Thursday, November 23, 2017

GE LED Light Bulb Review – Compare to CFL Bulbs

Recently I went shopping for new light bulbs and at first I was looking for the squiggly CFL type bulbs which I had been using that are supposed to be good for energy saving. I was surprised when I visited 2 different stores and found the availability of these bulbs to be almost non-existent. It seemed the stores now only had LED bulbs or the old fashioned incandescent bulbs.

So I went home to do a little research before investing in one of the new bulbs. It seems LED bulbs are quickly taking the place of CFL bulbs because they are more responsive, better for the environment, and are becoming more affordable among other reasons. So I decided it was time to try out the LED bulbs.

In store I found the GE brand and store brands available. GE has a few different variations on the standard LED bulb such as Reveal, Refresh, and Relax each of which are designed for specific rooms in the house. They also have a standard LED Soft White bulb which is for general purpose. I found them on sale for a good deal so I decided to try them out. I got the 60w 800 lumens rated 4 pack. It seems most of these bulbs have good sales and promotions going on whether it is buy one get one free, or a steep discount on a multi-pack.

The box says they last 13 years, but the warranty says it is only covered for 5 years so I'm not sure how that works out. The bulbs have a similar shape and size to traditional light bulbs. I noticed the material seems to be made of a plastic vs glass found on the old incandescent bulbs.

Upon installing the new LED bulb, I found the light to be a little brighter compared to the CFL bulbs of the same wattage rating. Also they light up faster than the CFL bulbs which tend to take a little while to get to full brightness. I found the color of the Soft White LED bulbs to be very nice with a good mix of warmth and clarity without looking too yellow.

So far I have only been using them for a short time but so far they have been working out well. I did look up some reviews online and was surprised that they had a lot of negative reviews saying the bulbs went out much sooner than the package advertises. Just in case I will hold on to the receipt in case there are any issues with the bulbs since they are guaranteed for 5 years.

I will update this article with long term updates with results on how the bulbs perform over time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Why I Don't Like Holidays and Annual Events

When we think of holidays in the US, things like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Forth of July may come to mind. While there are many good things about holidays such as time off from work and spending time with family, there are many things that are not so great.

As someone who like routine and predictability, holidays really disrupt this lifestyle. When a holiday comes around, people are off work and doing things they would not normally do and going places they would not normally go. Stores and establishments that are usually open are closed. People go around buying things they would not normally buy. All of this causes disruption in comparison to a normal day.

I find holidays to be more of an inconvenience and an added stress that is not necessary. For me, I am often expected to attend parties or get-togethers with people I don't know very well. It involves meeting people I don't really want to meet and making small talk with people I do not really want to talk to. Maybe some people like this kind of thing, but I would personally rather stay home and go about business as usual.

Even annual events such as birthdays, I am not too fond of. To me a birthday is just like any other day. I don't think we need to use it as an excuse to celebrate or throw a party. These kinds of things can be done any day. It does not have to be in correlation with a certain date.

I guess holidays do give a bit of structure to our year. We know what to expect and when to expect it, so in that sense I guess it does give us a little routine and predictability when you look at the big picture. Sometimes it is ok to break away from the routine and do something out of the oridinary which can actually help give a different perspective on our everyday lives.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Potential for the next viral video trend – Fritz the Dog – The Fritz Challenge

I was browsing through Twitter recently and I found a video of a dog in slow motion trying to catch different food items tossed to him by his owner. It is a simple concept but what makes it funny is you think the dog is going to catch the food, but every time he misses it. The video also has encouraging background music that works perfectly with it and adds to the enjoyment.


It turns out, the dog is named Fritz and he and his owner Evan Ball have a Youtube channel with many videos like this. His first compilation video has had viral success with over 7 million views and the channel has a fair amount of subscribers.

As I watched a few more of his videos, I wondered if anyone else had made a parody of it or made their own version. It turns out there are a few, but not nearly as many as I would have expected. Here is an example of one by comedian Scout Durwood:



I soon realized the concept of the Fritz dog video would make for a great viral trending video challenge much like we have seen with the Harlem Shake and the Mannequin Challenge. It is a video that is easy to replicate, can be customized with unlimited possibilities, and has a catchy song that can be added to tie them all together.

Here are the proposed guidelines for this challenge:

1. Video is of an animal or person trying to catch different foods in their mouth.
2. The video is in slow motion.
3. The video uses the same background music (Fritz the Conqueror by Evan Ball)

The Fritz videos are a couple years old so they are not new, but I still think it has the potential to catch on again as a challenge video. What do you guys think? If you decide to make one, feel free to share the link in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pet Peeve – Squeaky Door Hinges

There is one thing that can be quite annoying yet it is something that can be easily fixed and that is squeaky door hinges. They can be on doors at home, in businesses, even car doors and things like cabinet doors. Pretty much anything with a moving hinge can start squeaking over time.

It seems most people don't pay any attention to this, but I tend to notice it a lot especially if it is a from a door that is used a lot. I find the squeaking to be pretty annoying so I always oil hinges whenever they start to squeak. Usually I use a spray type oil or sometimes a mineral oil or olive oil which tends to work as well.

Some recommend actually removing the hinge pin out of the door to oil it. This may be the most thorough solution, but I have found usually just oiling it from the outside is enough to fix the squeak. Also, if the door has other moving parts such as a door closer at the top, you may want to oil these at the same time to make sure everything is working smoothly. 

Fixing a squeaky door is very easy and only takes a few seconds yet it is something that many people and businesses overlook. If you have a door that is making a lot of noise, it is worth getting some oil and taking a minute to stop the squeak. For business owners, make sure to check the doors every once in a while as they may squeak from the constant opening and closing from customers.

Does anyone else find squeaking doors to be very annoying? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Car Repairs Are So Expensive

Owning a car is great because it gives you the freedom of transportation but that convenience comes at a cost. Cars are pretty expensive as it is, but it is the cost of repairs that really add up over the years. It's a cost that many people may not think about until there is something wrong with their car and they have to take it in.

Recently I took my car in for some repairs so this issue was on my mind. I took it to a new place that had many good reviews because I was not satisfied with the other place I usually take it. While this new place is fair, the costs for repairs are still very expensive. I have an older vehicle so I don't like putting a lot of money into it.

I live very frugally and don't spend a lot of money so when I get hit with a large bill for car repairs, it seems astronomical compared to what I am used to paying for daily living expenses. Although it can be expensive, I think it is something you just have to figure into your budget.

An alternative would be buying a new car that hopefully would have fewer repairs needed, but of course that would be a huge up front expense and it will still end up needing maintenance and repairs over the years.

Recently I started a new job where driving is a big part of it, so it is important to have a reliable vehicle. I figure the cost of the car repairs can be figured into tax deductions because the car is being used for business so a percentage of it will be a business expense.

Another thing to consider is resale value of your car. If you don't fix anything and it is falling apart by the time you go to sell it or trade it in, you will not get much for it. On the other hand, if you take care of your car and it is in good shape when you go to sell, it will have a higher value and be easier to sell.

Some people may opt for leasing a car so they have a newer vehicle and don't have to worry about repairs as much. Leasing may help avoid having to take it in for repairs over the years, but you may end up paying more per month and then once the lease is up, you are left with nothing while if you buy the car, at least you still have the car once it is paid off.

So what is the solution? I think the best advice would be to try to take care of your car with preventative maintenance to avoid more costly repairs down the line. Do research to find out which cars have a low “cost to own”. Vehicles that are more expensive are likely to have repairs that are also more costly.

When it comes to taking your car in for repairs, ask around to see if anyone has any shops they recommend. Do plenty of research to see what customers are saying about the repair shops. When you decide to try out a new shop, have them fix just one thing even if they recommend to fix a bunch of different things. You want to be sure they will do good work for a reasonable price before you authorize them to do a lot of work on your car.

If you know which parts your car will need, try to buy them on your own since most shops will mark up the prices on the same parts if they have to order them. Check for parts on Amazon, Ebay, and auto parts stores to find the best price.

If you take care of your car and find a reputable shop that has fair prices, you can help keep repair costs down for the life of the car.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

California Olive Ranch - Everyday Olive Oil Review

I add olive oil to many dishes to add flavor and healthy fats to my diet. In the past I would buy the cheapest extra virgin olive oils or the ones that were on sale. The last one I bought was a store brand and it went bad within a few weeks to the point where it was not even edible and I had not even use 1/4 of the bottle yet.

I decided it was time to try out some higher quality olive oils. I did some research and decided to try out California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. They have many different types but I decided to go with the Everyday style first which is a versatile oil that can be used for many things. I noticed it was available in most stores but the prices varied by store. The best price I found was about $8.39 at Target for the 16.9 oz bottle.

Upon opening it up, the closure system is pretty interesting. The cap unscrews but underneath, there is a built in nozzle that pops up when you pull the cap off. This allows the oil to pour out slowly and keeps it neat so it does not make a mess. When you are done, the cap fits back into the nozzle and screws back onto the top.

For the taste, I found it to be very good. It did not have any bitterness and had a smooth and buttery flavor. I have been using it on bread, as well as dishes like pasta and rice. So far I am about 1/4 of the way through and it still tastes good. Hopefully it will hold the quality through the entire bottle.

The bottle itself is a square shape that makes it look bigger than some of the similar brands with a rounded shape, but if you compare the ounces, they are about the same.

If you are looking for a good extra virgin olive oil that is not too expensive, but don't mind spending a little more compared to the cheap varieties, I would recommend trying out California Olive Ranch olive oil.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When you see a police officer, do you feel safe or nervous?

An interesting question is “When you see a police officer, do you feel safe or do you feel nervous?” Many people may say nervous or something similar because often we associate police officers with giving tickets.

For example if you are driving and you see a patrol car on the side of the road or driving behind you, you may instinctively press the brake and check your speed as to make sure you do not get a speeding ticket. In my experience, the most interaction I have had with police officers has been traffic related, whether it is getting pulled over for a traffic violation or having to call them to file a report for an accident.

It is a shame because there is so much more to police officers than just writing traffic tickets. They are here to enforce the law and keep everyone safe. They play an important role in keeping a peaceful and civilized society. Even though I am a bit wary of police officers when I see them on the streets, I must say I have a lot of respect for them and what they do.

Police officers have chosen a profession that can potentially put them in harms way on a daily basis. They are expected to deal with situations and people that may be unpleasant or dangerous and are expected to enforce laws that others are breaking. This takes a lot of bravery especially when working in high crime rate areas.

So a question is, why does it seem like most of the focus is on traffic tickets when there are much more series crimes being committed? Maybe it is because in some locations that are more suburban or rural, there is not a lot of crime so the only thing left to enforce is minor things like traffic violations.

Because of this, I think it gives people a bad impression of the police. For example, you may get pulled over for going 10 mph over the speed limit or for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. These are pretty minor things and are not really a problem in most situations, but you may end up getting a ticket and have to pay a lot of money.

Of course if you are driving recklessly or unreasonably fast, then yes it should be addressed and would warrant a ticket but for the minor things, they could be more lenient. I think if more focus was put serious crimes, people would have a better impression of police and would not always get a bad feeling when they see them in the rear view mirror.