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My Mobile Home Gourmet Blog

Wednesday 2024.4.10

Better Late Than Never

The portable grill I wrote about in Sunday's blog was supposed to be delivered on Monday. I waited. I checked the tracking several times throughout the day. The only detail since April 5th was, "Carrier picked up the package."

Monday evening I received another notice from Amazon:

"Now expected by April 11. We're sorry for the delay. If you have not received your package by April 11, you can come back here the next day for a refund."

What refund? The item was free on Amazon Vine.

Yesterday morning the tracking reported the item had arrived at the local UPS branch early enough to make it onto a truck for delivery the same day. And so I received my portable grill yesterday.

I really like it. It folds up into a compact size for storage on a shelf, 15 x 20 x 3 inches, kind of like a large book. My Signet Complete Shakespeare is thicker. Try to get a Weber grill onto a shelf!

Cleanup was really easy. I lined the fire pan with foil. I folded that up and discarded it when the coals were cool. The grill grate was soaked in warm soapy water for a while, then scrubbed clean with a non-abrasive scouring sponge.

As for cooking, the one disadvantage is the compact size. There is only two inches of clearances between the fire pan and the grill. I can arrange one layer of briquettes in the bottom. That provides enough heat for cooking small, thin foods. Really, this grill is only appropriate when cooking for one or two people.

Does it work? You bet it does!

I cooked some chicken legs on it. The food is very close to the coals; so there was some charring, but that tastes good on barbecued foods. I'd like to find a wok lid I can place over the food to contain some heat and improve cooking. Overall, I really like this grill and it was worth the wait getting it.

Eclipse

Where I live in SoCal the eclipse was expected to reach only 55% totality. I have never lived in the path of a truly 100% total eclipse, but I'd seen some that were so nearly total we were able to experience the darkening outside.

I don't have safe glasses for viewing the sun. I was, however, able to view the eclipse because of the tree outside my home. Tiny pin pricks of light shone through onto my deck. I brought a piece of white cardboard outside and could see an image of the sun partially blocked by the moon projected onto the paper. It works the same as a pinhole camera and is perfectly safe.

At only 55% totality, there was no noticeable darkening of my surroundings. However, I was able to witness this latest eclipse. It will probably be my last one. The next eclipse visible in the United States won't be for another 20 years. By then I'd be 92 years old.

Sunday 2024.4.7

Grilling Again

If you're old enough, you probably remember the hibachi grill. Maybe you owned one. I did. That was back in the 1970s. They were popular back then. Better models are still available today.

Several years ago I bought a Weber grill with plans to video outdoor cooking for my YouTube channel. I cooked a few things — chicken, duck, lamb, seafood, even venison and goat. I stopped using the grill because it was too large for one person. A little hibachi is more practical for me. And then I saw a small portable grill available on Amazon Vine.

It folds into a compact size for easy storage in the shed. It uses charcoal briquettes, which are easy to buy. And it's small enough to use on my deck. I would like to return to grilling this summer. The grill is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. I hope it is properly packed to protect it form UPS rough handling.

With that grill in mind I added an extra step to my shopping errands on Friday. I stopped at Home Depot and bought a bag of charcoal briquettes.

Meanwhile, I looked for a grilling table on Vine. There was a picture of one that looked ideal for my needs. However, when I tried to order it, the website wouldn't respond. I've seen that before. It's one of the issues I really dislike about Vine. Don't tempt us with items that are not available.

A Pleasant Surprise

I thought I had used the last of my chicken stock last month. I was digging around in the freezer on Thursday and there in the back of the bottom shelf were two ziplock bags, each holding 8 frozen cups of stock. That's good. I want to make more of my Spontaneous Stew. It's good for my A1C, which has been at a healthy level lately.

Eclipse

I have no plans for the solar eclipse tomorrow. Where I live in SoCal we are not in the path of totality. The most we can expect is 55% of totality at 11:11 in the morning. I won't go outside to look. Instead, I'll watch it on TV.

Wednesday 2024.4.3

Milestone

Monday was a milestone for me. Twenty years ago on April 1st I bought and moved into my current home. It might only be a mobile home in a trailer park, but I enjoy living here. The neighbors live close enough for me to feel safe, but far enough away to be quiet.

Modification

I've been practicing with my new golf club handle for my Quest 3 VR headset. But here's the thing:

In the options there is a setting to activate the VR putter when squeezing the trigger on the side of the controller. The idea is to prevent an accidental hit of the ball, which would cost the golfer a stroke. The putter is visible, but it doesn't do anything. When I'm ready to putt the ball, I squeeze the trigger, the putter is activated and I make my putt.

That option works well when I'm holding the controller in my hand. With the controller now at the end of the golf club handle, the trigger is out of reach. I can go into the settings and opt for the putter to be always active; however, then I risk accidental hits of the ball (which has happened several times in the past).

I came up with a better idea. Using a fabric band and some Velcro, I rigged my putter with a way to press the trigger from the other end of the handle.

A slight tug on the ribbon presses the trigger. Release the fabric band and the putter returns to a deactivated state. I've been practicing with it and this new setup works well.

Taxes

April being tax month, I started working on my taxes. Even though the IRS is supposedly trying to simplify filing, it seems the forms get more complicated each year. Besides the usual 1040, I needed to file a Schedule 1 and a Schedule E. I realize my tax forms are not as complicated as Trump's (and I probably pay more taxes than he does — or maybe not), but for so simple an income as I have, I feel it shouldn't be so complicated to file my taxes. Besides, the government already knows all my income. It's all reported on 1099s before I even begin doing my forms. Really, it could be simplified to three steps:

  1. IRS shows that you received $XXX.xx amount of income last year.
  2. $XXX.xx was withheld from your income for taxes.
  3. You owe $XXX.xx.

Pay online through my bank and taxes are done. But no. Forms and complications.

My biggest concern is errors. I did my first pencil attempts on the forms and already I see I made mistakes. I usually do the forms two or three times to make certain I didn't do anything wrong. A miscalculation can cause a costly penalty. This time, it took four attempts to get everything right, I hope.

Blood Glucose

This morning was my best A1C yet: 5.5.