Top 8 Ways to Reduce Packaging Costs – Corrugated Shipping Boxes

Everyone in a shipping room uses shipping boxes to ship out their products. Whether you are just setting up a new company and are looking for the lowest cost packaging or you are an established manufacturer this article was written to help you reduce your packaging costs, specifically how to reduce your corrugated box costs.

1. Check your box sizes to make sure they fit the product they are protecting and shipping. A good general rule for protection is 2″ around all products. If you are using a box that requires a lot of stuffing (more than 2″ all around) you might find a smaller stock shipping box. Since most packaging supply companies have over 100 stock box sizes chances are you can find the appropriate size.

2. Choosing the correct box design and style. A good rule of thumb in corrugated boxes is “Deeper is Cheaper”. If you can configure your box so that it opens on the smallest dimensions and the largest dimension is the deepest, this allows for the least amount corrugated to be used to produce the box. And thus “Deeper is Cheaper”. There are many box style available. The Standard RSC style shipping container is the most common, but if you have a long narrow product a Five Panel Folder or FOL might work better and may be manufactured using less corrugated. Check with your corrugated supplier as to the alternatives.

3. Make sure you are using a box that is rated (not overkill) to transport the amount of weight that you are packaging. There are many grades of corrugated. Corrugated grades ranging from “non-test” grade to over 1300# Triple wall are all common. Consult your packaging professional for the proper board strength for your product.

4. Industry Knowledge can be invaluable; knowing when prices of paper and paperboard go up and down can allow you to better negotiate with your corrugated supplier. Use sources like Pulp and Paper magazine, available online to gather industry news and paper pricing. When the paper price has gone down, ask for better pricing will save you big money on shipping cartons. If paper goes up your corrugated supplier should notify you and give you the ability to pre-buy before the effective price increase date.

5. Change or Shop corrugated suppliers to create some competition. The internet is great for shopping for retail products, but not so for industrial products. You still need to find good local companies and have them quote your corrugated needs. You want to be the customer that the box salesperson knows will shop pricing at the mere mention of a price increase. Business relationships do exist, but friendly competitiveness goes a long way to keep your packaging costs down. Plus introducing a second vendor allows for a back-up supplier and a fresh set of eyes on your process. Many times savings can come in the way of a changed packaging method or box size.

6. Change your box to reduce your Shipping Costs. I know this does not exactly come under the “saving money on your shipping boxes”, but if you can reduce the weight of your box by changing how you package that can reduce your single shipment costs. Also changing the box size to allow for more of your product on a pallet can increase the total product shipped and in full truckloads or even LTL this can reduce your freight per product.

7. Buying larger quantities of custom corrugated boxes per order can reduce your box cost. Most corrugated box manufacturers sell converted boxes by the square foot of corrugated per run. Square foot price breaks can be as significant as a 20% reduction moving from one square foot board break to the next. Always have your supplier quote you board breaks. If you are looking to order between 1000 and 2000 boxes, ask for the board breaks in-between those quantities. Many times you will find a quantity of 1200 will give you a 10-15% reduced cost over a price for 1000 boxes.

8. Just in Time inventory and blanket purchase orders for a period of usage. Many packaging distributors will stock your custom boxes for you on a “blanket Purchase Order agreement” and release the boxes as you need them. This will allow you to purchase a larger quantity (usually at a lower cost) and receive boxes as needed. This should lock you in at a lower price and let you keep your cash flow and inventory the same, as you should only pay for the boxes as you receive them.

Using the above techniques with a good corrugated consultant can result in major packaging cost reductions. This was specifically written for anyone who is looking to reduce packaging costs. I hope this article has provided ideas to reduce your packaging and shipping box costs.

Hinge – Does Your Life Depend on Them?

Daily we encounter and use items that become so normal, so automatic that we don’t even realize they exist. Hinges make our lives so much easier on so many levels, and yet are almost invisible in their efficiency.

In existence for thousands of years, hinges have come a long way to finally reach their status of today. Early versions involved large boulders and pivots, later evolving into wooden planks and animal hide. Regardless of how humble their beginnings may have been, getting through life without them today would definitely be much more difficult.

Consider your daily activity. You get out of bed in the morning and head for the bathroom door, which is suspended on hinges. You open the door of the medicine cabinet (hinged) and take out your pillbox (hinged). Reaching for the vanity cabinet, you open the hinged door to take a towel for your shower, the door of which is most likely hinged. Already, in just those few moments, you have relied on the invisible hinges several times to accomplish your morning tasks.

Hinges come in many various forms, depending upon their designated use. Cabinet hinges and those on a door will be the main types that the ordinary person would encounter in their normal home life, but even narrowing the uses down to these two basic functions involves many different hinge types.

A hinge, in itself, is a work of simplicity; simply a joint that connects two objects; easy to understand, easy to install and easy to use. While many types of hinges are hidden, just as many are openly functional, and can actually be decorative.

Adding personality and an ornamental value to your cabinet doors, decorative hinges are available in different finishes that will complement your cabinetry. Black, gold, silver, and pewter finishes can serve to accent the color of your cabinet woods, as well as drawer pulls and cabinet handles or knobs. A variety of sizes are also available.

If you enjoy refinishing old or antique furniture pieces, you might want to consider adding the extra feature of decorative hinges. Purchasing these pieces with a distressed finish can keep the antique quality of the furniture piece while adding the beauty of hinge design not available years ago.

Even small accessory items in your home can wear a new face with decorative hinges. Take a jewelry box or armoire for example, that may have been passed down from generation to generation, and now reposes on your bureau. Those small pieces of hardware may be becoming stiff and rusty, making the lid more difficult to open. Simply by replacing the old, tired hinges with new decorative hinges will ensure the piece will be in the best condition possible to hand down to future generations, with your own personal added touch.

So look around as you go about your daily tasks for those seemingly unimportant hinges that make your everyday steps so much easier. And while you’re at it, take a look at where you can update and add extra decorative touches with new decorative hinges.

ESL Lesson Plans: Types and Purpose

All ESL teachers–regardless of training, experience, or competency–need a carefully drawn lesson plan in order to assist their students in attaining learning objectives, both on a daily basis as well as the long-term. Having a lesson plan is like having a complete and clear visualization of how a learning session is to take place and how students are able to grasp and retain lesson concepts. Numerous research indicate that pre-visualizing success in athletic competitions as well as business endeavors is a concrete step in the process of actually achieving it. The same is true with classroom engagements. Without a lesson plan, this visualization process is blurred at best and the learning outcomes that will be generated will be far from ideal.

That said, the importance of lesson plans in ESL/EFL education is difficult to overstate. ESL educators simply need to visualize daily lessons in advance and build the most appropriate teaching strategies into a comprehensive lesson plan. Otherwise, going to class without adequate preparation will most likely be detrimental to both the teachers and their students. Unprepared teachers will become mediocre at the job and will be viewed as unprofessional by their peers, superiors, and students. On the other hand, students under inadequately prepared language teachers will enjoy less-than optimum knowledge inputs and will generally have a low quality learning and appreciation of lesson concepts, compared with students under highly competent and prepared educators.

Given the substantial resources pooled into the learning session by students and education providers, an unprofessionally managed class is a terrible waste of time, money and effort. Moreover, students and teachers under this scenario generally have very low motivation to improve. Having a lesson plan and effectively using it as a guide for daily teaching will reflect your professionalism and reliability. You also present yourself as a good role model for your students who will come to appreciate the value of coming to class prepared and primed to achieve the lesson targets.

Lesson Plan 101

If you are new to teaching, a lesson plan is basically just a step-by-step guide on how the teacher intends to present a lesson and the ways by which students are expected to learn and appreciate the various lesson concepts. An excellent lesson plan is one that can be easily and effectively used by another educator in your place. This means that the ideal lesson plan is both clear and comprehensive. The details and elements of lesson plans vary, depending on the specific format mandated by the school or organization. However, the common components of good lesson plan include the following:

1. Lesson Title

2. The period of time (in minutes, hours, days, or weeks) necessary to complete the lesson

3. Class details (class name or section, age, skill level, etc.)

4. The lesson objectives

5. Instructional approach(es) to be used (this section describes the sequence of learning events as well as the techniques the teacher will use in helping students achieve the lesson objectives)

6. Instructional materials (such as a film, an image gallery, a music video, etc.)

7. Summary of and derived conclusions from the lesson

8. Methods for practicing the lesson concepts

9. Evaluation and testing methods to be used

10. Contingency plans or elements (This section describes subsidiary topics or additional techniques and materials that can be used to either fortify the learning gains generated during the session or productively fill up excess time. Fun and engaging, seat work, dialogues, and other activities are ideal for this section)

Unless a specific lesson plan format is required by the learning institution, most ESL practitioners tailor their lesson plans according to the teaching philosophies or techniques they believe in or are most comfortable with. In general, however, excellent ESL lesson plans have common characteristics that you should integrate in your own teaching strategies:

· Ideal lesson plans have a concise summary that fits on a single page. The detailed plan proper may–and often–exceeds this number, but the idea is to allow anyone to have a quick overview of the lesson.

· Great lesson plans are organized in a way that is easy and a delight to follow.

· Lesson plans should be strongly aligned with the needs and learning competencies of their intended audience.

· Each individual lesson plan should adhere to a continuity of lesson concepts and should not only fit in the curriculum but also reflect the overall vision of the subject.

· ESL Lesson plans should establish platforms for students to apply language learning to real-world situations.

In ESL education, lesson plans are crucial even in purely conversational classes. In order to establish an environment that encourages high quality learning and draws non-native speakers to articulate themselves extensively, adequate preparation is of paramount importance. Having a haphazardly designed plan is also inexcusable.

Types of ESL Lesson Plans

There are literally dozens of lesson plan types depending on the teaching philosophy followed by an educator or specific mandated by learning institutions. In ESL and EFL education, the most common lesson plans are those based on three main instructional approaches:

A. PPP (Presentation, Practice and Production)

B. TTT (Test, Teach and Test)

C. TBA (Task-based Approach)

Presentation, Practice and Production. PPP is a recommended lesson approach for many educators of ESL/EFL and is commonly taught in institutions that provide TESOL and TEFL certifications. Most English language educators believe that PPP is the root approach from which other approaches have evolved.

In a nutshell, PPP facilitates the presentation (teacher-centric) of new language concepts, the practice (joint participation of teacher and students) of the new language concepts, and the production (student-centric) of new language concepts. During the presentation phase, up to 80 percent of the period may be appropriated for a lecture or a teacher-led explanation of lesson concepts. During this time, the teacher may discuss grammatical issues, spelling, and common use of the new language concept. The teacher also raises concept appreciation checks to verify the students’ understanding of the new concepts. When students clearly understand the new concepts, the teacher may then proceed to the next phase. Otherwise a brief recap of the subject matter should be conducted.

In the practice phase, the teacher encourages students to participate more through orchestrated conversation graded recitation. Ideally, this phase should allow students to articulate 60 to 70 percent of the time, with the teacher assuming a secondary role as moderator. Written and verbal activities and drills should both be used, with varying intensities depending on the new language concept.

Lastly, students should be encouraged to dominate (90 percent participation) the production phase. The teacher only monitors the class dynamics and just give feedback as the lesson ends. By this time, students should be adequately comfortable with the new language concepts that they can accurately and fluently use it to communicate.

Test, Teach and Test. TTT is a frequently used alternative to the PPP method, wherein the production phase is sequentially moved to the first part of the lesson. During the (first) test phase that corresponds to the production phase in the PPP approach, students are more or less abruptly asked to communicatively produce a language concept based on their existing knowledge and without any prior guidance from the teacher. The teacher will then asses the students’ level of competency in the particular language area, determine their needs, and proceed with the teach phase (which corresponds to the presentation phase in the PPP approach) based on an overall assessment. The teach phase allows educators to discuss problem areas and guide students towards the correct use of the language concept.

The final stage of the TTT approach is the second test that aims to check how students have absorbed the new inputs from the teacher. The logic of this sequencing is for students to learn the new language concepts better by differentiating its invalid uses (most likely to be committed during the first test phase) from correct usage (likely to be accomplished after the teacher presented the language concept during the teach phase).

In general, the TTT approach is a good way for teachers to determine the specific needs of students in different language areas. With this knowledge, educators can optimize their teaching strategies to produce optimum learning outcomes. It is best used in intermediate and higher competency levels, as well as in classes where the students have mixed language proficiencies. However, one consistent criticism about the TTT approach is that it has an element of randomness since several, unexpected student needs may arise that is beyond the scope of the intended lesson. Despite this disruptive possibility, the TTT approach is still being adopted by many educators because it is very “economical” and “focused” in the sense that valuable time need not be wasted on teaching language areas students are already proficient with.

Task based Approach. TBA is a good alternative to either the PPP approach or the TTT method. In TBA-structured classes, teachers do not pre-determine the language specifics to study but base their lesson strategies on how a central task is completed by the students. Similar to the other two approaches, TBA follows a sequential progression: 1) a pre-task introduction to be conducted by the teacher; 2) the students’ completion of a central task involving a particular language aspect; 3) reporting, analysis and feedback to be performed by the teacher concerning how the students accomplished the central task; and 4) practice sessions to hone student proficiencies in the language area.

The task-based approach is advocated by many educators because of several clear advantages. For one thing, TBA allows students to employ all their language resources towards the completion of a task and not just pre-selected language areas as in the case of PPP. In addition, TBA utilizes natural, real-life language contexts that are highly relevant to students. Hence, language exploration and learning directly arises from students’ actual needs and not as suggested in textbooks. TBA is also based on the premise that a holistic exposure to language–as opposed to incremental exposures common to PPP–is a better way of learning a new language.

Conclusion

Based on the profusion of online materials, each approach enjoys strong support from their respective proponents. It would not hurt to try out each one depending on your classes’ learning environments. Remember, there is no written rule restricting anyone from modifying, combining, or optimizing any of the three approaches. At least in designing lesson plans, flexibility is a more preferred option than dogmatic rigidity. The bottom line is to customize the lesson plan that will help every one attain the learning objectives and deliver the best value for your students.

The Purpose and Functions of Various Network Devices

Routers and switches for example can be classed as network devices.

What is a Router?:

Routers operate at Layer3 of the OSI Layer and is categorized in the Network Layer. A router can be programmed to find the best routes between networks. The router can traverse many networks and is capable of choosing the best route to the destination. Offices in different and remote locations can be connected together using routers using dedicated or switched lines. The lines are usually provided by telephone companies or Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The routers connect to lines using serial interfaces which usually come installed in the device. Connecting the lines to the serial interfaces on the router allow for a Wider Area Network (WAN) connection. For example, if you have one office in New York and other in London then connecting in the above way will allow for the sending of data and voice transmissions. The Internet is made up of thousands of routers and this allows people all over the globe to communicate using for example, email. Routers by default do not send broadcasts as it is routing data.

What is a Switch?:

Look at a switch as a device that allows PCs to connect to it. For example, a switch could have say 24 connections which will allow 24 PCs to connect to it. Each PC would connect to what is called a switchport on the switch using a (Ethernet) cable. Now look visualize an office environment on one floor. Say there are 16 people on the office floor and each person’s PC connects to a switchport. The switch setup in this way allow the sixteen people to communicate with each other. You can also connect a printer to one of the switchports thereby enabling everyone to access to print documents.

You can also connect switches to each other using a (crossover Ethernet) cable. So for example, a office block had 6 floors with 20 people each. Each switch on the floor could connect to each other (trunking) thereby allowing everybody in the building to communicate with each other. switches traditionally operates at Layer2 of the OSI Layer (Datalink layer) but is common these days to see hybrid ones with Layer 3 functionality. Where routers prevent broadcasts, switches allow broadcasting of packets so that every switchports can learn if data is destined for them. You can contain broadcasts by turning on Layer3 features using VLANs. A switch stores the MAC Address of every device which is connected to it.

The switch will then evaluate every frame that passes through it. The switch will examine the destination MAC Address in each frame. Based upon the destination MAC Address, the switch will then decide which port to copy the frame to. If the switch does not recognize the MAC Address, it will not know which port to send the frame to and broadcasts all ports. If the switch does not have layer3 options then it can connect to a router to prevent broadcasts and route packets to different networks.

Routers and switches vary in size and performance to meet differing needs. High performance switches allow modules to be connected or inserted to enable routing, security services and voice over IP (VOIP).

Grow Hair and Reverse Receding Hairline Today

To grow hair you need to ensure your roots have the right environment to flourish. Your receding hairline and balding occurs due to an unfriendly environment for your roots. Within this article, you will see how to eradicate DHT (dihydrotestosterone), stop hair loss and create the right environment to grow hair with laser therapy and other techniques.

Creating the right environmental conditions for your roots is most essential to grow hair and it will benefit your health overall. With no drugs and no side effects along with other essentials like drinking water, exercise and consuming plant-based foods they blend perfectly with your body. The FDA has approved laser therapy as a non-significant risk. It works well with any hair type, chemicals, colors and perms.

You can go to the laser clinic or as many people prefer, to get their own simple to use laser hood device. It is more convenient to use in your own home, reducing your expenses and time. A laser therapy treatment repairs chemically damaged roots and eradicates dry hair and any unpleasant smells. It regrows your lost hair, eliminates receding hairline and balding. This therapy increases your blood circulation to your roots, that grow hair thicker healthier and stronger. It improves your overall quality giving you softer locks.

A well-known hair restoration expert Dr Bradley Kurg from the American Board of hair restoration surgery states” low-level laser therapy is by far the most advanced and promising non-surgical hair loss treatment available today for men and women.”

The right environment for your roots to flourish includes drinking water. It may sound simple, but no other drink that can do what it does. Alkaline water is the highest quality available today, it cleanses your cells and roots empowering them to absorb nutrients easily and quickly.

Drinking water releases antioxidants that destroy all the free radicals and other damaging elements within your body. On average you use about 2.5 litres every day in normal bodily excretions, so drinking water at least 3 litres per day will replenish your daily bodily functions, Most Doctor’s use alkaline water in emergency rooms to save poison victims lives. It is like a natural all-purpose chemical free disinfectant.

To reverse receding hairline, drinking water balances your ph levels reducing acidity within your body. This action is very important as too much acid causes your body to deteriorate causing disease. Alkaline water creates the best environment to grow hair; it balances your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol naturally. It is unlike tap water that has high acidic levels and it causes you dry hair, itching and hair loss.

To add to your nurturing environment to eradicate DHT and improve your hair loss and balding you need to eat plant-based foods. They balance your body with more alkaline nutrition. This action builds and strengthens all your major organs and cells. It reduces cardio vascular disease and strokes naturally with no side effects.

A statement by Rui Hai Liu MD. PHD concluded his research for The American Institute for cancer research at an International conference on food, nutrition and cancer said “Different plants have different photo nutrients. These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions of healing. What your body need to fight off disease is this perfect blend. This teamwork is produced by eating a variety of plant-based foods including whole grains.”

Finally yet importantly, to eradicate receding hairline and balding you need to exercise, it improves your skin, nails and hair problems naturally. It enhances your cells to grow hair; it strengthens your major organs, bones and muscles giving your better health and longevity.

This action builds your immune (nervous) system, which is your first defence to fight off bacteria and viruses, which lead to disease. It balances your glucose and blood pressure and increases your metabolism. This helps to eliminate DHT and blockages, improving your receding hairline and baldness easily.

Regular exercise improves your lymph (waste) system as your sweat gets rid of toxins too. You can start with a simple stretching and walking to improve your oxygen levels to your cells, oxygen feeds your cells and tissues essential nutrients. This environment creates the ideal setting to grow hair and rejuvenate your body overall.

As you know, a polluted environment brings disease, but using these secrets to restore you health, creates your right environment to excellent health, youth and vitality.

Arlene J Chai’s Eating Fire And Drinking Water: The Identity Search In Historical Context

I. Introduction

“There is sense… a plan behind everything that happens.”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

In life, more often than not, we need to make hard choices, to consider people around us for our actions, who are either directly or indirectly connected to us, to shape the kind of world we want to live in, or aptly put, a world we want our children to inherit, and figuratively, be dreamers of a just and humane place where internal and external happiness exist, where people are in close companionship with what they regard as essential and where reverence to the Divine being is evident. Until such time that we feel complete and satisfied in our internal and external quests can we simply relax and anticipate the coming event/s to unfold.

The fundamental premise of finding the essence of one’s existence has been attributed to Plato more than 2,000 years ago and to date, the multitudinous battle cry of situating oneself in the world of varied essences is too loud a cry that it has found its niche in all disciplines and in all respects of life.

From this stance, the student critic anchors her analysis of Arlene Chai’s contemporary historical novel Eating Fire and Drinking Water. In simpler sense, the moral-philosophical underpinnings of the novel vis-à-vis its socio-historical context are given consideration. To underscore the backdrop of the novel, the student-critic uses the highlights of the paper of Alfred McCoy (1999) with his objective presentation of the Filipino’s traumatic experience under the Marcos regime.

II. The Novelist

Chai is a Filipino-Chinese-Australian, who migrated to Australia with her parents and sisters in 1982 because of the political upheaval. She became an advertising copywriter at George Patterson’s Advertising Agency in 1972 and has been working there since. It is there that she met her mentor Bryce Courtney, who continuously inspires her to improve her work. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maryknoll College. She is famous for her ability to weave the political struggle of the Philippines so well into her fiction, so much that she is often compared with Isabel Allende, a successful magical realist Chilean novelist. She won the Louis Braille Adult Audio Book of the year for her novel “On the Goddess Rock” in 1999. Her first novel, The Last Time I saw Mother (published in the US and the UK) is an Australian bestseller. Although she has produced four novels since 1995, all of them exploring complex and often bittersweet relationships between generations of families and individuals, it is Eating Fire and Drinking Water, her second book that is most absorbing if not thought provoking.

III. The Novel’s Socio-Historical Context and Background

Arlene Chai’s “historicity” in this novel, although not comparable to Tolstoy (in Russia and the world over) in magnitude, scope and breadth maybe dissected in its chronicle of the political turmoil and upheaval in the Philippine political arena while embarking in a larger and better sense of search for man’s existence and its appurtenances, not putting aside its aesthetics and the diverse impact of arts in its entirety to humanity.

The text of Eating Fire and Drinking Water is divided into a prologue and four parts – the first being an appetizer, a teaser and the others the thematic narrative of “… the breezy, breathless saga of revolution and self-discovery.” (The New York Times)

The novel is set against the backdrop of the remarkable Marcos regime specifically the last years of the 1960s and the first two years of the 1970s when the Philippines witnessed the radicalization if not socio-political awakening of the country’s student populace. Students in various colleges and universities held wide and massive rallies and demonstrations to express their grievances on top of frustrations and resentments. On January 30, 1970, demonstrators numbering about 50,000 students and laborers stormed the Malacañan Palace, burning part of the medical building and crashing through Gate 4 with a fire truck that had been forcibly commandeered by laborers and students. The Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) repulsed them, pushing them toward Mendiola Bridge, where, hours later, after an exchange of gunfire, four persons were killed and scores from both sides injured. Tear gas grenades finally dispersed the crowd. The event is known today as the First Quarter Storm.

Violent student protests did not end there. In October 1970, a series of violent events occurred on numerous campuses in the Greater Manila Area, cited as “an explosion of pillboxes in at least two schools.” The University of the Philippines was not spared when 18,000 students boycotted their classes to demand academic and non-academic reforms in the State University, ending in the ‘occupation’ of the office of the president of the university by student leaders. Other schools in which scenes of violent student demonstrations occurred were San Sebastian College, the University of the East, Letran College, Mapua Institute of Technology, the University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines). Student demonstrators even succeeded in “occupying the office of the Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos for at least seven hours.” The president (El Presidente Marcos) described the brief “communization” of the University of the Philippines and the violent demonstrations of the left-leaning students as an “act of insurrection.” (wikipidia.org)

Also recurrent in the novel is the lifestyle and inclination to arts of prominent personages both in the upper and lower rungs of society. Even the controversial and highly politicized wedding events concerning the Marcos children are given graphic presentation. During the Marcos regime, glamorous first lady Imelda Marcos had a vision to make the Philippines a hub of latest fashion, sophisticated art, and refined culture. She realized this vision through various million-dollar infrastructure projects. Such projects included the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which was meant to promote and preserve Filipino art and culture. It was established in 1966 and was designed by Leandro Locsin, a Filipino architect (who appreciated the use of concrete, as is evident in the facade of the main building.) On its opening day in 1969, there was a three-month celebration with a musical and other series of events. It was such a grandiose occasion that even Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reagan were in attendance.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines was created in 1966 through Executive Order no. 30. It was formally inaugurated on September 8, 1969, starting a three month long inaugural festival opened by the epic musical ‘Dularawan’. In the novel, the controversy that haunts the construction of this historical infrastructure finds its place amidst the twisting of actualities and the rendering of deliberate artistic manipulation while also down siding its direct and indirect relation to prominent figures in social and political arenas.

IV. The Novel’s Analysis

“I sought to find a pattern, a deeper purpose, for, at the time, the events I am about to recount seemed random and arbitrary. The reporter in me, you see, insists there is order in the universe. And my own life attests to this. Besides, to deny the existence or order means to believe in a world of permanent chaos. And I find such a concept unacceptable.”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

Exemplifying a style that extrapolates a different sense of fatalism, a rare kind of raw spirituality, and an elevated sense of paradox embedded in life’s mysticism, Arlene J. Chai’s Eating Fire and Drinking Water is a case in point.

The novel tells of an orphaned protagonist, journalist by profession Clara Perez, situating herself in the world of work while struggling in her journey for an identity search. Perez has grown tired of covering trivial subjects and wants to at least be given an assignment with substance to spice up her seemingly dull existence. When she was asked to cover and investigate about a fire that ensued in a small street, which happens to kill an old Chinese store owner, she tracked a web of complicated happenings, flaring up one after the other, leading to her unknown and bitter-sweet past as heightened by confrontation to her parents’ love story.

Set at a time when the people in the Philippines were awakened to call for government’s political reform, the novel capitalized on Perez’ involvement in the increasingly violent student demonstrations. As her involvement in these tumultuous activities deepened as the stories within stories unfolded, we discover that her own life’s history was closely connected to that of her country, that resemblance to what she had been covering as a reporter was to become her shocking force as she delved deeper to the facts of her stories.

“How was I to know that this fire in a street I had never been to would somehow eat away at my life’s invisible boundaries so that into it would come rushing names and faces which until then were unknown to me?”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

Perez is in a way connected and disconnected physically and socially to other individuals in the novel. It is through these connections/disconnections that we were presented with the essences in Perez’ life. Little did she know and little did we realize that the larger her world becomes as she expands with people and with her involvement in their lives that her world will shrink to become smaller yet laden with bits and pieces to complete the whole puzzle, that of her being Clara Perez, the Don as her father and Socorro, her mother.

No surprise that when she met her mother, she confronted her with the statement:

I am Clara. The child you gave away, – and she continued almost dispassionately, – People are always making choices. Choosing consciously or choosing by default, but choosing nevertheless. Why did you choose to do this? What drove you to it? I want to know your mind at the moment of choosing.

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

Comparatively, the larger demand of the students that the government return what belongs to the people and the more gigantic clamor for the right to rule their own country may be seen as Perez’ desire to get hold of a personal identity that had been denied her by her mother at the very least, or of her wish fulfillment to finally get acquainted with her roots if not resolve her identity crisis to end her agony if not her feeling of overwhelming emptiness. Her routine assignment also leads her to find the identity of a father who is missing in her life, the Don who has made her a ‘bastard’ when he put family obligations and prestige above his attachment to a loved one being the first in the first family.

Essentially, the novel relates about relationships, creating an atmosphere which could only be drawn from the backdrop of a culturally, historically and politically diverse country as the Philippines, during Ferdinand Marcos’ (El Presidente) twenty one years of dictatorship. The story capitalizes on many interesting characters and events, which depict if not encapsulate the Marcos regime. Satirically, it chronicles brutal treatments to student activists and demonstrators on the one hand and traces lifestyle of political figures and their eccentricities and innuendos on the other.

Abounding the intricacies that unfold as one reads Chai’s novel is the defamiliarization of prominent personas of the late sixties and early seventies in the Philippines, ‘El Presidente’ and Madam, Judge Romero Jimenez – ‘the Hanging Judge’, the Defense Minister – ‘Butcher of the South’, the senator and his mistress and the more figurative ones such as those of the store-owner, Charlie the Chinaman; Don Miguel Pellicer – the sugar baron and the student activists like Bayani and the countless others. Although one may find it puzzling to figure out whether these characters are typical stereotypes or true-to-life, one may autodidact that there is historical basis in the conception of these names.

Drawing out some implications that go far beyond one’s country, McCoy (1999), professor of History at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and one of the foremost researchers/analysts of developments in the Philippines elucidated the legacies of the Marcos dictatorship in his paper, Dark Legacy: Human Rights Under The Marcos Regime to wit:

1. Looking back on the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, the Marcos government appears, by any standard, exceptional for both the quantity and quality of its violence.

2. Under Marcos, moreover, military murder was the apex of a pyramid of terror-3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated.

3. Under martial law from 1972 to 1986, the Philippine military was the fist of Ferdinand Marcos’s authoritarian rule. Its elite torture units became his instruments of terror.

4. But as the gap between legal fiction and coercive reality widened, the regime mediated this contradiction by releasing its political prisoners and shifting to extra-judicial execution or salvaging.

5. During 14 years of martial law, the elite anti-subversion units came to personify the regime’s violent capacities:

6. Officers in these elite units were the embodiment of an otherwise invisible terror.

7. Instead of a simple physical brutality, these units practiced a distinctive form of psychological torture with wider implications for the military and its society.

8. The Marcos’s regime’s spectacle of terror opens us to a wider understanding of the political dimension of torture-one that is ignored in the literature on both the human rights and human psychology.

9. Instead of studying how torture harms its victims, we must, if we are to understand the legacy of martial law, ask what impact torture has upon the torturers.

10. Between the poles of local impunity and global justice, the Philippines emerged from the first decade of the post-Marcos period with signs of a lingering trauma.

11. Freed from judicial review, the torturers of the Marcos era have continued to rise within the police and intelligence bureaucracies, allowing the pervasive brutality of martial law to persist.

12. Under impunity, culture and politics are recasting the past, turning cronies into statesmen, torturers into legislators, and killers into generals.

13. Beneath the surface of a restored democracy, the Philippines, through the compromises of impunity, still suffers the legacy of the Marcos era-a collective trauma and an ingrained institutional habit of human rights abuse.

In his conclusion, McCoy (1999) aptly said that as the Philippines reaches for rapid economic growth, it cannot afford to ignore the issue of human rights and if the Philippines is to recover its full fund of social capital after the trauma of dictatorship, it needs to adopt some means for remembering, recording, and, ultimately, reconciliation. Further, he said that no nation can develop its full economic potential without a high level of social capital, and social capital cannot, as Robert Putnam teaches us, grow in a society without a sense of justice. Chai’s novel, Eating Fire and Drinking Water, is in a way a reconstruction if not creative representation of this great era in Philippine history, a way of recording, of remembering the bitter past while subtly crying for social justice and imposing the necessity of knowing the essences of human existence.

Weaving such a story of individual stories linked up with the protagonist’ (Perez’) discovery of her real identity displays Chai’s craft as a writer. For to weave them all together and triumphantly subsist the characters and the political story of El Presidente’s terrifying regime as apt background and fitting setting to a personal story, that of a bereft young lady in an orphanage run by nuns, is definitely exemplary.

The presence of binary opposites as illuminated by other important personages like Bayani, the student leader, and Colonel Aure, an “artist of suffering whose canvas was the human body” appointed by the government to arrest, torture and eventually murder Bayani worked with Perez to prove some points. These two towering individuals in the novel appeared as symbols of two extreme value systems — Bayani the good, and Aure the evil. It is between these two value systems that the people in the Philippines struggle for their freedom and democracy. We meet characters who were inexplicably linked to the others, both tender and violent as figurative descriptions may seem appropriate. There were subtle, delicate if not dainty moments that bespoke of the metaphysical links between the characters and their link to the unseen entity that helped shape each individual’s destiny, that of the china man and Socorro, that of Socorro and the nuns, that of Socorro and the Don, Perez’ father. This in extreme contrast to the more violent, brutal if not arresting moments like that of the graphic description of Colonel Aure’s violent handiwork, the injustice that the military have repeatedly done to their own people in order to zip their mouths. It is further with Chai’s observations on the impacts of these two value systems upon individual lives in the Philippines.

Chai’s words on the one hand seemed cathartic as she summoned the stains and stench of poverty, the narcissistic political corruption of the time while she also extrapolated on the cleanness of one’s soul albeit the nuances of life, how the chasm between good and bad maybe reconciled by the purity of one’s spirit. Her vision cannot be underestimated.

This embraced what Fred Millett (1950) in his book, Reading Fiction, clearly suggested that, “Every work of fiction implicitly and many works of fiction explicitly, express the philosophical, ethical or religious attitudes of the writer. The writer’s choice of a subject implies that he feels that the subject is worth treating and his preference for this subject implies his rejection of other subjects as less important. And almost no work of fiction is so brief to suggest what the writer regards as good and what he regards as less good or evil.”

V. Conclusion

Chai has her own ‘historicity” as evidenced by the way she chronicles her accounts of the political upheaval in the Philippines. On the upper hand, she touches a larger social dimension of struggling with the essence of human existence which the student-critic believes to be more transcendental if not moral-philosophical. In life, one’s person is never complete without its clear lineage, its linear direction of kinship and affinity, suffice to say that we holistically appreciate a tree when we take cognizance not only of the leaves on the branches but also the roots that are found underneath. Only then can we claim that we have sufficiently considered a tree in its entirety, a person in his ‘totality’ – that is one who knows and is conscious of his parental lineage, of his glorious or bitter-sweet past and is ready to inherit a world that is never free of surprises, a world whose history evolves as humanity evolves.

VI. References:

Chai, Arlene J. Eating Fire and Drinking Water. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996.

McCoy, Alfred W. 1999. (Dark Legacy: Human Rights Under The Marcos Regime) Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Millett, F.B. 1950. Reading Fiction: A method of Analysis with Selections for Study. New York. Harer and Brothers Publishing.

Wellek, Rene. 1963. Concepts of Criticism. New Haven and London. Yale University Press

cpcabrisbane.org/Kasama/1998/V12n1/Chai.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

http://sharedreviews.com/review/eating-fire-and-drinking-water

What Are Eyeglass Retainers?

While not the most exciting of subjects, the topic of eyeglass retainers is a curious one, especially since there is no corresponding Wikipedia article on it, at least not at the time of this article.

And yet, while there is no Wikipedia article concerning it, a quick search using Google produces an abundant amount of links to stores both online and offline selling said eyeglass retainers.

But the mystery deepens as the term “eyeglass retainer” seems to take on different meaning depending upon which store or shop you visit.

Therefore, the following article aims to take the reader through three different areas of regarding eyeglass retainer knowledge namely:

  1. The word “retainer” as it applies to eyeglasses
  2. The history and evolution of eyeglass retainers leading to the manifestation of the different objects sold online
  3. Popular brand names and the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of eyeglass retainer

The purpose of going into such detail regarding this non-spectacular topic results from the absence of such knowledge on the Internet and the hopes that this article will serve as a reference source for a future Wikipedia article on eyeglass retainers, which is in itself seen as a reference source.

The Word “Retainer” As It Applies To Eyeglasses

Currently, the most common usage of the word “retainer” as it applies to daily living is associated with Orthodontics of which an article in Wikipedia does exist although it is far from exhaustive. We are told that dental retainers are devices made of wires or plastic which are worn to realign the teeth. While there are no official statistics regarding the actual percentage of orthodontic retainer wearers globally, experientially, most of us at one time or another know of someone who has worn them.

And so we take a step back and consult the dictionary in search of a contextual meaning for “retainer” and Merriam-Webster obliges us with the following definition: a device or structure that holds something in place. And naturally, as an example it references dental retainers to illustrate its meaning.

Thus we (referring to those of us who actually wear glasses) slowly start to see how retainers come into play in regards to eyeglasses. Eyeglass retainers hold the glasses in place. Which begs the question: in what way do eyeglasses have to be held in place?

The answer is that with extended wear, eyeglasses tend to slip down our noses and the result is that many of us spend a large proportion of our day pushing up our falling eyeglasses. So much so that it isn’t uncommon to be pushing up one’s glasses at least once every two or three minutes, which easily works out to several hundred times per day if we subtract the sleeping hours.

Now before we proceed, let us allow, that pertaining to falling eyeglasses, we use the term eyeglass to refer to not only prescription lenses with frames, but to mean all such frames and lenses whether common wear or sunglasses, prescription or otherwise.

So pertaining to our first of three discussions: eyeglass retainers are devices which prevent eyeglasses from slipping down your nose.

The History And Evolution Of Eyeglass Retainers Leading To The Manifestation Of Different Objects Sold Online

Any attempt at a relevant history of eyeglass retainers should begin with Cause. As mentioned in the previous section, the need for eyeglass retainers came about because eyeglass wearers found themselves in a very uncomfortable position: their eyeglasses continually slipped down their faces. But why do glasses slip in the first place? Below we list and go briefly into the top twelve reasons:

  1. Ill-fitted or non-fitted eyeglasses
  2. Cheap quality glasses
  3. Deformed eyeglasses
  4. Abnormal head shape
  5. Asymmetrical ear to nose distance
  6. Flat noses
  7. Lack of nose pads
  8. Heavy prescriptions
  9. Paddle temples
  10. Temple tips
  11. Oily complexion
  12. Perspiration

Ill-fitted or non-fitted eyeglasses

For those who are able to spend upwards of a thousand dollars on a pair of quality frames, improperly-fitted glasses aren’t a problem. In these instances, a veteran optometrist or eye care professional carefully considers the shape of your head, the placement of left and right ear, and makes adjustments to the frames with special tools and heating apparatus to customize them for your personal comfort. The fitting process often takes about 10-15 minutes and as a result, your eyeglasses sit properly on your head. While such careful fitting does rule out slipping glasses in most situations, individual factors like perspiration and physical activity still cause eyeglasses to slip regardless of how expertly the glasses were fitted in the first place.

Cheap quality glasses

And then there’s the rest of us. Most of us opt for inexpensive glasses, bought from low end stores or possibly online where fitting is either not done properly or not done at all. As a result, eyeglass slipping is prevalent.

Deformed eyeglasses

Daily wear and tear causes glasses to be deformed especially for kids and teenagers with their rough and tumble modes of existence such as being struck in the glasses with a ball or negligently sitting on one’s glasses. As a result the child corrects any deformities with brute force causing the glasses to be out of shape, but still functional. Otherwise, a parent helps bend the glasses back into shape, either because the process of bringing the glasses to an eyecare professional is too inconvenient or not possible (as in the case with glasses bought online). Either way, the result is the same. Glasses that are deformed and guaranteed to slip.

Abnormal head shape

We’d all like to think that we are perfect and that our skulls are perfectly egg-shaped but the fact is that no two skulls are alike. As a result, standard glasses fit better for some than others. These differences lead to different degrees of eyeglass slipping.

Asymmetrical ear to nose distance

Along the same lines of abnormal head shape, it’s natural to think that the distance from our left ear to our nose is the same distance as our right ear to our nose, but this just isn’t the case. Just as one of arms is longer than the other, one of our eyes is bigger than the other, one of our legs is longer than the other, so it goes that the left ear nose distance and the right ear nose distance isn’t the same. But eyeglass temples (the arms that go over your ears) weren’t built that way. Eyeglass frame manufacturers make glasses as if the world was symmetrical and the degree by which you are asymmetrical determines how much and how often your glasses slip down your face.

Flat noses

Depending on the style of eyeglass frame and type of lens, eyeglasses can be very heavy. This is particularly true of gold-tinted frames from high end brands like Cartier and heavy prescription glass lenses. Of the three areas by which eyeglasses make contact with our heads, namely both ears and nose, it is the nose which bears the majority of eyeglass weight. People with flat noses aren’t able to support the full weight of their glasses and hence suffer from falling eyeglasses to a greater extreme.

Lack of nose pads

Many sports and plastic frames come with bridges which don’t facilitate nose pads for comfort and custom support. Of the four bridge types: keyhole, saddle, double, and adjustable, only the last type offers nose pads for better protection against slipping glasses.

Heavy prescriptions

If you have really bad eyesight and you choose glass lenses, then your eyeglasses will be very front heavy. That causes the front to rear ratio to be very high and further leads to eyeglass slipping.

Paddle temples

Of the five types of temples, which are the parts of the frames which go over the ears, namely: skull, comfort-cable, riding bow, spring-hinge, and library, those who choose the last expose themselves to the greatest degree of eyeglass slipping because library temple, also known as paddle temples, are straight so they can be put on and removed easily. The ease by which they can be removed is equaled the by ease by which they slip of your nose because they don’t hook and thus wrap around your ears for added stability..

Temple tips

Temple tips are the plastic coating which goes over the temples. This plastic coating is smooth and naturally slippery, more so when oil and sweat come into play creating the foundation for excessively slipping eyeglasses.

Oily complexion

It’s a natural fact about human physiology that some people are more glandular than others. Hence, in the heady world of woman’s beauty products there is a whole area of skin care related to suppressing facial oil most commonly through the use blotting or astringent type products. While useful for the T-zone, slipping glasses result from oily skin in the skull area above and behind the ears.

Perspiration

Possibly the single biggest reason for eyeglass slipping is from sweating. Sweating causes the area around your ears and nose to become slippery. In all three areas, points of contact are already marked by slippery surfaces. The plastic temple tips become more slippery when wet, as do the nose pads. Sweating happens to all of us at one time or another, but the problem of slipping glasses is even more profound for Hyperhidrosis sufferers who sweat because they’re nervous which makes them more nervous resulting in a vicious positive feedback loop.

Now that we’ve gotten the cause out of the way, let’s look at the evolutionary development of strategies to deal with slipping eyeglasses from a historical standpoint.

Eyeglass Chains

During the 70s and 80s, we saw the rise of eyeglass chains as a preventative measure against eyeglass slipping. Though eyeglass chains have been around much longer than that, their purpose and as a result their usage was much different before this time. Prior to the last several decades, eyeglass chains were used by people to stay connected with their glasses. Older eyeglass wearers wore eyeglass chains so they wouldn’t forget where they put their glasses. The actual mechanism by which the chains attached to your temples was by means of loops at the end of the chain which fit over the temple tips. Imagine a lasso over a fencepost.

Eyeglass Cords

With the gradual increase of eyeglass wearers and the need for eyeglass chains, enterprising individuals sought to replace eyeglass chains made of metal with eyeglass cords made with cloth. The overriding reason was of course cost savings. Again, the actual mechanism by which the cords attached to your temples was the same as that used by eyeglass chains, through the use of loops, often made of plastic or cloth at the ends of the cords which fit over the temple tips. Imagine a lasso over a fencepost.

Eyeglass Straps

A decade later, saw the ushering in of a new eyeglass anti-slipping device: eyeglass straps. Where chains and cords were primarily available from optometrists and pharmacies, eyeglass straps were also sold in sporting goods stores too, opening up retainers to a larger audience. In time, eyeglass wearers were comforted to know they could enjoy leisurely activities like canoeing, badminton, golfing without the need to buy special goggles or sports glasses. What’s more, eyeglass straps were very cheap to produce given that there were made from rubber derivatives like neoprene. In contrast to the loop style of attachment as seen with chains and cords, both ends of the strap were furnished with drinking straw like enclosures which slipped onto your eyeglass frames.

It is interesting to note that the proliferation of early eyeglass retainers was a direct result of cost savings associated with being able to wear your daily glasses while enjoying recreational activities. Buying prescription sports goggles might cost several hundred dollars while the cost of an eyeglass strap, chain, or cord was in the range of five to ten dollars depending on style and composition.

Temple Attachments

In the last decade, we saw the development of eyeglass retainer attachments as an alternative to string type eyeglass retainers. Whereas straps, cords, and chains are single piece items, attachments are made of cloth, come in pairs, and slide over the temple tips. There is no intervening rope-like connection between the two temple ends.

Temple Grips

Incorporating a completely design philosophy over rope type retainers, temple grips come in pairs and go over each temple. While similar to temple attachments, they differ in shape. Temple grips are basically rubber tubes which slide over the eyeglass temples.

Eyeglass Cables

Rope-type retainers saw a bit of comeback recently with the introduction of eyeglass retainer cables. Distinct from past styles, they do not fall on your neck, but stay suspended in the air due to their rigid material composition.

Eyeglass Retainer Hooks

The most current generation of eyeglass retainer, popularized in the last few years, are retainer hooks which are a further development of temple grips utilizing innovation in shape, size, material composition, and discreetness. Whereas temple grips are long tubes, retainer hooks are boomerang or L-shaped. The unique shape helps them go on your eyeglasses easier. What’s more, the hook part fits over your ears as an extra layer of anti-slip prevention. Finally because of design innovation they are compact and come in transparent materials to not draw attention to the wearer.

Popular Brand Names And The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Each Kind Of Eyeglass Retainer

Eyeglass Chains

Popular Brands: Moonbabies

Advantages

Familiarity is the biggest reason to choose an eyeglass chain to prevent glasses from slipping. They’ve literally been around forever and can be found at most eyeglass stores. What’s more, you will never misplace your glasses as they are suspended around your neck by way of your eyeglass chain.

Disadvantages

Usually they are more expensive than eyeglass cords or straps. In addition because they are usually associated with an older demographic, young people may feel uncomfortable wearing them from a self-esteem perspective. Furthermore, as noted above, two “onboard” reasons why eyeglasses slip are because they are slippery at the temple tips portion and they are front heavy because of the lenses. While eyeglass chains hold the glasses in place and offer a counterbalance to front heavy balance, they do not really address the issue of slippery temple tips. As a result, eyeglass slipping isn’t effectively dealt with. Furthermore, when glasses are worn, the chain falls on the back of the neck and creates a friction drag effect on clothes thereby rendering eyeglass chains somewhat uncomfortable. Some people stay away from these types of retainers for fear of people coming from behind and pulling on them as a prank or joke.

Eyeglass Cords

Popular Brands: Chums

Advantages

Availability, being cheap and plentiful are some of the biggest reasons to wear eyeglass cords. And just like with eyeglass chains, you will never lose your glasses since they’re hanging around your neck when you’re not wearing them.

Disadvantages

Eyeglass cords appeal to an older demographic and are usually out of favor by young people. What’s more, working professionals tend to stay away from this type of eyeglass retainer because it draws attention to the wearer and looks out of place when worn with a business suit. Finally, as with eyeglass chains, the two “onboard” reasons why eyeglasses slip is because they are slippery at the temple tips section and they are front heavy. While eyeglass cords hold the glasses in place and offer a counterbalance to front heavy balance, they do not really address the issue of slippery temple tips. As a result, eyeglass slipping isn’t effectively avoided. Newer generation cords, slip over the entire temple so that the cord is worn over your ears but the cord ends don’t adhere to the temple surface very well. This leads to your glass slipping out of the cord sockets. Again, slipping is not effectively avoided. Furthermore, when glasses are worn, the cord falls on the back of the neck and creates a drag friction effect on clothes thereby rendering them somewhat uncomfortable. Finally, because eyeglass cords are usually made of cloth, they pick up smells originating from human sweat and can quickly become unhygienic requiring frequent washings. Some people stay away from these types of retainers for fear of people coming from behind and pulling on them as a prank or joke.

Eyeglass Straps

Popular Brands: Croakies, Chums

Advantages

Very inexpensive and light-weight. Easy to store, easy to use and remove. Made of neoprene or other “prene” type materials so they don’t absorb smells like cloth does. What’s more, since the strap ends go over the temple tips and over your ears they provide cushioning which is an added benefit when your eyeglasses are really heavy.

Disadvantages

Unlike eyeglass chains or cords, straps aren’t ideal for hanging your glasses on your neck. If you tried that chances are they’d fall out of the strap sockets. What’s more, working professionals tend to stay away from this type of eyeglass retainer because it draws attention to the wearer and looks out of place when worn with a business suit. About material composition, neoprene on temple plastic doesn’t create enough friction so although the strap ends which are in contact with your ears don’t slip, the temples might and usually do slip from within the sockets of the strap ends. Later generations have tried to deal with this problem using rubber strap ends. Finally, as the strap lies on your neck when your glasses are worn, a drag effect is created when the straps make contact with your shirt collar or clothes. This restricts movement and can be irksome. Once again as with other string-type retainers, some people stay away from eyeglass straps for fear of people coming from behind and pulling on them as a prank or joke.

Temple Attachments

Popular Brands: Wedgees

Advantages

Very affordable and easy to use. Temple attachment are made of cloth and resemble mini-oven mitts you slip over the temples of your glasses.

Disadvantages

Because they are made of cloth, they tend to absorb sweat and odors and require frequent washing (daily) which quickly frays the material causing deterioration.

Temple Grips

Popular Brands: Templegrips

Advantages

Very inexpensive. Good anti-slipping device as once in place they provide a non-slippery surface contact with your ears.

Disadvantages

Because temple grips are basically long rubber tubes, it is sometimes a little difficult to put them on. You basically have to run the entire rubber length over your temple ends and this becomes a problem because of the friction involved.

Eyeglass Cables

Popular Brands: Cablz, Croakies

Advantages

Newer generation technology based on rope type eyewear retainer designs, they look fashionable and futuristic. Has two socket ends which slide over temples for snugness. Doesn’t sit on neck so there is no restriction of movement. High-durability since they are made of surgical steel.

Disadvantages

Prices are double compared to most other retainers. Also very noticeable so definitely not an option for business or formal occasions. Some people stay away from these types of retainers for fear of people coming from behind and pulling on them as a prank or joke.

Eyeglass Retainer Hooks

Popular Brands: Keepons

Advantages

Very inexpensive, eyeglass retainer hooks attach easily by sliding onto your eyeglass temples. They have a hollow aperture which is shorter in length compared to temple grips, making them much easier to attach. The top portion of the rubber hook makes contact with your ears and won’t slip even when your head is sweaty. The bottom portion of the retainer wraps around your ears for better fit and hook functioning, a feature lacking on temple grips which are tube shaped and not L-hook shaped. What’s more, because most retainer hooks are compact and transparent, it is difficult for people to notice you’re wearing them making them ideal for all occasions especially business or formal settings.

Disadvantages

Unlike eyeglass chains, cords, straps, and cables, eyeglass retainer hooks do not allow you the convenience of hanging your glasses off your neck.

Conclusion

While definitely not the stuff of page-turning thrillers, eyeglass retainers have a long and rich social and economic history as it relates to man’s struggle against the discomfort of slipping glasses. Take it away, Wikipedia!

Garage Door Openers: Good Things To Know Before Buying

Garage door openers are usually the largest moving object in a person’s home. There our both commercial and non-commercial openers to choose from. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the non-commercial types, used for the home.

There are many different types of units on the market today. Most are, of course, both automatic and remotely activated. Usually, one comes with a button on the wall of the person’s home inside the garage, for when opening the door from the inside. The basic construction of the automatic door is either wood or metal paneling with wheels on either side of the panels.

What Are Your Options?

Keypads can also be installed just outside the door, on the door jam to open it from the outside without a remote.

Just as a note here some commercial openers are opened by sensor when the car approaches the door.

And some by rollover sensor when the vehicle rolls over a tube sensor on the ground to activate the garage door, when a car approaches.

Keychain remotes are also available on some models.

How Do They Work?

The wheels slide along in tracks that are located on both sides of the doorway.

An electronic opener is attached to the door paneling and pulls the door up the track to an open position.

Please note, contrary to popular belief the opener isn’t the force that opens the door entirely, it merely initiates and guides the opening of the door.

There are springs on most garage doors that are the actual force that opens the door using counter-balancing.

This counter-balancing in conjunction with the door opener lifts the door for the user.

Where Do You Buy?

Most consumers will visit their local hardware store and purchase the electronic opener itself with the remote and open switch included. They usually have the door paneling, tracks, wheels and springs already.

Others choose to buy new online, or used from a friend or local dealer.

What About Features?

Some of the features that you’ll be looking for in an opener may be a courtesy light which lights up and stays lit before and after the door is opened.

Also you may want a remote lockout feature which can lock the door when you are away on vacation.

Wireless keypads are also a nice option.

You may choose solenoid operated deadbolts for the door panels for more security.

Some openers have sensors to detect monoxide fume build up and will automatically open the door when it senses too much monoxide build up.

Newer models will have open and close features that you can access over the Internet or with an iPhone app.

Also available are wireless fingerprint keypads that can be installed outside on the door jam, which can be activated by pressing your finger only once. This is great for latchkey kids so they don’t have to remember a pin number.

Are They Safer Today?

Since 1982 all openers have a quick release latch to separate the automatic opener from the door panels. All units since 1982 are required to reverse direction when confronting an obstruction too. The wall button on the inside should be mounted at least 5 feet from the ground to keep out of reach of small children. Also children should not be able to play with the remote.

As a side note most commercial units have an electric eye located anywhere from 6 inches to a foot and a half off the ground. Why they do this is in case someone is standing directly in the path of the door or if someone is laying on the ground unconscious in the path of the door. Automotive shops have this eye so that if a car is idle or parked in the garage doorway, the door does not close on the car itself.

How Much Will It Cost?

Garage door units range in price from as cheap as $100 to as high as thousands depending on features. I recommend having a professional install the unit. It is not difficult but for most people getting a professional handyman, which does not cost a lot, to install it for them, will save themselves a lot of heart ache and money. I hope this article was very informative and that you enjoyed reading it.

Slipper Baths – Choosing and Fitting

Slipper Baths

A slipper bath is a traditional bath with feet, that has a plug and overflow at one end making it what’s called a single ended bath. Slipper baths have one end, the head end (where your head would normally be), that is higher than the other, foot end, of the bath. Slipper baths are usually roll top baths, that means that the edge of the bath has a profile that approximates to a section from the circumference of a circle, in other words it rolls, and if you try to balance your coffee on it, you’ll either end up with coffee on the floor or coffee in your bath.

Fitting Taps to your Slipper Bath

Many slipper bath, especially those manufactured recently, have a tap platform. A tap platform on a slipper bath is an area at the foot end of the bath edge that flattens out so that tap holes can be drilled in the bath and taps mounted on the edge of the bath. Some antique baths that do not have a tap platform have holes drilled (or cast in the case of cast iron baths) in the vertical bath wall at the foot of the bath. For baths such as these you need specialist taps known as globe taps, globe taps are still manufactured but your choice is very limited as they are almost exclusively used only with antique baths and most manufacturers do not make them, it is also quite difficult to find decorative water feeds and piping suitable for use with globe taps.

The best advice is to avoid such baths. Where there is no tap platform and no holes for globe taps then your taps either need to be wall mounted or floor mounted. If they are floor mounted they will need to stand on stand pipes, stand pipes cover the pipes carrying water to the taps with chrome or gold tubing and are also sturdy enough to support the weight of the taps. Stand pipes stand in contrast to pipe shrouds (also called confusingly and inaccurately ‘bath legs’), because pipe shrouds are used when taps are mounted on the edge of the bath and as such are only intended to provide an attractive chrome or gold cover to the water feeds not to support the weight of the taps. Pipe shrouds are usually telescopic so that they will fit any height of bath (within reasonable limits).

Choosing and Fitting a Waste Kit to Your Slipper Bath

Most slipper baths are fitted with a traditional plug and chain waste kit, but the issues your need to be aware of are broadly the same whatever type of waste kit you are fitting. Firstly be aware that unless the foot of the bath is tucked snugly in an alcove the waste pipes will be visible, this means you will need an exposed waste kit, that is, one that is all chromed not plastic. The waste kit consists of all the parts you see inside the bath, the plug, chain and inserts for the overflow and plug hole as well as the overflow pipe on the outside of the bath which takes water from the overflow down and under the bath to join up with the waste water from the plug hole.

The other parts of the waste kit are the trap, which is effectively a U-bend that stops foul smells coming back up the waste pipe from your drains, and the waste pipe which attaches to the trap and usually has a right angle in it so that it can take waste water into drains under the floor or behind the wall. There are two main issues to consider when fitting a waste kit to a slipper bath. Firstly you will find that the clearance under the bath is too small to fit a conventional trap and you will need an extra shallow trap. The shallowest traps commonly available are about 55mm deep but you will need to get such traps from a specialist in freestanding baths. If the clearance under your bath is less than about 120mm then you will probably need one of these shallow traps. Secondly when a very shallow trap is fitted you will find that the waste pipe cannot be led out the same way that the overflow pipe comes in as they will try to occupy the same space, the usually means that the waste pipe must go towards the head end of the bath.

There are special considerations if your bath is an antique, in particular the plug hole and/or overflow hole may be larger than in a contemporary bath ans this may mean that the normal fittings that fit into the inside of the bath will be too small so that they drop straight through the hole. Apart from salvaging antique waste kits (which are not guaranteed to fit anyway) or having parts remanufactured there may not be an easy answer. I general the best advice is to avoid baths that have outsized plug or overflow holes.

What is Your Bath Made Of

The vast majority of slipper baths are made of one of three materials acrylic, stonecast resin or cast iron. Acrylic is a synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate, in other words its a kind of plastic, not dissimilar from fibreglass. The main advantages of acrylic are that it is light, cheap and easy to manufacture with as well as being strong, non-porous and easily mended if scratched. Its main disadvantage are that some people consider it too plasticy. Most standard baths are made of acrylic. Acrylic slipper baths are usually made of two skins of acrylic that are strengthened at the base or throughout with some kind of resin. Stone cast resin is a combination of a powdered mineral, usually limestone and resin, usually some reactant is used to chemically combine these during the manufacturing process. The main advantages of good quality stone cast resin are that it is strong and inflexible, easily mended if scratched and has a somewhat ceramic touch and feel, at least when compared with acrylic.

Its main disadvantaged when compared to acrylic is that it stains more easily because it is more porous and in some cases it may not be the correct white colour, in which case it will be painted and this means that if it gets scratched it will have to be repainted. Cast iron is a very heavy material it does not retain heat as well as acrylic or stone cast resin. Cast iron has to be enamelled inside. One of two techniques is usually used – vitreous enamelling is the traditional kind of enamel, its main disadvantage is that it is relatively brittle and can therefore damage easily, once damaged it is not easy to mend. The second technique is cold enamelling, this is basically a paste applied to the inside of the bath that hardens, unless it is done to a very high standard cold enamelled surface can suffer from pitting, that is very small pin prick sized holes in the surface of the enamel that over time can fill with dirt and be difficult to clean causing black spots to appear on the surface of the bath.

Finally – Getting it into Your Bathroom

Slipper baths are usually quite high baths, especially at the head end of the bath and also they are usually quite wide. This means that it is important that you do not fix the feet to the bath until you have it in your bathroom because you will usually have to turn the bath on its side without the feet on in order to fit it through your bathroom door.

All You Need to Know About Sinus Infections

People quite commonly talk about having “sinus trouble” or a “sinus infection.” But when asked what the sinus is, they point vaguely behind the nose and say, “It’s something back there.” Actually the word sinus simply means a pocket or hollow. There are sinus cavities in the kidney (renal sinus), behind the ear (mastoid), in the heart (aortic) and around the nose (paranasal sinuses). However, the term sinus in popular conversation almost always means the paranasal sinuses. When these sinuses becomes infected, they can become quite painful and interfere with normal” drainage of the nasal cavities.

It is not very certain whats the function of this paranasal sinus is, other than having some relation to this drainage or the resonances of sounds in speaking and singing. There are 2 basic types of sinus infection (sinusitis) – acute and chronic. Acute refers to the sudden, severe, short-term type of infection. Chronic means the kind that progresses slowly over a long period of time. Acute sinusitis usually follows an infection in the upper respiratory passages or teeth or a nasal allergy.

There is congestion and pus-like discharges from the nose, and the affected sinuses look cloudy either on X ray or when a strong light is shone through them (trans-illumination). Drainage is often blocked by swollen tissues. Headache, fever, chills, and a general ill feeling also occur. There may be pain in the teeth, swelling near the eyes or pain, tenderness, redness or swelling near the involved sinus, or a wide variety of symptoms including dizziness or a cough. Usually more than one sinus cavity is involved in an infection.

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis are very similar, except that pain in the area of the sinuses is not common. Chronic persistent sinusitis is often complication which follows acute sinusitis. Often, sinus attacks occur whenever the patient comes in contact with the specific substance to which he is allergic. Sinusitis can also appear in some patients after swimming or diving. In either acute or chronic sinusitis, the treatment must include reopening drainage by shrinking the swollen sinus tissues with decongestant medication and treating the basic infection with systemic antibiotics.

Nasal suction, “steam or heat packs can be used to aid the drainage. General measures should also include bed rest, a light diet and plenty of fluids. Painkillers or sedatives may be prescribed by the doctor. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to reopen drainage or repair damaged sinus and nasal tissues and passages. If you seem prone to sinus problems, the best protection is to avoid catching colds or other nose and throat infections by following good general health measures, and by identifying and avoiding anything you may be allergic to.

Can Light Really Affect My Wine?

The short answer is that light can definitely affect wine, but we need to take a closer look at the physics and chemistry of it all to understand why and how in what is called light-strike reactions, which can impart off-odors to wine, what the French call goût de lumière.

 

Wine is sensitive to the damaging rays of light, particularly ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight and fluorescent lighting; that’s why wine (and beer) is packaged in dark bottles-the best example is Port in those familiar, dark, opaque bottles. Wines packaged in clear glass bottles are meant for quick consumption and should be stored in carton boxes until such a time.

 

All forms of radiation, including visible light ultraviolet (UV) rays and X-rays, have energy that is directly proportional to their frequencies or inversely proportional to their wavelengths-that is, high-frequency waves have short wavelengths, and vice versa. And the greater the energy, the greater the catalytic effect of chemical reactions in wine.

 

Of concern in wine are visible light and the sun’s UVA rays-yes, UVA rays because research has proven that even a short exposure of wine to sun (UVB and UVC are absorbed by the atmosphere), in the order of hours, can have detrimental effects. That’s because UVA rays lie in the 315-400 nanometer (nm) range of the electromagnetic spectrum and therefore has more energy than visible light, which lies in the 400-700 nm range.

 

Glass acts as a filter, but clear glass offers no protection against UVA and visible light. Green glass offers some protection, but only half as good as amber; dark-amber glass offers almost complete protection. So why is so much wine, particularly many of the ultra-premium wines of the world, packaged in green glass? This is likely for historical reasons when making green-colored glass was easiest and the effect of radiation on wine was unknown.

 

But glass is only half the story. We must now consider the optical properties of wine to then determine how radiation effects any chemical reaction.

Research has shown that wavelengths in the 375-440 nm range-that is, the high end of the UVA range and the blue (low) end of the visible light range-are most damaging to wine. The amount of radiation absorbed by wine in this range is directly proportional to opacity; therefore, red wine absorbs the most, and is most affected, while white wine absorbs the least-rosé wine is in the middle. As such, for marketing purpose where displaying color is important, white wine can be stored in clear glass, although not for extended periods of time; that’s why premium whites, such as age-worthy Chablis wines come in dead-leaf-colored glass, a golden-yellow color that provides better protection than green.

 

Opaque, deeply colored, rich reds absorb almost all radiation; however, these have the highest concentration of effect-inhibiting tannins, which provide protection. But if the concentration is low or the extent of exposure is long, unpleasant and off-putting aromas and flavors can develop. Specifically, red wine has sulfur-containing amino acids, namely, containing methionine and cysteine, which have a thiol (sulfur-hydrogen) side chain in their structures. These then react with naturally occurring vitamins, such as riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)-water-soluble vitamins that are easily destroyed by heat, oxygen and, that’s right, UV light. The products of this reaction are sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide (DMS), and dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), responsible for imparting a range of foul smells from rotten eggs to cabbage and wet dog.

 

Interesting science.

And now I’m left to wonder if my precious magnum of 1991 Château d’Yquem, in a clear-glass bottle, which I bought for my son born that same year, was affected by X-rays on its travel from the U.S. It was pre-9/11, however, the unyielding airport security guard simply couldn’t be convinced not to X-ray my precious bottle. I guess he was not a fine-wine aficionado.

Low Barriers To Entry, Stiff Competition For Online Dating Websites

There is no longer a negative stigma attached to online dating. One study suggests that a third of newly married couples first met online.

The online dating industry was estimated to be worth two billion dollars in 2012 alone. So it comes as no surprise that thousands of websites – old and new, big and small, popular and obscure – are fighting for their own piece of that enormous pie.

The market is huge, recession proof, and growing. The target demographic is ninety million singles (with the number of singles increasing each year) – in the US alone. That is not even taking into account those who are “married, but looking”. About forty percent of users on any given online dating website is already married!

How websites make money in this niche? If you are a member of some online dating website, you may be saddened to realize that they are actually not providing their services in order to help you find a perfect partner that you are so eagerly looking for. They’re in it for the money!

Some of these websites are indeed completely free to use; however, they are paid for by selling advertising on their pages. Some online dating websites require a subscription. Some others are, again, free – but you must pay to unlock the more advanced features (if you want to).

For these services to make money, they want their registered users to log into the website as frequently as possible. They, actually, make more money when they are unsuccessful in their mission to find you love! On the other hand, they don’t want to leave you completely disillusioned. A user who doesn’t believe any more that he will ever find his prince or princess online won’t return to the dating website again.

Unfortunately, only one percent of new online dating startups succeed. The market is oversaturated. The best niches are already taken. In the US alone, there are more than two and a half thousand online dating services, and that number is constantly growing, plus there is probably more than eight thousand operating outside of the US. Let us not forget Facebook: this social networking site is a formidable competitor in the online dating niche as well!

Make no mistake: there are some websites making serious money! One of the first that decided to go the free route, Plenty Of Fish, today makes more than one million dollars a month – just from selling advertising on their website.

Top 5 Shabby Chic Decorating Tips

Ready to bring all the charm of a vintage, country cottage into your own home? Take note of and apply the following five tips and you’ll have an adorable shabby chic home in no time!

1. Furniture
Solid wood furniture is ideal for shabby chic decor. Painted pieces of furniture can also compliment a room nicely. Basically, you want to utilize simple furniture that is less decorative or ornate like the furniture you might find in a home with a more formal interior design. If you have antiques, use them! They make great accents. Some popular antiques commonly used in these chic and shabby homes are pie safes, kitchen queens, and jelly cupboards.

2. Colors
As far as colors are concerned, you can’t go wrong with pastels. Using pastel colors in conjunction with whites and off-whites is very common in shabby chic decorating. Painted walls as well as patterned wallpapers are also a great way to bring out that country cottage home feel.

3. Flooring
Often overlooked in the grand scheme of this particular type of design is the floor. The most popular floor styles for this type of decor are probably natural wood or ceramic tile. However, painted patterns and also diamond or checkered design schemes can also work very well. If you decide to paint your floors with your own design, make sure you add a coat of varnish on top to protect it.

4. Fabrics
The best fabrics for shabby chic design should incorporate floral patterns, stripes, and checks. Using these fabrics will help pull together the distinct look of this charming and unique style.

5. Be Creative
Although the suggestions here will help nudge you in the right direction, it is of the utmost importance that you give yourself creative license to mix and match and experiment. There are no real rules in shabby chic design, only guidelines. So don’t be afraid to get creative, and of course, have fun!

Choosing Between A Condo And Apartment – One Is Definitely Better

Energy Efficient Elements

Energy-efficient windows and flooring offer many benefits. The windows easily reduce the damaging rays of the sun, but still allow the useful rays without the UV. UV causes floors and other elements to fade and sometimes warp. Energy-efficient flooring like bamboo, treated laminate and concrete are durable and last much longer. In fact, they hold the heat in winter and deflect it in the summer for a more comfortable interior.

Gyms

There’s no excuse to avoid health and fitness when there’s an on-site gym with cutting-edge machines available to active adults living in the luxury condos. It’s easy to get and maintain a perfect body weight and grow older gracefully. Plus, there’s no reason to pay for an expensive gym membership that will likely never be used. It’s even possible to meet a workout buddy!

An Amazing Pool – No Maintenance

Just swing in for a dip with luxury condo living when there’s a pool or Jacuzzi available. Usually the pool area is resort-style, making it feel like residents are living in a vacation world. Pools may have waterfalls, slides, floats, cabanas, rills and more. This makes it easy to chill after a long, hard day at work.

Further, there may be both adult and children’s pools so that the ambiance is exactly what one desires. Luxury condos are all about pleasing their residents and they pay close attention to the needs of all ages.

WiFi

Connectivity is a definite for anyone, whether they are connected 24/7 or just occasionally. Luxury condos often have WiFi zones to access social media and work-related information. They may even have a café to get a latte while browsing or working.

Common Areas

In addition to WiFi cafes, condos offer many common areas to meet neighbors and grab a cool drink after a long day. Even a foyer is a comfortable place to plant oneself and just get out of the house for a bit. The ambiance is usually second-to-none.

Much like the pools, common areas for kids may exist. They can feature books, a DVD library or planned events that offer a family friendly atmosphere that keeps kids engaged and the whole family having a blast. This is great for those who are parents, as it gives them a break.

Ultimate Customer Care

Many sing the praises of the customer treatment they get at their luxury condos complex. They will be there at the drop of a hat to help when something needs helping. This means fast response and catering to the needs of the residence in order to match all the other amenities offered. It’s great to feel like a celebrity!

Recycling

Concerned about the environment? It’s a sure fire bet that luxury condos will offer programs allowing every resident to recycle bet it for plastic, metal or paper. Making this option present shows they care for residents and the environment which is something to be proud of.

Garages

Keep a personal vehicle safe and have a private entry to the luxury condo with a private garage. This also means extra storage space. Many apartments don’t offer garages; they are more common with high quality living.

Reduced Maintenance

Save money when owning a luxury condo, as the property management will take care of any maintenance and do it in a swift manner. They want to upkeep the property and will be more than attentive to these needs. Plus, the cost for maintenance is far less than in a private home. This usually includes remodels, landscaping and appliance replacement to name just a few.

A Brief History of Pegson Pumps

British based Pegson has been around since 1931 although it can actually be dated back to 1831 when it was initially founded as Samuel Pegg & Son. Starting up by manufacturing in the textile and quarry industry Pegson has grown significantly since it was originally founded both in size, structure and specialism. Now holding over 70 years experience in manufacturing water pumps Pegsons produce a range of centrifugal pumps, plunger pumps and sewage pumps with their pump systems such as their engine cooling pumps in high demand. Originally intended for use in mining and its associated industries the use of Pegson pumps has since evolved into other industries including shipping and transport.

This shift could be accredited to their mergers with Brown Lennox and Terex. Pegson merged with Brown Lennox to form BL-Pegson in 1996 when they both became part of the Powerscreen group. This was followed in a merger with an American based company Terex in 1999 to form Terex Pengson Ltd, helping to expand their brand and products internationally by acting as a driving force in the companies strategy. Now under the global name of Powerscreen, Terex Pegson Ltd has continually evolved its products to reflect the industries demands and has been awarded two Queens Awards for Enterprise, once in 2002 and then again in 2005. By evolving with the industry Terex Pegson saw its industry boom resulting in an 80% growth in exports, which is one of the main reasons for their Queens Award for Enterprise in 2005.

Manufacturing pumps in a wide variety of materials including cast iron and bronze means that Pegson pumps are ideal for a wide variety of applications and industries. Their reputation within the industry speaks volumes about the quality of their products world-wide. They have a host of large client names to their roster including brands such as Caterpillar and Ruston who use their engine cooling pumps in many of their engine systems.

Pegson are known for producing quality reliable pumps which can withstand usage in the toughest of industries. Producing both fresh and sea water pumps in a range of materials Pegson have gone on to produce a range of self priming pumps ideal for use in challenging conditions due to the reduced risk of damage to the pump when in use, increasing its popularity in demanding industries such as shipping, construction and mining.

Although Pegson have since focused on their mining and construction based products their pumps and knowledge of the technology in the industries is still very much in demand world wide.