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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This is insane


Fuel price on 5 May 2008 at San Antonio & Charleston, Mountain View, CA
$3.99/gal unleaded; $4.25/gal super unleaded

Fuel price on 5 May 2008 at Fair Oaks & Old San Francisco Rd, Sunnyvale, CA
$3.99/gal unleaded; $4.23/gal super unleaded

This is insane. I bet regular unleaded has already passed 4 bucks in San Francisco. I'm guessing that the Chevron(?) at 19th Avenue & Junipero Serra in San Francisco, which is usually higher priced compared to other stations, has passed the $4 mark a long time ago. (I used to drive past that station often and used to note that they were a little higher priced).


I've been playing around with Microsoft Sync Toy, a free tool that can help you backup your files to another location. You can specify 5 different methods for backing up or synchronizing your data. I did not have any fancy method for backing up data in the past, I merely manually copied folders (only 4, so not such a big deal... just don't ask how wide and deep those folders are) to an external drive. So far I've only used Sync Toy once and it seems to work OK. I won't really get a good feel for it until the next time I back up. I do like how they've made the interface relatively easy for setting up source destination and target destination.


I had an appointment with a hand doctor (orthopedic surgeon) about the hard lump at the base the ring finger on my right hand. It turned out to be a ganglion cyst. He said I had three options: wait and see if it goes away on its own; aspirate it; surgery. Surgery seemed like a last resort solution. Aspiration did not appeal to me since I did not like needles. So I was leaning towards the wait and see. However Dr. S noted that the cyst must have bothered me quite a bit for me to land on his doorstep. So I agreed to being briefly tortured by the suction syringe. Like (most) blood draws, I just could not look during this procedure. And as brief as it was, these things always feel sempiternal. The lump is much smaller now and my hand is just a little sore. Most importantly, it has not affected my ability to knit. :-)


I've been thinking about my drinking water lately after the buzz about bisphenol A (BPA) from water bottles leaching into water and decided that I needed to replace my old Nalgene polycarbonate water bottles with something safer. I'm also wondering what Miss M's sippy cups are constructed from. I love my Nalgene bottles. I have used them for years and think they are great. Now I need to try to find an alternate use for them.

My old Nalgene bottles, made of polycarbonate.

Here is a Consumer Reports Article for some more info:

Here's the gist of it:

-- Bottles marked #3, #6, #7, and PC could be unsafe.

-- Bottles which are safe include: #1 PETE; #2 HPDE; #4 LDPE, #5 PP. #1 bottles tend to be single use water/soda type bottles. Some #7 bottles are BPA-free, made with polyethersulfone (PES), and won't have the "PC" marking.

-- BPA-free plastic alternatives include: polyethelene; stainless steel; aluminum with BPA-free liners.

So off I went to research my water bottle alternatives. I did not want one of those soft plastic bottles that made water taste and smell like plastic. Yuck.

Sigg bottles, made of aluminum with a liner inside, seemed like a good light weight alternative and they came in lots of different colors and designs. However I was concerned about the integrity of the liner over time.

Klean Kanteen makes stainless steel bottles. I loved the idea. They are a bit heavier, however I was surprised to find the bottles lighter than I expected when I picked one up (although I might think differently after filling a 40 oz bottle with water). The only drawback to the Sigg and Klean Kanteen bottles are the price. How much did I want to spend on water bottles?

Nalgene now offers BPA-free bottles, however I was only able to find one, the OTG. I loved how the bottle felt in my hand. I nixed it from my list due to the lid construction. The carry loop is on the flip-up lid. I could just see this getting loose over time and then not sealing properly. A bottle is pretty useless when it is not watertight.

Camelbak makes a Better Bottle and a Better Bottle with Classic Cap, both in 500 mL, 750 mL, and 1000 mL sizes. The Classic Cap is just a screw on lid; there's a loop for you to hold it or clip it onto something using a carabiner. The Better Bottle has a spout that folds up for drinking and folds down when not in use (thereby keeping it cleaner). It's great! This bottle does not leak. Turn it upside-down, nothing drips out, even with the spout up. What's the trick? Well, you have to bite down on the valve (spout) to sip water. There's a straw inside, so you can sip water from it while holding it upright. If that feels weird to you, you can remove the straw insert and then turn the bottle upside-down to drink from it. Ok, cleaning this thing does take a little more effort than a regular screw-on top, but it doesn't bother me too much since I'm already used to cleaning all the extra parts (valves, straws) from Miss M's various sippy/straw cups. The Camelbak bottles are dishwasher safe in the top rack. I'm not sure how one would get the larger bottle in the top rack but it's no a big deal for me since I wash my water bottles by hand.

Camelbak Better Bottle and Camelbak Better Bottle with Classic Lid.

I picked up 6 bottles to try out, 2 in each size. The two 1 L bottles (gray and blue, back left) have the flip-up spout. The two 750 mL bottles (orange and pink, back right) have regular caps. The two bottles in front (pink and green) are 500 mL (16 oz) and fit great in my car cup holder; one has the flip-up spout and the other has a regular cap. I made a point to get the 500 mL flip-up spout so Miss M could drink from it (in the car) without spilling. She figured out the bite & sip technique pretty quickly.

Here's a sticker on the bottle:

Sticker on Camelbak Better Bottle.

Of course there will be times when I won't want to hold a water bottle or when I don't have room in my bag for a water bottle, so I will use a biner to clip it onto my bag. I actually have a load bearing carabiner (Trango Superfly), although any "toy" carabiner would also work great for a water bottle. However, using a biner with a screwlock would be overkill, unless you are extremely attached to your water bottle and it would be the end of the world if you ever lose it.

Trango Superfly Straight Gate Carabiner.


Oh, I did finish a scarf, but I haven't had time to blog about it. So here are some photos, I'll tell you more about it later.

Miles Scarf, Side A on left, Side B on right.

Miles Scarf, Side A.

Miles Scarf, Side B.
All I have to say is that I like the pattern, but hate the color of this yarn.

Ok, time for bed. I have an early morning tomorrow. :-( And yes, I do realize it is after midnight. So much for knitting tonight...


9 stitch(es):

theminx said...

I had a ganglion cyst for years and years. Showed it to the father of a friend who was a doctor and he said it was best to let it be. I did, and it's gone now. It never hurt, never affected mobility, so I think that's the best thing to do.

Rachel said...

Hope your finger feels better soon! I have a friend who loves those Camelbak water carriers, and she's had hers for years. I think I might get some, too, because that whole BPA thing scares me.

CatBookMom said...

I just got a couple of the Camelbak bottles, and they're nice, plus they're inexpensive at abour $8US. I didn't see the 'sippy cup' version. My only concern is that with the regular lid I'll dump it all over myself in the car. Oh well.

Yet another pretty scarf! And I'm glad to hear that your wrist may be on a quick road to recovery. I'm still dealing with tendonitis in my right shoulder, and I can't seem to back off enough on the computer mousing. Sigh.

My verification says 'shanzeve'; almost sounds like a real word in some language I don't know. ;-)

OzKnitter said...

There was an article in the daily newspaper, here, last week about the gas prices in the US hitting $4usd per gallon. Factoring in exchange and conversion rates, Australians are paying about $6usd per gallon (about $1.50aud per litre). Hopefully that makes your prices seem more reasonable!

ThyraVresig said...

In Sweden we pay 2,14USD per litre which is approximately 8,08usd per gallon if I´ve got my maths right.....I make about 2120 usd per month, when taxes have been payed, and I have to drive 58 kilometres five days a week (58*5=290km) to get to my job and back home again. Fuel consumption for my car is about 0,072 litres per kilometre. That makes 0,072*290=20,88 litres every week. 20,88 litres * 2,14usd equals 44,68usd every week in gas money just for me to get to my job and back. About 8 per cent of my earnings every month goes straight into the tank of my car and that is only counting the mileage to get to my job and back; I have not included any other driving I might do. Just to put things in perspective......

Allison said...

WOW - thanks for doing all the research for us! I'll have to go find some of those. Or course the other concern is that the tap water has prescription drugs in it . . . so hard to do the right thing!

Virtuous said...

Ooh! Thanks for the bottle review!
I've been needing to get some new safer bottles!

Chris said...

OK OK I won't complain about $3.59 a gallon. have a great Mother's Day!

TracyKM said...

I have very specific requirements for water bottles too---wide top so I can use ice cubes from my freezer, sip type spout with nothing that needs to be unscrewed or taken off to drink, and it has to fit in the cupholder. Whew.
I've never understood how you can sip while biting down.
As for the top-rack only things---many things can actually be washed on the lower rack as long as you don't use the heat dry seating :)