How To Explore Exotic Russia On A River Cruise

Exploring Russia

Russia is a land of cultural and artistic treasures and this is clear to see in the city of St. Petersburg. Perfectly placed on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg is one of the major port cities in Russia. With magnificent palaces and churches that characterize the city’s skyline; prepare to be wowed at this fascinating port of call.

The places that you must see include the ‘Hermitage Museum’, which was once the Winter Palace and houses one of the finest collections of art in the world with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Matisse. ‘Catherine the Great’s Palace’ is next on the must see list as it features a 298 metre white, gold and blue   fa├žade  and is crowned with golden onion domes and ‘St Isaac’s Cathedral’ is quite simply stunning, with its marble walls embossed with an array of semi-precious stones.

Mandrogui is set upon beautiful parklands on the banks of the Svir River and is littered with a whole host of colourful buildings. At this port of call you can discover an array of shops, arts and crafts workshops. And a lot of the river cruise ships offer Russia lessons when you get back on board so you can learn a little something along the way.

Kizhi is the next port of call and is the place to see an array of churches, temples and historical sites. This UNESCO World Heritage site is also home to ancient wooden buildings which fascinate everyone that visits. After this you can head to the Russian settlement of Goritsy. Situated near the famous St Cyril Monastery you can enjoy a whole wealth of exploring during your time here.

Russia’s capital Moscow is always a firm favourite with river cruise travellers. You can visit the onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, the legendary Red Square, the famous Kremlinm, Novodevichy Convent and enjoy incredible scenic views from the Sparrow Hills. You can explore fascinating European art in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, take a stroll through the ever so beautiful Gorky Park or even shop for some bargains at the Izmailovo Flea Market. There really is something everyone in Russia’s capital.

The Russian themed fun doesn’t end once you get on board your river cruise either. You can expect your Russian waterways experience only heightened as cruise lines such as Viking River Cruises provide guests speakers who give informative and fascinating lectures on each and every destination that you visit. What’s more you can even expect Russian cuisine, with the chefs preparing food which reflects the culture of each port that you visit.

Quad Audio QC – Twenty Four

The QC Twenty Four is a modest but powerful piece of sound empowerment. Quad Audio, shares the international market with names like Naim Audio, Musical Fidelity and Cyrus Audio. The amp from Quad flaunts full features and sports inputs at five line levels. The phono and other levels are internally empowered and very sophisticated. To facilitate biamping and/or subwoofing it has twin pairs of outputs and two tape loops that are buffered.

Preserves purity of signals:

Its rear accouterments are complete with a ground connection and an IEC power inlet. The push button power switch, seven input selectors where each of them are accompanies by an LED, which when selected turns golden amber, and a larger round volume control, are featured on its panel in the front. To control the right/left balance, there is a sliding switch directly beneath the volume control.

Through the deliberate center dent, it is said to alter the balance offset by up to 6dB, and shows consistency in variables. To preserve purity of signals, it features relay input switching, and is claimed to use a functionally and radically fitted audio circuit that is simple, within the QC-Twenty Four. A single tiny 6111WA twin triode is its tube complement which is said to have a life of 60,000 hours. Quad Audio amps recommend a minimum load of 50KOhms, a hum and noise>80dB and specify a frequency response of 5Hz-50 Hz (+0 dB/0.5 dB).

Quad Modifications:

Modifications of the Quad Audio perform with a number of features that are state of the art and very sophisticated:

* Four film cap power supply bypass caps installation

* Three pairs of direct gold plated RCA input jacks

* Vampire CM-1F/CB copper body installation

* Four small EAR brand Sorbothane isolation sheet installation

* Four Black Gate coupling and bypass

* Power supply capacitors

By far these features make these amps the best in the industry.

There is a four Auricap signal-path metalized polypropylene coupling capacitor, two sheets of Sound-Coat chassis material cut and where applicable -four IR Hexfred ultrafast soft recovery diodes and a TRT Wonder Solder that is used for pure musical odyssey. The 99.99% output/input wire which is silver Teflon insulated, and Eight Riken Ohm 1/2 and one watt signal path 1 % carbon composite resistors leads that are gold plated make this baby a classic.

Numerous sonic improvements for the unit are claimed within the amp, allowing for blacker silences and including three dimensionality and better low level detail, more detailed and smoother with dynamics that are enhanced. The gizmo also flaunts a more liquid midrange over the stock machine for an even tonal balance, as well as a soundstage that is better defined. With more authority and weight, better impact and better bass extension, Quad is a winner. If you own a Quad Audio you can get it modified at a reasonable rate or if interested you buy a preamp which is already modified. A preamplifier which is modified carries a labor warranty and a 90 day replacement of parts.

Is a DIY Solar Power Really an Alternative?

The short answer is absolutely yes! There are many good reasons to build your own solar power systems and you can save money by building many parts of the system yourself. It’s a fun and rewarding experience to begin using clean renewable energy and the systems you build can generate useful quantities of power and begin supplementing your electricity bill immediately.

DIY solar power may be easier than you think. There are no specialist skills involved and by following proven plans you can get started today building your own system. Apart from the solar cells themselves all the materials are commonly available, relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. Solar cells can be obtained for good prices by seeking out factory seconds and cells with minor blemishes.

Many people are OK about the physical construction of the panels and it’s sometimes a perceived lack of electrical or electronic skills that prevent them from getting started. The electronic skills required when you begin may seem a little daunting at first but really there are just a few simple principles to learn to understand solar power.

It’s necessary to understand the concepts of voltage, current and resistance and how these relate to power. These quantities are tied together by a simple relationship known as Ohm’s Law. There are many straightforward tutorials available on Ohm’s Law and a gaining this simple knowledge will be time well spent.

Another electronics skill which is very useful to have is soldering, as this is generally how the solar cells in a panel are connected together. If you have not soldered before you will find that it is an easy skill to learn and with a little guidance on selecting the right soldering iron it is just a matter of getting your feet wet and practicing.

Probably the single most important consideration when building your DIY solar power system is finding the right plans and guidance. You should feel comfortable with the instructor and be sure the designs are proven and include everything you need to complete your successful solar energy project.

Monitor Blur Problem – The Easy Way To Repair It

Among all the electronic repair articles that I have sent to you, this method is consider a little bit dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. For those who are new in this field I suggest that you only apply it with the help of a senior tech. Study this article carefully and the necessary precautions that one should take before starting to use this trick. However, if you think that you have the courage to try, then go ahead to perform the test.

A 15″ Philips 105s7 Monitor came in with the complaint of display blur. Normally the first thing that a technician will do is to tune the focus adjustment knob at the flyback transformer to get a sharp picture back. However, in this case while tuning the focus instead of expecting a sharp picture, you get a brighter raster (white background) with flyback retrace lines across the screen. Usually when you turn the focus knob, only the character get sharper without affecting the raster and this is also true when you tune the screen (G2) knob adjustment, only the raster will have effect but not the focus.

Since adjusting the focus control has effect on the raster, this clearly tells us that there must be something that had gone wrong in the monitor. With this problem, I could only think of 3 areas that I have to check i.e; a shorted flyback transformer divider network, a defective CRT socket and a faulty picture tube. In order to confirm if the flyback transformer divider is shorted or not is very simple. Just use a Monitor blur buster (MBB) and defeat the original focus and screen cable by connecting the focus and screen cable from the Monitor blur buster. Now tune the focus or screen control at the MBB to see if the picture gets sharp or not. If you get a sharp picture we can conclude that is the flyback transformer divider network that is faulty and if the picture stills blur then it can only be the CRT socket faults or a bad picture tube.

In order to confirm if the CRT socket is the cause of the problem, one just has to replace with another working CRT socket to see if there is any improvement in the picture. If it still blur then I believe you are now sure as which one is the true cause of the picture blur problem-it is the CRT or picture tube! If it is picture tube problem, then you may ask, can it be repair or not since a picture tube is a vacuum tube that can’t be disassemble? Yes, it can be done but with some precautions that you need to take.

To repair such problem, one must first understand how a picture tube was constructed especially the electron gun. I won’t go too details about electron gun but I will let you know that the focus and the screen G2 plate is the nearest and if there are any dirt’s or particles that had happened to be between the two plates, then it would surely affect the display (picture becomes blur, dim or too bright with flyback lines).

Once you have certain that the cause of the problem is picture tube, now remove the CRT board from the neck of the picture tube and locate the pins of screen (G2) and focus. If you look at the photo, most of the CRT pin outs is almost the same except to some Sony Trinitron tubes. Connect an alligator clip between the focus pin and cold ground and the G2 pin to the shaft of the flat type screw driver. The reason for connecting the alligator clips in such a way so that the generated Monitor high voltage (about 24 kvdc) can be use to spark off the internal shorts in the electron gun between the focus and G2 plate.

Before you switch on the Monitor, please make sure you disconnect or unplug the VGA signal cable from the CPU otherwise when the discharge begins it may destroy the CPU VGA card. Not only that, please check any surrounding in the Monitor as no extra wires or cables touches the power section, if not it may blow the power supply. As mentioned in the above first paragraph that this method really need you to be extremely careful and alert so that nothing would happen when you start to discharge the high voltage through the anode cap.

If you are ready now, hold the handle of the screw driver (remember, the handle have to be thick otherwise certain of the high voltage may jump across and discharge through your hand) with your left hand and power “ON” the Monitor. Once the high voltage have present (with the rushing sound you’ve heard), now switch off the Monitor by pressing the front panel on/off button, you then quickly poke in the screw driver shaft to the anode before the high voltage being discharge by the bleeder resistor in the flyback transformer. In other words, we want to utilize that short moment of the high voltage to spark off the shorts in the electron gun before the high voltage being fully discharged.

Normally you will hear a “pop” sound when the high voltage arc through the screw driver shaft at the anode cap. Repeating this for few times and the shorts definetely will go away. Connect the CRT board back and test the Monitor to see if the problem has been solved or not. Assuming the Monitor still blur after few of the discharged, you can always reverse the alligator clips where now you are connecting the G2 pin to cold ground and using the focus point to poke through the anode cap. This will usually clear the shorts away

Remember, the blur problem in this article is totally different from the blur problem (blooming) caused by a defective flyback transformer divider network where you need a Monitor blur buster to solve it. Using the method above I’ve solved lots of this Monitor blur problem whether it is a 14″ or 21″ Monitor!

Pick Up And Opening Lines To Approach Girls

Asking women out isn’t exactly rocket science, but yes, it most certainly is an art form. Many men have the whole package but often get tongue tied when trying to initiate a conversation with a pretty girl. It’s no secret that the best way to pick up women is with a good opening line and if you are creative then you can easily come up with a few witty pick up lines of your own.

Here’s a brief look at a few effective opening & pick up lines that work 9 times out of 10 in most situations:

1. Help! : Women are quite helpful by nature. So if you see a pretty girl you like, you can always walk up to her and say something like, “Hello, I’m new in town and was wondering if you could recommend a good place for a cup of coffee” and then when she makes a suggestion, it would only be polite of you to ask her to join you by saying some thing like “would you also care to join me for a cappuccino?”

2. A Simple Hi: Often times, a simple friendly greeting like a “Hi” or “Hello” can work where most opening lines fail. For instance, if you are at a park on a nice day, you can always say something like “Hi! Great day to be out huh?” and then initiate a conversation based on the response you get.

3. Find an Opening to Speak to Her: One of the great ways to start a conversation with a woman is to give yourself an excuse to speak to her. For example when the girl you like passes by, say something like “Excuse me, I think you might’ve dropped this” and then if you have some simple item like a pen in your pocket, ask her if it belongs to her. Once you have her talking to you, you can then follow it up with something like “I think I’ve seen you around, do you come here often?”

4. Get her Opinion: Another great way of approaching women is to ask for their opinion about something, especially on things that you know they are sure to have an opinion on. For example, at clothing store, you can ask a woman something like “Excuse me, can you please tell me what you think of this shirt, I’m completely lost when it comes to fashion?”

5. Laughter’s the best medicine: Being funny is perhaps one of the best weapons to help break the ice with a beautiful girl. For instance, on a rainy day, you can say something funny like, “Excuse me, I hope you’re carrying an umbrella on you because it’s been proven that sugar melts in water!”

6. Flattery Works! : Nothing works better than a sincere complement when it comes to picking up women. So if you see a pretty girl, try walking up to her and say “Excuse me, are you OK? Because it looks to me like you fell straight out of heaven!”

Apart from these, there are many different opening lines you can use to pick up women. So just be a little creative, add a dash of style and a pinch of confidence and you should have a recipe that all women will fall for.

Stop Dog Digging – How to Stop Your Dog Digging Holes in Your Yard

Is your dog constantly digging up holes in your yard for no reason? Do you want to stop your dog from destroying your yard? To stop your pooch from digging in your yard, you need to let him know that this behavior is frowned upon and results in bad consequences. If you do regular work on your garden, roll out the hose and fit a sprinkler on the end it. Every time your puppy goes out to your yard to begin digging holes, turn on the sprinkler. This method fools your pooch into thinking that digging holes causes the sprinkler to turn on, thus causing him to hopefully stop this behavior.

If you do not have a sprinkler or your mutt is digging too far away from where your sprinkler can reach, consider investing in a water gun that has good accuracy and can shoot over several meters. What you want to do is every time you see your pup trying to start digging a hole, deliver your dog a shot of water, while aiming for its head. Again, you will make him or her believe that this behavior will lead to a shot of water to his head, thus can hopefully make him stop this behavior.

One effective method for your pup who continually digs in the same spot over and over again is to put his or her own feces in the hole he made. It is important to remember that it has to be his/her own feces because dogs hate the smell of their own feces. Only a few dogs will dig through their own poop, so if you place their feces in the spot they dig, they will most likely stop this behavior for good.

So to stop your pooch from digging up holes in your yard, you can use your sprinkler, a water gun or even their own feces to discourage undesirable behavior. Remember to reward your pup right away if he has been a good boy for the best results.

A Real Come Back

I had spent lifeless days so far
It was situation no win in war
It was full of uncertainties
It always lacked fine qualities

I had died out for nothing
There grew strong urge to do something
The body was erect but lacked enough strength
It had magnetic waves devoid of any length

The sun was daily rising from east
Completing task and setting in west
What was I doing here for nothing?
Uselss like vulture for no adding

I lamented only as human being
Cursed the God for not making me as king
All luxury of life were not at disposal
Was it not from Him a bad proposal?

I was enduring it as pain
It was only my worry as main
I had nothing else to do
For me it was horrible true

I searched soul and felt agony
The reason may well be counted as many
It was darkness from within
They rays were not allowed to shine

It was nothing but all negligence
I have lived u tot his time with all arrogance
What did I know about life with elegance?
I was miles away from its real presence

Something pushed me from dark corner
It came to me as finest hour
I was to come out e from ignorance
Life was to be seen with beauty and romance

It was lighted with enough of   illumination 
I could find answer with all my questions
It was right quest to make life worth while
Life was to be lived with a purpose meawhile

Digital Photography – Lighting for Perfect Pictures

Digital photography can be brought to its full potential once you have the correct methods, the appropriate moment and the perfect  lighting . Even though you possess with you the latest model of digital camera, your photographs will not turn out great if you are not making use of the right strategies in getting them right.

Experts in digital photography have come to recognize that the digital camera is only one element you need to have great pictures.  Lighting  is probably the most important for digital photography.

Have you ever seen photos that seem to blurry and indistinguishable? Even if you attempt and salvage them using Photoshop or any other software, you can’t change lousy  lighting .

Good  lighting  has to be planned and observed prior to pushing the camera’s shutter button. No matter how advanced your camera is, it can’t create and shape light for you.

Below are some of the natural sources of  lighting  that will make your photos look fantastic. – After sunrise and before sunset.

Known as “the golden hour”, the warm orange color that appears in the sky during these occasions provides the colors and dimension that simply makes your subjects pop. The color of the surroundings can add mood and feel to the photos.

– Sunlight.

Sunlight is our biggest light source on earth, and depending on the weather, it can change from a sharp, edgy hard light or a pleasing, soft, diffused light.

By changing your position relative to the sun, and placing subjects in a shade or out in the open, your  lighting  changes dramatically to suit your photograph’s theme.

– Pools of Light

Finding a clustered pool of light, or a stream of light in a dark area adds a dramatic element in any photograph. Think of how a subject is illuminated by spot lights in a theater stage and how that form of  lighting  forces the viewer to concentrate on the actor instantly. These natural shafts of light created by things like a crack in the roof, a crevice between rocks, or even the gap of your bedroom door when ajar can create beautiful and dramatic light pools.

Shooting digital photos is not only about having the most sophisticated digital camera. It is also about searching for  lighting  and methods that will benefit your shots. Try to shoot your photos with the ideal  lighting  and you will notice that your photos will look excellent and you won’t need to process them in your computer anymore.

Culture As A Barrier To Communication

Each of us is exposed to people from other cultures on a regular basis, in the workplace, in our social activities, at school, or even within our families. Our culture hinders us from getting our message across as well receiving the full message that others want to convey to us. This article expound on three aspects: what culture is, the main causes for cross-cultural misunderstandings, and the attitudes and skills that we need to communicate cross-culturally.

When we think about culture we first think about a country, and particularly about its food, art, customs, and patterns of behavior. These are the outward manifestations of a system of values, assumptions, and deeply rooted beliefs. Culture emerges as a group of people face and then react to the challenges of life. The responses to those challenges that are successful are taught and shared among members of the group and are passed on from the older to the younger members. Culture is then learned through experience.

You can think of culture as having three levels:

o The top level is the outward manifestations, the artifacts: visible behavior, art, clothing and so on.

o In the middle level are the values. These are invisible rules that cause the artifacts

o The most powerful dimension of culture is the implicit cultural assumptions. These assumptions lie so deep that they are never questioned, stated or defended

Culture also exists among Americans, but what are the implicit cultural assumptions of Americans? Some of the most distinctive characteristics of the American culture are: individualism, equality, competition, personal control of the environment, self-help concept, action orientation, informality, directness, practicality, materialism, and problem-solving orientation.

These American values and deeply rooted beliefs are very different from other country’s values and beliefs. The implicit cultural assumptions of Americans are often opposed to those of other cultures. When individuals from different cultures run into each other’s values and beliefs, cross-cultural misunderstandings take place.

People constantly interact with people who have similar views and who reinforce their beliefs. To be able to distinguish between the in-group and the out-group is of central importance for individuals because it allows them to find an identity as to who they are and who they are not.

In the book entitled Cross Cultural Encounters , Brislim states: “If individuals have out-groups whom they can blame for troubles, the in-group is then solidified since there is a common goal around which to rally.” Later on he says: “Individuals become accustomed to reacting in terms of in-group and out-groups. They continue to use such distinctions when interacting with people from other cultures whom they do not know.”

This in-group/out-group distinction provides us with the basis for ethnocentrism, which is the tendency to interpret and to judge all other groups, their environment, and their communication according to the categories and values of our own culture. We are guilty of ethnocentrism when we hold that our view of the world is the right one, the correct one, and the only one.

We are all familiar with stereotyping, which is one of the most serious problems in intercultural communication. Our tendency to hold beliefs about groups of individuals based on previously formed opinions, perceptions, and attitudes is often a defense mechanism, a way of reducing anxiety.

There are many other causes of cross-cultural misunderstanding: lack of trust, lack of empathy, and the misuse of power. All of us know what they are about and the turmoil that they cause. But, how can we do a better job at communicating among cultures?

The same skills that we need to communicate in general apply to cross-cultural communication. Lets look at some of those skills:

Know yourself: Identify your attitudes, your opinions, and the biases that we all carry around. Identify your likes, your dislikes, your prejudices, and your degree of personal ethnocentrism.

Take time: Listen to the other person and allow him or her to accomplish their purpose. Don’t jump to conclusions. Some times we finish the thoughts and ideas of the other person before he or she has finished talking. Some cultures non-verbal styles call for periods of silence and long pauses.

Encourage feedback: Feedback allows communicators to correct and adjust messages. Without feedback we cannot have agreement. First we must create an atmosphere where others are encouraged to give us feedback. Again, don’t be afraid of silence. It could be the appropriate feedback at times.

Develop empathy: The grater the difference between us and others, the harder it is to empathize. To develop empathy we must put ourselves in the other person’s place. By becoming more sensitive to the needs, values, and goals of the other person, we overcome our ethnocentric tendencies.

Seek the commonalities among diverse cultures: Despite our cultural differences we are all alike in many ways. We need to seek that common ground to establish a bond between ourselves and the rest of humanity.

Although our own ethnocentrism might have hindered us from getting to know people from other cultures, let us be more than ever committed to help ourselves and others overcome the barrier that culture creates. Let us endeavor to minimize the occurrences of cross-cultural misunderstandings as we develop the attitudes and the skills that are needed to communicate cross-culturally.

Fireproof Titan Gun Safe Review

My personal experience with the Titan Gun Safe

The  Fireproof  Titan Gun Safe with Electronic Lock is a panelized safe that can be put in any room or closet of your house. I got it because I needed a way to keep my growing gun collection and other valuables safe, and it sounded much easier and more convenient than the traditional style of larger gun safes.

This secure, welded, panelized safe comes in a convenient, easy-to-assemble package that can be delivered to your door, then brought one piece at a time to any location in your home, and can be assembled without tools in minutes thanks to the Kwik-Lock System. This is far preferable than needing two or three big guys and a heavy duty dolly to manhandle a pre-assembled safe up stairs and around tight corners!

Inside the Titan Gun Safe

It comes with a lined interior and adjustable lined shelves-two smaller shelves and one large shelf-which really come in handy if you also want to store photos, jewelry, gold, cash, etc. It gives you a nice place to set boxes of ammunition, your wife’s boxes of better jewelry (you spent the money on it, might as well make sure it’s safe!) and important documents, such as passports, wills, the deed to your house, etc.

I also like to keep my most important client files in there, as well as the back up for the hard drives of my home computer and laptop. After losing my laptop on a business trip once-with important and sensitive customer information on it-I’ll never be without a computer back up again! And now I know that when I’m away from home and lose my laptop, there is a back up of my computer files ready for me at home if I ever need it, safe from fires and prying eyes.

You can also store, mementos, photos, photo negatives, and other valuables in the safe, and be sure that your guns and valuables are protected from fire or theft. In fact, the solid steel body panels are rated for one hour fire shield protection at 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, with heat activated fire seals for the door. I figure that’s plenty long enough to give the fire department a chance to get there and get the flames out, should the worst ever happen. You can replace a lot of things in a fire, but photos and sentimental items are gone forever, without some way of protecting them.

The finish is a very nice, powder coated finish, and the safe has a UL Security listed SecuRam electronic digital lock, with eight locking bolts of chrome steel and a spring loaded relocker. The door is a “non breach seal” commercial grade deadbolt door which is sledgehammer and pry bar resistant. I like to picture a couple of frustrated robbers sneaking away from my house in irritation after ten minutes of tugging and whacking at my safe. It makes me laugh!

With the ultra-tough building and a full one year warranty, you can rest assured that your gun collection will be safely out of reach of children, untrained visitors, or would-be thieves, and that your valuables and important documents are in the safest place you could provide in your own home. I can’t imagine having a better place to keep all my “good stuff”!

The Titan Gun Safe has a pretty roomy interior for the size! It holds either six or twelve long guns, depending on the configuration you choose, and has a side gun rack and additional full gun rack. And don’t forget those adjustable shelves where you can place a box that holds your special handguns-perfect for someone with an antique gun collection. And I really like that the shelves are adjustable, so I can slide in a tall, skinny ammo can for the lower shelf and just slip my wife’s necklace and bracelet boxes on the shelf above. I keep my small stack of documents on the wider shelf at the top, so they won’t get damaged by having ammo boxes or other things thrown on top of them.

At fifty-nine inches high and seventeen inches deep, it will fit in most closets, and be out of sight from the casual observer. I like that, because I’ve never been one who wants to advertise to every repairman and deliveryman that comes into my house that I have a nice gun collection to steal.

Easy Assembly with the Titan Gun Safe

But for sure, the best thing about this safe is the fact that I could just carry the pieces of the safe upstairs one or two at a time, without asking a buddy for help. No one wants to have to ask their buddy to help them move a 300-1000 pound safe to the upper level of their home. It’s going to take more than a six pack, unless those are some REALLY good pals! So I chose this safe, so I could move the pieces upstairs by myself, one at a time. One important thing to note is that the door is attached to the door frame, which makes that piece really heavy, but I just slipped it off and carried it up separately. The door is still about a hundred pounds, but I could maneuver that myself.

Another thing you never think of when buying a safe is-what if you move? Wow, you’d have to move the safe all over again! Who wants to do that with a one-piece safe? Not me. Much nicer to know I can take it apart if that time ever comes.

I found it easy to assemble once I checked out the company’s YouTube.com assembly video. You can choose two configurations for long gun storage-one way you can store six long guns, and the other way you can store twelve. But personally, I wouldn’t try to get more than ten in there at once, unless you like having them rub together. Although it’s roomy for its size, the safe might be a tad bit smaller than some other safes, but it fits nicely in almost any closet or tight corner, and fits plenty of guns and stuff for the average gun owner.

I hope this review of the Titan Gun Safe with  Fireproof  Electronic Lock gives a complete picture of what to expect when buying and using this safe. Assembling it and changing the combination was pretty easy. I haven’t had any problems with it, and now I know my guns are safely put away when we have company over, or the babysitter is alone in the house with the kids. And when I go on vacation, I feel a little more at ease knowing my valuables aren’t easy pickings. You just can’t put a price on peace of mind.

Do People Use Wall Paper Anymore?

The use of wallpaper seems to go in and out of fashion but as with all fashions things are cyclical. What was fashionable 20 years ago will probably be fashionable again soon as each era seems to get a revival with each new generation wanting to put their own stamp on it, define their identity and be different. For thousands of years people have been stamping their identity and uniqueness with their choice of clothing, footwear and jewellery. People have always made statements with wallpaper and Do-It-Yourself programs and home makeover shows will always spark new interests and showcase NEW products. New products will often be old ones revamped or revisited. Rooms used to be covered from floor to ceiling with big, bold prints, flocked or woodchip wall paper. We all have memories of our parents struggling with the buckets of wallpaper paste, trestle tables and rolls and rolls of wallpaper. Not to mention matching up the patterns, putting it up the right direction so the joins aren’t too visible when you walk through the door into the room. Cutting, pasting, trimming and then rushing off to the store to buy another roll because you underestimated and hoping that the store hasn’t sold out of ‘pink flock no 222’!

So, perhaps the trend is not to cover an entire room in some outrageous print. The alternative of painting a room Magnolia because you might want to sell your house in years to come and every ‘Help me sell my home show’ will always say, “Neutral, neutral, neutral!” doesn’t appeal either? This is where the feature wall came into its own. Just choose one wall to accent with a bold wallpaper print or design and leave the others plain. A common activity when renovating an old home was to save bits of the ugly wallpaper revealed when knocking down a wall to create space and open plan living, frame it, hang it on the wall and call it art!

Wallpaper has moved on and wall paper murals are gaining in popularity for many reasons:

1. Many are removable so great for rental properties or if you want to take them with you

2. Reasonably priced

3. Easy to put up (often pre-pasted and just requiring the application of water)

4. They are designed in easy to put up sections (not huge rolls)

5. Do not require any cutting (unless the one you have bought is too large for your chosen wall)

6. Can be custom made from your own digital artwork (how’s that for uniqueness?)

7. Come in many different designs e.g. dinosaurs, under-the-sea, world maps, fairies and so many more!

Dark Emperador Marble Tiles for Perfect Floor

There are different kinds of ideas that can be offered for the flooring of your house. But in all of those there is a need for beauty and elegance to be blend in with strength and durability. And with all of these aspects in mind there are several collections that are available in home decor stores. And many such selections like that of dark Emperador marble tiles that will be an appropriate solution for your needs.

There are different designs and patterns that is available in these tiles for floors and walls. They create an impression of beauty and comfortable ambiance of the interiors of the house. There are even tiles that are also used for exterior usage in areas like walls and floors in the outdoor places. There are tiles such as dark Emperador marble collection which can be an answer to all kinds of requirements.

There are different kinds of designs and colors that can be coordinated with the floors of different rooms and other areas. There are designs that you will feel is appropriate for the bedrooms and then there are other designs that can also be appropriate for places in the house like long corridors and staircases. A closer look at tile collections like that of the dark Emperador tiles will give you an idea of the immense options that is presented to you and your decor designer.

There are many amongst you that may consider decor and durability of your house to be of prime importance. And for this reason there are many that would consider using a neutral and less ostentatious color for placements on exterior walls of the house to create a design. This would also provide the kind of protection to the walls from atmospheric elements that would be rare. There is a large collection of color options and variations in modern tile collections like that of the dark Emperador marble which make choices very easy.

The modern tile collections are available in different sizes for different designs. Additionally they also have a high grade of polish on them. The polish is of the finest quality and will not wear off. These are extremely strong and thus capable of withstanding pressure of regular usage and heavy traffic as well. Thus they are very often used in offices and commercial buildings also apart from individual homes. This is an important aspect of tiles like that of dark Emperador when it comes to the decor of a house.

Durastone Tile – Congoleum’s Alternative to Natural Flooring

Durastone tile by Congoleum is a luxury vinyl tile product. Luxury vinyl tiles are a superb alternative to natural tiles such as ceramic, slate, stone and marble. There are multiple reasons that luxury vinyl tiles are a great option to consider for kitchens, bathrooms and any other part of the house. Durastone tiles are extremely durable, easy to clean, provide warmth under foot, are extremely stain resistant, and can be replaced relatively easier than other natural tiles. Congoluem’s Durastone tile series should be a flooring option to consider for your next flooring project.

Durastone vinyl tile’s major advantage or natural tile products like ceramic is its’ durability. The tiles are totally different that traditional, sheet vinyl construction. Durastone has a much thicker, denser wear layer, a stronger, commercial rated backing system and a composite vinyl core. These design features make it extremely resistant to cracks, dents and scratches. If you were to drop a heavy pan or object on ceramic tile, it stands a good chance of chipping, breaking or cracking. Durastone holds up great compared to natural tiles when it comes to drops, scratches etc. If you have pets, children or heavy traffic in an area of the home, Durastone luxury tiles will out perform virtually any other flooring choice.

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, Durastone wins out again. Simple dust mopping with an occasional damp mop is all that is needed. There is never a need to clean or reseal tiles and grout lines. Cleaning and sealing grout lines once a year is a task many of us have learned to despise. Durastone tiles are available with or without integral grouting. The grouting in the Durastone tile is vinyl so it stays clean just as the rest of the tile.

I have heard people complain that they love the look of ceramic or stone floors, but they hate the cold feeling natural floors can give. Durastone tiles and other types of luxury vinyl flooring tend to be warmer under foot than natural floors. This may not seem to be an important feature but to some homeowners it ranks highly. The warmer feeling Durastone gives may also eliminate the need for several rugs throughout the house or room.

Stain resistance is very important in kitchens, bathrooms and even other areas of the home. Ceramic and stone hold up adequately when something is spilled, but if the sealant is older, stains can occur. Durastone vinyl tile has a finish layer that is impervious to almost all stains with the exception of oil and gas based liquids. Hopefully, you will not have too many gas spills in the kitchen! The stain resistance of Durastone does amazing with pet accidents. Not only will Durastone resist stains from pet urine, but it will not absorb the smell either. If you have pets, a luxury vinyl tile or plank is something you need to strongly consider. Durastone carries a lifetime warranty against stains.

If a Durastone tile were to ever become damaged, you can replace the tile with out the hassle of dealing with removing the grout. As mentioned earlier, there are no separate grout lines with Durastone tiles. You can remove the bad tile and glue down another. A side benefit is that Durastone products are warrantied by Congoleum for the life of the product against fading. This becomes a huge advantage if you have to replace a tile 5 or 10 years later. With the built in fading resistance, a new Durastone tile replacement will match the others years down the road.

Congoleum offers 6 distinct product lines in Durastone. These series are American Slate, Hearthstone, Palisade, Quartz, Symmetry, and Vineyard. With over 24 different patterns, colors and styles to choose from, you can create a natural looking floor with all the benefits that Durastone luxury vinyl tile has to offer.

Choosing A Hand-Powered Water Pump For Your Well

Although there are now plenty of other methods of getting well water to the surface, a hand-powered pump is one of the first and simplest methods of doing so. Efficient in terms of energy, they require no hookups for electricity or other power. Especially in cases where the well is being used for livestock or irrigation and may not be located near a source of electricity, hand-powered pumps are a good idea.

Several things need to be considered when choosing your new pump. First and most important is the depth of the well, because pumps are rated as to the distance that they can effectively function at. If you don’t know this measurement, you’ll need to find out. Besides knowing how deep the well itself is, you’ll also need to know the depth to standing water, and the case size (‘case size’ refers to how large in diameter the shaft is).

Once you known the appropriate measurements, you’ll know what kind of pumps you have to choose from. There are several kinds, including those that are appropriate for drinking and those that are more appropriate for irrigation. Some types of pumps have specialized equipment fitted within them that sanitizes the water and an encased system that protects it from further contamination, while others lack this.

In addition to bringing water up from the depths, a pump can provide additional pressure that allows you to continue pumping it to another, uphill location. This is a good idea is you want to connect a hose to your pump in order to deliver water to other places on the property that are above the level of the well. This is especially useful in terms of gardening and other similar situations.

There are other attachments for hand pumps that you can either purchase at the same time, or add on later. If you are at all interested in making use of them, however, it is important to make your initial purchase compatible with your potential future purchases. Windmills and foot pedals are the most common attachments added to hand-powered devices in order to increase the pumping power.

If you have a well and don’t want to use power to get your water up from it, a hand pump can be just the thing. Ecologically friendly and more convenient in many cases than powered device, these pumps can last 15 to 20 years without needing maintenance, and much longer than that with just occasional repairs. Many people find them a great choice.

Selecting an Inflatable Baby Pool

Unless you live in the Arctic you will eventually think about buying your baby a small plastic pool for the yard. When the weather is hot and sticky most toddlers love to play in a baby pool. Parents usually think it’s a great idea, too.

You can buy an inexpensive plastic pool just about anywhere. They won’t have the bells and whistles you’ll find in the selection of inflatable kid’s pools, however.

You’ll find a wide selection of the fancier inflatable baby and toddler pools to choose from. As with any other childrens’ products, there are pros and cons to inflatable pools, too.

Inflatable pools have soft sides. Soft sides are more comfortable for a parent sitting on the ground to lean across, and they are also less likely to be painful if your baby falls against them. On the other hand, they can be too wide for a young child to easily step across, so you might have to do more lifting and helping with a younger child.

The soft sides of inflatable pools are also more easily damaged than the sides of hard plastic pools. You will have to keep a watchful eye out for metal or hard plastic toys that could puncture your pool. Stick to foam and other soft materials for your baby water toys.

Many inflatable baby pools come with sunshades. While it’s important to keep babies out of the direct sun, you may find that the sun shade gets in your way as you play with your child from outside the pool. You may feel like your baby is sitting inside a water-filled cave. If you plan on sitting in the pool with your child, be sure to look for a sun shade that sits high enough that you don’t have to crouch.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in an inflatable baby pool with a sunshade, get one without the sun cover. Find a sun umbrella that you can stick in the ground beside the pool. A sun umbrella will generally be larger and sturdier than an inflatable sun shade. You can move it around as the sun moves for maximum sun protection, and you won’t bump your head on it.

When shopping for an inflatable baby pool, look for at least heavy duty 10 gauge vinyl. Anything thinner will not stand up to even gentle use. Be sure to have a patch kit handy, as most inflatable products can eventually develop leaks, especially if you store them in the sun.