Thursday, November 10, 2016

How To Resize a Shipping Box

 Recently I had a pair of shoes in a box that I needed to ship. Usually I have extra boxes laying around that I have saved, but this time I did not have one that was the right size. Sure, you can use a larger box and put extra filler inside, but then the shipping costs will be more based on the larger dimensions.

I starting checking a few places such as USPS and UPS to buy a new box. Surprisingly they did not have one in the dimensions I was looking for. Even similar boxes that were bigger, retail for around $3.50 just for 1 box! Yes, the post office has free Priority boxes, but in a case like this, my item would not fit in any of those boxes.

Finally I got the idea to try to make my own box. I saw a few examples where people modified other boxes to the dimensions they needed so I thought I would give it a try. The only supplies you need are scissors, tape, and an old box.

I started with a large plain box and peeled off all the labels. Try to peel them off carefully so it does not rip the box. Next, I took off the tape to help open it up. You can do this by peeling it or by cutting it if you don't mind leaving the tape on the box.

Next I cut one side of the box all the way through at one of the corners so that it can unfold and be perfectly flat. Once you have done this, you have to do a little planning and thinking to decide the best way to make the new box. A ruler or measuring tape can also help if you want to be exact.

I recommend try to keep as much of the box together as possible by making folds and overlapping sides. If the box it big enough, you will be able to keep it all in one piece to help maintain the strength of the box. You will need a scissors to make some cuts for the folds as well as to modify the dimensions to make the new size.

Once you start getting the new shape and it is the right size, you can begin re-taping it together. I recommend using a generous amount of tape to make sure the box is strong and stays together during shipping. Once you are done taping, it is pretty much good to go!

You will have a new free shipping box in the best dimensions for your item!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

State of the Union: Worried

The results of the 2016 election are in and based on electoral votes, Donald Trump has been declared the winner and next president of the United States. At this time, it looks like Hillary Clinton actually has more votes for the popular vote so we may end up with another situation where the candidate with more votes does not win.

As someone who watched all the debates and followed the campaigns pretty closely, I was very surprised as the results started rolling in. It seemed Hillary was the clear favorite and was predicted to win no problem. With the media and big names in support of Hillary, it leaves us with questions like, “What happened?” and “Why”.

In the months leading up to the election I was open minded to both parties and candidates. Eventually I started leaning more towards Hillary as I found she would be more qualified to be the President of the United States. I know there are a lot of people out there who strongly dislike Trump. While I think he is a good business man, his unrefined temperament and lack of political experience would be too risky to elect him to the most important position in office.

One thing that puzzled me in this election was why there were not more women voters in support of Hillary. In the history of the United States, over 200 years, we have never had a women president. This is significant considering over half the population is female. This was a chance to finally elect a woman president to represent the country. This alone would have been a huge step forward in terms of equality and gender relations. It would have had an enormous influence young women showing that they can achieve the highest office. It is hard to believe that her opposition still got more support especially after all the negative things he has said about women.

Another thing that I find curious is how it seems that big city states such as New York, California, and Illinois voted for Hillary while more rural areas voted for Trump. Based on history, this is not a surprise, but considering Donald Trump was born and raised in New York City, about as far away from rural as you can get, I don't see how these areas think he would be a better representation for them.

So what are some of the reasons people may have voted for Trump instead of Hillary?

One thing people may like about Donald is that he is not afraid to say what is on his mind even if it is not politically correct. While this trait may be admired due to straight forward honesty, there has to be more discretion involved when you are representing an entire country. The lack of filter has gotten him into a lot of trouble in the past and I worry, this trend may continue as he becomes president.

Another thing that may have happened is people may have figured Hillary was sure to win based on all the support she was getting before election day. Many Hillary supporters may have figured they did not need to vote because she would have enough votes anyway, while the Trump supporters knew he needed the votes and were more eager to get to the polls.

I also wonder about the division of the Democratic party. Emotions ran high when it came down to Hillary vs Bernie. I wonder if many of those who were in support of Bernie still held a grudge and refused to support Hillary even after she won the nomination and had the support from Bernie.

One more possibility for what happened may be a disconnect of small town America from Hollywood and big city media. Celebrities were really pushing for Clinton to win and I think many Americans from rural areas do not relate to that and don't really like being told who to vote for.

Popular tv shows such as Saturday Night Live made fun of Donald Trump every week and pretty much declared Hillary the winner weeks in advance. I think many Americans did not appreciate that and were then motivated to vote for the opposition.

Back to the original theme of this post. While watching the numbers roll in last night, the one word that kept coming to mind was “worried”. I'm worried about what these results mean about half the people who live in this country. I'm worried about what the world and other countries will think about us now that this has happened. I'm also worried about the future of our country based on changes that may happen which may have a negative effect on the American people.

Change does not happen easily especially in a climate like this which is still split 50/50 so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months and years. We all want the best for this country so hopefully we can move forward together somehow despite differences.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs Extra Light Olive Oil

I use olive oil quite often as a condiment to add taste and healthy fats to meals. I will often add it to pasta or rice dishes, or bread or sandwiches. When I go to the store, I usually look for extra virgin olive oil and try to find some that is on sale for a decent price.

This last shopping trip, I noticed the Pompeian Extra Light Olive Oil was on sale for a good deal. I compared the nutrition facts to the Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil and they were identical so I figured I would give it a try.

Upon trying it out, the color of the Extra Light Olive Oil is much lighter compared to the Extra Virgin Olive oil. For the taste, it is very mild and has almost has no taste at all. I suppose this can be good for cooking if you do not want it to overpower the taste of the other ingredients, but for me, if I am adding it to a dish, I would like it to enhance the flavor.

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a much stronger taste to it so I would probably go back to this style next time. I will finish the Extra Light style since it has the same nutrition facts, but overall I like the Extra Virgin Olive Oil better for the taste.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Email Scams to Win The Lottery – Who is falling for these things?

Everyone is familiar with junk mail and spam by now yet scammers continue to send out advertisements trying to get people to fall for their ridiculous schemes. I get these kinds of posts in the comments here on the blog every once in a while. Of course they are blocked so they do not show up here, but I thought I would share one here to show just how silly they are.

It starts off saying her name is SOPHIA DISC, in all caps. I don't know about you but I have never heard of anyone with the last name “Disc”. Not to mention the name did not match up with the profile they were posting from.

Next it says they are from “USA Florida spring Hill”. Haha, yes this is how we announce where we live right? It goes on in poor English to describe how they were trying to win the lottery and contacted some random “doctor” who “cast a spell” to help them win 5 million dollars. Haha.

It makes me wonder, are there people out there who would actually fall for this? I almost want to reply back with a junk email just to see what they would say. Actually I may just try it and report back with the results if they write back.

Update: 11-1-16
So I wrote back requesting the winning lottery numbers. I didn't expect a reply but within 24 hours, they actually wrote back. They requested more personal information such as name, location, phone, number, age, and photo. What I found even more odd is they request this information from "you and your lover". Haha.  Of course I am not going to send this information. I could send fake information but I think I will leave it be. Anyone else followed up on these things further?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What to do if you are bored?

Every once in a while you may find you have nothing to do or just do not feel very motivated to do anything. In case you find yourself in this situation, one thing you can do is clean! This may not seem very fun but if you are bored and have nothing else to do, there is really no excuse no to do it.

Cleaning your room, your house, or your environment is a productive activity and you will feel good once you have accomplished this task. Many people do not want to clean because they feel like they have better things to do, so when you are bored, it is the perfect time to clean.

Even if you feel like your house is already clean, there is always more to do. For example cleaning or dusting areas that are hard to get to such as under a refrigerator or on top of base boards. Maybe cleaning out a closet or going through some old papers you probably do not need anymore. There is always work to be done if you think about it and look for it.

Another thing you can do if you are bored is exercise! This is another productive activity that will make you feel good after you have completed it. Working out is another thing that is easy to put off due to lack of time or effort, but if you are board, it is a great time to work out. It doesn't have to be anything big like going to a gym. It can be simple exercises around the house such as push ups, squats, sit ups etc.

One more idea for something to do when you are bored is back up your computer! This is something important that people either never do, or do not do enough until it is too late. One of my sayings is "No one thinks their computer is going to crash today, but someone's is."  Make sure to back up your important files from your computer either on an external drive, or a cloud service so you will always have it in case anything happens. 

Next time you are bored or feel like there is nothing to do, keep these activities in mind for something productive that can be done any time.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Earth. Fire. Wind. Water. Heart. Go Planet!

Recently I recalled a cartoon I used to watch as a kid called Captain Planet. It was a cartoon that helped promote eco friendliness and saving the environment. In each episode there would be a villain who was polluting or causing harm to the earth and the 5 main characters with the help of a superhero named Captain Planet would have to stop them and save the earth from destruction.

As a kid, I thought the show was ok but I can remember being very aware that is was really trying to push a message on us. As an adult I actually like that it was trying to teach kids to be good to the environment, but as a kid, I was more interested in cartoons for entertainment, not for a message. I think the environment is an issue that kids of a young age don't have much interest in.

For example, when I was a kid, we used to play outside each day and I don't ever recall there being litter around the neighborhood. Just recently I went back to my old neighborhood and noticed there was in fact a considerable amount of litter around. Now it could be that the times have changed, but it is likely that I am just a lot more aware of the issue as an adult.

These days I am definitely more interested in helping keep the environment clean. Although I was not really interested in the message back then, who knows, maybe some of those lessons got through and made a difference! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Bug Spray Review

I like to go on walks and recently I started getting mosquito bites when I would get into the more wooded areas so I decided to look into getting a bug spray. After doing some research, I decided to try Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. It is a 4 oz pump spray bottle and uses oil of lemon eucalyptus as the active ingredient.

Upon trying it out for the first time, I found it easy to apply with a few pumps of the spray bottle. It does have a very strong lemon scent which is not bad at all. I sprayed some on the back of my hands and then used it to apply to exposed skin such as around the neck. It says it is ok to apply to clothes as well so it should not damage the material.

It claims to protect against mosquitoes for up to 6 hours. I have tried it out several times on my walks and so far it seems to be working very well. I have yet to get any mosquito bites after having applied the Repel Lemon Eucalyptus so I would have to say I am happy with the results so far.

If you are looking for an insect repellent that is a pump spray and has a nice scent, I recommend trying out Repel Lemon Eucalyptus bug spray.