My New Gadget

Posted December 26, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Apple, apps, Christmas, iPhone, Pictures, Technology

Tags: ,

This Christmas I got a new electronic gadget called a “Nixplay”. It is an electronic display for one’s favorite pictures. It connects to your WiFi and you can upload your favorite pictures. Then it cycles through all of your pictures 10 seconds each.

There is an app for your iPhone or other smart device that is used to select pictures to send to the device. You can also adjust setting to your liking. Set the time spent on each picture, for instance. You can set it to shut off at night.

This is the 10” version (measured from corner to corner). It runs about $150 and be had at Amazon and other retailers. There is 13” version that of course costs more money.

It’s pretty easy to setup. Plug it in, connect to your WiFi. Then download the app from the app-store, then pair with your nixplay. Then start selecting photos. Takes about 10 minutes

You can adjust settings to auto off/on, it can display current time on lower right corner.

Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken and Peas

Posted December 18, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Recipes

Tags: , ,

The Christmas season has arrived and that means pot luck lunch/dinners. This year I made a macaroni/cheese with chicken and green peas. This is an amalgam of several mac/cheese recipes. This should be enough to feed about 8 people.

Ingredients

  1. 4 Tbsp butter
  2. 1 egg, scrambled
  3. 2.5 c. milk
  4. 2 Tbsp flour (I prefer to use Wondra for gravies and sauces. Wondra is a slightly finer grind of flour found in the baking section.
  5. 1 package (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
  6. 2 8 oz. packages of shredded cheese. (This time I used one package of cheddar and one of pepper jack. There are lots of choices here. Pick the cheese that you like.)
  7. 1 small package of frozen peas. (Usually about 8-10 oz.) Allow the peas to thaw before you start.
  8. 8-10 oz. of cooked chicken. Cut to bite sized pieces (I usually can find cooked chicken pieces in our deli section.)
  9. Finally, panko or bread crumbs for the topping.

Directions

  1. Cook the macaroni according to directions on the package. Drain and set aside to cool. (I once had a roommate who neglected this step. Very crunchy.)
  2. In a large pan, melt the butter on low heat. Add the egg, milk and flour. Stir continuously.
  3. Slowly add the cheese while stirring.
  4. Once the cheese has melted, add the peas and chicken.
  5. Keep stirring.
  6. Finally add the cooked noodles. (You did remember to cook the noodles, right?)
  7. Transfer the concoction to an 9”x13” pan. (I use a disposable aluminum pan, if we are carrying it out to a lunch or party.)
  8. Bake in 350 oven for 35-45 minutes.

Hearing Aids

Posted December 14, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Hearing Aids, iPhone, Technology

Tags: , ,

Not long ago I looked at the sign at church about parking for the elderly and people with small children. I have never thought of myself being “elderly”, but I guess I am at the age of 71. I parked in the spot.

So over the last 6 years my hearing has steadily been getting worse. I bought a set of hearing aids at Costco up in Torrance. They have an excellent hearing aid center there.

So recently, I saw my doctor who scheduled me for a hearing test at Kaiser. No surprise, my hearing is getting worse. The technician gave me a report that I took to the folks at the Costco hearing aid center.

They didn’t try to sell me any new hearing aids although hearing aid life is somewhere about four years. So I might be due soon. The technician adjusted my hearing aids and they made a big difference.

One of my problems is that the hearing aids raise the sound level of everything, not just the people talking to me. Noise gets amplified too. So I have become sensitive to loud environments. We went to a kids Christmas party last week. They were playing loud Christmas music and people were talking loudly to make up for the music. I almost left.

So my hearing aids are made by Resound. I have an audio streaming device connected to our TV so that I don’t need the volume turned up real loud. I also have an interface that connects to my iPhone by blue tooth.

Hearing dialogue at movie theaters continues to be a challenge for me. Some movie theaters have head phones that one can borrow. Some times they help, sometimes not.

I need to train people to face me when you talk so that I can see your lips moving.

Christmas Letters

Posted December 6, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Uncategorized

About ten years ago, I was frustrated at the lack of information shared in our Christmas cards. So, I decided to start writing a Christmas letter.

Every year I send out a Christmas letter about 120isth of our friends. At one time, my list numbered upwards of 200 people on my list. So I tried to pare it down to a manageable number, This year, my list is about 120 people. So figuring at 120 addresses, I come up with about $60 in postage.

I try to hand out copies to people that I see during the Christmas season. 20 copies means I save $10.

So, I start working on my letter in October. I absolutely need to keep the letter at two pages printed on both sides. I try to include recent pictures of our family.

One year, I tried sending my letter mostly by email. I was not pleased with the feeling. I felt it was important for our friends to receive a piece of paper in the mail and not another piece of email. There are still a few people that get the email version, but the number is low.

So in October, I print out my first version. Then I pass it by my editor (Paula) for comments. By the time I get to December, I have gone through several editing passes.

In parallel, I start workin on my address list. I use an app on my iPad that generates my address labels. I check for major faux pas like sending to a couple where one of the couple has passed away. I check for correct addresses. Invariably, mail comes back with “addresses not found” on it.

Once the final copy is approved by my editor, I start printing. Invariably, I have to go to Costco to get more ink cartridges. I always seem to run out of ink in December.

So order the paper and envelopes. This year I have Santa and his reindeer. Attach labels then start folding and stuffing envelopes.

This year I have about 20 envelopes for local hand delivery for folks that I see regularly at church and lodge.

There are some envelopes that Paula wants to write a personal note. Go to the post office and buy stamps and they are on their way

1 Second Everyday for November

Posted December 1, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

Tags: ,

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Posted November 28, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Movies, Reviews

Tags: , ,

Last night we went to the movies to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks.

I should say this right at the beginning. This is not a movie to take the kids to see. It is rated PG and tells the story of relationship problems

This is the story of a writer for Esquire magazine who was tasked with writing an article on Fred Rogers for the magazine. The writer’s name was Lloyd (played by Matthew Rhys). Lloyd was having problems with his father. Lloyd was not happy about the assignment.

So Lloyd tries to blow off Fred Rogers attempts to help him get right with his Dad. Mr Rogers persists and manages to get Lloyd right with his father.

So Tom Hanks nails the performance of Fred Rogers. All the mannerisms and affects are there. By the end of the movie, one really believes that you are watching Fred Rogers.

We went to an early show so that we could have time to go out to dinner after the show. Wednesday’s are usually $5 for Seniors, but not last night. Apparently producer has rule about no bargain nights on first two weeks of theater run. So price was $10.

Dinner at a small Chinese restaurant in San Pedro. Hot and Sour Soup, Moo Shi Chicken and Beef Chow Mein. Now we have leftovers for this evening. We were the only people dining in the restaurant, though lots of take out orders getting picked up.

Highway to Heaven (or???)

Posted November 22, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: California, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Pedro

Tags: , ,

So I read that Mass is changing its exit numbering from the extent sequential numbering to mileage based numbering. So for instance, I90 (the MA Pike) would change from exits 1 in the west to exit 140-something in the East. Other highways would be renumbered similarly over the next few years. They say this is being ordered by the fed’s. That will undoubtedly cause widespread mayhem.

So that made me think, what kind of mayhem would that cause in Los Angeles? Luckily, I don’t have to commute on a daily basis on the LA freeways. But renumbering would be crazy.

So I thought I would give my east coast friends a test. Match the freeway number with its commonly used name. Some of the freeway names are a no brainer, some are a bit obscure. I had to look them up. No fair for west coast peeps. No using Google. [I’ll publish the answers in a couple of days, or you can google it]

  1. I-405
  2. I-10
  3. I-5
  4. I-710
  5. I-605
  6. Rt 60
  7. Rt 2
  8. I-215
  9. Rt 91
  10. I-105
  11. I-10
  12. Rt 101
  13. I-110
  1. Harbor
  2. Hollywood
  3. San Diego
  4. Gardena
  5. Santa Monica
  6. Glenn Anderson
  7. Santa Ana
  8. San Gabriel
  9. Pomona
  10. Glendale
  11. Golden State
  12. Escondido
  13. Long Beach