ATV Snow Plows: Say No to Shovels and Snow Blowers!

Do you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and you own a 4×4 ATV? If so, you have probably thought about buying a snow plow to make snow removal easier. Trust me, a snow plow on your ATV is one of the most convenient and fastest ways to remove snow from you drive way, walk ways, or any other paths you want to plow. So please, don’t spend money on a snow blower if you own a 4×4 ATV, instead buy a snow plow, you won’t regret it. With all that said, let’s find out what you need to get your snow plow mounting and pushing snow in no time. With snow plows available in different sizes, materials, styles, attachment designs, accessories and available in price ranges from $150-$1,400. Which one do you need?

Below are the questions you should be asking yourself initially, once answered they will help highlight the type of equipment you need and the price range that’s available to you.

1. How often am I essentially going to use a snow plow? If you just it for your 60ft driveway, you don’t need a premium set-up. If you are going to be using it on a large driveway, or if you are going to plow multiple driveways for money, it would be beneficial to invest in a plow that offers features to help get those jobs finished quicker.

2. Do you want to use the plow for more than just snow? Maybe you also need to push dirt, gravel, sand or mulch in the summer time.

3. Will noise be a factor? Maybe the echoing sound from a steel blade scraping across the pavement will cause an issue with the neighbors.

4. How much does my ATV weigh? If you own a smaller model ATV there’s no sense getting an overly large blade. When all that snow piles up on the blade and you don’t have enough weight to keep traction to the tires it can become an issue, so remember to buy a blade that’s proportionate to the quad you own.

ATV Snow Plow Basic Components

Mounting Kit

a) Front Mount – Attaches to the front of the frame, or the A-Arms

b) Mid Mount – Attaches to the middle of the frame

c) Rear Mount – Attaches to the rear hitch mount

Push Tubes – Push Tubes connect to the mounting brackets and extend to the front where the plow is connected. Used in applications with the mid mounting bracket system.

Blade – Blades come in sizes that ranges from 42 – 78 inches, remember to buy a blade that proportionate to the size of your quad. They are also made of steel, polyurethane, or aluminum and offer a straight, tapered, and V-shaped design. All options are good, it all depends on the price point you want to hit.

Skid Plates/Feet – Skid Plates are used to keep the blade slightly above the plane to reduce damage to the surface caused by the blade. Most commonly used in gravel driveways to avoid gravel being scraped up by the blade and pushed into the yard.

ATV Snow Plow Optional Components

Manual Lift – The manual lift mounts to the push tubes and utilizes leverage to raise and lower the plow. This is a convenient feature as it makes maneuvering around easier. The only downside is that you must remove the handle from the push tubes every time the plow is removed from your ATV; it adds one more step to the removal process.

Power Lifts – Power lifts are used to raise and lower you blade. A power lift also offers the added benefit of down force on the blade to keep if from floating over packed snow. It gives extra force for ice or tightly packed snow.

Winch – Winches can be used for adding power lifting capabilities to their plows, it actually very common and is a preferred method for adding power lifting capabilities. Plus, once winter is over you can still use your winch for tail riding.

Power Blade Rotators – Uses electric hydraulics, or a motor, to angle you snow plow from one side to the other with the push of a button.

Wear Bars – Wear Bars attach to the bottom of the blade to reduce ware on the blade, it also serves as a noise reduction system to because it prevents the edge of the steel blade from scraping directly on the surface. This is recommend since it will increase the life of you blade and it will reduce noise.

Blade Markers – Blade markets attached to the end of the blade and are designed to help with locating the blade in close maneuvers.

Rubber Plow Flaps – These add height to the plow and helps keep the snow rolling off the blade. This is also recommended as it will help prevent snow from packing on the blade and causing you to lose traction to the tires.

Plow Wings/Shields – This is another device designed to keep the snow moving in the proper direction, it’s good for clean up along edges that need extra attention.

Plow Weight Bars – This mounts to the top of the blade to add down force. This is not needed if you have a power lift.

Plow Lights – This is a luxury item and helps you see a path when in the dark. If also solves the problem of snow building up to high on the plow and blocking your ATV lights, or in the case that you plow covers the lights on you ATV when raised.

Now that you know more about what components are offered and how you will be using your snow plow, I hope you’re pushing snow in no time!

Demigod Character – The Rook

The Rook is an assassin type Demigod in the video game Demigod. The Rook is actually the main cover of the game and has been used as an icon representing the game. The Rook is the biggest Demigod in the game and can become even bigger if the towers on his shoulders are upgraded. He also uses an enormous   hammer  to kill his enemies.

The  Hammer  slam is probably one of the most power attacks in the game if done right. It does 500 damage in a small radius and 100 in a big radius on the first level, and this can be upgraded to a ridiculous 1700 damage in a small radius and 400 in a large area. This power is very strong and should definitely be used in a combination nuke with your team, sometimes it might be useful for the Torch Bearer to freeze all the enemies and this way you can get them all in the small radius for maximum damage.

Another nice power is “Power of the Tower”, this power actually allows the Rook to create tower anywhere he pleases. On the first level you can control up to 2 towers that have 1500 life each and does 100 damage, this can be upgraded to control of up to 8 towers with 2850 life and does 190 damage each. This power is great for controlling a lane and can make it very hard for the enemy.

The Rook also has a power called structural transfer that damages buildings and heals the Rook. This can actually be used against a tower in the middle of the fight to heal you and damages the tower in the process. ON its first level it does 800 damage and heals 800 as well, on max level this is 2000 health and damage. This power is great for killing towers fast and can dramatically change the course of the game.

The Rook is great to play with and can be very useful to the game.

A Craft Industry Analysis

The Craft and Hobby Association in 2011, released results of research into the U.S. Craft and Hobby Industry. You may be surprised to learn that the craft and hobbyist’s contribution towards this industries net worth is approximately $29 billion, double the $14 billion first reported by Craft Organization Directors Association (CODA) in 2001. A surprising figure to emerge from this research (even to us avid craft enthusiasts) is that over half of U.S. households acknowledged engaging in a craft activity at least once per year.

When we unpack that $29 billion net worth figure we get a clearer picture of who it is that loves their hobby. Woodworking was the front runners in the top 10 craft sectors by spend, coming in at $3.32 billion with 16.8 million individuals engaging in this activity. I myself have some lovely bookends purchased at a local Sunday market that have clearly been lovingly produced by one such woodworker.

Since the internet revolution every industry engages in analytics and who wouldn’t want to have a picture of their client base so savvy marketing campaigns can bring a little more of that dollar value into the business. And what an impressive dollar value it is. The artists among us, thought to be 21.1 million households, spent $2.6 billion on our passion. The jewelry making and beading craft accounted for $2.3 billion with 14.7 million people crafting earrings, necklaces, bracelets and broaches etc. Over 18 million households engaged in Scrapbooking and other paper crafts spending $3.3 billion preserving family memories and turning photos into family heirlooms. The crocheting hobby injected $1.062 billion into the industry via 17.4 million strong crochet fans. That’s a lot of towels getting topped.

Crafting wreaths, historically a symbol of strength, and in Christianity a celebration of the festive season, made it into one of the top 10 favorite craft activities with 11.6 million engaging in this activity. This is not a once a year only at Christmas craft as wreaths are also used as wedding headdress in many different cultures. Incidentally, wedding crafts injected $803 million into the U.S. craft economy.

With speculation that the global financial crisis is responsible for providing this boost for the craft industry Hobby Lobby’s Eileen Liffick attributed an increase of people attending craft shops or online craft sites looking for ways to create craft for their families without spending a lot of money due to the current economic conditions. Ms Liffick says that “not only are people saving money, they’re making it. We have many people selling these items making extra money”.

What was previously a much loved hobby is now a means of saving the family money. “People are looking to create something special, something homemade. They want to help others save money, while making a little extra for themself”. The fabric department’s business has at least doubled in the last three years because of the economy with people trending back to earlier times, making homemade items for themselves, as a gift, or for a fun family activity. Industry concentration has increased over the five years to 2011, as large national retailers take market share from small independent operators.

Despite the impact of large scale business successful craft businesses are popping up everywhere seeking to share in the crafting industries net worth of $29 million. Crafting is a convenient work from home business and respected cottage industry. Approximately 81.2% of total craft industry operators in Canada are estimated to be businesses without paid-employees (non-employers) in 2011.

It’s now easier than ever to publicize your business and get recognition without spending a fortune doing so using a variety of free and low cost tools and resources from marketing on the internet to craft shows and everything in between.

Craft shows bring resources and new techniques to the end user providing an unequalled opportunity to present craft and hobby ideas and products and services to this cashed up audience. The hobby and craft association reported attendee registration at one particular craft show up 40%. In the “buyer” category alone registration was up 48% for this same show planned for 2012 in Anaheim.

Craft Pavilions showcase what’s new in crafts reaching craft and hobby enthusiasts far and wide. Stall holders sell products in a popular, vibrant market place that attracts tens of thousands over the course of the event. The bonus to the community is far reaching as these tens of thousands of attendees require accommodation and spend money on food and drinks in the vicinity of the event.

Peartree Solutions produced a report on the profile of the Canadian craft industry (2003) highlighting that Canadian craft, recognized internationally for its quality and distinctive character, was at the time considered to be a growing and vibrant collection of individual craft persons, studios, enterprises, media guilds, public and private galleries, retail and wholesale shows, and organizations. The industry in 2001 had generated $727 million in economic activity which including over $100 million in exports.

At the time of this research there were approximately 14,048 craft studios operating in Canada, where 22,597 people were employed. Ten per cent of those surveyed had craft revenues in excess of $120,000. The net craft income (or earnings) of full time craft professionals averaged $17,300 in 2001, while the top ten per cent earned net income of $49,000 or more.

Southern hemisphere crafters are every bit as enthusiastic about their hobby. Australia has less than one fifth of the population of U.S. however managed to spend an estimated $250 million on art and craft materials in 2009-2010. These figures are not a true representation of the Australian craft industry however as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) define a hobby as an activity that was undertaken only for oneself or for family or friends, that is, the output was not for general consumption. If the item produced was to sell, then this would be considered a work involvement and not measured in the hobby category. The ABS survey showed that in 2007 there were 2.1 million people aged 15 years and over in Australia who were involved in Art and craft as a hobby activity.

Craft exhibitions, craft festivals, craft shows are an unequalled opportunity for crafters and retailers alike to show case their wares. “Handarbeit & Hobby” Exhibition (Cologne, Germany) was held in 2009. Thought to be the largest European exhibition of manufacturers of the goods for needlework and creativity, the exhibition attracted more than 200 craft product companies. Many companies from Mexico, Japan, Australia, the USA and other countries saw the financial benefits of crossing the globe to present their products and shore up a slice of the lucrative European craft market.

Prize money from craft competitions can be quite lucrative for the hobbyist. A winner of an award for embroidery in 2009 beat the pool of 24 finalists from 24 countries selected from 330 applicants to take home $10 000. Craft enthusiasts can compete with the best by entering craft competitions. A European quilting championship has been held annually, since competition commenced in 2002. Masters and designers of ceramics and porcelain from Canada, Russia, Spain and other countries were among the last biennale visitors to the British Ceramic biennale festival in 2009. A mosaic technique summit was organized by the Society of the American Mosaic Artists and coincided with 10th anniversary of this Society.

In a news release issued on April 14 2011, CHA Member Northridge Publishing (PROVO, Utah) announced the launch of a new craft industry trade publication “Creative Retailer,” The publication aims to provide retailers the very best in industry information and product awareness and canvas a wide variety of topics, provide project ideas and discuss solutions for common retail problems for craft retailers. The craft industry hopes that the introduction of a new trade publication is a signal that the industry has a positive future for retailers and craft enthusiast alike.

As former partners of Scrapbook Premier, Inc. and Scrapbook Business Magazine, Torrie and Kevin of Northridge Publishing will provide leading-edge programs and media support that will strengthen business practices for both vendor, manufacturers and retailers. Brian Kunz, founder and president of Northridge Publishing stated ‘”they are striving to expand the industry by building greater awareness to their many subscribers” (hundreds of new readers every month).

Craft industry statistics clearly show that with over half of U.S. households engaging in a craft activity, many, many people experience that unequaled feeling of satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful. Nothing is as self-soothing as those stolen hours immersed in the craft you adore.

Basic Gardening – Planting Bulbs

Spring flower bulb planting in the fall is fast, easy and a nearly foolproof way to add color to your garden. By following a few simple steps you should enjoy your spring and summer bulb garden for years to come. Here are a few basic guidelines. Spring flowering bulbs need to be planted in the fall before the first hard freeze. Subsequent cold weather will sustain the bulbs’ dormancy period required to stimulate root growth and spring flowering. If you have purchased your bulbs early in the fall it is OK to store them unpackaged in a cool dry place between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days. For extended periods store them in your refrigerator, but keep them away from ripening fruit as the ethylene released by the fruit can damage your bulbs. When planning a new bulb garden site keep in mind the following:

  • Mass or cluster plantings in round or curved shapes create the best color impact.
  • Bulbs do not like “wet feet”.
  • Make sure the area you are planting has good soil drainage. Do not plant in areas where the soil stays constantly damp. Make sure the area gets plenty of the sunlight in the spring.
  • Read the label or planting guide supplied with the bulbs. Many varieties of bulbs will be taller than others, so it is important to plant the shorter ones in the front of the bed.

Prepare your flowerbed by spading or roto-tilling to a depth of 8-10 inches. If you have sandy soil it is a good idea to mix in some compost, shredded leaves or peat moss. For heavy, clay soils, the addition of coarse sand or peat moss will improve drainage. Once the soil is ready for planting, follow these guidelines when planting your bulbs:

  • Refer to your planting guide to determine proper planting depth and spacing for each type of bulb. If no information is available a general guideline is to plant a bulb 3 times as deep as its diameter. By varying your planting depth a little you can get bulbs of the same variety to flower at different times instead of all at once.
  • Make a hole for the bulb using a trowel, shovel or with the handle of a garden tool. Place the bulb pointed side up firmly in the bottom of the hole and gently cover the bulb with soil.
  • Cottage Farms always recommends mulching immediately since mulch shades and cools the soil, helps prevent weeds and provides organic matter for the soil.
  • Water your bulbs in thoroughly the day of planting. If the fall or winter is very dry, an occasional watering would be helpful. During the growing season make sure they receive at least 1-inch of rain or equivalent watering per week.

When your bulbs start actively growing in the spring it is recommended to fertilize every two to three weeks with a water soluble fertilizer like Cottage Farms’ Bud-N-Bloom Booster. Such feeding should be done in early spring / summer to promote flowering and superior bulb growth. After your bulbs have bloomed and the petals really begin to fade you may want to remove the flower spike to prevent seeding (which takes away nutrients needed for next year blooms). Allow the leaves to die back and dry up before removing. This is an essential part of a bulbs life cycle in preparation of winter dormancy and next year’s growth.

8 Foot Ladder

 Ladders  of different sizes are used to reach heights which are out of standard reach. The  ladder  size and type depends entirely on the place and the purpose of use.  Ladders  at industrial locations require some special care to be taken. Irrespective of the place for use of the  ladder , proper positioning of  ladder  is imperative. There are various uses of  ladders  all round from fixing of electrical, commercial work, house holds and many other repair works. Use of  ladder  for any purpose with safety is required to avoid any injury. The cost, shape and size of these  ladders  vary as per their functionality and purpose. 8 foot  ladders  are amongst popular  ladders  used allover.  Ladders  can range from 2 feet to 10 feet and are along with various functioning like spring actions, lever break and lock systems. There can be straight  ladders  or two side  ladders  having steps on each side. As per purpose of work there is variety of  ladders  available in market.

Whether it is an 8 foot  ladder , a step  ladder  or any other specific or general  ladder , it is essential to place it at suitable angle on ground. Any required surrounding support for the  ladder  is always beneficial and leads to a secure use. 8 Foot  ladder  accessories provided in market by manufacturers adds to safety and ease during work. These  ladders  can be of wood, steel or fiberglass or even aluminum. Bearing in mind usefulness and sturdiness, fiberglass and aluminum  ladders  are in demand in market. Popularity of these  ladders  has grown in market due to sturdiness, lightweight, flame resistively and durability. As compared to wooden  ladders  these never require periodic repairing. These can be in a variety of forms as fixed  ladders , stepladders, roof  ladders , extension steps etc. Extension  ladders  are used for working at different heights. Step  ladders  are broad steps that can be folded and are designed for ease position or climbing. As per the type of  ladder  the storage space required varies. Considering space required and cost, traditional  ladders  are taken over by folding  ladders  which last for longer period and are reasonable in cost.

While placing any  ladder  it is required to confirm that the ground is levelled. Placing  ladders  on uneven surface or object is enabling injuries. Carrying tools in hand can be avoided by using a tool belt on your body to keep your hands free while working on  ladders  in case of any emergency.  Ladders  act as a great tool to enable people climbing on roofs. Basically  ladders  are used for reconstruction or any kind of repairs. 8 foot  ladders  or any other  ladder  require some care for its use. Basics are to be taken care of as in putting shows on while working on  ladders  is a requirement. Safety goggles for eyes protection is also necessary. Putting gloves on will be essential. Other precautions like masks or ventilation while working in any industry is required. Using on any type any size of  ladder , taking care of basics will ensure its use. As per reports majority of accidents occur on 6 foot or 8 foot  ladders . So, consider the safety issue before purchasing an 8 foot  ladder .

Custom Staircase Carpeting and Runners – 5 Tips Before You Buy

I’ve seen my share of custom carpeted  staircases  and I’m always blown away by the final custom look that comes out of these unique installations. If you’ve ever considered the possibility of working with a rug fabricator who is familiar with adding a custom design to your  staircase  I have a few tips before you jump.

Whether you’re having a runner installed or it’s a complete wall to wall installation, I suggest creating a strategy to help you see the project through to a timely and successful conclusion.

Tip #1: Find a design that really attracts you. Explore the internet and dig deep if you have to. I’ve seen great  staircase  possibilities and in truth, any design is a possibility – it’s just that some designs can be integrated easier than others. Be open to everything at first then bookmark pages as you go. Check out websites including iStockphoto.com, flickr.com, and rug related sites. Get creative with your keyword research i.e. –  staircase  designs, rug designs, design illustrations, area rugs, or tap into specific themes by drilling down your search; example, animal print designs, tropical designs or illustrations etc…

Tip#2: Qualify your rug fabricator and installer. Ask a few questions: Have they ever worked on a project like yours? Can you see some pictures? Share your design ideas with the rug fabricator and request a few layout ideas. A design can flow down just one side, or it can be a random pattern, or it can be precisely placed on each tread. The one area you want to avoid any side seams (aka horizontal seams – vertical seams are no problem) is right at the pivot point of the tread and riser. Each step has a tread and a riser, the riser is the actual face of each step, and the tread is the actual step. A horizontal seam at the pivot point, which is under tension as it folds over the step, will probably open up and grin – this is not good. This can be avoided through careful design… just plan ahead a little.

Tip#3: Discover the type of installation you want: Will the  staircase  carpet be installed like a runner, or will it be a full, wall to wall installation? If you have a nice hardwood  staircase , then you might consider a runner-type install. The carpet would likely be all in one piece and a simple waterfall installation would work fine. You may even consider adding decorative stair-rods that hold it in place.

On the other hand, wall to wall installations have many facets. You may just have one wall, and then a side wrap. Or you may have a ‘more common box  staircase  with walls on each side. There are a few options that you will need to discuss with your rug fabricator and installer. The goal is to get clear on exactly HOW you’re going to approach the install. You may have more options than you think!

Tip#4: Consider a continuation of the design into the hallway or rooms on the second level. I’ve seen clever designs that continue into the next room and gracefully taper off, instead of an abrupt ending at the top of the  staircase . I’ve also seen dramatic extensions of the  staircase  design that spills out onto the floor on the first level; serving the same purpose as a separate area rug. If this is done properly it can be quite a statement.

If you’re doing a runner installation, usually it’s best to start at the top riser and finish at the bottom riser, or conversely, you can go from top tread to bottom tread; this leaves the top and bottom risers exposed.

Tip #5: If you’re having trouble locating a rug fabricator to do your job, don’t lose hope. Check your yellow pages online and look for ‘carpet workrooms’ or ‘carpet binding’. You can also contact your local carpet dealers and ask some questions. A good installer can probably add a couple of decorative borders if you want to keep it simple. If you decide to add borders, keep the border widths in balance with the overall  staircase , try to avoid going too wide with your borders, example; a narrow  staircase  requires narrower borders.

As you have learned, there are plenty of creative solutions to getting that custom carpeted  staircase  exactly right. Imagine the look on your guests face when you have your next party. A custom  staircase  is guaranteed to make a lasting impression.

We’ve covered a few of the basic questions in our discovery process. Let’s recap the key points: Investigate design ideas; there are so many creative ideas to bounce around that you can really have fun with this stage. Next, find a qualified rug fabricator and installer – hint: find the fabricator first because they may already be installers too. Consider your installation options; do you want to cover your stairs completely? Or do a runner type install? Think about the possibility of continuing your design into other spaces of your home. Finally, try a deeper search if you are struggling to find a rug fabricator, explore online sources and local carpet dealers.

"No Stairway, Denied!" – The Effect Of Copyright On DVD Releases

For those of you in the right demographic, you may recall a sketch comedy show that aired on MTV in the early 1990’s, “The State.” This critically acclaimed, but commercially unsuccessful, production featured many skits that featured popular music to construct its humor. (Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” being one example). This background music was often critical for comedic effect. MTV was able to liberally insert copyrighted music in the show because it had generous licensing deals with various record labels at the time. These deals allowed it to use songs from music videos aired on its network for its original programming without having to pay royalties.

In no small part to the music used, The State developed a cult following during its 4-season run and many clamored for its DVD release years later. There was a major snag, however. MTV did not have the broad licensing rights necessary to include the original music for home video (e.g. DVD) reproduction. Its music license only covered television broadcasts. A simple calculation revealed that the cost to obtain licensing rights to include the original music for the DVD release would have swamped any profit from selling the DVD’s of the niche show. MTV instead opted to dub over the songs with cheap alternatives and blur any copyrighted images. The end product was a watered down version of the show that alienated fans and skits that made little sense to the newcomer.

The State is just one example of the issue of copyright and DVD releases of older films and televisions shows. Many other programs far more popular than The State have been affected, including: Saturday Night Live, In Living Color, WKRP in Cincinnati, 21 Jump Street, Grease, Captain America: The First Avenger, and even Wheel of Fortune. This clip from Wayne’s World highlights the effect of such changes:

In the theatrical release of the movie, Wayne plays the first four notes to “Stairway to Heaven,” but an employee quickly cuts him off and points to the store’s “No Stairway to Heaven” sign. The joke parodies novice musicians’ need to jam that particular song over and over in guitar shops, but never buying anything. As you can see in the video clip of the DVD release, however, Wayne’s intro of Stairway is dubbed over with a bland guitar riff. This is because Led Zeppelin refused to give permission, at any price, for the studio to use their song in the release of Wayne’s World on DVD. Without the subsequent dub over, the studio would have been infringing on Led Zeppelin’s copyright to the song. The dubbed version, however, fails to make sense without those four notes, especially to an international audience of first time viewers. Even when copyright permission is available for other works, executives have resorted to dubbing and blurs rather than pay licensing fees.

But why did executives not acquire broader licensing deals to the music used in films and television? The answer lies with the technology and markets that existed at the time creators produced their works. Executives didn’t foresee the upcoming DVD revolution and securing broader licensing rights would have cost more. Many felt it was simply an unnecessary expense years ago. The sale of VHS tapes, laser discs, and other home video media was just not that profitable. It was only with the coming of DVD’s that things changed and distributing films and TV shows for home use became a booming business. Copyright owners naturally want a slice of the profits networks and studios make in releasing DVD’s, but sometimes demand exorbitant fees for music licenses. Networks and studios instead often choose to dub over songs and blur images to avoid these fees and any potential copyright infringement. This happens either because music licensing fees would be greater than any profit on selling the DVD’s, or simply because they want to keep all of the profit.

As these cases illustrate (and anyone familiar with George’s Lucas’ foresight to acquire licensing rights to sell Star Wars merchandise), the extent of licensing rights can have a huge impact on money changing hands. Keeping this in mind, what future issues do you predict could occur with copyright, technological advances, and artistic productions?

Ari Good, Esq.

Ari Good, JD LLM, a tax, aviation and entertainment lawyer, is the Shareholder of Good Attorneys At Law, P.A. Ari Mr. Good received his BA, With Distinction, from the University of Michigan in 1993. He graduated from the DePaul University College of Law in 1997 and received his LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida. Ari represents DJs, live musicians, fashion models and other entertainers in copyright, licensing and contract matters.

Come to the Edge

“Come to the edge.”

“We can’t. We’re afraid.”

“Come to the edge.”

“We can’t. We will fall!”

“Come to the edge.”

And they came.

And he pushed them.

And they flew.

— Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918

French Poet, Philosopher

Every day, parents and teachers are coaxing children a little closer to the edge, until eventually they are ready to be pushed off. To build enough trust in another person to be willing to come to the edge, even when fearful, is the true foundation of a solid relationship. In the above quote, I think of the fearful responder as the child or apprentice, and the coaxer as the parent or guide.

The idea of guided participation or coaxing, is a foundation of the RDI® program. Each parent is equipped with the ability to guide, encourage,   scaffold  and eventually “push” their child over the edge into independence. The scenario that is described in the quote is a very common occurrence for the families and children we see on a daily basis in our clinic. The child with an autism spectrum disorder frequently communicates, “I can’t. I’m afraid. I’ll fail.” This may not be communicated verbally, but can be seen in the child’s behavior or demeanor. When parents or teachers are able to provide the right amount of guidance, encouragement and  scaffolding , the child begins to trust that the guide will not push them over the edge until they are ready to fly solo.

How do guides help the apprentice prepare for flying solo?  Scaffolding  is the best technique I know for working toward independence.  Scaffolding  requires that the guide provide just the right amount of support to ensure that the apprentice does not fail, but not so much support that s/he does not learn anything new.  Scaffolding  can be provided in several different ways, and the amount of  scaffolding  varies from task to task. A child that requires complete physical hand-over-hand  scaffolding  in one task may only require an occasional nonverbal prompt in others. It can be difficult at times to determine how much  scaffolding  is appropriate for a give situation; but my general rule of thumb for guides is that if you feel like you are doing all of the work and the child is just a passive participant, then you have provided too much  scaffolding . On the other hand, if you are having breakdown after breakdown and the child and you walk away from the activity feeling like failures, then you probably have not provided enough  scaffolding . This can sometimes be a fine line to walk; but with some practice it gets easier to determine what type of support an apprentice will need in a given situation. The goal is to be able to reduce the amount of  scaffolding  over time until the apprentice is ready to “fly solo.”

This may take a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years. Take it slow, and make sure you are building competence along the way. Bring the apprentice to the edge without fear and uncertainty; help them want to fly. This may be one of the best gifts that guides can give: enough  scaffolding  to build the competence to go it alone.

Laminate Flooring How To – Covering Concrete Stairs With Laminate

You have a beautiful laminate floor and you’re wondering if you should finish the concrete stairs in laminate to give the space a cohesive, designer feel. First of all, is it possible? Can you cover concrete with laminate? The answer is yes. In fact, if you’ve ever covered wooden stairs, the process is similar, except that the nosing installation is a little trickier.

What You’ll Need

To accomplish this task you’ll need:

  • PL200 or stronger construction glue
  • Skill saw for cutting laminate
  • Chop saw for cutting metal nosings
  • drill with a concrete bit
  • electric screwdriver
  • plastic plugs
  • broom

I recommend using metal nosings as these are stronger, and will hold better on concrete stairs. (Laminate nosings that come in a kit are also trickier as the tracks need to be in exactly the right spot, and there isn’t a lot of standardization–every manufacturer makes a slightly different size/style of laminate nosing).

What to Do

Start by sweeping the stairs and cleaning up any shavings or dust. You’ll need a clean surface for the glue to adhere properly to the concrete and laminate. Once the area is clean, start with the risers first.

Measure, mark and cut each laminate plank to fit the riser with the groove side facing downwards. Glue the riser and the back of the plank, and secure the plank in place, again, making sure that the groove is at the bottom of the riser. Once all the risers are glued, you’re ready to start on the nosings.

Begin by measuring and cutting the metal nosings to fit. Mark on the concrete where the screws will go, then using a drill with a concrete bit, drill the holes. Place a plastic plug in each hole. Number the nosings so that you match each one to the correct tread when you screwnail them in later.

Measure, mark and cut each laminate plank to fit the tread with the groove side facing inwards to meet the bottom of the riser. Arranging the planks so that the groove on the riser meets the groove on the tread makes for a clean, professional edge in the corner. Glue the tread and the back of the plank and secure the plank in place, making sure that groove faces inward.

Stair nosings are intended to finish the look by capping the lip of the stair. Unfortunately, with concrete stairs this can be a little tricky as the lip on the stairs is often thicker than the actual stair nosing. If this is the, cut a laminate plank so that it’s wide enough to cover the the concrete lip, and glue it to the face of the lip on each tread. Then secure the nosing over top by screwnailing it through the laminate tread into the pre-drilled holes in the concrete. (If you’ve already covered the lip-face with laminate, you can glue the nosing to the laminate for extra adherence, and then screwnail the top of the nosing into place.)

Popular Russian Souvenirs

The fact that Russia stands on the margins of both the east and the west has helped to shape its unique culture. Russian culture is largely shaped by its art, food, traditions, literature and of course its handicrafts. The handicrafts are known for their intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail. Such detail to attention and uniqueness is not only reflected in Russian handicrafts but also in Russian art and entertainment. Who can forget the famous Russian ballets and the magical Russian Opera? Russia’s love for literature is known throughout the world. Nikolai Gogol, Tolstoy, Chekov and Brodsky are legendary names in Russia.

Moreover, just as Russians blends eastern and western cultures, the cultural diversity of Russia is blended into its handicrafts and collectible dolls. The popular handicrafts include nesting dolls, Lacquer boxes, amber jewelry, Cheburashka dolls, ceramic figurines, Khokhlomas and the ubiquitous Faberge eggs. Of all these, Russian nesting dolls or Matryoshkas have been recognizable symbols of Russian culture. The first Russian dolls were handmade in the late 1890’s, in the small town of Sergiev Posad. These dolls were inspired by the Japanese art of making Fukuruma figurines.

Today there are thousands of artisans that excel in the art of making these handmade dolls. The dolls too have changed with time. While the earlier versions were replicas of the Russian peasant woman with her large brood, today, these dolls represent everything from cartoon characters, to pop icons and even political figures. Don’t be surprised if you were to find an Obama nesting doll in one of the several Russian souvenir shops in America.

And if aren’t interested in these nesting dolls, there’s plenty of other things to attract the shopper’s attention. Besides nesting dolls, Cheburashkas are also very popular. Designed on the popular animated film character Cheburashka, these dolls are popular collectibles and sought after by people all over the world. In addition, if you are interested in jewelry; try some of the popular amber jewelry, made from Russian Amber. Widely believed to possess healing power, Baltic Amber is famously used in the cosmetics industry.

Thanks to online retails shops that sell Russian handicrafts, you no longer have to travel to Russia to buy these extraordinary gift items. These online retail shops sell everything, right from lacquer boxes and Faberge eggs to even Russian Khokhloma. These gifts are perfect for every occasion from weddings to even birthdays and anniversaries. And what’s even better; you can now arrange for these gifts to be delivered directly, thanks to their gift wrapping service.

But when you’re buying these dolls, make sure you’re buying from an authentic seller. Sadly, handmade dolls like the Matryoshkas are now being made by the Chinese in China, than by Russians. An authentic Russian handicraft is sure to be exemplary with its attention to detail and intricate craftsmanship, as opposed to the factory made look sold by Chinese traders.

40 Something?

While in the shower (my best thoughts usually come upon me either in the shower or on the throne) a realization that I was getting old hit me. It wasn’t the gentle wake up nudge your significant-other gives you to welcome you into a new day but the massive blow of a 30 lb. sledgehammer dead center in the noggin. 40 something! Wasn’t that the name of a TV show a few years back? I remember refusing to watch it, thinking, How boring! Who is going to watch a program about some people going through their mid-life crisis? Curiously, I really want to know what they went through now.

I’m a technical kind of guy. Whenever possible, I seek out a manual or a reference book to guide me to the next step. Am I doing this right? Have I taken all the right steps with my family, my career or spiritual life(just in case a Supreme Being exists). Am I really so lost as to have to rely on a TV program thought up by the Hollywood crowd? The same crowd that lives in a bubble and believes that they know what the lower and middle class person thinks and wants. They are as distant from the truth of the average Joe(and Jane, to be politically correct) as all our self-serving and self-tooting politicians. I must really be lost, then.

How did my parents do it? They seem to be okay. Though she does gripe all the time and he is showing signs of Alzheimer’s (maybe that’s his defense mechanism against her and he is only faking it.) I don’t know, we are two decades apart and I am experiencing a different political and social climate then they did. Besides, I am too young to go with the Alzheimer’s thing. How about my friends? Naw, they look as confused in their journeys as I am in mine right now.

If I were to die right now would I leave content? In some aspects I would, in others I wouldn’t. I have been lucky enough to see a good part of the world (it is true you can see the world when you join the military). I have been able to see many cultures and experienced many local Montezuma’s revenges. So, in that aspect I feel fulfilled but in the aspect that deals with my family life, there are still too many big red X’s. How are my wife and two young ones going to survive without my income? I don’t own a business that will carry on if I were to disappear.(I make my living the good old fashioned way by using my hands.) And yes, I do have life insurance. Though like the average person, not enough. Very expensive to maintain and then wasted when I don’t die before the age of 65. And other methods such as: disability insurance and annuities, forget it: Too expensive. I can barely afford health insurance (and they just raised my rates again!). So no, I am not ready to kick the bucket. My wife would kill me if I did. But do I really need to have a million or two in the bank to stabilize my family? Life does go on you know. Somehow, people pull through; life altering experiences expected though.

How about leaving my mark on society? Nope, that doesn’t bother me. Not everyone can be a world class athlete or a Nobel laureate. I don’t feel like I need a plaque on my wall or to be a topic in an encyclopedia to fulfill me. It would be nice, but definitely not a driving force in my being.

So why am I even worried about it? Is it going to make any difference? Probably not. I am going to wake up one day and truly feel like this mid-life crisis was all for nothing and that it was just someone’s cruel joke on an already stressed out, overworked, and under insured average Joe. But, if sometime in the future you happened to see me driving a Corvette or a Porsche it’s not that I am still having my midlife crisis. It’s just that I have always wanted to buy a sleek little sports car with enough power to rip the tires to shreds on a single slam of the accelerator but never had the money to buy it until then.

Farewell my friends and have a good life. And for the record, I am 36 right now. I guess I peaked early.

Copyright 2007

Roof Repair: Don’t Wait Until After A Storm

Hurricane Irene left many people along the east coast without a home and many more facing high costs for repair and rebuilding of their homes. Before a storm people tend to focus on boarding up windows and gathering belongings, but many people neglect to check their  roof  for any weak spots. Unfortunately, many people have returned to their homes after the storm to learn a very valuable lesson: always check the integrity of your  roof  before a major storm.

Preparation Is Key

In general, many people go months or years without ever checking their  roof  to ensure it is in good working order. People tend to wait until they see a problem or experience a leak before checking their  roof . Routine  roof  inspection and maintenance can save you money in the long run in preventable repairs.

Inspection and maintenance before a storm can protect the  roof  and home from avoidable damage and costly repairs. Additionally, your insurance company may not approve a claim if they deem that preventative maintenance could have protected the  roof  from damage and saved money. Before ending up with the bill for unnecessary  roof  repairs, make sure your  roof  is prepared for a weather event by:

Routine Inspections. A good rule of thumb is to inspect your  roof  every 6 to 12 months regardless of any weather events. You can inspect the  roof  yourself, looking for missing or damaged  roof  materials. Typically, missing or damaged  roof  materials can be repaired easily by a homeowner. However, if there is a significant portion missing or damaged, it is a good idea to call in a professional  roof  contractor.

*Always have your  roof  inspected by a professional before a may weather event.

*Obtain a copy of the inspection report to show your insurance company, in the event you need to file a claim.

Get in touch with your insurance company. Many homeowners do not know the specifics of what is and is not covered in their policies. It is a good idea to contact your insurance company before a major storm to ask about your coverage. You may be able to purchase additional coverage or get advice on how to protect your home during a storm.

* Ask your insurance provider about any maintenance requirements or exclusionary clauses prior to filing a claim

* Find out what documentation will be needed in order to process any potential claims.

Take pictures. Whenever you are dealing with an insurance company, the more proof you have the smoother the claims process. Paperwork that documents any  roof  repair or replacement may be required by your insurance company in order to process a claim. It is important that you have evidence of what the home and  roof  looked like prior to the storm in order to support your insurance claim.

* Always keep copies of repair work, inspection reports and  roof  warranty information on hand when filing a claim with your insurance company.

* Take before and after pictures of your  roof  to submit along with your claim.

Don’t be left empty handed after a storm, get the most from your insurance company by being prepared. When unfortunate events devastate our neighborhood, there is no reason to end up in debt over repair costs. Homeowners insurance is a helpful resource for home protection, but you have to ensure you have done your part to protect your home and family.

What Is Your Best Local Roof Material?

Choosing a roof material for your home can be a complex job. Although most people tend to stick to the same type of material as their old roof, many benefits could be missed by using this strategy. With so many new roof materials available in an array of colors and styles, why choose the same one as before?

In many cases, people are afraid to try new things when it comes to the products used around the home. With the costs of repairs, trying something new seems like risky business. In fact, it could be that the opposite is true. New recycled roof materials, green roofs and solar panels have many cost cutting and energy saving benefits. In general, choosing a roof material should be based on the climate you live in, but you should also look for upgraded materials that could save you money down the line.

Wet Climates

Many coastal regions face unique challenges. In addition to the added moisture in the air, there may also be risks of hurricanes or floods. The problem homeowners face in coastal or wet climates is that increased moisture can easily damage some roof materials, leading to further problems with the roof. Mold, mildew, wood rot and water leaks are all very common problems among roofs in wet climates.

So which roof material is best? Traditional asphalt shingles are an inexpensive option for high moisture areas as they are durable and resistant to mold and mildew. However, they can be easily broken by high winds, leaving the base materials susceptible to water damage. Metal roofing is a good choice for wet climates as they contain natural waterproofing abilities and are rust-resistant. A metal roof can also stand up to high winds better than an asphalt roof.

Hot Climates

Hot climates also tend to dry climates, which can be a problematic combination. High temperature also tends to mean increased exposure to the sun’s damaging rays. The heat and the UV rays together can cause bending and cracking among some roof materials.

Although asphalt shingles are found in hot and dry climates, they are not always the best choice. Typically chosen for their lower cost, these shingles can have a reduced life span in some areas where the heat and sun can last the majority of the year. One of the best roof materials for a hot or dry climate is clay or slate tile. These products are made from earth derived elements, which means they are inherently resistant to heat and dry weather. Clay and slate tiles are highly resistant to the heat and can even reflect the sun’s UV rays, resulting in less heat absorption into the home.

Cold Climates

Homes in cold climates are generally free from extreme weather conditions other than snow. Although snow itself isn’t that damaging to a roof, there are some roof materials that cause more buildup during heavy snow storms. For example, metal roofing tends to contain grooves, which can store excess snow and promote buildup.

The best roof material for cold climates is asphalt shingles as they are made from rubber and can tolerate snow buildup. Asphalt shingles are flat and will not interfere with natural snow removal by way of gravity. However, it is important that homes in cold climates choose a dark colored shingle to increase the absorption of the sun’s rays to ensure better heating of the home.

Floor Paint

Colors play an important role in a structure either an office or a house. Just as floor paint does. When choosing for floor paints, it needs to meet specific requirements to the area to be painted to make it functional. There are three types of floor paints namely epoxy, oil, and latex.

If you will be painting your garage or kitchen and other areas with uneven humidity and prone to acidic elements, epoxy is the best recommended. Epoxy is the most durable type. It can last longer and can protect floors from sudden wear and tear. Furthermore it is also resistant to oil accumulation. It is advised that when applying epoxy paint on your garage floor, clean and de-grease the area thoroughly to achieve best results of painting application. On the other hand, oil-based provide smooth and shiny finish and are best partnered with polyurethane for durability. It should be reminded that when applying urethane, it should be left dry for at least 48 hours before coating it with urethane.

Oil-based paints are best for indoor and outdoor surfaces made of concrete or wood. Meanwhile, latex paints are specially designed to provide decorative finish to indoor and outdoor home and industrial masonry. It can be applied to wood, concrete or prime metal surfaces. It is a quick dry with lesser odor. When purchasing for floor paints, be reminded of the following hints: select the type of surface that you want to paint on, the color of the paint, and the ventilation of the area to where paint will be applied. If unsure for the right paint to choose, ask for assistance or bring an expert in paint with you.

Xbox 360 Power Supply Red Light – Fixing the Problem

Getting into the hang of your gadget, you should know any work around that you can do to fix any minor problem that may occur to you Xbox 360. Finding the easiest solution to be able to help you is to be able to be keen that there is always a way if a problem occurs with your device.

Seeing the power box of your Xbox 360 turn into red is a very minor problem that even you can troubleshoot and check before getting a new one. The red light usually occurs when there is a problem detected to the power supply itself. This is a way that prevents the power supply to do any more damage to the gadget itself. As they say, it is like a security measure equipped on it.

The power supply of the Xbox 360 in general will automatically turn off and turn red if it receives more current or voltage and when its temperature is very high. When this happen, you can try a few solutions before assuming that it is not working anymore or if you want to have it exchanged.

  • Make sure that it is plugged in properly to the console.
  • Give ample time to cool down the power supply before trying it on again.
  • Try using a different outlet than the one that you are using to plug in the power supply.
  • Try another power cord that is attached to the power box.
  • Check if the outlet is plugged in the correct voltage level.

If none of these solutions are able to help you out, you can opt to have your power supply exchanged for a new one if it is under the warranty period or you can purchase a new or have it repaired.

There may be more solutions than I have jotted down in this article, but trying them before making a move on having them exchanged or dispose, you can find a quick step by step guide on how to fix up the problem with your Xbox 360 power supply red light.