almost started a fire in the kitchen today. i was heating up some beef hot dogs in the toaster oven. for whatever reason these oscar meyer franks are extremely oily and usually leave a spatter of grease all over the aluminum foil. the hot dogs come out of the oven looking shriveled, like they've been fried. today i smelled some burning and went to investigate. i noticed smoke coming out of the toaster oven and when i opened the door, the oil suddenly caught on fire. i managed to quickly blow it out, but i shudder to think what would've happened if i wasn't there in time. somehow having my house burnt down because of some hot dogs doesn't seem like a good way to go out.
while making lunch, i started thinking about the recession. one of the great things about a recession is suddenly being cheap ("frugal") is cool. for instance, i've been eating a recession diet for the past few years, before the recession even began: shopping at market basket and buying generic food over name brand. price of produce skyrocketing? how about growing your own in a garden? and riding a motorcycle - a much maligned mode of transportation - is now getting a serious second look from people when you frame as a money-saving alternative to cars now with the high price of gasoline these days. and if you really want to become a miser, get a kill-a-watt voltage reader and find out how much electricity gets wasted in a normal house.
i tried renewing my library books online. it's my second renewal; i'm just too lazy to go down to the library and return them (for obvious BROKEN FOOT reason). however, i got a weird "library card expired" error. so i ended up calling the library. sure enough, they told me my library card did expire (every 5 years), but they'd just renew it for me (along with the books). is this something new? i never remember library cards expiring before. not like you could ever use a library card other than to borrow books since they all look the same, the same generic blue plastic with a barcode sticker in the back.
in the late afternoon my father dropped by to help me install my air conditioner (which normally lives in the basement when it's not summertime). it's an old american model; you can tell because it has fake wood paneling, for that rustic look. i've always wanted to get rid of it and replace it with a more energy efficient model (and maybe one with a remote!) but every year when my father installs it for me he comments on how great the one i have is, and that it's super quiet compared to a lot of other air conditioners. i don't use the AC that much anyway; only when it gets too humid and hot. who buys a new air conditioner anyway during a recession?
this past weekend my 2nd aunt expressed some interest in getting a cheap computer to watch some movies online and possibly do some light web surfing. it's a personal mission of mine to get everyone i know online. now that i'm no longer using the m0n0wall, i've decided to give her the $20 used PC i bought. it's only 800mhz, but that's fast enough for what she needs. i installed a fresh XP system, then replaced the old circa 1999 cd-rom drive with a circa 2003 dvd-rom burner. the machine works like a charge, the only thing it needs now is a wireless internet card (it has an ethernet card but it's easier to set up a wireless PC).
later in the evening i went online to order a cheap (but reliable) wireless card (i tried looking on craig's list first, didn't see anything). the card that i found (TRENDnet TEW-423PI 54Mbps Wireless G PCI Adapter) ended up costing more than what i paid for the computer! i bought it through amazon.com, got a cooking thermometer as well (for the next time i try deep-fry cooking or if i want to make fudge).
as promised, here are the pages from the zine i found in the chinatown supermarket. maybe you can make some sense out of it!
finally, nstar's automated caller got in touch with me earlier, informing me that there might be a blackout between the hours of midnight and 2am. another night ruined!