Tuesday, November 21, 2006

boosting your signal for internet by cell phone, cell phone, or WiFi

regarding internet by cell phone

Peter Johansson wrote:*

As others have mentioned, it's really a mixed bag depending on where you want to be. Here's a little tip that will help you regardless of what you wind up getting, and it works for voice too:

Find one of the small 18" satellite TV dishes. It's generally not too difficult, and I'd be surprised if you couldn't find one through freecycle or craigslist. Remove the antenna element at the focal point of the dish and find some way to mount your phone there. I've got an old cellphone case glued on, but a rubber band should do just fine. Then comes the fun part: finding the tower. Pan the dish around the horizon until you get the strongest signal and find some way to keep it pointed there. Unlike aiming for a satellite, positioning is *far* less critical. I've got a little rig that I can ratchet to a tree, and have mounted it as high as 40 feet off the ground. I'd climb further, but that's about the limit of my bluetooth connectivity! If you have a bluetooth headset, you can use this for voice calls as well. -p.

I wrote:
> Peter,
> Great tip, may I share this on my blog and other forums?
> Thank you,

Sure! Be sure to mention that you can mount USB WiFi "dongles" at the focal point as well. This will extend the range out to about a mile, and maybe even more if you've got a flat open space. -p.

*on MakeMoneyRVing [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MakeMoneyRVing/]

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Solar - Chicken pot pie

OK we had a good sun day and I had the time, a magic combination.

Made the Easy Chicken Pot Pie from BETTY CROCKER'S BISQUICK COOKBOOK. Says to cook at 400*, but you know how that goes. Underline, bold, and capitalize: EASY, you can get as creative or lazy as you want to be. I had a 10 oz. can of chunk chicken, the veggies are what was in the freezer, and what is easier than condensed cream of chicken soup & Bisquick?

Cooking progression:
Started 185*
after 15 min. 285*
after 35 min. 315*
after 60 min. 325*
after 75 min. 335*
after 85 min. 325* done
Solar - Chicken pot pie

Original recipe posted at SolarCooking: http://tinyurl.com/yetvps

Solar version of recipe:
SOLAR Recipe Project
10 Ounce Chicken Chunk White & Dark In Water
8 Ounce Peas Frozen
6 Ounce Corn, Frozen
4 Ounce Broccoli Frozen
1 Can Soup Chicken Condensed Cream of
1 Cup Bisquick, Pastry
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Each Egg
1. Stir drained chicken, thawed vegetables, and soup in ungreased 2 quart casserole.
2. Stir Remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over chicken mixture.
3. Solar oven uncovered about 1½-1¾ hours or until crust is golden brown.

Cooking progression:

Started 185*
after 15 min. 285*
after 35 min. 315*
after 60 min. 325*
after 75 min. 335*
after 85 min. 325* done

This is soooo easy, next time I will try some frozen diced potatoes with whatever

veggies we have on hand.

This is a modification of the original Betty Crocker recipe.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

one more thing

We all could do so much, but most are willing to let others make the "sacrifice".

I have found that with a simpler life style I have become richer. In fact, when you "Thoreau" your life away you are rich enough to give to help others.

And when you help others your life becomes fully richer.

[sorry, another of my riches is a "good' pun once in awhile]

anyone here from CA [prop 87]

From [offtopicforgiveme]
Re: anyone here from CA

Carolyn wrote:

What's prop 87? environment stuff?

my reply:
from: http://voterguide.ss.ca.gov/props/prop87/prop87.html

OFFICIAL TITLE AND SUMMARY Prepared by the Attorney General


  • Establishes $4 billion program with goal to reduce petroleum consumption by 25%, with research and production incentives for alternative energy, alternative energy vehicles, energy efficient technologies, and for education and training.
  • Funded by tax of 1.5% to 6% (depending on oil price per barrel) on producers of oil extracted in California. Prohibits producers from passing tax to consumers.
  • Program administered by new California Energy Alternatives Program Authority.
  • Prohibits changing tax while indebtedness remains.
  • Revenue excluded from appropriation limits and minimum education funding (Proposition 98) calculations.

Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

  • New state revenues—depending on the interpretation of the measure—from about $225 million to $485 million annually from the imposition of a severance tax on oil production, to be used to fund $4 billion in new alternative energy programs over time.
  • Potential reductions of state revenues from oil production on state lands of up to $15 million annually; reductions of state corporate taxes paid by oil producers of up to $10 million annually; local property tax reductions of a few million dollars annually; and potential reductions in fuel-related excise and sales taxes.
Prohibits producers from passing tax to consumers. - Yeah, right. How you going to stop them.
Program administered by new California Energy Alternatives Program Authority. - Do we really need another "new" program authority?
"They" say it WILL increase alternative energy, for sure I see 4 billion dollars being spent and we probably won't even get the toilet seats!
I don't much care for an initiative for making new laws, I really dislike the idea of using it to cerate a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Cindy wrote:
You're kidding, right? Who wouldn't vote to save the planet? It's
probably going to burn up anyway, but I can't think why anyone wouldn't
vote to save it unless they hate all of mankind, including their own


my reply:
You're kidding, right?

A vote to save the planet? Why not start with something that WILL work?

  1. Do you live within walking or bicycling distance of your school, work, church, shopping, etc, etc, etc?
  2. The BIG question: If the answer to question 1 was yes, have you actually walked or bicycled on a regular basis? (good for the planet, good for your health)
  3. If you own a car, does it get better than 40 mpg?
  4. If you own an RV, does it get better than 35 mpg?
  5. Do you regularly use public transportation when you are not walking or bicycling?
  6. For your home :
    1. Is it larger than 300 square feet per person?
    2. Is the thermostat set to 62 or less when you are heating?
    3. Is it air conditioned? Is the thermostat set to 75 or higher when you are cooling?
    4. Is it equipped with a fireplace?
      1. Do you use it? Don't.
      2. Is it sealed so heat/cool doesn't escape?
    5. Is the home super insulated?
    6. Is it equipped with efficient lighting?
    7. Do you turn off the TV, PC, lights, etc. when you leave the room for more than 3 minutes?
    8. Is the landscaping xeriscaped?
    9. Do you use a gasoline powered mower or other yard tools? Testing found that operating a typical gasoline mower with a four-cycle engine produced as much PAH as driving a modern car about 150 km or about 95 miles. (Note 1). This means that unless you drive more than 95 mph, your mower actually produces more pollution per hour than your car! [http://greengrasscutters.com.hosting.domaindirect.com/id7.html]
    10. Do you use your clothes dryer on sunny days?
    11. Do you leave the water (hot or cold) running while you wash your dishes, brush your teeth, wash your hands, etc, etc?
  7. Does your family recycle everything you can (even those nasty plastic grocery bags)?
  8. Do you buy locally produced produce and products to reduce transportation pollution?
I could go on and on, I usually do. I'll cut you some slack this time.

Your vote costs next to nothing, and on measures like this, that is about all they produce. If you are really ready to save the planet get off of your bottoms and walk or bicycle. Join
c a m p a i g n e a r t h ! [http://www.campaignearth.org/TheChallenge_Detail.asp?caller=C1009] and other ACTION based programs, there is a ton of them out there.

But, please, please don't delude yourselves that a vote, without your self discipline and your action to conserve, will produce much of anything other than higher costs.

Come on get out there and start with you and your family. Think globally, act locally, very locally -YOU! (Me too.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Re: How do you like your solar oven?

Michelle asked, How do you like your solar oven David?

In a word: love it, OK that is 2 words. Mmmm let me try again, OUTSTANDING, thats better. Easy like a crock pot/slow cooker, cooks like a regular oven [... it is slower], makes you feel real smug knowing ol' sol is doing your bidding, well sort of, sometimes the clouds dance with sol. Yesterday and today I made some pulled London broil, wanted to double cook it nice and slow.
So the first day I cook it just with our rub/barbecue spices, tipped the oven so it would cook even slower. In the first cooking I just wanted to cook off the fat without drying out the cut of beef. On the second day it was cooked in barbecue sauce, catchup, and French dressing, put it on before lunch so it would be ready after our son's freshman football game.
It has probably happened to you, you plan one thing and something else ends up. Anyway we get home at 8:15 PM, after I get the wife to bed it is time to put the meat away. I go out and remove it from the oven, now the late afternoon became overcast and then foggy, and the bottom of the pan must have still been about 130°F. I was amazed.
I'm rambling ... did taste it while putting it away, umm umm good! Anyway Michelle you can learn more at the Solar Cooking forum:
You can even join by email:
Check it out, "Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven."

Monday, September 04, 2006

solar cooking

photo of my Sun Oven at http://static.flickr.com/91/231325751_9c98e61e33_o.jpgHere is a photo of my solar oven with the second meal.

Well I did it. I bought a solar oven. I recently read about them on yahoo group boondockingusa. They told about some Global Sun Ovens on eBay. I opted not to bid at the current price, but when the auction had ended I wrote to the seller and made a offer that he accepted.

I paid with paypal 8/28/06 at
13:37:15 PDT and received the GSO via UPS 8/30/06. I don't know if he still has any, so contact Myron
toilet1@pikx.com to see what he has for sale. They are also available from Global Sun Ovens directly.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Oh my goodness! The spam is coming!

One day Chicken Little was surfing on the world wide web when -- You've got mail. -- popped out of her speakers.

"Oh my goodness!" said Chicken Little. "The spam is coming! I must go and tell the moderator."

On her way to the moderator's palace, Chicken Little met Henny Penny. Henny Penny said that she was going into the net to hunt for information on worms.

"Oh no, don't go!" said Chicken Little. "I was there and the speakers said there was spam! Come with me to tell the moderator."

So Henny Penny joined Chicken Little and they went along and went along as fast as they could.

Soon they met Cocky Locky, who said, "I'm going to the web to find a seller of seeds."

"Oh no, don't go!" said Henny Penny. "The spam is coming there! Come with us to tell the moderator."

So Cocky Locky joined Henny Penny and Chicken Little, and they went along and went along as fast as they could.

Soon they met Goosey Poosey, who was planning to go to the internet to look for a local farmers market to go buy berries.

"Oh no, don't go!" said Cocky Locky. "The spam is coming there! Come with us to tell the moderator."

So Goosey Poosey joined Cocky Locky, Henny Penny and Chicken Little, and they went along as fast as they could.

Then who should appear on the path but sly old Foxy Woxy. "Where are you going, my fine feathered friends?" asked Foxy Woxy. He spoke in a polite manner, so as not to frighten them.

"The spam is coming!" cried Chicken Little. "We must tell the moderator."

"I know a safer way to surf," said Foxy Woxy sweetly. "Come and follow me. I'll show you how to hide the member list on your groups."

But wicked Foxy Woxy did not lead the others to a safer place. He led them right up to the entrance of his foxhole of false hopes. Once they were inside, Foxy Woxy was planning to keep them in fear of the net outside of his forum!

Just as Chicken Little and the others were about to go into the fox's hole, they heard a strange sound and stopped. It was the ISP's hunting dogs, growling and howling.

How Foxy Woxy ran, across the meadows and through the forests, with the hounds close behind. He ran until he was far, far away and never dared to come back again.

After that day, Chicken Little always used her spam filter when she was connected to the net. The spam filter was a service of the ISP. And if -- You've got mail. -- popped out of her speakers, Chicken Little didn't mind a bit. In fact, she didn't notice it at all.

Do you belong to a forum on the web? Has there been a discussion about the member list being hidden? If not one day soon there will be!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


We sent our two teenagers to Chicago to visit their brother and his fiancee. They have never flown on their own, so it was an experience.

On their return we had lunch at that restaurant in the middle of the airport, come on you've all seen it in the movies, or the news, or something. It looks like a 4 legged spider with windows in its belly, sitting on a flashlight.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Concerned People for Animals is an organization that my DW and I work with to reduce animal suffering and the unwanted pet population.

Today we were at the 20th annual Seabee Days celebration. I worked for the Seabees for the last few years. Today I saw a number of former coworkers and if felt good to be on base again remembering how we help to make sure our Navy Seabees have the equipment to do their jobs around the world.

Concerned People for Animals goes to various events in the Ventura County area as an educational outreach and to raise funds by selling engraved pet tags, GI tags, ID bracelets, and license plate frames. We engrave while you wait, every one likes to get their tags right away for the low mail order price.

If you would like any of these items our website, http://www.concernedpeopleforanimals.org, gives information on how to order. Concerned People for Animals is an all volunteer organization - we have no paid employees, maximizing the funds going to animal welfare.

At an event this large we get a lot of orders and we are constantly busy all day, working outdoors. It feels good to be tired after such a productive day.

Monday, June 05, 2006

why I would buy another diesel

Once upon a time in a life that seems so long ago, my work commute was 80 miles each way. Started out with a Ford Ranger 4 banger and 5 speed stick. Got real tired of rowing my way across Los Angeles. We also needed a vehicle that would carry more than 2 people.

Got a good deal on a Ford super cab F150 with a v-6 and automatic overdrive. The second seat worked OK for those times (rare) we needed room for 6. The v-6 gave me good mileage, 18.4 to 19.2 mpg. Remember 95% of the time I was on the freeway, but some was stop and go.

I drove that for a couple of years until we got the “get ready for full timing” bug. We had already decided on a 5th wheel, so we thought it would be prudent to have a paid-off truck before we started. By this time my commute was 14 miles each way, some town, some rural.

The Dodge Ram 3500 single rear wheel Cummins Turbo Diesel (CTD) was our choice. 1) we wanted the max tow capacity (in 2003 Dodge had it over Chevy/GMC or FoMoCo) 2) in 7 years of pre-retirement driving it would just be getting broken-in at about 85,000 miles 3) the CTD has a rebuild cycle of 350,000 miles 4) it would get about the same mileage as the F150 and although we didn't know it at the time 5) the more we drove it and the longer we had it, heck we just liked it more and more. We changed from Ford people to Dodge Ram people in just 3 years.

Life changes

There has been some discussion on gas vs. diesel of late on one of my forums. This is what I “think” I've learned.
  1. with a diesel there is no joy that can be matched with a gas engine (that gets more than 6 mpg anyway) i.e. Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor syndrome Arr arr arr. Oh. Oh. Oh.

  2. I would NOT have been afraid to tow my trailer anywhere, come back home and do it all again

  3. with bio-diesel you can thumb your nose to any Prius while towing 16,500 lbs. of whatevertheheckyouwant

  4. and most amazing to me, get better mileage, even comparing light weight F150 fuel efficient v-6 against the highest towing Dodge Ram 3500 auto with 4.10 rear end – on the highway the v-6 got 18.8 mpg, the Dodge Ram CTD 22.4 mpg

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

seat lift for RVs and other applications

There are companies out there that make wheel chair lifts, and human lift seats, that attach to the sides of RVs.

S & S Mobility Products, http://www.coachlift.com/, makes a nice seat lift that could be used indoors and out.  It requires very little modification to the RV. I visited them at the end of December '05.  If we ever decide to go with a 5er I think I will adapt the Lectra Aid for the interior steps as well as the outside access.

A wheelchair lift requires a door wider than most RVs come with, and  may require major changes to the RV floor plan and frame.

third question

Could you tell us how you reach your conclusion?

We wanted the largest RV we could fit in state and federal campgrounds. We decided that this required an overall length of no more than 33 feet. Because we didn't want to waste part of our "33 feet" on MoHo cockpit space or the A frame on a TT that left us with a 5th wheel.

To illustrate the point, our MoHo is 38 feet stem to stern. We think that we could stand it a foot maybe a foot and a half shorter. It has a single slide, about 16', for the living and galley. Compare that to my favorite Americana floor plan that is 32 ½' overall with 2 slides. I consider it to be the optimum FP if you want to make use of federal, state, and local campgrounds.

About the same usable square footage, much shorter package.

What do you think? I would like to hear your opinions.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

second question

If she did not have the stroke effects, if you had it to do over, do you think you would have stayed with what you had before or do you think a DP is preferable to you regardless?

If Terri could have managed the steps after her stroke I don't think we would have re-visited the idea of DP. We spent a lot of time deciding on a 5er. It is very much a 6 of one – a half a dozen of another thing though. We made good cases for both a 5er and MoHo. New vs. Used, and the separate home and engine/drive train were the winner.

Again, to us the floor plan thing is a big, big player.

I think we will really enjoy the MoHo for what it is, already I liked stopping for the night, deploying the jacks and going to bed (after walking the dogs).  ;)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

first question

So now that you have experienced both types after the stroke, was the decision to change to a MoHo the right decision given your situation?

Yes, we think so. Ask us again after a year and again after 5 years. A 5th wheel has 2 or 3 steps between the living area and the bathroom and bedroom, we couldn't think of a practical way to deal with that obstacle.

We feel that for the people in the mid and lower income levels, that includes us, an under 16,000 pound GVWR 5th wheel and a “one ton” pick-up is the way to go. But after taking a trip in our MoHo and getting right at 10 mpg I think the cost of fuel is comparable. The difference is, we bought the MoHo and a towed both used for a total of about $80K. We figured a new 5er at $38K and our Dodge Ram 3500 diesel was $31.5K new for a total of $70K. Also on a diesel pusher, check out the cost of an oil change (about $200) and the cost of other maintenance. These things are BIG Truck based, and have costs to match.

More than any thing else you will find it is the floor plan makes it or breaks it for you in any RV. If you can find floor plans in both a MoHo and a trailer you like, then you decide based on how well a trailer or MoHo fits your lifestyle in other ways.

a webite asks

First, I'm using the term webite like trailerite used in the movie "The Long, Long Trailer"

The question

So now that you have experienced both types after the stroke, was the decision to change to a MoHo the right decision given your situation? If she did not have the stroke effects, if you had it to do over, do you think you would have stayed with what you had before or do you think a DP is preferable to you regardless? Could you tell us how you reach your conclusion? Thanks much.

Friday, April 28, 2006

This is a test . . . .

Our first grandchild Noah Edward

This is a test of the posting from camera phone function. Sooooo, when Noah's picture came up first I decided to send him to you.

He was born March 31, 2006, if anyone is intersted I'll post more about him.