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 The Bing maps are a little out of date but it’s pretty easy to visually navigate around town and fly to various landmarks in the area.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.
So I finally caught COVID. Not sure how but it doesn’t really matter at this point. 2 tests 12-hours apart confirmed it. What started out feeling like allergies, something I’m still adjusting to as an adult after never having them as a child, has turned into more of a minor sinus infection with a random need to cough a few times an hour. Certainly not debilitating & I’m able to work from home and be productive. I could have been a lot worse…
5 days later and I’m feeling 90%. COVID wise I’m 100% better but hanging around the house for 5-days has wrecked my lower back (I’m also told this is one of the symptoms of the Virus). Getting out to run errands today after my self-isolation, and the weather is amazing. The mid-70s and partly cloudy skies. Hopefully, it stays that way for a few days. We’re definitely firing up the grill tonight!
I’ve been dabbling in Crypto for the past year or so and I can honestly say it’s been kind of boring. Sure the volatility can be interesting but after playing around with several different currencies I decided to center everything around BitCoin. I’m making a recurring purchase every paycheck to help with dollar-cost-averaging and keep things consistent. My “theory” (and let’s be honest, we all have one with Crypto and Investments) is that once the finite amount of Bitcoin is eventually mined it will grow in price and be more desirable to own. We’ll see if the gamble pays off, but like everything else like this, you only want to wager what you can afford to lose.
And finally, It’s a Southern Thing had a funny skit on Youtube the other day explaining when it’s OK to fight at the dinner table. Enjoy!
Another ‘Fake Spring” in Indiana with temps in the 60’s followed by below-freezing nights in the same week. The first couple months of the year are my least favorite time of year, and spring can’t get here fast enough…
At the recommendation of a co-worker, I picked up a new mouse last week. The Logitech MX Master 3 is unlike any mouse I’ve used before. First off, it’s a big boy size-wise, but, weighing in at 4.9 oz (140 grams), it’s surprisingly light for its stature. It also has a LOT of buttons and wheels. Something it’s going to take a while to get used to, especially since you can customize EVERY control and wheel depending on the application you have in focus. The fit in hand is comfortable, and the USB-C rechargeability makes this an excellent replacement for the Apple Magic Mouse I’ve been using for more years than I can remember.
Priced at $100 the Logitech MX Master 3 is not cheap but the improved ergonomics and extreme customizability are worth it in my opinion. After using it for about 2 weeks I can’t imagine going back to a “normal” mouse again.
And finally… 60 Minutes (Australia Edition) aired a piece earlier this month about the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappearance. A aerospace engineer claims he has determined, with great confidence, where the flight went down. He did this by analyzing disruptions in Ham Radio communications, of all things, during the flight. Let us know what you think after watching in the comments below.
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!
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!
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.
Our “dusting” of snow this past Friday turned into a few inches and seemed to catch a lot of people off guard. There were several accidents around town including a few interstate shutdowns. I’m happy that it was a short commute to the office and back so I missed all the excitement.
I’ve been seeing a lot more Automated License Plate Readers (ALRPs) pop up around central Indiana. The company responsible is called Flock Safety and they have entered into contracts with a bunch of police agencies in the area. They work by scanning License Plates as well as noting the make/model/color of vehicles that pass by their watching eye. This data can be referenced by local officials to determine who was in an area in the past or look for vehicles in real-time in the event of an active emergency. Some neighborhood Associations have been installing them as well to keep track of individuals entering and leaving the area.
Earlier this year I upgraded the tried true Bose Quiet Comfort 15 (wired) headphones I’ve had for years to the new QC45 (wireless) headphones. The initial impression was nothing short of *WOW*. I had been using the QC15 headphones mostly for travel and times when I needed to really isolate myself from the outside world. Most other times I relied on my AirPod Pros for day-to-day use.
One of my favorite features of the AirPods is the Transparency Mode. This lets the outside world in while you listen to your media. The Bose QC45s have a similar feature called Aware Mode. The build quality of the QC45 is top notch and I’m looking forward to many years of service. If you’re in the market for a pair of wireless over-the-ear headphones they are worth considering.
And finally, if you’re a fan of Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, Americas Test Kitchen shows you an easy way to make it at home in a cast-iron skillet (you have one of those, right?). This recipe looks like a great thing to make on a Sunday night to enjoy leftovers the next day!
It’s the NFL Wild Card weekend, and there have been some great games played these past two days. But, unfortunately, the Colts blew their chance to go to the playoffs last weekend with an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The only thing I like about the cold winter weather is the food we fix during that time. Comfort foods like casseroles, stews, and pot roasts seem to taste better when we’re stuck inside on a winter day. I just updated my Pot Roast recipe that’s been on the site for years to now include dried mushrooms (vs. fresh) and tomato paste. This adjustment resulted in a much more flavorful broth and some nice textures from the rehydrated fungi. If you end up trying the recipe, let me know what you think!
And finally, Marques Brownlee and his team took a Tesla, a Mustang Mach-E, and a gas car on a 1000 trip to see which car could make the trip the fastest. The results were interesting & show just much more infrastructure is needed to make (non-Tesla) electric cars viable.
Here we go, another New Year! I’m hoping 2022 is better than the last two years. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time & plan to make the best of 2022 by getting back outside and doing the things I love to do.
I typically write these Blog posts on the couch each Sunday morning from notes I’ve made throughout the week. A few weeks ago I started visiting the Fishers Test Kitchen and Sunking Tap Room to write. It’s a nice change from sitting around the house & the food/beer that’s available is a big plus. The iPad Pro has been a real rock star when it comes to mobile computing. I love how it instatly connects to my iPhone when I’m away from home.
We lost Betty White this week at the age of 99. She was quite the actress who had an impressive resume. I remember first seeing her in the Mary Tyler Moore show when I was a kid. She stood up to racism in 1954 in a move that could have ended her career. She also had quite the following by several Millennials I know. She will be missed.
The day before Christmas I finally received my new Tidbyt digital display. I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year & had been watching its development progress throughout the year. It’s an Internet-connected LED display with unlimited customization from Apps. The initial set of Apps got me up and running and developers are building more all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!
And finally, if you’ve ever wondered how a Formula One car really works this is the video for you. It goes into some amazing detail and helps explain the inner workings as well as why they cost as much as they do.
It’s the final Sunday of 2021 & it’s time for another Year in Review! I wanted to bring the blog back to life this year and post at least once a week. I missed a few weeks throughout the year, but overall I’m pleased with how I was able to keep things active. Along the way, I kept a list of ideas to discuss, so I should always have some content as I attempt to keep this up in 2022.
The weekly format seems to work well as it allows me to summarize the previous 7-days and add some additional content that appears relevant (or fun). As I did last year, this post will be a summary of the past year. It’s been another wild year with Covid and all the VAX/Boost discussions but we’re in the home stretch. Next Sunday will be the first post of 2022!
I shared our family favorite Scalloped Potato Gratin
Started visiting A2Z Cafe again for lunch (Closed on Monday)
The Bon Appetite Test Kitchen falls apart
Clancy’s opens in the garage Food Hall
We visited Indy Tacos
Discovered a Vegan Cheeseball that fooled everyone I served it to (AmazeBall)
Dropped Lass Pass for BitWarden (and never looked back)
Hoagies and Hops opens a new location in Fletcher Place (now closing on 12/31)
Life in Indy launches
I start playing Disk Golf (Like Ball Golf only better)
We discover J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (although I mentioned him on the Blog in 2010)
My First COVID Vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saraga plans to open a store in Castleton (still not open)
Baseball returns and I actually watch it (Go Reds!)
I order a TidByt (it was delivered the day before Christmas, review coming soon)
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery (free cookie Monday)
More Disk Golf (I’m hooked)
I visit the Gus Grissom Monument In Mitchel, Indiana
Hiking at Hemlock Cliffs
More Disk Golf at a Monastery in Southern Indiana
I finally try Chris’s Ice Cream And fall in love with their Chorizo Burrito
First camping trip of the year at Indian-Celina Lake Campground
Bought a WOOL T-Shirt (and LOVE it)
Who could forget the 17-Year Cicada Brood
Built a Pi Weather Station (use this daily)
More Disk Golf
Travel to Cincy and visit the War Birds Museum, and Jungle Jims, for fathers Day
Road Trip to the Allegheny National Forest (So much rain)
Found a proper Beef on Weck at the Bar-Bill Tavern (I have dreams about this sando)
Visited Niagara Falls (nicer than I remember)
Visited the Zippo/Case Museum
FINALLY saw Rock City (only to find out it’s not the one I saw signs for growing up)
Walked the Kinzua Bridge State Park in Kane, PA
Reviewed Upland Brewing (Jalapeno Blue Cheese Sauce)
Bought an iPad Pro (FINALLY)
Reviewed the 99% Invisible Podcast
MORE Disk Golf
Looked at the WP Recipe Maker plugin (too much work)
20 years since 9/11
677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID so far
Visited San Diego
Bought a new Apple Watch
Updated my Kindle Paperwhite
Watched the Donut King Documentary
Visited Findlay Market
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (READ this)
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (then READ THIS)
So that’s it for 2021. We covered a lot of ground this year and started some new things. The Keto “diet” has turned into more of a “watch those carbs” lifestyle and I’m happy to report I’ve had some moderate success. Disk Golf was something new this year and I really enjoyed playing various courses around the area. San Diego was a nice escape, even though I was there for work, and the Allegheny National Forest was one of the nicest camping trips I’ve had in a while, despite all the rain.
Here’s to another year, and thanks for reading!
I’ve been an Amazon Kindle user ever since V2 was released in 2009. That version had a keyboard and built-in cellular modem that allowed you to transfer data and download books anywhere, anytime.
The Kindle e-reader does one thing and, in my opinion, does it very well. It provides a distraction-free reading experience. OK, two things, you can carry a huge number of books with you at any time. This is handy when you want to read a couple of books at the same time, depending on mood and energy. It makes no noise, it has no pop-up messages, and it’s already ready to pick up where you left off in your last reading session.
I eventually upgraded to a newer version and then another. The low $100-125 price and ever-increasing screen resolutions and lighting options made the upgrades worth it. We lost the cellular modem years ago, but with WiFi being so accessible, it’s something you really don’t miss. I typically like to read in the evenings where it helps me unwind. On occasion, I can use my phone to finish a chapter or launch the Audible version of a book where it syncs with the text copy for easy switching between the two.
My last Paperwhite was starting to get a little sluggish, and I realized after 5-years of ownership I was no longer getting updates with some of the newer software features. After doing a little research, I found that I could trade my old unit in for a new one and get a 20% discount as well as a few dollars for the unit I was turning in.
The 2021 Kindle Paperwhite (as reviewed by Wired) is the best Kindle e-reader to date. The screen is larger, and the screen resolution looks like you’re reading a paper book. Backlight options include a warmth mode that tints the screen to ease eye fatigue at night. It’s all automatic based on the sunrise/sunset in your area. You don’t really notice the screen color until you turn it off.
Now that it’s getting cold out, and dark early, I’m spending a lot more time reading in the evening, and I’m really enjoying this upgrade.
I wrote about the Grammarly app in Week 42, and I’m happy to say after the 90-day initial trial, I renewed for another year. It’s been beneficial in my personal and professional life. You might have noticed some improvements in the blog posts too. I was missing some necessary punctuation in my writing. Some obvious (bad editing) and some not so obvious. They just released a new Desktop app for the Mac that allows it to work in ANY application. It was previously limited to its own app outside MS Office apps. Now it works right inside my email program and makes editing on the fly much smoother. At $150 a year, it’s not cheap but, if written communication is an important part of your life, it’s worth checking out to see if it can be helpful to you.
And finally… The limited series show “True Story” on Netflix was a surprise hit. Kevin Hart was excellent in his role, and the story moved very quickly through the seven episodes. Each episode is only 30-minutes, so it’s a pretty quick watch & easy to binge on a rainy day.
That’s it for thie week. Christmas is less than 2-weeks away! I should probably start shopping or something…