Friday, January 29, 2021

California Dreaming Salad

Chef Grace treated us to a version of South Carolina-based California Dreaming's namesake salad for a lunchtime treat.  It's a great blend of greens, cheeses, meats, and more, but it's the salad dressing, made with 1/2 cup of bacon drippings, that makes it awesome.  It was paired with a croissant and a glass of milk and there was nothing left in plate nor glass when I was done.  Wow, wow, and wow!

Thursday, January 28, 2021


Partly driven by people's growing distrust of the Big Tech players and partly by WhatsApp's poor messaging of a soon-to-be-implemented change to their privacy policy, people are looking for alternatives for some apps, particularly ones where they want to communicate without the worry of prying ears.  While a lot of alternatives exist, I've decided to give Signal a try.  While a small portion of my contacts, thirteen at the moment, also have Signal, that's higher than I would have expected this early in an adoption curve.

FYI .. this is the signal reference I made last Thursday in the post on DuckDuckGo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Big Al

The picture below demonstrates how good the zoom is on my Pixel 2's camera, as I was nowhere this close to "Big Al", one of the larger alligators we've spotted on Hilton Head Island and estimated to be 13 feet long.  Being cold-blooded, this guy was looking to warm up on an above-normal day, in the seventies and sunny.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I-77 Through Charlotte

The picture below was taken as we drove south on I-77 through Charlotte and shows a total of five lanes, however, the two on the left of the barrier are for paying customers.  So 40% of the total capacity (and 50% in other places) are set aside for those willing to pay for the privilege of zipping along during times when us poor folk are creeping along.  

I have to wonder how much money is being lost since the government lockdowns have people working from home and using the free lanes is not a burden.  That said, we saw some cars using the toll lanes anyway and wondering why anyone would bother spending even a few dimes to use them.  Speeding is our best guess.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Costco Gas Tap To Pay

As a rabid reader of signs and instructions, I'm embarrassed to say it has taken me at least two years to read the sign above the gas pump at Costco, which now saves me a little wallet-digging each time I fill up.  Since I have a Costco Visa card, all that I have to do is tap that card and begin fueling, bypassing the step where I have to dig out and swipe my Costco card first.  Seems like a small thing, but the less I spend standing in the cold winter's air, the better.

In my defense, as a typical human being, I pay a lot less attention to anything above eye level, a fact I used when hiding Easter eggs long ago when my children were young.  Used to drive them crazy...

Friday, January 22, 2021

Mudlick Igloo

We probably could have chosen a slightly warmer evening (i.e. greater than 32 degrees) to try out having dinner in an outdoor igloo at Mudlick Tap House in downtown Dayton, as we needed two heaters to achieve a decent level of comfort.  We had multiple people leaving the restaurant come up to ask if we were "warm in there" which we confirmed was true at eye level, but not so much at foot level.  But it was nice to have complete strangers come over to talk to us, which hasn't happened for ten months.

Thursday, January 21, 2021


I've moved most of my Internet searching over to DuckDuckGo.  Other than the rather cute name, the major reason wasn't some urgent need to have my searches hidden from the big tech giants, but rather to send a signal (this is a pun, which will become apparent in the near future) that I don't appreciate their interfering in the political arena and while my contribution to their ad revenue is negligible, it's not zero.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Convalescent Plasma

One benefit of having had COVID-19 and testing positive for antibodies is being able to donate COVID Convalescent Plasma (CCP), which is used to treat those seriously ill and hospitalized.  Our local Community Blood Center's CCP donations are transfused directly to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients in the Dayton area.  The donation process takes about two hours with about one hour from "needle in" to "needle out".   Then you get free cookies and drinks, albeit self-serve.  Learn more and schedule a donation at this link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ridgeway Bridge Progress

Taken last week, the picture below shows that the Ridgeway Bridge over Dorothy Lane is gone.  Other than squeezing down to a single lane in each direction, traffic was flowing nicely.  That's decent progress for a project that started a couple months ago and is scheduled to be completed this fall.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Jeep Jack

In the eight years I've owned my Jeep I've never had to take off a tire, so when my brother-in-law and tried to install new lug nuts to replace the existing gnarly ones, we looked for the tire iron in the usual place, under the spare tire in the back.  Not there.  We had to consult the owner's manual to find it's located under the right rear seat, as shown below.  So that's what that little leather handle strap is for.

And I guess I need to get a vacuum...

Friday, January 15, 2021

Goodbye Twitter

I don't know where the right line is, but it's clear that Twitter has chosen theirs far left of that fuzzy middle area.  In a country founded on the freedom of speech, its corollary, the freedom to listen requires no effort, you can simply choose to tune out.  Engaging in Social Media should be fun, interesting, and informative, and it's clear Twitter had lost its way.  I deleted Facebook years ago when the time I was spending scrolling through crap far exceeded anything of value.  I don't miss Facebook at all, and I suspect Twitter will be the same.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Utility Sink Platform

The new washer, due to its larger discharge hose (below right), necessitated a new raised platform, used to store detergent, bleach, etc., and you certainly couldn't buy one that would fit perfectly.  But with some leftover wood, a lot of thought, and half an afternoon's time, I created the platform shown below.  The picture at the bottom left shows all the details, except that assembling requires the platform to be upside down, and trying to flip it in my head didn't work so well.  But I think I covered up all my mistakes and do-overs pretty well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Instruments Gone Crazy

The animated GIF below was taken as the battery in my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee was getting close to fully discharged (see last week's USB post), but only when the key was in the ignition and turned to the off position.  It was like there was a bunch of little gremlins invading my car.  There's no sound here, but it was clickity-clicking like crazy.  I guess that's life with a 17-year-old vehicle! 

Monday, January 11, 2021


The Urban Dictionary contains a lot of useless made-up words, but my son pointed out one that I think I will use quite a bit, "Sheeple".  They define it as "A combination of the words "sheep" and "people" meaning that the person or persons are acting as a group or to only behave based on what is trending." This seems to explain a lot of behavior in our current mess of messes.

Friday, January 8, 2021


It's been a bit busy to post a blog for the last couple of days and our grandson was the best of reasons why.  The rocker got a lot of use and was the perfect way to get this little guy down for a needed nap in his favorite position, face down.  Grammie (i.e. Grandma E) might need a few naps of her own after rocking, playing, feeding, and changing a fair number of diapers.  Grampy (i.e. Grandpa P) also changed a diaper, leading to a good laugh as I managed to put it on backward, not that the baby cared.  I guess my diaper skills, which I haven't used in 40 years, aren't what they used to be, but in my defense, girls are easier to change than boys.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Car Mileages

For both our cars I keep a mileage log on my Google Calendar, updating it on the anniversary of the day we bought it, which in the case of my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, was New Years Day, 2012.  It's probably pretty clear from the total miles driven per year that I retired in August of 2018, which eliminated all those trips into the office.  2020 was the lowest total of all, and I will not repeat the obvious reason as to why.  Sigh.

145,272 on 1/1/2021 (2,300 miles driven in 2020)

142,972 on 1/1/2020 (3,098 miles driven in 2019)

139,874 on 1/1/2019 (4,651 miles driven in 2018)

135,223 on 1/1/2018 (7,918 miles driven in 2017)

127,305 on 1/1/2017 (7,274 miles driven in 2016)

120,031 on 1/1/2016 (7,018 miles driven in 2015)

113,013 on 1/1/2015 (8,101 miles driven in 2014)

104,912 on 1/1/2014 (7,742 miles driven in 2013)

97,170 on 1/1/2013 (8,459 miles driven in 2012)

88,711 on 1/1/2012

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

USB Charger Drain

I've had a couple instances of my Jeep's battery being drained after a week or more of inactivity.  The sharp technicians at East David Automotive found that the little USB charger shown below was using 30 milliwatts (mW) all by itself, even though it wasn't charging anything.  Eliminating that reduced the load the car was pulling when turned off from 70 mW to 40 mW, well inside the normal range.  This charger is now stored in the center console and will only be used when actively charging a smartphone.   

I'll still have to use a trickle charger when the Jeep isn't used for several weeks, but it should start OK if left alone for a week or two.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Samsung Washer And Dryer

It's always exciting to get new appliances and we rang in the New Year with a new washer and dryer.  The timing was almost perfect as the old washer, on its very last load, decided to create a mini-flood in the basement which resulted in a not-at-all-appreciated, Sunday afternoon cleanup project.  At least we were not without a washer for a couple weeks and we're thankful that we bought these pre-Christmas as it took a couple weeks for delivery.

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Best of 2020

Over on my Life Experiences blog at the link below, I've posted the list of my best ten experiences of 2020.  While 2020 is a year that will not be remembered kindly, it was still full of amazing things I don't ever want to forget.  The top ten was from a list I kept all year, which ended up having a total of 46 items to sort through and decide the best of the best.