Awnings – Covering The Basics

There are three types of awnings: fixed, freestanding and retractable.

Fixed or stationary awnings are permanently attached to a building. They cannot be moved or adjusted. They are usually used on windows to prevent the harmful rays from the sun from ruining the furnishings. They are also commonly used for certain parts of the garden. There are situations where there is not enough space for a stationary awning. For these situations, you may want to use a freestanding awning. Freestanding awnings cannot be retracted or extended. However, the lighter models can be moved if needed.

Retractable or foldable awnings can be adjusted to suit your needs. You can extend or retract the awning as far as you want. When this type of awning is extended, heavy winds or rains can damage it. You can also adjust the angle of the awning. They give you the option of lying in the shade or basking in the sun. Retractable awnings come in two different models: manual or motorized. The manual model requires that you crank a lever to either retract or extend the awning. The motorized model is powered by a motor that retracts or extends the awning with the flip of a switch. The motorized models that come with an outdoor switch can be installed without any great trouble. The motorized models that have an indoor switch will require the assistance of a professional electrician. Some motorized models also come with a manual override feature. This feature gives you the ability to manually adjust the awning just in case the motor malfunctions or there is a power outage. There are other motorized models that can be controlled by a remote control or sun and wind sensors. The sun sensors can be set to extend the awning when the sun comes out and retract it when it goes down. The wind sensors can be set to retract the awning when the wind speeds exceed 20 mph. If you live in a very windy area, you may want to add telescoping legs to your awning for extra stability.

There are many benefits provided by awnings. Awnings can block ninety nine percent of the ultraviolet light from the sun and prevent ninety four percent of the light from the sun from going through windows. They can also reduce the cost of air conditioning during the summer months because they can reduce heat gain by seventy seven percent. Awnings can also extend the outdoor living area. They can convert an outdoor space such as the deck, patio, balcony, or grilling area into an outdoor room. Awnings come in various sizes, shapes, designs and colors. They can add some beauty to any home or business and increase its value.

The two most popular materials used for awnings are canvas and aluminum. Aluminum is better at reflecting light than canvas is. This fact allows aluminum awnings to keep you cooler during hot weather than canvas awnings. Aluminum awnings are also much more durable. Aluminum awnings can last almost forever. Most canvas awnings have to be replaced approximately every ten years. However, canvas awnings look better than aluminum awnings to some buyers. Also, there is a wider selection of colors, patterns and designs for canvas awnings. You should be careful when you are choosing colors. The lighter colors will let in more heat and should be avoided.

Pavement Headache For Local Councils

There have been plenty of news stories over the last couple of months that have centered around councils not being able to keep up maintenance on their pavements because they are have to pay out a lot in personal injury compensation because people are tripping on uneven footpaths. This seemingly never-ending cycle was addressed by GMTV a few weeks ago but who really is to blame in this long running argument.

The argument that GMTV put forward was that because local councils have to spend time and money defending trip and fall cases on their pavements, that they have no money left to repair the damage, thus more people trip and claim and the pavements get progressively worse and there seems to be no end to this conundrum.

Although it is easy to blame personal injury lawyers it not that simple as Manchester PI Lawyer who's argument on GMTV was that in fact the Councils of England & Wales have had a statutory duty to maintain the highways to a certain standard for two decades. The fact that they are failing to do so is not a new or modern phenomenon, it's a long standing issue.

To illustrate the problem, GMTV also interviewed a pensioner who had tripped on her way to the shop and suffered a fractured pelvis. Her life had altered completely since the accident. People in her position are entitled to make a compensation claim following a slipping accident. It is only right that Councils are brought to account for their failing standards in this crucial area, not least because they are flouting their statutory obligations.

So the lawyers have a legitimate argument saying that they are merely defending people who deserve to be compensated it seems the councils need to do more than just play the blame game. The best idea is for councils to try and prevent any further damage to their pavements and this means possibly punishing those who carelessly damage the public walkways.

As was reported today Cheshire council have a problem with motorists parking on the pavements and damaging the pavements. Maintaining the public walkways needs to be a high priority for councils if they want to reduce personal injury claims. Fines for those who damage public walkways may be one idea, and those fines can be put back into the pavements and in time trip and fall cases should hopefully reduce meaning the councils will have no more complaints about personal injury lawyers.

This idea may not be the best way to solve the problem, but councils really need to stop blaming lawyers who are just doing their job. Although some lawyers may charge the councils extremely high prices, the simple fact is that the councils have a duty of care when it comes to public pavements and if they do not uphold this duty of care then they have little defence when a personal injury case is brought against them.

CompTIA Network + Certification Exam Tutorial: Hubs, Repeaters, Bridges, and Switches

To pass your Network + certification exam, you must know the differences between hubs, repeaters, bridges, and switches. The differences are straightforward for the most part, so let's examine the basic purpose of these devices.

Hubs and repeaters both work at the Physical layer of the OSI model. They do not help to direct traffic toward the proper destination, as routers and switches do. Their purpose in the network is simply to make the signal strong enough to reach its destination, by regenerating the signal. Hubs and repeaters both take an incoming data signal and make a clean, strong copy of the signal. Otherwise, the signal would suffer from attenuation, the gradual weakening of a signal as it gets farther and farther away from the source.

Repeaters are just about extinct in today's networks, because they only have one input port and one output port. Naturally, this means we could only regenerate a single data signal. Hubs are really just multiport repeaters, but their multiple ports give them some value in today's networks.

By using a hub to connect hosts, we're left with one collision domain. Any data sent by these hosts is subject to colliding with data sent by another host. We'll talk more about collision domains in another CompTIA tutorial, but keep in mind that hubs do not break them up.

Using a hub also results in one broadcast domain, since a broadcast sent by any of these hosts will be heard by all other hosts.

Bridges and switches work at the Data Link layer of the OSI model, making them "Layer Two" devices. Both read MAC addresses to create a MAC address table, which allows the switches to help send frames to their proper destination. You see very few bridges in today's networks, especially with the advent of Layer Three switches.

It's not that bridges are bad at their job, it's just that switches are better. They can operate at higher speeds and offer more options, especially now that many new switches can perform routing as well as switching. (Layer Three switches used to be called brouters, but as the usage of bridges has faded, so has the use of this term.)

There are two rather confusing facts regarding switches that confuse many newcomers, and I want to mention them again here. First, MAC addresses are also called physical addresses because they physically exist on the network interface card (NIC). They have nothing to do with the Physical layer of the OSI model.

Second, you're going to hear several different names for the MAC address table throughout your career and your networking certification studies.

MAC address table

bridging table

switching table

physical address table

Layer Two address table

They're all the same thing! But no matter what you call it, you should know how switches build this table and use it to determine the appropriate action to take with incoming frames. A switch is either going to forward, flood, or filter a frame, depending on whether it knows how to reach the destination MAC address of the frame. We'll look at that process in the next CompTIA Network + certification exam tutorial! See you then!

Folding Kayak Assembly is a Snap

Folding Kayaks are one of the most versatile types of kayaks because of their portability and durability. Although many beginning kayakers are not familiar with the folding kayak, they have actually been around longer than the more common hardshell kayaks. Furthermore, most folding kayaks are a type of skin-on-frame kayak, and the skin-on-frame kayak has been around for thousands of years.

For those who have never seen or assembled a folding kayak, their construction and assembly can something of a mystery. However, the assembly of a typical folding kayak can be divided into a few major stages:

(1) taking the kayak parts out of the bag,

(2) assembling the frame, or parts of the frame,

(3) placing the frame inside the hull,

(4) tightening the frame inside the hull, and

(5) adding the rudder, seat, and other parts.

(1) Taking the kayak parts out of the bag.

Folding kayaks usually come with a bag to keep all the parts together, and to facilitate moving the kayak while it’s disassembled. Obviously, the first step to assembling the kayak is to take the parts out. Some kayakers lay out all the parts close to their final locations in the kayak. This helps speed up assembly because the parts are easy to find when it comes time to put them together.

Some folding kayak owners also color-code the parts of the frame, so that they can be easily identified during assembly. One way to do this is to use colored electrical tape. Alternatively, colored cable ties can be tied around parts of the frame. Folding kayak parts are typically well-labeled, but it’s usually easier and faster to identify the parts by color.

(2) Assembling the frame, or parts of the frame.

Folding kayak assembly varies here. Some folding kayaks have frames that are assembled in sections before they are placed inside the hull, which can be imagined as a kayak-shaped bag. For other kayaks, the entire frame is assembled before it is placed inside the hull.

Folding kayak frames are often made of materials such as wood or aluminum tubing. Frame members can have hinges so that they can pack into smaller spaces, and may snap together using button-snaps or other clips. These kayaks are mostly designed so they can be assembled without any tools.

(3) Placing the frame inside the hull.

Placing the frame inside the hull may entail first sliding one half of the frame inside one end of the hull, then the other half of the frame in the other end of the hull. If the kayak is one with a frame that is assembled completely before being placed in the hull, the whole frame may be inserted into the hull from the stern (rear) end of the hull.

Although the hull is usually made of pliable fabric, some kayaks have rigid guides inside the hull to make sure the frame sits in the right place.

(4) Tightening the frame inside the hull.

Once the frame is inside, the frame needs to be tightened so that the hull, which is the skin of the kayak, is tight and not sagging or wrinkly. Some sectional-framed folding kayaks use scissor-type tensioning, where hinged frame members of each section are connected at the ends in a bent formation, then pushed down or out into a straight configuration to lengthen the whole frame and tighten the hull.

Other folding kayaks may use screw tensioning mechanisms, or may have frames that are extended using a lever and kept in the extended position using button snaps.

(5) Adding the rudder, seat, and other parts.

Once the frame is tightened inside the hull, the remaining pieces of the kayak can be added. This typically includes such parts as the seat, footrests, rudder, rudder control lines, and perhaps a cupholder.

For someone assembling a folding kayak for the first time, the assembly can take up to an hour or more. After that, however, a folding kayak can typically be assembled in about 20 minutes. The assembly time can decrease by a huge amount with practice and an efficient system. Contests have been held where folding kayaks have been assembled in as little as 6 minutes!

Radar Detectors – How to Mount on Your Windshield

There are many different ways to mount your radar detector on your windshield, but some locations and orientations work better than others. The difference between a correctly mounted unit and an incorrect mounting could be the difference in getting alerted early enough to slow down.

The first thing you want to look at when mounting your radar detector is the location on the windshield. Typically these devices will provide better performance on police radar if they are mounted higher on the window. Conversely, radar detectors will provide better performance on police laser if they are mounted lower on the window. We recommend mounting higher because even if you get alerted to police laser, the police officer will likely already have your speed so it’s a better idea to go for increased radar protection. Most people tend to mount their detectors to the left of the rear view mirror and as high up on the window as possible. This is an ideal location because it is high up on the window, yet close enough for the driver to be able to access the controls. A mounting in this position has the added bonus of making it harder for police officers and thieves to see your device in the window.

Now that you know where to put it on your windshield, here are a couple more tips to help improve performance. You may be tempted to point the radar detector towards the driver’s seat to be able to better view the screen, but this will hinder performance as radar detectors are much better at detecting radar in a straight line. If you mount your device at an angle it will likely hurt performance. You also want to make sure that the unit is mounted level with the ground and not pointing at an upwards or downwards angle. This will also help performance as more of the radar waves will be able to enter the device if it is level with the ground.

Finally, we always recommend hard-wiring your device to your car’s electrical system. Most manufacturers sell a hard-wire adapter that will allow you to connect your detector to a wire or fuse in your car. You’ll want to choose a wire or fuse that turns on when the car is on, and off when the car is off. Typically people use their radio power wire or fuse to hard-wire their radar detector as this provides the functionality needed to turn the device on and off with the car.

If you follow these simple rules, you should be able to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of your detector. This will help you to be alerted more quickly and give you more time to slow down before you reach the police officer.

Hamer Bass – Great Basses at Great Prices

Hamer was started by a small group guitar builders in Chicago back in 1973. They had one simple goal in mind and that was to make the absolute best guitars that anyone could find. They were dedicated to producing a high quality guitar that not only played well, but was affordable and a work of art.

With the success of their line of guitars it only made sense that Hamer should get busy applying their revolutionary guitar making techniques to the always hungry world of bass guitar. The attention to detail on these fine instruments is second to none.

One of the most popular Hamer basses would the twelve string Chaparral. Did I just say 12 string bass guitar? Yes I did. The sound on this beast has to be heard to be believed. At first glance you will notice the way the strings are grouped together. You will find four groups of three strings each. I know what your thinking, man that has got to be a beast to play but you fingers will fell right at home on this awesome instrument.

Hamer was the fist company to offer a 12 string bass and they started doing it back in 1978. Many other companies soon followed but non could top the original. These original 12 string models can be hard to find. In the end you really can not go wrong with a Hamer bass guitar. The craftsmanship and design elements that go into making them are excellent. The sound is superb and the price is something that most people can afford!

How to Get Started With Creating Your First Mosaic

Making mosaics is really easier than you might think.

Or course there are endless possibilities when making mosaics, some more difficult than others. What you need to do is start with smaller project and move on from there to larger ones.

Now that you are interested in mosaic art, you will want to create your first mosaic. To start you need to find a project that will interest you. Would you like to create coasters, vases, table tops, picture frames or maybe you would like to create more intricate wall or floor mosaics, the choices are truly endless.

Once you selected your project you need to determine the materials you are going to use. This of course depends on the mosaic and where it will reside. The materials used in a mosaic are called tesserae, known as the individual pieces that form your mosaic. Tesserae used to be only marble or ceramic, but today they can be anything from broken plates and mirrors to left over tiles, anything that will form a pattern when placed correctly.

There are different methods to create mosaics, still depending on the size and location of your mosaic. The direct method is when you put the tesserae directly in its final position. This method is mostly used for smaller projects and what is nice about this method is that you see your mosaic as you are making it and it allows you to make little adjustments to you mosaic.

The Indirect method is used for larger projects. This method involves gluing your tesserae face down onto a paper backing.

The double direct method is a modern version of the direct method. It involves gluing your tesserae on a fiberglass mesh. With this method your mosaic is visible because all your pieces are glued face up on the mesh. This method also gives you more time and allows to work where you want rather than on site.

So with a few left over ceramic, porcelain or marble pieces and very few inexpensive tools you too can create your own mosaics. A work of art you will be proud to show off once you are finished. Don’t worry about making it perfect, little imperfections give character and contribute to make your mosaic unique.

Types of Construction Equipment and Their Uses

Construction equipment range from the very heavy equipment to the portable and mobile lighter equipment, some of them with a precise description of their functions are detailed below.

Engineering equipment with a front bucket/shovel and a small backhoe in the rear combined with a tractor is known as backhoe loader. It is mostly used in small construction sites and in urban engineering such as fixing city roads.

A crawler, which is very powerful and attached with a blade, is called a bulldozer. Even though any heavy engineering vehicle is known as bulldozer, it is actually a tractor with a dozer blade.

Combat engineering vehicles are used for engineering work in the battlefield and for transporting sappers. They are mostly armoured vehicles.

A compact excavator is a wheeled or tracked vehicle with a backfill blade and swing boom. It is also known as mini excavator. The functions and movements of the machines are carried out by transferring hydraulic fluid. This makes a compact hydraulic excavator different from other construction equipment. Find more info at []

To compact gravel, dirt, asphalt and concrete in construction work and road laying a road roller which is also known as roller-compactor would be used.

A motorized cultivator with a rotating blade to work in the soil is known as rotary tiller. They are either drawn behind a tractor or self-propelled.

A crane is a derrick or tower equipped with pulleys and cables for lowering and lifting materials. The cranes used in construction industry are mostly temporary structures.

Dragline excavation systems are heavy equipment mostly used in surface mining and civil engineering. The smaller type of dragline excavator is used for port and road construction. The larger type dragline excavator is used in strip-mining operations for coal extraction.

In the building industry, to make foundations, a drilling machine is used. It is also used in oil wells and water wells.

An excavator commonly known as a digger is an engineering vehicle, with a cab mounted on a rotating platform or pivot, and a backhoe on top of an undercarriage with wheels or tracks.

In untamed regions which are being reclaimed for construction, a feller buncher, a machine having an attachment, which fells trees, is used.

A forklift, lift truck or forklift truck is an industrial truck used to pick up and transport heavy material using steel forks under the material to be lifted. The most common usage of a forklift is to move materials stored on pallets.

A loader also known as a bucket loader, front-end loader, scoop loader, shovel, or front loader is a type of tractor using buckets, which can be tilted to lift and move material.

A paver is used to spread asphalt on roadways.

The Face Lift: A History

Few forms of plastic surgery are as ubiquitous today as the face lift, and why not? No other procedure gives people the chance to completely turn back the clock when it comes to their aging features. Women in their 50s and above can look ten or twenty years younger with the help of a surgeon's guiding hand. In a culture as youth obsessed as ours, there is no wonder why the operation is so popular. Of course, the procedure is really nothing new. Here we take a look at the history of this amazing medical development.

Over 100 years ago, the first cosmetic face lift was performed. Of course, the procedure in those days was quite a bit simpler than those being done on the Hollywood stars of today. The surgeon would cut away a bit of the flesh from the patient's scalp and then pull the remaining skin up and over the gap. The facial features were pulled taut and the desired look was achieved. Of course, anyone who left the surgeon's office with those results today would sue for malpractice. After only a few months, the scar would begin to stretch and even the minimal effects that had been achieved would be lost as the skin started to drag down again.

To improve on the operation, doctors began lifting the front edge when they made the initial incision in a patient's forehead. Doing this, it would change the way the patient healed from the surgery as well as making it easier to manipulate the skin during surgery. The skin would reattach in the same way, except it would be doing so at a higher point than it had been previously, thus eliminating the eventual dragging that ruined the earlier forms of the operation. During this time it was also realized that surgeons needed to pull the skin completely away from the underlying tissues to achieve a more permanent and impressive result.

Today, the procedure known as the face lift is more technologically advanced than ever before, and a good surgeon can get results that can only be termed miraculous. Some people; prior to having work done, wonder how long the effects will last. The question is not an easy one to answer. A person who has had the surgery will continue to experience the effects of aging after the process. But they will have an extra ten years (appearance-wise) that they did not have before. So someone who had the surgery at 50 may look 40 after the operation, and 50 when they are 60. Of course, results will vary from person to person.

As always, if an individuals chooses to undergo the face lift procedure, they should do their research beforehand to make sure it is the right thing for them. Being prepared and having the rights questions is a fail-safe way to ensure the best results from any type of surgery.

Effortless Networking: Elevator speeches vs. Self-introductions

In the business networking context, people are encouraged to craft and use "elevator speeches" when introducing themselves.

But I found myself resisting the concept. Something about having a canned speech to introduce myself made me uncomfortable.

As I thought about it, I realized why.

In my mind, there is a big difference between "elevator speeches" and self-introductions.

Let's think about this for a bit.

The story behind the elevator speech concept is that one day you might find yourself riding up the elevator with someone with whom you've been wanting to talk for a while. This is your unexpected opportunity! You have a just a few minutes to "pitch" your offer (product, service, whatever), and persuade this person that whatever it is your offering they really need it.

Elevator speeches can be very useful when you're out prospecting; in other words, specifically looking to find people to whom you can sell your products or services). It can even be helpful in networking situations.

However, there are several implicit assumptions that may or may not be true.

It assumes that:

  1. You have something the other person wants, whether to sell or for free.
  2. You * know * what the other person wants.
  3. You have * only a few minutes * to convince the other person that you have what they want.

When I meet someone for the first time, I do not know if any of these assumptions are true.

Do you?

So, in such situations, I find that a concise self-introduction is more useful.

A good self-introduction includes your name and something about you that establishes what you have in common with the person you're talking with.

Depending on whom you're talking with, and what the context is, you will of course introduce yourself differently. You will use different analogies to explain what you do. Or highlight different aspects of your work.

There is no pitching or selling involved. However, by simply highlighting a particular aspect of what you do, that you think
might be of interest to the other person, you can create an opening for an interesting conversation to emerge.

And once you truly * engage * in conversation with another person, you begin to find out all kinds of information.

This information is what you can then use to determine whether the person you're talking with would be a good prospective client or customer for you. Or whether they'd be a good source of referrals for you. Or a good mentor for you.

Now you're in a much better position to make a "pitch", if that's what you decide you want to do.

Disposable Wedding Plates – The Benefits of Plastic Tableware

When a bride thinks of wedding plates, the word "disposable" may not be the first thing to come to mind. In fact, most brides may have never even given a thought to using disposable wedding plates for the reception. But with the cost of weddings these days skyrocketing, many couples are looking for ways to scale back without appearing cheap; using disposable wedding plates can allow you to do just that. Not entirely convinced? Here are just a few of the benefits of using disposable plates designed specifically for weddings.

When it comes to weddings, most couples want to give the illusion that no expense was spared but it can be downright frustrating trying to find exactly what you want without compromising the high-quality look and feel simply for a lower cost. Disposable wedding plates and tableware look elegant and tasteful without the hefty price tag. The cost of disposable tableware compared to that of fine (or even everyday) china can be a night and day difference. For brides who are having their reception in a beautiful outdoor garden or family home and must supply everything themselves, disposable wedding tableware may be the perfect, cost-saving solution.

These days, brick-and-mortar party stores along with online specialty shops that specialize in wedding supplies have a myriad of disposable yet classy tableware for brides to choose from. From solid colors to bold patterns and everything in between, you can find the colors and designs to match every wedding style. Advances in man-made materials have given clear plastic tableware the same look as fine, expensive glass pieces.

Single-use, disposable wedding tableware also makes for easy cleanup, which is one less thing for brides to worry about if they are doing everything themselves. Simply toss them in the trash after use! Moreover, you do not have to worry about using fine china pieces that could be damaged or broke by wedding guests (especially if young children will be in attendance).

Whether you opt for a complementary solid color or glass-like transparency, disposable wedding plates and tableware is the perfect solution that helps you save money without sacrificing style.

Wood Fireplaces and Stoves

Traditional wood fireplaces and stoves have been used for centuries. Traditional fireplaces are very inefficient in heating a room, as they primarily use radiant energy to provide warmth. Traditional fireplaces and stoves use the air from the room to provide oxygen for combustion. Wood fireplaces are available in a wide variety of styles and building materials. Wood burning stoves also are available in a multitude of styles colors and features, based on your heating needs. Wood burning appliances require a class A chimney. The chimney may be built of masonry or of double lined steel. There are options to consider for both wood burning fireplaces and wood burning stoves.

Wood Fireplace Options

Traditional fireplaces, constructed of firebrick and mortar, are designed to burn logs. The styles and sizes of fireplaces are as varied as the architects who have designed them. Traditional fireplaces are usually built onsite utilizing brick masons, cinder blocks, fire brick and ceramic flues. The chimney of the fireplace needs to extend above the highest point of the roof to avoid downdrafts. The size and weight of a traditional fireplace requires a substantial and stable foundation. Usually traditional fireplaces are built during new construction.

Fireplace inserts have gained in popularity, as they are much cheaper and lighter than traditional fireplaces. Fireplace inserts are built in factories and shipped pre-assembled to the home, resulting in less labor costs for installation. Wood fireplace inserts also are designed to be installed next to wood materials, with close clearances, allowing wood framing to be used in chimney construction. Many metal fireplace inserts have air ducts and fans to increase the amount of heat transferred from the fire.

Both fireplace inserts and traditional fireplaces require the installation of flame proof hearth on the floor. The hearth is required to prevent logs that may roll out of the fireplace from setting the floor on fire.

Wood Stove Options

Traditional wood burning stoves are made of cast iron. Antique stoves are not air tight, preventing accurate regulation of the fire. Because the flame is hard to regulate, more heat is lost in the flue gases, reducing the stove's overall heating efficiency. The thick cast iron used in construction of older stoves allows an extremely long useful life. Stoves built in the early 1800's are still in use with little restorative work. An ornate antique stove from the Victorian era could be a main architectural feature of a house.

Airtight stoves became popular during the 1970's because of their greater efficiency. One load of wood could be set to burn all night. The advantage of the airtight stove is in the long burning time and greater fuel efficiency. Less heat is lost up the chimney. Also, modern airtight stoves have catalytic converter options that help reduce the amount of creosote and other unburned gases going up the flu.

Both types of wood stoves need to be placed on fireproof surfaces. Because of the radiant heat emitted, adequate clearance of the stove from flammable walls, floor materials and fabrics needs to be maintained.

Both wood burning fireplaces and stoves provide an impressive architectural feature for a room. A well built fireplace or stove could be an added source of heat for your house.

Crockpot Cooking – Advantages and Disadvantages

In my ‘un-biased’ opinion, the crockpot / slow cooker

is one of the most convenient and easy to use appliances

in my kitchen. The time savings features of the

slow cooker and the delicious dinners that have

resulted more than offset any minor drawbacks.

Before I list my top reasons why the crockpot is the

most useful appliance in any kitchen, I will list

a few of the areas where it does not perform as well.

– Large cuts of meat such as boneless prime rib or

leg of lamb are still best when oven roasted.

– Except for stews and chowders, the slow cooker

does not cook fish very well.

– The slow cooker collects a lot of the juices

since the steam does not escape during cooking and these

juices can become diluted and watery, which can affect

the flavoring of the food.

– If not careful, a slow cooker can overcook food -especially

some of the more tender meats and poultry.

These drawbacks are relatively minor compared to the

positives which I will list now.

– The slow cooker needs virtually no tending while

it cooks, freeing you up to do other chores or recipes.

– The slow cooker will tenderize less expensive, tough

cuts of meat and make great stews out of them.

– The slow cooker allows you to be out of the kitchen

for extended periods of time -sometimes even all day.

– Burning your food is rarely a problem. The slow cooker

will make many dishes for you better than any other

appliance -especially those that tend to stick to

the bottom of a pan.

In my opinion the slow cooker is one of the most

under-utilized and yet superior of kitchen appliances.

When used for what it does best, you will find that you

are able to prepare great dishes in less time than you

though possible!

How to Paint Wood Paneling

Wood paneling is easy to paint if you follow good surface preparation procedures. Removing the paneling can be a big job. The paneling may be glued to the drywall underneath it and the drywall underneath it may not be finished very well. The thought of just tearing out the paneling is enough to make many homeowners decide to simply leave it in place and paint over it. Paneling is painted over all the time and it looks good when painted, so if the thought of tearing out , patching the drywall and finishing it doesn’t appeal to you – there is nothing wrong with leaving it in place and painting it.

Surface preparation:

The universal rule of surface preparation is: “Clean – Dull – Dry”.

Lead paint note:

Do not sand or scour (with a scouring pad), or in any way abrade or disturb the paneling varnish or clear coat finish if your house was built prior to 1978. Lead was banned (in America) for use in residential paints and varnishes in 1978. Do not proceed any further if your house was built prior to 1978 – it would be best to let a trained and qualified professional do the work instead. To learn more about the hazards of lead in paints and coatings see EPA’s lead page:


Extremely important to the painting of paneling is the cleaning of it. There may be layers of “Pledge” and residues from various cleaning solutions, and perhaps a bit of “grime” and dirt from years of service.

A good cleaning solution for cleaning the paneling is called “Krud Kutter”. As the name implies, it is designed for cutting and removing all sorts of “krud”. I use the spray bottle version of this and spray it on and let it “dwell” on the surface for five minutes or so to give it a chance to work, then wipe it off with the “Shop Towel” type of heavy duty paper towels. I also use a scouring pad in conjunction with the Krud Kutter (on homes built after 1978 only). The procedure is as follows: Spray on the Krud Kutter, allow it to dwell five minutes or so, then scour the wet surface with the scouring pad, then wipe it off. I work in small 4′ x 4′ sections and work my way around the room this way. You will need to protect all electrical outlets and switches with duct tape to prevent them from the Krud Kutter ( You should also turn the electrical power off to the room while doing the cleaning to prevent accidental electrical shock ), Also cover up any light fixtures etc.. with plastic and duct tape to waterproof them.

Clean all the paneling as described above and when you are finished, go back and re-clean it a second time. Seriously, I always clean the paneling completely – twice, that way you know it is clean and you did not miss any spots. Cleaning is probably the most important step in preparing the paneling for painting.


After the cleaning is done, allow the paneling to dry out. Once dry, you may proceed to priming the paneling. Priming is important to ensure adhesion to the paneling and to block any staining that may occur. The best primer for paneling are the solvent types of universal stain blocking and bonding primers. You can either use shellac or oil (alkyd ) primer for this purpose – Zinsser’s BIN or Coverstain work well for priming paneling.

Test the adhesion first before priming the whole room

The purpose of testing first before priming all the paneling is to ensure that the paneling was cleaned well enough and that there will be no adhesion problems down the road – before proceeding any further.

How to test adhesion

The way to test adhesion is to do a cross cut tape test. You will want to check a variety of spots throughout the room with the tape test.

Apply the primer to the paneling in small 4″ square patches and allow them to dry and cure overnight. The next day you will come back and using a razor knife cut a “tick – tack – toe” cross hatch cut into the primer. After the primer is cross cut , apply a piece of masking tape (regular masking tape – not the easy release type) or duct tape over the cross cuts and rub it down. Then take the duct tape and pull it off sharply. If the paint pulls off – you will need to further clean and perhaps pole sand with fine (220 grit ) sandpaper to get the paneling ready for painting. Test all the spots the same way. If the adhesion passes ( I.e. the primer did not pull off with the tape ) then you are ready to proceed with total priming of the whole room.

Tinting the primer

You may tint the primer to approximate or match the finish paint color. Both BIN and Coverstain can be tinted with universal colorants ( up to 2 ounces per gallon) to come close or match the finish color. Tinting the primer acts as a first coat and makes finish painting easier to cover or hide the underlying paneling. Ask the paint store that you purchase the primer from about tinting it.


Once the paneling is cleaned and primed you may paint it in any latex (or oil if you wish) paint that you desire. The finish painting is the easy part. Use a ¾ inch roller nap to help with pushing the paint into the paneling grooves. The best way to do this is to roll the paint on and then with light pressure “lay it off” to smooth it out and minimize roller texture.

2 Beginner Tabata Workouts That'll Leave You Breathless

You know Tabata? You do not know Tabata? Ok, let me fill you in:

Tabata intervals consist of 20 seconds work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this sequence 7 more times for a total of 8 rounds, or 4 minutes of pain! Tabata workouts are usually constructed with 3-6 exercises performed one after each other.

I will show you two intense tabata workouts for beginners. Now, Tabata is an intense training technique. The only way to modify Tabata for beginners, intermediates, and advanced trainees is to focus on the exercises. Choose exercises that you can perform well, and you'll be successful with Tabata.

Workout A

Tabata rounds of:

  • Parallel Jump Squat – perform a parallel bodyweight squat, and explode up, jumping as high as possible. Continue for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 7 more times before moving onto the next exercise.
  • Plank – Stay in either full plank, or elbow plank position for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 7 more times before moving onto the next exercise.
  • Jumping Pullups and Hold – Hold a pullup bar, jump as high as you can, then pull the rest of the distance upto the pullup bar. Hold this top position for the remainder of the 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds and repeat for another 7 times.

Workout B

Tabata rounds of:

  • Situps – Lay down on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Curl your body up of the ground so that you are "sitting up." Continue this motion for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest. Repeat 7 more times before moving onto the next exercise.
  • Chair Squats – Stand in front of a chair. Squat down until you just slightly touch the chair and return to starting position. Perform 8 total tabata rounds.
  • Wall Pushups – Place your hands on a sturdy wall. Move your body towards the wall until your nose is just an inch from the wall. Push back to starting position. Perform 8 total tabata rounds.
  • Decline Pushups – Place your hands on a sturdy surface. With your feet on the floor, get into push up position. You should be in a "diagonal" from the ground. Let your body move towards the surface until your chest is just an inch from the surface. Push back to starting position. Perform 8 total tabata rounds.
  • Body Swings – Stand straight up with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Start with your arms elongated straight over your head as if you were trying to touch the sky. Now simultaneously swing your hands towards the ground will pushing your hips back as if you were about to sit down on a chair. Stop the movement until your hands are between your legs. Keep your back straight at all times. Return to starting position by reversing the movement. Perform 8 total tabata rounds.

Use these two workouts to jump start your fitness!