Use a Stopwatch or Set a Timer

Ever wonder where all your free time went? Here’s a tip. Use a stopwatch and figure it out. Or, set a timer. On everything.

This morning on a company Teams call, the boss reminded everyone to do something that was sent from “corporate.”  I chimed in and said, “I did that right when I got the email and from the downloading of the App, to the logging in, and to the upload of the required information, it took me 9 minutes and 37 seconds (00:09:37).”  To which my boss said jokingly, “if it took Don nine minutes and thirty-seven seconds, the rest of us will probably need 25-minutes.”

To my co-workers reading this …I believe in you. You can do it in less than 15-minutes. I know it!!! Read More

Stuff I Want 2022

Ya ever look back on something you did a long, long time ago and remember how important that thing seemed to you at the time and now, with age and wisdom, you’re almost embarrassed by it? Like your Michael Jackson jacket or your Palm Pilot? But then there’s some things you did, or ideas you had, and you think, “wow, I was ahead of my time.”

Such is how I feel about my Stuff I Want List. I mean, sure, I’m a little embarrassed I don’t update it often enough and it sometimes has some pretty outdated items that I no longer want (or already received as a gift from someone), but for the most part, the entire concept and 70% of the stuff listed is timeless. As Americans living in a society built on consumerism, I sometimes scratch my head wondering why everyone doesn’t have a list like this. Read More

The Year of the Blame Sticker

Early in 2021 I swore off all news. I promised myself, other than a quick skimming of the headlines and scrolling through Twitter a couple of times a day, I wasn’t going to use any brain cells or invest any more emotional capital into what politicians were doing and saying, nor would I sit and use my valuable time watching any cable news station.

2021 was a year of peace, zen, and better use of my limited time on Earth. It’s eye-opening how I can still have a firm grasp on what’s going on in the world without sitting down and spending hours on news websites or watching TV. Read More

The White Elephant Gift Exchange Game

Historians have determined the origins of the “White Elephant Gift Exchange Game” started around the end of the 80s. Hard to believe, before that, extended family gathered without any gift-giving and gift-getting agenda and co-workers weren’t forced to “buy something” for each other even though the true gift would simply be for the boss to say, “hey, everyone gets to leave 2-hours early this Friday.”

The White Elephant Gift Exchange Game has evolved and mutated over time, but there is, actually, only a few correct ways for this thing to work and then also only a few correct ways to participate. Read More

I Guess I No Longer Have Bronchiectasis

I’ve been sheepish about going public with this but here goes … I think I don’t have Bronchiectasis, anymore.

Feels strange saying that. Especially when autumn and autumn-turning-into-winter and the junk food of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas usually kick-start the coughing and wheezing and then I usually battle it until springtime when I can get back outside, exercise, and I typically make a promise to start exercising and eating right.

Something’s different this time. Earlier this year, my pulmonologist (that’s a lung doctor if you don’t know) retired and I got a new pulmonologist. Read More

My Updated Christmas Wish-List

I told someone recently to immediately forget the past. I wisely said, “turn the page,” and, “who you were yesterday and whatever you did or didn’t do, really has no impact on tomorrow.” It ain’t easy, but it’s true. For example, my whole life I’m been a procrastinator. But if I wake up tomorrow and say, hey, Don, stop procrastinating …poof. It can be that easy. It might take me a long time to convince the people who know me as a procrastinator that I’m not the same guy, anymore, but that’s OK. I can live with that. I made my bed. I’ll sleep in it. But anyone who knows me after November 14th, 2021 will think, hey, that Don-guy really gets things done.

Another example? I really dropped the ball on my Father’s Day Wish-List and my “I Love Don Week” wish-list and publicizing it, updating it, and allowing people to shower me with gifts. That was yesterday. Today …I’m getting a jump-start my “Don’s Christmas Wish-List”, which is the same list, but updated. We all know about the supply-chain problem which they’re saying will delay lots of things this holiday season, so getting my wish-list out, now, is super important.

It’s fully up-to-date. I’ve removed the things I’ve already gotten (or changed my mind about) and added new, relevant items.

The top item on my list is the OURA Ring Generation 3. I’m gonna make 2022 my healthiest year, ever, and having a ring that tells me my pulse rate, steps, sleep quality, and a ton of other stuff …it will really help. I’m pretty healthy but I can be much, much healthier and as a march towards my 50th birthday, I’m gonna embrace modern technology to get me the rest of the way to my fitness and health goals.

Oh, sure, I could just exercise and eat right, but I would have no documentable proof anything I’m doing is working. Luckily, there’s a very expensive ring that will prove I’m doing the right things.

Anyone who says you don’t have to spend money to be healthy obviously doesn’t have social media.

Simpletons.

Check back often because, well, I’m pretty sure I’ve thought about some other stuff I want and didn’t add it to the list. Shameful. Why have a wish-list if I’m not going to update it and publicize it. Right?

But it goes back to my initial point …just because I neglected the “I Love Don” Wish-List for nearly a year doesn’t mean, tomorrow, I can’t get back to helping people get me stuff I want.

You’re welcome. Order early and often.

Social Media, Part 1

My Mom read books like she was in a book-reading-contest. Easily a book a week. I’ve seen her read three books in a week and on vacation she’d bring a bag (a brown, paper grocery bag) filled with a dozen books and she’d read them all. I wish I inherited her book-reading speed (please don’t tell me that if I read more often and worked at it I would become a better and faster reader …you’re wrong and I don’t want comments with links to studies and articles trying to prove yourself correct).

Quick aside …she and my Uncle Jerry (her brother) were both voracious readers and he would also read books like crazy. 

I’m telling you about my Mom and her book-reading because the funniest thing about her was, sometimes, when she’d finish a book, she would close it and say, “well, that was a terrible book.” And when we would laugh that she just read a 300-page book that she didn’t like. She often would confess that, “I knew after about 50 pages I wasn’t going to enjoy it …poor writing …confusing transitions …but I had to see where it was going.” Read More

Q4 Kick Off

Don’t mean to brag, but …I’m in sales. I’m a sales guy. I sell stuff. I have quotas and budgets and I pretty much blow my numbers away. I get mad props from my bosses. It’s how I afford my Buick. Cloth seats, bruh. I say things like, “stackin’ ’em up and knockin’ ’em down,” and, “I could sell snow to an Eskimo,” and I talk loud at the bar and regularly check the time on  my digital Casio watch so everyone can see how I decorate my wrist – this watch has six alarms, bruh.

Obviously, if you know me, you know none of that actually happens. Yes, I’m in sales. I do OK. I make a living and provide for my family. It’s a living. I like my job. I only bring up my sales job because sales success is measured by monthly, quarterly, and annual performance. Each month, quarter, and year I look back on the previous month, quarter, and year and assess and plan. Read More

My name is Don, and I tailgate.

Hi. My name is Don. And I tailgate. I tailgate at Michigan State. I fell in love with tailgating, oh, around 1992. I got outta college, got married, got a job, and from 1997 until 2004 I was obsessed. I had season tickets. I never missed. Tailgating wasn’t a problem. I wasn’t addicted. I coulda quit any time. I finally did quit …sniff sniff …around 2005. I don’t remember exactly, but I know my wife and I had our third child in 2006. I think that made it three children under the age of 4 and I  . . . I . . . I just couldn’t do it anymore. Eventually these cursed kids got into soccer and dance and school and my Saturdays were spent far away from campus. No sounds of marching bands warming up. No loud speakers at tailgate playing Steve Miller or Pearl Jam. And I no longer drank a 12-pack of Miller Lite before Noon. Read More

The Camp Chef is THE GREATEST

A war is coming. I’m about to write something that, if I had more than 12 readers, would set off a firestorm of angry comments and Tweets more intense than a hundred year Trump campaign. A rage worse than an old-person and a young-person arguing over COVID (origins, treatments, and vaccines).

Ready? Stop reading if you don’t want to be part of the world’s next, heated (pun) debate.

The Camp Chef flat top grill is the BEST grill. Anyone who calls themselves a grill master or a foodie, and doesn’t have a Camp Chef flat top grill (or a Blackstone …which is NOT as good, but it isflat top, griddle, so I don’t judge those owners as harshly) is a phony and a poser.

It’s OK if you don’t (yet) own a non-Camp Chef grill, as long as you admit, money not an issue, you would have a Camp Chef and it is a superior outdoor cooking contraption to anything else.

Actually, what am I talking about. This shouldn’t be controversial, at all. The Camp Chef flat top grill (or “griddle” if you’re nasty) is the best. Everyone knows it. It’s like saying some other canyon is better than the Grand one, or that some other series of five lakes are greater than the Greats. To say something so absurd would get you laughed at.

What can’t the Camp Chef flat top do? I’ll wait. What? You can’t answer that question? Of course you can’t. Because the Camp Chef grill does everything.

Scrambled eggs? Check. Bacon? Check. Grilled veggies? Check. Pancakes, hash browns, burgers, chicken? Check. Check. Check. Check. Oh, and if you simply MUST have flames and grill marks on your steak or you think food smothered in BBQ sauce needs to be “caramelized” …if that’s your game, well, take the flat top off  and you have a traditional grilling surface.

Photo Jun 07, 8 17 05 AM

But you know the flames and that burnt, charred food is all full of Cancer, right?

Here’s what’ll blow your mind . . . it has no lid! That’s right. No lid, but don’t fret …some simple disposable (I re-use mine) foil pans can cover your food if you want that convection heat.

Why did I wait until my 48th birthday to get one? Well, because the Camp Chef is like a super secret society and nobody wrote an impassioned Blog entry like this one. It’s like Camp-Chef-anon for grillers and I’m not gonna lurk in the shadows anymore!

Camp Chef flat top is the best because…

  • It’s versatile and can cook anything
  • Even heat
  • HUGE cooking surface that can handle multiple items at once
  • It gets BETTER with time
  • the mess of bacon is OUTSIDE your house
  • you can CUT stuff right on it, like fajita meat, and seer the cut-up parts
  • unlike the Blackstone, this isn’t cast iron, this is cooking steel
  • it DOES have a traditional grill when you need flame and grill marks on what you’re cooking.

The only drawbacks are the extreme heat (which is why I built my Camp Chef it’s own altar (is it sacrilegious to say my grill is an altar, or I placed my grill on an altar?) and you need it almost perfectly leveled so the grease and oil runs off correctly into the drip tray. Luckily the feet on the legs are adjustable and under the steel cooking surface are little screws you and tighten or loosen and adjust the slope ever-so-slightly. Oh, Camp Chef …you thought of everything.

Here’s my quick video on how to know if it’s leveled and slopes correctly (I know, total genius).

You’ll need a cover for when you’re not using it and when you’re using it, keep it away from your house (just like a regular stupid grill) because it kicks off alotta heat and can melt vinyl windows …don’t ask me how I know this and why I built the altar. OK? Many videos will say use vegetable oil but here’s my pro tip …get some old fashioned Crisco. It doesn’t have a lid, but foil pans solve that problem. It takes discipline and a little extra time to clean …it …each and every time. Very important. But worth it and when you clean it and season it. Cook on it, clean it and season it. Cook on it, clean it, and season it …oh, it gets better and better.

Photo Jul 12, 6 28 37 PM

That’s enough for now. Just one guy, crying out in the night, begging the world to join him in flat top grilling bliss (unless you count all the YouTubers with thousands of videos about flat top grilling). 

There. I said it. I ain’t afraid to take a stand.