February Fever

Welcome to the top 5 organizing projects for February. As of the 1st of the month there are only 48 days until Spring!!! I’ve got spring fever already. Did you know that a 2013 survey showed that over 72% of households in the U.S. engage in some kind of spring cleaning? The trend seems to increase incrementally each year. See, you are not alone.

If you are like me you are getting antsy to get your hands in the dirt and start growing those precious seedlings of flowers, fruits and/or veggies or maybe your dirt looks like getting a jump on cleaning the garage or attic or perhaps you are ready to make your to-do list for all the exciting possibilities Spring has in store. Let’s jump in here and get to our next top 5 organizing projects:

Our 1st item on the top 5 list is to focus on the rest of our closets from January and add cabinets.

“Originally, the cellar served primarily as a coal store. Today it holds the boiler, idle suitcases, out-of-season sporting equipment, and many sealed cardboard boxes that are almost never opened but are always carefully transferred from house to house with every move in the belief that one day someone might want some baby clothes that have been kept in a box for twenty-five years.”

Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life

I read the above quote one day and had to share because OMG I actually do have those baby clothes boxes in my attic. Honestly, I saved them for when my children had children so they could share their baby clothes but now I just visit those boxes simply because I need to reminisce. Psst, I think it’s time they go to a better home.Now, I do understand that cleaning out all of those closets and cabinets might be a daunting task however, imagine how surprised and free you will feel each time you open any closet/cabinet and see all the space available and how neat everything is stacked, hung, boxed and/or stored. I try to just work on at least one cabinet and closet per day. That way I don’t feel overwhelmed.

This seamlessly leads to the 2nd item on the organizing list: Pots, pans, brooms, sheets, towels, or boxed items found in the back of the closet that you have absolutely no idea as to what is in them. And let’s not forget the kids’ closets. Here is where the fun really begins because now we can separate it all into boxes marked keep, discard, and donate. Keep a blank pad of paper near you at all times so that you can make your own list of what needs replacing or mending. Last year I found that there were a few mechanical items that needed to be donated like the Roomba we never used and the fish cage for the BBQ and I was able to repurpose old kids’ t-shirts by collecting enough to have a comforter made from them.”Everybody wants to save the Earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”

P.J. O’Rourke, All the Trouble in the World

The 3rd item is to specifically organize your shoes. I’m talking ALL shoes. Girls, it’s important to make room for the new sandals and flip flops so let’s get excited!! I store my summer shoes in a large, rectangle wicker basket during the winter and I use an adjustable shoe rack on the floor of my closet for the current season of shoes. Rotating my seasons keeps me focused on the present and allows me to pay close attention to what shoes will need repair and what will need to go once that season is over. I have to admit that it is a very thrilling time for me when I rotate my shoes because it means I am always looking forward to the outfit possibilities. Lately I have been enjoying a song by Old Dominion called “Shoe Shopping”. Check it out while you go through your shoes. It’s quirky and fun.

“Above all, believe in true love and know that men are like shoes. A couple is like a left and a right foot, and out there is your perfect fit. Sometimes you need to change styles and shop around to find it. Sometimes you have to break styles in, sometimes you feel like something that is unstylish but comfortable, and sometimes a style – as much as you like – just doesn’t suit you and will never fit.”

Camilla Morton, How to Walk in High Heels: The Girl’s Guide to Everything

The 4th item might not apply to everyone, especially if you filed your taxes in January but around my house most of the tax documents finish their trek to my mailbox by the end of January so my husband is ready to begin the process of sorting it all out and getting the information ready to be filed. If this is you then maybe this is the year to begin creating filing folders or bins specifically for tax prep. Creating a filing system, clearly labeling files for collecting receipts throughout the year, scanning specific documents like pay stubs so that you won’t have to save each and every one of them. Staying on top of this mound of paperwork from the beginning of the year will be a blessing come tax time next year. Print this document to help you know what to keep and for how long.

The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don’t have to pay taxes – naturally, no one wants to live any other way.”

Judith Martin

And just like that here we are at the 5th item on our organizing list for February. Item 5 is kind of a fun item and ties back to my own antsy disposition regarding gardening. Sometime around the 15th of February, and in some locations even earlier, certain seedlings can be planted in a starter garden. If you have southern facing windows where sunlight comes in all day that is the ideal spot for your starter garden. If you are like me and go crazy with seedlings then you know that the indoor starter garden area runs out of usable space. In cases like these where you just don’t have enough room for all the seedlings you will be starting you can use special light kits that set up neatly and effectively to help those seedlings get the best possible care. The fun part of this project other than planting is going to the store or ordering from a favorite catalog all the precious flower seeds and food seeds you would like to have growing in your garden this year. This is a great project for the kids to help out. My kids used to love watching their seedlings grow. It’s the next best thing to a pet.

I hope you enjoy the discoveries and space you will find this month.

See you in March!

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”

Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

Why Prostitutes Don’t Kiss

(and why she’s not yours just because she spreads her legs)

As a physician to many women who worked in the sex-for-money business, as lover to many women of many ages, nationalities, and careers (including x-prostitutes and dancers), I’ve had the privilege of having the trust and the insight to the emotions and physical bodies of a unique type of woman.

In the process of learning from them and of loving them, I also gained much insight to the minds and emotions of the 3,000 plus women who came to me for help with their sexual and physical problems (during my years working with the hormone replacement of menopausal women).

It comes as a surprise and as a mysterious fact to most men when they discover that most prostitutes will not kiss their clients. Why will prostitutes not kiss the same man they will spread their legs to–and more importantly what very important lesson does that teach us about the emotions of women in general (and people in general)?

Most men have the mistaken idea that when a woman spreads her legs to him that he is gaining access to the most important and sacred part of her. This can give him a sense of power and accomplishment that makes him feel like a bull when he goes back out into the market place.

Taking with him the idea that this goddess has opened and surrendered herself to him, he now feels like he can conquer the world and takes that confidence and leaves the castle to face the world as a warrior.

On the flip side, when his princess denies him or rejects him for another, he can feel castrated and powerless to face his foes and inner demons.

This is why men who give this power to their lover can have great strength when she is open to him but become powerless and depressed when she rejects him. It’s why men who are very dependent upon this feedback from one particular woman can lose their balance and take the life of the woman and her new lover when she rejects him–in his mind she has literally castrated him and made him feel worthless.

There are several possible areas for great power and accomplishment in this flow of emotion and energy but there are also areas where men can open themselves up for destruction.

So, what does all of this have to do with the idea that prostitutes don’t kiss. It’s this (and more). She does not give up herself when she opens her legs to you, she gives up herself when she opens her mind and emotions to you–when she lets you plug into her soul.

As a medical student, we learned of a form of syphilis that infects the brain. When this happens, the pupil does not react to light (become smaller) but does react when focusing on an object that moves from far to near (accommodation). The trick for remembering this change due to neurosyphillis is that the pupil accommodates but does not react (as does a prostitute who is at risk for syphilis).

So, the prostitute accommodates your penis and your simple idea that when you put your penis inside of her that now you are a powerful man. But, she does not REACT to you, she only ACTS for you. She becomes an actress so that you might imagine yourself powerful and then go out as warrior and fight your battles.

It’s an illusion.

You do not own her or any woman simply because she spreads her legs to you. You only own her when she determines that she feels safe enough to trust you with her life–when she feels like you would die for her safety and happiness, and when something spiritual happens that can be facilitated but not fully explained.

Then, and only then, she will long to GIVE herself to you. You cannot take a woman, she must invite you to come in. She must want with every part of her being to be owned by you. Then and only then can you take her. When this happens, then you will have the most sacred part of her–her emotions, her mind, her soul, and her true kiss.

Of course when this happens, you will have access to her body, but you will not take it for your simple pleasure. At this point, you will take her body and her kiss and her thoughts the way manna is received from heaven, the way Moses received the sacred commandments, the way the Buddha receives enlightenment–as a gift from heaven.

I have interviewed literally thousands of women about the intimacies of their sex life, most of them married, most of them having sex with their husbands, and most of them acting. Most of them in love with their husbands, most of them caring for their husbands, but few totally surrendered to their husbands–most of them (not all) actresses.

When I have had a lover who has in the past worked as a prostitute, I have been fascinated to see her go from having difficulty even having an orgasm to eventually begging me to take more of her because with my taking she becomes more liberated and finds a deeper freedom AND a more intense pleasure from sex and life. She starts to know a total surrender orgasm and the connection between sex, and Love, and GOD.

So, when a prostitute or any woman spreads her legs to you, then yes you can take part in the play. You can become the actor and then continue that warrior act as you go out to your business.

But when she is hungry to kiss you, and begs you to take more of her thoughts, aches for you to know more of her because in your knowing you bring new energy to her bedroom and to her walking about the earth outside the bedroom–then you will know with her kiss that she has surrendered.

Then you will go out into the world the true warrior, the true knight who has already relinquished his own life, placed it as a sacrifice to your calling, and taking your lover’s passion as the fuel that gives you energy for your sacrifice for the planet.

Leonardo da Vinci said that most people spend their lives converting food into dung. That’s it. When you have a mission that is fueled by a real kiss, you will know the hatred of others, you may be threatened, you may even lose your physical life, but you will know true love, true accomplishment, and will experience a real kiss.

To know more about total surrender orgasm and how make it safe for you to be kissed, go to the link below:

Face Lift – Variations of the Traditional Facelift

As you age, your skin loses elasticity and starts to droop and wrinkle. This is especially common around the eyes, cheeks and neck. You look in the mirror and think you are starting to look maybe a little like a hound dog. This is where you start wondering of you need to have some "work done."

Your next course of action is to contact a board certified plastic surgeon and meets with him or her for a consultation. Tell him what others you the most and what look you want to achieve, and he will evaluate your skin to determine the best route to take.

It may turn out that you are not in need of a full procedure. Yes, there are alternatives and some of them do not even involve scalpels.

Here are some of your choices depending on what you need to achieve your desired results:

1. Mid Facelift- This procedure is for patients whose neck and chin area are not sagging, and a traditional procedure would be excessive. Instead, you just need the central portion of your face tightened – the nose, cheeks and mouth area. While there are still incisions made, they are hidden either in the lower lash or the fold of the nose. Because this procedure is not as traumatic to the tissue as a traditional one, bruising and swelling is usually less and the recovery is faster.

2. MACS-lift- While the procedure above targets the upper and central portion of the face, this one targets the neck and chin area. Maybe your eyes are still vibrant and youthful looking, but your neck is sagging and you always look like you are frowning.

If so, you do not need the full traditional procedure, a MACS-lift is the way to go. The incision is typically made in the front crease of the ear. The skin is slightly folded and removed to tighten the saggy lower portion of your face.

This procedure is also used as maintenance for patients who have had a full lift and just need some tightening without undergoing the whole procedure again.

3. Liquid Facelift- Yes, there is an alternative for those of you who are terrified of going under the knife. In fact, you could do this on your lunch hour!

With a tiny needle, the surgeon injects a filler into wrinkles, lines and the sunken in areas to smooth out the skin and add volume to the face. There are several different kinds of injectables on the market so discuss with your doctor what he uses.

Do not expect these results to be permanent. Touch-ups are recommended to maintain your look. Not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure either. Your surgeon will evaluate your skin and if your elasticity and tone are still good, then a liquid lift will work for you. Otherwise, one of the other alternatives above may be considered.

As with any cosmetic procedure, even if there is no surgery involved, make sure your doctor is a board certified plastic surgeon. Research the procedure and have clear and realistic expectations when you meet for your consultation. When the procedure is over, you want to look like a younger more vibrant you.

Management Development: Approaches for Developing Managers

Managers are responsible for overseeing multiple aspects of a business’ functionality, from the productivity of employees to monthly expenditures for departments. In many cases, managers rise through the job ranks to oversee the positions that they once held, but experience is not the only requirement for being a good manager. The candidate also needs management development training – a specialized training that is available from a provider of leadership development resources.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a classic development technique in which an experienced employee advises a less experienced one on the professional and personal aspects of the job. Mentoring relationships can be professional or casual, and often occur over an extended period of time to maximize the growth of the person.

Coaching

Coaching is similar to mentoring, but the focus is on reviewing the person’s performance, and providing advice for improvement. Like mentoring, coaching is typically an ongoing process, which helps the person adapt to new situations and meet new challenges as they arise in the workplace.

Upward Feedback

Sometimes the people who appraise a manager’s performance the best are the people that he or she oversees. In upward feedback, employees who work with the person comment on his or her strengths, and identify areas for improvement. Participants in the feedback process maintain their anonymity.

Job Rotation

Job rotation is a management development technique in which a trainee is assigned to different job departments over a period of years. The various assignments give the person inside experience with the departmental needs and operations that they may one day oversee.

Professional Development

Professional development is also an important part of developing as a manager, especially at companies that require candidates to have degrees in certain disciplines. Some companies offer leadership development resources that help trainees pay for education, making it easier for them to climb the corporate ladder.

Executive Education

Depending on the level of management, the trainee may attend executive education classes and seminars at institutions of higher learning. Although executive education is seldom degree-oriented, it often provides the student with certificates that are valuable resume builders, and help the person reach higher pay scales.

Dysfunction Analysis

To put it bluntly, dysfunction analysis assesses whether a candidate has a psychological disorder, by testing his or her mental stability. If the analysis reveals that the person needs to fine-tune certain aspects of his or her mentality to succeed in a position, he or she may undergo a psychological training program.

Supervisory Training

Supervisory training is often performed in the initial stages of management training, such as when a recent graduate embarks on his or her first managerial opportunity, or an experienced employee moves to a position that presents new challenges. Similar to coaching, supervisory training provides feedback about the person’s performance, with the person often receiving the feedback in real-time.

Conclusion

Management development is a discipline that has several sub-disciplines, including but not limited to mentoring, coaching, job rotation, professional development, executive education, and supervisory training. For more information about development techniques, contact a provider of leadership development resources today.

Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin, Former British Hill Station

Certainly the most ‘unburmese’ yet one of the best known cities and favourite tourist sites in Burma is a formerly very small Shan-Danu village that the locals call ‘Pyin Oo Lwin’. It is located in the Shan hills, some 42 miles/68 kilometres north-east of and some 3.220 ft/976 metres higher than Mandalay from where to get here takes about 2.5 hours by car. Starting in Mandalay one has first to pass the plain north of Mandalay and then drive through the steadily climbing foothills of the Shan mountains.

What Pyin Oo Lwin (1.070 metres/3.510 feet above sea level) has in common with Nurwaelya in Sri Lanka and Dajiling in India are three things: they are all hill stations, have all a pleasant temperate weather and are all very British. This because all of them were created by the British as a reminder of the ‘Old Country’.

What Pyin Oo Lwin was and still is it owes to the facts that it lies at a strategically important point in Upper Burma, that it has an even during and at the height of the hot season very pleasant ‘European’ micro-climate and to a British officer of the Royal Bengal Infantry: Colonel May.

After the last member of the Konbaung dynasty and last and very cruel Burmese King Thibaw (under whose short, seven-years merciless reign (1878 to 1885) every year many thousands of Burmese were murdered) had spend little time to severely alienating the British by, among others, sending his forces into the territory of then British India. Upper Burma was within two weeks effortlessly occupied by the British colonial forces in 1885 and Colonel May stationed at the hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin in 1887. He ‘founded’ the town, then named in combination of his name ‘May’ and the Burmese term for town ‘Myo’, ‘Maymyo’, which is the name the town is mainly known by especially outside Burma.

Maymyo, the small town with its many Tudor-style brick and timber houses that has once been Burma’s best known and most popular hill station has plenty to offer to both foreign visitors and locals. This also goes for its surroundings – well known for their natural beauty made of and comprising green, tree-covered hillsides and picturesque waterfalls.

Something that immediately upon arrival in Maymyo catches the eye is the somewhat out-of-place and out-of-time appearing mode of transportation; very romantic, horse/pony-drawn, brightly painted and picturesque enclosed miniature coaches from bygone times. These carriages offer sufficient space to sit in for two passengers but get a bit overcrowded with four adult passengers squeezed into it.

Depending on the view one takes or equation one prefers they are looking like coming just out of either London’s pre-automobile streets or the American Wild West’s Wells Fargo days. However, the stage coach is Maymyo’s chief means of transport. Around town the ride in them is a little bumpy on the hard seats, though. But that quickly pales into insignificance against the backdrop of this small but in many aspects still so very ‘British’ town.

The main attraction and centrepiece of the town – though not located in the centre of the town – is the on the day of its opening in 1917 some 170 acres and in present days some 472 acres/175 hectare large Botanical Gardens, now called ‘Kandawgyi National Gardens’, that include a some 70 acres big lake.

This extremely beautiful botanical garden and magnet for locals as well as foreigners would – although it is been significantly enlarged since it was first opened – not exist if not the botanist and British forest official Mr. Charles Alex Rogers had created it from 1915 to 1916 with the help of Turkish World War One POW gardeners the British army had made.

There is a little island in the lake located on which is a small stupa. The garden, on the one hand, a natural landscape, on the other hand, a professionally arranged, superficial park, yet not quite either can be given a bird-eye view from the top floor of the 10-storey high ‘Nan Myint Tower’ that is located in it. The tower is built in a style resembling a Burmese watch-tower. From up there one becomes more aware even than while strolling through it on the ground that the garden is a centre of botanical study; a colourful, aesthetically arranged medley of trees, plants and flowers. That is to say, a patchwork of areas of different shades of green comprising meadows and e.g. pines, chestnut trees, oak trees, poplars, interspersed with brightly and differently coloured patches of colourful blossoms of e.g. rhododendron, chrysanthemum and orchids, and so on.

What makes all this natural splendour of both the park and the entire region possible is apart from the expert landscaping and gardening of the park the rich soil combined with the very favourable micro-climate of this mountainous region that is much cooler (by up to 18 Celsius-degrees) than the hot plains but never so cold that it freezes although it can get quite chilly here For this reason visitors coming from the hot plain to Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin should be reminded that bringing along socks and pullover is definitely advisable.

It is this perfect climate that effected two things. Firstly, that all varieties of trees, plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables, both native and European are sprouting here in abundance and year-round and that, secondly, here is a very pleasant living environment for humans.

The perfect, temperate weather results in the fact, that Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin and the area surrounding it is a main supplier of high-quality vegetables, fruits, coffee and flowers not only for the town itself and the lowland markets in closer vicinity (what includes Mandalay) but also farther and far-away towns and cities including even Yangon.

Speaking of fruits. The Europeans’ – and especially British – favourite fruit that makes up the genus ‘Fragaria’ of the family ‘Rosachilaensis’, commonly known as ‘strawberry’, is growing here galore throughout the cooler months of the year. Surely, what therefore immediately springs to the mind of Western early post WW II generations visiting this town is the 1967 Beatles-world hit ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.

The very pleasant living environment results in the fact that Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin was soon after being occupied by the British transformed into a retreat for European, predominantly British- business people, civil servants and military personnel, in consequence of which many companies and private persons started to build smaller and larger ‘English country mansion-style’ houses. Not only are many of them still standing but they are also strikingly good preserved in their original architecture. Other houses, however, are architectural marked by a strange, yet interesting and more often than not even beautiful English-Indian style-mix.

The town is dotted with a total number that may well exceeds 100 of these Edwardian and Tudor style teak wood and brick buildings that stand solemn witness to Maymyo’s colonial era. One of them is the ‘Canda Craig’, the former chummery of the ‘Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation’ (BBTC), in present-day Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin the ‘Thiri Myaing Hotel’.

By the by, it was a dispute over the exploits of the Bombay Burmah Trading Company between the Burmese king Thibaw and the British that made the British draw the line what, in turn, led to the third Anglo-Burmese war and,finally, to the founding of Maymyo.

That the BBTC was engaged in wood industry-based business (teak logging) becomes evident through the plenty of teak-wood that was used when constructing this wonderful building in English country mansion style. A notable masterpiece of carpentry is the sweeping staircase that leads from the lobby up to the first floor.

The Canda Craig has lost much of its appeal without the deceased Mr. Bernhard, the chummery cook from the colonial era who was the soul of it all. Nevertheless it still bears a lot of very British features not only as regards the building as such with its big fireplace, the ‘Hedera helix’ (ivy) covered ground-floor walls and the beautiful garden in which it is embedded in and surrounded by, but also in its offerings: Morning Tea, ‘Fife-o’clock-Tea’, Roast beef, log-fire in the fire place (when it is too cold), the lot.

But there is yet one more British element. As rumour has it, the Canda Craig is haunted by ghosts. But this is nothing to worry about. It may well be Mr. Bernhard’s ghost, roaming the premises in his last ditch attempt to uphold British tradition. After all, what could be more British than a haunted house? By the by, in the early 1970s the in 1941 in America born novelist and travel writer, Paul Theroux lodged as described in his in 1975 published book ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’ in the Canda Craig. Theroux won in 1982 the ‘James Tait Black Memorial Prize’ for his book ‘The Mosquito Coast’ that was 1986 made into a film, starring Harrison Ford),

One of Maymyo’s/Pyin Oo Lwin’s other signs of its colonial era is, apart from the previously mentioned Edwardian, Victorian and Tudor style buildings located among other on the Mandalay-Lashio Road – the ‘Purcell Tower’, Maymyo’s clock tower, a copy of the clock tower in Cape Town/South Africa. The Purcell Tower that is located on the Mandalay-Lashio Road in the town’s centre (opposite the market) is just like her kin in Cape Town a present of Queen Victoria who lived from 1819 to 1901.

Queen Victoria was seemingly a stickler for punctuality for she has presented a lot of other clock towers to a lot of other towns during her reign. The Purcell Tower’s bell chimes the same 16-note-tune in hour-intervals that is to hear from its 13.5 tons weighing brother ‘Big Ben’ in the House of Parliament’s (London) 320 feet/98 metres high clock tower.

The town’s main street, the High Street, being part of the famous ‘Burma Road’, linking India’s Assam with China’s Yunnan – is lined with a large number of partly Tudor-style houses and partly buildings of indefinable architecture. The people living in these houses are, as the rest of the town’s inhabitants, a melting-pot of different ethnic groups and nationalities such as Burmans, Shans and sub-tribes, Chinese and to a large degree Indians and Nepalese, descendants of the Indians and Nepalese Ghurkhas of the British-Indian army who put down roots here after the war.

These people still keep up some of the old traditions in both their private lives and their work as hoteliers, waiters, gardener, coach-driver, etc.

The multi-nationality of the population is reflected in its multi-religiousness. Christians, Buddhists and Moslems, all have their own places to worship their respective deity/deities. The on the town’s north-eastern outskirts situated beautiful Chinese Temple (a 10-minutes stroll from the Canda Craig) with the bright yellow roofs covering its several buildings, the huge green mosque on High street (close to the Purcell Tower), three churches, the Gothic-style brig-structure of the ‘Shwe Hnalone Taw Catholic Church’ (which is the translation of the original English name ‘Sacred Heart Church’ into Burmese), the ‘Immaculate Conception Church’ and the ‘St. Michaels Church’ as well as the picturesque ‘Maha Anhtoo Kantha Paya’, are all remarkable examples of this.

The ‘Maha Anhtoo Kantha Pagoda’ (Pagoda of the reluctant Buddha), from the wall surrounding it and its terrace to its orb-crowned vane dressed in a combination of dazzling white and shiny gold, is by definition a ‘Uddisaka Zedi’ as it is enshrining an image of the Gautama Buddha.

The pagoda is at the time of this writing scarcely 40 years old and the incident that has led to its coming to be is as strange as it is note-worthy. Here is the story.

A China-bound truck coming from Mandalay laden with three very heavy Buddha images made of marble, passed through Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin when for whatever reason one of the images obviously decided not to continue its journey anymore and to put down roots in Maymyo. It simply dropped off the truck on a hill-top just outside the town and landed on the ground without suffering any damage. It successfully resisted all following attempts of being loaded back on the truck and (logically?) the easiest solution to the problem seemed to be to build the Maha Anhtoo Kantha around the Buddha image to give it a new and permanent home.

Another pagoda, the ‘Naung Kan Gyi Pagoda’, is situated on a hill-top north of the town. From here one has an impressive view over Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin and the surrounding hill sides.

Other points of interest outside Maymyo/Pyin Oo Lwin are the ‘Dat Taw Gyike waterfall’, the ‘Pwe Kyauk waterfall’, located some 8 kilometres/5 miles out of town in Lashio direction, the Wetwun Waterfall’, some 24 kilometres/15 miles outside town, and the more spectacular ‘Anisakan Waterfall’ in Anisakan village, which is located some 8 kilometres/5 miles away in direction Mandalay.

The Anisakan is a five-part waterfall, the part in the centre being the most spectacular one.

Also well-worth being visited is the ‘Peik Chin Myaung Buddha Cave’ complex with a waterfall cascading out of the cave’s mouth. The cave’s main shrine with its stalactites growing down from the ceiling is about one mile away from the cave’s entrance. It houses – surrounded by other statues – a Gautama Buddha image in a seated mudra posture. This ‘Bhumisparsha mudra’ position is showing Gautama Buddha calling on mother earth to stand witness to his moment of Enlightenment.

Mechanic’s Liens – Friday’s Free Form – Notice of Intent to Lien – General Contractor

How many times have you been in this situation: You are owed money on a construction project and are thinking of filing a mechanic’s lien. But you know that after filing it there will begin a serious dispute process, and probably involving the hiring of lawyers on each side. You would like to send a notice to the other side telling them that if it is not paid, more serious steps will be taken. Well, there is a form to be used in this situation. In my experience, this is a very popular form–so much so we would like to make it available to the construction industry.

This form below warns the owner that you will be filing a mechanic’s lien if payment is not made within ten days. Hopefully, it will create a serious dialogue for settlement. Come up with your bottom line amount to settle and be prepared to offer it to the owner if he or she is negotiating in good faith. Remember that the last thing an owner wants is a lien on their property: it jeopardizes title, interferes with their relationship with the construction lender, and prevents refinancing or sale. This Notice is worded in a non-threatening manner so as to capitalize on this situation, with the owner knowing that you are required by law to file a lien within a set period of time or lose your lien rights.

WHO CAN USE THIS FORM? All persons, whether general contractor, subcontractor, or supplier.

HOW TO SERVE: There is no need to file this with the court or record with the recorder’s office. It is simply served by mailing.

WHO TO SERVE: If you are a general contractor, serve the owner and construction lender. If you are a subcontractor or supplier, serve the owner, general, and construction lender.

HOW TO SERVE: Although not required, it is recommended for its effectiveness to be served by certified mail.

WHEN: Serve ten days before you file or record the mechanic’s lien. Remember, it does not extend the time to file a mechanic’s lien.

NOTARIZED? No.

COPIES: The original signed copies are served. Keep an extra copy for your records.

CERTIFICATE OF MAILING. Use a standard Proof of Service form. Sign this Proof (it is like a certificate of mailing) and staple it to the form so you have proof it was mailed to the various persons or entities.

MARGINS AND FONT. This is a Word document so use the following margins so it prints out properly: Top: 18 pt; Bottom: 22 pt; Left: 58 pt; Right: 58 pt. Type size is 12.

HOW TO USE? Cut and paste the form into a new Word document.

WHICH STATES?

Use this notice only in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

As to California, you can use it until further notice. California is in the process of amending its mechanic’s lien statutes which will require a specific notice. Check our web site for that new form.

SAMPLE FORM STARTS HERE

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO FILE A MECHANIC’S LIEN (General)

(This is not a Mechanic’s Lien, nor a reflection on the credit of any contractor)

__________________________________________________________________________________

Via Certified Mail

TO OWNER:

_________________________________________________

(name(s))

________________________________________________

(address–no. and street)

________________________________________________

(address–city, state, zip)

FROM GENERAL CONTRACTOR:

_______________________________________________

(name(s))

_______________________________________________

(address–no. and street)

_______________________________________________

(address–city, state, zip)

______________________________________________

(fax/phone)

Please take notice that the undersigned lien claimant intends to file a Mechanic’s Lien against your property if payment is not made for moneys owed as follows:

PROJECT NAME: __________________________________________________________________________________

PROPERTY SUBJECT TO LIEN (common street address or other description):

__________________________________________________________________________________

(1) General description of construction services furnished by Lien Claimant:

_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

(2) Amount due: Through _________ (date) is $ _____________ after just credits (total performed, with extras of $ ___________ , less payments of $ ____________ ). Unpaid invoice(s) attached. Attorney’s fees and court costs will also be requested.

The above-described work was provided to your property, at your instance, by the Claimant. If payment is not made within ten days (10) of receipt of this demand, Claimant intends to file a Mechanic’s Lien, without further notice. If you have any questions or wish to make payment arrangements, please call immediately to discuss.

Dated: _____________

_______________________________________________

(Signature and Title)

The Windshield Replacement Survival Guide – Consumer Auto Glass Education

Replacing Your Vehicle’s Windshield? Here is Your Windshield Replacement Survival Guide.

Safety First

A vehicles windshield provides the occupants a barrier from road debris and the outside elements. But most people don’t know a windshield is designed for structural safety in case of an accident, especially a rollover. A windshield is a vehicles third most important safety feature behind the seat belts, and air bags.

Windshields are like basketball backboards for air bags. So if you have a damaged windshield your air bag may not function correctly. It actually may inflate out the windshield cavity, rather than towards you. Or it won’t adsorb any pressure because your windshield simply pushes out.

Most consumers are not aware that when technicians replace your windshield, there is significant scratching to the “pinchweld” where the glass bonds to the car. These scratches must be prepped using paint and rust prevention steps. They should not simply leave exposed scratches where moisture from the exterior side can cause rust to develop.

Here are some questions you should ask your auto glass company:

  • Is the new glass OEM?
  • Did they remove the brand label on the windshield?
  • Does the new glass have a shade band that matches your old glass?
  • Is the new windshield the same color glass? (glass is actually colored, not clear)
  • Does your windshield have a rain sensor?
  • Is your windshield heated? (companies will install non-heated and charge for heated)
  • Does the windshield have the right bracket for your rear view mirror?
  • Does the new windshield have the same third visor as your old glass? (the painted black design which you can see around the rear view mirror on most cars)
  • Are they using a universal trim molding, or the actual trim molding part for your vehicle?
  • Does the company pay to fix paint scratches, if made by the auto glass technician?

Always inspect a piece of glass for scratches and distortion before it’s installed.

Types of Automotive Glass

A windshield is actually two layers of glass with a laminate material between the layers, what is called “laminated glass”. Laminated glass is extremely hard to puncture or break apart. That’s why a large object like a stunt man, can impact the windshield without breaking through. The strength of laminated glass combined with proper adhesion of the windshield to the body of the car provides massive strength against the roof collapsing in a rollover.

All of the other windows in your vehicle are “tempered glass”, which means they break into tiny fragments to reduce injury to the occupants. (a small fraction of vehicles have laminated side and rear windows also)

Windshield Urethane

Today’s vehicles use urethane as the adhesive to bond the windshield to the vehicle, like a glue. Some urethane after complete hardening which can take 2-4 weeks, can hold 500 pounds per square inch of pressure. That’s one reason why you could never simply push your windshield out. Impossible! Some urethane allows you to drive away within one hour after installing the windshield, hardening just enough to withstand vehicle accidents. When your replacement has been completed, make sure to inspect the inside of your vehicle around the edge of the glass. Make sure no urethane has oozed out into view or onto your vehicles interior. This is more common then people realize and needs to be fixed immediately before the glue hardens!

The urethane is normally heated, then applied to the glass or car body at the raised temperature. Depending on where you live or the application, they can use different kinds of urethane, even a cold temperature apply that is not heated. Temperature has a huge impact on the adhesion qualities of the windshield. I would recommend never getting your windshield replaced in temperatures lower than 55 degrees, or higher than 105 for the best results if possible. This is easy if you have the glass replaced inside of a shop or in a shaded area. Direct sunlight can heat the windshield to over 125 degrees!

Urethane does have an expiration date, so make sure you ask about this before a technician begins replacing your vehicle glass. Using expired urethane means minimal bonding power and the windshield has a chance of coming out during an impact. All urethane is made with an expiration date printed on the tubes, and if they don’t call someone else!

Paint Scratches, Rust, and Proper Windshield Installation

Deep vehicle scratches can turn into major problems later. Moisture will enter through a scratch and attack your vehicles body causing rust later. For people who live by the ocean, this can be disastrous for the structural integrity of your vehicle down the road near the windshield. If you are buying a used vehicle, make sure you check around the edge of the glass and under the trim molding for evidence of rust. Rust will spread under your paint, it is amazingly aggressive.

If the rust spreads to the “pinch weld” which is where the urethane is placed, the urethane will not bond and a windshield will leak or can even be pushed out. This can cause thousands of dollars in damage from water leaks or can even can cause death in an accident! If the rust moves into this area the technician must remove it before applying the urethane, or the vehicle must be sent to a body shop for repair.

Make sure the technician takes steps to prep and repair scratches to the pichweld. There is primer paints, metal rust prep chemicals, and other ways to cover scratches to reduce the appearance or spread of rust. The most important areas are where water will contact your vehicles body, especially under the exterior trim molding. That trim is not water sealed between the body and glass. The water seal comes from the urethane bead.

It is very important that you watch the installation of your vehicle glass if possible, DO NOT just walk away. If a professional technician can not perform the job while you watch, they shouldn’t be working on your vehicle and call someone else. A technician can cause significant paint scratching to your exterior paint job with improper techniques. Some even use nail polish or paint to hide the damage. Some even rub dirt into the scratch to make it look old! Ensure that the technician is using vehicle protective equipment like seat covers, floor mats, tape on the car body where it’s close to the glass, and a protective mat over your hood.

Make sure the technician removes body parts like windshield wiper arms and the cowling (located beneath the wipers) are removed, if the glass edge is covered by these parts. Most technicians will simply shoot a ton of urethane under the cowling area and “stuff” the glass, sliding it into the glue and under the cowling. This is extremely unsafe! A technician doesn’t even know if the urethane has created a proper seal, or if it is bonded safely. A proper windshield installation requires that the glass be place straight down onto the urethane bead. Also this ensures the urethane is not shot all over parts beneath the cowling like wiper assemblies and wiring.

OEM Windshields and OEM Equivalents

OEM means, original equipment manufacturer. So if your vehicle is a Honda Civic, OEM glass would be purchased from a Honda Vehicle Dealer. Auto glass installers can simply order OEM glass from the dealer. Make sure the glass has the OEM label. The windshield label which is about a square inch in size, normally is located in the lower corners of the glass. Sometimes OEM glass says the actual glass manufacturer rather than the Car Dealer name. Call your local dealer on what to look for.

A lot of auto glass companies will tell you they are installing the “OEM Equivalent” part. Because consumers don’t know what to look for, most times a glass with no label or an aftermarket part is used. Do not buy a glass when the label has been etched or removed. No one knows where it came from! Always check the label.

The only scenario in which you may find an equivalent glass, is purchasing a windshield produced by the same manufacturer which produced the OEM glass. It may even be from the same production line and mold from the OEM manufacturing!

Aftermarket Automotive Windshields

Do not be fooled into thinking an aftermarket windshield is the same as an OEM glass. Aftermarket windshields are made using reverse engineering instead of the original OEM mold and production line.

Aftermarket glass tends to have more visible light distortion when viewing the glass at an angle, and the dimensions are not exactly the same as an OEM. All glass that is bent has some level distortion yes, but it is considerably worse with aftermarket manufacturing. You may even see distortion when looking straight through aftermarket glass.

Aftermarket glass is transported through different processes than OEM glass from a dealer. A lot of OEM glass is transported covered by plastic wrapping and using strict shipping techniques, and the windshield’s edges are protected by foam wrapping. But Aftermarket glass is transported by much different practices. Most auto glass companies use no protection covering all surfaces of the glass for transport. And sometimes pieces of glass have been taken to customers locations and returned to the distributor or shop. So aftermarket glass has been handled many times!

Now I’m not saying aftermarket glass is unsafe or unfit to use at all. I’m simply stating the facts about the truth, for your education and insight. I feel you should be educated about this part of your vehicle which essentially protects your family on a regular basis.

Rain Sensors and Other Accessory Plugs Such as Heated Glass

If your vehicle has a rain sensor it should be located near the rear view mirror. A lot of times it looks like a circle, square or triangle. This option allows the windshield wipers to speed up or slow down depending on the amount of rain automatically. Make sure you get the same designed glass. If the rain sensor involves a gel patch, make sure the technician does not leave lots of air bubbles when installing it. Those air bubbles can cause the sensor to malfunction.

Some vehicles like a Land Rover, have plugs located under the interior a-pillar trim. On some convertibles like a newer Ford Thunderbird, a large portion of the interior may need to be diss-assembled to remove the interior a-pillar trim. On the Honda Ridgeline, the heater plug is located behind the glove box. Some new vehicles also have Lane Departure sensors located near the rear view mirror.

You can always find out what you need by calling your local dealer and giving them your VIN Identification number from your vehicle. If your car is important to you and you want to maintain the investment, always call your local dealer and ask for advice about your specific vehicle.

Windshield Shade Bands and Windshield Color

All auto glass has a shaded color. No windshields are completely clear. Typical shading colors are blue, green, bronze, and grey. Be sure sure to get the same color. You will see that all pieces of glass in your vehicle are the same color, excluding privacy glass and tinting.

A windshield may have a shade band across the top near the roof of the vehicle. This area is preferential. You should decide if you like it or not. It does tend to hide the edge of the interiors headliner when looking at the vehicle from the exterior. Shade bands do come in different colors but not all windshields

Most windshields can be ordered without a shade band at all. But you may find the part is actually more expensive because less people order it. Having a shade band does provide some shading in between your sun visors but it does little to drastically shade the sun. Take note the shade band will be darker at night.

Exterior Trim and Moldings

Your vehicle may have exterior trim or moldings cover the edge of the glass and/or covering the edge the car body. If the trim molding is just rubber, make sure you know what the technician is using to replace it. Some companies are now requiring that technicians use only a universal type aftermarket molding, rather than one that is specifically designed for your car. There should also be an OEM molding part available which is exactly the same as your original molding. Do note that cost for OEM is always more.

You may see plastic and/or metal trim moldings covering the edge of your windshield on the exterior. Normally these have some type of plastic or metal clips that attach them to the glass or vehicles body. Make sure the company replaces any broken clips or parts from removal of these parts. If your vehicle is older than 3 years, these parts become very brittle and damage easy. You may be warned about parts that always break, in which the company may request you also purchase that part ahead of time. You may find a lot of companies simply glue those parts back into place, rather than replacing the broken parts.

Vehicle Windshield Logo and VIN Window

On vehicles like a Ford Mustang and Ford F150, you may have a logo in the third visor above the rear view mirror. These windshields can be ordered with out the logo and are cheaper that way. Make sure you ask about your options.

Most windshields have a small narrow window for viewing of the VIN identification number near the lower drivers side portion of the glass. Make sure this window is in the right location on the glass. When the job is completed, make sure that glue has not covered the VIN, the VIN number plate has not been cut off, or that it has not been badly damaged. Police or the DMV will give you a hard time if the number is not legible or is completely missing from that location.

A Review of the Stickley John Widdicomb Furniture Collection

The Stickley John Widdicomb furniture collection is not only beautifully crafted, but steeped in English and American traditions. It is used in embassies and stately homes worldwide, and is famed not only for the quality of craftsmanship involved in its construction, but also for its unique designs and use of beautiful veneers and hand-painted motifs.

George Widdicomb left England in 1845 for New York, where he set up a cabinet store in Syracuse. He left Syracuse in 1857, and headed for Grand Rapids, Michigan. There he started up another cabinet shop along with several other carpenters. His experience of making fine English furniture paid off, because his style rapidly became popular in an area of America that was more used to the pioneering style of furniture.

His products were a breath of fresh air, and his business rapidly grew. John Widdicomb was George’s fourth son, and he inherited his father’s ability to create the most beautiful pieces of furniture from local wood as well as from Mahogany from Haiti and Mexico. John set up his own business across the street from his father, producing wooden mantelpieces and other forms of interior woodwork

The Dean of Furniture Design

John’s nephew, Ralph Widdicombe, joined him as a designer, and eventually became known as the Dean of furniture design. They were to work together for 53 years until John retired in 1951. The company continued in business until May, 2002, when the Grand Rapids plant was closed and the assets purchased by L. & J.G. Stickley.

It now operates as a division of Stickley in Manlius, New York. John Widdicomb furniture is still available as a collection marketed by Stickley, offering a large number of reproduction pieces of French, English, Italian and Russian design in addition to a selection of furniture in the American art Moderne style. John Widdicomb furniture is hand-made to a very high quality and produced in limited quantities.

The John Widdicomb Furniture Collection offered by Stickley furniture is suitable for any period home or public building seeking high quality reproduction furniture. The inlay work and parquetry are magnificent, using a number of wood veneers and a high grade of mahogany.

The Russian cabinets look fabulous, offering an insight into how the Russian nobles and royal family furnished their castles and palaces. With antique back mirrors, touch-controlled lighting and adjustable glass shelves, this is a beautiful piece of reproduction furniture that would grace any home and is available in single, double or triple (126 inch) widths. Alternative plain wooden or off-white moiré backs are offered,

Dining Tables and Chairs

The 68 inch long Russian table is made in the Catherine II style, topped with matched walnut veneers and with a frame of inlaid ebony. Alternatively, you might choose a 78 inch long Georgian dining table, topped with Circassian walnut and satinwood inlays. The table lies on two mahogany pedestals, intricately turned and resting on reeded sabre legs.

You have a choice of chairs to go with it, with and without arms. One example is a beautiful Queen Anne baroque side chair with finely curved cabriole legs. Another is the Georgian lyre back side chair, with square tapered legs. You might prefer a Russian chair to go with the Russian table, the John Widdicomb Russian side chair with tapered legs. Each of these three chairs is upholstered, and covered with a brocade or fabric appropriate to the period.

The John Widdicomb furniture collection offered by Stickley furniture provides a wonderful choice of occasional tables and chairs, credenzas and other cabinets, and a total of 34 possible stained, lacquered, marbled or painted finishes and many of the Widdicomb piece are available in a choice of sizes and trims.

The Saracenic Occasional Table

One particularly attractive occasional table is the 26 inch diameter Saracenic circular table. Standing 29.5 inches high, the design of this table was inspired by an Indian textile pattern of the 15th century. It offers a number of patterns radiating out from the center. These are inlaid in a number of attractive woods, namely satinwood, Indian rosewood and ebony, and there is also some teak and decorated faux ivory. The top is supported by five sabre legs joined by an arched centered stretcher. You need to see this to appreciate its great beauty which is redolent of ancient India.

The John Widdicomb furniture collection is offered by L. & J.G. Stickley, of Manlius New York. If you have a need for reproduction furniture, John Widdicomb furniture is just one of the reproduction collections that Stickley offers. Every piece is carefully and lovingly hand-made, and the new St. Croix collection enables you to furnish your home in the old colonial Caribbean style.

Irrespective of what style you are trying to recreate in your home, you will find what you want in the Stickley furniture range. The John Widdicomb furniture collection is particularly useful for those seeking to create the old Russian and French imperial ages, or if you prefer it, the Georgian period of English and American history.

Framing Gable and Shed Dormers

Dormers are very popular in homes on the East coast. They are used to allow for more space in a steep pitched roofing system. For most dormers, you will need to frame the roof first and then raise the gables and set the ridge beam. It is also important to understand where the roof load is designed to distribute the weight on the rafters and floor joists. Then you will know where your bearing points are so you can install extra framing beams to carry the load and transfer down to the home’s foundation.

Framing Gable Dormers

Gable dormers are built perpendicular to the existing roof plane, extends out the edge of the existing roof line and includes a gable roof. Gable dormers are designed to have the weight of the dormer rafters carried through the side walls and on to the existing roofs rafters. Knowing this, you will want to double or triple the roof rafters on either side of the new dormer so the side walls of the dormer have a strong support to rest on. By doing this you will not have to add additional joists under the attic sub-floor.

Just like framing a new skylight, you will need to cut and head the existing rafters that run through the opening of the dormer. You can use a recip saw to do the job.

If you are framing a wide gable dormer, you can expect the load to require extra attention. You may need to use steel I-beams on the floor system to hold up the roof. You may also need to add extra beams in your first floor walls to help carry the weight to the foundation. You can do all of this before you cut into your roof to limit the amount of time your home is exposed to outside elements.

Shed Dormers

Framing a shed dormer is easier than framing a gable dormer. All the weight of the shed dormer is placed on the end wall instead of the side walls so there is no load-bearing issue if the end wall is framed on top of the exterior walls of the home. If the end wall of the dormer is located away from the exterior wall, the floor joist will need to be doubled or trippled to provide adequate support.

The top of the shed dormer can either meet with the main ridge or existing roof. If the top meets below the ridge, you will need to install a header to support the load of the dormer rafters. The header must be correctly sized to carry the tail joists and connect the rafters and the ridge. The side walls of a shed dormer do not carry any weight of the dormer so you will not need to reinforce the rafters on either side under the sidewalls.

To save on the amount of time your home is open, try and have all of your materials pre-cut. You should be able to frame a gable or shed dormer in less than a day.

Painting HardiPlank Siding: How to Paint HardiPlank Without Voiding Your Warranty

James Hardie build­ing prod­ucts are an excel­lent brand to use for your home sid­ing pur­poses. HardiePlank®, or HardiPlank ® as they’re occa­sion­ally referred to, is durable fiberce­ment board sid­ing that is meant to last through the most extreme weather and tem­per­a­ture conditions.

What many cus­tomers love most about HardiPlank sid­ing is how ver­sa­tile it is. In addi­tion to being strong enough to with­stand the major­ity of the ele­ments, HardiPlank mate­r­ial can mimic the appear­ance and tex­ture of wood, leav­ing a beau­ti­ful fin­ish. HardiPlank sid­ing instal­la­tions can also be per­formed with Hardie board mate­r­ial that comes in a wide vari­ety of nat­ural col­or­ing, as well as pre­s­e­lected Col­or­Plus tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate an array of beau­ti­ful, nat­ural home sid­ing options that sim­ply require instal­la­tion for a gor­geous finish.

How to Paint HardiPlank

Now, while Col­or­Plus tech­nol­ogy already pro­vides home­own­ers and com­mer­cial prop­erty own­ers a beau­ti­ful home sid­ing prod­uct, James Hardie’s fiberce­ment board sid­ing can also be painted by the home­owner if they choose to change or touch up the color. While this makes your options eas­ier, it’s impor­tant to under­stand there are still spe­cial guide­lines which need to be con­sid­ered for best results of HardiePlank paint­ing projects.

Paint HardiePlank® sid­ing within the war­ranty spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Your war­ranty clearly states that primed Hardi sid­ing needs to be painted within 180 days, or roughly 6 months, of instal­la­tion. If your sid­ing is unprimed, then you’re allowed 90 days, or about 3 months, to have the sur­faces painted. Fail­ure to fol­low these guide­lines will can­cel out your warranty.

Use the right paint and mate­ri­als for the job. The com­pany highly rec­om­mends the use of their Prime­Plus prod­uct to prime your home sid­ing. Prime­Plus is spe­cially for­mu­lated to for use on fiberce­ment sid­ing, such as that of your James Hardie sid­ing. After your sur­face is prop­erly primed, it’s best advised that you pur­chase 100 per­cent acrylic exte­rior paint for your home, as acrylic paint is best suited for fiber cement, stone and stucco exte­rior painting.

Avoid the temp­ta­tion to stray from using proper paint­ing mate­ri­als to get the job done. For exam­ple, do not use oil based paint in order to paint your build­ing. Oil based paints on unprimed fiber cement will result in unde­sir­able effects. These effects include:

  • increased sur­face roughness
  • loss of adhesion
  • crack­ing
  • exces­sive chalking.

James Hardie does not sug­gest the use of oil based paints over unprimed fiber cement sid­ing. Stains con­tain­ing lin­seed oil are specif­i­cally designed for wood and are not con­sid­ered suit­able for fiber cement sid­ing prod­ucts, whether primed or unprimed.

More Tips for Paint­ing HardiePlank Material

Make sure all of your caulk­ing is com­pleted, and that all of your rough, and cut ends are primed when pos­si­ble. A good Hardi installer will prime every cut where it is pos­si­ble before installing. Addi­tion­ally, make sure that you com­plete a com­plete wash­ing of the HardiPlank exte­rior prior to paint­ing. This increases the dura­bil­ity of the paint job and helps to main­tain the fin­ish by pre­vent­ing pre­ma­ture peel­ing and chipping.

You have a choice of var­i­ous fin­ishes to use for your home exte­rior paint­ing. Many users say Satin fin­ish, while very shiny at first, is best because it will main­tain a new a fresh look as the shine wears down. With time, it will con­tinue to look new with min­i­mal main­te­nance, even more so than sim­ply using a Flat fin­ish, which will look bet­ter ini­tially but appear duller over time.

3 Advanced Cover Letter Strategies For Offshore Drilling Employment

When looking for offshore drilling employment, and in fact any job that requires a written application, the cover letter is arguably the most important element. It is what gets your resume read… or not. If you flub it, you can kiss your chance of an interview goodbye. Before looking at the three advanced strategies, let’s look at three important basic principles of writing this document.

Basic Principles

The first of these basic principles is to send more job applications out. It is common to send 5 job applications and get no response. But send out 100 competently written cover letters/resume and you should start to see some decent results. Prosecuting a successful job hunt is much the same as prosecuting a successful war. You need both quantity and quality.

The second basic principle is to make sure your letter looks neat and professional. Yes, this is important even for a job that requires physical labor like an offshore roustabout or roughneck. Besides looking neat, the spelling and grammar needs to be correct. However, you do not need to pay a professional writer to write your cover letter. Just run it through the spelling and grammar checker in MS-Word. You can also do the same thing using OpenOffice (a free clone of MS-Word).

The third basic principle is to make sure you include the job title in the subject heading of your letter. Use the same job title that is in the advertisement. Include any codes that are in the advertisement. This is important. If you do not tell the oil company why you are sending them your cover letter, they will trash it without reading it.

The three basic principles above seem laughably obvious. But too many job seekers are too rushed, or are too lazy or simply too careless to do things right. They basically shoot themselves in the foot. Now, let’s move on to the three advanced principles. Although the following strategies do not guarantee you an interview, they will definitely get you a foot up in the game.

Advanced Strategies

The first advanced strategy is to tell the oil drilling company why they should hire you. The simplest way to do this is to copy each point of the job advertisement’s scope and responsibilities list, and then write down your prior experiences that demonstrate that skill or ability.

The second advanced strategy is to show the human resource staffer what makes you more special than your rivals. Again, here is a simple way to do this: just note down additional skills that are relevant to an offshore drilling job but not included in the advertisement. For example, related (or at least useful additional) skills for a roustabout job would include painting, scaffolding, crane operations, welding, firefighting (as a real fireman, not learned in a course), etc.

The third advanced strategy is to make an irresistible offer. This comes in two parts. The first is to show that you can start work immediately. This means you should not be working now or serving out your notice. It means you should also have all the relevant medical certifications, skills certifications (e.g. HUET for work on board an offshore oil rig), union memberships and licensing. Part two is to end your cover letter by asking them to call you for an interview. Successful salesmen know this last strategy very well (both parts of it). It is what makes them successful – daring to make an irresistible offer and daring to close the deal.

When you are looking for an offshore oil drilling job, your cover letter will make or break your job hunt. Violate the three basic principles above and you may as well just stick to flipping burgers for McDonalds. But the three advanced strategies are what will give you a leg up on 90% of your rivals.

The Difference Between Combative Training and Martial Arts

Getting the facts straight

 

Recently, I was checking the sales ranking for my book on Amazon.com, when I noticed I have finally received a customer review on Amazon. After reading the review, I found myself humbled and dumb founded. The customer who reviewed my book on military knife and hand to hand combat was obviously a practicing martial artist.

He appeared to be one of the “Know it all” types as well. Although much of his review on the layout of my book may be spot on; I was amazed at his blatant ignorance in not knowing the difference between combative training and martial arts. In his own words,”Though the author may know what he is doing in this book, you may already as well. If you took some sort of M.A. class for any period of time that was worth anything, then you would have learned most if not half of these techniques for knife fighting. “ I must agree with him on this.

If you take some sort of  martial arts class for any period of time; that is worth anything; eventually you may learn half of the techniques in the book. Although I clearly state in the book that my attempt is not to teach specific techniques, but use techniques as a vehicle to drive home principles; and  I admit that there are countless numbers of techniques one can learn, not simply limited to my book. This guy  “Cliff” is the example of how many can not distinguish the difference between martial art and combative training.

Distinguishing the difference  

Before one can truly distinguish between a martial art or combative training, they must reflect upon the origin of today’s practiced martial arts. The term “martial art”, refers to a war like art; with martial referring to war. It is true that ages ago during the conception of today’s martial arts, the countless numbers of systems and styles were born from military drills and close quarters battle of the time. During the ancient times without the aid of today’s modern weaponry and fire power, soldiers were forced to engage in battle with clubs, swords, daggers, spears and often hand to hand. Warriors of those times began to develop tried and true systems of both armed and unarmed combat, much like today. They understood that military units must gain muscle memory in their tactics of choice and saw the need for regimented systems of combat. The methods and techniques of their day required ways to dismount riders off horse back and break or penetrate wooden armor. It is quite obvious that in today’s combat environment those techniques would be obsolete. Through out generations and over the centuries the ancient arts have been passed from master to student and master to student. The once effective and powerful combative training of the ancients has become an antiquity.

Today the ancient techniques of Samurai and  the fighting monks of China can be seen being practiced through training hall windows all over the world. The ancient forms and techniques that were once practical battle tactics have been manipulated by popular media and business ideology. Many practice the ancient martial arts for a plethora of reasons. Some of their reasons are for the very same reasons that the training was developed. People practice for fitness, protection and hobby. Others train simply to preserve the art. 

After World War II, the west was introduced to the Asian martial art craze. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen were exposed to the Asian fighting arts of the Japanese and Philippines and wanted to learn. Many of the indigenous instructors or gurus realized the opportunity to make a buck from the naive westerners and began teaching watered down versions of the fighting arts. Often masters would draw out the training and add flashy, intricate and complicated techniques to the curriculum. It was the flash that would sell to the new western market. Soon even Hollywood would make movies with actors such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris demonstrating their athleticism and prowess on screen.

Belt ranking systems were added to help new students feel as if they were progressing and not quit. The once effective techniques for ancient combat were reduced to nothing more than acrobatics with some self protection value. Many of the hidden techniques which were the pride of warriors of old were lost through the simple process of supply and demand. Modern technology and weapons only aided in losing the practical fighting techniques and turning the martial arts into a lucrative but provocative industry. Today there are martial art companies that place their clients on programs known as “black belt plans.”

People are forced into contracts that they can not afford to breach for a certain amount of time until they receive their black belts. During the early 20th century the “black belt” rank was respected by many for holding fighting prowess. Today that rank has lost much of that respect. All too often we hear about the black belt who got beat up by a boxer or street fighter. All too often a white belt student can completely annihilate their “black belt” Karate  or Kung Fu master during sparring in the training hall. Today the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has proven that the martial arts of old are obsolete to even today’s modern training methods. The MMA athletes of today , that hold no belt in any martial art would dominate over more than half of the practitioners of traditional martial arts.

Traditional martial artists often rely on archaic training methods and spiritual philosophies of a much more primitive time. Where MMA athletes rely on the most up to date drilling and scientific training ideologies. Much more is known today by the general populous on the matters of psychology, physiology, anatomy, physics and the economy of motion. It is the lack of the most up to date sciences that make much of the traditional fighting arts obsolete and inefficient. In essence it is the tradition itself that makes many martial arts training methods in effective and inefficient. Now that we have identified the martial arts, we should compare it to today’s modern combatives.

The combative training of today is a product of the military machine. Today’s military is more efficient and productive than any in history. The philosophy of doing the most with the least drives the war machine. In World War II Colonels Eric Anthony Sykes and William Fairbairn began to develop a new type of training for soldiers  based from their experience in Shanghai and the trenches of World War I. Close Quarter Battle (CQB) or Hand to Hand Combat was the norm in trench warfare and the soldiers fighting it needed to be able to quickly and efficiently kill and immobilize their adversaries. The two men realized that they needed to develop a system for training or ideology of training that would enable masses of troops with no prior experience in martial arts to learn hand to hand combat quickly in a matter of days, not the years often required by martial arts training. This training had to not only be learned quickly, but retained and trained quickly as well. Soldiers on the front and behind the lines needed to be able to react without thinking, relying on muscle memory. In combat the heart rate exceeds 180  beats per minute and all fine motor skills go out the window.

Sykes and Fairbairn realized that many of the extravagant “pressure points” used in traditional martial arts  would not be effective. They realized that pressure points were not effective for two reasons. One, the enemy may not feel it under the influence of adrenaline and two; the soldier will more than likely not have the ability of fine motor skills needed in order to strike the target. Therefore the modern combative training was simple easy to retain and concentrated on gross motor skill movement. Because in combat soldiers are all too often sleep deprived and under nourished the techniques taught needed to not rely on physical strength or athletic prowess. Today’s combatives are often known for the dirty fighting aspect, not found in traditional martial arts. The warrior codes from long ago no longer apply today, chivalry is dead. Because the combative techniques are taught to such a variety of fighting men who’s bodies are not conditioned to desensitizing training; the trainees are taught to strike with only the most structurally stable weapons of the body. A soldier can not afford  broken hands and feet on the battle field. It is for many of these reasons that combative training stands far apart from traditional martial arts.

In summary  

 

The traditional martial arts, practiced today  was actually the combative training for the military of it’s time. Just as time changes, so did the training. Societies became more educated; moral values and codes have been altered. The world is not as spiritually guided or involved with mysticism as it was during the time traditional martial arts were conceived. The once effective combative techniques of their time, have evolved into an art form surrounded in mystique and the legends of old; enhanced by modern media. Today’s combative training is based completely on modern science and need for efficiency. It is of the utmost importance for combative training to adhere to these rules.

 – Simple general Principles  must be taught

 – Must not rely on power or athleticism

 – The focus is on destroying whatever the principal comes into contact with

 – Efficiency and economy of motion

 – Be able to be learned and applied in a very limited amount of time (Days or weeks)

In conclusion

 

 Combatives training today most definitely contains many of the techniques that one will learn in the traditional martial arts if they attend classes for any period of time. One might think of the two types of training as steak. One is chuck full of fat that is unnecessary and could clog your arteries, the other is a lean hybrid, that contains only the necessary nutrients to keep you going. After reading the review from this guy “Cliff” I immediately went to his profile to learn more about his point of view, so I could see where hes coming from. I wanted to know if his bashing of my book came from arrogance or ignorance. Where he was asked to type a blurb about his interests, contained one phrase.This was his interest“Wing Chun and the variety of ways it is spelled.” I immediately realized by this and the number of books with titles like “Kung Fu of Caine” Referring to the Caine from the TV series (Kung Fu), that this fellow was not completely familiar with the differences between martial arts and combative training. Therefore I wanted to write this article, with my best effort to demonstrate that when comparing martial arts training to combative training; it is like comparing apples to oranges.

How to Approach Private Investors to Fund Your Real Estate Projects

Capital is critical right now. Cash is king. Approaching private investors for capital is something that gives a lot of real estate investor’s sweaty palms. This is mainly due to fear of failure or due to hesitation to step out of the comfort zone. Much like making your first offer or talking to your first prospective tenant, private money is something that can be learned – usually very quickly.

A common trend seen among real estate investors (of all levels of experience) is to wait for deals to come up before they approach investors. Though this is a conventional technique and is considered to be safer, it involves too much time and comes with a risk of leaving too many opportunities untouched. So, even if you have your hands on a good deal, it may take a long time before you find the right money for it to materialize. You may also miss out on some other profitable deals, and investors are bound to notice your lack of foresight and confidence.

A better way of raising private money for your real estate investment projects is to reverse the order. While I agree this option is a lot more aggressive, it’s going to net you far better results. Be a little more confident, and get the money first, and then move on to getting the deals.

What you will quickly learn is that there is a large pool of private investors who are desperately seeking fresh air and more profitable deals. So, all that you need to do is to instill confidence in them about your business plan and projects, and they’ll be glad to ditch their financial planner. Playing it cautious and waiting for all the lights on the street to be green before you hit the gas is a recipe for mediocrity.

Deals move fast in today’s world. And, if it is the big projects you are aiming at, you will most definitely need to have an adequate financial backing behind you. If it is an asset manager or a commercial broker who is helping you locate real estate deals, there is in no way he/she will be willing to spend any time with you unless you have enough capital on hand close the deal.

The biggest benefit of this ‘ready-aim-fire’ approach is that you can grab best deals at any given time – your offers and LOI’s go to the top of the stack. In today’s bargain hungry investor market, every little advantage helps your bottom line.

Marriage Contract – Do You Take This Woman to Be Your Lawfully Wedded Wife?

Do you promise to love this woman? Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and cherish her? In sickness and in health? For better or for worse? Until death do you part? Do you know what it means to promise forever to a woman? The divorce rates, to date, say you don’t; we don’t. I believe you when you say, “I am in love with her” but I am not sure if you believe your promise to love her forever. Forever takes guts and fortitude.

Forever is not a feeling, it is an attitude

The question is: Did you choose a woman that was really worth loving all your life, until death? Is this the woman who you choose to bury you or whom you will bury? Did you choose the ultimate friend? or did you choose this woman because she was the first to send your rockets to the moon? or was it because she conquered her gag reflex? Did you think the incredible sex would last your entire lifetime? Did you think her breasts would still be perky at forty five, after three kids? Or did you stop to think that grey hairs would eventually flourish on the Bermuda triangle of joy? Do I need remind you that as she ages so will you? Or do you imagine yourself eternally youthful and virile? Do you know that as a woman she may have to fight off diseases indigenous to her racially or otherwise? Did you know that fibroid tumors might attack her insides and bring your sex Goddess to her knees as age creeps up on her? Did you know she is likely to suffer from breast cancer, hypertension, diabetes, uterine cancer, osteoporosis and a multitude of other diseases particular to her race?

When her eyes pale and her senses dim will you keep your promise to love and cherish her? Or when Alzheimer’s disease sets into your brain will you care about anything? Will it matter that she is the one there to hold on to you when you can’t hold on to a single memory? Do you realize that by leaving her she might end up just like your Mom: single and struggling to raise your children because you impoverished her by walking away? Do you have the courage to stand up to your bold promises of forever? Do you think your child support can support the loss of life and opportunity you took from her? And are you ready to go backwards in your life financially because you haven’t really done the Math about being single? Is it fair to walk away and leave her after she has made you a better man, only to let some other woman earn the benefit of your evolved state of being. Have you really thought this through? or does that sweet, supple, PYT have you believing that forty is the new twenty? and so on and so on? When you are grey and distinguished in your senior sexiness, will she be a badge of your age or a medal of your heart?

Do you have “forever” courage? Or you just think that you do? Do we even know what that means? It seems like our fore parents knew about forever, what’s different? Why don’t we know that kind of commitment in our relationships? And how come we seem to be moving backwards?

Marriage is probably the toughest contract on earth.

So remind me again my brother what does “in love got to do with it?” What does “in love got to do with love and cherish or for better or for worse?” Come again when the evening is near and show me your spear young warrior, bent from from life’s hardships, tempered by regrets, a mere relic to be cast on the heap of life’s disappointments. Tell me then, “I take this woman for better of or worse”

“Courage young grasshopper”

Three Reasons Why Thick Wall Foam Cooler Ice Chests Are Better Than Cheap Ones

Whether you are out to enjoy the Spring and Summer seasons or simply need a reliable storage container for fishing and other outdoor fun, selecting a foam cooler or foam ice chest is an economical way to keep food, drinks, or seafood catches cold while you’re out having a good time. However, when selecting which to buy, the wrong choice can lead to serious frustration and even food spoilage. When choosing between the cheaper, thin-wall variety (also known as “promotional coolers”) and the thick-wall versions (popularly referred to as “ice chests”), don’t let the seeming cash savings of the cheaper thin-wall product fool you into thinking you’re necessarily getting a better deal.

If you really want to have a worry-free good time and save money in the long run, avoid the thin-walled foam coolers (although their prices are very tempting) and spend just a little bit more to get a higher quality, thick-walled foam ice chest of a similar quality to the sorts of foam shipping coolers used by seafood and meat shippers. Sure, they may cost you an extra couple bucks, but they’re more than worth it for the following three reasons.

Thick-Wall Ice Chests Are Stronger

Nothing ruins an outing at the beach or park faster than having a cheap, flimsy foam cooler collapse and break on you when you’re trying to lug a load of iced down goodies from your vehicle to the campsite or beach spot. Wouldn’t it be great if you had an insulating container that can handle the heavy-duty load of ice, bottled or canned drinks, and foodstuffs without breaking? Foam ice chests generally come with a wall thickness of 3/4 inch or more, and evenly consistent all around each side of the container. This means greater strength and load reliability. The thicker the container wall, the better off you are because the expanded polystyrene (eps) material doesn’t add significant weight merely because volume is larger and denser.

Thick-Wall Ice Chests Are More Leak Resistant

Many of us tend to throw a loaded cooler on the back seat or carpeted floor board of our vehicle, and none of us enjoy reaching for it after we’ve arrived at our destination only to find that the cooler has leaked all over the place. Fact is that a well-made foam cooler doesn’t tend to leak because it isn’t rushed through the manufacturing process. One that is properly built is “fully fused”, which means the individual eps beads that comprise the body and lid have been thoroughly molded together, a process that prevents water from seeping through. If you take a cheap cooler and a quality ice chest and fill them both with water, you’ll very quickly find “sweat” on the outside of the low quality product while the better one stays dry. With that said, not all brands of foam ice chests are constructed with the same level of quality because some companies care a lot more about customer satisfaction than others.

Thick-Wall Ice Chests Last A Lot Longer

Being of a similar strength and rigidity as many types of foam shipping coolers, they can be relied upon for long-term reuse. Great for storage, they are often used for keeping things moth-free in the attic, plus people keep valuable goods in them to protect them from temperature fluctuations. Generally, you can expect to keep yours for many years as long as they are not subject to unreasonable damage due to misuse. The result is that you no longer have to keep buying foam coolers every time you want to go enjoy the great outdoors. This long-term durability applies to the better-made ones as opposed to those brands that are rushed through the manufacturing process for the sake of boosting company profits at the expense of customer satisfaction.

Although there are higher quality “promotional coolers” available on the market, the overload of available brands makes it difficult to know which ones will do a great job. Because these are often impulse purchases, most people don’t want to spend the time to investigate. The way to get around this is to raise your standard and go for a foam ice chest. In the end, you’ll save more money by spending a little extra now, and you’ll save yourself worry and frustration because you know that your food and drinks are protected.