How to Care for a Flagstone Patio

Adding a flagstone patio to your home will provide your household with a whole new living area and come in very handy when you want to entertain your friends or family. This type of backyard accent will boost the value of your home and at the same time provide an area for you and your family to enjoy.

Patios are normally built with pavers, concrete, or flagstone. Patios constructed with flagstone offer up a product that will hold for decades as long as the stones are well taken care of. Because flagstone is porous, it’s susceptible to staining and breakage. Fortunately, flagstone is very easy to care for and maintain.

If you are going to invest in a patio, then there are certain maintenance steps you should take to protect your investment and help your patio hold up as the years go on. Without any type of protection, flagstone can begin to shed and the surface can stain and discolor giving it a dull and dingy look.

Flagstone is usually made from layers of sandstone that have bonded together to form rock. Over time, a shedding process begins. Spalling is the name given to this shedding process. The higher quality flagstones shed slower because the stone is harder and denser. The shedding is worse when the stone changes levels. Water can then work its way below the top layer. Then in the colder months, the water freezes and can cause pieces of stone to fall off.


You can add a sealer that is specifically made for any natural stone to help prevent the water from getting under the stone surface. If your patio has already started to shed, you should remove any weak pieces that are already beginning to break off. Remove the damaged stone first. If you need to, replace broken stone before adding the sealant.

Be sure the surface is clean and free of loose debris. Similar to waxing a floor, you always want to add the protective sealant to a clean floor.


You’ll need a flagstone cleaner, an outdoor broom made with synthetic bristles, a bucket and a pressure washer.

It is recommended that you clean your flagstone patio twice a year but most people just give their patio an annual spring cleaning. Your local hardware store will sell cleaners specifically made for cleaning flagstone. You’ll use the bucket for mixing the solution.

Using the bristle push broom, apply the cleaning mixture making sure you cover and brush the solution onto every stone surface and all of the connecting mortar. You may need to apply an extra amount to any areas that are stained. Then let the solution soak in for 5-10 minutes. If there are still some stubborn stains remaining, give them a second application.

Finally, use your garden hose or pressure washer to rinse off the cleaner. Once the area is dry, you are ready to put your furniture back.

Once you’ve invested in a flagstone patio, it’s a good idea to take these easy steps to keep it looking like new.

Building A Custom Chopper Motorcycle, Where Do You Start?

So you want to build a custom chopper? I do too, so the first question I asked myself, is where do I start. Should I make a business plan, a schedule, a financial statement, or should I just buy my wife some flowers and blindly proceed? I guess I should do all of the above but not necessarily in that order.

I will start by trying to justify this purchase and or endeavor, to do this I will make a list of my reasons for building a Chopper. 1) I want to ride a custom chopper, a totally cool stretched out, fire breathing, gas eating, pavement pounding, old lady scaring, 2 wheel monster. 2) I want to be able to say “I built that” when someone asks me where I got that totally sick bike. 3) I want to be able to customize the bike beyond the standard add on parts I can get for my current bike a Harley Davidson Fatboy. 4) I want to be able to make this dream come true, meaning I need to be able to pay for it. A $35,000 chopper is out of my current budget. 5) I have been talking about this for 5 years so why don’t I get to it and stop doing all the talking and start doing some building.

Now I have a few reasons on paper a will look at my options, then make a plan, a schedule, and find some extra money.

Let’s start with a my build options, and plan on a slow and steady approach. I realize I will need to do a lot of research before I start. I have 4 basic options, a kit bike, a rolling chassis, a start from zero build, or an extreme makeover of a current motorcycle.

Option 1) If I start with a motorcycle kit I maybe the farthest ahead from a mechanical perspective, and farthest behind from a financial point of view. What do I mean by this, well a kit bike has all the parts it just needs paint, labor, gas, oil and some love. The problem a complete kit bike will cost me $12,000 dollars right up front. This is a bit out of my spend a ton of money now then not be able to ride a bike for a year or two thinking. If I get a kit, I maybe able to get it together faster, as I will be motivated and have all the parts ready to go. As a first bike I think this is a very good option, when you consider all the expensive mistakes I may make along that way. One drawback to this option is the amount of customization I can do to the bike as it is put together. Because all the parts are in the kit, I may resist the urge to get new bars or different sheet metal, or other parts.

Option 2) Start with a Rolling chassis, this is the middle of the road option, spend a lump sum of money, about 1/2 of what the overall bike will cost and get a basic setup that all works together.

A Rolling chassis kit consists of a Frame, 2 wheels, the forks, and triple clamps and bars, all build and configured to work together. Add a motor and a transmission and all the major workings of the bike are in place. This setup helps avoid some of the major work needed to mix match and fit these items together. This option also allows for a ton of customization in the parts that people see and the parts that give a bike it’s personality. For me this is a very serious option to consider. I would only have 1/2 the cost and 1/2 the parts sitting around and gathering dust until I get time to get it together.

Option 3) Find each and every part one at a time and build a completely custom motorcycle. I know I could do this, but I also know I will encounter more unexpected and possibly expensive issues with this type of build. This option would give me a bike that no one would ever duplicate. This could be very good or this could be very bad. What if some possible combination of frame, motor, forks, or wheels didn’t work together? It would not be discovered until the motorcycle was all together. I think this option is better left to the serious professional who build bike all night long, as the are working on other peoples bikes, and running businesses during the day. I may consider this for my second custom chopper.

Option 4) Take an existing bike and start cutting and changing it. This is maybe as involved as chopping and re-welding the frame to create a new rake and angles. Or it could mean just getting a new frame and using the engine, transmission, and various other part to build a new machine. I like this idea, and I think it would be a lower cost alternative to all new custom parts. With this option you are also able to keep the current registration and title if the frame is not replaced. This is also a lower cost option because a lot of the miscellaneous parts can be reused.

I know that in one page all the possible combinations of Custom Chopper build can’t be completely explained, I just hope this information give you something to start with and build on. It has help steer me in the direction of a rolling chassis, so I better get shopping.

Can You Change Corrals When You Run the New York City Marathon?

The New York City marathon technically has 3 starts, which do not converge for about 8 miles. These starts are assigned colors which correspond to the race map. The green start is to the left and gets a nice tour of Brooklyn, the orange start is in the center and goes to the left side of the Verazano-Narrows Bridge, and the blue start begins all the way to the right and proceeds up the right side of the bridge.

The orange start is reserved for the 9000 fastest women. The corrals flip flop in order of expected finishing time between the blue and green starts. According to my race number when I ran the race, I was supposed to line up at the front of the green start just behind the local competitive men. My friend that I was going to pace was supposed to start a couple corrals back on the blue side.

Depending upon where you look on the New York City website, there are different rules about where you can and can not start if you want to run with somebody else. The frequently asked questions page describes a process that requires you to move to a corral for bibs numbered 18,000 or higher if you want to change corrals, unless your bib is already higher than that in which case you can start in the corral that is furthest back from the start among the group that wants to run together.

Thankfully, that’s not the actual rule. After discussing the matter with the race directors, here is the official word that was handed down:

If you want to run with another person but are assigned different corrals, you may do so. You must go to the corral that is further back of the two, however, and if you are male you may not start in the any of the orange corrals that are specified for women only under any circumstances. You are allowed to change colors if you wish as long as you are in a slower starting corral than you are assigned.

From what I’ve noticed, the corrals are not very closely policed anyway. When my friend and I ran, we actually started 4 or 5 corrals further back than we were entitled to, which helped us to go out in the slow pace we were looking for early in the race. There were a lot of people ahead of us that shouldn’t have been, but we didn’t mind.

My advice is to head to the starting line with your friends, and choose whichever corral is going to go go over the top level of the bridge that you are all allowed to start in.

Annealing Services: What Are Their Benefits?

The benefits of annealing vary by its process. For example, while they both increase the strength of metal, normalization and full annealing deliver different effects that serve different purposes. For businesses that need metal services and wish to learn more about the benefits of annealing, below are its primary benefits and the processes that yield them. For a complete list of processes, contact a metal strengthening service.

Increased Softness

Heat treatment “softens” metal by removing its hardness, which is its ability to resist deformation by indentation. In many instances, hardness is a benefit, though in others, it can make metal difficult to work. Once metals have been worked, they can be tempered to restore their hardness-a scenario that decreases the time and cost of production.

Softening increases a metal’s “cold working properties,” which is its ability to be molded without heat application. Process annealing can soften steel by causing its iron carbide to form into globules-a change that gives steel a marbleized appearance when it is viewed microscopically.

Relief of Stress

When metal is used arduously or exposed to corrosive conditions, it develops internal stress that can reduce its strength. Over time, this stress can cause metal to crack or break, resulting in financial loss and, in some cases, loss of life. Examples of pieces that develop stress at a consistent rate include engine components, contact parts on industrial machinery, large springs that absorb heavy shock and tow bars on tractors.

Normalization, in which a ferrous alloy is heated to a temperature that is above its transformation temperature range, is used to relieve stress in steel.

Improved Brightness

A metal whose brightness is integral to its appeal requires a process that minimizes oxidization. In many cases, the process of choice is bright annealing (also known as stainless steel annealing), which places metal in a vacuum environment or an atmosphere-controlled furnace. The atmosphere can be controlled by placing a bell over the metal in what is known as a bell annealer-a cylindrical machine that can stand several stories tall. Different metals require different atmospheres to produce the desired effect.

Improved Ductility

Improving metal’s ductility can improve its ultimate tensile strength, which is its ability to deform under stress without necking (significantly contracting at its cross section). Ductile metal is required for numerous endeavors, including: commercial plumbing installation, vehicle assembly, and supporting large assemblies with suspensions. Process annealing and full annealing increase the ductility of metal alloys, with the latter creating the highest ductility.


Annealingis an excellent way to extend the lifetime of parts and restore used parts to a “like new” condition. If you need metal that contains minimal stress, excellent ductility, a homogenous crystal structure and has high workability under cold conditions, annealing services can help.

The processes above are only a few of the processes that are available through a metal strengthening service, which may also offer brazing, prototyping, assembly and retrofitting services. To learn more about how these services and others could benefit your business, contact a metal strengthening service.

What To Do If Falsely Accused Of Attempted Murder

The most serious crime that anyone can be accused of is murder, and it is one that cannot be taken lightly. Attempted murder is defined as a crime where someone was attacked with the intention of their life being taken, but the victim survived in spite of it. This, too, is a very serious charge, and if you believe that you have been falsely accused of such a heinous act, you then need to mount the best defense possible to defend your own life against such charges. Your first step should be to hire the best criminal lawyer you can find.

Degrees of Murder

In cases of attempted murder, it is treated the same as if you actually did murder someone, the only difference is the penalty involved. If the victim dies because of their injuries at a later time, you could still be charged with felony murder or manslaughter, unless you can prove you had absolutely nothing to do with the attack. Under law, there are several degrees of murder defined, and each one has their own particular defense strategy to go with them. This is why it is essential that you retain the best criminal attorney to defend your side.

First degree murder is defined as being intentional and premeditated, meaning that you planned to commit such an act.

Second degree murder is considered to be unplanned, and done in the heat of passion, or through an act where it can be proven that you did not care about the lives of others involved.

Manslaughter is a lesser charge than second degree, with the same conditions, but can be determined to be either voluntary, which means you knew the risk to another’s life or involuntary, which means you had no control over the actions leading up to the other person dying.

Dealing with the Charges

As we said earlier, being charged with attempted murder means that the prosecuting attorney believes that you attacked the victim with the intent to kill them, but against all odds, the victim survived. You would not have been charged, false or otherwise, unless a witness or evidence gathered by the police places you at the scene of the attack. The surviving victim may have identified you as their attacker, or an outside, unknown witness may have identified you as the attacker. Evidence gathered at the scene may have supplied proof that you were the attacker. However they came about the belief that you are guilty, this is not a charge that is bantered about lightly by the police, or the legal system, so it would be in your best interest to cooperate fully with them when charged and arrested.

Unlike other criminal charges, you may not have the option of providing bail money to be released. If bail is set, it may be at an amount that would be impossible for the average citizen to arrange. If this happens, accept it and make sure that you can communicate with your lawyer as needed. Very often, there will be a formal arraignment held, in order to be certain that the state has enough evidence gathered to bond you over to a trial. Your lawyer can then appeal at that time for bail to be set, so that you and he can have time to mount a proper defense.

Defending the charge

Any kind of murder charge can be difficult to defend against, and it will take an exceptionally skilled defense attorney to mount a successful defense. Above all else, be honest with your attorney, and give him as much detail as you can about the attack in question. When armed with the facts, mounting the right defense becomes that much easier to do.

The most common defenses against the charge of attempted murder include self-defense, insufficient evidence, factual innocence, and the insanity plea. Self-defense means that you were defending yourself against an attack made upon you by the victim. Insufficient evidence means that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convict you. Factual innocence means providing witnesses that will testify that you had nothing to do with the attack, and insanity means that you were not in full control at the time of the attack.

How to Get Ready For a Bodybuilding Show

My Preparation for 2004 Bodybuilding Contests

Back in the day (1996-1999), I had it pretty easy getting ready for shows, much to the envy of those who knew me. I would “diet” by having only one Snickers a day and still be in great shape. I was winning my weight class in almost every show and taking a few overall titles as well. In 2000 and 2001, I had a wake up call at the Team Universe, finishing no better than 9th. Then in 2002, I had mild success in a couple of NPC shows, but still hadn’t achieved my 1990’s-level of conditioning. I was now in my thirties and figured my career was slowly winding down. After six months of mono in 2003, and no competitions, I realized that this year was going to be my swan song. With that mentality in mind, I picked two shows to prepare for-one in September and one in October-to go “gently into that good night”.

The first show would be the INBF Karen Miller Klassic in Youngstown, Ohio, on September 11. I started my pre-contest nutrition program 17 weeks out. The first month included a cheat meal once a week, which I still can get away with, as I tend to lose too much weight too fast (at least that’s my rationalization!). At 12 weeks out, here is my “diet”:

Meal 1

6 egg whites + 1 yolk

½ cup oatmeal

Meal 2

8 oz. red meat or 3 scoops protein powder

7 rice cakes

Meal 3

6-8 oz. wheat pasta

7 oz. chicken

Meal 4 (post-workout)

6 scoops recovery powder

Meal 5

8 oz. red meat or turkey

white or brown rice microwaveable bag

Meal 6

7 oz. chicken or 8 oz. red meat


2975 calories

310 g-protein

335 g-carbs

41 g-fat

Now that I look back at this, I am surprised that I ate this bad (relatively speaking). However, I was still losing body fat, and continued this way for a while. Admittedly, my fast metabolism has always allowed me to get away with things most competitors cannot do. Not this time! I had met my match. Here is what my next phase looked like:

Meal 1

6 egg whites + 6 oz. red meat or 8 oz turkey or 8 oz chicken + 1-2 kiwi

Meal 2

2 scoops protein powder + 1 scoop BCAA

Meal 3

10 oz chicken or 10 oz turkey + 2-3 cups salad

Meal 4

same as 2

Meal 5

10 oz chicken or 10 oz turkey or 8 oz red meat + 2-3 cups salad

(Meal 6 when needed)

9 egg whites


Hi Carb Meal (Mon & Thurs)

A typical day yielded around 1550 calories; 300 grams of protein; 37 grams of carbohydrates; 25 grams of fat (all values not including supplements). Well, it worked! I was getting leaner by the day and ended up at 5% bodyfat the week of the contest. The Friday before the show I weighed in at 184, and found out I was the only lightheavyweight! At least I won my class. I also ended up winning the overall. It had been several years since I had accomplished that feat. I was now ready for my next show: the Natural Northern USA in three weeks.

However, between shows, Suzanne, my wife, was going to be running a marathon….in Maui. Somehow, I had to figure out how to stay focused and disciplined for those ten days. It presented a dilemma as to how to help her and be there for her event, while still staying the course for my event. Everyday presented a new challenge. Even simple things like walking the beach would wear me out. I wasn’t much fun. She understood, though, and I will always remember the sacrifices she made on my behalf.

We arrived home with seven days to get ready for Cleveland. I was down to 4.5%, and had achieved the best shape of my life (at least as a lightheavy). I stayed on exactly the same diet between shows. I weighed in at 181, certainly at the bottom of the weight class, but was confident that I had prepared to the best of my ability.

At prejudging, I was sure I placed 3rd-5th based on callouts. It was one of the toughest classes I had ever competed against (and this was my 16th show!). To my sincere shock, I won the class by just a few points. The overall winner (Shiloe Steinmetz) certainly had me beat on pure muscle, but several judges told me that I had had the better physique (symmetry, aesthetics, conditioning), which made me feel good.

Some other key points:

o As mentioned above, my metabolism affords me to do very little, if any, cardio work. This year I did perform two days of either stair climbing, or sprint/plyometric work. I like this kind of activity, regardless of an upcoming bodybuilding show. It also granted me the exclusion of doing direct leg work with weights for most of the contest prep.

o I am not a proponent of dropping water, or sodium, before a contest. I drank 2.5 gallons of water each Friday before the show, as well as continued to salt my foods. The only change was the addition of potassium Wed-Sat. I lose water through sweating, not so much through dietary changes.

o My strength training also does not change until the very last week. My split looks like this:

o Day 1=back

o Day 2=hams/calves OR sprints/stairs

o Day 3=chest/biceps

o Day 4=abs/quads OR plyometrics/stairs

o Day 5=delts/traps/triceps

o My training philosophy is very instinctual, therefore, I never do the same workout twice in a row. In fact, I never plan any workout, other than the body part(s) I am going to perform that day.

o I train in a non-traditional, undulating periodization model. A once popular European model for Olympic athletes has migrated to the United States and has been applied to American athletes (although it has limited application to bodybuilders). There are numerous texts and articles for more details on this philosophy. I have tailored the different cycles found within periodized models to include variety within a workout as well as between workouts. With that said, it is unrealistic for me to outline a typical workout regimen, but this will give you some idea (upper body only).


-¾ deadlifts 4 x 6

-Front pulldowns 3 x 12

-One arm high pulley row 3 x 10

-High Hammer row 3 x 20


-Incline barbell press 4 x 6

-Incline dumbbell press 3 x 10

-Hammer decline press 3 x 20

-Pec deck 3 x 12


-Seated dumbbell curl 3 x 10

-One arm preacher curl 3 x 12

-Hammer curl 3 x 15


-Seated dumbbell press 4 x 8

-Seated dumbbell side raise 4 x 12

-Seated dumbbell rear fly 4 x 15


-Seated machine shrug 4 x 8

-Behind-the-back barbell shrug 3 x 15


-Seated preacher curl 3 x 10

-Cable pushdown 3 x 12

-One-arm dumbbell extension 3 x 15

This is my off-season, as well as pre-contest, style of training. The only exception is that rest intervals decrease (i.e. 60-90 seconds) considerably during a pre-contest mode. I must re-iterate that the above is what I believe works for me. It has a loose base in scientific theory, but more than anything, it is grounded in anecdotal evidence.

This year has been a learning experience, just like every year since my first show in 1990! As I get older, and hopefully smarter, I enjoy the process, the learning, the challenge, much more than the outcome. It is nice to win, but that is only one night, and not up to me anyway. All the weeks leading up to the contest are in my control, and I cherish each small victory along the way.

I am undecided as to whether I will continue to compete. It is hard to just “turn it off”, and train for the hell of it! My goals now become more intrinsic-just to keep getting better, not necessarily bigger. By virtue of my achievements this year, I now have more questions than answers….

What You Don’t Know About Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman

Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman has some of the most fascinating buildings lined up all along the way.

Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman was the shopping hub of Kuala Lumpur before modern shopping malls took over the city. All along this road, one will see many pre-war buildings in Art Deco and Neo-Classic styles, whose beautiful exterior have been preserved to accommodate modern retail shops. Anyone walking down the road will be greeted by a riotous scene of people, bags and carpets.

Tourists dying to run away from touristy areas and are keen to see how ‘normal’ Malaysians live will find Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman fascinating in giving a glimpse of real Malaysian life.

Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman or as it was formerly known as Batu Road, was named after the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong or King of Malaysia. Oddly enough, many Malaysians confuse him with Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. One is Tuanku, which means King, and the other is Tunku, an honorific for royalty. By simply knowing this, you’re ahead of many Malaysians!

The road itself is very prominent in KL, and one will find it crowded at most times of the day and even at night. Dataran Merdeka, or the independence square, is just a short distance away.

PH Hendry

The white and orange building at the beginning of the road is the former P.H. Hendry building, or what is left of it. P. H. Hendry was the oldest existing jeweller in Malaysia, appointed the Royal Jeweller to the states of Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Kelantan in the 20s. In the early days, the craftsmen and stone-carvers came from Sri Lanka.

PH Dineshamy founded the Hendry dynasty. In the 1920s, his son PH Hendry opened a jewellery shop at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. In fact, the Hendry family business is still in existence.

The eye catching white and orange was only recently painted. Its style is Neo-Classic and its façade has three large pilasters, which are the slightly projected vertical columns. If you trace the columns all the way up, you will see that they are capped with Corinthian capitals, or the ‘heads’ of the columns. The pediment, which is the triangular structure on the top, is a feature of Neo-Classic architecture that gives the building an imposing feel. The windows on both floors are different; the first floor has a bay window while the second floor has a Venetian window consisting of a semicircle arch and four vertical pilasters. It is covered with plaster; and right on top at the triangular structure, see if you can spot the star and crescent, the Islamic symbol.

Shops Number 1-19

The buildings across the road from P. H Hendry are fine examples of Neo-Classic features. Painted in white and sharing similar architecture with the PH Hendry building, the buildings were constructed at different times and built by Malay and Chinese tycoon.

Tourists find the giant pilasters, which are the slightly protruding columns that support the pediments, or the triangular structure on the top, very fascinating. The beautiful bay windows adorn the first floor and the block is brought together by the typical cornice treatment of that time. You can also see the huge rectangular piers that form part of the covered five-foot way. The façade is embellished with plaster scrolls and emblems.

Art Deco and Neo-Classic buildings along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman

The fascinating buildings along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman are repainted with bright colours while some are left in their original colours, but all of them exhibit the theatrical qualities of Art Deco. Art Deco was an art movement that lasted from 1925 to the 1940s. It was seen as elegant, glamorous, functional and modern; and you will undoubtedly find these qualities in many of these buildings. The movement mixes many styles such as Neo-Classical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Art Nouveau and Futurism. It was most popular in Europe during the Roaring Twenties.

In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Art Deco style was shaped ‘by all the nervous energy stored up and expended in the War’. The characteristics of Art Deco are very apparent here. Cubic forms, ziggurat shapes- a terraced pyramid where it gets smaller the higher you go, complex grouping of rectangles and squares, bands of bright and arresting colours, zigzag design, strong sense of line and an illusion of pillars.

Many have been restored and preserved to house retail shops and restaurants.

Coliseum Cinema

One of Malaysia’s famous landmarks, it is the oldest continuously running cinema in the country, save for a short break during the Japanese occupation. It was built by Chua Cheng Bok, a well-known Chinese businessman and property developer, who eventually leased it to a group of gentlemen who opened this cinema back in 1921. It was constructed with reinforced concrete, with a double roof. The building was then considered one of the coolest places in town quite literally, with its numerous fans and ventilation. There are wide verandahs upstairs, with balcony seats and private boxes tastefully fitted with separate fans and lights, to cater to well-off patrons’ comfort. The Coliseum had its own power plant, making it independent of the town’s system. Next to it one will see a square, usually with fairs or sales or exhibitions that are organised by the KL Tourism body every month or so. It was one of the first few buildings in Southeast Asia to have safety designs such as emergency lighting and fire prevention systems. Also, state of the art ventilation grills and exhaust fans enhance air circulation.

It was not uncommon to go over in the 30s to see bangsawan or Malay opera performed by local troupes. However, since the 1940s the cinema played Hindi and Malay films. Moviegoers of the old would load up on tit bits such as sunflower seeds and fried peanuts and drinks in plastic carriers before entering.

It was beautiful the way these movies were advertised, as they were not printed by a press, but instead were painted by hand on large billboards! This process continued well into the early nineties proving to be quite eye catching to passers-by. Of course, canvass painting has been discontinued with the dawn of computers and other graphic design tools, so it is rare to see hand-painted billboards anymore.

Coliseum Cafe

Next to the Coliseum Cinema, is the Coliseum Hotel and Restaurant, which also was built in 1921 as part of the same complex. It was a popular watering hole for Colonial planters, miners and traders, just like Selangor club down the road, but less exclusive. Tea dancing was a popular pastime among young people as a way of courting and dating in those days. It was a chance to waltz with a boy or girl you liked under the watchful eye of chaperones who sat with their tea and sandwiches surveying the room. Amongst Coliseum’s famous patrons was Somerset Maugham, the English author, who made it a point to visit the café and the Selangor Club when he was in Malaya.

The special atmosphere of yesteryear is retained with its unchanged décor and furnishings, and white linen-clad waiters. But the waiters are now much older, and some hard of hearing, and in less than white clothes. The table clothes and the walls look stained while the air inside smells like grease! The Café serves mainly English cuisine, and the menu has remained largely the same. Many of the dishes are still cooked over charcoal and firewood stoves. When you order the sizzling steak, it comes to the table sizzling and the waiter pours sauce on it in front of you. Since most of the wait staff is old, expect them to be slightly grumpy, but that’s part of the charm in the Coliseum Cafe.

Odeon Cinema

Along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman is the popular cinema of many a baby boomer’s childhood, Odeon. It was built by the Cathay Organization in 1936, and became an expression of the links between cinematography and Art Deco. A.O Coltman was the architect.

‘Odeon’ is a Greek word for a building for musical competition. This building featured new safety designs such as emergency lighting and fire prevention systems for the projector room. There was also a then state-of-the-art ventilation grill and exhaust fans to enhance air circulation, while the foyers were laid with locally produced rubber flooring.

Above the entrance, a horizontal beam, embellished with a mosaic depicting drama, comedy and music, intersects the strong vertical window dividers. On the side façade, the “ribs” create a vertical rhythm.

Watercolor Painting Technique: Planning Your White Spaces

In watercolor painting, the unpainted shapes are very important. These are the places the artist has planned ahead of time to represent the white areas of the painting. The eye naturally goes to “whites” first, especially if these are areas of high contrast. It is necessary to plan these areas in advance, and not to let them become just an afterthought; the whites need to be part of your overall design. A single white area is not enough in your composition. You will want to have a pattern of whites (in three or more areas of your watercolor) to keep your work balanced. I often find it helpful to look at my initial value sketches upside down, to determine where I might need more white space in my composition.

Once you have decided how much white paper to leave, and where it works best in your composition, you can fill in the values of the remaining shapes. Make sure to vary the sizes and shapes of all the elements of your painting. Your whites can now be adjusted slightly to bring either a warm or cool variation to your scene. For instance, part of a white “shape” (this could be a house for example) in the distance, may be given a cool Cobalt Blue glaze, which will push it further back in your composition, as part of your background. It will still seem like a white house to your viewers, but with a subtle coolness. A very thin wash is all that will be needed here.

The same thing applies to whites in the foreground of your composition. These can be given a soft warm glaze made by mixing Aereolin Yellow and Rose Madder Genuine together. Apply a single layer of this color to a portion of a white element in your foreground. I prefer to wait until much of my painting is complete to add these subtle touches to my whites. This way I am careful not to overdo when altering the whites. These glazes should be very delicate.

Another way to give the whites in your painting a warm or cool cast, is by purposely placing a complementary color adjacent to it. For example, to make a patch of a white dog’s fur seem warm, place a cool blue-gray next to this area. This will create a warm glow. In other parts of the animal’s fur, use the ideas described above, varying your cool and warm sections. Your watercolor dog will have many different “whites” making him much more interesting to look at!

When altering your watercolor whites, remember less is definitely more!

The Impact and Importance of Window Displays

Creative design and visual merchandising have increased beyond belief in recent times. With more and more companies using these tools to grab the buying public’s attention, the window display industry is now big business. With current headlines surrounding the economy, as a nation we are being cautious with our spending so it is no wonder companies are pulling out all the stops to get buyers through the doors.

There is no better way of grabbing someone’s attention than at the first instance and a well dressed window display does just that. With more and more companies realising the impact of displays, we are beginning to see more unique designs and increased efforts in this area.

So knowing that retail displays are an effective tool, where do we start and what should we be trying to achieve? In the first instance brand image should be at the forefront of our minds. As the supplier, you need to feel comfortable with the displays reflection on the company. We should not be afraid to be bold with our display statement but should feel happy with the displays message and general image. If sourcing an external designer to carry out your window displays, do not be afraid to question aspects of the design and have a fair input with your own ideas. A designer will bring great artistic flair to any project but you will bring brand knowledge and the two aspects should result in a pretty fantastic display.

OK so you have a concept you are happy with, does it work? You need to stand back and question the purpose of the display. Does it attract attention? Will people stop to look? Will it capture the imagination of potential customers? If you feel you meet all these points you are half way there. You next need to be sure that you have addressed the particular products or theme you are trying to promote. If it is a seasonal display, is this obvious enough? Do your products or product message shine through the props and gimmicks, the props are an essential part of the display but so is your business!

Props are a fundamental part of any window display. They will spark interest, catch your potential customers’ attention and will form the basis of any good display. All good props work well when used in the correct context. Whether the props appear quite run of the mill or very outrageous, as long as they are in keeping with the theme the idea should be portrayed. A good place to start is with things that attract and excite you. For example; food props quite often capture attention as we all have that connection with the things we like and can easily associate with. Giant sweets and candy displays for example are always a winner! The bright colours attract the eye and the temptation of all things bad for us holds our attention. They may only be props but they have a familiar place in many peoples’ minds! At the other end of the scale seductive high end props can be very welcoming. Items like chandeliers, candle sticks, fake diamonds, champagne and silk fabrics can capture that part of us that likes to be spoilt and pampered.

Seasons also play a very big role in all window displays and as your products change throughout the seasonal year, so should your window displays. Spring and summer have seen some great nature inspired displays this year and flowers have played a big part in many large stores. Halloween is possibly one of the shorter celebrated holiday events yet it is one that is still big business. Halloween props can be either very comical or very spooky, giving you several display angles to attack. Christmas for retail outlets is understandably a busy time. With increased competition and high volumes of passing trade you need to ensure your display is the one that gets people off the street. There are quite literally thousands of Christmas props and themes available for you to experiment with. Don’t be afraid to be different, it doesn’t all have to be about Santa and snowmen!

Whatever display idea you opt for and whatever way you go about it, remember your displays portray your brand or business, they attract custom and promote your products. Window displays are one selling device we should not be ignoring.

The Best-Selling Items to Sell on Cold Winter Days

Many people shop at swap meets to save money and get good deals, and cold winter days do not stop them.

Many people begin shopping more at indoor flea markets because they like the warmth, but the hardcore flea market shopper will still hit the outdoor flea markets even when it is snowing, because they know that since many people wimped out and went indoors, that leaves all the bargains for them. (Mile High Flea Market in Henderson, Colorado is open year round, yes, even when it is snowing, and the vendors and shoppers still come out like always.)

Sellers will still offer the usual swap meet fare, the used stuff and the new stuff, but no matter the time of year successful flea market vendors will still follow the rules: always sell what people want and need.

In winter people do not want swimsuits and shorts and sandals.

They want heavy coats with tall collars that can snap shut, furry hats that fold down to keep their ears warm and gloves to keep their hands and fingers warm.

They do not want sun tan lotion.

They want chemical hand warmers. They want thicker socks and warmer shoes and insulated boots. They want ski pants that the icy wind won’t cut through. They want insulated bib overalls.

Air conditioners and box fans don’t sell so well during winter, but electric space heaters do, as well as kerosene heaters, propane heaters, propane tanks, and propane hoses.

People will want snow shovels. They will want ice scrapers.

They will want to buy bags of rock salt and chemical melting compounds to spread on their sidewalks and steps.

People will also want snow tires. Used snow tires are great sellers, especially during the first few months of winter, but they don’t move so well during the summer months. Most people do not think, or shop, ahead.

Used tire chains in good condition will also sell well, as will tow chains.

Cold remedies, cough syrups and cough drops always sell, but especially in winter.

Buyers will also be looking for snowboards, inner tubes and other things to have fun with on the slopes.

Many flea markets run their own concessions and will not allow anyone to compete with them. But many smaller markets don’t have any concessions at all, and you can do quite well selling coffee and hot chocolate.

Just follow the rules and sell what people want and need. Change your inventory with the seasons and success will always be your friend.

What is a Pallet Truck?

A pallet truck, also know as a pallet jack or pump jack, is a manually powered fork truck designed to lift and move heavy materials. The front wheels are placed on the inside near the forks at the front. At the back is a hydraulic jack which is used to lift the pallet off the floor.

How do use a pallet truck? 

Being manually powered the person operating the truck pushes the forks into the pallet, and then uses the jack part of the truck to ‘jack’ up the pallet off the floor to a certain height required. Once the pallet has been lifted the operator can then move the truck where ever they wish, the pallet is only listed off the ground so it can be moved, and so a foot or so is usually normally.

Powered pallet trucks

Pallet trucks are also available powered. It is the same principle as a manual pallet truck except instead of the operator having to jack up the pallets the machine lifts it for you via controls. This is easier to use as the machine does most of the work for you and they can lift heavier pallets if required.

Who uses pallet trucks?

Generally speaking pallet trucks are used by people who are suppliers and work in warehouses. This can be in a variety of fields such as food and drink, clothing, computers, machinery and so on. Any industry that requires moving about large and heavy pallets of products will use a pallet truck.

How much do pallet trucks cost?

Many companies will differ slightly in the cost of their pallet trucks, and depending on the type of pallet truck will alter the cost as well. You will be able to pick up a regular pallet truck for around £130. Searching online or visiting different shops you’ll be able to gain more of an idea of the prices available.

Health Benefits of Amalaki – Liquid Multi Vitamins and Minerals

With a lot of debate going on about the nutritional and health benefits of different fruits, common man is confused as to what to use and what not to. The golden rule however says that fruits in general all are helpful. Their plenty of vitamin and mineral content help us rejuvenate our bodies and maintain stress free attitude. However, certain fruits have gained the value of medicines in our medical community. More than medicines these fruits are termed as power-fruits that help us conquer life’s odds pretty easily. Some of such fruits are amalaki, acai, rhodiola, goji, pomegranate etc.

Out of these fruits, here we are going to see benefits of amalaki. The meaning of amalaki in Sanskrit language is “sustainer”. The name itself therefore suggests its utility value. It is one of the richest sources of vitamin C that is 20 times more than what is found in orange. Also it is rich source of bioflavonoids, flavones, carotenoids, and polyphenols. No wonder many pharmaceutical companies use this fruit as one of the strongest ingredients of health supplements.

Let’s see some of the important health benefits amalaki offers:

1) Amalaki is one of the richest sources of powerful anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants play a crucial role in the body to drive away free radicals and restore health.

2) Cardiovascular health: These anti-oxidants are powerful tools to detoxify the body and with the destruction of free radicals, they help in reducing arterial plaque formation. This in turn enhances good circulation and cadiac pumping is improved. Thus heart attacks, strokes, and related illnesses like hypertensions are prevented.

3) Gastro-intestinal tract: Due to its innate abilities, amalaki is thought to prevent constipation and hyperacidity. Obviously one can cope up with increased acid production and esophagitis and acid reflux. The fruit is also thought to impact relief to people with mild to moderate hemorrhoids and colitis. Its clearing effect on gastrointestinal tract is very helpful for people on weight-reduction regimens.

4) In Indian subcontinent, the fruit is used since thousands of years as an augmenter of vitality and youth. Its effects on mind as an energizer and mood elevator have been lauded in Indian literature.

5) In traditional medicine, amalaki is lauded for its utility in pyrexia, cough, asthma, heart problems, etc.

6) Due to its detoxifying effects relevant to high anti-oxidants content, it is thought of as one of the best blood purifiers in traditional medicine.

7) Its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties have been utilized in infectious diseases. It has shown some promising results for prevention of many infectious and non-infectious ailments.

8) Its cholesterol lowering properties are well known and people who take regular amalaki supplements are protected from cardiac maladies for the same reason.

9) Due to its high vitamin C content, it augments the clotting mechanism of blood when required.

10) Even due to its rich anti-oxidants, amalaki is thought to prevent cancers of all origins.

Well, no doubt the fruit Amalaki is a “rejuvenator” and whole body is benefited positively with its usage. Why not select a health supplement that contains natural form of amalaki and other power-fruit extracts so that we get benefits from all in one formula?

Baseball Coaching Digest – When Can a Pitcher Throw to an Unoccupied Base Without Balking?

The answer to this often debated question is yes. The pitcher is allowed to throw to an unoccupied base if a runner is making an attempt to reach that base. The pitcher does not have to step off or clear the runner to make this throw.

For example, there is a runner on second base. The runner on second base breaks for third and the pitcher realizes what is happening. The pitcher being in his stretch delivery, steps toward third with his stride foot, and throws to third to get the runner out.

The rule as stated in the rule book makes this play legal. The pitcher is entitled to make a throw to second or third base if the runner is attempting to advance. When the runner makes an attempt to steal a bag, he is making an effort to advance. The pitcher has a right to make a play on an advancing runner. Then the pitcher is making a legal play in throwing to the base in an attempt to make the play.

Rule 8.05 in the official baseball rule book is the rule applying in this play. The rule states:

8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when (d) The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play.

The rule clearly states that a pitcher has the right to make a play on an advancing runner.

There are two things that the pitcher must remember when making this play:

1. The pitcher must step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. The 45-degree rule applies as judged by the umpire.

2. The pitcher can not stop his pitch motion to the plate to try and make a play on the runner. Once a pitcher commits his motion toward the plate, the pitch must be thrown to the plate.

I hope this article was informative and interesting to you. I thank you for taking the time to read it. Have a great day, Nick

Making Crepes – Easier Than You Might Think

Making crepes need not be an intimidating undertaking. With a few simple considerations you can soon be flipping dozens of these thin pancakes in less than half and hour. Because you can fill them with just about anything, crepes make great eating for breakfast, snacks, lunch or dinner.

The Right Tools

Before getting started making crepes you will want to make sure you have the right tools. Some people like to invest in an electric crepe r, but it is just as easy to learn to make crepes in a non-stick pan on the stove top. A crepe pan, while not completely necessary (you can substitute any non-stick skillet), does help to produce consistent results. These are very shallow pans, typically about 11 or 12 inches in diameter.

If you use an electric crepe maker, you will also need a wooden spreader, called a rateau, or rake. Learning to use the spreader can take a bit of practice.

Crepe Batter

For successful crepes, you will need to begin with the right consistency for the batter. Crepe batter is easy to make more liquid, so you might want to start out with a thicker batter. Gradually add in more milk until you are getting good results. The batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream. Thinner batter will make crepes that tear, and thicker batter will make spongier, heavier crepes.

The Technique

  • You will need to play around with the heat to get your pan to the right temperature. It should be quite hot, so that the pancake cooks quickly on one side, but not so hot that it burns before you get a chance to turn it.
  • Pour about 1/3 cup of batter in the hot crepe pan and tilt and swirl the pan to spread the batter. Alternatively, if you are using an electric crepe maker, this is where you will want to use the spreader.
  • As you cook, stack the crepes on a plate. You do not need to worry about them sticking together if you have cooked them correctly. They will stay fairly warm snuggled together but you can also cover them with a clean dish towel if you are making a lot and want to eat them warm right away.

Ideas for Filling

Crepes can be eaten with both sweet and savory fillings. If you are going to eat the crepes for breakfast or dessert, you will probably want to add a little sugar and vanilla flavoring to the batter.

Sweet crepes can be filled with fresh fruit, yogurt, creme fraiche, jam, butter, sugar, chocolate, chestnut spread, or just about anything that appeals to you.

Savory crepe fillings can be more complex, but you can also eat them with very simple fillings. For example, layer them with a slice of ham and grated cheese, roll, and bake in the oven for a few short minutes.

Benefits of Modern Commercial Kitchen Equipment

If any food company decides to introduce modern kitchen equipments in its system then it has a wide range of options available to improve its performance. It is quite natural that commercial kitchen equipment will be technologically far better than the one which are used in domestic households.

The best examples of the places where these equipments are used are restaurants, hotels, hostels etc. The ultimate invention in the field of kitchen equipments is chapatti making machine which is known for its hygiene because, the lesser the human efforts are involved; the lesser will be the chances of germs to get enter into the dough. The germs were earlier used to contaminate food even through open hands of the cook. There are so many varieties of Chapatti maker machine available in the markets now-a-days which are energy efficient and quite easy to operate. Being energy efficient means definitely they are helpful in reducing the overall cost incurred by the commercial set ups. The other advantage of this equipment is that it produces chapattis throughout in the same shape and size whereas it is not sure that manually made chapattis will be uniform in shape. There are three types of these machines available in the market they are semi -automatic, automatic and fully automatic chapatti making machines.

This range is not only limited to Roti making machine but a huge variety of Tortilla maker machines are also available in the market. A commercial tortilla maker has become a necessity of any restaurant which has to make this dish on a large scale. Without a machine, work of mixing, rolling and cooking tortillas require intensive labour. Now these machines save a lot of time and labour which can be utilized in providing good services to the customers. A tortilla machine comprises of mixers, tortilla presses, tortilla cutters, dough dividers, counters and equipment for packaging.

Kitchen equipment manufacturers have also introduced Papad making machine which saves a lot of time and energy of the commercial, small scale as well as large scale, industries. The huge popularity and demand of south Indian food like dosa has given rise to the invention of dosa machines which unbelievably can produce even four hundred dosa in an hour which could have never been possible if the same work had been done manually. Process of various operations to produce dosa like dispersion of batter, spreading and depositing of on the hot plate and roasting is organized in a very systematic way. This device is available with the facility of time setting, temperature control and various other features. These are very useful in industrial canteens, festivals, hotels and gatherings which take place on a large level.

There is a machine which is very similar to that of a Roti machine named Poori machine which produces small size pooris in commercial setups. Thus, we can conclude that modernization and commercialization is not only limited to the outer world but it has taken control over our traditional practices of cooking food and has made life of a human being easier.