2021 Week 25 – Like Golf but Better

Over the winter I watched a lot of YouTube & I stumbled upon some interesting ones regarding Disc Golf. I’d seen the baskets around various parks in the past and had never really seen anyone playing. Enter COVID-19 and Disc Golf becomes one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in the world. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association the sport saw an 84% new player growth in 2020.

There are over 10,000 courses throughout the world and most are completely free to play, unlike Ball Golf that can run you $100 a round (and take up a good chunk of your day). You can get started in Disc Golf with a single Disc that costs $10 or a starter set of 3 Discs for under $30. Scoring is can be a simple as a piece or paper or with the use if an app such as UDisk (also reporting record growth).

UDisk is a mobile app that lists Disc Courses around the world with reviews and course conditions updated by players. It also allows you to see the Disc Course layout and distances to the baskets. Lastly you can use UDisk to keep score and track your progress as you learn the game. For $15 it’s one of the most useful apps I’ve used, let alone pay for.

Playing Disc Golf is similar to Ball Golf where each player tries to get their Disc in the basket with the least amount of throws. The holes are rated with Par’s like Ball Golf and other rules such as Water Hazards and Out of Bounds are similar. I’m not nearly ready yet but there are Disc Golf Leagues all over the place & they seem to be very active. I’m going to try my hand at joining one this fall once the summer travel settles down. If you’re looking for a new sport to try & don’t think you can beat Disc Golf as a way to get outside and get some exercise while playing.

And finally, I visited Micro Center in Cincinnati last weekend and picked up a 7-inch touch screen for one of my Raspberry Pi devices. If you like to tinker, or know someone who does, a Raspberry Pi is a great gift. It’s an inexpensive (under $50) computer on a board that can be “hacked” to do just about anything. I’m going to build the real-time weather station shown in the video below.

2021 Week 24 – What’s That Noise?

That’s what I said when the 17-Year Cicada Brood hatched last week in the tree line next to my house. It’s louder than I remember but luckily goes quiet at night so we can still sleep with the windows open. On the other hand it’s becoming impossible to keep the car clean!

As I prepare for a couple of big road trips this summer I broke out the Garmin InReach Mini so I could get it updated and re-activated. This little thing is amazing and offers some piece of mind when your travels take you to areas with little, or no, cell coverage. The InReach Mini fits in the palm of your hand and offers Two-Way Messaging, Interactive SOS Alerts, & Location Sharing using the GEOS Satellite network. You can also track your routes and mark positions such as Points of Interest, and campsites/trail heads.

The companion Garmin Earthmate app uses your phone as a GPS display and messaging tool. It connects to the InReach Mini via Bluetooth and allows you to use the keyboard and screen of the mobile phone to send/receive/read messages. Monthly cost is around $35 and you can enable/disable it at will so you’re not paying for it when you don’t need it. I highly recommend something like this for peace of mind for both yourself and those that want to make sure you’re OK on your adventures.

And finally, as a HUGE fan of Top Gear (the original one, not the spinoffs) and the Grand Tour, I was happy to see Jeremy Clarkson hosting a new show on Amazon Prime Video. But this one has a twist. He’s now a farmer! He purchased a 1000 acre plot of land a while ago (probably with thoughts of retiring there) and he’s been put in a position where he’s going to try & farm it himself. Well if you know anything about the Top Gear guys, you have an idea where this might be headed…

2021 Week 16 – Hey Y’all!

Kickstarter has some interesting projects.  I’ve backed several over the years and have mostly been happy with the end products (a few were failures and never got enough funded to get off the ground).  A new one caught my eye a few months ago called Tidbyt.  Tidbyt is a retro display kind of along the lines of a lite-brite that we all had as a kid.  It’s “connected” and can be customized to display all kinds of data from weather to stocks to transit timetables.  If all goes according to plan it will start shipping in September.  I’m looking forward to setting one up as a weather station and clock!

If you have pets do yourself a favor and locate at least 2 emergency pet hospitals that are open 24-hours and make sure this information is easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to know where they’re located so you know how to get there quickly.  We had a situation where one of our pets needed emergency care and the first place, closest to our house, had a 5-6 hour wait to see a Vet.  The parking lot was full of people sitting around on lawn chairs!  We identified an alternate emergency facility about 30-min away that advised they had a 1-2 hour wait.  It still took almost 6-hours to get the exam and necessary medications.  Current protocol requires you to call from the parking lot and stay there the entire time you’re waiting for triage and treatment.  

And finally, I’ve really been enjoying the “Bless Your Rank” food review show on the “It’s a southern Thing” YouTube channel. It’s helping me get some ideas of snacks to try when I make a trip down south later this year!

Bonus Episode!

2021 Week 13 – Sweet 16

So we’re down to 16 teams in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. It’s been a year of upsets as some of the top teams (including ALL of the Big-10) are knocked out. It’s going to be an exciting weekend along with an even more exciting round next week!

YOU get a Shot, and YOU get a shot. Ads of March 31 anyone 16 years old and above is eligible for a COVID vaccine. I’ve been trying to get one for a while now but the demand far outweighs the supply. Governor Holcomb just announced there will be a mass vaccination clinic at the Indianapolis motor Speedway starting on 4/1. I’m scheduled to go on 4/2 for the J&J shot which I’m assuming will knock me on my butt the following day. Good thing there’s basketball to watch!

If you know me you know I have a few hobbies. Camping, Hiking, Cycling, Kayaking, Photography, Cooking (and eating)… I have a new interest this year and it’s Disc Golf. I’ve only just started but I’m very intrigued with it and have a few trips coming up that I plan to play while out and about. I like that it’s an inexpensive sport to get into and the courses are 95% free or only $5-6 where there is a fee. That makes it very accessible to people and easy to walk away if it becomes boring. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Speaking of Disc Golf I found an app called UDisc that makes finding courses and leagues, scoring games, and tracking your stats possible (and fun). All that for only $5 a year (it even has an Apple Watch app included! It’s well worth the price and I’ve really enjoyed using it so far!

Finally, for my Mac friends out there here’s a short video explaining 13 Keyboard Shortcuts you might not know about.

2021 Week 10 – Last Dance with LastPass

It was reported last week that the popular password manager “LastPass” had no less than 7 trackers reporting data back to sites like Google. I’ve been looking for another password manager prior to this news but I wasn’t finding anything with the same functionality. I finally found a tool worth moving to called Bitwarden. It’s open source and FREE to use! You can optionally pay $10 a year for some advanced features, and to support the products development. After moving my data to Bitwarden and deleting my LastPass account I was more than willing to pay the money to support the tool It’s got a very active community and is constantly getting new features and updates. If you’re not using a password manager you really should and now you can for free!

Can a vegan Cheeseball taste good? It can if it’s from Eat Surreal! I’ve been seeing the “Amazeball” pop up from time to time on Instagram and it finally got my attention. I visited the Broad Ripple Farmers Market and picked one up. This is an amazing recipe that has honestly got my attention of how well vegan food can taste! if you didnt tell someone they were eating a blend of tofu, coconut oil, various veggies, and spices they would never know the difference. It’s THAT good! You can find this, and other Eat Surreal products at shops around town like Amelia’s Bread and Mass Ave Wine.

And finally… Gears and Gasoline released a 3-Part series where they take a couple of Mazda RX-7s and visit all 48 states. It’s a great set of videos to watch and looks like something that would be a lot of fun!