Thursday, May 24

Toshiba Laptop Overheating Issues

Toshiba Satellite A70In my last post, the one with the picture of the guy pulling his hair out, I briefly mentioned my recent computer woes. Let me see if I can summarize events without getting very technical.

I was really happy with my laptop, for quite a while, especially since it has really convenient wireless connectivity. I should be able to work from anywhere, and most importantly, from the local coffee shops that have hotspots and so forth. Life was good!

However, this model (the Toshiba Satellite laptop) developed an overheating problem. It was painful. I'd be working away, tappity tappity, and then the darned thing would declare an emergency and shut down immediately. No closing of files and no warning given. After a while it simply shut off immediately as soon as I turned it on... yay.

To make a long story short, skipping past the computer woes that eventually befell my previously trusty old and clunky desktop, I suddenly needed to get the laptop working again! In desperation I turned it on, after a month or two of disuse, and it kept working for a while before overheating. Whoa, an advancement!

Desperate to get it working, I fiddled with a few switches and things, plopped the battery out, and even considered getting a screwdriver and opening up the case. In a stroke of luck, I decided to blow into the cooling fan area. Would you believe a small cloud of dust blew out the other end?

So, here's the cheapest laptop repair tip you'll ever get. If your laptop shuts down due to overheating, blow out all the dust you can. Basically, keep blowing through the fan input and output areas until you no longer get visible dust ejected. The darn thing has been working fine since. No new parts. No service technicians. This is a lot cheaper than bringing it in for official services at the local geek depot.

See you at the coffee shop! ;)

Tuesday, May 22

Frugality: Discipline and Guilt

Man pulling out hair (not me)Have you ever been doing well on a dietary plan and then had to throw it aside for a few days while you travelled or visited? Did it make you feel guilty?

What about the financial aspect? Have you, by choice or otherwise, tossed aside the frugal mindset and then felt guilty about it?

Of course, unexpected events will always happen. We can't plan for or prepare for every eventuality. So why, when events push or pull us away from our desired disciplined path, do we feel so stressed about it?

For example, last weekend was a visiting weekend. So, additional travel expenses, food and drink expenses, entertainment expenses and so forth. I think I have a spending and dietary hangover. Now, adding to my stress, are some fairly serious computer troubles. I'm spending money to find out how much it will cost to keep myself reliably online.

I know it's somewhat irrational, but I'm feeling a lot of guilt, anxiety or something about all of this. It feels just like falling off the diet wagon! I never realized the behaviors were so similiar.

I suppose that both dieting and frugality are states of mind that involve willed discipline to counter our instincts, desires and impulses. I'm guessing that the lessons of each can be applied to the other.

Personally, I'm feeling a bit out of control in both areas right at the moment. I suspect, or am wondering if, losing control in one area, by choice or by necessity, puts pressure on the mental discipline needed to stay in control in other areas? Something to think about.

Thursday, May 17

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back, or My Multvitamin Supplement Purchase

As I mentioned in a recent comment I realize I am not the most voracious consumer of vegetables. I also realize how important they are to health. Unfortunately, I've never been able to develop a taste for them (parents, don't let this happen to your kids) either. So, just this morning I went ahead and reordered my super duper, top of the line, mega multi-nutrient supplement.

I should note that they do have several different variations of this product, but here is the ingredient list for the one I buy:

Vitamin A (as 20% Betatene D. salina natural beta-carotene with mixed carotenoids1 and 80% acetate)

Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbate, niacinamide ascorbate, and acerola juice powder)

Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol)

Vitamin E (as D-alpha tocopheryl succinate)

Thiamine (vitamin B1) (as thiamine HCl)

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) (with 2 mg riboflavin 5’ phosphate coenzyme)

Niacin (vitamin B3) (as 53% niacinamide, 38% niacin, 9% niacinamide ascorbate)

Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCI with 2.5 mg pyridoxal 5’ phosphate coenzyme)

Folic acid

Vitamin B12 (as 42% cyanocobalamin, 42% hydroxylcobalamin, 16% ion exchange resin)

Biotin

Pantothenic acid (as D-calcium pantothenate with 5 mg pantethine)

Calcium (as calcium ascorbate, D-calcium pantothenate, Calcium D-Glucarate)

Iodine (as potassium iodide)

Magnesium (as magnesium oxide, citrate, glycinate, taurinate, arginate, ascorbate)

Zinc (as methionate [OptiZinc], zinc succinate)

Selenium (as 50% se-methylselenocysteine, 25% L-selenomethionine (yeast free) (SelenoPure), and 25% sodium selenate)

Copper (as copper bisglycinate chelate)

Manganese (as manganese gluconate)

Chromium (as Chromium 454 bio-organic yeast extract matrix)

Molybdenum (as sodium molybdate)

Potassium (as potassium chloride)

N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)

Taurine

Inositol

Phosphatidylcholine (from soy)

Choline (as choline bitartrate)

Dilauryl thiodipropionate

Thiodipropionic acid

Boron (as boron citrate/aspartate/glycinate complex)

Ascorbyl palmitate (fat soluble vitamin C)

para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)

Trimethylglycine (TMG) (as betaine anhydrous) (from sugar beets)

Alpha-carotene

Citrus bioflavonoid complex [50% total bioflavonoids (650 mg)]
  Flavanone (Hesperidin) 35% (455 mg)
  Flavonones (Naringin, Naringenin 7-B-Rutinoside and others) 14% (182 mg)
  Flavonols, Flavones and related phenolic compounds 1% (13 mg)

Broccoli sprout concentrate (A proprietary blend of broccoli sprout concentrates and Calcium D-Glucarate) (providing sulforaphane, glucosinolates, D-3T, and PEITC)

Calcium D-Glucarate

Decaffeinated Green tea (Camellia sinensis) extract (leaf) [std. to 98% polyphenols (318.5 mg) and 45% Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) (146.25 mg)]

Acerola juice powder extract 1:4 (Malpighia punicifolia) (fruit)

Ginger root extract (Zingiber officinale) (root) [standardized for 5% gingerols (10 mg)]

HiActives 100% fruit/berry complex (A proprietary blend of concentrated blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, persimmon, plum, and cherry powders)

VitaBlue Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) 130:1 extract (fruit) [standardized to 14% Total Phenolics (21 mg), 4.9% Total Anthocyanins (7.35 mg), 660 ppm Pterostilbene (0.1 mg)]

Milk thistle extract (Silybum marianus) (seeds) [standardized for 85% silymarin (85 mg)]

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) extract (fruit) [standardized to 30% Punicalagins (25.5 mg)]

Bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus) (berry) [standardized for 25% anthocyanidins (7.5 mg)]

Leucoselect grapeseed extract (Vitis vinifera) (seeds) [std. for 95% proanthocyanidins (23.75 mg)]

BioVin grape extract (Vitis vinifera) (whole grapes) [std. for minimum 95% proanthocyanidins (23.75 mg), minimum 75% total polyphenols as gallic acid monohydrate (18.75 mg), minimum 200 ppm trans-resveratrol]

Bromelain (from pineapple) (2400 gelatin digestive units per gram)

Lutein (purified concentrate from marigold flowers) (Tagetes erecta) (providing 465 mcg zeaxanthin)

Olive juice extract (fresh fruit) [std. to 10% polyphenols (1.25 mg), 7% hydroxytyrosol (0.88 mg)]

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) lignan extract

Luteolin [from perilla leaf extract (Perilla frutescens)]

Lycopene (from natural tomato extract) (Lyc-O-Mato)

It's not cheap! I'm bemoaning the fact that my purchase, lumped into a single month like it is, puts me backwards in my goals a tiny amount. However, as I always say, health is number one. I'll adjust that to include family I suppose, and then job, career and financial concerns can comingle underneath.

I don't eat tomatoes everyday. I don't eat broccoli everyday. I don't always drink green tea every day. I don't eat cherries, blueberries, pomegranates, blackberries, elderberries, cranberries, persimmons and plums every day. I don't eat pineapple everday. I don't eat grapes every day. Most of the rest are chelated versions of common vitamins and minerals available in most good multi supplements.

So, this morning I bit the bullet and bought my annual supply of these nutrients. Is it absolutely necessary? Maybe not. I am aware that many people are uncertain about the value of supplements. I consider it insurance. I may or may not need it, but I feel that the body will utilize what it is given to maintain itself at the highest level of health that it can. Quite honestly, if most of these ingredients pass through my body unutilized, I am absolutely fine with that.

However, if you follow along with health research, you'll see that there are many studies showing that antioxidants and many components of fruits and vegetables that have striking beneficial effects on both health and disease resistance. The LEF (the people who sell the supplement above) have a track record of fighting to ensure supplements remain available to the public as well as funding longevity research to help find ways for us to retain higher quality of life for longer.

You owe it to yourself to check out their web site if you have any health concerns or disease predispositions in your family. They'll give you lots of reading material and summarized research -- and of course a ton of supplements that target nearly any issue. There, that should do for my annual pimping of the company that I buy my supplements from...

Live long and prosper! ;)

Friday, May 11

Quick Oatmeal Quip

Because I know how much my readers enjoy following along with the minutia of my life, I thought I'd post about today's oatmeal purchase. Woohoo, exciting stuff! Actually, the most exciting part was the parking lot. I'd have sworn that an AARP meeting had just finished. It was treacherous.

Anyway, I managed to escape without a fender bender, paying about $2.50 for 5lbs of rolled oats. That should look after breakfast for the rest of the month! I don't know why there was such a congregration at the bulk burn, maybe they had a sale on pitted prunes that I didn't notice?

I'm only kidding. I think everyone was renting movies next door.

Tuesday, May 8

Rice Recipe Variations

Fried Rice, Yummy!As discussed in this recent post about Squeezing the Budget, I have been eating lots of ground beef and rice. Here are a couple variations I have recently tried and enjoyed...

Egg Rice with Pesto
Based on the idea that pesto is made from pine nuts, which contain pinolenic acid, which supposedly helps increase satiety from a meal, I long ago bought some pesto. Just a week or so ago I finally opened the jar and tried it. You see, I had bought some pine nuts and didn't like the flavor, so I was skeptical about the pesto too. Imagine my surprise, the pesto is great!

Anyway, the pesto is a basil flavored variety, there are various styles, and has pine nuts and various other nuts and oils in it. It's great. I've had it on pasta, of course, and it works just as well with rice. One simple recipe is to oil your pan (I prefer to use a bit of coconut oil), toss in a couple eggs, perhaps add a splash of milk and stir things around like you might be scrambling them. When the eggs are half done, throw in a teaspoon of pesto (alter to taste), spice if desired, stir, and then dump in some rice. Serve when the eggs are finished cooking. Delicious!

Beef, Rice and Salsa
I guess this recipe is a convenience recipe that won't hit your wallet too hard. Fry up a small chunk of ground beef. Spice the beef to taste. As soon as it is cooked enough to eat, add your rice. Spoon on some salsa, a couple of tablespoons perhaps, and mix everything together. Serve when the rice has been (re)heated. The salsa adds a bit of spice, a bit of tomato, onions and peppers. It's a great shortcut to slicing and frying vegetables and adds a lot of flavor.

Tuesday, May 1

Today's Shopping and Dinner Time

With no Earth shattering thoughts to share, I figured I'd just write about some minor financial events of the day.

For example, while shopping for soap today, I was on the lookout for parabens and large amounts of perfume. I'd read about it before, but today I was reading the blog over at Ideal Bite which reminded me about this issue. Basically, we can be exposed to a lot of environmental estrogens, and, as a guy, I don't really want to be. So, I ended up buying some Ivory soap and some Down Under Naturals shampoo.

I don't really know what all the ingredients in the shampoo are, but I didn't notice any phthalates or parabens. It also lists fragrance right down at the end of the ingredient list, so, compared to many products, it should be alright. I may be over reacting, but I really don't trust commercial companies to have my best interests at heart or to look very hard for additional risk vectors.

On the financial front, these products may not be the cheapest ones available, but then I don't use them up very quickly either. If I can figure out what brands I want to buy with respect to environmental issues I don't mind spending a couple extra dollars a month to do so. It's not like it is going to impact my goals.

I'm not sure how serious these isues are, but I don't like to play roulette with my health, and, again, I'd suggest thinking very carefully before trusting major corporations who are interested in their bottom line and don't really care about our health any more than required by regulatory agencies.

Now, before I forget, maybe I should talk about dinner! After all, I did name the post in honor of my upcoming meal. I'm cooking a couple sausages, pulled from the freezer last night, and will be frying up a large plate of rice to go with them. Maybe I'll fry some onions in butter, add the rice, wait until the rice is hot, then drop an egg or two into the mix, fry until the eggs are cooked... then serve the rice with a side of sausages. There, one meal, very cheap.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program...