Posts from the ‘My articles’ Category

Poetry

To start the kick-off of Inkspeare Poetry Month I will post my latest poems.  I’m far from being a poet, and my poetry does not follow any rules.  So, think of it a freestyle poetry – if there is such a thing.  To view some of my poetry, please visit the tab Totally Inspired on this blog.

100 Ways to Save

More and more people seem to be sharing the same boat these days.  In a though economy, every bit of good or creative advice to save your hard earned dollar, helps.  Here’s a hundred money saving tips, just to start you off.

Surf the internet for free product samples.  It’s like shopping for free!

  1. Utilize coupons.  Double them when possible.
  2. Take advantage of “buy one get one free sales.”  But, make sure that the price has not been inflated.
  3. Re-invent leftovers.  Study some recipes, learn new food tricks.
  4. Squeeze toothpaste to the end.
  5. Save soap shavings in a jar, and make a new bar of soap.
  6. Utilize natural food products (eggs, oil…) as beauty aids.  Research ways to use these products which you already have in the kitchen.
  7. Learn the many uses of baking soda (cleaning, beauty, cooking…)
  8. When products are almost at the end, dilute with water, and you will get more uses.
  9. Use a multi-purpose cleaner.  Commercial strength multi-purpose cleaners are strong, and because they need to be diluted, you get more for your money.
  10. Learn how to make your own shampoo/detergent.
  11. Makeup – Have a fall-winter/spring-summer makeup palette, so you can easy replace the used up item.
  12. Clothes – Buy basics and classics that you can mix and match.
  13. If you have the skill, mend or convert pieces of clothing.  Alter for different outfits.
  14. Trade in with friends and family.
  15. Ditch your home phone line.  Utilize a family program for your cell phones.
  16. Do you really watch all those cable channels?
  17. Have you heard of the meal portions of the 1940-50’s?  That’s how you should eat!
  18.  Buy foods and ingredients that have a long shelf life, like cornmeal, all purpose flour, rice, pasta.  These can be turned into different meals.
  19. Learn to make things from scratch (cookies, cakes, bread).
  20. Visit your local farm market to save money on veggies and fruits.
  21. Turn off the lights.  If you are not in the room, the light should be off.  By now, all your fixtures should have energy saving bulbs.
  22.  Unplug appliances when not in use.  For an easy way, buy a power strip.
  23. Visit your dollar store.  It is a source for many good items such as party favors, school supplies, cards, cleaning supplies and many more.
  24. Visit consignment shops, garage sales, flea markets.  You never know where you can find what you are looking for.
  25. Make a trade in party with family and friends.  Anything goes, bring any items and exchange for others.  Invite your neighbors.
  26. Sell your unwanted items for extra cash.
  27. Collect rain water.
  28. Do full loads of laundry.
  29. Dilute fabric softener.
  30. Paper towels can double as napkins.
  31. Make your lunch to take to work.
  32. Make coffee in the morning.  Take some with you.  Use a travel mug.
  33. Reuse plastic bags for pet waste or to line small trash cans.
  34. Forget gym memberships.  Do it the natural way – walk, hike, bike, become active in sports.  A can of beans can double a weights.
  35. Think of a second life for items.  For example a cup that has a small chip can become a key holder, change holder; a small saucer can be a soap or sponge holder; a tall glass can be used as a makeup-brush or toothbrush holder.
  36. Shop on EBay.  Sell on EBay.  You can get brand new books for 99 cents and free shipping!
  37. If you have a very expensive pair of shoes, take them to the shoe maker before ditching them.
  38. Donate clothes or other items, a car, and take the tax deduction.
  39. If you live in the country, decorating for the holidays (a la natural) should be easy and fun!  If not, take a trip, enjoy it, and collect pine cones, leaves, branches, and anything that you can use to decorate your home.  If you are in a coastal area, the beach is full of treasures!
  40. Take advantage of a friend’s garden.  Ask for seeds (before going to the nursery).
  41. Learn to use natural products (coffee grinders …) as fertilizers and bug repellents.
  42. Ask your bank, mechanic … for freebies such as pens, note pads, calendars.  They are usually available for customers; people don’t ask.
  43. Learn to make gifts, its fun!
  44. For big families, have a secret pal during the holidays.
  45. Don’t leave the faucet running.
  46. Don’t leave the refrigerator door open.
  47. Trade music, movies and books with friends and family.
  48. If you don’t have carpet flooring, go back to basics:  a broom, a mop and a bucket.  It will save you some bucks!
  49. Start an all year garden.  Cut your own flowers, don’t buy them.  For winter, pines and holly arrangements will look gorgeous!
  50. Use your library.
  51. Scout your township for free events (concerts, movie night, festivals).
  52. DIY – when advisable.
  53. Make use of your free weekends (cell phone) and use the email or social networking sites to say hello.
  54. When you donate to some organizations, (whatever amount) they will send you mugs, calendars, stationary, address labels, and even t-shirts.  You get tons of freebies and your donation is tax deductible.
  55. Schedule your errands – to save gas and wear and tear in your vehicle.
  56. Plan your menus.
  57. Old towels/clothes/sheets can become cleaning rags.
  58. Adopt an animal, don’t buy one.
  59. Dried summer flowers can make beautiful fall arrangements.
  60. If you don’t have the budget to replace a rusty fence, paint it, or plant vines to cover it: morning glory or honey -suckle will do.  It will look beautiful and fragrant.
  61. Repaint garden items; they will look like new again.
  62. Sell your metals (old appliances, pots, iron, and aluminum).
  63. Sell good parts of appliances that you no longer need (timer, motor …).  There’s a market for it.
  64.  Maintain your vehicle (wash, tune-ups …).  It will last you longer, perform better and save you money.
  65. Some clothes, sheets, can be converted into pillows.
  66. Bundle services, but beware.  Do the math first, to see if you are saving money by bundling.
  67. Take advantage of free credit card rewards.  But use your credit wisely.
  68. Save on postage.  Pay electronically.
  69. Leasing is a waste of money.
  70. Trade services:  “I’ll do your taxes for a tune-up.”
  71. Reuse computer paper as scrap paper/notes.
  72. Start healthy habits; you’ll save on medical bills.
  73. Sell your old gold jewelry (I made over $1,000.00).
  74. Can you cut your husband’s hair?
  75. Old pillows + old bed sheets = good pet beds.
  76. Bundle up in the winter, and lower your thermostat.
  77. Dress appropriately in the summer, and use ceiling fans.
  78. Take advantage of rebates.  Send them out.
  79. Easy on the pedal, save gas.
  80. Have a change piggy bank.  And please, bend over and pick up that cent or nickel on the floor.  It adds up!
  81. Old nail polish can be used on craft projects.
  82. Shake your printer’s ink.  You can get more from it.
  83. Use old Christmas cards as bookmarks.  Cut the part that is not written on and use it as post cards or note cards.  Perfect for those Christmas recipes.
  84. Be creative with pet toys.  Balls made of old socks, an old computer mouse …but, always make sure – safety first!
  85. Evaluate your purchases.  Buy what you need.
  86. Cook your own meals.
  87. Compare brand ingredients with store brands.  Why pay more if it contains the same ingredients?
  88. Grow your own veggies.
  89. Do your own pet grooming.
  90. Cancel subscriptions of magazines that you don’t read.  Keep one subscription and tell your friends to do the same, and then trade in between yourselves.
  91. Networking pays.
  92. Visit Craig’s list for great bargains and free stuff.
  93. Air dry clothes, when possible.
  94. Do some freelancing.
  95. Ask your doctor for generic drugs.
  96. Ask your vet for multiple pet’s discount.
  97. Take advantage of discounts for having multiple policies with an insurance company (auto + home).
  98. Organize your home.  If you know where things are, and what you have, then, you won’t buy things twice.
  99. 100.   Do you really need that boat?

There are many other ways of saving money.  These are only 100 tips to get you started.  Apply what you learn, otherwise is money down the drain – your drain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Fight Writer’s Block

With these easy to do techniques, you can say goodbye to the dreaded dark cloud – writer’s block.

  1. The dream approach – Dreams are a great source of inspiration.  Keep a notebook and pen next to your bed; and as soon as you wake up, write down your dreams.  Anything that you remember will become fuel for your writing.
  2. The word approach – Take a word, any word, and play with it in your mind.  Write down the ideas that the word generates.  These ideas will become themes for your writing.
  3. The “throw it out there” approach – This method is fun!  Utilize your email or better, your social networks for feedback.  Just put out a sentence and invite people to comment about it.  Limit their comment to a short sentence.  Their input can generate ideas that can in turn, become excellent topics for writing.
  4. The mind approach – Thoughts are bouncing all the time in your mind.  This process is non-stop, even if you are not aware of it.  Become a watcher of your thoughts, write them down, and use them for inspiration.
  5. The conversation approach – When you are running your errands, standing on line, at a restaurant, or any other place, listen to what people are saying around you.  This is a great source for writing material.
  6. The newsworthy approach – What is going on the news?  What do people seem to care about?  Write about that.
  7. The” from bad to good approach” – Listen to the news and pick up a sad story.  Now, what would that story look like with a happy ending?  Use the inspiration from the story to create your own.
  8. The “what I love” approach – This is simple; just write about themes that you love.  It should be effortless, since you have a passion for the subject.
  9. The “against my grain” approach – Write about subjects that you totally dislike.  This will force you to do some research, you will learn something in the process, and will have plenty of material to write.
  10. The sentence approach – Take any sentence, any, and develop a story from it.

Inspiration is everywhere; you just have to attune your senses.  So, wake up your pen (or your PC), and start writing!

Have we become a better race?

Are we doomed to destruction or have we become a better race?  What do movie genres have to do with it?  Read on.

When we think of science fiction, we think of the future and all kinds of things that can become possible.  The sci-fi world fascinates us, as it stretches our imagination as far as the times go.  The present time determines the type of science fiction that we experience.  Today’s sci-fi is more challenging that it was 20-40 years ago.  Old school fiction has become today’s reality.  If you ask a teenager to view an episode of old school Star-Trek, he/she might not be as impressed as many teens were many years ago.  This is because a lot of these gadgets resemble many that we currently use.  So what is there to fascinate him/her?

Our minds have learned to evolve as our future becomes more technological, and our responses to a particular movie genre, have too.  I doubt if a person taken from the 1930-50’s would be able to handle viewing today’s horror movies.  Will this person be prepared to handle the quick scene movements, the explicit bloody scenes, strong language and all that stuff we love to be scare by, these days?  I don’t think that mentally, emotionally, and physically this person was ready.  He/she could possibly end up at the emergency room with a series of physical symptoms, close to a heart attack, and possibly, emotionally marked forever.  In a sense, technology in the movies has made us strong, maybe even detached.  Does that mean that we are less sensitive to violence?  Maybe, or maybe not.  We just don’t scare that easy anymore.  But we still seem to condemn violence in our society.

Today, some old movies seem too slow in scene movement.  We have become used to handle fast speed in action, sci-fi and horror movies.  Our lives move at high speed as our technology does, too.  We have become like cyborgs, in that sense.  We process huge amounts of information (our brains have acclimated) and handle visual stimulation faster.  Just think of what a game of Atari looks like today – slow motion.  The dexterity that today’s teens demonstrate while playing video games and playing with techno equipment is impressive.  There’s no doubt that we have evolve as a species.  Some might argue that our values have not, but if you go back to study the atrocities of centuries ago, then the argument remains open.

Many believe that the human race is doomed to destruction as a result of its own chaos.  I see a race that has evolved from barbaric to sensitive, diplomatic, and strong.  Every era has its challenges, and leaves its mark on our evolution.  So for better or for worst, we remain, stronger than ever.

 

 

The Evolution of the Vampire – From Monster to Hottie

Our obsession with vampires dates back to ancient times.  Many ancient civilizations like the Assyrians, Babylonians and other orient cultures included the bloodsucker in their mythology.  Although variations of the vampire exist in different cultures, the similarities outweigh them.  The vampire has evolved throughout history from a despicable killer- monster (fueled by mass hysteria and the recordings of a few historians, also fueled by mass hysteria) to the romanticized image of the beautiful and mysterious being that is capable of feeling love (plus he has a healthy bank account).  We have given back a soul to this vile creature.  We have humanized him again, and we have accepted him in our circle.  There is a big gap between Nosferatu, Dracula, and Edward Cullen.  So, how did vampires become hot?  How did we manage to switch from fear, disgust, and repugnancy, to acceptance?  Simply put, by looking in the mirror.

The things that we feared most about a vampire, turned out to be the ones that we desire most.  A vampire represents our aspirations and where we are headed as a society.  Our technological advances are geared to promote a futuristic society that values beauty, power, money, sexuality, and immortality (or at least longevity).  All these are evolved characteristics of the modern vampire.  Think of all the products out there that are dedicated to the attainment of these vampiric qualities.  Pretty much every product or service advertised is designed to target one of those.  So, we have commercialized Dracula, we have made him what we dream of becoming.

On the other side, as we become more spiritually oriented, he has become immune to crucifixes and holy water.   One characteristic remains unchanged – his dissatisfaction, the longing for something he cannot have, the constant pain of the separation from the object of his desire.  And that is the unifying quality that as humans, we share with him, making the vampire redeemable.  Throughout history we have take him from damnation to redemption.  We have saved the vampire, but at what price?  In one way, we have sucked his identity and given him ours.  We have made him human.  We have given him an image in the mirror (our ideal of beauty, power, sex, love, money, life).  Our aspirations as a society have become his reality.  We have become like him, and he has become more like us.  Taking all said into consideration, what’s not to love?