Category: Observations


2022 Week 38 – 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 36 – 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 32 – 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!

2022 Week 19 – Mid-Term Letdown

photo of person dropping a vote

The Mid-Term elections were last Tuesday & I’ll have to admit, I was pretty disappointed in the turnout I observed. I’m fortunate that my polling place is at a small church next to my neighborhood and is about as convenient as it gets. I stopped by at 8:30 and said hello to the one and only candidate rep outside (representing Greg Garrison for Prossicutor) and proceeded inside to 8 poll workers, and that’s it. No one else was there voting. That’s a little sad, considering the primaries significantly impact who gets to run in the November election and, in many cases, decide the November results.


Scotts Cheap Flights had an excellent article about the 23 of the Best Long Weekend Trips in the US. Several are an easy drive from Indy. In fact, Nashville has been on my radar ever since I drove through in October 2020. I’ve been craving that smoked mushroom smash burger from burger Hugh-Baby’s. I think a return trip is in order this fall.


A few months ago, I picked up a new Mac and decided to go with the Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip. With 16GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, this entry-level MacBook Pro is the fastest one I’ve ever used. It’s amazing how much better it is than a unit from 2 years ago. The Mac uses Apple’s new proprietary chip, and the performance is nothing short of amazing. Couple that with a liquid retina XDR display, HD webcam, and all-day battery life; this is one hell of a package for $2k. I would not hesitate to recommend this as an upgrade or an entry into the Apple ecosystem.


That’s it for this week. However, some exciting things are happening behind the scenes at the IndyScan HQ. Details are to be released soon, so stay tuned!

2022 Week 12 – Where There’s Smoke…

silhouette of people in musee d orsay clock

There was a HUGE warehouse fire at the Wal Marl Distribution center in Avon last Wednesday afternoon. All 1000 employees made it out safely, but the debris field stretched for miles as hazardous particulate in the smoke dropped from the sky miles to the north.

Warehouse fire in Avon as seen from Downtown Indy – 2022-03-16 @ 14:03 (IndyScan)

Amazingly enough, there was ANOTHER warehouse fire in the area the next day, but this fire started from welding sparks falling into foam insulation during construction.


Hot on the heels of the latest Daylight Saving Time (DST) change, the Senate passed legislation to end it. It still needs to be passed by the House, so we’ll see if it will happen. It’s not the first time the U.S. has tried ending it. At the end of 1973, Nixon signed a law that would end DST.

The experiment was supposed to last for two years, but it only lasted eight months, and Congress reverted to standard time in the fall of 1974.

https://time.com/6157915/daylight-saving-time-history/

I was running errands the other day & saw that the Saraga International Grocery store in Castleton (and old abandoned Target) had had a facelift. A nearby billboard is saying they are opening this Spring. It’s no Jungle Jim’s (in Cincy), but it’s better than anything else in the city. I hope the nearby ethnic stores aren’t impacted too much when this place opens.

And finally… The Wall Street Journal has an interesting video on Youtube called “What America’s Supply-Chain Backlog Looks Like Up Close.” The Video was posted in October of last year, but it’s pretty interesting and shows what’s been going on at the shipping ports in the U.S.

2022 Week 11 – We Were Robbed

It’s been nice being out of the house this week after isolating for a week with Covid. There are weekends when I don’t leave the house but an entire week was tough. On the plus side I was super productive working remotely and actually enjoyed working from the house this time as opposed to when I did in 2021 because everything was closed.


Microsoft FINALLY released their award-winning Flight Simulator last week on their Cloud Gaming platform and it’s even better than I expected.

I’m a huge Flight Sim fan and used to play for hours when I was younger. The latest version takes its imagery from Bing Maps and can replicate real-time weather conditions in your current location. So it’s about as real as you can get while staying firmly planted on the couch. The Bing maps are a little out of date but it’s pretty easy to visually navigate around town and fly to various landmarks in the area.


And finally… I was robbed last night. Robbed of an hour due to Daylight Saving Time (DST). I had JUST gotten used to the sun rising at 7 am and now we’re back to 8 am for a while. I miss the days when Indiana didn’t change times twice a year. We even had a special Time Zone on computers called “Indiana (East)”. It’s still there last time I checked even though it’s not used anymore.


That’s it for this week. I have a camping & disc golf trip scheduled in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be nice playing outside again.

2022 Week 7 – Plug-In, Charge Up

I’ve been using my iPad Pro a lot lately to create these blog posts. It’s such a convenient tool to get online, and I really enjoy how it connects to my iPhone almost immediately for seamless connectivity. It’s almost like having a cellular modem built-in, without the extra expense. Paired with the Magic Keyboard this compact package can easily replace a laptop for most day-to-day tasks. Highly recommended if you spend a lot of time online and/or travel a lot.


I traveled to the small town of McCordsville last week to visit the Scarlet Lane Brewery and try the food at the Trax BBQ restaurant attached to it. Scarlet Lane is heavily focused on the Haloween theme and there are props and signs everywhere. I sampled a few of their Ales and was able to find a brew that was decent to sip on. I order it by number and don’t remember the name, I think it was a Hazy IPA. I then proceeded to grab some food. I had every intention of sampling the BBQ at Trax but their Burger of the Month caught my eye.

The Mushroom Swiss Smashburger was featured in February and included Double Blackened Patties, Swiss Cheese, Mushroom Demi-glace, Bacon, LTOP on a buttered brioche bun. Add a side of Garlic Parm Tater Tots and you have yourself a meal!

Burger of the Month at Trax BBQ

Trax has a lot of sauces to choose from. They have a sauce bar off to the side with little paper cups so you can find your favorite. I sampled about 6 of them, by dipping a tot in each one, and I think it was a tie between the vinegar-based and the mustard-based options. The two “hot” sauces lived up to their name and each had a nice bite that could easily build to an uncomfortable burn.

I hope to return in the next few weeks to actually try the BBQ and get some more of those sauces. Scarlet Lane has other locations in Broad Ripple, Indy, and Beech Grove, each with different food options. I particularly want to try the Gastropub in Indy.


And finally, Ars Technica had a report on the newly released US EV Infrastructure plan – Four fast chargers every 50 miles. The new plan begins to address the “Range Anxiety” concerns people have about Electric Vehicles (myself included). I like to do big road trips and get “off the grid”. The places I’ve been visiting have no charging facilities available and I’d be unable to visit with an EV. As the technology (and range) improves this could be a thing of the past but we’re years away from a solution. But as more and more automakers shift focus to EVs, the internal combustion engine, in my opinion, has a big target on its back.

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