I Think Too Much…

Stuff I've learned that helped me thru life

Never Lose your Keys or Wallet Again

If you are anything like me, finding your keys or you wallet can often be quite a challenge. The funny thing is it really should not be so hard to keep track of your keys and wallet, but I find some of the strangest places to put them. Now that I have a son, who loves to play with my keys it is even harder to keep track of them. I was so thankful that one of my friends introduced me to the Tileapp.

The tileapp is a small device that can attach to any key ring, adhere to any flat surface or be placed inside any wallet or purse. Then if you ever lose keys or wallet or whatever the tileapp is connected to (or in), you can log into the tileapp app from any phone and track your item. If the item is completely gone, you can declare it lost and now all active tile apps will be used to help triangulate the location of your item.
Some of the more interesting uses of the tile app are:
* Some people put it in their luggage to better track where there luggage goes and whether or not it made it into the underbelly of the airplane.
* Stick it under your bike seat in case you are worried about it being stolen.
* Are you always leaving your kid’s things at friends houses? Stick a tileapp on or in it.

At $25 per tile, it is an affordable gift for anyone. When I posted this article, amazon had 4 tiles for $70.


My shop vac is too big. This is way more portable: 4 Gal. 5.0-Peak HP Portable Wet Dry Vac

My drill is a 12v drill. I tried drilling a hole for my drain and it just tickled the wood.

Replace windshield wiper blades on 2006 Honda Civic

I have found a lot of info on how to change windshield wiper blades on a 2006 Honda Civic, but none of the info I have found was useful.  One article talked about clips on the ends of the blades, but my 2006 Civic has rubber ends.  Another article talks about prying a piece off, but was not clear on what direction to pry.   Other articles about windshield wiper blades on Civics use terms seemingly interchangeably, making it even more confusing.  I did find one post that told me to consult my manual, which I thought I did, and that turned out to be the best advice going,  go figure.  I will admit though, even with reading the manual there were a couple things I did not realize about the Civic’s windshield blades.  So here is what I learned in hopes to save you some time.

First of all, let’s get on the same page with terminology.  While these may not be the right terms, they are the terms I am going to use for this article:

–          Wiper blade: This is the thin rubber that actually touches the window and wipes the water off your windshield.

–          Wiper Arm: this is the part that is connected directly to the motor that moves your windshield wipers.

–          Wiper Unit: This holds the wiper blade and attaches to the wiper arm.  Generally when you go to Pep Boys to buy new wipers, you get the wiper unit and the blade.

First of all, you don’t need to take off your windshield wiper unit if you don’t want to.  While the 2006 Honda Civic did not have any caps at the end of the wipers, they do provide the ability to replace the wiper blade only.  Your Civic manual provides great info on how to do this.  Just lift up the edge to expose the back of the wiper blade and slide it right out.    Of course removing the wiper unit will make replacing the wiper blade easier, but not necessary.

If you do go down the path of removing the windshield wiper unit, be sure to slide the top plastic piece out and not up.  The Civic owner’s manual will tell you to squeeze the cap and slide in the opposite direction of the wiper arm.  I tried this and did not have much luck.  I eventually resorted to a screwdriver and it came off very easily.  There is a small plastic knob that will break if you try to pry the unit straight up.  Also once you have the windshield wiper unit off, do not let the wiper arm snap/fall down against the window as you will likely crack your windshield.  May not be a bad idea to lay a folded towel down on your windshield to help prevent this.  This plastic cap is specifically designed for this type of windshield wiper unit so if you plan to replace both the windshield wiper blade and unit, you need to find the same unit or be prepared to discard the cap.  I purchased my wiper units from Costco.  While they did fit, I was not able to put the cap back on and it definitely did not look as good as when the cap was on.   Anyway, if you are trying to figure out how to change your windshield wiper blades on a 2006 Honda Civic, this is how I got it done.  Your scenario may be different so be sure to check with your car dealer before attempting this on your own.  Good Luck.

UPDATE: So I have now learned that the wiper blades that come installed on the Honda Civic are made by Bosch. If you want to search for the exact product that will fit with your model, you can check their website https://www.boschautoparts.com/auto/wiper-blades. I would recommend you go with the Icon wiper blades. At the time I looked up the blades, Bosch said that you would need the Bosch ICON 24OE wiper blade and the Bosch ICON 28OE wiper blade. These wiper blades will look like the original and will look WAY better than the wiper blades I purchased from Costco. Here are some links to

Why can I only see 137gb of my Drive?

Unfortunately prior to service pack 2, Windows XP would only recognize 137GB of any hard drive. So if you are installing windows XP, it is important that you upgrade to the most recent service pack to be able to view your entire hard drive. The problem I ran into my primary drive is the one I was having issues once windows was up to date, I had no way of extending my current drive beyond the 137gb. If it were a secondary drive I would just reformat the hard drive. So instead I added a partition to the hard drive. That partition would allow me to utilize the entire hard drive, rather than just the 137gb. To add the partition I followed these steps:

First, I right clicked on My Computer and select manage. This brought up a window titled computer management. On the left side of the screen you should see a folder menu. Expand storage and select disk management. In the top left panel you should now see your drives. Select the drive that you are having issues with. Now in the bottom left panel you should see the an image that depicts part of the drive being partitioned and the other part being unpartitioned. You will want to right click on the unpartitioned section and select create partition. I created an extended partition. Once done, you will want to associate this new partition to a drive or a folder. To do this, again right click on this area and select new logical drive. Follow the prompts and wait as the drive is formatted.

Once done, restart and you are ready to go. Say goodbye to the 137gb limitation. Otherwise you may just want to upgrade your OS to a newer version of Windows. My problem above was the disk I was using only came bundled with SP1. If you are to see more than 137GB on your hard drive, you are going to need at least SP2 on Windows XP.

Onkyo TX-NR515 Review

I was recently in the market for a new receiver and ended up purchasing the Onkyo TX-NR515.  I am not super knowledgeable about home theater systems but I do know this:

  • I want the most for my money
  • I want the receiver to be simple to install
  • I want a reputable brand

Based on this I started searching and found that this Onkyo.  The TX-NR515 can be found on amazon.com for 50% off the MSRP.  At $300 the Onkyo TX-NR515 seemed like a good deal.  This receiver is internet ready and has apps like Pandora integrated into it.  I was about to buy but then after reading the reviews I found that this product seems to have a flaw where it fails to send a signal after being on standby for an extended period of time.   Initially this turned me off from the receiver.  But then I consulted a friend who’s family owns a home theater installation company.  They were able to tell me that the receiver’s problem seems to be related to power surges.  They said as long as you have a good surge protector things should be fine.  After a bunch more research on receivers I had a couple of options, a lesser receiver that did not have as many features or channels, or spend more money.  I opted to buy the Onkyo TX-NR515.  If you are paranoid, you can always buy a warranty from Squaretrade.   So far so good.  Will update this post if I end up having any issues.

Best way to get from Vancouver Airport to Whistler Village

The great thing about Whistler Village is, once you are there, you don’t need a car. Everything you need is walking distance. The challenge is getting there from Vancouver. Google maps will tell you that the trip from Vancouver airport to Whistler Village is 83 miles (134 km); nothing that you would want to walk or taxi to. So what are your options? Renting a car is always an option but remember, once you are there, you will not likely use it much. The good thing about renting a car is you can pick up supplies before you get there. Things in Whistler Village are really expensive. An average 6 pack of beer will cost you around $16 CAD. However the savings in supply costs will likely be offset by the extra cost of the car.

So if you don’t rent a car, what is the best way to get from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler Village? The first thing you must know is the Vancouver Airport charges $100 for any bus to enter the Airport. This means that any shuttle/bus that picks up directly from the Vancouver airport is going to cost a premium. These buses are certainly going to be the easiest, but you are going to likely pay at least double to get to Whistler Village. Below are the two alternatives that I feel are the best ways to get from Vancouver Airport to Whistler Village.

Greyhound Bus: The cheapest option is going to be the Greyhound bus. If you purchase your ticket early, it will cost you about $26 per person. Greyhound offers the most flexibility for departure times to Whistler Village and is by far the cheapest option. The one caveat is it does take a little to get there from the Vancouver Airport. To get to the Greyhound station from the Vancouver airport, you will want to take the Sky Train to the Waterfront station, transfer trains to the expo line and take that to the Main St. exit. The Main St. Sky Train station is an elevated station, so you will want to walk under the tracks (in the direction that you were traveling on the train) to a grey building about 2 blocks away. The walk is not bad, but if it is raining, be prepared to get a little wet. Again this is the cheapest option from Vancouver Airport to Whistler Village and has the most flexibility, but is certainly a bit of a trek. When taking the Sky Train, you should plan for about 45min to an hour to get from the Vancouver Airport to the Greyhound station. The other bummer about the Greyhound is it will only drop off/pick up at the bus loop in Whistler Village. Some of the other bus/shuttles will provide other options.
View Larger Map

Whistler Direct Shuttle: The other option is the Whistler Direct Shuttle. With this option you still have to take the Skytrain but you don’t have to walk as much. The bus will pick you up from a number of different Vancouver hotels. When we took it, we took it from Whistler Village to the Vancouver airport and ware dropped off at the Hyatt Regency hotel. From there we literally walked across the street to the Burrard station and caught the Skytrain. We still had to transfer trains at Waterfront, but this option was much easier and they were willing to pick us up from our hotel which was really nice. I am told you can ask for special rates, but no matter what rate you get, this seems to be the next best option to the Greyhound.

Here are some helpful Sky Train Links:
Trip Planner

Train Maps

Fare Zone Map

What is a good thermometer?

I was recently in the market for a good digital thermometer.  The first one I got was from Walmart and it touted a very quick read.  I think it was a thermometer made by Vicks.  While it did do that, if I took my temperature multiple times, it would always vary by .5 degrees.  While that is not much, if I am going to use a thermometer, I at least want it to be consistent.  So I went out and purchased another digital thermometer and it produced the same results.   At that point I started to research thermometers trying to find the best thermometer.  Well maybe not the best thermometer, but at least a thermometer that has consistent results.  During my research I learned that you general thermometers are designed to be less accurate.  The thermometers are mostly for giving you an indication of where your temperature.  The normal temperature of the human body is 98.6, how often is your temperature exactly that?  Even if the thermometer reads 99.1, I would not think much of it.  However if I take my temperature once and the thermometer reads, 98.6 and the next time the thermometer reads 99.1, I am going to question to validity of the results.

I then learned about basal thermometers.  These thermometers are designed to measure a .1 degree change in your temperature.  They are generally designed to help track your menstrual cycles but they can also be used determine if you have a fever.  Only catch is they are often much more expensive.  Basal thermometers are generally more expensive, but that is probably because they are more accurate.  I ended up buying a BD Basal Thermometer and have been very happy with it.  I tested the results of the thermometer with a mercury thermometer and they produced very similar results.  The best part was no matter how many times I took my temperature, the thermometer would always produce the same results. So if you are looking for a good thermometer that you can trust, I recommend the BD Basal Thermometer.

Note: No matter what thermometer you purchase, be sure to test the accuracy of your thermometer as your results may vary from mine.

Best place for breakfast in Maui

Breakfast in Maui is not hard to find, but finding a good breakfast at a reasonable rate can be, especially if you are staying in Lahaina. If you check out Yelp, you will likely find the Sunrise Café as the best rated, cheapest place around for breakfast. We tried there and I would have to say the breakfast was ok. It is a very small place in the heart of Lahaina and is very easy to miss. If you are looking for a quick meal, do not go here. There is only a single grill and a single cook, so look around before you sit down. If there appear to be a lot of people still waiting for food, don’t expect to get your food for at least 30 min (after you order).

Sea House Restaurant View

View from the bar at the Sea House Restaurant.

Anyway, my recommendation is to skip this place and drive up the coast a bit to Napili Bay and try the Sea House Restaurant. You will find it just past the highly sought after Gazebo Restaurant. The Sea House Restaurant is beach front in the northern corner of the bay. Easiest way to get there is to walk onto the beach at Napili Bay and walk north. Otherwise you can walk thru the Napili Kai Resort.
If you arrive late you will find most of the beach front tables taken, but the seats at the bar will most likely be available. Even if there are beach front tables open, I still recommend sitting at the bar. The bar windows frame the view perfectly and provide a pretty surreal sensation. Because you are inside, you could be anywhere, but then directly in front of you is an image so perfect, you can only think it to be fake…. But then you realize you are there, it is real and you get to enjoy it all while eating breakfast.

Of course the next question is, how is the food? Both my wife and I enjoyed everything we ate there and none of our breakfast bills were over $20. The food at the Gazebo restaurant may be better, but it is also 2 or 3 times the cost and extremely busy. We skipped trying it and instead ate at the Sea House on a number of occasions. So if you are in Maui looking for breakfast, head straight for the Sea House at Napili Bay.

View Larger Map

The view from the bar at the Sea House Restaurant

2011 Honda Pilot tire chains

My experience to date has been that real chains perform much better than cables.  But they can be a bit of a pain to put on, they make for a much rougher ride and make a ton of noise.  I recently purchased a Honda Pilot and was told that real snow chains would damage my vehicle and void any warranty.  Not sure how true this is so I went on the hunt for cables.  The Pilot’s owners manual recommended a tire chain from the security chain company.  Model: SCC Super Z-6 SC-435.  Only problem was nobody carried these chains.  I called all over the place for these tire chains and nobody carried them.  Pep Boys was the only place that carried this brand, but not this model.  They had so special order them.  So I then did what I should have done in the first place, when to Amazon.com and found tire chains for $20 less than Pep Boys.  Initially I opted to keep searching as I wanted to just go to a store and pick some up, but then found this video:

You may have noticed that this video was under 2 min.  That is literally how much time it takes to install these tire chains.  No more backing up multiple times until you are in just the right spot, adjusting after you drive for a bit or struggling because your tire is sitting on the chain wrong.  Just wrap the cables around your tire, make 3 connections and add the tensioner and off you go.  I used my chains twice this year and in both cases I pulled up after other people had started installing their chains and left before they finished.  I remember the day that people used to do that to me… it was so frustrating.  With the SCC Super Z-6 SC-435 tire chains that will never happen to me again.

That said, please be sure to check your owners manual and the tire chain companies sizing guide to ensure you purchase the right tire chains for your car.  Also be sure to read the installation instructions thoroughly as the installation of tire chains may vary.   IF the SC-435 chains are the ones you need, save yourself some time and just go straight to Amazon.com Click here to view the tire chains I purchased for my 2011 Pilot.

Perfect Gift for a Surfer

If you are like me, finding the perfect gift for someone is always a struggle.  I often find the gift giving process even stressful at times.  This problem gets even worse when the person you are buying a gift for doesn’t need/want anything in your price range.  Surfers are no exception to this rule.  Surfers are quite possibly the most difficult people to buy gifts for.  If you have the money, a new surfboard is always a great gift.  Only challenge is a new surfboard will run you around $500-$800.  Another great gift for a surfer is a wetsuit.  While wetsuits are cheaper than surfboards they are, by no means, cheap.  A good wetsuit will run you $300 to $500.  That takes care of the two obvious gifts, but what if that is too much?  You can’t afford to spend $300+ but you want to find the perfect gift for the surfer in your life.  Now what?

My recommendation, the best gift you can give a surfer is a private surfing photo session.  The reality is, most surfers have never seen themselves surf and even fewer have photos of themselves surfing.  The best part about this gift is it is a one size fits all.  There are no worries about it not fitting, or being the wrong color, or even the wrong style.  This gift is sure to be perfect for that special surfer in your life.

So at this point you are probably saying,”That is the perfect gift, how do I find a photographer to do this?”  My best recommendation is to check out http://www.customsurfingprints.com.  Last I checked, the site was still under construction, but the site is ran by a professional surfing photographer in San Diego and offers private surfing photo sessions for about $50 per hour.

If you don’t like this idea…. well good luck to you in finding that perfect gift!