Archive for September, 2017



shopping , local prices



Soup, yellow noodle, chicken

This is what I get for watching to many periscopes of traveling in Hong Kong , shops, markets, crammed along the streets , fast service at it’s best. Food from A to Z. Appetising !

Some chicken scraps tenders  from chicken breast that were trimmed for another use, some leftover mushrooms, in one small pot, a smidgen of duck fat, water, hot pepper pastes, diced white onion, ginger garlic paste, simmered with salt and pepper to taste. Later,  add the yellow noodle, simmer and drain using some of the concentrated broth as a base in a soup bowl. Spoon some the chicken mixture into the bowl.

In a stock pot,  a collection of vegetable trimmings accumulated over time added water to cover, simmer to render a vegetable broth.

Ladle the vegetable stock to fill the soup  bowl, garnish with the green onion.



choke berries of the Viking Aronia

What is the berry of the Viking Aronia ?  Googled, it resulted in the the choke berry.

Some also refer to the berries as black choke cherries.

A few years ago,  I planted some bushes to fill in from some overgrown shrubberies removed. Having a small patch of raspberries, I figured why not plant some berry producing bushes, small and manageable. One was the Viking Aronia a hearty bush that produces blueberry sized berries.

Viking Aronia Gurneys

Viking Aronia Stark Brothers

It took several years to get established and recent feedings this year from some of the nutrients use in hydroponics, produced numerous clusters of berries. Keeping it simple, I just mashed the berries and cooked with sugar resulting in a jam like preserve. There were some tiny seeds in the jam, probably next time will process the berries to remove the seeds.


The taste is a hearty blueberry type taste with a bit of a bitter finish. Very good though!

The other varieties are the Naking Bush Cherry, which I did not get to harvest in time, a treat for the birds.



Roasted vegetables have been made before but when following this recipe, I thought, would it worth the extra work? Yes it was. Bacon fat was utilized instead of the olive oil. The result was a delicious dish, seemingly better once refrigerated.

Here’s the recipe I more or less followed.


salting the zuchs and the eggplant, sea salt.


prep the rest if the veggies, some cherry tomatoes processed, served as the tomatoe juice.


Veggies, towel dried…


Fry time…


A pleasing colorful mix…


Added tomato juice…..


Stove top cooking….


Layering the veggies for final cooking.


Very savory dish, more flavor than I expected as I held back on adding additional herbs or spices. I would have to make this with olive oil vs. bacon fat for a comparison. Refrigerated, excellent side dish, such as with braised chicken thigh with cherry tomato.

and also as a pizza topping.

 One half of the sheet pan pizza with the ratatouille.




shopping, prices, local, shipped.


why some brick and mortar stores fail compared to online shopping



While  many brick and mortar retailers will pull their hair out to woo shoppers to them, they fail when it comes to competing with internet sales. The “shopping experience” becomes an effort to study the consumer, set up sales floors to force the shopper to either search for what they want or engage sale persons (if available) to find what they need by the “did you find everything your looking for today” query ? Even casual browsing in some establishments put sale persons on guard giving the consumer a move it along feeling as stores defend loss prevention, prevalent in some areas. The shopping experience can’t compare to the  mindset Amazons of the online business models the consumer may be used to. (Note: while brick and mortars may study the patterns of shoppers in their establishments, the same can be said online though it can be more tansparently done and effective to the consumer such as storing recent purchases and recommending other items for purchase.)

Not just the physical retail landscape has changed, but realize that  so has the consumer. Where as the malls and shopping centers were a place of gathering for people some may not view shopping as a productive or worthwhile social activity. Perhaps in the past shopping was a place to go as a change of scenery or quest to find items and a pastime, the mindset of some has, reinforced by the drive to automate the process, that other activities of their life are  more productive than the time, effort and energy to travel,select and move goods to their household and/or business.  The fact that some items shipped free, at that same price as obtained at the brick and mortar is a powerful incentive to have someone deliver goods to your household for free. As the supply chain becomes more automated after pushing the “submit” button, and now measured by metric of human touch, it seems that shipping and handling cost can be minimized and even reduced.

In some department stores, (who this shopper has not been in often, perhaps because of the highly organized online shopping  and payment system business models) , it’s a hodge podge of signage, posters and unclear price markings that makes the shopping experience fatiguing. Clothing especially is, to me, somewhat  ill organized as I am not exactly fashion conscious either  . The layout of such department stores can also make the consumer wander to find his or her area pertaining to the items needed, even locating the checkout area can be  an  exercise as most of the signage indicates sales discounts, clearance items, branding  or flashy artwork (not to mention use of video monitors). Then when locating the checkout area, it’s poorly marked to indicate queue lines to the checkout desk. (Are there self service checkouts available?)

Keep in mind not all stores are like this, some are clearly more organized, marked, arranged and more inviting to the consumer, especially those who have done a fair amount of shopping online and expect possibly the same organization in a brick and mortar  store.

While people don’t expect every brick and mortar to be like an Ikea ,for example, where the uncluttered and organized stock doesn’t change as often as the styles of clothing , in Ikea the mapping of the stores are more pronounced in the signage giving the consumer a more comfortable approach to shopping.

Another important factor that will bridge the online shopping experience to the brick and mortar is the syncing of data, that is when an item online is located, in the store the consumer can travel to, that item has a location marked and corresponds to the exact physical  location within the brick and mortar, (aisle 39 bay 3 as an example) and the consumer is assured that the item(s) is in stock and the store is properly signed so the consumer can easily find the location. This of course assumes that this type of consumer has all ready made their shopping decision and most likely will want to see the actual product before purchasing versus just continuing the purchase online,  also  they want the product immediately, this will draw the consumer to a brick and mortar purchase.  Some brick and mortar store personnel,  when queried about an item found online, dismiss it, as it’s products don’t mirror the online structure, or it’s sold out or unavailable. The consumer has now made an needless journey to the store.

To some, a well laid out brick and mortar store will make a sale while those unorganized stores may have the consumer reaching for their smart mobile device, filling their online shopping cart and purchasing the item in cyberspace.

Now the best retail experience that may not be so effected by technology may be the corner store or bodega where the person behind the counter is a friendly face, a confidant, a sage, a problem solver and an advisor. Though those operators must exhibit the dedication that comes from  balancing a magnitude of stock and eking a profit to stay in business.







Flight of the Spyder XL

See also

Spyder XL hybrid stunt drone motor replacement

Multicopters repair and comments


The completion of the Spyder XL repair, who knows how many tiny screws hold this baby together ? Basically a top and bottom shell, arms and main body of each shell is one piece. Noted that the motors were not exactly a perfect fit. Slightly wider than the originals. Now that the top and bottom shells are coming together would the motors fit correctly into the top shell? The are rectangular protrusions at the end of each arm to fit the motors, they are an inverted configuration with the gear  reduction train at the bottom.

Of course they didn’t fit, with a lot of force to secure the top and bottom ends of the arms was unreasonable. Seeing that the construction is all plastic it was just a matter of applying some heat to the ends where the motor fit and it worked like a charm. Be carefull using any type of heat when servicing quads like this. Even an errant soldering iron will leave it’s mark behind. Seems to me that the plastic has a low melting temp so if need be with a bit of heat , like from a heat gun, things can be massaged into place.

Now all screws secured, the copter was a lot firmer. A final spin up without  the props to check rotations of each thruster motor. I installed the props, the 2 bladed after market variety (as I have switched to the prop adapters allowing the use of aftermarket props) and powered the bird up. TOTAL disappointment… ????? The quad seems to stall out when trying to lift off !!! very underpowered ! Now I though the replacement motors were at fault.

I shifted over to the original props, still just as bad. !!! One final adjustment that being a final swap to 3 bladed props and …….. for some reason, the copter wound up to speed and lifted off, now I went through both battery packs flying, hovering and a few crashes in the basement skunk works lab. That was my time for now, I’m going to shift back to the 2 blades next time, just to confirm that the props were the cause, only one other fault noted is that one flight, the pitch and yaw switched sticks on the controller, fixed with a restart and re sync. Still wonder if the motors had to go through a break-in or I had a bad sync when the 2 blades were on the quad. (sometimes dealing with used equipment makes troubleshooting a bit cloudy, could it have been a problem the transmitter sticks?)



Buzzing around the basement test range


not easy trying to fly and take pic with the iPad.


Next action will be the camera installation, also finding and outdoor location for this guy to fly as it seems it will contend with wind etc. better than the UDI or the small Propel.

The next repair will be a bigger drone, one with brushless motors, GPS etc. but considering scrapping the innards after a bit of assessment, as the main board already has problems and the GPS ,a separate board, needs repair or replacement. The battery also seems to be not getting any type of charge. By the condition, another Ebay buy, looks like either a severe crash or a compilation of junk parts.? Happy troubleshooting and parts hunting the challenge is on !

One other note for you persons who are interested in the same sort of thing, those tiny screws get lost easy in between jobs, rolling off the bench, (use a tray or magnet), or sticking to anything magnetic  like the motors. The suggested fix was to buy an assortment of tiny screws. That solved a lot of problems for now.

drone from eBay , used Spyder XL $56.50 (also includes a smaller drone)

shipping $15.00

Original Syma X8C X8W engine RC Quadcopter Spare Parts Servo Motor CW/CCW Free Shipping

these were the best fit motors  $9.79 for 4 motors. shipping included

4pcs YiZhan Tarantula X6 H16 RC Quadcopter Spare Parts Main Gear X6-07

only used the shafts for replacement, could have cut down the originals … $4.40 for 4 shipping included.

NEW 6colors multirotor 8045 pro propeller 8 inch propeller helicopter fixed wing QAV mini quadcopter multirotor 8045 propeller  $13.98 for 4 (2 yellow, 2 red) shipping included., 2 blade variety

hardware/tools for repairs….

1000 pcs mini screws for eyeglass screw + screwdriver tool

$4.42 shipping included

Dial Caliper NEW 6” inch 150mm Metric Dial Vernier Caliper Ruler Gauge Measuring Tool 22.5cm*7.9cm

very light duty caliper for measurement of small millimeter  items, motor dimensions, shafts, props etc.  $7.33 shipping included.

(you know metrology is an very good field to consider, one will alway have a need to measure, calibrate and certify compliance). I was fortunate to have some experience in this field (years ago) and it can branch off to many paths. Any one familar with manufacturing should be know that the basic starts with a quality control program. As like other disiplines, computers and automation have been increasing in this field, but sooner or later, someone has to verify, sign off, build and calibrate the machines that perform the measurments. If you really want to rhile up a machinist for example tell them you need a something “about 3 inches long” or what ever. You find out that they have “no tolerance” for these shenanigans.



An interesting salad

This recipe was a re definition of a salad.

Close  to the original recipe,  very filling for a salad that I had about 1/2 of the total amount.

Nuts are said to be a superfood, but I won’t profess about what you (should) eat,  the decision is up to you.

Quinoa salad  from Mrs. Twinkle a WordPress blog .

Now I’m open to a lot of grains, bread, couscous, barley, so this looked like an interesting combination. Now those of you either that have a nut allergy or turned off by a meal with no meat, yes this recipe could be modified from the original but I think that would lose something in the translation.

Being used to the usual greens and tomato type salad, with an oil and vinegar type dressing,  this is a pleasant diversion. Little if any modification to the recipe. Other than sesame oil double and skip the olive oil in the dressing, and some chopped ginger added to the main mix, ( I would taste and bring up the level of ginger in the dressing). The crunch of the red cabbage and the nuttiness of the dressing, on a bed of grains is satifiying. 

 I use double black soy sauce for the dressing. Melt the peanut butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds. Stir and finish the dressing and adjust to taste.


I resisted to add any heat to this recipe!


Mushroom Bean Thread Lo mien with Onion

A variation of a recipe from purple many meals there with recipes for a jumping off point. Substituted ingredients of course!

Purple carrot
Bean thread Lo mien with mushrooms and onions

Ginger garlic paste

Assorted dried oriental mushrooms

Chopped white onion, scallion more appropriate.


Dark black soy sauce

Rice wine rice vinegar

Chilli paste

Gauge the ingredients by the size of serving, I tended to go with a good amount of mushrooms and less of the noodle, in this case I had some bean thread noodle from the shelve. Egg, rice or another type can be used.

Using your hot coffee machine for hot water, reconstitute the dried mushrooms in a cup.

In a small pot full of cool water, soak the bean thread noodles on the stove.

Prep an additive of cornstarch, water and soy sauce for a thickening agent. I use double black soy sauce so this is a strong dark recipe.
Course chop lettuce , fine chop onion for prep

Drain the mushrooms, course chop

Add the mushrooms to a broad pan or wok with oil and stir fry for several minutes.

Add the ginger garlic paste to taste , now go off heat and stir to distribute the fragrance. 
Depending on the noodle, bring the water to boil to soften , don’t overcook.
Add the lettuce and onion to the fryer/ wok and stir fry.

Follow with the rice wine and rice vinegar, stir till lettuce wilts and onion cooks to preference.

Add the soy cornstarch mixture bring to high heat very briefly to congeal.

Season at this point with salt, pepper , I add chili paste mix for some heat.

Drain the noodle with cold water rinse. 

As for plating I toss the bean thread noodle in the pan and plate.

Strong soy flavor , maybe not as light as your accustomed to.

Would be good with a peanut, cashew garnish.


Re”PETE” recipe : banana bread

This is a recipe banana bread that was made a second time,

Now it came out a bit lighter and I noticed that the sour cream when mixed with the baking soda bubbled more than the first recipe.

No chocolate chips in this recipe.


September 2017

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