2024 June Update

What’s Going On:
June went by just as fast as May. I’m sensing a pattern in 2024 as the days blend together, and the weekends go by WAY too quickly. Our office was closed on July 4th and 5th (and I took the 3rd off as a PTO day). So, at least, I feel like I’ve gotten a break. I have a busy couple of weeks at work coming up that I need to prepare for.

I just realized that in June, I had lived in the same house for 20 years. It doesn’t seem like yesterday, but I was surprised to see it was 20 years ago. I’m doing everything I can to pay off this place before I even think about retiring. There is nothing like NOT having a house payment when you decide to give up the 9-5 grind. I don’t see myself retiring 100% anytime soon, but not having a house payment gives you more options to do something different.

Luckily, I moved from a career that could be a daily grind (IT Consulting) to something I enjoy (Operations). I’m still involved in the IT aspects of the company, but I like the other parts, like organizational operations and HR the most. We’re moving our office in October, and that’s a project I enjoy being involved in as well.

What I’m Buying:
If you’ve never tried a shampoo bar, it’s a game changer. It’s like a bar of soap, but for your hair, it’s much easier to travel with than liquid shampoo. C.O. Bigelow sells the Badger brand shampoo bar, and I ordered one a few months ago.

As soon as I used it for the first time at home, I ordered another one for my DOP kit. They seem to be out of it at the moment, but I was able to find it on Amazon at the link above.

Speaking of DOP Kits, I ordered the Tom Bihn Standard Spiff Kit (in Sangria 210 Cerylon) for my shorter trips in June. I have an awesome canvas DOP kit that I use on longer trips, but for 2-3 nights away, I wanted something a little smaller as I have learned how to pack lighter and NOT check a bag. In fact, I traveled over a week in Thailand last February with only a carry-on and a personal item. My Switzerland/Paris/London trip last September taught me never to check a bag again if I could help it.

I had never heard the term “Kitchen Candle” before reading this article in Food and Wine. I ordered a Vanilla Kitchen Candle from Amazon, and there really IS a difference! The scent is a lot less strong and helps cover up those smells left over from the last dish you cooked. I’m a fan and will keep one of these around from now on.

I love my flashlights, and I finally pulled the trigger on the (newish) Olight Arkfeld Pro. It has upgraded specs from the original Arkfeld (now in my car), but now it’s “Pro” and has a green laser! This one is now in my EDC because you never know when you need to laser-point something. 🙂

What I’m Eating:
I watched a YouTube Video from America’s Test Kitchen about Cast Iron Pizza a few weeks ago. I love pizza and had to try this out. Let’s just say I’ve fixed two in the last two weeks, and I’m never going back to frozen or delivery. The cheater’s move is to purchase pre-made pizza dough (and sauce) from Fresh Thyme. It saves you a lot of time, and they both taste delicious.

I was in Huntington, Indiana, the other day and finally got a chance to try the tenderloin at Nicks Kitchen. The place is pretty small, and they had a decent lunch crowd. I sat at the lunch counter and placed my order (with pickles, mayo, mustard, and onions).

This sandwich did not disappoint, and it lived up to the hype! The crinkle-cut fries (with Mama Selita’s Jalapeno Tomato Ketchup) and freshly made iced tea rounded out the meal. The total price was around $20 with a tip. Service was attentive, and I’d 100% return here again when I was in the area.

What I’m Watching:
I started the latest season of The Bear, and it’s just not holding my attention. The other two seasons were just OK. It’s just not living up to the hype for me. I do enjoy the chef cameos and the random Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the shows, but I’m not sure I’ll finish it any time soon.

What I’m Reading:
I just finished a 13-hour audiobook by A. American called Going Home. It’s the first book in The Survivalist Series (I’m looking forward to starting book two called Surviving Home. I didn’t realize I liked the dystopian genre, but I enjoyed this book. In fact, I decided to start watching “The Last of Us” on HBO because of it. I’m only 1 episode in, but I really like it so far.

I tried Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited 30-day trial but can’t justify the $11 a month when I have had good luck getting books from the local library using Hoopla and Libby. That’s where I got the Going Home audiobook (for free).

What Else:
Chat GPT released a desktop app for the Mac, and I have been playing around with it to see if it’s of any use. So far, when it comes to writing, I’ve found Grammarly to be easier to use, but at $150 a year, I might not be renewing. Some AI features in an upcoming MacOC release will render Grammarly an expensive add-on that will probably no longer be needed.

And Finally…
The most significant Security Flaw in North America

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