Saturday, November 28, 2015

This is How I Fight Mosquitoes

Ridsect Liquid: The whole gang.
I have long realised that fighting mosquitoes with a sword would be a losing battle; and sending them a strongly-worded letter won't do any good either.

With that in mind, the methods of my choice have been the aerosol spray, the coil burner, and for quite some time now, the electric vaporiser - both paper and liquid.


The one I keep using often is called Ridsect Liquid - the [liquid] plug-and-play version of mosquito repellents. You simply plug it into the wall and… well, you don’t have to play with it, but you can go play and forget about it until it’s morning and you have to turn it off.

It looks like one of those plug-in electric air freshener and relatively unobtrusive. The only thing to remember is that [because it is liquid and the top is not covered to let the vapour out] after removing the protective cap off the bottle, you will have to keep the device upright.

Speaking of vapour, I find that it’s best not to have anything in front to let the vapour roam free so to speak; or as Ridsect's own website suggests: to keep other objects clear for about 60cm.

Also, it takes time for the repellent to heat up before the vapour is released so I turn it on a few minutes before I go to bed. What I think might also help is to have it on a few minutes before you turn on your air conditioner or fan. Obviously, the bigger your room the more of these electric vaporisers you'll need to keep those pesky blood-thirsty insects away; otherwise they'll just wait at the furthest corner and pounce whenever they have the chance to.

If you can see it from the photo below, when you turn on the device, there's a red light that glows continuously that serves as a reminder and turns into a glowy red-eyed monster in the dark... well, you never know.

Ridsect Liquid in action.


From Ridsect's own range, there seems to be two types of refills that I'm aware of and they come in green, named the 'Liquid-P', and red, simply 'Liquid'. There's no information on the difference between the two, but I have tried both and it seems to me Liquid-P gives off some sort of a scent and Liquid doesn’t, at least not as noticeable. Because of its lack of scent, using the red one for the first time was a bit confusing especially it was only my second refill; my first was the green one. I thought it wasn’t working and it had me guessing if I had the bottle screwed on correctly or not. I had to keep checking the liquid to see if it had reduced a bit; and a few days on, it had.


What I absolutely love about this type of mosquito repellent is that you don’t have to keep changing the refill every day like those electric mosquito repellents that use paper mats. You will only have to think about refills every 30 or 60 nights depending on your refill; and you can see if the liquid is running low since the bottle is transparent.

I still use aerosol sprays to keep off other bugs and bitey stuff, but I keep the liquid vaporiser on when I sleep for extended mosquito protection or protection against mosquitoes actually.

The Ridsect's brand might not be a familiar name to people from outside Malaysia and maybe Singapore; a quick search online proves to be so. But I found similar products by Baygon, sold by sellers in Thailand; and Shieldtox, also from Thailand - none of which I have tried, so I can't comment on them.

One last note, I've always spelled repellent 'repellant' with an 'a'; it seems that 'repellent' with an 'e' is the preferred way of spelling. How do you spell it?

Friday, November 20, 2015

I Find Myself A-peeling

Peeling can be unappealing.
I can’t use facial scrubs - those with tiny beads - no matter how tiny or gentle the beads are; not because the skin on my face can't take it but the skin on my hands are too thin due to eczema [I know it’s a bit tiresome because I’ve mentioned this so many times in my previous articles before, but eczema can sometimes dictate your life].

Still, my skin needs some sort of exfoliation because washing alone is not enough - after a while my skin will feel rather 'thick' and there would be an accumulation of dead skin [especially around the side of my nose] and blackheads that seem to have a permanent residence on my nose. Since I can’t get dead skin off quickly enough, I turn to peel-off masks - the kind that you literally peel off and find dirt and stuff stuck to the mask and not on your skin. And I have to tell you that there’s a sense of satisfaction when I see things that’s been clogging my skin stuck on the mask - not a pretty picture I can tell you that.

All three of these masks here that I have tried and used regularly [one, more than the other] are in gel form. The way I use it is that I apply the mask on, wait for it to get completely dry before peeling it off from the bottom [some areas will dry off later depending on how evenly you spread it]. I also apply some on my neck as well so that it will get the peeling goodness it deserves - just prepare yourself for a weird tightness as the mask gets dry.

Not one, not two but multi-action mask.

Garnier Light Complete Multi-action Whitening Peel-off Mask [Amazon | eBay]

The first thing I noticed about this mask was how strong the smell was. I still can’t get used to it. If the room is not well-ventilated, I can get a headache. I don’t remember what made me try it but I kept using it for quite some time since it didn't seem to irritate my skin. I have stopped using this since I’ve found another mask that is quite as good and not as strong-smelling and doesn’t give me headaches.

Whether this lightens dark spots or the skin in general or not, I'm afraid I can't comment on that because I've been using Estee Lauder's Matte Perfecting Primer and I find that the primer helps in my skin's healing - and maybe regeneration - process [I say this with reservation because I don't know for sure if that's what it actually does - maybe just gentle exfoliation].

Love the bottle-shaped sachet.

Purederm Cucumber Deep Cleansing Peel-off Mask [Amazon | Sears]

When I first opened the sachet, I took a whiff and thought it smelled pleasant. Upon application however, the fume snuck up on me and caught me off guard - like a nice little girl that sneaks up on you and suddenly gives you a punch in the nose. The smell was so deep in my nostril and throat that I actually coughed. It’s best to put on this mask in front of a fan - if you're famous, it's not that kind of fan.

No tingling or burning sensation when applied, which is a good thing. The mask can stick a bit strongly and tug on my skin and leave my skin reddish [my skin does get red easily]; but because of that, quite a lot of dirt get lifted off.

You don't have to put those stuff on your eyes.

Montagne Jeunesse Green Tea Peel Off Masque [Ulta | Amazon | eBay]

The only gripe I have with this mask is that I can’t pronounce the name of the brand. I can see why they are changing the name to 7th Heaven. Other than that I love this mask. 

Unlike the Garnier's and Purederm's mask, the scent of this is light. It also doesn’t irritate my skin, but it can get a bit hard to peel off. You see, to start peeling a peel-off mask, you have to apply pressure and push the edge of the mask to get the end to roll up before you can peel upwards [that's how I do it anyway; you can use your nails alternatively], and I find this process particularly difficult with this mask, more so than the two above - which can cause red skin. However, it doesn't tug as much and I keep going back to this mask more often. Would really like to check out other masks from 7th Heaven in the future.

Among the three masks, the packaging of the Montagne Jeunesse's is the one I find most unattractive, and to be honest I almost didn't buy this because of it; but I'm glad I did. It's the inside that counts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TP-LINK M5250: The Story of a Modem, Broken Fingernails and a Tiny Bit of Blood

This unassuming little pebble-like thingy caused me pain.
I found myself in need of a modem urgently recently. I didn't have much time to think and was left with only my phone to connect to the Internet.

Came TP-LINK 3G Mobile Wi-Fi M5250 [TP-LINK | Amazon] into my life quite 'accidentally'.

The Struggle

Even before I could put the modem to use, it gave me the pain that would forever attach itself to it.

The very first step was to open the cover and insert a SIM card and the battery. Let's just say that this step wasn't as easy as it sounds. I had to spend about an hour [I didn’t keep track] trying to open the cover. 

To open the cover, I had to work with a thin notch and flip the cover upwards. The notch wasn't the problem - the cover just wouldn't budge.

Using my nails, I literally tried to pry it open, alternating using my thumbs, my index finger and middle finger [I wasn't giving it the birdie by the way]. I don’t usually have long nails, but at the time my nails were longish - even when they are at the shortest I can still claw someone's skin off - so grip was not the problem. I kept checking the leaflet to see if I did it correctly; if I had to push something to release the cover - but no, nothing - it just said, "Open the cover upwards". As I was practically trying to tear the cover apart, I was preparing myself to accept the fact that I might break the thing. I even had one of those existential moments when I asked myself, "Why is this always happening to me?"

For a split second I considered throwing it somewhere. Maybe if I broke the shell open then I’d be able to reach inside and finally use the modem. It was one of those moments of insanity when you’re hurting and can’t think straight. But, I managed to steer my mind back to the task.

Broke My Nails, Cut Myself

I admit that I’m a special case; my skin is a little bit fragile because of eczema. But my nails are strong; they don't break easily.

Halfway through the process, my fingernails were broken, there were even bits of my nails on the modem. The nail of my thumbs broke at the sides and if I forced it any harder I think I would have peeled my nails off or at least the whole tip off. On second thought, maybe not; I'm not that strong. Have I mentioned I cut myself? Yes, I cut myself and tiny blood appeared.

I have taken some pictures of my fingers but I’m not posting them here because it’s not pretty.

I Did It!

In the end, I managed to open the cover on my own with a little help from a 5 cent coin. I left the cover off for awhile before I could be sure that I was able to make a connection, because I was afraid the modem wouldn’t work or if I might have inserted the SIM card incorrectly.

The Modem with Quirks

Thank goodness the modem works otherwise the very existence of it is non-existent. I wasted no time charging the TP-LINK M5250 using the provided micro USB cable and my phone's power plug. You can use the modem while it's charging, so that's very handy. On a full charge, I find the modem can last about 6-7 hours of non-continuous use and charging takes about 3-4 hours depending whether I'm using it or not. I tried charging on my MacBook and worked but I kept getting an error message. I later found out on TP-LINK's own website that the error message is apparently normal or as they say "meaningless" and you can simply click "Ignore".

The modem works across platforms too since there's no software to install; you simply open your browser and go from there. After the whole ordeal above, the setup was simple enough for me. 

The modem also comes with a couple of SIM card adapters for micro and nano SIM which I think is quite thoughtful of them - if only they could be as thoughtful with the cover design as well.

TP-LINK claims that the M5250 can provide connections to up to ten users simultaneously. I don't have ten users or ten devices but have tried with three devices and the WiFi connections seemed to be working well.

Google says it doesn't know much.
A couple of quirks I've found that I've never experienced with other modems or when tethering with my tablet before, are the 404 error message and the privacy error message. These error messages don't pop up every time; just once in a while.

The 404 error from Google as seen on the left simply says that the requested URL is or rather was not found on the server.

Attackers might be interested in me.
The privacy error message, as seen on the right, is much more alarming; saying that my connection is not private and that attackers might be trying to steal my information from whichever website I'm trying to visit.

On both occasions, reloading the page again later and/or logging in to TP-LINK's web management page and logging out seem to solve the problem.

After that initial struggle, the TP-LINK M5250 hasn't been giving me too much problems; except it adds to the list of my constant-charging devices.

Those with very short fingernails are going to have a huge problem with this. To those who have this particular modem or MiFi or whatever you call it, I’d really like to hear your experience especially how you managed to get it open. Or is mine an isolated case?

I shudder at the thought of having to open the cover again. There’s no way I’m going through all that all over again. I might have to break it open with a hammer next time…