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Category: General

Wings and Beer

Wings and Beer

All set for the Packer game tonight. Michelle fired up some homemade wings with Carolina mustard Bbq sauce and panko and parmesan zucchini sticks. Tried some Duke’s mayo for the first time in the Hidden Valley Ranch for dipping. Pretty good.

Not much of a beer drinker anymore but this Harvest Patch Shandy from Leinenkugel is pretty good if you like a honey weiss. Michelle went with a Miller High Life.

It’s good to be home. Go Pack Go!

Getting Cozy

Getting Cozy

Everyone knows when you build a home, you need to put insulation in your walls and ceiling to make your house more energy efficient…warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

We learned that lesson as well in our home on wheels. Our first van “Tootsie” came with a factory-installed wall covering that doubled as a layer of insulation. The problem was there wasn’t anything in between the metal walls and the wall covering and it left the ceiling completely bare. The result was a very cold van in the winter and a van that heated up very quickly in the summer. We ultimately had to get a rather expensive Espar heater installed to make it through the cold weather. And we had to carry a portable air conditioner for the warm months.

So when we had to let go of Tootsie and picked up our new gas van “Tiberius” in August of 2019, we decided to go a slightly different route and get the walls and ceiling insulated. An acquaintance of ours who did the floor and e-track work and took my idea for a bed platform and ran with it in Tootsie, said it would be no problem putting in some insulation and walls in the new van. We brought him the van and the bed platform we stripped out of Tootsie over Labor Day weekend in 2019 and he went to work.

The new plywood floor and e-track went down and the insulation and walls went in. The bed platform followed as well as our Rubbermaid Fast Track for hanging stuff up as well as our overhead storage hammock for storing lightweight blankets and pillows.

After a year of use, we can say the insulation has paid for itself several times over. It kept the van much warmer and has allowed us to avoid an expensive Espar heater. The trade-off being that we now run just a small space heater with our portable generator to provide the heat. We still carry our portable AC and generator for the summer, but it now is able to keep up even on very warm days. In Tootsie, we usually didn’t make it much past 9am before the AC couldn’t keep up. In Tiberius, there have been hot days where we’ve been able to stay in the van all day without overheating. Insulation is the bomb!

Just in case you were wondering about our sleeping arrangements in the van, you can see the metal and wood platform folded up against either wall in the photos above. When we unstrap them and lower them over the wheel wells, four support legs fall to hold the platform up in the middle. The extra width then gives us room to inflate a queen-size air mattress so we sleep in comfort. It takes the two of us about 15 minutes to fully set up or take down the system, but we feel the extra comfort is worth the effort. It all results in what you see below.

Nobody Cares What You Had for Dinner

Nobody Cares What You Had for Dinner

Why do you post so many pictures of food on Facebook?

That’s a good question.   Granted, every once in a while we run into that meal that makes your mouth water just looking at it.  But generally,  I don’t believe that anything we have for a meal is so superior to anything you might be having.  In fact, most of the time, we would probably want to trade places with you.  You wouldn’t believe how sick you can get of eating out as much as we are often forced to.

Don’t get me wrong, we carry an electric skillet and use it as often as we can to cook a meal or to warm up something that we brought from home.  (Whenever we are home, we prepare a bunch of home-cooked meals and freeze them to take out on the road with us.)  But often times, when we are loaded and running, we don’t have time to make a stop to unpack the generator and fire up the skillet to make a meal.  We always have bread and cold cuts or PB & J on hand as well as milk and cereal.  But you can only eat that so many times each week without wanting to commit hare-kari. As a result, we end up eating at many of the same places.  We can pretty much tell you what’s on the menu at Denny’s, Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel.  What we try to do as often as time permits is to find the out-of-the-way diner or small local chain restaurants to add some variety.  Often times, it’s at these places that we end up sharing our pictures.

Neither Michelle nor I fancy ourselves as epicurean foodies.  Just like normal folks, we  like good food.  And when we find something different, we like to tell people about it.  

Which brings us to the second reason we post those pictures.  Both Michelle and I have become Google Local Guides.  We contribute photos and reviews of locations and restaurants to Google Maps business listings.  I guess we get something for doing it, some discount on Google Drive space or some such thing, but mostly we do it for the fun of seeing which photos will get the most views on Google.

I’ve been doing it longer than Michelle has, so naturally my counts are a little higher.  I’ve contributed over 100 pictures so far which have been viewed (as of this writing) nearly 600,000 times.  It amazes me how some pictures will take off and others don’t. 

For example, my peeps back in Luxemburg, Wisconsin can tell you about a restaurant there called Billy’s on Main.  During a visit with my dad back in November, I snapped two pictures.  One of Michelle’s fried shrimp and baked potato and one of my prime rib and twice-baked potato.  Michelle’s shrimp was selected as a featured photo for the listing and has been viewed over 20,000 times so far.  The prime rib, not so much.

But what is amazing is that Luxemburg only has a population of around 2,500 people.   That can give some idea of just how busy this place is. 

So next time you pull up some info on a restaurant or some other attraction around the country.  You just might be looking at one of my food shots.  Hope they come in handy for you. 

Note from the author: The Black Hole

Note from the author: The Black Hole

Sometime around the end of April, the server that formerly housed this website was brutally violated and malicious software was installed which prompted a malicious software warning from Google.  At the time, we were far too busy to be able to set the time aside to work on the site so we let it go until we were able to move it and clean it up.  Hopefully we’ve installed enough safeguards now to prevent that from happening again.  So we are trying to re-create the gap as best we can and will try to get things a bit more current as we go.  This may result in some things being a little out of chronological order.   Please bear with us in the mean time and come back regularly to see the latest.  Thanks for sharing our adventures.

Peeker Brownies Revisited

Peeker Brownies Revisited

It’s that awful time of year again.  Time for “Peeker Brownies”.  What is a peeker brownie you ask?  And why do I hate them so much?  To answer the question.  I went digging into the Internet Archive and found a post I originally put up on my GreensboroIsTalking blog on November 30, 2005 (before its database crash and subsequent resurrection).  Reprinted in its entirety below:

I was walking past my neighbor’s apartment tonight and noticed she had started to put up her Christmas decorations.  That got me thinking about the holidays of my childhood and how I encountered one of my earliest conspiracies.

You see, being the youngest of six kids, I had to endure the wrath of my siblings all year round, but when Ielf.jpg was a little guy, the holidays were the worst. 

Now we’ve all had to go through our early years being especially good around the holidays because “Santa is watching”.  But in our house, not only was the jolly old elf himself playing Big Brother, but he had help. 

It came in the form of the wretched little guys like the one in the picture…affectionately called “Peeker Brownies” at our place.  “Peeker” because Mom used to hide them all over the house and they were always “peeking” out at you…watching you…all the time…wherever you went…whatever you did….sort of an evil conspiracy if you ask me.  And “Brownies” because at our house, the little buggers had on brown outfits instead of the green ones in the picture.

And boy did my brothers and sisters play that up. 

“Don’t do that…Peeker Brownies are watching!” 

“Peeker Brownies are watching…you won’t get any presents!” 

Damn…I could barely move without someone letting me know that I was being watched.  It’s amazing I made it through all that without being scarred for life.

Oh…excuse me…gotta run…the people in my monitor are watching me again.  Can’t let them see me.

Convert PDF’s to Word

Convert PDF’s to Word

Ok, found something to write about.

I’ve been looking for a decent tool to convert PDF files to Word files and I think I’ve finally found it…and it’s actually on online tool.

PDF to Word is an online document converter which does a pretty good job on the conversion.  I tested a 10 page file with heavy graphics and aside from one or two minor dropouts, it did the job fantastically.  Give it a try sometime.

They have some other great tools there too which include:

A Pirate Looks at 40

A Pirate Looks at 40

With all the hubbub of the holiday season, it was (almost) easy for me to forget that I turned the big 4-0 on the 21st.  The more I reflect on it, the more I’m amazed at the number of things that have changed and the advances that have been made in my lifetime.  There’s been a lot made of “The Greatest Generation” of baby-boomers and all the advances made in their collective lifetimes.  But it would seem that my “Generation X’ers” have kicked that into hyperdrive.

A few examples:

– I was just a few months old when Neil Armstrong muttered those famous words “One small step for man…”  since then we’ve seen hundreds of space shuttles launch and land safely…and watched in horror as God took the brave astronauts from us on Challenger and Columbia.

– We watched as the music industry went from 45s and LP’s to 8-tracks, cassettes, cd’s, and ultimately digital in the form of portable mp3’s, Ipods and phones that play music.

– Rotary dial phones to push button, to big clunky purse-sized cell phones to phones in your pocket.

– GPS…knowing where you are to within a few meters at all times.  Just when I got good at folding maps too.

– Building-sized computers to desktops to laptops to hand-helds to palms.  And everything that came along with it.  Mankind has never been so connected or informed at any time in history…and yet we can still be so lonely as we substitute online relationships for virtual “friends”.   Give me a good conversation with friends over a beer any day.

– Better living through chemistry…medical and pharmaceutical advances in the last 20 years alone makes one wonder just how long we will live.

– Worse living through chemistry…read some junk-food labels some time and wonder how this stuff doesn’t kill you.

– The Civil Rights Movement of the 60s was winding down as I was born.  Now we have our first Black president.

And yet for all of our advances, human-kind still reverts far too often to some of it’s more basic instincts.  We’ve gotten very good at finding new and innovative ways of killing each other.  Terrorists, the War on Terror, suicide bombings, human rights violations, genocide and the list goes on.

Once, when I was very young, I read a Beatle Bailey comic strip where Sarge told Beetle that, in the entire course of human history, there’s been less than 200 years of peace so the military always has to be prepared.  Beetle responded by asking a simple question.  Something to the effect of “if that’s the case, shouldn’t we be preparing for peace?”  Amazing the things that stick with you as you get older, isn’t it?

Jimmy…take me away.