How To Cure Sticky Rubber

Has this ever happened to you?  Your beloved wireless karaoke microphones, your car interior handles, your favourite multi-adaptor suddenly became sticky and impossible to hold. Their rubberized coatings have turned sticky  and no matter how much talcum powder you pour on them, they still remain sticky after the talcum powder wore off.

So why does rubber do this? Natural or synthetic rubber starts out as a very sticky substance. The rubber  can revert back to it’s original state under certain conditions. Once that happens you’re stuck with rubber that has become sticky and tacky.   (Ref: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Clean-Sticky-Rubber/   )

A common method to cure this sticky rubber  is to use 90% isopropyl solution. But this involves actually removing the rubber coating down to the plastic/metal base. I discovered another method that doesn’t end up removing the rubber coating but merely removes the stickiness. 

It happened when my karaoke wireless microphones became impossible to hold because the rubberized handles had turned sticky. I used a handle wrap (those that we wrap around racquets to improve our grip) to wrap around the microphones’ handles and I thought nothing more about it.  Until one day, as the wrap unravelled itself, I discovered that the stickiness on the microphones’ handles had gone!

You can thank me if you find that it also works for you.

 

A Home Karaoke Set And Library To Be Proud Of

I believe I have a (nearly) complete Home Entertainment setup. Here’s why I say so: 

  • An “active” system comprising  an AV Receiver with large screen HD TV,  satellite receiver, digital transmission receiver,  BlueRay-DVD player, media player,  Chromecast, Raku Stick and a projector with a 110″ screen. And of course 6 speakers. When you watch movies and concerts,  your mind has to be “active”.
  • A “passive” system comprising a HiFi Integrated Amp,  a CD player,  a sub-woofer, and HiFi speakers. Your mind is “passive” listening to beautiful music.
  • An “interactive” system, consisting  of a PlayStation and…. the Karaoke system described below.

The Hardware

The Software

Building the karaoke songs library

  1. Search for the karaoke song on YouTube. If there are multiple versions, choose the one with the most views.
  2. In aTube Catcher, select Video Downloader. Use the settings to choose the location for your downloaded files.  Set the Output Profile to MP4 Video 1200kbps.
  3.  Paste the YouTube URL in the video downloader and click download.
  4. Open the Kanto Player application and select the karaoke song that you have downloaded and enjoy!

 

Remedy for Diseased Tuber or Bulb Plant

I hit upon this effective remedy by sheer chance. My pot of Rodent Tuber  (Typhonium flagelliforme Lodd.)   became distressed with slimy rotting tubers. It was apparent to me that the plant was dying and it seemed that I was going to lose my pot of precious  Rodent Tubers. Fellow gardeners will know the hollow feeling in the gut.

 Apparently the bulbs’ soft rots are caused by several types of bacteria, but most commonly by species of gram-negative bacteria, Erwinia, Pectobacterium, and Pseudomonas.  The soft rot decay is generally odorless but becomes foul and slimy when other secondary bacteria invade the infected tissues.

Meanwhile, I have a large stock of homemade “garbage enzyme”. This garbage enzyme has tons of uses, ranging from natural floor cleaner, kitchen cleaner, dishwashing liquid, air purifier, insect repellent, pesticide, and fertilizer.

I wondered what would happen if I were to soak the diseased bulbs in a small container of garbage enzyme and I did just that. I soaked  (immersed) the bulbs in the garbage enzyme for about 30 minutes and then re-potted the bulbs in a pot of fresh soil. The bulbs didn’t die and after a few days, there were new fresh leaves! It worked! So if you have a diseased rotting slimy bulb or tuber…immerse in garbage enzyme for about 30 minutes or more before re-potting in fresh soil. You can save the bulb or tuber.

How to make garbage enzyme.

Rodent Tuber

How To Stop Hiccups

Who has not suffered an inconvenient,  irritating, embarrassing hiccup which often is untimely?    Yes, everyone has had to endure it at one time or another.

What causes this annoyance? 

Apparently, there are   various reasons but probably the most common  one is when we eat too quickly and especially when we are nervous or excited. But who cares what causes it? You are here now because you are intrigued by the  title  and just want to know how to stop the  *&$# hiccups.

Here’s how to stop the hiccups

Disclaimer: This is something that I accidentally discovered which works wonder for me. I have not seen this method described anywhere else. It may not work for you, but why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose and I hope you will  feedback to us if it does work for you.,

When the annoying hiccups start, just pinch your left thumb at the joint with your right thumb and forefinger, then apply pressure and rub /twist at the joint working down to the neck of the left thumb.  Do that for a minute or so, then change to the right thumb, rubbing and twisting with your left thumb and forefinger. Do that for a minute or so.  Have the hiccups gone away? If not repeat until they disappear. It shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.

 

 

Write and tell us if it works for you!

Simply Papaya

When I was a kid, I don’t think  I ever really looked at a papaya flower.  We had a couple of papaya trees in our garden and it seemed like we always had papaya to eat.  My mom just  scattered the seeds in the ground and without fail, the seeds would germinate, grow to be  fruiting trees in no time at all.  And  the papaya fruits back then were all huge which we could hardly finish eating.

So just imagine now in my adulthood , when I tried to grow the “simple” papaya, I am baffled why I am faced  with  some challenges. 

The first one  bore fruits but they kept dropping off before maturity . The tree was quite skinny and sickly. Maybe I didn’t fertilise it enough.

The next three plants bore lots of flowers but they were male and couldn’t bear fruits!

Lots of (male) flowers!

It is very frustrating, to say the least, that after nuturing a papaya plant for many months only to find that it is a MALE papaya plant. Here’s a close-up of the male flower.

Beautiful clump of non-fruiting MALE flowers

Finally I have a possible successful papaya tree… the female flower is already fertilised and the young fruit is forming nicely. Here’s how a proper female papaya fruiting-flower looks like.

Joy! A fruiting female papaya tree.

I learnt that even though you may have a female papaya plant, the flowers may drop if they are not fertilised. While some papaya trees may self-fertilised, others may require cross fertilisation. So pray that there are other papaya trees around your neighbourhood.

As a footnote, I grow all my papaya trees in large pots, not in the ground. So actually there is a different challenge growing it in a pot compared to directly in the ground.

How To Make Pomegranate Juice AND Tea

Hello…Happy New Year 2017! Thank you for visiting.

Here’s my own technique for making yummy, healthy pomegranate juice AND tea, without any wastage.

 1. First off, you need the pomegranate seeds, or more correctly called “arils”, and there are various techniques taught on the Internet. I opted for the following method.

1a. Slice a bit off the top and bottom.

 1b. Next, look for the ridges and make shallow cuts all along the ridges where the fruit will break open.  
 1c. Gently pry apart the fruit, which should open along the cuts made earlier.  
 1d. Now gently pry the arils off the peels in a bowl of water. The water helps prevent the arils from bouncing off everywhere. I find this most helpful. The white pith will float in the water for easy removal too.  
 2. Use a large strainer to catch the arils and pour into a container. Now you can store these in the fridge for a fairly long period (I don’t really know how long they will keep) until you are ready to consume them. You can scoop with a spoon and eat straight off as a morning before-breakfast snack, or use for juicing as what we are discussing now.  
 3. For juicing, I use a simple “Shake n Take” blender. Whichever blender you use, I suggest that you use the pulse mode to gently extract the juice from the arils without breaking their inner seeds. I imagine the inner seeds, if crushed, may affect the taste of the juice. But then some say that adds more healthy stuff to the juice. It’s your choice.  
 4. I pour the pure pulpy mixture into the centre strainer of my tea pot and use a pestle to gently coax more juice out of the pulp. The strained juice is then poured out from the teapot into a container to chill for a refreshing healthy drink later.  

 5. I then add about 3/4 pot of hot boiling water to my teapot and then immerse the strainer (which contains the pulp).  I pour the remaining hot water through the top of the pot/strainer. Don’t try to pour a whole pot of hot water through the strainer. The strainer is choked full of the pulp and will surely test your patience if you try that!  

 6. There you have it! The combined large and medium sized fruits give about 500ml of pure juice. The pulp makes one teapot of pomegranate tea. It may be a rather weak tea to some, but hey, no waste!  

 

 Bonus tip:

I was wondering whether to use the peels for my vermicasting or as garden mulch. But I discovered that the peels have many healthy uses. See the links below.

If you do try any of the health tip below and find it works for you, please share for the benefit of others at my other website, Free2Cure ( www.free2cure.com ), which publishes first-person testimonials on natural remedies to eliminate doubt and hear-say.

11 health benefits of pomegranate peel you never knew!

Health Benefits of Pomegranate Peels

Reasons to not waste pomegranate peels

4 Reasons to Drink Pomegranate Peel Tea

Benefits of Pomegranate Peel for Skin, Hair & Health

10 Amazing Benefits Of Pomegranate Peel For Skin, Hair And Health

35 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Pomegranates

Pomegranate Peel Benefits, Recipes and More

What About Pomegranate Peels is So Special?

How To Recycle Celery For Endless Supply

Here’s a quick and easy way to grow celery. It’s like recycling your celery for an endless supply of garden-fresh crunchy celery.

How To Have An Endless Supply Of  Crunchy Celery

 

img_46631. Carefully cut off the mature stalks at the base, making sure you do not cut too deep into the remaining layers of young shoots. However, you will need to nick the base of the young shoots…. see step 2.

 

 

 

 

img_46552.  Special tip! Carefully nick ( shallow small cut ) the bottom of the young shoots. This will accelerate the formation of roots at the nicks. Picture shows roots growing from the small cuts after 1-2 weeks.

 

 

 

 

img_46763.  Stand the remaining young shoots in some water taking care not to soak the leaf stems. Wet leaf stems may rot. Place the stems in a sheltered place with bright diffused sunlight, such as on a window sill.

 

 

 

 

4.  Within 3-4 days, the pale young shoots will turn a healthy green. Change the water daily. Thereafter, the young shoots will grow bigger steadily.

 

 

 

 

 

img_46555.  After a week or two, there should little roots growing out of the small cuts in the stems. When you have sufficient roots (make your own judgement!), transplant  the young shoots in a suitable pot, and cover the base lightly with potting soil up to the roots level.

 

 

 

img_46826.  Here are my first 3 pots of Australian Celery, USA Celery and Dole Celery (USA) after about a month. They appear somewhat stunted and I’m not sure whether they will eventually grow to their parents’ original market-size, considering that I’m in the hot/humid tropics. But if you live in a temperate zone, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to harvest your full-grown celery within a couple of months. Enjoy!

 

Bonus: Have you ever wondered how long do carrots last? Click here for an interesting article on some of the ways to tell if a carrot has spoiled, as well as ways to extend its shelf life.

A Wine Story

Yesterday I had guests  over for dinner. In preparation for the drinks, I checked out my wine collection and I happened to have Merlot, Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon. I decided to conduct a research about them to make for a light drinkers’ conversation piece – a talking point. I discovered these three wines originated from the Bordeaux Region with a fascinating history about them. The Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a cross between two grape varieties found in Bordeaux, the Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc, giving rise to the famous Cabernet Sauvignon while the Merlot is supposedly the most widely grown grape in Bordeaux. To my surprise, a Bordeaux red wine is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. And when you order a Bordeaux red wine, the taste depends on whether the winery is on the Left Bank or the Right Bank of the Gironde estuary which cuts through the center of the Bordeaux region.
If the winery is located on the Left Bank, the blend created will have more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot. If the winery is instead located on the Right Bank of the river, the wine will have more Merlot in the blend than Cabernet Sauvignon. (ref: http://vinepair.com/wine-101/bordeaux-what-is-bordeaux-wine/ )

Now, a disclaimer. Not all my three wines are from Bordeaux, France. My Merlot is a Taylors’ 2007 from Clare Valley, Australia while my Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is from the Santa Rita winery in Chile. Only my Bordeaux 2008 is from Bordeaux, France; hailing from the Chateau De Potiron with an appropriate appellation from Bordeaux.

And the verdict?
All my guests and I thought the Cabernet Sauvignon was the best.

I have not developed my taste buds and palate to be able to describe the wines beyond the simplistic sweet/dry/tannin/smooth language. So here goes:
In terms of sweetness/dryness, the wines are ranked in the order Merlot, Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the Cabernet Sauvignon the driest. The Australian Merlot was a pleasant medium sweet/medium dry wine and the French Bordeaux had a slight tannin taste. But the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon was really smooth and delightfully dry.

That made me curious about the Santa Rita winery and why do they label their wine “120: Honouring 120 Heroes”. The story I uncovered follows:

(Ref: http://www.palmbay.com/santa-rita-120-cabernet-sauvignon.htm )

Santa Rita’s internationally popular, best-selling “120” Series of varietal wines recalls the heroes of a pivotal event in Chile’s successful 19th century struggle to overthrow Spanish rule. History relates that in the early 1800s Doña Paula Jaraquemada, then proprietor of the Santa Rita manor house and estate near the Chilean capital of Santiago, famously gave refuge in the cellars of her property to 120 Chilean patriots. When a brigade of Spanish soldiers arrived at the expansive one-story ranch house in search the band of rebels, the feisty matriarch stated she would rather see the Spanish burn the property to the ground, with her inside, then let them step foot within her family home. Thus it was that band of 120 men lived on to fight another day, and the dwelling, now site of Santa Rita’s highly acclaimed Doña Paula Restaurant, occupies a unique place in Chilean national history.

Isn’t that interesting! What was supposed to be a quiet dinner and wine among friends turned out to be a pleasant evening of discovery of some little snippets of history of the wine.

So ends my first (hopefully of many to come) wine story. Cheers!

Where are the bass and treble controls?

First a disclaimer: this is aimed at the newbie to audio “hi fi” systems. Audiophiles stay away; skip this article.

Let me tell this story as my personal experience, while dipping my toes into the pond of High Fidelity to experience the sensation of near-actual live studio/concert hall musical performances.

First, I found a mentor; an audiophile as crazy a perfectionist as you would expect. Someone who won’t blink an eye to put down mega dollars for that little incremental improvement towards perfection. This was to draw my inspiration from and to establish my own realistic (that’s tough!) benchmark against. When he had got me sufficiently excited, it was time to go shopping.

I set myself a budget of RM20,000 ( it was USD 5,800 then) for a reasonably good entry-level system. I settled for the NAIM 5i integrated amp, Marantz K.I. Pearl Lite CD player and a pair of floor-standing Polk Audio RTiA7.  For the interconnects, I use the Kimber Kable PBJ  and for the speaker cables the QED Bi-Wire. Just to be sure, I plonked some dollars down for the Chord power cables. My mentor gave me a pair of UPS to stabilise/clean up the incoming juice to my amp and player. On top of that he gave me some gadgets and additional tips to improve the sound quality; but that’s for a later different story.

I hooked that all up and fired them up and… yes! For a guy used to listening to music on a portable cassete/CD player, it sounded so sweet to my ears. It seemed like every instrument came alive. Then it happened. One day the sound just does not seem “right”. It felt lifeless and flat. Even a friend commented that his Bose integrated system sounds better than my so called Hi-Fi separates system. I invited my mentor to take a look. He suggested I relocate the system and to arrange them elsewhere in the living room and helped me pick a new spot. And he was right! The music came alive again! But not for long….

I enjoyed my system for a few months and then like before, it suddenly didn’t seem as sweet as it should be. It’s like, I suddenly realise the sounds were too bright and thin and there’s just not enough oomph in the low frequencies. Should I change my speakers? Should I change my amplifier? I don’t think it’s my Marantz K.I. Pearl-Lite; that should be good enough. After researching the Internet, I came to the conclusion that a sub-woofer would probably help fill the sound voids. But hey! Isn’t a sub-woofer really just meant for the home theatre? Researching some more turned up some literature that advocated adding a (right-type) sub-woofer to the system. But since the amplifier, unlike an AV Receiver, does not have a LFE sub-woofer output, it means the correct sub-woofer has to be able take high level input, straight from the amplifier’s outputs to speakers.

It took me a while to find a right-type hi-fi sub-woofer, but I found the REL range of subs a possibilty. Off I went to the local distributor’s showroom in Sunway Pyramid and auditioned a REL T5 hooked to a NAIM 5i. And it certainly made an audible difference. Next, I asked for a home demo; if it works just as well in my home on my system, then I will buy it. And what do you know? It works well! For me the acid test will be to see if the system now passes muster with my mentor the next time he visits.

So why did I go to all this trouble? Where are the Bass and Treble controls? Shoot! Just crank up the Bass and turn down the Treble! Can’t you?

Well, the answer to that is still the same reason why the Bass and Treble (and generally the equalisers) all went out of fashion in the 80’s in Hi Fi amplifiers. Apparently the move was started by NAIM and soon all other brands came around to the same notion as well.

And what’s that notion? Well, all equalisers, bass and treble controls are actually filters and they remove portions of the sounds that went into the media (CD, records, etc). And to the purists, that’s subtractive and not true Hi Fi. The controls actually distort the sounds. OK, so what’s the difference with the sub-woofer? The (Hi Fi) sub-woofer takes the actual signal from the amplifier and further amplifies the sounds (from the very low sub-bass 30 Hz to about 120 Hz). The result is that it adds to the overall sounds, very much like suddenly a bass guitarist fires up his instrument, or he turns up his bass guitar (or bass drum) volume. The original sounds from the floor standing speakers do not diminish in any way. When tuned properly, the sub-woofer should feel like an integral part of the overall Hi Fi System.

That’s all dandy, if….and that’s a very big IF, the sound engineers have done their jobs well and IF the CDs are all made very well. Who has not listened to a badly produced CD or track? No, not even the addition of a sub-woofer can make up for the CD that’s badly produced in the first place. Perhaps we should start a rating system for the sound engineers and music producers, like we rate movie directors and producers.

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – The Buddha

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