Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Troubleshoot and Repair Electric Range, Oven

I received a frantic email from a reader on Thanksgiving Day. It was from a lady whose oven had stopped working. It turns out that it was just the bottom oven heating element that had gone south.

That one is an easy fix since most heating elements are plug and play. That's the good news. The bad news is that I doubt she could find one on Thanksgiving Day in time to cook Big Bird. Also, they can be hard to find sometimes since there are so many models. The search box below is the one I use to find hard to find replacement appliance parts.

Appliance Model Number

As long as you have a few basic tools, it's actually easy to troubleshoot an electric range. Of course, there's the electricity to beware of (that's my disclaimer) but other than that, it's fairly straightforward.

I've got a Maytag oven myself. I bought it when Maytag was it's own company and they still made quality appliances. They make shabby goods now and forget about getting service in a timely manner. Oh Maytag repair man, where have you gone?

Other appliances are a bit more complex. Refrigerator troubleshooting, for example, involves compressors and refrigerant. Some of this work requires a license. But there are still many things a homeowner can repair.

The bottom line is that it sometimes pays off and saves money to try to repair appliances yourself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't be Like Tiger Woods


The news has been crazy about Tiger Woods' infidelity "issues". So what is it, just too tempting since he has all the bucks and these bimbos have a way at putting themselves in his path? I mean, it's not that his wife is hard to look at.

Could it be the Bill Clinton Syndrome?

ExitJunction.com  - Make Money From Your Exit Traffic!This is my theory. Sure, the money and social life have a lot to do with it, but I think it's more about what I call the Bill Clinton Syndrome (BCS). It all circles around one key concept, like a pack of vultures descending on some random carrion.

What drives many politicians, sports stars, and yo-yo rappers isn't fundamentally the money, it's a power/conquest thing. It carries on it's shoulders an additional burden that grows with the power - the belief in invulnerability.

To Be Rich and Bulletproof

Why else would President Bill Clinton use an intern for a human humidor in the White House and then smirk as he perjured himself? (Now, how was it you define the word "is" in Arkansas again, Bill?) Why else would that bastion or morality, Senator Barney Frank, let his boyfriend use their love-nest apartment as an office for a gay escort service? Did they really think they would get away with it? Yes, yes, and yes.

So I don't think Tiger Woods is any different. It was all about the conquest, even if they were all bimbo gold-diggers. Conquest on the links and between the sheets. How could he think he wouldn't get busted? Hello?

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Avoid the BCS and be Happy

Sounds simple, eh? It really is for most of us. Go ahead and chase the bucks. I'm all over that. Just use commonsense and avoid the bimbos, or the boy-toys if you're a woman. And never ever be an Elmer Fudd sounding Senator who hooks up with a boyfriend who runs a gay bordello. Never.

Interested in home improvement and woodworking?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wear Your Sense of Humor on Your Sleeve

Or on your front or back... The fact of the matter is that funny t shirts are not just funny; they're trendy! Long gone are the days when t shirts were just for working out or changing the oil in the car.

Today, they're all about making a statement and maybe pushing someone's buttons while you're at it. I look forward to every political season because that seems to be when some witty entrepreneurs of the world of t shirts really shine.

It doesn't matter which side of the political fence you sit on, or even if you straddle it. But the t shirt industry is bigger and more competitive than ever because cash is tight all over. Go with a company like 2008tshirts.com; with over 400 designs, they've got something for everyone.

Yep, even your grandma... Thanks to my sponsor, 2008tshirts.com; and that's no joke!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Be Prepared for Home Fires this Winter

Visit 24-7HomeWarranty.com Today!

It's a sad fact of life; every winter needless deaths and burned up homes happen. Why? Because we heat our homes. Heating systems that lay dormant for half to three quarters of a year don't always fire up in the same operating condition they were left in last spring.

24-7HomeWarranty.com Appliance and Home System Repair Warranties! Click here!

How many homeowners get a heating system tune-up in the fall? Not many. That's usually seen as an unwanted household expense until some malfunction rears its ugly head. So in reality, one of the best weapons in the fight against immolation is preparation.

Arm the Home with Fire Extinguishers

Believe me; fire extinguishers are cheap. Home Depot practically gives them away. There is no excuse for not having one in the kitchen in case of grease fires or electrical fires.

Be sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it. It's a good idea to buy several throw-aways and have a family practice session. Remember, aim low and sweep. That's the ticket.

Install Home Fire Sprinkler Systems

Sprinklers are most often found in commercial buildings, but they can be a life saver in homes as well. Particularly at night when the family is slumbering and when no one is at home and the odd electrical fire breaks out.

Think about installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home. Almost all insurance companies will give you a break on your homeowners insurance policy premiums.

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Have a Family Escape Plan

This is stressed when kids are in elementary school and there are just a few basic rules.
  • Go out windows as appropriate.
  • Touch doors to feel for heat before opening.
  • Stay low to avoid smoke inhalation.
  • Establish a family meeting area to run to off-property.
  • Know 911.

Keep all this in mind and you'll be the safer for it.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spreety TV Offers Free Entertainment

I recently checked out Spreety TV thinking there might be a catch but I certainly didn't find one. This is a completely legal site for watching shows; almost anything you could desire to watch.

Myself, I'm a sucker for the 50s shows. Especially the westerns and the sci-fi shows when they really had to really do their own props and stunts rather than work everything up on a computer. And it's Free TV Online!

Of course, it's a good thing I'm a stern taskmaster of myself, since I work freelance from home on my computer, which just happens to have cutting edge media features. Self discipline? You bet! I think.

Hang on, there's another episode of The Outer Limits. "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling the transmission..."

Of course, I realize that what pumps me up might leave you a bit on the deflated side. But from the exploration I've done, it looks like there's something for everybody. Go on; it's free. And addicting...

This post has been sponsored by Spreety TV.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wall Sconces Add a Classy Lighting Touch

Cookie cutter homes are rather straightforward and boring. That's the bad part. The good part is that it leaves the door open for customization. The stark white walls beg for color, the carpet's got to go, and the lighting needs to be individualized

I'm fond of wall sconces because they blend in and stand out all at the same time. Recently I was checking some at Premier Lighting and really found a lot that would look good in my home when I remodel the living room.

I was particularly taken with the Calavera Two Light Bath Bar. I know it says bath, but about four would go great in my living room plan. Since it uses two lights, it's possible to use smaller wattage bulbs but still cast light to a wide area for accent. Awesome.

The trickiest part of installing sconces is running the wiring. A lot of people work themselves to death getting the job done. So how is it done? Simple; use a fish tape to draw the wires down between the wall studs through a hole that the fixture will conceal. There you go; now you've got my secret!

Many thanks to my sponsor, shoppremier.com.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Maturing of the Age of Information

I was helping a 6th grader the other day with research methods for a school science project and presentation. Things have certainly changed since the days when I was wallowing in the education system.

Back in the day (boy, that ages me), we went to the library, used the Dewey Decimal System to locate appropriate reference material, read the information, and recorded it all on a pile of index cards. Not so today.

Fortunately, my background in IT and the research skills I've developed as a Freelance Writer have kept me up to date. It's all on the internet. And tracking sources down has nothing to do with pawing through vast card catalogs only to find that the book desperately needed is checked out by someone.

Google and other search engines made life easier by returning applicable articles, but some clever people have taken it one step further. Their search engines return links to actual scanned books, often in pdf format, so it actually looks like the original. For example, this pdf search provides a search engine that works like Google to serve up the goods.

So it's come full circle with digital research. Well, without the trip to the library which saves driving time and using gasoline. Now, can I claim carbon credits for that? I guess I'll have to email Al Gore for that answer...

Many thanks to my sponsor, www.ebook-search-queen.com.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Furniture for an Economic Downturn

It sounds odd doesn't it? It seems like a recession would be the last time to splurge for a sectional sofa, doesn't it? Ironically, no. The reason for that is that a huge part of this economic downturn is the housing crisis brought about by sub-prime loans.

Consequently, very few homeowners are spending available capital on trading up on a new domicile. Instead, they are doing things like taking staycations, remodeling, and yes, investing in new furniture.

There's a bit more to it as well. I used to be the service manager at a furniture store in Houston. I found that other than couples or singles just starting out, customers used new furniture in the same way folks use comfort food. There's just something reassuring about a new leather sectional sofa.

Now all we need is a cash for clunkers furniture program to get this economy fired up!

Thank you to my sponser, www.mynewfurniturestore.com.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Choosing Tools for Christmas Gifts

I know, I know; we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet so why talk about Christmas? Well, it's hard to fight the tide. Walmart is displaying plastic trees and decorations from China already. But why focus on tools for holiday presents?

Well, for one thing, if you have a woodworker or home repair type person to gift, pssst! Something for their hobby will earn you more gratitude than a pair of socks or soap-on-a-rope. And it's practical during this recession.

Got Power Tools?

Yesterday I posted an article on power tool gifts. There's always one more on the list. He with the most tools when he dies wins! OK, that's a bit morbid, but it's true.

Rockler Gift CardRockler Gift Card
For the woodworker that has everything.Give the gift of choice with a Rockler Gift Card. Let your favorite woodworker choose from thousands of products from Rockler.

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Sometimes for maximum accuracy only a certain tool will do the job easily. The Rotozip is one example. My Ryobi biscuit joiner is another. I can't tell you how many times I struggled with making dowel joints line up on complicated woodworking projects.

What if You're Looking for a Stocking Stuffer?

Yeah, we're all on tight budgets. But there's always highly useful and appreciated stocking stuffers guaranteed to delight on Christmas morning. How about a Magnogrip? I just did a Magnogrip review a few weeks ago.

I don't always do reviews on all the new products I'm approached about, but if I think they will benefit my readers here and at my main site (thanks for visiting so often and commenting, dear readers!), I'll go for it.

Another good choice in this category are the materials for making workshop woodworking jigs. What woodworker doesn't enjoy making his or her jigs?

Anyhow, now I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. I'm smack dab in the middle of training for the Houston Marathon, so I can eat with abandon and a total lack of guilt...

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's With Global Warming or Climate Change?

First of all, let me say that I don't buy into the whole global warming thing. Neither do it's standard bearers either it seems, since they've changed it to the ambiguous "climate change". If we're not warming, then are we just to running madly about, pulling our hair and moaning?

So What Exactly is the Environmental Change?

Up to 80% Off iPhone AccessoriesAccording to the BBC, over the course of the past eleven years, we haven't been warming at all. Quite the opposite. During that period of time, the Pacific ocean has been steadily cooling. This year we've experienced the weakest hurricane season in a long time. (Thank you, thank you!)

And of course it's a fact that it takes warm water to make a hurricane.

Before I get totally flamed, let me say that I do believe humans directly affect the earth, the climate, and the environment. What I don't believe is that our effect is even minutely comparable to natural events like volcanic activity and bovine flatulence.

At the end of the day, the climate change movement is a left-leaning political and a right-wing economic movement. On the one hand, implementing all the legislation to regulate activity such as the automotive and construction sectors is a means to give big government and international influences more control over our daily lives.

On the other hand, hypocrites like the deplorable and pathetic Al Gore lean to the left in the public eye, but end up raking in the money from trading carbon units. And have you seen how much electricity his mansion consumes? Or how much fuel his private jet burns. Can't fly coach while you lecture us, Al? Put up or shut up.

The masses of true believers mean well, but have been swayed by both junk science and heavily edited studies. And you thought the 60s was the decade of the big kumbaya? You ain't seen nothing yet!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When Relocating, Make Things Easy on Yourself

Angie's List!

Face it, moving is traumatic. Whether you're moving to get a better job or just to keep the one you've got, you've got a lot of things to juggle, what with trying to wrap up things at your old place and coordinate getting situated at the new.

Moving Strategies

There are strategies you can use to make the transition more seamless. Here's a few.
Have a professional do the heavy lifting for you. This is a great time saver. They are called movers in the US but are removal companies in the UK. That sounds like a "glass half full, glass half empty" thing to me. I love US/UK language differences!

Plan ahead. It's never too soon to start on a game plan. Things will escalate the sooner the move gets. It you are moving because of business obligations, they will expect more from you before you leave; no loose ends.

Register your new address with the post office. Time sensitive things need to follow you as soon as possible. Yeah, you can change as many as possible before the big move, but some will slip through the floorboards.

Transfer Your Services

Not many professionals leave it all at the office. We always bring work home and make things happen after usual business hours. For this you need a seamless transition of broadband services.

Satellite TV is a bit easier. One of the big selling points of Dish TV is "leave it there, we'll get you a new one". Good hype. but a Godsend for transitioners.

When you move into a new home use local recommendations from Angie's List for fine-tuning your new home. Take the Tour!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Health Care VS the Economy

The Obama administration has been getting more and more of a backlash. First, the health care reform that was supposed to sail right through began to stumble. Now, it's not just wading through molasses, it's mired in the primeval Wahingtonian tar pits.

Here's the issue: citizens, both on the right and the left, are increasingly asking why Obama is so focused on nationalizing the private business sector that he has no time to spend on saving the economy.

Recent polls show that overwhelmingly, people that are losing their jobs and homes are not concerned with changing the way their present medical insurance works.

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The Distraction that Cash for Clunkers was

Even the cash for clunkers program is questionable. The administration is hailing it as a huge success. But was it? Many of the car dealers are still waiting for their money.

Ironically, from a financial point of view, the clunkers program benefited Japan more than it did Detroit. Who in their right mind wants to buy any American car other than a Ford? Toyota and Nissan were the big winners with this mis-guided program.

And on a fundamental level, I have to ask, why should my tax dollars subsidize someone else's new car purchase? This "cash" is our money, not the government's.

Angie's List!

ACORN in Deep Trouble?

"ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization," said second-ranked House Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Still, 75 democrats voted to keep ACORN afloat with tax dollars despite overwhelming evidence that they committed election fraud to get Obama elected and recently conspired to assist in setting up a brothel employing immigrant children as prostitutes.

At least some members of the House concluded that this is not the way to stimulate the economy, whether Obama is willing to pull their funding or not.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Re-Building After a Hurricane

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I write hurricane articles fairly regularly during the season, pretty much to get folks to prepare early, not at the 11th hour.

I keep most supplies all year round, but the specific ones I need for the big blow, I can get at Home Depot early in the day. I've found that here in the bedroom communities south of Houston, folks that commute to the city are expected to show up, stay until the last minute, and storm-proof the facilities. "Do ya want yer job next week?"

That's the way it was when I worked for Marriott. It was a difference of opinion. I thought my family and my major lifetime investment was a priority and my boss thought a hotel property (which the guests had mostly fled) was a more important investment. Good old Howard said, "Take one for the team, Kelly!"

I don't think so.

Anyway, there is plenty of devastation in the wake of a major storm. Sometimes a remodel is needed, but there are times when nothing short of a demo and re-building will do.

If you have to re-build or you're just adding on, I suggest doing it right. Go green construction and use Insulated Concrete Forms for your exterior walls. Not only are you going to save money in the long run, but you will be able to withstand those winds.

Go for it, uh-huh!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finding a Roof Leak

Roof leaks can be frustrating. The good news is that you don't have to call in a roofing contractor right away to find it. As long as you're handy and don't have a fear of going on your roof, go for it!

ExitJunction.com  - Make Money From Your Exit Traffic!Different roofers and handymen have their own methods for finding roof leaks. Myself, I like to start at the bottom and work up. In other words, I begin my sleuth work by examining the ceiling inside the home.

This can give valuable, time-saving clues. If the stain evidence is close to the chimney or a skylight, chances are it's a flashing issue. I'll check in the attic to make sure. If so, it's an easy fix to replace the flashing, or just slather on some roofing cement. It all depends on the particular situation.

If it's not that obvious from first glance inside the home, I fall back on my steps for finding a roof leak. Being methodical is key.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a roofer. I'd rather take a whipping than do a tear-off and re-roof. I did it once and that was it for me. Then again, I love to tape and float drywall and paint. Those two things will make most roofers gag!

If you don't want to do the investigative work and repair yourself, be careful in picking your contractor or handyman. Sometimes, tracking down the actual leak is an art form because for the hard ones, you really have to know framing structure and the mechanics of shingles, flashing, etc.

Prior experience is invaluable. After a few years of doing this detective work, a real sense of "Oh, I remember how I solved this one before," intuition is developed. And if you're paying by the hour, this is important.

If you have to hire someone, I recommend Angie's List. highly. Their ratings come only from feedback from homeowners in your community, not simply a claim in the phone book or newspaper.

Did this post help you? If so, get more. Just email me at subscribe@icanfixupmyhome.com. In the body of the email, give me your name. Then you'll get an automatic email that asks you to confirm your subscription.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Launch of the Home Improvement Newsletter

I've gotten around to launching the newsletter feature for my I Can Fix Up My Home site (ICFUMH, or Ick-Fum ;-). Would have gotten it done sooner, but it took a while to find software that I liked.

In addition to this blog, there's also a separate home improvement blog over at ICFUMH. The two blogs aren't identical, but I see the newsletter as something in size between a blog and the site itself, which already has over a year's worth of free articles with new ones being added all the time.

It's also a great platform to share information that I get from my partners about new tools, materials, and building practices. And when they inform me of tool specials and promotions, it's a great way to pass that information on to you. If I put it on the blogs or elsewhere, it would just be too static.

I'd hate for anyone to try to get in on a great promotional deal that happened a couple of months ago. Those kind of things have a short window of opportunity. But in this recession economy, I've been seeing some very good deals.

If you would like to subscribe, welcome! Just email me at subscribe@icanfixupmyhome.com. In the body, give me your name and your location as well, if you feel comfortable with that. Then you'll get an automatic email that asks you to confirm your subscription. This is not mere jumping-through-hoops; it just makes sure that nobody is goofing on you. It happens.

I mean, who hasn't sent in 100 bill-me-later, postage-paid subscription cards to Playgirl magazine for the ex-boss after being laid off?

Be sure to add listserv@icanfixupmyhome.com to your email white list or address book, because some email clients will put unknown mail in the junk or spam filter file.

If you would like to virtually join me training for the Chevron Houston Marathon, check out my online marathon training schedule. That link is for week 1, and we are now in week 4. Just follow the links at the bottom of the pages.

It's not too late to jump on the bandwagon, even for a first-time marathoner. For example, this week's total mileage is just 19.4 miles. If you are planning a different marathon on a different date, feel free to print out my schedules and do them on your schedule. Stay motivated!

I post the next week's schedule every Friday or Saturday. Since it's a 26 week schedule, we've got a way to go. Pun intended!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Preparing for Hurricane Season

It's been a quiet hurricane season so far; not a hint or whisper of a Katrina or Ike. Unfortunately, most of out memories are short-lived.

Don't fall into this trap, folks. Prepare now, now, I tell you! Don't be one of the Gomers standing in line at Home Depot.

There are many things you can do to prepare now. First and foremost is getting your supplies together for protecting your windows.

For most folks of frugal means, this means 1/2" plywood. The best way to secure them is with Plylox hurricane clips.

Need tools for storm-proofing your home? Take 10% off all new Porter-Cable tools and accessories. No coupon code required. Discount will be applied automatically at checkout.

Those of you with deeper pockets might choose to go with metal storm shutters.

That done, focus on these items:
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Canned food and bottled water
  • Emergency medical kit
  • Weather radio with a hand crank

With luck, we'll dodge the bullet this year. Statistically, this is a good probability. But like the old commercial says, "It's not nice to fool with mother nature!"

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hanging Wallpaper Made Easy

ExitJunction.com  - Make Money From Your Exit Traffic!Hanging wallpaper, or vinyl in some cases, is one of those DIY jobs that make some DIYers cringe with nausea. Why? Not because of the smell of the wallpaper paste. Usually, it's from a past frustrating experience.

Getting a grip on this job is like learning to tape and float drywall. What it really takes is patience. The main points, which are outlined in detail in this article on properly hanging wallpaper are straightforward.

The problems that most people have are really easy to solve. For example, I can't tell you the number of comments I've gotten asking why the job got botched.

The Importance of Using a Plumb Bob

Me: "And what tool or method did you use to plumb the first drop?"
DIYer: "Tool?"

See where I'm going with this? If the first drop is off, even by 1/8" from top to bottom, you'll never recover if the paper you're working with has a pattern. If anything, it'll get worse as you go along.

Task Lighting and Level Viewing

More experience paper hangers develop almost what seems a sixth sense for lining up the pattern. But matching the pattern can be a challenge for novices. On many patterns, the repetitions are not so obvious, and in fact what you thought was correct alignment at first glance turns out not to be so.

It's a visual thing. The first trick is to have proper work lighting. Natural sunlight seems to work best for me. That's not always practical. On my contract jobs, this twin work light has been the best I've found. In fact, I use it in my home wood shop.

Secondly, you need to looking at the seam horizontally. So much can change when you look at an angle. It's a real sinking feeling to get a whole wall done, step back to admire it, and realize, holy flying crap! It looked good up close! What happened??

The moral of the story is: have patience, go slow, and step back and check your work often.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Project Medicine Cabinet

That's right, a recessed medicine cabinet. I've been working on it a hour or so a day for a while and the end is near.

ExitJunction.com  - Make Money From Your Exit Traffic!There is a reason why I always scratch my head when woodworking project plans say, "one weekend," or "one day". The fact of the issue is that the majority of time is not-work time. This is time waiting for glue or finish or homemade wood putty to dry.

Sanding always takes its temporal toll too.

Biscuit Joints Beat Dowels

Joinery is one of my favorite aspects of woodworking. About two years ago I made the leap from dowels to biscuits. Wow.

What a difference in accuracy. On the medicine cabinet I used Porter Cable biscuits on the trim face and the door. All I lack now is finishing and hanging the door and cutting and installing the shelves.

Plexiglas Shelving

I ended up opting for Plexiglas shelves (actually a non-brand name version). Why? For one thing, it looks sleek. For another thing, it's a good strength vs thickness compromise. Wood just uses too much valuable real estate.

Angie's List!

Wood. Choose Wisely.

I went with poplar for the body but red oak for the face and door frame. For the door face and the back parts, I used luan (also called lauan) plywood. Hey, it's cheap and looks good too!

Is it just me or has the price of red oak gone down at Home Depot? Maybe there's a downtick in the home remodeling market and they're trying to boost sales?

Anyway, I'll post an article when I finish the cabinet. As for the plans, I'm toying with the idea of making the plans into an ebook and offering it as a sign-up gift for subscribing to my newsletter. Any takers?

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to Become a Millionaire Using the Internet

ExitJunction.com  - Make Money From Your Exit Traffic!Work from home! Automatic cash machine! Be a millionaire Hawaii beach bum! Turnkey business! We've all heard it. Don't be a bumpkin, folks; the people making the big bucks passively are the ones you hear in the radio ads.

Not to say that you can't make money on the internet; you can. That's the good news. But here's the catch: like everything else, it's a lot of hard work. How do I know? Because I make a living this way and I work seven days a week.

Maybe in a few years I can slack off, but not yet. So how's it done? Well, since it's the internet (thanks for inventing it, Al Gore!), you need high-speed access. Then you need to build your own website with tools like DreamTemplate, use someone else's (like Ebay), or provide content for other people's sites.

You can make money on your site doing affiliate marketing for companies like shareasale.com.

So how does doing your own thing differ from buying a turnkey "business" from the scam artists? You have to stand out in the crowd by providing your own angle. The scam artists are selling the same internet store to as many suckers as they can. At a huge profit.

Want to see how I do it? Check out the content I provide for other sites at http://www.examiner.com/x-7913-Houston-Running-Fitness-Examiner where I write fitness articles and http://homerenorepair.suite101.com/ where I'm the feature writer for the home improvement topic.

And finally, to see the site I've built, just click on the banner below!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

How to Touch Up Furniture

Do you have a piece of wood furniture or two that's got a few dings? Not quite enough to warrant the effort of stripping, puttying, sanding, and refinishing? Been there, done that. Well, there's an elegant solution that you can DIY in just a few moments (say, right before the company arrives)!

This little bit of touch-up magic comes in the form of a marker; it looks kind of like a magic marker and you can pick them up at most home improvement centers. It's nowhere as complicated as web design.

I know, it sounds lame, but it really does work. The brand I'm familiar with is Mohawk, which is a company under the same corporate umbrella where RustOleum resides. That says quality to me.

The real trick is in matching the shade. I learned how to do this when I was the Engineering supervisor at the Marriott in Houston's Medical Center where guests seem to get a sardonic pleasure in abusing furniture in ways they would never at home.

Don't even get me started about the damage done by the Hurricane Katrina refugees...

Anyhow, they only come in a certain number of shades. Here's the trick: swipe with a shade slightly darker than your finish and quickly wipe with a cloth. After wiping it'll be lighter than the marker says.Repeat with the swipe 'n wipe until you've got a match. Each swipe will get you closer. Using the chisel edge of the marker, you can even match grain patterns with practice.

Learn how we can increase your sales, develop your brand, and generate interest in your site.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to Repair Stripped Bolt Hole Threads

Angie's List!

Not many things frustrate me more than bolt hole threads when they strip out. I don't think anyone would be in disagreement with me that it always happens at exactly the wrong time. Who wants to spend an hour and a half searching for a tap and die set and then digging up a bigger bolt?

But there is good news! There is a cheap and easy DIY fix! I don't recommend doing this on your engine block, for obvious reasons, but it will work wonderfully in a number of light duty situations.

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And further good news; it doesn't require any expensive new tools either. The initial thing you'll need to do is back out the bolt. This should be easy; it's already stripped, right? You might have to use vice grips on the head and pull while turning it counter-clockwise.

Next, fill the bolt hole with a compound, either Liquid Steel or J.B. Weld. This stuff has the advantages of wood glue and finishes like metal. You've got to love the folks that invented those products!

They're so good they don't even need to hire Billy Mayes to hawk them on TV. Next, coat the bolt (preferably a new one) liberally with liquid soap, including the head.

Run the bolt back into the hole and wipe up the excess that squeezes out around the bolt head. Do this gently; remember that you're making new threads.

When the compound is dried, you're set! You can now screw or unscrew at will.

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