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My Mobile Home Gourmet Blog

Wednesday 2018.11.21

Happy Thanksgiving

If you live in the USA, or maybe if you once did and now live elsewhere, you will probably be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. If you're native American, well, what can I say? It's a loaded holiday. If you know America's early history you know there are a few things we ain't proud of. But I don't mean to put a damper on tomorrow's festivities.

I will say this: If I'm invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and I'm asked what I'm thankful for, I say I appreciate living in this country. I watch the news. I see the suffering in other parts of the world — war, famine, despotic rulers, corruption, etc. I don't worry about my security here. I have a lot for which to be thankful. I'm not rich. I live in a mobile home in a trailer park, but I still have a roof over my head. I didn't lose my home in one of the recent fires. So, yes, I am humbly thankful.

The Big SmoothieTube Roll Out

Tomorrow is the day. I have 15 smoothie videos ready on YouTube with accompanying recipes here on this web site. I've been keeping everything unlisted until I was ready to go public. A friend and I discussed it over lunch on Monday and we agreed the channel would get off to a better start if there were a number of videos on there rather than just one. It might encourage subscribers.

So far, none of the videos beg for likes and subscribers. I don't know how I feel about that. I've seen plenty of videos in which the content creator says — sometimes at the beginning — "Be sure to click the like button and subscribe." I do that on my Kitchen Vlog channel and I don't know how much good it does.

I've heard from people who say I should have more views and subscribers on my Mobile Home Gourmet channel. Maybe. I think my content should stand on its own. If the material is good enough, people will watch more and subscribe. That channel has more than 21,000 subscribers and a total of nearly three million views; so it must be working.

As for the roll out, I've been busy, really busy. As with anything new, there are adjustments to be made. I've gone back through my earlier web site content and edited a few things, sometimes several times, before I was satisfied it communicated the correct information. As recently as yesterday I went through all the smoothie files again to make more adjustments. So far, I'm satisfied I did all I could to get them right.

I will likely upload a new Kitchen Vlog video to announce the grand opening of the channel. The link will be here in my next blog post.

An Important Comment

This week, for the first time, I heard from someone with a major presence on YouTube. I receive comments and often I look to the source. Someone might say something negative about my Fish & Chips video and when I look at their YouTube channel they have no videos and no subscribers. I don't mean to be a snob, but I don't take seriously their comment. I either remove it, or if the comment is offensive enough, I ban the person from my channel.

Someone responded to my Kitchen Vlog video about unboxing and testing my new Vitamix blender. I recognized the name because I watched several of his videos when I was trying to decide which blender to buy.

I've been on YouTube for more than eight years and this was the first time I heard from someone with a major YouTube presence. It gives me hope that the names Vitamix and SmoothieTube will help me to enjoy another successful channel.

Sunday 2018.11.18

Boy, When Things Go Wrong!

I should know better. I've done oil painting. In my living room there is a large painting for which I mixed all my own colors, using only the primaries of pigment (red, yellow and blue) plus green for a little additional control.

I made a smoothie using a mixture of berries — raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Other ingredients included carrot, spinach, an orange juice. What came out of the blender was delicious, but it looked exactly like something you commonly find in the bottom of a baby's diaper.

I'll wait for you to stop laughing.

The recipe and video will go onto YouTube anyway because I need the content. But at some point in the future I'll make a Triple Berry Smoothie again using pomegranate juice and maybe beet rather than carrot. Skip the spinach. I should end up with a red-violet beverage.

So, I learned something new. Rather than thinking about only the flavor, I should focus on blending colors as well.

Waxing Optimistic

I am feeling optimistic about the SmoothieTube channel, which leaves me to wonder when the other shoe will drop. Call that "being realistic." It's difficult to know what to expect. Yes, smoothies are an over-saturated subject again on YouTube — anyone with a blender and a camera can make a smoothie video in minutes. However, cooking is an over-saturated area too, but my Mobile Home Gourmet (after more than eight years) is doing reasonably well.

I am being optimistic. This past week I monetized the channel and linked it to my Adsense account. It won't be approved for monetization until it meets the qualifications — 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours during the previous 12 months.

Billable Medical Procedures

I don't like going to the doctor. It's more than just disliking doctors in general. I've had good doctors and I liked them. My mother worked for doctors and she advised us not to go to the doctor unless we have symptoms.

I had a symptom, something that might indicate a urinary tract infection. I looked it up on the Internet and the web sites said it was something not to ignore. The infection could spread to my bladder and then maybe to the kidneys, causing me all kinds of medical problems. The usual tests were done and they came back negative.

However, they like to get you on their billable procedures treadmill. "We'll schedule you for your annual Wellness Checkup. It's free, paid for by Medicare." Why? I've been through these exams and they always tell me I'll live to be 100.

It's a double-sided sword. On the one hand, they are making certain there are no conditions worthy of concern. On the other hand, it's like when the automobile dealership gives you a "free 12-point inspection." They're looking for something for which they can bill you for a repair, or treatment.

I understand they need to earn a living (although paying for that shiny new Mercedes Benz in the parking lot hardly qualifies for "making a living"). I just don't like being on the treadmill. It's so difficult to get off it. When they called me a day in advance to remind me of my appointment, I cancelled. I could tell they weren't happy. Maybe that Mercedes isn't fully paid for yet.

The Last of the Largesse

On Friday I used the last two packages of meats that came to me when my friend left for Africa. One had two pieces of "goat steak" in it and the other was merely marked "sausage." I cooked a bit of the sausage. It is evidently made with venison and is quite spicy, more spicy than I like my foods to be. The sausage meat was very lean; so making sausage links was out of the question. What to do?

Chili. Using my Texas Beef Chili recipe, I cubed the goat and broke up the sausage, then followed the recipe. I like chili; however, this one was a bit too hot for me. Capsaicin, the compound that causes the burning flavor in the mouth or on skin, doesn't dissolve away with water. People drink milk because the fat washes away the capsaicin, which helped me to understand something. A scoop of sour cream is a common garnish on a bowl of chili. The fat in the cream would help dissolve away the fiery chemical. Yogurt helps too.

As for the goat, it was a mild and tender meat that worked well in the chili.

Wednesday 2018.11.14

All Smoothies Are Not Created Equal

I had to try it. The recipe was in the Start Here booklet that came with my blender. Avocado, Cucumber & Lime Smoothie. I knew it wouldn't be a sweet beverage. There was no source of sugar in the ingredients. To be honest, I don't know who thought it would be a good idea, or why.

If you are one of those people who loves to munch on fresh cucumber — maybe you load a lot into your salads or you're one of those Brits who enjoys cucumber sandwiches — this smoothie might be right for you. It tastes like cucumber. I can imagine circumstances, like a hot summer day, maybe at a picnic, when a cold vegetable smoothie might be refreshing. However, I doubt it would be something I might crave in the future.

I did drink it. It's supposed to be good for you, although the vitamins and minerals are only in the 1 to 2% "Daily Value" range. I did follow it up with an orange flavored high fiber supplement drink to help dispel the flavor. I like orange. A pepperoni pizza would have been a better chaser.

I'll put the recipe and video on my new SmoothieTube channel for those who love cucumbers. They're out there. If they weren't, grocery stores wouldn't sell cucumbers. I just happen not to be one of that crowd.

On the positive side, during my last visit to Costco and a local grocery store, I looked at bags of frozen fruits in the freezer cases. The variety is encouraging. I can foresee future smoothies, easily made. I bought a bag of frozen peach slices for experimentation. My new Vitamix is powerful enough to handle frozen ingredients.

And here's another change in circumstances: I usually run out of ice cubes in the fall and I don't replenish my supply until the weather warms up in late spring. Here it is a week before Thanksgiving and I just filled another six ice cube trays with water and froze them for smoothies.

And Another Thing

I expect many people to receive a Vitamix for Christmas this year. It won't be as popular as the instant Pot was last year, but there will be more than a few wrapped in Christmas paper under the tree next month. So, people might look for recipes and videos. I'll have my SmoothieTube channel ready, even if I don't reach a so-far undecided target number of videos.

I saw that the Costco Connection magazine, in the Holiday Gift Guide section of their November issue, featured the Vitamix E320 Explorian Series blender. It might be on people's mind.

So, what should be my target launch date? Black Friday, November 23? The day after Christmas, December 26? If I can get enough videos done, let's say 15, I'll do the rollout on Thanksgiving day.

A Change at YouTube

Beginning early this year YouTube changed their qualifications for monetizing a channel. For those who might not know, a monetized channel can display ads and the creator of the channel earns a share of the ad revenue. Very successful and prolific creators can earn a living from YouTube. I'm not that successful, but I'm satisfied YouTube pays for the food I use in my videos.

The former qualification was 10,000 views. When a channel reached that number overall — it might take five years — it qualified. The new rules require 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time over the previous 12 months. Hours, not minutes, which throws a wrench into the works.

My Mobile Home Gourmet channel is well within the new qualifications. I have more than 21,000 subscribers and my channel's watch time was in excess of 100,000 hours during the previous 12 months. One strange statistic is my Fish & Chips video, which was watched 4,617 times on November 10, 2018.

Why is YouTube doing this? According to what I've learned, 99% of channels earn less than $100 per year. 90% earned less than $2.50 per month. That seems like a big waste of YouTube's resources. YouTube pays the creator when the amount owed is $100 or more. That means 90% of YouTube's content creators might wait three to four years for each payment. I understand. Many people (myself included, at times) dream about making big money on YouTube by doing videos about trimming their fingernails or how to remove lint from a navel. Whatever.

YouTube wants to eliminate all this waste (or to quote a president, "drain the swamp") to focus more of their resources on channels that produce popular content. Thankfully, I do well enough on YouTube to survive. This year, 2018, was the first year I reached the $100 threshold to receive payment each month.

What about my other channels?

My Kitchen Vlog is well below the minimum requirements. That's okay. I didn't create that channel with the expectation it might be monetized someday. It's a good place for me to vent some of my feelings about things or to display some amusing or interesting projects, such as disassembling my microwave oven to change a light bulb. Some people laugh (hopefully with me, not at me) and that's okay too. The channel is meant to entertain.

My Cycling Adventures for Seniors channel is all but dead. I don't travel and I've run out of local destinations that might interest cyclists. I'd delete the channel, but I've been told the videos are good quality and I should leave them there. Okay.

My new channel, SmoothieTube, is where my focus is now. Smoothies are another over-saturated subject area on YouTube. I probably won't do well. However, I know the quality of my videos is better than many I've seen while doing research. My camera doesn't jump around erratically. I have good audio and lighting. And I am personally comfortable in front of the camera. So SmoothieTube might actually be a small source of income someday (or some year).

Smoothies are certainly easy to prepare, after I overcome some of the stupid mistakes I make. Maybe I need a checklist. Is the camera recording? Is my microphone in the right place? Is the audio on? Did I remember to shave? So far, I have seven videos, all currently "unlisted," on the channel, despite the mistakes. I'm leaning heavily toward Thanksgiving Day as the rollout date for going public, in time for Black Friday sales (when, hopefully, a quadrillion people will buy blenders and look for smoothie recipes on YouTube).

Sunday 2018.11.11

You Lose a Few

An odd thing about trying to make videos of smoothies is the process of learning all over again how to make videos. I am making so many mistakes, I end up deleting all the video files and hoping for more success another day. Is it age or is it an entirely new process? I vote for the latter.

Or maybe I can blame the shift from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.

I've made some delicious smoothies. They're not the problem. But when I start editing the video, I see too many mistakes. I can fix some, but not all. The worst is when entire video clips are missing. Fortunately, fruits and vegetables are inexpensive. A mistake isn't like wasting a prime rib-eye steak.

And Speaking of Losing a Few

Like many Americans, and maybe people in other nations, I followed the midterm election results closely Tuesday evening. There were few surprises. I was confident the GOP would hold onto the Senate and the Dems would take the House of Representatives.

The more amazing events happened the following day. Donald Trump talked about the election in a press conference that soon turned confrontational. When he approached the microphone he was visibly angry and disappointed. The performance was shameful. It is not fake news when the media truthfully reports Trump's lies. Rick Wilson, author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, described the spectacle as a tour de farce.

Commentators later offered their explanations — that he was facing challenges, investigations, and possible subpoenas because of the Democrats. Some said he feared his tax records might be ordered from the IRS. Others said he might face investigations for violations of the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits a president from benefitting financially from his office. Or it might be his financial connections with the Russians.

Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned his position later in the day, stating at the top of his resignation letter that it was at the request of the president. Trump quickly appointed Matt Whitaker to replace him. Whitaker has a record of opposing the special investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller. And that left endless speculations of what Trump might be planning. One journalist said we are witnessing obstruction of justice in plain sight. Another said the situation was ten times worse than Watergate.

Whatever the outcomes, the remainder of this year and well into 2019 should prove very interesting for those who follow the news.

My Kitchen Vlog

I added two new videos to My Kitchen Vlog this week, one of which is public and the other will be published next week. You can watch either (or both) with these links:

Or CLICK HERE.

Or CLICK HERE.

In the first video I show how I clean my Weber's grill grate to keep it shiny for videos. Unless you enjoy watching someone being a little obsessive about appearances, you might want to skip that one (although I had fun making the video).

The second one is far more enjoyable. I open the boxes of my Vitamix blender and the scale I purchased to go with it. Then I make a smoothie with my new blender and scale. The scale, by the way, connects to an app on my tablet that guides me through the process of assembling the smoothie. It isn't essential, but it does make the task easier. The ultimate goal, of course, was to have some nice stuff to make smoothies for my new YouTube channel, SmoothieTube.

The Meat Largesse Part 3

I have a different attitude toward meat than one of my friends. He judges the value; I judge the cost. If I buy beef rib-eye steaks at a low price using store coupons, that's meat I can use like hamburger. He tries not to swell up with consternation at the idea, thinking it's rib-eye and therefore it should be grilled to perfection.

There were three packages of cubed meat in his collection in my freezer. One was marked simply "stew" (it looked like venison, dark red), another was "front leg" (more venison?), and the third was "goat stew meat" (easy). As I mentioned in earlier blogs, those meats passed to me when he left for Africa.

When I see stew meat, I think chili. Chili is one of those beloved concoctions that everyone has a recipe for and no one agrees how it should be made. Follow a Texas chili recipe by the late Craig Claiborne, acclaimed food critic for the New York Times and respected judge at chili cook-off contests, and you will be assailed for committing a sacrilege. "What does a New Yorker know about Texas chili?" Maybe he picked up the recipe from a Texan chef while in Texas? Whatever.

The stew meat, whatever it was, went into the pot for my Texas Beef Chili. I happen to like Claiborne's recipe. I've been making it since my college days, while Claiborne, may he rest in peace, has passed on. I have one of his cookbooks.

The weather hasn't turned cool enough here in Southern California (fires are raging here) to enjoy something warming and hearty like a bowl of chili, but that doesn't matter. I crave chili as winter approaches. My mouth watered for two hours while I waited for my pot of chili to cook. And, as is always the case with this recipe, the wait was worth it.

Another package wasn't marked at all, but they were clearly ribs. The color of the meat again signaled it was probably venison.

I had some of my homemade barbecue sauce/marinade in the freezer. After letting everything thaw, I prepped some ribs (there were four racks) by placing them in the marinade for 30 minutes. Then I went out to the shed to retrieve my air fryer, which makes excellent spareribs. Venison is so lean, I cooked the ribs only half the time I do spareribs; otherwise, they might dry out. They were good enough to eat.

In conclusion, I will say this: Although I am eating these nontraditional meats, and enjoying them well enough, I prefer more traditional meats — leg or rack of lamb, chicken, and pork.

Wednesday 2018.11.7

Vitamix

The blender arrived on Monday, UPS. It didn't enjoy an circuitous tour of the western United States (which you might understand if you follow My Kitchen Vlog). For my vlog I videoed the unboxing of the blender as well as the Vitamix scale I purchased separately. The video will be on YouTube soon.

The scale: There is an Android app, Perfect Blend, that works with the newest Vitamix blenders. You select a recipe in the app, scale it per the number of servings or calories you want, and the app will tell you the ingredients to pour into the blender jar. With the jar on the scale and the scale paired with the app via Bluetooth, the app will monitor the measurement of each ingredient as you add it. You simply pour them into the jar and watch the app indicate when you've added enough.

When everything is assembled, move the jar to the blender and push "Blend" on the app. That is supposed to send instructions to the blender to control speed and time for proper blending, but I haven't figured that out yet. Finally, press a couple buttons on the blender and the instructions take over, running the blender for you.

It's sort of a gimmick, but there are two advantages I like about the app. 1) It takes care of the measurements, by weight in grams. No dirty measuring cups or spoons to wash. 2) You don't need to read many directions. Just leave everything to the app; it will program your blender for you.

The app: It works on a smart phone or a tablet that runs Android. It's free. I don't have either, but I do have a laptop computer, Microsoft Surface Pro 2, that runs an Android emulator, BlueStacks, which is also free. But does it work? No. (See below.)

The blender: It's a Vitamix. There isn't much more to say. It's a high-quality, high-end blender and the latest models (I have an A2300) come with a 10-year guarantee.

SmoothieTube

On Sunday afternoon I started building my newest channel on YouTube, SmoothieTube. I created the banner art, similar to the one I use for My Kitchen Vlog. There is more work to be done.

Rather than uploading weekly, like I do for my Mobile Home Gourmet channel, I should be able to upload three, four, maybe five times per week. If I make a two-serving smoothie and drink one in the morning and the other in the afternoon as a snack, I could upload a video daily. They take only minutes to make.

There are only two videos on SmoothieTube at the moment and they are "unlisted." I am waiting until I assemble a decent body of work, maybe 30 videos, before I publish everything all at once. I will probably announce the Grand Opening here, and maybe I'll do an announcement in a Kitchen Vlog as well.

To make the videos a little more interesting, I'll try to incorporate some shopping like the women did in the BBC cooking series, Two Fat Ladies. I'll ride my bike, wearing my GoPro camera on my helmet, and video my shopping experience in the store (even though it might not be okay with management — if they don't know, it's legal, right?). It's a lot more work; so it isn't something I would do regularly.

If SmoothieTube does really well after about a year or so, I might start yet another channel that uses the blender in other ways, such as preparing soups, sauces, and emulsions like mayonnaise. Like the Instant Pot, the Vitamix is a versatile kitchen tool with many possibilities.

My First Vitamix Smoothie

So how did the initial test go? First, forget about the bluetooth application and emulator. It wanted to turn on Bluetooth in my computer, which was already on. Even when I turned off Bluetooth to let the app control it, nothing happened. It just hung at "Turning Bluetooth on…" I paired the computer with the scale and the blender, but that pairing wasn't recognized by the app. Oh well.

To be fair, I was trying to use an Android emulator on a PC. A real Android device would probably work much better (see below). I don't have a smartphone; so I can't judge how well that might work.

As for the smoothie, it was good, but not as good as my earlier smoothies. I used mango, orange, and carrot with some green tea ice cubes, about a tablespoon of chia seeds and a packet of stevia sweetener. It was a bit thick initially, but after I watered it down I was able to drink it through a straw. I used a whole orange, peeled, but that wasn't enough liquid. I'll try the same smoothie again, but I'll use orange juice.

I saw one demonstration in which the presenter used a vegetable peeler to remove the rind of the orange, but he left the pith in place, claiming it is nutritious. In my research for my master's thesis I learned there are two types of bitter receptors in the tongue. Not everyone has both; so many people can't taste some bitters. I tried leaving the pith on the orange, but I could taste an unpleasant bitter flavor in the smoothie.

The Vitamix will wash its own jars. Add water, a little dish detergent, and whir it up. But when there are chia seeds stuck to the inside of the jar, be prepared to use a brush or sponge.

In conclusion I'll say this: It's not the blender that makes the smoothie; it's the cook. Start with a good mixture of fruits and vegetables and you'll end up with a delicious smoothie. If something important is lacking in the formula, the smoothie will be disappointing. It's like making a stir-fry. You don't just toss pieces of vegetables and meat in a skillet and call it a stir-fry. There is an art to making a really good stir-fry. The same can be said of smoothies.

When Things Go Right

But first allow me to vent a little frustration. I am not an apps sort of guy. My phone is about as smart as a pet rock. Really. I've looked at smart phones, but they're big and expensive, some more than $1,000, and what do I do with a phone? I occasionally call someone about lunch. I don't need an expensive phone to do that.

So how do I run that Perfect Blend app? Do I need to? Well, technically, no. I can make a smoothie using a recipe. However, I'm thinking of that SmoothieTube channel. Wouldn't it be way cool to go high tech? Not all the time, but when I want to jazz things up a little a bright and shiny app telling me what to do just might give me the pizzazz to attract more subscribers, especially the millennials who are into all those app-like gadget thingies.

Okay. I did what I always do. I researched. I read about phones and tablets, which ones are Android and connect to the Google Play store (iPads don't.) I went to Costco. Nothing I wanted there. I went back home. A little more searching led me to the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. I checked the Best Buy web site. The local store, across the parking lot from Costco, had stock, and they were marked down from $279 to $179.

I hope the people in the store weren't annoyed with me. After so many frustrating failures, I was ready for the tablet to be a complete waste of time and money. Maybe I asked too many questions. I got it home. It's beautiful. It's kitchen size — it has a 10-inch (25cm) screen. After working through the initial setup options I went onto the Google Play store (they have an app for that) and downloaded the Perfect Blend app, which (as I said above) is free.

It found the scale perfectly. And it works so well! You choose a recipe. The app tells you to put a blender jar on the scale. It recognizes which jar you're using. Then it tells you how much of each ingredient to pour into the jar. When you've added enough (you can watch a progress meter), it beeps and you move on to the next ingredient. Look for it in my future smoothie videos.

Finally, the Meat Largess Part Two

I mentioned in earlier blogs that a friend received many frozen cuts of meats from an uncle. He stored some in my freezer. The deal was that they would be mine if they were still here when he left for an extended vacation in Africa.

Today I am cooking the lamb shoulder roast. I love lamb. I learned something new in my research. Unlike cooking a leg or a rack of lamb, shoulder isn't cooked to medium-rare. It is slow roasted for several hours until it is easily pulled apart with the fingers. That's my video project today.

It won't be popular on YouTube. My lamb videos never are. But the roast was free; so why not cook it up, portion it for my Minute Meals, and video the process? Every video, good or bad, helps my Mobile Home Gourmet channel.

Sunday 2018.11.4

Welcome to Standard Time

Daylight Saving Time ended today. Hopefully you fell back. Two states here in the USA — Arizona is one of them — do not set their clocks ahead each spring to enjoy more daylight in the evening. They stay on standard time year round. I like Daylight Saving Time, even though the sun comes up an hour later in the morning.

And speaking of time, one of my lunch friends still believes in time travel, even though it defies a law of physics — conservation of mass and energy. If you jump back 10 years to talk to yourself, where would the mass come from to create a second you? Matter cannot be created or destroyed. At lunch I asked the question: Should we call someone in Australia or Asia on Tuesday morning to ask who won the midterm elections? They're a day ahead of us; it would be Wednesday over there. It doesn't work that way. Everything in the universe is always in the present.

Plumbing

Wednesday afternoon I noticed a little water in the cupboard under my kitchen sink. There wasn't much — it was easily wiped up with a paper towel — but it had to come from somewhere. It didn't take long to notice the pipe that connects the sink to the drain pipe was broken. It was something I probably could fix myself. It looked easy. And I could probably do a Kitchen Vlog video of the repair.

I've done plumbing. I installed the water heater in my home and I changed the faucets on both the bathroom sink and the kitchen sink twice since I moved in here about 25 years ago. But I really hate doing plumbing. I called a plumber instead.

There is one company that the trailer park always uses because they have a reputation for quality. That's good enough for me. They quoted me a basic estimate over the phone — $120 per hour, minimum job of one hour, plus parts. I couldn't image it would take more than an hour or two to change out that pipe.

I'm not wealthy. I wouldn't be living in a mobile home in a trailer park if I were. My brother and his wife are the wealthy ones. They have a beautiful home, with pool under a large insect-proof canopy, on the edge of a golf course in Florida. But I'm not hurting for money either. I planned well enough to live comfortably and securely, if not luxuriantly, in retirement. I don't need much. So, if a plumber is necessary, I can afford the repair.

The plumber arrived the following day. "The best way to fix this is to remove all the plastic drain pipe and replace it with brass, at a cost of $210 plus tax. They always want to do the job the most expensive way. Just replacing the pipe that broke was $150 plus tax. The down tube was $29.80. I could probably get one of those at Home Depot for about $5. I chose $150. The plastic pipe isn't old. Final price was $152.40.

The job is done. One less thing to think about.

Vitamix Blender

I bit the big blender bullet this past week and ordered, finally, a Vitamix. I read many professional reviews. I read many customer reviews. I watched many videos. One fan of this web site wrote to tell me how much he enjoys his Vitamix. I thought about it. I thought about it some more. And some more. Finally, convinced I wouldn't regret such an expensive purchase, I went for it and placed the order with Costco. They offer a good value added "Super Bundle" of blender and extra jars.

And if there is a problem, if something is broken or doesn't work, Costco is right up the street. I can drive or walk up there to return it for a full refund.

I look forward to making smoothies with it. I think I mentioned in my blog last month that I'll keep and use my old blender occasionally when making videos, just to demonstrate that one doesn't absolutely need the most expensive blender to make something like a smoothie, if one is willing to accept a less smooth smoothie. I'm thinking of calling those "roughies."

And, because it would make things way cool, later today I'll drive into the city and pick up the Vitamix scale that pairs with my tablet and blender via bluetooth and an app to automate everything.

And That Leads to Another Kitchen Vlog

Yep. When the blender arrives tomorrow I'll do a video of the unboxing and assembly (if any assembly is required, which I can't imagine will be the case) and maybe I'll demonstrate making a smoothie with it. On YouTube I saw a side-by-side comparison of three blenders. Although they ranked the Vitamix and Blendtech the same overall, the Vitamix did a better job making a smooth smoothie.

And in Preparation Thereof…

Saturday I did some rearranging of the cupboard where I plan to store the Vitamix. One owner says the base is so heavy I will probably want to keep it on the kitchen counter. The base of my Cuisinart is 16 pounds (7.26kg). It's a "limited edition" all metal version. If I can handle moving that into and out of the cupboard, maybe the Vitamix will be okay too.

I moved the electric rotary slicer out to the shed because I use that only once or twice a year. All the plastic accessories that came with my old blender and emersion blender went into recycling because I never used them (the labels were still on them). The steam iron went out into the shed too. It's a guy thing; we don't like to iron. That left plenty of room for my food processor, old blender (which I'll use in some videos), and the Vitamix.

More on Smoothies

Over the weekend I looked for mangos, but the store had none. Then on Monday the weekly ad for the store up the street arrived in my email. Mangos, two for a dollar, maximum of six per customer. Another recipe and video. Meanwhile, I shot a video of making my first green smoothie, the one with bananas, strawberries, and kale. That is on my Mobile Home Gourmet YouTube channel now. Meanwhile, I did a Kitchen Vlog video about my first experience with smoothies. You can watch it by clicking this graphic:

Or CLICK HERE.

I'm still toying with the idea of a YouTube smoothies channel. After my Vitamix arrives I'll start doing those videos. Some of the fans on my YouTube channel suggested I do a series of videos about cooking for one or two people, maybe "Solo Cooking" or "The Lone Gourmet" or something like that. I don't know. My Minute Meals cover most of what I do. As I see it, it would mostly require the use of convenience appliances, such as my Instant Pot, air fryer, microwave oven, and Vitamix.

One friend suggested I look at the availability of books. If there are few books, the idea is not popular. Singles cooking is not a biggie. Expanding upon the idea, it seems like it might involve some problem solving, which I'm feeling less inclined to do as I get older, speaking of which…

Kindness

How far should a little kindness go? One of my neighbors has Parkinson's Disease. Her hands shake; so she asks me to write her checks for her. Personally, I think she does it for attention because she signs her name well enough. I can't prove anything; so I'll let that go.

I went over on the first of the month to do her checks. She couldn't find her checkbook. She thinks it might have been stolen. She wanted me to call Bank of America to solve the problem for her. I tried, but the customer service representative didn't want to speak to me. I'm not even a relative. It went from bad to worse. When she started yelling at the rep over the phone I told her I needed to go home to use the bathroom. I didn't go back.

It might help to visualize the situation. You know what tote bags look like — big ones with flat bottoms. There are dozens around her home, stuffed full with papers she was going to do something about someday. They're outside too. I opened one bag and one of her soiled diapers was in there. If those bags weren't bad enough, she chain smokes the whole time I'm there. Her white ceiling is orange.

There is only so much I can do. I recommended she ask her pastor for help. He has God on his side. If God can't solve her problems, how can I? Maybe I lack the milk of human kindness, but I never claimed to be Mother Teresa. I wonder what she would have done…