9 Hidden Secrets to a Powerful Mortgage Marketing Letter

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #1: Know your readers well – You can’t influence everyone, so why waste time and money contacting consumers who have no interest in your mortgage services? It’s vital that you thoroughly research the most appropriate way to reach your target audience.

How you generate the contact information for the people you’re sending your mortgage marketing letter to is not as important as who receives that message. There are numerous companies that will create worthwhile lists of potential customers who might need your lending services. Most likely, the names were collected because the person showed a prior interest in purchasing or refinancing a home.

You could also create a list yourself. Organize a free giveaway that entices the people you want to reach. In return for the complimentary product/service you give away, ask for each person’s name and mailing address. Be prepared, though, as some people might be hesitant to offer this information. You’ll want to emphasis the information is for internal use and will not be shared with outside parties.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #2: Grab your reader’s attention immediately with an offer – You only have seconds before a reader gets bored and moves on, so use your time wisely. How is your lending company different from the competition? Whether the benefit(s) you’re providing to your customers is a risk-free offer or a unique service, make sure it’s the first point your reader sees.

Your offer might include free information, a no obligation consultation, a contest, an exclusive invitation or a limited-time discount.

One of the most common mistakes marketing writers make is to focus their writing toward an aspect of the lending firm that is too obvious. How many times have you seen a mortgage marketing letter praising a company’s customer service as its competitive edge? As a consumer, you assume any lending firm you work with will be able to service your needs at a high level. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t contact them in the first place. So determine another facet of the business that sets you apart from your competitors. With a little creativity you should be able to find something that makes your lending firm unique.

Also, avoid the urge to copy the marketing techniques used by other companies in your field. Not only is this unoriginal, but it will cause you to duplicate a plan that might not be effective. No one else knows your business better than you, so don’t be afraid to take a risk with your mortgage marketing copy.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #3: Tell your audience what you want (your call to action) – How are your readers going to know what you want from your mortgage marketing letter if you don’t tell them? Yes, I know this seems obvious, but far too often this important step is forgotten.

For example, if you want your potential customer to call for a free consultation, include a phone number (toll-free is always best) that will allow your readers to talk with a live person. The fastest way for your new customers to lose interest is by answering the call with a recording – especially when you’re encouraging their phone calls.

The popularity of the Internet has led some lending companies to use a call to action that encourages readers to visit their websites (e.g., Visit us online today at [http://www.xyzlendingcompany.com] to fill out your loan application).

Another common request in lending companies’ marketing letters is to have the reader respond back with a postage-paid mailer. This is effective because many people view filling out a card and returning it less of a hassle than a phone call. Here’s a reminder for your return mailers: Be sure to clearly restate your offer because some people will skip your mortgage marketing letter altogether and go right to the response card.

In addition to explaining your call to action, let readers know what type of person is ideal for your lending program. If you’re a large firm specializing in helping people with bad credit secure loans, tell your readers. On the flip side, if you don’t want to deal with low credit scores, make this fact known. By narrowing down your audience, you’ll demonstrate a niche, which often leads to increased credibility.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #4: Establish a deadline to encourage immediate action – Once you’ve hooked your readers with the offer and explained the action you want them to take, set a deadline for responses. You could even present discounts or special deals as incentives for acting quickly. This would also be a good time to re-introduce that magic four-letter “F” word – FREE. After all, when was the last time “free” failed to grab your attention?

For those times when you need your readers to act even faster, take the deadline a step further by making your offer available to only a select number of customers. A benefit of this technique is that the readers who respond will feel like a select member of an elite group.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #5: Back your offer up with a guarantee – Your writing won’t persuade anyone unless you’re convinced first. So state your message confidently and back it up with a guarantee. A lending company that uses a guarantee will almost always be perceived as more credible than a firm that doesn’t apply this writing tip.

Your guarantee can cover your pricing, customer service, response time, the time it takes to close the loan, etc. The benefit of a guarantee is that your readers will feel like there is limited risk when contacting you or trying your service.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #6: Use basic words or phrases that create visual images – Active verbs and attention-grabbing adjectives are the best way to create visual images in your readers’ minds – but don’t get too carried away. Also, write to your audience in a tone and vocabulary they understand (studies show most people read at an 8th grade level). Frequent use of the words “you” and “your” is one effective way to communicate directly with a reader.

Creating mental images in the minds of potential customers will require separate techniques for different audiences. A wealthy, well-educated businessman doesn’t develop the same visual images as a young newlywed who just purchased his first home. This statement might seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many mortgage marketing letters I see that are improperly targeted to a mass audience of varied and unrelated consumers.

Connecting with a reader on an emotional level is the primary key in getting your message to sink in. You want your readers to feel like the text is speaking directly to them. So put yourself in their shoes. Why would your offer be appealing to your readers? If you don’t know, ask your customers why they’re funding their mortgage with you. This can be done through a mailed survey or over-the-phone conversations. Not only will you receive valuable feedback, you’ll also find the most effective ways to write your mortgage marketing copy.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #7: Use testimonials from satisfied customers – Consumers relate to people who are similar to them. Luckily for you, satisfied customers are more than happy to volunteer praise. To back up your marketing message, get a few flattering remarks in writing and match those testimonials to the needs of your target audience. What are the unique selling propositions you stress? Get people to praise those specific aspects of your lending company.

For any testimonial, the two questions you want answered are the following: Prior to using XYZ’s lending services, what challenges were you facing? And, now that the service is complete, how is your situation different? Vague statements such as “Your service is great!” or “This lending program works well.” fail to give details as to why your lending company is better than the competition.

When it’s time to collect testimonials, don’t wait. Timing is an essential component when developing an effective testimonial. The longer you wait, the less likely your chances are for getting useful feedback. Approach your clients with a testimonial request while their satisfaction is still at its peak.

And a final point about your testimonials – always use your source’s full name and location. Limiting a person’s name to initials only leaves a reader guessing the validity of the statement. When people put their names next to comments about your lending company, you can be sure they support your services.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #8: Use an appropriate length with bullets and subheads – The length of your marketing letter will depend on the situation, but longer is not necessarily better. As with any type of marketing copy, strive for quality over quantity and make certain each word is a necessary component to the sentence.

A common rule of thumb in direct-mail writing is the more expensive the item or service, the longer the letter. If your offer is strong enough, your audience won’t mind reading a lengthy explanation.

When it comes to formatting your mortgage marketing letter, don’t forget about bullets, subheads and white space. Your reader will feel overwhelmed when presented with large blocks of text without any spaces between the paragraphs. Bulleted text gives readers an opportunity to pause while scanning for the most important points in your letter. Shorter paragraphs (1-3 sentences) allow your audience time to fully comprehend the information without feeling the need to keep reading.

Mortgage Marketing Letter Tip #9: Conclude with a postscript (P.S.) – One of the most popular techniques used by letter writers for encouraging immediate action is through a postscript, that is, a “P.S.” Some studies have shown that many readers scan down the page to the P.S. before they read anything else. That means there’s a chance some of the most essential components to your letter won’t even get a glance.

So, whether your reader jumps to the last few lines of your letter or reads every word, you want to make sure your P.S. statement is convincing enough that your reader wants to take action. You may even want to restate your proposition in the P.S.

Additional ideas to consider in your mortgage marketing letter:

• Test your letter on a small group of people before mailing to your entire list.

• Make sure your letter is formatted so it meets postal specifications.

• Be honest. Readers know when you’re trying to trick them with false offers.

• Find a successful marketing letter and hand-write it word for word. As you do this more and more, your subconscious mind will begin remembering the effective techniques used by other authors.

• Spend some time testing teasers for your envelope.

• Come up with a reliable method for tracking your mailings (e.g., codes, phone numbers, etc.)

Understanding the Interior Design Process

If it’s your first time working with a designer for a home or commercial space, you might not understand everything that goes into the process. Understanding the project as a whole and each phase of design can ultimately save you time and money. Once you know your role and the roles of others involved in your interior design project, it will make the process much more enjoyable for you.

The first step is to find a design firm you feel comfortable with and that you trust has an experienced and respected team of architects, artisans and contractors. Each design firm works differently, and every project is varies with regards to how many phases you’ll go through. If your project is on a smaller scale, you might not have all the phases outlined in this article, but in general, the major phases of a design project are:

1. Schematic Design

2. Design Development

3. Construction Documents

4. Bidding Phase

5. Construction Administration

Stages of Interior Design – Explained

1. Schematic Design: This is first stage of the design process when the scope of the project is defined. As the client, you’ll be very engaged in this part of the process with the designer and sometimes the architect, if necessary. The designer (and architect) will provide rough sketches and show materials to ensure the concept is headed in the direction you envision. This phase can take anywhere from weeks to months, depending on the firm you work with and the extent of the project. It can take longer if you don’t have any idea what type of design you’re looking for. In that case, the design firm can help steer you in the right direction.

2. Design Development: The next stage aims to turn concepts into concrete action items. This stage will help to identify any problem areas that may not have been apparent upfront. In design development, the architect and interior design firm creates initial architectural drawings and material specifications. You will be involved throughout this process as the design firm will need your feedback to zero in on the details and discuss solutions to any problems. Once the direction of the design project is approved by you, the next step is construction documents.

3. Construction Documents: In this phase, the preliminary drawings that were created in the design development phase of the project are now turned into working documents, refined for accuracy and code requirements. All the materials to be used in the project are finalized and the specifications are prepared. Once this is complete, the documents serve as a tool to build out the project. You won’t be involved much in this phase due to the technicality of it, and the timeline depends on the scope of the project.

4. Bidding Phase: In the bidding phase, the construction documents are sent to potential building contractors so they can prepare bids. The bid is an estimate of the cost and time it will take to complete your design project. You won’t be involved heavily in this phase except to review the bids. Your design firm will handle any negotiations or project management tasks in this phase. The timeline depends on the availability of the contractors. It can take up to six weeks for a residential design project to see an initial bid.

5. Construction Administration: In the final phase, the manual work begins. A good design firm will ensure deadline expectations have been established and ensure you’ve approved of them before starting construction. The actual materials to be used are presented to you for a final approval prior to installation. You should be able to make appointments at any time to view the progress (if you are living off-site). Your interior designer should be available throughout this phase to answer any questions or address concerns. At the end of this phase, your design project is complete!

Don’t Be Duped By A Mango

I live in the north, and it’s very clear to me that mangoes are not from around here. You can tell just by looking at them. The trees in these parts don’t produce things that large. So when we buy mangoes in the grocery store, we’re not likely to know if they’re ripe and we don’t really know how to treat them when we get them home.

If you’ve ever been in an area where mangoes grow, you know the best way to choose a mango is to find a ripe one hanging on a tree–not a likely sight at our local grocery store. Mangoes happen to be one of those fruits that does not tolerate early harvesting and long-distance shipping well.

There are two main types, large reddish green ones (up to eight inches long), and small yellow ones (three or four inches in length). Mangoes are quite soft when ripe, even softer than a ripe avocado. If they were picked green they will often turn brown inside instead of ripening, and in this case they have a very unpleasant taste. There’s nothing to do when this happens except toss them into your compost pile.

When you’re purchasing mangoes, it’s a challenge to know what’s going on under the skin but here’s a tip that will help; dark spots or blemishes almost always indicate internal problems for a mango, whereas they will have a pleasant and fragrant aroma if they have ripened correctly.

If you purchased mangoes that are not soft enough to be ripe, and are not emanating a noticeably pleasant odor, put them in a brown paper bag with a couple of semi-ripe bananas. Bananas give off ethylene gas as they ripen, which is a gas used to ripen fruit in commercial packing plants. Ripe mangoes are such a taste-treat; it’s certainly worth the effort to try ripening them. But the unfortunate reality is that mangoes picked too soon will never ripen correctly, so if you bought them green you always run that risk.

If you do happen to purchase completely green mangoes, I would recommend using those in your cooking rather than trying to ripen them. They will have a tart pleasant taste. You can dice them and mix them in with rice and vegetables, add them to soups, put them in a fruit salad or blend them to serve as a relish with meat.

Be sure at some point in your life, to eat a fresh ripe mango straight from the tree. There is nothing in the world that tastes so exquisite.

3 Public Speaking Tools to Make Your Speech Worth it For Your Audience Members

When you build yourself up, you let your audience down. Let’s face it; there are some speakers who use the platform to stroke their ego. I may have been one of them in the past. However, when we talk about how great we are and speak only of our successes, our audience members think of us in 1 of 2 ways:

1. “Wow, he sure is full of himself.”


2. “Well, I guess he is just special.”

As a speaker, being considered special is just as bad as being considered full of yourself. When your audience thinks you are special, they begin to think “Of course that strategy works for him because he is special. He is a genius.” They have a built-in excuse not to use your advice and, consequently, you become worthless to that audience. You can avoid this by using the following 3 Audience Impact Tools that will not only get you connected with your audience but will also spark them to act on your message.

Audience Impact Tool Number 1:

Put the process, not the person, on a pedestal. In other words, do not brag about yourself, brag about the process (or formula, recipe, toolkit, etc.) you have uncovered in your journeys. When you do this, the audience members think, “I am interested in learning more about this process. I do not know if it really works, but I am interested in learning more about it.” This gets your audience a little closer to taking an action on your message, because you have succeeded in building interest in your process rather than in you. However, there are still two major obstacles. Although they are interested in your process, they still are not sure if it really works. Your story should begin to prove to them that the process works, but Audience Impact Tool number 2 will take that credibility to another level.

Audience Impact Tool Number 2

Quantify your process. For example, in the midst of your story or activity, you might say, “I came across these tools that I now refer to as the 4 Rs to Remarkable Results that you can use to make change work for you instead of against you.” Or you might say, “This 4-step formula was used by the great orators of the past and the present. Everyone from Aristotle to Anthony Robbins has used these 4 steps.”

The reason you should quantify your process is because specifics build credibility. Your process goes from being a loose intangible and becomes a tight proven system. It also naturally builds the curiosity for your audience members to think, “I want to hear all 4 steps. Come on, what is step 1?” In this way, quantifying your process not only builds credibility in that process, but it also teases your audience to want to know more. As a result, they will buy into the fact that the process worked for you. However, they still might not think it will work for them. That is where tool number 3 comes in handy.

Audience Impact Tool Number 2

If you want your audience members to act on your message, you must help them feel like you (or the main characters in your story) are similar to them. Think similar, not separate. One strategy you can easily use is to break yourself down so your audience members know you are closer to them then you are to, say, Zeus.

For example, I regularly tell people the low score I received the first time I took the SATs. What do you think happens inside of the minds of my audience members?Chances are they think, “Well, if he can be successful at this, I can definitely be successful at this too. Let me listen up for what process he used to get from A to B.”

Many average speakers will not allow themselves to share their failures or open up to an audience in this way. However, the quickest way to build a connection with your audience is to share your failures, flaws, frustrations, and firsts (not all of your first, of course). If you do this, you will connect fast and deep.

Final thoughts

Remember, your job as a speaker is usually to sell people on the results they will get when they utilize a certain formula, process, tool, or recipe. It has nothing to do with you being a genius, it has everything to do with your audience members uncovering the process that worked for you (or for your customers) and understanding that it will work for them too. During the presentation, remember to –

1. Put the process, not the person, on a pedestal

2. Quantify your process

3. Share your failures, flaws, frustrations, and firsts

The History Of Industrial Engineering

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology defines industrial engineering as: the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, materials, equipment and energy. It draws upon specialized knowledge and skill in the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design to specify, predict and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems.


The origins of industrial engineering can be traced back to many different sources. Fredrick Winslow Taylor is most often considered as the father of industrial engineering even though all his ideas where not original. Some of the preceding influences may have been Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. All of their works provided classical liberal explanations for the successes and limitations of the Industrial Revolution.

Another major contributor to the field was Charles W. Babbage. a mathematics professor. One of his major contributions to the field was his book On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers in 1832. In this book he discusses many different topics dealing with manufacturing, a few of which will be extremely familiar to an IE. Babbage discusses the idea of the learning curve, the division of task and how learning is affected, and the effect of learning on the generation of waste.

In the late nineteenth century more developments where being made that would lead to the formalization of industrial engineering. Henry R. Towne stressed the economic aspect of an engineer’s job. Towne belonged to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as did many other early American pioneers in this new field. The IE handbook says the, “ASME was the breeding ground for industrial engineering. Towne along with Fredrick A. Halsey worked on developing and presenting wage incentive plans to the ASME. It was out of these meetings that the Halsey plan of wage payment developed. The purpose was to increase the productivity of workers without negatively affecting the cost of production. The plan suggested that some of the gains be shared with the employees.. This is one early example of one profit sharing plan.

Henry L. Gantt belonged to the ASME and presented papers to the ASME on topics such as cost, selection of workers, training, good incentive plans, and scheduling of work. He is the originator of the Gantt chart, currently the most popular chart used in scheduling of work.

hat would Industrial Engineering be without mentioning Fredrick Winslow Taylor. Taylor is probably the best known of the pioneers in industrial engineering. His work, like others, covered topics such as the organization of work by management, worker selection, training, and additional compensation for those individuals that could meet the standard as developed by the company through his methods.

The Gilbreths are accredited with the development of time and motion studies. Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife Dr. Lillian M. Gilbreth worked on understanding fatigue, skill development, motion studies, as well as time studies. Lillian Gilbreth had a Ph.D. in psychology which helped in understanding the many people issues. One of the most significant things the Gilbrethss did was to classify the basic human motions into seventeen types, some effective and some non-effective. They labeled the table of classification therbligs. Effective therbligs are useful in accomplishing work and non-effective therbligs are not. Gilbreth concluded that the time to complete an effective therblig can be shortened but will be very hard to eliminate. On the other hand non-effective therbligs should be completely eliminated if possible.

In 1948, the American Institute for Industrial Engineers (AIIE), was opened for the first time and began to give a professional authenticity for the practicing engineers. Up to this time industrial engineers really had no specific place in the hierarchy of a company. The ASME was the only other society that required its members to have an engineering degree prior to the development of the AIIE.

What is the future for Industrial Engineers? With analytical methods and the advancing technologies for the computer, modeling complex production and service systems will become more and more an every day task.

Performing a motion study. Every job can be broken down into its’ fundamental work elements. The Gilbreth family found that there are seventeen of these motions. The time to complete each motion does not change. Jobs can be studied visually or through the assistance of a camera for micro-motion studies.

The environment for the workers also needs to be set up to promote efficiency of work. Tools should be placed in fixed locations to eliminate the search and selection therbligs. Work surfaces and chairs should be adjusted to the correct working heights to eliminate stress. Whenever possible, gravity feeders should be used to deliver parts to the correct location. The worker’s tools should be designed to eliminate multiple cuts. Adjustment handles should be designed to maximize the operator’s mechanical advantage.

Performing a time study. Without a standard the company will find it hard to estimate lead-time on their products. Times very greatly when the employee does not know what the expectation of company is. In order to correct this problem the IE will develop a fair standard expectation for each operation. It has been estimated that 12% of a company’s total cost comes from direct labor. Another 43% of cost comes from the material cost. The other 45% is spent in overhead. So the idea that the largest productivity gains can be felt on the floor does not hold up in this light. A good time study will take into account the unavoidable delays, fatigue, and to an extent, outside interferences. Time for wasteful steps, such as searching for tools, will not be included in the final standard. The expectation is that the workplace will be designed to accommodate the work and will be free from this type of waste.

Set-Up Times Set up time is the amount of time it takes to begin producing different parts on a machine. If set-up times remain large the company will operate with high levels of work in progress and finished goods tying up the companies valuable capital. Companies that fail to reduce their set-up times have a tendency to look sluggish in regards to their customers.

Cost An IE will generally be responsible for coming up with a cost analysis on the equipment purchase. There are a several ways of coming up with this. Lifehow long the machine is expected to last when developing the cost analysis.

Efficiency The traditional way of looking at efficiency was to keep the machine running at a 100% The idea was the cost of the machine could be spread out over the amount of time it was kept running. The higher the machines efficiency, time running / time available, the better the accounting numbers looked in regards to machine cost.

Material The IE is concerned with the delivery and flow of material throughout the plant, often the plant has evolved as the company has.

Lot size To allow the manufacturer to stay flexible the production lot sizes should be minimalized. This will only be economical after the reduction of machine set-ups have been achieved.

Inventory Levels Since inventory is capital that cannot be converted until finished and purchased by a consumer, it should be kept to a minimal. Inventories not only tie up capital but if the customer requests a change then the inventory runs the risk of becoming obsolete.

Quality The quality of the material can affect all parts of the system. Poor quality material often introduces excessive amounts of rework into each of the processes. A typical job for an IE would be to work with the quality department to set up a Quality Management system QMS.

Maintenance The amount of maintenance that the machine is going to require is a variable that must be considered. Another issue about maintenance is whether or not the staff on hand will need to be retrained.

Floaters in the Eyes – Their Causes and How to Get Them Removed

Eye floaters are small specks, spots and cobweb like particles that drift about in your field of vision. Ordinary eye floaters are fairly common and need not be a cause of alarm.

Your eye contains a clear gel like liquid called the vitreous. Unfortunately, the vitreous humour degenerates as we age. When we are young the vitreous has a gel like consistency but as we grow older it may become more watery, especially in the centre of the eyeball.

Parts of the vitreous become more watery and other parts become more solid than they should be. The more solidified gel particles may float around in the more watery parts of the eye.

When small pieces break loose from the back of the eye and float around your eye it is called a floater.

Floaters also have a tendency to sink to the bottom of the eyeball and can blur the vision until they move to a different area. Sometimes people may think they see something out of the corner of their eye but nothing is there.

Floaters are more noticeable in bright light or looking at a computer screen for example. You may not see the floaters but they may cast shadows on the retina at the back of the eye, which you do see.

The Sudden Appearance of Floaters

If floaters appear suddenly then seek expert advice immediately. It may mean serious damage to the eye. It could indicate serious problems with the vitreous gel or even the retina becoming detached.

Posterior Vitreous Detachments – PVDs

This occurs when the vitreous gel starts to become detached from the retina. This is serious and will need urgent attention. The gel may pull on the retina causing physical damage and even retinal detachment.

This may be noticed by the occurrence of light flashes because there is mechanical stimulation to the retina such as the vitreous gel pulling on it. This will stimulate the retina in a similar way when light falls on it.

Weiss Ring Floater

A large floater that is attached around the optic nerve area. Usually circular, doughnut or C shaped.

In more serious cases the retina may be torn and blood will leak into the vitreous, seen as small dots moving across the field of vision.

Vitreous Haemorrhage

This is a severe condition, which could mean a retinal tear or retinal detachment.

Retinal detachment requires urgent attention as it could lead to blindness.

Common Causes of Severe Eye Floater Conditions

> Cataract Surgery

> Laser eye surgery

> Diabetes – diabetic vitreopathy

> Eye infections – may cause the vitreous to liquefy

> Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis is inflammation of the retina of the eye caused by a virus

> Being very nearsighted – high myopia. The elongated shape of the eye may cause tension on the retina. More likely to get floaters at a younger age.

Any surgery or damage to the eye such as an accident or fall may aggravate a floater condition.

As you get older these problems become more likely as the vitreous gel becomes more watery in the centre and the gel attached to the retina starts to pull more on the retina and parts can become detached and float around in the watery centre of the eye.

Treatment of Floaters

Most eye floaters are merely annoying and irritating and will probably not cause any major problems. They become more likely as we grow older.


For severe cases – the vitreous is drained from the eye and is replaced with a saline liquid.

Laser Vitreolysis

The floaters are targeted with a laser and burnt away. This method is less invasive than the Vitrecomy procedure but does pose risks to what otherwise could be simply annoying floaters.

Cloth Insulated Wiring – A Shock and Fire Hazard

I’ve been an electrician in the Los Angeles area since 1979. In that time, I’ve worked on many older homes with wiring systems that were insulated with cloth that’s been varnished. Surprisingly, prior to 1950, many electrical systems relied on this type of insulation. Who would think to put flimsy cloth around a live electrical wire?! However, cloth doesn’t conduct electricity well, so it’s a good insulator. Before the age of plastics, cloth was the insulator of choice for electrical wiring.

Unfortunately, cloth insulation has a liability. As it ages, the cloth can disintegrate and expose bare wires. This can pose shock and fire hazards that modern insulation isn’t subject to.

Does Your House Have Cloth Wiring? Some cloth-insulated wiring systems can look like modern wiring. Was your house built prior to 1950? If so, it may well have cloth-insulated wiring. A qualified electrician can tell you with certainty.

Cloth Insulation Falls Off Wires. Cloth can become brittle over time and fall off the wires, sometimes in chunks. Bare wires pose the danger of shocking anyone who accidentally touches them or of causing fires if two bare wires touch or come too close.

Cloth-Insulated Electrical Systems May Be Ungrounded. This type of wiring system may not have been grounded. Grounding provides additional assurance that excess electrical charges will be routed out of your house and into the ground.

One benefit of grounding that many people are unaware of is that without grounding, low-level electrical charges can build up in your wires and can shorten the lives of computers, entertainment systems, refrigerators, microwaves – any device which includes electronic components like sensors and timers.

Even more importantly, grounding protects people and animals from shocks should an appliance or an electrical system malfunction.

Upgrade for Safety. Upgrading cloth-insulated wiring systems is recommended for fire safety, protection of modern electronics, and for the safety of your family against electrical shocks. If your electrical wiring was installed prior to 1950 and you think that it might have cloth insulation, call a licensed electrician to take a look. Many electricians will do an inspection for free and give you a free estimate for any upgrading that might be needed.

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How To Deal With Jet Lag And Life After Vacations

While there is no straightforward and easy way to beat jet lag, there are several ways that you can take to ease the pain of crossing multiple time zones quickly.

Travel wasn’t that difficult on our internal clocks, but each technological advancement in the world of transportation has also brought changes to our time management. When long-distance railroads were introduced matching timetables with local times became a challenge. Son in 1883, we created a standardised time zones.

The start of the jet age in 1958 gave birth to a new problem. We suddenly could travel several zones faster than our bodies could adjust. Eight years later the term “jet lag” was created. The term caught on, and of course, we know jet lag is particularly bad when flying east. Jet lag can be pretty annoying but here are few things, however, that do help. Below are some of my best tips that work efficiently.


Pressurised and dry aeroplane cabins can quickly dehydrate you, making you feel extremely sleepy. Drinking water throughout the trip helps in easing the process. It doesn’t stop jet lag, but it helps make sure dehydration doesn’t compound your fatigue.

Shift Your Time For Long Trips

A few days before I leave, I started to change my sleep schedule one hour each day. Try also to move your mealtimes. That might mean a super-early trip to the gym in the morning and go to bed before my favourite TV shows are over. But this works when I arrive and also it makes easier to sleep on those long-haul flights.


If you can sleep on the plane even for a few hours, it makes a big difference. An eye mask and earplugs will help. When taking a red-eye to a far destination, having breakfast right after waking up on the plane or once you get to the airport, even if you are not hungry, it will help adjust your body to the idea that it’s morning, even if your friends and family back home are sound sleep.

Avoid Alcohol

Again, the issue is about dehydration on long overseas flights. I can’t blame you if you have a glass of red wine for sleeping peacefully but don’t have it too much, or you will have an appalling headache, and you won’t be able to adjust to the new time zone.


It helps your body feel more normal and is not confined to the plane seats only. This doesn’t exactly combat jet lag, but it does reduce some of the scars of travel.

10 Home Remedies for Gout Pain

The best home remedies for gout are the old fashioned methods that

grandparents used. To relieve gout pain and suffering, the “old timers”

had to use products that were

readily available at home. These products went out of vogue as medical

scientist and researchers touted new remedies for this old problem.

Treating gout with old home remedies has come full circle. Now the old

home remedies that grandma used are now gaining in popularity.

1) Apply Ice to the area. – To reduce pain, applying ice directly to the

area was the first line of defense in most homes. Applying cold packs to

the inflamed swollen joints for 10-15 minutes still works.

Applying ice will reduce the pain and the inflammation. This may feel

uncomfortable for the first few minutes but be persistent.The pain of Gout

is worse the feeling of cold on the skin.

2)Take ibuprofen to help ease the pain.

3)Exercise the joints. Put each of the joint through a full range of motion.

Try doing this exercise 1-2 times per day.

4)Soak the feet in Epsom Salt if the pain is concentrated in the big toe.

Epsom Salt is a staple in almost every grandma’s house. Older people use Epsom

Salt for everything from a laxative to a bath salt to sooth aching muscles.

Epsom salts contains Magnesium. Raising your magnesium levels may improve your

heart and circulation and lower blood pressure. It will also help flush

away the toxins and heavy metals from the body. Most importantly it helps to

reduce stress. Soaking your feet in a warm tub of Epsom salts will give you

almost immediate relief from gout pain.

For a leisurely bathe: Add two cups of Epsom Salt to the warm water as the bathtub

fills. Soak leisurely in the tub until the water starts losing heat.

For an extra treat, add a few drops of scented essential oil.

5) Eat strawberries fresh strawberries also help neutralize uric acid, as do nuts,

seeds, and grains, although to a lesser extent. The berries contain high concentrations

of vitamin C as well as fruit acids and minerals, like potassium, magnesium zinc,

manganese, calcium and iron.

6) Eat some cherries – Consume cherries and cherry juice often. Cherries are an

old nutritional remedy known to help reduce uric-acid levels

7) Drink water in abundance 8-10 glasses per day will flush way toxins and dilute

the uric acid levels.

8)Increase your consumption of foods such as citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes,

green peppers, and leafy greens, which are high in natural vitamin C and the

bioflavonoids that reduce inflammation.

9)Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can relieve or prevent joint pain.

Exercise is needed to nourish the joint cartilage. regular exercise helps

the body remove waste products. Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joint.

Developing strong muscles will support the joint more effectively and reduce

injuries. Stretching your muscles helps you maintain a range of motion

10) Apple Cider Vinegar is a wonderful old-timers home remedy, cures more

ailments than any other folk remedy. Try 2 tbsp of organic apple cider

vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of organic honey (2 times daily).

within a few hours the pain of gout will start to subside.

The Magnesium Production Process

Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal that is never found in nature on its own. Instead, the element is found in seawater, carbon ores, dolomite, carnalite, and other minerals. Thus, the production of the metal in order to create the cutting edge magnesium sheet products begins as soon as the minerals and seawater is harvested. There are two important ways that the elemental magnesium is extracted from nature before it can be used in creating other products.


This method is most commonly used to extract the magnesium from its most abundant source, seawater. The goal is to extract magnesium hydroxide from the seawater, not the elemental magnesium. The seawater is concentrated into brine and then dried and dissolved in hydrochloric acid. The reaction creates magnesium chloride, which is evaporated to produce a salt. The salt is then heated to melting point. It can conduct electricity in this state. The electricity passed through the molten salt separates it into elemental magnesium and elemental chlorine. The chlorine becomes a gas and the magnesium is left over.

To work, the raw materials must contain an oxide or chloride, making seawater not the only source suitable for electrolysis. The process also works on extracting the magnesium from rock minerals.

Thermal Reduction

Industrial minerals are an increasingly significant component of B.C.’s mineral wealth. The most economically significant industrial minerals produced are: magnesite, white calcium carbonate, limestone, silica, dimension stone, gypsum, sulphur, construction aggregate and crushed rock. The mineral magnesium compounds, such as that bonded with dolomite, are extracted using thermal reduction. Extreme high heat is required and process is much more costly than electrolysis, the preferred extraction method. The mineral compound is heated at such a high heat until they separate into their own compound couplings. The magnesium couples with oxygen to make magnesium oxide and the calcium bonds with the leftover oxygen to create calcium oxide or lime. These compounds are further reduced using heat and silicon to extract the magnesium in the form of a vapor. Then, it is condensed by reactor to ready for refining.

The heat required to facilitate the reduction is so high that a vacuum is needed to lower the reaction temperatures. There are three ways to perform a thermal extraction:

  • Pidgeon process
  • Bolzano process
  • Magnatherm process

At the end of the extraction processes, the magnesium is in a crystal-like form. It is melted once again, refined to further extract impurities and then pure magnesium is ready to turn into sheets.

Avoid Insulin Resistance And Manage Diabetes – Naturally

Insulin resistance is when the cell (particularly liver, muscle and fat cells, with the liver losing sensitivity first, then the muscle and then the fat cells) loses its responsiveness on the insulin receptor site. Your body adds more and more insulin to store fat. Overtime, the pancreas give up leading to type II diabetes.

In type II diabetes, your body isn’t making enough insulin and/or the cells are resistant to insulin causing too much sugar to remain in the blood.

Insulin is necessary for your body’s use of sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for your cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells.

A fasting blood glucose level higher than 100-125 mg/dL is not indicative of diabetes, but it can be indicative of insulin resistance, and is above normal levels. Optimum serum glucose range is 80-95. Fasting serum insulin levels should be below 10.

Controlling your insulin levels with diet/nutrition, lifestyle modifications, exercise and supplements are a powerful anti-aging strategy and a must for health, vitality, longevity and fat loss.

Insulin Resistance Symptoms and Conditions:

  • Brain fogginess and inability to focus
    • Elevated triglycerides. Optimum range: 70-110 mg/dL. (40 to 60% of total cholesterol). This can only be determined with a fasting test. Triglycerides are a component of fat stored in the tissue. Decreased HDL with elevated triglycerides is a more significant indicator of risk to heart disease than total cholesterol over 200 mg/dL. Triglycerides are often increased with dysinsulinism (Syndrome-X/Metabolic Syndrome), alcoholism (GGT/GGTP also generally increased) and diabetes.
    • Excess fat around your midsection or scapula area
    • Hypertension
    • Intestinal bloating
    • Low HDL levels. Optimum range: Males – above 55 mg/dL. Females – above 60 mg/dL. Should be > than 25% of total cholesterol. Most effective way to > HDL is > exercise.
    • Sleepiness and fatigue
    • Type II diabetes

When glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause problems:

  • Higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease (in diabetes, hyperinsulinemia doubles your risk for AD compared to people without diabetes).
  • Obesity
  • Over time, high blood glucose levels damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

ALL hormones work in synergy with one another. The hormone you have the most control over is insulin. This is regulated by your diet.

What Causes Insulin Resistance and Diabetes?

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Calorie restriction, skipping meals, diet pills and a crap diet of fast foods, boxed, canned or microwaved foods. Unbalanced meals, high in carbohydrates, sugar and a low intake of fats and protein.
  • Drinking soft drinks and fruit juices.
  • Elevated lypogenic (fat storing) enzymes and decreased lypolytic (fat burning) enzymes
  • Lack of quality sleep
  • Stress and altered hormonal levels. Years of high adrenaline and/or cortisol levels due to poor nutrition and lifestyle habits.

DIET AND NUTRITION for insulin resistance/type II diabetes:

  • Allowed fruits in moderation include: tomatoes, avocados, berries, grapefruit, lemons, limes
  • Avoid agave syrup,, HFCS, Nutra Sweet and Aspartame products as they may trigger diabetes and obesity.
  • Cut carbohydrates and increase protein. Eat a diet of organic proteins, non-starchy vegetables and fats (fats slow down the insulin spike)
  • Eliminate all boxed, canned and microwavable foods.
  • Eliminate all refined carbohydrates, grains, dairy products, fast-acting sugars (fruit juices, soft drinks, high glycemic fruits and starchy vegetables), hydrogenated fats, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco).
  • Lemon and lime juice reduce the insulin index of the meal due to the flavonoids.
  • If it does not run around in the field, swim, fly or is not green – do not eat it!
  • Small mini meals 5-7x daily. Include smart fats and protein at each meal.
  • Sweeten with stevia, an herb, instead of sugar. Stevia will not elevate blood sugars.

SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRIENTS for insulin resistance/type II diabetes:

  • Vitamin D – Bio D Mulsion Forte
  • Chromium
  • R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (lowers glucose levels up to 30%)
  • Omega-3 Fish oil with 400 I.U. mixed tocopherols
  • Bio-Glycozyme Forte (use with hypoglycemia)
  • Fiber
  • GlucoBalance (use with elevated triglycerides and ‘ blood sugar)
  • ADHS (consider with increased glucose or triglycerides, adrenal cortical hyperfuntion.
  • Research and clinical feed back indicates that 7 Keto-DHEA is often effective in helping to ameliorate increased glucose levels. In addition, the 7-keto DHEA will not convert androgens to estrogens.
  • Resveratrol
  • Silymarin, an antioxidant that can improve liver function (especially the insulin resistant-liver cells) and blood sugar levels, have shown great promise in the effort to fully restore insulin sensitivity.
  • Zinc, magnesium and potassium deficiencies lead to insulin resistance.
  • Improves insulin sensitivity: CoQ 10, L-Carnitine, Taurine, L-Arginine, Glutathione

SUPPLEMENTAL BOTANICALS for Insulin Resistance/Diabetes:

Fenugreek/Flax seed Potion for diabetes and insulin resistance:

Take on an empty stomach first thing in the AM

1 T. freshly ground fenugreek seeds

1 T. freshly ground flax seeds

1 T. Liquid chlorophyll

16 ounces water

  • Gymnema Sylvestre before meals helps repair the pancreas and damage to liver and kidneys. Studies show that it may be able to help repair damage that has been done to the pancreas, as well as reduce the amount of insulin many diabetics need to maintain normal blood sugar levels. There is also research showing that it can reduce triglyceride levels and aid in weight loss.
  • Bitter Gourd
  • Banaba Tree Extract
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Cinnamon – add to coffee with organic heavy cream to make you more insulin sensitive. Coffee has polyphenols which protect you from diabetes.
  • Tea: Green tea, Pau d’ arco, Astragalus, Burdock, Fenugreek

LIFESTYLE protocol for insulin resistance/type II diabetes:

  • Ensure healthy gut flora. Consider a CDSA (comprehensive digestive stool analysis).
  • Get to bed by 10pm and get up no earlier than 6am. Lack of sleep disturbs lipid profile, glucose metabolism, androgen production and blood pressure, immune system and memory.
  • Glucose levels are influenced by carbohydrate intake, stress, glandular and liver function. Serum Glucose: Optimum range – 80-95 mg/dL. 105 and > = adrenal issues
  • Monitor blood glucose levels at least 2 times a day and before eating meals. If you are exercising you will need to test your glucose levels more frequently.
  • Obtain fasting serum glucose and insulin levels.
  • Rule out food allergies with increased or decreased blood sugar.
  • Rule out heavy metal burdens, pesticides, other xenobiotics and inoculations. These can be locus to pancreatic dysfunction resulting in diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  • Take Care of Your Eyes – Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness. It can lead to Retinopathy and other eye problems such as cataracts.

EXERCISE protocol for insulin resistance/type II diabetes:

  • Begin some form of exercise routine. Walking is excellent for diabetes. A daily 3mph brisk walk decreases diabetes risk by 50%!
  • Strength training is far superior to steady state aerobic exercise to prevent obesity and improve insulin resistance. Steady state aerobic exercise ‘cortisol levels which ‘insulin levels.
  • The power of being active should never be underestimated: from a short five minute walk to forty-five minute strength training sessions, it all counts towards reducing and eliminating the pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) syndrome.

Do’s and Don’ts of Painting a Wooden Playhouse Like an Expert

What better way is there to make an immediate change to your child’s wooden playhouse than with a new paint job? When you are ready to paint your kids playhouse and you want to keep it looking exceptional for years to come, there are several things that you definitely need to do and other things you want to avoid.

The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts on how to expertly paint your wooden playhouse so it will last for years into the future:

  1. Do prepare ahead of time your playhouse for painting. Prepare your playhouse by gently scraping any loose, dried or flaking old paint using a putty knife or sander while being careful not to damage the wood underneath.
  2. Do seal any cracks around windows or doors. If there are cracks where two wooden surfaces join together use caulk to seal the cracks. This will keep the moisture outside of the playhouse.
  3. Do use a high quality primer to paint all of the wooden playhouse surfaces. Using a primer helps to increase the adhesion of the paint to wooden surfaces as well as increasing the waterproof properties of the exposed wooden surfaces.
  4. Do use an exterior grade paint. Exterior grade paint is formulated to withstand the weathering that a wooden playhouse will experience in its lifetime. Interior grade paint will not stand up against rain and snow. If an interior grade paint is used on surfaces exposed to the outdoors, in a few months after painting the paint will begin to flake and come loose.
  5. Do paint over using the same type of paint used previously. If a water based paint (latex) was used last, then use a water paint this time to paint the playhouse. Use an oil-based paint to paint over a previously oil-based painted surface. If in doubt, use a water-based paint because it is easier to apply, fast-drying, helps prevent moisture problems, and the clean up is easier.
  6. Do paint from the top down. Start with the fascia board and gables first. Then move to painting the sides of the playhouse, followed by the windows and trim. The playhouse door is the last thing to be painted.
  7. Do plan your painting around the sun and weather. Try to work your painting around where the sun is not. In the morning, paint the west and south sides and in the afternoon, paint the east and north side in the afternoon.
  8. Don’t prime or paint over caulk that has not dried fully. Upon drying, the wet caulking will crack and peel along with the primer or paint that was just applied.
  9. Don’t paint over chipped or flaking old paint. Painting over dried or flaking paint with new paint will guarantee that the new paint will chip off faster in the near future.
  10. Don’t wait to paint new wood. New wood should be painted as soon as possible to prevent deterioration of the surface.

A good exterior painting job will extend the life of your wooden playhouse. With these tips, you will be ready to paint like a pro. Your kids will be extremely happy that their newly painted playhouse will last for many years into the future.

How to Convert Your RC Car Into Drift Spec

Remote Control Drifting is taking off in a big way, in this article I show you step by step how to convert that old 1/10 touring car into a drifters dream machine. It’s very simple and generally only takes a couple of hours, using this practical guide I’ll have you sideways before you know it.

What exactly is drifting?

In a nut shell drifting is the art of changing the angle of attack of your car, while still maintaining full control, so in a typical drift driver X approaches the corner and turns in hard too early, this will bring the rear of the car around, Driver X will then turn back into the slide and keep the car going around the corner while maintaining as much angle and speed as possible, then he will over correct and throw the car into another slide right after the first one, with as little straight lining as possible.

Can a RC car Drift?

Yes, if you’ve ever been involved with RC racing, you know the level of setup that even the basic RC Cards come with, and drifting is no exception. While a stock standard RC car can drift out of the box, there are some basic setup and chassis modification that will help you get more angle, speed and chicks.

Where do I start?

The first thing you need is a RC car, I’ll use two examples, both of which I’ve had personal experience with, the Tamiya TT01 and the Tamiya TA05. The first step to drifting is to break that traction, due to the power to weight ratio of RC Cars we need a little help, Drift Tires are all you need to get sideways, but there is a little more you can do if you want to compete. If you can’t find RC Drift tires you can use insulation tape, be sure to wrap it in the same direction that the wheel will be turning, a good trick is to lay it down and roll you RC Car over it, this is the right way, Taped tires tend to work best on surfaces that already have a little to no traction, i.e. an underground parking lot, but they don’t last long. Drift tires all have different tractions, more traction = bigger drifts, but this is useless if you need to compete on a tight track as the amount of torque used to break traction will also generate a lot of speed, in the end it’s down to personal preference.

What next?

Okay so you taped your tires and played around a bit, not we need to get the car to be more predictable, all the standard racing setting apply, shocks, ride height and wheel angles are up to you, but if there is a must have it’s the rear differential, you need to lock it, this is also know as a spool diff, basically it means that both wheels must turn at the same time. The result is a car that will break and regain traction on command, the drifts will also be much easier to control, more throttle = more angle, less throttle = less angle.


The Tamiya TT01 uses a planetary gear setup for the rear diff, which is easy to convert (and convert back should you change your mind later) the two most command ways to lock this diff are 1. Open the Diff and fill it with glue from a glue gun, or 2. Take a small piece of fuel tubing ,cut it open along it’s length, and roll this around one of the planetary gears. Once done close the diff and check if it give the desired result before you put it back. The other option is to buy a hop-up spool diff.


The TA05 uses a ball diff at the back and the front, this is not as easy to modify, but it can be done. The way I modified mine was to use pop rivets. I opened the diff and removed the ball bearings and metal plates that the balls run along. I then drilled three small holes in the side, getting both halves of the diff. I then pop riveted them together and filed down the rivets. This worked, but be careful. 1. It’s not reversible and if you make a mistake the diff will be destroyed. 2. It doesn’t last long, eventually the forces that go through the diff will destroy this because it’s been weakened by holes. A Spool diff is available for the TA05 and this is the preferred options.

What about the front diff?

Now that we have a solid platform we can experiment with slightly different setups to find the one that suites us best, this varies from car to car, but the principle is the same. I personally love using a front one-way diff, or a center one-way diff for more control. The downside is that using brakes at any time is the same as using you e-brake (hand-brake) in a real car, the tail will slide around in a 180, while this can be useful to initiate a drift and transition to a second drift from the first it’s very easy to spin out, so most people prefer not to use the one-ways. Once again this is down to personal preference.

Why drifting is much better than racing.

Well I love both, but from the drifting side it takes a lot more skill and a lot less car, what I mean is that while racing takes skill, you can compensate with an awesome car, there is no way a TT01 will consistently win in a race against a carbon fibre racing machine. But with drifting you can, a TT01 can out perform any car out there, yes it will be difficult, but so much of drifting is down to driver skill that anything can happen. This being the case it’s also possible to get into drifting with very little financial backing (unlike racing)

I hope this article has given you some idea’s about drifting, please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions or need any advice, advice is always free, like the rest of my site.

Seeding in Fencing Competitions – The Impact on Your Tactics

Not all fencers are equally talented, technically or tactically. If they were, running competitions would be absurdly easy. Any fencer could be assigned to any pool or to any position on an elimination table, and the organizers could still be assured of the fencer winning who was best of the identical athletes. But reality does not work that way. As a result, there has to be some method of dividing fencers so that the outcome reflects the skill level present – enter seeding.

The objective of seeding is that the bouts result in the best fencer winning the competition, the better fencers surviving further into the competition (the rounds of 16, 8, and 4 of an elimination table), and the weaker fencers being the first athletes eliminated. This means that for you, the fencer being seeded, it is to your advantage to maximize the advantage that seeding can give you.

The initial seeding lists the fencers from strongest to weakest based on their competitive record before the competition starts. This listing may be based on fencer classification or on a division or the United States Fencing Association national point system. It may even be based simply on the best judgment of the bout committee or by administrative convenience. Regardless of how relative strength is determined, it is to your advantage to achieve the best result you can in every competition as the prior results may influence your seeding in future competitions.

Seeding determines the distribution of fencers to pools. For example, if there are 24 fencers to be distributed between 4 pools, the goal is to have each pool of relatively equal difficulty. The fencers are distributed to pools in their order of strength based on the seeding. This process sometimes is skewed by the necessity to separate fencers from the same club, and some pools can appear to be stronger than others because of the way the distribution works, but when done properly the cumulative strength of pool 1 and pool 4 should be nearly equal.

What happens in the pools determines the next round of seeding. What this means is that you want to emerge from your pool with (1) the best possible percentage of victories and (2) the best possible indicator. The number of victories is not the measure because you may have pools of unequal sizes, but in practice you get a better victory percentage by winning more bouts.

In any competition, there will be several fencers with the same victory percentage. Their seeding relative to each other is determined by indicators (the number of hits scored minus the number of hits received). This means that every hit in the pool round counts. When you win a bout you want to win by as large a margin as possible. And when you lose a bout, you want to score as many hits as possible. If you can deny the opponent a full 5 hits, that is also to your advantage. Because tournaments usually do not result in even multiples of 2 (rounds of 64, 32, 16, etc.) even a difference of 1 indicator may mean that you do not have to fight to get into the first full round. The pools are a game of winning as many bouts as possible and scoring as many touches as possible.

Seeding based on the results of the pools determines the initial bouts of an elimination table. In this case the strongest fencer is paired with the weakest, the next strongest is paired with the slightly less weak, etc., until the two bouts at the middle of the table are nearly equal in strength. You want to rank as high as possible in this seeding, as the higher you rank, the weaker your first opponent will be. And this seeding also determines your overall result among the fencers in a round in which you are eliminated before the semi-final round of 4. It is important to note that the direct elimination table bout scores do not influence your placing in a normal direct elimination competition; now a victory is a victory, and tactics that accept a hit as a tactical tradeoff (such as the double hit in epee) become useful.

Cover Up Those Ugly Metal Fence Posts With Matching Extra Wood Panels

First, I would like to point out that I happened to have extra fence panels that matched my current fence. If you do not have extras, you should not have any problem finding panels to match the type of wood your fence is in. However, if your fence is constructed of the narrow type panels, let us say 1 in. x 4 in., you will want to buy wider 1 in. x 6 in. panels so as to be sure the ugly metal fence poles can be covered. Narrower panels would most likely not be able to enclose the poles.

All you really need to do is take 3 of the panels and make a 3-sided open box to cover the ugly metal fence poles with. Lay the 3 panels on a flat utility table or any flat surface. Lay one of the panels flat (this will be the front side panel), and secure the other two to each side of it to form your open sided box. Using a screw gun, or electric drill with a screw bit on lower speed, secure the 2 side panels using any wood screws long enough to secure the panels solidly.

To secure your wooden 3-sided pole covers to the existing fence, you will want to use L-shaped metal brackets. These come in various sizes and can be found at any home and garden store. You can place the newly made pole covers over the ugly metal fence poles to fit, and secure your wood covers to the existing fence, therefore enclosing your ugly metal fence poles. I then adorned a couple of my new wood covers with solar lights. You can hang plants, or whatever else fits your fancy. Some of the poles are covered by Potato Vines rather than the wood covers. I thought it would break up the pattern a bit, add some variety to the fence, and bring a nice lush appeal to the backyard.