Odorless Paint and Its Advantages

Paint odors are not at the top of our list of concerns when embarking on a redecoration or home repaint job, however they can become a very unpleasant after-effect, and one potentially very harmful to human health. The unpleasant smell we usually associate with fresh paint comes from the so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC), organic chemical compounds which are found in very high concentrations in traditional solvents, paints and protective coatings in particular.

Paints with large amounts of VOCs have been proven to cause significant side-effects, particularly indoors. It is therefore essential to consider this aspect before embarking on a repaint project which may leave you unable to enter your house without getting a headache. One option in such cases – and one more readily available nowadays due to the rapidly-advancing technology – is to go for odorless paints, products which have a low concentration of VOCs and have the advantage of being water-based rather than petroleum-based.

Of course, you will have to manage your expectations a little bit: odorless paint is by no means completely stink-free, although its lack of solvents or else ammonia will make it considerably easier on the nose than traditional paint. However, odorless paint will smell differently – a sweeter, non-lingering smell which has the added advantage of being easily removed using good ventilation. Odorless paint is best suited for painting interior walls, all the more so since its durability typically will not match that of a traditional oil-based paint.

There are several types of odorless paints – the most common three categories are clay-based paint, milk-based and limestone-based paints. The latter type – also known as lime wash – may be used for exterior walls as well. Odorless paint has many other advantages. Its low VOCs concentration makes it the best choice for children nurseries and rooms, as well as for rooms used by people who have asthma and are sensitive to chemical agents which can irritate the upper respiratory tract.

In addition to being less chemically dangerous than traditional paints, odorless paints are also ideal for people looking to paint their walls in natural, earth tones. They are also environmentally friendly and less harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer. On the whole, a very good, Eco-friendly choice for most of us!

How Easy Wireless Dog Fencing Zaps Plain Old Electric Fence

If you are looking for a safe and very effective way to train your dog to stay in your own yard, consider the wireless fence. With this system, you can avoid the unattractive appearance of some fenced yards and let your pet enjoy the scenery. This new technique is the simplest form of pet training available. The system consists of a transmitter box and receiver collars which work together to help your dog understand the limits and boundaries of his territory. You are able to program the wireless fence to keep your dog away from the road, other yards, and your gardens.

Before you begin the training process, it’s best to familiarize your dog with the area in which you will restrict them. The best way to do this is by marking the boundary areas with brightly colored flags. This will help your dog visually note the area. The use of voice commands will also be very useful as cues when teaching your dog about the area limitations.

After several days, you should have given your dog a good idea of the area in which he is free to roam. During this training time, you can use the collar just to let your dog get used to the feel of it. Once the first part of the training is completed, you will connect the transmitter that accompanies the system. This transmitter will broadcast a frequency signal around the yard. The collar is set to pick up this signal should your dog stray into the frequency field.

If the dog is entering the area that has the frequency signal running through it, then the collar will transmit a warning tone. This warning will increase in intensity until it is able to force the retreat of your pet from the out of bounds territory. This is a warning only and will not harm him. It is a way to deliver negative reinforcement as a training method. The dog will quickly realize when and why the tone and static shock is happening and will identify the colored flags, the tone, the static shock, and the training as being the same thing. It will not be long before he stays well inside his allotted area. This will not dampen his enthusiasm or playfulness but it will keep him in his own yard without chains, leashes, and unsightly fences.

This method of training will work for multiple dogs on the same property as long as they are wearing one of the wireless fence collars. These collars will all be capable of picking up the transmitted signal frequency from the transmitter. The equipment for these wireless fences is easy to install. There are no holes to dig. There is no fencing to measure and there are absolutely no wires involved. Wireless fences are maintenance free. You need only replace the transmitter box or receiver collar when necessary.

There are several brands of wireless fences and collars that are on the market today. You can control your pet safely and humanely using one of these systems. One of the best features is that once many dogs are trained to understand their territory boundaries, you can use the collar without any batteries. The dogs will continue to stay in their yard because they know where the wireless fence is.

Primasil Silicones – Overview of Environments Where Silicone Rubber Is a Suitable Material

Silicone can be supplied as an oil, grease, sealant, or rubber.

The rubber is typically supplied in one of three forms – a room temperature vulcanisation (RTV) kit, as a liquid, or as high consistency rubber (HCR). In its uncured (un-vulcanised) form, the consistency of HCR silicone ranges from soft putty to cheddar cheese! This is in sharp contrast to most other rubbers, which have a much higher viscosity.

Silicone is resistant to very high and very low temperatures, and so is ideally suited to applications that must perform in the harshest of conditions. This includes engine parts, furnace seals, and components used in outer space!

Phenyl-based compounds have been developed for products in operation below the -55°C which general purpose silicone can withstand. These can be moulded, extruded, or calendered, and offer excellent resistance to temperatures down to -100°C.

High temperature resistant silicone compounds can withstand temperatures of up to 300°C for periods of up to 3 weeks. Temperature peaks above 300°C can be tolerated for very short periods of time but they are not recommended for continuous operation at these temperatures. The effect of high temperatures tends to lead to a hardening and increasing brittleness of the silicone so it loses its elastomeric properties.

Silicone will retain its properties regardless of the weather conditions to which it is exposed.

Wet, dry, cold, hot, or humid, parts made from silicone rubber will also not be affected by ozone or UV.

This has led to widespread use in the construction industry (e.g. coatings, fire protection, glazing seals), and automotive industry (external gaskets, external trim).

In addition to being resistant to rainwater, parts made from silicone are not adversely affected by immersion in seawater. This has enabled diving gear, seals and gaskets on submarines and ships, and components on oil-rigs to have a longer operational life.

Because silicone can be formulated to be electrically insulative or conductive, it is suitable for a wide range of electrical applications, including cable covers, insulating gaskets, conductive gaskets, and keyboard components.

Outstanding physical and mechanical properties are enhanced by exceptional resistance to ageing factors such as oxygen, ozone, humidity and moulds. These silicone compounds can be supplied with a high ash cohesion level if required and low burning toxicity.

Specialist insulating materials resist combustion arc tracking and environmental degradation. As such, they are ideally suited for use with high voltage and power transmission equipment such as insulators, surge arresters, and casing pipe.

Silicone is suitable for use in clean environments as the polymer does not support microbiological growth. This makes it ideal for medical devices.

Joint replacements, tubing, catheters, and all manner of medical devices are manufactured using medically approved silicone. Most processing methods can be used for these devices, provided they are carried out in a suitably clean environment.

As a low taint, non-toxic material, silicone can be used where contact with food is required. Coupled with its high temperature resistance, this makes it an ideal polymer for food moulds, baking machinery components, and vending machine tube. Over the last few years there has also been an increase in the number of household utensils manufactured from silicone rubber. Specific grades of silicone rubber are used widely in the production of baby bottle teats due to their cleanliness aesthetic appearance and low extractable content.

The Yellowfins from HELL!

Hi Lee Palm/Red Rooster crew(San Diego – California).. Keep my rail spot cool for me – won’t you?

Fishing Report from Nassau Bahamas (8-10-2000)(Thursday)(Air Temperature 92 degrees. Water temp. – mid 80’s degrees). Clear skies, no wind and burning hot sun. Caught two Yellowfins in the 60-pound range that almost sent me to the hospital.

Caught 2 YFY on Thursday – fishing “solo” aboard my WellCraft Scarab that had just been repowered with two 225 Evinrude fichts (cost was $28,000 including the installation).

Both YFT went about 70#s each (83 pounds of filet). Drift fished with fresh/frozen squid to start. Began fishing at 9:30AM and quit at 2PM.

As I arrived at the US Navy’s AUTEC buoy 10 miles offshore (a practice area for the US Navy’s nuclear subs – which show up on the surface now and then)(the AUTEC buoy is in 6,000 feet of water) Capt. Robbie New (from Trinidad) of the “Little Trick” was just starting to fish.

For the first hour all I managed was a 2 pound jack – that I later used for bait.

Robbie was having no luck either, but we saw several 50# YFTs come high out of the water several times, so that kept us anticipating.

At around 11:00 AM my bow rod with 80 pound test line and 80# green Berkley trilene leader, with a small Mustard circle hook on the end (with a 100# test Sampo swivel in between) went off.

I had just seen a big YFT fly through the area minutes before, and I was thinking I had him or his cousin – for sure. The line screamed out, and the fish ran deep. Everything pointed to a YFT, but after about 10 minutes I saw a 25 pound foot shark on my line, hooked right in the mouth with the circle hook.

Leaving the shark on the line in the rodholder, I sat down for a drink of water – out of a gallon plastic jug in my cooler.

Cut him loose, I thought to myself. But, then I remembered how many YFT’s I’d caught using shark as bait, and went to take another look at him. He was a good 4 feet long. Normally too big to bother with, but the fishing was slow, and I decided to take him.

Even though I knew he would thrash about crazy-like when I gaffed him, I decided to go for it, but I missed my 5-foot long fishbox, and watched him go bonkers on my deck, as I hustled to slide him into the Scarab’s 2-1/2 foot deep fishbox.

By 12 noon I switched from “squid” to the fresh jack for bait on all three of my poles. By now, the shark was dead, so I dragged him to the stern and started to filet him – throwing bits and pieces of shark meat overboard – with plenty of blood being washed overboard with my saltwater through-hull washdown pump.

I filleted one side of the shark, took the skin and cut it into 5 pieces, and through it over the side. All the time – washing the blood and guts overboard. I cut the shark’s giant liver into small pieces, and watched them float on the surface – as I slowly drifted along towards to AUTEC Buoy.

Within 5 minutes of cutting into this shark, the bow line went off – “screaming”. This time I knew it was probably a YFT. The fish had hit the 80# test trilene line on a 5-1/2 foot Palm Beach tuna rod, held in a Perko side mount rodholder.

I immediately scrambled about for my harness and playmate belt. Several times the YFT would stop his run deep, and I’d reel the line in fast to make sure there was no slack in the line, and smiled when I felt his weight again on my pole.

But, it was 95 degrees in the sun, and I was about to expedience something in 8 years of YFT fishing (and over 350 caught and landed), that was going to make this no ordinary day on the water.

After picking up the rod and snapping into the harness, I began the slow process of bringing him to color. I was grateful he had picked the rod with the 80# test line, as the other two reels (Shimano graphite a Penn 30W) had 50# test Trilene (Big Game) line, and fighting a YFT on 50# test line is a completely different ball game.

Fifteen minutes into the struggle, my thumb (on the reel) got an awful cramp, and actually stuck to my palm. I couldn’t understand why this was happening, but kept going – attempting to shake off the cramp.

A few minutes later the cramps spread to my forearm – then up to my biceps. I’m 220 pounds, a former HS All American swimmer, and 4 time NY State gold medallist, so I’d been through tough workouts, but this was something I never dealt with.

Even my legs were cramping up. There was no wind, no cover from my bimini top, and it was 95 degrees in the shade. It all added up to one thing – “Heat Exhaustion”.

To cool off I tried stepped into a 5-gallon bucket of saltwater, but this didn’t help one iota. My feet were also too big for the bucket.

In addition, I was getting unusually tired – FAST. HEAT EXHAUSTION had set in, and was challenging me like “The old man and the sea”.

It took me 55 minutes to land this 70-pound YFT, but I finally got him in the boat. Boy, was I relieved.

Usually I wash all the blood off my boat immediately upon landing a fish, but this time I went to the stern, turned on the saltwater pump, sat on my cooler, and just let that saltwater run over my head for 5 minutes. I finished off about 3/4 of that gallon jug of water too.

As I slowly headed back in the direction of Capt. Robbie’s “Little Trick”, the cool air hitting my Toronto Raptor NBA Jersey (#14 worn by Vince Carter) made me feel much better, but I still wasn’t 100%.

By the way, you might want to purchase one of these NBA “Jersey’s sometime. You’ll know why the NBA uses them. They are 1000 times cooler than anything cotton or other material. I have a Laker’s #34 too. My favorite.

I waved at Capt. Robbie, as I passed slowly off his stern, and he shouted – “I thought you were fighting 2 YFT, you were gone so long.”

Anyway, I set up again to try for another (YFT).

Now I’m using white shark chunks on all my hooks, and chunking with the fresh shark – as the lines are let out.

About 45 minutes later, the stern line goes off – screaming. This is my Penn 30 International with no leader and 50# Trilene line – no swivel. Christ, I said to myself, why did this fish do this to me?

The hook on this line was only a #4 Mustard live bait hook – that you can buy 50 to a package for under $10 at Wal-Mart or K-Mart.

This was going to be a whole new “ballgame”. I’m going to have to be “gentle” on the drag – or he’ll bite through the trilene, or pull the hook.

As it turned out, I eventually got this YFT to color after over one hour. I experienced the same cramps as before, and at one point – on this fish – I thought about “giving up”.

It wasn’t the fact that I get $6 a pound for the fillet (from my restaurant friends) that kept me at the rail, but the thought of cutting a YFT off was out of the question.

After gaffing this 70# YFT and pulling him over the gunwale, I trolled by Robbie (who stayed until 7PM and caught not a one) and waved – saying I’m going home.

True Story.


Capt. Solo – aka Tom Azzara
Boat – “the Taxman”
Nassau, Bahamas
British Commonwealth territory
(not part of the “East Coast”)

Tom’s Fishing Gallery.


Take a break, and check out these pictures from the 6th annual Billabong’s fishing tournament held in Nassau, in the sunny, tax free Bahamas.

click onto (or browser it) below….


From: Lee Palm Long Range Sportfishers

TRIP #14; August 6th to August 11th 5-Day Trip:

The second of the three back-to-back 5-dayers in the Red Rooster III’s summer schedule once again provided outstanding fishing for her passengers. Chuck Melber of Agoura CA led the way with a 84.1 lb. bluefin tuna to take the jackpot, followed by a 79.8 lb. bigeye for Justin Christensen of Newbury Park CA and a 73 lb. bluefin for Joe Stickles of Orange CA. “It was good consistent action throughout the trip” noted captain Andy Cates. “Some days seemed wilder than others of course, but looking back on the trip I’d say that there was good consistent fishing the whole way through.”

The trip fished as far down as Guadalupe Island for some excellent grade yellowfin, but the albacore grounds closer to home yeilded limits of the longfins and a good take on the bigger bluefin as well. “We had some really exceptional moments,” noted co-captain Jeff DeBuys, “but none

quite as surprising as the second-place jackpot bigeye landed by Justin . When we got that puppy to color we knew we had found some quality fishing for our guys. It was definitely a notable fish, and in the end it added nicely to our trophy bluefin count.” This, combined with the quality-sized albacore had by all, gave the Rooster yet another in her long string of exceptional long range adventures.



History of Plumbing Pipe and Plumbing Material

The Roman's used lead and clay piping for potable water that serviced private homes, amphitheaters, and bathhouses through the Roman Empire. In fact lead was still the predominant metal used for water services servicing homes and businesses in the US up until WW II. Lead was very flexible and extremely durable which made it an ideal piping material. In fact "lead wiping" was considered an art form. The use of lead for potable water declined sharply after WW II because of the dangers of lead poisoning. There is still some controversies with regards to the harmfulness of lead water services being used. Some testing was done several years ago and it was found that the service calcified so quickly very little if any lead leeched through the calculation be that as it may lead services are no longer used and are still being replaced to this day in some of our larger older cities across the US.

Just after WWII copper became the material of choice for water services around the country and galvanized screw piping became the material of choice for interior plumbing piping. In the 70's, copper replaced galvanized piping for water piping supremacy. Copper is fairly easy to work with, comes in soft (annealed) and hard copper. There are several different grades of copper water, waste and vent piping; DWV copper tubing is the thinnest walled tubing tubing and is only recommended in drainage waste and vent applications. Type "M" is the thinnest walled copper to be used for plumbing water piping. It is approved for water piping in most municipalities but it's more popular use is for drain, waste and vent (DWV) piping.

The next copper piping grade is Type "L" it is in the middle with regards to wall thickness and is the most popular type of copper to be used for potable water. Type "K" copper has the thickest walls and is usually used for harsh conditions.

Although PEX has been in use since the 1960s it has taken quite some time to gain popularity in the US only in the last 25 years or so has PVC and PEX tubing has been gaining popularity for use for water piping in residential applications its ease of use . Its durability and cost make it a very attractive choice. PEX piping can be bought in flexible rolls, hard lengths or wrapped in aluminum to hold its shape.

Another material used for plumbing pipes, particularly water main, was hollowed wooden logs wrapped in steel banding. Logs used for water distribution were used in England close to 500 years ago. In the US cities began using hollowed logs in the late 1700s through the 1800s. Interestingly enough in the early 1800s fire fighters began to realize that they could bore into the logs to get water thereby helping them fight fires more effectively. When the firemen were finished fighting the fire they would insert a plug closing off the water, that actually where the word "fire plug" got its origin. Occasionally municipals began tapping the water mains at a certain spot on each block so firemen did not have to dig down to find the main every time there was a fire on the block.

Wooden water mains retained the material of choice for water distribution until the early 1900s when plumbing piping took a huge leap in durability and flow characteristics with the advent of sand cast, cast iron water main. Although sand cast is not used today cast pipe pipe is still a material used in today's plumbing systems. Cast iron had been used for water distribution in other parts of the world quite a bit earlier than when it became widespread in the US. In fact the very first complete use of cast iron for water distribution was installed at Versailles, France in 1664. It remains functioning to this day.

Ductile iron replaced sand cast in the early 1960s. Ductile iron is a cast iron, but the way it's heated and enhanced by chemical compounds greatly improved its strength and improved on cast iron's durability to be strong but very brittle.

With regards to waste and vent piping, cast iron and PVC are the materials used most especially for large diameter piping. Copper is also used for waste and vent but in smaller diameter applications. Because of copper's value it becomes cost prohibitive to use it with larger diameter pipe for reference, say 3 "and above.

There is one other area that we think needs to be touched upon and its acid waste piping. Acid waste, by definition, is any waste in which acids appear in higher concentrations than found in household waste. Although PVC has acid resistant properties, it is not recommended for use in situations where piping is continuously exposed to higher than normal concentrations ie photo labs, science labs, chemical companies etc. In these situations acid resistant pipe and fitting are recommended.

3 Simple Tips To Bring Your Oil Painting To Life

Artists love using oil paints on canvas because of its many advantages. Whereas its slow drying process could seem as a drawback, especially for those who would rather finish their pieces faster, for the majority of artists is a plus. This is because it provides them with enough time to work on an artwork piece in different sessions without worrying that some parts will dry faster. They also find it much easier to make changes to their creations thanks to the slow drying characteristic of oil paintings. Oil paints also come with an advantage of creating luminous colors that are hard to wear. It is also much easier for the paints to blend with any surrounding colors so in the end an appealing artwork is achieved.

If you are new to oil paintings, you might consider taking oil painting classes so you can start off on a high. But you can still use the following simple tips to start getting familiar with the painting and ensure that every one of your artwork pieces oozes life.

Tip 1 – Use thick paste on foreground to convey volume

Three dimensional looks are quite lifelike and it is actually possible to achieve this when painting with oil. Oils and acrylics come with the advantage of building thick impastos compared to pastels and watercolors that lack the quality. To achieve the 3D look, apply the thick oil paste on the foreground of your painting and then thin it with receding planes on your piece. In the end you will have a very thing paint layer in the distant background creating the three dimensional illusion.

Tip 2 – Create texture on your piece by dry brushing

Texture is very important, especially on pieces with leaves, grass and crashing water waves and the likes. By using a dry brush technique you can make sure the texture is visible to the eyes. Dry brushing involves skipping your brush so that the paint can peel off achieving the desired results. When you hold the brush horizontally and graze it you can tickle bottom surfaces dragging to different directions to create weathered appearance of your wood or make the water foam on the painting look bubbly. There are so many effects you can create with the method so your painting is lifelike.

Tip 3 – Create interest by varying your colors

Instead of adding a number of variations of the same hue in a given area to get rid of boring solid monochromatic colors, generate more interest on your oil painting by mixing colors partially on the palette to neutralize saturation and they squeeze paint out under lots of pressure so you can see subtle color variations with every stroke. It may seem challenging at first, but you will love how realistic the painting becomes once you master the technique. This color mixing variegation can be used on different types of oil painting including those with grass, rocks and foliage to get paint variety that makes them look real.

Continuous Integrated Triage

The concept of resource-based decision making would seem to be basic to the practice of medicine and especially emergency medicine and disaster medicine. Unfortunately the reality is that in the United States of America and, actually in most industrialized nations, medical care decisions are not resourced-based, they are emotionally-based. And this works in all but the most dire of circumstances.

More and more in a world now awakened to the dual threats of terrorism and natural disaster resource-based decision making, i.e., triage, is becoming a skill not only needed but oft found lacking.

Now in the short period of this article there is no way that I can describe the full process of integrated triage. Suffice it to say that triage is an ongoing event. It occurs repeatedly during the entire patient encounter; the entire time that a person is seeking and receiving medical care from the moment they first approach until the moment that they finally leave the care environment.

It is also integrated beginning with gross observations:

Can the patient walk?

Do they follow commands?

Do they know who they are, where they are and why they are here?

Progressing to basic physiology:

Are they breathing?

Do they have a pulse?

Can they follow commands?

And finally including more detailed information:

Why was the patient actually brought for care?

What happened to them?

What are their expectations?

Unfortunately most triage ends the first time that last question is asked. In the daily practice of triage in the emergency room and in medical practice the process stops here. Nobody goes back to ask the questions again. For triage to work the way it is intended, we must integrate it into our minds and into our moment-to-moment medical practice.

At first glance, this would seem to be a minor problem; something that can easily be corrected with a small amount of practice. Unfortunately that is far from the truth. In fact as integrated triage is taught around the nation we are discovering a disturbing trend.

While healthcare providers readily embrace the idea of continuously reassessing their patients (in fact nurses have done this for decades) the idea of re-categorizing patients, particularly those in the most dire of need, is still greatly emotionally laden.

There are reports now servicing of facilities that refuse to categorize any patient as anything less than absolutely critical until a full physical examination, laboratory evaluations and even CT Scans have been done. At these institutions the entire concept of triage, sorting the masses so that the most good can be done for the most people, has been lost. They are not performing triage. They are jumping straight into treatment.

Of even greater concern are a few isolated reports of facilities refusing to allow providers to bypass patients for whom there are not resources immediately available. It is always emotionally difficult for a healthcare provider to acknowledge that under different circumstances they could save. A life that today may be lost simply because there are too many people to care for. This one individual is too injured to save when compared to the good that can be done for so many more. Unfortunately, when victim counts soar, fatalities soar as well. This is the very decision that a disaster medicine professional must make. This is the decision that falls to the professional handling triage.

Most often referred to as “black tag” patients who are “expectant”, those who require more resources than are available and prudent to utilize for one person at this time. These expectant patients are often heartrending and more sadly for both patient and the provider under different circumstances are most often people who can be treated and saved. But on this day in these circumstances they must be “set aside”.

The problem comes in that healthcare professionals today do not understand that although set aside these patients are not abandoned. A “black tag” is not a death warrant. It is not a “Do Not Resuscitate” order. It is not an order to abandon all care. Expectant patients still receive comfort care, compassion, and human dignity. They are still continuously re-triaged and as resources come available. They are brought back into the treatment mix.

In the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina during the first five horrendous days of triage and treatment of tens of thousands of patients and evacuees, only 38 individuals were placed in the expectant category. Of these 38, 36 were ultimately re-triaged, treated, stabilized and sent on to hospitals outside of the state of Louisiana. All 36 of these individuals survived those harrowing days in the airport. Two people did die. In both cases these individuals already had known terminal disease. They were in fact in hospice care before the hurricane. One of these brave souls even refused transportation to allow somebody who had a “better chance” to go ahead of them. These two “expectant patients” died in the airport. At the time that they died they were the only two people left in the expectant treatment area. They each had their own nurse provided by the responders at the facility. Each of them had family members at their bedside and local volunteers to sit with them.

In the case of each of these individuals, after they died their families commented that they had received better care in the Louis Armstrong International Airport following a hurricane than they would have received at home; not because hospice was in any way incapable but because in the airport they each had their own nurse. Doctors came and saw them four times a day. They each had their own volunteer and their family crowded around them.

The dreaded “black tag” given to the expectant patient is not a death warrant. It is an opportunity for the healthcare professionals and that patient to do the most human thing possible when part of an overwhelming situation, it is an opportunity to think about others first.

(A Flowchart of Continuous Integrated Triage is available by emailing the author at: renaissancedoc@mauricearamirez.com)

Signs That Your Husband is Leaving You (Or at Least Thinking About It)

By and large, the vast majority of people who visit my blog are women who are either struggling to save their marriage, are facing divorce, or are afraid there husbands are going to leave. I’m commonly asked something like “I’m scared my husband is going to leave me.  What are some signs to confirm he’s planning to leave and how can I make him stay or change his mind?”  The answer to these questions depend upon the couple, at least somewhat.  Every person has a different breaking point.  But, there are some universal signs that your marriage is in real trouble or that your husband has checked out. 

I would advise you to trust your intuition and take action if you suspect something is going awry in your marriage.  Every marriage can benefit from improvement and it’s much better to be proactive and prevent real trouble than to just wait for something negative and lasting to happen.  From my experience, just taking a “wait and see approach” is the wrong call.  Because once things have deteriorated to the point where your husband is walking out the door, your job will be that much harder, but not impossible.

There’s A Distance, Both Literally and Figuratively: Probably the first sign that your husband might be planning to leave is that he distances himself and detaches from you. You may find that your conversations are short and curt.  He’ll give yes and no answers rather than engaging in real, meaningful conversation.  Or, you may find that you’re only talking about kids, jobs, or the logistics of daily life and running a household.  And, there’s generally a literal distance as well. There are less spontaneous, affectionate gestures like hand holding, brushing against your arm, or rubbing your back.  These things are often chalked up as both of you being stressed and busy, but they can be real warning signs that your husband has checked out.

Intimacy Is Lacking And Not Just In The Bedroom:  Another common warning sign is that there’s not much going on in the bedroom. You’re both too tired, too busy, or the time never seems right.  The intimate knowing glances and gestures, the feeling that you both “get” each other and are in sync are no longer there or are waning.  Whereas you used to feel that you could tell your husband anything and he would listen intently, today, it’s more likely that you will hear silence or awkward pauses.

Occasionally, this can go the other way. Sometimes, you’ll notice an increase in sex, almost desperately, as the husband is trying to make a last ditch effort to see if the “spark” is still there or can be rekindled.  Or, he’ll chatter on and on about nothing in an attempt to fill the deafening silence.

You Just Feel That Something Is “Off” With Him: Very commonly, women will write me and say that they just know something is brewing with their husbands.  Although he denies it and assures the wife that he is just stressed and that nothing is really wrong, the little voice in the back of your head is screaming at you that, in fact, something is very wrong here.  Often, you can’t put your finger on it, but you know it with absolutely certainty.

What To Do If You See Any Of These Signs Or Think That He Is Going To Leave You:  If you see any of these signs and you have a weird feeling that your husband is planning to leave, it’s important to lay it on the table.  The worst thing that you can do is to ignore it and to hope that it just miraculously goes away or passes. 

Find a time when you can both be present without being rushed.  Tell your husband that you notice a troubling distance and are afraid that he’s checked out of the marriage and is thinking of leaving it.  Often, men will flat out deny this, even if it is true.  Don’t argue or disagree. Listen calmly and let him say whatever he will.  Then, when he is finished, repeat that you still feel that you weren’t as close as you once were and it hurts you because this marriage and this man are the most important things in your life.

Stress that you both deserve to be happy and tell him that making this happen is your number one priority.  Ask him, if you could wave a magic wand and immediately get what would make him happy, what would that be? (I know this sounds silly, but men have trouble articulating what they really want. If you just say “what would it take to make you happy again,” they will often balk or brush you off because they don’t believe that you are really going to be able to deliver.) 

If he can’t or won’t give you an answer, know this.  At their core, men are not so different from us.  In the end, they want to be valued, desired, understood, and appreciated.  They want to be on top of your to do list and among the first in your heart.  Many times, when they have checked out or are planning to leave, it’s because they really and truly believe that it’s too late or no longer possible for them to get these needs met again.  Your job is to show and not tell them that not only is it possible, that it is going to happen so that there is no longer any reason for them to want or need to leave.

How to Invest in Rice: 5 Suggestions for the Savvy Investor

Ever thought about how to invest in rice? This article will provide 5 suggestions on how a savvy investor could get involved in this commodity market.

Until recently the opportunity for the retail investor to invest directly into rice farm land would not have been possible. This direct investment opportunity would have only been available to investment funds.

All that has changed now as one alternative investment company has introduced an investment where the investor can invest directly into African Rice land. This investment would cost the investor £5,850 and would secure 3 hectares of prime rice land for 49 years. The investor would get a annula return of around 15% and benefit from capital appreciation in the land itself. If the investor was prepared to hold this investment for 5 years they could expect to achieve 287% on their initial investment.

If you wanted to invest within the financial markets, the purchase of a Rough Rice futures contract could be the way to go. Its symbol is ZR.

The Rough Rice Futures contract is quoted on the price per bushel which currently is around $14.50. The number of bushels in a full contract is 2000. They are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade and the minimum price movement on the contract is $10.

This market is only available to high net worth investors, and many brokers will ask fir detailed financial records before they allow you to open an account.

To invest in a futures contract you ill need to put up initial margin of about $2,430 at current market prices. This is called the initial margin and if your futures contract goes into a loss position you will be asked to top up your account. This is called a margin call.

A cheaper way to invest in the futures market is to purchase an options contract on a future. If you believe the underlying asset price will rise you buy a call option and if you think the price will fall you buy a put option on the underlying future contract. The benefit of a option contract is that you only risk the premium you paid to buy the option and the amount of capital tat has to be put on margin is much lower at $250.

A riskier strategy with Options is to write options contracts i.e. sell them. This opens up the investor to unlimited loss and brokers will check you have sufficient capital to cover the potential losses before they will allow you to write this contract.

Options and Futures are really only available as an investment to sophisticated investors or high net worth investors. Retail investors will be disallowed to participate in these markets by the financial regulator in their own country.

The retail investor can invest in rice by investing in an exchange traded fund. There are no 100% rough rice ETF’s but there are a number that have a percentage allocation to rough rice.

One potential ETF the investor could choose is Elements International Commodity Index- Agriculture Total Return (RJA). This is a well diversified index that includes allocations across the following commodity types, corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans, coffee, live cattle, sugar, cocoa, lean hogs, rubber and several others, including rice).

This Powershares ETF is based on DBIQ or DB Agriculture index. This index comprises a number of commodity futures contracts within the gricultural sector. This index aims to track the underlying performance of the softs category of the commodities index. Main holdings in the Funds index are corn, soybeans, sugar, live cattle, cocoa and coffee.

The Rogers International Commodities index (RICI) Agriculture has been around tracking the softs category since December 2005. It has a 2.15% weighting in Rough Rice. To invest in this index requires you finding a broker who specialises in this index.

For the UK investor an alternative to Futures, options and ETF’s is spread betting. A number of the spread betting companies will allow you to bet on the underlying futures price as quoted on the Chicago Board of Trade. The minimum bet size is only £0.50 and an investor only requires 3250 in their account. Spread betting has many advantages over Futures and Options as the capital requirement an investor needs is much lower. This is an ideal investment in the UK as spread betting profits are tax free.

Graduated Cylinders and General Lab Safety Tips

It is common knowledge that before you can use laboratories for scientific purposes, you must first follow certain safety measures.This is important in both the classroom setting as well as any educational institution. To make things always safe and effective, you must follow this simple guidelines that can help you make everything fun and at the same time very safe.

Mercury Safety Tips

-Mercury is one of the most dangerous substances to handle, it can cause bad effects to people if taken in amounts beyond human tolerance.

-That’s why you should try to always use alcohol thermometers instead of mercury ones in the lab.

-Try to use a mercury substitute also for procedures whenever possible.

-Remember that mercury exhausts need to be vented into a fume hood.

-Mercury spills should be contained immediately. Always use a tray that does not react poorly with mercury. A glass, plastic, or steel tray

-A mercury container should be placed inside a second container in case the first one fails.

-Mercury should never come into contact with hot surfaces.

Other Lab Safety Rules

-Never eat or drink inside the lab or eat anything found in the lab because of the risk of contamination.

-Never mix your chemicals! Potentially harmful substances should not get mixed or touched. Have clear labels.

-Safety glasses and safety gloves are mandatory when working with potentially hazardous materials.

-Your clothing should cover all your skin skin. Legs, feet, and arms, should be covered in case of a spill. Clothing shouldn’t be too lose in order to prevent it from getting caught in any machines.

-Keep the work area free of things that are not absolutely necessary for that specific experiment.

-After completing your task, wash your hands thoroughly.

Graduated Cylinders

First and foremost, learn how to make use of a graduated cylinder. In order to remain safe and to avoid repeating the entire lab process, make sure that the rate of transferring another liquid to the graduated cylinder is as slow as possible. Level your eye to the cylinder and not level the cylinder relative to your eye in order to attain more precise results. Minor lapses in measurements when it comes to laboratories can cause the entire procedure to self-destruct. But, perhaps, the best reason not to stand directly over the cylinder when pouring has nothing to do with the desired outcome of a project, but rather the desired outcome of your health. When you work too closely to the cylinder, you might inhale poisonous fumes. However, because you are at eye level with potentially harmful liquids, always wear safety glasses in case it breaks or spills.

History of the Dressage Musical Freestyle

While dressage has its roots in ancient Greece, it was in the seemingly magical displays of horsemanship in Italy and France of the 16th to 19th centuries that haute ècole, or high school dressage and riding to music developed. Northern Italy was the center of equestrian arts in Renaissance Europe during the late 16th century and it was here that what would become the musical freestyle in competitive dressage was born. Not in Pignatelli’s school in Naples which is one of the most famous but in the schools of Fiaschi and Fredirico Grisone music became intimately connected to dressage. Both men wrote early treatises on dressage and included the use of music. While Pignatelli is known for being the first to train horses in pillars, bringing a new aesthetic to training a horse, it is the musical displays that have lasted and made it into international competition.

In Italy in the 1500s, music was introduced to the equestrian arts first to teach rhythm and tempo to riders, and soon after to accompany the lavish horse ballets. Grisone encouraged the use of the voice to help the horse’s tempo. He wrote a treatise in 1550 which was soon translated into French and German. Fiaschi included in his 1556 treatise short musical tunes corresponding to a horse’s gaits and movements. Thus, the first musical vocabulary for dressage was put onto paper. Fiaschi encouraged his riders to learn music well enough to sing while riding and to ride as if he were playing rare and excellent music.

As early as 1548 in Lyons France costumed chevaliers amazed audiences with their horses leaping, turning, and jumping to the sound of small bells attached to the horses: “So pleasantly resonate that the harmony of their sweet sound did not tickle the spirits of the astonished people any less than the flash of the gleaming gems dazzled their eyes so that those watching did not know if they dreamt or lived.” By 1602 La Broue wrote that without musical sensibilities one could never have the sensitivity to the horse’s beat and tempo necessary to ride well.

In a spectacular feat, Pluvinel, who re-introduced the gentle horse training techniques of xenophon, created a horse ballet in 1612 to honor the engagement of Louis XIII to Anne of Austria. The ballet was but a few minutes in a long day and evening of a lavish parade, jousting, and a carrousel. Pluvinel stole the show when the horses of the spectacularly costumed riders leapt and danced and circled and jumped, captivating the audience.

While dressage shares a long history with music, musical displays were absent from the competitive arena until fairly recently. From the early 1900s competitive dressage drew more on its military roots than the roots of entertainment. In the 1980s horses once again seemed to dance in the arena when organizers brought the musical freestyle to international competitive dressage, aiming to bring spectators to what was often seen as a fairly boring event. The 1996 Atlanta Games were the first Olympics that added the freestyle to the format and today musical freestyles attract large crowds to see the dancing horses.

Ancient Egypt Fish Tank Decor

There are numerous ancient civilizations that have awesome fish tank decorations these days. These include the Mayans, Asian and the always famous Greek ruins. Using any of these would create stunning scenes of times gone by, producing an air of wonder and discovery in your very own room.

The one ancient civilization that I personally love to use in my tank designs is the Ancient Egyptians. Who has not seen at least a photograph of the Great Pyramids or the towering mighty Sphinx. With the cool and extremely detailed tank ornaments you can get these days, you will be able to bring the exact replica of the Egyptian landscape into your aquarium.

With the Egyptian tank decor, you basically have a couple of options. You could create an outdoor scene, an indoor scene or just use Egyptian artifacts.

To create an outdoor Egyptian scene, you would be utilizing replicas of the massive structures that are synonym to Egypt. These would include the pyramids as well as the Sphinx. This is placed on top of a sand colored gravel to give it the impression of being in the desert. If you plan to use plants, they should not be of the leafy variety. Java Moss is one option you can look into. To make the theme work, a great idea is to place a fish tank background depicting a desert scene. This would give it a 3D effect to the whole design.

For the indoor effect, you would use indoor structures such as Egyptian columns as well as the Pharaoh’s sarcophagus. Place them to look like a scene from an archaeological dig. The gravel would still be sand colored. As a backdrop, you could either use one depicting Egyptian hieroglyphs or a rock face. These days you would be able to get 3D rock backgrounds where the rocks protrude out instead of a flat print. This makes theme look so much more realistic. Being indoors, you would not place any plants because they might make the theme look odd. You may place rocks if you wish, just make them out to look like they came crashing down from the roof of a temple. This means simply scattering them around the decor. Try not getting smooth faced river rocks, the ones you get should look as if they were once bricks that made up the walls.

Egyptian artifacts are new additions to the fish tank decorating scene. The most common ones that you can find are the Egyptian vases. Though they are only aquarium decor, they are made to look extremely authentic. What I love about the Egyptian vases is the holes that they always have in the side. These make awesome caves for the fish and if you have been following my posts all these years, you would know that I am big on caves for aquariums. Apart from the vases, another really cool tank ornament that I love a whole lot is a bust of Pharaoh. The bust is golden in color and looks very regal. With these ornaments, placing normal aquatic plants around them as well as using other types of gravel are not an issue.

The key point here is that your design needs to look old. It needs to look like an archaeological photo that you might see in the National Geographic magazine. Scan the internet for images that will help you get an idea of what to go for.

Wrestling Drills For Balance And Muscle Memory

Keeping in Shape with Wrestling Drills

As with any sport, it’s important for wrestlers to perform a series of wrestling drills to keep them in their finest form on and off the mat. Since wrestling is a sport that requires brute force and agility, the repetition of these drills not only builds strength in the necessary areas, but also helps to build muscle memory which can be essential in winning wrestling matches. Try these wrestling drills during practices or as a part of the pregame warm-up.

Aim for the Knees

First, here’s a drill called “Knee Grab” that’s appropriate for wrestlers of all ages. To begin, two wrestlers of comparable strengths stand facing each other in their regular stances. Both wrestlers should have their hands facing downwards and extended out near their knees.

In this drill, the wrestlers will attempt to use their hands to grab their opponent’s knees while trying to keep their opponent blocked on the outside. Make sure the wrestler really grab for their opponent’s knees as opposed to just a mere tap or slap. Run this drill for 2 or 3 sessions of 20-30 seconds in length, allowing the wrestlers a 10-20 second rest between sessions.

When performed correctly, this drill can be quite physically demanding. Since performing countless wrestling drills can become monotonous, some coaches like to inject a little competitive spirit into their drills. This is one of those drills that functions really well as a mini-competition, with the winner of each pair facing off with a winner of another pair until only one wrestler remains victorious.


Next is the “Grabber” drill, which is great for building upper-body strength. To begin the drill, two wrestlers stand facing each other in their regular stances. At the sound of the coach’s whistle, both try to get their opponent in a body lock or to get behind their opponent while remaining in an upright, standing position.

The best moves for winning this drill are the duck under, arm drag to body lock, or the wrist lock. Some coaches will allow head locks for this drill as well. Perform this drill for 3 sessions of 30 seconds in length, allowing at least a 10-20 second rest between sessions.

A Fine Balance

This next drill called “Hopper” is a simple yet effective way of helping wrestlers develop and maintain their balance. To begin the drill, two wrestler stand facing each other in their regular stances. At the sound of the coach’s whistle, one wrestler grabs and holds their partner’s foot at waist level. They are permitted to move the foot as much as possible without bringing it above chest level.

The goal of this drill is for the wrestler on one foot to constantly readjust their balance to avoid falling to the mat. Run this drill for 2-3 sessions of no more than 20 seconds, as it is quite tiring for the wrestler on one foot.

Five Superior Home Security Options for Those With Elderly Parents

When it comes to helping out with one’s parents, the amount of work that one ends up doing starts to add up as the years go on. And one of the biggest concerns that grown-ups have about their elderly mothers and fathers is whether or not it is a feasible idea to allow them to continue to live alone. For those who aren’t located in the same city as their parents, this can be an even more stressful decision to make. After all, not being right down the street really does do a major number on whether or not it feels feasible to just run down the street if something goes wrong, or if it looks like there’s something more needed when it comes to home security and peace of mind. From Virginia Beach to more rural locales, it’s a serious concern of growing up.

Those looking for a little extra help can definitely figure out particular home security systems that do a superior job at keeping things under control and well-managed, or make changes around the space that ensure there is less of a chance that things might go wrong. Here are five of the better options that make people feel calm with elderly parents living on their own.

#1 – Consider helpful devices for two-story homes. For those who are constantly making their way up and down stairs while trying to manage a cane or a walker, it can be incredibly stressful and potentially dangerous. While not moving isn’t a good idea, it’s also not so smart to always have only the walking option. Consider installing a chair lift so that it’s possible for older parents to live alone without being in precarious positions, especially later in the evening.

#2 – Invest in a home alarm system with one-touch response. This is the kind of extra help that actually does a superior job at helping out. With a one-touch button that can be worn comfortably around one’s neck, it becomes possible to instantly have help on the way in case of any sort of emergency, without needing to reach a phone for dialing 911. It’s definitely one of the best forms of assistance that anyone living alone who is older can have.

#3 – Check out carpets and secure them. Whether it’s a rug in a living room or wall to wall carpeting that tends to bunch up near the stairs, it’s important for people to pay attention to the surface on which elderly relatives are walking. Smart home security is about managing those small details and cutting down on the chance of an accident.

#4 – Don’t advertise the fact that a mom or dad is living alone. Record a voicemail message with a bit of activity in the background, or record it with one’s own voice so that a house does not become an obvious target for those who are looking to break into properties where there isn’t much of a threat.

#5 – Pay attention to changes in progress. For people who are living far from elderly relatives, it’s important to remember that home security isn’t a fixed thing. It’s important to always be checking in on one’s parents to ensure that they are still able to handle living alone. So don’t let down one’s guard, and always be alert as to what the situation is.

8 Great Gift Ideas for Leo Women

If you’re one of those people who love to give gifts based on a person’s sun sign, you probably will do well with the Leo woman. Leos are usually happy about their sun sign, like to talk about it, and know quite a bit about their astronomical pros and cons. Chances are, they’ll already know their stone, color, planet, etc, so buying her something that coordinates that sends the message that you care in a personal way.

1. The Leo represents a lion, so a gift featuring a lion is often well received. Perhaps a beautiful painting, watch with a lion face, or something unique like lion earrings are all great ideas. You don’t want to do anything with kitsch, though, as Leo women like class and can see through something cheap and won’t thank you for it.

2. The ruling planet of Leo is the sun. This not only tells you a lot about their personality, but gives an idea of good gifts as well. A sun pendant or broach is original and gives credit to their planet at the same time. Gold is a big favorite, of course, but as long as it doesn’t look cheap, you can get away with something a little less expensive.

3. In general, you can’t go wrong with giving women jewelry, and Leo ladies are no different. Their birthstone is ruby; anything with this stone will go over well-earrings, a broach, necklace with a pendant, ring, or bracelet all can carry a ruby and show class and sophistication.

4. Go for décor items that feature the lion or the sun. A throw rug, sheets, picture frames, and other classy items that feature their sign are often welcome as the Leo does like to flaunt her sign. Again, it needs to be classy, not kitschy, as you will know if you messed up-Leo ladies are not known to be tactful about things they don’t like.

5. Get something custom-made. Female Leos revel in the thought that you were thinking of them specifically. Knowing that you planned something just for her will rock her world, especially if it is something she had been hinting at, something that she liked or wanted. Make a bracelet featuring her favorite items, maybe a lion, sun, and sunflower featured as well.

6. Leos like things big and flashy, so how about an over sized purse or a big beaded necklace? You need to know her style, but in general, bigger and classier is better-keep in mind that gaudy is not appreciated.

7. Leos like to show off their sign in other ways as well. You can get Leo cups or glasses, oven mitts with sayings like, “the best!” or tiles extolling the virtues of the Leo woman which are natural winners.

8. Gift vouchers or tickets to concerts, art exhibitions, or a play would go over well as those cater to the artsy side of the Leo woman. She loves beautiful art, so make sure you know which one to gift her. Many Leo ladies love music and dancing, so going someplace where they can be creative that way goes over well.