Friday, April 29, 2011

This Week's Cancellation

This week's post has been cancelled due to (Pick one or more of the following)...

1. Rising gas prices.

2. The royal wedding.

3. Weather too beautiful to remain indoors on the computer.

4. My researching and editing my yet-to-be-published posts on "The Essential Systems: Hydration" and "Packing List: Hydration."

5. My researching more DIY car survival kit lists and cleaning out my car.

6. My finally getting around to answering my email (still not finished).

7. All of the above.

8. Some of the above.

9. None of the above.

10. Who cares? I'm hungry. What's for dinner?

[You are correct if you selected 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and/or 10.]

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

The only thing I'm going to say about Earth Day is to point out that after God created man, He gave him the job of taking care of his environment giving us the example that we need to be doing the same.

Only idiots and the ignorant destroy that which sustains their lives.

Genesis 2:15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Blogging About Preparedness

It's only April and already this has been an eventful year for preparedness issues from snow and ice, to tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires.

Just last Friday, a wildfire broke out on the west side of town from high winds knocking down a power pole. Industrial employees as well as residents were evacuated while firefighters battled for 12 hours to contain the blaze that consumed 3500 acres, returning the next day to put out flare-ups. Although multiple homes were scorched, only the trailer at the site of the fire's origin was totally destroyed.

On Monday, trying to absorb that 80,000 acres had burned in Oklahoma and Texas, a 200-acre fire destroying at least 30 homes in Texas, I learned that another wildfire on the east side of town caused a friend to leave work because her 15-year-old daughter was at home. Fortunately, any concerns were quickly dispelled because the firefighters had the fire out by the time she got home.

At 3:30 early Tuesday morning, firefighters began evacuating residents of a mobile home park RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY APARTMENT because of a big grass fire in a field behind it. The raging flames got within 100 feet of the nearest line of mobile homes, making great footage for the local TV news along with the billowing smoke, but again, the firefighters were able to contain the fire; this time within only 30 minutes, and no property was damaged.

Whew! May God bless firefighters! And all our emergency response personnel!

Residents so close to my own home being awakened at Oh-dark-thirty to evacuate within mere moments emphasizes the necessity of our having Grab & Go bags at the ready.

I admit that even by my own standards, I've been extraordinarily slow about finishing my series on Fifteen Essential Systems. It's because I got snagged on my post about hydration, discovering that I bit off a whole lot more than anticipated. I thought I could pose situations, possible solutions, and product recommendations to help other people save the time on all the research I had to do for myself and got overwhelmed by what I was learning. Do I address those with wells? What about those manufacturers snowing consumers with words and numbers that mean practically nothing in regards to keeping us from getting sick from drinking water? Plus, the product line-up has changed, making newer products available before I have the post ready to publish, trapping me in an endless loop of research to keep up. Auwe! The only way to break out of the loop is to eliminate product recommendations.

Since I resolved my own hydration concerns two years ago and many of the others since then, one might wonder why I bother. It's simply because I said I would. Plus, it's great being able to share information about something I really care about.

The greatest benefit about being prepared is the confidence of knowing I'm able to face just about anything I might encounter at home or on my travels.

Psalms 91:
5. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6. Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brita Bottle

I was really glad to see a recent TV commercial for the Brita Bottle. I have the older Brita Fill & Go bottle, also BPA-free, from 10 years ago and, since it was discontinued due to a U.S. lawsuit for patent infringement by Innova Pure Water, I haven't been able to find replacement filters for it except on Amazon which doesn't always have them; the Innova website has had all its products on back order for years. I was thinking I'd have to do something drastic like go to Europe to stock up.

Evidently the patent infringement is no longer an issue since Brita has its own bottle back on the market, newly designed to fit car cup holders, in blue or green with a MSRP of US$9.99. The capacity is 20 ounces.

The replacement filters are good for 20 gallons, 128 refills, or about 2 months. The new filters have holes near the top rather than the bottom like the old bottle filters and carry the MSRP of $7.99 for a package of two filters.

The reason I like the Brita filtering bottle so much is because it's great for domestic travel providing consistently great-tasting water no matter where I am without the inconvenience and expense of buying bottled water. It's lightweight, easy to squeeze, and the push-pull sport top means I don't have to put my lips on it and ruin my lipstick.

Yes, I know. It's a girly-thing, but there it is.

In addition to my lipstick issue, I also prefer a sport top because not needing to touch it with my lips means there's no backflow to contaminate the water or the inside of the bottle.

With Brita being such a large brand name, the bottle filters will be easy to find at many stores across the country once again.

I also like the Brita filtering bottle because the Brita filter makes water taste good by removing chlorine and reducing heavy metals, if any. Also, because it filters on-demand, chlorine remains in the water, keeping the water safe for consumption, until right before I drink it.

I feel better about on-demand filtering when I'm out and about than filling a water bottle with pre-filtered water such as from a filtering pitcher because unless ice cubes are added to keep the water cold, the absence of chlorine allows the growth of organisms if the water is not consumed soon enough. This last isn't an issue with filtering pitchers kept in the refrigerator because the low temperature inhibits bacteria growth which is the main purpose for refrigerating food items.

Besides, with water pre-filtered at home or motel room, if I drink it all, there's no way for me to filter more water while I'm away making me subject to whatever bad-tasting water is available or buy a bottle of water which doesn't always taste good to me, either, depending on the brand name.

With on-demand filtering, I can refill my bottle from any tap, anytime I want.

Another advantage with the new Brita Bottle is that it comes with a removable carrying loop; the older Fill & Go bottle didn't. For that, I got a carrying strap holder that clipped onto my laptop briefcase. Since I had no problems with either the TSA or the airlines after 9-11, there's no reason to anticipate issues with the new Brita Bottle as long as it's empty for the TSA screening.

Based on my experience with my old Brita Fill & Go bottle, I think anyone wanting a filtering bottle should try the new Brita Bottle. Just remember that the filtering is for aesthetics only, to improve taste and remove odor, and is to be used solely with water that's already safe to drink. Because the filter is for particulates 50 to <80 microns, it will not make unsafe water potable.

To make water safe from protozoans such as cryptosporidium (protozoans being the largest of the three groups of nasties that make us sick followed by the smaller bacteria and viruses, the smallest), the CDC and EPA recommend an absolute pore size, not nominal pore size, of 1 micron or less.

I may buy a new Brita Bottle just to compare it to my old Fill & Go. If I do, I'll post a review after I use it awhile.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Romeo & Juliet"

Feeling like I have a great love story to write, but not knowing anything about how to write one, I decided a good place to start learning is to read "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare since I've seen two movie versions several times.

Do you remember the story? A teen boy and girl from feuding families fall passionately in love and the only way to solve the mess is to fake their own deaths so they can run away to be together.

More or less.

It turns out to be much more.

First of all, Romeo is already in love with Rosaline to the extent that he crashes a party thrown by Daddy of the feuding Capulets in order to see her.

Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, spots Romeo and reports him to Capulet with the intention of having Romeo thrown out or worse.

Surprisingly, Capulet thinks Romeo has a decent reputation and tells Tybalt to leave Romeo alone. Perhaps Capulet is feeling magnanimous because Paris asked to marry Juliet who told her parents she's willing to think about it and they'll get to know one another at the party.

Except Romeo and Juliet do the love-at-first-sight thing at the party. Rosaline and Paris are forgotten as they pledge their love, not knowing anything about each other.

They must've been hot-hot-hot to fall so fast for each other, don't you think?

Somehow (you need to read or see it to learn how if you don't already know), they learn they're from rival families, decide to overcome it with a secret marriage, and the rivalry breaks out again with Tybalt killing Mercutio and Romeo avenging Mercutio's death by killing Tybalt.

As a result, Romeo is exiled and Juliet mourns his leaving.

Understandably, Capulet assumes Juliet is mourning the death of her cousin, Tybalt. However, it's beyond me why he thought getting married to Paris in two days would end her grief. It's also beyond me why Paris would agree to it. What decent man wants to consummate his marriage to a grieving young woman, sobbing in their marriage bed?

So, there are the main male characters of this love triangle:

1. Romeo, an outrageously rude party-crasher whose fickle-mindedness causes him to dump Rosaline for Juliet in a heart-beat

2. Capulet, the father who thinks getting married will dry the tears of his grieving daughter, and

3. Paris, who wants to wed and bed the grieving Juliet.

In my opinion, they're nuts.