How to Gain Muscle by Eating Right

If you are focused on gaining muscle mass, you may think that the only thing you need to be worried about is working out to help your muscles grow. That's not true. The only way you are going to gain muscle is by eating right.


First things first, if you want muscle mass, you have to give your body what it needs to make muscle, which is protein. The body uses protein to build muscles. You should try to focus on lean proteins that just give your body the healthy part it needs, without the fat that can come with many proteins. Look for beans, lean meats, eggs and fish as your intake options.


While many people think that any meat is good to take in while trying to gain muscle, that is not true. Fatty meats are going to give your body more work to do to process the parts it does not need. When fat goes into the body, it can clog things up and slow things down. While your body is trying to process and remove fat, it can slow down the rest of its work.


Instead of just a few meals a day, try to up your meal intake. 5-6 healthy smaller meals through the day means your body will have everything it needs to build the muscles you want. Also, make sure you are getting coverage from all of the food groups so your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to thrive. Fruits and vegetables, milk and whole grains are vital.


Water is vital for the body to build muscle mass. If your body does not have the water it needs, it will not be able to clear out toxins and conduct all the operations it needs to build muscle mass quickly and easily.

2010 Acura ZDX – A Category All Its Own

Marketers for Honda's luxury division call their brand-new ZDX a "four-door sports coupe." Serious coupe fans might dispute that designation, insisting that true coupes have only two doors. Still, several manufacturers introduced the "four-door coupe" theme earlier, including BMW with its X6 and Mercedes-Benz with its CLS sedan.

According to Acura, the ZDX features the world's first continuous glass surface, extending from hood to bumper to bracket the panoramic sunroof. When closed, the power roller sunshade allows only three percent of outside light to reach occupants. With the shade open, 20 percent of light reaches the interior. Acura promises two-passenger comfort inside the ZDX, but with seating capacity for up to five occupants.

Beneath the low hood, a 3.7-liter VTEC V-6 engine develops 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, driving a new six-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are mounted at the steering wheel. In Drive mode, a touch on the paddle provides a gear change. S-range gives the driver full control of shifts. When operating automatically, a double-kickdown can occur when necessary.

Front / rear torque distribution from the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system ranges from 90/100 to 30/70, taking place automatically. Left / right, the torque distribution stretches all the way from 100/0 to 0/100: all to none, applied to wheels on either side.

Enhanced intake and exhaust sounds yield "a little bit of exciting flavor in the upper rpm areas," said principal engineer Jason Widmer. Otherwise, Active Noise Cancellation and other engineering features help keep the ZDX pleasantly quiet. All models roll on 255 / 50×19-inch tires, but the ZDX suspension may be set for either Comfort or Sport mode. Fifteen sensors react to road conditions, altering the suspension's effect as needed.

On the whole, the ZDX does not yield a truly car-like experience, because its SUV underpinnings are too evident. Handling is a prime enticement, as the ZDX driver enjoys appealing steering feel and fine feedback, along with the bonus of Acura's SH-AWD system, in case the weather turns foul.

Delivering a comparatively firm ride overall, the ZDX hits an occasional bump hard. Such incidents are appropriate for an SUV-based vehicle, but less so for what's deemed a sports coupe. Sufficiently supple in suspension capability, this four-door recovers nicely from any excess reaction. Acceleration qualifies as enthusiastic, if not exactly startling, perhaps not quite as dramatic as some sport-coupe enthusiasts might crave.

Getting inside demands a moderate climb? Almost like some actual SUVs. Substantial side bolstering cradles the driver snugly, but these serious yet comfortable seats are abundantly cushioned, augmented by superior thigh support. The rear seat is more comfortable and roomy than anticipated, but substantial head-ducking may be needed to twitch one's body into the back. Cargo space totals 26.3 cubic feet with the second-row seats up; 55.8 with those seats folded.

Gauges are readable but dim in darker light conditions. Over-shoulder views are somewhat impaired. Visibility directly astern is split by a thick horizontal bar; nearly everything is seen through the upper pane, which is adequate but squat. The driver faces Acura's first hand-stitched leather dashboard.

On sale around mid-December, the Canadian-built ZDX will be priced between the MDX sport-utility vehicle and the RL sedan, which puts it in the mid- $ 40,000 neighborhood. Three versions will be offered, starting with the base model, which includes a standard power tailgate. The Technology Package adds Acura's navigation system, with Real Time Traffic information and a Weather Radar View. Lane Guidance can show which lane to be in, when anticipating a turn. The multi-view backup camera can provide a normal, wide, or top view. In base models, the 8-speaker audio system is rated at 266 watts. ELS Surround Sound is part of the available Technology Package.

Your Options For Stanley Mirrored Closet Doors

There are multitude of closet door ideas that would surely make your contemporary decor standout. Replacing your old door with a Stanley version is one of these creative ideas.

A mirrored closet door not only brightens an area but it also makes it look larger. You can also have a bifold or sliding model, depending on your preference. What is more, one can double as a full-length mirror, thus eliminating the need to purchase a separate mirror to hang on the other side of your door. This option gives you a full view when dressing up.

Stanley mirrored closet doors may not come cheap so it is recommended that you compare prices from several online retailers (i.e. before you buy a replacement. Here are some for your perusal:

Series 2700 Heavy-Duty Steel Bifold Door with Mirror Laminate:

This heavy-duty bifold door features a laminated mirror on 24-gage steel. It comes with a hardware system, Slimfold hat, self-adjusting guide rods loaded with spring, a 3mm thick safety backed mirror and polished chrome handle. You have a polished chrome option for prefinished steel track as well as mirror edging in polished chrome. Panel color options are ivory, black and bright white. This door is available under model number 2750.

Series 4400 Steel Framed Bifold Mirror Door:

This door provides an uninterrupted look with its non-visible frame. Standard features are bearing hinges, 3mm thick safety backed mirror, prefinished top and bottom tracks that match the door and anodized aluminum pulls. Color choices are vanilla, bright white, black, architectural brown, arctic silver, bright gold and satin gold.

Series 2020 Steel Framed Sliding Mirror Door with Bottom Roller:

This door can be adjusted for out-of-square openings. It also has top L-guides that you can adjust for smooth and noiseless operation, bottom roller that is jump resistant, one piece top track with 1 and ¾ inches depth, 3mm-thick safety-backed mirror with option of 4mm-thick mirror for heights of more than 7 feet and prefinished top and bottom tracks. Color options for stiles and rails are architectural brown, vanilla, bright white, arctic silver, architectural brown, bright gold and satin gold.

Series 2200 Heavy-Duty Steel Sliding Door with Mirror Laminate:

This heavy-duty door is designed for constant use and is easy to install. The laminated mirror is attached on a 24 steel gage panel. It comes with ball-bearing nylon bottom roller with an inch of vertical adjustment, 3mm-thick safety-backed mirror and polished chrome handle and mirror edging.

SpaceSaver Overlay Closet Doors:

This door is available in various glass combinations with single and double swing frame options. You can choose a door set with decorative mirrors or glass or dressing mirrors. This door is designed for easy hanging. It has an overlay opening that requires no door jamb.

Series 4550 Aluminum, Sliding Mirror Door System:

The sleek design of this door makes it an ideal replacement door for your bedroom or any room in your house. The stunning anodized aluminum look of this door equals its superior performance. This door will not easily chip, peel or fade. The available finish options are satin, bronze, bright silver, bright gold and golden bronze. You can match the door with your interior trim, window frames, bathroom fixtures and hardware to create a modern look to your home.

Spring Pest Control – Common Pests That Appear in the Spring Time

Are large black ants showing up in your kitchen or bathroom?

When the temperature warms to approximately 60 degrees, carpenter ants come out of dormancy and will forage and seek for food and nesting places. They can be seen both inside and outside of your home. They may be coming from an outside nest or may have already established a colony in the walls of your home. Carpenter ants will create tunnels in wood, causing the homeowner serious structural damage if left untreated.

Are you seeing bees in your home in early spring?

These are typically a wasp, hornet or yellow jacket queen bee, generally who have overwintered in your wall voids and attics. Once awake, they will look to lay eggs and establish new colonies. If left untreated, the bees will establish colonies and become a bigger problem.

Is there carpenter bee damage around your home ?

Chances are if you had carpenter bees in the past, they have been dormant in the winter and will emerge in the spring to lay their eggs. The newly hatched eggs will emerge in late summer. This new generation will often drill new holes and nest in the same areas. A professional residual barrier is recommended for prevention.

Are small black ants around the counter tops in your kitchen, dog feeding areas, children play areas, and outside your home where mounds of dirt are pushed up from the soil?

These are signs of Pavement Ants. They are nuisance pests. Typically they are found outside in the soil but will seek out food in your home. Their colonies can be quite large and will not decrease unless treated.

Are spider webs creating a nuisance around your home?

Spiders can be found in basements, garages, porches and other sheltered areas. Spiders come out to find food and feed on other pests. Spider infestations are usually the result of other insects being present around your home. Preventative treatments of these insects will help reduce the spider problem.

For the best results dealing with spring pests, we highly recommend an Integrated Pest Management Plan or IPM Plan. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a program designed to prevent infestations and eliminate any pest problems by reversing and eliminating conditions that are conductive to pests. This approach in conjunction with a maintenance plan will keep pests under control effectively.

Professional service is highly recommended for these spring pests. Preventive treatments will give you and your family peace of mind.

Bridge Building to Friendships

Building a bridge to nowhere will get you there! Many relationships have been saved because of a GPS.Things can get tense when one is driving and another is navigating. Because we now have a tool (GPS) we can more easily get to our destination, unless of course the GPS says, "You have arrived," and instead of pulling into a restaurant you are facing a cornfield!

In order to build friendships we need tools and a plan. That makes it sound like being intentional? You may ask, "Does this mean I need to work at my friendships or other relationships?" To answer that question mildly, "Yep."

It also means if you want to increase your base of friendships, you need intentionality. One needs to plan to build bridges to others. I know networking seems more difficult for those who see themselves as quiet or introverted. It does take getting out of our comfort zone, but having goals and a plan can make it easier.

Do you want to have more friendships and associates? Then consider these points:

  • Count the number of friends you do have . You may not realize it but you may actually have more friends than you imagine. Since they know you, ask them what they could recommend to help you network.
  • Where are you connected? Where do you need to connect? Here are some ideas:
  • Check out civic organizations like the Optimist Club , Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. They have great social times as well as provide services to the community.
  • Join a book club. Find like-minded readers who have a passion to read and share.
  • Join a hobby club. Besides reading, there are endless hobby groups that network and socialize.
  • Attend a place of worship. This is a great opportunity to feel supported and to be of assistance to others along the journey.
  • Volunteer. There are millions of ways to volunteer in a community like hospitals, libraries, schools, parks, boards or commissions, etc.
  • Take a class at a local community college . They have reasonable prices with a wide variety to choose from. I once took a water coloring class from a community college. It's a great way to network.
  • Anything else you can add to the list ? For further ideas do web searching.

A word of caution: go slow on your involvement and networking. It takes time and energy so you'll want to pace yourself.

Before you know it, you will have a network of friends and associates and will probably ask yourself, "Why did I wait so long?"

Camping is More Fun When You Are Prepared

Camping can be a fun family experience. It is a great chance to get closer to each other and spend quality family time together away from all the stress everyday life can bring. Whether you chose to camp in an isolated area in the woods or a local campground, being prepared will make the trip a lot more relaxing and enjoyable. It can be very difficult to relax if you have to run to the store every ten minutes to grab something you forgot. Make a checklist before you leave to make sure you take everything you need. This article will discuss the basic necessities for camping. Be sure to take any specific items your family may require.

First and foremost you need shelter. For RVing families this is pretty simple. If you plan to rent a cabin be sure to do so in advance to insure availability. If you are going to camp in a tent make sure you have the tent and all the stakes and ropes for proper assembly. Make sure to have a hammer handy to pound the stakes into the ground. Once you have shelter covered the next item on the list should be basic everyday necessities. Clothes, extra shoes, towels, wash cloths, swim wear, food, cooking utensils and appliances, plates, plasticware, napkins, table cloth, etc. These items are things everyone thinks to pack for any trip. Try not to bring a lot of perishable food unless you have a portable cooler. Make sure to bring an inflatable mattress and warm sleeping bag if you intend to tent camp. Also, bring your own sheets if you are staying in a cabin.

Other basic items for a camping trip are fishing gear, books, folding lawn chairs, a first aid kit, clothing line (for extended trips), dish soap, laundry soap, and rain gear (just in case). A lot of these items are often forgot about until you get everything set up and ready to go at the camp site. No one wants to spend the entire trip standing or sitting on the nearest rock. Take activities for the car ride as well if the trip is long. Anything your family enjoys such as books, movies, music, etc. Hair care accessories, shower shoes, and extra blankets are also great to have on hand.

Other items to consider taking on a family camping trip are a GPS, a 12 volt television, portable satellite TV system, and hand held CB radios. GPS units are great when you are venturing into the great unknown; finding something as simple as the nearest grocery store can be hard if you're not familiar with the town. The GPS navigation system can get you to your camp site, and show you around the town, all by simply programming your destination. Having a 12 Volt television and portable satellite on hand are simply for entertainment purposes. When the sun goes down and the glow of the fire just is not interesting anymore, being able to flip on the TV and watch your favorite shows will seem priceless.

The last item I mentioned in this list is a hand held CB radio. These can come in handy in a lot of different situations. Use them to communicate with family while you explore the woods and streams, or use them in case of an emergency (such as getting lost on such explorations). These little devices can prove to be a true lifeline when you need them most. Having all these items, as well as any family specific item you may require, can make a camping trip turn into a great family memory.

Are Cell Phones Causing Cancer?

In 1993, a man filed a lawsuit against the cell phone industry, claiming that his wife died from a brain tumor caused by her repeated use of the cell phone. The tumor was on the same side of the head where she held her cell phone and was shaped like the cell phone antenna. The case got widespread media attention and was featured in CNN’s Larry King show.

Although the claim was dismissed by the court due to lack of sufficient evidence, it was a public relations nightmare for the wireless industry. It also marked the beginning of the global search for a definitive answer to the question: are cell phones safe or not? Does it cause cancer and other degenerative diseases? Brain cancer is up 25% since cell phones became popular. Every year, there are 183,000 more cases in the US alone. Some health experts say there’s a link with cell phone use, but is there proof?

In an effort to diffuse the negative publicity from the high-profile lawsuit, the cell phone industry itself funded a $25 million dollar research program to prove that cell phones are safe. After 6 years of intensive research, however, the results were not what they were looking for. Dr. George Carlo, the chief research scientist of the program, found evidence that cell phones pose some health risks, possibly even cancer.

The first evidence of cancer link that shook the cell phone industry came in 1997. Dr. Michael Repacholi and his colleagues from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia reported that long-term exposure to the type of radiation that comes from digital cell phones caused an increase in the occurrence of lymphoma in mice. The study received widespread international media attention because it was the first time that cancer has been linked to the cell phone in a well-conducted study.


In order to show a link between cell phone radiation and cancer, let’s look at several studies Dr. Carlo investigated that made him blow the whistle, so to speak. These red-flag findings provide the pieces that fit together to form the cancer picture:

– DNA Damage in Human Blood Studies

– Breakdown in the Blood-Brain Barrier

– Studies of Tumors in People Who Use Cell Phones

– Studies of Cell Phone Radiation Dosage and Response


All tumors and all cancers are the result of genetic damage. Most often that damage includes the formation of micronuclei–fragments of chromosomes that form membranes around themselves and appear under a microscope as additional nuclei in blood cells (which normally have just a single nucleus). The relationship between micronuclei and cancer is so strong that doctors around the world test for their presence to identify patients likely to develop cancer. The presence of micronuclei indicates that the cells can no longer properly repair broken DNA. This deficiency is considered to be an indication of an increased risk of developing cancer.

– In December 1998, Drs. Ray Tice and Graham Hook of Integrated Laboratory Systems in North Carolina have shown that blood cells exposed to cell phone radiation suffer genetic damage in the form of micronuclei. In their studies, DNA and chromosome damage in human white blood cells occurred when exposed to signals from all types of phones–analog, digital, and PCS. Damage was shown even from signals occurring at a SAR level below the government’s “safety” guideline.

– Using different methods, the above finding was confirmed by Dr. Joseph Roti Roti of Washington University in St. Louis in 2000. His research showed that human blood cells exposed to radiation at wireless phone frequencies did indeed develop genetic damage, in the form of micronuclei. This finding received a lot of notice because Dr. Roti Roti is a prominent scientist who does hiw work under funding by Motorola Inc.

This has a very serious implication. If cell phone radiation encourages the formation of micronuclei in blood cells, and micronuclei are said to be “biological markers” for cancer, then based on these studies alone cell phone use could be said to increase the risk of cancer


The blood brain barrier is a special filter in the blood vessels of the brain that keeps dangerous chemicals from reaching sensitive brain tissue and causing DNA breaks and other damage.

– In 1994 and again, in 2002, Dr. Leif Salford from Lund University in Stockholm, Sweden found in his studies that rats exposed to cell phone radiation showed a breakdown in the blood brain barrier, as well as areas of shrunken, damaged neurons.

The micronuclei studies of Tice, Hook and Roti Roti and the blood-brain findings of Salford provide a two-step explanation for how cancer could be caused by cell phone radiation.

Step One: A leakage or breakdown in the blood brain barrier would provide a pathway for cancer-causing chemicals in the bloodstream (from tobacco, pesticides, air pollution, etc.) to leak into the brain and damage sensitive brain tissue that would otherwise be protected. These chemicals could break the DNA in the brain or cause other harm to reach those cells.

Step Two: While a number of studies showed that cell phone radiation by itself does not appear to break DNA, the micronuclei findings suggest that they do impair the DNA repair mechanisms in brain cells. Micronuclei result from a breakdown of the cell’s ability to repair itself. If the brain cells become unable to repair themselves, then carcinogenesis–the creation of tumors–induced by chemical toxins could begin.

DNA carries the genetic material of an organism and its different cells. Any damage that goes unrepaired affects the future generation of cells. The change has procreated and this mutation is seen as a possible cause of cancer.


Epidemiological studies, performed by different investigators using different methods, show some evidence of an increased risk of tumors among people who use cellular phones.

– In 1998, Dr. Ken Rothman of Eidemiology Resources, Inc. in Newton, Mass., did a study showing that users of handheld cell phones have more than twice the risk of dying from brain cancer than do car phone users–whose antennas are mounted on the body of the car, far removed from the users’ heads.

– In 1998, Joshua Muscat, a research scientist from the American Health Foundation, showed in his study a doubling of the risk of developing neuro-epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain among cell phone users, particularly on the side of the skull where cell phone antennas are held during calls.

– Muscat also showed in another study that people who have used cell phones for six years or more have a 50-percent increase in risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the nerve that controls hearing and extends from the ear to the brain. Acoustic neuromas can cause hearing loss and can be life-threatening if untreated.

This was confirmed in a separate study in Stockholm, Sweden by Anders Ahlbom in 2004 and sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), which finds that people who have used cell phones, this time for at least 10 years, may have an increased risk of developing acoustic neuroma.

– In a study also requested by WHO, researchers headed by Dr. Lennart Hardell of the Orebro Medical Center in Sweden examined 1,617 patients aged between 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour between 1997 and 2000. They were then compared to healthy people. Those who used cell phones for less than 10 years faced a 20% higher risk of developing brain cancer. But for those who used them for more than a decade the risk was 80% higher. The study also found that tumours were 2.5 times more likely to be on the same side of the head as the phone was held. The cancer of the auditory nerve, acoustic neuroma, showed a larger increase–3.5 times greater risk.


All studies mentioned showed that an increase in cell phone radiation exposure also increases the likelihood of the adverse effect occurring.

In Repacholi’s study of mice, the risk of lymphoma increased significantly the longer the mice were exposed to the radio waves.

In the research work done by Tice, Hook, and Roti Roti, the risks of genetic damage as measured by micronuclei formation increased as the amount of radiation increased.

In the three epidemoiological studies–two by Muscat and one by Hardell–the risk of tumors was greater in the areas of the brain near where the cell phone was held.

In Salford’s study, the higher the radiation exposure level the rats were exposed to, the more damage was apparent in the blood vessels in the brain and the neurons.


The test tube studies by Tice and Hook; the mouse study by Repacholoi and Selford; and the epidemiological studies by Rothman, Muscat, and Hardell all agree in that they suggest an increased risk of cancer among cell phone users. They fit together to form the beginnings of a picture that everyone can see. They perhaps don’t form the complete picture yet, but there are enough already in place to see that there is cause fo genuine public health concern about cell phone safety.

According to Dr. Carlo, “The big picture is disturbingly clear. There is a definite risk that the radiation plume that emanates from a cell phone antenna can cause cancer and other health problems. It is a risk that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is a risk that must be seen and understood by all who use cell phones so they can take all the appropriate and available steps to protect themselves–and especially to protect young children whose skulls are still growing and who are the most vulnerable to the risks of radiation.”


– In 2000, a team of Sydney researchers published a scientific hypothesis about how mobile phone radiation causes cancer. The report claims that the radiation generated by cell phones causes ongoing stress to the body cells, causing them to give off ‘heat shock proteins (HSP).’ The human cells sometimes release these proteins in response to injury or infection. Such a chronic activation of the heat shock response affects the normal regulation of cells, which could result in cancer.

– In 2002, cell biologist Fiorenzo Marinelli and his team at the National Research Council in Bologna, Italy, exposed leukemia cells to continuous radio waves similar to that of cell phones. The exposed cells had a higher rate of death than the controls initially, but after further exposure, a curious thing happened: instead of more cells dying, the exposed cells were replicating furiously compared to the controls. Genes that trigger cells to multiply were turned on in a high proportion of the cells. The cancer, although briefly beaten back, had become more aggressive. Marinelli suspects that the radiation may initially damage DNA, and that this interferes with the biochemical signals in a way that ultimately triggers the cells to multiply more rapidly.


Now with all the mounting evidence, the cell phone industry still maintains their position that cell phones are safe and have even begun marketing towards children. The governments have been slow in stepping in to warn people of any danger from using cell phones. Fortunately, health officials and experts in several European countries are taking the first steps, having issued public warnings to parents urging caution about kids and cell phones,

If the previous environmental issues involving tobacco, asbestos, and lead are any indication, it takes years and even decades to accumulate the amount of evidence that would produce a definite ruling. In the case of cigarette smoking, it took two decades of study and 100 years of consumer use to gather enough data to meet research standards to demonstrate the need for the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning label on cigarette packs. Some experts say that in the case of cell phones, it will not take that long as data are coming in at a faster pace. But at the present the authorities can only urge people to exercise caution.

Replication of research is another problem. A study that comes out with a new finding generally does not gain immediate acceptance in the scientific community or the wireless industry unless another research lab has been able to replicate the work and the findings. The industry has cleverly perpetuated their position by creating an illusion of responsible follow up by always calling for more research.

When Dr. Salford published his study in 2003 showing that rat brain neurons were dying from exposure to cellphone radiation, he warned there might be similar effects in humans that over time could lead to degenerative diseases of the brain. His study was written off by the industry as a “novel” finding that needed to be replicated.

But achieving the scientific standard of replication can be complicated. Salford says if studies aren’t absolutely replicated, providing an apples-to-apples comparison, there’s wiggle room to dispute follow-up findings. Research studies require funding, and the wireless industry, after Dr. Carlo’s revelations, have been reluctant to put money into more comprehensive research. As for governments, again many European governments are taking the responsible course by funding research, but the U.S. and Canada are lagging poorly.

In 1999, CNN’s Larry King once again featured a man who brought a multimillion dollar lawsuit against cell phone manufacturers. This time the man, a Maryland neurologist, was himself diagnosed with brain cancer–again located on the side of the head where he held his cell phone. The suit was yet again dismissed, however, and the man died not long afterwards.

According to WHO report, 0.1 billion people have died from tobacco use in the 20th century, and 10 times as many will die in the 21st century. No one is suggesting that cell phones could cause as much casualties, but do we really want to wait and find out?


Unlike tobacco, the cell phone has become as an indispensable part of our lives as television and computer. It has enabled us to make a gigantic leap in the way we communicate with one another and has been credited widely with saving people’s lives in emergency situations. Cell phones are here to stay, and perhaps rightly so.

The question is not how to stop people from using this ubiquitous device but rather how to make it safer. The first step always is to admit there is a problem, hence the industry and the government have to acknowledge the health risks inherent with the present technology. This way we can all find the proper solutions that we may more enjoy the benefits of its use without sacrificing our health and wellbeing.

copyright 2005 Taraka Serrano

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.

How to Decorate a Small Bedroom

Small spaces are notoriously difficult to decorate, primarily because you need to find a good balance between form and function. It's important that the room contains all the required furniture, while at the same time looking uncluttered, attractive, and welcoming. The following tips will help you achieve this:

1. Storage

Using tall units is a great way to provide lots of storage without compromising on floor space. Floor-to-ceiling wardrobes are perfect because they can hold a huge amount of stuff in a relatively compact area. Another great way to provide more storage is to use a bed with space underneath, and then use under-bed drawers which slide in and out.

2. Bed

Fairly obviously, the bed is one of the main pieces of furniture in a bedroom. It is also the one which takes up the most floor space, so it is important to choose the right one. If you are set on having a double bed, you could consider a small double, which still provides ample sleeping space, but in a slightly smaller area. Otherwise, a single bed or fold-down bed can give you a significant increase in floor area.

3. Lighting

Although clever use of lighting will not make your room any bigger physically, it can give the appearance of doing so. Rather than having one central light hanging from the middle of the room, use a number of smaller lights and lamps dotted around near or on the walls. This will help give the impression of a bigger room.

4. Color

It is a well known interior design principle that using lighter colors creates an impression of space and airiness. Light whites and creams will achieve this very well, whereas dark browns and purples can make a small room feel oppressive, and even smaller than it really is.

By following these simple tips you can maximise the use of space in your bedroom to make it feel larger than it really is, giving you a more comfortable environment to sleep and live in.

Commercial Painting Budgets – Budgeting For Commercial Painting Projects

If your maintenance budget for the current operating year has a taken a hit, you may be wondering how to get a commercial painting project accomplished along with everything else. Two possible solutions to project budgeting are purpose driven spending and changing the contracting process.

Purpose Driven Spending The most common view of a commercial painting project is simple maintenance and facilities up-keep. Justifying painting and coating projects as preventative maintenance is relatively easy because the surface treatment can prevent damages to the underlying structure. If the budget separates preventative maintenance funds from operating costs, you could package and combine the painting project according to its true purpose to get the funding from your management team.

However, painting and coating can be a lot more than simple up-keep. In a retail setting, the appearance of a structure can a have a direct impact on the amount of business the facility is able to attract. If the current maintenance budget can not support a painting project, perhaps the marketing budget could.

Changing the Contracting Process

As a commercial painting budget solution, changing the contracting process may seem like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. However, the savings from a new way of administering contracts can be significant, especially if your facility does a lot of outsourcing. Many large organizations adapt a job order contracting system (JOC) to handle their contracting process. A JOC system is a type of indefinite demand and indefinite quantity contracting system which relies of pre-defined base prices for services. Contractors bid by multiplying the base prices by a selected co-efficient.

JOC systems are often used by schools, government agencies and other organizations to streamline their contracting process. The real savings come from reduced advertising costs, reduced administrative needs, and a quicker RFP to finished project time. According to a white paper published by Centennial Contractors Enterprise, Inc., the savings associated with a JOC system can be up to 21 percent of standard costs.

The advantage of a JOC system is that once in place to cover a painting project, the system is equally applicable to virtually every other outsourced aspect of facilities budgeting. However, if you are not currently using a JOC system, you should strongly consider hiring an expert consultant to help you implement the program.

Final Words

Facility budgets are not likely to increase anytime soon, so creative solutions are a must to find room in the budget for commercial painting, construction and maintenance projects. In the end, whether your company chooses purpose driven spending or changing the contracting process, the ability to establish a companywide logical decision-making process and get management buy-in is critical to the company's success in managing your commercial painting budget.

Drop Leaf Dining Tables at Mom’s House

When my mother got married, she outfitted her home with a complete coordinated set of furniture-a matched master bedroom set, a cocktail table and end tables, a desk for my dad. But the pride and joy of her home was her dining room table. It was Colonial style, pine with a maple finish, and round, 70 inches across. It came with a leaf that would make it oval, and it was easy to seat twelve guests for Thanksgiving dinner.

We never lived in a large house, so how did this grand piece of furniture find a place within our modest home? Mom had some foresight, and when it was time to pick furniture, she chose a drop table that gave her exactly the seating she was looking for but with built-in features that made it ideal for a home that might have limited space.

What are drop leaf tables? They are tables with a fixed center section on the tabletop, and hinged sections on either side that can be dropped down when the table is not in use. When you raised the hinged sides of the tabletop, they are supported movable gate legs, arms, or brackets.

On most days, Mom’s dining room table was pushed up against the wall; it projected less than two feet into the room. If we needed a little more space-for homework or a craft project-we would lift one side and slide the movable table legs to support the tabletop. Clear off the table when we were done, drop the side, and the dining room would have a clear passageway again.

It’s not surprising that an Early American furniture suite would include drop leaf tables. The design dates back to sixteenth century England. The design remains in use today for dining tables, sofa tables, and end tables. A special design for drop leaf tables-a tripod table-is has three legs, and the round table top has three hinged sides. Drop the three hinged sides, and the round table top converts to a triangle, and it can squeeze into a tight corner. With a similar design, a secretary desk with an drop leaf top provides a full-size desktop when necessary, and then can be folded down to accommodate a tight passageway.

The drop-leaf design has not been lost on today’s furniture designers. For people who live in apartment and condos and who like to entertain, the drop leaf table provides an excellent solution for a dining room table in a limited amount of space. You can find a variety of drop leaf tables-bar-height or standard size–that you can place at the end of a galley, and turn a small space into an eat-in kitchen. Some drop leaf tables even have storage space for folding chairs built into the base.

Most people who sew or do crafts don’t have a space dedicated to those activities. Instead, they end up setting up on the kitchen or dining room table and putting away their work at the end of the day. Today’s furniture designers have integrated the function of drop leaf tables into specialized pieces of furniture. You can buy a portable sewing and craft cart that incorporates a drop leaf tabletop and integrates storage underneath. If you can’t find drop leaf tables that perfectly suit your space, your style, or your needs, search the Internet for plans for a custom-built table.

It’s hard to keep a good idea down. Drop leaf tables have been around for centuries, and we keep coming up with new ideas for turning the design into something useful for our modern lives.

Advantages of Handicap Elevators

A handicap elevator is a cost effective solution for people with different handicapped needs. They are very beneficial to use and the price of buying one is worth it in the long run. It will not just help you reach inclined surfaces but also offers you numerous benefits.

Installing a handicap elevator may seemingly not a practical option especially for those who are running out of budget. But the fact that handicap elevators are ideal amenities for handicapped folks or physically challenged people, price is not a big deal. There are lots of elevator firms and manufacturers that offer great services and options of having deductions and discounts of the total cost disabled lift.

Handicap elevators are lifting systems that are box like structure commonly powered with AC and DC or hydraulic system. You can operate them using internal or external controls. They are easy to install and will not require your house a complex change.

Handicap Elevator As A Convenient Means of Transportation

Handicap elevators can offer you numerous benefits. One benefit that the lift known for is its capability to transfer a physically impaired person together with an assistant nurse in several floor levels. They can help your loved ones reach elevated surfaces, which are hard to access before. Your love ones would not need to stay at one place for the rest of his life.

Traveling places for a handicapped person is not impossible anymore. Handicap elevators can be seen in various residential and commercial places. You do not have to leave your love ones solitary in your house when you have to go to places where stairs are present.

Handicap elevators can also help you bring grocery items and even big furniture in a selected floor level. The elevator itself can carry 500-1000 pounds accommodating 2 kids and two adults together with grocery items or a disabled person confined in a manual or power wheelchairs accompanied by a nurse. This feature of handicap elevator proves that the lift is an ideal solution for every handicapped need.

Handicap Lift Elevator As A Safe Way Of Ascending And Descending Floor Levels

Handicapped elevators are the safest way of transferring a wheelchair bound person to different floor levels. They have anti-skid systems that prevent slithering while you are inside or maneuvering outside the elevator.

Handicapped elevators are available in several manufacturers. One popular place to find companies is through the Internet. Selected disability lift websites can offer you a wide selection of elevator designs and configurations. Some of the trusted handicap elevator manufacturers are the Savaria Concord, ThyssenKrupp Access and Federal. It is very important to take a careful research first before buying a unit.

Ionic Pro Air Purifier – Advanced Technology For Cleaner Air

Feeling nauseous? Do you have less energy than you used to, but can’t seem to find the reason why? The truth is, quite often our homes can be our worst enemies — and we don’t even know it! Dirt, dust, pet dander, carpet fibers — ever wonder where they go when you’re not vacuuming? Unfortunately, it’s doing much more than you probably think: it’s polluting your air. These impurities infiltrate the air circulating in your home, and if continually breathed in over time, they can cause serious health complications for yourself and your family. As alarming as that sounds, there is good news: Ionic Pro Air Purifiers can help make your home a clean and healthy breathing environment!

As the latest technology in air purification, the change in air quality when you install an Ionic Pro Air Purifier will be so drastic that you’ll feel a noticeable difference in your energy, health and even your overall sense of well-being! If you’re skeptical, consider this: airborne impurities are tasteless, odorless and invisible to the naked eye. Like a slow poison, air impurities can seep into your circulatory system and cause serious medical problems. Due to its high-powered purification technology, within a month of having an Ionic Pro Air Purifier installed, you will notice a difference.

Unlike other air purifiers, the Ionic Pro Air Purifier uses ion particle technology to remove impurities from your air. While other purifiers use filters that require regular replacement, an ionic purifier avoids the potential danger of forgetting to change your filter or becoming clogged, which may put your family at risk. Instead, the Ionic Pro Air Purifier’s advanced technology projects pure negative-ion particles into the air, weighing down the impurities and drawing them away from yourself and your family.

Never Change Another Filter Again!

The scientific purification method of the Ionic Pro Air Purifier makes it a perfect choice for busy families. When you’re on the go, changing your air filter is probably the last thing on your mind. But if you forget, you run the risk of exposing your family to potential health problems, and in effect, increased medical expenses. An unchanged filter will not collect the impurities and will leave pollution to linger in your home. Not only will an Ionic Pro Air Purifier help you to avoid these potentially damaging issues, but it will help you and your family to live a happier, healthier life of clean air!

Snowblades Are Big Fun on the Slopes

New Category of Snowriding Brings More Control and More Fun to the Ski Resorts

You may have seen them on the slopes, people on what looks like snowblades. Looked like they were having a lot of fun. Officially termed skiboards, these “shorties” are about half the length of skis with many models having similar surface area as skis, while being wider than most skis as well.

Snowblades are constructed with parabolic sidecuts for effortless carving while the shorter length makes for much more control, much less fear and pure fun from day one! No kidding! Usually these will also feature symmetrical twin tips for easy backwards and forwards riding and offer a variety of binding choices from non-release to release to backcountry ascent bindings.

Snowblades are so easy to learn, you can be up and running months or even years faster with less hassle than the more traditional, longer skis that dominate the slopes. Most experience a learning curve of one or two days. Snowblades are much less expensive, with entry models starting around $99. Higher end models of snowblades will usually cap out at around $550. And these are so easy to carry. Poles are necessary either.

Not considered junior skis, these snowblades that range from 143cm down to about 65 cm, with the average around 99cm. These are high performance skis (snowblades) intended for all out fun by adults of various heights and weights. You will most certainly begin seeing more and more of them on the slopes in the next few years.

Of course, just hearing that these are fun or easy is nothing compared to getting a chance to ride them. Doesn’t it make practical sense? The shorter the length, the easier it is, with more control and a much faster learning curve. Moguls and glade runs become a delight compared to those longer sticks.

Those who have tried these will agree, you will truly feel transformed when you ride these. Like many others, you will wonder why you tortured yourself with those long planks and find a renewed interest in getting to your favorite resort over and over again.

In the snowblade category, look for models like the Atomic ETL 123cm; Summit Custom 110cm, Marauder 125cm and Headwall 95cm; Head Salamander 94cm; Matrix Ski Blades in 75, 90 and 99cm lengths; Elan Freeline 99 and 125cm; K2 Fatty at 88cm. Snowjam 75, 90, 99 and 125cm. Regular ski boots do the trick and off you go.