Rooftop Solar Panels aren’t the only way to invest in Solar Energy anymore   Leave a comment

 

You also do not necessarily need to carry them around on your backpack. Honestly, I don’t see the practicality in having solar panels hanging from your backpack or bike and more so when moving through a rough environment. That said, the last few years in particular has seen a variety of portable solar panels and portable solar power banks hit the market. While most of them are being heavily marketed for use while camping, hiking or traveling, you can certainly use them in your everyday life too. Even better is a lot of them are relatively cheap.

I recently bought a few Solar Power banks, all via Amazon. Anyone who knows me knows I have a LOT of portable or handheld devices that run on a rechargable battery. I currently have two Nintendo 3DS consoles, a few Bluetooth speakers, two iPods, an iPad and of course my cellphone (Android) to name a few things. I also made it a point to always carry the charger cables for all of them with me weather I also had my laptop with me or not. That makes sense when you know you’ll have access to an outet where you’re headed but what if that’s not available to you?

This was something I really started thinking about two years ago just before my brief stint with Nordstrom Rack. I actually do still have my JBL Charge Speaker, which has a built-in ion Lithium battery and a USB port for charging things. It was given to me as a birthday present back in 2013. The biggest drawback to it is it’s actually large and bulky. Only in recent years have I started investing in portable power banks. I got a few non-solar ones of which I still have but when I stumbled upon some with Solar Panels, that changed things.

 

 

I actually first got a slightly smaller version of this solar power bank. Made by the same company, the first YOESOID power bank I got had a 20,000mAh storage capacity in the battery. The solar power bank pictured here–which I later separately got–has a 30,000mAh storage capacity. Aside from that and this one being slightly bigger, they are both identical in design. They both have a built in flashlight and compass as you can see. That makes them good for camping, hiking or walking around at night or in dark places.

While the company that made my first two solar power banks seems to no longer be on Amazon, you’ll find others of the same or similar design on Amazon. Some allow wireless charging while others have 4 USB Ports. I’ll repeat this later on but although these power banks have built-in Solar Panels, USB is the primary way to charge them. You should only use the Solar Panel to charge them when it’s not possible to USB charge.

That said, I expect these versions to become the national standard sooner than later that every family in America should have at least a few of. They can reliably fully recharge a phone, tablet several times before needing to be recharged itself for example. How many times really depends on the device on that note. Also, make sure to fully charge these via USB as soon as you get them before you use them or solar charge them.

I almost forgot to mention this but for those who will be flying or may planning to buy and then ship this, there are rules around flying or shipping ion lithium batteries which all power banks are made with. Care is needed in transporting them to avoid the battery getting damaged or possibly even exploding is why. All power banks are carry on only with airplanes. This is because a passenger plane’s cargo hold can experience extreme temperatures compared to a plane’s cabin. If you ever wondered why you’re asked if you have any cellphone, small electronics or other devices with a rechargable battery, hopefully this helps explain the why.

 

 

 

That brings me to this brick-sized beautiful monster. It has a whopping 50,000mAh, 4 USB ports and takes almost 24 hours to fully charge via USB (!) when you first get it. Another company has this in other colors on that note. I haven’t really used mine since getting it because I plan to use it as emergency backup personally. It was well worth the $50 I paid for it though.

This one’s most practical for emergencies, camping or road trips. It’s not as heavy as it looks–it weighs 2 pounds. You could throw it in your backpack and probably not really feel it if you think you’ll need it. Like the other solar power banks, this one does have a flashlight built in. Double press the power button to turn it on. Just keep in mind you will need to do this again to turn it off. While the flashlight is on, you can press the power button to change between three different modes.

When not using the flashlight, you can press the power button to check the battery. 4 lights mean it’s at or close to 100%. 3 means it’s at or close to 75% and so on. It goes without saying with such MASSIVE power storage, it can charge any phone or tablet at least 10 times. Like the other two featured solar power banks, this one has Fast Charging capablities too. Also like the other two, this one has built-in overcharge and overheating protection.

I forgot to say this before but although you can, it’s not reccommended you charge devices while USB charging the power bank. The reason is because doing this can damage the ion lithium battery, causing it to not fully charge. According to one reviewer who tested it, you will have to wait 3 to 4 days to fully recharge this purely from solar energy. I shouldn’t need to say this but try to avoid leaving this or any other power bank in a hot car or exposed to high temperature for long periods of time. The ion lithium battery could leak or explode is why.

 

 

While the first one boasts portability and the second one boasts storage capacity, this one boasts a faster solar charging speed. The secret is in the three additional solar panels. Four solar panels = faster solar charging. Unlike the other two, this one is advertised as being water resistant. Actually the word used is “Waterproof” but common sense dicates you don’t drop it in a bucket water, pool or intentionally drench it in water.

Despite the four additional solar panels, this one was clearly made for regular everyday use. The travel hook included with this power bank is clearly meant for it to be hung from a backpack. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that and more so given how thin the small keyring on the power bank is. Someone walking behind you could yank it free and run off or it could get caught in something and fall off without you noticing. I just wouldn’t use it that way personally.

This particular brand sells for $24 but with an in-store coupon you can get it for $20. It also comes in three colors though at the time I bought the blue one, they were out of stock with the black one (the third color is Orange). Other brands that do the same thing sell for $30+ on that note.

Before I digress, I do want to comment on something some reviewers and people asking questions about and that is about the fact these and other portable or small electronics are made in China. Some of the companies are based in China and others are not but they obviously have stock in the U.S. I am WELL aware the attitudes of many toward China have greatly soured in recent years in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact of the matter is China leads the world in manufacturing and mass production. The reason many American companies still prefer to outsource manufacturing and mass production of goods to China  is because it’s more cost effective for them.

The reason I’m saying this is because some have the presumption just because “Made in China” is on the box, the company must be based in China as well. Even for Chinese-based companies, they still have to make sure their products pass the same quality control and safety tests their American counterparts do. Those that care about staying in business don’t dare cut corners because it reflects badly on them in the long run.

You also need to keep in mind China actually does have a monopoly on most of the world’s rare earth minerals (REMs). In recent years they’ve been leveraging their advantage against other countries politically by sharply limiting exports of their stockpiles, citing “dwindling supply of REMs”. This is also why there is a global shortage on microchips and superconductors too.

 

I actually got this bundled with another LED light made by the same company. I actually kept the other one since I plan to get this one in a different color (I gave the one with the solar panel with my mother). I did briefly handle this one before handing it off and aside from the solar panel, it’s not that different from the one I kept. The obvious difference is this one has a solar panel and thus you have a secondary way to charge the ion lithium battery.

Both models do also serve as a built-in power bank on that note. Both also have magnets on them that binds to almost any metal surface. Both also have a hook so you can hang them from something. They’re Portable LED Worklights so being able to use them anywhere for any reason and purpose is pretty handy to say the least.

I double checked the product page and missed the fact the one with the Solar Panel actually had two sets of lights. The one you see pictured above is the COB light. It can run for 3 to 8 hours on a single charge. The LED Flashlight on the top (not in view above) can run for up to 12 hours on a single charge. Like the Power Banks, you want to make sure you USB charge this fully first.

 

 

 

I consider this one a more freestanding version of the previous one. I also want to point out it’s actually smaller than the pictures lead you to believe. It can do everything the other one does though. The big difference is it’s bigger but still lightweight. Another difference is this one has a stronger emphasis on running it on solar power: It can fully charge after 6 to 8 hours via the Solar Panel. It can also run for up to 12 hours. That might feel like a big dropoff compared to the previous one but chances are pretty good even in an emergency situation, this will suit your needs.

This one’s bigger than the one featured above but it’s still portable. It also doubles as a power bank (11,000mAh) and has two magnets for sticking it to a metal surface. Jt also covers a much wider area than the above smaller one.

For me, the biggest selling point is the staying power: 8 to 22 hours on a single charge depending on brightness level. This is aside from it being able to run for up to 36 straight hours in Red/Blue flash mode, which is great for those who might be on the road or lost in the middle of nowhere and need to flag help. On that last point, this is one that’s good for you to keep in you car. With the built-in power bank, you also have an emergency backup power source to charge your phone if the car’s battery isn’t available to you. It’s weatherproof, waterproof and durable.

One thing I wanna make sure to say is if you’re rough with it or drop it a lot and the internal battery comes loose or stops charging, don’t blame the manufacturer. I mean for this and the two above too. Yeah they’re made to withstand accidental falls and being knocked around in a moving vehicle for example but if you run over one with a vehicle or drop one out of a window, you can’t be surprised if they break. The casing is made of hard plastic, not ceramic on that note. I read some of the reviews and I can confirm the magnets DO support the weight. The manufacturer wouldn’t dare make that claim without first testing it. If you’re trying to bond it to the hood of your car, make sure there is pull for both magnets (no stickers or rubber in the way).

 

World's Largest Solar Power Station Planned For India

 

More and more countries and investing in Rewewable Energy. Not just because of Climate Change but as the conflict in Ukraine reminded the world, as a matter of National Security. One of the few problems with building a large Solar Farm array or Solar Power Plant is actually building a facility capable of holding what’s likely to be hundreds if not thousands of Refrigerator-sized Ion Lithium Batteries to store enough electricity to power an entire city. Currently, Solar Panels are used in tandem with fossil fuel or nuclear power plants. It’s one thing to have solar panels on your roof or to use portable solar panels or portable solar power banks but it’s a whole lot more complicated when it comes to building solar power plants capable of powering a city.

Another obvious and related problem is having enough power from solar energy at night, when it’s cloudy or when there’s bad weather like rain or snow for at least several days in a row. You would typically want to either have either enough power in reserve or a backup power source. Most of the fossil fuel industry knows this and it’s why they are so confident efforts by most of the world to research and invest in Renewable Energy is “a fool’s errand”. They’ve long accepted the fact everyone now knows fossil fuels are bad for the environment. What they’re betting on now is most people would rather have fossil fuels now than wait for Renewable Enerrgy.

There are some outliers in ExxonMobil and BP–both of which have had to deal with imfamous oil disasters in recent decades–that are actively investing in renewable energy. These companies are well aware that their industry must evolve and adapt not just for good publicity but if they want to stay relevant. More so given car makers are researching and beginning to mass produce electric cars of their own.

 

Toyota's electric vehicle plans are getting bigger and more expensive - The Verge

This is in addition to car makers such as Toyota, Subaru, Ford and General Motors to name a few that have started investing in designing more fuel-efficient vehicles that run on clean energy. 15 years ago, Hybrid Vehicles came onto the scene. These were vehicles that could run on natural gas as well as traditional gas. Tesla introduced electric cars that other car makers have also started making. These vehicles run on high-capacity Ion Lithium Batteries and do not have internal combustion for that matter.

The costs associated with buying one as well as having a charging station installed at your home are the two biggest reasons why most people have not invested in getting an electric car. Having your own charging station installed can cost between $500 to $7,000 from what I read online. Electric Cars do come with a charging cable that will work in a traditional outlet but that will take quite a while longer. These are hurtles that are sure to be overcome sooner than later though.

Honestly I don’t see any reason or point in trying to resist the energy revolution we’re in the early stages of. More energy efficient and larger capacity rechargable batteries are being developed basically every day. I think it’s only a matter of time before homes, neighborhoods and cities are entirely self-reliant and self-contained to the point they do not rely on a grid for power. Probably by 2040 the latest we’ll see the first carbon neutral major cities.

 

The Opportunity Rover Solar Panels Dust Covered

 

NASA announced its Curiosity Rover, which was one of the first to touch down on Mars using the Sky Crane Maneuver shut down for good last year. The reason: A buildup of Martian Dust that blanketed the solar panels prevented it from charging enough to continue functioning. Opportunity, which is another Rover is functional but is no longer able to move due to a broken wheel. NASA’s latest rover Perseverence and its companion helicopter drone Inginuity–the first aircraft ever to fly on Mars–are both over a year into their missions on Mars.

While Power Banks on Earth utilize high-capacity Ion Lithium Batteries, the Mars Rovers actually run on Nuclear Generators powered via its Solar Panels. This is how they are able to function for years and why they cost several million dollars to build. Now that we know for sure aircraft from Earth can work normally on Mars, I think it’s a matter of when not if someone sends drones to clean off the solar panels on all the Mars rovers. NASA is starting to ramp up plans for America’s return to the Moon by 2030 which will this time have the caviat of being a stepping stone for putting the first humans on Mars.

 

Space Hotel Slated to Welcome Earthlings in 2025 | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine

This is nevermind the fact the first permanent space outpost–a hotel actually–is expected to open for business in 2025. US-based company Orbital Assembly first announced its plans back in 2019 with plans of opening for business in 2021. Then the pandemic in 2020 happened. Whoops! In a recent interview with CNN, the company announced they are now planning to put not one but TWO hotels in space: The orignally announced Voyager and the newly announced Pioneer.

Voyager is the larger of the two and is planned to house up to 400 people. It’s planned to open in 2027. The new Pioneer is smaller and is planned to house up to 28 people. It’s planned to open in 2025. That’s where the differences end. Both will be in the shape of a wheel and the inner parts will rotate, creating  articificial gravity. The modules humans would be in would be on the outermost parts and would spin at a much slower rate. The company will rent out modules for not just guests but researchers and other companies for work or research. This would likely be their primary revenue stream.

Once the costs of going into space have come down a lot more, space travel will become as common as traveling by train or plane is right now. Solar Power and high-capacity batteries will be integral for that. The next two to three decades are sure to be real interesting in regards to renewable energy to say the least.

 

 

 

 

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Bel Air Episode 10 Recap: Will’s father pays him and The Banks Family a visit   Leave a comment

Bel-Air Season Finale Review: Where To? (Season 1 Episode 10) | Tell-Tale TV

It wasn’t until that I realized much of the season was actually slow building toward the emotionally charged meeting between Will and his estranged father Lou Smith. Of all the ways this first season could have ended, this was a solid choice. I would even dare say it was at least as big as the Sitcom’s episode. Bel Air took things in a different and somewhat cliched direction with Lou’s backstory but it lines up with the little you learned about him to that point. You also get a better appreciation and understanding for why Phil and Viv didn’t want Will to meet his father when long buried family secrets are revealed.

Vy told Will a bit about his father back in Episode 8. We learn the rest from Lou and Phil. It turns out when Will was still young, Lou got into some trouble with the law. Those who watched Episode 8 might remember although Viv and Vy buried the hatchet, there was a big “SOMETHING” that caused them to become estranged and it’s only vaguely touched on. Lou reveals what drove him to crime and ultimately 10 years in prison was pressure from Vy who kept comparing their lives to Phil and Viv, who were becoming financially successful in LA.

It turns out the attorney who represented Lou in court was none other than Phil. Obviously he lost that court case but that wasn’t what caused the fracture with Lou. It was the fact Lou wasn’t honest with him about everything that happened and that made him look bad in court. After Lou went to prison Phil, Viv and Vy decided to keep the truth about Lou a secret from not just Will but Hillary, Carlton and Ashley.

Speaking of. We really see Cartlon come full circle in regards to his relationship with Will from Episode 1. Before Will and Lou speak, Carlton finds the envelope Geoffrey gave to Will who in turn gave it to Phil. While Lou and Phil are talking, Carlton finds and brings the envelope to WIll and urges him to read its contents if he wants to know why their fathers are talking in Phil’s office. The father-son reunion comes to an abrupt end when Will explodes after Lou makes disparaging remarks about his mother.

Will’s anger doesn’t subside after Lou leaves but is redirected at Phil, Viv and Vy for keeping the truth from him. He packs a bag and leaves. The family tries to stop him from leaving and during the confusion, Carlton slips a wad of cash in Will’s pocket. After Will leaves in a car, Viv calls Vy to tell her what happened and she is understandably distraught. Back at the mansion, Ashley and Hillary note Geoffrey is not picking up or responding to their text messages. Vivian reminds them Geoffrey is on leave but when she leaves the room ro call Vy, the kids turn to Phil and say “We know about Geoffrey”.

Jazz, who was notified of Will’s disappearance has a pretty good idea of where to find him. He drives to the spot overlooking Bel Air we saw during the day back in Episode 1. Will tells Jazz he’s starting to understand what Jazz meant when he told him “Don’t let this town change who you are.” Jazz tells Will despite what he learned today, at the end of the day he’s the one who has to decide who he wants to be and how he wants to live his life.

 

Bel-Air' Season 2: Premiere Date, Cast & Everything To Know

Bel-Air Season 2: Is it Confirmed or Canceled? - Chronicles News

 

With Season 1 now over, the wait is on for Season 2. I am assuming filming for Season 2 is now underway or will be starting soon at this point. Peacock won a 3-way bidding war with HBO Max (which has streaming rights to the Sitcom) and Netflix and they requested two seasons. That was before Will Smith slapped Chris Rock a few weeks ago at the Oscars. We do know some of Will Smith’s projects have been directly impacted as a consequence. It’s too early to tell if Bel Air will be one of them but it shouldn’t be.

It’s fair to say at this point Season 1 exceeded a lot of expectations. Season 2 will be about making the case for additional seasons and hopefully there will be more. Ten episodes is a good number for each season and it can easily match the number of seasons the Sitcom got as well. The Sitcom got 6 Seasons on that note.

 

Season 2 has a lot to address from Season 1 to say the least and there will likely be a time skip from Season 1. Here’s some stuff from Season 1 that need to be touched on in Season 2:

 

  • Vivian’s Revived Art Career: This is where I think there will be a time skip. It was revealed Vivian will need to be away for a year and this is why Phil is basically going to be a Stay At Home Dad. They could still have her go away and just film her scenes separately but I think it would be better to have that skipped unless we’re going to get into Reid.
  • Geoffrey’s Status: Geoffrey went “on leave” due to his falling out with Phil. Now that the big reason for his exit is no longer a thing–the campaign–and the kids are now aware of why Geoffrey’s really not around, he should be back next season. It will be interesting to see if we do find out what he was doing during his absence from the family.
  • Ashley’s Sexuality: This seems to be a thread that will be touched on in second season. It’s a question of which of her parents she will talk to about it first: Phil or Viv.
  • Hillary and Jazz: Hillary’s new job will settle her $50,000 debt with her former boss/landlord Kylo and she’ll likely be getting her own place soon too. Who has been there for her for the ride? Jazz, that’s who. They both view Will as a cool younger brother (which is funny for Hillary since she actually does have a younger brother) and if you remember, he was the one who introduced them early in the season. It will be fun to see where things go with them in Season 2.
  • Lisa’s Family Situation: This was one of the stuff I was expected to get kicked to the second season. Phil withdrawing made Fred the frontrunner to become the new District Attorney. We’ll have to wait and see how their relationship has since changed since it doesn’t look like Fred and Phil have spoken since the latter bowed out. One big question many fans are rightfully wondering is if Will, Phil or Viv will tell Lisa about her father and stepmother’s affair while her mother was dying(!). It’s the kind of scandal that could end her father’s campaign run let alone force him to resign after the fact.
  • Will’s Next Move: Obviously the biggest and most immediate question. My guess is he will stay with Hillary and/or Jazz but will eventually return to the Banks Mansion.

 

The wait is now on to see when if Season 2 will premeire. If Peacock is willing to overlook Will Smith’s incident with Chris Rock and requests an additional season or two, hopefully we find out sooner than later. Bel Air has reportedly exceeded expectations in regards to ratings and that’s a good sign when it comes to hoping for additional seasons!

 

 

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Bel Air Episodes 7-9 Recap: Phil Pays A High Price, Secrets Revealed and Cameo Appearances   Leave a comment

OnionPlay - Watch Bel-Air: Season 1 - Episode 7 Full Episode Stream Online

 

So much was revealed in these three episodes, you’d think Episode 9 was the Season Finale. Things came in hard and fast in all three episodes to say the least. Ok here we go.

 

In Episode 7, Will makes a serious push to befriend Carlton. As it happens, Carlton is having social problems at school and things come to a head when a Lacrosse teammate makes a racist comment about him so Cartlon breaks his wrist in retaliation. Will approaches Cartlon and proposes throwing a house party at the mansion to help rebuild his social cred at school. Carlton reluctantly agrees to the plan as Phil and Vivian will be away for the weekend.

During the party, Carlton talks to some of the kids and they’re brutally honest with him about why they pay him no mind at school: It’s because he didn’t show them any love first and turned a blind eye to racist comments from his Lacrosse teammate. Speaking of, that same teammate shows up at the party. Carlton stands his ground and the guy leaves, promising payback. We don’t have to wait too long to find out what he has in mind either but more on that in a minute.

Before that confrontation, Carlton talks to Will about when and why he started using drugs: Anxiety. He suffers from severe anxiety due to the pressures of being the son of a strong back man, having to maintain appearances and not being able to talk about them with anyone. That is, until Will came along. Episode 9 clarified something from Episode 1 I initially misunderstood. Ashley and Hillary knew Carlton was dealing with severe anxiety but they didn’t know he was using drugs. Hillary is legit shocked when Will tells her about his drug abuse in Episode 9.

Getting back to the house party in Episode 7. Will’s love interest Lisa defies her father and shows up at the mansion where she and Will end up having sex. Carlton’s teammate decides to get even by calling the cops who go to the mansion. Knowing how it would look with her father being both the chief of police and a candidate for District Attorney, Will tries to talk her out of going downstairs with him but she insists. Thanks to her father’s intervention over the phone, no one is arrested.

 

 

Bel-Air Season 1 Episode 9: Release Date & Spoilers - OtakuKart

 

Will’s mom Vy comes to visit Will in LA for Will’s birthday. In the aftermath of the house party, Carlton is grounded but since Will’s mother is visiting he will be punished later. Carlton vents about the disparity to his father who reminds him Will is a stranger to their world but he’s not and more is expected from him. Part of Phil’s critique came after he was turned down for a key endorsement from a state congressman.

That reminds me. In episode 7, Phil and Viv has a long chat over the weekend where they discussed Viv trying to revive her art career and the friction with Phil’s campaign. Phil vows to support her if that’s what she wants to do no matter what. In episode 8, Viv and Vy are at each other’s throats for most of the episode before Will and Carlton separately get them to have a serious talk about their issues with each other. They eventually come to have a mutual understanding. Most importantly, Vy no longer sees Viv and Phil as trying to take Will from her.

Things take a real interesting turn in Episode 8 when the subject of Will’s father comes up. Viv is alarmed when Vy tells her she’s thinking of telling Will about is father. When Viv tells Phil, he is visibly disturbed and urges Viv to urge her not to tell Will anything about Lou Smith. What neither of them know is Vy does tell Will a little about the father he never knew. She doesn’t go into detail but she is honest with him about what kind of man he was.

While exercising with Geoffrey, Phil asks him to make sure Lou doesn’t come anywhere near Will. Geoffrey is uneasy about doing this and tells Phil as much. Phil doubles down, reminding him whom he works for. At the end of Episode 8, Geoffrey is in Phil’s office alone and is about to leave a resignation letter on the desk when Will walks in. Will asks him to find his father for him and Lou agrees to his request. In Episode 9, Geoffrey hands Will a sealed envelope containing the information he collected about Lou. Geoffrey tells him he will leave the decision of weather to learn about his father or not to him but if he wants to meet his father in person, he can make it happen at a moment’s notice.

Later in the episode, Will approaches Uncle Phil in his office and gives the sealed envelope to him. He tells Uncle Phil he thought about it and decided he doesn’t want to know about his father after all and more so since as far as he’s concerned, his uncle has been more of a father to him than his own father ever was.

 

It’ an obvious nod to this iconic scene from the sitcom:

 

 

All that said. Phil confronts Geoffrey about his involvement with the envelope and is furious. Geoffrey finally snaps and starts telling Phil about the problems within the family. Phil stops him when he gets to Hillary and Ashley, making it personal by referencing Geoffrey’s estranged son (another Sitcom easter egg). Despite knowing he should be fired, Geoffrey demonstrates his loyalty to the Banks family once again by reminding Phil of how it would look for him to “suddenly” be fired in regards to the campaign. Phil agrees to Geoffrey’s proposal of him going on an leave of absence under the guise of a family emergency. It goes without saying Geoffrey holds a lot of Phil’s secrets and even though he didn’t have to, he is still loyal to the Banks family.

That brings me to Episode 9’s finale.

In Episode 7, Lisa and her father Fred Wilkes as well as Will and Phil have parellel conversations basically warning Will/Lisa to stop seeing each other. As I expected, Fred found out Phil went to Judge Robertson for help getting Will out of jail in Philadelphia. He tells Lisa about it and Lisa immediately confronts Will who tells her everything. Will and Carlton (who also knows about Will’s situation as a reminder) rush to the venue where Phil is about to have a debate with Fred Wilkes. Judge Robertson himself pays Phil a visit and makes reference the incident involving Will and Phil is shocked he knows which means Fred likely knows about it too. Will and Carlton provide the “how” when they tell him Fred knows everything, reassuring them by saying “everything will be ok”.

Phil calmly tells his nephew and son he’ll take care of it and walks out. By now, it’s easy to know what Phil’s going to say if you paid attention during the last two episodes. Phil announces he’s dropping out of the campaign and will support Fred Wilkes, urging his supporters to vote for Fred before walking off the stage and hugging his family. As a reminder, Phil knows Fred had an affair with his current wife while his previous wife was dying. That would have ended Fred’s campaign but if Fred revealed Will’s situation, that would have put Phil in prison.

I’m just going to assume for now Fred is going to keep quiet about Phil’s secret. If he doesn’t…well, Phil does know his secret. We’ll also have to wait and see what the fallout means for Lisa and Will’s relationship. Phil is taking a step back to focus on his family but not that he’s no longer in the campaign, that should open things up for Will and Lisa to continue their relationship. More so now that she knows about is situation.

On a related note. As a reminder, Ashley came out as Bisexual in Episode 3. In episode 7, her love interest turned her down. Things get interesting in Episode 9 when Ashley is seen talking to the pastor about promoting LGBTQ+ members into leadership positions outside the choir. Aunt Viv later approaches her about her “sudden” interest in LGBTQ+ advocacy and Ashley is dodgey about it. The only person who currently knows about her sexuality is Hillary. With Viv now going to be away for a while, we’ll have to wait and see if Ashley comes out to her father who plans to be home.

As for Hillary. After the fallout with the Thirsty Chef video, Hillary decides to leave the Influencer House she was living in. In doing so, she’s breaking her contract and her penalty is paying $50,000. She’s been given time to come up with the money and is currently living in a hotel. She knows her mother will be out of the picture for a while it’s a matter of time before pressure is put on her to pay up in full. When her father told her in Episode 9 it might not be a bad idea for her to go into law school, she didn’t seem too put off by doing that. This might be a thread that’s explored further either this season or next season.

 

Fresh Prince Original Stars Reuniting As Bel-Air Guest Stars In Episode 9

 

It took 9 episodes but we now have our first cameo appearances from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air!

Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played the second Aunt Viv and Vernee Watson-Johnson, who played Viola “Vy” Smith in the sitcom appeared together in a scene with Bel Air’s Aunt Viv. Peacock did announce their appearances were coming earlier this month so it wasn’t a complete surprise. Still, it’s cool to see confirmation members of the original cast will make cameo appearances but obviously in other roles. I do think it would be an interesting and cool setup to have Janet Hubert-Whitten, who played the first Aunt Viv be revealed to be Uncle Phil’s mother in Bel Air for example.

This also raises the obvious question of weather or not Will Smith himself will appear in Bel Air. No question if he does, it would have to be in a prominent role appropriate for this series. As I mentioned earlier, there is ONLY one role that would make sense for him to do: The lead character’s father Lou Smith. As I also mentioned earlier, I do agree with fan speculation Lou’s appearance is being delayed for that reason and they are building toward it. Geoffrey doesn’t think the matter is settled which means he could cross a line and actually bring Lou to Will himself. We’ll have to wait and see.

 

If you haven’t seen any episodes yet, Bel Air is on Peacock. New episodes drop on Fridays. So far, we know for sure there will be two seasons. If filming for Season 2 is currently happening, we could see the premiere later this year or early next year and more so if each season is 12 or 13 episodes long.

 

 

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Bel Air Episodes 4-6 Recap: Things are getting interesting   Leave a comment

Bel-Air Episode 6 Recap and Ending, Explained

 

Episode 6 of Bel Air just dropped and by the end of it, you really have to wonder about a few members of the Banks family. Let’s back up a bit first and start from Episode 4 though.

 

When Episode 3 ended, it’s revealed the Drug Dealer looking for Will found out he’s in Los Angeles. It’s cool though: When Will approaches Geoffrey about it, Will is stunned to learn not only does Geoffrey already know why Will is really in LA but he’s already working on the problem. We find out later in the episode a man who appeared to be trailing Will at the beginning of the episode is actually one of Geoffry’s associates. It turns out the dealer was hoping to extort the Banks family for more money but Geoffrey’s done playing games. Will later learns from his friend in Philly the Dealer who was looking for him was bodied. This hasn’t been revisited yet but you can tell from WIll’s expression when he hears the news he recalls what Geoffrey told him earlier.

In Episode 5, Will’s friend Tray–the one who got shot shortly after Will left Philly–visits Will in Bel Air. The two end up having a falling out and Tray leaves for Philly a few days earlier than planned. Will’s loyalties to his hometown were tested not just by Tray but later by his mother when he tells her he’s decided he wants to stay in Bel Air. While Tray was in town, he reveals to Cartlon the real reason Will is in Bel Air. Carlton confronts his father who makes him promise to keep what he learned to himself and then Carlton uses what he knows to blackmail Will into staying away from Lisa. I’ll back up a bit to talk about a few others so we’ll stop there for now.

Back in Episode 4, Phil pisses off the Lisa’s Dad Fred–the chief of LAPD and a personal friend of Phils–when he talks strongly about police accountability at a public event. Fred later confronts Phil about it in Episode 5 and urges him to backtrack with a thinly veiled threat of retaliation against his campaign. Phil has Geoffrey look into it and in Episode 6, it’s revealed Fred just entered the race for LA District Attorney to stop him. Yikes!

Backtracking to Episode 4 again, this time with Hillary. She’s doing double duty over the course of all three episodes: First as a social media influencer and then helping Ashley navigate her sexuality. In Episode 5, Hillary hosts an event at the mansion with several social media influencers. Her parents are clearly wary of this new venture but after meeting Hillary’s new associates, they reluctantly give their blessing. Hillary is forced to help out with the event at the mansion in Episode 6 but she has a problem her new housemates warn her about in the beginning: In the Social Media House she moved into, everyone is required to post a video every day if they want to stay. Her boss/landlord contacts her a few times to remind her of the deadline as the event takes up most of the day. By the time the event is over, Hillary has very little time left and decides to record herself cooking…in her underwear.

Also in Episode 5, Ashley confides in Hillary about her sexuality, coming out to her as Bisexual. She reveals to Hillary there is a girl she likes and they end up using the mansion event in Episode 6 to try to talk. Ashley is disappointed to learn her crush has feelings for someone else…her cousin Will. Hillary later consoles her after hearing about what happened. She also promises to keep Ashley’s sexuality between them until Ashley is ready to tell the rest of the family.

While I’m not personally bothered with the direction they decided to go with Ashley’s sexuality, I am bothered with how Hillary instantly code switches into a therapist during those scenes. It felt that out of character is why. I hope viewers know in those scenes and her words were meant for audience, not Ashley. Ashley’s sexuality is also one of the many reasons why Bel Air is on Peacock. They don’t have to worry about angry Black conservatives triggered by this.

Vivian’s decision to give painting another chance after a 15-year hiatus draws a bit of buzz among her friends. She’s approached by Reid, a man who is preparing to open an art gallery in Episode 5. Reid is eager to see Vivian’s return to the art world and has taken a special interest in her. The man’s “Con Man” game is so strong, Phil recognizes the potential danger when he meets Reid for the first time in episode 6. Towards the end of the episode after Phil finds out Lisa’s Dad is running against him, he asks Geoffrey look into Reid to which Geoffrey replies “I’m already on it.”

Getting back to Carlton. He and Will had seemingly squashed their beef until Tray tells him about what happened to Will. Carlton uses what he finds out to blackmail Will to keep him away from Lisa and then Episode 6 happens. Although she doesn’t go into detail, Carlton overhears Lisa telling Will she’s tired of feeling stressed by having to be mindful of Carlton’s feelings and it comparison, it’s refreshing to talk to him and not feel that same pressure. When Will goes to find Carlton later, he reveals he overheard what she said to him and Will basically tells him he needs to do right by Lisa.

Having just snorted drugs, Carlton is in no condition to go outside so Will ends up taking his place for a poetry reading with Lisa behind the mansion. We know Carlton started snorting drugs due to severe anxiety and his sisters know obviously. Their parents don’t know and Will doesn’t know either. The incident that caused Carlton to start snorting hasn’t been revealed yet and given his emotional breakdown in Episode 6, I think we will find out what happened with Carlton sooner than later. Kudos to this show for putting a spotlight on mental health awareness among black males on that note in regards to his anxiety.

 

Earlier in the episode, Lisa’s stepmother reveals to Will and Vivian she actually met Lisa’s father a year before Lisa’s mother passed away. Will and Vivian realize that means she and Fred had an affair while Lisa’s mother was still alive (!). To this point and afterward, Lisa reveals she hates her new stepmother who is also pregnant. Given the affair revealation, the audience is given good reason to not like her either. Imagine what will happen when Lisa finds out about the affair.

I want to pause for a moment to point out the fact Fred’s new lover is White and the casting choice for her was likely intentionally done to spark viewer discussion on Biracial relationships. Most should at least be aware of the history of biracial relationships and blended families in America so I won’t digress further. The more interesting thing storywise is if it becomes publicly known Fred had an affair just before his first wife died, that will kill his campaign.

A real world equivalent is when former Senator John Edwards was revealed to have had an affair and a child while his late wife was dying from cancer back in 2004. His wife died never knowing about the affair(!), which became public after the funeral. At the time, John Edwards was John Kerry’s running mate in the latter’s failed campaign to beat George W. Bush in 2004. Can you imagine what would have happened if Kerry won and the truth then became known? For those who need a reminder, Edwards left politics in disgrace because of that scandal so…yeah.

Episode 6 ended with Will and Lisa having a moment at the pool. Lisa would like to be more than friends but Will is hesitant for a few valid reasons. He indirectly tells her though he is interested in elevating their relationship, he’s got some serious problems of his own he’s dealing with. As a reminder, Lisa’s father is the chief of the LAPD and just revealed a short time earlier he’s running in the election against Will’s uncle. Lisa is likely going to be estranged from her father who will be looking to use her relationship with Will as a bargaining chip against Phil.

 

Why Geoffrey In 'Bel-Air' Has More 'Edge and Swagger' Than 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Version

 

Getting back to Geoffrey. It’s obvious by now he is more than just the Banks Family’s Household Manager. He’s Phil’s right hand man and does the family’s dirty work behind the scenes. Fred referred to him as Phil’s “hired muscle” which tells me he probably knows about some of the things Geoffrey has done. Given Fred is the chief of the LAPD, he would know a few things.

Fan speculation is Geoffrey, who is Jamaican-born is a Hitta. That’s Jamaican slang for Hitman. Geoffrey obviously had the dealer who was after Will killed and though he obviously didn’t do it himself, clearly he has eyes and ears all over the place. Phil clearly has VERY deep pockets to be paying Geoffrey the kind of money he’d need to order a hit on some random dealer on the other side of the country no questions asked. It looks like whatever strings Phil pulled to get Will out of jail in Philly will be one of the things Geoffrey focuses on. No doubt Vivian would be happy to tell Phil about the affair and you can be sure to his advantage. Would Geoffrey kidnap Fred’s pregnant wife/mistress on Phil’s orders? Yes, and he would do it in a way that it could not be traced back to his boss.

As for Reid. He’s obviously a conman. Phil seems to have gotten the same vibe from him. Phil will likely try to handle that quietly without Vivian knowing too much so we’ll see. Hillary resorting to sex appeal for her videos was pretty easy to see coming from the beginning. We will have to wait and see how far that goes before someone intervines.

Bel Air’s new episodes drop Fridays on Peacock. So far, it’s been one new episode a week.

 

 

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Peacock’s Bel Air does the 90s Sitcom it’s inspired by justice on so many levels   Leave a comment

The first three episodes just dropped on Peacock.

Here’s the trailer from last month:

 

 

The “TV-MA” watermark you see in the top left corner of the first episode lets you know in advance this is a much darker, more serious version of The Presh Prince of Bel Air. Set in the present, Bel Air is about a kid from West Philadelphia who is forced to move to the West Coast after a run-in with trouble in his neighborhood.

Since each episode has a much slower pacing than than 1990s sitcom, this allows for some deeper and nuanced storytelling. It’s pretty clear by end of the first two episodes what kind of story we are going to see and it’s reason enough for fans of the original sitcom to be excited. Fair warning to families: The show is NOT kid-friendly. Aside from explicit lyrics that play throughout each episode, there’s also profanity in most scenes of each episode. This is to say nothing of one character’s drug use which I will get to in a bit. These reasons are also why this show is on Peacock and not NBC or USA Network so…yeah. Bel Air not being handcuffed by a runtime limit means scenes aren’t trimmed for time as well.

While Will Smith is the main character, the story’s focus is obviously not just on him. He was a star basketball player at his school in West Philadelphia and may have been scouted by college recruits if not for one fateful night at an outdoor basketball court. Will and a friend of his get caught up in a high-stakes basketball game and though they won the game, the aftermath of the game lands him in jail and on a one-way trip to Los Angeles. As he’s taken out of his cell, a drug dealer vows revenge believing he cut a deal to get out without seeing a judge. Of course, Will has no idea and doesn’t find out until his mother is driving him from jail to the airport what’s going on.

When he arrives in LA, he meets Jazz who imparts some pretty forboding advice to the kid from Philly: “This town will do everything it can to change who you are. Don’t let it.” Will is in for a culture shock when he enters the gates of the Banks Family’s mansion. The first person he meets is Geoffrey Thomas, the Banks Family’s House Manager. The day he arrives is the same day Uncle Phil has announced he is running for Los Angeles District Attorney. We don’t know all the details yet but in the second episode Uncle Phil reveals he “crossed a line” to get Will out of jail in Philadelphia without seeing a judge. The first thing he lets Will know when they talk is he knows everything including the fact the Drug Dealer he pissed off is gunning for him.

The friend Will was forced to leave behind gets shot but survives. Will’s mom, who works at the hospital Will’s friend was taken to calls Aunt Viv and tells her Will likely will have to stay in Bel Air through Christmas. At the end of the third episode, the Drug Dealer looking for Will finds out he’s on the West Coast. Once Will realizes he’s been found, things are sure to heat up. Having said that, you also have to keep whatever strings Uncle Phil pulled in mind. More so given he expressed concern Fred Robertson, who is a Federal Judge might be on to him. We meet him in the first episode when Uncle Phil introduces him to Will.

 

This is to say nothing of the campaign itself. The Banks family is rich and Black voters are having a hard time getting behind a guy who they believe can’t relate to them. When he appears on a radio program, one question most callers ask him is is how rich he is. In a nod to current events, the first caller does ask him to say Black Lives Matter on the air. When Uncle Phil turns to his college fraternity for support in Episode 3, he is surprised and visibly hurt by the cold reception he receives. His fraternity brothers believe the brother from Yamacraw, South Carolina they knew is gone. With a little help from Will, he is able to prove them wrong.

 

Like the sitcom, Aunt Viv is obviously Will’s biggest support in the family. The way she lights up when he uses Philly slang shows she never forgot where she came from. When Will is framed at school, she raises hell to get him cleared. Closer to home, a major point is her friction with Hillary. Unlike the Sitcom, this Hillary is not the comic relief. What we know about Hillary’s situation so far is after she finished high school, she took a Gap Year that hasn’t ended. She has some serious cooking skills but after having a bad experience with a job interview her mother pulled a favor to get for her, the rift between them widens.

At the end of Episode 3, Aunt Viv puts her foot down and basically tells Hillary in front of Uncle Phil they’re cutting her loose. This is sure to be an interesting storyline and given Bel Air is going to be more serious, it’s a safe bet Hillary is going to have some struggles for a bit. The struggle is important for a person to grow. One of the biggest mistakes most modern parents do too much is they coddle them. When you always solve all their problems, that sets the false perception their parents can fix any problem. Even more dangerously, it gives them the false perception they can do no wrong and won’t have serious struggles in life.

That brings me to Carlton. Whew…it’s made clear to you from the moment he’s first introduced the only thing this version of Carlton has in common with his Sitcom counterpart is he legit believes everyone but his parents are beneath him. The most shocking moment involving him in the first episode I won’t spoil but according to Hillary, there is a story behind it.

I think I’ll stop there. Bel Air can be found on Peacock. It premiered on February 13 and as of this writing, Episode 4 (which I haven’t watched yet as of this writing) released on February 18. I’ll wait until Sunday to see if episodes 5 and 6 are also released so I can just watch them all in a row. If the first season is 24 episodes, it should wrap up in April most likely. Peacock did request a second season in advance but it’s not known if it was filmed already or not. I it was, it would likely premeire in September or October.

 

 

 

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Got a Refurbished Windows Desktop PC, only paid $144 for it and here’s why [Updated]   Leave a comment

 

I got it from Amazon. Here is the listing.

 

It doesn’t come with a monitor but that wasn’t a problem for me since I just used the one from my broken Desktop with it. Works just fine. First thing I did was open it up and quickly discovered there’s no room for a second 3.5 inch HDD. There IS room for a 2.5 inch HDD–that’s the kind used in laptops–or an SSD which is always 2.5 inches. I have two Laptop HDDs I’m currently using with enclosures. One is 250GB. The other is 500GB. The SATA wires I bought for the connection should be sufficient but I’ll hold off installing the second HDD for a while longer.

That’s because I plan to buy this hopefully sometime in December along with an Enclosure for it. I originally planned to buy a 3.5 inch 2TB HDD first but after thinking about it, I figure it might make more sense for me to swap the system drive with this 4TB version instead of the 2TB version. What I could do then is fit the entire 1.5TB worth of data I currently have spread across 3 hard drives–two are basically serving as backups–and still have PLENTY of room to spare. I would also free up those three hard drives plus the one that came with this computer for other things.

I figured out I saved myself $100 when I realized I could simply reformat one of these hard drives to work with my PS4. I planned to buy an external hard drive for my 500GB PS4 Pro but now I don’t have to once I move things around to free up my HDDs. Once I buy the 4TB HDD and swap it into the computer, it’s just a matter of then deciding which secondary drive I want to add. I would use that secondary drive to exclusively store my Video Podcasts and Audio podcasts. Since I also have a 256GB USB Drive I’m currently using with my PS4 that would be freed up, I’d have that as a secondary backup for my PS4. By default, my 500GB Laptop HDD would go to my PS4. That would double my PS4’s storage capacity (It has a 500GB HDD already).

Like I told a few friends in recent weeks, I have had a problem with having enough local storage to cover my needs for almost 20 years at this point. Those problems should permanently end with the purchase of the 4TB HDD hopefully early next month. After doing all this, I would still be left with the 750GB HDD from my old broken Desktop. I recently got around to testing the OS and unfortunately the OS is broken. The HDD is still good though so what I’ll try is make a USB Windows Recovery Key and use that to try torepair the OS without wiping the HDD. If I’m not able to fix the OS that way, I’ll have to wait until I get the 4TB HDD to back up everything and reformat it later.

Moving on. The laptop I use at home now is literally falling apart. I’ll continue using it until it completely stops working and then scrap the computer. Of course, I’ll salvage the 500GB HDD it came with too. I assume this laptop will continue working after I at least get the 4TB HDD next month since it’s lasted this long. When the computer stops working, I’ll swap it with the other laptop I got last year and barely used since that HDD is only 250GB.

I plan to swap the hard drive in that laptop with a 2TB 2.5 inch laptop HDD early next month. It’ll work fine and the hard drive I take out will be put somewhere for safekeeping as an external backup storage. I considered just swapping in the 500GB HDD in this laptop into my other laptop but then again I would probably need to upgrade it anyway so I figure I get a new HDD with 8 times the storage size of the one already in it. I put in a 2TB HDD, I can fit the 1.5TB worth of data I mentioned earlier onto a laptop if I want to. At the very least that will include my entire iTunes Library and most of my current Steam Library.

I mentioned earlier my new Desktop has room for a 2.5 inch Laptop HDD or SSD. I’m thinking I’ll get a second 2TB Laptop HDD to act as a secondary storage in the desktop. It would house my Audio and Video Podasts as well as be a hard local backup for iCloud and Google Photos Libraries. Yes, I planned THAT far ahead!

 

 

 

I bought this cool device a few months back to solve a minor problem and wish it existed 5 years ago! It’s an HDMI Switch Box and it’s good for those of you who have more than two HDMI-supported devices hooked up to one TV. In my case I have a Blu Ray Player (yes, really), a Roku and a PS4. I would have to swap the HDMI cable for my PS4 or Blu Ray Player but not anymore. Yes, I know the PS4 can play Blu Ray movies. I prefer to have a separate Blu Ray Player for watching DVD and Blu Ray personally is all. It’s simpler for me to do that personally too.

 

On a somewhat related note. The combined movies, TV Shows and Music I’ve bought digitally over the last 16 or so years is almost 1TB, most of that to Movies and TV Shows obviously. Once I get the 4TB HDD, I’ll probably be able to have a hard copy of everything on one computer for the first time ever. No, I probably wouldn’t actually do that with the Movies and TV Shows though since I can simply stream all of them right now. Certain ones I’ll definitely download though. My Music though, I’ll definitely keep a hard copy on my computers. Since I got this switchbox, I have room for two more devices. Both will go to future game console purchases.

 

 

Amazon.com: Microsoft Authorized Refurbished- HP Elite Desktop PC Computer Intel Core i5 3.1-GHz, 8 gb Ram, 1 TB Hard Drive, DVDRW, 19 Inch LCD Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, USB WiFi, Windows 10 (Renewed) : Electronics

 

It’s a buyers’ market right now for Refurbished PCs.

I know most of the world is OBSESSED with Smartphones right now and that is ironically what is driving down the demand for desktop computers in particular. People think just because Smartphones’ processing power is as good as a PC and they’re portable that they don’t need a computer at home anymore. Not true. For one, most computers–new and refurbished–cost only a fraction of most new smartphones these days. You go with a refurbished computer and you can pay as low as I did for this. Want a refurbished Chromebook, you might pay as little as $60 on just Amazon.

These days, most who buy several refurbished computers and aren’t teachers buy them to have their own home network. This usually involves setting up a server with mass storage capabilities. If you ever worked in an office with an internal network for employees to share data, it’s the same idea: You set up a computer to act as the “Server” which links every other computer connected to it. I wouldn’t do something like that unless I had my own apartment at least but the mass storage capabilities is what I’m going for.

Oh and I do plan to buy another refurbished PC at some point in the future. That second PC would be strictly for backup storage and would almost never be connected to the internet. I would only connect it to the internet to do periodic updates and nothing else. I wouldn’t use it for anything but data storage is why. That’ll be a purchase for when I have the money to spend because I would put an 8TB or bigger HDD in it plus another one as a secondary drive. When I’m not backing things up to it, that PC tower would be disconnected and in storage.

Wait, what about all the extra hard drives I’ll likely have by early February? After I finish moving data around, I’ll probably reformat most of them. The  250GB one in my other laptop I probably won’t reformat. I will just keep it storage for “just in case” in short. The 500GB laptop HDD I’m currently using for mass media storage with an enclosure will go to my PS4 like I said before. I’ll keep my 750GB HDD in storage.

The 250GB laptop I’m currently using for photo and document storage with an enclosure will probably be reformatted and kept for mass storage. Same for the 500GB HDD in my new PC when I replace it with the 4TB HDD hopefully in early January. If you lost count, I’ll have 1.5TB worth of extra storage. This is excluding the hard drive I won’t reformat as well. Like I said a few times earlier, I probably won’t have storage problems anymore by early February!

 

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The Prices of Personal Computers have sharply dropped, haven’t they?   Leave a comment

Laptops And Desktops: How Long Do They Last? - Empower IT Solutions

Back in 2013, I bought my now former Desktop PC for $300. Came with a monitor, tower, printer, keyboard and mouse plus the cords to run everything. This was about a year after I bought my last laptop–then a high-end machine–for about $500.

Today, you can buy a pretty decent Desktop PC for $150 to $250 on Amazon.

One thing I learned from when I owned both a Laptop and a Desktop at the same time is Desktops last a hell of a lot longer. Someone donated a laptop to me early last year just as the Pandemic started shutting things down. It started coming apart 6 months later (September 2020). Just so folks know, It never left the desk in my bedroom. Ever. One morning, a screw popped out. Now, the laptop is literally falling apart. It’s literally in two halves right now. I plan to keep using it until the wires connecting the monitor half to the motherboard fail at this point. Either that or I get a new deskop tower.

Speaking of. Although I had to throw out my old desktop PC, the monitor and keyboard still work fine. So, I’m saving at least $100 just buying a tower (comes with keyboard and mouse). Oh and I also salvaged the Hard Driive (750GB). I haven’t reformatted it–yet–but I did back up my media files onto two laptop hard drives I also salvaged. I have an enclosure for all 3 former Internal hard drives–I made sure to buy some last spring–so I suffered no data loss.  I mostly use my current laptop to use the internet, blogging and playing games on the Steam platform.

I actually did get another laptop donated to me last Fall but aside from work-related uses, it stays in its case in my closet. In short, I rarely use it becaue I don’t want to wear it out. The laptop I’m using right now has a 500GB HDD while the other one has a 250GB HDD. The Two Laptop Hard Drives total 750GB combined while the salvaged Desktop PC Hard Drive is 750GB for a grand total of 1.5TB worth of extra storage. That’s excluding my almost 15 year old 500GB external hard drive that I’m honestly trying to not use until after I’ve gotten a new Desktop PC if I can avoid it.

 

I have two Desktop PC towers I’m looking at from Amazon right now. Both are Windows PCs. I plan to buy both of them but will buy the cheaper one first. Above is a picture of said cheaper machine. If it looks like the kind you’d see in a school or office, I’m just gonna go ahead and assume that’s where this refurbished machine is coming from. It’s got a 500GB Hard Drive but I’m gonna swap it with the 750GB Hard Drive I pulled from my broken tower–I never reformatted it–and make the 500GB drive the secondary drive. For those who don’t know, PC towers always have room for a second hard drive or a second optical drive (CD/DVD Drive).

If I can fit two hard drives in this, I may have to buy another SATA Cable to connect the second drive internally. I looked up what to do online so it makes the most sense for me to make the 750GB HDD I already have the system or Primary Drive while the one it comes with is made the secondary drive. I looked up what to do online so I’ll know once I get this tower what I can and can’t do. I basically just took the hard drive out of my broken desktop but I don’t remember taking out the SATA Cable for it. I still have the broken tower sitting in my room. The SATA Cable is still good so I’ll see what I can figure out once I buy this. If I need to buy a replacement SATA Cable, I’ll do that.

Mind you, I’m still planning to replace both hard drives with much bigger hard drives later on. First I’ll buy a 2TB HDD I’ve been looking at and put that in as the secondary drive. once it’s set up, I can put everything on my 750GB HDD on it–that’ll total about 600GB if I did the math in my head right–and then factory reset the HDD to get back to space if I want to. As a reminder, it will still function as the system drive…until I get a 4TB HDD in as the new system drive. Once that’s done, I’ll have a grand total of 6TB worth of storage on the PC and NEVER have storage issues EVER again.

 

I have a 3.0 USB Hub I’m using with my current laptop that I can use with this one to add more ports. The tower’s $141 price tag makes it a very easy priority buy. It will cover my immediate need for a dedicated Home PC. Oh and it also has 8GB of RAM. I have 4GB of additional RAM (2GB x2) from my broken PC that I already salvaged. I’ll probably add the extra RAM to this one.

Speaking of my broken PC. I figured out the Power Supply Unit (PSU) needs to be replaced. The hard drive is good obviously and I can easily put back the RAM I removed. The CD/DVD drive is no longer functional but since I bought an external CD/DVD drive last year, that’s not a problem for me. Oh and I would still have the 500GB HDD from this refurbished computer to put in as a secondary drive if I wanted to. In short, I would have two PCs with 7.25TB between them.

 

 

 

This is the other Desktop PC I plan to buy. Why? Because it comes with two hard drives: A MONSTEROUS 2TB HDD and a 120GB SSD as well. I’m assuming the 120 SSD (Solid State Drive) is the system drive and I’m fine with that. Like the other tower, it also comes with 8GB of RAM. I plan to buy more RAM for this one though. The $250 price tag makes this quite the deal to say the least. I plan to use this PC Tower primarily for Mass Media Storage and Physical Data Backup. I will probably keep this one in storage while I’m not using it. I’ll either get a VGA Switch box or just use the other one with my existing monitor.

 

Before I forget. I’ve recently heard a lot about SSDs and what I’ve heard is overwhelmingly positive. I’m not very familiar with SSDs personally but clearly I’ll need to look into them. More so given most new computers are being made with them already built in from now on. Most SSDs are the same size as laptop hard drives but are faster, more energy efficient and cheaper than traditional hard drives. My biggest drawback to them is there are not a lot of them over 240GB. What that means is even with the SSD as the system drive, you’re still gonna need a traditional HDD as your primary storage drive. Fortunately, you can buy get a 2TB HDD for $50 or less these days.

I forgot to mention this earlier but all PC Towers have space for two hard drives inside. If you remove the optical drive (CD/DVD) you can put another hard drive there. Actually, you can have up to 26 hard drives–one for each letter of the alphabet–connected to a single computer at the same time. I mean both internal and external combined on that note. Unlike in the 1990s when most computers maxed at around 40GB to 80GB on average, These days most computers have a 500GB to 1TB hard drive on average. This is aside from the fact you can buy Hard Drives that are 1TB or more for well under $100 these days. Want to use an Internal Hard Drive Externally? buy an Enclosure, put the HDD in it and connect it via USB.

 

 

 

….I STILL can’t believe someone is selling a Refurbished version of the first one for $250. It comes with a MASSIVE 1TB HDD and that’s why I’m sorely tempted to buy it. Or, when I have the income I may buy it New for $360. The biggest drawback is it only comes with 4GB of RAM. Then there’s the other two laptops. The middle one is $440 but comes with a 1TB HDD and 16GB of RAM. The bottom one is $420 but comes with a 2TB HDD and 8GB of RAM. I’ll only need one so…yeah.

I’m not in a rush deciding but I’m leaning toward the third one since it does come with a Number Pad. Not a deal breaker in regards to the other two though. Whichever of the three I get, It goes with me everywhere for work, conventions and when traveling. Right now I have a half dozen USB Drives as well as 3 external hard drives so I’ll probably never have storage problems ever again.

 

 

Finally, I also plan to buy a Chromebook. I found one on Amazon for $50 to $60.

Why get a Chromebook, a Desktop AND a Laptop? Well, I DO already have an iPad. I’d get a Chromebook primarily for streaming and using the internet away from home. Yes I can do both with my iPad already but for me, it would be easier for to do those functions from a Chromebook and I wouldn’t feel like I have to travel everywhere with both my iPad and laptop or Chromebook.

When I’m just traveling around the Boston Area on errands within a day’s time for example, my iPad and Chromebook would be sufficient. If I’m going to work, Anime Boston, staying in a hotel or doing a sleepover away from home I’ll probably bring both my laptop and iPad with me.

When I’m using public transit, I’ll turn my phone’s Hotspot on for internet access. When on a bus or the subway, I’ll just use my iPad since I’m typically not on them for very long. If I’m on the Commuter Rail or Motorcoach I’ll probably use the Chromebook since I know I won’t be getting off for at least 30 minutes.

Before I had both a Laptop and Desktop at the same time earlier this year, I went through laptops every 2 to 3 years before that and given I paid over $1,000 per laptop, naturally that’s not really sustainable. I basically used them so much daily, they just wore down and stopped working. What’s really amazing though is I never suffered data loss. When I had both a Desktop and a laptop, I used my Desktop while home and my laptop while away from home.

 

Best hard drives 2021: the best HDDs to save all your data | TechRadar

By now, you’re probably wondering why I feel I need so much storage.

My media library–Photos, Music, Podcasts, TV Shows and Movies–is around 400GB and that excludes what I have on Google Drive, Google Photos and iCloud (another 100GB or so worth of media if I remember right). The Computer games I currently play are around…I wanna say another 200GB total. This excludes My Blizzard games (World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, etc.) combined are another 250GB to 300GB. All these barely fit on a 750GB HDD. Getting a Roku meant I could buy movies or TV shows rom iTunes and instead of downloading them–I need a new iPod Touch on that note–I could just stream them on the Apple TV App from my TV.

…Being able to download my media means I can watch everything without relying on an internet connection. Once I get my Desktop situation sorted out, I won’t have storage problems anymore. Even if I do decide to try to fix my broken PC and move hard drives around, I’ll still have my laptop HDDs. I’ll be able to reformat both of them by that point and when I do, I’ll use one–probably the 500GB one–with my PS4. I’ll use my 250GB HDD to move things between my computers. It should be fine for just that purpose.

 

Right now, I have 3 Hard Drives that are covering my storage needs but I’ll feel a whole lot better once I have a new Desktop PC. If things work out for me, I should have one as soon as next month. I’ll then get a Chromebook in December and then get a laptop sometime early next year hopefully.

Time will tell but if you’d like to financially help move things along, feel free to use the PayPal Links below and above. The help will be appreciated of course.

 

 

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1990s R & B star R. Kelly found GUILTY of Sex Trafficking, Racketeering and other charges   Leave a comment

R Kelly 'disappointed celeb friends didn't offer money' before trial | Metro News

 

It was a long time coming but finally, this man is going to find out what it likes to be on the other side of a gang rape. If he’s lucky, someone doing life in prison will lynch him because this son of a bitch deserves it.

 

Once again, a prediction by MAD TV was proven accurate (sorry about the bad quality):

This Parody of R. Kelly’s “World’s Greatest” MAD TV did after his first case 20 years ago in which he was indeed convicted.

I’ve made my opinion of R. Kelly clear in two previous blog posts. One I wrote in 2013 and the other I wrote in 2019. I strongly recommend reading both of them.

Michael Jackson once said one of the reasons he made music was so he could live forever through his songs. Unfortunately for him and his family–more so in recent years–the child molestation trials and accusations from the early 90s and early 2000s permanently stained his otherwise legendary music career. I still respect Michael Jackson as a person and an artist personally but I obviously have a VERY different opinion of R. Kelly.

…R. Kelly’s entire music career should be erased from history. Even more so now.

Every online platform should remove his music and every store should remove his albums from shelves. Not just in the U.S. but worldwide. The one exception would be the iconic song “I Believe I Can Fly”, which is a part of the soundtrack for the 1995 movie Space Jam. If you think that’s “excessive”, the alternative is to include a warning label notifying buyers the album was made by a well known repeat convicted Pedophile, Sex Addict and Serial Rapist which he is. A third idea would be for the money from future album or song sales to be given to R. Kelly’s dozens of victims.

I watched a recap of the conviction on Court TV and CNN. There were times the audio or video had to be cut during the trial because of how graphic the evidence or testimony was. Reporters who got access to the audio recordings or heard the graphic testimony in person had to recap this without going into detail. R. Kelly is a monster. Full stop. His extranged daughter Joann “Buku Abi” Kelly revealed a few years ago she had been having trouble finding work because of who her father is and even had to drop out of college because he stopped paying her tuition.

This is an aspect of high-profile legal cases you almost never hear from: How the case impacts the family of the Defendant. While the focus is on the victims as it rightfully should be, certain questions about a Defendant’s family naturally come up in the often ruthless court of public opinion. In the case of rapists, pedophiles and murderers it’s usually “What kind of family did they come from for them to turn out like that?”

All that said. This man is finally going where he should have gone 20 years ago. I do feel bad for his daughter who will have to carry the shame for the rest of her life. Hopefully this man doesn’t have any love children anywhere either.

 

 

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The story behind Peacock TV’s upcoming Drama “Bel-Air” legitimized fan-made trailers   Leave a comment

Bel-Air': Peacock Gives 2-Season Order To 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' Drama Reboot – Deadline

 

If you are a fan of WIll Smith’s 6-Season 90s Sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, you may have at least heard of the new TV Series Peacock TV requested two seasons of last year.

This is the Fanmade Viral Movie Trailer that started it all:

 

Closing in on almost 7 Million Views, the trailer went viral when it was first released two years ago. The Fan Project was released at a time similar mockups were becoming very popular on YouTube. This one struck a chord with fans of the original 90s sitcom it was inspired by and before long, it was brought to WIll Smith’s attention.

Smith himself was so impressed by the video, he did something he didn’t have to: He took the idea to Peacock–giving full credit to the creator of the video of course–which liked the idea of a more “serious” version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air so much, they actually requested 2 seasons up front. A few weeks ago Will Smith contacted Jabari Parker (not the basketball player), a fresh out of college actor from West Philadelphia to personally tell Parker he won the lead role Smith made famous 30 years ago.

Smith, who will be the new show’s Executive Producer brought Benny Medina, Quincy Jones and others who worked on the original show on board for Bel Air. It’s too early to tell or know if any of the original cast will make appearances in the new show but if any of them do appear, it will go a long way in endorsing it. I they do make appearance it will likely be as a cameo and most of them would probably not reprise their roles from the original show. We still don’t know all of which characters will be back though based on the fan trailer we can safely assume Will’s Mom, Aunt Viv, Uncle Phil, Carlton, Hillary and Jazz will be in. We will have to wait and see if Ashley or Geoffry are also included but they probably will be.

On that note. I want to take a moment to say something to those who don’t like the idea of reimagined versions of past shows or movies: It does’t matter what you think. The original version is still out there if you want to watch it. It is NOT being replaced. Oh and yes I know it makes absolutely no sense for the original 6-season show, which aired on NBC originally to be on HBO Max so hopeully Peacock TV can cut a deal to get both the show and last year’s reunion special from them ASAP.

Bel Air will be a more serious version of the 1990s Sitcom and each episode is expected to be an hour long. There will definitely be some lighter moments though the tone for the new show is clear. Even though the original was a sitcom, it’s easy to forget the show also covered a LOT of tough topics from Gun Violence (Will gets shot) to Absent Fathers (Arguably the best moment in the entire series) to what “Black Success” means to different people (Carlton gets rejected by a sorrority for not being “Black enough”).

Smith himself has not held back his excitement with how the new show could approach certain themes. He named Carlton being an unapologetic Black Republican as the one of the big ones. Will and Carlton butted heads a lot over the course of most of the show because of how vast the difference in values they had was. The episode in which Will gets shot–Carlton was with Will when it happened–sparked a conversation between him and his father as well as him and Will that caused a paradigm shift in how he viewed the world. To that point, he legit believed because his family was rich and his father was a district judge, he would have no serious problems in life. Will getting shot and then being told the suspect may never be found shattered the sense of safetly he felt up to that point and he decides to buy a gun. Fortunately, Will stepped in since he realized Cartlon would only end up ruining his life otherwise.

Uncle Phil’s evolution during the course of the show can of course be attributed to the actor who played him, the late James Avery. At the beginning, he and Will often butted heads and this was one of the ongoing themes of the show’s run. It was after Will’s father, who’d been out of the picture for most of his life suddenly walked back in and then out again that Will realized he already had a father who was there and was looking out for him. We see a throwback to their emotional moment at the end of that episode in the final episode of the show when Uncle Phil looks at Will and tells him “You are my son”.

The pacing of the original series allowed the introduction and development of extended family. We find out from Uncle Phil’s parents his real name is actually Zeke or Ezekiel, meaning his full name is probably Ezekiel Philip Banks or Philip E. Banks. One of the biggest surprises after the actress change for Vivian Banks was when Will’s mom was introduced on the show. It was not the same actress who plays his mother in the opening credits! We do find out from her that Will moving to Bel Air was meant to be a temporary arrangement–at least until after he graduated from high school–but after he explained he wanted to stay in Bel Air, she reluctantly let him stay.

Later in the original series when Will returns to Philadelphia to visit his old neighborhood, he finds out rumors spread after the fight the got him sent to Bel Air he’d been labeled a “coward” and accused of running away (of course, it wasn’t his decision to move to the West Coast). In the Bel Air trailer we find out the fight and his getting arrested with a gun were why he was sent to Bel Air. I could see this getting expanded on early in the new show. Most likely Will–with some urging from Uncle Phill–doesn’t tell his cousins and the new friends he makes everything behind why he left Philadephia. At least not at first. As far as they know, he was living in a rough neighborhood and he was sent to Bel Air so he could focus on Education. We know from the trailer Uncle Phil personally stepped in to get Will out of the legal system. I would not be surprised at all if it’s revealed Will moving to Bel Air was a condition for his help.

The original series covered a lot of social issues during its run and though they were meant for the time period, all of them are still relevant today:

  • Drug Addiction: Will gets some drugs from someone at his school. Later in the episode, Carlton takes them not realizing what they were and ends up in the hospital. Today, America (still) has a drug problem that has only become worse. I can see this still being done but the story told will be framed differently.
  • Biracial Relationship: One of Will’s aunts introduces her White boyfriend and future husband to the family. We see a conversation around this on the show and how it was done was both respectful and real. I can see this being done again for the new show though most likely it will involve a Same Sex couple time time.
  • Gun Violence: The problem has only grown in America to say the least with mass shootings among other things. This looks like it will be an underlying topic for the new show so we’ll see.
  • Social Justice: No question this will be touched on and probably frequently. It was touched on in the original series in basically every season. Most of the ones they cover will relevant for today’s audience.
  • “Blackness”: This was a topic that came up a few times in the original series. Early on, Aunt Viv challenged Will on the aspects of Black History he thought he knew. In a later season, Carlton challenges a sorrority that rejects him because he doesn’t seem “Black Enough”. Uncle Phil responds to Carlton’s rejection by posing this question to America: “When are we going to stop doing this to ourselves?”, the “we” being Black America.
  • Privilaged vs. Hood: This was the main theme of the show. You have a kid who grew up in the ghetto being transplanted into a posh Los Angeles neighborhood. It’s a culture for not just Will but most notably Carlton. As is revealed in Season 5, the Banks family actually did live in a run down part of town at first. Uncle Phil worked hard to move his family into a more privileged lifestyle but he never forgot where and what his family came from. This is also likely why I agreed to take in Will, who lived in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood. His hope was to show Will what the fruits of hard work and persistence looks like but as we know in the 2-part series finale, some people take longer than others to find themselves.
  • Celebrity Appearances: The original show had quite a few celebrity cameos during the course of its run, most known by people today and some only known if you were around 30 years ago. Aside from members of the original cast possibly making cameo appearances, we could certainly see some of today’s celebrities make cameo appearances.

 

…Those are just a few of the many things I am expecting to see covered in Bel Air. It’s sure to be interesting to say the least. We’re getting two seasons and though comparisons to the original show can’t be avoided, I urge folks to watch a few episodes before they judge at least.

 

 

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Remember those Community Farming and Urban Agriculture Ideas from about 10 years back?   Leave a comment

A Small Mattapan Farm Blooms, Despite The Pandemic | WBUR News

 

…It’s time we seriously start doing it locally, statewide and nationally.

In most modern countries in Europe and Asia as well as Canada and Australia, many households or families grow almost half of what they eat on average themselves. In contrast, most Americans buy almost all of what they eat and have since the 1950s when Urbanization exploded across the country. At some point after that, America decided it was more cost-effetive to import food grown in other parts of the world instead of growing it here.

We’ve been paying the price for giving up our food security as a nation for convenience ever since. Since the early 2000s, there have been efforts from nonprofits and the private sector to help change that. Some Farmers are going into cities to teach some of what they know to encourage people to grow their own food. Two of the biggest things driving that are the rising costs of buying food and people seeing the need to source their own food supply in light of current events. If you go to places like Japan, Norway, Holland, China, New Zealand and Mexico it’s not unusual to at least see vegetable gardens at most homes and apartments. Even renters have access to raised soil beds, greenhouses or similar setups with which to grow some produce.

…We need to be doing that nationwide in the U.S. and Canada.

Even better is it costs next to nothing to simply teach people just basic farming skills. I’m not talking about working a large wheat or corn field. I’m not talking about raising and taking care of livestock. Just growing vegetables which most already know doesn’t require a whole lot of space or effort. People just need to be taught how to do it.

At the very least you need all of the following, most of which can be bought–and very cheaply:

 

  • Soil (can be bought)
  • Shovel or Hoe
  • Hand Spade
  • Work Gloves (optional)
  • Water Source or Watering Can
  • Mulch and/or Fertilizer
  • Compost Bin (reccommended)
  • Garden Fence or Cinderblocks (to partition the vegetable garden)
  • Vegetable Seeds (obviously)
  • Plenty of Sunlight (or a Sun Lamp for Indoor Gardening)

 

If you have the land to build even a Small Greenhouse or small wooden planter, go with one. You will at least have a bit of protection from animals and birds.

If you have an apartment without access to natural soil but do have for example a porch or balcony that gets plenty of sunlight, get a small planter and fill it with soil. As long as it’s at least 3 to 6 inches deep, that’s enough to grow things in it. Oh and yes, you can grow vegetables in a 3+ Gallon bucket or bin.

Now let’s get into how long it generally takes to grow certain vegetables:

 

  • Potatoes: 18 to 20 Weeks or 60 to 90 days. The best time to plant Potato seeds is in March, April or May. They’re ready to harvest roughly 4 months later. They should be watered every 2 or 3 days until the soil is moist but not saturated.
  • Carrots: 8 weeks or 70 to 80 days. The best times to plant Carrot Seeds are Early Spring (Late March to early April) and Late Fall (Early November). They should get at least one inch of water per week or their growth will be stunted.
  • Cucumbers: 6 to 8 weeks or 50 to 70 days. The best time to plant Cucumber seeds is Late March to Early April.  They should be thoroughly soaked at least once a week.
  • Tomatoes: 2 months or 40 to 50 days.  The best times to plant Tomato seeds are late Spring (Late May) or Early Summer (Early June). Tomato seeds and plants should be watered daily in the morning.
  • Lettuce: 30 days but you can leave it longer if you want bigger plants. The best times to plant Lettuce Seeds are in the Spring or Fall. Lettuce seeds and plants should be thoroughly watered daily.
  • Onions: 3 to 4 months but can be harvested early for Green Onions or Scallions (also known as Leeks). Can be planted anytime during the year but most people will plant Onion seeds in Early Spring, Early Summer or Early Fall. Onion Seeds and plants should be thoroughly watered once or twice a week.
  • Green Peppers: 2 or 3 months for Sweet Peppers and at least 5 months for hot peppers. The best time to plant pepper seeds in general is in the Spring but they can be planted in any season. Pepper Seeds and Plants should be thoroughly watered at least once or twice a week.
  • Green Beans: Two months and they yield crop continuously once matured. The best time to plant Green Bean Seeds is in the Spring. Green Bean Seeds and Plants should be thoroughly watered at least once a week.
  • Squash: Two months or 60 days. The best time to plant Squash is in the Spring though you can plant in late Summer or Early Fall for Winter Squash. Squash Seeds and Plants should be thoroughly watered at least once a week.
  • Cabbage: 6 months or 80 to 100 days though it will continue to yield crop after the first harvest. The best times to plant Cabbage are in the Spring or Mid-Summer as it is a cool weather crop. Cabbage Seeds and Plants should be thoroughly watered at least once a week.

 

…I think that’s enough for plenty of variety.

You will need to water more or less frequently depending on how much or little rain there is and how hot the temperature gets. As a general rule of thumb, you do not need to water plants every single day unless outside temperatures are very hot. It’s always better to do one thorough soak a week than several deep soaks a week. On that note, the best time of day to water plants is in the morning as well. You don’t want to be watering plants at night because mold or fungus is much more likely to develop overnight with the cooler temperatures.

The harvest estimates above all assume you don’t use known argiculture techniques to speed up the process. There’s stuff you can do to speed up the process from fertilizer to compost to pre-soaking the seeds before planting. Growing your own produce really, really is not all that difficult. Time consuming yes but not difficult and certainly worth the effort. More so since you get to eat the end result of all the work.

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters like flooding, hurricanes or tornadoes you should try to prepare as much as you can. If possible, try to transfer some of the crops into a planter and bring them inside. That way, if your crops outside are ruined you still have some that are viable and can be replanted. Any crops ready for harvest should be picked and brought inside as soon as possible because there is no guarantee they won’t be destroyed by wind and water.

 

 

A Beginner's Guide to Using a Hobby Greenhouse ~ Homestead and Chill

Pure Garden 27.5 in. x 19 in. x 50 in. 3 Tier Greenhouse-M150076 - The Home Depot

 

Don’t want to be bound by the seasons for growing food? Buy a Greenhouse. You can buy both indoor and outdoor greenhouses without spending a lot of money. Having them in natural sunlight is best but for growing either out of season, during winter or in a room without adequate sunlight, getting sun lamps would be the next best thing. Of course, you would also have to be ok with the fact keeping sun lamps on almost 24/7 adds to your electic bill. This is also why I said if you can set up your green house either outside or at least where it would get a lot of natural sunlight, that would be best.

Oh and yes, all of the plants featured above can also be grown indoors in an Indoor Greenhouse. With Outdoor Greenhouses, you don’t really have to worry about bugs or animals. You can either make the outdoor ones walk-in with shelves–this is the most common type for homeowners–or have it cover soil beds as seen on most farms. You could even do a combination of both if you want and have the space for it, usually one side with soil beds and the other side with shelves to ensure proper water and light distribution for the crops.

Washing A Compost Bin – Ways Of Cleaning Out Compost Bins

 

Weather you grow food outdoors or indoors, it IS renewable and more so if you Compost. Composting is how you revitalize the soil between harvests…by making new soil. How? You get a bin like this one–design, size and material don’t matter–and fill it with biodegradeable matter. Mainly leaves, grass clippings and organic food waste like banana peels and apple cores. Then, you let earthworms get in and break all of it down for you. The results will speak for themselves.

On that note.

I left out fruit trees mostly on purpose. That’s because they take YEARS from when the seed’s planted to produce fruit. For example, it takes Apple Trees 6 to 10 years from when they’re planted as seeds to mature and produce fruit. You can save some time by either buying a sapling–they’ll produce fruit 2 to 3 years after planting on average–or if you’re willing to pay the money–and it will not be cheap–buying a fully matured fruit tree.

For reference, Apple Trees last for 35 to 45 years once fully matured so it’s probably not ideal to get a fruit tree if you rent and may move at some point. This is to say nothing of fruit trees often only bearing fruit every other year once matured.  It’s a lot of keep track of and know to say the least. This is why growing fruit trees is only reccommended for homeowners with the land for it.

Release your Inner Frankenstein - Graft a Fruit Tree | Wallyhood

 

I haven’t even gotten into explaining fruit tree grafting. That’s when you take branches from one tree and graft it onto another to have a tree capable of producing either multiple types of the same fruit (above picture) or multiple different kinds of fruit. This is really something you should have someone who knows what they’re doing do for you the first time at least though it’s not hard to find out how to do it online. In short, you take a branch from one tree and tie it to another. Over time, the branch will bond with the recepient tree but still produce the fruit of the tree it came from.

You’ll know it worked when the transplanted branch blossoms. If the branch dies, you’ll know it failed to properly bond. It does take time and this is why I said it’s best to leave it to someone who knows what they’re doing to do the first grafting at least. Once the branch bonds with the recepient tree, you won’t need to do anything special afterward. It will simply grow with the rest of the recepient tree normally. Only difference is the transplanted branch produces fruit from the fruit tree it came from.  The rest of the tree still produces its original fruit on that note.

…Whew.

I ended up giving a crash course on Agriculture and growing crops in general there, didn’t I? Hopefully someone finds much of all this helpfu at least. For more more specific Gardening tips or info, you have a few options. You can either search online, go to a library or ask someone who knows their way around soil. Pick one =)

That aside, I am pretty sure there will soon be a surge in people in the U.S.–especially in Urban and Suburban areas–suddenly taking an interest in growing their own food. Not just because of the rising costs of organic food prices in particular or the ongoing pandemic in progress but because people will want a stable food source due to the political discourse in most of the country, the South and Midwest in particular.

For those who may be wondering. During my first year in the City Year program, I received about 2 years worth of training on Environmental Science and Agriculture in 4 months. You don’t forget what you learned and put into practice even 20 years later. I checked online for some of the more detailed info but the way I explained everything is based on what I learned and put in practice back in the day.

I would definitely urge folks in the U.S. to take up growing food weather you rent, own or otherwise. Especially people of color. Not just to source your own food but for Wellness-related reasons too. It’s quite the workout and you’re also fortifying your mind at the same time. This is an effective way our society can fill idle time modern conveniences have created for us. Automation and Robotics are sure to replace more and more jobs traditionally staffed by people in the coming years. It would be to our benefit to at the very least retain the knowledge and

It’s also sure to come in handy when our society falls apart. Don’t take my word for it. Just watch the evening news. The widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Ida is yet another reminder to people on the ground at the end of the day, too many politicians will say all the right things for an election season but at the end the day, they don’t give a damn about people.

All that said–and I had to add this back in after publishing the article–there are commercial benefits to growing your own food that gives added incentive to the time investment. You could sell your excess crops either at a farmer’s market, to a local store or even just out of your car. You could make back some, most or all of what you spent to plant the crops. More often than not, you could make a decent profit depending on how you do things.

I do think there is a lot of untapped potential in local, privately done agriculture. More so if whole communities start doing it across the U.S. For one, it would deeply cut into the mostly silent Hunger epidemic that’s ravaged the U.S. in recent decades. Not just help address the physical food need but we’re also talking new job opportunities and so on. In short, being able to grow food means you will always be able to eat AND make money. Even better is it’s sustainable longterm. I know of too many empty lots across just Boston that could be converted for growing crops. It’s just about investing the time and resources to get things going.

 

 

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