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.

AKRacing AK-SX-WT Gaming Chair

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 10 – IND #1 Again!

After dealing with a back issue for the past 2 weeks, I *think* I’m finally on the mend. At least I could get out of bed easier this morning. I’m sitting way too much during the day, and I think I need a new desk chair at home. Do you have any suggestions for a good one to purchase? Daylight Saving Time has been screwing with me all day, too & as I write this, It’s later than I feel it should be!


Congratulations to the Indianapolis International Airport for winning the “Best Airport in America” for an amazing 11th time! That’s a very remarkable achievement, but not surprising if you travel much. It’s the easiest airport to navigate that I’ve ever been to, and the main concourse is beautifully designed.


Speaking of air travel, the Hustle had an article last week about the long-forgotten Floppy Disk that, believe it or not, is STILL being used in some applications like Aircraft! A man in California makes $1000 a day selling these things for $1 each to people who still need them.


By now, you’ve probably heard about ChatGPT and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies flooding the Internet. If you haven’t seen firsthand how amazing and concerning they are, here’s an example.

In ChatGPT, I gave it the following command:

Write a 500-word blog post about the Indianapolis International Airport

And this is what I received:

The Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is a world-class airport located in the heart of the Midwest. With its state-of-the-art facilities, excellent customer service, and convenient location, it’s no wonder that IND has consistently been ranked as one of the best airports in the United States.

Opened in 2008, the new terminal at IND is a stunning example of modern airport design. The terminal’s sweeping curves and glass walls make it a striking addition to the Indianapolis skyline, while its spacious, light-filled interior provides travelers with a sense of calm and tranquility.

One of the standout features of IND is its commitment to sustainability. The airport was one of the first in the country to achieve LEED certification, and it continues to prioritize environmental sustainability in all of its operations. From its extensive recycling program to its use of energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, IND is setting the standard for sustainable airport design and operation.

But it’s not just the design and sustainability of the airport that make it a great place to travel through. IND is also known for its exceptional customer service. The airport has a friendly and knowledgeable staff that is always willing to go above and beyond to assist travelers with whatever they may need. Whether it’s helping with luggage, providing directions, or simply offering a friendly smile and a warm greeting, the staff at IND make travelers feel welcome and appreciated.

Another feature that sets IND apart from other airports is its convenient location. The airport is located just seven miles from downtown Indianapolis, making it easy to get to and from the city. There are a variety of transportation options available to travelers, including taxis, ride-sharing services, and rental cars. Additionally, the airport is served by several public transportation options, including the IndyGo bus system and the airport shuttle.

One of the most impressive aspects of IND is its art program. The airport has a robust collection of public art that is on display throughout the terminal. From the stunning glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly in the Civic Plaza to the whimsical “Baggage Claim” mural by Jorge Pardo, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The art program at IND adds an element of beauty and culture to the airport experience, making it a more enjoyable and enriching place to spend time.

Finally, IND is home to a variety of amenities that make travel more comfortable and convenient. There are numerous dining options available, including local favorites like Shapiro’s Deli and Harry & Izzy’s. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities, with a range of stores offering everything from souvenirs to high-end fashion. And for travelers who need to stay connected, there is free Wi-Fi throughout the airport.

In conclusion, the Indianapolis International Airport is a world-class airport that offers travelers a range of amenities, exceptional customer service, and a commitment to sustainability and art. Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, IND provides a comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable airport experience that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and ready for your next adventure.

-ChatGP Output

Pretty amazing eh? I don’t know if I could have written this any better & I can see times when this technology can be very useful and times when it can be used for no good (like writing papers for school). It’s going to be interesting to follow this technology and see what happens next.


And finally… If you’re a Mac user, you probably have heard of Gary Rosenzweig from MacMost.com. He has over 300,000 followers on YouTube and has videos just about every day (and over 61,000,000 views). He’s created a free utility app called ClipTools. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and it’s amazing. It replaces a couple of tools I was already using and consolidates them into one app. I especially like the date insert and clipboard manager. It’s worth checking out!

https://youtu.be/pGAqV0O__4w

2023 Week 8/9 – Sorry I’m Late

I’m finally getting into a groove with the new job and the ability to work from home some days. I typically get up early on the weekends because they are my days to do what I want, and I want to make the most of it. In January, I started an early Sunday morning routine of going to the grocery store at 8 am, washing the car, and topping off the gas tank. It’s usually a really quiet time of the day, and the store is normally well-stocked. I also try and publish Blog posts on Sunday since it’s the day I’m always online prepping for my upcoming week. Unfortunately, the last post was stuck in the queue and I didn’t have time to post one last weekend, so this one is a double.

I normally do a 1-2 hour Weekly Review on Sunday, but lately, it’s taken longer to get things in good shape for the week. My previous job only involved a few weekly meetings, but the new one has me in several a day, all of which I walk out of with action items. No regrets, though, I love the new job and do not miss the old one at all.


I recently purchased some new toys, one of which is an Elgato Stream Deck MK.2. The Stream Deck is a 15-button controller that’s fully customizable. Each button has its own mini full-color LED display.

Elgato Stream Deck

You can create pages of icons for various apps and there are a lot of plugins to perform various functions. I’ve been doing some video editing lately and I have a page of commands to help with those tasks. Stream Decks are very popular with content creators because you can perform complex actions with the touch of a button. Besides that, it’s a fun addition to the MacBook Pro I use in my office at home.


While not a comprehensive list the Indy Today newsletter had some fun making a list of Indy restaurants from A-Z. They had to stretch a little for some of the letters (BBQ for the letter Q) but it’s a good read.

If you’re looking for a light morning read the Indy Today newsletter is great. it always has timely information and details about events happening in the city. It’s worth checking out!


If you’re into computers and electronics, you might have heard that Micro Center is FINALLY opening a store in Indianapolis. It’s going into the old Gander Mountain location in Castleton (just east of Ale Emporium). The nearest MicroCenter location currently is on the north side of Cincinnati.

This will help replace the void created when Fry’s electronics closed (when it was good). You can find almost anything computer-related at Micro Center, and their prices are very competitive. This place is going to be PACKED.


And finally… The History Guy had an interesting video about a “Broken Arrow” incident in 1964 at Bunker Hill AFB (not called Grissom ARB).

2023 Week 7 – Lock-n-Load

Feb 27, 2023 – I just realized this post was still sitting in the Drafts folder!

The last two posts have had a lot of food content in them so I’ll start this one with just one piece of food news. According to Eater, In-N-Out is expanding eastward and opening up an office outside of Nashville, TN to oversee “expansion”. My son & I tried In-N-Out on a trip out west several years ago and while we both enjoyed it, we liked Del Taco better.


Given all thats going on in the world these days, I found it very interesting an Air Force General sent his troops a memo telling them to get prepared to go to war with China in 2025.

“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025,”

Gen. Mike Minihan in a memo sent to the officers he commands and obtained by NBC News.

Gen. Minihan feels the upcoming 2024 elections are going to be a distraction where China will invate Tawain & provoke a war. I sure hope he’s wrong!


8888 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis, IN, 46240 - Coworking Space on ...

Here’s a link to a fun video about Keystone at the Crossing, the Fashion Mall at Keystone and the Bazaar (YouTube would not let me embed it into the post). The facility was opened prior to the completion of final leg of 465 in October, 1970 between Keystone and Shadeland Avenues. You can (kind of) see the 465 construction in the background of the arial shots. I visited it before it’s demolition in 1986 and only remember the wood paneling and the stairs everywhere (so many stairs)… Evidently the mall even had a Disco called Lucifer’s.


And finally… Speaking of history, it’s been 20 years since Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry creating the largest crash site ever on record. The following is a very well produced video shoing what happpened.

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.

10/10 would recommend trying!

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.

New packaging, same great product!

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.

2023 Week 5 – Peek-a-Boo!

Pretty quiet week if you don’t count the Chinese “weather” balloon that made its way across the continental U.S. It’s reported that the balloon had some remote control abilities and happened to float over some sensitive military installations. After clearing the eastern seaboard, a U.S. fighter jet shot down the balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach.

*PoP*

In food news, we made a few discoveries this week. While picking up a salad at Whole Foods, a young lady was at a display stand sampling Soy Sauce, and Chili Crisp made in Cincinnati. After tasting a little of the soy sauce on a veggie sushi roll, I bought a bottle (it’s delicious!).

https://www.cinsoyfoods.com

CinSoy Foods makes several foods, including Tofu, Soy Sauce, Soy Salt, and Make at Home Miso Kits. I’m looking forward to trying their Soy Sauce in a few upcoming recipes.

If you’re craving Lasagna but don’t have the time or energy to make a big batch, I highly recommend the Giovanni Rana brand. It’s located in the refrigerated section at Kroger. The Meat Lasagna I picked up looked and tasted homemade. The package is vacuum sealed and has about a 3-week shelf life in the refrigerator before consuming or freezing it. I can’t see this lasting more than three days in my fridge. Giovanni Rana also has a line of fresh pasta and sauces.

And last but not least, RXBar added a new variation to its line of Protein Bars. The A.M. RXBar mixes in Oats to give the product a little more flavor and soften up the texture of the traditional RXBar. After sampling the Honey, Cinnamon, and Peanut Butter flavor, I immediately ordered a 12-pack from Amazon (for around $20). These have been my go-to light breakfast on mornings when I need something to hold me over until lunch.


And finally… The Economics Of Unused Gift Cards. The Hustle posted a video on YouTube about how companies make money on Gift Cards. I was surprised to learn Indiana is one of the states that allows maintenance fees to be collected after a period of time that will eventually render gift cards worthless.

2023 Week 4 – Championship Weekend

Tonight we’ll find out who’s going to Super Bowl LVII. The 49ers and Eagles start the action at 3 pm with the Bengals and Chiefs playing the second game at 6:30 pm. I’m predicting the Bengals and Eagles are headed to the big dance on February 12, 2023. I have a $5 Draft Kings bet on each matchup today, so just a LITTLE skin in the game to make it interesting.


I took a little trip to McCordsville yesterday to revisit Trax BBQ. I had been craving smoked meat for a few weeks and decided it was time. I ordered a 2-meat platter with pulled pork and brisket. BOTH were very tender and flavorful. For sides, I picked Mac-and-Cheese and Hush Puppies. The mac was nice and cheesy and went well with the pork and beef. The hush puppies looked great but had an off taste that I’m attributing to the oil needing changed in the fryer. I mentioned it to the counter staff on my way out, so hopefully, they were able to do something about it. I decided to try their potato salad and beans on the next visit. Oh, the house-made pickles were delicious, as were the variety of sauces ranging from sweet to vinegar to mustard to hot. You’re sure to find one that hits the spot.

Pulled Pork and Brisket at Trax BBQ in McCordsville

The meal with a fountain soda and tip came out to around $24 which is not bad for the quality of the food (not counting the hush puppies). Trax BBQ is right next to the railroad tracks in McCordsville and shares the space with Scarlet Lane Brewing. Scarlet Lane has some interesting brews. I was initially planning on having BBQ and a Beer but nothing jumped out at me so I opted for the first Diet Coke I’ve had in about 6 months (it was good).


And finally… The boys over at Jolly set the scene for the 2023 Girl Scout Cookie season. These two Brits have a very interesting show on YouTube. They traveled to the United States last year and had quite an adventure learning all about American Cuisine.

2023 Week 3 – Sorry, Have a Salad and Warm Up

Sorry about those warm weather comments last week. I feel responsible for the snow we have now and, and the snow we’re supposed to get this week. Mea culpa.


Are people still into the Zodiac Sign thing? I hadn’t heard anyone mention Signs for a long time, then I ran across an article on Eat This, Not That. Your Favorite Fast Food Chain According To Your Zodiac Sign tries to match you, your sign, and the fast food chain you’re destined to become in another life. Mine was shockingly accurate, so maybe there’s something to all this!


I’ve been a fan of a good salad for as long as I remember. As a kid, one of my favorite things to do when we went out for dinner was hit the salad bar (*Cough*Ponderosa*Cough*). So Many Choices! When I’m working downtown I have 3 favorite salads I rotate through.

Cluster Truck has cured my hunger too many times to count, especially during Covid, when getting lunch delivered was difficult at times. The Cluster Truck Cobb Salad has been my favorite for a long time. I’ve also watched as the delivery of this Salad has risen from $19 to almost $24 today (with a tip). It’s a little on the pricey side but when I need a big salad and only have 15 minutes to eat, it hits the spot. This salad has chopped egg, bacon, diced chicken breast, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and blue cheese. It’s normally served with a side of balsamic vinaigrette, but I substitute that for their ranch.

Source: Cluster Truck Website

A newer fascination of mine is Sweet Green. Having recently been disappointed by a “salads only” shop near my office, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Several of my co-workers had visited and all were singing the praises of Sweet Green. I finally launched the app and was immediately captivated by their Buffalo Chicken Bowl. Consisting of: blackened chicken, chopped pickles*, tomatoes, cilantro, blue cheese, za’atar breadcrumbs, shredded kale, chopped romaine, sweetgreen hot sauce, caesar dressing, this salad packs a punch. The Caesar dressing along with the hot sauce are the real standouts here.
*These are a new addition and I have not tried the salad with pickles yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

SPICY and deliciously filling

Finally, when I want a solid salad, and I’m ready for a short walk, I head a few blocks east to Whole Foods Market. Often referred to as “Whole Paycheck”, you can break the bank at the salad bar because you pay by the pound. Unfortunately all the good things on the salad bar are heavy. Mixed greens, cheese, olives, marinated mushrooms, roasted mushrooms, cucumbers, roasted chicken, bell peppers, bacon bits, and ranch dressing? Yep, that’s a big boy and I’m taking it down. My salads at Whole Foods average around $20 but I usually end up not eating dinner or just snacking later in the evening. PLUS it’s a good excuse to get some fresh air and walk away from the office for 30-minutes.

I forgot… They have tortellini salad on the Whole Food salad bar too!

BONUS SALAD: If you’re ever in the Nora area I strongly recommend you go to Big Lug and order a Willie’s Special along with a pint of whatever brewers choice is on special that day. For $20 (before tip) you get a punch-in-the-face salad and a cold beer. The Willie’s Special has mixed greens tossed in ranch, topped with a choice of hot or mild fried Nashville chicken, black bean corn salsa, diced mozzarella, guacamole, & Frito salt. I HIGHLY recommend the MILD Nashville chicken. They make the sauce in-house, so I’m told, and it’s usually hotter than a true mild. I’ve also been told “it depends who makes it”.

Trust me, the MILD is hot enough

OK, Special Mention (can you tell I’m kind of a salad junkie?): Sahms on 116th St in Fishers (same owners as Big Lug) surprised me last Friday with a Cobb that had diced grilled chicken breast (very juicy and well seasoned), capacollo, Roma tomatoes, crisp bacon, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, scallions, crumbled bleu cheese. The Chicken was still warm, normally a problem with salads, but it was not so hot as to wilt anything so it was a nice contrast to the cold salad.

Best Chicken on a Cobb in Indy

So there it is, the 5 salads I’m thinking about when I’m thinking about eating a salad. As you can see, I’m not a micro-green and light vinaigrette kind of guy. When I was dipping my toes in the Keto diet I found that these kinds of salads are more in line with Keto than the Standard American Diet (SAD). That got my attention. But as I said before, this can be my one meal of the day and I’ll be completely happy. As someone who usually skips breakfast (now called Intermittent Fasting) I’m usually not hungry for anything before 10 am and by then I just wait for lunch.


And finally… You need to be nice to our future robot overlords. My suggestion is to purchase some Boston Dynamics stock to show your support.

2023 Week 2 – 4% and Climbing

We’re 4% into the year, according to @year_progress on Twitter, and it’s really hard to believe how warm this winter has been. We had a cold snap around the holidays, but it should not be in the 40s in mid-January. We checked out a new restaurant this week and dug into the history of mid-century telecommunications.


Benyue (Formerly Lucky Lou) has opened in the former Houlihans at the Castleton Square mall. If you’ve visited Saraga’s original location on the west side, you might have noticed Lucky Lou next door. It’s an extremely popular Duim Sum restaurant and one of the only places to get Dim Sum in Indy.

I stopped by on a Sunday, and the place had a nice lunch crowd. The restaurant itself is quite large, and there is plenty of seating. I was immediately offered several types of hot tea ($1.50), and I chose Jasmine. It was quickly served in a pot that held a lot more than I was going to drink.

Not knowing the portions (quite generous, by the way), I ordered General Tso Chicken, BBQ Pork Steamed Buns, and Shrimp Shumai. Every dish was served hot and tasted fresh. General Tso had a lot of dried chillis, and they added a nice spicy heat to the dish. The steamed buns were light and airy with a delicious BBQ pork filling. Finally, the Shrimp Shumai were perfectly cooked and full of ground shrimp.

If you’re looking for a new place to try, I’d recommend checking out Benyue. Their menu is quite extensive, and you’re sure to find something you like.


You have most likely seen an AT&T Long Lines tower and might have even wondered what it was. In the 1950’s AT&T used these giant ratio towers with specialized “Horns” to relay telephone (and television) signals across the United States via microwave. Garrett Fuller has a great article detailing the use of the long-forgotten (and now abandoned) AT&T Long Lines system. I found the following video interesting as well.