Category: Entertainment


2022 Week 1 – 2020 Too?

Here we go, another New Year! I’m hoping 2022 is better than the last two years. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time & plan to make the best of 2022 by getting back outside and doing the things I love to do.

I typically write these Blog posts on the couch each Sunday morning from notes I’ve made throughout the week. A few weeks ago I started visiting the Fishers Test Kitchen and Sunking Tap Room to write. It’s a nice change from sitting around the house & the food/beer that’s available is a big plus. The iPad Pro has been a real rock star when it comes to mobile computing. I love how it instatly connects to my iPhone when I’m away from home.

We lost Betty White this week at the age of 99. She was quite the actress who had an impressive resume. I remember first seeing her in the Mary Tyler Moore show when I was a kid. She stood up to racism in 1954 in a move that could have ended her career. She also had quite the following by several Millennials I know. She will be missed.

The day before Christmas I finally received my new Tidbyt digital display. I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year & had been watching its development progress throughout the year. It’s an Internet-connected LED display with unlimited customization from Apps. The initial set of Apps got me up and running and developers are building more all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

And finally, if you’ve ever wondered how a Formula One car really works this is the video for you. It goes into some amazing detail and helps explain the inner workings as well as why they cost as much as they do.

2021 Week 52 – Looks Like We Made It!

It’s the final Sunday of 2021 & it’s time for another Year in Review! I wanted to bring the blog back to life this year and post at least once a week. I missed a few weeks throughout the year, but overall I’m pleased with how I was able to keep things active. Along the way, I kept a list of ideas to discuss, so I should always have some content as I attempt to keep this up in 2022.

The weekly format seems to work well as it allows me to summarize the previous 7-days and add some additional content that appears relevant (or fun). As I did last year, this post will be a summary of the past year. It’s been another wild year with Covid and all the VAX/Boost discussions but we’re in the home stretch. Next Sunday will be the first post of 2022!


January 2021
I turned an old Mac into a Linux machine (and still use it)
President Biden was sworn into office
We had sushi in Fortville
I cooked Mushroom Bourguignon for the first time

February 2021
I shared our family favorite Scalloped Potato Gratin
Started visiting A2Z Cafe again for lunch (Closed on Monday)
The Bon Appetite Test Kitchen falls apart
Clancy’s opens in the garage Food Hall
We visited Indy Tacos

March 2021
Discovered a Vegan Cheeseball that fooled everyone I served it to (AmazeBall)
Dropped Lass Pass for BitWarden (and never looked back)
Hoagies and Hops opens a new location in Fletcher Place (now closing on 12/31)
Life in Indy launches
I start playing Disk Golf (Like Ball Golf only better)

April 2021
We discover J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (although I mentioned him on the Blog in 2010)
My First COVID Vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saraga plans to open a store in Castleton (still not open)
Baseball returns and I actually watch it (Go Reds!)
I order a TidByt (it was delivered the day before Christmas, review coming soon)
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery (free cookie Monday)
More Disk Golf (I’m hooked)

May 2021
I visit the Gus Grissom Monument In Mitchel, Indiana
Hiking at  Hemlock Cliffs
More Disk Golf at a Monastery in Southern Indiana
I finally try Chris’s Ice Cream And fall in love with their Chorizo Burrito
First camping trip of the year at Indian-Celina Lake Campground

June 2021
Bought a WOOL T-Shirt (and LOVE it)
Who could forget the 17-Year Cicada Brood
Built a Pi Weather Station (use this daily)
More Disk Golf
Travel to Cincy and visit the War Birds Museum, and Jungle Jims, for fathers Day

July 2021
Road Trip to the Allegheny National Forest (So much rain)
Found a proper Beef on Weck at the Bar-Bill Tavern (I have dreams about this sando)
Visited Niagara Falls (nicer than I remember)
Visited the Zippo/Case Museum
FINALLY saw Rock City (only to find out it’s not the one I saw signs for growing up)
Walked the Kinzua Bridge State Park in Kane, PA

August 2021
Reviewed the Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller  (this thing works)
Started the Keto diet
Downloaded the Grammarly app (I needed it)
Updated the Blog Theme

October 2021
Reviewed Upland Brewing (Jalapeno Blue Cheese Sauce)
Bought an iPad Pro (FINALLY)
Reviewed Grammarly
Reviewed the 99% Invisible Podcast

September 2021
MORE Disk Golf
Looked at the WP Recipe Maker plugin (too much work)
20 years since 9/11
677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID so far
Visited San Diego

November 2021
Bought a new Apple Watch
Updated my Kindle Paperwhite
Watched the Donut King Documentary
Visited Findlay Market
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (READ this)
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (then READ THIS)

December 2021
We made it up to Condado Tacos at Hamilton Town Center
Checked out the Guggman Haus brewery
Purchased Grammarly (worth the $)
Reviewed the new Kindle paperwhite
The Union Jack Pub MOVED!

So that’s it for 2021. We covered a lot of ground this year and started some new things. The Keto “diet” has turned into more of a “watch those carbs” lifestyle and I’m happy to report I’ve had some moderate success. Disk Golf was something new this year and I really enjoyed playing various courses around the area. San Diego was a nice escape, even though I was there for work, and the Allegheny National Forest was one of the nicest camping trips I’ve had in a while, despite all the rain.

Here’s to another year, and thanks for reading!

2021 Week 51 – One Week to Go!

It’s the week before Christmas, and we’ve had some amazingly warm weather lately. I was looking at the long-term forecast, and it says we’re going to be in the 60s on December 25th… In INDIANA! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 60-degree Christmas in the Midwest.


The Bearded Bagel opened up a brick-and-mortar shop on 96th St. in front of Sam’s club. I haven’t been yet, but they specialize in steamed bagel sandwiches like Broad Ribble Bagle (BRB) serves. Not as big of a menu as BRB but a lot closer. The food trucks have been around the city for a while now and have a pretty decent following.

Speaking of Carbs, the Chef/Owner of Northside Social plans to open a biscuit place around 96th and Keystone. I’m keeping my eye on that as it’s really close to my office (and I love a good biscuit sandwich).

Staying on the food topic, The Union Jack Pub in Broad Ripple has opened a new location across the street from their old locations. They own the building, so they should have a little more control of future costs. I’ve had lunch at the new location twice this past week. For the first lunch, I ordered a Cuban sandwich with a salad. It was very good, and I would not hesitate to get that again, but the guy sitting next to me ordered the 7-inch personal deep dish pizza, so I knew I needed to return.

Pepperoni, Mushroom, & Green Olive Pizza

This was a solid little pizza that was absolutely delicious. LOTS of cheese and toppings with a very flavorful sauce and light doughy crust. All I was missing was a side of garlic butter to dip that crust in.

I’ve been a little less serious about the Low Carb diet these past few weeks and have found myself “cheating” a little more than usual. I’m still eating better than I was earlier this year and have seen the benefits of lowering the carbs and sugars in my overall diet. I can’t remember the last time I had fast food, and I’m totally OK with that!


And finally, here’s a little bit of food trivia I learned about this past week. Did you know Wolfgang Puck lived in Indianapolis? In fact, Indianapolis was his first American home, and he worked here for a couple of years in the ’70s. He still has a presence in Indianapolis with a Wolfgang Puck Express located in the Indianapolis International Airport (IND).

At the age of 24, Wolfgang took the advice of a friend and left Europe for the United States. His first job was at the restaurant La Tour in Indianapolis, where he worked from 1973 to 1975.

https://wolfgangpuck.com/about/

Enjoy the next to the last week of 2021, and Look for our year-end recap next week.

2021 Week 50 – Kindle Upgrade

I’ve been an Amazon Kindle user ever since V2 was released in 2009. That version had a keyboard and built-in cellular modem that allowed you to transfer data and download books anywhere, anytime.

Amazon Kindle V2 in 2009

The Kindle e-reader does one thing and, in my opinion, does it very well. It provides a distraction-free reading experience. OK, two things, you can carry a huge number of books with you at any time. This is handy when you want to read a couple of books at the same time, depending on mood and energy. It makes no noise, it has no pop-up messages, and it’s already ready to pick up where you left off in your last reading session.

I eventually upgraded to a newer version and then another. The low $100-125 price and ever-increasing screen resolutions and lighting options made the upgrades worth it. We lost the cellular modem years ago, but with WiFi being so accessible, it’s something you really don’t miss. I typically like to read in the evenings where it helps me unwind. On occasion, I can use my phone to finish a chapter or launch the Audible version of a book where it syncs with the text copy for easy switching between the two.

My last Paperwhite was starting to get a little sluggish, and I realized after 5-years of ownership I was no longer getting updates with some of the newer software features. After doing a little research, I found that I could trade my old unit in for a new one and get a 20% discount as well as a few dollars for the unit I was turning in.

2021 Kindle Paperwhite

The 2021 Kindle Paperwhite (as reviewed by Wired) is the best Kindle e-reader to date. The screen is larger, and the screen resolution looks like you’re reading a paper book. Backlight options include a warmth mode that tints the screen to ease eye fatigue at night. It’s all automatic based on the sunrise/sunset in your area. You don’t really notice the screen color until you turn it off.

Now that it’s getting cold out, and dark early, I’m spending a lot more time reading in the evening, and I’m really enjoying this upgrade.


I wrote about the Grammarly app in Week 42, and I’m happy to say after the 90-day initial trial, I renewed for another year. It’s been beneficial in my personal and professional life. You might have noticed some improvements in the blog posts too. I was missing some necessary punctuation in my writing. Some obvious (bad editing) and some not so obvious. They just released a new Desktop app for the Mac that allows it to work in ANY application. It was previously limited to its own app outside MS Office apps. Now it works right inside my email program and makes editing on the fly much smoother. At $150 a year, it’s not cheap but, if written communication is an important part of your life, it’s worth checking out to see if it can be helpful to you.

And finally… The limited series show “True Story” on Netflix was a surprise hit. Kevin Hart was excellent in his role, and the story moved very quickly through the seven episodes. Each episode is only 30-minutes, so it’s a pretty quick watch & easy to binge on a rainy day.

That’s it for thie week. Christmas is less than 2-weeks away! I should probably start shopping or something…

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!

The Truth About Thanksgiving

I always love digging this out every November. Enjoy!

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.

2021 Week 44 – Fall Back

close up of yellow autumn leaf on twig at sunset

It’s about that time again where we set our clocks back to observe Daylight Saving Time (DST). The official date is Sunday, Nov. 7th at 2:00 am so you have a week to go! It doesn’t seem that long ago when Indiana didn’t participate in DST. In fact, we had our own “Timezone” called Indiana in the settings on computers. The last time I checked it was still there in Windows 10, even though it’s not used anymore.


I’ve been trying to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and get some steps in by walking around the neighborhood. This is a perfect time to catch up on the numerous Podcasts I have downloaded to my phone. One of my all-time favorites is from 99% Invisible. This podcast explores all kinds of interesting topics such as the Sears catalog that had mail-order houses available, and why Margarine was PINK at one time.

99% Invisible is a sound-rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. 

From 99percentinvisible.org

After the impressive iPad Pro upgrade, I decided to upgrade my several-generation-old Apple watch to the new Series 7 model. The larger display is what really sold me. I use my Apple Watch daily and I’m looking forward to checking the new model out. If there’s anything worth reporting I’ll do a mini-review in a few weeks.


And finally, I stumbled upon some motivational videos on Youtube last week and the following one featuring Joe Rogan was very interesting. Enjoy!

2021 Week 31 – Bug Off

brown and black mosquito on green stem macro photography

The last 4 posts were a recap of my week-long trip to OH, PA & NY to visit the Allegheny National Forest. With the daily rain, and summer temps, the mosquitos were out and looking for blood but I brought a solution to that…

After seeing ads and reviews over the past year I decided to pickup a Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller prior to the trip. This device comes in many different models and is powered by battery or Butane/Propane canister. I chose the latter as I use that fuel for cooking while camping.

The Thermacell uses heat from a tiny gas powered flame to heat a small pad containing a repellant solution. They claim a 15′ “zone of protection” and I think that’s pretty accurate. I noticed an immediate improvement as soon as I fired up the repeller and set it on the table next to where I was hanging out. It was especially useful under the tarp where I was spending a lot of time during the rain showers. It’s not going to work as well of there’s a lot of wind, but the bugs are usually not a problem when it’s windy.

The pads last for approximately 4-hours and cost around $2 each (cheaper in bulk). There is a very slight sweet smell but it’s not off-putting and a lot better than some of the other scented candles that don’t work very well. This being the backpacking model it’s quite small and portable. If you have a larger space to cover they make bigger units for that.

If you’re looking for something to help keep the bugs at bay while enjoying the outdoors check out the Thermacell line of products and see if they’ll work for you.

And finally… Our friend Rick (The Tenderloin Connoisseur) has a new Podcast that drops each Monday to help start your week off right. Check it out here!

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