Finest Residence Advancing And Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Strategies

Do you want to give your house an edge over your neighbors? Well look no further! Below you will find the easy path to making your home exactly what you desire.

Do you have old, ugly furniture that you can not bear to get rid of? A great way to reinvigorate worn furniture is to sand down and revarnish them. You can save a lot of money by refinishing the furniture you already have. There are many colors you can stain your furniture, too.

Use a tricky remedy to block holes that you suspect are letting mice in: stuff them with steel wool. Mice can not chew through steel wool, so the vermin will no longer be able to enter your house.

A well-made and contemporary front door can lead to an increase in the value of your property. You can customize your door with new knobs or locks, which are fairly inexpensive. There are many options as far as finishes and shapes.

When people look at homes, the number of bathrooms plays a major role in determining how they feel about the house. The amount of bathrooms is vital to the home's property value. Adding in bathrooms can seriously improve the price of your home.

When fixing up a house for re-sale, you need to deal with the outside first before working on heating and plumbing. The first thing an interested buying prospect will see is the outside of your home, so make sure that it does not look run down as that will affect different aspects of the sale.

Install motion detector lights around your home. By turning off the lights when no one is there to use them, these will save you money on your utilities. Installing motion detectors can help detract thieves, too, since the light will go on when there is motion.

Balance your fan! Eliminate unnecessary noise from your home. A loud, unbalanced fan blade usually just needs some minor adjustments. Adjust the screws on the fan blades, as well as the ones on the motor to improve your fan's performance. This is a good time to clean your fan, especially since dirt and dust can cause balance issues.

If there is a lot of space in the attic, you should install a dormer window to make the area more usable. This will give your home's exterior a nice appearance and give you additional square footage. By spending a relatively modest amount of money, you can boost your home's worth and gain useful extra room.

Clogs in gutters can cause damage to your home's exterior. Clogged gutters causing rainwater to leak down the side of a house is actually one of the main causes of leaks in the basement. Make it a priority to clean your gutters every season.

Add some personality like a nice bold print if you think your room does not have personality. Try a zebra, leopard, or any other printed pillow or rug that interests you to add some excitement and color to the room.

One important home improvement tip is to make sure that water runs away from your house when it storms. One solution is to grade your yard so that it slopes toward the street. Another is to lengthen your downspout, thus directing the water farther from your home.

The wall-to-wall carpeting found in some older homes can be stained and outdated. Hardwood floors are more durable and long-lasting than carpets.

To sum things up, home improvement projects need not feel overwhelming. It is important to keep an open mind when you make these repairs. The article above was written with valuable tips that you can use to improve your home. You can have an up-to-date, modernized home in very little time by using the advice provided.

Well Pumps For Shallow and Deep Wells

Hauling water used to be a daily chore that was required if anyone was going to bathe or wash the dishes. This was a process that was often laborious; Water was sometimes transported for over a mile. After a while, the water did not have to be transported from a nearby stream or river. The water was ever able to be pumped by hand, directly into the house. Today, well pumps transport water automatically when the faucet is turned on.

City water is maintained by the local water company and many neighbors will share the same water source. This means, if one person is without water pressure, then the person next door is most likely going to be without as well. Houses in rural settings usually have their own well available for personal use. This well is run by an electric pump and it is the responsibility of the house owner to keep it running. There are times when it gets clogged, stuck by lighting, or the motor quits working.

The location of the house will often determine the depth of the well. A house located in a low lying area will often be able to have a shower well. Houses placed on a hill top will have to drill deeper to reach the water table, which can be expensive.

No matter if the well is deep or shallow, there are filtering systems attached to the well pump. This filter will take out excess lime, silt, sand, or any other debris that is not desirable and likely to ruin the pump.

Jet pumps are commonly used on low wells, but they can also work on deeper wells. 25 feet deep or less is considered to be a shallow well and there is not a lot of pressure needed to draw water up this amount of footage. The jet pump works like a straw, in that that sucks the water up the pipes with the help of atmospheric pressure. A one-way valve is placed on these pumps so the water is not dropped from the well back into the ground. Priming needs to be performed on these pumps before they will work.

Water is added to the pump, in order to set the pressure at the right amount needed for the pump to work. In rocky areas where the water table is below all the rock, either an altered jet pump or a submersible pump can be used.

The submersible pump is a long cylinder that has a sealed motor in the bottom of it and it connects to wires that are above the ground. This type of pump is extremely reliable and does not need much maintenance for close to 25 years.

A build-up of sediment can clog well pumps to the point where they quit working completely. There are many filtering systems available to keep this damage from occurring. Maintaining proper faucet and toilet function will extend the life of the pump as well. A leaky faucet is the quickest way to burn up the motor on a well pump.

Apocalypse Man Got it Wrong

First off Apocalypse Man isn’t a bad show and is very entertaining, it should also be noted that even though a good amount of the information is in my opinion not accurate it is successful in getting people thinking about survival in a post apocalypse world. But should this program be used as a stand alone guide to give you valuable information, absolutely not. Here’s why.

At the beginning of the show the programs host former marine Rudy Reyes tells you that you should remain mobile, moving quickly when travelling open ground and to always be alert of your surroundings. As a former soldier myself I totally agree with this statement, where things go wrong is when he has to cross a river. Instead of looking for a boat or materials to make a makeshift raft, or better yet keep moving to look for an easier point to cross, our hero decides that the best option is to use a home made rappelling hook consisting of a small crowbar and climbing rope. Let me be absolutely clear this method can work if you can hook the crowbar on the bridge, but getting it the first time is like winning the lottery. I’ve tried this using a similar crowbar and rope, the result was that it took over an hour, the one time it connected it was not a secure hold. That time could have been used to look for and find a boat to cross instead.

My next complaint is the manner in which he tells you how to search homes using speed and aggression to bust your way in. he forgot to mention that it’s speed and stealth that are your friends in the post apocalypse. Sound travels farther when there is no background noise to muffle it, which means that anyone in the area will be able to hear you kick in that door. The other thing to remember is that you don’t know if anyone is still living there and if they set up any traps for would be looters such as yourself. Kicking open a door might be met with a shotgun blast to the face.

After this he decides to travel to the local hospital, why frankly I’m not sure other then to charge a car battery which he doesn’t have until a little later on. He talks about the large diesel generator the hospital uses as a backup power source. While this is true he doesn’t mention that if the generator runs try it’s a major pain to restart it due to it seizing up, not to mention it takes a lot of fuel to get the generator going for the 8 hours or more he claims to need it for, much more then the tiny gas can of diesel he manages to find. The amount he took would power a generator of that size 10 minutes at the most, in essence it’s a colossal waste of time and energy.

Now let’s talk about cars. In the hospital parking lot he decides to steal a car, not a new one an older beat up looking truck. Now this in itself is a good idea given that an older car has a less complicated electronic system, what he fails to mention is that even older cars have what’s called a steering wheel lock. This lock locks the steering column keeping the wheels from turning this is designed both as a safety device and an anti-theft device. Simply hotwiring the car will get the engine running but you have to remove the ignition to turn the steering wheel otherwise your just going in a straight line.

Another mistake made at the beginning of the show involves travelling in the sewer systems to avoid detection from other hostile survivors. While this can be a good idea, you have to remember that those sewer systems may not be cleaned out; depending on rain fall they could actually be blocked. There’s also the health factor to consider, in the post apocalypse you’re not going to have any form of health care system. If you get an infection from human or animal waste in a sewer and you have no anti-biotic’s to kill the bacteria, chances are good you could die or loose a limb from gangrene.

While the show makes many mistakes it’s still worth watching in my opinion. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph it is an entertaining show, and it does succeeded at getting you thinking about the subject. But don’t use the show by itself as your sole guide to prepare for the apocalypse. Other shows such as After Armageddon or The Colony have many useful ideas for post apocalypse survival. If you’re looking for more information or tips on post apocalypse survival check out my website The Razors Edge a post apocalypse survival guide.

Don’t Want to See the Photographer’s Face Or Camera Reflections in Your Reflective Product Photos?

As a product photographer for more than a decade now, I have enjoyed the challenges Reflective Products offer during the photo sessions. Here I have tried my best to allow amateur photographers to better understand the various challenges and the ways to resolve those in order to get an effective photograph.

I have used examples of various products to make it easier to understand.

Stainless Steel Product is is the most difficult to photograph item. Stainless steel products require a great Balance between the soft light strobes and an open ended channel set up. This allows for a combination of soft light and direct hit daylight on the tile surfaces. The high resolution photos of these tiles need to showcase the grain of the steel. This calls for a gradient effect which can be achieved perfectly by the above combination. If you use a closed light box, the effect will be more of a Satin look than the stainless steel bright look.

Chrome Faucets– A photography challenge where reflections and glares actually help in getting the perfect look for the products. Never shoot such products in an enclosed space. Shooting them using strobe light boxes on 3 sides allowing the remaining reflections to be showcased, gives it the chrome look. Make sure the reflections are just along the length of the faucets. Makes the product photo impressive.

Compare them with the Satin Paper Dispensers. The difference is Obvious and impressive!!

Hammered Copper Mules– The hammered copper needs to be showcased as you see it holding in your hand. Shooting in a perfectly pristine environment is not a good solution. The hammered look can disappear if not enough light and reflections play the nice game. Make sure you photograph it in an optimum environment of Strobe tent lights and copper reflectors.

Stainless steel Salt and Pepper Shaker– Such shots need a balance between the Light Tent and the Strobe lights optimally placed at certain points. If shot in a light tent, the stainless steel loses the texture. It gives it a Satin Finish instead of the Stainless Steel feel.

You don’t want to see my face or the camera in your jewelry… correct? Yes this is where the challenge begins. Sterling silver, White Gold jewelry tends to be the most challenging. There is no color and hence no contrast to depend on. Here come in Lights, reflectors and the whole nine yards. Getting the correct angle with the least reflection or glare in it is a good starting point. Make sure there is diffused lights. Use the best camera setting – I prefer Manual. Have your White Balance ready and then Shoot!

TIP- Try using the Stamp/ Smudge tool gently over the surface of the jewelry and in the direction of the grain of the metal. See the picture dissolve into a shimmering slumber.

Pneumatic Cups and Lifters: The Lift You Need, When You Need It

Pneumatic cups and lifters frequently influence you, but you may not even know it. First it's important to understand how they work and what they are. Pneumatic systems work when air from a closed volume is used to create a pressure difference between that volume and the surrounding atmosphere. If the closed volume of air is protected by the surface of the pneumatic cup or lifter and a work piece, the atmospheric pressure created will effectively press both surfaces together.

The pneumatic force holding the two objects together depends on the surface area shared by the objects relative to the vacuum's power, but as a tool in many industries, pneumatic cups are used with great success to achieve a wide variety of goals. With most industrial pneumatics, an advanced system is used to add and remove air from the entire system to create the necessary pressure differential.

But how are pneumatic cups used? Have you seen pictures or videos of daredevils climbing large vertical building with what appears to be suction cups? Quickly moving up the side of the glass building foot by foot, all the while relieving on the vacuum pressure created between a simple hand operated suction cup and the building's surface? Vacuum suction cups , pneumatic cup sand lifters work in a somewhat similar (while far less dangerous) way.

For the manufacturing industry, pneumatic cups and lifters are used as a means of quickly, safely, and effortlessly lifting, picking, and placing for many applications. Additionally, pneumatic lifters can range in diversity from simple mechanical hooks to fully customized pneumatic suction lifters for delicate electronic equipment. This makes it possible to quickly manufacture, inspect, and package a wide variety of things, like compact discs and small depleate electronics components. Or, for many applications that create products within a mold or casting, a pneumatic suction cup or lifter is the perfect solution to quickly and conveniently lift the product out of the cast or mold.

Like the earlier example of a dimming climber using suction cups to scale a building, many pneumatic cups and lifters are designed for use on glass, with design and features geared towards safely and effectively moving glass without disturbing the surface or – most importantly -dropping the Raised object.

While you might seldom (or never) think about how a product, part, or component gets from point "A" (the factory) to point "B" (the consumer), pneumatic cups and lifters are one of the unsung heroes of the Manufacturing process, making it faster and easier to bring a product to market. For you, this translates into lower costs for consumers overall. So as you can see, pneumatic suction cups and lifters are often a critical step between the actual creation of the products and parts and their actual delivery to the places you can find them every day.

Easy Piano Sheet Music For Beginners

Did you know that piano sheet music for beginners can be easily download from the internet without any cost? Some would agree that this is an advantage but even so there’s still that question on how to easily read and understand it especially if you’re just a beginner. There’s no need to fret though since there are five easy-to-do steps on how to effectively read piano sheets, as well as, a vast number of websites that you can consider whenever you need to download any.

First step to first understand that there are seven letters that comprise the piano notes such as A B C D E F G and this is the same with a piano sheet music. If you still find this confusing then try to label the sheet with the letters starting from A to G so that you can be familiar with it.

You can actually read the piano sheet better if you find where the Middle C is located. Also determine where it is on the piano. This second step is easy since you just need to look for the always near the ledger line. Another hint is to find the middle of your left and right hand staffs on the piano. Sure enough you will be able to spot the Middle C without any hassle.

The third step is to locate where the each music staff is located both on your sheet and piano. Once you position your left and right hand on the piano, both comprise a staff with five lines and four spaces. You can easily spot the bass and treble clef since the bass consists of three bottom space notes that read ACE while the treble clef has four space notes that read FACE.

The fourth step is to simply remember that the phrase “Every Great Bands Deserve Fame” can be associated with the five notes of the treble clef. On the other hand, the phrase “Great Bands Deserve Fame Always” can be attributed to the five notes of the bass clef. The fifth and last step is that whenever you press two space notes and two line notes you will tend to miss out on one white note every time.

There are several websites that you can visit in order to download all sorts of piano music sheets and other resources. Most of these sites offer them for free. If you prefer reading PDF files then the ideal websites for you to visit are and The latter is a website that also offers piano courses, as well as, midi files that go together with the sheets that you download.

Another website which is offers free ready-to-print sheets in several formats including GIF image file, PDF, and Scorch to name a few. is another website that also offers free sheets in Scorch and MP3 format. Indeed, all these websites have the available piano sheet music that you will need to learn piano quickly without any cost.

Convenience at What Cost?

Imagine you and your family are sitting down at a restaurant. You order the establishment’s signature entrée and are treated to 1/3 pound of grade-B beef which has been fried and covered with watery ketchup, bitter mustard, and bits of what may generously be called “onions.” Surely this would be unacceptable at a quality restaurant. Continue on this imaginary evening, and think about taking your family to see a show at the local theater. You are sitting in your seats enjoying the performance, but every seven minutes the curtain falls and a very enthusiastic man shouts from the stage how much better your life would be if only you would go out and buy this-or-that product. No one in their right mind would sit through that, yet we seem perfectly willing to accept low-end food, poorly-made goods, and underhanded selling tactics as long as we are able to buy said merchandise quickly, cheaply and conveniently. Since their inception, fast food, advertisements, and “big box” retail have had several deleterious effects on American health and culture.

Fast food, while often expedient, is unhealthy. It is common knowledge now that most (if not all) of the food served via drive-through window contains frighteningly high levels of sodium, carbohydrates and cholesterol. In his Tufts University article “Who’s Losing the Burger Battle?” Irwin Rosenberg lists the caloric content in several fast food chains’ premium sandwiches. Hardee’s Six-Dollar Burger contains 890 calories, Burger King’s Steakhouse XT Burger weighs in with 970, and Denny’s Western Burger sits atop the greasy mountain with a staggering 1160 calories. Just to clarify, these measurements do not account for French fries, beverages or extra condiments. Awareness of the health risks associated with fast food is certainly more widespread than it used to be, but according to David Hogan’s article “Fast Food,” books and articles about the high-fat, low-quality products used by fast food establishments have been printed since the 1930s (Hogan, 565). In addition to providing a nightmarish dietary staple, fast food restaurants can also widen the gap between us consumers and the source of our food. The food itself is rarely memorable or special to us. It appears before us fully formed, an instantly-available placeholder for what we should be eating. In “Feeding Our Future,” Michael Ableman suggests that more people ought to eat “whole food-food that tastes better because it’s grown in living soil and harvested locally, food that makes clear the relationship between human health and the health of the Earth” (Ableman, 563). It seems that the only redeeming value to be found in fast food is its eponymous speed. I recently visited a particular sandwich shop and was mightily impressed when I was able to order, pay, and receive my food in literally less than three minutes. Of course, the brevity and ease of my experience did little to assuage the gastrointestinal distress I later suffered because of the oil and fat inherent in convenient comestibles. Fast food, however, is not the only example of the health and cultural sacrifices we make for the sake of convenience.

Big box retail stores have negative impacts on the individual and the community. From the moment you walk through the sliding glass doors and step onto the linoleum or concrete tiles of your local Walmart (or Target, or K-Mart, as the case may be) you may start to instantly disconnect from the world around you. Personally, I often feel like I’m in a strange sort of bubble when I shop at mass retail outlets. The other shoppers are just ghosts pushing squeaky-wheeled phantom carts down the aisles into the fluorescently-lit void. Going into the store late at night creates even more of an isolated feeling. In their article “Walmart: Everyday Low Prices,” Peter Singer and Jim Mason cite a recent report that claims Walmart employs 1.6 million people (Singer & Mason, 588), yet with the advent of self-checkout and the sheer size of most of their stores, it is possible to literally spend hours shopping and not encounter another person. This creates what I consider to be an inhospitable shopping environment not only because of the eerie lonely feeling it can produce, but also because with no employees around, receiving customer service is impossible. Judging by their ubiquitous signs, banners and slogans, Walmart seems to take much pride in being an American company offering American goods but on closer inspection, their patriotism seems questionable at best. According to Singer and Mason, in 1993 Walmart sold clothes which they claimed were manufactured in the USA but, as was revealed later, were made by child workers in Bangladesh (Singer & Mason, 590). Walmart continues to maintain their low prices by selling goods that are mostly of international origin. Singer and Mason state that in 2005, Walmart spent $18 billion on Chinese products (Singer & Mason, 590). Can there be any doubt that Walmart is partially responsible for America’s dependence on foreign wares? In their PBS article “Is Walmart Good for America?” Hendrick Smith and Rick Young state that nearly 80 percent of Walmart’s 6000 suppliers are located in China. Furthermore, the advertising for these and other goods and services can cause harm to consumers.

Advertising can hurt potential buyers in ways that may not be obvious. Subliminal messages, which have been a mainstay of television advertising for decades, can affect peoples’ thoughts and moods about a product, which seems to me like an infringement on free will. It was once thought that subliminal advertisements were just an urban myth, but according to a Discovery News article called “Subliminal Messages Work, at Least Sometimes”, evidence now exists that our decisions can be influenced by suggestions we receive unconsciously. One of the best examples that I have seen of this advertising tactic is a Chevrolet commercial from 1959. It features a happy couple singing about the wondrous new automobile arriving in showrooms throughout the nation and, if you pause the video at exactly the right frame, it is possible to glimpse images of the car with a very attractive couple inside. A more modern example of subliminal advertising is during a commercial for KFC’s Snacker sandwich. The ad shows a very enticing picture of the sandwich while an announcer talks about what a great value it is. By looking very closely during the last second or two of the ad you can clearly see a dollar bill in the sandwich’s lettuce. Of course, advertising can also influence people to buy more expensive items without using subliminal messages. Simply by using pleasant, appealing images and slogans, advertisements can promote the idea that a certain brand is superior to its competitors even if no such superiority exists. This emphasis on product labels is far from new. In “The Marlboro Man,” James Twitchell quotes 1940s advertising guru David Ogilvy as saying that if consumers were given a drink of Old Crow and told it was Jack Daniels, they would enjoy it more than if they knew it was Old Crow (Twitchell, 472). For a more modern perspective, consider Craig Nicholson’s article “Great Expectations,” from the February, 2008 issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience which recounts a study involving “Volunteers [who] were given various wines to sample, two of which were presented twice with wildly different price tags. The volunteers reported greater enjoyment […] when they believed them to be expensive…” (Nicholson, 163). It seems that, as much as our society has progressed in the last 50 years, we are still tasting images. Why is this a problem? Because when we emphasize status symbols like brand names, I believe we are prone to make very poor decisions about how to spend our money. Advertising also seems to be a contributing factor in our ever-shortening attention span. As viewers get used to having information presented in smaller and smaller bits, advertising must try and keep pace. In his New York Times Article “Advertising,” Stuart Elliot says that when television was a brand-new medium advertisements were usually around one minute in length, but by 1971 the average length was only 30 seconds and in 2005, Cadillac unveiled the first 5-second commercial (Elliot, New York Times 04/2005). It seems like this trend is likely to continue.

It is ironic that as our society becomes more complex, we strive harder for simplicity. We want everything in life to be as quick and as easy as possible but if all gratification becomes instant, I fear that we will forget the satisfaction that comes from working (or at least waiting) for what we desire. We will lose appreciation for the effort put into creating the goods that we use every day. In the short time they have existed, advertising, mass retail and fast food have already had such a negative impact on our health and culture. Imagine the impact they will have in decades to come.

Pink Slime in Swimming Pools

Pink Slime (and its “buddy” White water mold) is a newer problem facing swimming pool owners over the past 10 – 20 years. They are naturally occurring and are caused only by a lack of proper pool maintenance and water chemistry. In fact, even non-pool owners struggle with the pink slime in bathrooms, kitchens, and washrooms. Ever notice that pink ring around the basin? That’s pink slime.

Let’s define what pink slime is. Pink slime is a naturally occurring bacterium (of the newly formed genus Methylobacterium). Pink Lime is NOT a form of Algae, it is animal not vegetable. It is pink- or red-pigmented and forms a heavy, protective slime coating which provides the organism with an unusually high level of protection. Pink slime consumes methanol (a waste gas) and it is oftentimes found WITH White Water Mold. This organism is very resilient and resistant against halogen-based (chlorine or bromine) as well as non-halogen sanitizers or germicides and can remain a contaminant even after treatment.

Although initially found in swimming pools being treated with biguanides (Baquacil, Soft Swim, Polyclear, etc.), it is now seen in any and all swimming pool environments. This is NOT a biguanide problem ONLY nor is it CAUSED by the use of biguanides.

The pink slime bacterium has an affinity for the matrix that exists on the surface of PVC plastics; it will attach itself to & inside of the matrix, allowing it to re-contaminate long after it appears that it has been seemingly “destroyed” (includes pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, fountains, automatic pool cleaner parts, skimmer baskets, weirs, directional fittings, garden hoses, etc.). Small quantities of pink slime can lead to a re-establishment of the problem. It is caused by improper water & pool maintenance, environmental factors and poor circulation. Pink slime prefers areas that are “dark” (not exposed to direct sunlight) & with “slow moving” water. In another industry, medical technology, this bacterium occurs regularly in laboratory tubin.

Look for pink slime under ladder treads, behind the skimmer weir, on the undersides skimmer baskets, pool directional returns, underwater pool light niches and light housings. If you find that the pool just isn’t holding chlorine, bromine, or even hydrogen peroxide used in biguanide treated pools, look for pink slime.

After regular tracking of homeowners swimming pools affected by pink slime, here are some commonalities:

  • Many, but not all, affected pools have “smaller (under) sized” cartridge filters. (i.e. using a 75 sq ft filter on a 24 ft Rnd aboveground pool or a 90 sq ft filter on a 15 x 30 inground pool).
  • Affected pools get 6 hours or less of direct sunlight on the pool surfaces.
  • Pool owners always leave the solar blanket on AND don’t chemically clean the blanket the recommended 2 times per year to remove the accumulated biofilm.
  • “Shocking” or oxidizing of the pool water is not done with the recommended label instructions. For example, rather than shocking the pool every week or two, that task is neglected because the water “looks fine.”
  • Rainy pool seasons see a dramatic rise in the cases of pink slime.
  • Customers regularly add fresh water from their tap without letting the hose-water run for a couple of minutes (the pink slime is already present in the garden hose and is transferred to the pool).
  • Pools with sand filters are not changing the sand every 2 to 3 years AND not chemically cleaning the filter sand 3 times a season (once every 6 to 8 weeks).
  • Newer observation: Most of the affected seem to use publicly treated drinking water. Pools filled with well water appear to be not as severely affected.
  • Affected pools are not as fastidiously maintained chemically (water balance, use of borate additives such as BioGuard Optimizer Plus or Proteam Supreme, regular shocking), as clean pools.

Another observation is that many water companies across the country, in partial response to “consumer calls” to “get rid of chlorine in the drinking water” are now using mono-chloramines to treat the water (over the past 15 to 20 years). Mono-chloramines do an essentially good job at treating pathogens in the drinking water, however, some of the non-pathogenic organisms may indeed be getting by. Unfortunately, there is only experiential or anecdotal evidence.

Prevention of “pink slime” is preferred over treatment. Follow these steps to help prevent pink slime:

  1. Physically brush & clean ALL Pool surfaces weekly, including ladder steps (especially underneath each step) & rails
  2. Expose ALL pool surfaces to as much sunlight as possible (sunlight & UV are natural oxidizers)
  3. Remove the lid from the skimmer to allow sunlight into the basket for several hours each day ** INGROUND POOLS MUST USE EXTREME CAUTION in doing this in order to avoid a person falling into or otherwise injuring themselves due to an open skimmer.
  4. Regularly add oxidizing chemicals into the skimmer to purge & clean the filtration lines of any bio-film (use extreme caution if doing this. Add chemicals slowly and remove ANY and ALL objects, including slow dissolving chlorine tablets or sticks, to avoid a potential chemical reaction such as explosion.
  5. When adding make-up water from the garden hose, allow the water to run for 2 to 3 minutes before putting the hose into the pool.
  6. Regularly clean pool toys & floats (use BioGuard Stow Away acting as a mildewcide)
  7. Regularly clean pool solar blanket (use BioGuard Stow Away)
  8. Chemically clean the pool filter every 4 to 6 weeks (use Strip Kwik, Kleen It or Soft Swim® Filter Cleaner). This is a very important step regardless of the filter type; sand, DE or Cartridge.
  9. Add regular Maintenance dosages of “Shock” & Algicide every 1 to 2 weeks as prescribed (3 to 4 weeks in bguanide pools).
  10. Use borate products such as BioGuard Optimizer Plus as a preventative measure (borates, when used properly at a rate of 50 – 80 ppm, allow the sanitizer to sanitize rather than sanitize and prevent algae growth).
  11. Run the filter a minimum of 12 hours daily to prevent “dead spots” in the pool.
  12. Remember to clean & rinse the brushes, hoses & vacuums that you use to clean the pool
  13. Leave as much of your pool equipment exposed to the sun (sunlight is a natural oxidizer)
  14. Keep the water balanced at all times. Recheck after heavy usage or rain or large “top-offs” of new water. Water balance refers to Free Available Sanitizer level, pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness.

Treatment of “pink slime” MUST BE QUICK AND TOTAL! DON’T SKIMP!

Clean all pool & affected surfaces as prescribed above.

Physically clean & remove all visible “pink slime”

Add an initial dosage of algicide to the pool

“Shock” the pool with a triple or quadruple dose

Run filter 24 hours daily until water is clear & halogen or peroxide levels are maintained at a “higher” level

Chemically clean the filter. Simple rinsing or backwashing of the filter will not remove the greases, oils & other accumulated contaminant from the filter and filter tank.

Have the pool water professionally tested & analyzed. Look for a pool company that knows what they are talking about and isn’t afraid to tell you the truth about problem.

Maintain Optimizer Plus (or other borate product) levels

Maintain good water balance of pH, Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness

The longer that you allow the pink slime to remain, the more difficult it will be to cure.

Scotland – Threave Castle

Murder, mayhem and Mons Meg dominate the history of a simple tower house perched on an island in the River Dee, near Kirkcudbright. Threave Castle served the “Black” Douglases, who used this watery site as a springboard against their rivals, the Stewarts, in the 14th and 15th centuries. As the typical Scottish tower house, the stronghold effectively merged simplicity and durability to pose a formidable threat to all comers.

Archibald the “Grim”, Lord of Galloway and 3rd Earl of Douglas, erected Threave Castle in 1370 on the site of an earth-and-timber fortification. The illegitimate son and only heir of “Good” Sir James Douglas, Archibald developed a reputation in Galloway for cold-hearted oppression. Isolated from the surrounding landscape, this inhospitable tower house seems an appropriate home for the despised Archibald, yet the structure was more elaborate than its exterior suggests.

Standing five storeys high, the 8-foot thick walls solidly protected the Douglases. Each story had a specific purpose. Used for storage, the vaulted basement contained the well, a sink and drain and the dungeon. It may also have held servants quarters. The kitchen level above the basement had a large fireplace, stone sink, deep recessed window, latrine and probably provided dining space for the servants. A spiral staircase afforded the easy transfer of hot meals between the kitchen and the great hall, purposely located on the floor above. As the Laird’s showplace, the great hall featured an ornate fireplace, three well-lit windows with seats and a latrine. An outside doorway allowed passage between the great hall and boat docks on the river below. Archibald and his descendents lived on the floor above the great hall, with private apartments offering refuge and a bedchamber when guests proved tiring. Meager accommodation filled the uppermost storey.

After the death in 1439 of the powerful 5th Earl of Douglas, who was also named Archibald, the relationship between the Black Douglases and the Scottish monarchy, which had never been easy, began to break down. In 1440, the two Douglas heirs, William and David, rode to Edinburgh Castle to dine with King James II, who was still in his teens. During the “Black Bull’s Dinner”, the kings regents charged the young Douglases with treason. According to tradition, at the end of the evening’s meal, one of the regents placed a bull’s head before the brothers to symbolize their impending doom. Both were executed in front of the young king.

The blood feud continued. In 1452, the 8th Earl imprisoned a rival, Sir Patrick MacLellan, who was “the Tutor of Bombie” and Sheriff of Galloway. MacLellan’s uncle visited Douglas, who suspected the uncle was carrying a release decree signed by the king. Douglas arranged to dine with the uncle before discussing the prisoner’s freedom. During the meal he had MacLellan killed, voiding the royal decree and enraging King James.

The king soon discovered that Douglas was conspiring against him with the Earl of Crawford and the Lord of the Isles, John MacDonald. Allegedly hoping to reconcile the bad blood between them, King James II invited Douglas to dine at Stirling Castle. When the 8th Earl of Douglas refused to renounce his association with Crawford and MacDonald, the king became infuriated and stabbed him to death.

In 1455, the king’s army defeated James, 9th Earl of Douglas; and his assembly of 40,000 men, who marched to Stirling Castle to avenge the murder of the 8th Earl. Proceeding to Threave, James II scorned the Earl’s offer of the castle as a gift and instead built an artillery wall around the stronghold. The king then bombarded the sturdy tower house with the legendary Mons Meg (how housed in Edinburgh Castle). The Mons Meg was a mammoth cannon presented by the Duke of Burgundy to James II in 1457. Seeing the destruction of several outbuildings and with their laird safely ensconced in England, the garrison surrendered to the king. From then onward, Threave Castle served as a royal fortress with the Lords Maxwell as hereditary keepers from 1526.

The castle of the Black Douglases faced its final and most devastating siege in 1640, when a force of Covenanters, Calvinists determined to enforce Protestant rule in Scotland, wreaked havoc upon the site for 13 weeks. Although left in ruin, the tower house remained strong enough to imprison French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1948 the National Trust for Scotland became custodians and started a School for Practical Gardening in the castle grounds. Now under the dual care of the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, Threave Castle is open during the summer for an entrance fee.

The Advantages of Sectional Sofas

Sectional sofas have many advantages over other types of living room sofas, and can usually fit in with any type of decorating theme as well. This dual functionality is one reason why segmented sofas have been so popular over the last decade or so. With sectional sofas, you get the maximum value for your dollar if you know where to find the real bargains. Here are some advantages of sectional sofas over other types of living room sofas:

The most obvious advantage that sectional sofas have over typical sofas is that they have multiple positions that they can be put into. Sectional sofas can be made into a longer type of sofa, a corner sofa and any shape in between. This allows you to adapt your furniture to your space rather than trying to create the room around your sofa. Sectional sofas are very versatile in this manner.

Another great advantage of segmented sofas over regular sofas is that they can easily be adapted to fill empty space. When you have a large living room, a sectional can be manipulated to fill up the space much easier than a standard sofa. With a regular couch or sofa, what you see is generally what you get. There is no adjusting the size of the couch visually. With a sectional sofa, you are able to at least visually change the amount of space the sofa uses by moving the pieces into various positions. This gives you completely different appearances in a larger room and gives you more options as far as décor as well.

Without a doubt the biggest advantage of sectional sofas over regular sofas is that they are much easier to move. Not only can you carry them a piece at a time, but you are also generally able to fit them into a smaller apartment or area that otherwise could not take a sofa or couch. If you have a tight doorway, stairway or space, then a standard sofa is usually out. With a segmented sofa, the pieces are generally able to get through to tighter spots. This allows you to have a great option for even the tightest of living spaces.

Sectional sofas can actually save you money in the long run. Many people that go with a standard sofa end up needing to add a chair or loveseat to fill out their living room. Sectionals can sometimes eliminate the need for that extra loveseat or chair, depending upon the size of the space. Sectional sofas are very dynamic options in this way, because they can totally fill up a room or space.

Sectional sofas come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. You can find segmented sofas that are especially flexible in the small sectional ready-to-assemble category that will blow your mind. These sofas are made from top quality materials and can easily be fit through most any opening where you might want to place a small sectional. Small sectionals are no longer considered to be inferior products where furniture is concerned if you buy them from the right places.

PJP 3D Printing – The Process And Its Benefits

Plastic Jet Printing is one of the most popular 3D printing technologies available. This is a solid-based prototyping process that involves extrusion plastic material layer by layer until the model is built and complete. A PJP system is made up of a build platform, control system and extrusion nozzle. The technology creates 3d prototypes by heating and extruding plastic material filament. The extrusion nozzle will move over build a platform in Y and X directions, drawing a cross section of the object onto the platform. After cooling and hardening, the thin plastic later binds instantly layering beneath. The base then lowers allowing the addition of next plastic layers.

Because this technology uses engineering grade thermoplastics, it is the most widely used and also affordable printing technology. Parts built from the process are durable and stronger and most are functional in testing applications. Using the technology, you can create your parts directly into polycarbonate, nylon, ABS and other materials. The thermoplastics used in PJP technology are tried and tested and are best for applications that call for toughness, environmental stability, and tolerance.

How it works

Printers running on PJP technology will basically build parts layer for layer from the bottom up through the heating and extruding of thermoplastic filament. But how simple is this process really?

Pre-processing – This is the first stage in the 3d printing technology. In the pre-processing stage the build preparation software positions and slices the CAD file and then calculates path through which to extrude thermoplastic and any other supporting material necessary for the creation.

Production – Once the preparation is over, the printer heats the material into a semi-liquid state before then depositing it in beads that are ultra-fine along the calculated extrusion path. For areas where buffering or support is needed hen printer will deposit a material that is removable as scaffolding.

Post-processing – It is the final stage in the PJP technology where the support material is broken away so you are left only with a ready to use part or object. The supportive material can easily be eliminated by dissolving in water or detergent.

The benefits

There are a number of reasons why PJP is a popular 3d printing technology even among professionals. Some of the benefits you stand to enjoy when you choose this technology include the following.

· The technology is simple to use, clean and very friendly even for the office setting

· The production grade thermoplastics supported by the technology are environmentally and mechanically stable

· PJP makes practical complex geometries and cavities that would otherwise prove problematic

· The technology is cost effective and fast making it great for fit and function testing, fixtures and jigs, small production runs and proving designs

· It offers rapid delivery of functional and dimensionally accurate prototypes and the parts are resistant to high temperatures, chemical degradation and mechanical stresses

· The process allows part making directly from 3D CAD to the thermoplastics without the need for tooling making it a cost effective, fast and reliable technology in all kinds of settings

Pros and Cons When Selecting Cabinet Doors

There are basically three types of materials on the market used for replacing doors in kitchen cabinets, closet cabinets and entertainment centres. There are major differences that you need to know before you make a purchase. The first thing you need to do consider when replacing cabinet doors is the ultimate purpose for doing this.

Reasons for Replacing Your Doors Is a Consideration

If the doors are in a house where you plan to live another five or ten years, you may want to opt for materials that are longer-lasting. If the doors are in a rental unit, you may opt for a cheaper material. If you are trying to sell your house, a fresher more updated look is desirable.

Plastic Laminate Doors [Formica]

Laminate cabinets are comprised of layers of fibre board glued to each other with a plastic surface glued over the top.

Pros: Laminate doors are easy to keep clean and require minimum maintenance. Prices for flat styles may be cheaper than other types.

Cons: Laminate peels, chips and dents easily; is difficult to repair; and, white yellows over time while wood grains are tough to match after one year. Cabinet frames that are near heat sources may warp or separate over five years.

RTF Doors

“RTF” STANDS FOR “Rigid Thermafoil”. Essentially, these doors are vinyl wrapped particleboard that is sealed under extreme pressure.

Pros: Daily splatters are easy to clean; simulated wood grain is available; wide price range according to quality and style; and do not crack or dry out.

Cons: RTF doors are not heat resistant and should not be used near stoves or refrigerators. After several years, colours change and replacing one door is difficult to match.

Real Wood Doors

Real Wood doors are cost effective if you want to avoid replacing the doors in the next five years.

Pros: Once finished and sealed, wood doors are easy to wipe down and clean with household cleaners. Unfinished doors that are painted or stained are cost competitive and custom toned to your taste. Can be matched or reused in other areas. Many different woods are available.

Cons: Wood doors need to be painted or resealed every few years to prevent drying and should be cleaned and oiled monthly.

What to Look for When Replacing Doors

If your cabinets are fiberboard / plastic laminate or RTF, you need to check the area where the doors are attached for any separation or damage. Frames that are damaged, separated or chipped may need repair that before replacing the door itself. This is also a consideration if you have solid wood cabinets. Layers that have separated may not hold the new hinges or the weight of a new door. Warping needs to be corrected or the cabinet replaced in order for the new door to hang squarely and fit correctly. Wood that dries out may be warped and require moisturising or replacement before it is suitable to take a new door, as well.

Wood cabinet door can be very inexpensive and always cost effective for kitchen, bathroom and furniture.

The Making of a Patachitra Painting

We have all seen contemporary artists in action. We have seen them splash paint on giant canvases. But there is another way to make great art. And that is through the rigor of practice and the perfect control over one’s fingers. In the world of traditional artists – practice marks out the best from the rest. Through eyes that can barely see, and through the strength of their frail fingers – the older generation of indigenous artists, create art that simply tantalizes the perfectionists.

Patachitra art has been around for a long time. However the alienation of indigenous art forms has made it difficult for the enthusiast to find out the techniques and methods which produce a great Patachitra. Conversely some of the traditional techniques require upgrading to the latest available materials and tools. With the intention to understand how authentic Patachitra is made, I traveled to Raghurajpur in Orissa to get a first hand view of some of the best Patachitra artists.

So how is good Patachitra made? There a number of steps in the traditional style. The first is of course the preparation of the materials required for the painting. Tamarind seeds are soaked in water in an earthen pot and then boiled to get a gummy solution. Rice powder may be added to give a stiffer feel to the canvas. This process knows as ‘Niryas Kalpa’ takes a few days.

After this, two course cotton cloth pieces of the same dimensions are selected and pasted together using this solution. This forms the ‘Pata’ or the base canvas for the painting. Chalk, clay or stone powder is then mixed with the tamarind solution and applied on both sides of the canvas to give it a semi-absorbent surface coat. After canvas has dried it is burnished first with coarse grain, and then with polished stones to give it a smooth surface. The process of polishing involves many hours of careful work. The result is a canvas with high tensile strength and an excellent surface coat for the intricate lines that are to be made on it.

‘Chitrakarita’ or the process of painting begins once the canvas has been polished. The first step called ‘pahili ranga bhara’, involves painting a red background and the borders and outlines of the composition. The central solid colors are then painted in. The main colors used are red, brick red, yellow, white and lamp black. Many different types of brushes are used to make the different details on the painting. For fine lines, brushes made of the hair of a rat or mongoose is used. For thicker lines buffalo hair is the traditional choice. Kiya plants have been used to make the bolder lines, in the past. However in the last few years some of the artists have started using standard painting brushes made of synthetic materials.

The painting is finished with a coat of lacquer, applied using a soft cloth. After the lacquer has dried completely, the edges are clipped down to the decorative border. The lacquer layer is called ‘jausala’, and is glazed in the final step. In earlier times the lacquer layer was made by sprinkling resin powder on the painting and then holding it down with a hot bag of sand. Synthetic varnish has been used as a substitute in recent times with mixed results. A fallout of the varnish is the brown tinge to the painting.

In the past the themes of the Patachitra paintings belonged to a few major categories

  • Pictures of the god Jagannath
  • Hindu epics and episodes especially “Krishna Leela”
  • Stories from Folklore
  • Worship of various gods and goddesses
  • Animal and bird themes
  • Erotic themes

In recent times modern themes have started appearing on these paintings, even including themes from other religions. However the newer themes are mostly secular and center around modern day events and stories. The depictions however are not uniform and the structure of the paintings can vary from circular paintings to long rectangular panels.

The Patachitra artist also paints on a variety of mediums other than the ‘Pata’. ‘Talapatachitra’ is a variation of the style done on dried palm leaves stitched together to make a canvas. The design in this technique are primarily made with a needle head and etched on to the surface of the dried leaves. This is an extremely difficult and time-consuming process requiring many hours concentration at a time. The older artists develop eye problems mainly due to the extremely detailed designs they make using this technique.

Other mediums that have been used are wooden boxes, tassar silk apparel, coconut shells, wooden doors and panels and even traditional playing cards called ‘Ganjifa’. Compendiums of mythological stories called ‘Chitra-pothies’ are made from many palm leaf paintings stacked together between decorated wooden covers and held by strings or silk threads. These form interesting and memorable gifts, especially desired by the discerning tourists visiting the state of Orissa.

In a following article we are going to examine what differentiates a good painting from an average one. Also on the cards is a an indepth look at the life of a Patachitra artists and the hardships which have made most of them abandon this most delectable art form.

Koi Pond – Dispelling Myths About Concrete

What do some liner promoters and salesmen say about professional pond installations using concrete and rebar, plus mortar to hold the rocks?

(1) “One problem with concrete and mortar construction is that of cement alkali leaching out for some time after construction, poisoning the pond water with high alkalinity. It also leaves unsightly white deposit build-ups at the points of exit and on the surface of rocks in the waterfall.” NOT TRUE!

If the concrete you use to pour the shell is a 7-sack mix with 40% pea gravel and stealth fiber mix, the concrete is so dense that no leaching can even occur. Also, because of the density of the concrete, it is not only waterproof, but stronger than normal 5-sack mix used to pour driveways, patios and sidewalks. Finally, if you coat the finished surface with Thoro-seal, one of several non toxic concrete sealers, it cannot leach.

(2) “When you use mortar mix to secure the rocks in a waterfall, the water that soaks into the porous mortar joints, leaches out alkali and phosphorescence that poisons the pond. TRUE in the past, but not anymore. Regular mortar is porous, allowing water to pass through, dissolving and collecting the cement residue. This had been a major concern of mine for many years. After the completion of a waterfall, I would have to run the waterfall for two or three weeks, shutting it off every 4 or 5 days, and acid-clean the white alkali residue off the rocks that had built up.

Then, when we were finished, we would have to acid clean and rinse out the pond. Fifteen years ago I discovered a secret formula that would render the mortar mix non porous and waterproof. It also makes regular mortar mix three times stronger. It is produced by adding one 45# bag of thinset (used to apply ceramic tile to a shower wall) to two bags of type S mortar mix. Once it cures, it becomes so dense, it is totally waterproof and will not leach any alkali after it cures (3 to 4 days). In addition, this mix is so strong in its holding ability that once it cures, a sledge hammer is needed to remove a rock. In most cases, the rock breaks up before coming free from the secret formula mortar.

It is not only waterproof, but it bonds very well with all types and textures of rocks. It will create a watertight barrier that comes in handy when building rock dams in the waterfall. The main feature of my special formula is that it allows for much more creativity. You have the ability to raise the water level above the confines of the concrete shell without water leaking through the mortar joints, as in the case of regular type mortar mix. This special mix is not for sale in the stores, and never will be, because I give the formula away for free! This discovery has revolutionized the effectiveness of mortar mix and its ability to bond, waterproof, and prevent alkali leaching.

A Dramatic Test

A 4,000 gallon swimming pool was converted into a concrete koi pond with two large waterfalls, held together with my new mortar mix, and an 8′ x 12′ island. The rocks surrounding the island, were also held by the new formula. When the project was completed, all the surfaces were given a quick, mild acid wash, and the pond was filled and dechlorinator was added. The following day, $3,000 worth of my own personal koi fish were transferred into the concrete koi pond. They all swam calmly around the island, inspecting every nook and cranny.

None of them experienced any stress and they remained in their temporary quarters for three months with no incidents. If that dramatic demonstration was not enough to convert the skeptics, nothing will. So what is the bottom line? Pond liners cannot be guaranteed not to leak, for a myriad of reasons. Concrete and rebar ponds, if built properly, will stay leak-free for decades, if not generations. You be the judge. You’re the one investing your hard earned money and time into it.

Color Matters: Choosing The Right Roof Shingle Colors For Your House

Little did I know when I arranged to get a new roof that I quickly be faced with the decision about what color roof I wanted. Who knew that roof shingles came in so many colors? Not me — all roofs looked alike as far as I was concerned. But it turns out that choosing the best roof shingle colors for your house is critical.

There are many variations in roof shingle colors. If you’re a bit color blind, as I am, shingle color variations really don’t stand out. In fact, shingles come in several different color families with various shades and mixtures of colors and tones. When you look at a shingle up close you’ll see that the grains that make up the asphalt covering are often several different colors. You can actually use those color combinations when choosing a paint scheme for your home — selecting the paint for the body, trim, and doors from the shades on your roofing shingles.

The roof is a dominant feature on your house. Most roofs can be seen from the street and from your neighbor’s homes. Since you’re going to be living with your choice for some twenty years or more it’s important to put some thought into the selection.

The appropriate color for your roof shingles depends in large part on the color of the body of your house. So if you’re planning to also paint your house you’re going to need to make that color choice in advance in order to choose the appropriate shade for your roof. You want to consider both the color of the home’s siding and the color of the trim on the house.

Here are some color combinations that work well. If your house is:

Yellow — black shingles will look sharp
Red — consider brown tones
Green — a brown or gray roof works well
White — looks best with dark gray or black
Blue — dark gray or black shingles
Tan or cream — shades of brown work best
Natural wood — green is a good choice

Daring or offbeat choices are not wise when you’re re-roofing. It’s too big an investment and too long-lived a house feature to opt for the trendy or highly personalized choice. Your goal should be to harmonize with the neighboring properties rather than call attention to your home with an unusual choice. Look around your neighborhood to see what colors have been used. If you see a color that you like point it out to your roofer. He’ll be able to suggest colors that are popular in your area.

Best roof color choices are also impacted by the climate and weather in your area. Light colors will reflect sun and lessen heat build up, important in areas where high temperatures are the norm. In some areas white or very light shingles are popular choices to deflect heat. In colder climates a darker color will absorb heat and ensure that snow on the rooftop is quicker to melt.

Don’t be afraid to get some help when selecting your roof color. Some shingle manufacturers’ websites have online tools that show you how different color combos will look. You might consider enlisting a color specialist to advise you. It’s a small investment before this major purchase. Your neighbors might be able to help — pull over and ask if you pass a house with a striking roof and siding combo. And remember, your roofer does this for a living — he’s probably your best source for advice on what colors his clients have been most pleased with in the long run.

You’ll be living with your roof for years to come. Time spent now choosing the right roof color is time well spent.