NMLS CE Review of Kaplan and Proschools

In previous years the states regulated the mortgage industry. In 2011 the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) is in place under the federal government. A requirement to maintain a NMLS license is 8 hours per year of continuing education (CE).

Options for CE are classroom or an online course. I got an offer for a discount price of $99.95 from “Kaplan Real Estate Education” and decided to do that. Having done CE courses for insurance and mortgage licensing for the last five years with no problems, it seemed like a good option. The Kaplan NMLS CE course is divided into multiple sections. You view the material for a section and then take a take a 10 question quiz. You must get 100% on the quiz to move to the next section. If you get 90% or less you do it over until you get 100%. This is very irritating. Then when you finally get to the end of the eight hour course (more if you spend a lot of time on the quizzes) there is a 25 question final exam. Kaplan gives you two chances to get 75% or better on the exam. Some of questions are worded in a different way from the material presented. Other questions ask for statistical historical information that has no educational value. OK, I am making excuses for flunking the exam twice! The first time in five years I have had any problem with a CE exam. When I called to complain the Kaplan supervisor said I should pay again, do another 8 hours of CE class, and then they would let me try their stupid test two more times….with no certainty of getting a CE certificate. When I asked about a refund I was told that they do not give refunds.

A couple days later a representative called from Proschools to see if I wanted to do their CE course. The rep said they had a satisfaction guarantee. She also said that students rarely had a problem with the exam, and that they allowed unlimited attempts if needed. Preschools offered a discount that made the cost around $100 and I decided to give it a try. The material seemed to be geared a little more towards useful information rather than arcane historical data. Proschools has a quiz after each section but there was usually only two to four questions. This made it much easier to get 100% on the quiz. The quiz offered a choice of a practice or “final” mode. You have to do the “final” quiz, even if you get 100% on the practice mode that has the same questions. It is best to skip the practice and go straight to the “final” quiz. You get multiple chances for the final quiz if needed. Then came the dreaded final exam. The government requires the course provider to require 70% or better to pass. (Why does Kaplan require 75%? So more people will flunk and have to repeat their course?) I was short on time and rushed through the exam in about five minutes. I got 24 of 25 correct for 96%. See, I R smart!!

From my experience this year I would suggest Proschools if you want an online course. Ask if they are offering any discounts and they will give you the code to use for that, if it is available. Of course the quality of the course is far more important than a small difference in the cost.

How Long Do Concrete Sealers Last?

One of the questions most often asked by customers when buying a concrete sealer is how long it will last. The answer depends on

a. Whether it is Interior/Exterior

b. Amount of traffic on the concrete surface

c. Type of sealer

d. Ambience – humidity, temperature, chemical, etc.

There are two main types of sealer – Penetrating (reactive) and Topical (film-forming).

A penetrating sealer, 100% of the product will be penetrating into the concrete surface. It doesn’t change the color or any of the characteristics of the concrete. It fills the concrete pores from the inside. Sometimes they can be formulated as breathable sealers. Penetrating sealers provide resistance to water, grease or other contamination. They are usually compounds of silanes, siloxanes, silicates or silicones. Compounds of silicates are often used to seal interior color concrete, whereas silanes are used as both interior and exterior sealers. Penetrating sealers are also used to seal concrete countertops.

A topical sealer typically forms a film (or membrane) that protects the concrete surface from external elements. Topical sealers generally provide visual enhancement as well as topical protection. They require dry, clean surface during application to gain adhesion. Typically, topical sealers are formulated with five major resins – acrylic resins, epoxy, polyurethane, polyaspartic and polyester. Each resin has its own purpose. For example, acrylics are affordable and easy to use. However they need regular maintenance. Acrylic sealers are very good for stamped concrete surfaces. The typical life of an acrylic sealer is 1-2 years. The life span of a Polyaspartic sealers last for more than 5 – 8years and they exhibit excellent abrasion, chemical and UV resistance. However, they are bit pricey. Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. For extreme conditions like the ones in commercial kitchens, animal wash rooms, pharmaceutical plants etc., polyurethane based topcoats may be suitable.

The following checklist will prove beneficial when considering a concrete floor sealer purchase:

a. Interior or Exterior surface / vertical or horizontal surface

b. Ease of application

c. Federal or state VOC regulations

d. Expected traffic volume / place of use (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) and

e. Budget

The readers can learn more specific information on concrete sealers at http://www.duraamen.com/products/polyurethane

Why Is Brochure Design an Important Marketing Tool?

It might have been possible for organizations, in early times, to survive without sound marketing but in today’s business world, it is impossible to survive without a firm marketing strategy. Mediums to reach target audience have enormously increased and if you and all your competitors are utilizing the same mediums then you should adopt a unique approach in order to entice your target customers.

Today, the target audience is presented with several options for a particular product. Every organization strives to provide such solutions to its target customers which are better than its competitors. Thus, the competition is increasing at phenomenal pace.

All the marketing tools or mediums have their own importance and benefits. The number of tools, used by an organization for its marketing, depends upon its budget and requirements. There are certain tools that are considered mandatory for the growth and progress of an organization. Brochure design is one of these tools. Promotional brochure is optional; its use depends upon the requirement of the marketing campaign, but corporate brochures are mandatory for an organization in order to look professional.

Have you ever thought that why brochure design holds such an importance? What are those benefits that other marketing tools can’t provide? This article will discuss the benefits of the brochure design to explain you its strength.

In a marketing campaign, it is important to carry out both the ATL and BTL activities. Marketing done through electronic medium helps you reach a wider target audience but the impact is not very strong as compare to brochures. Brochure design is a stronger tool for marketing as it interacts directly with the customer; it makes the communication between an organization and its target audience effective and efficient as compare to other marketing tools such as billboards and electronic or print advertisements.

A brochure design is a detailed version of the product’s promotion. You can’t explain the benefits or features of your products in a great detail through billboards or print advertisement. Brochures are an amalgamation of sound graphics and content. Both these features cumulatively add value to the advertised product or service. You can also elaborate those attributes of your organization or products that make you stand out from your competitors, in detail.

On the whole, brochures can represent an organization in an extensive manner while advertisements or bill boards provide little opportunity for it. Brochures also have the opportunity to interact with their target audience for a longer time provided they are able to grab their attention. In order to grab the attention of the target customers, the brochure design should have an enticing look. Sound images and colors aren’t the only features that can give a brochure design, an appealing look, but the tag line of the organization or captions associated with the product also help in grabbing the attention of the target audience.

Brochure design is a highly productive marketing tool but it must be aligned with the nature of the business and target audience in order to reap its maximum benefits.

Camp Abbot – A Page From World War II History

Along Highway 97, near the picturesque Central Oregon resort community of Sunriver stands a roadside sign erected in 2009. It reads, “World War II Veterans Historic Highway.” A few of the highway vehicles pass the sign then turn into Sunriver, while the majority of traffic quickly continues on. Many of the drivers passing the sign don’t know Camp Abbot’s exact location, nor of its historical significance. Yet, Camp Abbot trainees made up the largest military training exercise in Pacific Northwest history.

Construction of Camp Abbot began in late 1942. Fewer than two years later it closed. Located in a cathedral of pine trees, Camp Abbot was a beehive of activity while a United States Army training center. Thousands trained here. The remoteness didn’t dampen their enthusiasm to become combat engineers, they were an elite group.

The afternoon sun is ablaze on the tops of the tress in the clearing of what are now the Sunriver community and the Deschutes National Forest. It takes some imagining to understand what life must have been like for those training in this now hush forest.

In need of a prompt combat engineer training facility, the War Department established and developed Camp Abbot along the Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon in five-months. Unlike army forts, built as permanent installations, Camp Abbot was built merely as a temporary facility. It was one of only three World War II combat engineer training centers in the United States, the other two being Fort Belvoir, Virginia and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

The first trainees arrived in March 1943. Ten thousand soldiers trained in 17-week cycles. More than 90,000 combat engineers trained at Camp Abbot before the base closed in 1944. They trained in infantry, armor, artillery, air forces, engineers and support units in specific combat problems, such as an attack and defense of a river line and an assault and occupation of defensive positions.

Before training began, army engineers had to complete infrastructure projects such as construction of air fields, supply depots and a Signal Corps battalion as a communication network in the maneuver area. Army combat aircraft were used to support ground forces. These exercises simulated real combat and ran several days, often round the clock.

Occasionally civilian highways like U.S. Highways 97 and 395 and Cascade Mountain roads needed to be used during exercises. Residents were warned to use caution and obey directions from the military police when traveling anywhere in the maneuver area. In November 1943, the army declared that they would repair roads damaged by tanks and other heavy vehicles used in their operation.

The exercise christened “Oregon Maneuver” was deemed a success. Involving more than 100,000 American soldiers and airmen, it is regarded as the largest military training exercise in Pacific Northwest history. Following completion, participants were sent into North Africa for staging before participating in combat operations in Italy. One division went to Hawaii to prepare for the invasion of the Philippines and fighting in Okinawa. Another division landed in France and participated in combat operations in northern France, the Rhineland and central Germany.

Camp Abbot, located in the High Desert just north of the small town of La Pine and south of Bend, had just one function during its 14-month existence – to serve as a World War II Corps of Engineers training center. Some of the former army camp’s land was sold for development in the mid-1960’s and became an upscale resort community. One building remains from the original camp. The still beautiful log officers club is now known as the “Great Hall” and rented for events such as conventions and weddings. Some guests know instantly, they have stepped into a page of history.

Birth Number Seven (For Those Born on the 7th, 16th, 25th of Any Month) A Past Life Experience

Birth Number Seven [for those born on the 7th, 16th, 25th of any month] the day you ‘died’ in your last life is the date you ‘returned’ in this life!

In this life (the one you’re living now) you’ll display certain personality traits, some of which are: Intellectuality, skepticism, detachment, aloofness, and an emotional, sensitive, spiritual nature. Best Day: Use Monday as the day when you are more likely to be in touch with your inner reality. Lucky Colours: Pastels, whites, aqua colours, sky blue.

You have an affinity with people born in the astrological sign of Pisces, no matter what their year of birth and whenever you meet people born in this sign you must consider the possibility of having met them before, somehow, somewhere, in some other time. In this life you are sympathetic to the rights and needs of others but if you are not careful there is a tendency for you to become too involved in their lives and instead of helping them, you find yourself in the same boat!

Matters of spirit will dominate your thinking every so often – asking questions about the meaning of life will occupy many of your days and nights and being a sensitive (maybe even hiding your sensitivity under a mask of stoicism) sort of person you’ll experience many extremes of temperament. At times you will be cheerful and optimistic and when you express this side of your nature, together with a degree of empathy and understanding for others who are in trouble or in difficulty, you will create considerable popularity for yourself and make much progress.

On the other hand, you can give way to extreme sensitiveness and allow yourself to feel hurt at the careless speech or thoughtless actions of others, with you hiding behind an air of apparent indifference. You can be refined, gentle, vague and imaginative, a dreamer of dreams that often become a reality.

Many people ‘grapple’ with the concept of having lived before (usually the life they lived was some wonderful existence with some kind of horrific death – there are so many who think they were murdered or struck down by the hand of an enemy) – very few consider dying naturally in bed as being their last life experience! In keeping things simple and using the analogy of dinner party conversations let’s assume you are a female born on the 16th of September and you’re introduced to a male born on the 5th March. To me, you’ve met before – you’ve lived together and enjoyed some kind of physical existence. It becomes fascinating when you talk about sex for in your last life (in this example you are the 16th of Sept) you were female and have returned as a female. The guy you’ve been introduced to (5th March) was a female in his last life and has returned to this life as a male! Therefore, the life you lived together was female to female (mother/daughter perhaps or sisters?) Have I got your attention or what?

We have free will and free to choose yet, we are fated in one way or another. Let me explain – when the incoming soul child chooses its parents it does so for a reason and the parents you chose for this life might or might not have been related in your previous life! Not all soul children choose parents out of love – some even choose out of revenge! Okay, that’s got your attention for the parents you have are the parents YOU chose, no cop outs, no blame, no excuses so why?

Let’s look at the word FATE (often referred to as destiny, outcome, chance or providence) we are all fated in one way or another yet, at the same time have free will! So, how come some have a better fortune than others? Is it because we chose better parents or circumstance? I don’t think so for when we ‘die’ we don’t necessarily become smart or all knowing! If you struggled with poverty in a previous life and never overcame it – you’d have no way of coming into this life as a millionaire! The only thing we take with us when we ‘die’ is knowledge – nothing else.

Life and its meaning are not just for Birth Number Seven to explore (although you will ponder over it more than most) life is for living and in the process acquiring knowledge…

Until next time, enjoy your dinner party conversations.

Why Is 3 AWG Electrical Wire the Only Odd Gauge Size?

Gauge sizes in copper electrical wire will get larger as the number gets smaller which means 10 AWG has more copper in it than 12 AWG. It’s very unlikely to find a supplier with stock on any odd gauge sizes such as 11 or 7 because the difference is so minor that the application could easily use the size above or below the odd size needed. However, when the gauge sizes get larger there’s much more room in between each size which is why odd sizes start to be included at 3 AWG electrical wire.

The outer diameter of 14 AWG bare copper is .064 inches compared to the next size down of 12 AWG at.081 inches. That’s a difference of .017 inches which means a 13 wire would be nearly useless to have around. Now, the difference between a 4 wire (.204″) and a 2 wire (.257″) is .053 inches putting a 3 AWG electrical wire directly in the middle at .229 inches. There is also a 1 AWG wire included as the sizes get larger for the same reason.

A 3 AWG electrical wire is most commonly found in the THHN THWN family. THHN stands for Thermoplastic High Heat Nylon and the “W” in THWN stands for Water resistant. Both approvals are written on the insulation of all THHN copper wire nowadays because the cost of manufacturing both types got out of hand. The cost difference between the two was minor so combining them was a good idea.

This type of copper electrical wire is most commonly used in homes and building by installers, electricians and contractors who pretty much just say “I need number 4 wire” and it’s understood by the supplier that they need THHN wire. There is a cost savings for the contractor when they can use 3 AWG wire rather than 2 AWG wire because the cost is directly driven by the amount of copper used to manufacture it. I assume it goes without saying that a 2 AWG wire has more copper than a 3 AWG wire so it makes sense for the contractor to find the 3 AWG wire instead of just purchasing the number 2 before looking around.

Speak to your electrician about the size of copper you’ll need and speak to your supplier about the type of insulation you’ll need based on the application. Suppliers are trained more to determine which type of insulation protects best against indoor, outdoor and underground conditions.

Vitamins And Minerals For Your Bones And Teeth

Did you know that a lot of the body's calcium is stored inside bones? As much as 90 percent of calcium is stored inside your bones. Other than calcium, phosphorus is the next most abundant mineral in our bodies. But these 2 minerals need and depend on vitamin D to move or transport them (calcium and phosphorus) to the bones from the intestines. Vitamin D also helps to absorb the calcium in the kidneys before excretion.

There 3 vitamins and minerals have to work hand in hand together to create stronger bones and teeth.


All bones need calcium. Calcium is also very essential for other functions in your body like regulating your heartbeat, forming blood clots, help muscle contract and help the nerves to function. Calcium level also needs to be stable in your body to work properly. This is why too little or too much calcium is not good.

Hypocalcemia (too little calcium): This happens when you have low levels of calcium in your body. If calcium is too little, you will experience muscle spasms, cramps, heart irregularities, stomach cramps and pains. What happens if you do not have enough calcium? Your body takes it directly from the storage, your bones! Therefore, you have to replace your calcium by consuming dairy products, green vegetables and eggs.

Hypercalcemia : (too much calcium): If there is too much calcium and phosphorus in your blood, in can cause your organs to function improperly and become damaged. Large calcium intakes can also reduce zinc and iron absorption and impair vitamin K metabolism. It can even cause you to have a heart failure.


Like calcium, phosphorus is also used to contract muscles, build and repair bones and teeth. Phosphorus also helps the nerves to function properly. 85 percent of phosphorus can be found in your bones. The remaining 15 percent is stored in tissues in your body. Where to get phosphorus? You can consume meat, nuts and dairy products. Again, your kidney helps control the level of phosphorus in your blood. Extra or excess phosphorus is filtered out in the urine. One more thing about phosphorus, it can affect the level of calcium in your blood too.

Vitamin D

Without vitamin D, having the best amount of calcium or phosphorus will not help at all. Your body, specifically the skin makes the most amount of vitamin D. Only a small portion of vitamin D comes from food. Vitamin D actually controls the amount of calcium that is absorbed in your body.

Vitamins And Minerals For Your Bones And Teeth

Did you know that a lot of the body's calcium is stored inside bones? As much as 90 percent of calcium is stored inside your bones. Other than calcium, phosphorus is the next most abundant mineral in our bodies. But these 2 minerals need and depend on vitamin D to move or transport them (calcium and phosphorus) to the bones from the intestines. Vitamin D also helps to absorb the calcium in the kidneys before excretion.

There 3 vitamins and minerals have to work hand in hand together to create stronger bones and teeth.


All bones need calcium. Calcium is also very essential for other functions in your body like regulating your heartbeat, forming blood clots, help muscle contract and help the nerves to function. Calcium level also needs to be stable in your body to work properly. This is why too little or too much calcium is not good.

Hypocalcemia (too little calcium): This happens when you have low levels of calcium in your body. If calcium is too little, you will experience muscle spasms, cramps, heart irregularities, stomach cramps and pains. What happens if you do not have enough calcium? Your body takes it directly from the storage, your bones! Therefore, you have to replace your calcium by consuming dairy products, green vegetables and eggs.

Hypercalcemia : (too much calcium): If there is too much calcium and phosphorus in your blood, in can cause your organs to function improperly and become damaged. Large calcium intakes can also reduce zinc and iron absorption and impair vitamin K metabolism. It can even cause you to have a heart failure.


Like calcium, phosphorus is also used to contract muscles, build and repair bones and teeth. Phosphorus also helps the nerves to function properly. 85 percent of phosphorus can be found in your bones. The remaining 15 percent is stored in tissues in your body. Where to get phosphorus? You can consume meat, nuts and dairy products. Again, your kidney helps control the level of phosphorus in your blood. Extra or excess phosphorus is filtered out in the urine. One more thing about phosphorus, it can affect the level of calcium in your blood too.

Vitamin D

Without vitamin D, having the best amount of calcium or phosphorus will not help at all. Your body, specifically the skin makes the most amount of vitamin D. Only a small portion of vitamin D comes from food. Vitamin D actually controls the amount of calcium that is absorbed in your body.

Diabetic Diet: How Lemon and Lemon Water Can Help Cure Diabetes

I started buying fresh lemons by the bag after I found out how they can help cure diabetes. They are quite literally a miracle from Mother Nature! I have always loved fresh lemon but now I make an extra effort to eat lots of them. In fact, I believe lemons should be an important staple in every diabetic diet.

Lemon Lowers the Glycemic Index of Other Foods

Research has shown that lemon lowers the glycemic index of any food it is added to. And… we are not talking a few points here. The drop is very significant! To benefit from this, all you have to do is add a little squeeze of fresh lemon over your food. Almost like waving a magic wand, this will instantly lower the glycemic index of your meal. Best of all, lemon is such an excellent flavor enhancer, it makes many foods taste better too. I often add a squeeze of fresh lemon to a hot bowl of soup (yum!), casseroles, stove top goulashes, almost any kind of salad (including salads containing fruit), and sauteed vegetables (especially greens!). Anything with chicken or fish of course tastes especially good with lemon. Please note that it is best to add the fresh lemon right before you eat the food. If you cook it in soup, for example, it can become a little bitter and the health benefits won’t be quite as great.

Have A Glass of Lemon Water First Thing In the Morning

A glass of lemon water is the perfect way for a diabetic to start the day. Most people start their day with coffee (very acidic) and food that shift the pH of the body toward the acid side. However, if you shift the pH back toward the alkaline side, you will notice your blood sugar will go down. Moreover, your cell membranes will become more sensitive to insulin – i.e. you will be LESS insulin resistant. In fact, this will actually aid your body in repairing those damaged cell membranes.

Although lemons contain a weak acid, when they are metabolized by the body they have an alkalizing effect. If fact, they are the strongest alkalizing food you can eat! This is why adding lemon to your diet can go a long way toward restoring the pH of your body to the alkaline side where it should be. It has been found that most diabetics have a very acidic body pH (as have cancer patients). Bringing back to the alkaline side will go a long way toward helping to cure your diabetes.

Making lemon water is very easy. Just squeeze the juice from a half lemon (or a full lemon if you are a larger person) into a glass of water, swirl it around a little, and drink it up. Do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach before you have your coffee or breakfast.

Lemons Have TWICE the Vitamin C As Oranges

This was a fact that surprised me as you always hear that orange juice is so loaded with vitamin C. Well, the orange’s citrus cousin has it beat with twice the vitamin C. Most people don’t realize but vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant. It is important to note that vitamin taken in the form of food is MUCH better absorbed by the body than vitamin C taken in the form of a pill!

Vitamin C is at least part of the reason lemons interact with the cell membrane and make it less insulin resistant. However, vitamin C also have other very important benefits to the diabetic as well. For example, it increases the production of collagen which strengthens blood vessels. This is key since many diabetics have problems with circulation and arterial damage.

Aids In Repairing Digestion

Most diabetics have impaired digestive enzymes and lowered acidity in the stomach. This means that they don’t always reap the full benefit from the nutritious food they eat. Lemon goes a long way toward curing this problem as well.

How to Create an Inviting Beer Garden for a Pub, Bar or Restaurant

It’s that time of year again where you need to start thinking about your Garden for the Summer. Here are a few useful ideas:


First and most importantly, a garden connected to a Pub, Bar or Restaurant should feel like a Garden and not in interior space. Many proprietors try to continue the interior finishes to outside which defeats the purpose of a Garden atmosphere. The Garden should have outdoor features like stone and brick and the furniture should look like outdoor furniture. On my travels I found many beer gardens with timber sheeting and fabric covered bar stools – these areas are trying to look like indoor spaces. Instead try to embrace the outdoor Garden atmosphere, work with the multitude of materials and finishes which are available to transform a bland space into an exciting alfresco experience.


Decide on your style or theme and then do some research.

Look at the building and its walls – are there any existing characteristics that may dictate a style or that can be embellished?

Keep the theme running from the interior through to the outside – for example, if you have an Art Deco interior then try to incorporate Art Deco statues, tiles or lamps outside rather than it being a generic garden. Similarly, if it is a traditional Pub with lots of Bric-a-Brac then carry outdoor Bric-a-Brac through.


Weather considerations

The glare/heat factor: use canopies, planting or coloured glass to diffuse.

Wind: Use wind breakers. Anything can be designed to reduce the wind factor – Willow fencing, metal or timber frameworks with glass or canvas wind breakers. I recently designed a trellis planter and because it was on wheels, it was movable which worked really well for my client.

When deciding on the position for your seating consider which direction the wind comes from.

Rain: Provide adequate coverage for smokers in bad weather. In particularly wet climates, a permanent fixed solution like glass in a timber or glass framework will be much more maintainable than a canvas canopy. Glass means that daylight/sunlight can come through which is important on those warm summer days. If it gets too hot or bright then outdoor blinds can be fitted.


Before building anything it is important to know what your local regulations are. In Ireland the guideline for covering areas is described like a bus shelter where the roof covers an area that has walls that are 50% open and 50% closed.


Divide smokers from non smokers if you have the space.

Opening windows may not be an option as the smoke can be pulled into the interior and customers do not like this.

Provide ashtrays on tables and a few sand buckets about the place from which cigarette butts can be taken from at cleaning time.


Make sure the views are good and not facing bin/garbage areas or car-parks. Use screening with plants or timber fencing to hide ugly areas.


Again use outdoor fittings which suit your style whether modern or traditional. Lights can be fitted into all kinds of things and places. Try outdoor led rope lights below skirtings at low level or above a wall for a nice warm glow. Often you can find a fitting which lights up and down thus getting the double benefit. Choose lighting that will create ambiance without giving your customers a headache from the glare. Candles always look fab in a garden setting set into simple glass jam jars, bird cages or antique sieves or metal objects. If you have an outdoor bar make it glow in the dark with candles and led strip lights.


Check the local regulations on this – in many cases outdoor bars need to be located in a smoke free area otherwise the person serving at the bar will be subject to smoke inhalation. If using timber, use teak or a suitable outdoor timber with as little detail as possible so that water does not collect in its cracks. Using timber outdoors means you are going to have to commit to maintaining it. Being subject to all kinds of weather means that whatever finish you use will need to be topped up regularly. Stone counter-tops are great because the water runs off. Use lockable fridges and under counter units for security. Make sure there is permanent cover over the Bar and the customer so that the counter can be used in all weather.


Flowers make people smile so go mad with them! Use colours to suit your garden’s palette. Its always good to have a few varieties in a planter or pot just in case one of them fail. You can plant flowers in anything as long as there are holes for run off water – buckets, bicycles, beds… have a look at these ideas. Ask your plumber to install a piped watering system set to a timer with feeds running to all your plants and flowers. It can be set to water at night so that run off water will have disappeared by morning. Change your planters to ivy’s and small trees like box hedge in the winter for an evergreen look.

I recommend you hire a designer to guide you through all of this. A professionals advise is worth it and you can usually agree with a designer as to the level they get involved so as to suit your budget.

For more ideas on gardens check out the blog posts at http://www.pubdesigndoctor.com/category/beer-gardens/

The Bioluminescent Bay at La Parguera in Puerto Rico

One of the most amazing natural phenomena in our world’s oceans is the presence of what is known as bioluminescence. Caused by small micro-organisms, known as Dinoflagellates, the water glows blue, green or white when disturbed. The result is a supernatural experience, a one-of-a-kind treat for the visitor.

Although bioluminescence in and of itself is not incredibly rare, the affect is often transient, coming and going at certain times of year or times of the night in areas which cannot be pinpointed. Some fish or small ocean organisms such as squid emit a type of luminescence. Often, sailors report seeing bioluminescence in the wake of a boat or the peak of an ocean wave at night.

The world has seven, known, year-round bioluminescent bays, three of which are located in Puerto Rico. These three, amazing bioluminescent bays are located across the island in Fajardo, Vieques and La Parguera. Each of these bays has a high concentration of dinoflagellates in a unique marine environment which allows for viewing year-round.

The bioluminescent bay at La Parguera is located on the Southwest corner of the island of Puerto Rico. The bay at La Parguera is the closest bioluminescent bay to the West Coast cities of Aguadilla, Rincon, Mayaguez and Ponce. La Parguera is a small, quaint fishing village surrounded with calm waters and buffered from the ocean with a bay created by mangrove islands. Easily accessed from the major tourist destination of Rincon, a visit to La Parguera is a great day trip for guests looking to explore more of the West Coast of Puerto Rico.

Tours of the bioluminescent bay depart from the marina in La Parguera. The bay is approximately a 20 minute boat ride from the main marina. Many tour operators offer a snorkeling experience which is unique to many bioluminescent bays. Snorkel underwater at night to experience the glowing organisms for a truly unforgettable experience.

Puerto Rico is known as the jewel of the Caribbean travel experience and with three bioluminescent bays, as well as hundreds of miles of white sand beaches, warm ocean waters and blue skies with ideal weather, it is little wonder why. Puerto Rico is located just East of the islands of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and is reachable via many international flight. Visitors from the United States do not need a passport to visit Puerto Rico, as the island is a US territory. Peak tourist season on the island is from mid-December through April.

The Green Iguana As a Pet – The Pros & Cons

Find Out Why the Green Iguana Makes a Great Pet

Lizards are becoming very popular exotic pets, with the most common of these lizards being the iguana. There are many different types of iguanas, with the Green Iguana being the most popular. One thing that attracts buyers of Green Iguanas, is that pet stores sell them quite cheaply. However, they might not be as easy to care for as you might think.

The Green Iguana is found in Central America, South America and Mexico. It generally lives in and around trees and plants, and is more active throughout the day time. When getting a Green Iguana it is important to know that it can grow to around 5-6 feet in length and can weigh up to 15 pounds – as you will need to take this into consideration when choosing the iguanas housing. Also, iguanas are solitary animals, and should be kept separate as they could attack each other. When Green Iguanas are fully grown, they can become aggressive towards you at certain times of the year, so be careful of this.

Choosing your housing for your Green Iguana can be difficult as they need a very large space to live, especially when they are adults. When they are young and growing, they will need at least a 20 gallon glass tank. As they get older and grow bigger you will need to find somewhere bigger. There is a myth that iguanas will only grow as big as their surroundings. This isn’t true and they will keep growing no matter what their housing size is.

Iguanas must have UV light in their cage in order to survive, as this will help keep their skin healthy. The UV light should be kept on around 12 hours per day. Since they are from hot countries, the iguana’s home should also be at the right temperature. Having the correct temperature helps the Green Iguana with digestion so it will grow and will keep its immune system healthy. Make sure the tank doesn’t get too hot to where it might burn the iguana. Also, the iguana needs humidity, therefore don’t let the heat dry the tank out.

The Green Iguana has a strict diet and should only be fed certain foods. They are herbivore animals in the wild, therefore they live off of plants and leaves. You should feed your pet iguana a mixture of vegetables and fruit which has been chopped up into small pieces, as well as dark greens such as dandelions. Unlike what some people may think, you do not feed the Iguana insects such as crickets or other food such as mice, as this can damage them and cause disease.

Green Iguanas can be a very interesting exotic pet to own, as long as you can provide it with all of the necessary needs. This includes making sure it has the right housing needs, and the right dietary needs. Failure to do this could lead to expensive vet bills, so take this into account when buying your Green Iguana.

Graphology at Home – Lesson 5 – The ‘i’ Dot

When the capital letter I-the ego-is written huge, this is the image the writer has of himself. Surely he is extremely egocentric, a megalomaniac.

A block letter shows culture, someone who reads. This is the capital I found in most books.

The unadorned I shows nothing extra and similarly indicates the person who sticks to the simplest essentials.

The large, ugly I with hooks is the sign of egotism and greed. This writer is all out for himself, willing to avoid responsibilities.

The I that looks similar to the number 1 shows a relationship to numbers. Often these people are found to excel in mathematics.

When the I dot is to the right, it is referred to as the post placed i dot. This writer’s thoughts run in front of his actions, and his writing shows speed. His urge is to finish his task without worrying about exact details.

The pre-placed i dot, which is to the left, shows procrastination, caution, lack of self-confidence, repression. The left, represents the past (the writer lives in the past), whereas the i dot to the right of the stem-the post-placed- i dot represents the future.

The exactly placed I dot above the stem is the sign of accuracy, perfection, excellent judgment, excellent memory, strong adherence to details. This writer often has a matter-of-fact personality. He is not only careful in dotting the i, but places it exactly where it belongs. This shows concentration. Many judges and scientists dot their i’s in this fashion.

The i dots which are exactly above the i stem are often found among people who are considered highly moral people. They usually take strongly conservative points of view, in contrast to the writers of the post-placed i dots, who are more likely to be liberals. The post-placed writer lets himself go, whereas the exacting writer weighs every action.

The high-flying dot shows the person whose thoughts are high in the sky. He is generally unrealistic, but if he attains his improbable goals, he does so in a big way.

When an i dot is not really a dot, but a vertical line, it is a sign of criticism, of a person who has a strong concern with principles. Not only does the shape of the dot seem like a descending knife, but it can also pass for an exclamation point, demonstrating emphasis.

An i dot formed of a circle reflects the eccentric-sometimes mildly so, sometimes not so mildly. These people show mild neurotic tendencies and are frequently unable to face reality. They go after fads quite often and are of an artistic nature. The late artist Walt Disney wrote a similar i dot. It is interesting that his circled i dot looks very similar to Mickey Mouse’s round ears.

The very light ‘i’ dot indicates a lack of willpower, possibly physical weakness or even illness, as if the person did not have the strength to dot the i properly. (A light t bar obviously shows the same meaning.)

When we see an i dot joined to another letter (and for that matter, any letter that requires a dot or bar), it shows a clever combination of thoughts-doing two things in one shot, so to speak. These are the personalities of chess players, people who can solve abstract and intricate puzzles and make logical deductions.

When the i dot is an arc that opens at the left side, it is a sign of the neurotic, untrustworthy personality. He shies away from the system. The arc, which is regarded as the eye, is looking toward the left indicating a lack of trust in somebody he has been involved with in the recent past. (It is often the untrustworthy person who does not trust others)

When the i dot is in the form of an arc open to the right, it is the sign of the observer. The arc itself looks like an eye staring at something.

When the dot is directly over the stem and heavy, it indicates good memory, sound judgment, and the ability to do detail work. You often find this writer to be very materialistic and in a state of depression. (Heaviness in writing shows the physical, and the physical brings on materialism.) Regarding the depression, it seems to be a weight on the writer’s head, carrying an extra load.

When the dots are more like dashes, they signify energy, worry, and irritability. If you go over these dots yourself, you can almost feel liveliness, irritability, and also a certain degree of speed. When the i needs a dot and precision is really necessary, this writer flings his pen in such a manner as to make the dots into dashes. It shows he does not care, because there is something bothering him.

When the i dots look more like commas or arcs, they are signs of humor, wit, and gaiety. If you look closely at them, they resemble laughing mouths.

An i without a dot may simply indicate speed (which would have to be checked with the rest of the writing). Otherwise, the dotless i shows forgetfulness, carelessness, neglect. This is also true of the t bar without the bar.

A note about genius: There is no hard-and-fast rule for recognizing genius through a person’s handwriting. However, certain signs often do appear in the script of great-minded men: high upper-zone extension (without loops), and/or very small, or even microscopic, middle zones. (There is no particular guideline to the lower zones.)

Generally speaking, since the middle zone is the social area, the larger it is, the less the powers of concentration. Thus, the great mind tends to show in his handwriting a willingness to give up the social world for more intense powers of concentration.

Since the average size of a zone is 3 millimeters, anything under this size we call small and the smaller in size it gets, the stronger the concentration, usually at the expense of sociability.

Other traits commonly found in the handwriting of the genius are tremendous speed and sloppiness, indicating that the person’s thinking is so far ahead of his writing that he has no time for meticulous penmanship.

Although a genius may position many of his t bars and i dots well to the right of the stem, he will place others with great precision, for, however rapidly he may be thinking, much of his work requires exactitude as well as speed.

A form that frequently turns up in the writing of someone with a high IQ is a g made in the shape of a figure 8, showing speed plus a certain grace.

May we digress to the subject of legibility?

The fact of legibility in handwriting and its degree are not so easy to establish. We read whole words at a time, some of us whole phrases. Consequently, one or even several illegible letters in a word will not prevent us from correctly guessing what the word is from the context. As experienced readers, we really do not mind a not wholly legible hand. As graphologists, we must be less lenient.

To establish the legibility of handwriting, we must try to read it word by word. Only when handwriting proves to be legible in a word-by-word examination can it be pronounced legible.

To interpret a hand graphologically, on the basis of its legibility, we must ask ourselves why a person may choose to write, yet at the same time write illegibly. Lip service is the phrase that comes first to our mind. To let the gesture stand for the act is the intent of one who writes but does so illegibly. Or he may consider himself so superior that reading his missive is the recipient’s duty; conceit and arrogance, therefore, may also lead to illegible handwriting.

Or we may write the message though we would prefer to keep its contents to ourselves. In this case, it may be affectation of mysteriousness, or neurotic anxiety, or psychotic suspiciousness, or perhaps even a persecution complex that blurs our hand. It was distrust that created cipher or code writing.

Paranoia or persecution mania, to be sure, does not make handwriting wholly illegible. On the contrary, paranoiacs often write meticulously legibly, as though trying their best not to arouse any suspicion. But there simultaneously appear certain isolated illegible characters or words;

they look like corrections, but the result is always almost complete illegibility. Paranoiacs seem to be feverishly bent on improving themselves and apprehensive over what might be misinterpreted and criticized by others, but it probably is part of their mental disorder not to succeed but rather to make things still worse.

A person with an illegible or neglected hand cannot be called either sincere or co-operative. For if he has nothing to hide, or really wants to be understood by his neighbor, why should he write illegibly? We must assume that he does not care whether or not we can read his letter. This is not the way of a considerate person. Indeed, inconsiderateness, carelessness, (in clothing, too), insincerity, and even bad manners may be observed in people with barely legible hands. Very probably, they would also be unpunctual, disorderly, and indolent. There was a time when well-educated people, and especially intellectuals, thought it beneath them to write a legible handwriting. Freud has, I think, interpreted the illegible hand of doctors, for instance, as part of their professional pride and secretiveness; they do not want the layman to understand their notes obviously reserved for other doctors or pharmacists. However, it is quite conceivable that some scientists or thinkers, very much detached from the world, forget that others may also wish to read their writings: (Einstein obviously is not one of these; his handwriting is legible).

People with little training in penmanship do not write illegibly or carelessly. Their writing may look rather helpless, untrained, but it is often remarkably legible.

A person’s illegible signature does not admit of any complimentary interpretation. For how much trust can be placed in a document if the signature that is to prove the signer’s determination to carry out his promises cannot be deciphered? In a sense, an illegible signature annuls the document it pretends to put in force. (Only an anonymous ¬letter or a ransom note goes well with an illegible signature.) A special kind of illegible signature, the paraph, is used by people who think they are above the necessity of identifying themselves by means of their signature. The best-known case is Napoleon and the man with Napoleonic aspirations. If a man thinks of himself as one whom everybody must know and blindly obey, why should he bother to write his signature legibly? Indeed, a paraph will suffice. If examination of the handwriting sample reveals that here and there, one letter stands for another very plainly, for example, an l for a b or an h for a k, we know from experience that the sample originated with a liar, a swindler, or a cheat.

(“Adolf” in Adolf Hitler’s signature)

Indistinct figures are made by careless people and people whose attitude in financial matters is not clear. But figures that can be misread, for example, a 5 for an 8, or a 1 for a 7, and so on, are associated with fraudulent intentions on the part of the writer.

Legibility, on the other hand, is characteristic of sincere individuals and of people who have a good capacity for purposeful work. Legible handwriting may also be associated with orators, teachers, and pedants; the style value will tell us whether the hand is that of a great teacher or merely a pedant’s.

There are some peculiarities regarding the pace of writing, which we must know in order to draw correct conclusions. For instance, Saudek found that tall letters, such as f, are always more quickly written than minimum (small) letters, such as i; therefore, a small script is always more reluctantly formed than a sizable one. The rounded letters are produced “without pause,” angular formations never without “stopping for a fraction of a second before the transition from one direction to the other.” The angle writer, therefore, is always a hedger. The same holds true of handwriting with many broken lines, or with many changes in direction, particularly left-tending strokes (in a writing movement, which, as ours, is mainly right tending). “No one is capable of making a dot when writing at a high rate of speed, but will instead produce… a comma or accent.” Similarly, a spontaneous writer will not place the dots exactly over the i’s. On the other hand, only ¬spontaneity can produce a straight line, a slowly executed straight line being necessarily broken. Moreover, spontaneity will always slant its writing to the right; upright or left¬ slanted writing is never formed spontaneously.

Examination for Lesson 5

1. What type of capital shows extreme egocentricity?

2. The ‘unadorned’ capital indicates what type of personality?

3. Which ‘i’ dot reflects procrastination?

4. Which type of ‘i’ dot discloses strong adherence to details?

5. What does the ‘i’ dot joined to another letter reveal?

6. Which ‘i’ dot reveals humor, wit, and gaiety?

7. Intense powers of concentration are frequently found in the script of the genius.

Describe this unique type of writing and the zone.

8. Code writing was created because of trust-or the opposite?

9. When certain isolated illegible words appear, which type of mania is suggested?

10. Sincerity and co-operating are more likely to be found in legible or illegible script?

A. Legible B. Illegible

11. Who are ‘known’ to write illegibly so that the layman will not understand their notes?

12. An illegible signature annuls or confirms the document it pretends to put in force?

A. Annuls___ B. Confirms___

13. Do spontaneous writers place the dots exactly over the ‘i’s or not?

Answers for Lesson 5

1. One that is enormous

2. The person who sticks to the simplest essentials.

3. The pre-placed i dot

4. The i dot that is exactly above the stem.

5. It shows a clever combination of thoughts-doing two things in one shot, so to speak. These are the personalities of chess players, people who can solve abstract and intricate puzzles and make logical deductions.

6. i dots that look more like commas or arcs. (They resemble laughing mouths).

7. Very small, or even microscopic, middle zones. The middle zone is the social area, the larger it is, the less the powers of concentration. Thus the great mind tends to show in his handwriting a willingness to give up the social world for more intense powers of concentration.

8. The opposite

9. Paranoia or persecution mania

10. Legible

11. Doctors

12. Annuls

13. They do not place the dots exactly over the ‘i’.

The Bowline Knot – History, Tying, And Uses For the King of Knots

The Bowline is a knot that creates a fixed loop at the end of a rope. It is one of the most well known and important knots used in boating and sailing and is often called the King of Knots due to its versatility, strength, and stability. It is easy to learn, quickly made, and easy to untie after being placed under heavy strain. In fact, the ability to untie the knot after being under high strain and subjected to harsh conditions is what makes it a fantastic knot for running rigging.

History: The Bowline was used on tall ships during the “Age of Sail” to attach a square sail to the yardarm. Another spelling for the Bowline is “Bow Line” because it may have been used to hold the windward, bow facing, side of the sail. The Bowline was first mentioned in 1627 by John Smith in A Seaman’s Grammar under the name “Boling Knot”. The Bowline may have been around much longer than the Age of Sail and even existed in ancient Egypt. A knot similar to the Bowline was found when Egyptian ships were excavated and the rigging was examined.

How to Make a Bowline: The method for making a Bowline is easy to remember by using the mnemonic “A rabbit comes out of the hole, around the tree, and back into the hole”.

1- Create an underhand bight in the line leaving a generous amount for the working end

2- Bring the end up through the loop created by the bight

3- Behind and around the standing part of the line

4- Then back down through the loop

5- Tighten the knot by pulling on the end, standing part, and loop

Uses: The Bowline is a versatile knot and can be used for a number of tasks including:

1- Attaching a jib sheet at the clew. (This is the place you will usually find a Bowline on a sailboat.)

2- As the knot on the end of a halyard to hoist an object or sail as needed.

3- Creatively as a slip knot; since the loop at the end of the line is fixed.

4- As a Bend to tie two lines together with each line using a Bowline at the end. 5- To create a loop at the end of a docking line.

Bowline Variations: The Bowline has a number of variations that work well in different scenarios, but maintain the original Bowline structure. One variation is the Running Bowline, which is basically a slip knot created by passing the standing part of the rope through the fixed Bowline loop. The result is a slip knot that can be used to retrieve items when they fall overboard, hold items tightly together, or used in running rigging. A second variation is a Bowline on Bight, which creates two fixed loops at the end of the rope. The two knots can be separated and used to lift people out of the water by placing a leg in each loop.

If you only want to learn a few knots, then the Bowline is one that should make your short list. Its versatility, dependability, and the fact it is easy to make (and untie) demonstrates why it has earned the title “King of Knots”.

Home Drain Snaking – What Is a Handheld Drain Auger?

Handheld Drain Auger Definition

Drain snakes (or augers) are stiff cables with weighted tips that can snake down your household plumbing, busting up or even extracting any obstruction they encounter. The smaller handheld tools are suitable for clearing clogs in drains in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry, garage and workshop, or pool and patio drainage.

Because a backed up or slowly flowing drain is one of the most irritating potentially most damaging, in terms of property, household emergencies, and because a plumber’s bill can easily run into the hundreds for off-hours visits, an inexpensive tool like a handheld drain auger usually makes up its own cost in its first use. Large or active households will find many uses for their drain spinner, particularly models small enough to allow use without requiring removal of stoppers or straining plates.

Different Snake Designs

Designs will vary in spooling out the cable; some are pistol-gripped devices while many larger core drain snakes are simply loosely coiled. Most handheld drain augers of the smallest size available with metal cables come with a spool that can be rotated along with the cable. This drum shaped housing can sometimes be attached to a cordless drill for power rotating. Smaller tools, seen on TV, are made of plastic and too short and flimsy for serious work. True drain snakes will have at least 1/4 inch metal cables of up to 25 feet in length. They are versatile enough to get down a bathtub overflow drain, but strong enough to handle any blockage they encounter.

Drain Snakes and Closet Augers

Do not use these smaller drain snakes on a toilet. The narrow cable can easily become tangled in the wide toilet drain, and if a knot forms beyond reach, you are stuck with an incredible restoration to get it out. This is a rookie move, don’t do it. Only use snakes designed for commodes, called closet augers, on toilets. The design of closet augers makes them safe for use on toilets.

Safety Comes First

And safety always should be a primary concern. While your handheld drain auger is safe for use on other drains in the house, be aware the heavy cable head and rough metal cable can easily damage other fixtures. Use an old washcloth over the area to prevent scratching any porcelain or chrome in your workspace. Eye protection is advisable, because there can be some splashing of dirty water and filth.

Clear That Clog

Drain snakes may be even easier to use than a plunger! Always follow your owner’s manual instructions, but there isn’t much to the basic principles. Extend the cable down the drain, rotating, backing up and moving forward around corners, until you get the impression you have cleared the clog. Standing water should flow away; often you will hear a gurgling noise as the blockage comes clear. Flush fresh water down the drain as you remove the cable back onto its spool, washing it clean then dry with a towel before storage.

Where to Get a Handheld Drain Auger

If you have a few moments to make your drain snake purchase decision, then do some online research. For drain auger product reviews, visit uncloggingdrains101.com.