Thursday, May 31, 2007

zenhabits can help you shape up your life

There are many books, articles and blogs from which to gather strategies for a sustainable lifestyle. If you want a concise yet comprehensive listing of ways to make your life run better, take a look at Leo's zenhabits blog post called Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity.
It's a great place to start.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Protect Yourself Against Power Outages

Of course, we would prefer not to lose electrical power at all. And sometimes some of us may feel that power companies could do a better job getting power back faster, but the fact of the matter is that they don't know where the outages will occur, nor with what severity. And it simply is not possible to have enough equipment and manpower on hand for events that occur occasionally. I remember trying to get a hotel room while traveling, and all the hotels on a long stretch of highway were booked solid, largely because they were housing workers brought in to help get power back to the area. But here are a couple things that you can do to lessen the impact of a loss of power before it occurs.
1) Listen to the weather reports frequently so you can know if a storm is expected. Charge your cell phone in advance of the storm.
2) Extend the ability of your refrigerator to withstand a loss of power
by freezing giant ice bars. Half gallon plastic containers from milk with twist caps may work well. Make sure not to fill them to the top: room is needed because the water will take up more space when it turns into ice, so first test out one bottle, at about 85% full. Keep some of these containers on hand so that some can be kept in the freezer during an outage and some can be placed in the refrigerator. With their bulk and density they may be able to extend the quality of your food by a few hours. You might make some smaller containers to position close to certain foods. Keeping a gallon or two of water in the refrigerator will also add some extra coldness.
3) You may want to avoid losing work that you are doing on your home computer. It may be worth investing in an uninterruptible power supply. A UPS takes over in the instance of a loss of power so that unsaved work is not lost.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Have You Heard of CERT?

Last night I went to a meeting of a club I belong to.
After the meeting some of us continued the good
conversation at a restaurant, lengthening the night
such that my drive home extended just into the
next day.
Just 5 minutes from home, I went around a curve
and encountered a car that had just lost its good looks.
Despite the 20 year old driver driving as what he
perceived to be a sensible speed, the combination
of curve and wet pavement from an earlier rain proved
too much for the car to handle, so the guardrail served
its purpose by preventing the car from journeying
down the wooded slope. Boy was okay; car was not.
He had already called for help. I took a couple small
red traffic cones out of my car and positioned them on
the road to alert other vehicles to the stationary mess.
The boy was surprised that I had these supplies and
got them out matter-of-factly.
I explained to him that
I had received training from CERT -
Emergency Response Team. CERT volunteers spend
about 20 hours in basic training learning various skills
to respond to emergency situations. Sometimes they
may be the first to arrive on the scene and can do some
things to facilitate resolution of a situation by the First
Responders- Police, Firefighters,and EMS. Sometimes they
will supplement First Responders by performing support
tasks suitable to their level of training.
I have provided just a quick overview of CERT here.
To learn more about it, you may want to take a look at
CERT Los Angeles site. They may be able to help you
locate a CERT group in your area. CERT is in all 50 states.