Liming on the Avenue

Trinidad, not Tobago has perhaps never attained a top ten spot as one of the Caribbean’s premier tourist destinations. But what no other island can take away or boast about is its unique position as the Caribbean’s number one location for hanging out or what Trinis affectionately call liming. The island is peerless in this regard and absolutely nobody equipped with genuine info on the region can deny such an indisputable fact. Trinidad is the Caribbean’s leader in partying, hanging out and having a good time.

Liming occurs over the length and breadth of the Calypso isle but is taken to unbelievable heights upon an extended strip of asphalt known as Ariapita Avenue. Commonly dubbed the Avenue, it is the centerpiece of Woodbrook; a still proud middle class now semi-residential district just outside of Port-of-Spain proper and south-west of St. James, a neighborhood widely known as “the city that never sleeps.” The Avenue isn’t just run-of-the-mill famous it’s actually world famous. Gigantic unofficial street parties sandwiched between two popular watering holes (Coco Lounge and Finlandia) dominates the weekend. This area of the street is swamped with numerous limers who many times disperse for their respective homes somewhere between half-past three and near five am in the morning. Pockets of other people from all walks of life could also be seen liming and enjoying various types of music at many of the other swanky bars and grog joints along the strip. Local and foreign celebrities have also been known to pace the avenue on foot or via their expensive machines on wheels seeking various forms of excitement. Musicians, singers, sporting personalities, media personnel, politicians, professionals, business persons and even local authors can be seen traversing the crowded fun artery.

Besides its weekend street parties the avenue is well renowned for its wide array of sumptuous delicacies that patrons, party-goers, limers and passersby can easily obtain on the street itself or in quaintly designed structures. Roadside food vendors offer hungry transients anything from American burgers, fries and fried chicken to Trinidad doubles, (spicy channa balls compressed between two pieces of golden fried dough), meaty souse, corn soups and Arabian gyros (Doner Kebab). The last meal which comprises vegetables, chicken, lamb, goat or beef gently wrapped in pita bread has recently shed its veneer as a queer foreign novelty and has since become a sought after specialty; inspiring winding queues of customers eagerly anticipating a small bite of the Middle East. But if it’s one place in Trinidad where restaurants outnumber road vendors its Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook. Some of the best chomp joints are located along this popular route and welcomes food connoisseurs preferring fancy décor, comfortable furniture, glass panes and air conditioning above tropical breeze, pavements, walls, park benches and unwelcomed automobile fumes. Chinese restaurants are a virtual norm on the island but these establishments are surprisingly sparse on the avenue considering they’re ubiquitous in Trinidad’s other urban and suburban areas. Most prominent is Me Asia Chinese restaurant perched opposite the famed Adam Smith square; an important judging point during Carnival time. Common-place food spots serving grilled and fried meats along with pizzas, burgers and soda would naturally be expected on the popular strip. But for genuine international exoticism regarding indoor munching, Ariapita Avenue stands shoulders above all other boulevards, streets and districts. The busy enclave is endowed with food havens dishing out well prepared entrees from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Jamaica etc, etc. Mouth-watering buffet delights along with tropical and exotic fruit juices from Trinidad are not to be left out since travelers from the earth’s four corners arrive in search of the island’s peculiar comestibles.

Angelo’s is an automatic choice for gourmands toting Italian appetites. Authentic Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese and Caribbean dishes can be found at El Pecos, Mélange and Tapas. French cuisine is served at the Parisianesque a’ La Bastille while Irie Bites Jerk pacifies Jamaican style meat lovers. Jerk like gyros has also relinquished its secluded coat of obscurity and donned the elegant cloak of popularity. Both More Vino, a spectacular wine bar stocked with vintages from across the globe and LeVeLs, a fine dining lounge are equipped with sushi bars. Seafood as a specialty is available at the elegantly charming Chateau de Poisson. Diners with Trini, Creole or Caribbean palates can visit Sweet Lime restaurant, Mangoes, Veni Mange and the avenue’s newest kid Relish.

Liming on the avenue, especially at nights is a must whether one is an itinerant citizen of Trinidad or an enthusiastic visitor from a foreign country. A heady mixture of nightspots; gaming rooms; members clubs; food vendors; food queues; excitement on almost every corner; exquisite restaurants; infectious music; a continuously festive atmosphere; affable human beings of all shades, persuasions and tongues constantly moving to and fro; a manicured park/square; and expensive automobiles driven by fun craving transients have kept Ariapita Avenue ahead of all the rest when it comes to a good time in Trinidad. Though it’s pressed on almost every side by other liming hotspots such as western main road St. James, Cipriani Boulevard and Tragerete road; Ariapita Avenue continues its stranglehold on the undisputed venue for liming title. None of the others can be first but a host of them can be next or below the world famous Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook.

Bar Mitzvah Planning 101

Planning your son’s  Bar  Mitzvah can become pretty overwhelming. After all, the transition to becoming an adult is an important stage in your child’s development and you want everything to be just right. No doubt, this  Bar  Mitzvah will be the biggest birthday party you’ve ever planned. Where to get started? Here at  Bar  Mitzvah Planning 101 of course!

Consider Using a Pro

There’s no point in freaking out about a  Bar  Mitzvah! Consider bringing in a professional event planner to help you see things through, on time and with some class. A party planner can do all of the worrying for you! Just give them your to-do list and it gets done. An event planner can assist you with the enjoyable aspect of  Bar  Mitzvah planning, like finding the resources to bring to life your creative ideas. Whether it’s having your sons name in lights or the finding perfect dance floor giveaway favors. The best part about hiring an event planner for  Bar  Mitzvah planning is that they will take care of all the boring stuff too (like hiring your vendors).

Get the Theme Right

You want you son to have the greatest party ever and, he wants to have the greatest party ever. Unfortunately, your idea of what is “great” isn’t exactly the same as his. Yes, the  Bar  Mitzvah may be all about him, but unless his paying for it, he will have to learn the true meaning of the word compromise. This is another area where having an event planner can come in handy. It is good to have a neutral person who will listen to everybody’s ideas and then provide guidance to help sort them out.

Conquer the Guest List

You’ll want to invite all of your friends, he’ll want to invite all of his friends, and then there’s the family to still invite too! First, figure out a wish list of everyone you could possibly want if you had all of the resources to do it. Then you’ll want to start trimming the  Bar  Mitzvah guest list down to a size that fits your budget and the amount of space in your venue. Running out of food, chairs, and space wouldn’t be a good time for anybody! If you feel the need to add a few more guests to the list, don’t stress out about it too much. Take a good look at the entire situation. If inviting nine or ten more people won’t break the bank, then why not do what makes you happy.

Decide On Your Vendors

Booking your vendors can be another daunting task. After all, you want everything to be perfect. It’s a good idea to start looking at least a year in advance for your decorator, DJ or band and photographer. Many vendors will have a gig every weekend during the busy  Bar  Mitzvah season, so if you can secure the date ahead of time it will save you the disappointment from finding out your preferred vendor isn’t available on the date of your event. It’s important to meet as many vendors as possible so you can compare styles and personalities. You can also ask the venue you’ve chosen for recommendations. Once you’ve got a list of candidates, check out their websites to preview their work. See something you like? Make a time when you and your son can meet with them in person. Remember the more comfortable you are with who you choose, the more relaxed you will be the day of the event.

Start Celebrating

You’ve chosen all of the right vendors, the guests are arriving and the big event is here. If you’ve followed these bits of advice for  Bar  Mitzvah Planning 101 then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Remember to relax and enjoy the night. Your son will have enough to be nervous about on his own when it becomes time for him to read from the Torah.

Mazel Tov!

Breeding a Racing Pigeon

Where does the greatest influence come from when breeding a winning pigeon? Does it come from the sir or the dam? Some pigeon fanciers believe that the winning genes are passed from sir to Son directly, and there are a small amount of fanciers think the opposite and think the winning genes come from the dam. How do we decide? Some fanciers who fly the Widowhood system whereby they only race the cock pigeons, while their hens are kept in a separate loft and stay at home not being raced, proving that the widowhood fanciers believe the cock pigeons carry the winning genes

from son to son. There are fanciers who like to race their hens in the long distance races, when looking at these race results it shows that the hens win more than their fair share of races so this does not support widowhood fanciers way of thinking.

When the cock pigeon and hen pigeon mate the cock and hen produce the same number of cells to produce a fledgling, these cells are called a chromosome, looking at a chromosome under a microscope looks like a small rod these rods carry a number of genes from both the cock and hen. The cock supplies 31 of these cells to its sperm, the hen produces 31 cells to her egg when these two sets of cells unite, 62 cell start to grow and produce a hatching fledgling. There are rare occasions when the hen only produces 30 cells the cell that is not produced is always the sex gene and when this happens the egg hatches and the new fledgling carries the sex genes of the cock pigeon nothing from the hen.

A very important point about sex in pigeons is that the cock and the hen produce a sex gene via sperm and egg, the fledgling that grows inside the egg with the same amount of cells from the cock and hen will always be a Cock Pigeon. When the hen fails to produce a sex gene or cell, the fledgling will be a Hen pigeon. The term we use for this is sex linkage, all of this information can help us a lot when it comes to breeding and paring up the cock and hen.

Now taking all of this in formation into consideration this must show the sex factors of the sire do not descend in a straight line to the son in fact it would go in a criss-cross direction from sire to daughter then back to grand-children. We now know why in some instances the grandchildren of our best winners surpass their sons in greatness.

Installing Wallpaper

When you want to have wallpaper installed in your home, consider these things. Wallpaper has a longevity over paint. It will outlast paint 8 to 1. It gives your walls that “WOW” you cannot get with paint. Properly installed it will last a long time and can be removed easily when applied over a good primer/sealer. The horror stories I have seen when a contractor or home owner has installed wallpaper over a sub standard primer over my 27 years in the business have given this industry a undeserving bad name.

If you are removing old wallpaper before installing new, use a good stripping solution that can be sprayed through a good 1 1/2 gal. pump up garden sprayer. First you will need to strip the face (the printed surface) off before the solution will penetrate the backing. Make sure to cover all electrical plates with duct tape to prevent any water coming in contact with them. Don’t be shy with the amount you put into the sprayer and don’t be shy on how much you spray on the wall. Fill the sprayer with warm water to help the solution penetrate better. Cover the floor with painters drop cloths or use several towels to absorb the run off. I like to spray several light coats on the wall, waiting about 3 to 5 minutes in between. Let the solution do the work. The backing paper should start to bubble and you can start trying to peel, scrape the backing off. Make sure not to gouge the walls no more that you have to. If the walls were prepared with a good primer/sealer, the backing should come off clean. If they were not, say a prayer because you will most likely damage the wall surface trying to remove the backing.

If the walls are painted, then you are ready to apply a good primer/sealer that will prepare the surface for the new wallpaper. I like two bands “Zinzer 1-2-3 and” Kilz Premium”. there are others on the market that work well and are recommended for wallpaper, but I have used these two for 27 years and have had good success with both.

Please note though: These will NOT work on a High shine or oil surface. For those walls you will need to use a product called “Gripper” Most knowledgeable Paint stores can help you with this. Prime the walls and let dry over night.

Installing wallpaper is not for everyone. It takes a special skill and lots of patience. That being said, I will try and share my knowledge over the last 27 years to give you the best advice that I can.

When picking out the wallpaper, there are several things to remember. Shinny finishes on wallpaper will tend to highlight any texture or imperfections on the walls that are to be covered. If you are dealing with a textured wall, try and pick a wallpaper that will disguise (hide) the texture. The other option would be to have a sheet rock contractor come in a smooth out the texture. Some textures are less noticeable than others. Be aware that dark colored wallpapers will tend to show their seems slightly more that light colors. Large repeats in the pattern match will cause more waste and more wallpaper. Some wallpapers are pre-pasted and some are not. Wallpapers are sold in double rolls with widths ranging from 20 1/2″…27″ and 36.”

Your basic tools that you will need are: A plastic smoothing tool or a smoothing brush (I use the plastic), a sharp pair of scissors, a level, a measuring tape (at least 12′), single edge or snap off blades (Lots of these), a 6″ metal putty knife (for trimming along edges with your razor blade), some kind of table to paste and trim your wallpaper, a ladder (high enough to reach the ceiling without any danger of falling over, I use a 4′ ladder for 8′ and 9′ ceilings).

So, if I have not scared you off yet, let me try and explain how to install your new wallpaper. Always read the directions (I still do and learn something all the time, not to mention it saves my Butt if something goes wrong!)

I usually check the width of the wallpaper first and make small marks with a pencil (NO PENS) on the walls to see where the seams might land if I started in a certain area. After that, I will make adjustments back and forth to get the best seam placement that I can. Once this is done, I will make a cut list of the pieces I need. I would not recommend this to everyone. You might want to cut 3 sheets at a time, paste and install them before cutting anymore. I like to allow 3″-4″ over the exact measurement of the wall for my selvage edge trimming top and bottom.

I paste ALL my wallpaper. Pre-pasted is pasted with a thinned down version of the regular wallpaper paste that I use. This makes it much more movable on the wall and gives it an extra grip. Paste 2 -3 sheets, fold the sheets paste to paste so they will not dry out and let them sit 3-5 minutes. This gives them time to relax and expand

(yes wallpaper is made from wood and when wood gets wet, it expands). Take the first sheet and apply it to the line on the wall that you made (while waiting for the wallpaper to relax). Carefully align it next to the pencil mark, starting at the top, leaving about 2 inches wrapped onto the crown or ceiling. Continue to align the edge to the pencil mark down the wall. Use your smoothing tool to smooth out the wallpaper and the bubbles. That care not to treat the wallpaper to aggressive or it will tear. Use your 6′ putty knife to hold wallpaper down as you use a razor blade to trim top and bottom. use 1 blade per cut! Take care to wash the wallpaper with a soft sponge and towel dry.

Congratulation, You just hung your first piece of wallpaper. Continue with the next piece and align it up to the one on the wall, making sure that the pattern matches. Smooth, trim, wash and towel dry. Please note that small bubbles under the wallpaper are common and will disappear when wallpaper is completely dry ( about 2 days).

When working around windows and doors, take care not to tear the wallpaper at the corners. I use my scissors to make a relief cut, coming towards the corner of the door or window with my scissors and stopping right on or a little short of the corner. This will allow you to work the sheet around the corner without tearing it.

Remember to keep your work table clean of glue. Have several sponges handy to wash the table, your tools, hands and the finished wallpaper. Any glue left on the wallpaper could damage the finished surface over time (several months might go by and then the print starts to flake off the front) Also make sure to clean the ceiling, crown, baseboards, cabinets with clean water and towel dry.

Good luck and remember, when all else fails…..Call a professional!

Parents! What Are Your Kids Doing Online?

Parents! Do you know what your children are doing online? Do you really know? When your son or daughter says they are doing homework on the computer, are they in an area where this can be verified? Or are they locked away in their bedroom, using the computer to do who knows what?

Millions of Americans were riveted to their television screens during the series “To Catch a Predator” that Dateline NBC aired showing dozens of predators who were attempting to meet up with people they thought were teenagers. In most of the cases, the men caught on tape on Dateline NBC thought they were going to the home of a 13 year old whose parents were out of town. 13 years old!!

These people were folks from every walk of life. There was a teacher, a rabbi (!), a busdriver. What was really shocking was that many of these folks already were working with children in their jobs every day.

YouTube ran a spot that showed what a chatroom would look like if the people involved were actually in a room together. You might wonder “what is that 50-something, married bald man doing talking to the 14 year old girl?” Of course he told the girl that he was 15. And who is the ‘Psycho’ guy who’s obviously mad at the world and everyone in it? And who are those two single guys over in the corner having a private conversation? Except for the twist at the end, this YouTube spot was pretty true to life about what chatrooms are like and the type of people who frequent them.

Chatrooms are extremely popular among teens and young adults. Chatrooms are also targeted by predators trying to get with these kids for sex. This was obvious in To Catch a Predator and is inferred in the YouTube spot I mentioned. Social networking sites are also common among the young.

MySpace has been in the news lately because of the predators on that site looking for young people to victimize. MySpace and Facebook are the two top sites known as ‘networking’ sites for people to make friends. However, because of the relative ‘anonymity’ of the Internet, these are places that predators frequent looking for children to victimize. Many parents are wary of letting their children have a MySpace account at all; however, quite a few teachers and school personnel are reporting that kids as young as 5th grade claim to have profiles on MySpace.

On a forum that I like to frequent (which has a large number of users who are parents), one of the posters reported that some strange words had come up during searches. Words like “sex”, “boobs”, etc. This poster has several children; among them a son who is 11. However, shockingly enough, it wasn’t the 11 year old who had been searching for these terms online. It was her six year old and his friends!! Six years old!! Now, I know kids will be curious and boys will give in to their curiosities. This is a normal part of growing up. But if I were the parent, I’d want my child’s curiosities NOT abused by an online predator, looking to make a victim out of my kid.

What can parents do to ensure the safety of their children? First of all, parents need to talk to their children often about what types of things their children are interested in. Not only is this good communication, this can ensure the safety of a child. Second, parents can warn their children about online predators and how they often appear to be a friend at first. Third, parents must warn their children NOT to EVER give personal information out on the internet. No real names, phone numbers, addresses, or whatever. Fourth, parents must create a line of communication that allows their children to come to them and talk about it if they have been frightened or disturbed by someone online.

The FBI and law enforcement have been working toward making the internet a safer place for people in general. It is easier today than it was even six months ago to catch and prosectute an online stalker. This is an evolving subject for law enforcement, but great strides have already been made. If you feel your child was threatened, contact law enforement.

I have included a link to the actual YouTube chatroom spot on my website, which is dedicated to the safety of young people online. Like I said earlier, this “chatroom” is pretty true-to-life, but it shows what it would be like if the people were actually sitting in a room together. My site can be found here:

Corrections in Group Fencing Lessons

Possibly the most common fencing lesson is the group lesson, a staple of all beginner training and a key part of the training of competitive teams. This means that corrections of technical and tactical errors in group lessons influence a very large percentage of the overall fencing population each year. Effective correction in the group lesson thus becomes a critical skill for fencing coaches.

The group lesson poses two scenarios. The first case is the individual who is having a specific difficulty performing the material taught in the lesson. Everyone else is doing this part of the skill correctly. At the best end of the spectrum, one fencer is having performance problems; everyone else is within an acceptable range. At its worst, everyone may be doing some part of the skill incorrectly, but there is no commonality in the problem areas.

Intervention in this case is individual, and may range in effort required from a single sentence of correction (for example “extend first”) to more complicated efforts. With experienced fencers, only a few words may suffice as the fencer has a large enough knowledge base to understand the instruction and be able to self-correct. The next step up is the very short demonstration-performance correction. Show the fencer the skill correctly executed in a quick demonstration. This can focus on the problem area alone, or on the entire skill if integration is the issue. After the skill is demonstrated, it may be necessary to lead the fencer through the movement correctly with your hand and blade. Finally the fencer should be able to do two or three executions of the skill, and be on track with the rest of the group.

For more difficult problems, more detailed intervention will be needed. This means that you have to have help, someone who can either do a check lesson or someone who can keep the rest of the group on track. The check lesson pulls the student out of the normal activity so that you can demonstrate the skill, have him perform it alongside you for perhaps two repetitions, and then have her do sufficient repetitions on your plastron to result in four or five correct performances. Hopefully this can be accomplished within 1 to 3 minutes. The student can then be returned to the ongoing group activity.

The second case is when a number of people have the same, or closely related, problems. Group problems require a group solution. Halt the activity, identify the nature of the problem, demonstrate how to perform the skill correctly, breaking it down as needed, and then have the fencers practice the specific correct execution. You can expect that a number of the fencers will not understand the correction or that it applies to them. This means that you must move through the group doing quick oral instruction and physically guiding performance as needed. This must be quick – if you spend 1 minute with each of 10 fencers, you have spent 10 minutes of practice time on a single problem. No more than 30 seconds per correction is a good goal. This process can be helped if you pair fencers who are doing the skill correctly with those who are not, with instructions to the fencers who have the skill to help their new partners

In doing corrections it is important that you not demonstrate the incorrect performance. Athletes’ memories are selective. If you emphasize the failures, they are just as likely to remember the incorrect method of performance as they are to remember the correct execution. One exception to this is video; videotaped poor performance will often be recognized by the athlete before you can point it out to him. With the ready availability of inexpensive video cameras, even small clubs with limited resources can afford to use this tool.

Problems in group lesson performance may self-correct in keeping with our principle of not intervening too quickly. However, they equally often propagate, with one fencer having difficulty transmitting that difficulty to her partner. This means that the coach teaching a group lesson must pay close attention to student performance, and intervene to correct errors. Be vigilant, make quick corrections, and move on to keep the group on track.

Home Security – Electric Fence

A home security electric  fence  is widely used in almost every part of the world. It is very effective and reliable in the sense that anyone attempting to vandalize or tamper with it, gets instant electrocution which could be fatal. Most people put up the electric  fence  mainly to keep the burglars away. It works very well with homes that have a stone walled perimeter wall, all around.

In some areas they are used to protect households from wild animals especially those that are in close proximity with forested areas. Signs should always be put in place to warn everyone of the impending danger should they get so near to the walls. The best quality home security electric  fences  are made from wires that conduct heat and are electric current compatible. They do not only offer protection, they also look like exterior designs for homes depending on the style they have been put in.

However, this type of home security is difficult to use in the close tight neighborhoods since the houses are very close to each other. Lone homes are more preferable, for them to be well protected from external intruders that may cause harm to the residents or cause damage to one’s property.

When you, the homeowners have this in place, it give you some psychological satisfaction of being protected and this way, you will be more confident even when leaving the home for either work or shopping. This can be bought on line or off line but it is always advisable that you visit the companies dealing with them so that you can get first hand information and also have all your questions answered before you buy.

Edinburgh Accommodation

Edinburgh accommodation services are also available in the hotels. Edinburgh hotels are by far the largest in number. They are further divided into several other types of hotels which you would be interested to visit. An example would be apex international hotel which is classified under “hotels near or in castles” the services offered by hotels in Edinburgh are simply outstanding for nothing or no one is taken for granted. Elder York is also found under hotels in Edinburgh but in a slightly different category. Simplicity is seemingly taken to a new level for everyone from here is always amazed.

One of the Edinburgh accommodations that you would find quite interesting to spend your time in is provided by Cambridge house. It is categorized under Edinburgh serviced apartments and it is found in the heart of Edinburgh. Airport and bus services are quite easy to get from here and it only takes some minutes to walk to Prince Street from here.

Edinburgh accommodations services also are provided by the various types of guesthouses and better yet good ones too. The Mc Donald guest house for instance, is very popular because it does not only cater for your accommodation there but it also ensures that you are relaxed and comfortable while you are with them. Free Wireless internet is just one of them.

You can also get good hotels for prices that you can afford, especially students too. Euro hostel is just one among the many hotel provide Edinburgh accommodation services and it is located right in Edinburgh. As for Edinburgh accommodations services that are self catered, hotels such as Quartermile which is about 400 meters from royal mile can be found. The prices are quite affordable and you also get to enjoy more since the hotel is located within a walking distance to Edinburgh’s attractions. For the category of bed and breakfast, you can check out Tantallon, an attractive Victorian house which is only ten minutes away from royal mile.

It therefore goes that Edinburgh accommodation services are of high quality and can compete with accommodation services in any other place. Besides, Edinburgh accommodation services have it all when it comes making visitors feel at home and you simply can’t miss a place to stay there since everyone in society is catered for. If it is impossible for an article to woo you, then it will be certainly be possible for your eyes to do the same.

Checklist for Traveling Abroad

International travel is both fun and exciting but it can easily become stressful if you forget or lose important documents. This checklist will help ensure that you have everything you need for a smooth journey.

1. At least $100 worth of local currency – calculate the cab fare from the airport to your destination and carry more than that amount with you. Some change is nice to have in the airport for luggage carts and tipping. Remember to bring some home country money as well, just in case you need it on the trip home.

2. Passports. Be sure to check expiration dates well in advance. It pays to check the destination country regulations as some countries require the passport to be valid for one month or more after the trip dates. Check and double check that you include all necessary visas with your passport information.

3. At least one copy of every passport packed separately from other travel documents. Consider including copies in a checked bag and then storing them in the hotel safe at your destination.

4. Health insurance cards. Verify that your health insurance is valid in your destination country and be sure to carry the cards – just in case.

5. Hard copy of important phone numbers (doctors, relatives, US Consulate, etc). Everyone has this information in cell phones these days but what if you lose your phone, forget the charger or it stops working?

6. Shot records (required for some countries)/birth certificates. Some countries require proof of immunization and/or proof of parentage before entering the country.

7. Notarized health authorization (if traveling with grandchildren). This doesn’t need to be complex – just a statement naming the adults traveling with your children and giving them authorization to approve health care in an emergency (just like most schools require).

8. Notarized travel permission or custody papers if both parents are not traveling. It is common for passport control to request this information if a parent is traveling alone with a child. A copy of the child’s birth certificate should also be carried if both parents are not traveling.

9. Hard copy of itinerary and lodging phone numbers. Better to be safe than sorry!

10. Leave behind – copy of itinerary, passport copy and contact numbers with neighbor or relative.

Complete this checklist and you should have everything you need for a fun and exciting international adventure.

First Time Buyer Initiatives

In this article, we take a look at schemes and initiatives, which are mainly based on shared ownership, that have been designed to help first time buyers on to the property ladder.

There are various initiatives aimed at helping first time buyers but each has particular eligibility criteria. Check the criteria for each initiative below and if you meet the requirements, read on.

Shared Ownership

Eligibility: Priority is given to existing public sector tenants or people on local authority or housing association waiting lists.

Shared ownership allows you to part buy and part rent a house. A first time buyer would normally buy a 25% share of a property or more. The other part of the property would be owned by a housing association, which you would pay rent on. The benefit is that you can gradually increase your share of the property over time, paying less rent as you increase your share. Eventually, your share will be 100% and you will need to pay no rent. Unfortunately, their are a limited number of shared ownership properties for sale, which limits choice.

Do-It-Yourself Shared Ownership

Eligibility: Priority is given to existing public sector tenants or people on local authority or housing association waiting lists.

This is like the shared ownership scheme (see above) but it gives you freedom to choose the property, whether it is for sale as shared ownership or not. Unfortunately, this DIY shared ownership is only provided by a few local authorities so check to see if it is available in your area.

Non-government Shared Ownership

Eligibility: You must be a first time buyer. Requirements may vary between companies.

Many companies that sell housing (i.e. new housing) offer their own shared ownership schemes – I recommend that you read their terms and conditions carefully because they are not as regulated as the government schemes.

Homebuy Shared Ownership

Eligibility: Priority is given to existing public sector tenants or people on local authority or housing association waiting lists.

Homebuy shared ownership is where a first time buyer gets a 25% loan from their local housing association to finance the purchase of a house. You only need to pay back the 25% when you sell the house. The benefit of this initiative is that you can choose any property on the market and it is available nationwide.

Key Worker Housing

Eligibility: You must work in London. Generally you must be employed in one of the following professions: NHS employee, teacher, police officer, prison officers, probation officers, MoD personnel, fire and rescue personnel, local authority staff, social workers, environmental health officers, traffic officers. Max household income: £52,500. Must not be less than 5 years away from retirement.

It allows key workers to find a property in London on the open market (less than 90 minutes travelling time from work, up to a value of £210,000) and get an equity loan of up to £50,000 towards the cost.

6 Important Phases of Structural CAD Service For Accurate Building

Business of building construction has got unique identification in real estate world. In the modern time all structural organization are using latest technologies for accurate building construction and AutoCAD is the most popular application that is widely used by structural engineers. Below various structural CAD services are explained in brief. Each structural phase has its unique identification.

Structural Design Drafting:

Structural drafting is an art of converting engineer’s calculation and sketches in to detailed presentations. After getting detailed presentation draftsmen create structural drawings. Drafting works like a bridge between engineer and contractors. CAD design and drafting play important role in various engineering sectors such as structural design and building design.

Structural Steel Detailing:

Structural steel detailing is most important and complex part of any structural projects. It assures building stability so it must be completed with maximum accuracy. Detail of each steel member and connections are evaluated through structural steel detailing. Software like Xsteel and Tekla are used widely for accurate steel detailing. Before starting steel detailing, a professional steel detailer must be aware with international standards and codes.

Structural Analysis:

Structural analysis is the process to predict about behavior of building in term of certain laws. Survival load of any building can be calculated through structural analysis. Various phases of building behavior like internal forces, stress, loads and external forces are evaluated using structural analysis.

Construction Documents:

At present time Construction documents are getting more and more attention of builders. It can be defined as set of various documents that contain building plans and other supportive papers. This process also used to create bidding documentation. Construction documentation starts with developer, draftsmen draft the sketches and provide functional documents to contractor and builders.

Steel Fabrication Drawings:

Steel fabrication drawings are the set of drawings that represents each building components. It provides various details like steel member detail drawings, connection details, anchor setting plans, column connection, erection drawings and shop bolt summary.

Rebar Detailing:

Rebar detailing can be defined as a steel bar detailing used in reinforcement concrete structures. Rebar detailing drawings include joint and slab details, bolted steel connection details, cross section details and retaining walls.

Creating a Dowel Pin

The uses of dowel rods for woodworking and crafting are numerous. However, dowels are also quite versatile in and of themselves. Consider dowel joinery. This is the process whereby a standard dowel may be used to join pieces of wood used in projects. A simple dowel can be used to create the pins necessary for dowel joinery. This is quite advantageous for several reasons.

First, using a dowel to create the pins necessary for joinery may lessen the overall amount of money invested in woodworking projects by replacing more modern, and perhaps more costly, methods of securing wood pieces, such as screws, nails, or hinges. Second, doing so also further facilitates gains in woodworking experience and skills as the woodworker makes the dowel pins needed to complete the joints. Finally, a woodworker who crafts and utilizes dowel pins for joinery creates a project made only of natural and organic elements, staying truer to the art of woodworking.

Creating a dowel pin is rather simple to accomplish, requiring very little woodworking tools or overall expertise. Create a dowel pin of your own using the following steps:

1. Select the wood dowel from which you would like to make the dowel pin.

2. Gauge the dimensions you will need for the joint, then use a pencil to mark one end of the dowel according to those dimensions.

3. Cut the dowel through at the inscribed mark using a saw with a fine blade.

4. Insert either end of the unfinished pin into a manual pencil sharpener until the dowel is chamfered. Repeat this process with the other end of the dowel.

5. For easier insertion into the applicable joint, consider using sandpaper to slightly round the ends of the dowel pin.

6. Use a pair of pliers to slightly etch the dowel pins. The etching will better hold wood glue, which will help to strengthen the wood joint.

7. Apply wood glue into the crevices of the dowel pin.

8. Carefully insert the dowel pin into the hole of the joint and secure it into place using a mallet.

Using a hardwood dowel can yield many creative woodworking projects, many of which can be made quite simply and inexpensively. Because they can be used interchangeably, whether as a part of a project itself or as a part of its joinery, they are even more valuable. Multipurpose and functionality make a sometimes underestimated hardwood dowel a fantastic tool for any number of woodworking projects!

A Guide to ECA Stack

An ECA Stack is a complex combination of various drugs which is used for boosting the level of energy of our body. This mixture is also used by many people for losing their weight. So the ECA stack has more than one advantage under its hand. ECA is the short form for ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin. Ephedrine is the most important ingredient in the stack which is responsible for both energy boosting and weight losing. Ephedrine itself is very effective in boosting energy and losing weight but mixing it with caffeine further nourishes its effects and makes it more effective than before. By using this stack, a person can lose weight at a faster pace than any other weight losing supplement. If a person uses ephedrine weight loss supplements, then the time taken to get the results is way more than the ECA stack.

When used properly, the ECA stack can make a person lose weight at a much faster rate and all that extra mass would get eliminated from the body. But before buying an ECA stack, a person must keep in mind some facts and precautions that would help him keep his body fit and healthy in the long run. As we decide to lose weight, when we use a weight loss supplement, along with burning fat we also burn the bulk of the muscles. We work very hard and carry out the most rigorous schedule of the day to make our muscles heavy and bulky but with the use of these supplements, those muscles gets faded. So the best way to save these muscles from getting shrink is to take a healthy protein meal along with the ECA stack on a daily basis.

The protein meal should be taken at least once a day but it is preferred that the meal is taken twice a day. This will keep the muscles away from getting shrink and the body will also lose weight. Ephedrine is also well known for its appetite suppressing properties. It has not been figured out yet that what is the principle behind the appetite suppressing properties of ephedrine. But this property is very useful in the process of weight loss. If the stack is not taken regularly then these effects seems to be vanishing from the body. This is because the ephedrine can only stay inside our body for a couple of weeks only and not permanently. ECA stack has become a must for those who want to lose weight at a very fast rate and grow their muscles into bulky ones.

Top 14 Tips for Better Barbecue

Below is a list of the 14 most important things to watch when slow smoking BBQ. All of these tips assume you have already purchased and are using the barbeque techniques in “Competition BBQ Secrets” of course. That’s the best tip out of all my tips, but the advice in this list are things that BBQers seem to have the most problems with. I have learned what these problems are directly from your emails to me asking for advice…

14. Proper ventilation. Make sure your firebox has enough ventilation. This helps to keep your fire burning properly and not smoldering. You want a light blue smoke – not a billowing white smoke. If you can, open the vents on your firebox all the way and try to maintain your cooking chamber heat with the fire alone. Always leave the smokestack vent open all the way. I have noticed lately that some smokers have bad designs where the fire is well below the firebox vents. The air has to come in and then down to the fire and then up into the cooking chamber. This makes it very hard to get proper airflow. The only way to fix this is to get your drill out and drill a few 1 inch holes in the side of your firebox.

13. Indirect heat. Make sure you set up your grill or smoker for indirect heat. Some of you are using gas grills or Weber charcoal grills – make sure you set them up properly for indirect heat.

12. Know your smoker. There are hot spots and cold spots on every smoker. After it gets up to temperature, check the temperature at different spots on your grate. Place your meat accordingly. For instance, chicken is better if cooked at a slightly higher temperature.

11. Buy a quality smoker if you can afford it. You get what you pay for when it comes to smokers. You can cook some good ribs on things like a charcoal grill, but it is much easier to do on a well built smoker. Insulation is key to maintaining a consistent temperature and producing quality BBQ. Look for thick steel on traditional offset smokers. The thick steel will hold in the heat. Insulated vertical smokers like the Stumps and Big Green Egg are nice too.

10. Use a water pan. Using a water pan will help regulate the heat in your smoking chamber and will also maintain a moist environment. Put some beer in the pan for some extra flavor!

9 . Let your meat come to room temperature before cooking. You can really get some strange results if the inside of your meat is cold when you put it on the smoker. Never put frozen meats on a smoker without thawing to room temperature first. Don’t let your meat sit out at room temperature too long though or you’ll run the risk of bacteria contamination.

8. Don’t poke holes in your meat. What happens when you poke a hole in a piece of meat that has been on the smoker a while? You can literally see the juices gushing out! Do your injections before cooking and maybe insert one temperature probe. After that, try not to poke it any more. Don’t use a fork to pick up your meat. Wear gloves and use your hands or tongs. Of course, let your meat rest properly before cutting or pulling. If you don’t, all the juices will pour out and your meat will be dry.

7. Buy quality meat to start with.

6. Keep your lid shut. If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’. Consistent temperatures are the key to great barbeque. Needless to say, opening the lid lets all the heat out. Open only when necessary – not when you are curious or just to take a look.

5. Learn what good BBQ is. This may be the best tip out of all of them. Most people have no idea what good, quality ribs, brisket, pork, and chicken tastes like. Sure… everybody has tasted good BBQ before, but how are you going to know that there is a whole another level if you have never tried it? I have actually had people have me try their brisket that they thought was the best in the world and it was literally as tough as shoe leather! The question is… how do you try great BBQ? One way is to go to a BBQ contest and get friendly with one of the teams and see if they will throw you a bone or two. Don’t be surprised if they don’t because most teams cook just enough for themselves and the judges. And they are not allowed to sell it without paying a vendors fee. Another thing you can do is participate in the “people’s choice” competition. You will sample several small portions of BBQ from the teams and pick which one you like the best. But the very best way to learn what real competition BBQ tastes like is to become a certified judge. Check with your local BBQ society and get certified and then volunteer to be a judge in the next contest. All the BBQ Associations are looking for good BBQ judges and you’ll be doing them a favor and yourself too. You will be trained as to what to look for in good BBQ and you will be able to taste a whole lot of great BBQ on competition day.

4. Fixing the rubbery chicken skin problem. Just prepare yourself a hot bed of coals on a standard grill and then grill your smoked chicken over high heat for about 5 minutes per side to crisp the skin.

3. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are a million different ways to barbecue. Think of all the different combinations of spices, rubs, injections, marinades, smoke flavors, times and temperatures that you can have. If you do try something else, maybe just change one thing at a time. In any kind of testing, you always have a “control” to measure against. If your new test is better, then it becomes your new control and your old control does not get used anymore. If you change more than one thing at a time, you will not know which of the two things made the improvement. Keep good notes too.

2. Give yourself plenty of time. Finishing early is no problem at all. Not finishing on time is a big problem – ever heard of somebody finishing their barbecue in the oven? If you finish early, just wrap it in foil and place it in a warm ice chest. It will stay hot and actually continue to cook in the ice chest. Some big name BBQ teams do this on purpose… they remove their briskets early and let them finish cooking in the ice chest.

1. Measure temperature AT THE GRATE. So many people use the thermometer in the lid of their smoker. This is a big mistake. Always use a digital remote thermometer with a dual probe and measure your cooking chamber temperatures at the grate right next to your meat.