2023 Week 11 – Have a Seat
WEIRD mix of weather this week with a low temp of 19 Saturday morning. We had 2 dustings of snow, and the temps are expected to be in the 60s mid-week. I did a thing Saturday night and bet against Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Championship. I turned $2 into $42. Fairleigh Dickenson, who I have never heard of, made it a great game and ended up winning 63-58.
I’m still battling some lower back pain and narrowed down one of the contributors to my home office chair. I thought it was adequate, but after healing up and sitting it last weekend for a couple of hours, my lower back pain flared up again. After some research, I decided to move to a “Gaming” style chair.
This is an interesting sub-category with various makes and models that appear similar but are priced entirely differently. Color makes a big difference within the same lineup, with some colors being 50 percent less than others in the same line. Take the AKRacing AK-SX-WT Gaming Chair for example. I purchased the black with white trim version for $283. If I wanted all black, it was going to cost $489. SAME chair, just a different color. As I revisited Amazon to get these prices, they have already changed in a week since I ordered. My black and white is now $384, and the purple-trimmed model is now selling for $287. If you’re interested in this chair & can wait, you might save some serious money.
Overall the chair was delivered quickly, and it only took about 20 minutes to assemble. The hardware appears stainless, and the fit/finish is very nice. It sits like a leather automobile seat and has a large, adjustable lumbar and neck pillow. You can even pull a lever and recline the chair to a flat position (not sure WHY you would want to do this, but you CAN), and the armrests are adjustable up/down, left/right, and forward/back. Overall I’m giving this chair a 9/10. It’s supportive and comfortable and has helped elevate my back pain when sitting in the home office for extended periods of time.
And finally… My son wanted a globe when he was younger, and I was surprised at how expensive it could be. I saw one for a reasonable price at an antique store, only to find out it was old enough not to have the correct names for some countries. Lesson learned. The following video shows what it takes to make some of the most expensive globes in the world.
2023 Week 6 – The Big Game
It’s finally here! After all the hype, today is Super Bowl Sunday! The Chiefs & Eagles kick off at 6:30 pm in what will, hopefully, be a close-fought game decided in the final seconds of regular time. Or it’ll be a blowout, and the only entertainment will be the commercials that cost an estimated $7 million for 30 seconds.
I don’t know what’s happening, but I’m finding a lot of new foods these days. Maybe the boredom of eating the same things over the winter has me unconsciously searching for new things. Sporked had a Cheese Puff Taste Test in October 2022, and I just happened to find one of the top-ranked contenders at Menards last weekend.
Herr’s Jalapeño Popper Cheese Curls tied for first place with Fresh Finds Cheese Puffs in the competition, and as I cruised through the food section, I spotted the bag in all its 17oz glory Of course, 17 ounces of cheese puffs is a BIG bag. We’re still snacking on it two weeks later.
The Herr’s Jalapeño Popper Cheese Curls are mildly spicy and delicious. Be sure to have a few extra napkins handy, as these will get cheese dust on your fingers just by looking at them.
I mentioned previously I’m not much of a breakfast person. We’re called “Intermittent Fasters” by those in the know. Who knew that skipping breakfast would be a trendy thing?
Over the winter, after a riveting episode of Below Deck, we turned on an older episode of Shark Tank that featured a segment on overnight oats from a company called Mush.
I’ve purchased a few containers, and so far, the Apple Cinnamon is my favorite, with blueberry being a close second. The texture is slightly chewy, and the non-dairy milk is refreshing and light. This is something I could see myself eating pretty regularly and breaking my fast well before noon on some days.
My local Kroger only carries a limited selection of flavors. Luckily Whole Foods downtown has all the flavors, including Peach and strawberry. I’m looking forward to picking some of those up when I get my next lunch salad.
And finally… If you still have Netflix, you should check out a 4-part series called “Cunk on Earth,” where Philomena Cunk puts the worlds leading experts on edge with her hilarious questions about historical events. You have to pay attention because the humor can sometimes be subtle, but it’s very funny nonetheless.
2022 Week 51 – Goooaaaal!!!!
WOW, what a game. I just finished watching the World Cup finale between Argentina and France, and it was one of the best games of the event. I had a $1 bet on Team USA to go all the way, and that would have paid $175 (kind of like playing the lottery). All in all, it was a good World cup with the typical upsets. Unfortunately, we lost an American reported under suspicious circumstances.
I was planning on recommending an inexpensive last-minute gift or stocking stuffer, as I highly recommend the Leatherman Micra, which usually costs $20-30. I’ve carried one for the past 15+ years and use it regularly. I say planning to recommend it because when I went to post a link to it on Amazon, it’s now retailing for $66! This is crazy, and I can only imagine it’s due to the holiday demand.
Leatherman has it listed on their site for a more respectable $35, but it may not make it to you by Christmas. If you’re out and about, I’ve seen the Micra in Big Box and local hardware stores closer to the $25 retail price.
I love maps. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they do way more than tell you where you are. In fact, there are maps that explain all kinds of facts like this… “How many countries other than the United States do not use the metric system?” Two!
100 Amazing Maps of the World is an interesting site with a lot of great maps. I particularly like the map showing all of the rivers that flow into the Mississippi river.
And finally… What do you get when you take an 862HP Subaru Wagon, strap Travis Pastrana in the driver’s seat, and turn him loose on the streets of Florida? You get Gymkhana 2022. Pay special attention for a guest appearance by Cleetus McFarland.
2022 Week 46 & 47 – It’s HUGE!
It looks like I missed another post last week. Work has been crazy, and my schedule has been off since last weekend due to a cold (or whatever it is going around). This should get us caught up before the Thanksgiving Holiday.
After seeing a review on YouTube, I had the itch to buy some new computer hardware. So, I was pleasantly surprised when the Ultra-Wide screen monitor was on sale at Amazon (I picked this up for $999, and it’s worth every penny). This 49-inch 5120×1440 5k monitor is a thing of beauty.
It’s like having two 27-inch 4k monitors side by side with no seam in the middle. So far, it’s playing nicely with my personal MacBook Pro M1 and my work HP Z-Book. This thing is a game changer when it comes to productivity. I really wish I had this when we were all working from home for months. The only thing that’s been a challenge is video calls. I have to use an external camera & my AirPod Pros (vs. everything that’s built into the MacBook Pro). Small price to pay for this much screen real estate.
I’ve been watching the Welcome to Wrexham series on FX, and It’s been an interesting lesson on how European Football operates (so many levels). The show stars Ryan Renolds (from Deadpool Fame) and Rob McElhenney (from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). It’s more of a reality-type show than Ted Lasso was, and it’s pretty entertaining. Wrexham plays Farnborough at 10:00 am on November 26
Ever wanted to learn more about Indianapolis? Well, the Indianapolis Encyclopedia is a great place to start! This website was mentioned in a meeting at work a few weeks ago, and it has some great articles and seems to grow as more people contribute. This piece on Geist Reservoir is an excellent place to start.
Eric Hilton, one of the founding members of one of my all-time favorite bands, Thievery Corporation, just released an EP called Present, Past, and Future. It’s great to listen to in the background while working or cooking. You can check it out wherever you get your music from.
And finally… Do you know all about I-69, the interstate that will never be finished? Check out this video for all the details.
2022-Week 40 – Nashville, TN
Once again, it’s that time of year for my annual Leadership Exchange trip. This year we met in Nashville, Tennesee (on previous trips, we traveled to San Diego, CA, and San Antonio, TX). The delegation comprises mainly of senior executives and a few public officials from around the Indianapolis area and is always thought-provoking and impactful. Last Friday was a travel day to get the pre-arrival team on site and ready to hit the ground Saturday morning. I’ve attended this conference for a few years as a delegate, but with my new role at the new company, I’m part of the staff hosting the event, and I get to see how the sausage is made, so to speak.
Driving to Nashville from Indianapolis was uneventful and about as heavy as expected for a Friday. There are always a few people that do everything they can to pass everyone, and this time two of them were met by a KY State Trooper just over a rise in the road. My trusty Valentine One radar detector, and some general road trip common sense, kept me on the right side of the law as the 5-hour trip ticked by without event.
Along the way, I saw a sign. A sign I hadn’t seen in years. A sign for Schlotzsky’s Delli. Remember that place? They closed all of the Indianapolis locations in the early 2000s. My main memory of Schlotzsky’s is the bread they used. Well, I had to stop and see if it was as good as I remembered. This particular location was a drive-thru attached to the side of an IGA grocery store. I ordered the original, and it WAS as good as I remembered, but I forgot one thing, the Original has black olives on it. I love every olive out there except black olives; they just taste strange to me (probably because they’re not salty). Luckily there wasn’t a lot on the sandwich, and I just picked them off and enjoyed the sandwich. In 2018 the IBJ had a blurb saying Schlotzsky’s was planning on returning to Indy, but Covid might have delayed those plans… Fingers crossed, they make it back!
Our daily sessions took place at the Nashville Entranapurial Center one day and the GEODIS Park soccer stadium the next. Fun fact, the architect that designed GEODIS Park is the same one designing Eleven Park in Indianapolis.
I attended 2 of the cultural activities available, the first being a walking tour of the murals all around downtown Nashville and another at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where the Hatch Print Show printing company is located. Both activities were very well led by people very passionate about their respective subjects.
2-weeks out from the trip, they were calling for temps in the 90s, but we had just about perfect weather with temps in the 70s and very low humidity. Nashville is an interesting town with a lot of history. Country music isn’t really my jam, but our trip focused more on business than music, and the networking opportunities were second to none. I always return from this conference with a bunch of new connections and a newfound respect for Indianapolis as we learn that we’re doing a lot of great things in this city. With the leadership I spent several days with, we have many more good things to come.
Wednesday morning got here before we knew it, and it was time to pack up and head back to Indy. I made a quick detour while leaving downtown and stopped at the Nashville Farmers Market. While it was not terribly impressive on a Wednesday, I could see this place being a great place to visit on the weekends when all the stalls and merchants were open.
I mentioned in my initial Tom Bihn Synik 30 review that I’d be traveling with the bag, and it performed flawlessly. It was way heavier than normal since I was carrying 2 laptops, an iPad Pro, and a Surface Pro (we had a lot of presentations to show), along with all the gear to keep things charged and connected. The padded straps were a lifesaver as I drug all my gear all over Nashville for 5 days. 10/10 would recommend if you’re looking for a quality gear bag for everyday use.
And Finally… October 9, 2022, will mark the 15th Year Anniversary of IndyScan.com in its current format we created in 2007. The domain was first registered in 1996 and used for another purpose, making the domain 26 years old this year. I’m going to work on a little retrospective during the month and recap where we were and where we’re going with the Blog in the future. Have a great week!
2022 Week 34 – Fun At The Speedway
It’s time for the 2022 Devour Indy Summerfest to begin on August 22 and run until September 4, 2022. Over 100 participating restaurants will have three-course, value-priced menus available. While not a huge savings from the standard menu prices, it’s a chance to save a few bucks and maybe check out a new place. Be sure to make reservations if you can because this event attracts a lot of attention.
Wired magazine had a great review of The Best Laptop Backpacks for Work (and Life), and it sent me down the rabbit hole of Tom Bihn bags. I used to carry a backpack with my work gear in it for years after using a messenger bag for as long as I can remember. I’ve since switched back to the messenger bag but find it a little limiting and uncomfortable to carry for long periods.
After a little YouTube research, I placed an order for a Tom Bihn Synic 30 with a Grey shell and yellow liner. It was NOT a cheap bag, but if it lives up to the hype, it might be the last bag I’ll ever need. I’ll report back in a few weeks after I get it in hand and have time to put it through its paces.
Last weekend was the 2022 Indiana Sports Corp Corporate Challenge. As a consultant, I could never participate with my clients, and my company never participated (engineering nerds). With over 4000 people in attendance, it was a HUGE event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The map they gave us before the event made it look like it was just going to take up a small part of the IMS infield, but it actually took up at least 50%. The best way to describe the event is a giant Field Day for adults. It would be great if they held it on a Friday and had some events go into the night, but they typically do it on Saturday mornings. Events include:
- 5K Run
- 10K Run
- Basketball Shootout
- Cornhole Tournament
- Cycling Time Trial
- Football Toss
- Frisbee Toss
- Home Run Derby
- Team Obstacle Relay
- Total Body Fitness
- and lots more…
As you can see, they have something for just about everyone, and it’s a nice way to compete against friends at participating companies. I ran into several people I knew from around the Indianapolis area and had a lot of fun competing for points with my coworkers.
MacMost posted a video a while ago showing several ways to Search for Photos on your Mac. Some good stuff in this video that you’re sure to learn something new.
2022 Week 21 – Born of a Need
We’re in the second half of May and the City of Indianapolis is abuzz with activity leading up to the ”Big Race” on May 29. The Indianapolis 500 is about the only Indy Car race I watch. I’m more of an F1 fan so the Monaco race on the morning of the 29th will be my focus that day.
I subscribe to the Hoosier History Live newsletter (and podcast) and recently they had an issue focusing on the creation of the Geist & Morse Reservoirs. Both articles were interesting reading and a nice history lesson about the two local landmarks.
Another short post as I have a busy week ahead of me. Big announcement coming in the next post. I’m looking forward to that one!
2022 Week 14 – Not All Trees Have Padding
As the temps start to stabilize, it’s getting closer to camping season. I’ve wanted to purchase a small camper but the logistics of licensing, storing, and towing are a little overwhelming (and expensive) right now. At the minimum, I’d have to upsize my existing vehicle for anything but the tiniest of teardrop trailers, and with the supply chain shortages, everything is very overpriced. The RV industry has had record sales these past few years, so I’m hoping to pick up a used unit for a decent price in a few years. Until then I’ll continue to “car camp” but this year is going to be a little different.
For the past several years I’ve been using an ALPS Mountaineering Phenom 3 Tent. It’s worked well and is pretty easy to set up and tear down. It also has enough room for myself and the gear I want to have handy at night. Several of the trips I’ve taken have been interrupted by rain and inclement weather and being stuck in a small tent while you wait out the rain can get a little old. Enter the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent (T4).
Coming in at $350 the T4 is a reasonably priced option for an 8-foot x 8-foot x 6.5-foot tall tent. It’s supposed to sleep 4 but like all tents, you should cut that in half if you want to be comfortable. The T4 will sleep 2 comfortably with extra room for all your gear. Unfortunately, the Footprint (the piece you put under the tent to protect it from punctures) is not available in the US, but I found a shop in Toronto that sells it. They don’t ship to the US but I’m hoping to be up that way next month, so I’ll be sure to pick one up if I can. Until then I purchased a tarp to use that should get me by.
The T4 is a self-supported tent that has a setup time of approximately 90-seconds (munis Rain Fly that’s supposed to take another 30-seconds). This not only makes it convenient but could come in handy if you get to camp and need to set up in the rain. The size also gives me enough room to sit in my Yeti camp chair and wait out a rainstorm in comfort.
I’m looking forward to using the T4 with my ExPed MegaMat during an upcoming trip and will do a follow-up post about how it worked out. According to Amazon, it should be delivered today!
I’ve lived in my current house since 2005 and prior to 2021, I had maybe 2-3 (very brief) power outages in that time. Since 2021 I’ve had about 6. None have lasted longer than 2 hours, but it seems to be more of an occurrence than ever before. During the last one, I stumbled upon a site that shows power outages across the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). PowerOutage.US lets you tap on the state and get details for each county. If you have family, or customers, in other areas it’s a good way to see what’s going on during storms, etc. I’m not quite ready to get a generator yet since I have a Jackery 500 that could keep the deep freezer running for a day or so, but the thought has crossed my mind.
And finally, mountain bile riding has come a LONG way since its popularity grew in the early 80s. The video below shows what it takes to win a World Wide competition these days. Watch out for the trees without safety pads, and try not to get motion sickness while viewing this. 🤮
2022 Week 8 – Start Your Engines!
The NFL season is over, and the sports were a little limited this past week. I’m not much of a basketball fan, so I was down to a few soccer games to follow. However, this weekend marks the return of NASCAR with the Daytona 500 on Sunday afternoon. NASCAR is one of those sports I like to turn on in the background while doing housework and getting ready for the week to come. Last season was pretty interesting with teams fighting for the championship, so I hope the 2022 season is the same. Speaking of racing, we’re about 100 days away from the Indianapolis 500!
As I spend more time working in the Lawrence area, I’m starting to find some good locally owned places to try out for lunch. Since it was open at lunchtime I tried a new lunch place last Friday. Triton Brewing Company and Bistro are located in the Historic Ft. Ben area of Lawrence, Indiana. They have limited hours (only open for Lunch Fri/Sat/Sun) and are usually closed when I’m working in the area. The Bistro inside the brewery has a nice variety on the menu (PDF). I was torn between the Fish and Chips and the Tenderloin but my server said if I was hungry I should try the Tenderloin.
As reported by The Tenderloin Guy back in April of 2021, this is an outstanding sandwich. The breading was well seasoned, and the meat was tender and juicy. This was a filling sandwich that I will be getting again soon. Service was prompt, and the atmosphere was nice and open. I could see spending some time working from here on a Friday afternoon.
And finally, this week, Simply Tech posted a video about Tim Cook. I found it quite interesting & I hope you do too!