Because I’ve always flown in and out of huge airports that are primary hubs for big commercial airlines, my flight experiences have historically always been on the cramped side. A majority of the flights I’ve taken have been full and oversold flights; it wasn’t a rare occurrence for me to see long standby lists and gate attendants asking for volunteers to accept airline credit in exchange for being bumped to the next available flight. With that being said, I’m sure you realize how surprised I was when I heard over the PA system that boarding was complete, but when I looked to my right, this is what I saw: I was already pretty ecstatic that I was on my flight back home to Las Vegas after visiting Illinois, but this made the already-great experience even better. Being an extreme introvert, I don’t really like being around people, so the fact that literally nobody was around me for the entire flight made it a whole lot more comfortable.
This was my first time visiting Illinois in a year, which meant it was the first time Ed (“Grainyrice”) saw Coco in a year as well (unless he has been visiting my parents on his own without me being there and I’m not aware of it). As you’d imagine, Coco was pretty excited to see Ed again; here are some photos of their reunion: After Coco finished being happy, Ed and I decided to go get some food. In an epitome of a first-world problem, Ed wanted to go to both Culver’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, and he couldn’t decide which one. … So we went to both. I go to Buffalo Wild Wings on occasion in Las Vegas, as there’s one relatively close to my home. I usually only ever go on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they have the wings promotions, so instead of getting even more wings (especially because it was neither a Tuesday nor a Thursday), I decided to try something new on the menu and got nachos with vegetables and pulled pork. I was originally under the impression that it would be close to an appetizer, but it ended up being more food than Ed had with his wings. Considering I had eaten a Culver’s hamburger shortly prior to that, I ended up bringing like 80% of it back home to-go.
My next truck mods aren’t exactly mods, but add-ons – I got myself a bed liner and a tonneau cover. For my bed liner, I opted to go with a BedRug. People buy pick-up trucks for various reasons, some of which include off-roading and rock crawling. Realistically, my truck is mainly going to be used as a suburb crawler about 98% of the time, with the bed being used to move basic oversized household items, if not just groceries. I actually did already use my own truck to haul all my stuff to my new residence, but that’s not something that happens too often, and none of my stuff was really so rugged that it would damage the inside of my bed. As a result, I picked a bed liner that fit my needs a bit better. Compared to a spray-in bed liner, the BedRug is a lot softer – as the name suggests, it feels almost exactly like a rug, so there’s a nearly non-existent chance that the surface would damage anything I put into it, while the rough surface of a traditional spray-in bed liner might. Compared to a drop-in bed liner, the BedRug has a lot better traction and grip, while most drop-in bed liners I’ve seen just look like heavy duty plastic on which your cargo may slip and slide around. I installed it myself to save on installation costs, and because I did some in-depth research on YouTube and saw that installation didn’t require any specialized tools beyond isopropyl alcohol to clean the surfaces receiving adhesive. It wasn’t a very difficult process, though it was pretty tedious and time-consuming (and the fact that my garage was pretty hot didn’t really help). In my opinion, some of the instructions in the manual in regards to where to attach the Velcro adhesive strips were suboptimal. If you end up getting this same BedRug, I would recommend using the long, straight strips all the way in the back top (near the rear window) and on the top side of the tailgate – this is a very small thing, but if you look carefully enough, you can see some of the adhesive showing between the truck and the BedRug due to the thickness of the adhesive, and it looks cleaner to have the visible areas be a long single strip instead of smaller squares. For my tonneau cover, I opted to go with a BAKFlip G2 hard folding truck bed cover. I definitely wanted to go with a hard-surface locking cover, as I’m pretty big on preventative safety and didn’t even want to give people the opportunity to cut through my cover and get into the bed of my truck. The price difference is usually negligible – no more than a couple hundred dollars – and I thought it was a good investment to do that instead of trying to save a little bit of money now and potentially having to go through the hassle of potentially being victimized by a thief. From there, I narrowed down my options and picked the BAKFlip G2 because it allowed installation with no drilling, it locked via the railings and falling flat on the tailgate instead of having to worry about an extra key, and it was a quad-panel folding system that made it easy to flip back and gain full access to the entire truck bed. It also had a very flat profile that didn’t create a large, thick panel that laid on top of the bed top, and it was relatively light compared to other hard and heavy duty tonneau covers. I personally did the installation here again for the same cost-saving purposes, and it again wasn’t very difficult, but tedious. It involved a lot of patient measuring and adjusting to make sure everything was clamped and folded down in the proper position.
As we wind down to the final moments of Legion, I decided to go back through some of my more recent screenshots and share my final memories from the expansion. I’ve mostly been doing a lot of older content lately because one of my co-workers recently came back to World of Warcraft for the first time in several years and I’ve been joining him as he relives some of the older expansions that were released after he stopped playing. But, during the time I haven’t been crawling through ancient dungeons and raids, I’ve been scrambling to try and get the last bits of Legion content done before Battle for Azeroth hits the live servers. Unlocking both allied races, Void Elf and Lightforged Draenei: Finally hitting Prestige Level 1 (I haven’t really spent much time in PvP this expansion): Getting Exalted in Highmountain Tribe, my last reputation before completing Exalted in all factions: Completing the artifact weapon storyline for my two alternate specializations, Holy and Discipline: Maxing out my reputation with Chromie (though I still haven’t finished her quest storyline):
Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157674558937456
After some intensive research on where I wanted to get my auto customization done, I decided to go with Dipped Auto Works. If you missed it from last week, I opted to purchase a lower trim on my new pick-up truck of choice because I felt like going with a higher trim was a waste of money – I could get everything I wanted on the truck aftermarket for a fraction of the price, and I didn’t even want a lot of the features of the highest trim model anyway. I had a general idea of what I wanted, and the guys at Dipped Auto Works helped me finalize my plans. This was a two-day project; this photo is of the end of the first day: I essentially got my truck looking a lot sleeker without having to add on a sport/all-terrain package or getting upgraded wheels. Overall, this is what I ended up getting done so far:
- Front chrome grille painted red quartz tintcoat (body color) around the edge and black on the inside – it now resembles the grille of the all-terrain trims. I personally think chrome only looks nice on black luxury vehicles and only as trim pieces and accents; I wasn’t a fan of the entire grille being chrome.
- Side chrome trim pieces and rear chrome bumper painted red quartz tintcoat. Again, I think the shine of the chrome fits well with all-black luxury vehicles, but it seemed a little out-of-place on a deep red mid-size pick-up truck.
- Wheels painted glossy black. I’m not a fan of sacrificing functionality for appearance, so I had no interest in actually upgrading my wheels from 17″ to something larger, as shrinking the amount of actual tire you have compromises ride quality. I also think having massive rims on a pick-up truck looks a bit silly. So, I stuck with my stock wheels, but just got them painted black.
- Brake calipers painted red quartz tintcoat. This is something that the guys recommended, and they offered me a huge discount on it because the wheels on my truck would already be off anyway for painting, so it would be a lot easier to get it done. My wheels have relatively thick spokes so it’s not as easy to see the calipers compared to a sports car, but they’re still noticeable.
- “Canyon,” “SLE,” and “V6” badges removed. Red quartz tintcoat is a premium color, so I see no reason to cover up more of it with random chrome pieces on the side and rear of the truck. I think that lack of chrome also makes the overall body of the vehicle look sleeker and cleaner.
- 20% VLT ceramic tint on all side windows, clear ceramic coating on windshield. 20% is the legal limit in Nevada on the front windows for those with a medical exemption; there’s no limit for the darkness of rear windows, but I did 20% all-around because I already had privacy glass on the rear, so it ends up being far darker than 20%. I don’t want to sacrifice visibility out my front windshield, so I got a clear coating over it just for the ultraviolet and infrared protection.
Ever since moving from Illinois to California, then to Nevada, I never owned my own car. I didn’t ever really need one, as in California, I just borrowed other people’s cars, and in Nevada, I lived in a place where everything was conveniently in walking distance. When I did need to go somewhere decently far away, renting a car for a day or using rideshare services was way cheaper than covering all the costs associated with actually having a car. However, there are some changes happening to my living situation (which I will explain in further detail sometime soon) that is requiring me to get a motor vehicle. I’m obviously not going to lease a car, because most people who know how to calculate the real numbers behind leases know it’s an absolute scam, so I started doing some research on what vehicle I wanted to purchase. I was considering getting something affordable and compact, but I’m the type of person who would buy a vehicle and stick with it for 10+ years, so I wanted to buy one that I knew I would be happy with at least 8 years from now. If I get something too economic and cheap, I was afraid I would get sick of it after a handful of years and regret underspending on my vehicle. I also didn’t want to get something too small and compact because there is a very real chance that I will literally be married and have a kid in under 8 years, and having too tiny of a vehicle would make transportation inconvenient. I also recently became a fan of very large vehicles thanks to the local Enterprise Rent-a-Car never having sedans available when I booked them, then giving me free upgrades to pick-up trucks and SUVs. I had driven sedans my entire life (my parents had a Buick LeSabre, Infiniti I35, and Honda Accord), and at first, because of the comparatively larger size of pick-up trucks and SUVs relative to sedans, I thought I would never be able to effectively maneuver anything other than a sedan. But, after Enterprise repeatedly kept giving me pick-up trucks and I started getting used to them, I realized that there was a whole different world of vehicles that I was missing out on. I got used to the high ride height and ground clearance of pick-up trucks, and it boosted me up into the air enough that I could see over anything. The maneuverability was still a small problem, but I eventually got used to it, and the back-up camera was helpful as well. Because of my positive experiences with these huge vehicles, I decided that I wanted to get a mid-size pick-up truck. I didn’t want an SUV because it had worse fuel economy due to the extra metal in the rear of the vehicle, and it had less versatility in terms of cargo. I didn’t want a full-size pick-up truck because most of them just come with higher towing and hauling capabilities and a higher price tag, and I would never even come close to towing or hauling anything near the maximum capacity of a mid-size pick-up truck, let alone a full-size one. Within the mid-size pick-up truck category, I immediately eliminated the Honda Ridgeline because the exterior styling looked too close to an oversized sedan with a truck bed. I also immediately eliminated the Nissan Frontier because it severely lags behind the rest of the segment, and it has the worst safety scores. I ended up eliminating the Chevrolet Colorado because it’s the twin of the GMC Canyon, and if I was going to opt for that model, I might as well get the more upscale version of the truck. Between the Toyota Tacoma and GMC Canyon, I opted to go with the GMC Canyon mainly because of aesthetics and interior functionality reasons. Everything both inside and outside the GMC Canyon appeared to be much more polished, and the Toyota Tacoma had less of an aggressive exterior appearance in terms of styling. One thing that I did think hard about was the historical reliability of the Toyota brand, but within Toyota, the Tacoma is usually considered the least reliable vehicle anyway, and I haven’t really heard of American trucks being that bad, so I decided to go for the GMC Canyon. I resisted going straight for the maximum Denali trim, and instead opted for the lower trim and decided to “build my own Denali.” A lot of the features of the Denali were things I did not really need, or were standard add-ons that I could just install myself on a lower-trim model for less than half the price. With availability, price negotiations, and all other things considered, I came to the decision of purchasing a truck at the SLE trim level. The stock image above provided by the dealership is what my truck looks like right now, though I have a long list of modifications that I want to make to the truck. Some of the items that I can install myself, I plan on purchasing the parts off Amazon and working in my garage, but for everything else, I’m looking to set up an appointment with an auto customization shop within the next week or so to get that all done.