4.30.2016

Five Minute History with your Morning Coffee: What was the "New Deal"?


While the Great Depression began with the stock market crash on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, many factors contributed to the financial crisis, including overproduction, limited foreign markets (due to war debts that prevented trading), and over expansion of credit, as well as stock market speculation.  Soon the country was in the grips of a severe economic downturn that affected most every American.  Some were harder hit than others:  many lost their jobs (16 million people people were unemployed at the depth of the crisis, accounting for about a third of the workforce); families were unable to make their mortgage payments and lost their homes; hunger was widespread, since there was no money to buy food.  The sight of people waiting in breadlines was a common one.

It was amidst this crisis, which was soon felt overseas, that Franklin D. Roosevelt took office as president in 1933.  In his inaugural address, he called for faith in America's future, saying, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  Roosevelt soon rolled out a program of domestic reforms called the New Deal. For the first time in American history, the federal government took a central role in organizing business and agriculture.  Roosevelt initiated aid programs and directed relief in the form of public works programs that would put people back to work.  The new government agencies that were set up included the Public Works Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Security and Exchange Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Tennessee Valley Association, the National Recovery Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.  These government organizations soon become known by their initials (PWA, FDIC, SEC, NLRB, TVA, NRA, CCC).  Roosevelt's critics charged him with giving federal government too much power and began calling his New Deal "alphabet soup."  The president became widely known as FDR.

Though the New Deal measures alleviated the situation and did put some Americans back to work, the country did not pull out of the Depression until industry was called upon to step up production in order to provide arms, aircraft, vehicles and supplies for the war effort.  It was during the early days of World War II, the economy buoyed by military spending, that the nation finally recovered.  Many New Deal agencies are still part of the federal government today.






Source: 


The Handy History Answer Book, Second Edition (The Handy Answer Book Series)

A concise guide to all things historical, this compendium addresses people, times, and events in a wide-ranging and comprehensive manner, complemented by helpful illustrations and a chronology of major events. Some of the history-making events include the election of George W. Bush, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; spectacular images from probes in outer space, medical advances and debate, and many new scientific discoveries on Earth; a devastating earthquake in Iran and the deadly tsunami in Asia; the downfall of Enron and the comeback of Apple, as well as the dot-com bubble burst. Beginning with a section on historical eras, this popular reference source tracks history and organizes information in 13 specific subject sections, ranging from politics and war to science and religion. It tackles exploration and settlement, technological advances, legal fireworks, financial and business events, social movements, natural and man-made disasters, medicine and disease, and art and culture. This resource is the perfect fingertip, time-traveling guide through the pages of history.


The 2015 release edition;

The Handy American History Answer Book (The Handy Answer Book Series)

4.28.2016

Pondering over Coffee: The simplest, most basic first steps needed to be prepared for emergencies, power outages, storms and such





Whether it's a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or a man made disaster, there isn't an area to live where you shouldn't prepare to provide for yourself or your family in the case of a disaster.  

All food, water, medications and other items you might need in the event of an emergency of any type as it may take the federal government or other personnel up to 3 days to get help to you.   



"FEMA suggests every family
 or individual has emergency stores 
to last 72 hours."



__________________________________________


I've got three cups of strong, hot, black coffee in me... but it's still too early in the morning for the rest of the world to be functioning and no businesses open, etc. so I thought I'd come and just start chatting over a morning post.  What is on my mind this morning is wicked weather, storms, power outages and flooding.

All have a higher than likely chance of visiting us this week and next.  It comes with the time of year... no big deal.  At least to us.  Because we live on high ground (flooding of the house not a particular problem) and I grew up with a Grandma and father who have a healthy dose of good common sense that I'm blessed to have genetically inherited.

We keep a stocked pantry and plan for emergencies of all different types.  

Our great grandparents and grandparents had gardens. Grew their own foods, canned and froze that food in late summer harvest time to get them through the winter and spring and into early summer when the new gardens would be ready to pick.  They had lanterns and candles for power outages and unless they lived in town, they had wells or springs for water.  When things did go wrong, as they invariably will, it wasn't a "run around screaming with your hands in the air and wait for the government to come rescue you" situation, it was a moment of collecting your thoughts, pulling on your boots and getting to work to help your own situation.

And that is my personality too.

Although it's nice of the government to step in and help during emergencies, it's not something they have to do.  Unfortunately people today are of the mindset they don't have to do anything themselves to prepare or help themselves and the second anything comes up, they are throwing a fit if some government agency isn't rushing along to hand out free money, food, water, etc.  

Do you realize the grocery stores are getting food deliveries every single day?
What happens if storms pulverize those stores, floods disrupt the road traffic, grievances and strikes stop the trucking deliveries or any other scenario comes along?

No food deliveries.  No restocking. No food in the grocery stores.
Soon, chaos, confusion, anger, hungry people... looting, fires and ugliness.

You all know how sheep people rush to the stores to wipe out all the shelves of bread, milk, beer and peanut butter when there is even the utter of a snow storm coming.  Even if you get 12-18 inches of snow as many parts of the US do, more than likely the roads and businesses are going to be closed at most, just one day as we have come pretty far since 60 years ago when things might shut down for 3 days to get up and running again.  I don't know what people think they are going to do with all that bread in the one day the power *might* be out... but whatever.

The point is... if you keep a well stocked pantry, some longer term emergency storage items, flashlights, candles, extra dog food, etc. you don't have to go running around like a chicken with their head cut off.

Now, I did not intend on some well-written, precisely thought out post about this for this morning...  as I mentioned, I'm just sipping coffee and thinking about storms as they are hitting the US pretty hard this week.  And I thought I'd just chit chat over coffee about the basic need to be a little prepared.

As a matter of fact, I'm going to go refill my cup with some fresh coffee, check emails and get ready to start my day.  What I've decided to end with this simple (very very simple)  quick 'plan' for those who have zero preparations.

1.  Get 3 days worth of food, water and medicine in your cupboards and keep that much available at all times.
2.  Only buy/store what you use and like.  Don't go buying 5 cans of beans if you don't like beans. Buy what you like.
3.  Keep in mind you might not have power so have foods that are healthy but don't require power to prepare.
4.  Candles, flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.  It gets mighty dark mighty fast if all the power around you is out.
5.  Remember the 'extras' you need for babies, the elderly and pets. Think; diapers, formula, medications and pet food.

If you do nothing more... or need a very, very basic starting point - that would be it.

4.20.2016

Product Review - the NEW VERSION of the Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack


Life gets busy... ya know?  So I buy a product and I plan to post some thoughts about it and then... life gets busy and it sits in my draft files forgotten!  And this would be one of them.

If you looked at, bought or thought about the Kelty Redwing 50 in the past - look again.  There are two versions.  The older one and the newer one.  Maybe some already know this - but I didn't so I figure maybe some readers out there don't either. 



http://amzn.to/1SkApKN

http://amzn.to/1SkApKN
This is the Kelty Redwing 50.  Before I chat about it, I'll just get some of the features out of the way.
  • Hybrid loading
  • Hydration compatible
  • Water bottle pockets
  • Daisy chain
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Zippered stash pocket
  • Large front pocket with organization
  • Key fob
  • Carry handle
  • LightBeam single aluminum stay
  • HDPE frame sheet
  • Dynamic AirFlow back panel
  • AirMesh shoulder straps, waist belt, and lumbar
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Load-lifter / stabilizer straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Hip belt stabilizer straps
  • Removable hip belt
  • Scherer Cinch

Last year I had my husband with on one of my trips to Dick's Sporting Goods and I can't help myself; I always end up in the camping and hiking aisles of every store that offers them - no matter what we actually went there for.  I was trying on packs and fell in love with the Kelty RedStone 60L pack - which my husband noted, and took a picture of the tag so he would remember which one I liked when it came time for Christmas and birthdays.

Well, if you knew my husband you wouldn't be surprised that even with the tag, pack name and product information, he still bought the wrong one for me when he gave me one for my birthday.  He said, "This is the one you liked.  I took a picture of the tag."   Hmmm.   RedStone 60L...  RedWing 50L...  totally different packs.  And I do still hope to get the Redstone 60L from Dick's that I want but no matter - because the Redwing 50 is still a really good pack and I can use it for simple 1 night overnights (or even as a day pack).

This description I found online sums it up pretty well:

"The Kelty Redwing 50 is big enough for a day-and-a-half of backcountry hiking and streamlined enough for use as an around-town day pack. A host of functional features make the Redwing 50 a do-it-all pack.

A single LightBeam aluminum stay and an HDPE framesheet equip the Redwing 50 with lightweight, reliable support. The pack’s Dynamic AirFlow back panel allows warm air to escape so that you stay cooler while carrying weight. A contoured, padded waistbelt offers comfortable load support. Kelty's patented Scherer Cinch uses a pulley-like system to double the tightening force on the waistbelt, ensuring that the brunt of the pack's weight rests on your hips. When you aren't carrying heavy loads and don't need the additional support, you can remove the waistbelt entirely and reduce the weight of the pack.

The curved and padded shoulder straps on both sizes of the Redwing 50 can be quickly and easily adjusted to comfortably fit varying torso lengths. The Small/Medium size will accommodate torsos ranging from 14.5"-18.5" while the Medium/Large fits 17.5"-21" torsos. Load lifter straps relieve stress on your shoulders and an adjustable sternum strap positions the shoulder straps across the chest to prevent chafing under the arms and on the shoulders. Side compression straps help you to cinch and secure the contents of the Redwing 50 for optimal balance and load distribution."




The large main packbag of the Redwing 50 is accessed through a large, zippered front entry that allows the entire face of the pack to open wide for convenient loading and unloading. An additional large pocket located on the front panel provides internal organizational options. Additional features include zippered side pockets, a stash pocket, an ice-axe loop, a carry handle, a daisy-chain attachment system and dual mesh water bottle pockets. A lined interior pocket and built-in tube exit make the Redwing 50 hydration compatible.

It's available in different colors - I have black but it's also in blue, red and green.


The entire front face opens. Laying it down flat on the floor, it opens almost like a suitcase.

I would say this bag is Kelty's way of pushing it as a 'day pack' more than a hiking pack.  Day packs are really popular right now and this design and the quality of the pack, as well as the price, all seems to point to 'day pack' or quick travel pack more so than a 2-3 day hiking, camping, use it hard pack.



26 inches by 16 inches by 12 inches - not too large but it holds a lot
I ended up using mine as a "always packed and ready to go" pack for simple tent camping, hiking or I can grab it as an emergency 'bug out' pack as well with what I keep stocked in it.


It doesn't have some of the bells and whistles and extra pockets that many other packs do

Although I've read the waist belt is 'removable' by first removing the aluminum stay, I've not removed it or even tried so  I have no comment on that

The one thing I don't like about it is there are no pockets or zipper compartments on the waist belt at all.  I miss this!  My other packs all have a small pocket on each side of the waist belt/strap and I love that for 'quick' grab items such as Chapstick, mace, a tissue, etc.


This extra lower back padding is the "Ahhhh"  factor



Here is the older version the new one replaced.  Note a few details are different but the quick and easy way to see if you are looking at the new or old version is the lack of silver trekking pole loops.    Since it doesn't have any straps on the bottom or top to strap on a sleeping bag or sleep pad, I used the loops to attach my sleep pad and it worked pretty well.

 THIS IS THE OLD VERSION THAT HAS BEEN UPDATED


http://amzn.to/23JNtnB


 


I got mine at Dick's Sporting Goods but you can find it at Amazon, as well as some other similar packs;

Kelty Redwing 50 Bacckpack - Black
Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack, Twilight Blue
Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack, Ponderosa Pine


     













4.19.2016

Quick and Easy Way to Bring Coffee Backpacking or Camping (Related to the Hamilton Beach Single Soft Pod Brewer)

This is another post on Coffee Talking that I had no intention of writing this morning!  But I'm sipping my coffee, hear of a new product coming out regarding coffee (which I'm not going to mention yet because it's only being tested in 4 states and not available on the market yet) so I popped over to Amazon just to SEE if anyone was offering this yet unnamed product... (they aren't) but then I saw these individual soft pods and realized I never mentioned these on Coffee Talking yet! 








Here is the deal... they are individual soft pods to work in single serve brewers that do NOT use little plastic k-cups - like the Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer (you've probably seen these in hotel rooms at some point).  You pull the little 'drawer' out, pop in a soft pod of ground coffee, push it back in, and pour a cup of water into the machine and it brews one cup of coffee.  The soft pod can be thrown away and since there is no plastic (like in k-cups) it's better for the environment too.

(You can currently get the Hamilton Beach single brewer for about $15 - $25 too, which makes it awesome for a personal brewer at your desk or in the office as well as for traveling if you want to bring your own brewer with you to your rental or hotel)  but that's not actually what today's post is about.)



These pods work great for camping and backpacking.

  • Self contained
  • No plastic
  • Can be thrown on the campfire after use
  • Lightweight
  • Can be used to brew in your cup or cut open to use the grounds inside
  • Perfectly measured for individual serving

I bring my coffee all different ways when I go camping depending on what kind of camping we are doing, how I'm going to brew it, how many nights am I camping, and how many people are with me. This is just one of many ways to bring coffee with you - but it might be just the thing you are looking for.

The first time I used soft pods I didn't brew them individually.  I used them in a percolator style coffee maker.  (Coleman 9 Cup Aluminum Coffee Pot).  Because the pods are lightweight and have no rigid plastic parts like k-cups, you remove the stem and basket from your coffee pot.  Insert a bunch of pods into the empty pot, leaving space in the center of course so you can insert the stem and basket back in, pop the top on and put it into your camping bin or backpack.  When you want to make your coffee, remove all the pods and only use as many as you wish.  You can either slice or rip them open to remove the coffee grounds to pour into the basket of your percolator or you can squish the pods around the basket.  (Remember to use the percolator you just fill the bottom with water, place the stem and basket into the coffee pot.  Fill the basket with some coffee grounds, put the top on and put it over your source of heat.  As the water comes to a boil you will see the color in the clear glass top of the pot turn from pure water to light colored tan to brown as the water filters through the coffee grounds.  When it's a nice dark 'coffee' color you know your coffee is ready to pour and drink.

The other way to use the pods is individual cups of coffee.

Place one whole, intact pod into your cup or mug.  Heat your water over the fire or your source of heat.  Pour the boiling or very hot water over the soft pod in your mug/cup.  Wait and let it brew about 3-4 minutes.  Remove the soft pod, throw it into the fire and enjoy your freshly brewed coffee.

Usually the pods come in packs of 18 and are available in a few different brands from affordable to 'high end'.  I grabbed a couple links off Amazon to share - like the Folger's Colombian Coffee Pods (Pack of 18) and Melitta but it's just a launching point.  You can use any kind of 'soft pod' on the market this way.  They take up little space, can be stored inside your coffee mug or a small camp coffee pot, can be thrown into the fire when you are finished so there is no garbage to pack out and it gives you a freshly brewed cup of coffee - which for me is really one of the highlights of camping.  That first morning cup of coffee when the sun is coming up and the air is still chilled.





Related products available through Amazon;
Melitta Dark Roast Soft Pod Pack 18 Count
Folgers Gourmet Selection Colombian Coffee Pods (Pack of 18) - Net WT 6.3oz
Folgers Gourmet Selection Hazelnut Coffee Pods (Pack of 18)
Folgers Gourmet Selection Colombian Decaffeinated Coffee Pods (Pack of 18)


Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer and Melitta Coffee Pods, Colombian (Pack of 6) bundle
 


 




4.14.2016

Sooo... about that brand new Kindle Oasis coming out April 27th





This item will be released on April 27, 2016

  • Thinnest and lightest Kindle ever--read even more comfortably for hours
  • All-new ergonomic design with dedicated buttons to effortlessly turn the page
  • Longest Kindle battery life--the included leather charging cover boosts battery to last months. Choose from a black, merlot, or walnut removable cover.
  • High-resolution 300 ppi display with crisp, laser quality text. Reads like real paper without glare, even in direct sunlight.
  • Enhanced built-in adjustable light evenly illuminates the screen for perfect reading anywhere, anytime


New—Designed to feel as light as paper, Kindle Oasis is over 20% lighter and 30% thinner on average than any other Kindle. The handgrip tapers to an ultrathin 0.13” display so you can read comfortably for hours.

New—Kindle Oasis combines our strongest cover glass and a featherweight frame infused with metal using structural electroplating, ensuring it is lightweight while also resilient enough to take anywhere you want to read.

New—A tapered ergonomic handgrip shifts the center of gravity to your palm, to rest in your hand like the spine of a book. Perfectly balanced for one-handed reading, Kindle Oasis enables you to get lost in your story.

New—Comfortably turn the page with either the touch display or dedicated page turn buttons located on the front of the handgrip. Whether you choose to read with your left or right hand, Kindle Oasis automatically rotates the page orientation to match.

Highest resolution Kindle with enhanced lighting

Kindle Oasis features a high-resolution 300 ppi display for crisp, laser-quality text—all on the same 6” display size as Kindle Voyage. A redesigned built-in light features 60% more LEDs than any other Kindle, increasing the consistency and range of screen brightness for improved reading in all types of lighting. Kindle Oasis guides light toward the surface of the display with its built-in front light—unlike back-lit tablets that shine in your eyes—so you can read comfortably for hours without eyestrain.

Dual-battery charging system delivers months of battery life—their longest ever

New—Charge the device and cover simultaneously while snapped together and plugged in. When on the go, the cover will automatically recharge the device, giving you months of combined battery life. Plus, a new hibernation mode minimizes power consumption when your Kindle is inactive, extending battery life to its fullest capacity.

Premium leather cover

New—The removable charging cover is made of high-quality leather and comes in your choice of black, merlot, or walnut. The cover opens like a book and fits closely around the bezel, waking Kindle Oasis when opened and putting it to sleep when closed. Twelve magnets form a secure attachment between device and cover, while still easy to detach when the lightest possible weight is desired.




Kindle Kindle Paperwhite Kindle Voyage NEW - Kindle Oasis







Price Starting at $79.99 Starting at $119.99 Starting at $199.99 Starting at $289.99
Built-in Light No Yes - 4 LEDs Yes - 6 LEDs
+ adaptive light sensor
Yes - 10 LEDs for
enhanced page consistency
Page Turns Touchscreen Touchscreen Touchscreen
+ PagePress
Touchscreen
+ page turn buttons
Resolution 167 ppi 300 ppi 300 ppi 300 ppi
Charging Cover No No No Included
Battery Life Weeks Weeks Weeks Months
Connectivity Wi-Fi Wi-Fi or
Wi-Fi + Free 3G
Wi-Fi or
Wi-Fi + Free 3G
Wi-Fi or
Wi-Fi + Free 3G
Weight 6.7 oz (191 g) Wi-Fi: 7.2 oz (205 g)
Wi-Fi + Free 3G: 7.6 oz (217 g)
Wi-Fi: 6.3 oz (180 g)
Wi-Fi + Free 3G: 6.6 oz (188 g)
Without cover
Wi-Fi: 4.6 oz (131 g)
Wi-Fi + Free 3G: 4.7 oz (133 g)
Dimensions 6.7" x 4.7" x 0.40"
(169 x 119 x 10.2 mm)
6.7" x 4.6" x 0.36"
(169 x 117 x 9.1 mm)
6.4" x 4.5" x 0.30"
(162 x 115 x 7.6 mm)
5.6" x 4.8" x 0.13-0.33"
(143 x 122 x 3.4-8.5 mm)
Screen Size 6" 6" 6" 6"
Glare-Free Screen Yes Yes Yes Yes






Won't tire your eyes in the dark

Unlike back-lit tablets that shine in your eyes, Kindle guides light toward the surface of the display with its built-in front light so you can read comfortably for hours without eyestrain. Adjust your screen's brightness for great reading in any light.

Look it up instantly without leaving your page

Smart Lookup integrates entries from The New Oxford American Dictionary with information from X-Ray and Wikipedia, so you can access definitions, characters, settings, and more without losing your place.

Read more challenging books

Word Wise makes it easier to enjoy and quickly understand more challenging books. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading with fewer interruptions. Tap on a word to bring up a simple card with definitions, synonyms, and more. Available on many popular English language titles.

Build your vocabulary

Words looked up in the dictionary are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder to expand your knowledge and reinforce retention. Swipe through your vocabulary words, quiz yourself with flashcards, and instantly see those words in context.

Pick up where you left off

Whispersync technology synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, and annotations across all your devices so you can pick up exactly where you left off reading.

Learn more about a book before you start reading

With About This Book, see background information about the author, other books in the series, and more.

Adjust your text size

Choose from eight text sizes to prevent tired eyes and keep you reading longer.

Share your library

With Family Library, you and your family can access and easily share not only your own Kindle books, but also books from the linked Amazon account of a spouse or partner.

Share with friends on Goodreads

With Goodreads on Kindle, you can connect with the largest online community of book lovers, see what your friends are reading, share highlights, and rate the books you read. Some Goodreads on Kindle features are only available when connected to Wi-Fi.

X-Ray lets you explore the "Bones of the Book"

See all the passages across a book that mention relevant ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places, or topics of interest. The X-Ray timeline view lets you easily flip through notable passages to remind yourself of what’s happened in the book, or navigate easily through images.

Know how long it will take to finish that last chapter

Time to Read is personalized based on your reading speed, and is constantly updated as your speed and habits change. At a glance you’ll know how much time it will take to finish a chapter or book.

In-line footnotes

With a single tap, read the complete text of each footnote without losing your place in the book.

Translate passages instantly

Tap any word or highlight a section to instantly translate it into other languages, including Spanish, Japanese, and more. Translations are provided by Bing Translator.

Get books in seconds

Shop Amazon's expansive selection, choose a title, and begin reading in seconds. Download books in under 60 seconds—no computer required.

Borrow from your public library

With our fast, free wireless delivery, borrow Kindle books from your public library and start reading on your Kindle. 

Lend your books

Lend eligible Kindle books to other Kindle or Kindle app users for up to 14 days. 

Connect wirelessly

New titles and archived items are a simple connection away. Connect easily to your home Wi-Fi network or Wi-Fi hotspots on the road.

Connect free at AT&T hotspots

Enjoy free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots across the U.S.

Find a new favorite with Goodreads

Discover great books with Goodreads on Kindle, an integrated experience that makes it easier than ever to connect and share great reads with friends. Some Goodreads on Kindle features are only available when connected to Wi-Fi.







Miss Heroin - The Poem (So now little man, you've grown tired of grass....)


When I was in third or fourth grade, waaaay back in the stone age called the early 80's drug awareness was already in our schools.  Not just public schools either as I went to a tiny little Catholic school.  I remember the county sheriff coming to talk to our class and handing out a thin magazine about just saying no to drugs and learning what they looked like so we would be aware if anyone offered us 'candy' that looked like that.

I took the little magazine home and studied it, as I couldn't even comprehend the idea of someone wanting to take pills of any sort - and they weren't even sick!   It also had photos and explanations of other drugs, including a photo of some liquid, a syringe and green 'stuff' that looked like the parsley my Mom cooked with.

On the back of this magazine given out by the law enforcement officer at the time, was the poem Miss Heroin.

It was the first poem I memorized.  One evening I recall working on memorizing it and then going into my parents bedroom where they were in bed, but still awake, reading books in bed.  I stood at the foot of the bed and recited this poem to them.  (My Dad was a cop and knew we had received the anti-drug pamphlets in school so he didn't think it odd I would recite this kind of poem).

This post comes from coffee infused brain, remembering this poem every time I read yet another news article about a heroin overdose.  It seems it was a big problem back in the 70's, then other drugs came into the spotlight and apparently, from what I'm gleaming from the daily media, it's becoming the drug of choice again.

What comes around goes around.  Fashion repeats every 20 years or so... maybe the 'fad' drugs do too?  I don't know.  I've never done a drug of any sort in my life and have no interest in following the ups and downs of the 'in' brain cell killer of choice.

But for what it's worth... the first poem I ever memorized (from the back of a anti-drug magazine given out by law enforcement to elementary schools in the late 1970's).



So now, little man, you've grown tired of grass
LSD, goofballs, cocaine and hash,
and someone, pretending to be a true friend,
said, "I'll introduce you to Miss Heroin."

Well honey, before you start fooling with me,
just let me inform you of how it will be.

You'll need lots of money,
As you have been told,
For sweetie, I'm much more expensive than gold.

For I will seduce you and make you my slave,
I've sent men much stronger than you to their graves.
You think you could never become a disgrace,
and end up addicted to Poppy seed waste.

So you'll start inhaling me one afternoon,
you'll take me into your arms very soon.
And once I've entered deep down in your veins,
The craving will nearly drive you insane.

You'll swindle your mother and just for a buck.
You'll turn into something vile and corrupt.
You'll mug and you'll steal for my narcotic charm,
and feel contentment when I'm in your arms.

The day, when you realize the monster you've grown,
you'll solemnly swear to leave me alone.
If you think you've got that mystical knack,
then sweetie, just try getting me off your back.

The vomit, the cramps, your gut tied in knots.
The jangling nerves screaming for one more shot.
The hot chills and cold sweats, withdrawal pains,
can only be saved by my little white grains.

There's no other way, and there's no need to look,
for deep down inside you know you are hooked.
You'll desperately run to the pusher and then,
you'll welcome me back to your arms once again.

And you will return just as I have foretold!
I know that you'll give up your body and soul.
You'll give up your morals, your conscience, your heart.
And you will be mine until, "Death Do Us Part"

4.12.2016

Product Review: My night tent camping and sleeping on a Stansport Self Inflating Air Mattress in 39 degree weather (cold!)


No, this post isn't sponsored. It's me drinking coffee and talking about the self inflating mat I bought and used.



This past weekend I had planned to go hiking and camp. Some of my plans changed though, so Saturday morning I was still debating.  The area I had planned to hike and sleep in now was holding a big history event that day and into the night; I hadn't received the self inflating sleep pad mattress I had ordered from Amazon yet, and my husband (not a camper or a hiker) informed me it was expected to go down to 37 degrees that night.

In the end, I decided not to hike or camp in the area I had planned since I'm not a fan of camping with crowds around me, my Amazon delivery arrived that afternoon and I decided I would camp at home.  (We have 5 acres of woods as our backyard.)

When I was searching for a sleep pad, I researched a couple months, read reviews, and had 3 different pads/mattresses on my 'wish list'.  But I didn't actually have any money to purchase one so I waited.

I finally had about $35 to budget and although there are nice, expensive sleep pads and air mattresses, this one from Stansport was under $30 and had pretty good reviews.   It was the
Stansport Self-Inflating Air Mattress, Forest Green (25- X 72- X 1.5-Inch)



First, I will paste the description here straight from Amazon (where I ordered mine).

*NOTE*  There are 2 sizes available; the 1 1/2 inch and the 3 inch.  The description(s) describe both so that is why it may read 3 inches instead of 1 1/2.




  • Made of high-density premium Grade open cell foam bonded to the outer fabric
  • Durable 150D Oxford nylon shell holds the sleeping bag firmly in place on the pad
  • Brass valve with nylon cover for Protection
  • 400mm polyurethane Coating
  • Simply unroll and have ready in seconds
  • Mat is made from high-density premium grade open cell foam that is fully bonded to the outer fabric surface, weighs 3lbs 8oz
  • Durable oxford nylon shell holds your bag securely to the pad and will stand up to many years of rugged four season use
  • Plastic valve with nylon cover provides an air tight seal even under the coldest conditions
  • 4000mm P.U. coating
  • 25"X72"X1.5"

Product Description
The Stansport Self-inflating Air Mattress is a practical and sophisticated, no-fuss air mattress. It is ideal for almost any situation where you will be laying on the ground, from inside your camping tent to your living room floor. Simply unroll, unscrew the air valve, and it is ready for you or your guests in seconds. Throw it under your blanket or sleeping bag for instant comfort. Thanks to the convenient design, this air mattress is easy to use anywhere and anytime. This mat is made from high-density, premium grade, open-cell foam that is bonded to the outer fabric. With dimensions of 30” x 78”, this mattress is very accommodating. Inflates to 3” thick for excellent support. Features a brass valve and nylon cover for protection. Uses 400mm polyurethane coating for added protection and durability.


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Now, I'm going to chime in with my own $.02

I chose the pad because I liked that it was wide enough I felt I wouldn't be trying to lay on a skinny little strip of fabric all night... However, the 25" width means it's too wide to wear comfortably strapped to the bottom of my backpack.  It sticks out far enough that it bothers me.  Assuming I'm walking in wide open spaces it would be ok, but I still felt as wide as a car.  

More on that in a minute.

Moving on!

It comes with a mesh bag.  (See photo)


I'm sure there is probably a reason for the mesh bag... but I'm not completely sure I've figured out what it is.  It doesn't protect it from anything.  It doesn't compact it or hold it in or secure it.  I guess if you want to carry it by the little strap you could but it's over 2 feet long and swings while you walk so....?

It comes with two nylon straps with strong clasps to keep it rolled up and to attach to the bottom of your pack if you wish to carry it that way.  The only thing I'd use the aforementioned mesh bag for is to stick the 2 straps in when I take them off because they are not attached to the sleep pad/air mattress.  They are just 2 straps that come completely off.  (You could put them in the mesh bag or just leave them attached to the bottom of your pack if you've been carrying it that way.)




This little baby is the air valve that does the work for you.   You unhook the straps, unroll the pad, make sure this little closure is 'open' and the pad starts to inflate.


When I first opened mine, it only inflated the first 10-12 inches though.  I waited and nothing.
The part of the air mattress right next to the clasp inflated right away and well but the rest of the mattress just laid there flat.
I let it sit for about 45 seconds.
I picked it up and blew into the clasp a bit just to make sure it wasn't blocked or anything.  It wasn't.
I decided to let it be as I wasn't going to be using it for another 2 hours or so anyway.  I left it in the tent and went on to do other things.

When I came back, it was dark, my hands were full of my other things and I was exhausted and cold.  The temperature had indeed started dropping and it was about 49 degrees at this point.

I entered the tent, laid my things down, got my shoes off, immediately got my sleeping bag unrolled and on the pad.  I was preoccupied... didn't give the air mattress another thought.

Laid down, got zipped in, grabbed my iphone and my ereader and my mace next to me and read for a little bit.  I checked the temperature before turning off my ereader, snuggling down into the sleeping bag, pulling my stocking hat down tighter over my head and ears and went to sleep.

It was 39 degrees that night.

My sleeping bag was an older one we had had for years and the zipper doesn't work well.  Within about 30 minutes it had unzipped itself and worked its way down to my ankles.  The sleeping bag became more like a blanket and I was sleeping on the Stansport air mattress in just my stocking hat, sweatshirt and tank top and my fleece pajama pants and socks.

And I stayed warm.

Seriously!  I couldn't believe it actually.  The second my shoulder or my backside was 'off' the pad, I could tell!  The freezing cold coming up from the ground was instantaneous and frigid.  I would wiggle back into place and instantly the temperature rose.

I can absolutely attest to the fact this pad works incredibly well for insulating.

Now...  where I screwed up.

Remember when I left the pad to inflate and came back a couple hours later exhausted, hands full and went directly to bed?  I forgot all about the air valve.

I never closed it!

Sure enough, it had inflated, and it was comfy as heck when I laid down.
However, when I woke up briefly about an hour later I realized my hips were getting achy.
Back to sleep and woke up a little bit later to realize I was laying on a bit of a rock right under where my hips were.  And I could feel it because my sleep pad was completely flat.
My body weight had squished all the air out because I had forgotten to close the air valve!!!!

Stupid me.
The pad felt like I was sleeping on a piece of felt and it was my own fault.

But at 39 degrees (or it may have actually been the expected low of 37 by that point) I didn't want to freeze getting out from under my sleeping bag and waiting for it to self inflate again.  So I ignored it and tried to sleep knowing that at least I was nice and warm.

And I honest-to-God dreamed TWICE that I got up and let the mattress inflate again.
It must have been bothering me terribly even in my sleep to have dreamed that!  And of course I was disappointed to wake each time and realize that no, it really didn't happen and I was still sleeping on a flat mattress and a rock under my tent.

But I was warm.

NOW let's get back to the part where I mentioned I didn't like how wide it felt on my backside strapped under backpack.  Since I would have my fleece sleeping bag or an actual sleeping bag rolled and strapped to my pack anyway, I wanted to see if my air mattress would fit inside my pack.

IT DID.

I tested in two different packs and took photos.




Here it is inside my Kelty RedWing 50




And inside (barely but it fits) my TETON Scout 3400 Backpack





FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was my own stupidity to forget to close the air valve but it did actually inflate and was comfortable until my body weight pushed the air out.  And the fact that it kept me warm when my sleeping bag opened up and became a blanket and I was sleeping directly on the pad in only a pair of fleece pants and a sweatshirt and it was in the 30's?  IMPRESSED.




Related Products available through Amazon if you can't find them locally:

Stansport Self-Inflating Air Mattress, Forest Green (25- X 72- X 1.5-Inch)

ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad (Steel Blue, XL)
Stansport Self-Inflating Camp Pillow - Colors May Vary
Fox Outfitters Ultralight Series Self Inflating Camp Pad - Perfect Foam Sleeping Pads for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, Hammocks, Tents (Regular)