A Strange Occurrence at the Passing Sun

Rounding the corner, I tripped on my shoe lace. As I bent down on one knee I looked straight out as my hands grabbed my laces and began their dance. A blinding flash, as the sun made a quick turn off a marble surface in the distance. Which happened to make my hands slip upon something they knew as well as my lungs know to breathe. I looked down to concentrate on what I was doing and finished the knot, double tied.

Damn size fourteen shoe laces. After size 12, they make one size only that you can hang a full size man with. Sometimes I think they are artifacts of the appropriate length to hang myself after a full night on a bender of Martinis and M+M’s. Granted a strange, mixture, but indeed this morning was one of those days I was second guessing it. I first encountered the pair on a train returning from Montreal. An older man had got me a Martini, being only twelve at the time I asked for a bag of M+M’s to go along. Over the airs of a Piano player, in those days was quite common, doing his best renditions of Billy Joel and other Magic 101 numbers. Unfortunately the man imparted some ill timed information about the where abouts of the ladies of the evening who paint the old town scarlet. Been back since on my various travels, but have not looked up his veracity as of yet. Which brings me to this morning.

Being a reporter for The Times, keeps me out of my own bed allot. I tend to feel bad kicking all those cockroaches out of their’s, but I figure I am at least a paying client. So the M + M+M’s mixture is a habit of travelocity. I checked into it with Blue Shield and Blue Cross, but there is no coverage for it. So this brings us back to the shoe lace I am tripping on for the second time. I am just not up to snuff this morning as my trick knee does its act. So I pop one of my Percs and head mindlessly to that glare.

As I walked past those countless interments of scores of boys who never had a chance coming from the backwoods of some forgotten town with those hilarious signs, population 5. The mill always closes appropriately right before a war.

As I rounded up the grass toward the bright white marble, those three ladies; victory, Peace, and Valor winked at me. Victory flashed her leg, Valor stuck her breasts out, and Peace seemed to be brushed aside by Victory as she did her best Claudette Colbear. I read the four marble slabs that rested flat into the plaza before those ladies. From east to west was The Unknown of WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. As I got half way through the inscription of the slab on the Unknown from Vietnam, I was disturbed by some punk humming some insidious tune with lewd overtures. I looked up and saw what was very popular in the Urban outfitters. He was wearing something purchased fom the local Army Navy store. But something was off about him, but I could not place it. Just the average military uniform worn without the spit and shine. My time in the Gulf got me five in the jaw for wearing my zoot that way.

“Do you mind! Lets have a moment of silence.”

“For the departed unknowns?”

No for my splitting head, I responded as he only laughed.

“So what are you doing here with the stiffs?” the kid said over his nose.

“Oh I just figure if I show up in enough cemeteries I might find all of those brain cells I have killed in the past. I found this witch doctor in Harlem, oh never mind, it is just a quest in vain.” The kid approached me and offered me a fag, as he shook a pack of Pall Malls to have a couple of cigarettes jockey for top position. I took the winner and turned down his light for my own.

Besides the   Trench  lighter, the fag comment brought to light the confusion I was facing all morning. I had reported many Gay pride parades in New York, even ask Bloomberg if he would be gay for the day as he earlier proclaimed he was going to be Irish or Italian for the day. No comment.

“So how long you been State side, you know in country?”

” Only three months out of County Roscommon before my departure back across the sea. You believe after fighting those damn Gufies and puddens, I had to share  trenches  in the desert with them. From throwing grenades at them from ditches on the side of the road to sharing a canteen. Tis a strange world Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.”

I was a bit lost to what a guffie or pudden was but I nodded any way since he seemed quite agitated.

“By the way, the name is O’Niel, Seamus O.Niel. I hate going around anonymous with those who comes to these parts and commune with me. But being a dime a dozen, you know Joe smith like. But being Jon Doe is something I never could stomach.” he finished with a slug from a silver halmarked flask.

Well hair of the dog and all, I took my obligatory swig from him and felt like I should use that empty grave for the Vietnam unknown. Damn DNA testing gave that one a name and moved him out. Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie. That war still being a disgrace to most, they never thought of placing maybe one of those M.I.A. in it they keep occasionally digging up in some farmer’s rice patty.

They never dared give us gulf vets one, the ghosts of this monument would reject him for not being killed by an enemy. But then again it is all friendly fire starting from birth in impoverished towns. Failing schools always breed a great feeding pool for those starched uniforms circling in . Ignorance and desperation is always the way to sow the fields to feed the cannons. From the earth, back to the earth.

“It was a shame about that one, I was just getting to know that shagger before they took him away.”

I thought it strange he had such animosity for the Brits being from a southern county. Maybe hatred could still linger in Atrium, but gernading some modern Black and tans in the south? It was not sitting straight. Then that uniform, heavy brown wool. In the summer. Yes he had it open bearing his dirty T with a hole in the belly. As I looked again, I saw the jacket line up just right to see a hole line up with that one. Then the fag, Pall malls not Marlboro or GNC. The  trench  lighter

“Yes, even more dangerous than three on a match. Damn blow torch will give you away each time.”

“What…”

“Yes, Jesus Mary and Joseph you are one of the slowest. I am to be unknown no more. I told you I am to be no Jon Doe. Cursed alive it was bad enough to be Seamus O’Neil, bloody bullocks on those arhses if they think three months in country before shipped out I was going to be Jon doed and all.”

So I turned quickly around expecting the other two to be standing behind me.

“Nah by this time of day they buggering the senators of the wartime appropriations board, plastic trucks to stop bullets, by noon they should be Harassing that Defense security. A real good Dickens they do on them, real top draw act.”

“Silainte!’ he took one last slug before he disappeared.

“By the way I would quit sucking on those fags, they will kill you every time.”

My cigarette dropped from my lip with a full inch of an ash landing on my London fog. I know who am I to talk, summer time and all. But my blood never seems to warm up from the M+M+M’s until I get a prairie Oyster into me.

How Snow Can Give You A Warm Feeling

I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life, so I have to admit that my approach to snow is unconventional. OK, some would call it eccentric. In fact, many have called me rubber-room-crazy, right to my face, for the way I tend to dress when it’s snowing.

A few years ago I was outside my home in Denver, shoveling snow. Nothing noteworthy there. Except, in my case, the guy out shoveling snow was wearing shorts (the kind you’d see on guys working out in the gym), a t-shirt, and flip-flops. The facts were these: it was not very cold outside, I was exerting and working up a sweat, and they were my rubber, all-weather flip-flops, after all. But I still got some amused looks from neighbors driving by, and one neighbor actually took the time to bundle up and come outside to ask me if I was stark raving mad.

But that’s not the best/worst example. I was once pulled out of the airport security line in Munich, one snowy December day, for the express purpose of being laughed at (I was wearing my snow-shoveling clothes). Given the difference between my thoughts and those of society on the subject of winter wear, this derision was richly deserved, and I was only thankful they didn’t think I was a security risk. “Are you aware that it is snowing outside?” asked the tall security guard, with a German-accent laugh in his voice. He stopped all the security lines for a couple seconds, in fact, to make sure all his guard-buddies could see and laugh at the crazy stupid American. I bet it made their day, and gave them all something to tell their wives over supper. “Yes,” was all I said.

What I wanted to say (but wouldn’t say to a guy in a uniform with a gun) was this: “I got dressed in a warm hotel in Austria… in fact, given the weather outside, they had the heat cranked way up and I was the only one in the lobby who wasn’t sweating under several layers of clothing. I had to walk outside for maybe four seconds to get into an overly-warm car, where I remained for the two-hour ride to the airport and where I was the only occupant not sweating under coats and cloaks. I then had to walk outside for maybe twelve seconds (I found it refreshing) to get into a nice warm airport, where I’m the only one who doesn’t have to strip off four layers of clothing to go through your metal detector. Now I’m going to walk directly from the airport, down a jetway, into a nice warm airplane… where I will be the only one who’s actually dressed for the activity we will all then try to undertake for the ten-hour flight home (sleeping) and who doesn’t have to wrestle a heavy coat into and out of the overhead bin. Then, when I get back to Denver, I will spend thirty minutes walking through that nice warm airport to get outside, where it might be twenty degrees and snowing, but where I will have to walk maybe twenty seconds through the covered garage to get into my own fast-warming car. I will then fight the traffic and icy roads for an hour to get home, all the while in a nice warm car, which I will pull directly into my nice warm garage. So yeah, over the next several hours I might have a chance to spend as many as thirty-six seconds outside, where everyone else will be wearing a coat and I will be in shorts. What an idiot I am.”

I’ve learned that some things make perfect rational sense, but don’t make what you’d call “social” sense. So be it.

Today, I was similarly attired (though I was luckily wearing shoes) for my daily trip to the gym – and it’s snowing like crazy here. On the way home, on a not-busy country road, I did pass a lady whose car had slid into a   ditch  and who was being helped by an appropriately-gloved-and-jacketed man with a large truck and a tow chain. I pulled over and got out to help (I’m not sure I was much help, but I think I did help keep the car from sliding further into the  ditch  each time the Good Samaritan guy had to swing around for a better “grip”). “You’re wearing shorts!” the lady said as I got out of my vehicle. “Yep,” I replied, “I’m just coming from the gym.” That explanation seemed to make me less crazy, especially since I was there to help, and as I was grunting under the weight of her car the lady did ask if I was glad I’d been to the gym already. We got her out, there were thanks and smiles all around, and we all drove away in our separate cars. I dare say the day had warmed up for all of us.

The incident reminded me of the still-mentioned Blizzard of ’82 in Colorado, when I was living in a small town under three feet of snow on Christmas Eve. A few of us got out (I was young and dumb, and wore jeans and a coat) and shoveled about a half-mile of street to get a visiting lady to the main road (and, hopefully, to the airport). We weren’t going to wait for help – the snowplow drivers were all overworked anyway – we just helped ourselves, and each other. That’s America. We have courage and kindness… and unconventional ways of thinking. We are the kind of folks who aren’t afraid to start a business, or risk an investment, or shovel a street by hand. And even when we do the unconventional (“crazy”) stuff, there’s usually some kind of sense to it somewhere, and if you don’t want to take the time to find the sense in it, we don’t care what you think about us anyway. You’ll probably  ditch  your car at some point, and we’ll be there (in jeans or shorts) to help you out.

Some people call that a form of insanity. Others call it a form of inspirational leadership.

If my unconventional views toward winter attire have brought laughter (even derisive laughter) to neighbors and security guards and hotel guests and airline passengers and stranded motorists in several countries, I can only be thankful! After all, as a stage actor and humor writer, I’ve always wanted to make people laugh. Laughter is good, and it helps the digestion. The way I see it, snow always brings with it a chance to share warm feelings with my fellow humans. I don’t mind being the clown, and I don’t mind being the guy in the  ditch  giving your car a mighty, helpful heave. It’s good for me to do something good for you.

Any Chance To Help Others Is A Big Help To You

by Michael D. Hume, M.S.

Sample Medical Billing Contract – My Biggest Mistake

When starting a medical billing business there are many things to think about and writing a contract is just one of them. There are many expenses in getting started and most of us just starting out don’t want to spend our limited investment money on an attorney. So what do many of us do? We “google” sample medical billing contract and use what we think sounds good and make up a contract for our business. That can be a big mistake.

That’s what we did sixteen years ago when we started our business except there was no ‘”Google” then. But we basically searched until we found a sample, very simple contract and modified it for our use. For several years we told ourselves that it was fine and if it wasn’t working out for the provider then it wasn’t working for us either and we should move on and find new clients. It took us a long time to realize that in several situations our simple contract was actually the reason things were not working out.

When you first start your medical billing business you have no idea of the things that can go wrong in a relationship with your clients so you do not know what needs to be included in a contract. Our first contract did not even specify the responsibilities of either the provider or ourselves. It is amazing we were able to find providers willing to sign our contract. If you don’t include the responsibilities of each party in the contract how does it protect either of you when the relationship starts to fall apart? And if neither party knows their responsibilities, how can you expect that the relationship will work?

Here is an example. You specify in the contract that it is the obligation of the provider’s office representative to supply you with all the payment remittances but you are not getting them which is causing you to do a lot of extra work in contacting the insurance carriers to check status on claims that were already paid. It is upsetting to spend three or four hours calling insurance companies to find that the claims were paid but the doctor’s office missed sending you the eobs. When the doctor has signed a contract that says that he will designate a person responsible for that purpose you can nicely inform the person responsible for getting you the eobs that this is such an important issue to you that it is written into the contract that the doctor signed that you are to be provided with the eobs. You can also include a provision in the contract to specify what you can do if the provider is not providing you with the eobs.

Another important example is an issue you will undoubtedly run into – your payment. Many people who start this business are used to receiving a regular paycheck. When you make the move to being an entrepreneur and owning your own business you can only write yourself a paycheck if your providers pay you. You need an understanding with your providers as to when you are going to be paid for your services. Doctors are often not the best businessmen and are sometimes not very good about paying bills on time. Especially when you are first starting your business it is vital that your provider understands when you expect payment and that you have something well written to protect you if you end up with someone interpreting the language of your contract in court.

Each year you are in business you find additional things that need to be added to your contract. New situations arise that you realize should be covered in your contract. So how do you cover everything that needs to be covered? You need a list – actually several lists. You need a list of what you feel the provider’s responsibilities are. You need a list of what you feel your responsibilities are. You want to imagine a symbiotic relationship with your providers and then list the reasons this relationship works and put those actions in your contract as responsibilities of yourself or the provider.

You need a list of everything that you have ever heard of going wrong in a medical billing business between the provider and the biller. You need to decide how you would avoid those situations if possible and cover how it would best be handled in your contract if unavoidable.

What you are charging your provider and how you will get paid is a fairly important part of your contract. Are you charging a percentage, a flat rate, or a per claim fee? Is it clearly defined how you are charging? Is the percentage on what is billed out or what is received? Are patient payments included? If charging per claim, what constitutes a claim? Is it a line on a claim form or is it per page?

You also need to take into account what will happen when the relationship ends. It may be expected, as when someone retires, or it may be unexpected but you need to have a plan in place for when the relationship ends. It will be a much better parting of ways if you have a plan of action for how things will be handled.

The whole reason for a good contract is to protect you but your contract can do much more than protect. You can weed out potential problem providers that will drive you crazy. If you are not in agreement with your providers on what each of you will be contributing to the relationship then the likelihood of the account going smoothly is very small. Don’t make the mistake of skimping on an important part of your business that may save you from defending yourself in court down the road. Make sure you take the time and experience of others to get everything you need covered in your contract.

Advantages of Cake Containers

There are several factors when one manufactures containers; it includes the minimizing of raw materials and maximizing the visibility of the food in it. In this case, the main objective when designing a cake container with the respect of material use and visibility and keeping enough structural firmness to prevent buckling when these cake containers are being stacked or handled by consumers. There are several top few cake containers that are being currently sold in the market now.

Wilkinson cake display container

The Wilkinson cake display container is armed with a clear dome lid which is suitable for selling and merchandising cakes and pies. The crucial part of this container is that the base is made up of durable hard plastic and thus the cake will still be in shape when in times of any form rough handling. This brand of cake container is currently one of the highest selling in the market. Good review have also been received by consumers. Besides this, these containers are armed with a clear dome lid for optimum viewing in every angle of the container. It has a outside diameter of 9 11/32″, inside diameter of 7 21/32″, outside height of 3 1/4″ and inside height of 2 5/8″.

W-07B80 combo container

The W-07B80 combo cake container is currently another type of container that is popular in demand in the current market. One of the advantages of the container is that the cake will be prevented from sliding within the container. Also the depth of the container is enough to prevent any unnecessary movements of cake during any form of rough handling by the consumers. The dimensions of the item is 11 1/4 x 4 13/16, case cube is 5.47 feet and the case cube is 26lbs.

How to Set Up a Window Air Conditioner

Many people do not know how to set up a window air conditioner and therefore just allow their homes or offices to remain sweltering during the summer. Window air conditioners are great because they are the least invasive air conditioning systems to install and can very easily be turned off or removed as is needed. They are easy to put in and should come with descriptive directions and charts.

However, not all directions give little tips and tricks. The first thing you should do is make sure to install it during the day. Daylight will make it easier to see what you are doing so it does not fall out of the window, and it will also keep bugs from entering while the window is open. Have everything ready and laid out before you have unpacked. Have the screen removed from the window.

Remember that these only work for windows that can be pulled up. Ones that crank out will not open wide enough, nor will they have anything to hold the air conditioner steady. Open up the window as wide as it can go to give yourself a little extra room to work. It is helpful if you have someone there to push down the top sash when the time comes.

Make sure the air conditioner is facing the right way. The front, which should be inside the room, should have the dials and the cord to plug into the wall. The back, the part that hangs outside, should have the vents where water will drip out. Carefully place it on the window sill, facing the right way. There should be ridges around the perimeter of the air conditioner to show you where it should line up with the window.

Once you have this lined up, slide open the side panels. These are designed to fill up the rest of the window that the device does not fill. Slide them as tightly over as you can. Have the top sash of the window lowered carefully and slowly down until it comes into firm contact with the top of the conditioner. The frame should be very tight against it to brace it and keep it from falling. Slowly lessen your grip on it. If the conditioner wobbles, the sash is not down tightly enough. After it is secured, put in the foam provided around all cracks. You may have to use extra strips of paper towel to really make it tight. This will keep bugs from entering. Plug it in and turn it on.

Maintenance: An Essential Value

Maintenance is a simple word with so many implications for all areas of life. Investments are made in tools, vehicles, homes and even relationships, and appropriate maintenance is needed to preserve those investments. The basic meaning of maintenance is the work involved in keeping something in proper condition. As people work to make their life more fulfilling, it is essential to maintain the items they have already invested in.

People collect all sorts of items that are considered “valuables”. While there are many different types of valuables that people collect, the varieties of maintenance needed for the upkeep of those valuables is just as extensive. It is important to have the correct tools, supplies and the know-how to perform regular maintenance on things like jewelry, tableware or other collectibles. It is essential to do this regularly to prevent damage and ensure that the value to remains high, both monetarily and sentimentally. A specific example of this is a ring. If buildup accumulates it can not only lessen the sparkle, but it could also loosen a stone or two. If the ring is bumped, a stone could easily be lost for good. It is also important to use a jewelry cleaner and not something that would damage the sheen of the ring.

Everyday items also require maintenance so they are ready to be used at a moments notice. This could be a kitchen item, hygiene item of even a power tool. An example of this could be an air compressor, which is used for a variety of things around the home. If the air oil separator or the air compressor filter needs to be fixed or changed, the air supply may not come out consistently or could stop all together. If the air oil separator is simply malfunctioning, it could allow oil in the air stream and ruin a project such as a sanding or painting job. When regular maintenance such as changing the air compressor filter is done, a homeowner can ensure the air compressor will work when that perfect Saturday arrives for a project around the home.

Different types of relationships also require regular maintenance. While it takes a large investment to build a relationship from the beginning, it is not as if the relationship building is a one time investment. Whether the relationship is with family member, a significant other or even with a business contact, it is essential for people to take those relationships seriously and invest the time it takes to make them feel valued. A specific example of continued investment through maintenance in a relationship is in a business contact that may drift away if the relationship is neglected. Perhaps the business contact regularly purchases an item from a specific salesman. If the salesman only makes contact when it is time for a purchase and not before, the consumer may find a new business to purchase from, which is a sale lost for the salesman.

Maintenance of belongings or relationships takes organization, time and commitment. The investments that a person makes can be protected and enjoyed far in the future if the proper maintenance takes place. There are many values that are essential for success, however, maintenance is something that transcends all areas of life.

Gentlemen Start Your Engines

Gentlemen start your engines, the muscle car wars are on again, the last time this happened was all the way back in the 1960’s, and it created an whole new way of thinking about cars in this country, for quite a while the motor companies had lost their way, but now I do believe that they have seen the light once again.

I commend the motor companies for finally listening to the people that are buying their cars and trucks, the motor heads have spoken, the motor companies have decided that they had to listen, not to all the disbelievers and nay Sayers, they have decided to listen to the real American men, who were with out a doubt upset when they began dropping the muscle cars from their lines.

As motor heads, we love the good old American muscle, and we don’t care what the government has to say about it, or a bunch of political whiners who are blind to what the people want, as long as they have their way, and we don’t care about your woman, who thinks that every car should be designed to haul 6 or more people.

We want a two seats, or four seats at the most, we don’t want an other four door econo car that has a 0-30 of ten seconds, we want to start our engines and feel the power surging thorough veins, when we step on the throttle we want the car to go, and the motor companies have listened to our pleas.

The Chevy fans went nut when the Camaro was taken out of production, and the fact that Chevy has released a concept for the new 2009 Camaro, I do believe that things will start to heat up, let the games begin, the boys are back in town.

When I heard that Dodge had re-released the Challenger, and it was supposed to hit the showroom floors in 2007, I was stoked, then I thought, good lord look what they done to the Charger, they destroyed an icon by giving it four doors, and no option for anything else, I thought what if they do this to the Challenger, but then I seen the concept of it, they had taken the best of the 1970 Challenger and added the best of new technology and modern thinking to build one hell of a cool car.

Then I read about the engine in the car, a 6.1 liter 425 HP hemi, that comes standard with a manual transmission that sports six gears, and the first thought that went through my head was wow a muscle car, a real American muscle car, it made my heart skip a beat and my eyes begin to well up with tears, yes I was about to cry, you might say, a grown man crying hmm what kind of a motor head are you, if you believe in American muscle you would do the same thing when you notice that it’s making a return.

Then I began to read some more and made a huge discovery, Chevrolet was going to re-release the Camaro, but with a twist, I seen the concept of it on motor trend’s web site, and my eye’s once again had begun to well up with tears, because now my favorite motor company had brought back my favorite car of all times, I was way beyond excited, I was more then elided, I was quite simply in an other dimension, I had left this life and moved on to a better place.

Now I begun to do some reading on this incredible work of art, Chevrolet had taken all the best features of the 1969 model and moved them to a new car, but that is not where it stopped, they had taken the Corvette LS2 engine, which mind you is 400 HP, and put it in the new Camaro, this car is an example of that important time the automotive industry, where they reach the perfect interaction of design and art, to create a piece if automotive design history, yes Chevrolet had done it.

The Camaro concept with it low slung sports car look, could still retain it’s muscle car identity, with the body lines of a 1969 Camaro massaged to perfection, this car will be a real seller, with what Chevrolet has done to the roof line of the car, and the rear deck, they took that classic 1969 roof line and moved the a A-Pillar forward and the B-Pillar back ward to give the roof an almost chopped look, this is a real eye catcher, and the short wide rear deck of the car, with it’s the fuel filler on top of the left quarter panel, brings a formula one race car to mind.

I could go on forever, but I will just end with this, the muscle car wars have not gone away forever, they are about to return, if you were around the first time that it happened, then you have an idea what to expect this time around, all I can say is gentlemen start your engines.

7 Different Types of Milling Machines

Milling machines come in various types with a variety of functions based on certain standard specifications. Some of the most commonly used machines are the following: column, turret, C-frame, horizontal, bed type, planer-style, and tracer controlled.

A milling machine is a tool in the metal industry that has numerous functions. Each machine has a cutter that operates at a various range of speed so you can form the required shape. With its adjustable spped feature, each milling machine can be regulated for a more precise cut. The machine is capable of handling multiple tasks such as carving, threading, milling, drilling, and cutting. There are several several types of milling machines, each with varying functions based on standard criteria. Manufacturers often name the different machines according to the kind of control, number of axis present, orientation of the spindle, size of the tool, its purpose, and source of power. While there are several varieties of milling machines available today, they essentially serve the same functions but use different terminologies. Below is the list of seven types of milling machines.

Column

This is the most common milling machine, which has 5 basic components, They are the work table, saddle, head, knee, and over arm. Considered as the simplest machine type, its cutting device is vertically suspended to allow drilling of metals. This is typically used when creating car parts because it is small and handy.

Turret

The turret is also known as the Bridgeport-type and can be repositioned anytime you want making this machine very functional. Its versatility makes it more practical since a variety of products can be made in addition to car parts.

C-frame

Because it is sturdier than a turret, this type is popular in industrial settings. It comes with a hydraulic motor, which makes it very powerful.

Horizontal

This machine runs parallel to the ground. The table from which the object to be worked on is placed moves sideways while the cutting device goes up and down.

Bed type

The worktable is located on the bed itself, instead of being paced on top, its usual position. The knee part of the machine is omitted to allow movement in a longitudinal direction.

Planer-style

This machine type is basically the same as the bed mill. However, the planner-style includes cutters and heads that allow for a wider range of milling actions.

Tracer controlled

This type of machine has the ability to reproduce parts based on a master model. Most of the industrial sectors, especially the automotive industry, choose this type of machine because it make production and specialization of machine parts easier. With the vast classifications of milling machines, you need to choose the one you need according to how you intend to use it. However if you find it difficult to decide, do not hesitate to seek the help of a specialist who can help you select the one that will give you maximum benefits.

How to Clean Gym Mats Before Using Them at the Gym

We all know that using gym mats is pretty gross. To think, that someone was just lying on that mat, sweating and working out. No, I’m not trying to scare you, I’m going to tell you how to clean the gym mat before you use it. To clean a gym mat, follow the instructions below they will help you learn the proper cleaning techniques necessary to clean a gym mat.

Mix yourself a bottle of water and vinegar. Use 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water. Make sure you mix it in a spray bottle so you can spray the mat. You will also need a towel to take with you to wipe of the mixture once you have applied the cleaning solution. Once you get to the gym, get a mat and spray it with the vinegar and water mix. Then clean it with the towel making sure you wipe it clean and then allow 5 minutes of drying time.

After using the mix to clean the mat, use Lysol to spray the mat to kill the germs that were left by other people. You can buy the small cans of Lysol to carry with you instead of carrying the big cans. After you spray the mat with Lysol, you will need to give it time to dry before using it. Knowing you are working out on a clean mat will help ease your mind and allow you to focus on the workout.

Once your mat dries, you can use a clean towel to place on the mat. The clean towel will cover the mat and you will be completely out of harms way when it comes to germs. You should carry a clean towel every time you go to the gym not only to use under yourself but, turning yourself into a considerate gym member making sure you wipe down everything you used in your workout.

So, when you go to the gym, you will need to carry two towels, your vinegar mix, and your Lysol. Do a thorough cleaning on your gym mats and you will be well protected. Another thing you might want to do is grab a gym mat that is closer to the bottom of the pile instead of one at the top. That way you know it wasn’t just used by someone before you. Clean those gym mats good before each use!

How to Make a DIY Furniture Dolly

There’s no doubt that a furniture dolly makes a valuable tool when moving your home, this simple device lessens the amount of work you have to do making it easier for fewer people to shift several large pieces of furniture in a short period of time.

If you are planning on moving houses in the near future, but have never heard of a furniture dolly before, then they are basically a square or rectangular bit of hard wood board covered in a soft material to prevent scratching. Attached to the bottom of the board there are 4 caster swivel wheels each positioned in different corners to give an equal balance of weight.

Buying a furniture dolly is as easy as going down to your local home depot store; there you will find many brands of various shapes and sizes. The average price range varies depending on the material it has been made from and any extra special features included, though the standard types will be made from wood and cost under $100 each.

If you’re planning on moving home yourself then you may need more than one furniture dolly to speed up the process. Instead of spending a couple of hundred dollars on 2 – 3 dollies that you will probably never end up using again, why not make your own? If you have a quick look around your garage you probably have all the materials you need to make a furniture dolly or two. The basic materials for a single furniture dolly are, an 18″ by 32″ flat board of plywood, a length of 2 x 4 planks, unused bits of carpeting, 4 swivel coaster wheels, several screws and some strong glue.

If you wanted to purchase all of the items needed to make a furniture dolly it would cost you well under $100 from any home depot. Now that you have all the necessary materials you can get started on making your own dolly; if the flat plywood board is not already 18″ by 32″ then you’ll need to cut it using either a hand saw or electrical wheel saw.

The next step is to take the 2 x 4 plank and saw it into 4 separate pieces, 2 of these will be 32″ in length and the other 2 will be 10″ long. These 4 bits of plank will need to be screwed to one side of the plywood board along each side in a rectangular frame shape, attach the two 32″ lengths first then the 10″ pieces to each end.

Now that you have the main frame and platform finished, glue a length of carpet material along the flat side of the board, so that it covers the entire surface. Once it has dried you can take your 4 swivel coaster wheels and screw them to each corner bringing them in at least 2.5″ from the edge, so that the dolly can be tilted to fit under the item of furniture that needs moving. If you want to add extra maneuverability and making pulling your furniture dolly a possibility, drill two 1/2 inch holes on either side of what will be the front of your dolly and thread a length of rope through tying it in the middle; this will act as a handle.

5 Tips to Redecorate Your Bedroom by Yourself

Is your bedroom looking drab and boring to look at? Has your tiny devil just done some work of art on the wall? Well, don’t blame him, for he too finds it boring. Let’s just ponder about this, if you did have an elegant bedroom you would surely watch his movements every time you saw him with a crayon. On second thought, if you did have an elegant bedroom you would just allow him to use the crayon on his bedroom wall or may be buy a big board for him to express himself.

To cut the long story short lets just talk about the 5 tips to redecorate your bedroom. They are very simple and show quick results. You could also visit an outlet that deals with home improvement products, for you to get your ideas rolling about home decor and may be pick up a few things later on.

Remove clutter – First of all, remove all the small items that clutter your bedroom leaving just the bed and may be your empty wardrobe behind. Discard all unwanted, outdated clothes, books, etc that crowd the bedroom. Once you clean the wardrobe inside out you can compartmentalize each item that has to go in to different sections.

Paint your bedroom – Paint or wallpaper your room with a nice color of your choice. Deep or a dark shade for a bedroom is now in vogue. The lighting should be controlled in such a way that it meets your needs, say if you usually read in bed every night you should get a bedside lamp installed.

Matching curtains, counterpanes and rugs – Check out matching curtains with big floral prints, with matching self-color bed sheets and rugs to accentuate the room. Changing the angle of the bed would give you a different perspective. A small rug placed at the side of your bed would give your feet a soft landing when you wake up every morning.

Add a personal touch- Adding a personal touch to your furniture will enhance the ambiance. There is nothing like putting a jar of potpourri or a scented candle on a side table to go with the mood. Get family portraits done of special occasions, do just enough so as to not clutter the place. Hand made flowers do look attractive and are easy to maintain, so why not arrange one and place it in a pretty pot. A friend of mine even makes tissue and crape flowers to add her own touch to her bedroom.

Side table and shelves: If you don’t have extra place in your house, such as a study room, make a study area consisting of a long table to also accommodate a computer, a chair and also your favorite books. If running short of space, a couple of shelves on the wall will not be bad, but will allow you to be more organized and at the same time give you leg space. You could also put your personal items over there.

Once all this is done you are sure to want to spend more time relaxing in such a beautiful setting!

Half Helmet

There is a wide variety of motorcycle helmets available. One type of these is called a half helmet. These are probably the closest a person can come to the feeling of not wearing a helmet at all. They cover the top of the head and come down the back a bit, but leave the entire face open to the air.

Safety is a common concern of those who are deciding on a helmet. Some believe it is safer to use a full-face helmet, but you can buy a DOT-certified half helmet. A certified helmet, even in the half-style, provides protection. It is, however, not quite as protective as the full version.

The reasons for preferring a half helmet are varied. Some like them because they believe the half-style looks better. Whether they actually look better than full-face helmets is purely a matter of taste, but if you prefer the half variety, you can be sure that you have a lot of options for its specific appearance. You can get pretty much any kind of paint job you like, and some of them have patterns molded into them as well.

Other people prefer these helmets because they’d rather not be wearing any helmet at all, but the laws in the areas in which they ride demand head protection. These motorcyclists compromise by wearing as little on their head as possible. The faceless design allows the wind to hit their faces, which is a sensation many prefer. Some helmets also have vents in them which allow the covered part of the head to stay cooler.

When shopping for an open-face helmet, riders should make sure to try them on with the straps fastened, since this is how the helmet will be worn. Also, shoppers need to make sure that any other head accessories, like earmuffs or snap-on visors, will fit with the helmet they’re considering. There is no point in buying a helmet or accessories you won’t actually be able to use.

Whatever your reason for preferring the half style of helmet, you should be able to find the perfect one for you without much trouble. The many styles of paint and the ability to add accessories to customize your headgear make it so there is one for everyone.

Eavestrough Repair

During the spring time it is a good idea to get down and possibly slightly dirty, if your eavestrough are, and do some cleaning. After the winter season has passed you will notice particles from your shingles and other debris caught in your eavestrough. During the fall season you should pay extra close attention to your eavestrough as fallen leaves and dirt will get clogged in your eavestrough and also your downspouts. If you don’t clean this from the fall season you risk damaging your property over the winter season through to spring with clogs. A very easy and comprehensive way to clean your eaves is to get up on a ladder or roof, have a small bucket for debris and a brush for cleaning. Keep your hose handy to wash the eaves.

First collect all the big debris by hand and dispose into the bucket. Some debris will harden to your eaves, take the brush and scrub your eaves until it is smooth again. Once you have completed this take your hose and wash the eaves down. Be careful not to let debris go down your downspout because this will clogg the main drainage. Do this every fall and spring season to keep you eaves working at optimal performance. Failure to do so can result in foundation leaks by overflowing, damaged lawn, gardens, patio stone interlocking, etc. Clogged eaves can also fail and become dismantled from the roof structure by to much weight within the eaves.

Be careful when cleaning to not apply any downward force to your eaves because this can cause damage as well.

Muscle Cramps: How To Get, Treat And Prevent Them

One of the most common complaints I hear from my patients involves painful muscle cramps and what to do about them. Likely, you’ve gotten your share of them too, especially if you’re active and exercise regularly. Sometimes they’re just a vague, achy “charley horse” or tightness and other times muscle cramps can be a deep, intense, zapping pain that jolts you awake in the middle of the night. If you’ve been bothered by muscle cramps, let me share with you what I tell my patients about getting rid of and preventing them.

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Muscle cramps can be brought on by inadequate stretching prior to exercise, but are most often brought on from overall dehydration. If you’re sweating a lot, from exercise or outside work, and not drinking enough fluids to re-hydrate yourself, you can lose a lot of electrolytes, namely the minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride. Certain drugs, like diuretics, can also cause you to lose a lot of fluid through excessive urination.

If you do not replace these lost electrolytes well enough through food or electrolyte drinks, the deficiency can lead to bad muscle cramps usually in your legs, but sometimes also in your stomach and even your heart! Potassium, calcium and magnesium are responsible for making muscles “fire” when you move and relax when you’re inactive. Insufficiencies of these minerals can keep muscles from working properly and they begin to cramp.

How To Stop Muscle Cramps

As I tell my patients, the best way to stop muscle cramps is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. However, if you’ve ever experienced a bad cramp in the middle of the night, all you can think of is how fast you can stop it! Here are several fairly quick emergency remedies that should get rid of a bad muscle cramp when it occurs:

Get Up and Move Around: When you get a really bad muscle cramp, your body almost propels you to get up and move, and that’s exactly what you should do. Making the muscle move increases blood circulation to it and helps “iron out” the painful kink in it. Pulling your toes back towards your knees often helps as well. Then, move quickly to the refrigerator where you can grab some potassium, calcium, and magnesium to help further iron out that cramp.

Replace Potassium: Muscle cramps usually respond fairly quickly to the intake of potassium. You must replace it daily especially if you are sweating a lot and/or live in a hot, humid or very cold and dry climate, to keep muscles (including your heart!) working correctly. Other signs of low potassium are heart palpitations and undo fatigue. Some good food sources are:

• Vegetable juice: Contains 650 mg of potassium.

• Orange juice: Contains 250 mg of potassium.

• Milk: Contains about 600 mg of potassium and about 350 mg of calcium. Cramp fix: Blend 8 oz milk with 8 oz orange juice and a banana. High in potassium and calcium, it can relieve a dehydration cramp within a few minutes and tastes great.

• Pickle juice: Some of my patients swear by this natural remedy to stop a muscle cramp. The juice has potassium and sodium in it.

• Almond milk: 8 oz contains 230 mg of potassium and about 30% calcium.

• Banana: Contains 495 mg of potassium.

Replace Calcium and Magnesium: Calcium and magnesium deficiencies also contribute to cramps too. A large glass of milk, a cup of hot cocoa will help as they contain both calcium and magnesium. So will taking a supplement of calcium, magnesium and zinc, about 1,200 mg. Like potassium, they must be replaced daily by your food and/or supplements.

Non-Emergent Prevention for Muscle Cramps

Here are some other things you can do on your own to relax and unwind your muscles after exercise or working outside in hot or very cold weather.

Hydrate, hydrate: We can become dehydrated quickly especially in very cold dry weather or very hot humid weather or from exercise/sweating. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume 13 cups (8 oz) of water/fluid a day and women 9 cups. If you drink caffeinated beverages, replace 1 extra cup of water for every cup of caffeinated drink. Drinks like Gatorade and other commercial electrolyte drinks help replace lost minerals as well.

Epsom salts bath: This old standby really works. Epsom salts contain magnesium which helps relax tense muscles and keep them from spasming and cramping. Fill a warm bath with about 1 cup of Epsom salts (bought at your grocery or pharmacy) and soak for at least 30 minutes after strenuous exercise.

Watch Your Food Intake: 4,000 mg of potassium a day is optimal, but minimum 2,500; at least 1,200 to 1,500 mg of calcium and 600 mg of magnesium a day to prevent deficiencies.

Potassium: Artichokes, potatoes, raisins, pinto beans, beet greens, white beans.

Calcium: Dairy, fish, green leafy vegetables.

Magnesium: Cocoa, spinach, legumes, halibut, almonds, soybeans, cashews.

As I counsel my patients, with a little more careful attention to your potassium, calcium and magnesium and fluids intake, you should be able to prevent sleep robbing, painful muscle cramps from occurring. However, for muscle pain/cramps that are not relieved by some of the above suggestions, please contact your doctor, or go to your nearest emergency room or urgent care as your pain may be symptoms of claudication, blood clot, muscle, ligament or tendon tear.

Mark Bromson, M.D.

Black Soil and Soils High in Fines

Endurazyme / Lime / Rice husk ash blend.

Black laterite soils in Indonesia.

Much research has been done to into the problem of soils high in fines and plastic index in areas that have no gravels available within reasonable reach.

Over the years waste materials such as fly ash or pozzolanic materials have been used for soil improvement. Recent research, based on pozzolanic activity, found that rice husk ash was a potential material to be utilized for soil improvement.

When the mechanical stability of a soil cannot be obtained by combining materials as in proportional mix design, it may be advisable to order stabilisation by the addition of cement, lime, bituminous material or special additives [Endurazyme]. Cement treatment is most applied to road stabilisation especially when the moisture content of the sub-grade is very high. Lime or waste is also sometimes applied for stabilisation.

Calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) is most widely used for stabilization. Calcium oxide (quick lime) may be more effective in some cases, however. The quick lime will corrosively attack equipment and may cause severe skin burns to personnel. Ingles (1972) recommended.

Rice husk ash (RHA) is a pozzolanic material that could be potentially used in Indonesia, considering it is sufficiently produced and is widespread. When rice husk is allowed to burn under controlled temperature, higher pozzolanic properties than other leaf plants were observed. Silica is a main mineral of RHA. When reacted with lime, it will form a bonded gel [Ca(SiO3)]. Silica fume can used as a cement replacement with great success.

By using a mix of Endurazyme / Lime / Rice husk ash [RHA] it is feasible that large increases in strength will be achieved plus Endurazyme will increase the impermeability ensuring that the Lime does not leach out. The lime and RHA will help in dewatering wet soils and sub-bases and decrease the curing time for the total pavement or embankment this is especially important in Indonesia and most Asian countries.

Lime reacts with any other fine pozzolanic component (such as hydrous silica and RHA minerals) to form calcium-silicate cement with soil particles. This reaction is also water insoluble. The cementing agents are exactly the same for ordinary Portland cement. The difference is that the calcium silicate gel is formed from the hydration of anhydrous calcium silicate (cement), whereas with the lime, the gel is formed only by the removal of silica from the clay minerals of the soil. Therefore, it can be concluded that Endurazyme, lime and rice husk ash (ELRHA) can improve the engineering properties of soils. Practically, the effective lime content should be blended in the range of 2% to 6%Lime and 4% to 10% Rice Husk Ash.

Results From Research By Agus Setyo Mantohar and Gendut Hantoro .

The results from the LHRA (lime-rice husk ash) blend confirmed that the blend would diminish swell behaviour of clayey soils. Their PI (plasticity index) would decrease from 41.25% to 0.96% when subjected to a LHRA blend of 12-12.5%. Their swell potential would decrease from 19.23% to 0.019% when subjected to the same blending as well. Their CBR (California Bearing Ratio) value would increase from 3.03% to 16.3% at a LHRA blend of 6-12.5%.

Their internal friction angle concerning shear strength parameters would enhance from 5.36 to 23.85. Soil cohesion increased as well from 54.32 kN/m2 to 157.19 kN/m2. Increasing the shear parameter caused bearing capacity to be 4131 kN/m2 from 391.12 kN/m2. At LHRA 6-10%, consolidation settlement was lowered from 0.03 to 0.006. All of these factors can be summarized to say that by blending lime-rice husk ash together, you may enhance the engineering properties of clayey soils. This is advantageous for work construction in the civil engineering field.

Conclusion

Lime stabilization is commonly used for clayey soil. This research shows: 1. Physical properties such as consistency limits and swell potential exhibit improvements when mixed with the appropriate ELHRA blend.

2. LRHA stabilization is more advantageous when moisture content of soil in the field is very high or applied in the optimum condition.

3. The engineering properties of soil improve:

a. CBR, and shear strength of soil improve at a lime range of 6 – 10%

b. Consolidation settlement diminishes

c. Rate of consolidation enhances by increasing of ELRHA.

4. Economically, utilization of ELRHA for geotechnical applications is cheaper.

5. Physical properties such as consistency limits and swell potential exhibit improvements when mixed with the appropriate ELHRA blend.

6. ELRHA stabilization is more advantageous when moisture content of soil in the field is very high or applied in the optimum condition.

7. The engineering properties of soil improve:

a. CBR, and shear strength of soil improve at a lime range of 6 – 10%

b. Consolidation settlement diminishes

c. Rate of consolidation enhances by increasing of ELRHA.

8. The engineering properties of soil improve:

a. CBR, and shear strength of soil improve at a lime range of 6 – 10%

b. Consolidation settlement diminishes

c. Rate of consolidation enhances by increasing of ELRHA.

Add to this the efficacy of Endurazyme and we have a working model for high swell high fines soils, including wet soils.