How to Install a Brick Paver Sidewalk

Installing brick pavers can produce a multitude of patterns and colors, all chosen by the DIY’er. There are just tons of brick paver sizes, shapes and colors available at home centers and masonry suppliers today. Make sure you take the time to visit several sellers before picking out the final products for your walkways. Installing a paver walkway is not very difficult but does require a good deal of manual labor. If the walkway is not directly adjacent to an area that the pallets can be placed when delivered, then the amount of labor increases as you have to move the pavers over a distance to the actual work area. This is the area of work where friends can be a great help.

Start your project by laying out the walkway itself. A garden hose is an excellent tool for layout if the new walkway will have curves. Layout the hose as close to the shape as you desire and then fine tune it until it is exactly correct. Using regular lawn lime and a paper cup, mark the hose location and that will be one side of the new walk. Wash the hose and make sure you wash the lime from your hands. It is great for lawns and eco-friendly. A handy tool you will use over and over is to cut a two by four, six inches longer than your walkway is wide. It can be used during layout to assure you have prepared a wide enough area for the pavers and then as a screed board to level the base sand under the pavers themselves. Now, remove the soil, gravel, earth, etc. from the walkway area plus at least three inches on each side. You want to excavate the walkway at least two inches deeper than the thickness of the paver stones. If you want the stones to be flush with the adjoining lawn or driveway, measure the stones thickness and add two inches and excavate to that depth.

Once the excavation is completed, you will place at least two inches of stone dust or concrete sand in the bottom of the excavation. Using your two by four screed board and a carpenters level, level the sand keeping it slightly higher than what you want the finished product. Once the sand is in place, a gasoline powered mechanical tamper must be used to thoroughly compact the sand. Keep in mind that the sand will settle when compacted and additional material may have to be added across the walk to attain the final finished compacted height. You want to be very fussy when doing this work. The final walkway surface will reflect whatever defects you have left behind in the way of dips or bumps in the sand. Make sure the compacted sand/dust is at least three inches wider on each side than the finished walkway width.

Using a string line to maintain the location of one side of the walk is always a good idea. If one side is straight the other side will follow. Start laying your paver stones in whatever pattern you chose. Straight line, lap bond, diagonal, herringbone or any pattern you can think of is fine. Work across the full width of the walk and if you have a helper using a wet saw, cutting and placing any smaller pieces will greatly speed the work. As you complete an area, install a plastic brick edge retainer strip along with the supplied ground nails or stakes. Holding the retainer as tight to the pavers as possible, drive the ground nails into the ground securing the retainer strip in place. This prevents any sideways movement of the pavers. Proceed with paver installation until all pavers are installed.

Using whatever material you used as a sub base for the walkway, cast this material across the top of all the pavers and using a good stiff broom, sweep the sand/dust back and forth and diagonally over the pavers forcing as much material down into the joints as they will accept. When using stone dust, many contractors will also soak the dust making it settle even more tightly into the joints. You must now run compactor back and forth over the entire walkway surface. The compactor will not only settle the sand/dust into the joints it also pushes the pavers down into the sub base locking them into place. Use some hearing protection during this phase as it will be very, very noisy.

Once the paver compaction work is complete, go ahead and replace whatever the surrounding area materials were. If it was lawn area, topsoil and seed the disturbed areas, burying the plastic retainer strip as you proceed. A brick paver walkway will last your lifetime and will become prettier with age.

Pete Ackerson

http://www.Wagsys.com

BICES-Building Inspection & Code Enforcement system software

How to Build a Chicken Coop – 6 Crucial Elements on Building a Chicken House

When building a chicken coop, it is suggested that you follow the guidelines below for a successful endeavor.

Element # 1. – Appearance and Design:

Sketch out your design on a sheet of paper before you do anything else. Think of the colors you will paint the roof and chicken coop walls. Always keep in mind that if your chicken coop is clearly visible to your neighbors, (unless you live in a farm it will most likely be visible to your entire neighborhood,) it should not ever serve as a distraction or defacement of its utmost surroundings . So make sure to design an aesthetically looking chicken coop so that your neighbors do not complain of its detracting appearance. Once finished, always remember to remove and dispose of any types of garbage or weeds from around your chicken coop. Try to maintain an appealing landscape around it to enhance its overall appearance.

Element # 2. – Using Sound Judgment:

When designing your chicken coop structure, you must use sound judgment in almost every aspect of the way.

For instance, you want to use building materials in which the cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be quick and easy. The doors you install should open inwards, not outwards. You do not want your chickens rooting on your windows, so it is best to install sliding windows.

A question many people ask is how to build a chicken coop who's floors are easy to hose and spray down without much puddling? Well the secret to that is to slightly slope the floor toward the door. This way, when you spray out the chicken coop, the water will flow out, it's solving your puddling problem.

Element # 3. – Protection from Hazardous Elements:

So you want to learn how to build a chicken coop with maximum protection?
Then listen up.

As you may know, a well built chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather (heavy rain, wind, hale, snow, cold climates, etc), but they will also protect them from hungry predators, theft and injury .

So how do we accomplish that?

Easy. You want to build a draft free chicken house with windows and doors that can be opened and closed as needed. Make sure the windows and doors both have proper screening systems installed in them such as a heavy gage mesh wire. Building the chicken coop on a high yet well drained area with ensuring the least amount of dampness of the coop. Be sure to build your chicken coop in an area that faces the sun which will help warm and dry the soil and coop itself after it rains.

To protect your chickens from predators, the best thing to do is to bury your outside runs with chicken wire all around the coop about 1 foot deep. This will prevent some very hungry predators such as raccoons, cats and even dogs from digging underneath it.

Strategy # 4. – Coop Ventilation:

You may be wondering how to build a chicken coop that will not only keep your chickens locked up and protected from bad weather and predators yet receive the proper ventilation it requires. If so, then you already understand the importance of draft free air movement from within the coop. Chickens, much like humans, need fresh air and oxygen. The same goes for the removal of unwanted excess moisture and carbon dioxide. A chicken coop with ample air movement and proper ventilation will help remove the ammonia build up and dampness that may grow inside its walls.

Speaking of walls, the chicken coop walls should have proper insulation installed which will help keep the chickens dry. As long as chickens are dry, they can handle cold climates very well, but humidity plus cold weather will cause health issues for your poultry. Therefore, insulated walls are a must!

Strategy # 5 – Light Source:

If you want a good source of light and warmth for your chickens during the cold months of the year and a solid source of ventilation during the hot months, then be sure to install the chicken coop windows facing the southside where they will receive direct sunlight through the day.

On another note, if your goal is to raise chickens that will produce great eggs all year round, then you should look into an electrical source of light. You should be able to easily install an electrical light at the height of the chicken coop's ceiling which will help keep your chickens warm and help them lay better chicken eggs through the year. One ceiling light should be sufficient for a small scale chicken coop, for larger chicken coops though, try to install one electrical ceiling light per every 30 – 40 feet.

Strategy # 6. – Conveniently placed Wateres and Chicken Feeders:

Chicken feeders and waters should be placed where your flock will have easy access to them. However, you have to becareful where you place them because chickens like to make a mess of everything they eat due to their chicken scratching instincts. I'm sure you do not want to see your chicken feed mix all over the coop floors so, to avoid this, place the chicken feeders at the height of the chicken's back. This way they will have to stretch their necks up to eat but will not reach the feeders with their feet. Same goes for the waterers. Just make sure to keep the waters full of fresh clean water throughout the day.

There you have it folks. 6 quick and easy strategies that will show you how to build a chicken coop fast and efficiently. Whether you're building a large scale chicken coop or a small one, these tips should get you moving in the right direction.

Folks, did you know that the average american spends about $ 300 to build a chicken coop? Some even invest over 2 months of working trying to assemble the darn structure and in the end are not even fully refused with their product. Not very enticing is it? A great chicken coop plan can cut your time and efforts in half while saving you a vast amount money on building materials. To learn how to build a chicken coop with maximum benefits for your flock without investing a magnitude of your time and money, click here:
how to build a chicken coop .

4 Things to Think About Before Designing Your Own Custom Phone Case

One of the most popular personalized merchandise options available on the market today is the customized phone case. Not only do these make great gifts, but they also allow the designer to express their own creativity and personality through the images and text that they choose to adorn their cases with.

With many people reliant on their devices today to keep in touch with friends, colleges and family, having a nice phone case design can inject a little dose of fun into the everyday, and having pictures of loved ones on the case is a nice reminder of the people that you care about.

Before you start with your design, however, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration – here is what to do when you are thinking about how and where to create your own phone case.

Firstly, ensure that you choose a quality company to order from, as there are more and more service providers on the market today, yet not all of them are equally reliable. Quality is very important when printing images onto a phone case, and this is especially true when it comes to photographs, which need to be crisp and clear.

For this reason, look around at several companies that offer this kind of service before you make your mind up who to order from. If possible, ask to see sample photographs of completed orders and read customer reviews of the products that they received from the company – this will give you a valuable insight into whether it is worth your money or not.

Secondly, look into using a service that provides a clear and realistic online design tool that gives you a very accurate idea of ​​what you will be receiving when you create your own phone case. Some tools can be clunky and too abstract, meaning that your finished design might look different from what you were expecting when you placed your order.

Make sure that the online tool that you use gives you the chance to preview your design, and one that allows you to see a realistic 3D model of the phone case as you apply your images and text. This will help you get a better idea of ​​what the final product will look like and you are far less likely to be disappointed with your order for design reasons.

Another thing to think about is how long production and shipping time is going to be, and if you will be able to return and have the item refunded if it is not to your satisfaction. This is because many companies overseas offer this kind of service, but it may not be the highest quality out there and shipping and returning the product could be lengthy.

If you create your own phone case as a gift for someone else this is important, as you may be on a tight deadline. Take into account shipping times and consider using domestic services with free domestic shipping if you think this could potentially be a problem for you.

Lastly, make sure that on your end you are using high quality photos if you are applying these to your custom design, as blurry and overexposed photos will appear exactly the same on the case once they are printed!

Make sure that you take the time to be careful about the photos and images that you select for your design, that they are the right resolution and that they are of sufficient quality to be printed. A company may be unwilling to refund you for your mistakes in this department, so the onus is on you to be careful when designing in order to avoid receiving an inferior product.

Sweet Things to Say to Your Boyfriend – 2 Hot Tips to Melt Your Boyfriend's Heart

So you want to know what sweet things to say to your boyfriend? After all, girls are not the only ones who can benefit from a little bit of sweet talk.

To be quite honest, guys can sometimes use a whole bucket load of sweet stuff. But do not expect them to ask for it. Your boyfriend, for one, would probably not admit that he wants you to say such things to him. So it's up to you to figure out what sweet things to say to your boyfriend.

Your boyfriend does not necessarily want to be told that he's the most beautiful boy you have ever laid your eyes on (although that works for some). Guys and girls are not made of the same ingredients.

Luckily, you have this article to help you figure out what sweet things to say to your boyfriend.

1) Call out his name … and then tell him "I love you."

You do not need an excuse to tell your boyfriend that you love him. A lot of people might think that the phrase is overused but I beg to differ.

Telling the person you love that you love him should be the most natural thing in the world. What I advise is that you spring it on him when he least expects it (but not if you two have not said these three words to each other yet!).

Casually call out his name name as if you want him to run a few errands for you. Once you have his attention, smile and tell him that you love him. This will be sure to leave a smile on his lips for the rest of the day.

2) You are the most wonderful guy I have ever met.

The word "wonderful" transcends the physical. However, other adjectives like "amazing" and "sexiest" will also do as long as you use them in superlative form. These sweet things to say to your boyfriend will insure him that you only have eyes for him.

Guys like knowing that they are special in someone's eyes. These sweet things to say to your boyfriend will make him feel even more special because you're the one saying them.

Suspended Timber Floors

The majority of older houses in Britain have suspended timber floors (also known as hollow floors) in the ground-floor rooms. However, during and after the Second World War, timber became scarce and restrictions were placed on its use and availability, so other forms of construction were employed. The solid floor was introduced as a suitable and economic alternative at ground level.

Suspended timber ground floors

A suspended timber ground floor consists of a number of boards sometimes tongued-and-grooved – or sheets of man-made boards such as chipboard or plywood, laid over and supported by timber joists. The joists are 400mm to 600mm apart and are supported by 100mm x 50mm timber wallplates which are in turn supported by the main walls of the building, or by sleeper walls built up from a layer of concrete beneath the house, or by a combination of the two. To prevent the timber floor from absorbing any moisture, the wallplates are bedded on top of a suitable damp-proof course.

Suspended timber upper floors

Like suspended ground floors, upper floors consist of timber boards or sheets of man-made board laid over and supported by timber joists. Suspended timber floors which are not at ground level are often called single floors because the joists bridge a single span they run from wall to wall.

As it is not possible to give additional support to upper floors by using sleeper walls, the joists of single floors are bigger than those of hollow ground floors and usually bridge the narrowest span – often across the narrowest part of the room. If the joists bridge spans greater than 4.0m, timber or steel cross-members (called binders) may be used to give intermediate support. Joists in a single floor tend to flex, so rows of struts may be laid across the floor between the joists to make the floor stiffer.

The ends of the joists may be built into the walls, or supported by joist hangers built into or fixed on to the face of the wall. If the joist end is built into the wall, this part should be treated with preservative to protect it from decay.

The ceiling of the room underneath the floor is usually lath-and-plaster or plasterboard fixed to the underside of the joists. Plasterboard may have a plaster ‘skim’ finish.

Solid ground floors

The cross-section of a solid floor consists of a number of layers of different materials.

The first layer is 100 to 150mm of consolidated hardcore com¬posed of crushed stone and clean broken bricks. This is to level out any unevenness in the ground caused by the excavation and to provide a firm and level base for the floor slab.

A 50mm-thick layer of fine ash, sand or weak mix concrete is laid over the hardcore to bind the surface. This blinding will also give a smooth even surface for laying the damp-proof membrane on. The damp-proof membrane should never be laid directly on to the hardcore – it may puncture.

The damp-proof membrane may be placed above or below the floor slab. In the latter case, the DPM will keep the floor slab free from moisture. A wide range of materials are suitable as DPMs: hot and cold poured bitumen, asphalt, epoxy pitch compounds and 1000-gauge polythene sheeting.

The floor slab (concrete) can vary in thickness from 100 to 150mm and have one or two layers of mesh reinforcement, depending on the area of the floor and its intended use. The concrete slab may have a cement screed laid over its surface, depending on what type of floor finish is to be used.

To provide extra insulation, 50mm sheets of expanded polystyrene can be added between the slab and the screed.

Instead of Getting Angry, Learn to Write a Complaint Letter in Business Format

This is the correct business format for a Letter of Complaint to another business. Use your words with caution because people are often funny about their money.

Tips and Hints to consider:

Keep in mind that Business Writing is about "Getting to the point"

Think about what you want to say before you start writing and get your facts straight.

Stay objective and consider through the letter even if you are feeling angry.

Your letter will include the following:

1. Contacts
2. The complaint
3. Reason why you are complaining
4. The amount to be refunded
5. How long you are willing to wait (be reasonable please)
6. Reason why they should refund you
7. "Thank you" as well as any enclosures such as statements, receipts etc …

Remember to send copies of the receipts, not the originals. However, the original letter you type up and sign should be sent to the recipients. Make a copy for your records.

If you do not receive the response you had wished for, you may want to consider writing a second letter with a firmer tone, or you can contact the next person on their chain of command.

Your number and street address

Your city, Your state Zip code

Phone: Your contact number

Email: your email

The Date

Their Name, Company Title

Company name

Their company street number and address

Their city, state and zip code

Dear Mr. Name,

It has been excellent for my company to use your services for many high-quality door and window projects. I have always been satisfied with your services, however I am writing to you with a concern that I hope you will be able to address.

My company ordered from Custom Wood on July 2 by telephone. We ordered double-glazed, made-to-order oak French doors. When they arrived on July 25, my carpenter informed me that the doors were cut too small. Instead of measuring a total of 11 feet by 8 inches, the doors measured 11 feet by 4 inches.

After waiting three weeks for the door to remodel a kitchen, it was obvious that the customers were not going to wait any longer to have their kitchen finished. My carpenter was able to fix the mistake and did so at the expense of $ 455.50.

I am requesting that Custom Wood reimburse the $ 455.50 paid to fix the doors sent in error to my company. I am including the carpenter's bill, and would appreciate prompt attention to this matter.

I would like to continue business with your company, as I have always been very satisfied in the past. Thank you very much for you time.

Sincerely,

My name

Company name

Enclosures (2)

Retinal Detachment – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

The retina is an extremely thin tissue that lines the extreme back of the eye and is basically responsible for the assimilation of visual data, which is then transmitted to the brain by the optic nerve for interpretation. A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue, usually due to trauma, bleeding, extreme near-sightedness, medications or surgery. This condition invariably leads to complete loss of vision, and needs to be treated urgently. Currently, surgery is the only viable medical option in the management of retinal detachment.

The limitations of surgery are that eyesight may not be regained for several months, and recovery may be only partial. In addition, complications like infection and recurrence of retinal detachment are also possible. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can be quite useful in these situations as supportive therapy, to prevent bleeding, reduce the severity of damage to the retina, induce faster healing, salvage the maximum possible vision in the affected eye, and prevent a recurrence of the condition.

Ayurvedic medicines like Tapyadi -Loh, Laxadi-Guggulu, Usheerasav, Saarivasav, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Triphala-Ghrut, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, and Gokshuradi-Guggulu can be used to reduce or prevent swelling and bleeding in the interior of the eyes. Herbal medicines like Laxa (Purified wax), Naagkeshar (Messua ferrea), Sphatik Bhasma (Purified alum), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), and Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia) can also be used for this purpose.

Medicines like Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Tapyadi-Loh, Ekangveer-Ras, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Yashtimadhuk (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) are used to minimize eye damage and induce faster healing.

Further damage can be prevented by treating known risk factors like diabetes and hypertension, and by boosting the immune status of the body by using medicines like Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati , Panch-Tikta-Ghrut and Maha-Triphala-Ghrut.

Retinal detachment is currently a medical condition which is difficult to treat and therefore, the potential contribution of Ayurvedic herbal treatment assumes special significance. It is important that all such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of a team of Ophthalmologists.

Danish Oil Vs Sprayed Lacquer

Danish oil is a hard drying oil used in wood finishing. It is made of either Tung oil or Polymerized Linseed oil. It gives a hard, water-resistant finish to wood products by soaking into the wood and hardening. It is used as a finishing product, but can also be used to seal wood or prime it before painting or varnishing.

Spray lacquer is another type of protective finish for wood. It is made with a combination of hardening oil mixed with resin and also a solvent. The solvent evaporates hardening and curing the lacquer to the wood. The ratio of oil to resin will determine drying times and the hardness of the finish.

Spray lacquer can be used as a sealant for wood, much like Danish oil. If you’re only using spray lacquer, the first layer will act as the sealant and primer. There are not a lot of solid components to spray lacquer, so several coats are often needed. Spray lacquer often gives a glossy finish that is desired for some projects. However, it is not as scratch resistant as a Danish oil finish.

Danish oil penetrates into wood, so there is no need to sand your project with a high-grit sandpaper. A little roughness makes it easier for the oil to penetrate. Oil finishes take a little more work to apply than a spray finish. Apply the oil so that it looks very wet and let it soak in for about half an hour. Rubbing it in will also help to keep it even and penetrate more deeply. You’ll have to keep applying to dry looking areas as you go for about half an hour. When the oil starts to feel sticky, you’ll wipe off any excess.

Danish oil finishes are very smooth and give a nice, nearly matte finish. However, you can’t apply Danish oils over stains or lacquers because they need to soak in to work. Tinted versions are available if you don’t want the natural color of the wood to be your finished product.

Wood will push oil out of itself for a few hours after application, so you’ll need to check it and wipe away excess oils every fifteen to twenty minutes over several hours until it stops. Drying your woodworking project in a cool area will help control leaking. Heat makes it worse, so rubbing vigorously will make it bleed more, too.

Spray lacquer finishes are done when they are dry, making them a little less labor intensive than Danish oil finishes. Danish oil finishes are sealed with lemon oil or a type of solvent wax as the last finish. This helps to protect the oil from drying out and also gives it a nice sheen. Oils and wax finishes can be reapplied every couple of years to restore the shine to your project.

What the Bible Says About the Dry Places (Matthew 12:43)

Matthew 12:43 amp

43 But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid places] in search of rest, but it does not find any.

The writer Matthew expresses how unclean spirits leave out of a man. He doesn’t mention whether they were cast out or just left on their own for transference purposes. When they left they roamed around awhile. Where did they roam? Dry, arid, waterless or (lifeless) places, that’s where.

What are Dry Places?

The Dictionary/Thesaurus defines dry as waterless, devoid, deficient in moisture, arid, barren, and UN garnished.

Because these two verses and reference definitions were unclear to me, I asked the Lord to give me understanding. Often hearing other believers binding, casting out demons and sending them to the Dry Places I wondered, “What are these places?”

He began teaching me that Dry Places are temporally dwelling places for demon spirits. A Dry Place is any molecular, lifeless (non-breathing) non-living, temporary instrument, object, substance that demons can travel through to get to a permanent host body.

A Solid, liquid or gas can be a Dry Place. Water is wet in the natural sense but a Dry Place in the spiritual sense because it falls under the above description. See Leviticus 11:36, 38 about water becoming unclean.

They are also paper, fabric, wood, metal, cement, plastic, food, and more. Leviticus 11:31-32

These are unclean to you among all that creep; whoever touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until evening. 32 An whatever they may fall when they are dead, whether it is an article of wood or clothing or skin (bottle) or sack,

These are vehicles that Satan and his imps use to get to a host body, human/ or animal. It doesn’t matter whether it is a religious item with markings or symbols. Neither if it’s a pair of white or blue socks thrown in the bottom of the closet. The enemy doesn’t care he just needs a vehicle to get to a body!

Let’s discuss some of these Dry Places.

Paper, books, money

People handle money including people that are contaminated with spirit issues. Through these items, spirits are circulated around the world.

Old used fabrics, sheets, blankets curtains, shoes, and clothing **See Leviticus 15 verses 5-8.

Of my early years being a Christian, the Lord dealt with me about taking clothing from different people. Being a victim of poverty we were very limited with funds to buy new clothes. Family, friends and, church members donated much of what was owned. The old apartment was constantly flooded with bags of used clothing and shoes. Not to seem ungrateful, some of these items were like new, beside from being very nice. In addition to the clothing and the clutter along came the spirits the former owners were struggling with. God told me to “throw them out!”

Why? Spiritual depression had entered into my home through the clothing along with suicide, poverty, fear confusion etc. Satan for many years had used this as a channel to contaminate my home.

Spirits love to attach to clutter especially clothing because of the ability to hide there. Take note washing the clothing will not alone remove spirits they must be blessed and prayed over.

(A positive point)

God’s Spirit or anointing can permeate and bless cloths, aprons, handkerchiefs, oil to heal as well as cast out demons.

Acts 19:11-12 KJV

And God wrought special miracles by the hand of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Wood, plaster, cement,

Furniture

Spirits issue through furniture, sofas, tables, chairs, desks.

Mattresses **See Leviticus 15 verses 5-8

Envision an old used or refurbished mattress brought from a thrift shop. If the original owners suffered for many years with lustful, depression spirits etc. You can just about imagine what the new owners might experience. Let the buy beware!

Staffs, rods and canes

Exodus 7:11-12 KJV

11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 for they cast down every man his rod and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.

This may seem extreme but it gives a Biblical demonstration of how spirits can transfer into objects.

**If you would like to learn more about this topic please follow the links at the bottom of the page for further information.

The Power of Cultural Symbolism

Everywhere we look in society we see forms of symbolic representation which identify and illustrate our cultural ethos. Symbols that we use, as distinct from signs, carry multiple meanings depending on the context and culture in which they appear. A symbol can be a gesture, an object or a ritual that informs, solidifies and influences our social interactions. They are an important and integral element in understanding culture. They reinforce our norms, values ​​and provide an operative in which we can manifest our meanings. Symbols can also evoke emotional responses from us.

Anthropologist Clifford Geertz explained that our symbolic world is used as a vehicle for our concepts; they represent how we conceive of our world. The conception of the symbol is its meaning. Another interpretive anthropologist, Victor Turner, believed that symbols are not just vehicles for meaning, but by their very use, create meaning, understanding and solidarity in relationships. This is why he saw ritualistic symbolism as harboring core symbols which carried extra weight. The symbols function not only to represent a value or belief, but their use also affects the individual more substantially. This is because, as Turner believed, core symbols found in ritual had the ability or utility of connecting the known with the unknown. In essence, ritual acts and ritual symbolism often involve ethereal ideas which became tangible during the ritual process. Geertz also echoed the importance of ritual symbolism, and in particular, religious symbolism. He claimed that religious symbolic behavior or acts were specific creators of mood for the individual but also, because of their religious purpose, provided motivation.

However, everyday symbols and symbolic behavior do not always represent something transcendental. They may simply signify an aspect of our cultural norms and through their use, becoming effective in reinforcing these. When agents utilize and interact with these symbols, the values ​​and meanings which they represent are codified. It is for this reason that they are an integral part of cultural life. Some widely recognized symbols or ritual behaviors are thousands of years old, like those which are a distinct part of religious heritage. They have been utilized to embody and affirm the sacred ideologies which they represent and also provide utility in ritual and practice during religious worship. More mundane symbolism may be the hand shake which we may recognize as a common custom, but which may also represent many meanings like agreement, understanding or a formal but socially polite greeting. This seems like a very insignificant form of symbolism and such a mundane example. However, we can recognize the power behind the symbolic gesture when such a custom is violated. For example, there may be an occasion where etiquette dictates that a shake shake is appropriate but one's hand may be refused. It is then that the true meaning behind the gesture becomes much more apparent.

All symbolic representation has its genesis in the social, ideological and political concepts which define our culture. They are formed from these, but also inform these. Symbols do not always remain the same, but can transform through the ages and through various processes of cultural adaptation.

Let us look at a national flag as a symbol. Every nation has one and we can assume that each country regards their flag as a symbol of the unity of their people. It represents a specific identification with 'nationhood' or even 'ethnicity'. Above all, it represents a collective – a common affiliation. A great example of the symbolism entrenched in national flags and their effect can be drawn from the revolution in Libya. Freedom fighters, along with the new government, reinstated the old flag of Libya, the symbol of an independent Libya used prior to Col. Gaddafi's rule between 1951 and 1969. At the same time, people took to a type of ceremonial and celebratory burning of the old green flag, which was in place during Gaddafi's rule. The flag became part of a ritual, with its burning as a sign of celebrating freedom from tyranny. We can see from this behavior how loaded with symbolic meaning the flag is. The action was not just cathartic to the participants, but as a symbolic act, spoke volumes for outsiders too. So, we can see how something as seemingly simple as a national flag can not only represent many meanings, but can have the power to evoke high emotional responses because of the values ​​it represents. Because of this, across cultures, how a flag is utilized and treated by citizens is of utmost importance since it represents a national consciousness which may include pride, patriotism, identity and in this case, freedom.

What is clear about the power of symbolic representation in society is that although symbols serve the function of representing a concept or idea, they also have the propensity to evoke an emotional and psychological response. In fact, the importance or the emotional significance of the concept is what formulates the symbol in the first place.

Let's take another mundane symbol, the white dove. This symbol is widely recognizable across cultures. Sometimes, it is used alone, and sometimes, it is used in conjunction with other symbols. Most of us would say that it represents or is a symbol of peace. Why do we think it represents peace? We have to look at the origins and history of the symbol to understand why.

The symbol of the white dove and the olive branch has its genesis in the biblical story of Noah's Arch. After the flood, the dove returns to the Arch with an olive branch indicating that the flood was over and a new beginning was at hand. So, the symbol of the white dove along with an olive branch has its origins in Christian story telling. However, the use of the symbol of the olive branch within that story already had prior importance in history, since it was the early Roman symbol for peace. From this, we can understand why it was transported by the dove and its reason for incorporation into the story. After all this time, the symbols of the white dove and olive branch have become integrated into our cultural system so that they automatically become one of the most widely recognized symbols for peace. The reasonable reason for this is most likely due, to a large degree, to the spread of Christian based education across the globe over the centuries. However, the symbol has varied over time. We often see, despite to promote a more secular tone, the white dove without the olive branch in logos of various organizations. Its popularity of use rests largely on the fact that it is has an immediate recognizable meaning, making it an effective and powerful symbol.

Whether symbols are sacred or mundane, they make up a significant part of any cultural fabric. They have the power to transform a concept into a reality, to speak without words and to effect emotional responses from us. Understanding the meaning behind symbolic behavior and symbols themselves allows us great insight into our world and what we deem important and valuable.

Should You Choose a Wood Or Composite Hockey Stick?

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the pros and cons of wood versus composite hockey sticks in the NHL that last couple of years. The fact of the matter is that wood hockey sticks are almost extinct in the NHL. But what about for the recreational player? Wood hockey sticks are a very viable, and sometimes preferred, option. We are going to cover the pros and cons of each stick.

The advantages of the newer composite sticks are many. The sticks are lighter, they are more consistent from stick to stick and they have been engineered to provide player with a quicker shot. The quicker shot comes from the lower kick points in composite sticks. The kick point is the play on the hockey shaft where the stick bends when your stick the puck. With wood shafts the bend tends to be where you place your lower hand. This causes a larger and slower loading and release cycle. Low kick point composite sticks place the bend point at the bottom of the shaft near the blade. This provides a shorter loading and release cycle and the net result is a quicker shot.

If you have played hockey before chances are good that you started with a wood hockey stick and that is still a good choice for today’s beginning hockey players. Wood hockey sticks are significantly less expensive than composite hockey sticks and this certainly helps the budget when you are just getting started and have to gear up with all of the equipment required to play hockey. Another advantage of wood sticks is that they impart a better feel for the puck for beginning players. After you have been playing hockey for a while you will be better able to judge the qualities of hockey sticks and how they match your style of play. That is a good point to investigate whether or not a composite hockey stick makes sense for you.

For a beginning player a wood stick is a great first hockey stick. In your early years playing hockey, the advantages of a composite hockey stick over a wood one might be beyond your ability to take advantage of. The one exception to this is the lighter weight of the composite sticks. Beyond that price is often the factor that most influences a wood versus composite purchasing decision. The key thing to figure out is if the benefits of a composite stick are worth the extra cost to you.

After making your selection you still need to choose the blade pattern to match your preferences and whether you shoot right or left handed. Your stick will need to be long enough to come up to your chin area when you are standing in skates and hold the stick vertically with one end on the ice in front of you. Hockey sticks also have a flex to their shafts just like golf clubs do. You will need a flex that woks for your skill, style on overall body weight and strength.

In the end it all comes to personal choice. You need to try out a large variety of sticks to find the one that is best suited to your skills and your budget. As your skills and experience improve over time you “perfect” hockey stick will evolve as well.

Team Building Part 2: Honesty is the Key!

The second in a series of 2 articles giving a slightly different perspective on effective team building, condensed from an original seminar presented by the author, John Roberts. John is a Freelance Training Consultant and director of JayrConsulting Ltd. Part 1 (Another Brick in the Wall) deal with selecting and building the initial team. Part 2 deals with the culture that need to be in place to run the team really effectively. The ideas expressed are personal opinions built up from many years of experience in the Electronics / Aerospace industry, the Armed Forces, the Telecoms industry and the Training industry. There is no suggestion of this being a 100% solution applicable to or workable in all situations, but it is aimed at getting people to think outside of the norm and question the 'normal' way of doing things.

1. Honesty – The Key!

It really is that simple! The basic foundation of building and running REALLY successful teams is TOTAL honesty! Sounds simple, but it can be one of the hardest things to implement due to existing workplace cultures and peoples long-term conditioning to them. If you are not prepared to implement this culture change, you will only ever have functional 'teams' that are purely paying 'lip service' to the whole idea of ​​team building.

Being honest starts here! You cant pretend to be honest, or only implement some parts of it, either as a team member or as a team leader. If you are not going to give it 100% – Give it up, because the rest depends on this to work properly!

There are two separate parts to honesty within the team scenario and both are equally important:

(a) Being honest with other people

You have to learn to be honest with everyone. If someone is not performing properly-Tell them as soon as possible, and help them to overcome the cause. If someone is performing well-Tell them as soon as possible, and help them to do even better.

If there is good news about the project / team / company-Tell people as soon as possible, without hiding things and deliver praise where appropriate.
If there is BAD news about the project / team / company-Tell people as soon as possible, without hiding things and discuss what can be done about it at a team and personal level-ask for input and ideas to resolve things. Most people can handle most situations well, as long as they feel they are being informed and involved.

Make sure that you are doing your share of the teams work, to the best of your ability. If the team are having to cover for you, you are not being honest with them.

If you make a mistake- admit to it, as soon as possible and if necessary get help to resolve it. If you try and hide your mistakes you are not being honest and it just leads to more work for others in the long run.
Do not perpetuate rumors! It is one of the fastest ways to break down trust in a team culture. If you do not know something is a fact-don't repeat it!

(b) Being honest with yourself

For a lot of people this can actually be extremely difficult to achieve, due to long term conditioning in a competitive work place, but once it started builds up to build on itself as long as everyone is really committed to long-term success of the team building process. You have to really look at yourself deeply and honestly and work at correcting your individual behavior patterns and shortcomings.

If you can not cope with something-tell someone and get some help with it. No one is perfect and we all need help sometimes. In a good team environment, nobody is going to think less of you for asking help-just the opposite if it helps to get things done.

Be honest about your skills and abilities starting with your cv!). If you will not find out ever, but by that time, you may have let a lot of other people down!

Do not steal credit / ideas from other people and put them forward as your own. Any gain for you is only short term and it is one of the quickest ways of destroying trust amongst your team.

Question your commitment and work ethos continuously-Are you really giving 100% effort all the time? If not-why not -do you need to seek help or are you just being lazy?

Do not lie! It's infectious in a team environment. If you want a day off- take a leave day-don't keep re-burying your grandmother!

Admit when you are wrong in a discussion-and apologise!

Do not moan and grumble about work – if you do not like being there -Leave!

2. Communication

Communication is one of the most important factors in successful teams. To be effective it must be continuous and completely OPEN – both between team members and between the team leader and their team. There should be no secrets. The team need to know how they are affected by corporate plans and decisions. Members need to know if they are doing things correctly. The team leader needs to know if their team members have any ideas or problems that should be acted upon. People respond better if they know the facts – even to bad news! (I had a team where they all volunteered to take a 10% pay cut to save a team member from redundancy, when the financial figures were explained to them openly!)

This DOES NOT mean that you need to have interminable 'formal' team meetings! People should be encouraged to talk to each other and to the team leader all of the time. A good team leader will set out time every day, (YES, you can do it, if you are organized!), Purely to get around and talk to their team. The better your communication is, the less meetings you will need to have!

3. Trust

Trust between team members and between the team and team leader MUST be absolute. If you do not trust people to get on and do their job – why are they in your team? If you trust people to do a job, you have to relinquish power to them to make their own decisions – and they have to be responsible for those decisions! Team members must have trust in the team leader – that they have their best interests at heart and are working for team rather than individual success. In the ultimate team, people have to depend on each other for their lives – that can only be done with trust in your fellow team members.

4. Conflicts and Compromise

Teams are made of PEOPLE! You have to expect conflicts and confrontations. They should not be arbitrarily stamped upon – people have to be made aware that at some point they will have to compromise with other people in order to continuing functioning as an effective team. Members should be encouraged not to hide conflict, but to work it out and arrive at a compromise. The team leader should try and be aware of any conflicts and help to resolve them where necessary. Do not expect your team to never argument – they are all different people, and just like in a family, there is nothing wrong with a healthy argument, as long as it is resolved

5. Chinese Councils

ALL team members should have an input to planning and decisions concerning the team. People in the team should be treated as equals. The team leader is not in that position because they are 'better', it's just that they have different skills to the others. where necessary amend plans and decisions relating to the team and its objectives. However, everyone should be aware that at the end, the team leader has the ultimate responsibility and therefore the final say in any decisions, having taken into account the input from other team members This should be a regular ongoing procedure.

6. Assessment and reward

Forget 'Annual Assessments', Competency grids and pay rises based on individual performance! What matters is, "Is the TEAM successful?" The team leader should be constantly aware of how team members are performing and giving them feedback and assistance where necessary as the project progresses. It is no good leaving it until some later point to let people know if they are not achieving what is required or patting them on the back if things are going well. People need constant feedback -with honesty!
Reward should be based on the success (or failure!) Of the whole team, not individuals, so that people are encouraged to make sure that everyone in the team is pulling together to achieve the team goals -not trying to score 'smarty points' for their own individual advancement. (This would not work in a 'sales' environment, which is why sales people tend to work as individuals rather than as teams!)

7. Buddies

Team members must all be 'Buddies' with each other. This does not mean that you have to be close friends or socialize with each other! What it means is that team members have to support one another at all times. Everyone has 'off days', and team members should notice when someone else is not performing 100% and offer help and support to get them through this period. Sometimes all it will take is a joke or remark to buck someone up or they may need help with a particular task that is getting on top of them. All members should get into the habit of 'watching out' for each other. There is no shame in seeking or accepting help – we all need it sometimes. We all have different skills and abilities and team members should be encouraged to make use of each other's skills to achieve the team objective as efficiently as possible. I was never very good at producing diagrams for presentations, but I had someone in my team who was brilliant at it, and I would always ask her to critique my work so that I could produce a better finished product.

8. No Blame – No Shame

EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES! The secret is to have a culture where people are not ashamed to admit to having made a mistake! That way, mistakes can be rectified quickly, and more importantly, learned from! If someone makes a mistake (deletes a file or something), you do not want them to feel that they will be penalized or marked down in some way. You need them to tell someone and if necessary seek help to rectify it as soon as possible. (Needs 'honesty', as above!)

Summary

You may have noticed something in reading the above? No jargon, no 'hype', no 'games', no 'exercises', no 'concepts'! – NOT NECESSARY! Successful teams are all about PEOPLE, their natural skills, abilities and relationships. Running a successful team is very much like running a successful family and most of the values ​​are the same – BUT, it will not work WITHOUT HONESTY as above! Remember that is probably the hardest thing to achieve due to human nature and the conditioning that people are subjected to in the normally competitive culture of most work places, but it is worth the effort if you really want to achieve effective team building.

Think about all of the above – how much of it currently applies to teams in your workplace? Could you implement this? Remember – unless you start with HONESTY, it will not work, and you will always just be going through the motions of team building!

As always I am completely open to any comments – the whole idea of ​​this seminar is to get people thinking and discussing what they do in their teams and how it could have improved.

Acknowledgments

Adapted from an original article by John Roberts, freelance training consultant, Director of JayrConsulting Ltd., www.jayrconsulting.co.uk . John can be contacted at john.roberts@jayrconsulting.co.uk

This article may be freely reproduced / modified and used in any way, providing this acknowledgment is left in its entity.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Pizza in a Wood Fired Pizza Oven?

Woodfired pizza has a very distinct taste. Using a wood fired pizza oven tends to achieve an all over bake, often quicker than it happens in a traditional oven. Typically, the ideal temperature to get your pizza oven up to for even cooking is 450 degrees Celsius. This temperature can be achieved pretty quickly depending on what type of oven and how much wood you’re using. A stainless steel pizza oven will take around 45 minutes to reach 450 degrees. A clay or brick oven will take around 3 hours or so. Either way, the flavour wood fired cooking adds to your food will be well worth it.

Whether you make homemade dough or purchase store bought dough, the decision is solely up to you depending on how much time you have. If you choose to make a more traditional Italian pizza, there tends to be less toppings used as the distinct flavor comes primarily from the homemade dough and farm fresh ingredients. If time isn’t a luxury, there are plenty of quick dough recipes you can make, rather than a sour dough which takes a good couple of hours over several days. You may also consider making a larger quantity of dough and freezing some of it for next time you cook in your pizza stove.

For those who enjoy piling many different toppings on their pizzas, the main rule of thumb is the less toppings a pizza has, the shorter duration that it needs to bake. The last thing you want is for the base to be cooked and your toppings cold so keep this in mind. Remember that cooking pizza in a stainless steel pizza oven only takes a few minutes to cook, so be sure to stay close by, have a large pizza peel on hand and keep an eye on the cooking progress.

Some of you may not be as familiar with cooking other items in your wood fired pizza oven, but you really are only limited by your imagination. Because all food cooks so quickly in your wood fired pizza oven, it is great for cooking for large gatherings or get togethers. Wood fired pizza ovens are often large and have a vast interior. You can expand on your meal offerings by making homemade bread, pasta casserole dishes, desserts, the choices go on and on. Homemade bread takes on a subtle crunch and texture that cooking in the wood fired oven produces.

Affordable Interior Design Ideas For Your Sitting Room

Living rooms are the spaces in the house for engaging guests, retiring at night to calm down and comprehend a book, watch TV or a movie, listen to music and more. So, you can understand as to why there is so much to consider when you choose to design your sitting room. There are compound spaces within one space that needs to be planned and designed.

A sitting room has always been served as the main room of the house and is looked up as multi-purposed. It is utilized for entertaining guests, to relax at night and then indulge in your favorite activities like reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music and stuff like that. Since it is one of the hub spaces in a house, a sitting room reveals or reflects the taste and personality of the owner. In order to retain a certain impression on guests, one needs to constantly update the sitting area, yet keeping in touch the aura of it being comfortable for the guests.

A sitting room is multi-functional as well. It serves as an in-house theater, a study room at times and more so, the role of a TV lounge. Due to this very fact, the positioning of the television is always treated primarily, and then the placement of the couches and the sofas is given some attention accordingly.

The living-room can be used for amusement and also for ceremonial occasions or events. Therefore, the interior of living room should be rewarded unique consideration. The living-room indicates towards your personality and has to be ornamented and styled according to your relationship and requirements. Following are some sitting-room interior design ideas:

If you have a smokestack or a fire place area in the sitting-room, you can make it the axis of the room. Make a small tête-à-tête area, using cushion pillows or small tables and chairs in front of the fire place. You can also place the television and sofa in the other spot of the house. Hanging painting and frames and placing lamps in the corner or on the corner lamps also adds to the beauty of the room.

Placing harmonizing or complementary rugs in the room will make it more striking. Use plain and simple embellishment items. There should not be many huge decoration items; only one base piece is enough. The decoration piece can then be placed on any center table in the room.

The main area should be used by sofas, couches, chairs and bookcases. Another affordable and good idea to make use of old furnishings is by using wraps and coverings of rich heavy materials. One can also paint the furniture of dark wood color that is trendy nowdays and that furnishes the room with a classic look.

Placing spanking new indoor plants can also be very functional and refreshing. Small potted trees and plants in the sitting-room look uplifting to the eyes. Right items like equipment and decoration items can significantly improve the interior of your living room, if used suitably and appropriately.

Your Homeowners Insurance May Not Cover Woodpecker Damage

Meet Amy, City Girl that became a small town resident upon her marriage to George. The stark difference between living in the very center of urbanized civilization and township dwelling was somewhat of an adjustment for Amy. Sure she loved the sights and sounds of nature exposed: the lake, the trees, grass, flowers and the vibrant color of winged birds. Nonetheless, how she missed the hustle and bustle and – yes – even the noise of what she had always recognized as the center of commercial shopping, auto and bus traffic – honking included – and life as she had been bred to appreciate!

Though noise has always been the core of her existence, the incessant pecking on the side of her roof in small town America where she currently had set up residence did absolutely no good for her nerves. Five o’clock in the morning, you see was far too early for a woman of the world such as she to be rudely awoken from her slumbering state. And the fact that the pecking was coming from a fine feathered ‘friend’ known most commonly as the woodpecker did little to placate her uneasiness.

Then came the crunch that really threw Amy off. It appeared as the bothersome woodpecker had begun to incur damage on her lovely home! But nothing could appease Amy when she discovered that her standard homeowners insurance policy did not even cover the damages and losses she now suffered!

“You see, Ma’am,” explained the nice insurance agent, “insurance companies simply do not cover general home liability that has been wrought through negligence. In fact, they view woodpecker damage as something that could have been avoided through proper home maintenance.”

If only Amy had known! She most certainly would have confronted the little peril with a vengeance. Now it appeared that it was too late and she and her husband would have to bear the losses through out of the pocket expenditures.

They say life is a great teacher. Amy knows better than most.

“Learn from me,” says Amy, former city dweller. “Don’t let pests get the better of you or your home risks will!”

How does one tackle a woodpecker problem? There are a number of hands-on methods:

• Go out and purchase a tool that’s on the market in regard to woodpecker deterrence.

• Surround outside home spots that connect to the roof with wired fencing.

• Attach colorful tape below roof and around the roof’s gutters.

• Seal attic holes and house siding with caulk or other materials.

• Hire a pest eliminating firm to take care of the problem.

• Explore your own creative to tackle the nasty wood-pecking problem.

Ask Amy. She’ll tell you forearmed is indeed forewarned: speak to an independent insurance agent about your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it is tailored to your needs.