Stainless Waterless Cookware – A Natural Choice

Today, with more and more people turning to natural and “green” ways stainless waterless cookware is becoming more popular than ever before. Waterless cooking allows food to retain the natural flavors; vitamins and nutrients lost to regular cooking and can even use fewer resources like electricity. All of this makes it the best choice for a “green” and healthier way to cook.

What does waterless cooking mean?

Stainless waterless cookware is specially designed to allow you to cook your food without diluting it with added water. This style of cooking will result in food that tastes better, looks better and is rich in all the vitamins and nutrients traditional cooking can reduce.

Why Use Waterless Cookware

Although important, the flavor of food is not the only consideration when creating meals. Every good chef understands that smell, texture, color and presentation are just as important as how the meal tastes. Waterless cookware allows not just the real flavor of the meal to come through but also the color, texture and smells of the food are enhanced and not diluted.

Another important consideration for many of us is the nutrition of the food we eat. The two things that affect the nutrition of our food is the quality of the food we buy and the way it is prepared.

Even when we buy the best food we can, most of the vitamins and nutrients end up being washed down the kitchen sink. That is because the way we cook tends to leach 70% to 90% of the vitamins and minerals out of the food, leaving it in the pan along with the water in which we cooked the food. Waterless cookware allows the retention of over 90% of the nutritional value of the food.

Let us take broccoli as an example. Broccoli when over cooked in water is limp, lifeless, and tasteless, unfortunately when overcooked broccoli also loses as many as 70% of the vitamins and nutrients that make it healthy for you to eat. With waterless cookware broccoli retains 93% of the vitamins and minerals.

Waterless cookware is designed to cook food at a lower temperature in its own juices. Broccoli cooked in this type of cookware will come out of the pan crisp, bright colored, filled with all the vitamins, minerals, and flavor it had before cooking.

Vegetables are not the only foods that benefit from waterless cooking, even steaks and roasts come out with a full robust flavor and retaining all of the nutritional values without the added oils that are so bad for you.

How does waterless cookware work?

Waterless cookware is made up of several layers of material including a bottom layer of aluminum or copper, stainless steel, and iron with a moisture seal lid.

As the food inside the pot heats, the water or fat from the food begins to evaporate. The evaporation triggers the lid of the cookware’s seal, which traps the steam. Once enough steam is trapped inside the pot the steam valve will open and begin to whistle telling you to either turn down the heat or turn off the stove. The steam built up inside of the pot will continue to cook the food until it is done.

Why stainless waterless cookware?

The three biggest reasons to use stainless steel waterless cookware are safety, durability and economy.

Safety

Many cookware products today are coated with Teflon. Teflon is a chemical that creates a non-stick surface. While a non- stick surface can seem like a great idea, Teflon breaks down and releases toxic gases and chemicals when heated. The key chemical in Teflon is called C-8. According to DuPont (the maker of Teflon), you should not keep pet birds in the kitchen because the fumes of C-8 could kill them. For humans Teflon is supposed to be safe but may cause flu-like symptoms that will only last a few days. Stainless steel cookware is not coated with Teflon.

Durability

If you are looking for a set of cookware that will last a lifetime stainless steel is the best way to go. While stainless steel cookware can cost a little more than some other materials stainless steel is usually guaranteed to last for a lifetime making it a much better value. Most pots and pans should be replaced every 5 years.

Economy

Stainless steel waterless cookware is also a more economic choice. Due in part to the materials used in waterless cookware the food will do most of its cooking with the stove turned off. The ability to turn of the stove will not only save money on your utility bill but also releases less heat into the air, an important consideration for the Summer months when air conditioners are so important.

Stainless waterless cookware offers a non-stick way to cook food that is natural, flavorful, and loaded with all of the vitamins and minerals often leached out during cooking with other types of cookware.

7 Easy Christmas Gifts For Diabetics

If you’re used to buying candy and chocolate for friends and family at Christmas time, you may be among many who struggle to find a suitable gift for someone who is diabetic.

It doesn’t matter whether the person you’re buying for is a Type 1 (insulin dependent) or Type 2 (adult onset) diabetic, although their diet may need to be slightly different, there are gifts will work equally well for both.

So here’s our top seven ideas to give you inspiration for buying the perfect gift this holiday season:-

1. Fruit Gift Basket – the perfect easy solution if you’re buying online or from a store. This is the perfect present for any time of year, make up with seasonal fruits the day before to ensure it’s fresh. The basket makes a great keepsake once all the fruit has been eaten and enjoyed!

2. Food Hamper – a great homemade gift that’s simple to make yourself. Include nuts, cheese, coffee, pate, tea, wholegrain crackers/biscuits, wholemeal pasta and other low carb and sugar free foods. Don’t include items with refined flour or sugar.

3. Dark Chocolate – contrary to what many people think, this is probably better for your health than regular chocolate. Go for a bar of at least 70% solids or buy a small selection of Belgian style dark chocs for a special treat. Do not be tempted to purchase “diabetic chocolate” or any similarly labelled products item in the store – these can work out far more expensive than putting something together yourself.

4. Skin Care/Beauty – this is a failsafe present. As some diabetics struggle with dryer skin, choose moisturizing items that are based on natural ingredients. A good gift during cold winter months is a luxury hand cream or chap stick for lips – the sort of item that folk often don’t make time or the budget to buy for themselves.

5. Insulin & Pump Accessories – how about a funky cool bag – when travelling or on vacation, it’s helpful to have a small cool bag to carry insulin and keep it chilled. Of course, this is also useful for taking lunches / sandwiches / picnics on warm summer days too! There are some small bags that can easily be slung over a shoulder in great patterns and colors. Teen Pump patches are just one of the fun insulin pump accessories available. You can also choose from cool pump cases, trendy ID bracelets and waterproof cases to allow for the most active and energetic of lifestyles for pumpers.

6. Freshly Baked Cookies – a simple homemade treat that anyone can bake with ingredients you’re likely to have in your store cupboard. Wrap carefully for the ultimate in thoughtful home made gifts.

7. Cookbook – choose from low carb or sugar free, or a cook book specially created to work for a diabetic lifestyle. Or how about a cookery book on summer salads, slow cooker meals, French cooking (any woman will love this if she’s watched the “Julie & Julia” movie)

Of course, these ideas are just to give you a little inspiration and help get you started – hopefully they’ll enable you to find the perfect creative present!

Types of Store Fixtures

Store fixtures are used for visual merchandising and display. Different types of store fixtures are slatwall fixtures, gridwall fixtures, clothing store fixtures, hangers, display cases, shopping bags, jewelry displays, gondola shelves and mannequins. Store fixtures offer maximum exposure to products.

There are different sizes and colors of slatwall store fixtures. Slatwall is also referred to as slatboard, slotwall or grooved board. Slatwall can be used to display clothes, accessories, equipments and jewelry. The different types of slatwall store fixtures are panels, hooks, faceouts, floor fixtures, wire displays, wire baskets, wire shelves, corner forms, brochure holders, and acrylic displays. Hangers are another type of store fixture used to display clothing. Different types of hangers are wooden hangers, metal hangers and plastic hangers.

Display case provides security to the retailer. There are economy style and aluminum frame style display cases. This includes full vision, half vision, open cases, jewelry and register stands. Other type of display cases are special tower, countertop, oak cases, pedestal cases, portable and custom fixtures. Different types of store fixtures are used for jewelry displays. This include store fixtures for necklace, bracelet, ring display, chain and jewelry watch. Different materials used in jewelry store fixtures are acrylic, metal and wood and velvet.

Other types of store fixtures are gridwall panel and gridwall hooks. They can be used on the wall or floor in any store. Grid wall panels can be customized. Gridwall store fixtures include wire shelves, shelf brackets, grid exhibit, mini grid, sign holders, connectors and floor fixtures. Shopping bags are another type of store fixtures. Different types of shopping bags are white craft bags, tinted bags, natural craft, shopping baskets and Christmas bags.

Store fixture collections are used to display collection of products. This includes designer collection, metal store fixtures, ladder system, chain link and golf display. Gondola shelves are used for heavy duty products. These are made of steel and can support heavy products. Different sizes of gondola shelves are available. Mannequins are dummies usually used to display clothes. Mannequins store fixtures include adult mannequins, children, flexible, sports and system mannequins.

Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring – When Wide is Not Wise?

Wide plank hardwood flooring looks wonderful. It oozes the feel of country living. It reminds us of the scent of wood burning in the fireplace, of oil rubbed finishes and rich amber colours. It lulls you into the belief that wide plank flooring would be the perfect answer for all your decorating needs, but is it?

As sales staff we are always sitting on the proverbial fence. Do we only build the decorating dream in a customer’s mind; wide planks, rich colours and long lengths? These are all the lollipops of the hardwood flooring market.

Or do we somewhere along the line let our experience and knowledge of wood kick in? Do we think about all the horror stories of installations gone wrong? I hope so! Our belief is that a wood floor must look beautiful today AND in 10 years, so we must in some small way share the functional and performance related issues with our customers. After all, a wood floor is used daily.

Wood is a living and breathing species. Our homes are also living and breathing. They must reconcile! If your home is dry, your flooring is as well. If the showers have been running all day, and the windows sweating we know the humidity in the home is rising, so also with your floor.

Wide plank hardwood flooring will expand and contract to reflect these changes, shrinking on the dry days and expanding on the wet ones. A wide 6″ plank will expand and contract twice as much as a 3″ board for any given change in humidity. This puts a great amount of stress on the nails that are used to hold it down, and a 6″ wide plank floor has only half as many nails to hold it in place, as a 3″ floor.

Thus when the wood wants to move, wide plank flooring will react significantly more than narrow;

wider boards = less nails + humidity changes = more problems.

So what’s the answer? There are really only two options:


1. Control your humidity with air conditioners and humidifiers to limit the seasonal variations (ie.. in N.Ontario typically 35% – 55% RH) OR

2. Choose a narrower floor, more nails and less able to cup = less trouble

3. I know, I said only 2 options… but for homes that are sitting on the border there are two other flooring design options that may let you consider wide plank hardwood flooring, and yet still address some of the seasonal humidity fluctuation issues.

Get the full story on wide plank flooring and make sure your investment looks beautiful for years to come.

Food Show Lesson Plans

Just as our nation is experiencing a major fat attack millions of viewers are tuned into television shows focused on food. There may lurk some irony in this phenomenon. Think about it. There is actually a show called “Man Versus Food,” wherein a rather rotund individual seeks to eat all that he can at a variety of sites around the nation. This show plays even as the Centers for Disease Control issues a clarion call about the obesity epidemic and movies like Forks Over Knives present the scientific evidence that our diets are killing us. Alas, Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) has, in all probability, fewer fans than Adam Richman, the host of “Man Versus Food.” Not much is politically correct about food shows.

Teachers can turn the food craze into effective lesson plans with homework assignments that students will not object to doing. Students can learn something, exercise writing skills, and possibly develop some interests in terms of career while they are being entertained by shows such as “Iron Chef,” “Chopped,” “No Reservations,” “Restaurant Impossible,” or “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

I tried such an assignment on both a freshman and a senior class last year. The kid’s opinions about which shows are best are firm; their loyalties are deeply established and they have no problem following the story lines and the characterizations of various personalities. They are alert to the nature of the competition and grow adept at predicting which judge will appreciate a particular chef and which of the meals prepared will earn praise. They learn about spices, herbs, and how to select a particular ingredient for a particular recipe or how to substitute one for another when the occasion calls for some creativity.

Young people watching these food shows quickly become food critics themselves, even without the opportunity to taste the exotic meals prepared. They even become alert to the metaphorical value of what these shows call “presentation.” I’ve had kids talk about poor handwriting in terms of weak presentation and job interviews in terms of presenting the self as a worthy candidate for employment. Hmmmmmm. What could this mean?

It means teachers can use cooking shows as teaching tools in their ELA lesson plans. I created a worksheet that I distributed to my students asking them to identify elements similar to those found in literature, such as conflict, complication and resolution, and to evaluate the show for its pacing, drama, suspense, emotional appeal and themes. Extra credit, I said, when I first began to use the worksheet. Fairly soon, virtually all kids were writing essays, critiques and even formatting their own shows with their age-based themes. A few kids created a show based on veganism in which they suggested using live animals to increase the element of compassion that is so important to people who refuse to participate in the killing of animals for food. The assignment was no longer for extra credit, but a serious part of my effort to meet standards and exercise writing skills.

Some kids actually prepared their own shows. One was on the making of fry bread. The students were reading Sherman Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and they decided to produce a fry bread competition. Everyone loved it, even though some of the results were better used as Frisbees than food. The judges played their parts beautifully and the critiques written by the audience, their fellow classmates, were brilliant. With the right lesson plan, education, quite often, can be entertaining.

Nordic Track Treadmill

Nordic Track treadmills are renowned for their comprehensive range of features. Nordic Track treadmills provide a comfortable running surface on which users can either jog, walk or run. Nordic track treadmills are produced by Icon Health and Fitness, Inc..

Nordic Track treadmills range from around $1000 to $4000. The various features of Nordic Track treadmills help during weight loss programs and workouts. Nordic Track treadmills are very comfortable treadmills to run on.

Nordic Track treadmills offer generous sized running deck/belt, good cushioning and well designed console displays. All Nordic Track treadmill models are iFit compatible which enables downloading of new workout programs from the Internet directly to users treadmill via a computer. Nordic Track treadmills consist of electronic consoles which offer lot of preset programs and readouts.

Nordic Track treadmills feature a Reflex Deck Technology that flattens and absorbs the impact when users step down and springs back returning to its original shape.

All Nordic Track treadmill models consist of heart rate monitors which are activated by gripping pulse sensors built into the hand rail. Nordic Track treadmill models come with pulse driven programs that respond to and maintain users target heart rate.

Nordic Track treadmills offer a 3 year warranty for the drive motor, 2 year warranty for other treadmill parts and 1 year warranty on the labor. The warranty duration of Nordic Track treadmills is a good indication of the quality of the treadmill.

There are different models of Nordic Track treadmill available in the market. The Nordic Track C1900 treadmill offers a 1.5HP motor capable of speeds up to 10 mph, incline adjustment up to 10%, a running surface up to 55″ x 20″, cool air fans and a heart rate monitor. This treadmill model costs about $1000.

The Nordic Track C2300 treadmill offers a 1.75HP motor capable of speeds up to 10 mph, a running surface up to 55″ x 20″, incline adjustment up to 10%, a heart rate monitor and cool air fans. This treadmill costs about $1300.

The Nordic Track E2500 treadmill offers a 2HP motor capable of speeds up to 12 mph, a running surface up to 55″ x 20″, incline adjustment up to 10%, adjustable cushioning and a heart rate monitor. This treadmill costs about $1500.

The Nordic Track 7600R treadmill offers a 3HP motor capable of speeds up to 12 mph, a running surface up to 60″ x 20″, incline adjustment up to 12% and a heart rate monitor.

The Nordic Track E4400 treadmill offers a 3HP motor capable of speeds up to 12 mph, incline adjustment up to 12%, a running surface up to 60″ x 20″ and a heart rate monitor. This treadmill model costs about $2500.

Nordic Track treadmills are known for their cushion technology, electronic consoles and warranty features. Nordic Track treadmills offer smooth running on the treadmill.

Nordic Track treadmills are popular for the comfortable running surface they provide.

Vintage Metal Glider – Refinishing That Old-Fashioned Gliding Wonder

If you have never refinished a vintage metal glider, I can tell you that it requires some work and a little patience and you will end up with a beautiful glider.

Before we begin, let me tell you that you must work in a safe manner, use proper ventilation, and always use safety equipment including protective clothing and a suitable mask. You are responsible for your own safety.

Removing The Paint

To do a really good job, all paint must be removed from the metal. An old outdoor glider will usually have been repainted several times, so you will have several coats of paint to remove. There are several methods you can use:

1) Paint Stripper is one method. Different brands have different formulas so it is important to follow the instructions on the can. Basically, paint stripper will soften the paint so you can scrape it off. You must be prepared with a receptacle for the soften paint. This can be messy but if you are organized and work in a pattern you should not have much trouble. Make further applications as necessary to sure you remove all the paint. Use further steps as instructed in the product directions on the can. Dispose of the removed paint according to local waste disposal guidelines.

2) Sanding is another method. Using a grinding sander and coarse sand paper, use light pressure and sand away the paint. Using light pressure is important because you can sand through the metal, especially the bottom apron area. Rust might have taken hold so take it very easy. Sand the entire glider as much as possible.

You will not be able to get into the corners and crevasses with a standard sander pad. So, when you are finished with the standard pad, switch to a sanding wheel which will allow you to get into crevasses. When you are complete, dust off the glider very well using some mineral spirits.

Priming

It should take about 10 cans of spray gray primer. Using a constantly moving motion, spray the entire glider with the primer. Make sure all areas are well covered.

Make sure it dries completely before you proceed. This will usually take an hour, longer if you have very high humidity.

Painting

A vintage metal glider will look best with a two-tone paint job. You will need:

  • 2 rolls of masking tape,
  • About 10 cans of the primary color spray paint (the outer areas),
  • About 5 cans of secondary color spray paint (the inner areas), and
  • About 4 cans of clear spray coating.

Mask off the inner areas of the outdoor glider, and then spray paint the outer areas with the primary color. Remove the masking tape immediately to prevent chipping.

Allow the paint to completely dry.

Mask off the outer areas allowing a little lap over, and then spray paint the inner areas with the secondary color. Remove the masking tape immediately to prevent chipping.

Allow the paint to completely dry.

Then spray the clear coating on the entire glider. Use three coats of clear coating to give a rich look.

Allow the paint to completely dry.

You are now finished. You now have a beautiful newly painted metal porch glider.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Switching Your Electric Company?

If your business electricity prices are outrageous, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to change your utility provider. What if your contract was just automatically renewed by the carrier and beyond that, the rates just increased!

Do you have any options or are you simply stuck with no options?

Relax! It’s possible to change to another carrier but before you do, let’s go through some of the pros and cons of switching.

First a look at the advantages:

Rates – By changing your electricity carrier you may be able to realize a cheaper rate. Who doesn’t want to save money in this economy?

Tariffs – You may be eligible for some tariffs if you switch to a new company such as discounts or price guarantees depending upon the plan you choose.

Introductory Specials – A new carrier may provide offers for new customers only and often these rates are very low, keeping your cash flow available for other business expenses.

Service – If you’re constantly calling your service carrier due to disruption of service, a new company may offer better, more reliable service with less interruption.

Bundles – Dual energy carriers may be able to not only offer you great electricity rates but gas as well. If your business relies on gas and electric, by bundling these services with one company, you can save money on payments, paper, postage and bookkeeping.

If you think you’re convinced about switching, what about the disadvantages?

Automatic Renewals – Many electric company contracts include automatic renewals, especially after the introductory period is over. Very often, a rise in rates may come with these renewals.

Dual Fuel Discounts – Having the same company for both your electric and gas needs may be a disadvantage too. If you don’t use much gas and mainly rely on electric power, the base rates on a gas/electric bundling package may be higher than if you choose two separate companies.

Discounts – If you do decide it’s time to change companies and don’t ask about tariffs, programs with the best savings or other discounts, the company representative may not offer them readily. You will need to be prudent about asking the right questions to realize top savings.

So, there are pros and cons to leaving your current electric company and joining with another. One route to take if you determine the pros outweigh the cons is to seek out a company that specializes in finding business energy savings free and does all the research for you.

These organizations take the headache out of researching the many electric providers out there, making your change an easy transition.

How To Become A Christian Recording Artist

I have been asked by a few friends to compile a list of things that you need to do in order to make a living at Christian music. So, below you will find my personal opinions on what you need to do to succeed. I will warn you that these are my opinions and not the only way to succeed. There are always exceptions to the rule. However, these things have worked for me and thus I will share what I know. I am not going to sugar-coat anything so if you are easily offended, my apologies already. Before I start, let me dispel a few myths.

Myth #1 If I had a record label to support me, I could be full-time

So, So, So Wrong. I have a better idea, go max out all your credit cards, take out a huge loan, borrow money from your family and live off that while you build your career in music. What? No takers? Why not? In effect, that is exactly what you are doing with the label. You are living off of money that isn’t yours. When you are out busting your butt touring to support your new CD, guess where the income goes? It goes to pay back that money they gave you to live on. I am going to say this once, STOP CHASING A DEAL! I did it for years. When I finally stopped and focused on making my music my business, the record deal found me. What you would be offered as a no-name/no-momentum band will be crap anyways. Go out and sell 10,000 copies of your self-produced demo and then we can talk about record deals and if they make sense. Until then, shut up and play.

Myth #2 I can just play churches/Christian events and survive

How can I put this? Christians are cheap! For the most part, Christians are not going to give you the financial support you need to survive. This will vary by region but all-in-all people think that ministry = free. Be careful how you present yourself to not get pigeon-holed here. You can be an artist that is Christian as well as a Christian artist. Let the music speak for itself, and when the opportunity presents itself, share what’s on your heart. If you try to bill yourself as only a Christian artist, you will not be able to play enough to survive.

The fact is I can go play 3 hours of cover songs at a bar and make more money than taking a love offering from 200 people. Shocked? Don’t be. It is sad but true. Be open to playing where you are needed, where your message is needed. If churches can’t sustain themselves financially, how can they sustain you? The research tells us that 2% of people who attend church actually tithe (the full 10%). Those are not the kind of odds I want to bet my family’s well being on.

On to the Top 5 list:

1) Be Competent

I heard Billy Joel once say that the reason he has been successful for so long is that he is competent. Most musicians are not as competent as they can be and thus fizzle out faster. If singing is your thing, take lessons, improve, study, practice! The same can be said for your respective instrument. If you are only OK at playing, OK isn’t good enough for full-time. There are plenty of mediocre musicians doing gigs for free that make it harder for you to make a living. So, be better! Be much better. The back half of this is to accept the Truth. If your parents tell you that you are great, get a second opinion. If strangers come up to you after hearing you play and fawn over your music, now you are talking!

2) Be Unique

There are many good performers out there. What will separate you from the pack? Is it your vocal style? Your guitar playing? There needs to be something that makes you, you! Whether it be using loops, a different tuning, a particular look or whatever; keep people watching and wanting to see what you are going to do next. A great resource for creating memorable moments is Tom Jackson seminars. I have had Tom’s home course for 4 years and refer to it often. I build my set lists around his formulas. Guess what, it works! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just research and study wisely. Find yourself before others find you.

3) Have a Great Recording

So, you have practiced hard, prepared a good show and created moments to remember, now what? If you do these things well enough, others will want to remember as well. You need a recording of yourself. This is the first true key to Full-Time. A good recording will get you gigs, a bad recording will not. Should you record in your home studio or go to a larger one? Good question. My experience is that most of us do not have the talent to create a good recording at home. Please note, good equipment does not equal good recording. You can have all the bells and whistles, but if you don’t know how to use them, you are wasting money.

I used to have great equipment at home but I didn’t know crap about using it to its full potential. I sold all of it and used that money to record with professionals. The results were fantastic and enabled me to have a quality product that was a true representation of what I sounded like. I used that CD to send to venues and book gigs. There is no doubt that it helped me to go full-time. A quick word about recording budgets, if you have a $1000 to record as your budget, do fewer songs with better production. A great 3-song demo is much more valuable than an average 12 song LP. You will sell many more at $5 each if they are great quality. The great quality will also get you attention of industry folks as well. Any prayer of radio play, etc. will only happen if the quality is great!

4) Be a Publicity Hound

You need to take every opportunity to promote yourself. Even the smallest opportunities can birth bigger and better chances to play. I started playing anywhere I could, parties, churches, youth groups, restaurants, charity events, business functions, bars, prisons, you name it and I’ve been there. Have a nice handout to give to people. Places like Club Flyers can print you thousands of post cards and posters very inexpensively. Use these to give out to everyone at gigs. If there is another band playing in your area that has the same style as you, go to the gig and hand out your material as people leave the venue. What?! Commando style? Yes, a full frontal assault on your prospective audience. Don’t be an ass. Use your head, be enthusiastic and invite people to your next gig. Go visit your local radio station and offer to play for any events they might have coming up. Many times they have a charity event they would love entertainment for. You need to go looking for it. If you can afford it, hire someone like Ariel Hyatt at Ariel Publicity. She does an absolutely incredible job on a 3-month publicity campaign for about a thousand bucks. In the publicity world, that is dirt cheap. She can obtain press, reviews, radio play and is a wealth of knowledge to help you promote yourself. Heck, she even got us playing live on Sirius Satellite Radio! One thing is for sure, if you are going to wait around for the opportunities to come flooding in, you are not full-time material. Sorry.

5) Think out of the box

This phrase is overused but it does hold true. I have done several things that many would never have thought of to survive. For instance, I played a Holiday Inn once a month in their restaurant/bar. I played 40+ cover songs over 3 hours. My arrangement was that they pay me in Priority Points. These internal points are funny money for the hotels. Giving you 20-30,000 points is nothing to them. However, it is 2-3 free nights at any Holiday Inn for you. This is very valuable when you are on the road touring. Limiting expenses is the key to success. For the hotel, it is free entertainment. For you, it is free lodging.

A win-win situation for all. I also played many coffeehouses around the US. One of the coffeehouses I played also was a roaster, i.e. they roast their own beans and make their own brands. I offered to bring samples of their coffee to all the houses I play and drop them off. If the venue places an order for coffee, the roaster covers my lodging and meals for the trip. Pretty sweet right? Necessity is the mother of invention.

If you truly want to make your living performing, all of the above will help. However, if you are not willing to risk it all, don’t bother. I don’t want to rain on your parade and I understand we all have obligations. But if God has put a true calling in your life, there is nothing that should stand in your way. It is too easy to find excuses. I did it for years. And I was miserable playing part-time and experiencing small successes. Every second I wasn’t doing what God put on my heart, I felt disobedient. If you don’t feel the same way, that same indescribable pain that is in your heart, the pain that affects everything in your life, your work, marriage, relationships, etc.

Full-time isn’t for you. And you know what, that is ok. Accept the truth if God calls you to part time ministry. Make the most of it. You can not force God’s will. But for those of you who know that it is all or nothing. I salute you and pray that God gives you the courage to answer the call and leave all reason behind. I’ll see you on the road!

Modern Warehouse Construction Techniques

Warehouse construction contractors are increasingly designing multi-functional facilities that are safe and comfortable for users and aesthetically appealing. This translates to increased productivity, cost savings, enhanced corporate image and consequently, more profits. Choice of construction technique is therefore of essence during the planning phase of warehouse construction.

Techniques Used in Modern Warehouse Construction

Warehouses are often large structures that may require ample investment and time to complete. With modern construction techniques however, these structures can be put up cost effectively and in no time, an appealing aspect especially for businesses that need the space within the shortest time possible. Techniques such as pre-engineered buildings, prefabricated steel and tilt up construction buildings are durable, modern-looking and take a relatively short time to complete.

Prefabricated Steel Buildings

The components used in prefabricated steel construction come as complete kits from the manufacturer. These are then set up according to the design of the building within a short time to complete the structure.

Many commercial applications such as warehouses, hangars, call centres and garages are constructed using this technique. Because the materials allow a lot of flexibility, this technique is ideal for warehouses that store goods requiring both enclosed and open space or extremely high rooftops to allow easy movement of huge consignments.

Post-Frame Construction

Also known as timber framing, this technique uses engineered wood frame system. Wood columns and posts are implanted in the ground or mounted onto a concrete foundation. Other framing components are then attached to create a framework onto which other components such as the wall girts and roof are attached. The sturdy wooden columns support the rest of the framing components to create the building.

Post-frame construction is a light-weight, flexible, sustainable and cost effective technique used in many modern commercial and residential applications including warehouses and others such as convenience stores, garages, strip-malls, office complexes and many others. The wood frames can support a variety of materials for interior finishing and exterior facade including brick, stone, steel and vinyl among others. This gives the owner a wider choice regarding the finishing.

Tilt Up Construction

This technique is popular in the US and is commonly used for commercial applications. It basically involves constructing wall panels horizontally and then mounting them up in place on a concrete slab foundation. Footings attached all around the slab are used to secure the wall panels in place.

The wall panels are created by first constructing a mould from pieces of wood that are joined together. The dimensions of the mould determine the size of the wall panels and openings are left on the wall panels for doors and window installation. Once the mould construction is complete, concrete is poured in and left to cure.

The moulds are then removed and the concrete wall panels are tilted up and positioned in place on the foundation by a crane. The panels have embeds attached to them that secure the panel to the footing. Finishing is then applied to complete the structure. Tilt-up construction is relatively quick. Experienced contractors can erect as many as 30 panels in day.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Whole House Water Filter

With all the talk about problems in our drinking water supply, you are probably interested in making sure your water if pure and free of contaminants. Therefore, you should be looking at buying a water filter. However, there are many water filters to choose from and it is confusing. We encourage you to look at the best water filter type available, which is the whole house water filter.

So you may wonder if a whole house water filter is right for you. Is it right for your home? If you own a home, it is a good fit. It is a little harder to manage if you are renting but can be done. First, you should look at the pros and cons of water filters and the whole house systems in particular. Below are a few of the pros and cons you should know about.

As for the pros or plus sides to whole house water filters, one is that they can keep an entire home clean with just one system. This is ideal for homes with many showers and faucets. For example, did you know that chlorine could get in your skin through steam in the shower faster than it can by you drinking it? That is why it is important to have your shower heads protected as well as your faucets. You do not want to bathe in chlorine any longer.

Another plus side to using a whole house water filter is that doing so cancels the need for multiple filters at every outlet in your house. If an individual wants clean water from multiple outlets, a complete home filter is the best way to go. Otherwise, one would need to put a filter on every shower and under every faucet. This would mean multiple filters to change often. The costs of this could quickly outweigh the onetime cost of a whole house filter.

While there are many pros to the whole house water filter system, there are cons too. One is the cost of having it professionally installed. Although this is usually part of the cost of buying the filter and a onetime cost, it can be several hundred dollars to have done correctly. You need some experience with plumbing and soldering to do it right and most people do not have that experience. Buying from a good dealer or manufacturer will at least keep that cost at a minimum.

Speaking of costs, the costs of buying a home filtration system can be expensive, but it is also important to remember what you are getting. As previously stated, some homeowners end buying filters for several sinks in the home. When compared over time, the costs are in favor of the whole home system. With water units for the entire home there are filter media changes only once every ten years or so. With under counter water filters the filter cartridge replacements may be every three months or so. If you have three under counter filters, that could be $90 every three months. With those filters, if you don’t replace the cartridges the filters run inefficiently. Moreover, no shower heads are protected. Those would need even more filters and cartridges at additional costs.

While whole home water filters are becoming more popular, they are still finding only a limited consumer base. This is probably because filters are a need more than a want. People do not always buy what they need over what they want if the need is not immediate in their minds. And because there are so many different types of water filters out there it is confusing. Many people do not know what they need exactly so they do nothing. That is why we encourage you not to leap into buying a filter too quickly. Get educated first. Ask questions and learn about the following before you buy. Find out about filter capacity. Little filters clog faster than big ones. Learn all about filter cartridge replacement costs and maintenance, installation costs, back washing features, water channeling within a water filter, the best media used in water filters, reverse osmosis and its limits and the difficulty of fluoride removal. The best decision you can make will depend on how well-informed you are so do your due diligence thoroughly. In addition, you might want to get a water analysis done of your tap water. That way you know exactly what contaminants are present within your water so you can properly deal with removing them.

As touched on above, there are a number of pros and cons to buying and using whole home water filter systems. What you will want to consider doing is applying the pros and cons to your personal wants and needs.

Wireless Keyboards – Advantages and Disadvantages of a Wireless Keyboard

We all know what an irritation loose wires all over the place can be, not to mention how hazardous. Some of us may even get confused as to which plug goes into which socket. Thanks to the current technology we no longer have to worry about that anymore.

Technology has come up with a new type of keyboard which is no different from the normal keyboard. The only main difference is that the latter uses infrared beams to transfer typed data to the computer.

According to the Free Online Dictionary, Infrared beams are basically electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths that are longer than visible light but shorter than radio waves. The computer has a radio frequency receiver or a Bluetooth antenna which receives the data transmitted to it by the keyboard. When using the wireless keyboard, it should be placed in such a way that the receiver is within range of the infrared beam.

Just like with any other equipment, wireless keyboards have both their pros and cons. The most common advantage would be the reduced clutter and increased amount of space. Most of us can imagine wistfully what our office desks or home tables may look like without the wires all over the place.

The amount of clutter may further more be reduced by introducing a wireless mouse too. They are particularly safe where those of us who are prone to accidents are concerned. Also the space now available may be put to a different use.

Additionally, due to the flexibility these keyboards have, they allow the user more comfort and less strain. This is helpful for those who have to sit in one position for a long period of time. Needless to say it would reduce the hospital bills where backaches and joint pains are concerned. The installation is also much simpler.

Without all the wiring there is less confusion and less time is consumed which would otherwise have been used in connecting the various wires. An added advantage is that with wireless keyboards, more than one user can access the same computer at a time. This also saves on time.

The downside however, is that technically upgraded as it may seem, not many models exist in the market and this may limit your search. This would also mean that extra costs will be incurred as wireless keyboards are expensive. Moreover, there have also been reports of reduced functionality of this type of keyboard. The infrared beam may also be interfered with especially when the user is a certain distance away from the computer and an object comes in between then the data transfer is interfered with.

Can You Open a DUI Practice Right Out of Law School?

First of all, yes, law school graduates, I know it is possible to do whatever you want when you get out of law school, assuming you pass the bar exam. What I’m talking about, though, is whether or not you can actually make it happen. Can you open a successful criminal or DUI practice when you get out of law school?

As the introduction stated, I am a DUI attorney in Seattle. I opened my own practice one year ago, and have been working hard ever since. I did not open my firm right out of law school, but worked in an environment that was similar to a solo practice with a bunch of mentors. I was paid based on what I made (with a very small salary). I had to be a “rainmaker” from day one.

Here’s the thing about law school. It teaches you a bunch of things. It teaches you how to analyze a problem and build up a strong point of view on one side or the other. It teaches you how to do legal research. And it teaches you (a little bit) about how to write for the law. It fails to teach you several other things, though, that are important when you are opening your own law firm. Things like marketing, real life court procedure, negotiation skills, confidence, how to talk and deal with clients, and how to run a business. All of these are key factors to opening and running a successful law firm.

I understand that for some people right out of school they don’t have a choice about whether or not to open their own shop. And in that case I’d suggest you do whatever you can to learn how to get clients (the most important part of the equation) and dive in head first. You’ve got to be ready to work your butt off to be successful, but if you put the time in it can be done.

If you have the opportunity to work for someone for a couple of years, do it. For me, I’d always dreamed of opening my own DUI law practice. I wanted to be the boss, to make the decisions, to live through the failures and enjoy the successes. But I knew that it would help me in the long run to learn a little bit first. I worked for others for about 4 years before setting out on my own. And I’m glad I did.

I think it’s possible to become a DUI lawyer right out of law school. But to do it right, you need to buckle down, learn a lot, sign up some clients, and jump in the fire.

How to Prevent Your Stretched Ears From Stinking

Ear stretching has been practiced for hundreds of years by indigenous people for various rituals in countries like Africa, Europe, and most recently exploding in North America and Europe. Ear stretching is essentially widening a healed hole in the ear lobe and placing a plug or tunnel in the pierced hole. Choosing to stretch your ears gives you a personal responsibility to take proper care of your piercing. Stinky ear plugs, commonly known as ear cheese, is caused by dead skin cells forming inside the stretched earlobe and compiling on the plug. Ear cheese is a combination of dead skin cells and shampoo/soap products coming together to form a disgusting and smelly discharge. Once this happens, you will need to take the following steps to rid your ears of this horrendous stank.

Step 1- Cleaning Your Plugs

Take your plugs out and wash carefully in a sink with warm water. Use mild liquid soap to wash all sides and clean the jewelry thoroughly. When finished, use a paper towel to dry and keep covered. Make sure you do not leave in shower or sink as possible recontamination can occur. For organic plugs like wood, special oils like JoJoba can assist in properly cleaning special materials.

Step 2- Cleaning Earlobes

First, lather both hands together with warm water and clean with anti-bacterial soap. Then in a circular motion, use one finger to rub the inside of your stretched lobe. Make sure to rub and clean all dead skin cells in earlobe with plenty of anti bacterial soap and water. If your lobes are not big enough for your finger, then try using a Q-tip to clean inside. Make sure to completely dry lobes inside and out with a new, clean paper towel to prevent trapping bacteria.

Step 3- Re-inserting your Plugs

Once the inside of the lobes has been cleaned and dried, immediately insert plugs back into your stretched lobes. Recently cleaned plugs and ear jewelry can easily pick up bacteria while air drying in sinks or showers, so it’ important to do this quick. Wipe all remaining water surrounding your piercing with a clean cloth or paper towel. If your lobes need lubrication when re-inserting plugs, try massaging vitamin E oil on them.

Many cleaning agents like alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can provide to be too harsh for ear piercing and stretching. We recommend soaking piercings and plugs 1-2 times daily in mild saline solution with warm water and non-iodized sea salt. Following these easy-to-do steps on a daily basis can prevent stinky stretched ears and stop ear cheese.

The Music Market and a Change in Demand – What’s Happening to the Music Industry?

Lately it seems more and more that the recording industry is losing its power.

A statistical overview of the market today is illuminating. The 2008 end of the year shipment statistics report by the Recording Industry Association of America shows an increase of 28.1% in digital units sold between 2007 and 2008 and a 30.1% increase in dollar value. This is due to the rising sales of digital albums and singles, and to downloads of music videos.

While digital performance royalties increased 74% between these two years and US authors society saw revenues and distributions rise for the 2008/09 financial year, physical sales of recorded music decreased heavily between 2007 and 2008, with a 24.7% plunge in CD shipments, a 71% drop of CD singles sales and a 54% free fall for DVD videos and music videos. Total units sold in 2008 were 26.1% less than in 2007 and the revenue decreased by 28%!

In 2008, physical products still counted for 68% of total shipments, the rest being digital. This is of course changing at a rapid rate, as in 2007 the comparable data was 77% and 23%, respectively. Total dollar value fell by 18.2% in 2007-08. Still, analysts concluded that in the past five years the decline in physical sales grew at a much faster pace than the increase in digital sales.

This change in demand towards digital music has not yet fulfilled the promise of restoring the market back to the golden ‘nineties. There are, ostensibly, three additional elements that are holding back industry revenues.

First, there is a shift from full album purchases to single song downloads. Music albums were either complete products or bundles of ten to twelve songs with two or three “hits”. Consumers who only wanted these hit songs had no choice but to get the whole album, allowing the record labels to wrap a small product in a bigger and more expensive package. However, the era of digital downloads brought up to the surface the culture of single song sales. Naturally, this affected total revenue negatively.

Second, there were many different substitute goods for recorded music that exploded with the new technology, especially video games and online movie sales. The Internet, of course, made much more entertainment options available to many more people at a much cheaper price. “The show was stolen” from recorded music and consumers’ time and money distributed differently to the detriment of recorded music.

Thirdly, the most obvious factor affecting the demand of legally produced recorded music is the availability of pirated product. Illegal downloads, it is said, still represents 95% of all downloads. If that percentage were lowered even by a little, the revenue grossed by the labels would rise significantly!