Finding Audiobook and Books for Abigail and the Family

Here’s some good resources for finding audiobooks for our Yellowstone trip. These all depend on our public library.


NovelList Plus helps find good reads. Start at the Contra Costa County Library. Click on Digital Resources | View All A-Z | Click on NovelList Plus. Look around. A nice feature is clicking Read-Alikes View All in the upper right corner of most searches. Search results aren’t necessarily at our library.

– Similar Title recommendations at CCCLib: Search for a book we loved, scroll down to the recommendations area, look around. Results will be books (and maybe audiobooks) at CCCLib.

Hoopla has audiobooks and movies that must be searched separately from CCCLib. I’m connected through the Berkeley Library. 4 items per month limit.

Latest Telephone Phishing Scam

Be on the lookout for this latest scam.

My sister was the mark in the latest phishing trend. I got a call from 415-463-7573. They had called me and my mom saying that my sister had a summons to appear in court. When I called the number they gave, 855-917-0291, they said she’d have to go to court for a $1,500 debt with a credit card company… but they’d let her pay half of that right now to make the problem go away. Yeah. Right.

I talked to both people for 5-10 minutes apiece and it was a reasonably crafted scam. But they couldn’t provide any details about the supposed pending court case, they were too quick to say, “but we can settle this right now for half of that amount.”, and they couldn’t provide any details about their own organization.

Be on the lookout for this scam!

Commis Restaurant

Megan and I went to Commis restaurant in Oakland for our 10th Anniversary.
I hadn’t ever been at a 2 Michelin Star restaurant. It was astounding!

It wasn’t a meal. It wasn’t dinner. It was an experience. Really and truly. You’ve seen Chef’s Table on Netflix? It’s that. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had with my wife with our clothes on.


Shokz OpenComm Headphones are Awesome

6 months ago I bought SHOKZ OpenComm2 Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones and I’m very happy with them! I wear them all the time. I use them to give my life a nice soundtrack, chat on the phone, listen to podcasts while doing chores, and rock out.

Key reasons they are awesome:
– Excellent situational awareness – Since they don’t go over my ears or in them, I can hear my surroundings perfectly.
– Excellent for telephone use – No one tells me they have trouble hearing me on the phone. I hear people on the phone perfectly.
– Very good speakers – Music sounds nearly as good as with excellent over-the-ear headphones, with good bass. I’ve gotten used to their slightly-not-perfect sound and have zero qualms with how they reproduce music.
– Easy to wear – They don’t fatigue my ears like over-the-ear or earbuds do!
– Great battery life – They last at least one full day, I haven’t tried more.
– They aren’t gigantic on my head so I feel I can wear them when talking to people and they won’t feel like I’m a space alien or ignoring them.
– The controls are simple and work well. It’s got a context sensitive “stop/start” button (pickup/hangup phone call, play/pause music), mute microphone button, 2 volume buttons that double as bluetooth connect and power buttons. And that’s it! I was initially disappointed it didn’t have as many bells and whistles as, for instance, the Google Pixel Buds. But after playing with the Google Pixel Buds, I realized that none of the settings actually did anything I really needed!

The Cons really isn’t that significant, most of these are things that I don’t think the makers could actually fix. But for completeness, here you go!:

– The case is bigger than an earbud case. I can just barely stuff the case in a jacket pocket. And since it’s got a boom microphone, It could definitely break it if I stuffed it in my jacket without a case.
– The speakers push lightly on the tragus of my ear, bending them in toward my ear. Adjusting the headphones lightly fixes that.
– It’s hard to lie down while wearing them with the strap that goes around the back of my ear.
– They don’t have active sound cancellation, but I tried all of the fanciest earbuds January 2024 (Google Pixel Buds Pro, Jabra Elite 10, Apple Airpods Pro, and Poly Voyager Free 60) and all of their noise cancellation systems seemed kindof kitchy. At best, it “kinda” worked, at worst it made me feel trapped in a sonic vacuum.
– Proprietary charger jack. It plugs right into USB, so they could have put a USB-C jack on the headphones. But granted, that would have made the headphones a bit larger.
– If I’m connected to my phone via bluetooth and nothing is playing and a short alarm rings, the first 1/2 second of the alarm doesn’t play so instead of hearing a “Ba Ding!” I only hear a quiet “ng” which I sometimes miss. This is a common problem with bluetooth taking time to power up vs battery saving. I solved this by making my default alarm sound a 3 second sound instead of a 1 second sound. :-)


I was very skeptical about spending $170 on headphones, but these make my life better. I chat on the phone and listen to music, and still feel connected to my surroundings. The SHOKZ OpenComm2 Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones are great!


PS. Thank you PPG for the initial recommendation! And to Ilan for showing me his set!

It’s the Ancer!

Did my beloved lose a point on this math quiz due to spelling?! :-)

Oh and note how she joyously wrote her name!

I Got SRL Swag!

I’ve been on Survival Research Labs Patreon for a while. Today I got some SWAG in the actual postal mail!

They are hoping to have a show near San Francisco this fall. They say being on the Patreon is the only/best way to get invited.



Here’s tidbits about trying a low FODMAP diet. This isn’t a complete article, just notes for myself.
Guide to reintroduction foods and reintroduction phases

List of FODMAP foods


Eliminate all FODMAPs for 2-6 weeks. Have a calm stomach for a week
Reintroduce 1 food type at a time for 3 days
Day 1 – small amount
Day 2 – medium amount
Day 3 – large amount
Rest 2-3 days until tummy is calm
Reintroduce another food type

Find some recommended FODMAP challenge foods (foods with just 1 FODMAP)


Challenge Foods

Honey: 1 1/2 tsp (10 g), 2 tsp (14 g), and 1 tbsp (28 g)
Mango: 1/4 mango (52 g), 1/2 mango (104 g) and 1 mango (208 g)
Orange juice: 2/3 cup (140 g), 3/4 cup (157 g), and 1 cup (201 g)

Yogurt: 1/2 tub (85 g), 1 tub (170 g), and 1 cup (200 g)
Milk: 1/4 cup (60 ml), 1/2 cup (125 ml), and 1 cup (250 ml)

Cauliflower: 2 small florets (17 g), 4 small florets (33 g), and 8 small florets (66 g)
Sweet potato: 3/4 cup (105 g), 1 cup (140 g), and 1 1/2 cup (210 g)

Avocado: 1/4 small avocado (40 g), 1/2 avocado (80 g) and 3/4 avocado (120 g)
Blackberries: 2-3 berries (13 g), 5 berries (25 g), and 10 berries (50 g)

Fructans – Garlic
Garlic: 1/4 clove, 1/2 clove, 1 whole clove

Fructans – Onion
Onion (red or white): 1/8 onion (11 g), 1/4 onion (22 g), and 1/2 onion (44 g)

Fructans – Grain
Wholegrain wheat bread: 1 slice (26 g), 1 1/2 slices (39 g), and 2 slices (52 g)
Wheat pasta: 2/3 cup (100 g), 1 cup (150 g), 1 1/2 cup (220 g)(cooked weight)

Fructans – Vegetable and Fruits
Raisins: 1 1/2 tbsp (19 g), 2 tbsp (26 g), and 3 tbsp (39 g)
Grapefruit: 1/2 medium (104 g), 1 medium (207 g), and 1 large (280 g)
Brussels sprouts: 3 sprouts (57 g), 4 sprouts (76 g), and 5 sprouts (95 g)

Galactans (GOS)
Almonds: 15 nuts, 20 nuts, and 30 nuts
Canned chickpeas, rinsed: 1/2 cup (84 g), 2/3 cup (112 g), and 1 cup (168 g)

Masks prevent COVID on long airline flights

6hr airline flights have 25x more COVID risk without a mask.

The Risk of Aircraft-Acquired SARS-CoV-2 Transmission during Commercial Flights: A Systematic Review

The aircraft-acquired transmission of SARS-CoV-2 poses a public health risk. Following PRISMA guidelines, we conducted a systematic review and analysis of articles, published prior to vaccines being available, from 24 January 2020 to 20 April 2021 to identify factors important for transmission. Articles were included if they mentioned index cases and identifiable flight duration, and excluded if they discussed non-commercial aircraft, airflow or transmission models, cases without flight data, or that were unable to determine in-flight transmission. From the 15 articles selected for in-depth review, 50 total flights were analyzed by flight duration both as a categorical variable—short (<3 h), medium (3–6 h), or long flights (>6 h)—and as a continuous variable with case counts modeled by negative binomial regression. Compared to short flights without masking, medium and long flights without masking were associated with 4.66-fold increase (95% CI: [1.01, 21.52]; p < 0.0001) and 25.93-fold increase in incidence rates (95% CI: [4.1, 164]; p < 0.0001), respectively; long flights with enforced masking had no transmission reported. A 1 h increase in flight duration was associated with 1.53-fold (95% CI: [1.19, 1.66]; p < 0.001) increase in the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of cases. Masking should be considered for long flights.

Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise

That’s today’s proverb.

Funeral Announcement and Obituary for Lee J. Sonko, my Father

Lee J. Sonko passed away April 29th. Visitation will be held Saturday May 4th, 2024 at 4-6pm with services at 6pm at Aycock-Riverside Funeral Center, Jupiter, FL. There will be an additional visitation at the Cochran Funeral Home, 905 High Street, Hackettstown, NJ on Friday May 10th, 2024 from 4-8 pm with services being held on Saturday, May 11th at the funeral home at 11am with Father Timothy Dowling officiating. Burial will follow services at the Union Cemetery, Hackettstown, NJ.

He lived long enough and happily enough to write his own obituary. When he was 41 he had his first open heart surgery. Every day since then has been on what he knew to be borrowed time. He borrowed 47 more very happy years and used them as well as any person I’ve ever known.

My Father’s Obituary

Lee J Sonko born Oct 25, 1936.

Born in New Brunswick NJ, Lee grew up in Elmira NY. He graduated with a B.S. Degree in 1959 from Fairleigh-Dickinson University and an M.B.A. in 1961. He is also a graduate of the Executive Program at the Wharton School. He was one of the first to receive a C.F.P. designation in the 1970’s and he taught the course.

He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Marlene Sonko (nee Ferranti), daughter Melissa, son Lee, Lee’s wife Megan, and his granddaughters Julia Sonko and Abigail Flom-Sonko. He was brother of Rita Temes and Marcia Sonko, and brother-in-law to Dorothy Howard and Ernestine McCarren.

Lee and family lived in West Milford NJ and he was President of the Library Board, an Environmental Commissioner, active with the Jaycee’s, Knights of Columbus, a fundraiser for local and state politicians, and coached a little league baseball team to two championships. Lee then moved to Smoke Rise in Kinnelon NJ where he was active with the Smoke Rise Tennis Club and building their Club House. He also enjoyed the family’s ski house at Stratton Vermont.

Anticipating retirement he then moved to Panther Valley in Allamuchy NJ and Jonathan’s Landing in Jupiter Florida. He was a member of the Panther Valley Golf and Country Club as well as a member of Jonathans Landing Country Club. He was founder of “The 12 Santas”, a charitable organization active in Hackettstown NJ.

In an earlier career, he was the manager of the paper dress project for a major paper company. Lee ultimately retired from Morgan Stanley as a Senior Vice-President in 2003.

His hobbies included golf, his beloved 1951 Packard, sailing, wine making, social evenings, and especially his family. He enjoyed what life had to offer, often traveling around Europe and the west to vacation and ski in his younger days and golf trips more recently. He is currently vice-president of the pacheata society.

Lee died peacefully on April 29th, 2024 of heart failure with family at his side.