Adding Or Upgrading an Audio Video System in Your RV

When integrating an audio video system into a recreational vehicle special care must be taken. There are a lot of considerations you need to think about before you decide what type of system is right for you and your family. With today’s manufactures offering 12volt standard and marine grade systems, adding indoor/outdoor audio was never easier. Since most RV’s and campgrounds have a 110volt supply, this gives you the ability to integrate home AV equipment with your 12volt systems.

We should first talk about your options and what you may want your system to do. Video is one of the main components of a good RV system, considering how much time is spent inside your RV (bad weather, preparing meals, entertaining the kids and for motor homes when your driving). With the ability to source audio and video signals you can have one central media player device and display it’s contents in multiple zones.In other words you can watch a movie on all TV’s or watch different shows on each TV independently. So the children can play games or view their shows in their room and you can listen to music or watch a movie in the living room and even finish it in your bedroom. With the introduction of marine grade flat panel TV’s, it’s even possible to have video outside under your awning. There are many options for your video source, most trailer parks offer cable TV. Satellite TV is another good option and can be set up on site, or a mobile dish system can be installed on the top of your RV, this is a great option for motor coaches where your passengers have the ability to watch TV as you drive. You may also use a digital antenna to receive free broadcasting where available. Now that we have covered network broadcasting, let’s talk about media players. A typical source would be a DVD/CD or Blu-ray player, remember when making your choice that you can play all types of audio and video on a Blu-ray but can’t play Blu-ray on a DVD/CD player. A media sever is a compact hard drive unit that allows you to store movies, albums, photos,etc., these are a great option if you already have all of your media on your home computer, just upload to the server and take it with you. The navigation of the media server is similar to an iPod screen and is displayed on the television.

Now that we’ve covered video let’s talk about audio. Most new RV’s come with a stock stereo system of some sort, but the quality isn’t there (if it is turned up loud it crackles and sounds distorted). This isn’t as bad as it sounds, often with the addition of a good amplifier and replacement of the stock speakers this problem is resolved. Care must be taken when performing this type of installation, make sure you know what wires go where, and don’t add extra speakers without powering them correctly. Adding outdoor speakers is one the most common upgrades. Before doing so make sure that you buy the correct speakers, they must be marine grade to with stand the elements. Just like the video system your audio can be sourced. So before you buy, think about what your trying to accomplish. One thing often overlooked is how loud you really need your system to be, remember most RV parks have rules and quiet time so spending lots of money on a killer audio system may be a waste and would have been better spent on another flat panel, media server, etc..

Installation is as important as the equipment you choose to buy. Unless you have done this type of work before it’s highly recommended that you have it done professionally. Remember you will be dealing with two different electrical system both 12V and 110V, serious damage can occur if things aren’t hooked up correctly. Here at Serious About Sound LLC our technicians can help you with the design and choosing the right products for you and your families needs. We also offer installation of all our maufacturer’s products. We are fully insured and have a secure facility to accommodate most larger size RV’s. If you are a dealer, Serious About Sound can provide you with on site installations. We try to make it easy for dealers to use our services on new and custom ordered RV’s.

Top 7 Car Mods Under $1000

Every car can benefit from modifications, whether the benefit is improved performance or aesthetics; mods can do wonders for your car. The million dollar question is where do you start? There are thousands of different things you can add to your car, but that doesn’t mean you should go out and overkill your new car.

We have compiled a list of the top 7 modifications you can get started with, adding them to your ride without worrying about going over the top, also we have kept in mind that modifying cars is expensive so each mod in this list can be purchased for $1000 or less.

1.Lowering springs.

Slamming a car to the ground can make for some good looks. Not only will the car benefit from its improved looks as a tarmac scraper but nose dive under hard breaking will be greatly reduced, as well as body roll in fast corners. There are three typical options to choose from with regard to upgrading springs to lower a car: lowering springs, coil overs, and shock kits, the choice is yours and will most likely be based on budget.

Expected Cost: $100+

2. Tires and Rims

The mod that could have taken No. 1, rims and tires are one of the most essential car mods out there. Every year you will catch kids in boosted 4 bangers who forgot to buy the most essential mod to compliment such dramatic performance gains… BETTER RIMS AND TIRES. Good rubber and lightweight rims will do wonders to your car as it will help put your power to the pavement as well as significantly improve cornering. You can buy pre-assembled packages online with relative ease, just visit tirerack enter your vehicle specifications and all the rim sizes for your car will populate the screen.

Expected Cost: $800+

3. Aftermarket deck

Stock radio decks are usually not very good, and would not be able to handle quality aftermarket speakers and subs. When it comes to aftermarket decks your choices are endless, with so many different companies delivering quality products your choices really are endless. It comes down to what features are important to you, once you decide between touch screen or conventional, the number of aux/usb inputs, iPod functionality… the list goes on but once you’ve decided on these features your rolling.

Expected Cost: $80+

4. Amp, Speakers, Sub

Now that you’ve got your new feature rich deck you’re going to need some quality speakers, and a decent sub to deliver the premier music experience. When it comes to speakers you are basically going to be shopping for size, and whether or not they have built in tweeters. Once you have your speakers picked out you’re going to need a decent size subwoofer, one 10 inch will usually do good in giving you all that much needed bass… And don’t forget an amp to power it all.

Expected Cost: $350+

5. Steering Wheel

A nice aftermarket steering wheel can really add to the look of an interior. Picking out a steering wheel is pretty simple, just go for a style that you like and away you go. Just keep in mind that cars with airbags will need to have the airbags removed in order to throw in an aftermarket wheel, also certain municipalities may have some things to say about cars with standard safety features (airbags) removed, so make it your due diligence to check before you pick one up.

Expected Cost: $120+

6. Shift Knob

Reasons for changing your shift knob are shared with why you’ve decided to add a new steering wheel… its cool? Just unscrew your old shift knob and find a new one that you like, screw it in and off you go.

Expected Cost: $25+

7. Cold air intake

More airflow in your engine does many things small things for your car. First adding an intake will give you improved throttle response, that you will definitely feel coming off the line. Second, more cold air in your motor means more power (gains will not be huge, expect anywhere from 8hp to as low as 1 or 2hp gains). Lastly an intake will give your car an appealing ‘sucking’ sound as you put on the gas, sound of your engine sucking in a lot more air than with the stock air filter.

Expected Cost: $100+

Top 5 Facts About the George Washington Bridge

Tourists and history buffs alike love George Washington Bridge interesting facts. There are certainly no lack of fun facts about the George Washington Bridge. Here are five of the most unusual.

1. Radio Fans Save Jumper

Howard Stern fans were called into action on December 7, 1994. A young man called Stern’s radio show and announced that he was about to jump from the George Washington Bridge. Westbound listeners stopped their cars and tried to dissuade him. A Port Authority police officer, who also happened to be listening to Stern, rescued the man, then used the would-be jumper’s cell phone to tell Stern and his listeners that the man was safe.

2. Deviations From Flight Plans

Christmas Day of 1965 shocked motorists on the George Washington Bridge as a small plane sputtered down over the westbound lanes. A young pilot had skimped on his pre-flight and left the fuel cap off. An old pilots’ adage is, “A good landing is one you walk away from. A great landing is one where you can use the plane again.” This was a good landing, since the pilot and his passenger walked away with only minor injuries. It fell short of a great landing, though, since the plane was demolished. It also clipped a truck, whose driver must have had fun explaining to his dispatcher why he was late and his rig was damaged. Motorists got another aviation surprise on January 15, 2009, when US Airways Flight 1549 came bearing down on them. Pilot Chesley Sullenberger managed to clear the bridge by a mere 900 feet before ditching in the Hudson.

3. What’s in a Name?

Local newspapers called for a more inventive name than the original Hudson River Bridge. Among their suggestions were Bistate and Mother’s Bridge, Bridge of Prosperity, Gate of Paradise, and Pride of the Nation. It was the children of the New York City schools, however, that managed to lobby for a rechristening in honor of George Washington. The name is particularly apt, since the Manhattan end of the bridge is near Fort Washington, whence Washington once withdrew his forces to Fort Lee – near the New Jersey end of the bridge.

4. World’s Heaviest Traffic

The day the George Washington Bridge was opened, it hosted over 55,000 vehicles, 33,000 pedestrians, and one equestrian on a horse named Rubio. Now the bridge carries roughly 106 million vehicles annually – an average of nearly 300,000 a day, the most of any motor vehicle bridge in the world. Pedestrians, as well as roller skaters and cyclists, still traverse the upper deck.

5. Unintended Dumping Ground

With all that traffic, mishaps are inevitable. Occasionally trucks have overturned and spilled their cargo. Among the unscheduled deliveries were beer, frozen chicken parts, and watermelons. One truck liberated a herd of goats that trotted off down the lanes. Another truck treated motorists and bridge employees to free fertilizer when it failed to contain its load of manure.

Custom Cable Assemblies – 5 Tips for Finding a Sub-Contractor

As with any business partnership, when you are searching for a sub-contractor specializing in custom cable assemblies, you will want to weed out the good from the bad. Contracting a sub-par company will not only cause you stress and aggravation, it can quickly deplete company funds and drive away customers. With those real concerns in mind, here are 5 tips to help you find an excellent custom cable assembly contractor:

1. The first thing to look for in a company is a high level of integrity. Not only is it important that you select an individual or group of people who adhere to moral and ethical principles, they should also be honest every step of the way. This relates to delivering cost-effective solutions that do not compromise laborers, drawing up fair contracts, and giving you top-notch products.

2. A second important point to look for in a business partner is experience. The more experience a company has, the more you can learn from their track record and reputation in the custom cable industry. With experience comes knowledge about not only products, but services such as storage, packaging and delivery. Another benefit of working with a company has been around for a while is that they have more experience dealing with customer service and effective communication.

3. Of course, a contractor can have all the integrity and experience in the world, but if the quoted price is out of your budget, you will not be able to use them. This is why price is a significant factor to consider when selecting a sub-contractor. To find out if a company’s services and products are within your means it would be prudent to request a quote or ask to speak to a technical specialist about your budget.

4. More and more, it seems like everything can be done online or over the phone; while this is sometimes the case, when it comes to picking up or dropping off your cable assemblies, you should take into account the physical proximity and convenience of a company’s facilities You never know if you might want to meet with a representative or employee in person, and it is best to pick a location that is not out-of-the-way or located on the other side of the country.

5. The last tip for finding the best sub-contractor for you is to ask for references. You can do this in person, or by email or phone. A more informal way to collect references is to ask others in the industry what their experience has been dealing with a particular contractor. When researching online you can also check to see if a contractor adheres to international and industry standards, as well as their credentials and certifications.

By following these 5 tips, you will have an easier time of employing a high quality custom cable assembly sub-contractor. Every tip is important, but there is also something to be said about chemistry. If you don’t feel confident about a business relationship, then move on to the next option until you find the right fit for you.

Best Possible Solutions For Your TV Mounting Needs

Setting up a television or a projector is not something that everybody can do correctly. The same goes for cabling and mounting in the right way. Wrong mounting of your television set can lead to damages and losses and this makes it very important to rely on professionals to handle your needs. Here is a list of things that professional communication companies can do for you as far as your TV mounting needs are concerned.

1. They will handle any kind of projector or television setup, mounting and cabling in a professional way. Through the services, you will enjoy a clutter-free look within your space and at the same time be sure of the safety of your TV. You will not have to worry about messy cables all over the area, especially if you have kids around.

2. They will offer you flat TV mounting options to suit your needs. They include concealed cabling to other equipment that you might have within the area such as speakers and DVDs. The connections will in the end offer you a system that is well crafted and an aesthetic pleasure for you. Your options will be endless when all equipment is conjoined in one system.

3. The professionals will offer you different TV mounting ranges. They include swivel wall mounting which is amazing since you can enjoy watching your TV from any given area or direction in the house. The other option that you can choose is ceiling mounting among others to match your individual preferences.

4. They will offer you the right cabling and installation hence completing your purchase excitement without any risks. The professional installation will for surely optimize the performance of your TV allowing you to enjoy it more.

5. They will offer proper TV and speaker mounting so that you can get the best sound quality every time. Proper placement of the two can determine the surround audio that you have in the home and the experts know just how to distribute it to get the best results. You will also not suffer any pixilation issues when your TV is mounted by the experts.

6. Apart from mounting your TV, the experts will also offer diagnosis for reception problems. The truth is that they come with all important tools to provide solutions as they arise. The changes made to your TV position can affect its performance, but the professionals know just what to do to leave you with the best reception possible.

7. They have the skills and the experience they need to handle your project fast and easy regardless of the individual preferences that you have. Through such skills and qualifications, you can also be sure that your set is safe and secure since they know just how to handle delicate electronics during the mounting process which would ordinarily be tedious to an individual who is not trained. You are given the chance to enjoy your investment in the best possible way without any risks and worries.

Parenting Tools – Lessons From a Hammer

Have you ever tried to put in a screw with a hammer?

It might be possible, but most would agree it will take some forethought, patience and creative thinking to make it happen. In fact, many would reason, that it would be worth it to take the time and find something better suited to the job, like a knife, pliers, or (ideally) a drill / screwdriver, rather than use the hammer at all.

In other words … just because you have a hammer in your toolbox, does not mean that's all you're ever going to need or that it will work for every situation.

Yet, when it comes to parenting this is what so many of us do. We walk around with several tools in our parenting pack then only pull out one or two 'favorites' to deal with nearly every situation we face with our kids.

Now let me be clear here – this article is not about blame or judgment of any parents. We all deal with this challenge to a certain degree. It's about arming parents with awareness, because when we understand why we do things – or even that we do things – we have a chance to make positive changes in life.

Few of us have been taught to really look at our parenting pack, sort through the tools and figure out which ones will work best in any given situation. We're not taught why the old tools keep popping up, how to transfer new ones into our pack or why new tools always feel so awkward.

So let's start by taking stock of what tools you might already have …

The most prominent tools in your parenting pack will be those that were used on you when you were growing up. It does not matter if you loved or hated the tools that were used to 'control' you – if they were used more than a few times on you or resulted in a strong emotional response, they will most definitely be in your parenting pack now .

The only way to change that is to make a conscious decision to do so and to learn to notice when the tool you've picked up is not one you would really like to be using. This is impossible to do on autopilot and can be a challenge even with awareness.

What's shocking for many parents is when they realize that they are using old, ineffective tools on a regular basis, despite having knowledge and training of all kinds of current and effective tools. Often, they've been trained for work or as a volunteer in areas like conflict resolution, negotiation, assertiveness training, group management and leadership skills, but never even thought about using it with their kids.

This is like ignoring the screwdriver and actually choosing to put the screw in with the hammer!

This happens for a variety of reasons, but the most common is because when we reach in our parenting pack we are looking for a tool that matches the emotional intensity of the moment. So while natural consequences might be a perfect answer, we may find ourselves grounding our child for a week instead and messing up a whole bunch of our family plans in the process.

In other words, without conscious thought we find ourselves grabbing our favorite hammer to complete a task that would be much better handled with a wrench or a pair of pliers.

Sometimes we have a good tool (ie consequences, time-out, clear directive …), but use it so much our kids tune it out and fail to learn the real message behind the discipline. For the parents, overuse creates habit and habit result in our using autopilot to conserve energy. From the child's perspective, overuse creates boredom and a desire to test.

My message to parents is to start to notice the tools you are using, when you are using them and whether or not they are working effectively. The favorite tools I come across most often are; grounding, privilege removal, spanking, yelling, or threatening one of the above.

Then remember your lessons from a hammer …

  1. When you parent on autopilot, you are most likely to pull out your favorite tool, rather than the best one for the job.
  2. If you do not have very many tools to choose from, it's time to start building up your inventory. Although resources can help with this, you do not have to read a book or take a course to do it. Start by unleashing your own creative thinking and see what you can come up with.
  3. Even a great tool can miss the mark and cause injury if you are not paying attention when using it. Think about what you are trying to achieve and if a tool is doing more harm than good, take a deep breath to calm yourself and either try again later, or choose another tool.

3 Reasons to Consider Mosaics in the Home

Many people when considering interior design overlook the possibility of using mosaics in the home. Considering all the alternatives available, why would someone choose mosaics to spruce up their interior designs?

The motivations and the rationale vary from cost to the ability of fads to come and go. Plenty of people think about using something different, something unique in their home designs, but put it off and do not ever actually commit themselves to a mosaic art piece.

If you an individual that has considered using stone mosaics before but not taken the decision to find out more about them then here’s 3 good reasons to consider, that you should take into consideration:

Firstly, mosaics have been around since the early 8th century and designs range from the simple inlaid stone designs to masterpieces adorning churches and cathedrals. The point here is they never go out of fashion and will always reflect the owners passions and inspirations particularly if you consider a custom mosaic..

Secondly, genuine mosaics are made from natural stone which does not crack of fade in the sunlight. This makes them ideal for areas of them home that are subjected to mother natures elements such as swimming pools and outdoor patio areas.. Furthermore, Once your mosaic art piece has been installed you can forget about upkeep and maintenance. Mosaics are in it for the long term and require little upkeep other than a quick brush down every now and then.

Thirdly, Many people are put off having a customised mosaic art piece commissioned for fear of a high cost burden. This couldn’t be further from the truth since the cost of a traditional genuine mosaic is much more competitively priced than you may think.

This means that almost anyone whom is looking to enhance the areas of the home such as kitchens, bathrooms, pools and outdoor areas can look at mosaics in order to find a cost efficient way to enhance the beauty of their home surroundings.

Let history decide

As I mentioned in the early part of this article, our rich history has been embellished with mosaics for many centuries and frankly, that is a good enough reason to bring this rich history into your home. Don’t be one of the crowd, many people when considering interior design overlook the possibility of using mosaics in the home and miss out on something quite special and unique to your tastes – don’t let that be you.

How to Acid Stain Gypcrete Or Any Gypsum Based Underlayments

These days coloring the concrete surfaces both old and new using acid stains (also called reactive stain or chemical stain) is very popular because of its unique looks and cost effectiveness. Acid staining is a process in which an aqueous solution of metallic oxides and inorganic acid is sprayed over an existing concrete surface. The acidic solution of metallic oxide reacts with lime (Calcium Hydroxide) present in the concrete yielding insoluble, colored compounds that become a permanent part of the concrete. Therefore, one of the basic conditions where coloring concrete using acid stains is going to work is the presence of lime in the concrete. Quiet often people who have just bought a home or condo, remove the carpeting or vinyl tile, and find something underneath which they believe is concrete. When they spray the acid stain or reactive stain and wait to get disappointed because they do not see any change in the color on their concrete surface. This is because the substrate that looks like concrete is in fact gypsum based ‘Gypcrete’. Builders often use this on upper floors to level out areas of sub flooring and provide a good base for other types of floor coverings. Unfortunately, staining Gypcrete does not produce any desirable results since it does not contain any lime; moreover it is too soft and easily abraded. Therefore ‘Gypcrete’ cannot be used as a wear layer.

Since Gypcrete surfaces cannot be used as a wear layer and acid stains do not work on them, it is usual practice to apply a 1/16inch polymer modified concrete resurfacing material (also called micro-topping or skim coat). Please find below the steps involved in resurfacing Gypcrete and acid staining with a micro-topping or skim coat –

a. Sweep the Gypcrete surface and dry vacuum the surface thoroughly. Rake out the joints where drywall meets the floor. Clean the adjoining areas even those not being resurfaced with a micro-topping.

b. Install masking paper (plastic) at least 48″ high on the surrounding walls. Spray a light mist of water just to damp the surface (DO NOT FLOOD!)

c. Using a brand new rayon mop, apply the first coat of acrylic primer (Cp1000) after diluting it with water @ 1:1 ratio. After waiting for at least 60 minutes, apply second coat of diluted acrylic primer and let it cure overnight (or 10 hours at least) before proceeding to the next step.

d. Apply another coat of acrylic primer, this time non-diluted and let it dry for 30-60 minutes. The third coat of primer can be applied using garden sprayer (i.e., available in Home Depot or Lowes).

e. Apply a thin coat (1/16″) coat of micro-topping or polymer modified overlay using magic trowel. Please follow the link for specific instruction on application of polymer modified micro-topping, Sgraffino. Allow the micro-topping to cure for at least 24 hours. In damp and cold conditions (basements), wait for at least 48 hours before proceeding to the next step.

f. Apply acid stain on the completely dried micro-topping. Please follow the link for specific instruction on application of an acid stain, Patinaetch. Allow the acid stained surface to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

g. The micro-topping needs to be protected with a good quality sealer. Apply one coat of water based epoxy sealer, Perdüre E32 followed be another coat of water based polyurethane, Perdüre U46. Allow at least 6 hours between the application of epoxy primer and polyurethane topcoat. The sealed surface will be ready for use after 24hours. Of course, it takes at least 3 days for full cure.

Morris Graves, Northwest Mystic Painter

Despite a prodigious creative output spanning six decades and being universally celebrated as one of the most important American painters of 20th century modern art, Morris Graves, who died in 2001, not only remains an enigma but is relatively unknown, especially to younger generations. In part, this is attributable to the fact that Graves himself retreated from the public stage; he eschewed fame. He believed that his artistic contribution had significance only as part of a larger vessel of creative visionary expression.

So it is not surprising that throughout his life he chose not to attend the openings of his exhibitions. Even as Graves continued to retreat into his beloved privacy, constructing his homes and gardens and making art, the extraverted world of abstract expressionism exploded in New York with bolder, brighter, and bigger images and their celebrity-seeking creators, all antipodal to the contemplative, visionary world Graves inhabited.

Graves was a true visionary, a painter who sought that which is eternal. But the search, however, was not without conflict. The burgeoning encroachment of industry and the machines and mentality of human conflict continued to invade Graves’ habitats. He continually sought out places of solitude, both in the United States and in Ireland, finally establishing a remote habitat hidden in the ancient forests of Northern California. His path as a “solitary romantic” from which he breathed in the communion of life’s extraordinary essence was one of natural wonder. From within his gardens, the universe spoke. The inhabitants-small animals, birds, and flora-fed his emplastic powers of cognition, the unifying gift of the imagination.

Recently, I was conversing with an artist who, a decade earlier, had received her bachelor’s degree in art from a credible New York university. When I mentioned the name Morris Graves, she appeared perplexed. She thought the name vaguely familiar, but she had no idea when or where he had lived and knew nothing about his work. Morris Cole Graves, who was born in Fox Valley, Oregon in 1910, was a self-taught artist who became, next to Mark Tobey, the most important visionary artist of the Northwest School. In the early 1940s, Graves’ work was selected to be exhibited as part of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Americas 1942”. This event catapulted him to international recognition. Even so, Graves continued to retreat into his beloved privacy, constructing his homes and gardens and making art, while the extraverted world of abstract expressionism exploded in New York with bolder, brighter, and bigger images and their celebrity-seeking creators, all antipodal to the contemplative, visionary world Graves inhabited.

During the Second World War, Graves spent time in a military prison as a conscientious objector. From these early anti-war sentiments evolved his deep interest in and exploration of the philosophies of the Far East, an amalgam of Hinduism, Taoism, and Zen Buddhism-all human constructs, nonetheless reflective of his personal thoughts on the universality and the singularity of nature, the wondrousness of the Way. The imagery that Graves produced was considered unique, but his reasons for making the art were not. They were ancient. For Graves, his animals and flowers represented inner visions of the unconscious, the Atman, symbolic of the potential “self.”

When Morris Graves began his flower paintings of the early seventies, a few critics suggested he had lost his great visual power. They accused him of painting only ‘pretty flowers.’ It no doubt amused him that that is all they saw. Graves’ ability to make palpable the unity of spirit through paint is clearly present in these later works. His form relationships and the inherent interstices, the subtle migration of hues within a single blossom, are things we can and do talk about. The “pneuma” of the art we cannot talk about. We cannot explain. We refer to the painting the way a title refers to the painting, and in fact, I believe, the way the painting itself merely refers to a generative and immutable, creative spirit. The gift is not the painting but the accrued love and generosity of the artist in making the painting and thus it is the act itself that holds the true value. The painting is simply a map for the soul.

2010 marks the centennial year of this remarkable artist. He is no longer here, but, through his paintings, his great longing and love for the ineffable still resonate, binding us one to another.

Galen Garwood

Swag Lamps – What Are They?

The word “Swag” in this lighting context simply means to hang from the ceiling. This definition can be used to incorporate many different lighting fixtures that hang from the ceiling including chandeliers, pendants and others. However, the traditional and most accepted definition is more specific. It strictly points to a fabric lamp shade that has been electrified with one or more electrical sockets/bulbs and hangs from the ceiling usually by a metal chain.

Really good ideas just refuse to go away! Swags were very popular from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. They can be seen on many TV shows and movies from that period. They have remained very popular in many hotels, motels and resorts because they are space saving and economical. Today we are experiencing a huge resurgence in their popularity. They are among the most efficient and economical method of lighting up any area. They are also one of the best reading lights available and can be positioned ideally to put the light right where you want it while saving valuable floor space. They can be direct wired (permanently wired into the ceiling) or they can be portable with a plug in cord just like a table lamp. Swag lamps are being widely used in residential as well as many commercial applications. Large shades are used for large areas and more compact shades for small areas. Swag lamps lend themselves to using a wide variety of light bulb styles especially the very efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. They are truly beautiful with the light beaming through the elegant fabric.

Many features are available such as 1) Pull chain on/off switch 2) In line on/off switch 3) Custom color chain 4) Custom color cord 5) Custom chain and cord length 6) Single or multiple light bulb configuration 7) Chain hung 8) Cord hung 9) Rod hung 10) Diffuser

The shade fabric styles and colors available are nearly endless because practically any lamp shade can be easily made into a portable or direct wire swag lamp.

In summary, swag lamps are very much back in style. They work great near the end of a sofa, behind or beside a chair, over a dining or game table, in a corner, beside or over a bed, over a night stand, over or beside a desk, etc. Use a swag lamp most any place where you want light and you wish to preserve your floor space.

– Jim Hoyle

The Three Sage Kings and the Five Legendary Emperors

Suiren, Fuxi and Shennong are regarded as the Three Sage Kings of ancient China who made personal sacrifices to improve the lives of the people. They are known for one or more unique contributions to mankind.

Suiren who reputedly lived 18,000 years ago discovered how to make fire by drilling wood. This discovering enabled mankind to eat cooked food and use fire to keep warm and ward off wild animals.

Fuxi taught people how to domesticate animals. He also taught them to make nets to catch fish, birds and wild animals and in the process ensure the supply of food all year round. He was also responsible for creating the institution of marriage and the for a 35 string musical instrument. His most important contribution however was the Bagua or Eight Trigram that formed the basis for the all important I Ching or Book of changes.

Shennong, also known as Yandi, invented the ancient rake, spade, plough and sickle and taught people to grow five types of cereals, rice, two types of millet, wheat and beans. He also invented barter trade and further modified Fuxi’s 35 strings musical instrument into a 5 strings one.

However he was best remembered for tasting hundreds of wild herbs to find remedies to treat illnesses. In the process he suffered continually from poisoning and eventually die from eating one too many.

The emperors after Shennong were Huangdi, Zhuanxu, Diku, Yao and Shun and they are collectively known as the Five Legendary Rulers.

Huangdi have many achievements attributed to him. He had good management skills and knows how to use men of ability to help him rule the country and come out with innovations.

He commissioned his subject to develop a written language which contributed to the growth of Chinese Culture. With another he studied the art of healing and compiled “The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic”. Yet with another he developed the 60 year cycle “Jia Zi” calendar that aided in farming.

Huangdi advocated peace and avoided war. During his reign, the people enjoyed peace and prosperity and it ushered in the age of civilization for the Chinese people.

Zhuanxu who succeeded Huangdi was not his son. He was chosen over Huangdi’s many sons because of his outstanding ability. Zhuanxu greatest contribution was to bring law and order to the people plus consolidating the power of the central authority.

After Zhuanxu comes Diku who was a great grandson of Huangdi. Diku was a benevolent king who placed the people’s welfare above self. He created new official posts and ministries with clearly demarcated duties such as the Ministry of Land, Forestry, Water, Metal Ores and Fire. And he personally conducted inspections frequently to ensure that the country was well run. He also further improved the calendar which contributed to farming.

Yao was Diku’s son. He was industrious and benevolent like his father. He further developed the calendar and modified the timing of planting that resulting in bumper harvests.

Shun was Yao’s son in law. Although his mother died when he was very young, and his step mother and father ill-treated him, he remained filial to them. His great virtue helped him to gain fame and he was summoned to King Yao’s service at 30. He eventually married King Yao’s daughter.

Shun drafted the five rules of etiquette and others rules and regulations which the dukes and princes had to observed. He also divided the country into 12 states with each having its own administrator. He continued to implement changes at the administrative level and set up the department of rites, music, farming, mulberry planting, works, water and land.

Shun was succeeded by Yu who founded the Xia Dynasty. Yu was famed for his ability to control flooding but that is another story for another time.

Power Napping For Powerlifters (and Bodybuilders Too!)

Look at everything you do in the gym right now. Think about the tough, brutal and long workouts you endure on a daily basis. Then, look at the foods you shovel down the hatch on a daily basis. Now, look at your results. Think about the gains you’ve made in the gym in the last year. Are they satisfactory? Now, consider what kind of rest you would have seen if you had given your body a separate and individual ‘growth period’ each day in which new muscle was formed!

Plan your next year. Will you continue plodding along at the same slow rate? Are you intrigued to see what kind of powerlifting or bodybuilding gains you can make with a daily ‘power nap’? Naps are a great way to provide your body energy for the second half of the day, as well as to give your body a brief ‘growth period’ in which new muscle growth can occur outside of the normal 8-hour sleep window at night. Bodybuilders grow when we rest, and a mid-day rest is awesome for delivering more new muscle growth.

Before of after? Which time is the best time to nap? Do you wish to sleep before your workout, providing a fresh and well-rested body for the gym? Or is it better to complete your workout and immediately enjoy a big meal rich in intelligent carbs and slow-digesting carbohydrates, and then hit the hay? This question may be answered based upon your available options with work, school, family, etc. However, if you do have the ability to sleep at either time, then you should give both of them a shot. Record your results and decide which time period delivers the best results in the gym!

Making time for a nap may be difficult. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, this should be fairly simple. When the kid sleeps, YOU SLEEP! Granted, you might already be sleeping at the same time out of exhaustion. Use this time to grow, because as you know, your child is already using this time to grow! Just don’t forget to eat before crashing. If you run your own business, as many young bodybuilders do (must be something about that Type-A personality and work ethic), then you should be able to schedule a ‘meeting’ each day around 12:30 and give yourself adequate time to recover from the morning’s

Length of nap-time will depend upon the individual. Some lifters will benefit from 20 minutes, and some will enjoy a full 90 minutes. If you use anabolic steroids, you already recover faster from your workouts, so you may be under the impression that a nap will not do you all that much good. However, you grow more when using steroids, and another growth period during the day can be ideal for this!

Whether you are a natural or a steroid user, a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, the use of power naps will make you bigger and stronger faster than you can imagine!

Common Problems With Scissor Lifts

When using a scissor lift, or any kind powered access equipment, safety should be top priority. Scissor lifts are used in many different industries for providing access and height, as well as lifting and transporting people and goods. They are commonly used in shopping centres, events, factories, warehouses and offices. These aerial work platforms come various different sizes and styles, from narrow compact lifts for where access is limited, to large industrial sized platforms that need to reach up to 20 metres.

As with any equipment that is used to work at an elevated position, there are risks involved with using a scissor lift, but common problems and issues can usually be avoided by following good practice guidelines. Here are a few of the problems you might encounter when using a scissor lift:

Overturning and Tipping

If an aerial work platform (AWP) is set up and used correctly on ground that is suitable, then tipping and overturning should not be an issue. Ground assessments should be carried out before work commences to ensure that ground conditions and ground strength are suitable for the weight of the access machine.

Loose or uneven ground can be a cause for instability. If a scissor lift tips or falls on its side, its operators are likely to be seriously injured, even if they are using safety equipment such as a harness and helmet. Tipping is one of the most common causes of accidents when using an AWP and is often due to misuse, for example driving with the platform elevated, hanging equipment on the safety rails or operators sitting on the guard rails, all of which may affect the balance of the platform.

Tipping and overturning can be avoided by following the safety guidelines in the platform’s manual and paying close attention to any warning lights or alarms on the control panel of the AWP. Worn tyres and components on the lift itself can also be a reason for reduced stability, which is why regular maintenance and repair is essential for the safe use of powered access machinery.

Excessive Load Capacity

If the load capacity of a scissor lift is exceeded, the platform’s motor, supports or balance may be affected, causing machine failure or overturning. Check in your aerial work platform manual to ensure you are adhering to the load capacity. This includes the weight of operators and their tools and equipment. If you need to exceed the maximum capacity, then you probably need to look for a larger scissor lift to accommodate your requirements.

Inappropriate Use

There’s a reason for AWP guidelines – scissor lifts come with ratings according to where they can be safely used – and ignoring these guidelines can lead to serious injury or death. Indoor-rated lifts should not be used outdoors and vice versa, or you run the risk of a broken down platform or a serious accident. Some fuel types are dangerous when used in the wrong environment, and can lead to explosions, fires, leaks and toxic fumes. Always check that the fuel type you are using is safe for the location you are working.

Similarly, using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) for a function it was not designed for is a risky idea. Most injuries and deaths that occur in the powered access industry are caused by operators using a machine for the wrong purpose.

Poor Condition

Scissor lifts and other MEWPs should be regularly maintained and repaired to keep them in good working order. Most powered access rental companies will provide a maintenance package with your hire agreement to keep your machine running well. Check your aerial work platforms every six months to ensure they are working correctly, and never use a scissor lift that is faulty or damaged.

Sales Pitch For Your Cleaning Business Can Be Done in Seconds

When you own your very own house cleaning business, how to run it isn’t the only thing that you should be learning and developing skills at. You should also be able to sell your products and services to your target market very well. That is how things work in your cleaning business marketing schemes. Since you are in the house cleaning business, what you are selling are services, thus using results as the proof of your effectiveness and efficiency. So in order to show to your prospective clients the so-called results, you have to show them pictures and even explain to them a bit on how you managed to achieve such. However, what if you don’t have the luxury of time? Can you still do a sales pitch? The answer is YES. You absolutely can.

The “Elevator Pitch”

Making a sales pitch that takes only seconds is not only possible, but also effective. This is what many would like to call “the elevator pitch”. Notice how quick an elevator ride is? That is how quick your pitch will be too, thus the name given to it. Of course, noting that it is merely the length of the pitch that gained it its name, you don’t have to do this in an elevator exclusively.

So how do you do this? Basically, you prepare this spill beforehand and practice it at home as often as you could. Eventually, you can practice this with family or close friends, and ask them for feedback on it. Consider this as one of the most valuable cleaning business marketing tools you possess for your small business. As time goes, you will have this pitch tattooed on your mind that you can even recite it in your sleep. And that is basically a good thing – for your business, especially.

One-on-One Sales Pitch and Group Pitch

This is quite the easier of the two (compared to the group sales pitch) because you are focusing your pitch only on one person. When going about it, always build rapport first, subtly tell the person what you do, and then you can say your spill. You spill should be beneficial to what the person needs, so beforehand be very observant. Tailor your sales pitch to what you think that person needs because that is how you can make a sale.

Just remember that in making a sales pitch you are offering a solution to the person’s problem. That is how you open for your cleaning business, opportunities. Cleaning business opportunities can come with groups too. However, be very observant and focus on the common thing that the group may have. Just remember that perfecting things comes with time.

AR500 Steel Vs. Mild Steel

In steel applications where abrasion is an issue, AR500 steel plate can stand up to the test time and time again. That is because it is made from abrasion resistant steel properties and, as a result, offers outstanding wear and impact resistance. In addition AR500 steel affords fatigue and corrosion resistance for applications in which heavy wear and exposure to the elements are issues. In fact, this steel plate is so reliably made that consumers can count on it to perform consistently every time with no surprises. Following are some of the specifications that lend to that reliability.

AR500 steel plate achieves its surface hardness of a minimum of approximately 477 BHN and core hardness of approximately 450 BHN through a quenching and tempering process. As a result of this heavy duty strength, it is often the material of choice the heaviest wear applications. Machining AR500 can be a challenge. Drilling, countersinking, counterboring, tapping, milling, and general machining can be difficult due to its high hardness properties.

Although not typically intended for structural use, AR500 can be welded if low hydrogen-producing electrodes are used. In addition, when premium grades of AR500 steel plate are heat treated, they exhibit excellent through-hardening, improved forming and welding capabilities.

All of these properties add up to AR500 steel being a suitable material for mining equipment manufacturers, in the truck and trailer industries (in particular for chute liners), in forestry, in construction, and in the concrete and aggregate industries, all of which routinely require the abrasion and impact resistance on their equipment that AR500 provides. Whether it is slide wear, rub wear or heavy wear that a business is seeking to combat, AR500 steel plate can help them do just that.

Now that you know where AR500 steel is used, let’s talk a little bit about the basics surrounding it. The AR in the name isn’t just for branding purposes. It actually stands for abrasion resistance to indicate what this type of steel has to offer as its biggest selling point. The second half of the name, 500, indicates the approximate Brinell hardness of the steel, which represents the indentation hardness of a material through the scale of “penetration of an indenter.”

That hardness allows AR500 to withstand pressure of approximately 110 tons, 220,000 pounds. In comparison, mild steel amounts to only 120 on the Brinell scale. This is why steel targets are often made of AR500 steel instead of mild steel. Whereas mild steel produces divots when hit by bullets, even when it is double plated. Without the double plating the bullets pass right through the mild steel. On the other hand, when AR500 is used as a target, there is no damage done to the steel when the bullets hit it. The front surface remains nice and clean with no bumps, dents or penetration through the backside. This remains the case after multiple rounds of ammunition from a wide range of guns.

If AR500 steel can hold up to impacts like these then imagine what it can do in all your abrasive applications. Why trust them to anything else?