Friday, December 30, 2022

Recipe Cards

For some of our favorite recipes, I condense them down to a 4"x6" index card, like the one shown below, and add one or more images on the reverse side.  Getting a typical recipe's directions stripped down to a few dozen words without losing anything important can take a fair amount of time and imagination, and doesn't work in all cases.  I use these in a quarterly newsletter I write and print copies for ourselves and others.  So far, I've created twenty recipe cards with plans to add several more.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Buffalo Trace Coffee

What a hint of bourbon in your breakfast coffee?

It's a bit of a gimmick, but I guess if you like pretending your morning coffee has a little more kick than usual, what could it hurt?  We're not into flavored coffees, except the occasional Irish coffee, which we make sure has a REAL kick!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

ChromeOS Flex

I had the opportunity recently to take a couple of old Windows laptops and make them into Chromebooks using the free (I love free) ChromeOS Flex.  Using the directions at the link below, you start by writing ChromeOS Flex to a flash drive using the Chromebook Recovery Utility, an extension you add to your Google Chrome browser.  That flash drive is then inserted into the target laptop and booted, and finding how to get the laptop to boot from it was the tricky part.   On an HP, I found that tapping "F2" as the machine powered up worked, but on the Dell it took the "Esc" key.  After getting past that, the rest was easy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Windows Down

It's more than a bit concerning when you find all your car windows down in the morning and you're 100% sure you left them fully up the night before.  The cause was buried deep in our owner's manual and a "feature" I wasn't aware existed, but found with a little Internet sleuthing.  As divulged at the link below, if you hold the door unlock button on the keyless-entry remote for more than three seconds, the Infiniti G37x will start to roll down its windows.  I must have accidentally had my thumb on that button as I entered the house from the garage long enough for the windows to descend and the closing garage door masked the sound.  We're just glad the mystery was solved.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Triangles 2.0 Update

A big shoutout to Dan E who pointed out that there are no arrow keys on mobile devices.  I've updated Triangles to include using 1 and 2 in addition to the left and right arrows, and 9 and 0 in addition to the down and up arrows.  

Triangles 2.0

In April 2020, I posted about a demonstration website I built and I finally got around to adding a number of new features to make it a bit more fun.  Instead of just triangles, it can draw squares, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, and octagons.  You can spin the drawing forward or reverse, make the shapes more or less convex or concave, draw in color or black and white, and pause or resume the spinning.  The RGB (Red-Green-Blue) of the last color drawn is also displayed.

This demo is best seen on a larger screen.


Friday, December 23, 2022

Once In A Generation

As temperatures sank to -9 F last night and the weather fearmongers over at CNN called it a "once in a generation" storm and Cincinnati's Fox19 labeled it a "historic winter storm", it made me wonder how true that statement is, at least for me and my fellow Daytonians.

The last time it was colder than -9 F in Dayton was all the way back on January 2nd of 2018 when the low was -13 F, so if you're under 5 years old, that might (however very unlikely) hold true for you over the rest of your lifetime.

Since 1955 (I'm giving away my age but too old to care) there have been 19 years when the low temperature for the winter was -10 F or less, including 5 times when the low was -20 F or less.

Yes, it's cold outside, but how much help is all the hype?

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

This is a pretty quick, basic soup recipe, but the addition of gnocchi was the winner for me.  I (yes, I cook too) used Costco rotisserie chicken, sliced the carrots and celery very thin using a mandolin, substituted chicken stock for its broth brethren, and used my own homemade gnocchi.  Having a couple of large containers of soup handy as the temperatures dip below zero is a good idea.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Santa's Reindeer

We're not big fans of overdone outside Christmas decorations, but the Santa display shown below at a nearby neighbor's house is pretty cool.  It's complete with Santa, his sleigh, a pile of presents, and Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, with Rudolph in the lead, lit up in multiple colors.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Transparent QR Code

I had the need to create a QR Code with a transparent background in order to avoid my background color not quite matching the color of an invitation.  That led me to the QR Code generator at the link below.  If you scan the QR Code in the image below, it will take to you to, a page that lists all the various blogs I write and a couple of demos.  

The dark blue background is part of a Google Slide and I inserted my transparent QR Code on top of it and then took a screenshot.  And as you can see, you can use hearts, among many options, to make the code more interesting.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

New Cabinets

This custom, heirloom-quality, Amish-made cabinet/stand, and its identical twin on the other side of the fireplace, are the latest home upgrades.  We started with a basic TV stand, decided on elm wood with a dark, reclaimed wood top, selected the stains, changed the dimensions to fit, and designed the drawer layout including the exact knobs and handles.  We estimate each weighs about 120 pounds and required my son's assistance to get them in the house.  Just don't ask what they cost...

Monday, December 19, 2022

Alexa Voice Remote Pro

The newest iteration of the Fire TV remote adds a few new buttons and it's the "1" and the "2" I've wanted for years.  These can be programmed to launch two apps of your own choosing, in my case YouTube TV and ESPN.   I'll no longer have to use the five-tap, home-right-right-right-enter method to get to YouTube TV.   The other new features can be found at this link.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Braised Short Ribs and Mashed Carrots

Chef Elaine splurged a bit to make these wonderful, fall-off-the-bone Short Ribs.  The link below details all the steps, but the short story is you make toasted breadcrumbs, sear the Short Ribs, make flavored beef stock, and let bake in the oven for at least three hours.  Remove the whole carrots and fork smash them.  This is the type of recipe where you want to stay at home and just take in the aromas all day.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen

The final piece of the wife-inspired desire for one remote control is now in place.  Not only is the third generation of the Fire TV Cube the most powerful with better picture quality, it includes an HDMI Input port which I've cabled to the Sony Blu-Ray player shown below.  The single, small Fire TV remote can now control all the devices (i.e. Fire TV Cube, Vizio TV, and the Sony Blu-Ray), and gone are the days of needing multiple remotes.  I should win a husband-of-the-year award for this one, even if it took almost fifteen years to accomplish.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Stocking Hat

Every time I give blood at the Community Blood Center they offer a gift in appreciation.  Usually, it's a T-shirt which I politely decline because I have a dresser drawer full already.  But yesterday's gift was really nice, the thick knit stocking cap, shown below, which I happily accepted.  I will use it during the coldest of winter jogs and perhaps in the hot tub when it's below zero outside.

Friday, December 9, 2022


Chef Rodney (aka my son-in-law) made an absolutely delicious Picanha, finishing it off with the butane torch seen below for some extra char.  A Picanha, also known as Rump Cap or Sirloin Cap, has wonderful marbling and a thick fat cap on top.  Its uneven thickness provides slices from well-done to rare.  Chef Laurie (aka my daughter) provided all the awesome vegetables, Hasselback potatoes, and lemon cookies.  Altogether, a true feast!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Mulled Pear Juice

Here's something a little different to warm up on a cold day.  Just simmer clementine (or orange) juice, pear juice, and a little lemon juice with the warming spices of cloves, cardamom pods, and ginger slices for ten minutes, strain, and enjoy.  Cardamom pods are a bit pricy, but you can eliminate them or use another spice.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Killing England

A long drive to North Carolina and back provided the time (10 CDs worth) to listen to Killing England, the story of the American Revolution.  I now realize just how little I knew about that war, like what Benedict Arnold did to become an infamous traitor, how Prussian Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben professionalized the military, and that Benjamin Franklin convinced the French to join the conflict.  The following link takes you to my local Washington-Centerville public library, but you should be able to find it at any library.

Monday, December 5, 2022


As a Daytonian, when I see a sign showing there's a Lowes in a shopping center, I naturally think of tools and two-by-fours.  But in the Carolina's it may well be a grocery store and the one pictured below just south of Chapel Hill, NC was pretty cool.  They have a "Tarheel Deli" and "Outer Banks Seafood" among their North Carolina-themed counters.  And just down the road was the more familiar hardware store.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Upside-Down Turkey

Chef Elaine knocked the Thanksgiving turkey out of the park with her best-ever bird using this upside-down recipe.  It spent Wednesday night in the fridge wrapped up, coated with salt and pepper.  Thursday, the bird was placed breast-side down on top of a loaf of sliced and buttered ciabatta bread and roasted at 425 for 45 minutes.  It got flipped breast-side up, the heat reduced to 350, and went as long as needed to get to an internal temperature of 165.  The remaining details are at the link below.

Word of caution:  Flipping a large, hot turkey is not a simple task.  Ask for help.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Christmas Ale

Years ago when we frequented our local Pub at the Greene, we were introduced to Breckenridge Christmas Ale, in our opinion the best of the many delightful seasonal competitors.  It's also the only beer that would be served with a rim of cinnamon and sugar, the combo that works so well on French toast.  It might sound odd, but that rim pairs perfectly with the stronger, maltier profile of this beer.