Category Archives: Cool stuff

Stuff that I think is really cool and enjoy.

Mr. Gingy

I tried to do some drawing outside yesterday, but this little guy was a big distraction!

View on Path

Free Shipping on my Society 6

Use this link to get free shipping on items bought from my Society 6 store page!

Only good until August 10th 2014.

How I learned to love my hard-to-pronounce Irish name

I thought I had a hard to pronounce Irish name until I read this article! And for the record, the Irish way to say Deirdre is either “Dear-drah” or “Dear-druh”. I prefer the first.  I really don’t like being called “Dee-dra”, see there are 2 – Rs in my name, Dei(R)d(R)e.

Ok rant over! Read this article:

How I learned to love my hard-to-pronounce Irish name


Learning to love your Irish name: “Oh, you want me to spell that for you? No problem!” Photo by: Thinkstock

Having a hard-to-pronounce Irish name is no picnic. There’s often confusion over pronunciation, spelling, and let’s not even start with the ordeal of ordering a coffee at Starbucks. Bláthnaid Giles, from Ardcath in Co. Meath, understands this. But she also thinks unique Irish names are worth celebrating. On her blog, “What’s me name?”, Bláthnaid (pronounced “Blaw-nid”) is bringing all the Dorarcas, Odhrans, Meadhbhs, Aoibheanns, etc. of the world together to share their stories. Launched five months ago, the blog features fun Q&As with each interviewee – some of whom Bláthnaid knows personally, but many of whom she simply reached out to online.  (Read the rest here)

What kind of armor did Medieval women really wear?

What kind of armor did Medieval women really wear?

A cool article on io9 about women’s armor in history.

What kind of armor did Medieval women really wear?

5 Gallon Bucket Uses: Emergency Kit

(Originally posted on

Since I live in Florida, I thought this might be a handy article to make a copy, so I know how to find this information quickly!

With regular large scale disasters already causing problems in North America, it’s a good time to talk a bit about disaster preparation and how a 5 gallon bucket can help provide some good physical insurance against a catastrophic situation.


A well designed emergency kit will contain the best bits of modern technology and healthcare packaged neatly in a carryable 5 gallon bucket.

Prepackaged Emergency Kits

The simplest way to invest in your five gallon insurance plan is to get your hands on a professionally built kit. Usually these kits are helpfully rated for a certain number of days and/or individuals. Prepared kits will usually contain both food and water (or water purification) and general emergency supplies such as flashlights and first aid. Here’s one popular emergency kit that condenses survival supplies for a family of 4 inside a single 5 gallon bucket.


Build Your Own 5 Gallon Bucket Emergency Kit

In many cases, it’s better to create your own 5 gallon bucket emergency kit.

First of all, it gives you a certain intimacy with your kit – you know exactly what’s in there because you were the one who researched it and put it in there! If you’ve put something in there that you don’t fully understand how to use, you can learn that skill long before the flood or earthquake event that could make last-minute skill acquisition impossible.

Secondly, putting together your own kit means you can custom tailor it to what’s important to you, your family and your community. For example, in our family we have a lot of allergies – some that can kill one of us very quickly. That’s why an EpiPen is a critically important part of our emergency supply but might not be relevant at all for other families.

Lastly, assembling your supplies yourself could save you money. You’ll be able to include many household materials you already have, and you can get a better deal on the items you do need to buy by cutting out the middleman.

The DIY Disaster Preparation Bucket

This emergency kit comes from AlfredoEinsteino on Reddit – who we will call AE – and is published with his permission. At the end of this post is a list of every single item you see here so you can make this exact emergency kit for yourself.


Keep in mind that this kit is one person’s collection of items that work best for him. It’s the right kit for AE but may not yet be the perfect kit for you. You should always tailor your emergency kit around what’s likely in your area and your family’s needs.

Organizing the 5 Gallon Emergency Kit

AE has divided his emergency kit into a few broad categories to keep his supplies organized and well rounded:

  • General Supplies
  • Hygiene Supplies
  • First Aid Kit

Every item is listed in detail in a printed contents document. On the back is a list of important phone numbers such as relatives, insurance companies, local law enforcement, fire department, etc.


Did you catch the line second from the top? It’s the most important detail on the loadout document – the date. This helps you remember when the bucket was put together so you can keep track of all your expiration dates. A good emergency kit can easily last 5 years or more, but not everything inside will be good for that long and may need to be replaced periodically. Again, the EpiPen example – they only last about 20 months from the day they are made. Replacing an expired EpiPen could be a life or death matter!

Shopping List: 5 Gallon Emergency Kit

The rest of this article will be a list of the contents of the bucket. You can download this list in an editable Word format by clicking here: 5 Gallon Bucket Emergency Kit

It may be instructive to compare this list with the much higher calorie emergency kit from Mayday disaster preparation company. Human beings need about 2,000 calories every single day – which adds up really fast. Depending on your anticipated needs, you may want one or several food-geared buckets in addition to your emergency supply kit.

General Supplies


  • glow sticks (12 hrs)
  • flashlight
  • liquid candle
  • matchbooks
  • mylar blankets
  • hand warmers
  • AM/FM radio
  • whistle and lanyard
  • sewing kit
  • blank notebook
  • pencils
  • extra batteries (for flashlight and radio)
  • zip ties
  • P-38 can opener
  • trash bags
  • N95 dust masks
  • duct tape
  • small tarp
  • paracord
  • safety goggles
  • split leather gloves
  • backpack
  • Super Glue

Hygiene Supplies

Hygiene supplies are packaged inside their own separate bag. These basic supplies should look familiar – it’s similar to a toiletries bag you might take on vacation.


  • bar soap
  • kleenex
  • floss
  • baby shampoo
  • hand lotion
  • sunscreen
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • feminine hygiene pads
  • comb
  • toilet paper
  • washcloths
  • Pads
  • Tampons

First Aid Kit

The first aid box is packaged with a list of contents taped to the inside of the lid. Moist towelettes and antiseptic towelettes and latex gloves kept on top so you can clean your hands before digging through supplies.


  • basic first-aid guide
  • moist towelettes
  • antiseptic towelettes
  • latex gloves
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • ibuprofen (Advil)
  • aspirin
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • loperamide (Imodium A-D)
  • burn cream
  • sting relief towelettes
  • hydrocortisone cream
  • triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin)
  • cough drops
  • earplugs
  • instant ice pack
  • tweezers
  • nail clippers
  • scissors
  • digital thermometer
  • cotton balls
  • waterproof adhesive tape
  • gauze rolls
  • gauze pads
  • moleskin
  • band-aids
  • butterfly bandages
  • ace bandage
  • triangular bandage
  • hand sanitizer
  • Q-tips
  • petroleum jelly
  • RAD sticker (personal radiation dosimeter)
  • potassium iodide (radiation emergency thyroid blocker)

My Trip to Aldi

I visited a strange new world yesterday, it vaguely looked like a supermarket, but none of the brands were familiar.

I had to surrender a quarter before I was allowed to use a shopping cart.  The sign assured us that when we returned our cart we would have our quarter refunded.

A partial haul from Aldi's.
A partial haul from Aldi’s.

There were no bag-boys, the young lady who checked our food put each piece back into our cart bag-less and wild, like the old-west. If you didn’t remember your own bags, there are some empty cardboard boxes you can use.

My visit to Aldi’s felt a bit like I imagine shopping in a foreign country would feel like. Brands I’m familiar with replaced with exotic doppelgangers, but surprisingly less expensive. Yes, I could used to these prices.

The prices are great, but the selection is pretty small compared to a conventional supermarket. But all in all $59 for several bags of groceries may convince me to visit Aldi’s again..