Prime pain.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky one’s, though if you’re reading this there’s a significant chance you’re not.

Transformers Prime
Free? Ha! We'll teach you the meaning!

This Easter weekend there is a buy-one-get-one[…] sale at Toys ‘R’ Us on several different items. What I’m interested in are the Transformers Prime Deluxe figures. I don’t know what it is about animated series’ and their figures but I have to have them all! ALL!! *insert crazy laugh*

When I rolled off the couch this morning and when I went out to the driveway to pick up the news paper from the next town over – somehow we keep getting them but I won’t complain – there was no idea in my head that I would be driving all over the place trying to get a free DVD.

Yeah, you read that right. Not only could I buy a figure at full price and get another for half the price but since the purchase would put me barely over $20 I could get a free DVD too. And heck, maybe 2 if I wanted!

Well it didn’t happen.

Seems Toys “R” Us got the sales paper all printed and the stores all ready for all the offers – and there are plenty, which reminds me… – without shipping Transformers Prime DVD’s to their stores. I guess the “free” part of the deal meant that you’re “free” of having them in your possession. Oh well.

Maybe it’s just a North Texas thing, maybe it’s an all-over thing. I only tried 2 local stores. But if you, random reader, have gotten the DVD along with your full and-a-half priced figures then count yourself among the elite.

-VR

Update: I got the DVDs!
A very Lucky employee at one of the local TrU called me Saturday morning with the news that they had finally gotten the DVDs in. I picked them up only to realize that you really do get what you pay for – sometimes less than what you pay for too – and “free” isn’t much to pay.

Now, let’s see if the Freebird’s/Edge Fest free tickets deal is something to be excited about.

Advertisements

Just let it be.

It’s not every day you get to relive something while still feeling the connection to the thoughts and moments that you had before in the initial experience and somehow expand upon them. One such moment was had this evening when I sat and watched A River Runs Through It again for the first time since I was a child.

It was one of those movies that my parents watched – they being super-religious-type people that raised me up being aware of every single curse word spoken in a movie – while my brother and I sat uncomfortably through as we tried to make sense of something we, or I alone, couldn’t quite relate to or begin to understand at such an age.

Now that I’m an adult and have contemplated the idea of mortality lately for the passing of more and more people who have been mainstays in my life… well it kind of struck a nerve. Of course the strummed cord was one of many in this sad song I’ve grooved to lately, but it doesn’t change the fact that for a movie with material this good and a message that hits so close to home, I don’t know if I even want to read the book.

It very well could be the ramifications of staying up late since I finished the movie at 2 A.M. And it very well could be that the Hot Toddy I made myself had a more adverse effect on me. Whiskey does affect me in weird ways.

I’ve debated lately the life of this blog too. It started out as a place where I could put all my non-personal, generic ideas and stuff while hoping that some voice would be found and an audience could be had but I don’t know if any of that has happened. It was mostly supposed to be reviews about local, Dallas-type things that I’ve witnessed or been a part of, but that idea seemed very limited because my heart just isn’t in “big D” at all.

Since it looks like my ties to “Clean Dallas”  are cut I really don’t have to focus on something local since it doesn’t interest me. Heck I’m not really into the comics engine anymore because the industry, as talented as the people who put the books out there are, has no soul anymore.

I’ll watch the animated movies (the live action crap is just that!), I’ll even buy the trades if I’m that interested but I won’t be sucked into the fantastical soap operas that tirelessly run on and on, piling more layers upon foundations that are way beyond capacity and have been unstable for the past 30 years.

People die, life evolves. We won’t be around to see where it ultimately goes but is that so bad? Just move on and give the tired beast a rest.

Maybe I’ll move to Montana some day or just visit there and try my hand at fly fishing. Nature is peaceful and enjoyable and maybe it will get me away from these things and people who I’ve let bring me down, assisting in this personal stagnation.

Who knows…?

And so I realize that there are things you just can’t change. Maybe it’s how you approach the problem that makes it this or maybe it’s because you’re the only one that sees a problem there at all. And here I would reiterate the question above. What I do know is that life is too short to bother with stupidity and tolerate the intolerable but that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate it for the unique and oftentimes fresh perspective it allows for you to perceive the world around you in a different light.

But as an adult it’s nice to think that I have all the answers and that the decisions I make are the right ones because when it comes to trial and error I’ve been there, done that and have the scars to prove it and am beyond that sort of elementary, basic means of functioning. But that would mean I’m perfect and I know also that’s just not possible.

No one is. So just let it be.

-VR

Review: Rancho La Sandia – Garland, Texas

Rancho La Sandia, the place to go for an authentic taste that’s beyond Tex-Mex!

Moving is never easy for many different reasons but I want to focus on only one of those reasons right now: there are so many new restaurants to try and so little time to try them all! – I say that as if they all have to be tried within the first few months. Ha!

It’s just nice to know where to take your family when they visit or that hole-in-the-wall place that no one seems to notice but managed to catch your eye. It’s places like that I’m proud to be giving my wife’s hard-earned cash.

Lately I’ve had a crazy craving for Tex-Mex. I like mine to be more Mex than Tex, as authentic as I can get, but a good flavor combination definitely scores points in my book!

… And I have found just the place in Rancho La Sandia!
(Cue matador fanfare)

Sure there are other Mexican, Tex-Mex or similar ethnic restaurants around but they pale in comparison. If you keep on reading you’ll see why.

It’s really easy to miss this little gem unless you’re a local and/or just have a super-keen sense of direction to traverse a couple of the many confusing streets Garland has to offer. I’m not a native of this city so over the years I have had the wonderful experience of getting lost more times than I can imagine. The roads were obviously designed by a civil engineer that practiced Timothy Leary’s philosophy on life or thought that Batman was real and, being a super-villain that designed random streets, would have the upper hand on evading his chase. Who knows?
It’s located on Marketplace just off of and facing Centerville. There are never too many cars parked outside and that’s too bad because people are missing out.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first visited Rancho La Sandia. After driving by several times, trying to familiarize myself with the best way to navigate the area I decided to take a chance.
Sometimes this type of food is just too bland or too salty to even give a second chance but it’s always that first try you need, a push for that little taste of adventure that lets you know you’ve accomplished something however minute it might be.

So I went in and grabbed a seat and there was Juan(ito) – by his own naming – to greet me. Handing me a menu he took my drink order and as usual I go for the Dr. Pepper.
According to their website Rancho La Sandia has been here since 1990 and “has been responsible for providing outstanding handmade Mexican Food ever since“. Obviously that’s given them enough time to fill out a menu and give it a proper layout. I was definitely impressed. They also have weekend brunch!

Salsa en Salsa Verde
To those of you that are afraid to eat "green things"... more for me!

Juan came back and brought my drink with not one but two salsas, one typical and the other verde (green). When I say typical I’m not saying it’s anything less, just red and “basic”, but their Salsa Verde is the creamiest green tomato salsa I’ve ever had. Sometimes I like to try and gauge the rest of the food by the salsa that’s brought to me and if there are two that are awesome yet completely different then that’s a good sign.

After thumbing through the menu and snacking on the chips and salsa I came across two menu items that sounded interesting: Enchiladas de Pollo and Pollo Rostizado. Obviously I was in the mood for chicken. As an experienced waiter myself I found it only natural to ask Juan when he came back which of those two choices he thought would be best and he recommended the latter of the two. The former I tried at a later time; it was good but he was correct. I like a waiter that knows his menu!

Rostizado!
If you don't like chicken on the bone, don't try this. You might actually like it!

When the food arrived in just a few minutes I was surprised! Chicken on the bone was never really a favorite of mine but it came with the choice of corn or flour tortillas and since I always go for corn and Juan recommended the dish I might as well try to pick at the bones and get some minor enjoyment out of it at least. The surprise is here: at my first attempt I used a knife and fork on the meat and it pulled right off the bone. That’s a wonderful experience, honestly. When the meat effortlessly comes right off the bone without you having to use your fingers, I know there’s definitely something right about this chicken. When I popped a piece in my mouth an explosion of flavor transported me to another place and time. It was amazing!

Needless to say after that initial experience I’ve revisited Rancho La Sandia several times. I was disappointed only once and that was when I had ordered their taco salad and Juan seemed to be the only server on duty during a busy time. The salad was a bit soggier than I prefer and didn’t have too much flavor at all, but what do you expect? They’re not Taco Delite or Pancho’s!

Enchiladas en Mole
Holy Mole! - Yeah, I know.

After the Salad failure I decided to try something that seemed more… signature and tried their Enchiladas en Mole. That was another glorious experience. When it came out it didn’t look like much and I had never really been a fan of Mole before but there’s that “adventure” thing again. It rocked my face off! It was sweet and savory and both flavors managed to compliment the other in a slow, smooth and delicious ballet in my mouth. It’s definitely a must try!

Rancho La Sandia seems to always have a happy hour or their Margaritas are just always well priced. And if you want to catch a game they will more than likely have it on. So if you guys want a great meal and want to get your significant other all nice and saucy then this is the place to go. It’s quaint and the atmosphere is very welcoming. Just chew and swallow before you cheer.

-VR

If you’re interested in reading other reviews for Rancho La Sandia they can be found at the links below. Thanks!

Active Diner, Urbanspoon, Yelp

Dry Spell

My phone has a mind of its own.

Yes, this is what I call a dry spell when it comes to blogging.

It’s what happens when you’re working on something outside the blog and you’re discouraged because you haven’t yet created an independent voice for yourself so that you can talk about any subject, add a little personality and have readers enthralled.

I watched Julie & Julia with my wife the other day and realized the potential this blog allows, but then I also realized that I’ve dug myself into a hole because I write only about animation, comics and all things nerdy (the gaming industry the exception) like me. What can I say, I love Superhero’s and I love animation and when they mesh well then you’ve got one hell of a ride!

Once in a while something new will come along and it’ll be post-worthy but so far nothing. Though my most recent blog about a local 2-screen theater in Garland follows more along the original “Clean Dallas” idea, but it’s one of those things you – in this case me – would find yourself in the middle of and just have to scrap and start over. I hate that. Such a waste of time really.

And I did just that. But what’s next?

When boredom strikes, pull out the Transformers!

Well, restaurant reviews are something I’d like to add. I’ve thought about Action figure reviews as well. I’m definitely open to suggestion(s) though.

Dry spells….
It’s not that there isn’t anything to write about, I just haven’t found it, at least not in the circles I follow. And the creative juices have dried up a bit – though that sounds kinda nasty.

Lately school has taken a good percentage of my focus. In order to progress I need a break.

Wait, what?

Yeah, a break. I’ve taken it and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things so if I have any regular readers out there please bear with me as I try to get this machine rolling once again.

Thanks for staying loyal, I’ll try not to disappoint or maybe I should try to disappoint and see if that’s a better goal to aspire to.

Who knows?

It could work!

-VagueRant

By the way… the layout of this post looked better when I was inserting the pictures than the real finished product. That sucks!

A hidden Gem among the debris

A little movie theater in Garland, Tx just E. of Jupiter Rd., a little S. of Walnut St. sits alone in the middle of a parking lot waiting for you to stop by and enjoy its presence.

What you see when you pull up.

Sometimes there’s that one place you like to go and spend your money and time and one day you look around and realize you’re the only one there. Walnut Theaters 5/3 is just this place.
Sometimes you can drive by and see cars parked in the lot but they are oftentimes few at most. It’s not the easiest place to see from the road unless you’re looking, this I know because when I first moved here I looked and looked until I was finally resolved that the theater I was looking for was that tiny, lonely building. They have a small marquis/billboard on Walnut street but, again, you have to be looking at the right time or going slow enough in your vehicle to really see it.
Now, I say all that because I wanted to give you a picture of what everyone sees. It doesn’t look like much on the outside and when you walk into the foyer it’s still nothing spectacular but this is where I parallel the idea of “The Secret Garden”. As you walk into the theater(s) you feel like you’re in a whole other time and place.

What you see upon entering one of the two screens. Nice!

The theater is surprisingly clean and spacious, not a foul smell or a sticky substance to be found unlike when you go to the dollar theaters. If you want popcorn or a soda all you have to do is ask and pay and they’ll bring it to you. That’s some service you don’t find anywhere else!

Walnut Theaters $5/$3 is the name of the place and why is it named that? The owner likes to let people know what they’re in for and so why not put it in the title? You see, he doesn’t show old movies like the local dollar theaters. He charges $5 for adults and $3 for children to see first-run movies. Not bad, eh?

My wife and I frequent here and have spent a total of $15 which included our tickets, our drink and a popcorn. That’s barely the price of a ticket everywhere else!

Now one of the most amazing things about this theater is the sound system. It’s not a surround sound system but what the owner calls an “arching” sound system that he developed himself. One night he gave a demonstration and it was definitely a treat!

You wouldn’t know this by looking at it but there have been a few premiers held here. The owner boasted, though humbly, that he had been asked to host a couple of movie premiers. It just goes to show that even though you might not see something so wonderful in front of your face for the way it looks, the right people do know about it and use it to their advantage. If you never try something you never know what you’re missing out on. And I guess ignorance is bliss but what else is life but a series of experiences?
I love going here, it’s quiet, spacious and no one bothers you, but that is also a draw-back. This theater is giving us a service and an experience that we are neglecting to have and share. Some day the owner may wise up and close the doors forever but he loves what he does and likes to share it. It’s his dream and I for one like being a small part of it.

Just don’t expect to see any of the tags at the end of movies, to make sure that the bulbs in the cameras have time to cool they cut off the credits. Yeah, it’s lame but it’s also lame to have to sit through the credits for an extra nugget of something that may or may not come. I’m really not interested in who the caterers or drivers were for each set enough to really care whether Professor Xavier somehow telepa-ported his mind into that of a brain-dead person.

So there you have it. If you’re local, check it out and if you’re not… then visit when you’re in town. It can’t hurt!

This message was not brought to you by Bob Phillips.

-TR!

FUNi-Movies!

Studio Movie Grill and FUNimation have teamed up to bring anime to the big screen!

Anime fans, movie goers and lovers of good food gather ’round for this tale of epic proportions! Well, it’s not that huge but it is something big for us local yokel’s.

FUNimation has announced that it has partnered up with Studio Movie Grill to bring to you, every second Tuesday of the month, Anime on the big screen!

Now, you don’t have to be otaku to understand what this means and to top it off: It’s free!

Great food, great entertainment and affordable prices. Yes, that sounds like a great idea!

I hope this appeals to you but as a bonus, and because I love both FUNimation and SMG, I’ll even let you check this out if you missed it or didn’t care to look.

Enjoy!

-TR!

Top 10 random things (of 2009)

First off this is one of my most favorite random YouTube videos. Just sit back, close your eyes and I hope it appeals to you too! Thanks for reading!

Okay, so it is nearing the end of the year and I guess that’s the best time for people to reflect on everything they’ve lived through and make lists of what they liked or what inspired them and etc. throughout the past year.
Sounds like a good idea, right?
Hey, it’s rhetorical!
Well since I can’t make up my mind what specific group (i.e. Music, Movies, Books, etc.) I’d like to focus on for making such a list, I’ll just make a list of top 10 random things I liked this year.

Who knows, if you’re lucky I may even go beyond 10!

  1. Zombieland (had to be the funniest movie I’ve seen in a while.)
  2. Boom Boom Pow (only because the beginning of it makes me crave a Kit-kat bar. Personally I think the Black-eyed Peas are the crappiest sound on the airwaves.)
  3. Monica Bellucci – but that’s every year.
  4. The Land of the Lost (it was waaay better than the rating those critical bastards gave it.)
  5. Owl City
  6. Beer and wine served at my Dentist office (no joke!)
  7. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  8. Clean Dallas (it’s still just a baby and who doesn’t like babies?)
  9. Wilco
  10. Hasbro‘s Walmart Exclusive Masterpiece Skywarp (yeah, I know.)

Hmm… that didn’t last too long or have the impact I was looking for. Here, let’s do another!

  1. Radio DJ’s that have some odd tie to Kit-kat bars.
  2. Buying used bicycles online.
  3. How Facebook looked at the beginning of the year (2009).
  4. https://tastyrobots.wordpress.com/
  5. Good friends – you can never get enough of that.
  6. Anime Insider (and every other canceled Anime-themed magazine [you are missed]).
  7. The “guys” who write those cocky-sounding articles for Thrillist.com.
  8. Any Writer and/or Artist that will let just any fan add them as a friend on Facebook.
  9. The free stuff at SLGcomic.com
  10. Stupid pets you can’t help but love.

Alright, that should be enough. If you want to know anything more about any of the items listed (in either list) just drop a comment. I could go on for hours but I won’t (well, actually it has been an hour for me already).

Enjoy the rest of the year and if I don’t see you – Happy New Year!

-TR!