Friday, January 31, 2020

Fort Pitt Tunnel

One of the most thrilling entrances to any city comes as you exit the Fort Pitt Tunnel and enter Pittsburgh from the south.  The entire city pops out directly in front of you with the three rivers coming together at The Point on the left, its many skyscrapers on the right and the sports stadiums in front.  It’s even cooler to enter Pittsburgh at night with the city aglow. The video at this YouTube link will give you a good show of the drive.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Medicare Coverage

Enrolling in Medicare can make your head swirl, so to help us figure it out we enlisted the help of an expert at a local firm (link below) and put together the document below to track the various pieces, decisions and costs.  Including a separate dental plan offered by our dentist, the monthly cost is about $310 for each of us, but after deducting the YMCA monthly fee which was replaced by the Silver Sneakers benefit of our Medigap plan, our combined grand total is $563 monthly.  The ringer is prescription drug costs, which vary widely depending on the what you take, what plan you have and can double the total amount you’ll spend per year.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Amazon Echo Routines

I setup an Amazon Echo (aka Alexa) routine for when I head downstairs to watch TV.  I just say "Alexa, enter man cave" and the TV, soundbar and floor lamp will all turn on.  When I'm done, it's "Alexa, exit man cave" and they all turn off.  It's all done in the Alexa app and is really easy.  The only issue I ran into was I couldn't use "mancave" as a single word, but had to use "man cave" in order for Alexa to understand.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Removing the Fireplace

I thought that pulling the fireplace doors off was going to be the most difficult task of all.  I thought it was probably bolted in somehow and that years of rust was going to require a fair amount of elbow grease.  But after I shined a very bright light on the inside to see what lie ahead, I found that the whole thing was held in place by four hand-twist screws, two on each side, like shown below.  Rust wasn't a problem and the doors were off in under two minutes.  Big, happy sigh!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Fireplace Refurbish Complete

The final phase of the fireplace refurbish was painting the wall behind the TV green to match the side ascent panels, transform the bronze doors with a high-temperature black spray paint and replace the mesh screen.  What used to look so outdated we thought we would have to do an expensive replacement now looks modern and clean.  All for under $100 and a day's work.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Baked Cod Shakshuka

Shakshuka literally means “a mixture” and traditionally the sauce is poured over poached eggs, but this recipe from the Food Network pairs it with cod.  While the sauce is delicious, we thought it overwhelmed the fish.  The leftover sauce worked much better with a pork tenderloin a couple days later.  Finally, depending on your love for cumin you might want to cut that in half or more.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Body Shop Needed

As Jeff Foxworthy might say ...

“If you've cut out and duct-taped a leopard-print rug on your Ford Taurus instead of getting a new door … you might be a redneck.”


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

History Of Paulishing.Com

The domain name for this blog was an inspiration from work many years ago.  One task I liked to do was clean up Word documents and PowerPoint slides for my boss, getting all the fonts, colors, indentation and bullets consistent and aligned, and spell checking it all.  One day after he presented a slide deck I asked him to send it to me and I would "polish it up".  That triggered the thought that I could use "paulish" as a sound-alike for "polish", and that would be a natural extension of that, an amalgamation of my first name, "polish" and "publishing".  To my surprise I found that was an available domain name, immediately registered it and eventually used that for my blogs, replacing Blogger's default

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Carriage Hill Historical Farm

The Historical Farm at Carriage Hill MetroPark still has to feed the animals in the winter months, and it just happened I arrived right as they were tossing hay into the horse's elevated trough.  I spent a few minutes just enjoying the outdoors as they slowly munched away.  A lot more goes on there in the summer months, but it was nice to have this moment.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Google Maps Timeline

If you opt in Google's Location History Service, you can produce a map like the one below that marks all the places you've been by using this link.  You can select an entire year, a specific month or day, or everything it has.  There's also an option to get a list of the places you've most frequented.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Sous Vide Chicken with Pesto

Coat salt-and-peppered chicken breasts with pesto in a airtight bag, clip to the side of a Sous Vide pot set at 140 degrees and go do something else for three hours.  That's all it takes to make this plump, juicy and tender delight that a knife glides through.  Added some curb appeal with pecorino-romano cheese rubbed on a zester.  Plate with a salad and a token piece of crusty bread, with a generous pat of butter of course, and dinner is served.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Best Of 2019

Over on my Life Experiences blog (link below), I posted my traditional list of my top ten experiences from last year, culled from a list of 34 I built over the year.  As usual, a great year.  I encourage you to keep track of the fun things you do, then reflect on them annually.  Too easy to forget the fun times as the years fly by.

The picture below was from my #1 experience, which involved floating in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stamp App

I created this little web app as a demonstration and personal learning exercise, combining HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the JQuery and JCanvas libraries, then published it to a new Google Site using my custom domain name at the link below.  After clicking the link, you select a radio button for the proper use case, fill in the five fields presented and click "Generate Image".  The app creates the stamp on the right, which you can right-click and copy to the clipboard.  It can then be pasted on top of an invoice, and with Adobe Acrobat Reader, can be positioned and sized to your liking.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Fireplace Refurbish Phase One

My wife transformed our fireplace from a dated look (last picture below) to this modern, chalky white masterpiece.  She used two 'Chalky Smooth Finish" varieties of "Ultra Matte Paint", the base coat in "Aged Gray", then topped with "Linen White".  She applied them with two brushes, a round, bushy one to get at all the stone facing and a narrow, angled brush to get into the seams between the stones.  We have a few more updates before we call this living room update complete, but it's a great beginning!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Storage/Filing Boxes

For about $2 per box, I ordered twelve of these AmazonBasics Storage/Filing Boxes.  They come flat-packed and it takes about a minute to assemble each one, although the first one (like always) will take more time.  It's nice to have a set of matching boxes, with lids, to pack away the holidays.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Baked Herb-Crusted Chicken

Marinating the chicken in fresh-squeezed lemon juice for an hour adds a delightful tartness.  The coating included both the Good Shit and Aw Shit spices, the latter adding a little heat.  Together with the flavors of the parsley and rosemary, this chicken was exploding on multiple fronts.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Outlet Expander With Shelf

This thoughtful Christmas gift, a six-outlet-extender, serves two purposes.  It gets me several extra electrical outlets in the laundry room where few exist and a handy shelf to set a security camera, which is pointed in the direction of the water heater and furnace.  The LED Night Light comes on at dark to provide some illumination.  And the USB slot came in handy to keep another outlet available.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Wright Seaplane Base

The Historical Marker below is located at the Miami-Erie Canal Park on Marina Drive in West Carrollton.  It marks the site where Orville Wright flew seaplanes in 1913 and 1914, using this portion of the Great Miami River for its deep water, open sightlines and the ninety degree bend that allowed him to take off and land either north-south or east-west, depending on prevailing winds.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Christmas Socks

Some people like their feet uncovered as much as possible.  They go barefoot, wear sandals or flip flops, even in winter, and sleep with their feet out from under the covers.  Lunacy (IMHO).

I'm not that guy.  I'm the guy that likes his feet covered and toasty warm, and this Christmas present has become my winter favorite.  Bliss!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Penn’ Thai Grille

This wonderful Sweet and Sour Pork was had at Penn’ Thai Grille, located in the Sugar Bell Shopping Center at the southeast corner of Wilmington Pike and SR-725, next to Zemore's Wine Cellar and Bistro, which also serves delicious dishes.  If you haven't heard of these places, it's understandable, as they're blocked from view by the Shell station and with the attention that busy intersection demands, you're past them before you should be looking around.  But do yourself a tasty favor and seek them out.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

PDF to Excel

PDFtoExcel is a free (I love free) tool that does what its name implies, taking a PDF and converting it into an Excel spreadsheet.  I recently used it to convert a real estate tax table that was published in PDF form into the spreadsheet shown below, saving me the tedium of keying all the data.  Not something that I will use often, but a huge time-saver when I do.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Running Profits - December 2019 Update

I ended my six-month project where I collected all the money I found while running and, with December's addition of 41 cents, the total came to $3.24, more than enough to buy a DQ ice cream cone to share with my running-partner wife, which is appropriate as she contributed all along, and accounted for the lion's share of this month's take.

While I'll stop the monthly updates, expect a yearly total as the plan is to continue collecting, as it's obviously worth the time and attention.