My Final Defeat – Fixed Competition

She probably can not remember and I know I can never forget … the first time I saw her like that I was only nine years old-not naive by any stretch having seen my share of tragedy-my parent's bitter battles in my first Five years of life then the inevitable end of their marriage but not before 700 days of devastation called death that destroyed dreams and deeply damaged hearts I had no idea life could get worse …

But it did –

The day I found her passed out cold on the living room floor I thought she was sleeping at first In fact I swore she was just sound sleep to my petrified little sister who big brown eyes screamed with fear at the site of the lifeless body of our Mommy slobber dribbling out of the corner of her mouth soaking her cheek below the dirt of her eye makeup that trickled down her sallow skin on a face devoid of any expression …

Is mommy dead? A little voice whimpered my sister cried

My gut said Yeah she's dead as a doornail

Thankfully my words said No No she's not dead as I killed my trembling, tiny sibling upstairs and tucked her in bed with my promise that Mommy would wake up in the morning … as I wonder what if she did not?

Little did I know I would wonder again and again for the next 20 years who I would see when I came home from school … my real mom – you know her-the sober, sophisticated lady -or would I find that ugly, evil Spirit lurking within my mommy's body again?

I loved that demon who called me nasty names and did not cook dinner or do laundry I wanted to murder the monster that grew at me slurring words, throwing things and staggering through our house …

So confused, embarrassed, shocked, and dazed by how my mommy would really be two people

But I learned early –

Never ask questions … about anything at all Never tell … anyone – not a soul Never complain about the awful monster for fear that would take my real mommy away forever Never trust anyone or even my tomorrows … since nobody ever Knew if the evil demon would be back Never feel anything … because it was easier to become completely numb than to end the endless pain and loss day after day …

When I got older, I thought I could deal better but looking back now I know I was wrong … It did not get easier, I just became paralyzed behind the protective wall I built to be safe from her …

Nobody ever met the first boy I went on a date with either parent even knew his name much less what kind of car I hopped into or where we were supposed to be going … Because my dad was not around and she was drunk and I was ashamed, so I stood by the front door waiting for Tommy's car to come down my street and as soon as I saw it, I barged out the door crossed across the front porch, skipped the steps, barely letting my feet touch the curve Before I bounced into his Chevy with my gleaming smile that everyone knew me for –

The radiant face with the perpetually smiling smile that I faked so often, it almost felt real … My cheerful face created to disguise my actual agony and untold twisted torture

Today at 30 years-old, I have perfected my mysterious mask as I cower behind my forced, dazzling smile and feigned nature of blissful peace and normalcy

Nobody ever gets even a glimpse of the real me – tormented by childhood memories tossing and turning in my bed every night, haunted by frantic flashes of bad dreams, reeling in faithless feelings, lingering self-doubt, desolate disbelief, hopelessly

Searching … for explanations, answers to my questions that have not changed in 20 years …

But anything close to understanding seems to escape my emotional grant eternally eluding my ravished, raging mind and sense of reason and logic …

I surrendered myself to a continual, compulsive scramble through a menacing maze of misconceptions that I perpetuate with my naive expectations for a miracle to magically reveal a meaningfulful response to my endlessly, impossible questions …

If I could just find … A solitary reason why my mother has continued to choose alcohol over me for more than 25 years … Or a single clue to explain how I can compete for her love when my opponent is a lifeless, speechless , Emotionless loyal bottle of vodka …

Do You Know the Definition of Man Flu?

No, neither do I! But I'm fortunately in that my other half and I are pretty healthy. I can not actually remember the last time either of us visited the doctor – except when we went to get our flu jabs. We've reached that sort of age, you see.

Consequently, I do not know much about the symptoms of Man Flu, other than what my daughters tell me in respect of sons-in-law. But when I had that jab, I found myself suffering with the female version. And boy, did I suffer! You know the sort of thing? Sleep having greeted you overnight, you wake up next morning feeling utterly ghastly: stuffed ears behaving as though they've been pumped full of the insulating foam that lines the cavity walls of your house (unless you happen to have shares in British gas); Throat believing it's swallowed a golf ball, if not a tennis ball; Head exploding; And nose like a blocked drain in need of a plumber and a plunger.


I do not know the cure for Man Flu, but hey! You're female. You gotta get out of bed. And doing the washing is woman's work. (What is it about men and a washing machine?) Whatever – it did not get done over the weekend because you were trying to reduce the ironing pile before adding to it again, and a great heap now awaits you on the bathroom floor, Scattered, because the family, if they noticed it at all, simply took it to be a novel bath mat. As if that's not enough, there's a living to be earned. And if you work from home, as I do – job-sharing with my husband – there's no way you're going to get out of sitting in front a computer for at least part of every day. You groan.


Your mother rings. 'You sound terrible', she says. But as she continues you realize that this is not so much sympathy for you as self-pity because you're not going to be a blind bit of use to her. She does not want to get what you've got, you see. You love her to bits, and you realize that at her great age, her needs are probably greater than yours. But what answers can you give her when she's desperately in need of a holiday from your father and his dementia, there's no one else to look after him, and guess prevails her from putting him into reply care. You listen, make what you intend to be soothing noises but actually sound more like a bull-frog in the mating season, and try to reinvoice what your sister's been telling her.

Then your sister rings! 'What do you think we should do about Mum, Mel?' You'd like to be a time-traveler to some ethereal Desert Island, and give essence of Death Cap to both your sister and Alexander Graham Bell. Life could be sweet without the phone.


Your daughter rings to ask if you're well-enough to look after the twins next day because she's on a course. 'Of course,' you lie. 'What time does it end?' She tells you to have an early night, to look after yourself, and you know, because she's a mother, that she understands the feasibility of such advice. Next morning, she brings you her inhaler, and you hang your head over a rising mist of menthol which scraps the skin off the back of your throat more effectively than nitro mores on varnish. The twins, fortunately, are subdued. Perhaps it's the sight of grandma's red shiny nose and scarecrow hair that make them look askance, as if she's a stranger to them.


Your husband buys you some of those decongestants that make your tongue feel as if it's been hanging around the Sahara Desert for the last decade, and points out, lovingly, that they're the non-drowsy sort. You do not tell him, but you long for the drowsy sort which will give you the excuse of dropping off on the sofa after lunch. And then you spend night two in a state of demented hyperactive sleeplessness – only to discover that the stimulants in the non-drowsy formula are the cause.

By Wednesday your limbs are aching almost as much as your ear, throat, jaw, teeth, neck and head. Is this the result of the flu you deny you have, or your fight with the duvet, the pillow and the mattress? After a cocktail of meds, you feel sick to your stomach, and the idea of ​​falling under a bus seems infinitely more appealing than the (illegally) offer of a holiday in Hawaii would be. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday run into each other in a sticky pool of snot and nausea.

Then comes today! And another article due. Hey, you think, I'll just let my readers know that I'm a little off color, and ask them if they'll mind if I keep it short and sweet for now – just a sentence or two. So this is it folks. Sorry to let you down. Hope to be back with you pretty soon!

Electrical Injury and Lightning

The risk of electrical injuries is often over-looked to over familiarity. In most cases, accidents occurring from faulty domestic electrical apparatus, rarely it may be from high tension lines of other installations. Electrical characteristics of the exposed part, conductivity of the tissues, amount of grounding and the duration of contact determine the amount and the path taken by the current which is important in relation to the severity of injury. Electrical accidents are common where electrical installations are more, eg, surgical theaters, intensive care rooms etc.

The type and severity of injury depends upon the strength of the current, its type and duration of exposure. Individuals vary in susceptibility to the effects of electricity. Injuries associated with electricity may be due to either direct electrical shock, or burns resulting from electro-thermal shock, or burns resulting from electro-thermal effects and flames. Alternating current (AC) is more damaging than direct current DC. A current of 100 mA flowing from hand to feet can inductive ventricular fibrillation. Following the passage of the current, the myocardium is vulnerable and highly excitable. Fatal ventricular arrythmias may occur. Burns develops at the sites of entry and exit of the current. When the current is high, instantaneous ignition of clothing or nearby objects add to the injury. The burns get secondarily infected in 2-3 days.

The nervous system is highly sensitive to electrical injury. Spinal cord may develop lesions leading to paraplegia and urinary retention. Convulsions, cerebral edema, and cerebral thrombosis may develop. Cardiac symptoms include tachycardia, which may be persistent, shock, cardiac arrhythmias, and cardiac failure. Pneumonia, pleural effusion, disorders of ventilation, and hypoxia are the common respiratory lesions. Secondary hemorrhage from blood vessels and acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding may develop in a few days. Acute renal failure is a common sequel. Current passing through the abdomen may be complicated by damage to the viscera. Cataracts may form as late sequelae.

Treatment : First aid includes immediate disconnection of the live contact and cardiorespiratory resuscitation. Due to muscle spasm, the limit holds on to the live wire. This prolongs the injury and this is the main cause of death.

Administration of intravenous saline or Ringer lactate solution helps to combat shock. Dexamethasone 8 mg given intravenously and 20% mannitol 250 ml given intravenously help to reduce cerebral edema. Furosemide 40-80 mg intravenously is given to overcome pulmonary edema and prevent renal shut down. Sodium bicarbonate is given to prevent acidosis as an early measure. The progress is monitored by estimating the hematocrit, urine volume and arterial pH serially. Suspicion of visceral damage calls for surgical management.

Prevention : Proper insulation is necessary while handling electrical equipment. Low plug sockets should be protected from the reach of children. While rescuing an electrocuted person, the rescuer should take enough care in first insulating himself properly. Many deaths have occurred among rescuers who have failed to observe proper precautions.

Injuries due to lightening are encountered in the tropics. Lightening induces a high electrostatic charge on the victim. Identically charged particles repel each other, giving rise to disruptive forces which lead to damage of organs. Organ damage may occur even without external injury. The high current produces violent muscular contractions and severe burns and ignite inflammable objects on the body. The patient is usually restless, disoriented and may be comatose. Retrograde amnesia is common. Later on he may show psychiatrist and hysterical manifestations. Severe vasoconstriction produces manifestations like cold limbs and transient ischemic palsies. Arterial spasm may result in loss of pulse in the affected limb. Increased vascular permeability results in massive edema of the affected part. Cardiovascular manifestations including tachycardia, extrasystoles and electrocardiographic abnormalities such as elevation of ST segment and depression of T waves. Sudden death may occur on account of respiratory center paralysis, ventricular fibrillation, or Cardiac arrest.

Treatment : If the vital signs are absent, immediate resuscitatory measures should be started. Even in apparently hopeless cases, gratifying results are not uncommon. Management of survivors consists mainly of supportive measures and treatment of the complications. Vasodilators and low molecular weight dextran help to prevent gangrene. Tetanus prophylaxis must be given if tissue injury has occurred.

Setting Up Your Small Real Estate Business for Success

It is said that 80% of all small businesses fail within their first 5 years. There are many reasons for this, ranging from people simply being lazy to people not knowing what to do in order to prepare a business for success. Oftentimes, new business owners think that they can open the business and, with a couple of customers, profits will flow in; they do not understand that it takes much more than a few good customers and some snazzy business cards to create a solid foundation for a new business.

Although this article focuses on a real estate investing business, the tips can be used in any line of work. Before opening any LLCs or corporations, the primary individual needs to sit down and write out a concrete business plan, including financial goals and timelines for his new endeavor. Without goals, nothing will prosper. Alan Lakein, the well-known time management icon, said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is true in more than a business plan, also. The lesson can be carried into any new investment. In the world of real estate, it is very easy to walk into a deal with no idea how you are going to get out of it. You have already put your own money into purchasing the property, and likely to repair or enhance it. Now, what do you do if the property sits for months and months with a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, but no one expresses interest in buying it? You are out the money you have put into it, and now you must maintain and continue to hold without profits. This is a sinkhole which can be avoided if you have some defined goals before stepping into ownership. Smart investors will have plans A, B, and C for every deal they approach, so they have an exit strategy in any given situation.

Another important part of creating a firm foundation for your business is to operate – at least in the beginning – on a shoestring budget. Since most new business owners are paying out of pocket at the start, it is smart to keep the overhead to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is that if what you are looking to purchase will not immediately put money in your pocket, save you time, and/or replace something you have that does not or is not working, do not buy it! A brand new business does not need the latest in handheld computers or furniture to operate profitably. The Rich Dad Education group released a great board game several years ago, called Cashflow. In this game, players work around a wheel of paychecks, unexpected expenses, and small investment opportunities until they can get out of the Rat Race and onto bigger investment chances, where they become financially independent using passive income.

One of the most frustrating squares to land on while in the Rat Race is called a Doo-Dad square. When a player lands here they must pick up a Doo-Dad card and pay whatever it tells them to. Doo-Dads range from coffee with friends to a $17,000 boat, and you never know what you might get. When setting up your new office or buying pretty accessories, think about if you really need that item or if it is just another Doo-Dad that you may regret. A beginning real estate investor needs only a few items to get started: a telephone and voicemail, a functional computer, basic computing software (such as Microsoft Office), the Internet, and a printer at the minimum, though I would recommend a printer/copier/scanner combination unit. Most other things at the opening of your business are Doo-Dads.

Being organized is crucial to a successful business. Struggling to find important paperwork, references, contacts, and other documents or resources can lead to anything from losing a deal to going under. One way to avoid wasting time and energy and maintain organization is to ensure that you are not reinventing the wheel. Technology is huge in today’s world; even if you are uncomfortable using or understanding it, the fact is that it is essential for a time-efficient business model, and worth your while to learn about it. In real estate, there are thousands of technological tools that can make and investor’s life simpler and easy to organize. Automated calling services exist where you can record a short message and the program will call 1,000 potential buyers/sellers. There are virtual assistants who work hard and well (at an extremely affordable rate) doing your busywork, such as creating spreadsheets, making flyers, organizing paperwork and files, prioritizing emails, and paying bills. Microsoft Publisher has dozens of templates you can customize to your exact specifications. Documents are easy to create and sort in Microsoft Word, so you can just open and print them off. In Microsoft Excel, it has never been easier to make spreadsheets involving complex formulas, graphs, and diagrams which you can save and search for later. There are so many ways to incorporate technology into your business that it would be foolish to stick to old-fashioned methods that take more time and energy away from what matters.

A great-yet-simple organizational idea that I recently read in Thomas J. Lucier’s book, “The No-Nonsense Real Estate Investor’s Kit,” is to keep a Deal Book for every real estate property you are working on. Lucier uses 1-inch thick 3-ring binders, which have plastic overlays on front, back, and spine. He labels the book with the property’s street address on the front and spine of the book, for easy-reference, and keeps every paper relevant to said property inside, in sheet-protected pages. This is makes accessing records relating to that property extremely easy, and it looks professional when he has meetings with owners, bankers, loaners, et cetera. Once the deal is closed, he holds on to the binder for as long as he owns the property.

As you can see, there are so many ways and more to form a concrete basis for your new business. However, the basics still apply: keep things simple and use what is already there and available to you. Do not neglect to plan. If you go into this new endeavor with a good, solid goal of what you want and how you plan to get there, the chances are pretty high that you will have success in your new adventure.

Structural Holes And Online Social Networks

A few weeks ago I wrote about the theory of Social Capital, and how that can be applied to online social networks (see end of article for link). Today I want to talk about a related theory called Structural Hole Theory, and explain what implications this theory can have for online social networks like Facebook and MySpace. First, a little background…

Structural Holes Defined

Ronald Burt’s theory of ‘structural holes’ is an important extension of social network theory. This theory aims to explain “how competition works when players have established relations with others” (Burt, 1992), and argues that networks provide two types of benefits: information benefits and control benefits.

  • Information benefits refer to who knows about relevant information and how fast they find out about it. Actors with strong networks will generally know more about relevant subjects, and they will also know about it faster. According to Burt (1992), “players with a network optimally structured to provide these benefits enjoy higher rates of return to their investments, because such players know about, and have a hand in, more rewarding opportunities”.
  • Control benefits refer to the advantages of being an important player in a well-connected network. In a large network, central players have more bargaining power than other players, which also means that they can, to a large extent, control many of the information flows within the network.

Burt’s theory of structural holes aims to enhance these benefits to their full potential. A structural hole is “a separation between non-redundant contacts” (Burt, 1992). The holes between non-redundant contacts provide opportunities that can enhance both the control benefits and the information benefits of networks.

Optimizing the benefits of networks

I will now look at how structural holes can facilitate the optimization of information benefits and control benefits. There are several ways to optimize structural holes in a network to ensure maximum information benefits:

  • The size of the network. The size of a network determines the amount of information that is shared within the network. A person has a much better chance to receive timely, relevant information in a big network than in a small one. The size of the network is, however, not dependent merely on the number of actors in the network, but the number of non-redundant actors. The utility of a network with reference to its size can be described by a function know as Metcalfe’s Law. Robert Metcalfe observed that new technologies are valuable only if many people use them. Specifically, the usefulness, or utility of the network equals the square of the number of users. The more people use a piece of software, a network, a particular standard, a game, or a book, the more valuable it becomes and the more new users it will attract, increasing both the utility and the speed of its adoption by still more users.
  • Efficient networks. Efficiency in a network is concerned with maximizing the number of non-redundant contacts in a network in order to maximize the number of structural holes per actor in the network. It is possible to eliminate redundant contacts by linking only with a primary actor in each redundant cluster. This saves time and effort that would normally have been spent on maintaining redundant contacts.
  • Effective networks. Effectiveness in a network is concerned with “distinguishing primary from secondary contacts in order to focus resources on preserving primary contacts” (Burt, 1992:21). Building an effective network means building relationships with actors that lead to the maximum number of other secondary actors, while still being non-redundant.
  • Weak ties. In his 1973 paper entitled “The strength of weak ties”, Mark Granovetter (Granovetter, 1973) developed his theory of weak ties. The theory states that because a person with strong ties in a cluster more or less knows what the other people in the cluster know (e.g. in close friendships or a board of directors), the effective spread of information relies on the weak ties between people in separate clusters. “Weak ties are essential to the flow of information that integrates otherwise disconnected social clusters into a broader society” (Burt, 1992). Structural holes describe the same phenomena as weak ties because both emphasize the need for entrepreneurs to fill the gap between different clusters and non-redundant contacts. However, structural hole theory goes one step further and stresses that what makes the gap important is not the weakness of the tie but the structural hole over which it spans. Building and maintaining weak ties over large structural holes enhances information benefits and creates even more efficient and effective networks.

To achieve networks rich in information benefits it is necessary to build large networks with non-redundant contacts and many weak ties over structural holes. Some of these information benefits are:

  • More contacts are included in the network, which implies that you have access to a larger volume of information.
  • Non-redundant contacts ensure that this vast amount of information is diverse and independent.
  • Linking with the primary actor in a cluster implies a connection with the central player in that cluster. This ensures that you will be one of the first people to be informed when new information becomes available.

Now, once structural holes are identified and the network is optimized to provide maximum information benefits, an important question is how these benefits can be used to capitalize on the opportunities in the network. Control benefits answer this question. Structural holes not only provide information benefits, they also give actors a certain amount of control in negotiating their relationships with other actors. To understand the role of structural holes in this regard, it is necessary to understand the concept of tertius gaudens. Taken from the work of George Simmel, the tertius gaudens is defined as “the third who benefits” (Simmel, 1923). It describes the person who benefits from the disunion of two others. For example, when two people want to buy the same product, the seller can play their bids against one another to get a higher price for the particular product. Structural holes are the setting in which the tertius gaudens operates. An entrepreneur stepping into a structural hole at the right time will have the power and the control to negotiate the relationship between the two actors divided by the hole, most often by playing their demands against one another.

Where structural holes provide a platform for tertius strategies, information is the substance with which the strategy is performed (Burt, 1992). Accurate, timely and relevant information delivered between two non-redundant contacts at the right time creates an immense opportunity to negotiate and control the relationship between these actors. That is the power of structural holes, and that is why the theory is so relevant for social networks on the Internet.


The different benefits of structural hole theory makes it instrumental in the creation and development of social capital in networks. The information and control benefits described by this theory can identify and expand the intrinsic value of networks. If we want to find the value of online social networks these three constructs — social network theory, social capital theory and structural hole theory — are essential tools.

For example, if we apply these concepts to MySpace or Facebook, we quickly realize it is not the sheer number of “friends” in your network that count, it is the diversity of the people in your network that is most important. If you only have links to people in your immediate group of friends or colleagues, it will be difficult to get new information, since everyone will pretty much know the same things. This is not to say that you have to start adding random people to your network who you don’t know, but it does mean that people with who you have “weak ties” will often provide you with new information and therefore more benefits than your “strong ties”.

These theory also explains why eBay is such a huge success. By stepping into the structural holes between millions of buyers and sellers, the perfect tertius gaudens strategy was created, and it is arguably the best example of the entrepreneurial use of structural holes in the history of the Internet. If you think about it, every Facebook App is a tertius strategy — some are good, some are not. But it shows that there are still a lot of structural holes out there in social networks, waiting for someone to step in and broker the deal…


Burt, Ronald S. (1992). Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Granovetter, M. S. (1973). “The Strength of Weak Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 78: 1360-1380.

Simmel, G. (1923). The Sociology of Georg Simmel. New York, Free Press.

[On social capital:]

Fenix Flashlight Reviews

The Fenix flashlight review

The Fenix flashlight comes in a design for use alongside a hunting firearm, law and military operations. It possesses specific needs for individuals who operate and work in such fields. Therefore, many of these gadgets are compact, making the task of attaching them to a hunting vest or a police belt easy. Others come with mounts that the users use to connect them to the gun directly. This connection allows them to aim their illumination at their target in a single motion. The Fenix flashlight review will help you understand the benefits of possessing this gadget.

This flashlight boasts of thousands of hours, from one charge, of illumination. The reason being, individuals that use these lights, may require to illuminate large search areas and also focus the beam on small objects. These flashlights have a broad range of zoom; which makes them useful for rescue parties and search. They produce more than one thousand lumens that feature a strobe mode. This method is helpful for disorientating a target and for capturing an individual’s attention during an emergency situation.

People who require the Fenix flashlight usually work in thrilling conditions, jumping over obstacles, running at a moment’s notice, and working outdoors. Therefore, they have a shock resistant and rugged casing, which is also weather resistant. You can drop this flashlight from twenty feet above the ground, and it does not suffer damage.

Features of the Fenix flashlight.

The Fenix flashlights come in a design that withstands harsh environments. Some of the features of the design includes;

i. Durable stainless steel bezel

ii. It comes with a belt and box carrier.

iii. Its beam covers over one thousand feet

iv. It comes with a lifetime warranty

v. It has an original rechargeable battery

vi. It comes with a durable charger

vii. It has straps for mounting on a rifle

viii. It has a sturdy aluminum aerospace body

ix. It has a momentary-on function.

Why you need a flashlight

Any person can have the Fenix flashlight because of the benefits they present to the user. Although many states allow civilians to own guns, they do not permit them to places where people frequent. Therefore, a Fenix flashlight can be a useful tool in such areas. The areas include train stations, bars, schools and grocery shops. These light can be ideal for providing light in dark areas. You can use this light to check the back seat of your vehicle before starting it and when walking on a street with poor lighting.

This flashlight is a vital addition to a fully-equipped survival kit. Individuals that go for hiking and camping regularly should always carry one. If they get lost, this flashlight can be a source of light for some days. It can help in scaring off wild animals and help forest authorities to locate them.

This tool is also essential for survival in a home during a natural disaster such as a flood. This light can provide light when there is a power outage for several days. When it is dangerous to walk inside a dark house, after flooding, to avoid naked electrical cables and sharp items on the ground, one needs this torch.

In critical conditions, one can use this light to escape a kidnap and defend himself from a kidnapper. Most of these lights have bezel edges than come in handy for breaking glass. When one gets stuck in a car’s trunk, you can use your flashlight for breaking rear lights and ask for help. When attacked, you can quickly blind the attacker by shining your flashlights in the eyes. The practicability of this flashlight is endless.

Pros and cons of the Fenix flashlight.

The Fenix flashlight has the capability to withstand harsh conditions that come its way. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Fenix flashlight.


• The Fenix flashlight is extremely durable, basing on the material used in making it.

• They are brilliant due to their large lumens and different light modes.

• They are easy to use and control

• They have a whole life warranty.

• The shipping costs are quite affordable. Delivery can also be free of charge.

• Some have self-defence spikes for breaking glass.


As much as we can say that this product is excellent, there must be a downside. No one product can be perfect. Considering that this light produces over one thousand lumens from a small area, heat is expected. Since this is the only complaint that can arise from this product, I rank it the best.

Secondly, though not a con as such, this product can blind you if shone in the eyes directly. Blinding is a health warning for its users.

The Fenix pd35 tactical flashlight

The Fenix PD35 is a tactical flashlight that changes the general opinions of all flashlights. Before using this light, one can consider using an older version, however, after testing it, you can never think about any other torch. This equipment opens the eyes of the user on the benefits and quality of investing in this type of flashlight.

This torch is well-built, portable and it is like having a stadium floodlight in the pocket. You have to experience the one thousand lumens for you to believe. Experiencing this can tell that you have protection, which covers over two hundred meters, the cost being peace of mind.

You will not hesitate to recommend this equipment to a friend. It will take you a very long time to think of anything negative regarding this product. The heat produced as a result of its brightness is not harmful at all. Therefore, this piece is fantastic and if you get it as a gift, know that you have gotten the right equipment.

Top three contenders

1. The Reizarf Cree XML T6

This light is a powerful flashlight that contains five different brightness modes which include the SOS, strobe function, which makes it supreme for any situation. It is made of durable stainless steel and comes with a box and belt carrier.

2. The Coast HP17TAC

This model is thirteen inches long. Therefore, it can fit well in the pocket. It can double as a compact and a defense unit. The body is water and impact resistant, and this makes it universal when it comes to functionality.

3. The SureFire Defender E1D

This equipment is costlier compared to the other two. It is unique because of its reliability and extra compactness. Its settings can go as high as three hundred lumens, and its size easily fits in the pocket. It also comes with an integrated belt clip used for easy portability.

Reliability in Electricity

Believe it or not LED lighting is actually decades old. Lighting fanatics will probably be aware of the many issues it first went through in the early days of design. Most early models were plagued with being unreliable, with many hitting an array of technical issues. Overheating, deteriorating light quality and early burnout all made for a tough sell.

Reliability is something we all take for granted with lighting and electricity and now that energy efficient lighting is more reliable, consumers can reap the benefits of this ever improving technology.

Now the market has reliability sorted, it has moved onto offering more options for consumers. We can now buy more than just the standard LED bulb, we can choose strip lighting, ceiling lights, panel lighting and many more. We no longer have to put up with lack of choice within the energy efficient sector.

This is where we get technical. Over and above selecting the voltage and design we need to first and foremost be aware of the lighting application need we have. Is the lighting we want achievable using the LED option and what else is needed to ensure you can use the energy efficient option.

Since the EU regulations came into force and standard lightbulbs have slowly been phased out, naturally we have all looked for replacements; with options limited to the inefficient halogen light many consumers have turned to energy efficient lighting especially for lightbulbs.

Bulbs have many characteristics and no more is that true than in the energy efficient sector. Characteristics can range from Beam spread, optimal use, overall length, diameter and if you are able to use it indoors or outdoors. Consumers than have the option of colour spectrums; are you looking for white light, daylight or soft white effect?

For many consumers it’s a case of picking up the best value, but for designers and home owners with an interest in lighting, these are all considerations to be taken into account. With hundreds of options available selecting a light is no easy task.

If you are replacing old bulbs; such as halogen you will also need to think about the currents. For example halogen runs off AC (alternating current) whilst LED runs off DC (direct current) and in many cases a transformer is needed to convert the current into the correct version or mains current.

In instances you are using a 12V low voltage light, you will need to bring down the mains voltage to the correct value. Mains voltage is often 240V and if you have a 12V light you only need 12V to power them. Many MR16 halogen lightbulbs are now being replaced with 12V MR16 LED bulbs so the need for transformers has grown considerably.

There are two types of transformers available. Electronic transformers, which are useful of you are using high voltage lighting, they do not usually work well with low voltage products. Unless you can wire multiple low voltage lights together to create enough surge for the transformer to be effective. In the case of using MR16 bulbs this could be beneficial if choosing to replace more than one throughout.

Wire wound transformers are becoming more rare as manufacturers look to phase them out and replace them with the newer electronic versions.

The current recommendation for low voltage; such as the MR16 is to use LED drives, they are drives specifically created to handle LED power. They are the new buzzword in lighting as they can handle high voltage and voltage as low as 1w without any compromise on flickering, dimming or light quality.

Understanding the technical side of your project or lighting need can make a difference in lighting your space in the best way, with so many companies offering help and expertise in choosing lighting, consumers should be able to light their space in a cost effective way.

The New Cougar Dating Trend

After 20+ years of formal international research on the topic of younger men dating older women, I am seeing the Cougar dating trend changing. I am excited to see the last barrier to male/female relationships finally being dissolved and seeking its own level toward permanence. There are still older women who want a boy toy or a no strings attached relationship. They may be permanently fed up with seeking something long term, don’t want to remarry and enjoy the freedom of having a friend with benefits where there is limited or no drama. And that’s fine. As I often say on my Cougar dating site,”There is a lid for every pot.” But what I am noticing and hearing from both men and women on my site is that the younger men who are not “thrill seekers” or inexperienced at Cougar dating and the women who have gained positive experiences dating younger men and do not want to go back to dating men their age or older are looking for something more long lasting, meaningful and, dare I say it? Permanent.

Yes, statistics from my site are showing that some 90% of women are looking for love and perhaps even marriage to a younger man. The BBC reported in a documentary that 25% of our neighbors across the pond are happily married to younger men. 30% of older women are open to and dating younger men in the United States. Although there are many newcomers to Cougar dating, 45% of women who have dated younger men before and don’t plan going back to dating men their age or older. I am finding that the older Cubs, primarily mature young men in their late 20’s to 30’s and older, are interested in long term relationships, especially if they have previously dated or been married to older women. The Boy Toys (which is what I call the ‘serial players’ tend to be men from ages 18 to mid and even late 20’s who are inexperienced with women, laboring under what I have termed “The Myth of Stiffler’s Mom”, or thrill seeking with as many women as they can get preyed upon by. Yes, Virginia, the 30 year old male virgins do exist, and many of them are looking for an older woman to show them the ropes. The interesting thing is, once they experience a well rounded relationship with an older woman, they are way less inclined to suffer through the immaturity, selfishness and lack of life experience of a girl their age or younger. This is when many Boy Toys convert to devotees of Cougar dating. As one young Cub from Atlanta told me, “I was not looking for love. I wanted to hunt as many Cougars as I could and just have fun. And then I met this wonderful woman from New York.” He is totally in love; and isn’t love grand? He went from wanting to work his way up the age ladder to falling head over heels with his Cougar woman. I just love when people find each other, and as I often say, “there is a lid for every pot.”

Since Cougar dating is becoming more mainstream in the United States, more and more women are coming out of the closet. I am seeing more women from the midwest and the southern states joining the site this year over last year, when the majority of members were from larger cities such as Los Angeles. The UK and Canada have historically been “out” and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard the term “Cougar”. Hate it or love it, it is here to stay so women are starting to embrace it and define it for themselves. It is losing its derogatory connotation and men are finding that there is no “one definition fits all” Cougar. As the myths of the leopard print wearing, female predator gives way to soccer moms, secretaries, bank tellers, attorneys, the every day woman replaces the adolescent male fantasy, and women are becoming more comfortable looking at men 7 years or more their junior and saying, “Why not?” And more and more younger men are telling me they are falling in love with their Cougar women.

Mainstreaming Cougar dating is leading to world wide acceptance of this cross generational dating trend; a trend which is here to stay. My members are coming out of the closet to their friends and family members. Actuaries will even agree that statistically speaking, it just makes sense for an older woman to meet, date, mate and marry a younger man. I spoke with a retired Harvard trained medical doctor recently who told me that biologically it made more sense for a woman in her sexual prime to date and marry a man in his sexual prime. The women enjoy being with a man who is attentive, affectionate, energetic, vital, protective, fun and has less baggage than his older male counterpart. The men love being with a woman who is nurturing, mature, has life perspective, knows what she wants, isn’t needy, insecure or shallow. The pots have found their lids. The lids have found their pots!

It is only a natural segue and an easy look into the Cougar crystal ball to see the obvious: There will be more long term Cougar and Cub relationships and marriages just around the corner. Thrill seekers, however, need not apply.

Manufacturing Outrigger Canoes

From the traditional built of an old-town canoe, modern canoe enthusiasts have come up of their own nautical vessels. An outrigger canoe includes a rig which serves as the counterpoise from the canoe’s sides. Two spars are lashed across the gunwale and extends outward which truncates the attachment of a flotation device.

There are two types:

1. Single outrigger canoe has only one attached outrigger and it extend on the port side or the left of the canoe.

2. Double outrigger canoe has outriggers which extend on both sides.

These updated construction of the traditional old town canoe were inspired by the need to come up with a better up-to-date version that is suitable to each canoe enthusiasts interest. Nobody knows for sure how the concept of the outrigger began. However, by attaching two canoes together, it has created a double-hulled canoe which gives more protection from the choppy waters.

However there are limitations for the double outriggers because its primary hull tends to be suspended between two large swells. With the single one, the primary hull is in constant contact with the water. That’s why when it comes to large waves, a single unit can handle the rough water better than the double.

This type of canoe provides increasing stability when sailing and because of the construction of these boats, another sport was made popular: the outrigger canoe racing. This watercrafts are different from the traditional canoe in the sense that these tend to be faster and more stable than the type you use for fishing and other recreational activities.

This unit has branched out a number of sports that appeal to the young. The reason why there are so many manufacturers out there, not just the ones mentioned here, is that this type of racing is fast becoming a competitive sport. Recreational paddlers join in these competitions and spend a majority of their time researching on the best unit that they can get, depending on their style, technique and the cash they can shell out.

Here is a list of outrigger canoe manufacturers:


HYPR not only considers function of the outrigger canoe, it also takes notice of the aesthetic beauty as seen in their designs. Design, technology and production has always been their key in coming up with the best outrigger canoes.

Outrigger connection:

Another proof that we live in an interconnected world, this site also links outrigger enthusiasts to other of their fellow-canoe recreational interested individuals to other parts of the globe – in Australia, Japan, Europe and even in China.

Tiger Canoe:

Since 1994, owner of Tiger Canoe, March Taylor has been constructing quality outrigger canoes. Because he has gained his knowledge from experience, he knows first-hand the design most outrigger enthusiasts look for in a canoe. He knows that appearance, performance and quality are important factors.

Wilder canoes:

If you want a reliable and fast outrigger canoe, go to this site and find the perfect unit for the recreational paddler that you are. They manufacture the best quality with top-notch designs of the up-to-date watercrafts out there.

Confused yet? Well, who can blame you. There are a lot of outrigger canoes to choose from. Quality is also not the one the enthusiast is searching for, he also considers the design of the canoe. Once you find the right outrigger, you’ll just know.

How To Make Your Concrete Floors A Work Of Art

Concrete foundations are essential for almost every type of building. There are several different types of slabs which can be used to make the foundation of your building. Fortunately, these do not have to be dull and boring. Much like polished concrete, with a splash of color here and there, you can easily turn your own floors into a work of art.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about coloring concrete foundations.


Before you attempt to add color or make patterns on your cement flooring, it is extremely important to know whether your project will be able to withstand the changes which you intend to make. This means that your concrete slab needs to be intact before you can start designing it.

Since seams and crevices in your flooring can practically destroy the design, it is necessary to repair your cement flooring before you try to personalize it. It is also important to know that you cannot paint a concrete surface unless it is cured. Therefore, if you have a cement slab which was recently built and installed, it is necessary to wait at least four weeks before you can start painting it.

New concrete structures should also be left to dry out naturally without the use of any curing chemicals. Since the addition of chemicals and other drying agents can cause problems during staining, if you wish to design and personalize your home, it is best to leave the concrete surface to dry naturally even if it takes a little longer than four weeks. Once the concrete has dried, acrylic fillers should be used to fill any cracks in the cement slab.

Once the concrete has dried and has been repaired, the next step is to thoroughly clean the entire surface before you paint it. Since it is very easy and common for dirt and other contaminants to get stuck into it, you should use a power washer for exterior surfaces. An additional cleaning agent might be required for the interior.


The roller which you will be using to paint it, needs to be cleaned to ensure that the end result does not have any blemishes or other contaminants like grime. When you start painting it, a paint brush should be used to paint the grooves of the concrete. Initially, it might seem like a lot of paint is required to paint your surface, but this is only because much of the paint will be absorbed by the concrete.

Once the first coat has dried, you can then add subsequent coats of stain depending on your required color and finish. In case you want to apply textured paint to it, you will have to use a primer before you can start applying to stain. If a primer is not used beforehand when applying textured paint, it is very likely that the end result will not be as good as expected. With the new surface, concrete foundations commonly mimic the modern look of natural stone.

How to Speed ​​Up Your Post Workout Recovery

Many weight lifting programs, bodybuilding forums and fitness articles written by experts spend hours and hours talking about a new way to lift a weight and how to kill yourself in the gym. Even better are the one line answers on most forums that after exercise, you just down a crap-load of protein as fast as possible and that's it folks. Then go eat a meal later. It's all good. Post workout recovery is about the shortest topic in bodybuilding and one of the longest in distance runner circles.

Have you ever asked a question about post-training recovery and received the standard "Drink your protein shake," as the full answer?

While this is true (as little as six grams of protein has been shown to be beneficial) it's a little more detailed than just protein if you want to perform at an optimal level.

What if we (refer to bodybuilders) were to use the tactics of a distance runner to speed up our recovery? Would we build muscle faster? Would we be ready for the next training session quicker? The faster you can recovery, the quicker you can build muscle. The problem most of us face (natural bodybuilders) is that recovery is a long process. It takes all day to build up your energy stores and it takes a long time for your muscles to recovery in order to stimulate growth.

What if you could on a fast track to recovery as quickly as possible after any training session to speed up the healing process, get my energy back and be ready to train faster than a guy or gal who downs a protein shake and just waits for the Magic to happen.

Nobody even considers that maybe you do some cardio work (is cardio a bad thing now?) In the morning and your weight training in the afternoon. I guess eating from the morning to the afternoon is good enough for anyone's recovery.

Here's how you can speed up your post workout recovery and be ready to tackle the day or even train later. It's a bit more than drinking a protein shake and gobbling up some chicken later.

Six Quick Tips to Speed ​​Up Recovery from Exercise:

1. Before the end of your workout, spend about 10 minutes taking your intensity levels down. In a cardio session, this is referred to as the "cool down" phase. In weight training, you rarely see it. People lift heavy and hard and then head out. This will help to remove lactic acid build up before you are finished with your session. A cool down is important

2. Stretch after exercise to maintain flexibility. A full body stretching session is recommended. 5-7 minutes is all it takes. Again, lactic acid is flushed during this session. Since your muscles are already warm, this makes it easier.

3. Start drinking fluids (especially ones with carbohydrates) during your cool down and stretching sessions. Doing so will start immediately replacing your short term glycogen stores and help with overall body hydration.

4. Consuming as little as six grams of protein after exercise has shown to increase protein synthesis. Get this, expensive protein powders and amino-acid supplements are no more effective than normal foods (eg, meat, fish, eggs) at providing the necessary amino acids.

5. To avoid muscle cramps, dehydration and to stabilize blood volume, you should replace fluids and electrolytes after exercise. This includes sodium. If you are eating real protein sources after exercise, this might be an opportunity to lightly salt your foods to replace sodium. If it's a protein shake with carbs, it will probably have some sodium in it by default.

6. Sleep is necessary for full recovery. How much sleep can depend on the individual and the circumstances but generally a 6-8 hour range will cover most people. Some need more and some need less. Do not be caught up in some number but just the overall idea that you grow and recovery quickly when you get adequate rest.

"Tomorrow's training session is only as good as today's recovery."

I've seen some pretty detailed articles on post exercise recovery that go into a vast amount of information on how much protein, carbs, BCAAs, Creatine and Glutamine you'd want for the optimal recovery. Unless you are making your own supplement cocktail and are a hardcore bodybuilder, it's information that will go to waste. Focusing on those kind of details makes it harder to just do something about it. Some would say that having a big old supplement cocktail after a workout is a big mistake anyway since it's loaded with calories and defeats the purpose of your fat burning workout.

Ever heard of paralysis by analysis?

It happens in the corporate world and in the bodybuilding world all the time. If your life is fitness, fine, you can get extremely detailed. But if it's just about building some muscle and being healthy, then the above tips will help you perform at an optimum level without getting so granular that all you do is live, eat and breath fitness.

If your primary goal is to lose fat while preserving muscle tissue, consuming protein immediately after exercise will minimize the loss of muscle without interfering too much with the normal rise in fat metabolism. Your post-exercise drink would not be loaded with carbs and calories. Just enough to preserve muscle. Lower carbs would be appropriate in this situation to replace glycogen but not so much as to be a huge calorie drink that sets you back to square one.

If your primary goal is to build muscle, then a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and possibly creatine mixed with water (or milk for additional calories) consumed immediately after exercise can replenish glycogen stores and speed up muscle growth.

Keeping Your Screen Room Clean and Healthy

As beautiful as it is, nature is messy. Birds, insects, four-footed critters and even trees like to drop stuff on your screened pool enclosure or outdoor screen room. After all, that’s why you have a screen room, right? – To keep all that stuff outside, where it belongs. So, how do you keep your screen room or pool enclosure free of leaves, debris, and animal droppings?

An Ounce (or More) of Prevention

Take a look at the trees around your screen room. You will want to keep these trimmed back from your screen room as much as possible. At best, trees will drop leaves and lightweight seeds, which will need to be cleaned off (more on this later). Some types of trees are prone to dropping heavy fruit (such as avocadoes, grapefruit, or coconuts) or dead branches. Be vigilant about keeping these trees under control, because a heavy branch can do serious damage to your screen room.

Other plants that can cause damage include vines and vine-like plants such as honeysuckle and Bougainville. If you let these go, they can grow branches right through the screen material.

Keeping the animal kingdom at bay can be more challenging. If birds are congregating on your screen room and making a mess, consider one of these solutions:

Have a plastic horned owl (available at most home and garden stores) installed on top of the enclosure.

Have pigeon guards installed (these are spikes that make it difficult for birds to land).

Install a sprinkler or sprayer with a motion sensor.

Place a large rubber snake (also available at garden centers) on top of the enclosure.

The same solutions can work for other animals, such as lizards and squirrels, but this will vary by species.

Keeping Your Screens Clean

First, a word of caution: Many screen rooms and pool enclosures are tall, and keeping them clean involves ladders. If you are at all uncomfortable with heights or are unsteady on ladders, call a professional.

If leaves, lightweight seeds, or small branches are accumulating on your screen room, you can remove them with a light broom or a leaf blower. Once the debris is removed, wash the screens and frame as follows:

Using water and mild soap (such as dish detergent) and a soft-bristle brush, wash both sides of each screen panel.

You can also wash the aluminum frame with the same soapy water and brush.

Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to rinse the screen panels off.

After rinsing, gently tap the middle of each screen panel to shake the water off.

While you are cleaning your screens, inspect them for damage. Most home centers and hardware stores sell screen repair kits to repair small holes or tears. For more extensive damage, you may need to replace the entire panel. Also look for rusted or missing screws and damaged frame pieces, and repair or replace as needed.


By following these tips, you can avoid expensive repairs, keep the wildlife outside, and keep your outdoor room looking good.

Pet Portraits From Photos – How To Take A Great Reference Photo

The old adage, the better the photo, the better painting certainly holds true with pet portraits. As a pet portrait artist, I am continuously perusing through photos that people send to me to find the perfect pose to use for a memorable portrait.

The very best view for the photo is to be eye level with the animal you wish to photograph. Try to have their nose tipped downwards slightly, otherwise the camera may distort their nose and jaw making them appear larger than they really are. For smaller dogs or cats, I like to place them up on a couch or chair, so that I can be eye level with them. The furniture also makes a nice backdrop to the painting. Even larger dogs look adorable and comfy lounging on a couch, chair or bed. I sometimes use a little squeak from a dog toy to cause a dog to prick up his or her ears. This can backfire, however, if the dog wants to play and leaves his pose for a lively romp!

It's not necessary to be too concerned with the background in the photo. One nice thing about paintings is that backgrounds can be easily changed. If the perfect photo has a less than perfect background, a more meaningfulful background can be placed into the painting. If your dog loves the beach, the mountains, backyard or wherever, this background can be painted into the portrait. One woman wanted her father's Miniature Pinscher named Lucy placed in a Texas theme. The reference photo was of Lucy on gravel pavement with picnic supplies behind her. I changed the background to a grassy area with a blanket behind her hanging in the wind that contained the Lone Star of Texas symbol on the blanket. Lucy's red scarf against her black fur added that special touch to the portrait.

I remember photographing a Shih Tzu named Bailey outside on his bed which was placed low on the rock patio. I laid flat on my stomach for that photo. Bailey was experiencing the last few weeks of his life, was incontinent and could not be photographed inside the house or on any piece of furniture. The day was warm and sunny and Bailey looked his best in his green bed smiling a greeting among the red carnations growing in pots behind him. He had a very long and comfortable life and I'm so honored to have met him before he passed on.

Fortunately, it is possible to combine photos for the animal, as well as the background. I remember a Merle Australian Shepherd named Annie. Her Mom sent several good photos to me of Annie sitting in her backyard. "The photo I love best," she told me, "is the one with her ears back. I wish her ears were more forward. Otherwise, this would have been the perfect photo." One of the photos she had sent to me was showing Annie's ears forward, so I just combined the two photos into one painting, painting Annie's ears forward from the one photo and using the body posture and expression of the other photo. Annie's Mom was delighted!

I remember one visit to an aged Rottweiler's home. The dog's name was Ginger and she was very gray around the muzzle and had a problem with arthritis. Ginger's Mom was unable to take the photo because of a tremor in her hands. Ginger was utterly terrified of the camera. Every time I took the camera out of my pocket, Ginger would meander behind some piece of furniture or turn her head away and hide behind her Mom. We decided a chew toy would settle her down and Ginger promptly hid under the dining room table with her prize as she began to gnaw on it. "Now's my chance," I thought to myself.

Knowing she had arthritis and would not be able to scramble away from me in a hurry, I slowly moved the chairs out of my way and climbed under the table! "I'll either be killed or get a great photo," I thought to myself. Not hearing any growling or other warning signal from Ginger, I lay flat on the floor in front of her. Just then Ginger's Mom called her name, Ginger looked up and "Click!" I got a truly great photo. I did thank the angels that day as I drve home with my prize photo waiting patiently in my digital camera. For the painting, I just deleted the furniture around her and added a lovely background. I painted out the gray on her muzzle and also added a young, fresher appearance to the golden tan of her face and body.

Cats are extremely photogenic. They seem to be striking up a pose no matter what they do. I love window shots especially. There's just something about a cat peering out the window that makes a lovely composition for a painting. One of my favorite reference photos was of a cat named Tillie lying amid her mom's scarf. The scarf was a maroon color with an interesting pattern and looked great against Tillie's black fur. The same rule of thumb applies to cats, too, of being sure to be at eye level with them. Even cats that are sleeping make great photos. I especially remember two cats in a basket curled up together that made a lovely painting. You could hardly tell where one cat started and the other one stopped!

With these tips for the best photo angles and explanations of how portraits are painted from reference photos, you're now ready to capture your pet's likeness in a way that will contribute to a lasting memorial treasure – a pet portrait either for yourself or a special Gift for your friend or relative.

Advantages of Raising a Bilingual Child


“Giving your child an extra language is a gift for life! “Well is it? What exactly is the gift you are giving your child? Which life advantages will your child benefit from and are they worth your effort ? Build your own opinion by browsing through the facts of advantages and disadvantages below.  I will start by sharing with you the most important advantages based on latest research findings as well as experience of hundreds of parents and their bilingual children.

Exposure to Another Culture:

Learning another language has been shown to enhance cultural understanding. Being able to speak to people from different countries and cultures exposes the child to different ways of thinking, different attitudes, habits and views. It also opens new doors. As a result, children learn early on that there is more than one way to everything.

Builds bridges to new relationships:

Communication is a core part of human relationships and while young children certainly find and use many forms of non-verbal communication to interact and play with each other, language is a key enabler to new friendships. Speaking the language of those around you is the bridge to connecting with them.

Potential Economic Advantages / Career:

Many professions today require the command of a second or third language and those who master them, are certainly at an advantage over those who don’t.

More flexible and divergent thinking:

Many studies have been carried out to determine the impact of bilingual up-bringing on thinking capabilities and the interesting result is that bilingual children think more flexibly. One of the explanations is that these children learn early on that there is more than one word to every concept, staying open for possibility.

Self-identity as a language or culture bridge:

Bilingual children not only act as a language or culture bridge, they also become very aware of their special gift. This consciousness transfers into their self-image and forms part of their self-identity, part of how they see themselves and how they define who they are.

Increased self-esteem & self-confidence:

Knowing more than one language helps your child to adapt easily to different language environments thereby increasing his/her self-esteem and self confidence.

Of course there are many more advantages. Parents report that their children are learning a third and fourth languages more easily, particularly when the new language shares a similar alphabet or language structure. Research has also shown that bilinguals develop superior writing and reading skills.

Looking across the whole list, there is no single most important advantage. Different people will judge them differently. However, the combination of them all points to THE most important advantage overall: becoming bilingual involves the whole child, not just his/her language:

Becoming bilingual defines the identity of a child, his sense of security and status, his/her self-esteem and self-image and it boosts a child’s self-confidence.


 his article wouldn’t be complete if I did not point out the few potential trade-offs you are about to make as you embark on your family’s journey into bi-/multilingualism. But as you will see, these are rather minor compared to the list of advantages – some people wouldn’t even call them disadvantages.

Your child might be starting to speak 3 – 6 months later

You can expect your bilingual child to begin speaking about 3-6 months later than his/her monolingual peers. Monolingual children are expected to say their first 8-10 words around the age of 18 months and their first 2 word sentences around the age of 2 years. So you do the math. If your child doesn’t start speaking even after the extra 3-6 months, it is time to consult a specialist and potentially check your child’s hearing. Many children’s delayed speech development is a result of hearing problems caused by infections, damaging noise levels or trauma – even if the hearing screening showed no defects at birth (see the appendix for a checklist on language development milestones).

Your child might mix languages temporarily

It is normal for bi-/multilingual children to mix up languages until about the age of 4. If children are lacking the right word in language A, they will borrow it from language B to communicate their message. There is nothing to worry and no action to take until that age. However, as parents we need to stay completely consistent and avoid creating sentences that start in one and end in another language. We act as role model to our children. If parents mix languages, children will do so too, and far beyond the age of 4.

Your child will face an added academic load: reading/writing

If you want your children to not only speak another language but read and write in it, too, you will have to provide extra tuition beyond the regular school day. Only few schools provide this as part of the normal curriculum. Of course, you can decide to teach your child yourself. Whichever way you choose, for a minimum of 9-12 months your child will have to study for an extra 1-2 hours per week to acquire the additional skills to read and write in a second language.

It will require additional effort from YOU, the parents

Raising your child with a second (third etc.) language is a gift as well as a commitment on your part. Different to a pottery or art class where you can participate for a couple of months, the decision to raise bilingual children is a commitment for a few years. It requires that you consistently work on providing language opportunities for your children spending time, money, creativity and consistently organise and re-organise your children’s language exposure.

The last point is really the biggest and most important fact to be aware of. Committing to raising your children with more than one language will cost extra effort from you and sometimes, it can feel like quite a burden.

Deciding against bilingualism, however, is always a shame, particularly when it means for one parent, that their children will lose the connection to one parent’s heritage and culture. One of my workshop participants was almost in tears about her daughter not speaking her language “I felt as if she wasn’t really my daughter, as if she wasn’t “mine”.

Knowing that thousands of parents before you have gone the same way, will, no doubt, make you join in their final judgment:

“The benefits are well worth the effort !”

If you have come to the same conclusion have a look at more information in the e-book “Make Your Child Multilingual! – The 10 Step Success Plan for Raising Bilingual/Multilingual Children” from the Multilingual Network.

Increase Your Productivity Exponentially

Productivity is all about how much you can produce. Every person must remain productive until his or her death. You might think that that is impossible but it's not. We have been born here to be productive, to work and to act. And we have to continue acting and being productive until our last breath.

Productivity and Success

Productivity is a measure of success. The more productive a person is, the more successful they are. Productivity is not a constant or a fixed factor. It is variable. Which means you can augment or diminish productivity. So, if you feel you are not very successful, do not feel depressed. There is always a way of increasing your productivity and your chances of success. Do take heart! You may be young or old, a woman or a man, Ivy League educated or a graduate of an ordinary university or even just a high-school graduate, or anything else …. it does not matter. You can still improve your productivity levels to become more successful and prosperous.

Rely on Yourself to Increase Your Productivity

The aim of this article is to change your perspectives, your attitudes and the way you think and perceive yourself, so that others perceive you in a new light. Many people go to shrinks nowdays or take the help of counselers to overcome personal problems and failures but there is actually no need for that. There is no need to spend valuable money for enhancing your own abilities, to get over touchy and painful issues. This article is enough to gear you up, to boost you so that you can tackle any difficulty or even a blow that may come your way. I am not saying that counselors and shrinks only take money for nothing or are useless. I am saying that every person should make a sincere attempt to depend on himself or herself. And if you learn to have faith in yourself and in your own abilities, you will not need any pep talk from others. You will be able to guide yourself through difficult situations without buckling under pressure. There's a saying, 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going!' If you read this article carefully, I promise you will become tough, productive and successful.

How Do You Define Productivity?

Productivity means different things to different people. Tell me, what does it mean to you? Never copy others' definitions. Remember that you are special. So you must stick to your own definition of productivity. If productivity to you means being a brilliant doctor, so be it. If it stands for running a business well, that's fine. And if it means that you want to have a good homemaker and rear kids, that's excellent. It's your definition that matters. If you wish to be a fruit-seller in your heart of hearts but are too ashamed to admit that to anyone because your brother is a rocket scientist, you're doing yourself a great harm. One, because you're not proud of what you'd like to do and two, if you try to follow in your brother's footsteps, you'll never be productive. Instead, you'll be a total failure.

We Are All Productive

Remember, every person born on this planet is productive. * This is an indisputable truth. Those who seem to us to be unproductive and unsuccessful are in reality, not unproductive. They are just in the wrong profession. They do not know what is good for them, have not discovered their own calling. But that does not mean that they do not have any calling. No. Everyone is talented in some way or the other. Some of us discover our latent abilities early in life and some of us, late. And the sad part is that some of us never manage to discover what we are good at. This happens due to lack of coaching and guidance. But those who are unsuccessful should never think themselves to be good-for-nothings. Because everyone is useful on this planet.

[* Those who are born with disabilities of various kinds can also be trained to be productive. Those who are born with disabilities and are completely bed-ridden or are bed-ridden because they are terminally ill should not be classified as unproductive. They are sick, that's all. They should all be made to feel positive until their last.]

30 and Still Unproductive?

So, if you are 30+ and still feel that you are unsuccessful, go through the following self-examination:

• Check what you are good at, what you'll feel nice doing. Remember, every person is good at doing something. It can not be that a person is good at nothing. You are just pessimistic or ignorant of your own abilities if you say that you are good at nothing. Be patient with yourself and find out what you are good at doing. It does not have to be anything great. It can be temping in a library or running a hairdressing salon. Half the people spend time trying to be great and end up doing nothing. So, do not run after greatness. Just think of what you can do well and stick to it. Although they may not be famous, nurses, clerks, shop assistants, telephone operators and manual labors have a huge contribution on this planet. So, what's wrong if you want to be someone like them? Learn to respect and be yourself.

• A job is only considered to be bad and a crime if it is illegal, criminal in nature, illicit or immoral. If a job does not fall into any of these categories, it can not be bad or lowly. If you think any decent job such as nursing, or working as a secretary or clerk, or a laborer in a factory to be low, it means you do not know how to give dignity to labor. You definitely need to shed some of your old ideas and snobbishness, if that's the case. If you do not know how to give respect to the professions of others, others will also not respect your profession. That is perhaps one of the reasons why you feel unsuccessful. Respect others and they will respect you.

• Always have faith in yourself. Always understand and believe that you have immense potential in you, far more than what you've ever imagined. Because it is true. The difference between productive people and you is very small. Productive people believe this and you do not. That's just about the only difference. And yet such a small difference can make such a great difference! Helen Keller was deaf, dumb and blind but she did not give up. She struggled on to become one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century. So, what's stopping you?

• What exactly are your problems? Are you bogged down by relationship problems? Do you think you're stressed out? Are you short of money? Whatever your problem is, just zero in on it. Grapple the bull by the horns. Lack of money is not a problem. Money will come if you start working somewhere, part-time or full-time. Relationships are more complicated to handle. I would advise you not to let them come in your way. Keep them but do not harp on them or let them become obstacles to your job or work. That way, you'll be more productive, successful, stress free and surprisingly, you'll be able to handle your relationships better.

Eating Well is Necessary for Improving Productivity

It may sound frivolous but it's true. Eating is one of the greatest joys of life. Eating one's favorite dishes automatically makes one feel cheerful and ready for action. If you skip out on your meals before going to work, you'll not perform as well at the workplace. So, be sure that you are fortified with a heavy meal before you sit down to work. Eating rejuvenates a jaded mind. Drinking coffee is helpful for sleepyheads. Caffeine helps one to keep awake. So, if you have a project to finish or a job to do through the night, drink lots of coffee so that you can get through without sleep. However, drinking too much coffee can be bad for the health. So, restrict yourself to a maximum of three cups every day.

Never Stop Working

Remember, Ora et Labora or Work is Worship. Never quit working. Carry on with some job or the other. There's nothing like retirement in today's world. There are enough jobs for retired people. It is preferred that you do some work that gives you money. Earning money gives a person a sense of achievement, a sense of respect. It is not important how much you earn, as you will see that pay and productivity are not connected. But it is important that you earn something. Earning money is getting paid by an external source. Which means that the external party pays you because they find you capable of doing the particular work well. This assessment by an external party and the consequent monetary reward boosts a person's morale. Back home, you can always do your own gardening, cooking, housecleaning, shopping, painting, play computer games, etc. But you must do some work, part-time or full-time, that pays you. Retired people can always babysit, teach part-time in schools or colleges, if they are qualified enough, or work in libraries. If they are entrepreneurial, they can even start their own businesses. They can also work for charitable organizations for a nominal pay. Remember, you must always remain productive, irrespective of your age.

Age and Productivity Are Not Linked

It is true that you may not be able to run like a twenty year old or slog like a forty year old when you are seventy. It is true that with age, the body develops many snags and diseases that prevent you from working like a normal young woman or man. But with age, you also acquire wisdom and maturity, qualities rarely seen in younger people. This new acquisition should teach you to age with dignity. Though some say that the mind decays with age, that the brain is no longer that alert or can no longer remember so much, you can always increase your brain power by keeping your mind active through work, reading, writing, studying, playing games like Sudoku and other activities, which involve your mind. So take up some job for which you need to use your mind without taxing it too much so you never fall prey to forgetfulness or depression. (While these activities can revive your mind, they can not prevent you from acquitting mentally debilitating diseases such as amnesia, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, etc.) But why are you thinking of the worst? The majority of aged people do not suffer from such maladies. Aged people have more experience. They make good teachers, administrators, politicians and consultants. Jessica Tandy won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film Driving Miss Daisy when she was 80 years old. Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 2007 when she was 88 years old. Think positively. Your productivity will automatically be high, no matter how old you are.

Pay and Productivity Are Not Linked

It may seem strange to you but pay and productivity are really not linked. Your payment is reliable and consist of the amount of money that you earn, an amount, which is a certain percentage of what your organization earns. Productivity is intangible unless it is converted into tangible items such as the number of products you managed to sell, the number of contracts you procured, or how much profit you helped your company make. But what about the productivity of teachers in a special school? How are you going to assess that? Productivity then becomes wholly intangible and translates into a feeling of well-being. How many special children smiled at your joke? How many spastics could you train to walk? Could you teach a spastic child to draw? If you could, you'd feel extremely satisfied and happy somewhere inside you and know that you have been truly productive. Now do you understand that pay and productivity are actually not linked without productivity is forcibly converted into measurable items? (Productivity can be forcibly quantified only in certain professions of the corporate world. Where professions deal with humans {teaching, medicine, law} or abstract things {painting, music, acting}, it is well nigh impossible to quantify productivity. Exists for all persons and professions even if it can not be quantified.)
It is the same for teachers in normal schools, professors, doctors, nurses. A good teacher's productivity may be measured by the performance of his or her class in a particular examination. A great teacher's productivity is immeasurable as a great teacher is capable of changing mindsets, influencing societies and enlightening populations. Can The Buddha's productivity ever be assessed in monetary terms? A good doctor cures his or her patients and may even charge high fees for doing so. A great doctor does not bother about fees. The only reward a great doctor seeks is the welfare of his or her patients. Do you think Hippocrates or Galen or Albert Schweitzer bothered about fees? They would not have been remembered if they had.

Always Do Your Best

Just because I'm citing the examples of Helen Keller, Buddha, Hippocrates, Galen and Albert Schweitzer, it does not mean I'm urging you to become like them. The Buddha had said: 'Admire great people from a distance but always be yourself.' Be what you are and learn to respect yourself for what you are. This will increase your self-esteem and confidence and will help you do your best. Whether you're cooking or drawing or polishing someone's shoes or babysitting, always do your best. That is very important. Never compare yourself with others. Remember that your best is something that you must cherish.

Never Feel Disheartened

There will be problems and troubles galore. They are only part of life. Do not try to shy away from problems. Take them in stride, as opportunities presented to you to test your strength and bring out your hidden potential, your fighting spirit and so that you might learn from them. Remember, you have to learn to take the rough with the smooth.

Be Disciplined

Like productivity, discipline means different things to different people. For some, it may mean getting up at 5 am every morning and going for a jog. For others it may mean getting up at 8 am and working every day until 1 am. When instilling discipline in yourself, do not be too harsh on yourself. Do not try to do things that are strenuous or that might make you feel uncomfortable. If getting up at 5 am in the morning is tiresome for you, it will decrease your productivity and thus defeat your whole purpose.

Discipline is not about jogging or cycling or eating less or getting up at dawn. It's about working consistently, not getting angry, not while away time doing things that are harmful for you, and not being lazy.

You might lose your temper once in a blue moon. But if you find yourself angry every day, you're not disciplined and have to check yourself. If you laze about on Sunday, it's perfectly okay. But if you laze around every day of the week, there's something seriously wrong with you. Either you are ill and need to consult a doctor immediately. Or you are not liking your job in which case you have to change it to something more likeable and that will keep you occupied throughout the week. Or you are being reckless, wanton and depraved with yourself and have to check yourself strictly. Because if you continue this way, you'll be finished.

Smoking too much and drinking too much is being indisciplined. It is best to be a teetotaler and a non-smoker but if that's not possible, you can smoke a bit and drink a bit.

Be Creative and Accept Challenges

Even if your job's a very boring one, try to make it creative so that you enjoy doing it. In most large organizations, supervisors and senior managers are trained to make jobs creative and challenging enough for their subordinates. This article teachers you to be innovative on the job so that you are never bored in case you do not work for such organizations. If you are an assembly-line worker in a small factory, try to think how you can improve your skills on the job. Talk to others during lunchtime. Such diversions are essential. Discuss with your co-workers how you can improve the functioning of the assembly line. Approach your boss if you have a concrete plan. You can always play interesting games during breaks. Even small factories are particular about giving their employees breaks nowdays so that they are not overworked. Always accept new challenges because challenges make jobs interesting. Instead of uniting with the other employers to strike and pick if a manager has decided to buy a new machine or change an existing policy, accept the change as a challenge and use your creative skills to see how you can over it. How can you make yourself more useful so that you remain at the job despite the change? What about learning new skills on the new machine? This may help you to upgrade your existing skills and get a better job!

If your job demands that you interact with people, there are practically no limits to the innovations you can make. Every new patient poses a new challenge to a doctor and a nurse. Every incorrigible student is a new challenge for a teacher. Every difficult customer is a new test for a salesperson or a shop assistant. Every complaint client is a new trial for a lawyer. Every adamant bookworm is a new challenge for a librarian. And the list goes on and on …… You should not run away from challenges. You should stand firm in the face of challenges and appeavor to surmount them. That is the real test of productivity. Remember, you will feel productive and successful if you can conquer obstacles, rise above unsuccessful situations. Such incidents will give you an infinite sense of achievement. Having things easy and your own way will not make you feel productive. That's why some of the richest youngsters of the world suffer from depression. They've got everything that you can ask for on a platter as they've been born with silver spoons in their mouths. So, they suffer as they feel that they have not achieved anything themselves.

Be Adventurous or Go for a Holiday

It's the same reason why people go for trekking, mountaineering, bungee jumping, rock climbing, paragliding and other adventurous sports. Such activities give them a sense of accomplishment along helping them to take refreshing breaks from continuous work. I will not say that you have to participate in such activities. But if you can, it will definitely lift your spirits and do you good. However, if you are new to these activities, always ensure that you have an expert or a professional or a guide with you for your safety. A broken limb or a skull fraction or death will certainly not help you to increase your productivity! Beside, you can always refresh yourself and increase your productivity by watching a good film or by going for a short vacation if you have the money. Though these will not help you to feel that you've achieved something, they will never help you to take a break from the daily humdrum of life.

Never Quit Studying

You might be middle-aged and pot bellied but you must never give up on your studies. Get into the habit of studying and going to the library every now and then. Never think that studying ends at the University. People should study regularly to learn more and upgrade their skills. There is really no end to the amount that you can learn. If a doctor thinks that his or her education begins and ends at medical school, he or she will never be able to practice medicine. New diseases are being diagnosed every day and new medicines are evolving every day to tackle the new ailments. If a doctor or a surgeon does not keep himself or herself updated constantly on the latest developments in his or her own branch of medicine, he or she will soon be out of job and out of practice. The same holds true with a teacher or a professor. In fact, the same holds true for every person in every profession. So keep studying, learning, and adding to your knowledge until your last day. You will be a productive human being that way.

Use Meeting Diary

Meeting Diary is a wonderful application that helps you to hone your skills and improve your productivity. It has been designed cleverly to assist the human brain. Meeting Diary has been made in a way so that it can bring the best out of you. It helps you to be a leader and be highly productive as well as increase the productivity of others around you. Log into Meeting Diary to increase your productivity exponentially.