Ziggy Zapata Title

HANDY HINTS

The author asserts his right to publish this information in the public interest
No responsibility is taken for consequences resulting from using any information contained herein

USEFUL TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

CLOTHES DRYER INFORMATION

One of the biggest problems with electric clothes dryers is the lint filter. Most people will just rinse it under a tap after a drying cycle, but do not realise that in most cases, this does not remove the invisible film that remains, blocking airflow and often causing the dryer to overheat and burn out. This can prove to be very costly, but is easily avoidable. Check your lint filter after your next drying cycle and if water pools on the mesh, you know that it is being blocked.

When cleaning the lint filter, wash it with hot soapy water and a toothbrush at least every few months. This will allow the dryer to operate at maximum efficiency and economy and probably double the lifespan of the machine as well.


GREAT IDEAS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminium foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mould!

Capsicum peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying minced beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelettes rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream; then beat them.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

To reheat leftover pizza, heat it in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove and set the heat to medium-low and heat until warm. This keeps the crust crispy, not soggy.

To make easy devilled eggs, put the cooked egg yolks in a ziplock bag. Seal the bag and mash the eggs untill they are all broken up. Add the remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up while mixing thoroughly. Cut the tip of the bag, squeeze mixture into egg. Then just throw the bag away when done for easy clean-up.

To reheat refrigerated bread, biscuits or muffins, place them in a microwave oven next to a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Put torn newspaper in your plants to stop weeds. First, work the nutrients in your soil. Then wet some newspapers. Put layers around the plants, overlapping as you go, cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic, but they will not get through wet newspapers.

To remove tiny bits of broken glass, use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass that you can't see easily.

To get something out of a heater or under the fridge, add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum hose. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

To reduce static cling in clothing, pin a small safety pin to the seam of your dress and it will not cling. The same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing pantyhose. Place a pin in the seam of slacks and the static will be gone.

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Empty the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter or honey and it will easily come right out.

To remove fogging from windscreens, get a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windscreen or windows fog up, rub them with the eraser. It works better than a cloth.

If you seal an envelope and then realise that you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. The it will unseal easily.

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

To get rid of annoying fruit flies, take a small glass, half fill it with apple cider vinegar. Add two drops of dish washing liquid and mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever.

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it back to their nests, can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed.

You can hull strawberries easily by pushing a plastic drinking straw through the tip of the strawberry to the green stem removing it quickly.

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise scratches and scrapes.

Remove crayon and other marks from your TV or computer screen with WD40.

Store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.

Place your mobile phone or MP3 player in a bowl. The concave shape amplifies the music.

Keep a can of baby powder in your beach bag. It removes sand easily off your skin.

Attach a Velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.

Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over your vacuum cleaner hose as a filter and vacuuming around the areas where the lost items might be.

Use a magnetic strip to store bobby pins, tweezers and clippers, behind a vanity door in your bathroom.

Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel.

Bread tags make perfect cord labels.

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. It is much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

Install a tension rod under your kitchen sink area to hang your spray bottles.

Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.

Create a window-box vegetable patch using guttering.


DEALING WITH BROKEN PA SPEAKER CABLES

Most PA speakers these days are fitted with those twist-and-lock Neutrik Speakon connectors. Although the connectors themselves are pretty reliable, cables are notorious for breaking or going intermittent at the worst possible time - usually in the middle of a gig. However, there is a pretty good and inexpensive solution for getting out of sticky situations in a hurry like defective speaker cables with Speakon plugs.

How many spare speaker cables with Speakon plugs do you carry? None, I bet. But you've probably got at least one spare guitar lead with jackplugs on each end in the bottom of your bag or out in your car. I always carry at least three guitar leads to every gig. This is what to do. Buy a couple of male Speakon-to-6mm jack line socket adaptors. If you can't obtain them, get a couple of Speakon connectors and wire them to standard jack line sockets with a short piece of heavy-duty twin-flex cable.

So when that Speakon-equipped speaker lead goes belly-up on you, just grab your Speakon-to-jack socket adaptors and connect them to a spare guitar lead and hey presto - you are back in business and can play out the gig with no problems. Those adaptors are small and will just live in the bottom of your lead case until they are needed - but they are worth their weight in gold at such times.


ON WHICH SIDE OF THE CAR IS THE FUEL FILLER CAP?

Have you ever forgotten which side of the car the fuel filler cap is on? Have you rented a car and wondered onto which side of the fuel bowser to drive, because you didn't know where the fuel filler cap was located? Don't despair, as there is a very easy way to determine this without even getting out of the car.

Most modern cars have a little petrol pump icon printed on or near the fuel gauge. The fuel nozzle on the icon will extend out on either the left or right side of the fuel pump icon - and guess what? That indicates the same side of the car that the fuel filler cap is on. How easy is that? Now one of the world's best-kept secrets has been revealed. However, some cars have a standard icon and an arrow indicating the side that the fuel filler cap is on.


UNMARKED POLICE CARS

If you are a woman and you find what appears to be an unmarked police car trying to pull you over, be VERY suspicious. There have been incidents where known rapists have placed blue flashing lights on their cars and tried to pull over women, who obviously took at face value the idea that because a car had a flashing blue light on it, that it had to be a genuine unmarked police car.

Nobody should EVER take anything for granted in such circumstances. So if you find an unmarked car, even with a flashing light, trying to pull you over, DO NOT STOP. Turn your flashing hazard lights and headlights on to indicate that you can see this alleged police car, however you are entitled by law to drive to a safe place before you place yourself into a vulnerable situation. Start driving towards the nearest police station if you can find one, or a place where there are lots of people, such as a busy shopping centre.

Dial the emergency number on your mobile phone - in Australia it is 000 on any telephone, but for GSM mobile phones, the number 112 should preferably be used. Tell the operator your location and that a vehicle with a flashing light purporting to be an unmarked police car is trying to pull you over. The operator will check with the police to ascertain whether this vehicle is indeed a genuine police car or not.

Of course if you are told that the vehicle is a genuine police car, you can pull over and explain to the police officers that you do not pull over for unmarked cars until you are satisfied that they are actually police. If they don't like your explanation, too bad. If the unmarked car is bogus, hopefully the police will despatch some cars to intercept and arrest the offender.

Always remember that you are legally entitled to ensure your safety, so don't take ANYTHING for granted or at face value. Just because somebody looks like a policeman or an official does not mean that they are. Most crooks and conmen rely on the gullibility of people to achieve their criminal ends, so don't be a victim. Treat everything with utter suspicion until proven otherwise, because it could be your safety and even your life that is at stake.


HOW TO DETERMINE WHICH WOMEN ARE REALLY MEN IN DRAG

In countries like Thailand and the Philippines, some of the male transvestites are so convincing and beautiful that many of them would win female beauty contests. A lot of men have picked up such "women" in bars and hotels, only to discover to their dismay that they were really men. Relying on most common indicators of masculinity can be deceiving. Broad shoulders and thicker veins may just mean that a female is athletically inclined. Even looking for a prominent Adam's apple is not a reliable method, because especially in some Asian nations, transvestites undergo surgery to shave their Adam's apple to a point where it is literally not visible.

So here is a 100% guaranteed way to ascertain whether that stunning dollybird is really a guy or not. It is the one physiological phenomenon that is almost impossible to change, even by clever surgery. Once you know what to look for, you will NEVER have a problem finding out instantly who is the guy and who is the gal.

It's all to do with the construction of the elbow joint. Men's elbows are very different from women's elbows in this way and you can literally spot this from across the room, once you know what to look for.

Arms
Woman's arm on left, man's arm on right

When a man's arm is stretched out, either just hanging by his side or stretched out in front or sideways, the arm is straight from shoulder to wrist. Men, hold your bare arm out straight, palm facing up and sight along it. You will see that your arm is essentially straight.

Ladies, try the same thing. Stretch your arm out with palm up and sight along it. You will see a definite outward kink of the arm at the elbow. The reason is that women have wider hips than men for childbearing purposes. Therefore, evolution has made their elbow joints different to that of men, so that when they walk or their arms are by their sides, it gives their arms more clearance from their hips.

Transvestites can have as many operations as they like to make themselves look like stunning women, but they cannot have their elbow joints broken and reset to make their arms kink outwards like those of women. So if you ever suspect a girl to really be a guy and you can't quite tell from a distance, just hold their hand with the palm up and sight along their outstretched arm.

And if that arm on your prospective date is straight, with no outward kink from the elbow, don't take the "woman" home or to your hotel room. Apart from the obvious embarrassment, "she" might be better endowed in the sexual organ department than you.


MOBILE PHONE SECURITY

Most cellular phones these days are equipped with Bluetooth wireless communications for hands-free operation with Bluetooth headsets and car units. To enable such a phone to initiate a link and operate with such devices, there is a "Discovery" mode in the Bluetooth setup menu. This creates a massive security hole if the "Discovery" mode remains active, which is quite often the default setting.

If so, anybody with a Bluetooth-equipped cellular phone in the vicinity of that phone can often connect to it surreptitiously, access a number of functions remotely and even copy that phone's address book. There are also mobile phone viruses that are very damaging, such as SMS.Python.Flocker that is spread by Bluetooth and text messaging, that secretly texts premium numbers, costing users of the infected phones a lot of money.

There is a very simple cure for this problem. Only switch "Discovery" mode on when pairing your own Bluetooth devices, then immediately disable "Discovery" mode, once the devices are recognised by the mobile phone. That will prevent this particular security breach from occurring.


GRANDMA'S CURES - THEY MAY WORK

Headache pain? Drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headaches almost immediately, without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional pain relievers.

Burns? Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns.

Stuffed nose? Try chewing on a couple of strong peppermints.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore throat? Just mix cup of vinegar with cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon, six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Urinary tract infections? Try Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly, even though the product has never been advertised for this use.

Skin blemishes? Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Toenail fungus? Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Broken blisters? To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine, a powerful antiseptic.

Screws in eyeglasses loosening? Apply a small drop of clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Bees, wasps, hornets? Try a spray of cleaning fluid. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Splinter remover? Just pour a drop of glue over the splinter, let dry and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

A boil? Cover the boil with tomato paste as a compress. The acid from the tomatoes soothe the pain and brings the boil to a head.

Bruises? Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Doggy fleas? Dawn dishwashing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Goodbye fleas.

Cat ear mites? All it takes is a few drops of corn oil in your cat's ear. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites and accelerates healing

Arthritic pain? Mix 2 cups of rolled oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief.


REMOVING LABELS FROM GLASS CONTAINERS

Some sticky labels are extremely hard to remove from glass bottles and jars. Most people try to soak the containers in hot water but end up with a messy sticky residue of glue and shredded paper still on the containers. Here is a better way to do the job.

Simply fill the glass container with hot water, not wetting the label on the outside. Leave the container standing for at least ten minutes or more, then the label should be able to be peeled off quite easily without leaving any mess. If any residue does remain on the container, it will be quite easy to clean off. Most adhesives can be removed with white spirits.


SERVICING YOUR CAR

It is a commonly held misconception that during the period of its warranty, a new car must be serviced only by the new car dealer or the warranty will be void. This is absolutely untrue, but many new car dealers will try to give that impression. The reason is that margins on most new cars are not huge and the money coming in the back door (the service and spare parts division) is far greater over a car's life than the money coming in the front door (the profit on the actual car sale).

A new car's warranty will always remain in force, providing that servicing is carried out by a competent mechanic using authorised parts and completing all required items in the car's service manual. Virtually any good car mechanic is able to do this, usually at a fraction of the price that a new car dealer charges. In fact, in most cases, the mechanics at large car dealers are nothing more than inexperienced apprentices and there is no guarantee that all the items required will have been completed.

A number of surveys of new car dealer service centres found that faults that should have been rectified by service personnel were missed and that people were more likely to get a more competent car service from a local independent mechanic. For example, a 10,000km service on a 2007 Mazda 3 SP23 was quoted at $285 by a Mazda dealer, yet the same service covering all required items was completed by an independent auto mechanic for $95, a huge saving over the exorbitant price charged by the Mazda dealer.

So don't labour under the misconception that you have to get your car serviced by the new car dealer, because it will cost you far more than you need to pay. Find a good local mechanic and instruct him to service your car as per the service manual and your warranty will remain in force.


DETECTING ONE-WAY MIRRORS

In toilets, bathrooms, hotel rooms, changing rooms or any place with mirrors, how many of you know for sure that the seemingly ordinary mirror hanging on the wall is a real mirror, or actually a one-way mirror where they can see you, but you can't see them? There have been many cases of people installing one-way mirrors in female changing rooms. So, how can you determine with any amount of certainty what type of mirror you are looking at?

On a normal mirror, the reflective coating is applied to the back of the glass, but on a one-way mirror, the reflective coating is applied to the front. To determine what sort of mirror you are looking at, just conduct this simple test. Place the tip of your fingernail against the glass and if there appears to be a gap between your fingernail and the image of your nail, then it is a genuine mirror. However, if your fingernail seems to directly touch the reflected image of your nail, then beware, because it is a one-way mirror and chances are that somebody is on the other side of it, looking at you.

The rule is - No space, Leave the place. So remember, whenever you feel suspicious about a mirror, do the fingernail test.


AVOID AIRPORT PARKING FEES

Short term parking fees at major airports are horrendous. At Sydney Airport, to park for less than 1 hour in the short-term parking area costs a whopping $14 and parking for 3 to 24 hours costs an incredible $52, so such iniquitous fees should be avoided where possible. Here is the way to do that.

Literally everybody has a mobile telephone these days, so picking up passengers at major airports can easily be coordinated. The trick is in the timing and knowing airport procedure. Once an international flight has landed, it will take at least 30 to 45 minutes for passengers to pick up their luggage and clear immigration and customs. It takes around 15 minutes for a passenger on a domestic flight to disembark, collect his baggage and be ready for pickup. The passenger needs to be advised beforehand to ring you when he has actually cleared all formalities and is ready to be picked up on the airport concourse.

You should check the aircraft's actual arrival time on the Internet or by phone to make sure that the flight has not been delayed or cancelled. Knowing this and adding 15 or 30 minutes as required, you will know when you have to leave home to arrive in the airport vicinity in time to pick up your passenger. Don't actually drive into the airport grounds, but park in a nearby street until your passenger phones and informs you that he is heading to the airport passenger pickup area. Then it is only a matter of two or three minutes for you to drive to the airport arrivals concourse, pick up your passenger and depart, thus avoiding paying those extortionate parking fees. Of course this technique can be used in other places, such as railway stations and maritime passenger terminals where parking is a problem.


POWER POINT SAFETY

Most performers and bands work at many venues and use mains-powered equipment. Unfortunately, some power points at these venues could be defective or wrongly wired, creating a risk of electrocution. A very easy way to determine if a power point is safe and suitable for use is with a power point tester. These devices are very simple and cheap, generally costing under $10 in most electronic supply stores. Most of them look like power plugs that have some indicator lamps on them. They are very small and do not take up any room in a case.

Depending on the state and wiring of the power point being tested, various combinations of lamps will illuminate to indicate whether that power point is safe to use. Such a simple test could save a performer being electrocuted, even killed. It is very useful to even have a power point tester at home to troubleshoot any power points that are suspect.


MOTOR VEHICLE COMPREHENSIVE THIRD PARTY INSURANCE

It pays to shop around for CTP insurance in NSW, especially if you have a person under 25 years old listed as a driver of the vehicle being covered. There are two or three CTP insurers that do not take the youngest driver's age into account, so the premium is the same as if all drivers were over 25 years old, saving a considerable amount of money on the policy.

You can compare NSW CTP costs at the NSW Government CTP Price Comparison Website and go for the cheapest deal, as all CTP insurers are required to offer the same basic coverage.


EASY WAY TO OPEN JARS AND BOTTLES

If you cannot open a jar or bottle because you cannot get a good grip on the lid, put a reasonably wide rubber band around the lid and it will provide a non-slip gripping surface. Otherwise you can purchase an inexpensive bottle and lid opener from most household goods stores.


PET TIPS

To stop cats from ripping open garbage bags, sprinkle the bags with a little malt vinegar or pepper. Cats do not like either of these smells. To keep pets off chairs and tables cover the seats and tabletop with aluminium foil. Most household pets do not like the sound it makes when they walk on it or the feel of the texture under foot. To stop pets scratching furniture, place some orange or lemon peel around the area. Alternatively, rub the peel onto the surface. Cats and dogs do not like the smell of citrus fruits.


HEAT MARKS ON POLISHED FURNITURE

Apply a paste made from cigarette ash and olive oil to the damaged area and then rub off. This is extremely effective for heat stains on polished surfaces. Alternatively, pour a little linseed oil on the damaged area and then sprinkle with sugar. When the sugar is absorbed, just wipe off. Obviously if you don't smoke and can't get cigarette ash, there are commercial products available that will do the job.


REVERSE PARKING IN YOUR GARAGE

Suspend a tennis ball or other soft object from the garage ceiling in such a way so that it makes contact with the centre of the rear window of the car when it is parked in its correct position. This will enable you to park the car in the exact spot desired. Mounting an angled mirror to reflect the distance from the rear of the car to the wall is also effective.


CHECKING YOUR CAR'S REAR LIGHTS

Strategically position an old mirror in your garage, enabling you to see the rear lamp clusters from the driving seat. Now every time you start your car, you can check that all your lights are working before you drive out.


HEAT STAINS ON STAINLESS STEEL

Stainless steel surfaces on appliances such as electric toasters can get stained very easily if they come into contact with items such as plastic bags when they are hot. Stains like these can be removed very easily by rubbing with nail varnish remover or acetone.


TEMPORARY BATH PLUG FOR TRAVELLERS

Put a squash ball in your suitcase when travelling, particularly abroad. A squash ball is capable of substituting as the bath plug in over 90% of cases. The density of the ball is such that it will not float but can easily be removed when required. A specific traveller's universal bath and sink plug can be bought from most travel goods stores.


UNSEALING AND RESEALING AN ENVELOPE

Put the envelope in the freezer for a few hours, then slide a knife under the flap. The envelope can then be resealed.


STORING CABLES

Use the cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls to store appliance cords. You can write on the tubes what appliance it belongs to.


DE-ICE STEPS

Put dishwashing liquid in warm water and pour it all over the steps. They won't refreeze.


REMOVING WAX

To remove old wax from a glass candle holder, put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then take the candle holder out and turn it upside down. Most of the time, the wax will just fall out.


REMOVING BLOOD STAINS ON CLOTHES

Pour a little hydrogen peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Hydrogen peroxide can be purchased from most pharmacies.


CLEANING WINDOWS

Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal strokes for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don't wash windows on a sunny day, as they will dry too quickly and will probably streak.


REMOVING BURNED-ON FOOD

To easily remove burned-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dishwashing soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to the boil on your cooktop.


MOSQUITO BITES

To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief. Tea-tree oil is quite effective as well.


STOPPING ANTS

Ants are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march.


CLEANING MIRRORS

Use air-freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell with the shine.


REMOVING SPLINTERS

Reach for the sticky tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the sticky tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Sticky tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.