Panic Is No Laughing Matter

Burt Reynolds revealed his vulnerable side when he realized he was being steered into marriage. One day while browsing the furniture department with his would-be bride, he suddenly collapsed onto a bed and doubled into the protective fetal form. Moments later, he was sucking oxygen through a brown paper bag, his eyes wide and darting.

His panic attack was interpreted in a humorous way for the sake of the movie, but real panic and anxiety attack survivors know there's nothing funny about it.

Impending divorce triggered my first major panic episode. It stirred almost daily, waiting for any event that would bring it to the surface in a full blown attack. Sure enough such an event did arise, but not from any outside force.

While I contemplated taking a shower one day, anxiety swept over me, along with an unexplained dread that something terrible was going to happen. Suddenly, I was afraid to eat, afraid to go out, afraid to stay home alone.

As I strove down the highway, raised trees and black garbage bags along the route took on indistinguishable grotesque shapes. Passing through overpasses was particularly alarming as I dreaded losing control and smashing into the abutment. Elevators and stairwells triggered a new symptom: claustrophobia.

Particularly alarming was the day I was afraid I'd lose control and toss myself off the 6th floor balcony. That's when I knew it was time to get help.

Two years of psychiatric treatment historically bought an end to those terrifying events. Until 10 years later when I decided to switch careers and return to college. I was 37.

Then, it happened again. I was in the huge school cafeteria walking along the self serve line. It began as I became intensely aware of the drone of voices echoing through the quadrant. Quite unexpectedly, anxiety swept over me. I thought I'd lose my mind as my heart and thoughts raced and that old familiar dreaded hold hold.

Struggling with the attack, I made it to a seat and tried to eat my lunch but it soon became apparent it was not possible. The initial fear was verging on panic. I rushed from the cafeteria to the nursing station at the top of the stairs, but at that point, I felt it might pass.

I continued aimlessly down the busy hallway. All I could think of was getting away from the noise, the bustling students and the insecure openness. Moments later, sitting in the peaceful, dimly lit student lounge, I curled up in an armchair and fall sleep. When I awoke, the attack had passed.

Years ago, my doctor had explained that my attacks were a result of a chemical imbalance. He also pointed out that a lack of confidence and a sense of impending loss of control were related to my anxiety.

During my therapy, I persistently plied him with questions and bombarded him with every sensation I had over the previous week. He was a man of few words, always turning my questions back on me to interpret. Through his few choice words, worries of things going wrong in my life were soon mere flashes, rather than mounting thoughts to stoke my simmering anxiety.

His advice echoed when I emerged from that major panic attack at the college 10 years later. I was in a strange environment undertaking a new career. The attack was clearly brought on by my fear of failing, along with numerous other fears.

It all made sense. I was moving into a new frontier with new faces, new challenges. In all likelihood, I would emerge a new person, but as happened with my divorce, it was a time when I feared I would lose control of my body, my mind and my life.

What saved me was something my psychiatrist said years before when he responded quite simply to one of my 'what if …' questions. His reply has become my 'mantra', if you will.

In an effort to make me focus directly on the issue and think rationally about the output, he merely asked, 'So what?' Who could have known that those two small words would become my rock? The moment a terrifying thinking entered my head, all I had to do was ask, "So what? What's the worst that could happen?" and it was never as bad as I'd imagined. And today, it always brings me back to earth.
There is help for you, too.

Recently, I came across a product that I wished I had when my panic attacks were raging. This e-book provides an equally simple and highly effective solution for people who have panic attacks.

Understanding how the body reacts is the first step to knowing that panic and anxiety attacks can be cured without medication. Joe Barry has taught thousands of people to be panic free.
To learn more about his successful formula go to http://www.book-titles.ca/panic.htm .

Is "Plan B" Ready?

Business owners and entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers and adventurers. If we did not have that "optimism gene" floating around, not much of any progress would ever get done. But every so often the adventurous get in trouble.

They plan a new venture – perhaps a new product, service, expansion into new geography – whatever, and they hardly pause in their quest for the golden ring to plan a strategy that will minimize their exposure in case that great idea turns out to be an "Edsel."

Without we are talking about a "bet the company" type of venture (and I'm not!), Contingency planning for most new ventures a small business undertakes can be done with the addition of four simple paragraphs to the plan written at the planning stage of the new venture (you do have a written plan, do not you?).

Paragraph One: How will we measure to see if this project is producing the desired results?

Paragraph Two: How many resources (time, money, effort, etc.) will we invest to make it produce the desired results?

Paragraph Three: How will we close down a project that will not produce the desired results?

Paragraph Four: How will we minimize losses in a project that will not produce the desired results?

Just by having "Plan B" thought out and written lessens the difficult task of making decisions in the heat of a battle if things are not going well. If results are not going as planned, pull out "Plan B" and read it. Compare the current results to the projections. Realize that when "Plan B" was written, it was based upon assumptions. The data you have, once the project is underway, will be different from those assumptions you based "Plan B" so it can, and probably should, be changed based on the hard data that is now at your disposal.

Hopefully all your new initiatives will be hugely successful, but just in case, minimize your losses by being prepared with "Plan B."

Flat Iron Buying Guide 101

Everyone asks me "Which flat iron is the best?" and I always answer, "What is your hair type?" before I answer with a specific flat iron. Unless you've tried it firsthand, chances are the iron you are thinking of buying might not be the best one for your hair. Let's narrow down the choices with a few key questions.

Which plate width?

Determine which plate width you need – one inch does not fit all. Take the time to select a plate width for your specific hair length. Not all irons come in all sizes so this can help you narrow down your selection.

Fixed or variable temperature settings?

Flat irons come in fixed or variable temperature settings. The type that works best for you depends on your hair's texture and your styling needs.

Is your hair thin, deficate, damaged or fine? Choose a flat iron with a variable temperature setting so you can control the heat and keep the iron from getting too hot.

Is your hair thick and hard to straighten? A fixed temperature would be a good choice for you so you can crank up the heat on those pesky pieces that just will not straighten.

Is your hair is somewhere in between? Most likely you will be fine with either choice. My personal preference is a variable setting – I like control.

Does it create curls?

Most flat irons today will create curls, but (ahem) the curls are only as good as the user who creates them, so brush up on those curling techniques.

Which Technology?

Ok, this is really the source of most flat iron confusion. Most flat irons on the market today have similar straightening technology, but which is best? Again, that depends on your hair type and styling needs.

Ceramic / Ionic

Almost all professional grade flat irons are Ceramic and Ionic these days. This technology is important in generating negative ions to smooth the hair cuticles. What you may not realize is NONE of the flat iron plates are 100% Ceramic. That's a myth. All plates are infused with Ceramic (and / or other materials) to straighten and smooth the hair. I kid you not!

Industry research shows that pure Ceramic plates would be too soft to get the job done, so all manufacturers (this means CHI, T3, Maxiglide, HAI – all of them!) Use Ceramic with a much stronger, heat conducting surface such as Aluminum , Titanium, etc. to straighten the hair's cuticles. And boy do they work.

Aluminum

Some older, less quality flat irons are pure Aluminum. These irons are usually referred to as the "drugstore variety" and do not contain Ceramic. This is why you notice a huge difference when you upgrade to a pricier iron – the addition of Ceramic.

So you know what Ceramic does, but what about all of those other materials you keep hearing about? Tourmaline, Nano-Titanium, Nano Silver, Nano anything? These additional materials used in the plates to enhance the smoothness of the plate's surface, generate additional negative ions to smooth your hair quickly, and create a snag free glide down the strands. Here's a breakdown:

Nano

This is a process where the material, say Tourmaline, is micronized into superfine particles and infused into the plate surface. Whenever you see Nano, think teeny, tiny pieces of a smoothing material infused into the plates. Nano-Ceramic, Nano-Silver, you get the idea.

Ceramic and Nano-Ceramic

Smaller particles of Ceramic to contribute to your smoothing process. This is good for every hair type. Most flat irons with Ceramic technology provide silky, straight results but there are a variety of price points. As for most irons I've tried, the pricier Ceramic irons really are better. Plus the more expensive irons usually come with additional features and benefits so be sure to look into this if you are considering a Ceramic iron. (Best Buy: ghd. See also: HAI, Paul Brown, CHI.)

Nano-Titanium

Super smoothing surface, great heat construction, straightens hair up to 40% faster. Is it necessary? If your hair is hard to straighten, this is one of the best materials out there for you, newer technology but comparable to Tourmaline. If you want the latest technology you'll like this. (Best Buy: Babyliss. See also: Hot Tools.)

Nano-Silver

A smooth surface that eliminates bacteria on the appliance creating a germ-free environment every time you use it. Great for a stylist, or germ-a-phobe. It straights hair well, but do you have to have it? Probably not. (Best Buy: FHI Platform See also: CHI Nano Silver.)

Nano-Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone known for its negative ion generating and smoothing properties, and is infused into the flat iron plates. This is earlier technology than Nano-Titanium and Nano-Silver. I sometimes find that Tourmaline causes static, but still a very good material for smoothing most hair types. (Best Buys: FHI, Bed Head See also: HAI Elite, T3.)

Does it come with a warranty?

The warranty is another biggie to think about. Some manufacturers will only honor a warranty if you buy the flat iron in a salon. I would consider that a fine idea if the salon in my area carried every flat iron. Truth is, they do not. But I have noticed the irons they do carry are way more expensive than online. What gives?

If you are buying a flat iron in a store or online, look for a flat iron that has a 1 year warranty or longer – think HAI, ghd, Babyliss. We've all heard the rumors about a certain flat iron that breaks after only a few months. Honestly, it does. You might want to think about it. 'Nuff said.

If you use a flat iron every day you want it to last. Make sure you select a flat iron guaranteed to survive your daily styling habits. If you use a flat iron sporadically, go for a less expensive Ceramic iron without all the technological bells and whistles.

I hope you take the time to ask yourself these simple questions, the flat iron of your dreams is waiting for you!

3 Easy Tips on How to Remove the Effects of Pepper Spray in Your Dorm Room

One of the greatest parts of any dedicated high school student’s life is the chance to be able to go to college. College life is basically the opening of great opportunities and the best way of getting your most-sought-after freedom. You’ll finally be able to do everything you want away from your parents’ watchful eyes. For any parent, a child going off to college is both a happy and heartbreaking sight to look at. The fact that you won’t be there to protect and defend her can be very disturbing at times.

Staying in dormitories, especially co-ed ones can be quite unsafe especially for freshmen since they are the ones who are mostly taken advantage of. There are actually several ways for you to be able to defend yourself, one of which is keeping pepper spray on hand. Pepper spray is one of the best options for students on the go since they are easy to carry and easy to use. However, you need to be extra careful in handling your pepper spray or any self defense device for that matter if you want it to work to your advantage. But for future reference, here’s what you need to do in case you accidentally sprayed or spilt pepper spray in your dorm room.

Tip#1 Let the Air Out

Open all the windows and doors of your room so that the harmful smell can be carried along by the passing air. You need to cover your mouth while you do this considering that it could cause you constricted breathing once you inhale it. Turn on your air conditioner or ceiling fans to help dispel the smell. Turn it to its full capacity so the air is passed along faster and quicker. Remember that it will take a while before the air gets neutralized so you need to be patient.

Tip#2 Take Care of the Culprit

While waiting for the smell to be dissipated, find the source of all the mishaps- the pepper spray canister. Unless you do something to take care of it fast, the smell will just keep on coming back and you will still feel your eyes being irritated and your breathing restricted. Do this as fast as you can to avoid further disastrous situations.

Tip#3 Freshen Up Your Room

Once you have done the first two tips, the air will be quite neutralized already. But for the finishing touch, you may have to deodorize your entire dorm room by applying air freshener all over. Air fresheners will help in battling the bad smell caused by the pepper spray while getting rid of the remaining particles in the air. These residual particles can still cause great harm if you fail to remove it from the air.

Make sure that you put your pepper spray canister in the safest area of your dorm room to avoid accidents from happening. Keep it away from sharp objects or from high portions to avoid it being ruptured or broken. You can also keep it locked away but it might take you a while before you can dig it up, and that’s a major no-no in Self Defense 101. Put it in a safe place where you can get easy access to it.

The Pros And Cons Of Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking as it is more commonly known, is, in a nutshell, a procedure for extracting oil or gas from bedrock. The method involves pumping high pressure fluid into drill holes in the rocks to create fractures and this provides an escape route for the gas or oil. Some rocks are naturally more difficult to extract gas from and these require extra fracturing by injecting pressurized water into the fractures. Further chemicals are then inserted to enable the fractures to remain open so that extraction can occur. Fracking is a fairly new technique and has already caused a great deal of controversy. Some countries have already planned its use even though there is a huge amount of untapped energy. France was first to ban fracking over concerns that water courses could become irreparably polluted and is of the firm belief that a cleaner extraction method will be developed. In the United Kingdom, fracking was permitted but following several small earthquakes that occurred in the area and at around the same time as the fracking activity, it was banned. The ban has now been lifted with the provisio that if further minor earthquakes occur, it will be banned again. The United States appears to have very mixed views with some states allowing fracking while others will not.

The benefits are that there is a vast amount of natural gas and oil that is locked into the rocks underneath the earth's surface. By tapping in to such a reservoir a nation's dependency on other countries for their energy supplies could be greatly reduced or even stopped altogether. It would create a huge number of jobs which would benefit the economy. The use of hydraulic fracturing could also extract gas or oil which remains in existing mines or wells and is unable to be extracted using traditional methods. This means that existing waste can be extracted and put to good use, making the existing well or mine more productive. Fracking is cheaper than other currently available methods for extracting natural gas or oil from rock. New methods for dealing with waste water and other waste products are being developed and these will help prevent pollution and endangerment of the environment.

The number one concern of opponents is pollution. Contamination of the water course is a major concern not only to Governments, residents and environmentalists but also to the companies themselves. The water used in fracking can be decontaminated and re-used to a point but there are a number of chemicals that are added and make it particularly nasty if it were to be spilt. At the moment, a good deal of the polluted water is pumped into underground disposal wells and this is where the possibility of pollution of the watercourse could occur. The waste water could leach through the rocks and into waterways causing a massive problem not only to the environment but also potentially to the health of people nearby.

Another concern is the occurrence of minor earth tremors in areas where hydraulic fracturing is taking place. It is not known what the long term impact of fracking will be and we do not know if it will increase the incidences of tremors or quakes in the region.

As hydraulic fracturing is quite new, there is a lot we do not know about the effects of this technique. However, there is such a vast amount of potential energy available that many countries can not afford not to do it. Technology will advance and better methods for extraction will emerge but in the meantime, we need to be sure that we are not creating problems for the future.

A Rough Cut on Feasibility

A piano tuner recently moved to Buffalo, NY, and would like to assess the business possibilities for him in his new home. He plans to estimate how many piano tuners the greater Buffalo area can support, and compare that to the number listed in the phone book. How do we advise him as to how to estimate the "right" number of tuners for the area?

One approach is simply to guess. Would it be 1, 10, 50, or 100? Are you comfortable with this approach? I am not. An approach I would be comfortable with would be to search for data on estimates of how many piano tuners per capita there are in the US, and apply that ratio to the Buffalo area population (let's use 1.3 million). Is data on this likely to be available? Test your resourcefulness by trying to find it.

Assuming that data is not available, we must go to the "some assembly required" approach to estimating, that is, deriving the estimate from data which is available modified by related local and national data, norms, and "rules of thumb." While this seems so indirect as to be little better than just guessing, it can be a very useful exercise. If nothing else, it causes us to identify some important variables and how they relate to our business of interest. The inaccuracies of compounding estimates can be minimized by working in ranges to give us a "ballpark" figure.

How can I derive a meaningfulful estimate from generally available information? It would be interesting to know what percentage of American households own a piano, and how often they get it tuned. If the data is national, we may need to apply some local adjustment factor. Given the annual number of piano tunings, we can divide by the annual capacity of a tuner to determine how many are needed.

I will do an "off-the-top-of-my-head" calculation to illustrate the method, then leave it to you to provide real values:

Buffalo has about 400,000 households population divided by 3 members average); 8% of American households own pianos. I can think of no reason to apply any local adjustment to this figure, so we are talking about roughly 32,000 pianos. My guess is that two-thirds of all pianos are merely furniture, so that the reminder of about 11,000 is played regularly and in need of tuning. Tuners recommend that a piano be serviced twice a year, but my guess is that the average is probably once a year for active pianos, or 11,000 tunings per year.

A tuner can service 2 to 4 pianos a day; let us say 3 per day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, or 750 tunings per year per tuner. To provide Buffalo's 11,000 annual tunings would require almost 15 tuners. The phone book lists 9. Sounds promising!

How do you like this? How many would you have guessed without this analysis? Does the result seem reasonable? Enough on which to base the opening of a business?

Could it have been done more scientifically? How? Would discussions with piano tuners and music stores have been useful? Are there any journals worth consulting? Would a survey have helped?

Are pianos in places other than homes? Are there tuners not listed in the yellow pages?

The Census of Retail Trade provides the average number of stores per capita for a variety of retail outlets. Based on their data, we can determine how well our proposed market area is served on a relative basis for the type of business we plan to start. For example, there is, on average, a stationery store for every 33,000 people; for every 26,000 people there is one bookstore and one nursery and garden supply store. The population can reasonably support a barber shop for every 2,200 residents, and a furniture store for every 3,000.

VCRs with Video Converters

The solution

For quite some times the inventors on the line were pondering how to overcome this problem of conflict of standards of video tapes. Video tapes from one zone did not play in other using a different standard. Ultimately they came up with the idea of ​​Video converting VCR as the solution to the problem. A video converting VCR could play any tape using any standard and so it was possible to view a PAL standard tape on an NTSC TV or vice versa.

Multi-system VCR and Convert Multi-system VCR

A Converting Multi-system VCR is an improved version of the traditional Multi-system VCR. An ordinary multi-system VCR can play video tapes from anywhere in the world. But there is one big constraint. The video tape played on it must conform to the standard the VCR uses. This is the point where converting a multi-system VCR scores over the conventional VCR in a way that it does not require the video tapes to be played which conform to its standards. It just converges in the incoming incompatibilities signals to friendly signals and makes the viewing of the tape possible. The same result can be obtained by using an external converter or such other device attached to a traditional multi-system VCR, but the quality will be poorer compared to a convertible multi-system VCR.

How to make the choice of brands

Experience reveals that branded products typically works well compared to those cheaper editions of the video converting VCR available in the market. Not only that the reliability is far better than the other ones. A number of branded products are however, available in the market. They include companies like the Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, and Hitachi etc. All of them manufacture regular multi-system VCR but not the video converting VCR. The only company that produced video converting VCR was Samsung, the SV-5000W, but they have discontinued the productions. A potential customer often makes the choice based on the clarity of picture, quality of audio systems and the life span of the products. So today for video converting VCR, you will require a converter. Some standard converters are the TENLABs or a PAL-SECAM-NTSC compatible television set.

Why the video tapes require a video converting VCR to play

The three most broadly followed standards of video tapes are NTSC, PAL and SECAM. All variations of these standards followed anywhere in the world is a combination of two or all of these standards. When the first color TV was discovered, the NTSC system was introduced in United States and Canada way back in the year 1953. Among the eastern countries, Japan with the obvious influence of United States and its relevance to North America also uses the NTSC standard that uses 525 lines frame to play the video tapes. PAL, the short form for Phase Alternating Line, was introduced in the European Countries in 1960 and immediately gained popularity. The band of PAL and SECAM standard, that is used in France, are the same and their line frames match too. But SECAM standard transmits color signals sequentially. NTSC standard is not popular outside the North American countries and SECAM is used only in France and its earlier colonies. Rest of the world uses PAL and even the South American countries use some variations of it.

Issues relating to choice of video converting VCR

Compatibility is the main issue involved in the choice of a video converting VCR. Viewers in North America will opt for a video converting VCR that will enable them to play video tapes with PAL or SECAM standards to be watched on their NTSC TV. Similarly and European or Asian viewer will like to play NTSC video tapes on their PAL compatible TV and these can be realized with video converting VCRs. In case of the multi-system VCRs, the companies will require the buyer to purchase some PAL / NTSC video converter that would replace a multi-system TV, which becomes otherwise a necessity. There are also systems with the feature of a direct converter that converts all incompatibility signals into device friendly signals making viewing possible.

About DVD and video converting VCR

Video tapes are quickly losing grounds in favor of the new and much more compact DVDs. In fact, DVDs have become the new version for home entertainment. But the problems of incompatibility of standards are also present here and so some video conversion is also required here. In this case the video converting DVD player is region-free. Sometimes a region-free DVD player is also named as a code-free DVD player, that can play DVDs using any standard from any zone. Incidentally, the standard for a DVD is the same as that of a video tape, namely, the PAL, SECAM, and NTSC. Like Video converting VCR and multi-system VCR, there are several types, models and brands of a code-free DVD player. However, the leading companies are the same as in case of multi-system VCRs like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Phillips etc. The code-free DVD players can play any CD or DVD using any standard procured from any zone on a non-convertible device. With a region free or code-free DVD player you can play a SECAM DVD from France or a PAL DVD from Europe on your NTSC TV. However while buying you have to choose between multifarious models with different price tags depending on your requirement and budget. The prices will also be different based on the brands and specifications.

About the prices for video converting VCR

Now that a direct video converting VCR is out of market, the possible alternative will be a separate video converter converting your multi-system VCR into a video converting VCR. The cost of branded products is on the higher side. For example if you opt for a product from companies like Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Sharp, or Phillips, it may cost you on average $ 350 that would be higher than the non-branded cheaper qualities available. But the warranty and service provided in case of branded items, compensates in the long run. However, fierce competitions in the commercial world have forced companies to come up with cheaper versions, around $ 100 per item and in multiples of that amount. For example, Samsung provides a hi-fi multi-system, with tape conversion facilities and a world-based TV tuner at approximately $ 400. However branded models ordinarily will cost in the range of $ 500 to $ 1,200 depending on product in respect of multi-system VCR converters and also SVHS playback systems.

The affect of visuals

It is a well established fact that a visual is worth hundreds of words. It is quite easy to apprehend the message with a visual rather than words or any other type of interaction. Even the cavemen used to express their messages by means of pictures drawn on the walls of caves, where a single picture could depict a thousand messages. That is why visual expression is always popular. In earlier days it was movies and then gradually with the coming up of home theater and televisions, video took over. But initially, with the difference of standards such videos were confined to a particular zone. To solve this shortfall, the video converting VCR and later with the advent of DVD the region-free DVD player came into existence. Now the restrictions of standards and difference of geographical zones are no more a hindrance to free viewing of video tapes, CDs and DVDs by the viewers with video converting VCR systems and region-free DVD players available.

How to Build Chest Muscle – Blast Through Lifting Plateaus

The absolute test of strength: the Bench Press. The Holy Grail of lifting exercises. Everyone does them, which means everyone reaches a plateau at some point. Here are the 3 moves to get you to new personal bests in the shortest time.

Most people work their chest by doing a combination of full motion flat bench presses and flies, using bars and dumbbells. I do see some people who train incline and decline but, never as much as flat. For maximum mass gains this is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Ever notice how people arch the back in the flat bench position when the bar is too heavy, or they are tiring? Why? You are naturally stronger in the decline position, which is what arching the back does. If more weight lifted equals more mass gained and it does, why wouldn’t you focus on the decline, where you are able to lift more?

During the lifting motion you have weak points in the lift. They occur at the bottom and at the half way up spot. If muscle building results from breaking down the muscle and allowing it to regrow stronger, for the majority of the lift your weakest 2 points are only getting minimal work in a full motion press. Doesn’t it make sense that if, by definition, they are your “weak points”, these 2 spots should get the majority of the work?

Here’s the plateau shattering, new personal best achieving workout plan:

Step 1: Find your 1 or 3 rep max in the flat bench.

Step 2: Stop doing flat bench full motion presses for 1 month

Step 3: Every chest workout do the following 3 exercises

Exercise 1: Full Motion Decline Bench Presses. I do 5 pyramided sets of 6 reps with the 4th set being my heaviest weight. You should fail on the 6th rep on the 4th and 5th set.

Exercise 2: Top Half Motion Flat Bench Press. Load the bar with 80% your 1 or 3 rep max. Set the stops at the half way down point (one of your weak spots). Bring the bar down to the stops without touching them and press it back up. Do 5 sets of 6 reps. Drop 5% of the weight off each set.

Exercise 3: Bottom Half Motion Flat Bench Press. Load the bar with 60% of your 1 or 3 rep max. Set the stops at chest level. Start with the weight on the stops. Push up 5 or 6 inches and come back down to the stops. Some people place the weight on the stops between each rep. Or not. Your choice. Do 5 sets of 6 reps, dropping 5% on each set.

If you want to finish with any kind of incline work and or flies, go ahead. It won’t hurt (well, it should hurt, but it won’t harm you!). After a month of this routine call all your buddies around as you set your new personal best on the Holy Grail of Lifting, the Flat Bench Press

Attract Investors using Video Elevator Pitch Programs

Often companies wanting to grow, raise growth capital by offering investors part of their company through an equity acquisition or private equity offering. Since 77% of all the companies that are considered by Angel Investors for investment do NOT receive investment, it is more important than ever for companies to prepare, expose, and communicate effectively with investors.

Companies often arrange one on one investor meetings or participation in group settings which create unique opportunities for companies to "tell their story" to investors. The challenge entrepreneurs face is the time it takes to meet with the hundreds of investors who will need to market to in order to close the few on investing in their company. Often entrepreneurs must choose between building their business or raising money. That is why so many small emerging growth companies hire investor relations firms to manage the time consuming part of a capital raise, leaving the critical negotiations and discussions with them as the owner of the equity.

Companies are always seeking ways to improve the efficiency of the process. One of the ways companies are successfully getting their message across to a larger group of qualified investors in a "high tech, high touch" way is with video elevator pitches. Every entrepreneur knows they must have a good "elevator pitch". The "elevator pitch" is an industry term for the time it takes the entrepreneur to ride the elevator and tell their story to a prospective investor before he / she gets off the elevator. A video elevator pitch is a little longer than a ride in an elevator, but has a similar goal. How long will an investor sit listening to a video on a computer …. about 2 minutes ?! A video elevator pitch is an effective way to briefly target investors to the company, provide necessary information, and lead the investor towards the next step, which is making contact to get the necessary investor centric documents.

There are three things every company must do as part of the process of attracting investors: Prepare, Expose, and Communicate.

Preparing to meet with investors and begin you campaign to attract capital means a few things:

o You are seeking the right amount capital for your stage of business and valuation

o You have an investor ready business plan that clearly explains your value in the marketplace and how you will produce a return on investment for your investors

o You can effectively communicate your investment opportunity in a few minutes

o Appropriate documents to facilitate the investment (PPM, Subscription Agreements, etc.)

Exposing your company to the investor community is a numbers game and must include:

o A multi-faceted approach that includes group presentations, one on one, press releases and internet driven programs

o Exposure to hundreds of investors to find the few that will invest

o A system to manage the follow up and maintain records regarding investor status

Communicating with the target investor community through an investor relations program is important for many reasons:

o Similar to attracting a new customer, sometimes it takes 2 or 3 exposures to gain their business (investment)

o Investors may have an initial interest but want to see how the company progresses before they commit their investment

o During the months it takes to attract capital investors focus and liquidity changes, maintaining communication with them could move them from a no, not now to a yes

The video elevator pitch itself is usually a two minute video going over all of the important company business information that promotes the company as a solid option for those investors seeking private equity investments. The video should be edited to show only the most vital and important information that will attract an investor. The video should be imbedded in the web page and not require any download on the investor's computer. Video elevator pitch programs should come with a password to protect important documents such as the company's business plan and financials, and investor documents. Public, non-confidential information that provides a snapshot on the company should be included on the web page. A one page executive summary in PDF format should be provided as an optional download.

These powerful video messages are only as good as the audience they reach. The video elevator pitch should be used in conjunction with press releases, electronic marketing campaigns, and direct mail campaign to target accredited investors. Companies, who hire professional companies to promote their video elevator pitch and other vital information to strategic investors, increase their likelihood of stimulating investor's interest, while also saving valuable time that can be used to continue building the company's business.

by Karen Rands of the Launch Funding Network
www.LAUNCHfn.com

You Can Have Fun With Plastic

A few generations ago, no one would have thought much about a society that did the bulk of its transactions with a little plastic card. Today, few would think about using cash for most purchases as credit cards and now debit cards have taken the world by storm. Like it or not, plastic is an important part of today's society with billions of dollars in transactions being completed every hour. Did you know you can have fun with your plastic? Yes, read on and we'll take a look at how you can make a little piece of plastic work to your advantage.

To get the most out of a credit card, use it to your full advantage. Do not run up balances you can not pay but do take advantage of the rewards that come with your card. What, no rewards are offered? Well, then time for you to search for a card that pays you to use it.

Much of the fun with plastic comes in the form of the card's many different rewards. No card is worth it to you if they do not give you at least one point for every dollar space. Better yet is the card that automatically rewards you with thousands of points upon your first purchase.

With a rewards card you can:

Choose to eat out at a variety of restaurants from famous name fast food stores to well known chains of sit down restaurants.

Take in a movie with the family and have your tickets paid for. You'll still have to spring for the popcorn and soda but you can save $ 40 bucks on theater tickets.

Stay one night or more at a luxury hotel. Accumulate enough points and one or more nights at a highbrow hotel could come to you courtesy your credit card. Accumulate enough points and a four day getaway to a luxury resort could be yours for no charge!

Fly anywhere in the USA for free or get one free companion ticket and take your wife along at no charge thanks to the points accumulated via plastic.

Purchase fun gifts such as an HDTV, a state of the art stereo system, a china pattern, printer, you name it.

Most rewards cards come with a trusty little booklet outlining all of the different rewards you can work toward. Sift through the book, plan your spending, and start accumulating points towards some certainly nifty prizes.

Who said you can not have fun with plastic? Use your rewards card today and start heading down the road to great prizes!

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travellers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial centre second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveller on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the centre. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveller flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re travelling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re travelling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travellers, particularly between financial centres).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travellers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveller, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travellers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travellers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travellers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travellers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travellers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveller experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heathrow is overground, until the business traveller nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heathrow terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s centre. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveller consider using the tube from Heathrow to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heathrow Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heathrow Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveller purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heathrow London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heathrow to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Travelling from Heathrow to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heathrow Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travellers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if travelling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heathrow (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, travelling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heathrow into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveller is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travellers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heathrow Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heathrow, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travellers a Heathrow hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heathrow Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heathrow and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heathrow late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heathrow. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Travelling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heathrow means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travellers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveller, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travelling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveller can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Travelling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveller the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveller an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heathrow and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveller from Heathrow into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flightline Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your enquiry.

© Copyright Flightline Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved.

All prices correct at time of publication.

William Dalrymple’s ‘Nine Lives’ – A Summary

In this book the author brings out beautifully the tales of nine Indian people, hailing from different cultures and tradition of India. William Dalrymple has subtly touched upon some grey areas of Indian tradition, religion, and a quest for one’s own identity amidst the economic and social changes of the regions in South Asia.

In the opening story, ‘The Nun’s Tale’, a jain nun called Prasannamati Mataji tells her own tale of how did she get detached from her home, family and material desires to become a jain nun but found great difficulty in detaching herself from her friend whom she also witnessed starving to death ‘ritually’. The following story -‘The Dancer of Kannur’- speaks of a prison warden from Kerala who, for two months, transforms himself in to an incarnate deity and a temple dancer; and for the rest of the months reverts back to the prison.

‘Daughters of Yellamma’ is a story of a temple prostitute who was once pushed to become a ‘devadasi’ or a ‘religious sex-worker’ but now invites her own daughters in to the flesh-trade. In the ‘Lady Twilight’, ‘Manisha Ma Bhairavi’- a tantric performing ritual at the cremation ground becomes nostalgic about her past when she lived with her family and worked in a jute factory. A Buddhist monk confesses that he conspired with his other mates in picking up arms in fighting for his motherland Tibet against the Chinese invasion.

Apart from these extracts the other four stories that the author has dramatically woven in to mesmerizing and compassionate tales are:

i. The song of the Blind Minstrel

ii. The maker of Idols

iii. The Red Fairy

iv. The singer of Epics

The other known works by the same author are:

1. In Xanadu

2. City of Djinns

3. From the Holy Mountain

4. The Age of Kali

5. White Mughals

6. The Last Mughal

3 Easy Tips on How to Remove the Effects of Pepper Spray in Your Dorm Room

One of the greatest parts of any dedicated high school student’s life is the chance to be able to go to college. College life is basically the opening of great opportunities and the best way of getting your most-sought-after freedom. You’ll finally be able to do everything you want away from your parents’ watchful eyes. For any parent, a child going off to college is both a happy and heartbreaking sight to look at. The fact that you won’t be there to protect and defend her can be very disturbing at times.

Staying in dormitories, especially co-ed ones can be quite unsafe especially for freshmen since they are the ones who are mostly taken advantage of. There are actually several ways for you to be able to defend yourself, one of which is keeping pepper spray on hand. Pepper spray is one of the best options for students on the go since they are easy to carry and easy to use. However, you need to be extra careful in handling your pepper spray or any self defense device for that matter if you want it to work to your advantage. But for future reference, here’s what you need to do in case you accidentally sprayed or spilt pepper spray in your dorm room.

Tip#1 Let the Air Out

Open all the windows and doors of your room so that the harmful smell can be carried along by the passing air. You need to cover your mouth while you do this considering that it could cause you constricted breathing once you inhale it. Turn on your air conditioner or ceiling fans to help dispel the smell. Turn it to its full capacity so the air is passed along faster and quicker. Remember that it will take a while before the air gets neutralized so you need to be patient.

Tip#2 Take Care of the Culprit

While waiting for the smell to be dissipated, find the source of all the mishaps- the pepper spray canister. Unless you do something to take care of it fast, the smell will just keep on coming back and you will still feel your eyes being irritated and your breathing restricted. Do this as fast as you can to avoid further disastrous situations.

Tip#3 Freshen Up Your Room

Once you have done the first two tips, the air will be quite neutralized already. But for the finishing touch, you may have to deodorize your entire dorm room by applying air freshener all over. Air fresheners will help in battling the bad smell caused by the pepper spray while getting rid of the remaining particles in the air. These residual particles can still cause great harm if you fail to remove it from the air.

Make sure that you put your pepper spray canister in the safest area of your dorm room to avoid accidents from happening. Keep it away from sharp objects or from high portions to avoid it being ruptured or broken. You can also keep it locked away but it might take you a while before you can dig it up, and that’s a major no-no in Self Defense 101. Put it in a safe place where you can get easy access to it.

The Many Colors of Laminate Flooring

Like hardwood, laminate flooring is available in an astounding range of colors and textures. Some laminate goes so far as to have the look and feel of tile or stone rather than wood. When you head to your local flooring store or start to browse for flooring online, you'll soon be overwhelmed with choices as to the different wood tones available. When trying to decide between the multitudes, bear some basic guidelines in mind.

Blonde Tones

The lighter colors of laminate resemble platinum blondes and are almost white. These choices are contemporary in feel as well as giving your room or home a bright, casual environment. Very light colors in the flooring will make an entire room brighter, but you must be sure that the blonde tone compliments your existing furnishings. If your cabinets or wood pieces are more traditional, an ultra light floor might be too casual to give your design the desired effect.

Honey Tones

Another option is to select your flooring in a slightly deeper shade of brown. A warm honey tone is more reminiscent of most natural wood floors. The brown shades of the honey tones complement the widest range of furniture and cabinets while also giving you a huge range of colors to choose from. Included in the middle tones are light browns with almost no texture as well as rich browns complete with almost black detailing to resemblance different stain and finishes that would appear naturally on hardwoods.

Dark Tones

A more contemporary tone for laminate flooring is the dark tone ranging from chocolate browns to blacks. These color choices can be casual or formal depending on the actual finish of the material. Laminate floors with a smooth dark finish give a room a rich feel while laminate with a distracted black finish can give you a perfect shabby chic style to work with.

If you use a dark tone for your flooring, be aware that dust and pet hair settles on the floor and is very visible if you do not sweep or damp mop the floor on a very regular basis. A dark floor with a high sheen shows more dust than a dark floor with grooves and texture, but any dark surface will highlight even the thinnest film of dust.

Other Textures

There are now many more selections in laminate flooring than wood designs. While wood is still the most popular of the available selections, you can also choose laminate that resembles stone tiles or even brick. These textures can look terrific in a home that has an eclectic or fun modern feel. Stone laminate flooring may even look perfect in a more traditional home. The best way to test a flooring sample is not to see it in the store, but to bring the sample home to view in your home in as much natural light as possible.