Fencing Tactics: Second Intention Examined

Second intention actions in fencing are intended to create the impression that they are first intention, and then to hit on second intention. So what is first and what is second intention? First intention is any action intended to score in the first execution of the technique. A straight thrust, a one-two, a beat disengage, a double envelopment, and a riposte are all first intention actions; the underlying assumption is that the action will hit without the opponent taking an effective intervening action. Second intention, however, not only assumes an intervening action by the opponent, it requires it to set up the second offensive action that will hit.

The classic second intention is the false attack as the feint of first intention, followed by the opponent’s parry and riposte, and then by the original attacker’s parry and counterriposte. The attacker’s intent all along was to hit with the counterriposte delivered in second intention. Even though this is widely enough taught to almost be a cliché, it still works. That means that the action is doing something more than just two techniques in order, and it suggests that it is important to understand why it works.

The false attack is the first key. As noted the purpose is not to hit. Rather it is to create the impression that you wanted to hit, but got the timing, distance, or delivery wrong. And it is not just wrong. Instead it is wrong enough that the opponent realizes that no retreat, or at most a short retreat, is needed before employing the parry to unleash the riposte. This is the first key principle of second intention – you fix the opponent in place by creating conditions that seem to make staying in range for a fast riposte overwhelmingly attractive. Note that the example I am using is the standard one, but this could be just as easily be a false attack, stop hit, defensive or offensive countertime sequence.

The second key is the opponent’s counteraction. Now you need the opponent to commit to offensive action with the blade coming forward so that you can easily parry and counterriposte to hit. If the blade does not come forward, you either have to abandon the attack or execute some form of renewed attack. But when the opponent does commit to the riposte, the blade followed by the body enters the hitting zone, and the body and blade do so moving forward. You have pulled the opponent into your optimal range for a programmed fast parry and riposte. This is the second key principle of second intention – pull the opponent into your hitting zone.

This is what makes second intention effective. You fix the opponent in place so that they do not open the range, and you draw them into your hitting zone so that you can hit them. Second intention is not a specific attack-counterriposte sequence, rather it is an exploitation of distance and movement to create the fix and pull sequence. And that fix and pull sequence is a core tactical principle for fencers.

Total Sleeping Comfort in a Semi Sleeper World

When it comes to long haul trucking, one of the most important accessories of the tractor unit is the sleeper. Sleeper units come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be built as part of the cab or an add-on unit that sits directly behind the cab. The sleeper is, in a sense, the drivers’ home away from home. Depending on the need and design of the sleeper, some units offer just enough room to accommodate a bed and a few modest necessities, while others provide all the comforts and accommodations one would find in a modern RV!

Although the sleeper has been around for many years in one form or another, there was a time when a trucker did not have even the simplest sleeping space available to them in their semi tractor. For decades the cab-over was the design of choice because of regulatory rules that restricted the combined length of the tractor/trailer assembly. To pull a longer trailer required a shorter tractor, and a shorter tractor left little, if any room for a sleeper. If a trucker needed to stop and sleep they had a choice – either stop at a motel, or pull over at a truck stop or wayside rest and sleep sitting-up in the drivers’ seat.

As years passed there was development of cab-over units that integrated a small sleeping area behind the seating, and in most cases, small was the operative word! More like a tiny bunk than a bed, it allowed drivers to “comfortably” get some sleep. Curtains that separated the driving area from the sleeping compartment blocked light and afforded some privacy. Drawbacks to this design included the need for the driver to climb over the “doghouse” (area of the cab that covered the engine) to get into the bunk, and the inherent design of the cab-over configuration. When maintenance was required on the engine the entire cab unit tipped forward to allow access to the engine. That meant everything in the cab not secured or stored correctly would fall towards the windshield area. Although this sleeper design helped truckers get some required restful sleep, design improvements were obvious and changes had to be made to provide more room, comfort, and safety.

The Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 modified previous limits to tractor/trailer combinations. The length of the tractor and trailer were now measured separately instead of as one unit. Two big changes happened at this point; Conventional tractors (driver sits behind the engine compartment) became the norm, and longer semi tractors allowed for longer, bigger sleeper units. As materials and technology advanced, larger yet lighter and more powerful tractor designs hit the market. Following close behind were changes to sleeper units. Utilizing the same lightweight materials and design technologies, sleepers slowly evolved from a cramped bunk to living spaces that can easily be described as rolling motel rooms.

Conventional semi tractors can be manufactured with the sleeper unit as a seamless part of the cab, or ordered from the factory without a sleeper unit. There are several after-market sleeper manufacturers that can design, build and install a sleeper unit on a tractor frame assembly. The size of the sleeper is dependent on the length of the frame to provide adequate spacing from behind the cab unit to the fifth wheel. The advantage to an add-on after-market sleeper is that it can be removed from the tractor assembly and transferred to a new tractor when the old tractor is traded-in or re-purposed.

Modern sleepers provide more space and greater comfort than those of the past. Sleepers can be easily entered from the cab through an ample access way, and some have enough height for a person to stand and move around with ease. Furniture such as tables and seating can be easily maneuvered to provide a comfortable work environment for two people. These interstate “home away from home” sleeper units provide the ultimate in luxury and efficiency for team drivers, especially husband and wife teams who professionally ply their driving expertise for weeks or months at a time.

The cab-over-semi tractor of decades ago, designed and built strictly for sheer brute strength and pulling power with little (if any) thought to driver comfort, has faded into the past. Total sleeping comfort in a semi sleeper world is now commonplace when it comes to long-haul trucking. Almost every tractor unit on the highway today is of conventional design, and most sport some type of factory or after-market sleeper unit that provides amenities and comfort for drivers who need quality and restful sleep. From simple sleeper units that provide a comfortable bed and needed storage space to behemoth custom built assemblies that proved every comfort of home including a shower and toilet, almost anything a person can imagine can now be custom built and incorporated into a modern, sleek and aerodynamic sleeper unit!

Preparation For Traveling With Your Parrot And Other Pet Birds

Prior to traveling with your parrot it is a good idea to associate him / her with the container in which you use to travel with your bird, whether it be a kennel or travel cage. Do not just shove him / her into it on the day of travel as this can cause quite a lot of stress and fear if you do not get your bird acquainted with the container in advance. Every bird you own should be acquainted in this way in the event of travel due to a need to evacuate your home like for a hurricane or other natural disaster, you can never be ready for.

Start by getting a kennel or small travel cage to contain your pet, preferably that can be secured in the vehicle by way of the seat belt or other means of securing it.

In advance take the time to associate your bird with the container by letting him / her explore it, put snacks in it and a toy to make it a positive experience that many parrots actually learn to enjoy and look forward too. The toy should be some what of a foot toy, easily picked up for play and not some large dangly thing that could cause harm or need you to untangle your bird from while traveling, think small but not so small that it can be stolen, safety Is the way to go for your bird and you. While driving you do not want to be distracted obviously if your parrot becomes tangled up. Make sure a feed cup and water cup are secure in the container. When thinking about water as it can spill and than be gone it is often wiser to place some of your parrots favorite juicy pieces of fruit in it instead of water. This way he / she will not be without moisture for travel, also either bringing some of your water from home in a container or bottled water to offer him / her if your travel a great distance and or upon reaching your destination. Bring extra food that the bird is accustom too, now is definitely not the time to introduce a new brand other than what he is use to and will read consume.

If you plan on a destination such as a hotel or other lodging it is a good idea to bring a mini vacuum and other items to clean up after your parrot. They are much like traveling with children, can make a mess and have needs that you need to be prepared for. It is a good idea to find out in advance if your destination such as a hotel does indeed allow pets.

Other considerations are the fact that you are traveling in an air-conditioned vehicle that does not insure that your pet will stay comfortable as direct sun and glare can easily come in through a window even with the window up and the airconditioner on. Just like for a baby it is a good idea to provide a nice shaded area in the vehicle for your bird. A shade screen can be purchased in advance as an item in most stores that carry things for babies and is a wise purchase indeed. As a panting parrot can not cool him / herself off like a cat or dog and even they should have these considerations when traveling with them also.

Another thing to have on hand is a birdie first aid kit that you can put together, it should consist of orange flavored Gatorade (for dehydration), Neosporin Ointment (safe even if eaten), Kwik Stop (for bleeding prevention), a towel In the event you have to restrain him / her for any reason and or for comfort in a kennel), small scissors (in case he / she becomes tangled up in a thread from the towel or such), a small wire cutter is a good Idea also (just in case). You can never be to prepared and usually if you have these items readily available the trip goes smoothly, it's when you do not have them and are not prepared for mishaps that they most often happen.

Having a safe trip is of course is always preferred and it can even be fun to take your parrot for a ride as he / she can learn it is cozy and always likes to be with you anyway. Many of ours look forward to going bye bye and even know which travel cage and or kennel is theirs.

Closing thoughts: Always clean up after your parrot if you stay at a hotel as the next person with a parrot will be a lot more acceptable at a facility if you do. While on the road keep your parrot in his / her container so you are not distracted while driving. Keep it neat and safe for all!

Blatta Lateralis and How to Care for Them

When starting a colony of Blatta lateralis there are many important things you need to know, especially if you have never started a colony before. These roaches are actually taking the feeder market by storm because of the ease of caring for them. First off let’s talk about what Blatta lateralis look like. Blatta lateralis are also known as rusty reds, or Turkistan roach. These roaches are small like crickets but they do not require perfect temperature or humidity like crickets do. They also do not smell or die off quickly like crickets tend to. Male lateralis are light colored with wings, and females are dark with no wings. Lateralis are fast movers so be prepared to chase them if they do escape. The upside to them being so fast is that they are fast breeders, because they lay eggs instead of live birth allowing your colony to grow at a fast pace.

Housing your Blatta lateralis is very easy. Any container such as a glass tank or plastic container works well with lateralis since they are non-climbers. Make sure that you have plenty of egg cartons in your container so that you roaches are able to breed. Also you need to keep humidity above 40%. You can get your humidity higher my occasionally misting your container with water. A heat mat can be placed at the bottom of your container of you can place a heat lamp on top of the container to keep a high temperature. The container’s temperature should be between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. You could also use a pre heated reptile room, nocturnal light bulb with a reflector, heat tape, human heating pad, or a heat cable to keep your container at the right temperature. Make sure you always keep mold out of your colony’s container. Mold can destroy your whole colony.

Feeding your Blatta lateralis is also very easy. Lateralis will pretty much eat anything, but you need to keep in mind whatever you feed your roaches you will also be feeding your pet. Providing your roaches with a high protein diet will allow them to better feed your pets later. Dry cat food, whole grain cereal, baby cereal, fish flakes, or roach diet. You can use dry dog food but it does not have as much protein as the dry cat food. You can put their food in a small dish or in the corners of your tank. Strangely enough lateralis often take their food from the dish and move it to their hiding spots to eat. Water is also very important to the health of your roaches. Water crystals are wonderful to use because they are not messy like liquid water.

Blatta lateralis are wonderful feeder roaches especially for smaller pets such as, tarantulas, geckos, and baby bearded dragons. Any pet that you would normally feed a cricket to you can feed lateralis to. Lateralis also have soft shells so it makes it easier for your pet to digest and allows them to have a higher meat to shell ratio. It is best to allow your colony to fully grow before you start only feeding from it. Your colony should have at least 1 male to each 3 females, allowing you to feed your pets the extra male roaches. Following these tips and growing a healthy colony of Blatta lateralis will ensure that you can keep your pet healthy without spending a lot of money.

Freelander 1: Is It Really THAT Bad?

You hear a lot of horror stories about the Freelander 1 – repeated head gasket failures; complete drive trains destroyed; engines blown up… – are they really THAT bad?

The first thing to realise is that not all Freelander 1’s are made equal. Within the Freelander 1 range there are four different engines:

– the DI diesel Freelander (produced from 1997 until 2000 with a 2.0 litre Rover L-Series engine);

– the 1.8 petrol Freelander (produced from 1997 until 2006 with a 1.8 litre Rover K-Series engine);

– the TD4 diesel Freelander (produced from 2001 until 2006 with a 2.0 litre BMW M47 engine);

– the V6 petrol Freelander (produced from 2001 until 2006 with a 2.5 litre Rover KV6 engine).

The drive train for all Freelander 1’s is based on an IRD unit at the front (the equivalent of a transfer box); a viscous coupling unit in the centre of the prop shaft and a rear differential, quite clearly at the rear. Apart from some minor differences, particularly with the V6 Freelander, this drive train is the same across the range of Freelander 1’s.

So what is it that causes so many problems with the Freelander 1’s? What is it everybody seems to be complaining about?

The common faults with the Freelander 1’s can be split into three categories:

– Drive train issues;

– Engine issues;

– Electrical issues.

The Freelander 1 is a brilliant 4×4, extremely capable off road – it will give any Defender a run for it’s money – with the massive benefit of being an incredibly comfortable vehicle; no bouncing up and down hitting your head on the roof in these! However, some owners experience massive failure of the drive train, followed by an equally massive hit to the bank account to put it right. Complete destruction of the IRD and / or the rear differential. Why? Is this a fault of the Freelander 1? No. There is absolutely no problem with the Freelander 1 drive train design; nor is there a weakness in the system which causes it to fail. All of these drive train issues are caused by a failure in communication. Yes, you read correctly, a failure in communication.

There are two common causes of the unfortunately all too common drive train issues. The first is the viscous coupling unit (VCU). This innocent looking unit actually has a life span, in our experience it is approximately 70,000 miles. Because it is a sealed unit it is very difficult to test if the VCU is due to be changed and the most reliable way of protecting your drive train is to bite the bullet and change it every 70,000 miles, just as you would a timing belt. The communication problem is that it has never been included in a service schedule, as the timing belt is, and hence many owners are not aware it needs to be changed. The result? It tightens up, puts strain on the drive train and destroys, generally the IRD unit. If this change was on a service schedule the Freelander itself would not be criticized for the resulting failures.

The second drive train issue is caused by mismatched tyres. There is only a 5mm tolerance in the rolling radius of the tyres and if mismatched tyres are driven on this can destroy the rear differential in as little as 5 miles. Although the Freelander hand book does specify that all four tyres should always be replaced together, unfortunately many tyre fitters are happy to replace just two at a time – even just one if you insist! Again not the fault of the Freelander, we need those that serve us to understand the catastrophic effect of creating a mismatch by only replacing one or two tyres.

So far our Freelander is innocent. The drive train problems are caused by a lack of communication.

So now we come to the engine problems. There are four different engines, so here you have to judge each Freelander individually.

The DI diesel Freelander, with its old style diesel engine and minimal sensors, is an absolute workhorse. If this was the only engine in the Freelander range we would be out of business! No common faults here. This Freelander is definitely innocent of all charges so far.

Now we get to the 1.8 petrol Freelander. Unfortunately we do believe this is the Freelander which caused all Freelander’s to be charged with being “THAT” bad! But is it really the fault of the Freelander? The Rover 1.8 K-series engine is a magnificent piece of engineering, used extensively in racing for its incredible lightness. It did, however, have an initial design fault. The cylinder head gasket was just too flimsy for the Freelander and the use of plastic dowels did not help. This has caused pretty much every 1.8 Freelander to blow the head gasket, usually by 70,000 miles. But a solution was soon found in the form of a modified multi layer steel head gasket with steel dowels; with this fitted properly all the problems go away. So why do some owners experience multiple head gasket failures? One reason is some garages have fitted another SINGLE layer head gasket when they have done the replacement – bound to blow again! The other reason is, once a head gasket has blown there are many parts of the system which can be affected, even more so if sealing liquids have been added to the coolant (the Freelander’s hate these sealing liquids); and if all these affected areas are not addressed and rectified then further problems with the cooling system can occur, which can ultimately lead to another head gasket failure. Just putting in a new head gasket is not a total fix once a head gasket has failed. In addition using blue or green coolant, rather than red, can erode the head gasket hence causing head gasket failure. The 1.8 Freelander is guilty as charged as it does have an inherent issue at manufacture; however repeated failures are not the fault of the Freelander.

The TD4 diesel Freelander is probably the most popular of the range. This is a much more complex engine than the L-series diesel, and hence, as with any modern vehicle, does tend to have a few more issues – many of which are caused by sensors! The low pressure fuel pump has a shorter life span than would be ideal, however we would generally say there is only one major problem these engines have, which is over and above what you would expect to see from any other engine, this is the problem of the engine being suffocated and eventually being completely destroyed. What causes this? It is caused by the failure to replace the crankcase breather filter when the Freelander is serviced. Now this breather filter is on the service schedule, so we cannot blame communication this time. We generally only see this problem when the Freelander has been serviced by a generalist garage. It is evident that some generalist garages do not realise this filter exists (it is tucked away at the rear of the engine) and fail to change it. Once again, the TD4 Freelander is innocent of all charges so far.

The final Freelander up on charge is the V6 petrol Freelander. This is the one with the power. A beast of an engine which really does need a specialist and specialist tooling to fix it. This one will put a smile on your face as you drive down the road, but will it get you where you want to go? As the name implies the V6 Freelander has a six cylinder V engine. The main issue with these engines is that the thermostat is in the centre of the V – where all the heat is – and is encased in a plastic housing. This means it can be prone to leaking. In itself, changing a thermostat is not such a big deal, however, if the owner does not notice the loss of coolant this can result in head gasket failure, which on this engine is a big job. So is the Freelander V6 guilty as charged? If you check your coolant level regularly it would not be a big deal, but we admit there is an inherent issue there.

On to the final category of common faults, the electrics. In this category are the sunroof, the electric windows and the central locking doors.

The sunroof does cause a problem on the Freelander with many owners finding closing it up, taking the fuse out and pretending they never had one being a lot less stressful. The problem, however, is caused by our winters and some servicing. If the sunroof is not greased at the services and is not opened and closed regularly, the result is that it rusts and seizes. Our beloved Freelander is innocent.

Sorry Freelander, we love you to bits, but when it comes to windows and doors you are GUILTY. Be prepared for the wires to snap on the window mechanisms hopefully leaving your window up rather than down. Be ready for one or more doors to refuse to unlock / lock when you press the central locking buttons and if you have never had any of these problems you are blessed.

Before delivering your sentence on the Freelander 1 remember that all vehicles have their foibles; you are never fully aware of them until you research or own one. In addition, if you read all the forums do remember people generally go to a forum because they have a problem, you will not find many owners without problems posting there. There are forums for every vehicle, all full of owners with problems.

Personal Protective Equipment For Hot Work

When working in a high heat environment – including gas welding and cutting, electric arc welding, and carbon arcing or plasma arc cutting – you are exposed to a number of hazards, specifically:

  • Molten metal,
  • Toxic gases, fumes, and vapors
  • Harmful radiation
  • Excessive noise
  • Electrical shock
  • Fire hazards

Personal Protective Equipment is an important step in protecting against these hazards (and in most situations, is an OSHA requirement). The type of work being performed will dictate the safety gear that needs to be worn. However, there are five categories of equipment that should be considered when doing all hot work.

  • Respirators: Respirators provide protection from the inhalation of harmful gases, fumes, and vapors. Respiratory protection needs to be considered when hot work is performed in confined or enclosed spaces. Air-purifying respirators should be worn when doing hot work on surfaces containing lead, cadmium, or mercury. Supplied air respirators (air-line respirators) should be used when hot work is performed on beryllium. Respirators may also be necessary when working on surfaces covered with toxic substances, such as solvents or paints, since the high temperatures involved may vaporize these materials.
  • Eye protection: Using appropriate eye protection is important to protect your eyes from both ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation. Welding, cutting, and burning goggles which are shaded are used to protect from UV and IR radiation. To protect your face from flying materials such as slag, a face shield should be used in conjunction with goggles. Welding helmets with shaded glass viewing ports are used during carbon arc welding to protect the face, neck, and eyes from UV and IR radiation. When selecting eye protection for hot work, it is very important to ensure that the proper lens shading is used for the work performed. (And remember that anyone working or standing near the work area should also wear appropriate protective eyewear.)
  • Protective clothing: Hot work (obviously) produces heat, creating a burn risk. Protective clothing helps to reduce the chance of burns from sparks and slag. For high temperatures, the best protective clothing is leather or fire retardant garments. When wearing leather or fire retardant garments, it’s important to remember that the protection they offer will be compromised if they are soiled with oil, grease, solvents, or other flammable or combustible substances or if they are in poor condition (holes, fraying, etc.). Pants should not have cuffs. Also, if garments have open pockets, the pockets need to be Velcroed or taped shut to prevent sparks or slag from entering.
  • Foot protection: Heavy objects (metal plates, for example) and falling sparks and slag can cause foot injuries. High-top leather boots or low-top leather boots in conjunction with leather spats provide protection from sparks and slag. In order to protect toes from heavy objects that are dropped, the boots should be safety (steel-toe) boots.
  • Hand and wrist protection: Hand and wrist protection are also important PPE because high temperature tasks expose your hands to cuts and burns (both from heat and UV or IR radiation). Leather welding gloves generally provide the necessary protection during hot work. Leather gloves also provide a degree of cut resistance-an important factor when handling sheets of metal or other sharp materials. For carbon arc welding, long-cuffed leather gloves are most appropriate, and for welding, cutting, or burning, short-cuffed welding gloves. Like protective clothing, in order to provide adequate protection, leather welding gloves need to be in good repair and free from flammable and combustible materials such as oils, grease, and solvents.

Other PPE to Consider

Other PPE that should be considered depending on the task and work area including:

  • Hearing protection for environments with very loud intermittent noise or persistent loud noises.
  • Head protection (i.e., a hard hat) for work areas where there are potential overhead hazards from falling objects or materials.
  • Personal floatation devices when working in an area where there is potential for falling into the water.
  • Fall protection systems such as positioning systems or personal fall arrest systems for work performed at heights.

Archery – How to Master the Bow Like a Pro

Archery has gained much popularity over the last few years. It is gaining in prospectors count as the years move forward as well. Because of this increase in popularity, of the ancient sport, more tips, tricks, techniques and archery how to Secrets have immersed, making it mandatory for you to learn how to shoot arrows straighter, faster and with more precision than you ever thought was possible.

Not keeping up with the techniques that are being taught today would leave you standing solo with all the bows and arrows drawn, pointing directly at you. No worries though because you are going to learn how to Master your bow and shoot like a pro.

There are many ways for you to start polishing your mark, and one that I have found very helpful Is also one of The Most Comprehensive Guides To Archery. This unique, technique filled, Archery bible not only helps you to perfect and improve your skills, but it also teaches you everything you need to know about the sport of Archery. In Archery how to master your bow is a critical qualification.

Many Master’s and Pros have said in order for you to truly progress with your skills, you must first get some history behind you. In addition to gaining knowledge of the sport, you must also be familiar with the many different bows there are and what purpose they possess. When to use which bow, what will the specific bow you use help you to accomplish and what tricks and techniques can you secretly gain from them.

When learning to Master archery how to distinguish the types of bows should be second nature. Some of the bows that are most used in Archery today, include the Longbow, Recurve bow, Compound bow, Flat bow, Crossbow and Straight bow, to name a few. Each has its history, specifications and specialties that assist the Archer.

The Bow that you use and the type of arrows you have, although they do play key role, mean nothing if you cannot master your shooting form and improve your accuracy. You may have the hottest, slickest and most expensive bow out in the field, but if you can’t hit the target it is nothing but a fine piece of wood.

If you are looking for ways to minimize the errors that most archers make, strengthen your accuracy, learn the perfect shooting form and which sight would benefit you more, being it left or right, then I believe that the comprehensive archery how to guide will help you dramatically. Much so that you will begin to sense a bit of jealousy among the old timers and master archers who you come in contact with while competing.

For hundreds and hundreds of years Archery was the method of the hunt and the battle, which made man triumph. Even then you had to have a special skill that no one else had in order to claim your land or put food on the table. It even taught the sport of archery how to be selective on who is deemed worthy of mastering the game.

In our more modern world, those that master unique form and technique will out shine those that remain in the traditional sense of the game. Learn from those who are continuing to improve the sport of Archery and the target will be all yours, point blank.

Get Rid of Sinus Infections Forever – From a Nurse!

Sinus infections are diagnosed in more than 30 million US residents every year and are among the most common reasons people see their doctor. Sinus problems are usually diagnosed after taking a medical history, doing a physical exam and evaluating the signs and symptoms. However most people know they have a sinus problem or sinus infection before they ever visit their doctor. The doctor visit may follow days or even weeks of trying to cure a sinus infection.

Sinus problems are frequent among people with immune problems. Sinus infections can last for weeks or months without the right treatment and often people go through dozens of sinus solutions without any luck.

In the past sinus infections were treated with antibiotics which were prescribed for 7- 10 days in an attempt to reach the sinuses, however they are usually not prescribed anymore because it’s an established fact that most sinus infections are caused by fungi or viruses. In addition the antibiotics generally were not able to reach the deep sinus cavities. Americans have spent billions of dollars on drugs or medications that promise relief from sinus symptoms and these did not work.

Sinusitis can be acute, which is usually temporary, or chronic, which requires a more permanent solution. Sinus problems can affect breathing and produce a cough from irritating the cough reflex in the throat from sinus drainage. For people with acute or chronic sinusitis, the openings of the cavities are usually narrow and blocked.

Four sets of sinus cavities reside within your head. These are openings that drain mucous and debris out of the nasal passages. Although they are rare, complications can occur including abscess, orbital cellulitis, meningitis or osteomyelitis.

The goal of sinus treatment is to get rid of the sinus infection or sinus problem, reduce the swelling of the openings to the sinus cavities, promote good sinus drainage and prevent any serious complications.

You may get relief from an air purifier if your sinus infections are allergy-related or you live in a smoke-filled house. Put a warm, wet washcloth on your face several times a day. Try to avoid flying if you’re congested. If you have to fly take along saline nasal spray to try to keep the tissues moist. The dry air irritates the sinuses, increasing the chance of infection if you don’t have one.

Check for possible soreness over some of the sinuses by gently pressing or tapping on the cheeks and forehead although for the deeper sinus cavities this won’t work. Make sure to drink plenty of water to help thin and moisten the mucus.

Eat lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and many other nutrients that boost your immune system and help your body resist infection. Avoid the obvious – smoke, dust, fumes, aerosol sprays, pollutants and anything airborne. Sinus infections are also much more common when there is exposure to cigarette smoke.

Living with chronic sinusitis or battling occasional acute sinus infections or sinus headaches doesn’t have to be a lifetime problem. You can get rid of sinus infections without antibiotics and avoid sinus surgery. A clear understanding of how the sinuses work, knowing all you can do naturally, applying common sense and treating sinus symptoms early will help you get rid of your sinus problems for good.

An Easy Way to Extend the Life of Your Shipping Container Roof

Shipping containers have generally lived a hectic life by the time they are retired from overseas service work. Lots of shipping containers are retired following a single ocean crossing but the rest may end up journeying the high seas three to five times before hitting their golden years. It’s at this stage they are bought and begin a new career in the storage business, or they are modified into a house or small business or else they get buried and become a storm shelter. One item that’s critical for a shipping container to continue to perform in any of these areas is the condition of the container’s roof.

Shipping container roofing is simply corrugated sheet metal with a small side to side pitch to drain water. The steel is a special formulation called Cor-Ten steel that will protect itself by forming rust layer deterioration stops. If water puddles in a particular spot the roofing will continue to deteriorate and you may encounter small pin holes in the container roof. A simple Google search gives you many fixes for this problem that you can select from and I would like to add another one here for your consideration.

Along with storage containers, I have spent some time selling and leasing mobile offices. Newer mobile offices are typically made with a commercial rubber roof system but many of the older ones were constructed with a galvanized steel roof. The galvanizing was just a coating rather than hot dipped therefore it would wear out with time and like containers we would experience small pin holes in the roofing system. To repair this problem we had a great deal of success using a product called “Kool Seal.”

If you find a large tear or other kind of opening in your container roofing material during inspection you’ll need to repair that with patches or perform a complete tear off and replace the roof, but if you just have a deteriorating roof condition then look into Kool Seal reflective roof coatings. The Kool Seal Elastometric roof coating system forms a heavy rubber-like blanket of protection that protects against moisture and expands and contracts along with your roof. It remains flexible from -10F to 160F. Unlike galvanized metal roofs, after you have applied Kool Seal it’s going to last for many years, I can’t think of an occasion where I’ve had to re-coat a container that was coated in Kool Seal. Simply follow the manufactures application instructions and you’ll have a long-lasting and efficient roof system on the shipping container and you’ll seal up any small pin holes that may have formed. Kool Seal is available at many major home improvement retailers and at mobile home part retailers.

Dribbling Drills for Indoor Soccer

Dribbling Drills

Some soccer leagues play and practice exclusively indoors while others are occasionally forced inside the constraints of the gymnasium by inclement weather. Either way, there are many drills for indoor soccer that allow players to build on their skills such as dribbling, goalkeeping, and short distance passing.

These drills for indoor soccer focus mainly on dribbling, since it’s a skill that doesn’t require much physical space in order to practice. A good dribbler is not born overnight, but rather hones their skills for years by performing a series exercises daily. Try some of these drills for indoor soccer once players have a solid understanding of the foundations of dribbling in place and are ready to take their skills to the next level.

Beehive and King of the Hill

This first dribbling drill is called “Beehive”. For this drill, mark off a square that allows for approximately 1 square yard per player. If the team has 20 players, the square should be about 20 yards long and wide. Each player has a ball and starts at a random point inside the square.

At the sound of the coach’s whistle, players begin dribbling the ball around the square using proper dribbling technique for both inside and outside foot dribbling. The goal of the drill is to avoid the other players and maintain control of their ball within the confines of the square. Once players have a basic understanding of the drill, the size of the square can be decreased in order to increase the difficulty required for continued, controlled dribbling.

Next, here’s another dribbling drill performed in a 20 yard square. To begin this drill called “King of the Hill” each player has a ball except for one player who is “it”. At the sound of the coach’s whistle, players begin dribbling their balls around the square while the player who is “it” tries to kick everyone’s balls out of the grid.

There are a number of variations to this drill. Some teams play that once a ball has been kicked from the grid, that player must sit out for the remainder of the drill. Others play that once a player loses their ball, they join the side of the “it” player and attempt to knock balls from the remaining players in the square.

Attack and Protect and Shadow Dribbling

This drill, called “Attack and Protect” is like a combination of the previous two drills. It also takes place within a 20 yard square, and this time each player is given a ball that they must protect while simultaneously trying to kick the ball away from the other players in the square. Once a player’s ball has exited the square three times, they are out of the drill.

“Shadow Dribbling” is a good drill for teaching players to keep their heads up while engaging in controlled dribbling. Divide the team into pairs, and give each player a ball. One from each pair will begin as the leader while the other is the follower.

The leader begins dribbling the ball while the follower follows the leader, also dribbling the ball. Encourage the leaders to change direction, pace and technique frequently. After a few minutes, have the players switch positions and repeat the exercise.

What To Do When A Picture Doesn’t Fit A Picture Frame

Custom picture framers make frames to fit all sizes of pictures but what can you do when you have a frame that doesn’t fit your picture?

People often end up with a frame that doesn’t quite fit the picture they have. This can be because they have bought a cheap frame that is just a little bit bigger or smaller than the picture they have. Sometimes it can be when you are recycling or reusing a frame that was made to fit a different sized picture. Whatever the reason there are a few solutions to fix the problem.

The two easiest solutions, if the frame is larger than the picture being framed, is to either break and cut down the frame to fit or insert a mat border to bridge the difference between the picture and the frame.

If the picture being framed requires glass and when the wrong size frame already had glass that fits the frame, the best solution is often to cut a mat border to make the picture fit the frame rather than to cut both the frame down as well as the glass. When the picture doesn’t require glass because it is an oil or acrylic or some other item to be exposed then it may be best to cut down the frame to fit the picture.

Breaking and cutting down the frame is fraught with risks.

If the frame is timber it is a safer option to break the frame and rejoin it than if it is a synthetic molding. Synthetic frames tend to come apart poorly and will often fracture and chip away at the miter joint.

When breaking a timber frame that has been glued and V nailed or V pinned you should first break the glue join by either forcing the joint apart by twisting or on occasion it may require a sudden forceful pop by tapping the corner on a firm surface perpendicular to the joint. If you are cutting the frame down by more than a few inches or any amount greater than the width of the V nails you can just roughly cut through the frame with a hand saw to get it into separate pieces and then re-cut the frame with a new miter making it the correct length. It is then a simple procedure to join the frame again and re-assemble the picture.

The other option of cutting a mat board to bridge the gap between the picture and the frame is a simpler process. Just calculate the difference between the frame and the picture and work out the widths of matting required to make the picture fit the frame. After you cut the matting, the picture can be hinged to the border and refitted to the existing frame.

In some instances the frame is smaller than the picture and this presents another set of challenges.

When the picture is just a photo or print a decision can be made to trim the picture down to fit the frame. If the picture has either monetary or sentimental value trimming it may not be an option and you should seek professional advice about making a new frame for the picture.

If the picture is a print or photograph on paper or mounted to a flat backing board you can accurately measure and mark where you need to cut the picture down and then trim it using a sharp craft knife and a straight edge. A normal picture frame rebate is usually cut with a small allowance of 2mm to make fitting the glass, picture and backing easy. When you are measuring the picture make sure you cut it smaller than the tight rebate size to a allow for the expansion and contraction of the paper over time. It is always advisable to place the straight edge over the picture aligning it with the inside of the line you want to cut along. That way if you slip with the knife the picture is protected and you will cut into the waste section. Trim the picture in several passes gradually cutting through the board or paper.

If the picture you are framing is a stretched canvas and the frame is smaller than the painting you have three options to consider. You could remove the canvas from the stretcher and then cut the stretcher frame down to fit the outer frame and then re-stretch the painting. Another alternative that could be used if the frame is only slightly smaller than the painting is to make the rebate in the frame larger. To make the rebate larger you can use a router but a quick method for small adjustments is to trim the rebate out with a craft knife. Make two cuts with the craft knife, one parallel to the face of the frame using the existing rebate as a guide and then cut down at 90 degrees from the back of the frame. This requires several cuts gradually working down and cutting out a small rectangular section to make the rebate wider. This is a simple technique when the timber is soft but can be difficult when it is hardwood. The third option is to make a new frame the right size.

Sometimes the cost saving of buying a cheap ready-made picture frame, that is nearly the right size, is easily diminished by the added expenses of trimming, mat cutting or re-stretching as outlined above.

How to Estimate the Cost of Building a New Home

This will serve as a help guide by providing some tips and techniques for estimating the cost of building a new home. As an expert residential estimator there are many things to consider before you begin estimating.

Construction estimating can be difficult and it does require a high level of accuracy and detail. It also requires good math skills and a little geometry knowledge. It requires the ability to read and understand construction drawings and details and how they are applied. Basic construction knowledge helps and being familiar with the local building codes.

You may want to enroll in a construction estimating course at the local college or technical school. Another option is to purchase an estimating manual from your local bookstore or go to estimating.org which offers online courses and has a bookstore.

One of the rules that I have learned along the way is the old saying, “measure twice cut once.” Whenever I do a takeoff or an estimate I always follow this rule in order to help minimize mistakes.

What will you need to put an estimate together?

You will need a notepad, a calculator, an architectural scale, and an engineering scale. These are the basic tools you need to put an estimate together.

Architectural & Structural Drawings

Now you are ready to open the plans and begin to review them. The easiest thing to do is look them over and get a feel for the basic building concept. You should get familiar with the information that is contained on each sheet.

Most construction projects have a set of architectural drawings and a set of structural drawings. I will explain the difference between the two.

It is important that the plans are to scale and have all the required details and wall sections needed to properly estimate from.

What is typically included in a complete set of architectural plans? The drawings at a minimum need to contain the following sheets: a title/cover sheet, a site plan, a floor plan, a foundation plan, four elevations, a roof plan, an electrical plan, a sheet with a typical wall section, a sheet with the window and door schedules, and a sheet with the necessary building and architectural details.

The structural drawings are drawn by a structural engineer, not the architect, unless the architectural firm has an in-house engineer. Any interior shear wall or bearing wall is detailed on these drawings.

The engineer calculates all the uplift and bearing loads of the roof trusses on all the interior and exterior. After doing the calculations they determine which walls are shear or bearing or both and what is required to properly support those uplift and or bearing loads. The engineer will put a structural note on any wall that is bearing or shear. The note will indicate the sheet number and detail number illustrating how that wall needs to be built.

A load bearing wall for example could have a thickened concrete footer with two pieces of steel and the wall above it may need to be framed out of southern yellow pine versus spruce with special metal hardware. These should be highlighted on the plan so they will not be overlooked. Sometimes the hardware called out by the engineer is a special order and can take several weeks to get. So if you wait until the framing package needs to ordered and there are a two or three shear walls with special order hardware it could delay the construction.

You need to make enough copies of the architectural and structural plans for multiple subcontractors and suppliers bidding the job. To save you money, ask your architect and engineer to convert the drawing files to a PDF file. This will save you time as well and make it convenient because you can email them to as many subcontractors and vendors as you like.

Specifications

A list of product specifications must be provided so all the subcontractor and vendors are bidding apples to apples. This is a list detailing all the products and finishes you want in your new home. It does not make sense to send the plans out to bid without a set of specifications. Without this, the bids you receive will not be apples to apples. Then you will need to have them all rebid the project. It wastes a lot of time and creates a lot of unnecessary work for the subcontractors. Remember these guys do not need practice bidding and some of them may not submit a bid without a set of specifications included. Therefore, everything from paint colors to the floor finishes need to be selected. They need to be listed on the plan or on a separate document.

Doing the Takeoffs

It is too technical to put in a written guide how to quantify the concrete, masonry, lumber, and shingles just to name a few. For example let’s assume you need to quantify the masonry block on a single story block home. You have to know how the wall is assembled which includes the ability to visualize and understand construction methods. If the exterior walls have multiple heights, a regular block (8x8x16) needs to be added and a lintel block needs to be deducted in each location where the plate heights change. If some of the walls are on a 45 degree angle you need to be able to know whether to estimate an angle block or butterfly block. The door and window openings need a certain quantity of regular blocks deducted plus a half block every other course on each side of each opening. You could have too much of one size block and either not enough or some units not accounted for at all. These inaccuracies will throw off your budget and cost you time and money. This ability and knowledge can not come from a book but through hands on experience combined with years of estimating experience.

If you decide to quantify the materials yourself I suggest you refer to Walker’s Building Estimator’s Reference Book, frankrwalker.com which has instructions on how to estimate the quantities of concrete, masonry, lumber, drywall, etc. It is considered the bible for construction estimators and it is one of required books included in the study guide for most state contractor’s exam. Just keep in mind that these reference books do not have tips and tricks as well as real world experience as explained above.

You can employ the help of your subcontractors bidding the work or your suppliers. You may pay more for their product or service or you can hire us. Either way you are paying for someone to review the plans and quantify what is needed to build the project.

If you have your lumber yard quantify the material remember he is trying to win the job so he may provide a takeoff that is too tight. This does not benefit you if you have to keep reordering more lumber. The obvious answer to this is to have your framer put together the lumber list for you. Well that does not work either because he will over order so he does not run out of material and have to make additional trips to finish. They want to finish as fast as possible so it can get inspected and they can get paid. The bottom line is neither are working in your best interest.

I recommend you do not attempt to quantify the materials yourself. I have outlined valid reasons why. It is very technical and requires someone with years of estimating experience combined with hands on field experience.

Soliciting Bids

This part of preparing an estimate can be done by most anyone. I suggest you contact your local builder’s association to get subcontractor referrals or use Angie’s List, angieslist.com which prescreens contractors as well

You may have heard the term RFQ – Request for Quote. You want to solicit at least contractors. Most people will say three bids, so why do I recommend five bids? Let’s say you contact five contractors and all five contractors bid the project. You got to figure one will be the high bid and one will be the low bid. So those should be set to the side because chances are the low bid is probably missing something and the high bid is priced too high. The remaining three bids should be reviewed thoroughly to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

When you contact all the subcontractors that you want to bid your project be sure to give them a bid due date. That way you do not have to chase them. Give them a reasonable amount of time to review the plans and specifications, typically a week or two.

Analyzing the Bids

First organize all your bids by trade, such as putting all your electrical bids together. A three ring binder with dividers and tabbed with each category is a good way to organize all the bids.

Once you receive the bids you need to read them carefully and review them against the plans and specifications. They should have the project information and the date. They need to be detailed and itemized. The cabinet bid should not say “cabinets”. Instead it should list and quantify all the cabinets by finish, style, size, and location, example 15 lnft of 42″ oak raised panel kitchen cabinets, 1/ea 60″ melamine master bath cabinet, 1/ea 36″ melamine hall bath cabinet, etc. If it does not include the countertops it should state that so there is no misrepresentation.

When a proposal needs to be revised, make sure it states the revision date or states “revised”. That way when you compile the bids and you need to refer back to them you will be looking at the latest one.

The proposals should also indicate workmanship and warranty. All this is important, especially if the contractor does not perform and mediation or worse litigation is required.

How to Negotiate the Best Price

Once you determine the three competitive bids the hard part is negotiating with the contractors. You have to assume that all the quotes will be inflated with the understanding you will negotiate less. Therefore, you need to get them down as low as you can to the real number. I always ask my subcontractors and vendors if the bid is negotiable. Remember it never hurts to ask, the worse they can say is no. And if they say yes, then I ask them what is the maximum they can cut their bid. They normally respond with, “how much do I need to cut it to get the job” and again I put it back on them by saying, “the maximum you can cut your price”. Never name a price first! You should already have a budget of what you can afford to spend on each item. You never know whether or not they would be willing to do it for less than that.

Once they lower their bids and you determine the low bidder you need to compare warranty, workmanship, and references. Price is important, but if they can not finish the job the price does not mean anything. You definitely need to check both project references and credit references. The bottom line is you want the best contractor for the least amount of money.

Preparing an Estimate

Once you have awarded the job to each subcontractor you will want to prepare an estimate. I recommend using Microsoft Excel to organize your estimate. It is the easiest and mostly widely used spreadsheet application, especially in construction.

It helps organize your estimate. You can use a separate worksheet for each trade within the Excel workbook. You can enter all the material lists and bid amounts you receive. You can track the job to make sure you are on budget. You can email your local suppliers your material lists so they can enter their unit prices and they can email it back to you.

One of the sheets needs to be the estimate summary which has the total cost for each phase or trade. It should include your preconstruction costs and direct construction costs.

It should have the estimate total at the bottom.

There are endless possibilities you can do with Excel and the level of detail is up to you.

We have for sale blank estimates that are in Excel. These are templates that we use which can help you calculate some of the material quantities and can also be used to prepare your estimate. They contain prebuilt formulas for calculating concrete, steel, masonry, and lumber. All you need to do is enter counts and lengths where indicated and the quantities are calculated for you. Contact us to send you a sample template.

Conclusion

I hope this has provided you will some good information on how to prepare an estimate if you are building a new home. We are available to answer any questions you may have. We can help you put together an estimate for any type of construction project, big or small, residential or commercial.

What Are the Advantages in Using Bulletin Board?

The actual bulletin board is surely a revolutionized form of the typical chalk boards. This board is a great enhancement to the traditional chalk boards and it also in fact proved helpful pretty well. The board’s roles tend to be wrapping in many ways when it comes to utility. It provides several useful potential since it could be transformed into different planks and acts diverse intent. Most of these bulletin boards may be become other stuff besides for just writing purposes like the regular black boards. One of which is the fact that it might be apply as being a magnetic aboard by which it doesn’t need to have a lot of those marker pens. All you need to have is actually a magnetic pin and you are ready to utilize the board which makes it more convenient.

You can conveniently write on these bulletin boards without any mess not like when you are using chalks. Marker pens are trouble-free to use at. In chalk boards also, they have a tendency to be difficult to erase completely not like in bulletin board which is very easy to erase to, only if the marker pens that you are currently using are not the permanent ones. With a piece of used towel or an ordinary board eraser, without any difficulty you can simply remove the writings on the board by applying an effortless swipe on the surface of the board. A simple swoosh can get the work done minus all the sweats, extra energy as well as the harmful airborne debris.

The figure of the bulletin board is a lot sleeker than that of the chalk boards that makes the board more appealing to the viewers and looks very inviting to use at. Also, they are very convenient to use even for the little ones. When these bulletin boards will be used as magnetic boards, you can then use magnetized visual aids for reporting, teaching and even just for posting messages. You can also put calendar using magnets and stick it out on the board. Strangely, it can also helped student to feel like they are part of the class even more when they post on these boards. That’s the reason why most teachers used this kind of boards to encourage their student and make them feel they belong to something special.

The value of bulletin board is truly in great arrays that can commence from being a substitute of a chalk board which only limits to writing, and to being bulletin boards which can be both entertaining and multi-functional. It can be very advantageous for an individual to choose these kinds of boards than using a chalk boards. It is an extremely useful tool that anyone can be beneficiaries and it is difficult to take no notice of its efficiency. It has become a must have in almost all institutions. These boards are found to be more practical to use and have around in offices or even inside your home because of its various roles it could perform. It is like an organizer but more fitting and suitable to keep track of one’s schedule.

Top 10 Qualities of Gay Super-Couples

Introduction

So what makes a healthy and lasting long-term gay relationship successful? Our society certainly doesn’t make it easy for us as gay men to date and mate with all the homophobia and discrimination that exists. Though this is slowly starting to change in many parts of the world, man-to-man love continues to be stigmatized and this backdrop of cultural oppression and hatred can put a strain on a gay couple’s budding relationship that many heterosexual pairs may take for granted. As a gay community, we lack adequate and visible positive role models of gay couples that provide hope for lasting relationship success. As men, we’ve been conditioned to define our masculinity in rigid and narrow ways as part of the socialization process growing up and this can create conflict when pairing up two individuals of the same gender looking for intimacy and emotional connection. And then we have our own layers of discrimination and pressure in our own gay community that at times can leave gay couples feeling unsupported and uninspired to achieve relationship longevity in the one place they thought they’d be safe-among their own.

While the odds do seem to be stacked against us in the fight for the dream of claiming our rightful husband with the accompanying house, white picket fence, and prideful rainbow flag securely attached to the front porch, they don’t have to be obstacles to our success. Having to face so much adversity has actually enabled many of us to be quite resilient in the face of stress and makes us good candidates for partnerships with the right focus and determination. There are many gay men in long-term relationships who can vouch for their fulfillment of this dream and speak of happiness and bliss in their coupled status. But what are the ingredients that make a healthy gay relationship?

Characteristics of Successful Gay Couples

There is no specific blueprint or formula for how to maintain a lasting and successful relationship. One of the beauties of being gay is that we can create our own definitions of what constitutes an ideal relationship for ourselves as we are not hampered down by restrictive gender roles and norms like our heterosexual counterparts. Each couple develops their own unique partnership that works for them. That being said, there are some universal qualities that can promote a more solid and functional relationship over the long haul for partners seeking long-term connection and happiness.

Successful gay couples can exhibit some of the following…

1. They share compatible interests and philosophies of life.

It’s important that partners have similar interests and hobbies to share in common to build experiences with together, but it’s also essential to have some differences as well to complement each other. This helps to keep the mystery and intrigue alive in the relationship that exists with contrast. Who wants to have an exact replica of themselves that they interact with on a daily basis?! Boring! What is absolutely critical, however, is that both partners will have a smoother and more fulfilling relationship if they share comparable value systems. This forms the foundation of what the couple believes in and is the diving board from which they co-create a vision for their future together as a united front and alliance for life.

2. They openly communicate with each other and stay engaged in each other’s lives.

This involves direct and honest dialogue about the mundane aspects of life to the serious thoughts and feelings that get triggered as a part of relationship dynamics. The partners create a climate in their home where each feels safe and comfortable sharing vulnerable aspects of themselves with each other and are attuned to each other’s needs. Listening skills are primed and each feels like an active participant in the relationship. Issues are not swept under the rug and are dealt with immediately in an assertive and caring way.

3. They manage conflict productively.

Healthy gay couples recognize that conflict is an inevitable and normal part of a relationship, seeing these “rough spots” as opportunities for growth and positive change in their partnership. They deal with their anger in constructive ways, avoid hurtful comments and assigning of blame, and take the time to understand and validate each other’s points of views before initiating collaborative problem-solving to try and reach a win/win solution. They are open to compromise and sacrifice and always keep a teamwork stance in negotiating their differences.

4. They have a balanced lifestyle comprised of both individual and couple identities.

In relationships it’s important to have time devoted to nourishing the relationship and also to focus on individual interests and pursuits. Too much “couple identity” causes both partners to feel suffocated. Too much “individual identity” creates a feeling of being disconnected and living as roommates. Striking a positive balance of both brings in just enough freshness and vitality to the relationship where boundaries are strong and healthy. Each partner feels supported by the other for striving for their own personal growth and goals without feeling threatened because the relationship vision is also being attended to simultaneously.

5. They have fun with life and try not to take things so seriously.

Life can be stressful, so why add to the tension with a hardened demeanor? Successful couples are those that are playful with each other, enjoy a humorous banter between the two of them, and feel energized by such things as tickling, cracking jokes, pulling pranks on each other, and being perverted with each other. All things are done in a loving way and this approach to their interactivity creates an atmosphere of laughter and celebration for being in each other’s lives.

6. They enjoy a sensual and sexual camaraderie that helps them to meet their erotic potential.

The happiest couples tend to report enjoying nonsexual affection in their daily lives through spontaneous touch, verbal strokes, holding hands, cuddling, and massage. They also understand the importance of maintaining a passionate sexual connection through regular pleasuring sessions and keeping their erotic lives energetic and enjoyable. Even for those couples in “open relationships”, the sexual relationship with their partner remains an important component of intimacy for them and they find ways to meet each other’s needs, even when one isn’t necessarily in the mood.

7. They have a supportive network of family and friends who honor their relationship.>

Having the backing and encouragement of loved ones can be a great impetus for reinforcing a gay couple’s commitment. Surrounding themselves with positive and affirming people can be a great boost.

8. They are comfortable with their sexuality and not afraid to show it.

Sexual identity struggles and internalized homophobia can really drag a relationship down unless both men tend to be in the same boat with their levels of outness. Confident and successful gay couples are comfortable being in relationship with each other no matter the setting or public domain. Whether it’s trying out a mattress at the local bedding store or attending a social function in a mixed-orientation crowd, these couples feel secure enough in their identities and relationship to combat any potential homophobia they may face by proudly being themselves. Being able to be free and uninhibited is a truly liberating feeling for a gay couple.

9. They possess the following in their partnership: trust, commitment, honesty, openness, flexibility, loyalty, dedication and devotion, quality time, sensitivity, nonjudgmental attitudes, loving and unafraid to express their feelings and passionate side, etc.

These are obvious hallmark characteristics that typify a healthy relationship, but gay men in particular are vulnerable to power struggles, competition, and issues surrounding intimacy and closeness due to male socialization in their man-to-man relationships. Successful couples are aware of these pitfalls and work hard to embrace a holistic masculinity that counters the stereotypes they’ve been engrained with.

10. They place a high premium on their lives together and are focused on not taking each other for granted.

Successful gay couples realize that the busyness of life can very easily put their relationship on the back shelf, but they don’t let it! They ensure that they devote quality time together, schedule special “date nights” with each other, and are attentive to each other’s needs. They make sure they are diligently working toward their shared relationship vision, validate their partner in the ways he likes it most, and make sure to show through words and actions how much they appreciate their guy being in their lives.

Conclusion

So how did you and your partner do? These are only some of the qualities that comprise a healthy gay relationship and it’s up to you and your man to define the parameters of what that would look and feel like for your unique relationship. Use these tips as a springboard to discuss how things are going in your relationship to gauge your strengths and areas for growth and craft an action plan to make things even better between the two of you.

© 2009 Brian L. Rzepczynski

Make a Small Room Look Larger With Art Wall Decals

If you have a small place there is no reason to stare at plain white walls. Decorating the walls in a smaller living space is often challenging but makes all the difference when creating a cozy space. No matter how small the room is, if it is warm and inviting, it will make friends and family feel right at home. Here are a few tips to make a room look larger with art wall decals.

Choose the right pattern or theme to create the illusion of a bigger space. There are literally a multitude of themes and designs to choose from when decorating the walls in your place. Choose light-colored backgrounds that match with colors in your decals to coordinate the room colors. For example, nature designs with earth colors of green and brown would look good on a wall painted in tan or butterscotch. Match accessory colors to accent colors in the design to complete the look.

Keep the space open by careful furniture placement. Placing furniture in an open design makes a room look bigger. A simple couch and chair in a matching solid color with an accent rug or small table makes a cozy living area for sitting and relaxing with friends.

Choose a pattern or design of art wall decals to match the color and furnishings of the room. Some people like a nature theme with trees and or a modern Art Deco look with odd shapes or bold designs. Large patterns are fine with minimal furnishings and can become the focal point of the room. Place a couple of lovely decorative mirrors where they will reflect the wall scenes to make it appear as if the scene continues into another room adding to the illusion of more space.

Additional decorating tips:

Let functional spaces do double duty if possible. A bookshelf placed in a corner can double as a place to store small trinkets and knick-knacks without cluttering up the space. The right light fixtures can add depth to a room when placed close to a mirror or other reflective surface, the brighter the light the larger the room looks.

Reasons to decorate with decals:

· Decals are not only stylish and attractive, but create a look that is all your own.

· Economical way to decorate because the designs can be removed when you decide it’s time for a change.

· Create a focal point to draw attention away from problem areas such as uneven walls or oddly-shaped corners.

Wall decorations such as decals, stickers or stencils make a space unique and express the owner’s personal style. They are suitable for just about any room in your home, from bedroom to kitchen; decals are a great way to decorate the way you like. Even if your landlord will not let you paint, there is no reason to have boring white walls when art wall decals are so easy to use and remove when you move to a new place.