2024 May Update

What’s Going On:
WHERE did May go? I’m sitting here today doing my weekly Review, and it finally hit me that it’s JUNE (and halfway through June at that)!


What I’m Buying:
My Everyday Carry (EDC) is pretty standard: wallet, watch, keys, phone, knife, and light. Sometimes, I pocket some pepper spray, depending on the situation. The individual items rotate (like a dive watch vs. an Apple watch or a money clip vs. a wallet), but they’re always consistent and in their respective pockets.

My blade of choice this last year has been the 945 Mini Osborne (in Green Aluminum). It’s a great knife and has held up well for daily carry. But it’s a little on the heavy side when wearing lightweight clothing.

Mini Osborne

While walking back to the car from the Broad Ripple Art Fair, we stopped at Rusted Moon Outfitters to look around (and to see if they still had their 20% off sale going on). I missed the sale but still walked out with a new (and much lighter) Benchmade. The Mini Bugout (CF-Elite) is a perfect summer pocket carry since it only weighs 1.5oz. The weight saving comes from the Carbon fiber-reinforced scales. Add to that a Cerakote blade & you’re looking at a nice low-profile and versatile slicer.

Mini Bugout

The Mini Bugout needed to be broken in a bit to get that trademark Benchmade open/close action, but it didn’t take long, and it’s been in my pocket every day since.


What I’m Eating:
Babish Culinary Universe has been posting some interesting “Ranking Every…” videos lately, and one caught my eye: Ranking 46 Kinds of Ramen. If you’ve visited an Asian Speciality store, you have undoubtedly seen the mind-numbing combinations and variety of Ramen. We’re not talking about the standard Top Ramen found at the local Stop-and-Shop for $0.50 a pack.

Spoiler Alert, his favorite turned out to be Buldak Quattro Cheese Ramen Hot Chicken Flavor. I turned to Amazon to help me find it.

Spotted when I visited Thailand in Febuary, 2024

This stuff is GOOD! It’s like Kraft Mac & Cheese powder meets ramen noodles, but it also has another pouch of flavor that brings the heat. I must warn you, this stuff is HOT! I used half the hot packet on my first bowl and regretted it immediately. I backed off quite a bit the next time I fixed it, and it was a delicious bowl of instant spicy cheesy ramen!

I thought the packaging looked familiar, and I went back and looked through my Thailand Trip photos from earlier this year. Sure enough, I had sent the picture above to my son while I was there.

If you’re into Instant Ramen, I recommend checking out the Buldak Quattro Cheese Ramen Hot Chicken Flavor. If you do, let me know what you think!

If you’re looking for a good quality lunch, I recommend you check out Slapfish in the Fishers District. I’ve gone there for lunch the past couple of Fridays (working from home) and had some really good fish and chips! Lunch out for under $20? I’ll take it.

Lastly, the old O’Charley’s in Fishers has been turned into a Sports Bar called Walk-Ons. We visited a few weeks ago to try out the Shrimp PoBoys. They were pretty tasty. We were looking for a substitute for B’s Po Boy, who used to be in Fountain Square Pre-COVID. These were very close with the bread (from New Orleans) being the missing ingredient (although the hoagie roll at Walk-ons is decent). For a basic Po Boy, they scratch that itch. In fact, I went back the following week and got another one for lunch! The sleeper item on the menu at Walk-Ons is the HUSH PUPPIES! Get them as an app or a side & thank me later.


Where I’ve Been:
The first weekend in May found me in Marion, IN, attending a small regional Amateur Radio swap meet. I didn’t have very high expectations, but it turned out to be a nice show with a few radio guys I’ve talked to on the air and was able to meet for the first time. I also got a good deal on some antennas to use with my receiving equipment (scanners and stuff).

Of course, in May, you go out to the track! I was out there for some work events & didn’t go to the race. It ended up raining & delaying everything anyway, so that would have been an awful time at IMS this year. I ended up watching it on TV like everyone else when they lifted the blackout. Indy Car will be on Fox next year & I’m hearing people say the Indy 500 will be televised live. I’ll believe it when I watch it.

At the end of May I went camping with a good friend of mine down at Hardin Ridge. We had a good time catching up and playing around with some Amateur Radio equipment once the sun went down.

Lastly, I checked out the Fishers Farmers Market a few Saturdays ago. The markets keep getting better! I walked away with a package of pepperoni Rolls from one of the Amish vendors. They were really good!


What I’m Reading:
Jenny Lawson is back with another introspective into her life called Broken (in the best way possible). It’s been a great read so far. I got about 25% through it in the first sitting. It can be a little dark as she walks you through her mental and physical disorders, but she has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that make the book a must-read. Her previous books have been just as enjoyable to read as well. If you’re looking for a light-hearted look at life from someone with a very active imagination, Jenny might be an author you’d like to read!


What Else:
That’s about it for May. It went WAY too fast & June is already half over. The weather is finally catching up to us, with 90+ degree days in the forecast for the next couple of weeks. A group of us are going over to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the Olympic Swim Trials. We were able to get suite tickets, so that should be enjoyable. We also arranged a behind-the-scenes tour to see how they pulled this event off. I should have some pictures in the next blog post.


And Finally…
The maddening mess of airport codes.

2024 March Update

What’s Going On:
It’s hard to believe it’s April already. We’re a few days from the big solar eclipse that’s been in the news for a while now. As of today, it’s supposed to be partly cloudy on April 8, with a slight chance of rain. This might be a bust!


What I’m Buying:
There were no big purchases last month, but I did get a hell of a deal on an Arlo hard-wired Video doorbell. I just installed it last weekend, and I wish I had had one of these a while ago. It works a lot better than I expected, and for $30, I think it was one of the best purchases so far this year.


What I’m Eating:
We ate a LOT of Thai food last month since the recipes were still fresh and the ingredients plentiful from my visit to Saraga. The Costco-stocked garage freezer has been getting a workout lately, too. It took a while to find one during COVID-19, but having some extra freezer storage was a great purchase.

On my way back from camping last weekend, I stopped by a “Hucks” gas station in Paoili, Indiana, and picked up a Spicy Chicken Sandwich for brunch. It was much spicier than I expected, but I hit the spot. I’ll buy another one next time I pass a Hucks!

We finally tried Noah Grant’s in Zionsville last month. I have heard good things about it for a while now & we finally made it over there.

It’s primarily a seafood restaurant with steaks, sushi, and salads. We ordered the calamari, split a wedge salad, and had scallops and crab cakes for our entrees. It was all very well prepared, and the service was spot on. It was even half-price night for wine, so we picked out a nice Pino Grigio to go with our meal.


Where I’ve Been:
I took advantage of the warm spell and went camping last Friday night in my favorite spot in Southern Indiana. Indian-Celina Lake had just opened for the season, and several sites were unavailable for reservation due to a bug in the system, so the place was pretty quiet, with only six other campsites occupied that night.


What I’m Watching:
Somebody Feed Phil is back on Netflix! I wasn’t expecting any new episodes after the last season, so that was a pleasant surprise. Mr & Mrs Smith on Amazon has been surprisingly good as well. It’s loosely based on the movie with the same name, but it’s a series.


What I’m Reading:
I just finished “The Art of Invisibility” by Kevin Mitnick. While it was a little dated, it had some good information about how to protect yourself online.

I just started the book “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff and could not put it down. It’s a fascinating account of the lives of hundreds of people who were directly impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attack.


What Else:
I took some Ham Radio gear with me on the camping trip and participated in an activity called Parks on the Air (POTA). The goal is to set up a simple station and make a minimum of 10 contacts with other radio operators. I had 35 contacts Friday night and exactly 10 Saturday morning (including Alaska!) before I broke camp down and headed home.


And Finally…
A few weeks ago, I read the long-form opinion piece in the New York Times called “At the Brink.” It was a fascinating piece about the threat of using nuclear weapons today. It has great writing and interactive graphics to along with the subject material.

See you in a few weeks!

2024 February Update

What’s Going On:
I just got back from a 10-day visit to Thailand! It was a LOT of flying (24 hours each way) but worth every minute of the journey once I arrived. I have a 2-part blog post I’m working on this month and should have the first part out in the next week or so.

March is somewhat of a quiet month, but as the temps warm and spring gets closer every day, it’s time to start planning some outdoor activities. I reserved a campsite for an overnight trip later this month to try my hand at a Ham Radio Parks on the Air activation. This combines my love of the outdoors with my newly refreshed passion for Ham Radio.


What I’m Buying:
Woot! is an overstock site connected with Amazon, and it occasionally has some really good deals. Earlier in February, I bought a refurbished Dyson V10 Animal for less than half the cost of a new unit. It’s an older model but better than the V6 I purchased years ago. It arrived in generic packaging, but there was no indication the unit had even been turned on, let alone used at any time. I was immediately impressed with the increased performance of the V10 and am very happy with the purchase. The V6 still has some life, so it will be used for smaller house tasks, including cleaning the cars.


What I’m Eating:
Lots of Thai food while on my trip. I flew Turkish Airlines, and their in-flight meals were very tasty. I was pretty impressed with the quality and quantity of the food served while we cruised at 35,000 feet. It was funny to see the standard USA chains on my layover in Istanbul. Burger King & McDonalds were prominently placed through the airport and had a lot of customers.

I went almost two weeks without eating American or processed foods and could feel a difference in just a few days. For some reason, I always assumed Smoothies all had dairy (something I avoid) and quickly learned that was not true. I enjoyed several fruit smoothies while abroad and also enjoyed their incredibly low price. We’ll see how well my blender holds up after my next smoothie supply run to Costco. I might be in the market for a Vitamix in the future…


Where I’ve Been:
I saved about $1000 on my airfare (and a 2-hour flight leg at each end) by flying out of Detroit. It’s only a 3.5-hour drive from my house and was worth it. I used some of the savings to upgrade my seats for the 4 flight legs. More on that in a future post…

I only had one stop in Istanbul, Turkey, before I went to Bangkok, Thailand. Once in Bangkok, I met my brother, and we took a short flight up to Chiang Mai, where we stayed for most of the visit.

Toward the end of my trip, we returned to Bangkok for a few days before I hopped on an early morning flight to return to the US.

I returned to Detroit via Istanbul again and landed around 7:30 pm. Customs was a snap, and I was returning to Indy by 9 pm. I arrived home after midnight and was still pretty awake, even though I had been up for approximately 36 hours. Once settled, I slept like a rock and enjoyed the extra day of PTO on my return. Adjusting back to Indiana time was more complicated than I thought, considering I didn’t have any issues adjusting to the 12-hour time change in Thailand.


What I’m Watching:
I downloaded a lot of content to my iPad Pro for the travel legs and consumed quite a bit. YouTube always has something to watch, and I wanted to watch a few movies on Netflix. Being able to download content to your device is a great feature that I wish more streaming services would provide. The in-flight entertainment was available, but I only used it once to watch a soccer match live at 38,000 feet.


What I’m Reading:
I also read a lot while held captive in the air. I have a bad habit of pinning articles to “read later,” and I had a lot to choose from. I also worked on a few books using the Amazon Kindle. The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick kept me entertained for a few hours before I switched over to a copy of Essential Thailand by Fodor’s Travel Guides.


And Finally…
This was quite a mystery. How does a 200-foot broadcast radio tower disappear without a trace? Check the comments on the article for details (and the answer to the mystery!).

2024 January Update

What’s Going On:
It’s been a slow month after 2 weeks off work over the holidays. I had some dental work after dealing with a bothersome tooth since Thanksgiving & it’s healing up nicely.


What I’m Buying:
Nothing major except for a few travel items for an upcoming trip. More on that in the February update!


What I’m Eating:
We visited Grindstone Public House for Devour Indy & had one of the best meals in a long time. Lightly battered & fried stuffed mushrooms, Fish & Chips, & Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. It was VERY good & the portions were generous.


What I’m Reading:
I’m making an effort to read more in 2024. It’s not that I don’t like to read it’s the fact that I have so many hobbies that reading always takes a back seat.

The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick – It’s 6+ years old but still has a lot of good information about how the Internet works & how to protect your privacy.

World Travel: An Irreverent Guide by Anthony Bourdain – Written after his death, it’s a guidebook about his favorite places.

The Maine Millennial: Car headlights are out of control


What Else:
I’ve really been enjoying my new ham radio privileges & I’ve communicated with 105 countries since September. It’s something fun to do when the weather is gross. I’m looking forward to taking some equipment with me when I go camping!


And Finally…
This is a long one, but well worth the time to read.

The Crimes Behind the Seafood You Eat | The New Yorker

2023 Week 49 – This is the Voice of America

What’s Going On:
Lots of things getting in the way of blogging recently. All good, but this time of year can get very busy as we plan for the holiday festivities and try to complete outstanding projects before winter break.

I’m fortunate that my company closes from Christmas to the New Year so that should give me some time to get things caught up and, hopefully, back on a better blogging schedule.


What I’m Eating:
Wurst-n-Weinet at the Fishers Test Kitchen has a HUGE soft pretzel on the menu on Thursday nights. It’s worth checking out if you’re in the area, but get there early, they sell out every week!


Where I’ve Been:
I visited the Voice of America museum in Cincinnati a few weeks ago. What an amazing place! The history is very interesting and the museum tour was a lot of fun! They also have a very nice Amateur Radio station setup that I enjoyed checking out too.


And Finally…
Henry Kissinger, who died this week at 100, outlived the obituary writer of his obituary writer…

2023 Week 43 – Bohemian Bobbleheads

What’s Going On:
I had the opportunity to join my lovely partner on a trip to the Austin TX area a few weeks ago. We went down to check out the Original Round Top Antiques Fair, in Round Top, TX. The entire place had a Texas-type Bohemian feel to it (hats, sun dresses, and cowboy boots) that we dubbed the “Bohemian Boobblehead” look.


Where I’ve Been:
We rented a sporty little Audi A5 and stayed in an Air B&B that could not have been nicer. It was in the middle of nowhere, next to a Longhorn ranch, and a perfect place to relax and unwind.


What I’m Eating:
We tried a local BBQ place, and it was just OK. But, the local bakery was delicious, and the local butcher had steaks and loaded baked potatoes so good we had them two nights in a row.

Round Top is a small town with a normal population of 90 people. The antique fair brings in around 200,000 people over a few weeks. One of the local food attractions is Royers Pie Haven, which deserves all the accolades. After waiting for 10-15 minutes, we each got our little slice of heaven to enjoy for dessert later that night.


It was raining when we flew out of Austin and back to Indy; we skipped the line at Franklin BBQ, visited Terry Black’s, and had some of the best BBQ we have ever had. I didn’t get any decent pictures because I was chowing down!


And Finally…
I am heading down to Cincinnati in the next couple of weeks to visit the historic Voice of America Bethany Station.

2023 Week 42 – Back Home Again in Indiana

What’s Going On:
I’ve been back from Europe for a while and have been playing catch-up for the last few weeks. I also took another trip. This time Texas was the destination!

Special shout out to Side Door Bagels for the fantastic breakfast bagel I picked up last week!

More to come soon…

2023 Week 41 – London Calling

What’s Going On:
Leaving Paris was not bitter-sweet. I was ready for the next stop in my travel back to the U.S., London, England. I took another ridiculously long Uber ride to the train Station & boarded Eurostar #9027 for the 2-hour trip under the English Channel.

As I wrote last week, once I got to the station, it was time to wait. There was a (unusual?) delay because of a broken down train, so I was in a queue for about an hour while they got things back on track (pun intended), and I was off to London!

There was a little confusion because the station didn’t update the electronic board, so many people, myself included, thought we were in the wrong area. After numerous announcements in various languages (English was one, thankfully), we were all relieved to find we were right where we needed to be.

The train from Paris to London was not as nice as the Zurich to Paris train, but it was still nicer than most commercial flights, and there was plenty of legroom to stretch out and relax.


We hit 334.7 km/h (207.97 mph) at one point but slowed considerably once we got to the Chunnel. The 31.35 mi trip underground and water was a lot faster than I expected, and shortly after we entered the tunnel on the French side, we emerged in England.

I walked a short way from the train station and quickly obtained an Uber to take me to my hotel. I was getting a little hungry, so I opted for an early dinner at a pub on the Thames River.

What I’m Eating:
I chose Captain Kidd mainly because of its location on the water and decent reviews online. The pub itself was what you would expect. Lots of wood and small groups of friends talking about their day and local events.

The food was disappointing. I ordered fish and chips (when in Rome), and I received their version (the dark nuggets in the bowl on the left are “Shrimp Scampi”). They tasted OK but definitely NOT what I was expecting.

The house brew, on the other hand, was deliciously light and hit the spot.

The next day, I set out to explore the city. I had a general idea of where I wanted to go but no agenda once I got there. I started my day at the Brick Lane Bakery and ordered a Salted Beef Bagle.

Salted beef (think corned beef) on a freshly made chewy bagel with mustard and pickles. I hit the jackpot with this dish. It was new but familiar at the same time and was a delicious way to start the day.

As I walked around London, I found many covered bazaars with vendors selling all kinds of items as well as food stalls scattered throughout.

After exploring 3 or 4 of these, I turned a corner and discovered London has an Eatly location!

After exploring Eatly, I settled in for a quick cup of espresso in the coffee shop downstairs to get my bearings & choose what to do next. I was now close to the Thames again, so I headed south to check out the London & Tower bridges.

All this walking was wearing me out, so I found a riverside restaurant to get a light lunch and a well-deserved glass of wine.

I spent another day in London before heading back to Indianapolis. I’ll admit I wasn’t in London long enough. There are a lot of things to explore, and I’m looking forward to another visit in the upcoming years to see and do more.

Because the City was participating in a Car Free Day the day I was leaving, the entire downtown area was gridlocked. A 14-mile direct drive to the airport turned into a 90-minute trip around the outskirts of the city to get to Heathrow.

Once inside and through security, I felt like I was in Vegas. This airport was over the top!

My seat was upgraded to business class, and I ended up in the front of the section behind the bulkhead. THIS is the seat to have on the 6-hour flight back to the U.S. LOTS of legroom, and very easy to get up and move around without disturbing the person next to you. I’m looking for these seats on my next international trip.

I returned to Indianapolis around Midnight and was wide awake when I got home. I managed to get some rest and didn’t have any jet lag effects the next day.

All in all, this was a great trip. Zurich is a place I would have never visited on my own, but I’m ready to return. I could have skipped Paris for another day in London, but I’m glad I at least passed through. The train travel in Europe is no joke. It’s cost-effective and fast. I wish we had 200+ mph trains in the US between major cities. I would use those whenever possible versus flying in all but the longest trips.


What Else:
Since I returned from Europe, I passed my Amateur Radio General Exam (I only missed two questions on the 35-question test) and now have privileges to use radio frequencies that allow me to talk all over the world.

My simple setup with a wire antenna in the 2nd-floor attic has allowed me to make over 550 contacts in 94 countries. I should have done this a long time ago.


And Finally…
The New Yorker had a fascinating article (with clever graphics) about the world’s seafood supply. It’s very eye-opening and I learned a lot by reading it

The Crimes Behind the Seafood You Eat

I also encourage you to take a look at the Outlaw Ocean Project as well.

2023 Week 40 – Oui Oui Paris

What’s Going On:
Continuing from last week, when I spent a week in Zurich for work, it was now time to work my way back home with some side trips along the way.

I left Zurich HB (one of the coolest train stations I’ve ever been in), and in just over 4-hours, I stepped off the train in Paris.

I immediately discovered a restriction on Ubers for several blocks around the station & took a short stroll to find a cafe for a coffee. It was starting to drizzle, so I picked up the pace.


No English was spoken here, and the minimum purchase was about twice the price of my cup of coffee, so I had another (ha). After getting hopped up on caffeine, I found a local hotel, ordered an Uber, and waited under their awning.

What I’m Eating:
After settling in at my hotel, I decided to walk around before it started raining again. I was next to a canal that ran through this part of the city and found a little brewery on the other side, where I ordered a pint and a snack (fries, of course!).

I failed to realize until I was almost finished with my fries that the yellow mustard bottle was actually mayo, which I love on fries.

I used my Tom Bihn Side Hustle a lot during my travels. It’s the perfect sized bag to carry just the essentials, which in my case is:

  • iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil
  • Moleskine Notebook
  • Sharpie S-Gel pens (Black/Blue/Red)
  • Airpod Pro Gen 2
  • Reading Glasses
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
  • Anker Powerbank
  • Assorted charging cables

I’ve carried this setup for several months prior to my trip when I head over to Sunking Brewery to blog, and plan for the upcoming week. It helps me to get out of the house when I need to tap into my creative side. It’s also the perfect setup for plane & train travel since it’s compact. It slides into my Tom Bihn Synik 30 for secure storage and transportation when not in use.

I looked around the area on Google Maps and found a Meister Berliner Kebap that serves a delicious Doner Kebab. I had been wanting to try one of these for a long time, and when I found one in Paris, my dinner plans were set! On the way back to the hotel, I stopped by a wine store and settled in for the night with a huge pita stuffed with all kinds of good stuff. The hotel was decorated with lots of world flags as the Rugby World Cup was happening in France while I was there.

The next morning, I packed up and headed to another station to catch my next train, this time to London. I can honestly say Paris just didn’t do it for me. The rainy weather didn’t help, but the place just felt dirty and depressing. There were homeless camps everywhere, and the traffic was awful. I was around the outskirts of the touristy area, and it was number to bumper.

Looking at Google Maps, it would have taken me over 2 hours to get anywhere near the Eiffel Tower, and it was only a couple of miles away. If the weather was better and I had another day in Paris, I would have walked, but this was just an overnight, and I was ready to move on.

Once I got to the station, it was time to wait. There was a (unusual?) delay because of a broken down train, so I was in a queue for about an hour while they got things back on track (pun intended), and I was off to London! More to come on that piece of the trip next week.


And Finally…
Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the 50 Best TV Shows of the 21st Century (So Far). How many of these have you watched, and what’s your take?