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Sunday 2017.11.19

Finally, Some Rain

It was better than forecast. The rain was supposed to start Thursday evening. It rained Wednesday night with showers on Thursday and then a little more rain during the night. I believe my Dymondia received a good watering.

It wasn't a lot of rain. Nearly all stations reported less than a tenth of an inch. But it begins the rainy season.

I'll let the ground dry out a few days and then I'll start trimming the Dymondia again. Good cuttings will go into wet soil to root. I'll use those later to fill in empty spots or where the ground cover died from lack of water.

Baklava

I did a new video of Baklava this past week. (The old video never went onto YouTube because there was a big mistake in it.) I wanted it on YouTube in advance of the Christmas holiday; so it's on my channel now. You might have seen the link toward the bottom of the Home Page. Go to the Baklava recipe page and click the green "View the Video" button to watch it, or click the graphic below. For the next few weeks the video will be "unlisted" (hidden), but you can watch it now. I scheduled it to go public on December 10.

Or CLICK HERE.

If you're not familiar with Baklava (I think most people are), it's a sweet confection made with phyllo dough pastry sheets, ground walnuts, honey, citrus zest, and other ingredients. You can buy it at Costco, but homemade is obviously so much better. It keeps well too, because of the sugar and honey. So I gave away only a few pieces. All the rest I am keeping for myself, to enjoy for the next week or two.

On Wheels Again

They called Friday morning. The car is ready. To make sure I could pay for it, I went online and paid off my main credit card, even though I hadn't received a bill yet. It had my Pedego e-bike on it, $4,400, plus other charges. There wouldn't have been enough available credit to pay for the service to the car. And to be absolutely certain I could pay the bill, I brought other cards with me. One I use only for purchases on Amazon and another is for automatic payments for my cell phone and email account (I have a subscription email service that is guaranteed to be free of advertising and spam).

I had a funny dream about my car too. I dreamed someone had stolen my tires at the dealership and the mechanic had patched up my car (hoping I wouldn't notice?) with used wheels, all different sizes, from other cars. I argued with the mechanic, "You guys need to buy me four new tires, the same as I had before, or I'm not paying for this service." It was just an anxiety dream because I was concerned about paying the bill. (I have the money; I was a little worried about which credit card I could use.)

$3,153.67 is a lot of money to pay for service. My car had a long list of things needing replacing — belts, hoses, oil seals, water pump and thermostat, etc. It wasn't because I drive it so much I wore everything out. My car has only 66,000 miles on it. It's a 1993. It old! The rubber stuff deteriorates after a while, even as the car sits in the driveway. And, once again, the vehicle passed its smog inspection.

At 66 years old, if I can get another ten years out of that car, that might be enough. And, besides, I like it too much. I've always liked that model of Pathfinder. It has more character than the newer models that look like large station wagons. To me, an SUV shoud look more like a truck than a sedan.

Trailer Hitch

As part of this service to the car I asked them to look into installing a trailer hitch. I can get one online, the same as they can (Nissan no longer makes them for my 1993 model Pathfinder) and install it myself. How difficult could it be? I read the directions. I would need to tighten some bolts to 75 foot pounds. I don't have a torque wrench. So, I'll let the mechanic do it. Estimate for the hitch: $330 with installation. If I'm going to drive down the freeway with a heavy bike attached to the back of my car, I don't want to worry the thing might fall off and cause a serious crash. I do feel good they ordered a "class 3" hitch. They're reasonably strong.

The reason I want tow hitch is I want to purchase a bike rack/carrier thing that fits into a tow hitch so that I can take my e-bike with me if I want to ride a different area. Supposedly the Pedego dealership down in the city arranges bike-ride gatherings of local owners. I would need to get my bike down there and it is too heavy to load into the back of my Pathfinder. It took two of us to get it into the SUV to bring it home.

I Got a New Cookbook

Normally I am reticent about purchasing any cookbooks. The shelves where I keep my cookbooks are full. Nothing fits in unless I take something out. However, I recently discussed the late Craig Claiborne with someone. Claiborne was a long-time food critic at The New York Times. He also authored several cookbooks. I have such respect for him (he is the name behind my recipe for Real Texas Chili) I decided to order one of his books.

I have only begun to peruse a few recipes. I hope to feature some here in the future. The book is available on Amazon.

Brave or Stupid?

I'll let you decide. I vlogged yesterday. Live, on camera, I performed a minor medical procedure on myself. Here is the link:

Or CLICK HERE.

Wednesday 2017.11.15

Still Hoping for Rain

The weather forecast for tomorrow is a low probability of rain, starting late in the afternoon and continuing through the night. Sunny on Friday after, maybe, some rain in the morning. Then for early next week there are predictions of rain again.

I think this is the third time we are told that it might rain. This time, however, it has been different. Rather than starting off with a high probability that diminishes toward near zero as each day passes, the prediction has been increasing. The latest is 50% probability of rain tomorrow night. I am hopeful.

I parked my car on the street in front of my home rather than in the driveway. It will get rained on more there — no awning — and hopefully it will rain enough to leave my car clean on Friday. Most importantly, it will hopefully rain enough to give my Dymondia ground cover a good watering.

Thanksgiving is Near

Next week Thursday is our celebration of Thanksgiving here in the USA. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, we took the land away from Native Americans and look what we are doing with it. A group of some 1,200 scientists signed a warning that we are nearing a point of no return (not just here in the USA but worldwide). Our damage of this planet could soon cross a threshold and if we cross it we might not be able to recover. On the other hand, I am thankful that I grew up here in the USA. I watch the news and see how people are suffering in many parts of the world. I feel safe and secure here.

In preparation for the coming holiday, I did a video and recipe for some unusual dinner rolls. A starter is made with flour, milk, and water. It is heated on the stove to boiling, until the mixture thickens, and this "paste" is worked into the bread dough. The video is on YouTube, but it is currently "unlisted" (hidden). You can watch it now by going to the Dinner Rolls recipe page and looking at the

Short on Wheels

Here's another reason to feel good about having that e-bike: My car is in the shop getting its routine service and a smog check certificate. The negative side is that my car is so old it has to go through two checks, and the second one is expensive. I think California wants its people to get rid of their old cars. My Nissan Pathfinder, however, has only 66,000 miles on it and it's a 1993. It works great. I don't drive much. I bike. And now that I have that e-bike I don't feel stuck in my home. I can go.

Addendum

It always happens. The original estimate for the car was around $200. They they called. Leaking water pump, problems with the fuel pump, leaking gasket on the oil pan, leaking gaskets on the valve covers — and that's only what I remember. I do remember the estimate: $2,700. And I might have my car tomorrow, Friday for sure.

Sometimes it Seems Best Not to Know

You probably know the experience. You bring your car in for service. You sit in the waiting room with others for the shuttle to take you to work or home. You make small talk in car.

One of the guys, an on-again off-again college student, was young and friendly, kind of talkative. I asked him how Halloween went where he lives. "Were there many parties?" "I didn't know," he said. "I was incarcerated." I knew better than to ask.

When I was studying for my master's degree in counseling psychology I worked as a student therapist at a counseling center. We occasionally met with clients who had done time. We were advised never to ask what they were arrested for. It was up to them of volunteer that information if they thought it might be helpful for their therapy.

I did have one client who had done time. He was the head of his gang and was jailed for beating up someone so badly he nearly killed him. He was a difficult client for others at the agency; so they turned him over to me. Sometimes you need to find a way in, as I liked to describe it. One day I said to him, "You're a little above the rest of your gang." He looked at me suspiciously, like he suspected I knew something. "Why do you say that?" he asked. "You have no tattoos." That's how I got inside.

Seeing that understood why did didn't have tattoos, he felt I understood him. He trusted me. He was a great client to work with. He did well.

Sunday 2017.11.12

The Joy of Others' Failures

That's the wrong attitude. But it's not schadenfreude after all. To explain:

I blogged about my attempt to make a tall loaf of bread and how much of a failure it was. A bread with a similar shape is Panettone, a traditional bread often served at Christmas. I decided to look online for recipes, and in doing so I saw many photographs. Some were of loaves professionally made; some were baked by home cooks. And some didn't even try to use a tall pan; they just put the dough into anything that would hold it. Some were as flat as cake layer. The range from perfection to near disasters (not many) helped me not to feel so bad about my own failures. They happen, and not only to me. If we never made mistakes, we wouldn't learn.

Sometimes I think I'm too much of a perfectionist. I want my videos to be exactly right. When they're not, I erase the video files, feel bad about it for a while, and think about maybe trying again. But seeing how other people cook things, and sometimes fail, makes it okay. We all make mistakes. Not every recipe needs to turn out looking like those perfect photographs in culinary magazines.

And Speaking of Bread

Having mentioned Panettone above, I wrote to my Italian friend to ask about making it at home. She has a recipe, but it's a two-day process. She says you begin by preparing a starter, letting that sit for a long time, then adding something to it to make a second starter, wait again, etc. Is all that really necessary? Costco sells Panettone. I haven't bought one yet, but do they really make those with a long two-day process? I can't help but wonder if many of these long processes are more for the satisfaction of the cook than the cake. Does it give them the satisfaction of putting their heart and sole into making something complex for their family or friends?

A few years ago I watched several bread videos by Paul Hollywood. I can't remember all the details, but I think his father was a professional baker and Paul grew up around bread making. He is considered an authority. And he said there is no need to start with warm liquids when making bread. The yeast is alive, it's going to multiply and permeate the dough, making lots of little bubbles. Some people even let their dough rise in the refrigerator for 24 hours because it, supposedly, helps develop the flavor more. Bread doesn't need to be complicated.

As for me, I knew what I needed to make the loaf of bread I envisioned. I needed the right pan. I looked on Amazon and found only one. It isn't the best quality. I would have spent a lot of money on a Kaiser LaForme springform pan, if they had one in the right shape. Those LaFormes typically sell for around $50. The one I bought was satisfactory. Actually, I bought two and sent one as a gift to a friend who has often gifted me things for my kitchen.

Here is what it looks like with baked bread cooling in it:

And this is what the bread looks like out of the pan:

And this is what it looks like cut open:

The flavor was excellent. It tasted like bread. But the outside was flavored with shredded Romano cheese and prosciutto that was fried crisp and chopped. So the outside added a salty, cheesy flavor with a crispy texture. I'd like to try this recipe again with sharp cheddar cheese and crisp-fried bacon.

The recipe is in the Recipe Archive (look in Breads). Although I baked the loaf in an unusual springform pan, the dough can be baked in a standard bread pan.

It's Official

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this past week that the Pacific Ocean region is entering a La Niña pattern. That means harsher, colder, wetter weather for the Northern United States and milder, drier weather in the South. It looks like this could be another drought winter for Southern California. I live within the purple haze pictured here:

It's too early to know for sure. Where I live is actually a little within the fringe of that purple area. Therefore, it's possible we might have a normal rainy winter; so I remain hopeful.

Call Me Brave or Call Me Stupid

Here's the thing: Since I was a child I've always had problems with nose bleeds. Cold, dry winter air makes things worse. Lately I've been getting them on a daily basis. A sneeze can set it off. Washing my face in the shower is risky.

When I go to the doctor, s/he sends me to a specialist and all they do is use silver nitrate swab to cauterize the vein. It helps for a few years. With my health insurance co-pay, it costs me $25 to see the doctor. Then it costs another $25 to see the specialist.

On Saturday morning I ordered the same silver nitrate sticks the specialist uses. The cost was $53.07 on Amazon, and that was for a package of 100. I know where the problematic vein is in my nose; I've stanched the flow of blood enough times. So I can swab it myself.

And I like having 100 because they can also be used to remove skin tags. About a year ago I went to a dermatologist because of some moles on the side of my face. Not melanoma. No need to fear skin cancer. However, I made the mistake of asking him to remove some skin tags while I was there. My insurance doesn't cover that; so I had to pay for the entire visit, plus the co-pay. It cost me around $270.

Wednesday 2017.11.8

Defeating My Nemesis

A few years ago I went on a bike ride using my old Raleigh pedal bike. I tried a different route. It included a hill. It wasn't much of a hill — not very long and not very steep, but it was a warm day and even at my lowest gear I struggled to climb the grade. Halfway up I gave up. I was feeling dizzy and nauseous. I walked my bike the rest of the way and then sat on the guard rail for a while until I felt better (and I did vomit). Then I leisurely biked home and sat for most of the remainder of the day.

On Monday I challenged that hill again, but this time on my pedal-assist electric bike. Going down was a bit scary. I monitored my speed, which peaked at 30mph (48kph). After finding a safe area to turn around, I attempted the hill again. Easy peasy.

Otherwise, I didn't go very far. I just wanted to revisit that hill. I rode only about five miles. The only other thing to report is that my bike's battery indicator finally showed a little need for a charge. One of the five level units dropped off. So for the first time I charged my bike's battery, which took 2½ hours.

Attempting Bread Again

I've been thinking a lot about that failed bread that ended up in the trash. As planned, I made it again, this time using a formula in my Professional Baking 5th Edition textbook by Wayne Gisslen. He provides three sets of measurement: ounces, metric, and volume. When baking, measuring by weight is the safest way to proceed. Julia Child demonstrated this:

In a French Chef episode she demonstrated the variance. Plunge a measuring cup into a flour bin and scoop out one cup of flour, scrape the excess off the top with a knife, and weigh it. It will be around 5½ ounces (156g). Sift flour into a measuring cup until it overflows and then scrape off the excess. The flour will weigh about 4½ ounces (128g). And spooning flour into a cup until it is full will yield something in between.

Baking is like chemistry. Measurements need to be precise. If you're trying to turn lead into gold, you don't just toss a little of this and a little of that into your crucible and hope to become wealthy. If a recipe only gives the flour in cups, it is usually safe to assume it is an average weight of 5 ounces (142g). That recipe I tried from the King Arthur flour web site measured a cup of flour as 4¼ ounces (120g). There really is a lot of variance and for the best results when baking it's advisable to understand how best to measure the flour.

Professional bakers like weight measurements because they make it easy to multiply up. For one loaf of bread use 500g flour and 300g water (yes, they even measure the liquids by weight). To make ten loaves, multiply by 10.

His formulas aren't exact equivalents — 500g doesn't equal 20 oz. They're close enough. You pick a formula and you stay with it through the entire recipe. Don't mix your measurements. So I decided to try another bread recipe — an idea of my own — but measure everything in metric. I have three scales in my kitchen — two are set to ounces and one is set to grams.

The idea was to use a standard white bread formula but mix up some shredded Romano cheese and some prosciutto that I had fried crisp and then finely chopped. For the second rise I brushed the dough with an egg wash and garnished the outside with the cheese-prosciutto mixture. However, I tried to think of a way to make the dough rise more upward than outward.

I made a tube of parchment paper, just large enough to encircle the loaf before it started its second rise. It rose upward into the tube. So far, so good. Then I put the baking sheet, parchment tube and all, into the oven. Oven spring. When dough first goes into the oven it rises rapidly for a few minutes — that's oven spring — then it settles down and bakes. It rose upward and downward. The tube fell over and I ended up with this oddly shaped loaf of bread, like it was obese but forced into a corset. It tasted good, but my plan for a more vertical loaf didn't work. Failure number two.

As an Italian friend likes to say: It wasn't a failure; it was a learning experience. So, what to do?

I went onto Amazon and found a deep springform pan. It measures 6¼ inches (16cm) wide and 4¾ (12cm) inches deep. Is it equivalent to a loaf pan in volume? How do you calculate the volume of a cylinder? My geometry is a bit foggy. Thankfully we have the Internet.

V=πr2h where V is volume, π is pi (about 3.14), r is radius, and h is height

The pan I ordered has a volume of 146 cubic inches (2,393cm3). So what is the volume of my standard bread pan? That's easy:

length x width x height, no need for pi

It's 112 cubic inches (1,835cm3). Tired of math yet? Okay, me too. Enough with the numbers.

So here is what I'm thinking: When I use those bread pans I also use two metal side walls to keep the bread from spreading too much over the top of the pan (making the slices too wide to fit in my toaster). The extra volume of the springform pan should allow a little extra room on top, and even if there is a "muffin top" on the loaf, it should be okay because I'm not planning to toast slices of the bread.

There will be a video, photographs, and a recipe when I attempt this bread again (if it doesn't end up as failure number 3).

The Curse of Oak Island

Last night was the 5th season premiere of The Curse of Oak Island on the History Channel. The people on the show remind me of the Hardly Boys in an episode of South Park. "Oh, I'm getting a really big clue." "Oh, and now I'm getting a really big clue too." Innuendo was intentional. Every time they find something — a nail, a piece of charcoal, an odd plate of metal — they think it could be a significant clue to finding the treasure of Oak Island. Treasure hunters have been looking for gold on that island for more than 200 years and so far no one has found even a single Spanish doubloon. The people behind the show are getting rich; so maybe there is treasure after all.

Sunday 2017.11.5

Happy Standard Time

If you live in the USA, you are probably among those who changed your clocks from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time before going to bed last night. Fall back, spring forward, as the saying goes. I set my clocks back one hour last night. Actually, most of them are radio controlled; so they set themselves during the night. I actually have a lot of clocks. I'm not a collector; they are incorporated into everything — my stove, my microwave oven, my cable box, computers, etc. I counted 16 clocks in my home this morning.

Not everyone here in the USA uses Daylight Saving Time (DST) during the summer. Some states stay on Standard Time year round. And there has been some talk about maybe going to DST all year, but that creates a problem for school children in the northern United States. They might be standing in the dark, waiting for their school bus, and that might be dangerous.

Winterizing

Although here in Southern California we don't have winter (we have only two seasons — summer and sort of summer), the beginning of November is a good time to start putting warm-weather things away.

On Thursday I disconnected the portable air conditioners, removed the panels (I custom made) to attach the exhaust tubes to the windows, and cloaked the units in their respective "end-of-season storage covers" (that shipped with the units). Phew, but it gave me something to do while I waited for bread dough to rise. (More on that in a minute.)

Winterizing includes taking the batteries out of the air conditioners' remote controls. They're not Duracells, which are almost guaranteed to leak; they're some Chinese brand. It's not worth taking any chances. My favorite brand of battery is still the Eneloop rechargeable NiMH. I use them in almost everything. I have dozens of them. I wonder how many Eneloops it would take to power my electric bicycle…

Now, About That Bread

Boy, when things go wrong, they really go wrong. The oven timer sounded, I looked at the loaf, and it looked almost white. How or why, I don't know, but at some point I turned off the oven. The loaf was just sitting in there, enjoying a dry sauna. I turned on the oven, set the temperature to 375° and let the loaf bake. It did. Meanwhile, I had been shooting a video of the process.

When I tasted the bread after it came out of the oven, I decided this was not a video to feature on YouTube. The flavor was awful. The combination of sun-dried tomatoes, Romano cheese, and fresh basil seemed like a good idea. It promised to be delicious. But, baked in a loaf of bread, it was not good at all. Slathered with enough butter, slices were edible. However, this bread went into the trash and I erased the video files. You win some, you lose some.

In the past I mentioned that I like well balanced flavors. Bread should taste like bread, even when there are other flavors added. This week's featured recipe, Basic Sweet Bread, is a good example. I added lemon and orange zest. It gave the bread a slight citrus note. But it tasted like bread. It was delicious toasted.

This cheese and sun-dried tomato bread had a strong, even somewhat offensive, flavor. It wasn't nuanced. It wasn't delicate. It wasn't balanced. And it definitely wasn't bread. The photograph on the King Arthur Flour web site was beautiful. The loaf has excellent presentation value. This is their photo:

My loaf looked very similar. Worth noting: I looked at this photo a lot and concluded they must have used an egg wash to coat the loaf and garnish it with a little of the filling ingredients. There was no mention of this in the original recipe. I reserved an egg white and did the garnish.

Also not evident in the photo: this loaf bakes up fairly flat. And one final note: According to the web site this bread won first place in a baking contest. I can see why, based on appearances. Did the judges taste the bread? We'll never know.

All of this leads to another potential video. I want to do a cheese bread. Make a similar loaf, without all the cuts in it, and brush the outside with egg white. Garnish with shredded Romano (or Parmesan) cheese and some browned and chopped prosciutto (not a lot). Let the bread shine as bread, but let it benefit from a few flavor enhancements. Put cheese in the dough? I'll need to do some research.

Where is the Weather?

I was looking forward to rain this weekend. Early last week Weather.gov said "rain likely." Then it changed to "chance of rain," and then to "slight chance of rain." When they predicted "20% chance of rain" I gave up. At 20% I can walk to the store. Rain ain't gonna happen.

But hey! It's only the beginning of the rainy season. We have several months to go. Maybe, sooner or later, we'll get some appreciable rain. Rain is predicted for later this week, but I'll believe it when I see it.

And Speaking of Weather

With winter coming soon, it's time to get the annual flu shot. Although the signs in Costco say the shot is free with most insurance plans, my insurance doesn't cover it. The pharmacist advised me as such, but I asked her how much the shot costs. $20. I told her it costs me $25 to walk through the front door of my doctor's office; so, by getting my vaccination at Costco I save $5.

This year they offer a three-strain boosted vaccine for seniors (recommended for anyone over 60 years of age) or a standard four-strain vaccine. I went with the four-strain. Although it's the average dose, it covers more influenza strains. And my health is good. I actually felt fairly proud of myself to be standing in the pharmacy line wearing a bike helmet. No one else was wearing one.

Wednesday 2017.11.1

Stormy Weather?

I've been watching the weather forecasts. So far, they've been predicting rain for the weekend. However, the forecast changed from "rain likely" to "chance of rain." I'll believe it when I see it.

I have been kind of itching for something like this because I know my Dymondia needs watering. There are a few white patches where it has probably died from lack of water. That's okay. When the rains come, the ground cover fills in nicely.

Another reason is that I know it needs trimming, but I didn't want to cut it back while it might be weakened from lack of water. Some of the trimmings will go into a few flats I have. I'll fill them with potting soil and "plant" the clippings. Some will die, some will root. Those that survive will be use to fill in empty spots later.

Making Golumpki

On Monday I rolled about three dozen golumpki, otherwise known as cabbage rolls or stuffed cabbage leaves. I knew it would be a lot of work; so on Sunday I ground the beef and pork (now that I have a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid I prefer to grind my own meat), cooked the rice, and then sautéed the bacon and the chopped onion.

The heads of cabbage aren't large here. I bought two of them and still had enough filling left over to make another dozen or more.

As for the recipe, it was sent to me by a fan of this web site. It was his late aunt's recipe and after she passed away he started bugging his cousin to find it for him. Eating those golumpki is among his fondest memories of childhood. He wanted the recipe preserved, so he sent it to me to video.

Stuffing cabbage leaves is a labor of love. Having one or two helpers in the kitchen would reduce the work considerably. They're not difficult, just time consuming. After the rolling, they are arranged in a large baking pan, sauce is added, and baked for 2 to 2½ hours. The weird thing was the lack of odor. I remember my mother's corned beef and cabbage. The sulphur smell would drive me out of the house. The golumpki yielded no unpleasant odor. Here is a picture of two golumpki.

They're not the prettiest of foods, but the flavor is wonderful. I enjoy some mild foods that have a nuanced balance of flavors. This is one of them. Nothing smacks you in the nose and declares itself. All the flavors are mild, even delicate, although hearty and meaty, and there is a good balance. I never thought I would live to say something made with cabbage actually tastes good. This food totally suprised me. This recipe is a keeper.

I portioned the golumpki, two to a packet, and froze them to enjoy occasionally throughout the winter. I did give some away, not many, to get the opinions of some friends.

The video should be on YouTube by the time you read this. As usual of late, the video is "unlisted," but it is available for advance viewing by visitors to this web site. The recipe, and link to the video, are in the Recipe Archive in the Main Courses section.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Very early this morning, around 2:00, I was roused out of my sleep by loud noise on the avenue outside my home. Sweeper/vacuum trucks were cleaning the street. Maybe they are preparing the road for new asphalt.

Unable to sleep, I opened my laptop computer and looked at the local news. A man was found dead in his home, with his two dogs (they were alive). I read to the bottom and then read the comments below. Every one, without exception, expressed sympathy for the dogs. Not one mention of the man or his relatives.

Is it me? Or am I missing something? Really. You can't make this stuff up.

I know there are people out there who would say, "If you owned a dog you'd understand." No. I grew up with dogs. I know dogs. If I were ever to own a pet it would be a dog. I love dogs. But I love people too. And as much as I love dogs, I would never waste my golumpki by giving it to a dog.

Filter Time

I haven't talked about the filters on my computers in a while. Today is the first; so I again changed all the filters. They were dirtier than usual because the window fans have been running everyday and there was all the construction work on the avenue outside. I also did an inspection, looking closely inside. These computers will be two years old later this month.

I won't say it's perfect; nothing ever is. I dragged a finger along the bottom of the case inside and it did leave a light trail. The finest of dust is getting through. However, after two years, my computers still look beautifully clean inside. The Swiffer Dusting Cloth filters are doing an excellent job.