2021 Week 49 – Odds and Ends

brown and black cat

The Big 10 Football Championship was in Indianapolis this week, and we had a flood of visitors from Michigan and Iowa on Saturday. It wasn’t much of a game as Michigan smashed Iowa 42-3 but it’s always nice when the city can host such a big event.

I checked out the Guggman Haus brewery on the near west side Saturday afternoon. I was really impressed with the size and layout of the place. I thought it was just a house but they have a huge multi-room beer hall with a lot of TV’s for watching sports. Their Pilsner was quite tasty and they have a nice variety of German-inspired brews. I’m looking forward to returning to try out the food…

Red Notice on Netflix, staring Dwane Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot was a surprise hit. It’s a great action/adventure movie and worth the watch!

We made it up to Condado Tacos at Hamilton Town Center earlier this week, and it exceeded expectations. They have a huge variety of tacos, and the prices are very reasonable. It’s had lines outside the door since it opened, but we got lucky the night we decided to check it out. I drive by the downtown Indy location all the time but now that I know what it’s all about it might be time to add it to my lunch rotation.

And finally, “Jurassic Park but with a Cat” is the latest Youtube creation by Owl Kitty who’s creators use video editing magic to insert their black cat into famous movie scenes. The Behind the Scenes videos show you how they do it and how much work it takes.

2021 Week 48 – You ARE Being Watched

I took some time over the long holiday weekend to finish a book I had started a few weeks ago and promptly start another related one.

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden is an eye-opening tale centering around a late 20-something NSA contractor who exposes the US Government’s mass surveillance system created after 9/11. Love him or hate him he brought to light the vast data collection of US citizens by their government.

No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald starts up with his interview of Snowden while he hides in Hong Kong before his trove of documents is released to the public by various medial outlets. Meanwhile, Laura Poitras films a series of interviews for her documentary Citizen Four. It goes into incredible detail about the surveillance systems in use around the world, by many countries, and details just how far they have gone to invade your privacy.

If you have any interest in this kind of stuff it’s well worth your time to seek out these books or at least watch the full documentary (available on YouTube with Ads (that will track you, haha)). It will chill you to the core and make you think about what you do online going forward.

As I wrote earlier this year everyone needs to be using a Password Manager application. My favorite continues to be Bitwarden. The free version is more than enough for most people but the $10 paid version adds some advanced features and helps support the development. Getting started with a Password manager is NOT difficult and is NOT a good excuse for NOT using one. Bitwarden for Beginners is a great place to start.

NordPass just released their annual Top 200 Common Password list. It shows what people are actually using to secure their private data as well as how long it takes to crack and gain access. If your password is on the list you should assume your accounts have been compromised because you probably use the SAME password in multiple places. The benefit of a Password Manager is that you can use a different, unique, password for every account and only need to remember ONE (secure) master password/phrase. The tool generates and documents the login details for you.

Another security tool you should consider using, especially if you use your devices in public, is a personal VPN account. This tool encrypts your traffic and protects you from anyone wanting to access your data. Sounds a little overkill but it’s not uncommon for someone to sit on a public network and watch for unsecured traffic to exploit. In fact, as far back as 2013 AT&T and Starbucks encouraged it! My personal favorite is Private Internet Access (PIA) which works on all devices including your phone and tablet. An annual subscription is $39.99.

I think that just about wraps things up for this week. It’s hard to believe 2021 is 90% over & we’re getting ready to settle down into the winter months. At least I have a stack of books to go through while hunkering down inside for the next 3 months. See you next week!

2021 Week 47 – Sausage Party

I took a quick trip down to Cincinnati to visit family, and I had to make a stop at Findlay Market on the way home. Findlay Market is located in the city’s heart in an area known as “Over the Rhine” (OTR). As expected, it was pretty busy on Saturday, especially the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Findlay Market during our 2013 visit

OTR has seen its share of issues over the years, it’s been in the midst of a gentrification effort for as long as I can remember, and the transition has been a slow one. In the same block, you can see homelessness, drug use, high-end boutiques, and cars costing well over $100k cruising the streets. It’s pretty surreal, to be honest.

Findlay Market during our 2013 visit

Findlay Market has a nice mix of outdoor seasonal markets and brick and mortar shops ringing around a large indoor market lined with various shops along its long central corridor. You can shop at the various meat, seafood, and produce stalls, as well as a couple of bakeries and a world-class spice shop.

LK Logo above the service counter

One of my favorite vendors, Kroeger & Sons Meats, has been replaced by the “LK” sausage counter in the indoor market. LK does the old vendor proud by continuing to offer a huge selection of freshly made sausages, smoked meats, and other pork products. This is THE place to shop for some of the best sausages around.

One side of the L-Shaped LK stall at Findlay Market in Cincinnati

LK is Findlay Market’s premiere sausage destination. Founded by two local Cincinnatians, John Knodel and Ryan Lillis, LK offers more than 40 varieties of handcrafted sausage as well as smoked meats, fresh pork products and seasonal offerings. Launched in 2020, LK has taken over the iconic space once inhabited by Kroeger & Sons Meats. LK is focused on celebrating food and community, with top-notch service.

https://www.lkfindlaymarket.com/about
2021 Sausage Madness Bracket

With over 40 types of sausages available, it’s tough to pick the right one. Luckily LK had a bracket challenge earlier this year, listing all their varieties and how they rank against each other. I ended up walking away with a nice mix of flavors and some sweet and spicy mustard too.

Before leaving the market, I stopped at another favorite along the north side of the outdoor shops, Dean’s Mediterranean Imports. Here you can find various spices, oils, and Mediterranean staples such as olives and pita. On this trip, I picked up a couple of new condiments (both LOW CARB!).

If you find yourself in Cincinnati and have some extra time, I encourage you to check out Findlay market and the OTR area. It’s got something for just about everyone, and you’re sure to find some great food to take home and try.

That’s it for this week. Turkey Day is just a few days away, along with an extra day of football. I’m looking forward to a 4-day weekend and hope to get more recipes added to the blog during that time. See you next time.

2021 Week 46 – The Donut King

Short post this week as I’m getting back into the swing of things after being off work for a few days.

Hulu is now showing the rags to riches Documentary called “The Donut King.”

The story of Ted Ngoy, also known fondly as “The Donut King,” is one of fairy tales- fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. It is the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping the Khmer Rouge, arriving in America via Camp Pendleton in 1975 to escape the brutal genocide in his home country of Cambodia, to build an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. From gas station janitor to donut shop owner and the surprising success that came with it, Ted found that a great joy in life was the ability to help others…and help, he did. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees, who were coming to California by the thousands, and helped them get on their feet by teaching them the ways of the donut business. By 1979, he was rich, living the American Dream. But, in life, great rise can come with great falls. With his great success, he was seduced by the casinos in Las Vegas and lost it all. By 1992, in his sixties, he was homeless, sleeping on a friend’s floor in a mobile home in Long Beach, CA, and the very community he helped in the seventies turned their backs on the hand who once fed them. Alas, a spirit like Ted Ngoy’s doesn’t die easily and he left behind a legacy of independent donut shops spanning from California to Texas to Canada, shaping everything we know about the beloved pastry. It’s the American Dream, with a twist.

https://bentonvillefilm.org/artists/the-donut-king/

If you have Hulu and 90-minutes to kill, this is a very interesting documentary. Have you seen it? Leave your thought in the comments section below.