How to Clean Up Cat Food on Your Carpet

Cleaning the carpet can be very challenging especially if you do not know how to handle the many different issues that can happen to it. There are many cleaning problems that can occur on your carpet and knowing the right steps to take care of the issue is very important.

An example of a common cleaning problem that can happen on your carpet at home is spilling cat food all over it. Spilling the cat food can create a pretty big mess on your carpet as it can cause a nasty stain and leave behind an unpleasant odor that can be tough to clean up. If you have this kind of problem on your carpet, taking the right approach is important to get it back to normal. Here are a few steps that you can try to help you in cleaning up the cat food spill on your carpet easily.

• Scoop up as much of the cat food on your carpet as soon as you can. This is important so that the spill will not be able to penetrate the deeper portions of the carpet. You can use a spoon or a dull knife to carefully extract the cat food until you have cleared the area of ​​the spill.

• Get a teaspoon of white vinegar and combine it with a cup of warm water. Place the resulting solution inside an empty container and bring it with you to the area where the cat food was spilled. The vinegar and warm water creates a very effective cleaning solution that will aid in removing the stain that the spill has caused.

• Apply a few drops of the cleaning solution on the carpet and then let it set for a few minutes. Then, use a clean white cloth to slowly work on and blotting the stained area of ​​the carpet. Continue to blot the stain until you have removed all of the stain. It could take some time but eventually you will be able to get rid of all of the stain.

• With the cat food stain finally gone, the only thing that you have to do left is to rinse the area you just cleaned. Use a cup of clean water and then pour it on the area you cleaned. This will help in removing any residue that could get left behind on the carpet. After rinsing the area, dry the carpet completely with some clean towels and you're done getting your carpet clean once more.

Image to Text Conversion – Data Entry Jobs

There are a number of large and small companies outsourcing different types of data entry jobs. It is quiet easy to start a data entry job. All you need is a computer with an internet connection enabled in it. You should consider different options available in order to find best and legitimate jobs.

There are different types of jobs available in the online market. All you need is to extract the one that fits your needs and demands. Pay rates are different for different types of jobs. Typical jobs require you to copy and paste text and images from one place to another more useable place. Similarly, you may be asked to fill some survey forms related to different types of products.

The pay rates for such type of fundamental level jobs are quiet low. You may get $1-$2 for filling out a simple survey form or you may get $1 for updating a blog. But, there are a number of high value jobs too. These type of entry jobs require you to convert images into digital text documents. These images are basically hand written content.

There can be any reason why an employer would like to convert hand written content into computerized, digital format. In older days, most of the record keeping work was done with hands. But today, everything has been revolutionzed into computerized format. Therefore, small and large outsourcing companies are hiring data entry clerks and specialists to do these jobs.

Image to text conversion jobs are among the best value entry jobs. You can find an employer who is seeking to convert some hand written content into computerized format. You can find such type of entry jobs from freelance networks, classified ads and social networking websites. Best of luck!

Paving Stones – What Are They?

A paving stone is a hard block that can be made from glass, cut stone, cast concrete, brick, clay tile, and plastic and come in many colors, textures, sizes and shapes. They can be used a variety of ways but they are all used to create a hard, smooth outdoor surface. A contractor can create outdoor steps, driveways, patios, and pathways using paving stones. There are some that will use paving stone blocks to construct landscape features and retaining ways. The homeowner can find a variety of these blocks at most home improvement stores. They can also be ordered from the manufacturer. If you do not want to do it yourself there are landscapers and contractors who will do the job.

If you decide to go ahead with installation yourself it will require some time and effort to ensure that it is done correctly. One of the first things that you will need to do is make sure that the area where the paving stones are going to be installed is mapped out carefully so you can devise a pattern. Next you have to make sure that the ground is cut, compacted, and leveled so the paver stones you are going to use will lie on a flat surface. If you fail to make sure that the ground is level it could result in the paving stones to sink or buckle. The next step is installing the paving blocks carefully in the desired pattern. They will need to be compacted so they will sit evenly. The last step is force some type of pacing material like sand between the cracks to keep the stones stable and even and discourage weed growth.

One big advantage in using such type of stone for installation is that they are extremely durable. As long as you make sure that they are installed correctly they will normally last for years without needing any maintenance work. They are not hard to install but it does take time to do the proper job. Because they are easy to install and durable paving stones make great home improvement projects.

To make sure that the area is even and level for the paving stones you will need a soil compactor, which you can usually rent from a home supply store or a store that rents tools. You will also need a shovel to dig out the dirt in the area where you are going to do a paving stone installation. A stiff broom is needed also to sweep the packing material into the gaps between the paying stones.

Discover How WiFi Can Be Better

Those who live in large apartments or private homes often face a situation where one wireless router, however good it may be, cannot provide full and consistent Wi-Fi coverage around the entire home. As a result, in one room the speed is perfect, and in the other part of the house, there are so-called dead zones where the signal level is either too low to be useful, or disappears completely.

Until recently, this problem was ‘solved’ by installing a second router, and its most important feature was a repeater mode support. What does that mean? In short, more effort, and often more problems! You can configure the second router to expand the signal of the first one making a connection a bit more stable. But although the coverage area significantly increases and stabilizes, there is another problem: the connection speed on each new repeater drops noticeably.

Eero is a great example of the new breed of WiFi systems, as they developed the first home WiFi products created specifically to solve this issue, using a technology called ‘Mesh Networking’. Unfortunately, eero sales have previously been limited to the U.S., but you can now buy eero in Australia, so we thought it was time to help people understand the new way of doing things, and why Mesh Networking is the way to go!

The eero (or any Mesh Network) Wi-Fi system consists of several devices: at least one ‘base’ station, and several smaller, cheaper beacons, designed to fit in anywhere as needed and expand the network coverage. Most products have pre-configured packages intended for particular sized homes – eero has packages for for 1-2, 2-4, and 3-5+ bedroom homes which consist of 1 eero + 1 Beacon, 1 eero + 2 Beacons, and 3 eeros respectively.

To get set up, it is enough to connect one Eero device to the network and place other access points in remote rooms providing a stable Wi-Fi signal. Eero engineers implemented mesh networking model which means that all nodes are formally equal, and the system manages itself.

So, unlike the “router, to repeater 1, to repeater 2” scheme, where the major router is used to manage all the network and routing issues and the other devices are just trying to relay that information as dumb extenders, all three eero devices are full-fledged routers, creating, a Mesh Network where each node serves as a transition point for another node in the system, working together to give an evenly-distributed powerful signal throughout the whole mesh. This eliminates dead spots and weak points in your home WiFi – wherever you have WiFi within the Mesh, you have a strong signal.

Also part of these new breed of WiFi systems is the possibility for integration with a dedicated app on your phone to easily allow management of all aspects of the system, speed tests, and more. If you’ve ever had to log into a weird web address and use an ugly, confusing web interface to configure a router, you will know how big a deal this is. For example, as well as providing all the management functionality you would expect, the eero app can automatically connect to your wireless network, see how many devices are connected to the network, test your network’s speed, and see how much traffic is being consumed. These new systems are also smart enough to automatically install updates and improvements that make the system work much more stably – they keep secure and up to date, without the need to do any ‘fiddling’.

While we’d love to list all of the features that are made possible by these systems having a dedicated app, but they vary, and time is short! That said, we think being able to easily create a new network from your smartphone or quickly add a guest without having to share or remember your password – time savers made super simple with a few taps on your phone – rate a quick mention.

Finally, while routers in general can be ugly beasts, splattered with antennae and cables, some of this new breed of routers are pretty enough to take pride of place in any home. Given we all have WiFi in our homes, it’s amazing it has taken this long for design of these devices to be an important consideration (I guess Apple used to make nice looking routers, but they were the exception, and are now completely outdated with their WiFi router tech). Again, as an example, the eero design is extremely minimalistic and elegant – it looks like the sort of device Apple might release if they decided to become relevant in WiFi again…

We hope this helped you get your head around what Mesh Networking is, why it’s better than older WiFi systems, and how it manages to be so, and we hope you’re now interested in checking out the options available. Faster and better WiFi is possible! If you’re looking for more information, typing keywords like ‘Mesh Networking’ into Google should give you plenty.

Best of luck, and may your videos never pause for buffering again!

10 Gige Fiber – FAQs

10 Gige Fiber is a standard of Ethernet technology that transmits data at 1000 megabits per second. It is commonly used in enterprise LAN environments.

10 gige fiber and lit buildings are commonly used terminologies these days that refer to the adoption of Ethernet technology over LAN and WAN environments. They are popular due to their high speed of voice and data transfer as well as their cost effectiveness. Here are some FAQs that will help you understand them better.

What is 10 gige fiber?
10 gige or 10 Gigabit Ethernet fiber reflectors to the standard that wasrought out in 2002 by IEEE. This Ethernet is 10 times faster than the Gigabit Ethernet that exists at the time, hence the name. For a customer this means that data transmission takes place at 1000 megabits per second as opposed to 100 megabits per second in the earlier Ethernet standard. There are different standards used in the marketplace for gigabit Ethernet and these include optical fibers and copper cables. Ever since this technology was introduced, 10 gigabit Ethernet fiber has been widely used in LAN and WAN environments due to its cost effectiveness, high reliability and the ease with which it can be scaled up or managed.

Who uses 10 gige fiber Ethernet?
When it was first adopted, this technology was mainly used in an enterprise LAN environment. However, there have been changes taking place over the past few years. 10 gige technology is now used in WAN environments as well for providing transport, services, access networks and backbones. Due to the efficiency of services and the cost effectiveness that 10 gige offers, it is slowly taking over older technologies on networks that earlier used ATM switches, SONET Multiplexers and SONET rings, by replacing them with optical fiber.

How do I find a 10 gige fiber provider in my area?
Depending on the State or area where you live, the type of services you want or to find a fiber lit building in your neighborhood, the best place to find a service provider is online. There are several websites that offer quotes for these services based on your requirement. You can enter details regarding the type of service you are looking for or even the address of your building and submit it online. You will then get a list of service providers or lit buildings in the area and can opt to have the service providers contact you with their best quote. Based on a comparison of the services and costs, you can then narrow down your choice of the 10 gige fiber provider.

Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Education Requirement

When the SAFE Act was passed by the US Congress in 2008, it mandated that all States require that Mortgage Loan Originators meet certain minimum requirements to obtain and maintain a Mortgage Loan Originator License. Once of those requirements was education. The SAFE Act mandated 20 hours of Pre-License Education in order to obtain an LO license and 8 hours of Continuing Education each year in order to maintain and renew an LO License. Over the next couple years, each state passed legislation to meet this federal education mandate and regulators worked with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) to implement this requirement.

State-Specific Mortgage License Education
When the states passed legislation to meet this federal SAFE Act Education requirement, many of them determined to also require additional education above and beyond the minimum federal requirement of 20 hours of Pre-License Education and 8 hours of annual Continuing Education. Many states require anywhere from 1 to 15 hours of state-specific Pre-License Education and 1 to 3 hours of annual Continuing Education. And as more states have adopted the Uniform State Test (UST) in lieu of a state-specific NMLS Test, many of those same states have decided to recently add additional state-specific education requirements.

Mortgage License Education Types
When the NMLS started working with the states to implement the LO License education requirements, they came up with 3 ways to meet the mortgage loan originator education requirement. Live, Webinar, and Online Instructor-Led. These three options were developed in order meet certain NMLS requirements that the mortgage education course be timed and that there be interaction between the instructor and the mortgage loan originator. The Live and Webinar versions clearly meet this requirement, but for the Online Instructor-Led Course to meet that requirement, but still give the LO the ability to work at their own pace, the NMLS along with the states created a requirement for the online mortgage education course to include questions and answers between the instructor and the Mortgage Loan Originator. The live course is generally only offered to large groups such as large companies that have many LOs that need mortgage licensing continuing education at the same time. Most mortgage education companies offer the Webinar option, but then the LO has to sit through the entire education course all at one time. So most Mortgage Loan Originators prefer the Online Instructor-Led Education Course. You can do it at your own pace and have much more flexibility.

Style Interior Design

Interior design Miami style incorporates the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in conjunction with influences of the many immigrants which have settled in the area. There are strong influences from the Cuban, Spanish, European and Caribbean people who have made southern Florida and Miami their home. Added to these is the wealth and richness of many entertainment stars and highly successful people and one can begin to see the essentials of interior design Miami style.

Uncovering Interior Design Miami Style

If a person believes that interior design Miami style might be the design that they want for their home or office; there are many resources to help uncover the secrets. These resources may help in self-designing or in locating a professional interior designer who specializes in interior design Miami style. There are a number of books available which discuss and illustrate Miami style. Major book stores as well as internet sites will have these books available for ordering.

One such book is entitled, Miami Style, by Angelika Taschen, Patricia Parinejad, and Eric Laignel. The book outlines the pizzazz and sex appeal of Miami design. Another book, entitled, South Beach Style, by Bernard Zyscovich, Laura Cerwinske, and Steven Brooke demonstrates clearly the dazzle and urban delight of Miami interior design. Reading these books, along with several others, will give the reader a vast amount of information on Miami Design.

If a homeowner wants to hire an Types Of Interior Design to design their space in the Miami style, they can begin with an internet search. If cost is no problem, there are many interior designers based out of Miami and South Florida who are all well acquainted with the style. Other well-trained, highly-qualified designers can be found in locations outside of Florida who are also familiar with designing interiors Miami style.

Ask any designer for references and photos of other projects they have done in order to get a good idea if you might be pleased with their work. Make sure you spend quality time talking with the designer to make sure their ideas are compatible with yours. Miami design completed by a quality interior designer will be a stunning look for anyone’s home or office.

Metal Tool Boxes Are Worth Every Cent

Metal tool boxes are a great item for men who love playing with their tools and doing projects around the home. No matter whether you are in the business of using your tools or a businessman that sits at a desk all day this item will be extremely useful to have and use.

If you have been looking for a box to store your hammer and or drill you will notice that there are many materials that they can be made off. Originally they were wooden, however as wood rots plastic and metal started growing in popularity. While plastic ones are very popular with home owners and consumers because of their low cost. The metal ones are the ones that really stand up over time.

Now you should realize that this material is an expensive commodity over the cheap and not as durable plastic models. However, they are much stronger tougher and even bigger than any other types available. They are strong and durable and tough. These boxes resist bumps and dents extremely well.

You will love how much lighter to carry they are over any other kind of box. The reason is that the metal used is a strong but lighter material so it's much easier to carry around you big, bulky and heavy tools. Yet it really supports the weight of your hammer and screwdrivers and drills very well.

Some of them are made to be transported around the house and others are made for a more specific reason like to pickup trucks. The ones for trucks have special features that make them perfect for those vehicles. One is that they are sized just right so they fit in a small space that trucks are built to have. That way they do not take up valuable space in the vehicle.

While they do not come cheap, they will last you a very long time than plastic tool boxes . They are strong, durable and worth every cent you pay for them.

Learn The Facts Behind Phenolic

Phenolic, put it simply, is a resin produced with phenol as well as an aldehyde. It is used to produce moldings referring to bearings, insulation and as a binder where rigid material bought to be. Another item that Phenolic can be used as a term for would be all types of phenols, which are simple hydrocarbon compounds, much like alcohols. These compounds range from heat providers in peppers as well as dopamine. The best way to differentiate this pair is by calling the first Phenolic Resins and the second Phenolic Compounds.

The method that Phenolic resins are created involves the job of combining common phenol with any sort of aldehydes. The most commonly used would be formaldehyde, which is also known as Phenolic formaldehyde resin. Most of the formaldehyde prepared today is treated with phenol to produce resins. Bakelite was the first brand name of this synthesized resin, which continues to be on the market today.

Phenolic Lavatory Partitions are made with a fabulous laminate that's made by pressurizing parts of garments, treated by means of melamine resin under extreme levels of heat. This causes the material to turn into a powerful plastic that is really resistant towards water plus buildup of bacteria. Since these are moisture resistant they are not difficult to clean using any common industrial cleaner, which would be able to remove any sort of graffiti or other marks. Phenolic is highly defensive against scrapes, gouges, and dents. Phenolic Partitions are mostly used in corporate environments, schools with lots of traffic, stadiums and theme recreational areas.

Phenolic bathroom partitions are normally offered with 17 different colors so you can suit it for your bathroom style and design. The colors usually ordered are black and white, but there are other colors to match your bathroom. Many are not aware of this, but Phenolic is used for nearly all consumer fixtures. For example: your pot handles, your electronic plugs, and even the top on soft drink bottles. The motive for this is due to the fact that Phenolic is very easily molded and the affordability. Making this ideal for when you need a less expensive plastic.

A lot of the time Phenolic is used like a binding agent to add composite wood and plywood together with chipboard. Although it is brittle, it also gives off very little smoke when it combusts, and higher grades are especially resistant to high heat environments over 370 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also commonly used as insulation because of its high energy mass, which makes it a solid thermal insulator when compared with other low-cost systems. These can be enhanced using drapes to assist you to soften any noise. The developers of soundproofing materials give many options for usage after construction.

Since Phenolic is normally highly related to flexing, it is a popular material used as an alternative to acrylic sheets. Hard surface mats, guitar pick guards, and even electric saw tables make use of these fixed plates material. The process of creating a Phenolic sheet involves infusing the core product with resin that causes it to be catalyzed.

The Proper Way to Dispose of Brake Cleaner and Other Hazardous Materials

It is the time of year for fun with the family, building carrot-nosed snowmen, and eating more chocolate than your sweet tooth can handle. It is also the time of year for dragging all of those Christmas decorations out of your garage as well. If you are having a little trouble reaching all of those boxes, you may need to clean out the garage.

Be careful, though. Certain items from your garage can not be simply placed on the curb for the normal rubbish collection. Items like car batteries, old brake cleaner, pesticides, and old oil must be disposed of properly according to your local council rules and regulations.

Disposing of Hazardous Materials

Before you dispose of any material that may be considered hazardous, or harmful to human health or the health of the environment, contact your local council. You can easily find the name, phone number, and website of your local council by visiting the official UK government website and entering your postcode or street and town information.

Your local council should be able to provide you with a detailed list of their recycling and disposing practice. For instance, some may dispose of paint for you, but will only pick the paint up on certain days of the month. Until then, you may want to figure out how to reduce the amount of waste in your garage so piles of plastic oil bottles and leftover coolant aren’t taking up a lot of space and keeping you from reaching your Christmas decorations.

  • Coolant– In previous years, you may have simply tossed your old coolant on the ground to control the weeds around your home. Today though, you know that this is no longer acceptable and is very harmful to the environment. So what do you do with all of that leftover coolant? First, make sure you drain all of the coolant into a new drain pan so it does not come into contact with any oil. Call around your neighbourhood to different auto parts stores. Some of these stores have their own coolant recycling machines, which distil the coolant. The shop can then add an additive to the coolant and it can be used as if it was new.
  • Paint Thinner and Gasoline– Have just a little bit of gasoline or paint thinner sitting in your garage? If there is only a small amount, there is an easy way to get rid of it. Find a well-ventilated, warm area out of the reach of small fingers and pets and let it sit open until it is completely dry.
  • Brake Fluid– When you bleed your brakes, catch the run off in a jar. Keep the jar open for a few months (out of the reach of children, away from fire or sparks, and in an area where it will not be knocked over.) After a few months it will have absorbed enough water from the air to reduce its boiling point. Pour the brake fluid in a pan of cat litter and set it out of the way for a couple of days. A few days is all it takes for this hazardous material to evaporate.
  • Brake Cleaner– Brake cleaner can be very hazardous to both your health and the environment if it is not disposed of correctly. Never dispose of it in your sewer, storm drain, or down your kitchen sink. Once you catch your brake cleaner, it will actually evaporate after a while, leaving you with only the dirt and grime you cleaned off your brakes. However, it is important to contact your local council and make sure this practice is allowed before you try it.

When you need to clear out your garage this holiday season, make sure you dispose of your hazardous materials, like brake cleaner, correctly. Before you set it on the curb, contact your local council and find the best ways to get rid of harmful materials.

Soccer Training Drills – Shooting, Dribbling, and Trapping

Soccer training drills are fundamental to any youth soccer program. They build strength, speed, and agility, and also make good practice and warm-up exercises. Here are a few basic drills that are will help to improve your players' skills.

Shooting Drills

Learning to aim the ball correctly is essential to passing and shooting well. Each of these soccer training drills presents a great opportunity to work on shooting:

  • Players should always aim for the upper corners of the goal net when kicking, because these are the most difficult places for goals to reach. To reinvine this idea, tie two routes to the right and left corners of the goal, and let them hang straight. Instruct players to try to hit the ropes when they shoot the ball into the net. Have them practice this from several different positions around the goal.
  • Station players on both the left and right sides of the field. Have another player dribble down the middle of the field and practice passing the ball to the stationary players. This shooting drill teaches players to aim while dribbling.

Dribbling Drills

Moving down the field quickly and efficiently requires steady control of the ball. To teach your players how to direct the ball's movement while dribbling, try some of these techniques:

  • Set up a line of cones (spaced three to four feet apart) down the length of the field. Instruct players to weave the ball in and out of the cones while dribbling. As they get better, time them and encourage them to pick up speed. Players who have difficulty with this drill should practice weaving in and out of the cones without the ball.
  • Divide players into teams of three, and then have two teams compete against each other in a game of keep-away. This will give players practice with dribbling in a competitive, fast-paced setting.

Trapping Drills

Trapping movements help players to intercept and gain possession of the ball during play. These drills will teach players how to use different parts of their bodies to capture and control the ball:

  • Have players throw a ball into the air and then catch it with their chest and legs. They must then kick the ball into the air and catch it with their body again. The object of the game is to never let the ball hit the ground. Have a contest to see which player can keep the ball in the air the longest!
  • Take your players to a nearby indoor gym, and have them practice trapping by throwing soccer balls against a wall. When the ball backs back at them, they should catch it with their body and maintain control of it with their feet.

These basic soccer training drills are a great way to teach players the fundamentals of the sport. Aim for making them repetitive but fun, and you'll be sure to instill the proper playing techniques in your athletes.

What’s the Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Screens?

Room divider screens are very popular pieces of furniture throughout the world, but in Europe consumers seem to have a thirst for Far Eastern merchandise. One of the most popular items to quench this ‘thirst’ is a folding screen – it seems to encompass everything that is far eastern but also has a functional purpose. Do you know if the screen in your home is Japanese or Chinese though and can you tell by looking at it where it has come from?

One of the main points to tell if your screen is Japanese or Chinese is by the composition of the illustration on the screen. In Japan, in a lot of important ceremonies or eating as a family will take place in a seated position on the floor. Therefore a lot of the detail of a Japanese screen will be low down – at eye level when seated on the floor. A Chinese screen however may well use the whole area of the screen to depict an image, an the main central point will be the focus.

The second easy way to tell if your screen is Chinese or Japanese is by type of illustration on it. The illustrations found on Chinese screens will look far more complicated when placed next to a Japanese screen. The Japanese illustrations focused much more on symbolism and significant compositions than the Chinese did. The Chinese screens were more likely to be romantic scenes of swans and beautiful scenery that weren’t meaningless, but certainly didn’t have the underlying meanings that the Japanese illustrations did.

The third way is to look at the materials and construction method of the screen. The Japanese paid much more attention to the material that were used with their screens. You only have to look at a typical traditional Japanese home to see that care and intricate use of different timbers that go in to creating it. This intricate use of differing timbers has not surprisingly been passed through to the construction of their screens. Some Chinese screens it would be difficult to identify that there was any timber in them at all as one traditional method was to coat the timber in a clay. This gave a beautiful fine finished surface to which they could apply their designs.

Chinese or Japanese, the choice is down to you, to a certain extent it will be your home interior that make the choice for you. If the screen is going behind a sofa or other piece of furniture you may well be better off opting for a Chinese screen – as a the main focal point of the Japanese screen will be hidden out of view.

Does Your Fight Scene Pack a Punch?

Long ago, movie directors mastered the technique of creating a convincing fight scene. Bodies crash to the floor .. chairs are upended … viewers are terrified to closeups of terrified or furious faces … and the punches thrown are enough to make us wince and close our eyes. (No more of those prissy punches that fooled nobody in the early films – sneaky camera angles to hide the fact that the fist did not really connect; loud thuds to suggest a knockout punch when anyone could see it would not knock a gnat out of its flight path.)

Movie-goers are rated to multiple camera angles and sophisticated sound effects. We feel as though we're right in the middle of that fight.

Authors have it a lot harder. How can you throw the reader in the middle of the scene and feel every punch? How can you show the action without falling into the trap of sounding like a school kid enthusiastically detailing a fight, punch by punch; kick by kick?

There are just two things to keep in mind.

  1. Remember you're a writer, not a choreographer.
  2. Pack your fights with EMOTIONAL punch.

That's it. So simple – yet so effective.

What does a choreographer do? Plans a series of movements, step by step. He / she teachers the people performing the movements how to perform each one, and then how to put them together into a smooth routine.

Too many fight scenes in books look like a choreographer's notebook. You'll see something like this:

Briggs planted a right hook on Smith's chin. The other man rolled backwards, his arms windmilling. Briggs followed up his advantage, breathing hard. In quick succession he landed several more punches on Smith's body.

Smith fell to the ground and rolled away. "Bastard!" he grunted, and roled again to avoid a well-aimed kick from Briggs. Cat-like, he leapt to his feet and circled Briggs, not taking his eyes off his nemesis.

"Come on!" Briggs taunted, darting in to land another punch then ducking back out of reach. "Is that the best you can do?" He feinted and laughed.

Infuriated, Smith attacked. Briggs danced back and around Smith, and in two deft moves had him on the ground, one arm up behind his back.

"Had enough?" he bent.

There are so many things wrong with the above scene it's hard to know where to start. In brief:

  • We have no idea who the viewpoint character is. We seem to be looking on from a distance. That means there is very little emotional involvement from the reader. To really involve your reader, do everything you can to make sure he or she 'becomes' the perspective character. If he gets hurt, so does the reader. If he loses … so does the reader.
  • The writer is "telling" rather than showing. A did this then B did that so A did this in response and B followed up with this … boring! (Can you see the choreographer at work?)
  • The writer uses the characters' names a lot: "Smith" and "Briggs". This tends to add distance too. The problem is that both characters are men, so constant use of "he", while not so distancing, can be confusing. It's easier to avoid these problems if you are deeply in the perspective of one of the characters.
  • The excerpt is filled with tired old expressions such as "in quick succession he landed two more punches"; "a well-aimed kick"; "cat-like, he leapt to his feet"; "in two deft moves". Expressions like this save the writer from doing much work – they roll off the tongue so easily because they've been around for so long.

How do you avoid these pitfalls and write a fight scene that works?

You forget (for the most part) the physical punches and add emotional punch. Get deep into the perspective of one of the characters – preferably the main character; the one the reader really identifies with. This way, readers look out through the eyes of that character. They unfortunately want him to win; they feel every punch. Therefore, there's a lot more emotional investment in the out of the fight.

Most writers seem to feel that fight scenes have to be filled with fast movement, grunts and moans and shouted epithets to telegraph the action. They feel that if you stop to tell the reader what's going on in the head of the main character, this slows things down too much.

That certainly can be the case … but in the hands of a skilled writer, tension actually builds when the action is slowed down. You need to remember that time-on-the-page is not the same as real time. Since you can not actually show the reader what is going on in real time as you can in a movie, you have to compensate by spending some time in the mind of the main character. Show us the character's thoughts. Show us the character's emotions. Help us to "feel" our way into the fight.

The easiest way to show how this works is to use an example from a published book. Here's a fight scene from ECHO BURNING by Lee Child (Bantam Press, 2001). The hero, Jack Reacher, tries to avoid the fight … and the tension buildings beautifully until he is forced into a confrontation.

The guy was wearing a white tank-top shirt and he was eating chicken wings. The wings were greasy and the guy was a slob. He was dripping chicken fat off his chin and off his fingers onto his shirt. There was a dark teardrop shape right between his pecs. It was growing and spreading into an impressive stain. But the best bar-room etiquette does not let you linger on such a sight, and the guy worn Reacher staring.

"Who are looking at?" he said.

It was said low and aggressively, but Reacher ignored it.

"Who are looking at?" the guy said again.

Reacher's experience was, they say it once, maybe nothing's going to happen. But they say it twice, then trouble's on the way. Fundamental problem is, they take a lack of response as evidence that you're worried. That they're winning. But then, they will not let you answer, anyway.

"You looking at me?" the guy said.

"No," Reacher answered.

"Do not you be looking at me, boy," the guy said.

The way he said boy made Reacher think he was maybe a foreman in a lumber mill or a cotton operation. Whatever muscle work was done around Lubbock. Some kind of a traditional trade passed down through the generations. Certainly the word cop never came to his mind. But then he was relatively new to Texas.

"Do not you look at me," the guy said.

Reacher turned his head and looked at him. Not really to antagonize the guy. Just to size him up. Life is endlessly capable of surprises, so he knew one day he would come face to face with his physical equal. With someone who might worry him. But he looked and saw this was not the day. So he just smiled and looked away again.

Then the guy jabbed him with his finger.

"I told you not to look at me," he said, and jabbed.

It was a meaty forefinger and it was covered in grease. It left a definite mark on Reacher's shirt.

"Do not do that," Reacher said.

The guy jabbed again.

"Or what?" he said. "You want to make something out of it?"

Reacher looked down. Now there were two marks. The buy jabbed again. Three jabs, three marks. Reacher clamped his teeth. What were three greasy marks on a shirt? He started a slow count to ten. Then the guy jabbed again, before he even reached eight.

"You deaf?" Reacher said. "I told you not to do that."

"You want to do something about it?"

"No," Reacher said. "I really do not. I just want you to stop doing it, is all."

The guy smiled. "Then you're a yellow-bellied piece of shit."

"Whatever," Reacher said. "Just keep your hands off me."

"Or what? What are you going to do?"

Reacher restored his count. Eight, nine.

"You want to take this outside?" the guy asked.

Ten.

"Touch me again and you'll find out," Reacher said. "I warned you four times."

The guy paused a second. Then, of course, he went for it again. Reacher taught the finger on the way in and snapped it at the first knuckle. Just folded it upward like he was turning a door handle. Then because he was irritated he leaned forward and headbutted the guy full in the face. It was a smooth move, well-delivered, but it was backed off to maybe half of what it might have been. No need to put the guy in a coma, over four grease marks on a shirt. He moved a pace to give the man room to fall, and backed into the woman on his right.

"Excuse me, ma'am," he said.

The woman nodded vaguely, disoriented by the noise, concentrating on her drink, unaware of what was happening. The big guy thumped silently on the floorboards and Reacher used the sole of his shoe to roll him half onto his front. Then he nudged him under the chin with his toe to pull his head back and straighten his airway. The recovery position, paramedics call it. Stops you choking while you're out.

Then he paid for his drinks and walked back to his motel …

Of course, this scene just shows a quietly escalating fight and it shows a hero who has the ability to take a fight to a quick conclusion. You're going to have to use a slightly different approach if you have a few people involved and if you have a fast and furious fight with two more evenly matched aggressors. But the principle is the same.

Do not let the reader watch the fight from a distance. Get them into the skin of the main character, privy to his thoughts and his emotions. Let readers feel the impact of fists and feet; let them experience the adrenaline (or irritation, depending on the level of provocation). Then your fight scenes will pack the kind of punch you want.

(c) copyright Marg McAlister

5 Gourmet Hacked Cheap And Fast Meals

Eating healthy on a tight schedule and budget can be difficult, but gets so much easier with practice. Allowing myself to cheap out on the bulk of my ingredients and prep time, and supplement them with fresh produce and some special add-ons have transformed my life. Instead of stressing over time and the pressure to make a delicious meal for my family, I cheat and it works! No one will be the wiser and will love these quick meals.

Easy Vegetable Omelets

Frozen bags of mixed vegetables are a staple in my home. Carrots, broccoli and snow peas make excellent easy stir fry toppings and bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms make excellent omelet or quiche ingredients. Simple warm olive oil in a pan on medium heat, add your bag of vegetables, place lid on top and stir occasionally to begin. Add brown rice or eggs and seasoning to taste. Simplifying your meals by removing prep time and the amount of pots and pans needed is key. This meal minimizes cleaning and chopping vegetables and only uses 1 or 2 pans. Your meal should be on the breakfast table in 30.

Healthy Choice Chipotle At Home

Healthy Choice Steamers makes a delicious burrito bowl you can top with your favorite fresh “Chipotle” ingredients. This meal can be really fast, satisfying and cheap. All you need to purchase is the frozen meals (1-2 per 2 person meal), soft shell tortillas, a chopped head of lettuce, shredded cheese, an avocado for guacamole, and cooked ground turkey or beef if meat is desired.

Muffins with Real Fruit

Muffin mixes are inexpensive and make great grab-and-go breakfasts or midday snacks, so I make a muffin pan full about once per week. Blueberry, mixed berry and banana nut muffins are popular varieties. Some corresponding fresh fruit mashed and some applesauce to add moisture makes these muffins taste like they are from scratch. Dusting the tops with sugar post-oven, or adding nuts or flax seed atop pre-oven makes these even more special.

Salad Transformed

Salad kits are between 3.00 and 5.00 and have the basic ingredients for a simple salad. You can choose to deviate from a boring Caesar side salad and shoot for a show-stopping salad that constitutes a whole meal by choosing to make it into a garden salad, Greek salad or taco salad. A garden salad can be dressed with fresh cherry tomatoes, fancy sliced cucumber, red onion and black olives. Greek salads are made up of the later, only with Kalamata olives and feta crumbled cheese. Taco salads very, but mainly consist of cubed tomato and avocado, taco seasoned ground turkey or beef, and tortilla chip strips for crunch. Corn, beans, and cheese are other great additions. Transform the Caesar salad dressing you have in your kit by adding equal part salsa and chopped cilantro. This meal will not disappoint.

Chili and Cornbread

Chili and cornbread can be made almost entirely from unrefrigerated items. I usually wing my chili since I’ve made it successfully so many times, but if you need an exact recipe there are many online to choose from. Otherwise, acquire 3 cans of beans of different varieties (black, pinto, kidney, cannellini, etc), one can of corn, 1-2 small cans of chiles or jalapenos if spice is desired, diced tomato, and tomato soup. Always rinse your beans in a colander with water before adding them to your chili because this has been known to reduce the gas induced by beans, the magical fruit. Add these ingredients to a large pot you have a lid for, along with a whole chopped onion and a chili seasoning packet from the grocery store. Your chili is likely chunky right now, but you can add water to your preference if you like because you added a can of tomato soup that’s meant to be diluted. Bring this mixture just a low boil with the lid on and then turn it down to medium while you cook the rest of the meal. Clean and hide the evidence (cans) in the recycling bins before someone follows their nose to the kitchen. With a Jiffy cornbread box, you can make an amazing and moist cornbread. I prefer to make them in muffin pans. Prepare the mix as directed on the box except add an entire can of cream-style corn and chopped jalapeno if spice is desired. When all is complete, offer your guests cheese and sour cream for chili topping and cold milk to cut the spice.

Paving Stones – What Are They?

A paving stone is a hard block that can be made from glass, cut stone, cast concrete, brick, clay tile, and plastic and come in many colors, textures, sizes and shapes. They can be used a variety of ways but they are all used to create a hard, smooth outdoor surface. A contractor can create outdoor steps, driveways, patios, and pathways using paving stones. There are some that will use paving stone blocks to construct landscape features and retaining ways. The homeowner can find a variety of these blocks at most home improvement stores. They can also be ordered from the manufacturer. If you do not want to do it yourself there are landscapers and contractors who will do the job.

If you decide to go ahead with installation yourself it will require some time and effort to ensure that it is done correctly. One of the first things that you will need to do is make sure that the area where the paving stones are going to be installed is mapped out carefully so you can devise a pattern. Next you have to make sure that the ground is cut, compacted, and leveled so the paver stones you are going to use will lie on a flat surface. If you fail to make sure that the ground is level it could result in the paving stones to sink or buckle. The next step is installing the paving blocks carefully in the desired pattern. They will need to be compacted so they will sit evenly. The last step is force some type of pacing material like sand between the cracks to keep the stones stable and even and discourage weed growth.

One big advantage in using such type of stone for installation is that they are extremely durable. As long as you make sure that they are installed correctly they will normally last for years without needing any maintenance work. They are not hard to install but it does take time to do the proper job. Because they are easy to install and durable paving stones make great home improvement projects.

To make sure that the area is even and level for the paving stones you will need a soil compactor, which you can usually rent from a home supply store or a store that rents tools. You will also need a shovel to dig out the dirt in the area where you are going to do a paving stone installation. A stiff broom is needed also to sweep the packing material into the gaps between the paying stones.