Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 Monopoly Collect and Win Game Rare Pieces

The Monopoly Collect and Win Game is back again for 2016. Here we will be keeping track of the rare pieces needed to win the prizes. Participating stores include: Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel Osco, Acme Markets, Shaws, Star Markets, Pavilions, Carrs, Vons, Randalls, Eagle, Pak n Save, Tom Thumb, Market Street, Amigos, and more. Game boards and pieces are given at each store for participating items.

Each prize from the Collect & Win Game has at least 1 rare piece. Some have a rare and a semi-rare piece needed to win. For complete rules and odds of winning, check out the official Playmonopoly website.

Feel free to use the comments section below to post which game pieces you have and which ones you need as we develop the list here.

Rare Game Marker List: (Note: This is a work in progress so it may change as more data becomes available.)

$-613C*, 618H
?-622D*, 625G
A-502C*, 504E
B-505A*, 506B
C-513D, 514E
D-515A, 517C*
E-524D, 525E
F-527B, 528C

* = Semi-rare based on findings.

The Monopoly game runs from February 3rd to May 3rd 2016. Good luck!

Signs of Mice - How to Stop Them From Getting in the House

Recently I was in the kitchen and noticed a couple of what looked like lint or crumbs on the ground. Upon more careful inspection, I had a feeling they were droppings left there from some small animal like a mouse. A quick search on the internet confirmed my suspicions that it was indeed from an mouse.
This was surprising because I have lived in the same place for years and this was the first time there has been any evidence of mice.

So I cleaned up the floor and went in search of where they may be getting in. Apparently they can squeeze in through small holes and cracks that appear to be too small for them to get through. I noticed the droppings were near the stove so I thought they might be getting in from around this area.

I slowly pulled the stove out away from the wall and saw that the baseboard section was unfinished so there was space open between the floor and the wall where they may have gotten in. I had some spackle on hand so I sealed up all the openings along the base board. I also checked around the cabinets and taped up any other openings that might allow mice or bugs to get in.

So far it has been a few days and it looks like the problem has been fixed! There has been no further evidence of mice so it looks like they were getting in from behind the stove where there was the opening at the base board.

If you have found what look like little black crumbs the size of a grain of rice, chances are you may have mice. If this is the case, make sure to check all around for any openings around the walls and seal up any holes where they may be getting in. I will update this post in case there is any evidence of a return.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Remembering Dave Mirra

I was sad to hear the news about the passing of BMX legend Dave Mirra. Growing up, I was really into bikes and freestyle around the time he was winning gold medals in the X Games and he was one of my favorite riders. He always seemed like a great guy. I even got his signature shoes which I wrote about a while back on this blog.
I wish all the best for his family and friends during this difficult time. His legacy in the BMX world will be remembered and he will be missed!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Banana Appreciation

This post is a bit random, but I was thinking recently about how bananas are very cheap compared to other foods and realized there are many other benefits of bananas. Here are some of the things that make them great:

1. They are cheap! As mentioned, bananas are consistently one of the most affordable foods available. They are usually around 39 cents per pound which comes out to about 12 cents per banana. What can you get for 12 cents these day? Not much especially when it comes to food. Also they are available year round!

2. They are convenient! Bananas have their own wrapper that is easy to open. They don't need to be washed and you don't need any extra utensils or dishes to eat them. They are quick to throw in with lunch or add to any meal.

3. It is easy to know when they are ripe. Unlike other fruits where it can be hard to tell when they are ripe, bananas are easy to tell simply by looking at the color.

4. They are healthy! They provide a good amount of calories as well as potassium, fiber and other vitamins.

What are some other foods like this that may be under appreciated?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pityriasis Rosea Stages and Progress

A couple months back I started getting an itch on my lower back near the waist. It did not look irritated or anything but continued for a few days. Next I began to notice small red marks beginning to develop on my upper body. It had some resemblance to acne, but I could tell it was something different. It started with a few marks but each day it was getting worse.

The red marks began to appear on the chest, stomach, back, arms, shoulders, and neck. I started doing research to figure out what it could be. Based on the symptoms, I was pretty sure it was a condition called Pityriasis Rosea. Not much is known about what causes it and there is not really a cure either, but it generally runs its course and heels within a couple months.

A couple weeks in, the marks kept getting worse so I decided to make a doctors appointment. The doctor was not really sure about it and just gave a general diagnosis of Psoriasis. From my research and symptoms, I could tell my own diagnosis was more accurate. He prescribed some cream and told me to see a dermatologist if it gets worse. The cream was pretty expensive and considering it was hastily prescribed, I decided not to get it and would continue to monitor the progress.

Here is a week by week recap of the stages and progress my condition. Hopefully it will help give an idea of what to expect if you have similar symptoms:

Week 1:
Started with and itchy section on lower back near waist band. Not much visible difference in skin appearance from normal.

Week 2:
Red spots starting to appear around torso, shoulders, arms, and neck. They are about 1 cm but can get bigger. The red spots do not hurt and do not really itch, but start to become scaly and peel. Original spot now is noticeably red and still itchy.

Week 3:
More spots appearing. This was about the peak of the condition where I had the most spots covering the upper body. The spots did not go to the legs, face, hands or feet in my case.

Week 4:
Dry skin from the marks begins to peel off. Skin starting to heel. The earliest spots are beginning to fade while the newer spots are still clearly visible. Arms start to become itchy. Some spots on the arms are spreading in size to about 1 inch in diameter.

Week 5:
Torso continues to clear up. Red marks on arms and original spot at waist are still itchy.

Week 6:
A little more peeling. Torso is now mostly clear and healed. Spots on arms are now more itchy.

Week 7:
Arms are getting a little better and less itchy. Still occasional itch from original spot at waist.

Week 8: 
Less itchiness and spots are continuing to heel and improve. Looks like it is coming to the end. I will update this post with progress on this condition.

Week 9: About 95% back to normal. Skin is mostly clear and itching has gone away for the most part.

For more testimonials on this condition, check out this site here which has many comments from people who have the condition and treatments they have tried. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Best Songs of 2015

Like last year, in 2015 I did not follow music closely as I have in the past, but I still managed to find some good songs throughout the year. This list excludes super popular songs that everyone already knows already. Here are Connected Isolation's picks for best songs of 2015:

1. Carly Rae Jepsen - Your Type

Carly Rae Jepsen had a great year with several hit songs including the popular "I Really Like You" and "Run Away With Me" but my favorite of all of them and pick for best song of the year is "Your Type". Carly Rae has a wonderful voice for pop music and in this one, the emotion really comes through.

2. Bloodhound Gang - American Bitches

BHG has been out of the spotlight for years, but they came back this year with a new album dropping late in 2015. The lead single from the album American Bitches takes on a little bit of a touchy subject but infuses creative and amusing lyrics as we have come to expect from the Bloodhound Gang. While many of their new songs are more electronic based, this one goes back to the roots with pop rock.

3. Lifehouse - Flight

Another band that has created great songs over the years is back with an epic new song Flight. It starts out slowly with an emotional feel and builds up to a power ending.

4. Ronald Jenkees - Try the Bass

Ronald Jenkees is an interesting music producer who may not have a huge following compared to some of the other artists out there, but he is extremely talented when it comes to making music. Here is a funky new song this year where he performs live on his Youtube channel.

5. The Mowgli's - I'm Good

In the mood for a straight forward catch pop song? The Mowgli's have you covered with their song "I'm Good". It has a summer time vibe and is easy to get into right from the first listen.

6. Meghan Tonjes - Oh Father

Up and coming singer songwriter Meghan Tonjes makes the list this year with an original song that is beautiful and heart felt. This is a live version that was first performed on her Youtube channel. Hopefully it will have a studio version soon!

7. Rachel Bloom - I Give Good Parent

Rachel Bloom burst on the scene this year with a new music comedy show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Each episode contains original songs and here is rap style song she did for the first season. If you like this be sure to check out her Youtube Channel and the CW Channel for more good songs.

If you enjoyed these songs, be sure to check out the Best Songs of 2014.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Frigo Cheese Heads Wisconsin String Cheese Review

I have tried several brands and different types of string cheeses over the years. Some are better than others but recently I tried a new variety from the Cheese Heads Brand with the Wisconsin Cheddar with Parmesan Notes. It comes in a black packaging which stands out from most of the lighter colors which are more common.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor and texture of the cheese. It has a very firm texture which gives it a high quality feel like you are eating a fancy gourmet cheese. The taste is strong and more flavorful from most other cheeses I have tried. 

Since I enjoyed the Cheddar, I decided to try out another one that was available from the Wisconsin series, the Colby Jack. I was hoping it would have the same firmness like the Cheddar, but unfortunately this one was much softer. The flavor was still good, but it tasted like most other colby jack cheeses from other brands.

I would not rush back to get the Colby Jack, but I do highly recommend the Wisconsin Cheddar with Parmesan Notes if you are looking for a convenient string cheese which a higher quality texture and taste from what you may expect from strings cheeses.