Thursday, November 22, 2012

10 Best TV Shows of 2012

It's time to recap the best tv shows of the year with the annual top 10 list.  These are my favorite shows that aired this year.  Note, these are all major network shows so if your favorite cable show is not on here, that may be one of the reasons.  Here are the 10 shows from 2012 you should watch:

1. Big Brother
The number one spot this year goes to the reality show Big Brother.  This show has the drama, excitement, and suspense to keep you tuned in for 3 new episodes every week.  This year had a coaches theme where former house guests returned to help out the new house guests.  There were tons of great moments including this one where there was almost a fight between Willie and Joe.

2. Master Chef
I'm not really into cooking shows all that much, but Master Chef really hooked me in this year.  It stars Chef Ramsey and a group of unknown contestants who want to prove themselves as the next great chef.   Each week they compete in challenges and one person goes home.  This season was made by some great participants such as Monte and Christine who despite being blind, holds her own in the kitchen.

3. Undercover Boss
Undercover Boss is a show that puts CEO's in the shoes of their employees to really get a feel for how the business is going and what the morale of the workers is like.  They go in disguise and work alongside their employees to see how they can make the company better.  At the end, they revel themselves and reward the exceptional employees who are doing a great job.  It is always heartwarming and emotional. 
4. NY Med
NY Med is part of a series of documentary style shows that take the viewers inside hospitals and introduces us to the nurses and doctors and what they deal with on a daily basis.  There is plenty of drama and excitement that goes on each episode.  It also makes you appreciate good health after seeing the situations of some of the patients on the show.

5. Secret Millionaire
Another feel good show to check out is Secret Millionaire.  Much like Undercover Boss, the show takes a real life millionaire and sends them to a poor area to get involved with organizations in need.  Their true identity is hidden as they interact with people who are working to make a positive impact on less fortunate communities.  At they end, they reveal who they are and donate money to those who need it most.

6. American Ninja Warrior
This is a physical competition show that has been around for a while in countries like Japan, but is relatively new to the US.  Athletes compete on obstacle and skill courses to get the best time.  People from all over the country can try out, but only one will make it to the end and be named American Ninja Warrior.

7. Rules of Engagement
Even though it is not one of the most talked about shows out there, Rules of Engagement continues to be one of my favorite comedies on tv.  This year it has gone into syndication so you may be able to catch the re-runs along with the new episodes when the next season starts.

8. Parks and Recreation
Another one of the best comedies still going strong is Parks and Recreation.  The show continues to be funny even as settings and characters change.  The cast is great and the writing is very good.  They even got vice president Joe Biden to guest star on the show this season.

9. Shark Tank
Here is a show that I didn't really watch the first couple seasons it was on, but now I am really into it.  You have 5 wealthy "sharks" who are looking to invest money into ideas they think show promise and will be profitable.  Regular people pitch them their products and companies in hopes of getting some financial support.  The show is very entertaining and it's fun to see these new companies and products come to life.

10. Last Resort
This is one of the few dramas that caught my interest this year.  And while it is only half way through the season and will in fact only have 1 season as it stands now, it is still worth checking out.  The show is about a crew on a US submarine that gets attacked by it's own country, or so it seems.  There is lots of action and drama along with some powerful characters and an interesting story line. 

What was your favorite show of 2012?  Leave a comment below.

Also check out the Best Shows of 2013 and last year's list of the best tv shows of 2011.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Changing a Light Switch Tips and Precautions

I had a light switch that would flicker sometimes when I turned it on.  I determined the connection inside the light switch was not good and probably worn out from regular use.  Since light switches are cheap, I figured I would replace it and see if that would fix the problem.  I found an identical switch for about 50 cents at the hardware store.

At home I made sure to turn off the electricity that goes to that switch.  This is very important as I would find out later.  I unscrewed the plate and pulled out the switch.  I disconnected the 2 wires and made sure to document how they were connected.

Next I connected the new switch.  I decided to test it out before screwing it back into the wall.  This was not a good idea.  I turn the power back on and then test the light.  It worked.  So then I decided to put the switch back into the wall.  I must have touched the hot wire to the metal casing in the wall because the next thing I knew, there were tons of sparks and the fuse went out cutting off the electricity. 

I was shocked, not physically luckily, but emotionally.  I use a flashlight to see what happened.  The switch and surrounding area was burnt.  Even my fingers were black form the sparks and smoke.  Thankfully I was not burned.  I examined the metal on the casing and part of it was actually melted. 

So with the power off, I cleaned up the area and debated on weather I should try it again or call an electrician.  I was brave and decided to try it one more time.  This time I did not turn the power on until everything was connected and put back in place.  Once everything was screwed back in, I tested it out and in worked!

So if you have a light switch that is not working as well as it should, go ahead and replace it, but make sure the power is turned off from the fuse box the entire time. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Voting System in the US is a Mess

Much like the tax system, the voting system in the US needs to be reformed.  One of the main things that needs to change is getting rid of the electoral college system and instead go by the popular vote so every vote counts.  The fact that a candidate who receives less votes can actually win makes absolutely no sense.  Many people do not even know what the electoral college is or how it works.  Who is actually arguing to keep this ridiculous system? 

Another thing that needs to change is that it needs to be easier for people to know who they are voting for.  You shouldn't have to go seek it out by researching different sites on the internet to try to learn about the people who are running.  All the information should be in one place.  Voters should have it ahead of time and they should also have that information at the voting location.  At least a summary with main points on each candidate should be available with the voting ballot.

Voting online should also be an option.  With modern technology and convenience, why do we still have to go out to a location to vote or mail it in?  People might argue that voting online is not secure and people might take advantage of it.  If people can bank online and transfer money online, it is secure enough to cast a vote.  All they need to do is set it up so the site is secure and the individual would have to put in several forms of identification to prove their identity.

If these changes were made, the voting system would be more representative of the people's choice, it would be easier, and people would be more informed about who they are voting for so they can make the best possible decision when they go to vote

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Fix a Stuck Disposal

I have a GE disposal for my sink that would make a humming noise when I turned on the switch, but it would not spin.  I did some research and found out that this means it is stuck or something is preventing it from spinning.  In my case, it was probably rust or residue build up from having not used it for months.  See I never put solid foods down the drain so I figured I didn't need to use it, but now I know that you should still run the disposal every once in a while so it does not freeze up.

So how did I fix it?  First I took out the splash guard which is the rubber thing in the drain.  It just pulls out.  Next use a flashlight to look inside.  You will see the disposal wheel and anything that might be in there.  First I took a screwdriver and tried to scrape away any rust or debris that had accumulated on the inside.

Next I took a golf club handle and put it down into the drain, found a notch to catch it and slowly tried to rotate the wheel.  You can use any type of stick to do this.  It was very stuck and I didn't think it would work, but after a few minutes of pushing at it, it slowly began to break free and rotate.  I turned it back and forth manually for about a minute.

Finally I turned on the switch and low and behold it worked!  So if you have a sink disposal that makes a noise when you turn it on, but does not spin or grind, use the steps mentioned above.  Also see if you can find your owners manual either at home or online for tips on how to fix your exact model.  Good luck! 

Update 8-3-16:
I was not able to use my kitchen sink for several months and it ended up rusting stuck again. I tried to move it with a golf club handle but this time it would not budge. I looked around and found a large set of pliers. With the handle side down, I managed to lock it in place against the impellers of the fly wheel. Then I used the golf club to slowly crank the pliers in a clockwise direction. Slowly it began to break free and soon enough, it was spinning again!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

X-Factor Live Review 2012

Let me start off by saying I was very disappointed with last night's X-Factor live performance show.  X-Factor is the only singing show I watch right now and while it is not perfect, I do enjoy it.  There were many things that ruined it for me last night.

One was the audio mixing.  Either the crowd was way too loud or they just recorded the noise from the crowd too much because last night the constant screams from the audience were unbearable.  And they were at inappropriate times.  Some cheering for your favorite singer when they are introduced and when they finish their song is ok, but last night, judges would be in the middle of saying something and people would be screaming at the top of their lungs for no reason. The audio was mixed poorly as you could tell when pyrotechnics over shadowed the singers when they engaged.

Next we have the hosts, yes that is plural.  Why they thought they needed 2 people to be a host is beyond me.  There is absolutely no need for it. Khloe was awful right from the start.  Mario is ok but bland.  I would even take that Steve guy from last year over these 2 and I did not like that guy at all.  And you would think the host would introduce the singers right?  No, they introduce the judge who then introduces their singer.  Again, this does not make sense.

Then we have the judges.  LA and Simon are good.  Britney is annoying and always looks like she is in pain and not enjoying the show, not even when her own singers are performing.  Demi gives possibly the worst advice ever and is in no position to be mentoring people older than she is.  It seems like every bit of advice she gives to one of her singers brings them down and makes them worse.  For example last night she totally changed the looks for contestants such as Jennel, Paige, and Cece.  These girls were beautiful and had their own styles that worked for them.  Last night it's like Demi had them dress up for a bad Halloween party.

I found myself muting much of the show last night.  Every time the audience starts screaming, mute.  Every time Britney and Demi are giving critiques, mute.  

The show wasn't all bad.  Highlights in my opinion were Lyric Da Queen from Lyric 145 as well as Emblem3.  These 2 already seem like stars compared to the others who still seem like armatures.  I will tune in tonight to see how they handle the eliminations, but if these trends continue, I won't be watching this season much longer.   

UPDATE: I just tuned in to watch the results show and the producers did not learn from their mistakes in the first live show. The audience is still screaming throughout the entire show which makes it unwatchable.  Sorry Fox, but I'm not going to listen to people scream for 2 hours.