Obama portraits

Obama portraits
Obama portraits

Even if you didn’t know these were the Obamas, by looking at the portraits you could tell these two were important — and both are giving off a look of needing you to do something. Glossy vs matte is always a fun argument, both of these are really cool. About as good as it gets.

usual dinner list

eatwell farm veggies
fruits and veggies from Eatwell Farm

Usual dinner ideas/running list to mainly keep track of recipes we like and what we’re eating:

  • roasted chicken and chicken stock
  • steak frites (hanger steak w/ anchovy butter, arugula, fries)
  • buffalo or turkey burgers w/ fries
  • pasta bolognese (fine, it’s spaghetti)
  • beef broccoli
  • pork chops (w/ some vegetable and starch)
  • tonkatsu or chicken katsu
  • shrimp or fish tacos w/ mango salsa (and red salsa)
  • ham and cheese quiche, spinach and mushroom quiche w/ salad
  • lentil and Swiss chard soup (w/ cornbread)

chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and cake etc…

chocolate chip cookies
cookies! photo from Star Tribune

“Go to” and “to try” recipes, I’ll keep adding to this list:

King Cake season

King Cake from Haydel's Bakery
King Cake from Haydel’s Bakery

We love us some King Cakes.

Haydel’s Bakery is our favorite. We always get the sugar only (the sugar + frosting is pretty sweet) and we get the package with the coffee, bead pack, etc. because why not!?! The high costs of these cakes are due to FedEx shipping but good luck trying to find a legit King Cake outside of NOLA. Buy NOLA and support their economy!

Antoine’s and Gambino’s are pretty good too.

I have yet to try a filled King Cake which is usually cream cheese but there’s lot of different options (flavored cream cheese, brownie filled, praline, German chocolate) so a bit of choice overload.

 

$1MM house rule

Noe Valley, SF Home
Victorian in Noe Valley SF, sold for $2.5MM, photo by Open Home photography

Here’s the new rule. If you buy or own a house that’s worth $1MM, it *must* have a toilet with a washlet (aka bidet).

$1,000,000 has to mean something. Used to be a house had a $1MM view and those houses exist and those houses are probably worth $1MM because of that view/size/architecture/finishes.

Now, $1MM homes, especially in the Bay Area, are just houses — maybe 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, maybe in a generally ok neighborhood, maybe recently renovated, maybe near BART. None of those things combined or separate are enough to justify a $1MM price tag – ever. So install a toilet/washlet where you can at least say for your $1MM house, you have a toilet that washes your ass for you.

Don’t even need to buy the most expensive toilet/washlet combo out there, a cheap $250 washlet will suffice. You don’t even have to use it. It’s the idea that matters.

See here/below for a decent toilet/washlet #lifegoals, #iwantone

toilet/washlet pic
Carlyle® II 1G Connect+™ S350e One-Piece Toilet – 1.0 GPF

hibiscus tea

hibiscus tea photo

The new to me hotness -> hibiscus tea and the best is supposed to come from the Sudan.

Benefits of drinking hibiscus tea include weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent types of cancer and depression, and pro-liver; not at high doses.

Every tea seller has hibiscus tea but a lot are in blend form w/ black tea or berries, e.g Imperial Red from Imperial Tea. Luckily Berkeley Bowl has some just plain old hibiscus tea.

I’m not going to link to bad Google results for Karkade recipes which is a sweet hibiscus drink (there are no links to an Egyptian or Sudanese website for a recipe? really?). It’s basically dried hibiscus, sugar, and water which is also agua de jamaica.

And I had no idea that jamaica was hibiscus. I didn’t know what the red and tart drink was, just thought jamaica tasted good. Who knew? Anyway, it was nice to get introduced to hibiscus tea and will probably need to drink up other teas/mix it up a bit before I go overboard and get sick of it. Hasn’t happened yet though.

iPhone X etc.

Major phones in the market for 2017 (for posterity):

I’d probably get the Google Pixel 2 if not the Apple iPhone SE for $350 if I were shopping for a new phone.

It’s nice to see that phones are getting really good and fast and phones like the iPhone 6, Pixel, earlier Nexus and Galaxy phones are starting to last longer like 4 years or so maintaining a nice level of speed and responsiveness for everyday tasks. Before, it made sense to upgrade every year or two because there was a significant speed and performance bump, but now not so much. Good place to be.

 

 

thoughts on solar panels (again)

Sunpower and Tesla/Panasonic seem to have the best solar panels with over 300 watts and 20% efficiency. Next gen solar panels may reach 45% and even greater efficiency still after those go to market (w/ in next 5-10 years?).

The problem for us is still breakeven. We’re low in our electric consumption, about 250kWh per month on average. We’re usually under 300kWh and sometimes even under 200kWh during the summer. That usage comes out to be $500 a year on electrical (even with PG&E raising prices/price gouging after the San Bruno pipeline explosion) .

$500 a year on electrical with a 7 year breakeven point means the cost of the solar system that makes sense would have to be $3,500 total. Even extended to a 10 year breakeven, we’re looking at $5,000. The cost of a 2kW system is roughly $9,600 ($7,000 after incentives). For 2.5kW it would cost $11,500 ($8,000 after incentives). So, we are getting closer on price but we’re probably still a good 10 years away because the cost isn’t just in the solar panels, it’s mostly the labor for installation.

Cost of one panel is around $300 – $350. We need about 6-8 of them which is about $3,000. The rest of the material costs are the railings, converters, wiring so another $1,000 or less. This DIY solar system kit is about $4,300, if I was super handy, this kit could be an option.

Anyhow, won’t be surprised if we start seeing 500kWh panels at 40-50% efficiency which means all we’ll need are four panels to power up the house and that’ll probably happen within the next 5 years. It could even be 1000kWh panels and all we’ll need are two panels. That would aesthetically (to our roof line) be pretty nice.

In any case, we’re still a no go for solar panels because our breakeven just isn’t there– enough so that Tesla/Solar City and others won’t even bother to come out. But I have a feeling a 500kWh panel w/ 45% efficiency at $200 a panel isn’t too far away. Then we’ll be at $3,500 for a fully installed system sooner than later, *if* we can find someone to do the install.