Wednesday, February 28, 2024

RIP Jeep

After twelve years of driving a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a recent trip to the auto mechanic finally delivered the long-expected news, all the needed repairs were going to cost more than twice the value of the car.  In its place, we bought the 2018 Infiniti QX60 shown below, which has the three rows of seats we wanted and just about every option there is to have.  

The most surprising change from the last time we bought a car was that the dealer took care of everything, including the title and registration work.  They transferred the plates and we headed home.  I don't know if that's a COVID-era change or not, but not having trips to the title bureau and registrar's office was very welcome.




Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Speed Bumps

The speed bumps pictured below are one of three sets that have been installed in the back of the Town and Country Shopping Center in Kettering, Ohio.  They look fairly innocent, but unless you go over them at 1-2 mph, you (and your car) are in for quite a pop.  Unfortunately, I see this as another sign of our neighborhood's slow decay which will eventually drive us to find a better crowd.

As a side story, the oddest speed bumps I've ever encountered were at a McDonald's parking lot in Dubois, PA ... over forty years ago.  I guess those country boys get lead-footed aching for a Big Mac...



Monday, February 26, 2024

Faucet Repair

Our bathroom faucet had a tiny drip and with a pair of channel locks, a screwdriver, and the YouTube video below, I was able to pry out, using considerable force, the old Moen 1224 cartridges and replace them with new parts.  It then took a friend with a lot more knowledge than I to figure out how to get the handles back on.  But the kicker was after that work, only a trickle of water was coming out.  Again my more knowledgeable friend deduced that the problem was a clogged aerator, easily removed, cleaned, and reinstalled.

Why do some 10-minute projects turn into an afternoon of frustration and learning experience?  






Friday, February 23, 2024

The Jucy Lucy

The towering mound of a burger you see below is a Jucy Lucy (also called Juicy Lucy). It starts with two thin hamburger patties and a slice of American cheese that's folded over into four squares and placed on the bottom pattie.  The other pattie is layered on top and the slides of the two patties are pinched together to prevent cheese leakage.  After cooking for 2-3 minutes, the burger is flipped and a toothpick is used to poke a hole or two into the cheese to release some steam.  The finished burger needs to rest for a few minutes as the cheese will be scorching hot.  You can read about the onions, pickles, etc. at the link below.




Thursday, February 22, 2024

Dave Nolin Wetland Preserve

The newest park along the Beaver Creek is the Dave Nolin Wetland Reserve pictured below.  It features an almost mile-long boardwalk made of composite TimberTech decking that loops through its 58 acres of trees, brush, plants, and marshy wetlands.  With the recent completion of phase 2 of the Spotted Turtle Trail, you can make a 2-mile hike south and connect to Dane Mutter Prairie, Beaver Creek Wetland Reserve, and Phillips Park, with the trail ending at Rotary Park.  As pretty as this was on a sunny winter's day, I can't wait to visit again in the spring or early summer when nature will be at its best.

https://beavercreekwetlands.org/location/dave-nolin-wetland-reserve


 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What 3 Words

What 3 Words is a website and mobile app that assigns a three-word combination to every three-meter square on the planet (about 57 trillion of them), which is demonstrated in the screenshot below I took in our local Meijer parking lot.  Take a few steps in any direction and the "hulk.epic.tender" will change to a completely new phrase.  

A somewhat obvious use of this is in 9-1-1 calls.  Supplying emergency responders with a precise location helps deliver aid more quickly, as I found out about in the February 2024 City of Kettering newsletter.  This would greatly help if you are injured during a hike on a long trail or in a similar situation where a conventional address is only partially helpful.

Another application is global and addresses the lack of addressing for billions of people on Earth.  In the fascinating five-minute TED talk at the link below, Chris Sheldrick explains how he and his team came up with this idea and how three African nations now use What 3 Words to give their people an address.




Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Cruise Mapper

The Cruise Mapper website displays the location and routes of 1,536 cruise ships from about four dozen different cruise lines.  The statistics available for each ship include the number of passengers the ship holds, the passengers-to-space ratio, the number of decks, and the number of cabins.  This is a great website to explore the vast number of worldwide cruise options.

If you click the link below you will see where in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea Chef Elaine and I are currently positioned during our vacation this week, or at ports of call in the Bahamas, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman Island.  Retirement at its best!




Monday, February 19, 2024

Reset The SMC

A couple of weeks ago I noticed my Mac Mini was hot to the touch and its fan was not whirling to cool it down.  I poked around and couldn't find a likely cause, so I slept on it, only to find it dead the next morning, albeit still rather warm.  I unplugged it to get it to cool down and after it was room temperature, plugged it back in, and to my surprise (and relief) it booted up just fine.  I did some poking around the Internet and found out that Macs have a System Management Controller (SMC) that's in charge of things like the battery, temperature control, the fan, etc.  One way to reset the SMC on a Mac Mini is to unplug it for 15 seconds, which I more than did while I waited for it to cool.  Sometimes is just better to be lucky than good.




Friday, February 16, 2024

The Tony B.

The Tony B., which I had at Walnut Grove Country Club, is so named due to its inspiration, Chef Anthony Bourdain.  Thin sliced Italian mortadella, fried and covered in melted provolone, with mayo and Dijon mustard; served on a butter-grilled pretzel bun.  I munched down the first half before I realized I needed to snap a picture of this to share.  And the onion rings in the foreground were as yummy as they look.




Thursday, February 15, 2024

Party Yard

I'm not a fan of flavored whiskeys except the Squirrel's Stash, which I make several times a year.  When I saw the Party Yard, a 40-pack of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, at our local Dot's market, it just about gave me a headache.  But I know some people love them and there must be a market for this biggie-sized package.  And they have a catchy slogan ... "Burns like hell, tastes like heaven."