Mountain Dew has brought back Pitch Black and I’m not sure I ever had it. I couldn’t find a MtDewVirus review for it, so here we are. I was trying to figure out what this tasted like when B said “It tastes like a flat grape Crush.” She had it. It’s a shitty version of a grape pop, so it only gets a 4/10. I would not buy this.
I don’t often review drinks that aren’t a flavor of Mtn Dew, but Brandi brought home this new brand from Pepsi called Starry. It’s really good and a nice option for when you want something refreshing without caffeine. I’ll buy a bottle sometimes. I give it a very solid 8.5/10.
It was a continuation of 2021 in terms of making, with a lot of home projects. After the kitchen I was pretty burnt out and took a break during the summer.
- Another Maker in the House
- Kitchen Remodel: Paint and Floor
- Reusing Kitchen Flooring
- Building The Child in LEGO
I’m currently working on a full bathroom remodel and then that’s the end of large home renovation projects because just about every room in the house has been done in the last few years. Hopefully in 2023 I can get to some neat projects I have planned and catch up on some electroncis stuff.
This year’s mystery flavor tastes like bomb pops and the Faygo Firework flavor. I’ll score it a 7/10.
On Wednesday I saw a tweet from Mountain Dew about a new flavor I hadn’t heard of. It’s a flavor which was released to stores in 2010 but hadn’t been made in over a decade. It was only available through The Dew Store. It seemed like people had loved it, so I ordered a 6 pack of 16 ounce cans, which ran about $20 after shipping.
I have a head cold this weekend so I wanted to drink a couple of cans before writing my review. This is easily one of the best flavors I’ve had, maybe only second (other than the original) to White Out. I’m glad I have four more cans to enjoy, but I don’t understand why they don’t keep some of these fan favorites around full-time.
I give it a 9.5/10.
Last week I was contacted by Hychika, who asked if I’d like to try one of their tools in exchange for a review. They offered their 20v Drill/Driver, a small tire inflator, or a small cordless screwdriver. I’m set on drills and impact drivers with my Ryobi collection of tools and I don’t have a bike, which would be the ideal use of the inflator. The 3.6V Cordless Screwdriver caught my eye and it arrived in a couple of days.
The set came with an injection molded case, which I usually think are a waste because they’re junk; the parts are always hard to get out and put back in. This case is really no different than my other experiences with them, but for how I’ll use this screwdriver, I’m actually glad to have it. It’ll make the set easy to store in my hobby room.
At only 3.6 volts and 180 RPM, this is not a powerful screwdriver by any measurement. I won’t be driving screws in to hardwood that’s for sure. I’ll keep it in my hobby room where it will get a lot of use working on electronics and small appliances/machines. It’s the perfect size and muscle for that type of use. I did pull it out today when I had to take the face plates off some outlets and was able to remove the outlets too, so it may prove useful in the kitchen or garage when I don’t want to run downstairs for a full size driver.
The kit comes with a USB charger, a mini wrench, and a nice assortment of sockets and bits. The screwdriver itself has a couple of nifty features, like a flashlight, rotating head for use in two orientations, and a quick release chuck. The quick release chuck seems similar to the one on my 18V Ryobi impact driver and I love that thing.
I did a quick search and Ryobi makes a four volt version of this tool, which seems almost identical. Overall this Hychika screwdriver seems like a decent tool for what it’s designed for, but I’m curious how it’ll hold up over time.
This doesn’t even sound like a good idea and of course I was going to try it. The left side of the label says “Caution: Flamin’ Hot Taste” but there is no such thing. I definitely get a citrus flavor and can tell it’s a Mtn Dew, but there is no kick to it and not even a hint of an aftertaste. It’s actually a decent flavor, but due to falling short on its name I give it a 4/10.
Last month I was messaging my brother, who said he loved his 40V Ryobi snow blower and lawn mower. I’ve had an Ariens 520 two stage snow blower for over a decade, but haven’t used it much the last few years. It used up a lot of space in the garage, took a long time to get started for the winter season, was slow to use, and left me smelling like exhaust. The thought of getting away from gas yard tools was exciting and I have a large collection of Ryobi’s 18V power tools, so they’re a brand I trust.
I jumped on Home Depot and ordered the 40V HP Brushless 21 in. Cordless Single Stage Snow Thrower with (2) 5.0 Ah Batteries since none of the local HDs had it in stock. It was $549.
The only steps involved in assembly were to twist on the chute, secure it with a screw, and tighten the handle. I immediately loved how compact it folded up.
We got snow the next day, so I put it to a test.
The snow blower was easy to start with the push of a button. It was very quiet, light, easy to maneuver, and has a bright LED light. Right away I noticed it didn’t have the power to throw the snow very far as you can see in the video. I would be throwing the snow right in to an upcoming path, so would be moving the same snow 2-3 times! Not a good start.
The triggers on the handle that need to be held in order to keep it running were awkward to use and I accidentally let go multiple times. Then after less than 10 minutes of use, I let go and the motor wouldn’t start again. Both batteries had about 75% charge left and the LED headlight was coming on without a problem. I could hear a bit of a clicking sound from the motor.
I loaded it in my car and returned it to Home Depot the next morning.
I was extremely disappointed in the machine and due to my positive experience with other Ryobi products, I felt the need to leave an online review, which I almost never do. To my surprise, I got a response the next day.
I also received the following email.
My name is Christian, and I am the Product Development Coordinator for RYOBI Snow Blowers.
We received your online review on the RYOBI 40V HP 21” Snow Blower. We understand you have had an issue with your RYOBI Snow Blower. It is our policy to make absolutely sure that 100% of our customers are pleased with their experience with RYOBI. Could you please call me at 864-642-8094? I would like to investigate this issue with you and make sure that your experience with our products moving forward is a positive experience and that you walk away understanding that our customer service is unmatched.
If you prefer you can reply to this email, and we can discuss your experience to find a solution that meets your needs.
I emailed back…
I returned it to Home Depot two days after it was delivered (the night after trying it). We had less than 2 inches of light snow and the unit was pretty terrible. It barely threw the snow 5-6 feet, so I would end up going over the same snow multiple times to do the driveway. Then after maybe 10 minutes of use, the auger wouldn’t start again. The LED light was on and both batteries had 3/4 charge. Maybe there was something wrong with the motor on this unit, but it seemed very under powered and I wasn’t confident it would be able to handle any real storm.
It was quite disappointing because I have a lot of Ryobi hand tools and they all work great. I was hoping to replace my gas snow blower and lawn mower with Ryobi units for ease of use, space saving, and not having to deal with gas, but I’ll be sticking with them now.
Their next reply…
This issue your snow blower experienced has become know and we have since corrected the issue with our units in inventory!
I would like to offer to upgrade you to our brand new RYOBI 40V HP 21″ Whisper Series Snow Blower as I see you were not impressed with the previous models performance. This kit has an upgraded controller and 2x 7.5Ah batteries for increased power and runtime.
Would this be something you are interested in? I want to make sure you are taken care of.
I look forward to hearing from you!
I was shocked. The 40V HP BRUSHLESS 21″ WHISPER SERIES SNOW BLOWER WITH (2) 7.5AH BATTERIES AND CHARGER is $699 and they sent me one for free!
The unit had some damage to the knob used to adjust the auger speed so I asked if they could send me a replacement part and I would fix it myself.
Apparently it’s not an easy fix, so they sent me another snow blower. FREE! Same model, fully complete with the batteries and charger. I was floored!
This new model is better in every way.
- Build quality of the machine feels much sturdier.
- Larger batteries provide more power and runtime.
- The handle folds away in one step instead of two.
- Triggers to keep it running were replaced with the more traditional bar you find on lawn mowers.
I’ve had the chance to use this snow blower during a few different sized Michigan snow storms and it did a great job. It throws the snow much better than the other model and it didn’t miss a beat. The machine maneuvers so much better than a heavy gas snow blower and is actually fun to use. There’s no worry about it starting up, so I can just throw in the batteries, push start, and be good to go.
I quickly sold my Ariens gas snow blower, gave the “broken” Ryobi to my brother, and am enjoying the extra space in the garage. Isaac had an older Ryobi model and said this one is awesome.
One minor negative is the snow blower doesn’t come with any kind of shovel tool to clear snow out of the chute or auger. I came up with my own solution though.
Before I purchase a lawn mower I’m waiting to see if Ryobi releases one in their Whisper series before spring. If they don’t, I’ll buy one of their current models. The mowers fold up better to save even more space, which will be great.
This whole experience with Ryobi’s customer service makes me happy I switched to Ryobi a few years ago. It even pushed me to buy their cordless nail guns to replace my pneumatic ones last week. One of my shop projects after the kitchen is finished will be to build a system to better organize and store all of my cordless tools, so I’ll share my Ryobi collection then.
2021 started well in terms of making, building on the momentum I built in 2020. Then the home projects started. It was a year full of very large projects, which transformed a lot of the house.
- IKEA BILLY / OXBERG with Custom LED Lighting
- Learning From a Retractable Extension Cord Reel Restoration
- A New Hobby Desk and Organization
- Unclog a Bissell Carpet Cleaner
- Portable Soldering Station
- Dog’s Toy Box
- Shop Blow Dryer
- Mini Decorative Crate
- Bathroom Shelves with Towel Hooks
- Easter Basket Crates
- Pallet Wood Bedroom Art: It Was All a Dream
- Pallet Wood Art/Shelf With a Hidden Dimmable LED Light
- DIY Wall Sconce/Light
- DIY Square Ceiling Medallion
- Simple Kitchen Storage Improvements
- Kitchen Appliance Upgrades
- Cabinet and Counter Changes
- Homemade Christmas Ornament – 2021
For the last three months of 2021 I’ve been on a three month sabbatical from Automattic and I go back to work on the 4th. I’ve joked that I need a vacation now because I’ve been putting a lot of hours in to the kitchen. The last few weeks have been very busy and I’ve accomplished a lot, but the remodel will not be finished. I do have a post coming soon with some major updates.
Once the kitchen is finished I’m looking forward to tinkering with some electronics again and having time to work on much smaller projects.
The apple flavor reminds me of something, but I can’t place it. Definitely not like the amazing green apple Jolly Ranchers. I can’t decide if I like the taste or not so I’ll give it a 6/10.