Mortgage Marketing To Realtors: Get 10 Realtors in 30 Days

Mortgage marketing to realtors can be an easy and enjoyable process. Having a steady flow of referrals from real estate agents is a great way to insure the continued growth of your business.

But how do you develop a network of quality, low maintenance realtor referral partners? Good question. Below you will find the answer.

Are you ready to get started? Here are step by step easy to follow instructions given in an outline format to help you develop 10 realtor referral relationships in the next 30 days.

I. Finding Real Estate Agents

Option 1: Escrow Officers

1) Select 5 huge title companies in different parts of town.

2) Use the top escrow officer at these companies for a transaction.

3) Wow your client and have the escrow officer complete your customer satisfaction survey at close so the title officer can see what a great job you do for your clients.

You can download a sample customer satisfaction survey by visiting:

[http://www.mortgage-leads-generator.com/a/survey.htm]

4) Immediately after the transaction funds, send the title officers at all 5 offices a gift and tell them how much you appreciated their top notch service during the transaction.

5) Exactly one week after the title officers receive your thank you gift, go see each of them face to face and ask them for referrals to top realtors. Ask for referrals to real estate agents that are easy to work with and do at least 2 transactions a month (or however many transactions you would like).

Option 2: Top Producer List

Ask your title officer for a list of the top producing real estate agents in your area. This list will enable you to target real estate agents who are actually doing business.

II. Approaching Real Estate Agents

Option 1: Approach Letter

1) Send a letter to one or two real estate agents per day. Be sure to stay organized. Use software or some other method to keep track of who needs a follow up call each day.

2) Send your letter in an unusual way so it gets noticed – like a Fed Ex overnight package for example. Everyone opens overnight packages with great anticipation.

Here is the delivery method I used. I learned it from Todd Duncan and it worked well:

Wrap your approach letter around a Pay Day candy bar, use a gold ribbon to keep the letter attached to the candy bar, then send your letter / candy bar to realtors in a tube.

This letter delivery technique is sure to get noticed.

For a sample approach letter to use when mortgage marketing to realtors visit:

[http://www.mortgage-leads-generator.com/a/realtor.htm]

Here are some important elements to include in your approach letter:

* Offer a unique selling proposition (USP) that can help their business

* Tell them a little about yourself.

* Also, tell them you will be calling in 2 days to schedule a face to face meeting. At the meeting you will explain your USP and how it can improve their business.

Option 2: Office Managers and Realtor Associations

1) Contact real estate offices and ask to speak with the manager. Explain to the manager that you are a top producing Mortgage Planner. You are currently offering complementary seminars to a limited number of real estate offices.

Here are a few seminar ideas:

* How realtors can use 1% mortgage loans to increase their business

* How to get more leads from your real estate website

* Anything you can think of that would benefit the realtors at the office.

2) Offer to give the short talk during their next sales meeting.

3) Offer to bring lunch.

4) During your talk offer the realtors a valuable tool, gift or information that can only be obtained by giving you their business card. When you send the gift include an approach letter explaining you will be contacting them for a face to face meeting to discuss a USP that can increase their business.

You can also use this technique with local realtor associations. Offer to give your talk to the entire association. Just be sure the topic and information you discuss is truly useful.

Give these ideas a try. They really work! You’ll be amazed at how fast your mortgage referral business will grow.

By the way, if you are the shy type and do not want to conduct seminars or face to face realtor meetings, you can always hire someone or bring on a partner to do this stuff for you.

Please feel free to reprint this article as long as the resource box is left intact and all links are hyperlinked.

Interior Decorating Ideas – Decorating Your Clinic with Wall Art

Have you ever been at the clinic, waiting for your turn to see the doctor, and all you see on the walls around you are posters on cancer prevention, reminders for you to do your annual medical checkups, dealing with rheumatism in old age, diabetes… the list goes on.

All around us, we’re flooded with uncomfortable images and messages that remind us that we really need to take good care of our health. Although these posters are there for a reason – to inform and educate, they certainly add an unwelcome addition because they inject an element of fear into all of us. Here we are, waiting to see the doctor, worried sick that our illness could get worse, and all we see in front of us are images and information about illnesses and disease. We really don’t need these at this time. Tell us these things when we’re well, not when we’re sick.

Having been a patient myself (and who hasn’t), the waiting area at the doctor’s office is quite a stressful place to be. As you’re waiting for your turn to see the doctor, your mind is full of apprehension and uncertainty as to what the diagnosis might be. The last thing you want is to be bombarded with images and media detailing out a plethora of possible ailments you could be diagnosed with. It just adds to the stress.

Strip this entire media off the walls, I say. Remove every shred of evidence that this place is a clinic. Patients don’t need reminders as to why they’re there. Put in its place decorative art work. Surround the walls with art and beauty. Put some framed pictures on the assistant’s counter top. Having a beautiful piece of art to look at will certainly make your wait a lot more pleasant and take your thoughts away from all things unpleasant. Art may also accelerate the healing process. This is the reason why some hospitals have beautiful art hung on its walls. This is what the patient really needs.

What kind of art to display, you might ask. Well, apart from movie or music posters, because they hardly seem appropriate, almost any other kind of art will do. A good choice would be abstract art. Pick something that has soft, pastel colors that calms the mind when looked upon. Abstract, or contemporary art, doesn’t represent anything in its true form, but rather it is an abstract representation of it. Much of it is left for the user to interpret what it’s all about. This will certainly keep the patients busy as they wait their turn. Abstract art will give the place a nice contemporary feel and make it seem less like a clinic and more like an art gallery.

There are many choices of abstract art to choose from. Prints of abstract flowers will add a nice, warm touch to the office. What about black and white abstracts? This will create an interesting contrast with the colors around it. You could also display abstract art of other genres, like collages, geometric abstracts, abstract landscapes and abstract figures, among others. The choices are plentiful. If you’re not into contemporary art, why not use pictures of animals? A picture of a cute kitten or puppy can do wonders to encourage healing and comfort. If you can’t keep a real pet in the doctor’s office, then display a picture of one. The effect may not be the same, but it certainly is nice to look at and takes a great deal of stress off the patient.

How to Train Cats to Use a Cat Door Or Ring a Bell to Be Let Inside

If you have an outdoor cat you may hope to learn how to train cats to use a cat door or how to ring a bell so that you realize they are ready to come in.

I realize that there are times when I let my cats outside that I may get busy and forget to check on them so I found a way for them to let me know that they are at the door all set to come inside. I live in an area that is too cold for a cat door (I have one going to the basement where the cat litter boxed are located) so I chose to find a way for them to signal me to open the door, something we wanted because of the extreme cold we at times go through here.

Here is a very simple way for training your cats to let you know when they want to be let inside.

Simply take a small bell, one that is loud enough for you to hear, and swing it from a string right outside the door. Make certain to show this to your cat numerous times and if you need to you can even add some catnip to the bell to appeal to your cats.

You can obtain a bell at any craft store for practically nothing. Using several small bells might even do better for you or your cat. Tie the bell or bells to a cord that hangs down low enough for your cat to reach easily and then also attach a catnip toy or use catnip spray to attract your cat.

When ever the cat rings the bell to come in, you will want to give them a cat treat to let them know that they have done something worth rewarding. If your cat doesn’t take to the bell straight away, you may have to keep showing it to them to get them interested and sooner or later they will learn that you will come to the door to let them in when they ring the bell.

In the beginning, you might need to keep showing them the bell every time they go out or come in so that they begin to connect the bell with the door being opened for them. You might even want to begin with a bell inside the house for when they want to go outside and this will help them to learn more quickly that ringing the bell means that the door will be opened.

While I realize there will be times that you may not open the door just because you are not there or for any number of reasons, your cat will still start to connect the bell with the door being opened.

If you live someplace where you can put in a cat door, this is one more choice you can use to let your cat go in and out when ever they want to. This will also depend on what other animals you may have in the home. One more reason I choose not to have a cat door that leads outside, is I have a cat that can go outside but she is edgy and I have be there to baby sit when she goes out so that she doesn’t get scared and take off.

Although you can purchase a cat door at any pet store, you can also just make one yourself if you are good at creating stuff. We put the cat door to our basement in ourselves, simply by cutting a small hole at the bottom of the door and putting a piece of plastic across it that they could easily walk through.

If you wish to put in a cat door that goes outside, make sure you know what size you need to have for you cat to be able to fit comfortably through the opening. While a cat that is used to going outside all the time will most likely figure out quickly how to make use of the cat door, you may also need to know how to train cats to use this new door as well.

This ought to be a fairly straightforward process. One of the ways you can train your cat to use this door is to keep it open and use a toy to tempt your cat to go through from one side to the other. It should only take a couple of times of doing this before your cat is aware that they can go in and out as they please.

Once they have gone in and out a couple of times you will want to show them how to use the door by themselves when it is closed and you can use the same process to do this. You may perhaps choose to use food to attract your cat to walk through the door and help them to push through the first few times but a lot of cats will take to this process pretty quickly if they really want to be able to get outside.

With persistence and affection you can learn how to train cats to do just about everything.

Leatherman Wave Multi Tool History

This is a history of the Leatherman Wave Multi Tool. It covers everything from Timothy Leatherman’s first patent in 1980 to the Wave’s release in 1998.

Timothy S. Leatherman majored in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. After having difficulties making repairs to his car using a regular pocket knife, he created what was referred to as a “Boy scout knife with pliers”. Leatherman got his first patent in 1980. His prototype was far from the Leatherman Wave Multi Tool we know today. He initially tried to sell his creation to large companies such as AT&T who would have lots of people needing tools in the field. After failing to get any large clients he decided to try his luck with regular consumers. After simplifying the design he began to sell his product mostly through mail order catalogs. This new business model proved to be highly successful, and in 1983 he founded the Leatherman Tool Group.

The company grew exponentially. The Leatherman Tool Group began to experiment with new designs and products. For example, they added scissors to the tool. They also created tools that were smaller and easier to carry around. By 1992 the company doubled and then tripled their factory size. They were on a roll. The world had caught on to the usefulness of a multi tool. The Leatherman began appearing in movies and television such as the hit show “MacGyver” and the blockbuster movie “Speed”. The Leatherman became more than a useful tool, it became a cultural phenomenon.

In 1995 the Leatherman Super Tool, which featured the first locking blades, sold over one million units. The Super Tool became the Leatherman to have. The company began an ad campaign in 1996 showing real life stories Leatherman users’ using their Leatherman’s to survive. The Leatherman Super Tool was the tool that the Leatherman Wave Multi Tool would eventually be based on. One might argue that the popularity of the Super Tool was vital in driving the company to take the necessary steps in designing the Wave.

In January of 1998, the Leatherman Wave Multi Tool was introduced at the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. The Wave is the first multi tool allowing access to the blade without opening the pliers. It also allows for access to the blade with only one hand. This one handed action came in handy for Jackie Chan in “Rush Hour” who used the Leatherman Wave Multi Tool to fend off mobsters. This would be the Wave’s first big screen appearance.

The Wave has become the most popular Leatherman in history. It is used by everyone from handy men to law enforcement to survivalists. It features pliers, wire cutters, clip-point knife, serrated knife, saw, scissors, wood/metal file, diamond-coated file, large screwdriver, large bit driver, small bit driver, ruler, bottle/can opener, and a wire stripper. In 2004 the Wave was redesigned with larger knives, stronger pliers, longer wire cutters, and all-locking blades. The Leatherman Wave Multi Tool is the most versatile and well designed Leatherman yet. The company has continued its tradition of innovation and has come out with several new tools since the Wave, but the Wave continues to be the Leatherman Tool Group’s best selling product.

John Deere Tractor Vs Kubota Tractor – An Engineer Reveals Which One You Should Select

The most common question I hear from people looking to buy their first tractor always concerns comparing John Deere tractors and Kubota tractors. I hear the same questions from people looking to buy large tractors, small tractors, new tractors and used tractors.

When it comes to buying a John Deere tractor or a Kubota tractor, there are several factors you need to consider.

A lot of the “facts” you will hear are based more on emotions than on any real facts. It’s a lot like trying to decide whether to buy a Ford or a Chevrolet — or trying to decide whether to buy a Mercedes or a BMW — everyone has their favorites.

With cars there are lots of data available about the reliability, frequency of repair, etc. But even with all of this available information, most people don’t rely on this information when deciding which car to buy.

They make their decision based almost entirely on emotion. Emotions plays a big part in selecting a tractor also, but hopefully not as much so.

John Deere or Kubota — Which Tractor is Best for You?

Bottom line when you’re considering buying a new tractor: If you’re looking for a small tractor or compact tractor for yard work, landscaping work or to use on a small farm, you will probably be happier with a new Kubota tractor. Kubota makes a great and reliable small diesel tractor.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a farm tractor to do heavy work, you can’t go wrong with a John Deere tractor. John Deere tractors hold their value and last forever. As their motto says, “Nothing runs like a Deere.” John Deere tractors are made to do heavy duty work — whether on a farm or on commercial work.

What about when you’re looking at used tractors? if you’re considering a used tractor, you need to consider the condition of the tractor, what equipment comes with it and what price you can get each of the tractors for. All of these factors could be more important than whether you buy a Kubota or a John Deere tractor.

When buying a used tractor for farm work, you should also consider New Holland, Case and Massy Fergusen tractors.

When a Wife Feels Numb After Her Husband’s Affair

Most people would probably suspect that the majority of the wives who contact me for help in dealing with their husband’s affair are extremely angry. And many are. Some of the wives are quite sad and are mourning the life they thought they knew and now fear they might loose altogether.

But, I get a good deal of wives who describe themselves as “numb” or as “just going through the motions” or as “sleepwalking” through their lives. And many of the wives who see themselves as numb think that there is something wrong with them. They wonder why they can’t become furious or devastated like the women that they know in this same situation. They wonder if they are letting their husband off the hook. They wonder if they are so emotionally wounded that they can no longer feel anything. And, they certainly hope that this isn’t going to be permanent. But, right now, they seem to prefer shutting down to being in pain.

The following article is for those wives who have become somewhat numb or detached as the result of their husband’s affair. There’s nothing at all wrong with you and there’s a reason for this. And no, this most certainly doesn’t have to be permanent.

Being Numb After A Husband’s Affair Is A Normal Form Of Self Preservation And Control: Many women in this situation have children. So, they sort of shut down because they don’t want to loose control or lash out in front of their children or other family members. Also, they don’t want for their children to know what their father did. So, they put one foot in front of the other and resume their normal life for the sake of their kids. They attempt to shut off their emotions because those same emotions are potentially devastatingly painful and troublesome.

Sometimes, wives shut down as a way to maintain control over the situation and over their emotions. They either know that once the feelings start pouring out, they won’t be able to stop them. Or, they don’t want to give their husband “the satisfaction” of seeing a reaction.

Either way, the feelings are going to eventually need to come out. If you don’t release them, they are going to come out in passive aggressive sort of ways, or you might find that you’re directing your anger at yourself (which most definitely isn’t fair.) It’s understandable to not want to loose control, but there’s nothing that says you can’t journal, talk to a trusted friend, or just take some time for yourself to reflect.

Unfortunately, ignoring this doesn’t make it go away or mean that you don’t have to eventually deal with it. I tried this myself and I can tell you that it doesn’t work. What happens is that the feelings continue to fester and boil underneath the surface and will then show themselves in other ways. Sure, you may not be overtly showing your anger or sorrow, but I can assure you that it’s there and is going to eventually manifest itself, if it hasn’t begun to already.

What Needs To Happen For You To Be Able To Feel Again After Your Husband’s Affair: Occasionally, when I explain the above points to wives, I have some that just don’t buy what I’m saying. They will insist that they are dealing with this in their own way and, although the result of this has left them sort of numb, they find this preferable to anger or devastation. Believe me when I say, I certainly want to spare wives painful emotions if I can and I don’t take any pleasure in knowing that someone is going to experience negative emotions. But I have to tell you that being numb is also, at least in my opinion and experience, quite negative.

Sure, you don’t feel the pain, self doubt, and resentment quite as much, but you don’t feel the joy, spontaneity, and peace of mind either. So you are sacrificing both the good and bad for the neutral middle ground, which never really feels quite right. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to laugh and to be spontaneous. You deserve to be able to express and react to whatever it is that you are really feeling. If you are just going through the motions, then you’re allowing his affair to take these things from you, which are expressions of yourself, and that most certainly is not fair.

Wives often tell me that they don’t want to be this way, but they don’t know how to stop. They can’t seem to get out of this rut and they worry that in order to longer feel numb, they have to conjure up so anger or some dramatic emotions that they don’t seem to really feel. This really isn’t the case. Often, just allowing yourself to think about or face this as you are ready will naturally bring out your honest feelings and reactions. And, this doesn’t mean that you have to react negatively to them. Just sit with them and acknowledge that they are there. You don’t need to do this when your children are around.

Often, once you allow yourself to feel, you will also often need some things from yourself and your husband in order to begin to heal. You’ll often want answers. You’ll often want to know if (or that) he’s truly sorry. You will often need a workable plan to rehabilitate your marriage (if you want to save it) and you’ll need some things that help to restore your self esteem and sense of trust. This may seem like a lot to think about and take on, but it really is a gradual process that you can take at your own pace.

And, it’s preferable to allowing this to suck out all of your emotions and your ability to really experience and embrace life. Admittedly, working though this is hard. But, it’s the only way to ensure that you really get your life back on your own terms rather than just being numb to everything that is going on around you. Because this, to me, is every bit as tragic as the affair.

Neoprene Koozies Vs Polyurethane Koozies: What’s the Difference?

Promotional Can Coolers are a great way to get your personalized logo, graphics, or message into the hands of your target audience. They are an economic and functional solution for your next personal or business marketing campaign. Choose from a variety of designs, choosing color, size, and material. There is a large selection of colors to match the theme of your special event, or to help highlight your custom printed image. There are also two sizes of can cooler to choose from, which depends on the material it is constructed out of: the neoprene can coolers hold only 12oz beverages while the Polyurethane Foam holds 12oz or 16oz beverages. Each of these personalized can coolers can be manufactured from either three millimeter thick Neoprene or polyurethane foam. Both of these designs feature superior comfort, insulation, and style.

The printed Neoprene can coolers are made of a thinner material, fit all 12oz cans, and have a large 2.5″H X 2.4″W print area. This is because neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber that will maintain its insulation despite the thickness of the material, as well as being extremely flexible and durable. However, unlike other rubber-like materials, neoprene is much more affordable, making it suitable for a broad variety of uses like: wet suits, laptop sleeves, and dishwashing gloves. Alternately, the polyurethane foam material is slightly thicker but with a different construction. This makes it suitable for 12-16oz cans, long neck bottles, and water bottles. Polyurethane has a number of uses that depend on the form that the material takes. Depending on how it is processed, polyurethane can be a thick sturdy plastic, a thin sheet, or a foam.. Polyurethane foam comes in two basic constructions: open cell and closed cell. Open cell polyurethane foam allows air to pass easily through the material, making it comfortable and suitable for mattress pads or seat cushions.

The polyurethane foam construction in these can coolers is actually a closed cell foam, meaning it has bubbles of gas trapped in the material. This makes it a good insulator, but also makes it a little thicker than the solid neoprene. The polyurethane foam can coolers allow a 2.5″ Width x 2.25″ Height print area, which is slightly smaller than the neoprene design. Regardless of the material you choose for your can coolers, the quality of printed images or text will not be affected. It is often hard to find a promotional product that will not only attract the attention of your target audience, but also incline them to pick it up and use it. Can coolers are a great idea for promotional giveaways or as unique party favors because they are functional and can be easily folded to fit in your pocket. This will encourage your guests to bring your promotional product home and save it for further use. Choose these personalized can coolers for your next business function or organizational event, because they will provide the type of logo or brand visibility that is essential to a promotional campaign.

Healing Properties of Indonesian Spices

It is already well-known that Indonesia’s land is very prosperous for spices. That is why a long time ago it attracted many foreign countries such as China, Arabia, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and the Netherlands to come here to trade or to conquer it. It is also the reason why Indonesian food is rich with spices and herbs such as: ginger, turmeric, different types of galangal, shallots, garlic, nutmeg, cloves. There are also fresh leaf seasonings like lemon grass, lemon basil (known as kemangi), kaffir lime, daun salam (a type of bay leaf), turmeric, etc. And of course chillies. Not only that these spices make the food taste delicious, but they are also part of botanical treasures which are good for medication. As a part of modern medical treatment, people in Indonesia have already used herbs and spices for traditional medicine.

Here some spices among others that can be used for medicine:

– Clove, which is a native spice from Indonesia and used as ingredient in cuisine all over the world, has many beneficial usage especially for medication. According to FAO, Indonesia produced almost 80% of the world’s clove output in 2005 followed at a distance by Madagascar and Tanzania. In India, cloves are used in Ayurveda called Lavang, while in Chinese and western, they use it for an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. Cloves are also used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. It’s known as natural antihelmintic (drugs that expel parasitic worms (helminths) from the body, by either stunning or killing them). The cloves contain of an essential oil (aetheric oil), also a number of some good chemicals compound. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), clove is one of the most widely used botanical medications in the world. As in Indonesia, this spice has been used for medicine since long time ago. With right measure together with other herbs, cloves can heal toothache, heavy cough, fever because of Malaria, pain during the menstruation and also to solve bad breath problem.

– Ginger is widely used across the country either for cuisine or medication. There’s a special drink in Central Java called ‘Wedang Ronde’ which is made from ginger and peanuts and it’s good for healing a sore throat. Ginger is also good to increase the body stamina, to heal the colds, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and fever.

– Galangal (Kaempferia galangal), just as ginger, it is also good to increase the body stamina, against bad breath, to heal stomach inflammation, nausea, vomiting and cold.

– Turmeric has lot of benefits for health. Besides widely used as a food coloring and is one of the principal ingredients in curry powder, it is also used for traditional medicines meant to maintain good health and beauty. Turmeric has long been used in medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive disorders (stomach upset, gas, abdominal crams) and liver problems, preventing bacterial infection in wounds, and for treating skin diseases and wound healing. It is also good for treating irregular menstruation and leucorrhoea for women. Other benefits are for body heating and to make blood’s circulation run smoothly. There has been a substantial amount of research on turmeric’s anti-cancer potential. Evidence from laboratory and animal studies suggests that curcuma has potential in the treatment of various forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Human studies will be necessary before it is known to what extent these results may apply to people.

– Another Indonesian spice which is good for food ingredients as well as for health is lemongrass or Indonesian calls it ‘Sereh’ or ‘Serai’. Lemon grass is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a citrus flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. Research also shows that lemon grass oil has antifungal properties. Lemongrass has many good properties such as healing a headache, muscle and joint pain, nerve pain, rheumatism, sore throat, irritable bowel syndrome, Gastroenteritis, stomach pain, flatulence, diarrhea, stomach pain, irregular menstruation, bad breath, increases appetite, heals swollen gums, toothache. There is a traditional drink from west Java called ‘Bandrek’ which is made from lemongrass’s stick. It’s good to warm the body.

Despite all those spices above, there are still many herbs and spices in Indonesia which have great benefits for the persons health. As long as you use them with the right measurement/dosage.

MSG: More Than a Flavor Enhancer

History of MSG

For thousands of years, people in Japan used seaweed to enhance the flavours of their foods. Scientists began wondering what was it in seaweed that enhanced the food. Eventually, Kikunae Ikeda discovered what it was. His discovery was soon manufactured on a large scale. In 1908 the industrial giant Ajinomoto began manufacturing the chemical compound known as free glutamic acid, otherwise known as “MSG”. The substance was patented in 1909 by a company in Japan. During the second world war, American soldiers noticed that Japanese army rations were tasty. Army quartermasters discovered that the reason for this was MSG.

Subsequent to this discovery, use of the substance spread to the United States. Use of MSG in food became widespread in the United States in the 1950’s through restaurants and home use. The main product used in spreading this influence was labeled as Accent. The product was pure MSG. When the standards for food additives took effect in 1958, the additive MSG was ‘grandfathered” in without any testing since its use was so widespread. Technically it is classified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as “generally regarded as safe” without any testing of the substance.

The manufacturing process used to produce the compound requires sophisticated refining. Strong acids and high temperatures are used hydrolyzing, or breaking down various proteins. The refining or ‘hydrolizing’ leaves the manufacturere with a mixture of D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, along with large amounts of the sodium salt of L-glutamic acid, and various other amino acids. Although the body contains some of these proteins in the brain, these artificially produced substances are dangerous. Since they are produced under artificial methods, their effects differ from naturally produced proteins. The refining of a substance increases its potency. This is true of cocaine, sugar and other highly refined substances.

The companies involved in the manufacture of MSG have formed a coalition known as the Glutamate Association in 1977. Although membership in the organization is secretive, some observers believe that membership includes Ajinomoto, Archer Daniels Midland, Campbell, Corn Products Corporation, McCormick & Company, Pet Foods, Pfizer laboratories, and Takeda. The Glutamate Association conducts research and makes public statements regarding the use and ‘safety’ of MSG and associated products.

The spread of MSG use remains wide with heavy use by fast food restaurants. For example at KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) all non-desert items on its menu contain this substance.

Glutamaic Acid in the Brain

The naturally occurring proteins (L-Glutamaic acid) which are present in the brain are involved in the action of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are important in sending messages through the nervous system. The amount of this substance in the body is small, so as to limit the neurotransmitter actions involved.

Glutamaic acid is found at the excitory synapses in the central nervous system. This chemical is essential for long term potentiation or memory. Tinkering with such substances can interfere with how well the central nervous system works. Glutamaic acid is a neurotransmitter that ‘excites’ the nervous system. It has been found to insturmental in personality disorders and childhood behavioral disorders. Such disorders have been improved with changes in glutamaic acid levels. Glutamaic acid is also important in the transportation of potassium across the blood-brain barrier.

(Potassium is a mineral critical in maintaining a healthy nervous system and in maintaining regular heart rhythm. Changes in the level of potassium can effect each of these)

The amount of these neurotransmitter chemicals are kept in a narrowly defined range to keep the nervous system from over-stimulation. The neurotransmitters serve as chemically sensitive and specific triggers that send messages through the nervous system. It is not by accident that some researchers refer to MSG as the “Nicotine of Food”. One of the reasons nicotine is a danger is that it overstimulates the acetylcholine neurotransmitter. With MSG, the glutamaicneurotransmitter is overstimulated.

How MSG Works

Part of the danger of the highly refined MSG is that in large quantities, it crosses the blood brain barrier and can potentially interfere with ‘normal’ activities of the nerves and overexcite them. Any substance that crosses the blood-brain barrier, like MSG does, can potentially effect the brain and subsequently behavior. It overstimulates the nerves and at the same time overloads the chemicals that would naturally neutralize the stimulation effect. In layman’s terms, it overloads the nervous system. In the short run, the body can recover, but repeated overstimulation can lead to permanent alteration of the system. One particular part of the brain affected is the hypothalmus, which regulates mood and emotion. Overstimulation of that part of the brain can produce marked changes in a persons behaviors. These marked changes can occur suddenly. The reaction time to MSG ranges from suddenly to up to 48 hours. With MSG sensitive populations, such changes may show up as sudden rages or difficulty with sudden impulse control.

By definition, any substance that has the potential to be psychoactive (affecting the behavior) is a matter of concern. Any psychoactive chemical has the potential of permanently altering the brain chemistry of the person involved. Besides crossing the blood-brain barrier, it also crosses the placental barrier in expectant mothers.

This substance often called a “flavor enhancer” is actually exciting brain cells into making them over-react to substances. In the over-reactive state, the person taking in MSG believes the food tastes better. The overexciting can result in headaches, heart palpitations, facial swelling, numbness, violent diarrhea, migraines, and other immediate reactions (such as panic attacks, stiffness, joint pain, loss of balance, slurred speech, diarrhea, blurred vision and ADHD) in some populations. Although some may pass off the reactions as of an allergic nature, the response of the body is of that to a toxin.

Some of the toxic reactions are delayed. The delayed reactions include increased obesity, brain lesions, stunted growth, reproductive disorders, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, and/or retinal degeneration. Such symptoms are serious and worthy of concern. These were some of the effects seen in the initial research on laboratory animals. Although some critics claim that the amount of MSG given to animals is not near the amount given to humans, when one considers the many avenues of MSG consumption, humans do ingest large quantities of MSG. Not everyone who uses MSG experiences these problems, although the estimate is ¼ of the population.

MSG Links With Other Disorders

Another area of concern are the neurological disorders that involve glutamaic acid. Research has not indicated a causative effect, yet since Glutamaic acid is highly involved in these disorders the likelihood that MSG can alter a person’s brain chemistry and play a role in them presents a potential danger. These disorders include, conditions such as addictions, stroke, epilepsy, brain trauma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS dementia, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. Glutamaic acid also plays a major role in the dementia related degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Given the seriousness of these disorders anything that increases the likelihood of their occurrence is a concern.

Some researchers have found links of MSG use with diabetes, migraines and headaches, autism, ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Since these disorders are a concern with many people today, a closer examination of the role of MSG is needed. MSG is also used in some vaccines in order to keep them stabilized or ‘live’.

Besides vaccines, MSG or Free Glutamaic Acid has also been used in the growth enhancer known as AuxiGro. This growth enhancer was approved for use in 1998.This growth enhancer has been used on yams, potatoes and onions to achieve larger size yields.

MSG by Any Other Name

Although many foods and restaurants use MSG in their products, some do not. The Asian restaurant Pei Wei advertises that it does not add MSG to its products. The hamburger chain, Whataburger has a website which identifies which of its foods contains MSG so that savvy consumers can avoid the substance. Some restaurants know that one effect of MSG is that the consumers tend to purchase more of their food and consider it tastier.

MSG is not always easy to identify. Some companies use alternative names for MSG. Knowing some of the other names for MSG is critical in knowing what products to avoid. There are 25+ other names for MSG. Some of these names include:

Glutamate

Glutamic acid

Gelatin

Monosodium glutamate

Calcium caseinate

Textured protein

Monopotassium glutamate

Sodium caseinate

Yeast nutrient

Yeast extract

Yeast food

Autolyzed yeast

Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)

Hydrolyzed corn gluten

Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)

If MSG were only a flavor enhancer, that is one thing. The research shows that it not only enhances flavor, it effects the brain and nervous system.

Home Vegetable Gardening – Controlling Aphids

They come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes in your home vegetable garden and, no, I am not talking about the many varieties of tomatoes or peppers you just planted. I am talking about one of the most destructive species of insects that affects just about everything and anything you grow in your vegetable garden.

The insect species are called aphids. They reproduce asexually and thrive in warmer climates, which can create a tremendous aphid population in your home vegetable garden. If they are not done early enough you mind as well kiss your vegetable garden goodbye. They do their damage by feeding off of soft leaves and stems of plants which stunt growth and lead to plant deformities. When the population of aphids each a number large enough, many will form wings and fly off to neighboring plants and the process starts over on the new plant. Here are some methods you can use to control the aphid population.

Your first step in any program is to come the realization that, yes, you have a problem. So say to yourself, hi, my name is,, I have a problem with aphids in my garden. Obviously I say this jokingly, but on a serious note, the first step you should take in controlling aphids is to use yellow sticky traps. They are available from any home or garden center and I have found that the ones that cost a dollar or two works just as well as the ones that cost five or six dollars.

Get to know what neem oil is. Neem oil is safe and affective way to control aphids (and other harmful insects) without damaging the plants or harming the environment or your family. You can pick up Neem oil at any garden center for under ten dollars and it is worth its weight in gold. Follow the application instructions on the brand of neem oil that you purchased as each brand has its own way to be used.

You can also create an environment in your garden that attracts lacewings and ladybugs, two beneficial insects that love to feed on aphids. Cilantro makes for a great plant that attracts ladybugs as does dill and fennel. Once you have the ladybugs in your garden you would want to keep them. A search on Google for `ladybug homes' will give you plenty of results to purchase (or build your own) a habitat where they can lay their eggs. The more ladybugs you have, the better off you will be.

Do not become a victim to aphid destruction in your home vegetable garden. There are steps you can take to prevent and control them without using harmful pesticides.

A Short Course on Sea Glass

Sea glass is a beautiful example of recycling by Nature. A bottle; or too many bottles in many cases, tossed into the water breaks in the surf, and years later its shards have transformed into beautiful gems worthy of becoming part of a coveted piece of jewelry.

Sea glass forms partially as the result of glass rolling in sandy surf, but also because of a chemical reaction of the glass with salt water. The longer the glass is in the water, and becomes hydrated, the more of a patina, or “frost” it develops as a result of the lime and soda elements leaching out. Because a unique chemical transformation takes place, beach glass may one day achieve gemstone status. The patina sparkles like tiny diamonds in the light, one of the hallmarks of genuine sea glass; a trait that has yet to be achieved by simply tumbling or acid washing of glass commercially.

Sea glass can be found in a multitude of colors. The most common colors found today are clear, brown, and kelly green, the color of many beer bottles.

Uncommon colors tend be older glass from the sixties and beyond. One look and you can recognize that it is not the color scheme used commercially today. The uncommon colors encountered most are the soft green, amber, forest green, and lime green, though these too, are becoming harder to find. The glass pieces with a soft green shade that looks so ethereal were most commonly turn of the century Coca-Cola bottles.

Some beaches; many in the Caribbean, harbor extremely old glass shards from rum bottles up to 300 years old. Most of these are the lime green, forest green and brown glass shades that have darkened in the sun to the point that they appear black.

The rare colors are the blues and aqua tones that are truly a delight to the eyes. True aqua, periwinkle, teal, and cobalt blue shades originated as medicine bottles and home glassware.

The rarest sea glass colors are the grays, yellows and lavenders. The “champagne” to purple colored sea glass is often extremely old clear glass made circa WW1. Magnesium used as an ingredient is glass making at that time caused the glass to develop a purple color after long term exposure to the UV rays of the sun.

The absolute rarest sea glass find is orange or red, the prize of a lifetime for sea glass collectors. The oldest of these specimens originated from shipwrecked stained glass panels en route to the new world from Europe, and the most recent from old automobile blinkers and lights.

Some sea glass has wavy irregular shapes as if it had been melted. The most likely cause for this formation is that it was “campfire glass”; bottles thrown into trash burning pits and bonfires by soldiers, workers, or even pirates many years ago. This glass has a very unusual look, though it is hard to set in silver due to its baroque edges. It often has grains of sand or sea plants embedded in it. Occasionally, pieces are bi-colored, from two separate glass shards fusing together. Very nice specimens similar to these can be found in areas where glass companies used to dump unused molten glass into the sea every evening. The “end of day” glass patterns are spectacular, and the edges are very smooth and unusual.

Each piece of sea glass undoubtedly has stories to it. Was the piece someone’s pop bottle in the sixties, or was it part of a sea captain’s liquor bottle hundreds of years ago? Perhaps some of that old Chesapeake sea glass came blasting out of a local cannon during the Battle of 1812. Maybe a few fragments of Caribbean sea glass carry the energy of pirates gathered around a fire, reveling into the night. Then there’s sea pottery, shards of broken china worn smooth by the sea. Who owned it? Was a teacup tossed purposely into the waves by a haughty aristocrat, or lost in a shipwreck? We can only speculate, but isn’t that fun!

Proper Installation Method for a Shower Base and Repair Solutions for a Leaking Shower Base

The whole idea behind a 1 piece shower stall is no joints, no leaks, right? Wrong! Where there is water, it will leak!

Once again we see that improper installation techniques can cause a water leaking problem. There are a couple factors that enter into and contribute to leaking, let’s discuss them.

The less expensive shower bases are thinner and tend to flex when you move around on the shower floor and since the drain in these units is actually a friction fit system which allows for some movement water can seep through this area and cause a problem.

The friction fit is actually a good idea because there will always be a different rate of movement between the shower base, the structural floor, and the drain piping. The drain pipe for the shower is usually a 1 ½” or 2″ PVC pipe that slips through a rubber sleeve attached to the bottom of the shower base.

The problem in this case is that the floor of the shower unit actually flexes because of the lack of support from the bottom.

The proper method for installing the shower pan is to place it in a “bed” of mortar or similar acting product that will effectively cradle it and keep it from moving. My favorite product to do this is spray foam for a couple reasons. It creates the “bed” but it also deadens the sound and further acts as an insulator so as not to conduct cold through to the base itself.

You must dry fit the shower base first to make sure everything lines up. Once you set it in the foam you won’t get it back up.

To figure the thickness of the “bed” you need to lay the shower base upside down on carpet or some other soft surface as not to scratch it. Place a straight edge or level across the bottom and measure down to the floor of the unit. Add about ¾” to that measurement to get the thickness of the bed you need to put down.

When you have completed your dry fit you are ready to lay your “bed” down and lay your base into it. Simply spray the foam down on the floor and when it is built up to the desired height and coverage (generally 50% of the total area) lay the base into it. Press firmly, but do not step into it or push down aggressively or you will cause a gap to form between the base and the “bed” once the pressure is released. Leave it sit for the recommended drying time on the “bed” product you have used and you are good to go.

OK fine John, but mine is already installed; what can I do now to keep it from leaking?

Here is a solution that has worked in the past to solve the problem. Remove the drain gate, usually snaps in and out, although there may be a screw holding it in place. Clean the area around the joint between the fiberglass base and the rubber gasket. You may need to use a putty knife. Then wipe it clean with nail polish remover, or other degreaser type of cleaner. Be careful when using some products as they can discolor fiberglass or PVC.

Now using a flashlight, look into the drain, not too far down you will see the actual drain pipe itself. More than likely it will look like a white ring about 3/16″ thick. Continue looking carefully to the outside of this ring and you can see the rubber sleeve just to the outside of it. Clean the top edge of the pipe and the sleeve right above it.

Using some 100% silicone, I recommend GE brand, run a bead around the top edge of the pipe onto the sleeve and another bead on the top where the gasket meets the base. Moisten your finger with a little water and smooth out the bead, not too much, just make sure it is sealed all the way around and that you have left it about 1/8″ thick. Pure silicone will remain flexible when it dries, which will allow for the slight movement that can cause leaks. Let it dry for the recommended time and snap the drain in and you are good to go.

Something else you can do if you have access to the bottom of the floor under the shower, you can drill a few straw size holes under the base, be very careful you don’t drill through the base, and using a spray foam product, place some foam under the shower base. Do not walk on or use the shower until the foam has completely set, of your work will have been for nothing.

These repair methods will solve your problem and give you many years of a dry bathroom.

Lightweight Concrete Fences – Great for DIY

“I have a vision that eventually this product [precast concrete fences] could be for do-it-yourselfers if it was manufactured in lightweight concrete,” states the CEO of a leading precast fence producer. This vision is now a reality with the introduction of lightweight concrete fence panels.

Cellular lightweight concrete (CLC) is produced by taking a mixture of cement, sand and water and combining it with a foam made through the action of compressed air and a chemical foaming agent. The foam leaves a multitude of tiny non-interconnected air pockets within the concrete mix. One can control the density of the final cast concrete shape by controlling the amount of foam introduced in the mix.

Fence panels made by this technique typically have half the density of regular precast panels available on the market. Some panel styles weigh as little as 39 lb.For maximum strength, the posts used in conjunction with the panels are made from regular high strength concrete. These concrete fence systems are designed to meet wind speed ratings of 110 mph or more.

The lightweight panels make it possible for two people to install a 6′ tall concrete fence without the need for heavy equipment. Installation in confined or sensitive landscaped spaces is easy to accomplish. The lighter panels mean more product can be hauled on trucks resulting in less freight cost, less energy cost and less pollution. The sound absorbing qualities of CLC (versus sound reflecting qualities for regular concrete) result in quieter enclosed spaces.

Other applications for lightweight concrete fences and fence panels include siding, planters and enclosures. CLC represents a great opportunity for the do-it-yourself crowd to easily build long lasting concrete structures.

Who is a Fencing Master?

In the United States anyone can become a coach in any sport simply by saying that he or she is one. There may be limitations as to who can be employed as a coach, especially in youth programs, but if you want to be a coach, simply say you are one, and presto… you are one. This is particularly true in fencing, where not only the term “coach” is used, but also the terms “fencing master” and “maestro” are commonly assumed by individuals who want to be seen as experts in teaching the sport and preparing athletes.

This confusion makes it important to understand who actually is a fencing master and what qualifications that title demands. Internationally the governing body for the Olympic sport of fencing is the Federation Internationale d’Escrime (the FIE). The FIE recognizes the Academie d’Armes Internationale (the AAI) as the international professional coaching organization. In turn the AAI recognizes national coaching organizations. In the United States the recognized professional coaching organization is the United States Fencing Coaches Association (the USFCA). The USFCA is also recognized by the sport’s national governing body, the United States Fencing Association.

This trail of recognition is important because the certifying body for fencing masters in the United States is the USFCA. If you hold a diploma from the USFCA or one of the other national academies recognized by the AAI, you can legitimately call yourself a Fencing Master (or Maitre d’Armes).

So how does a fencing coach become a Maitre d’Armes. In the United States the USFCA certifies four levels of coaches:

Assistant Moniteur. This is an entry level position which qualifies an individual to assist in leading group classes in a club environment. The Assistant Moniteur must have completed at least 20 hours of practical teaching, and pass a written and a practical examination administered by a Moniteur or higher qualified coach.

Moniteur. The Moniteur is the first level of professional coach. Moniteurs are trained to teach group lessons in a club environment or to teach beginner or intermediate individual lessons. They must pass a written examination on rules, fencing technique and tactics, training methods and safety and risk management, and teach a complete lesson in a practical examination supervised by two Prevots or a Maitre d’Armes.

Prevot. A Prevot is a fully qualified coach capable of preparing advanced students for competition in individual teaching and training lessons. The Prevot completes a more demanding written examination that includes fencing tactical and training theory, and a practical examination involving teaching, training, and warmup lessons. Prevot examinations are supervised by two Maitres d’Armes.

Maitre d’Armes. A Maitre d’Armes is capable of preparing elite level competitors and of managing training programs and all of the activities of a fencing club or salle. They pass a more rigorous version of the practical examination and complete a thesis on some element of fencing theory, tactics, technique, or training. The candidate Maitre is examined by three Maitre d’Armes.

Starting in 2009 the USFCA started to certify Prevots and Maitre in single weapons, an option that had always existed for Moniteurs. Single weapon Prevots and Maitre are fully qualified to teach a single weapon and go through the same demanding practical examinations that are usually close to two hours in length. However, full Prevots and Maitres d’Armes must have demonstrated a high level of skill in all three weapons

This is a demanding process that requires encyclopedic knowledge, skill with the weapon, stamina, and the determination to succeed. Any Maitre d’Armes certified by the USFCA or by another country’s national academy is deservedly proud of the accomplishment. Ask to see their diploma. I am proud to show fencing students mine, and I don’t know any legitimately certified Master who would hesitate to do the same. When you look for a fencing coach, look for a certified professional who is a Moniteur, or Prevot, or Maitre d’Armes. You can be sure that their skills have been evaluated by their peers and found to be of a standard that will help you learn to be a better fencer.

Parasailing Sites in the Philippines

The Philippines, which is known for its thrilling tourist attractions and colorful festivals, is slowly making a name for itself as a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. An emerging water recreational activity in the country is parasailing. With its rich water resources, the Philippines is an ideal place for this high-flying adventure.

Initially available in posh resorts in the Bahamas, Hawaii, Guam, and Australia, parasailing is steadily gaining more following in the Philippines due to its inclusion to various vacation packages by offered resort and vacation rental operators across the country.

Parasailing, which is also known as parascending, allows an individual to stay in the air for several minutes while strapped in nylon harnesses. A boat usually carries the parascender into the air. The sport appears difficult but experts insist that parasailing doesn’t need any special skill other than sheer courage. Enjoying the high-adrenaline experience is one of the common tips shared by experts to beginners.

Here is a guide on where to find the best parasailing sites across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Mactan Island

Situated on the southeast of Cebu, Mactan is one of the leading parasailing destinations in the country. Most accommodations in the island entice tourists with their various water recreation facilities where you can go parasailing, jet skiing, scuba diving, and sailboating. While in the air, the parascender gets a fascinating view of the islands of Bohol, Sta. Rosa, Olango, and Cebu. Pristine beaches and rich marine resources have placed Mactan on the Philippine travel map.

Boracay Island

Parasailing adventures also await holidaymakers in Boracay, which is famous for its white sand beaches. A brave soul is treated with a bird’s-eye-view of the whole island. While most resorts in Boracay arrange parasailing activities for their clients, tourists can also hire the services of hawkers who offer much lower prices. A 15-minute parasailing escapade in Boracay usually costs between Php 1,500 and Php 2,500. Parasailing allows tourists to get their energy flowing in enjoying various events and activities in Boracay.

Subic Bay

Another favorite parasailing site in the Philippines is the Subic Bay in Zambales. Since it is just a couple of hours away from Manila, most water adventurers in the metro quench their thirst for parasailing and other recreational activities in Subic. Parasailers get an unforgettable view of the Subic Bay and Grande Island. Other water activities in Subic include scuba and wreck diving, yachting, and kayaking.

Coron Island

The island paradise of Palawan has everything for every tourist, including parasailing. In Coron, a famous travel getaway in the province, one can enjoy a view of the island around 400 feet above the water. The island, which is also famous for its pleasant rock formations, is considered the best wreck diving site in the Philippines. Wreck dive sites are found in a depth as shallow as ten to 30 feet and as deep as 120 to 140 feet.

Local Philippines is your travel buddy. We have information about the destinations, how to get there, what to do while in the area and more! Destinations in the beaches or in the mountains, destinations under water, destinations right at the middle of the urban hub, name it and Local Philippines will most likely feature it.