas this weekend for their friend Christina's birthday.  This was a busy weekend with the Super Bowl on Sunday, so I flew into Las Vegas on a Saturday afternoon for a cheaper flight.

About 20 people were in for this weekend and it quickly became what one would call the proverbial shit-show.  Groups would connect and disconnect constantly and for the most part I just stuck with Mike wherever he went.  They had all wanted to try the ferris wheel at the LINQ again, but I passed since I had tried it just three weeks earlier.  I later met up with my friend Matt from Tucson that night and taught him the game of craps.  It's Las Vegas, so chances are always good that someone else I know will randomly be there the same weekend. :)

Sunday would be the big day, Super Bowl LII between the Eagles (woooo!) and the Patriots (boooo!).  We went to a restaurant called Hofbrauhaus that included an all-you-can-drink-and-eat deal for the game for $120 in advance.  It was a fair deal and guaranteed that all 20 of us could sit together in the same area.  The service was poor, but it was crowded.  The food was okay, but filling.  Overall, the restaurant experience was average and not really worth the price tag.  However, the result game was excellent, which made my day at least!  One of the more entertaining parts of the game was Mike putting down about 15 proposition bets of $10-$20 each and watching him hit or miss on several of them.  I think in the end he netted $5.  As for me, I made one bet, which was $50 on the eagles.

The rest of the weekend would include more drinking and gambling sprinkled here and there.  While everyone left early on Monday, I had a late flight out to save money from the busy weekend.  When everyone was gone, I didn't want to spend more time gambling since I was actually up for the weekend for a change.  So I decided to kill time by catching a movie at the Planet Hollywood.  I finally saw "The Last Jedi" and while some are critics of the movie, I certainly enjoyed it.

Airfare: $290
Hotel: $200
Gambling Wins/Losses = +$250

Feb 17-20: Tyler's Bachelor Party:

The final Vegas trip would be for Tyler's bachelor party, which was also at the Flamingo but fortunately we stayed at the Grand Vacation Suites this time instead of the actual hotel (thanks again to Chris who was a part of two of my Vegas trips).  Anthony and I got into Vegas on Saturday afternoon and that night we would mostly spend just gambling, finding a decent craps table that engulfed us for 3 hours.  I also got to meet up with my fellow IBMer and AHGL teammate for StarCraft 2, Chapin, and we gambled a bunch at Planet Hollywood before calling it a night.

On Sunday, the 7 of us in the party went golfing with Tyler's "golf friends" that come to Vegas on an annual basis.  They're mostly Tyler's uncle's friends who invite him out each year to play several rounds.  We played a course called Aliante, which was pretty nice yet still affordable.  I proceeded to shoot my usual double-bogey golf.

Later Sunday night, Tyler wanted us to try a steakhouse called the Golden Steer that they always visit as part of the "golfing" weekend.  Allegedly it has some historical value to it, "being Frank Sinatra's place", but in my opinion it was grossly overpriced.  I ordered a 24oz prime rib which was very good, but for $54.  There were 12 of us at dinner and not everyone had the same to eat and drink, plus the sides were all really expensive for such little amount.  Overall, there was a $1400 bill that we ended up splitting and I really don't feel like I just ate a $130 steak.  Regardless, it was what Tyler wanted to do, so it is what it is.

On Monday, we were supposed to go golfing again, but we decided to cancel given the previous night of drinking and the cold weather that day.  We made our way out to Fremont Street since a few of the guys had never been there.  I then found us an Escape Room where we could go the same day, which was a lot of fun and we escaped with 5 minutes left to spare on the clock.  That evening, 2 of the party had left and we were down to just 5, and we proceeded to have a friendly $20-a-person competition at Circus Circus, seeing who could be the first to win 7 of the carnival games, winner take all.  It was a close matchup and Tyler should have won, but eventually Anthony came back and stole it at the last minute.  Yours truly ended up with 5 points, but hey, at least I got a stuffed panda for Duncan.

At the end of the night, we were able to find a blackjack table at the Flamingo were everyone could get seated.  It was a good table (for most of us) and we ended up playing there for 4 hours!  A good way to end the weekend.

Airfare: $230
Hotel: $150
Gambling Wins/Losses = -$800

Sooooo finally the trips are done and I don't have to travel anymore for a while.  Yay!  The wedding was this past weekend, but I will save that for another blog entry.  Until next time!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rockscaping Project

So you may recall from a previous blog entry that I have this one side of the house that has a big weed problem, and not the fun kind of weeds.  The weeds on this side of the house grow fiercely, especially during the monsoon season.  At least once a year they'd get so tall that I'd get a letter from the homeowners association and have to hire landscapers to come out and clean it all up.
While hiring landscapers is the easy way out, it adds up in costs over time.  Plus it does look pretty yucky out there when all the weeds are fully grown.  So for a while, I've been thinking about laying some tarp down and covering the area up, to help with the weed prevention.  After the section was free of weeds, I laid down the same tarp that I've used in my backyard, which for years has worked very effectively.  I also made sure to do this project during the winter time so that it wouldn't be too hot outside.
Took me about 4 hours across two days to shovel up gravel and lay the tarp down.  After that, it was time to order me some rock and I had my eye on the "rip-rap" type.  I went to two locations in town: Acme Sand & Gravel and D & D Materials.  I started with Acme and they quoted me at needing 6 tons to cover the 220 square feet I wanted to cover.  At about $40 a ton and $60 for delivery, that would've easily run me over $300.  I then went to D & D and they quoted me at 3.5 tons for the same type of rock.  They also let me buy a bag of rock (about 40lbs worth) for $2.50, so I took that home to lay on the yard so I could get a better estimate of how much I actually needed.  In the end, I decided I only needed to order 2.5 tons of their 3-6" Coronado Brown.  At $40 a ton, this ran me about $100 + $60 for delivery.  Not bad.
The rock was delivered on Friday and was a daunting pile to say the least.  I had inquired how much my landscapers wanted to do the job, but they quoted me at $450. :(  That seemed like a lot, so I decided to move it myself and just ask one of my friends to help out.  On Friday, I took a half-day off to start moving the pile with Anthony coming on Saturday to help me finish the rest.  It was challenging on my own since I didn't have a wheelbarrow.  Instead, I used a bin on a dolly to move the rock back and forth from the street to my yard.  Over 3.5 hours, I was able to move a 3rd of the pile.  *phew*  Exhausting work!
On Saturday morning, my legs and back were already sore from moving rock the previous day and there was still a lot left to move.  Anthony arrived at noon and fortunately brought a wheelbarrow with him, although the tire was flat.  We overcame the flat tire and used it anyway, alternating between the barrow and the bin.  Anthony had some experience moving rock and the barrow sped up the process.  After just 2 hours we had moved almost all of the rock over!  After we had covered the entire section of the yard, I still had rock left over that I had to remove from the street and sprinkle over the area.  After about another hour of solo work, I was finally finished.  Exhausting work and in hindsight, probably should've ordered just 2 tons at most (who knows, maybe they even gave me 3 tons).  Regardless, the project is done!
We'll have to see how it holds up, but hopefully it'll be just as effective as the area in the backyard.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Vegas Trifecta

Back in the day, I found myself traveling to Las Vegas at least 2-3 times a year.  It was a popular destination when I was younger, for parties and random trips of excitement.  Over the last few years, I have not traveled there as often, only to play in APA pool tournaments on at best an annual basis.  However, this year is different, as I will be traveling to Las Vegas three times in a 6 week period:
  • Jan 12-14: Mike's 30th Birthday
  • Feb 3-5: Christina's 30th Birthday & Superbowl
  • Feb 17-20: Tyler's Bachelor Party
At first, I was on the fence about doing the birthdays, since I knew I'd be going in mid February for Tyler's bachelor party.  But 30th birthdays are important milestones to people, so I figured I'd just Make It Happen and do all three.  It'll be a lot of Vegas, which I don't care for the city as much anymore, but at least each time will be a different experience with a different group of friends.  And fortunately, living in Tucson, I'm only an hour flight away for a couple hundred bucks round-trip each time.

Sooooooooooooooo, yeah, hopefully I don't get burnt out.  Recaps of the trips to come next month!