Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

Cover of "It's a Wonderful Life [Blu-ray]...
The real estate market is quite slow at the moment, and we should all be in the holiday spirit. I recently watched a few Christmas movies, and it's sure about time to mention them here.

A few years ago I went into a shop with the sole intention of purchasing a copy of It's A Wonderful Life on video, and then taking it back home to watch it. I had recorded copies in the past which of course was just not good enough and one November day I wanted to watch the film and didn't have a copy to hand. I decided in that moment that I had to rush out and find a shop with the video for sale (this was before the whole DVD thing). I scanned the shelves of all the shops that sold videos in the town until I found a last copy in a major retail chain. I carefully carried it to the counter holding on, hoping nothing would go wrong and interrupt my planned afternoon of James Stewart viewing. When I reached the counter I was served by the most sour-faced and miserable woman I think I have ever met. Of course I had the biggest grin you've ever seen. This only made matters worse. She looked at me like I had a hole in my head. She stared at the video confused but I just kept on grinning. I couldn't help it. I was about to watch It's A Wonderful Life for billionth time and it was at that point I realized there were actually people out there who either haven't seen or don't understand how wonderful a film can be.

I is for It's A Wonderful Life

I have absolutely no recollection of the first time I saw It's A Wonderful Life and I presume the same will be true of many of the people who will read this (if anyone reads it at all!). It just seems to have been part of my life for so long that it's a strange intangible member of the family who only comes to visit around this time of year. Only the don't because I tend to find myself watching this any time of year. In fact I recently found a channel on television which seems to show the film once a month (that's "Open Access 2" in the US on Sky Digital, I believe but I can't remember correctly. It's about 4 pages down the program guide. This sort of repeating of a good film is uncommon in the US. The channel also seem to show The Third Man and The Seven Samurai every so often but most of the time it's just one of those channels you don't pay attention to). It's unbelievable how often I've come across it and thought "No, you have to go off and do something else" but have been unable to pull myself from the story of George Bailey and how he learnt to live again. My video copy is a tad worn even though it's only a few years old and I know I'm not alone. Obviously it's hard to explain why it's so popular beyond the feel-good ending and the compelling Bailey. It's even harder to explain why it's so important to me, after all many would say that it is only a film. Perhaps they're right but if they can't see the range of emotions, the laughs and the tears, the sheer joy the film brings me and people like me then they are just plain blind. It is one of the most life affirming pieces of art ever made. Along with Harvey and Vertigo this would rank in my top three favorite films (yeah I know that they're all Stewart but that's just coincidence and by the looks of it a good choice of which films to make). For some reason I felt I should end this entry with my favorite line from the film because it makes me smile every time as the young Mary leans over the counter in old man Gower's drugstore and whispers "George Bailey, I'll love you 'til the day I die."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting Cedar Style Furniture

wardrobe revamp
Stylish organization is never easy. The two words do not even fit together when thinking about home decor  But all that changes when you introduce the cedar wardrobe into your bedroom. With the use of cedar to create your wardrobe, you can easily transform the look of your bedroom. With this piece of furniture to store your clothing, stylish organization is not only a possibility- it is a reality. Cedar wood can transform any and every closet in your home into a wardrobe that features easy organization and endless style.

Functionality is the key feature when thinking about choosing a wardrobe, but style is important too. Cedar looks great, and it really fits in well with a home that has a cedar exterior. When deciding to go with cedar for your wardrobe, you choose to easily obtain functionality while maintaining an elegant and classic look. If you are looking to create such a look, then the cedar wardrobe is the right fit for you and your bedroom. In selecting cedar wood for your wardrobe, you transform this simple piece of furniture into more than just an upright closet with shelves and drawers. You create an elegance that ties the rest of the room together.

Wardrobe Styles

A cedar wardrobe is not simply a wooden box that stores clothing and accessories. It is so much more. One can choose from a variety of different types of wardrobes. A corner wardrobe, made of a sturdy cedar wood can save space in smaller size rooms. Wardrobes with sliding doors are extremely convenient and functional and when your sliding door wardrobe is made up of cedar, it is equally as beautiful too. You can consolidate mirror and wardrobe space by having your solid cedar wardrobe encompass both. Children’s wardrobes are also practical and yet stunningly attractive when made up of a well chosen cedar wood. You can choose to have your wardrobe any which way you like. You may like a simple wardrobe with two doors, or add up to as much as four. Whatever your preference, you have tremendous flexibility in choosing a wardrobe for your clothing and accessories. Choosing to have this wardrobe in cedar allows you to have this wardrobe look stylish while being practical.

Organizational Accessories

Although having your wardrobe made up of cedar wood adds a touch of attractiveness to the look, you have to consider convenience and practicality. Adding cedar wood drawers and rods as needed allows you to have functionality. With cedar wood wardrobes you are able to add and take away such features in your closet space as shelves and drawers, while keeping a stylish look to this piece of furniture as well. To have such cedar wood accessories added to your wardrobe allows you to maintain both the look and usefulness to your wardrobe.

All in all, a wardrobe made up sturdy cedar wood allows you to combine style and organization to your room decor  It is useful and beautiful at the same time and because of this, your wardrobe can easily be the focus feature of your bedroom.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Garage Door Repair

As sturdy as your house may be, there are some things, unfortunately, that you cannot foresee happening, or can stop from happening.  A flooded basement, termites, or burst pipes can all be a hassle, to put it mildly.  These are all potential catastrophes that can also be very costly.  Luckily, there are few necessary projects that you can pull off on your own.  One of these includes the undertaking of your own garage door repair.  With a few careful steps, there is no need to spend hard earned money.  Fix your garage door yourself!

Diagnose the Problem
Typically, a problem with your garage door is easy to fix because these problems are simple to diagnose.  There are two essential components to your garage door, for example.  One is the door itself, and the other is the garage door opener.  Once you understand what the problem is and from what part of the garage door it is coming from, garage door repair is really quite simple!

Potential Issues
Regardless to whether you garage door swings open like a restaurant door or rolls up in sections, all garage doors depend on their spring tension.  This means that your garage door, held up on metal tracks, is powered by at least one spring (usually several, depending on the size of your garage door).  Once you understand this, you can then check your tracks to determine if something is wrong that is preventing the springs from providing power to your garage door.  Damage to your metal tracks is commonly the issue with garage door malfunction and can be typically fixed easily. Check for dents on your tracks, loose hardware, or proper alignment of your tracks. Although each issue is handled in its own way (hammering out dents with a rubber mallet is something you can easily do yourself if your issue is a simple dent, for example), in order for you to pull off your own garage door repair, it is imperative that you understand what the problem with your garage door is. Be certainly careful not to injure yourself as well. No need to use a search engine to find someone to fix your leg on a Sunday afternoon.

Although usually issues pertaining to garage door repair stem from problems with your garage door, some problems can be traced to your garage door opener.  These garage openers are complex gadgets that can drive a carriage along a rail and is attached to a drawbar to move the door from their opened to closed positions and vice versa. Any number of issues can affect whether or not the opener is working properly and thus, whether or not your garage door is working.  Some examples of issues with your garage door opener include problems with the motor and radio receiver or the locations of the bolts that allow the chains that drive the door to work.  If any issues arise from the garage door opener, you may have to simply re install the radio receiver and motor using Do It Yourself guides that can be found at any hardware store.

With all of this work, I sometimes wonder why I don't hire my neighbor for the job, and give him a gift card from here for his hard work, with an unspecified amount of cash on the card. ;)

These are some elementary steps in helping you pull off your own repair of your garage door. If the damages to your garage door are extensive, however, it may be time to replace it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moving Homes? You Need a Checklist.

Waiting at KLIA
Waiting at KLIA (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

Whether your moves takes you across town or across the country, making the move as smooth as possible will be your goal. The following tips will assist you in accomplishing this:

Give yourself enough time
It is recommended you schedule your move at least one month in advance. Eighty percent of all moving is done between May and September, so plan ahead and schedule accordingly.

Keep those receipts
Many moving expenses are tax deductible, so keep your receipts in a safe, easy to access place. You'll want to consult with your tax advisor, or you can call the IRS and request publication 521: Tax Information On Moving Expenses.

Change of address
Your local post office offers free change of address kits. The packet includes change-of-address cards to notify magazine publishers, creditors, organizations, insurance and medical companies, etc. You also will find an address forwarding card so the post office will have instructions on where to forward your mail.

Cancel your utilities
Be sure and cancel your telephone, water, sewer, garbage, electric and any other utilities. Call the same day to order your new service for your new location. Be sure your utilities are turned on before you move in, as you will want to use your vacuum, dishwasher, etc. as soon as you begin moving in your belongings.

Leaving the area?
You'll want to gather all your family's personal records. Call ahead and ask for your medical records, dental records, school transcripts, legal documents, etc. Don't forget to empty your safety deposit box.

Many thanks for William M. Cross Realty for this handy checklist. If you're ever moving out the the New York area, and are searching for Syracuse real estate, you better take a look at what they have to offer!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The History of Troy Ohio

Official seal of City of Dayton
Official seal of City of Dayton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Located in Western Ohio, just north of Dayton, Troy has quite a lot to offer for those who like history. Here are a few of the top places to look into if you're ever in the area:

The Courthouse:
Construction was completed on the Troy Courthouse in 1888, and it is one of the oldest buildings in the area. The three story Neo-Renaissance style courthouse has beautiful interior decorations, which detail highly colored floor tiles and plastered ceilings. Tours of the court house can be taken, so give them a call if you're interested.

Patriot Antique Shoppe
A great stop for those who want to see a great deal of historical variety. Customers bring in their historical inventory, which is placed online and marketed to prospective buyers around the world. Of course, you can pick up some cool items just by stopping in!

Troy Hall of Fame
Troy has produced some outstanding athletes over the years, including Kristin King, a 2006 hockey olympian as well as some great minds, including Dr. William Earl Shoupp, one of the greatest nuclear physicists of the 20th century.

Troy is also a great place to find a job and settle down. Many homes are available, and if you're looking for apartments, you can check out First Troy Corp. Rentals. They have many apartment options available for a variety of needs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Going Off the Grid in Switzerland

Switzerland (Photo credit: siette)
Switzerland is one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers visiting Europe, and quite often visitors are stuck in huge lines and crowds because they came at the wrong time of the year. For many, there is nothing wrong with this, but others imagine the stunning natural beauty void of humans when visiting Switzerland. Here are a few traveling tips when going through Switzerland if you are looking to avoid the big crowds.

Sadly, if skiing is your thing, ideal skiing conditions and small crowds do not mix well in Switzerland. Expert skiers come from all over the world to ski the Swiss Alps, and the winter months are usually packed with them. There are some ski resorts that are not as crowded as others during the winter months, and there are some off trail slopes that are generally free of other skiers.

During the summer months, hiking and mountain biking is a popular activity. These are quite often filled on a daily basis with tour groups, which makes knowing the crowded trails easy to predict. Just going on the websites of a few travel groups can tell you the most visited areas, however these are often the best places to visit. My recommendation would be to go only during the early morning or late afternoons of these popular spots.

You won't find many places to stay that are free of other people, and hotels and hostels are usually your best option. Hotels can be a bit pricey though, so we would recommend going to the Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof if you're ever in that area, which you more than likely will be, and need a nice hostel in the heart of the Swiss Alps.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Escaping to the City

BOSTON (July 4, 2008) Confetti rains down at t...
Summer is almost here, and it's full of some great holidays, festivals and events that take place in some of the larger cities in our country. Here are some of the biggest events that you won't want to miss while you are in the city this summer:

4th of July Fireworks

Nothing is better than fireworks on the 4th of July, and the major cities always put on the best shows. With budgets ranging in the hundreds of thousands, major cities understand the value of attracting huge crowds just for a day or two to their town. One of my favorite places to watch fireworks is over the St. Charles river in Boston. With the Boston Pops playing and the old historic feel Boston brings, no other town in my opinion can beat it.

Music Festivals

There are many music festivals that take place all across the United States, many of which date back over 100 years. Look up a few in your local area, and you may not even need to go to a big city to enjoy a great show. The Lollapaloozaevent in Chicago brings in hundreds of thousands of people for a short period of time, and tickets get sold out months in advance. Even if you don't have a ticket, you can still crash the event.

If you're staying in a city for a while, but you don't have a friend's couch to crash on, make sure you look at holiday apartments for rent and book ahead of time. Quite often you can get a great deal on a place if you plan your vacation trip well ahead of time.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why Are My Chlorine Tablets Individually Wrapped?

It’s important for pool owners to be knowledgeable about proper water sanitation practices to ensure pool longevity and provide those who enjoy it with water that’s safe. If you ask owners or pool lovers to name a chemical most commonly found in pool water, most will likely name chlorine.

Stabilized chlorine tablets (like these 3" wrapped tablets) are a popular choice, and they are available in different quantities for an easy and quick way to sanitize pool water. They are powerful, slow dissolving, and soluble, saving pool owners time and money. What’s more, they are EPA approved and will not cloud water. They generally come in sizes of 1 to 3 inches and contain 90% available chlorine.

The tablets are individually wrapped for safe, easy handling. In addition, it safeguards against accidentally putting too many tablets in at once. Most tablets work in skimmers, floaters, and chlorinators. Chlorine kills bacteria, algae, and other contaminants that are hazardous to human health.

With all the pool chemicals available, it’s important to find the perfect balance of chemicals for personal needs. Chlorine tablets are one staple to maintaining clean and safe water. Keep in mind that all chemical levels, including chlorine, muse be checked regularly to ensure they are not too low or too high. Chlorine test strips can be used to check the amount of chlorine in the water in case any corrective measures need to be taken. Testing is easy and involves dipping the strip into the water and comparing it to a chart found on the bottle.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Be Environmental this Summer

Aparelho de ar condicionado(Photo credit: Wikipedia)Now that the weather's starting to get a bit warmer, I started thinking about all the ways people will waste energy with the warmer weather. I always try to sneak in some environmental consulting with my blog posts, so here we go:

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we use most of our electricity and energy throughout the summer, which is mostly used on the increased levels of air conditioning we burn through. Quite often, stores leave their doors wide open in the summer time as a way to invite potential customers into their cooler store. Of course, this wastes tons of energy and I try to avoid those stores all-together as an act of defiance. If the weather isn't uncomfortably hot outside, don't bother to turn on the AC. Just roll up your windows and enjoy the nice cool air.

If you're going to be staying inside, simply wear cooler and more loosely fitting clothes. It is understandable if you have to wear a suit to work every day, but change into shorts and a tee shirt instead of cranking up the AC when you get home. I always prefer to jump into my Dickies work pants on a hot summer day, since i cannot wear shorts to work. Also, a polo shirt always looks fairly professional and can keep you cool on a hot day.

Also, if you work in the manufacturing industry, you can be environmentally friendly as well. Take for example the steel industry. Many companies make steel with intense heat repeatedly, which uses up a great amount of energy. Take the heat out of the equation, and make a product like cold drawn steel, and you get a steel product that is just as strong if not stronger, and the energy saved can save the manufacturer quite a bit of money.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Installing a Ball Valve

Cutaway of a simple manual ball valve 1) Body ...Cutaway of a simple manual ball valve 1) Body 2) Head 3) Ball 4) Lever handle 5) Stem Italiano: Sezione di valvola a sfera :1) corpo :2) tenute o sede :3) otturatore (la sfera vera e propria) :4) leva di azionamento :5) stelo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Installing a ball valve can be a fairly difficult process, and it is something that can easily be done wrong, resulting in wasted time and money making fixes. Worst of all, installing a ball valve  improperly is essentially installing a safety hazard for you and everyone around. Follow these easy steps to make sure you install your ball valves properly and safely:

Double check to make sure everything is turned off! Sounds like a no-brainer, but it you don't want a big mess to clean up.

Holding the ball valve against the pipe, make marks on the pipe with a marker so you know  where the pipe needs to be cut. Make sure you don't cut off too much, as part of the pipe should sit inside the ball valve. It's always easier to cut too little instead of too much!

Put towels underneath the pipe before cutting the pipe. With your pipe cutters, slip them over the pipe, tighten and rotate them around until the pipe is cut.

Follow proper instructions for installing the particular type of ball valve you have. Once installed, make sure you test it at a low pressure.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Help push the Pickens Plan. Wind Power across the Great Plains.

Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains states are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world — by far. The Department of Energy reports that 20% of America's electricity can come from wind. North Dakota alone has the potential to provide power for more than a quarter of the country.
Today's wind turbines stand up to 410 feet tall, with blades that stretch 148 feet in length. The blades collect the wind's kinetic energy. In one year, a 3-megawatt wind turbine produces as much energy as 12,000 barrels of imported oil... How do we get it done? The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future — a blueprint to reduce foreign oil dependence by harnessing domestic energy alternatives, and buy us time to develop even greater new technologies.
Building new wind generation facilities and better utilizing our natural gas resources can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years. But it will take leadership.Pickens Plan

This post was written by Offgrid and originally appeared here