What Makes a Good Sci-Fi Movie?

Each year, a handful of movies are released bearing the sci-fi label in the hope that they will find their place among the best sci-fi films of all time. The problem that many of these films share, however, is their deep misunderstanding of what sci-fi really is and how it works to create a great movie. Although most movies that reach the distinction of being the best are older, classic films, several modern movies have made the leap as well. A closer look at these films can help to illustrate the criteria for a good sci-fi movie.

Easily Explained Technology

Despite the elaborate machines, ships or robots used in sci-fi films, an important element for a good sci-fi movie is how easily the technology can be explained. "Avatar" (2009), for example, took a ship full of people to a new planet and placed those people into alien bodies. Sounds complex, does not it? The greatness and popularity of the film "Avatar" lies in the ease with which the technology can be explained. By the time the ship lands on Pandora and the main character (Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington) is thrust into the alien land in the body of an alien, the audience has fully understood how all of this technology works. In fact, the explanation comes so easily that it is fitted seamlessly into Jake's training. The audience never has to face an information overload. Therefore, a good sci-fi movie must let the audience in on how the technology used works, no matter how complex it may be.

Characters to Care About

Technology, however, is not the sole focus of a movie. A good sci-fi flick still has to worry about character development and likeability. Having characters that the audience can care about is another way that filmmakers can help dole out the explanation of the technology. However, the characters and their part in the plot should always stand on their own merits.

A good example of a sci-fi movie with very likeable characters is "Independence Day" (1996). The film is full of stars, including Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. From the drunken pilot who dries out long enough to protect the nation, to the President of the United States who straps into a jet to help save his country, there are several characters to love. By the time that the President, played by Pullman, gave his rallying speech to the public, audiences in theaters were thoroughly riveted and rooting for this world fighting against alien invaders.

A Compelling Story

The story is often the reason that audiences are drawn to the movie initially. The film may have cool graphics, slick technology and great actors, but if a sci-fi flick lacks a compelling story, it will surely fail. Good modern example A of a film with a compelling story A is " District 9 " (2009). This film is built on the premise that aliens have landed on earth, but that instead of taking over, they have become a second class of citizen. This was a new concept that audiences flocked to the theaters to see. What was initially billed as an alien colonization story quickly became a tale of discrimination, set in the future of what is supposed to be a discrimination-free world.

Keeping with the Rules of Science

Keeping with scientific rules is also important. In some cases it is acceptable to break the rules of science, but the film must have an explanation for doing so, and must also share that explanation with the audience. Otherwise, breaking an essential rule could break the film before it is widely released. A film that went against this was "Red Planet" (2000), a film that had actors roaming around the planet Mars for much of the film before they realized that their own technology allowed for breathing the Martian air. The scientists in the film also botch basic DNA strand sequences. In addition, they often use the wrong scientific terms to describe basic scientific items. For example, the scientist in the film calls the beetle-like creatures nematodes, which is a term to describe worm-like creatures.

In order to make a film that sci-fi audiences will enjoy watching, filmmakers must keep in mind these basic tenets of the genre. Sci-fi is fraught with opportunities for fantasy, but there are also limitations. Several successful movies have been built within these limits without sacrificing cinematic quality. There are definitely several sci-fi contenders in the works for next year.

Home Building Site – Cost Traps

Site costs provide one of the biggest surprises to anyone who is thinking of building a new home. It isn’t unusual for site costs to add up to a significant amount and on most occasions it is an often overlooked expense when deciding to build a new home. If you ask any builder they will say it’s the nature of their business, but it almost seems unfair for consumers to have to understand so much before they are able to make a purchase. I’m not sure any other purchase in the world has so many variables and hidden extras – even a trip around the world seems easier to organise and budget for. What’s more, it would seem a trip around the world will cost you about the same as your site costs alone.

So just why are site costs so high? Over recent years it seems more and more builders and allocating certain expenses under site costs that would have previously been deemed as ‘general building costs’ and included in the base house price. Items such as;

  • Bin hire
  • Builders site sign
  • Temporary fencing
  • Verge or footpath bond
  • Crossover fees
  • Surveyors re-peg & boundary wall set out
  • Tree removal
  • Limestone access track
  • Concrete pumps
  • Service runs (electrical, gas, water and phone)
  • Bobcat preparation and cleaning
  • Stormwater drainage
  • Fencing rectification work
  • Driveway preparation
  • Sundry labour
  • Demolition
  • Earthworks.

This has been brought about through builders trying to find ways of appearing to be more competitive in the marketplace and allowing them to reduce the ‘base house price’ so it reflects only the shell of the home. By lowering the cost, the overall square metre rate also drops which generates more inquiry towards their company from prospects who aren’t aware of the additional hidden site costs.

There is already so much confusion when potential buyers walk through a display home, from what is and is not included, but now there is another factor to consider which totally removes fair comparison between products on the market. Lately there has been an avalanche of two storey homes advertised in Perth under $300,000. The simple fact is, none of the builders can build that home under $300,000 after all relevant costs are added. In fact, some of the homes will increase by $20,000 before adding the cost of earthworks.

It would be reasonable for all builders to be encouraged to follow one method only, that is, what you see is what you get. While earthworks is still a quoted item, many of the other items listed above that can make it to the newly formed Site Costs pool could easily be built in to the base house price.

What can you do to ensure you know all the facts;

  1. Ask your builder to include all costs up front.
  2. Ask for a list of potential costs that may arise after the engineers soil test and site inspection.
  3. Read your building contract under provisional sums to know what can happen if the costs increase and how it will affect you.

Deck Maintenance: Using Wood Brighteners

Staining your wood fence or deck can be a hair-tearing affair if not done properly. It’s frustrating to brush on a deck or fence stain only to find out it was applied unevenly, or that previous blemishes in the wood continue to show through. For best results when staining a wood deck or fence, it’s important to first ensure that the wood is as clean as possible so that the stain penetrates evenly.

A carefully chosen fence or deck brightener with oxalic acid can help achieve this goal, yet many homeowners skip this important step when applying fence or deck stain. Here’s a primer on what to look for in a wood brightener and how to use it.

What is oxalic acid?

Oxalic acid is the primary ingredient in brighteners for cedar decks and fences. It’s often used by professional contractors before a refinishing project to:

Remove unsightly blemishes. Leaves, twigs and other organic matter that lands on your fence rails or deck surface can “bleed” onto the wood, leaving tannin stains. A wood brightener gets rid of these, as well as any mildew or rust stains.

Improve stain penetration. The most important goal when staining a wood fence or deck is to allow the stain to permeate the wood as much as possible. The better the penetration, the longer the stain will last and the more protection it will provide. Too much moisture in the wood can hinder this process. Using a wood brightener before you stain will open up the pores of the wood and allow more stain to seep in.

Restore the appearance of old, weathered wood. Stain doesn’t cover the wood like paint; it only enhances what’s already there. The better the initial surface looks, the better the finished surface will look. A fence or deck brightener will give you a better-looking surface to start out with.

Neutralize stain remover. If your fence or deck restoration project requires a stain or seal remover to get rid of past layers, the remover can darken the wood and even weaken subsequent stain coatings. A good cleaning with oxalic acid not only brightens up the wood again, but it neutralizes the stain remover so it won’t affect your new coat of stain.

Should I use a wood brightener on a new fence or deck?

The fresh wood of a new fence or deck may not need brightening, but it still needs prep work before you stain it. New wood can contain “mill scale,” a flaky surface of iron oxide, hematite and magnetite, which can lead to a blotchy stain job. Applying oxalic acid will both clean the new wood and make it more receptive to staining.

How do I use a wood brightener?

Before applying the product, clean off as much surface dirt as possible by hosing, power washing (carefully) or scrubbing with a mild detergent. Then simply spray the brightener on with a garden sprayer, let it sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse; no scrubbing is required. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for whatever product you’re using.

What do I do after I apply the brightener?

After rinsing off the brightener, you’ll need to allow your fence or deck to dry thoroughly, which takes about 2-3 days in warm, sunny weather. To be certain your deck is dry enough, you can use a moisture meter, a nail-like device that’s tapped into the end of a board. The wood is ready for staining when the moisture level reaches about 18 percent.

Skipping these steps and going straight to staining your fence or deck is not a wise maneuver. However, by taking your time, using a wood brightener and taking the proper precautions, you will be able to produce a quality stain job that will protect the wood from sun and rain.

~Ben Anton, 2010

Good Hotel Service

Are you planning to go on a vacation in order to help you relieve from the stress you encounter everyday in the office? Or you simply just want to spend some time with your family or loved one? It does not matter what your reasons for travel are the most important thing is that you will be able to find a hotel that has good service or should I say good as a whole. Are you now trying to find a hotel to stay? Before actually deciding on which hotel to stay, you must carefully examine the following tips regarding the services a hotel should have in order for you to say that it is a good hotel or a hotel worth your money. In the next paragraphs, we will discuss those things one by one.

First of all, who among you wants your hotel to be located at a remote area far from civilization? I assume no one wants to stay in remote areas, especially during their vacation. So you must make sure that the hotel where you are going to stay should have a good location, but you might wonder how can you say that the location of your hotel is actually good, well, its very simple if the place is peaceful and transportation is accessible and you can easily go to where you want to go, then that is a hotel at a good location.

Another important thing that a hotel should have is cleanliness, obviously, if the hotel is untidy and does not look that presentable no one would dare book and stay at that hotel even for just a night and you might just get stressed if your hotel is not clean, so it is really vital for you to make sure that the hotel is clean thus lead you to feel very fresh in your entire vacation.

We go on vacation to relax and eat the foods we love, so make sure that the hotel you are going to stay at offers fresh, delicious and at the same time nutritious foods and it is much better if it is included in the hotel accommodation package . But if not, it's okay; as long as you can easily purchase or buy foods and drinks within the hotel then surely you will have a great vacation ahead of you. Before booking for a hotel you have to make sure that the theme or the motif of your room or the hotel itself in the one that you are looking for, because different hotels offer different themes.

As said earlier it is also very good if the food is included in the hotel accommodation, well, it is way much better if extra services are for free such as getting a newspaper and other room service, because it would really be stressful if there are add-on charges. Another thing you have to look at a hotel is that they offer online booking, these days people are so hooked to the Internet to the point where some people think that they can not live without computer and Internet. And if you book online ahead of time for you to choose the room you want.

Last but not the least is that it should perfectly fit your budget.

Apartment Rentals: The Dos and Don’ts of Looking for Cheap Apartment Rentals

Are you looking for an apartment to rent, but are you also on a tight budget? If so, most of your focus is going to be on finding cheap apartment rentals. As you know, these cheap rentals do have their pros and cons. When shopping around for living arrangements that you can afford, please keep these dos and don’ts in mind.

DO know that cheap rentals do exist. It is common for us to automatically assume that cheap apartment rentals are nothing but a dump. Yes, some of these units are less than appealing; however, you will come across a number of legitimate affordable units, rooms, and houses for rent. For example, lets say that a little old lady is renting a room out. She is more looking to have someone on the property with her for safety reasons than to say make a profit. For this reason, she is likely to charge a cheap rental rate.

DON’T forget that rental scams do exist. If you use a website like Craigslist to search for apartments for rent, you may come across a few scams. Many of these scams attempt to grab your attention with cheap rates. Many times scammers steal legitimate listings from another landlord or a real estate listing online. The number one rule of renting any apartment (regardless of the price) is to schedule a showing inside; make sure it exists that that you will be handing money to a legitimate person and not a scammer.

DO inquire about additional costs. Sometimes a rental unit looks cheap upfront, but when you look closer the actual cost of renting the place is high. For example, say you are used to renting apartments with utilities included. If you typically pay $1,500 with utilities included, an apartment listed at $1,200 sounds cheap; that is until you learn you must pay for your heat, hot water, electric, garbage, and parking. All costs, aside from your television, internet, and phone extras, should be figured in with your overall rental costs.

DON’T be afraid to do a head to toe inspection of the property. As previously stated, there are a lot of cases in which rent is low because the apartment for rent is a dump. It is okay to rent a less than par place if you know this going in; it is your decision. What you don’t want to do is find a crappy apartment that needs a lot of repairs; repairs that weren’t too visible at first. A landlord who attempts to hide these repairs or rent out the establishment as-is likely isn’t going to be one who comes around often to fix those issues. Consider a dump being advertised for rent as a possible slum apartment.

DO checkout the neighborhood and speak to the neighbors. Another common reason why cheap apartments are found is due to the neighborhood. Areas with high crime or bad neighbors often have dirt cheap prices because the landlords knows that without this steep price difference no one is going to give their rentals a second look. Before you sign the lease, meet with the neighbors. If renting a single family or multi-family home, consider driving by the rental at various hours throughout the day to catch different glimpses.

DON’T forget to closely review the lease. In fact, when doing so make sure that rental costs and increases are covered. You will occasional find that some legitimate landlords, but borderline scammers, raise the rental fees up a hundred dollars after a couple of months. Make sure your lease mentions that your rental fees are locked in for the length of your lease. This ensures your cheap rental stays cheap.

How To Mount Electronic Out-Of-Doors Marketing

Digital out-of-doors advertising due to its exceptionally is sometimes located in some high visible corner, but mounting the digital poster at the right height can be an issue.

When electronic outdoor signage is deliberate it will be in a high traffic region, but one thing to reflect on is how to mount the solution, particularly when you take the whole weight of the solution and the LCD monitor enclosure into account, as this can be a huge 165lb!

If you are in the sector you will understand some of the following, so please excuse it as we do not wish to try and tell you how to suck eggs.

The mode the outdoor electronic marketing devices is mounted is the weakest point of the installation; some businesses have a policy to bolt the protective LCD housings that save from harm the solution from the weather and physical attack directly to the wall, other companies based on the spot the solution is being fitted in need to slant the equipment so customers are not struggling to see the ads.

There are quite a few solutions for mounting a range of defensive LCD monitor enclosures; let us first look at the LCD case and how it can be mounted.

Each case can be mounted directly to the wall through the rear wall of the housing, audio-visual integrators in general use anchor bolts for maximum strength, however if the unit has to be angled down this is achieved using the rear mounting pattern on the enclosure that is 600 x 400 and is compatible with all VESA 600 x 400 universal brackets, making the hardware as cost-effective as possible, as there is no demand to purchase expensive mounting frames specific to mount the housing.

Do you know what VESA is?
VESA is an abbreviation for Video Electronics Standards Association and is a Worldwide standard that is used to mount flat panel monitors, yet there is the odd manufacturer of commercial screens for digital signage that are not compatible with VESA, so you have to pay for pricey mounting frames from the screen producers.

This standard refers to the mounting holes, such as a 600 x 400 VESA mount has mounting openings on the rear of the TV display at 600 mm wide x 400 mm high on the center line of the display and differs based to the monitor installed.

Formosan Futuro Village

Travellers and photographers everywhere are constantly searching for that unique experience. That unique shot of that unique place that gets the respect and awes from friends and magazine editors. With the ever-expanding tourism industry, these places are becoming harder to find everyday, especially if you aren’t friends with a local. Traveling to unfamiliar places, it is easy to carted around to the typical tourist sights and being charged handsomely for it. Getting to those untouched gems off the trail takes research and effort. Most of the time, its because of these two requirements these places remain so beautiful in the first place; and make it that much more rewarding for those who actually get there.

Taiwan being an undiscovered gem in East Asia it-self, it is full of these uncharted areas, making it a brilliant destination for those in search of a unique experience. This weekend I rediscovered one of these destinations in which I’ve labeled the ‘Formosa’s Futuro Village’. Below is its colorful story, I hope you enjoy it.



The 1970’s was an interesting time for the entire world. New fashion trends, music styles, and lifestyle perspectives were emerging like never before. People not only had ideals now, but the money to buy them as well. Trends were also emerging in the architecture design industry, attempting to satisfy the thirst of those in search of a unique home to match their new unique views on life. In an era where it was believed robots and machines will eventually cure all of humanities inconveniences, a Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed a new house he christened the ‘Futuro’.

This new house was designed to eventually be the world wide standard of all houses, to enable worldwide travel and living for everyone. Built out of reinforced fiberglass, this 16-piece ‘pod’ or ‘flying saucer’ like shape house was designed for easy transport and to be sustainable in any environment. The basic idea was, you buy one house when you live on the beach in Hawaii, and when you want a change of pace and move to the Swiss alps to live in a skiing village, you simple fly your house over piece by piece to be reconstructed. All that was needed were four concrete pillars as the base, and the house could be placed on top of them, enabling it to be positioned almost anywhere.

Besides the unique transportable design of the house, the interior was also designed with ultimate convenience in mind. The living room had a series of reclining chairs, on which people could sit comfortably or even pull down n’ out to make into sleepers for guests. These chairs were along the outer wall facing the center of the house where the kitchen and bar area were located. This would have made for a great conversational dinning and living room area all in one compact space. Along the backside of the house, the master bedroom and bath were kept tucked away with privacy and intimacy. An interesting environmental appeal to this house was that using the electric heating system, it could go from -20 degrees to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in only 30 minutes. Incredibly sustainable.

Sadly, there were less than 100 of these houses constructed worldwide, which is commonly blamed on the Exxon Mobile Crisis and the dramatic price increase of oil. The domino effect of the increase made the plastics for these homes more expensive to produce and naturally people began to loose interest. Matti Suuronen dream of a futuristic world with traveling flying saucer houses whizzing through the air under helicopters died hand in hand with his design in the 1980’s.

Business Venture

Before the Futuro’s fate ran its course however, one savvy Taiwanese businessman shared Matti Suuronen’s dream and took action with it.

Mr. Su Ming was a Taiwanese businessman with a vibrant past in the military during his earlier years. One of his first ventures was a now popular brand of Sarsaparilla soda sold throughout Taiwan. In its beginning days, it wasn’t very popular with the local’s taste buds and got off to a slow start. However, with the American establishment of military bases in Taiwan as a post for the great East Asia, western tastes for both culture and foods began to develop in the country. Along with this, Mr. Su Mings’ carbonated beverage sales exploded and he established a new factory, becoming a new rich member of high society.

With his new money, Mr. Su Ming was anxious to invest and decided to aim for an up scale market of Taiwanese citizenry shopping for vacation homes. He decided that water sports and beach living were the appeals he needed to create a beach side community for the high class Taiwanese. With this in mind, he picked out a beautiful beach front location along the North Eastern coast of Taiwan, made a property investment, and began to construct a futuristic housing community filled with Futuro design houses as well as Square shaped beach villas. His market was the super rich of Taiwan, as these beach villas were originally priced at around what today is equivalent to $94,000 US Dollars.

Informed by the local property manager, I was told that eventually investors lost interest and the project ran out of money. He explained that many of the investors could afford to go abroad to other exotic locations and private villas, leaving little desire for a simple vacation on home turf beach property.

Moreover, in an interview with a local dance instructor at the neighboring spa and hotel, I was informed that the weather conditions of the area were extreme year round; Summers being unbearably hot, and winters bringing intolerably strong winds and crashing cold waters to the beach. She explained how it was a less than ideal placement for vacation homes and that the neighborhood had been vacant for 20-30+ years.

The current day result is the ruins of a once futuristic beach side villa neighborhood, deserted and unsettling, giving us a small window into what was once a successful business mans dream.

Shooting Experience

Transport (travel)

Trying to catch the morning magic hour for the shoot, I headed out around 5:00 A.M. to catch the first bus over to the now abandoned beach resort. This was only possible because Taipei’s transportation system is resilient, making life easy for those who choose to avoid the danger of driving scooters in the hectic traffic. Winding through the mountains and watching while the scenery changed from high rise apartments to jungle covered green hillsides and temples, I couldn’t help but begin to appreciate how easy it was to get out of the mess in Taiwan. In only about an hour, I was already coastline. DSLR and tripod in hand, I got off the coach and spotted the first Futuro.


The morning was overcast, as it usually is on the Taiwan coastlines, which brought a whole new feeling to the scenario. With rolling grey clouds, dispersed sunlight, and the Futuro house on approach, I felt like I was literally about to be abducted. The eerie weather and abandoned structures really worked well together, giving me a hair-raising sense that I should get in, shoot, and get out.

While wandering through the planned community lined streets, the color contrasts and random objects of the ruins presented an amazing window to into the past. All of the Futuro style homes were either a dull orange or faded light yellow color, indicating their age and rough past life. There were rust stains running down the sides of each home resembling bleeding scars caused by years and years of the harsh environment pounding down on them. The wind canopy’s steel poles on each of the square homes front porch had been mangled by the intense winds, as if they were pipe cleaners bent by a child.

Overgrown, most of the homes had clearly been deserted for a long time. Remarkably however, there were still some in which had rusted padlocks on the doors, television sets inside, and appeared to still be inhabited. This gave me the sense I was in some sort of abandoned town horror film and continually checked the shadows to ensure there was nothing creeping behind me to put an axe in my back.

I did venture into a few of the homes that weren’t barricaded with wooden pole and barbed wire locks for a better look. I found Japanese influenced tatami rooms, twin beds with sheets still on them, and even toothbrushes alongside a bottle of head and shoulders shampoo in one bathroom.

Kitchens with stoves, refrigerators, and air-conditioning units still hung on the wall all screamed at the modernity the entire project was aimed at back then. What I did find quite appealing, was that in front of the beachfront square villas, and underneath many of the Futuro designed homes, there were tables and seating along with barbeque pits and gardens. It resembled what I thought of as a camp ground, where families could get together and cook outside to enjoy nature and the company of their loved ones. An interesting contrast of feelings and mood for such a place.

Overall, the energy was a bizarre mix of extreme creepiness countered by that of an feeling that it actually could have been a very pleasant community to live in had it succeeded. The villas interior design along with the quaintness of the community could have been a very nice place for a camping vacation getaway right only a short drive from the capital.

Lessons & Enlightenment

The beach side villas established by Mr. Su Ming provide a unique and interesting view into the past of Taiwan and world trends in general. The place is a not-to-miss opportunity for any traveler or photographer coming to Taiwan searching for a one of a kind sight. Fortunately, it has so far been able to avoid the bulldozer, unlike its unlucky West coast brother Pod Houses in SanZhi, but its impossible to know when their day will finally be numbered.

Just a short time out of Taipei, it also is a nice reminder of how incredible of a travel destination Taiwan is. Being one of the undiscovered gems of the east, Taiwan’s scenery and culture remains rich and unique, yet the modernity of the country makes it all very accessible. The undiscovered Futuro Village of Taiwan is an amazing travel experience and I would highly recommend it as a day trip for those who are interested in a place that is off the beaten path, has a unique and rich story, and is all in a very photogenic package.

Inspect Furniture Joints Before Buying

After wood the most important factor that determines the quality of furniture is the quality of joints. Good joining can make even average quality wood last really long. On the other hand, the best quality oak could also be rendered useless due to loose fittings.

All furniture is put together in a series of joints. Most structural problems involve joint weakening or failure. The joints used in good wooden furniture, such as Amish furniture, are usually stronger than those in cheap pieces, but age and abuse can take their toll even when the original construction was good.

Knowing the various joints used on a piece of furniture will help you evaluate the quality of a furniture piece before purchase. If you are a DIY type, having the following information will also help you repair them. Furniture bought online should be inspected in detail on delivery. If you buy Amish furniture online, you can be sure of high quality craftsmanship.

Dovetail joints: Dovetail joints consist of wedge-shaped openings, the dovetails, holding matching pins cut in the joining piece. In this joint, the dovetail goes completely through both pieces of wood. The pins in handmade dovetails are usually narrower than the spaces between the pins. In the older days only a few dovetails were used and the tails and pins did not match exactly. With modern equipment, the tails and the pins are exactly the same size and more dovetails are used in each joint.

Mortise-and-tenon joints: In this type of joint, a prong or tongue of wood, the tenon, is secured in a hole, the mortise, in the joining piece. Mortise-and-tenon joints are extremely strong; they're used chiefly in chairs and tables.

Dado joints: A dado is a slot cut into the face or end of a piece of wood; the joining piece fits into this slot. In a simple dado joint, the slot goes completely across the wood, and the edges of the joining piece are visible along the edges of the base piece. Dadoes and stopped dadoes have considerable shear strength and are used chiefly for shelving.

Lapped joints: Lapped joints are cut with both joining pieces notched or slanted to the same depth. Lapped joints offer a large glue area, but they are not particularly strong. Cross-laps are used to join crossing pieces; half-laps and sloped laps are used to join the ends of long pieces. They're often used in drawer guide framing pieces and may be pinned with nails or screws from the back.

Butt joints: In this type of joint, the joining pieces are simply butted together with no integral fastener. Butt joints are weak and are sometimes fastened or held together with metal surface plates. They are used in chairs, tables, dressers, and cabinet pieces.

Miter joints: In a miter, the joining pieces are cut at a 45-degree angle and joined to form a right angle. Miters are used for decorative molding and for frames. They are very weak and are often reinforced with dowels, spline, or mechanical fasteners. Sometimes triangular glue blocks are used for strength; the blocks may be reinforced by screws.

Doweled joints: The doweled joint is a simple variation of the mortise-and-tenon joint, with dowels instead of a cut tenon holding the joining pieces together. Doweled joints require precision equipment. They are strong and are common in chairs, tables, and cabinets, usually on stretchers and other framing pieces.

Splined joints: In a splined joint, the edges of the joining pieces are grooved or dadoed to match each other and a reinforcing spline is inserted into the grooves to hold the pieces together. Splined joints are used chiefly to join narrow boards.

Rabbet joints: The rabbet is a reinforced butt joint, with one or both joining members notched to fit together. It is usually reinforced with screws or nails. Rabbet joints are easy to make and very strong. They are used chiefly for shelving and at the corners of cabinet pieces.

Drawer construction is generally a good indication of overall furniture quality. Doweled and dovetailed drawer joints indicate a high degree of craftsmanship. However, modern machine technology, good bonding glue and pneumatically driven staples coated with resin have afforded savings in construction while providing durability. The Amish craftsmen who make wholesale Amish furniture take very good care of the quality of the joints. Quality wood furniture purchased today can be used for a lifetime.

Creating Faux Bamboo Coasters Using Dowels

The wonder of creating woodworks is that it can be as detailed or as simple as the crafter chooses. This means that lots of wood items and woodworking equipment may be used or, conversely, very simple wood items and woodworking equipment may be. Coasters can be made for their traditional use, such as placing glasses on them to prevent rings on beautiful and often costly furniture. Or consider non-traditional uses for coasters. Using fitting, appropriate dimensions, faux bamboo coasters can be used as kitchen pot holders, placed under plants in plant holders, or under pets’ food and water dishes. Follow these simple steps to create faux bamboo coasters that project decorative chic, but with very little effort or expense.

Determine the function of the coaster, and in doing so, determine the necessary dimensions. This information assists in determining the size and durability of the supplies needed. If uncertainty remains, consult the expertise of a local craft store or home improvement warehouse employee. If any are known, consider consulting a more experienced woodworker for guidance.

Purchase the necessary supplies. For this simple project, basic supplies include a dowel, sandpaper, and wood glue or hot glue.

Based on the pre-determined dimensions of the wood dowel, use a pencil or other marking tool to determine where cuts will need to be made. Then, using a circular or hand saw, make the appropriate cuts.

Use sandpaper to smooth the edges where the cuts were made. Anywhere between 150 to 200 grit sandpaper should be acceptable for this project, but grit can certainly be tweaked to achieve the final result the crafter wishes to accomplish.

Use wood or hot glue to glue the dowel sections together. Allow the glue of the newly joined pieces sufficient time to dry.

Consider adding fitted non-slip rubber to the underside of the coaster to prevent easy slipping and big messes.

If so desired once the glue has dried, and the coaster is therefore assembled, apply a light stain to the hardwood dowel sections to achieve a more natural, wooden tone, as reflected when bamboo is drying, or apply a light coat of earthy (nearly pastel) green, as reflected when bamboo is fresh and thriving. As with the glue, allow sufficient time for the stain or paint to dry.

Once the stain or paint has dried, place the coaster in the designated area for which it was created.

Some simple variations to consider for this craft include making cuts of various lengths and sanding them to achieve abstract designs or shapes. Consider applying twine to the coaster in a lengthwise fashion to enhance a more rugged, earthy ambiance. Also consider different locations or uses for the coaster. Made largely enough, what begins as a coaster could become a kitchen placemat or a piece of art. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Free Poker Strategy Short Stack Tips

Short Stack game in poker is about getting the right moves at the right time. You have to stay ahead of the game by accumulating as much chips as possible for survival. It’s an all-in game that requires you to play with an almost perfect timing. Implementing some poker strategy short stack is helpful to improve your game.

Familiarize Yourself with the Basics of a Short Stack Game

In a poker strategy short stack, the size of the stack plays a crucial role. You should be able to keep the size above a certain level to enjoy your good strategy. If you want to win the poker tournament and your primary goal is winning, you have got to move all-in when the pot odds are huge.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are short-stacked, you have to look and grab opportunities to move all-in, especially when you are really super short-stacked. Being short-stacked may not always mean that you will be called, but being super short-stacked will always have the higher risk of being called.

You should also consider the moves and playing style of your opponents. A good poker strategy short stack dictates that if you are faced with loose players, you might not want to push in early unless you’ve got very strong hands. With tighter tables and players, you may want to push in early position.

With poker strategy short stack, you will find the most advantageous means to pick the blinds, push, and not to be called. It’s about picking and pushing at the right time plus some luck of not being called.

Adjust Your Poker Strategy Short Stack

When you have got a short stack, you can adjust and implement your poker strategy short stack. If you are not able to adjust your strategy, this can lead to costly consequence on your part.

There are some ways that you can adjust your style when your stack of chips begins to diminish. Avoid making tentative calls. Approximation is not a good thing to do when you don’t have sufficient stack of chips.

And since you have a limited stack, you do not have the liberty to raise hands and then fold when you miss. Avoid raising when you have second-rate hands. Remember, in poker strategy short stack, you’ve got to push all-in with perfect timing.

In playing short stack, you can only hope that you will be able to take the blinds. However, with not enough chips on your hands, you don’t have the ability to jolt your opponents. This makes you goal of taking the blinds a mission impossible. So make sure that when you take your ultimate shot, it goes through your target.

Should you decide to push all-in, you must see to it that (1) you are by yourself in the pot; and (2) your cards are outstanding. A good poker strategy short stack is to wait when you are alone in the pot and go for a steal of the blinds.

You can make the odds work for you in a poker strategy short stack. You just have to be prepared to be flexible and make the necessary adjustments that will enable you to bring home the bacon.

Now is a Great Time to Shop For an Outdoor Fireplace

If you've always thought it would be pleasant to sit out on your back patio snuggled up to an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or chiminea on a summer evening, we're moving into the time of year where you can find great specials. As I write this, July is coming to an end, and in August the merchants will be pushing aside their summer inventory to make room for fall and winter items. This can mean great deals on brand new outdoor fireplaces.

Before you go shopping, decide which kind of fireplace is right for you. You may imagine yourself with a portable or built in fire pit (of course, if you go "built in" you'll have to make your own in-ground fire pit, or hire someone to do it for you, since you can ' t just buy those off the shelves of stores), but there are a lot of reasons to consider fireplaces or – my personal favorite – chimineas.

Chimineas are Mexican fireplaces, and they offer a lot of advantages over fire pits.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that chimineas have smoke stacks, which draws the air in and up through the chimney, creating a nice draft so wood will burn efficiently. With fire pits, on the other hand, there's much more smoldering and smoking, because there is no draft system built in.

The smoke stack in a chiminea also draws smoke away from the fire, so if you and your family are all gathered around it in the evening, you will not be jockeying for a position where smoke is not blowing in your eyes. The smoke exits the chiminea higher, and there's less of it, since the design creates a cleaner burning fire.

So if you are a proponent of burning fuel efficiency and do not want your backyard to smell like a campground in a valley with no ventilation, then consider a chiminea.

An outdoor fireplace also offers many of the same benefits. These too come with chimneys that help create clean-burning fires. Traditionally outdoor fireplaces were built into a wall or half wall at the edge of the patio (you can even get two way outdoor fireplaces that are installed in the wall of your home so the firebox can be viewed from inside and outside), but today you You can find freestanding units too.

The advantage of freestanding outdoor fireplaces is that the units, though heavy, can be moved, and you can even take them with you if you sell your home and move into a new house.

On the downside, both built in and freestanding outdoor fireplaces are relatively expensive. Chimineas cost less, are often easier to maintain (consider cast aluminum for the easiest maintenance), and are much easier to move if you decide to rearrange the patio setup.

When it comes to cost, you can find portable fire pits for less than $ 100, chimineas for $ 200, and decent outdoor fireplaces starting around $ 500. The end of summer means some great deals though so if you've been thinking but have not bought yet, this could be the time.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter AFCI outlets can protect against building fires.

There are various electrical safety features that happens to be built into your homes that you never recognize unless it affects us and / or somebody we know or love. The Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter AFCI plus the Ground Fault Interrupter GFCI are just a small number of the modern revolutionary smart electric technologies that help to help keep all of us safe and sound within our homes basically by assisting in prevention of house fires in addition to personal electric shocks.

Residences erected since Jan one, 2002 has the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters AFCI built in new houses. AFCI breakers are hooked up within the electrical panel and attached to the circuits which supplies power to all of the sleeping quarters inside the home; in case you were to look for them inside your electrical panel they will have a small test button on them yet appear very similar to the GFCI breaker, look closely and you will see AFCI printed out on the breaker. The actions that makes the breakers special is the fact that they'll actually sense the arcing linked with an electric circuit and trip in a tiny fraction of a second. In case a lamp power cord within the bedroom should get pinched at the bed headboard but does not absolutely break it could possibly develop a true Arc Fault which creates an abundance of heat, however, if there is an Arc Fault Safety device it's going to detect an arc and even drop the circuit immediately.

GFCI breakers as well as GFCI protected outlets that are located in restrooms, exterior, kitchen areas, garages and some other areas possess the smart technology. What makes these unique would be that they are able to recognize any electric current loss or leakage which in turn protects users from a possible electric shock. GFCI Outlets have actually advanced a good deal during the last several years; the older versions were simply wired inadequately therefore it was really common to uncover problems. On the new types of the GFCI outlets the manufacturer performed two essential things to ensure that they get installed correctly, some tape over the load side to the outlet so that it is difficult to wire them backwards and the outlets come from the manufacturing facility tripped and will not reset if they are not wired properly.

There are lots of new products in the near future with AFCI and GFCI protection; it appears there may be an electric outlet on the market soon which performs both features and can be interchanged. A number of experts I have spoken with are projecting that all of the outlets in a brand new house is going to be AFCI protected in the near future because life and also property safety factors are continually a high priority in all brand new technology.

Bow Hunting and Equipment

Bow hunting is among the most fun and exciting activities suited for those who want to experience thrill and at the same time show their hunting skills. This is a practice of hunting different animal games by archery. If you are one of the many bow hunters, you are probably aware of different gear and equipment essential for making this activity worth another try. It’s good to know that you can now easily find these kinds of products because there are a great number of stores that offer a wide variety of equipment and gear.


* Bow and arrow are the two most common types of equipment that are used in this activity. On the other hand, other hunters also use crossbows, horizontal bow-like assembly mounted on a stock. It shoots projectiles called bolts or quarrels.

* As for other equipment, broadheads primarily feature the blade essential for jutting out from the arrow shaft at an angle in order to cause greater damage to a certain target. Some models have retractable blades, which only deploy when they mainly hit the exact target.

Most of the big now hunting games certainly require a draw weight of more than 35 lbs. Moreover, the larger games including moose or elk, greater than 50 lbs. is necessary.

* Light arrows on the other hand are equal, which give higher level of speed and most of all flatter type of trajectory. Considering that the arrows having greater than 900 grains could carry greater momentum and at the same time penetrate better most especially on the large animals, most of the bow hunters may choose these when they are hunting these kinds of large game.

If you are worrying when it comes to finding the right hunting equipment, worry no more because you now have the freedom to choose among the different equipment for hunting that you can use whenever you are in need of it. If you only have a limited budget for buying hunting gear and equipment, you can still expect that you can find affordable products and all you have to do it to have some time in visiting online stores or also stores near you in order to get what you are looking for. This would guarantee you to find high quality products without requiring you to pay large amounts of money. In addition to that, using these would make your hunting experiences become successful more than what you have ever imagined.

Hunting supplies are becoming more available and this is all because of the growing needs of different hunters. If you want to get what you pay for, then finding high quality hunting equipment would definitely benefit you the most. This would allow you to become even more competitive and motivated to win every hunting game. So, what are you waiting for? Buy hunting supplies as early as now and let the hunting game begin. Hunters deserve to have the best hunting supplies essential for making hunting game as the best activity that would give them more than what they need.

How to Stop Sinus Drainage! Nurse’s Guide

One of the questions I’m asked most often is how can I stop sinus drainage? This question has been asked so many times I realized that most people think that sinuses shouldn’t drain or at least they shouldn’t drain down the throat and that the drainage should be stopped. They may think it’s a sinus infection symptom.

I think the question is asked more for sinus drainage that goes down the back of the throat then out the nose. Now what to know is that the sinuses drain down the throat naturally. This is how they drain. A quart of mucous has to move through the sinuses every day. That’s a lot of fluid and it has to go somewhere. You want it to go down your throat because if it doesn’t then it’s likely blocked and will cause a sinus infection or other sinus problems and you don’t want a quart of fluid coming out of your nose, that’s for sure.

You want to keep the sinuses working properly and keep the fluids moving. You can encourage it by making sure you’re always hydrated. That is why you want to drink plenty of pure filtered water. The four sets of sinuses need plenty of fluids to handle its tasks.

Sometimes people will feel a big lump of mucous going down into the throat. This is nothing to worry about and is good because it is getting rid of accumulated particles, dead cells and other body cast-offs. It won’t harm the stomach either. The stomach is prepared to receive mucous and other material from the sinuses.

You can help your sinuses by avoiding situations where you’re exposed to smog, smoke, fumes and air-borne particles. Keep your bedroom well-ventilated with plenty of fresh outside air. Run HEPA-type air cleaners if you can’t keep it fresh. You don’t want to breathe in these particles at night when you’re trapped for approximately eight hours.

You also will want to avoid situations where you might be exposed to mold. Mold spores are air-borne and can travel right out of your bathroom into your bedroom. So keep any bathroom doors closed at night and make sure to remove any mold that you know is present. Remove any plants, which often contain mold, from your bedroom also. Most sinus infections are called by fungus (mold) so keep that in mind. Of course there are other causes of sinus infections and other sinus problems.

So keep hydrated and don’t worry about stopping sinus drainage. It’s natural and good for you. If you have any sinus problems know that you can get rid of them naturally. Natural treatment is the way to go. Avoid harmful drugs that have plenty of side effects and risks and don’t work anyway. Be good to your sinuses and they will be good to you.

Clogged Drain Services

Many commercial places and residential homes have trouble with clogged drains. Clogged drainage can be caused by excessive hair, grease, sentiment, soap scum, and many other reasons. A clogged drain can really hamper your plumbing system, and can result in fowl smells and other inconveniences. Instead of letting your drains get fully clogged and out of control, call your plumber to discuss drain cleaning services. Unclogging your drains can be a simple task for a plumber and they will have the knowledge to do it safely and correctly.

Many of the methods that are used to unclog drains are very safe not only to people and animals, but also safe to the environment. No harsh chemicals will be poured down your drain nor will any other harmful methods be used. Plumbers have come up with very safe methods of clearing partially or fully clogged drains. Some of these methods might include using sodium carbonate, Saleratus, or the method could simply involve a physical removal of the blockage.

Even if your drain is completely clogged, and it seems that nothing will help, one service a plumber can provide is to disassemble the entire drainage system, and clean it out accordingly. This is reserved for only extreme cases of clogging. In some commercial establishments, large drains might require chemical commercial treatments, but this is reserved for worst case scenarios only. Your plumber will always try the most efficient and safe method before resulting in more aggressive means of unclogging your drains.

Most people will simply try and unclog their drains without the help of a professional, with conventional products, but this often does not work properly. Usually this will partially free the drain up, but not completely fix the problem. To save your plumbing pipes, it is best to consult a professional. Using professional services will also help you from having to always try and unclog your drain, wasting a lot of money on products you find at the store.

Preventative measures can be taken to keep your drains from clogging. You can hire a plumbing service that comes in a keeps your entire system working properly so that you save money on your water bill and save money on costly repairs down the road. Either way, for any type of drain problems, feel free to contact a specialist to fix it for you. This will be your most cost-effective and safe way to keep your drains free of stoppage.