Friday, May 29, 2020


Mrs. Fields makes the best cookies and her snickerdoodles are my #1 favorite.  I snatched a warm one fresh from the oven, from the wire rack below, before I thought to take a picture.  Reheat them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to resurrect that warmth.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

U.S. 35 Superstreet

If you've ever traveled westbound from Xenia towards Dayton at rush hour, you've probably encountered a heavy backup along the way.  That's going to improve by replacing the traditional stoplights at Factory Road and Orchard Lane with what ODOT is calling a "superstreet", where cars on Factory and Orchard will only be able to make a right-hand turn.  Motorists who wanted originally to turn left or go straight will do a legal U-turn at a nearby one-way, signalized median crossover to backtrack to the intersection and turn right (if they originally wanted to go straight) or continue straight ahead (if they originally wanted to turn left).  The picture below does a nice job providing a visual.  I just think of it as a stretched-out roundabout.

Read more about it at this link.  The project is underway and will continue through most of 2022.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Gutter Strainer

As part of dealing with a clogged downspout, I installed this gutter strainer to help keep leaves and the dreaded "whirly-birds" from doing a repeat performance.  While installing gutter-guards would be a better solution, they come at a steep price, and at less than $3, I'll be happy to get the ladder out a few extra times a year to clean out the accumulated debris.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Google Meet On Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a $35, single-board computer built for the IT hobbyist.  I loaded it with its standard Raspbian Linux image, which includes the Chromium web browser (the open-source version of Google Chrome), and started up a Google Meet video conference from the comfort of my basement.  It's a good project to learn about the Raspberry Pi and Linux, but having something really useful at the end is a bonus.

Monday, May 25, 2020

State Route 11

I was introduced to U.S. 35 back in the early 1970s when it provided a much quicker route to my grandfather's home in Beavercreek from my parent's home in North Dayton.  But what I recently found out is this road was State Route 11 back before the adoption of the U.S. Highway System in 1926.  I've circled the 11's in the picture below and also circled the 1's, as U.S. 40 was known as State Route 1 back then.  You can also see the neighboring towns of Fairfield and Osborn, which were still 25 years away from merging and becoming Fairborn in 1950.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Costco Cod

While Costco is a "big box store", they are really good for their meat, shrimp and, as shown below, Trident brand Beer Battered Cod fillets.  Add some dill pickles and a few dollops of Frisch's tartar sauce (simply the best version) and you have a quick and delicious meal. 

What about the peas?  They make the photo prettier.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Lincoln Park Civic Commons And Fraze Pavilion

This has been one of the longest springs in my memory, with blooms staying on trees for weeks instead of a few days.  This turned the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering into the beautiful sight seen below, the entrance to the Pavilion being seen across the pond in the Lincoln Park Civic Commons. 

Fraze is named for Ermal Fraze, who was born on a farm near Muncie, Indiana, later moved to Dayton, Ohio, started Dayton Reliable Tool & Manufacturing Company (now DRT Manufacturing Company) and most loved for inventing the pull-tab opener used in beverage cans, ending the need to carry around a "church key", whose pointy end was used to poke a hole through the top of a can.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn maps detail U.S. city streets and buildings for over 100 years beginning in the 1860s.  They were created to allow fire insurance companies to assess policy risk and liability, but they offer an invaluable resource for exploring history.  For example, the 1900 U.S. Census provided the street addresses my grandmothers grew up at, but neither street came up in Google Maps, as they no longer exist, but I found them on Sanborn maps. Another example is shown below, displaying where the Miami-Erie Canal (shown as just the Miami Canal) split in two, with the left, local extension traveling up what is now Patterson Blvd, before turning east between Monument Avenue and the Mad River.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Smith Gardens

Smith Gardens, located on Oakwood Avenue in Oakwood, Ohio, is a small yet beautiful oasis.  Ohio Magazine called Smith Gardens the “finest tiny public garden in Ohio" back in 1996.  It's just one stop on an 8-mile, self-guided tour of Oakwood that includes Hawthorn Hill, home of the Wright Brothers, and many other stunning mansions.  While touring in a car is an option, if you have the legs for it, I suggest walking the route, perhaps breaking it into 2-4 sections and doing them on different days.  If you think we don't have hills around here, this path will correct that misperception.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Google Fi Savings

I was pleasantly surprised when my last cell phone bill was $7-$8 less than normal, then realized that I'm on Wi-Fi most of the time since I'm mostly at home.  My Google Fi plan costs me $20/month, one penny per ten megabytes of data (yes, it's billed in penny increments) and, of course, almost 14% additional for taxes and fees.

Contrast my plan with my wife's Verizon plan.  She's currently getting an additional 15GB of data per month free.  This is perfectly useless for her and almost everyone else, except Verizon can keep their normal revenue ($52.07 this month) and make it look like they're so very generous at the same time, giving away to those very few the bandwidth we freed up by staying at home.

Not fooling this guy.