Thursday, July 25, 2024

Migration Pinot Noir

I was shocked when I saw these bottles of Migration, one of our favorite higher-end Pinot Noir's, being sold at Costco for just $39.99.  Migration is one of several labels in a group which includes Duckhorn, Paraduxx, Goldeneye, and their most widely available brand, Decoy.  Notice that these brands all revolve around ducks in some manner, for example, Goldeneye is a species of ducks that have a gold (or amber) eye.  This is a real deal as the cost on their website is listed at $46.00 plus shipping.  




Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Killing The SS

The latest audiobook Gourmet Chef Elaine and I listened to during a road trip to Buffalo is Killing the SS by Bill O'Reilly.  It's the eighth book we've selected from his "Killing" series.  It details the searches for SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, "Angel of Death" Josef Mengele, Martin Bormann, Klaus Barbie, the evil Adolf Eichmann, and many others.  Some were caught quickly while others escaped to friendly South American countries for years or decades, some dying of natural causes before they could be captured.  



Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Fun Guns

People who live in Texas obviously think a little differently about guns when there's a store named MyFunGuns.  Hailing from the city of Waco (there is a joke here I'll avoid), they offer all types of rifles, pistols, and shotguns, along with ammo and accessories.  They even have a blog that discusses firearm laws, gun maintenance, and safety.  I doubt I'll see anything like this in Ohio .. ever.




Monday, July 22, 2024

Govee WiFi Water Sensors

They say that timing is everything and in this case of buying a pair of Govee water sensors, our timing was perfect.  The two little white sensors shown below are placed in front of the furnace and water heater.  They communicate via a gateway box to my smartphone to relay messages when water is detected.  I bought them right after fixing the clog in the condensate tray.  

A week or so later, after returning from a trip to Buffalo, I received an alert and initially thought the condensate tray was plugged up again, but digging into the alert, it was the sensor for the water heater.  I went to the basement and found a small amount of water on the floor.  Since the water heater was over ten years old and we were planning to replace it this year, Gourmet Chef Elaine called our plumber and he replaced the water heater by the middle of the afternoon.  

This story could have ended up a basement-soaking mess, but the timing of deploying the sensors, the small leak occurring while we were home, and Chuck being available immediately made for a fairy-tale ending.




Friday, July 19, 2024

Est Est Est

Est Est Est is an Italian restaurant in Downtown Dayton, located on the south side of the historic Arcade.  My choice for dinner was the delicious braised short ribs with demi glaze, garlic broccolini, and fontina gnocchi.  They have a large wood-fired pizza oven, a variety of pasta, and Happy Hour specials.  Explore the menu at the link below.

Update: As of July 20, this restaurant is closed.




Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cooper's Hawk Wine Tastings

One of the benefits of our Cooper's Hawk Wine Club membership is a pair of monthly wine tastings.  Each tasting consists of eight small pours and you can follow that month's recommended selections or make up your own slate.  While I normally go exclusively reds, I changed it up in July and went all whites, including a taste of sparkling wine, oaked and unoaked Chardonnays, a Gewurztraminer (my fav), and a few others.  For some reason, I think I can get through these tastes in 45 minutes, but as Gourmet Chef Elaine and I get talking, that's nowhere near enough time.  Next time I'll shoot for an hour and pay more attention to the clock.




Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Snaking The Condensate Drain

As I mentioned yesterday, we had water leaking around our furnace which I thought was strange as the furnace doesn't have a water feed to it.   The technician monitored the various pressures involved and looked for a cause, but other than the clogged compressor, couldn't find one.  He even poured water down the external drain pipe (the piece of white, vertical PVC pipe shown below, and it flowed out to the drain without an issue.

But it only place water could be coming from is the evaporator coil and collected by the condensate tray.  From there it flows through a short piece of pipe to reach the drain pipe.  I figured that must be the place it was clogged, but what did I have that I could snake down and around the pipe in tight quarters?  The answer was a long, plastic wire tie.  I worked that into the pipe and sure enough the water started flowing and gurgling.  Problem solved.  Lots of learning on this problem, helped by the drawing of the air conditioning system at the link below.


Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Cleaning The Compressor

Chalk up another thing I never considered: cleaning the vents on the air conditioning compressor.  I was amazed at the amount of grass and other gunk that was clogging the cooling fins, which was causing the unit to exert extra effort to remove heat from the refrigerant.  The trick is to hit the vents at an angle to dislodge the waste from the fins, not shoot the water directly at it.  While this didn't resolve the water leakage issue we had (more on that tomorrow), it noticeably reduced the noise the unit was making.  It's now on my twice-a-year list of home maintenance chores.




Monday, July 15, 2024

ManaBloc Plumbing System

The device below is a ManaBloc Plumbing System.  Instead of a set of continuous hot and cold water pipes, the house's hot (red) and cold (blue) water comes into this junction and is distributed via PEX piping to each appliance, shower, dishwasher, etc. via its own feed.  Water can be turned on and off here eliminating the need for individual shutoff values which always seem to be in places difficult to access.  You can read more about ManaBloc and its benefits at the link below.




Friday, July 12, 2024

Doubledays

When I received the Buffalo Chicken sandwich below the two monster chicken breasts were stacked on each other and I immediately knew what tomorrow's lunch was going to be.  I don't know if the picture really shows their true size and between them, it was close to a pound of chicken.  I do know that the side of mac-n-cheese was both delicious and unnecessary.  So if you're really hungry, Doubledays is the place to go.




Thursday, July 11, 2024

Pantalones

Pantalones Tequila is the brainchild of Matthew and Camila McConaughey and is the smoothest tequila I've ever had.  We had to bring the one you see below back from Texas as it's unavailable in Ohio liquor stores.  It's 100% blue Weber agave and aged for 15 months.  The Anejo version below has flavors that include vanilla and a sweet combo of butterscotch with brown sugar and won double gold at the 2024 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  This one should be used for sipping only.  Using it in a margarita would be a sin.

More information and to see if you can order it online is at the following link.




Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Zoom, Zoom Grandpa

Texas is just a bit different and nothing in the picture below would tell you, but the speed limit on this road is 70 mph.  In this stretch of road, traffic would take off for a mile or two, hit 70 mph, and then hit the brakes for the next stop light.  Stretches of the road where there were no stoplights and had a wide median were marked 75 mph.  Residential speeds were either 30 or 35 mph instead of our familiar 25 mph.  Not only are things bigger in Texas, they're faster.


Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Covered Garage

Several houses in the Pebble Creek neighborhood in College Station, Texas featured a garage design we had never seen before.  As you can see below, this house has a three-car garage with the roof extending about six feet in front of that to provide shade for another three vehicles.  Keeping your car out of the sun when it's nearly 100 degrees and under a bright blue sky is a really good idea.  Jumping into a car after it has been subjected to this kind of temperature is a bad idea.



Monday, July 8, 2024

Lost Airpod

On our Southwest flight to Texas, the airpod in Gourmet Chef Elaine's left ear fell out and disappeared. We looked everywhere, under the cushions, on the floor, and between and beneath the seats.  Several passengers and a flight attendant joined the search, lighting up their smartphone flashlights.  Nothing.  

After exhausting all possibilities, we returned to our seats, resigned to have to buy another pair. But then Elaine checked a place only she could check, at least in public, and found it ... in her bra. 

I had to make sure that all the people who so graciously helped in the search knew it had been found and of course, they wanted to know where we found it.  We shared where it was found and one guy immediately asked who had found it.  That cracked everyone up.



Friday, July 5, 2024

Kielbasa

Gourmet Chef Elaine sweetened up some Kielbasa with brown sugar for a nice change of pace.  The Kielbasa, which was fully cooked, was placed in a frying pan with a little water and covered to get it steamy hot.  When hot enough, the water was drained, brown sugar added, and stirred to get the Kielbasa coated.  This made a great dinner but with some toothpicks could serve as an appetizer.



Thursday, July 4, 2024

Gavi

We're not big white wine drinkers and we only have a few favorites like the bottle of Massone Massera Gavi shown below that we can only find at Dorothy Lane Market in Centerville.  It comes from the Piedmont region in northeastern Italy and is made from the Cortese grape.  Best served very cold, it's crisp, refreshing, and bone dry.

I recently took a couple of bottles to a party along with several better-known whites (e.g. Chenin Blanc).  Nobody knew what Gavi was and neither bottle was opened.  My feelings, and taste buds, were not hurt when I had to take them home.  If you're ever offered a chance to try Gavi, you should certainly say yes.


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Killer Windex

It's summertime and that means, despite your best efforts, flies will find their way into your home.  Gourmet Chef Elaine's answer to that is not smashing them with a flyswatter but spraying them with a shot of Windex, even if they are flying around and not stationary.  The fly is grounded and easy to finish off with a paper towel.  It's a brilliant hack and while Windex says it kills 99.9% of germs, it's 100% effective on flies.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

The Naughty Bench

The swimming pool at Walnut Grove Country Club recently added a red and black bench, as shown below.  It's located next to one of the lifeguard chairs and its purpose is to give misbehaving children a place for a ten-minute timeout.  It allows the lifeguard to keep tabs on the offender without distracting them from keeping eyes on the pool.  But just knowing that acting up will make you the unwelcome and very public center of attention should be enough to get children to obey the lifeguard's directions.  Brilliant!

Monday, July 1, 2024

Black Barn Pickleball

The field shown below was the location of Smiley's Golf and Baseball Center on Linden Avenue which closed nine years ago and has been an eyesore since.  A few months ago the twelve acres were purchased by Black Barn Pickleball with the intent to create the largest indoor pickleball facility in Ohio.  They may also include some outdoor courts as well.  More information is at the link below.




Friday, June 28, 2024

Silver Spring House

We needed to find a lunch place along I-71 between Columbus and Cincinnati and decided upon The Silver Spring House on Kemper Road near the intersection of I-71 and I-275.  Gourmet Chef Elaine had eaten there back in her working days, but it was a first for me.  They are famous for their grilled chicken and I opted for the yummy salad shown below that combined spinach, chicken, hard-boiled egg, shredded cheeses, and poppy seed dressing.  The restaurant is huge and has lots of open-air seating, and multiple bars.  Wish we had one of these in Dayton.




Thursday, June 27, 2024

Italian Ices

These Wyler Italian Ices are a little 30-calorie flavor bomb that is perfect for a mid-day treat on a hot summer day.  I couldn't find them at our local Meijer grocery store when I scoured their freezer section, so I headed over to Amazon.  I was surprised to find them there and for two seconds wondered how Amazon was going to ship frozen ices to our house.  Wow, can I be dense at times?  Duh!




Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Lung Saver

It's not the fastest method for inflating our floating lounger but it sure saves getting red-faced and out of breath at my age.  This is the same cordless air pump I use to fill up our car tires, bicycle tires, and basketballs and it came with the proper adapter to fit these types of blow-up rafts.  That model is out of stock at Amazon, but I bought another air pump for the other car that I like even better.  It's at the link below for $30.




Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Cast Iron Grill And Grill Press

Now that summer is here, grilling outside becomes a priority to avoid the house getting even warmer.  I bought the cast iron grill shown below to lay on top of the outside gas grill's grates.  The smooth side is for grilled cheese, eggs, and smash burgers; the other is ribbed and works for hamburgers, chicken, and steak.  The grill press will replace using a spatula and my hand to flatten smash burgers and reduce the risk of a nasty burn.  Many different companies sell cast iron grills, but we selected Lodge because it's pre-seasoned and we really like our Lodge cast iron skillets.  Below are links to both products.




Monday, June 24, 2024

Happy Returns

Gourmet Chef Elaine ordered a piece of clothing from Lascana, didn't care for it, and started the return process.  She opted for a Return In-Store option and was surprised when the nearest location was a Petco store a mile away.  While that sounded strange, she took it to Petco, and sure enough they do take these returns.  A little digging found that Lascana, and apparently lots of other online merchants, use a service from Happy Returns to process these "Buy Online, Return In-Store (BORIS)" packages.  You can find locations that handle Happy Returns near you at the link below.




Friday, June 21, 2024

Sweet Shrimp With Avocado Toast

Carl Diedrich, the new Executive Chef at Walnut Grove Country Club, hosted a California Wine Dinner a couple of months ago, and each of the five courses was paired with a small glass of wine.  The first course was the Sweet Shrimp With Avocado Toast and Sea Salt shown below, a small but tasty bite.  The second was a Roasted Beet Salad and while neither Gourmet Chef Elaine nor I like beets even a little bit, we must admit it was pretty good.  Dungeness Crab Cakes, Roast Chicken with Wild Mushroom Risotto, and an Apple Galette completed the marvelous dinner.

In case you're wondering, a galette is a fancy French term for various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes.  




Thursday, June 20, 2024

Starbucks Name

While I've been a fan of Starbucks coffee for many years, I recently realized I didn't know if someone just made the word up or if there was a story behind it.  A story it is.  Terry Heckler, a business partner of theirs, thought the name should begin with the strong "st" sound and they began compiling a list of words and initially chose "Starbo", a western mining town they saw on an old map.  "Starbo" kicked in memory of Herman Melville's classic book "Moby Dick" and the chief mate's name, "Starbuck".  The founders thought "Starbucks" relayed a sense of adventure, their Northwest origins, and a nautical theme.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-did-starbucks-get-its-name-the-real-story-might-surprise-you



Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sunglass Readers

I had LASIK eye surgery in my early forties, trading in my nearsightedness for perfect farsightedness, and in that process needed readers (aka cheaters) to see up close.  That was a great choice as it freed me from using contact lenses while running, skiing, golfing, etc., or having my glasses fog up when entering or exiting a building.  So I keep readers everywhere from the car to my home office to my nightstand.  But only last week did I think that perhaps they made sunglass readers so I could read outside on a sunny day.  Now of course they do and for $11 at the link below, I have two pairs of sunglass readers including carrying cases and a cleaning cloth.  




Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Google App Script

Warning, serious techie $#!& below!

Google App Script is a free (I love free) computer language that allows you to automate pretty much anything within the Google sphere of products, for example, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.  I recently set up a new Gmail account as the destination mailbox for reports that come in as compressed XML attachments.  Daily an App Script will run that processes all the emails in that inbox, decompresses the attachments in ZIP or GZ format, and them to Google Drive.  Subsequent scripts will parse that data and create CSV files which will be uploaded to a Google BigQuery database for querying and reporting.  

The code for reading the emails and saving the files is at the link below.  




Monday, June 17, 2024

Tire Inflation Station

I've been a member of Costco for many years but it wasn't until recently that I noticed this free (I love free) tire inflation station, mainly because I rarely park on that side of the parking lot. It uses nitrogen instead of regular air because when you buy tires at Costco they inflate them with nitrogen.  A discussion of the benefits of nitrogen inflation is included at the link below, and while it might not be worth the cost if you would pay for it, when the cost is zero to you it's worth the benefits.




Friday, June 14, 2024

Skyline Chili Dogs

Perhaps there is not a more satisfying lunch than the three Skyline Chili Dogs shown below.  Onions are a must, no mustard for this guy, and I add a generous amount of their red tabasco, jalapeƱo, and cayenne-based hot sauce.  It's an over 1,000-calorie splurge, not counting the drink, but so worth it every few months.




Thursday, June 13, 2024

Watermelon Mule

I have loved the taste of watermelon ever since my days scooping ice cream at Sherer's Ice Cream over fifty years ago.  He made a watermelon sherbet that was fabulous.  I tried to recreate the magic in adult form using the REAL watermelon puree shown at right below that I purchased at Amazon.  I followed the recipe at the link below for a Watermelon Mule, then added a bit more puree to get the taste I wanted.  It was good and refreshing the ginger beer made it sweeter than I was looking for, so the next go-round will use Diet 7-up instead to reign in the sweetness.  




Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Plant Cages

Gone are the old light-mesh, silver cages that protect new plants from bunny rabbits.  As shown below, I made new cages out of heavier fencer wire in two sizes.  I bought 4-foot high, 5-foot wide fencer wire at Home Deport, and first cut it horizontally to make a pair of 2-foot high sections.  I cut the width to 2 1/2 feet for the smaller cages, and for the larger cages, I cut the width to 4 feet and discarded the remaining mesh.  In all cases, I made sure I left 1/2-inch wires at one end.  I made a circle, threaded the 1/2-inch wires through the other end, and used needle-nosed pliers to twist and crimp the wires together.  Miraculously, no blood was shed in the making of these cages.



Tuesday, June 11, 2024

SVG

An SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a vector-based image format and its biggest feature is that you can increase its size without it getting fuzzier, unlike what happens with raster-graphics JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file.  That's great for website development where images could be very small for smartphones and very large for big 4K monitors.

Recently I was trying to figure out why some emails I received from a local non-profit looked odd.  After digging into the underlying code of one of those messages using Gmail's "Show original" feature, I determined that the oddness stemmed from missing images and all those images were SVGs.  A little Internet search taught me that Gmail does not support SVGs.  Case closed.

I love using SVGs for their scalability and frequently use FreeSVG to find images.  You can explore them at the link below.





Monday, June 10, 2024

Software Decision

Many years ago a team was brought together to select a piece of software to improve the effectiveness of the Computer Operations group.  After a lot of exploration, they boiled it down to two choices, either a higher-end, feature-rich product or a lesser-end, basic-feature product.  Of course, the higher-end choice was more expensive.  The team was trying hard to select the right product and spend the company's money wisely.  When I heard about this, I told the person I knew which one they would ultimately pick.  It had nothing to do with either piece of software, but an understanding of market forces and human nature.

Ultimately, the team recommended the higher-end product, as I had predicted.  The team tried hard to
figure out the price/feature angle, but I knew that market forces had already balanced them.  There was no way to find a better product for the price.  They were the same.  More money, more features, less money, less features.  The market had already done that.  Then when faced with the choice between two equal options, human nature entered to select the higher-end product.  Human nature said (1) it's really not our money and (2) the risk of the lesser-end product not really being capable enough to handle all needs, now and in the future.  The downside risk led to making the higher-end decision.  

It was a fine decision, just very predictable.  



Friday, June 7, 2024

Picanha

I had the delicious Picanha at Fernando’s Mexican & Brazilian Cuisine in the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis, IN.  It uses a particular cut of beef that comes from the top of the cow's rump, also known as a top sirloin cap.  That fat cap is the secret to this steak's amazing flavor.  A little salt, some Brazilian steak seasoning blend, and time on the grill or under a broiler is all that's needed.  You can check out some of the other dishes at Fernando’s at the link below.




Thursday, June 6, 2024

Cup Cap

There are several different designs for the caps that go on top of disposable cups, but the one shown below is the best I've encountered.  It's made from a sturdier plastic than most, but what I really like is the larger cut-out that you can use either to drink from or insert a straw into.  There's no tab to pull or cut-out "+" to try to push a straw through.  This designer had their head on straight!



Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Three Decisions

Decisions often get whittled down to two choices and at that point some folks need help.  For example, I've heard many times in a restaurant something like "I can't decide between the chicken and the fish" and watched the mental gyrations continue for many minutes, usually ending with the person asking the waiter to decide.  This is what I call a "good-good" decision.  Regardless of which option you choose, the outcome is good.  So why go through the anguish?  Just pick one and put the menu down.  An example from many years ago was someone's choice between attending Ohio University or Miami University (Oxford).  Before getting involved to "help", I realized this was a "good-good" decision, and getting involved to help select "the right one" was pointless.  We let the young lad make his own decision and, of course, it worked out.  How couldn't it?

The really difficult decision is the "bad-bad" where both options are bad.  You have to select one eventually, but each time you get close to deciding, you see that downside and it throws you right back to indecisiveness.  The best example of this is deciding between getting a divorce or trying to fix a miserable marriage, particularly when there are young children involved.  Take your time, but realize that after a while, you will have to decide a path and live with the consequences.  

The third type of decision is the "good-bad".  If you have a problem with this one, seek therapy.



Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Rap Names

I heard years ago that you can create a rap name (e.g. Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg) for yourself by combining the first letter of your first name with the first syllable of your last name.  That works better for some people than others and in reviewing the distribution list of this blog, some sounded pretty good.  J-Nic, B-Hog, R-Pet, and K-Boy all have a nice ring to them.

And then there's my rap name ... P-Moor.  Not going to happen...



Monday, June 3, 2024

Single Key

Long ago I replaced all four exterior locks on our house with Kwikset models that allow me to re-key each lock to use a common key.  So my key ring is minimal with only one house key and I always have the right one since there is only one.  But with those conveniences, there are a few other situations where these locks provide additional value.

You could give a housekeeper a unique key and re-key one lock they can open when they need access, re-keying it back after they finish.  If your house keys are stolen, you can quickly change all the locks in a matter of minutes without waiting for and paying a locksmith.  It’s also a great selling feature, providing new owners a no-cost option to know the old keys can no longer be used.




Friday, May 31, 2024

Captain's Breakfast

I didn't expect to find a killer breakfast menu at Reefer's Social Club along the main drag in Clearwater Beach, FL, so that was a nice surprise.  My choice was the Captain's Breakfast shown below, a Belgium waffle, crispy bacon, Cheddar cheese, two eggs (over easy), scallions, hash browns, and maple syrup.  The waffle was the perfect size, enough to please but not enough to stuff.  




Thursday, May 30, 2024

Clearwater Cooler

Watermelon is one of the hardest flavors to get right.  I love watermelon sherbet for its sweetness and strong flavor, but most other watermelon-flavored food and drinks just don't tickle my taste buds.  The Clearwater Cooler shown below from Reefers Social Club in Clearwater Beach, FL is a rare combination that works.  A mix of vodka, watermelon puree, agave, and soda water, it's just the right mix and a refreshing day drinker.




Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge spans Lower Tampa Bay and includes the ramp seen below in the distance.  I'm not fond of heights but this one didn't trigger that I'm-gonna-die feeling I get sometimes, probably because it's perfectly straight and fences block the view of how high it's above the water.  I'm really glad I didn't know that this is the second version of this bridge, the first one collapsed in 1980 when a storm-blinded freighter collided with a support column resulting in 35 deaths as six cars, a truck, and a Greyhound bus fell 150 feet into the water.  You can read more about the incident at the link below.




Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Beach Proposal

For some people just getting down on one knee and popping the question just isn't good enough.  This guy hired a service to secure a "MARRY ME" sign in the sand at Clearwater Beach, FL.  They scrupled the sand, planted some flowers, and even lit up the sign with some unseen power source.  I'm guessing they lured the soon-bride-to-be with a walk on the beach, passed the sign, turned her around, then dropped and popped.  We could have waited around to see how it really played out, but our thirst got the best of us.



Monday, May 27, 2024

PVC Chairs

The chairs shown below are from our condo in Clearwater Beach, FL.  The frame is made from PVC pipes, making it lightweight, very strong, and impervious to the constant salt air.   It includes a rail to put your feet on as these are at least a foot taller than the average chair, allowing you to see over the railing at the beach instead of looking through its rails.  Simply brilliant!



Friday, May 24, 2024

Arepas

The stars of the meal shown below are the arepas, the small, round things in the basket that look like English muffins.  They are a mixture of precooked cornmeal, salt, and water, made into balls of dough, flattened to about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, then baked or grilled.  A serrated knife is used to slice them deep enough to form a pocket and then stuffed with any combination of ingredients you desire.  I can't wait to try this at home.




Thursday, May 23, 2024

Basil’s Root Beer New Fashion

Sometimes I just try things because the ingredients can't possibly work together as was the case with ordering a Basil’s Root Beer New Fashion at The Salty Crab Bar & Grill North Beach in Clearwater Beach, FL.  It combines Basil Hayden Bourbon with root beer and a dash of bitters and after the first one, I was hooked.  I need to work on getting the proportions figured out and try a few different root beers, and by golly do it even if it takes all summer!

https://saltycrabnorthbeach.com



Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Max Brightness

When the clerk at Meijer uses their handheld scanner on the MPerks barcode on my Pixel 7 it typically takes four or five attempts before it's successful and sometimes they have to scan it using the stationary scanner, which typically works the first time.  I now know why, courtesy of the Frontier Airlines app that's scanned when I board their planes.

As shown below, the Frontier app has an "Allow boarding pass max brightness" option that does exactly that.  I thought that probably was to improve their scanning accuracy, so the next time I went to Meijer I manually cranked up the brightness before having them scan my MPerks barcode.  Bingo, worked the first time!  Case closed.



Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Three Dog Night

The rock band Three Dog Night was formed in 1967 by vocalists Chuck Negron, Cory Wells, and Danny Hutton and would have a string of hits including Shambala, Eli's Coming, Joy to the World, and An Old Fashioned Love Song.  The band still tours but only Danny of the original trio is still performing with the group.

If you're not aware of how the group got its strange name, it comes from Aboriginal Australians.  On cold nights they would sleep with a dingo (a wild dog) to stay warm.  On colder nights they slept with two dogs and on a really freezing night, it was a "three dog night".




Monday, May 20, 2024

Empathy

Empathy is sometimes a hard concept to use in real life, so I offer one experience from my working days to demonstrate.

An Information Technology (IT) person is asked for help on a user's PC and says the seemingly innocent phrase "It's easy."  But if you look at the person's face on the receiving end, it's pretty clear the message received is "I must be stupid as I've been trying for ten minutes to figure this out."  It's surely not the intended message, but you won't see it if you're not looking for a reaction.

I learned to use the phrase "It's not hard, but it's not obvious" when assisting someone.  "Not obvious" calms the person's nerves.  They're not dumb, the designer of the interface hid this feature under layers of menus with not-so-helpful titles.  I've literally seen people's shoulders relax after I've said this.  I use "It's not hard" just to avoid using the word "easy", assuring them that they can do it.



Friday, May 17, 2024

Raw Honey

We've belonged to the Hawkes Wine Club ever since we signed up back in 2010.  We started that day with a 10:00 am private wine tasting at Hanna in Santa Rosa, CA, and asked for recommendations for other awesome Cabernet Sauvignons.   Hawkes was their top choice and only a few miles from Hanna.  We did a wine tasting at Hawkes and left a member of their wine club.  We get four shipments of three bottles per year and is one of our go-to wines for our "Fine Wine Sunday" dinners.

A recent wine shipment included the jar of Hawkes Farm honey shown below spread on a toasted English muffin.  It wasn't until I read the accompanying letter that I realized it was included and I had to dig the box out of the garbage can to find it.  It's raw, which means that it hasn't been heated, and I think it makes the most delicious honey.  While raw honey crystallizes over time and might look strange, just heat it up in a microwave if that's bothersome.