Thursday, November 30, 2023

Travel Glasses

Chef Elaine and I like drinking out of real glass, whether it's a Diet Coke or a few fingers of whiskey.  It used to be that most hotels we traveled to had glass glasses in their rooms but in more recent years most now provide plastic (or worse, paper), so we've kept a pair in the trunk of our car.  After months of trying to figure out how to box them up in something protective, I finally came to the realization that buying a pair on Amazon (link below) for $13 would solve that problem as they came packaged (photo below), of course, in a perfectly sized box.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Defog Outside Mirrors

Chalk up another accidental feature found on our Infiniti G37x.  During a recent trip to North Carolina in which it rained almost the entire time (yuk), the windshield was fogging up.  So were the outside mirrors, a condition I had never experienced before. My Chief Navigator (Chef Elaine) took to clearing the windshield and accidentally hit both the front and rear defrost buttons.  That cleared the fog on the windshield and I noticed a few minutes later that the outside mirrors were also cleared.  It turns out our car is equipped with the outside mirror defrost option that we had no clue even existed.  

Maybe I should spend a few hours reading the owner's manual...


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Triangle Park Movie

We recently had the opportunity to watch the new Triangle Park movie at the Neon Theater in downtown Dayton.  It's the story of the first NFL football game between the Dayton Triangles and the Columbus Panhandles that occurred on October 3rd, 1920.  The movie is narrated by Michele Tafoya and features conversations with NFL greats including Eric Dickerson, Troy Aikman, and several former and current NFL players with ties to the Dayton and Ohio area.  The plaque below is located in Triangle Park on the hill overlooking where the football field used to be, now used as a baseball diamond.

Monday, November 27, 2023

FireTV Live Sources

I ran across the Amazon FireTV "Live TV Sources" feature quite by accident, missing my intended key and pressing the button with a TV symbol instead. 

My FireTV Cube came with the five sources seen in the picture below which if you're a fan of "channel surfing" you can scroll through over 600 channels looking for something new (or perhaps something old).  To this list, I added Plex and Tubi then sorted the sources so the two largest, freevee and YouTubeTB, were at the bottom of the list.  I'm not sure how often I might use this feature, but it's nice to have it available.

The best thing I found while exploring this feature is that "Kung Fu", the 1970s series starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine is available on Plex and it's one show that I've wanted to watch again.  It's the right time of year to have binge-able content.


Friday, November 24, 2023

Classic Deviled Eggs

The trifecta of food choices to bring to a football party are the deviled eggs shown below.  They're served at room temperature, do not need serving utensils, and since we elected to bring them in a disposable aluminum tray, there's nothing to forget to bring home.  Forget using the piping bag as suggested in the recipe at the link below, I find a spoon works just as well.  Lining the tray with a fancy paper doily was Chef Elaine's idea and certainly added a certain je ne sais quoi.

Thursday, November 23, 2023


At a recent wine tasting, we were served chilled water in the very fancy bottle shown below.  We had to ask where they found these and the surprising answer was that they were wine bottles from a company named Protea (PROH-tee-uh).  Based in South Africa, they make a wide selection of wines at affordable prices and we'll be sure to pick up several, looking for the bottles with the most interesting designs.  All we have to do is drink the wine, peel off the label, wash it well, and fill it with water from our RO system.  We're not the artsy/craftsy type, but it looks like that would be another reuse possibility for those who are.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Stringless Blinds

We recently had some upstairs blinds replaced as the plastic pieces in the old header had disintegrated.  The big surprise with the new blinds (shown below) is this design has no strings.  You just lift up on the bottom rail and the blind goes up.  You pull down on the bottom rail (with slightly more force) and the blind comes down.  The wand works as always, twisting one way or the other to open or close the slats.  

I like it when a product gets safer and better at the same time.  The link to the company that came out, measured, gave us options, and installed the blinds is below.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Texting Addresses

My navigator (Chef Elaine) and her iPhone do a great job of routing us to our destinations, but occasionally in searching for a place while we're rolling along, we end up with the wrong address and things go awry.  Our newest solution is for me to text her the names and addresses, like the four in the screenshot shown below, all at once before we leave, making it easy to find and tap the proper location as they are all together in iMessages under my name.  Seems like a nice process improvement for us oft-traveling retirees.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Stay Right

The two signs shown below, from Kettering, Ohio, apparently serve the same purpose, to make a driver aware of a medium.  There are dozens of both types and no apparent reason why one was chosen over the other, however, one is correct and the other literally wrong.  The one on the right would suggest that the lane is shifting to the right ahead of the medium, which is not the case.  The only reason one would swerve like that is if they were straddling a portion of the lane coming in the opposite direction.  

Why might this matter?  Probably not to the average human driver, but to a self-driving Tesla, it has resulted in moving its car from the left lane to the right lane, presumably because it's taking the sign on the right literally and obeying the direction to move right.  But confounding this explanation is the possibility that the medium is so low and similar in color to the street that the Tesla can't "see" that reliably when it first "sees" the sign.  It's a good reminder not to trust self-driving 100% and always be ready to take control at a moment's notice.

Big shout out to Nick for bringing this self-driving puzzle to my attention.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Tajín Chipotle BBQ Chicken Thighs

I'm a dark meat kind of guy so I'm always looking for something different to coat budget-friendly chicken thighs and this one came courtesy of the makers of the Tajín spice.  Ancho chilis are steeped for 20 minutes in boiled water, blended with Chipotle peppers in Adobo, and strained.  That is simmered with Tajín, tomato paste, dark brown sugar, chicken stock, and spices for 30 minutes then cooled to room temp.  Make this the day before to let the flavors fully develop or use it right away.  

The BBQ sauce is brushed on the chicken thighs as they are grilled until the meat thermometer reads 165ºF.  The remaining details can be found in the recipe at the link below.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

John Bryan State Park

The path shown below is on the North Rim trail at John Bryan State Park, located between Yellow Springs and Clifton, Ohio.  It offers scenic views from high above the Little Miami River and Clifton Gorge as the trail winds for just over two miles.  That nice amount of exercise helped justify having a two-dip dish of pumpkin ice cream afterward at Young's Jersey Dairy.  It was two-scoops-for-the-price-of-one day, so it was like getting a scoop for free (I love free).

More on the 752-acre park at the link below.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

General Booty

The good-looking man below is not a college photo of some army general but a quarterback on the Oklahoma Sooners football team.  His Dad had a lifelong fascination with the military and naming his son "General" was always his plan.  A redshirt sophomore, General is, for now, just a backup, and his only playing time this year was at the end of the Arkansas State game when Oklahoma had a 73-0 lead.  His only throw, which was incomplete, was erased by an Arkansas State offside penalty.

Levering his unique name, he created a merchandise website at the link below where you can order a women's "We Got Booty" crop tee, a men's "Booty Call" shirt, or an "I Love Booty" license plate frame.  His organization, More Than Just a Name, donates twenty percent of the profits to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Buick Roadmaster

The beauty seen below was at the Love's Travel Stop off I-70 near Richmond, Indiana.  This Buick Roadmaster has certainly seen better days and why it's covered in dirt is anyone's guess.  It appears to be a convertible version of a 1949 model, given the four round holes on the front quarter panel and the straight side trim.  Maybe she doesn't look that bad for being over 70 years old.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Theft Deterrence

I don't believe the Kettering police car parked outside Meijer was just there to enjoy an afternoon donut as we've noticed this practice on many occasions.  Our guess is that theft is becoming more of an issue and the possibility of an immediate police response would be a hefty deterrent to would-be shoplifters.  Just knowing a police car might show up at any moment should give them pause.  Our hats off to the Kettering police for this new tactic.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Tex-Mex Pulled Chicken

Chef Elaine cooked up this different way of making soft tacos, seasoning the tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and bell peppers and baking them before pulverizing them in a blender.  That gets added to the chicken that is baked with the veggies, and all that flavor is stuffed into hot tortillas.   Garnish that with salsa, sour cream, crumbled cotija cheese, lime wedges and/or cilantro.  While the recipe at the link below has all the details, don't believe the 16 minutes to prepare this, unless you have a sous chef who's already sliced, diced, deseeded, and has your oven up to temp.  Figure more like 30 minutes for us normal folk.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Grand Old Fashioned

There are so many Old Fashioned recipes but this one is sweeter and more orangy than most.  Just a few dashes of aromatic bitters mixed with equal amounts of Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Grand Marnier.  This is a good drink to use the slow-melting large ice cubes and an orange peel cut with a potato peeler to get a nice large chunk of rind without a lot of bitter pith.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Dethatching Yard

Before doing some overseeding in the back yard we decided to do some dethatching first.  We rented the machine below at Sunbelt Rentals in Beavercreek using my son's truck (which has a lift gate) to transport it back and forth with limited effort.  However, the machine is not self-propelled and while the spinning tines help a little, most of the power comes from yours truly.  I was a tired, sweaty mess by the time the job was done.  Come spring we'll see if the result was worth it.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Fraze Wi-Fi

There's a new Wi-Fi provider at the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio.  Altafiber is providing the free (I love free) public service and I decided I would scope it out.  I ran several speed tests and it's an impressive 140-150 Mbps download speed in the area surrounding the main building where the concession stand is located.  When I moved into the performance area and ran tests there, it was a very disappointing 10-20 Mbps.  According to their press release at the link below, there are 24 access points, so maybe the area I tested was just a spot with poor coverage.  Another very odd thing to note, and it's pretty worthless, is the upload speeds were marginally faster than the download speeds.

You will need to give up your name and email address to connect, but for free I think that's OK.

Monday, November 6, 2023


The latest addition to our travel necessities is the coffee carrier shown below.  Chef Elaine is so very kind and when we're at a hotel she finds a Starbucks or other place and brings us back a couple of coffees.  Most of the time they don't offer any type of carrier and those hot cups are tough to handle.  The CarryAround costs about $10 at Amazon and folds flat, making it easy to throw in my travel bag.  You just pull up the white handle and rotate the four arms in place and you're ready to deliver up to four coffees.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Pork Tenderloin Schnitzel With Fennel Slaw

"Schnitzeling" is pounding meat until it's very thin (~1/8"), breading it, and frying to a nice crisp.  But the star of Chef Elaine's dinner treat was the slaw, a combo of thinly sliced fennel and celery, sweetened dried cranberries, extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey, kosher salt, and black pepper.  It was so good I ate the leftovers for lunch the next two days.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Spiked Caramel Apple Cider

I love a good caramel-covered apple, so if those flavors are great for a snack, it makes sense that the same would be true for an autumn-time cocktail.  I took almost a mug of apple cider, poured it into a saucepan, and slowly heated it up.  That went into the mug below and I added one shot of Crown Royal Salted Caramel whiskey and stirred to blend it together.  You might have to shop at a few stores to find the whiskey, but it's worth the effort.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Squirrel Damage

Another neighbor has learned what we found out several years ago ... squirrels love pumpkins.  All that hard work and creativity for naught.  We've simply stopped buying pumpkins feeding the little critters, but part of me wants to cover a pumpkin with a sticky blend of maple syrup and ghost pepper chili powder and see if that might deter their appetite.  Or maybe light up their little squirrel mouths... hee hee.