2024 June Update

What’s Going On:
June went by just as fast as May. I’m sensing a pattern in 2024 as the days blend together, and the weekends go by WAY too quickly. Our office was closed on July 4th and 5th (and I took the 3rd off as a PTO day). So, at least, I feel like I’ve gotten a break. I have a busy couple of weeks at work coming up that I need to prepare for.

I just realized that in June, I had lived in the same house for 20 years. It doesn’t seem like yesterday, but I was surprised to see it was 20 years ago. I’m doing everything I can to pay off this place before I even think about retiring. There is nothing like NOT having a house payment when you decide to give up the 9-5 grind. I don’t see myself retiring 100% anytime soon, but not having a house payment gives you more options to do something different.

Luckily, I moved from a career that could be a daily grind (IT Consulting) to something I enjoy (Operations). I’m still involved in the IT aspects of the company, but I like the other parts, like organizational operations and HR the most. We’re moving our office in October, and that’s a project I enjoy being involved in as well.

What I’m Buying:
If you’ve never tried a shampoo bar, it’s a game changer. It’s like a bar of soap, but for your hair, it’s much easier to travel with than liquid shampoo. C.O. Bigelow sells the Badger brand shampoo bar, and I ordered one a few months ago.

As soon as I used it for the first time at home, I ordered another one for my DOP kit. They seem to be out of it at the moment, but I was able to find it on Amazon at the link above.

Speaking of DOP Kits, I ordered the Tom Bihn Standard Spiff Kit (in Sangria 210 Cerylon) for my shorter trips in June. I have an awesome canvas DOP kit that I use on longer trips, but for 2-3 nights away, I wanted something a little smaller as I have learned how to pack lighter and NOT check a bag. In fact, I traveled over a week in Thailand last February with only a carry-on and a personal item. My Switzerland/Paris/London trip last September taught me never to check a bag again if I could help it.

I had never heard the term “Kitchen Candle” before reading this article in Food and Wine. I ordered a Vanilla Kitchen Candle from Amazon, and there really IS a difference! The scent is a lot less strong and helps cover up those smells left over from the last dish you cooked. I’m a fan and will keep one of these around from now on.

I love my flashlights, and I finally pulled the trigger on the (newish) Olight Arkfeld Pro. It has upgraded specs from the original Arkfeld (now in my car), but now it’s “Pro” and has a green laser! This one is now in my EDC because you never know when you need to laser-point something. 🙂

What I’m Eating:
I watched a YouTube Video from America’s Test Kitchen about Cast Iron Pizza a few weeks ago. I love pizza and had to try this out. Let’s just say I’ve fixed two in the last two weeks, and I’m never going back to frozen or delivery. The cheater’s move is to purchase pre-made pizza dough (and sauce) from Fresh Thyme. It saves you a lot of time, and they both taste delicious.

I was in Huntington, Indiana, the other day and finally got a chance to try the tenderloin at Nicks Kitchen. The place is pretty small, and they had a decent lunch crowd. I sat at the lunch counter and placed my order (with pickles, mayo, mustard, and onions).

This sandwich did not disappoint, and it lived up to the hype! The crinkle-cut fries (with Mama Selita’s Jalapeno Tomato Ketchup) and freshly made iced tea rounded out the meal. The total price was around $20 with a tip. Service was attentive, and I’d 100% return here again when I was in the area.

What I’m Watching:
I started the latest season of The Bear, and it’s just not holding my attention. The other two seasons were just OK. It’s just not living up to the hype for me. I do enjoy the chef cameos and the random Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the shows, but I’m not sure I’ll finish it any time soon.

What I’m Reading:
I just finished a 13-hour audiobook by A. American called Going Home. It’s the first book in The Survivalist Series (I’m looking forward to starting book two called Surviving Home. I didn’t realize I liked the dystopian genre, but I enjoyed this book. In fact, I decided to start watching “The Last of Us” on HBO because of it. I’m only 1 episode in, but I really like it so far.

I tried Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited 30-day trial but can’t justify the $11 a month when I have had good luck getting books from the local library using Hoopla and Libby. That’s where I got the Going Home audiobook (for free).

What Else:
Chat GPT released a desktop app for the Mac, and I have been playing around with it to see if it’s of any use. So far, when it comes to writing, I’ve found Grammarly to be easier to use, but at $150 a year, I might not be renewing. Some AI features in an upcoming MacOC release will render Grammarly an expensive add-on that will probably no longer be needed.

And Finally…
The most significant Security Flaw in North America

2023 Week 27 – Gettin’ Stuff Done

What’s Going On:
It’s going to be a busy week as people return from vacations and deadlines start to loom. Last week was a 3-day week, and with so many people out of the office, it was a good time to get caught up on some low-priority tasks and prep for some big meetings coming up next week.

I’m still using a combination of Todiost for work tasks, Apple Reminders for personal tasks, and Evernote for capturing everything else. It’s worked very well this last year at my new job, and if it ain’t broke… The Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, first released in 2001, is still the key to my productivity.

What I’m Eating:
I received my order from Enso Supergreens late last week. I will agree with the review I read leading me to this AG-1 alternative. Supergreens is a VERY fine powder that mixes very well with liquid. I’ve been using Oat Milk and a Milk Frother I picked up from Amazon, but any shaker-style bottle will work.

Once mixed, Supergreens has a creamy, minty & slightly sweet taste. It reminds me of a melted Shamrock Shake from McDonalds. It’s also a lot less grainy than the AG-1 samples I previously tried. This is something I can see myself drinking daily and actually enjoying it. Eventually, Supergreens could replace the daily multivitamin and probiotic I’ve been taking for the past year. I’ll report back in a few months and let you know if I’m still drinking it.

Room Service on Wheels, a delivery-only service in Fishers, has expanded its location and opened up a brewery called King Jugg Brewing Company with a lot of outdoor seating. I visited this week and found they didn’t have any of their beers available yet (next week, I was told), but I stuck around for lunch.

I had anticipated getting their chopped salad, which looked very good on the menu, but I pivoted last minute and went for the Tenderloin.

I was told the Tenderloin is marinated in buttermilk, and each one is hand-breaded to order. It arrived piping hot, fully dressed with LTMOP and a side of house-made chips. A little piece was hanging out the side of the bun, and I gave it a quick sample. DELICIOUS! Nice, lightly seasoned breading and a tender pork cutlet. This was an enjoyable sandwich; I will say it’s the best Tenderloin in town. I look forward to returning soon and ordering it again, along with one of the new house beers,

I immediately sent a picture to my friend Rick, the “Tenderloin Connisour,” and told him he needed to check this place out for his All Tenderloins, all the Time review website. I’m curious to hear his feedback & read his review.

What I’m Watching:
I just finished The Bear on Hulu last night. Pretty intense show that people “in the industry” seem to enjoy. If you like drama and food, you should check The Bear out.

LOTS of YouTube videos have been streamed this week, concentrating on Amateur Radio equipment and licensing. I’m determined to get my license upgraded soon.

What I’m Reading:
2023-2027 General Class Study Guide by Gordon West – Study guide for the General Class Amateur Radio Exam. The FCC updates their questions every 4-years to keep with changing times so you have to make sure you have the right study guide. July 1, 2023 was the start of the new 4-year calendar so my timing for getting back into the hobby was perfect. After taking several on-line proactive exams I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I did and needed to bone up on the tech before attempting to take the test. This is going to be a project I hope to complete this summer.

And Finally…
Following up to last weeks Nuclear Sub tour we give you Mike Rowe on a Nuclear Supercarrier!

2022 Week 8 – Start Your Engines!

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!