Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Brew Kettle

We've brewed beer at The Brew Kettle in Strongsville, Ohio (outside Cleveland) on three occasions, twice brewing an Irish Lager and once a Scottish Ale.  Our routine consists of having lunch at their restaurant and trying a few options, then going to the brewing area in the back and deciding which recipe to make.  Ingredients are gathered, grains milled and added to the kettle, already filled of water, to soak.  The temperature is raised slowly over the course of a couple hours as hops and other flavors are added. When complete, the staff drains the kettle and stores it for 2-3 weeks before we make our return trip to bottle it.  Part of the fun is designing our own custom labels, like the one below that remembers Shadow and her ability to leap fences, usually at the most inconvenient of times.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mike Leach On Weddings

This is a perfect summary of what happens during wedding planning, with some advice on how us men can cope, delivered by Washington State football coach Mike Leach.  Spot on funny.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Android Apps on Chromebooks

After an extra-long wait, Android app support is now available on certain models of Chromebooks, which fortunately includes my Acer Chromebook 14.  The first apps to load were Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as they enable a small set of TV shows and movies to be downloaded, perfect for the Chromebook's large screen and will make long, cramped airplane trips a bit more tolerable.

Monday, November 27, 2017

University Of Dayton Arena

Thanks to a friend of ours we enjoyed our first look at the upgraded lower level seats and four-sided, center-hung video board installed during the first phase of the University of Dayton Arena's multi-year upgrades.  Even better was watching the Flyers battle back from a five point halftime deficit to defeat the Akron Zips 73-60. 

Big shout out to Karen for the tickets!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sugar Cream Pies

Thanksgiving dinner concluded with these Sugar Cream Pies, a tasty departure from the usual pumpkin.  Super easy to make as long as the transfer into the oven is slowly and carefully done.  

  • Crust
    • 2 unbaked pie crusts (frozen is fine)
    • One or two cookie sheets (or similar)
  • Filling
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cups Half-and-Half
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 6 tbsp flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the pie crusts on the cookie sheet(s), lined with foil or parchment if desired.  The cookie sheet will avoid small spills making a large mess.
  • In a small bowl:
    • Whisk the egg yolks
    • Add the Half-and-Half and stir together
  • In a large bowl:
    • Whisk the sugar, flour and salt
    • Add the heavy cream and vanilla, and completely blend
    • Add the contents of small bowl and lightly stir together
  • Pour the filling evenly into the pie crusts.
  • Ever so carefully, place the cookie sheet/pies into the oven.
  • Bake for 75 minutes. The top should be golden and rise above the edge of the crust. Note that the filling will still jiggle.
  • Cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least two hours.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

39th Annual Turkey Trot

Another year, another Turkey Trot!  Not bad for 62.

A brisk morning, started out just below freezing, but very little wind made it reasonable to run. 

We earned an extra piece of turkey for our efforts!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

All About Me

Just received my new, custom-made T-Shirt from Vistaprint Promotional Products.  My wife thought it said "pound me", but I intended it to mean "it's all about me", which I quickly explained.  It's a good quality shirt (Gildan Heavy Cotton) and for the all-in price of $15.72, not a bad deal.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kohler Cavata

We liked the Kohler Cavata toilet we had installed in the second floor bedroom do-over so much that I replaced the toilet on the first floor last weekend with the same model.  A little taller, a little longer and a seat that slowly lowers itself, avoiding the annoying "big bang" of the older model.  What I like the most is the innards of tank come pre-installed.  If I can install a toilet without a single leak, it must be good.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Month Names

​Google has a public dataset available that has all the first names for people, going back to 1910 in the United States, that applied for a Social Security number.  I used their BigQuery tool to create this summary of female and male names that are months,  The most popular ones are not surprising.  August was a very popular name in my Moorman blood line and my great-grand-uncle August Moorman fathered 21 children, truly a "more man" than most.

I guess nobody likes February and March.  As a name or otherwise 😀.

Female NamesCount

Male NamesCount

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

macOS High Sierra

I've had my MacBook Air laptop for over five years and it still runs like a champ, mainly due to an operating system that doesn't get viruses or bloated, and the performance of its solid-state disk.  Add to that the yearly, free (I love free) macOS upgrades and I have all the current features without any upgrade pains.  High Sierra is the latest, with the new Apple File System, H.265 video, improved GPU support,Virtual Reality, a new Photos app features and much more.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Google Home Mini

The home office now has a Google Home Mini, provided free (I love free) which the purchase of my Google Pixel 2 phone.  This is our fourth voice-controlled, intelligent, personal assistant, smart speaker, joining the Amazon Echo (dining room), Echo Dot (basement) and Google Home (master bedroom). Add our two smartphones, two iPads and Siri on my MacBook Air, and we can get music, weather, timers and answers from at least nine sources.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home can place outbound phone calls to U.S. and Canada for free (I love free), so my first thought is they would make really great speakerphones for conference calls.  But the problem is neither can enter the access codes or any other prompt responses, they can just dial the initial phone number.  But all it takes is a DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency) generator, like these apps, to mimic the tones a phone produces.  It takes a little getting used to, as the smart speakers need a brief pause to recognize and pass on the tones, so press the "keys" a little longer than usual, and it should work for you too.

Google Android >>

Apple iOS >>

Friday, November 10, 2017

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

We love grilled or roasted brussel sprouts and this dish from the Collision Bend Brewery in Cleveland's "The Flats" district, containing Vietnamese caramel sauce, queso fresco cheese and shishito peppers, is among the best we've ever had.  Paired with a fish taco and outside seating on a sunny day, it was a meal to remember.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

iPad 9.7

Forget buying a refurbished iPad to save a few bucks.  When my wife's second generation iPad was getting to be slower than dirt, we bought a brand new iPad for about half of what the previous one cost. While the specs aren't the best you can get, it's more than enough for most people.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Jedi Master

Is this Photoshopped or a paparazzi catching me honing my lightsaber skills?

Tell you I will not.  Figure it out yourself you must.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Affordable Appliance Service

The bearings in this little clothes dryer part wore out after a couple years resulting in god-awful squeaky shrieks. The repairman not only replaced the part, he vacuumed out the dryer and outside vent, and shortened the vent hose to a better length. They may not make parts like they used to, but this was simply great, old-fashioned service.  Highly recommend!

Monday, November 6, 2017

5 Ghz Wireless

Last week our Internet provider, Spectrum, upgraded our service to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) for free (I love free), but for our wireless devices to take advantage of that required reconfiguring them from using their original 2.4 gigahertz (Ghz) setting to the faster 5.0 Ghz.  All systems have a bottleneck, that portion that limits the performance of all the others, and that used to be the Internet connection, but now is the home WiFi network.  The first screenshot below shows my MacBook Air on 5 Ghz, the one below that on 2.4 Ghz, showing the improvement from about 25 Mbps to almost 60 Mbps.  The biggest benefit will come from changing the Roku and other streaming players to 5 Ghz, helping avoid the pauses and low quality that comes from not enough throughput.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fresh Green Beans

You won't find a can of green beans in our kitchen, it's fresh or nothing at all.  The pressure cooker is often used to prepare them, but recently we've started using this stove-top method which adds an extra kick and a slightly charred outside.  The only tricky part is not peaking early and releasing the steam, so a clear lid is a big help.

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper


  • Heat oil and sliced garlic on medium-high in a skillet
  • Once garlic is light and golden, add the green beans, water, salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Stir and cover with a lid and let it steam on high heat about 5-7 minutes or until water has evaporated
  • Uncover when beans are tender

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Husk Nashville

Our final night in Nashville started with an Uber ride to The Patterson House for a cocktail followed by another ride over to Husk Nashville for dinner.  The menu is filled with southern classics and the desserts are to die for.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Our stroll through this Nashville park included a history lesson from the viewpoint of a southern city that was occupied early in the Civil War by the north, but started back before the days of European settlements to recent history.  At one end of the park were these Carillon pillars that chimed out Tennessee-themed songs at the top of each hour.