Inline Skates – The Best HIIT Training Tool?

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise or exercise to help lose weight, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown over and over again to be the most effective style of training. And done right, inline skating can be one of the most powerful HIIT training tools at your disposal.

High-intensity interval training consists of short bursts of all-out effort followed by a longer period of exercise at a more moderate pace. The standard timing most commonly recommended is 30 seconds of all-out effort followed by 90 seconds of more moderate energy expenditure while you get your breath back and your heart rate back down some. This pattern is repeated over and over for a total of 15 – 30 minutes and delivers far more benefit to your body and weight-loss effort than much longer bouts of constant-pace aerobic exercises like jogging.

If you’ve been doing cardio or even HIIT training on a treadmill at home or in the gym, it’s time to consider moving outside and slapping on a pair of inline skates. To start with, running on an electric treadmill simply entails lifting your feet and putting them back down as the tread moves by. On inline skates, you need to push out and back with each stride since you’re providing the push to go forward, not an electric motor.

Similar to cross-country skiing in this regard, pushing out and back against the road’s resistance activates the muscles of the entire posterior chain with each stride. The day after your first 2-3 hour inline skating session will remind you of this, as you’ll be well aware of how effectively you used your hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles!

Another factor is the weight of your inline skates. Your legs are used to lifting your shoes over and over each day, including when you’re jogging or sprinting. In most cases, however, your leg muscles aren’t used to lifting footwear that weighs as much as your skates will. Not a big deal, but every little bit helps when you’re after conditioning or burning fat, right?

So how do you convert pleasurable time on your skates to HIIT training? The first method is the same as standard HIIT training – hill sprints. Find a paved path or street with a hill just steep enough it takes about 30-seconds to climb at full-out effort levels. Skate full-force up it, then slow to a comfortable pace and go a bit further, then reverse your direction and skate leisurely back to the bottom of the hill before sprinting back up again.

The second way can be more interesting, though, and can be practiced anywhere you go on your inlines – a path, a track, wherever. After a comfortable warmup session, adopt the stance of a speedskater on ice. Bend forward until your upper torso is parallel to the ground and place one hand on your lower back, palm up. Let your free arm hang down and swing it back and forth laterally in front of you in time to your strides for balance.

This maneuver should only be used by experienced inline skaters wearing their helmet and full pads, as you’ll most likely find yourself going much faster than you’re used to. As you become more used to the proper form for speedskating you’ll be able to lean a little further forward, necessitating faster, longer strides and moving you forward even faster. Even very experienced skaters will be surprised at the oxygen requirements when skating this way, and you’ll find you’re hitting oxygen-depletion very quickly. Straighten back up and skate comfortably for a minute or two until your heart and breathing slow back down, then hit another 30-second sprint.

One caveat… Like any extreme exercise session, HIIT training should only be attempted by those already somewhat in shape. If you’re just starting your path to a fitness lifestyle, stick to recreational inline skating until you’re well practiced on your skates and have achieved a better level of fitness. New activities that deplete your oxygen reserves can be dangerous, even deadly, until you know how to gauge what you can and can’t manage in your current condition. As with all forms of exercise, start light and build from there!

In Search Of An Ethical Leader

Ethical leadership is often described as leadership that influences others by using trust, honesty, empathy, and fairness. Ethical leaders foster an ethical culture within organizations by behaving in ways that reflect ethical values. Leaders who facilitate ethical behavior positively influence the attainment of organizational goals. Studies have shown ethical behavior and high moral standards to be amongst the top leadership qualities. Although ethics and morality concern doing what is right, the two concepts are not always synonymous. While morality deals with conforming to ideals of right human conduct, ethics includes consideration for agreements made relative to how a person will act. For example, a doctor takes an oath to do no harm but she sometimes has to knowingly forgo providing the highest level of care for a patient who cannot afford to pay the projected healthcare bill. Although her actions likely abide by the agreement she made with her organization and might be ethical, many people might view her actions as immoral. Ethical, as well as moral, leaders should govern based on fairness rather than financial/personal gains. Several current leaders have constituencies that are searching for ethical replacements.

A civilian Army Engineer, responsible for conducting technical evaluations of training devices offered by different companies to be used to train soldiers, reported several unethical actions taken by his leaders during his ongoing 25 year career. The Engineer has seen leaders turn a blind eye to reported incidences such as racial discrimination, professional disrespect, time card fraud, and nepotism. In one instance, the Engineer served as a technical evaluator during a competition between several companies trying to win a government contract to provide a training tool for soldiers. While attempting to conduct his duties, the Engineer’s authority was seized in a coup-like fashion and his leaders edited documents to ensure a particular company won the contract. In another instance, the Engineer’s leader (an Army Officer) ordered him to take unlawful actions and retaliated against him when he refused and reported the unethical behavior. Other Officers assisted the initial retaliator by issuing the Engineer unfair performance evaluations and removing him from leadership positions. Although the Engineer repeatedly reported the continued retaliations, no leader has extended assistance. The Engineer’s pleas for help up his chain of command within the organization and to outside organizations including the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have not led to meaningful changes in the Engineer’s organization. An ethical leader would have fairly investigated the Engineer’s complaints in an effort to locate and address any unethical, immoral, or toxic leaders within the organization. Ethical leaders listen to their followers and offer beneficial interventions when necessary. As of the date this article was published, the Engineer was still in search of an ethical leader.

The voters select their leaders and expect their leaders, in turn, to take actions that benefit their followers (i.e., their constituency). The voters deserve a leader who respects the law and does not endanger the lives of others for personal gain. One presidential candidate who is working to gain the trust of the voters has violated federal law by mishandling classified information. She exchanged United States secrets, using a non-secure personal computer network, and those secrets were reportedly intercepted by foreign intelligence services. After being asked for certain email messages, the presidential candidate deleted everything from her computer’s hard drive and stated she did not save copies of the email messages. Investigators estimated over 2,000 of the email messages on the candidate’s personal server contained classified information.

The same presidential candidate was also accused of accepting money from special interest groups with the intention of influencing future laws to benefit those groups. The candidate reportedly accepted $20,000 from Saudi Arabian leaders. Some United States citizens question whether or not she will support the widely discussed release of a report that purports to substantiate the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government in the world trade center attacks of September 11, 2001.

The presidential candidate, while serving in the United States Senate, strongly supported trade policies that resulted in an uncountable number of jobs being moved to other countries and fostered an increase in the number of men, women, and children standing on corners holding signs seeking money and/or food. How can she be trusted to lead the voters in an ethical fashion? How can she be trusted to foster an ethical culture during her presidency? How can she be trusted? Many of the voters feel she cannot be trusted and are searching for an alternative-an ethical leader.

The citizens of the United States elected a President, several years ago, who told them he would bring positive change to the country. He promised to improve the economy and order his military troops to come home and cease fighting in foreign countries. Instead, the President doubled the country’s debt and greatly increased the fighting in foreign countries. The vast majority of the people killed in those foreign countries were not the intended targets. The President approved the use of un-manned drones to kill individuals in those countries and those killings were carried out against innocent people 90% of the time. During one timeframe, attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people. Although the President acknowledged that drones often kill innocent people, he continues to order the use of drones to target people in foreign countries. The President’s actions have been viewed as dishonest by many of his constituents.

The citizens of the United States are also disappointed that their President supported laws that allow little boys to join little girls in the little girls’ restroom. During a time when crimes like rape and sodomy are on the rise, legalizing men to use women’s restrooms is unethical and decreases the level of trust citizens hold for their leader. The United States President’s actions show his lack of empathy for women-especially abused women. While many of the citizens of the United States, mostly those from certain communities, enjoy the thought of men in women’s restrooms, others find it repulsive and have questioned the values and morality of their President. The majority of the citizens are eager to replace the President in their search for an ethical leader.

When leaders foster a fair and trustworthy environment followers are likely to reciprocate with ethical and moral behaviors. Because leaders set the tone for what is viewed as acceptable, followers who perceive their leaders as unethical tend to turn a blind eye to the immoral and unethical conduct of their teammates. Other followers distance themselves from the unethical activity and hope for a change in leadership. Many followers find themselves on that seemingly never-ending search for an ethical leader.

How to Get Over an Ex Boyfriend With 3 Buddhist Ideas

Seems rather strange that a few ideas from Buddhism can provide a solution on how to get over an ex boyfriend.

Just the word Buddhism invokes an image of a monk, sitting for hours on end, meditating. They seem to have some mystical powers of the mind as they appear to be at peace with everything.

And in a way, you too can learn how to be at peace and get over your ex using these three key ideas from Buddhism:

1. Attachment

2. Impermanence

3. Mindfulness

Notice the simple and easy to remember acronym AIM. This will remind you of your “AIM” to get over your ex boyfriend.

Okay, that was really corny. But it was better than my other choices, MIA (Missing In Action) or IMA(?).

Anyway, the order of it doesn’t really matter. It flows from one to the other. But it makes it easier to remember when you think of it as “AIMing” to get over your ex.

Attachment and how to detach from your ex

Buddhism teaches you that attachment brings us suffering and pain. That we need to become detached to the things that are causing our suffering.

In your case, attachment to your ex boyfriend.

In Samantha Joel’s article, how to get over your ex, she reveals that in romantic relationships it is normal to form an attachment to your partner because of the close bonds of intimacy and interdependence.

Psychologists call it the “attachment figure – i.e., a person who you rely on for validation and support.”

And if your ex is the first person that comes to mind when you need validation or moral support. That means he is still your primary attachment figure.

This was true for me. When I received a promotion at my job, my ex was the first person that I called to celebrate with. The conversation was short. After telling her about my promotion there wasn’t much else to talk about after.

You want to let go of your ex as the primary attachment figure. One of the biggest reasons is that relying on your ex for validation and support is deleterious to your progress of moving on.

Fortunately, there’s a way to detach from your ex. Samantha suggests that your friends and family become the new attachment figure.

In other words, you are replacing your ex with a new confidante. Someone who will be there for you when you need support.

Understandably, there will be times when you may want to contact your ex.

Don’t do it.

Staying in contact with your ex will only prolong the recovery process.

When you do feel the urge to contact him. Write down what you want to say but don’t send it. File it away.

Eventually, your attachment to your ex will dissipate as you continue with no contact and forming stronger attachments to friends and family.

Impermanence and how your feelings for him will change

In Buddhism there are no absolutes in this world: there is no unchanging, everlasting thing. Everything comes and goes.

Including those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you have for your ex.

This is impermanence.

When someone says that their former partner was the only “one”. Their true love. That they will never find another like them.

I feel for them, because I felt that I wouldn’t find another like my ex. To me she possessed qualities that I wanted in a partner. She was kind, caring, smart, and beautiful.

But over the years my feelings for her changed. As I looked back on the relationship, my rose-colored glasses came off and I was able to see the good and bad of it.

When you become heartbroken you are bias about your ex. Only seeing how great the relationship may have been. And you build evidence of this by looking at only the good things about it.

But you need to recall the bad things as well to put everything in perspective.

As for your pain. It’s a deep hurt and it seems superficial to say that it will lessen with time.

But think of it this way. When you have a bad day and you get a little upset. You may feel like your day is ruined. But the good news is your bad day is not permanent. There’s always another day.

Also, you can change your attitude in that moment. Your attitude is not permanent. You’re not a grouch all the time. Or are you?

Anyway, impermanence is a profound truth. There is a simple phrase that captures its meaning. That is…

This too shall pass.

All the good things that are happening right now in your life. Such as partying it up with friends or having a robust young body. Will pass.

And so will the bad things.

Mindfulness, the key to stop thinking about your ex

When asked why his disciples, who lived a simple and quiet life with only one meal a day, were so radiant, the Buddha replied:

“They do not repent the past, nor do they brood over the future. They live in the present. Therefore they are radiant. By brooding over the future and repenting the past, fools dry up like green reeds cut down(in the sun).” (Dhammananda 2002)

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment.

Being aware of the things that is happening around you. Aware of your movements, actions, environment and thoughts.

And with impermanence in the background. Mindfulness is to live life in the present knowing this moment will pass.

It’s a simple idea.

But you lose perspective of this when you experience a breakup. Becoming lost in your past relationship. And ruminating about the future. Wondering if you will ever love again.

Practicing mindfulness frees you from these debilitating thoughts. Helping you to stay focused on the present and working on the process of getting better everyday.

One of the simplest ways to start practicing mindfulness is to pay attention to your surroundings.

Take a moment to notice the things around you with a curious mind. Try not to apply any labels to them. Such as, that is a book or that is a chair.

Just observe. Be present. Looking at it and noticing things about it.

On the days that I take my morning nature walks. I practice mindfulness by noticing the finer details of a tree. But in the moment I try not to label it as a tree but just a thing.

When I’m able to do so, I see how wonderful the tree is. It’s weird, considering you see a tree all the time but with mindfulness you see it in a new way.

I’m not spiritual in any sense of the word. But mindfulness sorta gives you a spiritual feeling of calm, peace and joy.

But you don’t have to go for nature walks to experience this. You can be mindful of anything in your life. Such as how you eat by eating your meal slowly, savoring the flavor and enjoying it.

Mindfulness brings you back into the present moment. And helps you to forget the past and your ex for the time being.

With mindfulness you may even see your world in a new light.

Overall, using AIM can help you to get over an ex boyfriend by learning how to become detached, to see that things will change, and to be reminded about living in the present moment.


1. Joel, S. (2012). How to get over an ex. Dating Decisions. Retrieved from

2. Dhammananda, K. Sri. 2002. What Buddhists Believe. eBook. 4th ed. Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

Home Rewires – Nitty-Gritty Questions and Answers

If your house was built before 1950, the wiring may not be up to current standards. Prior to 1950, many wiring systems relied on cloth-insulation, which deteriorates over time. Between the late 1800s to mid-1930s, wiring was given cloth insulation and, in addition, was held in place by a system called “knob and tube” or “knob and spool.” While cloth insulation may not be obvious, knob and tube is easy to see. It features whitish ceramic tubes (spools) through which the wires were run and whitish ceramic knobs over which the wires were wound. You can find photos on the Internet. If you suspect that your house was wired before 1950 or has cloth-insulated wiring or knob and tube, ask a qualified electrician to check it.

How much does a house rewire cost?

Of course, it depends on how much work a particular home needs and where you live. My company operates in a large urban area where the cost of living is as high as anywhere in the country. Depending on the type of existing wiring, we charge $4-$6 per square foot of home that needs rewiring. If you live in a less expensive part of the country, of course, you can expect a lower price.

How long does it take?

This depends on factors like the size of your house. In general, for a house of about 1,500 square feet, with 2-3 person crew, a complete rewire, where all the wires are replaced, takes about 2-7 days.

Is it necessary to break walls?

If your electrical wires were installed inside conduit (looks like plumbing pipes), breaking walls can be mostly or entirely avoided. For Romex or knob and tube, breaking walls can’t be avoided. If it’s necessary to break walls, an expert electrician will leave a clean patch ready for the painter.

Will our home lose power?

The parts of the house where the electricians are pulling out your old wires and replacing them with new ones will need to have the power turned off. Experienced electricians will sequence the rooms so that only a specific part of the house is without power at any one time. They shouldn’t leave your home without power overnight.

Will a rewire increase the value of my home upon sale?

Very likely. If your existing wiring is unsafe, this issue will come up in escrow during the home inspection. Also, some lenders may decline to provide a mortgage and some insurers may not offer home insurance. In this situation, you can expect fewer potential buyers and a lower price for your home. A rewire may make a higher price possible and a sale smoother. If you think you might end up doing a rewire before a sale, the best time to do it is as soon as you can pay for it. It will keep your family safer in the meantime.

Will it reduce insurance rates?

Many insurers refuse to provide insurance for homes with older electrical systems that don’t meet current safety codes. If you have such a home, you may find that your options are limited to insurance companies that charge higher rates.

Is an electrical permit required?

Yes. Upon sale of the house, if a rewire has been done, legally you will need to be able to show an electrical building permit. If you didn’t get a permit, you’ll need to disclose that. A permit requires that your electrician obtain an electrical inspection to make sure that the wiring follows the National Electrical Code.

Can I rewire my house myself?

This depends on your knowledge and skills. A safe rewire and one which will pass building inspections requires knowledge of many parts of the National Electrical Code as well as many electrical skills and special tools. Rewiring could be both a hazardous and lengthy undertaking for non-electricians. It’s possible but a challenging undertaking for the average do-it-yourselfer.

After how many years should a home be rewired?

There’s no set lifetime for an electrical system. A wiring system installed before 1950 should be checked out. But even a modern electrical system which was sound when originally installed should be checked every 10 years. Make sure that all electrical connections are still tight and in good working order.

If you feel that you would sleep sounder at night, get your electrical system checked. A qualified electrician may find that no work is needed, or that some connections need tightening, or that an older electrical system needs a rewire.

Chicken Soup For Your Health

There has been a lot of talk about chicken soup for this and chicken soup for that. It's based on the idea that chicken soup has some special significance for health improvement. It seems that mothers through the ages and across all cultures have offered some form of chicken broth when their families get ill – sort of a cure all. So, I decided to look into just how good chicken soup really is.

Homemade is Best

I'm talking about the real thing – not just some canned version (although canned will do in a pinch). It turns out that there are important minerals and vitamins in the bones and carcass that cooks out into the stock. These minerals help build strength and health so vital during convalescence.

And it is just not that hard to throw together homemade stock. We are talking about a rich stock made of a chicken bones and carcass. Add to that chopped onion, several stocks of celery, carrots, some cloves of garlic, parsley and good old salt to taste (sea salt is my preference). Adding these vegetables just makes the stock richer, more nutritious.

Something else I learned is to add a tablespoon of lime juice or apple cider vinegar adds an interesting touch as well as helping to extract more of the minerals from the bones and vegetables. Hey, any way to get calcium is good, right?

Skim out the Dregs

When they are sick, I have been known to offer my kids to drink just the broth part of chicken soup when they are not feeling well. It has all the goodness of the vegetables and a touch of fat and protein. I will not make them eat the roughage especially when they are feeling "icky" – just the broth.

By the time you have cooked down the soup stock, the vegetables have all but turned to mush anyway. I read that this is where most of the nutrition is anyway. One nutritionist said to think about it this way: we pour boiling water over tea or coffee, filter out the dregs and drink what's left, right? Now I would not just toss the chicken and veggies – I offer them to the healthy folks.

"Good Medicine"

  • The liquid warms an achy throat.
  • The calcium from the bones helps to relax the body as it heals
  • The sulfur in the comments and garlic help kill germs
  • The saltiness coats the scratchiness and discourages viral infection.
  • Assorted minerals and vitamins in a tasty form act as a natural tonic
  • Sipping the broth fills an empty stomach which might otherwise reject something heavier. There will be time enough for the roughage.
  • The simple chicken broth helps to loosen phlegm and lighten a cough

Bet you did not know that humble soup made of chicken and vegetables could do so much! Come to think of it, I do not think anything helped me get better better than chicken soup – just 'cause mom made it.

Thanks, Mom, for giving me chicken soup.

Five Quick, Easy and Healthy Microwave Fish Recipes

Fish are one of the best food stuffs you can eat. They contain great natural oils that are not only good for the brain but also for your skin. The fatty acids contained in Omega 3 can contribute to the health of the brain and retina. Eating fish twice a week can reduce the risk of Heart disease, Dementia, cholesterol, High blood pressure and children who eat fish regular have less of a tendency to become obese.

Here are five quick and easy fish recipes that can be prepared in minutes in you microwave oven. Why use your microwave? Because if you get right it really is the best way to cook fish.If cooked with the right covering the fish will steam naturally in its own juices.

1; Garlic Cod or Monkfish. Time seven minutes

Take a piece of monkfish or cod of about eight ounces and place it in a microwave safe dish and cover with a microwave safe covering. Cook on full power for about two and a half minutes. Remove the fish from the microwave and leave to stand for two minutes. Crush a couple of cloves of garlic and scatter over the fish add a knob of butter and cook on full power for another minute and a half and remove from the microwave. Squeeze some lime juice over the fish and black pepper leave to stand for another minute. Serve with a rocket salad. Stunningly tasty quick and easy to prepare and best of all extremely healthy.

2; Chili and Lime Tuna;

Take an eight ounce piece of Tuna and place it in a microwave dish and cover it with a microwave safe cover. Cook for two minutes and remove from the microwave. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes and drizzle with some chili oil. Cook for a further minute and leave to stand for another couple of minutes.

Check the fish to make sure that it is cooked. It is important though not to over cook tuna as it will be really dry and taste awful. Squeeze some lime over the Tuna and serve.

3;Red Snapper.

Take a Red Snapper fillet and put it in your microwave dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle a little Cajun seasoning. Cook for four minutes on full power. Season with salt and pepper and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. This is then ready to be served. One of the quickest and easiest ways to serve this great tasting fish.

4; Shrimp.

Take the heads off some shrimp and place you your microwave dish. Do not peel the shrimp. Cover and cook for two minutes. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes and serve with some lemon and cracked black pepper butter. The works best with bigger shrimp, But which ever ones you use the flavours are always amazing.

5; Italian style Cod;

Chop some tomatoes and basil into a bowl, add a couple of spoons of olive oil and toss the ingredients together. Take an eight ounce cod fillet and place it in a microwave dish. spoon the tomato and basil mixture over the fish. Cook on full power for four to five minutes. Remove the dish from the microwave and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. The fish will be infused with the basil and blends wonderfully with the tomato. Just serve with rice or pasta and enjoy another beautiful fish dish

Bookcase Plans – How to Build a Bookcase With 3 Tools

Before committing myself to a set of bookcase plans, I first decided to shop around for a pre-fab bookshelf, both online and at a few discount furniture stores in town. My plan was to look at a wide range of styles and prices before deciding what to buy. It didn’t take me long to discover that I really had only two choices in the matter; buy somewhat expensive crappy particle board bookcases with fake wood laminate, or buy very expensive wood bookcases that will stay in my family for the next 100 years. The good stuff would be nice, but since I can’t afford to spend $800 at Ethan Allen right now, I’m really left with just one option: the somewhat expensive crappy bookcases. It’s disappointing to think this is my only choice.

So now I’m looking at some bookcase plans, which means I’d have to take on the job of building something from scratch. I’m starting to like the idea, though. First, it’s the only other option I can find to buying expensive crappy bookcases, and second, I like the idea of deciding for myself what level of quality (and expense) I want to put into the project. I don’t want a bookcase made from the cheapest materials around, but I don’t need the most expensive either. Building my own bookcase will let me create something between these two extremes.

I’ve done a fair amount of researching on the Web, and I’ve come up with some pretty simple guidelines for approaching this kind of wood project. Overall, the good news is that you don’t have to be a hard-core woodworker to pull this thing off. In fact, a bookcase is a perfect starter project for someone just getting into building stuff from wood. Maybe it’s a little more challenging than making a sawhorse (which is also a good plan to start with), but I think it’s important for beginners to make something they can be excited about when it’s all said and done. So let’s get started with some of the basics of building a bookcase.

Three Tools – I assume that most people attempting their first bookcase project will not have a complete set of woodworking power tools in their shop – things like a table saw, drill press, router table, planer, and all that. What I do think first-time builders might (and should) have is a circular saw, a router, and a power drill. It’s pretty amazing what you can build with just a few reasonably-priced tools.

#1 Circular Saw – A circular saw will cut just about anything you can throw at it, and with a few accessories, some fairly complicated joinery. Even if you decide later to upgrade to more expensive tools, your circular saw will always get used in the shop. For a simple bookcase, you’ll be using the circular saw to cut all the boards to length, and to help make the dado cuts that hold your bookcase shelves. You’ll also use the saw to cut down a 4×8 sheet of plywood for the bookcase back.

#2 Router – I’m sure there are plenty of wood projects being built without the help of a router, but my question is, why go to the trouble? Sometimes you can pick up a decent router for under $100, and considering the extra work you’ll save yourself in the long run, that’s a good investment. A router will make easy work of cutting the dadoes for your bookcase shelves, and with a few accessories, let you try out a whole load of professional-style woodworking techniques.

#3 Power Drill – Everybody has a power drill of some sort sitting around in the basement or garage. You already know how much use (and abuse) this tool gets for literally hundreds of jobs around the house. Although it’s possible to build a simple bookcase without ever picking up a power drill, the no-screws approach to building a bookcase requires that you own an insanely large number of clamps to hold everything together while the glue dries. Really, we’re talking about 20 clamps or more at about $20 each. Ouch. At a fraction of the cost, you can unleash the same clamping power on wood joints by using wood screws (or even nails) to hold pieces together while the glue sets up. Of course, you’ll have holes all over everywhere, but most people just fill them in with putty and they look fine.

Plywood vs Solid Wood Shelves – Choosing the right wood for a bookcase plan can be a big topic to get your arms around, especially if you start reading the zillions of articles online about wood species and wood grades, plywood construction, shelving span calculators, etc., etc. This is all good stuff, but for now, let me narrow down the choices for a first-time bookcase project.

Hold off on plywood shelves… this time around – Sure, plywood is nice for bookcase shelves because it doesn’t have the warping problems that plague solid wood. But plywood comes in 4×8 sheets, which means you’ll be doing a LOT of cutting to make all the pieces for a simple bookcase. For experienced woodworkers, this isn’t really a problem. They’ll first cut down the sheet into more manageable pieces (usually with a circular saw) and then head over to an $800 table saw to get things perfectly square and perfectly sized for the bookcase plan they’re following. Not that you can’t do all this with another tool (like a circular saw or jigsaw), but at some point it just becomes too much work to make a zillion cuts in plywood without the bigger, beefy tools.

Solid Pine Shelves – For first-time projects, I like to use off-the-shelf dimensional lumber from the big box stores like Home Depot. Pine is relatively cheap (compared to hardwood) and is precut to standard-size widths and lengths. That means a LOT less cutting for me to get the basic pieces of my bookcase ready for assembly. Woodworkers might point out that dimensional lumber is inconsistent in width and thickness, which makes less-than-perfect woodworking joints without first planning and/or squaring the boards on a table saw. They’re right. Dimensional lumber is not perfectly square and consistent from one board to the next. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a decent-looking bookcase otherwise. Sure, you might have some small gaps in the joinery, and maybe the case isn’t absolutely square and plumb. But more often than not, you’ll be the only one who knows any different. Save the more exacting work for nicer bookcase you’ll build next year.

Setting up to Cut Boards – It’s a little frightening to think about how precarious and unorganized a workspace can be when we start cutting boards. No one wants to spend time moving around tables, setting up sawhorses, adjusting work clamps… just to cut off the end of a board. Unfortunately, any less preparation than what I just mentioned will put you in a dangerous situation. Power tools can be evil… and I mean really evil. And it’s not about how much experience you have. Go online and search woodworking accidents. The most horrific stuff happens to people who have been building for 20-30 years without a scratch. Then out of nowhere things suddenly go wrong… boards go flying across the room, arms and fingers get cut, and worse.

Cutting Dadoes for Bookcase Shelves – By far the trickiest step in following bookcase plans is cutting the dadoes (that hold the book shelf ends). No need to be intimidated with this part of the project, though. If you’re really careful about setting up for the cut (that means using the right clamps and cutting guides for your router) this can be the most fun you’ll have with bookcase plans. I like to cut my dadoes assembly-line style. That is, I clamp down both sides of the bookcase side by side… so that each pass with my circular saw (and router) cuts both boards at the same time. This not only saves you tons of time and headache, it also makes sure that your shelves are perfectly aligned when you glue everything together.

Garden Water Fountains and Safety for Kids

Just because you have children or frequent visits from children doesn’t mean you can’t have a lovely garden pool or a water fountain complete with safety for kids. Consider something like a garden fountain surrounded with stones that has no pooling water in which a little one can come to harm.

Safety for Kids is a Valid Concern

One of the biggest concerns about water gardening or a water fountain is the safety of kids. A toddler can drown in just an inch of water or in a partly filled 5-gallon bucket. No wonder that parents, grandparents, and neighbors are fearful around any kind of garden fountain. No garden fountain can be made absolutely childproof, but there are a number of ways you can make yours safer. Shallow pools and garden fountains designed for safety and have strategically placed boulders, and fencing help children and garden fountains to coexist with less worry. Of course, you should never leave children unattended even around shallow water or the most carefully designed water feature.

No Garden Water Fountain is Childproof

Keep in mind that safety for kids is dependent somewhat on age-a garden that is safe for older children may not be safe for toddlers. You may feel confident that a 5-year-old is safe near a half-whiskey-barrel tub garden, but don’t expect an 18-month-old to be.

Even 8-and 9-year-olds should be supervised near garden water fountains that have 3 feet or more of water. It’s a mistake to believe you can create a large pond and train children to stay away from it. The same attractions that draw adults to splashing water, pretty fish, and the joy of dangling a hand in cool water also entice the best-behaved children. And even well trained children have friends or neighbors who will be drawn to your garden fountain.

Although you should make sure your homeowner’s insurance will cover a water garden fountain accident, the best approach is to design the garden water fountain with safety for kids in mind so that tragedy doesn’t happen in the first place.

Fencing Ensures Safety for Kids Around Garden Water Fountains

A fence, as long as it surrounds the pool and has a childproof or locked gate allows you to have peace of mind with any kind of water garden that you want. Pretty picket fencing, 6-foot privacy fencing, and stucco or adobe walls-all can keep young visitors out of harm’s way. However, before building a fence, check your local building codes. Your community may require a certain type of fencing.


By controlling the depth of your garden water fountain, keeping it to an inch or less, you can improve its safety. Fill fountain gardens and tub gardens with attractive stones so a child’s face cannot be submerged.


Fountains can be made relatively safe by building the bottom tiers too high for toddlers to tip into; walls should be at least 2l/i to 3 feet. Similarly, a wall fountain is a less likely threat if its basin is higher than a toddler’s head. Above ground pools will be similarly safe if you build the sides too tall for small children to climb onto.


every garden water pool will have an edge of some material and if it’s made of stone, brick, slate, or concrete, it will get slippery, from water or from algae growth. This is not good for the safety of kid’s around a garden water fountain.

Edging around an in-ground pool creates a path that beckons children to walk around or balance on. It’s better to use turf or edging that blends with surrounding materials to make the contours of the pool less inviting as a play area.


The placement of your garden water fountain also will affect its safety. Don’t locate it just outside the back door; small children can slip out easily and unnoticed and into the water. On the other hand, if you position the pool far away from the house or out of sight, you won’t be able to supervise older children.

A garden fountain by the deck is striking (and an increasingly popular addition), but it could be dangerous in homes where small children live or where they will be frequent visitors.

For additional safety, install a floating alarm (designed for swimming pools) in your garden water fountain basin. The alarm will sound if the water surface is disturbed. Consider constructing a shallow reflecting pool, a millstone fountain on a mound of river rock, or a shallow stream. Fill fountains and tub gardens with attractive stones so a child’s face cannot be submerged at any point.

Seeding in Fencing Competitions – The Impact on Your Tactics

Not all fencers are equally talented, technically or tactically. If they were, running competitions would be absurdly easy. Any fencer could be assigned to any pool or to any position on an elimination table, and the organizers could still be assured of the fencer winning who was best of the identical athletes. But reality does not work that way. As a result, there has to be some method of dividing fencers so that the outcome reflects the skill level present – enter seeding.

The objective of seeding is that the bouts result in the best fencer winning the competition, the better fencers surviving further into the competition (the rounds of 16, 8, and 4 of an elimination table), and the weaker fencers being the first athletes eliminated. This means that for you, the fencer being seeded, it is to your advantage to maximize the advantage that seeding can give you.

The initial seeding lists the fencers from strongest to weakest based on their competitive record before the competition starts. This listing may be based on fencer classification or on a division or the United States Fencing Association national point system. It may even be based simply on the best judgment of the bout committee or by administrative convenience. Regardless of how relative strength is determined, it is to your advantage to achieve the best result you can in every competition as the prior results may influence your seeding in future competitions.

Seeding determines the distribution of fencers to pools. For example, if there are 24 fencers to be distributed between 4 pools, the goal is to have each pool of relatively equal difficulty. The fencers are distributed to pools in their order of strength based on the seeding. This process sometimes is skewed by the necessity to separate fencers from the same club, and some pools can appear to be stronger than others because of the way the distribution works, but when done properly the cumulative strength of pool 1 and pool 4 should be nearly equal.

What happens in the pools determines the next round of seeding. What this means is that you want to emerge from your pool with (1) the best possible percentage of victories and (2) the best possible indicator. The number of victories is not the measure because you may have pools of unequal sizes, but in practice you get a better victory percentage by winning more bouts.

In any competition, there will be several fencers with the same victory percentage. Their seeding relative to each other is determined by indicators (the number of hits scored minus the number of hits received). This means that every hit in the pool round counts. When you win a bout you want to win by as large a margin as possible. And when you lose a bout, you want to score as many hits as possible. If you can deny the opponent a full 5 hits, that is also to your advantage. Because tournaments usually do not result in even multiples of 2 (rounds of 64, 32, 16, etc.) even a difference of 1 indicator may mean that you do not have to fight to get into the first full round. The pools are a game of winning as many bouts as possible and scoring as many touches as possible.

Seeding based on the results of the pools determines the initial bouts of an elimination table. In this case the strongest fencer is paired with the weakest, the next strongest is paired with the slightly less weak, etc., until the two bouts at the middle of the table are nearly equal in strength. You want to rank as high as possible in this seeding, as the higher you rank, the weaker your first opponent will be. And this seeding also determines your overall result among the fencers in a round in which you are eliminated before the semi-final round of 4. It is important to note that the direct elimination table bout scores do not influence your placing in a normal direct elimination competition; now a victory is a victory, and tactics that accept a hit as a tactical tradeoff (such as the double hit in epee) become useful.

The Best Hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa and is the legislative capital of the nation. This harbor city is recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful cities in the world by Forbes. Cape Town is regarded as the most popular tourist destination in South Africa by virtue of its natural setting, architectural heritage, well-developed infrastructure and beautiful beaches.

South Africa has the most well developed health care sector among the African nations and some of the world class hospitals of the country are located in Cape Town city. These hospitals, especially private hospitals are offering facilities of international standard. For a visitor, it is better to have health insurance when seeking treatment in these hospitals.

Below given is a short note on some of the leading hospitals in Cape Town.

Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) is the most well known academic health centre in Cape Town and is situated on the slopes of Devil’s Peak in the Cape Town city, South Africa. This world class, government aided tertiary care teaching hospital was established in 1938 and Dr.Christian Barnard conducted world’s first human heart transplant in this institution. This is the major academic hospital of the University of Cape Town and provides high quality health care services in all branches of medicine and is particularly well known for its trauma unit, internal medicine, Neurosurgical centre and anesthesiology departments. Groote Schuur is an internationally-acclaimed research and teaching institution that attracts many foreign medical students and doctors every year. The hospital has separate infertility clinic with all modern facilities. The healthy and safe environment offered by the hospital is noteworthy. Phone: +27 (0)21 404 9111

Panorama Medi-Clinic situated at Rothschild Boulevard, Panorama, Cape Town, 7500 is another reliable hospital in South Africa. This 386-bed modern hospital is owned and operated by the Medi-Clinic Corporation, one of the largest private health care providers in the world. Medi-Clinic Corporation operates 43 private hospitals in South Africa and 2 in Namibia. Panorama Medi-Clinic Cape Town operates in a multidisciplinary fashion and employs eminent doctors and nurses in all major departments to provide world- class clinical and surgical service. This well equipped hospital was established in 1986 and later opened two special units of global standard, the Heart Unit and Oncology Unit in 1995 and then Endoscopy special Unit and neonatal critical care Unit in 1998. The hospital is well known for its carefully planned design, modern operation theaters and successful management. This is a favorite hospital among the foreign community and the hospital has special section for international patients where the visitors are provided with luxurious accommodation with all facilities like pharmacy, coffee shop, hair dressing, restaurant etc. Phone: +27 (0)21 938 2111

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is the most reputed children’s hospital in the sub-Saharan Africa and is situated at Rondebosch, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. This 300 bedded modern hospital in public sector was founded in 1956 and has affiliation with the University of Cape Town’s School of Child and Adolescent Health, University of the Western Cape dental school and the Stellenbosch University. This well equipped referral hospital offers world class medical service in pediatrics in a cost effective manner. This is also the most well known center for pediatric medical and surgical training. The hospital has many notable achievements like doing the first child heart transplant in 1990, the first double transplant of liver and kidney in 1997 and the first living related liver transplant in 2002.

Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital is another well known hospital in Cape Town that provides high quality medical service in accordance with the international standard. This 100 bed modern hospital in private sector is situated at Waterville Crescent, Sunningdale Blaauwberg.The hospital employs eminent doctors in all departments and provides the latest medical and surgical facilities including a maternity unit, neonatal intensive care, pediatrics, an emergency unit 3 operation theatres, a renal dialysis unit, an adult intensive care unit, radiology and trauma unit. Their accident and emergency service are well equipped to meet any unexpected situations and the helipad provided in the hospital serves easy access for all medical emergencies. This hospital was founded in 2007 and is particularly well known for its patient centric approach and warm and caring environment. The hospital is keen to keep a high nurse – patient ratio to assure maximum personal care and offers comfortable stay for the patients and their families. Phone: +27 (0)21 554 9015

The Advantages and Disadvantages of All Inclusive Vacations

Who doesn’t like to splurge when they are on vacation? Why would anybody prefer to fit their enjoyment within a budget? Everybody wants to make the most of their vacations, and watching your budget while vacationing does not make for much fun. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a little luxury in your life. For many vacationers, the uncertainty of how much a vacation will end up costing leaves them apprehensive about traveling. There are over four hundred all inclusive hotels and resorts spread around the Caribbean which are expressly designed for people who want to be pampered and to enjoy world-class food, drinks, and activities without having to worry about busting their budgets. All inclusive vacations give vacationers the option of making the most of the money they have available – and their popularity, with guests returning year after year, attest to the fact that all inclusive is an ideal choice for most vacationers. You pay one upfront price at the beginning of your vacation; and after that you can forget about money and just enjoy yourself.

There are different types of all inclusive vacation resorts which cater to different types of vacationers. Some are designed for families; others for couples, singles, and even gay people; and each resort has special activities, programs, entertainment, and events which cater to its particular clientele. There are even hedonistic all inclusive beach resorts which offer nude beaches, swimming pools and hot tubs; and even nude marriage ceremonies! Just as there are many different types of all inclusive resorts, the services and activities offered differ from one resort to another. Some all inclusive packages include only the airfare and lodging, whereas others include meals, drinks, entertainment, tours, and transfers. There are other packages which include all meals, drinks, and activities, but not airfare. It is usually cheaper to pick an all inclusive vacation package which includes the airfare instead of spending for airfare separately (unless you have frequent flier miles to use up).

The chief criticism of all inclusive vacations is that most guests never leave the resort since everything is provided right there, for free; so people don’t really interact much with the local people and culture. Of course, all inclusive vacations are not for everyone. If you are the type who likes to get away and poke around on your own – and you are not overly worried about how much money you are spending – then all inclusive isn’t for you. However, most all inclusive resorts offer tours to cultural and scenic attractions in the area, and many devotees of all inclusive take advantage of these opportunities to use their hotels as a base from which to explore the surrounding area, and then return at night to relax in the lap of luxury once more. Since so many people’s travel budgets have been slashed in the past few years, all inclusive vacations are more popular than ever before; all inclusive vacations are the perfect solution for people who want to enjoy themselves to the max within a strict budget.

4 Most Common Corn Snake Diseases – Your Help is Needed

Improper feeding and wrong set up of housing and caging can really affect the corn snake’s health. Some diseases are fungal and some are bacterial. If you noticed that your corn snake has one of the symptoms or diseases, then you should seek professional help for them to introduce proper aid and medications. Did you know that there are many corn snake diseases that can affect your corn snake? Most of these diseases are transmitted by other infected corn snake or by the food you provide them and yes, even the surroundings and housing you set up for them.

Too hot or too cold temperature of their housing can really contribute diseases and symptoms on your corn snake. That is why you must be sure that you provide the right housing for your corn snake as well as the right and proper care to avoid them getting ill. Corn snake diseases are common especially when you keep your snake in the wrong kind of temperature.

Here are some of the common snake diseases and its definitions:

– Mouth Rot (Infectious or Ulcerative Stomatitis). It is a progressive bacterial infection involving the oral lining. The symptom of this is the increase of saliva of your snake. You will see some bubbles from the saliva on your snake’s mouth. The oral lining becomes inflamed and will produce pus.

– Blister Disease. This disease is common to captive snakes. The caused of this disease was a damp and filthy environment. If you noticed some pink to reddish appearance on the bottom-most scales then it is probable that your snake has blister disease. If you noticed this symptom, seek your vet’s help immediately.

– Respiratory Infections. These diseases are very common to corn snakes. The main cause of respiratory diseases among corn snakes is the poor or inadequate housing and caging and even the stress for its surrounding. Treatment should be only introduced by veterinarian.

– Fungal Infection. The most likely spot on snake’s body parts to be infected by fungal are their eyes. This is typically cause by a damp and contaminated environment. Ringworm fungi that normally infect human and other animals can also infect your snakes.

Their life and healthy bodies will only be possible and will only happen if you will treat them right. Corn snakes may be reptiles but remember these cold blooded creatures are God’s creation too. Now that you learn and understand some of the common snake diseases, you should now make sure that you will only provide the right and proper care for you snake pet.

Bloons the Original – Interesting Levels – 39, 43, 48 and 49

Level 39 (Lockdown)

20 balloons required to complete the level. Another level which depends as much on luck as skill. The easiest way to play it is to shoot almost directly upwards to just glance off the vertical rubber wall to the left of the screen. By glancing off the right side of this wall with plenty of power the darts will come down and pop most of the bloons on the other parts of the screen. If you have a dart left and most, if not all, of the group of six in the lower part of the screen are not hit you can aim almost directly at them and take out most of them that way.

Level 43 (D in the D)

32 balloons required to complete the level. With your first dart take out as many of the mines as you can using a regular arc shot. The next dart should be aimed slightly downwards to bounce within the rubber walls of the two parallel rubber walls on the left and clear as many as possible in that location. Next comes a shallow arc to try to get the bloons above the ice bloons. Finally a direct hit on the ice bloons should net you an additional four for your total.

Level 48 (The Matrix)

105 balloons required to complete the level. Again we welcome a level giving us a little respite and perhaps allow for more fun than skill. With the first shot take out the Pac-man closest to your monkey. Eat all the mine bloons and eventually your Pac-Man will fall down, but take out another Pac-Man on the way down. With this one eat the next Pac-Man, then eat your way through a few more bloons and finally head back to the top to eat the remaining mines. Having eaten the mines you should drop again onto yet another lower Pac-man who will then happily eat the remaining lower bloons.

Level 49 (Wrong Side)

70 balloons required to complete the level. The easiest way to complete this level is to glance off the top ice bloon so that you end up hitting a pin bloon. This will pop the top group and perhaps also the bottom one, depending if your luck is holding. If the bottom group does not end up popped then aim your next dart at the frozen bloons at the top so you get a bounce back to the lower group. You can add to your score by using any remaining darts to aim at any bloons left.

FAQ About Corsages and Boutonnieres

If you have questions about corsages and boutonnieres for your wedding and want to know what is appropriate, you are not alone. As a wedding florist in a busy flower shop for 15 years, I noticed that many brides were unsure about what types of flowers were better for corsages and boutonnieres and wanted to know what was appropriate. Here are some of the most popular questions that kept coming up:

What is the difference between boutonnieres, corsages and wristlets?

The essential difference between a boutonniere and a corsage is the bow. Boutonnieres are for men and do not have a bow. They are worn on the lapel, on the left hand side close to the man’s heart. Corsages are for women, usually have a bow and are fancier. They can be worn on the lapel although they are not ideal for wearing on dresses with sheer or delicate material. Wristlets are corsages that have been attached to a bracelet for wearing on the left wrist. They are popular with the younger crowd and are worn almost exclusively at graduations and are often worn at weddings. It seems that grandmothers usually still prefer lapel corsages. Mothers are about 50/50.

Who wears body flowers at a wedding?

Boutonnieres are worn on the lapel by the men in the wedding party including the best man, the ring bearer, and the ushers. The lapels of the fathers of the bride and groom are also typically adorned with a boutonniere. Other important men in your life that you might also want to make boutonnieres for, although these are not necessary, are your grandfathers, your master of ceremony and minister. If any other significant men are participating in the wedding ceremony, such as an uncle or a brother, they are a candidate for receiving a boutonniere. Corsages are mainly worn by the matriarchs at the wedding such as the mother of the bride or groom. Also, sometimes the grandmothers are graced with the gift of a corsage. Finally, if any other women are taking a key role in the wedding ceremony such as a sister doing a reading or a girlfriend singing and playing the organ, it would be considerate to prepare a corsage for them.

How much do they cost each to make?

Here’s where you will save a lot of money by making your own. For example, whereas a typical boutonniere at a florist will cost you anywhere from $5 to $25 in Canada and in the United States, you can make them at home for $2-3 depending on which flowers you are using to make your boutonnieres and how good a deal you can get on your flowers. Why not make all the important men and women in your life feel special with a token of appreciation for their participation that will cost you so little to make. Corsages and boutonnieres can also be great for fund raising efforts since they can be made for much less than they can sell for, therefore allowing for a high profit margin. For the least expensive body flowers, make boutonnieres out of daisies or carnations. Mini carnations are the hardiest and cheapest.

How complicated is it to make boutonnieres and corsages?

Whether you are making one corsage or whether you are making 10 corsages you will have the same preparations to make. All you need is a step by step guide, and a little bit of time and patience. Corsages and boutonnieres are easy to make with the proper coaching.

Necessary Plumbing Services From Plumbing Contractors

If your toilet is producing a gurgling sound or you have leaking water into your ceiling, then you must understand that you have a plumbing problem at your place. In order to control the situation before it gets worse and dangerously ill you must take immediate actions to handle it. In fact, you must call your plumber immediately to quickly solve your problem, saving you money.

Plumbers can offer the following services:

Drain Cleaning Services

Expert plumbers provide a wide variety of drain clog solutions and sewer line replacement options to fit your specific needs. They utilize high-end plumbing techniques and equipment like sewer snake, camera inspection, etc to solve the problem from its root. A sewer snake is a rooter machine that is specifically used to clean and clear drain lines clogged with food items, grease, sludge and soap. It also helps to eliminate hard roots growing into the sewer line and sewer system that can cause greater damage to your plumbing system.

Professional plumbers use camera inspection techniques as the best method of plumbing repair. It addresses drainage problems or any type of root growth in your drainage system. This procedure is carried out in order to delicately identify the location and identify the severity of your drain clogging problem. If the problem is dangerous and creating hurdles to the drain system or water flow then, the technician will point these out and develop the best possible solution customized as per the situation and circumstance.

Water Leak

A dripping faucet is the greatest matter of concern for the home owners. It can cause a lot of trouble and can damage property, reducing its overall value. It not only disturbs the plumbing system but also originates the heath issues for the family members. Plumbing experts can spot the leak in a hidden pipe and repair if necessary. By taking the problem at hand they minimize your overall cost of plumbing repair and also make the plumbing system sound by replacing the old fixtures.

So, for reliable plumbing services you must hire an expert that can manage to offer complete residential or commercial plumbing services. Their area of expertise should include all aspects of plumbing for plumbing projects including water, waste, vent, gas, and fixture installation. They must be experienced in adding or repairing water lines or gas lines to your place. In essence, their services must add complete peace of mind and add value to your property.