Saturday, June 30, 2007

Only in Russia – Tinda

While living in Siberia for a year, I agreed to speak at a human rights conference. Only in Russia will you find a place like Tinda, a city we stopped in on our way.

Trans-Siberian Railway

When living in Siberia, the only way to get around is car, helicopter or the Trans-Siberian Railway. Since I had neither a car nor helicopter, the train it was. Unfortunately, the train to my conference left at 4 AM after a night spent trying to acquire a travel visa on the sly, which meant drinking a lot of visa.

Dutifully, my travel partner, Oleg Vladimirovich, and I made the train where we were met by a local reporter, Nina, who was coming along. The Trans-Siberian Railway can offer some amazing views, but not at four in the morning. I went to sleep.

The thing about Russia is you simply can’t grasp how big it is. Although we were traveling in the same state [“oblast”], the trip took 30 hours. Since it was winter, the view out the train was mostly of snow covered trees. Yes, it sounds romantic until you have to sit there for a day. Fortunately, the Russians have good taste as the train radio blared John Lee Hooker most of the way. No, I don’t know why.


Only in Russia will you find a city like Tinda. During the Stalin era, it was determined that the timber and natural resources in a particular spot of Siberia were very valuable. Unfortunately, nobody lived within 500 miles of so of the location. To solve the problem, the authorities decided to build a railroad and city from scratch.

Building in the middle of Siberia is just a slight challenge. Just to get to the location of Tinda, the Russians had to build a railway over permafrost, bogs, huge mountain ranges, roaring rivers and I won’t even mention the bugs in the summer.

The unfortunately named BUM railway was started in 1930 and finished in 1984. During this process, hundreds of five story concrete buildings were built to form the city of Tinda. A hundred thousand people were uprooted from their homes and moved to this city in the middle of nowhere. Walla, the communist authorities had a labor force to exploit the natural resources.

With the fall of communism, the authorities in Russia are no longer interested in the area. The city is failing and people are flocking to live in cities with jobs and better wages. The ones that remain in Tinda are in desperate straits. It is a sad statement to the legacy of communism, where the interests of the state dominated.

About The Author
Rick Chapo is with - makers of writing journals. Travel journals are great travel accessories and travel gifts for student travel, family vacations and adventure travel. Visit for more travel articles, travelogues and travel stories

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Do Your Home Improvement Right With A Good Attic Ladder

This weekend you need to head up into your attic to get some work done. You need to pull some wire for the final touches on your sound system. You know you need to get it done. It's the last part of your dream home theater system that needs work. Most of your speaker setup is on the money, but the weak point of your system is the center channel speaker and your two rear channel speakers. Well, my friend, this is the weekend to get those issues sorted out. Home theater bliss is on its way.

You know how to pull wire – how to get the measurements and all that. And the setup of the system is not a problem. That's what 15-year-olds are for. But the actually pulling the wire in from your receiver to the actual speakers could pose a problem. Not that you don't have the skills to do it. You're completely confident with that – you're a man's man. But you need to have the right tools to do the job. But up until now, you haven't found the tool that will let you do your work in such a small space. You need a multi-use attic ladder that will prevent you from stepping through your ceiling into your dining room. You don't need a Clark Griswold situation to tarnish your near flawless home improvement track record. And it is near flawless. Near. Who could have known that that chandelier you installed was way too heavy for your ceiling? And furthermore, who could have predicted that the ceiling would choose not to support the chandelier right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner? That is neither here nor there.

All these troubles are certainly worth it. You just got the collector's edition of “Dawn of the Dead” last Tuesday. You know, the edition with 20 hours of director's commentary, deleted scenes, making and storyboards. The sooner the speakers are done, the sooner you can watch a zombie movie the way it was intended to be seen, sorry, experienced.

Then you're watching the toob, sipping a frosty beverage and you see an infomercial talking about a ladder. Not just some crummy normal ladder, but a man's ladder. The Little Giant ladder is the means to an end. A classic zombie movie. So you go and pick one up from your local hardware giant. You're instantly able to get into the attic and get that speaker wire pulled. The ladder helped get you into the attic, and it helped you get your stuff done in a minimal time. See you'd love to spend your Saturday crab crawling around in your spiderhole of an attic, but you've got some extra-butter popcorn waiting for you. That and a La-Z-Boy. That said, you got your home theater dialed in. Speakers and all. If you weren't such a man's man, you'd probably shed a tear or two at the sheer beauty of the whole thing. But you're a MAN, and you've got some zombie films to watch. And you've got nothing to thank than your sheer genius and a Little Giant Ladder to thank. Happy DVD-extra watching.

About The Author
Adam Hook is a client account specialist for Innuity – Small is the New Big. For more information about attic ladder solutions, visit

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Importance Of Installing A Family Security System

There is nothing more important than preserving the safety of your family and home. Whether you are away on vacation and the house is left unattended or you work late at night and want your spouse and children to be safe, a family security system may be the answer.

A family security system will typically feature a keypad, which is programmed with a set of numbers used to activate, or deactivate, the alarm system. If any disturbances should occur, the alarm would sound and authorities would be notified. Many family security alarm companies offer this feature, but others require that the homeowner notify the authorities directly. For this reason, it is a good idea to have cordless telephones placed conveniently throughout the house and make sure that you understand the system contract completely.

Many burglaries occur when a home is empty, which is why many choose to install a family security system. An alarm will likely frighten the perpetrator and protect your home from any unwelcome entries. A family security system is designed to protect the family and their belongings. The home that you live in and the items contained inside were purchased with hard-earned money. A family security system is one way of making sure that nobody is able to take that away. While many family security systems can be self-installed, it is recommended that a trusted professional take care of the installation. This is not a home feature that you can afford to have improperly installed or fail when you need it the most.

A few common sense acts will help to keep your security code a private number that only your family knows. Never give the family security system code to anyone for any reason and make sure that your children understand the importance of this. In addition, study the family security code and memorize it. Never leave it written on a piece of paper and allow it to float around the house or simply be thrown away. Did you know that many criminals search through garbage in order to gain private information? You do not want your family security code to be available to them so, once your code is memorized, use a paper shredder or scissors to make sure the written numbers cannot be placed back together before throwing them away.

As a final thought on family security systems, they are designed to protect you and your family. If a system is so complex that you feel like a prisoner in your own home, it may be time to find another system. A family security system should not be difficult to operate and should not be intimidating. It should make your family feel secure and anything less is just plain unacceptable.

About The Author
Daphne Succes, Writer, Business Owner, Motivator and Self-Starter Independent Consultant for Passion Parties

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Springtime and Your Orchids


With warmer temperatures and the sunlight increasing spring cannot be far away. This is when many cattleyas bloom. And as you know, cattleyas are the known for their fragrance.

On some of the plants you may see a yellow sheath which is protecting some of the buds. This sheath can be removed to allow the orchid to bloom. Be careful when it is removed so the bud isn't damaged. You will be rewarded with a wonderful flowering orchid.

Light in the spring will play tricks on us. It is nothing to have bright days following a day of rain. With the bright days comes a chance for the plant to become "sun-burned" and damage the looks of the orchid. It is advantageous for the cattleya to have some partial shading so this can be prevented.

With the days getting longer this means the plants will require perhaps more watering and also will need more fertilizing. It should be done every week with a weak solution of fertilizer. What is meant by weak? Instead of following the directions for full strength, cut the fertilizer used in half. This gives you a half-strength solution which can be used weekly.

Once the season has past for the winter bloomers you should re-pot if it necessary. For orchids re-potting need only be done every 2-3 years. To see some examples of these orchids go to:


This is the month you will see your phals be at their peak for blooming. There are wonderful displays of wide arching phal and the blooming can go on for over a month with the flowers staying for 2-3 months. Now is when you will need to do some careful staking of the spikes. It will not only help the plant but will display it so the flowing arches looking fantastic.

Remember again, more water and fertilizer are needed during the blooming season. The plants metabolism really revs up during this budding time.

Diseases are another potential during the blooming season. Especially, mealy bugs and scales. This may be spotted by the slimy exudates they leave on the branches. Treat these early so they don't destroy the flowers or the treatment doesn't harm the flowers.

Paphs / Lady Slippers

For our paphs, especially those that are summer bloomers, it is a good time to see if they need to be re-potted. Also, check for disease on these orchids. Mealy bugs are the most frequent visitors. It is great time to treat the plants. Most plant lovers set up a time, usually weekly or monthly to thoroughly look at the orchids for any sign of disease. If you do this on a regular basis your plants will certainly be able to treated early and easily.

The longer light of the day gives more energy to paphs. You will see the spikes develop and the buds start with the help of longer days. It's great to see how these wonderful orchids grow in front of your eyes.

About The Author
Robert Roy
Sign up for tips in our monthly Orchid Newsletter and get your copy of "All About Orchids" e-book and your 10% Discount on an orchid.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Tips For Handing Your Radiant Heat Tubing

A radiant heat system is a series of radiant heat tubes that are laid within a floor, which carry hot water into specific rooms or “zones”.

During the preparation and installation of a radiant heat system you should take precautionary measures to protect the radiant heat tubing.

Radiant heat tubing is also known as PEX and is an excellent material for hot water applications. It’s a cross-linked Polyethylene which means that is has been processed to create a more durable molecule that resists creep deformation and chemical attach under extreme temperatures.

Damaged tubing in a radiant heat system will come back to haunt you and could cause unnecessary delays and costly repairs.

Here are some important tips that you should follow in order to protect your radiant heat tubing. It covers storage, unrolling and installation of your radiant heat tubing.

PEX tubing is not for outdoor applications and must be stored in a covered environment not exposed to direct sunlight. It’s best to leave your radiant heat tubing away from your windows; this also means never leaving it outside, without properly covering or protecting it from the sunlight. Sixty days is the maximum UV exposure time for PEX. And if a supplier has stored their radiant heat tubing outside – don’t buy it.

You should also protect your radiant heat tubing from debris. By keeping the ends taped up, you will stop dust, pet hair or other things from entering the radiant heat tubing. Keeping your radiant heat tubing debris free is always best.

When removing your radiant heat tubing from its coil, it’s best to roll it off the roll. When unrolling your radiant heat tubing, if you notice a piece of tape, leave it alone. Often manufactures will mark areas that have kinks or holes. You will need to splice that particular section so make note of the marking.

As far as installation goes, if you are doing a staple-up installation you shouldn’t allow your radiant heat tubing to sag. To protect the radiant heat tubing it’s always best to support it every 16 inches and if your tubing runs close to any lights, especially recessed lighting you should insulate that portion of tubing to protect it from damage. Ultraviolet light will cause accelerated aging of your radiant heat tubes.

Do not install radiant heat tubing to close to your toilets. The heat could melt the wax ring. Also avoid running radiant heat under your refrigerator, stove, freezer, and kitchen cabinets. If you do put tubing in these areas insulate the tubing with a foam pipe insulation, and put a piece of radiant barrier between the sub-floor and the tubing under the appliance or cabinets.

Lastly, when installing your radiant heat tubing, never let it rub on any electrical wires. This may damage the radiant heat tubing and create future problems. If your electrician is working around your radiant heat system, make sure your electrician understands the importance of not damaging the radiant heat tubing when he/she pulls wires.

By taking a little extra care with your radiant heat tubing you will help ensure a trouble free radiant heat system.

About The Author
Larry Lang is the founder of Radiant Heating Disasters which specializes in consulting of hydronic in-floor radiant heating systems. Larry is also author of Radiant Heat - What You NEED to Know BEFORE You Sign That Contract. This article may be distributed freely on your website, as long as this entire article, including working links and this resource box are unchanged. Copyright 2006 Larry Lang All rights Reservered Lang Enterprises Inc.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Who Lives In The Star Wars Galaxy?

It's hard to say where old Hollywood ended and new Hollywood began. People in the industry don't think of themselves as making history, they are just going to work. But the day in 1967 that Jack Warner cleaned out his desk at Warner Bros. studio, George Lucas and Frances Ford Coppola arrived on the lot.

The two young filmmakers were very different in demeanor. Coppola a legend at UCLA film school was 27, a loud boisterous mixture of mogul and marxist, who prided himself in dressing like Fidel Castro. He impressed film executives at first with his bravado, but later would upset them with his reckless overspending. Five years younger, Lucas, who went to USC, was quiet and introspective. The only guys at Warners who were below 30 and wore beards, they hit it off instantly with Coppola taking the mentor role. Lucas had made a thirteen minute science fiction film project called THX 1138, a dark look at a computer controlled future. Coppola convinced his protégé to extend it into a full-length film and talked Warner Bros. into financing it.

Over the next few months the wily Coppola played both sides. "I'm telling you this kid Lucas is making a great film." Coppola told the Warner brass. "Don't put pressure on yourself, they don't expect anything," He reassured Lucas. When they saw the completed THX 1138 the Suits were furious. "Francis what is this?" "I don't know, I've never seen it." replied the bewildered producer. To Lucas's dismay the studio cut out parts from THX 1138 before they released it. "They're cutting the fingers off my baby."

THX failed at the box office and Coppola was held financially liable for $300,000, but the two filmmakers were given another chance to make a low budget movie at Universal. Impressed by the success of Easy Rider (1969) the old guard at the studio was reaching out to new talent, once again Coppola would produce and Lucas would direct. Lucas was encouraged by his wife Marsha to make the second project more positive. At USC he had studied anthropology learning that the American male has a unique mating ritual, he drives around in cars trying to pick up girls. Lucas combined this observation, with his own love of classic cars, his small town upbringing in Modesto, CA and his appreciation for top 40 songs played on the radio by disc jockeys like Wolfman Jack. The result: American Graffiti (1973).

The now beloved film got off to a rocky start. It was previewed in San Francisco to young crowd who adored it. After the show Lucas and Coppola waited for the Universal executives to come and congratulate them. Instead they were shocked by angry accusations that they had planted their friends in the crowd and American Graffiti was not releasable. True to their personas Coppola argued and Lucas stood quiet. Once again George saw his film taken away and cut up by what was in his view an interfering, know nothing studio. But there was one difference between THX-1138 and Graffiti; Graffiti was a hit, a highly profitable film that made Lucas a millionaire.

Now Lucas decided to return to science fiction, this time wanting to do a more positive story than THX. After failing to acquire the rights to Flash Gordon, he sat down to write his own screenplay. Influenced by the writings of Carlos Castaneda and the mythology of King Arthur, he based the characters on familiar figures. Luke Skywalker's personality came from George Lucas himself, young, adventurous, and quiet from a small town, with a love of racing cars, or in this case space pods. Han Solo was based on . . . Francis Ford Coppola. He was loud, cocky, reckless, always in debt, going through a love-hate relationship with the younger Skywalker. And the empire was actually the Hollywood studios. George Lucas striving for his creative freedom as a filmmaker would parallel Luke Skywalker's journey to win liberty from the empire, and both would achieve it thanks to Star Wars.

About The Author
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks Fascinating Walt Disney and Tales Of Hollywood. The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," these two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Hear realaudio samples of these great, unique gifts at

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Friday, June 22, 2007

For An Adventure Of A Lifetime Travel Alaska

Are you like John Locke of the TV series Lost and simply dying for an adventure? Or perhpaps you're simply bored to death and you want to experience more of life. Have no fear because there's no need to travel half-way across the globe to taste adventure in the wilds of Africa or the rainforests of South America. Why should you when you've got Alaska. Alaska... the 49th state and fondly known as the Land of the Midnight Sun and The Last Frontier.

Most people believe that Alaska, a name which comes from an Aleut word meaning "land that's not an island" is simply tundra in the middle of nowhere because of it's distance from the lower 48 states and because most of the stories you hear about it are usually related to the cold and snow and so-called vast, desolate, open spaces. But you thought wrong.

Alaska - the largest state (by land mass) is also one of the least populated - is a land that combines the beautiful snowy scenery of the Alps with the challenge of an adventure trip to the Congo.

Don't believe me?

That's okay because I've got proof.

River Fishing

When someone mentions Alaska, people usually visualize a land of ice and frozen desert. So it's a bit hard to imagine people being able to fish in such a place. But like I mentioned earlier, Alaska is a place filled with adventure, a place well worth traveling to.

For your Alaska fishing adventure, you can try your luck at hooking any of a variety of prized fish like: Silver Salmon in Resurrection Bay during August and September, the King Salmon of the Lower Kenai River from May to July or Red (Sockeye) Salmon, Dolly Varden and Rainbow Trout in the Upper Kenai River.


Yes, you can raft to your hearts' content and pretend you're a lone wanderer having an adventure in the midst of the vast array of Alaskan wildlife. Travel and encounter the many natural wonders of Alaska. Listen to the stories of the natives. Catch a glimpse of moose and bald eagles as you hold on for dear life while traversing the rapids of Kenai River Canyon - a trip that is highly recommended and one that you don't want to miss.


This is an adventure you must grab because there's virtually nothing that compares to backpacking in Alaska. You can of course choose your own adventure travel destination: Brooks Range, Artic Refuge, Talkeetna Mountains, and Wrangell-St. Elias to name just a few.

Sea Kayaking

This not so common adventure is one that only traveling to Alaska can bestow upon you. This is not for the feint of heart and make sure, that you don't attempt this alone.

Expeditions to Walrus Island

So you haven't seen any of those furry adorable creatures up close? Find yourself aching for more of a marine adventure rather than a landlocked one? Or perhaps you're content to simply watch. Have no fear because Alaska's Walrus Island has it all. You can view walrus, other marine mammals and rare bird species from the comfortable deck of a cruising yacht. But if you want a bit more of a challenge, you can take a hiking trip and see more of the Alaskan wildlife.

Dog Sledding

This is probably the most popular sport in Alaska and an adventure worth telling your grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends, barber or whoever will listen. If you so choose, you can simply watch the dog sled races or try it out yourself by mushing your own team. The Siberian huskies, are highly trained so there's no need to worry about your safety. Plus, if you have the time, you can also visit the renowned author, husky owner and Alaskan original Mary Shields.

Fjord Exploration

If you've ever dreamed of experiencing the sheer scale of an honest-to-goodness glacier that the pages of a book or movie screen just can't convey then Alaska is the place to be? Unless, of course you prefer Greenland or Iceland for your icy adventure. I think not... and just another of many reasons why we should be thankful for the great State of Alaska.

So... are you now convinced that traveling to Alaska is an adventure that you must not miss? I sure hope so because if you're not - what's wrong with you. Just kidding, however before making reservations be sure you've got everything you need like clothes for wide range of temperatures and a comfortable pair of hiking boots.

And clearly... compare the available travel packages being offered by the travel agencies that cater to Alaska or you can make your own travel itinerary and then simply hire a guide to assist you along the way. A great place to start planning your trip is Alaska - The Last Frontier. A website dedicated to being a complete resource on Alaska.

About The Author
Kevin Erickson is a contributing writer to the following websites: and and This article may be reproduced only in its entirety

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Patio Bar Chairs for Comfortable Outdoor and Poolside Seating

For any pool owner, whether it be commercial or residential, furnishing the pool area with the right patio furniture can be essential. Pool areas need to be comfortable, as well as casual, and practical to make it a great pool going experience. An essential element to any pool area is patio bar furniture, consisting of patio bar tables and patio bar chairs. This type of bar setting for a pool has a number of great advantages.

Casual seating. Patio bar chairs provide casual seating for guests who are between swims, or just there to relax poolside. Patio bar furniture can be purchased in water proof material so as to not leave dry guests soaking wet. Patio bar furniture is also perfect for pool parties. Patio bar furniture takes up less room than patio dining furniture so the pool area can accommodate a larger number of guests.

Commercial patio setting. Patio bar furniture is an excellent idea for a commercial patio setting. Whether it is a restaurant or hotel, if it is an area where there is a bar and frequent entertainment, patio bar furniture is a great way to accommodate guests comfortably.

Patio bar chairs sit higher than traditional dining chairs. Some are only raised slightly higher, while other sit at 36 inches. Aluminum patio bar chairs are perfect for pool side because they are made with rust-proof and fade resistant components. Aluminum patio furniture is also available to meet any type of budget.

Make your outdoor bar patio or poolside area a great place for relaxing and entertaining. Patio bar chairs save space without sacrificing comfort.

About The Author
This article was written by Dawn Rowlett for PatioStuff is a full service provider of Grosfillex Resin patio furniture, and all commercial patio furniture and accessories. Visit the site for a full selection of discounted patio bar chairs to furnish your outdoor bar or poolside snack bar at

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bathroom Shower Doors - A Simple Solution For Giving Your Bathroom A Stylish New Image!

Shower doors are not only designed to stop water escaping from your shower stall or tub, they can also be used to add a touch of style to your bathroom. If you're looking for a more effective and long lasting alternative to your old shower curtain, installing a glass shower door could be the answer. Shower screens and doors made from tempered glass are sturdy and can stand up to years of use. At the same time, the type of glass you choose can enhance your bathroom's appearance. For example, clear glass is perfect for a light and spacious look. Frosted, molded, colored glass or etched patterns are other options to consider for a unique and attractive finish.

Frameless shower doors are really popular in contemporary bathrooms, with their sleek, modern look. The shower door hardware can be mounted straight onto the glass, for a smart and tidy finish. More traditional framed doors with frames made from various metals, including aluminum and chrome, are another common choice. Think about what style would fit in best with your bathroom's theme and character. If you've a particular look in mind for you bathroom's makeover, not to mention the budget, you might want to consider having a custom shower door made to measure.

When buying a new shower door, it's important to think about practicalities as well as just aesthetics. There's no point in installing a luxurious folding door only to find it bumps into your sink or toilet when you open it! Sliding showers doors are brilliant if space is limited, as they work by gliding along tracks above your tub. For barrier free access to your shower stall, a trackless or accordion-style door can be ideal. Once you've chosen the door that's best for your bathroom's size and layout, it should be simple to install and will instantly improve your bathroom's style and function.

About The Author
Caroline Smith is a successful author and regular contributor to - an online resource for shower doors, shower stalls, bathroom vanities and other bathroom accessories

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Simple Home Improvement Idea: Vinyl Siding

If you've been looking for an easy way to completely transform the exterior of your home, look no further than vinyl siding. Vinyl Siding is an excellent way to spruce up your home's exterior, and this easy home improvement can dramatically increase the value of your home. There are many advantages to installing vinyl siding including saving you money and giving you a look you can be proud of for years to come.

Vinyl Siding is virtually maintenance-free due to its resilient nature. You don't even have to paint it -- a task most home owners dread! Vinyl siding sustains less environmental damage than wood or other siding alternatives, and it maintains a fresh look for years with very little cleaning.

If vinyl siding is installed properly with good insulation, it can mean lower heating bills in the following years. It is estimated that vinyl siding could save a homeowner hundreds of dollars in heating bills over the life of the product. Some manufacturers even guarantee savings up to 20 percent, which is an impressive reduction indeed.

Leaky walls can be a nightmare and can cause damage to your interior woodwork, possibly cause a health risk to your family in the form of growing mold and give your home a mildewy smell. Vinyl siding waterproofs the home and saves you the hassle of having to worry about water damage and checking for leaks.

Paint fades over time, leaving you no other option but to repaint often. But vinyl siding is fade resistant, requiring less maintenance on your part and an overall better look for your home. Vinyl siding also will not rot, peel, dent, or show scratches which means that you can enjoy a bright, clean-looking exterior every day for years. If it does get a bit dirty, you can power wash it with soap and water, a very easy and inexpensive process when compared to special treatments required for some other exteriors.

There are a huge variety of styles and colors to choose from in vinyl siding. Some sidings are bold and modern; others can make your home look authentically original with heritage designs that emulate old-style wood paneling. Siding also comes in as wide a range of colors as you can imagine, which means that you can give your home a totally new distinctive look, or simply restore some of its old charm.

Installing vinyl siding is a home improvement project that can really add value to your home. Because buyers need not worry about maintenance, cracking stucco, rotting wood, or any of the other hassles that come with alternative products, they are more likely to buy a home with vinyl siding. Many buyers specify that they want a home with vinyl siding when they are house-hunting, so installing vinyl siding can also give you an edge in the market.

Not only does vinyl siding bring with it all these benefits, but many manufacturers of vinyl siding will also offer a lifetime warranty on their product. Vinyl siding is so durable and easy to maintain, and manufacturers so sure of their product, that they offer replacements for any defects over the lifetime of the siding. This is an impressive commitment that shows the level of quality and performance you can expect from your vinyl siding.

When it comes to home improvement, vinyl siding is a great way to revamp old, tired exteriors without having to replace them board-by-board. It gives you a clean finish that works well with any style of home, whether modern or classic. You can save money, time and hassle over a lifetime with this simple switch. So put it on your home improvement to-do list, and enjoy the style and comfort that a home with vinyl siding provides.

About The Author
Michael Clem is Operations Manager of Creative Energy of Richmond, Virginia. Creative Energy is central Virginia’s home improvement experts specializing in vinyl siding. On the web at:

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sabah, Malaysia Borneo - An Emerging Tropical Island Vacation Capital Of The New Millennium

The Malaysian state of Sabah, located at the northeast corner of the island of Borneo, is well positioned to offer a unique tropical island vacation flavor with a difference.

In fact..., with a very big difference.

There is more to Sabah than the sunny tropical weather, beautiful white sandy beaches, tropical island setting, clear crystal waters, and rich ocean and marine life.

Unlike the Caribbean islands or most tropical island vacation destinations in the world, Sabah offers a complete array of activities from adventure and nature to wildlife on top of a world class tropical beach vacation.

What makes Sabah, Malaysia Borneo a unique tropical island vacation spot?

Given its unique geographical advantage where within 76,115 square kilometers (or 29,388 square miles or slightly smaller than the US state of South Carolina), you can...

* laze around in white pristine and unspoiled tropical beaches
* conquer the highest peak in South East Asia
* encounter wildlife in their natural habitat
* admire the largest flower in the world
* lay back and enjoy the sun and water at international standard and luxurious tropical resorts
* appreciate the culture of the colorful indigenous peoples
* rough it out in controlled adventure vacation sites
* brave the river rapids on a white water rafting adventure
* be one with nature in the world of million years old rainforests
* dive into some of the world's best underwater wonderlands
* explore the underwater cave of the world's only mushroom-shaped world class dive spot

On top of the above, traveling around Sabah is also easy and relatively cheaper, and the locals are helpful and friendly.

Most of the tropical wonders of the world, from ocean deep to mountain high, can be found right here in sunny Sabah. You don't have to travel far and wide to savor the best tropical attractions, saving you invaluable time and money to stay put in just one tropical vacation destination.

You can actually experience Sun, Sea and Sand, Forest and Mountain in less than ONE hour - that is, if you utilize a helicopter service.

If you are planning for your next tropical island vacation, or thinking of exploring a new and exciting tropical vacation destination, please explore Sabah personally to find out why it is an ideal choice for your dream tropical island vacation.

About The Author ( ) is a leading Borneo travel gateway, trip advisor, and tour intermediary for the best custom/full-package vacation deals to Malaysia Borneo. Check out some of Sabah’s top tour packages at or for more info on Sabah, please

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Seven Best Sources For Basic Guitar Lessons And Learning Techniques

The seven best sources for basic guitar lessons and learning techniques

There are two ways of learning anything, and they're not the hard way or the easy way, nor are they my way or the highway. No, they're teach yourself, or get a teacher.

Let's look at teachers first. They come in four guises, and some are more effective than others. The more effective, the more expensive--usually.

The cheapest and possibly least effective teacher you can get is probably a friend. I don't say that to be disrespectful to anyone's playing abilities, but simply to point out that unless that friend plays by the book, and is a qualified teacher, you'll probably pick up any bad habits they have. They're also not likely to be available on a regular enough basis, and may either become impatient with you when you don't pick things up fast enough, or may just let things slide, allowing you to form bad habits of your own. The cost is good, though--usually free.

You may be fortunate enough to be still at school and have guitar lessons available there, either for free or at a greatly subsidised rate. If so, take them. Your teacher will be qualified, lessons will be regular, you'll have fellow pupils you know to swap notes with outside of lessons (and maybe even get together to play with!).

Night school is the next most effective and cheap method. It's almost exactly like school, except you have to make the effort to get there after a day's work. That usually means you'll have other things going on in your life--things that may intrude. Not only that, your classes will probably be larger, so you may have less input about what you want to learn. The cost will be very reasonable, though, when worked out as an hourly rate.

A professional teacher is the most expensive option. A good one will bring out the best in you, but will get frustrated if you don't practice. (Classical guitar teachers will encourage you to take grades, because their reputation grows according to how many people they get to pass). If you have the money, the time, and are prepared to put the work in, this is one of the most effective routes to take, because they'll correct any bad habits, and sessions are one-to-one.

If you can't afford a professional teacher, and you don't have night school lessons or a friend handy, the second option is to teach yourself. There are three possible options,

You can buy guitar tutors fairly cheaply at most guitar shops, or online. They used to come in book form, but increasingly incorporate CDs and DVDs to take you through the basics. There's a one-off cost, non-refundable, and you progress at your own pace.

Once you've got the basics together, you might decide the best way to teach yourself is to learn to play standards by ear. So you get out your favourite songs, listen to them over and over, work out the chords and lead work, then play. The advantage of this method is that it'll give you confidence, and if you mess up, no one will know. It's also cheap--presumably you've already paid for the music.

(Of course, there are fan sites online where you can download lyrics and sheet music to your favourite songs, thus saving you the time of doing it yourself. This can be handy. Beatles songs, in particular, use some rather ingenious chord sequences, and you might have difficulty working them out for yourself.)

Finally, there's the online course. For the cost of a single live lesson with a professional teacher you can get a DVD with a course aimed at various levels of proficiency. The product usually comes with a money-back guarantee, too, which is not true of the other methods. Another advantage is that you can learn whenever is convenient for you--teachers are usually available only at certain times of the day.

So there you have it--the seven basic guitar lessons sources: a friend, school lessons, night school, a professional teacher, a book or course, learning by ear, or an online course.

Which is best?

Depends on how serious you are, how much time you can devote to practice, and what you want to achieve.

If you're just starting out, it might be best to go with the least expensive route. That way, if you don't persevere, you haven't lost much.

If you do, though , and you want to get really good, you'll eventually want to consider a professional teacher.

Wherever you want your journey to take you, I hope you get there and have fun travelling!

About The Author
J M Jones (the Guitar Dog) helps you go from beginning guitarist to intermediate. Get the building blocks for your guitar success: to receive your free online guitar lessons, visit:

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rubber Floor Mats Or Carpet Floor Mats?

Regardless if you have just recently purchased a new car or are looking to spruce up your old vehicle, adding floor mats can make all the difference. Whether you are purchasing floor mats from a car dealership or a automotive shop, the options are usually large and may be confusing. Generally, there are two main categories of floor mats: rubber floor mats and carper floor mats. When making a decision between the two materials, the choice is generally one of desired look and specific needs.

Rubber floor mats are the better choice for vehicles that do a great deal of hauling materials or people. Look to include rubber floor mats in truck beds or in the rear of vehicles and in trunks. In addition to being much easier to clean than their carpet cousins, rubber floor mats may offer a bit of skid protection, so that items you are hauling are not catapulted from one end of your vehicle to another. Also, if you live in an area of the country that experiences particular messy weather or have a great deal of mud around your home or place of business, you may want to consider rubber floor mats specifically for the clean up potential.

Carpet floors mats are generally designated for cars, although there is no one reason why carpet must be included in cars and vice versa. Generally, carpet floor mats are though to look better, and are often purchased directly from the dealership in a color that matches the interior carpeting of the vehicle. If you purchase carpet floor mats from an automotive store or an outside source other than a dealership, you may have potential problems in matching the color of the floor mat to the color of your interior. In this instance, consider using a coordinating color that will hide stains and clean up easily while looking nice with the interior of your car.

Although carpet floor mats are usually purchased for vehicles designed for transportation instead of hauling purposes, many individuals find them inappropriate. Especially if you have small children or pets, carpet floor mats can become easily dirty and stained with muddy feet or spills. For this reason, consider mats that are topped with a stain protective coating so that spills and liquids puddle on the surface instead of soaking through the mat. Although floor mats are generally the line of protection for the carpet underneath, very few individuals ever let this carpet show and they often look for clear protective vinyl or rubber mats to protect their floor mats. Keep in mind that any floor mat should be secured to the floor to prevent slipping upon entering or exiting the vehicle, especially if the mat is located under the driver’s seat.

Consider using rubber floor mats for their customization options, since many individuals want to create a look especially for their car. These customizations can be anything from a name or nickname emblazoned on the floor mat to a cartoon character or a favorite sports athlete’s number. With the booming customization business involving vehicles of all makes, shapes, and sizes, it is not surprising the customized floor mats have also become a trendy extra for vehicles.

In the end, the choice of rubber or carpet floor mats is completely up to you. Consider first your purposes of the vehicle and then your budget to determine which type of mat will best meet your needs. If budget is a main concern in your choice, turn to the World Wide Web, where you can often find great prices on popular styles and brands of floor mats.

About The Author
Bill Carmel specializes in Floor Mats and

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How To Start Organizing Your Home

Where do I start organizing my home? While some home organization specialists will tell you to start in the kitchen, I’m going to advise beginning in another area. The kitchen will be the third place we attack and this doesn’t make it less important, but I will explain why I’m starting elsewhere.

First, if you look around your home, you probably see lots of clothes. Am I right? You’ve got clothes in closets, you’ve got clothes in piles (meaning to put them away and not having time, eventually just pulling them out of the pile and wearing them), and you’ve got clothes in laundry baskets. You might even have rumpled clothes in the dryer or (heaven forbid!) the washer. If it’s the former, the clothes are only rumpled. If it’s the latter, they’re probably rumpled AND smelly and (potentially) mildew-y. Yuck! If you don’t have a laundry room but have a laundry closet (with room for the washer, dryer, and some shelves), I’m betting you haven’t seen the top of your dryer for weeks or even months. It’s covered in rumpled clothes and towels, right?

Have you guessed where we’re starting? That’s right! The laundry area of your home. And here’s why: if you get your laundry room cleaned and organized, you’ll be much more apt to actually DO the laundry that plagues you and helps your home to be disorganized. And because you won’t want to undo the work you’ve done in the laundry room, you’re more likely to fold the laundry when it’s done, and put it away. There’s something that’s a breath of fresh air about a straightened laundry room, sort of like when you walk in to a closet where everything is hanging neatly.

So start with small steps:

Can you see the floor? No? Then pick up what’s on the floor and put it in laundry baskets. If you don’t have enough laundry baskets to accomplish this, then just sort the things in to piles outside the laundry room. I make piles of light clothes, whites, darks, and towels/rags.

Can you see the top of the dryer? If not, put the excess clothes in the aforementioned piles. Grab one rag to dust and have two plastic grocery bags, one to collect junk, and the other for later. Dust the dryer from the lint leftovers and use a little window cleaner if it doesn’t come off readily. Don’t neglect the area where the “start” button is, that can be grimy, too!

Ok - now you’ve got your washer & dryer cleaned off. Congratulations!

Now take a critical look at your supply shelves. Do you have empty bottles or boxes lying around from spent detergent and/or fabric softener? Clean those out. Use that grocery bag that you’ve put excess dryer lint in and pitch those empties. Then organize what’s left. If you need to add things to your shopping list, now is the time—now you know what you’ve got and what you need to buy. When you organize your supplies, I recommend putting the detergent and any liquid softener above the (gasp!) washer. Make it easy to reach. Put the dryer sheets over or on the dryer why reach more than you have to? If your shelves are higher than you’d like, use the top ledge of your washer & dryer to hold supplies! I’ve never seen a washer and dryer that didn’t butt up to a wall for the electrical plugs they need. So use that space to your advantage. Put the detergent box or bottle on the top of the washer, along with whatever other washing supplies you have.

If you have wire shelves above your washer & dryer, you’ve got a built-in place to hang a trash bag. Use that extra grocery sack and cut one of the handles in half. Then tie those two ends around some of the wire shelf and use the bag to collect dryer lint and empty containers from your emptied laundry supplies. When it’s full, cut it down and put it in the trash and put up a new one.

Now look at your floor. Does it need sweeping? If so, grab a broom and sweep. It won’t take you more than 5 minutes and you’ll feel much better about your room and your work, especially if something you’ve just washed falls on the floor as you’re transferring stuff to the dryer.

Congratulations! You’ve done the preliminary work of organizing your home, you've won the battle in your laundry room! Take a 15 minute break and enjoy this victory. Then start the task of doing the excess laundry that you’ve been collecting, one pile at a time. When the first is done, swap it out immediately to your dryer or to hangers, if that’s more appropriate. Take it one pile at a time, in other words, small steps! Soon, you’ll find that it really only takes 5-10 minutes to fold warm clothes from the dryer and put them in laundry baskets, ready to transfer to the appropriate rooms, closets, and drawers. Now that you have some extra time, you can start on another room. How to start organizing your home wasn't all that hard afterall!

About The Author
Karl Thompson is the owner and webmaster of website which is a growing 24 category directory of articles and products concerning families and parents in their day-to-day living

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Getting The Classic French Style In Your Home

Are you looking to get the classic French style in your home, well don’t worry you don’t have to speak French to get the style. It’s not hard to get the style, just take a look at the following directions.

Used, worn, imperfect but beautifully architectural elements and accessories are what French country style is about. They don’t have to have sleek lines, fine china or grey, white, and black colors. They have chunky wood tables, flowers, brightly patterned couches, curtains and pillows styled after the look of Provence, which borders the Mediterranean Sea.

If you’re looking to grasp the French look, you should look for things like cracked wood beams, curved panels, hand-carved decorations and raw material flooring and walls, like stone or bricks. Uneven plaster walls or raw distressed wood can also give you the French Country atmosphere.

In the style having a spider crack in the paint or slight discoloration of the paint just adds character. So don’t fret about fixing all those imperfections.

Some architectural features are shutters for your windows, narrow deeply cut window sills, and striped fabric awnings over windows which prevents the heat from escaping.

But if you just want a little bit of French flare to your house without too much change to you’re walls and floors. You can look for rustic furniture, oversized rectangle or round wooding dining room tables with a dull waxed or natural finish. Dining room chairs have a ladderback style or vertical slats to it.

If you’re looking to get chairs or random tables you should look for curved or boast carved designs in the woodwork. Also, large armoires go well with the theme, giving you a place to store dishes, linens clothes or whatever you desire.

The next step would be to adorn your house with fabrics and accessories. You should use toile material, a gauzy linen or cotton, in white, cream or yellow with bright contrasting colors. You can choose themes like monkeys, eighteenth century courting scenes and Chinese patterns which are dominate French designs.

Also look for large, thickly woven baskets, chunky clay or old metal pitchers, iron garden shelving units, and Chinese pottery all fit in with the French theme. Which means you can get ceramic plates, tiles, tablecloths and curtains that have either roosters, sunflowers, lavender or beetles. You can save some money if you get these at flea markets and antique stores.

The final touches would be flowers. Fresh flowers would be ideal, flowers such as lavender, geraniums and sunflowers are great to give you the French country style you’re looking for.

You can put the flowers in copper pots, window boxes, glass vases or old pitchers. You should use a variety of colors and make the arrangements not too simple or stylized. Another country French look is natural grasses.

It doesn’t matter if you want to go all out or just change a few things in your house to achieve the French country look. You can use any of these idea to get a little of Provence country into you’re house.

About The Author
David Johnson is a successful freelance author that writes regularly for . His articles have also been featured on related sites such as and

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Hungry For Overkill

I don't have much time to watch television. Being the lazy person that I am, I usually let other people in the family do my watching for me.

But some events are just so important that I have to watch them myself. Such was the case with the finals of this year's American Idol. The space shuttle Columbia crash in Texas earlier in the year was another event that (sadly) I just had to watch. And I certainly did not want to miss the thrill of seeing the America's Cup sail into Switzerland.

Of course, I regularly turn on the tube whenever a George Bush invades Iraq. Hopefully, this one will soon finish invading; my electricity bill is suffering.

The latest must-see event is the Michael Jackson arrest, an event of such momentous importance that all news shows, gossip shows, comedy shows and just about everybody else is offering wall-to-wall coverage. It has been estimated that 37% of the American population has been interviewed by the media for their inside-knowledge of "the pop superstar's" personal life.

So I was most shocked when I flipped to a channel that was not helping me track down the most fascinating intimate details and most intriguing and succulent minutiae of all things Michael Jackson.

"What?!" I demanded. "This is impossible. What is this trash?"

"That's Touched by an Angel," my wife offered. "It's one of your favorite shows."

"That's no excuse," I blustered. "The network should be hot on the Jackson case. How could this be? I'm calling the cable company to complain."

"But dear ..." my wife tried to interrupt.

"It's no use," I insisted as I dialed. "My mind is made up. Don't try to stop me."

"But dear ..." my wife tried to interrupt me again.

"I am sorry. There is simply no excuse for airing pure entertainment when there are important details about Michael Jackson to be uncovered."

"But dear ..." my wife tried once more.

"Hello? Cable Company? I want to lodge a most serious complaint."

"But we don't get cable out here," my wife broke in. "We have satellite TV."


"Look. There are some 395 channels, and at least 70% of them are airing Michael Jackson stories. Don't you think that's at least, oh, let's say, 70% overkill?" my wife asked.

"You don't understand. This is important. The whole world is watching. This man has changed the face of music."

"Yes, that's what some of his celebrity colleagues are saying", my wife rolled her eyes. "As if people who change the face of music have all been vaccinated against child-molesting."

"That's not the point. There are so many details to uncover. We know he likes Kentucky Fried Chicken, but does he eat quiche? Everybody knows that real men don't eat quiche. Could that be his problem?

"Let it go, Happy Guy," my wife advised. "It just doesn't pay to get so caught up in all the TV drama. Besides, this is a serious investigation with a serious charge and it should be left to the authorities."

I sank down into the couch. My wife was finally starting to make sense. "What are you going to do now?" she asked.

"I think I'll watch Touched by an Angel."

"Ah, that's the husband I know and love."

"Right now Michael Jackson could use an angel, and so could all those kids. I mean, what can one little district attorney do?" I moaned.

My wife moaned, too. I was amazed that she would suddenly show such support.

"I know," I said, lighting up. "Never mind the cable company. I'll call Tess. She can set Michael Jackson straight."

About The Author
The author is David Leonhardt. Sign up for his weekly satire column up at or read more columns at Pick up a free motivational ebook at


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pretty Women Have Stayed At The Beverly Wilshire

Since it was built in 1929, The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel has attracted rich and famous guests from around the world. To the general public the hotel is most famous for being used in the 1990 movie Pretty Woman. They have disappointed thousands of people by turning down requests from around the world who would like to stay in the same suite that Julia Roberts and Richard Gere had in the movie because it does not exist, it was filmed at the Walt Disney studio.

Julia Robert's character in the film was not the only pretty woman who stayed there. In the 60's the hotel became a swinging hangout for Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, with parades of women going in and out of their rooms. A little old lady who stayed beneath Beatty constantly banged her ceiling with her broom, to try and get him and his lady friends to stop making so much noise.

Not everyone was having fun in the hotel. Michael Caine spent his honeymoon there with his beautiful wife Shakira. Caine was and is a favorite of the staff. In honor of Shakira they decided to give them the authentic Indian honeymoon suite. In India, the honeymoon beds hang from the ceiling with bells hanging from the bottom. The neighbors like to hear the bells go off for the happy couple, but in this case Shakira was already pregnant and Caine was jetlagged. All they wanted was to get some sleep but they couldn't do it because of the blankety blank bells! The English actor ended up ordering four hamburgers from room service and stuffed the buns into the bells so that they could get through the night!

About The Author
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks Fascinating Walt Disney and Tales Of Hollywood. The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," these two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Hear realaudio samples of these great, unique gifts at

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Can I Have Your Autograph?

Being a celebrity means dealing with fan demands for autographs, ranging from polite and appropriate to rude and overbearing. One time Katherine Hepburn was performing on Broadway and tried to exit backstage through a crowd of jostling autograph hounds. Bodyguards helped her to her limo and once safely inside the very private star rolled down the window and shouted," Run em down! We'll clean up the blood later!" The crowd scattered and the limousine sped away, pausing long enough for Hepburn to roll down the window and wave goodbye to her fans, accompanied by an evil laugh. Strangely enough, when she lived in Beverly Hills the seclusion loving Hepburn developed the habit of sneaking into her neighbor's houses as a hobby. She became expert at climbing trees, avoiding alarms and dogs, and revealing herself just before her nervous neighbors called the police.

Walt Disney had the strange experience in the 1930s of having his name famous around the world when his face was not. Often he would forget his identification and that combined with his casual attire sometimes kept him out of fancy restaurants. Later in the 50's he became a recognized figure because of his television hosting duties. The lack of anonymity made it increasingly difficult for him to walk through Disneyland without being badgered for autographs. Disney struggled not to be brusque while explaining he didn't have time, he was trying to make the park a better place. In the 60's when the company was trying to purchase Florida marshland for a second amusement park, he was warned by his advisors to stay away from the state, the real estate prices would go up once the identity of the buyer was known. But Disney couldn't resist. Eating in a Orlando diner Walt was approached by a curious waitress,"Pardon me. Aren't you Walt Disney?" Walt who was known for being brutally honest, replied," Hell no! And if I see that sob, I'll give him a piece of my mind."

Stars making movies at Universal Studios often try to avoid tour guides leading autograph hounds. One particular fellow became ingenious at tracking down Michael Caine, who toyed with the idea of having the young man fired, then decided, "What the hell, I'll just sign" and was gracious. It turned out to be a good move, the tour guide was Mike Ovitz who later became the most powerful talent agent in Hollywood.

When stardom is new, autograph signing can be a thrill. One night in Paris the 60 year old Cary Grant and 25 year old Sophia Loren wished to go out to dinner. "But the people will come up to us. I can't stand it!" said the jaded Briton. "I love it," said Sophia. When they left their hotel Grant complete with his hat pulled down,dark glasses, his scarf wrapped around his face, and his huge overcoat looked like the Invisible Man. Sophia looked like Sophia. As they walked the streets of Paris people began to come up to her for autographs which she joyfully signed. After a few fan encounters Grant began to get jealous. Down came the hat, off came the glasses, the coat and the scarf and soon he was standing under neon lights to get noticed.

Another English actor named Grant was thrilled by his breakout stardom due to the movie Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994). Hugh Grant would drive around New York looking for theaters where the film was playing then get out and wait in line, happy for the attention and to sign autographs. Later when he was arrested in Los Angeles for hiring prostitute Divine Brown, he turned down requests to put his signature on tabloids containing his mug shot.

Some actors just sign despite their annoyance. One time Arnold Schwarzenegger was being interviewed at a press junket when a reporter asked him for an autograph for his mother, a big no-no. The star grimaced and said,"Of course. I wouldn't want to disappoint your mother." He paused then added," I'm sure you have disappointed her enough already."

Autographs can cause internal conflicts for stars who take themselves too seriously. During the making of Klute (1971) Donald Sutherland received a written request from a fan who wished for an autograph for his daughter. Sutherland showed the letter to his humorless girlfriend Jane Fonda who expressed a strong opinion that he should not sign it, autographs imply that movie actors are somehow superior to others. Sutherland bowed to her philosophy and wrote a letter stating his reasons for refusing the request. The man wrote him back,"Dear Mr. Sutherland, thank you for your letter. We think you are full of it but we ripped off the signature and gave it to our daughter."

About The Author
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks Fascinating Walt Disney and Tales Of Hollywood. The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," these two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Hear realaudio samples of these great, unique gifts at

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Monday, June 04, 2007

How to Play Piano and Write Music

You are neither too young nor too old to play piano and compose. If you think otherwise, get that fairy tale out of your head.

A few geniuses began at age 3 and burned out in middle age. Gustave Mahler, a modern symphonic artist and Jazz Guitarist legend Wes Montgomery didn't start serious composing until they were well in their 30's. Verdi was still going strong at 87. Some of the great pop, jazz, and rock music of our time has been written by musicians who consider the age of 25 as "over the hill."

Conclusion: forget about age.

What about music theory? Does it have anything to do with playing the piano and composing a piece of music?

Sounds come first. Theory books and systems tag along behind, explaining in words what you've already experienced by ear.

Composing is a "hot" creative act. Studying theory is a "cool" analytical act.

Theory explains what is going on in a piece of music. It shows us the machinery that makes the music tick. Training in theory helps sharpen our understanding, and helps the player and composer organize his or her musical materials.

Absorb theory for what it has to offer. But watch out for the trap of "rules." In the early stages of playing piano and writing music, rules can be helpful disciplines to help focus our thinking. But given too much importance, rules become handcuffs; break them if you know what you're doing.

Use your good ears to break through the endless blanket of sound that surrounds our lives.

Direct you hearing. Sharpen your perception. Isolate sounds. Listen, and make yourself aware of your sound-world.

A painting, a statue, and a building have a certain kind of life. All of their parts exist at the same time. But music is like a movie or a stage play: it unrolls slowly, bit by bit. A movie begins, continues, and ends before your eyes. Music does the same for your ears. Your piano playing and compositions live and breathe.

Guidelines for Playing Piano By Ear to Write Music

Begin your sketches with a simple, basic idea: a sound you like, a group of pitches, an interesting harmony, and attractive rhythm pattern, an idea for lyrics, and so on.

Next step: think out a number of possibilities for developing, expanding, exploiting, and contrasting your basic idea.

For example:

1. A group of pitches can be played forward, backward, upsidedown, or with its order rearranged.

2. You can keep the overall shape of a pitch group (the way it moves up and down), but change it by opening up or tightening the distance (interval) from one note to the next.

3. The same pitch group can be varied by changing its speed, meter, or rhythm... or by changing its "color" through changes of instrumental register (high vs. low).

4. A rhythmic idea, no matter how simple, can be stretched, tightened up, fragmented, or transformed into a repeated figure

5. A rhythmic idea can be applied to differnet pitch groups, or used to give movement to your favorite chord progression.

6. A harmony can be intensified by adding "color" tones (7th, 9th, added 6th, suspended tones, etc.); or softened by subtracting chord tones; or given a refreshed sound by the way you voice the harmony on the piano.

Try to keep a relaxed attitude toward you study of piano, and an open mind about new ideas that almost always turn up while you're experiementing with your sketches.

Above all, don't lock yourself into one way of thinking. After a certain point, a piece may have its own ideas about the way it should deveop; don't try to force it into a cookie mold!

Let it grow and breathe.

Copyright 2005 RAW Productions

About The Author
Ronald Worthy is a Music Educator, Songwriter and Performer. To learn more "Trick of the Trade," go to: and

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

How To Enjoy Adventures In Bali

Bali is to everyone not only known for it’s indigenous culture, people, but also known for it’s nature, i.e.: magnificent mountain, alluring sea, beaches, pristine forest, waterfall, hot spring, rice fields, flora, fauna, traditional villages, etc are the great asset that Bali has to offer. It attracts the tourists to come to Bali especially to those who are fond of travelling. They like to go to the places where they can recharge their souls, unwind, release the tension from work, and simply enjoy what life has to offer.

While enjoying the great view, you may thoroughly enjoy the adventures in Bali through joining adventure activities that available in Bali, such as: horse riding, elephant ride, quad & buggy ride, bungy jumping, buggy drive, village trekking, forest & mountain trekking, cycling, hiking, rafting, sea cruise, land cruise, scuba/diving, snorkelling, water sports, land tours, golf, and so on.

Here’s a list of tips for adventure travellers, whether they want adventures that are more inclined to wilderness or just the typical family adventure most people would love to experience:

1. It is best that people should know what the type of travel adventure they are getting into.

Adventure travel may provide the kind of adrenalin rush most adventurers long to experience every time they get out of their territory. It is the feeling of newness and uncertainty on what will happen that gives them the satisfaction and gratification that they need.

However, it is still important for them to know what they are doing. After all, travelling always involve risky activities especially to those who are set to gain adventure experience.

2. Have a fixed set on the adventure travel destination.

Because of the vastness of locations and adventure locations available today, people might get confused on what areas are best for their adventure travel.

One good tip is to choose a location that can baffle those adventurous minds and mystify the eyes with great mystery.

As much as new and exotic places can be adventurous, it is still best to stick to the classical and typical locations. It would be really risky to try areas, which no one has ever dared to go to.

3. Consider the budget.

Adventure travelling can be pretty expensive especially when it entails going to places that entails great adventure packages.

So, it would be better for adventure travellers to shop around first and compare prices before deciding on what kind of adventure travel to take.

Indeed, adventure travel can be one of the most exciting and gratifying travel one can experience. However, with the exotic places, wilderness, and virgin forests that one might consider, it is a must that every travel must know the proper way how to protect themselves and what to do first before trying the place out.

After all I can say that Bali for adventurer is worthy place to visit.

About The Author
Yulia Inda Yani is the Asst. Reservation Manager of Bali Suci Tours, one of the established travel agent in Bali. Come and explore the island with the expertises that know Bali better than anyone else. For further information about Bali travel, hotels & adventures, you could visit us at and

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Get Rid Of Green Water Algae In Your Garden Fish Pond

Do you have a problem with green water in your garden pond?

Many people who have a small fish pond in their back garden commonly experience this problem particularly in the summer, and waste a lot of money and time on buying chemicals to prevent the green water algae, when in fact they can adopt a more permanent and natural solution to the problem, which also ensures the safety of your fish.

This goes out specially to all you pond and fish enthusiasts who generally have small ponds, don't have much cash to spare, or just want to learn how to improve the health and clarity of your water, and so keep happy fish!

I first started my Leisure web site at in 2003 to show how you can design and build your own homemade DIY bio-filter for if you get that terrible green water (thick green pea soup) in your pond due to water-borne algae.

After much research from various fish pond web sites and forums I got an idea for creating a filter design that was a more attractive than most homemade bio-filters which are often constructed using a "Rubbermaid" tank - a big hulking water tank with appropriate plumbing, usually sat at the top of a waterfall, and which normally requires hiding behind plants, rocks and the like because it is so big and ugly.

Like many amateur pond-owners, your pond is probably quite small, perhaps between 350 and 1000 gallons capacity, and so does not require a massive amount of filtration. On my web site I will show you how to set about building something that looks ok, and incorporates a number of different features to aid easy cleaning, and ensure efficient breakdown and filtration of waste products produced by your fish. For example a vortex settlement chamber, a pre-filter and oxygenating venturi, and more recently a trickle-tower filter.

Since then I have updated my pond filtration setup in a number of different ways, and recorded these changes in my Pond Bio-Filter web site (, but what was lacking was a way of sharing new ideas, successes and failures along the way.

So I also created a Blog for you that will hopefully act as a way of filling the gaps, and keeping you informed of how things progressed and any news and suggestions.

You can find and subscribe to the blog at

I hope you find it useful.

Just follow the links to my web site, where you will find information on “How to Build a DIY Pond Bio-Filter”, and “Homemade Pond Venturis” where you will find plenty of detail and lots of photographs.

Good luck.


About The Author
James Prior is an amateur pond and water-garden hobbyist, webmaster, designer, and builder of all types of water features. Jims Pond Blog and Leisure Website is a useful resource for garden fish pond keeping, and cheap homemade DIY bio-filtration and oxygenation methods and techniques. The website provides ideas and construction details complete with many photographs detailing bio-filters, venturis, trickle-filters, pond and stream construction.
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Copyright (c) 2006, James Prior

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Friday, June 01, 2007

When Is The Best Time To Visit Cancun?

Cancun is a very popular vacation desination for all ages. Most would define traveling off-peak as "traveling outside rush-hours to avoid overcrowding in public means of transport." This sounds all too simple and as we might expect - easier said than done. If you love to be around other tourist than I recommend any time of the year to visit Mexico.

By traveling off-peak, not only will you get cheaper flights and accommodations. You will also gain a difference perspective on travel - especially the added advantage of enjoying your dream destinations without huddling with the masses of tourists during holidays.

And did you know that traveling off-peak means traveling during holidays (not before or after) when airfares are lower and there's less road traffic?

Best Times To Travel

For both air and car travel, avoid the crowds by traveling during the week, especially from Tuesday through Thursday. An added bonus is that airfares for travel Tuesday through Thursday are usually cheaper.

Mid-morning and late afternoon flights tend to be less crowded, plus you can really avoid commute traffic during this time. This site also offers the load on late-night flights (also known as red-eye flights for obvious reasons): these flights can help you avoid traffic but it's only effective if you can sleep sitting up-right on a plane!

Some of the most affordable Cancun travel deals of the year can be found in the fall. If you happen to find nonresistable super offer during off-peak dates that fall between major holidays, don't waste time. Book immediately with your discount travel agent. Never hesitate!

Traveling off-peak to Cancun during the North American winter months rather than during summer is very popular. You might say what's the point in going to Mexico in winter when you're going there to savor the beaches? But the fact is, there is hardly such a thing as winter in the Mexico as it stays warm most of the year. In fact, it's not a good idea to fly there during the peak season (I.e., summer months) as this is the period when the hurricanes usually come.

It also helps to subscribe to online newsletters of discount air travel agents such as Travelocity or Expedia. By having yourself included in these companies' mailing list, you can get your hands on off-peak travel promotions faster than those who didn't. So you see, it's not just the air miles!

Finally, book your flight early to secure the most gains from traveling off-peak. One year's planning can certainly help you reap the reward of the cheapest airfares possible! On the other hand, booking last minute can also have its rewards. If you're the kind who can leave at a moment's notice, you can save a lot from last-minute flights and accommodations. After all, most airlines and hotels would rather greatly discount their seats and rooms than leave them empty!

About The Author
Noel Gomez
Please visit my website at: For more tips please visit cancun vacation today and relax in the sun!

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