Tuesday, January 31, 2023

RYO Non-Slip Cutting Board

We have a number of cutting boards including a few that say they're "non-slip", which has never been true enough to be useful.  The board shown below started out with such a promise but failed to deliver so I bought a 12"x12" Adhesive Non-Slip Solid Rubber Pad from Amazon, cut a couple of 2" strips from it, peeled off the release paper, and stuck it to one side of the cutting board.  It's now close enough to "non-slip" as I think is possible (push hard enough and anything will move).  Sometimes you just have to "Roll Your Own".

Monday, January 30, 2023

Pelonis Space Heater

Our east-side guest bedrooms are at the farthest points from the furnace and are always too cold in the winter.  Our #1 requirement was that any solution made absolutely no noise, not a fan whirl, not a tink, nor a click.  I found the Pelonis Oil-Filled Space Heater shown below at Menards and it was the perfect solution.  The most significant tradeoff is that it doesn't heat up as quickly as other options, but a little planning ahead solves that.  And for $50 bucks it was a great buy, particularly since they will not get all that much use.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Roasted Pecans

Raw pecans are a tasty treat but a little roasting takes them to the next level.  Chef Elaine puts a layer of pecans on a cookie sheet in a 400-degree oven for 5-7 minutes, watching over them very closely for the moment they turn the perfect shade of dark doneness.  The smaller pieces bake faster, so save those for me.  A little more char is my thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Windows Logo Key Shortcuts

Along with the mind-boggling number of Windows CTRL, ALT, and Function key shortcuts, there are dozens more that start by holding down the Windows Logo Key, that oft-looked key that looks like the image below.   Which ones you might find useful depends on how you use your PC.  The five I use the most are:

Windows logo key + E - Open File Explorer
Windows logo key + L - Lock your PC
Windows logo key + R - Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + D - Display and hide the desktop
Windows logo key + P - Choose a presentation display mode

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Apple Watch Storage Full

As you can see in the left screenshot below, Chef Elaine's Apple Watch was very low on memory (only 0.3 GB remaining) and over half of the total storage was being used by "Other", whatever that means.  Most of that "Other" was reclaimed by a simple restart of the watch, freeing up 2.4 GB seen in the after-boot picture on the right.  There is still another 2-3 GB of "Other" remaining, but that would require totally resetting and restoring the watch and that's not worth the effort.

It used to be that remembering to wind your watch was the only thing to worry about.  Miss those simpler days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

EZ Pass Holder

Instead of getting an electronic toll device from the rental car company (a considerable cost), we used our own EZ Pass inserted into the triple-suction-cup holder shown below that we bought at the Amazon link for just over $10.  It worked flawlessly during a recent trip to central and eastern Florida, not even having to slow down as we flew by the fare readers.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Forward Email to Text

Do you know people that are glued to their text messages but hardly ever check their email?  Yeah, me too.  So if, for example, you want your child to at least be aware you sent them an email, they can set themselves up to automatically forward your emails to their text messages, at least if they are a Gmail user.

The link below shows how to get that set up and the image below shows I'm forwarding someone's email to my text messages using my cell number followed by "@msg.fi.google.com", which is the format for my cell service, Google Fi.  Verizon uses your cell number followed by “@vtext.com”.  

Friday, January 20, 2023

Black Truffle Filet

We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with dinner at Jag's in West Chester, Ohio.  We both ordered the Black Truffle Filet Mignon and it was "to die for."  An eight-ounce cut, perfectly medium-rare, with a Morel-Madeira reduction and served with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Steamed Asparagus.  

For steak lovers like us, it doesn't get any better than this.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

No Uturn?

I have to admit that seeing the "no Uturn" sign below made me briefly wonder if I was driving in the U.K. instead of the U.S.  This oddity is located on Union Centre Boulevard just west of I-75 in West Chester, Ohio, and is caused by the uniquely confusing "Diverging Diamond Interchange" that you can see at the Google Maps link below.  Just follow the lights and signs and ignore any headlights coming at you on your right side.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Best Of 2022

Over on my Life Experiences blog, I've published the annual list of my top ten experiences for 2022 (from a list of 43) and like all twelve lists I've done, this one is filled with unique and wonderful memories.  It's a two-page read, so nothing too terribly long.

The image below is the "teaser trailer", listed in alphabetical order, by their two-word summaries.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Flight Board

Flight Board is an Android app that I use two ways.  When I first start planning a trip I try to find a non-stop flight and Flight Board shows what current flights are coming in and from which cities.  Looking at the left picture below, if I wanted a non-stop to Tampa, FL I have an option of flying out of Columbus, OH, arriving just before 2:00 pm.  Touching that flight will display the airline and flight number on the right side of the picture.  I like that every flight for every airline is listed unlike searching on most travel search engines which never include Southwest.

I also use the app during the day of travel to see if my flight is delayed and check if earlier flights are being delayed, indicating that might also happen to me.

Here's a link to the Android app.  

The next link is to an iPhone/iPad app of the same name but by a different developer, it looks different but displays similar information.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Repurposed Laundry Basket

For years we've put up with making multiple trips from the car to haul a dozen or more plastic grocery bags to the kitchen.  Quite by accident, we found we could repurpose a laundry basket to make that chore far easier.  This is particularly handy when the temperatures are below freezing and the wind is whipping.  Wish we would have stumbled on this years ago.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Candy Onion

A friend that owns a local Italian deli turned us on to candy onions and Chef Elaine used one last summer while making a delicious sheet of roasted vegetables.  They are also great for onion rings and gratins and are the best onion for frying.  I'll add one next summer to a classic Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato and make a BOLT.

An infographic on the various onion types and uses can be found at the link below.  

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Rotating Power Cord

The short extension cord shown below has a slim 360° degree rotating supply plug (on the right), and 3 female outlet connectors (on the left), and comes in 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, and 25-foot lengths.  This is going to work perfectly because I have one outlet and need one cord to point down and another, longer cord to point up so I can do a little kitchen project to free up some counter space.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Enjoy The Zen

One of my jobs is "TV Muter", silencing annoyingly repetitive commercials until the show comes back on.  YouTube TV occasionally replaces some commercial time with "Enjoy The Zen" moments, short segments featuring nature scenes, majestic mountains, campfires, and the like.  The picture below is an example, even if my smartphone didn't do a good job of capturing it.

I don't silence all commercials.  We like the Allstate Mayhem guy, Progressive's Dr. Rick trying to help you not turn into your parents, and Capital One commercials when featuring the trio of Charles Barkley, Samuel Jackson, and Spike Lee.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Alexa Shopping List

I normally keep our Fire TV Cube muted so it doesn't conflict with another nearby "Alexa", but that other device wasn't working so I unmuted the Cube in order to add Cheddar cheese to our Alexa Shopping List.  Much to my surprise, not only did the Fire TV Cube confirm that addition, but displayed the content of the Shopping list on the TV, as shown below.  It also uses the TV when you ask for the weather or where the Superbowl is being played this year.  Looks like I have some exploring to do on the next rainy day.

Monday, January 9, 2023


This was just so cute that I had to post it.  Located near the intersection of Woodman and Doris Drives in Kettering, the homeowner decorated a few of their arborvitae, turning them into the cutest Christmas gnomes.  The link below includes a number of creative ideas to turn your greenery into Christmas cheer, next year.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Breakfast Bread Bowls

Chef Elaine hollowed out five crusty hard rolls, placed them on an ungreased baking sheet, and added fried bits of pancetta and diced mushrooms.  One by one, she broke an egg into a small prep bowl (to avoid eggshell fragments) and carefully added them to the bowls, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  A topping of shredded Gruyere cheese was added, and the baking sheet was slid into a 350-degree preheated oven and baked for about 20 minutes until the egg whites were set and the yolks began to thicken.

You can make this recipe you're own by combining your favorite flavors.  I would add jalapenos. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023


Here is our favorite recipe for a homemade margarita.  Of the mixes we've tried, we like the ZingZang brand the best. and we like using their small cans, which are perfect for two drinks.  The Mezcal imparts a smoky taste and Don Julio is great but pricy, and there are a number of other Blanco tequilas that are nearly as good.  You can adjust the ratio of Mezcal to Tequilla to your liking.

The ingredients consist of:
  • An 8 oz. can of ZingZang Margarita Mix
  • 1.5 oz. of Wahaka Mezcal
  • 3.5 oz. of Don Julio Tequila
Add ice to a cocktail shaker (about a third full), add the above ingredients, and shake to mix and chill.  

Add ice to a pair of 8 oz. glasses, fill with the contents of the shaker, add a wedge of lime and get the party started.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023


ChatGPT (GPT = Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is an AI-driven (Artificial Intelligence) "chatbot" that I've found to be a useful alternative to a standard Internet search, offering a conversational type experience.  If you do a normal search for the question I posed to ChatGPT below ("suggest a toy for a three year old"), you'll get a few advertisements followed by long articles to wade through.  These open-ended questions are perfect for ChatGPT and a found the suggestions spot on. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Hard Drive Destruction

As the Youtube video at the link below demonstrates, there are a few ways to destroy a hard drive, a very wise practice before you send them to the recycle bin.  A laptop's hard drive is pretty easy to shatter with a screwdriver and hammer, but desktop hard drives, particularly older models like the one below, need something with more power like a drill.

The third (humorous) way can be found towards the end of the video.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Tide Pods

The product packaging folks at Procter & Gamble laid an egg on the location of the directions on their large Tide Pods plastic container.  The old design is shown in the first picture below which only says "UNFOLD FOR INGREDIENTS LIST" so unless you're curious about what it's made of (I'm not), you would never know that it also includes how many pods to use for different size loads.  P&G recently designed that in the second picture below and now it's in-your-face clear.

It never dawned on us that we would ever need more than one pod (just like the dishwasher) for a load of clothes, but after noticing that large loads of white towels didn't look as nice and bright as they should, we went in search of the reason and found all this out.  And P&G is selling us a few more pods after a few years of coulda-shoulda.