Friday, March 29, 2024

Pommes Sunny

When we saw this recipe on The Kitchen, we had to try it.  While the recipe at the link below will make a huge amount, I used just two good-sized potatoes, one stick of butter, and our smaller cast iron skillet.  I used our mandoline to make very thin slices, coated them in thyme-basted butter, and overlapped them in several layers as shown below.  The critical step comes when it's time to flip the skillet upside down to serve crispy-side up.  

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Peach Daiquiri

Peaches are my absolute favorite fruit and how better to enjoy that delicious flavor than in a daiquiri? While the one pictured below was made using a popular mix, the recipe at the link below using fresh ingredients and where you can better control the sweetness is worth the extra effort.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Screen Maintenance

Chef Elaine and I are big on opening windows and letting the fresh air in, so having our screens in good repair is important to us.  We took the screen pictured below, which had a little tear in it, off the window and found the frame was in worse shape than the screen, with the corners of the screen ready to fall apart.  I took it to our local Greive hardware store and they did a great job of making it near-new again.  However, if they couldn't have saved it, it's nice to know they could have built an entirely new screen for us.  For this and several other services they provide, visit the link below.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Tulip Relocations

Last year we had a beautiful flower bed with dozens and dozens of tulips.  This year we spotted tulips growing in the grass and other flower beds as seen below.  We found out that it was a mistake to remove our ultrasonic animal repeller for the winter and the squirrels not only dug them up to eat them but also to store them for a future meal.  More information on keeping squirrels at bay can be found at the link below.

Monday, March 25, 2024

History Facts

Chef Elaine pointed me toward History Facts and after reviewing their excellent articles I signed up for their daily emails at the link below.  They have five topics (U.S. History, World History, Famous Figures, Arts & Culture, and Science & Industry) and they rotate their emails through these categories.  The only downside is their second email of the day, which is more promotion than anything interesting or useful.  That's what they make the digital trash can for...

Friday, March 22, 2024

Smash Taco

A smash taco is a great way to prepare a single serving.  Start with a 3-ounce ball of ground chuck smashed on top of a tortilla and spread out towards the edges, as shown in the upper-left picture below.  Flip that so the meat side is down into a lightly oiled skillet, looking like the upper-right photo.  Cook for 3-4 minutes and flip so the tortilla is now facing down, pictured at the bottom left.  Cook a few more minutes to crisp up the tortilla, transfer to a plate, and add whatever your heart desires.  Along with the four toppings shown at the bottom right, lime, cilantro, and onion are great choices.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Rose And Mary

A cruise is a great place to try a different drink the pair of "Rose and Mary" cocktails shown below were a winner.  It's a chilled combination of Tito's vodka, dry vermouth, and a little fresh lemon juice dunked with a sprig of rosemary.  I see a few of these in our future as soon as we plant this summer's potted herbs, which will certainly include rosemary.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

4K Web Cam

I've been using a 1080p webcam for more than a decade and decided recently to upgrade to a higher resolution if it was practically affordable.  I was surprised to find the Nisheng webcam seen below for $32 at Amazon.  I'm sure it's not as feature-rich as the $200+ models that a professional might desire, but its 3840x2160 resolution (i.e. 4K) delivers a crisp picture.  It includes a tripod connector and a privacy cover that fits over the lens.  It also comes with a small tripod, but the one I have is taller and easier to adjust.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Macs Fan Control

I noticed that my Mac Mini was running hot to the touch and began searching for a reason and a solution.  I ran across Macs Fan Control, a free (I love free) tool that not only displays the values of the various temperature sensors on a Mac but also allows you to set the fan speed.  After a little playing around with various values, I settled on 2,500 rpm which keeps the temperature around 50 degrees Celcius, or about 122 degrees Fahrenheit.  I selected that value partially because my MacBook Air, which does not have a fan, runs about that temperature.  I still have no clue why the Mac Mini was running hot, but at least it's all better now.

Monday, March 18, 2024


I recently had the need to create softer borders on some pictures and found Lunapic, a free (I love free) online tool that has a crazy number of image editing options.  I used their "edge fade border" to round and soften the photo below, a picture of yours truly signing American Pie with The Fries band many years ago.  Discover the Lunapic tool at the link below.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Pico De Gallo

Chef Elaine and I made the fresh Pico De Gallo (Spanish translation: Rooster´s Beak) shown below during our shore excursion in Cozumel.  We chopped up Roma tomatoes and white onion then finely diced a serrano pepper and cilantro.  That was combined with some lime juice and salt to make a tangy, delicious salsa.  Later we added some of this to a rough-smashed avocado to make a binge-worthy chip-dipper.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Miami Vice

The Miami Vice is one of my favorite frozen cocktails.  It's one or more layers of Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri and Frozen Piña Colada with the sweetness of the strawberry nicely offset by the coconut taste of the colada.  It's a bit of work doing at home to get a single drink, so it's better suited for a party of four or more.  However, when I'm on a cruise ship, I don't hesitate to order a single like I did to snap the picture below.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Confirmation Receipt

Gmail is usually pretty good about catching on to spam emails, but for months I've been getting spam with the subject line beginning with C𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 R𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐩𝐭.  This odd bolding made me look for its cause and I started by using the ASCII Text to Hex Code Converter found at the link below.  I pasted the text and clicked convert, which led to the string of characters seen at the bottom of the screenshot.  It was then obvious the 5-digit codes were the cause of the bolding. I did a Google search on the first one (1D428) and found it's part of Unicode's Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols Block.  I eliminated this spam by creating a Gmail filter using C𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 R𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐩𝐭 as the subject and directly deleting them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Silent Disco

This crowd below gathered around at The Grand Plaza on the Celebrity Ascent cruise ship late one evening to participate in a Silent Disco.  This involved everyone getting a set of headphones and listening to one of three music streams based on their personal preferences.  With the headphones blasting away you can't hear anything else, but remove them and get treated to people singing their hearts out.  I didn't expect this would be as much fun as it was.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Cozumel Time Zone

I was surprised that during our Western Caribbean cruise, my Pixel 7 phone never changed from the Eastern to the Central time zone, even when we traveled to Cozumel.  As you can see from the map below, the entire Mexican state of Quintana Roo (the green slice in Mexico), which includes Cozumel, uses Eastern Daylight Time (all year round), even though the rest of Mexico and most of Central America use Central Time.  It helped make sure we got back to the ship in time, although when Eastern Savings Time begins in March, I assume ship time will be an hour ahead of Cozumel time, making getting back to the ship on time a little trickier.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Garden Benedict

Chef Elaine ordered the Garden Benedict shown below at The Garden Table, a cute restaurant in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis.  It consisted of mashed avocado on semolina toast, topped with poached eggs, basil hollandaise sauce, $4 worth of bacon (yes, really), and some fancy sprigs of green and purple things.  I could do without those fancy things, but the rest is mighty appealing.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Tamarind Daiquiri

One of the drinks offered on our excursion in Cozumel was the Tamarind Daiquiri shown below.  Having no idea what it would taste like I, of course, had to try it out.  The tamarind tree produces brown, pod-like fruits ranging from sour to sweet depending on their ripeness and this drink uses simple syrup to elevate the sweetness.  The daiquiri was good, but I'm at a loss to describe the taste as I have nothing to relate it to, however, if you want to try to recreate it, Amazon (among others) sells tamarind syrup at the link below.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024


I picked up the wild-looking pair of sunglasses at our local Up and Running store.  They are meant for runners and joggers as they're non-slip and don't fog up, but I bought them because they look cool and cost only $25.  These are polarized sunglasses meaning they help reduce glare from reflecting surfaces such as water, snow, and glass.  I'll be styling next to the pool this summer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024


The picture below is Royal Caribbean's private island, CocoCay, also known as Little Stirrup Cay.  The linguistic lesson for today is that Cay is not pronounced as it looks.  Rather, it's most often pronounced the same as the word Key, like in Key West.  So CocoCay is pronounced Coco Key.  A little more info can be found at the link below.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Webpage, Complete

Have you ever seen the cutest Instagram (or other social media) post and wanted to download the picture?  We want to do it all the time with our grandkids pictures and while there is no simple way to download an image, it is possible using the following steps on a Mac or PC.
  1. Navigate to the post with the image
  2. In the browser options at the top, click File ... Save Page As ... 
  3. If needed, change the format to Webpage, Complete
  4. Click Save
A file and a folder will be downloaded.  Open the folder.  Somewhere in there is the picture you want.  Sometimes there's just one, other times many.  Sometimes it's in a subfolder and sometimes not.  Use Windows Explorer or Mac's Finder to view the images as a gallery to make finding the one (or more) you want to keep easier.  Drag it to the desktop and give it a good name.  

Friday, March 1, 2024

Quick Gnocchi

Having some homemade gnocchi on hand just got easier after seeing I could use mashed potato flakes instead of leftover mashed potatoes.  Add some steeping hot water to a cup of flakes, stir together, and let cool.  Add egg, salt, pepper, and enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough.  The rest is the same rolling, cutting, and creasing that always goes into the finished product and it produced a sheet pan full of nuggets that were frozen and then bagged.