Thursday, April 26, 2012

The King of Shaves Razor Review.

Over the past 28 years of needing a razor, I've become quite a connoisseur of these plastic, metal and even wooden handles with one, two, three, four and even five blades of cold steel. I've also owned no less than three electric razors, which have lasted me less than a month or two before needing major work. My beard is extremely tough and skin sensitive, so cheap razors are usually out of the question. Since blogging has failed to pay off thus far and my hours have been cut as of late, I can't in good conscience spend $15 for four blades either. I went to Meijers and found the King of Shaves by Remington (a name more associated with typewriters (remember those) as well as electric razors, guns and ammunition. It helped that the package includes a razor and 3 blades as opposed to the competitor's one or two.
The $6.36 price with tax included also sweetened the deal, as did the fact that six blades in a package for less than $10 in a replacement box. I took this deal home with a can of shaving gel (I'm not reviewing this yet) and brought it to bear on my 5oclock shadow. One thing I noticed was that regardless of how hard I pushed, the handle brought consistent pressure on my face. This because of their "S-Flex"; the trick is to let the razor do the work. The shave itself was close, with minimal stubble and fewer than normal passes on same. It didn't cut, nor irritate as it shaved, and this can be credited to the alignment paddle at the bottom of the blades. However, the lack of a trimmer blade on the back might make those sideburns a challenge. For the life of me, I can't imagine save for cost cutting why they didn't include it. On the upside, the electric trimmer I have made short work of that. Even more expensive razors with three or four blades don't always include this either, so it shouldn't be a deal breaker.
As for the longevity of these blades, the jury is still out as far as I'm concerned. If they hold up to my beard, they can hold up to anything. The coating they use is called Endurum, which is supposedly nano coated and "optimized for senstive skin." The Mach 3 and Fusion, both by Gillette, perform really well but seemed to wear out in a hurry to this writer. They usually lasted me less than two weeks per blade. These are also the $12 to $15 per 4 blades. Even if the Remington lasts that long it will have paid for itself. It seems that even with a very minor fault, Remington seems to have a winner here. I'll keep you posted on how these blades hold up.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Aprilaire 8366 Thermostat Fix

This is what the Aprilaire 8366 programmable thermostat looks like and yes, this is an Energy Star product. They're very easy to program, reliable and despite their age are innocuous enough to fit any decor. In fact the one I have, courtesy of a coworker, is about 10 years old and still looks brand-new. The one Achilles heel with this product are the buttons. Because these buttons are on sprues fused to the rear of the faceplate, it's very common for these to break off. Usually, these are a clean break from the plate leaving the sprues intact. Note: if the sprues (the plastic pieces growing from the buttons) are broken, then the thermostat will not be a candidate for this fix.

All you need is a tube of super glue and some patience. These buttons will be clearly marked which end is up. Just follow that and place a dot of glue where the sprue is supposed to be fused to the faceplate on the rear. DO NOT apply glue to any other part of the sprue or faceplate because the buttons will be hard to push or may not work at all. Once you've dotted the faceplate place the button (s) on and wait a couple minutes before putting the faceplate back on the thermostat. Go ahead and confiorm your fix by gently pushing the buttons. As long as you have this apart, go ahead and change out the batteries. You just saved yourself $50 to $200 on a new thermostat and spent just $2.00. What a value, what a deal. Maranatha!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Sigh of Relief

Unlike most of my other posts, this one is more personal than most. This is a glimpse into how ordinary occurrences, over time, shape us for better or worse. Yesterday, my wife informed me that she couldn't find the keys for my work truck. I dismissed this as worrying, and told that they should be around. Today, at twenty minutes after seven and ten minutes before I had to be at work, my keys were indeed missing. I searched high and low for nearly a half hour trying to find them to no avail. They were nowhere in the house. After my coworker brought me a spare set, I took the trash out and proceeded to work, but I did tear the bag open in the dumpster and rifled through it a bit. No keys.

Arriving to work, my boss, a man I love and respect said the three words I hate "you're killing me." He also strongly suggested that I find them and not lose the other key because it was the last one he had. I continued and made it one minute early to my first and only call today, then went home and searched through the house again. After some kicking back, I picked up a tool I'd used for picking up trash in my apartment maintenance days. To my amazement, there were only a couple bags in the dumpster, and I made short work of the trash and found the keys to my truck. I ran the one my boss gave to me and he said he wanted to talk to me. It was about an invoice what was being done correctly (Whew!) and I apologized for losing the keys. His response was "you scared me." Mine was "me too".

Later today, my wife admitted cleaning out my pockets and throwing the whole shooting match away. Oh well; no harm no foul. I reminded her that I'll do the pocket digging from here on out. Maybe a fix on keeping your keys might be a good article. Maranatha!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gas Line Leak Fix.

A couple months ago, I posted about a furnace that had suffered neglect. So what else is new? Today, I got to go back to the house, but not to fix the furnace. The consulting company that went to do an energy audit goes and frequently finds, gas leaks in the lines. This actually more common than you may think; even in newer homes. The reason for this vary, but poor installation is the most frequent. I've installed gas lines for the past 20 years and the only reason they leak is because they aren't sealed and tightened properly. This means using a decent amount of sealant (not plumber's tape), and threading the pipes together tightly. In theory, fixing these leaks if pretty simple, but what if you have a leak on the main line, in the middle, and the only way to tighten it is to undo every pipe on the furnace, water heater, fireplace,etc. Even with the respective unions, this is going to be an all day job and believe me I've been there.

However, there are alternatives and with a little forethought, a union, a few pipe nipples, a fitting or two and some pipe sealant, you can make short work of nearly any leak you come across. You will also need a good drop light, ladder, a couple of pipe wrenches (for 3/4 or 1 inch gas pipe) a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade, and some bubble solution to check for leaks. You can substitute larger gripping or groove joint pliers instead of wrenches, but they're really not that expensive and still the best tools for the job. Again, when in doubt call a home service professional to perform the repairs. Paying him or her will be less expensive than an insurance claim, or a trip to the emergency department. Since I'm not on the job with you, I have no control over the quality of your work. Do this an all other repairs at your own risk.

First, shut off the gas at the meter and run the furnace. Then shut the electricity to it and any other fuel burning appliance off. To get to the leaking fitting, you need to find a joint you can cut with the saw. This can be a fitting or pipe nipple, but the idea is to cut a piece of the pipe or fitting without getting out a threader. This is because threaders are time consuming, dirty and cumbersome for just fixing one or two joints. We want to save time, not add more to the job or break out more tools. I prefer cutting a 45 or 90 elbow over a straight coupling because the saw is less likely to mess up threads. Whatever you cut, remove it, take apart and reseal the leaking fitting and use the union to join the pipes together in place of a coupling or in between two elbows with pipe nipples. This is much better than taking the whole works apart and then trying to get it back together. Turn on the gas and use the soap bubbles to check for leaks. If you're satisfied there are none, turn on the appliances and make sure the burners in each come on. Maranatha!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Truisms.

An uphill climb is hard to keep going, but a downhill slide is nearly impossible to stop.


Our rights end where our wishes begin.


Personality is on everyone's wish list, for others to have.


Pleasing the aurgumentive is like pointing a pointing a fire hose skyward and not expecting to get wet. Both are impossible.

Thos who claim to have your back are usually the first ones running.


What Freedom 105 Really Is.

A couple days ago (April 7, 2012) , I inquired about what Freedom 105 that's been advertised on the radio and other media. Because there's precious little information on the Internet and the firm itself is so secretive, I'm going to add mine. This is selling supplements and vitamins plain and simple, but there is a twist to this. You are encouraged to recruit distributors, not sell the product as with any network marketing (read pyramid scheme). At the time I originally wrote this, it was $400 to buy the contract and starter kit. This is pretty similar to Amway, which I did in the early 1990's and I never made a dime.

Let's face it, being successful takes lots of hard work and the uncanny ability to be able to provide a product or service that customers will buy over and again. To do that, you need to market and deliver over and again. The better your product or service, the more repeat customers and the less you have to spend on marketing, which is about $300 a customer REGARDLESS of what business you choose to do. Whatever you decide, realize that most of these schemes are about one time customers buying a product that doesn't give you enough of a profit to make a living on. Grocery stores can and do make a profit, but their margins are very small, about 1%. They rely on sales volume to realize any amount they can work with.

As an independent distributor selling any product like Amway, for example. You are encouraged to recruit distributors because you will not sell enough to make enough money on your own. Let's say you sell $5000 worth of products a month with a 10% commission (which is very generous). You will make about $500 a month. $500 a month after taxes is about $350, which won't even make a car payment. If you can recruit distributors selling $5000 a month, you might get 10% of their commission ($50). To make $2000 a month, you would need to sign up 30 more distributors and they would have to sign up even more than that each so they could enjoy the same living as you. This is mathematically impossible. Unless you have a large space with a lot of customers, you will end up not selling enough to make a living on. You will also be responsible for paying the people who recruited you out of YOUR proceeds as well as any overhead you incur.
Freedom 105 website. 

There is very little info here save to  give your email address. This is not how most job opportunities are presented. They are very detailed and they want you to know the ins and outs as well what they expect of you.
Get the picture?

 If you want to spend the money, go on ahead. However, you will likely accomplish the same results I did. If you make a good living on this, then you are the exception and not the rule. If you want to post insults and act the fool, your comment will never show up here. If you want to provide some information to the contrary in a calm and collected manner, I will gladly post it. Maranatha!





Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Flap Over Toilet Flappers.

Normally, I'm a laid back husband and spouse when I come home from work. However, the one thing that can turn me from laid back to bristling and snorting is the sound of a running toilet. From my earlier posts, dear reader, you know that wasting water is anathema and we've went to a more efficient water softener, changed shower heads, and replaced the toilet in the hallway bath with a more efficient one (as if I had a choice, because the government has mandated low water use on these and shower heads). I bought an American Standard model at Lowes and this one was supposed to flush as well with 1.6 gallons as the one that used over 5 gallons to flush. I learned right away that the innards supplied in any toilet today are cheap and will hang up, causing leaks. The problem is with the flapper that seals against the flush valve and the flush handle. The offset flush handle on an American Standard can hang up and hold the flapper open. Likewise, a chain operated flapper can bind up against parts on itself and also hold the flapper open. If some numbkeg flushes the toilet and doesn't wait for the flapper to close, you can waste over 100 gallons an hour. In an area where you use a water softener, this also wastes salt and even more water to regenerate the softener.

Complaining to your children and spouse is never the answer, because instead of consideration, you'll likely have excuses piled upon arguments. Believe me, try this sometime. Everytime you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at you. Just suck it up, get in the truck and head to the hardware store. This is assuming you don't need to take the entire toilet apart, but just to replace the flapper and flush handle. For the American Standard toilet, you'll need ACE part number 4209052 for the handle and part number 43749 for the flapper or equivalent. The reason for the offset handle is that it will work for the flapper and properly fit the tank. The blue PVC flapper with the molded pull strap is the most user friendly to put in, resists chlorine (it is not chlorine proof, so no bleach blocks. STOP USING THEM!) and is the most resistant to hanging up. I've heard from many a plumber that Mansfield valves are the best thing since canned bread, but these require removing the tank and from my experience are not as user friendly to install. Unless you have a Niagra toilet, go ahead and stick with what's in there. The directions on the package should suffice, but with the flapper, pull it tight enough so that you can raise it with the handle. As long as the pull strap doesn't catch on anything inside the tank, you're golden. If not, tighten it up a few notches and try again. Go ahead and do a few test flushes and if so inclined, peek in on it after it's used to make sure it's right. As long as these aren't exposed to bleach or other in tank cleaners, they should last a few years. Most flappers usually last about 3 to 5 years before they degrade and leak. Maranatha!