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Archive for 'Random Advice'

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October 6, 2014 by , under Random Advice.

Personalised T-Shirts and Baseball Caps

Sometimes for a special birthday,, an anniversary, or an otherwise important occasion,, we want to give something a bit more than the basic ‘few DVDs and a CD’. While we want to stick to the list and give the person what they want, there’s something very impersonal about simply buying a film they’ve asked for – it lacks effort and it lacks that extra individual touch. A great way to spice up a gift then is to personalise it and make it more unique than the run of the mill (literally).

For example,, why not give someone a unique personalised pint glass if they enjoy their beer? It’s easy to make and fairly cheap and there are loads of places you can get glass engraved (including online). Put their name on it, a nice message, or a nickname (or both of your names) and they have a keepsake that will also amuse guests. Engraving can go on all sorts of other things too – most obviously jewellery – and a ring with your name on it can be all the more meaningful. In today’s modern world though you also get engraved watches, iPods and even phones. Similarly the internet gives you a lot more opportunity to personalise those items – using various websites you can use your own images to make phone covers,, or using 3D printing sights you can even make your own designs for jewellery and ornaments to give someone something they can wear that’s 100% individual (or why not make jewellery the old fashioned way with some beads and a thread?).

Another great option is personalised t-shirts or baseball caps. This it a less expensive gift that the ring or the engraved iPod and makes a great amusing present for a friend. This can then either be a joke – for example you can buy your loved one a t-shirt with their nickname on (or their pet name) or a photograph of yourself (and your back on the back if you want to go all out) which will be amusing while showing effort; or a serious present – for example you could put an image on it that you know they like. This could be a painting they really liked, a photograph, or something clever you thought of yourself. Alternatively you could combine an image they like – from a film or famous painting – and then incorporate the receiver into the image by writing their name or photo-shopping their face into the image. Another idea is to make the image yourself – to paint or draw an image yourself that you think they’d like to wear on their t-shirt (only do it if you’re genuinely a good artist though as it can be embarrassing otherwise). This way you are showing that you put an awful lot of effort into the present and obviously spent a long time on it.

Other personalised gift ideas could be a wine bottle with a personalised label, a calendar of pictures from that person’s life,, a mug with their name on it… the list is endless. Whatever you buy, by looking into personalising it you know it’ll make them smile and show that little bit extra thought. And as an added bonus you know they won’t mix it up with anyone else’s.

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July 3, 2011 by , under Random Advice.

When you buy a new car, it is INEVITABLE someone will put a “ding” in its door. The first ding is the worst. Get it over with. Ask a friend to do it for you, in your presence, right away.

Every time you pick something up, you increase the odds of its being dropped. Every time you drop something, the odds are greatly increased it will be broken.

Related to that fact, every time you and others change lanes on a road, the odds of an accident increase. The more accidents you and others cause, the higher the odds you and others will be killed.

The more you talk and write, the higher the odds you will be heard or read, the higher the odds you will be misinterpreted, the higher the odds someone will become insulted or upset, the higher the odds someone will want to retaliate. Creepy thought, but there it is.

My girlfriend in our senior year of high school said: “The less you say, the

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smarter you will appear”.

I say “The more honest you are, the less contradictory you will be.”

And, the more open you are, the less misunderstood you will be. Plus, the more misunderstood you are, the more – or less – admired you will be.

The less predictable you are, the more you will be feared.

The more you document your present, the less deluded about your past you will be in the future.

Moral of the story:

Stay home, stay quiet, don’t touch anything, be a hermit, and do nothing but write in your journal.

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Things FUTURES Antiques has NOT done, does NOT do, and will NOT DO:

March 18, 2011 by , under Random Advice.

- Represent common things as higher quality, higher value designer items.
– Advise you to “invest” in smiley faces, big eyed children, and religious kitsch. (They are fun. They are NOT “investments”. FUTURES knows the difference and will help you clear up viral confusions to which you have been exposed.)
– Send you home with an “AS-IS” purchase that has hidden problems.
– Charm you into trust. If you trust FUTURES Antiques, it was earned through actions.
– Change its name and move to a new location every year or two.
– Vanish with

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sales money due its consignors.
– Ride anyone’s coat tails. Behave like a Remora sucker fish.
End of discussion.

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Bucking the System one driver at a time

July 18, 2008 by , under Random Advice.


Comparing the same incomes of a person who, over a life time, trades in their cars every 3 years to one who trades in every 10 years: The person who trades in every 10 can afford to retire 5 years earlier.

Keep reading.

If I still had my Ford “Econoline” 150 van, and it was a diesel not a V8, it would currently cost $170. to fill the accursed thing.

At 60 mph, each 5 miles per hour over costs you an added .30 per gallon. For every mph over 55, you lose 1% of your fuel mileage, and it drops faster after 65. If your car is rated at 29 mpg, it could get 35 mpg at 55 mph, whereas if you drive that car at 70 mph, your fuel mileage drops to approximately 25 mpg.

I am now holding my highway driving to 55. I live in a place like you do – where 55 mph is a suggestion for those who ain’t have duh balls to tailgate at 85 mph. Frankly, the right lane in our area is 60-65 all the time. So, HOLDING to 55 will take an attitude. I have it.

For myself, I’ve designed a bumper/window sticker that states what I am doing. The slogan “I Drive 55″ already exists. It’s a good one, and they are already for sale on the web. I’m not out to invent a next Pop Culture Phrase or Icon.  After all, anything we make Fashionable is that which we also intend to Destroy.  I’m out to save money and put less of it in the hands of terrorists.

Here is my “sticker”.  If you’d like one, let me know.

 How to Install:
It’s about 8″ long, 2″ high, shows a background of blue sky with white clouds. White block text over the sky says “I DRIVE 55″. That’s it.
I adhere it to my Scion back window in a tried-n-true way I’ve used for decades (which holds up much longer than an exposed sticker or decal):
Print the “I DRIVE 55″ out on normal paper under the normal or best printing setting.
Cut it out.
Then, using frosted clear vinyl Contac brand paper, cut out a piece at least an inch larger in all directions than the image paper.
Lay the image paper on a piece of smooth glass. Make sure the glass is CLEAN and has no dust. Clean your hands, too.
Remove the backing from the Contac paper, and gently, from one side to the other, lay it on top of the image.
Press it down from the center towards the edges. Let it attach to the glass.
Get a non-slippery, good edged ruler, and a sharp Xacto knife or single edged razor blade.
Cut down the Contac paper to leave a nice 1/4 or 1/2″ adhesive border around the image.
Peel away the excess Contac paper.
CLEAN your car window. Take the glass with the sticker out to your car. Carefully peel off the sticker. Attach to your window. (Think about whether you want it INSIDE or OUTSIDE of the car. This will determine which way you lay the paper image on the glass before you attach the Contac paper.)
Again press it down from one side to the other, press it out from the center, remove any bubbles, and you have your free sticker.  Plus, now you have the materials and knowledge how to make all sorts of personal stickers!   

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We have enough problems without you

February 28, 2008 by , under Random Advice.


This morning, a member of our city’s police force and the former President of our Civic League came by my home with a map of the neighborhood. I’m working on an design idea which could take the “Neighborhood Watch” program up another level into what I’m calling “Neighborhood Alert”. If this map doesn’t work for me, he has connections at city offices where one can be designed to our specific needs. Cool. Tax money actually at work!

A couple of nights ago, my wife and I walked up to a special Civic League meeting. It was instigated by a rash of teenage style crimes in our neighborhood. Though necessary, I dislike most meetings. Put another way, I really dislike most people’s need for attention and their lack of manners at most meetings. THAT is the third reason things don’t get done. The first is lack of involvement (attendance) right from the get-go. The second is being a phony – making fake promises (no follow-through). The third is, like I said, being nothing but a distraction at meetings.

“Robert’s Rules of Order” exists for a damned good reason. If you don’t know them, read them. Oh wait, if someone is a jerk at meetings, they don’t read anyhow… Here, try reading this – it’s short with no big words – I promise -



1. Arrive late. If you can’t make it on time, stay home. Try again next time.
2. Bring your dog or cat. Seriously. WHAT are you thinking?
3. Bring your young children. This is no place for them. Ever.
4. Deadbeat. If you think of attending just for the coffee & donuts,
stay home or go to Dunkin’ D’s.
5. Think this is your chance to be the snappy-response comedian or
speech major of your fantasies.
6. Think this is the time to bring up other issues and personal peeves.
Save them for the appropriate meeting, or, at the very least, AFTER
the official meeting.
7. Turn to your neighbor and start a secondary discussion. You are
nothing but rude. Wait until AFTER the meeting, or during an official break. You’ll know when those moments come because those in charge will make that announcement. This also requires your active listening… which is a major reason you are there.
8. Make promises you won’t keep. If you’re unreliable (and deep down you know who you are), then don’t raise your hand to volunteer (so you’re seen as “the good guy”), when you know you’ll go home, and we’ll never see you do a thing except make excuses if someone asks what HAS been done. Just stay out of the way from the start.

9. Do you really need another #?


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It’s not Rocket Science… It’s BETTER!

March 18, 2007 by , under Random Advice.

Worldly Advice


Rubber Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. (Of course it’s one more pan to wash, but hey.)
Easy Devilish Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up. (You can also take this gooey egg mess in the bag, snip off one corner, slide it snip-corner first under the door of someone you don’t like, and STOMP the bag. It will EXPLODE egg goo all over the inside room.)
Expanding Frosting
Buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar/calories per serving.
Reheating Refrigerated Bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the

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food moist and help it reheat faster.
Anti-weed Newspapers
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go, cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic, they will not get through wet newspapers.
No More Slashed Feet
Use a dry cotton ball to pick up little broken glass pieces of glass – the fibers catch ones you can’t see! (I also use a wet paper towel.)
No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away. (The cheap perfume odor will also keep most humans away, who think you are tacky and/or hang out at laundromats just a little too much…)
Squirrels (etc.) Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it. (If it’s lettuce, just don’t forget to wash it after picking! Duh.)
Easy Thank You’s
When you throw a bridal/baby shower, buy a pack of thank you cards for the guest of honor. During the party, pass out the envelopes and have everyone put their address on one. When the bride/new mom sends the thank you’s, they’re all addressed!
Prove it’s YOURS!
If you purchase a new bike, place your picture inside the handle bar before placing the grips on. If the bike is stolen and later recovered, remove the grip and there is your proof who owns the bike… unless the thief read this advice, of course.
Flexible Vacuuming
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings. (I used to do it this way, but then I trained my pet Gerbil to go in after things for me. I named him “Spelunky”. Rest in Peace (in my air duct system) Old Buddy.
Reducing Static Cling without Killing Yourself
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and – voila – static is gone. (Just don’t touch the safety pin. It’ll be holding about a million volts of static electricity.)
Measuring Cups
Before pouring sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes out. (This may be a stupid question, but does this mean that if I want to put hot water in a measuring cup, I should first put in and take out peanut butter? I don’t cook much.)
Have a foggy windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth! (Of course, keeping a window cracked and/or using the DEFROSTER just MIGHT also work?)
Reopening Envelopes (including those of Others…)
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. It unseals easily. (I have always preferred cutting a thin slice off the end of the envelope, and simply taping it back up when done. It takes 30 seconds this way. This is not a good method if you’re illegally opening other’s mail.)
Hair Conditioner
Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s a lot 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. (I personally cannot speak to the accuracy of this idea, okay?)
Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2″ with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever! (I’ve also noticed, believe it or not, that there is SOMETHING about those glue traps you set down for roaches that attract those little gnatty fruit flies. Pretty soon you’ve got a trap that looks like Little Big Horn, and there’s no odor.)
Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it “home,” & can’t digest it – so it kills them. It may take a week or so, ESP. if it rains, but it works & you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed! (Of course, there IS that period of time when the Ant-word is OUT, and they’re ALL coming in for the corn meal…)
Take Baby Powder to the Beach
Keep a small bottle of baby powder in your beach bag. When you’re ready to leave the beach, sprinkle yourself and kids with the powder and the sand will slide right off your skin. (However, expect everyone at the local McDonald’s to stare at your troop who now looks like the Casper Ghost family.)
Compliments of FUTURES Antiques – the Most Modern Antique Shop in the Civilized World.

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