The Role of a Geophone Motion Sensor in Ghost Investigations

There are several different types of equipment that are used during ghost investigations in order to gather evidence that will assist in establishing proof of ghosts. The most common types of equipment include cameras that take real ghost pictures, camcorders that are used in hopes of capturing true ghost video, and even digital voice recorders and other types of recording tools that are used in order to capture real ghost sounds. Recently, a new piece of equipment has been added to the ghost investigator’s wish list. This device is referred to as a geophone motion sensor.

If you are interested in becoming a ghost hunter and establishing proof of ghosts, it is important to know and understand the role of a geophone motion sensor in ghost investigations. This type of tool works by converting energy that is considered to be seismic in nature into voltage that is electrical based. In other words, it takes vibrations that are in close proximity to the device and converts it into data that can actually be measured and recorded. When translating the word “Geophone”, it actually means “Earth Sound”. This device takes the overall velocity of the vibrations that it picks up on and then transfers those vibrations into an electrical based signal.

Inside of the geophone motion sensors that are used during ghost hunting investigations, there is a spring coil that is held in place in a mounting fashion. When it is introduced to a magnetic field, it starts to move. The coil that is contained near the spring remains stationary, but the vibrations continue to travel through the device and the overall inertia results in the weak or the strong signal that is recorded due to the seismic activity that is near the unit. There are typically lights contained on the ghost hunting device that will assist in alerting a ghost investigator that vibrations are occurring within a given area.

Individuals that conduct a ghost study in locations where unusual phenomenon such as unexplained noises, the sounds of footsteps, and any type of vibration has been previously experienced will typically place a geophone motion sensor in these areas as well as a digital recording device that is able to capture photos and video images. Not only will vibrations be picked up, if the supposed spirit that is causing the seismic activity has a high level of energy, the ghost hunter may be able to successfully pick up images such as rods, orbs, and even apparent apparitions associated with the seismic activity. If you are interested in establishing proof of ghosts during ghost investigations, the geophone motion sensor is a must have piece of ghost hunting equipment.

How to Be Free From a Poverty Mental Stronghold

Financial three step plans, money making formulas and sowing and reaping scriptures can all be well and good, but if you have a poverty stronghold lodged and hidden in your mind, you may never enter your earthly wealthy place. If you feel you might have a poverty mental stronghold keeping you from your earthly wealthy place and you want to be set free, then this article is for you.

Gary was a Christian who had been taught in church that it was good to worship and serve God, but to have an abundance of “things” was not acceptable. The “prosperity message” was taboo. However, he eventually discovered that according to God’s Word, financial prosperity was the Christian’s inheritance and we are blessed to be a blessing.

So Gary began to implement all the prosperity truths he had learned, but instead of getting out of debt and enjoying the abundant life, he continued to flounder financially and stayed in debt. Fortunately, one day the Lord revealed to him the problem. All the earlier teaching on how it was wrong to seek prosperity had become a poverty stronghold in his mind that kept him out of his God-ordained wealthy place. The Lord revealed to him how to destroy that stronghold with God’s mighty powerful weapon, the Word of God.

“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29)?

The Lord’s instructions were simple. To destroy the stronghold of poverty in his mind, he was to speak three scriptures out loud four hours a day until they dropped down into his heart and became reality. This would set him free from the stronghold of poverty holding back his God-given prosperity. Here are the three prosperity scriptures the Lord instructed him to speak out loud:

“The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” (Psalm 34:10). “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Am I saying you must spend four hours a day speaking out loud these promises to destroy any poverty stronghold you might have? No. How much time you spend a day declaring these prosperity promises is up to you. But I will say this, the more time you spend doing it, the quicker the results.

I suggest starting out with fifteen minutes a day and increase it to one half hour or more. Gary said that within three weeks he noticed a difference in his life and eventually he was free from the poverty stronghold that held him captive. He got a revelation that God was his source and not his job, the government or anything else.

And by the way, this three scripture formula will work for any area of your life: healing, confidence, deliverance from some sinful bondage, weight-loss or whatever. Just find three scriptures that relate to your problem and away you go.

Tips on Choosing the Right and Best Home Designs

It will take a lot of time for you to choose the proper best home designs that are suitable for your needs and lifestyle. You have to recognize a couple of things that you have to consider when choosing a home design. It is crucial for you to pink home design which fits your taste. You also have to consider about your landscape.

Needs and Lifestyle

Family needs and lifestyles are two most important things when building a home. But you have to rely on the plans for your family in the future. For example, new couples will have a different home plan from a retired couple in terms of characteristics.

Before you choose the design that you want to in order to build a home, it is well recommended for you to thinks about your lifestyle and needs.

Privacy

A couple of homeowners want to have home plans which are more intimate in their personal living spaces and master bedroom, while some others want to have some privacy in their office space.

It is also important for you to think about privacy that you want from your neighbors and occupants. If you think this is crucial for you, you have to consider applying design with a U or L shape design. This house plans types will offer you more privacy when building a home.

Aesthetics and Furnishings

You have to consider the floor plan that you want to have for your new home because it will accommodate your furniture. Talking about the sizes of the room, you have to consider the seating places and the placement of your furniture because it will impact on the feel of your room. It is better for you to measure the furniture in order to decide the space that you want to use for your furniture.

Outdoor Space

Your home plan style will be affected by the natural and geographical landscaping features of your lot that you will have to pick.

Meanwhile, you have to consider whether you want to have enough lot space that you want to use for gardens, interesting landscaping, or pools or your lot space will offer a lawn spot for outdoor sports and games.

For those of you who already bought the building pot, you have to consider a couple of those reasons and plan your house design that you pick in order to find your requirements and needs.

Picking Building Lot

Flat building lots house plans are cheap and easy to build, even though you will find that they are not interesting as a sloping lot. You will be allowed by the sloping lot to plan for a daylight basement and tuck the garage under the home.

When planning to build a home, you also have to consider about a couple of cars that you want to use. You have to think about the space for the driveway or you also have to consider about the parking if many people come to your house. For those of you who have bought house plan, you do not have to choose a building lot that will generate that design.

Hiring Painters

Professional painting is more costly than doing it yourself, but it's an easy way to save you the aggravation, sore muscles and to get the job done right. To hire a top-quality Austin painter you should:

  1. Determine the areas in your home that you want painted.
  2. What prep work do you want to do before painting? For example does trim need to be replaced. How about the carpets. Do any holes need to be patched? What about texture on the walls or popcorn on the ceiling.
  3. Decide what colors you want to go with. All paint stores have paint charts and swatches that you can use to take to your home and examine in your lighting. Do not expect the color to look the same on your walls as it does in the paint store. Once you make an initial decision, purchase the small sample colors and actually put some paint on the walls (or have your painter do this) before committing to the colors. A small swatch can look completely different than a larger painted area.
  4. Contact several painters and get pricing estimates.
  5. Have the painter inspect the site and get a written quote. Make sure that all the contractors are bidding on the same terms. Apples to apples. Anyone that makes a phone quote is probably going to have surprises for you in the end. You simply can not see all the work required over the phone.
  6. Ask for references and check them. Was the previous customers happy with the work, did the job complete on time and on budget? Where there any surprises.
  7. Get and execute a contract. The contract should contain: work to be done, total cost, payment schedule, timeline, etc …
  8. Remove all furniture and other movable items before the painter is scheduled to begin. Anything not removed should be placed in the center of the room and covered with drop cloths.
  9. Give referrals for work well done!

Why Is 3 AWG Electrical Wire the Only Odd Gauge Size?

Gauge sizes in copper electrical wire will get larger as the number gets smaller which means 10 AWG has more copper in it than 12 AWG. It’s very unlikely to find a supplier with stock on any odd gauge sizes such as 11 or 7 because the difference is so minor that the application could easily use the size above or below the odd size needed. However, when the gauge sizes get larger there’s much more room in between each size which is why odd sizes start to be included at 3 AWG electrical wire.

The outer diameter of 14 AWG bare copper is .064 inches compared to the next size down of 12 AWG at.081 inches. That’s a difference of .017 inches which means a 13 wire would be nearly useless to have around. Now, the difference between a 4 wire (.204″) and a 2 wire (.257″) is .053 inches putting a 3 AWG electrical wire directly in the middle at .229 inches. There is also a 1 AWG wire included as the sizes get larger for the same reason.

A 3 AWG electrical wire is most commonly found in the THHN THWN family. THHN stands for Thermoplastic High Heat Nylon and the “W” in THWN stands for Water resistant. Both approvals are written on the insulation of all THHN copper wire nowadays because the cost of manufacturing both types got out of hand. The cost difference between the two was minor so combining them was a good idea.

This type of copper electrical wire is most commonly used in homes and building by installers, electricians and contractors who pretty much just say “I need number 4 wire” and it’s understood by the supplier that they need THHN wire. There is a cost savings for the contractor when they can use 3 AWG wire rather than 2 AWG wire because the cost is directly driven by the amount of copper used to manufacture it. I assume it goes without saying that a 2 AWG wire has more copper than a 3 AWG wire so it makes sense for the contractor to find the 3 AWG wire instead of just purchasing the number 2 before looking around.

Speak to your electrician about the size of copper you’ll need and speak to your supplier about the type of insulation you’ll need based on the application. Suppliers are trained more to determine which type of insulation protects best against indoor, outdoor and underground conditions.

3 of Spades – Respect – Giving and Receiving in Relationships

So what has the 3 of Spades got to do with respect? An understandable question to ask! I certainly would ask it if I did not already know the answer!

However, in reality what is more important is the word 'respect' and how it plays its part in the way we are with all that is around us, including people! Self-respect is another matter (8 of Spades)!

I'm going to focus attention on respect between people.

My experience with one recent client who valued respect, was that they wanted people to respect them, yet did not show so much respect for others. They wanted the rights, but not the responsibilities!

Respect what?

Quite often people say they want respect for a specific aspect of themselves: for example,

· One client thought a colleague of hers should show respect for her because she was older than her colleague.

· Some managers want respect for their authority and / or position – like parents want their children to respect them as their parents; and

· Some experts want to be respected for their specialist knowledge and experience.

In reality, I suspect we really want to be respected as individuals, whatever age, position and / or expertise we have.

Respect does not require liking (that's a relief eh ?!), admiration (that could be difficult sometimes, yes ?!), earning it (phew!) Or agreement. It does require you giving respect. This is the cornerstone to you gaining and keeping respect.

What does giving respect look like?

Respect is not about big gestures. In fact, it's mainly everyday sorts of behaviours: arriving on time to meetings, doing what you said you would do, being courteous, good manners, listening to what someone is saying, not multi-tasking when having a conversation, by noticing a person and acknowledging their existence – by recognising and accepting their rights to be different from you.

Why do most of us find it difficult to do?

When I started writing this article I reflected on my own behaviours. I recognised that even with people that I do respect, I do not consistently show it. My husband, for instance, has to cope with me sometimes not listening to him, even butting in before he has finished!

I'm treating him like 'I know better'! I might think I know better. Quite often this is based on misunderstanding, mis-hearing, or my lack of knowledge! And maybe I am right, but not listening – or not giving him time to explain his point of view – does not improve the situation!

Other 'reasons' for not showing respect? I'm better than you (this includes aspects over which you have no control – eg race, colour, nationality). I'm more important in the hierarchy / community / [fit what you will] than you. I earn more than you. They go on and on and on.

What can we do to increase respect, even when we do not like the person?

Bottom line – if you want to be given respect, then start showing it! You may find it helps you to keep in mind that an person is worthy of your respect because they are alive and doing the best they can to make it through – no more no less (based on what Michael Neill said when considering respect in one of his newsletters).

Respect is an example of give-and-take, reciprocity, within relationships! The more respectful you are the more respect you experience – and the less you show respect, the less you receive.

To heighten your awareness of respect, you may like to try the following:

  • as you meet both friends and strangers, silently repeat to yourself "you are worthy of my respect" – you want to add a phrase that makes it easier for you to find a reason for that respect eg "for doing the best they can to make it through "
  • having said this, what do you notice? About yourself and / or about others?

And the 3 of spades? It's in a set of VALUE cards – the value 'respect' is found on the 3 of Spades! And 'self-respect' is found on the 8 of Spades.

Avoiding a Heart Attack While Shoveling Snow

Winter brings evenings by the fire, holiday cheer, warm eggnog … and snow. The first flakes of snow are exciting, as kids become giddy and adults speed up their plans for the holidays. But few of us think about the actual perils of shoveling that snow off our walkways and drives.

People who research this sort of thing tell us that the number of heart attacks increases substantially during winter months. I recently read that heart attack deaths triple among men 35 to 49 years old during cold weather. They also tell us that people with cholesterol build-up in their arteries, or coronary heart disease, are at higher risk in the winter months.

It seems that the reason for this is that the arteries tighten up in cold weather, which slows blood and reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the heart. The body also overexerts itself getting oxygen and staying warm … not to mention the physical exertion of shoveling snow.

People at Risk

  • People who have a history of heart problems.
  • People with coronary artery disease.
  • People who have high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • People with cholesterol problems.
  • People who eat a lot of holiday party food, which is usually not very heart healthy.
  • People who smoke.
  • People who are experiencing a great deal of stress.
  • People who are overweight – especially if by 30 percent or more.
  • People who consume excessive alcohol.
  • People who are normally sedentary.
  • People who have type II diabetes.

If you fall into any of these categories, it is recommended that you do not shovel snow, and instead, get a friend or family member to shovel for you. If necessary, hire someone to shovel your snow … that cost is nothing compared to experiencing a heart attack.

Steps to Prepare Against Heart Attack

  • Eat a heart-healthy low-fat diet (of course we should do this year-round).
  • Do not eat a big meal or drink alcohol before going out to shovel snow.
  • Do not take stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine because they constrict blood vessels.
  • Dress warmly; especially protect extremities of nose, ears, hands and feet. Cold weather can reduce circulation and aggravate your heart. Try to dress in layers so sweat will not build up and then chill your body.
  • Warm up your circulatory system by taking a walk around the block before starting to shovel. This is also a good time to stretch your arm and leg muscles to reduce stain or injury.
  • Use a shovel with a small blade. It is not a contest, and it is better to take more small shovels-full than try to manhandle large mounds of snow. Lighter loads prevent injury.
  • Pace yourself. Do not race with yourself to get everything cleared as quickly as possible. A good break every 15 minutes could save you a trip to the ER.
  • Stay hydrated. It is important to drink plenty of water regardless of the temperature.
  • Shovel often. Go out and clear your areas when no more than two inches of snow accumulates. Light workouts over an extended period of time are much safer than tackling a mountain of snow all at once.
  • Shovel smart. Spread your hands on the handle for better leverage, stand with your feet hip-width apart, then bend and lift at your knees rather than your back.

And, above all: if you experience chest pain; shoulder, arm, or neck pain; shortness of breath; dizziness; fainting; or nausea – stop immediately and seek emergency medical assistance.

The important thing to remember is that this is the holiday season – the time of year we should all be enjoying ourselves, and each other. Spending time in the hospital is not the way we want to spend part of our winter season. So, please proceed with caution and preparation when shoveling snow, and observe the warning signs of overexertion. Have a safe and enjoyable winter.

Scooter Lift

The scooter lift is an invention that enables elderly and handicapped individuals to enjoy further independence. Loss of mobility has made it increasingly difficult for them to move around; the use of mobility scooters has given them a large degree of independence, and a scooter lift helps them to take their independence around with them at home or on vehicles when travelling.

Buying a scooter lift should be looked upon as a long-term investment for these individuals. It is therefore important to appreciate the positive influence that the right scooter lift can have on such people and their families. The selection of an appropriate scooter lift is an essential part in achieving this objective.

For transporting a scooter, the lift can be attached behind a vehicle, a mobile home or a trailer for holding and carrying their mobility scooters with complete ease. This lift has the capacity to raise the scooter and to manoeuvre it into the correct position for the journey. A further advantage is that with a scooter lift, the mobility scooter being transported can be held in place outside the vehicle allowing more interior space for luggage and other accessories.

Scooter lifts are available in various makes and models with a large range of features. They do not weigh too much but can lift, hold and carry approximately 300 pounds of weight. They are affordable, easy to use and easy to maintain and clean. When not in use, scooter lifts can be disassembled for easy storage. Their dimensions vary according to the model being purchased; platform and jack-type models are available.

Most models offer steel construction, a protective coating finish, twelve volt DC motor with optional battery pack. Easy-to-use controls allow safe, simple and reliable operation. They are designed to provide ease of mobility and accessibility for the difficulties experienced by the disabled and elderly in their daily lives.

Contractors For Commercial Elevators

Contractors for commercial elevators ensure the efficient installation, inspection and replacement of elevators. Accessibility equipment comes in various designs and with varying properties. When installing an elevator, it is necessary to ensure that it offers good performance, is durable, meets safety standards and comes with warranty and reliable after-sales service. The role of contractors is to provide advice on installation of the elevator based on the building design.

Advice on the Right Elevator Model

In order to help their clients choose the right model of the product, contractors for commercial elevators enquire about their requirements in detail and also conduct a careful assessment of the site where the elevator has to be installed.

Indoor and outdoor models of these mobility devices come in various models. The indoor products include vertical wheelchair lifts, inclined platform lifts, portable wheelchair lifts, elevators, dumbwaiters, material lifts, package lifts and stair lifts.

Outdoor commercial elevators include vertical platform lifts, inclined platform lifts, material lifts, pool lifts and ramps.

Contractors for commercial elevators not only provide advice on the right elevator model for a particular setting, but also ensure that the elevator is one that operates efficiently and is equipped with adequate safety features. Reliable contractors take care to deliver elevator models with standard safety options such as:

• Door interlocking facility
• Emergency battery back-up: for interior lighting and lowering
• Safety brakes
• Emergency stop and alarm buttons
• Speed ​​governor to control speed in downward movement

Ensuring Efficient Installation Services

Contractors for commercial elevators undertake the installation procedures of elevators in both newly constructed as well as old buildings. They ensure expert installation as well as periodic service, maintenance and consultancy.

They have a ready stock of various models of elevators from reputable manufacturers in the industry. These contractors have remarkable expertise in the installation of scaffolds and other platforms that are used to guide the elevator.

Seek Assistance of Licensed Contractors

When hiring the services of contractors for commercial elevators, make sure to select a licensed and experienced contractor. It is also advisable to gather sufficient information about the quality of installation, maintenance and repair services offered by these contractors. Making a comparison of the commercial elevator models, post-purchase service and prices would provide the right building accessibility solution.

Dhaka’s Biryani – A Taste of Aristocracy

Sometimes it’s greasy and sometimes it’s dry. But it’s always spicy. It’s a dish full of long-grain rice that will not stick together and holds a succulent piece of meat inside it. It’s pleasantly aromatic, but not too sharp. The lovely aroma of spice and the delightful sight of the dish bring water to your mouth. And when you taste it, the subtle flavor and taste of the spices mildly and pleasantly come through. It’s well-cooked, flavorsome, succulent and delicious. And once you start eating, you will end up cleaning your plate down to the last grain of rice.

That is a plate of delicious Biryani placed in front of you. Biryani is perhaps the most popular rice based dish in the world that is available in many forms. Though, this dish is known as a traditional famous Indian cuisine to the world, Biryani from Dhaka means something very special to the food lovers. Traditional Indian Biryani has a number of variants like Hyderabadi Biryani, Afghani Biryani, Sindhi Biryani, Lucknowi Biryani etc. which clearly represents the different preparation for different states of India. But Biryani from Dhaka has mostly two variations, Kachhi Biryani and Chicken Biryani. Kachhi Biryani is cooked with mutton (and rarely with beef) while Chicken Biryani has chicken as its meat ingredient. In the Indian preparation, the long grain Bashmati rice is used for Biryani. But most recipes of Biryani from Dhaka use the Bangladeshi ‘Kali-Jira’ rice, very fine polao rice which is produced only in the northern districts like Dinajpur.

Biryani is derived from a Persian word ‘beryan’ which means ‘fried’ or ‘roasted’. It is believed that Biryani was brought to the Indian subcontinent by the Muslim travelers and merchants from Arab. However, there is also another saying regarding the origin of Biryani. In the war time during the Mughal period, the soldiers were provided one item meal. Rice and meat were cooked together and served. Later, such recipe was introduced more formally in the royal dining and eventually become immensely popular throughout the rice-eater community in Indian subcontinent.

There are numerous fast food restaurants throughout the city of Dhaka these days and the number is just growing up. Even international fast food chains like KFC and Pizza Hut has a number of their outlets at different city points. Despite the dominance of fast food, particularly with the young generation, Biryani still has its very special place in the heart of the citizens. “Almost each Friday morning we have a special cricket match with our college mates and the losing team has to treat the winners a special meal with Biryani. We visit different restaurants each week to taste different Biryani. But we just never get enough of it!” said by Sabbir Iqbal, a 29 year old executive who is working with Banglalink.

Biryani is so popular at this part of the world that wedding or any other ceremonies will almost certainly have Biryani in its menu. “I got married almost 34 years back. By that time, Dhaka was not today’s Dhaka. Things have changed so much since then. But few things do remain same as it was decades before. Menu of my wedding receptions had Biryani then and it still has today. My younger daughter is about to get married in next January and surely Biryani is going to be served as main course. We ‘Dhakaiya’ (residents of old Dhaka who lives there for many years) people cannot think of our any celebrations without dishes full of delicious Biryani,” proudly said by Fazley Noman, a 60 year old retired person who has been living in the Rankin Street, Wari ever since he was born.

Although, Biryani is counted as the heritage food of old Dhaka, there are a number of food shops around the new city as well which serve fine quality of Biryani. “We like fast food menus like pizza, pasta or burgers while we hang out with friends but whenever there is any special occasion to celebrate like birthday or something, Biryani from Malancha or Khushbu restaurant is our first preference,” this is the statement of Nusrat Khandker, a 21 year old student from University of Dhaka. Dhaka’s Biryani is not only available in Dhaka. It has spread through hundreds of sub continental restaurants in many big cities of the world. Nishat Afza, a 34 year old NRB living in London and currently visiting her homeland mentioned, “Once in a while, we go out for a meal and often we ended up visiting the famous Dhaka Biryani House located at Mile End Road to get a taste from Bangladesh.”

Whenever you talk about the Biryani from Dhaka, the first name that comes up is Fakhruddin’s Biryani. The dish is named after the famous chef late Mohammad Farkhruddin, who was known more as ‘Fakhruddin Baburchi’ (Baburchi is the Bangla synonym for chef). He started serving snacks for the students of Viqarunnisa Noon School (a renowned all-girls school in Dhaka) students during the mid eighties and eventually became famous for his great Biryani recipes. Soon his recipes become a pinnacle and today it has become a symbol of upper crust to entertain the guests of any function with Fakhruddin’s Biryani. The famous chef died back in 1997 but his sons are still serving his recipe with 3 exclusive outlets in Dhaka city, located respectively at Dhanmondi, Gulshan and Uttara. Although Fakhruddin’s restaurants are famous for its Kachhi Biryani, it serves top class Chicken Biryani and Borhani (A kind of yogurt drink) as well.

Haji’s Biryani is another name that shines when you think about Dhaka’s Biryani. It was established by Haji Ahmed Ali (Haji is not a part of their family title, it is use to show that he has performed the Hajj) way back in 1939 at the Monir Hossain Lane in Narinda, Wari. Today, the main restaurant is located at Kazi Alauddin Road, Nazira Bazar. The Biryani from Haji is very unique as it is served dry (most Biryani are cooked with a lot of oil). Another interesting fact about this restaurant is that it starts serving after Asr prayer and mostly sold out by the Isha prayer. “The restaurant remains so crowded during the business hours that most people have to wait for at least 15-20 minutes before they get an emty seat,”  said by Haji Md. Sahed Hossain, the current owner of Haji’s Biryani and second son of late Haji Ahmed Ali. He also added, “Due to enormous public demand, we have recently opened our first branch at Progoti Sharani.”

Another prominent name in the Biryani world of Dhaka is “Nanna Miah’s” Biryani. Situated in the Nazimuddin Road of Old Dhaka (beside the Dhaka Central Prison), “Nanna Miah’s” Biryani is famous for the unique ‘Chicken Kachhi’ preparation. Only chicken is used for Biryani here. They have two recipes- ‘Chicken Kachhi’ and ‘Chicken Pakki’. “I come to old Dhaka at least once in a month for two things- Nanna’s Biryani and Beauty’s Sharbat (a kind of drink). I’ll miss them more than anything once I settle myself abroad” said by Porag, a 24 year old man who is migrating to Canada soon.

Star Restaurant is another landmark for serving delicious Biryani. The principal branch of the restaurant is located at B.C.Roy Road in Alu Bajar, Sutrapur which was established almost 45 years back. But it gained enormous fame when they launched their own five storied restaurant in Dhanmondi, the city’s heart place. “This is the biggest restaurant of the country that serves deshi food and we sell around 8,000 plates of Biryani each day,” said by Sheikh Mizan, floor manager of the Star Restaurant.

Apart from the above mentioned there are several other restaurants which also serves various Biryani dishes with their own special flavor. Dolma House of Motijheel is famous for its ‘Dolma Biryani’, prepared with both meat and vegetable. Karai Gosto, a restaurant in Dhanmondi serves its unique ‘Motor Biryani’, that use beans along with their benchmark menu called ‘Karai Gosto.’ Besides, there are few restaurants in Dhaka who serves Indian Biryani with the local flavor. Dhaaba, an Indian food shop, serves ‘Hyderabadi Dum Biryani’ that is cooked in a ‘Kachhi’ style. Voot, another upscale restaurant in Dhaka has their special ‘Maharani Biryani’ that is cooked in South Indian flavor and uses a lot of spice. There is also a tiny restaurant in city’s Lalmatia named as ‘Swaad Tehari Ghar’ which is very famous for its Tehari, a variant of Biryani. Tehari is cooked with less oil and thus more dry than Biryani and mostly use beef for meat. Interestingly, in India, Tehari is referred to vegetarian version of Biryani.

There is a large selection of foods in Dhaka that are tasty, delicious and made with local flavor. But not many of them are famous worldwide. Biryani of Dhaka is one of those few ones that have earned the love of food lovers across the world. According to Google Insight (Google’s Keyword tracking service), Biryani is the most searched recipe in regards of Bangladeshi foods. If anyone visits Dhaka, one should be prepared to have at least one hearty meal of Biryani with its sweet spicy aroma.

OCD Is a Bully, But You Can Stand Up to It!

This article is based on the concept of standing up to OCD as if it is a school bully. It introduces concepts into a well-known and widely used technique that is employed by therapists for helping those with OCD. This article is also stipulates the hard work and effort that is required by people who suffer OCD to manage this potentially crippling disorder. This article also shares true insights and realities of effectively managing OCD.

OCD is misunderstood. It is often misunderstood by the general public/the general community and sometimes even those working in the mental health sector, however it should be acknowledged that nurses and other workers indeed generally have a solid understanding of mental health problems and many workers have accurate insights into OCD, yet it can still be misunderstood by some. As a former sufferer of OCD I have seen and experienced many mis-conceptions of OCD myself as an inpatient in hospitals (psychiatric wards). It is not even easy for the sufferer themselves to understand OCD! It is difficult to know how to handle obsessions and can be extremely difficult to quench compulsions or know how to handle them too. Personally, as a person who still battles a little with obsessions and compulsions at times, I am well aware of the absurdity of OCD and how rational argument ‘should’ put OCD into perspective, but the brain in a person with OCD still seems to overbear all rational argument as the brain really does send powerful ‘false’ messages to the sufferer due to parts of the brain being out of skew (in particular the basal ganglia which is responsible for particular behaviours). How many times have I made a cup of tea or coffee and I KNOW I have put sugar etc. in, but yet uncontrollable messages tell me “have you? Have you really?” Rational argument says “yes, of course you KNOW you have”, but yet somehow the brain just does not translate this to the sufferer. How can we break the relentless, overbearing, repetitive cycle of obsessions and compulsions? Just ignore them? Just don’t do compulsions?It is sadly NOT that easy (speaking here that one’s OCD is not treated). If it was so easy, there would perhaps not be any such disorder known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (well, not in a severe or extreme form anyway). It is difficult, BUT managing obsessions and compulsions CAN be achieved in time. For those suffering more severe forms of OCD it will most likely take hard work, dedication and determination to manage OCD. This is often the reality, BUT also the reality is that OCD CAN be managed. Some people with mild forms of OCD may feel ‘cured’ with some appliance of strategies that can be used effectively to combat OCD, but this article is proposed more for sufferers of the more severe forms of OCD rather than mild cases (although it relates to these cases as well).

As mentioned, OCD is misunderstood; it is mysterious and even Sigmund Freud was baffled by it (Ref TTSR). To have a higher probability of managing the relentless symptoms of OCD though, we really need to become educated and to have a good, solid awareness about this disorder. Bearing in mind that there is no substitute for PROFESSIONAL help and therapy in the form of Behaviour Therapy (and also Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy), or more specifically (for OCD) Exposure and Response Therapy (ERP) and also Cognitive Therapy (CT) along with medications, and this article is only endeavoured to help readers to understand the nature of OCD. It is NOT meant to be a substitute for professional help.

To begin with, it is well recognized that sufferers do realize or are well aware that their compulsive rituals (such as checking the oven switch dozens of times or checking the window an absurd amount of times before leaving the house) are nonsensical or meaningless, but the urge to perform compulsions is still ever-powerful. Sufferers know that their behaviours (or mental compulsions such as counting) are irrational and that they ‘shouldn’t’ be done, but the urge to perform compulsions seems just out of control. It is actually a part of the brain that ‘misfires’ and it is specifically in the limbic system which is responsible for regulating sleep cycles, appetite and the ‘fight or flight response’ that has a lot to do with how and why a person with OCD engages in nonsensical, repetitive behaviours and/or mental acts that they know are meaningless (Ref TTSR). A part of the brain known as the neo-cortex which is on the outer-surface is where a person’s ability to reason is ‘formulated’. And as the brain does not function as a congruous/congenial unit or operating harmoniously as one ‘simple’ organ, but operates with different parts in relation to different purposes such as the visual parts of the brain being in a different place to the memory parts, then the brain actually sorts out varying levels of priority or urgencies of what is going on in the brain. Surely the brain tells us to take our hand off a hot stove before reminding us to check the window before we leave the house. In the ‘OCD brain’, it gets a bit mixed-up in where the urges to check and do things is a result of the misfiring of the primitive part of the brain that regulates things such as the fight or flight response is a response initiated by a perceived threat or danger and a part of the brain functions as the catalyst to perform our fight or flight actions like an automatic response, but in the OCD brain it gets ‘locked’ and the person with OCD perceives the window as being a threat and the automatic response is to attend to the window, but the messages in the brain get jammed as in that the responses keep re-occurring. This primitive part of the brain that is responsible for this gets a bit muddled with a person with OCD in that it falsely reacts to perceived threats (such as someone climbing through the window because it was left unlocked or open), but where the other part of the brain that relates to reasoning realises that the threat (for example, the window) doesn’t really exist. People with OCD do NOT generally lose touch with reality; they know what is real and what is not. It is in the primitive part of the brain where signals are sent to the person with OCD that they must check and do things in the form of mental and/or behavioural compulsions.

Understanding that the brain misfires like this may not simply enable a sufferer to stop his or her compulsions, but it can assist with initial strategies into managing their obsessions. Logical reasoning will tell us (the person with OCD) that there is no need to check the window more than once, but it just ISN’T as simple as arguing with rationalities with a person with OCD because they really DO already know that checking the window again and again and again is absurd, irrational and senseless, but the muddled messages that they are getting actually overbears all these logical rationalisms, therefore, the sufferer yields to obsessions and frustratingly continues to engage in compulsions. Reassurance just doesn’t seem enough for those suffering OCDand alternative ways of handing obsessions are better advised than offering a person with OCD reassurance that the window is locked/closed/OK.

In saying this though, how do we manage obsessions? Do we ignore them then if irrational argument or reassurance doesn’t seem to quench the fire of obsessions? Ignoring them is also a strategy that is easier said than done for many sufferers too (more-so people who have the more severe forms of OCD). For those suffering more severe forms therapy is generally needed and this usually comes in the form of specific techniques and one of these is developed from Behavioural Therapy in the form of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). The aim is to prevent oneself from performing compulsions and it may sound like ignoring obsessions but as the anxiety and pain accompanies the prevention of performing compulsions it is very difficult to simply ignore obsessions. However, this is acknowledged and not ignored and with the initial help of a therapist it is sort of like ignoring the obsessions in a way that you do NOT yield to performing compulsions but you MUST grit and bear the pain that will be experienced in doing so. That is not ignored. The person with OCD is well aware of the urges to do things such as checking the window, but yet the focus of attention is then turned to something else such as your therapist asking you to perform another activity. Therefore, in a way, the obsessions are ignored, but yet they are acknowledged but the idea is to ‘side-track’ one’s thinking as to the urge to perform compulsions. In summary, what this is intended to say is that the strategy is not to say ‘come on, snap out of it; just don’t think about it; ignore it’, but more along the lines of saying ‘I know you are there,

I acknowledge you I see you and I feel you. I know you are very hard to ignore and I know by not paying you any more attention I will hurt and it will be painful. But, I CAN DO THIS and as much as I know you are there ready to pounce again, I am keeping watch and command over you now as I am not going to do what you want me to do now; I am NOT going to keep checking that window”.

This is a speciality practise that a psychologist is endowed with and qualified to perform with people with OCD, but the aim is that it is to be continued by the person with OCD alone (by homework tasks) once they have had a little guidance and practise with ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention). For now though, attention will be turned back onto rational thinking. I remember one of my most problematic obsessions that I had through 4 years of therapy was obsessions relating to wanting to check the toilet after I had been (the obsessions were multiple and related to different facets of checking such as the light switch, my ‘dress’ and much more). My therapist endlessly tried to help me with applying Exposure and Response Prevention and talking about many things about my concerns with these obsessions through the usage of Cognitive Therapy (CT) and as a last resort she tried something different. My therapist instructed me to totally exaggerate the whole situation. I had to think about the worst case situation or predicament in where the toilet was exactly what I feared. I invented a situation where the toilet stank like rotten eggs mixed with sour milk and soaked in manure (or something like that), it hadn’t been flushed at all (in fact the muck in the toilet was sitting for a week!), I had left my fly/zip completely undone/unzipped and I was wearing fluorescent orange underwear so that the whole neighbourhood could see it, my belt wasn’t done up, the light switch was on and it could catch fire, I had left mess all over the floor and somebody could also slip and bang their head or hurt themselves (let alone spreading even more germs around), there were germs all over the toilet seat and underneath it plus all over the rest of the toilet, wretched ‘fumes’ from my ‘filth’ were coming out of the toilet air-vents, the door was covered in germs because of my germ-ridden fingers and whatever else I could conjure up. What a terrible chaotic catastrophe! But, this image that I was instructed to conjure up was the exact intention of my therapist.

My therapist’s aim was to totally exaggerate the situation. To conclude, my toileting obsessions were helped immensely. It worked for me. It can be a bit like trying to rationally calm a screaming and just plain disobedient, defiant toddler. The toddler will demand attention (or his/her parents to give in to her or her). Something that is recommended by some therapists is to do the opposite; encourage the toddler ‘to do his or her best’ or scream even more and behold, the child may actually stop performing such ‘rot’. This is like my toileting obsessions were. I said “well, give me your best” and I

exaggerated the whole deal. And, to my delight, my toileting obsessions and rituals have never been the same.

The thing is that the part of the brain that is out of skew in a person with OCD wants that person to yield to it like the defiant child; to give in to its demands and reasoning with it just seems pointless (like trying to reason with a defiant and disobedient toddler). Instead of ignoring the problem, it may be better (for some at least) to acknowledge the obsessions and the ‘threats’ it poses to us. This can increase anxiety, but this also IS what happens in ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention). The person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder MUST endure pain and discomfort before improvement is likely to transpire. How many times may have you heard the expression ‘things will get worse before they get better?’Well, this IS usually the case with overcoming OCD in terms of management of it (that is, for those with the more severe forms of OCD).

A particular strategy that can be very useful for many sufferers of OCD is to look at OCD as a SCHOOL BULLY. It is a bully to be acknowledged and not necessarily ‘simply’ ignored (that is much easier said than done when dealing with obsessions though), but it is also like putting the bully in its rightful place. Therefore, a strategy that can help people with OCD is to say something like “I see you there and I know you want me to react to you the way you want, but you’ve now got another thing coming”. Again, this is much easier said than done and this is often where those with problematic OCD will need therapy to assist in practising to put these words into action. The action here is not yielding to obsessions. It is not necessarily ignoring them as if they are not even there, but acknowledging them and also reacting to them in a different way as to what they want us to do. Hence, the action that is desirable for a person with OCD is NOT to engage in compulsive rituals. The pain can be intense and I clearly recall ending up in tears once through my therapy while applying such procedures as the pain was so strong, BUT it carries rewards! If you have moderate to extreme OCD, chances are that you will need to endure some pain before starting to be able to manage obsessions effectively.

We can also look at OCD as a barbarian or a nemesis as this can help us to separate us as ‘normal’ people from this nemesis. Maybe we could even liken OCD as being like a sugar-daddy (showering you with ‘goodies’), but with detrimental consequences. This sugar-daddy, nemesis or barbarian wants to trick us into yielding to its demands. In OCD it is the primitive part of the brain that acts as this barbarian. The brain or barbarian is saying “come on, just check the window or that stove one more time and you will then find relief”. Yet, what it is doing is setting us up for a deeper and deeper dilemma which is going to be harder and harder to get out of. The barbarian or sugar-daddy may give you little instant ‘prize’ or relief as does yielding to obsessions by doing compulsive rituals (compulsions do give the sufferer a bit of relief…….short-term), BUT this is SO temporary and it WILL COME BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND IN STRONGER FORCE. A person with OCD must learn to stand up to or refuse to yield and grit and bear the pain of NOT doing compulsive rituals. This is where a therapist may be needed initially at least. The nemesis or this primitive part of the brain seduces the sufferer to yield and promises them comfort as if it’s saying ” I know you’ll feel better (or find relief) if you just check once more. It will put your mind at rest”. It fools the sufferer into thinking that this ‘relief’ will last when in fact IT WON’T! A person with OCD needs to stand up to the bully or the nemesis. Some things under other circumstances in life may be better ignored or handled in a different way, however standing up to OCD can be very, very fruitful for the person enduring it.

The next part of standing up to the bully is the essence of what sufferers are taught to do in Behaviour Therapy when it comes to terms of avoiding the ever-compelling compulsions. Obsessions are like the nemesis demanding us to submit to it, but submitting to obsessions only ultimately feeds feeds them more and more and more. We need to ‘starve’ the obsessions. This is not necessarily done by ignoring them, but acknowledging them and confronting them with saying or thinking to yourself or by basically adopting the following philosophy:

“Right bully, I know that you are there and I acknowledge that you are there to stay. I know I feel so troubled and I have not yet been able to find an answer to you. I know you are indeed powerful and a ‘worthy enemy’. I feel the pain you create for me, but I’m here to tell you now that I am stronger than you; I can bear the pain that you bring. I know you want me to check that window or that stove or wash my hands just one more time, and I know that if I don’t do as you demand it will be painful for me. I know by doing what you want me to do will seem to take away some of the pain. But, I am telling you that all this manipulation from you is deceitful and nothing more than a lie; it is just a cheap trick and you are a deceiver. By doing what you want me to do; by checking the window or stove or washing my hands just one more time, I am tricking myself into thinking that my pain will end. It won’t. I know it doesn’t work by doing my compulsions that you demand me to do. I know it seems to take away the pain at the time, but it only makes things worse for me in the long-run because this pain of giving in to obsessions and doing my compulsions just comes back again and again and with just as much or even more potency. You (the bully/the part of the brain that misfires) are real, but you are a trickster and a deceiver. I also know that you want to stay and I acknowledge that I can’t simply get rid of you. If I could and if it was that simple, I would have done this long before now. You are there and you are there to stay, but now I’m telling YOU that things are going to change. Yes, you’re there in my head (the bully/the ‘misfiring’ brain), but I am going to challenge YOU. Give me your best! I CAN tolerate you! I can tolerate your pain. I can tolerate not doing what you demand me to do (this refers to NOT doing compulsions). I am willing to endure even further, deeper and more intense pain and discomfort from what you cause. I am stronger and I will not submit to your pranks any more. I am going to stand up to you ‘bully’ and NOT do what you demand any more”.

To summarise the above strategy, what is suggested is:

  • acknowledge the bully, the nemesis, or enemy,
  • acknowlegde the pain that it creates,
  • acknowledge that it is a bully that is extremely difficult to get rid of so you may have to make room for it,
  • acknowledge that you can bear the pain of the bully,
  • recognise that you can take and cope with even further or deeper pain and you are willing to do so,
  • confront the bully.

This is now where some really difficult work begins, but if you are suffering (and literally SUFFERING) from OCD, you may NEED to endure he pain or discomfort of REFUSING TO ENGAGE IN COMPULSIVE RITUALS. This is easier said than done and it can take a lot of practise, BUT it works very often for sufferers of OCD. It is not absolutely guaranteed, but it has worked for many people and it does have a very good track-record. The practise of refusing to engage in compulsions is the essence of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). The ‘exposure’ element is simply being exposed to a situation which will result in the person experiencing obsessions and having urges to perform compulsions such as asking someone who washes their hands 100 times or so each day to pick up ‘dirty’ money (or something else that may be feared of being dirty or germy etc.). Obsessions will strike and the bully that they are, they will demand that the person washes their hands not once, but again and again and again. The ‘response’ element or part of the process is NOT responding and this means here that the person WILL NOT wash his or her hands. The pain; the anxiety and torment can be overwhelming and I have xperienced this on many occasions myself through therapy as a patient of extreme OCD. Therapists are skilled and very competent in knowing how to handle these situations. I know I always felt safe with my therapist even though I experienced some ‘torture’ in NOT doing my compulsions. I was not permitted to keep checking my coffee or the toilet or whatever else we were working on. Therapists are very good at knowing how to help you (or those with OCD) cope with the mental pain or processes of the bully i these times. The pain is present though at these times and it is real and also not ignored by therapists who are well aware of this. However, for those suffering clinically distressing obsessions and compulsions, we must grit and bear the pain/tolerate the pain a bit. An old expression goes ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’ and this comes into play here. The short-term pain will be more intense initially than what it would be by continuing to be plagued and tormented by compulsively responding to obsessions. The pain can indeed be very uncomfortable with initially repelling compulsive acts, but in the long-run the pain lessens and lessens and eventually the pain can become far less than what it was when we were initially standing up to the bully. It might seem easier or less painful to check that window one more time, but in the long-run, not doing so will quench the pain a lot more.

An important point to remember by not engaging in compulsive behaviours or mental rituals such as checking that the window really is shut is that you are not going to defeat the bully or nemesis directly by doing so, but you are going to starve the bully of ammunition or fuel. Therefore, you will not get on top of the bully overnight; it takes time and it takes patience. By becoming impatient, a sufferer will again fuel the bully. Standing up to the bully may appear to be as simple as saying “no, I’m not going to do those compulsions”, however, it needs to be done on a constant basis. It takes time and work. It is a constant battle especially in the initial phases. It isn’t a quick-fix and therefore a sufferer of OCD should not expect immediate results and should not expect to feel better straight away. ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) is a great enemy of the bully and it requires that the person with OCD be patient and willing to endure pain in order to gain long-term benefit. ERP is affective and it is proven to work. This does not mean that it will work for everybody and there are reasons for that, however, it has a proven track-record of being very helpful for many and perhaps even life-saving for some. ERP also teaches the sufferer how to manage the discomfort of not performing compulsions in affective ways. Again, a therapist may be needed at least initially for practising such methods as managing the discomfort of standing up to the bully and not doing what it demands. Behaviour Therapy in the form of ERP is hard work, but the benefits are often astounding.

The idea is not to escape from the bully as we have acknowledged that the bully is there to stay (although it need not be problematic or incapacitating), but to adopt an attitude that the bully can be tolerated. Remember that the more severe forms of OCD tend to be a life-time condition and it tends to wax-and-wane. OCD is not easy to get rid of just as a person who suffers cancer can not just simply get rid of their pain and the symptoms of cancer.Yet, OCD can be managed to a large degree. Some people with mild OCD may only require some short-term therapy where-as others will need long-term therapy plus medication (not always, but often). I personally had to go through 4 years of therapy which is a substantially long time as a goal of therapy is that the person with OCD will more-or-less become his or her own therapist by putting what s/he has learnt into practise by him or herself. I have to take 60 mg/3 X 2 mg tablets (it was up to 100 mg and down to 80 mg for years, but now only 60 mg) a day of fluoxetine (an anti-depressant) for OCD which is basically still a high dosage. I have had ECT (Elctro-Conculsive Therapy), but this was for a major depressive disorder (ECT is sometimes administered to people with unremitting OCD) and I have had other various treatments including prescriptions of valium and other medication and other forms of therapy such as CT (Cognitive Therapy), Therefore, I understand that treatment can take a long time and it requires the person with OCD to remain patient and focused or determined. Having a therapist such as a clinical psychologist to help you through these times can be one of the best weapons against the bully in your mind. Remember the bully may always be there (as mental disorders such as OCD are not necessarily curable), but OCD and its bullies can be managed!

Best regards,

Paul Inglis.

And, remember you are welcome to visit my web-site at http://www.soundmindaus.com

Polycarbonate Panels As an Alternative to Using Glass

Polycarbonate panels are one of the in demand roofing materials used in constructions today. These transparent thermoplastic panels are made with polycarbonate material of the highest quality. These popular panels are now replacing the long-standing competitor that is glass because of its efficient features like being lightweight, cheap and durable.

These panels are available in a wide range of colors and thickness, making it possible to use them in all kinds of roofing like sheds, green houses, garages, shops, doghouses etc. They can be used both for commercial as well as general home usage. Here are some of the good things about polycarbonate panels that you must know before you make a decision to buy them.

• Polycarbonate panels are ultra lightweight and can be handled very easily. Since they are weightless, installation is very easy and effortless.

• Unlike glass these panels does not need much skill or gadgets to cut it into required shapes, any handsaw or a Stanley knife can do the job.

• Cleaning the panels is very easy and that too needs to be done just occasionally. It does not need any special cleaner or cleaning solution, just about any soap water will do.

• These polycarbonate panels have twin walls, which will help to maintain the temperatures constantly.

• With ribbed channels on the outside, these panels cut down the amount of sunrays that pass through them. This will minimize the heat flow into inner side of the panels.

• Polycarbonate panels are totally shatter proof and this is one of the major advantages over usage of glass panels. So, you will not have to worry anymore about vandalism or about kid's baseball shot.

• These panels are very cheap and cost effective when compared to any other alternatives that are available today.

• They are totally resistant to fire and hence reduced chances of fire accidents.

For every good thing, there will be a bad side too and it goes for these panels. Over a period of time, these can get lots of scratches on them and the life of these panels can not out do that of glass. Some people feel that these are not as pleasing to eyes as the glass would do. All these are not really big issues when you really consider the pros of using polycarbonate panels.

What Makes Hardwood Planks Crack?

As the name suggests, hardwood flooring is made entirely of wood. This material is vulnerable to damage from extreme humidity levels. When storing furniture or wood planks, consider the temperature and humidity levels of the storage area. Ignoring this measure can cause irreparable damage to the flooring.

Humidity Levels

The most ideal humidity levels for wood flooring are between 40-60 percent. To be on the safe side, the humidity levels should be about 50 percent. When humidity levels fall below 30 percent, the hardwood flooring will dry up and start developing cracks.

As wood dries out, it also contracts causing splits to develop in the wood. When humidity levels go above 70 percent, hardwood flooring becomes waterlogged leading to expansion and, eventually, warping.

Humidity levels can fluctuate, a factor that homeowners have little control over. When humidity levels outside a home increase due to weather conditions or an incoming rainstorm, the humidity levels inside the house will also increase. Such changes in humidity levels affect hardwood planks even if protected by packaging. Those storing wood during the summer must take certain precautions to prevent damage to the wood because of sudden changes in the weather or humidity levels.

Managing Humidity Levels

Homeowners can protect hardwood flooring and planks by installing various temperature controls and dehumidifying units to their homes or storage areas. Air conditioners can be effective because they have a cooling effect, which lowers humidity levels. Dehumidifiers are necessary for homes set in regions with high moisture levels; they help extract moisture from the air.

Set the dehumidifier to 50 percent to maintain steady humidity levels for wood floors. However, dehumidifiers may not help prevent low humidity. If the air in a home or storage area is dry and non-humid, use vaporizers to add moisture in the air, which will raise the humidity levels.

Managing Humidity Swings

Huge swings in humidity levels cause the greatest damage to hardwood flooring. Such changes cause wood to expand and contract several times. Air conditioners that do not take in lots of outdoor air help to maintain steady humidity levels. This helps prevent sudden changes in humidity levels that cause damage to wood flooring. The same measures should be taken with heat and cold. Rooms with wood flooring should have consistent temperatures to reduce the chances of damage.

Understanding the Relationship between Wood, Temperature and Humidity

Humidity and Temperature

Air and wood absorb moisture or humidity to certain saturation levels. The saturation level is determined by the temperature in a room. The warmer the temperature, the more moisture wood absorbs. Temperature changes contribute to changes in humidity levels.

Humidity and Deterioration

Changes in humidity levels cause wood flooring to expand and contract. Continued expansion and contraction makes wood flooring develop cracks, which makes joints come apart. This is why wood flooring is not recommended for small, windowless kitchens and bathrooms.

Cleaning

Wet mopping wood floors leads to the introduction of excess moisture in the wood. Clean wood flooring by dusting and using damp mopping; this does not damage wood flooring.

Why Wood Floors Crack

Wood is organic. This means it expands and contracts in response to temperature changes and other factors. Processed wood has the same properties making it susceptible to cracking and warping. Homeowners should ensure proper installation and maintenance of wood flooring as well as control of environmental factors to reduce the chances of cracks developing on the wood flooring.

Types

Cracks on wood flooring may occur due to a lack of acclimation before installation, improper installation, and exposure to excess moisture or very dry air. Cracks at the edges and joints of wood flooring are signs of wood expansion.

Homes with dry air will have hairline cracks that are most evident during winter when the air is dry and disappear when the temperature in the home increases. Such cracks are seen as normal reactions expected with environmental changes.

Acclimation

Before purchase, wood flooring is dried and cut into planks. It is then treated with chemicals to protect it from rot, packaged, and shipped to outlet stores. During these processes, the wood is exposed to various temperature and humidity levels.

Remove the wood planks from the packaging and allow them to sit out for at least two weeks before installing. This allows the flooring to become accustomed to temperatures in the environment to which they will be installed, which reduces the amount of cracking as a result of expansion and contraction.

Flooring not subjected to acclimation is likely to expand and contract beyond the environment's limits, which results in cracks and buckling within a year after the installation.

Installation

When installing wood flooring, level the subfloors. Pressure points can be created by gaps between the subfloor and flooring planks. This pressure may lead to the development of cracks along joints and seams in the flooring.

When gluing wood flooring to a cement subfloor, use an adhesive designed for joining wood to cement. In addition, consider moisture barriers when installing in homes located in damp climates. Moisture barriers are thin sheets of polyethylene laid between subfloors and wood flooring. This barrier prevents moisture from infiltrating the wood.

Make sure there is a quarter-inch to half-inch gap between the flooring and walls around a room. This leaves room for the flooring to expand as a result of natural changes in humidity levels. Such gaps prevent excessive pressure on the wood, a situation that may lead to the development of cracks.

Properly installed wood flooring is less likely to develop cracks as a result of environmental changes. However, poorly maintained wood flooring may still develop cracks. When cleaning wood flooring, use products designed for cleaning the flooring. Do not allow wood floors to dry out excessively. Apply urethane annually to the flooring to allow it to maintain the right amount of moisture. This reduces the chances of splitting and cracking.

The wood will develop cracks if exposed to excess water. Taking the right steps during and after installation as well as practicing correct maintenance procedures can preserve and prevent cracks from developing.

How To Plan A Trip For Your Team At Work

Most companies nowadays send their employees on trips as a part of their community activities. It also helps them relax and unwind before they get back to their jobs. Also, travelling together is one of the best ways to develop team bonding and understanding. So, if you are in charge of booking a trip for your team, here are some of the things you can do to make it one of the best tours ever.

Book the Trip in Advance

One of the biggest advantages of booking a trip in advance is that you will able to save money that can spend on other things during the tour. If you start early, you can get the lowest airfares out there. Some companies offer package deals for large groups travelling together. Once you have sort the tickets, start booking your accommodation. It’s very important that this is done in advance because getting rooms for a lot of people at the same place might be difficult at the last moment.

Pick a Place With Options for Outdoor Activities

Go to a place that allows your team to take part in group activities like adventure sports or a cricket match on the beach. These are great team bonding exercises and they will help your team coordinate with each other outside the compulsion of an office. You can even arrange a team lunch so that everyone eats and chills out together. However, ensure that you make these arrangements in advance so that there’s no last minute cancellations or trouble.

Go Sightseeing Together

There’s nothing like exploring a place with your colleagues and creating memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. If you are going to place that is best explored on your own, they all of you can rent bikes and go around the town. This way, you will be on your own but you will also be a part of the team.

Arrange a Bonfire Night

A team outing without a bonfire and some singing and dancing is incomplete. You can tell your hotel authorities to arrange one such bonfire night for your team so that all of you can sit around it and chit chat. If you know someone who can play a guitar or sing, ask them to show their talent. This way, your whole team will be able to connect with and know each other better.

A team outing will not only help everyone relax and enjoy some time away from work but it will also help them become friends with their teammates. So, if you have been planning a team outing, do it now. Just remember to follow the tips above

What You Need to Know About Stair Handrails

Here are the basics of what you need to know about stair handrails before attempting this DIY project. Building your own wooden stair handrails can be a challenging and rewarding process. Before you try to tackle this project, it is important that you understand stair handrail terminology.

Main Parts

The rails are the horizontal pieces into which the balusters fit. The top rail is the handrail, and the bottom rail is the shoe rail. Each rail is plowed out along its length, leaving a space in which to fit the balusters.

The balusters (or spindles) are the vertical pieces that fit into the hand and shoe rails. They come in two sizes: 1 1/4 inch and 1 3/4 inch, and two styles: square or turned. Turned rails have been spun on a lathe to create different designs, however, their tops and bottoms are kept square so they fit into the plowed out areas of the rails.

Fillets are strips of wood, which fill in the plowed areas of the rails, holding the balusters snugly in place, keeping them evenly spaced, and giving a finished look to the rail. They are a convenient option to drilling holes for the balusters, and come in a variety of profiles.

Newel Posts

Newel posts come in a large variety of shapes and sizes, and you should select your newel posts with location in mind. They can be square or turned, plain or fancy, and come in many different styles. One example of a newel post would be a square post with an acorn top. Some styles of newel posts require some extra mounting plates for proper installation.

Other Parts

There are other parts that may be necessary, depending on the style of handrail that you decide to install.

Rosettes are optional wooden pieces that fit between the handrail and the wall. They add a decorative touch, or you can omit them for a clean and simple look.

Cap boards cover the knee wall that the railing may be built on.

Bull nose is an optional covering for either a floor edge or a stair edge where the railing overlooks a landing or a room.

Consistency

It is important that when you select and order parts to build your handrail, you choose parts that work and fit together, and that the top and bottom rail match. Once you have decided which size of baluster to use, you must consistently choose that size for the balusters, the plowed out area in the rails, and the fillets, or they will not fit together.

Safety

OSHA has set height requirements for the safe construction of handrails, and it is important to meet these requirements when working on your project.

Building your own wooden stair handrail is a basic, satisfying project that can be modified in many different ways to fit your style and budget.