Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Baby Names – Tips on How to Choose a Name for a Baby

Names are very important because they are what we will be referred to as for our entire life, assuming we do not get a legal name change. A name gives you identity and can shape who you are. It can affect what people think of you and what opportunities you are given. It can affect one's self esteem and can ultimately effect who they turn out to be. Because of these things, it is important to choose a good name when having a baby.

In my opinion, one of the most important things to consider when picking a name is originality. A name should be unique and original so the child has a sense of personal identity that is not the same as anyone else. It can be strange when you run into someone with the same first name as you, let alone same first and last name. It makes you think, “How can they have that name? That's my name.”

Giving a child a common name may be safe, but it is sure to make them blend into the crowd. In a list of names, a common name will be glazed over while a unique name will be focused on. Common names are easy to forget while an original name may help people remember who you are.

Another thing to consider when choosing a name is how the name will work not only as a baby, but as child as well as an adult. A lot of names sound cute for a baby, but may sound a bit immature for an adult. Same with names that sound distinguished and professional for an adult, but may not work as well for a teen. Try to find a name that will work well through all ages of life.

When choosing a name, it is also a good idea to pick something that is easy to read, say, and spell. It can be annoying if you have a name that no one can pronounce or one that people are always saying incorrectly. Names should be easy to read so most people will not be confused on what the name is and how it is pronounced.

Another thing that may be more obvious is to consider how well the name works in relation to the last name. There are many great first names out there, but they do not always go well with the last name. Try to find one that has a good ring to it and flows easily while saying the full name. Middle names can be added as well, but first and last names will be used most often so make sure they work well together.

It is also wise to make sure the name you choose is unlikely to be made fun of. As kids grow up, they are often teased about their name. Make sure the name you choose does not rhyme with any objectionable words. Also make sure the name is not one that might be considered too nerdy or old fashioned.

For inspiration on ideas, think about some of your favorite characters or celebrities from tv, movies, books etc. It can give you some ideas for names you might have liked in the past. You may want to name a child after someone you really admire. This can work well but keep in mind to try to make sure the name is still original and not too common.

For more tips on coming up with a unique name, I recommend avoiding the “top baby names” lists because these are the names everyone is picking. Look for more obscure names or everyday words that might not have been considered names in the past, but can actually work as a name.

Choosing a name is a big decision so do not rush into it. Something you like today may not sound as good 9 months from now, so make sure to take your time and come up with the best name. Hope this helps and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any tips or advice on choosing a name for a baby.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Overfilled Coolant Antifreeze – How to Fix This Problem Easily

The other day I was checking the fluid levels on my car and noticed the coolant level was very low. It was supposed to be filled up to a certain line about half way, but it was all the way at the bottom. So I got the recommended coolant to proceeded to fill it back up.

On some cars like mine, it can be hard to see the fluid level from the side and I ended up putting too much coolant in which brought the level to about 1 inch over what is was supposed to be. After doing some research, it looked like it would not be a huge problem, but I still wanted to get it back down to the recommended level.

I started thinking of possible solutions to fix this problem. The first thought was to use something like a turkey baster to put in and draw out the excess fluid. Only problem is I did not have a turkey baster available.

Next I thought about using a straw by dipping the end of it into the coolant, closing the top of the straw and pulling out the liquid little by little. This method might work but would probably take a while. Also, in my case, I did not have any straws available at the time.

I figured I might have to go to the store to get one of the above items, but just in case, I kept looking around the house for any tools that might get the job done. Then I found it! A spray bottle such as glass cleaner would do the trick!

Here is how to use the top of a spray bottle to remove excess coolant from the car in case it has been overfilled:

First, unscrew the spray part of the bottle and put the bottle aside. Next, spray out the extra liquid in case the straw still has some left over from the original bottle. I also recommend putting the end in water and spraying it a few times to make sure it is cleaned out. Once it is empty and dry, take the spray part and an empty bottle to the car.

Make sure the car is off and the engine is cold. Slowly unscrew the cap for the coolant reservoir and set it aside. Next, take the spray and dip the end of the straw down into the coolant. Take the empty bottle and position it so you will be able to spray the coolant into the bottle. Then start spraying!

It can go pretty quick, but it may take many sprays to get it to the level you want it. I found it took about 60 sprays to drop the level down about 1 inch. Check it every so often so you will be ready to stop when it reaches the correct level. Once it is at the right level, take the hose out and screw the cap back on.

You can save the extra coolant for later in case it gets low again at a later time. I hope this helps!

Disclaimer: I am not a mechanic, but I found this to be a good solution to the overfilled coolant problem by using household items most people may have around the house.

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.