The Many Benefits of Bamboo Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a very important feature in the kitchen. Not only are they utilitarian because they hold food and dishes, but they are also the first thing someone sees when they walk in the kitchen. The cabinets provide the overall aesthetic of the kitchen, the busiest room in the home. Installing bamboo kitchen cabinets provide a great look and provide many benefits.

Bamboo is a very eco-friendly material that is growing in popularity as a choice for general furniture. It is also a premier choice for kitchen accessories, such as cutting boards and utensil holders. It makes sense that bamboo is now becoming a preferred choice for kitchen cabinets as well.

Bamboo is preferred above other common cabinet materials, such as laminates, plywood, and particle board. Bamboo is harder than wood, providing kitchen cabinets with more longevity. The material is so strong and durable that it does not shrink or swell under changing weather conditions.

The material is very eco-friendly because bamboo does not exhume any toxic materials that are harmful for health. They are also great for unique cottage houses that feature outdoor kitchens. Bamboo is useful in these kinds of kitchens because of the ability to undergo any kind of changes or conditions when kept out in the open.

Bamboo is becoming more popular because it is highly renewable and sustainable. Bamboo has the ability to grow and mature within seven years, but often sooner than that. This is unlike wood takes decades to be harvested for lumber.

No matter what color the kitchen is, bamboo will blend in perfectly to the decorating scheme. It gives off an elegant and modern look and enhances the decor without accessorizing it. The style is natural and much preferred to other styles of cabinets, so much so that people are furnishing their entire homes with more bamboo products.

Bamboo cabinets are simple to install because the material is very light to carry. There is no need to screw the cabinets into the wall; they only need to be hung up in the correct hooking system. Bamboo is also very easy to maintain.

The material does not require chemicals for cleaning the cabinets. All it needs it water and mild detergent. In order to increase the eco-friendly benefits of bamboo, use green detergents that have no added chemicals that are bad for health. There is no need to remove the entire kitchen cabinet to clean it, either.

Even with all of these benefits, bamboo is not an expensive option for cabinets. It is competitively priced with plywood and particle board depending on the quality of the bamboo. Laminated bamboo plywood is the least expensive option, but it is better to get the best quality bamboo that is 100 percent real.

It is important to pay attention to the quality of the bamboo and select the better bamboo types. The look of bamboo will differ depending on where it was imported from and the quality. Color ranges from dark shades of brown to yellow. Pay special attention to the kind of adhesive that was used for pasting. It is better to choose cabinets whose adhesive have little or no formaldehyde.

Bamboo stalks are sliced into strips and then laminated together to form boards and planks. The way the strips are oriented determines the grain orientation. A vertical grain means the edges of the strips form the outer surface of the panel. Vertical grain has an appearance like wood grain.

Horizontal grain means the bamboo strips are laminated together on the edges with the surface made of the wider faces. Horizontal grain shows off the characteristic knuckle typical of bamboo stalks. This is a very natural and appealing feature for any rustic style of kitchens.

Why Choose TEIN Suspension?

TEIN is one of the biggest and oldest Japanese aftermarket suspension specialist and manufacturer. Since 1985, TEIN has been researching and developing high performance suspension products for both street and race use. Competing and winning many races including the World Rally Championship and Super N1 Endurance Race allowed TEIN to be the pioneer of suspension specialists. The technology knowledge gained from racing, TEIN applied  to their product development to create an ideal suspension for total driving pleasure. That is what makes TEIN products outperform other performance suspension brands  not only in performance, but also in endurance, consistency and most of all quality which makes driving with this exceptional suspension a fulfilling experience.

Which TEIN product should I choose?

Springs

S. TECH – TEIN S. TECH LOWERING SPRINGS are an excellent choice for lowering, or as an initial step towards sport suspension tuning. TEIN S. TECH spring features an average drop of 1.5 inch and average increase in spring rate of 20%. This results in a lowered center of gravity, less body roll and pitch, improved roll distribution, and better road holding capability. The lowered car also has a more stylish appearance. Every TEIN S. TECH spring application is road tested for proper balance between performance and comfort. TEIN S. TECH spring is made from Vanadium. TEIN S. TECH springs are more sports oriented than the TEIN HIGH TECH springs. TEIN S. TECH is also called Dress Up Master, and is intended for street use.

H. TECH – TEIN HIGH TECH LOWERING SPRINGS are an excellent choice for lowering, with minimum compromise in comfort and performance. TEIN H. TECH springs feature an average drop of 1.3 inch and average increase in spring rate of 10%. This results in a lowered center of gravity, less body roll and pitch, improved roll distribution, and better road holding capability. The lowered car also has a more stylish appearance. Compared to S. TECH springs, H. TECH springs offer a softer and comfier ride, yet provides better handling than the OEM springs. TEIN H. TECH is also called Luxury Master, and is intended for street use.

G. TECH– TEIN GRAVEL TECH LOWERING SPRINGS were developed for gravel driving, such as off road driving, rallying, and rallycross. TEIN GRAVEL TECH springs were developed in combination with the Type GRAVEL dampers, but can be used with other high performance dampers as well. With a tuned ride height and spring rates for off road driving, TEIN GRAVEL TECH spring is no doubt a competition spring. Compared to TEIN S. TECH and TEIN H. TECH springd, the TEIN GRAVEL TECH springs offer a much stiffer ride and roll distribution suitable for off road driving. TEIN GRAVEL TECH is also called Dirt Trial Master, and is intended for competition use.

Street Coilover Systems

BASIC– TEIN BASIC DAMPER is TEIN’s entry level coilover kit. Compared to OEM suspension, the TEIN BASIC DAMPER features a higher spring rate and stronger damping force. Each application is optimized in which the spring rate is matched to the damper, so under-damping and over-damping will be minimized. The TEIN BASIC DAMPER features adjustable ride height and short stroke dampers. Other features include twin tube shell case, newly designed spring seat, and three stage powder coating. TEIN BASIC DAMPER is the perfect choice for entry level users who want a matched spring and damper set with the optimized damping forces right out of the box. TEIN BASIC DAMPER is also called Driving Master and is intended for street use.

SUPER STREET– TEIN SUPER STREET DAMPER is a step up from TEIN BASIC DAMPERS. Compared to TEIN BASIC DAMPER, the SUPER STREET DAMPER features a similar spring rate, but with a damper that features 16 to 20 levels of damping force adjustments. Similar to the BASIC DAMPER, the SUPER STREET DAMPER also features adjustable ride height and short stroke dampers, as well as twin tube shell case, newly designed spring seat, and three stage powder coating. The 16 to 20 levels of damper force adjustment can be made by simply turning a knob on the top of the damper. With the damping force adjustment ability, users can change the stiffness of the suspension easily according to the driving conditions, for example, soft setting for street driving and stiff setting for track driving, or using different stiffness front to back to fix minor understeer or oversteer. TEIN SUPER STREET DAMPER is also called Driving Master and is intended for street use.

COMFORT SPORT– TEIN COMFORT SPORT is a coilover kit developed with sport and comfort in mind. Compared to OEM suspension, the TEIN COMFORT SPORT features a higher spring rate and stronger damping force, yet with minimum decrease in comfort and quietness. This was accomplished by a carefully chosen spring rate and matched to a mono-tube design damper featuring the Micro Speed Valve Technology. Together, the COMFORT SPORT provides a smooth and luxurious ride with added cornering stability and control. Compared to BASIC and SUPER STREET DAMPER, the TEIN COMFORT SPORT provides a slightly less sporty ride but still provides a great increase in comfort and quietness. TEIN COMFORT SPORT features 16 levels of damping force adjustment, Micro Speed Valve Technology, inverted shell case, ride height adjustment, newly designed spring seat, and mono-tube shell case. TEIN COMFORT SPORT is also called Cruising Master and is intended for street use.

EURO DAMPER– TEIN EURO DAMPER is very similar to TEIN COMFORT SPORT in every way, please read the above section for details. As the name implies, the TEIN EURO DAMPER is designed for European cars. Features and technology are similar to TEIN COMFORT SPORT. TEIN EURO DAMPER is also called Cruising Master and is intended for street use

TYPE FLEX– TEIN TYPE FLEX is a coilover kit developed with performance and comfort in mind. With years of experience in motorsports, TEIN produced TEIN TYPE FLEX to provide the ultimate balance between comfort and performance. Compared to OEM suspension and other entry level coilovers, TEIN TYPE FLEX provides a greater increase in cornering performance, while still being comfortable enough to use on the street. This was accomplished by a higher spring rate and a twin tube internal design damper which allows increased piston stroke and increased durability. TEIN TYPE FLEX features 16 levels of adjustment, pillowball upper mounts, three stage powder coating, full length ride height adjustment, and newly designed spring seat. TEIN TYPE FLEX is the ideal coilover system for users who participate in less intense motorsport events, such as track days and time attacks, while still being able to drive the same setup on the street without too much sacrifice in comfort. TEIN TYPE FLEX is also called Control Master and is intended for both street and competition use.

MONO FLEX– TEIN MONO FLEX COILOVERS are developed for entry level competition motorsports. Features include 16 levels of damping adjustment for both compression and rebound, pillowball upper mounts, Micro Speed Valving (MSV) Technology, inverted shell case, mono tube design, Teflon coated damper body, conical spring washers, full length adjustment. The heart of the TEIN MONO FLEX coilover system is its mono-tube damper, which allows increased oil capacity, improved heat dissipation, and larger valving. This mono-tube damper allows stiffer spring rates for racing application. TEIN MONO FLEX is designed for users seeking aggressive handling on the street and at the track. TEIN MONO FLEX is a step up from TEIN TYPE FLEX, with increase in performance but decrease in comfort. TEIN MONO FLEX is also called Winding Master and is intended for both street and competition use.

Competition Coilover Sytems

SUPER DRIFT– TEIN SUPER DRIFT COILOVERS are developed specifically for drifting. With the support of D1 drifting competition’s drivers and teams, TEIN was able to use their feedbacks and developed the TEIN SUPER DRIFT. Spring rates and damping force were chosen to increase car control in a drift, and help initiate a better  slide. TEIN SUPER DRIFT features a full length damper which allows separate ride height and preload setting adjustement. Other features include 16 levels of adjustment, specifically developed valving for drifting, Teflon coated damper body, twin tube shell case, and newly designed spring seat. TEIN SUPER DRIFT is the ideal coilover system for drifters of any level. TEIN SUPER DRIFT includes pillowball upper mounts which allow camber adjustment and a more responsive ride. TEIN SUPER DRIFT is also called Side Way Master and is intended for competition use.

SUPER RACING– TEIN SUPER RACING COILOVERS are developed from the actual competition experience. Both spring rate and shock valving were derived from years of motorsport experience. TEIN SUPER RACING has a fully adjustable damper utilizing a full length adjustable system to allow independent adjustment of shock height and pre-load. Separate 16 levels of adjustment for both compression and rebound allows user to fine tune the suspension. Front pillowball upper mounts allow for both camber and caster adjustments. Externals reservoirs on SA type dampers allow for added oil capacity and ultimate performance. Other features include high tensile strength racing spring, mono tube shell case, Alumite finish, and Teflon coated damper body. TEIN SUPER RACING is ideal for advanced and professional drivers who want a complete damper tuning capability. TEIN SUPER RACING is also called Circuit Master and is intended for competition use.

TYPE HT– TEIN TYPE HT COILOVER KIT was developed using TEIN’s experience in Tarmac racing. Both spring rate and shock valving were tuned for tight courses, such as Gymkhana and Autocross competition, allowing for fast transitional response and optimal grip. Separate 16 levels of adjustment for both compression and rebound allows the user to fine tune the suspension. Mono tube design allows for optimal performance. TEIN TYPE HT is ideal for drivers seeking quick and crisp response on tight courses, such as Gymkhana and Autocross competition. TEIN TYPE HT is also called Gymkhana Master and is intended for competition use.

TYPE HG– TEIN TYPE HG COILOVER KIT was developed using TEIN’s experience in Gravel racing. Both spring rate and shock valving were tuned for gravel courses, such as rally and dirt trail racing. TEIN TYPE HG is constructed from steel for additional durability, in order to survive the harsh conditions of gravel driving. Separate 16 levels of adjustment for both compression and rebound allows the user to fine tune the suspension. To prevent aeration, TEIN specially developed a unique free piston in the construction of TEIN TYPE HG. Other features include twin tube design, and external reservoir for extended shock travel needed for gravel courses. TEIN TYPE HG is ideal for serious gravel driving, such as Rallycross, stage rally, and dirt trail racing. TEIN TYPE HG is also called Dirt Master and is intended for competition use.

TYPE GRAVEL– TEIN TYPE GRAVEL COILOVER KIT is TEIN’s entry-level competition damper for Gravel racing. Just like the TEIN TYPE HG, shock valving was tuned for gravel courses, such as rally and dirt trail racing. The piston stroke has been designed and tested for ultimate performance on uneven surfaces, and to withstand the abuse from gravel racing. Other features include 16 levels of damping force adjustment and twin tube shell case design. TEIN TYPE GRAVEL can be used with OEM springs, however for optimal performance use of TEIN G TECH springs is highly recommended. TEIN TYPE HG is ideal for users who drive aggressively on gravel, and want the ability to use different springs. TEIN TYPE Gravel is also called Dirt Trail Master and is intended for competition use. PLEASE NOTE: TEIN TYPE GRAVEL damper kit does not include springs.

TYPE N1– TEIN TYPE N1 COILOVER KIT was developed through extensive road racing experience. TEIN TYPE N1 is TEIN’s flagship damper for circuit racing; it is the pinnacle of TEIN’s racing innovation and technology. TEIN TYPE N1 damper stroke and valving were designed specifically for circuit racing. Some of the advance features include 20 levels of separate compression and rebound adjustment, full length adjustability of the shock height, external reservoirs, and mono tube design. TEIN recommends using TEIN racing springs with TEIN TYPE N1 dampers. TEIN TYPE N1 damper is ideal for professional circuit racing. TEIN TYPE N1 is also called Circuit Master and is intended for competition use. PLEASE NOTE: TEIN TYPE N1 damper kit does not include springs.

TYPE Gr.N– TEIN Group N damper was developed through rigorous testing in the P-WRC. TEIN Group N is TEIN’s flagship damper for off road use, it is the pinnacle of off-road coilover system and TEIN’s latest technology. Some of the advance features include 3+1 way damper adjustment, full length adjustability of the shock height, external reservoirs, and inverted mono tube design. Other TEIN’s latest technologies include Micro Speed Valving (MSV), Temperature Compensating Valve (TCV), and Hydraulic Bump Stop (HBS).  TEIN Group N is being used by many rally teams around the world and is ideal for teams seeking a serious performance coilover system for off-road competition.

Mortar Repair – 4 Common Crack Problems on Your Home

It’s a sunny morning and you’re up early. You decide to grab your coffee and take a quick stroll around your homes’ exterior to look for signs of wear. You find nothing and are pleased until you turn the last corner of your home and stop abruptly in disbelief!

There before you in the beautiful brick masonry of your home is a huge crack! How did it get there? What do you do? You wonder. Whom do you call?

Well take a deep breath and relax. You’re not alone. Millions of homeowners have experienced this gut wrenching feeling as well. So don’t grab the For Sale sign just yet! Read these handy tips to understand what may be happening to your home.

1.) Settlement Cracks – These common cracks usually manifest as a ‘stair step crack’ or a crack that steps up as it moves horizontally across the wall. Found at or close to the corners of the home, wing walls and quoin corners they are common and easily repaired. Just watch and expect additional movement if the settlement has not stopped.

Solution: Contact your local masonry crack repair pro to have these cracks repaired to keep water, bugs and reptiles from entering the home.

2.) Thermal Expansion Cracks – A vertical or stair step crack usually located in the upper portions of the masonry can be caused by thermal expansion. Bricks walls expand when heated by the sun and if expansion joints are not present, can cause cracks. These cracks appear anywhere within the surface of the sunny wall or in close proximity to abutting walls

Solution: Contact your local masonry repair pro and/or a structural engineer for an evaluation. Some cracks are simple for a repair pro to evaluate and others may require an engineers analysis and testing to determine the cause and recommend the type of repair needed.

3.) Steel Expansion Cracks – Another common crack occurs at the upper corners of doorways, garage doors, windows or any opening. The usual culprit is the steel that supports the masonry above these openings. This is due to the daily and seasonal differential movement between the steel and the brick materials which expand at different rates.

Solution: Contact your local masonry repair pro to have these cracks repaired or caulked. Caulking will move with the materials and help minimize future cracking.

4.) Bulging or Bowed Wall Cracks – Cracks can appear throughout an entire wall or the wall is bulged, bowed in or out or has sunken. This is a serious issue and is usually the symptom of age related failure or structural failure due to improper reinforcement of the masonry.

Solution: Contact a structural engineer immediately for an evaluation and recommended repairs.

It is a good idea to check your home annually for signs of cracking or structural damage in the bricks on your home.

Protect Yourself Against Unprofessional Landlords

Bad landlords are an unfortunate part of many renters’ lives, but there are ways to protect yourself from their poor manners, lack of ethics, rudeness and lame excuses. A nasty or difficult landlord makes you really appreciate finding a better place to live, with highly professional rental staff. It pays to be careful when you find an apartment that you like. Interview the landlord and see if this person is someone you can negotiate with, ask for repairs from, and in general expect good treatment from. If the person is abrupt, rude or unfriendly, it’s better to walk away than commit to doing business with this person on a monthly basis. Sometimes it is better to rent a higher priced apartment than to go for a bargain, where maintenance may be nonexistent. A cheap apartment may cost you more money in the end in repairs, if your landlord is shady.

Fortunately, most of my apartment dwelling days have been positive experiences. After living for nearly twenty years in the same, reputable apartment complex, I moved down to Florida and took my chances with a new rental in a strange new city. My duplex was really cute, with windows everywhere, nature all around and privacy. It was near downtown St.Petersburg, in a stylish neighborhood. My landlady’s backyard was a fence away and she and her daughters weren’t home much. It seemed perfect. Recently divorced, Sara was a nurse, and at first glance, seemed to be a good choice for a landlady. Her husband left her for another woman, and to pay the bills, she had this duplex. Little did I know, she had no interest in taking care of it, ever.

A year went by and the toilet acted up the whole time. She fixed it once, and tried to blame me for it malfunctioning. It was old and in disrepair inside, yet she felt the need to blame it on me. She said, “I’ll pay for it this time. What did you stick down it?” The truth was that she was trying to get me to pay for a new toilet to replace this ancient one. I told her that it was old, and needed replacing, which was no fault of mine. I didn’t add in, that many other things like outlets, window screens and other various problems had never been addressed or fixed, either. The place looked good initially, but underneath it was a disaster waiting to happen. It was a shame, because the place was cute. It had great hardwood floors and a sunny office. I’d overlooked everything because it was so cute and I just had to have it. Big mistake. Sara became meaner and more accusatory as time went on. She hated being called to repair or fix anything and used the opportunity to bash me to any repair personnel who showed up. I would then let her own it and tell her that the place is falling apart, and it was her negligence, nothing more, that led to each problem needing to be fixed. Another nice touch to shut her up was a working security camera, to record her bad behavior for proof later, should it end up in court.

After two years, I had just had enough of the drama and rented a high quality place far from this difficult woman. It was a good place, and I would miss it, but not the stress that went with it.

I gave my thirty day notice, and breathed a happy sigh of relief as my movers pulled their truck out of the driveway for one last time. I then walked through my former home, taking photos of everything with my camera. The landlady slithered by, as predicted, seeing that I was now done with moving, to get her last dig in. “The toilet still needs work,” she whined. I told her “It’s your responsibility, not mine.” and she told me she wanted more money. I just chuckled at her brazen attempts to squeeze money out of me. I had photos and witnesses to back up that this place was treated well, and told her so. With that, I left. I mailed her the keys, registered mail with return receipt requested. That way she couldn’t say that the key was never given to her. I knew better than to fork over the key to her with no witnesses around to see it.

If you’re dealing with a landlord who wants to nickel-and-dime you to death, fight back by documenting everything. Bad landlords may resort to lying and blaming when you move, so it pays to have proof that you left the place in pristine, clean condition. The bad ones don’t want to refund your deposit, and will find any little thing wrong, just so they can justify keeping it. Take pictures of doors, windows, faucets, and anything else that a money-grubbing landlord may try to charge you for. I took photos of the peeling paint on the exterior, and the unswept outdoor walkways, buried under large piles of ficus leaves. Be firm, polite and don’t take any bullying from anyone. Bad landlords have had practise with previous tenants most of the time, and they know what works and what to charge tenants for. Be smart about it, so you won’t be conned. Educate yourself by reading up online about rental rights for your state. Don’t just roll over and write a check. If it goes to court, go in there with photographs, and any other evidence and simply prove your case. This situation didn’t come to that, but she knew I wasn’t afraid to take it further. She was a tough-talking bluffer and I knew it.

The more savvy you are, the less the bully landlords will prey on you. If things get really ugly, before you move, you can always ask for an inspection by the City Inspector. Doing this will anger the landlord, so have a place to go to before doing this. The inspector will write citations to the landlord for any improper issues with the unit itself. If you have bugs, that is something to point out. There are health standards that must be followed by owners of rental property. If you see ants and the super won’t take care of the problem, photograph them and show the inspector on your way out. These are major flaws that may get a bad landlord in a lot of financial trouble, paying fines.

A lovely apartment really isn’t worth dealing with a terrible landlord. It’s better to find a place that treats you with respect, lets you live a life of quiet enjoyment and repairs things without blaming or charging you for it. Be proactive when you rent by asking questions, observing and interviewing other tenants. Know your rights and be professional in dealings with new management. Pretty soon, you’ll have a new apartment, that is free of the stress and trouble. Breathe deep and be proud of yourself for being picky, and taking the time to find the right place for your needs.

How to Play Perfect Fifths on the Violin

The four strings of the violin are tuned in fifths. Thus, it is necessary for the violinist to depress two strings at once with the same finger in order to play a perfect fifth (except on open strings).

However, using one finger to play two strings at once is very difficult. This is because the surface area of the fingertip that comes in contact with the fingerboard is simply not wide enough to cover both strings.

When confronted with a perfect fifth, it may be tempting to simply roll the hand under the violin to cover both notes with a flat finger. However, for several reasons, playing with flat fingers creates tension in the left hand. First, more pressure is required to depress the string because a flat finger exerts fewer pounds per square inch on the fingerboard than one standing on its tip. Second, the wrist must deviate uncomfortably to the left rather than remain straight. Finally, it takes time away from the player to shift the hand away from and back to its ideal position. As a result, he or she may feel rushed and react by squeezing the hand against the fingerboard. Often, a violinist will continue to play with flattened fingers even after the perfect fifth has come and gone– simply because, when tense, the hand tends to press against the underside of the fingerboard and does not like to let go.

How should a violinist play a perfect fifth without using a flat finger? It is best to find a position for the fingertip in between the two strings that catches both at the same time. Because every student’s hand and finger shape is different, it is usually necessary to experiment to figure out the optimal placement for each finger. In any event, it is far better to create a slightly imperfect fifth than to modify the entire hand position to accommodate this interval.

Freestyle Rap Rhymes – Rhyming Your Way to Victory

One of the things that I hear a lot from freestyle rappers is that they have trouble writing their freestyle rap rhymes. As I was listening to a three-year-old the other day, I decided that I would write about this today.

As I was listening to this three-year-old sing, I heard her singing song after song. Every song she sang was a song full of rhymes. One of her favorite is none other than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Let’s take a look at this and look at how the lines rhyme.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star (A)

How I wonder what you are. (A)

Up above the world so high (B)

Like a diamond in the sky (B)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star (A)

How I wonder what you are! (A)

When the blazing sun is gone, (A)

When he nothing shines upon, (A)

Then you show your little light, (B)

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. (B)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, (C)

How I wonder what you are! (C)

Then the traveler in the dark (A)

Thanks you for your tiny spark; (A)

He could not see which way to go, (B)

If you did not twinkle so. (B)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, (A)

How I wonder what you are! (A)

If you notice the first two lines rhyme. If you were to notate the rhyming pattern, you would notate it with an alphabetical letter. Notice that the first two lines rhyme. So notate each of these with the letter A.

If you look at the third line notice that it does not rhyme with either of the first two. In this case, you went then notate the third line with a B. The fourth line rhymes with the third line, so that is also B.

The 5th and 6th lines rhyme with the first two so they both are notated with the letter A. The rest of the lines have been notated.

This gives you the notation and structure of some rhymed verses. If you get stuck writing your rhymes, go back to something familiar. All of us learned a lot of nursery rhymes and short songs when we were 2, 3, 4 and 5. Go back to these and study the structure and rhyming schemes of these rhymes.

Lexmark & ​​IBM Printer Error Codes – What They Mean & How to Fix the Printer Errors

There is a whole range of Lexmark and IBM printer error codes. If you find it difficult to diagnose which is which, then here is a primer to help you out!

Error code 22: Out of paper

This could indicate either a paper jam or a shortage of paper in your IBM and Lexmark printer. Make sure there is sufficient paper loaded into the paper tray and also check if there are any sediments grouped along the path of paper. Check to see if the sensor flag for input is broken or not and also ensure the system boards and cable 2 is not defective.

Error code 31: Paper change needed

This means that your Lexmark and IBM printer has a different paper size configuration than what's needed in the software. Make sure to change the paper settings to adjust the size. Also check the printer software setup for any issues as well as the system board for any fault.

Error codes 41 and 43: Font related

These error codes typically indicate that the particular font needed is not available in the Lexmark and IBM printer. This could signal a faulty font card or a fault inside the system board. It might also mean that the font card had been removed while the power was switched on. If the font card is defective make sure to get a new one.

Error code 54: serial error

This error code indicates that the settings for the serial configuration between your computer and your printer are different. Make sure the communication cable, I / O cable and system boards are not damaged or improperly connected.

Error code 89: Overloaded output tray

This error code assumes that your output tray is completely full. Make sure to take out paper from the output tray. You also need to check the operability of the relative flags. You can also try replacing the photo sensor for the card.

Error code 9920: Fuser not as per temperature

For this error code you need to monitor the resistance on the fuser as well as on the thermo fuse, lamp and the thermistor. There could also be a problem with low voltage. Check if there is continuity in the cable 1 of the system as well as inside the power cable inside the fuser.

Error code 970: improper turning on the fan

This means that the fan inside the Lexmark and IBM printer is not turning on. You could try to reseat the cables that lie between the system board and the fan. Also try resetting the printer.

Error code 24: Incorrect manual feed

This error code could come up due to a variety of reasons. If you are trying to put the paper inside manual feed at the same time the printer is taking off paper from the paper tray then the error could occur. Make sure not to put paper inside manual feed until and without it has been explicitly requested.

Is the VA Hybrid a Good Loan For Me?

Many home owners are financially strapped right now. The economic down turn has caught most of us in some sort of financial hardship. The question of whether the VA Hybrid Loan is a good option for saving money is a good one.

Many Veterans are getting mailers or advertisements offer VA streamline loans with rates of 3.0% apr or lower. These low rates are offered on the 3yr or 5yr VA Hybrid loan.

Many Veterans are hesitant to look at this option for fear of what might happen in the future. This is the VA’s version of an adjustable rate mortgage so the natural fear is that the loan will adjust in the future. Thinking about what the future holds is a good idea, but sometimes the present financial problems may outweigh future financial costs. Current monthly savings might be more important that some future financial risk. It is a simple risk vs. reward question that Veterans must ask themselves.

Basically, if you are in a financial bind right now and need to save as much money as possible then the VA hybrid loan is a great option. Also, if you know you will be moving in the next 3-7 years then this loan makes a lot of sense.

Understanding how the VA Hybrid works is important when deciding if it is the right loan for you. Hybrid means just that, a mixture. The VA took the best of the fixed rate mortgages and the best of the adjustable rate mortgages (yes that’s right, there are some very good components of adjustable rate mortgages.)

The VA has tried to give as many advantages of the adjustable mortgage to Veterans while limiting the risks. Some of the ways that the VA Hybrid loan limits risk for Veterans include:

  • Interest rate is fixed and guaranteed for the first 3 or 5 years
  • After the initial fixed period, the rate can only adjust every 12 months (remember the rate can go up or down, many Veterans have enjoyed their rates adjusting down the last few years)
  • The index (component that makes the loan adjust up or down) is a very stable slow moving index (1yr CMT)

Remember, if you have a VA loan you are always eligible for the VA streamline loan. Some Veterans analyze their financial situation and determine that they absolutely do need to save money right now but know that they are going to keep their current home long term. The VA Hybrid loan may give the immediate financial relief that is need and then in 3-7 years you can always streamline back into a fixed rate if you get nervous about the adjustable feature.

As always, there is no absolute right or wrong answer when analyzing a loan. The VA Hybrid loan might be the best thing in the world for one Veteran and the worst thing for another. If you are considering a refinance using a VA Hybrid loan make sure you speak with a loan officer who specializes in VA loan that can help you analyze the pros and cons of all of your loan options.

Is an Interior Design Career Right For Me? – And Where Do I Start?

"How do I get into Interior Design?" There's no one-size-fits-all answer (thankfully!). Few careers require such a unique blend of artistic and technical skills, but Interior Design comes in enough flavors to suit diversity skill sets and personalities.

In General, the profession falls into two distinct categories: Interior Decorating and Interior Design. They are both completely viable avenues and there are many professionals with successful careers in each.

"Interior Decorating" : If you prefer residential interiors, and enjoy focusing on furnishings and decor rather than space planning and codes, there are many satisfying and profitable options to explore and Interior Decorating may be your perfect fit. Image is not Required, (but you need to be aware of the laws regulating the practice of ID in your state). Some great options: Decorating for individual home owners, home staging, interior re-design, working within a design / decorating firm or on your own, working for or with builders preparing model homes, or apartment / condo / townhome leasing companies to name a few.

So how do I get there ?? – As with anything, the key to your success will be your motivation and commitment! The more you are willing to put in the more you will achieve. The most straight forward way to start is to take classes at a university or community college, but if you are not in a position to go to school right now, there are still some very practical steps you can take. The Hardest Part is Just Getting Started – SO …… GET STARTED !!! There are many paths, but here's a suggested 6-step Action Plan to get you going:

  1. Self-Study – not an online degree (Avoid those completely for Interior Design), but rather to use the available free and low cost resources in a focused, disciplined, and intentional way in order to familiarize yourself with design concepts and to develop practical skills . These resources will not, of course, replace a university degree … but they will help you to explore real issues and topics which designers face on a daily basis (not the 'fluff' seen on TV and in magazines). Some of these skills can legitimately be included on a resume as you seek entry-level design jobs in order to set yourself apart. This is a great first step for those anxious to get started towards their dream, but who can not yet leave an existing job … or for an at-home parent to learn skills on your own schedule … Some examples of free study options are: learn 3d modeling and rendering with Google Sketch-up; learn AutoCad basics – get a starter book, even buy it used, then download a 30 day Acad trial; There are some well done free CEU opportunities aimed at Architects and Designers, but you do not have to be a professional to take them …
  2. Read – Read anything that catches your interest incorporating design. This can be library books, grocery store magazines, websites, etc … Fluff is OK here; just absorb all you can about trends, opinions and beautiful design, just keep it in its place and do not let this consume all your time.
  3. Work with a purpose -Secure your first job in a design related area while continuing steps 1 and 2. This may be something you do just a few hours a week in addition to an existing job or while a spouse is home with the kids – be creative and be flexible ! this is just a stepping stone!
  4. Build your Resume 'and Portfolio
  5. Make your move
  6. Keep Learning!

"Interior Design" : Does this sound more like you? Most of the designers and architects I've known are a unique blend of contradictory characteristics. Most have strong creative / artistic components (obviously), but usually also have a keen ability to solve problems and make order out of chaos in three dimensional space. We are usually less thoroughly 'rightbrain' than our artist friends, having varying (often high) degrees of affinity for numbers, science, and geometry. If this sounds familiar, Interior design might be your perfect fit.

Interior design includes the subset of decorating of course, but goes further. More and more in this competitive environment it's expected that an individual working under the title of "Interior Designer" has at least an associate's degree (with Bachelor's preferred) and has a certain minimum of work experience; Many states have some form of licensing requirement. Regardless of your state's requirements, it is difficult to be competitive in the field without the accepted qualifications especially if you want to work on commercial projects or with an architectural firm. Steps To Become an Interior Designer:

  1. Achieve a combination of Education and work experience, as prescribed by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). There are (at the time of this writing) 5 'routes' to choose from in order to qualify to sit for the NCIDQ exam … in general, the more design related education you have, the fewer years of work experience is required
  2. Pass the NCIDQ exam …
  3. Register with your state (if required).

Can You Guess the Names of These 12 Unique Fruits and Vegetables From Colombia?

Unique Fruits and Vegetables from Colombia

Call yourself an experienced South American traveler? Here’s a quick little quiz for you. Read the description, then try to guess the name of the fruit or vegetable described. You can check your answers later in the article.

Can You Guess The Names of These Strange Foods?

1. I’m long and yellow but I’m not a banana. You can boil me or roast me while I’m green or later when I’m sweet and yellow. Can you guess what I am? That’s right! __________ Enjoy me roasted plantain with cheese.

2. What’s red on the inside and the outside with spines all over on the outside? Even my juice is red. My juice is used in food coloring, body paint and makeup. Do you know what I am? Can you say __________?

3. Hey, I’ll bet you’ve eaten me many times before. I’m really hard and brown on the outside and have water inside of me. I have white meat and you can make “milk” from me too. What am I? Easy one! I’m a __________, of course. You often find vendors selling my milk by the glass in Quito, Ecuador. I sometimes have a rarely-seen seed which grows inside my hard shell and will cause it to sprout.

4. I grow on a vine in bunches but I’m not grapes because I’m orange with tiny little seeds inside of me. My leaves grow all around me and you need to peel them off before you eat me. What am I called? C’mon, take a guess… We’re __________!

5. If you like green peppers you should like me too. You can stuff me and bake me and I’m delicious. Do you know my name? I’m called __________ I am often stuffed and baked with meat, rice, vegetables and seasonings – Yum!

6. My orange shell is thick but easy to crack open. I have a texture like “jelly” inside with many small crunchy black seeds. Do you know what I am? A __________, that’s what

7. This is a tougher one to guess. What’s a tuber like carrots, but smaller, slightly curved and purple on the outside. No, I’m not sweet either, but you’ll like me cooked with milk and cheese. Did you guess __________? Great!

8. My name in English is “Dragon Fruit” but I more commonly known by another name. My thick creamy texture inside is filled with small, extremely hard black seeds. Don’t eat too many of me at one time though or I’ll give you “loose bowels”! Whether I’m small or large, I’m a delicious yellow exotic fruit. I’m a __________

9. My name means “happy apple” and I’m smooth and creamy inside with smooth, hard black seeds. I come in segments which make me easier to eat. Although I’m a strange looking, punk-rocker style fruit, you’ll just love my sweetness. What’s my name? I’m a _________. Enjoy my sweet, creamy smoothness.

10. Just imagine a giant string bean and you’ll have a close idea of what I look like outside. Inside, I have segments which each have a large black seed. My pulp looks like cotton and tastes sweet. What am I? Do you know? I’m a __________

11. I just bet at one time or another you laid under my branches at the beach. This swaying tree has me as its fruit. We grow in bunches of up to 500. To eat us you must boil us for a couple of hours, then peel us. We’re great with a little salt or dipped in honey. We’re very high in cholesterol so you shouldn’t eat too many of us or have us too frequently. Do you know what we are? That’s right, we’re __________

12. You probably have never seen any other fruit like me. I’m white, smooth and creamy on the inside and have spiky green skin on the outside. My thick meat is very sweet too. One great way to eat me is blended together with milk to make a wonderful, tasty smoothie. Often I’m so big and heavy you can’t use all of me at once. What am I? I’m a __________

How did you do at guessing the names of these exotic fruits and vegetables?

Now Check Your Answers

1. That’s right! “Plantain

2. Can you say “Achiote“?

3. Easy one! “Coconut“, of course

4. C’mon, take a guess… We’re “Uchuvas“!

5. I’m called “Archucha

6. A “Granadilla“, that’s what

7. Did you guess “Ullucos“? Great!

8. I’m a “Pitaya

9. I’m a “Chirimoya

10. I’m a “Guama

11. That’s right, we’re “Chontaduros”.

12. I’m a “Guanabana

Travel in Colombia and Ecuador

Among the joys and benefits of foreign travel is the opportunity to try out exotic fruits, vegetables and other local foods. When traveling in Colombia or Ecuador, you can sample these unique taste experiences for yourself. Bon Appetite!

Pricing Strategy Matrix – A Cool Tool for Finding Your Just Right Pricing Strategy

While developing your pricing strategy, it is important to remember that there is an implicit relationship between price and value. We expect to pay more for gourmet food than for fast food and for a luxury car than for an economy model. At the same time, value is a matter of opinion, not fact. I prefer a new Subaru to a '95 Cadillac; my husband prefers the opposite. His wardrobe is built around Dickies; my taste runs to rather more eclectic (and non-synthetic) clothing.

Given that there is a relationship between price and value and that value is a matter of opinion, I had always priced my products and services by triangulating three factors: what I wanted or needed to earn, my costs, and what the market would bear. That's what I had taught countless other people to do, and it worked fine. All else being equal, quality, price, and market generally reached a dynamic balance where prosperity and service overlapped.

But, once came the day when something felt out of synch in the way I used that marketing strategy, and I felt some gritchiness around the prices of products I recommended. I kept examining my assumptions, and everything seemed right. Still, the feeling that something was not quite right persisted.

Never one to ignore an itch, I kept scratching until this week I realized what the problem is. I had been using quite different "markets" to assess what the market would bear. That is, I've been looking at markets that had different values ​​from the values ​​of many of the people I attract. I based my pricing strategy and marketing on the proven best practices of other respected "info product" gurus, but those practices were designed to address the values ​​of people who did not, and probably never would, be attracted to my e-zine.

Readers of my e-zine were a special case. From their emails and phone calls, I knew that they placed a high value on authenticity, intelligence, and creativity. I knew they had high standards for courtesy, honesty, and what I might call "finish." They were tolerant of mistakes (assuming they were acknowledged). They had a sense of humor, a hunger for spirit, and a fundamental commitment to growth. At the same time they tend to be a frugal lot, willing to pay for high quality, but unmoved by hype and positively turned off by pressure tactics.

The generic information marketing model is designed to address the needs of people for what profit is an over-riding value. These folks – many of them good souls indeed – thrive in the hyper-stimulating atmosphere of the motivational circuit: loud, upbeat music, extravagant challenges to dare to be great and simple formulas for achieving success. The more expensive the package, the more this customer tends to believe in its value. And I'm willing to suppose that for the right person, that value can be substantial.

But this model did not fit me and it probably did not fit my e-zine readers, either. More than likely, they were past believing in "7 Steps to Instant Gratification." They probably did not believe in easy answers, though much they might sometimes long for them. (Me, too.)

The bottom line is that, in that case, so-called "best practices" just did not apply. The sophistication, values, and life experience of this community constituted a different market, and we would just have to develop our own best practices.

What would those practices look like? My hunch was:

Transparency: No fake sales; any specials should be clearly linked to a business purpose, and the regular retail price should always be fair so if you miss a sale you can feel good about buying at another time for full price.

– Clarity: Accurate, no-hype descriptions of products and services.

– Simplicity: Prices expressed in whole dollar amounts. Forget the "95 cents" gimmicks. We can round up!

– Trust: Simple returns and exchanges.

I evaluated the marketing and pricing strategy for my products and those of affiliates, keeping asking the questions that wave birth to "Authentic Promotion" in the first place: "What's bugging me about the way I do (or think I have to do) business ? What am I assuming? What is the truth of this? What if the truth were not a problem? "

Goldilocks tried three chairs, three bowls of porridge, and three beds before finding the ones that were "just right." In much the same way, your working towards "just right" prices and marketing methods will definitely pay off, as it did for me. I believe this price-value matrix will help you to find your "right right" price!

For example, my client sells a course which is a comprehensive self-guided seminar that transforms fears and resistance to marketing into grounded advocacy for good work. It's a high value, if she does say so herself. Still, it has a medium price because she is still working on way to convey to potential purchasers the potency and efficiency of this course. One way she is doing that is to develop a series of follow up emails that remind buyers of key practices and principles, that ask strong questions to help them move forward, and that suggest specific sections of the program that solve specific challenges. As she develops this support, she will be able to charge – and receive – a higher price.

PRICE-VALUE MATRIX
(please see the chart at http://www.authenticpromotion.com/pricing-strategies/pricing-strategy-matrix.html ):

HIGH VALUE – LOW PRICE

Underpriced: value undercut by price. "What's wrong with this picture" pricing strategy.

HIGH VALUE – MEDIUM PRICE

Attractive pricing: ideal for market penetration. "More for your money" pricing strategy.

HIGH VALUE – HIGH PRICE

Premium pricing: prestige, prominence. "Connoisseur" pricing strategy.

MEDIUM VALUE – LOW PRICE

True bargain: may be a temporary special to raise revenue or to move discontinued items. "Inventory sale" strategy.

MEDIUM VALUE – MEDIUM PRICE

Price and value are in balance, exclusive of other factors. "Square deal" pricing strategy.

MEDIUM VALUE – HIGH PRICE

Overpriced: informed buyers will stay away; sales may be made to unsophisticated market. "Infomercial" pricing strategy.

LOW VALUE – LOW PRICE

Cheap stuff. Often sold with lots of "bonus" items or features. "Tourist trap" pricing strategy.

LOW VALUE – MEDIUM PRICE

Turns sales into complaints. "Caveat emptor" pricing strategy. ("Let the buyer beware.")

LOW VALUE – HIGH PRICE

Do not even think about it: the "Fleece 'em and run" pricing strategy.

The Art of Mixing and Mastering for Video Games

I think we all remember the old times when we played arcade games and all we could hear in the background were onomatopoeic sounds. And we can all agree upon the fact that video games have come a long way since then, both in terms of graphic and in terms of audio. The processes of mixing and mastering have left their mark and being an audio designer has become greatly profitable. But the work is equally demanding and it requires several technical skills in order to be able to deliver a truly professional final version of the game audio.

Basically, the mixing process can be considered the art of blending all the elements of a musical piece in a compatible way. The end product must be melodious and perfectly balanced. It may seem like a piece of cake, but it’s surely not. An audio designer needs many years of experience to achieve a level of professionalism required in order to make up a flawless mix. It’s called art because in the end, the engineer’s job is to give the song emotion and a certain sparkle. And this emotion, together with the line of the audio must fit the action of the video game. You can imagine that country music has nothing to do with slaying vampires or something of that sort. Dynamic effects are also put to use in this phase, such as equalization, delays or compression, which may provide a certain sense of space to your game audio.

The latter phase of the mixing and mastering is also the final stage of the recording process. But it is highly important and should be treated as such. Mastering acts as a quality controller before the final release. There has been some debate over the level of loudness at which an audio should be mastered, but in order for an audio designer to make clear determinations he ought to have critical listening. Of course they have the aid of special technical equipment and software mastering tools, but the final touch is still in the hands of the sound engineer. The end result also depends on the accuracy of speaker monitors. Moreover, disciplinary equalization and intense enhancements may be necessary for the improvement of the audio translation on any system.

All things considered, excelling at the art of mixing and mastering is a must for any audio designer and video game developers should only trust their music editing needs to professional studios that have the required experience and tools to deliver a faultless end product that meets all of your expectations and the ones of the consumers. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be very hard to find such a studio, as the world wide web has helped the industry of game audio through the developing of online masters and the advances of the sound technology. The online studios are now able to provide end to end audio solutions for every kind of video game you can think of. The cutting edge technology and top notch engineers will help you get a state of the art mix for your product.

Gaia – Earth Mother and Turtle? Ancient Wisdom For Conscious Living

Gaia is etymologically a compound word composed of two elements: Ge, meaning "Earth," which is also a pre-Greek substrate word related to Ki in Sumerian, also meaning Earth and Aia comes from an Indo-European derivative meaning "Grandmother." Therefore, the full etymology of Gaia was once "Grandmother Earth." Most of us know Gaia simply as Earth or Mother Earth; the primordial element from which all things originated, which is what the Romans believed as well. They knew Gaia, the Great Mother, as a single living entity that encompassed the totality of every element in the Universe; land, sea, or sky. The Greeks knew her as an ancient primeval goddess who personified the Earth and whose emergence appeared at the creation of the Universe, born from Chaos. Gaia's power was far reaching in Ancient Greece, making oaths sworn in her name to be the most binding of all. If only such value for her was still a part of our lives, perhaps we'd discover more honor in promise to the planet we live on and more synergy and harmony through conscious, symbiotic care of the collective she signs.

Through the ages and cultures, active worship of this titan of fertile Earth came under the guise of many names and varied forms ranging from reverent bowing to druidic ritual, all in an effort to get more in tune with the rhythm and continuity of nature she symbols . She represented to all, the Earth, or spiritual embodiment of the Earth, and sometimes was the goddess of all creation from which all other gods sprang. Only Egyptian mythology holds a reverse personification, whereas Geb is the Earth Father while Nut is the Sky Mother, as opposed to Zeus as Sky Father and Gaia as Earth Mother. In Indian religions, the Mother of all creation is called "Gayatri," which is a very close form of Gaia. She is the mother of all Vedas, consort of the God Brahma, and personification of the all-pervading Parabrahman – the ultimate unchanging reality that lies behind all phenomena. Many Hindus view connection through the pure love and essence of the Gayatri Mantra as Divine awakening of the mind and soul and a way to reach the most Supreme form of existence. Simply, the mantra helps us reach toward our divine mother and receive her blessings and wisdom to support us through the challenges of life. Gaia's qualities of divine femininity express her desire to nurture mankind and mirror for us, the reverence we have forgotten to honor.

Far too coincidental and divinely synchronous, turtles are the most ancient, vertebrate creatures that also possess Gaia's wisdom and mother energy and through such, have much to impart. Many ancient myths, such as those of the Indigenous North Americans, describe the world as resting on the turtle's back and many still refer to North America as Turtle Island. This is illustrated by their creation legends that tell of a time when Earth was covered by water and Turtle dove to the ocean's depths to bring forth Earth on its back so the people could have a safe, dry home. Like Gaia, these ageless animals have carried a myriad of symbolic meanings throughout the ages and cultures, mysteriously linking them as symbols of the primal mother (except in African lore where it is a male symbol) and lunar cycles; again possessing Earth and Cosmic Universal signal and connection with the center. Far East Asian myth believed turtles thought about the creation of the Universe from its parts, which are said to depict a map of the stars and sacred writings: the shell symbolic of the heavens and used in division readings, the body symbolic of the Earth, and its undershell symbolic of the underworld. This cosmic order representative, coupled with the magical ability to support us in uniting heaven and earth within our lives, supports our experience of life as "heaven on earth." They are the only animal to have the honor of symbolizing both Mother Earth and healing waters, as well as personifying winter, humidity, thunder to the Mayans, Venus, Aphrodite, Northern directions, and the moon (most turtle shells are divided into 13 sections depicting the 13 yearly phases of the moon.) Powerfully nurturing and protecting, turtle medicine is beautifully illustrated through shared attributes with its Earth Mother counterpart, Gaia, while their spirit symbolizes substantial lessons in light of its own example.

There is a presence and flow of steadfast strength in their deliberate, steady, and thorough approach to a life of non-doing, non-reaction, acceptance, and naturalism. Always at home within them, they embody the meaning of "home is where the heart is," understanding detachment and freedom. These carefree, patient, instinctual creatures honor the rhythms of life balance, demonstrate non-violent, self-defense mechanisms, and know when to turn within. Navigating one day at a time, they mirror the importance of moving at one's own pace through life while honoring boundaries. Turtles are survivors; living so near the Earth, slowly slowly, aging gracefully, symbolizing groundedness, and embracing courage with faith, as is demonstrated through the progress that they make only by sticking their neck out. It is no wonder that they considered the wisest of souls in the animal kingdom, offering a potent and substantial analogy for humankind on many deep levels.

So intertwined are the turtle and Gaia; there is no mistaking the significance and association of their deep and diverse symbology that seems to come from two separate sources, but are synonymously bridged as one. Such contrast between an omnipotent presence and an unassuming innocence and yet the blood lines run through the core of the same essence. Do not be fooled by the book's cover, as both embody the spirit and soul of Earth and beyond and share with us invaluable knowledge and teachings. Across the board, whether known as Gaia, personified as Turtle, called, sung, or chanted by another synchronous name, she is the connection to the universal mothering and nurturing source that leads us to a deep sense of profound peace and balance within and manifested without. Yet, more than any other goddess, she is consistently identified as the divine and animate Earth Mother; the living, conscious planet we shelter on that provides sustenance and inherent wisdom to all of her children. Gaia personifies awareness of our connectedness through the circle of life and the sacredness of all life, be it plant, animal, human, or stars above. She roots her values ​​and respectively ours, helping us to remember that connection and to remind us that respect and gratitude for everything and everyone around us is the ever-present message she hopes topart. Through this conscious living we can attain that balance and wholeness that is the promise Gaia offers. Shifting our perspective to that of engaging connection with her as a partner in life worth respect and honor, we can then enjoy the blessings of that union through the daily gifts of beauty and miracles she provides.

Dedicated and inspired by my new friend and Russian Tortoise, Gaia: a sweet, magical, Taurean-born being possessing earthy, feminine energy, as her name suggests. Gaia's name was spoken to me from the Universe as I listened to ancient mantras on the way home from receiving her into my life. She was restless in her box, but immediately calmed to a stillness with the sound of the first mantra playing. Ironically, as I listened to it and sang the words, the only thing that pervaded my thoughts and essence was the Gayatri Mantra, even though the mantra I was singing was not this one. I only had Gayatri on my mind for some odd reason and did not realize I had not been listening to it, until hours later after reaching home. So while I sang the mantra playing, I heard the word "Gayatri" in my head and instantly thereafter, Gaya … Gaia. I turned to my little friend and knew. The Universe and she had both spoken her name to me through the ancient mantra playing. And now I know why.

Plant Growth Factors – How to Make Plants Grow Healthy

Growing a beautiful and fruitful garden takes more than a green thumb. There are several plant growth factors that effect your garden, including the soil in your area and the climate of your region. You may even have different conditions than your neighbor, so it is important that when you want the best garden possible that you take into account all of the factors of your property.

Soil

The soil on your property is perhaps the one thing that can make or break a great garden. Before you plant anything, you can have your soil tested to make sure the pH balance is going to work for the garden you have planned. For example, herb gardens need a balanced pH that is between 6.0 and 7.0 on a pH tester. You can pick up a pH tester at your local gardening center, or you can have your soil tested for a small fee through your local health or water department.

Your soil can easily be adjusted, if necessary, using oyster shell lime for more acidic soil, or sulfur for less acidic soil. You can simply mix the recommended amount into your soil to promote plant growth.

Climate

Climate is one of the plant growth factors that can’t be controlled easily, and can change depending on the location of your property in a certain region. For example, living on a hillside can be cooler and windier than surrounding areas. The best way to prepare your garden for the climate of your property is to choose plants that grow well in your specific area.

Planning your garden according to your soil and climate will help you have a beautiful and productive garden. It may take a little time to find the right combination of plants, especially in extreme climates, but it is worth the effort to add a little beauty to your property.

Space for Plants

When you are planning your garden, you may want to determine which plants you are going to use, and then determine how much space you are going to need. Some plants, such as squash, need a larger space than other plants, such as tomatoes. If you are growing a combination of flowers, herbs, and vegetables or fruits, then you may need to consider grouping these plants and treating the soil according to each groups needs.

Space is one of the plant growth factors that is easily controlled by you. Each of your plants will need enough room for their root system to grow undisturbed, and you will need enough space between each plant to work in your garden. When you are planning your garden, taking the time to find out how much space each type of plant needs will help your garden become more productive.

Fertilizer

Lastly, you will want to use some kind of fertilizer in your garden. If you want an organic garden, then you can consider using manure to fertilize your garden, or you can use a commercially prepared fertilizer. Either way, fertilizer is one of the plant growth factors that can improve your chances of a bountiful garden.

Kung Fu: Shaolin’s Invincible Floor-Sweep – The ‘Iron Broom’!

The Shaolin Temple’s 72 Secret Fighting Exercises or ‘Kungs’ involve dramatic training extremes which, if persisted with, deliver astonishing results. ‘Iron-Broom’ Arts develops bodily stability, both when still and moving, and an irresistible floor-sweeping kick capable of uprooting multiple opponents. Details of the training methods and the three key stages involved follow.

Introduction

The 72 Kungs can be classified as: Yin/Yang, Gang/Rou (Hard/ Soft), Internal/External and Power/Energy Training in nature. They usually fall into one of two categories: either Yin Rou Internal Energy Training or Yang Gang External Power Training Exercises (although a few embody characteristics of both).

Various accounts of the whole 72 exist and, whilst there are slight differences between equally respectable authorities over minor details of description and method, the overall level of agreement as to their essential nature and purpose is remarkable.

Technical Analysis

Shaolin ‘Iron Broom’ or Tie Sao Zhou, also known as ‘Iron Legs Kung’, is a Yang/Gang Hard External Power-Training Exercise. This considerably strengthens the thighs and adds concentrated power to the legs. Leg power has tremendous importance in combat, having numerous advantages over fist-thrusting: Kicks can attack opponents’ legs, midriff or upper body; legs are longer and stronger than arms; they can startle opponents-Master Sun’s (Sun Tzu) ‘Art of War’ advocates ‘Surprise attacks…whenever or wherever the enemy is unprepared.’ Legs can launch these. Iron-Broom Arts is particularly effective as a counter-attack, with the unwary victim often taken completely by surprise and dumped on their back-side unceremoniously.

Shaolin maxims confirm legs’ combat advantages:

‘Kung Fu beginners without legs are like trees without roots, swayed by the wind’;

‘Power-fists 30%: legs 70%’;

‘Hands protect like two doors, legs beat the opponent’;

‘Fail to practise leg skills and legs are powerless and slow-one can be easily hurt or beaten by an opponent.’

Tiptoes, heels, soles, plus inner and outer shanks and thighs, are all used towards these ends.

Method

Stage 1 involves lengthy horse- stance (Ma Bu) practice (e.g.up to 2 hours daily) gradually defying feelings of fatigue, extending standing times and shortening rest-periods. This develops leg strength, stability and power considerably.

Next, bury a post firmly at a suitable location or choose a convenient sapling, stand in Ma Bu at an appropriate distance and kneel down on one leg, balancing on the ball of that foot. Place your two palms firmly on the floor and with the other leg stretched out fully, sweep its foot round powerfully until the instep hits the post or sapling forcefully. Repeat the exercise immediately and continue to do so until fatigued.

Initially, the post will not move, merely vibrating as you practice, until, one day, it moves appreciably when struck. Persist until it breaks when swept, get a larger diameter replacement and repeat the exercise.

The final training stage requires a buried bamboo pole. Although light and hollow its flexibility makes this hard to break but persist until you do. Lastly, repeat the exercise on a large tree until it vibrates when struck–if this dis-lodges branches and leaves, you have developed an invincible Iron-Broom!

Overall

The three stages described, necessary to acquire Tie Sao Zhou/Iron-Legs Kung, should take approximately three years in all!