Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Best Doggy Bag

The older I get the less likely it is that I can eat an entire entree as was the case with the chicken sandwich pictured below.  But unlike most restaurants that use a cheap styrofoam clamshell, Copper's Hawk's "doggy bag" is not only a steadier aluminum container but they so nicely write the date and what's inside on the top, making it way easier to find in our refrigerator, which at times looks like we must shop in the "leftovers aisle" at the grocery store. 




Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Garage Weatherstripping

While I tend to overlook many things, the garage door seals in the left-hand picture below were just too cracked and discolored to escape even my lack of attention.  I bought three new 9-foot PVC weatherstripping pieces, cut them to size, and nailed them in place with 1 5/8" white panel nails spaced 8 to 9 inches apart.   The hard part of this small project was carrying the weatherstripping, which can best be described as "floppy".  Just one more little home improvement project completed.




Friday, May 26, 2023

Creamed Chipped Beef

Chef Elaine cooked up one of my childhood's favorite comfort food and added a fried egg on top to make it even better and chives to make it prettier.  Also known as SOS (S$$t On a Shingle), it's a roux made with flour and melted butter, to which warm milk is added, and finally, dried beef and cayenne pepper then served on toast.  The recipe at the link below will verify how simple this is.




Thursday, May 25, 2023

Submarine House

The Chef and I decided to have lunch at the new Submarine House on Dorothy Lane and were quite surprised to see the full bar, twenty beer taps, and patio setup shown below.  We both remember the Submarine House as a simple sandwich shop but now realize that in addition to those smaller places, they have six "Sports Bars" in the Dayton area.  I counted twenty-one televisions inside and another pair outside.  Waiting for a warm day to sip a cold one on that patio!





Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Garage Door Doors

I've passed this house thousands of times in the past but just noticed a few days ago this strange-looking garage door setup.  I can only guess as to what the garage is used for now.  Maybe a Florida room of sorts?  It appears the two doors on the right are hinged in the middle, so perhaps they wanted the whole thing to be able to fully open up.  Maybe over the summer I'll see the garage door up and report back on what's going on here.





Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Google Bard

Bard is Google's AI (Artificial Intelligence) answer (at least their first one) to ChatGPT.  When I asked ChatGPT what is your favorite whiskey, it answered "As an artificial intelligence language model, I don't have personal preferences or emotions, including favorite drinks like whiskey."  Bard has no such qualms, which you can read in the screenshot below.  You can try Bard using the link below.






Monday, May 22, 2023

Adjustable Upper Shoulder Belt Anchorage

We rented a Toyota 4Runner on our last Florida trip and the shoulder strap of the seat belt was so high that it rubbed the left side of my neck.  Didn't take too long to realize that was adjustable and I lowered it far enough to eliminate the irritation.  

The before (left) and after (right) pictures below are not the 4Runner, but our Jeep Grand Cherokee which we've had for 11 years and never realized it had adjustable seat belts.  Nor did we realize that our Infiniti G37x, which we've had for 6 years has them too.  I guess they were never a bother and they were basically out-of-sight, out-of-mind.



Friday, May 19, 2023

Reefers Social Club

We've never seen a restaurant use its television screens to display several of its menu items like the Pork Belly BLT shown below.  While we were just there for a little day drinking on Clearwater Beach, the sights of these dishes made our mouths salivate.  Reefers was called something else during our visit last year, and the upgrade is pretty impressive, not just in the food menus but also in the variety of craft cocktails that include a smoke-infused Manhattan that looked awesome.  

You can follow them on Instagram at this link.




Thursday, May 18, 2023

Clearwater Tiki Boat

We spent an enjoyable 90 minutes on a Clearwater Tiki boat tour, slowly taking in the sites of Clearwater Bay while imbibing on a few cool ones like the Corona seen below.  While it's an all-you-can-drink package, there is only so much you can drink when there is no bathroom on board. 

The guy we talked to about the particulars suggested we use Groupon, which led us to save about one-third of the cost (~$100 savings for 4 people), well worth the trouble because how to redeem the Groupon was not at all clear, but we figured it out.




Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Total By Verizon

We've switched Chef Elaine's iPhone from Verizon to Total by Verizon.  Same Verizon network but for less than half the price, with her monthly bill averaging $65.20 reduced to $31.19 and the amount of data increased from 2 GB to 5 GB.  That's a yearly savings of over $400.

We just bought a Total by Verizon SIM card (picture below) for $0.99 at Kroger and followed the setup instructions.  She'll still get unlimited talk & text, including Canada (good) and Mexico (don't care).

Most, but not all, cell phones can run on Verizon's CDMA network and locked phones can be an issue.  Check out your phone at the "keep your own phone" link below.

Big shout out to my buddy Nick for this huge money-saver!




Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Passkeys

Passkeys are a new technology that promises to eliminate passwords using a two-fold approach.  First, the user is authenticated using a fingerprint, Face ID, or device PIN.  Second, instead of validating a password, the exchange between the server and the device uses very strong public and private key cryptography, making it impervious to hacking.

Currently, there are only a few websites and apps that support passkeys but hopefully, it will become the norm before very long.  The combination of an easier user experience and a vastly more secure login should provide a lot of incentive.

Setting up passkeys takes a little work and is not really for the faint of heart, but if you're intrigued enough to try, these links will help you get started.








Monday, May 15, 2023

Wi-Fi Calling

We've turned on Wi-Fi calling on both Chef Elaine's iPhone and my Google Pixel 7, providing our phones a second path to our cellular network providers.  The phones will select the best signal available and even seamlessly switch between the two.  As you can see in the picture below, my phone (left) shows an "Ongoing Wi-Fi call" and the Chef's (right) has "VZW Wi-Fi" in the phone icon in the status bar.  This is not a money-saving option (we have unlimited minutes), but rather a quality improvement as our home Wi-Fi and Internet setups are stronger and faster than the signal from the nearest cell tower.   

Learn more about Wi-Fi calling at the links below.




Friday, May 12, 2023

Coconut Rice

I hate coconut.  I wish I didn't, but it really grosses me out.  Taste, texture, served any style.  Until now.

I had just ordered a fish sandwich at Beach Fire Bar & Grille in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and the waitress asked what side dish I wanted.  I hadn't thought about it and as I scanned the menu for options, I decided I would order the one that I was sure not to like, and that was coconut rice.  However, I decided to be my own mother and make myself take at least one bite.  It was so delicious I ended up eating the entire bowl.

Chef Elaine used the simple recipe at the link below to perfectly recreate what is sure to be repeated many times in the future.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/56059/asian-coconut-rice


 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Pelican

We were having late-afternoon beers and apps at The Bait House in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and I snapped the photo below, a stern-looking pelican with blue skies above and ominous clouds building in the background.   As I pulled out my phone to take the picture, the pelican, who had been facing away, turned and stared right at me, as if it wanted me to get the perfect pic.  Mighty thoughtful of it, I would say.




Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Elevator

The picture below is what it seems, a shopping cart in an elevator.  The Publix at Island Village Shopping Center in Clearwater, Florida is close enough to the Gulf of Mexico that like other businesses and beach houses in the area, they are required to have ground-floor garages and cannot be used for living or retail.  So we rode up to the second floor, did our shopping, and rode back down to our car.  



Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Tulips

Last November I blogged about using my electric drill and an 18" inch Roto Auger to dig holes for a bunch of tulips in our front yard.  Chef Elaine planted the bulbs and we covered them with wire mesh and topped that with mulch to try to discourage the local squirrel population. That effort paid off big time and we were rewarded with the huge multi-color display you see below, even after a few blooms were lost to rabbits.  Best of all, these are perennials, so every spring we will see another display.

More information on planting tulips can be found at the link below.






Monday, May 8, 2023

StarTracker App

While staring out one evening over the Gulf of Mexico from our Clearwater Beach condo, I was asked what was that bright star shining just above the Moon.  I figured it was probably a planet given how big and bright it was, but I was able to single it down to Venus (see the screenshot below) using the free (I love free) StarTracker app on my Pixel 7.  You just point it, day or night, at a section of the sky, and it identifies which planets, major stars, and constellations are in that direction.  Links to the app in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store are below.





Friday, May 5, 2023

Cinnamon Streusel Bread

It's not often I get a free (I love free) sample at Costco, but the Cinnamon Streusel bread shown below was intriguing enough to give it a try.  I got two aisles away before my taste buds made me ask Chef Elaine to go back and pick up a package.  For $9.99 you get two large loaves weighing in at 3 1/2 pounds of carb-busting deliciousness.  A toasted slice covered in melted butter is a breakfast made in heaven.




Thursday, May 4, 2023

Frenchy's Famous Frozen Rum Runner

What would a trip to Clearwater Beach, Florida be without a stop at Frenchy's Rockaway for their famously strong Frozen Rum Rummer?  It's a well-balanced combination of passion-fruit-infused Don Q PasiĆ³n, dark and 151 rums, banana liqueur, blackberry brandy, and enough tropical fruit juices to not totally knock you off your seat.  Go for the 20-oz size and sit back and stare at the white, sandy beaches.











Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Adafruit

I recently volunteered at a local Girls Who Code event and was introduced to a free (I love free) online, block-oriented programming environment called Makecode from Adafruit.  You just drag blocks (e.g. Light, Input, Music) to the right side of the screen and combine them to cause the circular circuit on the left side to change color, play sounds and music, change volume or brightness, or whatever your imagination can cook up.  

The example below executes when Button A is clicked, turns all the lights red, waits for a second, changes them to blue, waits for another second, and finally turns them green.  You can give it a go at the link below.





 

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Dialogue Boost

Have you ever turned the subtitles on, like we have, because the actor's voices are drowned out by overly loud background noise?  Amazon's Prime streaming service is doing something about it with a new feature called Dialogue Boost.  Currently available only on select titles with more coming, you can select a boost level of Low, Medium, or High, as seen in the screenshot below.  

More information is available at the TechRadar link below.

Big shout out to my neighbor Rich for this awesome tech tip!




Monday, May 1, 2023

Fender Tuner App

The free (I love free) Fender Tuner App is a really easy way to help tune your guitar.  I really like the Auto mode which automatically determines which string you're trying to tune.  It also has a manual mode where you select which string you want to tune.  As shown below, it tells you if you're too flat or too sharp, and when you're spot on, the circle turns green.  

A standard six-string guitar is tuned, low to high, to these frequencies.

E: 82 Hz; A: 110 Hz; D: 147 Hz; G: 196 H; B: 247 Hz; E: 330 Hz

Links to the apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores are below.