Since it’s the holidays, I have time to try out new things. I had a few leftover potatoes from a chicken recipe I tried. It turned out pretty well. Anyways, I wasn’t sure what to do with the potatoes, so I thought of some of my favourite potato things. One of them is hash browns, something I frequently get when I go to breakfast places.

I didn’t know how to make hash browns, so I looked up some recipes. Some common things I saw in these recipes is that the potatoes need to be shredded using a cheese grater, something I already have. Another thing was that the secret to crispy hash browns is to wash out a lot of the starch in the potatoes and to remove as much water from the shredded potatoes before frying.

Each of the steps in making hash browns was pretty easy. It was kinda fun shredding the potatoes and before long, I had a huge pile of shredded spuds. Washing out the starch was a bit tedious but it didn’t take that long. The biggest pain was trying to remove as much water from the now very wet pile of shredded potatoes. I had to divide the pile into two, each of which went onto a cutting board in a thin layer. I then used paper towels to press and blot out as much water as I could. This was a hassle because a lot of the shreds would stick to the paper towel, so I had to pick them off every time I pressed a towel against the potatoes.

I did this a number of times before the paper towels seemed to not pick up as much water and as my patience ran out. I then heated up a large non-stick pan and added some olive oil. Once the oil got hot enough, I arranged the potatoes in a thin layer in the pan and fried them on each side for a few minutes until they were relatively brown. I had enough potatoes to do this in two batches.

The first batch was slightly undercooked and wasn’t nearly crispy enough. The second batch was better, I made sure to cook them longer. I also used a spatula to apply pressure all across the layer of potatoes to really make sure the heat was being applied everywhere. Like I mentioned, it was better, but nothing approaching the hash browns I usually eat at Denny’s or my local breakfast joint.

If I had to do it again, I’d dry out the potatoes much more. After blotting out the shreds, I’d probably put them in the fridge for a few hours, possibly up to half a day. Things seem to dry out in the fridge, so this would have made the hash browns more crispy. I also would use less oil. I would consider greasing up the pan with butter instead.

Now the question is, would I try to make them again? Maybe but as easy as the steps were, it was a lot of manual labour to make it. It was almost an hour from the start to when I was ready to start frying. If I had bought frozen shredded hash browns, I would have saved myself an hour of labour. Are my homemade hash browns going to be that much better? I don’t think they would be.

Well, at least I got to try it myself for once.


From all of us on staff here at your favourite blog, we wish you and your friends and loved ones the happiest of holidays. I know it has been a challenging year to varying degrees for all of us. I hope you’ve been smart, kind, considerate, and safe so far, and that continues going forward.

Please try to get some rest and relaxation in before the new year arrives. All of us will need it as we try to see this pandemic right to the end.


This late afternoon, as the sun was setting, I went for a walk along the boardwalk near my home. I had a coffee with me that came from a local shop. I took my mask off to drink and walk at the same time. As my mask came off, I instantly felt colder, as if the ambient temperature had dropped several degrees suddenly.

While my coffee was delicious and I wanted to savour it and not just chug it, I admit a part of me was looking forward to putting my mask back on. I’ve been wearing my mask outside all the time now, so I’ve had very few instances where I can compare what is was like to be exposed to the winter elements with a bare face. It does make a considerable difference. It didn’t just feel like my face was freezing now, it felt like my whole body was colder.

I suppose this isn’t going be some sorta world-changing revelation. Who knew putting a piece of fabric over exposed skin would make you feel warmer? That’s why we wear clothes after all, right? I guess if there is some surprise here, it’s that such a relatively small surface area that the mask covers can make you feel so much warmer.

I know that all of us can’t wait for this pandemic to end, so no one can catch this virus anymore, and we don’t have to wear masks anymore. When that happens, I think all of us should look into continuing to covering our faces for warmth during the winter.


It snowed for the first time this fall/winter this morning. It was all gone by evening though as heavy rains washed it all away. Despite having a plethora of things I could complain this year, one thing I have no problems with has been the weather. This has been a very mild fall and winter (so far), at least temperature-wise.

We’re approaching the end of December and the only jacket I’ve needed is a light rain jacket that I bought in California last November. Underneath, I might wear a thin cardigan or most of the time, just a t-shirt. Something to keep in mind is that I’m not out in the elements for hours at a time. My walks outside these days are perhaps half an hour max before I’m inside again. Does that factor into how warm I think it is? Perhaps.

On the other hand, I feel like it’s been fairly mild while I’m at home too. Not once this fall have I thought about turning on the heat. When I’m in bed at night, I’m not shivering. I’m still wearing the same set of sleep clothes that I wore in the summer.

As I mentioned above, today was the first snowfall of the season and it was gone in a few hours. As the year ends, I am at thankful at least for the reasonable weather.


My last day of work for the year was on Friday, so I’m officially on holidays now. I am thankful to have two full weeks off. I don’t have a lot of plans for those two weeks. I think it would be pretty ridiculous to have a long list of things to accomplish when sleep, rest, and relaxation are the best ways to end what has been a long year.

I have turned off my alarm on my phone and I will sleep in as much as my body wants on Monday morning. If I get that done, then I will consider the day a complete success. I am keeping my expectations low and realistic.

I hope everyone reading this will also get a chance to get some time off this holiday season. We all deserve it.


This is from late October but I saw a DeLorean (or more correctly, a DMC DeLorean) in my community. For a car that is approaching 40 years old, it looked to be in great shape. It didn’t seem to be garnering a lot of attention from the public. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because this particular car didn’t have all the time machine stuff on it, which is what the DeLorean is now most famous for. Or perhaps people just don’t care about an old sports car when a worldwide pandemic has been causing hardship for months on end. If that’s the case, yeah, I get it.

Anyways, seeing this car brightened my day for a tiny bit.


One of the things that I would like to do for the holiday break is play video games on my computer. My video card is getting old now though and that means most of the newer games don’t look and play so well. I either have to put up with poor frame rates or less than ideal image quality. About five years ago, this wouldn’t be a problem. I would have just ordered a new video card and it would be here in time for the holidays. As with many things for 2020, what was simple, is now complex.

For at least two years now, it seems like there have been rolling worldwide shortages of various computer components. Video cards were in short supply a few years ago due to cryptomining craze but that was problem was solved when all those currencies tanked. Then RAM was rare and the price shot up. It has subsequently gone down after demand went down and supply increased.

This year the video card shortage has come back despite the two biggest card manufacturers releasing new models in the last month. These companies launched their products yet barely anyone can get any of them. Many of the cards sold are being scalped online with scandalous markups, where sellers are asking double the MSRP. I refuse to give into such practices as it rewards those morons and it also just doesn’t make financial sense. I don’t need a new video card that badly.

So, what can I do? Well, I’ve read that card manufacturers don’t anticipate availability to be at normal levels until April of 2021. That’s four months away still. I think I’m willing to wait. I’ll find some other things to do during my break.


Today, I discovered that an employee of the Safeway downstairs test positive and they last worked at the supermarket on December 1. It’s not clear how often or what days they worked prior to that date. As some of you might realize, it’s already two weeks past the last day that employee was at the store. I don’t feel ill, so I’m going to assume I am not sick. There is a chance that anyone could asymptomatic but it’s not likely I fall into that category.

There’s a couple things to note from this. The Safeway only made this public on December 11. I’m going to guess they informed the public as soon as they knew. As far as I know, the store did not close for an additional amount of time to clean and sanitize. I’ve seen other businesses close for several days to ensure everything is safe for the public again. In terms of supermarkets, I know T&T will not hesitate to close completely for two or three days to sanitize. It’s difficult to say why Safeway doesn’t do the same. I am hoping that during the overnight closure, they did more cleaning than usual. It’s also not clear if any other employees are now in isolation. Did they just send that one employee home and then allowed their co-workers to continue to go to work? That seems stupid.

I go to this Safeway for almost all my groceries. With the recent surge in cases, I try to go to this location once at a week at most but sometimes I’m there more frequently. I’m not there everyday but there are weeks where I shop two or three times a week at that location. I of course wear a mask but no one wants to put themselves at added risk.

The virus continues to swirl around us, probably both literally and figuratively. We are in the most dangerous time of the pandemic. At least in this province, each day is worse than the previous day. I shouldn’t be surprised that something like this has happened so close to home now.

We need to stay vigilant, wear a mask, wash your hands, and be physically distant from those outside your household. There is an end to this, we can see it but it is still months away. Let’s keep our focus.


I have a lot of guilty pleasures in life and going to Denny’s was/is one of them. Unfortunately(?), the last time I went to a Denny’s was either in January or February, so almost a year now. You can attribute that long absence to the pandemic of course.

My mind was wandering this evening and I was thinking about all the things I could do while on holiday break. I had a thought about getting some takeout from Denny’s, perhaps a good old classic like the All-American Slam Breakfast. It was after 11pm when this popped into my thoughts, so I went onto the Interwebs to see how Denny’s online ordering service worked. It took me about a minute to figure out that pick-up and delivery service wasn’t available right now. That was odd because Denny’s is famous for being open round the clock. A little more digging revealed that Canada-wide, Denny’s locations are now only open from 7am-11pm.

I’m not sure when this change occurred but I can understand why it happened. Business is probably down and it must have been incredibly slow during the hours when they are now closed. Being closed also gives them time to clean everything properly as well, without having patrons around.

Well, I suppose my original plan of getting Denny’s takeout can still happen, I just need to do it between the hours of 7am and 11pm.


Since working from home, I make tea and coffee many times a day. I’ve been using a small saucepan and the stove to boil water for these drinks. Now many of you know that I already have a hot water dispenser and you might wonder why I don’t use that for tea and coffee. The hot water dispenser holds about 4L of water, at a temperature below boiling. It’s very slow to reboil that amount of water, taking at least ten minutes, if not more. It would also be a waste of energy to reboil 4L of water when I only need a cup or so of boiling water for tea or coffee.

So, I’ve been using a saucepan and the stove. It works but it’s inconvenient. There have been times when I’ve been distracted by work and the water boils for over a minute before I remember to run to the stove to turn it off. Pouring boiling water from a saucepan is also a bit awkward. There’s no lip or anything, so I usually try to use a wide-mouthed mug so there’s less chance of slippage.

Last week, I got tired of all of this and I purchased an electric kettle from Amazon. I knew these new modern kettles boiled water incredibly fast and they are smart enough to turn off by themselves and have boil-dry protection. I chose a smaller kettle with a 1L capacity, perfect for making tea and coffee for one or two people. I was surprised at how fast it boils water. It feels like I could boil 500mL in less than two minutes. This is very useful for the mornings when I’m in need of that first cup of caffeine to get me going. It’s also great that I don’t have to worry about running to the kitchen to turn off the stove. The kettle shuts off by itself, so I can worry about making that cup of tea on my time.

I know this probably sounds a bit silly for some of you, who have had such kettles for years but this is one of those times when an appliance really does make your life a tad easier.