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Tips for life / The How-To thread

j

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I like to think I am fairly handy and have learned a few things in my life. I was thinking of starting a blog to give tips on those things, but I thought it would be much more productive for me and everyone reading if I did it here instead, so people can comment and add their own. I still might start that (or another) blog, but for now, this is a thread to conglomerate (easier) ways to do things. It can be anything you have developed as a good habit, or any project you successfully completed and can offer tips on, or whatever. Feel free to copy/paste from other sections of the forum.

Actually, this might do well in the Wiki. We'll see.

Good habit: drive with your headlights and taillights on all the time. Do not rely on "daytime running lights" if your car doesn't turn on the rear lights. I can't tell you how many times I've seen or been in a near miss with a car that could have been visible if it had had its lights on. The marginal cost of doing this compared to the safety it adds is absolutely trivial. Plus, if you make it a habit, you will rarely forget to do it in the dark and get pulled over or crashed into for forgetting.

I had a bunch of ideas for this, but I can't remember them right now. I promise not to include "how to drain blood from under your fingernail, with pictures".
 

Kent Wang

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The best lie is the truth.
 

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How to remove a broken lightbulb from a socket:

Cut a potato in half, stick into broken lightbulb, twist.
 

j

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How to revitalize crappy not-salty-enough chips, or, Other ways to use salt:

I love salt and tortilla chips, and once in a while I get a bag of tortilla chips that is not salty enough at all. Regular table salt is too big and won't stick to the chips. I found a solution, which works to stick more salt on there and has the added benefit that you consume less salt per "taste unit", since all your salt has much more surface area per weight...

Get yourself a mortar and pestle - a rough porcelain mortar and a wood pestle. Put some salt in it. Grind it up for a while, not until it is dust, but just until it is very fine. Sprinkle it on there. It sticks! Tastes better! You can also add pepper to it and grind that in.

I also have a super heavy antique brass mortar & pestle that I use to crack black peppercorns for crusting onto a steak. It works better than any other method I could think of for that purpose. And the pestle from that set makes a handy cosh if anyone invades my kitchen.
 

esquire.

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Originally Posted by j
Good habit: drive with your headlights and taillights on all the time. Do not rely on "daytime running lights" if your car doesn't turn on the rear lights. I can't tell you how many times I've seen or been in a near miss with a car that could have been visible if it had had its lights on. The marginal cost of doing this compared to the safety it adds is absolutely trivial. Plus, if you make it a habit, you will rarely forget to do it in the dark and get pulled over or crashed into for forgetting.

The problem I have with this is that I know I'm likely to forget turning off the car lights if I have them on all the time and then will get stuck with a dead battery. By having them only on at night, you'll notice that they're on, with the lights flashing against the dark night, when you forget to turn them off. But, if they were on during the day, its not as noticeable if you left the lights on.
 

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Good habit: drive with your headlights and taillights on all the time. Do not rely on "daytime running lights" if your car doesn't turn on the rear lights. I can't tell you how many times I've seen or been in a near miss with a car that could have been visible if it had had its lights on. The marginal cost of doing this compared to the safety it adds is absolutely trivial. Plus, if you make it a habit, you will rarely forget to do it in the dark and get pulled over or crashed into for forgetting.
This is why cars manufactured in/for Canada must have their headlights on by default by law. How to soften old, hard bread Humidify, then put in freezer. The following day, reheat in oven. Good as new.
 

j

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Originally Posted by esquire.
The problem I have with this is that I know I'm likely to forget turning off the car lights if I have them on all the time and then will get stuck with a dead battery. By having them only on at night, you'll notice that they're on, with the lights flashing against the dark night, when you forget to turn them off. But, if they were on during the day, its not as noticeable if you left the lights on.
Get into the habit of turning them off.
You want to know how habitual I have become about it? When I am getting out of the car, I turn the ignition off with my right hand at the same time as I turn the lights off with my left (same motion). I also disconnect my radio faceplate with the right and undo my seatbelt with my left at the same time (similar motion too). I don't know when I started into this muscle memory thing, but I NEVER leave my lights on accidentally.

My car buzzes at me if I leave them on. I have heard that buzzer maybe four times since I bought it, and they have all been because I turned off the car and jumped out to quickly grab something I forgot, purposely leaving the keys still in the car.
 

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buy a good swiss army knife with all the bells and whistles. if you carry a backpack or briefcase, keep it in there. if you don't, leave it in your glove box. you'l find many occasions to use it, and women love a man who's prepared.
 

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How to pull out of a parallel parking spot:

TURN ON YOUR STREETSIDE BLINKER.

Watch in mirror, and when there is a space for you, pull out slowly, checking blind spot regularly. Enter traffic and get up to speed ASAP.
 

j

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How to change lanes on the freeway:

Use your mirrors to find a spot coming up soon so you don't need to disrupt anyone too much.

TURN ON YOUR TURN SIGNAL. Not until you have found a spot coming up, or people will ignore it and pass you or notice it and pass you just to be mean.

Turn your head to check your blind spot or blind spot mirror.

Look where you are going and accelerate into your space, keeping an eye on mirrors.

Turn off turn signal.
 

matadorpoeta

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Originally Posted by j
How to change lanes on the freeway:

Use your mirrors to find a spot coming up soon so you don't need to disrupt anyone too much.

TURN ON YOUR TURN SIGNAL. Not until you have found a spot coming up, or people will ignore it and pass you or notice it and pass you just to be mean.

Turn your head to check your blind spot or blind spot mirror.

Look where you are going and accelerate into your space, keeping an eye on mirrors.

Turn off turn signal.


what? you speed up to change lanes? i always slip in behind another car in the lane i want to enter. i believe it is actually illegal to speed up in order to change lanes.
 

j

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Originally Posted by matadorpoeta
buy a good swiss army knife with all the bells and whistles. if you carry a backpack or briefcase, keep it in there. if you don't, leave it in your glove box. you'l find many occasions to use it, and women love a man who's prepared.
Good one. I prefer a Gerber Multi-plier, SOG tool or Leatherman, something with real pliers and wire cutters, because...

Keep a wire coat hanger or two on hand, along with duct tape and maybe a small amount of baling wire. With the tool and these items you can cobble together something and get yourself out of a lot of jams. A good pair of pliers and a wire coat hanger will make a lot of tools. Some of which could be used to open a locked car in the middle of nowhere, etc. Comes in handy, doesn't take up much space.

Speaking of which:

How to open your CD ROM drive when it is not working or the computer is turned off:

Get a paperclip, the larger size if possible. Straighten it out to have about a 2" straight section. Stick it in that hole in the front. If necessary, pry lightly on an edge of the front of the tray (part that comes out of the drive) to unstick it if it is stuck. Push the paperclip all the way straight in until you feel it pushing a lever inside. The tray will pop out 1/2" or so. Pull it out the rest of the way.
 

j

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Originally Posted by matadorpoeta
what? you speed up to change lanes? i always slip in behind another car in the lane i want to enter. i believe it is actually illegal to speed up in order to change lanes.
I say to "accelerate into a space" because when you change lanes your car will naturally decelerate. Of course, you should generally match the speed of the traffic in the lane. But if the next lane traffic is even speed with yours, you will need a little power to stay up to speed.
 

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You should definitely speed up to change lanes if it is practical. Slowing down only forces the car in the next lane to react and brake.
 

matadorpoeta

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Originally Posted by whoopee
You should definitely speed up to change lanes if it is practical. Slowing down only forces the car in the next lane to react and brake.

no. the car in the other lane should be a safe distance behind so that your changing lanes doesn't cut him off. if someone is changing lanes i'd much rather have him slip in behind me than speed up and cut me off. also, if everyone is going at the speed limit, then in theory you can't speed up to change lanes.

i'd like to hear from a driving instructor on this. i may be totally wrong, but i'm just speaking from experience. i don't know what the book says.
 

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