Monday, July 04, 2022

Happy July 4! Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!

Happy 4 of July
Have a happy and safe July 4 celebration. It is hard to believe it is another July 4 as the summer is flying by faster than ever. Seems to be the common theme I hear from those I speak to about summer and the year that it is flying by fast. 

While I rarely buy fireworks these days, I do enjoy going to see a fireworks show. Even if it is a show the neighbors are in the street from next door, I enjoy watching fireworks. The whole process brings excitement from watching and on those rare occasions when I do shoot them off, the run to get away before the explosion.

Last year for the holiday, we drove around Kansas checking out camping sites (see Different Kind of 4) which was enjoyable and we were able to get Oliver away from the explosions that scare him to crawl under furniture or behind chairs. Poor little guy, scared of thunder and fireworks which both seem the same to him… loud!

Stay safe and enjoy the July 4 holiday.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Leasing of Two Different Cars and Decision to Buy Our Last Lease… Our Journey Through Car Options

For the past six years, we have leased our car that is our main driving car. We had made the decision to lease so that we could try out different cars and have all the new “features”. Our first car we leased was a Nissan Murano. We loved that car and it drove really well. After the three year lease was up, we test drove various cars and ended up on the Honda Pilot. We have owned other Honda cars through the years and our second car is a Honda Accord, so we knew they were quality and we were familiar with the model as Javier had a Pilot back in the day that I really liked. 

Our lease for the Pilot comes to an end on July 13, so we decided to start looking for cars last weekend. I had heard the news that there were shortages for cars, dealerships short handed on their lots, and used cars were being sold for the same amount, or more, than a new car. All of this in mind, Carrie and I started test driving and looking for cars last week. However, this time with the idea we are going to buy our next car and we are done with leasing. We enjoyed leasing, but it will be nice to eventually not have any car payments again as we did for a number of years before we bought the Accord and started the leasing process.

We called around to dealerships in Topeka and started hearing the story that there are no cars are on lots. Basically, in order to test drive a car it is necessary to place a deposit so that we can test drive the car when it arrives before someone else buys the car or they put a hold on it so they can test drive the car. Carrie had told me we would probably need to go to Kansas City to find cars to test drive which was true but even they do not have them on their lots and have to pay money just to test drive the cars. 

We started in Topeka and Carrie had lined up a test drive of the Hyundai Palisade which we a week ago. We arrived at Hyundai and only about four cars on the lot two of which were the people working in the building. The Palisade that was on the lot was not the one we had lined up to test drive as it was located in what we later found out to be Lawrence but had already been sold. We test drove another Palisade that was not the right color and I was impressed. It drove nice, had nice features, and I could see us in the car for a purchase. We asked the dealer about the process and that’s when we heard that it can be six months to get a car that we want on the lot and that to make sure we can test drive the car when it does arrive we need to pay a down payment. Seems a bit crazy!

We left and we were going to see about test driving some other brands in Topeka, but no one else had anything on their lots. We stopped by Nissan and actually put a down a payment on a car so we can test drive it when it does eventually arrive. The good news about the down payment is that you get it back or it can be canceled, so basically, you are just reserving it so that when it does arrive on the lot you can test drive it before anyone else. If we decide not to buy the car, we get the deposit back.

As we left Nissan, we started talking and decided we should buy our Pilot. We are not going to be able to get a new car anytime soon even if we look in Kansas City, so we made plans to buy out our lease on our Pilot. Currently, we could buy it and then sell it and get a good return on the investment when we do decide to sell the Pilot. 

Our plan is to keep the Pilot for a year and begin to look at other options for a new car giving ourselves 6 - 12 months to wait on the car to be available, test drive, and purchase the car. Selling our Pilot in the process and making a profit from doing so.  We will see what happens, but so far we are happy with our decision and look forward to being a owner of a Pilot for the next year or so before purchasing our next car.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Exercise Not Happening After Getting Sick… Time to Motivate and Get Back to Riding

My working out came to an abrupt halt after I got sick from Covid. Yes, after a few years of not getting sick, I came down with Covid after Carrie returned from Houston. I picked her up from the airport on June 13 and by June 15 I was feeling lousy and tested positive for Covid with a home kit. The last time I did the bike was June 12. I worked from home from June 14 - 20 and I was back into the office on June 21. During that time while not feeling great, I did not ride at all.

While I went back to work on June 21, I did not feel like getting back on the bike for my normal Tuesday or Thursday rides. I decided I would take the rest of the week and get back on the bike starting June 26. It will feel good to be back on the bike and get back into the routine of riding on a regular basis once again. While I was out sick I went probably two days without eating a thing which means I lost weight during my time with Covid. I dropped to the lowest I have been in years although after being able to start eating again, I have gained that back, but it was good to see those lower numbers for a few days anyway while I was not feeling well.

While both Carrie and I were sick, Oliver took care of us. We were both in different bedrooms and Oliver would go back-and-forth between the two rooms sleeping for a bit in each room with us and keeping an eye on us. He was so ready for us to go back to work as we had been cramping his style around the house. He took good care of us and was a good snuggle puppy while we were not feeling well.

Hoping this is our last and only time with Covid. On Thursday, June 16, I slept all day long. I had my last fever on Saturday, June 18 and yet a week later I still feel pretty tired. I have no other symptoms other than a slight cough from being sick, but I am ready to get back on the bike and get back to my routine.

It is so easy to get out of the habit of working out whether it is from getting sick or other events happening during the week. Once I get out of the habit, it usually takes me a little while to get motivated to get back in the saddle and start working out again. I normally would do a live ride on Sunday at 11 am, but I think I will do a solo ride to get my mind back in the mode of working out and then I will plan to ride Tuesday and Thursday this week too. Back to my routine will be good and get my head straight.

Until next time, stay healthy and I will see you on the bike…

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father’s Day 2022!

Happy Father’s Day
Happy Father’s Day! A beautiful, very warm, June day for 2022. 

I have been sick this past week and so I have been watching a lot of golf the past few days. It brings back memories of watching golf with my Dad. Some good snoozing has happened and I am sure more will occur today as I watch golf and wish a Happy Father’s Day to my Dad in heaven. Love you, Dad!

Happy Father’s Day to Dad Shirron! Sorry we will not see you today. We will see you soon! Love you!

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers on this day!

Weekend of Grilling Went Very Well While Carrie Was Out of Town

Carrie was going to be out of town to visit our friend Corrie in Houston June 8 - 13, so I planned to do a lot of grilling while she was away. I started preparing the menu before she left and had most everything picked out prior to her departure. Although, I had to make some changes as some of the items I wanted were not available at the local grocery store (i.e. mahi-mahi), but made an adjustment and I think overall, it was a successful time grilling. 

BGE and Meater Ready for First Night of GrillingThe first night, I did a simple pork tenderloin on the grill. I did not get any pictures of the night, but the picture to the left was my basic set up for the other nights I grilled. I decided on a pork tenderloin as it would give leftovers for dinner Thursday and lunch Friday. I did corn on the cob on the grill along with the pork. It turned out really well. Using the Meater and it was cooked to a perfect temperature. It did last me through Friday lunch, so it worked out as planned. I decided on this as I wanted to workout Thursday night after I got off of work and did not want to worry about cooking or going late around the grill. Oliver and I spent time outside even though I was not grilling listening to music and drinking some good beer.

Friday Night Porterhouse SteakI got off of work at noon on Friday and started running errands getting ready for cooking Friday night. I stopped by Blind Tiger to pick up some growlers of beer, went to the grocery store, and then to Herman’s Meat Market to pick up a porterhouse bone-in steak along with a twice baked potato. Nothing fancy, but simple and done on the grill for the porterhouse. Put the potato in the oven and let it go for about 40 minutes before putting the steak on the grill. I also started some mushrooms on the stove to sauté to go along with the steak and of course I opened a bottle of wine to add to the mushrooms. I then also had the rest of the bottle while I ate and relaxed for the evening.  

Steak, Potato, Mushrooms, Wine, Peppers, and Onions… Perfect!The goal for all of the planned cooking for the weekend involved wanting to use the Meater to see how well it worked. Maybe perfect how I use it so I can impress Carrie the next time I cook. Once again, the Meater worked great on the steak alerting me to take it off from the grill, letting it rest, and knowing when it was the perfect time to start eating. Not the greatest picture, but it sure tasted good. I picked up the onion and peppers at the store that afternoon. The pepper was too hot for me to eat. I had a few bites and could not taste a thing, so I kept it until the leftovers on Saturday for lunch to go with the leftover steak. It was still too much for me. Very hot! I was very happy with how everything turned out.

Rumcake on the GrillSaturday was a busy day for me while Carrie was a way. I had a lot planned for the day around the house and to cook. I mowed the lawn, trimmed, and got the exterior looking good. I had errands to run for cooking that night which included picking up swordfish and I wanted to clean up to get it ready for Carrie returning on Monday night. I also wanted to try a recipe for a rum cake on the Big Green Egg. My first time trying it and Carrie and I had talked about it, but had not tried it. I figured it was the perfect time to give it a try. The recipe which I found on the BGE web site (here) was pretty easy. I could not find the correct pan, so I found one that would work. It took about 50 minutes for it to finish cooking so that a toothpick inserted came out clean. I let it cool and started cooking dinner for the night.

Swordfish, Shrimp, and Asparagus on the BGEWhen I was at the store earlier in the day to get the swordfish and other items, while I was at the seafood counter, the HyVee associate suggested as I was grabbing the swordfish from her that I should get some Australian Jumbo Shrimp they had in their cooler. I almost did not get any as I was leaving and I am so glad that I did. they were delicious! Huge pieces of shrimp that I ended up eating by dipping in butter. They tasted just like lobster. So good! 

The swordfish I got two of them so I could have one for Sunday at lunch. This was only my second attempt at swordfish. I did a simple oil over them to coat, salt, and pepper which then went on the grill. My first bite tasted very fishy of the swordfish. I used the Meater to monitor the swordfish which did a good job, but I think I will try a different recipe for swordfish in the future. The rest of it was very good. Leftovers on Sunday, it was much better too. When I told Carrie about it, she thought it might have been the difference between the kind of meat in the swordfish which might be right. I will try them again as it was delicious once I got past the initial bite.

Pork Shoulder on BGE for Sunday DinnerSunday I changed my plans from doing mahi-mahi (which I could not find at the store) to doing a pork shoulder. I wanted something that was going to take a while to cook. I put it on the grill a little later than I had planned. The total amount of time it took to start to finish for the pork shoulder was about six hours. I once again used the Meater to monitor the cook. While it cooked, I tried to do some limb cleanup in our backyard, but the weather was a little odd on Sunday with what appeared to be a large storm heading our direction. As it turned out, the storm split right around Topeka and we did not even get any drops. I had two ears of corn on the cob that I had left over from the Wednesday night cook. I bought some buns at the store along with Joe’s BBQ sauce. Pulled the pork once it was done and had BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. I wanted enough to have leftovers on Monday and for Carrie to have some when she got home Monday night or Tuesday.

Oliver Enjoyed Our Time Outside Cooking and Relaxing
I was pleased with all of the cooks. I did keep some of the rum cake for Carrie to have when she returned and she had some BBQ too. I think we finally finished off the rum cake on Tuesday. I was happy with everything I cooked. I was proud that I was able to cook everything for my meal on the grill for Saturday even though the swordfish turned me off a little on the first bite, I thought it was good and I would try it again.

I will do the pork should again as well as the rum cake. Steak on the grill is a given. So, I cannot wait to grill again and hopefully it will be soon. Carrie thought it was funny how excited I was that she was going to be out of town when I started planning all of my nights of cooking. I think it was a successful time of cooking and hanging out with my boy, Oliver. 

Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

May Stats for Working Out Was a Bit of a Struggle

Days Worked out in May
The month of May was not a great time for me and working out. I did manage to get at least two days in each week but they were not long workouts. I think I averaged 20 minute workouts. Still, good I am getting some exercise, but not as much as I had intended. Trying to keep the rides going even when busy with other events through the week is the tough part but it is also part of what drives me to make sure I get those rides scheduled. I need to do more when I know it is a busy week so that I get up early and ride or move the days around to get the three days a week workout done.

Consistently worked out on Tuesdays through the month of May except for the last Tuesday of the month, but we had just returned from camping that Monday and did not feel like getting on the bike. Sunday was consistent too for me. The Thursday workout was the toughest it would appear for May only working out one Thursday during the month which also happened to be my one week during May that I did get three workouts in for the week.

May Stats for Working Out
Interestingly enough I did work out three additional times in May then the prior month, but it does not look like it when I look at the report of dates I did a workout. My minutes at 283 total minutes working out is better too. So, even though I feel like it was a down month, the overall report for the month does not look too bad.
Miles traveled and calories burned were all up compared to the prior month. So, progress there even though it feels like it was a down month, I can see in the reports that I did better than I thought.
I do continue to see weight being lost. Since January 18, 2022, I have lost 11.6 lbs. So, not a lot, but it is gradual. As I have mentioned multiple times in past updates, I continue to drink beer or not eat very well. Although, eating better as Carrie and I are doing good with our eating at home and trying to eat healthier too. Eating healthy is a constant battle and it is so easy to let it slip where I eat a burger or something for lunch because it is easy. Happy to say it has been a while since I have been to McDonald’s during the week. We did get simple burgers when we went camping and when we returned that Monday.
Feeling good about my working out. Summer months will continue to be a struggle to get workouts in. I need to make sure that I keep working out and plan for when I am going to be busy with other things so i do the workout earlier or on other days. 
Have a great week and I will talk to you later….

Sunday, June 05, 2022

First Camping Trip of the 2022 Season We Went Back to Our Favorite Eisenhower State Park at Lake Melvern

Camp Site at Eisenhower State Park
Two Tents Ready to Camp
We are so excited to be out camping for the first time this year. Somewhat a last minute scheduling as we figured all the spots would already have been taken when we booked our site only a few weeks before the Memorial Day weekend. We booked three spots as Greg and Erin now have a tent and went with us. We had some other friends we were trying to convince to go with us, but it did not work out for them, so we kept the third camp site anyway. This will be our longest camping experience so far in our rather young camp life as we will camp for four nights. Prior to this weekend, we had only camped three nights in a row last year, so we are excited to be out for another day.
Car is Packed Tight and Carrie is Sitting on Sticks
 Packed a Lot!
The events of our weekend are written each day, or the day after, to track accounts of what we did those specific days. This post will not be published until the weekend after our weekend get away to give you a sense of timeline and how I was writing the memories of each day.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

I worked a half day this day so we could get out to the camp site earlier and start the weekend. We ended up leaving later than we had planned and I had a conference call to join while we were driving out to the site. We did manage to get out to the camp site by 4 pm. We took Oliver, so he rode in Carrie’s lap as there was not room to put his car seat anywhere in the car. Oliver was so excited to go in the car although he had no idea where we were headed.

Once again, our car was completely full and could not fit another item into the car. Carrie was sitting with a box at her legs full of wood and we had other boxes stuck in various places for firewood… we do not want to run out… Our car was stacked to the ceiling with everything we needed for our camping weekend. Of course, after we arrived at the camp site, we realized/remembered everything we forgot. Oh well, nothing we need immediately and we can live without those items, but it sure would have been nice to have them for this long weekend.
Once we got camp set up, we chilled for a while and enjoyed some adult beverages. It was a bit chilly with a good wind gust, but later in the evening the wind completely stopped and it was a beautiful night with stars as far as we could see down to the horizon. It was beautiful!
Our Meal on Thursday Evening
Firedisc Dinner is Served
We did fajitas the first night. Man they were so good! We did them in the Firedisc that we bought last year for camping. Good way to start our camping weekend with good food. We made short work of dinner and headed to the fire pit. As I mentioned, the wind died down once the sun went down, so the fire was nice to have going to warm things up a little as it was in the 50s or 60s, but sure nice to not have the wind blowing any longer.
Camp Fire Living for our First Night of Camping
Sitting Around Camp Fire
Erin got our fire roaring and we had a fun night listening to a playlist Carrie had us working on for original music scores. It was fun to hear what everyone selected and then try and think what movie the music was from. We stayed up late the first night listening to music, telling stories, and looking at the beautiful sky with all of the stars. 
Carrie did mention she wants to get up early one morning during this camping weekend to watch the sunrise. About 1 am, I asked her if Friday morning was that time and she said maybe Saturday morning. I think this might be difficult to accomplish as we enjoy staying up late, around the camp fire, and telling stories, so we will see if this happens.
Chairs Lined up to Relax and Enjoy the Day
Lake Was Calm Like Glass

Friday, May 27, 2022

Our first full day at the camp site was a good day. We slept a late and then had egg and bacon sandwiches to start the day. We spent time just relaxing, reading, listening to music, and talking. Such a relaxing day doing nothing. By mid-afternoon we were playing cornhole. We played teams that we changed around throughout the game. It was a lot of fun, but a few of us got a little burnt. I once again have my outlines of shoes on my feet without shoes. One item Carrie and I forgot was sunscreen, but we did end up picking it up on Saturday to we could keep safe.
We stayed up late listening to playlists we all submitted to Carrie ranging from songs we like to sing to songs we like to dance to while we listen. Oliver was enjoying himself sniffing all the smells and seeing people go by from their camp sites. We did let Oliver go leash-free while around the camp site which is something new for us and for him. He did great off of the leash. A few times he would start to wonder off and we would call his name, so he would come right back to camp. Good boy!
Sunrise on Saturday, May 27, 2022
Sunrise Coming up Over Lake

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Saturday morning we all got up early to watch the sunrise. It was an idea Carrie had that she wanted to see the sunrise from where we are camping. We all got up with no problem and took some pictures of the sun coming up over the lake. It was beautiful! We could have gotten up a little earlier as we missed some of the colors, but it was still breathtaking to see the sun climb in the sky.
Carrie Walking on a Trail
Walking Trails
Following watching the sunrise, we all went back to bed for a bit before we started the day. We had an easy breakfast with snacks and then headed out for the day. We then headed out to get some sunscreen, firewood, and to do some trails. Nice way to start the day. When we got back to camp, we relaxed and listened to the Royals playing in the afternoon. 
Sleeping at the Camp Site
A Few of Us Sleeping
Some of us might have taken naps following the Royals winning their game and of course Carrie snapped a picture of us all snoozing with some snoring happening too. Always fun to get a picture of sleepy heads after having a fun time camping.
For dinner Carrie and Erin went into Casey’s to pick up pizza. Tradition as this is the second time we have done this as our first time was last year when we stayed at this same camp site with Greg and Erin. Delicious and no one had to cook. Following dinner as the sun started to set, we played another round of cornhole mixing up the teams once again. Beautiful evening as we played our game and listened to music. Finally, we could not see any longer, so got ready for the evening which included taking showers before we settled around the camp fire to spend the evening.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

We awoke early this morning to our tent leaning in our heads as the wind picked up. Oliver was a little frightened and it was rather concerning to Carrie and I too. The south side of our tent was being blown in so much by the wind it was hitting my head and freaking Oliver out. Oliver was shivering so bad as he was scared, so Carrie put a blanket over him and held him which helped to calm him down. The sun was not up yet, but I am not sure what time the wind started although it did finally dwindle and we were able to sleep until about 8:30 or 9. 
Set up for Evening Camp Fire and Watching a Movie
Tent, Lake, Movie, and Fire
Greg and Erin left us on Sunday leaving just Carrie and I to be around camp. There were still a lot of campers down the way, but no one in our area. We spent the afternoon snoozing and I listened to the Royals game. By dinner time, we had leftovers we had made the other nights camping. Decided we would build a fire and settle in for watching a movie. We watched a movie from Netflix which was not very good, but entertained us enough that we did not stop watching. The movie we watched was “Senior Year”. Glad it was “free”.
We let the fire die out and decided to head to bed. We wanted to get an early start to Monday morning to get packed up and head back to Topeka. We both knew we would be tired once we got back home and likely needed to rest up Monday afternoon so we could prepare to be back to work on Tuesday.
Monday Morning Looking out at the Lake from Our Tent
View from Inside Tent to Lake

Monday, May 30, 2022

I woke up a few times overnight with some high winds once again. Not as bad as the other night, but it did wake me up a few times. I know Oliver woke up from the gusts too as I would wake up and look over and he would be looking at me. I am not sure Carrie heard a thing. As we began to break down our camp site, I thought the winds picked up again, so once we took the rain fly off of the tent, our tent almost completely collapsed in on itself. Disconnecting the lines and trying to fold up the tent was a challenge, but we managed to get it done and not lose the rain fly, tent, or our tarp.
Tent camping in high winds is not a lot of fun, but we survived. I am thankful we did have some good weather for one or two days. While the winds were high overnight, and some during the day, overall, it was a great camping trip.
Tired Puppy After Four Nights Camping
Sleepy Oliver
We were packed up and ready to leave about 10:30 or so. We were back in Topeka and had the car unpacked by 11:30. Oliver was exhausted as he sat in his pillow seat on Carrie’s last on the way home. He could not keep his eyes open and his tongue was out. So tired after protecting our camp site for four nights. I think he had a great time!
We had checked for ticks a few times and not found any on ourselves, or Oliver, but Monday evening, Carrie found one crawling off of Oliver. Later that night, we found one on me and one on Carrie that had locked into our skin. We got them removed and have not found any more on Oliver or us. Thankful the ticks were not too bad when we went. I read a Reddit camping post from someone saying they went camping in another state in the woods and found 115 tickets in 24 hours. I think we would check out and leave at that point. No thanks!


We had so much fun camping. So happy we were able to take Oliver camping with us and he did great! Had so much fun with Greg and Erin. We ate some amazing meals thanks to everyone involved (team effort). I hope we are able to go again soon. It is fun to put together amazing moments in nature. This was our third time for Carrie and I to camp at this exact spot and I imagine we will go back again sometime in the future to camp again. We hope to try out some new sites and other camp grounds in the future. For now, I use these blog postings and pictures to recall our time at these favorites spots as we continue to enjoy our camping adventures.
Until next time, enjoy your camping adventures and please feel free to comment and share your experiences. Note, clicking on any of the pictures on this post will link out to our Flickr page for all of our pictures.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day 2022

American Flag to Celebrate Memorial Day
Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day. This day indicates the start of the summer for many, but it is a day to remember those that served in the line of duty for our military and gave their life in doing so. While you enjoy your holiday be sure to remember and understand why we are able to do what we do each day and give thanks to those that gave their lives in active duty. 
Be safe and enjoy the holiday. Until next time, have a great week!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Cooked Salmon on BGE Using Meater Thermometer to Measure Doneness and When to Remove from the Grill

A few weeks ago while browsing social media, I had an display for me about a new meat thermometer called Meater. One of those ads where I saw it a few times, looked interesting, and then started seeing it on YouTube, FaceBook, etc. as I was browsing other sites as it was detected I was interested in the product. I eventually ended up buying Meater as it looked really cool!
I have now used Meater twice and love it! I have a meat thermometer that I have had for a few years which I use frequently for cooking larger cooks such as turkey, chicken, etc., but my old thermometer uses wires. Meater is wireless and has an option to connect to a block that extends wirelss to be able to use all over the house and still keep track of a cook.
I first used Meater to cook steaks. Straight forward enough but I was excited to use Meater, so I used it with two t-bones we purchased. They turned out great! I likely would have left the meat on past when Meater told me to remove them from heat. The steaks were cooked perfectly and Meater even allows for post cooking time as the meat continues to cook.
Salmon Filets Ready for the GrillOn Sunday, May 22 I used Meater to cook salmon filets. Prepared them straight forward enough with salt, pepper, and some seasoning we had in the cabinet. Inserted the two Meater probes and got the grill ready for cooking. I did the salmon on wood planks we have had for a few years but never used. Set temp for 400 degrees and let it do its thing. All told, it took about 26 minutes for the full cook and food to be ready to eat. Turned out great!
Salmon on BGE Cooking with Meater Monitoring the TempsThe Meater monitors wirelessly which is nice so I can be anywhere in the house and see the temps, alerts, or status of the cook. The picture to the right shows the salmon on the grill with the Meater monitoring the cook. The Meater works not only on charcoal grills, but also on gas, oven, or even air friers. We have only used it so far on the grill. Very happy with the new purchase and the results have been fantastic in terms of the meat being cooked to perfect.
A nice cold bevarage was sipped while the salmon cooked. Having the range of being able to be in another room and know how the meat is cooking is amazing. The Meater monitors not only the internal temperature of the meat but the ambient temp surrouding the meat too which means it can monitor and tell you when to remove the meat from the grill as well as when the meat is ready to eat as it monitors the meat that continues to cook as it is removed from the heat. Again, I have been impressed so far with my use of the Meater.
Finished Product on the PlateThe finished product turned out nicely. Flaky salmon and not overdone at all. Unlike past grilling sessions where I have tried to cook salmon, this turned out done but almost buttery because of the temp of the fish. Both Carrie and I were pleased with the result and I cannot wait to try again with a different cut of meat. I plan to do swordfish at some point and look forward to doing larger items using the Meater to see how those turn out.
Willcott Brewing Company from Holton, KSOn Saturday, we ran errands to various places and one stop was in Holton, Kansas where we visited Willcott Brewing Company. If you have a chance, I recommend stopping by Holton, KS to visit Willcott Brewing Company. I had a wheat and IPA while I was there and ended up taking home a growler of their beer which is what I was drinking on Sunday when I did the salmon. Great weekend!
Until next time, have a great rest of your weekend and I hope to start posting again about my cooks using Meater and drinking some of my favorite beers.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Oliver Was Sad When I Was Away for a Conference Wednesday and Thursday Last Week

Oliver Hanging out with his Big Old LambThis past week, I did some traveling for work to a conference in Wichita. The conference was great! It was fun to be able to see and connect with peers from other Kansas institutions as well as our vendors who sponsor the conference. This post is not about the conference so much, but I wanted to say how great it was to be at a conference again in-person.
While I was gone, my dog missed me. Carrie sent me a few different pictures while I was out. The one to the left was the first night I was gone and he was laying on our sofa with his lamb (that is bigger than him) watching the kitchen door to see when I would return. Carrie shared with me that at night, Oliver would sit on the end of our bed watching our bedroom door to see when I would return. Then at night, he slept in my spot next to my pillow. Poor guy! 
It has been a while since I had been away from Oliver where Carrie was only left with him. Same for Carrie where she has not traveled anywhere without me, so this was a first for Oliver to have one of us gone and him wondering what happened. I think he missed me!
Oliver in Back Yard Watching for People and Keeping an Eye on CarrieOliver loves our back yard to watch for people. Again, while I was out, he was hanging out with Carrie in our back yard watching for people, other dogs, or anything that he could bark at, but he was also keeping an eye on Carrie to make sure she did not leave him too.
Of course Oliver, like humans, he loves routine and when the routine is broken it causes him some anxiety. He will have his normal day broken up next week as he has a day at the vet scheduled for multiple shots and spa day to get him smelling good. We think he likes his spa day at the vet, but he is exhausted when he gets back home in the evening and his whole day has been completely different from what he is used to doing when we are at work. That is to say, he is exhausted because he stayed awake to watch other dogs at the vet. Poor guy has to protect and announce the existence of those dogs to others.
Oliver by the Fence in our Back YardIt was a good week and flew by quickly! Unlike Oliver, it was a busy week with the two day conference in Wichita, KS. It breaks up my routine for the week, but I really have no routine any longer as every day is different which is good. I was able to stop by and see my sister and brother-in-law while I was in Wichita which was fun. Had dinner with them and chatted for an hour or two before I had to get on the road back to Topeka Thursday night. 
Routines are good but it is good to mix it up and have things be different too. Have a great week and we will chat later.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Bally Sports+ Planned Release in Second Quarter for MLB, Soccer, etc. Streaming with a Subscription Required

Bally Sports has finally confirmed that they will be releasing Bally Sports+ here in the second quarter according to an article from The Streamable. How many more things can we have created that are called “+”? This is an aside, but maybe you are wondering the cost to sign up for Bally Sports+. The soft launch will be $19.99 a month or $189.99 a year. Holy crap! $189.99 a year for streaming of sports. This seems rather high to me and not worth the money.
I am already using Bally Sports to watch the Royals allbeit from my Mom’s account who lives in Lawrence. I have YouTube TV which does not have Bally Sports because of contract disagreements, but Sling and Dish Network customers are in the same boat where only Direct TV Stream has Bally Sports. I wil note that the Bally Sports app on my Roku, iPad, and iPhone have worked really well since the start of the season, but lately, the app on Roku does not work at all. On my iPhone and iPad, I can watch for a few minutes and then it locks up and has to be restarted. When I read the announcement from The Streamable regarding Bally Sports+ being released soon, that made me wonder if this is on purpose to force us over to the paid subscription.
On Roku the Bally Sports app starts, I can go to go to Teams and then the Royals, but if I try to play a recorded or live game, the app shuts down and returns to the main Roku window. This has been happening for three or four weeks now. However, if I open the Bally Sports app on Apple TV, the app works fine and I can watch games. Annoying though that the app is broken on Roku.
Just as annoying is that the Bally Sports app on iPad or iPhone simply stops playing video. I have to go out to the main screen of the app and start the feed again. Before long, less than five minutes, it will stop playing stating there is an error. 
If Bally Sports decides to make changes so that I can no longer watch Royals through their app from my a TV provider that subscribes to Bally Sports, like Midco in Lawrence, then I will not be paying for their add-on service to simply watch the Royals. I will rely on video clips from YouTube and listen to the radio broadcast. Paying $20 a month to watch the my team is not worth it let alone paying almost $200 a year to be able to watch. Instead, Bally Sports should re-work their deals with YouTube TV, Sling, Dish, Hulu, etc. so that other streaming options are available and likely do it much better than Bally Sports.
The season for the Royals has not gone very well thus far. Friday night was our first win in what seemed like many weeks… We had won games on Wednesday and Sunday the past week, but still, it seemed like a long time. We are 11 - 20 or 6.5 games out of first in the AL Central. We have not seen production from some we were expecting and some we would like to leave the team. The way social media is discussing, a complete management replacement is needed. I love my Royals and it makes it difficult to watch when we are struggling, but us Royals fans are used to this too. I just hope that I can continue to watch the Royals even if they are not very good, but hoping that turns around too. 

Sunday, May 08, 2022

April Stats for Working Out Went Up Slightly Compared to March

April Peloton Workout History in Review
The month of April, I did much better with my working out each week. Well, at least for the last three weeks of the month, it was much better. I felt good working out during April. I consistently worked out on Sunday mornings. I continue to read while I work out on the Tuesday and Thursday days which is helping me get through my book list and then Sunday is typically spent working to a live instructor. 
As I review the month of April, I know why that first full week is so sparse with working out… that was the week of the NCAA championship game. It occurred on Monday, April 5 and it was a late game. As I recall, I went to bed early on April 6 which is my normal workout day. Then it appears I did not get motivated again to workout until the following Sunday. Not ideal, but I got back into the routine the middle of the month. 
Feels good to keep the routine going and I am seeing a few pounds drop off through the efforts. I still have not done anything about really eating better, but some how I am seeing pounds drop off little by little. Here we are in the early part of May and I still have not started the jogging once a week plan I had mentioned in past updates. I am hoping to start jogging on Saturday mornings. Hopefully in a future post, I will let you know how that goes. I want to use the Peloton app on my phone to do the run and then see where it takes me. Hoping my knees do better this time around with running than when I started it up before Peloton bike arrived.
April Monthly Achievement with Ally Love
The following month I get an email from Peloton to let me know how I did which is where these graphs and information come into play. My normal live workout on Sunday mornings is with Alley Love and varies from 20 - 60 minutes depending on the day. She did recently get married and looking to move to London, so I am not sure what that means for my normal workout at 11 am CDT with her as the instructor. She continues to be my favorite instructor as she keeps the workoug intense, she has stories that help pass the time, and she motivates during the workout. Anything to keep the routine enjoyable is what I am looking for in an instructor. If she does move on or changes time, I am not sure if I will find a new instructor for the Sunday morning spot or change to when she does do her live session.
I am approaching 300 bike riding workouts. In fact, when this update posts on Sunday, I should reach 300 on Sunday, May 5 as I usually write these early in the week. I am hoping to do the live ride with Ally Love on Sunday so I can get a shout out during the ride. She did mention me a few weeks ago in a live ride although she was not sure how to prounce “Havertyj”.
Monthly Stats for April 2022
My monthly stats were down a little from March which is odd as I did not work out much in March with basketball happening. On average, I rode the bike for 25 minutes. I stopped doing the additional cool down rides and instead only focus on however long the ride is scheduled or that I want to ride. I usually do a cooldown but after the session has ended. Miles traveled are down a little too from March, but I hope over the summer I can continue to increase those to higher numbers across the board for monthly stats. We will see what happens...
The important point is that I continue to enjoy bike riding. I enjoy the process and how it makes me feel even when the workout is kicking my butt and I am not sure I will finish that particular ride. I enjoy reading while I workout and often times have classical music playing while I ride and read. Whatever I can do to make the workout enjoyable is what I am looking to do and that helps to pass the time and not even realize I am working out. Well, until I get off of the bike and try to walk down the stairs, then I know I have been working out and I am right back to reality.
What do you do to motivate yourself for working out? Any tips or tricks you can share?
Until next time, enjoy your workouts and strive on for motivation to keep the healthy balance of life.

Happy Mother’s Day

Photo by George Dolgikh @ from Pexels
A beautiful time of year and perfect time to celebrate our Moms! Happy Mother’s Day to Nancy and Joan. Happy Mother’s Day to all.

Celebrate Mother's Day with your mother today. Call your mother and let her know you are thinking about her. Do something special for her and remember all the times she has done so many special things for you. Try not to make this the only time this year that you call her to just talk or say hello. 

Our First Camping Trip of the Season has been Booked

Picture of our Tent in the Back Yard Back in 2021We have our first camping trip of the year scheduled. We thought it would be too late to schedule anything, but we found a spot and it happens to be a spot we have been to twice last year. We have two spots booked as Greg and Erin will be going with us. We had been talking that we need to go camping and do it soon, so that got Carrie to looking and found a great location with spots available right next to one another. We are going to try and convince some other friends to go with us too.

I cannot wait! It is going to be so fun and hoping the weather is good for when we are camping. We are planning to take Oliver with us as the weather is nice and cool, so he should have a fun time. Plus, hoping the ticks are not bad when we go too so he does not get too many ticks… or us for that matter.

A short update to say that a camping post will come in the near future. We are so excited to have this scheduled and I am sure we will be looking at camping sites to find when else we can camp this summer. 

Fun Wedding Weekend on April 30 in Kansas City... Family, Fun, Eating Good Food, and Dancing

Carrie and John at Wedding in KCCarrie and I went to a wedding in Kansas City on Saturday, April 30. My cousin Lindsey married Tyler that day, so it was a chance to go to Kansas City, see family, eat well, and have some fun. We had a great time even though Carrie was having some leg issues that limited her from being able to dance, we did get some dancing in on the slower songs.
Dina, Carrie, and I left Lawrence to head into the wedding Saturday mid-afternoon. The wedding was outside and while it was a bit chilly, the wedding was beautiful. I saw my Uncle Charlie, Aunt Barb, Cousins Susan, Doug, Janet, Jeff, Matt, and Mike. It was fun to all be in one area and talk to one another. My brother Tim made it too so we were able to hang out for a while.
Dina and John at Wedding ReceptionWe estimated there were around 200 people at the reception based on the number of tables. The food was delicious and the wedding cake was good too. I could have had seconds on the wedding cake, but I refrained and only had one slice. They also had a candy bar which was really cool and had some of that too.
Dina, Tim, Carrie, and I were at the table with Mike and his friend Dee. Good conversation and fun watching everyone dance. Yes, we did get on the floor a few times. At one point others came over to join us and talk for a bit. As the night started coming to an end for us and we needed to head back to Lawrence/Topeka, we did a fawewell tour to say bye to our family. 
Dina and Tim at Wedding ReceptionOur sister Jen was supposed to be at the wedding, but was unable to make it. We did see my nephew Spencer that night too which was fun as he was in from New York. Even better was that none of my cousins knew who he was and greeted him like a new person… we had to explain it was Spencer son of Jen and Kent. We all had a good laugh about that as it had been a while since anyone had seen Spencer. 
On the Dance Floor Having FunBefore all the dancing started and before dinner, the DJ did play a Neil Diamond song and got everyone out on the foor. Next to the bride and groom in the picture to the left, you can see my Uncle Charlie on the dance floor talking to Lindsey. That was fun and got a lot of people on the floor before everything started.
What a wonderful evening! Congratulations to Lindsey and Tyler. So happy for them! Their wedding was beautiful and reception was so fun. I am so glad that Dina, Carrie, and I were able to make it on from Lawrence/Topeka. We had a large time and it was great to be able to see family that I had not seen in a few years.
Looking forward to attending another get together in a few weeks with family where cousin Mike turns a big number. He has having a party and we are invited to attend. Carrie and I are planning to attend and I am working to convince Dina and Betsy to go too.
Congrats again to the happy couple!

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Apple Watch and Haptic Time Telling is Great for Meetings

I have had my Apple Watch (series 2, so it is old) for a long time. I wear it all the time and use it often for notifications or working out to track heart rate and exercise. I do not use it a lot to text from it as I find that a little difficult with fat fingers and eye sight that does not work great for seeing the tiny watch face. I use apps on the watch to track sports or see updates on games when I am unable to see my iPhone or computer. So, I use my Apple Watch a lot. 

A few months ago I started thinking how in a meeting I would like to know on the hour that it is the hour. I see it as rude to be in out with someone and look at the time as if it indicates I cannot wait to get away from them. So, I started wondering if there was a way to be able to tell the time without looking at my watch. Sure enough, there was a way to do so. 

If you are interested, here are the steps as outlined from the Apple Support article.

  1. Open the Settings app  on your Apple Watch.

  2. Tap Clock, scroll up, then tap Taptic Time.

  3. Turn on Taptic Time, then choose a setting—Digits, Terse, or Morse Code. Hours and minutes are indicated in the following ways:

    • Digits: Apple Watch long taps for every 10 hours, short taps for each following hour, long taps for every 10 minutes, then short taps for each following minute.

    • Terse: Apple Watch long taps for every five hours, short taps for the remaining hours, then long taps for each quarter hour.

    • Morse Code: Apple Watch taps each digit of the time in Morse code.

  4. To feel a haptic version of the time, touch and hold two fingers on the watch face.

You can also configure Taptic Time on iPhone. Open the Apple Watch app on iPhone, tap My Watch, go to Clock > Taptic Time, then turn it on.

Note: Taptic Time is disabled if Apple Watch is set to always speak the time. To be able to use Taptic Time, first go to Settings  > Clock, then turn on Control With Silent Mode under Speak Time.

I should have figured that Apple had it figured out and it only took me three plus years to check and get the feature enabled. I use the digits feature as I found it to be clear when it is the hour. It is also a different haptics from what other notifications occur on the phone such as texting, calls, etc. I typically leave my Apple Watch on silent, so I rely on haptics to tell me what is happening or when to look at the phone. The nice thing about this setting is that I know when the hour hits and I do not have to look at it to check the time. 

Hopefully this will help someone else who has an Apple Watch and wondered if this was an option to be able to tell time without looking at your watch.

Friday Night Sirens and Video from Sister in Andover, Kansas of Tonrado

Oliver on Friday Late Afternoon Before the Storms
Little Oliver in our back yard on Friday evening as the storms are preparing to move in later in the night. He was having a large time in our back yard running around, barking at people walking, and having a good time. Early in the evening, we could tell he knew something was happening with the weather. Like other animals, he can sense the weather changing even before it changes. Before long as the storms move into the area, he hides behind my chair. The sirens did go off in Topeka, so we all headed to the basement. He was not scared at that point, it did not come until later when the thunder started and that’s when he hid behind my chair. Poor guy!

Friday night taking cover was the first time this year we have had to take cover and I believe the first time in a few years we have had to take cover. It seems this spring is lining up to be a storm heavy season. We have already had a few storms before this one that were intense with a lot of rain, lightening, thunder, and hail. We did have a little hail Friday night but it was only pea size. 

Andover, Kansas was hit by a tornado Friday evening that caused considerable damage to the area. My sister sent me a video that she recorded of the tornado as it went through Andover. The video perfectly shows the formation of the tornado, touch down, and then destruction as debris starts to float around the tornado. Scary night of weather in Kansas.

The predictions the whole week leading up to Friday was that we were going to see intense weather. They were not wrong! Thankfully no one was killed from what I heard about the Andover tornado, but a lot of destruction. So glad everyone is safe! Thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in the path of the weather Friday night.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Royals Lose on a Saturday Night, Yard Work, and Oliver Being Scared of Thunderstorms… Uneventful Weekend

Oliver Watching Royals Baseball
Oliver and I stayed up late Saturday night watching Royals baseball. Managed to get my hopes up as we took the lead in the top of the seventh and then did not score again through the end of the game. The bottom of the 7 Seattle scored one run to tie the game and in the bottom of the eighth, Seattle scored six runs. Brentz walked four guys with one of his walk leading to a run. One of those evenings where when it is done, I sit there and think what I could have been doing with my evening instead of baseball. 

The game finished sometime after midnight and I watched until the end. Disappointing way to end the night especially after coming back to lead the game and then lose it just as fast. The Royals started the season with two wins, went on a five game losing streak, won three games, and now are on a three game losing streak. Ah, the joys of baseball. We are once again in last place for the AL Central.

The Royals play again today at 3:10, so I plan on doing yard work today. I may or may not be done with yard work by the time the game starts, but that is OK. I can listen to the game and switch to music if I do not like the direction we are headed.

It is a beautiful morning and this will be my first time mowing for the season. I must say, this is the best our yard has looked in a long-time. I had the yard over-seeded last fall and it is paying off. A dark green lawn so far and I have not done a thing except over water in the late fall months. We had a good rain storm Saturday afternoon, so I should be good on watering at least for a while. I do have to monitor moisture as last year in the late summer months our lawn started to go dormant. 

The storm we had Saturday early evening caused Oliver to hide behind my chair. When it thunders, he does not really want us to look at or touch him. He knows how to keep himself safe. He is a funny little guy!

Short update for this week. One of those weeks where I was not sure what I was going to post until I sat down and started writing. Have a great week!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter!

Photo by Anna Tis from Pexels

Happy Easter! Have a happy and safe Easter. Today, we will be heading to Lawrence to see my Mom and other siblings who are able to make it. It is a rainy day here in Kansas, but looking forward to spending the day with family. This afternoon, we will likely spend time on the patio to talk, eat, and enjoy company. It has been a while since everyone in the Haverty family has been able to be together. I think the last time was last fall when we got together to clean out the shed and garage. So, happy we will get many people together today. We will miss Jen and Kent, but we will see them later this month for a wedding.

We had brunch at Joan and Eddie’s yesterday to celebrate Easter. It was a nice Saturday and good way to start the day. Plus, the Royals won, so that was good. Today, the Royals have been postponed due to rain in the forecast all day.

Carrie is making deviled eggs and I know there will be a lot of good food to enjoy this afternoon that others are taking. I hope you have a good day and enjoy Easter Day.

Spent April 9 and 10 Cutting down a Honeysuckle Tree in our Back Yard Which was a Mess

Honeysuckle Tree Cut Down in Back YardLast weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday cutting down and cleaning up a volunter tree that started in our back yard by our family room a few years ago. Ok, it has been there a while as it was huge towering above the roof of our family room. The tree was a honeysuckle tree and it was huge! I did not take any pictures prior to cutting it down, but it was probably as tall as our second story house. Thus, I spent the all of Saturday cutting down the tree and most of Sunday morning and afternoon cutting up the limbs. 
I knew it was going to be a job and had put it off the past few springs, but decided for some reason last Saturday I would head out and begin cutting it down. I was concerned a few times I was going to blow out a window, but luckily the windows survived limbs coming down. Not that there were a few that were close, but no damage was done.
You can see in the picture to the left that part of the tree from this Saturday picture still shows some of the tree still up by the back corner of the family room. It was the process! Carrie came out to help with organizing limbs and snipping off the small portions of the limbs. She came out to help for a bit on Sunday too.
Honeysuckle Tree Stump After Cut DownThe stump of where I cut down the tree was fairly large. I have heard that honeysuckle trees are basically like weeds and that’s what I dealt with last weekend. It was a mess and had me spending the whole weekend cutting up limbs. At one point on Saturday, the chainsaw (electric) I was using stopped working where the chain would come off as I started to cut a limb. So, that required a trip out to hardware store for chain oil. Of course by the time I found a hardware store with the chain oil, it was too late to keep going, so basically I got home with the chain oil, a case of beer, and put the oil in the chainsaw, did a test, and called it a day. There were more work to be done on Sunday.
It was a good lesson to get rid of small trees when I see them coming up in the yard or around the house. I usually do so around the fence to get rid of anything that does not look good or might cause issues. In this case, the honeysuckle tree looked like it would be a good fit where it was growing, but it was a mess! The tree was hanging over the family room roof, rubbing against our drains, and generally causing havoc with the house. Who knows what it is doing to the already degrading cement floor in the family room, but I am sure it was not good. 
Good to have the tree out and basically cut up. I need to do more work to cut up some more of the small junk that came out of the top of the tree, but a lot of that is kindling for back yard fires and future camping sites. I felt pretty good following the finishing up from Sunday. My body was telling me I had worked both days as I was sore in my back and legs. It was a long two days, but felt good to finish it up and see the final results of the tree stump opening up our southeast corner of our family room.

Wood Pile and More Limbs to Cut Up Over TimeThe final result is to the picture to the left with a pile of cut up limbs and then more junk from the top of the tree. Going to work well for kindling to get fires going, but still a lot of it to go through. There might be a branch or two waiting to be cut up over there too as I was exhausted the end of Sunday last week and decided to put it all in the corner and cut it up as I am out in the back yard grilling or doing the fire pit.
It felt good to finally get the tree cut down and somewhat cut up. It was a large task and I am glad that Carrie helped with the process. Overall, it went well and it looks much better where that tree was coming through. Now to focus on other areas of the yard such as the front yard, that is my next goal to do some pruning and cleaning up of trees in the front up by the house. Going to be a lot of work, but I think we can get through it and improve how our home looks.
Here a week later and my back has recovered for the most part. See what I can do on Saturday to get after it again and begin another project that hopefully can be limited to only the one day (Saturday) of yard work. Still have a ton of gumballs to pick up in the front yeard, so that will be fun. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

March Stats for Working Out Have Gone Way Down Compared to January and February

Monthly Stats for March Working Out

With it being March Madness, it really disrupted my workout plans. As you can see during the month of March I had a week where I only worked out once and three weeks where I only worked out twice. It was a struggle! So, looking over the stats, you can see I was down four days from the previous month for working out. There were some days I could have worked out as I knew my schedule for the week, but the motivation was lacking in March and it continues to lack on this Sunday late afternoon as I write this update. In fact, today, April 10, I did not work out at all this past week. I had planned to ride today to get in something, but spent the morning and afternoon working on cutting up a tree. I am exhausted, so I sit here writing this watching the Master’s finish up and drinking a beer. I am spent! My back hurts and I could fall asleep. I did manage to get in a mediation to keep my weekly streak going on Peloton, but it really feels like cheating.

So, overall, I was down on everything from workouts, to calories burned, to miles. This month is not looking much better, so hoping it is a wake up call for me to get back at it again. After today, I plan to get on the bike again on Tuesday. 

Not a lot of updates on my exercise routine other than it is down considerably from previous months and not looking much better so far for April. I still have time though to improve April, so we will see how it goes. I do plan, as I mentioned a few months ago, to start running at least one day each week and now that the weather is warming up, I might start that this month. I do enjoy running and the routine of running. My knees do not like it much, but our dog Oliver loves it because it knows when I run we will go on a walk afterwards. 

I hope you are keeping up with your workout routine and I look forward to getting back on my three day a week routine this next week.

Final Results of the 2022 ESPN Tournament Challenge in the March Madness Hopefuls Group

What a March Madness we had! All kinds of fun games, late nights, and good memories. The final result helped a number of us in the end with Kansas Jayhawks winning. It will be one week on Monday that KU won the national championship. What a run and what a game! But this update is about the top winners in the March Madness Hopefuls group.

The group saw a number of people rise and fall from the top spot from game-to-game and week-to-week. In the end, we had four that finished in the top three spots. Uncle Charlie won our group with a total score of 1,180 points. Followed by yours truly with 1,140 points. Third place was locked in by Betsy Hoke and Shawn Geil with 1,130 points. 

Uncle Charlie had only one entry to the tournament and it ended up clinching the top spot in our group. Meanwhile, I had three entries in this group alone and a total of seven entries overall. Betsy had three entries in our group and Shawn had two entries. So, Uncle Charlie won our group with only one entry. Nice job!

I am sure we will hear from Uncle Charlie during the off season and into next year when the tournament starts how he won it all. Congrats!

It is so exciting to have people playing in our group and entering multiple entries. It makes the tournament fun as we watch the changing leaders following each upset or after each week ends. What a fun time! We had over 40 entries in the group and the average points scored for our group was 555 points.

Great year and looking forward to next year!

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Picture-in-Picture Finally Arrived on YouTube TV Apple Devices App #YTTV #PIP #iOS

Finally! YouTube TV finally rolled out Picture-in-Picture (PIP) to iOS and iPad through their application (see article on 9to5Google). Prior to this past week the only way to watch a show on YouTube TV while doing something else on your Apple device was to use Safari or split screen with the application. Not ideal! It is good to be able to multitask and keep current on a game that is playing or a show from the DVR.

The ability to be able to use PIP on my iPhone while watching a show is the best improvement from this change. Prior to this week, it was not possible to use Safari on the iPhone to watch PIP or even to use the app and split screen as the iPhone does not allow this to work. Starting Thursday evening, I am now able to do PIP without any problem. The ability for Android customers on YouTube TV have been able to use PIP for a long time, so it is finally good to get the feature on Apple iOS devices.

I am still waiting for a new guide to show up on our Roku devices for YouTube TV (see article on 9to5Google). Having been with YouTube TV for over two years, the guide has been the same since we signed up. A new user interface was needed for the guide. The existing guide works, but it does lack in the ability to read about a show before tuning into the show or seeing which shows are selected to record. From what I have read, it sounds as though the option to read about a show before tuning in will be available as well as seeing on the guide which shows are set to record. The whole interface will be different, so I am excited to see how it looks and any other new features that are added.

A few new features rolling out from YouTube TV is good to see and I hope to see more features sooner rather than later. Having been with YouTube TV for two years with no changes, it feels good to see some improvements for the user interface being introduced. That is not to say that YouTube TV has not added other new features such as channels or features to add such as 4K or downloads, but having these features added to the base is a bonus. Once the new guide is available, I will post a follow up to post my review of the new user interface.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Follow Up to Oscar Nominations and Impressions… We Did Not Watch all of Best Picture Noms #Oscars #BestPicture

I had intentions of watching all of the best picture nominated movies as outlined in the post from February 27 posting, but that turned out to be a little difficult. Some of the movies were not available to watch via streaming until just recently. As tonight as Oscars night, we have four movies we did not watch. First time in a few years we have not watched all of the Oscar nominated best picture movies. We are still looking forward to tonight for the Oscars.

We were able to watch Westside Story a week or so ago. A lot of hype and of course I already knew the story. They did a nice job, but I am not sure it is best picture in my view. Entertaining, signing was good, acting was good, but some of the other movies I like better. We were also able to watch King Richard which we watched Saturday night. It was good and fun to watch the charger of Richard Williams throughout the movie. Good movie, but again, not what I see as best picture.

That leaves the following movies which we were not able to watch as we lead up to the awards this evening: DuneDrive My CarBelfast, and Licorice Pizza.We will watch these movies, but probably over the next few weeks. I heard that Dune was good and better than the original. I wanted to see Belfast as the story sounded interesting. So far at the top of my list for Best Picture remains CODA. I doubt it will be best picture, but I thought CODA was fantastic! Well done, great acting, and the story was inspiring. 

Before the Oscars tonight, we have some basketball to watch this afternoon, a baseball game or two, and then we will settle in for some awards. Looking forward to the day and see how everything turns out.