Showing posts with label Misc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Misc. Show all posts

How to Lower Winter Heating Bills and Save Money

Lowering winter heating costs is easier than you think.

The older space heater next to the bed.
Nichrome wire.

The Basics

For starters, I just turn the gas furnace off for the night. And I turn the thing off for the rest of the day around mid-morning. And it usually stays off until I get up next morning.

How do I do that and remain comfortable? Sweatpants. T-shirt. And a sweatshirt over the t-shirt. And slippers. Totally comfortable. And a knit cap certainly helps, but I seldom bother with that.

Turning the heat completely off at night works just fine for the fall and early winter seasons. But what about when it starts getting really cold, like in the 20s and 30s? The furnace stays off, but I put a nichrome wire space heater in the bedroom with the switch reachable from the bed. When I wake up and there is just no way I'm going to face that cold, I turn on the space heater. Two seconds later, it is blasting away. Perfect for getting dressed in front of the thing. And I've saved an entire night’s heating costs. I get up, get dressed, turn off that particular space heater for the day and turn on the furnace.

Another Tip for the Really Cold Days

Got a home office or other place where you hang out 90% of the time? Putting a space heater there is a lot cheaper than heating the whole house or apartment. At minimum, the furnace thermostat can be set much lower than would normally be the case.

Caveats

This only works for singles and couples. If you've got kids in other bedrooms, the above method is not a viable option. And another note. If you live where freezing indoor water pipes are a concern, probably also best not to do as described here. For that matter, even though when only a single or couple, the coldness may reach a point where turning the furnace completely off isn't a viable option for other reasons; however, one will still be able to set the thermostat much lower than when not using the bedside space heater morning trick.

More About Space Heaters

Needless to say, judicious use is best; otherwise the electric bill increase will offset the gas furnace bill decrease. Surprisingly, I was able to get away with the 750 watt setting most of the time; one really does want to avoid the 1500 watt setting whenever possible. I also frequently turned the thing off altogether; and I certainly turned it off whenever leaving the area, even if only for a few minutes.

On a personal note, I made it a point to not plug the thing into the same circuit as the computer, peripherals, etc; but that's just me; what with the constant 750 watt surges coming and going all the time, the delicate electronics probably wouldn't appreciate that.

And, yes. Space heaters are dangerous. Definitely obey the page full of warnings included with the unit.

Final Notes

There's the old adage about keeping the drapes closed, but personally I want whatever sunlight there happens to be. However, it's certainly not a bad idea to keep the drapes closed in those rooms you seldom frequent.

And there's the weather sealing. Feel a cold draft or stream of air coming from somewhere? Find the source. Describe it at the hardware store. They'll be more than happy to tell you exactly what you need to fix it and will give advice on how to install it. If it's at the bottom of a seldom used door, you can at least cover it with an old towel.

Come to think of it, are there any seldom-used rooms where you can simply close the vents and possibly the door? That will cause the gas furnace to heat the remaining rooms more efficiently. Don't close too many vents; that will cause the furnace fan motor to work harder than it should. And for the same reason, there's the usual cleaning or replacing the filters.

The newer space heater I put under the home office desk.
Ceramic.

And here's what the federal government energy website has to say, includes advice for water heaters and lights as well.

Bullying Leads to High School Shootings - A Possible Solution

Being constantly bullied pushes a minority of victims over the edge, resulting in either a suicide or a mass shooting.

# Bully-Free Zone #

Random mass shootings I do not understand. But if the shooter is shooting the bullies, that I understand. Not saying I approve, just saying I understand. If more high schools would set up programs to stop the bullies, the number of school shootings would probably drop by at least half.

It turns out that the U.S. Department of Education (search results) has all sorts of information about bullying and ways to deal with it. Provides info for schools, teachers. parents, and students.

One Solution Is for the U.S Department of Education to Be More Proactive About Bullying

Oddly, there is nothing on their front page about it; I had to do a search to find the information. I suspect they will at least put a resource link on their front page sooner rather than later as they become more aware of the connection between the bullying and the shootings.

An update (January 2019). Apparently the U.S Department of Education (front page) is still clueless; no references or links at all on the front page regarding the problem of bullying.

How to and Best Way to Dust Anything

This Includes Dusting Furniture, Knickknacks, Blinds, Walls, Computers, Keyboards, Car Interiors, You Name It


Standard 4-inch wide paintbrush.
The thing lasts "forever". This one is several years old.

Buy and use a new, soft-bristle, 4-inch wide paint brush at your local hardware store. The bristles move around every crevice or other item part and gets into every nook, cranny, and corner of wherever you are dusting. And it will absolutely never scratch or nick anything.

This method is 10 times better than using water, olive oil, dryer sheets, feather dusters or any of the other so-called dusting tools or ideas I’ve read about. And it is certainly a lot better than the whole vacuuming adventure.

I actually learned this trick from a guy that repaired electronic circuit boards. Before making repairs, he would use a brush to clean off all the dust that had accumulated on them over the years. Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

Especially excellent for cleaning computer keyboards, keypads, cellphones, car instrument panels and dashboards, and the tops/fronts/sides of pretty much any electronic device.

So, that’s about it. The ever-flexible paint brush. And maybe only doing a little bit of dusting a day at most, as opposed to the usual 1-hour, weekly project.


And a Personal Note for Those of Us Who Are Slobs


A little dust never hurt anybody...

Dusting just isn't worth it to me, but I found a way to deal with it.

Seriously, dusting furniture and all the stuff sitting on it just isn’t worth my time. Same with dusting anything else. I mean so what if there’s some dust here and there?

However, I’ve come up with a solution so that I’m not a total slob. That paint brush is handy indeed.

I simply dust only one area or a few items at a time and only when I feel like it. I do it as a way to take a break from doing something else. So in a sense, it’s zero additional labor. In fact, now that I think about it, I pretty much do and use all housework as a break from whatever regular work or project I was doing.

The result? The place stays more than just functionally clean.

A Note About Spider Webs

Leave alone those spiderwebs aka cobwebs in those remote ceiling corners and other out of the way places. They do wonders for getting rid of  flies, plant gnats, fruit flies, and the occasional invading, indoor mosquito.

Now admittedly this is a bit much.

Of course, when the more exuberant spiders start building barricades across doorways and such, then it’s time to break out the broom.

But other than that, it really is ok to pretty much leave them be. However, getting rid of the spider webs in your bedroom is a good idea. You don’t want to be dive-bombed in the middle of the night.

And of course, if a black widow or its kin comes along… Sorry, little dude, banishment or death. If you decide banishment; use a broom or brush and a big, paper grocery bag or other large container to capture him; the farther away you take him, the better. Sweeping or brushing him into a dustpan and then trying to take him outside is not a good idea. The little critters can move faster than you think.

As a side note, here's a page on vinegar and baking soda cleaning and other uses.

What and Things That Will Never Happen

Otherwise Known as a List of Things That Will Happen When Hell Freezes Over

Things that will happen when hell freezes over aka things that will never happen.

Though it wasn't planned that way, some of the items here turned out to be serious. In fact, parts of these lists are quite brutal. However, there is also humor scattered here and there.

Yes, friends. This page is dedicated to listing all things that will happen when hell freezes over, otherwise known as things that will never happen. Got a really good one? Add it in the comments section below! We'll add them to the list. You can include religion, politics, business, life, and pretty much anything else that comes to mind. An open forum. Have fun. Many items here are from contributors from a previous project. Contradictory views are expressed.

Things That Will Never Happen - list one

  • Peace on earth goodwill toward men.
  • The national debt will be paid off.
  • Politicians become honest.
  • People will make educated decisions when voting.
  • CEO's become honest.
  • The medical industry becomes honest.
  • The banking industry becomes honest.
  • The credit card companies become honest.
  • The insurance industry becomes honest.
  • The auto repair industry becomes honest.
  • Printer ink cartridges will no longer have a 300% markup.
  • Adobe software stops paper saturation draining of printer cartridges.
  • American corporations become loyal to America.

Things That Will Never Happen - list two

  • Robocalls will go away.
  • Telephone solicitors will go away.
  • Spammers will go away.
  • Junk mail will go away.
  • You will never again hear on TV, "But wait! There's more!"
  • You will never again hear on TV, "But wait! If you order now...!"
  • Daytime TV shows will get some class.
  • The preachers on TV will stop asking for money.
  • When the children of celebrities stop writing humiliating tell-all books about their parents.
  • Jehovah Witnesses leave people alone.
  • Dogs stop licking their private parts.
  • Cats will actually give a F about what their owners want.

Things That Will Never Happen - list three

  • Someone will live a full life without ever once having something stolen from them.
  • Someone will live a full life without ever once being falsely accused of something.
  • Dry cleaners apologize and reimburse you when they ruin your clothes.
  • Supermarkets put the best deals on the middle shelves.
  • Pay day loan services stop robbing people blind.
  • Cable companies stop robbing people blind.

Things That Will Never Happen - list four

  • There is meritocracy in the corporate world.
  • The Supreme Court, Congress, and the President become aware of the 10th amendment.
  • Cities, counties, and states become aware of the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 9th amendments.
  • You have civil rights even when you don't have money.

Things That Will Never Happen - list five

  • Flies and chihuahuas stop being obnoxious.
  • Cockroaches, fleas, bedbugs, mosquitoes, and supermarket front door panhandlers stop wanting to be your friend.
  • Lawyers incorporate ethics into their strategies.
  • The news media becomes unbiased.

Things That Will Never Happen - list six

  • When the food supplies of the planet are evenly distributed.
  • When people's status and worth are not determined by how much money they make or have.
  • Life becomes fair.
  • Fear and worry stop being such a major part of life.

When Is Stuffed Groundhog Day? - Saturday, February 2, 2019.

Warning. Demented humor may be present, not to mention stereotyping.

"Where's those stupid clouds when you need 'em!?!"

What to Do with Recalcitrant Groundhogs


Unhappy with what the groundhog had to say about the next six weeks? Well then, have him stuffed.

What with Valentines Day less than two weeks later, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Simply take him to the taxidermist, plenty of time to get the job done.

If the intended recipient is a man, he will love it.

If the intended recipient is a woman, then there may be a little more work that needs to be done.
  1. First, be sure all the fleas are really gone.
  2. Glue a little sign on him that says "Teddy Bear".
  3. Glue a little, red heart underneath.
You are done (hopefully not in more ways than one). Your results may vary.

Phil is exempt from all this. Why? Because I like him. Get your own groundhog.

Daylight Savings Time Starts Sunday, March 10, 2019, 2:00 am; East and West Coast, Central, Mountain. More info.

All about and dealing with the Daylight Savings Time (DST) changes in the US and around the world, plus some resource links. Technically, it's actually called " Daylight Saving Time ", without the "s". But we all seem determined to add that extra letter and we all seem fine with it. This page briefly covers:
  • The what and why of daylight savings time and some timezone notes
  • The current US schedule for when daylight savings time begins and ends
  • Where is daylight savings time in the US and some timezone notes
  • Dealing with changing all the clocks
  • Daylight savings time around the world


Why Have and What Is Daylight Savings Time? 

This page is US-centric; but except for the start and end dates, it's pretty much all the same.

The purpose of Daylight Savings Time is to conserve energy. There is some dispute as to whether this objective is accomplished or not. The methodology used is to move one hour of sunlight from the morning to the evening by resetting the clocks.

The official abbreviation for Daylight Savings Time is DST (Standard Time being ST). So, for the east and west coast time zones for example, the designations change from EST and PST to EDT and PDT.

When Does Daylight Savings Time Start and End in 2019?

Daylight Saving Time Begins: Sunday, March 10, 2019, 2:00 am (dates updated yearly)

To move one hour of sunlight from the morning to the evening, clocks are reset ahead one hour every spring. Currently this is done on the second Sunday of every March at 2:00 a.m. At the appointed time, the clocks are reset forward to 3:00 a.m. ("spring forward").

Daylight Saving Time Ends: Sunday, November 3, 2019, 2:00 am (dates updated yearly)

To make things as they were and move that extra sunlight hour back to the morning, clocks are reset back one hour every fall. Currently this is done the first Sunday of every November at 2:00 a.m. At the appointed time, the clocks are reset from 2:00 a.m. back to 1:00 a.m. ("fall back"). Generally, folks aren't amused when this happens; they have become used to not having to commute home in the dark every evening.

Where Is Daylight Savings Time? East and West Coast. More.

Not all of the US engages in this adventure. Both Hawaii and most of Arizona decided they wanted nothing to do with it. Most US territories also do not observe Daylight Savings Time. These entities remain on Standard Time year-round.

The Clock-Changing Reality... 

 Be glad you don't have to mess with this one...
Yb (Ytterbium) Lattice Atomic Clock (NIST)

What one is "supposed" to do is reset all the clocks and watches before going to bed. However, more often than not, this usually does not happen. The clocks, watches, etc. generally get reset Sunday throughout the day, usually because there are so many of them. Personally, I start doing the resetting beginning mid Saturday morning. By the time I go to bed, I've pretty much already adjusted to the time change.

The various computer and computer-related clocks are invariably checked to see if they were indeed coordinated enough to do what they are supposed to do.

If you are looking to reset everything accurately right down to the precise second, you can do so at www.time.gov. Daylight Savings Time changes are also supposed to be the bi-annual reminder to check and/or change your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and batteries.

Daylight Saving Time Around the World

DST World Overview List

  • Canada is as the US; most provinces and territories take it, some leave it. Mexico is the same.
  • Central and South America mostly want nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time; however, Chile and parts of Brazil do indeed do DST.
  • Europe mostly does do Daylight Savings Time. Russia, China, and all of Asia want absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • Australia is as the US, Canada and Mexico; majority do, but some don't.
  • Africa is 90% don't do DST and 10% do do DST.
Looks like our species can't even agree on what time it is. But that's OK, we somehow still manage to keep muddling along. In all seriousness, geography and cultural differences do sometimes necessitate adjustments.

Non US daylight savings time start and end dates can usually be found at www.timeanddate.com.

World Time Zone Non Standard Abbreviations

There sure are a lot of them... Not only that, many of the abbreviations are not unique. The whole thing is a complete, non-standardized mess. The reason is each country makes up their own, locally relevant designations. The timeanddate website appears to have the best compilation of the non-standardized world time zone abbreviations currently being used.

There is also a World Standardized Time Zone and and a World Standardized Time Code

  • GMT (0/-/+) is the time zone abbreviation for Greenwich  Mean Time. Many other time zones will refer to themselves as GMT, plus or minus the number of hours difference between their timezone and the GMT timezone.
  • UTC (0/-/+) is the time code abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time or Universal Coordinated Time. This is the military and civilian standard mostly used these days.
Neither GMT nor UTC observes DST; instead the -/+ offsets are adjusted at the local level. In other words, as Daylight Saving Time comes and goes, the GMT/UTC offsets change. As an example, for the US East Coast, the UTC offset changes from -5 to -4 during DST. For the US West Coast, the UTC offset changes from -8 to -7 during DST.

UTC / GMT Map

"-" means it's an hour earlier. **   "+" means it's an hour later.
Note that each timezone also has its own letter designation.
_________________________________________________________

Random List of Examples (during non daylight saving times):

  • 0 London; Paris
  • -5 New York; Quebec; US East Coast. (-4 during DST)
  • -6 Winnipeg; Dallas
  • -7 Denver; Edmonton
  • -8 Los Angeles; San Francisco; US West Coast (-7 during DST)
  • -10 Honolulu
  • +1 Berlin
  • +3 Moscow
  • +8 Shanghai; Perth
  • +9 Tokyo
  • +10 Sydney
__________________________End____________________________


What Is a Zark / Zerk / Zirk / Zork / Zurk - The Short Definitions and Uses Compendium

Z a/e/i/o/u RK

I decided to research the land of zurk, zork, zirk, zerk, and zark. Someone had to do it. Interestingly, different spellcheckers each have their own different subset of pet peeves concerning these words.

Zark Definition

Looks like zark came into being, courtesy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It apparently can also be used as a swear word. Merely use it in place of the F-bomb word.

Zerk Definition

A zerk is a grease fitting. Somehow I don’t think this particular definition will come up too often in conversations.

Zerk is also another word for crazy; as in, “He went zerk when Zurk said no.”

Zerk can also be used to refer to acceleration and deceleration; examples being, we zerk when the light turns green and we zerk when we come to a stop sign.

Zerk can also be used as a verb, as in zerking from the scene.

Zirk Definition

The act of conning or taking advantage of someone. One can zirk someone; and one can be zirked by someone. Example, “I know he zirked me on that deal.”

Zork Definition

A well-known computer game.

Zurk Definition

Zurk is still awaiting admittance to the English language. The word as yet remains undefined. Zurk, as with some of the others, is also a surname. When someone with the Zurk surname does something notable, we will then have our zurk definition.

Zirk - Zerk - Zork - Zark - Zurk

Zarkness, Zerkness, Zirkness, Zorkness, Zurkness are all popular user names.

As for zarkdom, zerkdom, zirkdom, zorkdom, and zurkdom; excepting for usage in some fictional stories, these words are likewise still awaiting usage and definitions in the English language. I figure it is only a matter of time.

And this concludes the what is, uses for, and definitions of zork / zerk / zark / zirk / zurk.

Divorce: Reasons and Causes - Preventing and Averting

What Are the Causes of Divorce and How to Prevent It

A serious list of reasons that cause many couples to divorce and what one can sometimes do to avert a divorce. Mainly it is simply self-awareness, early detection, and communication are all that is needed.

Reasons People Divorce

List of Reasons Couples Say Cause Divorce

In some cases, solutions are possible.
  • Infidelity
  • One party too involved in their career or working too much. Emotional neglect.
  • Different views on religion or politics. At the beginning of a marriage, both parties don’t think it’s a big deal. But over time, the disagreements become cumulative and can move to the forefront.
  • Failure to communicate. One person or the other fails to tell the other of a concern that is on their mind. Instead they just let the “issue” build up. In time, the emotion becomes out of proportion to the actual concern.
  • Failure to communicate. A misunderstanding develops that neither party realizes until it is too late.
  • Lack of trust developing over time. Caused by the other items listed here.
  • Money. Lack of money induces a never ending stress. Over time, blame issues may develop.
  • Marrying someone who has habits you don’t like in the belief that you can change them.
  • Failure to be open and honest. Though this includes lying, it also includes failure to volunteer important information.
  • An unwillingness to compromise.
  • Marriages that begin for reasons other than love.

Early Recognition of Problems and Averting Conflict

This admittedly incomplete list was posted in the hopes it might help people. The simple awareness and communication about potential problems is sometimes all that is needed.
  • The mutual awareness that external factors can cause stress.
  • The mutual awareness of lack of communication.
  • The mutual awareness of unintentional neglect.
The key word is "mutual".  These things and more can be overcome; if when something is first noticed, attention is immediately brought to it. Then it can be addressed and dealt with long before the stage where emotions override thought.

Dialogue Punctuation Examples List


I like writing flash fiction. As such, I use a lot of character dialogue. I’ve gotten tired of trying to remember all the different punctuation rules for all the different sentence syntax, structure, and formatting options. So I decided to compile a complete list of conversation punctuation examples of same. Hopefully, every sentence structure and syntax punctuation example is covered. Now I can just keep this page open in a separate tab and refer to it as needed.

List of Dialogue Punctuation Examples

  • “I think it’s time to leave,” thinks the wildebeest as he spots the approaching lions.
  • “Let’s get out of here!” shouts the second wildebeest.
  • “Do we really have to leave?” protested the baby wildebeest.
------
  • Dave said, “I think you’ve got a flat tire there, Bill.”
  • Bill was bemused. “It’s only flat on the bottom.”
------
  • “I say we hang him in effigy,” said Marvin. “It would be the right thing to do.”
  • “I don’t know where that is,” said Delbert. “Why not hang him right here and be done with it?”
  • “Why,” thought Marvin, “do I hang out with this crew?”
------
  • “If future visitors use this post as a reference,” thinks the author, “then I will have made my contribution to society for the day.” Google chuckles as the post gets indexed on page 42.

How to Grow a Potato in Water

Important Poison Warning!!!

The green sprouts growing from the potato are extremely poisonous. They contain a toxic nerve agent that can kill you. As any parent will tell you, kids eat plants. If you have any children in your household, it is strongly recommended that you:
  1. Read this page at the federal website, MedlinePlus.
  2. Abort this project.
And if you have a kid who already happens to be engaged in this project, you need to decide what to do about it. See final paragraph.

How to Grow a Potato in Water


First, find yourself a nice, fresh, large potato at your grocery store.

Position the potato on end halfway into a container at least as tall as the potato. If it looks like a nice fit with lots of room under the potato and some room around the sides of the potato, take potato out and stick some toothpicks (or whatever) around the middle of the potato. The objective of the toothpicks is to extend beyond the container rim and support the potato above the bottom of the container. Reinsert the potato.

Add water. Treat as you would most indoor houseplants.

White roots will start to grow in the water. Green sprouts or vines will start to grow in the air. Keep the potato watered as needed. Eventually you will have a full-blown plant to deal with. You will see vines or leaves.  Vines like to cling to things, so position your potato adventure accordingly. As an example, you don't want the vines and your kitchen curtains to become new, best friends.

When the potato plant is on the verge of outgrowing the container, it's time to plant it in a regular plant pot with your favorite mulch. Treat the roots as delicately as possible when making the transfer. The container must be large enough to bury the entire potato on end with all of the green leaves/vines above ground.

If your potato has gone the vine route, come up with something you can place next to the container for the vines to cling to. Continue to regularly water and watch the plant continue to grow.

You've got yourself a new houseplant. As long as the thing doesn't turn into a Triffid, you should be ok.

Share This Page with Every Parent You know!

Growing a potato in water also happens to be a very common and popular kid project. Seems like most of them get around to trying it sooner or later. Parents need to be aware of the very real potential danger.