Daily Archives: February 2, 2024

Hmm! Chocolate! . . .

First off, I want to welcome all our new readers, who combined with our many old friends and long-time readers, recently pushed us to over 4100 daily readers, 4153 to be exact.

Thanks, everyone.

One thing I forgot to mention about the new Heated Seat Cushion I got for my computer chair is that it comes with a 12volt cigarette lighter plug adapter so it can be used in your vehicle. Sounds nice for those 30° mornings going to work.

A couple of days ago Jan and I started talking again about an Alaskan trip. We were there in 1998 on a Holland America cruise, and then again in 2008 when we spent 5 months RV’ing up there. And then we had two booked Holland America cruises canceled out from under us during the whole Wuhan thing. And of course, she lived in both Fairbanks and Anchorage as an Air Force brat.

But rather than driving up or cruising up, we’re thinking about flying up to Fairbanks for a couple of weeks.


Jan’s been watching a lot of Alaskan homesteading videos on YouTube showing living up there during the winter. So we’re actually thinking about flying up there in the first part of December 2024. Of course, right now they’re having their coldest winter in years, so it might be interesting, even if it is next winter.

And it was pretty cold the winter after we left Fairbanks in 2008. Someone sent us this photo of the Fairbanks’ Fred Myers (think Kroger’s) in February 2009.


And down the road a piece in Tok, the first town you encounter driving into Alaska from Canada, it was -80° at the same time.

We’re still talking about it.

Sometime in the next week or so, weather and time permitting, of course, I’m going to replace the Coolant Thermostat in our 2003 Jeep Liberty. Luckily it’s stuck open, so it doesn’t overheat, but it just never really warms up completely.

Looks pretty easy.

Just requires a lot of different-sized sockets.

Just for fun, I called our local Jeep dealer service department to ask how much it would cost to replace it, and I was told ‘about $350.’ But a new thermostat from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts is $50, and that’s with a Lifetime Guarantee. And about 30 minutes of my time.

To save $300.


This might make me rethink getting an EV. And it would certainly interest Jan.


“In our design, lithium metal gets wrapped around the silicon particle, like a hard chocolate shell around a hazelnut core in a chocolate truffle,” Li said.

Scientists have developed a potentially revolutionary battery that could last over a decade with minimal charging time.

As explained in Tech Xplore, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created a new lithium metal battery that can be charged and discharged at least 6,000 times. Despite the lengthy life cycle, the battery only needs 10 minutes to be recharged.

Hmm! Chocolate!

Tomorrow looks to be Yummy Yummy Chinese Buffet and then HEB.

Thought For The Day:


Of course, that leaves DO NO EVIL wide open.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

February 2, 2010

Still on Schedule…

Well, things improved a little today. We were able to schedule our oil change service visit for Friday, Feb 12th. So we will be able to leave on time on the 15th.

Since our rig has about 10 gallons of oil it’s not something I want to handle myself. The service guy will also change the fuel filters, the oil filter, check the air cleaner, and lube the chassis and driveline. He’ll also do a check of my coolant quality.

I also want to talk with him about changing my Allison transmission over to TranSynd synthetic fluid, and is it worth the extra $170 ($280 vs $450). Then we’ll talk about about whether my generator also needs service. We’ll see.

I dropped off the truck yesterday afternoon to get new shocks, new rear brakes, and a tune-up. They also found a broken emergency brake cable that meant it wouldn’t be ready until tomorrow, since the new one has to come from Dallas. Anticipating problems like this is why I rented a car for a couple of days.

In between rainstorms today I was able to get up on the rig roof to fix a stuck microswitch on our bathroom roof vent fan.

And in my spare time, I’m also trying to take care of all my computer clients who waited until the last minute to have their computers looked at.

Tonight we had dinner at Genghis Grill, a local Mongolian grill type place, with Bob and Beth Young, some friends of ours. We also got to see our granddaughter, Piper, who works there as a hostess.

Afterwards, we dropped by our daughter’s house to pick up some drawer slides for our son who is building a 3 drawer cabinet for us that will fit in the space where our old CRT TV used to reside in the dashboard.

Tomorrow I have a doctor’s appointment for my yearly checkup and prescription renewal.

February 2, 2013

A Busy, Fun, Family Day . . .

or I got burned.

Jan and I left the rig about 12:30 heading over to a client/friend’s to install the new computer power supply I picked up from EPO this past Thursday.

We’ve known Tom and Lyn for more than 30 years, and in fact we lived on the same street together for many of those years, and our daughters were close friends. So it was nice to get a chance to sit down and talk for a while.

I’ve seen Tom and Lyn quite a few times over the years, but this is the first time Jan has come with me and been able to get together with them.

So while Lyn and Jan were catching up, I went in with Tom to install the new power supply and get his computer up and running again. But after installing it and pressing the power button, all I got was dead silence. Bummer.

This was a brand-new supply, I had just opened and taken it out of the box. So I started pulling it back out of the computer case, and that’s when I noticed something. The fan blades inside the power supply case had a lot of dust on them. And on top of that, the company name on the box wasn’t the same one on the power supply.

This was a USED power supply, stuck back in a new box. Which explains why it didn’t work.

So I packed it all back up, and after spending some more time talking, Jan and I headed back up to EPO to trade the bad power supply back in. But I ran into a problem. I didn’t have the receipt since it was back at the rig. I’ve known the owner for years, and all I would have had to do was talk to him, and the lack of a receipt wouldn’t have been a problem. But he wasn’t there, so I just bought a new power supply, and I’ll return the bad next week.

Sometime in the next couple of days, I’ll get back over to Tom’s to try again.

By now it was time to meet Chris and Linda for dinner at Sam’s Boat right on Clear Lake. Sam’s is a Bar/Sports Bar/Restaurant, and seems to always be busy.

Sam's Boat 1

Sam's Boat 2

Sam's Boat 3

But the main reason we were there was so we could be waited on hand and foot by our granddaughter Piper.

She’s worked here for a while, and being a cute young blonde, makes REALLY good tips. And tomorrow being Super Bowl Sunday, it should be even better.

Sam's Boat Piper 1

She did get a few minutes to sit down and chat, but she quickly got busy as the Saturday night rush started.

Sam's Boat Piper 2

Besides the great service (not that we’re biased, or anything) Jan and I were really impressed by the fact that Piper has mastered the trick of taking our entire order for four people without writing anything down. And we had a number of options and special requests. And she got everything perfect. Didn’t miss anything.

After a great time, and great service from Piper, we said our goodbyes and left Piper with a very busy restaurant.

Our last stop on the way home was at Wal-Mart for some groceries and supplies, getting us home a little after 8pm. Like I said, a busy, fun, family day.

One good thing about my trip to EPO was I found a new toy. A Globe Helicopter.

Globe Helicopter

But the problem was they didn’t have any in stock, just their demo. They said they should have some in next week, and that they were $99.99.

So when I got home, I checked Amazon, and lo and behold, they had them, and they were only $28.99.

Mine should be here Tuesday.

Looks like it will be great for flying in the rig since the blades are protected. I’ll keep you updated.

The other thing I ordered from Amazon is some more dried hot peppers, as in Trinidad Scorpion Butch T peppers, at 1,400,000 Scoville units, now rated as the hottest peppers in the world.

Trinidad Scorpion 2

I want to grind them up and add the powder to the Ghost Chili Salt that a friend gave me last year. This makes the food a lot hotter without getting too salty.

Last time I did this I used the dried Ghost Chilis I got at Jungle Jim’s Market in Cincinnati last year. But now I’m out. So I thought I’d bump things up a couple of notches this time.

Regular readers will remember that up until a few years ago, Ghost Chilis were consider the hottest, at a little over 1,000,000 Scoville units. Then they were replaced by the Trinidad Scorpion at about 1.3 million.

Then last year a new king was crowned, known as the Butch T version of the Trinidad Scorpion. For a comparison, a jalapeno is about 5000 units, and a habanero is about 20,000.

The king is dead. Long live the new king.

February 2, 2014

Getting in on the Ground Floor . . .

When I got up this morning about 9 AM it was 63 degrees and sunny. But it went downhill pretty quickly. By noon it was in the low 50’s and raining. And by the time I left for Katy, it was 45 degrees, and raining even more.

I had put Mister outside on his leash when it was nice and left the door open. But since I was busy working on the floor under the dash, I didn’t notice the weather deteriorating. But Mister quickly let me know by coming up to the screen door and voicing his displeasure at the misting rain falling on him. Poor Baby.

Brandi sent this pic over of Jan and Landon at the 9 AM showing of Frozen. Everyone seemed to think that the popcorn and candy were the best part of the movie.

Landon and Jan at Frozen2

Several readers asked how I handled the flooring under the slide.

The answer is that I didn’t do anything special. That’s because there are two different types of slide mechanisms.

1. One that rides on the floor as they are pulled in and have Teflon strips to cushion and prevent wear.

2. One that’s held suspended above the floor as they are pulled in.

Ours was supposedly the second type. But that was the purpose of laying down
those first few test rows that I showed last week before we started.

Allure Flooring Install 1

After just laying them down there, I put a couple of pieces of newspaper down and pulled the slide in. The newspaper never moved.

And for the last several months the test strip has been down there with no
problems. Plus the original carpet came up much higher than the tile and was never touched either.

So this was one less thing I had to worry about.

I did come across one problem though. The transition strip that I bought to use is not going to work as is. It looks good when I set it in place but it was quickly obvious that the part resting on the kitchen tile was too high to clear the bottom of the kitchen cabinet above it. So at this point I’m not sure what I’m going to do. A metal strip would probably work, but I’m not sure how it would look.

So my temporary fall-back position is to hold it down with Velcro, and pick it up before we pull the slide in and then put it back down after we park. We’ll see how that works.

I headed up to Brandi’s in Katy about 3 PM and the closer I got, the worse the weather got. And the worse, and slower, the traffic got. But I finally made it about 4:15, packed Jan up, and we headed back home.

Our son Chris had invited us over for his Super Bowl Seafood Gumbo so we stopped by for a delicious meal, finished off with Linda’s Rum Bread Pudding. If I’d had a second serving I would have needed a designated driver.

Jan was delighted finally seeing the floor in person and really liked it. I’ll try to finish under the dashboard tomorrow if possible, and then Chris and I will reinstall the chairs on Tuesday.

February 2, 2015

Yes, It was that Good . . .

It hardly got into the 50’s today, but at least it didn’t rain. So there is that. But it pretty much killed anything I wanted to do outside. And tomorrow should about the same, but with rain.

But that did give me a chance to play with a couple of my other new toys. I picked them up at Brandi’s on Saturday, but today was the first chance I had to check them out.

The first one was a new DashCam.

A118 DashCam

A118 Full HD 1080P Car DVR Dash Camera

I’ve been wanting one for a while, and had checked out quite a few of them, but this one came out on top, and getting to play with it showed me why.

It’s very small, less than 3 inches long, and only about an inch and a half wide. But it records in full HD 1080p video, and has a built-in mic that can be turned on or off. And it’s only $80.

It will record about 5 hours on a 32GB micro SD card (not included), and does so in 1 to 5 minute clips (your choice). It does it like this so you don’t end up with one humongous 32GB file that’s too big to do anything with. At the end of the 5 hours, the video loops back and starts recording over the earlier stuff, unless you’ve told it not to in the settings. The files are time/date stamped, and if you buy the optional GPS module (I did), the videos are also geo-tagged with your location.

It also has a lot of neat features, like a G-sensor that will sense a crash and save any video from being overwritten from that point.

The video quality is very sharp and clear, with a 170 degree viewing angle. I’ll try to get it installed tomorrow and show you some video tomorrow night.

The only problem I foresee is in mounting it, or at least mounting it in two different vehicles, since it only comes with one mounting kit. But I’ll work something out.

My next new toy is also a tool. Well, kind of. It’s a Bluetooth Code Scanner for trucks and cars.

Bluetooth Scan Tool

Vgate Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool

It plugs into your diagnostic port under the dash, and then connects to your phone or tablet, using one of several apps.

If any of you are familiar with the Silverleaf VMSpc computer interface like I run on my diesel engine, like below,


this is something very similar to that, but much, much cheaper. The VMSpc interface is several hundred dollars, but this one is $11.

The best way to start is to install the Torque app on your Android or iPad. Then you just plug the Scan Tool into the diagnostic port under your dash, start your vehicle, and connect your tablet’s Bluetooth to the Scan Tool’s signal.

At that point you can start to build your own virtual dashboard, just like you can on the VMSpc.

Here’s a sample.

Torque Screen Display3

And you can have 7 pages of different gauges to scroll through. You can also log all your readings and email or share them.

And just like the VMSpc, this app lets you read and reset Check Engine light codes, and other parameters. The basic Torque software is free, and there are a number of other auto apps that will work with the unit. Check it out.

Here’s more info from CNet on the Torque app.

Later, after Jan made me put my toys away, we headed up to La Grange for dinner. But we wanted to stop off at the Timeless Texas Classics classic car place.

Timeless Texas Classic 1

We visited here back right before Christmas, but I won’t post any photos this time, since I did last time.

For dinner we went back to the Sealand Seafood restaurant in La Grange. And we really enjoyed it. Great Seafood.

On our way home, we made a stop at the Wal-Mart before getting back to our rig’s about 7pm. Nice day.

Tomorrow night we wanted to eat somewhere special. And we all quickly agreed that the ‘somewhere special’ should be Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro back in Katy, where we just ate this past Saturday.

So, yes. It was that good.

February 2, 2016

Making Herself Right At Home . . .

We got our walk in this morning, but since we haven’t walked in about a week, we kept the distance to about 1-1/4 miles, but at 24:46 we set a new speed record so there is that. We’ll probably bump it up tomorrow, working toward a full two miles later in the week.

After goofing off for a while with Internet stuff, I took care of a few small chores that were hanging around, just waiting for my attention. Outside, the shore water faucet was leaking at the connection, so I replaced the washer and added some Teflon tape to the threads.

That fixed my part of the leak, but the faucet is still leaking a little around the handle, but that’s the park’s problem. I’ve reported it, but based on past performance, it won’t get repaired until it’s spurting in the air like a geyser.

This afternoon I bit the bullet and started downloading Windows 10. There’s some talk about Microsoft dropping the free upgrade to 10, so since I’d been thinking about it anyway, I decided to go for it.

One thing I’m doing differently is that I’m downloading Win10 as an ISO file, and not directly upgrading one of my computers. By doing it as an ISO file, I can burn it to a DVD and then use it over and over, no matter how many computers I want to upgrade with it.

It’s somewhere over 3GB in size, so it will take a while. I’ve got it downloading in the background so I’ll just let it run until it’s done.

For dinner tonight we had our leftover Chicken Fried Chicken from our visit to the Potatoe Patch with Janice and Dave Evans the other day.  Then I got to work on our granddaughter’s laptop.

Like Janice’s laptop the other day, I ran my standard cleanup routine, SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes AntiMalware, CCleaner, and Glary Utilities. Finishing up I updated AVG Virus Protection and ran a full deep scan, which is still going on, and might go on for another 12 hours.

Karma, our new kitty, has pretty much settled right in and made herself at home.


The one thing we were worried about, her learning to use the litter box, was taken care of during the night. We spent yesterday afternoon putting her in the box about once an hour, and apparently, she figured out what it was for. And as far as we can tell, she never went anywhere else before she used the litter box.

Her favorite place to lay seems to be on Jan’s moose footstool, whether Jan’s using it or not.

Karma at Home 2

Everyone is always amazed when they see the moose footstool. We bought it when Jan fell in love with it right before we started RV’ing in 2007. We were visiting Fredericksburg right before Christmas, and Jan just had to have it.

Moose Footstool

It’s 3 feet long and over 2 feet high. Built on a wooden frame, it’s very sturdy and has held up to all our traveling, even Landon riding it when he visits.

As I said yesterday, I wanted to call her Adolf, but Jan said NO. And today Jan said she didn’t like Hitler, either.

Or Eva.

So I guess we’re stuck with Karma.

February 2, 2017

Something Strange Is . . .

Going On . . . Ghostbusters!

Well, not quite Ghostbuster strange, but still strange.

About 4am this morning, the three different vehicle alarms all slowly started working. And by the time I left at 5:30 they were all working with no problems. And they continued working all day and into this evening.

I did confirm last night that the sensor part of the Mighty Mules is working.

Mighty Mule 2

If you take the cover off the head, there is a red LED that flashes when a vehicle is sensed going by. And that is happening.

But the signal is not getting to the receiver inside the shack. This takes me right back to the idea that some sort of interference is happening in this area.

I’m not sure there’s really anything that I can do about it, but it does explain a lot.

Well, the rig didn’t get moved today either, but tomorrow for sure. Yeah, right. The move was called on account of having lunch in Cuero.

We headed into town about 11:45, but before lunch we made a stop at Donut Palace for some more of their great pastries and breakfast croissants. I take one of their Bacon, Egg, and Cheese croissants into work every night and it makes a delicious meal. Then I’ll have half of one of their Cinnamon Twists about midnight with some coffee to keep me going the rest of the night.

Lunch today was Maya Mexican again, with this time having beef, chicken, and shrimp fajitas. But accidently. We actually ordered the same Fajitas Regias that we ordered last time, with beef, chicken, and grilled sausage. But something was lost in translation and we got the shrimp instead. But it was still good and we have leftovers to boot.

After lunch we drove over to the HEB to get gas for the truck. I don’t know exactly why, but the HEB here is consistently 10 cents a gallon cheaper than any station in town, even the Wal-Mart right down the street. Then after topping off the tank, and getting the discounted carwash, we headed back to the rig, just in time for me to be able to get in a couple of hours more sleep before I leave for work about 4:45pm.

As far as the rig move, the scheduled rain has been pushed back to Sunday now, and the longer we go without rain the dryer the ground gets, but we’ll probably still give it a try tomorrow.


February 2, 2018

Birthday Bash . . .

I played hooky today so I didn’t go into work. So a nice, quiet day was had by all. I did talk to my son Chris’ about replacing the oil pressure sensor next. We’ll take a further look at the problem when he’s off work again.

I got a popup window this morning saying that Garmin had an update for my Garmin Nuvi 1490. It’s going on 7 years old, but it’s still working fine, and more importantly, it’s still getting regular updates.


In addition it has Lifetime Updates and Free Live Traffic Updates. I’ve looked at new ones and so far can’t see any reason to upgrade. It will be interesting however to see if they’ve finally fixed the one problem I’ve been reporting for years.

Many of the roads here in Texas are labeled as ‘FM’ roads, as in ‘FM 646’. Which means ‘Farm to Market’. They also have ‘RM’ (Ranch to Market’) and ‘RR’ (Ranch Road) roads. But when my Garmin gives voice directions, rather than say, ‘FM’ or “Farm to Market’, the GPS says ‘Federated States of Micronesia’. Not exactly where I’m heading.

So we’ll see tomorrow whether or not it got corrected this time. But I’m not holding my breath.

Jan has had several requests for her mom’s great Sukiyaki recipe, so I thought I’d post it here and then later in the Jan’s Favorite Recipes section.

Jan’s Mom’s Sukiyaki

1 lb. Steak
2-3 Med. Carrots
1 Large Onion
3-4 Stalks of Celery
1/4 Head of Cabbage
1 5oz Bottle of Soy Sauce
1/3 – 1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Water
1 Tb Salad Oil
Mushrooms – Fresh, Canned, whatever you want.

Heat oil, add thin slices of steak and brown quickly.
Add Soy Sauce, Water, and Sugar.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Add Carrots and simmer 5 more minutes
Add Onions, Celery, and Cabbage
Simmer 10 more minutes.
Veggies should be crisp.

Really good, and Chris and Brandi loved it growing up.

Tomorrow we’re going to reconnect with many of our old Alvin Opry friends at Tony Booth’s Birthday Bash


We haven’t seen many of them for 5 years, so we’re really looking forward to it.

February 2, 2021

Merry Groundhog Day . . .

Pretty much another quiet day today.

Jan and I ran some errands and then had lunch at King Food, the first time since our big family Christmas Eve dinner.

King Food 2

Got our usual Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce, XXX Spicy with Jalapenos. Always great.

Then after a WalMart/Sam’s stop for prescriptions and other sundries, we were home by about 4:30.

Like I said, another nice, quiet day.

February 2, 2022

Au Contraire . . .

One thing great about Grimaldi’s leftovers is that they’re just as good the second day heated up in our convection oven. A delicious dinner tonight.

After my blog post a few days ago about Kroger’s Pharmacy Plan and GoodRX, a couple of our readers ask about GoodRX’s competitor, SingleCare. Well, I’ve not checked recently, but when it first came out a few years ago, I compared them with GoodRX and found in every case, GoodRX was cheaper, and in some cases, a lot cheaper.

Maybe it’s because of all the bucks SingleCare is paying Martin Sheen to be their spokesman.

But check out the apps for yourself and compare.

A couple of weeks ago I announced that though we would still continue to live in it, our America Eagle RV had essentially ‘aged out’, and at 23 years old, we would no longer be RV’ing in it.

Jan's Patio Area Completed 2

But several of our readers expressed disappointment that we wouldn’t be blogging about our travels and restaurant stops anymore.

Well, au contraire!

Just as an example, since our last RV trip in April 2019, we’ve spent a month in Europe, a week in NYC at Christmas, a week in Branson at Christmas, and two weeks on the road from Houston to Illinois and Alabama and back. And we’ve got another two-week trip scheduled for Memorial Day this summer.

And we had two Alaskan cruises canceled out from under us in the last 18 months.

So we’ve not stopped traveling. We’re just not traveling by RV anymore.

And of course, we haven’t stopped eating either.

So stay tuned.

February 2, 2023

When It Fails . . .

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today in Pennsylvania, saying there will be six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil

However, Staten Island Chuck on, well, Staten Island, didn’t see his shadow, so an early spring is on the way.

So it’s take your pick, I guess.

Since I was off today I had planned to get some stuff down outside the rig, but a high of 44°, drizzling rain, and a steady wind weren’t very conducive to that.

In fact, it’s never got above 45 for the last 3 days, along with the wind and rain. And it sounds like it’s even worse up in north Texas.

So I puttered around inside taking care of a few things.

But it’s supposed to warm up tomorrow, into the high 50’s with no rain. And maybe even up to 70° by next Tuesday.

Recently I upgraded the Jan’s Favorite Recipes area of the blog, adding some new ones.

Check it out.