Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Following on from yesterday's post, the QuickTime screen recording was saved as a ".mov" file and I needed an animated GIF for the blog.  That was accomplished by ezGIF, a free (I love free) online tool.  I uploaded the file, trimmed a bit from the beginning and ending and downloaded the result as the needed GIF.  Easy peasy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mac Screen Capture And Record

One of the handier features included with the macOS Mojave (aka 10.14) is launched using the Shift-Command (⌘)-5 keyboard shortcut, which brings up all the options you'll need to record video and capture still images, either portions or an entire screen.  Capturing the animation below required the use of this feature in combination with the other screen recording option, QuickTime, and a third component to create this animated GIF, which will be covered tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dayton Blue Star Mothers

Leftover halloween candy is a yearly tradition, overbuying to make sure you never run out but never knowing how many kids will make the rounds.  Left with three bags of Hershey, Snickers and other goodies, and not wanting to pack on more pounds, I did a quick internet search and discovered that they could be donated to the Dayton Blue Star Mothers, and they will include these in the care packages they send to troops all over the world.  Win-win!

The drop off is at 6661 Clyo Road in Centerville Ohio, in the front, left corner of the KHN Medical Building.  Just one more opportunity to donate this year, Saturday, November 17th, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  And I now have a yearly reminder on my calendar so I never forget.

Friday, November 9, 2018


Tucked in the shops at the southeast corner of Wilmington Pike and SR-725/West Franklin St. in Bellbrook, Ohio, Zemore's has a most exciting menu to go with a glass of wine or other beverages.  Below is the delicious small plate of crab empanadas in red sauce I had a couple weeks ago, paired with a glass of 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel from their 2016 vintage.  When the chef/owner was trained at the Culinary Institute of America, it has got to be great.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wet Shoes

Consequences are a part of growing up, parents helping children to develop self-control by being able to envision how their decisions play out over time.  One such child had the habit of leaving their shoes wherever they took them off and no amount of telling them not to proved useful.  So one night, after he went to bed, I put his shoes on the back porch and it took him twenty minutes the next morning to find them.  Didn't quite get him to change his behavior, so the next time the shoes were thrown in the yard.  Obviously capable of learning, he found them quite quickly this time.  Not quite getting it, he left them in the middle of the living room a third time, and again I pitched them into the backyard.  The next morning he easily found them, but as it had rained overnight, they were quite wet.  He never left them in the middle of a room again.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

PST Bridge - For Mac

Another one of those free (I love free), high-quality utilities that serves a specific purpose, this one being to open and peruse PST (Personal Storage Table) files, in other words that file type Microsoft Outlook stores your emails in.  Convert the files to a Mac format or just browse using its included interface.  Available in the Mac App Store by following this iTunes link.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Linux on Chrome OS

The most recent Chrome OS update (70.0.3538.76) on my Acer Chromebook 14 has enabled Linux support, providing local installations of free (I love free) applications such as LibreOffice (Office Suite), GIMP (Graphics Editing), Audacity (Audio Editing) and Atom (Source Code Editor).  While the Chromebook is great for everyday tasks like email, web browsing, web-based apps and some local lighter-weight apps, it's nice to have some some super-powerful utilities at my traveling fingertips.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Disguised Signs

I been at the Fraze in Kettering hundreds, if not thousands, of times, mostly as a stop for water during a run, but also for many concerts and festivals.  Until a few days ago, I had never noticed the restroom signs cleverly, and perhaps too cleverly, included at the bottom of two of these banners.  Fortunately there's a less obtuse sign just to the left of this picture, pointing the way to the best restrooms at any venue.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Brussels Sprouts Harvest

We harvested, with the assistance of our little neighbors, one of our two Brussels Sprouts plants.  Standing over four feet tall and with a three foot stalk, it delivered about three cups of the mini-cabbage-looking vegetables.  First coated with olive oil, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and sea salt, they were baked with bacon slices and diced onion for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  Out of the oven, they were topped with pine nuts before serving.  Yummy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Solar Panels at Curran Place

I missed this article on the naming of the former NCR HQ, now Daniel J. Curran Place, and that the University of Dayton was installing 4,026 solar panels capable of generating 1.26 megawatts of power in the front lawn of the building.  The picture shows just one small part of the solar array and a nearby sign stating "Prairie in Progress" can only mean this will turn into a beautiful landscape.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

iPhone 6 Battery

My wife's iPhone 6, being 3-4 years old now, was losing its ability to hold a charge like most older phone do, but otherwise worked perfectly and looked brand new, so instead of buying a new $750 phone, we opted instead to have the battery replaced, and went to our local Batteries Plus Bulbs to perform the operation.  For $60 plus tax, which included a $10 off coupon for scheduling our appointment online, her phone is back to its original condition, easily making it through an entire day on a single charge.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cincinnati Dinner Train

Onboard the Cincinnati Dinner Train, a throwback to 1949, for a trip through the east side of Cincinnati and along the Ohio River, complete with the Queen City Sisters bringing back childhood memories.  After dinner we walked to the back of the train and my wife got to blow the train whistle, let's say, several times.  A fun evening with friends.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Cast Iron Smoker Box

To add some extra tastiness to grilled chicken, I soaked some hickory chips in water for about 30 minutes then put them in a cast-iron smoker box and placed that over full flame on the left.  The chicken, coated in a maple rub, went over no flame on the right.  The center burner was used to keep the closed grill around 400 degrees for around 45 minutes.  Not only was the chicken delicious, but a favorable wind direction resulted in the house smelling like hickory.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Walnut Grove

Here is visual proof that I can, at least on occasion, hit a drive in the fairway.  It was a lovely autumn day for nine holes of golf, walking on a course I basically had to myself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Woodford Reserve

Had the pleasure to take a tour of Woodford Reserve, located about 20 miles northwest of Lexington, Kentucky.  This was my fourth distillery tour and while some similarities exist, each is unique in its history, ingredients and techniques used to make their spirits.  On this tour I learned there are a lot of federal rules in making bourbon and those were not crafted by politicians, but by the producers themselves in order to combat low-cost, inferior products from benefitting from the bourbon branding.  Of course, like any good tour, the next-to-last stop is a tasting, in this instance, some of their Straight Bourbon and, my favorite, the Double Oaked Bourbon.  The last stop is the gift shop, because it wouldn't be right to go home empty-handed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hey Goo Goo

The standard wake words for a Google Home device are "Hey Google" and "OK Google", but as I read recently you can also use "Hey Goo Goo".  No clue if that was intentional on Google's part or if the device just can't distinguish between "Google" and "Goo Goo".  Nothing particularly useful here, other than being able to startle a friend with your in-depth knowledge.

But for some laughs, watch this hilarious YouTube video of an Italian grandmother trying to interact with a Google Home.  ROFL!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Siebenthaler Fen

Last week afforded me the opportunity to visit Siebenthaler Fen, located a couple miles north of the intersection of US-35 and Factory Road in Beavercreek, Ohio.  The mile-long boardwalk keeps you dry as you walk through and over the fen, enjoy the scenery, dodge a frog sunning itself and letting your body relax.  This is just one of eleven parks along Beaver Creek, which begins in the north at Oakes Quarry Park and  travels south about twelve miles to merge with the Little Miami River near the Narrows Reserve Nature Center on Indian Ripple Road.  Lots more exploring to enjoy this autumn.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Flat Chicken

This barbecue-marinated flat chicken from Dorothy Lane Market was nicely done in 45 minutes using a 350 degree oven, making this quick enough to be a weekday meal.  If you want to learn how to remove the backbone yourself, this YouTube video will show you how.  My wife sure is nice to me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ink Stamp

A rubber stamp with your return address seems like an odd purchase in this day of online bill pay, but the driver wasn't that, although this is handier than handwritten or preprinted labels, and will be very useful for the yearly batch of Christmas cards.  It's true purpose is to avoid writing our contact information on the back of raffle tickets dozens and dozens of times, saving a wee bit of writer's cramp.

Big shout out to Jane T for this idea!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Zaca Mesa

One of the great advantages of joining a local wine club is that they pick selections for you (in our case three reds monthly from Rumbleseat Wine) and you discover new wineries that produce an awesome $20 wine, such as Zaca Mesa, which is located in Santa Barbara County about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.  We had this Z Cuvee and an equally tasty bottle of their Syrah.  A little searching uncovered their Viognier (which is often called the white wine for red wine lovers), which looks delicious and a varietal that I personally love.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Sea Jax Tavern

This monster is the Green Egg and Ham Burger from Sea Jax Tavern in Kettering, Ohio, but it's only one treat on the arguably best menu around. More true to their name, they have a great seafood selection including their should-be-world-famous fish tacos.  Add twenty taps of craft beers and my day is made anytime we visit.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Microwave Design Fail

Our kitchen appliances work very well, but they all suffer from at least one annoying design failure.  It's way too easy to accidentally turn off the oven or turn on the dishwasher, but the worst is the microwave.  As shown below, one little turn of the dial in the wrong direction can result in setting the cook time to 95 minutes.  Fortunately I caught my mistake before my coffee was reheated to the point of evaporation and my favorite mug shattered.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wi-Fi 6

New Wi-Fi standards come along about every six years and we're due for the latest upgrade next year.  While techies might just love the official, and unmemorable, IEEE 802.11 naming standard, it's good to see that the Wi-Fi Alliance has moved to an easier branding standard, simply calling this next iteration Wi-Fi 6, and retrofitting names for the previous versions.  It comes down to the familiar sequence where 6 is faster than 5, which is faster than 4.  Only took about 20 years ... sigh.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Kelsyus Floating Water Hammock

There is just something really peaceful about floating on the water and this hammock was a hit this summer.  Comes in a compact, circular carrying case and it's quick to inflate.  Folding it back up is not difficult, but it's totally not obvious, fortunately a kind soul made this YouTube video that demonstrates how it's done.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Letter To My Eighteen-Year-Old Self

Over on my Life Experiences blog I penned this letter to my 45-year-younger self on our birthday.  We were just starting on our senior year in high school and beginning the transition from our kid self to the man we became, a journey that was full of good, and not-so-good, times.  What advice would you give yourself, if given the chance?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Alpaca Textiles

Looking for a gift for that can't-get-warm-enough person in your life?  You can do that, get a designer style and support a local business by visiting, either online (using the link in the picture or the one provided below), their booth in the Dayton 2nd Street Market or their store in Brookville, Ohio.  Socks, hats, shawls, blankets, sweaters, gloves and more choices, or grab some yarn and do-it-yourself.  Winter is not looking quite so cold now.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Zucchini Gratin

As simple as it is yummy.  The first half hour of preparation takes some frequent monitoring as the ingredients are added and cooked, but it's a smooth sail when it goes in the oven.  I'm a big fan of melted Gruyere cheese and the crunch of browned bread crumbs.  My wife hits another "wow, this is great!" home run surprise recipe.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Jack Ryan

Jack Ryan is one of the best streaming series in 2018 and the first we've watched on Amazon Prime.  It was signed for a second season months ago, well before the series "aired" (funny how those old terms stick around even when they have lost their original meaning).  As an avid Clancy reader, I think it holds close to the drama of the books, although time constraints limit the number of subplots.  Both thumbs up!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tailgate Supplies

I'm a big fan of lists, and what could be more important than a list of all the food, drinks and accessories needed for a rocking tailgate party.  Not that we bring everything to every tailgate, it's more an all-inclusive list of things we might want to consider for a particular road trip and it's organized into sections to help see the big picture. The link below is to this two-column Google Doc that you can view and make your own copy.  Sometimes it's nice to have an already-prepared starting point.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Champagne Stopper

Finishing an entire bottle of champagne in one pouring, as not to lose its characteristic bubbles, requires a lot of adult friends, but the simple solution is a stopper that holds up to the pressure of the constantly expanding carbon dioxide.  It will even keep a bottle fresh for several days.  The only 'trick' is how to put it on the top of the bottle.  If you need a visual, the short YouTube video will show you how simple it really is.

Big shout out to Mandi T for this one (she knows why).

Monday, October 1, 2018

Dual USB Port Fast Car Charger

Needed to upgrade one of our USB car chargers and this stylish dual-port option was the winner, just beating out the black version of the same product.   Nicely priced at $12.99.  The single-port charger it replaced didn't seat itself down in the cigarette lighter as far, which this does, adding a nicer-looking touch in addition to its fast charging capabilities.  Now our iPhone and Pixel 2 phones can charge up together.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Roasted Pork With Apples And Potatoes

Sheet pan recipes are the bomb, making cleanup so much easier.  My wife used fresh rosemary from our elevated herb garden, which combined with the thyme (rhyme intentional) and the drizzle was perfect for the pork tenderloin.  Potatoes, green beans and apples rounded out a "I can't believe this is a Tuesday night dinner!" moment.  Lucky me.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

macOS Mojave

I paid about $1,000 for my MacBook Air in 2012 and zero since.  This works out, so far, to $167 per year, not bad for a high-end laptop. The most recent macOS version, named Mojave, continues Apple's practice of free (I love free) operating system upgrades.  The only constraint I have is the 4GB of memory combined with my desire to have too many browser tabs open at the same time, but I expect to get a couple more years out this laptop before I upgrade, most certainly to another Mac.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Amazon Echo Auto

Back in early 2015 I jumped at the chance to get the first Amazon Echo at their prime-member-only introductory, $99, half-off price, patiently waiting three months for it to arrive.  I'm hoping to repeat that early adaptor success, signing up for the invite-only Echo Auto, again for half-price ($25), hoping to add voice control to my 2004 Jeep to play music, navigate traffic and who knows yet what else.  This seems the same kind of no-brainer as that first Echo, which happily lives in the dining room.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Torch Lighter

After repeated attempts to refill my old butane cigar lighter, I finally decided it must be broken and replaced it with this triple-flame $12 beauty from Amazon.  The feature I really appreciate is the window that shows the level of the butane, so I know it's being filled properly.  Just noticed it has a punch cutter tool in the base, which I'll try on my next cigar, which would eliminate having to carry a separate cutter.

Monday, September 24, 2018


Netflix is so worth its price, and the crown jewels are their original series.  One of the best is Ozark, which features a family trying to avoid the mob's revenge by laundering drug money, relocating from Chicago to the beautiful middle of nowhere, buying cash-based businesses and trying to stay a step ahead of the feds, the mob and the locals.  Two seasons, totaling twenty episodes, await your binging pleasure.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Baked Bacon

Best and easy are the perfect adjectives for this bacon recipe my wife tried the last time she made us BBBLAT's, which is short for Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato, just my meat-lover's style.  Just place the strips of bacon on an aluminum-foil wrapped baking sheet, place it in a cold oven, set it for 425 degrees and step away.  She baked it for 22 minutes, longer than the 14 minutes suggested in the recipe, but that's going to vary depending on your oven and your desired level of doneness.  This bacon came out evenly and perfectly done, nicely flat and pliable, little shrinkage, and perfect to fold over to the size of the toasted bread.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Pexels is my favorite free (I love free) site to get images of all sorts of things, occasionally for this blog (but most are my own) or other purposes.  Free includes using it for any purpose, commercial or not, and attributing the work to the author is appreciated, but not required.  I've also established my own account there so I can contribute my own pictures, which I hope to start in the near future.

This stunning picture is the work of Bennie Lukas Bester.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pink Noise

I've known about the "white noise" that open offices (i.e. cubicles) use to muffle conversations to keep them from being overly annoying, but a couple months ago I heard the term "pink noise" for the first time.  Technically, white noise has a flat power spectrum while pink noise's is logarithmic, bringing back bad memories of high school algebra.  But noise doesn't stop at white and pink, there is also blue, purple, grey, green, black, purple and brownian, as described at this Wikipedia page.  Makes me want to take a long walk in a quiet forest.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Miami-Erie Canal in Downtown Dayton

From the image below, you can see that the Miami-Erie Canal flowed southwest, but there was also a branch called the Basin Extension that ran west for several blocks before turning south along what is now Patterson Boulevard.  It's along this south stretch that the northernmost block of the Canal Parkway, just west of where Fifth-Third Field is located.  It includes a tribute to the waterway that connected the western parts of Ohio, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.  That included the construction of Grand Lake St. Marys, Indian Lake, Lake Loramie and others to provide water during dry periods.

Monday, September 17, 2018


We've visited the Troll Pub at the Wheelhouse, located a bit southeast of Dayton's Oregon District, a few times, but why the "Wheelhouse", other than this pub is part of the Wheelhouse Lofts building, which just begs the same question.  I can't find a definitive answer, but after a fair amount of research, this area was once of the site of the western terminus of the Dayton, Xenia & Belpre Railroad.  It included a roundhouse (first link) which served to turn engines around, as they only operated in the forward direction back then.  The mechanism that turned the engine around was called a wheelhouse, also known as the more descriptive term, turntable (second link).  That area, just north of Fourth Street and west of Bainbridge Street (third link), shows no clue of its prior existence.,-84.1823741,313m/data=!3m1!1e3

Friday, September 14, 2018

Mexican-Style Grilled Corn

I have loved slathering boiled corn with butter since I was a kid (some would argue I still am), but this grilled corn my wife made recently is a great routine-breaker.  Only takes 5-6 minutes on the outdoor gas grill to cook and nicely char the corn, then it's coated with a combo of chipotle mayo, sour cream, queso fresco, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper.  I suggest taking this concept and making it your own with your flavor favorites.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dunn's River Falls

Only took me seven years to rip this 14-minute DVD and upload it to my YouTube channel.  Our 2011 Caribbean cruise included a stop in Jamaica and a bus ride to Dunn's River Falls.  From the beach our group climbed the 600 foot waterfall, with its 180 foot vertical, which took about 40 minutes to complete.  Looks a bit daunting at first, but people of all ages, with smiles and giggles, completed it without a problem.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Young's Jersey Dairy

Turkey BLT and a chocolate malt for lunch last week at Young's Jersey Dairy, located just north of Yellow Springs, Ohio.  I took my kids their many times when they young (pun intended) and they loved the ice cream, but the real treat was feeding the goats.  Smart business, getting customers to buy handfuls of food for the goats and then feeding them.  And totally worth their smiles.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Waking Up

Years back I faced the challenge of gently waking up a pre-teen boy for school, a feat his mother said was just not possible.  Took me only a few days of trial-and-error to discover what worked on him; simply ask him a question.  Something like "Anything special going on at school today?" or "When's your next math test?".  As soon as his brain got engaged thinking of the answer, his body followed along and he got up, dressed and came down for breakfast before heading to school.  That simple.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Spaghetti Squash with Herbs & Ricotta

If you're wanting to cut back on carbs but need to trick your mouth into believing you haven't, baked spaghetti squash could be your answer.  Garlic, parsley and basil provide ample flavor and the ricotta cheese adds both texture and taste.  I was a bit too anxious to try my wife's cooking, leading to some skillet showing.  Worth it.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

E Pluribus Unum

My oldest memory of the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" was when the great and glorious Wizard of Oz awarded the Scarecrow a diploma from the "Universita Committeeatum E Pluribus Unum".  Only later, as money became as precious as TV time, did I see it on most of our currency, but until recently didn't know what it meant.  While a few variations exist, it all comes down to "Out of Many, One", reflecting how the states (many) became the United States of America (one).  It was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress adopted the official motto, "In God We Trust".

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

SoundAsleep Air Mattress

You can't give a better recommendation than buying another one.  The first is in Tiffin now, where it provides queen-sized comfort in a spare bedroom and the new one awaits an overflow, out-of-town guest in our basement.  The best part in the integrated inflate/deflate pump, which takes just a few minutes to complete its job.  Just plug in and flip the switch.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Unexpectedly Long Runs

The picture below was taken just after I finished the 2006 Dayton River Corridor Classic half-marathon, and captures the same look that I had at the end of each of the three stories I wrote about in my Life Experiences blog at the link below.  Unlike the half-marathon, some runs just end up being longer than expected.  Not that I care to repeat any of these runs, but they are fond memories of my younger days.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Baby Spinach and Watermelon Salad with Feta and Pistachios

This might be the most eclectic combination of ingredients I've ever seen in a salad.  Nothing unusual about spinach, olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, but throw in the odd combination of honey, oregano, feta cheese, pistachios and watermelon and you have an every-direction flavor explosion, and one that really works well together.  Another recipe to enjoy now while fresh spinach and watermelon are in season.