Mango Wood Furniture Is The Way Of The Future

Mango furniture appears to be becoming one of the more popular varieties of wood that is available at the moment. Traditionally, hard woods such as oak dominated wooden furniture, but mango wood furniture has more benefits and advantages, which other hard wood materials don’t have. Therefore, it is not surprising that mango wood furniture and in particular the mango wood table is becoming an increasingly popular piece of furniture in our homes.

Wood from Mango trees is proving to be a far more reliable and sustainable product than most alternatives. The fact that the tree grows quickly means that it is far easier to sustain the demand, which has proven to be more difficult with other hard wood materials. As a result, many experts predict that mango trees and their popularity will continue to grow. The trees are mainly harvested for their fruit, but they are now also used to create furniture.

The colors of the trunk of the tree can vary from light to dark brown and some have a hint of pink. This means that the colors can give a wide range of variation in mango wood tables and other furniture products. The fact that it is a hardwood means that it can be more difficult to manufacture, but it is also one of the softest hardwoods found so it has a distinct advantage over other hardwood trees, yet has much of the same sturdy characteristics that soft wood trees do not have.

Mango trees tend to grow to heights of 70 to 80 feet and can be up to 5 feet in diameter, which makes them ideal to be harvested for furniture. Despite the fact that they can be prone to fungus and disease, mango trees are still a great resource and it is easy to identify damaged trees that shouldn’t be used. The fact that they grow so quickly makes them even more advantageous.

Tables Made From Mango Wood

Mango wood tables come in a range of shapes and sizes. Bed side tables, coffee tables and dining tables are all readily available in most countries. The tables are sturdy and ideal for family homes. The wood is very durable so it is very easy to get guarantees on furniture and tables made from the material. It is predicted that due to its sustainability and the fact that it provides a cheaper alternative to hard wood, mango wood furniture will continue to increase in demand.

Build Your Home With Larger Garage Door Sizes

When designing a new home or garage it is very important take the time to consider what garage door sizes will work best. It is important not to assume that you will only need a standard size door. Once you have made the decision it is more or less irrevocable. In addition you also should consider increasing the size of your garage and that includes the height of the garage walls as well. It really is hard to beat an oversize garage.

Even if you presently own only a single medium size car you should seriously consider spending the extra money to make your garage larger and that includes the garage doors. Standard garage door sizes include 8’x7′ and 8’x16′ sizes. These sizes will accommodate a medium size care comfortably but not a large SUV or ordinary pickup truck. In many cases an 8 foot high just will not give a pickup enough clearance vertical clearance and many times the trucks mirrors will not make through the 7 foot width.

If you work with your builder and architect you will find that it will not cost that much more to increase the garage wall height. Doing so will give you a lot more options in terms of the capability. A garage with 10 high side walls will easily accommodate a 9 foot garage door. So why do you need a 9 foot garage door? If you own a pickup truck you will sooner or later have it loaded with a high load and that load will easily make it into the garage and out of the weather. If you load up the roof rack of your SUV with a luggage box in most cases it will not clear a standard 7 foot high garage door.

When it comes to garage door sizes width is also a critical consideration. If you own a boat or utility trailer you will find that they are frequently close to 9 foot wide. This means your toys are going to be sitting out in the weather because they are too wide to fit through the standard 7 foot wide door. Even a person who handles a vehicle and trailer well will appreciate the extra width of a 10 or 12 foot wide door when back up the load into the garage. The extra width may also keep people from banging your truck mirrors.

In many cases people will opt for the standard 16 foot double garage doors. These doors do give you the width you need to back in your pontoon boat and other wide loads. Again having a 9 or 10 foot high door will allow you to back it in without taking down the bimini or hard top.

Designing and building a home with an oversize garage is a good investment in the value of your home. Even if you never use the garage to its full potential it will appeal to a larger market when it comes time to sell your home. Using large garage door sizes will allow the next owner to store all his or her toys in the garage. This is especially true if your oversize garage is enclosed with the best garage doors as well. In terms of garage doors pricing spending a small additional amount of money to oversize your garage may increase the value of your property substantially.

How to Write an Informative Article

1) What to write? What is new?

The term “new” is seemingly easy to define. This is all happening again around us: current events, issues of time, new projects or initiatives. But a newspaper does not publish only the news of the day. It also publishes further analysis, opinions and articles of human interest.

Recognize what will be good news may be more difficult.

The journalist must choose between the flow of information and events that reach him from his community and throughout the world. His usual criteria are: size, ability to move, timeliness and interest. Note that these factors are not necessarily all present simultaneously in each article!

2) “Hard news” or “soft news”? Articles or reports of substance?

Sections of “hard news” (roughly 600 words) are the record of events or incidents lately. They constitute the bulk of the new one from a regular day.

The beginning (first paragraph) summarizes the facts. What happened? Where? When? Who / By whom? Why? This summary should be very short. The rest of the text is there to give details.

Writing must be clear and concise. Above all, it should give readers the information they need. If the federal government yesterday announced a new program of major importance for young people is a good news story for today.

Sections of “soft news” (roughly 600 words) are common characteristic of not being connected to the news immediately. They may be portraits of individuals, profiles of organizations or programs. The primer here may be more literary.

The depth stories (roughly 1500 words) take step back to the new one. They explore a question. Even if they are more distant from the immediate present, they are as important journalism. They can be a good way to explore issues too complex for the telegraphic style of a new topical. Example: a report on homeless youth. A longer text will reflect the complexity of their individual stories.

The depth stories are at the heart of journalism. A good story to give life back to your community, their struggles, their victories and their defeats. A background report chooses an angle (eg black youth back to church) and explored by interviewing the people involved and drawing conclusions from their statements. The author addresses the question of the important time and tells the reader through the comments of people involved.

Recommendation: Do not forget to “balance” your text. Present different views of people on an issue and let the reader choose who to believe. Your personal opinion should not appear. These are quotes from people interviewed who build the report. You are the narrator.

The editorial: An editorial expresses an opinion. The editorial page of a newspaper allows authors to express their own views. All editorials are personal, but they must be of interest to the reader.

3) How to structure your text

News articles ( “hard news” or “soft news”) and depth stories all have the same basic structure: an introduction, then the body text.

Introduction

The first or first two paragraphs are among the essential elements of a new text. Journalists call it the beginning (or “lead”). Its function is to summarize the content when it comes to news stories, to hook the reader, when it comes to general news.

In the “hard news”, summarizes the primer that follows and answer the best 5 questions traditional journalism (who, what, where, when and why). (Example: “Young homeless expressed on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal, Wednesday afternoon, claiming the mayor emergency housing during the winter.” Can you identify the 5 basic questions in this primer?)

In the “soft news”, the theme is presented in a less direct and more literary. The author tries to catch the reader’s attention as would a novelist. (Example: “There are four years, Simon was sleeping in the streets or under bridges?” Once the reader hooked, the journalist respond to 5 questions in the text, but not necessarily at the very beginning.)

Body text

It incorporates the views of those interviewed, some facts and your own narration that structures the text. Beware though, you have no right to “editorialisation, that is to say to express your own views in any way whatsoever in this type of article.

Remember:

The role of a journalist is to discover and report the different views of people involved in a given situation. Their comments should represent the bulk of the text. The narrative helps to weave it all into a coherent whole. Recommendation: Do not treating one topic per article. There may be a variety of details, but all must be related to the original idea. (Example: if you want to deal with relationships of young blacks with the police, you SHOULD NOT get lost in the biography of a young in particular.)

As journalists, you are the eyes and ears of the reader. The visual details are important to give life to the text (for this, the interviews in person are always preferable to telephone interviews). You must also “feel” about you, that is to say, develop an understanding of the emotional context of the issue involved and the views expressed by those involved.

Agree? Here are two examples that summarize each case essentially to cover.

Young people come together to form an organization. You must say why they do it and what changes they are trying to promote in society. You must also specify who they are and what strategies they plan to use.

An artist is exhibited for the first time. Why? That thinks it’s art? His creative process is it rational or emotional? What works like his?

4) Some other tips

How to find ideas:

* Keep your ears and eyes open, listen to what your friends are talking about.

* Read everything that comes to hand, find ideas in other newspapers and magazines.

* Discover the views of young people in a matter of time.

* Work on a subject that interests you and you would like to learn more.

* Talk to people involved in a particular area to see what they attach importance.

How to search for information

* Find up articles on the subject.

* Tell your friends and associates.

* Contact associations and organizations specialized in the field or interested in the issue.

* Get a list of people to interview, cover both sides of the story by interviewing people who have different viewpoints on the issue.

* Find government statistics and study of old reports and press releases on the subject.

Do’s and Don’ts in an Interview

* Always be polite.

* Explain the basic rules of interviewing people who know how the media. In other words, tell them that everything they say can and will be published. What if they want one or more parts of their statements are not published, they must absolutely you specify.

* Save the interview (for a proof if challenged).

* Build a relationship of trust with the interviewee.

* Start with easy questions, keep the most difficult for last.

* Pay attention to body language of the interviewee, if a question is on the defensive, leave to return later.

* Never be aggressive.

* Keep control of the interview does not allow the interviewee to get lost in long speeches or out of the topic.

* Do not, on the other hand, your preconceptions about what it should say color the interview. Always remember that the interviewee knows more than you on the issue.

Organizing Information

* Gather your notes, interviews and searches in a single folder.

* Read them.

* Look for the common theme that emerges.

* Select quotes and interesting data.

* Expand the focus of your article.

* Summarize this axis in two or three sentences.

Writing and editing

* Remember that your role is to tell, to shape a story.

* Do not be afraid to rewrite and correct.

* Write as clearly and concisely as possible.

* Adopt a direct style.

* Tell a good story.

* Give the reader what you think he wants to know.

* Ask yourself what is the specific topic of your article.

* Read the article aloud, listen carefully to you.

* Look for the common theme that emerges.

* Select quotes and interesting data.

* Expand the focus of your article.

* Summarize this axis in two or three sentences.

Ceiling Decoration Ideas

Playing with ceiling shape which aligned with the concept of building design will create the impression of space which is not monotonous. This concern becomes attention for many people when they got bored with the conventional form of flat ceiling. Ceiling shape is basically influenced by several factors such as the concept of building design, space interior, ceiling materials to be used, the elevation of ceiling height and size of space that will be shaded by ceiling. To help you in choosing ceiling, you should first determine the basic form.

Three Basic Forms

In general there are three basic forms of ceiling.

– Follow the shape of roof truss

For this form, the space below the ceiling looks more spacious. There are two types of this form, namely Cathedral (for triangles roof truss) and Shed (for sloping roof).

– Dome

Dome ceiling gives accent for curved ceiling with murals. This form gives the impression of a house that is not geometric.

– Flat or suspended

This ceiling form has hanging frame or attach the lid material. This form is usually known as conventional ceiling. It is already heavily modified into a form or a curved ceiling rise.

Ceiling Materials

From the basic forms of ceiling you can create your own form with cover material. There are several ceiling covering materials such as bamboo, wood, gypsum, glass and glass fiber reinforced cement (GRC).

– Gypsum

Gypsum or GRC should be installed with crossed system such as brick wall installation to minimize the occurrence of crack on the connection.

– Glass

Glass ceiling can enter light and heat in a number of very large so it can reduce artificial lighting. Glass can also be a room accent. It better if uses tampered glass with thickness of at least 10 mm. Installation of the glass ceiling requires a strong frame on all sides so the glass wedged strong and not moving.

– Fabric

Fabric ceiling can strengthen the space atmosphere in the house for example to get a warm atmosphere. This material can also be used when your house space is too high so the space atmosphere becomes more comfortable.

– Wood

With good processing, wood ceiling can be a beautiful and exotic decoration if the wood horse exposed has finished properly. With this form, ceiling cover is placed between the exposed frame and roof by bolted to the roof frame and neatly finished. Wood which used for ceiling has to free of termites so it is not easily porous and has been roasted properly so it not easily expand or shrink when exposed by heat or rain. You can use teak or resin wood.

Adjust with Budget.

When you are choosing ceiling forms, you should pay attention the easily of installation and maintenance, including easily of frame structure manufacture. When the ceiling form is more complicated, the frame structure is also more complicated. The ceiling cost manufacture will need more money.

Ceiling Colors

Ceiling color affects the room atmosphere. Therefore, if your ceiling is low, you should use bright colors so it did not feel cramped. You can use white or other soft colors. You can choose the same color as the wall color. However, if your ceiling is high, you should use a dark color so your ceiling will seem lower.

Fertilizing Your Pond

Fertilizing your pond is a great way to grow bigger bass without breaking the bank. Fertilizing a pond allows pond owners to give their food chain a boost by increasing the amount of plankton in the water. Like any aquatic ecosystem, the base of your lake or pond's food chain is plankton. A fertile pond will produce not just more fish, but larger fish because even with a higher fish population their will also be an increased supply of food. Sounds like a no brainer, and it is, but there are 3 primary conditions necessary to achieve in order to effectively fertilize your pond.

WATER TEMPERATURE

First, for effective fertilization, the pond's water temperature must consistently stay above 60 degrees. In Texas, and the southern United States, that temperature is typically found February to early March. It is important for the pond to maintain this temperature because warmth provides support to the plankton growth you are trying to create with the fertilization process.

AQUATIC VEGETATION

Second, check the present aquatic vegetation. If there is vegetation in the pond and it is fertilized, you could create an unintentional growth of unwanted moss. Even beneficial pond plants like American pond weed can become a nuisance if over fertilized.

WATER CLARITY

Third, check the water clarity. A pond should have 18 "-24" of visibility. Many times, pond owners are proud to have a clear pond, but that is not always ideal for the bass living in it. While it does make it easier for the bass to see their prey, it also allows the prey to see the bass coming, causing the bass to work harder and swim longer distances to catch their next meal. This is counterproductive when trying to grow larger bass. Reduced visibility is also beneficial, as it will reduce the amount of sunlight that can reach the bottom, and discourage moss growth.

If you have the desired visibility prior to fertilizing, be sure that it is not due to suspended clay in the water column. Some ponds will have difficulty reaching due visibility due to the type of soil that makes up the pond and surrounding areas. This may require alternative treatments, like gypsum, which sink the clay to the bottom. Finally, if your water is at the desired visibility, and has a greenish color to it, this is indicative of a plankton bloom, and you may not need to fertilize.

After you have fertilized you will notice a green color in your water, this is a planktonic algae. This is a good algae. This feeds your small baitfish, and does not stick on your hook. This spike in plankton population will feed your fish from the bottom of the chain, up. Therefore, the bass are going to have larger average meals and more fish to eat in a fertile pond. This allows them to travel less resulting in fat bass. You can fertilize through the spring and summer as needed, depending on the factors mentioned above. We recommend using (12-61-0) fertilizer at an application rate of 10 lbs. per acre. Take advantage of this cheap and easy technique to improve your fishery!

Boiler Repair: Basic Guidelines for Welding

Common types of repair for boilers with welded construction are replacing sections of boiler tubes, replacing tubes and stays, window weld, weld build-up of wasted area, welding gage holes, and many others. Under all conditions, only electric arc welding process such as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is accepted. GTAW is normally used for root pass or on thin plate. Welding process and procedures must be taken seriously since any welding defects can lead to serious problems. Here are some fundamental guidelines for boiler repair by welding. I cannot cover all aspects of repair in a short article but I will try my best to help you learn a little bit more about this topic in simple technical terms.

First of all, you must know that the owner shall obtain approval from the Authorized Inspector responsible for the jurisdictional inspection prior to making any repair or replacement that affects the pressure retaining capacity of a boiler. Only Authorized Inspectors licensed by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Malaysia) or the National Board may authorize and document the repair forms.

The welding procedure should be carried out by a firm approved for Class 1 welding under the direct supervision of an experienced foreman and to the satisfaction of the third party surveyor and the authorized inspector. Where Class 1 permission is not available, appropriate performance tests should be carried out by selected operators to the surveyor’s satisfaction. Recognized codes such as ASME Codes or BS codes must be followed whenever applicable. The material should comply with the original specifications or be equal to them. The specifications can be obtained from the boiler blueprints. Acceptable welded attachments, weld form, and welding preparation outlined in the blueprint should be adhered to. Only welders who are experienced in Class 1 welded pressure vessel construction shall be employed on boiler repair works. Very careful supervision should be given at all stages of the repair work. Substandard workmanship, should never under any circumstances, be compromised. Low-hydrogen electrode must be used to prevent hydrogen-induced cracking. Low hydrogen electrode used must have the tensile properties similar to that of parent metal.

In welding cracks, carry out dye penetrant test or magnetic particle inspection first to locate the cracks or discontinuities. If defective areas need to be cropped by flame cutting, a suitable final weld preparation of double V, U, or J form should be made by careful chipping or grinding. ASME Code Section IX AF-613 specifies that preparation of plate edges, welding bevels, and chamfers and similar operations involving the removal of metal shall be by machining, chipping, or grinding, by gas cutting or gauging. Where welding is to be carried out in both the down hand and overhand position, the larger V or U preparation should be arranged for the down hand position. With this approach, the flow and penetration of weld material into the parent metal is the optimum. Welding strength depends on the penetration capabilities of the electrode onto the parent metal and the flow of the electrode material into the parent metal.

Where flame cutting or overheating has occurred on boiler shell, hardness plot should be made to determine the corresponding tensile strength by referring to the published table. By doing so, the affected area can be separated from ground material or area. This also gives a clear indication as to whether or not the material has been overheated to some extent that the microstructure of the material has been affected. Under no circumstances may welded repairs be undertaken when the microstructure of the parent material is suspected to have undergone any change from its original form. In any case, MPI should be used to ensure that there are no cracks present before the welding is commenced. The design of the repair should be such that there are no sharp corners and the new insert plate should be of similar quality and specification to that of parent material. This method is called window weld (or window patching).

Areas to be welded should be preheated to a minimum of 93oC for material thickness above ½” and up to 1½”; thicker plate requires higher preheat temperatures. Maintain at that temperature throughout welding process. Care should be taken to eliminate any cold draught from impinging upon the area under repair. Insulation mattress could be made available to protect the welded area from rapid cooling. After welding, grind flush the weld, and carry out DPI or MPI again.

Changes can occur in the metallurgical structure of the base metal adjacent to the weld (heat affected zone or HAZ). The changes can cause embrittlement or degrade the material properties. In addition, upon cooling, the weld metal shrinks to a greater extent that the base metal in contact with the weld (HAZ) exerts a drawing action. Therefore, post weld heat treatment (PWHT) is necessary to restore the ductility of the material and thus prevent stresses, shrinkage, and cracking. Finally, because welding usually affects the pressure-retaining parts of the boiler, the boiler shall be subjected to a hydrostatic test of 1½ times the MAWP for at least 15 minutes.

Scaffolding Towers Review: The "Gardeno" Mobile Work Platform

When you think about the phrase "scaffolding tower," chances are you think of the type large scaffolding systems you see deployed on a construction site. While it's true that scaffolding towers are used extensively in construction, as an avid DIYer, I've often wished there was a scaled down model designed for use by home-owners, especially in the garden. Well, my wait is over. I've found the perfect solution: the "Gardeno" mobile work platform. Read on to learn more.

About the "Gardeno" Mobile Work Platform

Since I have a fairly extensive garden, I'm always looking for products that will expedite its care. This is an exceptionally stable and strong mini scaffold designed with gardeners in mind. The "Gardeno" is mounted on two large (10in) pneumatic tires, so it's quite easy to move over many types of surfaces, hard or soft. By the way, a pneumatic ty is one that's filled with air, rather than being solid. Fitted with independent screw jacks at each corner, along with durable steel foot pads that are 6in in diameter, the "Gardeno" is easy to level. The footpads prevent sinking if the platform is located on soft ground. The platform adjusts to four heights: 50cms (20in), 80cms (32in), 110cms (44in), and 140cms (55in). The platform is sturdily built from plywood, which tend to be stronger than plain wood planks. Surrounding the platform is a strong steel frame to which it is securely mounted.

Features and Specifications

The "Gardeno" will support a maximum load of 200kg (31.5st). Remember that this rating includes both the weight of the person and the weight of any tools or materials that are present. When I was shopping for a work platform, I found many models to be quite difficult to handle. One of the reasons I chose this one is that it's amazingly light and so very easy for one person to handle. I simply use the inbuilt handles to wheel it to a new location in my garden, very much like a wheelbarrow and not much heavier. Quite well balanced! For durability, the "Gardeno" is finished in tough epoxy-based powder coat over heavy duty construction that uses strong 32mm (1.25in) quality tubular steel.

More about the "Gardeno" Work Platform

You should know that this product requires some minor assembly, but no tools are required. Just follow the simple instructions. When you're done using the "Gardeno," just remove a few pins to pack it flat for easy storage, even in small spaces. The platform size is a generous 115cms x 42cms (45in x 16.5in). I've been able to reach working heights of up to 3.5m (11ft6), so it's great for trimming small trees and the ivy that grows on my house. Expect to pay about £ 85.00 for the versatile "Gardeno." The price should include VAT and free delivery.

For anyone with an extensive garden or a list of DIY projects that require working at height, the "Gardeno" mobile work platform is a versatile alternative to large scaffolding towers.

Why I Hate Epiphone Guitars Review

Consider this my blanket review of all Epiphone guitars in general. I go to Guitar Center a lot. Usually it's just to check out a bunch of guitars through different amps. I bought one guitar there, and I buy them online sometimes too. About a year ago I found a cool deal on Musicians Friend on a Epiphone Dot Studio guitar. The Dot Studio is basically a budget version of the very expensive and legendary ES335 (several thousand of dollars). This guitar was awesome! It was black on black, and those humbuckers just screamed through my Marshall! It had lots of tone, and was very light (which is great on stage). I loved that guitar … for awhile.

After I gigged it out a few times, the bridge volume know fell inside the body cavity, held on by only the volume knob itself. The nut had come loose. I popped off the volume knob while holding on to the pot pliers, tightened up the nut, and that was that. I tightened up all the other volume and tone knobs too. This was the first time I began to feel like Epiphone was a really low quality guitar. I've never seen a brand new guitar, direct from the factory with loose volume knobs. In fact, I've never owned a guitar for years where the volume knobs got loose on their own.

So I gigged this black Dot Studio out like 6 or 7 times. I noticed one night that the input jack nut was coming loose. I tightened it up by hand and all was well for the night. But that made me take notice of the input jack from that point forward. I always checked at home and before gigs …. and ended up hand tightening it all the time. It was as terrible pain, and I do not know why they did not install a locknut or lock washer at the factory. Long story short, it had to be tightened so many times that it caused one of the wires attached internally to the input jack to start to short out, and eventually just fall off. I ended up buying an AllParts input jack new at Guitar Center and soldering it back in myself. The guitar was ok ….. for awhile.

On stage I switch from bridge to neck pickup a lot depending on the song. I started to notice at first a crackle, and then sometimes just cutting out going from neck to bridge. I would have to switch it back once or twice before it kicked in. I've never had problems like that before on a new guitar – that told me it was a cheap input jack. I had already noticed when I soldered in the new input jack how thin the internal wiring of the guitar was (compared to others I had taken apart). Problems with the wiring, and the switch dragged on for months. When I installed the new input jack I had put a few dots of gorilla glue at the edge of the nut to keep it coming coming loose again. Sometimes I sold the guitar when I had owned it just under a year. I ended up buying the Ibanez Artcore I play as my main guitar now in it's place.

I have not had a single problem with the Ibanez that I had with the Epiphone, and it has the input jack on the tail just like the Epiphone did. And I can see inside the F-holes of the guitar that the wiring is significantly thicker than it was on the Epiphone. My only complaint with the Artcore is that the pickups are not nearly as biting or clear as they were on that Dot Studio. I have a friend that loves Epiphones. He's tried to tell me that maybe the one I had was just a lemon. I disagree. I have played dozens of Epiphones in 3 different guitar centers and various music shops. Each and ever one has had loose knobs and or input jack. Also, the setup and quality is very hit or miss.

Here's a prime example. I went to Guitar Center today and played several instruments. I saw this one guitar that was stunning from afar. It has natual laquer and wood, beautiful finish, semi-hollow body 335 type guitar. As I got up on it I saw it was indeed an Epiphone Dot Studio. Being a glutton for punishment I picked it off the rack and plugged it in. It played nice. In face it screamed, and was full of tone. And in this newer model, the input jack had been moved from the tail to the top just right of the bridge. The input jack was tight. I tuned it up and played. Nice action, nice feeling neck, even the toggle switch for neck and bridge was a newer kind and looked better. Then I switched from neck to bridge and went to turn the volume up for that pickup … and it turned around, and around, and around, and around. The nut had become loose and fallen off that volume. I check the others, and they were also indeed loose.

I played a flame top Epiphone Les Paul last weekend, and it's input jack and volume knobs were loose (and the action was terrible). I played two Dot Studios that were on clearance and the action was way off the fingerboard, and one had a blemish on the headstock. Loose volume knobs as well. The wost was 2 months ago when I was very interested in getting an SG. SG's are very expensive, so I of course checked out the Epiphone SG's (I know – idiot, duh!). They had this one that was white with gold hardware, triple humbucker. Beautiful guitar … nice action, good setup – I liked it a lot. It was on clearance for $ 340 – a bargain (so I thought!). I plugged it in and tried the neck pickup – nice! I switched to bridge, and no sound! I turned every volume and tone knob on 10 – still no sound! The mid pickup switch was the same. This guitar only had volue on the neck pickup! I thought this guitar was so nice, that I was willing to get it fixed if need be. I took it over to the department manager looking for a deal. He said "no way – it's already on clearance". I said "but wait, it's broken – the wiring is bad and you're selling is as 'new'!". He was not willing to budge one iota on the price. They also were not willing to fix it, I had to buy the guitar AND PAY FOR the repair! I was pissed and ended up not buying the guitar. I do not care if it was clearance or not – they did not even know the wiring was bad until I bought it up to them! How can you sell something as brand new that's broken, and not be willing to send it back to the factory?

See a pattern here? Every Epihpone I pick up in any store, any make or model has a problem or a blemish. The quality is so low, I would never again take one (without gutting it) as a stage guitar. If they can not even make sure the hardware is tight and the electrical connections are good, and spend an extra $ 2.50 on a quality switch and input jack – I am not interested in buying an Epiphone guitar EVER AGAIN !! The ONLY way I would consider it would be if it were on extreme clearance (less than $ 300), and I was going to have it rewired with new knobs, switch, and input jack! If you are considering an Epiphone guitar – BUYER BEWARE !! Look for the things I have pointed out. You will get much more for your money if you take a look at other mid-range priced guitars from Fender, Ibanez, Jackson, Paul Reed Smith (the LTD line), ESP, Dean, or others. I will be reviewing many of these guitars in the future to give you as much information as possible!

Prayer 2010 – How to Pray Your Way Into 2010

There are 3 basic fundamentals that you need to arm yourself with, as we prepare to crossover into the new year 2010.

Here’s the VERY first one. And you need to apply it diligently at the “gate” i.e. midnight December 31, 2009. If you’re ready, let’s go…

We’ll open this section with a short prayer. Please just close your eyes where you are now and take this singular prayer point with fire in your spirit:

“O LORD, open my spiritual understanding in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

We’ll take off by looking at the popular story of the ten virgins. In Matthew 25:1-10 we read:

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

I believe we are all familiar with this story. Two phrases are of particular interest to us here:

(i) at midnight there was a cry made…

(ii) and the door was shut…

In summary…

Midnight is the time when “doors” are shut in the spirit. It is also a time when a “satanic cry” is made against people by the evil powers of their ancestral lineage.

Please hold these thoughts while we back up to Psalm 24:7-10:

“Lift up your head, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.”

Again we see the word “doors” but this time…

Instead of being shut, the door (and gates) are being commanded to “open.” Putting what we’ve read so far together, we arrive at the inescapable conclusion that doors can be opened and shut in the in the spiritual realm.

In many places in the Bible, we come across doors and gates at the entrance to: houses (Acts 3), camps (Exodus. 32), prisons (Acts 12), temples (Acts 3), beaches (Nahum 2), palaces (Esther 5), cities (1 Kings 17).

At the gates of the city, the most important decisions affecting the lives of citizens were made. Courts and meetings were held there. Also, people were judged, and while some were punished, deserving citizens were honored at the gate. Even commercial transactions were conducted at the gate.

It was no coincidence therefore that in times of war, the enemy’s first point of concentration was at the gate.

What’s this got to do with the New Year 2010?

You can liken the new year to a well-fortified city with a strong gate. The gate is the entry point into the city.

For the purpose of this conversation… The door or gate of the New Year is currently shut. It is supposed to swing open IN THE SPIRIT at 12 midnight on December 31st.

Notice that I used the words, “supposed”… that is what should happen in an ideal situation… The reality, however, is that for most people, the gate of the New Year never opens to them spiritually… it remains tightly shut against them year after year, often without their knowledge!

Why is this so? The Bible reveals that there are invisible “horsemen setting themselves in array at the gate” (Isaiah 22:7). And here’s the SECRET:

The entrance or gate to the New Year is the midnight hour of December 31.

The truth remains that this gate is the point of the hottest spiritual battle you can think of. Whoever takes control of the gate in the crucial first few seconds of the New Year determines what happens throughout the entire year!

What I’m sharing with you is well-understood by the children of darkness. No wonder our Lord Jesus once said (in Luke 16:8b): …for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

At the critical midnight hour of December 31st, the children of this world (darkness) that Jesus is referring to here will be busy issuing evil prophetic decrees to capture the entire year (and shut the gates of the next 12 months against ignorant people).

At this exact same time, most modern day believers will be dancing and partying the night away!

Unknown to most people, at this critical hour of midnight when the new year is being “delivered” (think of a woman in labor), whatever decrees are being made (good or bad) have the capacity to alter the destiny of an individual, family or nation.

You remember how many prophecies of greatness that Christians usually receive at the beginning of every year?

How many of them ever come to pass?

You know why?

At the most critical first few seconds of the New Year, the enemy gets busy “shutting the gate” against people, using words anointed with satanic power!

No wonder:

o Doors of opportunity remained shut throughout the year.

o The heavens refuse to open and pour out the expected blessings.

o Divine benefits refused to manifest…

o Prayers went unanswered… leaving many believers scratching their heads.

If you keep records of these prophecies every year (like I do) you’ll realize that most of them never come to pass. It doesn’t matter how many great men or women of God prophesied.

Why?

Because most Christians allow the enemy to take control of the GATES when it mattered most…

… at the critical moment of transition… when most people are in slumber.

You see, in the spiritual realm, just one second’s delay can cost a person an entire year. Like the prayer points you will see shortly, if you were to pray them at any other time of the year, you won’t achieve the same results.

Thankfully, the Lord has not left us ignorant. He has given us a battle plan. If we execute on this plan diligently…

These 90 minutes AT THE GATE can save us 9 months of frustration, disappointment and sorrow.

Prayers To Storm The Gate of 2010

Now… let’s go to the prayers.

Here’s our prayer plan.

The Prayers Will Be Prayed In 3 Hot, Aggressive Sessions:

o Session 1: Prayers to close out 2009

o Session 2: Prayers to open the womb of 2010

o Session 3: Prayers of re-dedication

*** Session 1:

Close out 2009 (from 11:33 – 11:55 pm Thursday night, December 31, 2009)

Consists of 14 prayer points to deal with any unfinished business of 2009… and to ensure that there are no evil carryovers. Timing is CRUCIALLY important.

*** Session 2:

Transition (11:56 – 12:30 am Friday morning, January 1, 2010)

You stand on the powerful platform of Scripture to forcefully command the doors and gates of 2010 to open… followed by 42 special prayer points to deliver to you your divine benefits for the entire year… in a moment of time.

*** Session 3:

Prophetic action to re-dedicate your life to Christ for 2010.

As you’ll see, without this re-dedication, the enemy will try to ensnare you one way or the other.

How Do We Prepare?

Midnight Wednesday – Dec 30th

1. Start of 24 hour fast (from midnight Wednesday to midnight Thursday).

2. Please repent of every known sin and ask the LORD to wash you clean with the blood of Jesus (the Bible points out that if we say we have no sin, we make God a liar).

3. Prepare yourself by praying these 21 prayers all through the day, if possible.

1 Holy Spirit, I open the door of my heart to you; come in and dwell in your fullness in my life in Jesus’ name.

2 Anything in my life that will grieve the Holy Spirit, depart now in the name ofJesus.

3 Any besetting sin hindering the move of the Holy Spirit in my life, be washed away by the blood of Jesus.

4 O Lord, forgive me where I have rebelled against your Spirit this year in Jesus’ name.

5 O Lord, restore me to fellowship with you in Jesus’ name.

6 Holy Ghost, fill me with your fresh fire in Jesus’ name.

7 I challenge every throne of iniquity in my life with the fire of the Holy Ghost in Jesus’ name.

8 Fire of God, burn to ashes every altar of sin and idolatry in my life in the name of Jesus.

9 Let the voice of God thunder against all the enemies of my salvation in Jesus’ name.

10 Let the voice of the Holy Spirit speak destruction unto every darkness in my life in Jesus’ name.

11 Holy Ghost, breathe life into my spirit, soul and body in Jesus’ name.

12 Let the light of God dispel every darkness in my life in Jesus’ name.

13 I arise out of darkness into light by the power of the Holy Ghost in Jesus’ name.

14 I arise out of weakness into strength by the anointing of the Holy Ghost in Jesus’ name.

15 Let every situation in my life receive the touch of fire in Jesus’ name.

16 Holy Spirit, incubate my life in Jesus’ name.

17 I speak destruction unto every evil growth in my body in the name of Jesus.

18 I release my spirit from every satanic chain and padlock by the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name.

19 Holy Ghost, illuminate my life with the light of heaven in Jesus’ name.

20 Let the fire of the Holy Ghost expose and burn to ashes every stranger hiding in any area of my life in Jesus’ name.

21 LORD I thank you for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon my life.

*** Crossover Prayers Begin Here…

Thursday night (11:33 – 11:55pm)

Pray session 1 prayers.

Thursday night (11:55 – 12:30 am Friday morning)

Pray session 2 prayers.

Friday morning (12:30 am – whenever the Holy Spirit releases you)

Re-dedicate yourself to God for 2010.

CLOSE THE PROGRAM

Note:

All prayer eagles are to continue with their ESTHER FAST… till January 2, 2010.

Even when you break your fast or fall asleep, please remain alert in the spirit… for a divine visitation.

Now to the prayer points (please note that we are not referring to human beings here… where applicable our prayers are targeted at wicked spiritual beings as listed in Ephesians 6:12)

——————————————————

*** SESSION 1: CLOSE OUT 2009

Thursday (11:33 – 11:55pm)

NOTE: You will pray these once at exactly 27 minutes to midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2009.

Here are the 14 prayer bullets.

1. Every evil cry of family idols against my destiny, be silenced by the blood of Jesus.

2. Satanic accusation against me at the gate of my father’s house, be cancelled by the power in the blood of Jesus.

3. Any contrary power demanding worship or sacrifice from me, I present to you the cross of Christ and the blood of Jesus.

4. Every problem with long tail afflicting my life, be consumed by the fire of God in the mighty name of Jesus.

5. Satanic evidence tendered by wicked spirits against my life, be rendered null and void by the blood of Jesus.

6. All my blessings that have been captured and transferred by witchcraft spirits in 2009, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus Christ.

7. All my blessings that have been captured and transferred by ancestral strongmen and women in 2009, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus.

8. All my blessings that have been captured and transferred by satanic horsemen at the gate, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus.

9. All my blessings that have been captured and diverted by familiar spirits, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus.

10. All my blessings that have been captured and buried by “frenemies”, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus. (NOTE: frenemies are enemies masquerading as friends).

11. All my blessings that have been captured by spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus.

12. All my blessings that have been captured by evil, marine powers, be released now by fire in the name of Jesus.

13. All my divine benefits that have been arrested by principalities in 2009, be released immediately in the mighty name of Jesus.

14. All my divine benefits confiscated by rulers of darkness in 2009 be released now, now, now in the mighty name of Jesus.

*** SESSION 2: THE TRANSITION

Thursday night (11:55 – 12:30 am Friday morning)

Confession: Psalm 24:7-10

“Lift up your head, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.”

1. Let the doors and gates of 2010 open unto me now in the mighty name of Jesus

(at least 5 minutes please).

2. You my heavens in 2010, be open by fire in the name of Jesus

3. Let the womb of 2010 open and release my divine benefits now in the name of Jesus

4. Let my divine helpers for 2010 be released to locate me now in the name of Jesus

5. All my assigned helpers for 2010, hear the word of the Lord, arise and locate me in the name of Jesus

6. This year I appoint all my spiritual enemies to the sword, to captivity, to famine, and death in the name of Jesus

7. In this year 2010, the heavens shall declare the glory of God over my life in the name of Jesus

8. In this year 2010, the sun, moon and stars shall cooperate with my divine destiny in the name of Jesus

9. O God of signs and wonders, overshadow my life with signs and wonders this new year in the name of Jesus

10. Any satanic agent that accepts evil assignment against me this year, receive the slap of the angels in the name of Jesus (note: demonstrate this, as if you are slapping someone).

11. My destiny, receive divine momentum this year in the name of Jesus

12. O Lord, perfect all good things concerning me this year

13. Let God be God in my life throughout this year in the name of Jesus

14. Let God arise and disgrace any power challenging my God in the name of Jesus

15. Let all my disappointments become divine appointments in the name of Jesus

16. Let all satanic winds and storms be silenced in the name of Jesus

17. You God of new beginnings, begin a new dimension of signs and wonders in my life this year in the name of Jesus

18. Let that which hinders me from greatness be smashed to pieces in the name of Jesus

19. Let every anti-breakthrough altar fashioned against me be destroyed in the name of Jesus

20. O God of new beginnings, open fresh doors of prosperity to me in the name of Jesus

21. O Lord, give me anointed ideas and lead me to new paths of blessings in the name of Jesus

22. Let all my wasted years and efforts be converted to multiple blessings this year in the name of Jesus

23. My finances will not enter into the clutches of financial hunger in the name of Jesus

24. O Lord, bring honey out of the rock for me and let me find the way where men say there is no way in the name of Jesus

25. This year I will not turn back at the edge of my miracles in the name of Jesus

26. Let every architect of hatred, hostility and conflict in my home be paralyzed in the name of Jesus

27. I command every satanic limitation to my home and finances to be removed in the name of Jesus

28. I refuse to eat the bread of sorrow this year in the name of Jesus

29. I cast all pursuing serpents and scorpions into the fire of God’s judgment in the name of Jesus

30. Let the East wind paralyze and disgrace all my spiritual Pharaohs and Egyptians in the name of Jesus

31. O Lord, give me the divine mantle to cross every problem-Jordan in Jesus’ name.

32. I will not dance to any unprofitable tune this year in the name of Jesus

33. My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in the name of Jesus

34. I shall not die but live to declare the works of God in 2010 in the name of Jesus

35. Let my blessings for 2010 come from the four winds and glue themselves to me now

in the mighty name of Jesus.

36. I claim explosive miracles for every department of my life this year in the name of Jesus

37. Let my life experience revival fire this year in the name of Jesus

38. O Lord, let new things begin to spring forth in my life this year in the name of Jesus

39. O Lord, let me be at the right place at the right time this year in the name of Jesus

40. Let the angels conveying my blessings receive overcoming divine assistance in the name of Jesus

41. O Lord, reorganize my body system to reject satanic arrows this year in Jesus’ name

42. Begin to thank God for answering your prayers… and for moving you into 2010 with power and dominion authority.

*** SESSION 3: RE-DEDICATION

Friday Morning (12:30 am – till the Holy Spirit gives you a release to stop)

1. Re-dedicate yourself to the Lord for the New Year

2. Anoint yourself, your academic certificates, wedding certificate or gown, business documents, check books, your home, and anything you want to receive divine acceleration in 2010… using the Scripture in James 5:14-15; then forcefully and loudly speak the blessings of Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 on yourself. (Please do this passionately.)

3. Praise and thank the Lord for as long as you can.

4. Now is the time to pray for your friends, family, Church, your nation… and whoever the Holy Spirit brings to your heart.

Complications in Injectable Dermal Fillers

Nonsurgical injectable dermal fillers and other non-invasive cosmetic procedures have overtaken invasive surgery in popularity in recent years. Although they are minimally invasive, they are not immune to complications. In fact, the most extreme cases of cosmetic surgery in the news are usually ones of overdone injectable dermal fillers.

Dermal fillers are gel-like materials which are either synthetic (Artefill) or made from biological materials (e.g., Radiesse, Restylane) but modified for use in cosmetic surgery. The biological fillers persist in the body for variable durations. Restylane and Juvederm, the hyaluronic acid fillers, last 4-12 months, depending on who you ask. Radiesse, which is made from hydroxyapatite crystals, lasts longer but is generally gone by 2 years. Artefill is made from methylmethacrylate particles which is not broken down in the body, so it has the potential to persist indefinitely.

These materials are usually used in the face to fill in deep folds, such as the nasolabial folds. They can be used to raise up or flatten depressions from atrophy, such as the tear trough or cheek hollows. Fillers can also be added to bony prominences, such as the cheekbones or the nose for specific effects, including lifting or smoothing out contour irregularities.

It is quite easy to overdo or improperly perform such procedures. The most common mistake is to over-inject the lips. Everyone is familiar with “collagen lips.” After Angelina Jolie became famous, it seemed that lip augmentation procedures boomed in popularity. However, it is very hard to duplicate natural dynamic full lips by using fillers for lip augmentation. One can achieve a subtle enhancement that augments thin lips into mildly full lips and no one is the wiser. However, overdoing it creates a job that is obvious and unappealing. It’s the old adage of “too much of a good thing.” A little more is not necessarily better in cosmetic surgery. (Same goes for breast augmentation.) Another issue with lip injection, is that not all fillers give good results in the lips. Collagen and hyaluronic acids have a good track record for lip augmentation. However, using a longer-lasting filler such as Radiesse or Artefill can lead to lumps or granulomas that can be very long-lasting. Worse yet, a permanent filler will not go away with time, so if it needs to be removed, it must be done so surgically.

Another source of frustration for patients is uneven filling. Certain procedures, such as cheekbone augmentation, require symmetry both in the vertical and horizontal plane. Our eyes are very sensitive to any lack of symmetry we see in another’s face. We associate symmetry with beauty. Mild asymmetries can be corrected with a little extra injection, so it is not the end of the world if it can be fixed.

Infections of injected fillers are unusual but still possible. In the case of biological fillers, treatment is with antibiotics. No removal of the material is possible or necessary. With a permanent filler, there is a potential for longer-lasting infection of the foreign body. However, unlike solid surgical implants which require removal or become extruded when they get infected, permanent filler infections should still respond to antibiotics, although a longer course may be required than with typical skin infections.

Allergic reactions used to be quite common in the era of bovine collagen (collagen made from cow tissue). Skin testing for allergic reactions was previously required. With the new generation of collagens and other fillers, skin testing ceased to be necessary. However, a very low-risk of allergic reaction is still quoted. A severe allergic reaction can manifest with hives, difficulty breathing and airway narrowing. Such a reaction requires intramuscular epinephrine and treatment in the emergency room.

Scarring or granuloma formation are unusual complications of injectable fillers, as they are with surgical implants. It is possible for the body to gradually reject the injected foreign material and to start to form granulomas which can lead to scarring. This kind of reaction is extremely uncommon with hyaluronic acid but is possible with hydroxyapatite or methylmethacrylate. The resulting deformity can be quite distressing, but fortunately is relatively unusual.

In summary, injectable dermal fillers can achieve many of the same goals originally fulfilled by invasive cosmetic surgery. They are not free of the possibility of complications, although most of these are temporary and fixable. However, if using a permanent filler, such complications take on a much longer or permanent time frame, so extra care must be taken in such cases.

How to Throw a Bowling Ball: Release Technique Explained

In the bowling shot, the moment you release the ball is crucial. This is because the smallest of movements of your hands or wrists can have a major effect on the trajectory of the ball. It often means the difference between a gutter and a strike! This article will teach you what you need to know about releasing a bowling ball.

Techniques for an Effective Bowling Release

It’s a common for bowlers to think about the release as a stand-alone motion, but this is a mistake. Instead, you should understand that a bowling release is closely connected to the rest of your stroke. From approach to delivery, the bowling swing needs to be one smooth, unified motion.

When making your approach (which means the steps you take up to the foul line) you want to swing your arm like a pendulum straight back and forth, not to either side.

Once you make your last step and start to slide with your foot, the ball should be at its lowest point near your leg. Make sure to keep your toes pointed straight ahead towards the target spot.

At this point, it’s time to actually release the ball.

The first step is to remove your thumb from its hole. Just about a split-second later, you release your middle and ring fingers.

You must be sure to keep your wrist and arm straight when you release the ball, they should not move to either side. Also be sure to keep your shoulders aimed straight ahead.

The swing isn’t done when our fingers come out, though, as the follow-through is also very important. Once you have sent the ball down the lane, stay in balance and let your arm continue to swing. It should finish aimed directly at your target, with your shoulder remaining square.

The Importance of Timing

It’s crucial to understand that you need to release the bowling ball at the correct moment during your armswing. Many common problems are because of this, such as dropping the ball too early which results in a lack of control and power.

Bowling Release When You Throw a Hook

Although the techniques of a smooth stroke and proper timing are the same no matter what bowling style you use, a hook bowler will have a slightly different motion when releasing the ball.

After removing the thumb from the thumb-hole, a hook bowler should rotate his or her forearm slightly, instead of keeping it completely straight.

When removing the middle and ring fingers from the ball, you should lift them up and to the side of the bowling ball. In a hook bowling follow through, you should look like you are giving someone a handshake.

This motion should be counter-clockwise for right-handers and clockwise for lefties. This lift action puts the right type of spin on the ball so that it travels down the lane straight at first before curving inside to hit the pocket.

As with any aspect of bowling, practice is key to success. If you work on making your bowling release as smooth as can be, your scores can really start to improve.

Mold, Relative Humidity, The Dew Point, And Your Home

Mold is an ongoing worry for homeowners. Due to the complexity of the biological process, mold is excluded in home inspection contracts. The problem has received so much publicity that many people wonder what conditions might lead to fungal growth in the home. First, more often than not, the problem will be brought about because of a water problem on the exterior such as a leaking roof or uncontrolled water that has allowed standing water in the crawl space or the basement.

In analyzing homes, professionals are usually concerned with relative humidity (RH) and that is a percentage of the moisture in the air. Air is saturated at 100%. It cannot hold any more moisture so, when air is saturated, condensation forms on surfaces. We start seeing obvious problems when that occurs.

The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. But, when the temperature goes down overnight, the cool air is less able to retain moisture. If a home is 70 degrees F and the RH is 50%, what happens if the temperature goes down to 50 degrees F? Simple answer: The relative humidity shoots up to 100% and condensation becomes apparent.

Probably the first place a person will notice excess moisture forming, the condensation, is on windows but moisture could be occurring at or in walls as well. Research and experience indicate that condensation usually occurs on walls/sheathing and not as frequently inside walls or on insulation inside walls.

People often ask this question: What is the optimum relative humidity for my home? That is harder to answer than one might, at first, think. The quick number, at least for my region of the country and provided by the Northwest Clean Air Agency, is 30% to 50% with a reading as high as 60% not usually being a cause for much alarm. Keeping readings lower is best in the winter.

The problem is the dew point. Remember that air is saturated when relative humidity is 100%. Well, the dew point is the temperature at which water condenses inside the home. Some people think the dew point is a low temperature, around freezing, and that such a temperature could never occur inside the home. It is more complicated than that.

Some practical examples are in order. In a home, if the RH is 40% and the temperature is 69 degrees F the dew point in the home is 44 degrees — the temperature would have to fall to 44 degrees before condensation would form. This is a typical RH and temperature based on my studies in this northwest region of the country.

In another example, if the RH is 56% and the temperature is 70 degrees F, that change in the equation leads to a dew point of 53 degrees F. Condensation will form if the home drops to 53 degrees F.

In the final example, lets look at higher readings that might exist inside a home that is moist. With an RH of 77% and a temperature of 73 degrees F, the dew point is 66 degrees F — only 2 degrees under the 68 degrees that many people use as the ideal thermostat setting! If the home drops to 66 degrees, condensation will form on the inside.

It is obvious that, especially in winter, homeowners need to keep the relative humidity low. Where I live, in colder weather, it is more practical to keep a house somewhere above 44 degrees overnight than it is to keep it above 65 degrees.

This detailed information is beyond what most people, including inspectors, will be getting involved in on an ongoing basis. A word of warning, while you can obtain useful information from a relative humidity reading, it takes more than a single reading to gain enough information to make much of a determination as to whether or not a problem exists. It takes some study and analysis. And, some homes that seem like they should have mold growth do not, and the opposite can be true as well. Being alerted to this information helps one better understand why some houses have damp areas or stains. Excess moisture caused by high relative humidity can lead to damaged sheet rock, wood rot, mildew, mold, rust on metal, shrinking or expanding wood, reduced thermal resistance of insulation, odors. Frequently people ask what causes high relative humidity. It is not always easy to say but some of the usual suspects are showers, baths; cooking; washing clothes, dishes, floors and walls; breathing, perspiring; pets; uncontrolled surface water, wet crawl spaces and basements.

If you are, on a personal basis, interested in taking a look at the RH inside your home, purchase a relative humidity gauge (hygrometer) at an electronics store or online. You can easily find, online, dew point calculators or “psych charts” which allow you to determine the dew point from your relative humidity rand temperature readings.

Pamper Her Like a Princess

Whether she is your little angel or your niece or your grandchild or your best friend's daughter, it is every little girl's dream to be a princess. And a gift that can bring a smile to her little face angel could never be something mundane or common. It must be right out of a fairy tale, something with a royal feel and touch, something that she aspires for and can show off to her friends later. The princess gift could be selected from a whole gamut of articles ranging from tiaras and bracelets to purses, pens, books and jewelery boxes to key rings and themed wine glasses.

The princess pen for instance looks gorgeous and regal being made out of Swarovski crystals and handcrafted to give its stunning appearance. Princess pens are available in a brilliant range of vibrant colors and styles like the black pen decorated with black crystals on the body and white ones on the edges. Like the princess pen and the handbag hooks to hold these fancy purses are the princess compact mirrors.

No princess purse is complete without these decorative compact mirrors which are both trendy and stylish and found in a variety of shapes and sizes. For those fond of silver, silver-plated compact mirrors are an excellent gift idea. A fashion-conscious girl would appreciate a thick mirror to compliment her purse design. For the Hollywood fan, light up mirrors are a favorite item available both online and in stores in popular and trendy styles.

The best way to win the heart of the princess is to opt for a custom made mirror engraving it with special personal messages, or initials or movie characters or anything to make it look vastly different form the commonly available mirrors in the market. Many websites offer these customizing options across the Internet and paying a wee bit extra can ensure that the gift is both beautiful to look at and special to hold. A birthday massage with a 'love you' inscribed on the mirror can surely make it so much more dear to the little girl. That little addition can go a long way in making her feel extra special and she is likely to cherish that gift more than anything else that she may receive on that day.

Since ordinarily available mirrors are not that heavily priced, it is possible to obtain a customized mirror at very nominal costs. But those compact mirrors having special engravings and pearl or silver edges are a little over the budget. These are however often available at discounted rates in many online stores. Compact mirrors are so both useful and attractive gift items that when customized are likely to find a place in a little girl's heart for many years to come.

5 Major Home Renovation Projects That Offer The Best Return On Investment

When it comes to renovating your home for re-sale there are a few major renovations that top the list.

1. Major Kitchen Remodels. (ROI 75-85%)

The function of the kitchen has evolved over the years and now more than ever the kitchen must meet those needs.

  • Buyers want to envision themselves in a gorgeous newly renovated kitchen where they can actually see themselves – preparing meals for their friends and family -where the kids nestle into a cozy banquette doing their homework, or their guests mingling around that gorgeous island. Buyers want to see this in their minds eye and know that it’s attainable.
  • A major kitchen remodel may need to include a new floor plan to improve on a poorly designed work triangle.
  • If the kitchen is completely dated, isolated and compartmentalized with an inefficient floor plan and layout – don’t think that replacing the cabinets and appliances will camouflage the problem. It won’t!
  • If at all possible add an island into those plans. Everyone loves them!
  • Replacing all cabinetry, appliances, lighting, flooring, finishes and fixtures and new French doors and windows will grab the buyers’ attention.
  • Since kitchens and baths are the costliest rooms to renovate, the buyer will be thrilled that the work is already done for them.

2. Family Room Additions. (75% ROI)

The family room is the second most popular space in the home after the kitchen.

  • Adding 400 sq. ft. of bright and cheery living space (if your neighborhood will bare it), will definitely improve the value of the home
  • Increase the overall height of your space and introduce a vaulted ceiling. Creating a sense of volume instantly makes a room feel more spacious.
  • Consider the details and add beautiful French doors, floor to ceiling windows or even skylights to flood this new space with light and maximizes a view. Take it one step further and add the deck.

3. Deck Addition. (72-95% ROI)

Deck additions are quite possibly the best investments these days. They naturally transition the interior to the exterior – instantly expanding your living space.

And who doesn’t love that?

  • It’s a vacation-at-home experience, as it expands your living space and extends the summer season – forcing you to live more outdoors before the winter season sets in.
  • Its design can be as simple or elaborate as the home it’s attached to.
  • Multi-leveled or single, built in seating or casual seating areas, hot tubs, and outdoor kitchens – all of which add to the vacation home atmosphere.
  • Decks are more popular than pools and relatively easy to build.
  • Design the deck to compliment the character of your home’s exterior architecture. Give it some thought in planning – it should be proportionate to the size of your yard.
  • Incorporate energy efficient solar or led lighting.

4. Main Floor Master Bedroom Addition(73% ROI)

  • Adding a 400 sq.ft. master bedroom suite and spa-like bath provides a private retreat and appeals to many home buyers. Access to main floor is gaining in popularity.
  • Empty nesters and others, who no longer want to tackle stairs, prefer to have the master bedroom and bath retreat on the main floor level of the home.
  • Immediate access to a gorgeous deck or patio outdoors also adds to the return.

5. Two-Story Addition (77% ROI)

  • A two-story addition of 800 square feet could include a new main floor family room and an upper level master suite complete with a full bath
  • Or utilizing that extra space and designating it, as the home office, is very appealing to home- buyers.
  • Homeowners are spending more time working from home and with the homepreneur trend growing, buyers are attracted to the extra space dedicated solely to operating their home based business.

Cultural Sensitivity in Business

Forget the saying ‘the world is getting smaller’ – it has gotten smaller. Advances in transport and communications technology combined with the development of a world economy have resulted in people from different nations, cultures, languages and backgrounds now communicating, meeting and doing business with one another more than ever.

There are some observers that claim this new found intimacy has lead to a greater understanding of ‘the other’ and as a result our cultural differences are in fact diminishing. However, in reality the opposite is true. As we come together our cultural differences become accentuated as we start to realise that the rest of the world is not reading from the same book. One area where this is now being felt is in business.

Very few businesses can escape the need to at some point in time deal with foreign colleagues, clients or customers. Business is international and if an organisation wants to develop and grow it needs to harness the potential an international stage offers. Twenty years ago British, European and American organisations doing business abroad had very little competition due to the lack of rival industrialised nations. Back then it was easy to do business ‘our way’. Today some of the world’s largest economies include Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, India and Korea. As a result there has been a small shift from ‘our way’ to ‘let’s try and understand your way’. Why? Because western organisations are feeling the impact a lack of cultural sensitivity can and does have upon business performance.

Many organisations are now investing heavily in providing staff with language lessons in order to be able to crack foreign markets as well as providing cultural sensitivity training to address issues such as etiquette, protocol, communication styles and negotiation approaches. In a competitive world such businesses appreciate that greater cultural sensitivity will assist them in forging longer and more prosperous relationships. Yet progress is slow. Unfortunately a subconscious sense of cultural superiority still seems to reign; one that assumes the rest of the world does business like us and if they don’t then they should.

The world’s inhabitants however come from many faiths, cultures, world views and experiences which makes such an assumption futile. We are all different and as a result doing business across borders (whether political, religious, cultural or linguistic) requires cultural sensitivity, meaning a sense of empathy, flexibility and creativity informed by cultural knowledge. As with most things in life, business has learnt the hard way.

To illustrate how these lessons have and are still being learnt we will look at some examples where a lack of cultural sensitivity has let a company, individual or product down. For the sake of brevity these have been summed up in two simple categories: culture and language.

Culture

Culture comes in many shapes and sizes. It includes areas such as politics, history, faith, mentality, behaviour and lifestyle. The following examples demonstrate how a lack of cultural sensitivity led to failure.

* When colouring in 800,000 pixels on a map of India, Microsoft coloured eight of them a different shade of green to represent the disputed Kashmiri territory. The difference in greens meant Kashmir was shown as non-Indian, and the product was promptly banned in India. Microsoft was left to recall all 200,000 copies of the offending Windows 95 operating system software to try and heal the diplomatic wounds. It cost them millions.

*The fast food giant McDonald’s spent thousands on a new TV ad to target the Chinese consumer. The ad showed a Chinese man kneeling before a McDonald’s vendor and begging him to accept his expired discount coupon. The ad was pulled due to a lack of cultural sensitivity on McDonald’s behalf. The ad caused uproar over the fact that begging is considered a shameful act in Chinese culture.

* A nice example of how pictures don’t translate well across cultures is the time staff at the African port of Stevadores saw the ‘internationally recognised’ symbol for “fragile” (i.e. broken wine glass) and presumed it was a box of broken glass. Rather than waste space they threw all the boxes into the sea.

* When the US firm Gerber started selling baby food in Africa they used the same packaging as in the US, i.e. with a picture of a baby on the label. Sales flopped and they soon realised that in Africa companies typically place pictures of contents on their labels.

* Pepsodent tried to sell its toothpaste in South East Asia by emphasizing that it “whitens your teeth.” They found out that the local natives chew betel nuts to blacken their teeth which they find attractive.

* The film “Hollywood Buddha” showed a complete lack of cultural sensitivity by causing outrage and protest on the streets of Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Burma when the designer of the film’s poster decided to show the lead actor sitting on the Buddha’s head, an act of clear degradation against something holy.

* The concept of Big Brother was somehow taken to the Middle East. The show was pulled of the air after its first few episodes due to public protests and pressure from religious bodies stating the show’s mixed sex format was against Islamic principles.

* A golf ball manufacturing company packaged golf balls in packs of four for convenient purchase in Japan. Unfortunately, the number 4 is equivalent to the number 13 due it sounding like the word “death”. The company had to repackage the product.

Language

The business world is littered with poor translations that have caused great embarrassment to their perpetrators due to their lack of cultural sensitivity. The following are some of the choicest examples.

* IKEA once tried to sell a workbench called FARTFULL – not a hugely popular product for obvious reasons.

* Both Clairol and the Irish alcoholic drink Irish Mist did not properly consider the German language when they launched their products there. Clairol’s hair-curling iron “Mist Stick” and the drink “Irish Mist” both flopped – why? ‘Mist’ translates in German as “manure”.

* The Japanese seem to have a particular flair for naming products. The country has given us gems such as “homo soap”, “coolpis”, “Germ bread” and “Shito Mix”.

* A new facial cream with the name “Joni” was proposed for marketing in India. They changed the name since the word translated in Hindi meant “female genitals.”

* Coors had its slogan, “Turn it loose,” translated into Spanish, where it became “Suffer from diarrhoea.”

All the examples cited above could easily have been avoided by conducting some basic research in respect to checking the concept, design, shape, colour, packaging, message or name in the target culture. In the majority of cases it is simply assumed that ‘if it is OK for us it is OK for them’. If businesses want to succeed internationally, cultural sensitivity must be at the heart of everything they do; from their personal interaction and relationships with clients to the products/services they develop.