2023 Week 19 – Giddy Up
I Spent most of last week on PTO in the Texas Hill Country and loved every minute of it. I flew down to San Antonio, picked up my better half, who was down there for work, and drove north to Comfort, TX, about 45 minutes northwest of the city.
When I booked the Trip, Enterprise had some very affordable options, including several premium models for just a little more than a full-sized car. I ended up with an Audi Q3 SUV for the trip and really enjoyed driving around the Texas roads. You’ll first notice the speed limits if you’ve never driven in Texas. On a 2-lane curvy road, the posted speed limit is often 10-20 MPH higher than in Indiana (70MPH +), and on the highway, it can be as high as 85 MPH. The little Audi was a champ and got surprisingly good gas mileage as we traveled between locations at speeds that sometimes felt too fast!
Our B&B (Hotel Giles) was an old hotel built in the late 1800s and was very nice, with covered porches and a gazebo in the back. Our host was very gracious and had a wonderful breakfast ready for us at 9 am sharp every morning. The town also had an amazing little wood-fired pizza shop in an old gas station down the street with delicious pizza and homemade gelato that was some of the best we had ever had.
Fredericksburg, TX, is often referred to as the Napa Valley of the South because of the number of wineries in the area (over 100), and it was our destination of choice for several days of the trip. Their Main Street was full of specialty shops, restaurants, breweries, and several wineries.
While this was the first time I’ve gotten out of San Antonio and visited TX Hill Country, it will NOT be the last. So many things to do, and in typical Texas fashion, the people are as nice as can be and openly welcome visitors to their great state.
SlapFish opened a new location in the Fishers District a few months ago, and we finally made our way over there for dinner. We ordered a Shrimp Roll and Fish and Chips. Both meals were very fresh and fairly priced (under $20 each) for the portion size. We don’t have any dedicated seafood restaurants in Fishers, so SlapFish is a welcome addition to which we will be returning soon!
And finally… I’m a pretty observant person, and I see a lot of crazy stuff on my daily travels to and from work in Indianapolis. Expired license plates are seen daily, and their sheer number makes me wonder how people are getting away with it. A quick search turned up a 2019 report from local TV station WRTV titled “Parking a car with expired tags or no license plate is illegal in Indianapolis.” It’s not a local issue, as a TV station out of Oregon reported something similar last May:
And Colorado less than a year ago:
2023 Week 17 – Buckle Up!
I had a pretty good week last week. I was only in the office for two days as I took advantage of two work-from-home days and attended a conference at the NCAA Hall of Fame. The HoF facility is very nice and full of sports history. I left the conference full of ideas related to my job and look forward to flushing them out to see if they can be implemented in my organization.
I don’t know what it is, but when I work from home on a Friday, Saturday always feels like Sunday for the first few hours of the morning. I know one thing when I work from home, I get SO much done! It’s probably because I rarely have meetings that day, and there are few interruptions.
I usually enter the weekend with a clear inbox and satisfaction that I made progress on my active projects (of which I typically have 25-40 at any time). In true Getting Things Done (GTD) style, I identify a “Project” as anything that takes more than one step to complete. The largest list I keep is my “Waiting For” list!
Try GTD if you…
- Feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to keep track of
- Worry about forgetting small details
- Wear lots of hats in your job and life
- Starts lots of projects but have trouble finishing them
- Have never GTD’d before (everyone should GTD at least once in their lives)
I’ve preached the gospel about the GTD organizational methodology for 20+ years. It’s what’s helped me succeed in business (and personal life) and sleep well at night, knowing that I didn’t let anything slip through the cracks that day. So if you feel you’re always forgetting things, a quick read of the GTD book might help!
Enough about work, on to my favorite pastime, food! I FINALLY made a takeout order from Futuro Pizza last week. When they first opened (during the Pandemic times), you had to order your pie a day or two in advance & not knowing my schedule (if I’d be working downtown or not), they fell off my radar.
Futuro was born of necessity. During the beginning of the covid19 shutdown, in an effort to find a way to feed our family, we began making and cooking pizza for our family and friends. Word spread like wildfire and before we knew it, we were cooking 50 pizzas a day. So, we decided to make a go of opening a brick and mortar restaurant.https://futuroindy.com
The owners have years of experience in the service industry & are making it a point to treat their employees fairly. I’ve seen several social media posts about how they care for their employees. I feel guilty that it’s taken me this long to try them!
Our first order was a Detroit Style Futuro Classic (they also have Chicago Tavern style) pizza with Pepperoni, Sausage & Mushrooms, and an order of four breadsticks (the garlic butter sauce is delicious!). Unfortunately, we dove in before snapping any pictures but remembered afterward.
Two people can get two meals out of this pizza. The pictures above show what was left after we were done the first night (I enjoyed the leftovers for dinner the following evening). This is a SOLID pizza. I shied away from “Detroit Style” for years because I thought it was the same as Sicillian (all dough and little sauce/toppings). I learned I was wrong after an order from Jett’s Pizza introduced me to Detroit Style. Now it’s one of my favorites, and Futuro does it justice. The worst part about ordering pizza from Futuro is I have to smell it all the way home to Fishers! Our total order was $33 for pizza, breadsticks, and tip. I think the quality and portion size you get is a bargain, and I look forward to ordering it again soon!
When was the last time you used the AM radio in your car? Me? Maybe twice in the previous year, when I wanted to listen to a Reds game while camping and when I tuned into emergency road information while traveling. The Early Chirp newsletter (worth checking out) had a short piece titled Inside The Fight To Keep AM Radio In Electric Vehicles. According to Safety Experts, AM Radio Waves are still useful in the case of a national emergency. Still, automakers have been slowly removing the AM band from their latest automobiles.
Sticking with the Automotive theme, a Bloomberg article titled “Extreme Acceleration Is the New Traffic Safety Frontier” outlines the dangers of the huge horsepower increases in current vehicles. Electric Vehicles (EVs) can be especially dangerous with sub-4-second 0-60 acceleration times, and don’t get me started on the Clowns driving the overpowered Dodge Chargers.
And finally… If you’ve ever driven to Chicago, you have undoubtedly seen the Oasis rest stops on the toll roads. What makes them unique is the placement upon a bridge-like structure over the highway. But, once a popular place to stop, these days they are disappearing. The It’s History channel on YouTube explains why.
2022 Week 5 – Quiet and Comfortable
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!
2021 Week 22 – Camping Do Over
May last camping trip was a wash out so I decided to try it again last weekend. This time there was no rain but the temps were a lot higher. I decided to take a different route, bypassing the I-69 construction, and wound my way south through Jasper and Ferdinand, Indiana
Ferdinand has a monastery similar to the one down the road in St Meinrad. But this one has a brewery and food! I stopped in for a late lunch of Pizza and Beer. While not they best pizza I’ve ever had it hit the spot, especially with the Sister Betty Blonde Ale I washed it down with.
After lunch I decided to finish out my last 9-holes of Disc Golf at St Meinrad. I expected to see a lot more people on the course being a Saturday but was pleasantly supersized the crowd was more like a week day. There was no need to rush and I was able to enjoy a nice round.
The Indian-Celina Lake Campground I like to test equipment at is just inside the Central time zone. In fact it’s so close my electronic devices (and car) will constantly switch back and fourth between time zones. I’ve started wearing an analog watch (Citizen ProMaster Diver with EcoDrive) to make sure I know the actual time. The Citizen is a great watch that uses the sun to keep itself charged. It also keeps amazingly accurate time. I think I’ve only corrected it twice the entire time I’ve owned it. This thing is built like a tank and it’s a nice change from the Apple Watch I wear during the week.
Another item I tested out last weekend was an Exped MegaMat sleeping pad. I bought the MegaMat last October but had yet to take it out to try it in the real world. It’s been great to lounge around on in the house over the winter but it really shines outside in a tent. The MegaMat comes in several sizes and I opted for the XL (extra long) version since I like to stretch out.
One really nice feature about the MegaMat is it self inflates. After you unroll and open the main valve it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to about 95% of where I like it. I can then take the manual pump that’s included to top it off and make it perfect.
This sleeping pad is thick and a little bulky so it’s only really good for car camping or a very short hike to the campsite. It feels like a memory foam bed when you’re laying on it and if you’re a side sleeper you’ll be happy to know it’s supportive enough to keep your hip from digging into the ground. It was worth every penny and I would not hesitate to purchase it again.
I have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and I’m gearing up for a trip to the Allegheny National Forrest this summer. So look forward to more trip reports and gear reviews throughout the year.
The Best Way to Reheat Pizza
I love pizza and could eat it more than just about any other food. If I wasn’t eating it cold the next day I’d always use the microwave to reheat leftovers.
I came across the skillet method a while ago & it’s a total game changer. It works best when re-heating just a slice or two. The Art of Manliness had a great writeup of the various methods.
I’ve found that a non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid works best. All it takes is a cold pan, a few slices of pizza, and medium heat for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness). This usually get me a slightly crispy bottom (better than when it was delivered in my opinion), and the slice is heated through.
Not as easy as eating cold (my second favorite way), and not as soggy as the microwave, the stovetop reheat method is my new go to method to reheat last nights pizza for lunch today. Give it a try & let me know what you think!