The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gasoline Savings

Back on October 2, I paid over $60.00 to fill my gas tank. Since then, the price per gallon of gasoline has come down. Now when I fill up my gas tank every week, I subtract the total of the fill-up from $60.00 and put that in savings. It's adding up. I don't know how long that will last, but I can at least try to pocket some money before the prices go back up again.

My family told me that whenever they got a raise at work, they'd put the extra from that raise into savings. I started doing that about two years ago. It's amazing how quickly it adds up and saves your butt for when you suddenly need some cash (like when your vehicle needs repairs).

I still say there's price gouging going on in Georgia. I do not believe gasoline should be $2.799 a gallon. I also wish there was a law to stop this 9/10ths cost on the damn price! Just make the charge $2.80 and be done with it, for crying out loud!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Titanium Turbo: Don't Waste Your Money

It arrived here today, and it does not work like it claims. It seems to somewhat shave the hairs on your face (I had a couple of whiskers). However, I ran this thing over my arms and legs, and none of the hairs seemed to have been affected. Even if it was only ten dollars, I expected better.

Speaking of razors ...

Has anyone seen those commercials where they're now advertising FOUR blades for each disposable razor? Come on! How many blades to you need to cut one hair? Two blades, I could understand TO SOME EXTENT. I thought they were pushing it with three blades. Now I think they've gone overboard with four blades for each razor.

I know it's not an earthshaking matter. It just bugs me that these manufacturers think they're creating a better product when they're not; it bugs me more when they lie or insult my intelligence.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

National-Brand vs Generic (medications)

The argument has gone on for years about the cost benefits of generic or store-brand medications versus national-brand medications. The two main arguments are: "Why pay more money for a name when the generic has the same ingredients?" and "National-brand medications have higher-quality ingredients whereas generic brands don't have to live up to the same standard."

I'm one of those people that will buy generic unless I find that a national brand is better. I recently discovered that Afrin versus Equate (Wal-Mart's store brand) nasal sprays are now another example of that exception. Afrin costs three times as much Equate, but Equate's version has more side effects (burning, sneezing, bleeding, nasal soreness). The last bottle of Equate nasal spray wrecked havoc on my already-sensitive nose. Yes, I know; I shouldn't be using them long-term to begin with. However, it is one of those necessary evils those of us with sleep apnea have to deal with.

I've had similar experiences with generic aspirin when I was a teenager. I couldn't understand why I got no relief from my menstrual cramps, even when I took four aspirin (this was before ibuprofen was available). I kept suffering until I read that many generic aspirin tablets weren't dissolving like they should. Needless to say, I was angry. Generic or not, I expected the medication to work.

Sometimes, the protective coating on most tablets and caplets prevent it from dissolving or working as quickly. One thing I have discovered in the last few years that helps pills dissolve better is for them to be cut in half or in quarters. Pill cutters are great for this, and it is worth having a couple on hand. For example, my dad has arthritis in his back really bad. He stopped taking his Propoxy (generic for Darvocet) because it wasn't working; even two pills weren't giving him any relief. I suggested to him to break the pill into two pieces. Dad thought I was crazy, but he was desperate and was willing to give my suggestion a try. He cut two Propoxy tablets into 4 pieces. Forty-five minutes later, he came into the room where I was working on the computer and thanked me for the advice. I could tell by the look on his face his back was feeling MUCH better.

My HMO requires a higher copayment for national-brand prescriptions. No problem; I can understand that. However, there may be times that the generic version just doesn't do as well. For example, because of my generalized anxiety disorder, I take Paxil Cr 25mg once a day. It works great! A few months ago, the manufacturer had to temporarily halt the production of Paxil Cr, so my doctor switched me to regular Paxil 20mg once a day. I was given Paroxatene, the generic version of Paxil at the pharmacy. No, it didn't work as well. As soon as Paxil Cr was back on the shelves, I called my doctor and begged him to me put back on it. Yes, there was that much of a difference.

Each person is different and metabolizes medications differently. If you think or suspect your medication is not working like it should, talk to your doctor about cutting the pills in half or switching to another brand. You can also go to's drug checker and see if any of your medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, or food may be adversely interacting with each other. For example, did you know that if you take birth control pills, you should avoid St. John's Wort? Did you know those who are on a daily aspirin regimen might need to avoid Evening Primrose Oil? Did you know that Darvocet may not be as effective for people who smoke? I found out that I cannot take cough syrup with dextromethoraphan because it has a major adverse interaction with Paxil Cr. Be sure to print out the results and take it to your next doctor's visit. You can never have too much information when it comes to your health.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bandwidth Theft

You would think people would quit being so stupid as to post a picture on their site, but hotlink it from someone else's site.

As I was surfing the net tonight, I was a witness to a site blatantly doing that. I was also made aware that the webmistress of the offending site also stole content (nearly word-for-word) from a similar web site. What bothers me is that the offending site was recently nominated for an award. You know, that is pathetic.

Now, I would LOVE to post the web address and expose the webmistress for the contemptible thief she is. However, I am a firm believer that what goes around comes around. It also helps to send an e-mail to the webmistress of the site her bandwidth is being stolen from, giving her all the web addresses for her to go check for herself. It will be her decision as to whether to pursue further action or not. After all, I'm just following what the Good Book says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, I would want someone to tell me if my bandwidth was being stolen by another webmaster. It's theft, and it's wrong. You can't hide it because your HTML codes will give you away, so why do it?

Am I being a tattletale? You call it what you want. I'm reporting a crime and letting the victim decide whether to take action.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Damn Lucky

Once again, my hometown has been spared from the ravages of a tropical storm/hurricane. This time, her name was Tammy. At this point, I don't know whether to consider it an act of kindness from God or worry that the worst is yet to come.

Our society has become so modernized, the absence of electrical power can paralyze a community. Just the absence of running water can render useless the simple things we take for granted. Take one or both of these things away, and the impact felt is immediate. You could have all the money in the world, and it will not help you one iota while you're in an area devoid of these two things unless you can leave to get what you don't have. Hope you have enough fuel in your vehicle; without electricity, you can't fill your gas tank at a gas station. Am I getting your attention now?

I've seen enough damage from past storms and hurricanes to have respect for them when they threaten our area. It perturbs me to hear people refer to these tropical sytems as "a little hurricane," or "a little storm." Tell that to someone who lost his home or loved-one to a flood from the excess rain brought by the storm. Tell that to someone who lost his home or loved-one to a tornado spun off from one of these tropical systems. Hey, I love watching a good thunderstorm, but even I know to do it from the safety of shelter.

I remember when then New York City mayor Ed Koch made the remark, "We scared the hell out of that hurricane!" back in October 1985. I don't remember the name of that hurricane. At 20 years of age, I was familiar with seeing the results of past storms because of where I lived and what I've seen on television. Instead of making smarta$$ remarks like that, he'd should have counted his blessings and thanked God that it didn't hit the New York/New Jersey area.

As foolish as Ed Koch's remark was, I'll still take him over New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. If the people of New Orleans reelect him as their mayor, then they deserve him. He needs to quit grandstanding and get stuff done. Is he doing anything at all?

Some questions have remained unanswered in my mind:

1) Incarcerated inmates were released rather than transferred to other jails/prisons. Why weren't they put to work preparing the city for evacuation, then later help with the clean up?

2) Why were all those school buses still sitting in the parking lots before Katrina hit? I can't seem to get a straight answer from the press.

3) Why has the media been focusing on New Orleans and not report more on the devastation east and north of that city?

I hope all the elected officials everywhere take notes on what NOT to do the next time any-sized tropical system threatens our coastlines. In my observation of the incompetence shown by the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana, it takes the feeling of helplessness to a new level and makes the arrival of future tropical systems even more frightening.

In the meantime, I'm counting my blessings and thanking God for sparing us from yet another storm.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

OK Cupid Politics Test

These were my results:

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Moderate
(55% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

OUCH! Gas prices!

I spent $60.00 this morning filling up my gas tank. I've never had to spend that much on gasoline before. It's a good thing my truck will be completely paid for next month. At the rate things are going, what went for truck payments will soon go for filling the gas tank.

One of those situations in which I wish I worked closer home. At least my bosses were nice enough to let me go to a four-day ten-hour work schedule. I had been asking about changing my work schedule for almost six months but really pressed for it when gas prices shot up after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. Of course, now since Hurricane Rita hit Texas and Louisiana, the new schedule is temporarily mandatory to help save the department money. I feel for those who didn't want to go to a 10-hour work day for four days a week. It could be a rough adjustment, depending upon your job and after-work schedule.

I still strongly believe price gouging is going on in Georgia. I only hope that it will be investigated and those responsible get fined and sanctioned.