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Kim asks the Friday Question weekly over at ilaxStudio.com.

You’ll have to figure out which day…

Written By: Gary on February 4, 2011 3 Comments

This week’s Friday Question is Which household chores do you like and which do you try to avoid?

Hmmm… Laundry is easy for me, I’ve got my own washer and dryer right off the living room and dining room. So I’m always doing laundry and it’s not much of a nuisance at all. Living alone I’m able to just leave things hanging up down there and wear them again (then start the process again). Every so often I take everything back upstairs and intentionally wear different stuff so people think I have more than the same seven outfits over and over again.

I don’t like cleaning the shower, so I’ve got one of those Scrubbing Bubbles automatic spray machines. It’s not perfect but it definitely helps keep the shower cleaner longer. Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower CleanerStarter Kit Scrubbing BubblesThe refills add up, but it really works and I just noticed the refills at Amazon (with subscribe and save) isn’t priced too bad, considering they’ll deliver to my door (I’ll have to double-check that with store prices); I’ve never done the “subscribe and save” there before (have you?).

And I don’t mind running the dishwasher either, I usually run it twice a week. I’m usually out of frying pans before it’s full. And I can multitask and empty it while cooking or something.

Vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing my floors are my least favorite. I don’t like stirring up the dust, it seems counter-productive, and washing the floors is … Well, who really likes to do that?!?

I’ve got a condo, so shoveling isn’t much of a big deal, just getting a few nooks and crannies that they couldn’t get to around the garage.

What are your likes and dislikes with cleaning?

Written By: Gary on January 17, 2011 3 Comments

This week’s question is What do you use for your alarm clock – an actual alarm clock or your phone (or maybe the sun, your kids, your pet, other)?

Sleep is a complicated issue for me, I like a fan or a white noise machine (fortunately there’s a White Noise app* for that) to help me sleep. whitenoise-app.pngGenerally I sleep with a fan on, that automatically turns itself off about 10 minutes before the alarm clock; if I got enough sleep, sometimes that’s enough to wake me up. Then a few minutes later a bright “natural” light turns itself on. Then the alarms start going off, the alarm clock (with the traffic report), then the phone alarm, then the alarm clock CD player (currently an upbeat Avril song is playing), then the phone again. And my friend Mark will call sometimes to make sure I’m up…

There is (generally) a new Friday Question every Friday.

* The White Noise iPhone app I mentioned is great, it’s got lots of sounds (I like the white noise) and timers (countdown, alarms, etc.). It’s quite possibly the best $2 I’ve spent in the app store.

Written By: Gary on July 17, 2010 One Comment

I love surprises! And I don’t need much. A weird candy bar I haven’t been able to find. A pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Coca-Cola in a glass bottle!

Great Ideas To Surprise Your Mom On Mothers Day: Here's A Guide to Help You Make the Perfect Plans for Wonderful Mother's Day Celebration!A complicated thing could possibly disastrous though: Don’t take me on a surprise trip to Chicago without my camera(s) and rollerblades (or bicycle). I’d need something to make be bring the right supplies. Tell me we’re hiking for a bit so I bring two kinds of shoes with a camera or two and that I should bring my blades “in case the new paved trail is done”.

Parties are good (I’m pretty happy with a party even if it’s not a surprise!). A trip around the world, surprise away, it should include some places that I want to go…

I’d be really surprised if Kim sent me some of those Star Wars cookies she baked :)

This question is from this week’s (#122) Friday Question

Written By: Gary on January 29, 2010 One Comment

I like the Friday Question #98 for this week: What hobbies would you pursue if money was of no concern?

The first thing I thought was “Does travel count as a hobby“? But since KIm listed travel as hobby I figured it was okay to use…

Clouds Treo 111008 001So I’ll talk about travel as my topic. For me, the most expensive part about traveling is the getting to the destination. I can be pretty happy about staying somewhere cheap and out of the way but it’s getting there. Even when I get to Costa Rica and I can usually pay about $300-ish for my flight it’s still the getting around in country that costs money.

So even when I get to my isolated places and find a cheap place to stay. It’ll cost me more to rent a scooter or 4-wheeler for the day compared to the hotel; heck a bicycle rental is half the price of a hotel. Some other things to do on a trip like a horseback ride of out to an island where you can snorkel is more than the hotel too. As vacations go, these are cheap things to do ($35-$40 a day) but when that’s exceeding your other big costs you start to notice.

I guess if the money was of no concern I might stay at nicer places and in bigger cities but I’m pretty happy in some little town by the water or up in the mountains somewhere.

I guess photography and videography would be another hobby, since I love to do that. The problem is that just ends up with more stuff for me to carry around with me when I travel. And I guess for $5,000-$8,000 I could buy more than everything I need (multiple cameras and lens of different types and two different sized video cameras) and be done with it for more than a few years. Travel is a lot more expensive over the long haul.

I guess I just need a job that lets me travel, write about it and shoot lots of photos and video!!!

Written By: Gary on January 9, 2010 2 Comments

Here are some of my easy tips for reducing spending. I don’t go in to as many items as Kim (from the Friday Question) does but these can add up quick so I’ll share a few of my easiest ones. Actually I think most of these add up faster than shopping around for gas prices (even if you drive a big vehicle).

Managing Your Money All-In-One For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)) Consumer Dummies1) Pay your bills automatically (and on time)! I don’t mean electronically (this is work), I mean automatically so they just deduct your account. Set up auto-bill payments just one time so bills comes out the of the bank (generally on the day due, you can’t pay it any closer that that) any you don’t have to write checks, buy stamps or take the time to do it. If it’s a regular payment (same amount every month) that can’t do direct withdrawal see if your bank can send a check for you, my bank does it for a quarter (less than a stamp) and I never have to think about it. If you do this you’ll avoid any fees or fines for tardy bills. I’m assuming you already do direct deposit for your checks, don’t you?

2) Keep what you drink around you. If you’re always drinking water keep a few in the trunk. Or grab a cold soda on the way out of the house. I keep a case of water bottles* in the garage, if I take an empty out of the car, I put in a full one. If you’re heading out to a picnic bring the sodas with you. If you’ve got a fridge at work, keep sodas/water/etc. there. If this stops you from buying one drink a day ($1.00-$1.75) and you purchased your drinks on sale (stock up dummy!) you could easily save $365 a year, if this stops you from buying two drinks a day you could double that. Even just twice a week could pocket you a $100 at the end of the year. I’m not suggesting that you take your drink into a restaurant or movie theatre just if you’e going to get one anyways.

3) Pay a little attention to grocery sales. I shop for groceries for myself and traditionally when trying coupon cutting I waste more time cutting and looking at the store for the coupons then I save. But look for the obvious: If Orange Juice is on sale for $2 a gallon (down from $4) and you drink a gallon a week, stock up, pay attention to the dates though. If the cereal you like is on sale, stock up! And if you soda pop you drink is on sale, buy lots, it keeps for a while. Besides you want to keep some at your desk at work.

4) If you ever eat out, buy an Entertainment book. It’s not just food, most food coupons are B!G!, but could save the price of a book just with the Radio Shack, Target and Border’s book coupons. I’m not saying go to restaurants that you don’t normally go to, I’m saying just look at the book and go to the same places you already go! After the first year, you’ll buy one for both of your cars (if your family has two). Better yet, buy one before the family goes on vacation and use it there, because if you’re going to eat at unfamiliar restaurants, you might as well as use one you’ve got coupons for!

5) Don’t pay too much for gasoline. Speaking of saving money when shopping for gas, you can pay more than the cheapest place, just not too much. Some people drive across town for 5 cents a gallon, but not out of the way may save them 3 cents. Take two seconds to check prices at GasBuddy.com and see what’s average and if prices are going up or down (once you select your cities you can bookmark it). For example, there’s a few places at $2.59 but that’s across town but there is a bunch around $2.63 on the way to where I’m going but now I know to ignore the $2.77+ stations, which is what it was a few days ago. BTW, there’s an iPhone app for that.

6) Use the library for books, audiobooks or DVDs. Figure out how to reserve items on-line and they’ll contact you when it’s sitting at the counter. My library seems to put books in the electronic catalog when they order, so I can reserve best-sellers months before they come out; they’ll even ship them between branches for me. Just return them on time so you don’t pay fines.

7) Don’t buy lottery tickets! But then again if you don’t play you can’t win. That reminds me, I need to check my ticket numbers. I’ll admit, I do buy tickets, but $3 would be a busy week for me. But someone has to win, don’t they?

Most of these, especially the first five, are easy to do and don’t require much change in your life. If anything the first one will save you time and money.

Written By: Gary on December 4, 2009 2 Comments

Would you rather live somewhere where the you see significant changes in the seasons throughout the year, or where it pretty much stays the same? What is your ideal daily temperature? from Friday Question #91.

I like the changes in weather. While I’d rather have winter shorter, Michigan weather isn’t too bad, but then again I’m used to it. I need more sunshine though! Give me more below freezing days but with sunshine I’d be a happy camper.

My preference would be the nice weather of Costa Rica every day (75-95° F) but I can’t have that here if I have to wear a suit every day. Plus, when you get something like the nice weather of Costa Rica you get the ultra-rainy season to be the down side (and when it stops you can’t get around due to the flooding).

So I think I’d choose Costa Rica. GIve me the hot weather and if I complain in the rainy season just remind me that I live in paradise.

Written By: Gary on November 6, 2009 One Comment

So this week’s Friday Question (#87) is

If rain could fall in any scent, what scent would you want it to be?

I had several answers come to mind: I like the smell of rain, the ocean, or I think I’d get bored of the same smell. But the I noticed first few people to comment gave those answers, so I’m going with my fourth option, the world (could) would be happier option…

delete-rain_5.gifI think the smell of rain should change every time it rains. Everyone would go outside to see what today’s scent is or they’d open the windows so they can catch of whiff of it. So instead of being sad it was raining, everyone would be chatting about it and if they liked the smell or not. And the puddles would smell nice too.

Maybe people would tweet to say go outside and smell the maple syrup! Or, just as importantly, we’d get asparagus alerts to not to go outside.

And maybe after the rain it would affect the color of the sky or the rainbow, everyone would wonder outside to see what the flavored sky would look like and have something else to talk about and to brighten up their day.

Written By: Gary on October 9, 2009 3 Comments

Are you friends with your coworkers on Facebook? Have you found this to be beneficial (fun) or detrimental (annoying)? From Friday Question #83 at ilaxSTUDIO.

I think that generally when someone at work has friended me on social networks that I have accepted. I don’t really blog/complain about work, so this isn’t too much of a problem for me; I try not to put things that future employers would find unappealing; it’s not perfect, but I think the acceptable stuff vs. (what might be) unacceptable is so overwhelming, it’d be irrelevant. Those co-workers have chosen to be a part of my social network and need to behave properly; if they reveal something of me, they’ve probably put more inappropriate stuff on-line. And keep in mind, on-line I stay pretty mellow.

facebook-dummies-51Xc1yYSzDL._SL160_.jpgIn the end it hasn’t been beneficial or a problem. I guess if I do something cool or fun they might share it with someone else, but since I don’t post too much stuff I would care about, it’s not really detrimental.

When I travel I’ll post blog posts but things on-line for coworkers to see. But I’ll post it separate from my blog. For example, while for my trip I sent this link to co-workers for my Costa Rica 2007 trip, it’s virtually the same as my blog category of the same name. The co-worker link doesn’t include links back to my blog or (sadly) allow comments (couldn’t get it to work without the rest of the blog). The stories are all the same, but if I would have has something no so work safe, partying at a bar or pictures of a something like a bikini contest (but you get the idea), I’d not have added them to the “work category” and you’d only have seen them if you went to the main blog and not on the page for co-workers. Actually, I don’t really post it separate (it just shows up separate), the blog software does it for me; I haven’t figured this special category out for WordPress yet, not sure how to generate a category page without all the other junk, in MovableType I knew how (any tips?).

I know co-workers have found my blog, but it’s not what I gave them as an address, so it’s not what I shared with them, it’s what they found on their own. Since they found it and I didn’t invite them, it’s more like them running into them at the bar or on vacation or something.

I’m rethinking what get’s reposted to my Facebook page automatically though. I think I have a few co-workers and a few college students that I’ve taught. But the Facebook page and my blog intermingles so much, it’s hard to separate it…

Written By: Gary on September 11, 2009 One Comment

This weeks Friday Question is: What’s your reaction when you receive a compliment?

If it’s something about me being nice or smart or something like that, I’m never so sure how to respond. A mumbled thanks or something is most likely.

But if it’s a compliment about my cool shoes or something like that. Then I appropriately say thank you and probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know about them.

So it’s a mixed response depending on the kind of compliment.

Written By: Gary on August 21, 2009 2 Comments

From the Friday Question #76:

specialkstraw.jpegWhat is your favorite (cold) cereal? You know, the one you could just eat bowls and bowls of?
So this summer, when I was up north at my Aunt and Uncle’s place, I had Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries Cereal one morning. It was delicious and it’s “Special K” so it’s got to be nutritious, right? Well, it turns out it’s pretty negligible on the being more nutritious when compared to something like Frosted Flakes, and it’s way more expensive. (But don’t tell my aunt!)

So my usual favorite is Frosted Flakes, but occasionally I’ll buy some of the Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries as a treat.

FYI, cereal is more of a snack to me, it’s pretty rare that I eat it as breakfast (especially when at home).

Written By: Gary on September 22, 2008 2 Comments

Do you eat the same thing everyday? Are there any foods/drinks, you feel like you have to consume on a daily basis? Or do you like some variety?

I’m totally a creature of food habit. Breakfast is almost the same every day (turkey bacon, fried egg, cantaloupe and OJ; sometimes I mix it up with real bacon). If I’m at a restaurant, I probably know what I’m getting before I went there (I decided what to eat and then picked the restaurant). Most restaurants I only get one or two different things. If it’s a sandwich, it’s “no pickle, no mustard and no mayo”. And at a few places I have a favorite table or two (at my local Einstein’s they know I’m disappointed if I can’t get the table I want). I really need my daily Coca-Cola but I try not to have any after 2 PM (unless there is alcohol in it). And I try to have at least 3 bottles of water a day (if not more).

From Friday Question #38.

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