Four Strategies to Buy Rentals With No Down Payment

This tends to be a pretty controversial subject, and for good reason. When I was getting started in the business, I was young and broke and had no credit to speak of. I was not qualified to borrow money, yet I figured out how to buy properties, and I bought a lot of them. It was not long before I became a full time real estate investor, and on paper, I was a millionaire long before my 30th birthday. I accomplished this with a lot of hard work, education and tolerance to take the risk.

With all this said, just because you don’t need money to buy houses, does not mean you should have no money. I am a big, big believer in this. You see, although I was a millionaire at a young age, I basically lost it all when the market shifted. I was too aggressive with my growth, and did not establish an appropriate amount of reserves. After starting over, I structured things differently and am in a good position to not only survive a down turn, but to thrive in it. In this article, I will briefly walk through 4 ways to buy rentals with nothing out of pocket, but want you to understand that this does not mean you should own rentals with no reserves.

Owner Finance: This could mean many things, but for the purposes of this article I am going to assume that the seller of the home is extremely motivated and is willing to basically sell the house just to get away from the mortgage payments. This is commonly referred to as a subject-to transaction because you, as the buyer, will take title subject-to any other liens that are in place. What this means is you get ownership of the house, but the seller is still on the hook for the loan. You as the buyer will agree to either pay off the loan or make payments on the loan on their behalf. If you don’t, the lender can foreclose and wipe you off of title.

The seller is taking a tremendous amount of risk with this type of transaction, so it is difficult to negotiate and they need to be extremely motivated. It works well for you because you don’t need down payments or to qualify for a loan. It works for them because they have someone else making the payments on their loan, which relieves them of the payment pressure, and potentially can improve their credit. As you become more experienced, this is a strategy you will want to look into. This allows you to purchase an unlimited number of cash flowing properties without ever needing to qualify or sign for a loan.

Lease Options: This is the strategy that really worked for me when I was just getting started. I like it a lot because it is easy to explain to the seller and it is not difficult to get them comfortable with it. They still need to be motivated to want to do this, but nothing like the subject-to transactions.

The way this works is you negotiate with a seller of a home to lease the property for a set period of time. I would typically negotiate 10 years on these, but it can be anything you are comfortable with. The rent amount will be set. From there you agree on a price to buy the property for sometime during the lease term. The price is typically locked in close to today’s value. You then sublease the property, hopefully for more than your rent payment, and wait for the value to increase. If the value does not increase, which has happened to me, you can either re-negotiate the deal or let the property go. You have no obligation to buy, so you are not taking the risk of market fluctuation. If and when the value does increase you have several options: You can sell your option, exercise your option and resell the house for your profit, or just exercise the option and keep the property in your portfolio.

Bridge Loans: The idea here is to find a property that needs a lot of work that will make a good rental. You need to negotiate a price were you can buy it, fix it, and roll in all closing costs, and still be at or below 70% of the after repaired value (ARV). This does not work well unless the property needs to be repaired. This is very different than the first two strategies discussed, and is commonly used with bank owned foreclosures. Although, anytime you can negotiate a great deal will work.

After you purchase the home, you want to get it repaired and get a tenant in place as quickly as possible. You then refinance the loan into your permanent rental property loan. There are some additional details for this to work that are beyond the scope of this article.

Partners: At the time the market was collapsing around me, there were tremendous buying opportunities everywhere. Using the Bridge loan strategy, I was able to pick up a handful of deals that I still have today. I did not qualify for loans, so I brought in a partner to sign on the debt for me, and I shared the deal with him 50/50. Neither one of us put money down, and the properties all cash flow, net of vacancies and maintenance, a minimum of $300 a month. There has also been a tremendous amount of appreciation over the years. The houses have more than doubled in value!

No matter what your strategy in real estate, partners can help you reach your potential. They can provide anything that you are lacking to get deals closed. I have a great deal of respect for partnerships because I think they are necessary, but I also think they can be the worst decision ever made.

Deep Diving – The Gas Is Only a Tool

Many experienced scuba divers eventually want to go deeper, and maybe even technical diving. Deep diving has so much to explore. There is a constant debate on what gas to use for some technical dives. Some will say deep air is unsafe. Others say the cost of the helium for trimix does not justify the slightly added risk. Who is correct?

By adding Helium to an air or nitrox mix decreases the amount of nitrogen in the gas. Therefore, less narcosis and decompression sickness (DCS) risk.

Helium is expensive for most divers. You could pay as much as $200, or more, to fill a set of doubles. This is something hard to sleep on for some divers. Diving has not been only a rich man’s sport. Many of the original pioneers were average wage earners.

Trimix adds a safety margin to diving deep that is worth considering. Experience divers can figure out the narcosis level where they are the most comfortable at depth. With gas mixing software, they can mix a tank to get the helium/oxygen/nitrogen mix to meet this level. They call this the Equivalent Narcotic Depth (END).

For example, you’re most comfortable with the narcosis level from nitrogen at 80′. You are planning a dive to 180′. You can blend a trimix mix to have the similar narcosis feeling from nitrogen if you were at 80 feet while at the depth of 180′. Nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness (DCS) risk factors are greatly reduced. This definitely makes the dive safer and more enjoyable.

Why would someone not want to dive trimix? This is a very good question.

  1. The cost of helium could prohibit people from diving deeper. There is so much to be explored by every diver.
  2. Logistically, some local environments do not reach depths that become risky where trimix becomes a requirement.
  3. With experienced divers, the added risk is marginal and is calculated. Honing your skills makes deep air diving tolerable and safe.

For example, Midwest shipwreck divers have to bring a shovel with them to get to 100′, or in some cases 130′. The dive profiles for these depths are more of a multi-level dive. Unless someone is on a project of some type, they are not consistently at the maximum depth, working hard, for any extended period of time. There are exceptions to the rule, here. I’m just speaking in general terms that it is a non-issue.

Most technical divers always practice and hone their skills to be better and sharper as a diver. Deep dives require practice to become proficient. The more you practice, the easier deep diving will become.

Using any gas as a technical diver is just a tool in the toolbox.

In order to build a house, you will need a hammer. Picking a hammer to use will be determined by the task at hand. Through preparation, logistics and experience, you can figure out which hammer to use for the job.

Technical diving is no different. There is nothing wrong with diving deep on air. This is if you do the required preparation, logistics and have the required experience. Deep air is just another tool in the toolbox.

Create a Stunning Master Bathroom

If you are planning to remodel your master bathroom, make a thorough inventory of your bathroom's layout and decor. From there you can determine your budget, whether you need to add more space, relocate a wall or small addition, and what items to replace, tub, shower, vanity, countertops, etc. Your master bathroom could have starved for natural light as well. Adding 2'x 2'or 2'x 4 'skylights and a few 1' x1 'bullet windows can make a world of difference.

If you have decided to renovate your entourage master bathroom, then your shower is a good beginning. Enhance your master shower by adding some custom features like dual temperature controls, body sprays, a rain dome or a steamer can turn your master shower into your own private spa. Once you have experienced these features in your shower you will find it to be a wonderful way to begin and end every day.

When you are researching for new master shower fixtures, try to find some of the less expensive brands on the market, such as Moen & Delta, they will offer you the same benefits as the more expensive brands and allow you to budget for additional items you May want, such as a frameless shower enclosure with a pivot transom.

Consider incorporating some convenient features in your shower, like installing a bench, built-in shampoo niches and tiling the ceiling to giving your shower a finished, custom look. The use of glass block as a partition wall is a great way to add natural light and privacy to your shower, as well as giving your master a touch of sophistication

When selecting a new decor for your master bathroom, tile selections for your bathroom floor can be your biggest challenge. There are many different types, styles and sizes, so choose your colors, patterns, as well as your grout color that will create a smooth transition through your entire bathroom. If your master bathroom is tight on space or narrow, consider rectangular or elongated diamond shapes, running the length of the room, will give you a stunning design, and keep your bathroom from looking too busy.

Travertine, polished limestone and marble are still a very popular tile because of their soft and neutral tones. Arranged in a rectangular, square, or brick pattern and a tight grout line, is a very attractive style you may want to consider. Give your master bathroom a little pizzazz by adding small polished stones, mosaic or glass tile as an accent. Creating medallions, using different shades or finishes is an excellent way to bring your cabinet, countertop and paint colors together. A tile wainscot is also becoming very popular with many homeowners, incorporating your floor designs onto your walls and carrying that pattern through your shower walls, tub surround & deck.

Be sure to finalize your tile design by arranging your patterns, including your grout color and width, on the bathroom floor and shower area. This will give you a good visualization of your project, determine where the short "cuts" in your tile will be, and allow you time to consider any changes you may want to make. Remember to seal your new grout and upgrade your shower floor pan and walls with the latest "water proof" underlayment and sub-strait systems. This will insure against leaking and provide a lasting job for years to come.

If you are considering updating your tub, many manufactures are offering new and exciting products. You can replace your outdated built-in garden tub with a more efficient and modern design such as the ones offered by Moen or Jacuzzi. A new tub style may also allow you to redesign your tub deck, creating a more spacious feel in your master bathroom. A claw foot soaker is another great option, eliminating the need for a tub deck altar, and giving your bathroom a roomy, elegant decor.

Your vanity and countertop is also a very important feature of your master bathroom. With many different combinations, it allows you to showcase your vanity as a beautiful enhancement to your bathroom's decor. You can maximize your wall space with a traditional built-in and dressing table combination, or vanities separated by a linen cabinet, (doors below & open shelves above) will give you a, his and hers look, as well as offering you additional storage And countless decorating ideas. Many home owners are stepping away from the norm and looking towards traditional or antique furniture to convert into vanities. If your counter space permits, tall & slender glass front cologne cabinets on top of the counter will create a wonderful custom look.

Compliment the look of your vanity with a marble, engineered quartz or unmistakable granite countertop. Add a little flair with a custom chiseled or wide bull nose edge. Finalize your design with a unique vessel or porcelain sink and reduced version of your tile design as your backsplash. Make sure to select your sinks and faucets at the same time, this will ensure each will work beautifully together on your new countertop.

Complete your remodeling project with new lighting. Recessed lights placed around the perimeter in a soffit, and a few wall sconces separating your portrait mirrors, you will have created a stunning master bathroom.

Part Time Money Making Opportunities Are All Around You

For most people making ends meet is a constant battle caused by their wants over needs. If you find yourself always struggling financially you have one of two choices; Either lessen your expenses, or increase your income.

Lessen your expenses is not as difficult as many people think and can be easily done by tracking your expenses and on a regular basis evaluating their necessity. Making extra money, while maintaining your current job, is also not difficult.

With some ingenuity, and a well thought out plan, you can enjoy the benefits of an extra income. Getting a part-time job is the most obvious way to make extra money. Retailers, fast food restaurants and call centers are always looking for evening and weekend part-time help. If you are looking for a way to earn extra money that is time flexible, enjoyable, with unlimited income potential, plus the benefits of tax write offs then give some serious thought to starting your own part-time business.

Starting your own business does not mean a large capital outlay, or requires long hours. Advertising / marketing your business can easily be done for little to no cost through flyers, a website (Internet), Craiglist, word of mouth. Think of your new side business as your hobby and you will find enjoyment while creating an additional income. Who knows, your side business may one day grow into a fulltime business.

How easy is it really to begin a new business that will not intrude on your current job? Keep your business simple, and most importantly in line with something you enjoy, and you can start the following businesses tomorrow:

1. Lawn care and snow removal. Remember when teenagers would mow the neighbor's lawn, or shovel their driveway and sidewalk, for a few bucks? You, like I was, may have been such a teenager. Whatever happened to such simple entrepreneurship? Mowing lawns hide me fit, cave me a great tan and money. Distribute flyers advertising your services to your immediate neighbors, or approach them directly (seniors and busy executables are your best bets). The best thing about a lawn care service is that you can mow lawns after work or on weekends. You will be getting exercise while earning money. Snow removal, on the other hand is not as flexible since your customers will want the driveway and sidewalk cleared immediately after a snowfall, which is something you will need to consider, especially if you live in Minnesota or Buffalo, New York.

2. Collect and resell golf balls. Nobody knows with any semblance of accuracy how many golf balls are lost annually. Given the how the number of golfers has grown exponentially over the last decade estimating in the millions would be conservative. Purchase a good ball retriever, which should be solid, easy to use and light, then start taking strolls along your local golf courses. Typically balls are lost along fines where the grass is overgrown, in deep grass off fairways (the most common error is slicing and most golfers are right handed, so check the grass right of the fairway) and water hazards. You can sell your golf balls on the side of the road leading to a golf course, or to the pro shops, though you will get less than the 50 ¢ per ball you would get at the side of the road. Stroll golf courses after work and sell your finds on Saturday mornings.

3. Pet sitter. If you have a way with animals then looking after your neighbors pet (s) during their absence can bring in extra money. Your services will be welcomed since most pet owners dread placing Fido or Tiger in a kennel while the family enjoys Epcot Center. On your part the only effort required is to stop by your client's home on the way to work and after work, making sure there's food and water and to walk Fido.

4. House sitter. Along the lines of being a pet sitter why not offer a house sitting service? You basically make the house look occupied during the owner's absence. Bring in mail, turn on and off a few lights, mow the lawn, water the plants … that kind of stuff, all which can be done outside your regular job.

5. Teach a course. Chances are you are an expert at something. It could be you are World War II buff, your houseplants and garden flourish under your care, you have an ever expanding wine collection, you are a financial planner, your co-workers always come to you for help with creating an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint Presentation. Why not offer to teach what you know? You could teach at the local college, library, Legion Hall, YMCA, church, or if you are comfortable doing so in your home. Offer your classes in the evenings or on the weekends.

6. Friday night / weekend daycare. Have you tried finding a babysitter for a Friday night, or Saturday night? Advertise that you will look after children in your home on Friday nights and on weekends and you will not be short of clients. This is a very simple business with a high demand.

7. Fairs / flea markets. Does everyone rave about your chili? Why not make a few batches on weeknights and sell jars of it at a local flea market on the weekends? If chili is not your thing, how about soup, jams, pickled eggs or pastries? If cooking is not your forté then what about crafts? Simply selling coffee, along with a few store bought donuts, muffins and cookies will make you money. If you are looking for something to sell go on eBay and chose a category of interest (ie Camera & Photo, DVDs & Movies, Sporting Goods), sort by "Price + Shipping: lowest first" and bid $ 1 on everything that catches your eyes And does not have a reserved price. While you will not be the winning bidder on every auction you will win many of them. Soon you will have plenty of items to sell at a very good profit.

8. Parades / festivals. Anywhere a large group of people gathers is a money making opportunity. Parades and festivals draw large crowds so why not take advantage of it. Buy as many cases of bottled water as your automobile can hold, or better yet rent a van. Park as close to the parade, or festival, as you can, place a large sign advertising what you are selling and the price, and get ready to make some serious money. For example, if you buy a case of 24 bottles of water for $ 4.99 (21 ¢ per bottle before taxes) and sell each bottle of water for $ 1.00, which is less expensive than what venders at the parcel or festivals will be charging, you will Make a clear profit of 79 ¢ per bottle. Sell ​​350 bottles of water and you just made $ 276.50 in one afternoon.

9. Fund raiser. Do you enjoy dealing with people and have a knack for marketing? Offer your favorite charities and non-profits organizations to raise funds for them, which you keep a profit of. Your success will depend on being able to present yourself as trustworthy; Making people feel the money they donate will reach the charity. Before you begin check with your local government to inform yourself if you require certification or a license.

10. Tutoring. You may be a sales manager for a plumbing supply company, but you have a BA in English, with honors. Why not offer to tutor students in your home or the student's? To be an effective tutor you just need to know more about the subject than your student (s). You can charge by the hour, or offer a package (ie a flat fee of $ 200 for 5 sessions) and schedule you tutorials in the evening or on weekends. To make your services more affordable offer a reduce rate for multiple students.

Part time money making opportunities are all around you! It's just a matter of looking at your skills and passions and advertising your service. Other possibilities are:

  • Musician (weddings, evening gigs at your local watering hole)
  • Painting
  • Personal Fitness Trainer
  • Home inspector
  • Yoga and Tai Chi Instructor
  • Restaurant Delivery (The place that make the best pizza may not deliver, why not offer to do so?)
  • Personal Chef
  • Personal Trainer
  • Office and Home Organizer
  • Handyman
  • Garage and Attic Cleaning / Hauling Service
  • Band manager (offer to manage a local band, or multiple, for a percentage)
  • Exterior window cleaning

… the possibilities are endless.

For more ideas pick up a copy of 101 Best Weekend Businesses , by Dan Ramsey or How to Become a Successful Weekend Entrepreneur , by Jennifer Basye.

By streamlining your expenses and increasing your income you will be well on your way to improving your finances.

Living Frugally on Disability Income

Living frugally on disability income is a necessity that brings the reward of being able to live on your own. Being a wheelchair user or having another disability does not mean independent living is out of grass. By carefully managing your money and taking advantage of the government programs available, life can be comfortable in your own apartment.

Living frugally doesnt mean going without the things you want. It would be boring and not much fun if we only had our needs. You can also obtain many of the things you desire. First, let's go through some of the government programs and local programs available.

Social Security benefits may be the majority of your income, but they can be enough by living frugally. If you are able enough to work, there are jobs out there. Working has many benefits besides the money. Having a set schedule gives you the feeling of purpose in life. This is a great self esteem booster. Even if working is not possible, by living frugally you can live on your own.

Local Public Housing Agencies have a voucher system commonly called section 8 to assist with the cost of renting a home or apartment. Although there is often a long waiting list, this benefit is fundamental and necessary for living frugally. Section 8 allows you to choose the housing within certain guidelines. Once approved, your rental cost is generally 30% of your income, but is often as low as 10% of your income. What a savings!

Some states and communities offer discount utility rates for low-income families, disabled people or senior citizens. State Park and local entertainment facilities may offer discounts.

The Food Stamp program can help supplement you budget. Although the amount of assistance for which you qualify may be small, living frugally means finding every penny you can to improve your finances. Use your food budget carefully by shopping the sales and discount grocers. Less processed foods are cheaper, so do more cooking and save for that special food you want to splurge on. Follow the waste not, want not concept. Cook more than you need for one meal, then you have leftovers or freeze a quarter or two for times you do not feel like cooking. Eliminating the need to get fast food or order out not only is unhealthy but also helps in living frugally and being able to afford little luxuries. Save by eating just one meal at home and you may be able to buy that CD you wanted or save up that money and buy a new stereo.

Surround yourself with friends. What a lift to your day when a friend comes to visit! Consider entertaining a group of friends. Having a cookout or inviting friends to watch a game or a movie builds social relationships. Serving something simple, even just snacks and a drink, will be remembered. By making it your purpose to make someone else's day special, your bond of friendship becomes bigger. Who else will call you when you need some help? Living frugally sometimes means you need to rely on friends to help fix something or give you a ride, so be there for them. You may also be able to trade with them. They may have something they are no longer need or something the bought in the wrong size. You may have a nice watch that you would not miss. Making a trade gives both of you new items with no out of pocket money adding to both living frugally and strengthening your relationship.

Being careful with your money means taking advantage of free and cheap outings. Going window shopping, to a park or buying items at a flea market are great activities. Save up for that special occasion or event and you will see that you can have a full life by living frugally.

Solving Problems in the Warehouse

Take a moment to think about the idea of ​​warehousing, sounds simple, right? The only tasks those people have to do is ship and receive containers! How hard can that be? I mean, shipments come in, the workers put it somewhere in the intense building they work in, and then it ever gets sent out to some other destination when need be. It really can not be THAT difficult to manage and conduct a business like that.

But that is just the thing – it really is that hard. There is so much more to the concept of warehousing than many could even begin to comprehend. Sure, shipping and receiving is a simple process (for the most part, if you are lucky), but everything in between that process is where it gets tricky.

If you know someone that works or deals with warehousing, the word "inventory" probably makes him or her her cringe. That is a job literally no one wants to deal with because most of the time, it is completely inaccurate and fixing it is a huge problem. Just imagine having thousands of products on pallets and having to count them to make sure the correct number is there. Even missing one can screw up orders big time. Oh, and do not forget you have to make sure the product is a specific type. For instance, my family deals with chemicals, powders, and other materials in our warehouse. However, the manufacturer of, let's say a powder, has many different variants of just ONE type of powder. And let's not forget that sometimes these products come shipped intermixed on the same pallet which makes it that much more confusing and difficult to verify. This does not even include the fact that in many circumstances, the products are not in their correct area in the warehouse. Often, it becomes like a massive manhunt for products because they tend to get misplaced when large quantities of pallets are shipped in and you are forced to take the nearest available space to put a pallet. Essentially, the pallet is forgotten and left lost in the middle of various products.

You are probably thinking that I am over exaggerating those types of problems, but in all reality, that happens on a weekly basis when dealing with inventory. We are not perfect, nor are any other warehousing companies, but there are solutions out there that minimize the stress and weaknesses that tend to happen. For one, computers are our lifesavers. When we are unsure about what has come and gone from our floors, guess who is there to back us up – computers! They allow us to double check to make sure the correct items were shipped and even received. Another solution we have discovered is keeping the inventory alphabetically and normally in order on the floor. As you can imagine, this saves us an incentive amount of time when looking for specific types of products that are through the warehouse. In reality, however, some items are more popular and are sent out more often. These select items are the ones we place closest to the industrial elevator to save time retrieving them on a forklift. As they all say, time is money! Even something as simple as writing the products and their codes on the packages or pallets saves a great deal of time when trying to find products in a hurry. Also, instead of waiting each month to check inventory, we have found that it is much more efficient to do it every couple weeks. This way, it is easier to figure out where we went wrong and track what happened to the missing products. Again, computers help us do this because it allows us to keep count of products and materials on a spreadsheet that can be edited and changed in order to adjust to new quantities.

As you could probably assume, keeping track of inventory is most certainly not the only thing that warehousing facilities face. Many times, small warehousing companies are limited when it comes to storage. Not all warehouses have over a million square feet, as I am sure you are imagining. This is where we have to get creative when it comes to creating space for thousands of new items that will ever need space along with the products being stored at the present moment. The most beneficial solution that our company has invested in is shelving. Some materials, such as drums, can not be stacked on top of one another like bags of powders can or even cartons. With shelving in various sections of the warehouse, we are able to create space upwards rather than across a wide span of floor. In order to do this, not only do you need shelving, but also a forklift. This type of equipment is essential to running a warehousing facility. And not to mention, it can not just be any type of forklift either. Your equipment has to be reliable in order to ensure that you will be able to complete the orders and move the items from high shelving without difficulty. Customers are not expecting to hear that you can not ship out any of their products that they need until your forklift is back up and running. As we all know, everything can not be fixed easily nowdays. The solution to this is not only having a reliable forklift, but also to have a backup. This provides a safeguard to the company to know that even if one machine quits, they will still be able to manage and conduct their daily business.

So, think about the idea of ​​warehousing again. Does not seem as simple as shipping and receiving materials, right? From having deprances with the inventory, having organizational mishaps, to having storage and equipment issues, running a warehouse can be a complex task at times. There are countless issues that these businesses face on a daily basis, but thankfully there are solutions to overcome them. For small business warehouses, following these different solutions for these types of problems is essential to ensure that their business is competitive and smooth running.

Weight and Age: The Link

All About Our Ideal Body Weight

Exploring the link between weight and age? Really now, how are the two connected? Basically, the link between these two factors is described as health – one will be able to tell just how healthy he is if his body weight corresponds with his current age as well as his other health factors. Want to know how this is possible? This is possible through calculating the body mass index or the BMI.

What is the Body Mass Index (BMI)?

The body mass index or BMI is basically the ratio of a body's weight to the person's age as well as its height. The basic formula for the BMI is the body's mass in kilograms, over the body's height in meters. The height should be squared, or, in other words, multiplied by itself. For example, if his height is about 10 meters, then it should be presented there as 100.

There are also body mass index calculators to help a person out. The body mass index calculator would usually be asking a person what his current weight is, his gender, as well as his age currently is. Then, the software will instantly come up with results, which will tell if the body's current condition can be classified as obese, malnourished, or normal, and what his body's current weight should be. If availed of through the World Wide Web, sometimes, the results of the BMI calculator would even come up with suggestions as to how the person could bring the weight up or down.

So, how does one know through the body mass index calculator if he is healthy or not? As follows: if the BMI result is more than 30, that means the person is obese. If it is in the middle of 25 and 30, he is overweight. If it is below 18.5, it means the person is underweight. The ideal body condition is, if it comes up with a result of 18.5 to 25 in the BMI calculator.

Reaching the Ideal Weight No Matter What the Age

So, how does a person make sure that his body mass index would always be just as it is meant to be? One way, of course, is to maintain his ideal weight. This will be achieved only when the person goes out of his way to favor an active lifestyle instead of a sedentary one. The person involved does not need to join any sporting club or even go to the gym daily just to do this; Just making sure that daily exercise as well as constant movement is fulfilled would be enough. Also, he must watch his caloric intake and take care to keep portion sizes on the plate just enough to satisfy his hunger.

How to Replace your Broken Oven Element

The oven element in your electric range can burn out at any time. Unfortunately it always seems to happen at the most inopportune times, such as the week before Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Most elements do give warnings before burning out. They will often have a bright spot that will be noticed by the homeowner, just prior to burning out. If your element has a bright spot replace it as soon as possible. Waiting for the element to burn out is inadvisable because the oven thermostat or other electric components can be affected.

In all aspects of this job safety must come first. Use only the manufacturers original parts, not a cheaper substitute. Only attempt this repair when you have enough time, and patience, to do it properly. Remember, you will be dealing with 240 volts – that’s twice as much power as flows through your regular household circuits. Only attempt this repair with another adult present.

If you feel confident in your ability to safely replace an oven element then try the following method:

1… Disconnect range from electrical power, either by unplugging or turning off breakers. Pull range away from wall so all sides can be accessed.

2… Remove rear panel of range to expose the element wiring. Identify which element you suspect being burnt out.

3… Carefully remove the element wiring. They are usually screwed on connections. Avoid breaking the connections or stripping the screw head with your screwdriver.

4… Go to the front of the range. Locate the screws securing the element within the oven cavity. This may require a flashlight because they are usually covered in debris. Again use caution not to harm the screw heads. The screws may be very tight and will require patience to remove without harming. If the screws will not turn they will have to be drilled out using a high-speed drill. If this becomes necessary use caution not to chip the oven interior.

5… Remove the oven element. If it’s broken avoid touching the pieces with your bare hands. The pieces can be very sharp. Plus, the white powdered insulation contains harmful chemicals.

6… Proceed to a parts store to obtain a replacement. Make certain you have your make, model, and serial number. Manufacturers use a vast variety of elements. Each model, type, configuration, and wattage requirements will determine which element was installed in your range.

7… Install the new element and secure it with the screws. If the holes in the mounting plate don’t align you will have to drill holes in the cabinet interior. Carefully drill holes in the cabinet using a high-speed drill. Use caution not to let drill slip to avoid damaging or chipping the interior liner.

8… From the rear of the range reconnect the element wiring. Don’t bent the electrical connections or allow the screws to strip the threads. If the wiring is burnt the insulation must be cut back to expose undamaged wire. Cut the insulation back using a knife or wire-stripping tool.

9… With the new element installed plug the range back into the electricity. Start the oven and allow to run for five minutes. Disconnect the electricity and quickly feel the wiring insulation at the element connections. They should feel slightly warm, but not hot. A hot connection indicates a poor connection, or the possible failure of other components associated with the oven. If hot, it will be necessary to remove it and redo. Once satisfied with connections replace the rear panel and reinstall into counter.

10… Test the oven operation. All elements should go off and on as per normal.

11… Final step is to do a test run of the oven temperature. If you have an oven thermometer allow the oven to cycle off three or four times at a regular baking temperature. The thermometer should indicate same temperature at which the oven dial is set. As a confirmation bake something such as muffins or cookies as your test substance.

As the preceding has shown, replacing a burnt element is not a difficult repair. But, it is certainly one that should only be attempted by someone who is confident around electricity. If you are uncertain about your ability around high voltage, telephone an appliance repairperson for help.

An appliance repairperson can have your element replaced, tested, and operating in less than an hour. Less time than it will take you to find the part. Also, they will have all the tools and testers required to do the job quickly and safely.

Being a Singaporean Student

I was 18 and mugging my life away. Life as a Singaporean student was like being in a massive pressure cooker. I must say, it was not for everyone. Since it was the path I was born to, I was going to see it through.

My counterparts in America were pulling their hair out over which outfits that were going to wear to school the next day, while at the other hemisphere of earth my friends and I were contemplating suicide over an impossible, ridiculously phrased mathematics question. The mathematics papers of Singapore schools, or rather Asia in general, have an immediate dampening effect of the self-esteem of sensitive kids like me.

I know they say that grades are a part of education, not a part of self-esteem. But try being a local student, and you'll find that in my country at least, judging a student's ability by his academic performance is entrenched in our culture. Evaluating kids based on the Torrance score (many do not even know what this is) would make whichever school who chooses to do that a laughing stock.

I refused to admit defeat. I could do this. The A-levels here are not at all similar to the standard of the UK's, but that was not the point. I was trying my very best to be good enough for a prestigious school in the UK, so I knew I had to meet their stringent international student criteria or it was nothing.

Occasionally I saw it through, and I satisfied the conditions of the offer theyaveave me. Needless to say I was elated. I paid a price for it, in terms of significant family time (all the outside meals I missed as I was busy poring over a textbook) and even my own joy. I can not explain the mixed feelings of gratitude and indifference I felt when my name turned up on the honor roll. I had a feeling all that indoctrination I voluntarily subjected myself to had made my brain's sensory areas so numb that I was unable to express the slightest hint of how I felt about that achievement.

Those days had a familiar repetitive ring to them. I got up early and started the day with classes, took a quick nap at home and went at it again, stopping for a jog and dinner before spending what was left of my cerebral capacity. Occidentally I would just get sick of my dull life and it got to a point where I had a sudden moment of "Life is meaningless" thoughts, and it scared me so I would take another nap or choose not to be so hard on myself for That day. I am a believer of luring oneself to sleep to magically erase problems that are too daunting to handle.

I may have exaggerated things a little up there and made it sound a little too morbid. But you get the picture. Being a student in this little red dot is like being in a rice cooker where you are pressurized (subtly, of course) to do well in exams. Those who happen to be smart in other areas but not book-smart (through no fault of their own, of course) tend to fall through the cracks, which is a glaring loophole in this grade-oriented system, efficient as it is.

The fountain of youth was donated to the pursuit of academic success and a ticket to the course of my dreams in a well-known university. I would say it was well worth it, and I can not be more glad. But I admit that I can not stop my mind from wandering about what might have happened before I was raised in a system that encaged learning at one's pace rather than strict conformity.

People realize the country I come from and they tell me that "you guys are absolutely brilliant in math". The little red dot has a reputation of topping the world's charts for math, science and recently, even the more artistic area of ​​reading and comprehension. We have earned ourselves the stereotype of being math and science geeks to international students.

Math and science says conformity. They spell out concrete evidence and infallible logic that humans can be assured to rely on. Practicality is a value passed on from our forefathers and runs deep in Singaporean blood. Our education system, if you realize, is built on an intenet favoritism towards the math and sciences.

I am an arts person. I abhor mathematics, even though I did well at it. I am part of the millennial generation finding our own areas of interests other than the traditional non-arts related fields. You could say I am a fish out of water. I had one of the most erratic subject combinations in my school, and one of the best in my opinion. I wish to debunk the baseless stereotype that Asians will do geeky subjects in their tertiary life.

My aptitude for Math has absolutely nothing to do with my attitude towards it, which is nonchalant. I appreciate Math for the security it gives, the concrete right and wrongs that make it black and white, which is the beauty to some out there. I find it impossible to hate Math when I score full marks, because I do not think we are capable of channeling so much bad emotion towards something that we can do so well.

But as someone who no longer needs to practice Math for exams, I know I do not like it.

I can never foresee myself studying anything math or science related now that junior college is over. Mathematics to me is like manufacturing and machination, a soulless process that one without any real passion for it (exactly me) can master to the art of perfection. That is all there is to math to me, and I wish that as someone who is passionate about the arts and humanities, I will be able to improve the arts scene in our country. More and more young people think like me, and while things are definitely improving, I am woeful to say it is not good enough to entice me to get a career here yet. (The plan, for now, is to find a job in the UK with my arts degree). I have a feeling that according to my research so far, the future career prospects for Geography, the love of my life, are more vibrant and enticing offshore.

If my passion lies in medicine or math or biology, I would gladly stay. The lop-lopsidedness of our focus irritates yet enthralls me. We have amassed this much wealth in so short a period of time and rose to international fame by none other than sheer practicality. But times are changing, and I no longer want to reply with the sarcastic "Because I'm Asian" response when international peers ask me why my (our) math is so good.

Being Singaporean and Asian should be more than owning the bragging rights of having the world's best math and science kids. I long for the day where outsiders know Singapore for our well-balanced and entrepreneurial environment, not as the grade goal machine of Southeast Asia.

How to Have a SAFE Plastic Surgery Procedure

I came up with a mnemonic for SAFE PLASTIC SURGERY. Today I will cover the “SAFE” part of the phrase.

S: Summarize the changes you want to see in yourself.

Make a detailed list, or even diagrams, of which feature(s) you do not like or wish to improve. Photographs of features can be used to communicate your ideas with your surgeon. However, keep in mind that photographs are only reference points. Features you might find attractive on someone else might not look natural on you. Try to be as specific as possible when listing the changes you would like to see.

A: Assess your readiness for surgery.

Questions to ask yourself are: “Am I really ready? Am I emotionally, physically and financially prepared for surgery? Do I have adequate time set aside for proper recovery?”

It is best to have relative stability in your life before undergoing plastic surgery. If you have serious concerns such as a recent loss of a loved one, divorce, or unplanned job or career changes, it may not be the right time to contemplate plastic surgery. The following is a list of points that will help you decide whether you are ready to undergo plastic surgery:

1. “I want to look good and feel better about myself.”

Some people feel and look better after buying new clothes or a new car, having sex, or eating a great meal. I do recommend that if the desired improvements can be obtained through diet and exercise, this should be attempted first.

2. “Someone else is complaining about my appearance.”

This is not a good reason to have plastic surgery. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (Hungerford). What one person sees as a physical characteristic in need of improvement may appear as your best feature to another.

3. “I am depressed.”

This is not a good reason to contemplate plastic surgery. As mentioned earlier, emotional stability is the key to having successful surgery.

4. “I need it to save my job, marriage or relationship.”

While one’s job or marriage might be well worth saving, undergoing surgery is definitely not the answer. If you believe your job or marriage is in jeopardy, try to get to the core of the problem. Make a point of speaking with your boss, husband, or wife. You might find that once things are resolved or are resolving you may no longer want to have plastic surgery.

5. “I can see a problem.”

This may be a good reason to undergo surgery. However, I advise caution as it could lead to an ongoing desire for more surgery simply because you think you see a problem.

6. “I expect improvement but not perfection.”

This is a good starting point for anyone considering plastic surgery. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve what you already have.

7. “I have support from my family and friends.”

Having support from friends and family is important when undergoing any surgical procedure. Keep in mind that seeking support is different from wanting approval.

8. “I am financially stable.”

Cosmetic surgery is a luxury. It is not worth having plastic surgery only to be left in debt. Not only do you need to financially plan for the surgery, but you also need to plan for the possibility, unlikely as it might be, of complications, which may add to recovery time as well as to financial responsibilities.

9. “Do I have the time?”

When assessing their recovery, most patients consider simply the length of the actual operation. I am constantly reminding patients that surgery includes consultation, preoperative preparation, the operation itself and the recovery period. Physical recovery alone can last anywhere from one to three weeks and, in some cases, longer. Emotional and psychological adjustment may take at least four to six weeks.

Use these ideas as guidelines when considering plastic surgery. Feel free to add to this list.

F: Find the right plastic surgeon.

I cannot stress this enough: There are many highly qualified doctors currently in practice; there are many inferior doctors practicing as well. Numerous sources are available to help you find a good plastic surgeon. Avoid relying on the Yellow Pages or similar advertising. Instead, obtain a referral from a family doctor who knows surgeon with the right qualifications and reputation. A friend, co-worker or relative who has had the same procedure you are contemplating can be a good reference, especially if they are pleased with their result. A referral from your local or national plastic surgery society is another source, as well as a referral from a local hospital or medical association.

The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) has a free nationwide referral service that is available to anyone who is interested. You can call (800) 766-4955, or write to ASPRS, 444 East Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005-4664. In California, you can call the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

E: Evaluating the surgeon.

Cosmetic surgery is still surgery, and once in a great while things can go wrong. If this happens, a qualified surgeon can, and usually does, keep you out of serious trouble. During and after a surgical procedure, a qualified surgeon can identify and treat problems before they become serious. This is why it is important to take the time to properly evaluate prospective surgeons. Check qualifications and credentials completely. Call or visit your local medical library and consult The Directory of Medical Specialists, which lists board-certified surgeons by state and details each surgeon’s education, training, and memberships in professional organizations. ASPRS is an excellent source to utilize. To be a member, ASPRS surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed undergraduate and medical school, as well as an approved general surgery program of at least three years, and an approved plastic surgery residency of two to three years. Board certification is achieved after completion of a written and an oral examination. Look for the ASPRS emblem when selecting your plastic surgeon.

During your consultation, scan the office for plaques displaying diplomas and board-certification documents. Most surgeons are proud of their achievements and are happy to display them. In addition, you can ask the doctor’s staff for information. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the procedure in question so, when discussing it with the doctor, you understand the medical terms. Information regarding accredited surgeons, facilities, and available operative procedures may be accessed through the internet at http://www.plasticsurgery.org, or by calling the numbers listed below:

American Board of Plastic Surgery: (215) 587-9322

American Society of Plastic Surgeons: (800) 635-0635

Do not be afraid to ask any questions-what you don’t know can hurt you! ASPRS suggests asking a plastic surgeon the following questions:

– Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

– How long have you been in practice?

– Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? At which hospital

– Where will you perform my surgery?

– What are the risks involved with my procedure?

– How many procedures of this type have you performed?

– May I contact some of your former patients who have had this procedure?

– How long of a recovery period can I expect?

– Will I be required to take time off from work? For how long?

– How much will my procedure cost?

At a minimum, confirm that the surgeon is board certified, performs surgery in an accredited facility, and is recommended by someone you know and trust.

Living Healthy by Doing 5 Shortcuts to Aerobic Exercise Like a Pro

Staying fit and healthy is every individual’s preference. To attain this objective they go to the gym, spend time there doing aerobics. Aerobics is considered one of the most effective ways to get rid of that extra fat that you have, tone the body and keep it in shape. The 5 shortcuts to aerobic exercise like a pro includes endurance sprints, stadium stairs, and sled drag. Doing these regularly tones your body and gives the chiselled physique that you prefer.

When you do aerobic exercises then there are two types of workout that you need to focus. One is the cardio workout, and the other is the strength workout. The cardio workout targets your cardio vascular system, it helps in proper blood circulation in the body, and increased blood circulation leads to the improvement of the muscular tissue thereby enhancing a person’s physique.

Types of cardio workout

Endurance Sprints: – In such sprints, you need to do two 150 meter sprints with a gap of 30 seconds between each run. You need to complete the run within 20 seconds. This needs to be followed by three minutes of rest.

Another type of sprint is considered to be a healthy workout is when you do three 200 metre run with a gap of 30 seconds between each run. You need to complete each run within 30 seconds. After that take rest for three minutes.

Yet another sprint comes under the class of endurance sprint is when you do a 300 metre sprint and that too within 50 seconds. This needs to be followed by 5 minutes of rest.

Stadium stairs: – In this type of cardio workout, you need to sprint up stairs followed by walking downstairs. This needs to be repeated as many as 10 times and there should be a 10 second gap between each repetition. Post completion of the 5 shortcuts to aerobic exercise like a pro, you need to take rest for about 5 minutes.

Sled drag: In this type of workout, you need to load a sled with about 90 pounds of weight. Then, you need to do sprinting for roughly 30 yards. You have to make 8 such repetitions and between them you need to take rest for about 30 seconds.

Various strength work outs

• Power cleans

• Bench press

• Dead lifts

• Squats

• DB rows

• DB overhead press

• Burpees

• Pull ups

• Crunches

• Core plank

• Plate twists

The benefits of aerobic exercise

1. Doing 5 shortcuts to aerobic exercise like a pro on a regular basis is good for your health. Such practice enhances your endurance and stamina. Initially, it may appear that you suffer from muscle aches, exhaustion, but once you make exercise a habit, you feel good about it.

2. Doing exercise on a regular basis results in stress reduction. Such shortcuts to aerobic exercise increases certain hormone levels in the blood, sustaining good health.

3. If you engage in regular exercise then the chances of occurrence of heart disease is greatly reduced.

4. It makes your immune system strong thereby boosting your resistance to illness and stress.

5. It strengthens the joints and bones. The chances of occurring bone diseases like osteoporosis is greatly reduced if you indulge in regular exercise.

6. It also helps to decrease a person’s appetite. You won’t feel hungry quickly if you practice aerobics.

7. Such practice on a regular basis burns calories. This contributes to weight loss and enables controlling of weight.

8. Aerobics and its shortcuts make your lungs and heart strong. This enables the entire body to function properly. It also helps to increase longevity of human life.

9. An interesting fact about aerobics is that it reduces the risk for breast cancer among women. Researches reveal that women engaged in regular exercise have thrice less chances of developing breast cancer.

10. Aerobics reduces your blood pressure.

If you do exercises on a regular basis and take a balanced diet then you can make yourself feel good. Most people of the developed world do aerobics in order to reduce fat, burn extra calories, and make their physique attractive. The 5 short cuts to aerobic exercise like a pro increase their life span. They lead a healthy life. There are many places where you can take aerobic lessons. After taking lessons, you can practice them at your own place.

Plan a Successful Week Using the Pemble Planning System

Will: The first step of planning your week and this is far easier to look at online or on a piece of paper than it is to describe, but I will run through it really, really quick. The first thing that I do every week, I do what's called, what I called "a dump or brain dump." I'll sit down and I will just take a big old piece of paper or I'll use the PPM software that I built at Pemble dot com and I'll just write down everything that I can think of for next week and I do It weekly because it's a small enough chunk of time to where I can get my head around it pretty easily, but it is a big enough chunk of time to where I am not going to spend, you know, most of time planning my time.

Kevin: Gotcha!

Will: So, you know, it takes an hour to do a good plan and it takes an hour to do a good daily plan, it takes an hour to do a good weekly plan, but if you are going to spend twenty percent of your Day planning your day, then that's just a waste of twenty percent. You've identified some of the stuff you should not be doing right now.

Kevin: Right.

Will: So, planning a day does not make a lot of sense. A week is just a really nice piece of time for me. So, I'll do this dump and so if I am thinking about next week, I'll think OK, you know, in no particular order, alright. I've got to get the brakes fixed on the BMW. I've got to get to the city on Tuesday for a meeting with some of the TV guys. I've got to finish up some software. I've got to approve this thing. I've got to talk to a potential employee. I've got to do all of these things. I'd love to get some new blue jeans, you know …

Kevin: Yeah.

Will: Anything that I can think of and I'll sit and go through anything that I can think of and there is nothing that does not belong on the list. There is nothing that's too trivial. There is nothing that's too gigantic; Everything just goes on this list.

Kevin: OK.

Will: You make the list and that's the brain dump and then the next thing that I do is I go through and I sort through this pile of stuff that I've just dumped out of my brain and so the first step is dump and the Second step is sort and the next thing I do is I sort through the list and I'll try to throw things into one of three piles or if you will prefer a more sophisticated term, categories. I like piles.

Kevin: A-ha.

Will: So, then what I want to do is I want to put things into one of three piles and the piles that I have are opportunities, strategies, or tactics.

Kevin: OK.

Will: An income is quite simply an output. It's something that you want to be, you know, something that you want to come true. So, an arrival would be for example, you know, get the brakes fixed on the BMW or even better better or may be a better language of that income would be make sure that the BMW is safe for me and my family.

Kevin: OK.

Will: Not a great big fancy earth-moving exit, but it's an output.

Kevin: A-ha.

Will: A BMW that's safe for the family, alright, and so that's an exit. An example of a strategy would be a plan for example. So, outcomes have strategies and tactics and so, and again to describe this in this phone call is a little bit more complicated than it would be to draw it on a whiteboard or to look at it online, but an income has a strategy or many Strategies and a strategy has a tactic or many tactics. Tactics are just to do's.

Kevin: OK.

Will: Pick up that pencil and carry it to the other end of the room.

Kevin: OK.

Will: That's a tactical.

Kevin: Yeah.

Will: Alright. What is it a tactical for? Well, maybe we want to get all the pencils to the other end of the room, maybe our strategy is to move all the pencils from one end of the room to the other.

Kevin: Yeah.

Will: OK. The strategy is to move it. Well, why would we want, why would we have the strategy of moving those pencils to the other end of the room. Oh, well because our arrival is to have a clean room.

Kevin: OK.

Will: Alright. So, our outlet is a clean room …

Kevin: A big hut of pencils. [Laugh]

Will: Yeah, right. We're going to build a gigantic hut of pencils.

Kevin: Right.

Will: Pencils have figured big in our world somehow or another.

Kevin: [Laugh].

Will: I'll explain that to you someday, but move all the pencils to the other end of the room is a strategy, pick up that pencil and carry it over there is a tactical, for the outcome, clean this room.

Kevin: Yeah.

Will: So, goals have consequences, strategies, and tactics, and so what I do is I figure out what are the things, you know, so make the BMW safe, that's an income. A strategy for that would be schedule a maintenance review for the BMW.

Kevin: A-ha.

Will: A tactic would be, take the BMW to the shop. Another tactic would be, pick the BMW up from the shop. Another tactic would be pay the company that fixed the BMW once they fixed it, and so I've got all of these outcomes, strategies, and tactics, and I've got them just into piles, right? So, I may find clean the room as one of my opportunities and I'll throw that in the output pile and then make the BMW safe, that'll be another exit, and I throw that in the outfall pile, and then I ' Ll say move all the pencils that's strategy and I'll put that on the strategy pile, and then I'll say pay the BMW guy, that's a tactical. I'll put that in the tactical pile. None of these has to go in any particular order when you're just sorting through the list. Imagine yourself cleaning; Imagine yourself getting ready to do laundry, right? You've got light things, dark things, and colored things.

Kevin: Yeah.

Will: Alight. And so, you just throw them into piles and it does not matter if you pick up, you do not have to pick up all the light things first, right? You know where the three piles are, you throw things in the pile, and then when you're done, you've got three piles. When you're done with the piles, you'll have a very small member of results because results are the big things that we want to get done this week. So, in this example that you and I are talking about, we've got two outcomes. We've got the clean room and fix the BMW. Those are our two outcomes. Now, strategies, we'll have more strategies than outcomes because an exit can have one or many strategies.

Kevin: Right.

Will: Right. So, clean the room may include the strategy of hire a maid.

Kevin: Ok.

Will: Maybe we do not want to clean the room ourselves. Maybe that's a waste of our time. Maybe that's one of the other eighty percent things. So, hire a maid would be a strategy for getting the room clean, researching maid services might be a tactic for hiring a maid, right? So, get on the phone and call maid services, interview maids, hire, you know, and that's how we get a maid to clean the room. So, once we have our three piles sorted, we then refine the list by organizing things and figuring out which strategies go to which outputs and which tactics go to which strategies.

Kevin: Gotcha!

Will: So, we refine the list in that way.

Kevin: I see a lot of this is about leverage, right?

Will: Well, it gets to be about leakage right now.

Kevin: Right.

Will: First, because in the first three steps of this in the dump, sort, and refine steps of this process, what we've done is we've figured out, first of all, what all we have to do and we figured Out what are the really big … what are the results that we want to achieve this week because I routinely do this and so in a week I'll have twenty, thirty, forty, fifty items on my brain dump list and every week No matter … I know how it's going to turn out every week, right? I am good at this. I know, but every week as soon as I finished the list, I get to the end of step one of the process and I'm like, "Oh, golly! I've got forty-three things to do this week. Do not have that. How could I possibly get forty-three things done this week? Who can do this? "

Kevin: Right, right.

Will: And that's where most people stop. They make up a to-do-list and they look at it and they get overwhelmed and then to protect themselves psychologically, they just kind of go into this mild form of shock and they shot down and they try to forget about it and they go On and maybe next week, they will come and check off one or two things on the list, but a to-do-list achieves almost nothing. A to-do- list just guarantees that you're always going to be in what I call tactical mode.

Kevin: OK.

Will: If you have a to-do-list the most that you can hope for is that you'll get really good at carrying a pencil from one end of the room to the other.

Kevin: Right.

Will: But you're never going to figure out that your real output is to have the room clean and that may or may not involve any of your time.

Kevin: Gotcha.

Will: Right. My arrival and so most people stop at the dump. They do not sort things into outcomes, strategies, and tactics, and if they do sort them into opportunities, strategies, and tactics, they rarely put them into a cohesive set of consequences and so like, so I'll start out with forty Or so "to-do's" if you will, or forty or so items on my brain dump list, and then I'll sort them, and then I'll refine them, and then what I find is that I get to the refined Part, I do not really have forty things to do this week. I've got three or four or maybe five outcomes to achieve this week.

USA Racquetball

Racquetball is a game for all ages and all skill levels. Whether you are just beginning or have been playing for a long time, there are places to play and tournaments to compete in. Most tournaments consist of a professional division and then various amateur divisions, ranging from skill level A to D. There are also age divisions for amateurs like under 24 or 40 to 50. Racquetball is a sport with little costs. Besides for a racquet, balls, and safety goggles, you do not need much- just a wall. There are outdoor courts and indoor courts. Outdoor courts only have a front wall, whereas indoor courts are surrounded by walls. Racquetball does not require strict technique. It is similar to tennis, but it’s much more of a reactive swing. There is not a specific stroke that is necessary in racquetball. The goal is to place the ball in spots that make it tough for the other player to return, like the corners of the court, or to hit the ball low enough on the front wall that it bounces twice before the other player can hit it. It does not matter how a player hits it there. Certain techniques have proven effective but not necessary. A perfect shot is called a rollout, where the ball is hit so low to the ground off the front wall that it literally rolls out away from the wall. The rules are simple. A player must hit the ball into the front wall first without letting the ball bounce twice before hitting it. The players switch off hitting it until the point is won. Winners of the previous point serve, and points can only be scored while serving. Typical games are played to 15, win by two. Racquetball is a simple game where players often improve rapidly.

To improve at racquetball, a player needs to learn many different shots and serves because every player is different and plays with a slightly different style. In order to win points in racquetball, players need to either hit it to where the other player is not or make the other player make a mistake. This can be done by hitting it to that player’s weakness. Many beginning players are worse at their backhand than forehand, and as a result, players should hit it to their opponent’s backhand as often as possible. As player’s get more advanced, their backhands are not as vulnerable and can even become a strength. Instead, shots that get stuck against the wall and shots that die in the corners become their weaknesses. Some player’s are bad at balls that bounce above their heads, and as a result, ceiling shots would be helpful in hitting it to their weakness. Similarly, certain serves work better against some players and not as well against others. Either way, its best to learn as many different shots and serves as possible to be able to constantly switch it up and keep the other player guessing. Any hesitation by the opponent can result in a mishit or a poorly placed shot. It’s also helpful to have other options if certain shots are not working against an opponent. Some good examples of varying serves are a low, hard hit serve that will bounce twice before reaching the back wall, a soft serve that hugs the side wall or dies in the corner, and a shot that hits the front wall then the side wall and bounces around unpredictably near the opposite corner.

Visible Symptoms of Several Commonly Abused Drugs

You may have a friend, family member, or co-worker who has had an erratic change in behavior laTely. This does not mean that he or she is abusing drugs, but could have a lack of sleep, be ill, or have experienced a traumatic event. This information below is for those of you who do suspect drug abuse. Use this information only as a guideline. Do not confront the potential drug abuser. You may want to engage the help of a professional to help you deal with this issue if it is a family member. A co-worker may need to be reported to the manager or director. There is help available, though.

In general, symptoms of drug usage do not pop out alone, and usually there is more than one symptom that you will be able to notice. Depending on a person's body structure, age, and gender, different symptoms will show up in a different order, strength and combination. Also, every drug has its own set of symptoms that reveal its influence on the human body. Here's a brief coverage of specific symptoms that characterize certain kinds of drugs:

Marijuana: Glassy, ​​red eyes; Loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; A sweet burnt scent; Loss of interest, motivation; Weight gain or loss.

Alcohol: Clumsiness; Difficulty walking; Slurred speech; Sleepiness; Poor judgment; Dilated pupils; Possession of a false ID card (of course this is common among teens.)

Depressants: (including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if from alcohol, but without the associated odor of alcohol; Difficulty concentrating; Clumsiness; Poor judgment; Slurred speech; Sleepiness; And contracted pupils.

Stimulants: Hyperactivity; Euphoria; Irritability; Anxiety; Excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; May go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; Dilated pupils; Weight loss; Dry mouth and nose.

Inhalants: (Glues, aerosols, and vapors) Watery eyes; Impaired vision, memory and thought; Secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; Headaches and nausea; Appearance of toxication; Drowsiness; Poor muscle control; Changes in appetite; Anxiety; Irritability; An unofficial number of spray cans in the trash.

Hallucinogens: Dilated pupils; Bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations; Mood swings; Detachment from people; Absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; Confusion.

Heroin: Needle marks; Sleeping at unusual times; Sweating; Vomiting; Coughing and sniffling; Twitching; Loss of appetite; Contracted pupils; No response of pupils to light.

Of course, every drug has its own influence on the human body, and depending on which chemical substance – it can slow down or speed up a person's brain activity. Professionals often call this: "effects on the executive functioning areas of the brain." Executive functioning areas of the brain are responsible for activities like planning, organizing, acting when it is time to act, as well as delaying or preventing action (inhibitory functions) when appropriate.

The executive brain functions are performed in the frontal and prefrontal cortex. When a person starts using drugs – the inhibitory functions of the brain are specifically impaired, which means that his or her brain stops to delay or prevent impulses that would have been stopped in regular conditions. These changes in the human brain can lead to aggression, sexual, criminal, or other activities that can have devastating consequences for the addicted person. Until the age of 25, the human brain is in the process of active and rapid development, and, therefore, is not fully mature. Drug abuse in childhood and teenage years can cause devastating effects on the youngger person's ability to perform important executive functions.

Your Guide to Multiple Reading Practices in Literature

It’s the most fundamental concept in dealing with any study of Literature or any art form for that matter, the concept of multiple reading practices is basically a taxonomy of the different methods with which you can obtain meaning from a text. Your natural reaction to anything in life is generally a judgment, a natural human urge to make sense of your surroundings…similarly when applied to a reader’s reaction to literature you can utilize different established approaches to making sense of texts.

Dominant Reading:

A Dominant Reading usually provides a reading of the text reflecting a broad consensus on what a text may mean, such a reading usually places a great deal of emphasis on how the reader believes the author has positioned them to respond. The reader usually reads the text in an ‘author friendly’ manner, although I’ve always been mystified as to how the reader determines what the intended meaning of a text was, on the part of an author, nevertheless this concept of a dominant reading persists as a type of reading which supposedly involves the reader traveling along the trajectory the author has designed to produce the meaning that the author intended. It is my personal opinion, that it is simply the ‘mainstream’ interpretation of a text which gains the de facto legitimacy of ‘author approved’ by sheer weight of numbers.

Alternative Reading

An Alternative Reading produces as the name might suggest, a meaning that is different from a dominant reading but nevertheless recognizes the purpose of the author in a text and does not ‘go against the grain’ of the text. The distinction between an Alternative Reading and a Resistant Reading, would probably be that an Alternative Reading is still heavily reliant on the text while a Resistant Reading implicitly requires to a greater extent ideological or contextual baggage which the reader uses to challenge the premise of a text.

Resistant Reading

A Resistant Reading ‘goes against the grain of the text’ and usually involves the reader being less reliant on the text and usually involves a much greater contextual influence; in terms of ideology, race, class or gender.

Feminist Reading

A Feminist reading foregrounds the representations of women: by that I mean the way key female characters are characterised and the values they hold, and the way the reader is positioned to respond to them.

Judith Fetterly author of ‘The Resisting Reader’ a seminal work in the area of Feminist and other recent developments in alternative readings, summarized the purpose of a feminist reading as “Feminist criticism is a political act whose aim is not simply to interpret the world but to change it by changing the consciousness of those who read and their relation to what they read.”

The underlying assumption of any Feminist Reading is an awareness or ‘consciousness’ on the part of the reader of a patriarchal hegemony reinforcing an oppressive set of roles and expectations for women, and literature as part of a dominant discourse for much of human history which has supported this oppression. Thus the reader usually identifies, in a feminist reading, whether the text is part of this cultural construct of oppressive gender roles or is seeking to subvert this patriarchal discourse.

The Danger in Feminist Readings

The danger in constructing a feminist reading is not accounting for the political distinctions and movement of feminism as an ideology. First off, feminism is hardly an ideology, you can’t construct a ‘feminist’ reading because no one knows what ‘feminism’ really means. This is because of the distinct political backgrounds and social agenda that ‘First Wave Feminism’, ‘Second Wave Feminism’ and ‘Third Wave Feminism’ entail.

Secondly feminist readings can not and should not be confined to superficial readings of a character’s values or rather how a character’s values is constructed by a text, and whether this constitutes ‘a liberal’ or ‘parochial’ attitude towards the role of women.

Feminist criticism is closely associated with Freudian psycho analysis, this can be seen in the feminist study of Frankenstein by Anne K Mellor which focused on the psycho-sexual developments in the text, the phallocentric discourse and motifs. This study found great and complex meaning in the positioning of images in the text and their sexual connotations, clearly feminist readings must account for more than characterization and plot. In fact a feminist reading, must, analyse the subconscious of the text in the way images are constructed, positioned and the order in which they occur; thereby providing a more definitive and profound implication for the politics of feminism.

It is politics that feminist theory centres around, not party politics, but the broader study of the exercise of power. This means a text can not be isolated from its political period, and the reading itself must find a political implication about the system that enforces a particular gender relationship.

Post-Colonial Reading

This reading practice focuses on representations of race particularly the relationship between colonisers and the colonised, Post-Colonial literature is a broad body of work often with the shared theme of ‘writing from the margins’ or providing a voice for the voiceless. Often Post Colonial readings will focus on impact of colonisation and colonial or imperial ideologies that underpin colonisation. Post Colonial readings may identify in texts constructs of ‘the other’, perhaps symbolised by a marginalised character or setting.

Post Colonial readings are linked very strongly with Marxist theory, best seen in the recurring use in post colonial discourse of the term ‘subaltern’ pioneered by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. The term was adopted by the pioneer of the ‘subaltern studies group’ Ranajit Guha, a prominent Post Colonial scholar of Indian origin. This term encapsulates the current concerns of Post Colonial scholars, Ranajit Guha and his school have examined the way Post Colonial power structures such as the Indian State after the British granted independence in 1947, still relies on the same ideas and political space, as the British Raj. This has led to the central concern of Post Colonial scholars with history, as the story of the victors, and their political intent to amend history this time accounting for the voices of the oppressed and marginalised. So Post Colonial readings share a Marxist concern with oppression and the voice of the marginalised.

However Post Colonial readings are more concerned with language as a means of reinforcing and perpetrating the colonial ideology and intent. Rushdie suggests the Post Colonial author seeks to ‘conquer’ the language that oppressed their people.

Problems facing a post colonial reading is best explored in Gayatri Spivak Charkravorty’s landmark essay ‘Can the Subaltern Speak’ where she explores the role of the Post Colonial reader and his or her authority to articulate the voice of the subaltern. She concludes, the subaltern can not be translated by anyone other than the subaltern, therefore post colonial readings are limited in unearthing real representations of the ‘subaltern’ or other.

Marxist Reading

Marxist Readings emphasize this connection between ‘Base’ and ‘Superstructure; Base refers to the economic system of a society which Marx suggested was best reflected in the relations between employers and labour and superstructure which refers to social institutions and literature in particular. Thus Marxist theory identifies Literature as part of this societal superstructure; suggesting literature is influenced by, and in turn influences the economic ‘base’ of a society. This is the crux of a Marxist Reading identifying the influence of economic and political system on a text and vice versa.

This is achieved through focusing in on representations of the working class or proletariat, and representations of the bourgeoisie or middle class/employers and the interaction between them in a text. Another important aspect is class consciousness, to what degree does a text promote awareness of class? To what extent does identity depend on class? And to what degree does the text suggest justice or injustice within a particular economic system? Does the text promote change to these relationships and constructs (revolution)? i.e revolution consciousness

Psycho-Analytic Reading

A highly complex reading strategy, which I confess, I have only a very elementary understanding of…The bare mention of Freud and Lacan is enough to confuse me… I suppose Freud’s reading of the Greek myth Oedipus is probably a demonstration of the cross purposes of Psycho-Analytic Readings and Psycho-analysis, where Freud’s reading of Oedipus influences his Oedipal theory on the development of the child etc…Thus to psychoanalysts their reading practice was not only a means of literary interpretation but a means of postulating their theories

Psycho-Analytic Readings focus on symbolism in particular within a text and usually analyses the author or a particular character to some depth. The basic fundamentals of this reading practice is this idea of the text as a dream, and the purpose of this reading practice to elicit the real meaning from this dream by following an analytical process placing importance on symbols, language and characterization.

Personal Reading

Probably the most entertaining approach is to have a crack at your own interpretation of a text perhaps synthesizing some of the approaches above, but this method usually places the greatest emphasis on personal context, on the way the reader relates to a text and is influenced by his or her own context in the way he or she responds.

Contextual/New Historicist Reading

The emphasis is on placing a text in its historical context and its place in a broader literary movement, as well as the author’s own context; this approach reinforces the influence a society has on an author, and the importance of understanding the context of reception of a text, as a tool to making meaning. This reading practice focuses on the biases of the author, suggesting the importance of understanding an author’s psychology and influences. Another important aspect is recognising the critic’s bias, and stating the readers’ own context and how it influences their reading.

This practice is concerned not only with the text but more with the surroundings both of the authorship and reception of the text.

New Criticism

If you have a ‘close reading’ section in your English literature examination, or a section where you have to critically analyse an unseen text…You have the new critics to blame!

Reacting against the practices of New Historicism which emphasized the text’s linguistic, historical, political and social context and place instead of the actual text itself. In academic circles of the time it was considered the role of commercial critics to do textual analysis, and the role of the academics was to place the text within the literary canon in terms of politics. New Criticism rejected this emphasis with things outside the text.

New Criticism was profound in terms of reinvigorating the way we look at a text. In 1954 Beardsley and Wimsatt’s essay ‘The Intentional Fallacy’ suggested that it was wrong for readers to understand a text in terms of an authors political or social context or purported intent. Intentional fallacy saw the end of readings that tried to ‘fit’ texts into what we knew about the author for example often readings of George Bernard Shaw’s works succumb to poor analysis of an individual text and instead go for the easier ‘socialist’ reading clasping firmly Shaw’s affiliation with the Fabian society. To a new critic, this was unacceptable, a text should be analysed on its own, it had ‘autonomy of meaning’.

Other new concepts they pioneered included, heresy of paraphrase, the idea you could not arbitrarily ‘quote’ from a text, as the quote only has a meaning as an organic part of the whole text, it has no significance outside that frame. Another of their concepts was ‘affective fallacy’, in other words confusing what a text makes you ‘feel’ with what it means. They were concerned with paradox, irony and complexity in a text that could be reconciled into one superior, coherent reading. They believed in light of this poetry was the most beautiful and worthy form of literature.