buymorestuff

To Blow or not to Blow

What do you do if you have an unexpected guest show up for an overnight stay–and you have no guest room or sleeping area besides a sofa in your living room? What if you’re in a studio apartment but want to have someone stay over. Or, if your child wants to have a friend sleep over? Or, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast but don’t want to sleep on the hard, cold ground?

The answer to all these questions is simple: get yourself a blow up bed. Unlike inflatable mattresses of old, today’s are available in a wide variety of comfort levels and sizes. In the past, you had to settle for a hard rubber air mattress that needed (at least) a bicycle pump to inflate; or something similar to a pool float–flimsy vinyl (though you could inflate it with lung power). Most of today’s air beds have a built-in pump with a separate hardness control that plugs into the wall and inflates the mattress in a few minutes–a big improvement.

Air beds come in sizes ranging from a small camping mattress, designed to fit under a sleeping bag, to a roomy queen-size that sleeps two. Most of them have, at the very least, a fabric-covered upper surface to help prevent the sheet from sliding around. The better ones, like the Simmons Extraordinaire, have a pillow top for added comfort or, like the Intex Comfort Airbed, a memory foam top. They all take up little space when fully deflated and packed in their carry bags. Both of these–and various other brands/models–are raised at least a foot off the floor in a sort of double-mattress arrangement (they’re all one piece). This makes them easier for older folks to get in and out of.

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Most come with a repair kit, but if you get one that doesn’t, you can buy a separate patch kit. Just make sure the material is compatible with your mattress. Most standard sheet sets should fit an air mattress; if they’re a bit wide, just tuck the sides under the mattress. If you’re on a budget, an air bed would be a good alternative to a regular bed. You can also get inexpensive inflatable chairs and love seats that come in surprisingly stylish options.

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The charging pad–gadget geeks, listen up!

So what exactly is a charging pad? It’s a mat that conducts electricity to charge several handheld devices so you can charge them all in one convenient location. The charge mat (another term for the gadget) itself has to be plugged in (technology hasn’t come that far yet!). Each device you want to charge needs to have a receiver attached to it. The receiver is a small inductor you place next to your battery. If you have a device (like the iPhone) that doesn’t allow access to the battery compartment, then you get a special case or sleeve to slip over it that contains the receiver. You don’t need to keep that case on your phone all the time if you don’t like the feel of it (I like something protective around my expensive phone); you can just slip it off & keep it by the pad.

What’s the advantage of a charging pad? If you’ve only got one phone or mp3 player, there is none because all you need is one wall outlet. But, if like the people in my house, you have more than one cell phone or iPod, GPS, Blackberry, Nintendo Ds (Lite), the charge pad really comes in handy. We keep it on one end of the kitchen counter & now we never hear “Did you move my phone, ’cause I was charging it and it’s not there.” Before we got the charging pad, we had a multi-outlet adaptor that had 3 plugs, which left 3 cords tangled on the floor (the convenient outlets all had other stuff plugged into them).

Examples of charging pads.

Where you really appreciate a charging pad is when you travel. There are ones made just for portability that fold up for easy toting. It’s great if you’re in a motel room where all the outlets (what few they have) are already occupied. But whether you use on at home or on the road (or both), you’ll love coming in and just laying your phone (or whatever) on a pad & walking away. No more looking for your power cord. Another point: I have a friend with an Android-based phone (whose brand shall remain nameless) who’s been through 4 (FOUR!) power cords on a phone that’s less than a year old. A couple of us chipped in & bought her a charging pad for her birthday & she loves it. (And we weren’t even trying to hit on her!)

Bottom line: if you’re a gadget geek/own more than one PED (or share an apartment/house with someone else who has a phone, etc.), like convenience, dislike clutter–get yourself a charging pad.

Cigarette Rolling Machines for the Discriminating (& Uncoordinated) Smoker

If you smoke, you know how high the price of pack is. The solution is: buy your own cigarette rolling machine. You can then buy your poison in bulk and roll it to your own specs. Sure, you could hand roll, but the results aren’t that great: you get bits on your tongue & they tend to fall apart.

You can blend your own, make the cigarettes as dense as you want, add filters or not. Buying in bulk direct from the grower is great because you’ll know exactly what you’re getting & you get the extra satisfaction of depriving the greedy middle men of their profits! And if you buy organic or “natural” tobacco, you won’t be inhaling all those nasty additives. And just think how creative you can get with the blending…oh, the possibilities! Sites like seedman.com have flavorings you can add to the tobacco–mix it up a little. You’ll also have your choice of rolling papers or cigarette tubes (pre-glued, ready to fill paper). They have different thicknesses, materials, burning time and they even come flavored! (Juicy Jays makes a TON of awesome flavors.)

cigarette papers

Now, for the rolling machine: this may sound obvious, but read the instructions before you start–it’ll save you a lot of aggravation. Additional hints: you’ll get a more densely packed, even cigarette if you slightly crush the tobacco before putting it in the machine. One easy way of doing this is to put a bunch of leaf in a baggie, seal it up and roll a glass over it.

"cigarette rolling machine"

There are several types of cigarette rollers:
–electric rolling machines are available if you’re really lazy or want to make a big batch all at once.
–the non-electric variety come in a few different styles. some are really basic, like the ZigZag roller. others use a crank or a sliding-type mechanism to pack the tobacco. some cigarette rollers are a roller & case in one handy container.
–then there’s the cigarette injector machine: these use tubes and the machine just injects the perfect amount and you’re all done. you can add filters or not.
–if you want a fattie, you can buy a “blunt” or “cigar” roller.

And there you have it: my take on cigarette rolling machines!

Consumers unite!

What’s wrong with owning stuff? Since when did consumer become a dirty word? People say “it’s only things; they can be replaced”. Yeah–if you’ve got more money, maybe. I like my stuff. I mostly shop online–you can find awesome deals and don’t have to put up with lines and brain dead cashiers.

All of the stuff I’ll be reviewing is owned either by me or one of my friends/acquaintances. I am not shilling for any company. That’s my intro.

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