Category: Observations


2023 Week 1 – Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2023! I hope everyone had a nice New Year’s weekend and returned to the office with a new spark, ready to tackle what 2023 has to offer. I was off work for 2 solid weeks and was ready to hit the ground running when we all came back into the office last Tuesday.


It’s official! Saraga International Grocery in Castleton is FINALLY open! The grand opening and ribbon cutting were on December 23, but we were in the middle of an artic freeze, so I’m sure the turnout was pretty light. I had an invite but decided to stay home and stay warm instead. I stopped by after Christmas for a brief walkthru, knowing I would be returning later in the week for some more serious shopping.

If you’re looking for that hard-to-find ingredient or like to try foods from other countries, this is a place you must check out. It’s no Jungle Jim’s, but it will fill the need for a lot of items I would normally drive to Cincinnati for.


I’m a slow riser in the AM & after getting a short news brief from NPR via the Alexa alarm, I like to scan the headlines before getting out of bed. There are some really good newsletters out there, and because of these, I can’t tell you the last time I sat down and watched the local news. Some of my favorites are:

Now, I don’t read all of these each morning, but I always have at least one in my inbox queued up for something to read when I have some downtime, like standing in line or waiting for my food at a restaurant. Do you have a favorite daily newsletter to share? Leave us a link in the comments!


And finally… When was the last time you watched a truck being built? It’s amazing the amount of automation in use these days, and the following video shows how they assemble the new Ford F-150 Lightning.

2022-Week 53 – Year in Review

pexels-photo-3401897.jpeg

Where do we begin? 2022 was a wild year, full of food, tech, travel, and fun. The site stats continue to improve, with an average traffic rate of just over 5000 page views per month. Thanks for returning to read my weekly ramblings! With that, let’s go back and revisit some of the highlights from 2022.


Food in 2022


Tech in 2022


Travel in 2022


Fun in 2022


What’s in store for 2023?

While I can’t predict what 2023 has in store, I’m already planning several trips to new places around the US and maybe even an international trip, or two, later in the year. We’ll continue the weekly post schedule, as that seems to be doable on all but the craziest weeks. I have a lot of post ideas saved up, and I look forward to sharing what I’ve found and continuing with my thoughts and observations. Happy New Year, and we’ll see you again next week!

2022 Week 49 -The End is Near

It’s December & the year is coming to a close. I’m fortunate to work for a company that closes over the Christmas holiday, and I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of time off before I hit the ground running in 2023. I’m already counting the days until we get back to warmer weather so I can get back out and do more camping. I noticed today when looking at the calendar & there are 53 weeks in 2022 (because Jan 1, 2022, was on a Saturday), so we’ll have to do our year-end recap that week.


If you’ve left the house in the past 3 years you’ve no doubt seen and used a QR Code, most likely in a restaurant, to access a digital menu. QR Codes have been around for years, but it took a pandemic to make them mainstream (like video calls). But How do QR Codes Work? Review Geek has the details. Pro Tip, if you want to generate a QR Code to make it easier for guests to join your wireless network, check this site out.


And finally… Is real Parmigiano Reggiano actually worth the high price? Ethan Chlebowski breaks it down so you can make up your mind (TLDR, It IS!).

2022 Week 45 – Lights Out

transmission tower under gray sky

70-degrees in November? I’ll take it! We had some BIG wind gusts that came through Indiana yesterday, and about half the houses in my neighborhood ended up without power for a little over 5-hours. Luckily I work off laptops and iPads, so I had enough power to get through most of the day using my iPhone as a hotspot. As the sun started to go down, I even broke out the Jackery 500 Portable Station to run a few of my USB Camping lights.

Jackery 500 Portable Station

In September, the Washing Post ran an article titled “Customs officials have copied Americans’ phone data at massive scale.” In it, they detail the breadth of the program and how it’s raised some concerns on Capital Hill. As someone who plans on taking a couple of International trips in the next 12 months, this is a little scary, to say the least.

Contacts, call logs, messages and photos from up to 10,000 travelers’ phones are saved to a government database every year

Washington Post

Although I’m not part of the demographic they are looking at, “individuals who are of a significant law enforcement, counterterrorist, or national security concern,” the fact remains this database exists and appears to have little oversight in its use.


And finally… Ken Block is at it again, this time with a fully electric rally car on the streets of Las Vegas. The electric motor sound is not as pleasing as the turbo-charged gas engine, but the impressive abilities of his latest vehicle almost make up for it.

2022 Week 39 – What the Cluck is Going On?

If you follow the Indianapolis food scene, you have undoubtedly seen the explosion of chicken-focused restaurants popping up all over the place. IndyToday has an interactive map showing most of the places around town that are open or coming soon. But, unfortunately, they missed a few, namely Zaxby’s, Chick-Fil-A, and City Bird (which just opened near my house).

Nutrition info from cheatdaydesign.com

Existing fast food places are revamping their menu to compete as well. For example, Shake Shack partnered with Hot Ones to offer their take on the Spicy Chicken Sando, and Panera is hawking their Chef’s Chicken Sandwich. Burger King is even lacing up the boxing gloves and putting their Ch’King out there for everyone to make fun of (update: It’s already gone). That’s a LOT of Chicken action!

I’ll be the first to admit that I like a nice chicken sandwich, but I’m trying to remember the last time I actually had one! I compared Popeye’s vs. KFC when they were in the headlines & liked both equally well. The Nashville Hot spice that’s so popular these days is just too damn spicy for me. Even when I order it mild, it can be a gamble, depending on who made the sauce that morning (looking at you, Big Lug, and my favorite Willies Special salad). I have a Nashville trip on the calendar & I’m debating if I will make a trip to Prince’s Hot Chicken or just head to my all-time favorite Hugh Baby’s for a Smoked Mushroom and Swiss burger (probably the burger but MAYBE both?).


Another trend, for lack of a better term, is new Fast Food locations not building a dining room! These are pickup only, and it’s kind of like a Ghost Kitchen with a sign and drive-up window. Slate Magazine has an article detailing this new trend. I can honestly say that on the rare times I purchase Fast Food, I eat it in the car anyway, so the lack of a dining room has no impact on me at all.

If you’re going to eat in your car, you’d be wise to pick up a Steering Wheel Desk. These things are game changers, and I have used mine while road tripping to eat in my car, pull out the laptop to do some remote support (last job), or even play a game of solitaire while waiting out a rainstorm while camping. It slips in the pocket behind your passenger seat and is always at the ready.

Steering Wheel Desk

And finally… According to Toast (the Point of Sale company being used seemingly everywhere), Indiana residents are the best tippers in the country, averaging 21% per order. BUT, is it because we’re too nice and feel the pressure when the cashier flips the iPad around and waits for us to decide between 15%, 20%, and 25%?

https://thehustle.co/08192022-tipping-by-state

2022 Week 37 – Never Forget

As I wrote last year, Sept 11 has a different meaning to people depending on their age. 21 years ago, I had a young family, and little did I know, life would change far beyond anything I could comprehend. This weekend, we remember the 2,996 Americans who lost their lives and those who died from health complications from the events on that day. We will resume regular blog entries next week.

2022 Week 33 – Beta Fun

white and pink gasoline station near ocean

Although I’m no longer employed in tech, I’m still a tinkerer. So when the latest Beta versions of the next Apple operating system became available to the public, I was already in line & ready to download. Furthermore, since my Mac is no longer my work machine (I moved to Windows 11 on a smoking fast HP Z-Book in June), I can play around with the beta software and not be too impacted if I encounter a bug or two.

This was the case this morning when I encountered an issue when I pressed the Alt-Tab key to switch to another app. It just didn’t work. I was scratching my head & immediately thought something was wrong with my new MX Keys keyboard. After some troubleshooting, I realized I had a 3rd party app that makes the Alt-Tab command on the Mac work better (it shows minimized windows). Unfortunately, it was crashing with the latest macOS beta. After a brief search on Reddit, I discovered I wasn’t alone. After I disabled the app, all was well again in the Alt-Tab world (but I was missing the features the utility provided).

Such is life when you test Beta software. You’ll encounter little bugs along the way, but you also get to see some of the latest and greatest features before the general public. You also need the patience to work on figuring out issues as they pop up.


If you’ve put fuel in your vehicle this summer, you might disagree with the following article, but in the big scheme of things, the U.S. has some inexpensive gasoline prices compared with the rest of the world. Nowhere as cheap as $0.20 a gallon in Iran but less than the $8.50 a gallon price in the U.K. The Hustle Issue #220 had an interesting article titled “Why gas is actually cheap in America.” The section detailing traffic deaths based on fuel price was fascinating, in my opinion too.


And finally, it’s time to get a little nerdy and discuss the differences between what we in the U.S. call vegetables vs. what they’re called in the U.K. True Food T.V. has a fun video explaining it all.

2022 Week 31 – Fumble!

This last weekend I took another trip down to Cincinnati to celebrate my father’s birthday. It was the first time in over 20 years that I didn’t have my trusty Timbuk2 bag in the back of the car with all my work equipment, “just in case.”

You get used to being on-call, and sometimes, I forget I no longer am. When it clicks, I get a little bit of a rush of freedom, knowing my day/evening/activity isn’t going to get interrupted by a client needing something right then and there.

So the “Football” I’ve been carrying all these years is being retired, and I can’t say I’m sad one bit about it.

While not this big, my bag contained everything I needed to do my job from just about anywhere.

Short post this week as it’s already Monday & I have a full week ahead of me. I didn’t want to break the weekly streak, so I needed to put SOMETHING on here! Longer posts are in the hopper for upcoming weeks.


Matt Mitchel from “It’s a Southern Thing” had a hilarious skit on his channel about what would happen If Fast Food Places Could Meet. Enjoy!

2022 Week 28 – Pew Pew

July 1, 2022, was the first day of Constitutional Carry in Indiana. This means if you’re 18 or older and a person not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, you may legally carry a gun throughout the State. Previously you had to obtain a License to Carry a Handgun (LCH) through an application process. Yes, you had to jump through a few hoops like getting fingerprinted and visiting your local Police Dept to submit paperwork, but overall it was not a big deal.

In my opinion, the LCH process prevented lazy, law-abiding people from carrying firearms outside the home because it was too much work to go through the licensing process. But, unfortunately, bad guys will carry anyway because they don’t care about the law, so this had no impact on them. Law enforcement agencies are not happy about the new law either (rightfully so).

So we now have three types of people carrying firearms:

  • 1. The bad guys, who have always carried illegally despite the law
  • 2. People who were licensed correctly (and probably go to the range on occasion)
  • 3. Individuals who can now carry as of July 1 but probably shouldn’t because they have no idea what they are doing or how their firearm works (let alone the legal repercussions should they ever discharge their weapon).

The third person scares me as much or more than the second. Time will tell if this Constitutional Carry law increases violence in Indiana. Some states have had similar laws for years with reportedly no ill effect. I hope my fellow Hoosiers can follow the same path and behave themselves.


We’re halfway through the year, and I’m still enjoying the weekly post format of the Blog I started in 2021. I hope you have been too. I usually collect ideas throughout the week and spend some time on Sat/Sun looking back on the week to create a post that’s usually out each Sunday evening (or earlier). It’s a great way to share things I find online throughout the week and gives me a reason to do some creative writing every week.


I touched on this back in 2015 at the end of my GoPro Review. One or Two spaces after a period when writing (typing)? Slate said to stop doing it back in 2011; The Atlantic was still discussing it in 2018, so will there ever be a consensus on this? Two spaces were the norm when typewriters were in regular use, which was a long ago. I guess it’s just a habit that’s hard to break. While writing this, I just noticed that double-tapping the space key on any of my Apple products will insert a period AND only ONE space after the period. I’m not sure when that changed, but If it’s the same on Windows, maybe it will be easier to change! Grammarly asks me every time I draft a blog post if I want to use one space or two. I chose one for this one 🙂


And finally… You might have noticed it’s a little warm out, with it being Summer and all. I’m not one for hot drinks unless it’s cold out, and the beverage’s heat will warm me up. However, I’m a cold drink fan, especially in the morning, and when it comes to morning caffeine, if I have any, it’s usually in the form of Cold Brew.

You can purchase Cold Brew Coffee just about anywhere and pay a small fortune, or you can buy something that helps you make it at home for a fraction of the price. My initial foray into Cold Brew was years ago with the Toddy Cold Brew System ($40). It did a good job and produced at least a 7-days worth of cold brew concentrate. The only issue was that it’s bulky, and you have to replace the fiber filters every couple of uses.

Then we converted to the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker ($85). This little thing is built like a tank with glass, stainless steel, and a non-drip spout that makes dispensing your concentrate simple and mess-free. It doesn’t make as much concentrate as the Toddy (they now have a larger model that does), but the filter basket is made from a stainless mesh and is dishwasher safe, so there’s nothing to replace. After several years it’s going strong and allows me to keep a batch of cold brew concentrate in the fridge ready to go!

2022 Week 23 – Change is Fun!

blue printer paper

This is going to be a short catch-up post this week. Lots of new things going on with the new job, and the first week flew by. It’s been fun to immerse myself in a new type of work and the new terminology, acronyms, and challenges.

From an organizational standpoint, I decided, once again, to separate my personal and professional life. I had ended up merging the two recently with the adoption of Apple Reminders, but with all the new inputs and things to track with the new job, I decided to dust off ToDoist and give it another go, but only for work items. So I’m keeping my personal task list in Apple Reminders for the time being. It’s nice not to see personal items at work and vice-versa & it’s bringing some clarity I have not had for a while.

For the time being, project management will continue to occur in Evernote. It’s my tried-and-true capture tool with the ability to track projects at a granular level. I was happy to see that ToDoist has some basic project management capabilities in the form of Boards similar to Trello. I can see this being useful for future, more in-depth projects. It’s matured quite a bit since I stopped using it a couple of years ago.

That’s it for this week. I’ve had a few road trips and checked out some new restaurants this month, so those will be the subject of future blog posts as I get caught up and back into a rhythm. Stay Tuned!

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