Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Zoom....in a bakery!

I got so excited when I saw this! King Arthur Flour has made digital backgrounds that will work in Zoom, Slack, Teams & GoToMeeting! They are so good! If you have a job that requires you to virtually meet using one of these apps and you want to try a fun background, check these out! I have to Zoom with people I don't know so I would rather not have my personal office/craft room in the background so this would be good for something like that and also an icebreaker! I don't know these people and suddenly being face to face can be awkward but a bakery background is sure to lighten things up and start it off with a smile.

Do you Zoom or meet virtually and have backgrounds you've downloaded that are cool? Leave me a comment and share them :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

To Kill a Mockingbird - Review (Audible)

Just before Covid-19 broke lose, I subscribed to Audible and got a free book. I thought long and hard about what book to get since it was free and I wanted it to be good. The cat is out of the bag already on what I picked since you have seen the title of this post. I never had to read To Kill a Mockingbird (labeled as TKAM hereafter) in school and from what I understand, that is where most people read it first. I had to read Great Expectations....and I hated it. I was not scholarly - to say the least, so reading was not something I did for enjoyment. You could find me with watercolors and a crappy paint brush or traipsing through the canyon before you found me with my nose in a book. Much to my Dad's dismay I'm sure. This isn't to say I never read a book - I did read The Outsider's and I really loved that. Anyway, I saw so many reviews for TKAM that said it had to be a book you read just based on the fact it's a beloved American classic. Not to mention all the accolades it has been awarded. So I went with it.

My review on this is in 2 parts.

Part 1:
This is the Audible version of the book narrated by Sissy Spacek. So I obviously did not read the book. I can't recall if I have ever listened to a narrated book before. I want to say I have, but I honestly can't remember. Since I don't have any previous memory of another
narrated book to compare this one to, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Sissy did a magnificent job on this. She's from Texas (don't ask me how I know that....I have no idea) but you would think she is from Maycomb, Alabama and maybe she was Scout as a child. Her natural accent is perfect for this narration. She reads each character with a range of tones to her voice that sets each of them apart so you know when characters are changing and it's not confusing at all. It's not a dramatic change in her voice, just a tone. It still sounds like her, just a slightly higher or slightly lower tone to her voice so the characters dialog isn't all running together. She's very easy to listen to and isn't flat or annoying. This made listening to TKAM very enjoyable for me and I believe is 90% of what I did enjoy about the book. Hat's off to Sissy Spacek for an amazing job!

Part 2:
I could not have actually read the book - this I know for sure. I do not like to read books that have a lot of....description. This book is verrrry descriptive. Sissy can talk for a good couple of minutes and it's all description and very little dialog. I've not seen a copy of the book, but I'm guessing that least 50% of the book is description - if not more. Those kind of books cannot hold my interest very long. I don't care if the sky is the color of grandmas blue dress or if the fields of wheat look like golden waves in the wind. That kind of thing makes me crazy. Yes, it sets the scene, but when there is too much of it, I can't. I remember reading a book that was describing wallpaper. No. I put that book down and never picked it back up. There's a lot of detail in this book about the town, the history, the family and I'm not really sure any of it mattered to the story. In the end, I don't think knowing many of the details shared about Maycomb were really that important or had any real value to the story. It was a lot of filler. But because Sissy is so easy to listen to, I could deal with it and it did not bother me or make me want to skip over anything. Read away in descriptive overabundance, Sissy! I actually think this is why I did not like Great Expectations. I have half a mind to get that audio book next and see if I like it better that way. We'll see. The other thing about TKAM is the age of the story and the content. Of course it deals with some very heavy subject matter. None of which I knew in advance. The reviews I read did not detail the content of the book, but more about the value of it. I think if we all had an Atticus in our lives when we were young (and older) to advise us on moral and social injustices, we would be much better people. Harper Lee was truly a wise woman. I see why this the book received the accolades and why it's an American classic. I'm glad I picked it. And I do agree, everyone should either read or listen to TKAM. I might suggest listening over reading just to be able to enjoy hearing Sissy Spacek read to you.

Have you read TKAM? Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Lockdown Meals

 It sure is weird to go to the grocery store and not be able to find pretty standard items to make a meal. In the past it might be hard to find a particular brand or something, but to find next to nothing you need....very strange times.

The other night I was standing in the kitchen and had made chicken legs (that were in frozen) and I had some brown rice. No fresh or frozen veggies. I used our favorite Peri Peri sauce on the chicken but the brown rice needed work. I went to my old standby....Everything But The Bagel seasoning. It was so good! So I thought about the other ways I use this stuff. It will be known as EBTBS just to save me from having to type suck a long name. Here are 3 "recipes" using EBTBS.

EBTBS Brown Rice - Lockdown version

1 cup brown rice
2 cups stock or water with bouillon cube or just water
EBTBS to taste
Tsp butter

Cook rice according to package. It's better if you can make it with stock or bouillon but of course water is fine if that's all you have. Plate up the rice and add some butter and sprinkle with the EBTBS and mix it in.

EBTBS Avocado Toast - Lockdown version

Bread of choice (whatever you can find)
Tomato (if you can find...I could not find any)

Toast the bread. Slice the tomato. Mash the avocado. Spread the avocado on the toast and sprinkle with EBTBS. Top with sliced tomato and season the tomato as well. Enjoy!

EBTBS Roasted Veggies - Lockdown version
Veggies - whatever you can find!
Oil or non stick spary
1-2 tsp butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop up the veggies you can find. I got carrots, potatoes, butternut squash, onion and bell peppers. Google roasting time for whatever you find. I had to roast the carrots, potatoes, butternut squash for 15 minutes and then add the onion and bell peppers for the last 15 minutes of the whole cooking period or they would burn. Add some butter and sprinkle with EBTBS and serve! Enjoy!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you have made with limited items.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

We're ALL Working From Home

If you work and have a job that can be done from your home....that's probably where you are. During this unprecedented event, many people have been forced to work from home who normally do not work from home. This sounds like a very cool thing....working from home. And it is. I have been  full time telecommuting for the past 2.5 years and only been into the office for about 4 meetings during that entire time. In fact, the entire team I work with works from home. We only have to go into the office for meetings or if we *want* to go in. A few people do go to the office once a week. I remember in the weeks before this started I was thinking this full time telecommuting could have some major drawbacks. I was already telecommuting twice a week and I relied on the days I was in the office to work on the tough technical issues with colleagues because that is 100% better. Well, now we would not have in person contact and I had concerns about this. But we have Skype, telephones and email. It turns out that things have rolled along fine. I'd say 99.9% of my concerns were not an issue. The ones that were, we all dealt with those quickly and it's been a good 2.5 years.

However, the people that are being forced to work from home now have not had time to prepare or make arrangements. This ranges from a work station, how to manage your work in a vastly different location, VPN service and just how to get motivated. I personally do not have a problem with being motivated but a lot of people associate home with downtime and find themselves doing "home" things and not actually working. This is just something people have to work on if they have a problem staying focused. My suggestion is to set an alarm. You have to stay at your work station and work (no phone calls, laundry, cutting the grass) for however long you set the alarm for. When it goes off, get up and take a *short* break and then set another alarm and get back to it. You will find you get into a rhythm and eventually will stop setting the alarm. I would also try not to work in places you associate with doing specific things like watching TV or sleeping....meaning, don't work from your Lazy Boy or in bed. Setup a work station in a location were you can be productive. Also, stick to your normal work hours. If you work 9am - 5pm, then work those hours and don't work 2 hours here and there until you have 8 hours. Doing that is going to be a disaster....trust me. You also have to consider your colleagues. If you are not working, you might be holding someone else up or they may not be able to reach you. And if things are rough at first, just know that things *will* get better. It will just take time. You are not in it alone....even though you are working alone. If that is proving to be a problem and you are feeling lonesome, ask a colleague to Skye with you and work on something you have a question about. The interaction will be good for both of you.

Are you working from home? Leave me a comment and let me know if it's due to the coronavirus or if you have been doing this for awhile. Also leave any tips for people who might be new to it!

I'll leave on a humorous note. The list below are the names of home wireless networks.
  1. Drop It Like It’s Hotspot
  2. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wifi
  3. Wi-Fight the Inevitable
  4. It Burns When IP
  5. Abraham Linksys
  6. Silence of the LAN
  7. Bandwidth Together
  8. Nacho Wifi
  9. No More Mister Wifi
  10. No LAN for the Wicked
  11. I Believe Wi Can Fi
  12. Where the Wild Pings Are
  13. New England Clam Router
  14. Go Go Router Rangers
  15. IP Steady Streams
  16. The Promised LAN
  17. PorqueFi
  18. The LAN Before Time

Thursday, March 05, 2020


I was late to the game with Survivor. I can't remember what season I started watching the show, but it was pretty far in. So I missed some of the most iconic seasons.

I do remember seeing segments of shows but I could barely stand it. I would often think "why is this a 1 hour show?!". I thought this could easily be a 30 minute show. It boggled my mind that people could sit and watch people bicker about the previous person who was 86'ed, do a challenge, panic & clammer, then go 86 someone off the island again. But first, beat around the bush and talk in riddles about who they they are going to 86 off the island. This is followed by half of them smirking and half of them astonished when that someone walks up to Jeff all bewildered and he tells them it's time to go as he snuffs their torch.

This is Survivor in a nutshell.

I don't remember why I started to watch it or why I could actually watch the entire 1 hour show. I do know that in my early days I would usually fast forward (I record nearly everything I watch) through the the middle of the challenges. I would watch the beginning and the end but I didn't care what happened in the middle. I can watch the whole show now....even the challenges. But I'll admit, I might check Twitter or something during the challenges and look up if I hear Jeff calling out some interesting development.

But the show has started to drag for me. It got really repetitive and just was starting to not be very interesting. I didn't care very much for the people who were playing and I would find myself not very invested in seeing the winner. I don't even remember some seasons winners. I could see their name and picture and not know them....because it was just not that interesting. That's not the case with every season, but it has been with a lot of them lately.

However, this season - I'm really enjoying it. I know who most of the people are. I don't remember a few of them but that could be because they are from seasons I did not see or are from one of those "forgettable" seasons. I remember Tony and Sarah. I despised Tony....a lot. He's amusing, but I didn't like him. This season, I don't know why, but he's not bugging me. And the "cops R Us" thing between him and Sarah....I dig it. We'll see if it continues. So funny. Last night's episode Tyson went to Extinction Island. You can kind of see this all happening but the way they edit the show. I'm bummed by some of the people who have been voted off. Ethan was my favorite. The moment when the girls went with him as support to get his last log was very touching. You have to hope the fire tokens they got will be worth all that. I do also like Tyson because he's funny. When he was talking about Sophie being so far under the radar that he could not even remember her name, I had to laugh. And...who is Sophie? I still don't know! Speaking of radar, stay off Sandra's. If you are, your days are numbered. Somehow these fools keep her around!? I don't get it. She does not even have to do challenges! iCaramba. Ok, the challenge...I watched the whole thing. I really did not think Adam was ever going to get that last key. How tired must be have been? I can't even imagine. And the comeback with the puzzle was astounding. It was like they had put it together before and already knew where the pieces went. Truly amazing they won considering the lead the other team had and completely squandered it. But by far the best moment of the show for me was when when Tyson got to Extinction and says "Wow, you have so much firewood" and all you hear is moaning and groaning. That was classic.

Are you watching Survivor? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think of this season.

Until next time, remember the words of Edmund Burke: "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing"

Monday, March 02, 2020

Following Up.

Been gone a while but I see no one is reading so it's not a big deal :)

The Impossible Burger. After I posted my Impossible Burger review we went to a different Burger King and the burger was much better at the 2nd location. So much so better that we have been back 2-3 more times. It's entirely possible (ha!) that the first place I had it at does make them well and I just was there on a bad night. But we just choose to go back to the location we have always had a good experience at. However...I probably will not go back to Burger King unless my options are full up.

Let me explain.

Back in February we went to a place called Del's Hideout. It's a restaurant and we have seen the sign for it many times from the 8 freeway. It was finally the day to try it out. And guess what? They have an Impossible Burger! So I tried it.


When I got the burger, I was thinking the patty looked a lot like a beef patty. However, these burgers tend to look very much like beef burgers. I took a bite and....wow. It was amazing. I started to wonder if they really had mistakenly given me a real beef burger. Greg had a bite and agreed it was super yum and did taste like a beef burger. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars and named it was my favorite Impossible Burger. If it really was an Impossible Burger?! I was still kind of wondering if it was a beef burger by mistake. We went back a few weeks later but unfortunately the parking lot was full and there was no street parking. It was raining so parking way down the street and waiting for a table seemed like a drag. We ventured off to another place called Jimmy's Famous American Tavern. They also had an Impossible Burger which is what I had my heart set on having one for dinner so that's what I got. It was good but nothing like Del's. I gave it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. This is not saying it was terrible or not worth trying. If you go to Jimmy's and want an Impossible Burger, I think you should try it! It's just not on the same level as Del's...which may or may not have been real beef. I still wasn't sure. Then, last weekend, we went back to Del's. It was confirmed. I did not mistakenly get a beef burger the  - their Impossible Burger is just so good you think they mistakenly gave you a beef burger! If you are in the San Diego area and want an Impossible Burger, go to Del's. You'll be happy you did. Below is a picture of my Impossible Burger and onion rings (ranch on the side).

Leave me a comment and let me know where you get your favorite burger - Impossible or not!

Until next time, remember the words of Edmund Burke: "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing"

Zoom....in a bakery!

I got so excited when I saw this! King Arthur Flour has made digital backgrounds that will work in Zoom, Slack, Teams & GoToMeeting! T...