Monday, September 16, 2019

Doggy Water Fountain

I imagine countless dogs enjoying a cold drink from this doggy dish water fountain at Lincoln Park Civic Commons in Kettering.  Above this is the human version along with three other water fountains in the park, all a very welcome sight on this hot summer for this runner.

https://www.playkettering.org/location/lincoln-park-civic-commons


Friday, September 13, 2019

Pastrami-Rubbed Smoked Tri-Tip

We've fallen in love with using a dry rub on our beef and this combination of black pepper, salt,
coriander, mustard, brown sugar, paprika and garlic and onion powders really does make this steak taste like a pastrami sandwich.  Couldn't find a tri-tip, so we substituted a flat iron steak, which worked well.  While the directions call for grinding a bunch of seeds, save yourself a ton of work and use their already-ground brethren.  Baking it low and slow in the oven is an easier alternative and a really good choice for the cooler months.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jeff-mauro/pastrami-rubbed-smoked-tri-tip-7223163


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Spectrum TV App

The Roku has the Spectrum TV app which means it's possible to replace a cable box, and its monthly fee, with this app.  I would suggest this only for an infrequently used TV, as the app's interface is very cumbersome.  But if you setup just a few "favorites" and use the other standard filters to limit the stations displayed, it's worth it.

I'm still waiting for an Amazon Fire TV Cube version of the app, and pray its interface is vastly better when it arrives.  Ever the optimist...

https://www.spectrum.com/cable-tv/spectrum-tv-app.html




Monday, September 9, 2019

Wi-Fi Interference

Figuring out the cause of Internet connectivity problems in the invisible world of wireless networking is difficult and a challenging guessing game.  We recently had problems which included poor performance and interruptions of a few seconds to a minute, affecting Netflix, smartphones, tablets and, fortunately, my Mac's wireless mouse.  The mouse problem pointed to some type of RF (Radio Frequency) interference and with the help of NetSpot's free (I love free) app, I noticed that we had three very strong Wi-Fi signals, one obviously our TP-Link router, but the other two were not familiar, but had to be very close by.  I then noticed our Spectrum-provided cable modem had a "WPS" (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on its top, even though we didn't sign up for their in-home wireless network service.  The wireless network names (SSIDs) on the cable modem matched the two unfamiliar names.  The label also listed the userid and password to logon to the cable modem, which allowed me to disable those wireless networks, as shown below.  With those changes made, our Wi-Fi/Internet issues have disappeared.

https://www.netspotapp.com


Friday, September 6, 2019

Garlic-Chipotle Chicken Tacos

The chipotle chiles, garlic and chili powder give this spin on chicken tacos a real kick.  We opted to make the chicken on the stovetop and roast the peppers and onions on the grill.  Eating this well on a Tuesday night is only a small part of what makes my wife so special.

https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/garlic-chipotle-chicken-tacos


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Running Profits - August 2019 Update

An update for August 2019 on my profits from running, those coins dropped on sidewalks, roads, etc.  This last month I netted 71 cents, powered by finding two quarters within a few yards of each other.  Combined with the 26 cents from July 2019, my total is now 97 cents, well on the way to my goal of buying a small Dairy Queen ice cream cone.  Another month as rich as this one and I might make it much sooner than I originally anticipated.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Hasselback Caprese Chicken

Take four chicken breasts and slice 80% of the way through about every half-inch (that's the Hasselback method), then fill with a dab of pesto, a little wedge of fresh mozzarella and a tomato slice.  After baking, a couple minutes under the broiler will add a bit of crispy coloring.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/261639/hasselback-caprese-chicken


Monday, August 26, 2019

Kayak Explore

Just wanna get away?

If you're less set on a particular destination than how much you're going to spend, Kayak's Explore tool can help.  Just plug in the airport you want to depart from and you're presented with the best prices to loads of destinations.  There are filters for cost, duration, dates and number of stops to whittle down the choices.  Still have to pack your own bags...

https://www.kayak.com/explore/DAY



Friday, August 23, 2019

Texas Beef & Cattle Company

My choice for Dayton's best barbecue is Texas Beef & Cattle Company, located at 1101 West Third St, just a few blocks west, over the river, from downtown.  Great brisket, pulled pork and great sides, like the mac-n-cheese shown below.  They are working on a second location on the first floor of the CareSource building at 217 N. Patterson Blvd, which I imagine will be packed during lunch hour.  







Thursday, August 22, 2019

New Patio Deck

Just completed a few weeks ago, our new deck is 40% larger, uses TimberTech composite decking and railing for zero maintenance and features a venting patio door from Steeves & Sons.  At the bottom of the post caps are lights that can be set to stay on at night or for just a few hours.  The before picture is included at the bottom which really shows what a fantastic upgrade this is.  Great job, as always, by Jason Best and his crew!





Wednesday, August 21, 2019

CopyChar

This web site not only has a large selection of letters, numbers, punctuation, currency emoji and other symbols, you can copy one to the clipboard with a single click or tap.  Makes it easy to paste it into your email, text or post. 

https://copychar.cc


Friday, August 16, 2019

Tomato Gratin

My happy diet consists of protein, veggies and fruit, with just enough carbs to curb a binge.  The tri-tip steak below is matched with a tomato gratin using just-off-the-vine tomatoes and freshly-clipped basil, with a coarse crumb topping made with whole-grain bread, garlic, extra-virgin oil and Parmesan  cheese.  The grapes ended up as an Italian Villa Pillo.  Thanks to my wife for this Wednesday night feast!

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249461/tomato-gratin/


Monday, August 12, 2019

Spectrum TV Caller ID

If you have Spectrum Internet phone service and don't like the Caller ID messages popping up on your TV screen announcing yet another spam robocall that will never get answered because you don't have an actual phone plugged in, it's simple to turn them off.  Just go to "Settings", select the "Caller ID" option then "Set Up", and turn off "Prompt".  Why have phone service at all?  Because the bundled price is cheaper and it's included.  Sigh...


Friday, August 9, 2019

Cuban Quesadillas

The relish, a combination of dill pickles, banana peppers, mustard, mayonnaise and black pepper, is the star of this show.  It gives the ham, turkey and Swiss cheese on a grilled tortillas a tangy kick in the tongue.  If you have some extra lunchmeat and just a little time to make your meal, this recipe is for you.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e0/af/6d/e0af6dd0352d5544254dadda4c46c855.jpg


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Print WordPress Blog

Another goal of copying my blog to Wordpress was to see if I could get it printed.   Fortunately there is a free (I love free) plugin, "Print My Blog", that creates a printed copy, which I saved as a PDF, as shown below.   The first 1,071 blogs, dating back to May 20, 2014, resulted in 601 pages.  I doubt I'll really ever print it, but it's nice to know that I could.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/print-my-blog/


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Blogger To WordPress

I've decided to learn a bit about WordPress, a very popular blog and website management system, so my first step was to install it on my Mac.  I then exported this very blog from Blogger and imported it into Wordpress, following the directions at the link, but modified for a local installation instead of an actual external website.  That required I first install MAMP (Mac-Apache-MySQL-PHP) to get a compatible internal web server.  After a bit of configuration I had my entire blog hosted locally, looking, perhaps, more professional than this blog you're reading.

https://www.isitwp.com/move-from-blogger-to-wordpress-resolved/


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stopping Advertisements

If you're tired of retrieving and disposing of these weekly advertisements, while never looking at them, you can opt out entirely.  Just go to this link, enter in your information and they should stop in a couple weeks.

http://www.sundayvaluesohio.com


Monday, August 5, 2019

Backpack Cooler

Hiking in the dry western United States requires drinking a lot of water to avoid dehydration.  This backpack cooler holds up to twenty cans plus ice in its no-leak liner, includes two mesh side pockets
and padded backpack straps for hauling comfort.  It will sure be better than carrying warm water bottles in everyone's hands.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003I7CLB8



Friday, August 2, 2019

Charred Green Beans With Ricotta And Lemon

The bed for this dish is whipped ricotta cheese, oil and salt.  It's topped with charred green beans  cooked in two tablespoons of oil.  We suggest adding a large clove of minced garlic to the beans a minute before taking them off the heat for a little extra punch.  An awesome side, in less than twenty minutes, that you'll be asking for seconds.

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/3-ingredient-charred-green-beans-with-whipped-ricotta


Thursday, August 1, 2019

HDTV Antenna

If you've lost a local cable channel due one of those spats between networks and cable companies, the answer is less than $20 away.  I bought this one so I can pickup local channels on my home office PC monitor (which is a Samsung 32" TV).  A serious cord-cutter may want to invest more, but this one fit my needs perfectly.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07S2HWZH2




Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Running Profits

One of the benefits of running lots of miles is you come across coins from time to time lying on the ground.  This month I decided to start collecting them in a little shot glass to see how much I collected.  As seen below, the total was 26 cents, consisting of one dime, two nickels and six pennies.  That works out at just under one penny per run and a little over 2/10ths of a penny per mile.  At this rate I hope to have enough to buy a small Dairy Queen ice cream cone by next summer.


Monday, July 29, 2019

Google My Maps

It's pretty neat to see a list of addresses mapped out with pins on a Google Map, but to me the best feature is checking addresses to make sure they're proper.  The instructions at the link below will get into the details, but after uploading a CSV file any addresses it can't map are highlighted in red in a data table.  Nice for validating large mailing lists such as wedding invitations or newsletters.

https://www.google.com/earth/outreach/learn/visualize-your-data-on-a-custom-map-using-google-my-maps


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Grace Bay Sunset

Every sunset at The Ocean Club Resort on Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos islands was as different as they were spectacular, and picking a favorite to share (below) wasn't easy.  They varied from serene, cloudless skies to swirling brush strokes of reds, oranges, yellows and blues, and all were stare-worthy.  This resort, which faces west-northwest, is perfectly positioned in June, where the sun is directly perpendicular to the shore line.

https://www.oceanclubresorts.com


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Conch

Our island vacation included the Taste of TCI Food Tour, exploring the island and visiting several local foodie destinations, finishing up at the weekly Thursday Fish Fry at Bight Park.  At one of the stops we had a demonstration of how they separate the meat of the conch from the shell.  This expert whacked a certain spot on the conch with this rock hammer, opening a small slot.  Then he inserted a knife to get the conch to let go and voila, fresh conch.

http://www.tasteoftcifoodtours.com


Monday, July 22, 2019

Catamaran Ride - Part 2

During our Turks and Caicos catamaran ride, we had stopped for a bit and noticed a pair of porpoises lazily cruising through the water, fins and snouts occasionally breaking the water.  The fun really started when our boat took off and one of the porpoises decided the race was on and began chasing us, leaping out of the water every few seconds.  Capturing the perfect moment almost eluded me as I snapped pictures as fast as I could, trying to time a leap just right.  The picture below was the lone success, captured right before the porpoise decided the fun was over. 

https://islandvibestours.com


Friday, July 19, 2019

Sheet Pan Caprese Chicken

Easily a middle-of-the-week dinner, this recipe delivers a nice twist with its baked cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor.  I offer a couple changes to the directions, first, don't bother reducing the balsamic vinegar, it's touchy and makes you stand there stirring the entire time.  Second, when finished baking, put it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, and monitor that closely, to get a nice brown crust on the cheese.  This link contains a video showing just how easy this is to make.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/sheet-pan-caprese-chicken-3876232


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Catamaran Ride - Part 1

Our trip to Turks and Caicos included an awesome four-hour catamaran ride.  Towards the end of the trip we had the option to jump off the boat from a platform and/or take the built-in slide route.  I loved both, particularly the jump, somewhere in the 10-12 foot range, bringing out the kid in me and memories of growing up at the neighborhood pool.  I think the picture really shows how much fun I had.

https://islandvibestours.com


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Kettering - No Solicitors

Kettering citizens can pick one (or more) of these 3"x4" "No Solicitors" window clings (as supplies last) at the reception desk at the Kettering Government Center, 3600 Shroyer Road.  With this sign, or another that meets the requirements detailed in section 642.10(f), and placed on or near your main entrance, it's a misdemeanor crime for anyone to solicit you.  Without this, it's perfectly legal for others to bang on your door, annoying or not.

https://www.ketteringoh.org/no-solicitors-window-clings/


Friday, July 12, 2019

Pesto

My wife whips together bunches of basil with garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil (our best one) and pine nuts to make the pesto that's been featured in several of these "Foodie Friday" recipes.  She then freezes it in ice cube trays to make a handy size, then puts three cubes (about ten ounces) in individual bags for up to a year in the freezer.  With this year's bumper crop of basil coming from our raised herb garden, we'll have plenty for (don't say it!) those cold winter months ahead.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13937/pesto


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Android Notification Log

I get tons of notifications on my Pixel 2 and every once in a while I flick one out of existence by accident or after I look at it I wish I could find it again.  Fortunately, there's a widget for that, specifically the Settings widget.  As the directions at the link explain, you press and hold on an open area of the home screen, select Widget, scroll down to Settings and press and hold that icon.  After it's dropped on the home screen, the Settings shortcut menu appears.  Tap Notification log and you're done.  Like the picture below, you now have a nice shortcut to find all your past notifications.

https://www.howtogeek.com/242073/how-to-view-notifications-youve-dismissed-on-android





Monday, July 8, 2019

Kikkerland Rainbow Coasters

We first used these colorful coasters on our recent trip to Turks and Caicos and just had to buy a set.  They solve one of the most annoying problems coasters have, that being lifting off the table with the glass.  The soft, rubbery-like material will stay put on smooth surfaces like our patio table while doing its primary job of keeping water drops off the table.  Eight coasters in eight different colors, for ten dollars.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074HBYYB2


Friday, July 5, 2019

Fusilli with Arugula Pesto and Crispy Pancetta

When it's time to give in to your carb-craving desire, make it count with this delicious recipe like this one.  The pesto is made with a two-thirds arugula, one-third basil combination that's blanched to give it a deep green color.  My wife used cubed pancetta instead of slices and, of course, this is the time to use a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.  This is as tasty as it is beautiful!

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/fusilli-with-arugula-pesto-and-crispy-pancetta-7133916


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Wet Umbrella Wrapper

Our trip to the Apple store at The Greene this week was a rainy affair, and we were greeted by this sweet wet umbrella wrapper just inside the entrance door.  Put your umbrella in the slot at the top, it slides into a light plastic wrapper, and then pull forward.  Your umbrella won't get the floor wet, which can be quite a slippery danger.  The slot on the left is for a short umbrella, the one on the right for full-sized.  Is that smart or what?

http://www.umbrellawrapperllc.com


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Diet Ginger Ale Plus

On these hot summer days it's nice to quench the thirst with a cool beverage, but I'm not a fan of zero-calorie diet drinks, certainly not a big sugar-bomb soda and water only gets me so far.  My in-between solution is to mix a little bit of either Daily's mix or Monin flavored syrup with diet ginger ale, giving me a 50-60 calorie refresher.  My favorites, so far, are peach, blackberry and strawberry flavors, but there's lots left to try.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

BASIC

In all these years as a techie kinda guy, I never knew that the BASIC computer language was actually an acronym for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.  This article discusses the language's beginnings and the historical marker along New Hampshire Route 120, near Dartmouth College, commemorating the language's two inventors.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/16/18680941/new-hampshire-basic-first-historical-marker-beginners-all-purpose-symbolic-instruction-code


Monday, July 1, 2019

EZVIZ

Added some home security with this wide-angle, motion-sensing, smartphone-alerting EZVIZ camera.  I also installed a micro-SD card so it can make recordings for later playback.  I also pan to add one to monitor the water heater, furnace and washing machine.  One thing I learned is to make sure the batteries in the smoke alarms are fresh, because that low-battery chirp will fire off an alert every single time.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CXT8L4J


Monday, June 24, 2019

Will Return

I got tired of writing notes about when I’ll be back from running a few miles, so I bought this sign.  Now I just dial the hands to the proper return time and lay it on the kitchen counter, where it can’t be missed.  I guess I could have found a more techie way...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IOZUYEK


Friday, June 21, 2019

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crispy Panko Topping

Here's a great low-carb replacement for potatoes that my wife has made multiple times and we love it, aside from the smell of boiling cauliflower, which she is sweet enough to forewarn me.  The cheeses are the stars here, a combination of Pecorino, a firm, salty cheese made from sheep's milk, and Gruy√®re,  a hard yellow cheese made from dairy cows.  The top layer of Panko, fine slivers of crustless bread, are baked to a nice crunchy golden brown.

https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/recipe/cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-crispy-panko-topping-1/5626a6452084d63a3401ca5e


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Google Fi

I've made the leap to Google Fi, replacing Verizon as my cellphone carrier.  Fi uses Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular along with WiFi hotspots using automatic encryption.  With my data usage averaging just under 2 GB/month, I expect to spend a little less than $40/month.  The best feature might be international, where you pay the same $10/ per GB for data, cellular calls are $0.20 per minute, WiFi calls cost the same as calling from the U.S., and texting is free.

https://fi.google.com


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

5G Speed Test

The next generation of cellular networking is given the 5G designation and will be incredibly fast as this YouTube video will demonstrate.  That's fascinating, but at that type of speed I would spend about $20 for a single minute of data download.  Not happening any time soon.

Shout out to Dave C for bringing this to my attention!

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


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Read Aloud

Proofreading articles, particularly those I write myself, is difficult as reading is not typically a word-by-word exercise and my brain loves to just jump over mistakes like the typical "the the".  But listening uses other brain paths, so hearing a "the the" will jump out big time.  So to improve the quality of my finished work, I've started using the Chrome extension Read Aloud.  I just highlight the text I want to review, click the bullhorn icon parked at the end of the URL bar, then close my eyes and just listen for my mistakes.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/read-aloud-a-text-to-spee/hdhinadidafjejdhmfkjgnolgimiaplp


Monday, June 17, 2019

Soft Touch Discount Days

One of the financial enjoyments of retirement is finding discounts, typically weekdays, and that includes the sweet 25% off at Soft Touch Car Wash.  Ladies get that discount on Tuesday's and gentlemen on Wednesday's.  You can't beat the fantastic job they do, even on my Jeep that gets every form of lawn scrap, including mulch, dirt, leaves and bush trimmings, in the back.  Believe me, this guy is earning his nice tip.

http://softtouchcarwashdayton.com


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Shrimp Scampi

Marinating the shrimp in garlic, salt and oil for 30-60 minutes, using the best shrimp available (in our case, Foremost Seafood) and the addition of a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes makes this dish over-the-top delicious.  We opted for some angel hair pasta, instead of bread, and added a Caesar salad to complete the meal.  The 65-second video included in this link to the recipe below will show you how absolutely simple this is to make.

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/shrimp-scampi


Home Depot Expedited Checkout

When the checkout lines at Home Depot Garden Center started to backup, a couple additional employees started moving things along by using mobile scanning devices to record everything in your cart and then linking that to an Expedited Checkout card like the one below.  When we got to the cashier, they only needed to scan the card and we only had to pay.  That line really zipped along using this service.  Thanks Home Deport!

https://www.homedepot.com


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bluetooth On Fire TV Cube

One of the best features of my Amazon's Fire TV Cube is its Bluetooth support, which includes the A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) profile for high quality stereo audio and HID (Human Interface Device) profile for devices such as mice and keyboards.  I've now connected my Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones (so others can enjoy their quiet) and 1byone wireless keyboard/touchpad (for quicker searching).  Roku needs this badly.

https://www.cordcutters.com/what-you-need-know-about-amazon-fire-tv-cube-and-bluetooth-devices


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

4-Port USB Charger

We're up to five devices we travel with (Pixel 2, iPhone, Apple Watch and two iPads) and a two-port charger no longer cuts it, plus those charging blocks with the prongs built in are often difficult to fit into hotel outlets.  Both issues are now resolved with this four-port USB charger with its 5-foot cable, which packs a nice 40-watt, 8-amp punch.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OT6YUIY




Monday, June 10, 2019

Jungle Jim's

A trip to Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, Ohio is as much entertaining as it is overwhelming in its selection of .... well, everything!  Their international food departments alone represent over 70 countries and over 70,000 items.  Huge displays like the one below provide helpful directions and some chuckles.  If you go (pun intended), you simply must check out their restrooms, which won the 2007 Cintas Best Restroom in America contest.  You're in for a big surprise.

If you're feeling a bit nostalgic for Campbell's soup, check out this classic black and white commercial on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mloB8XYJFTE


Friday, June 7, 2019

Armenian Lamb

After buying these eight beautiful lamb chops at Costco, we needed an equally great recipe and who else to turn to than The Kitchen's Geoffrey Zakarian.  This unique sauce combines olive oil, white wine vinegar, dill, mint, parsley, garlic, shallot and surprise, a red serrano chile!  Just sear the chops for 3 to 4 minutes each side (or to your desired doneness) and let rest before serving.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/armenian-lamb-and-grilled-vegetables-6593475