Depression: Hiding Behind the Facade

When suffering with severe clinical depression throughout my youth I became accustomed to hiding my feelings, my sadness and ultimately myself from the world. I built up a  façade  to protect myself from being hurt anymore, and at the time, I had no idea that I was not doing myself any favours by reacting this way.

The  facade  (or face) that I hid behind was one which to any onlooker made me look as though I was actually high on life. Anyone trying to understand me would have presumed I was a normal everyday person. I laughed, I smiled, I joked and I generally made it appear that I was OK. Fact was this was far from the reality of the situation.

If I sat and questioned now, as a recovered patient why I did this I would honestly answer that my reason for doing so was because it was the only way I knew how to survive. Pretending everything was OK in my family was something that I was expected to do by my parents. In turn, this promoted other detrimental behavioural issues, my  façade  being one of them.

As humans, we naturally have a built in mechanism whereby our response is that of one where we respond with flight or fight. My mechanism for coping was one which meant I was on edge constantly, waiting for someone to pounce; in turn this made me defensive and aggressive, especially towards anyone who may have criticised me and this was because I didn’t want them to tell me something I didn’t know about myself.

I didn’t want anyone guessing what was wrong, telling me what was wrong or acting superior in knowledge towards me. I figured only I knew me therefore I knew best and as such I would deal with my issues in my own time and my own way. All the time adding layers to the  façade  I was hiding behind.

Eventually, when I went thought counselling and therapy and then hospitalisation and I was faced with the question, who am I? I wasn’t able to answer it. I had built up a pretend person and was living a pretend life in pretend circumstances with pretend outcomes.

Finding out who I really was became a massive part of the healing process that I underwent to become depression free. As such, I would suggest to anyone suffering with depression – patient to patient, stop with the  façade , it is OK to get help, advice and support, you do not have to pretend to be OK if you really are not, there are people who understand and who are there to help. Without these people, I know I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Grow Plants in Total Darkness

Some people claim that it’s possible to grow plants in total darkness. If you’d like to see for yourself, you’ll find all the information you need right here. Think what a great science project this could make for you or someone you know.

To give you a general overview of the experiment, a seed is placed in a container along with two metal plates. The container is placed in a box or somewhere light can’t reach it. Wires from the plates go to a plate outside the house and to an electrical ground inside the house. Energy gathered from the outside plate travels down the wire to the seed where it causes the seed to sprout and grow in the absence of sunlight.

We’ll be using seeds in this case, but you can also try using young or mature plants as well. Just know that as the size of the plant increases, the size of the plate must also increase. It may take some experimentation to find the right size of the metal plate in relation to the size of the plant.

Here is a list of things you’ll need for this experiment:

1. Two lengths of thin, insulated wire for each container. They can be any gauge you have around.

2. Three metal plates (approximately 2″ x 2″) for each seed. Aluminum roof flashing works great.

3. A small container for each seed.

4. Seeds of your choice for planting.


Find two wires that are long enough for one to reach from where you have the container inside the house, to a high spot outside the house. The other needs to be long enough to reach a grounding source, such as a water pipe, inside the house.


Strip away an inch or so of the insulation from both ends of each wire and attach the one going to the grounding source to one of the plates as follows:

Drill a small hole close to the edge of the plate and thread the wire through it. Loop the bare wire back to itself and twist the wires together. Solder the wire at the hole to keep it in place and to make the electrical connection.

You can also use duct tape, glue, or anything else you can find to keep the bare wire always touching the metal plate. An electrical connection to the plate is crucial for this to work.


Place the metal plate in the container where you’ll be planting the seed and run the wire up and over the edge. Fill the container with potting soil or dirt and plant the seed. Place the container on a table a few feet above the ground.


Run the wire from the plate to an electrical ground. An easy place to find a ground is underneath a sink. Wrap the bare wire around one of the bare pipes coming out of the wall to make this connection.


Attach the longer wire that will be going to the high spot on the outside of the house to another metal plate. Drill a hole, insert and twist the wire, then solder in the same manner as the first plate.


This step may take a bit of ingenuity on your part, but you need to find a way to suspend the second plate a few inches above the soil where the seed is planted. In doing so, this plate can’t touch the soil in any way. Devise whatever method you can to ensure that no contact is made.

A possible solution might be to put, over the top of the seed, one of those plastic spacers that sits in the middle of a pizza to keep the lid from smashing in. Push the legs of the spacer into the dirt and attach the metal plate to it to hold it suspended over the seed.

As the experiment progresses and the seed grows, you will need to think of another way to suspend the plate over the plant. Test different heights for the upper plate and find the height that allows optimal plant growth.


Finally, connect the free end of the wire from the upper plate to the remaining plate as already described. Guide the plate and wire outside to a high spot, either on the roof, in a tree, or on a pole. Placing this plate the greatest distance possible from the ground will allow more energy to flow down the wire to the plant.

That’s all there is to it! You’re now ready to sit back and watch something mysterious happen. Water the plant as needed and check for growth.

Try different variations of this experiment and have some fun finding out what works best for you. If you have success, share what you learn with others. Science is for us to learn and use, and when we give this information to others, we all benefit.

Supplies For Getting Started in Stained Glass

This list is meant to aid create a shopping list for the beginning stained glass art student. Not all of the items will be essential for every project, for instance you will employ either lead cames OR copper foil and their corresponding accessories dependent on the stained glass style you will be using. Other tools listed may well be very helpful, but not entirely necessary, one pair of pliers may be adequate to do several jobs for example.

Glass Cutters – One of the most significant tools you will employ in stained glass making, good glass cuts will make or break your job. These range from very inexpensive carbide steel wheel cutters (you will require to include cutting oil as you go along) to slightly more expensive self-oiling tungsten carbide or pistol grip wheel cutters.

Cutting Oil – This assists reduce friction allowing a smoother cut and in addition keeps glass debris from encumbering the cutting wheel’s progress.

Soldering Iron – (pronounced like soddering) This is once did melt lead solder which in turn is accustomed to join bits of metal, such as the lead cames or copper foil that will hold your glass pieces together.

Solder – The type you will be employing in stained glass making should be an alloy (mixture) of tin and lead. This normally enters a spool of either a 50/50 or 60/40 blend. The 60/40 is slightly more expensive, flows more smoothly and is consequently preferable for making a glass project.

Sal Ammoniac – This is soldering iron tip cleaner made from a naturally occurring mineral that reacts to the heat of the soldering iron and removes debris when the iron is gently rubbed on it.

Flux – Helps remove oxidation and other dirt and debris from the metal surfaces so that the solder can adhere to it. This is an absolute necessity to keep your glass pieces together; the solder just won’t “stick” without it!

Flux Brush – A very inexpensive brush used to put on the flux.

Flux Remover – Can be familiar with neutralize flux or patina and is oftentimes used at the conclusion of projects to tidy up small errors and over-flow.

Cutting Square – Helpful when drawing squares or other designs requiring a right angle.

Ruler – Employed for measuring project dimensions in addition to for drawing or cutting a straight line. A non-skid backing like cork or rubber will help keep it from sliding on the glass.

Pattern Shears – These are the special scissors that automatically cut the proper size strip of paper between pattern pieces to allow room for the lead cames or copper foils to be placed between the various glass bits of the purpose.

Grozing Pliers – These pliers have narrow, serrated jaws for picking up small chucks of glass and can be used to remove uneven or jagged pieces of stained glass after cutting.

Running Pliers – These thick pliers help to carefully break stained glass pieces that have been scored on the purpose furrows.

Needle Nose Pliers – A good all around tool to possess handy, can be employed for small detail work.

Wire Cutters – These can be used to cut reinforcing wire or the picture hanging wire to hang your finished glass art project.

Hammer or Mallet – A good rubber headed mallet can be used to gently tap stained glass pieces into place.

Carborundum Stone – A trademarked name for a grinding tool once was smooth the edges of cut pieces of stained glass. Should be wetted periodically to make smoothing easier.

Electric Glass Grinder – A bit bigger technique to smooth the glass edges; this is a machine that will do the job faster and more efficiently. This is definitely nice, but optional.

Copper Foil – One of the choices of material to grasp the pieces of stained glass together. Enters various widths depending on the appearance of your job- make certain your pattern shears are similar width as your foil or came.

Copper Foil Dispenser – One other nicety, this makes handling the copper foil easier, much the way a tape dispenser makes tape easier to deal with.

Lead Cames – The original choice in stained glass support systems. These come as long strips of lead with grooves or channels on either one side or both, depending on whether it is to be used as an inside or fringes piece of the stained glass.

Lead Vise – Holds the lead were sent out place to allow it to be stretched before use.

Lead Cutters – Also called lead pliers these snips are especially helpful when trimming cames for use in the corners of your stained glass project.

Lead Knife – Can be employed to make clean straight cuts on lead cames.

Horseshoe Nails – Great for holding frames in place when assembling your stained glass project.

Dustpan and Brush – Helps to look after your workplace clean which is important in making stained glass projects because debris will prevent things from sticking properly.

Security Goggles – Keeps bits of lead or glass from damaging the eyes during cutting, always keep in mind “wellbeing first”!

Wooden Block Holder – Can be useful for holding pieces of stained glass.

Masking Tape – Always handy in the workshop; may be familiar with hold pattern pieces together or a number of other uses.

Picture Hanging Wire or Other Fasteners – For hanging your completed stained glass project.

Lead Plank with Right Angle Support – Helpful in holding a lead stained glass project in place during assembly while keeping the edges clean and straight.

Timber or Plastic Fid – Great as a burnishing or spreading tool when applying foil to stained glass.

Glazing Concrete – Seals and beefs up the joint areas of the lead cames.

Whiting – Serves to dry and set the glazing concrete. Can also be familiar with remove excess putty from the stained glass.

Stiff Bristle Brush – Used for trying glazing cement.

Patina – Liquid answer that changes the appearance of solder, can give a more antiqued visual aspect.

Rubber Your mitts – Completely necessary when employing patina or any other solvents to the project; you do not want these penetrating your skin!

Mirror Sealer – This aerosol spray is used on the rear of mirrors to possess the reflective coating from being scratched or damaged.

Finishing Compound – Offers the finishing touch to your stained glass project, adding polish and shine while providing a protective finish to aid prevent oxidation and tarnish buildup.

Pushpins, Tacks and Jig Material – Items that might be of use in holding certain pieces together while assembling your stained glass project.

Craft Knife – Perfect for correcting small errors in copper foiling and other small tasks.

Steel Wool – May remove oxidized material from solder and other metal parts.

Plastic Basin and Sponge – With warm soapy water to clean glass and metal debris from your stained glass workspace.

Carbon Paper – For making pattern copies.

Tracing Paper – For tracing the original design unto a clean copy.

Rubber Concrete – For holding pattern pieces on glass to make cutting them out easier.

Pens, Pencils, Markers and Colored Pencils – Required for drawing and coloring in pattern pieces.

There you have it, a not-so-condensed shopping list to get you on your way to a new hobby in stained glass art making!

How to Find Out Whether Your Car Turn Signal Socket Is SRCK?

Are you wondering about upgrading your vehicle’s brake lights, turn signal lights, or the parking lights, and replacing them with the LED bulbs? If the answer is yes, then the first thing you need to figure out is to know the socket type in your car.

Generally, there are two basic types of bulb sockets that exist in any car, namely, SRCK and standard. The major difference between a standard and SRCK type is the position of the contacts at the ground. Though both of the sockets look alike, there is a significant difference in the placement of the ground contacts.

The identification of the socket type is extremely crucial for the proper functioning of the entire setup. Each type supports only a distinctive kind of LED bulb. For example, if a normal standard LED bulb is inserted into a SRCK type, then the LEDs wouldn’t function properly. Moreover, the LEDs might also blow the fuse which protects the lighting circuit. The only way to figure out which type of socket has been fitted into your car is to test it properly.

Read below to discover the different ways of testing the type of bulb socket that is provided in your car.

  • Switch on the lights and connect the test light with the 12 volt positive of the battery.
  • Once the battery is connected, probe the contacts in the different sections of the socket.
  • As the tester illuminates, the ground of the socket is indicated.
  • Every opening has two distinctive ground terminals which need to be identified separately.
  • Grounds, in all standard socket types, always lie on the opposite side. If the ground is indicated on the opposite sides, your car bulb socket is of the standard type.
  • However, if the ground terminals are indicated on the same side and are connected, then the socket is a SRCK type.

There are no set of rules which can reason out the type of the openings fitted in a car. The only way to find out is to test it in the above listed manner. Once you have found the type of bulb opening fitted in your car, you can easily shop for the complete Non-polar SRCK/Regular compatible LED bulbs to light up your car, both in terms of looks and utility. If you buy the LED bulbs without having the knowledge about your bulb socket types, you might end up damaging the entire lighting setup in your car as the protective fuse may blow.

Opening a Clothing Boutique

Owning your own business can be financially rewarding and can give you a level of freedom that many of us would enjoy having. Although there certainly are a lot of different things that you can do whenever you’re starting a business, opening a clothing boutique is something that many people have dreamed about throughout their lifetime. For those of us that enjoy clothing and enjoy being around clothing, it would be a dream come true to open one of these shops and to work with these items on a daily basis.

You might be interested to know that the word boutique is actually French for the word shop. That is truly what a boutique is, even though the word has been used in a variety of different ways in recent years. The real beauty about opening a clothing boutique, however, is that you are going to be having a store that is specific to one item. Although you may be able to offer a variety of different things in the store, having a theme and sticking with that theme is going to go a long way in helping to make you successful.

When many people think about opening a clothing boutique, they consider opening one with only higher end, brand-name items. This certainly is a good idea and depending on the area of the world in which you live, you can be wildly successful by opening one of the shops. The real key, however, is to offer items that are somewhat unique and cannot easily be found in other areas. If you do this, you would be surprised with how the word will get out about what you’re offering and how many people will come to your shop in order to see what you have.

Of course, it never hurts to branch out a little bit and many people that have a clothing boutique not only stick with brand named items but they may actually branch out into designing some of these clothing items themselves. That is the beauty about opening a clothing boutique, you can really take it in any direction that you want it to go. If you find that one particular part of your clothing store is working well, you may want to expand on that idea. Just make sure that you are always experimenting to a certain extent to see if you can’t find something else that would be of interest to your customers.

One of the difficult parts about opening a clothing boutique, unfortunately, is that there is not a lot of information that is available out there to help you whenever you are getting started. There are some courses, however, that will give you some information that is specific to your business. By taking a look at these courses and emulating the success of other clothing boutique owners, you would be surprised with how quickly you will find success yourself. At that point, you will be able to enjoy your business more and to really understand the freedom that owning one of the shops can bring you.

Drilling Holes of Seashells – Making of Seashell Jewelry

Seashell Jewelry Making

This article will describe some tips and advices how to drill holes of seashells in making of seashells jewelry. Drilling holes of seashells is quite difficult and shall be done very carefully. Seashells are often quite fragile. Be very careful drilling holes in them and also try to pick shells that are not chipping or flaking at the edges. There are a few precautions that we should know and take in order to prevent the seashells from crack and damage.

1 – Drilling bits

Use A Dremel. A Dremel tool works well also because it’s higher speed than your regular drill. Especially good for delicate shells; use a very small bit. It wasn’t possible to use a very fast speed because the hardness of the shell made the drill bit slip and mark the surface. Once the hole was started, continue with slow because even then the drill would overheat from the effort. We had to stop every 5 minutes and allow the drill to cool down for about 20 minutes to half an hour. Also suggested to use diamond points to drill.

2 – Water

When you drill with diamond points, always use water to cool the points or they will fail quickly. This also keeps the dust down, but wear a good quality filter mask or use a vacuum to catch any dust/spray. Seashell dust is toxic, and I don’t mean a little bit toxic. You can really hurt yourself if you breath it in, or get it into your eyes, a cut or sore, or ingest it. Sometimes the particulates are so small you don’t realize they’re in the air around you. When you breathe this dust in, it gets embedded in your lungs and it won’t come out. It will literally be there forever, and it’s toxic. Obviously, don’t put your drill in the water, just the tip of the bit doing the drilling.

3 – Start Drilling

Make sure the drill bit is sharp, and that you are using a high speed drill. Use the smallest drill bit that will accommodate the chain or whatever you’re putting through the shell. Secure the shell firmly in a vise or other arrangement to make sure it cannot move during the drilling.If the shell is thin, I would suggest putting tape over the spot where you are drilling to help prevent the shell from splintering or cracking.Lay the shell with the top up so that if spintering does occur as the bit reaches the other side, any splintering will be on the bottom (back) of the shell.

If you’re not comfortable using a drill, practice first on some scrap shells before drilling in those you want to use.

Now when you start to drill, you’re going to do it like this: hold the drill in a straight up and down position so that the hole will be straight. Hold the drill firmly so that the bit won’t go skidding across the surface of the stone. (Now you know why you need practice pieces.) You’re going to touch the drill bit down semi-firmly, like you mean it, but then lift the drill bit out of the hole so water can pool inside it. Repeat. You can do it pretty quickly, too. Touch down, lift, touch down, lift, etc. When you’re almost all the way though, Stop. Flip your stone over and begin to drill from the other side. This will prevent a “blow out” or chipping the stone or glass where the hole should be. It takes practice to do this, so don’t be hard on yourself. Glass and stone will pretty much drill the same. Anything else may be unpredictable, so a practice piece is necessary.

Seashell Jewelry Making

Track Lighting – A Brief Introduction

 Lighting  is an essential feature of any household and indeed business setting. There are several options available to apply when seeking a suitable solution to your own home or business décor, one of these is track illumination.

Track  lighting  is a unique and contemporary solution where several lights are attached to a continuous track device. The track device may be attached to a wall or mounted on the ceiling, or even in some case placed strategically on the floor to provide directed light and accentuate a particular item or decorative piece. If you have a high ceiling there are attractive options which allow you to hang the track bright down from the ceiling to a reasonable level.

Track light is also ideal in the home situation to provide directed and bright  lighting  in areas where bright is must have, for instance on the kitchen counter or in a long corridor, where it can also be used to show off wall hangings in a good light.

Track lights are ideal when remodeling. They come in handy especially when a room already has an existing light fixture, but you want to cast additional light to specific areas of the room or towards a particular object. A good example is where you want additional light shed over your favorite arm chair for ease of going through work you carried home or reading a good book in the evening without necessarily throwing your whole living room into science lab.

Take time to consider whether or not you need to use track  lighting . This is because not all situations warrant their use. Rooms with low ceilings are not ideal for tracking lights, as are rooms which have been given an earthy or rustic décor theme. This is because these illuminations will probably get in the way in the former case and stick out like a sore thumb in the latter due to their contemporary look.

If you feel that the situation fits the use of tracking lights, consider the purpose the bright is supposed to serve. It is rare that these illuminations will be used to provide general  lighting  but they can serve the purpose if needed. Most times they shall be used to give directed  lighting  for accentuating or wall wash functions. They can also be used for task related  lighting , which is where they are used to light up a particular area where a large amount of activity takes place.

There are several track  lighting  kits available for installation depending on the nature of your requirements. Most common shapes are “L” and “T”. If you are good with your hands you will find that these are relatively easy to install. However, depending on the nature of the task, for instance if you need to install a junction box, you may need to have it done by a professional.

You can also tinker around with your track illuminations by adding certain features which lend it a more personal feel. For instance, add a dimmer switch so that you can regulate the amount of bright cast, or use a connector to join two or more track illuminations using one power source, this can be used to create your own unique designs.

AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 and Its Application

Cisco Aironet 1200 Series meets the needs of today’s applications and protect future investments in network infrastructure. The modular design of the AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 offers high performance 802.11g configured access point that allows a single radio configuration or double. Although the access point 802.11g is configured to meet the needs of most customers and applications that may not have a current need for 802.11a, a kit for easy 802.11a upgrade is available to increase the scalability and performance with complete backward compatibility for legacy clients.

AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 supports 802.11i, Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), WPA and numerous Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) types. WPA and WPA2 are the Wi-Fi Alliance certification for interoperable network settings, standards-based wireless LAN security. These certifications support IEEE 802.1X user authentication, Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), WPA encryption and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), WPA2 encryption. These certifications help to ensure the interoperability of WLAN devices with Wi-Fi certification from different manufacturers.

AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 hardware AES encryption supports enterprise-class acceleration, the government secure encryption on the wireless LAN without compromising performance. IEEE 802.1X authentication ensures that only authorized users are allowed on the network. The series also provides backward compatibility and support for WPA client devices running TKIP, using the RC4 encryption algorythm.

Cisco Aironet 1200 Series Access Points operating with LWAPP support Cisco Unified Intrusion Detection System / Intrusion Prevention System (IDS / IPS), a software feature is part of the Cisco Self-Defending Network and is the first solution integrated wired and wireless security. Cisco Unified IDS / IPS takes a comprehensive approach to safety at the end wireless, wired edge, WAN edge, and the data center. When an associated client sends malicious traffic through the Cisco Unified Wireless Network, a Cisco wired IDS device detects the attack and sends requests to flee Cisco WLAN controllers, which is then separated from the client machine.

Autonomous or unified Cisco Aironet 1200 Series Access Points support the security management framework for the verification of 802.11 management frames to the wireless network infrastructure. This allows the network to identify counterfeit frames of base stations, or malicious users impersonating infrastructure such as base stations. If the access point detects a malicious attack, the case seems to produce the base station and reports collected by the Cisco Wireless LAN controller, Cisco WCS, or CiscoWorks WLSE.

With large storage capacity and support for Cisco management tools, the AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 provides the capacity and means to improve and offer new features as they become available. For additional investment protection, the AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 comes with an integrated mounting system that keeps the device via the customers choice of laptop security cables or standard padlocks. The reliability of the 802.11g solution makes the Cisco Aironet 1200 Series a wise investment for the companys customers. It offers field-proven reliability with a Cisco Aironet fifth-generation 2.4 GHz radio module An update available 802.11a radio enhances the capacity and performance, delivering up to 54 Mbps data rate in all the 12 channels available and allow the wireless network to expand to accommodate a large number of users.

With the AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 single access point you can run a radio 802.11b/g clients, while supporting new users by adding another radio to 802.11a network performance and capacity scale. Installation options increase the flexibility of the AIR-AP1242AG-A-K9 access point and integrated mounting systems are designed to be mounted on walls, ceilings, and with its metal casing above suspended ceilings. With its range of operating temperatures and broad-cast aluminum, this unit is the strength required in factories, warehouses and harshest environments. Supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) and local power maximizes teeth allow for some flexibility.

All available radios (802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g) provide a variety of transmit power settings to adjust coverage area size. To increase the flexibility of deployments, the 802.11a radio module is available in two versions (Figure 1). Both versions offer up to 12 non-overlapping channels in the 5 GHz band (subject to local regulations), 11 others will be available in 2005 with a firmware upgrade on the floor. One version provides two antenna connectors for use with a wide variety of Cisco antennas to achieve greater reach and coverage of specific applications. The second has an integrated antenna design that incorporates diversity omnidirectional (5 dBi) and patch antennas (9 dBi). For the ceiling, desk or other horizontal installations, the integrated omnidirectional antenna provides optimal coverage pattern and maximum range.

For wall mounting, the patch antenna provides a hemispherical coverage pattern that uniformly directs the radio energy from the wall and across the room. Both omni-directional and patch antennas offer diversity for maximum reliability, even in environments with high multiples such as offices and other indoor environments. Coupled with the broadest range of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz antennas in the industry, offering users unprecedented flexibility in cell size and coverage patterns.

Bamboo Wood Flooring

Bamboo  flooring  is one kind of wood  flooring  that is gaining immense popularity, especially in the Southeast and on the West Coast. This popularity is because of its hardness and appearance. Manufacturers are using bamboo to design exotic  flooring  patterns comprising of borders, accents and beautiful medallions. Bamboo forests are mostly found in the Hunan province of China.

Bamboo is highly eco-friendly since it is a kind of grass. Additionally, it can be replenished and harvested again even on damaged soil. Moreover, it just takes three to five years for bamboo to mature as compared to 50-100 years for other hard woods. It is thus a renewable source, with the promise of almost stable prices over the years. Bamboo is very similar to wood in color and form.  Flooring  made from bamboo is almost as strong as steel.

Bamboo  flooring  can be done in interesting patterns and colors like honey, dark and light wood, amber and natural wood colors. The dark color is obtained by pressure steaming and carbonization. Patterns can be either flat grain or vertical. Bamboo  flooring  can be floated or nailed. Unfinished as well as pre-finished panels are also available.

Bamboo  flooring  resists dents almost as well as oak. It is also very stable. The general thickness for bamboo  flooring  is ½, ¾ or 5/8 inches, while width could be between three and four inches. Lengths vary from two feet to six feet, thus designs and patterns can be more creative.

Bamboo floors are very easy to install.  Flooring  profiles may be panels, strips or tongue and groove. The floor can be nailed, glued, installed on plywood or floated. Pneumatic nail guns are used to nail the panels down. The cost ranges from $4 to $8 per square foot, excluding installation costs. Warranties for bamboo  flooring  range from five to twenty-five years, depending on the manufacturer. Bamboo is thus a very cheap alternative to most hardwood floors.

Bamboo floors are also very easy and cost effective to maintain. They do not require staining or restaining as the color comes during the manufacturing process itself. However, too much dampness may spoil the  flooring  sooner, causing it to warp.

There are many manufacturers and providers of bamboo  flooring  in the U.S. These can be found over the internet. Exhaustive information about bamboo  flooring  is also available over the internet.

How a Pool Heat Pump Extends Your Summer Fun

A pool heat pump is an efficient method to heat water in swimming pools. As a result, swimming season extends a few more months beyond summer. It makes the most out of your investment as it provides more time for fun, enjoyment and fitness activities by keeping the water warm and comfortable almost all year round. Some may feel that a heating system is unnecessary and additional cost for the pool’s owner. The smart homeowner however, has a different opinion about getting more value for money.

It is easier to install heat pumps than set up a gas-powered or solar-powered heater. Electrical wiring can be done by a skilled homeowner or an electrician. New models already have electronic or digital controls for more accurate temperature settings, communication and interface with other control systems for pools. Pipes are set on level ground near the swimming area for better efficiency and easier access for maintenance and repair work.

Since pool heat pumps draws heat from the ambient air, the downside is that it loses some efficiency when the ambient temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. It will keep running at lower efficiency as there is not much heat to transfer from the surrounding air. Warm outside air makes a pool heat pump operate more efficiently and this probably explains why it is a practical application in warmer regions like the southern states in the US. Using a pool heat pump is also feasible in the colder states of the mid-Atlantic area as it can extend swimming season by at least a quarter of a year.

Benefits of pool heat pumps are long term that you may not get returns on your investment right away but it will pay off after a few years. For example, it has low operating cost that will not heavily dent your electricity bills. A pool heat pump is controlled by a temperature sensor so that it only runs when needed to heat the pool’s water. Once it reaches the desired water temperature, the pump stops until the temperature sensor requires it to run its cycle again. Just like an air-conditioning and refrigeration system, it runs a certain vapor compression cycle but it does not need to run twenty four hours in a day. Pool heat pumps runs similar vapor compression or fundamental refrigeration cycle in reverse. In addition, a pool heat pump not only heats the pool’s water, it can also cool water if the ambient temperature is too warm especially during summer time.

Going green has also become the direction of most consumers. A gas heater emits carbon monoxide or nitrous oxide into the air although these days there are models that now have low-nox emissions. A pool heat pump does not emit any of these gases since it runs on electricity.

Most owners will also have to agree that pool heat pumps has low maintenance requirements. It has less moving parts compared to a gas heater. This makes operation less prone to maintenance and repairs. It also guarantees long service life, heating your swimming pool’s water for up to 15 years

Building Lean Muscle Means a Good Diet

Two of the most interesting and frustrating statements that people make are, “I just want to tone my arms,” or “I just want to lose a little fat around my stomach/legs/butt/whatever.” Or this one, “I don’t want to get bulky, I just want some  lean  muscle.”

The simple truth is that all three statements are false, to be charitable – or delusional, to be a little harsh. Let’s not be harsh, let’s say that these folks are just misinformed. There is no such thing as toning (what is toning?). There is no spot reduction. Tom Venuto has a great article about doing 1000 sit-ups a day. And if getting bulky were easy, we’d all be extra-large.

But building that  lean  muscle, there’s something we can talk about.

Weightlifting, strength training, bodybuilding all do one thing and that is make you stronger. Along the way, as a byproduct of getting stronger, the muscles will grow. A small percentage, maybe 10% of men and 1% of women will get big, as in bodybuilding big. The rest of us will get some size, bigger than your average bear, but by no means a grizzly.

So, as you lift and challenge yourself at every workout, your muscles will get stronger and a little bigger. The visual effect will be a hard muscle. When people feel you, you will seem less like a marshmallow and more like a size of beef. That’s good.

And it’s all  lean  muscle – good right.

So, why do some look – well – bulky? Where’s the muscle definition? And you said that getting bulky was a myth!

Well, here’s the thing, exercises make your muscles stronger and  leaner . Dieting strips the fat from your body and shows it off. In fact, dieting is really what makes your muscles stronger and  leaner .

Exercises tear down your muscles and dieting builds it up. Simple, I understand; nevertheless, it is fundamental to building a  leaner , meaner (in a good way) you. The two go hand in hand.

You cannot simply set a goal of building a  leaner , muscular you without having a clean balanced diet to furnish all the nutrients. Larry Scott used to say that nutrition was 80% of bodybuilding.

If all you did was push-ups, pull-ups, dips, one legged squats, deep knee bends, crunches, and reverse crunches; you would do great, so long as your diet was good.

In fact, a good diet is your insurance policy. Whereas, you could have the greatest workouts in the world, but if you dieting is terrible and lazy; then you will have no progress. Clean balanced diet is the key to building a  lean , muscular body.

A good diet doesn’t need Hoodia or apple vinegar cider whatever. A good diet consists of plenty of water, lots of veggies and fruits, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and balanced sources of protein. It does not include high fructose corn syrup, processed sugars, alcohol, white bread, and fast foods or Ho-ho’s. Okay, I’ll fight you on Ho-ho’s.

So, the equation for building  lean  muscle is the same as getting stronger: training to maximum effort plus good diet plus lots of rest equal great, strong body. Can’t beat that.

3 Common Postural Mistakes That Cause Back Pain

For many people, posture correction is a key component of back pain treatment. Posture – the way we hold ourselves when sitting, standing or laying – can either help protect our backs or be the cause of its pain. The tension and alignment of our soft tissues and joints are affected by posture and the lower back, both highly mobile and load-bearing, is perhaps most affected by poor posture.

Are you making any of the following common postural mistakes?

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Since the pelvis is the foundation of the upper body, its position affects and is affected by the position of the lower back. The lumbar spine in the lower back has a natural inward arch that helps balance the forces absorbed by the spine. The inward arch is called lordosis. Often, people have too much lordosis. As the arch increases, the base of the spine is pulled upward. The base of the spine is the sacrum, which attaches to the hip bones via the sacroiliac joints. This causes the back of the pelvis to raise and the front of the pelvis to drop lower.

Anterior pelvic tilt is most often caused by muscle imbalances; tense lower back and weak hamstring and glute muscles can cause the pelvis to be pulled up in back, while tight quads and hip flexors pull it down in front without sufficient counter-force from weak abdominal muscles. This may result from imbalanced training or from simply standing and sitting with an increased arch for years. Wearing high heels, being overweight and being pregnant all predispose a person to anterior pelvic tilt.

It is important to correct this postural distortion, as it takes a toll on spinal discs, joints and the muscles throughout the pelvis and back. You may require myofascial release if muscle tension has begun to cause knots in the myofascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). Exercise to target the abdominal, glute and hamstring muscles will be helpful in conjunction with efforts to relax the tight opposing muscles.

To see if you have anterior pelvic tilt, stand with your back against a wall, making sure your buttocks and shoulders are touching the wall. If there is more than a two-inch gap between your lower back and the wall, you may have hyperlordosis.

Forward Head

This type of postural dysfunction is on the rise due to the proliferation of small electronic devices like iPhones and our increasing reliance on them. Forward head posture is just what is sounds like: The head is positioned in front of the body’s mid-line. Ideally, the head is supported by the neck directly over the shoulders. This position maintains the cervical arch within the neck and keeps neck, upper back and shoulder muscles at the appropriate length.

When the head is positioned in front of the body, its weight is no longer balanced on the spine. Rather, the upper back and neck muscles must support it. In order to look straight ahead with forward head, the muscles in the back of your neck must shorten and the cervical arch increases. This can lead to muscular pain, myofascial pain, premature cervical disc wear, cervical joint degeneration and tension headaches.

Often when people crane their heads forward, they are trying to get closer to what they’re looking at. Consciousness of this tendency combined with efforts to counter it, such as raising objects closer to your face, can help to reverse forward head. Myofascial release and stretching exercises will help to relax tight neck and upper back muscles.


We are all likely guilty of slouching at times. Some slouch when they stand or walk, and this postural mistake is particularly common when sitting. Slouching occurs when the upper back rounds out, the shoulders droop forward and the lower back flattens. Often, forward head accompanies slouching. The spine is a unit, and changes in one area are often reflected by changes in another.

A leading cause of slouching is core muscle weakness. The muscles of the lower back, pelvis, buttocks and stomach are relied upon to support spinal alignment and uprightness of the upper body. If these muscles aren’t working to do these jobs, the spine will round out and the upper body will sag. Your chances of slouching increase with the amount of time you spend in a sitting or standing position; even the strongest of cores tires out eventually.

One way to counteract slouching is to consciously engage your core muscles when sitting or standing. Focus on your deep abdominal muscles and gently engage them. These muscles support the lower spine. Doing balanced core exercises such as bird dogs, bridges, partial crunches and planks will help to correct slouching. As with other forms of postural distortions, myofascial release may be needed in addition to stretching in order to relax muscles that have been chronically tensed by habitual slouching.

Being aware of common postural mistakes will help prevent you from making them. You can reduce or eliminate back pain by holding your body in proper alignment.

Front Packs vs. Baby Back Packs

For ages caring parents have carried their babies with them as they completed errands, chores and daily tasks. In case you haven’t heard, there are multiple benefits of carrying your baby with you for a good part of the day. Some of these benefits include:

  • Stimulating your baby’s development.
  • Raising your baby’s social awareness.
  • Reducing colic and stimulating quiet awareness.
  • Freeing your hands to take care of daily chores or tasks.
  • Simplifying shopping trips without having to worry about placing your child in an unsafe shopping cart.

You’ll find often an infant carrier or baby back pack is much more convenient that a stroller or shopping cart to tote your child around in. Selecting a baby pack doesn’t have to be a challenging task if you know what to look for. The first thing you will need to decide is whether you need a front pack or infant carrier or a baby back pack. Let’s look at each of these choices in greater detail below.

Front Carriers

Front infant carriers, packs and baby slings are the only choice for babies under 5-6 months of age. Before this your baby simply won’t have the head and neck strength to sit upright in a baby backpack. Front packs offer all the same advantages of a baby backpack. Most will hold your baby up to 25 to 35 pounds, so you can use them for an extended period of time. Still others convert from a front pack to a back pack, allowing extended use.

The biggest difference between a front carrier and a sling is that most carriers evenly distribute your baby’s weight between both shoulders. This helps reduce strain and neck discomfort. However, many moms prefer the simplicity of a sling for the first few weeks of their baby’s life. You’ll find that everyone has their own opinion about carrying their baby around. You are certain to find a carrier that will work best for you. Most slings are relatively inexpensive. You might consider buying a sling for your babies first weeks and then an infant backpack when you baby is old enough to ride in one.

Baby Backpacks

Baby back packs are perhaps the most clever invention on the market today. What baby doesn’t enjoy riding around with mom or dad on any given day? One of the best benefits of wearing a back pack is they leave your hands free to tend to any errands or chores you have to accomplish. Many assume that baby backpacks are only suitable for camping.

This is simply not the case. You can use a baby backpack anywhere you would plan to take your stroller or carry your child.

It does take some time to get used to wearing a baby backpack. Once you figure it out however, chances are you will wonder how you ever got along without one before. Most back packs are the perfect accessory through the toddler years. Most will carry your toddler up to 40 pounds, though some will carry your child to 70 pounds. (That however, is a LOT of weight to carry on your back). This means you can probably carry your baby around the first few years of life with a back pack. So now that you are excited about a back pack, how do you know which one is best for you? Here are some considerations to think about before buying a backpack:

  • Think about what you plan to use your backpack for. If you plan to hike a lot, you’ll need a more durable and expensive model than a casual backpack for just running errands. You may also need some added features like a rain hood or   sunshade .
  • Consider your height and weight requirements. If you plan to use a pack and are relatively petite or very tall, make sure the straps are adjustable enough to accommodate extreme sizes. This is also a consideration if you plan to share your pack with a large or small partner.
  • Decide what features you prefer on a pack. Some packs come with a variety of features including a detachable diaper bag, toy loops and holders, bottle holders and more. The more features the pricier the bag. If you are working on a budget, decide what must have features you should look for.

Choosing the Correct Camping Tent

Camping tents are available in a wide variety of colours and sizes. Choosing the right one can be harder than you think. We have listed some points, to try and help you make the right choice. If you are off to a festival or you are hitting the mountains, you will need the right tent for the occasion. You will have to know which size you are comfortable with e.g. two man tent, so you have plenty of room to sleep and camp. If you are sharing with your friends you will need an even bigger tent like a four man tent for example.

If you have time on your hands then choosing a tent with a complex set up is not a problem, but most people don’t want the hassle. Therefore look out when purchasing your tent for an easy set up. Another crucial factor is ventilation; make sure your tent has a suitable opening, to keep the air flowing inside, at the same time protecting you from bugs and other pests.

Most festivals on average are three days long, so you won’t need a heavy duty tent which prevents Gail force winds from rocking you over, but you will need one which will aid your needs. With the consistent traffic at festivals most of the ground becomes quite muddy, so choosing a tent with a small storage space i.e. an   awning  would be a good idea. This means you can keep your willies and other muddy items away from your sleeping section. Also one with a sewn in groundsheet, will help keep that breeze off you because there are no gaps around the bottom of the tent. This will also prevent any water entering. If you want to stand out from the crowd at a festival, choose a very colourful tent, or one with a great design.

If you are hitting the mountains or forests, you will need a stronger tent. A double layer tent would be more beneficial as this would keep you a lot warmer during the night.