Chad Thorne

The Best Generators I Recommend for People Living in Cold Climates


If you live in an area where winters are especially harsh, you know how important staying warm is.  You also might spend the winter months hoping that an ice or snow storm doesn’t knock out the power.  Those who want to be the most prepared rely on generators for backup power.  Finding the best generator, whether you’re looking for a smaller backup model or a model that can power your entire house, can be daunting given how many models there are and the fact that a new generator will set you back more than a few bucks.  Spending a little time understanding the difference between model types and what factors should top your list can make the process a little easier.


If you want a simpler backup generator to keep critical equipment going, you might be able to get away with a portable unit.  In addition to being less expensive than fixed models (those that have to be installed and are non-moveable), portable generators are great for those who like to go camping or tailgating.  You won’t find a portable model that can power your whole house at once, but you can find models that will connect to your breaker box via a transfer switch so that you can run different applications at different times.

If you want a generator that will allow you to run anything and everything in your home, you’ll want a fixed unit.  These units start at around $3,000 and go up to well over $10,000.  Smaller homes or homes that don’t plan to run everything at once can find very efficient models in the $5,000 to $7,500 neighborhood.  More fuel-efficient models do cost more, but the extra expense can be recouped in fuel savings if you live in an area where you know you’ll have to use the generator at least once or twice a season.  The more applications you want to power, the wiser it is to look for maximum efficiency.  For reviews that include pros and cons of several whole-home generators, including natural gas and propane-powered options, visit  You’ll also get additional tips to help you make the right choice for your home.


When it comes to power sources, you’ll find generators that run on gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas, and solar power.  Gasoline-powered models are generally the least expensive, but also usually the least powerful and on the lower end of things in terms of fuel efficiency.  Solar-powered models are the cleanest and don’t require that you keep fuel on hand, but are more complex and typically require the most maintenance and are the most expensive.  Natural gas models offer the convenience of being able to tie directly to your home’s natural gas supply, meaning that you don’t have to worry about fuel containers or going out to top off the tank during a blizzard.  With any fixed whole-home model, you’ll want to factor in the cost of installation (which could easily reach $1,500) unless you are 100% comfortable with and capable of doing it yourself.

Whichever type of generator you choose, make sure to familiarize yourself completely with its operation and required maintenance before you need it.  While most generators aren’t difficult to operate, different types and models will have slightly different processes and maintenance and testing schedules.  Making sure you know how to run your generator and how to maintain and test it between power outages is the best way to make sure it’ll be ready when you do need it.  Wouldn’t you rather “figure it out” during the fall when the weather’s still decent as opposed to two in the morning during an ice storm?


For even better fuel economy, be sure to unplug all devices that you won’t be using, as anything that’s plugged in, whether it’s turned on or not, can draw some power as long as the outlet is live.
Here’s a great resource if you’re leaning toward a solar-powered portable, backup, or whole-home generator.  You’ll find pros and cons and other information to consider as you decide on the best match for your needs and budget.

Avoid generators that emit so much smoke, it can give the same harmful effects of nicotine to the body as in smoking.

Chad Thorne

My Top Wrestling Tips for Beginners


If you’re new to the world of wrestling (and not the flashy made-for-TV kind), the list below can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made by beginners.


Know the rules

Like all other sports, wrestling has its own set of rules.  Make sure you know and truly understand these rules.  For instance, you might think that it’s never okay to lock yourself around a competitor’s waist.  While this is true in some circumstances, it’s not a hard and fast rule.  Assuming that it’s always illegal can mean you miss opportunities to overtake your opponent.  Knowing that it’s okay sometimes but not being clear on when can result in penalties during a match.  Since various wrestling disciplines have their own rule sets, it’s crucial that you know and fully understand all of the rules that apply to your style of wrestling (like freestyle or Greco-Roman, for instance).  Having full knowledge and understanding of the rules can definitely mean the difference between success and failure.


Realize the demands

Wrestling is a very physical sport.  While many understand this side of things, some often fail to understand the mental and emotional aspects involved.  On the physical side, you have to stay healthy enough and strong enough to execute your moves–that part’s easy, right?  Mentally, it’s not enough just to understand the rules.  You also have to be able to keep those rules in mind during your matches, “on the fly,” so to speak.  As with other endeavors, practice makes perfect.  You also have to learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and move on.  Emotions can run high during a match, so learning how to keep them in check is important.  Letting your frustration at mistakes, missed opportunities, or an opponent that seems to have the upper hand get in the way of your execution is a sure recipe for disaster.  Losses are sure to be part of the program, but you can’t let that negative experience turn into a negative attitude–do what you can to analyze your performance and learn from your mistakes.  Likewise, when you experience victory, celebrate it, but don’t let it go to your head.  Too much confidence can be as hazardous as a lack thereof.


Don’t be fooled

Many new wrestlers find it intimidating when they see an opponent who looks bigger or stronger than they are.  This intimidation often leads to a loss of confidence, which can have a negative impact on performance.  While many opponents might look bigger or more muscular, neither of these things is an indicator of talent.  You might find that some of the most muscular wrestlers have actually traded some agility for sheer mass.  Rely on your training and remember that old saying that goes “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”  On the flip side, don’t assume that a smaller opponent is necessarily going to be a pushover.  Besides the fact that size can be deceiving, smaller guys can be more mobile and, as mentioned above, overconfidence could be your downfall.
While these are certainly not all of the things every new wrestler needs to know, they’re a good start in the right direction and can be the strong foundation you need to achieve your wrestling goals.

Chad Thorne

Top Reasons Alaska is Awesome


Alaska was the 49th state admitted to the union and has the distinction of being the only US state that’s part of the North American mainland without being connected to the rest of the contiguous US states.  Alaska’s beauty and wonder continue to enchant visitors as well as lifelong residents.  If you’re considering a trip or permanent move to The Last Frontier, keep reading for more reasons to head to North America’s extreme northwest corner.


The natural beauty

There’s no better place to see the stars than Alaska.  With far less ambient city light than most places in the US, there are more stars visible here than pretty much anyplace else.  And don’t forget the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.  This swath of green light across the sky can’t be matched.


Believe it or not, there are well over 100 active volcanic fields and volcanoes in Alaska, though none are in danger of a major eruption.  With their own unique beauty and power, you’ll definitely want to make sure at least one of them makes it to your “must-see” list.


Some parts of Alaska, like Barrow, are north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that there are about two months during the winter when there’s no full sunlight and about 80 days during the summer when there’s nothing but daylight.  


The wildlife

It’s not at all uncommon to see a bear or a moose roaming around populated areas.  Just because they’re in town, though, doesn’t make them any less wild.  Yes, they’re usually at least as afraid of you as you are of them, but they’re still potentially dangerous, even deadly, so admire them from afar.


The king crabs and fish are among the best anywhere, and seafood doesn’t get much fresher than in Alaska.  Also, despite the depiction of Alaska as nothing but wilderness (and there is a lot of wilderness), there are also any number of restaurants that feature local fare and will give you a taste of the real culture of Alaska.


There really are reindeer in Alaska, and though they don’t actually fly, they do run pretty fast.  There’s even a 10-day festival celebrating these wonderful creatures.


Frontier living

If you’ve thought you’d like to give the prepper, survivalist, or off-grid lifestyle a try, Alaska can certainly be the place to hone your skills.  When the nearest town is hours away, you’ll learn how to make the most of the trips you do make into town and how to get by with what you have.  You may want a generator if having power at all times is a must, especially in the areas with the harshest weather or least reliable municipal power sources.


The Alaskan Bush is a place like no other if you want the type of backpacking adventure you might picture when thinking of this remote state.  Some areas of the Bush are so remote that you’ll need a plane to get there.  One thing to keep in mind is that not every wilderness area is public land.  Do your best to respect the fact that you might be hiking through someone else’s property.
One important thing to note is that Alaska’s distance from the continental US and its overall remoteness mean that things tend to cost more there simply because of the cost involved in shipping from the mainland.  The natural beauty and endless sources of adventure are definitely worth it, though!

About Chad

Chad Thorne is a high school math teacher and wrestling coach in Juneau, Alaska. He also offers math and wrestling coaching outside of school for those who could use it. Please contact him for rates.


“Chad has helped me to take my wrestling skills above and beyond. He is just such a motivational and smart guy. I highly recommend coaching by Chad.”