Formula for Personal Change

Formula for Change:

Step One:

Assessment of the situation – what is true now & what are the desired goals or results

Here is the start. What is it that you want to be different? You need to discover and be very specific about what is the current situation and how do you want it to be different. To do this, use your Coach’s assessment and gather input from all interested and involved parties.

Step Two:

Learning – techniques, tools, etc.

Discover what you need to learn and how to learn it. To do this you need to talk with people. A mentor relationship may be the key to new ideas. Coaching may provide the push. Peers may have advise, opinions, or ideas that you need. Classes, books, or articles may help.

Step Three:

Practice – take action & pay attention

This is a key. You need to take action to have change come about. It does not happen by itself. Use the familiar settings to practice. Or look for new settings to try out your change.

Step Four:

Feedback – score results against goals

Always utilize your own self-analysis – check in with your self right after your practice to see if you obtained the desired results. Independent observers can also be helpful. Pick someone you trust and whose opinion you value and ask them to observe you. Then afterward ask for their feedback. Also important is to utilize your Coach’s observations and feedback.

Now based upon results you obtain and feedback, go back to either more Learning and/or more Practice. Do not be hard on yourself and keep this cycle up until you obtain your goal.

Living Near a Cemetery

One aspect of a Feng Shui evaluation is to analyze the environment surrounding a building. When using Feng Shui to choice a home, most Feng Shui consultants will tell you not to pick one close to a cemetery. After looking at a beautiful home this past week that just happens to have a cemetery adjacent to the back yard, I decided to take another look at the idea of living near a cemetery.

Why care about what surrounds your home? Why not just focus on the internal energy? Well, simply put, the outside energy affects the internal energy of your home. Too much Yang energy is easier to feel than too much Yin. Here’s an example. Think of a home that has a busy highway running behind it. The fast moving energy and noise pollution gives the inhabitants an unsettled feeling, even on the inside of the home. A home like this would be described as unbalanced because it has energy that is too Yang. Yang energy is bright, loud, and hot.

Having your home next to a cemetery is just the opposite. The overall energy becomes unbalanced as well. Homes next to a graveyard or cemetery are too Yin instead of Yang. Energy that is overly Yin is harder for us to feel, though. Although viewed like a quiet park by some, others are very unsettled by the quiet process of decomposing that is occurring. Having a Yin home may not bother one at first, but little by little, it can make the inhabitants of that home decline, by reducing their drive. The same can be true of living near a stagnant body of water.

What can be done if you find yourself living in a home you love that is adjacent to one of these situations? First step is to buffer your home from the energy. For example, the house I looked at this week has a ravine full of large trees in-between it and the cemetery. Adding Yang elements to the area near the cemetery would be helpful in balancing the energy. Examples of this would be outdoor lighting, bright flowers, flowering shrubs, a fire pit or a chiminea.  Fire and light are very Yang elements and would work to balance the energy. On the flip side, an example of reducing activity in the house that is too Yang, would be to add Yin elements. Again, adding trees and shrubs which can filter sound and light energy will help. In addition to you could add the ultimate Yin element; earth. A decorative brink or stone wall or even a mound of soil with landscaping on top would help to balance the energy and buffer the home. As always, think about what makes sense in your landscaping before adding remedies.

Making sure your home is sheltered and balanced from external elements will have the biggest effect on the internal energy. Be sure that any Feng Shui consultant you use analyzes not only the interior but also the exterior. This will help to ensure a supportive environment.

Pilates Can Help PMS Symptoms

If you suffer from PMS (pre-Menstrual syndrome) then please be aware that you can find relief through the regular practice of Pilates. There are also other ways that you can reduce the systems such as introducing lifestyle changes, eating a healthy diet and practicing regular exercise. In this article I'm going to share with you some of the ways that you can use Pilates to reduce symptoms.

PMS is estimated to affect between 75% and 80% of all menstruating women. Symptoms are varied but can include back pain, mood swings, headaches and breast tenderness. It is thought that fluctuating hormones cause the symptoms. Let's look at each symptom and how Pilates can help.

Back pain. Practicing some form of exercise for 30 to 40 minutes on 3 to 5 days a week can not only keep our bodies fit, but it can keep muscles stretched and strengthened. One of the benefits of Pilates is that the spinal is mobilized during the exercises and this can give relief to tight back muscles and the nerves that get affected by uterine contractions.

Discomfort in the stomach area and menstrual cramps can be eased by laying on your back with the knees lifted and bent. Breathe in and as you breath out, then lift the hips from the floor. Be sure to curl through your spell, breathe in again at the peak of the movement and then breath out as you come back down, with one vertebrae at a time.

The cat stretch is another move that will help to ease the back. Go on all fours then curl up the back into an arch, just like a cat. Inhale and exhale with each movement. Each breath will massage your internal organs and the back stretch will release tension around the spine.

End with the child pose. Sit with your hips on your heels and stretch your arms out forward as you go forward bending your back. Do this for as long as you like.

Menstrual cramps. Any exercise that works the abs can help with menstrual cramps. Exercising with deep breathing can produce endorphins that will not only help to ease the pain, but it will leave you with a sense of well-being.

The side hip extension can be of great benefit. To do this you need to lie on your right side. Put your right hand benefit your head with the weight of your head on your arm. Now position your legs straight and to the front of you at 30 degrees. Now lift your left leg, bring it forward and point your toe, then push it back for a count of two. Keep your torso and hips in the same position as you repeat this for up to ten times. Then work on the other side.

Pilates can do a lot for the PMS sufferer. Remember that keeping to a healthy diet can do a lot of good too. Avoid white flour, refined sugar and keep dairy product intake low. Fill your meals with fresh vegetables, salads and fresh fruit to keep your immune system and your hormones at their peak. Pilates is a powerful medicine and by practicing it regularly and consistently, you can alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS if not all.

Stop by my store to view Pilates DVDs that can help with PMS symptoms.

What Is The Difference Between Laminate Flooring and a Floating Floor?

What is a floating floor? I get this question often from customers because someone has told them they should get it. But, they don’t understand what a floating is.

Technically, a floating floor means that it is “floating” on top of the floor below it and is not directly secured to the floor (i.e. no nails and no glue). Instead it is held down or secured around the edges of the room – the base molding/shoe molding and transitions. This is often used if it is going over an existing floor or on top of cement – more about this later. Now, because the floor is floated and not secured to the floor there tends to be a bit more movement in the floor – you especially see and hear this in laminate floors and it’s more noticeable if it was poorly installed.

Given the definition, there are many types of floating floors as you’ll see below, so anytime someone tells me they want or think they need a floating floor, I need to dig a little deeper to make sure I’m understanding their wants and needs because there are many types of floating floors. (Plus sometimes someone tells me they need a floating floor and when I get to their house I discover that they don’t need a floating floor).

1. Laminate floors -Laminate floors are floating floors. Laminate is fake – it looks like hardwood, but it’s not – it’s a digital picture of hardwood and it clicks together. (There are also versions that look like tile) One of the advantage of laminate is that is less expensive than hardwood – both material-wise and labor-wise and it can often be placed on top of existing flooring without needing to rip it up, so this saves more money in labor.

2. Some engineered hardwoods are floating floors. Hardwoods can be installed 3 ways: 1) nail down (if there is plywood there), 2) glue down (engineered only) and 3) floated (engineered only). Some hardwoods are specially made to click into place just like a laminate does (they are easier for do-it-yourselfers and some can be installed over radiant heat). You click them into place and once they clicked, they are locked into place. The other option for non-clickable engineered hardwood is to glue the joints of the hardwood. Either way, both options require underlayment underneath the hardwood just as you would use for a laminate.

3. Cork is a floating floor. They come in interlocking pieces (usually 1 ft x 3ft) and click together just as a laminate does.

4. Some vinyls are floating floors (but most aren’t). Usually vinyl is glued down, but some of the more recent fiber floors that have some fiberglass and extra cushion for your feet can be glued or floated. If they are floated, they just lie on top of the floor and are secured along the base molding or cove base along the walls and cabinets.

So, after all of that, why would someone want a floating floor? Here are some of the reasons:

1. They want to save money by not ripping up the floor. Instead, they just want to go on top of it.

2. They have asbestos tile on the floor and it would be dangerous/illegal to remove that (or very costly to have an abatement company come in and professionally abate it).

3. They have a floor where glue will not adhere to it well (e.g. epoxy floor or floor w/ lots of ridges and not a flat surface.

4. They are putting hardwood on top of radiant heat (and hence need to avoid adhesives and nails).

Here are some reasons why customers mistakenly THINK they need a floating floor.

1. They don’t have plywood or it’s going over a cement subfloor. This is the most frequent area of confusion. While floating floors definitely will work over cement, you do not need to do a floating floor. You can, but you also have the option of doing an engineered hardwood and gluing it down. So, be sure to understand your objectives and your budget before ruling options out.

2. It’s below grade/in a basement. Floating floors can work in the basement, but other floors can also work so this is where it’s necessary to understand the objective of the room, moisture issues and budget.

3. There is a moisture issue. Well if there is a moisture issue, this should prob. be addressed first. Or, if you are not going to make any changes, then pick the appropriate floor that will work with moisture. Hardwood, laminate and cork are no no’s if you have a moisture issue. Many customers mistakenly believe that laminate is waterproof, and I have news for you…it’s not. It’s made w/ hardwood shavings, so if you are concerned about hardwood and moisture same goes for laminate. If there is a moisture issue, consider vinyl or tile.

4. They have a sloping or uneven floor. Hard surfaces don’t generally work well over uneven floors regardless of whether it’s hardwood, laminate, or tile. it’s best to level these out first, but the floor prep will cost you more money. If budget is a concern w/ the leveling, the consider a more flexible surface such as vinyl, carpet or rubber.

I know there are a lot of issues to consider and I suppose this is why it’s best to consult a professional. Everyone’s situation and budget is different. Frequently, I will narrow down to the 2 or 3 choices that could work for my customers and price them all out and then let them decide what works best with their needs and budget. I’ll always add in my 2 cents (or sometimes even a nickel).

4 Steps to Replacing Garage Door Springs

Picture this if you will – it's early in the AM hours you're out cold. Suddenly, a loud crash wakes you from your deep sleep. You spring up and out of bed to find the source of the noise? Has the zombie apocalypse begin? Are Charlie Sheen and Emilo Estevez really delinquent garbage men? Or is Michael Bay and his' splosions in town filming Transformers 3?

None of the above. Perhaps you were just in a deep sleep. After looking through the house with a quick crusted eye once over, you decide to head back to the warm and cozy bed.

It is not until you've exhausted your snooze button that morning, now in mad rush to get yourself and children ready for work and school. Racing against the clock, you manage to get yourself and rat pack together as you scurry in a frenzy through the garage and into your car. But now your garage door does not open. You feverishly push the remote button with your first reaction being that the batteries must be dead. That's when all the pieces finally come together. The noise the woke you earlier that morning before the nagging electric buzzer on the clock radio. The noise you thought was part of your comatose state was actually a reality when you notice that the noise you heard was the snapping of your garage door spring.

Of all the days (chances are this was a Monday because everything that sucks usually happens on a Monday … not to mention that Mondays just suck in general), your garage door spring breaks and you find yourself and your kids trapped in the garage . Now the panic starts to set in as you wonder how you'll ever be able to get them to school and yourself to work. Not mention that this dilemma has pretty much immobilized you, your means of transportation to get ANYWHERE is now trapped in. In that instant, you may feel like the world is crashing down on you, and just you alone. Before you beat yourself up and start to repeatedly question, "Why me?", You should first know that garage door springs are one of the most called on repairs in the industry.

Garage door springs support the entire weight of the door. The springs are wound or stretched under pressure, tightening and loosing as you open and close the door. It's the door springs and not just the door opener that supports and lifts 300 plus pounds of weight of the door .. Like anything else under pressure, ever your springs WILL break. So in the event that you find yourself int his little predicament, what do you do?

Here's my recommended "4- Step Process for Repairing Your Garage Door Springs:

Step 1 – Get Your Car Out of The Garage

You must be saying to yourself, "If I could get my car out of the garage, I would not have a problem." If you're saying this, you're naturally speaking from frustration. The best way to get through a situation like this is to keep yourself level-headed and look for quick solutions that will allow you to continue your normal way of living without being interrupted by this common event. Just because your garage door springs have busted, does not mean that you do not have use of the garage door. It is still on track with its rollers and can be manually operated.

Pull the red emergency release cord located above the door to enable you to manually lift the door. Remember that the garage door is a heavy object, and even heavier without the support of the spring which would normally neutralize the weight. If it's too heavy to lift yourself, have someone else help you. If you accidently drop the door while you are manually lifting, DO NOT try and stop it with your foot. Dropping a 300 pound door on your foot or any other body part is bound to ruin your day.

Step 2 – Identify Your Spring

Identify which type of spring you have: Extension or Torsion. Torsion and Extension springs exert a force equal to the weight of your garage door. This counter balances the 200 to 300 pound door, rendering it weight neutral so it can easily be opened.

A Torsion spring runs across a bar at the top of the inside of the door. The spring is injured and under immunity tension. It's the tension of torsion spring that lifts the weight of the garage door.

Extension springs are found on either side of the door. These springs act like big steel rubber bands, stretching as the door is lowered.

Step 3 – Buy New Springs

Now that you know what type of spring you have, you need to purchase new ones. You'll want to replace all of your garage door springs at the same time. Having undergone similar aging and weathering, one broken garage door spring is a sign that the second one is about to break soon. There's no logical reason to fix one spring at a time and just wait for the other one to break, unless you enjoy the headaches and hassles.

Also, having one old spring and one new spring will throw off the balance of your garage door. You'll also burn out the motor on your garage door opener and have even more problems. You can find and purchase new garage door springs at your local hardware store, such as Home Depot or Lowes. Prices will vary depending on the type of spring size, quality, coating and cycles.

Size – You'll need to measure your existing spring to know exactly what size replacement you'll need. (4) The Overall Length of the Spring.

Coating – Is it galvanized, powder coated or oil tempered? Which is going to resist rust the longest?

Step 4 – Installation

Installing your new garage door springs is not only a lengthy and complicated process, but potentially dangerous. You have got to remember that the garage door springs are wound up with more tension than Steve Carell as the 40-Year Old Virgin. The slightest mistake or mis-calibration could be a deadly one.

9 times out of 10, homeowners will find the task of repairing or replacing garage door springs too complicated, if not too dangerous. Most people do not have the time or inclining to replace or repair the broken spring themselves. If that sounds like you, your best option would be to contact a professional technician. It will also save you the time in measuring and shopping for the right springs.

Hopefully, this information will not only help you and your family have a safe and happy summer, but will also keep you prepared and well-educated in the instance that this occurs any time of the year!

Rib Cage Tattoos – Pain Factor and Tips For Interesting Side Tattoo Designs

Rib cage tattoos can describe the fact that psychological factors play a huge role in pain perception and it does not matter whether you are a man or a woman. Going through a rib tattoo can be an excruciating experience, but perhaps for those who had it already, the mind must have gotten over the matter. With this area being a thin, flat and bony area (24 in all) and the needle puncturing the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute, how much pain is actually to be expected to create a rib cage tattoo piece? And the question is, are you ready to subject yourself to this kind of tattooing journey?

The satisfaction of owning that tattoo art on a unique and sexy part of the body is perhaps one of the motivations. With the area being huge and perfectly symmetrical to a lot of tat imagery, the possibilities for an amazing body art is endless; its all about the creativity of the design and the skill of the tattoo artist. With the great room for artistry and vast array of possibilities for an excellent tat, rib cage tattoos have been very popular for both the male and female population.

Rib Tattoos for Guys
The men go for rib tattoos because this type of theme can best define their physique and toughness. One has to have at least an acceptable body form in order to proudly flaunt it and one really needs to be tolerant and brave enough to go through the pain. When it comes to choice of designs, koi fish is a favorite as well as dragon, tiger, panther and snake. Mythical creatures like fairies and angels are also preferred on the rib cage area as well as quotations and flowers.

Rib Tattoos for Girls
When we say girls, we refer to young ladies from age 18 up to their early 20s. Nowadays, they are getting more boring in their choice of tattoo design. Surprisingly, some of them even choose to have the side or rib cage as their first tattooed area. The most popular rib tattoos for girls are flowers like cherry blossoms, roses, lotus and lilies as well as the Hawaiian flower ones. Of course, the very classic and pretty butterfly is as well as stars in all colors and sizes are sure to be found on the rib cage area of ​​girls.

Rib Tattoos for Women
Women are the grown-up girls and they love to highlight the curvatures of their body more by dressing it with interesting rib tattoo designs. Quote or lettering and script tattoos can be normally seen on the sexy sides of women as well as animals like birds and fish. Angels and fairies in all colorful hues and details are also rampant as well as the popular design on girls like butterflies and stars. The flower designs seem to be a favorite adornment of women on rib cage area. The cherry blossom flower and cherry blossom tree is very well-liked as well as tropical Hawaiian flowers like orchids and hibiscus.

The rib cage tattoo is definitely the "in thing" nowdays; it definitely expresses a strong statement and gives one an edgy personality. This is definitely a tattoo trend that is sure to stay and we will be seeing more artistic surprises and interesting twists of designs on this body canvas in the near future.

How to Profit With Timber REITs

Have you ever been to Flagstaff, Arizona? If not, I recommend you visit some time. Flagstaff's a quaint little town located in the northern mountains of Arizona. The pine trees grow like crazy and in the summers a cool breeze always blows.

It's a nice escape from the Arizona desert. . . especially in the summer when it's over 110 degrees. Spend a short summer in Arizona and you'll know exactly what I mean.

Every summer as a kid we're head up to the woods.

My parents would drag me and my brothers, our dogs, and a week's worth of supplies up to the cabin. My grandsparents still have the place just outside Flagstaff. I've got great memories of summers spent exploring the woods, swimming and fishing in the lake, and just enjoying nature.

I loved it so much I'm starting to look at buying a place of my own. . .

Of course I sometimes jump in a little deep. Do not laugh. But I found a really interesting piece of property just the other day. A broker was advertising 13,000 acres of forest for sale in Pennsylvania (see I told you I think big). The pictures of the property are beautiful. Rolling hills and wide swaths of timber. The property even came with all the natural gas, mineral, and oil rights still intact.

The only problem was the asking price. . . a mere $ 32 million.

If you're quick on the math you know the property's selling for just over $ 2,400 per acre. Is that a good deal? I do not know but I was determined to find out.

The broker noted the property was generating $ 150,000 a year in income from campground rental fees. It sounds good till you realize that's a return of less than 1%. (Actually, it's less than half of 1% per year).

Not very exciting.

However, timber can be a great investment – and very exciting (if you know how to do it). It's like being a farmer, with a really big crop. Every year the trees grow larger and larger. Every season their value increases. Someone with good land and forestry management skills could probably create some substantial income.

The thought of buying this property is really appealing.

But I do not know the first thing about timber management. . . Oh, and I'm just a little short of the $ 32 million purchase price. I do however know of a cheaper and easier way to invest in timber.

What am I talking about?

Timber REITs of course. These companies are set up to buy and manage large amounts of timber. You can buy these REITs for a few dollars each on the stock market. No complex contracts or negotiations. Just use you normal brokerage account.

These Tree REITs give you ownership in some of the best timber property in the world. They come with top notch management. . . who know what they're doing. And best of all, they pay a great divide (some more than 4%).

So here are the ones I like.

The first REIT is Rayonier (RYN). They own more than 2.6 million acres. Rayonier also has two other businesses, one in traditional real estate development and the other in fiber production (so it is not a pure play Tree-REIT). Their market cap is just over $ 6.3 billion. With a little quick math, you can buy the company for roughly $ 1,392 per acre.

The second company is Plum Creek (PCL). They own 8 million acres of timber. Their market cap is a whopping $ 8.5 billion. But their land holdings are big. This company's trading at roughly $ 1,062 per acre. Not bad at all.

The last company I found was Potlatch (PCH). They only own 1.7 million acres of timber. Their market cap is $ 1.9 billion. That means every acre of property they own is worth $ 1,117.

I guess my dram of buying 13,000 acres of forest in Pennsylvania for $ 2,400 an acre is not such a good deal after all. These three investments however are cheaper (per acre), and they even pay nice dividends. If the idea of ​​owning a forest sounds appealing take a closer look at these REITs ..

Mezcal, Methanol, Moonshine and Myth

It's hard to separate fact from fiction from fear-mongering, when trying to understand the relationship between the Mexican agave-based spirit mezcal, and methishing poisoning resulting in blindness or death as the worst case scenarios. The purely physical science treats are in large part beyond my level of comprehension. At the other end of the spectrum one finds lay literature without references backing up claims and allegations regarding the likelihood of hangovers, headaches and the much more serious harmful effects; it's all cloaked in words and phrases like "as little as," "likely" and "probably." And it ignores aspartame.

Introduction

Is it appropriate to equate mezcal which has been produced essently safely and without incident by families in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca for generations, with American moonshine, with deaths due to carefully adulterating a spirit for purely profit motive, with concoctions created by naive youth , or with reports from third world countries in which ignorance of safe spirit production results in imprudent means of production or the use of equipment which contaminates? It is suggested that the alarmists draw their data from such sources.

For the past 25 years I've been drinking mezcal sold at small, family owned and operated artisanal distilleries (palenques as they're known in Oaxaca), without incident. And so have my Oaxacan friends and compadres, hundreds of thousands of villagers who have been patronizing their neighborhood producers (or palenqueros), and more recently visitors to Oaxaca angry to sample and take home what they can not find at their local bars or source from retail liquor outlets.

Otherwise all I have to rely on is my cursory review of online literature (including but not restricted to International Center for Alcohol Policies, UPI, Methanol Institute, National Institute of Health / US National Library of Medicine, World Health Organization; a list of links referenced is available upon written request), and my background in social anthropology. It was my Darwinian academic training which lead me to an internet search so that I might be able to prove what I considered to be a reasonable hypothesis, and put into perspective the tall tales I was being reading. Regarding the latter, I have read that mezcal not certified by a regulatory agency is fake, illegitimate, results in hangovers, and may even lead to blindness or death from methanol poisoning. Have imbibers of agave-based spirits been extremely lucky all these years, decades and perhaps even millennia?

The two lines of thought relating to the origins of distillation in Mexico are that indigenous groups learned to distill long before the arrival of the Spanish, or, that the Spanish learned distillation from the Moors and so bought that knowledge with them in the first half of the 16th century. The former theory gives more credence to my thought process, although 450 years of trial and error and perfecting safe distillation is nothing to sneeze at.

Just like the early Zapoteco natives of Oaxaca learned to dye with the cochineal insect, and in due course presumably through trial and error that the mineral alum served as the best available mordent or fixer, it is suggested that so too did the invaders and the indigenous peoples of Mexico learn how to distill safely. Following the same analogy, it is likely that long ago wool dyed red with cochineal dramatically faded from the sun or through washing, until the best available mordent was found; and so possibly dating back hundreds of years indeed native Mexicans (and Spanish) succumbed to unwise distillation practices. They have learned the benefit of using alum; and of taking off the methanol, and using predominately clay or copper or other "safe" metal compounds during and for distillation respectively.

Methanol Explained

Even the healthiest among us, and that includes those who do not imbibe alcohol, have methanol in their bodies. Humans get it in small amount from eating fruits and vegetables. It is not only absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, but also through the skin and by inhalation. Methanol is metabolized in the liver, converted first to formaldehyde, and then to formate (formic acid). As a building block for many biological molecules, formate is essential for our survival. On the other hand, high levels of formate buildup after excess methanol take can cause severe toxicity. An EPA assessment reported that methanol is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed.

The primary uses of methanol are for industrial and automotive purposes. It is found in antifreeze, canned heating sources, copy machine fluids, de-icing fluids, fuel additives, paint remover or thinner, shellac, varnish, windshield wiper fluid, and more. This is known as denatured alcohol. Government regulations in fact dictate the inclusion of high levels of methanol as a compound in such products, knowing its toxicity and wanting to ensure that the public buys its liquor (in which levels of methanol are controlled, as opposed to other alcohol), in order to maintain healthy tax revenue.

But Government dictates do not prevent the drinking of denatured alcohol or it being used to fortify other beverages. In fact the literature on non-commercial alcohol, which is sometimes referred to as unrecorded alcohol, cites these "surrogates" or non-beverage alcoholics, as one of three categories of drinks which potentially create health risks. They are drunk alone (ie the classic skid row cases), and used as "cocktails" when they are added for example to fruit juices. The other two are "counterfeit" products and illicit mass-produced drinks, and traditional drinks produced for home consumption or limited local trade (license or illicit). It is suggested that artisanal mezcal falls into the second part of this third category. So yes, there is the possibility of health problems arising as a consequence of consumers imbibing Mexican mezcal with higher than "safe" levels of methanol.

Spirits Health Risks in Mexico and Internally

In central Mexico, as born out in the literature, much more than anything else the singular health problem related to mezcal and other traditional alcohol consumption is alcoholism resulting in liver cirrhosis.

In an article centering upon global methanol poisoning outbreaks, the World Health Organization cited examples of adulterated, counterfeit and informally produced spirits in Cambodia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uganda. Mexico is conspicuously absent from the list.

In an article centering upon the quantification of selected volatile constituents in the Mexican spirits sotol, bacanora, tequila and mezcal, while methol was the most problematic compound and at times the samples taken were far above the levels recommended by international as well as national standards, two points are particularly noteworthy: methanol levels were not toxicological relevance; and, other legally acquired drinks such as German fruit spirits were found to have significantly higher methanol levels.

In an article entitled "Noncommercial Alcohol: Understanding the Informal Market," the International Center for Alcohol Policies reported that much of the perceived health risk stems from patterns of drinking such as chronic consumption and binging, use of low quality ingredients, adulteration, and lack of control during production or storage. In Russia and other republics in the former Soviet Union samagon is cheap and easy to make using household equipment. Kenya's poor fortifies its grain spirit, chang'aa, with surrogates. Brazil's national drink cachaca or pinga is sometimes fortified using industrial alcohol, some of which have been noted above.

And what about the United States' reowned moonshine, the unusually high alcohol content spirit typically made using corn mash as the main ingredient? Poorly produced moonshine is contaminated primarily from materials used in still construction, such as employing car radiators as condensers (glycol from the antifreeze or lead from the connections). In addition, methanol can be added to the spirits to increase strength and improve profits.

The 1994 reported poisoning from ingesting mezcal produced in the Mexican state of Morelos cite the spirit having been spiked with methanol. It is suggested that this was an aberration, though of course is noteworthy. Somewhat surprisingly, there was slightly little reported about the incidents, and they have not to my knowledge received attention in the brochure English literature centering upon methanol poisoning.

As suggested, methanol is not the only potentially harmful constituent. Lead as well as other toxic metals can poison not only as a consequence of employing unsuitable distillation equipment but also through the use of a contaminated water source. Volatile compounds such as acetaldehyde or higher alcohol can be produced in significant amounts due to fault in production technology or microbiological spoilage. There have been occurrences of certain fruit and sugarcane spirits containing the carcinogen urethane.

When is Methanol Safe?

Returning to methanol, one must now ask what is the safe maximum level of its ingestion. It was only in 1981 that the sugar substitute aspartame was approved for dry goods, and two years later for carbonated beverages. It is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol which makes up a whopping 10% of its composition. The absorption of methanol into the body is sped up when "free methanol" is ingested, and this form of the chemical is created from aspartame when it is heated to above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (ie when making sugar-free Jello). In 1993 the FDA approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items that would normally be heated to above that temperature.

The EPA recommends consumption of no more than 7.8 grams of methanol daily. While the amount of aspartame in a diet soda can vary, it has been reported that a single can produce 20 mg of methanol in the body. It is no wonder that aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting aspartame. The range of afflictions reported is alarming.

The current regulation for the maximum amount of methanol in mezcal is.3 of a gram per 100 ml. It is an arbitrary standard. Query how much mezcal one must ingest to reach the EPA maximum limit of methanol of 7.8 grams daily. The FDA states that as much as.5 of a gram per day of methanol is safe in an adult's diet. Should the Mexican standard be higher, or lower?

It is no wonder that the study referred earlier identifying volatile constituents in Mexican spirits, did not find toxicological relevance in the face of analyzing samples far above recommended levels. Furthermore, as distinct from household foodstuffs and drink containing aspartame, ethanol (ie mezcal) serves as an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans.

Conclusion

There is indeed confusion in the literature concerning recommended maximum levels of methanol and at what level health risks kick in, both dealing specifically with Mexican spirits, and where they are noted purely tactically or not at all. However there is also considerability:

1. There is a paucity of reliable research and resulting literature stemming in large part from the fact that statistics regarding non-commercial spirits are essentially non-existent for various reasons (ie unrecorded since no precise government or other reliable quantitative figures exist);
2. There is a lack of collaboration between local authorities, NGOs and international experts;
3. Methanol poisoning is reliably rare in circumstances where traditional, safe distillation processes which have been passed down through generations are practiced (ie through Mexico, current United States moonshine operations, etc .; subject to 1., above);
4. There are umpteen other reasons why there are health risks associated with both license and illicit spirit production;
5. There is a concern that strict government controls encourage the consumption of non-commercial or informally sold alcohol and increase harm;
6. High quality artisanal non-commercial traditional spirits are by and large safe, both away from and notwithstanding the issue of quantity of methanol;
7. They often determine an extremely important part of local culture, often with ceremonial significance (ie consumed in a plethora of rite of passage events), and provide a source of national pride.
Aside from my Darwinian suggestion that the days of dangerous mezcal production have long passed, and acknowledging the issue of still construction, it is noteworthy that almost all artisanal distilleries in Oaxaca consist of either copper alembics or similar production equipment made in equally standardized and carefully monitored workshops and factories; Egypt in clay pots. In both cases they are essentially free of harmful levels of chemical compounds.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that one should never drink artisanal mezcal, commercial or otherwise, while consuming government authorized products containing aspartame.

Great George! The Marvelous Heritage of Norwich City Hall

To the North of the Market, Norwich City Hall overlooks the center of Norwich with a clock tower that stands 185 feet high. A landmark of the City and visible from almost everywhere in the City center, the City Hall has a remarkable heritage that is easy to overlook whilst embodied in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life.

King George VI opened Norwich City Hall in 1938. The opening was attended by the largest gathering of residents in Norwich's 1500-year history. The Hall's construction was in response to increasing local governmental duties, previously taken out in the nearby Guildhall, but which had become dilapidated and unsuitable. Today it is still considered to be a definitive example of British inter-war architecture.

In the early 1930's, the original intention was to create a National monument. Architect Robert Atkinson was appointed to oversee the build and drew up preliminary plans for the new 'City Hall'. A competition was held to decide the architects that would implement the construction and of 143 entries, Charles H. James and Stephen Rowland-Pierce were chosen to assist in the project. Pierce went on to plan and supervise the restoration of the Assembly house in 1950, and through his career won numerous honors and awards for his architecture, both nationally and internationally.

Made from solid brick walls, with Clipsham stone from Rutland for the lowest storey and Keeton stone from Stamford for the majority of the exterior work, City Hall boasts a wealth of artistic and architectural details. It said that Adolf Hitler adapted the building's architectural style so much that he had it earmarked as a potential seat of regional government should Germany be successful in occupying England.

The walls of the ground floor entrance hall are inscribed with a list of Norwich mayors dating back to 1403, and along with the main landing on the first floor are lined with Italian marble. Many of the art deco-styled rooms are paneled with mahogany and other rich woods. Among various imaginative details, two bronze heraldic lions, designed by Alfred Hardiman, flank the outside of the building. The three doors at the main entrance are also bronze. These were designed by James Woodward and feature eighteen plaques that illustrate the history of Norwich, including the hanging of Robert Kett in 1549. The outer two doors display trades connected with the city, including chocolate, mustard and shoes. One plaque marks the building of City Hall itself.

Perhaps the most notable features of the City Hall are the sturdy 365-foot long balcony – the longest in England, and the imposing clock tower. The clock tower houses 'Great George', the largest clock bell in the UK, which also has the deepest tone in East Anglia.

Public areas in City Hall are open on weekdays between 9am and 5pm. To see more and to experience some of the very best views in Norwich, the tourist information center organizes tours and excursions up the clock tower one morning a month.

Find out more about Norwich .

Affordable and Sustainable DIY Earthbag Homes

Earthbag building (sometimes called sandbag building) is surely one of the lowest cost, most practical building methods. First used by the military for building durable, bullet and blast resistant structures, this building method has recently experienced a surge of interest among do-it-yourself builders. There are now an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 earthbag structures, including homes, offices, shops, schools, temples, clinics, orphanages and even ecovillages.

One of the strongest selling points is affordability. A simple earthbag dome, for example, using recycled grain bags and earth can be built for around $100. A larger, more comfortable home can be built for around $500-$1000. The EarthDome House at Terrasante Village in Tucson, Arizona is just one example.

Earthbags are ideal for owner-builders. The necessary skills for each step of construction can be learned in a few minutes. It boils down to simply filling bags with an appropriate fill material (typically subsoil or gravel) and tamping them solid. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Also, few tools are required – shovels, buckets, garden hose. The few additional tools needed (tamper, slider) can be made cheaply and easily.

Earthbag buildings are sustainable since they are made primarily of earth from or near the building site. Earthbag domes do not require wood, thereby reducing pressure on our forests. Expensive concrete foundations are not required if you use gravel-filled bags. In addition, these structures are safe, quiet, nontoxic, rodent proof, and fire, hurricane and flood resistant.

Energy efficiency is another strong plus in favor of building with bags. The massive earth walls stabilize interior temperatures in hot climates. In cold and hot climates, earthbags can be filled with an insulating material, such as lava rock, pumice, vermiculite or perlite. Some builders are experimenting with rice hulls for insulation, which are often free for the taking. In general, lightweight insulating materials (such as those just mentioned) require far less labor than those of tamped earth and provide comfort through the harshest winters or hottest summers.

Earthbags can also be used to create underground (root/storm cellars, etc.) or earth-bermed structures, privacy and retaining walls, planters, furniture (built-in benches, etc.), and many other uses. Earthbags are very adaptable and work just as well for domes as they do for structures with vertical walls. They also excel at creating free-form, curving structures.

As earthbag building grows by leaps and bounds, NGOs and other organizations are exploring their use for emergency shelters. Millions of victims of wars and natural disasters need low cost housing and temporary shelter. More durable than tarps and more comfortable than tents, earthbags work perfectly since even unskilled workers can build their own shelters – all without destroying local resources.

Xiaomi Redmi Pro: New Redmi Smartphone With Deca-Core Helio X20 Processor

Recently, the Xiaomi company has released a new product, Xiaomi Redmi Pro. It is the first affordable smartphone to come with dual cameras. Another highlight is that it is configured with the latest deca-core Helio X20 processor. At this article, I will do a review of this new product. This article involves three aspects, including appearance design, configuration and camera.

Appearance Design

The new product features a full metal unibody fuselage with a brushed metal finish, and up front is a 2.5D glass that covers the 5.5-inch full HD OLED display. Compared with the normal IPS LCD screen, the new OLED display displays 100% NTSC color gamut and 60000: 1 super high contrast ratio. That is to say, this outstanding display will provide a more viable and pleasant viewing experience.

In terms of the prompt change in appearance design, Redmi Pro moves the fingerprint sensor from the back side to the front side. And it is embedded into the physical home button below the display. This is to make way for the dual cameras setup.

Configuration

Exactly, it is powered by the latest MTK Helio X20 64 bit deca-core processor running at 2.1GHz. This powerful processor has the tri-cluster architecture to improve more 30% powerful efficiency, which allows highly intensive tasks. Comes, it comes with Mali T880 MP4 700MHz GPU. Midgard parallel processing architecture results 180% higher performance. Except for that, combined with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, it enables you to complete multitasking without a hitch.

In terms of the software configuration, it will be running the latest MIUI 8 OS, which is based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Other hardware includes a USB Type-C port, dual SIM cards, and a 4,050 mAh huge capacity battery.

Camera

Dual cameras setup is the highlight of Redmi Pro. This is the first attempt of the affordable smartphone to come with dual cameras. The setup includes a 13MP camera with Sony IMX 250 sensor that captures the still images and a 5MP Samsung camera that captures depth information. Outstanding DSLR-quality bokeh plus hardware-level DOF processing, these dual cameras brings pretty good shooting effect.

Summary

To sum up, Xiaomi Redmi Pro has two obvious features of deca-core Helio X20 processor configuration and dual cameras setup. Beside, 5.5-inch body size will bring you nice holding feeling. It is an affordable smartphone. If you like, you can have a try!

5 Keys to Building a Strong Determination

I saw him sitting on an evergreen branch outside my window as the Saturday morning sunrise lit the new-fallen snow as it would a carpet sprinkled with sparkling jewels.

He seemed so tiny and alone, a silhouette against the dazzling eastern sky. As the sun rose higher, I could see he was a small snowbird, obviously apart from his fellows who usually assemble and play in groups. Joyfully, they flit about upon the snow, find pieces of grain, and huddle together for warmth.

Watching him thought memories of a time when I felt very small and alone …

It was my first college year of clinical practice as a student therapist. I had to write and turn in reports
on each patient I worked with in the University clinic.

As children, we often shuttered when a teacher returned our reports with a few big red marks signaling our errors. However, Dr. Wilson, a man who I will always remember and admire, returned my clinical reports. He gave my first reports so many red marks that they looked like they had the measles!

One day, he said, "To write well, you need to read a lot and write a lot – and when you see these red marks, know that they are there because I believe in you. again. Just pay attention to them! "

I began to pay attention to each error, one by one, and one by one, the red marks few fewer. This experience fortified my determination and strengthened my courage in what I could accomplish.

How can we keep our determination strong down each pathway of achievement we travel? Here are some valuable ideas to think about …

1. Think with purpose; keep your heart and mind focused on the end goal you want to achieve.

2. Take three valuable actions suggested by Paul J. Meyer who wrote, "Construct your determination with sustained effort, controlled attention, and concentrated energy."

3. Remember the wisdom from an Indian proverb that reads, "Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work." Use obstacles as learning tools and stepping stones to reach what you envision.

4. Choose your ideal pathway based on your values, make a firm commitment to excellence, and take
responsibility for your choices.

5. Most of all, realize that the Creator wave you some very special gifts that no one can use exactly like you can use them. If you have not discovered those gifts, look closely at the activities that seem to light a fire in your soul. You will be very close to some amazing discoveries …

… My little friend waited in the evergreen branch for a while. Soon, several more snowbirds landed at the base of the tree. He gleefly joined them, and off they went to enjoy the morning.

That reminds me of a sixth key in building and maintaining determination: Have patience in all things.
Do what you can now, even if you must wait for your efforts to bring results. Then return your thoughts to your purpose, and you will attract many others of like "feather" to help guide you along the way!

IPC J-STD Certification

IPC J-STD Training

The Solder Training for the electronics industry worldwide has become the IPC J-STD training and certification program whereby processes and methods for printed circuit board and wire assembly standards are taught. This certification program is based and developed on the industry consensus document the Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies. This document describes how printed circuit board assemblies are put together and assembled.

IPC J-STD training program is not intended for those who have never hand soldered rather it’s focus is on making sure that hand soldering practices are understood for not only what they are in terms of skill but why they are done in a specific manner. This means that soldering techs, quality control staff and engineering and even design staff should be exposed to these standards. Process control knowledge is part of this course in order to solidify in the mindset of technicians that whole for example cleaning is an important part of the assembly process; it needs to be verified as well. In the case of cleaning for an example, the cleanliness testing requirements are to be verified through ionic cleanliness.

In the IPC JSTD training program, the certification program is limited to time scope and is bound to the recipient of the certification. The highest level is the master instructor who is employed at the various credentialed training centers. These master instructors have both teaching and industry experience. They must also be able to pass the certified instructor course material and usually instruct “under” an already-certified instructor. These master instructors then teach and certify the certified instructors (called CITs). After being instructed and tested in all of the course material these certified trainers can then instruct applications specialists (CIS) in the course “modules” which can be somewhat customized to the business needs.

In addition to this structure in the IPC JSTD training program the administration of the program, testing is done via an electronic portal. Testing is accomplished at each of the training centers via links and password firewalls through an internet-based training program. In addition to the testing being done electronically, The portal also gives employers visibility on who has been credentialed and who is up to date on the program requirements. The credential is transportable for the employee as the training certificate belongs to the employee.

Why would you want to have a JSTD-001 certification? First of all this program enhances

Employee skills and performance. Secondarily if your company uses and is contractually- obligated to the J-STD-001 standard you can use the IPC JSTD training program to address the standard’s training requirement.

The different aspects of the IPC JSTD training program are listed below:

MODULE 1 – Introduction/Overview of IPC J-STD-001 include EOS/ESD, soldering theory, fluxes, alloys, tools, training requirements and cleaning requirements. This portion of the program also goes into how the IPC JSTD training program is administered.

MODULE 2 – Wires and Terminals cover wire prep, soldering to terminals, terminal inspection and other elements of wire handling.

MODULE 3 – Through-Hole Technology goes through how leads are prepared, how components are mounted and inspection criteria for through-hole devices.

MODULE 4 – Surface Mount Technology teaches students about the inspection criteria for soldering joints on various device types, how to solder and tack into place the SMT device and numerous other points.

MODULE 5 – Inspection Methodology includes the theory of inspection and SPC, a definition of defects and how to disposition them.

Call BEST today to get an IPC JSTD training program schedule and sign up!

Kitchen Lighting Tips

Out of all the lighting projects in the home, one of the most overlooked rooms is the kitchen. Since modern kitchens are replacing traditional kitchens and becoming popular places to congregate over coffee or a snack, kitchen lighting is also developing along with today's modern needs.

Kitchens require specific lighting to aid in food preparation tasks and often consist of both task and ambient lighting. According to some professional lighting designers, the kitchen is the one of the most versatile and interesting projects to handle. It can also be one of the most challenging due to its kitchens, shelves, appliances, as well as numerous nooks and crannies.

About Task Lighting

The first approach to kitchen lighting is to consider the areas that are in need of task lighting. These are the areas that best lit with lights that are bright and will not have a shadow and include places such as tables, sinks, and counters. Task lights work best when the fixture is close to the work area gets the maximum amount of light possible. Small under cabinet lights are great choices if you desire lighting for your pantries and / or other closets. The options available for task lighting include fluorescent tubes, spot lights and directional lights.

About Ambient Lighting

Ambient light serves as general lighting that gives the kitchen overall lighting. Fluorescent tubes are a great choice for their efficiency as well as broad and even illumination. Incandescent down lights are a good choice for broad and even lighting while achieving more dramatic effect to your kitchen. Using conventional recessed lights, surface lights or light fixtures that are on a pendant or chain is a good ways to achieve direct lighting.

Other interesting lighting options include adding a layer of accent lighting for artwork and collectable and kitchen occupancy sensors. Kitchen occupancy sensors are a good choice for kitchens with multiple entrances. These sensors operate by turning on the kitchen lights automatically when someone enters the room from any direction. This is accomplished by the sensors "seeing" all the entrances from their location.

Cabinet Lighting

One of the ways to make your cabinet more attractive is the through the use of cabinet lights. Cabinet lights are mostly used to provide a sufficient amount of light for working or to display things.The types of cabinet lighting depends on the brightness, temperature, color and consumption of voltage. Cabinet lights with the effect of fluorescence can be of a great use for those who have a problem with heat from other forms of lighting. Some lights also have a brightness adjustment effect that can be very useful in each time of the day.
If you are planning on cabinet lighting for your kitchen, be sure to install the lighting in front or near the cabinet. This will provide the exact amount of light required while providing an added elegance to your cabinet at the same time.

The right kind of kitchen lighting will not only add to the function of a kitchen, it will also add warmth and character to the room as well.

Spiral Stair Installation to Increase Home Value

As of now you may be content with the look of your home or you may want to update and improve your home. You can add an all wooden spiral stair to accent the style of your home. It is easier than you may think to add one of these beautiful spiral staircases. You only need to order the spiral staircase kit that best fits your sense of style. You can choose from a country looking spiral stairway to a more contemporary style.

Spiral stairways are made of high quality wood and manufactured in a custom woodshop. Once the pieces of the staircase are manufactured, then the entire staircase is constructed to ensure that you will not have any problems at home when putting the kit together. The pieces are then taken apart, packed securely, and shipped directly to your home. When you receive the complete package, you are then ready to put your very own wooden spiral staircase back together in your home.

When putting together your spiral stair kit, you will know that your stairway meets all the required codes where you live.

If you have any questions or concerns, make sure you choose a company that has friendly and knowledgeable staff and that will be happy take your phone call.

You are also able to choose from an all wooden spiral staircase for the outdoors by adding a touch of class to your deck or patio with a new staircase kit. The wood is treated so it will withstand the outdoors. You will proudly walk down your gorgeous stairway. Maybe you have a cement or brick outdoor floor to entertain on. The stairs along with the cement or brick will make your home look first class. Your guests will constantly compliment you on your beautiful home.

Down the road when you choose to move, you may sell your home above others by previously using one of the spiral stair kits. If your home is in the same price range as other homes, your home may be chosen due to the elegant wooden spiral staircase you have. People like to feel special and the stairway can make them feel this way. Being able to sell your home quicker in a down market is very important. If you have to move due to a job transfer, downsizing, or other reason, you will be happy you installed a wooden spiral staircase kit in your home. You will not be stuck with a home that just sits and sits in down markets. You will not waste having to pay property tax money or have to pay two mortgages if you have already moved and your home is just sitting there empty. You sold your home and you are ready to make a new chapter in your life without any unnecessary added expenses.

By using a spiral stair kit and adding wooden spiral stairs, not only adds sophistication and elegance to your home, but it also adds peace of mind knowing that in the future you will most likely be able to sell your home much more easily, even when times are tough.