Search found 275 matches

by Alf 101
Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Talk to me about Le Creuset
Replies: 53
Views: 6142

Re: Talk to me about Le Creuset

Hmmm, I own a 6-quart Lodge enameled Dutch oven, that's seen heavy use for years. As an honest question, what am I missing not owning a very similar thing made by Le Creuset? The question of value in cookware is a very tricky thing. I own several All-Clad stainless pieces -- a 12" skillet, a saute p...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Galapagos Islands
Replies: 31
Views: 6552

Re: Galapagos Islands

While there are many Galapagos threads here on the Bogleheads site, I'm bumping this one. My wife and I will be heading to the Galapagos now in just under 4 weeks. We'll be on a nine day boat trip with G Adventures, and priorities #1-10 are to see wildlife. Factors such as comfort, luxury, and night...
by Alf 101
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When does frugal cross the line to cheapskate?
Replies: 136
Views: 10231

Re: When does frugal cross the line to cheapskate?

Thinking about this, I'm reminded of some workplace stories. At a place a friend of mine worked, some director banned the purchase of colored post-it notes, under the impression that they cost more money. When it was pointed out they did not, and that yellow was a color, it mattered not at all. Anot...
by Alf 101
Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

My error. It is an oil furnace with hydronic baseboard heat. This is a new one to me -- up to now everywhere I lived had natural gas. I'll have to go back and check what our average fuel costs are per month over the winter. I did talk last night to a HVAC contractor, who I was able to connect up wit...
by Alf 101
Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

Given that an air source heat pump may not even be a good solution for you in the deepest of winter, it might be worth investigating a vertical ground source heat pump again. How much were your winter heating costs last year? A ground source heat pump might pay for itself. While I wait to set up vi...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

The request for quotes has gone out, at least the first three, so I'll keep this topic posted as to what we find. The choice of whether to install a mini-split system or not is challenging. We're north, but not so far north -- USDA Hardiness Zone 5a. Our house seems well insulated, and is surrounded...
by Alf 101
Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

Yes, that is the case -- one unit in the main room downstairs, and a second unit in the master bedroom directly above. Both units would be mounted on an outside wall. Now this was an over the phone estimate, as a precursor to a visit and a quote -- it's not as if the contractor had more information ...
by Alf 101
Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

Hmm, I just got an over the phone and back-of-the-napkin quote range of $10-14K. This would be for a two zone mini-split's system in our 2000 sq. ft. house. This seemed a little on the high end, but I will get an actual quote based on a visit, and several more to shop around. This first estimate was...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3448

Re: International Vacation Ideas

I'm going to heartily agree with that last post. Thailand is a great option -- food, history, culture, scenery -- and sometimes you really lose out in travel by spreading yourself too thin. I found myself in Bangkok after my first trip to Nepal, with no particular plans. I was completely entertained...
by Alf 101
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3448

Re: International Vacation Ideas

I've enjoyed my time in Nepal, and can recommend it, but you go there to trek. Kathmandu can be interesting, but if you haven't spent much time in Asia, I could see how it might be a little jarring on your first trip. I also feel like you really haven't seen the country until you've spent time in th...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Vacation Ideas
Replies: 47
Views: 3448

Re: International Vacation Ideas

Among the questions for the OP is whether you enjoy camping or "glamping", and what level of smooth -- or unsmooth -- sailing are you comfortable with in your travels? This is in no way meant as judgemental, rather to help suggest good fits. If you like things well arranged, many guided trips are av...
by Alf 101
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

Re: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

So as the heat wave continues, I find myself returning to this thread. Having done some research, it seems the so-called portable AC are considered inefficient and mostly ineffective. The most cost-effective one room solution remains the window unit. If anyone feels this is grossly inaccurate, pleas...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]
Replies: 55
Views: 3131

[Small, Portable, and Ductless Air Conditioners]

[Added similar air conditioners, see below. --admin LadyGeek] As we come into the heat of summer, somehow I've been thinking about air conditioning. We recently moved to a home that has much to recommend, only has baseboard heat, and no central AC. We're in the north, so this isn't completely unten...
by Alf 101
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 75
Views: 7294

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

Agreed about the fresh citrus. If people are coming over around 5 or 6 PM, I will usually squeeze the limes and mix everything in a pitcher around noon or 1 PM. This works out just fine. This summer I did make a pitcher, then it turned out we only had two guests. The pitcher wasn't emptied and we fi...
by Alf 101
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 75
Views: 7294

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

I would be interested in anyone's impression of using bottled lime juice. I have come to believe that fresh lime is really key to the flavor of a tequila; sure you can use the mix, but the freshness seems to make a big difference to me and my guests. One thing to ask, since this is the BH forum, is ...
by Alf 101
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 75
Views: 7294

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

Now that we're partway through the summer, and the temperatures are climbing, I thought I'd revisit the topic. Though I had not really featured cocktails as part of my entertainment strategy, I'm finding guests are truly enjoying margaritas. Big surprise, I know, stop the presses. First off, I purch...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best time to travel to Iceland?
Replies: 22
Views: 2944

Re: Best time to travel to Iceland?

I'd agree with some of the sentiments of the last two posts. If I recall correctly, June and July -- the mid-summer -- are the peak periods for Icelandic tourism. If you can go during the shoulder season, May or September, you may find more of a sense of nature. We visited the canyon pictured in the...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best time to travel to Iceland?
Replies: 22
Views: 2944

Re: Best time to travel to Iceland?

I believe that Iceland will be very expensive, no matter what time of year, so the OP may want to first consider what they want to see and do on the trip. Northern Lights are, of course, in the winter; but it's much harder to get around. If you're a bird watcher and want to see puffins, they come in...
by Alf 101
Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gray hair
Replies: 130
Views: 8920

Re: gray hair

Interestingly, I started going gray around age 20. My hair was light enough at the time, it seemed to blend in -- that or I didn't really notice it much. By my mid-20s I was fully gray. That was OK too. I told people I was going to get a fake ID that said I was 65, so I could cash in on the great se...
by Alf 101
Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18254

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

As to the last point, I do find it interesting what I've noticed dining out, after studying up a little about the subject, thinking about hosting and entertaining. Namely it's the frequency I see overpriced cocktails on menus, naming the liquors featured -- New Amsterdam Gin, Bacardi Superior, or Sa...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Documentaries to recommend?
Replies: 158
Views: 25652

Re: Documentaries to recommend?

I was a little surprised to find no mention of "Meru", currently streaming on Netflix. This may be the finest climbing documentary every made -- beautiful to watch, and giving insight into what it takes to succeed at that level of alpinism. If this genre sounds interesting, I'd also recommend the ps...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: $1M Question
Replies: 38
Views: 5081

Re: $1M Question

Not necessarily to derail the thread, but a better question might be, if someone came to you at age 21 with $12,000, what's the best way to make $1M? Let's assume also, that this person is of average or slightly average means. A quick web search -- not verified through multiple sources -- for averag...
by Alf 101
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18254

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Well the vodka (Tito's or Finlandia) and gin (Bombay Sapphire) may be in my price range... :happy It's interesting to see the range of opinions. In general it's likely fair to say that those on the Bogleheads site are generally more financially well off than average, but there's a range of tastes, i...
by Alf 101
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18254

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Reading through and seeing this thread still around, I thought I'd chime in again. A question occurred to me -- how do people start drinking top shelf liquor? Certainly the liquor many of us first enjoyed earlier in life was no high end. An earlier post shared a story where his son-in-law, clearly n...
by Alf 101
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18254

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

Ah yes, this is true. I would say, however, that why we have a Personal Consumer category on an obstensibly financial oriented site, is that we're all interested in value. Many here are doing quite well, and could afford spending more, but unsure if and where it's worth it. When looking specifically...
by Alf 101
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18254

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

As for myself, across the board I take a mid-shelf approach; or it could be debated a low-mid one instead. Am I missing out? Maybe, but here's what I've gone with: 1. For vodka, after trying Skyy and Absolut, I've settled in for Luksusowa. It's Polish, made from potatoes, and the price was right. 2....
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: belize with kids -- advice?
Replies: 8
Views: 925

Re: belize with kids -- advice?

I made a trip to Belize with my wife several years ago. No kids were along for the ride, but here are a few thoughts: -- Belize City isn't nice. We got out of there quickly. The State Department warning basically applies to the capital. -- We spent several days in Placencia, and liked it a great dea...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school
Replies: 70
Views: 5783

Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

I hope this thread doesn't get closed, as this has made me curious how this turns out. Often we can speculate and share recommendations, but how things play out vs. expectations is a valuable data point. To the OP, have you had conversations with your son, and do you have a sense of how he views thi...
by Alf 101
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?
Replies: 191
Views: 18254

Re: Top Shelf Liquor Overrated?

I've always found some challenges to exploring this question: 1. How much side-by-side testing can you do? Let's say I want to decide which tequila I like the best. I buy four bottles and compare them. Now I have more than a half-gallon of tequila, which will last some time. So while I want to be a ...
by Alf 101
Thu May 31, 2018 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Instant pot pressure cooker
Replies: 50
Views: 6797

Re: Instant pot pressure cooker

I believe many people get quite excited about their Instant Pot, and it works well for what they're intending to do. That said, I bought and use non-electric pressure cooker, specifically the Fagor Duo 8-qt. This was also recommended by Cooks Illustrated, and at times throughout the year, can be fou...
by Alf 101
Wed May 30, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My mind exploded
Replies: 79
Views: 5111

Re: My mind exploded

Because I was curious, I did a quick search and saw that non-sale Tevas or Keens would run a person somewhere in the $50-110. Seeing someone wearing a pair of either of these would not signal conspicuous consumption to most. But that's not really the issue. Nonetheless, it's a good thing she didn't ...
by Alf 101
Wed May 30, 2018 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help Me Negotiate My Residential Solar System
Replies: 8
Views: 790

Re: Help Me Negotiate My Residential Solar System

Hmm, are you not able to get multiple bids for the same job? This, in my opinion, is your best option -- unless you want to pursue becoming a solar expert. This is what I generally for work I'd contract out: 1. Get quotes. I will get three as a minimum, and would even go a couple beyond that if I ne...
by Alf 101
Tue May 29, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should one use REITs
Replies: 54
Views: 10324

Re: Should one use REITs

This is an interesting question. Currently I hold somewhere a little less than 5% in the VG REIT Index (VGSLX). The idea was that it would provide some diversification, but I have found it to correlate with equities, as have others in this thread. While there is much to be said for simplicity in one...
by Alf 101
Fri May 25, 2018 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rum and Summer Cocktails
Replies: 30
Views: 2217

Re: Rum and Summer Cocktails

Oops, I guess I missed that one. That said, I'm not really looking for a sipping rum... Many of the pricier sipping rums seem to be the darker ones. I find Goslings Black Seal to be the one rum I already buy, as it is quite good in a Dark and Stormy. I'd be curious if anyone things another variety c...
by Alf 101
Fri May 25, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rum and Summer Cocktails
Replies: 30
Views: 2217

Rum and Summer Cocktails

As it so happens, in the summer I like to entertain. We have a grill and some good outdoor space, and having people over just seems to fall into place naturally. Perhaps some others here can relate. On hot summer days, it seems hospitable to serve my guests beverages. While no serious drinker, I too...
by Alf 101
Tue May 22, 2018 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time For New Car?
Replies: 34
Views: 2756

Re: Time For New Car?

I'll jump back in here quickly. In my case, and for general discussion, let's assume we'e in OK financial shape. I may not buy my next car outright, but should be able to put down for more than half of it, and pay it off quickly. In the time I've owned my car, admittedly kind of a beater, I've had t...
by Alf 101
Tue May 22, 2018 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time For New Car?
Replies: 34
Views: 2756

Re: Time For New Car?

Maybe I'll steer this to a more general discussion. How do you gauge when it's time to replace your old car? Do you hit a mileage (e.g., 100,000, 120,000)? Do you look at maintenance costs over a time period (e.g., 3 months, 6 months, 1 year) as a percentage of the car's blue book value? Is it visua...
by Alf 101
Fri May 18, 2018 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Replies: 30
Views: 2771

Re: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs

I recently moved from Zone 4 to Zone 5, and have started our first season of planting in our new home. I started planting 6 blueberries -- two Jersey, two Patriot, and two Duke. I had to do some work on the soil for the blueberries; I sent a sample in for analysis to the local university which showe...
by Alf 101
Fri May 18, 2018 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner
Replies: 34
Views: 2468

Re: Mitsubishi wall air conditioner

This is a well-timed thread, as this is something I've been considering. Recently we moved to a 2200 sq. ft house in USDA zone 5a/5b. The home has oil heat, no AC, and is ductless with baseboard heat. Having traveled a bit in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, I've seen mini split AC units widely dep...
by Alf 101
Thu May 17, 2018 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roof TV Antenna Recommendation Needed
Replies: 23
Views: 1828

Re: Roof TV Antenna Recommendation Needed

Very interesting...I hadn't really considered adding a rooftop antenna, but reading this thread has piqued my interest. Looking at the antennaweb.org site, I see three over-the-air stations within 12-20 miles, bundling "up to 12 channels". Fair enough, though I live 60-70 miles from a much larger me...
by Alf 101
Wed May 16, 2018 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Must See in South Dakota
Replies: 58
Views: 4567

Re: Must See in South Dakota

Many good suggestions. I will add another vote for the Badlands. This actually is one of my wife's favorite parks, as an avid photographer. At sunset and at dawn, in particular, there are some opportunities and beautiful vistas. I've mainly camped there, coming back from climbing trips, and it's pre...
by Alf 101
Tue May 15, 2018 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I working with the wrong realtor?
Replies: 22
Views: 2868

Re: Am I working with the wrong realtor?

I think this likely varies place to place, but in my experience, your realtor may have been doing nothing wrong. We recently moved into a new house. We made an offer, pending inspection. Based on the results of the inspection, as buyers, we had a period of time to either renegotiate or withdraw. The...
by Alf 101
Tue May 15, 2018 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Update] Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?
Replies: 49
Views: 3414

Re: Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?

An interesting question is how much do you want to drive? With an answer from the OP, the board could really help with options. The American Southwest is a fantastic area, with options beyond what you could fit in one trip. Years ago, living in the west, my parents visited me and we did a big circle...
by Alf 101
Mon May 14, 2018 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Update] Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?
Replies: 49
Views: 3414

Re: Grand Canyon or other Nat'l Park in October?

In my opinion, September and early October are the best months almost anywhere in the world. I think the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are great options, as well as Yosemite or Acadia. I think the choice depends a fair bit on where in the country you'd like to go. That said, I wouldn't talk you out o...
by Alf 101
Mon May 14, 2018 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When is the right time to buy a house?
Replies: 28
Views: 2181

Re: When is the right time to buy a house?

OK, so thinking through this, a few things stood out: 1. I'm not sure where you live, but $600/month on rent is pretty light. If you buy a house, expect that your mortgage, utilities, and inevitable projects will be some multiple of that. 2. I've never looked at a house as an investment, rather as m...
by Alf 101
Fri May 04, 2018 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Replies: 30
Views: 2771

Re: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs

Being at a more northern latitude, I'm looking more at fruit bearing shrubs than trees. Plus with only so much full sun space available, this might fit a little better with available space. In the past I've grown raspberries, which were fairly productive and easy. The Japanese Beetles got at them, b...
by Alf 101
Fri May 04, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Replies: 30
Views: 2771

Growing Fruit Trees and Shrubs

For many of us, it's becoming that time of the season where thoughts turn to planting. Now some like flowers -- they like plants, they look pretty, and the help pollinators. Others like vegetables -- this saves money, and it's great having and cooking with the freshest of ingredients. I find growing...
by Alf 101
Tue May 01, 2018 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?
Replies: 187
Views: 9890

Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

This thread is wonderfully polarizing, and quite enjoyable to read. What's difficult is -- not knowing your daughter, her friend, the car -- how much there is to worry about or not. But I think there are two core ideas here to keep in mind: 1. It's supposed to be fun This whole trip sounds like a gr...
by Alf 101
Tue May 01, 2018 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?
Replies: 187
Views: 9890

Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

I'll agree with bringing some basic auto supplies, a first aid kit, and a water jug. Maybe some basic tools, or just a good multi-tool. Based only on my experience, I'd figure they'd have a tent, camp stove, and sleeping bags too -- or maybe not. It's cheaper camping across the west, and an easy opt...
by Alf 101
Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?
Replies: 187
Views: 9890

Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Much good advice here. In that age range, I did a fair bit of driving back and forth across the west. Here's what worked for me: 1. I did carry a 5 gallon water jug, and would fill it before crossing the desert. Something about spending time in the desert, and thinking about getting stuck in the des...