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Thoughts For Thursday: Totally Random…

March 3, 2011 · 18 comments

in Home & Garden, Thoughts For Thursday

This is a guest post from the author of one of my favorite blogs, 101 Centavos.  101 Centavos is a blog about gardening, investing, business and career, yard sales, and (mostly Italian) cooking, all in very unequal portions.  Enjoy!

I have all these little ideas for tips and topics jotted down, mostly in a blogging notebook, but also on assorted scraps of paper here and there.  Not enough to do an entire post, but worthwhile to include in their own roundup, as it were.

Blogger’s Block

The great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov is well known mostly for his science fiction, notably for his I, Robot and Foundation trilogies.  What most people don’t know is that he is author or co-author of other such diverse titles like Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare, Understanding Physics, Limericks: Too Gross, and Asimov’s Chronology of the World: The History of the World From the Big Bang to Modern Times.  Altogether, more than a hundred published books to his credit.  Clearly, this guy could write.

One of his observations on writing that he said that has stuck with me is this: whenever he got stuck on any one topic, he would simply take out the sheet of paper from the typewriter (younger readers right now are saying, what is this strange word, typewriter?), place it in its paper tray appropriately labeled by subject (for example, science fiction), pull out a half-finished sheet from another subject tray (mathematics), and happily keep on writing.

I’ve read on several blogs that are authorities on blogging that the subject matter of a focused blog shouldn’t stray too far from its subject matter.  Stick to one thing, or you’ll lose your audience.  Maybe.  But it sure helps to have several topics of interest to write on.   (From Kris:  My blog completely breaks this rule!!)

In the Garden

Ever forget to turn the water hose off in the flower beds, to end up with your own backyard wetland habitat and a ginourmous water bill?  Try tying a rubber band around your wrist.   To make double sure you’ll remember, give it a couple extra turns around your wrist. When your hand turns blue from lack of circulation, it’s time to turn the water off.

Forget about straw bale houses. If you’re cursed with poor quality rocky or sandy soil, and can’t be bothered with building a raised bed, try your hand at straw bale garden beds.  First, see if you can score some free square bales, or buy some if you must, they should be about 7 to 10 bucks a bale.  Take a serrated knife and cut out a couple of pot-shaped holes.  Fill them with a mix of compost and soil.  Water the bales for a couple of weeks before planting to encourage in-situ composting of the straw. Then, plant some vining spreading vegetable plant like cucumber, melon or indeterminate tomatoes. The straw will hold moisture, and lessen the need for watering.

In the Kitchen

If you don’t know how to properly chop, slice and dice, it’s almost worth taking a cooking class at the local community college to learn about good knives and knife skills.  Your newly found Benihana blade-wielding skills will impress dates and spouses, and also make your experience in the kitchen more enjoyable.  Learning about proper knife handling techniques may also save on doctor bills.

There’s a show on Home and Garden TV called House Hunters.  At the end of the show, where the show visits the new homeowners two or three months after move-in, they are invariably in the kitchen chopping vegetables.  And doing it wrong.   (From Kris:  I have noticed this too!  Not so much about improper technique, but that people are always chopping vegetables once they are settled in their house.)

In the Office

Always bring a notepad to a meeting or interview.  Always.  And do take some notes. It shows respect to the person who called the meeting that you care about what the subject matter is, even if it’s the 2 p.m. afternoon doldrums and you’d rather be taking a nap behind closed doors.

Shoplifting and Dividend Investing

I’ve recently read a couple of general interest articles about shoplifting at grocery store being on the rise during hard economic times. Seems that both employees and customers are more prone to taking five-finger discounts when the food budget gets tight.   The costs of this “inventory shrinkage”, as it’s euphemistically referred to in the industry, reportedly run in the billions. Grocery store chains, being on razor thin margins as they are, quietly try to raise prices to make up for the loss.

That’s the bad news.  The good news, at least for me, is that business for Golden Enterprises, my one food-industry dividend-paying stock and makers of the deliciously fattening Golden Flake snack foods, should improve as their products fly off the shelves or disappear down shoplifters’ pants.

OK, I think I’m done for now.

From Kris:  Do you have any random thoughts to share?  If you haven’t checked out 101 Centavos already, I hope you go visit the site today!


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal @ BFS March 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

LOL, I have never seen a random thoughts guest post before! Kudos for fun!

I love the rubber band idea for watering the yard, but if someone rather not cut off their own circulation, I’d also suggest setting an alarm. We have a little timer that we set for 30-45 minutes that is SOLELY our yard watering timer. When it goes off (and it is loud), we know we need to shut off the water in our yard. Automatic sprinklers are nice too, I just refuse to justify the cost for their installation in a yard as tiny as ours…

Great guest post 101 Centavos! When are you coming over to BFS for a day? 😉

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Hi Crystal, thanks for the invite! You’re right, a timer is a better idea. Mrs. 101 uses the one on the oven all the time for timing the dryer cycles. It drives her nuts that I can’t hear it too well — something about frying my higher frequency hearing from all those concerts in my stupid(er) youth. We’ve so far held off on the sprinkler system, it’s hard to justify the expense. I will though expand the drip irrigation system this year to some of the flower beds.

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Nicole March 3, 2011 at 10:43 am

Here’s my random thought for today:

We’re doing phone interviews. We just had a disastrous one. The faculty member interviewing with me ends with, “Well, it’s been nice talking with you.” Then after everything was hung up, said what a horrible candidate.

I would never say, “It’s been nice talking with you,” if it wasn’t. I would say, “Thank you for your time,” or “Thank you for talking with us.”

But that’s because I’m from the Midwest and he’s from the South. You always know where a Midwesterner stands, even if she’s being polite. But that’s also why I can’t handle silence. We say what we mean and mean what we say, and if we can’t say anything nice we don’t say anything at all. So silence is something not nice implicitly. Culture can’t really get around these issues… they just have different ways of expressing them.

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Money Reasons March 3, 2011 at 11:52 am

Great advice about the water hose!

I really enjoyed readinig these tips from 101!

My thought for the day is….: When is google or whoever going to invent that cool car that drives itself with you as a passenger, like in the movie “I, Robot”? I wonder if the movie followed the book fairly closely?

101 is one of my new, favorite blogs too 🙂

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Hi MR, thanks for the kind words. I like that car in iRobot, and the ones in Minority Report to. Too cool…

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krantcents March 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I just started using the note pad approach to jotting down ideas for articles again! I stopped when the ideas were flowing. Big mistake, that is when I should write them down. Thanks for the reminder!

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Hi Krantcents, keeping an idea notebook has come in handy several mornings when the my head was absolutely devoid of inspiration. Luckily I’m the list-making type.

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MoneyCone March 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

That is so true about people always chopping vegetables! Haha! Now that I think about it that’s what new homeowners seem to be doing! I can’t comment on whether they are doing it right or not because… :p

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Hi Moneycone, I still haven’t figure that one out, the chopping vegetables bit. How about showing a bar-b-que on the patio once in a while?

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics March 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Very nice collection of thoughts. Nice idea for a guest post!

I have quite a few random thoughts today 🙂

What do people see in iPad? Especially, what do they see in the iPad”2″ when they already have the first generation iPad?

Why do companies “reward” their employees with products that advertise the company, like tshirts with company name on it, big letters… My company gave out Japanese happy robe to everyone who completed 10 yrs of service with a big (really big) logo printed at the back. When will I want to wear that thing?

Why do people NOT read emails properly before replying? We have become that impatient? If they read more than the subject and the first line, they would have the information they want… I think people want information in less than 140 characters these days… just one piece of information at a time…

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Hi Suba, I don’t get the iPad thing either. I’ve tried typing on one, and it’s like an oversized blackberry. Although, if my company wanted to give me one with a big company logo on it, I think I’d learn to like it well enough.

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics March 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Hit submit too soon…

Why do some people think it is okay to cheat as long as they are not caught?

Why are people still following Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan? Why is it a “news” whenever they do something? All the news site have popular news with people like them? I want real news, I had to sift through dozens of these to get to real news.

Oh and finally, I love 101 blog 🙂

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retirebyforty March 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Good tips about blogger block. I cover variety of topics too. I would run out of things to write about if I’m too focus on one thing (retirement.)
Good tip on learning how to use a knife properly. Mrs. RB40 used to take forever to prep, but now she is getting better and better. (just by practice I guess.) I’m already good with the knife. 😉

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Hi RB40, glad you liked the tips. I for one would like to see more about the 6-lb 4-oz ass-kicking machine. 😉

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Barb Friedberg March 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

This post really got me thinking. First off, Asimov sounds like he conquered the “organiztion” struggle. Next, I’ve been cooking forever, but I’m not sure if I’m chopping right? 101 Centavos, can you stop by and check me?? 🙂

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101 Centavos March 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Hi Barb, did stop by, the only chopping action going on was the slicing and dicing of preconceived ideas. 🙂

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First Gen American March 4, 2011 at 2:55 am

the hay bale idea is brilliant. I also majorly break the blog rule..I write about everything. I never know what will prompt me to write, so I just go with the flow and hope for the best.

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