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Things you probably should have thought of
October 19, 2012 8:46 PM   Subscribe

It is worth overcoming your hatred of lists, your dislike of the word "lifehack," and your distaste of ugly tumblr sites to scroll through the rather revelatory 99 Life Hacks. Highlights include: using a dustpan to fill containers, dental floss to cut cheese and cake, using drink tabs to hold straws, charging phones at hotels using the TV, filtering for spam the easy way, keeping your zipper up on your pants, filtering microwave popcorn, and the secret to locating highway exits. I can't believe I never knew that one...
posted by blahblahblah (174 comments total) 162 users marked this as a favorite

 
I liked about half of these, but that format... yech. I'd rather see a slide show.
posted by Marky at 8:50 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


You don't need to put Velcro on things people. The remote lives on the table by couch. It has no reason to go wandering.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 PM on October 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


Self-update to the post: poking around more, these seem to be selected from r/lifeprotips. If the mods want to put that link in the FPP as well, they can.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:53 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even the stuff I don't plan to use is still interesting!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:08 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


ju-jitsu.......i know.............. ju-jitsu......
posted by victory_laser at 9:13 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


These are the worst lolcats ever.

Most of them don't even have cats.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:19 PM on October 19, 2012 [41 favorites]


Not to be "that guy," but I saw this same list on Buzzfeed (or something similar) weeks ago. And the tumblr seems to be pulling from r/lifeprotips.

So...is Reddit the originator? I really want to know who is actually the original source of these tips.

And, assuming that it works, how does putting a wooden spoon across a pot prevent it from boiling over?
posted by asnider at 9:19 PM on October 19, 2012


I suspect this was secretly funded by the manufacturers of Binder Clips, Bread Clips and Pool Noodles.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:20 PM on October 19, 2012 [21 favorites]


Reminds me of Viz Top Tips:

- Circle the stain in permanent pen, so that when you remove the garment from the washing machine you can easily locate the area of the stain and check that it has gone.

- Old telephone directories make ideal personal address books. Simply cross out the names and address of people you don't know.

- Smell gas? Locate the suspected leak by striking an ordinary match in every room in the house until a loud explosion reveals the source of the escaping gas.

- Don't waste money buying expensive binoculars. Simply stand next to the object you wish to view.
posted by ManInSuit at 9:20 PM on October 19, 2012 [173 favorites]


I tried the wooden spoon thing. Totally does NOT work.

And it has all been pulled from Pinterest ...
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:20 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like half of these are " have basic awareness of your surroundings."

The hotel charger thing is neat tho.
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 PM on October 19, 2012


.....the secret to locating highway exits.

Dear God. All this time, has it really been that easy?
posted by space_cookie at 9:21 PM on October 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


Bagel ...tote?

Wait why are Doritos so flammable?
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I tried the wet paper towel thing on a beer last night. It didn't work.
posted by davebush at 9:25 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


All those creative uses for binder clips, but then when it's time to clip the bag of junk food, something goes terribly wrong.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:26 PM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


If it was that easy to stop my cat sitting on my keyboard, don't you think I'd have done it by now? Those keyboard feet didn't break themselves.
posted by arcticseal at 9:28 PM on October 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Like half of these are " have basic awareness of your surroundings."

Having awareness of your surroundings, you have most likely noticed that the vast majority of humanity is incapable of this.
posted by mannequito at 9:29 PM on October 19, 2012 [41 favorites]


asnider: "Not to be "that guy," but I saw this same list on Buzzfeed (or something similar) weeks ago. And the tumblr seems to be pulling from r/lifeprotips.

So...is Reddit the originator? I really want to know who is actually the original source of these tips.
"

some of these I have seen as original content on reddit. I know it's OC because it has albums of three or four photos, without the text overlay.

Others have been floating around the net for years and years.

I like to play a game where I judge the age of a photo by it's resolution and quality.
posted by rebent at 9:37 PM on October 19, 2012


Saw this elsewhere yesterday. Now I have binder clip feet on my wireless keyboard. Nice to have the angle back. So, there's one thing.

No hints on what to do with the rest of the clip, though.
posted by bryon at 9:37 PM on October 19, 2012


By the way, your fly is open, and your key ring is hanging from the zipper.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:39 PM on October 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


I was the third-shift manager of a shitty diner. Showing our new employee the dustpan trick briefly made me the Einstein of Vomit Clean-Up. He literally raced around the place describing how to place a dustpan in the sink. It was like a light went on in his head. His enthusiasm lasted the whole shift. "That's why the handle's hollow, man! THAT'S WHY IT'S HOLLOW." The bathrooms sparkled.

The following night, I had to explain it to him again.

That boy was on drugs.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:47 PM on October 19, 2012 [131 favorites]


So... a small amount of water in a glass keeps microwaved pizza from getting chewy? It's that simple?

And would the baggy full of vinegar work on taps as well as shower heads? It probably won't hurt the steel, but I'm not sure it would soften lime scale either.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:47 PM on October 19, 2012


Why the fuck would you take the spaghetti out of the spaghetti box and put it in an empty Pringles container?
posted by nathancaswell at 9:49 PM on October 19, 2012 [36 favorites]


I really wanted to like this but the interface is mind-bogglingly unusable.
posted by lalex at 9:49 PM on October 19, 2012


This was super-useful. Thanks!
posted by rednikki at 9:53 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


A USB port on the teevee? What fancy-ass place are you staying at?
posted by wallabear at 9:59 PM on October 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


Why the fuck would you take the spaghetti out of the spaghetti box and put it in an empty Pringles container?

To keep the potato chips away from people who are too stupid to realize they're in the spaghetti box?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:00 PM on October 19, 2012 [50 favorites]


I came across this a few days back but was literally unable to bring myself to forward it due to the layout. There is no form of "Sorry about the formatting..." strong enough to cover that page.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:00 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "this exit will be on the left" example isn't exactly impressive: the sign says "Left 2/10 Mile".
posted by lantius at 10:03 PM on October 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Kevin Street: Vinegar works very well on lime scale. Lime scale is mostly calcium carbonate from hard water. The acid in the vinegar reacts with the carbonate to form carbon dioxide gas and water and a little dissolved calcium acetate. Try it! It's the same reaction as vinegar plus baking soda.
posted by Mercaptan at 10:04 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Mercaptan! I shall try it forthwith.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:05 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has been on Pinterest for months but yay, lifehacks.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:13 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


lantius: The "this exit will be on the left" example isn't exactly impressive: the sign says "Left 2/10 Mile".

Yeah. At least in the US, left-hand exits are rare enough that every one I've ever seen has clearly been labeled EXIT LEFT. On the other hand, I'd never noticed the additional left-vs.-right placement of the smaller sign, so that's kind of cool.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:14 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The format is appropriate for the content. It's punk, slapped together amateur anyone can do.
posted by stbalbach at 10:15 PM on October 19, 2012


Re: format, if white Impact haphazardly set on a jpg on the Internet is wrong I don't want to be right.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:22 PM on October 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


"a small amount of water in a glass keeps microwaved pizza from getting chewy? It's that simple?"

Since the microwave basically excites the water molecules in your food to heat it up, like 80% of "ugh, this is gross reheated" can be fixed by adding a bit of water so the food doesn't dry out so much (and/or so unevenly). When I reheat rice or pasta, I just dump about a tablespoon of water in the dish and it comes out much better, if sometimes with a bit of pooled water in the bottom. If you're fancy you can put the water on the side in a second dish, but, you know, I'm just reheating pasta, man. You can also put the food on top of, underneath, or wrapped in a damp paper towel. One of my roommates always did a damp paper towel under pizza crust in the microwave (which I thought was weird but she swore worked wonders).

Anyway, yeah, anything you're heating in the microwave that doesn't have its own sauce, add a bit of water. Magic.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:23 PM on October 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


"Mark a corner of your duvet so you know which is the short side and which is the long side"

I bet it would take me more (or at least no less) time and effort to track down an indelible pen, fiddle with the duvet, and mark the damn thing than the entire amount of my life I've spent switching it around when I see it's on the wrong way. And that's the thing I notice about a lot of such hacks - often they present finicky "solutions" to things that aren't really so much problems in the first place. So often, in fact, that my own "hack" is usually to avoid wasting time reading them.

but in this case I made an exception because hey, chance to snark
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:27 PM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is the reason why apocalyptic cults/sects still exist. It is easier to imagine the world ending than to remember all that crap. I must correct myself. It is preferable to have the world end than to remember all that crap.
posted by perhapses at 10:31 PM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is awesome, thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:32 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know that exit's on the left because one time I got on the corresponding entrance - which is a left entrance - in a car that had basically no pickup whatsoever. I feared for my life.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:38 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never been able to get that brownie in a cup recipe to work right. And I want to, because, BROWNIE! But I always end up with either a chocolate charcoal briquette or chocolate soup. It's been a very disappointing three years from when I first saw that recipe and I've yet to get a satisfactory product out of it.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:42 PM on October 19, 2012


Just tried the toothpaste on some severely oxidized car headlights. It worked respectably well.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:45 PM on October 19, 2012


I did see this yesterday on a different Tumblr, which is much easier to use. I love these kinds of tips. Well. I love reading them. When it comes time that one might actually come in useful, I always manage to forget them.
posted by taz at 10:51 PM on October 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ain't gonna lie, I haven't seen a great many of those tips. Thanks, blahblahblah!

(Probably a good idea not to show this post to any hoarders, however; I can easily imagine those toilet paper rolls and bread ties overrunning a house.)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:56 PM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


The toilet paper roll iPhone speaker ought to work really nicely, as well. I was on a camping trip recently and we needed a bit more "oomph" to our music, so I placed an iPhone into an emty plastic cup (speakers first ) and laid it on its side. Easily about 3 or 4 times louder that way.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:56 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


This...is outstanding. My life begins today! Thank you!
posted by HostBryan at 11:02 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


At least this explains why all my sunscreen bottles keep disappearing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:10 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I bet it would take me more (or at least no less) time and effort to track down an indelible pen, fiddle with the duvet, and mark the damn thing than the entire amount of my life I've spent switching it around when I see it's on the wrong way."

This is so lame I can't believe I'm admitting it, but I keep a sharpie in my top dresser drawer (although it never occurred to me it was an Official Life Hack -- I thought it was an admission of bedmaking incompetence). The stupid queen-sized fitted sheets look the same both ways to me and I routinely spend 20 minutes sorting out which way they go and then wrestling them on the top of the bed (which is awkward to reach but must be done first) only to discover I have it the wrong way anyway. In frustration I wrote "BOTTOM" on the bottom hem after one particularly bad sheet-wrestling match and OH MY GOD. My life is SO MUCH BETTER. (I realize "SHORT SIDE" would be more accurate since it could be the bottom or the top, but then I'd spend 15 minutes trying to decide which dimension was shorter on the mattress, I do not know why I am bad at this.)

Anyway, once it's there you'll be labeling your shoeboxes ("Black strappy heels!" "Cute black strappy heels!" "Black strappy heels, patent!"), writing your kids' names in their collars (for daycare) when you fold laundry, sticking post-its to those pants that you always forget are uncomfortable until you've left the house, and possibly coloring in the bad bits on your cheap black flats that aren't worth having repaired but you didn't notice had a bad scuff and you're committed to the outfit already. It's amazing how many things you can apply permanent marker to once you've got one in your hand.

And then you start carrying a mini-sharpie in your purse. With a mini-sharpie, a measuring tape, and baby wipes, my purse can fulfill 99% of humanity's "Man, I wish I had a ..." sentences. SUCK IT MULTITOOLS.

The nailpolish on the keys one -- if you want a whole colored key head, they'll do that when they copy your key for you, but nailpolish is great for writing on those big black car key-fob combos, when multiple people in the same house drive the same type of car. I've also colored-nailpolished the pull chain doo-bobs on the end of my ceiling fan, so I can tell which is for the light and which is for the fan. (I feel like this would be even better if I did the one for the light in glo-in-the-dark polish, but not enough better that I bothered to go buy any.)

I am a little weirded out by how many people make things out of bottles rather than just buying such a thing that may do the job better and, in some cases, cheaper.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:12 PM on October 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


I am a little weirded out by how many people make things out of bottles rather than just buying such a thing that may do the job better and, in some cases, cheaper.

Or: "Hai, you can pull apart your skirt/trouser coathangers & use the clips to seal bags of ingredients in the kitchen!"

Why waste a perfectly good coathanger? WTF do they think clothespegs are for?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:17 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seems a good time to share this. My water main sprang a leak so I have no water in my house at the moment.

I wash my hands a lot, at least after every cigarette (boo), can't stand the smell on my hands. My favorite soft drink is an unsweetened carbonated water with citrus flavor (La Croix, Safeway). It's a great hand-wash! A pool in the palm, rub hands, repeat x5. Hands are clean, smell nice and amazing soft skin feel. Even when I was digging around in the yard trying to figure out what the hell was up with my water leak, the carb water stripped dirt as well as soap.
posted by wallabear at 11:19 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Distilled white vinegar is an amazing cleaner and sanitizer, and will dissolve most types of caked on schmutz in at most a few hours when soaked. Always wear rubber gloves though, it's a very strong acid.

Cleaning baked-on crud off stainless steel, aluminum, or your stove top? Pour out a liberal amount (A LOT) of coarse salt, add a teaspoon or so of vinegar and just enough liquid soap to make a paste. Scrub VERY LIGHTLY with a sponge or non-abrasive scrubby (or gloved fingers,) and then wipe the whole mess up. Also works for cleaning beeswax off of things, is how I came up with this recipe.
posted by mcrandello at 11:47 PM on October 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


In response to Kevin Street's question and expanding on Mercaptan's answer.
posted by mcrandello at 11:52 PM on October 19, 2012


I've seen this compilation, and most of them individually on /r/lifeprotips. Who knows where Internet content comes from anyway. I'm sure some of them, like the "bagel tote" are trolling, that one is just too much like the banana case.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:53 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really like "hacks" because some of them are darned useful. I think what rubs me wrong is how some of them are presented. Example: a Youtube video titled "How To Make a PBJ Sandwich - You're Doing It All Wrong." The person went on to make some crazy-ass concoction that wasn't a PBJ sandwich.

I had never seen any of these although I did use floss to cut a birthday cake once. Most of these are pretty cool. Doritos for kindling? What does that tell you about Doritos? Ugh.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:54 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some of these have never heard, some of them I have, but I cracked up at the "ghetto accesory - silencer" because that's one of my old stupid VJ tricks.

I find them randomly in my pockets all the time.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:56 PM on October 19, 2012


Oh, I take exception with the "put your coaster on your drink at a bar" thing. Sure, it works, but who the fuck knows what is on the coaster. I can always taste it on the rim. What I do is ask the bartender for a clean napkin and use that, it also gives me a chance to let the bartender know I'm going out to smoke so don't let jackasses who disrespect the code try to horn in on my spot.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:01 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The glass of water in the microwave thing is for people who don't know about the power level button. The microwaves bounce around the inside of the oven until they are absorbed by something, either the food or the glass of water. Since it doesn't get hot enough to really provide any humidity it's just soaking up some microwaves. Turning down the power level has the same effect, it just cycles the microwave output so that they're only on a percentage of the time. A damp paper towel or just a splash of liquid has a low enough mass to actually get hot and steamy and do some good besides just sucking up some microwaves. People should try using the power level setting on their microwave.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:08 AM on October 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


The partly filled and frozen water bottle trick I invented myself, in the 1970's. I used it for going to the beach, when I lived in Brooklyn and Jones Beach was a fabulous escape.

Here's an extremely dangerous (ADDICTIVE) hack:
Place chocolate chips in a glass or coffee mug (or small jar). Not more than half full, as you need to stir. Now cover with milk, or cream (fatter=tastier. Thinner=more liquid). Nuke for ~30 seconds. Stir like crazy. If still lump, nuke another 10-15 seconds. Stir until shinny.

You have just made an addictive substance that may be an aphrodisiac. It's also excellent on ice cream (thinner will stay more liquid. Some like it to solidify on the ice cream more). This can be used as chocolate 'fondue' as well. Essentially speaking, it is basic truffle filling (ganache). Make it thinner and serve in cordial glasses, and call it "real hot chocolate". :-))
posted by Goofyy at 12:49 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In what twisted world is hot fudge a "hack"?

Here's a great cereal hack folks: put it in a bowl and pour milk on it, eat with spoon!
posted by nathancaswell at 1:08 AM on October 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


Also, while I'm at it, "grok" makes me want to murder people.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:16 AM on October 20, 2012 [14 favorites]


For getting engine oil off your hands, a small handful of washing powder works better than bar soap.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:23 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've never been able to get that brownie in a cup recipe to work right. And I want to, because, BROWNIE! But I always end up with either a chocolate charcoal briquette or chocolate soup. It's been a very disappointing three years from when I first saw that recipe and I've yet to get a satisfactory product out of it.

Add an egg to it. Don't use water. And use twice the oil. Except use butter, not oil. And add vanilla extract. And make sure the butter is soft and mix it with the sugar first, then add liquids, and add flour last. And add flour carefully to make sure it doesn't get too thick. It should be somewhat thicker than pancake batter.

Take it out of the microwave when it's still a bit gooey/undercooked on the edges but the center has a nice bounce when pressed with a spoon. It will settle to a cake-like consistency while it cools. Chewy brownie is a myth.

I far prefer almond flour + almond extract + sugar + butter + egg to the chocolate varieties.

Don't ask me how many times I've done this to figure out the right combination. I didn't even know there was a recipe floating around on the internet for this. I've just been carving out my own steps out of late night desperation.

Also, this is really not a hack. It's as much of a lifehack as covering a pita with ketchup and cheese and microwaving it and calling it pizza. The shortcuts take all the deliciousness out of it.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 1:30 AM on October 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here's a great cereal hack folks: put it in a bowl and pour milk on it, eat with spoon!

I take it you've never read the Cryptonomicon.
posted by mannequito at 1:53 AM on October 20, 2012 [26 favorites]


aeschenkarnos: "For getting engine oil off your hands, a small handful of washing powder works better than bar soap."

For getting engine oil off your hands, a light spray of pre-wash stain remover (e.g. Preen, Vanish, etc) works better than washing powder or bar soap.

And do people really not know how zippers work? Even the cheapest pants I own have locking zips; you've just got to push the tag/lever down far enough that they lock.
posted by Pinback at 2:06 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The remote lives on the table by couch. It has no reason to go wandering.

DOES NOT HAVE CHILDREN
posted by DU at 2:53 AM on October 20, 2012 [30 favorites]


The author of that remote tip doesn't have kids either, I see. You still have to put them back. What does the velcro solve? Earthquake lossage?

The real solution is to put a locator beeper on the remote. Changed my life. We now look forward to losing the remote, because it's a fun 10 second game of tracking down the muffled beeps.
posted by DU at 3:04 AM on October 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pinback: "And do people really not know how zippers work? Even the cheapest pants I own have locking zips; you've just got to push the tag/lever down far enough that they lock."

Wait what? I... [checks pants]

ARE YOU A WIZARD??
posted by danny the boy at 3:05 AM on October 20, 2012 [43 favorites]


For all of those tips that involve using nail polish, model airplane paint works the same way. (does anyone even assemble and paint model airplanes anymore?)
posted by readyfreddy at 3:10 AM on October 20, 2012


Wife asking for a divorce? Turn a pool noodle into new wife.
Children hate you? Pool noodle children better behaved.
Fired from job? Pool noodle will be your perfect boss.
Need something buoyant for swimming?
Stuff some Pringle cans into pantyhose: It's a tubular raft!
posted by dgaicun at 3:29 AM on October 20, 2012 [91 favorites]


I've never been able to get that brownie in a cup recipe to work right. And I want to, because, BROWNIE! But I always end up with either a chocolate charcoal briquette or chocolate soup. It's been a very disappointing three years from when I first saw that recipe and I've yet to get a satisfactory product out of it.

Forgive me for what I'm about to tell you. The other night I was having a strong urge to have some kind of dessert, and I don't usually have sweets in the house. I had an apple, but I didn't want to eat an apple. I also didn't want to take the time to make some sort of apple-cake-for-one. So I googled something like "super quick desserts" to see if I could come up with an idea using stuff that I happen to have around (not much). OF COURSE an Ask Me post shows up on the first page of returns: 1 minute desserts for lazy cooks. From there I found a link to Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake, which uses only three ingredients: an egg, some powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. It's way better the brownie in a cup one I tried a long time ago, which was actually pretty awful. But now I have to resist gooey chocolate mug cake every day.

(Also, since I felt like I wanted a little bit of some kind of topping on it, and had nothing for that either, I mixed a little of the powdered sugar with some yogurt, and that was a lot yummier than it should have been.)
posted by taz at 3:30 AM on October 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


For all of those tips that involve using nail polish, model airplane paint works the same way.

Ladies: can't find exactly the right shade of nail polish to match those camoflage fatigues?

Humbrol 237 Desert Tan should work a treat!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:35 AM on October 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Left 2/10 of a mile?

Jeeez USA, get the metric system. It really is better.
posted by the noob at 3:51 AM on October 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


Seconding vinegar! Also a great weed killer. Pour a little directly on the base of the weed. In fact, it will kill any kind of plant life, so be careful.
posted by tommyD at 4:14 AM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Purposeful Grimace: "I've never been able to get that brownie in a cup recipe to work right. And I want to, because, BROWNIE! But I always end up with either a chocolate charcoal briquette or chocolate soup. It's been a very disappointing three years from when I first saw that recipe and I've yet to get a satisfactory product out of it."

Send it to America's Test Kitchen. I bet they'll make it work tell you why you're ridiculous for trying and how to make super simple brownies in 5 easy steps.

taz: "I did see this yesterday on a different Tumblr, which is much easier to use. I love these kinds of tips. Well. I love reading them. When it comes time that one might actually come in useful, I always manage to forget them."

That's why I right-click and save the images.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:15 AM on October 20, 2012


Indigo - Wait until you're a boring old fart like me. You will remember them all, and people will hate you for it.
posted by tommyD at 4:19 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you need to photograph your refrigerator in order to go food shopping, you should not be allowed to (a) own a phone, (b) buy food.
posted by ellF at 4:41 AM on October 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Never base your highway lifehacks on the Schuylkill expressway, the worst designed highway in the United States.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:17 AM on October 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


If you need to photograph your refrigerator in order to go food shopping, you should not be allowed to (a) own a phone, (b) buy food.

You'll also be perpetually short of basics like rice, pasta, salt, spices, cereal, oil, sugar, flour...
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:24 AM on October 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Thing I am too lazy to make: a parody version of this in which it's all stuff the Professor on Gilligan's Island made out of coconuts and the like. Every one starts "If you find yourself trapped on a desert island..."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:28 AM on October 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


and the secret to locating highway exits. I can't believe I never knew that one...

It's not exactly a secret. It's one of the questions on the driving test in my state. I just hope you all use your turn signals when changing lanes!

The TV USB charger tip is pretty neat.
posted by bluefly at 5:50 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The real solution is to put a locator beeper on the remote.

I recommend the team teacher method: staple the remotes to your chest. Remember to look baffled when they ask you why.


Are you supposed to take a picture of the refrigerator when it's full? That won't tell you what you're out of. If you take the picture when it's missing things, you still have to remember what's missing. Here's an idea: write down things you want to remember on this stuff called "paper."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:51 AM on October 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


I've never been able to get that brownie in a cup recipe to work right. And I want to, because, BROWNIE! But I always end up with either a chocolate charcoal briquette or chocolate soup. It's been a very disappointing three years from when I first saw that recipe and I've yet to get a satisfactory product out of it.

That's because the timing is very important. Once the mixture has begun to bubble, each second of power makes a huge difference. It's a geometric math kind of thing. And every microwave is just different enough to make it impossible to create a perfect recipe.
posted by gjc at 6:00 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Left 2/10 of a mile?

Jeeez USA, get the metric system. It really is better.


Because "Left 0.321869 km" is better? Look, all our streets are laid out in miles. We all know what a mile "feels like" better than we know what a KM is. Leave us alone. We don't make fun of you for ordering pints in pubs, do we?
posted by gjc at 6:12 AM on October 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


2/10 miles = 300m in metric. LIFEHACK!
posted by blue_beetle at 6:17 AM on October 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


The glass of water in the microwave thing is also a recommended best practice for when you give your optical media the 3-5 second zap to make etched lightning trail coasters out of it. In terms of importance, it ranks right between "Make sure that your room lights are out so you can better enjoy the ensuing lightshow," and "if it starts smoking or giving off excessive fumes, you zapped it too long and try not to breathe it in."
posted by radwolf76 at 6:21 AM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because "Left 0.321869 km" is better?

If anything, you guys should exploit the full glory of the Imperial system. Why go for the inelegant, fractional "2/10 of a mile", when this distance is exactly one furlong and six chains?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:21 AM on October 20, 2012 [37 favorites]


Acetone fixes everything, plus it smells great.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:26 AM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kids keep losing the remote? No need to build a better mousetrap. Simply surround the remote with the regular kind and wait for the learned behavioral modification to take effect.
posted by nowhere man at 6:44 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mercaptan: "Kevin Street: Vinegar works very well on lime scale. Lime scale is mostly calcium carbonate from hard water. The acid in the vinegar reacts with the carbonate to form carbon dioxide gas and water and a little dissolved calcium acetate. Try it! It's the same reaction as vinegar plus baking soda."

Oh, great. You've got shiny taps, but we all die of global warming sooner.
posted by Samizdata at 6:51 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell: "Also, while I'm at it, "grok" makes me want to murder people."

Bring it on, as I do not grok your hatred in fullness.

(Yes, I use grok reasonably regularly in conversation._
posted by Samizdata at 6:56 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I double-dog dare someone to do all of these AT ONCE...
posted by antonymous at 6:57 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gotta love all these examples of first-world problems.
posted by Twang at 7:02 AM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Taking a picture of my fridge would not help me to remember what to buy at the grocery. It would, however, help me to remember that I haven't cleaned the inside of the fridge in mumble mumble months.
posted by taz at 7:05 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


DOES NOT HAVE CHILDREN

Then when you find the remote, the batteries cover is gone forever, the batteries are scattered and there's some little rattling piece inside the remote.

This Christmas all of you are getting remotes and rakes to play with since you can't seem to leave either of these things alone.
posted by jquinby at 7:06 AM on October 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


I always thought nail polish was so that women could huff solvents discretely.
posted by srboisvert at 7:28 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


KevinSkomsvold writes " Doritos for kindling? What does that tell you about Doritos?"

It tells you they have a large surface area for their mass. Most powders do and Doritos are covered with some sort of powdered cheese analogue.
posted by Mitheral at 7:35 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cheese powder and industrial cooking fat.
posted by notyou at 7:40 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The highway sign thing has thrown me for a loop.

Is there some reason the USA doesn't just use arrows? Up here, the sign is directly over the lane you need to be in, plus there's an arrow pointing to that lane, plus exit lanes have double-wide lane markings. Ambiguity: Zero.

Also, 6/10 MILE? Really?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:43 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fritos -- which have no cheese powder -- also make good kindling. So i think it's the industrial cooking fat that's doing the combusting and not so much the surface area of the powder.

#survivorman
posted by notyou at 7:43 AM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does

shutdown -a
pause

really abort a shutdown?
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:44 AM on October 20, 2012


I had never seen any of these although I did use floss to cut a birthday cake once. Most of these are pretty cool. Doritos for kindling? What does that tell you about Doritos? Ugh.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:54 PM on October 19


Pick up any old cookbook or book on baking and that tip will likely be in there. Mind you they typically say to use thread rather than dental floss, but that's just a minor detail.

I say old (early 1900s, mid 1900s, even some late 1900s) because I know I've seen it in tons of older books. I haven't looked at enough newer--say published this century--ones to know if the string tip finds its way into them.
posted by sardonyx at 7:50 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


>We all know what a mile "feels like" better than we know what a KM is.
If you know what a mile "feels like," then it shouldn't be hard to learn what 6/10 of a mile feels like. The whole problem is that 6/10 of a km equals 600m or other translations, while 6/10 of a mile equals... nothing else in that system. I'm sure there would be growing pains associated with adopting new measurements, but this is the system used by virtually every scientist everywhere that you're poo-pooing here.

On topic: I wish there were a word for needlessly trying to teach something that is already obviated by a more obvious or simple technique. There must be at least fifteen other visual cues to let you know an exit is coming up on either the right or the left. A few other people have mentioned examples (like bag clipping), and this is probably a result of the website author's hodgepodge approach to collecting and regurgitating what they saw on the Internet.

Also, check out how sad the guy in the "take pictures of items you've lent" tip looks. What kind of friend does that?
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 7:52 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The author of that remote tip doesn't have kids either, I see. You still have to put them back. What does the velcro solve? Earthquake lossage?

If you don't have kids, then you won't loose the remote, if you do, then the only way Velcro is going to help is if you stick it on the back of the kid and hang them off the wall when not in use.

Okay, actual life changing tip time from Spike Trottman's "Poorcraft". Put a small amount of white vinegar in a pot of water. Boil. Bam, instant room deodorizer.

You're welcome.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fritos -- which have no cheese powder -- also make good kindling. So i think it's the industrial cooking fat that's doing the combusting and not so much the surface area of the powder.

Plus, corn. It's just cellulose. Might as well be wood.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:55 AM on October 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


so that women could huff solvents discretely.
Well, at least they're not huffing solvents continuously.
posted by roystgnr at 7:56 AM on October 20, 2012 [29 favorites]


Just here as a public service -- DON'T use an accented letter as your passcode, kids.
posted by nosila at 8:02 AM on October 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, check out how sad the guy in the "take pictures of items you've lent" tip looks. What kind of friend does that?

It is kind of gauche, but it is brilliant at a different level. A few years ago a group of a half-dozen friends were at my place for a game. At the end of the evening, one of them pulled several books off my shelf and asked to borrow them. I was distracted by something else and absent-mindedly said, "sure." Maybe a year later I was looking for one of these books and could not locate it until I recalled the borrowing. I had totally forgotten which one had asked for the books, and a quick e-mail to all of the parties concerned led to everyone claiming no knowledge of this. So it goes.

I don't think any one of them was lying to me, but I suspect the borrower may have forgotten about this as well and will at some point discover my books on a shelf somewhere. It is possible he will feel self-conscious about having denied he had them and so will quietly hang on to them.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:07 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Take a picture of places you need to go when traveling in countries with low English skills."

Yeah, it's the country's fault.

Not so amazing, but I've been baking a lot of bread recently, so I find myself having to grease cling film fairly often. I was pretty pleased with myself for figuring out that if I stretch it over the container first, it's really easy to brush with some oil, then I can just flip it over.
posted by lucidium at 8:32 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


nathancaswell: Hot fudge is not a hack. Chocolate chips melted in cream are not hot fudge, but are a pretty good substitute. Melted chocolate quick and easy, in the microwave, is rather a hack. At least, it's completely contrary to anything I've ever read in a decent cook book.
posted by Goofyy at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2012


Acetone fixes everything, plus it smells great.

Tom said, huffily.
posted by zippy at 8:51 AM on October 20, 2012 [19 favorites]


Oh, great. You've got shiny taps, but we all die of global warming sooner

If shower heads are our carbon sequestration strategy, maybe those five bath ugly-ass McMansions aren't so bad after all.
posted by zippy at 8:55 AM on October 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is something so endearing about this ultimately futile effort to match bottle caps to pencil colours.
posted by lucidium at 8:57 AM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


You can't Velcro a Wiimote. It would throw off your tennis serve.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:08 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This Christmas all of you are getting remotes and rakes to play with since you can't seem to leave either of these things alone.

Every Christmas, my mother would give me and my brother our own roll of Scotch tape and a new pair of (age-appropriate) scissors in our stocking. When I was a teenager, I was finally like ". . . wait, this is weird." But now I have kids, and I do the same thing for them, because god DAMMIT LEAVE MY FUCKING TAPE AND SCISSORS ALONE!
posted by KathrynT at 9:23 AM on October 20, 2012 [21 favorites]


Johann Georg Faust: "while 6/10 of a mile equals... nothing else in that system."

Six tenths of a mile equals...six ticks of the [white number on analogue odometers]/[decimal place on digital odometers]. I prefer it muchly to "1/6 mi" or whatever. I mean, I like doing math in my head to keep me awake on long drives but converting fractions? Fuck you, DOT.
posted by notsnot at 9:24 AM on October 20, 2012


I am the only who remembers Hints from Heloise? How is any of this new?
posted by stowaway at 9:28 AM on October 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Oh, I take exception with the "put your coaster on your drink at a bar" thing. Sure, it works, but who the fuck knows what is on the coaster. I can always taste it on the rim.

What kind of bars are you going to where they aren't giving you a fresh beer mat? The breweries literally give these things away to bars FOR FREE to promote their brand. I've never seen them get reused.
posted by asnider at 9:29 AM on October 20, 2012


From there I found a link to Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake, which uses only three ingredients: an egg, some powdered sugar, and cocoa powder.

I really really love all these "time saving" recipes that require items I would never have in the house in the first place, and which in order to purchase, I would have to go to at least 2 different close-by stores or one large farther-away store. ESPECIALLY when there are 2 awesome bakeries with better things that are closer than the farther-away stores.

my idea of a lazy person emergency dessert is a spoonful of honey.
posted by elizardbits at 9:29 AM on October 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am the only who remembers Hints from Heloise? How is any of this new?

Heloise doesn't have a tumblr.
posted by elizardbits at 9:30 AM on October 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


require items I would never have in the house in the first place

What kind of person doesn't have EGGS in the house?

posted by elizardbits

Oh, right. Carry on.
posted by KathrynT at 9:32 AM on October 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


One time in 2007 I bought a dozen eggs because I was like HEY EGGS PEOPLE HAVE THESE IN THE FRIDGE ALL THE TIME AND AS A GROWN-UP I SHOULD DO IT TOO.

I threw them out in late 2009.

I wrapped the carton in 6 separate plastic bags and sealed each layer with duct tape. I then placed the baggie bundle inside an empty shoe box and wrapped it in another heavy duty trash bag. On the outside of this trash bag I taped a note written in black sharpie that said EXTREMELY OLD EGGS I AM SO SORRY BIN MEN.
posted by elizardbits at 9:36 AM on October 20, 2012 [44 favorites]


"Take a picture of places you need to go when traveling in countries with low English skills."

Yeah, it's the country's fault.

Seriously! Shouldn't it at least say "when traveling in countries where YOU have low ___language skills"? Those poor countries with low English skills...
posted by chela at 9:43 AM on October 20, 2012


I got one: you can make an omelette in the microwave. I grease a small ceramic bowl and put two beaten eggs in it, then cover with a saucer. The bowl is sized so that when the rising eggs are halfway to being an omelette, they lift the saucer. At that point, I turn the whole thing over and finish cooking. You have to experiment with cooking times. My system works with 2-1/2 to 3 minutes total cooking time. For you metric fans, that's about 400 Kelvin.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:45 AM on October 20, 2012


I wrapped the carton in 6 separate plastic bags and sealed each layer with duct tape. (etc.)

Wow, someone watched a lot of episodes of "Anal Retentive Chef".
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:46 AM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Doritos as kindling - yeah, probably works ok. I've done the same with hard rye bread. The trick is that food burns slowly enough to light even the dampest firewood. Paper or cardboard burns too fast and wood shavings are no good if they are wet.

The arrow in the fuel gauge pointing to the side of the car with the tank is the best kind of advice. Now I know!
posted by ikalliom at 9:53 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


LEFT EXIT at the Minneapolis/Saint Paul boundary on I-94. The Twin Cities has a depressingly high number of them. The Minnesota version of this "lifehack" is: if you're dealing with brain-damaged Minnesota drivers, put important stuff in a signal orange box with capital letters. They still won't pay attention, but at least you'll feel like you tried.
posted by gimonca at 9:54 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, you can pop ordinary, plain, no-name popcorn in the microwave. I use a 1-quart* pyrex bowl, put a pat** of butter or margarine and some salt in the bottom, add a few tablespoons of popcorn kernels, place a saucer on top, and nuke for 3 minutes. Makes a little over a quart. Use oven mitts to pour the bowl into another container, because that sucker is HOT.***


* 1 quart = about a Litre
** 1 pat = 34.62 grammes
*** This tip has appeared on MetaFilter previously
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:55 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Take a picture of places you need to go when traveling in countries with low English skills."

I'm quite fluent in Low English, so this is not a problem for me.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:06 AM on October 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


DO NOT HAS CHILDREN sounds probably like a pretty effective lifehack.
posted by 7segment at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2012 [27 favorites]


For those who do laundry at a laundromat, I use an old ketchup bottle to hold my detergent, so I don't have to lug the whole large-size bottle of laundry soap with me.
posted by fings at 11:47 AM on October 20, 2012


Also, 6/10 MILE? Really?

It makes sense if you accept the premise that we're more or less stuck with the Imperial system down here for the time being- our odometers usually have a little white 'tenth mile' wheel, and our highways (at least in surrounding states) have usually reflective markers every tenth mile.

I'm a proponent of the metric system for the most part, but I've also been driving a car around for about fifteen years. I could see the US going metric for volumes (we already have 1L and 2L bottles aside our 20, 16, and 12 fluid ounce varieties), but I hope we stick with Imperial distances- as a previous poster mentioned, we all "know" what a mile feels like- we define distance, speed, and vehicle efficiency by it, most of us ran the mile in school physical ed, and it's exactly eight furlongs (or eighty chains), which really isn't that hard to remember.
posted by maus at 12:10 PM on October 20, 2012


The little arrow on your fuel gauge shows which side the fuel filler door is on. Very handy for rental cars.
posted by LordSludge at 12:47 PM on October 20, 2012


The little arrow on your fuel gauge

... is common, but not universal.

From Snopes:
nearly all newer models of automobiles do include a small triangle next to it that indicates which side of the vehicle bears the fuel door. While you can't count on finding that triangle on every single instrument panel, it's certainly worth looking for.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:54 PM on October 20, 2012


Interesting. I've rented a car (usually different) nearly every week for the past two years, and have never once found the fuel filler arrow missing. So... Lets go with "nearly universal".
posted by LordSludge at 1:04 PM on October 20, 2012


my idea of a lazy person emergency dessert is a spoonful of honey.

Lazy person emergency Robitussin DM? Honey and a hammer.
posted by zippy at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Send every American through engineering school, and the Imperial system will die a swift, if violent, death.

1 lb force = (32.2 ft/s2)(1 lb mass)

SERIOUSLY???
posted by LordSludge at 1:14 PM on October 20, 2012


ju-jitsu.......i know.............. ju-jitsu......

For real. Teaches you how to switch another human off, temporarily, without hurting them. Also keeps you in fantastic shape. Terrific life hack.
posted by LordSludge at 1:17 PM on October 20, 2012


I'm sure there would be growing pains associated with adopting new measurements, but this is the system used by virtually every scientist everywhere that you're poo-pooing here.

We use it for science too.

I'm not poo pooing the metric system, I'm poo-pooing the idea that we are quaint, provincial morons for maintaining the measuring system all our immovable things are measured in.
posted by gjc at 2:02 PM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chocolate chips melted in cream are not hot fudge, but are a pretty good substitute. Melted chocolate quick and easy, in the microwave, is rather a hack. At least, it's completely contrary to anything I've ever read in a decent cook book.

That's actually the exact definition of a Ganache, and I'm fairly sure I've seen that exact technique in a cookbook, a very good cookbook (I think it was one of Shirley Corriher's, probably Bakewise but I can't check right now).

So, you independently came up with something good enough for a very good cookbook.

I am the only who remembers Hints from Heloise? How is any of this new?


My favorite of this type of things was actually a Hint from Heloise. Somebody wrote in and suggested that if you sit backwards on a toilet, you can write notes to people while going to the bathroom. She went on to say that the note to Heloise was composed in just such a manner.

For years, I thought it was funny, because really, who wants to hear from somebody going to the bathroom. Then I got a smart phone and realized the lady was just ahead of her time.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:02 PM on October 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


It makes sense if you accept the premise that we're more or less stuck with the Imperial system down here for the time being- our odometers usually have a little white 'tenth mile' wheel, and our highways (at least in surrounding states) have usually reflective markers every tenth mile.

It was less the "mile" and more the tiny, barely legible fraction I was trying to call into question. It's just bad design.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:37 PM on October 20, 2012


It was less the "mile" and more the tiny, barely legible fraction I was trying to call into question. It's just bad design.

But the calculation itself is eminently practical: if you assume that a normal highway speed is around 60mph, then you're doing a about a mile a minute, so each tenth of a mile equates to 6 seconds. For people used to dealing with non-metric numbers, they can instantly convert a fraction like 7/10 of a mile & know that means it'll be around 42 seconds until the turnoff.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:53 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding the Doritos thing...it's half joke, half good advice to always keep a bag of fritos in the bottom of your backpacking pack. They're greasy and carby so you don't starve, and light when wet. Thank the marvels of highly processed junk food for that survival tip!
posted by Grandysaur at 3:00 PM on October 20, 2012


Heloise doesn't have a tumblr.

Heloise has a posse.

Internet, make this so.
posted by zippy at 3:08 PM on October 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gimonca, MN-280 was built as a left exit because, long ago, there was a plan that it would continue along what's now the Midtown Greenway, near 28th St (hence "280"). The I-94/MN-280 interchange was originally built with "ghost ramps" that would have connected to a bridge to the Minneapolis portion. Because of the weird geometry required for that, exits were built on the left to save space. The ghost ramps have since been demolished, but the weird geometry remains.

Totally not a helpful household hint, sorry.
posted by afiler at 3:16 PM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Slice bagels (or rolls) in half before you freeze them. You can leave a bit attached if you need to match the tops and bottoms.

I learned this trick from my mom a few years ago and I keep passing it along in hopes that someone will say, "Oh, good idea!" and I will no longer be the only person who just figured this out.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:18 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dried citrus peel also makes good kindling.
posted by the fish at 3:34 PM on October 20, 2012


...as does dryer lint. In fact, dryer lint mixed with melted paraffin wax is a fairly easy-to-make firestarter.
posted by jquinby at 3:58 PM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there some reason the USA doesn't just use arrows?

Notice that the examples in the OP's link are from Philadelphia, which is notoriously poorly signed. An Inquirer series on the problem from years ago was titled, 'Philadelphia, Try to Find Us'. gimonca's example from Minnesota is better. I have seen signs on interstates in the Northeast which did have arrows.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:04 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Lifehacking," itself, can very easily become something that one obsesses about, but really how much of our lives revolves around the silly little problems these images address? It's the mindset of the hosts of late-night infomercials: "Oh, if only I could peel potatoes without all that fuss. If only there were a simpler way!" There probably is a simpler way lady, but really? It's not going to change your life all that much to have access to it.
posted by JHarris at 5:08 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does selling drugs for money count as a life hack?
posted by passerby at 6:20 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


ricochet biscuit: "Also, check out how sad the guy in the "take pictures of items you've lent" tip looks. What kind of friend does that?

It is kind of gauche, but it is brilliant at a different level. A few years ago a group of a half-dozen friends were at my place for a game. At the end of the evening, one of them pulled several books off my shelf and asked to borrow them. I was distracted by something else and absent-mindedly said, "sure." Maybe a year later I was looking for one of these books and could not locate it until I recalled the borrowing. I had totally forgotten which one had asked for the books, and a quick e-mail to all of the parties concerned led to everyone claiming no knowledge of this. So it goes.

I don't think any one of them was lying to me, but I suspect the borrower may have forgotten about this as well and will at some point discover my books on a shelf somewhere. It is possible he will feel self-conscious about having denied he had them and so will quietly hang on to them.
"

I used to use a database I built which tracked what, who, and when things were loaned. Then I would periodically run the "Flake Report" which would list items still out past a certain time frame. Best thing was...PLATFORM AGNOSTIC!
posted by Samizdata at 6:25 PM on October 20, 2012



Cup o' cake is easier than cup o' brownie:

-Dump one box of angel food cake mix + one box of devil's food cake mix into plastic storage.

-Stir together 3 Tbsp. cake mix mixture with 2 Tbsp. water into cup or bowl.

-Microwave one minute on high.

-Eat delicious warm cake. Topped with fruit. Drizzled with hot fudge. Dolloped with whipped cream.
posted by maggieb at 6:28 PM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was pleased to see the one about cooking corn in a microwave, although I don't use a microwave myself. Point is, corn steams perfectly in its own husk, so it's silly to peel and boil it. For a conventional oven, just cut off the tassels on top (they tend to catch fire), then put the corn under the broiler and check it every few minutes. (Don't go too long without checking, because the husk can catch fire too...) Once the husk is brown on top (maybe 10 minutes or so? just keep checking), turn it over and let it go until the other side is at least starting to brown. Take it out and let it sit for a few minutes and cool down on the outside while it finishes cooking on the inside. Then grab it by the bottom stalk bit and -- trust me on this -- quickly peel off the husk under cold running water so you don't get burned by the steam. Don't worry, the corn will stay quite hot. Et voila. Perfect corn with minimal effort.
The downside of using this method is that you get really, really annoyed at all the people in the grocery store who peel down the top of the husk to have a look at their corn before buying it, and leave a bunch of half-peeled corn behind. The husk has to be intact for the steaming, and come on people, they're like 10 cents apiece, just buy a bunch and move on!
posted by uosuaq at 6:35 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to use a database I built which tracked what, who, and when things were loaned. Then I would periodically run the "Flake Report" which would list items still out past a certain time frame. Best thing was...PLATFORM AGNOSTIC!

I believe I am entitled to a copy of my flake report under federal law. I think your Semisonic CD is in my truck.
posted by passerby at 6:51 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, while I'm at it, "grok" makes me want to murder people.

And then drink of them, I presume.
posted by sidereal at 7:38 PM on October 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


From there I found a link to Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake

So I just tried this literally five minutes ago. Verdict: mine came out a touch rubbery and not at all gooey, which probably means the 50 second minimum is too long for my microwave, so the total effect didn't make me swoon. HOWEVER, I was still stunned at the quality-to-effort ratio and will likely try again with less cook time. Using good cocoa powder, the flavor was way better than any pre-packaged shit you can pick up.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:06 PM on October 20, 2012


The arrow in the fuel gauge pointing to the side of the car with the tank is the best kind of advice. Now I know!

The little arrow on your fuel gauge
... is common, but not universal.


Interesting. I've rented a car (usually different) nearly every week for the past two years, and have never once found the fuel filler arrow missing. So... Lets go with "nearly universal".

Last weekend I booked a generic compact rental, but was instead provided with a BMW sedan... No fuel gauge arrow! So as it is, of course I guessed the wrong side first. (The vehicle itself was also somewhat defective. But in the spirit of things, I inadvertently cut off a downtown bus).
posted by ovvl at 8:11 PM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


interplanetjanet, The Surekill is itself a lifehack. You learn to drive RIGHT NOW or you die.
posted by evilDoug at 9:03 PM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or perhaps it could be considered Darwin's little helper.
posted by evilDoug at 9:03 PM on October 20, 2012


Seriously! Shouldn't it at least say "when traveling in countries where YOU have low ___language skills"?

Not really. If you're traveling in a country where you don't know the language but a lot of them know a language you know it's not such a big deal. And even if you're one of those rare individuals who speaks ten different languages (and you've chosen very carefully to maximize the number of people you can talk to) there are still going to be a couple billion people out there who are going to look at you blankly and then tell you they're sorry but they don't understand what you're saying in some language you don't know.

A better way of saying this would be, "when traveling in countries where you expect to have trouble communicating...." That way it would apply to you no matter what your first (or second or third) language might be.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:32 PM on October 20, 2012


I just used the USB to TV thing last night. Hotels in Japan, and ryokan in particular are pretty bad when it comes to outlets. My wife had to unplug the hot water pot to charge her phone. There were no outlets left, so I checked the TV, and there it was. It took a couple pluggings and unpluggings, and at one point the tv started a slideshow from pictures on my iPhone (potentially embarrassing, something to keep in mind), but other than that, worked perfectly.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:54 AM on October 21, 2012


The newsletter The Tightwad Gazette had a lot of these sorts of tips -- mend your laundry hamper with a paperclip! Cut rubber bands in half lengthwise and double your number of rubber bands!

I like resourcefulness but I don't want my house to look like I live in a recycling bin.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:14 AM on October 21, 2012


My favorite of this type of things was actually a Hint from Heloise. Somebody wrote in and suggested that if you sit backwards on a toilet, you can write notes to people while going to the bathroom. She went on to say that the note to Heloise was composed in just such a manner.

How is sitting backwards advantageous to note taking? Were they only able to use the toilet tank as a writing surface? Like, they had previously put a grease pencil in the bathroom for just this purpose?
posted by zippy at 12:21 PM on October 21, 2012


> "I'm poo-pooing the idea that we are quaint, provincial morons for maintaining the measuring system all our immovable things are measured in."

... We kind of are. 5,280 feet per mile? 4,840 square yards per acre? 16 ounces to a pound but 12 inches to a foot? None of it makes any friggin' sense whatsoever.
posted by kyrademon at 7:06 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the worst of both worlds: I was raised in a school district that took President Carter seriously when he said he was going to switch us over to metric. I never learned any of the weird divisors in the non-metric system (also, apparently, never learned its name), and have no intuitive sense of how big/long/heavy anything is in either system.
posted by ook at 10:45 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


No one who still uses Celsius gets to talk about how their system is better. Still using a scale where zero is not really zero? Then don't tell me how your system is so superior.

When you start measuring temperatures in Kelvin, we can talk.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:02 AM on October 22, 2012


5,280 feet per mile? 4,840 square yards per acre? 16 ounces to a pound but 12 inches to a foot? None of it makes any friggin' sense whatsoever.

I'm not saying it's a great system. But it's entrenched, and we already use metric for the important stuff.

I have the worst of both worlds: I was raised in a school district that took President Carter seriously when he said he was going to switch us over to metric. I never learned any of the weird divisors in the non-metric system (also, apparently, never learned its name), and have no intuitive sense of how big/long/heavy anything is in either system.

Avoirdupois for weight.
posted by gjc at 4:09 PM on October 22, 2012


Maybe I have mentioned this particular hack

My father (since mum died years ago) cooks a large pot of curry or spaghetti sauce, risotto or whatever sauce like dinner.

He eats and then cools the remainder and pours it into a 1 Litre milk carton (which he has cleaned and prepared - by writing the name and cooking date of the dish on the base)

He then stacks this in the freezer with all the similar 1 Litre milk cartons.

When he wishes to eat, say a lamb roganjosh, he simply removes his selection from the freezer to his workshop where he uses his bandsaw to slice the correct portion off the frozen log which he microwaves while placing the remainder back in the freezer.

Simple and elegant. Needs bandsaw
posted by the noob at 4:39 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Needs clean bandsaw. That sort of eliminates the "simple" part. Have you ever tried to clean a bandsaw blade?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:44 AM on October 23, 2012


If all you're cutting is wood there's no need to be a weenie about it. A little more fiber in your diet is always a good thing.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:18 PM on October 23, 2012


Wood is more than just cellulose.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:11 AM on October 24, 2012


Hey, cool list. I wish they had some sense of quantities though -- it would be nice to know how much trouble I can get into as a hobbyist.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:06 PM on October 24, 2012


I can't be imagining this; in most places, aren't pretty much all left exits marked with a yellow sign?
posted by psoas at 8:16 PM on October 24, 2012


Also, 6/10 MILE? Really?

How is 3/5 even a little better?
posted by pullayup at 8:28 PM on October 25, 2012


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