Friday, September 29, 2017


Now we're talking some serious deep dish pizza from the classic Chicago restaurant, Giordano's.  One pie is pepperoni and spinach, the other sausage and onion. Serious chow down.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Text Message From 39,000 Feet

I was surprised when I turned on my iPad's WiFi on a recent United Airlines flight and received some notifications, as I expected the free (I love free) in-flight WiFi to be limited to a small set of selected partner web sites. Then I figured if those notifications came through, I should try sending a text message using the Google Voice app and that worked!  I don't know if that was a fluke or not, but it was handy to keep my wife apprised of my progress.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Printing a web page to a PDF from a web browser is standard fare, but doing that from a script takes a utility like the free (I love free) WKHTMLTOPDF.  Comes with dozens of options to control the output, such as collation, resolution, orientation, headers and footers. If you need image output, WKHTMLTOIMAGE is also available.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Exit Escape Room

The goal is to escape the game room by solving multiple clues. Our team divided into two groups, the first choosing LOST, navigating out of a wrecked airplane, and succeeded. The second group attempted Terracotta Mausoleum, trying to steal the Elixir of Immortality, and ultimately failed to achieve this much more difficult task. Either outcome, the game was a blast.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Paula Dean's House Seasoning

A basic combination of salt, pepper and garlic powder, it lasts up to six months in a air-tight container.  Great on grilled hamburgers and steaks.  Beats grabbing, and putting away, three different spices all the time.  So simple!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Paint Color

I used this a few months back to find the paint for our remodeled bathroom. I started with a cell phone picture of a color we liked, found its Red-Green-Blue (RGB) numbers and then explored similar colors from paint lines carried by Lowes.  We narrowed it down to four options and picked the prettiest one, making the trip to Lowes a simple "strike mission".

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer

Not well known is that Dayton, Ohio sits on top of 1.5 trillion gallons of water, used to provide water for about 400,000 residents in the surrounding communities to drink, businesses such as Cargill and Miller-Coors to make their products, and for the geyser fountain at the junction of the Great Miami and Mad Rivers to spray its jets. Known as the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer (GMBVA), it's comprised of sand and gravel deposits that are completely saturated with water, and is quickly replenished by water that seeps down from the overlying rivers, streams, and lakes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Infiniti G37x

We took home this 2013 Infiniti G37x a couple weeks ago, a nice blend of performance, luxury and space for five. This will make our frequent road trips very comfortable.

Monday, September 18, 2017

USPS Informed Delivery

I find it strangely compelling to see a daily email digest containing digital images of the upcoming postal mail. This new service is provided by USPS, free (I love free) of charge, and is called Informed Delivery. It's not available everywhere and doesn't mean that what you see in today's email shows up that day, but it's pretty close.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Grilled London Broil

This steak got marinated with a dry rub of chili powder, salt and pepper for a couple hours at room temperature, then cooked first on the direct heat side of a grill and finished on the indirect side, 130 degrees for medium-rare. The tomato and fennel salad also takes a couple hours of rest time, which softens the strong fennel taste to perfection.  Add fingerling potatoes and a bottle of Malbec wine, and Saturday night was pretty special.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Salmon BLT

I think the coming of autumn is causing my brain to focus too much on food. This beauty comes courtesy of the storied original Salty Dog Cafe on Hilton Head Island. I'm normally not a big salmon fan, but this was delicious.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Located a few blocks from the Riverwalk in Savannah, Georgia, Zunzi's is an African sandwich shop that's tucked in a little "hole-in-the-wall", just enough space to order and pay.  Several metal tables are available around the corner. complete with a very attentive wait staff.  Pictured are the baked chicken "Conquistador" and the South African sausage and chicken "Godfather". A favorite of the locals, be prepared for a long line during lunch hour.  Worth it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Restart Chrome Bookmark

Restarting your browser is not something that's used very often, but it's nice to have a quick way do it when the need arises. For Google's Chrome browser, your can enter "chrome://restart" in the address bar and press Enter, or create a bookmark, as shown below, to further speed up the process.

Monday, September 11, 2017


I've cleared my fair share of frost and ice from car windows using the traditionally shaped, flat-edge scrapers, so when I saw this Scrape-A-Round at a vendor booth during Kettering's Holiday at Home event, it just made so much more sense. The round shape allows scraping in all directions and it's much easier to apply downward force on the windows. Not that I'm anxious for winter, but when it comes, I'll be ready.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Peach Crumble Pie

I've been baking pies since I was a little kid and peach has always been my favorite.  This time I decided to try a crumble topping, instead of a lattice of dough strips, made with light-brown sugar, flour, oats and butter.  Another change was using a large jar of Dorothy Lane Market peaches instead of a small can of peach filling, which reduced the sweetness of the filling to match the topping and completely filled the 9 inch pie plate.  Days of yummy delight!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Skullcandy Grind

Laying out by the pool listening to tunes just got a lot more comfortable with these Skullcandy on-ear, bluetooth headphones. My old ear buds kept slipping out of place due to sweat dripping into my ear canals, causing me to fuss with them every few minutes. Not sure yet if I'll use the built-in microphone for voice calls, that just seems weird.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Coco's On The Beach

Coco's, located on Hilton Head Island's Port Royal Plantation, is by far the most difficult beach bar we've ever tried to find. Google Maps drives you to right next to it, but separated by a high fence. Walked the beach and passed it by, no signage to help out. There's this 500 yard wooden walkway to it, but where's the other end? Even their website states "Finding Coco's Is Half The Fun!". With the help of Google Earth, the third attempt was successful and worth all the effort, with a delicious burger and a couple of Miami Vices the reward.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Amazon Echo Multi-Room Music

Amazon now supports playing music on multiple Echo devices from a single source, for example, my Pandora subscription. I used one of the standard names, "Everywhere", to link my Echo and Echo Dot together.  When I play music, I just add "Everywhere" to the end of the command, like "Alexa, play Zac Brown Band on Pandora Everywhere". Most importantly, it's "Elaine approved"!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Spotify Free On Google Home

Getting one up on the Amazon Echo, at least for now, the Google Home can now be linked with the free (I love free) version of Spotify.  Both devices have supported the paid ($9.99/month) version, Spotify Premium, but I'll continue my Pandora Plus service for half that cost.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Marinated Tuna Steak

At most ten minutes of measuring, chopping and mixing followed by at least 30 minutes of soak time, the perfect amount to enjoy an avant le dîner cocktail.  Tuna is very dense and this one pound steak was more than enough for two people.  Don't let the summer set before you give this a try.