I’ve decided to eliminate this blog for several business reasons and will be taking it down sometime within the next 30 days. As I expand my online business, it became apparent that the Shake and Bake Trading blog had lost its relevance. I’m hoping that my Gotta Have It Product Reviews site will provide me a larger platform as I continue to expand.
I do appreciate you as a subscriber or occasional visitor and hope that you will continue to follow me on my other blog. It has been fun but it’s time to move on.
Please go to my Gotta Have It Product Reviews site to read similar content and subscribe if you like what you see.
Here’s the link:
Thanks and hope to see you in the future.
For a liited time you can get Teste of Home for only $5.04 for a one-year subscription. A great deal.
Click on this link to order. Use Coupon Code: TASTEDEAL
Tagged: food.food magazines.christmas.taste of home
If you’re looking for great children’s books, let me tell you about a buddy of mine. Jim is a 50+ operator of a smog check station in Highland, CA, who is his pare time restores dune buggies, and is renovating his Victorian home. He’s retired military reservist and a single dad who absolutely loves his 7-year-old daughter Ashley.
[easyazon-image-link asin="1608361802" alt="Ashley and Mr. Sunshine" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5113R9Z%2Bu8L._SL160_.jpg" align="left" width="160" height="160"] Jim started writing children’s books one day when he was driving his daughter to school just after the Daylight Savings time change, which means that on the previous trip they drove in sunlight, but on this day they drove in the dark.
“What happened to the sun, Daddy” Ashley asked. And a book was born, titled“Ashley and Mr. Sunshine” that explains the seasonal time change to children.
[easyazon-image-link asin="1456015877" alt="The Magic Jammies" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51h7T%2B-UiBL._SL160_.jpg" align="left" width="160" height="160"]Jim’s second book came about when Ashley was attached to her regular jammies which were dirty, and was reluctant to put on her new ones that Santa had brought her. Jim convinced her to try her new jammies by saying that maybe they were magic and they would take her on a great adventure!And The Magic Jammies was born.
Jim writes under the pen name of J. R. Baldwin. Check his books. I’ve looked at them both and both have my seal of approval.
Tagged: children's books, Daylight Savings Time, jammies, JR Baldwin, Santa, single dads, sunshine
For the past couple of days I’ve been getting flash messages appearing on my PC screen when I tried to change pages or log into various sites. The message stated that I had to contact Charter Communications at 877-739-0429 since my account status was at risk.
I first thought this was a collection agency scam since I could not locate this number in any reverse lookup directory. I finally called Charter Communications Louisville tech call center and learned that the message is valid, and refers to a “modem mismatch alert.”
What Charter has done is send out flash alerts to all Charter subscribers regarding modems that Charter provides as part of the subscription package. Since Charter has now increased their basic internet speed from 10 to 15 MPS, several types of older modems won’t be able to handle the speed and may malfunction, unless replaced with a new modem that can handle the 15 MPS.
If you are a Charter subscriber, call the number to arrange for a check of your current system, which can be done online, or arrange for a tech onsite to replace your current modem.
Charter said that they will continue to send out various flash messages whenever they increase speeds or offer new services. So don’t panic. It isn’t a collector or some sort of scam, just Charter’s way of doing business.
Tagged: 877-739-0429, charter communications, modems, PCs, subscribers
Here’s an update for all of you who delight in listening to books while you multi-task. Audible.com has updated their Audible Listener® Gold membership plan FREE trial period to 30 days!
On top of that, you’ll also get a free audio book.
Audible.com offers more than 100,000 titles. They’re great for time-challenged busy folks like you who prefer to multi-task and listen while working at your desk, commuting, traveling to a sales call or working out.
Try Audible.com now and get your first 30 days of the Audible Listener® Gold membership plan free,
Tagged: aduio books, audible.com, free membership offer
By now you all know what the current administration is desperately tying to convince you doesn’t exist: inflation. Kendall J. Powell, the CEO of General Mills describes it as: “The worst inflation we’ve seen in 30 years.”
We all know that too. Every time we make a trip to our local mega mart, we see the increases. These used to occur every month, then weekly. Now it seems like prices rise every day and it’s not getting any better.
For the past two years, food product manufacturers were stuck, eating, if you will pardon the pun, the rising costs of food commodities, especially wheat, flour, corn and rice. The government wouldn’t allow them to raise their prices, thereby artificially keeping prices down. And a large portion of corn production is earmarked for ethan0l production.
We ship nearly everything by overland freight
Now the lid’s off and prices are heading for the stratosphere. It isn’t just the increasing costs of fuels. Nearly everything in this country is shipped by overland freight. According to T. Boone Pickens, more than 30% of the oil produced in the US is used for transportation. And since everything is shipped overland via truck from railroad yards or ports, these increasing fuel costs must be passed on. To consumers. Us.
Nothing escapes inflation
Notice those fast food prices increasing? Rising commodity prices affect fast food chains too.
Portion and packaging sizes are being changed to make product offers seem like a bargains. Before you celebrate, check the size of your package. Downsizing is the word of the day. Boxed cereal used to contain 20-ounces or more. But now the 20-ounce box is but a memory. Some boxes have even been reduced to 10-ounces.
Cereal isn’t alone. Nearly every packaged product is smaller, containing less of the stuff they once held. Canned foods. Sodas. Cheese. Packaged deli meats. Bread. All of these have been downsized too, although you still pay the larger-sized price.
Here’s a handy gas tank comparison tool
Filling your car’s gas tank almost requires taking out a second mortgage. I just increased our auto gas budget by 25%, but even with that, we barely nudge our gas gauge more than a smidgen. Twenty bucks used to fill it up. Now we get just over a quarter tank. I know quite a few folks paying $50-$100 for a tankful. And some of those pay $35 a day! Pity the hapless commuter.
You can check out how much it takes to fill your tank with current gas prices with this handy tool. If your car model isn’t listed, just put in the size of your tank.
Another factor: the value of the dollar is dropping
With a decreasing dollar, commodity prices rise, since you have to spend more to get the same amount. The dollar doesn’t buy as much as it used to. And the value of the dollar has dropped because our happy administration just can’t seem to get enough printed.
Other factors: the good, the bad and the ugly
The knee-jerk reaction/excuse to shut down most of our domestic oil drilling, has us waving bye-bye to oil rigs headed for Brazil. Oh! That’s right. We’re now subsidizing Brazil’s oil drilling efforts and are in line to become their best customers. And where are they drilling? Why, the Gulf of Mexico of course!
Other factors include over regulating coal and stalling nuclear. But these all can be offset by properly inflating your tires and getting tuneups. Get a clue. Most cars don’t need tuneups every year. And inflating tires is never going to offset oil production losses.
If we could someone harness all the hot air that’s generated in Washington, wind energy may have a chance. And yes, those “cheap” solar energy sources with high ROI should be able to fulfill our needs…about 50 years hence. And where’s the electricity going to come from so you can recharge your Volt? Maybe toss a little algae in the tank?
Now the bad news
This is a year-to-year cost comparisons of foods and fuel from 2011 to now. Hang on to your seat.
- 5% milk
10% whole wheat bread
11% ground beef
14% orange juice
15% ice cream
17% American cheese
21% chocolate chip cookies
37% peanut butter
$106+ cost of oil per barrel as of March 26, 2012
$3.90 average cost of a gallon of gasoline as of March 26, 2012
$4.39 costs of a gallon of gasoline in my neck of the woods in Southern California
34 cents average increased cost per gallon gas prices in the past 30 days
So? What are you doing to stretch your food budget and feed your family?
I admit that I’m a chronic list maker. I make lists for everything. The main benefit to making lists, as I frequently explain to my wife, is that I don’t have to remember the stuff I have to do and therefore can get to the tasks I need to do in priority order. One quick glance at my daily To Do list and I can attack the next item without breaking a sweat. Well, most times, that is. There’s always the Honey Do list, but that’s another matter.
We’re all pressed for time. A result of which is we sometimes forget things, and find ourselves starting a task before realizing we’ve already done it. This is frustrating, wastes time and decreases productivity. But a handy To Do list can reduce your mind clutter and increase efficiency.
Since I have really lousy handwriting (my wife has to interpret it), and live on my computer, I’ve found that a simple To Do list in Microsoft Word document format works fine. I’ve looked at a lot of To Do lists folks are marketing, but they’re either too complicated or too pricey. After all, why pay for something you can fashion easily yourself for free?
Here’s my method…a simple Word document
I don’t carry a laptop or a tablet device since I work from home. But if you do or have a similar hand-held device you can keep your list “live.” When I’m on the go, or away from my PC, I’ll just (carefully) jot down a note on paper to be later added to my handy To Do list.
I’ve created a 1-page Microsoft Word laundry list document of things I have to do, roughly sorted into categories, such as errands to run and tasks, including personal things and business needs for my sites and blogs. At the top of the list is an automatically formatted Boldface DAY-DATE format using Word’s Insert menu. I may date each task I need to do, so I’ll know how long that task has been hanging around. For urgent items, I just Boldface ‘em. I like Word, but Notepad will work just as well.
I print each day’s To Do list like the one you see here. I tear the page in two and since it has plenty of white space, I’m free to jot down the time I spend on each task. Yep. I account for that too as a productivity guideline. It sounds a lot more complicated that it actually is, but it works for me. Since the pages are torn in half, I can keep the page right on my desk for easy access. Sometimes thoughts occur too quickly for me to futz and find my list when I’m feverishly working on a post, so I found that jotting it down is faster.
Here’s a typical page:
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
- Accounting, Budget or End of Month
- Calls to make
- Copy to be written or uploaded
- Comments moderation
- Email read/sort/archive
- Errands to run
- Find this or that
- Mailing List updates
- Update E-Comm sales records
- Update customer d-base
- Research to do
- Software to learn
- Supplies to buy
Not set in stone but it works well
This list is flexible, because I can add or delete a category or item at any time. I print the list out at the start of each day. I don’t let the list get longer than one page. And as I complete a task, I highlight it with a colored marker. This is visually satisfying, since I can see the progress I’m making. For any item or task not completed, it’s carried over to tomorrow’s list. A day isn’t too long for me to read my handwriting…most of the time.
Using a list like this can increase your productivity. Because you can make a hierarchy of important things that must be accomplished vs. the stuff than can wait a day or so. If you find your list is getting longer than one page, it’s time to revise, reduce font size or get some things done now.
How do you keep track of your things to do? I’d like to hear from you.
Tagged: lists, Miscrosft Word, productivity, to do list
Here’s a special online limited time offer from Barnes & Noble. From now until March 18, you can get $20 off NOOK Color or NOOK Simple Touch when you use your MasterCard. The price for the NOOK Color is now $149. That’s the lowest price ever! You can also get the NOOK Simple Touch for Just $79 with your MasterCard. Enter Code V3Y9N7T at checkout
[easyazon-image-link asin="0399157867" alt="V is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41srMt69EYL._SL160_.jpg" align="left" width="106" height="160"]
V is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)
Author Sue Grafton
Publisher A Marian Wood Book/Putnam
Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback & Audio editions
Sue Grafton succeeds where others have failed, maintaining her suspenseful narrative and style in 22 Kinsey Millhone detective novels, earning her the title of Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. When I first began reading “V” Is For Vengrance, I wondered if Grafton could do it once again.
Again, like some of her pr4evious novels, Grafton’s wind up takes awhile, but that’s because the plot is complex, with many turns and twists to keep you going. This novel took 21 months to complete, but it doesn’t skip a beat. And I can appreciate the effort it took to write it. Grafton has done it once again!
Back to 1988
Once again we’re transported back to 1988, since Kinsey is forever stuck in time. Shopping in an upscale mall, Kinsey spots an elderly shoplifter stealing expensive clothing in a department store. Kinsey notifies a sales clerk, who notifies store security and the shoplifter, 63-year-old Audrey Vance, is arrested, though her younger partner escapes with Kinsey in pursuit. She escapes, nearly running Kinsey down with her car.
The plot Unfolds
Two days later Vance takes a swan dive off a local bridge, leaving her grieving fiancee with a host of unanswered questions. He hires Kinsey to investigate. Kinsey discovers a professional million-dollar shoplifting ring, employed by the mob. Not the “old” mob, but a new vintage, run by an elegant, sharply dressed, “respectable,” businessmen and loan shark, Lorenzo Dante.
But while the Dante directs operations, the lower-rank and file sometimes screws up. Like his dim-witted brother Cappi, chosen to do the heavy work, sometimes mistaking simple commands as an invitations to whack folks, as he did previously with a young man who owed Dante money, and Dante’s valuable shoplifting ring asset Vance. Tossed into the mix is Dante’s hot romance with an attorney’s wife, conflicts with his brother, the feds the Santa Teresa, California PD and a local cop on the take, who is more dangerous to Kinsey than anyone else.
A page-turning thrill
The plot unfolds, taking many twist and turns, making for a page-turning thrill for the reader. Again Kinsey presents her investigation’s facts on her stack of detailed index cards, allowing the reader to draw conclusions. Or so we think. But not before we’re turned in to a blind alley where it seemed it would all end up. But it doesn’t. Which is why Kinsey celebrates her birthday with a punch in the nose and two black eyes in the midst of police raid chaos.
Returning cast of characters
Back again are folks from previous novels. Ex-con Pinky Ford, Kinsey’s dapper ex-lover Detective Cheney Philips and pain-in-the-butt reporter Diana Alvarez, whom Kinsey loathes, while landlord Henry has only a small telephone role, away tending to his sister who has broken a hip.
“V” is For vengeance delivers Highly recommended
I’m a Grafton fan. Any of her precious novels are worth reading. But do so in chronological order so you can enjoy Kinsey’s growth as a character and her journey along the way.
A is for Alibi 1982
B Is for Burglar 1985
C is for Corpse 1986
D is for Deadbeat 1987
E is for Evidence 1988
F is for Fugitive 1989
G is for Gumshoe 1990
H is for Homicide 1991
I is for Innocent 1992
J is for Judgment 1993
K is for Killer 1994
L is for Lawless 1995
M is for Malice 1996
N is for Noose 1998
O Is for Outlaw 1999
P Is for Peril 2001
Q is for Quarry 2002
R Is For Ricochet 2004
S is for Silence 2005
T is for Trespass 2007
U is for Undertow 2009
Tagged: Detective novels, Kinsey Millhone, Sue Grafton
Got a Daily Deal for all you gals who overindulged over the Valentine’s Day holiday, or wish you could have. For one day only on February 19, 2012 you can get a one-year subscription to Shape Magazine for just $4.29.
Shape Magazine One Day Deal
Term: 1 Yr 12 Issues
Publisher’s Price: $24.00
You pay: $4.29
82% Savings Off Publisher’s Price
Tagged: cheap magazine subscriptions, cheap magazines, Shape Magazine, subscription deals