Searching for the Perfect Painting

One day I was sniffing about in the Accademia in Venice, with a silly smile on my face, having taken my fill of some truly magnificent Venetian masterpieces which included 'St. John the Baptist 'by Titian, the truly remarkable' Transport of the Body of St. Mark 'by Tintoretto and sighing over the Bellini's and Tiepolo's! Having thought enough was enough, I began making my way towards the exit when I decided to stick my nose into what is the oldest part of the museum, the former Church of Santa Maria della Carita ', because I love the gothic atmosphere, inside part of what was the first of the great schools of Venice, the Scuola della Carita ', founded in 1260. This is room 23 of the Accademia today and obviously was the church of the old school and well worth a look when you are next here. I moved towards the end of what must have been the altar area and there it was? Temporarily displayed here as it turned out, awaiting its return home to the cathedral in the little town of Castelfranco Veneto, some 40 ks inland from Venice, I was lucky enough to see it in this lovely space.

I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared. How can one put down into words what was for me, there and then, a revelation. Of all the paintings I've stood before and there have been thousands, I've never been so moved and beguiled by any work before or since. The light was perfect, in the distant background with beautiful soft and defused coloring; the middle ground with the Madonna perched high on a throne was perfect in its details and color balance. Her look of quiet humanity was bewitching, whilst in the foreground the sharp details jumped to attention with the expected mood of courage and honor surrounding George on the left and the gentle spirituality of Francis on the right with his outstretched left hand inviting us to enter and participate in the momentous occasion.

Vasari tells us that in this painting we see one of the first examples of pittura sanza disegno (painting without drawing) by Giorgione. This technique became to define the Venetian Renaissance in painting and Giorgione's famous pupil, Titian was its foremost exponent of this painterly style.

What was it about this painting that had me smiling as I quietly walked around it slowly, viewing it from every angle, and still I wonder about it today? The man was an innovator no doubt, whose use of tiny disconnected spots of color brought into oil painting, was derived from his study of manuscript illumination techniques. This technique gave Giorgione's works the 'magical' glow of light for which he became famous, and is so evident in this work.

I suppose ultimately there is no 'perfect' painting, just the piece you like, which for you is perfection. For me, the 'Madonna with Child and St. Francis and St. George 'by the great Giorgone spoke to me that day in the Accademia and I shall be forever grateful it did.

Lighting and Energy Efficiency

As a former educator and former psychotherapist, I have continually had a common notion about people reinforced: We are creatures of habit and change doesn’t come easy for any of us. With respect to our living environment, this is particularly true. It generally takes some kind of jolt or “smack in the face” to get us to consider making changes in where and how we live.

One of the strongest motivators in prompting people to change comes from information on how to save money particularly when we find we can get the same benefits from using things that are more efficient and cost-effective.

This article is a brief synopsis of ways that you can save money on your lighting costs. Implement some of these suggestions and you will notice a change in the bottom line of your electric bill. Remember, that these savings add up month after month and at the end of the year, a tally will prove that you’ve made a wise move.

For many people, the way they light their homes and businesses hasn’t changed much since the invention of the incandescent light bulb by Thomas Edison. Granted, these bulbs have evolved into more energy-efficient devices, but technology can only go so far with an idea that, by its very nature, is inefficient in terms of its basic function. The incandescent light bulb is really more of a heat than a light producer and compared to new lighting technology they just aren’t very durable.

The latest and greatest lighting innovation is the compact fluorescent light bulb also known as the CFL. The first CFLs had some definite drawbacks. Like most new technology, they were more expensive than their incandescent counterparts, had separate tubes and ballasts and were available in just a limited number of shapes, sizes and the amount of light that they generated. These limitations made the early CFLs somewhat limited in terms of popularity and applications were typically limited to just the right circumstance and need.

The great competitive nature of our culture soon began to prompt significant changes in all aspects of the CFL. If you haven’t been hanging around the lighting department in your local home center or hardware store, you may be in for a surprise with respect to what is currently available to homeowner and business owners and why you should seriously consider making some changes in the way you light your environment.

First, let’s consider expense. Modern CFLs use about one-third the electricity and last as much as ten times longer than their incandescent counterparts. For example, if you consider one single 18 watt CFL in place of a comparable 75 watt incandescent bulb, over its lifetime, the CFL will save you as much as $30-$40 at an average kWh unit cost.

Remember, we are talking about just one bulb. Multiply the number of bulbs by the average savings per bulb and you will be in for a real eye-opener.

Related to the cost savings provided by the CFL, let’s also consider efficiency. The typical CFL is up to four times more efficient than its incandescent counterpart and will last on average ten times longer. Taking a 22-watt CFL as an example, it will generate the same level of illumination as a 100 watt incandescent. Translated into energy efficiency, the CFL uses about 60% less energy than a comparable incandescent.

The quality of the light generated by the newer CFLs has improved considerably over the earlier versions. Everyone is familiar with the cool white look of the early fluorescent. While this type of color found many applications in factories and offices, it just wasn’t conducive to the type of lighting most people desired in their homes. Newer CFLs use rare earth phosphors that can provide a wide variety of colors including those that emit a warm, soft light that is desirable in a living environment. In addition, the newer CFLs include technology that eliminates the annoying hum and flicker of the older versions.

The big news is that today’s CFLs can be used just about anywhere that the traditional incandescent bulb is used. They can be used in table and floor lamps, on track lighting, in recessed fixtures, in ceiling fixtures and even outdoors. The newest technology also provides 3-way CFLs that can be used in lamps with high, medium and low settings and CFLs that can be used with a dimmer switch are also now on the market.

For the environmentally conscious individuals, CLFs have been proven to reduce both air and water pollution. For example, replacing just one incandescent bulb with a comparable CFL will reduce about one-half ton of CO2 over the life of the bulb. If using CFLs became the lighting method of choice for the entire country, we could eliminate a large number of electric power plants and their toxic by-products.

While the news about switching to CFL lighting is nearly all-positive, there are a few drawbacks or limitations that should be mentioned. Not all CFLs are dimmable. This technology is fairly recent and the models that are available are therefore limited. Be sure to carefully check the package before purchasing a CFL that you intend to use with a dimmer or in a 3-way light. If you plan to purchase a CFL for use on a timer, be particularly careful in making your selection. While the standard CFL will function with a timer, its life will be considerably shorter.

Unfortunately nearly all CFLs are not as durable when they are frequently turned on and off. Consider where you plan to install CFLs and stick with an incandescent bulb if this is an issue (such as in closets, laundry rooms, etc.).

Many CFLs don’t produce their rated light level when used in an outdoor setting. The package should let you know if the CFL is suited for outdoor use.

CFLs are not designed to function as spotlights so if you have a need for accent lighting in your home or in a retail setting, it’s best to consider other alternative lighting.

Finally, CLFs contain small amounts of mercury, which is classified as a toxic material and may be released if the bulb is broken or when it is disposed of. Take care to observe local, state, and federal regulations with respect to the disposal of this toxic metal. If you happen to break a CFL use a wet rag and dispose of both the bag and the pieces in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Your local recycling center may accept this waste but if they don’t, use your local trash container making sure to cleanse your hands after disposal.

Under no circumstances, send the waste material to an incinerator because it will simply release the mercury into the atmosphere.

Some final words about CFLs:

These fixtures are available in a wide variety of sizes, styles and shapes and have from two to six tubes. Some CFLs have the ballast permanently fixed and must be replaced as a unit while others have a separate bulb and fixture which permits you to replace just the bulb.

These CFLs are available with standard sockets, which are easily installed, in most household fixtures:

Triple tube lamps provide greater lighting in small areas using shorter bulbs. These lamps are ideal for table and reading lamps as well as for open hanging lamps. Spiral lamps are just as described and are typically used as replacements for incandescent light bulbs. Globe lamps look like standard incandescent bulbs and have a diffuser that will provide a soft and pleasing light. Globe lamps are typically used on bathroom vanities and add the benefit of reducing the heat in this area, which is usually lighted by multiple bulbs. Flood lamps are designed for track and recessed lighting and can generally be used both indoors and outdoors. They provide a soft light, which is diffused and generates considerably less heat than their incandescent counterparts. Candelabra style CFLs are screw-in fixtures that have a small base designed primarily for chandeliers. Socket reducers, available at most hardware stores, may be needed to adapt these bulbs to certain chandeliers and sconces.

While the majority of this article focuses on the benefits of CFL lighting, another light source is becoming more and more popular. I’m talking about natural sunlight. Some DIY will consider installing a skylight(s) a major project and for the most part, they are correct. However, when considering new construction, skylights are certainly an option to seriously consider. While they may be somewhat more expensive to install, they will more than make up the additional cost over the years in reduced electrical bills. If you decide to tackle the job yourself, be sure that the skylight is a tight fit and well caulked.

Finally, and beyond the scope of an extensive discussion in this article, solar panels (depending on where you live) can provide significant a significant savings in your electrical costs. The models and options available in solar panels have significantly increased over the years and there are models available that will fit just about anyone’s budget. There are some state and federal programs that provide financial incentives for homeowners considering solar panels and I suggest you look into these.

I hope the information in this brief article has been useful and will prove beneficial to you as you continue to look for better and more economical ways to light your part of the world.

Barriers to Strategy Execution

Recent studies have shown that organizations that have gone through the effort of developing a written strategy fail miserably at execution. According to Paul Niven in his book "The Balanced Scorecard":

• Only 10% of organizations execute their strategy

• Only 25% of managers and executives have incentives linked to strategy

• 85% of executive teams spend less than 1 hour per month on strategy

• 60% of organizations do not link budgets to strategy

Those are pretty dismal facts about commitment and results as they pertain to strategy execution. Why are companies so poor in doing what they say they want to do?

According to an article in the Sloan Management Review in the summer of 2000, most of it has to do with leadership. The Sloan report listed "Six Strategy Killers":

1. Ineffective senior management teams 2. Top-down management style 3. Unclear strategy and conflicting priorities 4. Poor vertical communication 5. Poor coordination across boundaries 6. Inadequate leadership skills down the line

These are all related to leadership and vision of senior management. In over 35 years' experience as a CEO and business coach, if I had to pick one of the strategy killers, it would be unclear strategy and conflicting priorities.

I've worked with numerous companies developing a vision and a strategic plan to achieve that vision. In most every case, the executive team knows that change is needed and indeed inevitable. They develop a strategy to put their organization in the best possible position to be proactive to the anticipated change, and then they freeze. Day-to-day priorities set in and they lose focus on why the plan was developed.

Developing a strategic plan is a worthwhile effort, but the work does not end there; it's just beginning. If all internal processes and management incentives are not aligned with plan achievement, the real message is business as usual.

Senior management must take the lead in driving change and that lead needs to be in visible as well as compensatory forms. If we look at the statistics above, that simply is not happening.

The real question is: Why is not it happening 90% of the time? I believe it has to do with short term incentives linked to quarterly and annual financial performance. It all sounds great when a company plans to invest in technology or human resources to strengthen their market presence in the next five years, but when it comes to spending money that impacts now, for something that may or may not happen later, it just doesn 't compute.

They often rationalize that the problem has not happened yet; we'll have time to deal with it later. Of course by the time later comes they are scrambling trying to make a five-year plan happen in one year.

Long term strategy implementation takes strong leadership, a clear vision, and absolute accountability for results. If you accept these as facts, you have to accept that these attributed are in short supply in all but 10% of organizations in the United States.

Choose to Love

The movie, Fireproof, leads a disastrous marriage down a triumphant path through a series of selfless acts, which are detailed in the spinoff book, The Love Dare. The husband’s father dares him to perform specific acts of love for a period of time rather than give up on his marriage, which appears to be doomed. The perspective being offered is that it only takes one person making small changes with a loving heart to improve a marriage dramatically. If spouses are focused on the faults of the other person, they miss the point.

Even if your marriage is not on thin ice like the couple’s in the movie, give some thought to whether or not you frequently keep score in your head, i.e. I did that nice thing, now it’s his turn. Or, I always plan vacations and don’t feel appreciated, so I’m not doing it anymore. I once had a friend who kept score of how many chores she and her husband each performed; they are now divorced.

When an unsatisfied store customer asks to see the manager, imagine if the manager argued back that the customer was wrong. The store would lose sales. But when the manager apologizes and meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations, the customer will likely maintain the relationship with the store. The next time your spouse issues a complaint, instead of becoming defensive, try to act like the manager and listen to your spouse to see if you can resolve the issue. And the next time you want to blurt out something nasty or critical to your spouse, think about whether you could say it in a nicer way-or hold your tongue.

Given how busy we all are with work, church, school, homes and children, it’s almost unfair that you are asked to make time to do even small, loving acts for your spouse. If your relationship is like most couples, its priority level has been pushed down a few notches. Realize that you are not just doing it for your spouse, but for yourself and your children, and as an investment in your future. I’ve found in my personal experience and in my interviews with successful couples, feelings follow actions. So, if you’re just not feeling the love today, do it anyway! Choose to behave lovingly, and your feelings will follow. Your spouse may take notice, but even if he or she doesn’t, choose loving actions anyway.

One of my interviewees (who has overcome an addiction and his wife’s life-threatening illness) says he realized it’s the small things that please his wife, like saying something nice in an e-mail. “It’s nothing extraordinary like leaving a trail of petals to the bedroom filled with a thousand candles. We let each other know we’re thinking of the other and that we really care,” he says.

Brainstorm 5 things you could do in less than 10 minutes. Then act on one thing. Do you believe one person can begin to change a marriage, or does it take two?

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation and Ending Itchy Bed Bug Bites

Anyone who has had bed bug bites, knows how itchy and painful it is. Many of you with children worry when they wake up in the morning, scratching and digging at their bites. The worst part is that the bites were clustered, often in threes. Bed bug experts called them breakfast, lunch and dinner. All you know was that the bed bug bites had to stop.

In early infestations, bed bugs like to hide in tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses and daybed covers; later they spread to cracks and crevices in the bed and mattresses. They are nocturnal, so if you are awake between 3 am and 5 am, you may be able to see one on your bed. I have to admit that I set the alarm, so I could get up and check the beds of my children. Only once did I find an actual bed bug, so finding them is not necessarily a good indication of infestation.

The fact that I acted EARLY was a HUGE reason why I was able to successfully get RID of bed bugs and experienced no more bed bug bites.

If allowed to multiply, they can be found behind baseboards or woodwork, window and door frames, pictures, and moldings, and in furniture, loosened wallpaper, and cracks in plaster and partitions.

They can even hide in mattress box springs, wall sockets, old books (look in the spine and between pages), behind wallpaper, clothing cracks and crevices of the floor and wall and basically anywhere they can stick their flat small bodies.

"When I'm traveling I will pull sheets off of the bed and look for black dots or a live bedbug," Warneke (Orkin Pest Control Services) said. The Herald

  1. Look for bed bug leavings on your sheets. They look like black dots. Inspect carefully around the seam of your bed. I found these especially in the seam of the mattress, but they were VERY TINY.
  2. Sometimes you may find eggs, egg shells and cast skins near these places.
  3. There is usually is a distinctive odor in rooms where bed bugs are numerous

Now you know about bed bug bites and you know a bit more about signs of bed bugs. You may be fairly certain you have bed bugs, next you need to learn how to get rid of bed bugs.

Ohio Car Insurance Quote – Instant Online Rates

Here are three quick tips to help you save money on auto insurance:

1. Your driving record as you know is very important. The better your record, the lower your premium. If you've had accidents or serious traffic violations, you will pay more than if you have a clean driving record. You may also pay more if you have not been insured for a number of years. You should never go more than a year without being insured.

2. The number of miles you drive each year are key. The more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents, as expected. If you drive a lower than average number of miles per year, less than 10,000, you will pay far less, often 15% less. For instance, some companies will give discounts to policyholders who state that they carpool.

3. So where do you live? Insurance companies look at local trends, such as the number of accidents, car thefts, as well as the cost of medical care and even auto repair. You would be amazed the difference in costs from one major city to another. For example, Baltimore to Detroit has a 15% difference in price on average.

Ohio Car Insurance Quote

One of the best ways to learn more about Ohio insurance is to go to an insurance quote website and request free quotes online. Immediately after you complete their short form, you will get a number of low quotes from the major carriers while still online. After you get your quotes, you then compare plans and visit their websites for more detailed information.

Know Your Janitorial Supplies – Find Eco Friendly by Seeking Green Seal Products: 6+ Reasons Why

Greenwashing is prevalent. It is hard to discern what is really sustainable and eco-friendly in today's market place. This becomes extremely important when you are seeking to market your green janitorial cleaning service; select safe and green janitorial supplies for your operation; or developing green janitorial specifications for your service providers. To help you there are several reputable and reliable certifications available to help guide you.

Green certifications are not just a green colored label on the product. It is something that provides you with confidence that the product has undergone rigorous, scientific based, analysis and evaluation so you know you are using green janitorial supplies and chemicals that are safe for the planet and human health. Since we can not (and likely do not want to) become a chemist, it is important to leverage valid green certifications. This way you can be confident that the chemicals are in janitorial chemicals, especially in green cleaning products and green janitorial supplies are safe, nontoxic and sustainable for our environment. It is for this reason that eco certification programs were developed and are closely followed. One of the oldest and most respected certification programs in the US is Green Seal.

Green Seal is dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products and services. In fact their mission is to use science-based programs to enable consumers, purchasers and companies to create a more sustainable world. They provide a third-party review and certification for you.

What does a third-party review mean to you? First, second, and third-party levels of review define the degree of separation between the reviewer and the company whose product is being reviewed. This is especially important when certifications are involved. Most marketing claims, material data safety sheets (MSDS), and product specifications that are provided by the company are considered first-party declarations and have not been independently tested or verified. Second-party review may be more credible because a trade association or outside consulting firm in the industry is presenting a verification of the company claims for you. One concern about a second-party review are the potential conflicts of interest (real or perceived). Whenever an independent third-party conducts the product testing and awards the certification the end-user, whether a residential or a commercial consumer, you can have the highest level of confidence in the claims.

Green Seal is a third-party reviewer . Since 1989 they have provided independent, objective, science-based guidance to the marketplace and to consumers. They are a (501 (c) (3)) nonprofit organization that is funded from numerous sources, including contracts, grants, special projects, and revenue from certification and monitoring fees.

The Green Seal organization certifies everything from coffee filters to hotels. Standards that are issued to cover over 230 product and service categories. There are presently 8 standards for cleaning products for household and industrial / janitorial applications and 2 standards issued for cleaning services.

Green Seal Standards for Green Cleaning Products:

  • GS-08 Cleaning Products for Household Use
  • GS-21 Powdered Laundry Bleach
  • GS-34 Cleaning and De-greasing Agents
  • GS-37 Cleaning Products for Industrial and Institutional Use
  • GS-40 Floor-Care Products for Industrial and Institutional Use
  • GS-41 Hand Cleaners for Industrial and Institutional Use
  • GS-52 Specialty Cleaning Products for Household Use
  • GS-53 Specialty Cleaning Products for Industrial and Institutional Use

Green Seal Standards for Green Cleaning Services:

  • GS-42 Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services
  • GS-49 Residential Cleaning Services

Any product displaying the Green Seal trademark means that it has passed stringent tests; demonstrated it works as well as or better than others in its class, and that it has been evaluated without bias or conflict of interest. Because of this rigor, Green Seal standards have been recognized and used by the US federal government, many state governments, and other key entities.

Products only become certified after rigorous science- based evaluation including a life cycle assessment that evaluates a product from the raw materials through the manufacturing process and ending with recycling or disposal. The Green Seal certification mark states the product has demonstrated the green janitorial supplies and green cleaning products have gone through a stringent process to show that it has less impact on the environment and human health.Â

Need more? Here are 6 More Reasons why Green Seal Environmental Certification is so strong. This will further expand your confidence the Green Seal certification program:

  1. The Green Seal mark represents compliance with a rigorous set of criteria designed to achieve leadership levels in sustainability, including on-site plant visits
  2. Some of the factors considered in evaluating the products are that they are: non-toxic, biodegradable, absent of any carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxins, low-level of sensitivity with respect to eyes, skin, contains no heavy metals, phthalates or other prohibited ingredients, has minimal volatile organic compounds (VOC) or ozone depleting substances, and is non combustible.
  3. Green Seal is one of the largest eco labeling organizations in the US
  4. Green Seal is the US member of GEN which consists of 26 of the world's leading eco labeling programs, including Germany's Blue Angel certification program and the Nordic swan.
  5. Green Seal meets the US EPA's Criteria for Third-Party Certifiers, the requirements of ISO 14020 and 14024, and the standards of the Global Eco Labeling Network.
  6. Green Seal certification is not just a "one-time deal". Companies establish an ongoing commitment to health and the environment through annual compliance monitoring and work towards continuous improvement.

Avoid greenwashing, seek products with one of the green certifications such as DfE, Ecologo, and / or Green Seal.

Finishing the Basement by Installing a Ceiling

After you have your walls constructed in a basement remodel, you may want to consider finishing off the look of the ceiling. Here are a few options that you can use to add that finishing touch, and there should be a solution here to fit any budget.

Drop Ceiling Installation
By far the most popular basement ceiling solution is the drop ceiling. There are many different styles from which to choose, and they are relatively simple to install. One of the things that makes them so simple to install is that they easily hide all of the wiring, plumbing and ductwork, but the panels can be easily removed for access any time. A drop ceiling is a simple project for a homeowner to do without professional help, and unfortunately they are also one of the more expensive ceiling options. While some tile systems are cheaper than others, they are still at the upper end of the budget spectrum overall.

Drywall Ceiling Installation
Another option when you are installing a basement ceiling is installing a drywall ceiling. This type of ceiling finishes off the look of your newly remodeled basement beautifully, and it is probably the least expensive finished ceiling options. Like the drop ceiling, it can hide all of the wiring, pipes and ductwork housed in the ceiling beams. However, if you need to access anything behind it, you will want to use screws to install your drywall panels. For example, if there is plumbing or wiring behind the drywall, you will want to screw in that section of the ceiling for easy removal. Plan the layout of your drywall ceiling carefully so that you can minimize the number of sections that may need to be removed to make a repair at some future date. Since drywall is heavy, you will want to use lighter quarter inch drywall for any overhead application. Once installed, this surface is easy to clean and paint.

Adding a Coat of Paint
There are times when the basement ceiling is pretty clear of ugly looking wires and ductwork. If this is the situation that you find in your basement room, then you may decide to simply paint the ceiling a single, solid color. Using a single color lets everything blend together, which minimizes the look of any pipes or ductwork that are present. While simply painting the ceiling is not as finished looking as a drop ceiling or a drywall ceiling, it is by far the least expensive ceiling treatment. Depending on how finished the rest of the room is this may or may not be a viable option for your basement ceiling.

Things to Consider
Before deciding what kind of ceiling you want to use to finish your basement space, consider your available budget for this project and consider how your want your room to look when it is finished. Also keep in mind if you are planning to sell your house any time soon, how this project affects the resale value of your home. Then you are ready to choose your ceiling.

There is No Other Flooring like Garage Flooring

Garage flooring offers some very unique flooring options. If you are looking for style then you might be looking to install a fancy tile floor. If you simply wan to protect your garage flooring then you several other options to consider. This article will look at garage flooring options you might consider.

Garage flooring unlike other flooring solutions comes in many different styles and colors. The checkered look is one of the most popular garage flooring looks you will find. The choice of garage flooring that suits you best will ultimately depend on the type of use your garage gets.

If your garage is used for classic cars then you may want to consider a stylish tile flooring that will give you grate options in a classis look that will make your car stand out and shine. There is sense of pride that comes with garage flooring that simply is not found in any other flooring solution in your home.

If you use your garage for a work shop than you may want to consider coating your flooring with one of the many types sealant that protects the cement form damage. If you will be working with wood or other materials you wan to make sure it is easy to clean.

You may also consider a mat type of garage flooring material. Garage floor mats come in many types of style sot meet most anyone's needs. They are extremely durable and can be replaced when damaged.

Like most any other flooring there will always be garage flooring materials that will be more expensive than others. The higher the quality the more you will pay, but you do not need to get the highest quality garage flooring to be happy. There is some very durable and economical garage flooring solutions on the market.

Post why reason One garage flooring can get expensive is in Trying to get the coolest looking flooring. If you are not stuck on a certain look or style then you will be able to find some very nice garage flooring solutions on the market.

Wind Powered Generators: Pros and Cons

Almost everything in modern times depends on electricity. Every known gadget has to be recharged with electric power so it can be used and enjoyed. From dishwashers to the laptops that we have, they all have one thing in common. They need electricity to be able to do its function. For decades, we have been using electric generators that are run by fossil fuels like petroleum and coal. The fossil fuel sources are not limitless supplies and with so much demand, the current rate of mining or processing cannot cope with what is needed. Aside from limited supply, these fossil fuel based energy sources can cause damage to the environment as well as to people. Alternative sources of electric generation are wind powered generators. They are the most promising technology that can replace the conventional generators used in power plants.

A wind powered generator uses the wind as the mechanical force to power an electric generator. Use of the wind is not something new. The ancient Persians were known to use the wind to pump water, cut wood or grind food using wind mills. We also see wind mills powering water supplies of from lands especially in Europe. Now the wind mills are put into another good use.

Let us evaluate the wind powered generator. First, to consider is the fact that they do not emit harmful gases or chemicals unlike the fossil fuel based generators. We read and listen to environmentalists mention the greenhouse gasses and global warming. Part of the cause for such these situations is the emissions from power plants. What we need now is an electricity source that is clean and safe. We need to consider the environment if we are to make the earth a better place to live in.

Another advantage of wind mills is that several small turbines can be connected together. This saves on space as well as implementation processes. There is no need to build huge structures like most power plants.

One disadvantage of the wind powered generator is that wind flow can vary from place to place or from time to time. There is no way of being certain that the winds will be strong enough to power the generators. This limits the location of the wind mills to areas near the sea or where the wind is most strong like hill tops.

The bigger the wind mill, the more power it can generate so to get maximum electric generation the area should be wide enough to accommodate bigger mills. This is one luxury that some places do not have. Size is directly proportionate to the power it can collect.

Much research is now being conducted on wind powered generators and innovations are being made to make such power usable. The intention is build wind mills in areas where it is going to be most effective like coastal towns and cities. With the wind powered generators there is a very bright future in terms of sustainable and renewal energy.

Why Is Lean Season the Best Time to Buy Property?

The best time to buy property in India is considered to be the festive season, such as Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali, but many Industry sources claim that the Monsoon season could be the best time to invest in real estate property due to less competition among the buyers and monsoon provides a better chance to the home owners for bargaining.

The Merits of Investing in Real Estate Property during the Lean Period:

Better Negotiation:

Home buyers can make problems like leakages during the monsoon months, work to their advantage. They can make use of water logging and leakage problems in a house to negotiate better deals. This is certainly not possible during the dry season.

Quality of Construction:

If you are interested to buy a resale home, monsoon season can prove to be the best time to buy a property. During this season problems like seepage near the bathrooms, ceiling can easily be detected. Heavy rain can expose construction flaws like quality of drainage and plumbing, as well as leakages and seepages better. Monsoon season proves to be the best time to check the quality of home construction.


As the demand for property falls during the monsoon season, it proves to be the right time for the home buyers to invest in buying property. This is the time when the sellers are compelled to lower the price of property to lure the serious buyers. Most of the home buyers in India consider the festival season to be an auspicious time to buy property and thus the sellers offer attractive discounts to perk up their sales during the raining season.

Increased Bargaining Power:

During the lean season like year-end or monsoon, people are busy with their vacation plans and New Year get-togethers and celebrations; as a result the decision of buying property is deferred to a later date. Thus due to lack of serious buyers during these period, home buyers get the advantage of multiple offers from sellers and can bargain with the price of the property.

Infrastructure and Transport:

The experts of real estate market suggest that home buyers should visit the property they are interested in buying during the monsoon season to know the infrastructure of the property and the problems associated with it. Aspects like water logging in that area as well as transportation from the house to nearest bus stand or railway station can be understood better during the raining season. These factors are most of the time overlooked during good weather.

Benefit of Tax Saving:

It is a good idea to purchase property just before the yearend as you can claim some deduction on the mortgage interest, property taxes and the interest tax. Thus make the most of the lean period or yearend to save considerably on the total budget.

Incentives from the Builder:

Yearend is a good time to get incentives from the builder. This is the time when you can ask for custom-built cabinets, designer paint and bathroom accessories as many builders offer attractive deals during the year end to reap more profit before the end of the year.

Flexible Options of Payment:

During the lean period of the real investment market, there are less buyers and this certainly gives you an advantage. The loan agents offer better interest rates on property and help you to close a deal with a fair price.

Benefits of Driveway Paving For Your Home

There is nothing better than a beautiful home, nice lawn and a nice car sitting in the driveway. A paved driveway adds appeal and value to your home. A worn out yard from vehicles driving and parking on the lawn is extremely unattractive. There are a number of benefits to paving your driveway.

Benefits of Paved Driveways

Paved driveways are the best choice when it comes to parking the car. Unpaved driveways can become really messy and bothersome. After wet weather conditions, the ground is left moist and vulnerable. Cars can get stuck in the mud and leave unsightly tire treads in the yard.

Driveways that are paved keep cars from tearing up the yard. It eliminates the chance of becoming stuck in mud on a rainy day. It also reduces the amount of dirt and mud that comes into the house.

There are many different styles and materials to choose from when considering driveway paving. The durability, appeal and maintenance should all be considered when determining how the driveway will look. Concrete, paving stone, and asphalt are a few common materials used for paving.

Concrete Driveways

Concrete and asphalt driveways are the most common pavements among homeowners. Concrete driveways are somewhat inexpensive. It’s affordability makes it more appealing to many homeowners. As far as durability, this type of pavement will crack more quickly than others and is expensive to repair.

Asphalt Driveways

This type of driveway paving is also popular for homeowners. The maintenance on it is pretty high considering it requires a new, black seal coat every 2-3 years. The endurance of the material is lower than that of concrete. Weather affects it’s condition more than any other paving.

Paving Stone

This type of paving is the more expensive of most paving, but is of better quality and less maintenance. Paving stones are more flexible and can be flipped or replaced easier than other paving. It is also available in many other colors, shapes and sizes unlike other paving.

The Difference Between Hubcaps and Wheel Covers

Most car owners are fairly oblivious to the parts that go in, on and around the vehicle. While most of the parts have their own technical names people commonly generalize those names which can create a lot of confusion – such as with hubcaps and wheel covers. Most car owners think they’re the same thing but they’re actually quite different.

The Hubcap

The true portion of a hubcap on your car is to cover the hub-portion of your wheels. This is the part where the wheel mounts to the hub and the lug nuts attach or screw on. Hub caps don’t generally cover the entire wheel. They actually fit over this center hub region and range anywhere from 2 inches to 10 inches in diameter depending mainly on the size of the wheel.

Hub caps are designed to attach easily to the wheel or hub area by snapping into place. This type of system has been around since the dawn of vehicles in order to provide easy access to the lug nuts that hold the wheel in place. Some hub cap systems did utilize additional plastic lugs that would fit over and thread onto the bolts however the threads of the plastic wear and cross-thread easily. When the threads strip the grip is lost which causes the hub cup to jump off the wheel.

Today the most popular model found in stores use a snap or circular wire, tension and clips to hold the hub cap flush to the hub. This force fit keeps the hubcap from breaking away and flying off.

Vehicle Wheel Covers

This is where the confusion rests with a lot of people, as the wheel cover is very different from the hub cup. Unlike the hubcap which covers only a portion of the wheel, the wheel cover actually extends out and covers the entire wheel.

A lot of modern vehicles will invest in quality wheel systems, such as pickup trucks that use mag-alloy wheels that are precision cut and designed to not only be reinforced but to be aesthetically pleasing. Most other cars however are designed from an economy standpoint. Man y of these economic vehicle options are designed using simple steel wheels. These are inexpensive and easy to produce in the line assembly.

While simple steel wheels are easy to produce and fit to most vehicle styles they tend to be extremely unattractive. For this style wheel, a hubcap wouldn’t sufficiently cover the overall design. This is where the wheel cover becomes a popular choice.

Wheel covers come in a variety of styles and are made from quality metals with intricate designs to simple plastic that serves the sole purpose of covering your wheel… and not much else.

While hubcaps have been a part of American car culture since the early 1900’s, wheel covers have only been around since the early 50’s where they debuted on American made vehicles. As technology always advances, the design was improved upon by Honda in the 80’s into a design that’s still used by car manufacturers and auto enthusiants to this day.

If All You Have is a Hammer Everything Starts to Look Like a Nail

We were watching the film Mulholland Drive yesterday and it suddenly hit us like a bolt of lightening. How many times we misdiagnose a situation. How many times we carry on a path not knowing that our assumption have taken us miles off course.

It’s like playing golf and only knowing how to use three clubs and having to use them in every situation.

It’s like looking through a camera zoom lens instead of a wide angle.

It’s like blindly following another’s opinion.

The fact is that most of our lives are spent reusing the information collected in our formative years. Thus, when anything new enters our arena we immediately go to the past to try to make sense of it.

The outcome is: we each live an illusion. We each see our world through some really heavily tinted spectacles. We each act as though we are a hammer and everything that comes in front of us is a nail.

The problem is. IT DOESN’T WORK.

We were amazed how easily we fell into the trap. How easily we interpreted what was happening before our eyes and made it logical. How easily we searched for closure.

To make us comfortable we wanted to put things into a comfortable category. We wanted to place happenings in a box in the same way a librarian codes books for easy access. Ah! That goes in the family box. That is rude behaviour. That is unacceptable in public. That shows he is uneducated etc etc etc…

Yes, you could argue that this form of coding is important in life because it helps us get through life quickly.


Why do we like to put ourselves and others into ‘psychological boxes’? What is it about us that we like to say we are this type of person or that? Why do we want to limit ourselves? Why do we want to sell ourselves short?

It’s like being a carpenter who only has a hammer in his toolbox. We are restricting ourselves beyond belief. Just imagine how restricting it would be if you only had a hammer in your toolbox? How can you get passionate about anything if all you are capable of is knocking the brains out of any information that comes your way?

How do you find out what you were brought onto this planet to do if all you can do is respond in the same way to whatever is put in front of you.

How do you develop and grow your children if all they see is the same behaviour irrespective of the problem posed.

How do you rise to the challenges of our society if all you do is apply the same reasoning even though it doesn’t fit?

As Howard Schatz. The famous New York dance photographer stated in one of his books:

“I told each dancer that when it was easy, it had probably been done

before, probably many times. I explained that only when it was so hard

that it was nearly impossible were we perhaps close to getting something

unique and extraordinary.”

Is this why we like to categorise situations and people? We actually don’t like hard work.

Is it that we don’t like the pressure of being our true selves? Because to do that we have to stand out?

Is it that we can’t cope with being unique and extraordinary, so we just want to be similar and ordinary?

Is it that we are afraid of who we might be? Are we afraid that we can be successful? Afraid that if we admit to ourselves that we have talent we might have to do something with our lives?

Is it that we don’t really want to find out who we really are and what we are capable of?

We don’t know about you but we want to be unique, we want to find out and use our uniqueness. We want to be fulfilled. We want to find our energy source that is released when we are doing what we are intended to do. We want to be in the flow, as some writers describe it.

We have come to realise that what stops us from being in the flow all the time. What stops us from releasing our passion. What stops us from behaving naturally. What makes us waste energy.


Fear keeps us placing people and situations into categories.

Fear stops us from leading ourselves.

Fear stops us from letting go of the past.

Fear keeps our habitual patterns in place.

Being frightened and feeling second best stop us from finding our true selves.

Fear buries the natural me.

“A musician must make music, and artists must paint,

a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.

What a man can be, he must be”


What about you?

Good Luck

Graham and Julie

How To Use A Non-Working Fireplace

If you have a fireplace in your home, you may not use it throughout the year; in fact, you may not use it at all. Do not let this space go undecorated. If you do not use your fireplace, then create a focal point in the room or just help it to look stylish. One thing you need to consider is the fact that if your fireplace is still usable, you do not want to make any permanent changes.


Wrought iron has always been popular around a fireplace. Today, you can purchase wrought iron decor just for the fireplace. It can have a vintage or rustic decor; bears, moose, pine trees, and more. Place the wrought iron firebox inside the fireplace and then stack the wood on it until the fireplace is full. You can place a set of Christmas lights around the opening of the fireplace to complete the decor.


The last thing you think about placing in your fireplace are books but did you know that your fireplace can become a bookshelf? Stack the books inside the fireplace with the spines facing out. Stack from the floor to the top of the fireplace. If you want to make this even more personal, place only the leather bound books or antique books that you have collected throughout the years.


Your mantle has been a place to display pictures and beautiful decorations for years. Now that you are not using your fireplace, use this small area to display your latest collection of pottery or antiques. You can place a removable display light inside the fireplace.

Your Own Botanical Garden

Every home needs some green foliage and the fireplace is the best place to display. Just like a flower shop changes the arrangement in their display window; you can change the display in your fireplace. Place the flowers in season near the front and highlight it by placing green foliage in the back. Your possibilities are endless.

By the Light

You can also use the fireplace for a simple elegant glow if you choose. However, you do not need a roaring fire to get that glow. Place a variety of different size candles in the fireplace. Light them at the same time so you can have an even glow. Place holiday lights inside the fireplace for a light glow.

Complete Your Look

You can complete the look by placing modern area rugs in front.If you are decorating with flowers, you can place flower rugs in front of the fireplace to complete the decor. There are so many different ways to decorate the mantle to reflect the complete look that you want to create. Display pictures, add a few candles, or place a mantle clock in the middle of the mantle to balance your overall look. If you are decorating the fireplace, use the mantle to accent your look. With just a few simple changes and about one hour, your fireplace can be a new place in your home to decorate.