Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Griddler

When our waffle maker was broken in an unfortunate closet accident, we used the opportunity to replace it with this 3-in-1 grill/waffle maker/panini press.  Doubt we'll use the lay-flat grill that much, but the other two will get regular use.  Best of all, the non-stick plates are easy to take on and off, and cleanup is easy, including that they are dishwasher-safe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It Had To Go

It’s been nearly 60 years since I’ve had my hair cut at home, but after 8 weeks of lockdown I was looking more than a bit ragged, so with the help of my wife and a Wahl trimmer that I had bought last year for beard trimming, the dome is back to being comfortable.  I don’t have much hair left, but what’s stayed around grows surprisingly fast.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Matanzas River Marsh

The picture below of the Matanzas River comes from the west end of Dondanville Road in Saint Augustine, Florida, and demonstrates the diversity of waterways, with this beautiful marsh located just blocks away from sandy beaches.  This is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, a 3,000-mile stretch of mostly inland waterways beginning in Boston, Massachusetts, going around the southern tip of Florida and continuing along the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville, Texas.

Matanzas translates to "massacre" or "killings" and in this case relates to the murder of several hundred shipwrecked French Huguenots by Spanish forces led by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés way back in 1565.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Maria Sanchez Lake

If you travel on Bridge Street in St. Augustine, Florida, you will find it oddly named, as doesn’t cross any river or stream, the nearest one being several blocks away to the south.  Roll the clock back to the 1880s and Bridge Street crossed Maria Sanchez Creek whose northern end Henry Flagler wanted to build a couple hotels.  The creek was filled in between King and Bridge street, and later on more blocks of the creek disappeared to develop the city.  Eventually, a dam was placed at South Street and Maria Sanchez Lake, pictured below, was created.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Leftover Mashed Potato Gnocchi

We ended up with an extra quart of mashed potatoes recently and instead of piling on all those carbs in a few days we decided to make and freeze, uncooked, several packages of gnocchi.  It just takes roughly an equal amount of flour, one egg per cup of mashed potatoes, and the patience to roll, cut and score with the tines of a fork.  Detailed instructions can be found at this link.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thriller, Filler, Spiller

This is a great technique to get the most out of your planter.  In the back put a tall plant like Baby Tut Grass, which is the “Thriller” and in the middle a contrasting shorter plant such as Polka Dot Plant, aka the “Filler”.  In front goes a draping plant like Bacopa, which is the aptly named “Spiller”.  The result is a beautiful, vertical mix of colors like our 2019 box below.  Use your colorful imagination to build your own tower of beauty.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


On the new lamp posts at Lincoln Park, we couldn't figure out what the horizontal arm was.  A Wi-Fi antenna, a temperature sensor or a listening device were a few of our way-off guesses.  It would have been obvious if the lower arm was in place, which we're assuming was taken off to limit theft.  These arms and the spring-loaded brackets attached to the poles are to hang banners.  This system from BannerSaver allows the banners to flex as it gets windy, saving on wear-and-tear and extending banner life, as shown in the cool demonstration video at this link.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Packet Capture Apps

Sorry, these apps are Android only...

Being an old network guy, I find it invaluable to see data as it's flowing on the network.  For Mac and Windows computers I use Wireshark, but that's not available on my Pixel 2.  A couple app alternatives that I've tried are "Packet Capture" and "tPacketCapture". The first one is good for immediately seeing data, as shown below, but it lacks any further depth of analysis.  The second app just captures data with no display, but the data can be saved in "pcap" format, which can be transferred to a program like Wireshark to perform very in-depth analysis.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Ice Spike

We get an ice spike, like the one pictured below, every so often and it's a tribute to the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system that Enting Water Conditioning installed several years ago to provide us with pure and great-tasting water and ice.  Ice spikes are rare enough, but they are less likely to form when water contains impurities, which inhibit spike formation, and the RO system takes most of that out.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Here’s a delicious reason to buy cream of chicken soup...

These enchiladas were unexpectedly creamy and spicy and none of the plentiful leftovers went uneaten.  You'll find the recipe at this Pinterest link and one major substitution was using four cans of Kirkland (i.e. Costco) chicken, which if you haven't tried it is pretty darn good.  This is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for a cold, stay-at-home day.

Big shout-out to my wife Elaine for preparing this tummy-pleaser!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Oil Versus Mole

The picture below is a victory of imagination.  For the last few years it was an exit hole for, presumably, a mole, and I tried pouring various liquids in that hole (e.g. ammonia) which would work for a few months, but then the hole would reappear.  Then one day last fall I thought about what a mole wouldn’t like that would stay around and bam, the brain said “motor oil”!  What mole would want to dig through that?  A quart of oil went down the hole and eight months later, a few days ago, I threw down some grass patch which I will water every day in celebration.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Yanny or Laurel

This auditory trick was apparently popular two years ago, but it wasn't until a recent episode of Last Man Standing did we hear of the "Yanny" or "Laurel" debate.  In the recording available at this New York Times link, about half of us, including me, hear "Laurel" while the other half, including my wife, hear "Yanny".  This recording is interactive, so you can change the mix of frequencies, high to low, which changes the pronunciation just enough to hear the other word.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Delco Park Bridge

You will find this bridge over Little Beaver Creek, pictured below, at the northeast edge of Delco Park in Kettering, a remnant of our region's railroad heritage.  This was part of the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern (CL&N) Railway which came up from the south to Hempstead Station in Kettering where the route split in two, its northwest tracks heading to downtown Dayton and this northern track running parallel to Woodman Drive to the old Dayton and Southeastern Railroad at Lebanon Junction (behind the Root Beer Stande).  More regional railroad history can be found at this link.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Some Good News

Just started a couple of weeks ago and hosted by John Krasinski (you know, the guy from The Office), Some Good News are 15-minute-ish YouTube episodes that highlight some of the most uplifting recent stories.  It looks like new shows drop on Monday or very late Sunday night, but it's too early to tell for sure.  If you need a boost, click this link to get you there.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Double D's and B Burger

We became fans of The Great Food Truck Race TV show when Dayton locals Drew Ballard, the head chef at Carver's, Jess Sarra and Travis Day appeared in season 10 last summer (finishing third!) with a food truck named Rolling Indulgence.  Ever since they unveiled their real truck last fall, we have been wanting to go and now that they are parked every day in the Carver's parking lot (while the restaurant is closed due to COVID-19), we got our opportunity, and they did not disappoint.  Below is their Double D's and B Burger, consisting of two patties, cheese, bacon, tomato, pickles, rolling sauce and topped with fries and is one of the best burgers I've ever had.  Come hungry is a must!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

5G Networks

The marketing of 5G networking is more than a bit confusing because we're not talking about one offering, we're talking three: millimeter, mid-band, and low-band.  Millimeter-wave uses very high frequencies, above 24GHz, and that's the one that needs lots of short-range boxes installed and will be mostly for outdoor purposes.  Mid-band uses frequencies in the 2.4 GHz to 4.2 GHz range and is the one that your smartphone, when compatible, will get a real nice speed increase.  Low-band won't deliver any discernable speed benefits but should perform better inside buildings due to its use of lower frequencies.

So the first question to ask when someone spouts on 5G is "which one are you talking about?".

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is part of, a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, etc., and has accumulated hundreds of billions of snapshots of web site pages over the last twenty-plus years.  It provides a historical look back at how things have changed over time, for example as shown below, the home page for back in 1999.  Just enter a URL and select a date when a capture occurred.  They might seem silly today, but remember that high-speed Internet service was not the norm not that long ago.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


I put together this little app to demonstrate to students what writing software is all about and make it flashy at the same time.  The code draws a triangle, waits a number of milliseconds (1/1000's of a second), changes the color a little bit, rotates it counterclockwise by two degrees and draws the new triangle on top.  The arrow keys can be used to make it spin faster or slower, and to change the rate the colors change.  Due to technical restrictions with Google Sites (the web hosting environment), you will have to click inside the input box on the left before the arrows will work.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Jeep Hood And Tailgate Struts

I don’t tackle many car repair projects, but when the engine hood and tailgate structs no longer would stay up, I looked on YouTube to see if replacing them was a big deal or not.  I found the video at the link below that demonstrated how simple it was, so other than needing to purchase a Torx bit set, I only needed a slotted screwdriver.  With the help of my wife holding things up while I removed the old structs and installed the new ones, we were done in about 10 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Agave Margarita

There are as many margarita recipes as Carter has liver pills, but this one, with a 3-2-3 ratio of tequila, agave nectar, and fresh-squeezed lime juice is really over-the-top sweet and sour and might be more than a sensitive stomach (or teeth) can take.  My suggestion for an alternative is a 5-3-1-6 ratio of tequila, Grand Marnier, agave nectar, and margarita mix, with half a lime's worth of fresh juice.  But heck, I suggest experimenting with your own ideas and enjoy them while basking in the spring sunshine.

Thursday, April 2, 2020


I've used the free (I love free) GasBuddy app for several years to look around for the best gas price, but when I checked a few days ago I was amazed to find a gallon for $1.16, a price last seen in the 1990s.  Costco is almost always the least expensive, but in normal times they are usually 25-30 cents less and worth the wait in line.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Amazon Hub Counter

Whether you’re concerned about porch pirates, on the road traveling or want to make sure a birthday gift is a real surprise, Amazon has added another delivery option in partnership with existing brick-and-mortar stores.  Use the link below to find nearby locations to ship your order and then visit that store to pick it up.  My search turned up three stores within a mile of our house, making it an easy trip.