Photos from camping last weekend

We ventured out to the same area to camp last weekend, however it was much busier so we had to drive a few miles past our preferred camping spots. We were starting to get anxious that we wouldn’t be able to find any at all when we stumbled across this location. It wasn’t perfect, it was pretty close to the road, but I think it worked out okay. There was a nice spot where we set up chairs on the river bank which was incredibly relaxing.

How Yelp convinced me not to check out The Counter in Meridian

So when I’m looking to check out a new place to eat (or shop / drink etc.) the first place I usually check is Yelp. It’s incredibly useful to read other people’s reviews and to discover whether people tend to react positively or negatively to a business.

One such business I wanted to check out was The Counter, in Meridian. I had heard they have some pretty tasty burgers, however Yelp seems to tell a different story. The business has a 2.5 star rating after 54 reviews, so wasn’t off to a good start in the first place. However, the business owner’s response to one review in particular really rubbed me the wrong way.

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The tone of the business owner in this response does not come across as professional at all. Upon reading this response I decided I would not even give The Counter an opportunity to disprove its overwhelmingly negative reputation on Yelp. The owner also copy and pasted a rebuttal to several negative reviews, which comes across an impersonal attempt to save face.

So congratulations John H. of The Counter, you have succeeded in making me not want to frequent your restaurant. Heck, based off the Yelp reviews alone I probably still would’ve given the place a shot, but now I’ll never set foot in the place.

A beautiful Idaho morning sunrise drive

This morning I had to go into work to check in so on the way back I set my GoPro Hero 3+ up in the dash and let it record on the drive back. I love the color of the sky and the flat, wide open spaces that you experience while driving in Idaho. This drive is from Mountain Home AFB to Boise via Airbase road, Bypass road and I-84W.

Shot using 1080p wide angle, 60fps.

The Village / Village Cinemas at Meridian and why reserved seating sucks

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Yesterday Vanessa and I went out to Meridian to check out the new shopping center, The Village at Meridian. Its design is pretty cool and it feels more like a park or college campus than a shopping center. The signature feature is the fountain that is synchronized to music and lights at night. It’s surrounded by tables and a few fire pits which make for a great atmosphere to relax in.

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We were planning to see Thor 2 at the Village Cinemas and we decided to go to the 4:30 showing. The movie theater is absolutely beautiful and very stylish. We arrived at 4PM to buy our tickets. The theater has reserved seating, and when we were buying our tickets the only seats left with two side by side seats were in rows D and up. We figured the screen would be far enough back that we could still enjoy seeing the movie in row D. Unfortunately when we got into the theater it was clear there would be no way we could enjoy the movie that close to the screen. What annoyed us most was the theater was almost entirely empty when we got in there and we really should’ve been able to sit where we wanted.

We ended up heading back to the box office to get our money back. Reserved seating in a movie theater is a very bad idea. I don’t very often plan hours ahead of time to see a movie, so it’s not practical to buy tickets online hours before a movie starts. Plans often change, or people often decide to join at the last minute. Reserved seating ruins the traditional movie going experience.

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One of the newer movie theaters back where I’m from in Pennsylvania had reserved seating when it first opened, but it quickly learned it was a bad idea. People complained, got refunds or blatantly ignored the assigned seating and sat in other people’s seats often causing problems as the movies were starting. I can only hope Village Cinema in Meridian will learn how undesirable their reserved seating is and end the policy soon. Until then we’ll stick with Edwards in Boise.

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Ice Rink opens next Friday!

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Biking the Boise Greenbelt (video)

I picked up a Zéfal iPhone bike mount for $19.99 at Wal-Mart and shot some video on our ride on the Boise Greenbelt Sunday evening. The mount includes a rain proof case that will protect your iPhone from the elements and keep it quite sturdy which is great for shooting video. It includes some inserts that can be adjusted to fit either the iPhone 4/4S or the iPhone 5, and is pretty simple to assemble with the included allen wrench.

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Pacific Rim / Biking Downtown Boise

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Yesterday afternoon Vanessa and I biked to the Edwards Downtown Boise movie theater and saw Pacific Rim. I know I’m a few weeks late, but hey I still haven’t seen quite a few of this year’s summer blockbusters (Man of Steel, Wolverine, etc.). Overall I really enjoyed the movie. The action sequences are quite exciting and there’s always a lot going on on screen. It’s quite visually appealing and it will certainly get your adrenaline pumping. If you take time to ask questions, however, things can easily start to break down. Why are they fighting the dinosaurs (Kaiju) in hand to hand combat? If they have those powerful phaser cannons, why can’t they stand back and just bombard the creatures with those until they die? What about freaking laser beams? The monsters are made of flesh, why the hell aren’t they using swords? Laser swords? If these guys are military why do they have long hair?

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Anyway, almost any action movie will start to break down if you start asking questions, and I know the answer is “It’s just a freaking movie!”. Overall it was an enjoyable experience and I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

It’s been two weeks since I got my new road bike and I’m absolutely in love. It’s such an amazing feeling to leave the car at home and hop on a bike and ride anywhere in town. It’s great to smell the fresh air and feel the wind in your face as you cruise through the city enjoying the scenery. I’m really envious of those who live and work in the city. I’d love to bike to work on a daily basis. Unfortunately I work and live on an Air Force base and it’s just not the same (the scenery of course is quite lame).

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I love the way the city looks and smells with no windshield separating myself and my surroundings. It’s incredibly refreshing and relaxing, and not having to navigate parking garages and pay to park is just another benefit.

I took a few pictures from our ride to and from the theater yesterday which you can find below.

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My July 4th Celebrations

After a day of painfully slow uploading my 4th of July videos are finally ready for viewing!

First up is Boise’s firework celebration at Ann Morrison Park. It was a lot of fun and a really good show. It was my first time viewing the fireworks in Boise so the only thing I have to compare it to are the celebrations from back East and I’d say it was right on par with those.

After the fireworks at Ann Morrison we walked back home (so glad we walked, traffic looked painful) and collected our fireworks before heading to another park where we set off a variety of rockets, mortars, fountains and roman candles. I have to say I definitely bought too many fireworks and we didn’t use them all (not sure what to do with the rest at this point).