Sledgstone

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Blog Entries posted by Sledgstone

  1. Sledgstone
    In my previous blog post I showed my new smoker:
    New Brinkmann Smoker (ECB) El Cheapo Brinkmann
    But the smoker didn't work out all that good right out of the box. These are the following modifications I've made to it:
    When I first got my smoker I put a grate at the bottom of the charcoal pan because I read that a grate will help in keeping ash buildup from blocking the air flow. This was not entirely correct. What I needed to do was have the grate about an inch off the bottom so that air flow can reach every piece of coal while allowing ash to sift down to the bottom. So my first modification was to use some pliers and bend the air fins open more to allow more airflow. Because I'll be able to control the airflow with another modification, I wanted to make sure the airflow would not get restricted by ash buildup. The second mod I did was to install three carriage bolts with nuts 1 inch from the bottom of the pan. This allows me to set the grate on the bolts and gets me the airflow I want. Before doing this, I attempted to use 3 equally sized rocks to lift the grate up.. Not a good idea. It worked but it didn't. The rocks change the flow of air and also absorb heat and break. Installing permanent bolts was the only real solution. Using a drill I made three holes 1 inch from the bottom and installed the bolts. I didn't want to use carriage bolts but they were the only ones I could find for the size and length I wanted to use at the local hardware store. These bolts worked out fine in the end because they didn't sit to far away from the pan's sides to affect how it sits in the base pan.

    The next modification was the most time consuming. I needed to control the airflow of this smoker. This smoker has two vents. The bottom vent which is a hole about 2 inches in diameter and the other is the gap where the lid sits on the body of the smoker. The lid does not go on with a solid seal and is designed that way so there is no need for an air vent on the top. I have seen other people modify their ECB lids by installing an oven gasket around the rim to make it have a solid seal and then installing an aftermarket weber charcoal damper on the lid. However, I did not do this.. I am more concerned about the airflow coming into the smoker at the bottom than restricting or increasing the airflow from the top.
    Here is what I did.. I drilled three holes into my base pan. One of those drill holes was a mistake which I'll explain in a bit. I used one bolt along with a washer, lock washer and lock nut to connect a pickle jar lid to the base of the pan. I needed to drill 2 holes into the jar lid. One to keep it connected to the base pan and the other to act as a slot for the metal control rod. Using a washer, lock washer and lock nut, the lid will stay connected without unscrewing the bolt due to repeated opening and closing. I drilled another hole into the side of the base pan to allow the metal rod to protrude out the side. This is where I messed up. I drilled the hole too high up. Once I had everything in place, I put the charcoal pan into the base pan and realized it was weighing down on the metal rod preventing me from using it correctly. So I drilled another hole right at the bottom of the side and then the pan fit perfectly. Of course this left me with a hole I had to plug up. Thankfully I the smoker came with some extra bolts and nuts and I simply used one of those to seal off the hole.
    The biggest problem with this was the metal rod I was using. I had an old metal sign holding post that I decided to use because it was tough and it already had one end of it bent into a crude loop from a previous project. This was some sturdy metal. After cutting it to the right shape, I was unable to bend it by hand. My bolt cutters have metal bending rods on it and I was able to use those to bend the metal into the angles I needed. This was a pain. I forgot to take a picture of the underneath of the base pan. Its basically a piece of metal bent in three places. Once at a 90 degree angle to fit through the jar lid hole, then another bend to keep the metal from scraping the ground, and then a third bend to keep the metal from scraping the bottom of the pan. In the end it worked out good because the piece of metal has just enough weight to it that it feels sturdy and it won't disconnect. With this done, I now an adjustable damper and I have full control over the airflow.


    A different angle:


    Now that I can open and close the damper to whatever amount of air flow I want to allow in, I need to be able to tell what the actual temperature of the smoker is. For this I needed to add a new thermometer. Adding a new thermometer was easier than I thought it would be. All I needed to do was drill one hole and then use a piece of simple lamp hardware found in my local hardware store's electricity aisle. Its a threaded feed-through with 2 nuts. I can't remember what the actual thing was called on the package in the store, but its basically a brass tube that is threaded for nuts to attach to it like a bolt. Its lamp hardware because electric cords usually go through the opening to the light bulb. But for me, the opening will be for my new thermometer. The hardware store only sold the things in a pack of 8 in varying sizes and the nuts were on the shelf just below them, also in a pack. I used either a 1 or 1 1/2 inch feed through with two nuts. Using a couple pliers I tightened the two nuts and kept the bulk of the feed through on the inside of the smoker to keep the thermometer level. I've seen some people recommend candy thermometers, but I chose instead to get a new Weber thermometer off amazon. Because the thermometer itself isn't installed, I can take it inside and clean it after every use.
    Outside look. I installed it right above the charcoal door:

    Inside look. Two nuts holding it in place. Pretty simple. I also bent this slightly downward to make sure the thermometer sits a bit more tight.

    This new thermometer is significantly better than the one that came with the smoker. I can now get the smoker up to 250 and using the damper on the bottom, I can make small adjustments to the airflow and maintain a constant cooking temperature.

    And here it is all completed:

    Resources I used for this project:
    http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/smoker_mods.htm
    http://brinkmannsmokermod.blogspot.com/2011/01/simple-modification-to-brinkmann.html
  2. Sledgstone
    *blogging my VB vs. IPB crap for future reference*
    ________________________________
    vBulletin = FAIL
    [ame=http://forums.ancientclan.com/showthread.php?t=9752"]vBulletin = FAIL - Ancient Clan Forums[/ame]
    Here is the email I received from vbulletin:
    The vbulletin team announced that vBulletin 4.0 would come out by the end of June 2009. It is October 14th today and with an announcement like this and a new website, you would think vbulletin 4.0 has finally been released! But no! It is still in alpha testing, there is no demo available and I have been given the opportunity to purchase the upgrade to the suite for the $130 discount for only 16-17 more days. And they still have not announced when the vb 4.0 version will even come out.
    And even though I bought the blog add-on for $50 a year ago, I get the same discount price as someone who only owns just the forum license. wtf.
    When my license support renewal is up, which last year would have costed me $40 for updates, will now cost me $195 for the new license if I haven't paid the $130 or more by then to download vbulletin 4.0 which may still not be out by then considering they are 4 months behind schedule with no product.
    So. We will probably continue running vb 3.8 until we find another alternative or vbulletin changes their pricing structure (which I'm sure they won't). I wouldn't mind paying for new forum software, we've spent plenty on vb over the years with renewal costs and one time purchases. But I can't justify staying with the company because of the part I have put in bold above.
    If we use just the forums and pay the initial upgrade price of $195 or so in january and switch to a free blog system because the version we have won't be compatible with vb 4.0... we'll still be stuck with another issue. Once vb 5.0 comes out (which should be 12-18 months according to a staff member), we'll have to buy a brand new vbulletin license for version 5 at the full price of another $195. And assuming a new major release then comes out every 1 or 2 years, it'll be hundreds of dollars every year or two just to keep using this software that still doesn't do everything I want it to do.
    I'm really starting to hate vbulletin. If I want to stay with this forum software, the only way I'll save money is by paying the cheaper upgrade cost of $130 which gives me the entire suite, but I only have 16 days to make my decision or pay $200 in January and only get the forum software.
    WTF!
    Anyone have any forum or blog recommendations? I was thinking about invision power board, but they're in the process of releasing a new cms like system and I don't know if that will be bundled in with their current suite. But even ipb is $250 for the suite with $60 renewal costs. But even that price is better than the new vbulletin price structure. Apparently, I have to make a decision within 16 days. *kicks vB in the balls*
  3. Sledgstone
    Back in May of this year I bought a new Smoker because I've been thinking about trying out smoking food for a couple years now. I've gotten pretty good with a standard grill, but I wanted to improve my slow cooking skills and try something new with different flavors. After watching numerous seasons of BBQ Pitmasters, I became inspired to finally try out charcoal smoking.
    Instead of buying something expensive, I shopped around, looked at reviews, different makes and models and I decided to go with a vertical charcoal water smoker. A vertical water smoker works by having a heat source at the bottom, a water pan in the middle of the smoker that provides hot moisture, and two cooking grates. One directly over the water pan and the second at the top of the smoker. Because the water pan is almost as wide as the smoker itself, it causes all the food in the smoker to be cooked with indirect moist heat. Vertical water smokers are also cheap. Some offsets are cheap also, but many of the low end vertical water smokers are under $60.
    After reading many reviews, I decided to get a Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker. There is a large community of people that use this exact smoker and have shared numerous modifications they have done to improve it's performance. After reading about smoker modifications I was a bit concerned. Why would a new product need modifying? Well, I found out the answer.. If I wanted a smoker that would work amazing right out of the box, I'd have to pay $300 for a Weber Smokey Mountain. So, no.. I decided to go with something cheaper and modify it if needed, hence why these Brinkmann ones are nick named the ECB (El Cheapo Brinkmann). I'll only be using this smoker about 5 months out of the year and not even every week. For what I wanted to do, I figured $90 on amazon was good enough. For that price I also got the smoker cover, which turned out to be better material than I thought it would.
    Unfortunately, amazon shipped this smoker horribly. The box looked like it was kicked a few times and I had to hug the metal of the body and the lid back into a fully circular shape. As well as bending the door into a shape that would close correctly.. I also needed to use a rubber mallet and hammer out one ding in the body. I was not please with the condition, but after full assembly the smoker looked great.
    Here are some pictures of the Smoker new and in use for the first time:
    I never used charcoal before so I had to buy a new charcoal chimney starter and some charcoal. I decided to get the weber chimney and go right for the royal oak lump charcoal. After reading all the safety information about charcoal lighter fluid and how you need to let the charcoal burn out for at least 20 minutes, etc. I had no interest in using it.. thats why I got the chimney starter. Along with some newspaper I'm able to get any charcoal started burning safely. That and I have a friend that uses the same style of chimney to start his charcoal grill. Very simple to use.


    The bottom of the smoker is a charcoal pan with air vents on the bottom. Charcoal is controlled completely by air flow. I added a grate at the bottom because I read that burned charcoal ash will build up and block the air flow which would smother the remaining coals.


    Now that the coals are ready, I put the body of the smoker on top of the pan, then add water to the water pan, put on the grates and add the food. Put the lid on and its done.

    As you can see, this style of smoker is noticeably smaller than an offset charcoal smoker that can usually be about the size of a normal grill.

    For my first use, I went big. I put a pork shoulder on the bottom grate and a rack of ribs on the top. I figured I'd get a good feel for the smoker with two different things cooking at once.

    I also put a couple aluminum foil packets of soaked hickory and apple wood chips onto the charcoal.. Here is where the smoke starts rolling pretty good:

    About 4+ hours later here are the results:



    The end results were not what I was expecting. Because this smoker has no airflow controls, I could not regulate the temperature. Also the thermometer is horrible. It doesn't even have temperatures.. only "warm, ideal and hot". The ribs turned out ok, but overly smoked. The smoke flavor was so pronounced that I couldn't eat the smaller ribs. And the pork shoulder was not even cooked all the way through. I ended up finishing the pork shoulder on my propane grill because I already used 2 chimneys full of charcoal and I didn't feel like setting another to burn. The pork shoulder was not cooked correctly but the smoke flavor was good for it. Because it was thicker, the smoke didn't permeate as much into the meat.
    I'd say this smoker was a failure. But I didn't give up. I decided to make a few modifications, which I'll go over in another blog post. I can say that I would not recommend using this smoker without modifying it. Or if you do use this smoker without modifications do not use lump charcoal. It burns far hotter and faster than kingsford briquettes and with no airflow controls, the lump burned incredibly fast. Also, use almost boiling water in your water pan, and only fill it half way. The water I used was hot from the tap and because of the volume of water the pan holds, most of the heat that would have cooked the pork shoulder was absorbed by the water that was sitting directly under it.
    And for anyone wondering, was the smoker worth it? The answer is yes. Once I had the proper modifications done, I have been making some of the best barbeque I've ever eaten. Definitely worth it. It was quite a learning experience too. Practice makes perfect.
  4. Sledgstone
    http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?363883-Internet-Brands-claims-against-Xenforo
    http://xenforo.com/community/threads/internet-brands-claims-against-xenforo.4727/
    Internet Brands, the parent company of vBulletin has filed a lawsuit against Xenforo because XF is developed by former vBulletin head developers and are directly competing with their product. Apparently there maybe contractual breaches from the developers former employment with IB. Of course, customers of vBulletin that were pissed off at vB/IB before are even more pissed off because of this lawsuit. The discussions in the private customer forum at vbulletin.com are only available to licensed owners so its pointless to post a link to it, but there are alot of aggravated customers complaining. Who will win the lawsuit? What software platform will become king in the future? And what about Invisionboard who is lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on the weakened victor? The forum drama continues...
  5. Sledgstone
    Invision Power Services has launched their test site for their new 4.0 software that we'll be upgrading to sometime after they release it and a new skin is available (most likely the same skin / theme we are using now). Its interesting as I didn't know what exactly to expect. I knew they were recoding the entire platform so all their products can be used separately, but I was kind of expecting some new eye popping layout or something. When compared to their current forum, it actually looks very similar:
    Current forum running IPB 3:
    http://community.invisionpower.com/
    Test forum running IPB 4:
    http://zend.ipsdevserver.com/ips4/
    Once a good skin is installed, I'm sure it'll look fine, just like how AC currently looks very different from the regular IPB3 skin.
    It does look like some nice features have been added and the software works much better on mobile devices now, including mobile image uploads. According to their admins, they have spent a long time making the new core software to give them a solid platform to add many new features and functionality to for years to come. I look forward to seeing what this software is actually capable of. I've been holding off on doing any major renovations to this site because I've been waiting for this new version. As of this post, they have still not revealed the new content management system (CMS aka IP.Content), and that is the primary piece that I'm most interested in and how the new version of it will affect the way articles are handled on AC.
  6. Sledgstone
    I haven't liked vBulletin for some time now and mostly put that forum software behind me except for the occasional jab about how bad their software is. I came across this interesting update from PC Gamer the other day... with a part that I emphasized:
    http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/07/26/why-forums-and-comments-are-still-offline/
    http://mos.futurenet.com/forum/
    I don't visit PC Gamer's website, so I'm not certain what version of vB they were using, but this is pretty huge. The took all of their entire network's vBulletin powered forums offline because it was exploited.
    Well PC Gamer, I suggest you switch to Invision Power.
    vBulletin has really gone downhill and I'm glad we stopped using their software when we did.
  7. Sledgstone
    Kettle Brand Jalapeno Potato Chips are some of the best jalapeno chips available in stores. With that nice large red "Hot" pepper on the front of the package, I was expecting some good heat and these chips delivered.

    The chips are a nice gold color speckled with green jalapeno seasonings. But the flavor isn't just in those speckles, these chips are imbued with jalapeno flavor. After just a few chips you'll begin to notice the nice jalapeno burn sneaking up on you as an after taste. After about 5-10 chips you'll be approaching the full flavor profile of jalapeno perfection. Kettle Brand jalapeno chips are less salty and have less 'folded over' chips than other competing brands and that is what really sets them apart from the others. Every chip is very consistent with flavor and seasonings.
    The only downside to these are probably that they are a bit greasy, just like all potato chips. But the packaging does a good job at grabbing excess grease and seasonings and keeping it all stuck to the inside of the bag, mostly at the bottom. This reduces the overall greasiness of the chips to be a bit less than a regular bag of Lays. If you really enjoy the flavor of jalapeno and want every last crumb and bit of grease, after you eat a bag of these, cut open the empty bag and lick the inside for a special treat of unhealthiness. I actually did this once.. too much grease for me, but the flavor was very good.

    Should you eat these?
    Yes! These are some of the best jalapeno chips you can buy. Expect some good jalapeno heat. These are hotter than Lay's Sriracha chips.
  8. Sledgstone
    My first impressions of the SR338 is that it is a DMR with all the sniper rifle scopes. I'm really surprised this is in the same category as the rest of the sniper rifles. This gun reminds me of the SKS from BF3.
    This gun is definitely a DMR except that its only good for medium range. Up close shots and you need at least 2-3 shots to kill an enemy at point blank range. This isn't good at all for my style of Aggressive Recon. I don't see how you can get 3 shots off in time when it has a bigger accuracy penalty than a regular DMR with follow up shots. Any other gun could easily take you out in a fire fight up close.
  9. Sledgstone
    I received this email today:
    After logging into vbulletin's site, I changed my password and checked out the client forums. vBulletin's software was compromised, again.
    Earlier this year, PCGamers forum was hacked and then earlier in July, Ubuntu forums was hacked. And just the other day vbulletin.com, vbulletin.org and MacRumors were all hacked. All of the sites were running vbulletin software.
    References:
    http://blog.canonical.com/2013/07/30/ubuntu-forums-are-back-up-and-a-post-mortem/
    http://www.macrumors.com/2013/11/12/macrumors-forums-security-leak/
    https://www.facebook.com/inj3ct0rs/posts/611793255548704
    http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/forum/vbulletin-announcements/vbulletin-announcements_aa/4007195-important-message-regarding-your-account
    http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=304626
    I'm glad we stopped using this software when we did. vbulletin.org runs vb 3 which is what we were running in the end before switching to Invision Power Board. If vb3 is now vulnerable, then all the numerous sites still using it are at risk. Anyone that has used the same password on all sites, should not use any password they have previously used on any vBulletin site.
    The Ubuntu and MacRumors sites were hacked because a moderator account was broken into. The vBulletin.com and vBulletin.org sites have not stated how they were hacked into, nor do they have a fix for this exploit because it is "being looked into."
  10. Sledgstone
    I was playing Domination on Operation Mortar when I got this UCAV Airburst triple kill. The shortest effective range for the UCAV is shown in this video. From the moment I shot it, I was holding up on the control to pitch the UCAV down as fast as possible until the last moment. Around 120 meters in the shortest distance a UCAV can be effective at.
  11. Sledgstone
    Doritos Jacked chips are thick, large, bolder tasting versions of their regular Doritos lineup. So when I saw the Doritos Jacked Ranch Dipped Hot Wings flavor I had to try them. The packaging details really jumped out at me and being a fan of the Ranch flavored doritos the blue color really grabbed my attention.

    The chips are huge like all the other Doritos Jacked chips and the flavor is almost spot on for what it claims to be. The Hot Wings flavor is a spicy buffalo flavor with a hint of vinegar that gives it a nice bite to the heat. Along with a nice hint of ranch these chips taste good. All the chips are noticeably coated with flavoring and smell great.

    Should you eat these?
    Yes. If this flavor sounds appealing to you, get a bag and enjoy the bold taste.
    (Update!) After eating these at work today the vinegar smell and taste of the chips was much more noticeable. A small change of environment and I realized I must have been getting used to the smell and taste at home. Turns out these are a bit stronger with vinegar than I thought they were and a couple coworkers seemed to notice.
  12. Sledgstone
    A while ago, I had some serious engine rocking problems and misfires happening with my car. The end result was a $700 repair bill at a local mechanic. Part of the repair work about $150 of it, was for replacing the valve cover gasket. Well, a few months after it was done, it started leaking oil and over the past 6 months it started leaking really bad, causing oil to leak down onto the exhaust manifold and cause grey smoke to come out from under the hood on a daily basis. Seeing as the valve cover already had a new gasket and still leaked, I figure the valve cover itself needs to be replaced as it has become warped with heat and/or damaged somehow.
    I went to the local pick n pull and found the only saturn that had the same valve cover as mine. I lucked out pretty good. I have pictures of the valve cover before and after cleaning and what the factory gasket (black gasket) looks like. Maybe I'll post those pictures in another blog entry. But why did I buy the valve cover at the scrap yard? Because it only costed $11 compared to the close to $400 the dealership wants.
    This tutorial isn't completely in-depth on how to change a valve cover gasket but it does cover all the steps. All I can say is that for a saturn, it is easier to change your valve cover than to change your front brake calipers and bleed the brake lines.
    1) First off, drive the car up onto car ramps (not those shitty plastic ones, unless you want a car to fall on your head), put an oil drain pan under the oil pan, drain the oil by removing the oil pan plug, then remove the oil filter and also let that drain. Then screw back on your oil pan plug and put on a new oil filter. I have no pictures of doing all that. X'D
    2) Disconnect your battery at the negative terminal. Now you'll want to mark the number order of your spark plug boots with duct tape and pull them out and set them to the side. Then disconnect the hose and unplug the pcv valve from the valve cover.

    3) Now you'll remove the bolts holding the valve cover on. I would take them off in the order as specified in the haynes/repair manual. Then take the valve cover off, be careful, its an oily mess. The old gasket should come off rather easy, but you might have scrape the gasket off the manifold or valve cover, if any rtv was used. This is a picture of the old valve cover and gasket (the gasket is blue).

    4) Here is a picture of the engine head after I cleaned it. You have to have a clean oil free surface for your gasket or else it will leak. I used Brakekleen and a rag.

    5) Here is another angle. I'm posting these next couple pictures because I didn't know where I was supposed to apply the rtv when replacing the gasket. All over the internet, people would say "where the timing chain cover meets the head." or "on the timing chain T-joints."

    6) Which are right here. I felt stupid. I've never messed with engines before and I didn't realize that the timing chain had its own cover that covered a large chunk of the engine on the passenger side.

    7) Here is another angle. If you can make it out from my blurry picture, there is a slight recess in this joint. That is what you want to definitely be filled in with rtv. When I applied rtv, I smeared it on with my thumb and made sure air didn't get trapped in it. Now remember, do not apply rtv until you are ready to put the valve cover on and tighten all the bolts! rtv sets very fast and you don't want to have it harden up before you put everything back together.


    8) This is the new slightly used valve cover from the scrap yard. I cleaned it quite a bit with engine degreaser and then with brakekleen the day before and then let it thoroughly dry. The gasket easily fits snug into the valve cover's grooves.

    9) These are the locations where I put a small amount of rtv to make sure I got a good seal. I also applied rtv to the engine head at the same spots so the rtv will grab itself when I put the valve cover on.

    10) And here is a picture of the valve cover bolts with their little gaskets on them. Remember to keep all the gaskets oil free!

    11) Now apply your rtv on those spots I pointed out, (I used the blue rtv), and then very carefully place the valve cover back on, without smudging your rtv! and then put the bolts back on by hand at first and then follow the tightening sequence as shown in your repair manual.

    12) Here is another angle of what it will look like properly tightened. My old valve cover was flush with the head which shows how warped it must have been, considering this one is a more uniformly even spacing all around.

    13) Now put those boots back on your spark plugs and reconnect the hose, pcv valve and then your negative battery connection.


    14) Then let your car sit for 24 hours so your rtv will fully cure. Once thats done, put in 4 quarts of oil and test the car for leaks.
    I just did this job yesterday and put oil in around 6 tonight. It looks like everything is holding up well. But I'm still keeping my eyes open for leaks. Hopefully I won't come across another problem related to this. x_x
  13. Sledgstone
    With the highly successful Doritos Locos Tacos giving Taco Bell a huge boost in sales, Doritos decided to try and cash in on more of that revenue and hype with Locos Tacos flavored chips. I say "try" because thats exactly what these chips are good for. Trying once and never buying again. They come in two flavors, Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch just like the Locos Tacos. In each bag there are two flavors. The flavored chip and the crunchy taco chip. Doritos has made other products two flavors in a bag on numerous other occasions and they never seem to work right at all.

    You might wonder what flavor of chips are in this next picture, but it doesn't really matter because both bags when poured into bowls look and taste exactly the same. The Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese bags basically contain the exact same product as I tasted no difference between them. If I had known they would be identical in flavor I would have only bought one bag.
    These chips taste interesting at first but like all snack foods with multiple flavor coated items in them, there was no distinguishing if you were eating a nacho cheese, cool ranch or taco chip. All the flavoring basically mixes together in the bag and the result is a taco flavored chip that noticeably tastes more like broken taco shell pieces with Dorito flavoring than a taco flavored chip. They're not that bad, but not amazing like the Doritos Locos Tacos they are named after.

    I had so many of these chips because I had two open bags that I lost interest in the flavor and decided to use them in soft tacos to try and get some Locos flavor in a home made meal. This is when I realized these chips tasted much better with actual tacos. If anything, these chips would be a good companion chip for a taco dip. But as a stand alone snack they don't seem to hold their own.

    Should you eat these?
    Sure. Try them once to see how they taste, but don't worry about which flavor you buy because they all taste the same. If anything, I recommend buying one bag of the original regular Taco flavored chips and one bag of Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese. Then eat two chips at once, Taco and the flavored one. That would taste far superior than the flavor of these Locos Tacos chips.
    What Doritos and Taco Bell should do is sell the actual Doritos Locos Taco shells in the supermarkets. Forget these chips, instead sell those shells. Whenever I'm at the store, I always pass on buying Taco Bell shells in favor of the superior Old El Paso brand. But if Taco Bell wants to make more money, they should work with Doritos and bring these shells to the stores. I'd buy them in a heartbeat for my own home made tacos.
  14. Sledgstone
    I tried Lay's Stax for the first time this week and got two different flavors. Original and Buffalo Wings With Ranch. The originals are nothing special. I used those as a base to evaluate the new flavor I was interested in. Original Lay's Stax taste just like Pringles Original except the chips are about 1 1/2 times thicker.

    Buffalo Wings With Ranch look exactly like they do on the packaging. One side plain with the other side flavored. The chips were very consistent with no one chip massively over seasoned and because of the packaging, not a single busted chip.

    The chips have a noticeable vinegar smell and taste with a very mild taste of buffalo along with an almost non-existent hint of ranch. Overall I was not impressed with these chips.
    Should you eat them?
    If you like vinegar with buffalo, try them out. If not, then pass on them. Just don't eat these with a group of people around or in the office because you might get complaints because the smell of vinegar is very powerful.
  15. Sledgstone
    I saw these at the store a couple weeks ago and decided to try them out. Cheetos Mix-Ups Cheezy Salsa Mix sounded like a nice mix of heat that would give my taste buds a good work out. Unfortunately, they left much to be desired. While the packaging looked great and the claim of hot spiciness lured me in, these cheese poofs did not deliver.

    Upon opening the package the smell was odd. A weird combination of aromas that I was not expecting. This product features 4 different flavors, Cheddar, Jalapeno Cheddar, Salsa Picante and Chipotle Cheddar.

    I'm a fan of the Cheetos Puffs and Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks, but this "Cheezy Salsa Mix" was disappointing. First off, because this bag features 4 flavors, all of the residual seasoning is coating all the individual flavors. The normal Cheddar Puff is coated in such a mess of flavoring that it tastes nothing like a normal cheddar puff. Thats one flavored ruined. Next up is the Jalapeno Cheddar.. the little green ones.. when eating jalapeno, I expect a bit of heat, but these puffs had nothing but a mild hint of jalapeno flavor. As for the Salsa picante.. based on the packaging, I was lead to believe these would be the hottest puffs. But no, while they had a nice flavor, there was no heat. At all. A single drop of tabasco sauce is hotter.
    The only thing this bag of snacks had to offer what the Chipotle Cheddar puffs. This was the most unique flavor I have tasted in a snack in quite a while. Unfortunately, the texture of this puff was horrible. The waffle shape along with the size of the bite wasn't all that great. In fact, I'm not entirely certain if I would like it as a separate product because of all the other flavors in the bag skewing my tastes.
    Should you eat this?
    No. I will not buy another bag of these and I don't recommend you even try them. It claims to be spicy, but this is not spicy at all. I did not care for this mixture of flavors and textures whatsoever. However, if Cheetos made the Salsa Picante or Chipotle Cheddar puffs into crunchy versions sold separately, they might have a decent product.
  16. Sledgstone
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57526994-94/android-users-outraged-over-motorolas-broken-promise/
    Next phone I buy will be an HTC or a Samsung. I will never buy a Motorola phone again. I specifically bought this phone because it was on sale, it had basically the same specs as the samsung galaxy at the time and it was guaranteed to be upgraded to the latest android operating system.
    I never got that upgraded operating system. Android 2.3 is so outdated, that numerous apps are not even available for it. I cannot even run Google Chrome.. wtf. No Vine, no Time Warner app, etc. Numerous basic features on all phones are not available to me because I bought this phone with the belief that I'd only use the old operating system for another month or so. I remember when my brother's Nexus got upgraded to android 4.1, he was talking about how it was like a brand new phone again.. I was looking forward to this upgrade for so long.. and then my hopes were crushed.
    Say no to Motorola. Don't even bother buying their crap, because its completely unsupported.
  17. Sledgstone
    vBulletin has updated their vBulletin 5 Connect demo.. Heres a prime example of the horrible crap of vbulletin's sofware and one of the obvious reasons we stopped using their product.
    vBulletin custom page example:
    http://www.vbulletin.com/vb5demo/custom_page
    Yay, I could have put text on a page.
    Here is an example of a random test page that I made on ipb:
    http://www.ancientclan.com/test.html
    I have the ability to put anything from the database onto any page I want and in whatever format I want it to appear in. Huge difference. Sure vb allows custom blocks and html, but if it was anything as advanced as IPB, you would think they would have made a better example.
  18. Sledgstone
    So I noticed my muffler was sounding louder than usual and I knew there was a small hole right on the end of it. So I bought a tube of muffler/exhaust patch goop and took pictures of my patch job. Make sure your car has been off for quite a while before doing this yourself. Your exhaust pipe and muffler should be cold when using this stuff because heat will only harden the goop too fast and you risk burning yourself. So yeah, to do this job yourself, all you need is the following:
    1 tube of Exhaust system joint & crack sealer
    (purchased at NAPA for $2.95 or so)
    1 throwaway latex glove
    (purchased at NAPA or walmart, an entire package for a few dollars, usually near the toilet scrubbers at walmart or auto chemical section)
    1 can of brakekleen or any brand of spray on brake parts cleaner (all you need is a couple sprays out of it for this). ($3)
    Here is the hole in my muffler.

    Here is a pic of the Exhaust system joint & crack sealer that I used. Autozone or Advance Auto Parts probably have the same brand or something similar.

    Here is the hole in my muffler after I sprayed it with some brakekleen to get the harmful chemicals off it. Then I let it air dry and then sandpapered it lightly to remove excessive rust or grime. Then I sprayed it again with more brakleen and let it dry once again so the goop will stick good.

    And just as I was about to put the goop on, I noticed this hole, and yes those are metal coat hangers holding up my muffler, the strap rusted away about six months ago.

    LMAO, holy shit! No wonder it got so loud! X'D

    So I put on the throwaway blue rubber glove and smeared some sealer onto the hole.

    I also cleaned, sanded (And wow, after rubbing it lightly with the sandpaper it became an even bigger hole) and then cleaned the huge hole and smeared almost the entire tube all over the hole. Since the sealer goop starts stiffening rather quickly, it was easy to just keep applying blobs to the edges of the hole, let it harden slightly and then just keep building on that edge until it covered the entire hole.

    Because it kept wanting to cling to my finger and reopen the hole when I touched it, I had to let it dry for an hour and apply another layer over top of it to finish the patch.

    I then let it sit over night and it was noticeably quieter the next day. Not normal of course. If all I had was just that little hole, once it was patched, you would think the muffler was new. But that huge gaping hole affects the noise the muffler makes now. I'll have to get a new muffler soon, but at least until I do it doesn't sound like I'm driving some old diesel truck down the road. X'D
    Btw, if you have a small hole like the one on the end of my muffler on any part of your exhaust pipe, do this quick easy fix yourself and it'll cut back on alot of noise.
  19. Sledgstone
    Utz Cheddar Cheese Balls are a nice airy treat with a decent cheese flavor. Utz often changes the containers their cheese balls come in to coincide with different seasons or events. These particular pictures were taken back during the NBA playoffs which is why the container has basketball ridges and corresponding sticker.

    These cheese balls have a decent cheddar cheese flavoring that is superior to Cheetos Puffs. Of course the flavoring is just that, a flavoring.. In no way does it actually taste like little balls of delicious cheese. On the other hand the flavoring is decent for what it is and will satisfy a cheese craving. Being a cheese poof, they are not dense at all, you'll grab a small bowl of these and within a few minutes you'll realize how quickly they disappear. These cheese balls are very consistent in terms of texture and flavoring, but you will occasionally find a ball or two that seems to have a bit of a hard piece.

    Should you eat these?
    Yes. If you are a fan of cheese puff snacks, definitely try these out. I recommend them over Cheetos.
  20. Sledgstone
    I finally got the airburst upgrade unlocked for my UCAV and this is the results. Its a bit overpowered considering that I can get a kill with it every time I use it now. As you can see, that 90 second resupply definitely prevented me from dominating. I often jump around after getting kills with the UCAV because I want people to see where I am. I want them to counter me so I'll know how to counter it myself.
    Shortly after this video I was marked as a High Value Target and I was quickly killed. I have also had the UCAV (either the missile or the launcher) get destroyed by a MAV which caused it to explode in mid air, then I was sniped.