2024 May Update

What’s Going On:
WHERE did May go? I’m sitting here today doing my weekly Review, and it finally hit me that it’s JUNE (and halfway through June at that)!


What I’m Buying:
My Everyday Carry (EDC) is pretty standard: wallet, watch, keys, phone, knife, and light. Sometimes, I pocket some pepper spray, depending on the situation. The individual items rotate (like a dive watch vs. an Apple watch or a money clip vs. a wallet), but they’re always consistent and in their respective pockets.

My blade of choice this last year has been the 945 Mini Osborne (in Green Aluminum). It’s a great knife and has held up well for daily carry. But it’s a little on the heavy side when wearing lightweight clothing.

Mini Osborne

While walking back to the car from the Broad Ripple Art Fair, we stopped at Rusted Moon Outfitters to look around (and to see if they still had their 20% off sale going on). I missed the sale but still walked out with a new (and much lighter) Benchmade. The Mini Bugout (CF-Elite) is a perfect summer pocket carry since it only weighs 1.5oz. The weight saving comes from the Carbon fiber-reinforced scales. Add to that a Cerakote blade & you’re looking at a nice low-profile and versatile slicer.

Mini Bugout

The Mini Bugout needed to be broken in a bit to get that trademark Benchmade open/close action, but it didn’t take long, and it’s been in my pocket every day since.


What I’m Eating:
Babish Culinary Universe has been posting some interesting “Ranking Every…” videos lately, and one caught my eye: Ranking 46 Kinds of Ramen. If you’ve visited an Asian Speciality store, you have undoubtedly seen the mind-numbing combinations and variety of Ramen. We’re not talking about the standard Top Ramen found at the local Stop-and-Shop for $0.50 a pack.

Spoiler Alert, his favorite turned out to be Buldak Quattro Cheese Ramen Hot Chicken Flavor. I turned to Amazon to help me find it.

Spotted when I visited Thailand in Febuary, 2024

This stuff is GOOD! It’s like Kraft Mac & Cheese powder meets ramen noodles, but it also has another pouch of flavor that brings the heat. I must warn you, this stuff is HOT! I used half the hot packet on my first bowl and regretted it immediately. I backed off quite a bit the next time I fixed it, and it was a delicious bowl of instant spicy cheesy ramen!

I thought the packaging looked familiar, and I went back and looked through my Thailand Trip photos from earlier this year. Sure enough, I had sent the picture above to my son while I was there.

If you’re into Instant Ramen, I recommend checking out the Buldak Quattro Cheese Ramen Hot Chicken Flavor. If you do, let me know what you think!

If you’re looking for a good quality lunch, I recommend you check out Slapfish in the Fishers District. I’ve gone there for lunch the past couple of Fridays (working from home) and had some really good fish and chips! Lunch out for under $20? I’ll take it.

Lastly, the old O’Charley’s in Fishers has been turned into a Sports Bar called Walk-Ons. We visited a few weeks ago to try out the Shrimp PoBoys. They were pretty tasty. We were looking for a substitute for B’s Po Boy, who used to be in Fountain Square Pre-COVID. These were very close with the bread (from New Orleans) being the missing ingredient (although the hoagie roll at Walk-ons is decent). For a basic Po Boy, they scratch that itch. In fact, I went back the following week and got another one for lunch! The sleeper item on the menu at Walk-Ons is the HUSH PUPPIES! Get them as an app or a side & thank me later.


Where I’ve Been:
The first weekend in May found me in Marion, IN, attending a small regional Amateur Radio swap meet. I didn’t have very high expectations, but it turned out to be a nice show with a few radio guys I’ve talked to on the air and was able to meet for the first time. I also got a good deal on some antennas to use with my receiving equipment (scanners and stuff).

Of course, in May, you go out to the track! I was out there for some work events & didn’t go to the race. It ended up raining & delaying everything anyway, so that would have been an awful time at IMS this year. I ended up watching it on TV like everyone else when they lifted the blackout. Indy Car will be on Fox next year & I’m hearing people say the Indy 500 will be televised live. I’ll believe it when I watch it.

At the end of May I went camping with a good friend of mine down at Hardin Ridge. We had a good time catching up and playing around with some Amateur Radio equipment once the sun went down.

Lastly, I checked out the Fishers Farmers Market a few Saturdays ago. The markets keep getting better! I walked away with a package of pepperoni Rolls from one of the Amish vendors. They were really good!


What I’m Reading:
Jenny Lawson is back with another introspective into her life called Broken (in the best way possible). It’s been a great read so far. I got about 25% through it in the first sitting. It can be a little dark as she walks you through her mental and physical disorders, but she has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that make the book a must-read. Her previous books have been just as enjoyable to read as well. If you’re looking for a light-hearted look at life from someone with a very active imagination, Jenny might be an author you’d like to read!


What Else:
That’s about it for May. It went WAY too fast & June is already half over. The weather is finally catching up to us, with 90+ degree days in the forecast for the next couple of weeks. A group of us are going over to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the Olympic Swim Trials. We were able to get suite tickets, so that should be enjoyable. We also arranged a behind-the-scenes tour to see how they pulled this event off. I should have some pictures in the next blog post.


And Finally…
The maddening mess of airport codes.

2024 March Update

What’s Going On:
It’s hard to believe it’s April already. We’re a few days from the big solar eclipse that’s been in the news for a while now. As of today, it’s supposed to be partly cloudy on April 8, with a slight chance of rain. This might be a bust!


What I’m Buying:
There were no big purchases last month, but I did get a hell of a deal on an Arlo hard-wired Video doorbell. I just installed it last weekend, and I wish I had had one of these a while ago. It works a lot better than I expected, and for $30, I think it was one of the best purchases so far this year.


What I’m Eating:
We ate a LOT of Thai food last month since the recipes were still fresh and the ingredients plentiful from my visit to Saraga. The Costco-stocked garage freezer has been getting a workout lately, too. It took a while to find one during COVID-19, but having some extra freezer storage was a great purchase.

On my way back from camping last weekend, I stopped by a “Hucks” gas station in Paoili, Indiana, and picked up a Spicy Chicken Sandwich for brunch. It was much spicier than I expected, but I hit the spot. I’ll buy another one next time I pass a Hucks!

We finally tried Noah Grant’s in Zionsville last month. I have heard good things about it for a while now & we finally made it over there.

It’s primarily a seafood restaurant with steaks, sushi, and salads. We ordered the calamari, split a wedge salad, and had scallops and crab cakes for our entrees. It was all very well prepared, and the service was spot on. It was even half-price night for wine, so we picked out a nice Pino Grigio to go with our meal.


Where I’ve Been:
I took advantage of the warm spell and went camping last Friday night in my favorite spot in Southern Indiana. Indian-Celina Lake had just opened for the season, and several sites were unavailable for reservation due to a bug in the system, so the place was pretty quiet, with only six other campsites occupied that night.


What I’m Watching:
Somebody Feed Phil is back on Netflix! I wasn’t expecting any new episodes after the last season, so that was a pleasant surprise. Mr & Mrs Smith on Amazon has been surprisingly good as well. It’s loosely based on the movie with the same name, but it’s a series.


What I’m Reading:
I just finished “The Art of Invisibility” by Kevin Mitnick. While it was a little dated, it had some good information about how to protect yourself online.

I just started the book “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff and could not put it down. It’s a fascinating account of the lives of hundreds of people who were directly impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attack.


What Else:
I took some Ham Radio gear with me on the camping trip and participated in an activity called Parks on the Air (POTA). The goal is to set up a simple station and make a minimum of 10 contacts with other radio operators. I had 35 contacts Friday night and exactly 10 Saturday morning (including Alaska!) before I broke camp down and headed home.


And Finally…
A few weeks ago, I read the long-form opinion piece in the New York Times called “At the Brink.” It was a fascinating piece about the threat of using nuclear weapons today. It has great writing and interactive graphics to along with the subject material.

See you in a few weeks!

2023 Week 38 – International Travel

What’s Going On:
I just flew into Zurich and, boy, are my arms tired! Sorry for the old joke but crossing the Atlantic is no joke! I’m visiting for work and part of the support staff for a Leadership Exchange trip bringing approximately 100 CEOs and elected officials to Zurich Switzerland to learn about the apprenticeship process that’s so popular there.

I had a 4pm departure from Indianapolis, and a short layover in Philadelphia (enough to smash a cheesesteak and beer) before flying overnight to Zurich. The flight was uneventful but I could not get more than a few minutes sleep at a time. The older couple sitting next to me were pleasant and after a long 8 hours we arrived.

Customs was a LONG wait as several big flights arrived around the same time and they were short staffed. Several of the passport stations were manned by people in training (as evident from the signed in the window). As soon as it was my turn the employee in training was replaced buy a guy who was not too happy to be at work that day.

  • Him: “Business or Pleasure”
  • Me: “Work Conference”
  • Him: “How many days in Europe?”
  • Me: “11”
  • Him: *Thunk-Stamp* “Wellcome to Zurich”

Pretty simple process! It’s 9am and the plan is to stay up all day, have a nice meal and crash around 11pm to get acclimated to the time change.


What I’m Watching:
I watched Murder Mystery 2 on the flight over, It wasn’t as good as the first one (sequels rarely are) but it helped pass the time.

I was impressed with the selection available for inflight entertainment, and they even had seat to seat chat so I messaged a couple co-workers that were also on the flight.


What I’m Reading:
Still working on the Grocery book by Michael Ruhlman, and started reading Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I want to finish that one before the AppleTV series comes out later this year.


What Else:
This is my fourth Leadership Exchange trip and it usually consists of early mornings, late nights, and a lot of good food and group activities. This year we are spending time at the FIFA Museum, and Lindt Chocolate Factory. But first, I need to head down to the dock to hop on a pleasure cruise out on Lake Zurich with 100 tired travelers and coworkers. More to come soon!

2023 Week 32/33 – Pizza Pizza!

What’s Going On:
I missed the weekly post again last weekend, so it’s another double post this time around. We’ve been very fortunate with the weather this summer, but that’s about to come to an end this week, with temps hitting 99 degrees on Wednesday and 102 on Thursday (ouch).


What I’m Eating:
I’m a big fan of J. Kenji López-Alt. To me, he’s like a modern-day Alton Brown. When I read that he successfully made pizzas with flour tortillas, I had my doubts, but given his track record, I decided to give it a try

Extra-Crispy Bar-Style Tortilla Pizza Supreme

I already had the tortillas and cheeses in the fridge, so I needed some pizza sauce and pepperoni to try this. 10 minutes later, I ate one of the best thin-crust pizzas I have ever had. You can’t get much thinner than a flour tortilla, and the way it crisped up was beyond belief. I give this a 10/10 and even made it again the following night. If you like thin and crispy pizza, this recipe is for you!


I ran some errands in the Carmel area last week and decided to swing by Greek Tony’s for lunch. It had been a while since my previous visit, and from the memorials on the wall, some of the original owners had passed away. The children of the original owners (now adults) are running the place, and it has not changed a bit. I ordered my usual, the Hot Italian Sub.

This sandwich is unlike any other sub I’ve ever tasted, and it’s retained that unique flavor for over the 25 years I’ve been ordering. I think it’s the combination of the capicola and creamy Italian dressing layered with melted pizza cheese in a freshly toasted hoagie roll. And it ALWAYS comes with 3 pickle chips. That little detail has always amazed me: just 3 pickles, every time.


Where I’ve Been:
Last week, I stopped by the Mash House at West Fork Whiskey for appetizers and a cocktail. It’s down the road from the Indianapolis Colts Training Camp at Grand Park in Westfield. I didn’t take any pictures of the Pork Rinds with Pimento Cheese and the Hush Puppies with Maple Butter, but given how much we enjoyed the place, there is no doubt we’ll be returning to try more of the menu.


What I’m Watching:


What I’m Reading:


And Finally…
Driving The New Fastest Car Ever Made!

2023 Week 26 – It’s Not Easy Being Green


What’s Going On:
It’s the weekend before the 4th of July, and a couple of weeks ago (while I was on my road trip), the Leadership Team at my office decided to give everyone an extra day off (July 3), so it’s a much appreciated 4-day weekend for this guy. Unfortunately, the weather has been anything but ideal, with rain and thunderstorms every day since Thursday and more on the way tonight (Sunday).


What I’m Buying:
Study Guide for the Amateur Radio General Class License Exam – Even though I didn’t get on the Air during the Annual Field Day, my interest in Amateur Radio is starting to pick up again. Like most hobbies, there are usually varying levels of participation, and in the Amateur Radio community, that can be classified through the different levels of licenses you can earn. Each license allows you to do more on the radio and talk to people farther away.

I’ve had the basic license for years that allows me to talk to people locally, and I have always wanted to upgrade my license to gain more privileges. I took a couple of practice exams online and quickly learned my knowledge was limited, and I needed to do some studying.


I stopped in the Sierra store again and picked up some lightweight shirts for the summer at deeply discounted prices. I’m still amazed at the prices and selection at the new Sierra store. If you’re in the area, it’s worth checking it out.


What I’m Eating:
Do you know what’s better than the Chicken Salad Sandwich at The Garden Table on Mass Ave? The Chopped Cobb Salad with a SCOOP of Chicken Salad at Garden Table on Mass Ave!


A coworker gave me a couple of his Athletic Greens travel packs to try. If you’ve spent any time on YouTube, you have never seen this product sponsoring all kinds of content (especially travel and outdoor channels). This stuff is not cheap at just under $100 a month, and they don’t offer samples for you to try before committing.

As I mixed the contents of the green packet into 8 oz of cold water, I was hesitant about what I thought it would taste like. It’s very dark green, and I expected something in the broccoli family of flavors. Surprisingly, the taste was very light with a touch of sweetness (like watered-down pineapple). It can be a little chalky if you let the powder settle out of suspension (especially the last little bit), but it was not awful to drink, and if you believe the hype, it has a lot of health benefits. I could see this replacing my daily multivitamin and probiotic I take each morning.

If you want to learn more about the “Greens” powder revolution and a review of the top contenders, check out The Ultimate Greens Power Test. This was a comprehensive evaluation of 11 different Greens powers with a lot of detail in the decision-making process.

I’m going to order the winner of this test (Ensō Supergreens) and compare it to Athletic Greens. At $39.99 a month, it’s a lot less expensive and might be with the hype! I’ll report back after I’ve used it for a few weeks.


What I’m Watching:
AirNow Interactive Map
Given how the air has been full of SMOKE from the Great White North this past month, I watched this website daily to see if things were improving.

The Bear on Hulu
In its second season, The Bear picks up new challenges as the team tries to rehab its space and open a new restaurant.

Jack Ryan (Final Season) on Amazon
The Final Season just started this past week, and it hit the ground running with a great storyline. I’m going to hate to see this one end.


What I’m Reading:
In addition to the Study Guide mentioned earlier, these articles caught my attention this past week.
Why Was Benjamin Franklin’s Basement Filled With Skeletons?
Americans have ‘tip fatigue,’ resent ‘tip creep.’
What you need to know about Indiana’s new laws taking effect July 1, 2023


And Finally…
Inside a Nuclear SUBMARINE! | USS Indiana Tour

2023 Week 21 – Sniff

Just in time for the holiday weekend, I somehow picked up a head cold. I started getting the throat tickle Thursday afternoon and had a full-on sore throat by bedtime. I thought it was going to turn into strep, but the throat felt better the next morning, although my sinuses were on fire. Friday night was one of those sleep/wake up/sleep recurring themes, but by Saturday morning, I at least had my appetite and taste mostly back. I credit the Tylenol and Alka Seltzer for helping to control the worst of the systems and helping me get back on my feet by Sunday morning.


We’ve become big fans of BJ’s Wholesale Club since it opened up the road. We love the shopping experience (it’s never been crowded), and the prices are very competitive with the other big box stores. We picked up a raised flower bed for a good price and turned it into an herb garden on the back porch. Finding the herbs proved to be a little bit of a challenge as the pop-up nursery we visit every year at Hamilton Town Center was left with scraps. We ventured over to Allisonville Nursery (now owned by Sullivan Hardware) and found everything we wanted at slightly higher prices than the pop-up) I’ve always wanted to try using a raised bed, so we’ll see how it goes this year.


I made a random stop at Trader Joe’s about a month ago (I never can seem to get that place in a regular rotation) & picked up a few new things, including the Trader Joe’s Organic Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls. These sat in the fridge for a few weeks before I broke them out of the pop-tube and baked them up on a Sunday morning. These things are GOOD! Not too sweet, nice and fluffy, with a great cinnamon swirl running throughout. I’d take these over the hassle of making homemade most of the time. These are worth keeping in the fridge for those cinnamon bun emergencies we all have from time to time.


The Night Agent on NetFlix was a fun watch. It’s about an F.B.I. agent who works late at the White House, taking emergency calls from field operatives. It moved quickly, and the ten 30-minute episodes went by quickly, leading to the exciting season finale. It’ll be interesting to see if they make another season.


The Best BBQ Chips: The United States of Barbecue Chips. This was a fun review to read from America’s Test Kitchen where they mail-ordered chips from all over the country to determine who had the best BBQ Chip.

BodyGuards just released their $79.99 Apex Screen Protector. I kid you not, $80 for a mobile phone screen protector! I’ll keep an eye on these & maybe pick one up when they go on clearance in a year or so…


And finally… I usually put a video in this segment but decided to use a picture this time around. The image below shows all the helicopter traffic in the area after the Indy 500. LOTS of people being shuttled to the regional airports (Westfield, Fishers, Mt. Comfort). The icon with the 3 props (under the Lawerence label) is a DHS hello out of the Chicago area that spent the weekend in Indy circling various areas doing who knows what.

2023 Week 15 -Time for the Fly Swatter

The weather is warming up, and it’s lawn care season yet again! Fortunately, I have a firefighter in my neighborhood with a lawn-mowing business. I’ve been using him for several years, and he does a great job keeping the yard looking tidy, and his prices are very reasonable. Unfortunately, I’ve been a little lax on the weed and feed and decided to hire a local company to treat the lawn. After a bit of Google searching and review reading, I found one in Fishers that claims to be heavy on communication. The initial consultation and application proved them right. I’ll do a more in-depth review later this year once I get a few applications on the lawn.


I just realized the other day I hadn’t had as much food content lately, but I’ve still been eating lots of new things and trying new places, so I will include a lunch/dinner segment in the blog more regularly. I headed to The Garage for lunch last week to check out a Cuban place we spotted on our Birthday tour of Indy a few weeks ago. I’ve been hesitant to visit the Garage for lunch because of the parking prices ($6+ when I went to an after-work event a few months ago), but I just learned that Lot 4 on the West side of The Garage offers parking for $2 from 9-5 and between 11 am and 3 pm, the first hour is FREE.

On my last visit, I checked out Palavana Cubano, “Indy’s newest go-to spot for Cuban-inspired cuisine, specializing in the classic Cubano Sandwich,” according to the Garage Vendor Page. Being my first time visiting this location, I opted for the traditional Cubano Sandwich (they have several varieties) and a mix of regular and sweet potato fries (which are slowly starting to grow on me).

As you can see, this is not a small sandwich. It felt like it had a full pound of roasted pork, and I could have easily shared this (or only eaten half), but it was so good I joined the clean plate club with this one. The sauce on the side was a cumin-based red sauce that went well on the fries. Now that The Garage Food Hall is complete, it houses some excellent lunch/dinner options. I’m planning a return visit to try another new place in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!


Last Friday, the first day of the 2023 NRA Convention in Indianapolis, at least 35 school districts in Indiana received a robotic-sounding voice calling in a bomb threat.

“Out of an abundance of caution, troopers throughout the state have been in communication with their local schools to offer assistance and resources,” the statement continued. “School corporations are working with their local law enforcement to make the best decision about their operations today.”

Indiana State Police

The convention’s timing and threats may be coincidental, but the timing is suspicious. According to Vice magazine, this isn’t an isolated incident, A Computer-Generated Swatting Service Is Causing Havoc Across America, and people can pay as little as $75 to have a school shut down. Of course, schools have to take this seriously, but the amount of resources and time wasted is incredible.

Swatting is when someone calls in a bogus threat in an attempt to direct law enforcement resources to a particular home, school, or other location. Often, swatting calls result in heavily armed police raiding an innocent victim’s home. At least one case has resulted in police killing the unsuspecting occupant.

Vice.com

The Vice article listed above is a really good read and gets into the problem’s details and provides a couple of recordings used in the past. It’s going to be interesting to see how these incidents will be handled as time goes on.


And finally… Speaking of criminals, where do you keep your valuables? If you have a Safe, is it easy for a burglar to locate it? The following video has some great ideas for hiding and protecting your stuff from getting stolen.

2023 Week 13 – Oui Oui!

We had some wild weather come through Indiana Friday night, and as of today, there are at least ten confirmed tornados south of Indianapolis and several deaths. McCormick’s Creek took a hit, and several campers were injured. We didn’t have much going on until after 10 pm, and then the wind picked up and was really blowing things around. We ended up losing power for a few minutes (again). Other than a few branches in the yard, the north side of Indianapolis faired pretty well.


I ended up in Greenwood Friday morning for a work function, and I remembered tagging a French Bakery in Google Maps when I read about it several months ago. I wasn’t sure if I was close because it felt like I had driven halfway to Bloomington to get to this event. Lo and behold, I was less than 5 miles from Le Croissant French Bakery (no website), located at 916 E Main St, Greenwood, IN 46143.

They had a great selection, and it was pretty hard to choose what to get. I ended up with a Ham and Cheese Croissant and a Cheese Danish (made with Croissant dough). I warmed up the Ham and Cheese Croissant with a nice glass of Chardonnay for dinner and the Cheese Danish for breakfast the following day.

Both pastries were quite large, and the toppings/fillings were generous. I could imagine someone with a light appetite only eating half of these. 30-seconds in the microwave brought them both back up to room temp (I had placed them in the fridge when I got home), and I’m just going to say this place is legit. I’m already planning on a return trip in the near future.

Le Croissant French Bakery is open Tue-Sat 8 am-4 pm, and closed on Sunday and Monday.


I’ve had some weird issues with the website and have been making some changes behind the scenes. You might find it offline occasionally as I attempt to rebuild it. Rest assured; we’re not going anywhere 🙂


And finally… Fishers tore down their Town Hall earlier this year because it was sinking, and the repair costs were prohibitive. A new building is currently under construction & will house an art center and other new things. The city just released a timeline of their progress.

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.