Dali Paintings – Salvador Dali's Surrealist Art & Famous Paintings

Dali paintings are covered in full here with an article aiming to detail three of his most famous paintings; including a good amount of detail on what each symbolize, and how they fit into Dali's overall art career which consisted of a whole plethora of innovation and quality in many different media, over many years.

Dali was born in Spain, 1904, and counted Cubism, Dada & Surrealism as his main art movements in a career that spanned his whole life up until his death in 1989. It is quite difficult to condense his many achievements into two or three main works , but we will do so as follows.

The Persistence of Memory, often called Melting Clocks, is the most famous painting by artist Salvador Dali. It is now stored at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, and has been there since 1934.

Soft Construction with Boiled Beans was created by Dali in 1936, and is one of his best known Surrealist paintings. It was one of Dali's most political paintings, in this case attacking the subject of the Spanish civil war. Spanish artists regularly spoke out about the war at that time, and many had to leave the country temporarily in order to continue their campaign. The Soft Construction with Boiled Beans painting is now stored at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Leda Atomica is a 1949 Salvador Dali painting which shows Leda, a mythical queen, as the main subject. Leda is actually a portrait of Salvador Dali's wife, Gala, who's sat down in the painting. It is now to be found in the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres.

There are possibly 10 or 20 paintings that could be included as a list of Dali's best, and much of his success was in the variety of his work, as well as the high quality that he maintained throughout.

Dip Switch VS Rolling Code Technology For Garage Door Openers

It seems so simple: you click a button and your garage door opens for you, allowing you to be able to drive directly into your garage without having to get out in the elements and do the work for yourself. When garage door openers were invented, people definitely rejoiced, especially when it became affordable for everyone to have a garage opener. But most people aren’t sure how they work. There are actually two different ways that garage door openers can be told to open through a remote control link.

DIP Switch

A DIP switch is the first type of switch that was invented to work with garage door openers. Back in the 1950s, when garage doors were first created, all garage doors worked with the same radio signal, which meant that anyone could enter your home as long as they had a garage opener. This caused tons of security problems, and is why DIP switches were invented. A DIP switch is a series of tiny switches that are connected to a circuit board inside your remote control. Each switch can be positioned a number of ways in the remote, which creates a variety of different combinations, making it almost impossible for someone to guess your specific combination. In most DIP switch remotes, there are up to 256 possible combinations.

The switch is added to both the remote control that goes to the garage door opener, and the unit that goes into your garage, which is known as the receiver. Both switches have to be set to the same combination in order for the door to work correctly. Some say, however, that DIP switch garage openers are a thing of the past, as some thieves can use radio scanners to read the radio code that the remote control sends to the receiver, making it possible for them to get in through your garage door.

Rolling Code

A rolling code is computer technology that is designed to add more security to your home through your garage door opener. This type of opener works with a small computer chip that goes into both the receiver and the remote. When you click on the remote to open your door, it sends out a code to the receiver, which has the matching code. But it also does something else: it creates a new code for the next time the door will be opened and sends that information to the receiver. It then saves the code. This means that when you open your garage door the next time, it will use the code it created from the time before. It will have created a new code, making it virtually impossible for thieves to be able to figure out what the new code is.

Both types of garage door openers can be found on the market today, and both have their pros and cons, allowing consumers to select which garage opener they feel works best and that is the safest for their homes.

Teenagers – Inside the Teenage Brain

Recent research on the human brain provides parents with shocking new evidence to possibly explain the sometimes irrational, illogical and impulsive behavior of teenagers. Brain researchers can now scan the live teenage brain to observe and examine why these curious and perplexing creatures make so many impulsive and egocentric decisions, that may even sometimes lead to risky behavior.

As it turns out, brain development during the teenage years is radically more active and dynamic than previously thought. During these years, the part of the brain that requires a person to make responsible decisions, understand consequences, and process problem-solving is under heavy construction, and much of the time dysfunctional. Even though the brain is almost physically mature, the grey matter in the thinking part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) is still making connections. So teenagers are left with most of the information reaching their brains being processed in the emotional part (limbic system).

Information processed in the limbic system, without benefit of higher level processing in the pre-frontal cortex, may result in impulsive, egocentric, and maybe even risky, behavior. Because of this ongoing construction in the thinking part of the brain, a teenager is, many times, not capable of fully processing information that is necessary to make responsible decisions. Combine this brain challenge with a teen’s temperament, maturity level, developmental stage and environmental impact, and it begins to become understandable why parents may find this time so exhausting and frustrating.

Realizing that major construction is going on inside the pre-frontal cortex of the teenage brain does not excuse inappropriate or irresponsible behavior from the teen. But understanding the teenage brain is crucial to figuring out how to interact with it. For the teenager, this time in his or her life can be a creative and emotional roller coaster ride with plenty of thrills and chills (and maybe some spills), but for parents it can be just nerve-wracking and terrifying. Healthy communication and effective discipline are what a teenager needs to help navigate this important time, especially since the brain is not yet necessarily ready or able to face all of the inevitable challenges, without support.

Each interaction with a teenager will affect development of his or her brain, helping the teen make connections in the pre-frontal cortex. During this time of heavy construction, the teenage brain needs focused and intentional support and teaching to help form and solidify these hopefully healthy connections. Parents can benefit from the understanding that there’s much work that can be done while the teenage brain in still under construction and with proper perspective and effort, a teenager can learn to be less impulsive and egocentric, and make better and more responsible decisions.

As parents decide how to more effectively communicate with the developing teenage brain, it’s vital to also consider who a child actually is, and what kind of parenting styles the child is exposed to. Most of us are the result of an even dose of nature and nurture, and understanding the nature of who a child is, and how his or her surroundings have impacted that child, can help parents formulate more effective techniques when facing challenging situations during the teenage years.

The nature of a teenager is a complex and fascinating combination of temperament, stage of development, personality, maturity level, and social connection. In addition, parents need to consider the teenager’s emotional health (self esteem) and relational health (to what degree have the teen’s closest relationships positively impacted his or her development).

And then there’s parenting styles. Healthy and effective parenting (described as authoritative), can help the positive development of the teenage brain. Using healthy communication tools like active listening, reframing, timing of teaching moments, I-messages, etc. and effective discipline tools like healthy limit setting, consequences, picking and choosing battles, few rules, etc. can greatly help the teenager’s pre-frontal cortex develop solid connections to enable responsible behavior.

For more information on understanding the complex nature of who a teenager is, how his or her brain develops and processes information, and to practice new and easy-to-learn healthy parenting tools, please visit: ResponsibleKids.net

© 2008 Marty Wolner, BA, CPE, ICF, PACA

Crossing California Mountains by Bike San Diego CA to Yuma AZ

There are only a couple of bike routes doable from San Diego CA to Yuma AZ and they are indeed challenging, especially consider the mountain pass. You go from Sea Level to just over 4,000 feet in elevation. It is a wicked ride with lots of hills and heat. Often there are severe crosswinds and you get rather sandblasted on a bicycle. The route is a little tricky for the first 22 miles, but may I suggest you start out at the Hotel Del Coronado to help work you into the route. The wind along the Pacific is brisk and always blowing.

Now then starting from the Hotel Del you travel down Hwy 75 south about 9-miles and a beautiful ride with the wind at your back. This will be the last of the beauty for a while, the warm-up will be nice considering the future that lies ahead. Once you hit Palm Ave. you are ready for your trek Eastward across the bottom of the state. Take Palm Ave to Beyer Blvd North to Orange Avenue East, which turns into Olympic Parkway. Turn left onto Hunter Parkway 1 mile to East Otay Lakes Rd and then 7 miles to Hwy 94, which you will endure.

You will then take Hwy 94 to I-8 about 50 miles of hard riding, dry, hot and long and just before you get there you will take Old Hwy 80 about 10 more miles, which then connects to I-8 for a bit for about 10 miles over the 4,000 foot pass, that is one heck of a climb indeed. Next you will get off on Hwy 98 and take that to Calexico about 38 miles, but it is most all down hill and refreshing, well considering the dusty desert and winds. But you are now on the flats and you can make a good clip across the desert.

After Calexico you ride another easy, but rather boring 20 more miles to Evan Hewes Hwy, which is like a frontage road for awhile and then you will come to the 186 Hwy and go North to Araz Junction and follow Araz Rd. to Yuma Crossing State Park, where you will ride into Yuma, AZ on Business 8 or Fifth Street. You made it 177 miles, not bad for 12-hour ride now may I suggest cruising through the town to Barnes and Noble, as it is a great pick-up point with an air-conditioned coffee shop, Meanwhile I will prepare myself for my second day of riding into Phoenix on my Ride Across America.

How to Choose a Garage Door Company

Because garage doors have become a well-known part of the fa├žade of new homes, garage door manufacturers are now offering more styles, materials and color options more than ever before. For those in the market for beautiful new garage doors, here are a couple of options to consider.

Decide on Which Material to Choose

When researching different options, there is a lot to consider such as maintenance, durability, cost, design. Wooden doors are known to take much more abuse than metal doors, which show dents and dings and can start to rust and get pierced. When it comes to choosing wooden garage doors, the most popular choice is cedar. Mahogany is also a popular choice; a homeowner can get anything they want as long as they have the budget. There is also the issue of aesthetics, some homeowner like to match the style of the garage door to their house windows. Having a white door and white trim is a traditional look. With modern homes, homeowners can go a little crazy with materials such as glass doors and attractive wood designs.

Material Types

Aluminum

• Comes in a variety of styles, designs and colors

• Offers low to zero maintenance

• Anti-rust feature – this is a good choice for home owners who live in humid or salty environments

• The material’s lightweight makes it less taxing on the garage door’s operating system, the door’s tracks and openers. It is also easy to operate manually.

Disadvantage: This material is less durable than steel. It also dents easily.

Steel

• Stronger than aluminum

• Comes in different colors, styles, and finishes

Disadvantage: Can start to rust when it is dented or scratched

Wood

• A great choice for the traditionalist, comes in a variety of custom designs

• Overlays or veneers provide the look of wood at a cheaper price

Disadvantage: Needs regular maintenance (staining or painting)

Fiber Glass/ PVC Overlay

• A variety of styles and designs

• Much more durable than metal and woods, but it can crack if it hit hard

• Considerably new to the market and is not as popular as metal and wood

Disadvantage: Typically, costs more than metal and is less solid than wood garage door.

Choosing the Right Color

• Generally, the color that is chosen for the garage door should complement the home and blend seamlessly with the general structure instead of standing out like a sore thumb. Vivid colors and extreme contrasts should be avoided.

• The door should be matched to the home’s window trim instead of the front door. A color that blends in with the home’s brick or sliding should also be considered.

• Some homes feature red bricks, for less contrast with red bricks, tan or beige color should be chosen. These colors match the mortar in the brick.

After choosing the right door, it is also important to contact a reputable and reliable garage door company to have the door installed properly. Many companies also offer repair and maintenance services as well.

Tiffany Reproduction Lamps – How To Know A Good Quality Lamp From A Bad One?

Original Tiffany lamps were made by Tiffany Studios New York, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These lamps are now antiques and can go for millions of US dollars. Because original Tiffany lamps are so incredibly expensive, (only the uber rich can afford them), and many people across the world have fallen for their elegance and beauty — Tiffany reproduction lamps were created. These lamps are made with a quality en par to that of original Tiffany lamps. Tiffany reproductions have given people all over the world the opportunity to own and admire a classic work of art. These lamps have now become so popular that they’re in a league of their own.

Tiffany reproduction lamps are exactly as described… reproductions of original Tiffany lamps. When I talk about Tiffany lamps, this is what I’m referring to. This article is about identify good quality Tiffany reproduction lamps.

Beware Of Imitations

There are many people out there exploiting the beauty of Tiffany lamps — not staying true to the construction and craftsmanship of original Tiffany lamps; in the sense they’re not following the original techniques to construct these lamps or using materials that meet the same standard of Tiffany Studios. Worst of all these people are those that produce lamps made out of plastic. And then go about calling these lamps Tiffany lamps! I find this shameful to the Tiffany lamp name… plastic lamps can’t emit light half as well as good quality art glass! And one of the reasons Louis C. Tiffany created Tiffany lamps was because he wanted the beauty of stained glass windows to be in the homes of every American, but these windows were terribly expensive, and so one way Tiffany thought he could add exquisite stained glass to your home was transferring the art of stained glass windows to lamps. That’s why I’m writing this article. Not only to make you aware of these Tiffany lamp imitations, but give you the knowledge to determine what’s a good quality Tiffany lamp, and what’s a bad quality lamp… so you don’t fall prey to Tiffany lamp imitations!

Plastic Lamps

The making of most Tiffany reproduction lamps use the same 100 year old technique (soldering 100`s of small pieces of colorful stained glass together) as original Tiffany lamps. Poor quality Tiffany lamps are made from pieces of colored plastic glued together… or made from poor quality glass.

There are many people producing and selling plastic Tiffany lamps. In my opinion — and I’m sure other Tiffany lamp owners and collectors will agree — are of inferior quality. This is why when you go to buy a Tiffany lamp, you should make sure that the materials used are of high quality (both base and shade). The glass should be good quality art glass… not plastic. Please do not be fooled by these cheap plastic imitation lamps, as some of the sellers of these lamps are trying to pass them off as good quality Tiffany lamps. Poor quality Tiffany lamps are much cheaper than authentic Tiffany reproduction lamps.

How Tiffany Lamps Are made… A brief Overview

For you to be able to identify a good Tiffany lamp from a bad one, you need to have knowledge on how Tiffany lamps are made. All decent Tiffany lamps are not made by machinery, but hand made works of art. The shade of a Tiffany lamp is constructed from hand cut, polished and shaped pieces of stained art glass. Once all the pieces are cut, copper foil is wrapped around each individual piece (can you image how long that would take for a shade made out of 1000 pieces?). These copper wrapped glass pieces are then soldered together with lead.

An Important Bit!

I must stress here, that when you look at a Tiffany shade close up, you may see some bubble, seeds (tiny bubbles) or lines in the stained glass. Do not be alarmed by this! These are not defects. They’re features of the lamp and add character to the lamp… they simply reflect the nature and beauty of real stained art glass!

One of the great, and unique features about a Tiffany lamp is that no two Tiffany lamps are identical. Why? Because the glass in these lamps aren’t plain ordinary glass… it’s high quality hand rolled art glass, and only the best pieces of glass — with the right hues and texture — are used for the Tiffany shade. This… combined with the characteristic qualities of the seeds and lines mean there’s and infinite subtle variation of any one Tiffany lamp of the same shade, size and theme. No wonder Tiffany lamps are so special and a true one-of-a-kind lamp!

How To Identify Good Quality Glass

Good Tiffany lamps are made of colorful glass of intense color. These Tiffany lamps are vibrant pieces of decorative art, that would catch the corner of your eye — even in a room that’s lit by bright summer light pouring through the window pane. This is true even if the lamp is not even lit! This shows the quality and intensity of colors in a good quality lamp. Poor quality Tiffany lamp glass will be the opposite, the color of the glass will be washed out, the shade will appear dull and flat. This lamp would not out shine a sun lit room on a hot summers day.

A Good Quality Base

Good high-end Tiffany lamps use bronze bases… whilst lower quality Tiffany lamps aren’t made out of such high quality material, but have bronze finished bases made of zinc alloy. Try to stay away from this type! Another type of base that’s good quality is a base made out of mahogany. A good quality base will last you for years… and your grandchildren too!

The Price

The price range of good quality Tiffany lamps vary. The more intricate the design of the lamp, the greater the price will be… due to the amount of effort a glass lamp artist has to undertake to implement an intricate design — compared with a simpler one. Also. The more panels and colors a Tiffany lamp has, the more costly it is.

The Good… The Bad… And The Plain Old Ugly!

Here’s a quick overview of what to look for in a good & bad Tiffany lamp.

The Glass

Bad Lamps

o Use low quality glass which looks rough and lacks brilliance

o They need a good light bulb to illuminate the artistic patterns

o The colors are not well arranged in these lamps

o They’re inconsistent nature of the low-end glass makes it difficult to find the exact color variations

Good Lamps

o Use high quality stained glass.

o They shine even when the light bulb is not lit

o You can see the patterns clearly all the way through

o The texture of art glass is smooth

o The colors are vibrant and well balanced thus bringing their themes to life

Ugly Lamps

o Have plastic as a substitute to glass. (Sorry… I don’t mean to offend anyone here, but in my opinion, these lamps should never be produced!)

The Solder

Bad Lamps

o The solder is inconsistent

o Solder is thick at some places and thin at other places… indication of poor craftsman ship

Good Lamps

o Finely drawn

o Even and well polished

o Firm and usually plump

o Supporting the glass artwork and holding the shades tight

In summary:

Good Tiffany style lamps have a smooth and even solder lines separating the glass pieces. Bad Tiffany lamps have a rough and uneven solder lines — if you’re not careful… the solder lines may even cut your fingers!

Is a Fruit Lamp A Tiffany Lamp?

To put it bluntly… fruit lamps being called Tiffany lamps is a huge insult to the late Louise C. Tiffany and anyone in the Tiffany lamp business! Not every stained glass lamp you see is a Tiffany lamp, and a fruit lamp is one of them. So why, you may be thinking, is a fruit lamp not a Tiffany lamp? Well you’re in luck. After you’ve finished reading this you’ll know exactly how to identify what’s a Tiffany lamp, and what is NOT a Tiffany lamp.

Some of the main differences between Tiffany lamps and fruit lamps are:

o A single Tiffany lamp may has between 300-2000 glass pieces whereas a fruit lamp may have about 100 or so.

o Tiffany lamps are made from good quality art glass, which mean they have very deep rich colors, the glass offers a three dimensional effect… effectively making the theme on the glass shade spring to life. Whereas a fruit lamp appears flat and two dimensional. It looks dull and dingy. There’s no life to the fruit on these shades — the glass used on these fruit lamps adds no beauty to the lamps at all. These fruit lamps aren’t elegant like a Tiffany lamp. They’re coarse and dreary.

o Tiffany lamps are very expensive… they can go from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars whereas fruit lamps are not expensive and can be bought almost anywhere.

So. Hopefully, now you won’t be fooled by the cheap stained glass lamps portraying as Tiffany lamps. If there’s one way you want to add a touch of beauty to your home… then you can’t go wrong with an exquisite Tiffany lamp. It’ll stand the test of time for generations to come.

The Benefits of Battery Lights Over Traditional Fairy Lights

Everyone loves fairy lights. They look great, they can be used almost anywhere and with so many colours and styles available there is the perfect fairy light option for all people and occasions. Whether you are after some elegant white fairy lights to brighten up a vase full of flowers, or you are holding a disco themed party for teenagers and want some colourful, flashing rope lights, you will always find the right fairy lights for your needs.

The majority of fairy lights are now available in both a traditional, plug-in version and as cable free battery lights. Some are even available in a USB format. They are used for everything from Christmas and birthday parties to wedding receptions and more, however they can also be used as a fantastic home decoration the whole year round. In almost every instance, battery lights beat plug-in lights as a better, cheaper, safer option to choose. Here are some of the main benefits of choosing battery lights for your fairy lighting needs.

Use Them Anywhere

Unlike traditional fairy lights that need to be plugged into a socket, battery lamps can be used absolutely anywhere, at least above ground. From small strings used to decorate vases and photo frames, to extra long rope lights used for outdoor venues, it is always possible to buy battery versions of the fairy lights that you want if you look for them. You are not limited by needing to hang them up within a certain distance of your nearest plug socket, nor do they only need to be used indoors. You can pop battery lights in trees, on the ceiling, on your roof… the opportunities are endless.

No Unsightly Cables

Not only can battery lamps be used pretty much anywhere, they will also look great no matter where you choose to put them. There are no long, unsightly cables trailing away from them, which also means no trip hazard either. With their vastly improved versatility, their aesthetic attractiveness, and their practicality, using battery lights is win, win, win.

Less Risk of Fire

When plugging in fairy lights or rope lights to a wall socket, there is the danger of the plug overheating if leaving the lights on for long periods of time, and this can cause a fire. You can minimise this risk by using battery lights as these are a single unit that receives no more power than the batteries can give them, eliminating the risk of a potentially dangerous power surge.

Cheaper to Run

Electricity powered lights will, on average, consume more energy than battery lights. Of course, batteries will eventually need changing but by buying rechargeable batteries you ensure that you will not have to keep buying new batteries, and recharging a set of batteries costs much less than powering the lights themselves for the same period of time. Battery lights will therefore save you money in the long run.

Extra Durable

As battery lights can be used both inside and outside, manufacturers have generally gone to extra lengths to ensure that these portable fairy lights can withstand varying weather conditions. You will generally find that battery lights are much more durable and long-lasting that traditional plug-in lights.

Overall, I think that the benefits of battery lights are clear when it comes to choosing the correct fairy lights for you needs. However, if you have decided to opt for battery lights there still remains the decision over which ones to choose exactly, with numerous different varieties available. From elegant clear or white lights to multi-coloured versions, you will be able to find absolutely any colour that you desire. You can also choose from bulbs that remain permanently on, flashing lights or ones with a special lighting sequence such as waves. Finally, there are also many different types of battery lights available above and beyond the humble string of lights. You might want to buy thick rope lights which are especially useful for outdoors thanks to the fact that the bulbs themselves are insulated from the elements, or you might want to choose a net or curtain lights to easily decorate walls and create a stunning backdrop for any event.

Timetable of the Things to Do Before Starting Your Own Restaurant – Recommended List

Are you thinking of starting your own restaurant? Do you dream of serving your home town the best dishes of the land? Do you want customers to keep coming back to your food establishment? Do you want to be remembered as the pioneer of such high class signature meals and drinks? If your answer to all of these questions is a big yes, then you are on your way to starting your own restaurant. It may be a pretty terrifying task at first look, but with the proper guide, and the right people to help you, it might just be a challenge that is worth taking. Read on to find out how can prepare yourself for starting your own restaurant effectively.

The key thing to remember here is that eight weeks before the proposed opening date of your restaurant, you must now have a good idea as to what kind of establishment you want your restaurant to be. Also, by this time, you should already have a working group that you can rely on if and when concerns about anything regarding the starting of the business arise.

Eight weeks before starting your own restaurant, you must already have the budget for your opening event. This includes a forecast as to how many people you are going to invite, how long the opening would take place, how much logistics have to be used, and so on. You must do this so that you will not be overspending on your restaurant’s very first day.

Four weeks before starting your own restaurant, all the permits and licenses regarding the operation of your restaurant must already be in your files. Finalizing all the papers and taxes at least a month before the grand opening is key if you want to be assured that you are legally allowed to run your business and open it on schedule.

One week before starting your own restaurant, you must have finalized all the things needed for the opening – from the program to the food. Of course, it pays to wish for a little luck for the smooth opening of your establishment. Hopefully, everything will fall into place.

Wilderness Survival – Hide Your Sniper Scope

The scout sniper student has been gearing up for this moment throughout his training. It is the last test that he must pass before he officially earns the title of scout sniper. He has carefully prepared his gear: a ghillie suit – a camouflage suit to conceal his body, as well as his weapon – painted to match the terrain and tied with burlap. He has crawled on his hands and knees for hours to get to the best location to allow him to “snipe” his instructors. Finally into position, he fires his round and waits to be evaluated. The instructors search the forest in front of them for any signs of the sniper. A member of the evaluation team, upon instructions from the spotters, walks toward the sniper and stops. “Sniper at your feet!” is called out and the student has been caught. But what gave him away? It was the black hole that the spotters noticed – the black hole that his scope created. Everything else was camouflaged but he forgot about the glass of his scope.

This can not only effect a scout sniper but also hunters as well. When you are hunting, your prey notices things that are out of place in the woods. Anything man made will be easily spotted. There are many ways to take care of the “black hole” problem, but we will discuss 3 here: The nylon sock, the birds nest, and the ghillie hat.

By using a nylon sock or stocking, you can easily remove the black hole effect. By stretching the nylon over the front of the scope and securing it with a rubber band, you have removed the black circle and created a flat, non reflective surface which is harder to see from a distance.

Another way to deal with the problem is to use the bird nest technique. What you need to do is get a hand full of grass and form it into a birds nest, but with a whole running through the center. Place this nest inside the scope ring at the end of the scope. Adjust the grass so that you can see through the scope. This allows you to still utilize the scope but get rid of the “black” and break up the circular outline of the scope.

The last method utilizes a ghillie suit (GS) hat. Most GS hats will have a veil that makes the hat longer in the back than in the front. You simply turn your hat round and drape the veil over the scope. This will hide the scope and will allow you to still use it when hunting.

The best method to use is probably the nylon sock, due to the fact that it is easy to acquire as well as to put on the scope. The GS hat comes in next for ease of use, but of course, you need to be wearing a GS. The birds nest method comes in last because, although you can easily get the materials for it, it will take a little time to get the grass fibers to stay in the scope and also allow you to see out of it. Using these methods the next time you are hunting could drastically improve your concealment in the wild. You can find out more about additional skills relating to wilderness survival.

These tips can be useful for any hunter or woodsman who needs to stay concealed from his prey. When using all three together, you can be totally concealed.

The Peter Shandy Series by Charlotte MacLeod

Between 1978 and 1996 Charlotte MacLeod published ten Peter Shandy novels, all of them wild, wacky and witty. Her characters range from the straight laced to the totally demented. Her plots are frequently laugh out loud funny. If you like unconventional mysteries that are well written I suggest that you try this series.

In the first book “Rest you Merry” we meet Peter Shandy, a professor at Balaclava Agricultural College and co-propagator of the Balaclava Buster rutabaga. It is Christmas time which means that it is time for the college’s main fund raising event, The Grand Illumination. For years Peter’s neighbor Jemima Ames has badgered him to decorate his house on the crescent. This year he decides he has had enough. After all but burying his house under gaudy decorations he escapes Balaclava for a sea trip only to be shipwrecked. Slinking back home to face his irate neighbors he finds Jemima’s body behind his couch. Is it an accident or murder? Thorkjeld Svenson, college president, champion of the straight furrow and berserker Viking, assigns Peter to find out, without ruining the illumination.

The second book is “The Luck Runs Out”. Strange things are happening in Balaclava County. First some prankster turns all the horse shoes nailed up in the college barns upside down, letting the luck run out, figuratively speaking. Second, the silversmith’s vault is emptied in a daring robbery while the newly married Peter and Helen Shandy just happen to be there picking out their silverware. Third, Belinda of Balaclava, the college’s prize sow is pignapped and the local farrier is found dead in the sty’s mash feeder. Peter is once again assigned to sort out the mysteries.

Third is “Wrack and Rune”. Professor Timothy Ames is visiting the Horsefalls farm in Lumpkin Corners when their hired man dies in a very nasty way. After calling the police and doctor, his next call is to Peter Shandy. Now Peter must find out why someone has been harassing the Horsefalls. Is the death another prank that has gone wrong or cold blooded murder? How does the old Viking rune-stone on the property fit into the mystery? To find the answers, Peter must deal with pranksters, large crowds of sightseers, and the college president’s 102 year old uncle Sven’s pursuit of an older woman.

Number four on the list is “Something the Cat Dragged In”. Retired professor Ungley rents Mrs. Lomax’s downstairs apartment. When her cat Edmund shows up with his hairpiece in his mouth, her only thought is to return it before the professor misses it. When she finds him not home and his bed not slept in she goes looking for him and finds him impaled on a harrow peg behind the Balaclava Society’s clubhouse. Police Chief Ottermole calls the death an accident but Mrs. Lomax doesn’t believe it and when Edmund finds another clue it leads straight back to the college. Overnight Balaclava County is the scene of a power struggle between town and gown that could destroy Balaclava Agricultural College. Naturally President Svenson assigns Peter Shandy, the Hercule Poirot of the turnip fields, the job of uncovering the murderer.

“The Curse of the Giant Hogweed” is the fifth book in the series. In this book Professors Shandy, Ames, and Stott have traveled to England to assist with the problems being caused by the growth of giant hogweed. When they set out to do field work they cross the border into Wales and find a world they didn’t expect. Trapped in the hogweed and confronted by a giant looking for the King’s pet griffin, it doesn’t take them long to realize that life has become even more bizarre then usual.

Number six is “The Corpse in Oozak’s Pond”. It’s Ground Hog day and all of Balaclava has turned out to see if the College ground hog will see his shadow. They get more of a show then they expect when a corpse pops up through the ice on the pond. When two more deaths follow, it’s up to Peter to find some answers.

In the seventh book, Vane Pursuit, Peter’s wife Helen is photographing antique weather vanes for the historical society. It seems like no sooner does she her pictures then the weather vanes come up missing. When someone fire bombs the Lumpkin soap factory shortly after their weather vane is photographed and someone dies in the fire Peter starts to investigate. Before he finds the answers he will tangle with a motley group of survivalists, assist a heiress who’s hiding out, and fear for the life of his beloved Helen.

Eighth in the series is An Owl Too Many. When Emory Emmerick, a site engineer for the college’s new TV station gets stabbed to death during the annual owl count Peter Shandy is once again on the case. A dead man who isn’t who he said he was, a secretary who keeps getting herself tied to trees, and a wild ride down a raging river in a tug boat make this a rollicking adventure as well as a good mystery.

Number nine is Something in the Water. Peter has gone to check out reports of beautiful, lush, lupines growing where they shouldn’t be able to grow at all. Staying in an old inn, he is waiting for his desert when the town’s most disliked citizen keels over face first into his diner. Foul play is suspected but Peter is much more interested in the lupines. Interested or not Peter soon finds himself trying to solve three mysteries. Who killed Jaspar Flodge, how are such lush plants growing in such poor soil, and who is the unknown artist who refuses to admit to painting such beautiful canvasses.

Number ten, the last but not least in the series is Exit the Milkman. Professor Feldster, Balaclava’s dairy expert and the Shandy’s neighbor has disappeared. Last seen on his way to one of his many lodge meetings he is seen getting into a big car with tinted windows and then nothing. He never shows up at the lodge, doesn’t come home and doesn’t show up for his morning class. Before he is found his obnoxious wife dies in a bizarre manor. Once again Peter must leave his turnip fields and classroom to play Sherlock Holmes.

Tips for Lighting Vaulted Ceilings

Vaulted ceilings are incredibly appealing to today’s buyers. Once purchased or rented, people begin to notice that they can be dark and dreary if not properly lit. This leaves many people wondering what type of light fixtures to use and how to light the area in a proper, attractive way. Fortunately, lighting a vaulted ceiling is surprisingly easy once you know a few basic tips and tricks.

Skylights

If you’ve got the budget for them, consider installing a skylight or two. Keep in mind, a skylight does not have to be a large rectangular or square window. You can also consider installing tubular skylights, which are smaller in scale but equally effective when you install them in multiples. Furthermore, tubular skylights are significantly less expensive than their more prevalent larger counterparts.

Wall Sconces

Wall sconces, particularly upward lighting wall sconces, can be especially helpful in lighting vaulted spaces. There are battery powered and hard wired options available to fit every budget. These are a great way to bring a little bit of extra light to the space without being overwhelming. With high ceilings, the idea is to accent and brighten up the area in the evening hours of the day; not to overwhelm or overpower the space with too much light.

Typically in the evening, you want your space to feel comfortable and cozy. Over-lighting a vaulted ceiling will only make the space feel large and overpowering.

Pendant Lights

Another viable option, pendant lights can help brighten up the dark corners. However, downward pointing pendant lights may not necessarily be the best option. Instead, opt for pendants that have clear shades or shades that point light upward rather than downward.

Pendant lights are also among the more easily updated or swapped out when you feel the need to update or change the look of your room. This makes them just as flexible as other light fixture options.

Recessed Lighting Fixtures

Recessed light fixtures are ideal for those who are looking to light up their space but don’t want the look of additional light fixtures cluttering up their vaulted ceiling space. Plus, recessed lighting fixtures are highly adaptable to a number of different decor styles ranging from modern to eclectic.

Track Lights

In recent years, track lights have begun to slowly make a comeback. Modern versions of this ceiling light fixture have taken track lights from out-of-date to modern, chic and desirable. Simply put, track lights are no longer considered a faux pax.

One of the benefits of track lights is that they can be easily installed on a slope, making them perfect for vaulted ceilings. Plus, track lights feature adjustable heads that let you alter where the light shines, making this fixture especially customizable for vaulted ceilings that have lots of slopes or corners.

Floor Lamps

Last but not least, floor lamps that point their light upwards are a completely acceptable way to brighten up a vaulted ceiling. However, keep in mind that a single floor lamp may not be adequate for lighting a large vaulted ceiling. In fact, you may spend just as much on purchasing several floor lamps as you may have on installing a new ceiling light fixture.

Concrete and Jersey Barrier

Precast jersey barriers have universal usage; they are ideal for securing vacant properties or buildings, and prove to be a very efficient deterrent to unwelcome visitors. As more and more industrial units and factories are becoming empty, owners want peace of mind knowing that their buildings are not going to be vandalised and damaged. Concrete barriers or jersey barriers make for ideal perimeter security walling and can be placed neatly next to each other – creating an affective barrier to vehicles.

When trying to secure an empty site there are a number of steps that should be taken. The first and most important step is to do a full survey of the perimeter; identifying all weak points. Once this process has been undertaken suitable steps can be taken to ensure that the perimeter cannot be breached. As well as concrete barriers, there are a number of alternative methods that can be used. Simply digging a ditch to ensure vehicles cannot enter, can often be an extremely effective solution.

Entrances and exits are an obvious weak point. This is where a concrete barrier or jersey barrier can be very effective. Placing a concrete barrier in the way of anyone trying to gain access will generally be enough to stop them entering, particularly given that the jersey barrier will weigh in excess of 2 tonne. If cost is an issue, then firms will often hire the barriers to you, meaning costs can be kept down.

It’s always worth remembering that it is much better to deal with the potential problem now, rather than waiting for the site to be broken into. The costs of clearing someone off the land will generally be considerably higher than securing it properly in the first place.

Could the Great Chicago Fire Been Prevented?

  • Nearly 300 deaths
  • More than 2,000 acres
  • 17,500 buildings
  • 73 miles of road
  • 90,000 left homeless
  • $222,000 in damage
  • The destruction of between two and three million books from private library collections

What do these have numbers have in common? If you answered the Great Chicago Fire of October 1893, you would be correct. And while as devastatingly famous as that fire is in Chicago history, it is not the only horrific fire-related Chicago history. In fact, just a few years later (December 1903) there were more than 600 deaths when the Iroquois Theatre burned and later listed as the deadliest single-building fire in American history.

What is more interesting, is that while the exact cause of the Chicago fire has ever been determined, the Iroquois Theatre fire could have been prevented had the proper measures been taken. History shows that a Chicago fire department captain, toured the facility and noted that “there were no extinguishers, sprinklers, alarms, telephones, or water connections; the only firefighting equipment available were six canisters of a dry chemical called “Kilfyre”, which was normally used to douse residential chimney fires.”

He reported the problems to his superiors, but was told that nothing could be done, as the building had its own fire warden. In addition to the lack of firefighting equipment, the editor of the Fireproof Magazine, toured the facility and reported that there was an ” absence of an intake, or stage draft shaft; the exposed reinforcement of the (proscenium) arch;the presence of wood trim on everything and the inadequate provision of exits.”

After each of these events, Chicago rebuilt. But what if there had been something in place to send out an early alarm? How many lives would have been saved had the Iroquois Theatre taken the time to make the necessary changes? Yes, it was a century ago, and modern precautions as we know today were not available, but that doesn’t excuse the loss of life and property destruction.

So, with a proactive focus in mind, what are you doing to protect your home and family from fire, theft, burglary or mayhem of any sort? Whether you choose to have utilize the services of one of the local Chicago home security systems or opt for a nationally recognized company, taking care of what matters to you is important. After all, as the early residents of Chicago learned, it’s not much fun to clean up after a fire! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you could be exempt form personal injury, property damage or a break in. Do your part to keep your family safe.

Types of Wallpaper

Today’s wallpapers are convenient and practical to use in case you want to renovate or change the appearance of your walls. You can choose from various widths (18 to 27 inches) of wallpaper in the market. A whole sheet of wallpaper can cover an area of 36 square feet but since walls too have different sizes, certain parts of the wallpaper sheet are trimmed so one sheet usually ends up with a covered area of about 30 square feet of wall area.

Wallpaper has indeed undergone important innovations. These days, if you are shopping around for wallpapers and related supplies, you can choose from a lot of wallpaper with extensive designs. There are wallpapers which need separate pastes so they can be attached to walls. There are also wallpapers which are pre-pated at the back, installers need only to remove the protective covering and the wallpaper is ready to be installed on the wall. Today’s wallpapers are also made of different materials depending on which type of wallpaper they are.

  • A Common Wallpaper is one which requires the installer to apply adhesives at the back before it can be attached onto the wall. It is the classic wallpaper that adds grace and elegance to homes. Common wallpaper is ideally used in walls and areas where it is less likely to be damaged or worn such as in dining rooms, bedrooms and living room.
  • A Foil Wallpaper can create a small area to be interesting with details on the walls. It is wallpaper made with a metal foil printed with a variety of patterns. This type of wallpaper requires serious and considerable amount of effort when being attached to the wall. Once folded or wrinkled, the foil wallpaper will not look very inviting. It also tends to reveal and show the flaws of the walls on which it was attached.
  • The Vinyl Wallpaper has been replacing the Common wallpaper in popularity. This wallpaper may be used in variety of purposes; can be bought from paint hardware store and other home renovation shops. It may be used in almost any room of the house including bathrooms, kitchens and nurseries. Some vinyl wallpapers are manufactured with mildew resisting materials. It is easier to work with, durable and can endure some light scrubbing or exposure to moisture.
  • The Flock Wallpaper is most commonly attached to the walls of dining rooms and more formal area which needs some decorative highlights. Flock wallpaper was originally made by gluing onto the sheet of paper some wool waste product. The loose flock particles must be vacuumed first before application. The flocks are washable yet may be damaged when rubbed or scrubbed.
  • The Fabric Wallpaper is made from cloth and textiles. It is difficult to work with fabric wallpaper and prevent it from getting stained.
  • The Grasscloth wallpaper is an exotic type of wall covering as it is made of grasses woven together. Areas or spaces where it is likely to get worn are ideal to be decorated with grasscloth wallpaper. Since it has intricate and interesting design, children are likely to touch it and thus result to possible wear.

How to Clean Different Types of Flooring in Your Home

Confused about which cleaning method is best for you floor? Some cleaning solutions can work wonders on one kind of floor and wreak havoc on another. We thought we’d make it that little bit easier. So whatever your floor type, check out our top tips on how to keep them ship-shape.

Carpets and Tiles

Regular vacuuming is essential for carpets, as it prevents loose dirt and grit from working into the carpet pile where it will damage the fibres. Upright vacuum cleaners are best, especially those with revolving brushes to dislodge embedded dirt. Use the suction head for loop-pile carpets, as beater brushes and heads can cause the carpet to bobble. Manufacturers recommend an annual steam clean. Clean according to wear. Whether you do it yourself or call in the professionals, high-traffic areas should be cleaned once every two years.

Natural remedy

Remove wine or grease stains from carpet by lightly sprinkling area with baking soda. Dab it up and add a little more if necessary. Leave on until the wine is absorbed, then vacuum up any residue left.

Natural Flooring

All good quality natural floorcoverings should have a substantial latex back to prevent dust and debris falling through and ensure easy maintenance by vacuuming. A cylinder-type vacuum cleaner without brushes is the best choice for natural floorings to avoid damaging the fibres.

Most high quality natural floorings are sold with a stain inhibitor that protects them from dirt and prolongs there life, so ask your supplier for details of cleaning products for natural fibres. These should be used on stains immediately – not once the stain has been absorbed. Mop up with a clean cloth or kitchen paper. Don’t use carpet mousse or shampoo as these can cause natural floorings to shrink.

Consider hiring a professional cleaning company if you want to give your flooring a thorough clean, but make sure they use a dry-cleaning system as opposed to a wet on. Ask your retailer to recommend a firm

Wooden Flooring

Sweep wooden floors regularly, or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush setting. Mop once a week or so with a well-wrung mop, using soapy cleaner specifically for use on wood. Don’t saturate the floor or allow water to stand on it as this can cause damage. Wet-clean waxed boards sparingly and wax polish them to improve the patina. Dirty wax build-up should be removed with white spirit and the boards re-waxed. Treat engineered boards with oil or lacquer reviver, applied with a soft cloth.

Natural remedies

Remove scuff marks from wooden floors by rubbing them gently with a pencil eraser.

Bring out the natural colour of your wood flooring by wiping the surface with lemon oil and a dry cloth. However, this only applies to natural and waxed flooring, not varnished floors.

Laminate flooring

Laminate should be swept or vacuumed regularly. Using a damp cloth is fine, but never soak the floor with water – they’re designed to be water resistant. Most spills on laminate can be removed with household cleaners but, if the stain is lipstick, ink or permanent marker, try acetone. Never use scouring pads to remove stains on laminate flooring, and remove any liquid stains from the floor as soon as possible.

How to clean tiles and stone flooring

Stone floors

Stone will often have been treated before it left the factory. If not, it will stain easily so it’s important to seal it with a proprietary sealant or, for terracotta and slate, use linseed oil. Once sealed, clean it with a mix of mild detergent and water. However, it will need re-sealing at regular intervals to keep it looking its best.

Immediately wipe away any acidic spills.

Reconstituted stone needs to be sealed with a stain inhibitor then impregnated with a top coat of water-based sealant. It’ll need re-sealing every two years. Ask your manufacturer or suppler for specific care advice and suitable products.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water solution and do not require sealing. Damp-mop your ceramic tile with a standard, all-purpose cleaner. Dry the floor with a soft cloth to avoid streaks.

Never use harsh abrasive cleaners that might scratch the glaze.

Flagstone, limestone, slate

Damp-mop flagstone or slate floors using either clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution in warm water, or water to which fabric softener has been added. Wring the mop until it doesn’t drip, and apply it to the floor in slow, even strokes. Ask the manufacturer for recommend the appropriate cleaning product.

Wipe up spills on unglazed floors immediately or they might cause a stain.

Remove stubborn marks with white spirit, but always do a spot test first.

Flexible flooring

Vinyls, linoleums and rubber are hard wearing and easy to care for. The amount of cleaning and maintenance depends both on your lifestyle and the colour of the floor. Vacuum or brush regularly to remove dust and grit that might lead to your floor being scratched, and follow with a weekly wipe with the cleaning agent recommended by your supplier.

Remove scuff marks by gently rubbing with a scouring pad – the sort you would use to clean non-stick cookware.

Clean the floor with mild detergent and water. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, which may leave a dull film on your floor. Be careful with spray polishes and other silicone-based products as they can make your floor very slippery, as can white spirit.