Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pay Less Liquor Sale

During a recent trip to a Pay Less grocery store in Muncie, Indiana to grab a couple bottles of Buffalo Trace bourbon (wish they did that in Ohio), we stumbled upon a half-off sale on to-be-discontinued items such as the handle of Woodford Reserve bourbon and fifths of Patron Tequila and Sexton Irish Whiskey you see below.  Stunned, but not too stunned, to snatch up these incredible bargains.

Shout out to Pat D for the trip to Pay Less!


Monday, May 20, 2019

Slow-Motion Video

This isn't to show that my golf swing needs more than a little work, but rather that until last Saturday I had no clue that my Android phone could capture slow-motion video.  That option was behind the "more" in the camera app, somewhere I never have the inclination to look.  But when I saw that an iPhone could do it, it spurred me to investigate and find this hidden gem.

Shout out to Emma D for the assist!

https://support.google.com/googlecamera/answer/7064897


Friday, May 17, 2019

Elaine's Veggie Soup

From time to time my wife makes a huge pot of vegetable soup and each one ends up being a bit unique because it includes whatever bags of end-of-life vegetables, fresh or frozen, happen to be available.  She starts by sautéing onion and garlic in some oil and adding that to one box each of chicken broth and chicken stock, a couple cans of diced tomatoes, a small head of cabbage (shredded), sliced carrots and celery, and rosemary, thyme and sage.  She simmers all that until the carrots are tender, then adds spinach leaves and finishes with salt and pepper to taste.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Guanabana

Guanabana, also known as soursop, is a fruit native to the tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean and tastes like a combination of pineapple, banana and papaya.  I had never heard of it until a friend mentioned it on some advertisement in Fort Lauderdale last March.  Then a couple months later I saw this Welch's drink in our local Kroger and decided to give it a try.  It was delicious and a nice change of pace.

Shout out to Evelyn for bringing Guanabana to our attention!

http://www.welchs.com/products/juice-and-cocktails/refrigerated/guanabana-mandarin-refrigerated-juice-cocktail


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Amazon Day

In the past I waited to order Amazon's low-cost "Add-on Items" which are not shipped free for even Prime members without a larger purchase, but no more.  Amazon now allows you to select "Your Amazon Day" (I picked Friday below for no particular reason) and if you select that for your delivery option, the Add-On Items are shipped free (I love free), even with no other purchase, and you don't lose your normal free two-day delivery (which is rapidly headed to one-day).  Totally cool!

https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17928921011



Monday, May 13, 2019

$693.84

Thanks to more fortune than skill, we just saved almost seven hundred dollars off our resort room on Turks and Caicos.  We booked it months ago at full price, but recently they ran a 25% off sale and a simple phone call to their reservations desk secured the lower price.  This will ultimately result in our entire party saving nearly three thousand dollars.  I'll be keeping a closer eye on future trip reservations to keep more dollars in our pocket.

Shout out to Steve and Karen P for the major savings!


Friday, May 10, 2019

Frittata

The trifecta of diet-friendly, easy-to-make, and stores-for-days in the refrigerator make Frittata's a winner in our kitchen.  What you put in yours is up to your imagination and taste preferences, but the chopped asparagus spears are a mainstay in ours, and we prefer half-n-half over plain milk to give it some extra fluff.  We used ten eggs in our 12 inch cast iron skillet below, but the number of eggs you need will vary according to size of your frypan.




Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Lavender Veranda

It was time to reimagine our circular garden, so everything went and the ground throughly rototilled.  The two sets of wind-powered blades on the new centerpiece turn in opposite directions, creating a soothing effect.  The six new knockout rose bushes seem a little lost now, but in a few years they will fill in and deliver a stunning sea of lavender rose petals.

https://www.kordes.us/plants/lavender-veranda




Saturday, May 4, 2019

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Fine Wine Sunday has been a tradition for many years now and the one below featured Bobby Flay's Grilled Shrimp Skewers.  The shrimp was grilled for just a few minutes then brushed with simmered olive oil, garlic and chile flakes that's blended with oregano, salt and pepper.  It was accompanied by jasmine rice, baked Parmesan green beans and a bottle of Sanford “Vista al Rio" Pinot Noir.

My wife knocks it out of the park once again!

https://www.recipe-diaries.com/grilled-shrimp-skewers-bobby-flay/


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ground Bison

This was a welcome sight a few weeks ago, as ground bison made a big comeback at our local Costco.  We've found it at other grocery stores from time to time, but we like Costco's the best.  Don't limit your summer grilling to everyday hamburger, but the low fat content of the bison does call for a spicy topper.

https://www.costco.com


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Excel /x

Normally Excel opens all spreadsheets in a single instance, but I had the need to open an Excel spreadsheet in a separate process.  Fortunately Microsoft added a startup switch, "/x", back in the memory-constrained 32-bit days, to allow multiple, very large spreadsheets to be open concurrently.  While that's not the reason I needed it (it's more than a tad geeky), I was glad to have it available and led me to the discovery of a number of other startup switches, detailed at the link below.

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/command-line-switches-for-microsoft-office-products-079164cd-4ef5-4178-b235-441737deb3a6#ID0EAABAAA=Excel


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Head Hugger

Never too early to load up on Christmas stocking stuffers and these $9 Head Huggers are perfect for the ladies.  They're fun, colorful, comfortable and more absorbent than your average headband, while being very versatile.  Notice the eight pictures at bottom of each package.  You can even use it to tie up your ponytail, warm your face on a brutal winter day or cover your bikini top.

https://justaddwaterclothing.com/products/batik-bali-head-hugger


Monday, April 29, 2019

iPhone/iPad Text Size

You can change the font size on your iPhone and iPad by tapping Settings, then Display & Brightness and finally Text Size.  Slide the dot left for smaller type, right for larger.  If that isn't big enough, go to Accessibility Settings to get real large.  Not all apps support Dynamic Type, so results will vary.

Shout out to Keith F, yet again, for this tip!

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202828


Friday, April 26, 2019

Shrimp Quesadillas

We've eaten a lot of quesadillas, but this one my wife made last week is a "can't-stop-to-chew-completely" marvel.  The shrimp, mayonnaise, roasted red pepper and cilantro are awesome, but the pepper jack cheese is the star of the show.  Better have a couple extra ready to go, they're that good.

Tip: Don't keep the cheese in the freezer longer than specified, or the result is a lot more work.  Brought to you by the "been there, done that" school of hard knocks.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/shrimp-quesadilla-5636906


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Gravity Car Phone Mount

I have upgraded my smartphone mount in the Jeep with one I don't have to take off each time to attach the phone.  Just slide it in from the top and the weight of the phone causes the sides to slide in.  Since there's not a lot of pressure from those side arms, it's also easy to remove the phone from the holder.  A much better solution and since I'm using Android Auto a lot, a welcome upgrade.  All for $11.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L3K3S4X


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Turtles

Yes, it's spring ... finally!

Nothing says relaxing to me like some turtles warming themselves in the sun, like these four we recently spotted at the Lincoln Park Pond in Kettering.  I can only assume they installed these beams to help baby animals transition from water to land, but it's the perfect safe haven for these guys.

https://www.playkettering.org/departments/parks


Monday, April 22, 2019

Distill Page in Chrome Canary

Google's Chrome Canary web browser is cool for two reasons.  First it contains the most experimental features that you can try months before they get to the stable release and made available to everyone.  Second, you can run Canary on the same system as your normal Chrome browser without the two sharing any profiles, themes or preferences.

Canary now includes a "Distill Page" option (highlighted in the picture below) which can be turned on using the instructions provided at the link to the ZDNet article.  The purpose of this feature is to render content such as news articles without all the distracting advertisements, making a nice clean "Reader Mode". 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-chrome-to-get-a-reader-mode/


Friday, April 19, 2019

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Tenders

A simple and tasty alternative to coating chicken strips with flour, panko or bread crumbs is to use crushed pretzels.  Adds flavor, texture and visual appeal and makes the mustard-based dipping sauce a natural.  Baking, instead of frying, makes this a "am I really on a diet?" dream and the "no messy grease cleanup" is definitely welcome.

Winner, winner...

https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/pretzel-crusted-chicken-tenders-honey-mustard-dip/59c52e9c6d2e0b5bec23796a


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Android Auto

Even if your car doesn't support Android Auto, just using it on your smartphone makes listening to music, answering a call or getting driving directions easier.  The larger fonts and bigger buttons are easier to read and press and when combined with spoken commands to Google Assistant, it helps keep your eyes where they belong.  There are several configuration options, but the one I like the most is automatically launching Android Auto when my smartphone's bluetooth pairs with, and only with, my car's stereo receiver. 

https://www.android.com/auto


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Google Maps Location Sharing

I like that I can share my Pixel 2's location, and hence myself, with my wife (and only her) on her Google Maps, as shown below.  If I'm out and about or on a trip to another state, she can see where I am, which I think is somewhat comforting.  It would also help if I ever lost my phone, which knock-knock, hasn't happened ... yet.  Details on how to set it up are at this link.

https://support.google.com/maps/answer/7326816


Monday, April 15, 2019

Island Of Misfit Toys

There are two drawers in our kitchen for our collection of utensils.  The one to the right of the stove is nice and orderly, containing our most often used tools like spatulas, whisks, peelers, measuring cups and scissors, all of which are small, straight and flat.

The drawer below, to the left of the stove, we call the "Island Of Misfit Toys".  Like the discarded toys in the Christmas movie, this is our collection of one-off utensils with odd shapes and sizes that make this drawer appear messy and disorganized.  Aside from only having one, not two, apparently disorganized drawers, it helps us remember which drawer to find things in. 

If it's a misfit, go left.  Simple rule. 



Friday, April 12, 2019

Pistachio-Crusted Cod with Citrus Salsa

Odd combinations often work, as this recipe's citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, orange), tangy Dijon mustard and distinctively nutty pistachios add a variety of kicks to the cod fillets.  Less than a half hour start to finish and make sure you line your baking sheet with parchment paper to make cleanup a snap.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/katie-lee/pistachio-crusted-cod-with-citrus-salsa-5630752


Thursday, April 11, 2019

2014 McNab Petite Sirah

Our most recent case purchase was this 2014 McNab Petite Sirah.  This varietal is usually more of a nice punch to the face wine, bold and tannic, but this one is fruity, drinkable goodness.  Looking closer at the bottle you will see Mendocino County, a cooler climate nearer the Pacific Ocean known for its Pinot Noir's, Chardonnay's and sparking wines.  Perhaps that's why this wine combines the best of the grape and the terroir, but my bet is that fourth-generation winemaker Rich Parducci just knows what he's doing.

You should find this, like we did, for around $20 a bottle.

http://www.mcnabridge.com


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Stackable Glasses

In the picture below you should notice a curved line about an inch up from the bottom of the glass.  It's a small ridge on the inside of the glass and it's purpose is so cool. Stack another glass on top of this one and that ridge prevents the second glass from going all the way down.  That prevents the glasses from becoming stuck together and eliminates injuries from breaking glass when trying to pry them apart and the cost to replace them.  Simple, but ingenious solution!

Another shout out to Keith F. for this one.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014O7I8YE



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Excel Remove Duplicates

For years I've used Excel pivot tables to get a list of values without duplicates, but way back in Excel 2007 a better option was delivered and it has took me until now to hear about the "Remove Duplicates" option, clearly available on the Data tab in the Data Tools section.  Read more at the link on how to handle multiple columns of data.

Shout out to Keith F for this tip!

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/find-and-remove-duplicates-00e35bea-b46a-4d5d-b28e-66a552dc138d


Monday, April 8, 2019

Hot Dog Bun Shortage

Imagine it's your parks opening day and you can't wait for your first hot dog of the season, and we all know that hot dogs at baseball stadiums are somehow magically delicious.  That dream did not become reality for some Pittsburgh Pirate fans when they ran out of hot dog buns at their opener.  Not hot dogs, just the buns.  You can't make this up.

This one minute YouTube video, an ASPCA parody of the situation, was made by Benstonium Media to bring attention to the plight of bunless dogs.  Hilarious!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVAMIHHP_I8


Friday, April 5, 2019

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon And Onion

These were so good, I had eaten a few before it dawned on me to take the picture below.

The key step is tossing the Brussels sprouts with the bacon grease and other ingredients before roasting them crispy on a plain baking sheet.

https://www.kroger.com/r/roasted-brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-and-onion-recipe/5a99849484aee1f93240e12e


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Air Force Museum Virtual Tour

While it would never truly replace a physical visit to The National Museum Of The Air Force, the virtual tour available at the link below is pretty awesome.  It's a 360-degree view of every gallery  and outside displays, navigated using a drop-down map or following the navigational arrows.  Icons indicate where you can find videos, audio and links to online resources. 

You will also find links to the Cockpit360 app (Apple and Google) for your phone or tablet that have 360 degree views of various stations for a ton of different planes, including the Boeing B-52D Stratofortress pictured below. 

https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Escape

If money, more than the exact destination, is the deciding factor on where to get away on your next rip, the Escape web site can help you find the good deals.  You enter your departure airport and the dates you want to travel, and Escape will map out destinations and color code them with dark green being the cheapest to dark red being the most expensive.  Click on a city and all the flight options are displayed, cheapest first, and you can apply various filters to hone in on your best option.

https://greatescape.co


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ingredients

I take offense to a current commercial that talks about the ingredients that go into the process of making their product, not the actual stuff that ends up in the can or bottle.  If ordinary table salt, sodium chloride, listed their elements, the ingredients that exist before they are put together, it would include these two primary components and what their Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) would say about them.

  • Sodium - May ignite spontaneously on exposure to moist air, causes eye burns and digestive tract burn
  • Chlorine - In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously, and can causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Before processing both are nasty and deadly, but afterwards they're a safe and tasty addition to your food.  In contrast, the "safe" ingredients in the commercial end up producing Ethanol, and its MSDS warning includes this:

  • Ethanol - This substance has caused adverse reproductive and fetal effects in humans, may cause central nervous system depression and may cause liver, kidney and heart damage

And please don't get me started on the whole corn syrup "issue"...

https://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/89308.htm

























Monday, April 1, 2019

Mac Mini

After seven years I've replaced my MacBook Air with a Mac mini, with the biggest help being the 16GB of RAM.  The MacBook Air had 4GB, so I figured I needed 8GB, then doubled that to plan for the future.  I opted for the regular 3.6GHz, quad‑core, 8th‑generation Intel Core i3 over that potential upgrade, as I'm not into gaming or heavy-duty video editing.

As usual, setup is a breeze and even my desktop files, which are automatically backed up to iCloud, magically appeared on the new machine.  This one should last until I'm in my seventies.

https://www.apple.com/mac-mini


Friday, March 29, 2019

Mango Mangos

Our trip up Florida's east coast included St. Augustine Beach and our best late lunches were found at Mango Mangos Caribbean Grille and Bar, including the Ahi Tuna Burger and Fish Tacos shown below.  They have one of those menus where you want to try everything, and if things go according to plan, these first-time snowbirds will have that opportunity next year.

https://www.mangomangos.com


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Valparaiso Defensive Coordinator

Nothing makes a mother more proud than seeing her children succeed.  Congrats to Brian for being named the Defensive Coordinator (and Safety's coach) for Valparaiso!

http://www.valpoathletics.com/football/coaches/10603/brian-dougherty/


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

America's Cup Sailing Regatta

The highlight excursion during our recent Eastern Caribbean cruise was the America's Cup Sailing Regatta in Philipsburg, St. Maarten.  We were shuttled out to the boat below, used years ago for the real America's Cup race, given our assignments and training, and then competed against another yacht, tacking into the wind and jibing with the wind.  It was tough workout, but the sunny day and crystal blue water made it so worth it.

https://www.celebritycruises.com/pcp-excursions/philipsburg-st-maarten-tours/americas-cup-sailing-regatta?port=SXM&excursionItemID=200000000002703646


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

USA Tire

Located on Dorothy Lane just east of Wilmington Puke, USA Tire has been my go-to place for new tires for decades.  The friendly staff always work with me to get the right tires at a fair price and they've earned my trust.  Although the picture below doesn't show it, the hardest part is usually finding a parking spot, as they are always busy.

http://www.usatirekettering.com


Monday, March 25, 2019

Top Knot Kitchen Website

Nice to see that Top Knot now has a website to order their salads.  Just setup a profile, order by the end of the day on Sunday and have a delicious salad delivered to your door on Tuesday, all for $12.  The salad always varies and usually has about a dozen different ingredients, with customization options for dietary restrictions.

https://www.topknotkitchens.com




Friday, March 8, 2019

Bacon-Wrapped Honey Dijon Turkey Breast

Had you at bacon, didn't I?

First you brine the turkey breasts for several hours and then rest at room temperature for a couple more, so obviously this is a "start in the morning" recipe.  Using parchment paper per the directions will make wrapping it up a breeze and getting the bacon seems positioned underneath will keep it together.  Add the coating of Dijon mustard, mayo, honey and thyme and you have a feast worthy of giving thanks!

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/sunnys-bacon-wrapped-honey-dijon-turkey-breast-5607366


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Entangled Soul

This is the second book I've read that was written by my former colleague Tom Ireland.  It tells a story of how the massive human expansion across the galaxy, powered by the instantaneous transport of people, goods and energy, is at risk.  Tom is an excellent writer and I'm hoping he's working on a third sci-fi book.

https://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Soul-Thomas-Stafford-Ireland/dp/1548070912


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Small Bar Table

This simple yet ingenious table at Walnut Grove Country Club makes eating at the bar more comfortable and less messy.  It's just two equal-height boards running beneath, about four inches tall, screwed into the wood surface from below.  Moves your dinner about a foot closer to you. 


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Vizio Class Action Lawsuit

I was quite surprised when I turned on my living room TV and a message that a class action settlement was available to owners of certain Internet-connected Vizio TVs, which you can learn more about at the link below.  Turns out that Vizio TVs, by default and not clearly explained, collects information on what you're watching and feeds that back to Vizio.  So on top of filling out the settlement form, I went into the "Reset & Admin" section of the TV's settings and turned off the "Viewing Data" option to prevent further tracking.  Now they won't know that I'm binge-watching the first two seasons of The Good Place.

https://www.viziotvsettlement.com/


Monday, March 4, 2019

Around The World In 80 Days

We attended this play at The Loft Theater in Downtown Dayton last week and it was amazing how five actors pulled off playing thirty-two parts while both convincing the audience they were taking train rides, sailing on ocean steamers and facing capture, typhoons and other near-death experiences while making you laugh the whole way.  The play runs through March 17th, so there's still time to grab your tickets.

https://www.humanracetheatre.org/shows/active-shows/around-the-world-in-80-days



Friday, March 1, 2019

Peeling

Do you peel potatoes, carrots and other vegetables just away from you or do you peel in both directions?  As you can see below, I'm a both directions guy and it took only 24 seconds to peel this spud.  You do need to take a little more care not to cut yourself as the blade is coming towards you, but using short, rapid strokes is my solution.  I suggest trying it first on a long vegetable like a carrot, where it's easier to maintain distance between your two hands.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

MyPods

During our first-ever visit to Field and Stream ,we spotted this "MyPod", which we could have used on many occasions watching various outdoor sports in, let's say, "less than ideal" weather conditions.  They come in single and two-person versions with an "XL" option for each.  You can even get custom lettering to support your team or make your personal statement.  This is awesome!

https://undertheweatherpods.com/



Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Barnes Wildlife Control

After a raccoon decided to break into our chimney and stay for, thankfully, only a few days, it was time to have new chimney caps installed, repair and seal up the chimney and have a crown coat applied.  Can't speak more highly of the technicians from Barnes Wildlife Control that diagnosed the problem and performed the repairs.




https://barneswildlifecontrol.com


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Coronary CT Angiography

A Coronary CT calcium scan, which I had 2014, detects the accumulation of hard plaque in the arteries of the heart, but the newer Coronary CT angiography detects both hard and soft plaque, giving doctor and patient a much clearer picture to set an appropriate course of treatment.

The short version is that the procedure starts with a little medication to slow and stabilize the heart, followed by an injection of radiocontrast dye as the scanner makes a 3D image that a specialist can evaluate.  Hardest part is holding still for a few seconds.

The closest place to Dayton for this type of scan is the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Kentucky.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronary_CT_angiography

https://www.stelizabeth.com/medical-services/imaging/screenings


Monday, February 25, 2019

Lasik

Twenty-two years ago, at around age 41, I traded being nearsighted, able to read a book within inches of my face but needing glasses or contact lenses for distance, to become farsighted and needing those $10 reading cheaters, which I have pairs stashed all over the house.  More than a fair trade for me, and I've been able to drive, run, ski and golf unencumbered ever since, in fact, all these years later my distance vision is still absolutely perfect.  The investment is Lasik surgery has been well worth it.  I can't imagine how much better corrective eye procedures must be today.

https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/surgeryandlifesupport/lasik/default.htm


Friday, February 22, 2019

Rigatoni In A Ramekin

What to do with a little leftover homemade lasagna sauce and shredded pizza cheese?  My solution was to fill a ramekin with cooked, then cooled, rigatoni noodles in the vertical direction, spoon the sauce on top and push it into the tubes and microwave for one minute forty-five seconds.  Then top with cheese and put it under the broiler until it starts to brown.  Leftover yumminess!


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Shingles Vaccination

Shingles is a painful rash, caused by the same virus as chickenpox, and not something you really want to experience.  While more common in adults 50+ as their immune system begins to weaken, younger people can also be affected.

There's a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, that has been on the market for about one year and the CDC is recommending it for people 50 years and older, even for those who have been previously vaccinated with another product.  For my age group (50-69), it offers 97% protection, way better than the previous vaccine, but does require two injections, with the second coming not less than two months, and not more than six months, from the first shot.

Compared to my memories of shots in my pre-teen years that induced tears at the very thought, today's are barely more than a small prick and no excuse to avoid what's good for you.

https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/vaccination.html