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APRIL 2017

Sunday 2017.4.30

Sous Vide

Are you familiar with sous vide cooking? According to one of my food encyclopedias, it's a French term for "under vacuum" and the description in the book is nothing like the food process I experimented with on Friday.

A friend of mine has a sous vide device, which consists of a cylinder with an electric heating element inside. You clip it to the top edge of a pot or other vessel that holds water. Food is vacuum sealed in plastic pouches and then cooked in the heated water. The temperature of the water controls the final doneness of the food. My friend is an avid meat eater (I'm not) and he likes meat cooked only until rare — 125°F (52°C).

He wanted me to experience the process, and the food; so we got together on Friday to do rack of lamb. He'd done it several times; he knows the procedure well. I liked the idea and I therefore videoed it. And that is how it became this week's feature. I don't have a recipe because it is more of a cooking procedure than a recipe.

One advantage of sous vide cooking is that the meat is rarely over cooked or under cooked. It is literally rare from edge to edge. To get a little color on the surface, we chose to do a quick grill only to add bar marks. Otherwise, the meat was rare under the surface and all the way to the middle. It even looks mostly pink on the plate.

I like lamb, and therefore I enjoyed the meal. We grilled Brussels sprouts and mixed them with some bacon that we cooked until crisp and then chopped. I also made rice and peas. Here is a photograph.

Rack of lamb

The devices are available on Amazon and most range in price from around $75 to $150. There is at least one $200 model. His model is the ChefSteps CS10001 Joule Sous Vide.

Would I purchase one? No. I'm not much of a meat eater. I'm quite happy buying the rotisserie chickens at Costco and deboning them to have the meat for my Minute Meals. I do like lamb and I will occasionally roast a leg of lamb, also portioned for the meals. But I'm content if the meat is thoroughly cooked along the outside and pink only in the middle.

One disadvantage, for me, is that the device is controlled via an app on a smart phone. Why? I don't understand all these fixations on apps. I don't have a smart phone. I still use an old BlackBerry. And what happens when the next generation of smart phone comes along with a new operating system, rendering all the former apps useless? Why not just put a couple buttons on the sous vide device? On/off and then maybe a rocker button to adjust the temperature up or down? I think the manufacturers want your smart phone information so that they can target you with advertising.

Another disadvantage, which might matter to some, is that the plastic vacuum sealer pouches, or rolls, are expensive, even at Costoc where I buy mine.

My friend would use his sous vide cooker everyday, if he could afford to buy all the meat. Steaks, for example, can be cooked rare all the way through with only a light searing afterward for color. He likes steak. For me, it would probably be a device I would use only once or twice a year, mostly for a video or to prepare dinner for someone who is extremely fussy about the doneness of their beef or lamb.

In conclusion, I will say this: I was very happy to enjoy the experience. The process wasn't difficult. The cooking time wasn't overly long — two hours — and the result was a delicious piece of lamb. The day also satisfied my curiosity. Now I can say I have cooked with the sous vide method. I am no longer curious.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

The down side to the sous vide episode was the people in my home. My friend brought his girlfriend. With two additional people around, it was not easy concentrating on the video. I didn't get all the clips I wanted because at times it was too important to do a cooking step and I forgot about the camera. The most important clip I forgot was "plating the food." I like to finish a video with arranging the food on a plate before I do the final "tasing clip."

Thankfully, there was food left over. Yesterday I cooked up more Brussels sprouts, made rice with peas, and heated the grill to put quick bar marks on a piece of lamb. While those were cooking I quickly set up my home for a video (mostly by covering the windows with blackout fabric) and got into costume. The clip was less than a minute, but for me it's an important part of the video.

It was another last-minute project, the video being edited and encoded the evening before being uploaded to YouTube. But now that the episode is finished, I can get back to doing videos alone.


My home, especially my kitchen, is an odd place. As I've often said before, I live in a double-wide mobile home. It is plenty big enough for one person. The master bedroom is my home office, with two desks because I have two computers — actually three, one is a laptop. The smaller bedroom is where I sleep. I don't need much room to sleep.

My kitchen serves a dual purpose, for cooking and as a sort of TV studio. The aprons on the wall are "show" aprons. I wear them only when doing a video. They are costumes only, like my show shirts. So when my friend puts on one of those aprons to cook, I get nervous. He wipes his hands on it, like it's a towel or rag. I never do that.

I know it can be laundered, but what if something causes a stain that won't wash out? On Friday's sous vide episode he wore the apron with the chili peppers on it. I watched nervously. I looked it over carefully yesterday morning. It's okay.

I shouldn't be obsessive about them, but they really are costumes only to be used in a cooking show. And for those shows I like everything to look as clean and neat as possible. Otherwise, I'm not fussy. I don't wear an apron when cooking for myself. I'm not a messy cook, but I'm not fussy either. I get my hands dirty or oily. I reach for a paper towel.

Mystery Solved

I've been wondering about my lime tree (pictured below) because the fruit looks so unearthly. A friend saw the fruit and Googled something like "citrus fruit that looks like squid." What did he find? Buddha's Hand citrus fruit. I looked it up and that is exactly what I have. I'm not sure whether mine will be green or yellow when ripe. The fruit is often used for infusing alcohol or oil with citrus flavor. It is supposed to be very armomatic.

The inside does not have the segments you see in oranges, lemons, and limes. It is white, like the pith beneath a lemon's zest. However, there is supposed to be no bitterness; so the fruit is often used to make candy, like candied citrus peel, but you can eat it like a sweet snack. They get quite large when ripe, as big as a human hand, maybe a little bigger. I'm looking forward to the ripe fruit later this year. I foresee a video coming — candied citrus fruit.

Wednesday 2017.4.26

The Bug-Eyed Monster is Green

I've been watching my aliens-from-outer-space citrus tree and there has been an interesting development. The purple monster is turning green. Check this out:

Strange lime fruit

So now what? All I can do is wait, perhaps months, to see what might mature on these branches. Meanwhile, there are many others developing on other parts of the tree. I keep it watered and sprayed, lest the pests start devouring the leaves (happening on another tree). It should be an interesting summer.

A Fruitful Summer Too

And the orange tree continues to bloom and be visited by the bees. Many of the petals are turning brown and falling away. In their place, little tiny green citrus fruits are beginning to appear. Here is a photo:

Baby oranges

You can just see them at the base of those white styles. The stigma eventually turns brown (see the fruit toward the top of the photo) and falls off. I've seen these baby fruits before. A lot of them never make it. They fall to the ground. Many have fallen off already, but this tree is so laden with them, I'm hoping enough survive to turn into beautiful oranges during the summer.

I think the trick to saving those babies is to keep the tree well watered. It's in a planter, not the ground; so the only water it gets is the water I pour onto it. Maybe if it thirsts too much for water it sacrifices its young to save itself. It must be a very selfish tree.

On Another Tree

This tree has maturing fruit on it. I've been waiting for ripe fruit to help me figure out which tree is which. There are four pieces of fruit hanging from a lower branch, as can be seen in this photo:


That green netting, by the way, is to keep the racoons (and possibly the neighbor's cats) from digging in the soil. The one that looks really yellow above is the one I picked for a test. They're round like an orange, but I have the tree labeled "Lemon." Now I'm wondering. Could this one be the Meyer lemon?

I squeezed the juice into a glass and added some water and sugar to make lemonade, and tasted it. The flavor had me baffled. I tasted three citrus fruits in the juice — lemon, orange, and grapefruit. From squeezing the fruit, the juice left a strong citrus scent on my hand, something I never experienced squeezing lemons from my neighbor's tree. The glass of liquid, too, has a strong fragrance to it. I added ice and enjoyed it, sipping it slowly and not drinking all of it. (I'm not big fan of lemonade). So, okay, another mystery.

The Others

That leaves two other trees — one marked Meyer Lemon and the other Dwarf Tangerine. I know the tangerine tree is correctly labeled because it still has the original tag from the nursery where it was bought. The other one has very few flowers on it. It's too early to know if they'll turn into fruit and help me identify the tree.


Actually, baking. I received a request for popovers. As usual, I did a lot of research, and, as usual, there isn't much consistency out there. Popovers or Yorkshire puddings? Some people say they're the same; some say they are different. If I might draw a distinction. Yorkshire pudding is made with beef drippings. Popovers are made with butter. Otherwise, they're the same thing.

One web site goes into the science of the things. The author is sort of a myth buster, looking at the various dos and don'ts about cooking — "Always start with a hot pan" — to separate the facts from the myths. So I think I have enough information to make popovers. Probably later this week.

My Kitchen Vlog

I had fun with my Kitchen Vlog this week. I decided to use the I Ching to come up with a topic for my next vlog. I demonstrated how to use yarrow stalks, although I talk about the coin methods too. Here is the link:

My Kitchen Vlog


Sunday 2017.4.23

Some Confirmation

I needed to get a little tough last week. Someone was leaving a string of nasty comments on my YouTube videos. I don't mind a little criticism, especially when someone offers a better idea for ingredients or a better way to perform some procedure. I learned to squeeze cooked spinach with a potato ricer rather than my hands because of one of those comments. But this person was going a little too far.

YouTube offers creators, such as myself, a way to block such comments, and it's kind of ingenious, if you think about it.

We can designate all of a person's comments to be hidden from view on the channel. They can write them. They can see them. But neither I nor anyone else will ever see them, ever again.

The ingenious part of it is that they can continue to satisfy their little heart's content by writing their scathing remarks, believing they are successfully trolling the video creators they despise. Whether for fun or viciousness, it doesn't matter. If you are a fan of South Park (I am), think of Gerald Broflovski being an Internet troll last season. it was an excellent season. Very funny.

However, does it really work? I wondered. Are the comments hidden from everyone, or just from me? A little research on YouTube revealed the answer. Everyone.

In one video a charming woman wondered about it the same as I did. She tested it, in a very simple way (now why did I think of that?). Using another login ID, she left a test comment on one of her videos. Then she logged in again as the creator of the video and "hid" the person (her) who wrote the comment. Poof. Gone. Then she logged in again as the person who wrote the comment and there it was, her comment, exactly as she wrote it.

Enter YouTube without any ID at all, as just a visitor, and look at the video's comments. The hidden one remains hidden. It isn't there. Well, it is, but no one can see it except the person who wrote it.

So, the troll writing the comment can continue to enjoy their pastime of writing nasty criticisms, believing the remarks are being seen by all, and they never receive any notification that their comments are permanently hidden throughout the channel that blocks them. Basically they're wasting their time. It sort of like trolling the troll, without their knowing it.

There are, of course, a couple little catches. They might wonder why other comments receive replies, but their's don't. And they could do the experiment the woman mentioned above did — log onto YouTube with a different ID, or no ID at all, and check to see if their comments are visible. But even if they did that, so what? They can't undo the "hide" setting.

The women who tested the setting referred to it as "shaddow hiding," i.e. the blocking remains hidden in the shadows. It isn't obvious to anyone except the video creator. I can go into my settings on YouTube and look at my list of hidden users. It isn't a long list. One has been blocked twice because after being hidden for using my video comments section to promote (spam) his own business (and he was probably blocked by many other creators for the same reason) he created a new ID and started the practice all over again.

How necessary is it? Not much, really. But I do want to keep my Mobile Home Gourmet channel a friendly place on YouTube.

On the other hand, my two other channels — My Kitchen Vlog and Vlogging the News — aren't intended to be blissfully pleasant places to visit. Opinion columns are going to eventually encounter opinions from the other side. The recent violence in Berkeley California might be used as one example. I really don't care about the comments on those two channels, unless they are offensive to minorities, ethnic groups, religions, etc. I won't allow hate speech, but if they want to tell me how much they loathe everything I say, fine. I don't mind. They watched the video, and that's what matters, even though I don't earn any money from the videos. Right now, all I want to see is numbers.

It's Time

There are many harbingers of seasons and times. When I lived on the East Coast, it was the appearance of jonquils and daffodils blooming in the early spring. Here in Southern California, where I like to say we have only two seasons — summer and sort of summer — other events announce the change of the seasons. I took out from the back of a cupboard my plastic ice cube trays.

Okay, it is hardly the major event of the year, but I do without ice all through the cooler months. But come summer, when the warmer days begin, I feel the need for either glasses of iced water or iced coffee. And so I filled six trays with water and placed them on their shelf — one I set up specifically for ice. I have a plastic shoe box that fits that shelf perfectly. On the following day I transfer the ice cubes to the box and set it in the freezer. I have ice for a while.

The air conditioner comes into play too. I uncovered it and used it twice already because a little white light inside my computers turns red to warn me it is getting hot. If I see it, I start the air conditioner rather than wait for the alarm to sound. Such warnings were one of the features I incorporated into these computers when I built them. I love my computers and I therefore don't take any chances.

Wednesday 2017.4.19

First Fruit

Late Sunday I picked the one orange that has been hanging on tree. I waiting until the green disappeared. It practically fell off in my hand when I reached for it; so it was due to harvesting.

I cut it opened and tasted it. Delicious, just as an orange should be. It was sweet and juicy. I would have taken a photograph, but an orange is an orange. If you've seen one, you've seen them all. I ate the entire orange and enjoyed it as the first piece of edible fruit from those trees.

Meanwhile, there are many flowers on the tree and I've noticed the bees visiting them. They'll pollinate the flowers and later this year there should be more oranges to enjoy. The leaf miner problem has gone away, at least temporarily. I keep an eye on the tree. The other trees are blooming as well.

The lime tree has me the most curious. It is still blooming. Lots of pink-white flowers. The bees have been visiting this tree too. Here's a photo.

Lime flowers

Beautiful flowers! The results, however, look strange. Check this out.

Lime development?

This is another part of the same tree. After the petals fall off, those dark strange purple growths develop. This is supposed to be a lime tree, but it looks more like an aliens from outer space tree to me.

Mystery Solved — Maybe

The neighbor across the street is an arborist. He has a tree-trimming business. I showed him the odd growths on my lime tree, pictured above, and he says they are "finger limes." He said they stay purple too. He told me a rancher in one of the local canyons has a grove of them. People buy them, but they aren't much good, except for the appearance of them.

I think they look more like something you might see in a cheesy science-fiction film. "Attack of the Flesh Eating Purple Citrus Fruits."

I went online to look at photos of finger limes. They don't look anything like the abominations pictured above. However, I shall see. It is still spring. By fall I should know what those things are. He looked at my other trees and agreed the orange tree would likely yield an abundance of fruit later this year. It is full of flowers. Good. I love oranges.

Bye-Bye Facebook

Few will have noticed. Fewer, if any at all, will care. If you look at the panel in the upper left, you will notice the badge of the Facebook Fan Page is gone. I removed it more than a week ago and no one sent me any email, telling me how tragic the loss was for them.

I stopped posting updates to the fan page earlier. I used to alert people to the latest upload of videos to YouTube. I don't know how many, if any, views those announcements might have added.

Yesterday I posted to my Facebook home page a link to my latest Vlogging the News video. No response. A previous announcement a week ago received one "Like" from a personal friend. The latest announcement went pretty much unnoticed, as far as I could tell. Meanwhile, someone announced the release of some new pistol and it received more than 400 likes in 24 hours. Go figure.

I won't delete my Facebook page; I will just merely ignore it, try to forget it was ever there.

Today's Kitchen Vlog

I was asked to talk more about some of the clients I worked with when getting my master's degree in counseling psychology. Here is the link:

My Kitchen Vlog


On Sunday I'll upload the Venezuelan Asado Negro pictured below.

Sunday 2017.4.16 - Happy Easter

Venezuelan Asado Negro

As I said in Wednesday's blog, I made the Asado Negro. I was going to use it for this week's Feature Recipe, but changed my mind. First, here's a photo of the food I prepared.

Asado Negro

Once again, I ended up with a photograph that is, at best, good enough. I could have done more with the roasted peppers, positioning some of the green ones to be a little more visible. And I could have placed the rice and peas on the plate in a better way, maybe using the spoon to shape them into a neater pile. But I was tired and happy to have food on a plate.

As I said above, the plan was for this recipe to be featured this week. But circumstances led otherwise.

To make the Asado Negro I needed a roast cut of beef. The traditional cut is beef eye of round. Let me begin by saying I am not a beef eater. I don't dislike it, but if I want red meat my first choice is always lamb. I love lamb. So I don't know a lot about beef. A friend loves beef and he is the best resource when I need information; however, he'll talk for an hour when all I wanted to know is "What is eye of round?"

I learned this: Eye of round is a cheap cut of beef, popular amoung some cultures for being economical. It is cheap because the quality isn't great. If not cooked properly, it is tough, difficult to chew. Therefore, it benefits from long cooking times to help break down the tough fibers. It is also cheap because the flavor isn't good. There is almost no marbling. It is very lean. And therefore it lacks the flavor of a good steak, such as beef tenderloin or filet mignon.

I bought the eye of round at Costco. The price was good. But the packaging wasn't what I wanted. Costco only sells them two to a package. I needed only one roast. The other two grocery stores didn't have it; so Costco was my choice.

The Asado Negro was good enough to eat. Not being a very flavorful meat, it benefits from the rich dark sauce that is made along with it. In the picture above you can see the "juice" on the meat. That's the sauce. Between cooking in the dark sauce and then being garnished with it, the finished meat is dark, and thus it gets its name Roast Black.

So, what do I do with the second eye of round? It just so happened that I wanted to shoot a new video for my Real Texas Chili (AKA Texas Beef Chili). The original video was made nearly seven years ago and it was one of the first videos I made for this web site. The recipe is numbered "4" in the archive and dated "August 13, 2010". It was time for a remake.

Although that recipe calls for chuck, which has a much better flavor and texture, I chose to fake it with the eye of round. The result was not as enjoyable as the Texas Chili I make every winter. The soup is the same, but the beef lacks flavor. However, it is tender, and good enough for me. I won't give it away to neighbors. I froze it in portions and I'll use it up during the next month or two.

And so this week's feature recipe is a remake of Real Texas Chili. I'll include the photo here to become a permanent part of the blog archive.

Real Texas Chili

The video turned out well. I like the photograph too. You'd never know the meat wasn't the best choice. Well, some who really know beef might recognize the pieces being a little too lean for chuck, but hopefully they'll keep their observations to themselves.

There is another advantage of doing this video again. This is the type of recipe that does well on YouTube. Although the old one wasn't as popular as French Bread or Salmon Jerky, it was still seen more than 15,000 times. Next week I'll upload the Asado Negro video, which probably won't get much attention — but you never know…

Vlogging the News

The highlight for me this week was shooting another video of Vlogging the News. I really enjoy those. Among the news I discussed was the "mother of all bombs" dropped on ISIS in Afghanistan, the investigation of Trump's campaign advisor Carter Page, and the arrest of one of the world's top ten Russian spammers, Peter Lavashov. After reading that news story I did a full system scan of the computer I use to connect to the Internet. It scanned more than a million files and found no risks. Phew. I do try to keep my computers safe.

My Kitchen Vlog

I think I might have too many YouTube channels. I get them mixed up. "When do I upload those videos?" Thankfully, the dates are on YouTube. I went to upload my latest Kitchen Vlog on Saturday and saw that I upload them on Wednesdays. I need to put a schedule on the wall.

Wednesday's Kitchen Vlog will be more about the psychology experiences. Someone commented on them, saying the last one was "riveting," his word. So I chose to do one more. Not all of them are easy to talk about, which will be clear in the video, but I enjoyed making that video.

Meanwhile, I've recorded three more, about subjects that came to mind. My Kitchen Vlogs are covered for the next few weeks.

Wednesday 2017.4.12


To begin, I can't say whether or not I resist change. Some people don't like change, others do. I think it depends on the actual change. A little history:

Many years ago I regularly saw a dentist down in the city. I really liked him. He sold his practice and moved to Los Angeles to teach at the University of Southern California. The dentist who bought the practice wasn't a good a dentist, but I stayed with him anyway.

After several years of teaching, and writing a book about performing root canals, the first dentist moved back to this area and opened a practice within walking distance of where I live. I changed back to him and enjoyed a few years of good dentistry, until he retired.

The dentist who bought his practice this time is a crook. Each time I went in for a cleaning and exam he'd tell me I needed one or two crowns. I decided to get a second opinion, returning to the former dentist down in the city. He might not be the best dentist, but he is honest. He said I did not need any crowns. And so I returned to him.

Late last year he sold his practice and retired. Now I have yet another new dentist. Is it a Carole King song that goes, "Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?" So Far Away, I think.

I've had enough bad dentists. Another dentist I tried, drilled (I think) a hole in an adjacent tooth while working on another one, to create a cavity for my next visit. The hole was suspicious, narrow and deep, so I had it looked at by another dentist. He couldn't confirm anything other than, "Yes, it does look suspicious."

So let's just say I was more than a little nervous seeing yet another new dentist. The night before was filled with nightmares about dentistry. I remember two of them.

In the first, the dentist stuck a hose in my mouth and flushed it out with a lot of water, getting my shirt all wet. Then he left the room and forgot about me. I sat there, alone, until I figured it was time to go home.

In the second, the hygienist working on my teeth kept making faces at me, as if trying to taunt me into a fight. I was frightened by him.

Yesterday I kept my appointment with the new dentist and all went well — for me, but not for them. I was due for x-rays, but neither of the x-ray things would work. Next time. They told me my dental hygiene is good. No signs of any trouble. Okay for another six months. And, no need for all the anxiety. They were nice.

To Boldly Cook What I Haven't Cooked Before

I'm not a beef eater. I think I've said that several times in these blogs. If I want red meat, I buy lamb. I did enjoy the Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches I featured last week. In fact, I craved them afterwards and bought more steak to make more. But I think it was the bread. I love good bread.

Someone asked me to do a video of an Venezuelan dish called Asado Negro, or "roast black." It is a piece of beef, like eye of round, that is slowly roasted a long time until very tender. It gets its dark color from caramelizing sugar until dark and then adding dark ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and red wine.

I am attempting it today.


I uploaded another video in My Kitchen Vlog series this morning. This one is about depression, and how I successfully deal with it. Here is the link:

My Kitchen Vlog


Sunday 2017.4.9

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

Speaking for myself, I sometimes don't want to learn new tricks. I resist. I'm 65 years old and some of these newfangled thingamajigs get on my nerves. I'm still using an old clamshell style BlackBerry phone because those new slab phones look too complicated — not to mention too expensive too.

I'm not hopeless. Those who have followed my blogs for a while will remember I built two new computers more than a year ago. I ordered all the parts, buying the best components money could buy, and built two beautiful computers. They are fast, they look good, and I love them. I also spent $12,000 building them, but you don't save money doing DIY computer builds.

The Problem

I now have three YouTube channels. My cooking channel, Mobile Home Gourmet, is my main one. I have 280 videos, nearly 13,000 subscribers, and views totaling about 1.5 million. Nice.

I created a second channel to vlog about anything that comes to mind. Most of you know I upload those videos on Wednesdays. The latest one was about the water situation here in Southern California (as well as my home).

And I recently started a thrid YouTube channel on which I talk about the news. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be that one, for several reasons.

  1. I really enjoy talking about the news.
  2. I don't need to think of new topics to vlog about. The news is filled with ideas.
  3. No shopping for groceries (and therefore no money spent).
  4. No cooking, and no dishes to wash afterward.
  5. They're easy. I can shoot and edit a new vlog, start to finish, in under an hour.

So what's the problem?

The problem is — now was — that YouTube allows us creators to verify only two channels per phone number. What am I supposed to do? Sign up with AT&T or Verizon for a new phone? What would that cost me?

Why verify? Here are some reasons:

  1. Videos can be longer than 15 minutes — although I aim for 12 to 14 minutes.
  2. I can attach a thumbnail image to each video. I do that on my cooking channel, adding a nice photograph of the food rather than use the random thumbnails that YouTube creates.
  3. When I get enough subscribers, 100, and if my channel is at least 30 days old, I can request a custom YouTube URL. I have one for my cooking channel:
    www.youtube.com/c/MobileHomeGourmet rather than a long random number string.
  4. Other things like live streaming, which I will probably never use.
  5. And, if the channel becomes popular enough, I can monetize the videos and earn a little money.

I wanted to verify my Vlogging the News channel, but couldn't because I had already verified two.

The Solution

I figured there's gotta be a way. There just gotta! Well, yes, there is. I did some searching on YouTube and found a video that explains a very easy and elegant solution.

You create an account on TalkNow.com and they will give you a phone number. Supposedly if it lies dormant for a while it will be removed, but that's okay. I only need it once. I could, however, use it as a regular phone number. With a headset and microphone attached to my computer, I could make and receive phone calls. I don't know how good the quality might be, or the cost, but that wasn't my concern. The steps are easy enough.

  1. Start by signing up for an account on TalkNow.com. Give them a working email address for verification. At the same time, request a phone number.
  2. Go to the email address to open TalkNow's message and click the "Verify" button.
  3. Go to the YouTube channel and click the Verify button. Select verification by voice phone (rather than a text message to your cell phone).
  4. Return to TalkNow and wait for the voicemail message. It look less than a minute. Listen to the message to get the code.
  5. Return to YouTube and enter the verification code. Boom! Job done.

I now have three verified channels on YouTube. Happy, happy.

What's Next?

I am considering Vlogging the News daily rather than weekly. There is a lot of news out there. I am only considering it. I won't give up my cooking channel. It is generating enough revenue to pay for the food; so it isn't a burden (except maybe the time commitment). I might let my Kitchen Vlog channel go. Coming up with topics to vlog about isn't easy. If something had to go, the Kitchen Vlog would be first.

If Vlogging the News becomes popular enough, I would monetize it. However, that popularity might only be a fantasy at this stage, and might remain there forever. Nonetheless, it's good to be thinking about it, just in case.

So What's This Got to do With and Old Dog?

As I said above, as I get older I sense myself resisting new ideas, especially if they are something I need to apply hard thought toward. However, thanks to YouTube and the Internet, I found the solution and it wasn't exhausting.

Vlogging the News

Something new: Now that I have my Vlogging the News channel verified with Google, last night I worked on a new graphic. Even though I vlog in my mobile home kitchen, I wanted the graphic too look a different from those with the camper drawing in them. I'm still tweaking it a little. I'll probably enter the date in red, to draw more attention to it. The graphic doesn't appear on my latest video because it wasn't ready in time. My next vlog will use it.

Vlogging the News

Wednesday 2017.4.5

Policing the Trolls

I don't like having to police the comments on my YouTube videos. It takes time. And now with three YouTube channels, I'm a busy guy. But I do it.

Fortunately, there is a very small percentage of people out there who abuse the comments section on videos. Last season's South Park was about trolls and it was very funny — and I can't help wondering if it might have been, at least in part, a backlash because of some of the trolls the South Park creators might deal with.

People are free to leave comments on my videos. I once thought about turning off the comments, just to save myself some time. But the majority of people who enjoy leaving comments are positive and pleasant. And I enjoy their comments. Some are very helpful.

I don't create videos to receive accolades from adoring fans. I appreciate the "thank you"s, but I do the videos, and maintain this web site, to have something to occupy my time in my retirement. Else, what would I do? Watch daytime TV? I never did drugs; so why damage my brain with daytime TV?

It isn't the money either. If 1,000 people each watch one of my videos. Google/YouTube pays me 0.0176¢. That's correct. Less than 2 pennies. Google doesn't make a payment unless the amount owed to a creator is $100 or more on the first of the month.

I have a routine for comments. I upload the latest cooking video on Sunday morning. During the day I monitor the comments and I try to respond to every one. After Sunday, I move on to other projects. Reading and responding to comments takes time. I don't mind it for one day. I set aside the remainder of Sunday for that task. It's good for my videos. Responding helps build a fan base.

Outside of Sunday, I don't respond unless I think there is a need to. Someone asked where to buy Wright's Liquid Smoke. Out of kindness, I tell him it's available on Amazon. Yes, he could have looked there first, but I don't hold it against him. It's like those people who ask a question and someone responds with, "I'll Google that for you" — a gentle reminder that they could have Googled it themselves.

I need to visit a local bookstore and look at the dictionaries. Is "Google" now a verb?

To be honest, I'm not a YouTube sensation. I'm a very little fish in a very big ocean. But, again, I don't create videos for the accolades. I keep busy and I enjoy it. I can boast that I have nearly 13,000 subscribers. But so what? I upload a video and it might be watched 500 times. Where are the other 12,500 subscribers? People subscribe to YouTube channels, but how many subscribers watch the channels to which they subscribe? I subscribed to only two channels, and I don't even watch those.

Occasionally I launch onto a clean streak and I start sweeping comments. I don't delete every one, just the ones that are either pointless ("How long do you keep it in the oven?" In the video I say "Bake 35 to 45 minutes.") or self-aggrandizing ("I don't make it that way, I make it this way."). I don't create videos to provide a forum for people to pander to their own ego. And, fortunately, those people are few in number. But I do sweep their comments out.

Sometimes I get tough. Good cop, bad cop? I can ban a person, stopping all their comments, past and future, from displaying on my channel. They can write them. Maybe that's all they want, the practice of writing something to delude themselves into thinking they are important. However, their comments will be permanently hidden. No one will see them. I don't resort to that degree of censorship unless I feel it is necessary. If someone writes comments that are antisemitic, anti-women, anti-African American, anti-gays, anti-Muslim — you get the idea — I believe they should be stopped from using my videos to spew their hate speech.

So this week I've been enjoying another sweeping campaign. There are a few people who never say anything unless they can write something negative. I know who they are. And there are the questions I'll never answer. (Would you like me to Google that for you?) It's not because I have a negative attitude. It's more like dust. It doesn't hurt anything. But you get rid of it. You clean house because you like a neat and clean house. I feel that way about my videos sometimes; so occasionally I clean house.

Today's Kitchen Vlog

I've written a lot about the water situation here in Southern California. Now that I have a Kitchen Vlog (and a news vlog too), I can speak about it. Here is the link:

Kitchen Vlog on Water


Meanwhile, my Vlogging the News channel on YouTube is doing very well, better than expected (and if the truth be told, better than My Kitchen Vlog). It seems there are many people out there who are interested in the news. If you haven't checked it out yet, scroll down and look for the Vlogging the News graphic to click to it.

Sunday 2017.4.2

Windows 10 Update

If case you haven't already heard, there is a major update to the Windows 10 operating system coming this month. I've been reading about some of the changes reported on web sites like Cnet and PC World. Most of the changes will probably not be useful to me. I'm not a gamer. However, there is one feature that might be of interest to you.

The Microsoft Edge browser will supposedly be capable of displaying ebooks in EPBU format. That could be important to some of you because my free cookbook, available as an EPUB ebook, is available for download on this web site. So if you want to view the cookbook on your computer, you will not need an EPUB app like the Nook app. You can open it in Edge, which comes free with Windows 10.

The cookbook is absolutely free for download, no strings attached. You don't need to register with an email address; therefore you don't need to worry about being spammed. I don't do that. Just like my recipes and video, they're all free. I make a little money through donations and YouTube ads; so I share where I can.

Water Quality

Okay, this is not Flint, Michigan, but we do have our issues here. The underground water pipes in the trailer park are old galvanized pipe. They need to be replaced, but the owner doesn't want to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost to trench all the park and replace the pipe. Rusty water coming out of the faucet is not uncommon. A pipe breaks somewhere at least once a year. Last week I told the manager about my neighbor's water pipe leaking badly. It was repaired the same day.

I have two water filters on my home. I have a whole house filter outside. Before the water passes into the house it gets filtered there. Then, under my kitchen sink I have a reverse osmosis (RO) filter system that I use for drinking water and when making coffee or tea.

RO systems, by the way, are notorious for wasting water. To generate clean water it must pass a lot of water through the system. For each gallon of clean water it makes, the system wastes 4 to 18 gallons. That's bad for a drought. However, there is a trick for preventing waste. I modified the waste water line. I added a "T" fitting and extra hose with a valve on it. Now I can divert the waste water to a bucket and use that to water the plants outside. Any effort to conserve water is helpful.

On Wednesday of this past week I decided to change the filter cartridge in the system outside. I saw my neighbor's filter when he changed it. The dark color of his old filter made me wonder. Here is a photo of my old filter alongside the new one. The old one was white.

Whole house water filter

The new one is a different style. It's a solid porous filter, supposedly good for capturing particles as small as 1 micron. I had to ask Google "What is a micron?" to learn that it is a length of measurement equal to 1 millionth of a meter. So what would that be in inches? It is 0.00004 inches, or about 4 100,000ths of an inch.

I was concerned at first. How might the solid filter affect the water pressure in my home? So far, there is no noticeable difference.

Wednesday's vlog will probably be about water — the drought, the rust, etc.


Yesterday morning I uploaded my latest Vlogging the News video. I'm not proud of this one. Even though I attempted the video three times, erasing what I had done earlier, I couldn't keep it under the 15-minute limit. I got close; so by editing out the mistakes I made I managed to bring it down in size to below the allotted limit. I really need to limit myself to no more than three news stories. The problem is: I enjoy the news so much, I want to talk about as many stories as possible.