The De Young Museum – Artwork Highlights & Tips for Visiting

The MH de Young Memorial Museum, located in San Francisco, California houses one of the most significant collections of American artwork on the West Coast. The Museum is located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and was opened in 1895 by newspaper icon MH de Young, founder of what is known today as the San Francisco Chronicle. The original Museum collection was complied solely of MH de Young's personal art collection that represented over 300,000 articles that were collected during his 20 years of world travels.

The Museum's permanent collection today includes paintings, sketches, art sculpture, photographs, and decorative art objects. Of this, the De Young displays 25,000 works of art at any given time. The majority of its collection is made up of the American art collection with artwork dating back from the 7th century to present day. Highlights of this collection include Wayne Thiebaud's Three Machines , Frederic Edwin Church's Rainy Season in the Tropics , Grant Wood's Dinner for Threshers , George Bingham's Boatmen on the Missouri , and Chiura Obata's Lake Basin in the High Sierra .

The de Young's permanent collection also includes the Art of Africa, that represents artwork from over 80 cultural and ethnic groups in sub-Sahara Africa. The collection combines a large part of the permanent collection and an covers a quarter of the museum's gallery. Among this collection is a wooden Dogon sculpture used in religious ceremonies and a multi-headed bush spirit from Ijo.

The third major part of the Museum's permanent collection is the Art of Oceana. The highlight of the Oceana exhibit is the The Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art, a special exhibition of over 400 tribal artifacts such as tribal masks and ritualistic objects. The Jolika collection is the largest collection of New Guinea Art in North America and includes over 400 works of art alone.

  • Hours: Daily: 930a-515p; Closed Mondays.
  • Audio Guides are available at the Main Entrance. Cost: $ 7.
  • The de Young Memorial Museum offers free guided tours to all visitors. No reservations required. Check with the Museum for scheduling.
  • If you are visiting San Francisco for a few days, you may consider purchasing a CityPASS Card. It gives discounted admission to tourist attractions and Cable Car. Check their website for details.
  • The first Tuesday of every month is Free admission.
  • Admission tickets to the de Young includes same-day general admission to the Legion of Honor.

Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Foods: Which Is The Better Method for Long Term Survival Food Storage

The Process of Freeze-Drying
Freeze-drying is a complex process of preserving fresh or already-cooked food by removing up to 98% of the food's moisture, leaving the food texture, flavor, aroma and nutritional value.

The process requires that the fresh or cooked food be quickly frozen at temperatures as low as -50 ° C. The frozen food is then placed into a vacuum chamber. This vacuum chamber lowers the pressure, and raises the temperature to just about 0 ° C.

At this specific temperature and pressure, the ice crystals in the food evaporate into water vapor, bypassing water's liquid form, through a process called sublimation.

This process preserves the cell structure and nutritional content of the food, resulting in a product that, when rehydrated, very closely resembles the original food.
The process also prevails the water from being reabsorbed by the food and thus decreases its weight significantly.

Most food items such as fruits, vegetables and meats are well-suited to freeze-drying, and can be used for long-term food storage and preservation.

The Process of Dehydration
Dehydrating food is a food preservation method which has been used for centuries. Native Americans dehydrated their buffalo kills in their hunting camps to make it simpler to transport. Pemmican (a dehydrated concoction of buffalo meat mixed with fat and berries) was a staple of many of the nomadic North American tribes. This low-heat dehydration process involved either air drying (with nearby campfires), or sun drying strips of meat on drying racks.

Dehydrators are a modern method for slowly removing the moisture from food without actually cooking it. A drawback of dehydration is the limited amount of food which can be discharged at one time. The positive aspect of dehydration is that this method of processing for food storage can easily be done at home.

How Do These Two Methods Affect the Food?
Freeze-dried foods preserve much of the original color, shape, aroma and freshness of fruits, vegetables and meats. Freeze-dried food does not usually contain additives or preservatives, so it remains true to its original form. And the look, texture and flavor of the food remains after re-hydration.

Unlike low-heat dehydration, freeze-drying allows for the preservation of pre-cooked meals, including recipes such as soups, stews, stroganoff, and the like. An obvious benefit is that since the meal was prepared in its own prior to freeze-drying, all you need to do is simply add water, then heat for a few minutes in order to create sumptuous meals.

Rehydrating freeze-dried food takes just a few minutes, simply by adding boiling water. Some foods, like many fruits and vegetables, need no re-hydration before eating.

Dehydrated foods shrink during processing as the moisture is removed. So the food item itself is significantly smaller than its original size.

The re-hydration time of dehydrated foods takes a bit longer than freeze-dried, but it stills tastes like the original form of the food. Some dehydrated foods contain added ingredients to enhance flavors or assist in preservation. As with freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, dehydrated fruits and vegetables can be eaten without any re-hydration.

Both methods of food preservation increase the long-term storage life of food. Most commercially produced freeze-dried and dehydrated foods have a shelf life of 15 to 20 years, if properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry environment.

In addition to their being a reliable source of food in an emergency or long-term survival scenario, because of their light weight and ease of portability, these foods are also great for taking on camping, hiking and hunting trips. They are also a wise choice to keep in an emergency road-side kit for the car, or in your bug out bag.

If you choose to keep these foods in your car as part of an emergency kit, please remember to rotate them periodically. Temperatures in a car can reach extremes, both hot and cold. High heat as well as continuous temperature fluctuations contribute to quicker degradation of both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.

Which Type is Better for Consumption?
Everyone is different, and each person has their own personal tastes and preferences. With that in mind, there are a few things to consider before making a decision between frozen-dried or dehydrated food.

Home-grown fruits and vegetables are better preserved via dehydration, since the average person can not afford the expensive machinery used in freeze-drying.

Foods used in everyday cooking and meal preparation should probably be free-dried. This permits the food to be quickly re-hydrated as it is cooked prior to serving. If accessibility and portability are important, than either type of preserved food should meet those particular needs. Once again, it's a matter of personal preferences.

In a nutshell, both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are excellent choices for long-term food storage, as well as for daily use or for hiking, camping, etc. They both provide light-weight, portable, convenient foods. The primary difference is that freeze-dried foods tend to better preserve the shape, texture and flavors of the original food.

Most people will find that a combination will work best for their needs. Single-item foods such as vegetables, potatoes, and other staples and grains are well-suited to low-heat dehydration. Freeze-drying is more appropriate for meats and fruits (which texture can be preserved), and for pre-cooked meals with a variety of ingredients such as soups, stews and sauces.

As you incorporated freeze-dried and dehydrated foods into your lifestyle, whether for camping and recreation, convenience, or as a survival strategy, you will learn which items you prefer to be dehydrated, and which you prefer to be freeze-dried. In either case, be assured that your choices will offer the peace of mind of knowing that you have a reliable source of food in basically any situation.

Comparison of Eastern and Western Acupuncture

Since Americans have a hard time understanding or accepting the Qi or vital energy that Chinese believe flows through a person’s system, acupuncture had to evolve into Western standards thus leading to the creation of modern or medical acupuncture. This is advantageous when trying to combine or use the traditional treatment with modern medicine as medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and osteopaths use the same new terminologies, basis of diagnosis and treatments and systems.

East-West Comparison

1. Eastern acupuncture uses points and meridians in the body believed to channel Qi or vital energy through systems and organs. Western acupuncture ignores or reinterprets these acupuncture points since there is no scientific or physical basis that can verify the relative connection to diseases or the existence of such.

2. Eastern acupuncture is based on philosophical principles while western acupuncture works using modern biomedical understanding of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. Concepts of disease in the West are taken from medical data and pathology studies. Concepts of disease in the East still use medical theories from ancient times.

3. The terminologies may also differ since Eastern acupuncture describes using a Taoist metaphor and common language while Western acupuncture describes using modern biomedicine.

4. Traditional acupuncturists see modern acupuncture as a degraded version of the original since it is usually only used in modern therapy in conjunction with mainstream medicine. Sessions using traditional approaches can use more needles and last for 20 to 60 minutes while modern acupuncture may use fewer ones lasting only for 2 to 10 minutes. Traditional practitioners refer to the new methods as “dry needling”.

5. Knowing where to insert the needles is a matter of knowing where the energy flows through the body for Eastern acupuncturists. Western practitioners however, use two principles namely the gate theory of pain and the existence of natural opiates in the body.

The History of Plantronics

Plantronics has come a long way and has made a name for themselves by manufacturing and providing with high quality communication accessories. After having done the designing, developing and selling them, Plantronics has grown to be the market leader when it comes to communication accessories. Established in 1960, they developed two lightweight headsets for airlines, now they have a plethora of wireless and wired headsets which can be used with mobile phones, computers and any else that has a 3.5mm jack. That said, with countless innovative products in the market, they can be considered as the best communication device providers.

The MS50 were the first headsets introduced in the market by them. That was done in partnership with the NASA. This ancestral devices is composed to two hearing air style transducers connected by a headband. Now they were very quickly adopted because they served as a great replacement to bulky headsets worn by pilots before that. Possessing robust airline technology and being made in a portable body, they quickly became the favorite of the masses. Soon after they were introduced huge companies such as FAA and Western Electric began to incorporate these headsets in their daily operations.

Later in 1980s Plantronics delved deep into the wireless domain and began dishing out wireless headsets. Initially employing infrared technology, Plantronics did not need to use wires to connect to devices anymore. Being one of the first wireless ones, they became much more popular than the wired counterparts. Some of the first wireless headsets were designed to emit an infrared beam which linked it to the phone.

These Plantronics wireless headsets could have been clipped onto the shirt and enhance the user experience.

2003 welcomed further advancement in these wireless headset, in the form of the headset codenamed CS50 made for use with office phones. And with the advent of Bluetooth technology, wireless headsets were made to use it from then onwards. That said, they also develop wireless headsets for use with game consoles or with Personal Computers. Due to that they gained much success, steadily climbing up ladder of fame and fortune.

This California based company kept growing and soon they expanded beyond their city, their country and now they cater to the whole world. Aiming to deliver handsets, headsets, telephones, audio contouring toolsets and speakers, they greeted a plethora of companies on the way. When the partnership with Avaya came to be, contact center solutions and unified communications were realized. That said, it was aimed at bringing a lot of convenience and better experience to organizations at a low cost.

Whatever to be used in a call center, while gaming or in aircraft, the Plantronics headsets are typically preferred over the others. So if you are thinking of getting one for yourself, consider what Plantronics really has to offer. Yes headsets do provide a lot of personal entertainment, nothing can compare to the credibility and the functionality that Plantronics lends. Providing you with un-parallel sound output along with superior noise cancellation, these headsets provide with the best possible user experience.

Vertical Jump Test

An athlete's vertical jump is a stone in his sports career; in sports like basketball and volleyball, the player with the highest jump is the most scared score winner and defender of all. For Generations, people have been trying to figure out ways of enhancing the explosive power of a person's vertical jump. Aside from the great bout on unlocking the limits, it has also been a problem measuring the accurate progress of a person's vertical jump during his training.

Wall Nut
The most basic way of measuring the height of a person's vertical leap is by standing within a wall while raising one of your hands as high as possible, feet lying flat on the ground; afterwards, put a line or marker on the tip of your finger . This is known as the "standing reach". Put oil or powder at the tip of your fingers then jump several times and touch the wall so marks would be left behind to indicate your highest reach upon jumping. Measure the distance between your standing reach and the highest point you have made. This is the height of your vertical jump.

Kinematics
Some people use a more scientific and accurate way of measuring the vertical jump, by using a pressure pad, laser beams and kinematic equations. This is measured by taking note of the time an athlete can complete a jump before he falls back to the ground. The equation for this is h = g * t2 / 8, where (h) is for height, (g) is for the pull of gravity which is equal to 9.81 m / s2 or 32.2 ft / s2 and (t2 / 8) for the time an athlete can complete the jump from the ground and back to the ground in milliseconds. This equation if usually calculated by a software installed to a computer where the pressure pad and laser beams are connected.

Infrared Laser
This is also an accurate way of measuring the vertical leap of a player, where it is required to stand and jump in between two infrared laser planes facing each other. How does it work? Well, not as complicated as computing kinematic equations; in fact, it just works like jumping next a wall and subtracting your standing reach off your maximum jump reach. The only difference is that first, it is using infrared laser beams and second, it is a way lot more expensive than the regular jump and reach beside the wall.

Whatever method it is you are using, as long as you are sure that your vertical is gaining more and more power and you can feel that there really is progress in what you are doing, you are certainly getting somewhere. Question is, are you? If you are not pretty sure that there is ascension in your vertical jump training, I would advise you to seek help from vertical jump professionals.

How Long Does Teak Furniture Last?

If you have done any research on teak you have probably come across a common word, "strong." Not only is teak strong but it has many properties that naturally repel aging and natural damage and weathering of other furniture pieces made of different woods. Lets go over some of the unique properties teak wood has that makes it so superior to other furniture woods.

Natural Oils. Teak produces natural oils and special resins that repel pests such as termites and other wood damaging insects. This in turn keeps the wood solid and improves it's strength quality and extends the life of the wood. Because of these resins it is unnecessary to put a protective chemical finish on the wood like you do with most other wood furniture.

Teak is easy to alter. Many people like to alter the color of woods. Teak wood is excellent to stain as it is easy to contract staining color and keep the color for a very long time without fading. Although teak wood has a very beautiful golden look, you can rest assured that if you want your teak a little more red or darker brown that you can achieve this project with ease.

Teak is ageless. Did you know that teak furniture can last up to and over 100 years? Teak holds up very well to natural weathering and its resins and oils also prevents rotting. The really nice thing about teak is that it does not split or warp like other woods do. Because of this one property, teak was the main building material of ships in the past and is continued being used in modern boats and yachts.

Teak is easy to clean. Patio furniture always looks to be the most aborted furniture pieces of a home. When you have yard parties people spill drinks and food all over your patio furniture. Unlike cloth pieces that never let go of stains, teak is easy to clean. When a teak piece of furniture needs cleaning one can clean it with these everyday house supplies; hose, mild soap, and a gentle scrub brush. Just combine the water and soap and use the brush to lightly scrub off the mess. Simple use the garden hose and spray off the chair and your all done!

To conclude a teak chair can survive years upon years of frequent use without any special care. This alone makes teak wood furniture one of the most thoughtful after types of furniture in the world!

Be All That You Can Be: The Company Persona and Language Alignment

It’s not just CEOs and corporate spokespeople who need effective language to be the message. The most successful advertising taglines are not seen as slogans for a product. They are the product. From M&M’s “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” to “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin” bathroom tissue, from the “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” of Alka-Seltzer to “Fly the friendly skies of United,” there is no light space between the product and its marketing. Words that work reflect “not only the soul of the brand, but the company itself and its reason for being in business,” according to Publicis worldwide executive creative director David Droga.

In the same vein, advertising experts identify a common quality among the most popular and long-lasting corporate icons: Rather than selling for their companies, these characters personify them. Ronald McDonald, the Marlboro Man, Betty Crocker, the Energizer Bunny — they aren’t shills trying to talk us into buying a Big Mac, a pack of smokes, a box of cake mix, a package of batteries; they don’t even personalize the product. Just like the most celebrated slogans, they are the product.

Walk through any bookstore and you’ll find dozens of books about the marketing and branding efforts of corporate America. The process of corporate communication has been thinly sliced and diced over and over, but what you won’t find is a book about the one truly essential characteristic in our twenty-first-century world: the company persona and how words that work are used to create and sustain it.

The company persona is the sum of the corporate leadership, the corporate ethos, the products and services offered, interaction with the customer, and, most importantly, the language that ties it all together. A majority of large companies do not have a company persona, but those that do benefit significantly. Ben & Jerry’s attracts customers in part because of the funky names they gave to the conventional (and unconventional) flavors they offer, but the positive relationship between corporate management and their employees also plays a role, even after Ben and Jerry sold the company. McDonald’s in the 1970s and Starbucks over the past decade became an integral part of the American culture as much for the lifestyle they reflected as the food and beverages they offered, but the in-store lexicon helped by setting them apart from their competition. (Did any customers ever call the person who served them a cup of coffee a “barista” before Starbucks made the term popular?) Language is never the sole determinant in creating a company persona, but you’ll find words that work associated with all companies that have one.

And when the message, messenger, and recipient are all on the same page, I call this rare phenomenon “language alignment,” and it happens far less frequently than you might expect. In fact, virtually all of the companies that have hired my firm for communication guidance have found themselves linguistically unaligned.

This manifests itself in two ways. First, in service-oriented businesses, the sales force is too often selling with a different language than the marketing people are using. There’s nothing wrong with individualizing the sales approach to each customer, but when you have your sales force promoting a message that has no similarity with the advertising campaign, it undermines both efforts. The language in the ads and promotions must match the language on the street, in the shop, and on the floor. For example, Boost Mobile, which caters to an inner city youth demographic, uses the slogan “Where you at?” Not grammatically (or politically) correct — but it’s the language of their consumer.

And second, corporations with multiple products in the same space too often allow the language of those products to blur and bleed into each other. Procter & Gamble may sell a hundred different items, but even though each one fills a different need, a different space, and/or a different category, it is perfectly fine for them to share similar language. You can use some of the same verbiage to sell soap as you would to sell towels, because no consumer will confuse the products and what they do.

Not so for a company that is in a single line of work, say selling cars or selling beer, where companies use the exact same adjectives to describe very different products. In this instance, achieving linguistic alignment requires a much more disciplined linguistic segmentation. It is almost always a more effective sales strategy to divvy up the appropriate adjectives and create a unique lexicon for each individual brand.

An example of a major corporation that has confronted both of these challenges and still managed to achieve linguistic alignment, even as they are laying off thousands of workers, is the Ford Motor Company — which manages a surprisingly diverse group of brands ranging from Mazda to Aston Martin. The Ford corporate leadership recognized that it was impossible to separate the Ford name, corporate history, heritage, and range of vehicles — so why bother. They came as a package. Sure, Ford maintains individual brand identity, through national and local ad campaigns and by creating and maintaining a separate image and language for each brand. For example, “uniquely sensual styling” certainly applies when one is talking about a Jaguar S Type, but would probably not be pertinent for a Ford F 250 pickup truck. But the fact that the CEO carries the Ford name communicates continuity to the company’s customers, and Bill Ford sitting in front of an assembly line talking about leadership and innovation in all of Ford’s vehicles effectively puts all the individual brands into alignment.

The words he uses — “innovation,” “driven,” “re-committed,” “dramatically,” “dedicated” — represent the simplicity and brevity of effective communications, and they are wrapped around the CEO who is the fourth-generation Ford to lead the company — hence credibility. The cars are the message, Bill Ford is the messenger, the language is dead-on, and Ford is weathering the American automotive crisis far better than its larger rival General Motors. Again, the language of Ford isn’t the only driver of corporate image and sales — but it certainly is a factor.

In fact, the brand-building campaign was so successful that GM jumped on board. But Ford quickly took it a step further. In early 2006, they began to leverage their ownership of Volvo (I wonder how many readers did not know that Ford bought Volvo in 1999 and purchased Jaguar a decade earlier) to communicate a corporate-wide commitment to automotive safety, across all of its individual brands and vehicles. Volvo is one of the most respected cars on the road today, and aligning all of Ford behind an industry leader is a very smart strategy indeed.

So what about the competition?

General Motors, once the automotive powerhouse of the world, has an equally diverse product line and arguably a richer history of technology and innovation, but their public message of cutbacks, buy-backs, and layoffs was designed to appeal to Wall Street, not Main Street, and it crushed new car sales. At the time of this writing, GM is suffering through record losses, record job layoffs, and a record number of bad stories about its failing marketing efforts.

It didn’t have to be this way.

The actual attributes of many of the GM product lines are more appealing than the competition, but the product image itself is not. To own a GM car is to tell the world that you’re so 1970s, and since what you drive is considered an extension and expression of yourself to others, people end up buying cars they actually like less because they feel the cars will say something more about them.

Think about it. Here’s a company that was the first to develop a catalytic converter, the first to develop an advanced anti-tipping stabilization technology, the first to develop engines that could use all sorts of blended gasolines, and most importantly in today’s market, the creator of OnStar — an incredible new-age computerized safety and tracking device. Yet most American consumers have no idea that any of these valuable innovations came from General Motors, simply because GM decided not to tell them. So instead of using its latest and greatest emerging technology to align itself with its customers, GM finds itself in a deteriorating dialogue with shareholders. No alignment = no sales.

Another problem with GM: No one knew that the various brands under the GM moniker were in fact . . . GM. Even such well-known brands as Corvette and Cadillac had become disconnected from the parent company. Worse yet, all the various brands (with the exception of Hummer, which couldn’t get lost in a crowd even if the brand manager wanted it to) were using similar language, similar visuals, and a similar message — blurring the distinction between brands and turning GM vehicles into nothing more than generic American cars. Repeated marketing failures were just part of GM’s recurring problems, but as that issue was completely within their control, it should have been the easiest to address.

When products, services, and language are aligned, they gain another essential attribute: authenticity. In my own market research for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, I have found that the best way to communicate authenticity is to trigger personalization: Do audience members see themselves in the slogan . . . and therefore in the product? Unfortunately, achieving personalization is by no means easy.

To illustrate how companies and brands in a competitive space create compelling personas for themselves while addressing the needs of different consumer groups, let’s take a look at cereals. Anyone can go out and buy a box of cereal. But different cereals offer different experiences. Watch and listen carefully to their marketing approach and the words they use.

Most cereals geared toward children sell energy, excitement, adventure, and the potential for fun — even more than the actual taste of the sugar-coated rice or wheat puffs in the cardboard box. On the other hand, cereal aimed at grown-ups is sold based on its utility to the maintenance and enhancement of health — with taste once again secondary.

Children’s cereals are pitched by nonthreatening cartoon characters — tigers, parrots, chocolate-loving vampires, Cap’ns, and a tiny trio in stocking caps — never an adult or authority figure. Adult cereals come at you head-on with a not-so-subtle Food Police message, wrapped in saccharine-sweet smiles, exclaiming that this cereal is a favorite of healthy and cholesterol-conscious adults who don’t want to get colon cancer! Ugghhh. Kids buy Frosted Flakes because “They’re grrrreat!” Adults buy Special K because we want to be as attractive and vigorous as the actors who promote it. When it comes to cereal, about the only thing parents and kids have in common is that the taste matters only slightly more than the image, experience, and product association — and if the communication appears authentic, they’ll buy.

And cereal certainly sells. From Cheerios to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, more than $6 billion worth of cold cereal was sold in the United States alone in 2005. If you were to look at the five top-selling brands, you would see a diverse list targeted to a diverse set of customers. The language used for each of these five brands is noticeably different, but in all cases totally essential.

In looking at the first and third best-selling brands of cereal, one might initially think that only a slight variation in ingredients mark their distinctions. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are both based around the same whole-grain O shaped cereal, but are in fact two very different products, beyond the addition of honey and a nut-like crunch.

The language behind Cheerios is remarkably simple and all-encompassing — “The one and only Cheerios.” Could be for kids . . . could be for young adults . . . could be for parents. Actually, Cheerios wants to sell to all of them. As its Web site states, Cheerios is the right cereal for “toddlers to adults and everyone in between.” The subtle heart-shaped bowl on each box suggests to the older consumer that the “whole-grain” cereal is a healthy start to a healthy day. But the Web site also has a section devoted entirely to younger adults, complete with testimonials and “tips from new parents” talking about how Cheerios has helped them to raise happy, healthy children. The language behind Cheerios works because it transcends the traditional societal boundaries of age and adds a sense of authenticity to the product.

While you could probably live a happy and healthy existence with Cheerios as your sole cereal choice, there is a substantial segment of the cereal market that demands more. For the cereal-consuming public roughly between the ages of four and fourteen, a different taste and linguistic approach is required. Buzz the Bee, the kid-friendly mascot of Honey Nut Cheerios, pitches the “irresistible taste of golden honey,” selling the sweetness of the product to a demographic that craves sweet foods. While the parent knows that his or her child wants the cereal because of its sweet taste (as conveyed through the packaging), Honey Nut Cheerios must still pass the parent test. By putting such statements as “whole-grain” and “13 essential vitamins and minerals” on the box, the product gains authenticity, credibility, and the approval of the parent.

Two different messages on one common box effectively markets the same product to both children and parents alike, helping to make Honey Nut Cheerios the number three top-selling cereal in 2004. So with the addition of honey and nuts, General Mills, the producer of the Cheerios line, has filled the gap between toddlers and young adults, and completed the Cheerios cradle-to-grave lifetime hold on the consumer.

To take another example, if you want people to think you’re hip and healthy, you make sure they see you drinking bottled water — and the fancier the better. No one walking around with a diet Dr Pepper in hand is looking to impress anybody. These days, there’s almost a feeling that soft drinks are exclusively for kids and the uneducated masses. There’s a cache to the consumption of water, and expensive and exclusive brands are all the rage. Now, there may be a few people who have such extremely refined, educated taste buds that they can taste the difference between Dasani and Aquafina (I certainly can’t), but the connoisseurs of modish waters are more likely than not posers (or, to continue the snobbery theme, poseurs). You won’t see many people walking around Cincinnati or Syracuse clutching fancy bottled water. Hollywood, South Beach, and the Upper East Side of New York City are, as usual, another story.

There’s one final aspect of being the message that impacts what we hear and how we hear it. How our language is delivered can be as important as the words themselves, and no one understands this principle better than Hollywood.

At a small table tucked away in the corner of a boutique Italian restaurant on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, I had the opportunity to dine with legendary actors Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, and Dom DeLuise. The entire dinner was a litany of stories of actors, writers, and the most memorable movie lines ever delivered. (Says Klugman, an Emmy Award winner, “A great line isn’t spoken, it is delivered.”) Best known for his roles in The Odd Couple and Quincy, Klugman told a story about how Spencer Tracy was practicing his lines for a movie late in his career in the presence of the film’s screenwriter. Apparently not pleased with the reading, the writer said to Tracy, “Would you please pay more attention to how you are reading that line? It took me six months to write it,” to which Tracy shot back, “It took me thirty years to learn how to say correctly the line that took you only six months to write.”

Spencer Tracy knew how to be the message — and his shelf of Academy Awards proved it.

Excerpted from WORDS THAT WORK by Dr. Frank Luntz. Copyright 2007 Dr. Frank Luntz. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.

Scanning DVD Covers – Hints and Tips

Ever lost a DVD, had your DVD collection stolen or damaged in an unforeseen accident? Strange things happen, which is why more people are backing up their precious DVD collection, which can potentially be worth thousands of dollars. While people are creating back-ups of their movies, many forget to create back-ups of the DVD covers inside the cases. If you want your DVD collection to look brilliant on display then they must have covers. This is why it is good practice to scan your DVD covers collection, especially those rare covers that may be difficult to find on the Internet at a later stage.

Scanning a DVD cover is simple however requires that you have some basic Photoshop knowledge/ skills. We need to make some basic image edits to ensure our covers are just right if we ever need to print them to serve as replacements. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your scans.

– The first tip doesn’t require any computer. Instead I recommend that you remove your DVD cover from its case and place it under a stack of heavy books. It is recommended that you leave it there for approximately a week, however even one day makes a difference. This step helps flatten the spine of your cover and will make the editing process much easier.

– When scanning, ensure you set your dpi(dots per inch) to 600. This will give you a large image with a great amount of picture information and detail. This setting will help to better edit the cover.

– It is recommended that you switch off any filters, such as sharpness, brightness, contrast etc. You will achieve better results editing these settings once the cover is scanned in Photoshop.

– Select the de-screen option. This setting helps remove the moiré pattern(crosshatched effect) which haunts so many scanned images.

– Once the scan is complete you must immediately open the levels tool (image > adjustments > levels) to repair the DVD cover’s black, mid and white tones. For a more detailed explanation on how to use the levels tool, check the link below.

– Fix any dust or rip spots on your cover by using the clone tool. If you are working on a solid color you can use the brush tool, which can be much quicker and highly effective at times. Remember to play around with the opacity settings of these tools to ensure your repairs look authentic.

– Use the gaussian blur tool to remove the remaining effects of moiré patterns (not always necessary.

– Reduce your DVD Cover to 300 DPI prior to saving. We do not require 600 DPI for print and also saves on storage.

These are the basic steps to creating high quality back-ups. Please remember that some DVD covers may require more work than others depending on the age, quality and color of the DVD Cover.

Insulation and Air Conditioning Unit Size

An HVAC contractor can determine what size of air conditioning unit to install in your house, but will that size unit be the best unit for your home? There are many variables to consider when having a new unit installed in your home. These variables are brought together by a load calculation performed either by your contractor or a mechanical engineer. How do they do it though? What can make an engineer designate a larger home with a unit smaller than what is in another home with fewer square feet in some instances?

Let's use the three little pigs as an example (with some artistic license). The first little pig lives in a metal house that sits on a pier four inches off the ground. The second little pig lives in a wooden home that sits on a concrete slab which has been beloved into the ground. Finally, the third little pig lives in a house built with 10 inch thick mason blocks, also sitting on a slab. None of the homes are insulated. All of these houses have the same internal dimensions, but they will have different load calculations, which means, they may each have a different sized air conditioning unit.

A load calculation is a mathematical function put together to determine the amount of heat that needs to be displaced in order to cool or heat a home. The main reason for the differences in the load calculations is what is called the R-value of each home. R-Value is a measure of thermal resistance (the 'R' comes from the word, resistance) of a substance or an object. Although you may not be able to determine the R-value of your home, you can easily understand the concept by taking a look at each of the little pigs' houses.

The metal building the first little pig lives in is off the ground. This allows outside air to flow under the home as well as over and around it. Air flowing under a home decreases the R-Value of the home since it's another route for heat to enter or escape the home. Also, because this house is made of metal, it is a better conductor of heat than other materials, so that also decrees the R-value of the home. The lower the R-value of the home, the larger the unit needed to heat / cool it. This home has an extremely low R-value.

The wooden building the second little pig lives in is on a slab which was scattered in the ground. The slab keeps the floor of the home a relatively even temperature through the year, summer or winter. The wooden walls are built of one inch thick clapboard siding and less less heat conduction as well. Neverheless, without added insulation, this home conducts heat in or out fairly easily as well. The R-value in this home is higher than that of the metal home. It's possible that this home can use a smaller central air unit than the metal home.

Finally, we come to the brick home constructed on a concrete slab and built of 10 inch mason blocks the third little pig lives in. Although this home has a wooden roof, it is constructed of a thick wood with a higher R-value than that of the wooden house, and is shingled with a better quality shingle which is designed to reflect heat rather than absorb it. Since this house is also on a concrete slab, there is no outside airflow underneath it. The 10 inch walls work very well at insulating against heat conduction. These materials all work toward this home having a very high R-value. This high R-value causes the home to hold whatever temperature air inside for a longer period of time. This means a smaller air conditioning unit can be used in this home than in the previous two.

How a home is insulated plays a key role in how much heat must be displaced to keep the home cool or warm. To cause a central air system to work as efficiently as possible, better insulated walls, floors, ceilings, doors and windows are key. If these things are used, then a home is well on its way to becoming a 'green' home. The air conditioner will run less often, and it will run for just the right amount of time in order to cool the dwelling adequately and use the least amount of energy possible.

If you really want to know the answers for your house, call your local HVAC expert.

Piracy on the Sea of ​​Cortez

An early morning dream-voice told me Chamula was back. As hard as I had tried not to, I had fallen in love with the captain of a co-op shrimping trawler, Joven, out of Guaymas, Mexico. We met six months earlier in a little palapa restaurant at the mouth of the Mulege River. For months now, I had been having the most amazing experiences. The morning of the dream my sister and I talked over coffee, and I told her how much I had wanted to go out with him on this latest expedition. However, Chamula could not promise when he would return and he thought it best I do go. Just then Alisabeth's boyfriend, Marcos, came through the door, his fiercely Yaki Indian face looking even more so today. Gravely, he reported that the Joven had been robbed; the crew held at gun point by the Mexican mafia!

The story unfolded. Shrimp boats worked nights and rested during the day, the crew catching well deserved sleep. They had anchored off the coast of Sinaloa, Mexico, and it was then they were boarded by six men with guns. Forced to take off all their clothes, they were thrown into the hold. The 600 kilos of shrimp, their personal belongings, and money were taken.

We hurried out to the ship, and I will never forget the sight of them: bare-chested, ratty sweatpants, and hatless, squinting against the sun. At that moment it would have been hard to tell the difference between the banditos and the crew. Everyone looked really rough. We were told that this was a common occurrence, because of the wealth the shrimp represented, as valuable as gold, the Mexican mafia regularly took its share. Alisabeth looked at me with great big eyes. "You wanted to be on this boat trip." I looked at Chamula. He nodded. I could not even picture the horror I would have faced, or the likelihood I would not have returned.

The blustery north winds kept the boat grounded for several days. Since the captain and crew were paid according to the amount of shrimp bought in, it was critical to get back to work and make up the loss. I still could not get myself to say goodbye and head back to the states, so when he asked me if I wanted to go back out, I foolishly said yes. Alisabeth reminded me that it was an "experience of a lifetime" and we both laughed at the old joke. Back on board, I watched as the palm trees receded in the distance and the water cactored the last golden rays of the sun; I was already having grave doubts about my decision. Chamula had not told me where we were going or how long we would be gone. I found him at the helm and it was then I learned the truth. We would be motoring for two days, and the first mate mentioned that we were headed to Sinaloa! What? Chamula sheepishly affirmed that it was true, not wanting to tell me because he did not want me to return to the states. We were headed to the coast of Sinaloa, exactly where they had just been robbed!

"Pendejo!" I retorted angrily, swearing like a Mexican sailor. Out on the deck, I flopped down and leaned back on the salt encrusted nets. I was in shock. I felt like I had volunteered to be kidnapped. All this because I did not have the guts to say goodbye. Well, I had made the choice, and the choice put me here. Done. Now the only thing to do was either stay mad or have an adventure. Since it was such a small world aboard a boat in the middle of the sea, I thought adventure was the better choice.

Chamula followed me. I did not understand how he could put me in harm's way, and told him so. His answer was very pragmatic. He assured me that since all the shrimp were gone and the mafia knew that, we would be safe from the threat for a while. The seas began to pick up the further south we went. I started taking heavy doses of Dramamine and went to sleep. When I got up the waves had turned dark blue with deep troughs and white caps. I brought coffee forward to Chamula and asked if he could show me where we were. Might as well learn something during my voyage into hell. He was all too happy to see I was not holding a grudge. In the evening we had gone south to Loreto then southeast across the Gulf in the night. Now we were near mainland Mexico. I sat on the step of the wheelhouse, sipped coffee, and watched the whales spouting.

At 4:00 pm the rumble of the engine went silent. We tied up at the stern of another co-op boat in the middle of nowhere. Well, I knew we were in the Gulf, but I could see no land. The sea was a constant relentless motion. Worried, I asked the Captain if we were not going near the coast. No, he admitted, this was much different from Mulege. It was illegally we would see land, because the gulf was so shallow here that boats could anchor right in the middle without a problem. I thought the boats might not have a problem, but I certainly did.

The next morning I crawled from the bunk and the motion of the Joven thread my body against the cabin wall. "Mierda!" Another day of heavy seas. I surprised how many days I could keep myself drugged and sleep. It was then I surprised if I could get Chamula to let me off the boat. When I asked he said he had a friend in Los Glorious, Sinaloa who could probably help. And just like that the captain pulled anchor and we headed to the mainland. I felt horrid to be the reason that everything was changing course. My hermanos looked at it as just another lark, an "aventura" in the moment, and if you were a woman stuck in the middle of the gulf, their attitude had a lot going for it.

Once moored off Los Glorious, the wonders of Mexican transport became clear. Everyone knew the Joven, and a panga was already on the way out. The seas were turbulent. I literally jumped from the ship to the smaller boat below as both were tossed around. The pescador handling the launch maneuvered through the breaking surf. And like a surfer, riding the curl, he would pause a moment, and then at the perfect time he would use the force of the water to propel us forward. We would glide on the force until another wave would reach us. We rode the momentum all the way to the beach.

After pulling the boat above the tide line, we walked into the barrio of adobe brick houses. Chickens and dogs ran loose everywhere. We stopped for cold drinks at a little tienda. The sun was hot and penetrating. Sitting under a shade tree near the Sinaloa River, the old friends talked while a lone gringa looked on. In Mexico there was a time to visit and a time to go. You never thought about going when you visited. But when it was time we had to go back out to the trawler to get my belongings. We jumped back into the panga and roared through the Mangrove trees out the gaping mouth of the Sinaloa River into the smashing surf. The breaking waves hit the bottom of the boat so hard we had to hang on with both hands, not to be thrown out. I knew Chamula was expecting me to be afraid, but when he looked over at me, I was grinning so big we both must have looked like loons. I was "muy loca" for more! And that day I earned the title, "Pirata."

Back aboard the heaving decks of the Joven, I went in to pack. Chamula would not let me to go alone, and so we both went to the beach to meet his friend. We rode in the back of an open truck all the way to Los Mochis airport. It was a tearful goodbye. My life had been substantially changed in these months. I had lived and loved life fully. Yet I had to leave and it hurt. Looking down on the shimmering gulf waters, I picked up my journal to keep the memories fresh. Like a giant backbone of ancient volcanic rock the Baja peninsula rose up out of the water. Slowly, I closed the journal to prepare for the landing in La Paz.

Exposed Brick Wall DIY

How to create an exposed brick wall

Firstly, what you’ll need:

Brick chisel

Small crow bar

Plastic sheets

Scrubbing brush

Brick sealer

Dust mask & eye protection

Step 1

Protective sheets. As you can imagine removing the plaster from your brick wall is messy work! This is particularly important if you have an old house with the original plaster. Whilst it may seem like a bit of work it is definitely worth using plastic sheets (painting drop sheets are perfect) and taping them to your walls and ceiling to completely seal off the area you’re working in. It is also highly recommended to wear a mask to protect your lungs from the plaster dust, and even eye protection as the dust can easily irritate your eyes.

Step 2

Pretty easy to see what’s next. Simply make a hole the plaster using your brick chisel. This is a good chance to expose a small area of the brick, perhaps somewhere hidden, to see if the quality of the brick underneath is good. Once you’ve created a hole, you can either use the chisel or a small crowbar to remove the plaster. Just tap it lightly to get behind the plaster and level it off. Be careful not to damage the bricks with the chisel or crow bar by tapping too hard. When you get to the ceiling and side walls ensure you neatly remove the plaster without damaging adjacent plaster.

Step 3

Once all the bricks are exposed the next step is to clean the bricks. Some people use acid to do this, but this can be messy and dangerous and not really required. Just some warm water and a sponge should be all you’ll need to clean the bricks. Wipe the dust off with the sponge regularly wringing it in the bucket. Repeat this 2 or 3 times replacing the water between each time until most of the dust has been removed from the bricks. If there are cracks or noticeable holes in the bricks now is your change to patch them with some cement. Small cracks and holes are fine, just ones that may impact the look of the wall.

Step 4

Sealing the wall. Various types of sealer are available for sealing bricks. Look out for brick sealers in particular. You can normally choose between gloss and matt with most people preferring a matt solution as it looks more natural. Follow the instructions on the can for applying the sealer, which normally suggest applying it 2 or 3 times. The sealer will also darken the appearance of the bricks with each coat.

Let it dry and you’re done!

Discover the Various Patterns of Brick Patio Designs

If you are thinking about installing new flooring in your patio or backyard, brick is always a great choice. It is incredibly durable, never goes out of style, and looks great anytime of the year. There are a number of different patterns of brick patio designs that you can use, each of which will give your patio a beautiful and unique appearance.

Many people are unsure about what type of pattern design to use for their brick patio. With the variety of options available, it can be a little overwhelming choosing the ideal pattern design for your home. To help you make the right decision, here are some of the more popular patterns for brick patios that you can consider installing.

Running Bond Pattern

The running bond pattern is a simple, yet versatile brick design. With this pattern, you essentially have alternating rows of bricks in the same position. So, every other row will be in the same position. This gives a classic appearance that is commonly found in patios and pathways through the world.

Circular Pattern

While circular pattern brick designs are some of the most popular, they are also probably the most labor-intensive in terms of installation. Essentially, your bricks will be laid in a circular pattern extending out from a designated central point. Circular brick design add a certain level of class and sophistication to any outdoor space.

Basket Weave Pattern

The basket weave pattern consists of squares composed of two bricks, but pointing in alternating directions. So, in one square you will have two bricks running horizontally and in the neighborhood square they will be running vertically. This brick pattern is visually attractive, yet quite easy to install.

Herringbone Pattern

With the herringbone pattern, you will lay the bricks in diagonal rows of with alternating directions creating a zig-zag look. This creates a very formal, traditional look that has been used in streets and outdoor settings for centuries.

These are just four of the more popular brick patio patterns, but there are quite a few more. You can always create your own pattern or modify an existing pattern to create the brick patio of your dreams. Once you have determined what kind of design you would like to go for, mock it out on paper or your computer first. The last thing you want to do is change your mind after you have already laid your bricks.

Starting Your Own House Clearance Business

Many of those who lose their jobs during a recession will find it tough to find another job and may start to think about investing in their own business with whatever redundancy pay they may have received. This can be a golden opportunity to become your own boss, but it takes hard work, determination and perseverance to make a new business successful and it rarely happens overnight.

It is always tempting when thinking about starting a business to do something you have always loved doing – make your hobby your job. But, sadly, in the majority of these cases the businesses just don’t succeed. This is mainly because they have been embarked upon with a personal bias and not from a purely business perspective. Whatever decision you might make about going it alone, that decision must always be a business one first and foremost.

The best approach to starting your own business is to research all those services or products that are required in both good and bad economic times.

A house clearance business is one such service that will always be in demand. More and more people are looking for this service sometimes simply to get their houses ready for sale. Or they might have moved and settled permanently abroad and now wish someone to clear out the house in readiness for selling it. Establishing a good business relationship with local estate agents can lead to regular business referrals.

But house clearance is most particularly required after a death in the family. The bereaved often do not want to clear the house at such an emotional time, and the act of disposing of a loved one’s belongings can be overwhelming. Relatives can struggle to sort out the belongings of the deceased whilst coping with their grief and the ongoing demands of work and family life. Or there may simply be no emotional ties and the deceased is a distant relative in another part of the country.

Whatever the reason, there is a booming business clearing out other people’s unwanted belongings.

Whilst local auctioneers do sometimes offer house clearance services, they are really looking for valuable items to sell in their auctions and are not usually interested in the junk. So if you are embarking on this type of business then you need to be prepared to clear everything and often to deal with people at a difficult time in their lives.

Many items that are unwanted by one individual can still be recycled or donated to charity so be sure to consider these options where possible.

To distinguish your business from the rogue element that operate bogus house clearance services it is worth joining the UK House Clearance Association.

Every member of the association makes some key commitments, which are simply good business practice:

· To provide a clear description, price and timetable for the house clearance to be carried out.

· To guarantee full liability insurance.

· To hold a current waste carrier’s license issued by the Environment Agency.

· To be courteous, competent, and committed to providing a high standard of service.

· To deal promptly and sympathetically with anything that may go wrong.

If you think this might be the business for you then it is a relatively easy business to start up with little capital outlay (so you might actually be able to save some of that redundancy cash). There are just some simple steps to take towards being your own boss:

Obtain liability insurance

When you are entering someone’s house and likely to be moving large and heavy objects, you must have the appropriate insurance against damaging either the fabric of the building or persons within it.

Obtain a waste carrier’s license from the Environment Agency

Dumping waste at municipal sites on a commercial basis requires a license. These are inexpensive and last for 3 years so apply for one well in advance of clearing that first house.

Decide which vehicle you need

If you don’t already own a van, you will definitely need one, but while you are still testing out your business idea, why not hire a van instead of buying one. That way you can decide which type of van is most suitable in your local area.

Advertise in the local press and online

The advantage of a small business like house clearance is that you can avoid expensive advertising costs by advertising your services in local publications and at local venues.

House Clearance is just one small business idea that is a service required whatever the economic climate and it is simple and inexpensive to start up. But there are many other such businesses that could mean the start of a new life as your own boss.

How to Hang a Mayan Hammock

Mayan hammocks have very different hanging requirements from the more commonly observed rope and bar hammocks. Following the guide lines below will ensure a safe installation and hours of unbelievable comfort.

How to Hang a Hammock Properly

At each end of the Mayan hammock are loops, called the eyes of the hammock. These loops should be 5 or 6 feet above the ground when the Mayan hammock is installed properly. The distance between supports can be about a foot less than the length of the hammock. For most Mayan sizes, this will mean 11-13 feet. If you have more distance, that is great. Use adjusting bars, and attach the hammock a little higher off the ground. The greater the hanging distance, the higher the attachment points must be. The hammock should hang in a catenary droop with the bottom about 2-3 feet above the ground. The best installations space the supports a little wider than the minimum, and take up the difference with the use of rope. This allows you to adjust easily for stretching.

A Special Tip : The first time you set up your Mayan hammock, hang it, then sit on it, unopened … and bounce your full weight a few times to test the installation and stretch the weave.

From Hammock Stands

If you have one of those typical low hammock stands that fit your old bar hammock. Forget about it. It just will not work. You will need a stand that is taller.

From Trees

Use "Tree Huggers", straps, or a strong rope tied around the tree trunk. Screwing hardware into trees is ill advised. Tree trunks or branches used to support hammocks should generally be at least 6 "to 8" in diameter to support the weight at the attachment height. If you use rope, be sure you know your knots, or you will get to know the ground!

From Posts

Set 10 'pressure-treated 4 "x4" or larger posts firmly in the ground approximately 12 -15 feet apart, depending on the hammock size. Bury the posts at least 3 feet in the ground, surrounding them with concrete, and allow the concrete to cure two or three days before using the hammock. Install 3/8 inch diameter 4 1/2 inch long lag eye screws in the posts for hammock attach points.

Inside Your Home

Locate a stud or beam by tapping the wall or ceiling or by using a stud-finder. You will hear a solid sound when you hit one. Hammer a small nail or drill with a narrow bit to make absolutely certain you're directly on the stud or beam. Locate the center of the beam by tapping additional holes to the left and right of the first one. Once properly located, drill a 1/4 "starter hole, then attach a heavy-duty 3/8" eye lag screw. Then use S hooks and poly rope to attach hammock. You MUST hang your hammock from a structural member such as a wall stud, ceiling beam, or concrete wall, etc. Never try to hang a hammock from plaster or wall board!

One Final Word: TEST BEFORE YOU REST!

What to Make and Sell Online – Easy Woodworking and Wood Craft Projects

If you're trying to decide what to make and sell online, woodworking projects are often dismissed because many people do not feel that they have the skills necessary to do these types of crafts. Contrary to that belief, there are a significant number of woodworking projects that are easy to do and require little to no prior experience or skills.

Plywood can be purchased at various thicknesses and is a great starting material for novice woodworkers. Measuring and cutting is very easy. In fact, many of the home improvement stores will cut the plywood for you. You can use pieces of plywood to make model houses, simple trinket boxes, birdhouses, photo frames, mirror frames, and much more. You can also cut plywood into simple shapes and paint it as Christmas ornaments, door hangers, house address numbers, decorative sayings for the kitchen or home and more.

Another great material to start with are popsicle sticks. The standard size and the tongue depressor size are both great because they can be glued together with wood glue and they can be bent to meet your project's needs. To bend popsicle sticks, simply soak them in vinegar to make the wood flexible. Popsicle sticks can be used to make an incredible number of things from small houses to birdhouses, baskets, boxes, figurines, picture frames, ornaments, magnet frames, and more.

Another popular product that can easily be made of scrap wood or barn boards are rustic picture frames and mirror frames. Primitive benches and birdhouses also sell great using these materials. In some cases, you may need to find a pattern, but much of the time, you can learn how to make these items with simple measurements and cuts.

Precut wood shapes can be purchased from your local craft store at minimum cost. These can be painted to be ornaments or can be glued together to make household crafts. Wooden beads can also be purchased at little expense. These little treasures can either be hand painted or hand carved and then strung into necklaces, bracelets, and other trinkets.

There are so many other creative things you can do with simple things such as twigs and branches. For example, you can cut branches into slices, sand the rough wood down and drill holes to make primitive and natural buttons. Twigs can be gathered up with beautiful ribbon to make small broom ornaments, a favorite around Halloween. Gnarly branch ends can be turned upside down to make a natural jewelry holder. You can decorate vases, ball jars, votive candle holders, picture frames, mirrors, plaques and more with small, uniformly sized twigs to give the item a rustic feel. These are great seasonal items as well as year round items for a cabin or country home.

Tree branches have been used to create beautiful centerpieces, wreaths, family trees, wall branches and more. There is certainly no limit to what you can do with and make from these items. You're limited only by your own creativity.

Wood crafts sell wonderfully online, partly due to the fact that many people that they lack the skills to accomplish woodworking projects. Starting these projects is much easier than many people think and as with any skill, the more you do, the better you become.