Zeso 3-in-1 – Macro, Wide Angle, and Fisheye Camera Lens Clip

Full disclosure: This was sent to me for free for the purpose of this review. You can get it from Amazon for $18.95 (at the time this post was published)

The high quality of these lenses came as a complete surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting much before receiving these, but they are actually really awesome. If I lost or broke one of these lenses, I’d absolutely go out and buy another set. $20 is a great price for what you get in this kit.

12 Tips for Using a Dog Shock Collar and a Review of the TrainPro Elite 330


Some people feel that using a shock collar is a form of physical abuse, but many experts disagree. You’ve probably seen videos online of people putting shock collars on themselves and turning it up to full blast. That’s not how a shock collar is actually used. The intensity can be adjusted and will only feel like the static electricity shock we are all familiar with.

The first thing to understand is that shock collars are designed to be used as training devices. They need to be used at the correct time for the dog to learn from its behavior. It’s true that shock collars carry enough charge to cause pain, but when used properly, the settings will not be set anywhere near that high.

Tip #1: Use other methods before shocking

Shock collars should not be the first training method you use. Try leash training, clickers and treat, and so on first. Also, if your collar has a sound or vibrate feature, try that before using the shock feature.

Tip #2: Do not use on them on puppies

Shock collars are usually a last resort, after other training methods have failed. Puppies would not have had enough training yet to benefit from shock collars and they are also too small.

Tip #3: Buy the right size of collar

Make sure the collar you are using is designed for the size of your dog. The minimum level of a large shock collar can be too much for little dogs.

Tip #4: Fit the collar correctly

A general recommendation would be to place it slightly offset from center on their lower neck. You should be able to fit two fingers under the collar. Also make sure the contact points are touching the skin. If you are not getting a reaction from your dog after reaching 20% of max, double check that the collar is turned on, it’s a snug fit, and that the contact points have made it through the fur.

Tip #5: Set levels when the dog is not distracted

Don’t set your initial levels in a distracting environment, such as outdoors in a park. You will end up setting it at levels appropriate for that environment but then find that the shock is too strong when the dog is not being distracted.

Tip #6: Watch for subtle responses

You want to start at the lowest level possible and work your way up. The sensation your dog will feel will be similar to the static shock you get when touching a piece of metal. Take your time and watch for subtle responses. Responses vary with different dogs. Some examples would be sitting, standing up, an ear flick, scratching at the collar, eyes blinking, or looking at the ground, or looking around for something.

Tip #7: Don’t turn it all the way up

None of us want to see our dogs in pain. The first step to using a shock collar is by finding the appropriate level. Start with the lowest level they notice and work up. If your dog yelps, it’s too high. A dog in pain will not learn from it’s mistakes.

Tip #8: Don’t leave the collar on all the time

The probes on the collar will rub against the skin which can cause skin irritation. This is why it’s recommended to use the collar for no more than eight hour a day.

Tip #9: Shock collars do not work for all dogs

A shock collar is a form of positive punishment. A negative punishment means to apply correction while the dog is being told what action to take, for example pulling on the dog’s collar while telling him to sit, then releasing after the dog has obeyed. Positive punishment is when the dog is lectured only after an incorrect response. Some dogs do not respond well to positive punishment, and vice versa. If the shock collar isn’t working, try a different method.

Tip #10: Poorly timed shocks can increase stress levels

If you are not using the shock collar at appropriate times, the dog will not understand what they did wrong and will instead only worry about receiving another shock. This will increase their cortisol levels, which is a major cause of behavioral problems in the first place. Shocks must only be used with undes

Tip #11: Sometimes they might need a stronger shock

If a dog is extremely excited or distracted by it’s environment, the normal shock might not get his attention. In this case you may need to turn it up a bit, one notch at a time. An example of this would be if the dog is running towards a busy road.

Tip #12: Reduce usage of the collar over time

When training a dog’s a specific behavior, they will eventually start to learn compliance. As the behavior becomes instilled in the dog, the use of rewards or punishments becomes less necessary and can be faded out. The same goes with the dog collar.

A Review of the TrainPro Elite 330 Yard Dog Training Collar System

* Note: I paid for this collar, but I received a discount from the seller in exchange for writing an honest review.

The TrainPro Elite 330 has three settings; sound, vibrate, and shock.

Here are the specs:

  • Costs $32.99
  • Range goes up to 330 yards
  • Rechargeable collar receiver and remote transmitter
  • 100 levels of adjustable vibration and static shock
  • Four modes: static shock, vibration, beep and light
  • Fully waterproof up to 30 feet

I have a mastiff named Max, and anyone who knows mastiffs knows that they are stubborn.


We’ve taken Max to obedience schools several times and he has always done great. He behaves well most of the time, but he acts up at night when we can’t see him in the back yard. He’s a super smart dog and knows that we can’t see him, so he eats things he shouldn’t or tears up the fence when the neighbors dogs are out. Our hope is that the shock collar can be a training method that we can use from a distance where a leash can’t.

The collar is really easy to set up. You have to charge both the remote and the receiver for six hours before using it.


After it’s charged, you just need to slide the collar through the slots on the receiver and put it on the dog. I wiggled it around a bit to make sure the contacts were touching his skin and then gave it a test.

I started at the very lowest setting of 1 (out of 100) and worked my way up in increments of 1. He noticed it at level 4, so that’s where I left it. He reacted as if there was a fly in his ear. It didn’t hurt him, but it startled him. He’s a big dog at about 90-100 lbs., so be careful about using this on small dogs. The product description on Amazon says that this collar works for small, medium and large dogs, but personally, I think there is too much power in this collar for small dogs.

I’ve also tried the noise and vibrate feature. Neither of those features really do anything when Max is super-distracted, but he definitely notices it otherwise and I think it’s a good warning to give him before using the shock feature.

Another neat feature is being able to add another collar to the system. You can switch between collars easily by pressing the 1/2 button on the remote. Unfortunately, I can’t find anyone selling a second receiver without purchasing the entire kit again.

I’m very happy with the collar so far. If I could find a second receiver, I’d love to get another collar for my other dog.

You can get the TrainPro Elite 330 here for $32.99 (at the time of this writing).

I paid for this shock collar system but received it at a discounted price in exchange for writing an honest review.

How to Move a Pool Table Using Tri-Dollies


This isn’t as much a review of tri-dollies as it is a post about their usefulness for moving heavy things, in my case a pool table. It probably doesn’t matter much what kind of tri-dolly you buy, but I bought mine from Home Depot.

Anyway, I have three-piece slate pool table in my basement, which I think is pretty damn awesome.

But I had a small problem that wasn’t very awesome. One side of the table was near an unfinished entertainment alcove which had two support beams holding it up. I’m not sure if they are structurally necessary, but I didn’t feel like hiring someone to come out to look.


For many shots, we were able to navigate around the beams but until you have to deal with something like an obstruction getting in your way while playing pool, you have no idea how often you need to shoot from that spot.

It became too annoying. I finally got so fed up with awkwardly positioning my pool stick around those damned beams that I decided I wanted to move the table.

It was a ton of work to stretch the cloth and staple it to the table and I really didn’t want to take it off and do it all over again, especially since it has already been reapplied twice before (by the guy who sold it to me), so I’m not sure how many reapplications it has left in it. I’m cheap and I don’t want to buy another cloth if I can avoid it.

This left me wondering how the hell I’d move a full size table while it’s still intact.

My first idea was to remove the rails and have 4-6 friends come over and lift each side of the slate and then move it over, but then I started to worry about what sort of structural damage that could cause to various parts of the table – the slate, cloth or the base. So I kept researching online.

Then I discovered the pool table dolly. I guess that’s what pool halls use all the time to move their tables around for events or during cleanings. That seemed perfect but I had no idea where to get one. I wasn’t going to spend $400 on something I’d rarely use and I couldn’t find any places near me that would rent them out.


I scrolled down the Google search results and found someone suggesting a three-wheeled furniture dolly to move the table. That was it!

I went straight to Home Depot and picked up four of them. They each have a 200lb capacity, and I figured that should be fine.

I grabbed my car jack out of the garage and used blocks of wood so that the jack could reach the table base (you definitely do NOT want to lift the table from anywhere else).


I tried to get as close to the center of the table as I could while still being able to lift only one side, as to prevent putting too much stress on the other legs, and then I slid two tri-dollies under the raised legs. I repeated the process on the other side.

Once the dollies were under the table, it was a cinch to roll the table over a couple of feet. I decided to leave the dollies under the table just in case I ever want to move it around again later. There’s enough weight on them that the table doesn’t move just by bumping it, so I’m not too worried about it rolling around.

This method worked great for me, but my table is also sitting on smooth concrete. I don’t know how well this would work on carpet, considering the weight of the table and that the wheels on these dollies are very small. I think short, compact carpet might be ok, but the taller the carpet, the less likely this will work.

Review of Searching for Sugar Man

The Story

In the 1970’s South Africa, there was a revolution against apartheid, the racial segregation policy put in place by the government, and there was a person who continued to add fuel to the fire that kept activists going – an American musician known only by the name of Rodriguez. His lyrics resonated with South Africans and became hugely inspirational – so much so that many of his songs were eventually banned from being played during the apartheid years.

Rodriguez’ popularity in South Africa has been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan. He was more popular than Elvis Presley. In the United States though, it was an entirely different story. Both of his albums were complete flops in the U.S. Nobody had any idea who he was.

During the height of apartheid, South Africa was under sanctions from other countries. No foreign acts were allowed to visit South Africa nor did the South African government allow journalists to speak about what was happening. They were closed off from the world. It was because of this that Rodriguez never heard of his popularity in South Africa, nor did he see a dime from the sales of his albums.

The rumors were that because of his lack of success, Rodriguez had committed suicide on stage. There were several versions of his death according to legends – one was that he shot himself in the head, another claimed he overdosed on drugs and another was that he gruesomely set himself on fire and he burned to death.

This is all that was known about Rodriguez. Nobody knew his real name. Nobody knew what kind of person he was. Nobody knew how he really died. You couldn’t find any information about him or his history written down in books or magazines. He was a mystery.

And that’s when two South African’s – Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, a record shop owner and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom, a music journalist, decided to do some detective work and figure out the real story behind the 1970’s rock star.

My Review

This was an excellent story and anyone with an interest in music is sure to love this film. Even if you don’t love music, I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s not only a film about the musician known as Rodriguez, but about how his music changed history in South Africa and contributed to the end of apartheid.

The soundtrack was absolutely fantastic too and it really kept me sucked into the story. It’s amazing that his music never took off in the United States, because it certainly was deserving. What a talented guy.

I highly recommend picking this one up and also listening to his albums, both of which you can find on Spotify for free. Check it out!

Review of The Movie Looper


The Synopsis

Looper is a movie about time-travel. It takes place in the year 2044, where the mob is the law and the city where Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lives, is run down and full of vagrants. Joe is a “looper” which is a job for the mob working as a hired killer – someone who kills people from the future.

In the future it’s impossible to kill someone and hide the body, so in order to kill someone, the mob ties them up, bags their head and sends them to the past. A looper waits in the exact spot where the person is sent back to the past and immediately shoots them as they appear and then disposes of the body. They are paid by collecting silver bars strapped to the body of their victims. Loopers get their names because eventually their future selves are sent to the past to be killed by their present self, thus closing the loop. They collect gold bars on this occasion and retire.

Things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to in Joe’s case. His future self (Bruce Willis) was captured and was to have his “loop” closed but in the process, his wife was accidentally shot and killed. As he was about to be sent back to past, he broke free from his captors, removed the bag from his head and sent himself back in an attempt to change the past to make sure his wife doesn’t die in the future.

When this happens, the mob hunts down both the present and future loopers. So basically, this movie is about the mob chasing down young Joe, while young Joe chases down old Joe, and old Joe works his way through the mob to find someone named “The Rainmaker,” who is the person sending all of the loopers back to be killed.

My Thoughts


The trailers did an excellent job of making Looper look like a great movie and I’ve heard from various people that Looper was supposed to be pretty good, so I came into this with high hopes. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

Looper is full of action and kept me interested the entire way through. One thing that I really like is that it was impossible to tell how it was going to end. There were just so many directions in which the movie could go, it kept me guessing the whole time. I liked that a lot.

One weird gripe though, and something that kept throwing me off is how Gordon-Levitt looks in this movie. It seems like he’s wearing makeup or there’s some CGI going on to make him look different – older or something. Maybe to make him look more like Bruce Willis? Either way, he looks strange and it was a bit distracting. He’s a dead ringer for Max Payne though!

I’m also not a big fan of the ending. I wouldn’t call it a bad ending, but I think it could have been better. Especially with the way the story constantly kept me guessing and leaving it open to end in so many different ways. It had an interesting and ironic twist that I like, so that’s good.

Despite those few minor complaints, I really enjoyed Looper. I think both Gordon-Levitt and Willis played their parts perfectly. The movie flew by quickly because I was so immersed. If you’re a fan of action flicks I definitely recommend picking this up.

Review of the Ninja Blender

I love my Ninja blender. I bought it from Target a year ago in April of last year. I use it at least once a week, and sometimes more, so I would say that’s long enough to give a fair review. 😉

First, it’s powerful. I love how strong it is. I’ve blended plenty of foods in it, such as ice, medjool dates, almonds, and spinach. It does a fair job – better than any other blender I’ve ever owned.

The Ninja absolutely shines when it comes to blending ice into slushees, which is great in the summer. That’s when I use the Ninja blender the most.

I’ve never made any green smoothies in it, so I can’t tell you how good of a job it does in that department, but I have made soups. One particular example that sticks in my mind is an almond and spinach soup and this is where the Ninja blender didn’t do so well. It’s a powerful blender, but it just can’t blend almonds small enough. The soup was too chunky and I just didn’t like it. The spinach was blended very well though, so I’m sure for green smoothies it would work just fine.

I should note that I didn’t soak the almonds overnight before blending for this soup, which is generally recommended when blending nuts. I probably would have had much better results.

I actually make almond nut milk in the Ninja blender all the time. I soak one cup of nuts overnight, drain, and blend the nuts with 4 cups of water. Then I strain the pulp through a paint strainer and squeeze the liquid out of it. The pulp looks very well ground when I do this.

Another drawback to the Ninja blender that I purchased is that it’s an older model (NJ600) and doesn’t have all of the features that the newest model, the Ninja Kitchen System (NJ602) has. I went for the cheaper model because of the price, but I definitely wish I would have bought the upgraded version.

In addition to the large pitcher, the more expensive model also comes with a small pitcher and additional attachments which allow you to do things such as mixing dough. The attachments will not work on my blender, which is very disappointing.

I’ve also done a lot of research lately on the Vitamix blender. I don’t own one, but I plan to buy one soon. I’ve read a lot of reviews and watched tons of videos. Based on that, I would say the Ninja blender is simply not in the same league. It’s strong, but not that strong.

The Vitamix can blend nuts into powders and can even blend little seeds such as from strawberries, into oblivion.

The Vitamix also costs a lot more than the Ninja.

You can get the cheaper version of the Ninja for $99.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond and the upgraded model for $159.99. At the same place, the Vitamix costs $379.99 and $499.99 for the professional series model (the one I want :D).

The good thing about BB&B is that you can sign up for their email list and get an instant 20% off coupon. That’s a lot of money you can save on an expensive kitchen gadget.

I didn’t have the money at the time to buy a Vitamix, so I have no regrets with buying the Ninja. The Ninja is an awesome machine and I still love it. I have a feeling that I won’t be using the Ninja much after getting a Vitamix though, but I’ll probably pass the Ninja down to my brother who will love it as much as I do now. 😉

I can’t wait to review the Vitamix!

Review of the 2010 Trek 1.5

I recently got into cycling in the early Spring of last year when my fiance and I decided to ride our bikes from our home in Thornton, CO to Denver. I mostly wanted to see if it was possible for me to ride my bike to work occasionally. On the crappy $150 mountain bike I bought from Dicks Sporting Goods, it wasn’t possible. After mentioning the ride to Dan, a buddy of mine who rides a lot, he asked me if I wanted to ride to Golden with him and some friends. It was about 36 or so miles but, I thought I’d give it a try.

It was one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done. I was obviously slowing the whole group down because I couldn’t keep up. What should have taken maybe an hour and 15 minutes, took us about 2 hours. On the way back I mentioned how hard it was for me, and Dan said it was because of my low quality mountain bike. I didn’t believe that his road bike would make that much of a difference, so he let me ride if for a mile or so. I couldn’t believe the change. I was completely blow away.

I was able to go probably 10 times faster than on my mountain bike and with half of the work. After that I wanted a road bike. Turns out that his bike was a Specialized Allez road bike from maybe 2007 and it cost him about $1,400. Holy crap, I can’t afford that!

I pretty much dropped the entire idea of purchasing a road bike after hearing the price. I really enjoyed riding those few times though. I went on one more ride on my mountain bike to give it another chance and it still sucked so I decided I’d look on Craigslist for a cheap used road bike. I looked for about a month. During this time I did a ton of research and learned a whole lot about road cycling. Eventually I decided that I wanted a brand new road bike, even if it did cost me $1,000. The chance that I might buy a road bike that had been in an accident wasn’t worth the possibility of a cracked frame for my first bike.

So I saved up for a couple of months and decided to use a little of my savings. Then I visited a few local bike dealers to get an idea of what’s out there and in my price range. I test rode a few bikes, mostly Treks, and decided that Trek and Specialized were the brands I felt the most comfortable on.

I could only find one dealer in the Northern Denver area that sold Specialized bikes and he had only one in my price range. I liked it a lot. I then went to Golden Bear Bicycles and test rode the Trek 1.5, which I already rode at Bicycle Village the previous day. I loved that Trek. It had all Shimano Tiagra brakes and gears, which are basically entry level racing components. That bike was $999, not including tax. I also test rode a Trek that had all Shimano Sora components, slightly lower quality, which was selling for $799.

On the cheaper Trek, I didn’t feel like it was shifting as smoothly, so I went with the Trek 1.5. I also bought some clipless pedals and cycling shoes to go with them which set me back another $250. It was an expensive purchase but I felt really good about it.

I made it a point to get everyone together to ride to Golden again the next weekend. The ride was so much better and I had a ton of fun. I wasn’t completely worn-out halfway through the trip this time and we made it there so much quicker. I’ve gone on quite a few rides since then and I even ride to work at least twice a week. I’d have to say that this is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I’ve found a great new hobby, get to spend time with friends, I get an awesome leg and cardio workout and I save gas too.

Brakes Plus is a Ripoff

My brakes started making terrible noises over the weekend and I was starting to feel a little scared about driving my Jeep any longer, so I decided I would make an appointment with Brakes Plus. I normally have my uncle work on my truck but he usually needs to set aside time in his schedule and I was too worried to drive my truck any longer, so went ahead and had Brakes Plus do it yesterday.

I was expecting to pay around $300, but I was quoted at $560 before the work started. I was also shown a large list of other things that they thought needed to be fixed, which would’ve cost around $1,400. I said no to that of course.

Anyway, I agreed to the $560 quote because they told me they use only the highest quality parts. I knew how much similar parts cost at NAPA auto parts because I’ve purchased them before, so I knew it was quite a difference in price. I trusted their word that their parts were better though. Their word is crap.

I found exact model numbers of all parts used to replace my brake pads, calipers and rotors on my Jeep and here’s what I came up with.

Brakes Plus Prices

  • $71.00 x 2- Centric C-Tek Standard Brake Rotor – model #121.67022
  • $109.00 x 1- Akebono Ceramic Disc Pad Set – model #ACT712
  • $41.00 x 2 – Centric Semi Loaded Friction Calipers – model #141.58022
  • $9.99 x 1- Pyroil Dot 3 Brake Fluid – model #PYBF32

Total: $342.99

Prices on Amazon

  • $37.64 x 2- Centric C-Tek Standard Brake Rotor – model #121.67022
  • $61.79 x 1- Akebono Ceramic Disc Pad Set – model #ACT712
  • $20.64 x 2 – Centric Semi Loaded Friction Calipers – model #141.58022
  • $6.99 x 1- Dot 3 Brake Fluid (qt) – model #PYBF32

Total: $185.34

So they overcharged me by $157.65. That’s quite a bit of money considering it’s just for my front brakes.

Brakes Plus also charged me $30 to flush the brake system and $125 in labor (for about an hour and 30 min.), which I guess is somewhat reasonable, only because it’s kind of expected when going to places like that. If I had just waited for my uncle to help me I wouldn’t have had to pay labor either. Just a six pack of Michelob Ultra 😀 I could’ve saved $282.

Well, lesson learned.

I went to the location on 104th and Marion St. in Thornton, CO, but I would guess they are all the same.


Buy Gift Cards For Less Than Full Value at Gift Card Granny

I’m trying to save a little money this Christmas so I thought I would try out GiftCardGranny.com, a site that gathers prices for gift cards from various other gift card selling sites. All of these sites sell gift cards for a lower price than they are worth, and in most cases you can get a pretty good deal. There are tons of great gift cards here for whatever you’re interested in, for example on the home page, I saw a card for 1800Flowers with a value of $50.00 and listed at only $35.00 for a discount of 30%.

I’ve never purchased from this site before so I did a little looking around before ordering anything. I noticed that some of my favorite stores like Gamestop had a few gift cards available, but all lead to eBay auctions. I wish I could remove all eBay auction cards entirely from my searches. I wasn’t interested in bidding for a gift card, so I searched for some of my other favorite stores. I saw places like Sports Authority, Best Buy, Dicks Sporting Goods, Costco and GNC.

One thing that I had a feeling was going to happen was that gift cards from places like Best Buy weren’t going to be discounted by much. This is completely understandable since these types of cards probably aren’t that hard to sell. So I tried to think of a place where I could buy some Christmas presents but still a varied enough selection to get a couple different things – Barnes and Noble! You can get books, magazines, movies, CD’s (overpriced, but still), games, writing utensils and lots of other things.

So I chose my Gift Card from ABC Gift Cards, which was worth $25.00 for the price of $22.50. Shipping was $1.00 so I only actually saved $1.50. Not much, but there are better deals on the higher priced cards. Also, ABC Gift Cards has free shipping on orders over $50. I chose a smaller card just to test how the system works though.

I ordered my card on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving and I got it in the mail on the following Monday. I checked the balance and all is well. 😀

I have to say that I’m quite impressed with the Gift Card Granny site. I can’t believe I haven’t done this before. I saw gift cards from places like 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Amazon.com, Target, Walmart, Olive Garden, iTunes, and more – all places that I frequently purchase from throughout the year.

Another great thing to note is that after Christmas, you can also sell your gift cards in case you get one to a place you don’t like. Gift Card Granny shows the percentage each seller will pay for your specific card so you can make sure you get the most out of your card.

Skip the American Simplicity Stoneware Dinnerware from Target

I didn’t buy these, but my boss did for us to use at work about a year ago from Target. I couldn’t find this exact set on the Target website, so I don’t know if they make them anymore, but there are several sets that look very similar still in production and being sold by Target.

This stoneware dinnerware set comes from the “Home” collection and of the American Simplicity brand. It came with sixteen pieces in all; four of each dinner plates, salad plates, cereal bowls and mugs. I believe my boss paid about $49.99 for the whole thing.

The collection actually looks very nice and feels quite artistic to me. They probably aren’t the colors I would choose, but I’m not good with design, so what do I know? We work in a very trendy office space, so they seem to fit nicely.

The features on this dinnerware say that all dishes are microwave safe and dishwasher safe, although I’ve found that not to be true. I cooked a potato on one of the salad plates for 5 minutes and the plate basically exploded. It was extremely hot and broke into 5-6 pieces.

I warm up oatmeal in the microwave for only two minutes and the bowls get so hot I have to use a towel to carry my food back to my desk. I wouldn’t put them in there for any longer than 3 minutes. We haven’t had any problems with the dishwasher though.

In terms of quantity, there are four of us in the office so a 16 piece dinnerware set just isn’t enough. If you have several family members in your house, I would definitely suggest you buy at least 2 sets. We run out of dishes constantly.

Mainly because of the microwave issues, I would have to recommend you pass on this dinnerware set, although those problems may have been fixed in later series of these dishes. Anyway, they look nice and all, but I can’t have plates exploding all over my potatoes. 😉