Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Even The Simple Things - Accordion Condiment Holders!

    I'm always on the lookout for useful stuff to take with me in the RV. Usually, it has to have some legitimate purpose, be light weight and easy to store. Well, sometimes I just think something is neat and it earns a place on board. I've see these little dispensers many times over the years, but really just couldn't figure out what I could use them for. They are billed as condiment dispenser. Well, yeah. You COULD use them for Mustard, Ketchup and...and...well the clear one seems to want to be filled with mayonnaise..but maybe something else? Honey? I'm not sure. I AM sure they are really neat.

The main problem? They are tiny. Depending on how much of a particular condiment you use...that may be just fine. Or you will be eternally refilling them. Of course if they made them in MUCH larger sizes...hey...THAT would be a great product! I really like that you can squeeze them and dispense the right amount. No flipping upside-down and shaking to get it to the nozzle. The accordion folds work to push the liquid up and out. Pretty slick. NASA used something similar on early space flights before the advent of freeze dried pre-packaged foods, everything was in a tube or squeeze container.

Come to think of it...why couldn't we use these for things OTHER than condiments. They are cheap enough (.99 for 3) to be disposable. How about accurate glue application?  I really like multi-tasking gadgets. Obviously, you could fill them with water and spray unsuspecting people...normally I prefer the tried and true "flower in the label" squirter for that. When it's 90 degrees plus outside, these jokes are VERY practical! I was pleasantly surprised at the distance one could spray a nice stream of water. Beats any Old style water pistol hands down! Not those new fangled super soakers though....they are the nuclear weapons of pranksters everywhere!

I really liked the even flow and amount that is dispenses with a simple squeeze. You can also draw with them (think icing). Smiley faces in ketchup on your burger, why not? Sometimes the lighter side is just what the doctor ordered. I've sent an e-mail to the company in hopes they manufacture larger versions. Let's see...bigger container equals more, ahem....ammunition! Maybe it's the recent heat wave here in the North East....but I am feeling more mischievous than usual.....

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Is It Possible To Save HALF An Avocado?

Fridge With A View
    I really like avocados. Trouble is, I don't always want to eat a whole one or need a whole one for a recipe (I make amazing Guacamole!!) As everyone already knows, you can't store a cut avocado for any length of time. They get brown, black and nasty very quickly. Yes, I know you can put lime/lemon juice on the surface to keep it from turning colors and becoming inedible, but that's not a real solution. The other day I was wandering through a local liquidator store (I do that a lot in REALLY hot weather) and came across an odd gadget. It was being touted as a way to save half of an avocado without refrigeration! Naaahhh, not possible. But at only 99 cents, I figured what did I have to lose?

After reading the container, put in avocado half, snap on lid. I decided to take a photo every 2 hours until the avocado turned nasty and gross. Of course, I figured that it would be less than an hour, so this seemed like an easy way to chronicle the failure. One problem with that philosophy...I got to an hour and the avocado was still perfect! No kidding, it looked freshly cut, no brown spots, no discolorations at all. It was almost 90 degrees in my kitchen during this test, so I really thought it wouldn't work at all. Instead...I was at the 1.5 hour mark and everything was still good.

4 Hours In
At 4 hours, I noticed condensation was fogging up the interior of the container. I did not want to keep opening it (for fear of messing up the test) so I just took photos through it. Sorry, they aren't the best with the flash going off each time, but I assure you the avocado was fine. After 2 more peeks, it was STILL fine. I continued to check on it every two hours, and all was well. At 11:30 PM I decided to leave it overnight and see how it was doing in the morning. At 9 AM the NEXT morning it was still fine. At Noon that day, still 4 PM still fine. At 6 PM I noticed a small bit of discoloration but still very much OK.

Well Over 24 Hours!
Fast forward to 9 PM that night. I opened the container and lo and behold, the avocado was still edible, it did have a bit of brown where the skin was bruised, but tasted fine. I still have trouble believing this thing actually works! They make two sizes, one for Haas avocados. Those are the smaller ones with alligator like skin. (the first time I ate an avocado they were called Alligator Pears!) and a larger size for the Florida smooth skin variety. I would say this will be a very useful addition to my RV kitchen gadget arsenal. It's small, light and most of all, functional. It really does what it said it would do. Who would have thought????

This goes to prove that I can still be surprised by an inexpensive product that works as advertised. If only more things worked that way! So often am I disappointed with a product I am testing. This simple thing restores some of my faith. Try it -- you'll like it!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

[Editor: Yes, they have them at Amazon, if you don't have a liquidator store nearby and just have to have one of these nifty gadgets.] 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

RV Endoscopy - Say What?!? - See Into Places You Normally Can't!

    My RV is small, very small. Very often I have to make repairs in places I cannot see and touch at the same time. This is often a problem in ANY size RV (and other repairs too!) Sometimes, in order to figure out what to fix, you have to see inside somewhere that is impossible with your own eyes. I found a really inexpensive solution that is available now, is way cool and is multitasking. The USB Endoscope.This one was an online Auction site find. Yes, it's from China so expect a few weeks for it to arrive, but well worth the wait! Build quality is excellent! Read on for details!

What the heck is an Endoscope, you may ask? It's a camera and light on the end of a long flexible tube that can be inserted into places you can't get your eyes. Most often used in the medical field (yes, I know what you're thinking!) but recently has come into use as a mechanics tool. They are available in MANY lengths from a few inches all the way up to several hundred feet. The longest ones are used for sewer and pipe repair. The ones I found go up to 20 meters (about 60 feet) I purchased the 7 meter one (about 21 feet.)

Camera Display On My Android Tablet/Dock
It simply plugs into your computers USB port. It will also work with several variations of the Android operating system provided you have a full size USB port on your device. Once installed the USB port supplies power to the camera and 6 tiny white LED lamps at one end of the tube. You can adjust the brightness of the LEDs from a small knurled knob/disk on the side of the USB plug. While the resolution of the camera isn't great (640x480 VGA)  It is more than sufficient to see what's wrong in a place you otherwise could not access. Well not without major dis-assembly of your RV! A picture is worth a thousand words. Once you can see what's wrong you can easily figure out how to fix it.

Having a dimmable set of LEDs at one end is really helpful in controlling how the picture looks. You can get a very detailed view inside the smallest places. By adjusting the brightness, it will make the objects much clearer. And wow, does this thing get BRIGHT! So bright it was hard to look at directly. Of course, you can turn it off as well, but I have no idea when you wouldn't want/need a light while using it. It requires no batteries at all since it gets its power from the USB port. Most Windows computers will NOT require a special driver, but Android will require an APP (Search for "USB Camera" on the PLAY Store)

The only thing I'd love to be able to do is "steer" the camera head...there are MUCH more expensive Endoscopes that allow for this, but on a budget, this one works fine. You could always bend a wire coat hanger to direct it inside a small space. Not a perfect solution, But at only $10.33 with free shipping for the 7M version, how could you go wrong! The limit to this camera's usefulness is your imagination. Just remember, don't use it for evil!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

[Editor: Here's a link to USB endoscopes at]

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Glasses That WON'T Break (NOT Polycarbonate)

Plastic SOLO Style Cups Work Too!
    I have a bunch of glassware in my RV. Always difficult to store safely, they take up a lot of space. Especially for ones that I do not use frequently. Recently, I have begun to replace the glass items with polycarbonate ones. Drinking glasses, wine glasses and tumblers all made from that fantastic plastic. They look like glass and work very well. But there now is another product that is even more interesting and way cooler. Maybe even cooler than the originals! It's called Shupua, is made in Japan, and is constructed from completely flexible food-grade silicone that is completely clear! Well, you can get tinted versions in blue smoke grey and green as well.

Holy Cow!
These things are amazing. They look just like glass, but are flexible. You can squeeze them and they will deform. Drop them and they simple deform and stop on the floor. How is that possible? Well Silicon (one of the most abundant elements in the Earth's crust) is present in both glass and Silicone. There is a fair amount of crossover of properties between the two. In fact, these glasses can be used at up-to 392 degrees Fahrenheit and down to -22 degrees. What I wonder is....given that information why they recommend NOT putting them in the dishwasher.

Use As A Funnel!
Right now, you can buy them in many colors and sizes. They can be found on the Japanese version of Amazon. They company is HERE. I've already ordered a few to test out. I may even try and wash one in a dishwasher. This appears to be cool, really cool. Imagine someones surprise when you "crush" one and it simply bends. Kind of like a magic trick (does doing that to someone make me a bad person ;)?) Seriously, these would be good any time you want something that looks good and is, essentially, unbreakable. Sounds like just the thing for RV traveling. What's the down side? Well, they are currently around $15 USD per glass, so I'd wait for the price to drop a bit (or maybe the Japanese Yen exchange rate!) If they really are what they say they are then I imagine you'll see them in stores soon enough.

As technology and material-science advance, we'll see more durable and more interesting products made from stuff that we can only imagine. How about bearings that never wear at all? Sounds ridiculous now...but who knows. I, for one, will be waiting and watching.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"