The Essential Need for Batteries, and Why Not Having Them May Put Lives at Risk

If you are anything like me at all, then one thing we have in common is the seemingly endless search for Batteries! There in everything! Our TV, our remote, the stereo, the DVD Player! Our vehicle needs one! (BIG batteries). Our Camera, our MP3 Players, Watches, Kids Toys (small batteries) Adult Toys (umm, not gonna guess size on this one. grin) Fact is, there everywhere! In my day-to-day search I find myself looking for common batteries with common names, like double-A’s, Lithium-ions, and 9 Volts; and on rarer occasions I find myself trying to conjure up some of the more obscure ones like sr626sw or 2032 button cells. That is why I consider it necessary to bring up both the positivity and pitfalls of that one thing we all must turn to purchase in that time of dire need… Discount Batteries! Wal-Mart Brands, K-mart specials! They suit the purpose when we need them, and they can be a pain in the behind to get rid of ‘responsibly’ (recycling is important folks!) when we don’t. Nevertheless, like them or not, they are here to stay… At least for the foreseeable future.

Just recently I have come across a somewhat stressfull situation (for me at least) which caused my wireless keyboard to malfunction as my batteries neared the end of their life cycle, periodically cutting out and working against me, attempting to bring about my untimely demise in a heated Skyrim battle more than once. So I decided it was time for the inevitable change. Grabbing a couple of old AA’s I tested previously and had set aside in the ‘not quite dead yet’ pile, I set about my task of removing and replacing as my character stood helpless (I was unable to pause the game) only to discover tragedy had struck again! Wrong kind of batteries! The keyboard takes Triple A’s, not Double A’s! “NOOO!” So the hunt began again, frantically this time; Rooting through drawers and cupboards, pulling open remotes and childrens toy cars. Leaving a poor computer generated life at stake for close to half an hour before I finally had a ‘Eureka!’ and remembered that I had set a couple aside in a different drawer the other day! ‘YES!’

Batteries held like sword in hand, I marched triumphantly back to the keyboard ready to bring my character (a Wood Elf named Nar’Aviir for those who are interested) some much needed security in the form of my otherworldly control, and to my great chagrin there lay my Avatar among the grasses and greenery, axe aloft. Dead.

The Great Dragonborn of Nirn, defeated by a lowly Skeever-rat (who was coincidentally still nipping at the now-defunct hero’s heels). Tragic indeed.

Had the batteries in my keyboard had been of better quality instead of the low-budget garbage I had bought in the first place, or had I simply bought more (they were, after all, only $5 for 15.) perhaps the Great Hero would have survived…

Luckily, in the video game world I can reload. What would I have done had the battle been a real one, and my light saber, laser pistol, or cloaking device had run out?! Know where your batteries are, and have them at hand at all times, be it piles of cheapo’s or a couple of the quality brands, Lives may be at stake. (at least computer-generated ones)

Pop Culture Ideas for Children’s Parties

It is said that imagination has no limits. It’s also said that kids have more imagination that adults. That being said, just go with a kids’ imagination if you’re having trouble coming up with a theme for a children’s party. If you ask kids what motif they want for their birthday party, you’ll most likely get something related to what they have been watching on TV. Here are a few ideas that may make it easier for you.


While cartoons have always been meant for kids, there are always hints of adult humor in them. Today’s cartoon shows are no different. Today’s more popular cartoons include Adventure Time and Spongebob Squarepants. These two are always good themes for any birthday party. The simplest way to do it is to fashion party hats from these cartoon characters. Balloons don’t have to be printed with these cartoon characters, you can simply choose the colors predominantly found in those shows.

It also helps to watch these cartoons with your kid. While cartoons have always been meant for younglings, you’re likely to find yourself laughing at the subtle adult humor these shows have.

Video Games

If you, your kid, and your kid’s friends are gamers, then there’s no better theme to pick than video games. Know what their favorite video game is and go from there. Some of the more popular recent games include Skyrim, a medieval-fantasy game. Instead of regular cone-shaped party hats, you can create helmets that resemble those that are found in the game. The birthday cake can also have a little Viking feel to it.

One universally accepted franchise is Pokemon. Imagine how cute those kids will look like with Pikachu hats. They don’t even have to dress up.


If you’d rather have everyone arrive in costumes, then a comics theme is perfect for you. Every kid goes through an I-want-to-be-a-superhero phase, and with a superhero theme for a party, you can grant them their wish even for just a day.

With the recent superhero films, there’s bound to be a few Batmans and Thors in the party. Let the kids have Wolverine and Superman in the same cake if they want them there, even if your inner geek is screaming that they aren’t in the same fandom.

If you are having trouble with children’s party ideas, you only have to pick a theme and the rest will follow. Invitations, party hats, giveaways, and cakes will be based on the theme you choose, and the fun will take care of itself.

Sears Promo Codes – What Can I Buy With Them?

A lot of people are looking for ways they can save money. Whether they are buying food, clothing, household items, and necessities, it is the innate nature of an individual to look for a discount. If they cannot find a discount, they will look for a cheaper option. This though, does not apply with Sears promo codes.

The beauty about having a code is that you can get to save some items on your shopping venture. Since you have gotten a promo code for Sears, you can make use of the discount only with the brand. But you should not worry on what you can use it with as Sears has a complete line of everything that you can possibly need or want. The only thing they lack is food.

You can use your promo code if you will buy appliances, automotive/tires, beauty, baby, bed, bath, home, books, clothing, electrical gadgets, gifts, fitness, sports, health, jewelry, and a lot of other products. With Sears, you can easily have choose what you want to buy as they have such an extensive array of available products that you can choose from. You can even buy gifts for your friends.

The list of items that you can buy with your Sears promo codes seems to be endless. Your needed items can simply be bought at Sears. Because of this, you do not need to go to another retail store so you can complete what’s on your list. Truly, this fact alone can already save you some money on transportation costs that you would have otherwise needed to spend.

Top Brand Professional Automotive Tools Reviewed – Know Your Budget

The tool market is well serviced in terms of brands, design, quality and price. The key consideration is to evaluate your needs. For example, it is pointless buying a laptop capable driving sophisticated 3G games when really all that is required from the unit is basic desktop and internet work. This kind of example also applies to buying tools. For instance, why waste one’s budget on buying the most expensive tools when their application is for occasional hobby type tasks.

Lets start with an overview comparison. It is widely agreed that the best quality and designed tools are manufactured by the Snap-on company. This brand of tools is designed for the professional market. No tool brand is perfect and infallible to failure. However, the Snap-on lifetime warranty means that when a tool breaks, it is replaced or repaired by the service representatives. Snap-on tools can be bought from their distribution trucks and vans that visit automotive workshops. Alternatively, their online catalog allows purchasing via the internet. Second-hand and recycled Snap-on tools are also eagerly traded through websites like eBay and eBay Partner sites.

As noted above, Snap-on automotive tools are at the upper price range. However, there is no shortage of professional grade tool brands at price points below that of the Snap-on brand. For example the brands: Matco, MAC and Cornwell are equally respected in the professional automotive sector. Matco, MAC and Cornwell off a range of professional tools that deliver quality and reliability while carrying sound lifetime warranties and professional after sales service. And are less expensive than the Snap-on brand for the budget minded professional automotive technician. The availability of these brands for sale is similar to Snap-on tools. Trucks visit and distribute tools at automotive workshops. Also, online catalogs and auction type websites offer buy opportunities.

For those budget sensitive buyers, the next set of tool brands is SK and Craftsman. The manufacturing quality of these brands meet USA standards and carry similar lifetime warranties like those brands mentioned above. So, for the semi-professional or hobbyist application these tool brands are an ideal choice. Some may argue that the SK brand, although not as popular, is a little superior to the Craftsman brand. But this opinion is subjective. Craftsmanship and SK brand tools are a more accessible to the buying market. For example, Craftsmanship brand tools are stocked at Sears stores, while the SK brand is found in automotive parts stores and outlets.

In summary, if price is no restraint, then tools from the Snap-on range are considered to be the best quality. Where quality and service is still a priority, then brands such as: matco, MAC and Cornwell offer offer quality profession lines of tools as less expensive price points. Finally, the brands SK and Craftsmanship serve the semi-professional market with tools that are not subject to the high demands of daily professional usage. The advice for any buyer is assess the task application of the tool, and allocate your budget to buy the right tool for the right job.

Automotive Dynamic Guide – How to Be Ready to Drive in a Foreign Land

If you are going to be behind the wheel of a new rented car, and in a strange foreign land where you have never driven before, what should you do in preparing to drive?

Just not so long ago, I was in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, located just north of Singapore. As those of you who have traveled widely to Asia would know, the traffic on the roads in most of the Asian countries is heavy throughout the day, and many times driving habits take precedence over traffic rules and regulations, especially when the searing tropical heat bears down on cool heads, and raise tempers!

Before me was a small locally produced Malaysian car – the Perodua Kancil- named after the tiny deer that can run swiftly through the Malaysian jungles.

And I need to use that car, to brave the heavy traffic of the day to move to the next nearest city of Shah Alam to attend to a business meeting.

Alien to the area, alien to the car- what should I do?

Indeed, when you are confronted with such a situation, what should you do?

Keep cool – and PLAN your journey, and use the car intelligently.

For instance, perform the very, very basic inspection on your car before you even use it. This means:

1. check the tires and their pressure

2. check the engine oil and their brake fluid

3. check the battery

4. ensure the brakes are functioning ( there’s nothing like to take it for a short slow ride to put it to the test! )

Plan your journey- for instance, do not be afraid to ask directions and record them down so that you can always refer to the notes. Plan the timing of your journey – so that you can always drive during the slower traffic periods, away from the maddening crowds in the rush hour traffic. Protect yourself especially your eyes from the glaring tropical sun by wearing light sunglasses. Be properly attired. And wear shoes! The last tip on wearing shoes may seem funny, but when it is perennial summer in the tropics, many visitors, especially those who come from the cooler temperate countries would be tempted to wear only sandals!

And when you go on the roads, observe the speed limits. Do not push your vehicle to the maximum speed limits especially where you are driving along strange highways and where traffic jams are a norm.

In my personal case, I was astonished to see cars doubled parked along busy suburb shopping areas and feeder roads while I cruised my way to my destination. I wasn’t sure whether that was allowable, as the double parking of cars in two rows converted the road into a narrow one way path, leading to congestion at many parts. It sure was a “revelation”!

But in a strange land, where you are not the expert in local traffic rules, it is best to play it save. Drive defensively and plan your travel to ease your journey, and you will enjoy that ride.

Unique Oil Change Concepts Research

In the mobile oil change business there is no standard system, many folks simply build what works or buy a biz-op unit that makes since to them. For years we have studies these various types of units in the market place. If you are in the oil change business you realize how serious it is to stay efficient. In our company like anyone else in this industry, we are out to bring new innovation to the market. We have been looking at ways to better our services.

We have been to in Elkhart, Indiana, we have viewed there unit in another state. We have discussed these and other concepts with other engineers and thinkers. What we have decided is that all ideas are worthy of exploration in our quest to find the most efficient and most environmentally sensitive units. Why are we so driven to build a better mouse-trap? Why are we un deterred with the exploitations of Box Stores changing oil, such as Wal-Mart on what appears to be a below cost endeavor at $12.99. Why do we believe that it is possible to stay efficient enough to compete? Because we see the new innovations out on the street and see entrepreneurs everywhere are rising to the occasion.

Well this year in San Diego, Jiffy Lube is announcing a new program for franchisees with extended bays and adding everything from brake jobs, and engine repair including complete R and R rebuilding of motors. It makes sense for them due to the increased competition in the market place. Midas Muffler has also gone to changing brakes and oil changes. Tilden Franchise is also looking to co-partner with other services and to bundle services to compete. Jiffy Lube’s largest franchisee with well over 150 stores; was de-listed by NASDAQ; are we witnessing a new era in automotive repair and oil changes? We think so.

We watched recently as Roger Penske left Kmart as they closed the doors on 500 stores nationwide and now are merging with Sears in their re-organization plan and closing another 150 stores. In Tucson, AZ for instance we see Kmart on the North West side of town pulling out of the market and then we see a new awesome Valvoline Oil Change Facility on the same property with a 2 million dollar carwash and Detailing Center? Why, well as Lance Fisher the proprietor sees it, he can bundle services, get a no interest loan deal from Valvoline, give the customers what they want and his incredible facility will draw three different services to the same property. Is this the answer to the price wars, bundling, like Microsoft? Well Lance Fisher bets with real money in Tucson, is that a good bet? We think it is, you should see this place, WOW, one of the nicest carwashes in the country, ranks up there with Auto-Wash East and Danny’s Family Carwashes in Phoenix.

These are just a few of the latest interesting changes in the Industry. Some would say this Industry is stagnant. We disagree. We are watching Kendall battle for the latest changes in oil change interval extension and the war against traditional thinking with AMSOIL, Mobile One and others. Lots of new innovations and claims to come; who will lead? Well as we approach the pack and have our sights on the Yellow Jersey, we believe that the team who can service the customer and bring the value will be team yellow. We know this is an up hill grind and we will pursue the race with open eyes and an open mind. If you are in the Oil Change Business Think on this.

Caring for Leather Car Interiors

Leather consists of thousands and thousands of intertwined fibers, with penetrable pores throughout–just like skin. Proper maintenance starts with cleaning the fibers. Cleaning removes fiber-severing abrasives and pore clogging dirt and dust, both of which will breakdown the leather over time and give it a less than pleasing texture and appearance.

If you have pets, then you may want to invest in pet pads or pet seat covers for your interior. You will also want to look into a good reflective sun shield.

With regular cleaning and conditioning, a leather interior will last for the life of the vehicle. Leather is tough and abuse resistant. The main concern is to determine is what type of leather interior you have, then choose cleaners and conditioners designed specifically for the task. Traditional leather interiors are made of 100% leather, where as some modern interiors are leather coated with a supple vinyl.

A quick test to determine which type you have is to use a small amount of cool clean water. Traditional leather will absorb water, where vinyl coated leather will repel it. Either way, a few drops of water won’t harm your interior.

The next step is to determine the right cleaners and conditioners for your leather. Saddle soap and conditioners, while good for your baseball glove or go-go boots, are not to be used on automotive leather of any kind. The soap contains alkalis, which can permanently damage the material in your seats. Household detergents and cleaners can damage leather as well. Always use only a product designed for the type of leather your vehicle has.

Removing harmful oil and dirt deposits is the crucial first step. Always use clean soft cloths to prevent damage to, or inadvertent removal of the leather dye. Stubborn dirt lodged into crevices may require the use of an upholstery brush. Removal of gunk and grime must be done before conditioning the leather, as you don’t want to permanently push these contaminants into the pores.

The next step, probably even more important, is conditioning. This nourishes and moisturizes to lubricate individual fibers, keeping them from becoming brittle and dry. It replaces essential, natural oils that evaporate. How can you tell a good conditioner? A good conditioner will offer UV protection. Like human skin, ultra-violet rays will quickly cause deterioration of the leather and shorten its lifespan significantly. A good conditioner will be absorbed into the leather, not sit atop the surface or leave residue behind. The surface should not be oily after application. The very best conditioners are pH balanced, have stain repellants, waterproofing agents to protect from accidents.

While cleaning and conditioning your interior be sure not to leave any tools or sharp objects in your pockets that could put a hole in your seats and your good time. As with any cleaner, conditioner or chemical that involves the potential for ruining something really expensive, always test first in a small, inconspicuous area.

Inexpensive leather cleaners and conditioners will contain petroleum distillates, silicon or silicon oils, and gloss agents that deliver an inferior, greasy finish that does nothing for the leather, and transfers to anything that the leather comes in contact with. These chemicals are harmful to your leather.